* 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 Continue reading
Quick, now – what’s the biggest innovation in travel data reporting over the last ten years?
- Dashboards or Balanced Scorecards? Those trace back to 1987.
- Web-based travel reports? Gotta be 15 years old, at least.
- Comparative price benchmarking? 15 years old, minimum.
- Travel program benchmarking done online?7 years old.
- “One number score”, aka batting average? 5 years old.
My point? Corporate travel managers need a new generation of travel data tools. I’m not selling anything. But I can see the numbers on the wall, at least in terms of what’s needed. Here goes:
Core Value: is Descriptive, should be Prescriptive Continue reading
Why is it so damned hard to get great value from the sea of travel data out there?
You’d think that corporate travel, a large and mature industry, would have cracked the code by now. And yet most buyers are still struggling to get anything more than mediocre value from their data reporting tools. Continue reading
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 Continue reading
Credit card data is not the best source for airline sourcing projects. I’ve said this for a long time (for example, here), but was challenged (nicely) by Jacques Lionnet at AirPlus to take a fresh look at AIM, the AirPlus Information Manager (AIM) tool.
Bottom line: The AIM tool captures excellent airline data and is easy to use, but it has a few shortcomings that prevent it from delivering ready-to-source air spend reports. These flaws (described below) should be easy to eliminate, and I suspect AirPlus will do so soon. Continue reading
** Update: The original webcast is no longer available. Here’s the portion of the webcast that I presented. It gives a few examples of anlyses that have some element of added value in them:
MasterCard ProMedia Webex v2 Continue reading
What the heck does baking have to do with travel data reporting, you ask?
It makes for an interesting metaphor. I used this concept in the speech I gave at the ACTE Canada conference this week in Toronto. I’ll admit that the skit was a bit hokey, but the points about poor preparation of data, half-baked analysis and hanging Christmas lights on plain-jane data were too good to pass up.
Once I got beyond these process-related problems, we dived into Continue reading
If your firm spends much on meetings and events, you should check out Meetings Analytics. This young firm does the hard and messy work of gathering, scrubbing and analyzing corporate meeting data, and then analyzes it to identify practical savings opportunities. You my think (or be told) that you already get meeting data reports from your meeting management tools or travel agencies. Hah! These guys are way ahead of those old-school reports. They report their findings in these key areas: Continue reading
(I originally posted this article on Supply Excellence)
Good data is one of the two must-haves in any successful travel sourcing project. (The other is effective people, but that’s another story). The question here is how do you go from acquiring your travel data and scrubbing it, to getting good data reporting? The answer is that it depends a lot on your data reporting tool (click here for a list of the better-known travel data reporting firms). Here’s what you need to look for:
- Consolidation: You want to store your travel agency booking data with your corporate credit card and expense reporting data. Your data tool should be able to acquire data from just about any travel agency’s back-office program, any corporate credit card file and any expense reporting tool. The more automated these handoffs, the lower the cost for you.
- Normalization: Your data tool should transform data from Continue reading
(I originally posted this article on SupplyExcellence as part of a series on using data in travel procurement)
Let’s assume that you’ve collected all your travel data – now what? Just like with your other categories, you now have to scrub the data before it’s ready for your sourcing project. These two generic rules shouldn’t surprise you:
- Discard abnormal values. Your sourcing data is the basis for representing your future purchase patterns. Throw out the $35,000 plane tickets, the $300 per day car rentals, and the $1,800 per night hotel stays. While these may be fine audit items, they don’t belong in your sourcing data.
- Embrace the 80/20 rule. Travel data sets have very long tails…lots and lots of very small purchases in obscure places. These purchases are of no value to your negotiations, so trim the small stuff from your spend files. It makes the analysis much easier and the negotiations more relevant.
Here’s what you need to know about scrubbing Airline, Hotel and Rental Car data: Continue reading