The notion of travelling for work, on paper, might appear to have the potential to unlock a veritable Pandora’s Box of exciting experiences. However, this is only the case if employees are given the means by their employer to make the most of the great opportunities that travel presents.
In truth, travelling on business is very much a chore, which is something that people who talk of trips to the likes of Paris, New York and Barcelona, to only see the insides of an exhibition hall, will attest to.
Implementing a well-balanced corporate travel policy is key for businesses in ensuring that employees who need to travel for work are enlightened, motivated and get the most out of their business trips on a commercial and personal level.
The top priority is ensuring travellers are fully briefed in the traditions of the country they’re visiting, equipping them with the means to do business there effectively, while protecting them from committing a social faux pas. Interesting insights include knowing that the Finnish tend to dislike small talk while the Japanese regard it as vital to sealing the deal.
Workers should return to their families well-rested and in a good mood, which is why it’s vital not to cut corners and make the effort to book quality airlines and hotels and flights that operate at sociable hours.
Meanwhile, the promise of travel free weeks offer up that all-important work/life balance, along with remuneration and the option to take time in lieu.
While the above ensures a good travel experience, there are some points that businesses should stand firm on.
Airmile loyalty programmes aren’t always the most cost-effective when selecting flights and accommodation so it should be company policy not to use them.
If a train is delayed by 30 minutes or more, the passenger is entitled to a refund that may well end up in their employer’s pocket. To keep up morale, it’s best to pass it back to the worker in question.
Inviting family on a business trip is a grey area because of regulations and legalities surrounding duty of care, which is why it’s best to avoid this practice unless the circumstances are exceptional.
Having these value added measures in place will result in a business travel workforce that’s both culturally sensitive and strategic.
This post was written by Paul Casement, Director of Sales and Account Management at Travel Management Company Portman Clarity, who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show next week - you can register for a free pass at www.businesstravelshow.com