How to Make a Corporate Travel Policy

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Why have a travel policy if your team doesn’t follow the rules? Unfortunately, the problem with most travel policies is simple: they are too long. Who has time to read and understand (and remember) all those details? What your employees need is a straightforward, one-page corporate travel policy. You can’t possibly cover all the contingencies on a single page, but you can highlight the key elements of your corporate travel policy, giving folks your most important guidelines in an easy-to-grasp format. A well-constructed document will make life on the road easier for your employees and increase travel policy compliance.

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You can’t possibly cover all the contingencies on a single page. But you can highlight the key elements of your corporate travel policy, giving folks your most important guidelines in an easy-to-grasp format. As long as the full Big Mama version is easily accessible online, they’ll be able to study the finer details about gray areas, what-ifs, or other travel challenges as needed.

Start by reviewing your current travel policy

Identify elements that are key from the company’s standpoint. For most companies, these are:

  • Transportation (at least air, perhaps also rail and/or ground)
  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Allowed expenses
  • How and when to submit reimbursement requests
  • Required prior approvals

Every organization is different, so what is critical information for your travelers won’t be the same as for some other company. The frequency, geographic range, and reasons for your employees’ travel will all affect what your one-pager should highlight. In any event, focus on policy elements that affect the majority of your business travelers, most often.

Ask around

What’s “key” to your frequent travelers might be different than what is most important from a management standpoint. For example, is on-the-road entertainment expense policy an issue in your business? Getting their input ensures your one-pager will be most relevant and practical. Your team will be far more likely to follow it.

Hit the highlights

Your one-page policy should be concise and clear. Presenting the key elements as bullet points will make the one-sheet even easier to read. Although some people may be more inclined to comply if they understand the why behind your policies, you can explain all that in the full version that you post online. For the one-pager, just say “Take nonstop flights whenever possible, unless a flight with stops is $150 less than the cheapest nonstop option.”

Use a digital tool to make compliance easy peasy

A one-page policy will be greatly appreciated by your travelers. But with everyone on the go, a mobile/desktop app such as Lola.com further streamlines the process for travelers as well as travel managers, finance folks, and other internal departments. Everyone’s on the same page. With your company guidelines loaded into the platform, employees can easily search for flights or hotels that work for them as well as the company. They can easily manage receipts for reimbursement. And company record-keeping is a snap—timely and accurate.

Explain where to find details and exceptions to the rules

Posting your full corporate travel policy where employees can easily access it is essential. Make sure everyone knows where to find it, and where to find the information they need within that big tome. For example, under the bullet point about what can be expensed, add, “A full list of what is allowed and what is not reimbursable can be found in Corporate Travel Policy, Chapter 5.”

Promote your one-page travel policy

It will take some thinking to create a simple, short policy summary that meets both management and traveler needs. You can be sure your efforts will be appreciated, though, once word gets out. Hold a launch party, or find some other fun way to announce the existence of your one-pager and get a copy into everyone’s hands (Don’t forget to thank the folks who provided input).

The point of a one-page corporate travel policy is to communicate the most vital information to your business travelers. A well-constructed document will get read and be used, increasing compliance as well as employee happiness. Everybody’s a winner.

For a deeper dive on setting up a corporate travel policy, check out our free eBook: Do you need a corporate travel policy?

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