From transporting workers to remote sites and meeting heightened duty of care requirements to accommodating last-minute itinerary changes, Energy, Mining, and Marine companies have complex travel management needs. Hence, it’s imperative they partner with a travel management company (TMC) that offers tailor-made solutions and services for this industry.
American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) works closely with Energy, Mining, and Marine companies to create bespoke solutions that best fit their needs. In addition to obtaining client feedback that informs our product development, we attend events like Nor-Shipping, OTD ENERGY, and the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) to gain deeper insights into what our clients need and the challenges they face.
We recently connected with Danwald Loenningen, a strategic sales manager on our Energy, Mining, and Marine team, and Thomas Syversen-Hjellestad, director of client management in the Nordic region, who attended Nor-Shipping 2023. They shared with us more about the biennial event and how Amex GBT caters to this industry.
Why is it important for Amex GBT to attend events like Nor-Shipping, OTD ENERGY, and OEEC?
Thomas: Events like these are invaluable. They give us an opportunity to connect with clients and potential clients face-to-face and showcase the products we are crafting to support them. Energy, Mining, and Marine is a growing focus for our organization, so we want to hear firsthand what these companies are up against so we can better serve them.
Danwald: One of the best experiences for me was to meet prospects and clients who came to us with their needs. These discussions give us a very good overview and insight into what we need to develop and where we need to go in the future. If we weren’t at the event, we wouldn’t have had those illuminating conversations.
What key message did you want to convey to attendees visiting the Amex GBT booth?
Danwald: Our ambition is for visitors to go away feeling that Amex GBT has many different things to offer them, that we are a complete supplier for the Energy, Marine, and Mining sectors. Whether you have a vessel crew, an offshore crew, or more traditional business travelers, we are a great partner. As an industry leader, we have a very strong global network and a wide range of products for the offshore marine and mining industries.
Thomas: With our consulting team, reporting tools, and technical capabilities, we create customized solutions that meet your specific needs to help drive the success of your business. We also have strong relationships with key suppliers you depend on, such as tech, payments solutions, and airlines.
Energy, Mining, and Marine firms have distinct travel management needs. What are some ways Amex GBT helps companies in this industry?
Danwald: In this industry, there are a lot of itinerary changes, especially when it involves vessel crews. Tickets are often changed right before travel, sometimes several times, within three days of departure. What happens when you make itinerary changes like that? You need people who know what they’re doing to help you. Time is of essence, and our travel consultants’ creativity is important to manage those last-minute changes. The most expensive thing for a vessel owner is to have their seafarers on board at the wrong time, or not at all.
We offer a platform consisting of close to 20 maritime hubs worldwide serviced by experienced travel counselors with special knowledge and tools for this kind of travel.
Thomas: We have a follow-the-sun concept, which means our travel counselors are available 24/7. This always-on support is crucial for managing whatever issues arise. If there’s a flight cancellation, we can help with rebooking the trip as well as the refund process. If an incident occurs in the city where you have travelers, we can help locate your employees.
What was the most valuable insight you gained about the industry from the Nor-Shipping event? How will that new knowledge enhance how Amex GBT services clients in this field?
Thomas: We had several interesting conversations with potential clients about the lack of capabilities some TMCs have with integrating their HR feed and other systems. Even though Amex GBT has excellent proprietary platforms for integrations, it gives us valuable input to hear what the companies are asking for while planning future tech upgrades and implementations internally.
Could you tell us more about these platforms?
Thomas: We have a couple for the Energy, Mining, and Marine industries. The first, our crew rotation solution, is one we custom-built for maritime businesses to efficiently manage bulk order crew changes. The second tool, our automated mass booking solution, is for companies that need to book travel for large groups. It can make thousands of bookings in just a few hours.
These in-house solutions integrate seamlessly via application programming interfaces with the workforce management tools and HR systems our clients are already using. This means their people do not need to learn new programs – they can use the ones they already know. The information flowing between their systems and ours is secure and encrypted, helping to keep client data safe.
Danwald: And to add, our travel counselors on the Energy, Mining, and Marine platform have been working for years with these types of companies. They know the importance of travel for these companies, they are trained and skilled, and they keep their head cool in a hectic environment. This helps get them where they are supposed to be.
Shifting gears, sustainability seemed to be a dominating topic at Nor-Shipping this year. How can Amex GBT help Energy, Mining, and Marine companies with their sustainability goals?
Thomas: We have a wide range of solutions to help Energy, Mining, and Marine companies reduce their travel carbon footprint. These include reporting tools that clients can use to track carbon emissions and the environmental footprint linked to their travel programs. Our consultants can then work with companies to shift the focus towards an eco-friendly way of traveling, creating a travel policy based on science-based targets and offering support in choosing greener suppliers.
Education is a crucial component of a sustainable travel program. We’ve partnered with climate technology CHOOOSE to integrate its carbon emissions calculations across our travel booking and reporting tools, which will help travelers understand the environmental impact of travel and make informed booking decisions.
We also have a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) program that companies can participate in to meet their environmental goals. This is a major step in the right direction, and together with Shell Aviation, we are helping to support the airline industry’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050. Over the summer, we joined the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund initiative, another program designed to scale SAF.
Cybersecurity was another popular topic at Nor-Shipping. Why is this particularly important to the Energy, Mining, and Marine industry? How can Amex GBT be of help here?
Danwald: There are companies represented at Nor-Shipping that are working with everything from space to deep sea and aquaculture technology. We also have seen a lot of piracy on some seas – actual pirates taking over vessels. There may also be a risk for hackers to implement a cyberattack and take over a ship. So, there is a strong need for a high level of cybersecurity for shipping companies.
Amex GBT takes data protection very seriously. As the only TMC to operate under Binding Corporate Rules, we follow the highest security standards to make sure our clients’ information is handled with the utmost care. We are at the forefront with regard to security.
Any final thoughts?
Danwald: Yes, I just want to note that the next event we’re attending is the OTD ENERGY conference in mid-October. If you’re there, we hope to see you – so come by the Amex GBT booth and say hello!
Learn more about the superior experience for the Energy, Mining, and Marine sectors that Amex GBT can deliver to you and your travelers.