Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc. (UATP), the low cost travel payment network privately owned by the world’s airlines, announced today the addition of La Quinta Inns & Suites as a new merchant to the UATP Network, the first hotel chain to become part of the network.
UATP’s centrally billed product enhances the management of corporate travel programs through its superior data and ease of reconciliation.
“UATP is a premier player in the corporate travel industry and we are honored to be selected as the first hotel chain in the UATP Network,” said Wayne B. Goldberg, president and chief executive officer, La Quinta. “By central billing hotel stays through UATP, clients avoid direct billing issues and receive additional information to better manage their travel program. La Quinta had a very successful launch period with Walmart and we plan to rapidly expand the use of UATP with other corporate clients.”
The UATP - La Quinta partnership grew out of UATP’s strategic objectives to enhance the UATP Network by expanding into hotels and car rentals. La Quinta was selected as the first chain to implement due to client-demand.
“Corporate client demand for UATP acceptance at hotels drove this initiative,” stated UATP president and CEO, Ralph Kaiser. “This is a strategic move that will enable UATP to expand and also create synergies for our corporate clients. We will continue growing the hotel merchant base as we also add car rentals to our network.”
American Airlines, the founder of UATP, was the first issuer to expand into hotel merchant acceptance. “Walmart approached us to see if we could utilize their UATP account for hotels. We worked with UATP and La Quinta to make it happen. We’ve been successfully running the program since 2009 and see additional opportunities to expand it,” said Karen Buls, director of SME products, marketing and sales strategy for American Airlines. “We’re pleased to be the launch airline issuer to offer this service,” she added.
“By enhancing this product into hotel acceptance, it adds efficiencies and cost savings into our travel program,” said Rick Johnson, senior director of travel services for Walmart. “Plus, this will provide a centrally-billed product that can be easily reconciled.”
“Adding La Quinta as a merchant was the first step,” added Kaiser. “We will continue to grow the relationship with La Quinta and will expand the client base significantly. This is going to be a very interesting year for UATP. Stay tuned.”