HR Management, HR Policies & Procedures

Business Travel: 4 Ways to Mix Satisfaction with Policy Compliance

Yesterday’s Advisor explored the latest findings regarding corporate travel program “leakage” – those policy and usage challenges that confound even the most well-managed business travel policies. Today, we delve deeper into what we introduced yesterday: How traveler satisfaction and policy compliance go hand-in-hand. Here are four tips to guide your efforts.

TravelAsk for feedback, and use it. While many companies review their travel policies regularly, only half (51 percent) collect traveler feedback, finds a new survey of 313 travel managers by the Global Business Travel Association’s foundation. Yet such feedback usually has a moderate-to-high influence on the adjustments companies ultimately make to their travel policy. On top of that, traveler satisfaction frequently improves when companies make policy adjustments based on feedback.

Take the pulse of satisfaction regularly. When measuring satisfaction, companies focus most commonly on customer-service support from their travel-management companies, online booking tools, the booking process and company-preferred hotels. Yet it’s particularly helpful to also make a greater effort to measure satisfaction with your internal policies and processes – as these are the areas companies can most easily adjust based on employee feedback.

Adjust for modern amenities, upgrades and services. Companies occasionally offer certain upgrades – like direct flights or business-class tickets. While your organization always has to gauge whether the benefits of providing upgrades outweighs the higher cost, there are some new options gaining speed that most travel planners agree are clearly on tap for this year, according to a forecast by Bellevue, Wash.-based Egencia, the corporate travel division of the Expedia group.

One is the sharing economy. Ride sharing and alternative lodging are here to stay. According to recent studies, business travelers use ride sharing services more often than taxis and the alternative lodging industry is expected to grow to $108 billion by 2018. Evaluate your firm’s usage of these trends and decide whether shared services are right for your policy.

Another must-do: Launch a mobile strategy, if you haven’t done so already. With mobile apps tied to the travel management program, your employees can book and manage travel, receive alerts, get help during disruptions and find the quickest ground transportation to their destinations.

Compare level of travel perks with peers. It’s always wise to revisit benchmarks – and to see what others in your industry are doing. After all, when employees must travel for business, reimbursements and perks can help make the trip more convenient and comfortable. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Survey of 3,227 HR professionals, which was released in June, the most common travel perks are:

  • 87 percent pay for transportation to and parking at the airport.
  • 66 percent let employees keep hotel points.
  • 65 percent let them keep frequent flyer miles.
  • 59 percent pay for Internet access while on business travel.
  • 15 percent offer rental car upgrades.
  • 14 percent allow first or business class airfare on international flights; 12 percent on domestic flights.

On the flip side? These were the corporate business travel benefits that tumbled this year:

  • 2 percent pay travel expenses for a spouse (vs. 7 percent five years ago).
  • 3 percent offer paid airline club memberships (vs. 5 percent back in 2013).