Data Warehousing Challenges

» Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining | 0 comments

In reading the Section 4B curriculum, I began to think on the difficulties that TRX, Inc. will experience in trying to gather and consolidate this information.  As a global sales staff member with a major chain (owned, managed, and franchised hotels), I encounter challenges with gathering some of this information for our individual clients for just our hotels.  TRX, Inc. will be trying to reconcile the information from potentially hundreds or thousands of sources.

In the hotel realm, the government traveler does not book one set rate category.  As a hotel company, we have a difficult time in tracking which consumed room nights are government travelers as they may have booked with a government contracted travel entity, but the rate may not have been designated as a government rate.  They could book FedRooms, CWT|Sato Government Travel, Navy Elite, Army Lodging, or any other number of federal government or military rates. Also, if when booking on a specified website (FedRooms, Sato, hotel direct) the traveler is unable to find the rate category the were initialing searching under, if they have to book that hotel for assignment reasons, they will book non-government rates or listed Federal Government rate categories that are not per diem rates.  If the government traveler were not staying under a federal government rate category, we would not know to report that lodging information to TRX.  In addition, since all bookings are not consumed, and unused bookings are sometimes slow to be removed form the system, this makes reporting accurate production totals difficult.

Also, in regards to the security and privacy issue, we have laws and governances that prohibit us from giving out any guest information that could identify the guest.  We can offer total stay information by hotel, by night, and by rate booked at the maximum.  No names, loyalty program identifications, or credit card information can be released except under very controlled circumstances.

Until the government can mandate their program as tightly as some of our most dedicated corporate partners, a single data warehouse source will be quite useless.  Even in organizations that mandate that all travel arrangements must be made by their in-house agents and using a prescribed identification number, we estimate at least 20% of their potential production with us as a hotel chain is untraceable.  In order for the system to work, all bookings of all travel, as well as all other applicable spending, would have to be made and recorded in identical fashion in a single booking engine.  Travel agencies, airlines, hoteliers, etcetera would have to be connected into the one source or become compatible with the one source, costing untold millions in technical upgrades.  Government regulations and rulings would not only have to be in their own travel systems, but in the commercial realm as well.

I feel that having a tighter handle on the total spending as it regards to government lodging would be beneficial to both the government and to the industry.  However, it is my opinion that this is not going to be presence in our daily work lives for some time to come.  There are too many current booking and tracking systems that will have to be made communicate with a reliable integrated warehouse, and the servers for that warehouse would be of gargantuan proportion.

By Crystal Wright

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