What makes the perfect corporate travel policy?

In these confusing times of travel you need a corporate travel policy that works for you. In this article we’ll look at what makes the perfect policy.


Travelling can be confusing.

 Finding your way around a new place solo, whilst navigating a language barrier and a minefield of cultural differences may seem like an adventure when you’re travelling for leisure. But put work in the picture, with early rises and a strict schedule to follow, and travelling takes on a whole new world of potential stress.

This is why companies need to have the best support available for employees. By providing absolute clarity on expectations, you can make them feel safe, valued, and motivated.

Sounds like no small feat, right?

That’s where a good corporate travel policy comes in. Outlining all the rules associated with the trip ahead (including travel expense expectations, which can often be a source of great confusion). Surprisingly, a recent study by Expedia revealed that only 60% of UK businesses had a travel policy in place.

So what makes having one so important? What should it cover? And what’s best practice?

 Let’s take an in-depth look.


What is a corporate travel policy?

Every process has rules that need to be adhered to. It’s what drives success, sets expectations, and makes sure that all parties involved are on the same page. And business travel is no different.

A corporate travel policy is a set of parameters and procedures that are put in place to streamline business traveller bookings and expenses – before, during, and after the trip. If you have clear guidelines to follow it should reduce travel spend, help meet objectives, and improve employee security.


What should be covered?

All companies are different and so are their travel policies – there is no one size fits all. A company’s policy should reflect its business culture and values. It also needs to cover all bases – the organisation pre-trip, managing it while they’re there, and debriefing once they’re back.

Some key things that are often included in a business travel policy are:

  • The expense budget: A “scale-rate payment” (a fixed amount per day) for business expenses. Can be used to cover lodging, food, taxis, etc.
  • A list of approved platforms for booking: For security or compatibility reasons, companies may limit the platforms that can be used for booking services such as hotels.
  • Preferred suppliers to be used: Just as there may be a selection of approved booking platforms, certain suppliers may also be preferred, whether due to partnerships, discounts, or even safety/hygiene standards.
  • Travel insurance coverage: Insurance is important for the safety of the traveller, but also for the company wallet. Everyone should know the travel insurance carrier, the relevant contact information, and the details of the coverage.
  • Ad hoc travel costs: Hotel Wi-Fi, company phone – all the little things add up. An effective business travel policy should make arrangements for all these small travel-related costs, so the traveller knows where they stand before they set out.

Why is a corporate travel policy important?

By the end of 2024, business travel spending is expected to reach $1.4 trillion, despite the effect the pandemic has had on the travel industry in the last 2+ years. With that size of business and capital in mind, the scale of spending in the industry comes into sharper focus. And highlights why having a policy in place is vital to keep control over spending.


Here’s why it’s so important:

Managing costs
  • Business travel is not cheap. With everything that the average trip involves – flights, car rentals, hotels, food, and an endless list of miscellaneous things that creep in – expenses soon mount up.
  • The thing is, where business trips are concerned, there might not be any wiggle room with the larger expenses. Cheap hotels can make a bad impression if you’re meeting clients there, not to mention lead to a poor night’s sleep.
  • So your ability to manage costs depends on the effectiveness of your travel policy. By putting a solid structure in place that shows clear expectations of management of expenses, you’ll have more transparency and visibility over spending.
Risk management
  • Unsurprisingly, there are a whole host of risks associated with travel. And as an employer it is your duty to manage and mitigate these risks as much as you can, not just for your business, but for your travellers too.
  • A travel policy can help with this by outlining the risks – and crucially, what exactly what help is available to employees if a situation crops up.There needs to be clear and informative advice on how to stay safe while travelling, including emergency contacts and other emergency procedures.
The human factor
  • While the management of costs and risks is a vital part of an efficient policy, there is also the more human aspect that needs to be considered. We are complex creatures, and as part of that complexity, we like to have choice. It can make us feel trusted, empowered, and motivated.
  • So when a business sets expense limits and hotel options, of course rules and restrictions are necessary, but a little freedom goes a long way.
  • One of the main goals of a good corporate travel policy is to achieve optimal efficiency. It saves money. It saves time. And it makes for a happier team.
  • Making sure that your policy has an established approval process has endless benefits. It significantly streamlines processes, giving the right people visibility and keeping things in line with compliance.

Travel policy best practices

Make sure the traveller is in the know

Sounds obvious, but make sure that your employees are familiar with the ins and outs of your travel policy. This will hugely help to avoid any issues when they’re travelling.

Keep it simple

Keep things clear and easy to follow. Avoid jargon and overuse of legal terms wherever possible.

Provide some leeway

Having different options available will offer another level of flexibility with your employee travel. If they prefer a certain hotel location or rental vehicle, then think about catering to them (within reason of course).

Clarify the expense claim process

Ensure your expense claiming process isn’t convoluted. Clarify the necessary steps for claiming back expenses so there’s no room for confusion.

Be prepared for emergencies

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Having processes in place in case of an emergency will help to protect the safety and security of your travelling colleagues.

Measure, track, and analyse costs

Data is your best friend. By tracking and analysing costs, you will gain a wider picture of travel expenses, which you can then act upon to make those all-important changes.


Key takeaways

  • In the confusing world of business travel, a corporate travel policy should make things clear and set expectations
  • The scale of business expense spending in the UK is huge. A travel policy will help to keep spending under control.
  • A policy should involve the human factor. Feeling trusted and having a little freedom will work wonders for employee motivation.
  • Use a travel policy to help mitigate risk for travellers.

How do you think your corporate travel policy measures up? What do you think makes the perfect policy? We’d love to hear from you.

Share this post

Subscribe now