Amadeus, a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, announced today the launch of a hotel payment solution designed to make the hotel billback process simpler for business travel bookers. The launch of Amadeus’ billback support is in line with the recently announced Amadeus Hotel Optimisation Package to help large travel agencies and travel management companies (TMCs) to increase competitiveness and efficiency.
Known as ‘billback’ in the UK, this is a payment method whereby the hotel bills the company (or the company’s travel agency) directly for employees’ stays instead of the employee paying at checkout. This payment method is favoured by companies who have many infrequent travellers or travellers without company credit cards e.g. contractors on engineering projects. With billback, employees incur no company hotel expenses on personal cards and it gives companies visibility and control over their hotel spend. However, this seemingly simple concept involves heavy manual processing by hotel booking agents.
Powered by Conferma, the expert in travel and expense booking, reconciliation and settlement technology, Amadeus’ automated billback support will remove the need for TMC consultants to manually process billback-related payments for hotels when making those bookings through Amadeus.
Instead of having to contact the hotel property directly via phone/fax/email to make payment arrangements, the Amadeus booking agent at participating travel agencies will now simply see a new payment method they can apply for hotel bookings. While in the background, working with its global payment partners, Conferma creates a virtual credit card at the time of booking, which is automatically sent to the hotel to guarantee the reservation. At the same time this virtual credit card number is included in the Amadeus hotel booking, thereby ensuring that customer, booking agent, hotel chain and hotel property have consistent and correct payment information. At checkout, the virtual credit card is charged by the hotel and automatically reconciled with the TMCs back office for tracking and reporting.
“Our automated billback support helps travel agencies and TMCs to eliminate intensive manual processing, and achieve higher levels of efficiency and improved service to corporations and travellers”, commented Hugo Ehrnreich, Head of Hotel Distribution, Amadeus. “This partnership with Conferma is another step forward in our commitment to provide business travel bookers with the most advanced technology to gain efficiency and reduce costs.”
Simon Barker, CEO, Conferma, commented: “We are delighted to offer the travel agent community access to Conferma’s reconciliation and settlement technology through Amadeus. As a result they will benefit from an automated booking, payment and reconciliation process that reduces admin time and room for error, which ultimately saves money.”
Amadeus will offer this payment solution to its UK customers with immediate effect and a pilot is also underway to offer the solution to Amadeus’ French customer base. Following successful piloting the objective is to rapidly extend availability to other interested markets and to make it available through all distribution channels including Amadeus e-Travel Management, the online self-booking tool that enables corporations’ employees to easily plan, book and purchase complete travel itineraries within their company’s guidelines.