It can seem like a cycle stuck on repeat — onboarding new employees entering the travel program. In order to help reduce the time and effort that goes into training each new traveler, here are ways to streamline the process.
Enlist help from other departments
Whether your travel department is comprised of a single travel manager or an entire team, some duties can be shifted to other departments.
HR can become your biggest ally in disseminating information to new recruits by slipping materials about the travel program in with other new-hire paperwork.
You also may lean on HR (or the accounting and finance department) to train new employees on corporate credits cards and the reimbursement process for T&E expenses.
Take up space on the company’s intranet site
Actually, you may want to claim your own intranet page or portal for travel-related content. This way, you can house all those important documents and links, including the corporate travel policy, emergency contact information, links to the online booking tool (OBT), training videos, etc., without distractions from other departments. To make it more engaging, put thought into the design and include some fun elements, like travel trivia or quizzes.
Make your travel policy a must-read
If your policy reads like a legal textbook, you may want to edit it to make it more busy-traveler-friendly. Aim for clear, simple language — to the point yet comprehensive enough that it thoroughly covers the essentials (i.e., company objectives, guidelines on bookings, preferred suppliers, spend limits as well as penalties for noncompliance).
Use a tracking tool that confirms that the document has been opened and requires users to click and confirm that they have read the policy.
Create an FAQ
Feel like you’re playing the same game of 21 questions with different people every week? Instead of addressing each query individually, create an FAQ to plaster onto the intranet page and keep directing travelers there when they pose the same questions. You can begin simply by keeping track of the frequently asked questions, then set aside time to draft the answers. Like with the travel policy, use clear and succinct language. Make the FAQ easy to scan by breaking the content out into categories and putting thought into how you order the questions.
Another idea? Let travelers take the lead in responding to each other’s queries via a social media page.
Move away from the one-on-ones
While individual face-to-face meetings with every new traveler entering the program may seem like a lovely idea, they’re not always feasible. That’s when other training material travelers can digest on their own time, whether it’s an e-learning module or a series of videos, can come in handy for getting key messages out there.
You also may set up a group informational session every couple of months to meet new travelers face-to-face and answer their questions.
Or you may opt to lead more targeted seminars. For instance, to help travelers understand how to protect sensitive company data while on the road, the IT department may lead a webinar on cybersecurity measures. You also might like to invite your travel risk management provider to lead a discussion on general safety tips for travelers.
Lean on third-party suppliers
Some of your preferred suppliers may have training tools you can use as additional educational aids — we at American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) certainly do.
For example, for clients onboarding our self-booking tool, Neo™, we offer a special WebEx seminar that shows travelers how to access and use the app.
GBT also launched the Business Travel Made Simple offer for new clients in the UK (and soon in France, Germany and the Nordics) to make things as quick and straightforward as possible for travel managers (TM) to deploy a managed program and for their travelers to get booking.
After the implementation process (which itself comes with a visual guide and a clear step-by-step checklist for TMs), additional onboarding information will be made available, including ready-made emails that TMs can personalize and send to their travelers that walks them through all the steps they need to get started, from logging onto the OBT to downloading the Amex GBT Mobile app. A template slide deck is also provided, fully scripted, for the TM to adapt using their company logo before presenting to senior management, travelers or posting on their intranet.
Printed passport-size booklets that display all GBT’s essential details — including customer service contact details and mobile app links — also are included and can be distributed to employees the day the program goes live.
Finally, an email is sent out every month with useful tips for both the TM (such as how to drive hotel attachment) and for the travelers (like new features in the mobile app), which they can refer back to using the handy online portal dedicated to Business Travel Made Simple.
And something that every one of our clients can enjoy? The Atlas™, which is chock-full of useful traveler information. All it takes is a simple “copy and paste” of the link in an email to make your travelers more informed on things like how to avoid hidden hotel fees or how to prevent cybersecurity issues.
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