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December 9, 2014

GBTA Report: How Data Helps Travel Managers Save Money

A new study by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association has found that the majority of travel managers in Asia Pacific (61 percent), believe their organization is successful in utilizing travel data for decision-making, such as evaluating compliance and vendor selection, which can lead to cost saving solutions. In contrast, the study also found that only about 40 percent of travel managers in Europe felt the same way.

The study, “Travel Managers’ Data Needs and Challenges,” surveyed more than 300 Asia-Pacific and European travel managers to better understand the data travel managers use to make decisions regarding their travel programs. The study also looked at whether the data currently available to them meets their needs and whether there is room for improvement.

“Data has become an integral part of our daily lives and can be an extremely valuable resource to help travel managers make smarter decisions for their company and colleagues,” GBTA Vice President of Research Joseph Bates said in a statement. “We’re already seeing data affect vendor selection and assist in negotiating rates, with the potential for even more benefits in the near future.”

Approximately 80 percent of travel managers in Asia Pacific believe they know how to best maximize data and turn data into action as well as using it to identify the most cost effective and best options when booking travel. Roughly 70 percent of travel managers in Europe felt the same way.

Additional key highlights of the report include:
Corporate card programs and corporate travel accounts are the top two forms of payment for business travel and meetings-related expenses in both Asia Pacific (61 percent and 49 percent, respectively) and Europe (70 percent and 73 percent, respectively). Both groups say they find the data to be highly useful.

In several cases, respondents in Asia Pacific felt they were twice as effective as their European counterparts in utilizing travel data from corporate card programs and Corporate Travel Accounts. For example, Asia Pacific travel managers use travel data from Corporate Travel Accounts for reconciliation (74 percent), budget purposes (67 percent) and managing risk and traveler safety (44 percent). In contrast, only about one-quarter of travel managers in Europe use data for reconciliation, approximately 30 percent use data for budget purposes and 20 percent use it for managing risk and traveler safety.

Extracting data from expense management systems is another useful source of data for Travel Managers. Usage is similar to corporate card and Corporate Travel Accounts. Total airline and hotel spend top the list of data metrics gathered as 75 percent or more of travel managers say they collect these metrics.

Most companies have not consolidated their travel data from multiple data sources (49 percent in Asia Pacific and 59 percent in Europe). Consolidating data serves as an area for opportunity for Travel Managers in both regions to minimize the challenges of working with multiple sources and formats and out-of-date information.

The study, “Travel Managers’ Data Needs and Challenges,” was previewed at the GBTA Berlin Conference 2014. It is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected].

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