Big Data Equals Bigger Time Suck

Managing data turns out to be the second-most time-consuming task for travel managers. Among 237 North American travel managers surveyed by the Global Business Travel Association and Sabre in March, 57 percent named using data to track program performance and support decisions among their top time sucks, trailing the responsibility of supplier relations and contracts (61 percent).

Fifty-seven percent also expect the task to take more time in the next three to five years. The pitfalls are big: Nearly half spend “too much time” manually processing, cleaning and reconciling inaccurate data, and more than half call multiple data sources and formats challenging, with 36 percent saying their current travel tools and reporting systems fall short of their expectations. This may leave them looking for new solutions.

The good news is that they are up for the task: 61 percent think evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role, and 75 percent expect it to be so in the future. The bad news is that with everything else on travel managers’ to-do lists, one-third of respondents find it “challenging to keep up with new technology.”

The solution may be to throw more time at the problem. “These findings indicate that it is critical for successful travel managers to be skilled in time management and prioritization,” according to the study. “Companies should plan for additional time and resources to be devoted to keeping current and identifying technology solutions that meet their business needs.”

While travel managers are struggling to find tech solutions to their data management shortfalls, the GBTA and Sabre whitepaper showed travel managers are at least looking for new solutions to accommodate their travelers. Mobile technologies have resulted in improvements like “more accurate, real-time data and the ability to track traveler location and behavior to aid with ensuring duty of care and enforcing compliance.” And travelers continue to demand more.

A separate GBTA and American Express white paper—which surveyed 3,851 business travelers from the Asia/Pacific region, Europe and the Americas between March 17 and April 6—showed 61 percent of business travelers are “interested” or “very interested” in using GPS navigation to find services when traveling.

Respondents were similarly “interested” or very “interested” in using mobile devices to coordinate meals and travel (50 percent), keep track of payments and expenses (49 percent), and photograph expense receipts (46 percent).

 

[“source – businesstravelnews.com”]

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