If you are in charge of your company’s business trips, it’s important to have a corporate travel policy in place.
Having rules and regulations surrounding corporate travel makes budgeting far easier and also for everyone to be a lot clearer on how to conduct themselves when away on business or booking business travel.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to produce a comprehensive travel policy and give you pointers on what to include and how to incorporate them into business operations.
What is a Corporate Travel Policy?
A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines that clearly stipulate the rules laid out by the company surrounding business travel. In these documents, specifics about transport, expenses, spending caps, and employee allowances are written down to clarify these aspects of business travel.
This document usually helps to clear up any uncertainties pertaining to business travel and helps ensure everyone is clear on what is expected of them when travelling for work.
Why is it Necessary for Businesses?
Corporate travel policies are helpful in ironing out any discrepancies that may occur during a business trip. These policies also help to establish a framework through which corporate travel can be booked. Businesses require systems through which to operate in order to maintain a sense of uniformity and organisation.
Key Elements of a Corporate Travel Policy
The most important thing to remember is to ensure that the terms and conditions are written clearly, with very little room for loopholes and misunderstanding. A well-structured corporate travel policy, therefore, comprises the following key elements:
Defining the Purpose
The first step is to define the document's purpose. In this case, the purpose of a travel policy is to lay out the rules set out by the company to ensure that corporate travel goes as smoothly as possible and to ensure that the company is not left out of pocket due to business travel overspend. The purpose of the policy should be clearly written and leave no grey areas open for misinterpretation.
The general purpose of a travel policy is to ensure that the rules surrounding business travel are met and clearly laid out for anyone engaging in corporate travel to refer to at any time. However, the purpose should be adapted to match the specific requirements of the organisation individually.
Setting Budget Guidelines
One of the main purposes of a corporate travel policy is to set clear budget guidelines. In doing so, a policy will tell employees how much they are allowed to spend and how to best go about booking aspects of their travel like transport and accommodation.
Having budgetary rules in place will prevent staff members from overspending company money during their time away and will also give them a better idea of what they can claim back from the company.
Setting a budget for individuals is one of the most important aspects of a corporate travel policy, as it acts as a tool for monitoring how much the company can and does spend on corporate travel. If the budget is exceeded, having a policy in place allows the finance department to work back and see where the main spending was, enabling them to make adjustments to the budget or regulations accordingly.
Establishing Travel Approval Procedures
Each company has different methods for booking travel. Some organisations leave booking travel up to their employees. However, other, larger organisations have entire departments dedicated to booking travel on behalf of their employees.
Whatever the procedure of your organisation, the approval process should be clearly set out in your travel policy document. You may need employees to get a sign-off from a director before proceeding with booking travel, or you may need them to submit their travel requirements to the travel management department for approval and execution. Either way, the correct procedures to follow are key features of corporate travel.
The approval process should clearly state the correct people or departments to seek approval from. Further to this, there should be a list of guidelines laid out by the organisation about which types of travel will get approved by the relevant parties. Some policies may even provide categories for their staff members to refer to, which makes it easier to understand the reasons for travel.
Some examples of these categories may include conferences, client meetings, supplier negotiations, or site surveying. These will change based on the type of organisation being run.
Detailing Booking and Expense Reporting
This section of the policy is in place to prevent anyone from abusing company benefits such as corporate credit cards or overclaiming travel expenses. The policy should refer to a reporting system an organisation has in place, which will allow staff members to accurately declare the travel expenses they are claiming and will also dictate to anyone booking corporate travel how to correctly go about securing transport and accommodation through the company.
This section of the policy should be as detailed as possible and highlight the company’s policies surrounding the reimbursement of expenses and what qualifies as a business expense when travelling for work.
If a staff member fails to comply with a corporate travel policy, some of the consequences may include paying back any overspends from their own wallet or taking salary deductions to cover any costs incurred by the company that were not in line with the corporate travel policy document. In more severe cases, disciplinary suspension may be necessary or termination of contracts. Ultimately, this depends on the magnitude of the travel policy violation.
Safety and Health Provisions
When anyone travels for work, there should be some protection in place for them. Some of the coverage companies may want to implement include health insurance for their employees and protection against equipment and baggage theft. Coverage will differ slightly depending on the nature of the business trip.
For example, the health coverage you have in place for someone travelling overseas will be different for those travelling for business locally. You may also take out insurance on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of your company’s approach to health and safety while travelling, the specifics should be clearly laid out in your corporate travel policy.
This section may also include rules and regulations for behavioural conduct by employees while away on travel as representatives of your organisation. For example, excessive alcohol consumption while away on business or entertaining clients may be prohibited, both for the safety of the individual and for the reputation of the company. Other, more stringent organisations may implement a curfew or reporting procedures as a means of ensuring their employees are safe. Again, this depends on the nature of your organisation.
Setting out these rules is also vital so that anyone away from travel understands the circumstances under which they are covered by the company and under which ones they are not.
Compliance and Consequences
It should be made clear to your employees that adhering to the clauses and rules laid out in the corporate travel policy is of the utmost importance. The consequences for failing to comply with the policy in place should also be made clear to anyone who reads the document.
In the event of disciplinary action against anyone who has failed to comply with the rules and regulations laid out in the policy, having a clearly defined section about compliance and consequences will provide the business with a solid foundation for the necessary action to take. This will also help them save time, money and resources.
It’s important that employees understand the consequences of not complying with the corporate travel policy, as this will act as a deterrent for misconduct, ultimately making the lives of those in charge a lot easier.
Best Practices for Implementing a Corporate Travel Policy
Although writing the initial travel policy is the first step in implementing it, the work does not end there. You have to ensure that the main document is kept up to date and that the information in the documentation remains relevant. There are also elements of policy best practice which should be upheld when booking travel and when dealing with any corporate travel-related queries.
Details to Include in a Corporate Travel Policy
Some organisations may have special deals or rates with specific companies like airlines, car rental companies or sites for railway bookings. If your organisation has these, then you should clearly lay out the details of your travel partners in the policy.
You should also be explicit about what employees are allowed to claim for expenses. For example, their meal allowances, client entertainment spending caps, accommodation, and transport budgets should be laid out as clearly as possible.
Implementing Your Travel Policy
After writing your policy, you need to make sure that it is easy to access for anyone who needs to see it. You can choose to put it on a cloud-based platform that everyone in your organisation has access to. For smaller organisations, you can also choose to email this to the working body or print out a hard copy. If you are in charge of corporate travel, it’s also your job to ensure that all employees are familiar with the terms laid out in the policy.
Aside from the obvious rules and regulations, you should also ensure that you communicate the reasons behind a corporate travel policy. In your policy, stipulate that proper compliance with the rules laid out will ensure that the process of claiming back expenses will be as smooth as possible.
You may also wish to mention that the policy rules apply to everyone in the organisation when away for business travel, even for more senior members of the organisation. This will ensure that there are fewer deviations from the policy’s stipulations.
How TrustedStays Fits into Your Corporate Travel Policy
TrustedStays specialises in corporate travel and understands the time and effort it takes to assemble a thorough itinerary. Our services are specially designed to help corporate travel professionals with anything from booking accommodation, transport or work facilities, which may assist them in booking a business trip without any hiccups. It’s our expertise that has given us the upper hand when it comes to corporate travel policy too.
If you require any assistance in putting together a corporate travel policy for your organisation or need help with anything technical surrounding the legalities of corporate travel, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team today.
We’d be more than happy to advise on the best insurance for your company’s travel needs or put you in touch with organisations that can help you establish long-term relationships for corporate travel. We work with organisations which we vet beforehand, providing you with peace of mind that your corporate travel experience runs as smoothly and stress-free as possible.
1000s of quality assured homes across the UK
All property partners are independently accredited by the Short Term Accommodation Association
Professionally cleaned and managed homes, meeting the STAA'S guidance on cleaning standards
A home from home experience, even when you are travelling for work
Read what interests you most:About Us Press & Reviews Work Travel Property Management
Receive an exclusive guide when you sign up!
Simply sign up to our newsletter and be the very first to find out exclusive information for all the latest work travel and accommodation news and we’ll send you a free guide on making the most from short term rentals.
We won’t spam you. Ever.