Survey Says: Biggest Analytical Pain Points Are…

* Quantifying savings (36%), and measuring the traveler experience (16%)

* Working with travel technology tools, e.g. self-booking, expense reporting and data reporting tools (34%), and the airline category (20%)

* Deciding how to structure the analysis (22%), getting good data (20%) and proving cause and effect from the data (20%)

* Meeting the analytical demands of Senior Executives (28%), Procurement (26%) and Finance (24%)

This comes from my recent survey of 50 anonymous and self-proclaimed travel buyers  – so take this as directionally interesting; not statistically significant.

It’s curious to me that this group is still struggling with the issue of quantifying savings.  You’d think that long-standing need would by now have a well-accepted definition.   Maybe the issue is not definition, but data quality.  The Company Dime takes a deeper look at this issue here.

Worth noting is the number two pain point, topic-wise, is measuring the traveler experience.  Traveler centricity was a key topic at this week’s ACTE conference in Atlanta, so I’ll connect these two dots and conclude that companies are indeed shifting their sights a bit, with the goal of better understanding the human aspect of travel.

Travel technology tools -self-booking, expense reporting and data reporting – lead the way in being the biggest source of analytical pain.  I suspect this is a combination of things – incomplete and inconsistent data, difficulty of integrating data from multiple sources, and clunky reporting requirements, all reflecting poorly on these platforms.  Plenty of room for improving the data analyst’s experience, no doubt.

While getting good data is a key frustration, so are the essential tasks of framing the analysis, and proving cause and effect from the data.  No doubt there are a lot of ad hoc data request from travel stakeholders, so many of these are not going to be answered by canned reports.   There is a need for clear-thinking analytical types who can quickly grasp the path that leads to these more complex reporting goals.

So what did this casual survey really show us? My take, open for debate, is:

* Savings is still king, but the pendulum may be swinging back toward understanding the traveler experience.

* The biggest source of frustration is tied to the user experience – gotta make all these tools that contain data deliver data in a friendlier way.

* Analytical skills are in demand, and will be for as long as there are ad hoc reporting requests from analytically demanding stakeholders.

You can see the survey results here, which includes open-ended answers to the question “How would you describe your biggest analytical pain point in your own words?”

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