The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

Data Sharing: Providing Visibility in Managed Travel Programs

Posted by Mike MacNair on Oct 18, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Data Sharing: Providing Visibility in Managed Travel ProgramsIn today’s data-driven world, companies have access to all types of valuable traveler data: from personal information to preferred airlines and hotels. Travel managers can see employee preferences for travel times, direct or indirect flights, and seat choices. By analyzing credit card usage, it is easy to discover where and when travelers ordered meals or if they watched a movie on the plane.

But what do you do with all of this data? Share it! By disseminating travel data among different business groups in your organization, your managed travel program gains visibility. Turning raw travel data into valuable information can help travel managers improve the travel policy, track traveler compliance and help in budget forecasting.

As more and more travel data becomes available through online booking tools and mobile apps, data sharing will continue to grow as a hot topic in the travel industry. Results from a recent survey conducted by The BTN Group and American Express Global Business Travel, reported that travel program compliance and savings remain the focus for many companies. Data sharing for policy compliance ranked highest for senior management (70%), followed by CEO/CFO (52%) and Business Units (55%). The table below outlines these statistics in more detail.

Data Shared with Various Stakeholder GroupsImage Source: American Express Global Business Travel

 

The same report also stated that for all business groups (from senior management to human resources), the importance of distributing travel data has increased with senior management and CFOs ranked highest at 64%, followed closely by business unit budget owners at 62%. The table below, Metrics That Matter in Managed Corporate Travel, shows the increase from last year to this year.

Metrics that Matter in Managed Corporate Travel

Image Source: American Express Global Business Travel

As the process of managing travel programs becomes more data-centric, travel managers will get a clearer picture of traveler compliance and travel spend data. In our blog, 3 Tips to Help CFOs Improve Travel Policy Compliance, we reported that when employees do not comply with travel policies, there is a definite loss in cost savings, directly impacting a business’ bottom line. It is one of the reasons that CEOs are demanding increased visibility into the overall travel spend. 

Read the full article here.

How Will Travel Data Distribution Improve Program Compliance and Increase Savings?

By sharing personal traveler data for all to see, such as year-to-date airfare spending, number of tickets booked outside policy, average number of days booked in advance and missed savings, companies like Accenture have seen an improvement in travel compliance. A well-communicated, managed travel program along with data sharing on a monthly or quarterly basis to appropriate parties should increase the number of compliant travelling employees, as well as:

  • Increase visibility for CFOs into overall travel spend allowing him or her to provide accurate, real-time financial information to CEOs.
  • Cost savings in T&E due to ancillary fee control and the ability to better manage preferred vendor relationships.
  • Increase employee productivity due to reduced time wasted on follow-up with non-compliant travelers.
  • Accurate reports that provide insights into unmanaged travel programs and non-compliant travelers across your business.

What Data Should CFOs Share/Report?

Travel data reporting can be supplied from a TMC, independent third party or developed in house. Regardless of how the data is shared, most travel managers want standard and customizable reports, with graphing capabilities. More advanced reporting tools offer additional travel data analytics, including benchmarks to judge relevance to peer groups and trend analyses to determine the managed travel program’s effectiveness. 

The BTN Group report, “Data Sharing - Engaging Stakeholders in Managed Travel Programs," examined which aspects of a managed travel program were important to senior management. What matters most, according to the study, is compliance and cost. In other words, senior management is watching cost and evaluating how non-compliance impacts that number. The following two tables, provide more analysis and metrics on what data metrics senior management is tracking.

Key Finding: Data Elements Most Important to Senior Management

Image Source: Engaging Stakeholders in Managed Travel Programs (BTN Group)

Travel Metircs that Companies Are Measuring

Reports are valuable to senior management as well as other groups within the company, such as travel management departments, finance, human resources, safety and security, site services and purchasing. Automatically scheduled reports can be delivered to the right department based on reporting privileges to encourage data sharing.

Travel data is collected from many sources, such as online booking tools, airlines, hotels, rental cars, and credit card companies. Armed with more data than ever before, it is clear that senior management values a managed travel program that can distribute data across business entities. This is mostly important in regard to compliance and cost, and how they affect the company’s bottom line.

Reconciling multiple data sources, including credit card data and expense data, can provide for better analytics and a more complete picture of your travel program. Travel managers might want to scour current reporting with a renewed focus, looking for opportunities or metrics to improve areas within their travel program that will drive cost savings.

Managed Travel: 12 Key Data Points You Should Be Tracking 

Topics: Data Sharing, Managed Travel