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ACTE TV Live Poll: Acceptance is top challenge for Virtual Cards in Business Travel

On 8 June 2017, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) held a live broadcast, “Virtual Card Strategy: Finding and Implementing Your Solution,” sponsored by CSI globalVCard Travel and UATP. The live broadcast attracted 172 registrations from 21 countries.

The Virtual Card Strategy broadcast was focused on providing participants with the opportunity to ask leading travel managers about their experiences and tips for successfully implementing virtual card strategies in their travel programmes. The panel of travel managers included Teri Adams, Americas Traveler Experience Manger, Global Procurement Services (GPS), Cisco Systems; Ryan Pierce, Americas Travel Manager, Salesforce; and Adam Smith, Commercial Card Manager, Microsoft. Luis Yofe, SVP, CSI globalVCard Travel, led the discussion.

The event generated an active dialogue among attendees and panelists, with more than 30 questions being asked during the live broadcast. Not all questions could be answered during the one hour event, so a blog post Virtual Card Strategy: Your Questions Answered was published on ACTEChatter to allow participants to continue the conversation.

Live polling was taken throughout the live broadcast to capture attendee sentiments on implementation, challenges and benefits of virtual cards. Results indicate that many corporate travel managers are in only the earliest stages of implementation—still considering adoption—though they see significant benefits in streamlining their processes and improving cost and efficiency. However, attendees indicated that acceptance and support are leading obstacles.

The full polling results:
• At what stage is your company in the virtual card process?
◦ 65% of participants are thinking about it
◦ 1% are pre-implementation
◦ 23% are post-implementation and still experiencing some challenges
◦ 1% are post-implementation, with positive results

• What do you see as the biggest benefit to using a virtual card process?
◦ 32% of participants said it was a simpler way to reconcile corporate travel expenses
◦ 24% said automation
◦ 24% said spending controls and savings
◦ 21% said increased protection from security breaches and fraud

• What do you see as the biggest challenges to using virtual cards?
◦ 52% of participants cited acceptance
◦ 26% said support (i.e., “Am I going to get a phone call every time there is an issue?”)
◦ 21% said the pain of change

As the live broadcast wrapped, panelists discussed the need for the industry to adjust to the new world of virtual cards—because it is the future of business travel, and not going away anytime soon. Overall, this event served as a valuable opportunity for travel managers to connect with each other and benchmark their progress against that of their peers. Said one attendee, “We too are struggling with the acceptance aspect of V-Card. It was reassuring to know that we aren't alone with this challenge.”

As virtual cards continue to move toward becoming a new industry standard, it will be critical for corporate travel professionals to conduct thorough due diligence surrounding their implementation, understand how they fit into their travel policies, and what they need to do to make the transition efficient and easy-to-understand for their travellers. 

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