From scheduling meetings and booking appointments to ordering dinner and watching a movie, many of us use the Internet in every aspect of our work and personal lives – so for some of us, it’s hard to imagine picking up a phone to book travel when we can easily do it online.
Before 2009, though, a U.S.-based facilities and services management company, with an annual travel spend of $49 million, had a dedicated onsite team of travel counselors who managed travel bookings. Employees were used to a culture where, instead of quickly logging onto the Internet to book their travel, they called a travel counselor and asked them do the work for them.
With the rapid rise of digital technology, the company realized their onsite servicing model had become outmoded, and could be replaced with an online platform that would help them streamline their travel booking processes, making trip planning faster and easier for their employees.
As one of the pioneers of online corporate travel in the 1990s, AMERICAN EXPRESS GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL continues to integrate and improve our web-based booking processes by offering support, fulfillment and implementation services. That’s why the client turned to us. From 2009 to 2010, we helped the company implement an online booking tool to facilitate moving all of their travel booking and support offsite. The company had tremendous support from its leadership team for the new way of booking travel, making the transition from an onsite platform to an offsite, online servicing platform that much easier. We provided monthly reports that tracked travelers who did not book online. When executives received these reports for their teams, they took action – and travelers quickly learned they did not want to be on the report.
This particular client requires employees to have a corporate card in order to book travel online. So to further increase online adoption, in 2013, we laid out a plan for the client to begin giving corporate cards to any employee who travels at least once a year. This initiative is predicted to move 25% of ineligible bookings online.
Outcome (First Level Header 12pt Title Case)
At AMERICAN EXPRESS GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL, we use our deep insight, built on decades of working with businesses around the world, to help each client design and implement a travel program that meets and evolves with their needs – in this case, helping the 2 clients modernize their program by moving to online booking. The company saw fast results: within six months after launching the online booking tool, usage increased in the United States from 11 to 60 percent. Today, online usage has reached 76 percent, and the client was able to save more than $800,000 in transaction fees in the first year. And, when you look only at eligible bookings (not all travelers have received their corporate cards, and executive travel will continue to be managed offline), online adoption has soared to 95 percent.
he Internet plays a critical role in our lives, making many things simpler and more efficient. And now the client’s employees can add one more thing to the list of tasks they take care of online: booking business trips.