Hidden Benefits to Reviewing That Travel Policy

1 March 2016

This article originally appeared here.

A travel policy can be a lot like a junk drawer. Stuff gets thrown into it. You know you need to clean it out but never seem to get around to it. There is always a new crisis or something else that demands attention, taking priority or otherwise distracting you from the task.

Travel managers recognize the necessity of “cleaning up” travel policy. New trends like the sharing economy come along, changes in technology introduce new and better ways to manage traveler security or perhaps the company’s focus changes. Evolving company priorities—with a focus on saving money, traveler safety, traveler comfort or all three—can necessitate significant changes to existing travel policy. Beyond broader industry and company changes, it’s also important to benchmark your policy against others in your industry for competitive reasons.

A good policy will keep travelers safe, enhance your ability to negotiate with suppliers and save the company money, but there also are numerous hidden benefits to regularly reviewing and evaluating your travel policy in 2016:

1. Increased Visibility

Reviewing and adjusting your travel policy is an opportunity to increase visibility within your organization. Buy-in from senior management is key in gaining companywide approval and support. Clearly communicating the benefits of managing policy is also vital and highlights the benefit of an effective program manager. Additionally, increasing interaction with senior management could facilitate support for other travel-related initiatives.

2. Better Engagement

When undertaking travel policy review and evaluation, other units within your organization need to be engaged. Leading a committee with representatives from HR, legal, finance and others increases your sphere of influence. Collaboration with these divisions brings them inside the policy and makes compliance more likely.

3. Improved Communication

Introducing a refreshed travel policy is a great opportunity for travel managers to get out there and be seen. Many travel managers spend more time with suppliers than they spend with their internal clients, so this is a good chance to get to know them and be known. Use Web postings, emails and presentations to communicate with travelers and travel arrangers.

4. Better Direction

New employees/travelers actually appreciate guidance. Most want to know where to go to find the policy and what is expected. Keeping the policy concise and adaptable to multiple media helps. Focus on “what’s in it for me,” and answer the two most important questions: “What do I need to do?” and “What can’t I do?”

The bottom line: A good policy takes care of travelers and saves money for the company. The more travelers understand that a sound and up-to-date policy is there to keep them safe, provide them negotiated benefits and support the company’s objectives, the higher compliance will be. And higher compliance makes the job of every travel manager easier.

So set a plan to annually review and benchmark your policy, and “clean out that junk drawer.” It is a process that is so easily overlooked yet can provide real benefits to your company and your travel program.