Skift Take

Shifting business travel patterns makes small businesses an essential part of the overall travel management client mix for Amex GBT. Its use of generative AI to serve them is eye-catching.

 American Express Global Business Travel says its push to make it easier for small businesses to manage their travel needs has paid off. The company reported double-digit transaction growth in the small- and medium-sized business segment in the third quarter. 

“Our biggest opportunity remains in the SME segment, and this represents a total opportunity of approximately $950 billion of travel spend,” said Paul Abbott, Amex GBT CEO. He said 70% of the SME segment is not in a managed travel program.

The company reported a 10% increase in SME transactions in the quarter and a 17% increase in revenue, to $571 million. 

Amex GBT also expanded its reach with new clients like Blackstone, Fortescue, Warner Brothers Discovery, and an undisclosed global financial services firm. 

Amex Refines Its Digital Game

Additionally, Abbott highlighted the company’s focus on its software service solutions and the ongoing use of artificial intelligence for cost savings in the long term.    

Amex GBT has focused on improving its Egencia platform, which it bought from Expedia, with new mobile apps, chat options, and AI that helps with travel policies, working to simplify travel management for smaller companies.

Its digital channels, including the proprietary platform Neo, saw a 13% increase in transactions during the third quarter. That outpaced the overall growth rate. 

The CEO added that, year-to-date, Amex GBT mobile app user growth has nearly doubled, mobile interactions grew by more than 140%, and chat volumes are up almost 50%. 

“40% of our costs are people serving customers in the voice channel, and using AI and automation to drive efficiency is something we’ve been doing consistently for several years,” said Abbott. “But looking ahead, we have an even bigger opportunity. With generative AI and large language models, we have the opportunity to drive further efficiency at an accelerated pace.”

Third Quarter 2023 Numbers:

  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose by 135% year-on-year to $95 million during the quarter.
  • Total transaction value increased by 8% year-on-year, reaching $7.1 billion in the quarter.
  • Net loss decreased to $8 million from $73 million in the same period a year earlier.

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Tags: american express gbt, business travel, corporate travel, corporate travel management, earnings, small businesses

Photo credit: About 70% of SME opportunity is not currently in a managed travel program, according to Amex GBT CEO. Unsplash

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