Regardless of the state of your business travel policy, current industry trends may force you to revisit it. Here are some of the changes taking place in the industry, which American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) recommend be considered in any good travel policy.

Ancillary airline fees

Because airlines are now asking passengers to pay for certain features that used to be free (like seat selection, inflight entertainment and checked luggage) and are introducing branded fares that bundle amenities, travel managers need to carefully outline in their policy what add-ons will and will not be covered by the company.

Hidden hotel fees

It’s increasingly more difficult for travel managers and travelers to project how much a night at a hotel will cost because of add-ons. From early check-in/late fees to charging for that coffee pod in the room, hotel operators have also been finding ways to charge for amenities that previously were provided for free. A few major hotel chains also now require 48 hours (some 72) to cancel a reservation penalty-free. This means travel managers need to stay on top of what’s going on in the industry and provide travelers with guidelines on which hotel amenities will and won’t be reimbursable. It’s also something procurement managers should address and challenge when it’s negotiation time with preferred vendors.

Direct bookings

Convincing travelers to book through the corporate booking tool has always been challenging but even more so since the hotel industry’s recent direct-booking campaigns. Hotels are continuing to offer travelers incentives to book on their websites directly, which means your travel department can’t easily obtain the itinerary information that’s crucial for duty of care and expense reporting purposes. That’s why we recommend clearly spelling out in your travel policy why employees should book via the approved booking tool and educating them why it’s so important.

GDPR

Due to new rules laid out by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations need to know what data they and their third-party vendors hold on their employees based in the EU and how they’re using it. To comply with the new rules, travel managers might consider adding a new section to the travel policy explaining how travelers’ information is being handled and what’s being done to protect it.

Personalization

With the travel industry investing heavily in newer technologies offering customization, corporate travelers have come to expect a leisure-like experience when booking their business trips. But much of this tech requires collecting data on travelers and raises questions about GDPR compliance. That’s why organizations should carefully vet what tech tools and apps their traveling employees can use.

Sharing economy

As part of this wider demand for consumer-like experiences for business trips, corporate travelers are seeking more convenience and flexibility in where they can stay and how they get there. To meet this demand, many travel managers are opening up their program to include sharing economy services such as Airbnb and Lyft. Whether you have already adopted such a policy or are considering one, it’s important to provide travelers with clear-cut guidelines on how they should book these alternative travel arrangements and safety precautions they should take.

To see how GBT is supporting you with these trends, please view the full article here.