At Egencia, data science is the foundation for everything we do. It informs decisions when it comes to making investments in the product, and customers feel the benefits firsthand, whether they’re accessing Egencia Analytics Studio to understand the metrics that matter most to their travel management programme, utilising products and features that solve their biggest challenges and push their travel programme forward, or benefiting from an investment in a new data-streaming platform. Watch the video to hear from John Sturino, Vice President of Product and Engineering at Egencia, and keep reading to learn more.
Empowering customers to make data-driven decisions about their travel programme
Optimising a corporate travel programme and driving travel cost savings around business travel spend are two objectives that corporate travel managers are focused on now more than ever. Having the right data makes these goals possible. One example of how customers can accomplish both aims is by enabling the dynamic hotel rate cap policy feature.
The tool gathers information from cities across the world—from domestic business trips between New York and Louisville in the United States, to international business travel from London in the United Kingdom to San Francisco and Sydney in the Asia-Pacific region—and analyses the average cost per night for a hotel room. It dynamically sets hotel rates based on corporate travel policy parameters, so travellers can book a room that’s within their company policy, leading to cost savings and policy compliance. Customers that enable this feature save an average of $20 per average business travel booking, and that adds up fast when applied across all bookings at a company as travel budgets for corporate trips get tighter.
The tool looks at the entire business travel industry, so travel managers know that it’s consistently relevant and they’re always getting the best value—without having to lift a finger. Business travel statistics and data on industry trends enable a seamless experience—whether it’s a traveller booking their trip, or a travel manager evaluating their programme—and it’s one of the core values that guides Egencia’s product development.
Strengthening machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve real scenarios
Utilising data science has real implications at Egencia. We invest in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to make our products better, so customers get the data and travel experience they expect. One feature born from analysing thousands of data points is Egencia Smart Mix, which uses strong algorithms and machine learning to provide business travellers with a quick, intuitive shopping and booking experience. To build the Smart Mix for Hotel ML-model, the data science team analysed two years of data, nine million bookings and over 170 factors as part of a hotel booking—and the results speak for themselves:
- 60% of hotel bookings are made from hotels displayed in the #1 position.
- 70% of hotel bookings are made from hotels displayed in the top 3 positions.
- 85% of hotel bookings are made from hotels displayed in the top 5 positions.
- 92% of hotel bookings are made from hotels displayed in the top 10 positions.
- 90% of flights are chosen from the top 10 air travel results worldwide utilising Egencia Smart Mix for Air.
So, exactly how does it work? The feature analyses data from simple to complex scenarios, and may factor in the personal preferences of each traveller—along with the company’s travel policy—to deliver smarter search results. This means travellers can book their business trips quickly because there’s no need to filter through pages of results, although the option is there.
Another, more widely applicable benefit of utilising machine learning is that global business travel technology companies have the ability to triage, categorise and fix bugs. For Egencia’s Global Technical Support Team—which provides technical support on all aspects of Egencia’s platform worldwide, 24/7—this meant using two years’ worth of data and over 100,000 potential use cases to launch automated categorisation and management of cases. This project now benefits all customers and eliminates bugs more effectively.
These are just two examples of real solutions our customers felt as a direct result of investing in data science. But we aren’t stopping there.
Taking it to the next level with a new data-streaming platform
Another investment that customers will benefit from is in building a data-streaming platform (DSP). A DSP connects data coming in from varying sources and providers, and acts as a single source of truth. Building out a DSP means that data is high quality and timely—two critical pieces of evaluating data maturity. Data is constantly improving, and this grants Egencia customers access to the most modern levels of how data is captured, managed and stored.
Customers also gain access to their data in real time. This means travel managers will have a comprehensive, clear, consistent and timely set of data that details how their programme is operating and understands their corporate travel spending. In the long term, this will lead to enhanced machine learning techniques by capturing user interactions to learn from the experiences, as well as identify and remove any pain points.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to data, but discovering insights that drive a business travel programme forward is worth the work. Data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue to be hot topics in the business travel industry, and it will be exciting to see how it progresses. According to Swami Sivasubramanian, recently quoted in Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2021 report, ‘We are entering the golden age of machine learning, with adoption increasing across all customer segments’. Rest assured, our customers will feel the impact of our investments and we look forward to seeing how their corporate travel programmes flourish as a result.