Travel managers typically have all the data needed for strong travel analytics. They just need a plan for getting started.
Of all corporate activity, business travel should yield the most insightful data — which means that travel analytics represent a huge opportunity. That said, most businesses today are only beginning to tap into the potential of travel analytics.
The data needed for insightful travel analytics is almost always available. It just needs to be accessed and organized in a meaningful way. As a Travel Manager, accessing the right data and properly organizing it will allow you to quickly report to executives and to make the case for additional travel-related investments.
Here’s a simple 3-step process you can use to leverage data and travel analytics.
1. Identify Goals and Objectives
It’s always helpful to start with the end in mind. As you look at data and think about travel analytics that would be helpful, consider you and your company’s travel-related goals and objectives. Are you interested in:
- Improving traveler safety?
- Reducing expense fraud?
- Negotiating better supplier contracts?
- Meeting corporate social responsibility goals?
- Something else entirely?
No matter what they are, let your goals and objectives drive your travel analytics strategy. It’s often helpful to think in terms of a dashboard. If you could create a travel analytics dashboard, what insights would you want it to provide at a glance? With the right dashboard, you’ll be able to measure ongoing performance and successfulness as you push toward goals.
2. Crunch Your Own Numbers
At some point, you’ll likely choose a platform such as Prime Numbers or Grasp to help you with travel analytics. But, well before you choose and establish a platform, try crunching the numbers that are already available.
You are likely surrounded by travel data that is just waiting for analysis. Choose one of your goals or objectives, and see what data you can find related to it. Getting started on your own helps you do 3 things.
First, it’s good to show key stakeholders what information exists and the power that it holds. Second, an early data analysis can help you identify gaps in your information and where you need to start capturing additional data. And, finally, an early data analysis will help you understand the time commitment that travel analytics requires.
It’s good to show key stakeholders what information exists and the power that it holds. An early data analysis can help you identify gaps in your information and where you need to start capturing additional data.
3. Enjoy Potential Savings
Once you’ve established goals and objectives, and once you’ve crunched some initial numbers, you should develop an idea of where your company is missing opportunities.
Finding potential savings does two things. First, you’re able to benchmark your travel spend against competitors. And, second, the potential for savings is a great way to make a business case to key executives.
So use the first two steps above to find potential savings, create a plan to quickly realize them, and then share that plan with corporate leadership. Most companies can save up to 20% by pinpointing potential savings and making the adjustments needed to realize them.
How Better Travel Analytics and Data Pay Off
There are myriad ways this 3-step process can pay off in the long run. But what kinds of real outcomes can you expect from building a data and travel analytics plan? Here’s a look at 3 ways that quality travel analytics can pay big dividends:
- Overspending: Travel analytics could help your company identify specific travelers who regularly overspend.
- Total Trip Cost: Travel analytics can pull data from multiple sources, making it possible to create a total trip cost for comparison against compliance and creation of a trip’s ROI.
- Real-Time Tracking: We all have budgets. Travel analytics can help you create a snapshot comparison of spend vs. budget that you can access whenever needed.
Support to Help You Get Started
Travel analytics can be incredibly helpful — but they can also be difficult to generate. At JTB Business Travel, we often help our clients identify the right travel technologies so that they can analyze travel spend and other key metrics. If you need support getting started with travel analytics, we’re here to help.