May 15, 2007 - Carlson Wagonlit Travel last month launched its new Program Management Center as a "gateway" to "simplify, prioritize and optimize" travel program management. The travel management company is one of many industry providers that are developing improved data reporting technology.
Rolled out to more than 10,000 corporate clients, CWT´s new toolset provides global, national and regional views of travel data in nine languages and multiple currencies, including an option to track spending trends via a "flat currency" that eliminates currency fluctuations. Managers can monitor market share, online booking adoption, missed hotel bookings, low fare acceptance or overall air spend by period.
During the past four years, CWT invested millions of dollars to build and migrate offices to a new travel data warehouse. With more than 95 percent or about $8 billion worth of travel data now normalized and standardized in this "Glory" database, CWT turned its attention to the front-end applications "to help clients more easily monitor their programs and understand their compliance," said director of global client reporting product management Leisha Lindsay.
CWT built "dashboard" tools and showed them to more than 100 clients in the United States, Montreal, Barcelona and Dublin, Lindsay said. The final product factors in client feedback.
Many travel management providers are enhancing and demonstrating client reporting systems using dashboard-style interfaces. They offer screens full of charts, graphs and progress bars that quickly paint pictures of travel spending and performance on key metrics. The goal is to provide decision-makers with broader, real-time, interactive views of travel spending, security information, booking methods, policy compliance and other travel program elements.
CWT had already provided similar tools through its Solutions Group consulting service. JP Morgan Chase is among the clients using a CWT-built dashboard launched two years ago called PowrPac, which also offers benchmarking, additional analysis, recommendations and dynamic forecasting. According to a CWT spokesperson, "Eventually we will integrate the PowrPac deliverables into the Program Management Center, some as part of the core offering and other value added elements for a fee."
Used by such clients as Shell, the PMC is part of CWT´s base offering to corporate clients, although a credit card data integration service to be launched in the fourth quarter (enabling the reporting of booked and charged data disparities) will carry a fee. Planned enhancements for the third quarter include metrics that track performance to program goals and a security interface that tracks alerts for the past 24 hours and provides drill-down information on travelers in higher-risk areas. A carbon emissions output panel also would be added as soon as that functionality is released.
"In the first half of next year, we´ll be integrating pre-ticket data" and providing a link to profiles that would allow managers to push out emails or other communication to travelers," said Lindsay. CWT executive vice president of technology and product management Loren Brown claimed the new PMC "puts us at a competitive advantage." For example, he distinguished PMC from Travelmaster´s offering, saying CWT´s "is more of a global solution."
In addition to Travelmaster, such technology firms as Cornerstone Information Systems and TRX have announced or launched new dashboard-style control panels for large and small corporations and agencies.