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American Express mobile service makes life easier for business travelers

 American Express is offering a new mobile service to help businesses and traveling employees quickly and efficiently change travel plans that have been disrupted by the weather or other unforeseen events. 

Mobile Communications Management enables companies to easily locate traveling employees and communicate with them via their mobile devices. The service addresses the growing reliance of business travelers on their mobile devices to access pertinent information in real time and help them through travel disruptions.

“With Mobile Communications Management, we are helping companies incorporate mobile communications into their managed travel programs, making them more reliable and useful for travelers,” said Michel La Bianca, vice president of technology strategy at American Express Global Business Travel, New York.  

“Mobile usage has exploded and is revolutionizing our industry,” he said. “There is demand for mobile functionality in transit – the new traveler is tech savvy and the expectation is for mobile access everywhere.

“The future lies in sophisticated, relevant, and intuitive mobile applications like Mobile Communications Management, which hold benefits for both the traveler and their company.”

American Express Global Business Travel is a division of American Express Co. and a leader in business travel and meetings management.

Travel interruptions
The service  monitors and maps major travel disruptions such as weather systems, strikes or other events to help with contingency planning. Companies can create a roadmap view of the world and visually pinpoint traveler locations through color-coded markers as well as see a list view of traveler names by location.

Key traveler trip information populates the visual map and is continuously updated when itineraries are created, changed or added.

The service is powered by American Express Business Travel’s patent-pending data infrastructure that continuously updates traveler locations.

“For regular travel tasks, Mobile Communications Management carries benefits related to convenience: helping travelers manage itineraries and destination information,” Mr. La Bianca said. “All of this material is provided directly to the traveler’s mobile device.”

“Mobile Communications Management also offers benefits during emergencies and travel interruptions,” he said.

“The recent crisis in Japan and previous travel disruptions like volcanic ash has made the necessity of travel tracking more acute.”

The two-way communication feature lets companies send location requests and status updates directly to travelers’ mobile devices. Messages are sent in the most compatible format based on the type of device each traveler uses.

The dynamic mapping feature is integrated into the messaging tool so that travelers can be clustered based on their responses, enabling the company to manage groups. Groups can be created for geographic areas or other filters based on traveler information.

Techology provider Charter Solutions is providing the patent-pending dynamic mapping functionality for the solution.

Mobile Communications Management is an enhancement to MobileExtend, which was launched last year and lets travel managers push out information to business travelers via mobile such as maps, currency conversions, tips on preferred ground transportation and other useful information.

“Our goal is to provide both travelers and their companies support in day-to-day traveler management as well as in emergencies and travel disruptions,” Mr. La Bianca said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York