Travel Management – Big Differences With Little Changes

When it comes to your travel management program, little changes can make big differences. Managing your corporate travel budget can be a daunting and time-consuming task. And on top of everything, you depend on travel to maintain healthy global business relationships. It can be a struggle to accurately and effectively capture, report and make critical decisions related to travel data and Travel and Entertainment expenses. Add to this the challenges of managing a global operation and it becomes even more difficult. But a few simple and incremental shifts in your travel program may lead to many positive results.

THE DATA CHALLENGES

What are some of the key challenges when it comes to creating the perfect data strategy? Data strategies aren’t terribly complex or expensive. They also don’t require a lot of infrastructure. But there are challenges and in order to move forward, you need to understand what these challenges are.

Travel and Expense (T&E) is a corporation’s 2nd largest and most controllable expense.

There are aspects where people view data as very retrospective, but data is used in a very different way now. When considering travel programs that are changing to be much more personalized. When focusing on savings or other aspects such as well-being and sustainability, there are a lot of requirements for a travel policy. Controlling that expenditure that comes around a travel program is key for an organization’s success.

T&E Data is disparate and disjointed

There is no reason to believe that travel programs will stay as they are today. There are many organizations that will use a preferred TMC to work with, but the travel industry is seeing new and exciting supplies coming to the marketplace. Whether you’re booking through a TMC or an online booking tool, the number of data sources is only going to multiply. This is not including expense data or card data. There is a lot of information that can enrich a T&E data program.

No data standards, no integration between most systems

Buckets of data means there is very little integration. Inconsistencies can appear across your data sets and that is absolutely given across any organization. Inconsistency in data is a huge struggle, especially if you’re a travel manager or is you’re in procurement, etc. Having accurate data is fundamental to achieving the best for a data program.

Every program is different in strategy and has unique requirements

One organization is very different from another. The targets of one organization will vary from that of another. Therefore, their travel programs can look and feel very different and a single travel program must be built to suit the specific organization. This includes the right metrics, the right measures and the right accountability.

Data management for most is manual and untimely

Ideally, corrections and fixing of data errors should be done as early as possible. This helps manage and ensure the consistency of data. There might always be a place for manual intervention, but when your data starts stacking up and there’s just too much of it, it becomes more difficult to accurately manage it in a timely manner.

Data challenges create a very reactive environment

Data is very proactively used these days. It is used to plan, forecast and measure. Data can help design and personalize a travel program for a corporation. Accessible data to everyone who needs it is key.

LOOK AFTER THE PENNIES

Accuracy builds credibility. A travel management program and the data that comes from it needs to be as accurate as possible in order to ensure that a company’s objectives are being met.

There are over 150 currencies in the world. There will be different people who need to look at data in the currency of their respective countries. With Grasp Technologies, we have 168 currencies for you to run your reports in. The key here is that we apply the currency conversion on the date of purchase. This may not seem like a big deal but most reporting tools will apply the conversion on the day that the report is run, whatever the conversion is on that date and not the day of purchase.

On top of timeliness, Grasp Technologies balances your data to the penny. We have seen a lot of large corporations save up to and over a million dollars in their annual travel budget just from this one point alone. Data accuracy and cleanliness can really make all the difference when making financial decisions for your travel program.

ALL IN A NAME

Most organizations will place speed as their primary concern. The faster you can access data, the quicker data is delivered, the more that organizations will respond to that. We appreciate the priority of speed, but here at Grasp Technologies, we always want to bring the conversation back to accuracy. When it comes to travel management, effectiveness is the perfect mixture of speed and accuracy.

One of the biggest cases for data accuracy revolves around a longstanding problem with hotel booking information. The challenge of consistency across all hotel data is seen everywhere. Information for a single hotel property (name, address and phone number) can be input in various ways across different systems – even though it is for a singular physical location. Because of this, without cleaning and normalizing this data, it becomes nearly impossible to accurately analyze and report on bookings at individual hotel properties. GraspSNAP is our tool for hotel normalization and deals precisely with these inconsistencies. It removes ambiguity and bad data surrounding hotel property information and allows for accurate reporting on a per property basis which can correlate to a master preferred properties list as well.

PROVE YOUR POWER

The power of data is in how it is managed.  Timeliness and accuracy are two of the most important things. For Grasp Technologies, accuracy is the emphasis. Of course it is important that reports are delivered on time, that they’re accessible from a laptop or wherever your are. But you have to be able to ensure a measure of accuracy. Accuracy means confidence, which means better and more informed decisions. With GraspIQ working with your travel management program, you can quickly identify data issues, make corrections and improve operational processes. It is a powerful tool that is both automated and allows for the fine tuning from manual intervention as well.

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