In the two years since we launched the Cirium brand, our teams have worked hand in hand with the world’s airlines and other stakeholders to assemble the single largest source of aviation-related data in the world. We’ve made that data available quickly, reliably, and with a state-of-the-art user experience. With Cirium’s myriad tools, a user can answer their critical questions and make informed decisions.
However, in hundreds of conversations with executives, we fielded a consistent query: “Why hasn’t Cirium tackled global corporate travel yet?”
It makes sense. After all, airlines are laser-focused on global corporate travel and contract management. Corporate travel is a major contributor to their profitability, generating some of the highest passenger yields. While business travel is depressed for the time being due to the pandemic, the airlines want to be ready for the return to the skies of business warriors. (Like you, I can’t wait to get out there.) As it happens, for the better part of two years, Cirium has been working on solutions to the problems faced by corporate travel stakeholders.
Today, we’re excited to introduce Nexavia, a suite of tools that represents the next generation of corporate travel management. We’ve spent much time in person — and in virtual meetings, too — working with stakeholders to identify their pain points when it comes to corporate contract management. Based on that insight and hundreds of years of collective airline-related experience, we’re building Nexavia from scratch and doing so iteratively. “Build and test, build and test,” one developer explained to me.
Among the most challenging problems airlines have identified is the management of the large volume of data required to support contract negotiation, internal reporting, opportunity analysis, and change management — especially when that data is incomplete and not timely.
Of course, managing data and providing actionable insights from that data is what Cirium does best.
Corporate Travel Data is Quite Complex
Data is critical at every stage of the corporate contract lifecycle — informing decisions that directly impact profitability and opportunity. However, data management in this space is quite complex. The data is continuously aggregated and normalized by various parties, be they travel management companies or airlines, on their own timeframe. As it stands, this work takes days — often weeks — and is manually intensive. Our airline partners have told us that the process is too slow to allow them to identify new revenue opportunities, and worse: too cumbersome to identify revenue at risk.
You Fly Passengers, We’ll Do The Data
The airlines we’ve worked with have expressed frustration at having to monitor the completeness of corporate ticket data — managing a global web of disparate data sources across their client firms — to say nothing of leakage. For our part, we believe airlines should be in the business of maximizing revenue from their best, most loyal customers — and not monitoring the fidelity of inbound data feeds of ticket data, for example.
The Total Buying Power of A Customer
Airlines know that real insight lies beyond merely analyzing segment fares and market share — and days later at that. Yet it was unsurprising to me that airlines have struggled to generate a holistic view of the buying power of their best customers. We’re taking a fresh look at this problem. For instance, ancillary spending shouldn’t be excluded from consideration only because of today’s technology hurdles. Soft dollar spending really does matter to a corporate buyer and those corporate warriors. Corporate buyers are under pressure to deliver on newly developed sustainability goals. For Cirium, it’s not hard to imagine fusing our existing datasets to quantify this type of information and deliver actionable insights. Powered by this kind of analysis, an airline can really differentiate and decommoditize their product.
The Right Tools For Analytics
The team at Cirium — to a person — are Excel devotees and aficionados. However, exporting data to a spreadsheet and manually manipulating that data does not always lead to good decision making. We’ve heard a consistent drumbeat that airlines have had to jerry rig processes to fill gaps in analytics. This method is prone to errors that might not be spotted. Analysis by spreadsheet is often far too cumbersome and does not make for good workflow management across teams and organizations. Indeed, that’s hard enough between airline departments, let alone between airlines in partnership.
But modern data science for data ingestion, parsing and robust dashboards is hardly new. For instance, a whole cottage industry of startups has developed to track and measure the value to brands of billions of dollars of advertising spend. Hundreds of thousands of companies review their sales pipeline and performance by salesperson with Salesforce.com dashboards. Cirium tracks commercial flights by tail number — every single one of them — and quickly reveals the date the aircraft rolled off the line, who owns the aircraft and how many cycles it has flown. These types of insights are coming to corporate travel. Corporate contract lifecycle management deserves this same attention to user experience, ease-of-use and dashboard analysis to help airlines and their clients make good business choices.
Manage the Inevitable Changes in the Contract Lifecycle
In our ongoing discussions with airline stakeholders, change management is frequently cited. What happens when a corporate client is acquired, or changes to a new travel management company — and then only for a certain region or country? What happens when an airline enters into a new partnership with another airline? Each of these developments can have direct implications for thousands of contracts. Today, analyzing these changes and acting on them results in millions of dollars of expense and thousands of work hours. It need not be so difficult.
Does all of this sound familiar to you? If you’re an airline looking for new and complete ways to manage global corporate travel, Nexavia suite of tools solves these and other problems. Share your point of view with our team. In the meantime, over the course of the coming weeks, I’ll explain Nexavia’s point of view on the marketplace and the suite of solutions that we’re developing.
Help us build Nexavia, the next generation of corporate travel tools.