Antoine Delesalle, Sales Director of American Express GBT.
Is it still necessary to take a business trip to a distant destination with the uncertainties linked to the rules regarding the pandemic?
Antoine Delesalle – The pandemic has indeed profoundly changed companies’ behavior in their approach to business travel. In most cases, we see that business travel is only undertaken if it is perceived as essential. Business trips for “comfort” are de facto banned. Afterwards, everything depends on the activity of the companies. For example, the construction industry or the signing of large commercial contracts require a local presence. But the obstacles to business travel are quite significant, because the traveler must now comply with two health regulations: that of his company and that of the country he is visiting. In addition, there is a third party responsible for the traveler’s safety. The traveler must therefore deal with three or four interlocutors. The company must act quickly to make a decision in this complex Covid context.
So is the context always a deterrent because of quarantine uncertainties or changing rules?
A. D. – Yes, because companies face a travel environment that is not static where health rules influence travel “consumption” very quickly. For example, in 2021, companies have stayed away from the United States for most of the year. But as soon as the constraints were eased, we saw demand rebound. The same thing happened with the UK.
So how does Amex GBT mitigate this instability in travel policies?
A. D. – As a TMC (Travel Management Company), we have above all a duty to provide information and support. And we have worked extensively on these notions since 2020. We monitor in real time the health conditions in a given situation. This is how we launched Travel Vitals
, a dynamic information platform that provides travelers and travel organizers with a platform that centralizes all the data they need before, during and after a business trip. We try to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises for the traveler. In fact, it is widely used by our customers. We have also invested in our NEO reservation platform by creating Covid tablets. They provide essential information for planning a trip. Finally, with Whatsapp, we have created a chat room. It allows our customers to connect permanently and get an immediate response. And it’s humans talking to humans. Our role is to accompany the company through information, technology and human …
What can you do during a forced quarantine? Do you offer insurance services?
A. D. – As a
At TMC, we do not work with individuals but with companies. What happens in the context of a quarantine imposed, is that the individual will turn to his company, and the latter will in turn contact his insurer who, generally, insures the whole company. We do not offer insurance, as this is not our role. However, we are always there to provide information and to relieve the individual of the problems of stewardship… Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Amex GBT has handled some 35,000 repatriations.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!