By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)
Buoyed by an improving economy, business travelers are once again taking to the skies and spending more on corporate travel. The Global Business Travel Association has projected that $273.3 billion in travel dollars will be spent in 2013, and as The New York Times stated in its report, “that’s a whole lot of spending for corporate travel managers and individual business travelers to evaluate and track.”
Recognizing this problem, MasterCard launched Travel Controller on October 21. The new product is designed to give corporate users greater control over their travel expenses by directly addressing data concerns.
“Companies today are more than ever looking for more and better ways to help manage their corporate travel expense, to manage travellers that are outside of policy, and most importantly, reduce the amount of money they spend on travel,” Richard Crum, MasterCard Global T&E products group head, told PYMNTS.com.
Crum told PYMNTS.com that Travel Controller is designed to be a modern solution to the problems posed by traditional lodge cards. Unlike these options, Crum says Travel Controller allows corporate users to identify individual travelers, trips and transactions, providing businesses greater insight into this spending than the available offerings that dominate the market.
For the full scoop on the features that set Travel Controller apart, PYMNTS.com spoke with Crum in an exclusive interview.
PYMNTS.com: What makes travel controler different than the other options available on the market?
Richard Crum: Travel controller uses our latest virtual card technology to generate a unique account number for each individual transaction, each hotel reservation and each ticket that’s purchased. And when its generating that card, it captures that data that’s important to the company for how they manage that.
Whether that’s the details of the transaction or things more specific to the trip or traveler or the way the company manages its budgets, all of this information is provided 100 percent of the time. This removes the headaches associated with central travel while still giving that contrl element that companies are looking for.
One of the issues that companies of any size face today has to do with the very large amount of travel data spend requiring reconciliation. How can Travel Controller help address this issue?
The way we looked at building Travel Controller is around the goals of an end user organization, as a company that’s trying to manage their travel expenses more effectively.
We’ve defined a data set, and we’ve also built in flexibility for companies to define their own customer-specific fields, that are important to them so that the data you get back isn’t just thousands of pieces of information, but rather its those things that are most important to you and its brought to you in a way that makes it easy to take advantage of.
For more on how MasterCard prepared its latest travel product to eliminate implementation issues, and for more on Travel Controller and its benefits, listen to our full podcast with Crum here.
*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.
Group Head, Global Commercial Products ”¨T&E Products and Solutions
Richard Crum is group head, Global Commercial Products. In this role, he is responsible for the global development and management of the corporate travel payment products and solutions offered by MasterCard and our issuers. He also leads a team of product managers to develop the global strategy and align product development priorities to meet regional needs.
Prior to joining MasterCard, Mr. Crum held senior leadership positions with AirPlus International and UATP. During his career at AirPlus, Mr. Crum was responsible for establishing and growing their commercial card issuing business in North America. He held multiple positions with UATP, including serving as the president for the global airline payment network for four years.
Mr. Crum also served as the president for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and as a member of the ACTE Board of Directors. He was twice recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential Executives in the industry by Business Travel News and named by Travel Agent Magazine as one of the industries Rising Stars.
Mr. Crum has a degree in Economics from George Mason University.