August 5, 2020

How to stop lost travel documents from costing your business big-time

How to stop lost travel documents from costing your business big-time

As much as company directors would like every business trip to run smoothly, sometimes things go wrong. And one of the most common issues is employees losing or misplacing important travel documentation during the course of their visit.

Far from being a minor irritation, lost travel documents can have a major impact on the cost and convenience of work-related trips. To limit the chances of passports, visas and other important documents going awry, your company should be thinking carefully about how to help staff manage their essential paperwork better, through the use of digital storage apps.

The true cost of lost travel documents

Trouble keeping track of travel documentation is a common issue; in the UK alone, around 400,000 passports are reported lost or stolen each year. While many of these will have been misplaced around the home, for an unfortunate few, travel documents will go missing during the course of a trip – triggering a series of logistical and financial challenges.

If the person concerned is travelling for business, while it’s not strictly the employer’s duty to help with replacing a lost passport or visa, the time, effort and inconvenience of dealing with lost documentation can significantly impact your employee’s performance during work travel – for the following reasons:

1 – Their attention is diverted away from work

If one of your team members loses an important piece of paperwork, their attention will be diverted away from business matters while they recover or replace it.

For missing passports, employees will need to contact either their home country’s embassy or consulate, in order to access a temporary travel permit. The incident may also need to be reported to local police or the Home Office – this is a common occurrence with missing visas – in order to obtain replacement paperwork.

Time spent waiting in a consulate or embassy will impact your colleague’s ability to attend meetings, and may lead to them missing important updates that are crucial to the commercial success of their trip.

2 – They may not travel back on time, or make their next trip

Even if an employee can secure replacement documents, the time it takes to sort out the issue could result in them being unable to travel home as scheduled.

The knock-on effect of travel delays will impact trip debriefs and follow-up opportunities. Also, the person affected may not be able to travel abroad for some time afterwards – as it can take weeks to permanently replace essential documents like visas and passports upon their return.

The loss of a critical team player could compromise the strength of your team for future opportunities, with a negative impact on business outcomes.

3 – Your company will foot the bill for additional trip expenses

On a practical level, every lost piece of paperwork comes at a cost – and not just for the traveller involved.

Replacing a misplaced visa or passport can cost anywhere from £50 to over £500, depending on which items went missing and how quickly a replacement is required. While this is usually the employee’s cost to bear, the disruption to travel logistics could result in your business having to book that staff member a new flight or passage home, at the company’s expense.

The affected employee will also accrue additional travel expenses while they are waiting to return home, as accommodation may need to be extended, and you will need to provide meals that were not included in the original trip budget.

Keep the original copy under lock and key

The easiest way to stop documents getting lost, misplaced or stolen during a business trip is for staff to lock them safely in the hotel room during their stay. However, they may still need to show ID when they are out and about

To overcome this challenge, your businesses can invest in mobile app software that allows copies of essential documents to be stored in a digital ‘vault’, with the originals placed somewhere safe.

Voyage Manager has successfully launched a document management mobile app, which is helping corporate travellers to store all their travel paperwork in an easily accessible digital location. This minimises the chance of something happening to important documentation during the course of business travel.

Protect important paperwork with Voyage Manager’s mobile app

A lost passport or stolen visa can turn a successful business trip into an international repatriation nightmare, so companies should take the necessary steps to stop staff losing important travel documents.

Voyage Manager’s mobile app enables travelling professionals to take a digital copy of passports, visas and other important items wherever they go, without having to risk carrying the original around with them. It’s the safest way for staff to manage documentation away from home.

To improve the way your staff manage travel documentation during business trips, book a free demo to see how our mobile app works.

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