5 ways to save on hotels with Virtual Payment Automation

Costs dropped after U.S. division of British security services firm rolled out virtual payments.

Using Virtual Payment Automation for hotels reduces business travel costs by US$5, on average, for every hotel night booked. That’s the takeaway from BCD Travel analysis of 800,000 bookings from more than 30 companies.

The savings emerged from behavioral changes prompted by the use of Virtual Payment Automation, a BCD solution that reduces costs and adds security to business travel payments.

Travelers become more cost conscious

G4S USA, the U.S. division of British multinational security services firm G4S, saw costs drop after implementing Virtual Payment Automation. “The program helped change our travelers’ behavior. They became more cost conscious and helped raise our online adoption percentages by more than 20 percentage points in a very short timeframe,” explained Dean Saunders, vice president of Procurement North America for G4S USA.

Here’s how Virtual Payment Automation drove savings at G4S USA—and many other companies whose data was evaluated by BCD:

  1. Earlier booking—When travelers use virtual payments to book hotels, the simplicity leads them to book earlier. No more pulling out credit cards to secure bookings. A virtual credit card number is created by the booking process, so it’s a one-click confirmation.
  2. Lower rates—Virtual payments put clear, anchored parameters around how much travelers can spend on business trips. That often prompts them to choose hotels with less expensive rates.
  3. Simpler reconciliations—Virtual Payment Automation simplifies and speeds up the travel and expense reconciliation process. Hotel payments can be more easily matched to invoices—replacing time-consuming manual processes with a faster and more accurate digital solution.
  4. Reduced fraud—VPA shrinks opportunities for bad guys to steal travelers’ personal and financial data. It also mitigates fraud by restricting a virtual credit card by date, maximum spend and qualified merchants. So, even if a fraudster gets hold of a virtual card number, he can’t do much with it.
  5. Increased online adoption—Virtual Payment Automation is integrated into online booking tools. Today, 70% of G4S USA’s travelers use the travel program’s OBT—up from 50% two years ago.

At G4S USA, Virtual Payment Automation had a positive impact on a labor-intensive process for the accounting team. “Now a virtual credit card is linked to each trip. Contractors don’t have to put hotel expenses on personal credit cards, and nobody has to labor over post-trip reimbursements,” Saunders said.

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