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8 appetising tips for your profile management project!

Helmut Pilz
Jun 7, 2016 10:49:57 AM

Implementing a profile management tool at a TMC or corporate travel department sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? And indeed, it is! But, just like any other IT-related project, a profile management implementation requires careful attention and time.

A great implementation leads to a high acceptance of the tool. And a high acceptance makes it really valuable. This is good for us at Umbrella.

So we have carefully, with a generous dose of love and attention, collected 8 appetising tips for your profile management project:


1.   Traveller profiles should always be updated by travellers or their travel assistants.

Should – or could – travellers keep their own travel profile data up to date? We have witnessed many discussions about this topic.

Our experiences clearly show: of course they can! Given solid communication to prepare them, they also want it.

And there are 2 sweet upsides: profile quality and maintenance effort.

  • Profiles tend to be much richer and more accurate when they are maintained by their owners. Sure, everyone adds a seat or meal preference if directly asked. As a consequence, the perceived quality of travel management services increases substantially.
  • If travellers maintain their own data, the travel manager or the TMC doesn’t have to do it! Your organisation saves a lot of redundant, unproductive effort to clean data.

Naturally, this outsourcing needs to be prepared with care. Umbrella will happily advise and support you during this process.


2.   Decide carefully on the definition of your future profile standards, where to store the data and where to update which data.

This requires a very solid understanding of the backoffice and GDS processes that require profile data. Many European corporations also have valid concerns to store information about their business travellers in the US.

Umbrella knows all the pros and cons of several practical approaches to data synchronisation. With our support, your team will make the right decisions.


3.   As a manager or CEO, you need to communicate your support of the project properly and repeatedly.

Don’t let your project team down! It will face internal challenges when trying to get the appropriate resources or challenging long standing rituals or requirements.

A clear and timely management communication to all affected employees and customers guarantees that everyone will act in concert.


4.   Let experts support you to be successful.

External profile management advisors know all potential obstacles and pitfalls that your project might run into.clear and timely management communication to all affected employees and customers guarantees that everyone will act in concert.

They operate with proven checklists, ask the right questions at the right times and help your team to be fast and successful.They also guarantee that

nobody tries to reinvent the wheel or to squeeze the execution of such an important project between all the urgent issues of the daily operational business.

It is cheap and effective! Just a few days of support from an expert – who could be from TravelBrain or Umbrella, for example – pays off quickly.


5.   Nominate a project lead with a thorough understanding of backoffice and GDS processes.

A solid understanding of all relevant functional requirements and backgrounds is essential for a project manager to lead his team through the decision making process and project execution.

Without this functional knowledge, he or she might not recognise contradicting requirements from different sources. It is very common in such an arrangement that a project has to repeatedly return to square one.

This causes inevitable delays and overconsumption of scarce resources.

A possible alternative is a close cooperation between a “generic” project manager and people with deep functional skills. This might work, but it works at the expense of substantially increased coordination and communication efforts.

Our advice is to use your internal resources wisely. External consultants who cover all required areas of expertise guarantee a fast and skilful project execution.


6.   Temporarily release your project team from other duties.

Like every other IT project, the implementation of Umbrella Faces requires focus and attention.

Each project member needs to be able to dedicate a substantial part of their work time to the project. An internal project lead – if there is one – will have to focus on the project full time for several weeks.

If this focus on the project is not properly organised, your project team is likely to be overwhelmed by urgent operational issues.


7.   Keep your team small!

No matter how big the project is, you won’t need more than 3 or 4 people to organise and implement it. The required communication and coordination increases massively with each additional resource.


8.   Define a clear timeline!

Any profile management project requires a preparation time of one to five weeks to organise all necessary credentials for GDS web services and OBE (Online Booking Engine) accounts. Use this time to prepare all the functional details, the communication and, if needed, administrator training.

The subsequent roll-out can be done in a single “go-live” or step-by-step (by location, department or client…). There are wonderful examples of either option.

Profile management projects that do not follow a clear timeline tend to exceed 3 months, with exceptional cases even exceeding a year. This is not recommended since such projects consume an exceptional amount of unproductive effort.

We are absolutely positive that any implementation of Umbrella Faces can be completed in 3 months or less. That even includes time to develop custom requirements, multiple roll-outs in many different locations and many tens of thousands of traveller profiles.

Count on our support and your project will be fast, effective and with outstanding quality. That is our promise!


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