A white label travel app customised to your corporate identity, Roadmap aims to provide a supplier-agnostic business travel experience. By partnering with various enterprise organisations, Roadmap aggregates and consolidates multiple travel systems and tools into one corporate branded application, guiding, connecting and inspiring users through company-specific content.
We spoke to Jeroen van Velzen, Roadmap CEO and co-founder, at the Business Travel Summit in Amsterdam to explore the data trends that are revolutionising the business travel industry.

To us data is paramount because we’re doing something that no one has done before. So in order to find out what travellers are actually doing while they’re travelling, we have to validate all of our assumptions – what we think is important to travellers while they are travelling. And the only way to do it is by actually looking at the data. What are they actually doing while they are arriving at the airport, going to the hotel, going to their meeting and all of the stuff that happens in between? That’s one big data set that we’re constantly watching, constantly monitoring.

Bringing about a data-driven approach starts with a data strategy.

Jeroen Van Velzen

In the travel industry, I think the big trends are obviously location-based. So how do we tie location to destination and what’s important around the user? And that ties then into context. So I need to understand what the user is trying to accomplish. And we can only figure that out by looking at a bunch of big data about what other people have been doing at the exact same location. And the third layer is segmentation. How can we group people into the same baskets so we that can predict if you arrive somewhere that we know, like hotels close to your headquarters where many of your colleagues also have visited. Then we can suggest stuff that might seem worthwhile to you.

 

Bringing about a data-driven approach starts with the first question. In many cases, we think we are right and we continue on that path – so we are looking at the data to substantiate what we already thought was happening. But the core question might actually be wrong. What if we turned that around and said, “We don’t know, so we’re probably wrong”, and then used the data to see if we’re actually on the right path. I think people value the data more if they understand that their first initial thoughts might be wrong instead of right.

 

In any industry, the data privacy piece is the biggest barrier. I think of all of the customers that we talk to, for roughly 30 to 40% of them the biggest barriers are data privacy and data security, which makes a lot of sense but should not stop us from moving forward into action, because there are many ways of solving that problem.
Which companies inspire us in their use of data? The obvious candidates would be Google and Apple. In travel, Uber. The interface presumably doesn’t change, but I know in the back of it, it’s being totally data-driven by what works and what doesn’t. I also really like Booking.com. They actually live by the example of validating any assumption that something – any pixel on their website – might work or not.