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How do our corporate travel policies compare?

How do our corporate travel policies compare?

Old Aug 8, 99, 1:06 pm
bryan at webflyer
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Comicwoman: it's not as bad as all that. I was just getting home!

The book is written as a novel, but it means to tell the fairly-true-to-life story of a corporate travel manager who comes to learn of the "evils" of FFPs. He's a good soul, just trying to get the most for his corporation's travel dollar. It's written by a former CTM, and much of it rings true, though I thought there was a bit of a bias built in. THe CTM is portrayed as an almost heroic figure of middle-class competence, desperately trying to do the right thing oin a situation where his fellow employees are all too willing to milk FFPs at the corporations expense, and his employers are pretty uninterested in the problem.

I talked to the author (Greg Moore) about the book; the interview and book review should be somewhere on our site (last summer, sometime?). I told him I thought that the book had a naive premise: that employess owe unstinting loyalty to their EMPLOYERS, and for that reason FFPs are a threat to the American Way. He assmes it, and doesn't make a case for it. He disagreed with me; he thought it was more evenhanded than that.
Old Aug 8, 99, 3:29 pm
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Company policy, schmumpany policy.

My policy is to arrive in the right city at the right hotel, fresh and ready to work. My companies policy doesn't always agree with my policy. Guess which one I follow?

My other policy is to tear down the walls of beaurocracy whenever I encounter them.

Another thing you FF's should consider. Most of you travel far more than the other people in your company. So the general rules shouldn't apply to you.
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Old Aug 8, 99, 6:25 pm
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It's tough to use the argument that my heavy travel schedule makes me somehow exempt from a lot of the rules. In my company, two of the three people that travel more than I do are the Chairman and President. I'm not sure how long I would be able to stay employed or maintain friends in the organization, if I became "elite".

Additionally, peers who travel almost as much as me, would undoubtably eventually learn of my perks, and expect the same. This could ultimately undermine the whole travel policy.

Reality is my company's policies are reasonable, and in line with the better of policies others have posted. Only significant difference, is there is no circumstances that would allow for paid international business class travel.
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Old Aug 9, 99, 12:34 am
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Ours is as follows:

Air is best available coach that fits the schedule of the trip. If the job ends on a Friday, you have the option of staying over the Saturday night if the airfare savings will pay the hotel. Always coach (but we never have international travel). Atlanta or Nashville departure is considered, but if the fare is close, flying out of Chattanooga is preferable.

If it's to a nearby city, you are expected to drive. In Knoxville or Birmingham, you drive there that morning; if it's Atlanta (heavy traffic) or Nashville (severe construction), you get a hotel for the night before. (Since I can't drive, they pay for a Greyhound or shuttle van as appropriate; those who do drive get mileage.)

On the issue of hotels, if the event is at a hotel, you stay there if the rate is at all reasonable. Otherwise, the sponsor will normally have deals with multiple hotels, and it's a judgment call (for example, since I can't drive, they place more weight on being near the site for me). Example: we had a program at the Swissôtel in ATL recently. The question was whether the rate would be $130 or $200. Since we got the $130, we stayed there. Had it been $200, we would have instead booked three blocks away at a Courtyard for $90. Single rooms (or pay the difference to bring a companion).

The firm has a travel agent with whom it likes to deal, but they let me book my own normally (same goes for whose card gets used). Bottom line is, anything logical goes (with one exception--regardless of where we are, the per diem is $25).
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Old Aug 9, 99, 8:50 am
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Alright, I want no more complaining after you hear MY tales of woe. I work in the NON-PROFIT (read: cheap-...) sector. For both my current and previous jobs, the general rules are:

Fly only deeply discounted econo tix. Book and pay for them however you want, but your tix may be audited for price (ie, was it REALLY cheap enough?).

If you have a preferred carrier that you want to stick to and the tix can be had for more than 10% or so less on another carrier you can take your preferred carrier only if you make up the difference youself.

Saturday night stay? Hey, make sure you arrange your meetings on friday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday or Monday morning and there is no problem! Comp time for doing that? Sorry, IRS says comp time is illegal.

Expenses are Corporate AMEX or personally paid then reimbursed. Limits are arbitrarily set AFTER the expense report is submitted on a case-by-case basis depending on the purpose of the trip and the mood of the accountant and boss the day the exprense report comes in. Sometimes a $70 business dinner is ok, other times it is outrageous. Yet typically things like valet airport parking and hotel movies are overlooked.

Hotel: Stay wherever, but see notes on expense report above.

All in all, it is annoying as heck. But it does give me the opportunity to make the most of the bad situation myself. And it has forced me to learn the tricks of the trade, which is helpful when planning a family vacation on the cheap or giving advice to family and friends on travel on a shoestring...

But shed no tears for me; the perks of non-profit employment do make up for annoyances such as these!
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Old Aug 9, 99, 7:04 pm
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The policy where I'm at:

Air: Must be booked through our travel agency. We consider most major US carrier a preferred carrier and get discounts on them. The travel agency will give us a non stop flight on any preferred carrier. However, if a non-stop flight is not available on a preferred carrier, a non-stop flight on another carrier is allowed as long as these restrictions are met: There is no connecting flight that is less than 90 minutes longer (120 mins international) than the original flight and saves at least $150 each way.

Coach ALWAYS except business class on transcontinental flights more than 8 hours or more than 4 hours+ meeting on same day.

I consider it reasonable except for the lack of online booking.

Hotel: We have preferred hotels but there is no push to stay there -- just stay at any hotel under the limit in the USA. The limit is reasonable and lets me stay at moderate business friendly hotels and sometimes upperscale hotels. Again reasonable.
International hotels have no liimt -- just reasonable guidelines which you don't have to follow.

Car: We are supposed to rent from one provider but its not required. The vast majority of my company including me rents from there anyway due to the good service we get.

Meals: Per diem for every location (along with the hotel rate) ... no receipts required for purchases under $75 (no per diem is that high, so effectively no receipts for meals).

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Old Aug 10, 99, 12:54 pm
Commander Catcop
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I work for big company (name withheld on MY request) and while we don't have a specific travel policy we do have some travel rules:

*It is ENCOURAGED that you book the company's RECOMMENDED providers (in my case: Continental for air, Marriott for hotels, Hertz and Avis for car rental.

SO I have to be Mr. Smarty and do everything myself after they suggested Motel Six. I said "And I suggest you find someone else to go on the trip."

I end up booking my trips, turning in the receipts and they are surprised that they actually save the company a few cents.

I do try not to be greedy, ording the most expensive hotel rooms and meals and stuff. I take public transportation (hate to drive in strange cities) and I eat light.

The one big problem: JUST SO LONG FOR REINBURSEMENTS!!! Sometimes 3-4 weeks.

And it can unnerve co-workers when we all board and I go one way to First while they go to the back of the plane. But if I'm elite I'm going to use it.

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Old Aug 10, 99, 6:21 pm
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I am with Catman on this! My firm, large engine designer in south Florida, instituted new rules this year in attempt to cut travel costs 10%. Therefore, I tend to order more room service meals since receipts are required for any meal regardless of cost. Save more? Doubt it! Often embassising when
with clients. (Some attempts at cost reduction are false when managers do not trust workers.) This all came about because some charged the max allowable, per guidelines, each night for meals. We always take lowest cost air, which is usually DL since we have negotiated fares with them. No heartburn there as PL for all years that offered. Redeeming feature of our program is that FF miles are ours as long as we do not schedule to take advantage of this perk.
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Old Aug 13, 99, 12:14 am
Join Date: Aug 1999
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For those companies without a clue as to what the road warrior goes through, send the bean counters on a road for a couple of weeks and see how they like sardine flights, cheap meal allowances and airport life.

On the other hand, this FF game is getting out of hand and puts employees, too often, directly at odds with corporate goals.
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