Most organisations give their travellers’ free range to spend money on travel without proper due diligence. Universally, organisations apply checks after monies have been spent, when managers trawl over expenses claimed by travellers long after they return.
How can compliance or ROI be addressed in these circumstances? It can’t, it’s too late, the horse has bolted.
At best you can give an employee a slap over the wrist (figuratively speaking) and request they don’t do it again. In most cases, managers are more inclined to gloss over the issue and hope it never happens again.
Here’s a better idea. Make the traveller responsible.
Ask them to work out how much they are likely to spend on a trip and approve the amount up front before any bookings are made.
But where will they get the information from?
The internet that’s where. I’ll guarantee it will take the majority of travellers less than five minutes to find out the cost of a flight, two nights accommodation, transport to and from the airport, and how much they will spend on food.
Five minutes is probably too generous, as I expect most frequent travellers have this information already.
Now you have an idea of what’s going to cost, ask where they’re going, why they need to go and what they expect to achieve from the trip.
Power of the Trip Plan
If they’re on the ball, and I expect this to be the case, this is what the response might look like.
Trip Request – Kate Winslet
Emerging Tech Conference
Two day emerging tech conference in Sydney. We’re a sponsor and I’m presenting a keynote speech on how tech is shaping independent travel within the corporate sector. There are 50 corporate travel buyers in attendance. My goal is to pick up between 5 to 10 leads over the two day conference.
My budget to attend the conference is $2,230, including flights ($350), accommodation ($500), land transport ($160), food and beverages ($120), conference registration ($750) and client entertainment ($350).
The cost to generate five leads for the calibre of organisations attending the conference is $6,250 ($1,250 per lead).
Impressed with the amount of detail she provided, I responded: “Hey Kate, what’s the $350 client entertainment for?”
She’s equally impressed that I have taken the time to read her request. She replies, “I’m hosting pre-dinner drinks and I have four existing clients attending and I’m expecting four prospects to attend”.
Solid information. It’s a no brainer, I’m going to sign off on this trip.
A Markedly Better Approach
This approach is markedly better than the traditional process of reviewing expenses post trip. Here’s why.
For a start, Kate has told me, in detail, how much it’s going to cost to attend the conference. She has come up with the budget, and by virtue has assumed responsibility to work within it.
Secondly, Kate knows what she wants to get out of the trip. She’s clearly demonstrated the return on investment. We can review this when she returns, something most managers wouldn’t have been able to do before.
Finally, I also know there’s a hefty drinks bill on the way, and because I know this in advance, I’m going to be okay with it when the receipts come in.
This approach is different, effective and worth considering. It sets expectations, creates trust and responsibility.
Could this work within your organisation?