< PrevNext > 2021 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Establishing a T&E Policy Deciding whether to take a business trip will become a critical feature of post-pandemic travel policy. By Chris Davis / June 17, 2021 / Contact Reporter Share Download Chapter The seemingly imminent return of business travel after a long shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic for many organizations is a complicated situation. While many doubtlessly are eager to return to business as usual, including travel and meetings, it doesn't seem likely that it will be that easy for most. There will be reluctant travelers to consider, as well as the ambiguous and highly variable role of travel alternatives like remote conference. Crafting and maintaining a comprehensive business travel policy in such an environment that still serves to advance corporate goals and objectives poses a serious challenge, particularly against the backdrop of a tight labor market that underscores the importance of keeping employees content. But it's a challenge that, when handled thoughtfully and comprehensively, is necessary to provide the backbone of an effective travel management program. A multi-disciplinary approach, involving stakeholders from throughout the organization, that balances the concerns of expanding business with controlling travel costs while considering corporate culture, employee well-being and data privacy will help inform the sort of travel policy the organization wants to develop. Will it be strict or lenient? Will employees have a wide berth to choose suppliers, or none? Will senior managers have the same restrictions as everybody else? Will the policy be the same in each country? Will travel be allowed at the same level it was before the pandemic, or will some meetings be forced onto remote platforms?These and any number of questions can be answered only after deliberation about corporate goals and objectives and the ways in which a business travel program serves them. The pandemic hasn't changed that. But the suppliers available for travelers to choose, the conditions under which employees are permitted to travel, their ability to decline travel if need be—these are all questions that a post-pandemic travel policy might handle differently than in 2019. Consider these basics of a travel and entertainment policy as the foundation for a program that encompasses today's realities.