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BCD survey reveals gap between travel policy and traveler compliance



BCD survey reveals gap between travel policy and traveler compliance

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – While many business travelers know of and often refer to their company’s travel policy, there’s still a gap between policy awareness and policy compliance, according to a recent BCD Travel survey of 1,200+ business travelers worldwide. The survey looked at changes in travel policies and traveler satisfaction with current regulations.

Travel policy awareness

In a corresponding April survey of 200+ travel buyers, BCD found that two-thirds of travel buyers consider their travel policy to be extremely or very effective.

On the surface, this statistic seems to hold true when business travelers are asked about their company’s travel policy. The survey shows that more than 95% of travelers know where to find the travel policy, and nine out of 10 have consulted it (with a quarter doing so frequently). Eight out of 10 travelers have consulted their travel policy within the past 12 months. And half are satisfied with the policy.

Based on our survey results, travelers in NORAM are less inclined to consult their corporation’s travel policy compared to travelers from APAC and Europe, said Craig Bailey, president, Americas at BCD. This could result in more out-of-policy bookings. While these bookings create extra costs and, in some cases, risk issues, the lack of awareness around policy changes could also hurt the organization’s overall goals, for instance, regarding sustainability.

One factor contributing to this behavior may be the frequency around travel policy communications. A quarter of APAC travelers reported receiving communications about their travel policy often compared to only 15% of NORAM travelers.

Out-of-policy bookings

The survey shows that more than two-thirds of travelers deviate from their company’s travel policy. Most often, this is due to client meetings requiring out-of-policy transportation or accommodation or booking conference and event accommodations with non-preferred suppliers. As a result, traveling employees often need additional approvals for non-compliant bookings.

Companies can boost travel policy compliance through employee involvement and engagement. BCD provides expert advice on how to build a strategy to maximize compliance, including integrating solutions that travelers want to use, with the data insights travel managers need to influence behavior.

Desire for flexibility

Over one in five travelers said their company’s travel policy isn’t responsive to traveler needs or is too restrictive. In fact, three in 10 want more flexibility when booking either transportation or accommodation. A quarter said they’d benefit from increased spend limits and additional air ancillaries. One in five are interested in more policies for traveler well-being.

When you understand your travelers’ needs, you can make impactful changes to your policy. A simple and effective way to do that is through surveys, Bailey said. While of course you must set limits that align with the company goals, a good travel policy sets its travelers up for success. This, in turn, helps the company stay within both its budget and keeps lines of communication clear.

BCD’s TripSource® booking and trip management solution ensures travelers stay engaged at every step of their journey. TripSource influences behavior by displaying client-specific travel policy guidelines directly at the point of sale. It triggers timely policy messages that encourage smart decisions and boost compliance throughout the trip. Also, travel managers can include all essential policy details, contact information, and safety resources for travelers’ convenience.

Low impact on job acceptance

While only 8% of surveyed travelers admit the travel policy influenced their decision to take their job, a quarter acknowledge that it influences their willingness to stay with the company. The travel policy’s impact varies by region – again supporting the need to understand travelers’ specific needs and beliefs. Almost half of APAC travelers say the policy is likely to affect their decision to stay with a company while 27% of EMEA and 21% of NORAM travelers say so.

Sharing your travel policy to new hires during the onboarding process is key, said Bailey. They’re excited and eager to learn. Take advantage of that and stress the importance of your travel policy to new employees. Explain what it is, how it relates to company goals, and why it’s important to comply with the policy. It’s not just about cost savings, but also about duty of care and sustainability.

To view more of the traveler survey report, click here.

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit

Janneke Kraanen
Manager, PR & Content Creation

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