Use travel data to spark internal rivalry

5 February 2013

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5 February 2013 | Adam Leach

With strong and detailed data on departmental travel spending buyers can turn reducing costs into a race between teams, a travel buyer has said.

Speaking at the Business Travel Show in London on Monday, Jennifer Steinke, director of corporate travel and meetings at catering business US Foods, told an audience of buyers that getting quality data on all aspects of travel within a company is key to driving compliance and savings. She explained she examined the data to compare different departments’ spend on travel and used that information to motivate the poor performers.

“We’re all in a race to reduce our travel and budgets,” she said. “What I do is say, this business unit’s costs to Chicago are x and this business unit’s costs to Chicago are y, so if you’re up here, be aware that our CEO will be able to see down to the line item.”

According to Steinke, having a strong level of detail also enables buyers to drive compliance beyond booking flights to include a broader range of travel costs, which buyers don’t usually think about.

She said: “People don’t think about their trips holistically. A traveller thinks, ‘I book my airfare, I’ve got compliance and now I’ve got the consumption part of my trip’. Well, this is where compliance gets a little grey for a lot of people, all those cocktails seemed OK, but now I can see this person’s cocktail consumption far exceeds this [other] person’s cocktail consumption.”

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