In our series around travel manager excellence, we’re going to take a look at benchmarking. This is often seen as a service provided by TMCs, and sometimes (if lucky) is provided against a set of peers. Currently, having benchmarked data is a nice to have: an overall look of how the programme is doing. It’s not really used to typically to transform or inform programme or policy, nor is it used in negotiations with suppliers. We think that needs to change.

Market positioning

This is the one everyone is interested in: how are we performing against our peers? Do we have engaged travellers? Do we have a good revenue to travel budget ratio? How does our online booking ratio compare to others?

It’s these questions, and more, that are interesting to look at. But let’s face it: you don’t have much influence on them. The data you get is likely not very meaningful, as the ‘peers’ might be very different from your company (i.e. different travel budget, different sector and travel needs, different size, different culture, etc.). Your TMC (or their respective consulting practice) is doing its best to provide you with answers, but many companies also object to their figures being used (albeit masked!) in benchmarking.

Travel programme performance

The other option for benchmarking is looking closer to home: your own programme. Checking your programme progress and / or success, is a great way to position yourself within the company. You’ll appear more strategic in front of the board and be more engaged with your travellers. You’ll also find yourself in a much stronger negotiating position when investigating ways in which you can use the information in dialogue with your suppliers.

For example, if you repeatedly receive feedback that a hotel is below par – you either use the information to incentive the property to improve or remove it from the programme.  It takes “listening” to a new level.  The travellers in turn become much more engaged.  Using information in this way becomes a very strong tool for the management of the programme and also provides a much more strategic viewpoint at board level – as these stats combined with the financials become a powerful tool for lobbying.

Setting your own benchmark allows you to manage a programme designed for your business and actively monitor its compliance and satisfaction levels.

If you’re not yet benchmarking your own travel programme performance, a great way to dip your toes in is with traveller engagement surveys. Set your own baseline for traveller satisfaction and get real feedback from your travellers to use in negotiations and drive compliance. How? Simply by asking travellers for feedback on TMC support, OBT accessibility and user-friendliness, and supplier services.

Did you know? Nina & Pinta offer support for all of your benchmarking needs using independent technology. This includes helping with the analysis and suggesting actions to feed back into your programme and policy.

Remember, a traveller who feels her voice is being heard and acted upon, is much more likely to be compliant and do her bit for the company.

To find out how Nina & Pinta can help you contact us today. If you are attending GBTA Europe, please come along to the Using VOC to boost your ROI, measuring the traveller experience session to hear Jo and a panel of experts to discuss the topic.