Since 2000, the travel industry has been discovering the benefits of Virtual Card Numbers (VCNs). Once described as “the future of travel payments,” now the future is here. VCNs are widely used throughout the travel industry, particularly for corporate travel – and for good reason. The benefits of virtual payments are significant for all parties involved. Hotels that make VCN acceptance a priority can reap the rewards as well, from enhanced data security to better customer experiences.
1) A Better Customer Experience
Corporate travel companies love VCNs for several reasons. First, they make it easy to book travel even for those without corporate travel cards, such as those interviewing for jobs or non-managers. Since VCNs are used for only one transaction, reconciliation is easy and immediate. Rich data can be associated with each number, allowing corporate travel managers to easily track and analyze the data.
For the business traveler, VCNs also create a seamless experience. There is no need to worry about paying for the room with a personal card, or be concerned about credit limits. The VCN is sent to the hotel along with the booking confirmation, and doesn’t require anything on the business traveler’s part. Hotels that embrace VCN technology and create processes to smoothly handle the transactions have a huge advantage in the ever growing corporate travel market. Creating great experiences for both business travelers and those who book corporate travel can turn a one-time guest into a loyal customer.
2) Enhanced Security
Given the fact that the hospitality industry is a frequent target for data theft, data protection should be on the minds of all in the hotel business. VCNs can play a significant part in protecting travelers as they are created for a one-time, specific use and avoid passing consumer card details to a hotel. Unlike traditional card numbers that can be stolen and used for any purpose, at any vendor, and at any price up to the limit, VCNs are of little or no use after they’ve been used for their designated purpose. Strict controls can also be set to limit who can use the number, for how much, and during what time period. These controls make VCNs one of the most secure ways to make a payment.
3) Ease of Use
VCNs are also simple and easy to use. When a travel company creates the booking, the VCN is sent right to the hotel on the booking confirmation, with any instructions. They can be used for early payments, at the time of reservation, or upon traveler checkout. Instead of charging a plastic credit card, the hotel simply charges the number that was sent with the booking. The number is then processed through existing point of sale systems as a “card not present” transaction, just as a phone booking would be handled. Details are stated clearly in the payment instructions, for example: room and tax only for a predefined number of nights, incidentals charged directly to the guest. For groups traveling together, one VCN can cover the entire booking, provided it was set up that way by the travel company and the guests check out on the same day.
VCNs are quickly becoming the preferred method of payment for corporate travel, are easy to use, and offer a level of security that far surpasses traditional credit cards. Hotels that embrace the technology and take the time to ensure their staff understands how they work, will be able to differentiate themselves as hotels that provide a great customer experience for corporate travel.