Innovative payments: a stepping stone towards optimising business travel

Ease of use, cost reduction and improved information regarding expenses, are the three pillars supporting the revolution of innovative payment solutions for business travel.

The transition to a digital world is changing business procedures, and business travel is no exception. According to a recent study by Airplus, the payment solution specialist, 43% of travel managers expect payment to become a main focus in the next two years.

There are a myriad of reasons for this continued trend, a leading factor being the ease of use that mobile solutions offer the traveller. Entities such as Airplus are actively engaged in this line of business. At Frankfurt Airport in Germany, travellers can already pay for parking with their smartphones and NFC contactless technology. Similar solutions are appearing in the restaurant industry. The web giants  Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are following in their footsteps. With Apple Pay and Android Pay which launched on the iPhone 6 and the most recent generations of Android smartphones..

The adoption of innovative payment methods also reduces costs by a significant amount. It enables automation of expense-report creation and instantaneous recording of expenditures. Remember: in a business that does not have centralised payment and automatic expense integration, the cost of internal processing is generally estimated to be EUR 20 for each invoice to be processed.

Virtual cards, are also currently on the rise, bringing substantial time-savings, with their integration into the reservation process. “We have seen a 182% increase in transactions using virtual cards in 2016,” said Julie Troussicot, France Director at Airplus. ‘In about 40% of businesses, 20% of payments are made virtually, according to our most recent ITMS (International Travel Management Study). This solution enables the easy handling of expenses that aren’t covered by a company account, either because they involve new vendors or because the vendors do not accept company accounts. The virtual solution may be of particular interest for payments involving low-cost providers or hotel companies.

In addition to flexibility, these solutions give access to analytics data that can be automatically loaded into management tools. Traveldoo, the provider of web and mobile business-travel management and professional expense solutions for companies, is at the forefront of this innovation. “Our primary objective is practical solutions for business travellers, and we prioritise collaborative innovation,” said Traveldoo CEO Stéphane Donders. “Integrating payment methods is a very effective way to increase productivity and reliability, because of the capability for expense tracking during a journey.”   By progressively extending to multiple expenditure categories, you can use detailed dashboards for transport, accommodation options, vehicle rental and more. This data enables greater transparency, which in turn allows for more effective rate negotiations.

 

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