A transparent and motivational travel policy


The essence of a travel policy is the description of guidelines that govern business travel within the organisation. What are the preferred airlines, economy or business class, are direct reservations allowed or only through a Travel Management Company (TMC), etc. 


An effective travel policy can result in considerable cost savings but this is just one of several deciding factors: a modern travel policy involves much more than just the price tag and can be regarded as a secondary condition of employment.



Not without risk


The absence or non-observance of a travel policy is not devoid of risk. Giving business travellers a free hand gives them space to ignore the organisation’s travel policy. Often this is not immediately detected until it’s too late and the costs have been made. In large organisations there are always a number of employees who like to test the limits. For instance, some travellers will purposely choose a flight with a stopover because in such cases company policy allows them to fly business class due to the longer travel time.


Simple and transparent


More than anything else a travel policy should be simple. It shouldn’t be an exhaustive document that becomes illegible and therefore counterproductive. Conversely, crucial information must be clearly stated and drawing up the guidelines takes some careful thought because in order to avoid discussion the policy shouldn’t leave any grey areas. If too strict, travellers will be tempted to disregard the policy and look for alternatives on their own initiative, which can have catastrophic consequences for the Duty of Care.

By setting up a travel programme and subsequently measuring and reporting you can identify the exceptions and talk to those employees on an individual basis.

Back in the day a travel policy was often broad and comprehensive. The trend nowadays is to define the framework taking into account the travellers’ wishes and needs.



Traveler centricity, or the lack thereof...


Across the globe the war for talent rages on unabated. Businesses are finding it harder to recruit qualified staff and retain them in the long term. In general, staff and their knowledge are of great importance to the success of an organisation. It makes little sense to jeopardise this crucial asset for a limited (purchase) advantage.

That is why the travel policy must be aimed at striking the right balance between costs and service to employees, with a central role for the HR policy.

However, we often see that HR has no say in the development of a travel policy. Especially in mid-sized companies, the Finance and Purchase departments often pull the strings. Also, HR rarely fulfils an initiating and leading role in tender procedures for a new Travel Management Company.

The travel policy of the future


The travel policy of the future must be viewed as a secondary condition of employment. The policy must reflect the culture of the organisation and help travellers understand the reason behind the guidelines.

The travel policy of the future gets the traveller inspired. Discuss the travellers’ responsibilities with them. For instance, if the policy prescribes that travellers can stay in a 4-star hotel this does not mean this is compulsory. Make travellers personally responsible for a (financially) efficient business trip.


All too often a travel policy is organised from a financial standpoint. HR should play a more active role in the organisation and purchase of business trips.

Instead of including restrictions in the travel policy, create possibilities for travellers and make the travel policy attractive, forward thinking and comfortable.