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,