Skift Take

Texting is central to most people's everyday lives, so it's surprising that most travel agencies are so sluggish to adopt it. At this point, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a key part of every corporate travel program.

The corporate travel world has always been slow to change, but sometimes it can feel pretty ridiculous. For example, it’s nearly 2020 but most travelers still can’t use text to communicate with their travel management companies.

Texting has become one of the most common ways of conversing, both with friends and with colleagues. But instead of just going into their phone contacts and sending a message to customer support, travelers have to either make a call to their travel agency, or use the chat tool embedded within the company’s website or app. Not to mention, these in-app chat tools usually connect travelers to bots rather than real people.

American Express Global Business Travel is starting to change things, however. The company partnered with Apple Business Chat in November and is now providing instant messaging to all Apple smartphone users, connecting clients to real human counsellors. Now, many other travel management companies are following suit.

Mark McSpadden, vice president of global product strategy for American Express Global Business Travel, talked to Skift about why it’s taken so long for travel management companies to embrace instant messaging.

Read this story, and many more, below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at or tweet @ikcarey.

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

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Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: amex gbt, bcd travel, corporate travel, ctir, cwt

Photo Credit: A man texts using his smartphone. Tony Alter / Flickr

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