UK-based TMC Business Travel Direct has launched a predictive tool that analyses travel data to model the outcomes of policy changes.
The tool, called Smart Insight, is designed for use by BTD account managers when meeting corporate clients, for demonstrating a range of scenarios and outcomes. Examples include predicting the savings that can be made on air travel when increasing advance bookings, moving bookings online or shifting flight dates to midweek.
The data is illustrated with graphics and charts – BTD managing director Julie Oliver said this instant visualisation helped to speed up the decision-making process on policy changes.
She added that the tool takes the “guess-work” out of formulating policy changes, adding that it “uses the actual data we’ve gathered for individual clients, so it enables us to create unique solutions”.
Oliver said she was optimistic about the Travel Management Company: An agency which manages business travel for a company. sector, and that business was “buoyant” with travel patterns so far mainly unaffected by the Brexit referendum vote.
“The sector is in a constant state of flux,” she said. “Technology is evolving at an exponential rate. The key is to stay relevant, and be always adapting and finding solutions to the latest challenges in this dynamic environment.”
One example of change is the latest NDC developments, which she remains “open minded” about but warns it risks costing the customer more money.
Oliver agreed that the sector was highly competitive, but added that a “race to the bottom” in fees was in “no-one’s interest”. She said that BTD does “not want to operate in that retail environment – we are a professional services company.”
She said Smart Insight was an example of offering proactive business management services, along with offering savings via dynamic price tracking tools such as Tripbam and Fairfly.
BTD, listed at no.22 in BBT’s annual Leading 50 TMCs for 2017, has signed an agreement to become the UK partner of US travel management company ATG. Based in Ohio, ATG was reported last year to have sales of more than US$820 million and partners in more than 60 countries.