The End of Travel Data Darkness

Ending Travel Data Darkness with a Switch

Ending Travel Data Darkness with a Switch

This is the year in which travel data darkness begins to die.

By data darkness, I mean the opacity of travel booking data made outside of company-approved booking channels.  Exhibit A – hotel bookings made on Brand.com. Given that most companies can’t see 40-50% of their hotel bookings, this is a big black hole for most travel managers. And safety/security managers. And tax managers (more on this later).

Sure, you may get this data via the corporate credit card, or eventually via the expense report, but by then that data’s wattage is pretty dim.  Surely you need brighter data – more detail, in real time, regardless of how or where your travelers book.

No problem.  The solution – conceptually – is so close and so simple. And it has tax benefits to boot.

It’s your company’s Continue reading

When To Greenlight an Open Booking

Managed Travel 2.0's Booking Paths ver. A

(click for a larger view)

When does it make sense for travelers to book outside the corporate channel?  Whenever you can get through each of these three gates:

1) Will the open booking data be acquired quickly by the corporate traveler security system?  This is a show-stopper for a lot of sites.

Some solutions are to use a tool like ProcureApp, or getting travelers to forward their bookings to an itinerary management tool, like TripIt.  Soon, we’ll see data capture solutions from Concur and GDSX, among others.  If getting the data is not a problem, then onward…

2) Will the  consumer site provide cost-competitive prices? Continue reading

The Future for Travel Management Companies

Managed Travel 2.0 has a huge implication for travel management companies (TMCs).

Namely, the business model for TMCs is going to change.Here’s how I see it:

Fifth in a series on Managed Travel 2.0

First, let’s start with the core issue – the booking transaction.  It’s the center of the TMC’s universe.  They organize and price their business around this function.  Everything else is basically an ancillary service. It’s all about the transaction fee.

No surprise that clients view the transaction fee as a bull does a red cape.  It’s highly visible, a tempting target, and instinctively from a procurement perspective, it’s something to attack.

Continue reading

Key Principles of Managed Travel 2.0

Fourth in a series on Managed Travel 2.0

Freedom. That’s the big difference between managed and unmanaged travel. Under a managed travel program, travelers have some fence posts to abide by. The question is how much room to roam do you give your travelers?

In Managed Travel 2.0, travelers have a great deal of freedom, bounded by a few vital limits.    Let’s look at each of MT 2.0’s key principles:

1. Shop anywhere – period.  Why ride against the tide?  Your travelers are doing this anyway.  Let’s acknowledge it, accept it and move on.

2. Book anyone – so long as the supplier is safe.  Travelers need to know who to avoid. Classifying suppliers on safety is a core responsibility of travel managers. Not much of a restriction, practically speaking.

But that “book anyone” bit – does that include non-preferred suppliers?  Oh, yes. Continue reading

The Rise of Managed Travel 2.0

Third in a series on Managed Travel 2.0

Creativity is often born from conflict.

For two decades, modern travel management has preached the virtues of travel policy compliance, use of preferred suppliers, and booking through the proper channels.

See GE’s description of its global travel program as Exhibit A.  It’s six sigma production line thinking at its best.  It’s the pursuit of travel program optimization via the logic of travel management.

But that policy-first approach frustrates travelers who have access to plenty of good consumer travel tools, who know the value of their time and their trips, and have no problem staying within their travel budget. For them, it’s all about the art of traveling.

Michael Tangney, Google’s travel program manager, gets credit for pioneering a new approach in 2008. Give travelers a target airfare.  If they book Continue reading

The Convenient Fiction of Program Optimization

Second in a series on Managed Travel 2.0 based on my keynote speech at the Beat Live.
 

Travel program optimization.  It sounds so desirable, doesn’t it? A worthy goal. A complicated process. A successful achievement.

“Program optimization” is a phrase deeply embedded in every TMC sales pitch. It’s a phrase that travel managers put at the top of their strategic goals.

It’s a phrase that’s nothing more than a convenient fiction.  Convenient because we really want to believe it can be delivered.  Fiction because it can’t.  At least not in the way we usually think about it.

TMCs and Travel Managers Don’t Have the Full Picture

Here’s the optimization problem: Companies want to get the most value from their travel spend.  That means maximizing the gap between a trip’s expected value and it’s total cost. A trip’s total cost is the sum of the trip’s expense plus the cost of the trip’s traveler friction.

So now we see the source of the fiction.  TMCs and travel/procurement managers don’t know two key pieces of the puzzle.  They don’t know the trip’s Continue reading

Why Traveler Friction Matters. 1st in a Series

Traveler Friction Costs Offset Program Savings

This series is based on my keynote speech given at the Beat Live.
 

Traveler Friction vs Travel Policies

Travel programs depend on travel policies for savings.  See how the blue line curves down, just like we expect? Travel policies reduce the cost of a trip. Good to know, right?

But as you increase the strength of that travel policy, you create costs.

Costs we’ll call “traveler friction”. That’s the red curve in the chart above.

Traveler friction comes in the form of Continue reading

Managed Travel 2.0 – Explanation and Implications

What do chickens and travelers have in common?  Both might be better off without fences.

That’s one of the issues I raised today at The Beat Live’s closing speech.  This speech covered

  • The driving forces behind Managed Travel 2.0 and its five key principles
  • The three requirements for this concept to take off
  • And most intriguingly, several key implications for the major stakeholders in the travel industry.

Here’s the full presentation.  It’s a much deeper presentation than what Evan Konwiser and I covered in Boston at GBTA.  Like that presentation, this one is in ballroom style (pretty pictures, few words), so it loses some punch without the voice-over.   We’ll push out a series of posts to put these pictures into context.

Want articles like these delivered to you by e-mail?  Follow this blog here.  It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

GBTA Prezos: Hit 1 Home Run, Struck 2 Nerves

Evan Konwiser and I presented the “Managed Travel 2.0” session at GBTA’s Global Convention last month.  The presentation was well received – lots of good discussion in the session, and after, about the implications of this form of travel management.

Here’s the deck we used, and here’s a good recap of the Managed Travel 2.0 session.  Look for a few more posts in the near future about some of the key points we made.

The next day I presented “Innovation in Travel”.  As promised, I took a critical view of the innovative track record in our industry.  Those views weren’t fully appreciated by some in the audience, predictably from the TMC and GDS camps.

Fair enough.  Innovation is to some extent a matter of opinion.  Here’s the deck I used to stir the innovation flames a bit. Thanks much to GBTA for the opportunity to speak about these important issues.

If you attended either session, what did you think?

Want articles like these delivered to you by e-mail?  Follow this blog here.  It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

From Friction to Fire at GBTA

The sparks are flying.

No, not about GBTA’s IP policies – we got that resolved a couple of weeks ago.  Thanks to all who weighed in on that – GBTA leadership heard you loud and clear.

This is much, much bigger.  It’s the issue of how to manage travel in modern times.

Evan Konwiser and I will fan the flames at GBTA’s Convention in Boston. We’ll present some pretty provocative views on this.  We’re backing it up with evidence, and laying out a direction that has big implications for buyers and suppliers.

Come add your fuel to the fire – join our session on Monday, July 23rd at 9:00 am.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of the sparks we’re throwing out there:

Traveler welfare trumps travel policies

Savings is the wrong goal

Revolution or Evolution – your choice

Want articles like these delivered to you by e-mail?  Follow this blog here.  It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.