Behind the Scenes at Fine Hotels and Resorts

AmEx Travel exec reveals the magic of the differentiated, personalised, global experience

Allison Beer is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for American Express Travel and Lifestyle Services. In this global role, she manages Amex Travel’s strategic airline, hotel, private jet and ground transportation partnerships including the International Airline Program, The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels and Resorts. Beer took on this role just over a year ago; we asked her to describe the main responsibilities attached to her post.

Our partners provide our customers with premium travel experiences they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. My role is to work closely with our air, ground and lodging partners to deliver truly differentiated and innovative programs in the marketplace. To do that, our team works closely with our service delivery and marketing organisations to showcase what our partners do best. My favourite part of the job is bringing a breakthrough idea to market that our customers and partners love.

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Waldorf Astoria Park City

How do you select the partner hotels for the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme?

The past ten years have seen tremendous growth in the luxury lodging market, and the interest to participate in Fine Hotels & Resorts has grown with that. Every year, hotels worldwide apply to join the program, and our team reviews every applicant to select the best of the best for our Card Members. As we evaluate current and prospective properties, we take a close look at their five-star amenities, room product, public spaces, spa, dining and their service experience.

Of course, we couldn’t make truly informed decisions without the vital input of our Card Members. We conduct an exhaustive review of their satisfaction with regard to our current partners and analyse Card Member travel trends in existing and new markets. Armed with this intelligence, we are able to pinpoint where we want more inventory in a current or new destination. We continuously look for innovative and exciting offerings.

What do your Travel & Lifestyle Services offer to Card Members?

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Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas 

Are they targeted at specific customers? We always have a customer in mind when we work with our partners to develop our programs. For our Platinum Card Members, our Fine Hotels & Resorts (FH&R) and the International Airline Programs (IAP) connect them with the most amazing luxury hotels worldwide, and they enjoy some of the best prices on international first – and business – class air. This year, we launched Insider Fares, which allows Card Members to enjoy discounted fares on certain routes and airlines when using Membership Rewards points for the airfare. Next year, we have an eye on expanding one of our newest lodging programs, The Hotel Collection, to new online channels and markets. The Hotel Collection was designed for Gold and Platinum Card Members and offers room upgrades and on-property credits.

We take a close look at their five-star amenities, room product, public spaces, spa, dining and their service experience

What benefits do your customers derive from your new online strategy? What other new tools are available?

We are offering greater personalisation. We know who our customers are, we know they have diverse interests and needs, so we are making better use of data to offer experiences that are suited just for them. This is an area where we have made a lot of investment. In addition, we have focused on more completely integrating our programs that either historically have been provided only offline or were created and housed in different sites into one premium experience on amextravel.com. As I mentioned, we use Card Member data to provide personalised experiences. And, of course, we want all of this optimised for mobile devices.

Looking ahead, what key areas of business you are focusing on?

We are a global enterprise and will continue to streamline our infrastructure to thrive and serve. We aim to offer a consistent experience across the globe, and to that end we are making significant investments in our technology, platforms, programs and people to better serve our customers worldwide. We are a globally leading, consumer travel organisation, able to deliver this kind of differentiated experience. The goal is to provide the very best programs that give our partners reach in multiple markets.

 

Allison Beer

Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for American Express Travel and Lifestyle Services

Since joining American Express Travel, Allison Beer has led the expansion of Amex’s most important travel partnerships. Allison joined American Express in 2009 as director of strategy for American Express Global Business Travel’s global product team where she managed key strategic partnerships. In the subsequent five years at Amex, Allison led Business Development and M&A for the American Express Enterprise Growth and Consumer Services divisions. In these roles, Allison focused on strategic partnerships with technology, ecommerce and retail companies. Before joining American Express, Allison was the Senior Vice-President of Corporate Strategy and Development at Verified Identity Pass. In her seven years there, Allison managed the end-to-end business operations and corporate development. A graduate of Yale University and originally from Canada, Allison lives in Bronxville, NY with her husband and her toddler twin boys.