Corporate travel industry veteran Andy McGraw joined Milwaukee-based Adelman Travel as CEO in May 2017. Since then, the travel management company has positioned itself as a mobile-first "platform as a service" operator, underpinned by its mobile app, Adelman Virtual Assistant, or AVA, and an upgrade to its workforce management and agent-facing technology. He spoke with The Beat editor-in-chief Jay Boehmer.
Before American Express acquired chatbot builder Mezi, three travel management companies—Adelman Travel, Casto Travel and WTMC—had partnered with the tech startup for their own message-based offerings. Five months after the payment company acquired it, Mezi has wound down work with TMCs.
Milwaukee-based travel management company Adelman plans to launch an out-of-the box offering for small businesses to transition from unmanaged to managed travel.
In a memo to Concur's preferred travel management company partners last week, EVP of supplier and TMC services Mike Koetting called small businesses the industry's "white whale." With its new Concur Hipmunk product for unmanaged travel, Concur has sharpened its harpoon and joined plenty of would-be Captain Ahabs.
It has been widely documented that this would be the year of the new normal for the business of managing travel; firmer policies would continue to prevail as budgets remain tightly managed and return on investment (ROI) would become a standard metric. This expectation offers the industry another opportunity to optimize and create increased relevance in the C-suite.
Even as the carrier lends its public support to new distribution companies, Continental Airlines recently described an alternative program that uses traditional solutions as "one of the biggest success stories we have."
Accor is considering the sale of part or all of its 50 percent ownership in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, an Accor spokesperson confirmed this morning after the French newspaper Les Echos revealed the information in an article published today. Accor's shares rose more than 2 percent on the news.
In last month switching complete servicing for its 5,000 frequent travelers to the San Antonio call center of Travelocity Business, Aetna became the first very large company whose travel management is fully serviced by Sabre Holdings. In the domestic realm anyway, this makes Sabre as much a corporate travel management company as Aetna's former agency, American Express.
Recently announced changes in the global travel management landscape raised questions about the merits of consolidating multinational corporate travel programs with as few providers as possible, but a show of hands by dozens of corporate buyers attending The Masters Program last week indicated nearly all of them still prefer consolidation.
American Express questioned the global distribution systems' economic model and committed to raising return on equity in its business travel division. Sabre Holdings downplayed the potentially conflicting needs of Travelocity and other agencies using its GDS. IAC Travel minimized the likelihood it would acquire a GDS, but did not rule it out.
Business travelers and purchasing managers increasingly face bias as online or offline travel agencies continue or expand on what they call "merchandising," "marketing" or "display sorting." '
American Express Business Travel earlier this week revealed plans to combine its online and offline divisions as part of a global restructuring that involves undisclosed cost reductions.
American Express on October 31 terminated a partnership with Tampa-based Sykes Enterprises for Emergency Travel Service call support in the Philippines. At its peak, the center handled 20 percent of 24-hour emergency service calls for Amex, a spokesperson said.
The TravelBahn Distribution Solution from American Express has been shrouded in mystery since birth. "We can't give you the details on the economic model--you just have to know that it's helping AA and Amex lower the costs," said executive Pam Arway back in late 2002 when Amex announced the participation of American Airlines. It later became apparent that TravelBahn DS represented neither special direct connection technology nor a bypass of the global distribution system; instead, it was a new e