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New American Express Retail Office of the Future

June 11, 2009 By: George Dooley

Combining technology, customer services and localized promotion, American Express has opened its flagship Travel Service Office in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is taking retail leisure travel services to a new level. The new Harvard Square office offers visitors new travel services including a cardmember lounge, concierge services, unique virtual technology, special travel offers and events, in addition to service from American Express' travel agents.

"The new Cambridge office is the travel agency of the future, a destination that’s welcoming, interactive and encourages visitors to linger and discover all the features and services that American Express Travel offers," said Ellen Bettridge, vice president of the American Express Retail Travel Network.  "Our goal is to make the vacation planning and exploration process easy, convenient and meaningful; and to invite consumers who haven’t used a travel agent before to discover the benefits."

The Cambridge Travel Service Office features a new onsite concierge services desk that provides end-to-end travel planning for elements of a trip including dining and entertainment, daily activities and excursions, tours and transportation. The Travel Service Office also provides an American Express Cardmember Lounge, which offers cardmembers a place to unwind and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and refreshments.

"Our Travel Service Offices around the world have always been a place our cardmembers go when they need assistance," added Bettridge.  "In launching this new flagship location, we wanted to provide an oasis for our cardmembers and for customers and to continue to demonstrate that American Express is there for them."

Additionally, a business lounge area is available with administrative services for conferences, guest lectures and other functions for an additional fee.

The Travel Service Office also features innovative technologies through a Microsoft Surface station designed to take visitors on new and exciting journeys.  Customers have access to a touch-screen map that provides information and details on hotels, travel offers and promotions through videos and images, virtually transporting them to destinations around the world.

Localized promotion includes incentives for booking vacation packages. From now until July 31, 2009, travelers who book a qualifying vacation package at the new Cambridge office that is valued at $3,000 or more will receive a $300 American Express Gift Card, with certain applied restrictions. The Cambridge office will host events with key American Express Travel partners that will be open to the public, including: 
*    "Set Sail in Harvard Square" with Royal Caribbean that will bring the cruising experience to life. Guests can sample hors d'oeuvres inspired by their onboard fare and receive exciting booking offers on June 25, 2009
*    "Ireland Loves Boston" with Brendan Vacations will entice travelers to get to know and plan their next vacation to Ireland with live Irish music, Irish fare and compelling travel incentives on August 6, 2009.
*    "Destination Caribbean" with American Express Vacations in partnership with a Caribbean tourism board will invite Bostonians to plan their next warm weather vacation with island music, tropical fare, special travel offers, giveaways and more. To be held in September.

In addition to the events, the Cambridge travel office offers benefits to its customers through partnerships with Lands' End and Travel + Leisure. As the official retail partner for the Cambridge office, Lands' End supplied the travel service office team apparel and will provide visitors a ten percent discount on apparel through a special website.

The Cambridge travel office is located at 39 JFK Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


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