You may think that you actually don’t need to know how to write a corporate travel policy. Nowadays most employees book flights with low-budget airlines and irresponsible spending may not be an issue for your corporation. However, a good travel guide is not only the aspects of purchases from a corporate card or the cost of air tickets and accommodation.
A company’s policy for travelers is about more than obvious restrictions on corporate spending. It is a way to empower inner and international travels, connect employees with each other and their customers, and deal with actual travel costs.
Due to the pandemic situation, nowadays businesses need to have a travel policy more than they ever did before to protect workers and track expenses. Whether you are creating a policy from scratch or updating it to suit the current standards, there are a few topics that should be addressed in your guidelines.
- What is Corporate Travel Policy?
- What Should be Included in a Corporate Travel Policy?
- How to Build a Travel Policy for Employees?
- What you Must Mention in a Travel Policy?
What is Corporate Travel Policy?
Corporate travel policy for employees is essential in order to define how workers have to approve, book, and pay for travel for business purposes. As a rule, such policies are created by a financial manager or a person responsible for the travels in the company. Managers usually dictate things like whether an employee can fly business class, how many weeks or business days travel should be booked in advance, or whether there are certain precautions that employees must follow.
A complex travel policy usually applies both to international and inner travels and has information about the booking process and its permissible cost, the approval process for trips, travel insurance, and a lot more.
Obviously, corporate travel policy is not only about the time of booking and the associated costs. It also oversees all of your travels and influences employees in many other company departments.
What Should be Included in a Corporate Travel Policy?
In every company, travel policies can be drastically different, as they are influenced by who travels, where, and how. However, some points are fundamental and should be included in the policy of any company.
When drawing up the company’s travel rules, it is essential to clearly and understandably describe the booking process. Perhaps you would like employees to book all travel and flights on the same platform. Point it out. Would it be more convenient for you if employees send a trip request to an office manager who would book trips himself? Indicate this in your policy.
One of the essential things is a clear scope of expenses that fall into the category of business expenses. While traveling, the employee needs to eat something and possibly move around the city where a conference or business meeting is taking place. These are all business expenses that the company is obliged to reimburse. However, if an employee wants to buy a souvenir or update their wardrobe, all this will be considered a personal expense. Business expenses such as entertainment spendings, business meals, or event registration fees should be clearly stated in your policy.
How to Build a Travel Policy for Employees?
The most valuable resource of any company is its employees. Therefore, their needs should always be put first when drawing up a travel policy. To avoid stressful situations, provide as many details as possible about important information such as reimbursements and safety. Describe the procedure for reimbursement of expenses and compensation.
Also, with a pandemic situation, it is important not to forget about travel insurance and unforeseen circumstances. Don’t expect employees to remember how much the maximum permissible cost of a hotel room is in different cities around the world. Make sure to clearly state this in the policy. Your booking tool should include built-in rate and route budgeting policies and approval processes. It would also be great if the outside of the policy requests are sent to the appropriate manager.
What you Must Mention in a Travel Policy?
At this point, we would like to go over the points of the travel policy, which are mandatory and necessary for every company. You can additionally add your own rules to these items. Fasten your seat belts and let’s go!
Cost categories tend to make up a large and fundamental part of your policy. Describe all the points that the company will cover, including any recommendations and restrictions for each category of travel.
Indicate the airlines, hotel chains, rental car suppliers that you work with and whose services an employee of your company should use. Describe your booking requirements: you may want your tickets to be booked a month in advance. Divide expenses into those for which the employee can use the company card, and personal expenses.
Reporting and Reimbursement Process
There are companies that prefer to write about spending reports for each expense category in the travel policies, while other companies create a separate section outlining the expense reporting process. Nowadays, most companies are changing the outdated methods to expense reporting and are completely switching to digital expense trackers and payouts. If your firm already uses a specific application for tracking expenses, you can prescribe the rules and requirements for using this software in the company’s travel policy as well.
The choice of a tracking expense app must be taken very seriously. These days the market is replete with various applications, and one of them is Expense Sensei. The app is a great solution for business travels, as it allows to submit expenses right on the go. Workers are able to load their coffee receipts without interrupting a business meeting or scan a hotel transfer bill while taking the elevator to a hotel room. Moreover, Expense Sensei has a wide range of expense categories, so you’ll know the exact amount the team is spending on a specific cause.
Regardless of the destination of travel and time spent, protecting the safety of employees has to be an important goal of any company’s business travel policy. It is important to describe all travel safety procedures in your policies to help you fulfill your company’s duty.
Ask employees for the phone number of the hotel they will be staying at, as well as a mobile phone number so that they can be contacted in the event of an emergency. Require them to leave their routes, including flight, train or car times, check-in and check-out times, and meeting times. Ask them to notify their supervisors of arrival times via work email, even outside of business hours.
You will find no corporate travel policy for any case and any company. Each policy is individual and is based on your business’ culture. The rules should fit the expectations of both employees and stakeholders. Make your policy flexible around the requirements of your employees, industry, and economy. Your principles and guidelines will help your traveling employees make decisions about your corporate travel policy and reduce the number of stressful situations.