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Amex Online bookings up 310%

American Express Business Travel said that its online bookings in Europe had risen by 310% in the past twelve months.

The company said that in the first six months of 2004, online business had increased by 213% in both the UK and the Nordic countries, by 144% in France and by 143% in Germany.

An “astonishing” 40% of all online booking globally were now made by American Express, the company said.

It added that the increase had come from both increasing the online adoption of existing clients and attracting new clients who wanted to work online.

Speaking at a London press conference, Ron DiLeo, senior vice president and head of business travel EMEA, said: “With the online global market now worth almost $14bn, we have streamlined our own interactive product portfolio in order to officer increased savings across the board.”

He said that in the European market place, the adoption rate was steepest in the UK. Online bookings had been as low as 1% in Europe but were now 10% in the entire continent and 20% in the UK.

“In North America as a total the online adoption rate is 30-35% but it is now on a gradual curve. In Europe it has risen by more than 300% and we shall see that it will accelerate exponentially and level out at around 60-70%. We want to drive that increase,” he said.

Earlier Mr DiLeo told the press conference that confidence was returning to the travel market which had grown significantly in Europe in the last year.

Among the changes in the market, he highlighted low cost carriers, security, commissions, GDSs, access to fares and airline alliances as well as a revolution in technology.