To help our clients send employees back on the road with ease and confidence, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is equipping companies with the technology they have told us they need to be ready to return to travel. This includes a live travel dashboard that provides anonymized data showing where GBT clients are sending employees, post-trip surveys on suppliers’ health and safety standards, and traveler communications that provide curated destination and security information – as well as other solutions launching later this year.
We worked directly with clients to understand what they felt their employees needed to be comfortable returning to travel, identifying companies – big and small – that were willing to have candid conversations with us about their top concerns and areas of focus.
In late 2020, we set up discussions with dozens of clients. This included meetings with travel managers, security personnel, and HR leaders within these organizations. The insights we gained regarding their views toward getting back on the road, duty of care processes, and how a TMC could and should support them were invaluable.
Because we also sought to understand the traveler’s perspective, we launched a program to find business travelers globally who would share their honest opinion with us – regardless of whether we were their TMC.
Their feedback was the basis for the design of our solutions. For instance, for the post-booking emails, travelers felt our original template contained too much information. So we identified the information they would find most valuable when prepping for a trip, which they told us included quarantine and COVID testing requirements. We then built an email template encompassing those top elements as well as deep links to our Travel Vitals™ platform where they can assess additional itinerary-specific details if they desire. We also chatted with travelers to understand at what point they would want to receive this data and in which channel, helping to inform our distribution strategy through email and our mobile app.
Our conversations with stakeholders within the travel, security, and HR units also impacted the content of these emails. Initially, we thought they would mainly want us to focus on providing travelers with COVID-related information (e.g., whether a negative COVID test is required when entering a country and what quarantine measures are in place).
We recognized after our discussions that while these issues are important to them, they also really care about security risks that are not related to COVID. This input guided our prioritization and shaped how the email looks today, with international travelers now also receiving country security alerts.
From our conversations with company stakeholders, we also realized there was an interest from travel managers to see where other organizations are – and are not –sending their travelers so they can make educated decisions about their own program activities. In response to this demand, we created the Live Travel Dashboard that uses aggregated, anonymized flight and hotel data to show them where GBT clients are allowing their employees to travel to – down to the city region. While clients can drill down to a granular level, they will not be able to view or access individual client or traveler data.
As travelers hit the road again, we have been using the post-trip feedback surveys we’ve been conducting in 2021 to gain insights about how people are feeling traveling again and how they perceive suppliers. The results we have received thus far have been very encouraging for the return to travel. Nearly 90% of respondents said they were satisfied with the health and well-being standards of their airline and hotel suppliers, indicating most travelers are comfortable traveling again. Travel managers can share the survey results with travelers to inspire confidence in returning to travel as well as use the insights to make policy adjustments if need be.
In thinking about how we could best support our clients during this transition and the return to travel, we have decided to make this suite of solutions a complimentary service to all GBT clients. However, since these enhancements are being released in stages, they will not be available to clients all at once. If you are interested in accessing these tools, please connect with your client manager to find out about the launch schedule.
In the meantime, here’s where you can learn more here about the enhancements we’ve made and how they can be helpful to your entire team.