If your employees are travelling for business, having a corporate travel policy in place is crucial to maintain budget control, stay on top of itinerary details and promote a high standard of employee conduct and a professional corporate image.
Each company’s travel policy may vary depending on industry needs, size of the organization, company culture, and reasons for travel. There are however five highly recommended topics for all companies to include in their travel policy compilation, regardless of the industry, size or travel goals.
- The Travel Approval Process
Consider implementing a pre-trip approval process in which employees submit a travel request outlining destination, date of travel, reason for trip and estimated costs. Be sure to state which other details need to be included in the request and to whom such proposals will be submitted and approved. Pre-trip approval can eliminate unnecessary duplicate travel expenses, combine trips to save costs and facilitate effective communication between the travel department, business leaders and members of staff.
- Bookings: The How, What & Who
How: Clearly state in your travel policy how authorized trips should be booked. It can either be through the company’s travel management department, online booking tool or other platform. Booking procedures should be clear from the initiation to actual departure in order to avoid any confusion, double-bookings, no-shows and unnecessary expenses.
Who: Your company may have special agreements with preferred suppliers offering corporate travel loyalty programs. Ensure employees are aware of these preferred suppliers and explain in the travel policy that it is vital to book with these partners as far as possible.
What: Implement rules as to the class of seats or transport booked, when an upgrade may be requested, standard accommodation expenditure limit, and airfare cost-saving measures such as connecting vs. non-stop flights, airlines and departure times.
- Land Transport
In your travel policy include guideline as to the preferred method of transport for employees to get from A to B. If car hire is a standard practice for your company, denote class of vehicle and expenses such as fuel, tolls, parking and insurance which will or will not be covered. Taxi’s, shuttles, buses and subway may often be a cheaper mode of transport, however this may depend on the destination and business activities during the travel period.
- Miscellaneous Expenses
Other than the transport and accommodation, business trips can rack up a host of other expenses including meals, entertainment for guests, gratuities, checked luggage, Wi-Fi, room service, dry-cleaning etc.
Clearly format in your travel policy which of these will and will not be covered by the company, spending limits, as well as how these expenses should be paid for and what paper work and receipts will be required for reimbursement purposes.
Outline deadlines for reimbursement requests and clearly state scenarios in which a traveler will not be reimbursed, such as making out-of-policy choices or needing to re-book a trip due to their own negligence.
In this section you may also want to include a paragraph on employee conduct while traveling on behalf of the company.
5. Safety & Crisis Management
Whether you are a small close-knit business or a multi-national conglomerate, being well prepared for a crisis situation is extremely important. From ensuring that emergency contact details and travel itineraries are confirmed with the travel party, local office and receiving office to outlining a step-by-step procedure for an emergency situation, we suggest an in-depth section on safety and emergency procedures in your travel policy.
Ensuring all staff are familiar with and in agreement with the company travel policy can save a lot of headaches, arguments and of course, money. Put a little effort into compiling your business travel policy and ensure to up-date it regularly. Adherence to this one document can result in a great deal of savings, not only money but time and stress too.
Vacasa South Africa provides self-catering long and short-term corporate, leisure, incentive and small-group accommodation and getaways. We pride ourselves in building long-lasting relationships with our corporate guests ensuring you receive a personalized package according to your company budget and business travel requirements making last-minute bookings stress-free.