Travel Policy: Your First Step to Reducing Controllable Expenses

 

Most corporations have long recognised that business travel is one of the company’s largest controllable expenses. Instituting a travel policy for your business will allow you to clearly define what is, and what is not an acceptable travel expense. A written policy serves as a validation for your decision to accept or deny payment of a given expense in case of a dispute. Such policy will also make it easier to monitor your overall travel expenses, review, and take steps to maximise savings.

If you have not started on one, take your first step:

 

Travel-Policy

 

1. Setting up the Objective & Team 
By who and for who? Is the objective of the policy to reduce cost travel cost or to improve productivity? Identify the frequent travellers in the team who will be affected and get them involved in the policy-making. Getting the department heads involved will also help aid compliancy. Decide if you’ll have a travel manager in charge of bookings and reimbursement, or outsource it to a travel management agency.

2. Get the Best Deals
You can reduce and control travel costs by leveraging volume to obtain supplier discounts. Collate data from past business trips, make a list of countries your firm frequently visit, and for how many times a year. Such information can you help negotiate with airlines and hotels for volume deals. If the travellers are only required to visit 2-3 countries on a frequent basis, commit to one airline and specific accommodation partners for loyalty packages.

Do employees need to make international calls at home or do they need data connection when travelling? Roaming calls & data can amount to high bills when not controlled, read our previous article to find out how to reduce employee roaming bills.

3. Define Policy

To implement a successful policy, it is important to have a set of clear and sound guidelines which employees can easily understand and follow. Take into consideration these variables:

  • Reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses
    Besides airfare, accommodation & telecom bill, consider if meals, taxis, entertainment fees, mini-bars in hotel should be included
  • Booking process
    Should employee do they own booking with respective vendors or go through a central system
  • Approval process
    Do employee travel anytime they think it’s necessary, or do they have to seek approval
  • Reimbursement process
    What documents are required for claims? Some companies accept receipts & some accepts credit card statements.

4. Educate & Communicate
For your very first policy, keep it short and simple. A restrictive first policy will make it difficult for travellers to adopt. Instead, use helpful links and videos to help them kickstart. Make details accessible online and ensure that all business travellers receive clear instructions and training, not only on the policy, but also booking processes and tools.

 

Controlling travel expense is not as difficult as you think.
Start by reducing your telecommunication bill by 90%:

interfone roaming
Find out how Interfone can help

How to be a better Networker during Business Travel


You just flew a 500 miles for a short business meeting. How do you make sure you make full use of the time here and make business travel more than getting from point A to point B? Here are 5 tips you should try on your next business trip, to increase your network and maximise productivity:



networking on flight
(image source Virgin Atlantic) 


Make new friends, new connections
Travelling alone on a long distance flight? A study by Virgin Atlantic shows that 1 in 5 has done business with someone they met on a flight. Instead of immersing yourself in in-flight entertainment, why not open up to conversations, make new friends with the traveller next to you? If the traveller happens to be a local, you will gain a wealth of valuable tips.

Connect with existing Linkedin Contacts
Have a Linkedin connection in your travel destination whom you have not met in person or have not met in a long time? Strengthen the online connection with actual face time – contact them before your trip to arrange a coffee session near your meeting or hotel location.

Meet Like-minded individuals
Before arriving in the city, research on the available conferences, exhibitions or seminars where you can meet like-minded individuals in your industry.

Activities within the hotel
Holed up in a hotel room, ordering room service and watching movies? Check with your hotel for any activities for guests – some hotels organise social nights right at the hotel’s bar or restaurant. It’s a great time to meet new people in a relaxed setting. Otherwise, hit the gym!

Get in touch with the Locals­
With low cost of local calls when roaming, you can easily contact friends and colleagues who are living in the city. Smoothly ask them for recommendation of dining venue, and turn it into a lunch or dinner meeting!

By approaching business travel like a networking game, you can gain valuable network of connection all over the world, while maximising the value of each trip. Try it on your next trip!

Find out how you can stay connected at a low cost, even when travelling