The prospect of changing your travel management company (TMC) can be daunting for any organisation. After all, the thought of having to go through a lengthy and laborious procurement process involving a mountain of paperwork and endless negotiations is hardly appealing.
Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way. Switching can be straightforward, quick, and stress-free with American Express Global Business Travel’s (GBT) new platform for mid-market companies—Business Travel Made Simple (BTMS)—which was launched in the UK last year. A similar offer is also available in other EMEA and APAC countries.
Simplicity is the name of the game. With a contract of just two pages and a streamlined setup process, a new client could potentially be up and running within 20 days, quickly reaping the benefits of working with a major TMC that just isn’t available when considering other travel providers.
The benefits of GBT
In the past, some organisations may not have initially considered GBT as a potential TMC partner because of its size and the expectation that it catered to larger clients.
However, GBT’s recent technology investments showcase its commitment to provide clients of all sizes with cost-efficient and simplified offerings through new services, like BTMS, while maintaining the same high-quality servicing to travel buyers and their travellers.
What gives BTMS its major selling point is the access it provides to GBT’s negotiated airfares and hotel rates that are not available in the open market and can be more competitive than other TMCs due to GBT’s size and scale. The platform is basically a one-stop shop for travellers to do everything through one channel while staying with their favourite leisure travel brands. Content from Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, Eurostar, and Trainline—among many others—is available through the Neo™ booking tool.
The ability to “re-shop” is also a crucial element because it ensures that clients do not miss out on savings when the price of GBT’s fares drop. After a traveller has booked a flight, GBT continues to monitor fares and, if they drop, will alert the traveller automatically and rebook at this lower price.
GBT also offers a single shopping experience across both mobile and desktop devices, providing another major advantage in instantly improving compliance with your company’s travel policies. Why should travellers use other portals when they can book everything they need on a single platform? It also makes it easier for travel arrangers to communicate with their travellers.
Business trips do not always go smoothly, and GBT travellers have access to a 24/7 service through our mobile app, allowing them to instant message a help centre or speak with a travel counsellor. They also receive proactive travel disruption alerts directly to their mobile devices.
The mobile app also features a ‘know me’ function when contacting GBT that triggers a traveller’s profile if they are using a registered device. This can also be used as a way of recognising calls from VIPs to offer them an enhanced service. It’s worth noting that BTMS is constantly being upgraded and improved, with existing clients automatically receiving upgrades.
Those looking to consolidate their travel programmes to a single TMC across multiple countries can also use the platform to ensure a consistent service globally.
Having such a powerful tool that travellers will want to use also creates better data intelligence for clients so they can make more informed decisions about their travel programmes and policies. A further step is integrating the travel service with Neo’s expense tool, giving an even clearer picture of exactly what is being spent and where.
How much will it cost?
Cost is naturally one of the first questions asked by any organisation, particularly when considering a TMC. Generally speaking, the more bookings and services carried out online, the lower the fees will be for the client. BTMS offers two pricing models based around transparent transaction fees. One is for ‘touchless’ or online use, where fees start as low as zero, while a second model is for companies who also want to access traditional offline services. The travel content and tools are the same for both models, but some companies opt for an almost entirely online service while others like to have the ability to call GBT travel counsellors for help, when necessary. The choice is up to the client.
As for how much travel you need to do to benefit from this service, BTMS is currently aimed at organisations with a minimum annual travel spend of £250,000. However, with the advance of new technology-based solutions, GBT should soon be able to help clients with even smaller travel budgets, so watch this space.
With such a simple and straightforward proposition, an increasing number of mid-market organizations are now choosing to upgrade their travel management with GBT to reap the benefits of saving money and managing their business travel more efficiently and effectively.