Millennials in the workforce prefer experiences over other forms of compensation. This generation would rather travel to new places and try new things than toil away in a cubicle and receive an annual bonus check.
This is good news for companies that are eager to attract young talent without resorting to stratospheric salaries. But placing a greater priority on business travel creates a different set of cost concerns.
Millennials have proven to be more willing than older generations to splurge on the company dime when traveling. Because many consider business travel as a working vacation, they are generally less interested in traveling frugally.
This puts smaller companies and startups in a difficult spot. Making business travel a regular part of work is a great recruiting and retention strategy, but the cost of bloated travel budgets can quickly become unsustainable.
The simple solution is to create a business travel policy. With a few key features in place, these policies make it easier to keep costs in check without putting restrictive limits on employees who are eager to globe-trot.
Here are some tips on introducing a business travel policy that’s comprehensive, instructive, and accessible:
If this is your first time creating a business travel policy, it can be easy to overlook important features and details. Relying on a template — like this one — ensures you cover all your bases.
Getting all the information in order takes effort. Having a team member whose primary responsibility is managing business travel creates less work for you while ensuring a thorough plan for every trip. If you can’t afford to hire someone full time, you can outsource the logistical heavy lifting to a freelancer.
In the policy, ask that employees look for services offering package deals on flights, rental cars, and hotels rather than book them each separately. Bundled deals will save you time and provide special deals.
Travel is a hypercompetitive marketplace, which is why most of the major players reward repeat customers. When crafting your policy, find out what kinds of loyalty programs airlines and hotels offer to individuals and institutions. Ask that your employees use those services when booking to recoup some of the company’s costs.
If you want to encourage your staff members to pinch pennies when they’re traveling, find a way to make it worthwhile by creating incentives, like rewarding them with a gift card for coming in under budget. You’ll save the company money without asking your employees to sacrifice too much comfort.
Make sure you’re not wasting money on unnecessary amenities. Some things — like a clean hotel or a convenient departure time — are necessary, but others you can eliminate without causing any grief. Your staff members likely won’t need a five-star hotel for a short business trip, so why pay for extra amenities they won’t use?
There are amenities that will save you money, like complimentary meals and happy hours. Encourage employees to pick hotels with these perks, and in the policy, let them know to take advantage of them. For instance, if the hotel offers a free breakfast, that’s what the company will cover — a teammate wanting to eat elsewhere will have to pay for it himself.
Millennials are notorious for craving information, so be transparent in why you’re creating your travel policy the way you are. Let them know these rules aren’t for the sake of having rules but that specific guidelines are included to minimize waste.
Remember that the point is not only to tell your business travelers what they can’t do, but also to reveal just how much your business travelers can do. Your staff will be able to make the most of the next business trip without draining company funds.
Tony Tie is a numbers-obsessed marketer, life hacker, and public speaker who has helped various Fortune 500 companies grow their online presence. Located in Toronto, he is currently the senior search marketer at Expedia Canada, the leading travel booking platform for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and local activities. Connect with Tony on Twitter @tonytie.