One of our members recently shared with us that she almost missed a golden opportunity to take members of her team to an important trade show because she did not have a documented Corporate Travel Policy. Everyone on her team was excited about the opportunity and started to make hotel, airline and car reservations. As you can imagine, there was a lot of discussion on why one person’s ticket and hotel was one price and that of another person a different price. The problem she faced is very common and fortunately very easy to remedy. If you don’t have a Business Travel Policy because you and your team don’t travel for business, I invite you to consider writing one because the time to create a policy is when you don’t yet need one and can take time to research, get input and especially to get buy in.
If you still need convincing, consider the following:
- Travel policies ensure standardization and fairness
- Travel policies provide guidelines so there are no misunderstandings
- Travel policies can help your bottom line in several ways:
- You can take advantage of group rates and discounts
- Less wasted time trying to get approvals
- Travel incentives will lead to more satisfied and loyal employees and less turnover.
Here are some basic things that your corporate travel policy should include:
Information about safety and security:
- All employee itineraries should be shared with immediate supervisors
- All employees should have up to date emergency contact information on file
- Information and clear guidelines about alcohol and substance abuse
- Cyber security considerations– for example there should be a policy against the acceptance and use of USB/flash drives into company computers
- Help employees understand basic safety precautions in parking lots, hotels and locations they are not familiar with
Information about reimbursements:
- List of the acceptable reimbursements
- List of items that will not be reimbursed
- Procedures regarding reimbursements: original receipts? Credit card receipts?
- Will you provide cash advances for travel?
- Company credit cards: use? Limits?
- Timeframe for reimbursement request and payment
- Expense limits
Gifts and favors
- Take care to have a very clear policy on gifts and favors
- Set a limit and language on what belongs to the employee and what belongs to the company
- It is important to outline the policy regarding travel rewards. Will you let the employees keep reward points so they can accumulate points for family vacations?
- How much down time will employees get before and after meetings?
A company Travel Policy can be very general or detailed, depending on your company and the amount of travel that is expected of employees.
Once you establish the policy it is important to get confirmation that the policy has been read and understood. Keep in mind that regular updates need to be made and communicated. The good news is that there is lots of very reliable free information/guides and templates available. I’ve gathered a number of resources on this Pinterest Board.
As a business development advocate and strategist, I urge you to consider establishing a Business Travel Policy if you don’t have one. If nothing else, it will say to current and future employees that your company is forward thinking and prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they appear.
Over to you: Does your company have a corporate travel policy? What do you like best about it?