CWT Introduces Meetings Spending Dashboard - Business Travel News

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CWT Introduces Meetings Spending Dashboard

May 09, 2013 - 10:25 AM ET

By Chris Davis

CWT Meetings & Events has developed a dashboard that joins data from external meetings technology tools with that of parent company Carlson Wagonlit Travel to offer clients a detailed review of their meetings spending. Currently used in Europe by CWT Meetings & Events program managers, the tool is scheduled to be brought by September to the Americans and the Asia/Pacific region.

Managed through CWT's data center in Warsaw, the dashboard pulls spending data from clients' meetings technology tools, including those offered by Cvent, The Active Network's StarCite and Ungerboeck Software International's Event Business Management System.

"One thing our clients were asking us for was a holistic view of how they're spending their money in the meetings and events arena," said CWT Meetings & Events global senior vice president Floyd Widener. "To do that, we could not stay with our traditional sources of data. Our traditional sources of data for the travel part of the business are the best quality, but that's air, car and in some cases hotel. We needed to figure out how we could get all the data from those [meetings technology] tools into our repository, marry it with the information coming out of our core business data sources—when we're issuing tickets and the like—and come up with a dashboard where we could pull that together and report it."

Using data from external sources better enables CWT to account for spending in such traditional meetings categories as food and beverage, audiovisual services and ground transfers. "There's a data feed that goes to our reporting center of excellence in Warsaw, and we've set up a server that receives a data feed from the [meetings] tool and receives our data repository feed, and [CWT data analysts] work their magic," Widener said. The analysts "go through the data, make sure the fields align, and dump it into the dashboard."

The resulting output represents "the first time we've ever had, and our customers have had, a comprehensive look at what they're spending on meetings and events," Widener continued. The dashboard could allow, for example, corporations to have a more complete view of the suppliers involved in a meetings program, possibly presenting opportunities to direct spending to preferred options, he said.

"There's really not the enormous crossover today between what's being procured in the business travel sector and in the meetings and events area, because in a lot of cases they're different organizations or different people who are doing the actual organization of that inside the corporate," Widener explained. "If we can pull this data together, they'll be able to drill down and look at where they're spending with regard to their suppliers. Enabling them to have that analytical ability is a big value proposition at the get-go."

CWT's program managers, not the corporate clients themselves,  today use the dashboard in Europe to offer a more detailed view of client programs during periodic business reviews. Widener said that CWT by September will roll out the dashboard to its program managers in the Americas and Asia/Pacific regions to "try to monetize the tool and go to the market and turn it loose with our customer base, so that they can interact with it."

He added that CWT during a June customer event in Versailles plans to offer some global customers a look at the tool and may subsequently refine its functionality based on feedback.

Widener said CWT has not yet determined a firm pricing plan, but anticipated a structure in which some basic use would be complimentary for clients, while heavy customization or use in conjunction with other TMC services—like historical data, benchmarking data or the consulting services of the CWT Solutions Group—would carry a fee.

"There will be some initial analytics and some basic use of the tool that will be included in our program management services," Widener said. "But when you start looking at additional services that could be provided, there will be a chance for additional revenue, definitely."

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