Leakage is the bane of a travel manager's existence. When travelers don't book through designated channels, work is needed to corral the associated data for tracking, reporting, rate assurance and other functions. Data on ground transportation and meal purchases generally is only delivered weeks after the fact.

A recent analysis by data firm PredictX showed the extent of the challenge. Looking at $8.5 billion in travel-related spend by 15 companies — covering travel management company, card and expense data — it found that on average, 41 percent was transacted outside TMC channels. That included all spending on meals . . .

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