Identifying Travel-related Retention Risks

?????????Who can say when a traveler has reached that dreary destination of travel burnout?

It’s a very individual issue, yes?  For some, it may take years of constant hopping from terminal to taxi, while others may arrive after a few weeks of  run-of-the-mill trips, but are suffering the consequences of way too many problems piling up at home.

I knew I was in travel burnout land when, after a few months of intense travel, the sight of my suitcase made me cringe.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to identify travelers at risk of burnout, without having to flash pictures of carry-ons in front of them and look for signs of dread.

My firm, tClara, is scoring traveler itineraries with Trip Friction™ points.  The goal is to create a proxy for the wear and tear travelers incur during their trips.

Why bother?  Because all that travel-related wear and tear eventually creates real costs.  Productivity costs.  Health care and even disability costs.  Lower employee engagement levels.  And eventually the toughest one – employee turnover.

Our industry needs a good metric, a new KPI, to shine a light on this hidden cost of too much travel. Without such a metric, I don’t see how you can truly claim to optimize a travel program…but that’s another story.  Here’s our approach to measuring traveler wear and tear: Continue reading

Airline Sourcing One-Day Workshops

Any travel buyer interested in learning the most powerful and innovative methods for sourcing airlines should attend one of my workshops:

Airline Sourcing, Nov. 14th in Chicago

Airline Sourcing, Dec. 10th in Dallas

I’ll cover the basics, but then quickly head into deeper water – where buyers will learn how to maximize their leverage, regardless of their air spend. Key topics include:

  • Scenario modeling
  • Risk-reward mapping
  • Why discount benchmarking is useless, and what’s better
  • Discovering the gap between the offered and maximum rational discount
  • Finding the 20% of your markets that will drive 80% of your savings
  • Optimizing between trip cost and trip friction
  • Predicting the impact of the AA-US merger on your 2014 air budget
  • Procurement’s best and worst roles

These workshops are open to anyone, including airline sales managers.  Register via the GBTA website.

Everyone benefits from having a sophisticated, fact-based discussion about optimizing airline discounts. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

I’m back in the analytics game with tClara

tClara logo

Many of you know that I sold my last company, Travel Analytics,  back in 2006.  I had a 5-year non-compete, and filled my time doing a fair amount of speaking and training, and of course writing here on whatever caught my eye in the travel industry.

Along the way I met some great guys at Diio, the aviation data intelligence firm. They know aviation data inside and out, and have an amazing group of really smart software engineers who – and this is vital – are very focused on providing great customer service.

Long story short, we’ve joined forces to offer on-demand analytics for the corporate travel industry.  Our firm is tClara, pronounced tee-CLAIR-ah, a riff on “clarity”.  You can check out our site here.

Our sweet spot is delivering customized reports in three areas: Airline category analysis, travel policy decision support, and trip friction scoring and benchmarking. Continue reading

Pain-less TMC RFP Process

Anyone who’s worked on a TMC RFP knows what a royal pain in the butt these projects are.  Lots of reasons for this – it’s an infrequently sourced category, there are no standard data elements, questions or pricing schedules, and there is no easy way to score bids.

Don Swartz, principal of Corporate Travel Buyer Resources, figured there had to be a better way.  As a former TMC guy and active consultant on TMC bids, he had a ringside seat to these and other problems.

Don’s solution? Streamline and standardize.  Impose reasonable limits on buyers and sellers. Make things easier and faster. Stay focused on the goal: Help buyers make good choices from several well-crafted offers.

The result? A notable reduction in cycle time Continue reading

Black Car Cost Control

Black car serviceJeff LaFave, founder and CEO of SummitQwest, has mastered the art of controlling black car costs for his corporate clients.  If you’re keen to see 15% savings in this category, read on…

A big pain in black car spend management is dealing with messy invoices from lots of suppliers. There can be dozens of price-related fields and factors.  Lots of rides need to be charged back to clients or business units.  Rides may not comply with travel policies…like the guy who took a black car to and from work for a year, yes, you guessed it – outside of company policy.

SummitQwest tackled this messy problem by creating SummitGround, a standardized black car invoicing platform. It makes a lot of sense for these reasons: Continue reading

AA-US Merger Implications for Gov and Biz Travel

This morning I pointed out some new frontiers in managed travel to the Society of Government Travel Professionals.  Things like traveler friction, trip tailoring, edit rights, Managed Travel 2.0 and traveler dashboards, along with their implications for the government travel program. (here’s the full deck)

Then I shared this slide to make the point that airfares will go up after the AA-US merger:

Airline Profit Margins Rise as Competition Falls

Fewer competitors in a market result in higher profit margins for the suppliers. Looks like that basic economic theory holds true in the airline category. (For non-government readers, YCA fares are the U.S. Government’s equivalent of full Y fares – fully refundable, last seat availability in coach.)

The significant implication for the U.S. Government and businesses Continue reading

What’s the airline’s cost of your ticket?

How helpful would it be to know the airline’s cost of any ticket?

Procurement pros often use cost modeling to estimate profit margins, then use that as  context for price negotiations.

But airline pricing doesn’t depend much (some would say at all) on costs – it’s all about supply and demand.

Evan Konwiser and I are developing a website aimed at this issue.  The initial focus is on the consumer market, but we are keen to understand the potential for the corporate travel market as well.

Your feedback will be greatly appreciated!  Click here to weigh in using this 8-question, 3-minute survey: https://aytm.com/r762623

Feel free to share the survey link as you wish.  The survey will close out after 250 responses.

Alternatively, your comments here are most welcome, as always.

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

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

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ProcureApp’s Clever Compliance Tool

Disclosure: I’ve served  ProcureApp as an unpaid advisor.

Procurement folks hate undiscounted spend.  They’ll love ProcureApp.  Why? Because it detects when a buyer (think traveler) has wandered onto a non-approved supplier’s website. When that happens, a friendly message pops up.

“Pardon me, old chap.  Couldn’t help noticing that you’re on Brand.com’s site.  Not really an approved supplier, are they?  Tsk, tsk. Why don’t we take a nice stroll over to our approved travel site, and do our shopping and booking over there, shall we?”

Beautiful.  A timely message displayed to a traveler at a critical step in the path of non-compliance. Complete with a link to the preferred site. Continue reading