Travel management professionals generally agree on the merits of enriched e-folio data streams from hotels to credit card companies to expense reporting systems, but expanded deployment begs for standardization. While customized solutions may work for the very largest accounts, other buyers are pressing payment and lodging companies for common systems. Some hotel officials, meanwhile, blame a lack of demand.

According to panelists and delegates speaking during the National Business Travel Association's annual conference, advantages of e-folio include higher traveler compliance to preferred hotel programs via an easier expense reporting process that pre-populates many items; administrative cost savings by going paperless; and more complete data on every aspect of hotel costs for tracking, auditing and negotiating the next deal with hotel suppliers.

The first company to push hotel suppliers for e-folio data in the late 1990s, IBM now saves $120 per folio--with higher savings achieved through productivity enhancements in the expense reporting process--according to Sean Logan, the company's global sourcing manager in charge of the hotel center.

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