New year, new chance to strengthen your corporate travel program

As we start a new year, we’re often filled with reflection. We make resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and better ourselves in a variety of ways. The beginning of a new year is also the perfect time to make resolutions about our travel program goals as well.

This is especially timely given that during the first quarter you will most likely welcome many new employees and train them on your travel policy. January and February are the top two months for new hires, according to Monster.com. In most regions of the world, hiring season leads directly into peak travel season, with March and April being the heaviest flown months of the year.

Science tells us the easiest resolutions to keep are based on small changes. The good news for travel professionals is that small changes can measurably increase traveler satisfaction and make things easier for you as well. Make 2017 “The Year of the Business Traveler” with these simple steps:

  • Lay the Right Policy Groundwork

Now is the time to reexamine your policy and make any changes. Is this the year to add a ride sharing policy? Have you examined how basic economy fares may impact your frequent business travelers? Are there any perks you can add to increase traveler satisfaction. Once you have reviewed your policy, it’s onto step two.

  • Communicate. Communicate.

You’re most likely getting ready to attend a lot of new employee orientations. This is a great way to share travel policy basics with new travelers and establish good travel behavior from the get-go. According to ARC and Expedia, the lowest air ticket prices are available more than 21 days in advance, yet only one-third of flights globally are booked more than 21 days out. Encourage new employees to book earlier when available.

But don’t stop there. Hold a travel fair to clearly outline your travel policy and why you have it. Make sure travelers know their safety is your top concern. You can invite your TMC, Traveler Risk Management partner, and select hotel, air, and car suppliers.

Webinars are a cost-effective and easy way to continually share travel policy updates, tips, and best practices. Again, make sure you frame the policy in terms of the benefits to the traveler first.

  • Build Your Travel Community

Even your most seasoned employees will benefit from travel-related outreach throughout the year.  Establishing a social media travel community can help travelers connect and share their experiences. It can also help you gauge traveler sentiment and gather feedback.

Have some fun with it. Find ways to share policy updates, travel tips, or even fun posts with travelers via social media. The more engaged business travelers are, the more likely they’ll make the right choices.

While setting the right foundation is key, if you truly want to make 2017 “The Year of the Business Traveler,” it may be time to examine if your travel policy choices are helping retain your most productive travelers or contributing to their burnout. For a minimal cost you can increase traveler perks, satisfaction, and compliance.

To learn more, view this short infographic or download the white paper, “The Year of the Business Traveller: Four Keys to Utilising Data to Support Road Warriors In 2017.