Revisiting your travel policy for 2019

Being that we’re in the last quarter of 2018, we imagine that your organization is beginning to review the year and determine goals for 2019. We hope this includes setting goals for your travel program in this coming year.

Just like any other policy within your organization, it’s important to review and make the necessary updates to ensure your policies adapt with time. We’ve identified some key components that should be included in your travel policy for a successful travel year in 2019.

Areas for Interpretation
As you revisit your organization’s travel policy, the first step is to look at the past year. What were the causes of disputes between travelers, arrangers, management, and finance? One reason for everyone not seeing eye to eye could be that there are gray areas within your travel policy.

Take note of any sections in which you use the word “reasonably.” While being a seemingly harmless word, it can be largely misinterpreted and be a catalyst of many disagreements. Instead, tighten up your language. For example, specify the class of service. In what circumstances will you permit travelers to book business class as opposed to basic economy? Doing so can clear up any gray areas and resolve many of your disagreements.

Consider the Traveler
In 2018, there’s been a big emphasis on the individual traveler when it comes to an organization’s travel policies. While there are general risks associated with business travel, certain groups of people can have elevated risks while on the road.

A 2018 Skift study revealed, “While 69 percent agreed that women face greater risk than men on the road, only 18 percent of policies specifically address the safety and security of female business travelers and only 21 percent have revisited their travel program due to these concerns.”

Travelers need to feel safe on the road and organizations have a duty to ensure the safety of each of their employees. To do so, it’s important for organizations are addressing how they plan to mitigate risks for threatened travelers.

Give Your Travelers Control
Travel policies will lay out standard procedures for which they intend to ensure traveler safety, how travel will be managed, and best practices for tracking/reporting. For that reason, it’s understandable why organizations would want to retain control of the travel program. What organizations should realize is that travelers are going to be most impacted by changes to travel policies, so it’s only natural for them to wish to have control as well. For that reason, as organizations are revisiting their travel policies, it’s important that frequent travelers have active involvement in the development of policies.

While there are organizational needs, when it comes to a travel program, there are also individual needs for travelers that management needs to address in policies. Personalization from your travel management company (TMC) is one way to ensure your organization is meeting the needs of the individual. Your TMC should be ensuring that they’re finding the middle ground between your travelers and your organization’s needs. This offers up some control to your employees all while retaining the control of your organization.

Katlyn Pierre