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News & Announcement 21st June 2018 - 4 min read

Travel Procurement is taking off: 5 highlights from ProcureCon Travel

By Joni Lindes

Travel data is smarter and more integrated than ever before. Not to mention, new tools like Lyft, Uber, Event management apps and advanced booking tools are popping up – all built with the “traveller experience” in mind. Travel, as a procurement category, is truly “taking off.”

PredictX attended this conference for the first time. These were some of our highlights:

Every take off needs a runway and the 2018 ProcureCon Travel Event held on the 6th and 7th May this year was the perfect runway to launch travel buyers into the air.. Although ProcureCon was smaller than other industry events, it proved to be more intimate- allowing both buyers, suppliers and travel management platform providers to chew over key challenges and solutions facing Travel.

The Top 5 highlights at ProcureCon Travel 2018 were:

1. The Integration of Meetings and Events spend with Transient spend

The integration of meetings and transient has been discussed for years. Meetings spend typically shares a supplier base with transient activity, yet most Meetings and Events Spend is siloed away inside company meetings systems. Even when this data is accessible, it needs to be linked to transient data to be aggregated.

Centralised meetings and events spend can be leveraged to track cost savings while discovering new methods of cost avoidance. These figures can be leveraged for future negotiations with both existing suppliers as well as for entry into RFPs to select preferred providers.

PredictX is excited to be a part of the transformation in Meetings and Events organisation and spend capturing. We have a new, unique system that will combine all these new data sources together to analyse all Meetings and Events spend.

2. We need to build a strong business case

No matter how beneficial a Travel and Expense solution is, many don’t get adopted if they are not properly presented to company management.

Fresenius Medical Care presented a go-to recipe to help address this challenge. Communication is key. Managers need to build a strong foundation to inform the goals of their system, outline the system’s benefits, while not forgetting to mention the risks if they continue without the new system.

Our Travel product can enable executive communication.. By recognising the vast communication gap between a data team and key stakeholders, our product uses the universal language of narrative to tell The Story of your travel data. By sending personalised pdfs with the relevant text and data to each Head Of Department, new initiative are more likely to be supported company-wide.

3. Policy Compliance

Policy compliance, or the lack thereof, has the power to cost or save the company thousands. Geert Behets, Head of Travel, Meeting and Fleet Management at UCB stressed that an effective travel policy, communicated through traveller-level dashboards, is more likely to influence behaviour, and help employees achieve a work-life balance.

It boils down to the way we talk to travellers. Humans are more likely to respond to messages that speak to their individual needs. We use data analytics to group travellers according to their travel patterns. This gives our partners, Influence at Work, the power to help target effective messages to these specific groups.

4. Spend Management is still a primary concern

We all know how much costs in Travel can fluctuate. Yapta gave a thought-provoking presentation on how much a price can change from the time you buy until the time you fly. The fluctuation of travel costs has a significant power over a travel programme.

“Don’t be ambushed by hidden costs” warned Global Chief Financial Officer for BCD Travel Cees Batenburg. He urged travel managers to act as detectives – investigating all areas of spend so they can analyse the problem from every angle.

This is easier said than done. Most managers only access TMC data without knowing it typically only covers 59% of total spend. Full data integration is needed to account for the missing 41%. Luckily our systems combine TMC, Card and Expense transaction data along with company hierarchies to gives you a complete picture of spend.

5. Data Quality Needs to be Improved

Do you need a team of up to six people to ensure data quality? Large scale Fortune 50 companies seem to think you do. Sometimes we do not need more people, just a better platform. The PredictX platform aims to dive deeper into the data available to us and integrate the data effectively to move a programme forward.

Data quality – the essence of the PredictX product and ProcureCon stand

The PredictX stand provided a one-of-a-kind glimpse into what happens behind a data dashboard and how you can use the data-driven insight for further action. Going beyond dashboards involves using deep data analytics and machine learning to dive deeper into the data to examine a Total Trip Cost View, Contract Performance Management and Meetings and Events Spend Management. A travel dashboard is just the entry point — understanding why through deep analytics provides the actions.

Deeper, cleaner and more visible data is desired by all Travel teams. Effective data integration transformed the £250 million travel programme within a large, multinational UK-based bank – improving their data accuracy from 83% to 99%.

If travel management is a plane, then data is the nuts and bolts holding it together – allowing it to fly.

Joni Lindes
By Joni Lindes
4 min read

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