man in back seat reviewing business papers. Company culture is the secret to writing an effective travel policy.

Whether your employees jet around the world or drive to the next state, your company needs a travel policy. Why? Travel is one of the top controllable expenses for most companies and a well-written policy has the potential for significant cost savings. Regardless of whether you work with a travel management partner or not, a travel policy will allow you to rest easy knowing your employees are safe while on the road, and that your booking and expense systems are working with the efficiency of a well-tuned machine.

But why consider your company’s culture when drafting this go-to document for all things travel? As no two companies are alike, the best travel policies are hand-tailored to reflect the values, beliefs and behaviors of a company and its employees. Steering away from cookie-cutter solutions means you’ll have more compliance, increased savings and happier employees.

Culture Matters: Five Key Factors to Consider When Developing a Travel Policy

1. It’s All About the Brand

What hotels your employees stay in and what class they fly speaks volumes about your company’s culture, not to mention how much you value your top talent. Are you the fashionable upstart whose employees stay in trendy boutique hotels? Do you win clients by making a show of your frugality? Whatever the answer, your travel policy should reflect the image you want to project. 

2. Buying Time

A travel policy can be an effective tool for empowering productivity. If your people routinely work long hours and go the extra mile, don’t you want to make sure they can be as productive as possible while traveling? If so, consider lounge memberships, in-flight wi-fi subscriptions and allowances for seats with enough legroom to work comfortably while flying. Such expenses may start to look nominal when compared to hours of lost productivity.

Steering away from cookie-cutter solutions means you’ll have more compliance, increased savings and happier employees. 

3. Do the Right Thing
A travel policy should be tailored to fit the needs of your employees, but it can also be a powerful tool for encouraging desired behavior. Are your employees aware of the cost-saving benefits of booking flights ahead of time or travelling mid-week? Implementing a well-considered policy can bring visibility to decisions and empower employees to make savvy choices. 

4. Rule Followers and Rule Breakers
Every company has its own unwritten rules that affect the success of even the most well-written travel policies. Often, these cultural norms trickle down from the top. Are your company leaders setting a positive example for others to follow, or do they have a cavalier attitude toward regulation? Educating senior management about the company-wide benefits of adhering to the policy can go long way toward increasing compliance. Policies should be consistent for salespeople, directors and the C-Suite. 

5. Remember, Things Change

A travel policy is a living document, it should be open to revision and remain flexible. Technology changes, your company’s culture will evolve, your employees’ needs and preferences will shift. Not to mention, cost-saving opportunities within the travel industry are constantly in flux. Your travel management company should reevaluate your policy at least once a year to ensure it is up to date.

Your travel policy should reflect the image you want to project. 

Expert Help is Available 
If a customized policy sounds complicated, remember you don’t have to go it alone. An experienced travel management company will guide you through the maze of industry-specific best practices, help you write an effective duty of care policy, and offer recommendations for management tools and cost-saving programs that suit your needs. In addition to helping draft, monitor and enforce your policy, working with a travel management company can offer many other benefits including cost savings, contract negotiation and risk management solutions. Just imagine how those benefits could impact your company culture!

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