AMEX launches Meetings & Events

COMPETITION among travel management companies (TMCs) to manage meetings cost for corporations – dubbed the last frontier of unmanaged corporate travel spending – is intensifying, with American Express (AMEX) rolling out Meetings & Events as a brand extension of its TMC, Global Business Travel.

AMEX has appointed a Meetings & Events vice president for Europe, Michael Schuller, and also sees opportunity to expand the business in Asia.

AMEX has more than 20 years experience in managing meetings for corporations, with 21,000 meetings handled last year, according to global vice president Meetings & Events, Issa Jouaneh. But the new branding and global strategy are in response to “the new normal” post-recession, where companies are scrutinising their investment in meetings, he said.

Jouaneh said companies typically focus on their large meetings, while their small meetings, which constitute 70 per cent of the volume, only get 30 per cent of the focus. Travel management, meetings management and procurement are different disciplines with conflicting priorities and goals that must be balanced, he added.

Peter Koh, regional travel manager Asia-Pacific, Japan of Symantec, said Symantec had started using AMEX Meetings & Events in the UK, AMEA and the US, with Asia in the pipeline.

With AMEX as its TMC, using Meetings & Events is “a one-stop shop”, Koh said.

“Europe is doing well, with six-figure cost-savings in one year (after implementing managed meetings),” said Koh.

“That’s what corporations want to see now – the dollars and cents.”

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