1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Travel management company Hillgate Travel recently launched its business intelligence and reporting application, MiWay Analytics so BBT caught up with the firm’s director of sales Warren Dix.
He discussed the advantages of MiWay, how its different from other products on the market and the latest trends in business travel.
Can you provide a brief overview of MiWay Analytics?
MiWay Analytics is a cloud-based business intelligence and reporting application, developed in-house by Hillgate Travel.
In many instances data isn’t presented in a meaningful way and we believe we’ve changed that. MiWay provides context for a traveller’s data from which a story can be told and scenarios explored. With intuitive pre-trip and post-trip dashboard visualisations, users can go beyond the surface level of their travel program and drill right down to the raw data.
With MiWay’s flexibility users can also build and manipulate their own charts and graphs from within the tool to show their data in a way that best suits them and their needs.
What are the advantages for travel buyers using this tool?
MiWay instantly identifies areas within a travel program which may need to be reviewed or stand out as areas of concern.
This can save users a huge amount of time as rather than having to investigate every area of a travel program to come across the root issue, it can simply be seen at a glance. Having this knowledge, and understanding its implications, can also assist in reducing the bottom line spend of the travel program. Another advantage is that MiWay enhances the booking experience. Everything about MiWay was built with the end user in mind and this can be seen through its clean-cut visuals and easy to use, drill-down capabilities. It can take raw data and create bespoke visuals within 3 clicks, as well as allowing users to build and export customised tables and charts through point and click technology.
MiWay also helps mitigate risk through presenting possible alternative travel scenarios. Using pre-trip data, areas of traveller behaviour can be closely analysed and used to make informed decisions.
Can you explain the reasons behind offering the product complimentary which goes against the normal industry practice?
We wanted to set the agenda, not follow someone else’s. In most other industries data is free so we thought why should travel be any different? We had a vision that data should come as standard, it should be accessible and that it should be simple. MiWay was created in-house meaning we didn’t have to outsource to third party suppliers and we wanted to pass these cost savings directly onto our customers. We strongly believe in delivering value to our customers and MiWay will enable companies to get a return on their investment with Hillgate, regardless of their business size.
What differentiates the product from similar tools in the market?
We have total flexibility in the development of the product as it was built in-house and having delivered data tools for the past 20 years we had a really strong foundation from which to build. We are working directly with our customers so that using their insight we can develop our product roadmap in line with their vision. We have 4 releases planned throughout the year where we will make upgrades to MiWay’s functionality and capabilities based on user feedback.
MiWay has the ability to display data in 7 global currencies. We convert the currency at the time of booking, not when the data is cleansed which gives a true value reflection of actual cost at the point of purchase.
With its fresh design and colourful graphics, the aesthetics of the product really make it stand out from others tools out there. The visual layout of most data handling tools isn’t particularly appealing; the graphics are often overly complex, too small or simply unengaging. With MiWay we have eliminated these issues to deliver a better user experience and the visuals of the tool are second to none. Its simplicity is another unique feature; you can slice and dice the data and have access to all the information you would want in 3 clicks, and its free!
We have long had a reputation for having the best data travel technology and that technology has just got better.
Trends in business travel 2015: what will happen, big talking points this time next year etc...
There are several talking points which I believe we will hear more and more about as the year progresses.
Data for a while has been considered a buzz word and I don’t think this is likely to change any time soon. As mobile technology plays an ever increasing role in the life of the traveller the ongoing data aggregation issues this raises are influencing the procurement of travel. TMC’s may have to adjust their approach to be more flexible in their content collection to take multisource data feeds from internal and third-party operators. Expectations have changed so it is no longer acceptable to merely deliver static reports, people want more and they want it to be dynamic.
Global consolidation-stage 2 is another trend I believe we will see emerging. Over the last decade or so Globalisation has been gathering pace and it is now entering a new phase in which the global aspirations, in order to succeed, are having to take into account local best practice and market conditions.
In 2015 we will see changes being made to the payment process. UK TMC’s are soon to be asked by IATA to pay all their ticketed volumes on a fortnightly basis as opposed to the monthly payment scheme currently in place. This will result in tighter payment controls being demanded of clients operating on account facilities. Subsequently this could impact clients with longstanding relationships with their TMC to review their suppliers, thereby creating opportunities for TMC’s like ourselves to get our message across.
Over the past couple of years many business travellers have complained about the lack of technology available to them which they can get in their personal lives, which can lead to compliance problems for buyers. With products like this entering the market do you feel technology companies are catching up in terms of what they’re offering to corporate travellers?
Firstly MiWay analytics is not for the use of travellers themselves but for those managing the travel program. This aside yes, I believe that the corporate market does need to be more responsive and flexible in terms of what they deliver to travellers. We know that technology is being developed at an unprecedented rate and that it is important to be reactive to changing demands. As a result we focus on delivering an incredibly high standard of technology that matches or supersedes what is available to travellers in their personal environment. The mobile workplace has also fuelled an agenda for change and it is the responsibility of the TMC’s and technology companies to adapt accordingly. If they get this right it will in turn encourage greater compliance.
However there is also a difference in that travellers, in their personal lives, are the ones funding the technology, in a corporate environment it’s important to remember who’s paying the bills. At Hillgate our sole aim is to deliver cost savings to our customers.
Anything else in the pipeline for Hillgate travel in 2015?
Yes, absolutely. There are a lot of things on the cards this year for Hillgate, some of which are continuing developments and others are new projects for 2015. Our industry leading online booking tool FreeWay, which already delivers Authorisations for Low Cost Carriers, seat reservations on rail journeys and enhanced map functions on hotel search, will continue to advance throughout the year. We are also excited to be looking at mobile solutions that are interactive and intelligent, as well as fully interactive and customised itineraries. So watch this space!