A sensible and effective travel compliance policy can save a travel business a lot of time, money, and problems. While sometimes undervalued, a strong travel compliance policy is a key area in which the right cord needs to be struck in order to balance the needs of both the business and the employee. Not investing enough time into getting it right can be costly.
Below is a list of factors that have all been identified within the travel industry as markers of a strong travel compliance policy.
Clearly defined boundaries
One of the most important steps is clear communication between employer and employee regarding boundaries. Documentation outlining spending limits, reporting procedures, approval timing and any other requirements of travel should be clearly available to employees. It should be part of any induction for new employees, and staff should be told immediately when updates are made.
If a company has preferred channels with which they do business, it is a good idea to properly educate travellers on what is expected of them when it comes to booking through preferred suppliers. This way a business will have a greater chance of converting negotiated discounts and preferred supplier pricing into actual savings. In order to be most effective, supplier preferences need to be clearly articulated and reiterated on a regular basis to employees.
Clear and simple instructions
If a company’s travel policy is long and difficult to understand, it becomes difficult to ensure employees understand it. A good travel compliance policy should take no more than a few clearly articulated pages of rules and regulations to cover what’s required when travelling for business.
Using technology, the right way
Technology, when used the right way, can make life easier for all of us. Modern online booking tools provide the perfect environment for companies to control the travel booking process. It ensures travel partners are used, approval processes are followed, expenses are recorded and accounted for, and reports are generated. Staff training provides great opportunities to make certain these tool are used correctly.
Expense recording and reimbursement
Disorganised financial issues between employer and employee is never a good thing. Current online tools now have the capacity to document expenses easily (e.g., using a smartphone camera to take photos of receipts). Employees need to know what expenses will and won’t be covered, and understand that expenses may take time to be reimbursed. However, to avoid tensions and conflict, it’s a good idea to clearly define how long it will take.
There are clear benefits to creating and enforcing an easily understood travel compliance policy. Cost savings and efficient use of time are the obvious advantages to the company, however it also makes life easier to the employee as well. Reducing their workload, and providing the freedom to make personal decisions about their travel arrangements are all bog positives in the eyes of the employee.