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How to Create a Corporate Travel Policy that Works for Everyone

Corporate Travel

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines that dictate how your employees should conduct themselves while traveling for business. The purpose of a corporate travel policy is to protect your company’s interests and reputation while also ensuring the safety of your employees. When creating a corporate travel policy you’ll need to consider your company’s specific needs and objectives. Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve you can start drafting your policy

If you are given the development of a corporate travel policy, your task from the company's point of view is to develop a policy that unites labor expenses, removes waste and surplus on the road and puts some controls around this part of the business expense picture. So there are some specific areas of focus that you should include in the company's stated policy including...

* Reservations. A business can take advantage of a travel agent looking for the best deal for the company. The best fares can be determined and utilized but only making sure that the needs of business travelers and the commercial objective of the trip are met. Asking employees to use a corporate travel agent again is not unfair and shows the employee how to handle the situation.

* Credit usage. It's a little effort and expense to set up corporate credit cards that you can ask your traveling employees to use. But by linking expenses to the company's account, you can get a record of most of the work expenses incurred by the employee. Many travel expenses such as airlines and hotels can be billed directly to the company and thus get issues out of the hands of business travelers.

* Travel rewards. If you have your company's travel coordinated by an internal or external travel agency, corporate accounts with major airlines can be created so that frequent flyer miles can be collected by the company. As such, the company can redeem these miles and realize these benefits as a significant discount to apply to the travel budget.

* For every day. Your company's travel policy should clearly explain to the traveling employee its limits to the hotel, car rental, and meals on the road. You want to avoid before any tendency by the employee to over-expense daily begins. This part of the policy should be reviewed annually to update it in accordance with current costs.

* Reporting. One of the main complaints employees have about corporate travel policies is that the expense reporting system is vague and difficult to fill. You will give the employee a standard form that every traveler in the company must fill out to get compensation for expenses while traveling. But review these forms and even design your own forms so that the format is understandable and you have categories to cover all kinds of expenses that an employee may face.

Besides these general categories, your company's travel policies should include some leverage for employees facing exceptional situations. Room and dining expenses can vary widely depending on where the employee should travel. So you don't want to set the hotel limit to $125 per night because it's reasonable to stay in a comfortable hotel for that rate in Lincoln Nebraska but impose the same restriction on an employee who must do business in New York City.

By creating a policy that protects the company's overall budget but is also applicable to employees who care about the company's business, you'll have a tool that serves the interests of the company and employees alike and enables business travel to be what it was always supposed to be – a productive business-focused activity that achieves the goals of the organization.