During their annual meeting in Seattle, October 5-8, Travel agency members of American Express Travel’s Representative Network were offered a host of new marketing and business building tools to ensure they remain a competitive force.
In addition to the announcement of 10 new Representative agency members, American Express announced new tools, technologies and alliances that American Express sees as valuable to the Representative Network. Key initiatives include:
• New and improved direct-mail customization capabilities in 2009. Direct Mail Customization enables agencies to personalize best-in-class national marketing and mail to their local customer base and American Express Cardmembers. The 2009 Direct Mail Customization platform will deliver a series of valuable enhancements, the company said.
• The relaunch of the Retail Marketing Online Toolkit (RMOT). RMOT has been relaunched to include new marketing templates, enhanced functionality and improved user navigation. RMOT is a one-stop marketing shop that can be accessed through AXtraWeb, American Express’ internal website. The toolkit empowers Representative agencies to cost-effectively reach their customers with quality marketing communications, resulting in significantly more marketing impressions and the potential to drive sales volume.
Representative agencies can now choose from more than 40 retail marketing pieces to customize or build their own communications in e-mail or print format with a personalized call to action. In less than five clicks, agencies can build their own customized postcard. The new In Market section allows Representative agencies to view all Retail Marketing campaigns that have launched, and in the Upcoming Promotions section, they can see when future Retail Marketing promotions are scheduled.
• A new series of special marketing materials—the Business Travel Online Marketing Toolkit. This is designed to specifically support Representative Network agencies focused on business travel. Through the new toolkit, these agencies can develop key messages and corporate brand images that are unique to their business.
• American Express Travel’s (in partnership with SwiftTrip) online booking engine for leisure and business travel content, related membership registration systems, airfare analysis products and group airfare analysis tools. The program includes air, hotel, cruise and tour booking capabilities, and it enables agencies to customize their travel portals. SwiftTrip is a software development company jointly owned by three U.S. Retail Travel Network representative agencies: Morris Murdock Travel, Passageways Travel and The Travel Authority.
Also, at the end of 2008, American Express Travel will unveil its newly enhanced Travel Office and Specialist Locator tool, which is being redesigned to highlight American Express' competitive advantages and improve the online user experience, the company said.
The key enhancements to the site will include a FAQ section to help customers understand when and how to work with a travel specialist. Each specialist will have their own unique web page with the ability to showcase their accreditation and personal information, as well as include a picture of themselves.
Other features include descriptions of travel office services in one centralized area, making it easier for customers to find and navigate through available options. There will also be integration of an American Express-branded MapQuest tool that will map Travel Office locations and allow users to cross-reference other AXP Travel benefits, such as Fine Hotels & Resorts and Platinum Dining locations.