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Travel & Expense

The Importance of Benchmarking and the BTN Corporate Travel Index

on May 06, 2014

Back in March, Business Travel News unveiled their annual Corporate Travel Index. 2014 marked the 30th compilation of the average business traveler per diems and most vs. least expensive cities for corporate travel. At Oversight, we look forward to this each year and I can’t wait to weigh in.

This year, more so than in any other, leading global companies are leveraging advanced data analysis to make sure that rising per diem costs stay within expected ranges for their organizations. One of the benefits of leveraging automated data analysis solutions like Oversight Insights On Demand™ for T&E is that companies can benchmark their own travelers against one another, as well as benchmark their travelers against the expenditures of a larger population.  Benchmarking is one of the best ways companies can cut costs or adjust spending.

Three important benchmarks to keep your corporate spending in check:

  1. The first aspect of this benchmarking is to understand the expenditures of individual travelers in specific cities as compared with all other company travelers to the same city. This allows corporate travel managers to understand where individual travelers are spending more than their colleagues for lodging and meals by geography.

  2. The second aspect of this benchmarking is to understand an individual’s spending for lodging and meals as compared with all other companies traveling to the same city.

    In both case, corporate travel managers can understand the spending patterns of their travelers as a whole and individually as compared to the whole company.  This allows travel managers to dig into the reasons for higher lodging and meal expenditures in order to understand why exceptions occur, curb out of policy behavior through training, counseling, and communications, and takes steps to help travelers avid these circumstances when possible.

  3. By using a cloud-based analytics provider, you gain access to benchmarking data from dozens of companies who use the same provider. This data allows us to compare spending across companies to see the new, normal, and weird. What’s unusual among your company may not be that far out of compliance, but something that is unusual across all companies in many different sectors may indicate a larger problem.

With the BTN index indicating that the average per diem for a corporate traveler is $292.80 (and rising!) having access to benchmarking data is more important than ever.

Chris Rossie

Chris Rossie is a blog contributor for Oversight.