Corporate travel policy compliance can be a scary term but the fact is these rules are in place to actually help employees and the business together. The policies are designed to educate employees on how to be properly in tune with travel guidelines so the company can actually save money, improve employee happiness, and also increase employee safety as they travel. However, as is often the case with many corporate policies, travel policy compliance is often not well understood, ignored, or many times employees are simply not aware that these policies are mandatory.
But with corporate travel costing millions of dollars every year, it is important that the policies are followed so maximum savings, employee protection, and business management can be ensured.
Before we can understand how to improve compliance, it is important to understand why employees may not be compliant. One of the first and most likely reasons is that employees simply do not know that there are corporate travel policies. It may have been referred to them once or twice but because they have never used it themselves, it is easy to forget that they exist at all. It may not even have been well laid out to the employee who was going on a trip. This type of failure is really a failure of communication; this is not necessarily the fault of the employee but is something that can be addressed by the business.
Employees who travel on behalf of the company need to know that there is a corporate travel policy and learn how to be in compliance with it to ensure the company’s guidelines are being followed. It is very important that employees follow any mandated corporate travel policies because these policies are also designed to ensure the safety of the employee as well as managing the costs surrounding the trip. The business has already determined what costs will be incurred by following the stipulations of their policy. Because the cost is understood it can be accounted for more accurately and therefore is easier to report to stakeholders and shareholders.
For employees who know that there is a policy, they may not be aware that it is mandatory. Or, in some cases, whether in fact, it is even mandatory. If this is the case, your business must make it clear to employees if they are required to follow the policies or if they are more flexible.
Even if employees are aware that such a policy is mandatory, many employees will instead choose to ignore it partly because they feel they may be able to get a better deal on travel arrangements, lodging, or other accommodations. This might be true but unless the corporate travel policies allow for this kind of flexibility, it is not the responsibility of the employee to decide what rules he will or will not follow. Also, many employees simply do not know the agreements and the cost-saving arrangements that the business already has with local ground transportation companies, hotels, or dining facilities. Thus, an employee might indeed find a cheaper room but not be aware that the previous room they had also come with ground transportation or room service which the new cheaper room does not.
Another great way to help improve performance in complying with corporate travel policy is to also let employees know that if they violate these policies they may not be able to be reimbursed for any expenses incurred. Employees may accidentally incur unnecessary risks or costs by using unsanctioned rooms or ground travel. Theft and fraud can also be rampant in ground transportation companies, facilities, or accommodations which have not been sanctioned by the corporate business.
One great way to help ensure compliance in corporate travel is to use a corporate booking tool (if your corporation has one) like TTS Corporate. By using this tool, employees, staff, even CEOs will make sure that they travel in accordance with the policies laid out by their work. Another very popular route is to go through a travel agency or travel agents with whom the corporation has worked before. These agents or agencies will already be made aware of corporate travel policies and as a result, will be able to craft the trip around it.
Travel agents can also not just help reinforce corporate travel guidelines but also help integrate emerging travel trends into new guidelines. Travel agencies and travel agents are experts in their field, apprised of new developments and patterns on travel that can be better for employees and business. One of the big ways to improve corporate travel is also to try and factor in the new sharing economy. In some cases, places like Airbnb, Lyft, or Uber may well be cheaper; however, other things need to be taken into consideration such as cost savings agreements between various hotels and ground transportation services.
While on paper, a price per room for Airbnb may well look cheaper than the price per room for a hotel, after the cost savings previously negotiated are factored in, it may well be cheaper to rent a block of hotel rooms for your employees than it would be to rent the same amount of rooms from Airbnb. Some hotels bank on corporate travelers always coming to their locations and are willing to give discounts based on knowing that they will have full occupancy during a given season.
With this in mind though, businesses should take action to begin to integrate the shared economy concepts and ideas into their corporate business travel policies. This way, corporate travel using the shared economy can be managed, priced, and evaluated for potential cost savings for the businesses involved. As long as they are well researched and managed correctly, travel plans for businesses can reap huge benefits from ride sharing services or accommodations like Airbnb.
As advances in technology grow, business in the travel world will advance as well. Companies can work with travel agents and policy makers to include these new developments into their corporate travel policies and through the process improve employee satisfaction, waste less corporate time, ensure safer travel in the new shared economy for employees, and save millions in corporate travel expenses.
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