Data will be a top priority for South African travel buyers in 2020, according to a new survey conducted by FCM Travel Solutions, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, in partnership with the African Business Travel Association (ABTA). All respondents unanimously voted in the survey that they are currently focused on the collection of data.
With 67%, the vast majority of travel buyers in South Africa saying they mainly collect travel data through their Travel Management Company (TMC). The online booking tool is the second most important source of data, with 47% of travel buyers saying they use this tool to gather data.
Credit card statements (38%) and internal platforms (33%) generate a fair amount of data for travel buyers. However, expense management tools (9%) and manual surveys (5%) are currently not successfully used for the collection of data, with only a handful of buyers indicating they collect data this way.
The fact that there are different data formats across different suppliers and platforms is currently the main data challenge according to 47% of respondents in the survey.
“More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire history of the world. By 2020, about 1.7 megabytes per second of new information will be created for every human being on the planet using 50 billion connected devices. By then, our accumulated digital universe of data will have grown to 44 trillion gigabytes,” says Nicole Adonis, General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions.
Adonis adds that today’s business travel programmes deliver huge amounts of data – everything from details of hotel bookings and flights to individual passenger expenses and preferences for food, seats and rooms. However, without the technology to mine, collate, examine, correlate and analyse this data – big data as it is now known – companies will be missing out on a huge opportunity to take more meaningful, tangible and effective spending decisions.
The survey confirms this with a response of 33% claiming the accuracy of data and 19% stating the interpretation of data remain obstacles for any enterprise.
“It is these challenges in mind that FCM provides the right technology to help make the most of every bit of the quantitative data produced when employees travel on business. It is vital therefore to work with a trusted TMC partner, one able to capture a multitude of data sources, sort it into easy-to-understand reporting and with the ability to keep your data safe,” Adonis concludes. If you want to know more about how a Travel Management Company such as FCM Travel Solutions can help you transform big data into smart data, download the FCM Whitepaper ‘The Key to Data – Unlock the power to take action in your business’ here.