In 2014, an agricultural processor and ingredient company began decentralizing many of their services—including their travel program—to create a shared services environment. At the time, all travel was handled exclusively onsite and was heavily customized, leaving their online booking usage at a mere 12%¹. This low adoption rate meant travelers were relying primarily on their onsite travel managers, creating a bottleneck.

The company needed a user-friendly, accessible travel program so all of their travelers could book their own travel no matter where they were in the world. After considering several vendors, we—American Express Global Business Travel (GBT)—were selected and quickly dove in and established the following travel program objectives:

  • Drive efficiencies through use of travel management best practices
  • Increase online adoption
  • Amplify savings

With these objectives we quickly identified the opportunity that would have the highest impact: online adoption.

Increasing the company’s online adoption meant we had to start at the foundation of the issue—understanding why the online booking tool wasn’t being used.

Implementing expertise
We brought in our Solutions Consultant—a role exclusive to American Express GBT—who partnered with the company to identify appropriate solutions to effectively meet their needs, requirements, and goals. She conducted seven focus groups where their travelers and travel managers voiced concerns, asked questions, and explained what they needed out of a travel program and specifically, the online booking tool. Diving even deeper, she worked alongside the onsite travel staff to see how travel was booked and identified where solutions could be integrated.

“The Solutions Consultant was fantastic and her support in conducting focus groups added tremendous value to the process and gaining traveler buy-in,” said the company’s Project Manager.

The Solutions Consultant then analyzed the data collected and recommended solutions. One of the most impactful solutions implemented was CONNECT powered by Concur®; a solution that now runs their automated booking and billing processes online.

“American Express GBT’s Implementation Manager was like having my own personal mentor since I had no travel background at all. For every question I had, she would explain the pros and cons so that I could make my own decision,” said the company’s Project Manager. “Other members of the American Express GBT team were also knowledgeable, flexible, open to ideas, engaged at every level of the process, and added great value in the success of the transition.”

Generating support
The company’s senior leadership was also a significant driver of the online adoption. They showed strong support, encouraged employee engagement, and were very transparent with the newly established travel program. But with any change comes a learning curve. We worked with their leadership to create customized training sessions to help align those users that were hesitant to adopt the new online booking process. These training sessions educated users on the benefits and increased flexibility with the new online booking tool and ultimately made them more comfortable in adopting the new process.

The company was equipped for global impact:

  • Surpassed the 50% online adoption target and hit 90%¹ adoption within the first 30 days$1.1M¹ savings within the first year
  • Providing lower priced travel options at traveler’s fingertips
    and saving over $342,000¹ in 2015
  • Eliminated need for an onsite travel management team, saving over $300,000¹

¹ Source: American Express Global Business Travel Reporting

  • INDUSTRY: Food & Agricultural
  • TRAVELERS: 6,000+


  • Low online adoption
  • Heavily customized booking process
  • Significant costs


  • Incorporated online booking tool
  • Automated booking and billing processes
  • Reduce costs by streamlining processes


  • Surpassed the 50% online adoption target and hit 90%¹ adoption within the first 30 days
  • $1.1M¹ in savings within the first year
  • Eliminated need for an onsite travel management team, saving over $300,000¹  

“For every question I had, Kim would explain the pros and cons so that I could make my own decision.” – Bob, ADM Project Manager