Benchmarking is one of the most popular requests from travel managers – and one of the most difficult services to provide. I’ve argued strongly that price benchmarking is wrong and worthless. Not changing my tune on that one.
Performance benchmarking, however, has a big part to play in any up-and-coming travel program. The problem has always been the lack of credible metrics and an easy way to plug your data into the benchmarking tool – and then get meaningful “so what” outputs.
It looks like Rock Blanco and his team at Travel GPA have solved the problem. The Travel GPA tool looks similar to the leading travel data reporting tools (TRX’s TravelTrax and Cornerstone’s iBank come to mind). Lots of ways to slice and dice your travel data, plenty of dashboard widgets and drill-downs…but nothing fundamentally different from the other data reporting tools I’ve seen.
Until you get to the core concept of Travel GPA. Rock’s idea was to identify a dozen meaningful metrics – metrics that can 1) clearly be tied to performance, and 2) be graded as good or bad. Think seven day advance purchases, acceptance rates of lowest offered fare, online booking adoption, and so on.
This tool makes it really easy to track your own performance on these important dimensions. Of course, the tool allows you to enter your own goals for each of these metrics and assign a weight for each metric to fit your company’s culture.
But most importantly, it lets you automatically see where you stand against the best practice levels seen from a set of “over a thousand” other companies, according to Rock. (click the image below to get better view)
The first beauty of this tool is that it gives you a really easy way to track your performance on a set of generally accepted KPIs. Easy is good, especially if it is also accurate. Given that Travel GPA uses Crossfire, Rick Law’s firm for data scrubbing, I’m confident you’ll get high-quality data from the get-go.
The second beauty of this tool is its no-brainer ability to show you savings opportunities. Using your underlying travel data and some basic math, the tool lets you see where and how much you could save. Even better, you can play with some of the assumptions to refine your savings estimates to suit your view of the real world. Have a look (click the image to get a better view):
Travel GPA represents the right direction for data reporting and business intelligence in the travel industry. I give it an A for delivering practical value.
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