This sidebar article appears in the November 2009 issue of Cards&Payments.
Though many companies have cut their travel-and-entertainment budgets during the recession, T&E cards remain an important tool for controlling spending, some card issuers say (see main story).
"T&E spending is certainly down this year, but wherever companies are spending money on travel they are scrutinizing it more carefully," says Kevin Tait, senior manager of business development at Canada-based Bank of Montreal's BMO Financial Group's Spend & Payment Solutions division.
Companies that require employees to use T&E cards instead of personal credit or charge cards, or other direct corporate payments, are able to get better supplier discounts and cost savings, according to Tait.
"One of our corporate clients discovered through analyzing purchasing card data that their employees were spending thousands of dollars annually on charges for bottled water in hotel rooms," he says. "The company used this information to negotiate a deal for free bottled water for their employees at a particular hotel chain."
Another company used its purchasing card data to negotiate free Internet use for its employees, who were racking up thousands of dollars on daily in-room Internet-access fees, Tait says.
"T&E card data reveal details that were previously buried, allowing corporations to leverage this information in strategic negotiations with vendors," Tait says.