Travel Management

All you need to know about corporate travel policy

John Iversen
Growth Marketer

A corporate travel policy is essential for managing travel, travel costs, business expenses, means of transport and traveler safety. It serves as a guideline for the judicious use of resources, while ensuring the well-being of employees on business trips. In this article, find out how to define an effective travel policy and exactly what it should contain.

We also offer a travel policy template that you can customize to suit your needs!

What is a travel policy?

A travel policy (PVE) is an internal company document that sets out guidelines for the management of business travel. Designed in the form of internal regulations, the travel policy can be implemented in all types of companies, whatever their shape and size. This document sets out all the rules to be respected and aspects relating to business travel: budget, mode of transport, preferred airlines and types of accommodation, methods of reimbursing expenses incurred, etc.

What's the point of a travel policy?

A travel policy enables you to define who travels within the company, when, how and with what budget. It guarantees compliance with internal rules, optimizes costs, ensures employee safety, promotes transparency and enhances operational efficiency, thus contributing to the company's success. This valuable source of information provides a framework for business travel, and helps you to better manage expense accounts. In other words, it provides better management of business travel as a whole.

What is the international travel policy?

The international travel policy is a specific part of a travel policy. It consists of the same set of guidelines and rules as a standard travel policy, but focuses more on the specific aspects of business travel abroad. For example, it may include specific elements such as visa procedures, health requirements, security standards, travel expense reimbursement rules and other aspects related to foreign travel. As a company, you can design a travel policy and include an international travel section, if you are planning business trips to France but also to foreign countries.

How do you define a corporate travel policy?

To define a corporate travel policy (CTP), the first step is to analyze the company's needs. The company can appoint a travel manager, who will be responsible for defining and enforcing the travel policy with the people concerned. By designating a single contact person for this task, you can simplify the process.

To ensure that your company's travel policy is truly effective, we recommend that you get in touch with employees to gather their opinions on various aspects of business travel, so that it can be carried out under the best possible conditions.

After all, your employees are the first to be concerned! You can ask them for their opinion on the rules you'd like to put in place for the company's travel policy, what could be improved to make their daily lives easier, or if there are any special requests (pregnant women or people with disabilities, for example).

This will enable you to obtain constructive feedback and deal with scenarios you may not have imagined. What's more, the more your employees feel included in company decisions, and that their well-being is taken into account, the more motivated and productive they will be at work.

Then all you have to do is write down the content of the travel policy: budget, reimbursement terms, modes of transport, preferred types of accommodation, etc.

If you find it difficult to set up a corporate travel policy, or if you're short of time, you can call on the services of a business travel agency, which can help you create a policy in line with your company's needs and budget.

Last but not least, don't hesitate to check in regularly. As your company evolves, so may your travel policy!

How do you set up a corporate travel policy?

There are several elements that must be included in a corporate travel policy. Here are the details of what it should contain. Depending on your needs, you can personalize it by adding elements that you consider essential to the organization of your employees' business travel.

Budget requirements

When it comes to business travel, you'll need to define your budget and set a maximum amount for each business trip. Depending on the destination and type of assignment, the budget may be higher or lower. For example, it may be higher for a long trip. It may also vary according to the traveler's position in the company (the budget may be higher for an executive).

In all cases, it is essential to define a limit in order to maintain efficient financial management of company and travel expenses. To achieve this, budgets must be set for each type of booking: train tickets, plane tickets, hotel nights, car rentals and meals on site. This aspect of the company's travel policy not only helps reduce abuse, but also steers employees towards more economical bookings.

Expense reimbursement terms and conditions

In many companies, employees still have to advance expenses for business travel. Expense reports are used to justify expenses and obtain reimbursement.

Today, it is highly recommended to include an expense reimbursement policy in your corporate travel policy. The budgets set out in this document enable employees to know the maximum amount of reimbursement from which they can benefit.

As a company director, you can choose to set up a fixed rate (e.g. maximum of 30 euros per day), or propose reimbursement of actual expenses (e.g. if the employee spends 20 euros per day, 20 euros will be reimbursed).

Types of accommodation

The choice of accommodation types should be mentioned in the travel policy. The variety of options, from luxury hotels to temporary rentals, must be carefully considered to meet the specific needs of traveling employees. 

Traditional hotels offer standard comfort, but furnished apartments may be more suitable for extended stays. Companies can also consider partnerships with temporary accommodation services for preferential rates. 

By integrating these choices into the travel policy, the company can guarantee its employees accommodation suited to their missions, while optimizing the costs associated with business travel.

Transport modes

Depending on the company's needs and preferences, certain modes of transport will be preferred. Destinations can change depending on the mission and type of business trip, which is why companies often adopt a variety of approaches. In some cases, employees will have to travel by plane for international trips, while trains are preferred for shorter journeys. Once on site, employees may need to use a vehicle to get around, so it's worth remembering to include information on the possibility of renting a car.

Some companies are also adopting best practices when it comes to corporate ecology. In this case, they may want to give priority to sustainable mobility solutions, such as car-sharing or public transport. These guidelines should be included in the travel policy to ensure that travel management is fully in line with the company's values.

Comfort range

In addition to the budget not to be exceeded, it's a good idea to specify in a company travel policy the range of comfort authorized for each type of employee and trip. Not all employees are subject to the same rules for business travel, depending on their hierarchical level.

The duration and frequency of business trips also influence the definition of booking rules. Some companies ask their employees to choose the cheapest reservations, and therefore those offering the minimum comfort, in order to reduce expenses. This practice is known as "best buy".

However, for the well-being of your employees, we advise you to allow them to choose accommodation and transport that guarantee a certain level of comfort.

Indeed, one of the aims of a travel policy is to guarantee the comfort and productivity of employees on business trips. This is all the more true when the business trip is long. Beyond a certain duration, it is more pleasant for your employees to travel by train in 1st class or by plane in premium class rather than in economy class. These different situations must be clearly stated in the travel policy.

Remember that it is also possible to include special situations in your EVP, such as travel conditions for pregnant women or people with disabilities. In these special cases, it is obviously advisable to opt for first-class rail or air tickets, if their presence on the business trip is really essential.

Preferred airlines and hotel chains

The travel policy should also include information on preferred airlines and hotel chains. The company has a duty to ensure the safety of its employees on business trips, and therefore to enable them to book with airlines and hotels offering sufficient conditions of safety and comfort.

The aim is to select companies and hotel chains renowned for their reliability. For business travel, the company can then negotiate discounts with hotels and airlines based on the number of reservations per year.

Comfort doesn't stop at choosing business class or good hotels. The optimization of business travelers' time is also an important consideration. Coordinating schedules, hotels conveniently located close to meeting venues, access to lounges for working: these are all elements that need to be considered to ensure efficient and enjoyable business events for all participants.

Authorized on-site expenses

A company's travel policy defines the rules covering authorized expenses during business trips. These guidelines are designed to ensure efficient management of resources while safeguarding the well-being of traveling employees.

When it comes to on-site expenses, the policy can stipulate specific limits for meals, local transport and other related costs. For example, it may authorize employees to exceed the standard meal rate in exceptional circumstances, while requiring appropriate supporting documentation. Some companies may also choose hotels that include breakfast or certain meals, thus saving money.

A well-defined travel policy regarding authorized expenses on site promotes transparency and avoids abuse. It can also encourage financial responsibility by specifying how expenses are to be reimbursed, accepted methods of payment and procedures for submitting expense reports.

Internal validation process

Reservations may not always be within the budget indicated in the travel policy. In fact, we are never safe from a sudden price increase due to high demand, schedules that don't match your needs, or having to make late bookings. To keep control of your company's travel expenses, it's important to set up a booking validation system. The company can even opt for systematic validation.

This section must specify who the validators are. If necessary, employees can directly contact the person(s) designated for this task. In some companies, a multi-level validation system may be set up. This is generally the case when the company's organization is complex (large company, different departments, etc.).

Employee safety rules

The safety and well-being of employees must be at the heart of every company travel policy. Even if they are no longer on the company premises, but on the move to another city, region or even country, the company remains responsible for its employees.

An effective travel policy should therefore include a special section dealing with personal or political risks that may arise during business travel. This section can include guidelines on emergency management, ensuring adequate preparation for eventualities.

If your employees regularly travel to high-risk countries, it's important to write an additional section on these countries so that employees are well informed about the specific risks associated with these destinations. This section should include recommendations concerning safety measures to be taken, such as areas to be avoided, health precautions and local emergency contacts.

Template of a corporate travel policy

Need a template of a corporate travel policy? At FairJungle, we've created a corporate travel policy template to help you build your own. You can use it as a starting point and customize it by adding sections based on your company's specific needs.

The importance of communicating your travel policy

Once your travel policy has been drawn up, it's important that employees have a clear understanding of it. Your task at this point is to choose the best possible communication channels.

Depending on the means at your disposal, you can choose between e-mailing, posters and printed documents, and don't forget to mention it in person, at a meeting for example. The most important thing is to be transparent and to continue to communicate regularly on the subject, without forgetting to ask employees for feedback to improve it!

Don't forget, even if cost savings are a key issue for a company when it comes to business travel, it's important not to overlook employee comfort, which also determines business performance.

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