There are many components that go into a travel policy, and especially now, policies can make or break the future of travel at your organization. It’s more important than ever to stay on top of the basics so that you can optimize opportunities for a safe and secure traveler experience.
Here are four key things that you should be doing to keep your travel program strong.
Ensure all the Correct People are Involved
We know that your responsibilities as a travel manager only keep increasing. The majority of travel managers spend time collaborating with other key stakeholders in their organization from accounting, human resources, sales and now even security teams. With the impact of COVID-19 there are a lot of people outside of just your travelers that have an interest in your travel policy. Take the time to figure out who these people are in your organization and make yourself a key player in the success of departments outside travel. Getting their buy-in and understanding their needs will help you create the strongest policies to support your travelers, by giving you the opportunity be a part of pivotal discussions to help get your organization back to business and to return to travel.
Educate and Communicate
One of the most difficult parts of a travel policy is making sure people understand and stay aware of changes in your policy. Arm yourself with a communication strategy to educate and communicate with your stakeholders and your travelers early and often. Many of you are rightfully concerned about the inundation of information going to your traveling population from external sources. Travel is now a headline in every newscast, and the amount of change happening daily can be difficult to understand. Create a proactive strategy to communicate by figuring out what is important to your audience and the best way to get them the information. Communication is important in times of crisis, but also helps to develop a regular cadence of communication and education to increase that comfort level with your policy year around.
Make your travel policy work for you, not the other way around. Your needs are unique, and each organization is handling the post COVID-19 travel landscape differently. Clearly identify what the goals of your policy will be. Is it to save company money? Maybe employee retention and wellness is where your organization places value. If you understand your goals, let your TMC help you transition those into your policy. Not every policy should be the same, and there are many ways it can be customized based on your needs and the priorities of your organization. A great TMC will be able to help make every decision reflect your goals.
Set Expiration Dates and Review Dates
Things are always changing, now more than ever with COVID-19, and we see policy changes being made by organizations, vendors and the government that will dictate what the new norm will be for travel. Even though it doesn’t feel like it lately, change always doesn’t come to us on this large of a scale, but it is always happening around us. Make sure you stay on top of this change by ensuring you are staying on top of your travel policy. Set expiration dates and time aside for a reoccurring formal review with your TMC and your internal stakeholders. This helps you stay ahead of the game, on top of the change, and always looking proactive for your organization. It’s as simple as setting a recurring calendar reminder and getting meetings on the books early, before everyone gets over scheduled.
As a travel manager, you have never been more valuable to your organization’s future, so use these steps to help you continue in the right direction.
Want to go over your travel program? We can work with you to analyze areas of improvement.
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