An effective travel policy is understood and practised by everyone and balances consideration of your travellers with keeping to your company’s financial and time constraints.
However, a recent survey indicated that “68% of business travellers book more than half of their travel outside of company approved tools.” Often the reason for this can be that the traveller feels too constrained by the policy and seeks to find alternative options independently.
Why is that so bad? Travellers booking away from preferred platforms and out of policy can result in loss of company hotel membership points and air miles, more expensive trips being purchased and avoidance of proper approval flows. Not to mention escalating tension between travellers and travelling itself.
So what can you do to ensure harmony between your travellers and your travel policy? Well, at Gray Dawes Travel we’re always happy to help and have listed our top 8 tips to drive travel policy compliance.
GET FEEDBACK FROM YOUR TRAVELLERS
Find out what’s important to them, after all, if the trip runs smooth and stress-free, they are more likely to perform better away from the office.
Why not run regular surveys or focus groups to gauge your travellers’ feelings on business trips and identify areas to improve. By encouraging more open communications around business travel, you can make your travellers feel valued whilst helping to create a fair, workable travel policy.
FACTOR IN YOUR TRAVELLER’S WELLBEING
Frequent travellers are away from home a lot which means they’re away from their families and normal routines. Think about what you as a company can do to help retain their work life balance whilst working away.
Whether its picking a hotel with a gym and wider breakfast selection to keep them in their usual routine, or buying hotel wifi add-on so they can keep in touch with friends and family back home more easily.
Your travellers are likely to feel more tired while working away. Consider booking a direct flight to limit the impact of longer hours and jetlag while working away. Pre-booking taxis can also eliminate stress on a trip abroad and selecting a hotel closer to their destination can give them time to relax and prepare properly.
Your traveller will be grateful to the company for considering their wellbeing and is more likely to perform better if they are well rested and well connected.
KEEP AN UP TO DATE POLICY
Can your traveller spend higher if they are in a management role or if the trip is rechargeable?
Having an up to date policy, not only reflects how your travellers can travel, but helps ensure your company considers social issues. For example, does your policy acknowledge lone female traveller safety, LGBTQ+ issues or have measures in place for disabled travellers? You can work with your TMC, to optimise your policy around these issues.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ONLINE TOOL INTEGRATION AND THE LATEST API TECHNOLOGIES
How regularly do you update your traveller’s profile if their job changes which impacts how they travel, (for instance getting a promotion, meaning they can now travel first class on the train)? Do you also update your travel policy when travellers start and leave the business? With API integration to HR software, this can be done for you to save your experts time on travel related admin.
Many modern TMC’s have powerful Online Booking Tools, with the ability to save you time and money when it comes to travel. Our platform, YourTrip, has the ability to capture invoicing codes as you book trips to ensure a smoother process when allocating costs and invoicing. What’s more, expense integration can alleviate a traveller’s need to keep track of food bills and messy paper receipts.
MAKE USE OF TMC ROAD SHOWS AND TRAINING
A good Travel Management Company (TMC) will go out of their way to make sure your travellers and travel bookers are fully up to speed on their Online Booking Tool’s capability. The more your staff understand the new system, the more likely they are to use it properly. TMCs will often hold road shows at multiple offices to help familiarise your travellers with the platform and introduce you to your Travel Consultants at the other end of the phone.
Request regular updates from your TMC to ensure that all your travel bookers are fully up to date on the most efficient use of your booking system.
MAKE FULL USE OF YOUR DATA
Reporting on your traveller’s behaviour can lead to changes in your travel policy. For example, if you notice that your travel bookers tend to book a certain chain of hotels more than the others, you can ask you Travel Management Company to enquire about a preferred rate on your behalf. Your travellers will be happier and so will your travel budget.
INCLUDE GAMIFICATION IN YOUR TRAVEL PROGRAMME
Recent travel trends suggest more benefit in rewarding positive traveller behaviour than punishing those who book out of policy.
Offering incentives to book cheaper trips such as allowing travel bookers to accrue bonuses by selecting in policy trips is one way in implement gamification within your travel policy. You can get creative with these rewards, such as an upgrade in their travel, a voucher, or even a family pass to Alton Towers! – Whatever you choose, studies show that gamification can ultimately reduce leakage and organically enhance compliance with the managed travel program, resulting in both happier, motivated travellers and lower overall travel spend.
CONSIDER BLEISURE TRIPS
If travellers find that their work takes them to exciting destinations, many like to add on a few days holiday to extent their business trip for leisure – or Bleisure. A recent survey by Buying Business Travel reported that 78% of travellers attributed bleisure to improving their personal wellbeing when they returned from work, while an additional 61% commented that they were more productive following bleisure trips.
We tasked Gray Dawes Consulting to look at the impact COVID-19 has had on our client booking behaviour. They discovered the pertinent trends in booking patterns, comparing pre and post pandemic periods, and have provided recommendations that can help shape your travel programme, particularly as 70% of businesses have now restarted booking travel.
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