Regardless of where they’re traveling for business, employees want a reliable online booking experience. But undependable, inconsistent experiences aren’t just a headache for travelers. When employees begin to mistrust their travel bookings and payments, that mistrust can spread to the organization they work for.
This was an issue American Express Global Business Travel had to address for its customers with offices in multiple countries. Fortunately, by incorporating control, savings, and support into its travel booking process, the organization has been able to create a more satisfying online booking experience for its business travelers. Scott Daube, Director of Online Strategy at American Express, shares how the organization grew this offering with our host Jeanne Dion, Director of the Value Delivery Group at SAP Concur.
This four-episode podcast series celebrates the SAP Concur Partner Award recipients. American Express Global Business Travel received one of two Partner Growth Awards for 2020, which, amidst a global pandemic, is quite a feat. Other past recipients include: American Airlines, Lyndon Group, and neylux. Listen to each of these episodes on our podcast channel, SAP Concur Conversations, for best practices to implement at your own organization.
Knowledge is power
Dion says that travel services providers need to understand that they actually have two customers: the clients they’re managing that travel for and the travelers themselves. This means organizations need the right tools and capabilities to collect and analyze data so they can provide the best experiences for their customers.
Dion says, “Being able to pull all that data together so that your ultimate customer, the one you’re managing the travel for, is able to respond to their own end users and their own internal customers is really critical to a successful business relationship.”
Speaking the same travel language
It’s also important to understand that every organization’s travel program is unique: Some have a consistent global program, while others have regional programs, Daube notes. But regardless of what part of the globe their travelers are in, organizations are being asked to provide the same consistency so that every traveler has the best experience.
“They want someone in Saudi Arabia to be able to book online,” Daube says, “the same way their travelers and employees in France, or their travelers and employees in Sweden, book online. They don’t want their employees in these places to feel deprived…Basically, it’s just creating that consistent experience and that consistent platform.”
Assess, reassess, then re-reassess
American Express Global Business Travel has found that one of the keys to its success is its ability to collect feedback into what work should be done and then prioritize that work based on the feedback. Daube says this approach is especially important now because most organizations are focusing on getting their programs up and running again versus expanding them.
“Because the pandemic hit, [it] makes baseline comparisons difficult,” Daube says. “We have to reassess where we are and reassess resources, reassess needs, and then figure out what we want to do.” By doing so, organizations can focus on the task at hand: getting travel programs safely up and running again.
This assessment is especially crucial in determining user satisfaction as programs begin again, Daube says, because it helps organizations determine what problems exist and where. One key discover American Express Global Business Travel has made, he says, is that the dissatisfaction rarely comes from the booking tool itself. “It's more [about] the rules that were put in place,” Daube notes, “and people chafing under those rules, or the rules not fitting that particular population.”
Because American Express Global Business Travel has a global customer base, Daube adds, they rely on tools like Concur Travel to deliver the best programs and benefits to customers. “Creating a true global program and having truly global technology is a big challenge,” he says. “We’re making sure that as we roll out these new programs and new benefits…that we're able to do that on a global basis as well.”