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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Why no-frills is set to become the new billback

The opening earlier this month of a business lounge at Stansted airport for passengers of Ryanair was greeted by incredulity by some, who mock the airline’s business credentials. Yet there are undoubtedly those companies that use the no-frills airline because it is convenient. Say you are a fast-growing company on the Cambridge Science Park and you need to visit the headquarters of the Santander banking group in northern Spain – Ryanair’s route between Stansted and the Spanish city is perfect for your needs.

Now what happens if you are the business travel agency who handles the account of that Cambridge research company? How do you handle those Ryanair flights? As has been well-documented, Ryanair shies away from involvement in the GDSs. Perhaps the only option is to make a booking on behalf of the client using the agency credit card and then charge that on to the client, along with a £10 or £15 booking fee.
That is all very well, but the process is time-consuming, reconciling the payment a challenge and it also carries the credit risk on behalf of the client.

This is precisely where CSP On Demand, which we launched this Valentine’s Day, comes into its own. CSP On Demand is the settlement part of our award-winning Conferma Settlement Plan hotel billback service. The difference is that it can be used for any type of travel booking made using a credit card that you need to track, including no-frills airlines.

CSP On Demand assigns a unique virtual credit card number to the whole process, meaning the travel management company can keep track of the booking and invoice, providing valuable management information to the client and transferring the risk onto the credit card provider, such as Barclaycard or American Express.

This could mean the ability to offer lower transaction fees for the no-frills booking or an added service – the MI – for which you can charge. If, like many companies on the Cambridge Science Park, becomes a world beater, needing to make more of those Stansted-Santander flights, that is good news for everyone.

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