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Travel & Expense

Open Bookings Evolve TMCs’ Thinking & Approach to Managing Travelers

on September 20, 2013

Travel Market Report recently reported on how open booking demands a shift in the thinking of TMCs. With open bookings, travelers have more discretion and travel management will have to adopt a “trust but verify” approach to manage compliance and expenses.

Because transactions are initiated and/or modified through a wide range of applications that means the data is also being generated in a wide range of places. There’s no system generated report that can provide appropriate verification that the travel transactions are consistent with company policy.

The Travel Market Report story advises how TMCs “can use new tools and techniques to manage across all channels, gaining visibility and data on that same 25% of business travelers who book and buy outside approved channels and currently escape data tracking and management systems.”

When it comes to verifying travelers’ compliance, many travel managers are looking to independent analysis as a new technology tool where data can be consolidated from multiple systems and the transactions can be analyzed for policy compliance, fraud, waste and abuse. The more advanced systems can remove the ambiguities in the data such as different names for the same hotel.

Beyond verifying compliance, the insights gleaned from the data can help travel managers to embrace another critical role as they shift their approach and thinking in their positions – and that is to embrace the education role with the travelers to constructively point out suboptimal decisions by the traveler. Some of the independent analysis systems can automatically generate emails to the specific traveler that identify the specific instance where a traveler missed a savings opportunity or violated policy.

In today’s more open environment it’s important that travelers understand their responsibility to adhere to company policies and guidelines. With the analytical capabilities newly available in the market, travel managers can embrace their expanded role. Remember, you get what you measure – so let’s measure the right things and make travel 2.0 work for everyone.

Patrick Taylor

Patrick Taylor is an authority in the convergence of business analytics, information security, and the implementation of technology to boost organizational performance. An innovator in his field, Patrick founded Oversight Systems in 2003 and served as President and CEO for 15 years. In this role, he helped hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies improve financial, accounting, and auditing processes. Previously, Patrick held leadership positions with Oracle, Symantec, and Internet Security Systems (ISS). Patrick has a bachelor’s degree Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.