Cutting-edge travel management companies scrutinize accounts with powerful data processors to find new ways to lower costs and improve travel efficiency among clients. Here’s how you can apply it on a smaller scale:
The travel industry has always been keen on technology. Airlines and hotels were some of the first large companies to offer online bookings, and they have been able to hone their services over time by analyzing vast records of empirical data their users have accumulated.
As we now hit the age of “big-data,” where technology is allowing ever increasing amounts of information to be catalogued and processed at a later date, the travel industry is once again making strides in how it applies data to method.
A leading thinker and futurist in travel management, Scott Gillespie, recently penned an article for the Business Travel News that offers insight into how data-focused travel management companies are going to apply new data sets to help manage three key areas: costs, interruptions (risk), and human resources.
These travel management companies might have large-scale data-crunching capabilities, but the areas they’re focusing on are the same ones smaller travel managers should be watching as well.
Here’s how you can lower costs by looking at your travel data:
Set a projected travel budget for the year, and stay within it.
The travel budget has become a hot vertical for inspection these days, with many companies organizing specific plans for budget spends. If you haven’t already, do the dirty work and crunch numbers for the past few years to give you an idea on where your spend is at, and then set a goal for how you can reduce it for next year.
Predict with better accuracy travel interruptions and/or extra travel costs.
If you were plagued by delayed flights, congested traffic, or malicious weather, look at the location, time of year, and service providers to get a better idea of where you’re most likely to incur a service interruption. Also, double back through the records to find instances where employees had to make an unnecessary trip, or double-booked. By becoming aware of these factors, you can better mitigate the risk, and in turn, lower your overall travel spend for the year.
Boost employee morale and efficiency by taking account of how much they travel.
An interesting point made by Gillespie is that TMCs will start looking out for the “road warriors” within a company and make sure they don’t burn out. A small upgrade on amenities during busy season for travel veterans can make a big difference on morale. If you’re managing travel for a group of individuals, keep an eye out for a prudent time to offer a discounted upgrade, or even lower the load of a seasoned traveler. The savings made on employee retention will more than pay for the upgrades over the long run.
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