Practical ePayment applications for travel booking


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Payment experts from Wright Express, Expedia and HotelTonight discuss how single-use virtual accounts can help drive efficiencies in the payment and settlement process.

Tips – and potential traps to avoid – when evaluating the landscape of electronic payment solutions for travel booking.


* Jim Pratt, Wright Express, VP, corporate payment solutions
* Chris Richter, Expedia, Senior Project Manager, financial operations
* Jared Simon, HotelTonight, chief operating officer
* Marc DeVallette, Wright Express, product manager

Published in: Economy & Finance, Business
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  • The Travel Industry Has Always Been Ahead of the Curve with Electronic Payments, with multiple options for a breadth of situations
  • Tell story as to why OTAs, TMCs, Tour operators were quick to see value
  • Credit card networks have generally introduced innovations at a faster rate.
  • Practical ePayment applications for travel booking

    1. 1. Practical ePaymentApplications for Travel Booking February 23, 2012
    2. 2. Today’s Presenters Jim Pratt Jared Simon Vice President C.O.O. Wright Express HotelTonight Chris Richter Marc DeVallette Sr Project Manager Product Manager Expedia Wright Express
    3. 3. Poll no. 1
    4. 4. Agenda Recent trends in ePayments The case for payment efficiencies in travel booking Single-Use Ghost Accounts: How they work in travel booking Case study: Expedia Case study: Hotel Tonight Best practices and implementation considerations
    5. 5. Travel Industry and Electronic Payments … …Ahead of the curve Percent B2B Payments Electronic GPCC emerge as default for business UATP travelers SWIFT SUGAs’30s ’60s ’70s ’80s ’90s ’00s ’10s ATC, IATA, SITA, ARC *2011 Paystream Advisors ** WEX internal estimates
    6. 6. Travel Booking, Early Adopters Volumes of transactions Paying broad, disaggregated supplier base Global marketplace Comfort level with new technologies (particularly OTAs) Card accounts existing role in travel booking Broad acceptance of cards in the travel supplier market
    7. 7. Recent Trends in ePayments Web services banking technology: “SaaS” for Payments extends existing functionality of native systems Payment methods with lower processing costs will continue to lag the rates of new innovation Mobile and implications for payments Pre-paid New payment networks – e.g., Dwolla, PayPal
    8. 8. Single-Use Ghost Accounts No physical plastic exchanged Transaction-specific, used just once Each purchase request evaluated against controls Append data Vendors (e.g. hotels) process payment through existing card terminals
    9. 9. Poll no. 2
    10. 10. SUGAs in Travel BookingProcess1. Reserve and pay2. Real-time credit card request3. Real-time credit card Traveler issuance 14. Apply unique card to reservation5. Traveler stay Travel6. Charge single-use card 7 Agency Auto- Recon-7. Forward reconciliation detail ciliation 4 Float 2 5 3 Control WEX 6 SUGA 2-Day Funds System Hotel
    11. 11. Case Study: ExpediaExpedia Fast Facts Over 13.8 million annual payments Pay over 42k vendorsPayment Needs Improve control Automate accounting reconciliation with true single use solution Support growing international transactionsSolutions Leveraged WEX’s Purchase Log with Web Services Proprietary electronic invoicing-ExpediaPay
    12. 12. Case Study: Expedia ResultsImplementation First run in 2008; broader rollout in 2010 ExpediaPay in 2003 Reduced Reduced Reduced Manual Overcharges Paper ReconciliationResults Improved auto-reconciliation to 99%+ Redeployed 3 headcount Reduction in overcharges Nearly 700K Annual Reduction in paper payments Transactions Significantly improve vendor relationships
    13. 13. Case Study: ExpediaRollout and Other Considerations Differences in dispute rules between MasterCard and Visa; MasterCard deeper understanding of Travel and Single-use cards With hotels, talk through ease of doing business and savings
    14. 14. Case Study: HotelTonightHotelTonight Fast Facts Mobile app launched in 2010 Same-day mobile booking of distressed hotel inventoryPayment Needs Solution that is scalable, and low-cost Eliminate inefficiencies of paper payments Seamless, real-time presentment of paymentsSolutions Leveraged Wright Express Purchase Log with Web services
    15. 15. Case Study: HotelTonightImplementation Very quick implementation, including internal training Technology team wrote to WEX API in a couple of daysResults Nearly all payments are electronic Met scalability objectivesKey Learning Implications of single-use for both internal team and accepting hotel partners
    16. 16. Additional Considerations Appending data Advantage over other payment methods Importance of globalization; issuance, settle in multiple currencies True single-use Acceptance Look for travel-savvy partners, given travel industry nuances
    17. 17. Working with Hotel Partners Credit Card preference for ease of use Communication plan for regular vendors Consider controls, and setting reservation amounts
    18. 18. Opportunities Beyond Hotel Travel management companies Group events and group event vendors Supplemental travel, e.g. shuttles, charter bus
    19. 19. Questions?
    20. 20. Thank You! Jim Pratt Vice President Wright Express U.S. 1 207-523-7530 jim_pratt@wrightexpress.comWebinar replay will be available at Please send questions and comments to Kevin May kevin@tnooz.comPlease subscribe to Tnooz’s FREE daily newsletter at