What you need to know about the latest Travel payment trends
Travel payment influences so much of any given company’s travel plans and policies, including compliance, duty of care, analytics and more. Also, in our connected world, travel payment methods and best practices are constantly evolving.
A report issued earlier this year by the Global Business Travel Association outlines 5 current trends in business travel payment. See below for a summary of the trends, as well as more information and data on how businesses are responding to them.
1. Virtual Travel Payments
Look for the future to bring widespread use of “virtual cards.” Virtual cards are a form of payment that generates a unique code for each transaction. Virtual payments can also restrict spending to a specific time period, up to a certain amount or to a specified type of vendor.
Right now, only 11% of companies are using virtual cards, but 23% of those who don’t use them suggest they will adopt them in the future.
2. The Ride-Sharing Conundrum
The use of ride-sharing services is on the rise in business travel. In fact, only 1% of companies specifically ban the use of ride-share services like Lyft and Uber.
Ride-share services require users to enter a credit card number into a mobile application. In many cases, business travelers are put in a position of entering a business card number into a personal ride-share account, which can create issues in verifying whether or not a trip is reimbursable.
In the future, look for more companies to develop formal relationships with ride-share vendors. Only about 18% of companies that currently allow ride-share services also have a formal relationship with a vendor. A formal relationship can help businesses better verify whether or not trips are reimbursable.
3. Greater Control and Visibility
Traditionally, companies have struggled to reconcile booking data with actual travel spend. Today, more than half (54%) of companies are now reconciling booking numbers with actual expenses, and 79% of companies are specifically searching reimbursement requests for entries that violate travel policy.
These developments mean more visibility into travel spend and greater control over travel-related expenses. The first step toward stopping out-of-policy expenditures is being able to identify and track them in real-time.
4. Slow Adoption of Expense Managements Apps
About 88% of companies offer some sort of expense management app. Unfortunately, only 30% of those companies report that more than half of their travelers use the app.
Many companies continue to offer hybrid options for reimbursement requests. As noted above, some offer a mobile application, but many also offer more traditional forms of expense management — which gives travelers the ability to stick with what they know rather than adopting new technology.
This isn’t likely to change in the near future. Only 15% of travel managers have indicated a willingness to abandon traditional expense reporting altogether.
5. Struggles With Traveler Rewards
It’s been trendy in recent years to reward travelers who save money. Some call it the “gamification” of business travel, but rewards for money-saving travelers are failing to catch on.
Only about 6% of travel programs have the ability to offer rewards, and only 25% of travel managers in programs without the ability to offer rewards would consider them if they did have the ability (assuming rewards required little administration).
In the short-term, rewards for money-saving travelers may remain a trendy concept that often appears in headlines, but trends suggest they are something that may slowly disappear in the long-term.
Looking to Modernize Your Travel Payment Processes?
When you need to modernize and update your travel payment processes, get the support and expertise you need. At JTB Business Travel, we provide a range of services to companies large and small — including travel technologies and spend management services. Behind every service we offer and every recommendation we make is a common sense approach to business travel.