Wednesday 14 January 2015

GUEST BLOG: Driving strategy through data

‘Big data’ has become the buzzword of the 21st century for almost every industry sector, but especially the business travel industry. There are now estimated to be more pieces of digital content – emails, tweets, Instagram updates, et al – than there are grains of sand on every beach on earth. Add to this an overwhelming volume of data that companies have access to regarding how, where and when their people travelled on business, and the cost involved, means that data collaboration and analysis have changed the face of travel management in recent years.

Back in the day, big data was called ‘statistics’, and in one respect, the same principle still applies. In other words it’s all very well having an abundance of statistics, or data, but the challenge for business travel buyers is making sure they have the right data, which will not only give them visibility of their total spend, but will guide them to making the right commercial decisions about their travel programme. It’s about being able to translate that myriad facts and figures into tangible insight and business results.

While many travel management companies (TMCs) will promise to provide comprehensive data, the key to making informed decisions about that data, so that you can drive behavioural changes, refine booking processes and ensure your travel programme is operating at peak performance, lies in the way that data is presented.

Your TMC should work in partnership with you to extract and breakdown the data that is most important, timely and relevant to your company. That is why last year FCm Travel Solutions’ account management team undertook a detailed analysis of how they present data to clients. The result was a new highly-visual personalised Data Review Pack which has transformed the way in which FCm presents travel intelligence to clients.

Each Data Pack is aligned from a finance perspective and contains a new set of tailored exception reports, highlighting not only areas for controlling travel spend - savings, missed savings, policy and booker behaviour, days in advance, cabin class, online adoption - but also a ‘toolkit’ enabling the travel manager to tackle these areas and affect change in their business.

An ‘opportunity calculator’ allows FCm’s account managers to tailor the exception report to suit the client’s individual objectives, for example if policy is seven days in advance, or 30 days in advance, the team can produce a report accordingly. Account managers guide their client through the data pack to understand what data is important to them and extract what they need to present back to their business.

Files are in Excel so that travel managers can make use of the information immediately, extracting what they need to present to their superiors, making the pack a true data resource for the client.

At the end of the day, anyone can gather data, but if you want to drive the right outcomes, then it’s all about how that data is presented.

This blogspot was written by Jo Greenfield, UK general manager, FCm Travel Solutions  FCm will be showcasing its customised products and services on stand B120 at this year’s Business Travel Show, taking place 25-26 February at Olympia Grand, London. Register at

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