Corporate travel is becoming increasingly important in the global business world. With more organisations now looking to maximise opportunities across borders, it’s only natural that a rise in travel will occur.
The mean average for employees aged between 18 - 65 is 3.6 business trips per year, according to Expedia Future of Travel October 2013.
However, with employees out of the office on a regular basis it can become a challenge for firms to ensure they are compliant with travel and entertainment policies.
With the internet now giving employees the option to control and create their own business travel experience, organisations have to ensure that staff stay within their travel rules. Of course, there are plenty of ways businesses can tackle this particular challenge and make sure that their staff are keeping compliant when on the road.
Will Tate, senior vice president of travel management consultancy Management Alternatives, said: "Younger travelers are so incredibly comfortable with the concept of gaming. That you now have a large traveling portion of the workforce that fully understands the concept of rewards and badges."
Gamification is the idea of rewarding employees for their compliance. If the staff do adhere to the policy properly, firms can actually collect their travel spending and save in the long run.
The thinking behind gamification, according to the Dynamics University, is that it appeals to human qualities such as the desire to compete, achieve and attain status. By turning something like travel compliance into a game, it encourages people to comply.
Indeed, this is beneficial for firms in a number of ways as businesses with improved corporate travel compliance can reduce travel costs by up to 20 per cent per staff member per individual trip, according to Forbes.
While gamification is a popular way to enforce compliance, it may not work with everyone. Millennials who have been raised on video games are likely to take to this idea much quicker than generation who do not feel a nostalgic connection to this type of culture.
Educate the workforce
Of course there are others ways businesses can encourage travellers to stay compliant. Training courses regarding your Company’s specific policies can help employees understand what is required of them.
Clear communication is often the best way to educate staff about your policies. Training sessions are a good way to go about this as it allows businesses to reach multiple members of the workforce at one time.
Spreading the message of travel compliance doesn’t have to be limited to training courses; newsletters, publications and the company intranet can all be used to help keep employees in accordance with your policy.
Get an online booking app
By making use of an online travel booking technology platform you can ensure that business travelers can make changes to their travel arrangements through a process that complies with your travel model.
The tool looks out for your policy interests while also cutting costs through reduced transaction fees or visual guilt (the concept that a booker will choose the lowest fare when the option is there in front of them).
Such a process also gives your employees more flexibility when booking, something that is increasingly important to the modern business traveller.
This type of solution is best suited to a simple travel policy. For more complex travel needs, such as multiple journey trips, an offline system may be preferable. Regarding compliance, TRX’s white paper said: “In addition to the cost savings garnered through the efficiencies, negotiated rates, and lowered transaction costs that come with their use, the tools themselves can embed policy in multiple ways to grow compliance.
"In fact, for mature programmes with well-established policies and preferred partner agreements, increasing compliance is one of the few opportunities left to drive savings throughout the programme."
Use big data
According to Travelport.com’s Travel Trends, effective big data solutions can be used to grow "compliance based on real-time insight into your travelers’ bookings".
Using this method, firms can look at whether travellers have exceeded set financial limits for a certain product or if they are breaking policy requirements relating to first-class travel.
What’s more, any bookings or actions that break your travel policy can be flagged up immediately, allowing you to take the required action as quickly and efficiently as possible.