How Travel Data Can Solve Problems

How do we begin to travel with confidence?  Along with managing travel & expense costs, policies and compliance, Duty of Care has been a constant priority for Corporate Travel Buyers.  But the COVID19 pandemic has raised a whole new set of questions and requirements. There is no doubt that travel programs will look very different for the next year at least. To move forwards in the gradual unlocking of the world, business has to be confident that their protocols, guidelines and minimum standards are being adhered to and that the data within their grasp can be relied upon to deliver what they need today and beyond.

Here we talk about 4 steps to building a travel data strategy that you can rely on.

Be Prepared

If there is one word that we have been hearing repeatedly, it is “unprecedented”. Don’t let its overuse detract from the point. We didn’t see this coming. The crisis has affected virtually every single element of our lives, but we can move on. We can prepare and we can give ourselves and our businesses the best opportunity to recover.

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Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map

The need for travel and the process of travelling will come under a lot of scrutiny. And not just from the families of travelers, but from corporate risk and security teams as well as HR, Finance and most importantly board member and shareholders. 

Having widely accessible and transparent data, which can answer the why, what, where questions will be critical to meet company objectives and risk strategies.  Travel suppliers will rise to meet hygiene and safety standards, but by having data which incorporates HR feeds, compliance metrics, the traveler end to end trip touch points will be critical in enabling safe and compliant again.  

Be Scientific

A good strategy begins with the need to solve a problem.  So, let’s take risk management and the tracing of a travelers journey.  Data is no longer just a by-product of business travel. TMC data alone will not provide the whole picture which is becoming a critical asset to quick and effective decision-making.  

A holistic data strategy helps by turning multiple and siloed data sources into an asset rather than a liability. Harnessing your key data sources, such as travel, HR, expense, credit card and other 3rd party sources is providing greater visibility for business to track, trace, locate and communicate with travelers.

Be Comprehensive

The return to travel will constantly evolve as markets reopen. Guidelines will change and supply and demand evolves. It is also important that your data strategy is flexible and adaptable.  A good travel data strategy must be fluid and comprehensive, and Grasp Technologies understands this.  Our goal is to help corporations be as prepared as possible. We want them to have the solutions, insights and plans to act and overcome.

In recent weeks, as a response to the problem posed by the pandemic and the impact to the travel sector, Grasp Technologies launched the COVID-19 Dashboard. It is an interactive dashboard, for users to identify where travelers are with a single click drill down feature to access specific travel details. The COVID-19 dashboard is also augmented with visual map and location identification powered by the U.S. State Department travel warnings, disaster alerts, and Coronavirus “hot spots” from the Johns Hopkins University.

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Map – Where Are My Travelers with Integrated Data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map.

Simple zoom in/out capability and a draw capacity to focus on office or site locations also enhances the experience and speed to respond.

In addition and in response to the surge of cancelled flights, refunds and unused tickets, Grasp Technologies has created reports which provide the ability to track travel bookings identified in a TMC back office environment as a refund.  The ability to self-serve, monitor and action refunds and exchanges is proving valuable in managing travel budgets during these volatile times.

Be Adaptable

It is important to have a data strategy that is flexible and responsive. We also feel passionate that data must constantly improve. For too long even before the crisis, Corporate Travel Buyer have had to accept “OK” data, data with flaws. 

We don’t see why that has to be. Yes, data is found in silos. Data is unstandardised and inconsistent. But with the right strategy, data can be accessible, relevant, accurate and most importantly valuable. Some say data is more valuable than “oil”, in today’s world that could be very true!

When it comes to finding a trustworthy data partner, don’t settle for less than you need and don’t cut corners. Whoever it is for you, make sure that you are working with best-in-class solutions and a team that understands travel data, because there really is nothing like it.  

Be sure that your data partner really understands you and your travel program. Your program and needs will be very different to anyone else’s. Be sure to have a partnership which fits you today and which can adapt and grow with you tomorrow. Remember, a data strategy isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. You need a partner looking out for you, who understand the travel marketplace, travel suppliers and processes. 

If you are looking for a partner who is as equally invested as you and you’d like to learn more about GraspDATA and what Grasp Technologies can do for your business, please speak to us: email sales@grasptech.com or visit www.grasptech.com.

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