A robust business travel policy – if any at all – is perhaps one of the last things on the minds of the SME business owners. Despite being an increasingly essential part of their operations, the management of business travel always seems to take a backseat.
Sure, the easy accessibility and competitive prices offered by online websites is an attractive proposition for resource-lean organisations that may not have too many employees who are travelling regularly. However, companies should also take into consideration the long-term impact of a business travel policy – or the lack thereof – on time, cost and productivity.
Moreover, as we are increasingly plagued with the distressing news of terror attacks, natural disasters and aviation incidents all over the world, many organisations are faced with the tricky affair of ensuring the safety of their employees and mitigating risks on business trips.
1. It saves you time (and money)
If you ever booked a flight on one of the numerous websites, you have probably experienced at least one, if not all, of these frustrations – finding a suitable flight time at a reasonable price, volatile prices that changes from minute to minute, hidden costs that are revealed just before you key in your credit card details. More often than not, travellers settle for the cheapest price at the expense of their own comfort or spend way more than intended due to time constraints in seeking out a more budget-friendly price.
It doesn’t have to be this way. While leisure travellers may have the leeway to afford some level of inconvenience, for businesses, it means the loss of precious productivity hours that could potentially impact business outcomes.
SMEs that are establishing a travel policy should consider leveraging the expertise of a travel partner that, beyond the booking of flights and hotels, can help ease the entire travel management process. Not only is the itinerary taken care of, a travel partner can help to keep travel costs in check with their access to preferential rates for airlines, accommodation and land transport providers.
2. It gives you more bang for your buck
SMEs with just a handful of business travellers often find it challenging to efficiently integrate travel management with their existing business functions, as many are working with a lean team of employees that already juggling multiple roles. This is where a travel partner can significantly ease this additional burden without any added cost.
Imagine this – your next business trip could be booked within your set budget without any time spent on trawling self-booking sites for the cheapest rate. Furthermore, there is the added value of round-the-clock service and helplines should any unforeseen circumstances occur during a trip. All these for the price of your air ticket and accommodation.
3. It protects you and your employees
Insurance is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to duty-of-care for business travel. More so now than ever, business travellers are weary of the risks involved, especially when travelling to high-risk destinations, many of which are key global business hubs.
As an ethical obligation to their employees, employers should do their due diligence in ensuring that firstly, all potential risks are thoroughly assessed; secondly, employees are given full discretion when high-risk destinations are involved; and lastly, they are educated on the full extent of the organisation’s travel policy, so travellers can exercise their own precautions and make sound decisions when faced with an uncertain situation.
Sure, the initial process of developing a travel risk management policy could be a tedious one, but once it has been established, SMEs, or any organisation in fact, will definitely reap the long term benefit of protection for both the company and its employees.