Carlson Wagonlit Travel is a global corporate business travel provider, helping companies manage employee travel, meetings and events. Each day, the company serves enough travelers to fill almost 200 Boeing 747s and around 100,000 hotel rooms. Annually, Carlson Wagonlit organizes nearly 35,000 meetings and events.
Balancing tight corporate travel budgets and strict travel policies with employee satisfaction is a continual challenge for corporate travel managers. Carlson Wagonlit empowers companies to deliver a better employee experience by bringing personalization to the corporate travel world.
But to learn from traveler behavior and deliver personalized services, Carlson Wagonlit had to bring together and analyze all data, including existing customer data, transaction data, traveler comments, and external market data, from more than 1,600 data sources.
“Complexity is the issue for us,” said Craig Haughan, vice president, Data Solutions, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “You can imagine the number of different hotels there are just in New York, and the number of ways that you can buy a ticket between London and New York is in the order of millions; and then multiply that by thousands of cities across 155 different countries.”
Carlson Wagonlit uses Cloudera on Microsoft Azure, through Cazena’s fully managed Big Data as a Service platform, to uncover traveler behavior patterns and trends. The company’s data science, Business Intelligence, and workforce management teams can query the platform using the tools they’re already familiar with, and Haughan is focused on further democratizing access to the data, delivering new services directly to customers.
“Cloudera was impressive because of the easy way to conduct interactive querying with the skills we had, and because of its ability to support our move to machine learning,” said Haughan. “Machine learning is going to be a big focus for us in understanding the motivation behind a trip and the why of travel so companies can improve their travel programs.”
Time-to-market was a huge concern for Haughan’s team. Using a fully managed service from Cazena, Carlson Wagonlit had a data science environment ready in an hour versus an estimated six to nine months.
“We knew we needed to change our strategy for personalization,” explained Haughan. “How were we going to do that, making sure that we had all the different components and infrastructure necessary to make a Hadoop environment work and make it secure? Cazena’s fully managed service enabled us to implement Cloudera quickly.”
Data is now a differentiator for Carlson Wagonlit, and one that hasn’t gone unnoticed by clients.
“We’re bringing the data science team into our pre-sales process as well as across client management, and we’re really helping clients understand their data now”, said Haughan. “We no longer have to wait months and months to change the data structures to do that, and that's really where we've seen the big benefit of the Cloudera and Cazena solution.”