If you manage a corporate travel program, you may be wrestling with ways to make travel more efficient and cost-effective for your employees. After all, you know T&E expenses can be one of your most controllable expenses -- if you could just get them under control.
Besides inefficiencies, there are safety concerns to consider. It’s a good idea to ask when your travel policy was last updated. Many companies have travel policies that no one has taken a hard look at in 10 years … or more. In some cases, employees aren’t even aware they exist and your travel program is more or less a hodge-podge of tradition.
Your company (and your employees) deserve better. With improved efficiencies you can save thousands of dollars per year and improve your employee’s safety around the world.
Here are 5 Common Mistakes Made in Travel Policies
1. Outdated Technology
With Uber, AirBnB, virtual payments and online booking systems that can be customized to your preferred suppliers and policies, today’s technology can help your employees be more efficient, more productive and safer while on the road.
Up-to-date travel management software can help your employees log expenses in real-time so they never have to worry about reconciling expense reports again. This speeds reimbursement time which makes your employees happier. It can also build in expense thresholds and incorporate preferred suppliers, which allows for greater control over expenses.
2. Lack of Clarity
Some travel policies simply aren’t clear. It’s tough for travelers to adhere to a policy when they’re not sure procedures are in place for how and when to book, get authorizations, spending limits, how to handle unused and nonrefundable tickets, what systems are in place for non-staff travel, etc. With an updated travel policy, not only can you ensure procedures are clear but you can also automate a lot of the booking, payment and reimbursement processes.
When travelers routinely book last minute and then change plans again, when they don’t use the preferred suppliers, and when there’s no clear policy hotel and car rental expectations, there is lot of waste. A clear travel policy reduces subjectivity including acceptable thresholds for booking airfare, hotel and car rentals. It uses tools to analyze the best method of payment and negotiates for the best rates.
4. Lack of Protection
Travel is fraught with the unknown. In today’s world, it’s not just missed connections and inclement weather but the prospect of terrorism that corporate travel managers need to address. What policies are in place to keep your employees safe?
According to Concur, an online booking tool for businesses, only 12% of corporate travel policies cover security protocol.
What about yours? Do your travelers know who and where to call if there’s a crisis? Do you know how to reach your employees case of emergency? It’s simply good business sense to address these issues before they become an issue.
5. Loss of Productivity
When your employees spend time booking their own travel, they aren’t doing the jobs they were hired to do. When they’re instructed to book the lowest fare airline seat -- no matter what -- they may be losing precious hours of productivity due to lack of Wi-Fi access or connecting flights. When they book trips on personal credit cards and pay out of pocket, there’s time wasted in reconciling expense reports and waiting on reimbursements.
Everything from how employees book trips to where they stay and how they’re paid for affects your bottom line. On the surface, it might make sense to continue business as usual, but in reality, overhauling your travel policy redesign and getting input from a TMC can save you thousands in better control, negotiating and efficiency.
Where do you feel the gaps are in your travel policy? Share your story in the comments below and download the Managed Travel Needs Assessment Checklist and see how you can close them.