After 42 years in the business and 3 years out I am still aghast that almost all corporations I meet and hear about have not been able to crack the compliance issue. By this I mean their directors, executives and workforce being given a travel policy and complying with it.
I cannot really see the point of building a technology and service infrastructure, buying new innovation and deeply detailed specifications only to fail in the most basic and obvious areas of communication and buy-in. You can have the smartest schemes, the keenest deals and the best online and offline support but if you do not tell people what you have done, why you have done it and got the unflinching support of ALL your board then there is very little point for the time and effort put into it.
To me it is so glaringly obvious that, before anything else, the fundamental communications groundwork must be in place. This should include:
a) What you are doing.
b) Why you are doing it.
c) What will be achieved?
d) A clear rationale for change.
e) Unequivocal evidence of executive management support.
f) A total mandate from the man at the top.
All this as a minimum should have total distribution to existing travellers and new entrants to the company. It should be kept alive by updates, progress reports, competitive performance tables and possibly even a ‘bad boys’ list.
There also has to be two areas that MUST be addressed and the both have equal importance as, without both, you will get nowhere. Firstly you have to clearly answer all the criticism and arguments against compliance before they are ever raised. This is easy as everyone should know what they are. They will range from ‘what if I find a better fare’ to ‘the timings offered were all wrong’ to ‘it’s my budget and I can spend it as my business demands’
The last comment raises the second biggest issue which is managing the cost, savings and credits of policy compliance. If you cannot do this one then I doubt you will move forward from where you are today. The answer could be anything from internal ‘incentives’ to central budgets but you must find it.
So there you are. Easy! No I am not being flippant, it should be easy. After all, if travel is really that commodity you buy then it should be treated like computers, software or anything else you purchase and get the same type of compliance. Then and only then can you move on to all the aids and gizmos available to keep the policy fresh, interactive and easy to follow.