You Can’t Help Them If You Can’t Find Them:
The critical role of travel data for Duty of Care

An unexpected turn of events led me to tack on an overnight stay in LA to a recent trip from Denver to Miami. I made the change directly with the airline and booked my hotel from the event’s room block.

As fate would have it, I left LA just before a fire caused the closure of I-10. My trip home would have been totally derailed if my flight had been delayed even slightly. But our Travel Management Company (TMC) and our Travel Risk Management service might not have been aware of these changes, leaving them unable to alert me to the potential risks.

This experience underscores the critical link between timely, complete travel data and the alert systems that help ensure our safety on the road. The original booking data needs to be complete and it needs to be kept up to date, regardless of where the booking is made.

Isolated incident? There were 631,000 flights cancelled in August 2023. NDC, book anywhere policies, blended travel and other trends increase the data challenges for duty of care. And they are likely to increase.

The Data Challenges for Duty of Care

Travel operations involve many stakeholders, from airlines and hotels to multiple TMCs and the tech platforms they use. The data from these sources is vast but often siloed, incomplete or inconsistent, with different formats and varying levels of quality. It’s challenging to form a cohesive and actionable data set to drive alerts and other duty of care activities.

  1. Data Disparity: Information comes from many sources, which may have different formats and levels of detail. Integrating this into a unified system is complicated.
  2. Data Gaps: Critical data points may be missing. For instance, traveler information may lack essential contact details, making it difficult to reach out during emergencies.
  3. Frequent Changes: Flight schedules, hotel bookings, and travel dates can change rapidly. Sometimes the suppliers drive the change, sometimes it’s the travelers. These different cases are often handled in different ways. Keeping booking records updated in real-time requires an agile data management system.
  4. Cost and Efficiency: Manual processing of travel data is costly and time-consuming. It can divert resources from other critical tasks within the travel risk management process. It is also error-prone and slower, having a direct effect on timeliness and quality.

Navigating Data Challenges

Effective travel alerts and critical event management depends on overcoming these data challenges. Here’s how:

  • Integrated Data Systems: Utilize platforms that can consolidate data from various sources and standardize it for easy integration into the Travel Risk program. Your platform should cover all the major booking sources and have special capabilities to capture changes, even when they are made outside the original booking source.
  • Automated Data Management: Automate travel data collection, quality control and workflow management to ensure access to the most current information, reduce errors and increase efficiency,
  • Data Enrichment: Leverage technology to fill in the missing pieces of data, such as traveler contact information, department for notifying management, or other critical elements.

Employing scalable, automated solutions can reduce costs, improve quality and reduce the burden on stakeholders. And most importantly, keep travelers safer.

The team here at Cornerstone has developed solutions to automate these travel data management processes. It’s a natural extension of the core work we’ve been doing, processing hundreds of millions of bookings a year for the world’s leading travel companies and programs. We live  and breathe travel data aggregation and quality management, workflow automation, schedule change management and more.

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For over 30 years, Cornerstone has been at the forefront of corporate travel operations, aggregating, managing, and automating data across millions of trips monthly.