As cutting-edge payment options begin to disrupt the consumer world, the way forward for Travel & Entertainment programs begins to emerge: both companies and providers seeking to optimize must leverage new technologies, challenge existing preconceptions and be prepared to rethink the connectivity that is supporting their Travel & Entertainment model.
Different industry participants have begun to embrace the digital agenda with varying levels of enthusiasm and success. Understandably, most have assumed that their interests are best served by extending their reach or increasing customer touch-points. The expectation of being able to make bookings, payments and expense submissions on the move aligns with the rise of mobile apps from travel management companies (TMC) and other providers.
But this has been at the risk of fragmentation and sometimes confusion for end-users. There is a significant opportunity to integrate much more deeply across the booking, payment and accounting chain to provide a far greater level of automation, control and convenience. Instrumental to this progress are two elements. The first will be the technological development of mobile capabilities that consolidates, streamlines and simplifies the payment process for the benefit of the end-users. Examples include the use of mobile app or mobile wallet capability that substantially increases payment flexibility and enhance the overall user-experience. The second will be partnerships, of which some compelling examples have been seen, as is the case with fintechs who continue to enhance Virtual Travel integration. However, there is still an absence of consensus on which roles different participants will play.