As part of our ongoing coverage of the American Express Travel U.S. Representative Network Conference, Travel Agent sat in on a presentation by Steve Ochs, vice president of marketing for American Express Consumer Travel Network, and got the skinny on a host of new marketing strategies the network plans to roll out soon.
Complementing the already successful American Express Travel Specialist program, the Travel Insiders program is a fee based service that combines custom itineraries, Membership Reward Points and other customer interactions an touch pints. Since the soft launching this year, the site has had more than 73,000 unique visits.
Ochs noted that the insiders program has generated 30 percent of network members' total leads. This is a new distribution platform for AmEx. Ochs says five new destinations will be made available for booking on the Travel Insiders site. Those destinations are the United Kingdom, India, China, South Africa and France. Those destinations will be rolled out by the middle of November. All other destinations available on the specialist site will be rolled out on the insider site by next year.
The newly created Retail Travel Hub provides members with key information on car ember travel benefits, services and special limited offers available by booking exclusively with an American Express Travel office. This "White Label" version is available to link directly to the Member Network's own website, as an additional tool for drubbing business into their office.
Ochs also says the network is looking into new branding.
"We are looking at a more holistic message for AmEx at large," he says. "We are revamping our brand positioning and we launched a big marketing campaign next year. We will also be doing the same marketing campaign that we've always done. It's a dual approach."
Ochs says the company is also looking to heavily push turnkey marketing and will be moving there two marketing systems - the Retail Marketing Online Tool (RMOT) kit and Morpheus- into one comprehensive system.
Lastly, Ochs stressed the importance of the company's new NEXTPEDITION program, which was announced earlier this year. NEXTPEDITION, a new way to travel targeted to travel enthusiasts in their 20s and 30s. Through NEXTPEDITION, American Express Travel offers consumers the opportunity to take a vacation where the destination and itinerary are unknown until the actual journey begins and is revealed day by day via a customized smartphone. The “mystery trip” is customized to reflect the traveler’s personality traits, providing an opportunity for him or her to explore the world in an unexpected and intuitive way.
"This is definitely one of the most exciting things I've seen,"Ochs says. "This is our foothold in reaching out to our future card member base. And in the fourth quarter, we will have some larger median approaches with NEXTPEDITION."
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates from the American Express Travel U.S. Representative Network Conference.