We know that travellers rarely read travel policies. Even if the traveller is compliant it is not always because they have spent the time to download the policy and read it. Even as someone with a vested interest in business travel I don't know what ours is.
In a way, there is no need to write a travel policy and stick it on the intranet. Instead, the online booking tool can act as the travel policy in technology form, with the travel manager tweaking it regularly based on changes in the policy, suppliers or destinations. While the travel team may need a document as guidance, the 'visual guilt' messages, reminders and other forms of engagement are more fitting for informing travellers.
I talked about this with Amadeus's Kevin Myhill recently at Business Travel Show. He says that with enhanced dashboards buyers are in the position to change policies on a whim using data collected, new content streams, algorithms and robots.
"Really travel managers want to quietly control in the background. The only rule should be that the traveller has to use the tool and then the travel manager can apply the policy behind it," Myhill explains.
It's a bit like when you get an app update on your phone except now sometimes you don't even need an update anymore. Tweaks are made on a weekly or monthly basis; both Myhill and SAP's Johnny Thorsen both mentioned how frequently updates are made to fit in a more agile environment.
Many travel managers attribute compliance to the amount of bookings made through online booking tools, so there's already an element of this in play.
Yet over the last few months I've asked several travel managers if they still write and share travel policies. Most feel it's important to have one on their company intranet although they know it's not often read. Making changes within online booking tools means a more dynamic and flexible programme with a technology focus that works subtly, so long as the traveller is kept updated along the way.