Travel policy compliance and cost savings remain two hot topics for any travel manager. In this article, we share 5 top tips to consider for your travel programme.
How can policies encourage travellers to comply? How can technology be used to realise travel expense savings? We attended the ITM Compliance and Cost Saving summit in London with a select group of travel managers and suppliers, where these topics were discussed in detail. It provided the inspiration for this blog post, where we highlight 5 top tips for driving compliance and cost savings for your travel programme.
Tip 1: Create a simple policy that drives adoption
Policy compliance is not a new topic, but the rules of the game are always changing. Travellers used to find it difficult to compare and find the cheapest prices outside of a corporate booking tool. Today, it couldn’t be easier, with travellers able to make bookings in just a few clicks.
As a result, business travel policies need to be made as simple as possible to encourage compliance and drive adoption. Otherwise, travellers could be too tempted to book outside of company policy.
Take Action: Try to remove ambiguity from your policy and test its clarity by seeing if it can be applied within an online booking tool.
Tip 2: Integrate technology to make your travel programme smarter
Technology continues to play a critical role in encouraging compliance and driving cost savings. Existing suppliers and start-ups are constantly developing new solutions that aim to optimise booking processes.
Many of these solutions use advanced analytics tools to uncover insights from data like never before. And while the full potential of AI technologies remains to be seen, AI bot solutions are already emerging that aim to increase policy compliance. It’s not about integrating every possible new technology, but identifying the solutions that work for your programme.
Take Action: Meet companies at industry events, request demos and implement the solutions that fit and make your programme smarter.
Tip 3: Don’t let ground transportation be a black hole in expenses
Ground transportation spend can often be difficult to keep track of, with employees using different companies depending on the city they’re in and with many companies still providing paper receipts.
Platforms like Uber for Business offer a solution to this problem, by providing consistency in supplier and an automated expense claim system. This removes the need for a traveller to take manual steps to claim expenses and nudges them towards making policy-compliant decisions.
Take Action: Review the tools available to your company and implement a ground transportation solution that improves spending visibility.
Tip 4: Listen to your travellers
Do you really know the traveller your travel programme applies to? How often do they travel? What are their preferences? What travel apps do they use outside of work? Answering these questions and more is crucial to creating a policy that encourages compliance. Most likely, travellers can be grouped into profiles with different preferences and understanding these different groups will help tailor a business travel programme.
So get to know your travellers and survey their preferences. Hold open-door sessions where travellers can raise queries and concerns about your current programme.
Take Action: Establish an iterative feedback process that will serve to ensure that your programme stays relevant for travellers.
Tip 5: Align your travel programme with company culture
It’s essential to consider the company culture in which your travel programme needs to fit. As we all know, company cultures can vary hugely. Is your company culture hierarchical or flat? Progressive or established? The level of compliance by employees will depend to a large degree on the answers to these types of questions.
If your culture is hierarchical, allowing more senior employees to travel first-class will be much more likely to be accepted than if your culture is flat. Autonomy and flexibility will be favoured in more progressive cultures, while established corporate cultures may prefer clear rules.
Take Action: Consider the cultural nuances at your company and align them with your travel programme to maximise compliance.
Uber for Business enables companies to manage affordable rides for employees or guests through a central dashboard that keeps track of Uber trips and fares. Features include: account management to enable employee access and monitor trip activity; easy expensing expense codes tags and notes; custom ride policies; customizable trip reports that include the details you need to keep track of for all trips taken with your company’s Uber for Business account. Learn more here.