Most travel managers across the globe face similar challenges – lost visibility, needless overspend, inaccurate reports and that’s not even mentioning out-of-policy hotel bookings.
Life would be so much simpler if your travelers followed your travel policy when booking, which begs the question: why don’t they?
Key factors in non-compliance
In the UK alone, GBTA found that 52% of business travelers make booking choices outside of their company’s stated policies.
From commercial booking apps outside of your visibility, to direct overspend from travelers booking amenities not included in your policy, it all contributes towards a negative impact on both your KPIs and the company’s bottom line.
So what are the 4 key reasons why travelers are likely to book out-of-policy?
1. They don’t know about the policy
‘Nonsense’ you might be thinking, but persistent breaches suggest a clear disconnect between travel managers and business travelers.
Sure, your team is very likely to be aware that there’s a travel policy they should be following, but they may not be aware of what it entails, or where they can actually learn about it.
Is your policy well-circulated? Is it accessible digitally from anywhere at anytime? Do you regularly cite your travel policies when communicating with your team?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may need to rethink how your policies reach people. Start by creating a simple and easy-to-follow guide that clearly outlines the protocols you expect them to follow and the tools you expect them to use.
Next, ensure you can easily update the guide, so your employees will always have access to the latest, most up to date travel policy guidelines. And finally, ensure they know where to find it.
2. They don’t understand its importance
An extension of our previous point, policy ignorance may cause travelers to become ambivalent about staying compliant.
If they don’t understand why you have a travel policy, or they can’t see personal or organizational value in complying, it’s likely they’ll disregard it.
Training, seminars, emails, internal communication, intranet, and regular briefings are good ways to communicate the importance of compliance, especially if you align your policies with company-wide achievement, or even with a point-based loyalty scheme that rewards compliance.
If you’re feeling the impact of travel leakage on your KPIs, articulate to your team how non-compliance reflects on you, the Travel Manager, and how it prevents you from building the critical volume you need to negotiate better hotel rates and perks such as free newspapers, gym access or breakfast.
3. The process is too complicated
Inefficient processes can contribute towards your policy becoming too much of a hassle for travelers to engage with.
For example, do you still rely heavily on manual processes such as spreadsheets to enter expense information? Are out-of-policy bookings only becoming apparent long after they’ve been expensed?
Slow, awkward processes only serve to build resentment and encourage out-of-policy behavior. Manual systems also limit you from gaining a complete view of your data – including the insights you need to make your policies more relevant to the modern traveler.
The solution? Automate, digitize and streamline as much as possible.
4. A lack of intuitive tools
As digital-natives start becoming a significant majority of the workforce, there’s a shift in the expectations of what an acceptable employee experience looks like.
In many industries, businesses are choosing to mimic the fast, simple, and mobile experiences offered by popular consumer apps to help improve their employee’s digital experiences. If you don’t offer comparable tools, it’s only natural that your travelers will gravitate towards unapproved consumer apps for a more familiar, user-friendly experience.
A simple corporate booking tool can go a long way to encouraging employees to engage with your preferred hotels. And don’t overlook the impact that small quality-of-life features can make, such as:
- Anytime, anywhere mobile access
- Saving of settings and preferences
- Seamless booking across all devices
- Personalized search options
Compliance made easy
Regardless of how compliant your employees may be, regular, transparent communication is the key to keeping you and your travelers on the same page. It’s also critical if you want to make small, continuous updates to your policy to better align with current travel and cost trends.
Likewise, an intuitive corporate booking tool like Travelport Hotelzon can help greatly simplify the hotel booking experience, while automating many of your complicated, manual processes.
The easier it is to book within your policy, the more likely it is your people will comply.