Amex GBT Announces New Products & Tech Enhancements For 2019

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has announced technology enhancements and new products for clients across its travel management ecosystem for 2019. The company says these are the latest developments in GBT's ongoing technology investment program.

"The modern business traveller wants access to all content, they want it personalized and available in every channel," says David Thompson, GBT's Chief Information Technology Officer.

"They want to know that someone has their back, and they don't want to be lumbered with cumbersome processes before, during or post-trip. Happy travellers are efficient, productive and generate growth. Our technology investment program is designed to meet all these expectations." 

Here are some highlights:

Benchmarking Service

GBT is launching a new benchmarking service, Peer Travel Insights (PTI), that uses advanced analytic capabilities to measure travel program performance and competitiveness. Put simply, it helps travel managers understand if they are doing a good job. It will also, for the first time, measure intangible traveller well-being metrics.

Travel Recommendation Engine

GBT has started applying artificial intelligence (AI) to its big data and analytics infrastructure to anticipate traveller behavior. Today, this recommendation engine surfaces in online booking. It analyzes a traveller's previous behaviour, the patterns of similar travellers, and company policy to predict where the traveller wants to book. 

The GBT-owned KDS Neo online booking tool (OBT) delivers a single shopping interface that combines the traditional approach to booking with a more modern method, using a smart search engine that is logical and 'thinks' like a person. Neo's smart search and booking engine can deliver a complete itinerary in seconds, combining air/rail, accommodations and ground transport in an intuitive, interactive, web and mobile interface.

With business benefits such as built-in policy compliance, pre-trip approval and visibility into total trip cost, Neo's user experience helps drive adoption while supporting travel managers' requirements for visibility, spend control and duty of care. The Neo recommendation engine will launch in May for clients in North America.

The Mobile Experience

GBT clients will benefit this year from new enhanced features on the Amex GBT Mobile app. Booking capabilities are currently driven by Neo, though booking will soon be available to more customers using other OBTs. Travellers now have access to a global, real-time messaging platform that enables live conversations with travel counsellors on the app or via the web. Other features include click-to-call and face or fingerprint login with compatible iOS and Android devices. 

GBT's Neo clients can book hotel, air, rail and ground transportation on the Amex GBT Mobile app. The Trip Recommender tool, available to all users, offers personalized suggestions based on traveler preferences and previous trip data, which can be reviewed and booked with a single tap.

The GBT mobile experience also includes disruption management tools. Proactive Traveler Care (PTC) sends push notifications with important information directly to travellers caught up in disruption. In emergency situations, Expert Care users can communicate via two-way mobile messaging, send their geolocation and quickly access emergency response numbers.

A range of further mobile app enhancements are scheduled to launch in 2019, including client-based hotel reviews, embedded corporate messaging and a flight boarding countdown timer.

Re-shop Solutions

Dynamic pricing means travellers and travel managers cannot be sure that hotel rooms and air fares are being booked at the best prices, making it difficult for buyers to prove they are delivering savings to their organizations. To support clients in attaining better value with their air and hotel spend, GBT has launched a new proprietary hotel re-shopping solution, while enhancing and expanding its air fare re-shopping solution.

GBT's Hotel Re-shop Expert (HRE) provides automatic re-shopping logic that identifies rate drops to find and book a cheaper hotel room. The product maps rate descriptions to amenities and ensures recommended rates are like-for-like in terms of the original bed and room type that were chosen.

Core Technology Platform

The GBT travel management ecosystem, which provides travel managers and travellers with a single point of contact for all elements of their travel program, is underpinned by GBT's proprietary Core Technology Platform and big data and analytics infrastructure.

GBT says it has focused on developing solutions that help clients grow their businesses and care for their travellers, while applying strict risk and compliance standards. This drove GBT to build the Core Technology Platform (CTP) to optimize clients' traveller data, to inform innovative products and improve traveller care. 

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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