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When Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation in 2020, GBT had to step up in a resilient, agile and flexible manner to support clients on the frontline. Speed of action was of the essence to fight back against the pandemic. Since 18 March 2020, the client and GBT responded to 381 project requests, with around 14,000 personnel on standby for Covid-19 project tasks.
With colleagues across GBT functions working together as one team, collective and collaborative efforts delivered an exceptional service to the client that fully understood both the emotional challenges and need to travel. GBT was flexible and agile to support these special projects at short notice. Our strong supplier relationships opened the door to greater value and the rapid deployment of a new payment solution, which solved the need for a more flexible payment and reconciliation process.
While strict no-travel bans were enforced for many organizations around the world, this client continued to travel. They needed to get medical professionals to the frontline – and fast – to accelerate efforts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) supported the client’s every need, including three discrete “special projects” at short notice, to aid the UK Government’s pandemic response:
In the meantime, they continued with business-as-usual travel and had an ongoing need for efficiency and value.
GBT’s proactive, highly engaged team, with a strong desire to help on all projects led to positive outcomes in a challenging yet rewarding environment.
In June 2020, the UK Government built 10 ‘Nightingale’ hospitals across the UK. The client was tasked at very short notice to put together a plan for the provision of accommodation for frontline medical staff who would be manning the new hospitals.
The combined GBT Global Customer Partnership team, comprising client management, service delivery, meetings & events, collaborated with various client coordination offices to understand the requirements and put a plan into effect. It was at a time when hotels were closed and there was no access to global central reservation systems. Therefore, GBT worked closely with our supplier partners and hotel account managers to reopen properties.
The required solution was further intensified by unique client needs, such as the need for mass laundry, food delivery services, access to kitchens and kitchenware for client staff.
GBT has booked more than 20,000 room nights to date for this project alone.
The client’s staff was deployed en masse to help administer vaccines and Covid-19 testing at many town, city, and hospital locations. The client needed bulk accommodation in London, as well as rooms across multiple UK locations.
GBT’s teams booked the following: a well-known leisure resort that was taken over by the client for 3-4 weeks; rooms for medics who were deployed to support local ambulance crews in 25 towns and cities; and deployed a virtual payment card to allow the client to track and monitor project spend more flexibly and efficiently. GBT has booked circa 10,000 room nights for this project to date.
Many of the client’s families found themselves stranded overseas due to border closures and flight cancellations.
GBT’s service delivery team worked tirelessly to reunite anxious parents and children and repatriate them to their home locations around the world.
Unlike most customers, this client needed to continue travelling for essential reasons. It was important for GBT and the client to make sure that their travel program was strong enough to deliver value and cost-savings, even during the pandemic.
When it became obvious to GBT that dynamic hotel pricing was becoming more prevalent, we initiated a hotel rate cap review and implemented reduced rate caps in key locations for the client to benefit from lower rates.
We also introduced a Covid-19 cleanliness icon in the client’s online booking tool to give travellers reassurance that hotel cleanliness standards were followed.travel
To demonstrate the client’s appreciation, here are a few words from the client and GBT’s account director:
“Thanks for the support your organization has shown. My team has to manage complex and changing itineraries. We wouldn’t have been able to maintain the high tempo of international travel, made even more difficult by Covid-19. Your diligence, agility to deal with change and all-round professionalism have shone through over the past 12 months.” Client
“We wanted to convey our sincere thanks to GBT colleagues for their hard work, collaboration and patience over the last few weeks. The long hours and dedication shown by the team meant many children were reunited with their parents before borders closed. We’ve received many letters of thanks from colleagues around the world, and it’s on their behalf that we share our heartfelt gratitude for everything we’ve achieved together.” Client Travel Team
“Our colleagues worked tirelessly to put together a plan to deliver the required service and provide accommodation to medical professionals on the front line. Our priority and highest focus continues to be our clients in times of crisis.”
Mike Holmes, Client Director, GBT
“This is a great example of how GBT brings various functions together from across GBT to support a client in a challenging time.”
Jason Geall, SVP/GM EMEA, GBT