PHOENIX – American Express Travel opens its Travel Insiders program to new applicants, allowing representatives to apply to become privileged and benefit from contacts received from the American Express website, the company said during your Arizona Biltmore Travel Forum here.
“This has been a phenomenal program for those of you who are there,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president of American Express Travel. “Probably the most important thing we’ve heard from all our representatives is that they want more people from their groups to participate, so we’ll reopen admission to Travel Insiders.”
“What I love about Travel Insiders is that they serve and inspire,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president of American Express Travel.
The program invites representatives of American Express to apply to be privileged in certain destinations or specializations, whether in a specific place, cruises, family trips or similar. In turn, consumers can find them on the American Express website and contact them to meet their travel needs.
According to Bennett, admission to become Travel Insider has long been closed, but will now reopen.
“What I love about Travel Insiders is that they serve and inspire, and it’s a win for our customers and it’s also a win for them,” he said. “So you’ll see more, and we’re really working through the destinations we want to keep adding.”
Tanuj Suri, vice president of premium customer experience, said American Express Travel currently has about 150 privileged users and that the program will be expanded based on where they are needed, depending on the destination.
Interns are verified by applying (they must have completed a certain number of trips per destination in a given time to qualify) and going through a process of interviews at various stages. Since it started a few years ago, Suri said the program has shrunk slightly based on needs assessments, but American Express Travel has a renewed interest in adding more privileged ones when needed.
Bennett said expansion is the goal, but with the right privileged.
American Express Travel is also working on creating a knowledge management system, Bennett said. The system will collect data from American Express Travel employees around the world, creating an easily accessible database of travel experiences and information.
Ideally, the system would classify information about destinations and experiences that cannot be found online and have that information readily available to the American Express Travel network, according to Bennett.
Most of the information in the system will likely come from locals, in the market, who have information, he said.
“That’s the power of our network, and that’s how we really win: that’s when we do it all together,” he said.
While nothing in the system is based on stone, Bennett said that in his opinion, it would be ideal to have one person in each of American Express Travel’s 22 global markets curating the information available for their market.
American Express Travel representatives will also soon be able to access a cohesive provider learning academy and see the same information that call center employees have had access to in the past.
Bennett said there were previously two versions of the online education system: one for representatives and one for American Express employees. Now, all the information, which the providers upload to the site, will be accessible to everyone in one system.
American Express recently announced new card subscription benefits, including that Platinum cardholders will receive 5X Membership Rewards points on airline purchases. American Express plans to introduce more benefits for card members, Bennett said, but stood firm on what they could be, exactly.
“There’s more to come,” he said, “but you’ll see a lot more information for our card members about the benefits we add that explain why you should book with American Express Travel.”