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AmEx Travel's New Ad Campaign Puts Focus on Benefits

June 29, 2010 By: David Eisen

American Express' U.S. consumer travel sales were up $108 million in the first quarter, 30 percent higher than at the same time last year. Seems like the perfect time to launch a new ad campaign and that's just what American Express Travel is doing.

Debuting today, the campaign will appear online and in print media like the New York Times and will act as a reminder of all the benefits customers have available to them just by booking through American Express Travel.

We got the scoop on the new campaign from Claire Bennett, American Express Travel's senior vice president, U.S. Consumer Travel Network. "We think it’s a great time to travel given that the industry is coming back after a tough year," Bennett says. "The campaign gives consumers a more comprehensive view of American Express Travel and showcases everything that they are leaving behind when they don’t book with us."

This is really the first time that American Express is launching an entire ad campaign dedicated to American Express Travel. "We’ve had card member ads focused on travel, but never had travel-specific messaging focused on consumers," Bennett says.

The campaign has three facets. First and foremost, booking online equals double Membership Rewards points. Second, for Centurion and Platinum card holders, is reminding them of the virtues of AmEx's Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which is now completely online. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts Online allows Platinum and Centurion cardmembers access to booking services for over 600 properties. And here's what they get: late 4 p.m. check out, room upgrade when available, a complimentary breakfast and additional credits that can be used toward things like spa or golf. "The point of campaign is about making someone stop and think about what they didn’t take advantage of that they could have," Bennett says. "Nobody wants to leave something on the table."

Lastly, the campaign promotes the use of travel specialists—the power of travel agents. "There’s been a lot of press about the agent and are they going away?" Bennett says. "We believe in the power of the agent and it helps when we are talking about the power of the agent. The agent is someone who is there to take care of what you need. The campaign reminds people of what’s great about using an agent in terms of their expertise, their relationships and peace of mind."

In sum, the ad campaign is there as a reminder of what customers are missing out on when they don't book via American Express Travel. It's about "Here’s the benefits you have which you may not be using," Bennett says. "If not a card member, here are the benefits you could get and if not a card member and just want to book through us, we are still a great option."

The campaign will run through the end of the year. Here's an sample ad: "On her dream cruise, Diana Brost forgot her sunglasses, her toothbrush and her Travel Specialist." The ad will run with an image of a travel agent.



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