KPI Toolkit for Travel Managers


Looking for some fresh thinking on the travel KPI front?  Help is at hand!

Four of us took up Paul Tilstone‘s challenge to create a set of Key Performance Indicators for travel category managers.  Nicolas Borel, Torsten Kriedt, James Westgarth and I have been working on this project for quite a few months now.

We settled on twenty-one KPIs, complete with definitions and likely data sources.  Of course, you can’t have a KPI Toolkit without an Excel file, right?  So we designed an easy self-scoring worksheet that allows you to customize the weights of each KPI to suit your interests. Our KPIs focus on transient travel – the groups and meetings side was out of scope from the get-go.

Folks, these KPIs are suggestions – they are not industry-agreed standards.  They are meant as a thoughtful starting point for considering which KPIs are best for your travel program.

Updated: Here are the two files we created:

2012 KPI Reference Guide for GBTA This PDF describes the 21 KPIs in detail, and provides more information about the scope and limitations of this effort.

KPI Scoring Wizard This Excel file contains a simple worksheet that allows custom weighting and scoring of each KPI.

GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) members have access to the KPI toolkit via the GBTA website.  The KPI toolkit is but one ; many other valuable resources are available to GBTA members. If you are not yet a member, you may join GBTA here.

Here is a whitepaper from Advito, BCD’s consulting unit, on the role of KPIs in a strategically managed travel program: Strategic Travel Program KPIs from Advito

On a related note, here’s a post on the pitfalls of using KPIs.

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16 Responses to KPI Toolkit for Travel Managers

  1. Tom Stoklosa says:

    You consistently find the best graphics for your presentations to make them eye catching.

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Thanks, Tom! Props to “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds. Great book on how and why to let visuals carry the day. Not to mention that the hunt for the right pic is kinda fun :)

  2. Christa Degnan Manning says:

    Can’t wait to see them!

  3. Tom Tulloch says:

    KPI’s can be very useful; the “key” to leveraging KPI’s to your advantage includes having real time or near time data supporting the metrics. I look forward to seeing how closely the 21 categories you gentlemen arrived on mirror the categories that our customers are currently monitoring. While these type of metrics have been around for a while the next big trend is KPP’s, or Key Performance Predictors which may prove to be more valuable than KPI’s for planning, forecasting and managing purposes.

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Key Performance Predictors sound interesting, Tom. Seems consistent with the themes of data mining and predictive analytics. Can you share any travel-specific examples?

  4. Tom Tulloch says:

    Sure we have a current customer who is growing very rapidly and they have come up with a formulaic method of leveraging historical expense data, applying some simple predictive metrics relative to spend per employee to predict/forecast what their spend will be in forward looking fashion. The resulting KPP allows them to determine whether they will be above or below their budget based on staffing plans. It’s not a perfect process and I think we will see other better examples. I believe that KPP’s will be very valuable to companies with large spend categories for Air and Hotel especially during peak travel seasons and in markets that have limited capacity or availability, it will be interesting to see if these types of KPP’s have an impact on advanced booking patterns.

  5. Scott, I was all ready to get my hands on this tool and explore the 21 points, and begin to gather data and measure performance… then I opened the link to the webinar and found out I would have to be a member of this GBTA group to have access to the tool. How sad. Is there any chance that there will be some sort of abbreviated version made available to the general population who are responsible for T&E spend and performance management but are not dedicated travel specialist?

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Understood, Jerry. I’ll have a chat with the folks at GBTA.

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Jerry, I’ve provided links in the original post above, to the two files that my fellow co-authors and I created for this project. Folks can now download the PDF and Excel file from my blog.

      I hope you find these files useful. Feedback will be welcomed, of course!

      • Thanks so much Scott. I’ll let you know once we’ve had an opportunity to properly assess these documents. From first glance they appear to be very through, I’m sure they will be invaluable as we mature this category.

  6. Pingback: Data Quality is Traveling… | The Data Roundtable

  7. Great work … What about the policy itself? I would add a KPI about the evaluation by the travelers of the travel policy, of the preferred suppliers chosen, of the compliance process and of tools. Should be done at least twice a year.
    What is needed is a quick feedback to be able to react quickly if something needs to be improved.

    Performance without a context is also difficult to use, so I propose to correlate some of the KPI with the ones of the industry and of the growth of the company business.

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Fully agree, William, about the need to measure the travelers’ views on the topics you listed. We included traveler satisfaction as one of the KPIs, but left the elements to measure up to the user. Your specifics are good advice – thank you.

      Likewise, KPIs – or any metric – without context is not very valuable. Correlating some of them with what’s going on in the larger aspect of the company, or in travel industry, or at benchmark peers, makes great sense.

  8. Rich Murnane says:

    Hello Scott,

    I was very much impressed with the work you guys did (and the webinar0, so much so I wrote about it in a “Data Management” blog post. If you’d like to take a peek you can check it out here:

    Thank you very much for putting this all together and best regards…Rich Murnane

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Thank you, Rich! It was a fun project, especially working with three other very good travel data experts. Looks like, from reading your article, that you’re in the thick of travel data quality issues. Let’s stay in touch, and please share any tips you have creating good travel data deliverables – KPIs or otherwise!

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