Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
Getting travellers to understand the goals behind a company’s travel policy is one of the keys to success for buyers.
A panel of four senior travel buyers agreed that the vast majority of employees wanted “to do the right thing” when booking travel, during a session on travel policy at the Buying Business Travel Forum in London.
This view was endorsed by BCD Travel’s Chris Crowley who set out what he believed were the five key elements for a successful policy: compliance, governance, cost, security and satisfaction.
“I believe that most travellers want to be good corporate citizens – 99.9 per cent of them want to do the right thing for the company and want the business to be profitable and successful,” said Crowley, who is BCD’s senior vice president, global client management.
“If travel policy supports and drives that in a way that travellers can understand, they will respect it and comply with it.”
John Dickens, shared services manager of NEC, told the forum: “We treat them like adults and fundamentally we believe people are good and it’s the same few individuals who are taking the mickey.”
While Mark Cushieri, executive director of UBS, said the company had secured 90 per cent compliance with policy despite it not being mandatory, although he admitted “we still have a few mavericks”.
“We control but do not command,” he added. “People want to do the best thing for the company – we want people to treat our money as if it’s their own. We do not mandate as that would not work for us as a company, instead we try to influence.”
The buyers also spoke about the importance of ensuring travellers understood the policy and what its aims were for the company.
Rosy Burnie, office manager for mining company Luvata, said: “Communication is very important. Travellers need to understand why there is a policy in place and how you are helping them.
“You need to get the executives working with you and to support you from the start. If you don’t get the CEO on your side, then it’s not going to work.”
Making the travel policy simpler and easier to understand for travellers has also been the goal for buyers.
Salesforce travel manager Robbie Hughes said: ““We are looking to reduce it from a 12-page document down to about a third of that size. There are four key areas to managing the programme: duty of care, data, cost and employee satisfaction.
“We are moving away from command and control when it comes to our policy. We currently have the policy of booking the lowest logical fare, although we may change this.”
Making travel processes as painless and quick as possible has been a priority for NEC’s Dickens.
“It’s all about simplification and making it easier for people to buy travel,” he said.
“People are travelling on behalf of the business and they feel it’s a chore – they want to book it simply and quickly.
“We have changed our policy from you must buy at the lowest cost to you must buy at the lowest cost within reason.”