Planning a business travel trip can be challenging for a company and its employees. It can even be perplexing for employees starting out recently, since there can be a lot of ambiguity towards the expectations and limitations of these trips. As companies aim to use business travel to maximize profit and scale up, letting employees plan and expense trips on their behalf can’t be a sustainable long-term option. Corporate travel policy comes in to rectify all of these issues.
Corporate Travel Policy
A Corporate Travel Policy is a set of guidelines and rules a company establishes to govern employees' business travel. Its primary objective is to manage and control travel-related expenses while ensuring the safety and well-being of employees. It typically includes, but is not limited to, information on booking procedures, accommodation options, transportation preferences, meal allowances, and expense reporting.
Defining the corporate travel policy is the responsibility of the company’s travel manager. Their responsibility also includes ensuring compliance with these policies across the board, and evaluating the effectiveness of these policies via regular employee feedback and reviews.
Components of a Corporate Travel Policy
Crafting a comprehensive corporate travel policy requires a reasonable amount of time and investment. It is essential that it covers all the different types of travel employees can engage in, and accounts for the many different contingencies that may arise. This ensures there is utmost clarity in the process, and employees always have a clear directive on what they must do.
Thus, the components of a corporate travel policy can vary across companies. However, to give you a general idea of what you can include, here are some key components that every corporate travel policy should cover.
Scope and Purpose
The "Scope and Purpose" section of your Corporate Travel Policy is the foundation for the entire document. Here, you should clearly define the policy's scope, explaining its applicability to all business-related travel. Additionally, you must elucidate why the policy is necessary and what it aims to achieve. This sets the context and provides employees with a clear understanding of the policy's objectives.
Travel Booking and Approval Process
This is where you describe the procedure for booking flights, accommodations, and transportation. Most companies have a hierarchical structure wherein employees need the approval of their supervisors before engaging in any travel bookings. Specify who has the authority to approve travel requests and outline any special considerations for international travel. This ensures the travel booking process is streamlined, transparent, and adheres to company policies.
If you are using a corporate travel management tool like Travelstop, you will enjoy the benefit of embedding these approval workflows seamlessly into your booking process. Travesltop will automatically notify superiors when they have bookings to approve, saving a lot of time and energy for both employees and supervisors.
Accommodation and Transportation
In this section, you should specify the preferred class of transportation, be it economy, business, or other classes, and any restrictions that apply to employees. You can even vary your policy to provide different options to different employees or teams. Typically, companies will provide their higher employees with better options like five-star accommodation and business-class flights. Additionally, you can provide guidelines for hotel bookings, including preferred hotel chains, budget limits, and any booking platforms to use. This ensures consistency and cost control in travel arrangements.
These policy stipulations can also be integrated into the Travelstop platform. When employees choose their flights or hotels, Travelstop can immediately notify them whether their booking complies with the policy. This helps employees avoid booking rejections and smoothens the whole corporate travel experience.
Detailed information on how travel expenses will be reimbursed is provided in this section. You can include guidelines on meal allowances, entertainment expenses, and any other expenses employees might incur while traveling. This section helps manage expenses efficiently and clarifies to employees what is reimbursable.
Health and Safety
Prioritizing employee safety during travel is essential. The "Health and Safety" section addresses the importance of safety measures such as travel insurance, vaccinations, and local laws and customs adherence. This ensures that employees are well-prepared and informed about potential risks during their trips.
Expense Reporting and Reimbursement
In this section, you can explain the process for submitting travel expenses, including the required documentation and timelines for reimbursement. This ensures the expense reporting process is seamless and minimizes any delays in reimbursement.
By integrating these functions into the platform, Travelstop makes it simpler for employees to submit expenses and claim reimbursements. Employees can submit expenses on the go, group expenses with fellow employees and Travelstop will directly submit these expenses to the concerned supervisor for the reimbursement procedure. Travelstop’s intuitive system also helps identify out-of-policy or feigned expenses, saving companies the hassle of manually reviewing expense reports and minimizing errors.
Exceptions and Special Circumstances
No policy can cover every unique situation. The "Exceptions and Special Circumstances" section outlines how employees can request exceptions to the policy and provides guidance on handling unusual or unique travel situations. This allows for flexibility while maintaining a structured approach.
Travel Tips and Best Practices
You can also offer practical advice to help employees make the most of their business trips. Include tips on local culture, acceptable social etiquette, and staying connected while traveling. This enhances the travel experience and reflects the company's commitment to employee well-being.
Policy Review and Updates
This component mentions how the policy will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains relevant and effective. Regular reviews ensure that the policy evolves with changing needs and industry trends.
A well-crafted corporate travel policy is crucial for efficient business travel. It serves as a guideline for employees and a cost-containment tool for the company. Corporate management tools like Travelstop can automate the process to enhance policy compliance, ensuring adherence to guidelines and offering real-time expense visibility. This eases policy enforcement and leads to significant cost savings, making it an invaluable addition to your corporate travel management toolkit.