If you’re a corporate travel manager, you’re probably well acquainted with the headaches associated with keeping track of your company’s travel activity when employees book across different sources.
Depending on how “managed” your managed travel programme is, these off-platform bookings can range from a minor nuisance to a raging migraine. And for companies with a truly unmanaged approach to corporate travel, corralling the data about where and what your employees are spending is about as simple as getting a classroom of kindergartners to take a nap…after a trip to the circus…with lots of sweets.
Savvy corporate travel managers and services providers who support them are taking a new approach to tackling this information challenge by making Data Strategy a centrepiece of their corporate travel programmes. By focusing first on what data is needed to effectively manage their programmes, travel buyers can make better decisions about which TMCs, expense management applications, duty of care providers and technology partners can help them achieve those goals.
As the Global Business Travel Association noted in its 2015 study “Travel Manager 2020”, “Leveraging/analysing travel data to track programme performance” rated as a top-three most time-consuming activity by 57 per cent of travel managers surveyed. And in a related 2015 GBTA study, “TMCs Today and Tomorrow”, “Data analysis/performance measurement/reporting” rated as a top-three priority by 55 percent of the US-based travel managers surveyed.
The push by leading TMCs to incorporate off-platform and non-GDS booking data is an example of this move to a data-led strategy by corporate travel managers. As more companies demand visibility into this portion of off-platform spend as it occurs, cutting edge TMCs are moving to integrate technology from providers like Traxo to capture this data. For example, Traxo partners Chrome River (Stand B870 at the Business Travel Show) and iJET (Stand B568) are actively working to help solve this data management challenge by automating travel data aggregation for their expense management and duty of care services, respectively.
Additionally, tools designed for corporate travel managers themselves, like Traxo Connect, are providing another alternative for gaining that 360o visibility into program spend – no matter where it’s booked.
By prioritising data needs first and foremost, travel managers can make better decisions on the various downstream services and tools they need to effectively manage their programs – whether that is deciding on a booking tool or TMC partner, structuring travel policy, choosing preferred suppliers, or implementing payment programs.
You can’t manage what you can’t see. A data-empowered travel programme pays dividends in productivity and cost improvements – so, what’s your data strategy?
Cara Whitehill is Chief Commercial Officer, Traxo. Traxo is piloting its new Traxo Connect tool for corporate travel managers with a select group of customers, and will be expanding the pilot in conjunction with the Business Travel Show event this month. To learn more, please visit the Traxo team at booth b672 or online at www.traxo.com. To register for a free visitor pass, please visit www.businesstravelshow.com.