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ASK THE EXPERTS


BY MARTIN FERGUSON


HIGH PERFORMANCE TRACKING DATA TO EVALUATE AND IMPROVE THE TRAVEL PROGRAMME


FOR MANY YEARS KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs) have helped travel buyers and managers monitor the performance of their programmes and policies. They flag up areas of strength and weakness. And well managed and presented KPIs allow a travel manager to demonstrate the value of their pro- gramme to senior executives. But KPIs have not been universally adopted by businesses and organisations – data aggregation remains a cumbersome process for many, especially those ham- strung by legacy technology and processes reliant upon Microsoft Excel. However, the travel supply chain is enduring a period of disruption. New suppliers are entering the marketplace, while traditional brands are changing distribution strategies. The value of good data has never been higher.


strengths and areas to


improve. Focus on specific factors that


are easy to measure. Show THE SANDRA DVORAK, senior procurement EMEA, Kimberly-Clark


START BY LOOKING AT EXISTING KPIs AND ASK: are these still relevant? They are an important way of keeping track of your travel programme’s progress. To develop them correctly, there is much to be consid- ered. Knowing how different areas of your programme are performing helps assess


52 BBT JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 BUYER


where your programme is successful when compared to the rest of the market. Strategic KPIs can help you convince departments or budget-holders to change their behaviour, especially if they are shown to be under-performing against other units. Strategic KPIs make travel managers look good – they showcase the wide range of issues on which travel man- agers work, and prove they are capable of high-level strategic thinking to drive forward company objectives. Dashboards are powerful enterprise tools that provide executives with quick insight into your travel programme’s performance. They can be custom-built or based on reporting solutions offered by a number of vendors. The KPIs found in dashboards often highlight important trends that can significantly impact strate-


gic performance improvement initiatives. However, the success or benefit of these dashboards will depend on the culture of the organisation. Managers will generally find that they have to resort to dashboards for the representation of their KPI data to help business leaders making strategic de- cisions that impact the travel programme. Use your data analysis to establish a baseline, and work with stakeholders to establish a target against which progress can be measured. For instance, travel managers can influence, but not control, the number of trips taken; the KPIs of travel intensity and virtual meeting index are typically controlled by business unit leaders. The travel manager, however, can use the KPI to discuss what drives traveller behaviour and recommend ways to improve performance. Such dialogue with key stakeholders, with the travel manager as facilitator and advisor to the business, promotes overall programme strength and highlights the value that travel management can bring.


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