Temporary housing provider National Corporate Housing says it has significantly reduced hotel booking times by implementing a virtual card solution with Conferma Pay.
Carmen Stinson, national managing director of travel services, said the app replaces the “antiquated” manual hotel checkout process that stretched the average booking time for a hotel to 23 minutes for agents. For situations including relocations, temporary work needs, and insurance needs, the company used dream cards with high credit lines to pay for the properties, but that took a lot of work for agents to book.
“Current hotel policy requires either the presentation of a physical card or an official credit card authorization form, and this policy has created multiple steps for agents,” Stinson said. “They would order [global distribution system]Create a credit card to pay on another platform, then go to some kind of PDF that they have to edit to make the hotel happy.”
Communication with hotels was a particular challenge in this setup, he said, because the permit form had to be faxed to the hotels and each form often had different requirements from the hotel.
National partnered with Saber, which acquired Conferma earlier this year, to install a virtual card with Conferma and its bank partners. Now, National Conferma can create virtual cards on the Pay platform, and agents can complete the payment process within the Saber platform without having to switch to other systems, Stinson said. Card placements can be made through a drop-down menu with the amount allowed on the card reported in the order details, and can be changed later if customers’ needs change, he said.
Virtual Cards also has improved reporting that allows each reservation to have its own card and associated folio information, rather than requiring sorting through multiple reservations on a single lodge card, he said.
“If we go to the online platform of the credit card statement, the information about who booked it or how many nights … is not transmitted to the bank site at all,” he said. “Because inside [Conferma Pay Snap reconciliation and reporting service]we have the card number and details of the reservation, you can find out everything about that reservation and get the folio.”
Overall, Milli estimates that the hotel booking process has been reduced to an average of three minutes. While National said it took several weeks to set up with Saber and its banking partners, Stinson said he would like to see more hotels invest in the technology to make the virtual checkout process even easier. For example, Marriott International worked with Grasp Technologies for an automated workflow where Marriott could receive virtual payment details in its property management system.
“These technologies are inexpensive to apply and acquire [payment information] “Technology can eliminate 90 percent of the time it takes to call hotels and request a folio that needs to be done right. Everyone saves productivity,” Stinson said.