Travel among clients of American Express Travel is growing, with most interested in last-minute bookings to nearby destinations, according to the company's president, Audrey Hendley.
"We do see travel coming back week over week," Hendley said. "It's building on itself week after week. We are seeing the card members that are ready to travel interested in exploring nearby destinations, taking more road trips and booking last minute, so much of the work we're doing right now is in that 30- and 45-day window."
Interest in getting away, albeit closer to home, can also be seen in U.S. hotel booking trends from the agency: 43% of bookings made in August were in either the card member's home state or local region.
"That's an amazing stat," Hendley said. "This time last year, that number would have been 29%, so that obviously shows huge change in what customers are thinking about."
Clients are particularly interested in escapes to the great outdoors, Hendley said. For instance, she recently saw a fly-fishing itinerary for a client headed to Butte, Mont.
"I'm thinking that that is the perfect vacation for the time and place," she said.
Some clients have delayed travel within the U.S. as Covid-19 cases have spiked. Hendley said earlier this summer some clients held off on visits to Florida and Arizona while those states experienced increased case numbers. In most cases, the clients delayed travel instead of canceling.
While some travel has restarted, an American Express Travel survey conducted earlier this month found that the majority of respondents are at least thinking about travel.
According to the survey, 65% of consumers are dreaming about, researching deals for or starting to book their next trip, and 82% say travel is one of the activities they miss the most. Sixty-six percent said they are currently exploring destinations closer to home while dreaming of more far-flung trips down the road. London, Paris and Rome are three favorites among American Express Travel clients.
American Express Travel is offering card members several deals related to changes in travelers' booking behaviors.
"We understand that everybody has a varying level of comfort with
traveling right now, and one of our roles is to provide customers with
the necessary information or resources so they can navigate the
unpredictable travel environment," Hendley said.
Meanwhile, American Express Travel has been investing in resources and education for its travel advisors. Hendley said they have been given access to new tools and resources with the latest health and safety information, something that survey results indicate the majority of consumers want to know about, as well as a number of training programs.
"It's a tough job to be able to assimilate the rapid change that's going on in the environment, so our goal is to make sure our frontline [advisors] are well equipped to do the job and to meet and exceed the needs of customers and the travel partners we work with," she said.
Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents said they are interested in complimentary nights or property credits for lodging. So, more than 200 properties from the Fine Hotels + Resorts collection are offering that to Platinum Card members, and some offers are repeatable. Booking and travel dates vary.
Platinum Card members who enroll in the Fine Hotels + Resorts Amex offer and spend $800 or more, in one or more transactions, on Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings will receive a one-time $150 statement credit for travel booked by Dec. 7.
Considering a number of consumers indicated they would be interested in discounted domestic flights soon, Platinum Card members will have access to lower fares on select domestic routes and flights through Dec. 31, saving them up to 22% off the public fare. Fares are available for travel through March 31.
With the number of consumers interested in road trips, card members will be able to use their Membership Rewards Pay with Points for prepaid car bookings through AmexTravel.com.