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Digital payments top investment agenda for corporate travel managers

Digital payments top investment agenda for corporate travel managers

A new study from Amadeus – Travel Technology Investment Trends 2024 – finds paying for expenses with personal money and reclaiming from the company is a top concern for travel managers, alongside the cost of auditing expenses, productivity lost by manual expenses claims and inability to identify fraud.

In response, more than half (52 per cent) of corporate travel managers said they are currently applying new solutions to better control expenses, deploying new technology to allow employees to pay with company money rather than their own, and better integrating expense management technology with internal systems (both 48 per cent).

Virtual payments will be a key solution for corporate travellers in this area, having potential to better enforce expenses policies and to enable expenses to be paid directly from the company’s bank, rather than the complex ‘expense and reimbursement’ cycle. 

Arlene Coyle, senior vice president, commercial, Amadeus Cytric Solutions, said: “Virtual payments mean improved visibility for corporate travel managers, while also saving employees from spending their own money.

“At the same time, tools have the potential to offer additional real-time policy checks at the time of payment.


“This innovation can mean traditional expense reports are no longer necessary, as payments are made from the bank of the company – greatly simplifying expense management for travellers, their managers and finance teams.”

Spending plans

Overall, corporate travel managers are planning to invest 13 per cent more in travel technology in 2024.

The majority of decision makers are planning to invest more in travel and expense management technology in the next 12 months compared to last year, while only five per cent said they would invest less.

As business travellers return to the road, respondents were also expecting business travel spending itself to increase by an average of 15 per cent in the coming 12 months.

At the same time, 74 per cent of senior decision makers expect to increase their budget for business travel over the next year, with 31 per cent expecting a ‘significant’ increase. 

Sustainability focus

When it comes to investment in trip management technology over the coming 12 months, ‘helping the company meet its sustainability goals’ was the top priority (cited by 64 per cent of corporate travel managers).

New technology will help drive change in this area, helping to overcome difficulties in searching for sustainable travel options, a lack of standardised carbon emissions data and challenges with aggregating and reporting on the carbon impact of each trip.

Tools like Cytric Easy can guide travellers to more sustainable choices, making it easier to calculate and minimise travel-related CO2 emissions to achieve sustainability goals.

Cytric Easy can also give employees the tools and visibility to make more environmentally friendly travel decisions, for example, with ShareMyTransfer functionality, the corporation can reduce the carbon emissions of its business travel, while saving costs and making the expense statement easier.

Arlene Coyle added: “Using digital tools for travel and expense - including Cytric Easy - can help with reaching sustainability goals and ensuring the wellbeing of employees and in engaging the entire organisation.

“Travel Technology Investment Trends 2024 respondents agreed that improving the travel and expense processes are a focus for investment.

“There is a growing understanding among corporate travel managers that deploying the latest technology is critical to reducing costs and increasing efficiency in business operations.”

Corporate travel managers were also asked to choose which technology they considered the most important to the management of travel and expenses over a one- and five-year horizon.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and/or Machine Learning were considered the most important in both the short- and medium-term from a shortlist of options, while digitalisation and digital payments were expected to make an impact in the near future.

In the longer-term, Generative AI is anticipated to become more important, and as such, Amadeus wants to stay on top of the curve by investigating all its new capabilities that could enhance the business traveler experience.

About the research

Travel Technology Investment Trends is designed to take a unique, panoramic view across the entire travel ecosystem, with findings presented in a series of eight reports – addressing sectors including hospitality, aviation, travel sellers and payments.

The work investigates the developments that will define the sector over the coming year and beyond.

This Travel Technology Investment Trends report is based on individual responses from 500 senior decision makers with corporate travel responsibilities.

The research was carried out in ten markets to provide a globally representative view. Respondents were drawn from the following markets: UK, France, Germany, UAE, USA, Mexico, Brazil, India, China and South Korea.

Read the full Business Travel Agents Travel Technology Investment Trends report here.