What To Expect When You Hire An Independent Business Travel Program Manager

I have learned that it is not so much about the size of the company that determines whether to establish the relationships with the travel agency to manage your business travel, but rather the company travel needs. Every company needs a travel policy. In general, bigger companies will often contract the traditional travel agency and usually have travel coordinators within their teams permanently employed by the company. However, often times, smaller companies travel extensively and are in dire need of well organized business travel model. If your decided to hire an outside consultant to help you manager your company travel & expense, here is my check list on what a good outside consultant should be able to do for you:

  • Finding  the best TMC for your company  business travel needs
  • Setting  the travel policy with your team
  • Negotiating  deals with suppliers directly as well as  with travel agencies
  • Implementing your program with TMC of your choice
  • Demonstrating the best value and options in business travel management choices
  • Working closely with your team and understanding your team needs
  • RFPs and contracts with suppliers and service providers
  • Online Booking Tool Administrations (Concur, Deem, Getthere etc…)
  • Training  your travel coordinators
  • Assisting  your travelers and road worriers
  • Working  with your executives directly to ensure their vision and goals are met
  • Helping  you understand  loyalty programs
  • Helping  you reduce cost of travel that impacts your bottom line
  • Consulting  your team on savings and achieving the highest ROI
  • Providing recommendation to manage business travel most effectively in the future

Travel business is not an easy one. Travel industry is always changing and your travelers can face multiple challenges on day to day basis, whether is a weather related, or industry driven crisis. Their time is valuable. A good consultant should be able to develop the confidence level within your team and help you improve your company travel culture, as well as compliance and adherence to the policy.

Creating A Good Travel & Expense Policy

If your employees travel for business – regardless of your business size – you need to implement a travel expense policy.

Yes, even if you’re a two-person operation and you both only travel twice a year.

Here’s why:

  • Get your business expenses under control, spend less and fight fraud
  • Reinforce your corporate culture and discipline
  • Simplify and speed-up your reimbursement process
  • Get organized

Here’s what a travel expense policy should cover:

1. Expense categories allowed for reimbursement. The most important groups include accommodation, travel (airlines, ground transportation, employee-owned vehicles) and meals. You might also want to include a communication group for phone and internet payments. Chances are there will be expenses that aren’t covered by any of these categories, so be flexible and add a “Miscellaneous” category to your policy. To gain more control, set per-day or per-trip spending limits for each category.

2. Proof of payment. Determine if you want to see receipts for all expenses or just for the ones that exceed a certain amount.

3. Timing. Give your employees a time frame for submitting expense reports. Encourage your business travellers to submit reports as soon as possible to speed-up the process. If you want the most accurate information, ask them to create an expense report the same day they incur the expense (especially important for foreign currency expenses). Also, be nice and clearly lay-out the reimbursement period so they know when to expect their money back.

4. Information required in the expense report.  It’s a good idea to at least require the expense date, amount, category, place and business purpose (a project, trade show or customer).

5. Approval process. Show your employees who will approve their expenses in each case. The process might be as simple as forwarding the report to an accountant for approval then payment. It can also be a bit more complicated, based on the amount spent, project or category, or any other parameter.

For a more sophisticated process, consider this:

  1. Set up an employee hierarchy with permission levels so they can have different amounts to spend and approval processes depending on their positions.
  2. Consider using company corporate cards or prepaid cards for your travelers. Outline if you want your employee to use the cards for all business-related expenses or just for specific ones.
  3. Choose preferred providers and put down their names in the policy. You might have special relations with a hotel chain or an airline, so you can encourage your travelers to use these providers and to help keep your budget in shape.

While crafting your travel expense policy, keep in mind it should not only help you company spending, but also your help your employees comply with policy easily – and increase productivity. That’s why, above all, make it simple to administer and easy to use.

Note: This blog content via nexonia.com

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