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ASK THE EXPERTS


WORDS CATHERINE CHETWYND ACARD INCENTIVES


LTHOUGH CREDIT CARDS and their associated programmes have traditionally been considered essential to ensure an organisation has full visibility and, therefore, control of its travel & expense programme, not all companies have them in their policy. One travel buyer tells BBT why


corporate cards are not always necessary, while a sales director for a TMC argues corporate cards make sense. Meanwhile, a travel consultant says the use of corporate cards depends on travellers and what type of trips they are taking – there’s no one size fits all. It’s clear that, depending on the age and travel profile of a company’s employees, and with the proliferation of other payment methods, a corporate card policy is no longer considered de rigueur.


For accommodation, we do everything on billback through our agent, Capita Travel and Events; we don’t use corporate cards and I have never needed to consider the benefits of having a card programme because we have everything we need. Billback helps support policy and reduces processing and reconciliation costs: suppliers bill back to the agent, which recharges by detailed, consolidated invoice. This gives us what we want to see and having the agency process it for us gives us huge efficiencies. The detail given on the invoice


depends on the hotel, and cash covers incidentals, which require extra reporting. We always get hotel and F&B costs broken out, that’s minimum. Maximum information would include a breakdown of every item: what the traveller had for dinner and other F&B, accommodation costs and everything in between. It is rare we don’t get the information we require.


BBT asks a travel buyer, a TMC and a consultant about corporate cards. Are they essential in a travel programme and what are the alternatives?


SIMON HAWLEY, TRAVEL CATEGORY MANAGER, GROUP PROCUREMENT, CAPITA PROCUREMENT SOLUTIONS


We get a centralised, bespoke view of what is being invoiced; we see what has been booked and what has not yet been invoiced; all broken down by business unit. The first line of defence is that the hotel is managing the policy and 90 per cent of the time, that works well. If the billback is, say, £5 over, we send it back to the property and either they absorb the cost or contact the traveller via the agent, so the individual picks up the charge. It is an effective way to drive compliance. Air and rail are straightforward. Air is mostly on a bank settlement plan. The agency has an account with British Airways and air travel gets billed to the BA account. The agency recharges it to Capita with the data we need for reporting.


Capita is very cost conscious and we make sure travellers understand the importance of choosing the most cost-effective option. We don’t have to manage a corporate card programme; it is all on the billback programme.


54


MAY/JUNE


2019


buyingbusinesstravel.com


THE TRAVEL BUYER


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