Employee Travel Policy

Most companies cover certain travel expenses for employee travel, lodging and accommodations.  But many organizations do not have written policies and procedures outlining the guidelines for how expenses are pre-approved, approved, submitted for reimbursement, tracked, etc.  What type of accommodations are acceptable? Is there a maximum hotel room rate per night?  It is critical for every company to create a written standard operating procedure that specifies their guidelines for all employees.  Having an Employee Travel Policy to clarify a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will govern what a team member will consider to be appropriate without allowing personnel to make decisions for the company that may not be reasonable.

When creating a draft for your organization’s travel policies and procedures here are some important details that need to be included:

  • Company decision makers who are authorized to coordinate employees travel plans. Examples may be the employee, the crew supervisor, the administrator at the regional office, etc.
  • Designate a corporate or regional office travel coordinator. The tasks would include a central point of contact for all travel requests and changes.
  • Create a work flow process for employees to make travel arrangements.
  • Determine a policy for your company’s requirements for vetting hotels for their quality and health, safety and environmental standards.
  • If your company has a travel per diem, how was that rate determined? This is an area where there is a maximum daily spend.  But what about the hotel rate adjustments?  Hotel rates fluctuate depending on the facility’s occupancy and area activities.  When rates decrease your per diem stays the same.  Companies must continually analyze and revisit their per diem travel rate to see if there are additional savings that are not being realized.
  • Centralizing your travel process where there is a central “hub” or area is in control of the steps from the initial reservation request back to the receipt and audit of the hotel bill. To ensure the actual charges match the usage.

When reviewing your corporate employee travel policy, it is critical to review the in-house administration and personnel and the cost of their time to control and manage your overall lodging expenditures.  Determine the cost for your administrative staff that have full job descriptions to add employee travel management to their full time schedule.  A second option is to implement a travel department in house, however, there is a cost for the staff and their labor that most companies do not want to incur.  Or a third option is to outsource your employee travel for no additional cost.

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