Travel Management

All you need to know about business travel management

Grégory Meslin
Responsable Marketing & Communication

Do you have a company and your employees need to travel on business?  While business travel and business trips have picked up since the Covid-19 crisis,employers are facing new challenges, prompting them to rethink their entire travel and expense management.

Perhaps this is the case for you! Indeed managing business travel can quickly become a time-consuming task, between planning, booking, tracking and refunding expenses for each employee. 

In this article, explore effective strategies for managing these business trips and discover the added value of a travel booking platform.

Business travel: what's the difference?

To begin with, it seems essential to remind ourselves of the subtleties that exist between work-related travel and business travel. In fact, business and professional travel share the same context of work-related travel, but differ in nature and purpose.

A business trip encompasses all work-related travel, whether for meetings, customer appointments, training or temporary assignments. A business trip is also a business trip, but it lasts several days.

It most often refers to trips whose main purpose is to carry out business activities, or to take part in professional events such as conferences or seminars. It can be planned in France or abroad.

How do you organize a business trip?

Organizing a business trip requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure the efficiency and comfort of your employees. From reserving means of transport to managing accommodation for multi-day trips, discover the key steps to success!

  1. Travel planning

The first step is to plan your business trips. How long will the trip last? What is the purpose of the trip? Do you need to book a train or plane ticket, or rent a car? What budget have you set for the trip? This step is relatively straightforward, but it can become more complex when you're planning an international business trip, for example, which requires more preparation (accommodation, transfers, stopovers, visas, etc.).

  1. Booking

Once you've made your travel plans, you may need to reserve the means of transport (train, plane, car, etc.) for your employees, a meeting room or even hotel accommodation for multi-day trips. Reservations can be made via dedicated services, for example if you have a travel department, or a travel manager within the company. Reservations can also be made by a specialized business travel agency, or directly by employees, known as "self-booking", using management tools provided by the company, or by the B2B travel agency.

  1. Reporting

After a business trip, it's always useful to take stock of what's been achieved, to assess the return on investment and the opportunities for improvement. How much did the trip cost the company, and what did it achieve? This can be done on an ad hoc basis, to get a clearer picture of the expenses incurred by these business trips.

How to manage business travel effectively?

Good business travel management requires a methodical approach to optimize efficiency and minimize costs. Here's how to manage your business travel in 3 simple steps.

  1. Setting up a corporate travel policy

To manage your business travel as effectively as possible, you first need to set up a corporate travel policy. This document will enable you to standardize travel procedures, optimize business travel costs and ensure efficient reservation management. The EVP will also enable you to guarantee employee comfort and safety.

For example, setting up an EVP enables you to set a budget for each type of trip, determine the range of accommodation, the preferred airlines, and so on. It also facilitates internal communication on the guidelines and rules to be followed when traveling. In this way, the EVP contributes to harmonious coordination between your company's various departments.

  1. Centralize all reservations with a single point of contact

Today, 95% of small and medium-sized companies already use a travel agency specialized in business travel management, enabling them to take care of business travel from A to Z. This is the most practical solution for ensuring efficient organization of business travel and optimizing company costs.

What's more, centralizing all bookings with a single contact saves companies a considerable amount of time, allowing them to concentrate on their core business.

The travel agent will book your plane or train ticket, look for the best rates from different providers, reserve one or more hotel nights, and even create your corporate travel policy (PVE) if you don't already have one.

In some cases, the corporate travel agency can provide the company with a dedicated booking platform, so that you can make your reservations and track the costs associated with your travel.

  1. Monitor expense reports and refund expenses

The company is obliged to refund employee expenses for each business trip. To obtain a refund, employees must provide proof of their expenses incurred during the business trip, and draw up an expense claim to be forwarded to the accounting or HR department. These expenses may include transport costs (a mileage allowance may be paid if the employee has used his or her personal vehicle), meal costs and accommodation costs.

For ease of use and efficient tracking of claims, the use of dedicated software or a mobile application is recommended. A modern, innovative business travel agency can make this possible.

Finally, some companies also offer payment cards pre-credited by the employer, enabling employees to pay for their business expenses without having to advance the cost. To avoid any conflict, the conditions for refunding expenses must be clearly set out in the company's travel policy.

How do you justify a business trip?

Business travel can be useful for meetings with customers and partners, for commercial activities or for professional events (conferences, for example). Travel may be justified by the need to move away from one's usual place of work to carry out assignments or attend business opportunities. There are many reasons for personal travel.

The company requires its employees to sign a document relating to business travel, known as a mission order. The purpose of this document is to provide a framework for each trip, specify the business objectives, define the conditions and set out the terms and conditions for refunding of expenses incurred.

It must be signed and sealed by the employer, and must include the employee's surname, first name, date of birth, the nature of the business purpose, place of work and home address, as well as the route to be taken and the means of travel chosen. This document serves to protect both the employee and the company by setting clear expectations and defining the responsibilities of each party.

Can I refuse a business trip?

In principle, an employee cannot refuse a business trip, even if the employment contract does not contain a mobility clause, or if the employee's job does not require him or her to travel. If the employee does not wish to undertake the business trip for X reasons, the best solution is to reach an amicable agreement with the employer.

However, jurisprudence accepts that an employee may refuse an assignment without risking sanction for misconduct in certain specific situations. Health problems, pregnancy, serious family obligations or endangerment of the employee are some of the reasons that may justify keeping the employee at his or her usual place of work. 

The employer's failure to cover travel expenses is also an invocable ground, validated by the Cour de cassation on March 21, 2012. It is therefore essential for the company to create a clear travel policy regarding business expenses during these trips.

Advance notice

As an employer, you are required to give at least 48 hours' notice, to give the employee time to get organized. Of course, it is essential to take into account the travel time involved in the business trip, in order to offer a reasonable notice period. A one-day business trip does not entail the same imperatives as a business trip to the other side of the world lasting a week or more.

How do I refuse a business trip?

If an employee wishes to refuse a business trip, he must first inform his employer and explain the reasons for his reluctance. A letter can be handed to the employee declining the trip in question, explaining the reasons for the refusal in a professional manner. Depending on the reason for refusal, the employer will give the employee a reply. A document can be drawn up, signed and dated by both parties, to formalize the refusal to travel.

This procedure ensures transparent communication between employee and employer, encouraging open dialogue and consideration of each party's concerns. By establishing a written agreement, the terms of the refusal are clearly defined, which can be useful in the event of future disputes.

Whether you're a small or large company, managing your business travel can be simplified with an all-in-one solution for booking, managing and tracking business trips. By choosing Fairjungle, you save an average of 10 hours of work per month for finance teams, 43,000 euros on the travel budget over 3 years and 12 tons of CO2 per year by activating the green mode 🍃!

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