For Corporate Travel Departments (CTD) and Travel Management Companies (TMC), data consolidation is key. From bookings to travel expenses, data can come from an extremely wide range of sources. Data consolidation helps to increase efficiency by eliminating redundancies and errors. With the data in a single database, organizations will have a more comprehensive and accurate view of all their data. Data consolidation gives companies a full picture that allows for better business decisions.

Top 10 Best Practices for Global Data Consolidation

Data Analytics

1. Use Unique Employee IDs

Include a global unique employee ID for booking when collecting data from various travel agencies. This ID helps maintain a hierarchy of company, divisions, cost centers, etc.  This single ID can reference a global lookup table for reporting.

2. Create a Global Trip Identifier

A centralized trip approval process is important for every travel request. This is a means of generating a unique trip identifier that the traveler will use to reference the travel. This key is then used to track changes to the booking, any travel outside the normal booking process and allow for easy reconciliation of travel and expense.

3. Dictate Minimum Data Requirements

A Travel Management company responsible for consolidating travel needs to work with the corporation to determine the minimum data elements required for effective reporting that meets the client’s goals and objectives.  This document will outline what data must be provided for each booking and any validation rules around each data element to ensure the quality and consistency of the data required.

4. Mandate Standard Reason Codes

All reporting agencies should adopt a standard set of reason codes that are uniform for the client that they are reporting on if all agencies cannot globally agree on a standard set of reason codes for travel saving and exceptions.

5. Utilize a Centralized Hierarchy

The travel agency needs to work closely with the corporation to acquire a hierarchy. This lookup data will enrich the Employee ID captured by all participating Travel Management companies.

6. Regionalize Reporting on Point of Sale

Most clients require some form of reporting that breaks down the travel by region or Domestic and International travel.  This is most effective when relative to the Point of Sale.  Compare the Point of Sale country to the flown/booking country to determine this.

7. Observe PCI Compliance

NEVER require Credit Card information.  If Credit Card data is required for production of reports, then they must be masked to meet PCI compliance.  If this does not meet the reporting requirements then an alternate method of storing a unique credit card identifier must be developed to ensure PCI compliance.

8. Observe PII Compliance

PII relates to Personally Identifiable Information and some countries have severe restrictions on transmitting or reporting on any information that allows for specific identification of an employee.  This varies greatly from country to country and no global standard exists today, so you must meet the most restrictive rules of all countries involved.  This may mean masking traveler names and any other details like email that might allow the traveler to be identified.

9. Use Vendor Normalization

When consolidating data from a variety of data sources, the vendor names may vary greatly by Travel Management company.  A process for collapsing these vendors into a single unique vendor is important for accurate reporting.

10. Require Uniform Data Submission

Once you have identified your minimum data elements required, having Travel Management companies submit data in a uniform format will greatly streamline the consolidation process and improve data validation and data quality.

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