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Selected travel management
companies using the Sabre Red agency platform in the United Kingdom this month
will be able to replace cumbersome, manual hotel bill-back payments with a virtual card solution from British company Conferma. The two companies said the
solution would be made available in the second quarter to all U.K.-based Sabre
Hotel bill-backs, which are
common in the United Kingdom, are used by agents to guarantee and pay for hotel
rooms for travelers who do not have individual corporate cards. A traditional
bill-back usually involves the TMC photocopying and faxing both sides of its
own credit card to the hotel, then accepting a paper invoice after the traveler
checks out. The process often is time-consuming, liable to error and
frustrating for hotels, which have to wait several weeks for payment.
Conferma generates a virtual, one-off
card number to guarantee and pay for the reservation and provide automated
reconciliation. Agents already were able to use the solution when making
bookings through global distribution systems, including Sabre, but Conferma
director of strategic relations Paul Raymond said doing so required them to
"use our software and integrate it into their workflow." Under the
new partnership, no additional software is needed and the Conferma process is
available as part of the normal Sabre workflow.
Raymond said Conferma developed
an application programming interface, to which Sabre became the first company
to connect, enabling the new functionality.