How to Put Your Corporate Travel Data to Work

Businesses in every sector are eager to improve their use of big data analysis, and one area that's ripe for disruption is corporate travel data. From travel management platforms to traveler behaviors, organizations have a whole host of accessible information that they could be leveraging, but which largely remains underutilized today.

Only about half - 56 percent - of travel managers have what they would call a "good handle" on their corporate data, according to a Business Travel News survey. Even top-tier participants who noted they had control over their travel data sets expressed an interest in expanding these pursuits with traditional and nontraditional data to get a clearer picture of their corporate travel.

When it comes time to kick off or enhance corporate travel data analysis, be aware of these key strategies to better leverage these resources:

Converge multiple datasets for deeper insights

Examining corporate travel data is nothing new for many businesses, particularly those with mature travel programs. However, as Jim Sisco, director of RELAX Group Travel Director, told Business Travel News, converging and combining multiple datasets for different and more robust insights is critical for today's companies.

"I don't own the accounts payable or the expense process in our organization, but our leadership in finance and procurement are interested in telling a more holistic story around travel," Sisco said.

When combined with previously siloed data from other departments, data about corporate travel can reveal surprising, actionable information:

  • With expense data: Does a gap analysis show areas of leakage?
  • With supplier data: Do you see direct bookings that should be brought back into the program?
  • With human resources data: Is the traveler experience or frequency of travel tied to employee turnover?

Discerning revenue-generating travel

Travel data can help businesses identify trips that generate revenue for the company as opposed to those that don't result in new or growing revenue streams. With this insight in hand, managers and department heads can make more intelligent decisions about where and when to send travelers in the future in a way that best supports company value.

But this pursuit goes far beyond return on investment benchmarks. For starters, it demonstrates the types of in-person meetings that pay off for the company versus those that don't. Second, travel data can assist businesses as they build the best teams of travelers for closing a deal, carrying out in-person services or leading presentations, all without overspending on airfare or hotel rooms for superfluous tagalongs.

Interested in learning how to better analyze corporate travel expenses? Read this blog post.

Potential for savings by influencing traveler behavior

Analyzing data related to traveler behavior is a common activity, but it's important to look beyond simple metrics like policy compliance, online adoption and advance ticket purchase. These provide helpful information - online booking alone can offer up to 20 percent savings - but what’s even more valuable is seeking out areas of traveler behavior that are rich for improvement and can result in significant savings:

  • Are travelers who travel less frequently given proper training before they book to prevent compliance issues?
  • Is there the potential to limit what day(s) of the week your travelers can book flights?
  • How often do employees choose a coach ticket over business class (and vice versa)?
  • Are travelers renting full-size SUVs when all they really need are intermediate sedans?

At the end of the day, it’s up to your employees to act in the best interest of your company and its travel policy. But detailed, highly utilized travel data can help guide them toward the right decision every time they book.

To find out more, connect with our expert consultants today.