Post-covid business travel planning: Do you you have the right travel policy in place?
Do you you have the right post-covid travel policy in place?
It’s likely you have implemented an interim travel policy to cope with the disruption of COVID-19, however as the travel landscape starts to find a new sense of ‘normal’, it’s a good time to review and work on a revised version for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
It may be tempting to return to the travel policy you had in place prior to COVID-19, however it’s important to recognise that the business travel landscape has drastically altered - and your policy needs to adapt to match these changes.
Taking the time to review and refine your travel policy in line with the current environment will underpin a confident return to travel. This is also the time to leverage the opportunity to address potential legacy leakage and compliance issues. No matter what stage of a policy review you are at, there are key questions you need to ask of your travel programme. The most important focus should be ensuring your policy has a level of flexibility you may not have previously considered.
Refine your travel policy in 4 simple steps
Discover the four key areas you can review to refine your travel policy and ensure it reflects your current environment, business needs and traveller safety requirements.
1. Structured approval process
- Review your policy stakeholder group and decide whether this needs to expand to include departments not previously involved.
- Review current approval workflows. Do you require an additional approval layer in the short to mid-term. Should you provide a framework whereby travellers can decline a requirement to travel, e.g. for personal reasons, health concerns.
- Consider incorporating risk rating review within the approval process (ensure you have access to local and global COVID-19 status by city and country).
2. Health and hygiene protocols
- Provide information at point-of-sale (FCM Travel Platform, OBT, app, consultant) to assist bookers and self-bookers to make informed choices on bookings or requests for bookings. This would include quarantine rules and immigration requirements for their destination.
- Clearly identify operators who meet minimum hygiene standards at point of booking.
- Define the process to follow should a traveller become ill or have any concerns while travelling.
- Consider introducing a requirement to sign a waiver if booking outside policy-approved properties or airlines (i.e. have not undergone health & hygiene audit).
3. Travel technology
- What apps are considered mandatory for travellers to use to stay informed in-trip? Eg. FCM Mobile
- If not already in place, add ‘trip purpose’ to booking and expense reports with a defined list of reasons to select from.
4. Cost-conscious booking policies
- Take the opportunity to drive greater compliance with travellers more willing to travel within policy utilising audited properties and airlines.
- Define your version of ‘permissible travel’, i.e. Permissible travel = Approved reasons for travel + traveller preparedness + Government guidelines. Avoid using broad terms like ‘essential travel’ as this is open to interpretation.
- Does the VIP/Executive policy component within the policy also need to be reviewed or altered? Will you allow extensions for ‘bleisure’ travel? Does this require waiver by the traveller for the leisure component of their journey?
Don't forget to evaluate what other companies with model travel programmes are doing during, and immediately following, this crisis and benchmark your company’s performance.