16 February 2006 | Amon Cohen
Businesses are losing money and management information because their travellers are booking 20 per cent of trips outside corporate policy.
A survey by the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) found that 10 per cent of bookings are made outside mandated channels - such as the approved travel management company. Another 10 per cent are made through the approved channels but still flout policy on issues such as choice of carrier or class of travel.
The issue is particularly acute for larger companies. Respondents with a travel spend above £20 million report a non-adherence rate of 28 per cent, while the figure for businesses spending less than £1 million is 14 per cent.
Paul Tilstone, ITM executive director, said: "If companies want to drive compliance, they need to get tougher."
His message was echoed at the Business Travel Show in a seminar on travel policy. Geoff Allwright, Airbus UK travel manager, said that policies must be communicated and enforced. Compliance is helped through a board-level mandate and also by introducing an online booking tool.
According to the ITM research, only 3 per cent of respondents penalise travellers for booking outside policy.
Allwright said that rewarding top adherents to policy with free flights is preferable to a stance of non-reimbursement for those who breach it.