As an experienced Account Manager, I know that management information (MI) reports give you invaluable insight into your business travel activity. It doesn’t sound too exciting, and sometimes it isn’t! But it is a vital way to make sure you get the best out of your travel management company (TMC) and use the data to measure performance and drive changes in your business.
Not only does it let you know what you’re spending and who is spending, you’ll also know with which suppliers, compliance to travel policy, performance against budgets and more…
Some of the most common questions we are asked when we talk to prospective clients is that they have no idea what they spend on travel. If you use a TMC then you should be getting at least the basic information to help your business to have a handle on your travel expenditure. A good Travel Management Company will also provide you with information on the main suppliers used, top travellers, and destinations travelled to.
But it doesn't stop there...there is so much more to know.
How much you save as a business and what other opportunities you missed out on and why, can be a really good insight into your corporate travel spend. It's good to set a benchmark of what you want to achieve on savings opportunities and the reports available from your TMC to help you manage this effectively.
Benefits of MI reporting include:
1. Evironmental Reports - Some MI reporting systems can measure the environmental impact of your business travel – many companies track and offset the CO2 impact of their business travel through CO2 reporting and management
2. Year on Year Reports - Year on year comparisons and bench marking of average fares and rates help you to compare your performance to others in your industry. This gives your company a good yard stick to measure whether your travel policy is working for you.
3. Top 10 – suppliers/destinations/travellers – without this knowledge you cannot negotiate and could be missing out on savings opportunities. It’s also vital to know who your top travellers, or customers from a financial or operational aspect of your business.
4. Travel policy compliance – monitoring the performance of your travel policy and it remains fit for purpose and is controlling costs and protecting travellers..
5. Forecasting – in any business we are all expected to know the future! In ever changing climates it can be sometimes very difficult to see what's ahead! A good TMC will approach their clients by spending time looking ahead and forecasting the expected travel spend and activity for the next 12 months. Without meaningful MI reports, these forecasts are impossible.
6. Air Savings reports - show fares offered/accepted/declined. This again shows how well your travel policy is working. Your TMC should be working with you to look at reducing declined savings year on year, as this will be a key area to reduce cost.
7. Air Sector Analysis - shows specific flight sectors booked primarily for data analysis. In addition, CO2 and mileage data can also be included in this report
8. Rail - Executive Summary - a high level graphical summary of rail travel, including spend, top routes, top train operating companies.
9. Hotel Bookings Summary - detailing hotel data used for measurement of KPI’s and negotiating purposes.
10. Account Expenditure Overview - graphical overview of all travel showing top routes/travellers and year on year measurements.
Your MI data will be measured and led by your TMC’s Account Management team, ensuring added value is secured. It is important that you are clear around your objectives for travel as this information will help your Account Manager build a set of reports that are useful and relevant and enable you to track progress against agreed objectives.
Teaming MI with wait-list clearance and corporate reward points management, a good TMC will also be providing you with a benefits statement highlighting the savings and added value they provide to your business.
In an increasingly data driven world it’s important to make sure that you are working with a TMC that understands the importance of taking the complexity out of your travel data and help you ensure your travel programme is on track and delivering value.