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Managing Complexity in Remote Locations with Global Precision

Managing complexity in remote locations

Challenge
A manufacturing company based in France had a significant business footprint across Europe along with 14 local sub-African countries. American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) was already providing successful travel management programs within their 23 European countries, but since their sub-African countries were primarily remote, they used local travel agencies to book travel. Unfortunately, these smaller travel agencies didn't have the capacity to provide visibility on transactions, had minimal consolidation and reporting, and couldn't provide the level of duty of care the company wanted for all their travelers.

Understanding these gaps, the company sought out our expertise to help deliver on the same program initiatives as their European countries. We had considerable understanding of what the company was looking for, but we also knew based on the remote locations, that travelers and travel managers would need significant travel support and improved quality of service.

Solution
In countries where we do not have a wholly-owned operation, we maintain a fully integrated Travel Partner Network (“Travel Partner”) comprised of leading local agencies who offer the same high standards of service as American Express GBT. Travel Partners must adhere to strict operating guidelines and standards and are managed by a dedicated team of employees located across our regions reporting directly into American Express GBT.

Strategic Impact
First, implementation included transitioning the company’s travel program from numerous Travel Management Companies (TMCs) across multiple countries. To do this, we established one contact for relationship support that drove the global program, dedicated training specific to travelers needs, and ongoing support of a regional contact who knew and understood the market.

Across the African continent, we effectively implemented specific duty of care processes and tools, applying the same global service standards throughout. Additionally, we increased alignment and transparency by developing a global dashboard with robust information including travel spend and consolidated travel data.

With each market came different travel volume, creating an opportunity for customization. If a market did not warrant an online booking tool, it wasn’t implemented. Nevertheless, our implementation did have challenges where we delivered unique program solutions.

“When American Express GBT won the contract globally, we had to move our systems across 14 countries in Africa from our existing TMC to American Express GBT,” said the company’s project manager. “American Express GBT was not present in all the countries in which we operate, so we had to switch over to partners that worked with American Express GBT. The American Express GBT teams in Africa were amazing…and things still seem to be running smoothly.”

Results
Hard work paid off in the end with prolific outcomes, including:

  •  Global visibility and management in all 14 sub-African countries
  • 91%¹ traveler satisfaction globally
  • Significantly improved remote travel capabilities within first year

¹Source: American Express Global Business Travel Reporting