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Improve Your Companies Travel Policy With These Easy Steps

Arranging travel and maintaining travel expectations can be a full time job, but for most people it isn’t even in their job description. The first step you can take to improve your company’s travel policies and foster savings behavior, is to write and utilize a travel policy guide and share it company-wide. Don’t have a travel policy, or your existing one needs serious work? Check out the outline below for recommendations, tips and tricks.

Policy recommendation Outline

 I. Travel Costs

A. Car Travel

1. First things first. “To drive or not to drive, and what to drive if driving? Those are the questions.” It seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

2. Detail how far is too far to drive. This can vary greatly based on geographical area, type of business, and how often an individual travels for work.

3. Once the driveable distance is established the traveler can decide if they are flying, driving their own car, or renting a car.

4. Deciding to drive a personal car or rent a car is an important decision.

       •  Driving a Rental Car can be a significant cost and liability savings as an alternate to using a personal vehicle.

       •  When renting, require that traveler must obtain the most competitive rates available. This is usually an economy car or the first available upon arrival.

       •  It is a good idea to have legal consult write a liability clause about the company’s obligations to take care of rented machinery.

       •  Driving a Personal Car

a)  The national mileage rate is 54 cents a mile. Down from 57.5 cents in 2015. This technically makes driving a personal car more affordable for the employer in 2016, but gas prices are not the only costs to consider.

 (1)  Do you know the make, model and year of the traveler’s car? Do you know if they have kept up with oil changes? Probably not. That is part of the reason why renting a car for long distances can give peace of mind to employers. The car is likely only a year or two old and has also likely been well maintained.

(2)  Don’t forget to regularly check on changes made by the IRS on national rates here – www.irs.gov/2016-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business

4. Ideas to encourage savings

•  If two people are traveling to the same location, recommend that the travelers share a ride.

•  Remind employees to utilize any corporate deals previously negotiated for travelers.

B. Air Travel

1. Sometimes it is easiest to have a contract with a travel agent to arrange travel for larger groups. There are many large and small agencies to choose from, some maybe even in your city. Try a Google search for Corporate Travel Agents – Corporate Travel Agency Web Search

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2. Outline class of service allowed, as well as if you coverage of baggage fees and rebooking fees.

3. Ideas to Encourage Savings

•  Consider making it a rule that if over $200 may be saved that the cheaper flight must be taken unless given prior approval for a more expensive direct flight.

C. Lodging

1. Research low, middle and high rates for the city and establish where to recommend for the trip.

•  You need to and should want to provide adequate accommodations for individuals required to travel. Seeking the cheapest option isn’t always best.

2. It can take pressure off employees if the company employs someone who takes care of making hotel arrangements (if you do not choose to use a travel agent).

•  This person can negotiate room allotments, blocks and rates. As well as cultivate a relationship with on-site management so employees are treated like welcomed guests.

3. Explain that spouse, guest and personal travel combined with business is never covered as a business expense by the company.

 II. Payment

A. Manage Expectations

1. Be sure to have a very clear outline and timetable for submitting reimbursements, available for all managers, account payable staff.

2. As time passes it may be difficult to procure old receipts. We recommend requiring that no more than 45 days pass after money is spent before it is submitted for reimbursement.

3. Require that meal expenses must be itemized.

4. Require that receipts must be submitted for all expenses.

5. Be sure to have a very clear outline for how to properly use a corporate card so you are covered if there is a violation.

B. Approvals

1. Explain how to procure approval for a more expensive flight, room, per diem, etc.

2. There are always special situations where a higher end choice needs to be made. Whether it is the need for a last-minute direct flight in business class, or an expensive dinner to impress a client. It is good practice to explain from the start how to gain approval to spend the extra money. It helps eliminate uncomfortable situations later.

C. Other Reimbursable Expenses to Consider Including:

1. Tips up to 20% at restaurants and $1 per bag.

2. Laundry when a trip is in excess of 5 days.

3. Parking in economy lots and self-parking at hotels.

4. Paying tolls.

5. Use of an exercise facility ($15/day is average). This is only necessary when the hotel does not give free gym access.

6. Currency conversion for international travel.

 III. Quick Snapshot of Travel/Expense Options

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It is good business practice to share formal rules and documents like these with all employees, not just those who regularly hit the road. After you provide everyone with a digital or hard copy it is also important to make it part of orientation packets you distribute to new hires.

At Corporate Sedan Service, let us focus on your transportation needs, by creating a corporate account, where you can easily make car reservations, receive e-mail confirmations and change travel on the fly.

Download our free Travel Management Tool to organize your teams itinerary:

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Improve Your Companies Travel Policy With These Easy Steps

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Our driver arrived a few minutes early, was professional, courteous and got us to the airport for our early morning flight without any problem! The car was immaculate and comfortable. I especially liked the 24 hour and 2 hour trip notification that was sent via email. It was reassuring to know they were following up. I highly recommend Corporate Sedan for any transportation needs!

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Great customer service- tracking my flight, noting it was going to land 40 minutes early…and making the adjustment so someone was there to meet me at the airport early! Also, receiving a confirmation email 24 hours prior was reassuring as well. Thank you!!

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