American Express Global Business Travel reports it will expand the number of its front-line travel counselor employees to a virtual, or home-based network. The transition follows a successful multi-year pilot program in which nearly 25 percent of its travel counselors already moved to the virtual network. No travel counselor positions will be eliminated as part of the transition, AMEX GBT said.
“Our business traveler’s needs are becoming more complex, and unexpected events create increased servicing demands,” said Julie Bottner, executive vice president and general manager, global service delivery, American Express Global Business Travel.
“Thanks to advancements in technology, virtual servicing is a viable, thriving option that will benefit our clients tremendously. Virtual servicing allows us to better manage service levels through volume fluctuations, increases our ability to provide immediate and around the clock support during emergencies or travel disruptions and improves our access to a more experienced and engaged workforce,” she said.
“We’ve tested this effort and the results are very positive,” continued Bottner. “Clients working exclusively with virtual servicing teams reported higher satisfaction levels, and our employee engagement and loyalty results increased.”
The announcement cited recent research data by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), that the percentage of home‐based agencies grew by 409 percent over the last decade.
The technology network and platform that counselors will use is a critical part of this transition. The virtual network will continue to emphasize security and control, routing and delivery, and state of the art equipment and connectivity to ensure clients receive consistent service quality, American Express GBT said.
American Express Global Business Travel is a division of American Express Company, focused on business travel and meetings management. Visit www.americanexpress.com/businesstravel
American Express operates one of the world’s largest travel agency networks with locations in over 140 countries worldwide. Total travel sales volume processed in 2010 was $25.7 billion, AMEX reports. This includes consolidated volume and non-consolidated volume processed through joint ventures and its partner network.