Travel Expense Policy for Small Businesses: Guidelines for Smooth Implementation

Travel and Expense Policy Guidelines by GTI TravelCorporate travel can be a complex and expensive process, sometimes even more so for small businesses. Companies that have small business travel programs in place can avoid costly misunderstandings, save money and increase employee satisfaction when guidelines for travel are clearly outlined in writing. So what is the most effective way to develop and implement a travel expense policy for your small business? These simple guidelines can help you make a smooth transition and allow you to avoid some of the pitfalls that may arise during the implementation process.

Assess Your Current Policies and Procedures

Even if you already have travel policies in place, if they are not properly enforced they are probably not doing your company much good. If your employees travel for business, your company needs a travel policy that is clear and concise with simple procedures that are easy for them to understand and follow.

The task of building, improving and implementing a corporate travel policy can be complex and daunting. Seeking assistance from a corporate travel company that is well-versed in developing custom-designed travel policies for small businesses can give you new perspectives and ideas on what will work best for your company’s culture, budget and employees. A corporate travel company will assess your current system and your organization’s specific concerns and needs. They will analyze current data and advise you on how to improve or change policy, which can lead significant cost savings, efficiency and reduced stress.

How to Introduce a New Travel Policy to Employees

Although change is inevitable, many people are resistant to it, especially at work. A vital element of implementing a new travel expense policy for small business is how you present it to your employees. Building and carrying out an effective travel expense policy requires a lot of diligence, research, and communication on your part, and getting it right the first time will make it easier for everyone to adjust to adhering to new procedures, policies and guidelines.

Once your written travel expense policy is completed, disseminate it to your employees and give them some time to read it. Presenting the new policy in a positive way that makes the travel and expense process simpler will allow your employees to accept and adhere to changes more easily. If you are using a corporate travel agency to take care of all your company’s travel needs, make sure to let employees know that there are experienced designated agents to assist them with the travel planning and expense report process, which will take some of the weight of business travel off their shoulders.

Asking for feedback and ideas from employees who travel frequently can make them feel more involved in the process and lead to new ideas that may improve your corporate travel expense policies and procedures even more.

Want to learn more about building and implementing an effective travel expense policy for your small business? A corporate travel agency that understands the specific needs and issues small businesses face can provide comprehensive corporate travel management solutions that will save your company money and help make business travel smooth sailing for everyone involved.

Travel Risk Management – What Companies need to Know!

Travel Risk Management - What Companies need to Know!Travel risk management is a proactive, comprehensive approach to protecting your employees and company from travel risks. It’s not just about how effectively your organization responds to a crisis, but how well you can actually prevent a crisis from happening. In today’s ever-changing world, more and more businesses are making corporate traveler safety and security a top priority, and corporate travel management is just one piece of the puzzle in making travel safer, lower-stress and more cost effective.

Traveler Insecurity

Many people who frequently travel for business experience anxiety because of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, but it much is more likely that they will run into snags such as a robbery or car accident when traveling. Corporate travel consultants who are available 24/7 can help ease business travelers’ fears and help them solve these kinds of problems regardless of which time zone they’re in.

Planning ahead

Another way to mitigate the impact of risks associated with corporate travel is to have policies, plans and processes in place. Travel and expense management solutions that provide tools, services and solutions to business travelers before a trip are not only vital to mitigating travel risk; they can also lessen the financial impact when problems do arise.

When it comes to corporate travel risk management, the importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. A corporate travel management company will help your business develop and enforce a comprehensive travel risk management plan that includes guidelines for safe travel practices.

One of the biggest obstacles companies face is their employees’ lack of knowledge about their company’s current procedures. Well-defined guidelines help travelers gain an understanding of their responsibilities and procedures they are required to follow in case of an emergency.

Information about travel warnings, assistance with visas & passports, and plans for making travel changes in case of disaster gives employees a sense of security and peace of mind, which leads to increased productivity while they’re traveling for business. If your company is on the small side, travel management for small business is an invaluable tool that can help you streamline travel services.

Real-Time Information & Global Connections

For many organizations, it can be difficult to rapidly an d accurately determine if their travelers are impacted by unexpected events. Many companies rely on information from news sites or social media for risk alerts, but these sources are often unreliable and inaccurate.

Corporate travel management companies have access to tools and technology that monitor real-time global happenings such as weather events, terrorism, political or health crises, which allows them to inform travelers who may be impacted right away.

Immediate Assistance

If something does happen, the response should be coordinated, seamless and immediate. A business traveler may need medical treatment, security, evacuation services, new accommodations or last-minute transportation, and working with a global travel service company significantly reduces the time it takes to identify and help travelers who need assistance.

Careful planning and coordination within your organization is a must when developing a travel risk management plan. Working with an experienced corporate travel management company that provides these services can make it much easier to effectively respond to and resolve any scenario that may arise.

Guide to Creating and Implementing a Travel Policy for your Small Business

Developing a well-thought-out travel policy for your small business can help you save time, reduce expenses, and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Creating a corporate travel policy may seem daunting, but with some careful planning you can make it simple to administer and easy to use.

Guide to Creating and Implementing Small Business Travel Policy | GTI TravelAnalyze Current Travel Policies and Data

Review the previous and current policy that is already in place. Which policies have worked well in the past? What are some of the pitfalls you have encountered regarding business travel? If possible, collect all financial data to analyze past and current corporate travel costs. You may be surprised to find that with a little tightening of policy, your business can save a lot of money. Consider hiring an experienced travel management consultant who will work with you to develop a travel policy that meets your needs.

Travel Requests

Your travel policy guide should include a detailed description of the procedure they must follow to obtain approval for a trip. Create a form that includes the required information for trip approval that includes:

  • Dates of the trip
  • Purpose of the trip
  • Name of the event (if applicable)
  • Estimated total cost
  • Department to which the trip will be charged (if applicable)

Specify Options

Allowing employees to book their own travel arrangements without approval from a manager or assistance from a corporate travel agency can be costly. Employees may not be concerned with choosing economical travel options. If an employee travels frequently or is responsible for making travel arrangements for others, researching and planning can take up an excessive amount of time and keep that person away from his or her work.

  • If your company allows employees to use frequent flier miles and other rewards, make sure this is included in your travel policy guide.
  • Let your employees know that the company will pay the lowest available rate for travel arrangements. If he or she prefers an itinerary based on different travel times or other factors, make it clear that it will be up to the employee to pay the difference.

Many of these issues can be avoided by using a corporate travel agency to take care of all your company’s travel needs. Experienced designated agents who are available to assist employees 24/7 can help streamline the planning process, decrease stress and cut costs.

Expense Reimbursement Procedures

Set daily limits for employees to cover meals, tips, taxis, parking and other costs. Specify which expenses are covered and require receipts to be reimbursed. Clearly state the procedure for submitting an expense report, including the deadline for submitting requests.

Contacts and Emergencies

Require employees to provide a mobile phone number, contact information for their hotel, and an emergency contact at home so they can be reached in the event of an emergency. With just a click or phone call, a corporate travel agency gives you access to itineraries, flight and hotel details, meeting times and locations, and other pertinent information. If employees are traveling overseas, a corporate travel agent can also provide assistance with travel warnings and contacts for the US embassy in that country.

Create Your Travel Policy Guide

Corporate travel agencies can assist you with drafting your travel policy. They will address your current concerns, review previous policies, collect, consolidate, and analyze data, and make suggestions for improvement.

GTI can help you determine best way to implement a travel tracking system and devise travel policies that benefit both your small business and employees.