BCD survey reveals gap between travel policy and traveler compliance

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – While many business travelers know and often refer to their company’s travel policies, there is 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 travelers’ satisfaction with current regulations.

Travel policy awareness

In a corresponding April survey of 200+ travel buyers, BCD found that two-thirds of travel buyers believe their travel policies are extremely or very effective.

On the surface, these statistics seem to hold true when business travelers are asked about their company’s travel policies. 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 in the last 12 months. And half are satisfied with the policy.

Based on our survey results, travelers in NORAM are less likely to consult their company’s travel policy compared to travelers from APAC and Europe, said Craig Bailey, President, Americas at BCD. This may lead to more bookings outside the policy. While these bookings create additional costs and, in some cases, risk issues, the lack of awareness around policy changes can also harm the organization’s overall goals, for example in terms of sustainability.

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

Bookings outside the policy

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 that require out-of-policy transportation or accommodation or booking conference and event accommodation with non-preferred suppliers. As a result, traveling employees often need additional approvals for non-compliant bookings.

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

The desire for flexibility

Over one in five travelers said their company’s travel policies are not responsive to travelers’ needs or are too restrictive. In fact, three out of ten want more flexibility when booking either transport or accommodation. A quarter said they would benefit from increased spending limits and additional air accessories. One in five are interested in more policies for traveler well-being.

When you understand the needs of your travelers, you can make significant changes to your policy. A simple and effective way to do it is through investigations, Bailey said. While of course you must set limits that align with 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 the lines of communication clear.

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

Low impact on job acceptance

While only 8% of surveyed travelers admit that the travel policy influenced their decision to take their job, a quarter admit it influences their willingness to stay with the company. Travel policy 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 influence their decision to stay with a company while 27% of EMEA and 21% of NORAM travelers say so.

Share your travel policy with new hires below the induction process is the key, Bailey said. They are happy and eager to learn. Take advantage of it and emphasize the importance of your new hire travel policy. Explain what it is, how it relates to the company’s goals, and why it’s important to follow the policy. It is not only about cost savings, but also about duty of care and sustainability.

To see 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 serve customers in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meeting and event management and global consulting services complement our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. By 2023, BCD achieved sales of $20.3 billion. For more information visit

Janneke Kraanen
Manager, PR & Content Creation

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