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The One Business Resolution Companies Can’t Afford To Break: Updating Travel Policy

New research by American Express Global Business Travel outlines gaps and opportunities for companies to strengthen managed travel programs by focusing on their travel and expense policies early this year. Analyzing nearly 100 travel policies of global, multinational, and mid-sized companies, the research shows less than one third of these companies overall have updated their travel policies within the last year. This oversight can leave companies exposed to losing hard-earned corporate negotiated rates, and more importantly, may put travelers at unnecessary risk.

“It’s a new year and with any good business practice, corporate travel departments are setting goals, including bringing their programs in line with the competition and external marketplace dynamics,” said Christa Degnan Manning, director of E XPERT INSIGHTS research, American Express Global Business Travel. “However, like many improvement resolutions, reviewing and revising travel policy tends to get neglected. Yet a healthy travel policy can help companies achieve long-term success. Policies can support business-critical goals such as risk mitigation and employee engagement, as they touch on issues from traveler safety and security to corporate social responsibility.”

This new Best Practice Roadmap report on Travel Policy, produced by E XPERT INSIGHTS, shows many organizations still need to close the gap between their policy content and emerging industry trends.

Highlights of the policy gaps exposed in this report, based on 100 corporate policies reviewed, include:
  • Only 12% addressed traveler security despite it being a critical issue for companies to consider as more and more employees embark on worldwide business travel today
  • 80% did not address reimbursement of ancillary fees such as checked bags, reservation change fees, or other for-purchase services offered at hotels and car rentals
  • Only 35% of smaller companies and large international organizations require an agency to book hotels, compared to 85% of global companies
  • None of the travel policies addressed the use of mobile applications or even referenced tools they may have available for travelers to use on the road or when working remotely
  • 70 percent of companies do not provide specific guidelines to travelers on when it makes sense to book airfares through a non-preferred supplier if the ticket price is less expensive

“Policy is the foundation of a successful managed travel program and maintaining this infrastructure by conducting regular check-ups is paramount,” said Helen Brough, Advisory Services Global Policy Practice Director, American Express Global Business Travel. “In our policy practice we have identified over 300 areas companies should be reviewing in their policy for the best outcomes – for the company, for the traveling employees, and for ultimate travel management program success. Companies that are most successful are those that regularly review and update their travel policies based on changing market conditions as well as focus on communicating those policies to their travelers.”

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