If you are a human resources or Procurement manager, then you may know that managing corporate travel might be one of the challenging tasks you have to deal with. As a travel manager, ensuring smooth business travel while balancing costs can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope. That’s where creating a well-defined corporate travel policy comes into play.
In this blog post, you will get to know the essential aspects of an effective corporate travel policy. By the end, you will have a clearer understanding of how to create, implement, and manage a travel policy that meets your business needs while also making employees’ trips more enjoyable.
#1 Setting Clear Expectations
One of the crucial elements of creating a corporate travel policy is setting clear expectations. Remember, your business travel policy serves as a roadmap for your employees. It tells them what they can and can’t do on a business trip.
Without a well-defined policy, your employees might make decisions that are inconsistent with your company’s expectations or financial considerations. These mistakes can range from something as innocuous as booking the wrong hotel to something as serious as booking a flight on an airline your company does not recommend due to cost or safety concerns.
A company’s travel policy should include the following components to ensure everyone is on the same page:
- Travel Authorization: The travel policy should clearly define who can travel and under what circumstances. Also, how must they get permission or approval, and what is the complete process? For instance, in some corporations, they only permit the highest-ranking executives to fly business class.
- Expense Reimbursement: You must identify and clearly specify the types of expenses eligible for reimbursement and those not eligible. While most companies will reimburse you for the cost of a taxi from the city to the airport, they may not pay for your meals on a short-haul flight.
- Preferred Travel Partners: The policy should clearly mention which airlines, hotel chains, and transportation companies you prefer to use on your trip. Having your company vet these partners ensures not only cost-effectiveness but also the safety of your staff. Or you can also opt for a one-stop travel partner like TaxiVaxi, which can ease up the process.
Remember that the point of setting clear expectations is not to micromanage your employees’ every move but rather to give them a framework. Such a structure will allow them to arrange their trips in a fashion that causes the least amount of disruption to business and maximizes compliance with your firm’s monetary and moral standards.
Next, learn how selecting the right travel management company can make this process even more seamless.
#2 Choosing the Right Travel Management Company
Choosing the best travel management company is the next crucial step after establishing realistic goals. Selecting the right partner can streamline your business travel management and ensure compliance with your company’s travel policy.
Take into account the following when deciding on a travel management company:
- Service Offerings: You have to ponder the question of whether or not the company provides a wide array of services. Services like flight bookings, hotel bookings, cab rentals, and visa consulting that cater to all your corporate travel needs. A company like TaxiVaxi that provides one-stop business-to-business travel services, including FRRO and FRO consulting.
- Customer Service: Corporates or businesses frequently understimate the importance of customer service. When it comes to travel for your employees, unforeseen circumstances can arise. An invaluable asset is a customer service department that can quickly and effectively address such concerns.
- Cost-effectiveness: Efficiency in terms of expense is crucial for business trips. In the Indian Tax context, the GST input credit is particularly relevant, and a good travel management company will help you take advantage of this and other benefits.
- Technology: Technology can play a crucial role in improving the efficiency of business trips. This leads us to the next point: integrating technology into your company’s travel policy, which will allow for real-time updates, simple booking options, and faultless expense tracking.
As we discussed among these four key elements, Technology is crucial in deciding your partner travel management company. In the next section, you will get to know how a company should incorporate technology into their business trips managment.
#3 Incorporating Technology
In today’s hyperconnected world, the incorporate of technology into your business’s travel policy could be revolutionary. The importance of technology in business travel management is paramount. Let’s look how today’s technology can simplify and expedite your business trips.
- Updates and monitoring in real time: With today’s travel management software, businesses like yours can keep tabs on their employees’ whereabouts and monitor their time away from the office. Real-time updates on flight delays, cancellations, or traffic disruptions can also be sent directly to the traveler and the company, ensuring smooth communication.
- Expense Management: Gone are the days of saving every single receipt during a business trip. Employees can easily keep track of and submit their spending to managers with the help of digital expense management systems, which increases openness and productivity. This can help businesses save time and money by providing MIS, analytics, and going completely cashless and paperless.
- Online Approvals: Approval of tripis is a time-consuming process, and now you can do it online. However, thanks to platform like TaxiVaxi, the entire travel request process- from submission to tracking to approval – can be handled online, saving time and streamlining operations.
- Travel Analytics: Analytics for business travel can help businesses learn more about their travelers’ habits, spending habits, and preferred modes of transportation. You can use this information to improve your travel policy and negotiate with service providers.
As we can see the importance of technology in today’s business trips. However, you have to keep in mind that none of this would be useful unless the policies were actually followed and enforced. Hence, coming to the next section: Compliance and Enforcement.
#4 Compliance and Enforcement
A solid compliance and enforcement framework is essential to the success of your business travel policy. Without strict adherence, even the best-written policies are useless. The question then becomes how to guarantee effective enforcement and adherence. Let’s jump right in:
- Clear Communication: First, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page by communicating your company’s travel policy frequently and in detail. Workers need to be aware of the importance of the rules. They can become more familiar with the rules through regular workshops, emails, or trainings.
- Easy Accessibility: They should be able to refer to it whenever required. Make sure your company’s travel policy can be found easily by all employees; posting it on the intranet is a good idea. They should have easy access to it for reference purposes.
- Encourage Compliance: Encourage compliance by simplifying the process of adhering to the rules. One easy way to accomplish this is to work with a travel management firm that can arrange for the services your business requires.
- Penalties for Non-Compliance: While positive reinforcement is important, so are strict repercussions for disobedience. However, these tools to be used fairly and responsibly.
- Regular Audits: As a travel manager, you have to perform periodic audits to check that employees are following company’s travel policy. Any parts of the policy that could use an update or revision will be uncovered by these audits as well.
Remember, while creating your corporate travel policy, the policy is only as good as its enforcement. Hence, compliance and enforcement should go hand in hand with the creation of the policy.
After discussing a little in detail about compliance and enforcement, you need to know the significance of reviewing and upating your company’s travel policy on a regular basis.
#5 Regular Reviews and Updates
Creating a corporate travel policy is an ongoing process. Maintaining its efficacy and relevance requires constant evaluation and modification. But why is this so crucial, and what steps should you take? What is the answer?
- Stay Updated with Industry Trends: The travel industry is ever-changing, so it’s important to keep up with the latest developments. The recent globabl pandemic, for instance, has resulted in changes like a heightened awareness of the importance of safety and hygiene. Your company’s travel policy must be regularly revised to reflext these shifts.
- Feedback from Employees: Your company’s travel policy would benefit greatly from hearing from your own employees. Employees can help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your current policy by providing input during regular feedback sessions.
- Identifying Cost-Saving Opportunities: Regular reviews can help figure out where costs can be cut without hurting the quality of travel. This could be done by changing the preferred vendors, changing the allowances, or going over the rules for each travel class again.
- Compliance with Tax Laws: In India, tax laws such as those related to GST and TDS are subject to change. Maintaining policy compliance with these regulations through regular updates can help you avoid legal trouble.
- Leveraging Technology: As new technologies and tools come out, adding them to your policy can help streamline processes and improve the business travel experience for your employees.
Remember, you are not creating the corporate travel policy while writing the rules on the stone. It’s a dynamic document that should evolve as your business and the world around you change.
It can seem hard to make a business travel policy that strikes the right balance between cost-effectiveness, employee comfort, compliance, and flexibility. But if you know what to do and how to do it, you can make it much easier and more effective.
Remember that your company’s travel policy shouldn’t be a set of rules that never change. Instead, it should be a dynamic document that changes with time, industry trends, and the needs of your company. Regular reviews and updates, a robust compliance and enforcement framework, the integration of technology, and a clear understanding of your company’s travel needs and culture are the keys to crafting a policy that works.
The goal is to make a policy that makes business travel easy and stress-free. This will help your employees be more productive. After all, a well-rested employee who doesn’t have to stress over travel arrangements can focus better on the task at hand.
We hope that this blog post has given you a full picture of what it takes to create a good corporate travel policy. Stay tuned for more information about the world of managing business trips. Happy traveling and policy-making!
Start your journey with TaxiVaxi with Policy Mapping, and a perfect combination of the both world the offline readiness with our dedicated relationship manager and online robust system of our travel managment web portal.