Business Travel Tech Talk London, 16 October,
Business Travel Awards Europe, 30 October, JW
3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Travel buyers have been urged to ensure they receive good quality data from their suppliers by including it in their contracts.
Mat Orrego, CEO of US-based travel technology firm Cornerstone, said that buyers need to secure a flow of clean and accurate information from suppliers to effectively use big data to improve their travel programmes.
“You need to measure the quality of the data that is coming in before you can make any sense of it,” said Orrego during a panel discussion on big data at the Business Travel Show’s hosted buyer pre-show conference in London.
“Buyers need to put it in their SLAs (service level agreements) to make sure they have really good data from suppliers including TMCs, credit card companies and others. Big data is a great thing, but you need to have intent and purpose, as well as realistic expectations about what you can achieve.
“It’s not just about the frequency of data but ensuring that it’s accurate – if you do this then you will have confidence in the data and you can make good decisions around your procurement and supplier relationships.”
Fellow panellist Catalin Ciobanu, director of innovation for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, admitted that the travel industry was suffering from data that was not clean but that did not mean that it was “garbage” which should be discarded.
“We are not there yet with big data when it comes to travel – there is work to do,” he said. “The data is not clean but it’s not garbage, you just need the ability to understand the rules that are in place.
“Buyers need to ask the question that they really want answered: ‘What exactly would I want to know about my travel programme?’.”
Reg Warlop, vice-president of fares, search and transaction processing for Travelport, said that one of the problems was with the amount and type of data stored within airline PNRs (passenger name records).
“There are about nine different ways that a travel agent can put in a date of birth on a PNR – so it’s not clean at all,” said Warlop.
Keesup Choe, CEO of p-i ltd who provide decision support for travel, said that Amazon was a good example of a ‘big data platform’ with its personalised recommendations.
“You have a data challenge with travel, the sheer size of the data is not that big compared to our retail clients but it is incredibly fragmented,” Choe told the conference.
Click here to discuss this and more issues and topics from the Business Travel Show on our dedicated forum thread