Intelligent data analysis in travel is nothing new. Many companies in South Africa are investing heavily in data management and analysis as a powerful cost-saving tool. But, why should business travellers care?
“Intelligent data is not just about cost-savings anymore,” says Nicole Adonis, GM FCM Travel Solutions SA. “In a recent travel management survey conducted by FCM, 80 percent of travel managers said they would be interested in data analysis on the impact of travel on their travellers.”
Adonis shares five reasons why your business travellers should pay attention to the intelligent data trend:
- Weigh up costs and your traveller experience
FCM recently developed new traveller-level analytics tools to see how the corporate travel experience could be enhanced without putting a dent in the travel budget.
“We studied aspects such as class usage, traveller time in the air, low-cost carrier usage, single flight legs, travel over weekends, as well as other metrics. We also looked at the cost increase implications for travel programmes where traveller welfare was implemented,” she says. “The results prove the power of smart data. In some instances, FCM was able to suggest changes to travel policy that improved traveller satisfaction, at minimal cost to the company.”
New analytics tools also make it possible for travel managers to simulate hypothetical changes to their company travel policy. However, Big Data means nothing unless it is smart data that identifies problems and then offers solutions.
“By ensuring Travel Managers have access to key metrics, in real-time with reporting that blends historical travel and expense data with up-to-date dashboards, we can provide immediate visibility,” says Adonis.
- Wi-Fi or early breakfast? Analyse to see what you prefer
Predictive data analysis can help identify specific needs relevant to each traveller profile and individual. Do they prefer Wi-Fi or daily breakfast? Early check-in? Would they rather fly low-cost, or do they favour a specific legacy airline?
Says Adonis: “We know that employee satisfaction rises, and staff retention rates improve when employees who travel for work are happy. Predictive data analysis can make this happen.”
- Safety first
By examining a variety of data streams from the employee’s travel history, predictive analytics could anticipate potential problems on a trip before the traveller even takes off.
FCM’s technology processes all manner of security information and alerts travel managers when travellers are at risk. The custom dashboards also make it easy to identify when travellers book outside of company policy, to identify programme leakage, break down cost items and set budgets.
Furthermore, FCM’s latest data technology ensures the safety and wellbeing of travellers with real-time alerts to intelligent, customisable dashboard displays.
- Ensure you are booking within policy
Intelligent data snapshots, such as the ones FCM’s Business Intelligence offers, can help travel managers with the reporting process, identify leakage and monitor booking behaviour.
Previously, an account manager would need to run a report, which they’d send to the travel manager. The travel manager would then need to identify the departments guilty of out of policy behaviour. Travel managers would need to go through the data before reaching out to company managers who would take the matter up with the member or members of staff.
For business travellers, this means you’ll have to toe the line and stay within travel policy or risk being caught out.
- Identify opportunities that will have the maximum impact
Smarter technology and the ability to ‘mine’ multiple sources makes it easy to identify opportunities for significant savings for the entire business, rather than focus on small, often inconsequential amounts from individuals’ spend.
With next-generation data solutions, reporting is reliable and honest, and travel managers can encourage policy adoption and leverage volumes.
Intelligent data has a considerable impact on business travel, not only as a cost-saving mechanism but also as an effective tool to personalise the travel experience. Adonis explains that increasingly companies are looking for solutions that help them convert the huge amount of data at their fingertips into meaningful and actionable insights that can benefit the business traveller.
Adonis concludes: “Business travellers can look forward to considerable time-saving as tedious processes, such as expense reporting, can now be completely automated. Intelligent data will offer them a more personalised and streamlined travel experience, as well as offer them protection while on the road.”