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.
Analyze 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.
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)
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.