BCD cracks the code to delivering travel program data in an instant

We get it. Travel managers are busy. They need answers and insights fast – but massaging and analyzing travel data isn’t exactly a speedy process. Getting answers from travel data generally involves waiting and hours of sorting pivot tables. Not anymore. Not for BCD clients. Enter Instant Query (IQ), a new feature within our flagship DecisionSource® platform that does just what its name suggests: provides answers in an instant.

BCD cracks the code on how to deliver travel program data in an instant

If you’re familiar with BCD, then you probably know about DecisionSource. Available to BCD clients, it is one of the most flexible and powerful data analytics and intelligence platforms in the business travel industry. It’s our data engagement workhorse, capable of extracting key insights from the average 450 data points that result from a business trip. It delivers analytic and strategic reporting year over year, period over period. The outcome is actionable strategies and enhancements for your travel program.

Data in an instant

Kate Shirley, Director, Product Planning, BCD Travel
Kate Shirley Director Product Planning BCD

If DecisionSource is a full force, then Instant Query is its ninja. “IQ was both conceptualized and developed in-house by our data scientists, our developers, and product because we needed a way to get quick answers to hot program questions,” said BCD Director of Product Planning Kate Shirley, on a recent episode of the Connections with BCD Travel podcast. “Instant Query really provides… in-platform capabilities that no other reporting platform offers (sorts, filters, data constraining column moves, build your own ad hoc queries, even emailing right from the platform).”

It was designed to meet the needs of all user types – from the most analytical deep dive data person to the inexperienced user who just needs a quick answer. Use it to answer questions like:

  • Which travelers have booked an upcoming first-class flight outside of policy? 
  • Who is (or isn’t) using preferred carriers between specific markets?

Instant Query and the aerospace customer hack

That proved more than helpful for a BCD aerospace customer that designs and builds reusable rockets and spacecraft. They routinely have a need for parts or inventory to be hand carried between a very specific market pair. A custom query helps them find employees who are headed to the destination where the part is needed so they can then send it with them. “They were actually part of our pilot and created a custom query that with one click identifies travelers in that market pair and has the ability to email them directly from IQ to ask the question,” said Shirley.

“They don’t even have to pick up the phone,” Shirley said. “Just click on the email from the query results and send an email directly to [the employee] and ask them if they’re willing to hand carry that part or that inventory. To quote them directly, ‘IQ has been the best source to execute the scenario.’ So it’s literally two clicks between login and results, instant answers.”

Instant Query’s standout features

What sets IQ apart is that it eliminates the need to export your raw data to sort, filter and group, as those features exist in the platform. It also offers a Build Your Own (BYO) query function that gives the end user the ability to select from any field in our booked and transactional database and build their own ad hoc query. The data is all front loaded, so when the user clicks on a field to add it, it populates on the screen. When it’s no longer needed, the user can remove it with one click. Finally, as mentioned in the above use case, there’s no need to move between spreadsheets and native email or mail merges It’s all on the platform.

How is Instant Query making workdays better for travel managers?

“Travel managers want to be able to get back into their program and put their finger on the pulse,” Shirley said. ‘Where are my travelers going this week? What countries are they visiting?’ Booked travel compliance adherence has become a little bit of overwhelming in these big data sets.

“So being able to one click and find out cabin class violations, per diem hotel threshold violators, who’s not flying your preferred carrier between a specific market? They can go in as a travel manager and get the answer super-fast without having to wait for somebody else to do it.”

How does Instant Query play into a company’s travel risk management strategy?

“It factors into a lot of different areas,” Shirley said. “So whether it’s terrorist activity or a weather-related restriction for travel to a country, not only can you quickly pull travelers currently in that country, but you can also find out who is scheduled to travel there and email them directly from the platform to advise that travel has been placed on hold and to contact the travel department. And you know what? It’s not just travel risk management, but it’s people risk management now, too.

“We have a query that identifies travelers who were in proximity of each other in the case of something or someone who has tested positive for Covid, for example, or any other contagious disease. It groups them by three levels: low, medium, high in terms of proximity, high being same flight, same cabin. And again the in-platform email feature allows you to reach out directly to those who are in close proximity and provide guidance on that.”


To hear more of Kate Shirley’s podcast episode, listen below. You can find all of our episodes on the BCD website or wherever you get your podcasts:

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