Benchmarking Dashboard Update

A big fortnight for the Travel Analytics team with the release of a new benchmarking dashboard.  The new dashboard is packed full of great features, including clickable events, trends graphs, improved average booking cost benchmarking and a range of informative metrics.  Here is a bit of an overview of what is available.

New Metrics

The new dashboards contain really cool and informative metrics, designed to show your customers how well they are managing their travel.  Within the one dashboard, they can see how much they have saved by booking online; how compliant they are to policy, where they have selected the cheapest fare (or not); their average lost savings, difference between the best fare and the fare selected by the customer; discount fare utilisation, percentage of restricted fares they book; number of changes they make and the average cost of these changes, including exchange tickets, airline charges etc.; and the average booking lead in days.

We have also included hover text on the headings to provide information on what the data means.  For example, Average Online Air Booking Cost is the total air spend, including original, exchange, and refund transactions, divided by the number of unique bookings booked online.  This will help your customers understand the data they can see on the dashboard.

Clickable Events

The new headline data also contains clickable events.  When you click on the heading, a window opens displaying the last 12 months of data benchmarking the customer’s data to other clients (see below).  This is a great feature, allowing customers to track specific metrics across an extended timeframe.

New Benchmarking Tables

We have also overhauled the benchmarking tables.  City pair (domestic) and destination (international) metrics have been improved to display data at the booking level, not the ticket.  Now the data is inclusive of the original ticket cost and subsequent costs resulting from changes to the booking.

Booking volumes information also provides perspective on where customers can focus their attention when reviewing their travel patterns.

The new dashboard includes a table that looks at the types of fares your customers are booking, how often they change them and the average cost of the change.  This information is extremely handy for customers weighing up the value of flexible fares and how often they are actually changing them.  No doubt this particular table will spark a few interesting debates within some organisations.

The final table in the new dashboard is accommodation.  Nothing much has changed from the last version, except we show the difference in average nightly rate between online and offline.  Looking at the results of our testing, it appears as if most online users are looking to reduce accommodation costs as well as their flight costs.  Another ticket in the box for going online.

Activating the Benchmarking Dashboard

Administrators activate the new dashboard by navigating to Report Settings and activating the benchmarking dashboard.  This can be done for all customers or individual customers or customer groups depending on your requirements.

Latest Updates

Client Name in Registration Email

Invitations sent to customers inviting them to access Travel Analytics, now include the TMC name (‘[TMC name] Reporting’) in the first line of the email.  This allows the customer to associate the TMC to Travel Analytics so they don’t think we are a bunch of spammers trying to hack into their system!

Travel Analytics invite message featuring the TMC Name (Demo Reporting)

Segment Sequence for Air Segments (Excel download)

Our latest deployment contains a number of enhancements to Excel downloads.  Air Segments downloads now contain a booking sequence column.  This enhancement allows users to sort data by the booking reference and the order of the itinerary (booking sequence).

Customers are going to love this, as it allows them to quickly work out the types of fares being booked for each segment of the itinerary.  Finally, we can track who is booking restricted on outbound and flexible on the inbound.  Changes next…..

Air Segments Excel data showing the Booking Sequence Number

Duration in Car and Hotel Excel downloads

Hotel and car hire Excel downloads now contain a duration column.  This saves your customers doing calculations to work out how long they have stayed at a hotel or hired a car for.

Even better, where the data contains the date and time, we have updated the code to calculate an additional day for car rentals that exceed the 1 hour grace period.

Country Name in Excel downloads

We have added Departure and Arrival countries to city names to Air Segments and Air Spend Excel data downloads.  This is designed to assist those of us that don’t have a good grasp of Geography, and lets face it, who does?

Global Dashboard Screenshot Phased Out

This deployment we bid farewell to the Global Dashboard Screenshot.  While it has served many of us well, the deployment of the SME report has made it obsolete.

Fare Configuration – New Feature

We have just released a great new feature which enables you to configure airfare categories (i.e. Business, Flexible Economy, Restricted Economy etc.) by airline, class of travel, fare basis, location or a combination of the above.

We all know the US has two classes of travel: First and Coach (or economy).  When we travel to the US on a business class flight, internal US sectors, are in most cases, booked in P or F class, the default airfare class for First Class category.

While us industry types know it’s business and not first, the customer is not always that well informed, and the words ‘First Class Travel’ in a report is guaranteed to put the cat among the pigeons, resulting in a stream of ‘Please Explain’ emails from the customer asking why people are travelling first class.

Enter fare types configuration………

This feature allows administrators to look up and categories airfares that fall outside the standard defaults.  And it is really simple to do.

Start by navigating to data editing and clicking on the Fare Type tab.  Within the table you will see six columns: Airline, Origin and Destination Country, Fare Basis, Fare Class and Fare Type (see below).

Click on the Add button, and a form opens.  This is where you apply the magic.

Here are a couple of scenarios to explain how it works.  The first, P class airfares on American Airlines within the USA.  In the form, select the airline (American Airlines), Origin and Destination Country (USA), Fare Class (P), and the Fare Type you wish to categorise the fare as; in this case Business Class.  Click ‘Add’.

Now all American Airlines F class fares for travel within the USA will be categorised as Business Class instead of the default First Class.  Pretty cool eh!

In the next example, we are going to be a bit more generic and categories JetStar P class fares as Restricted Economy across all markets.

All we need to do is look up the airline (Jetstar), and the Fare Class (P), then select the Fare Type, in this case Restricted Economy, click Add and your done.

If you need to be really specific, then you have the option to select a fare basis.  In most cases you won’t need to do this, unless there are specific fares where the fare class is outside the norm or you want to add specific fare types (categories).

Travel Analytics Updates

We deployed a new version of Travel Analytics earlier this week to introduce a few new features.

SME Report Update

Customers with Trans Tasman trip types enabled will now see Trans Tasman Air, Hotel and Car spend data in the SME report.  Corporate Logo’s will also appear on the report.

Air Segment Dashboard

We have updated the trip type filter on the Air Segments dashboard to display Domestic and International trip types only.

The calculation we use to determine destinations – a stopover greater than 24 hours – does not differentiate between Trans Tasman and International itineraries.  As a result, the previous trip type configuration displayed all international trips even if Trans Tasman was selected as the trip type.

Confused?  Great, and so were users, and we are not surprised, particularly when China, USA and Singapore were displayed as Trans Tasman destinations.  Sanity prevails and our support queues will be better for it.

Preferred Suppliers

A bug fix has been applied to allow administrators to set up preferred suppliers again.  Good news it that we are working on an enhancement to this feature to make it really easy for administrators to manage this.

Next Deployment

We have a great new feature coming up in the next deployment which allows administrators to categories fare types based on country settings.  This is really cool for markets like the US where they only have first and economy class.  Administrators will be able to configure Travel Analytics to display F and P class (first class) segments as business where the trip starts and ends within the US.  No more customers calling wanting to know who is travelling is 1A.  More on in a fortnights time when we release the update.

Printable Report Update

We recently released an update to Printable Reports which enables users to run report by region and division.

This update assists Travel Managers who need to provide organisations printed reports across multiple areas of the business i.e. Region and Divisions.

To utilise this feature, navigate to the Global Dashboard and set the on screen filters to display the data you need in the report.  Click the download button, and select Printable Report from the report (type) drop down in the download box that appears on screen.

Screenshot displaying filter settings which can be used in the downloadable printable reports

When you click Submit, the request will be queued and the report emailed to you once it is processed.

Report Hierarchy

Arguably, Report Hierarchy was the most important enhancement Travel Anaytics deployed in 2016.  In a nutshell, Report Hierarchy allows administrators to download, amend and reload a new organisational structure (report hierarchy) for their data within a matter of minutes.

The functionality is a vast improvement on the traditional method of maintaining report hierarchy, which involves the Travel Manager updating individual traveller profiles within the mid office, reservation and online booking systems.  A process that often takes days, if not weeks to complete.

While the reduction in time and effort are substantial, so to are the improvements in the accuracy of the data presented to the customer.

Often travellers will travel across multiple cost centres belonging to different parts of the organisation.  Traditional travel management systems find it difficult to deal with this, as the traveller profile is linked to a static hierarchy and any variations cannot be matched to the correct structure.

Report Hierarchy turns this issue on its head, as the functionality automatically associates the correct organisational structure to the cost centre entered at the time of booking.

During development, we experimented with customer data with a little over 1500 cost centres, which over two-thirds were duplicates, obsolete, incorrectly entered or missing.  When it gets to this stage, the data becomes unless, forcing customers to manually download and correct the data to make sense of it.

Using Report Hierarchy we were able to download the existing data, remove the duplicates, merge obsolete data, correct mistakes and format the data into the correct hierarchy using the cost centre as a reference point.

Extract from the file used to upload an updated Report Hierarchy. In this example, we are splitting the cost centre to display the number as a code and the abbreviated name as the full name.

Therefore in matter of minutes, data is transformed from being almost unusable to highly structured reports, where little or no manual manipulation is required to get the information the customer needs.

However, cleaning up the data is the first part of the process.  The second part, and more important, is programming the system to identify and clean up rogue data when we import it.  We do this using aisles – you send me ‘HR Head Office’ and I am going to call it ‘Human Resources’.  What’s great about aisles, once it’s corrected, any subsequent errors are updated automatically.