A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Business Travel Policy

Sam Gilbertson

Written by Sam Gilbertson

3 min read – 

30 March, 2022

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Business Travel Policy

The business travel market is absolutely huge. 

In 2019, business travel spend hit $1.29 trillion (USD). Even in 2020 – which saw spending reach a 20-year low – corporate travel accounted for $504 billion (USD) globally. 

But it’s incredibly fragmented: flights, transfers, car rentals, meeting spaces, hotel bookings, expense management.  

For travel managers, executive assistants and finance teams, it can be hard enough to arrange business travel for one person, let alone a group or multiple itineraries.

Getting to grips with the basics

Business travel is complicated, but TMCs (Travel Management Companies) are there to help. They use advanced tools – like HotelHub’s hotel booking software – to simplify the process and provide the best experience for travelling teams.

But for any business travel booking to be successful, you need to have goals, a budget – and some ground rules. So, before getting into booking business travel, let’s talk about the guidelines that underpin it.

Know your goals

Business travel is essential for almost all companies and organisations that can’t operate in a fully digital way. While video conferencing and remote work became more prominent during the pandemic, some work simply can’t be done remotely. 

From engineering and construction projects to journalism, there will always be in-person work that needs specific skills in a specific place.

At the most basic level, business travel moves members of your team to work in a different location temporarily. Tied into this goal will be several sub-goals: employee safety and satisfaction, meeting budget requirements and hitting approved timescales.

Know your policy

Some startup companies and fledgling organisations won’t have any guidelines for travel – but many of the rules that apply to bigger companies will still be relevant.

Your travel policy would usually be set and maintained by finance and/or travel managers, and should outline your company’s rules and procedures on booking, approving and expensing business travel.

It will include rules on things like:

  • whether an employee can fly economy, business, or first class
  • how far in advance trips need to be agreed and booked
  • insurance details and disclosures
  • what employees need to consider when travelling alone
  • expenses – what’s allowed, what’s not, and how to claim them.

Read the fine print 

Travel policy guidelines are usually very detailed – outlining the process, from request to approval, and on to booking and expense claims. It should indicate acceptable cost ranges for all items, with exceptions for known high-cost or high-risk areas.

The travel policy may also include preferred suppliers, and give information on how trips that fall outside the travel policy limits should be submitted for approval.

Your company’s travel policy guidelines will set the framework for how, when, and why you book business travel. It’s there to protect the company, but it’s also there to protect travelling members of the team – and travel managers.

Understand your duty of care

Duty of care is one of the main reasons for having a travel policy. It safeguards travelling employees by using approved booking tools, logging their position according to the itinerary and helping them as much as possible should the worst happen.

For worst-case-scenario situations, travel policies should include special arrangements such as emergency evacuations for staff caught in disasters or conflicts overseas.

Still need help?

Business travel can be complicated, but travel management companies (TMCs) are available to help. They use advanced tools – like HotelHub’s hotel booking software – to simplify the process and provide the best experience for travelling teams.

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