What Is a Travel Policy and Why It’s Important to Have One
By: Kjersten Anderson Date: March 3rd, 2022
Over the last couple of years, change has become the constant for the business travel industry with shutdowns and restrictions, through the various phases of the pandemic.
According to BTN, 56% of the corporate travel professionals surveyed said they have altered their travel policies since 2020. Providing agile travel policies and working to meet the needs of your travelers and company is more critical than ever.
If you haven’t updated your travel policy in a while or your business doesn’t have a travel policy yet, now is an opportune time to start thinking about it.
In this article, we describe what a travel policy is and why it’s important to have one.
What Is a Travel Policy?
A travel policy is a company’s set of rules for business travel. It includes procedures and parameters that detail how employees can book, approve and expense travel when visiting clients, prospects, colleagues, and conferences.
Travel policies are simply a way to organize travel so that business trips are efficient, cost-effective, safe, and worthwhile for both the traveler and company. The ultimate goal of corporate travel policies is to keep employees productive and safe while maximizing the value of each business trip.
Each company’s policy should reflect and meet the specific needs of your unique business and industry. However, there are a handful of essential pieces to have in your travel policy. A few components to include are booking procedures, preferred suppliers, cancellations and adjustments for delays, expenses and reimbursements, rules for bleisure travel, and reservation details for air, rail, hotel, and car rentals.
Now that you know the “what,” let’s get to the “why” behind creating a travel policy.
Why Is It Important to Have One?
Travel policies are more important than most people think because of their ripple effect. Travel policies impact numerous aspects of business, including budgets, traveler safety, company culture, business growth, supplier partnerships, building client relationships, and much more.
Below we list the reasons and benefits of having a travel policy for both your travelers and your company.
Benefits of a Travel Policy for the Traveler
- More autonomy. Having the flexibility to book travel how they like, within the policy options and parameters.
- Added safety. Comfort in knowing the company prioritizes their well-being, and they understand what to do and who to contact in different emergencies.
- Increased satisfaction. Reducing the confusion and mishaps with booking, expenses, and what they can and can’t do improves travelers’ experiences overall. Also, when updated policies reflect employee feedback, travelers feel more supported and heard.
Benefits of a Travel Policy for the Company
- Improved security and due diligence. Policies help minimize potential risk and ensure the safety of your travelers when you use preferred suppliers and know the details of employees’ trips.
- Reduced costs. With a travel policy, you can increase savings with corporate discounts, provide per diem spending guidelines, and set rules for expenses and reimbursement. You can also avoid the sporadic spikes in spending that can happen with unmanaged travel programs. Travel policies allow your travel managers and finance leaders to gain more insight and visibility on spending. This helps them identify more ways to optimize savings.
- Increased productivity. With clear procedures and guidelines, your travelers and team will have less back and forth about trip approvals, expenses, and other miscellaneous aspects such as bleisure and company gifts. Also, when travelers know the steps to take for approvals, booking, and post-trip expenses and reimbursements, they waste less time.
- Enhanced sustainability. Travel policies allow you to get closer to achieving your green goals and reducing your carbon footprint. Limiting the number of travelers per month or year, encouraging public transit, requiring direct flights when possible, and asking travelers to use hybrid or electric cars can help you cut back on your environmental impact.
- Boosted morale. When you establish a travel policy for your company that everyone has to use, you promote fairness and foster a more positive work environment. Valuing the health and well-being, feedback, and experience of all your travelers will improve your company culture and make your program and business more competitive.
Whether you have a policy or need to create one and no matter your company size or your travel frequency, you can reap these travel policy benefits.
If you have one already, reviewing your travel policy allows you to verify that you’re accounting for current travel prices and demands and adjusting the policy to fit the needs and preferences of your stakeholders. If you have yet to create a travel policy, you can start saving unnecessary costs and reducing the safety risks that come with unmanaged travel.
Get Started on Your Travel Policy Today
Travel policies are important to the success of any business’ travel program. They aren’t just a long list of rules and shouldn’t cause more frustration and confusion than not having a policy at all. Well-written travel policies guide and support travelers through the journey while keeping the business interests and bottom line in mind.
FerskTech is a Business Travel SaaS company on a mission to reinvent travel program technology. FerskTech is developing a revolutionary comprehensive platform that streamlines the sourcing process and empowers travel managers and suppliers with multi-supplier sourcing and real-time data analysis for enhanced program oversight, decision-making, and program savings.