How to Manage Business Travel the Right Way

Over £1 trillion was spent on global business travel in 2017 alone. Yet managing travel can feel like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to keep costs down, and on the other, you want to run a high-quality business travel program. You want employee happiness to remain high while still keeping the operation side favorable for the company.

At times, it can seem like it’s impossible to focus on one area without compromising the other. This is especially true in a modern business travel climate, where key business areas remain competitively priced and rising travel cost impact budget restraints. But with the right tips and execution, you can keep upper management and team members happy.

Create a Travel Policy

A travel policy is a document that establishes the core rules and foundation for business travel. A set-in-stone policy details the guidelines that will be used for all travel endeavors company-wide. Any ambiguity associated with travel is effectively eliminated with a policy. Use it to communicate items that can be expensed and the process for expensing them, rules for on-site spending, and travel security precautions. In the long-run it helps your company save money and create uniformity across your travel program.

Without a travel policy, employees may end up booking less than favorable flights, hotels, and transportation. If you offer company vehicles, you should have a system in place for keeping track of warranties and repairs. You should also look into strong warranty programs. For example, if you offer Toyota company cars, you’d research the best Toyota extended warranty to ensure you’re covered long after the manufacturer warranty expires.

As you build out your policy, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of management’s business goals. When you understand where the company is going and how it plans to scale and align with its growth trajectory (for example, does the business plan to onboard a new batch of employees over the next few months), it creates a better idea of how that policy will be put into action. Every policy should reflect the major business goals of a corporation.

Get Third Party Support

Some businesses have entire in-house teams dedicated to corporate travel management, while others are running a one-man show and juggling several hats at once. No matter where you are, you could benefit from enlisting the services of third party travel management companies that live and breathe business travel. There are several reasons why this may be the better option for you.

For starters, in many cases, it may be cost efficient to outsource your travel needs, rather than fiscally support an entire in-house team. Secondly, travel management companies are well-versed in business travel, understand how to navigate perks, put together executive meetings, and have built relationships with vendors around the world. Therefore, they’re excellent resources for managing relationships and helping your team scale.

Use Travel Rewards

Rewards and loyalty programs aren’t just beneficial for individuals. They’re also great ways for businesses to save money, create better travel experiences for their staff, and take advantage of perks. There are great business travel credit cards that allow you to make the most of every dollar, and by teaming up with hotel programs like those of Marriot, you can even cover the cost of entire stays.

Airlines like American also offer business programs that allow travelers to retain their own personal rewards while also contributing rewards to the overall business account. A business traveler manager can then log into their business portal to manage those travelers and rewards. Even if you don’t necessarily have a travel program in mind, you can always negotiate with vendors that you often use when you and your team travels.

Try Travel Management Software

Travel management software streamlines the process of travel booking. Although corporate travel companies are typically standard, depending on your team and needs, you might want to start your management process with software, fine-tuning your policy as you before graduating to third-party agencies. With travel management software, users can input their travel policies into the software and allow employees to make their own bookings.

You’ll also benefit from efficient communications regarding booking requests, which simplifies the process. And lastly, it creates a more cost-conscious culture. Studies have shown that business travelers spend more money on travel expenses—like meals and transportation—than they would spend with personal expenses during their own traveling.