GBTA Foundation study examines payment solutions for travel managers, business travellers

Study uncovers high demand for easing expense management reporting and reconciliation process

Two new reports issued today by the GBTA Foundation — the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) — evaluate the landscape of travel payments from the perspectives of both the travel manager and the business traveller. The reports, Payment Solutions for Travel Managers and Business Traveller: Landscape of Travel Payments, sponsored by TSYS — a leading global commercial payments provider — reveal that general awareness of new payment technology, such as mobile payments and contactless cards is high, but interest is focused around the expense reporting side.

“The research provides insight into how payment solutions work for both the business traveller and the travel manager,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. “Currently the expense management side of business travel is a pain point for both groups providing an opportunity for payment solutions providers to meet these needs.”

“TSYS is proud to partner with GBTA in delivering research that helps commercial issuers better understand the payment needs of business travellers and travel managers,” said Keith Pierce, group executive of Commercial Services, TSYS. “This primary research will help many in the commercial payments industry better identify areas for strategic investment, while addressing end-users’ pain points.”

Corporate card programs widespread, room for improvement

Nearly all travel managers say their company has a corporate card program, and the study found that corporate card usage is high with a large percentage of travel spend paid for using corporate cards (70 percent on average). By and large, according to travel managers, corporate card programs meet their business needs, with a majority of travel managers highly satisfied with their corporate card programs. Areas travel managers flagged for improvement are controls, compliance, incentives and rebates. Additionally, one-third of travel managers each named process efficiency, merchant acceptance and global spend visibility as areas for improvement.

Payment technology – tepid Interest

Currently, interest among travel managers in using mobile payments, contactless cards and electronic devices for business travel payments is low.

Taking the pain out of expense management

While interest in payment technologies was low, travel managers were highly interested in software or mobile apps that can assist with expense management. The vast majority of respondents (roughly 70 per cent) say they are “very interested” or “interested” in the six-listed expense management tasks:

  • Record or image receipts
  • Assist employees with completing expense reports
  • Create, submit, and approve an expense report
  • Record and append transactions to expense reports
  • Assist employees with recording expenses
  • Consolidate travel data to a single system

The top three software or app functionalities that business travellers want are real-time updates, photographing receipts and being able to create, submit and approve expense reports from a mobile device. Similarly, real-time travel updates are deemed most attractive to travel managers, followed by technology that aids with expense management tasks in general.

GBTA surveyed 557 business travellers in an online survey fielded during February – March 2014, and 242 travel managers in an online survey fielded in April 2014. The full reports are available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the reports through the GBTA Foundation, by emailing [email protected]

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