They say that knowledge is power and never has that old adage been more true than when it comes to understanding your organisation’s business travel.

There’s a lot to understand though, isn’t there? It’s no longer enough to keep an eye on your total spend, or to be able to recall the number of bookings you made last year; instead, it’s much more useful to be able to understand the effectiveness of your travel policy, the efficiency of your booking process, the behaviour of your travellers and, of course, the impact your efforts are having an organisation’s bottom line.

The only way to do this effectively is to get hands on with your travel analytics and to spare you from hours of trawling through spreadsheets of raw data we’ve highlighted the five key travel analytics to focus on in order to truly understand how your organisation travels:

1. Lead time
Booking ahead of time and giving as long a lead time as is realistic for your organisation opens up access to lower rates on air and rail tickets and is an opportunity to make tangible savings. In order to understand how to achieve the best rates for your organisation you need to know the average advance booking period for all booking types and the optimum lead time for each booking type.

This will allow you to assess traveller behaviour and consider how it needs to be changed in order to increase lead times and, ultimately, make savings on your travel spend.

2. Average rates
These are the average rates that you pay for all booking types broken down by route or location. When analysing this data it’s worth considering how this fluctuates year on year and what have you done differently as an organisation that could have contributed towards these changes. To calculate your average rates, break down your spend into locations or routes and divide by number of nights or bookings.

Your organisation’s average rates is a clear way to see what practices and systems are working and propelling you towards your goals, and which still need a bit of work; if you’re looking to continually improve then this these are the numbers for you.

3. Online adoption
Increasing online adoption rates is a common goal amongst organisations who are looking to not only reduce their travel spend, but who are also looking to streamline the process of booking business travel and make it more simple for their travellers. Booking online presents a greater amount of choice to travellers, meaning that it’s easier for them to book cheaper, in-policy options as all information is there for them to see.

If you’re using a travel management company (TMC) then they should make this information available to you, but you can also calculate it by dividing the number of online bookings by the total number of bookings and multiplying that figure by 100.

4. Ticket types
Spotting trends in the types of tickets that are being purchased allows you to spot trends in the behaviour of your travellers; knowing whether tickets booked are fixed or flexible, or economy or business class, will not only help to inform your travel policy, but can also help you to identify cost saving opportunities.

Introducing new travel policy terms that limit, or rule out, the booking of certain types of tickets (particularly ‘anytime’ rail tickets!) can have a real impact when it comes to reducing your travel spend.

5. Policy compliance
Many organisations tick ‘creating a travel policy’ off their to-do list and then never think about it again, but tracking the rate of travel policy compliance within your organisation is the best way to gain real control of your business travel.

Once you’ve ensured that your travel policy is clearly defined and communicated then you will be able to measure the amount of bookings that are made within, and most importantly, outside of it – you can then use this information to update any areas that aren’t working and in turn guide traveller behaviour towards achieving goals that are in line with those of your organisation.

So those are the key travel analytics covered, but there’s still much more awaiting in the world of travel management. That’s why we’ve produced a comprehensive, complimentary travel management glossary, which breaks down all of travel management’s key terms. Just click below to download your copy.

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