How Today’s TMCs Optimize Corporate Travel

The complexity of managing a travel program today requires a team approach. Gone are the days that a corporate travel manager can monitor everything from seat assignments to supplier negotiations and everything else in between. Corporate alliances with TMCs have continually grown based on their expertise, knowledge and guidance to optimize a company’s travel program effectively. According to The Global Business Travel Association, a properly managed program can see a 10-12% savings in overall costs to the enterprise. TMCs can build a successful and profitable business intelligence strategy based on four core principles; Foundation of service automation, subject matter experts, communication and most significantly, cost savings.

Foundation of Service and Automation

TMCs have cultivated solid relationships with technology providers who have developed the latest technical programs designed for travel. This has become imperative with the growth of mobile applications in travel.  The amount of time and money saved by working with a TMC who has already vetted out the appropriate players have produced proven systems to support business policies and procedures that drive value to the bottom line. Through their partnerships, TMCs bring to the corporate environment an infrastructure to support such elements in a travel program as:

  • Negotiating and optimizing supplier agreements
  • Managing trip disruption – Both the Traveler and TMC are usually aware of trip disruption at the same time, however solving the problem in stress- free, real-time actionable way is best suited for the use of technology that a TMC brings to the relationship
  • Implement policies and procedures – they help implement more than just develop
  • The ability to slice, dice, customize and proactively use the analysis of big data
  • Use of current technology including mobile apps

Subject Matter Experts

TMCs have extensive access to both human and technical resources. When it comes to travel, expecting the unexpected has become the norm. Trips are in a constant state of change affected by various contributing factors. Weather, updates in bookings, cancellations, and delays are a common mantra for today’s road warriors. The ability to have access to 24/7 support that also serves up viable solutions is an advantage TMCs have in their role in travel management.

Throughout a traveler’s journey, a TMC knows the itinerary, can reach out in real-time and can often predict what may happen before it happens. This access and expertise can be used to administer practical solutions promptly. An individual Corporate Manager with hundreds of travelers on the road at any given time cannot possibly monitor and assist with each trip.

With smart phones and tablets in nearly every consumer’s hands today, travel company’s  need to think strategically about developing a highly effective omni-channel strategy. Mobile devices are ideal companions for travelers, allowing them to access information, services, and booking while en route and mobile technology has quickly become a standard resource for travel assistance. The new event-driven Cornerstone 4site™ provides real-time and contextual trip data directly to the corporate traveler’s mobile device. 4Site™ assists travelers with such challenges as trip disruption and provides direct real-time communication with their TMC. 

Communication

Make a plan and work the plan! Every company wants to be in control, but it can be challenging with today’s complex travel arrangements. Travelers also want control and sometimes feel they can do a better job by self-managing their trips. Communication is the key.

Compliance is one of the toughest parts of a travel program to handle, and the recent consensus is that the one size fits all policy does not work in today’s environment. What does work, be able to capture data booked outside of the expected order of business and use technology to examine the impact noncompliance.

A solution like TravelOptix™ solves that problem by incorporating travel statistics into a rich visualization that highlights actionable data that can be used by the TMC or company travel manager. Through data management, a TMC can eliminate productivity drain, invigorate travel confidence and oversee policy control while balancing flexibility that may be better for the traveler or the company.

Savings

Cost savings is the number one priority for most any company. TMCs have access through supplier agreements to the right tools to help make this a reality. Organizations using a TMC to obtain useful technology benefit from considerable savings from the start, with the ability to negotiate volume discounts.

A TMC can benchmark successful tactics and programs that reduce expenses through measurement across similar companies in their management. Simply put, the ability to see what works and what does not is clearer for a TMC than and individual company. Working in partnership with a TMC, solutions such as Cornerstone’s Fare Checker modules optimize trip costs by monitoring best available fares as they open up.

It takes a village to raise a child and a team to manage and optimize a corporate travel program.  The modern TMC can create a foundation of service, expertise, communication and savings that benefit both the traveler and the corporation.

CIS Showcases Travel Solutions at the ACTE Global Corporate Travel Conference in Paris

TravelOptix™ and 4site™ enable Travel Management Companies to be more proactive by delivering actionable data to their corporate clients and corporate travelers

Attendees at this year’s ACTE Global Corporate Travel Conference in Paris will be introduced to TravelOptix™ and 4site™, two new pioneering solutions for travel management companies, corporations, and travelers. Cornerstone Information Systems, a leader in the development of software applications for travel, announced today they will offer the first European preview of these products at their InterACTE booth from October 14-16, 2015.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives Conference is one of the best-attended and thought provoking travel events in France and Europe and brings together leaders to share ideas on innovation taking place in the corporate travel industry. Cornerstone will be will be on hand to meet with attendees and demonstrate the company’s multi-channel services and solutions.

“Each time we attend an ACTE conference, it provides us with a unique opportunity to share the exciting and innovative things we’re doing in the travel management technology space,” said Mat Orrego, CEO of Cornerstone. “We are setting out to solve two of the most significant problems in the travel industry; trip disruption and data consolidation, and are thrilled to showcase both TravelOptix™ and 4site™ to the European travel community during the event.”

TravelOptix™ provides dynamic and actionable visualizations of a companies’ travel data ensuring that they have broad visibility into their travel trends.  Bringing insights through analytics, TravelOptix assists TMC’s and their clients in making informed decisions based on a consumable business intelligence. TravelOptix enables information clarity on:

  • Savings metrics
  • Program gaps
  • Policy compliance
  • Budget enforcement
  • Future strategy

4site™ is an event driven mobile application that provides accurate, timely and relevant travel data directly to the corporate traveler’s mobile device. Registration is enabled through their current travel services provider, making access to the data and benefits of 4site™ a seamless, hassle-free process. Through traveler messaging and insightful business intelligence, 4site™ administers and delivers real-time data on:

  • Itineraries and travel options
  • Trip disruption – both detecting and managing
  • Re-accommodation services

Cornerstone provides travel management professionals and organizations with a holistic view of the swiftly changing travel market. It provides a seamless way to integrate and visualize disparate sets of data to enable more effective decision making. Cornerstone developed these solutions to enhance their ongoing commitment to providing better analytic visualization and actionable data for TMC’s and their clients.

Interested parties can visit the Cornerstone’s exhibit at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in Paris or schedule a demo by visiting www.ciswired.com.

Making Data Count – Metrics that Matter

Identifying a strong set of KPI’s is a critical component of any company’s travel policy. Key performance indicators are a measurement of how well the company’s travel program is operating in tandem with the overall strategic objectives of the business. Access to data has been growing each and every year, to the point of having too much data to evaluate and accurately analyze. Having this chaotic amount of data, knowing what data to focus on is of paramount importance.

Both TMCs and travel managers understand that leveraging good data is crucial for their work, but what data do they need? Are they combining the appropriate measurements for real performance management, building a full and actionable picture of what is going on in their travel program?

The introduction of our TravelOptix solution solves that problem by incorporating travel statistics into a rich visualization that highlights actionable data that can be used by the TMC or company travel manager. Let’s take a look at an example.

Measuring the total cost of a particular travel segment (air, car, hotel, and rail), as it relates to budget is traditionally one of the standards for a critical performance measurement. A total dollar expense is an easy metric to evaluate. However, most large companies have hundreds of thousands of trips in any given year that include a high volume of changes and cancelations. Until now, the capability to slice and dice this information in an easy and understandable way has been out of reach. Cornerstone’s launch of TravelOptix solves that problem.

Imagine taking one metric like airline ticket travel cost and be able to view that data by such categories as a class of service, regions, city pairs or advance purchases. Also, TravelOptix will integrate any external data and incorporate it into the existing information to maximize overall relevant visibility of the data the user wants to see and understand.

Now the data starts to take shape, especially when it is leveraged to paint a more accurate picture of a company’s performance. This is a paradigm shift in the way we look at identifying KPIs.

Imagine analyzing such new performance indicators as the effect of advance purchase, not just compared to budget but compared to regions or individual travelers. This changes the question from looking at total spend to; is buying flights in advance always the smartest move? How many were canceled or paid a high change fee? What was the leakage created by making the purchase ahead of time? Is this pattern indicative of particular city pairs?

The questions are endless, and finally there is a solution to locating the answers right at your fingertips. The ability to interrupt data quickly and efficiently shifts the focus from looking for the answer to displaying the solution!

Travel Managers have claimed that analyzing data is the most time-consuming part of their job, and many have said they do not possess the necessary skills. TravelOptix solves both of those problems. Actionable Intelligence translates into cost savings, better travel management and redefines the definition of KPIs!

Note: I will be at the ACTE Conference in Paris October 14-16, please stop by the booth for a demo or contact Cornerstone at www.ciswired.com to find out more about TravelOptix