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:
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%: