policy

How to Create a Company Travel Policy for Employees

Creating a company travel policy for employees to adhere to can be a difficult task. First off, every person working for your company is completely different. One employee might like to walk everywhere and will have a big appetite when dinner time comes around, while another might have a small appetite but prefer to get taxis to every meeting. Older employees might prefer to stay with a longstanding hotel brand, while younger staff may opt for accommodation based on things to do nearby.

Then there’s also the finance department and the travel manager who have to monitor budgets, minimise overspending, reimburse expenses and organise the accounts.

Outlining your company travel policy in a single document will provide clarity to employees throughout your business and enable you to manage travel in a fair and cost-effective way. A company travel policy will allow you to find a balance between employee satisfaction and your company’s goals, while also minimising the effort required from administrators, the finance department and travelling employees.

Why having a company travel policy for employees is important

Providing transparency around travel procedures will allow employees to focus on the task at hand and not stress over how much they spend, reservations, or eligible expenses. Instead, they can relax and perform to the best of their ability while travelling. This will improve both happiness and performance, which is important as employees act as ambassadors for your brand wherever they go. This clarity will also make it easier for them to claim travel expenses and reduces the need for unnecessary back-and-forth communications with the finance department when planning a trip.

A company travel policy also protects employees by preventing mix-ups which could leave them out of pocket and by providing guidance on what to do in emergencies.

Creating a well thought-out company travel policy for employees will also save your business money.

How to create a company travel policy for employees

Before you begin, examine your company’s current travel policy or procedure. Examine what is spent on travel and why your employees are travelling. Then identify any complaints or trends which can inform your new policy.

For example, if you always pay extra for refundable plane tickets and hotel cancellations but trips are hardly ever cancelled, perhaps you could save money by opting for cheaper, non-refundable bookings. The reporting features of a travel management system will make it easier to identify these types of trends.

Make Roomex part of your company travel policy and see how it can save money and improve employee job satisfaction. Get in touch today.

Before writing, you should also decide exactly what the goal of your policy is. This will help guide its content. Now you can start composing. Below is a guide on how to structure a company travel policy:

The introduction:

This should explain exactly why you created a travel policy and the reasons your business requires employees to travel for work.

Firstly, explain how business trips contribute to the company and why they are so important. Perhaps, a large number of deals were secured this way or maybe a high percentage of projects required travel.

Then explain what you want to achieve with your policy. Does it aim to save time or money? Is it for the benefit of employees? Will it provide flexibility for travellers? Or is it simply for convenience and organisation?

In your introduction, it’s also a good idea to make clear what constitutes ‘travel’. How far do employees need to travel to be eligible for expenses? What kind of trips are covered? Branch visits, site visits, events, talks, media appearances and clients meetings could be included here.

Bookings:

This section should outline who is responsible for booking trips.

If it is a secretary or someone in the finance department, provide their contact details.

If you allow employees to organise their own trips, you may want to outline how far in advance arrangements should be made, the type of tickets they can book, the amount of luggage covered by expenses and any preferred hotels or airlines.

If you use a travel management tool, here you can explain how it works. A tool like Roomex allows members of your team to choose their own hotel while remaining within the parameters of your company travel policy. Use it to set out price restrictions, room requirements, amenities - like breakfast - and any other terms and conditions featured in your travel policy. This will ensure employees stay within budget while also providing them with flexibility. It’s a win-win.

Expenses explained:

Here, include what expenses can be reimbursed. For example, this list might include toll fees, fuel, car rental, transport tickets, and meals. You may want to set limitations to individual expenses, such as ‘£20 per meal’ or ‘only taxis hailed for business related purposes are eligible’.

When eating out with a client, how much more can be spent? Also, consider outlining who will pay when more than one team member is present.

This section should also highlight when expenses must be submitted by and how long it will be before they are reimbursed. Explain if paper receipts need to be retained or if they should be uploaded to an app or software programme. It’s also a good idea to note which person or department approves expenses.

Responsibilities and what to do in case of an emergency:

In this section, provide details of the company’s travel insurance policy. Explain what kind of medical coverage can be expected if an incident occurs while travelling for business, as well as who to contact and what to do in an emergency.

It is also wise to highlight who is responsible for the expenses incurred after a missed flight or what happens if an employee wants to extend a stay for leisure.

Once you’ve completed your policy, consider its format. Make it clear, simple and easy to access. Consider using memorable visuals and a table of contents to help employees find the information they are looking for. Compliance can be difficult to enforce, so make it as easy as possible for your team to follow.

Are you looking to streamline your company's business hotel bookings? Get in touch with one of our experts today to learn how Roomex can help.

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