Travel buyers wade through data mire

30 November 2010

30 November 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Buyers of business travel spend nearly a fifth of their time scrutinising and reworking performance data to make it usable.

Research from the Institute of Travel& Meetings found travel buyers invest an average of 19 per cent of their day “normalising and consolidating” data to make it effective for use in measuring the success of business travel programmes.

Buyers consider both internal and external factors, including the behaviour of colleagues booking travel – such as how long before travelling that they book – and the performance and prices of an external supplier.

Market research firm Argate helped carry out the survey of travel buyers, responsible for a combined total of £34 billion spend worldwide. Argate managing director Colin Goldney said the research showed there was a case for outsourcing data analysis to save time.

Nearly half the buyers surveyed used internal resources to analyse data while 45 per cent use an external agency, the study showed. It also found that only 43 per cent of buyers use specific, annual, measured targets in supplier performance review and contract renewal stages.

Paul Tilstone, chief executive of ITM, said: “Clean, effective and complete data has always been one of the primary goals of our sector. While there are still clearly some issues with achieving 100 per cent coverage, and buyers are spending considerable amounts of time working through data, where it is linked to specific annual targets it clearly influences supplier selection in nearly half of cases.”

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