I’m on the new business team at Rocketrip, so I speak with travel managers and finance leaders every day about their reporting needs, challenges with cost-control and program visibility, and corporate culture goals. Whether their companies’ bottom lines have been negatively or (yes, in some cases) positively impacted by the pandemic, I’ve noticed these conversations can typically be grouped into one of three distinct stages: shock, coping, and move-forward planning.
It’s this last mindset, moving forward, that has fostered a lot of exciting conversations in recent weeks. So I want to discuss one of the most common challenges — and share some solutions — that I’ve heard in my post-COVID outbreak conversations with travel managers: improving travel policy communication and (ultimately) compliance.
Take a page from your marketing team’s book
One of the travel managers I spoke with last week, the North American head at an enterprise service organization, called it “a blindspot” and a “time suck” that their travelers were unfamiliar with policy and confused about what travel was being allowed right now.
You can elevate your policy by thinking more like a content marketer; that means approach your policy less as a dry Word document and more as a highly engaging resource. Are you using highlights pages, custom illustrations, or even short videos to educate your travelers? Rocketrip even has a travel manager who runs a road warrior email newsletter with monthly prizes. After all, we live in a world of short attention spans and busy colleagues!
Build executive alignment to make a bigger difference
On the other side of the spectrum, I had a conversation where the travel manager praised the leadership team as “keeping everyone in the loop” with clear, regular communication. Do your executives know your policies and are they ensuring their teams stay in the know? Is your policy and all your traveler notifications in an easily-accessible spot, or buried on an intranet?
Some of the most successful travel programs I’ve seen rely on an executive sponsor to communicate changes or enhancements to the program. If there is no executive sponsor, then travel administrators often (through no fault of their own) don’t have the bandwidth or cross-departmental influence to hit ambitious goals and drive changes in booking behavior.
Use this as an opportunity to reset and innovate
The pandemic has pressure-tested many areas of corporate travel reporting and management, and the teams that look ahead, problem-solve, and innovate are going to be in the strongest business position when travel returns. I’d love to help your team problem solve; please feel free to reach out.
Fran Brzyski is a senior account executive at Rocketrip.