Corporate Travel Policy

7 Corporate Travel Policy The following pages dive deeper into each of the travel policy must-haves, covering insights and best practices that will help you assess your overall policy and evolve it into one that is better aligned with today’s business traveler and the evolving business travel environment. Air Travel Basic Economy Basic Economy is a new fare class that offers unbundled, more cost-efficient fares with additional restrictions including non-refundable, non- changeable fares. In many cases, seat selection and carry-ons are excluded from the price but can be added on at a cost. Some organizations have embraced Basic Economy, but the majority remove it as an option and request their Travel Management Companies (TMC) to exclude this fare class from search results. According to a poll that included 186 travel managers and buyers, “a majority of travel programs (63 percent) never allow basic economy and even more (79 percent) configure their booking tool to hide basic economy fares when travelers are not authorized 2 .” Generally Basic Economy is too restrictive and inflexible for the changing needs of business travelers. When looking at the total cost of trip, organizations often find these tickets end up costing more than economy tickets once ancillary fees are included. 2 “Are Business Travel Programs Barring Basic Economy? New Research Delves into How Managed Travel Policies Address Air Travel,” Business Wire , September 12, 2018, 3 McCartney, Scott. “Your Rock-Solid Case for Flying Business Class for Work,” Wall Street Journal , October 10, 2018, Loyalty Program Points The majority of travel policies allow travelers to collect loyalty program points from the suppliers with whom they book travel (primarily air, hotel, and rental car points). These points can be used for air and lodging upgrades, or they can be redeemed personally for non-business travel. The use of points should be addressed in a policy. If an employee chooses to redeem their points for an upgrade on a business travel flight, the policy should provide guidance on the rules surrounding their redemption. This includes whether or not employees can expense the fees associated with points redemption, which is generally not allowable. Business Class Travel In the past, business class was generally permitted for executives and senior leaders, where more junior employees were required to fly economy. Over recent years, the trend has been to remove this ‘grade driven’ approach to maintain equality across all levels of the organization and be considerate of the traveler’s well-being. In a May 2018 survey, 742 U.S. based road warriors were asked for the top 2 factors that would “encourage them to stay longer with their current employer”. The most popular choice, with 31% of respondents indicating it as one of the two factors, was “allowing business class seating on flights over six hours” 3 . While companies are looking for ways to reduce travel burnout and increase employee satisfaction, in general travel policies vary widely on this subject. Some companies do not permit any business class travel, some allow it for international travel over a certain duration, and some allow it for travelers above a certain level in the organization — or any combination of the three! For those allowing business class travel, the guideline is to allow the first class of service above premium economy for direct flights longer than 6-8 hours. Bleisure