Sabre, the global travel industry technology solutions provider, has announced that the UK will be its testing ground for the launch of a new, streamlined hotel booking payment process for travel management companies (TMCs).
The new system, called Travel Settlement Services, works like a virtual credit card and has been designed to appeal to TMCs, saving them time and money.
Powered by Conferma, provider of travel and expense booking solutions, Travel Settlement Services will be made available to all UK-based TMCs initially.
Up until now, most TMCs have had to rely on processing bookings for their clients using the credit card number that is stored in the client’s user profile. As such, bookings can often be a time consuming process, as guarantees and payment settlements all need to be processed manually.
Sabre’s Travel Settlement Services act quite differently to the old way of doing things. Instead of using the client’s real credit card details, Sabre’s new system allows for a brand new ‘virtual’ credit card to be created as the booking is being processed – this virtual credit card is then sent directly to the supplier to book the hotel reservation. At the checkout stage, charges are made to the virtual credit card before Travel Settlement Services reconciles the payment to the booking.
Travel Settlement Services are able to automate the processing of global supplier payments and reconciliation, bringing travel and payment transactions together at the point of sale to save time and effort. In addition to saving time and money, UK TMCs that employ the system will also increase protection against credit card fraud.
Sabre outlined the benefits in a press release, stating that Travel Settlement Services will provide access to multiple card and payment partners, provide visibility of total spend, eliminate the risks of credit card fraud, ensure compliance with travel policies and accelerate billing and collections processes by making the client invoice process simpler.
Sabre’s senior vice president for Europe, Harald Eisenaecher, told journalists that Travel Settlement Services will eliminate time-consuming, expensive reconciliation processes for TMCs:
“It will put an end to hotel bill-back, and minimise agency credit and fraud risk. The technology will save agencies time and money, allowing them to focus on servicing their travellers.”
Simon Baker, Conferma’s CEO, outlined further benefits:
“Travel Settlement Services will enable more TMCs to benefit from our growing network of world-class banking partners and our acclaimed virtual card delivery, reconciliation and settlement technology.”
Although UK markets are the first to benefit from Sabre’s new virtual payments technology, the service is expected to be rolled out globally later in the year.