Travel Data is a part of your value. It’s your currency of the future. But having your data is just one small piece of the puzzle. The real opportunity is the near real-time access to this data which enables greater flexibility and rich opportunities to forecast, manage and act. Utilizing this information effectively can be translated directly into dollars – with the right strategy and tools.
In Part 1 of our series, we introduced our Best Practices for Travel Data Management. Lets take a closer look at some of these practices.
Travel Data Management Objectives
Have a clear set of objectives and goals that are inline with your corporate policy and corporate culture. This will allow you to achieve maximum cost savings, more effective spending and contracting to maximize the value of your travel budget. Start with a baseline. You need to capture a baseline average of behavior for your travelers that correspond to what your objectives are for change.
Measure and Adjust
You can measure the impact of your objectives using key performance indicators (KPI). Along the way, you may need to adjust your goals or methods of measuring your progress to goals. Based on the traveler’s role in the company or different job types or divisions, you may need to define different goals or policies. At Grasp Technologies, we call this “knowing thy traveler”. This may depend upon age, social status, gender or a combination of a multitude of other criteria that helps to best qualify the type of traveler the individual is and what hot buttons will encourage them to best company with company policies.
Each division, department or line of business may have it’s own “personality” and in turn have a different set of objectives. You probably won’t hit your target(s) on the first try, or you might even pick the wrong target, but keep refining and trying again.
Get a baseline before you implement any objectives and benchmark against that baseline.
Validate that the actions you put in pace relate to the outcome you desire using KPI’s.
Some good base KPI’s include:
- Travel percent of company revenue
- Travel percent of company expense
- total average cost per trip
- travel cost per employee (total travel/number of all employees)
Sources of Data
There is a myriad of sources for data that Travel & Entertainment Managers need to have at their fingertips. The following data sources should be considered for a comprehensive solution:
- GDS reservations
- TMC ticketed data
- HR/ERP feeds
- Purchase Card
- Contracted Vendor Data
- Meetings Management
- Social Media
With so much relevant information available, T&E Managers need a strategy and an appropriate set of tools that can collect, clean, consolidate and report effectively on all of this data. A strategy is imperative to optimize the specific elements of the data that will have the largest impact upon your budget. This will allow you to utilize the information in your possession in the timeliest fashion in order to achieve your objectives.
- If you have multiple TMC’s, get all of them to submit data to you
- Work with IT or thid party to bring in Expense
- Get your card data
- Phone statistics
- Traveler feedback/surveys
Quality, Quantity and Frequency
The three most important factors that will impact your success are your ability to monitor, measure and react.
In Travel Data Management, quality is everything. You need the quality of this data to be such that the information necessary to make your business decisions is correct for all transactions so that, when you do identify and measure your goals, compliance and traveler types, you will have accurate information.
You need to have all the sources of data to make good business decisions.
You must have near real-time access to the data in order for the exceptions and opportunities to be captured while there is still an opportunity to take action.
- Invest in a mid-office product and/or agent scripts
- Ensure quality when planning and use frequency when tracking and capturing data
- Work closely with your vendors and internal sources for data
- Dedicate a resource for monitoring
- Use tools for automation of reporting and monitoring to your goals/targets
Continue reading in Part III of our Travel Data Management series.
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