As a travel manager, you’ve proposed some fantastic points at your review meeting with the account manager…the outcome, as you may have expected, is a change in the travel policy. This can be pretty much challenging as you have to face stiff resistance initially from the travelling employees to cope with the travel policy updates. So here is what you should do next to make the change with the minimum viable intervention:
Step 1: Where is the actual change?
Air? Rail? Hotel? What are the areas of your travel policy that demand changes; what are the recommended changes?
Step 2: Understand the reasoning behind it
This is highly important. The reason can be as diverse as the money-saving initiative for the company or is the procurement team incentivized for their money-saving initiatives. Or it can be a gentle push towards increasing compliance.
If you find people not that compliant, take it as an opportunity to slacken the policy a bit, so that it reflects the actual need of the travel team. It may be an attempt to regulate the policy’s fluid nature to avoid travellers booking elsewhere. The secret lies in striking the right chord between travel compliance and fluidity.
Step 3: Chew over the implications
What would you like to place at the top of the chart? Is it cutting costs? Is it reducing traveller friction? It is weighing the internal considerations when it comes to understanding your travel supplier’s recommendations. This should ideally set the thing up for you to decide on the changes to the policy.
Step 4: Let’s get on with a plan:
Assuming you are OK with it and want to implement it – you need to work out on what changes you will be happy making, when, on a more detailed level. Get key stakeholders onboard—especially the ones within your organization—they may have other ideas worth considering in the decision–making process
Step 5: Roll out anyways
Now is the time to make sure they are carried out in the right way. The new travel policy put together should be such that travelling employees shouldn’t think twice about it when making a booking, and therefore not soften its compliant tone. Internal communication is the key to let people know that the policy is updated and the reasoning in that case. Often how well a policy is received depends on the clear reasons behind the change – any opportunity to push the policy forward forms the key.
Monitor your travel management tool regularly to measure the progress out of the newly updated policy. Any deviations from the intended results can either help you make minute tweaks or change the goal post altogether.