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Travel mandates

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Thomas Genser
Thomas Genser's picture
Travel mandates

I'd be interested to know what people think about whether travel mandating is on its way out.

My understanding is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce travel policy / maintain compliance - partly because of LCCs where employees are allowed to go off and book and then invoice, partly through per diem programmes and partly because it takes a long time to put a travel policy in place but it can be ignored at a moment's notice. 

So do you think travel policies have had their day? 

And what will replace them if they have?

UK-based buyer (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Policy is here to stay
I think policy will become more important in the near future but it's really about communicating it to employees so they understand the process and don't start (or continue) acting as their own travel agent. Easyjet is starting to work much more closely with TMCs so this will be a big step forward in encouraging people to book within policy. Hopefully other LCCs will follow in their wake....
Buyer Beware
Buyer Beware's picture
It's easy to enforce compliance if you really want to

The quick way to make employees follow policy is to refuse to pay their expenses for travel that's been booked out of policy.

This is a bit extreme and will upset staff (at least at first). In any case, a lot of companies are generally tightening their guidelines on expenses as a way to squeeze down costs in this seemingly endless economic trough we find ourselves in.

That's not to mention the increasing importance of duty of care which means that we need to know where our employees are if something goes wrong.

I think we are really waiting for technology to catch up with what's available in the leisure travel market - if they get this right, there should be far less need for employees to be making their own arrangements.



Thomas Genser
Thomas Genser's picture
Refuse to pay?

If they are abusing the system, then yes, but that's obvious.

If an employee is on a work trip, books out of policy but on an affordable fare, had a good reason for doing so and has the receipts, what would refusing to pay achieve apart from ensuring they start updating their Linkedin profile ready to leave the company? Fine if good employees grow on trees, but since the cost of selection and recruitment is anything from 50-150% of the person's starting salary, quite an expensive way of saving money!

Nicolas Alonso (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
The answer to a lot of questions...IT DEPENDS

Some industries, such as pharma, have to have fully mandated programmes. There are rules and regulations that have to be followed. It's non-negotiable. That doesn't mean you don't have to take travellers and their habits into account. Companies like AZ have gone to tremendous lengths to make sure they keep their travellers happy.

The whole notion of travellers pushing back on policy because they want to book their own way is something of a myth in my experience. Sure, one or top elite salesmen, or top bods in corporate legal teams my dictate terms on the basis that the company would rather keep them than lose them.

But this is only true in a tiny minority of cases. Most travellers will do what they're told no matter how attached to their mobile/tablet they claim to be or how capable they are of finding the cheapest rates and fares online. The best travel managers are able to find the right balance between giving their people the flexibility of choice and shopping & booking channel, while maintaining compliant behaviour at the same time.

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