The State of Traveler Tracking
Posted by Mike Atherton on 26 October, 2023
‘Traveler tracking’, while often overlooked, has become crucial in business travel. It's vital for protecting employees, managing resources, and improving operations, but it's not without its hurdles to implement and manage. In this article, we’ll look at the state of traveler tracking and how it can improve outcomes for your travelers.
The Mess Of Multiple Booking Channels
When talking about travel management, one of the current jargon phrases is "booking channel fragmentation." This simply means that travelers book their trips through different methods, like online travel agencies or directly with airlines and hotels. While this gives the traveler and their employer more choices, it's a headache for businesses trying to track where their employees are going, and for keeping corporate travel schedules on track.
This mix of booking channels can lead to scattered information, making it hard for businesses to know exactly where their travelers are at all times. In the worst cases, this might mean being unable to contact employees during emergencies or wasting money due to poor travel planning.
Old Problems Still Exist
Even as new issues like booking channel fragmentation pop up, old challenges remain. For example, even when businesses have recommended booking channels in place, employees might make, alter, or cancel their travel plans outside these channels, especially if these changes are made last minute.
Imagine an employee changing their flight at the airport. This change might only appear in the airline's system and not the business's tracking software. If travelers need to remember to cancel their bookings or add personal trips to their itinerary, it can further complicate things. Likewise, errors are likely if the business uses manual data entry, leading to false data and poor tracking.
The Benefits Of Direct Connections And Data Capture Systems
In response to these issues, businesses and software developers are developing new solutions. Direct API connections to booking tools, suppliers, and data gatherers are a potential option. By setting up these connections, businesses can directly access booking info, avoiding the need to gather data from various fragmented channels.
Data capture systems are another potential solution. They can read emails and capture booking details sent to the traveler, even if the booking was made outside approved channels. For instance, if an employee books a hotel room directly and gets a confirmation email, the data capture system can pull the vital info from the email, making sure it's added to the business's traveler tracking system.
New Tracking Systems: Geolocation And Real-Time Changes
New tracking systems are using geolocation to monitor travelers. They can collect data from various sources, including direct input from travelers, and then use geolocation to track their movements. This is particularly helpful for managing real-time changes, a long-standing issue in travel management.
For example, if a traveler decides to extend their stay in a city, the geolocation-based tracking system can update their location data even if they don't tell their employer about the changes.
Travelers' Active Role In Efficient Tracking
Travelers play a key role in enhancing tracking systems. Their active involvement and cooperation are essential for these systems to work effectively.
By consistently using approved booking channels, travelers help reduce information fragmentation, allowing businesses to track their movements more accurately. Mobile travel management apps with check-in features also depend on travelers' regular use to ensure their safety and security.
However, promoting consistent use of these apps can be challenging. Companies may need to educate their employees about the benefits of these apps, emphasizing regular check-ins for safety and operational efficiency.
Moreover, travelers should promptly communicate any changes in their travel plans occurring outside the approved channels. While technology provides advanced tracking tools, the proactive role of travelers is critical for safer and more efficient business travel.
Planning For Future Travel Management
High-tech solutions and active involvement from travelers are vital to improving travel management. Issues like booking through various channels and last-minute changes will persist, but promising tools like direct API connections, data capturing systems, and geolocation tracking can help overcome these.
Travelers also play a vital role in this process. Encouraging them to use mobile app check-in features could greatly improve tracking accuracy and safety. The success of future travel management will hinge on using these tools and strategies effectively.
To find out more about our intuitive travel management mobile app, Tripscape, and how it can save time, money, and hassle while organizing and managing business travel itineraries, please get in touch today by calling +44 113 337 2207.
Image source: Canva