17 Corporate Travel Policy Travel Booking Tools In order to realize the benefits of online booking tools (OBTs), such as increased policy compliance, reduced traveler spending, duty of care, and spend visibility, organizations must encourage adoption of their corporate booking tools. Resistance to OBTs is often a function of employees believing they can get a better deal elsewhere. With the increasing consumerization of these tools, adoption rates have increased in the past few years and are now expected to exceed 50% for the first time in 2019 11 . Given the importance of OBTs to travel programs, companies are advised to mandate their use while simultaneously educating travelers on the importance of these tools from both duty of care and cost containment perspectives. Travelers often come to believe that offerings in the OBT are more expensive, and that by shopping elsewhere they can find better deals, thus benefitting the organization even more. However, most travelers don’t understand the need to consolidate purchases through a single channel so data can be collected for supplier negotiation purposes. Education of the tools available to travelers is critical to high compliance in any travel program. Reward Solutions Reward solutions are a way to help align the savings and compliance goals of companies with the convenience and comfort desires of their road warriors while traveling on business. By incentivizing behavioral change through the use of rewards, companies hope to bring traveler and corporate interests more closely into alignment. In recent years the concept of rewarding travelers for ‘cost conscious’ travel choices has become more prevalent. Keep in mind that with reward solutions, travelers may book their travel outside of the provided booking tools, introducing added security considerations. Organizations need to provide clear guidance in their policy to prevent decisions that would negatively impact employee safety and adequate comfort. Organizations also need to consider the tax implications of giving incentive-based rewards to employees, which will vary by country. Trip Approval Workflow Use of Pre-Trip Approval Generally, organizations choose to employ some type of pre-trip approval, whether a manual process via a manager-employee conversation solidified via email, or through a fully automated trip request technology solution. In more highly regulated industries like life sciences or financial services, a formal approval is required prior to booking any travel. In less regulated industries and companies, a more informal process is followed. Whichever method your organization deploys, it is important to clearly define any processes or steps required prior to booking a trip. Who Approves Pre-Trip Requests? When an organization incorporates a pre-trip approval process into its travel program, the travel requests should be approved by direct managers according to business needs. It is important for organizations to think through the booking rules and dependencies, as untimely pre-trip approvals can drive up travel costs if approvals are delayed, especially for international and business class travel. In recent years the concept of rewarding travelers for ‘cost conscious’ travel choices has become more prevalent. Keep in mind that with reward solutions, travelers may book their travel outside of the provided booking tools, introducing added security considerations. Organizations need to provide clear guidance in their policy to prevent decisions that would negatively impact employee safety and adequate comfort. 11 Blue Swan Daily , March 15, 2019, https://bit.ly/2VZR6aO.