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Carlson Wagonlit Travel UK has become the first travel
management company to offer clients a hotel bill-back facility that takes
Travelport subsidiary ENett International's automated invoice feeds from
hotels, Travelport said last week.
ENett's HotelNett product allows a TMC to make an automated bill-back
request to a hotel at time of reservation, with the hotel sending the traveler's
bill on checkout to the TMC through the back office of its Travelport global
distribution system. Travelport formed ENett as a joint venture in June 2009
with payment solutions company PSP International. CWT is the first client ENett
Hotel bill-back is a central billing process favored in the United
Kingdom and some other European countries that is akin to a hotel equivalent of
lodge cards for air transactions. Instead of the traveler settling with a hotel
on departure, the hotel sends a paper invoice to the guest's TMC, which
collates all bill-backs and presents a monthly bill to the corporate clients.
Although this saves considerable time for the client, it is an inefficient
administrative and settlement process for both TMCs and hotels, creating an
additional cost that is usually passed on to the customer.
"Providing this hotel bill-back service will lower
costs, improve productivity and allow for more timely payments," said
Nigel Turner, director of industry affairs for CWT UK. "The HotelNett
solution is very straightforward to use and importantly requires no additional
technology investment by Travelport, hoteliers or CWT as it uses a standard
internet browser to upload the electronic invoices."
According to Turner, usage of bill-back by U.K. clients is
growing. The hotel booking agency Hotelzon announced in March that it too had
found a way to facilitate the process by taking electronic invoice feeds from
hotels. Other TMCs and their corporate customers have deployed an alternative
solution from payment companies such as Conferma, which involve generating a
one-off virtual corporate card number to pay for each hotel bill.