A global electronics manufacturing services provider had experienced challenges with hotel direct bills and reconciliation of direct bill hotel charges. While the percentage of hotel direct bill bookings was relatively low, typically 2%-3% each month, the number of bookings translated to about 30–40 hotel direct bills per month and would take upwards of 15 hours monthly to reconcile. CTM helped the client save considerable time and money by introducing a virtual payment solution.
Understanding the challenges related to hotel direct billing, ranging from the simple inability to match expenses with employees to concern of potential fraud, we recommended a Virtual Payment system to assist our client. Today’s corporate travel managers grapple with time-consuming credit card reconciliations. CTM sought to improve the process and be part of the solution. Virtual Payment offered clear enhancements and added value to the travel program.
In our discussion of payment options, we also had to consider recent studies that found card ownership among Millennials to be as low as 36% and that by 2020, the workforce will be made up of 50% Millennials. Given these statistics it was evident that identifying a solution now would be valuable. Virtual Payment solutions are targeted to give travelers a means to pay for travel through a one-time use virtual card, provide a seamless booking experience for hotel direct bills, streamline the travel manager’s reconciliation process and reduce fraud and credit card exposure risk.
As mentioned, the client was dealing with between 30-40 bookings each month. Approximately 50% of the folios were relatively easy to reconcile, and another 10% were identified via our reporting tool with minimal research. The remaining 40%, or approximately 6-8 bookings, required deeper dives and many times could translate into 2-3 hours of extra work per month in each case. This does not factor the handful of presumed fraudulent bookings that were identified which could take much longer to resolve. With industry insiders identifying a 19% year-over-year growth in fraud, it was clear that this could also become a much greater issue.
Our recommendation was to implement a system that would improve the traveler experience, provide an integrated booking process, capture key reporting elements necessary for reconciliation and provide robust fraud protection. The logical choice was to implement Sabre Virtual Payments through our client’s existing banking partner.
The Virtual Payment Solution is integrated with Conferma and the client’s banking provider to issue a unique virtual card per user with a predetermined spending limit per identified hotel supplier. The solution perfectly aligned to solve our client’s challenges and has saved over 15 total man-hours per month.
Sabre Virtual Payment has been in place for our client for just over 8 months and is anticipated to save our client $15,000 annually. In this period of time, the utilization of virtual cards has grown larger than originally expected due to the ease of reconciliation. We now see about 4% of bookings using the cards. The tool has met all expectations and has proven to be a valuable solution with financial benefits.
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