An out-of-date travel policy can have many repercussions, from low compliance and traveler morale to serious consequences for your bottom line — which is why your travel management company should be proactively checking your policy several times a year. While they look for new savings opportunities, review supplier contacts and identify areas for improvement, you should be eliciting feedback from stakeholders and travelers to determine what’s working and what’s not.
With so much else going on, why should you make an annual policy review a priority? The simple answer is things change. From employees and clients to technology and the travel industry, nothing stays the same for long. The most effective travel policies are viewed as living documents, written with enough flexibility to adapt to and align with the times.
Not sure the last time your travel policy was reviewed? Here are seven signs your go-to document for all things travel needs an update:
1. You’re losing top talent
A well-written travel policy can attract and help retain valuable employees. And while accommodating a traveler’s preference for first class might not be possible, perhaps allowing them to upgrade to a seat with more leg room (and room to open their laptop) is. Remember, your travel policy is seen as an indication of how much you care about your travelers’ wellbeing, security and satisfaction.
2. They’re going rogue
When employees go outside the company booking system, it can affect volume discounts and shrink your compliance numbers. Perhaps your current travel management company isn’t providing a level of service and support that makes booking fast and efficient. Maybe your employees think they can get a better deal by booking themselves. Ask your travelers why they aren’t complying and address those issues directly.
3. Your travelers are frustrated
Whether it’s a canceled flight or last-minute itinerary change, a medical emergency or a lost passport, your employees should never be left to fend for themselves. Make sure they have the help they need with 24/7 assistance. Depending on where your employees travel, also consider a travel service that provides translations, emergency medical transportation or on-the-ground local assistance.
4. Lack of visibility
If you can no longer say with certainty how much money you spend and save on travel, it’s time for a policy update. With a strong travel policy, you should always be able to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of your program. FYI: Your travel management company should be providing you with regular reports that include the data you need to make smart decisions.
5. You’re losing money
Part of an annual review should include assessing your policy for revenue gaps. Your travel management company should review your preferred supplier contracts, check for incentive program updates and look for new cost-saving opportunities. If your current travel partner isn’t scrutinizing your policy for these things on a regular basis, it’s time to consider other alternatives.
6. Security Scare
Whether recent security incidents have you jittery or you’ve had an emergency that could have been better handled, your Duty of Care policies should be regularly reviewed. According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), 54% of employees on international business trips have no contact number they can use in case of an emergency. Are your contact numbers up to date? Are you providing your employees with safety and security advice based on current conditions? And, what is your protocol for lost, stolen or compromised technology?
7. Wait, what travel policy?
One of the primary reasons employees don’t comply with a travel policy is lack of awareness. At worst, they don’t even know their company has one, but more often it’s something they glanced at once and haven’t looked at since. An annual policy review is an excellent time to educate employees on your policy’s finer points and remind them why compliance matters.