As we emerge from the pandemic and travel resumes, many companies are realizing it may be time to revisit those strict travel restrictions put in place last March. Rogue travel has been a problem for as long as travel policies have existed, but now, those who are going “around” the restrictions aren’t only impacting your bottom line, they are risking their health and well-being and the duty of care for your company. The very policies you put in place in 2020 during the pandemic are now sometimes being viewed as obstacles to success for the individual contributors to your organization. And so… they’re going rogue.
The ‘book-on-your-own-ask-for-forgiveness-later’ mentality has been a popular one for a long time, but as we come out of a lockdown, or lockdown travel policy, many companies still have strict travel restrictions in place today. So, what is your sales team to do when they need to go meet with a prospect to help get your company business? Well... they find a way to go, of course.
The issue here is really two-fold, on one hand you have the company trying to do the right thing and protect their employees, and on the other you have an employee who relies on that commission and wants to help grow the business. So how do you find the balance between health and safety and your companies need to grow? Let’s find out.
Why is Rogue Travel such an issue?
Rogue travel can have many negative impacts on your business from the obvious, program leakage and a damaging impact on your bottom line to the less obvious, lost time. The reasons to mitigate rogue travel are endless, but here are a few key points to consider as you evaluate your rogue travel program.
- Your Travelers Aren’t Getting the Best Rates. Whether booking online or through an agent, if your travelers aren’t booking within your program they are missing out on the best fares. Our fare searches integrate multiple airlines and internet web aggregators to ensure we find the best price, regardless of where a fare is offered.
- Corporate Discounts Aren’t Captured. You worked long and hard to set up relationships with key partners to ensure the best price, rouge travelers are missing those rates.
- Lost Time. Online fare shopping can be time consuming, and quick comparisons are hard to make when you have to factor in variable dates of departure, routes, corporate discounts, and ticket vouchers. When travelers book with your TMC they don’t have to take the time to try to do the price comparisons and can rest assured they are getting the best rate for your company.
- No Travel Alerts. In the post-pandemic world knowledge is crucial. By booking outside of your program travelers will not receive the pertinent TripAlerts to notify them of potential disruptions – or health concerns for their travels.
- Where Are Your Travelers? When booking outside of your program, you just don’t know. Your company is legally and morally responsible for your employees when they travel on business, and when your travelers’ book within policy you have access to all the data you need to track their whereabouts.
Tactics to Mitigate Rogue Travel
World Travel, Inc. has been actively working with our customers on tactics to mitigate the rogue traveler. Key initiatives to consider for your program include:
- Open Dialog. Talk with your travelers about your policy and discuss what is considered acceptable travel. You might find that by having these conversations with your travelers will help them understand the importance of policy-compliant bookings.
- Have an Open Mind. What worked a few months ago might not work anymore; having an open mind and balancing the need to ensure your employees health and safety while also giving them the freedom to travel when necessary is crucial to curbing rogue travelers. And if you still aren’t comfortable giving them free reign to travel at their discretion consider an approvals process to give your employees the freedom to book policy-compliant travel while still maintaining control over trip approvals.
- Consider Alternatives. Travel Mandates are a popular way to demand in-policy bookings, but they might not work for every company and its culture. As restrictions begin to relax, offering a less restrictive policy for your travelers and possibly adding incentives to book within program might be a better option.
- Educate. Once you decide what is best for your company and your travelers make sure they fully understand your policy. Set up time to review your full travel policy with all your travelers and even consider having them sign off on the document so you have proof they intend to comply. It might also be a good idea to set up refresher meetings – every few months – to reiterate the importance and highlight any changes.
Travel Policy Advisor
To further support you in ensuring every traveler books within your policy, World Travel, Inc. has created the Travel Policy Advisor, an online application that generates Corporate Travel Policy guidelines based on program tolerance levels. Users choose their level of governance and enter program specific variables to generate the foundation of an effective travel policy. The output renders a fully customizable document to make it easy to further update to meet an organization’s needs. It’s a great resource to use if you're looking to build a policy from scratch or if you are looking for best practices to take your existing policy to the next level.
Need Additional Support? We’re Here to Help!
World Travel, Inc. is committed to the success of your travel policy. If you have questions about your policy or would like assistance reevaluating your policy post-pandemic our team is here to help. Contact your World Travel Account Manager or Business Development Representative today.