Travel data can be a minefield. On the one hand, you need to it ensure policy compliance or use it to track your employees but sometimes, there can be so much of it, it’s hard to tell what data is actually delivering value to your business. And that’s the key point, making sure that the data that you are receiving is delivering valuable information to help you do your job.
In an article, Grow.com writes, “Data helps you understand and improve business processes so you can reduce wasted money and time” - meaning you can choose the most efficient way to prioritise bookings, plan for your busiest travel periods, and understand the habits of your travellers. The question is, how will you get that data.
Understand where to find your data, ALL of your business travel data.
Business Travel applies across all areas of the business. And actually, the data pool that you have access to might go further and wider than you might think!
- Your Online Booking Tool - Review the information stored in the OBT. Many of them will allow you to run tailored reports to discover things like The Most Popular Brand of Hotel, The Top Visited Destination and more.
- Your TMC - Your TMC is a fountain of knowledge and will know your business’s travel habits end to end. They will be able to provide you with extensive information about your travel data and even help you find ways to use it to inform things like your travel policy.
The benefit of using payment data is it actually informs you on the “actuals” spent on a business trip*. For example, those incidentals not accounted for by your OBT such as on trip spend on meals and ground-transportation.
- Your Expense Management Tool - An EMS is a powerful tool that translates the habits of travellers into facts and figures. Use your EMS to understand policy compliance, expense behaviour and help your travellers to request reimbursements their privately funded business expenses.
- Your records - What better way to understand the habits of your employees by relying on previously recorded travel data? This information is beyond accurate and can help you identify trends in your organisations travel needs.
- And make sure you check the "unlikely" places - No matter the intensions, there are often too many cases of travel spend “slipping through the net”. It might be worth checking with your trainings department to ensure all trainings and group bookings have been recorded in the correct manner, same with events and marketing.
Using Travel to help support your business’s objectives: Check your business’s goals 2020 and strategically build a data-driven travel programme to support these objectives.
For example, if you are looking expanding into a new market, use your booking tool to review the most popular travel methods to the market, the common destination of the travellers and the top-rated hotels in the area. Plan out a “traveller lead” journey based on previous behaviours.
Identifying trends and targeting the outcome.
Now that you’ve identified which areas of your business will benefit the most from analytics and what issues you want to address, it’s time to target which data-sets, helping you achieve the objectives of the organisation.
This involves analysing the data that you already have and finding out which data sources provide the most valuable information. This will help streamline data.
Targeting data according to your business objectives can help you with an abundance of topics including supplier negotiations, traveller tracking, policy enhancements to support the needs of the traveller and enforcement of policy compliance.
Presenting your findings to the leadership team.
The way you present the insights you’ve gleaned from the data will determine how much you stand to gain from them. There are multiple business intelligence tools that can pull together even complex sets of data and present it in a way that makes your insights more digestible for decision makers.
Of course, it’s not about presenting pretty pictures but about demonstrating the value driven from the data insights you have collected. Consolidate your findings into facts and actions and ultimately how this information is being used to support the objectives of the business.