Not surprisingly, one of the hardest feats of an effective travel policy is an active implementation. No matter how well planned or laid out, there always seems to be a disconnect between the company’s travel policy and the travelers who use it.

Unfortunately this beast isn’t just compliance, but also what the travelers believe the policy allows. A new report from the GBTA recently provided data on just how large this perception gap is. Unfortunately, it’s larger than most of us had hoped.

According to the report, 96 percent of business travelers say they are knowledgeable about their company’s travel policy. On a broad scale this looks pretty good, right? The inconsistencies come down to the smaller details of the travel policies. For example, half of the surveyed travelers said their policies are mandated. According to the travel managers, it is really only a third. Another example of dissonance is ride sharing. 24 percent of travel managers say ride sharing is prohibited under their travel policy, while half as many travelers believed that as well. It sounds like a no-brainer, but most often a lack of communication causes this disparity.

 

These Travel Policy Miscommunications May Be Costing Your Company Money

According to a UNIGLOBE expert, noncompliance of any kind can run up travel costs. Without a constant eye on expenses and billing, things can get out of control quickly. But something often overlooked is the value lost caused by this policy miscommunication. For example, 89 percent of the travel managers surveyed had negotiated free wi-fi in hotels for their travelers. Unfortunately, 22 percent of the business travelers were still expensing for wi-fi. The report concluded that they were simply unaware of the negotiation.

How To Increase Travel Policy Communication

One key discovery in this report is that perception is more important than reality when it comes to relaying travel policy guidelines. Understanding how your travelers and company as a whole can best understand your travel policy decisions can improve compliance. Understanding how your travelers work best, and their comfort level with compliance will certainly get everyone on the right foot.

Closing The Gap Between Traveler Perception And Policy Reality

UNIGLOBE experts suggest that increased communication through the right channels will hopefully improve your own compliance. Here are a few other tips to close this gap even further.

 

  • Set up an approval process ensuring the travel policy is enforced.

More sophisticated pre-trip authorization tools like the UNIGLOBE Complete Access Online will add further support to a company’s travel policy by helping control costs before spending. Such automated “checks-and-balances” tools allow approvers (typically managers) to approve, decline or request changes to various components of an employee’s itinerary prior to ticketing. It can also help avoid increased airfares due to missed ticket deadlines while waiting for approval.

 

  • Keep employee preferences into account while formulating and reviewing your travel policy.

One of the best ways to ensure your travel policy is well received, understood and adhered to is to make room for employee preferences and feedback in the policy. Device a system wherein, both while creating and reviewing the travel policy, you circulate it among employees and invite their feedback to make relevant edits therein. This will keep your travellers genuinely engaged with the travel programme.

 

  • Use different channels to communicate and disseminate information. 

Different travellers consume messages in different ways so initially position communications in all the places where travellers might interact with the travel team: cafés, plasma screens, social media, intranet, newsletters, emails and so on.

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