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Best Travel Programme

UGL Limited engineers a big win with a global consolidated travel approach


UGL Limited is a company on the move. Having recently acquired corporate real estate services firm DTZ, the company spanned more than 30 markets and had more than 6,000 travellers globally spending $40 million AUD each year. A global leader in outsourced engineering, property services, asset management and project management, UGL Limited wanted to reduce the cost of travel without cutting down on the number of trips or compromising service quality.

Their challenge? With the DTZ acquisition, the company now had multiple travel policies, programmes and suppliers, making it difficult to really get a handle on spend and provide duty of care to their travellers. They needed to consolidate. That meant finding one supplier who could build a global programme, get it up and running by changing booking behaviours, and have the capacity to cover travellers worldwide.


UGL’s first step was selecting a travel provider. Their partner, American Express Global Business Travel, who had been delivering exceptional results for the past five years, seemed like a good place to start.

The American Express Global Business Travel team had deep insight at hand, from their proven track record at implementing global programmes, supporting change management to drive compliance and providing customised dashboards to aid executive decisions – their knowledge gave them the edge. And that wasn’t all the team could offer. The service dependability of American Express Global Business Travel across 140 countries, for more than 160 years, provided consistency across both traveller security and support, exactly what UGL was looking for. American Express Global Business Travel made the cut.

At American Express Global Business Travel, we bring together international reach with local presence. Local buy-in was important to the success of the consolidated programme, so the UGL and American Express Global Business Travel teams conducted site visits and teleconferences to really get to know the travel profiles of UGL’s local offices.

The implementation was then handled on a market-by-market basis, allowing the teams to focus on the details that mattered locally. This included weekly meetings throughout the transition with key players and travel arranger sessions, which really started to change booking behaviours - such as increasing usage of preferred hotel suppliers. This change would deliver significant savings, by making the most of the highly competitive rates UGL and American Express Global Business Travel had to offer.

Once the integrated programme was up and running, UGL continued to utilise the American Express Global Business Travel reporting tool, AXIS@WORK, which hosted a wealth of data. The power of this data was used to drive compliance to the new policy– for example, by communicating to travel arrangers where advance purchase opportunities had been missed.­­­


The biggest triumph for UGL was the global consolidation of their travel spend. The proficiency of the American Express Global Business Travel team meant that a winning integration and optimisation strategy delivered a consistent programme across 30 countries. With a slick change management plan in place, people were using it. Travellers now know who to contact 24/7, globally. Duty of care was in place. And UGL’s new global programme has netted impressive results; first-year savings totalled $800,000 AUD – that’s 2 percent of their total travel spend.

To top it all off, the UGL team’s successful work was acknowledged when they won “Best Travel Programme of the Year” in the 2013 BTTB Travel Management awards, an annual recognition programme with an independent panel of judges.
Looking to the future, UGL and American Express will continue in their quest to push the boundaries of their travel programme, moving UGL’s business objectives forward.