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Online Booking Tool Case Study

Driving change through online booking

Challenge
Reducing costs is a frequent business objective for companies across all industries. One of our customers, a manufacturing company, was seeking just that, along with business process simplification. With an $8 million¹ savings goal, the company’s leaders knew they had to develop a culture change that would modify their high-touch culture to a more self-serve culture. They entrusted us—American Express Global Business Travel (GBT)—to help reach this money-saving goal.

It was time to save and simplify their travel program. First, they evaluated opportunities in each of the countries where they had business. At the time, online booking occurred in only two of their 40 countries, and even then online booking was merely an option. Booking in each country was more manual—travelers would call a travel counselor to book travel, then a company manager would approve the trip. The company noticed the financial impact the offline booking fees were generating. That’s when we stepped in.

Solution
To create a more streamlined, simplified process, we collaborated to establish a consolidated, self-serve model on how to book travel. First, each country was evaluated individually including employee travel patterns, and tool usage frequency.

We then implemented the online booking tool that was customized for each individual country while also providing global policy compliance and consistent processes.

Online booking alleviated the manual process and saved the company significant time. Each traveler could book their travel through the tool and EXPERT AUDITOR—eliminating the need for managerial approval. EXPERT AUDITOR provided online and offline auditing capabilities, and ensured policy compliance across all booking channels. If a booking is out of policy and requires approval, an auto-generated email is sent to the designated authorizer(s).

The company’s travel policy was also revamped to mandate any simple travel (domestic and simple international) must be booked online.

The tool was already successful in the U.S. and Canada, so the company focused on the top 20 countries where online booking made sense. Together, we completed the implementation in all 20 countries in only one year.

Demonstrating impact
To create buy-in from the travelers, senior leadership reinforced the new online booking tool by providing direct communications to travelers. The success of the process change depended on traveler’s engagement.

“One of the most important elements of our targeted training was around the benefits of the online booking tool,” said American Express GBT’s Client Manager. “By demonstrating how to use the online booking tool in lieu of calling a travel counselor, travelers can save time and also the company money.”

Results
The company surpassed their savings goal with new changes that made an impact:

  • Drove compliance to save the company $8.6 million¹
  • Online adoption rate of 72%¹ up from 30%¹ within the 20 countries where online booking was a good fit
  • Reduced the need of 30 travel counselors down to eight¹ in their largest country


¹ Source: American Express Global Business Travel