Travel Rules Tighten, But Road Warriors Get to Keep Their Miles

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With long security lines, crowded planes, and facing the prospect of more travel this fall, business travelers now consider a road trip more of an annoyance than a perk.

So even as companies tighten up on their travel policies, nearly all still allow their employees to keep their frequent flier miles and other loyalty rewards.

Travel Leaders asked its business travel experts about their clients corporate travel policies. They reported that while 68 percent were at least “somewhat strict in enforcing corporate travel policies,” all of them allowed their employees to keep any frequent flier miles they earned.

They were only slightly less generous when it comes to hotel and car rental loyalty rewards, with 98.8 percent and 97.1 percent respectively allowing business travelers to keep their rewards.

Some differences between U.S. and Europe

When it comes to enforcing travel policies, the agents reported their clients were most strict about air travel. The survey from Travel Leaders didn’t say what the most common policies and restrictions are, though it’s a fair bet that American companies aren’t much different from their European counterparts.

Across the pond, a recent study found companies cutting out business class for all but out-of-region flights, such as Europe to North America. Among the general tightening up of travel rules, more are requiring online booking. At 98 percent of companies with large travel budgets — €10 million annually or more — employees must use a company vendor.

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One big difference with their American counterparts is that far fewer European companies reimburse for that most common of hotel charges — parking. In Europe, only 76 percent of companies cover the charge. In the U.S., 89 percent do. A full 10 percent also cover no hotel extras, compared to only 2 percent of American companies.

Incidental hotel fees are growing

Those incidentals are becoming far less incidental than they once were. According to several news stories, hotels are adding on fees for services like the fitness center, business center, and pool whether or not the guest uses them.

A study out of NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, put the cumulative worth to the hotel industry of all the incidental charges at $1.8 billion, and climbing. Some of those extra charges, such as the phone use surcharge, have been around for years. Others, such as charging for daily housekeeping, or a mini-bar restocking fee (in addition to charging for whatever was consumed), are recent.

Those fees, says yet another survey, this one by Harris Interactive done for the Best Western chain, are the leading peeve among 38 percent of business travelers.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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