How to Leverage Data to Streamline Your Travel Program

A critical part of any travel manager’s role involves reporting to company decision-makers on program performance. Having access to data is crucial, but gathering the proper metrics can be time-consuming and complicated. Unless you have an established system in place, even once the data is collected, you’ll still be stuck trying to interpret complex information and translate it into a digestible format.

Too often, companies waste time tracking down data points from several different sources, only to be left with disjointed facts and figures that don’t point in a clear direction. That’s where a business intelligence tool like Direct Intelligence comes to the rescue. It helps tell the story of your travel program’s performance—the story behind all that data.

Business intelligence tools go far beyond simple reporting. Here are three ways you can leverage your data to enhance your reporting capabilities and streamline your travel program.

View Your Data in One Spot

The post-pandemic world of business travel has progressively put pressure on travel managers to wrangle all readily available reporting metrics. In fact, more than 80% of travel mangers surveyed by GBTA indicated that leveraging and analyzing travel data has become an increasingly integral part of their job.

One way travel managers can save time throughout this process is by accessing all data sources in one place. Not only does this make the actual data collection stage much easier, but it also simplifies the process of presenting findings to C-suite executives.

At Direct Travel, our Direct Intelligence tool brings data together across multiple systems to reveal insights through smart visualizations. This storytelling feature allows you to insert a graph, report, or other data metric directly into a presentation. Plus, if there is a question about the data and you need to manipulate the metrics on the go, it’s easy to do so since it’s not a static image. By viewing your data in one platform, you simplify your reporting—just another reason why we recommend making the move to a managed travel program.

Explore Your Data in Any Direction

Once you have all your information in one spot, you are better positioned to visualize your existing data in new ways. By making your data work for you, you will be able to set clear metrics and goals for growth and success.

For example, if you’re looking at a KPI that tells you your online booking tool (OBT) adoption rate is 73%, how do you qualify if that is good or bad, and how does that compare to last quarter? You have the raw data, but it may be more difficult to quantify the value of the information at hand and translate those findings into strategies for increasing compliance.

Direct Travel’s Brianna Conway, Vice President of Technology Solutions, suggests enlisting the help of a business intelligence tool that is highly visual so you can analyze your metrics even in a quick glance. Direct Intelligence uses smart visualizations such as colors (red, yellow, and green) and arrows (up, down, and sideways) to not only show you the facts, but also give you a visual representation of what they actually mean. This approach enables travel managers to leave behind complex data reports and redesign them in a more visually intuitive way.

Generate Compelling Data Stories

In today's data-driven landscape, the ability to transform raw data into compelling narratives can help your company make more informed business decisions. When it comes to generating data stories, your objective is not solely to present numbers and figures, but to craft a compelling narrative that engages your audience and drives action.

Start by looking for missed opportunities within the numbers, and then highlight any low hanging fruit that should be adjusted or flagged. If your task is to analyze compliance, for instance, you might pull a report that shows your employees are taking the lowest airfare 80% of the time. A tool like Direct Intelligence can show you that stat, but it can also dive deeper and include information like money lost, top offenders within that 20%, and more. In other words, it gives you the data itself but also suggestions of actions you can take in relation to that data.

Fuel Performance with a Trusted Travel Partner

Mining data is the first step, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s important to visualize and find meaningful relationships within your data so you can more effectively tell the story of your travel program’s performance. Partnering with a trusted management partner provides access to business intelligence and reporting tools that will make sweating over data a thing of the past.

At Direct Travel, our team can show you both how to implement these tools and how to maximize them to achieve full program potential. If you’re ready to get started, contact us to learn more about our tools and strategies for data storytelling.