|The First step in developing a "Corporate Travel Policy" is to define the purpose and scope of the tool. Travel policy is a tool used by management to ensure that employee travel is consistent with the business objectives of the company. Much thought must be put into developing corporate travel policy. The best policy follows the same mentality the company displays in dealing with other facets of its' business. If expenditure reduction is the primary goal, then least cost provider should be emphasized. If traveler comfort and ease is of primary concern, addressing the processes, such as travel authorization and preferred vendor utilization should be emphasized. A simple statement such as the following can be used to set the standard. "Employee travel should be via lowest coast alternative consistent with the business objectives of the company. Neither luxury nor sub- standard eating and accommodations should be used". A comprehensive policy can dictate and set limits on all facets of employee travel. Realistically, your corporate travel policy will end up somewhere in between. Below are some questions which must be answered to develop a comprehensive travel policy.
1) Is "reasonable expense" a satisfactory description for employees to use as they purchase travel ?
2)If not, will policy dictate least cost provider or certain preferred vendors ?
3)Will travel policy application......depend on position in company?
4)Will a recognized source (i.e. a specific travel agency) be identified as the only source through which travel arrangements can be made and purchased?
The rationale behind addressing this area is that management reports providing a central data base of: savings analysis, cost allocation, air, car and hotel expenditures, is valuable information. If there are a number of booking sources, this data cannot be complete.
5)What is the authorized form of payment ?
Credit systems such as the American Express, Diner's Club and the Air Travel Card are relatively inexpensive forms of cash management. They offer additional services such as complimentary flight insurance and comprehensive reporting packages
6)Will the company procure a corporate credit system that puts cards in the possession frequent travelers?
7) How far in advance will travel be required to be requested? Usually the more advance purchase, the less cost of travel. Some corporations mandate that travel be requested a minimum of 7 days prior to date of travel. If not, the traveler MUST take a "low fare airline" (Frontier, Southwest, America West, American Transair, Etc.). Also, a director must sign off on the travel authorization.
8)How many company employees will be allowed on the same flight?
9)Do the employees travel on company time or their own time?
1)What class of service are travelers entitled to? Coach, Business or First Class?
2)Is business class allowed on international flights? Over a certain time length ?
3)Are questions 1 & 2 determined by position in the corporation?
4)Can travelers upgrade themselves, at their own expense be it monetary or frequent flyer points?
5)How should exceptions to this policy be handled? Is it the travel agency's responsibility to point out exceptions before ticketing? Will a travel authorization process identify problems?
6)Should the company utilize lower cost "non-refundable" airfares?
7)If so, do you wish to apply a "window" off time around the desired departure or arrival time when a promotional fare is offered?
For example the desired flight departure time to Chicago is 9:00am. However, there is a flight with a lower fare departing at 8:15am. Is the traveler obliged to take the earlier flight?
8) Many time if the traveler take a connection, instead of a non-stop flight, the airfare is lower. If there is a lower fare for flights that stop and/or connect en route to the final destination, should the travel have to opt for the connection lower fare?
9)If a lower fare is offered on an airline that is not the travelers' frequent flyer choice, is he/she obliged to take the carrier with the lower fare?
10)How should non-compliance or intended non-compliance be identified?
1)When are car rentals allowed?
2)Is there a preferred rental car vendor that will be utilized, based on negotiated rates?
3)Is there a preferred car type? Compact, Intermediate, Full-Size Cars? If so, is it based on position within company?
4)When will exceptions be allowed? (ie: 3 people traveling = full-size car)
5)Corporate rental car programs can include insurance coverage. If not, is insurance coverage to be taken out by traveler. Is this a reimbursable expense?
1)When will the company decide when a hotel stay is necessary?
2)Will there be a dollar limit on the reimbursable hotel expense?
(ie: anything over $175.00 per night will not be reimburse)
3)Should Travel policy dictate specific hotel chains to control expenditures?
(ie: Holiday Inns & Courtyards or Sheraton & Hyatt)
4)Should the company guarantee all hotel reservations to a central credit card or should the traveler use a personal credit card?
5)Will the company reimburse any billing which results from failure to honor a guaranteed reservation ("no-show fee")? Or will no-show fees be the responsibility of the traveler?
6)Will the company consider room service charges reimbursable? In room movie costs ?
7)If employee stays with a relative or friend, will they be reimbursed a nominal amount, ($50.00)?
Meals & Entertainment & Laundry
1)Will the company reimburse actual meal cost or set per diem limits? Does this include tips?
2)Are employees allowed three meals per day?
3)Will entertainment expenses need manager approval?
4)Will there be a dollar limit on entertainment ?
5)Will laundry service be reimbursed ?
6)Does this apply only after employee has been away for a specified number of days?