B2B Payments

Expedia Embraces Alternative Corporate Travel Payments With UATP

Top players in the online travel booking space are collaborating with UATP, an alternative global payment solution accepted by airlines and travel merchants, to support the use of the payment tool for corporate travelers.

In a press release on Tuesday (Jan. 30), UATP said it’s partnering with Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity, a deal that sees these online platforms allowing their corporate customers to use UATP to pay for business travel bookings.

UATP, Universal Air Travel Plan, is a payment network owned by airlines themselves.

“Corporate travel is booming in the U.S.; GBTA [Global Business Travel Association] predicts that travel spending will reach over $296 billion in 2017,” said Expedia Global Payments Vice President Falk Richter in a statement. “This includes unmanaged travel that doesn’t go through travel management companies such as Egencia. Accepting UATP for payment will give us a competitive advantage to capture a portion of that unmanaged corporate travel market.”

For companies that are direct subscribers of UATP, those businesses can also purchase airfare straight from Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity. This tie-up broadens point-of-sale options for companies when booking business travel, the companies noted. Purchases made with UATP come with a statement that includes line item details on the transaction.

“Expedia is one of the largest travel companies in the world; it only made sense to work with them to provide corporate travelers access to the form of payment that many of their companies require when booking airfare,” said UATP President and CEO Ralph Kaiser in another statement. “Through this collaboration, corporate travelers using Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz can choose flexible routes to meet their needs for booking flights on any airline.”

Expedia acquired Orbitz in 2015 for $1.34 billion, which expanded the company’s B2B travel footprint via Orbitz’s Partner Network and Orbitz for Business operations.

In 2016, UATP struck another partnership with contactless payments company Paymagnet, enabling member airlines to accept contactless payments within the airline’s mobile app for consumer transactions.

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