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Balancing Act: Keeping Travelers and Your Finance Department Happy

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You know it’s important to keep your employees happy while they’re on the road. After all, you want them in good spirits as they attend important meetings and conferences on behalf of your company. However, this can be a slippery slope when it comes to your travel budget. You likely want to avoid unnecessary luxuries eating into your company’s bottom line.

Is it possible to keep your employees happy without blowing the travel budget? You bet. Here are a few tips to help you find a happy medium.

Keeping business travelers happy and on budget

Separate travel wants from travel needs

As you create or update your travel policy, find thoughtful ways to balance business travelers’ comfort with cost-conscious practices and guidelines. Which benefits really make a difference and which ones are simply nice to have but not entirely necessary?

For example, a hotel breakfast that’s included in a traveler’s stay means they don’t have to worry about finding a decent meal before their busy day begins. Plus, many business travelers report grabbing a few extra breakfast items to keep in their room as snacks for later. One less thing to figure out for themselves while on the road can make a world of a difference.

On the other hand, upgrading to business or first class for every flight probably isn’t necessary. It’s a nice luxury, but it likely doesn’t reduce stress or enable work the way free breakfast and Wi-Fi does.

Understand your employee’s travel preferences

Every business traveler is going to have slightly different priorities. Enabling your employees to book their trips around those priorities can pay off in big ways (as well as keep them happy!)

An exhausted employee won’t be able to perform to their highest standard while traveling. Also, they are more likely to lose hours of productivity once they’re back in the office as they “catch-up” from traveling.

A relaxed, refreshed and energized employee, on the other hand, will represent the company well and return to the office ready to get to work.

Take the time to find out your business travelers’ preferences. Do they like to arrive the evening before so they can prepare and get a good night’s sleep in a quiet hotel room? Or are they the rise-and-shine type that doesn’t mind an early flight and would prefer the extra time at home?

Travelers with families may feel anxious the longer they are away from home, in which case, they’ll want to spend the shortest amount of time away. Others that truly enjoy exploring new destinations will appreciate the chance to arrive a day early or stay a day late. This gives them an opportunity to recharge while also indulging their sense of adventure.

By understanding your business travelers’ preferences, you can tailor travel policies to enable the best travel experience possible while still setting clear expectations that protect the budget.

Set the expectation around travel policies

Business travel should be a fair trade-off. You are going the extra mile to help your employees feel happy while on-the-road. The expectation should be that in return, they are respecting the company travel policy and adhering to the guidelines.

This is especially true when it comes to working with finance.

First and foremost, all business travelers should be expected to submit their travel expenses on time. There is no excuse to delay sharing this important information with the finance team, and your company should make that very clear.

Second, when last-minute changes do occur, set the expectation that travelers must notify finance within a reasonable timeframe. You don’t want finance making budgeting decisions when they are operating on outdated information.

If applicable, communicate when it’s acceptable to upgrade airline seats or book a stay at a higher-priced hotel. You also want to make sure employees understand the limits on daily food expenses, as most tend to spend at the highest limit.

A travel policy is only effective when enforced, so don’t hesitate to correct any employees that act outside the guidelines immediately. The more you set the expectation that travel policies are not optional, the easier it will be to regulate.

How working with a TMC can help

When it comes to keeping business travelers happy without blowing the budget, a travel management company takes the stress out of establishing the right corporate travel policies and finding cost-effective ways to implement them. The result? Satisfied employees and a satisfied finance team.

At Direct Travel, our years of experience combined with our extensive industry knowledge give us the advantage when it comes to meeting your corporate travel goals. Let us help you implement the travel policy that’s equally beneficial for your business travelers and your bottom line. Let’s talk.

Save time and money by working with a travel management company you can trust.

Learn about Direct Travel's unique approach to corporate travel management.

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