Technology is addressing a universally disliked aspect of business travel, says BCD’s ‘Inform’ report on the future of payment and expense

UTRECHT, The Netherlands –June 19, 2019 – Every business trip triggers a universally disliked task from which few travelers—from senior executive to new hire—are exempt: filing an expense report. Just as “run flat tires” have largely eliminated the risky roadside task of installing a spare, emerging payment and expense technology could one day completely relieve travelers of the need to claim expenses, concludes BCD Travel’s latest Inform paper on emerging technology. Payment and Expense, Emerging Technology and Travel Management examines how new innovations will change payment and expense.

The Inform paper on payment and expense provides insight into how technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, chatbots, virtual and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things can be used today, and in the future, to not only improve the traveler experience but provide major advantages to managers and accounting departments. Additionally, readers can learn more about emerging technologies and best practices for incorporating them into their program. Examples include:

  • Machine learning can provide an analysis of invoices and automatically feed information into the correct fields of an expense claim.
  • Blockchain will allow a supplier to issue a fully itemized transaction record directly into the client company’s accounting system.
  • Booking and payment can be made “fun” by allowing travelers to book a flight by selecting an airplane that’s flying across a virtual map via virtual or augmented reality.
  • The Internet of Things can automate the hotel experience by sending a receipt directly to the traveler’s expensing system.

The report includes a timeline for when travel managers can expect to begin using the new technologies and addresses potential challenges associated with their implementation.

“Anyone who has traveled for business has experienced the inconvenience of filing an expense report,” said Mike Eggleton, Senior Manager Analytics and Research at BCD Travel. “In the near future, technologies using machine learning will dramatically simplify expense reports—and reduce the dread we have for them today.”

Payment and Expense is the fifth report in a six-part Inform research series on emerging technology and travel management. Previous reports have covered the impact of new and emerging technologies on sourcing, policy, communications, and duty of care. The final report will explore how emerging technologies will improve the performance of business travel programs.

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