Why You Should Consider Localization When Creating Your Travel Policy

If your company is looking to save some dough this year – and let’s be honest, what company isn’t? – then localizing your travel policy can be a great way to reduce travel-related expenses.

Developing localized guidelines for travel may seem time consuming; however, doing so can save your employees a lot of out-of-pocket money – money that might otherwise be spent on avoidable costs.  Not many companies practice travel policy localization, but then again, not many companies have realized – or are even aware – of the benefits localization can provide. Localization may be especially beneficial if your employees are traveling to specific cities, states, or countries repeatedly.

When might a localized travel policy come in handy?

  1.      If you travel to cities at different ends of the luxury spectrum

If employees are traveling to New York City or San Francisco, dinner at a “nice” restaurant will not be achievable with a $10 limit. However, let's say your employees are meeting with a client in a small town in rural Iowa. They may get inventive to make full use of the $35-per-meal budget. Localization is a great way to add context to your travel policy.

  1.      If you travel to cities with fewer choices

For example, if your employees routinely stay at the Hampton Inn, but there is no Hampton Inn at a specific destination, you can use localization to establish a budget-friendly alternative.

  1.      If you travel to cities without public transportation

For example, if your policy says you must take public transportation but the city doesn't have it, what do you do? On the flip side, if your employees are always told to rent a car, but public transportation will be cheaper and easier, can they break the rules? Localization will help here.

  1.      If you travel out of country

Exchange rates can have a significant impact on your travel policy budget. Your employees also have personal budgets to adhere to and it can be hard to accurately anticipate costs in another country. There are simply more factors to consider when your employees are traveling abroad. What happens in the event of a medical emergency? What about unexpected expenses? If you’re not establishing a localized travel policy for a specific country, establishing a general international travel policy at the very least can be extremely helpful.

Localization can help you organize your travel policy to be as clear and specific as possible, simplifying travel and expense tracking for employees and administrators alike. Here are a few more tips for adding localization to your travel policy:

Consider timing

Flying into specific cities can be expensive during certain times of year, but much cheaper at other times. And, some cities can be expensive due to events. If you have ever ever tried to find a hotel in San Francisco during DreamForce, you know exactly what we mean. There's an easy way to discover the average price for hotels and flights with Concur's TripLink. Helping your business and your employees plan ahead for meetings and travel, which can lead to big savings.

Consider your exact location

Hotels can be much more expensive in certain suburbs or areas of the city, and can also vary based on timing. For example, booking a meeting in Boston during Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon should probably wait unless it’s essential. Also, there can be large cost variances between booking a hotel room downtown as opposed to a suburb. The U.S. General Services Administration has a good resource for figuring out per diem expenses depending on the city.

Consider the places your employees frequent

If there are restaurants, hotels or coffee shops your employees frequently visit, you can often arrange discounts if you'll be giving them repeated business. Preferred vendors can save you a lot of money. If there aren’t exact restaurants per se, many cities have restaurant ownership groups you can negotiate with. These groups often offer a variety of restaurants spread throughout the city.

A travel policy that considers localization will help employees avoid major out-of-pocket costs, allowing them to travel with confidence. Of course, the bottom line cost savings don’t hurt either.

Expenses are anything but local – they affect every area of your business. Learn more ways to integrate travel localization into your expenses with TripLink.

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