Thursday 31 May 2012


Earlier in the week, AirPlus International and ACTE published a white paper focusing on how mobile payments will change corporate travel and expense management. I read it. And I’m glad I did – it’s a really interesting insight into the future of business travel management.

There are a number of key things that come across. Firstly, forget all the scare-tactics about mobile encouraging rogue travellers. According to this white paper, mobile actually has the potential to drive compliance. Why? Because it helps to link a lot of currently disparate processes together. 

By automating the purchase of smaller trip transactions through NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (which is when you simply touch your phone against a ‘contact’ point on, for example, a rail ticket machine, hotel room door, airport check in desk), managers will win back control over expenditure. By linking it to an app for your travellers, you can also control which suppliers they use and eliminate the temptation to fiddle expenses. And linking everything to your management system makes invoicing easier, quicker and cheaper.

Secondly, mobile also has big benefits for the traveller. It means they no longer have to carry cash and credit cards makes it easier and quicker for them to account for their expenses when they return home, too.  

Yet, despite all the arguments for using mobile payment technology, we’ve been slow on the uptake, with just five per cent of companies actually using mobile payment technology in our industry. Why? Well, mainly because the technology isn’t widely rolled out yet. It is here and it will happen. It’s just a matter of when. 

And it’s also partly due to ignorance – travel managers just don’t know that much about it. If they did, they would want to embrace it and, perhaps by embracing, they could help to speed up its adoption? In the meantime, I recommend reading the white paper and getting a head start.

Posted by David Chapple, - tell me what you think @btshowlondon


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