Travel Managers are always evolving their travel policy to keep pace with our ever-changing industry and their organisation’s business objectives. However, without high rates of policy compliance, a travel programme can miss out on potential cost savings and improved traveller safety.
At the recent ITM Compliance and Cost Saving Summit, we were joined by several expert speakers to discuss how to deal with non-compliance, the role of technology and creative ways to increase and measure cost savings.
If you missed the event, don’t worry as we have outlined 5 key takeaways that may help.
1. Policy and Process
If your travel policy is not clear, how are your travellers meant to know how to behave and be compliant? Mandated policies should be easy to follow, with no room for deviation or misinterpretation.
Organisations should ensure that their online booking tool replicates their offline policies to ensure that travellers know what is compliant and what’s not.
There are three core areas that travel managers should focus on as a starting point:
- Make it easy to be compliant! Implement user friendly tools.
- Develop a strong preferred programme
- Integrate a simple automated travel and expense claim process
2. Monitor and Take Action
Once your policy and processes are in place, knowing what to do next to maximise your programme will be driven by data, and of course, the behaviour of your travellers/bookers.
Many organisations are using Bots to check adoption rates against budgets and are using data to get ahead of the trends with analytics.
- Review booking behaviour to ensure your approval approach matches your organisation’s cultural and strategic objectives.
- Don’t be afraid to stop expense claims or hold back reimbursement if travel was out of policy
- Build the strategy and process around the reason why approval is required
Are your communications reaching your travellers? It’s important to disseminate travel policy information through effective channels. This can be different or organisations depending on the company’s culture.
Talk to your travellers and check that they understand the logic for the ’policy’ and any restrictions, and ask them where they ’go’ to get the information about the travel policy - is it from emails? Intranet? Handbook? Line Manager? Holding focus groups across several areas/departments within your organisation can really work to help you understand how you can improve your messaging and how to better market your policy so that it’s embedded in to the bookers/traveller’s mind.
4. Focus on safety rather than cost
Travellers are more likely to comply with the policy if they do not feel that it is all about "penny pinching".
Modern travellers are more security conscious than ever before and being able to track/trace an employee on a business trip if needed is critical. When it comes to security and risk, a strong approach will help your travellers understand the importance of staying within your travel programme.
Pitting travellers or departments against one another to compete for recognition (and/or prizes) is an effective method to change behaviour. Borrowed from the consumer world, gamification is helping companies maximise compliance.
No person or department wants to be bottom of the leaderboard when it’s sent to the CEO/Senior stakeholders.