business-travelers

How to get modern business travelers to engage in travel policy compliance

In Business travel by James Deem

We are in an era of high touch service, talent retention and acquisition, thus it is important to invest in key travelers.  Business travelers expect mobile technologies, shared service providers and flexibility within travel policies to support their travel needs. By creatively communicating and marketing the benefits of your travel program and travel policies, research shows that optimizing travel policy compliance will lead to cost reduction and better management of duty of care. Savings occur as a result of several different factors including: employee productivity (using predetermined suppliers and working through the company’s Travel Management Company will save time), duty of care (avoiding disasters when possible and effectively overcoming them when they arise), and the utilization of preferred suppliers (resulting in better rate negotiation).

Below are some suggestions to help improve travel policy compliance:

Incorporation

Incorporate policies that allow your business travelers to engage in their preferred behaviors in a safer way. As a part of this, it may be prudent to include suppliers such as shared services like Uber and Airbnb. Airbnb and Uber both have site pages, specifically delegated to business travel. As demand continues to grow, it is predicted that executives and travel managers will have to embrace these “sharing economy”/types of services, even if they do not follow Duty of Care guidelines. Also, be sure to include vendor variety, so that travelers can have more than one airline, hotel brand or car rental company to choose from. Giving options will lead to travelers feeling empowered and increase engagement.

Gamification

Some companies have found it useful to turn compliance into a game, referred to as gamification. For example a high adoption rate could lead to travel related rewards such as a high quality luggage set, airline club memberships, or additional amenity allowance for a traveler’s next trip. Adding an element of fun often helps to motivate desired behavior. In a survey completed by Travizon last year, respondents were asked if they would be willing to participate in a policy compliance game; 41% of the respondents answered that they would enthusiastically play and an additional 32% said they would participate to “be a team player.”

Modernization

The travel industry is ever changing and evolving. In order to keep up with the changes and traveler needs, it is important to regularly review and update policies. For example, the prevalence of travelers relying on mobile use will continue to grow: “’Mobile-centric’ Millennials will account for half of the business traveler population by the year 2020,” according Business Travel News. As such, it is beneficial to add in mobile policies to your travel guidelines.

Communication

One of the most common reasons that business travelers give for booking outside of travel policy is a lack of knowledge and/or convenience.  It is a balance to ensure traveler needs are addressed and at the same time have controls in place.  The travel program benefits have to be effectively marketed and communicated to all travelers; and it is important to ensure buy-in at all levels. When travelers see the value that impacts them in positive ways, they will be more likely to follow.

It only takes a few systematic tweaks to help employees become more compliant. By incorporating more popular travel options, gamifying and rewarding compliance, modernizing your current methods, and better communicating policies, you’ll begin to notice savings in no time.

Is your team searching for more convenient and efficient ways to improve employee compliance? Deem works with your TMC, like Travizon, to make sure your unique policies are built directly into your travel management system.

Take a free 30-day Test Drive of Deem today to see how an integrated T&E management tool can help with travel compliance.

About the Author
James Deem

James Deem

James Deem will make the opposition green with envy as he highlights our awesome social events, casts a spotlight on our amazing collection of talent, and provides potential hires with insight into who we are, what we do, and why Deem is one of the hottest places to work in San Francisco. Keep an eye on the culture blog for frequent updates on all things Deem.