American Express Global Business Travel (“GBT”) today announced the launch of a new pre –booking approval solution, EXPERT APPROVAL, designed to automate the travel approval process, and ensure bookings are made within policy and budget.
EXPERT APPROVAL simplifies the approval process between the traveller and the travel approver, regardless of device or location. Highly configurable to an organisation’s specific travel policy, EXPERT APPROVAL can be accessed via web browser from the desktop or a mobile device. It works with all online booking tools and supports both online and offline bookings, in the case of particularly complicated itineraries. Further, EXPERT APPROVAL draws up-to-the-minute risk information, flagging potential risks and escalating approval where necessary.
By automating the travel approval process, EXPERT APPROVAL helps organisations reduce approval times, minimise unnecessary travel, and restrict travel which exceeds budgets, thereby saving money. For the traveller themselves, this tool simplifies the travel approval process, as all the relevant policy information is already contained within the tool, and it removes the need for manual intervention with emails or paper approval forms. Also, within the tool, the traveller has the ability to estimate the cost of the trip via an application interface to the Sabre global travel marketplace, and access to previous trip information at their fingertips.
“EXPERT APPROVAL is designed to support management of demand when it comes to booking and approving travel,” said Christophe Tcheng Vice President, Core Products and Platform Architecture, American Express Global Business Travel. “Travel is one of the largest controllable expenses for many companies, and having an automated solution which approves appropriate travel faster, while restricting unnecessary travel before its even booked, saves money and enables all-round better visibility of travel spend.”
“The traveller can potentially estimate the cost of their trip and have it approved through the appropriate channels within minutes, saving time and energy. They can also clearly identify if their requested trip is within policy and access relevant up-to-the-minute destination risk information. ”
When a traveller submits a travel request in EXPERT APPROVAL, the trip details and estimated costs are calculated and immediately sent to the travel approver for review. Once approved, the traveller is sent an authorisation number, and trip details are submitted to the travel counsellor or online booking tool to finalise.
EXPERT APPROVAL draws information from multiple sources such as government websites and integrated risk management solutions provider iJET International, to provide destination risk information. iJET’s regularly updated risk ratings can be used to define additional approval requirements prior to booking. This in turn provides travellers and approvers with up-to-date information on the appropriateness of travel to specific locations and also ensures all travel to high-risk destinations must be approved by the appropriate decision makers within an organisation.
Further, EXPERT APPROVAL is online booking tool agnostic, and currently offers enhanced integration with Serko’s online booking tool, Serko Online. Once the trip is approved and the user is ready to make their booking, the details of the trip are automatically sent from EXPERT APPROVAL to Serko Online for booking. This provides a seamless, end-to-end experience for the traveller, and helps the company drive adoption of online booking channels. Automatic integration will be extended to additional online booking tools in 2016.