The Beat Letters: Petruccelli On Petruccelli Provoking The Status Quo

American Express executive Charles Petruccelli wrote to The Beat in response to feedback on "Petruccelli Attempts To 'Provoke The Status Quo,' Advocates Outsourced Travel Mgmt.," published Sept. 25.

"When I addressed The Beat Live conference recently, one of my objectives was to get our industry to start challenging the status quo. I'm glad to see a debate emerge around the evolving role of the travel manager. But if we're going to have a healthy debate, it's important to define the terms--so I'd like to set the record straight about my position on the topic of travel management outsourcing.
As I stated in my remarks, American Express Business Travel is seeing a growing number of customers explore a fully outsourced travel process and purchasing model--a decision that can save time and money for the customer and allow them to reallocate resources to their core business operations.

This was certainly not to say that the role of the travel manager is diminished through outsourcing. If anything, the travel manager's job is in fact enhanced!

Travel managers are being increasingly judged by C-suite executives on their ability to deliver a return on investment from travel. Results are critical. Travel managers must wear many hats, from internally marketing their services to increase traveler adoption and policy compliance to working hand in hand with procurement to deliver visibility and control over travel spend across the enterprise.

By absorbing the elements of travel that are not core to a company's business objectives, travel management outsourcing not only saves money--it also makes it possible for travel managers to elevate within their organizations and take on a more strategic role. It helps ensure that travel managers can truly focus on delivering consistent value to the company, extending beyond a narrow--and increasingly outmoded--preoccupation with transaction costs.

Business process outsourcing has entered many key areas of companies, from technology to human resources. We still have CIOs and we still have human resources managers--and these executives are now able to focus on the higher-order strategic questions facing their organizations. It's time for travel to experience the same transformation, for the good of all constituencies--the travel manager above all."

~ American Express Global Travel Services President Charles Petruccelli