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Scott Gillespie to Industry: Change The Way You Measure Business Travel


Posted by Kevin Iwamoto on 04/30/2014

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One of my longest professional relationships is with Scott Gillespie, industry guru and brilliant out-of-the-box thinker.  Whether you agree with his ideas and concepts or not, Scott always manages to view tried and true situations, and, like me, is always looking for ways to elevate the thinking and practices around those traditional standards.

Scott worked with me to come up with savings measurement algorithms for airline alliance savings and fair market shares when I was at HP.  I won a Best Practitioner award from BTN for Airline Alliance contracting largely due to his company’s ability to take the air program savings calculations and reporting to a new level, as well as the willingness of Star Alliance (lead by United Airlines) to take a leap of faith with me and buy into Scott’s calculation assumptions and point assessments.

Fast forward to 2014. Scott is now advocating changing the measurement of travel programs from the traditional to something far easier to measure and quantify.  He says, “Forget about ROI – it’s too theoretical.  Skip Big Data – it’s irrelevant.  Instead, focus on what matters and what’s measurable.  Think about the issue this way: At what point is too much travel counter-productive?”

From there, Scott goes into a simple example of how changing the way you measure and report the impact of business travel can continue to make your role as category leader more relevant — especially by aligning with HR and sales leaders.  Click here to read Scott’s overview and example, and keep an open mind.

So, Scott, if you are reading this, I have a challenge for you: try to include meeting attendance effectiveness in your future thinking process. This is an area that has long been under scrutiny with no clear cut winners in terms of how to measure the effectiveness of attending meetings, conferences and incentives.  I’m happy to collaborate with you — just like we have done over the years!

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