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Dear travel manager, use your gold nuggets wisely

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Well your data needs to be mined, doesn’t it? It is often referred to as your crown jewels! Maybe I’m not so crazy after all?

So continuing on this thought process, in mining first the prospector must find ‘ore’, which I like to think as the ‘booking’. A miner will tell you there is nothing quite as exciting as striking ore with gold in it, a bit like how we in travel feel when the customer clicks the ‘book’ button. However we sometimes forget that’s really just the beginning.

Ore in hand, the miner must now set to extracting the precious metal in what can be a complicated and complex process. A bit like getting the right data on your customer. The data, my dear travel managers, is your gold.

When it starts to get really exciting, however, is when your gold is processed. It could be crafted into a valuable piece of jewelry or perhaps even a crown, fit for a king. Now we’re talking informative, actionable insight – the crown jewels!

Gaining this insightful information about your customers and acting on it in the right way isn’t easy, but it’s a worthwhile exercise. And it isn’t going to happen if you haven’t bothered to extract the gold from the ore.

Transaction data versus behavioral data

So I go back to a point I keep banging on about. Of course, it’s important to secure bookings but if you are only looking at the transaction data, then you may be missing the gold that is buried all around you.

It’s time to dig a little deeper and understand the behavior of your users. What drove them to book or not to book the hotel you have procured? Why did they Uber rather than catch the fast train?

Like striking gold, this is easier said than done. Your data is buried in so many different places – the TMC, your OBT, an expense management system, your corporate card provider, the hotel provider or whatever – and there are no real standards. For some a hotel is accommodation, for others accommodation is defined as hotels. It gets confusing.

So the first step to get your data in shape requires that it is aggregated and managed effectively, in an orderly fashion. It also needs to be consistent and secure. So why not include these as requirements in your RFPs? After all the data is yours; it belongs to you and only you. Not the big five I referred to in my last blog – nor for that matter to your TMC (also trying to be a gatekeeper of your data). Also make sure your gatekeeper is able to securely send the data to your designated endpoints in the format you like. And put objective KPI’s on the quality of that data.

I challenge you to take control. This is your data. Your gold. Do your research, start small, test and adjust to improve. Be open and transparent. Only then can you use data wisely to influence future travel behavior.

Do it well, and your travelers will be happy to crown you king!

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