A more automated and streamlined process for agents managing payments to hotels on behalf of business travellers is being promised through a global initiative between Travelport and Conferma.
The agreement combines Travelport Smartpoint point-of-sale technology used by travel management companies and Conferma’s technology for hotel billback using Virtual Card Numbers.
Conferma specialises in the settlement and reconciliation of corporate travel expenses.
Being phased in globally, hotel billback will allow TMCs to centrally settle hotel bookings using a Conferma-powered Virtual Card Number issued by a variety of providers, including banks and Travelport’s B2B payments business, eNett, which participates in the Conferma network.
The solution means that there are no changes to standard booking and payment workflows but there is enhanced automation and the improved security and reconciliations that the use of Virtual Cards provides, according to the two companies.
The combined Travelport-Conferma approach also means that booking and custom reference data specific to individual corporations is captured at the point-of-sale.
This enables TMCs to help their clients monitor expenditure and travel policy compliance. The data also allows TMCs to make better-informed decisions when managing suppliers and negotiating rates.
Travelport hospitality and digital media senior vice president, Niklas Andréen, said: “This partnership with Conferma further extends the capability of our Travelport Smartpoint point-of-sale, which gives TMCs the opportunity to increase efficiency when paying providers through virtual cards.
“It also provides more opportunities for the use of eNett via the Conferma platform by customers as well as other banks and service providers.
“The hotel billback process has long been in need of improvement and our work with Conferma now addresses this.”
Conferma chief executive, Simon Barker, added: “As awareness of virtual cards continues to grow, we are finding more and more TMCs value the process automation, enhanced reporting and security provided by VCNs. This partnership provides the automation they desire integrated with the point-of-sale.”