6 Reasons Your Employees Hate Your Travel PolicyBy Emily Parker-Woodland
You’ve taken the time to write up a travel policy, but your employees are not following it. We’ve put together some common mistakes companies make in their travel policy. Instead of re-writing the whole thing, read our tips below to easily adjust your policy and get full employee buy-in.
- Your hotel pricing guidelines aren't realistic. If you are using the same nightly rate cap for hotels in every city, it’s no wonder your employees aren’t following your policy. It’s impossible to spend the same price in every city, unless you expect your travelers to stay in less than ideal hotels in undesirable neighborhoods far from their meetings.
How to Fix? Adopt a dynamic pricing policy, which will give your employees a different price cap in each city, all based off of the same tier of hotel. They’ll get consistency and comfort in their business trips, and you’ll always know they are staying within your (realistic) guidelines.
- Your policy is too long with too many restrictions. If your travel policy is more than 3 pages long, you are making it very hard for your travelers to follow every rule for every trip. If they have to read through pages and pages of guidelines and restrictions, then they are probably spending more time reading and searching for appropriate options than they are doing their job.
How to Fix? Make your travel policy short and sweet. Hit on the major things you need. For hotels, set your dynamic pricing based on the cities your company travels to. For flights, let employees know when they are allowed to book nonstop flights vs. flights with a stop (hint: always let them choose nonstop! You will have much happier travelers), and set guidelines around how long a flight should be to warrant a higher class of service.
- You don't have flexibility around the flights you allow. If your travel policy says they must take the cheapest flight no matter what time of day or night and how many stops the flight has, your employees will have a hard time following your rules. Taking a red eye after a long day of meetings might be the cheapest option, but it’s certainly not the best. And if their schedule at home makes it difficult to catch the earliest flight of the day, they will be stressed trying to figure out what to change in order to meet your policy.
How to fix? When building your flight guidelines, take into account the work/life balance of your employees. Allow for some wiggle room, where reasonable. If a flight is better for their schedule, allow them to pay $100 more to make their travel experience a little bit easier.
- You're more worried about your bottom line than your employee's happiness. This is a big one. If your travel policy states that your travelers must book the least expensive option available, then you’re asking for trouble. Following this rule once could give an employee a terrible business trip. Maybe the flight was too early and hard to get to on time. Maybe the hotel was not up to cleanliness standards and was far away from their meeting. Not only will your traveler not follow your rules next time but these issues that they faced will actually cost your company money. If their flight didn’t work with their schedule, you’ll have to pay a fee to change it if they missed it. If the hotel wasn’t close to their meeting, then you're paying for Ubers, taxis, or rental cars.
How to fix? Find a balance between employee happiness and savings. If you give a little, your employees will appreciate it and will follow your guidelines. By adopting the dynamic hotel policy and flexible flight guidelines your employees will be able to book options that work for them, and don’t put you over budget at the end of the month.
- Your travel booking tool is hard to use. If you require your employees to use a specific tool to book their travel, and that tool is not easy to use, your employees will not use it. In fact, in 2017 it was found that 50-60% of corporate hotel bookings occur outside of the preferred travel booking tool.
How to fix? Use a simple solution that is not only easy for you to use, but for your employees too. Go with something that allows them to book via mobile, and that pulls in prices from multiple places, so they don’t have to search all over the internet for options. If your platform also offers 24/7 service when travel plans change, you can be double sure your employees will never stray.
- Your policy is hard for your employees to find. Where do your employees access your travel policy? If it’s a 20 page print out in their desk drawer, you will never get buy-in. Imagine scanning 20 pages every time you need to book a business trip! If it’s located in a google doc or somewhere else online, it’s definitely easier, but it’s still a pain to scan through everything to make sure you’re booking correctly.
How to fix? Adopt a travel management system that allows you to enter your guidelines once, and allows your employees to book according to guidelines without scanning through them every time. Lola.com allows travel managers to set guidelines for flights and hotels on the admin profile, and when an employee searches for flights and hotels on their account, they can easily see what is within guidelines and what is not. It’s a one stop shop, and they aren’t combing through 20 pages of rules.
Making a travel policy that your employees will follow and love is easier than you think. Let Lola show you how to get started now!