Until recently, organizations commonly used application forms when coordinating their business travel and as a means of record-keeping for travel spending. When preparing for their corporate trips, employees fill in a request form with their details and intended journey. After management approves the request, the company stores the form for future reference.
However, technological advances mean this is no longer the only method for approving corporate travel. So what is the process for using request forms, and is there a more efficient way to approve your corporate trips?
What details appear on a travel request form?
Travel request forms are designed to give management an overview of the intended business trip from both a cost and a strategic point of view. The fields that typically appear on a travel request form include;
- Employee name and contact information.
- The business purpose of the trip.
- Destination details.
- Departure and return dates.
- Predicted travel costs which are broken down by category. For example, airfares, other transportation, accommodation, and meal allowances.
- Notes of any visa requirements for international travel.
- Any relevant comments from the employee's manager.
Who works on a travel request form?
Typically, a travel request form would pass through three stages, from creating the request to approval. While using forms for corporate travel approval is a more time-consuming approach, companies can speed up the process.
Using apps like Google Docs can help staff tag relevant parties and automatically send notifications when action is required.
When an employee has cause to make a business trip, they need to start the approval process by filling out a travel request form. They need to collect all the relevant details and submit them to their superiors. Once the form has been received, managers will analyze the request and either approve or reject the suggested itinerary.
If a form is approved, employees are ready to start booking and organizing their travel plans. If the request is rejected, the employee must make the changes outlined by managers before submitting it again.
The first level of approval
Usually, the first level of approval is conducted by the employee's direct manager. At this stage, they check request forms to ensure the employee information is correct and the estimated expenses are reasonable. If the manager finds fault with any details, such as the purpose of travel or the suggested pricing for the trip, they will reject the request and include comments for improvement. The form then goes back to the employee to make the appropriate changes before sending it back to their manager for another look.
The second level of approval
The next step of the approval process is very similar to the last, except it is conducted by a more senior staff member. Typically a department head or C-level worker, the request form goes through the same process, checking for any mistakes and ensuring that the trip has a significant business purpose.
If the trip request is approved, the employee has the green light to start booking their travel arrangements and scheduling their meetings. At this point, administration teams will archive the travel authorization request form. However, management can still reject the request and ask employees to make further modifications.
Where can I find templates for a business travel request form?
There are all sorts of travel request form examples available online. A quick google will reveal a host of templates your organization could use. However, Microsoft 365 also boasts a range of sample travel request forms adaptable to your individual company's needs.
Why use a request form for business travel?
Until now travel request forms have been a useful method for collating all the information needed to approve business trips. Rather than employees sending emails with various attachments, managers could read one straightforward document and approve or reject a business travelers' plans.
As we have seen, request forms can send automatic notifications and be adapted to flag fields that step outside of corporate travel policy. However, travel request forms are not necessarily the most streamlined approach to approving corporate travel.
Is using employee travel request forms the most efficient way to approve corporate travel?
While travel request forms have proved helpful in the past, technology now offers more efficient solutions. With an online travel booking tool like TravelPerk, organizations can simplify all their business travel processes.
Thanks to their extensive inventories, these booking tools can provide competitive rates on airfares, train tickets, accommodation, and rental cars. Plus, they simplify the booking process, removing the need to browse several web pages and condensing travel options into one easy-to-use platform.
When it comes to confirming travel arrangements, systems like TravelPerk can remove the need for multiple levels of approval. In just two minutes, businesses can set parameters based on their corporate travel policies.
Afterward, powerful AI can organize search results to offer travelers fully compliant suggestions and automatically approve these itineraries. In addition, the system can flag any business trips that fall beyond the scope of the corporate travel policy for extra checks from management.
With automated approvals, managers can spend more time on strategy and other essential tasks rather than bogged down analyzing travel approval requests. Online booking systems can also assist companies with gaining more accurate estimated costs for business trips and streamline the reimbursement of travelers' expenses.
Plus, they can help organizations save additional time and money by giving finance teams the ability to generate travel expense reports at the click of a button! If you want to see how TravelPerk can help your organization save money and simplify your corporate travel processes, speak to our team for a demonstration today.
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