Exclusive Interview: Joanne Sully – Vice President and General Manager – American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), Asia Pacific
American Express Global Business Travel has been working hard in APAC to counter the effects of the Covid-19 situation. We asked Joanne Sully, Vice President and General Manager for American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), Asia Pacific, how the organisation has been helping its clients and partners at this time.
When the world went into lockdown back in March, our first response was to mobilise our incident management response team and implement a business continuity plan. In these early days, our travel counsellors around the world repatriated more than 35,000 passengers and we processed more than 100,000 refunds.
Our teams went all out to locate travellers, supply travel managers with reports and analytics and get people home to their loved ones. We were an essential partner in supporting companies to fulfil their duty of care obligations.
Traveller confidence though has been shaken. Gaining this back is essential to get the world moving again.
we are arming travel managers and travellers alike, and making sure they have “know before you go” information at their fingertips
Now, we are arming travel managers and travellers alike, and making sure they have “know before you go” information at their fingertips. We’ve launched a new tool called Travel Vitals which aggregates information from hundreds of sources to provide the essential Covid-19 information a traveller needs, all in one place.
We can help clients pinpoint and communicate with travellers in a crisis by using GPS and recent credit card data combined with itinerary information. In everyday travel, we have numerous channels for travellers and travel managers, such as in-app messaging, and live webchat with travel counsellors, as well as phone, SMS and email.
Managing forward-looking traveller data is also critical: In this vein, we’ve helped thousands of clients look at forward bookings by proactively pulling data, identifying and communicating with clients and employees that needed support.
What sectors are you seeing emerging at this point and what are the most challenging?
Our data tells us domestic travel is returning more quickly and more strongly than international travel, primarily because there are less restrictions from governments.
Around the world, economies have been severely impacted by the lack of travel. Perhaps the biggest challenge we have is restriction, rather than demand. And we can’t really gain confidence in travel without governments looking to open-up borders again internationally.
We can see some proactive policy in places like Singapore with the establishment of Safe Travel Pass schemes with countries including China, Malaysia and New Zealand.
But for business travel to play a vital role in restarting the global economy, we need to see more governments embrace proactive policies. Only then can we get the world moving again.
What were the key messages in your presentation at ITB Asia 2020 Virtual ?
Building traveller confidence and how TMCs partner with companies and travel managers to do this is the key message for our session.
This is a defining moment for TMCs and we are uniquely positioned to build trust back in business travel.
We are well placed to partner with our clients, travellers and their companies in this new era of
Watch Joanne’s C-Suite Talk
“What today’s Corporate Travellers want and how Companies can adapt” on replay @ itb-community.com