It is more than a decade since virtual cards began to disrupt
the world of hotel booking and payment. Their usage, which came with huge associated
bonuses like reduced fraud, increased compliance and the availability of plentiful,
multi-field rich data, is now taken for granted. However, as the availability
of data has increased, so too has the hunger for cleaner and more appropriate
HRS is seeking to fulfil this demand with the launch of
Invisible Pay's Level 3 data slakes the thirst for data analytics
among corporates. It also addresses the needs of business travellers.
According to the hotel solutions company, "Guaranteed
acceptance at the front desk speeds check-in, while automated payment
eliminates check-out lines. Hotel expense reporting is largely automated
through the fully itemized digital receipt data that is uploaded into the
corporate expense system, saving employees an average of 12 minutes per expense
report…all while expediting appropriate reimbursement."
Guaranteed acceptance is a differentiator.
Invisible Pay claimed in a presentation at Business Travel News' Innovate
Conference last week that the company has 1,500 boots on the ground to ensure its
hotels deliver on that promise.
Many of the other benefits come standard
with any virtual card. Most importantly, payment for accommodation is
restricted to the amount preset on card. Additional provision may be made to
cover amenities such as meals and parking to a preset ceiling. However, there
can be issues of process time for reimbursable expenses not included in the
virtual card or payment for non-reimbursable expenses.
Invisible Pay is also different in this
respect. It encourages both policy compliance and streamlining data collection
as part of the process. At the time of check-out, an email is sent to the
traveller offering the option of putting ancillary purchases on a personal
card. According to reporting from Business
Travel News "HRS then collects the invoice on behalf of the traveller,
ensures it is correct for VAT reclaim, then funnels that information into the
Virtual cards have always been a popular
solution for business trips made by people who would not normally have a
corporate card. The reasons could range from their inability to qualify for creidt
to their infrequent travel to their external status as consultants. The
requirement to predefine ancillary allowances at time of booking, however,
means that there is often hotel spend—say, at the bar—that is not eligible for
The HRS solution should retain the
streamlining of payment to the hotel, smooth reconciliation and data while now
also giving business travellers the added convenience of being able to have
full access to amenities without issues of non-eligible items on the company’s