How Important is it to Follow Your Organization’s Travel Policy?

It’s human nature to push back on things; there is a drive inside all of us that kicks in when rules or guidelines are set.  We all want to do things our own way, so when it comes time for travel policy compliance, its common to receive push back from travelers.  Sometimes it can be difficult to explain to them the benefits of booking within policy and through the proper channels, too often its only after a sticky situation occurs that travelers really see the benefit of their travel policy.  As a part of your ‘business traveler adventure series’ we are taking a look at Duty of Care in this story.  So, whenever your travelers want to book travel plans or hotel reservations, they might find it easier for to book outside of their organization’s travel policy. But does that really make things easier? Let’s find out!

Meet Megan, today her director let her know she was approved last minute to attend a trade show in Los Angeles that she had been begging to go to Megan was ecstatic, “Make sure you get your flight booked right away since you are leaving next week” her director told her.

As 5:00 p.m. rolled around,  and she drove home, Megan realized she forgot to book flights.

After a long day Megan sat down in front of the TV with her phone in hand.

She knew she was supposed to use Concur to book her trip, but she had never downloaded the app. She downloaded the app but then was  asked to enter her work e-mail and password. “I have no clue what the password is,” she thought.

Instead, Megan clicked on her favorite airline app. Megan didn’t see the harm in booking outside of her organization’s program, and her boss had told her to book today. With a few clicks, she booked her trip to and from Los Angeles and went back to watching television.

The next week, Megan was on her way. Even though Megan knew she would be working hard while in Southern California, she could feel her mood changing for the better thanks to the warm weather and palm trees.

At the hotel, Megan met a few of her co-workers. They agreed to get together for dinner at 7:00 p.m. to talk about the trade show.

As she stepped off the elevator to go to dinner, she couldn’t get her balance.. “What’s going on?” she though, as she looked around, she realized she was the only one there.  She sat in the eerily empty lobby for 15 minutes until finally the elevator doors opened and out walked her coworkers.  “Megan, how did you get down here so fast?” asked John, from the Seattle office.  “What are you talking about, you guys are late?” said Megan puzzled.  “Yeah but with the Earthquake we were supposed to stay put until 7:30, didn’t you hear?”.  Megan didn’t know about the earthquake, but that explains her balance issues earlier.

Those from California, and others who had experienced this in the past, were very calm. Being from the Midwest, Megan was still a little out of sorts.

But since there didn’t seem to be any major damage, the group continued with their plans. Someone ordered a car and they were off to dinner. While in the car, all of Megan’s co-workers received text messages from the office at the same time.

“Reply ‘OK’ if you are OK,” she heard one of the guys say.

“What’s going on?” Megan asked.

“Standard procedure,” John said. “The organization heard about the quake. They’re sending a text message to everyone in L.A. to see if we need anything. You should have one too.”

Megan stared at her phone waiting for a text that wasn’t coming. At dinner, she couldn’t shake the feeling that her organization forgot about her.

John, seeing that Megan was fixated on this issue, stepped in. “Just call the travel organization and I’m sure they can tell you why you weren’t on the text,” he suggested.

Just then Megan’s eyes got wide as she realized what happened. “I didn’t book through the travel organization,” she said to John.

“What? Why not?” he responded. “We’re all supposed to book through them!”

“I know. I know.” Megan said. “It just seemed easier to book on the airline app.”

“That’s crazy,” said John, “One time when traveling for a sales meeting I was stuck in Denver because of some wicked storms, and they had notified me of my flight cancellation and had me rebooked before the airline even updated the departure information on the airport board. Saves me tons of time and stress when I need it the most.”

At least Megan now knew why she didn’t get the text. But she couldn’t help thinking what would have happened if the quake was more serious.  How would her company know where she is or contact her.  More importantly, how would they be able to help her get home safely?  Booking through her app she wasn’t even sure how to get help. Megan learned an important lesson and she could see firsthand how her company could have helped her, or made sure she was safe in case of emergency.

Make sure your employees understand why booking within policy benefits them and keeps them safe!

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