Get your business into the agile mindset and improve your business performance by being smart about how you use your travel data.
Collecting the right data and knowing how to interrogate it to gain greater insights into your corporate travel is the best way to inform your travel policy proactively.
Smart travel managers recognise that the secret lies in the quality, not the volume of data available. Their challenge (and opportunity) is making sense of why travellers make their buying decisions; understanding the impact of those decisions on the travel programme and then changing the policy as required.
There’s little point crunching numbers if the process does not add value to travel management. And if you don’t know how your travel policy is performing, you may never know that it needs to change, explains Euan McNeil, FCM Travel Solutions South Africa GM.
Companies are increasingly required to adopt a more flexible approach to their corporate travel if they hope to reap the investment being made in the area of corporate travel.
But to be flexible, it’s important to gather the right data and know how to distill it into meaningful insights that can help your business be more agile in its corporate travel approach.
McNeil provides an example: a travel policy may stipulate that travellers cannot make changes to an itinerary themselves, but the top sales executive within an organisation may need to change an itinerary at the last minute to extend an important customer meeting.
Does it make business sense to stop them from changing the itinerary, when that meeting could result in a highly profitable deal?
Corporates that know how to use data to inform their travel policy are in a unique position to link these insights to business goals and institute a more flexible travel policy that encourages business growth and enhances your ability to achieve those business goals.
Controlling your T&E spend
Flexibility does not mean spending more on travel, however. Having a clear overview of your travel & expense (T&E) spend is just as important for your business success.
When one considers that 25% of all business travel spend is unmanaged, an opportunity exists for corporate buyers to gain complete oversight of what is being spent, identify the gaps and implement measures to plug these to achieve further savings.
“This is where your approach to data can be key. Oversight over T&E data can be difficult to achieve because it comes from so many different sources. The type, format and volume of data that these sources contribute that data is also different so it becomes quite difficulty to consolidate and analyse these to find the answers that are needed to make necessary changes,” says McNeil.
That’s why it makes sense to employ a centralised expense management and online booking tool in an organisation, like FCM Connect, because it can provide enhanced reporting, as well as analytics that will help to shape a travel policy. “It allows corporates to be more flexible by showing them where they can make critical adjustments that will benefit the company and its travellers.
Furthermore, centralising a company’s data could boost the sharing of information across departments, potentially resulting in shared cost reduction strategies and better data compliance.
Want to learn more about getting smart with your T&E data? Click here to access our free Whitepaper which provides practical tips for corporates on how to achieve a universal overview of your T&E spend.
This article was published in partnership with FCM Travel Solutions.