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Turning the Headlights on Travel

A Leading Car Manufacturer Accelerates End-to-End Optimisation to Achieve ROI of 4:1

Situation

One of Australia’s leading car manufacturers has a vision to “lead the way to the future of mobility.” To get there, more than 1,000 Australia-based engineers and executives racked up $10 million AUD in travel expenses each year, circling the globe to understand the customer spirit and latest technological innovations.

Senior management recognised the importance of business travel, but they also needed to invest as many resources as possible in research and development, a core part of their success. They wanted to put the brakes on expense but not on travel. It was time to change gears.

Solution

The company had two goals in mind: replacing their existing booking process with an online solution, and fine-tuning their travel supplier programme. But they needed a trusted partner to steer them in the right direction. They put American Express Global Business Travel in the driver’s seat to help optimise their travel management programme because of our expert ability to analyse travel and expense data, negotiate supplier contracts, and develop and implement policies and our experience as one of the pioneers of online corporate travel in the 1990s.

We looked at customer’s travel programme from end to end to map the road to success. “American Express Global Business Travel and the customer worked together as one,” said Karen Lethbridge, Business Development Manager in our Global Business Consulting division. “We analysed their business needs, and identified four areas that would optimise their programme, including policy, sourcing, online booking and reporting.”

We started by bringing the customer’s travel policy up to speed, by looking at areas identified through benchmarking that could be tightened to increase savings. With the optimal policy in place, we worked with the customer on a new model - eTravel powered by AXO the online booking tool to improve the aerodynamics of the booking process. The customised online tool was the latest technological the customer’s new policy, preferred supplier rates and a pre-trip approval process, the online booking tool was launched nationwide with road shows, where travel arrangers could test drive the process, and get answers directly from American Express Global Business Travel representatives. Executive sponsorship and intranet communications about the savings and benefits of online booking helped drive a change in behaviour amongst the customer’s travellers.

A key part of a well-oiled travel programme is insights to keep it moving forward. The customer now receives monthly management reports that do double duty: identifying new opportunities to strengthen their programme, and also providing actionable data that help the customer negotiate with suppliers. With this data in hand, coupled with American Express Global Business Travel’s sourcing insights and relationships with suppliers, the customer has the power to negotiate better rates with their preferred air and hotel suppliers.

Outcome

With the bumpiest part of the road behind them, the customer can now reflect on the successful optimisation of their travel programme. The online booking tool has racked up more than $245,000 AUD in savings per year, due to advance purchase, cost visualisation and lower transaction fees compared to offline booking. And it didn’t stop there – supplier negotiations have delivered $205,000 AUD in savings for air and $80,000 AUD for hotel. The total savings achieved exceeded $550,000 AUD in the first year – that’s a 4:1 ROI, and a lot of resources that the customer can re-invest in research and development to help them define the “future of mobility.”