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Categories: Special ReportThink TankExpense Management

Waking Up to Realities

Business travel without expense reports. Is it just a dream
As travel expense reports become increasingly complex, I find myself focusing more of my attention on them, and dreaming of business trips that don’t generate expenses that need to be reported and reimbursed. Even with the options I have in front of me now, I am trying my best to eliminate as much of these out of pocket expenses for travelers as I can.

The good news is, there are fast-moving changes already underway in this space. Payment technologies like virtual card, app-based payment and even blockchain solutions continue to make serious advances. Airlines are in the process of re-bundling amenities and airfare discounts into packages to sell via the new distribution capabilities. Identifying travelers with retinal scans or facial recognition technology is becoming commonplace at the airport. These payment and identification platforms are even making inroads in applications beyond the travel industry, such as confirming services and granting admission into entertainment venues and sporting events.

It seems increasingly apparent to me that virtual card for hotel is becoming a must-have for any size travel program and I hope to have some form of it in my own program very soon. Apparently at this point the only real limitations on the question of how and when virtual cards or similar payment technologies can be used is based on who and what can accept this form of payment. As those roadblocks fall, the payment platform can only gain more and more acceptance.

In my dream trip, a corporate traveler could be issued X amount – say, by loading up a mobile payment app – to cover meals, incidentals and everything on a trip not paid for directly by the corporation. Airlines will most likely offer corporate airfare discounts along with whatever bundles of the preflight and inflight amenities they offer when purchased through the NDC and via the corporation’s preferred channel.

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