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This morning I headed off to the airport for my domestic flight to Texas. When I got to the airport, I pulled out my ID and my electronic boarding pass and went to check my bag. I went to the self-check-in kiosk, punched in my confirmation code, grabbed the baggage tag and then placed my bag on the belt and proceeded through security. While I waited for my flight, I sat on the ground (since all the waiting area seat were taken) and I began to think about how the travel industry has slowly started to chip away at the services they provide to the consumer. I understand that some of these actions are necessary and consumers have become voracious in researching all their options out there. They can search multiple sites at the click of the button and then with three more clicks book that deal from their smartphones. Companies need to find ways to save their bottom line while remaining appealing to potential customers. This is a fine line that companies need to walk. Some can and will do it better than others, but ultimately customers will affect the changes that they want with their wallets and social media.
However, what about your employees? How does your corporate travel policy affect your employees’ travel experience and level of travel friction? Always booking the cheapest flight, hotel, rental car, etc., can take an unfair toll on your employees. This is something that companies need to navigate delicately. With too much travel friction and stress, employees may begin to deny travel, or worse, look for another company which fits their needs better. The costs associated with consistently hiring new employees can make a big impact on the health of an organization. The needs of each company are going to be different, but some of the core questions that have to be asked when designing your corporate travel policy should include:
- Does our policy put undo stress on the traveler?
- Does the travel budget put the traveler in an unsafe environment, by putting them in an undesirable location putting them at risk?
- Are the employees able to say no to travel in high-risk areas, if they feel uncomfortable due to a political threat, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs?
- What is your evacuation policy to aid your employee if the environment begins to deteriorate? Are you able to remove your employee before a crisis occurs?
- How are your vendors and partners going to work with you to ensure that any stress experienced is as minimal as possible to both you and your employee?
Travel is unavoidable in our global economy, but how we minimize travel friction is not. Look at the services provided and the prices associated with them; it will help you find the right provider, both personally and professionally. Sometimes, when you see the real costs, you realize what looked like the cheapest option, really was not in the end.