Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel – with the latest news from her full-service travel and lifestyle network
Audrey Hendley is President of American Express Travel, and as such, is responsible for delivering premium travel and lifestyle services to Card Members. With the growing importance of millennials as a traveller group, American Express has undertaken extensive research in this field, with the “Consumer Travel Trends” survey. We asked Ms Hendley what the survey indicates about the way millennials are travelling.
Millennials are taking back their vacation days. Through American Express Travel’s research, they have found that 68% of Millennials surveyed plan to use all of their vacation days this year. In addition to travelling more frequently, two-thirds of Millennials also feel that the point multipliers added by a loyalty program is worth it to adjust their travel plans with over half of Millennials agreeing that they will limit their hotel options due to a specific loyalty program. Millennials are also willing to pay for a premium when it comes to travel, with 25% spending more on premium travel per year compared to 18% of Gen X. Additionally, 67% of Gen X and 66% of Millennials agree that the experience at a premium hotel is an important travel perk, and 74% of Gen Z believe a premium hotel is worth the cost.
MILLENNIALS ARE TAKING BACK THEIR VACATION DAYS.
Do these travellers actively seek “perks”? If so, what are they looking for?
These travellers are looking to maximise their time off, regardless of the length of the trip and budget at hand. Our research shows that these travellers are willing to spend more for a better experience. About half of consumers are willing to spend up to $50 more on a $500 hotel bill for early check-in or late check-out. Generation Z* also love their free breakfast, with 3 out of 4 willing to spend up to 7% more on their hotel stay for complimentary breakfast compared to half of the Millennials surveyed. This is a testament to our perks, as our Platinum Card Members receive an exclusive suite of benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts properties when booking through American Express Travel, with an average total value of $550 at over 1,000 properties worldwide. These benefits include such things as noon check-in, when available; room upgrade at check-in, when available; daily breakfast for two; unique amenity valued at US$100, such as a food and beverage credit; guaranteed late check- out at 4 pm; and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Naomi Watts is a brand ambassador. What has she contributed in terms of her own tips for travellers?
Platinum Card Members can now earn 5X Membership Rewards Points or use Pay with Points on prepaid bookings of Fine Hotels & Resorts properties—a curated collection of 1,000+ of the world’s most luxurious resorts, with an exclusive suite of Card Member benefits—through Amextravel.com. In celebration of this new benefit, we teamed up with expert traveller Naomi Watts to show consumers how to make the most of their time off by trading in the traditional three-day weekend for a five-day respite; while bringing the enhanced Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits to life. Nearly 81% of consumers agree that a three-day weekend doesn’t provide enough time to travel, and 74% of consumers feel more relaxed after a five-day weekend compared to two or three days. A world traveller herself, Naomi is an expert on making the most of one’s journey — from beating jetlag to packing with just a carry-on. As an actress, travelling is naturally part of her job. Whether being on location or escaping for some much- needed rest and relaxation, she says a stress-free journey is important to her, so she has a couple go-to rules to ensure things run smoothly. This is what she said
- Take advantage of travel perks: Thanks to American Express’ Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits like guaranteed late check-out at 4 pm, I know I can be flexible with my travel schedule.
- Less is More: I stick to a carry-on, which makes getting through airports a breeze. I also never travel without my go- to staples, like a white button-down, jeans and sneakers, which are versatile for day and night.
- Save Room for Souvenirs: I love to buy a small reminder of my trip wherever I go, so I always make sure to leave a little room in my carryon.
- Keep Moving: One of my top tricks for avoiding jet lag is to try and get as much sleep as I can on the flight and hit the ground running once I land. Additionally, I work to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine.
- Indulge in “Me Time”: Long flights don’t have to be daunting. It’s not often that I get uninterrupted time for myself, so when not sleeping, I love to catch up on movies, read scripts and respond to emails.
WE TEAMED UP WITH EXPERT TRAVELLER NAOMI WATTS TO SHOW CONSUMERS HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR TIME OFF (…)
Nepal is a new focus for American Express, with a specific campaign promoting tourism in this destination. Can you tell us a little about this?
For more 100 years, American Express has helped our customers see the world through premium travel services and experiences. Nepal is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to see in Asia and we’re thrilled to be partnering with The Nepal Tourism Board and Himalayan Bank to launch the “Experience Nepal” campaign. This global campaign aims to promote Nepal as an international tourist destination offering unique, authentic experiences for American Express Card Members across the globe. As part of this exclusive partnership, American Express Card Members can access special privileges, value adds and discount offers at over 80+ merchants across Nepal who are participating in this campaign.
Photo: Audrey Hendley President, American Express Travel