Are you developing your corporate travel policy for the first time? Or does your current policy need a revamp? If so, check out some corporate travel policy best practices from Telios Travel. We can help ensure your policy is up to date and covers all the bases.
What Is A Corporate Travel Policy
A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines companies create to outline how their employees should book, approve and expense business travel. The finance and travel managers usually make this policy. It can include whether or not employees are allowed to fly business class, how far in advance trips should be booked, or what precautions should be taken when traveling alone. Having a travel policy can help keep business travel organized and efficient.
What Your Travel Policy Should Cover
Your travel policy should cover four main categories: expenses, non-refundable costs, reimbursement process, and safety protocol. Let’s take a closer look at each of these key policy areas.
1. Corporate Travel Expenses
List and enforce elections of preferred airlines, rental car companies, and hotel chains. Doing so can help employees make cost-effective choices that align with your company’s preferences. It also can save your business money and complete tracking and managing travel expenses easier. In addition, specifying preferred vendors can help streamline the booking process for employees, making it more efficient and less stressful.
One good practice is to list which expenses employees will be reimbursed for during their travels. This way, everyone knows what the company is willing and able to cover. Of course, there may be some restrictions on certain expenses – but overall, this will help ensure that your travel policy is in line with best practices.
2. Non-refundable reimbursement items
It’s essential to specify items that are not reimbursable in the policy. This could include childcare, seat upgrades, parking tickets, and hotel staff tips. By listing these items separately, you’ll remind employees of what can’t be refunded – and help them avoid costly mistakes.
3. Reimbursement Process
Incorporate a reimbursement process in your travel policy. This way, travelers will have a go-to resource for all things related to expenses. Be sure to include information on who the final approver is for expenses and the preferred payment method (travel advances, personal debit, or credit cards?). By laying everything out in an easily accessible place, you can make the reimbursement process much smoother for everyone involved.
4. Safety Information
While some countries need a more specific overview of safety policies, you should have general tips included with the corporate travel policy. Submitting itineraries, requiring travel insurance, and asking for contact information can all be part of company best practices.
Asking For Employee Feedback
After writing your initial corporate travel policy, asking employees to review it and provide feedback can help the company develop it further. Employees can help to identify missed areas in the initial policy and provide constructive criticism, helping the company develop a more comprehensive and effective travel policy.
How Do I Enforce a Travel and Expense Policy?
A travel and expense policy is only effective if people follow it. So how do you ensure your employees’ expense reports comply with company policy? Here are a few tips:
1. Communicate the policy clearly
Ensure employees know the travel and expense policy before they incur any expenses. Communicate what is and is not allowed under the policy. Consider sending out a reminder periodically, especially if there have been any changes to the policy.
2. Review expenses regularly
Don’t wait until an employee’s expense report is due to start looking at it. Review expenses regularly, preferably as they are incurred. This will help to catch any discrepancies early on and prevent them from becoming more significant issues later.
3. Have a system in place for reporting expenses
Ensure employees know how to report expenses and adequately understand the required documents. A sound expense reporting system should be easy to use and allow digital receipts.
4. Enforce the policy consistently
If employees violate the travel and expense policy, ensure they are dealt with consistently. This could mean anything from a warning to termination, depending on the severity of the infraction. Enforcing the policy will help to ensure that employees take it seriously and think twice before violating it again.
Reviewing Your Travel Policy In Action
Regularly review and monitor your company’s travel policy to ensure its efficacy. A travel policy that’s not being adhered to or is consistently met with complaints isn’t doing its job. Talk to employees who book travel regularly and those who have filed for reimbursement recently to get feedback on how your corporate travel policy is faring. Find out if they’re having any trouble following the policy and what issues they’re running into. This feedback will be invaluable in ensuring your policy is working as intended.
Use a Travel and Expense Software
Travel and expense softwares like SAP Concur can help you save time and money. The software can automate the booking process, so you don’t have to waste time researching hotels and flights. And it can help you keep track of your expenses, so you don’t have to worry about losing receipts or going over budget.
If you’re looking for a way to make travel and expense management more straightforward, consider using a software solution. It could be just what you need to make your life (and your job) easier.
If your company frequently requires travel from employees, Telios Travel can provide additional advice, guidance, and services that may be beneficial. Requesting a demo today will allow you to learn more about what we can offer!