“Evolve” is the theme of the 2019 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention — and it has special significance for us this year, too, as the brand identity of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), a partner company of American Express, undergoes a transformation.
Since our joint venture as a standalone enterprise five years ago, we have done a lot of introspection about our significant progress in delivering technology-enhanced experiences and where we want to go. After joining forces with HRG a year ago, we focused more intently on who we are, why we do what we do and, yes, how we will evolve. All this contemplation has led to transformation, igniting a deeper purpose for the work we do and the role we play to make sure travelers can be present when and where it matters to help drive businesses forward.
Today, American Express GBT is the world’s largest business partner for managed travel with 17,000 travel professionals in more than 140 countries. That is an integral part of what distinguishes American Express GBT, but what defines our purpose goes deeper than that.
“Our purpose as a business is to generate prosperity through presence, using face-to-face as a mechanism for growth, personal and professional,” said Evan Konwiser, vice president of marketing and product strategy at American Express GBT. “When you travel, you build connections, and when you connect with people, you create the opportunity to prosper, as an individual and as a business. And that simple concept underlies everything we do as a company and in society.”
Last year, American Express launched its own brand campaign to demonstrate the unique role it plays in backing people in life and business. Since this aligns so perfectly with our own core values and promise to clients, we are leaning into that concept.
As Konwiser said, “Now it’s our turn to pivot from services to experiences, from products to presence, and adopt American Express’ new brand campaign to benefit from all the work they’ve done on the global stage while also reasserting our own identity as American Express GBT.”
How we are there for our travelers
“A big element of how we deliver care is an increased focus on being present when and where our customers need us,” said Mark Rude, vice president of Traveler Care in the Americas at American Express GBT.
We are able to deliver a high level of care and attention because of the 8,000 travel counselors within our Traveler Care division “whose sole mission is to ensure that the experience for travelers is the best one it can be,” said Rude.
Our cutting-edge technology is another key ingredient.
“Our Traveler Care team is supported by technology that helps us ensure that it’s not just the care we provide to them in the booking experience, but it’s the 24/7 care we provide to them throughout their travels and being there to care for them when their plans change or when something unexpected happens.”
One way we are able to achieve this goal is via our Proactive Traveler Care™ solution, which automatically reaches out to travelers potentially impacted by a disruption, ideally before they ever contact us.
Rude said we are continually enhancing our technology to provide a better traveler experience, such as recently expanding our messaging platform to include an in-app chat function, which can be a more convenient channel during times of need.
He also pointed out how American Express GBT is enabling travel counselors to deliver a more personalized service with “an expanded set of traveler intelligence that puts our counselors in a better position to understand the traveler, their travel behaviors, their preferences, their past trips and how that will influence their future trips.”
Equally important as this traveler-focused technology, however, is a human element.
“It is important to have travel counselors who are empathetic to the plight of the traveler. That may seem obvious, but it is so crucial when delivering care to a traveler,” Rude said.
“Care represents so much of what we’re about and what we strive to achieve,” he added — so much so, in fact, that a year ago, we changed the name of the Service Delivery division to Traveler Care to emphasize and clarify this purpose to our employees and clients.
“At the end of the day,” Rude said, “business travelers want not only an easy booking experience, but the assurance that when things don’t work out as expected, you’ve got the backing of American Express GBT and its 8,000 Traveler Care professionals to be there at your side along the way. Delivering that peace of mind, that’s what we strive to do every day.”
The kind of support and quality care American Express GBT delivers isn’t just helping our clients prosper — it also is contributing to the success of our very own people.
“American Express GBT helps me achieve my purpose as a traveler by allowing me to thrive in life,” said Melissa LaPorta, vice president of global marketing brand and content. “That means getting me to where I need to go, efficiently, expertly and comfortably, so that I can have that human connection that you really just can’t get over the phone with my team and with my business partners.”
“More importantly,” she added, “American Express GBT gets me home so that I am there for those ‘can’t miss’ moments. To work for a company that is able to deliver that to our travelers is what drives me every day.”
Interested in learning more? We will be unveiling our new purpose and the evolution of our new brand identity with a video that will be aired at our booth (Booth 2021) at the GBTA Convention. If you do not get a chance to check it out there, take a look at it below. And to learn even more about our core values and how we are elevating the client experience, continue reading here.
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