In May, American Express Business Travel announced a new Global Advisory Services unit that will work with companies to “holistically” address their travel and meeting spend.

Amex veteran Mike Streit, who has been named vice president of the new Global Advisory Services unit, said that while the company's Business Travel division has “been consulting in the travel business for 25 years,” the new venture takes a more “end-to-end” approach, including policy consulting, strategic sourcing, and process management for transient and meeting travel. “When we build a plan around savings, it's not one-off,” he said at a press conference at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives conference in Atlanta. The unit will be in the business to “implement and sustain” a company's initiatives, “not just assess and design.”

Streit said that the impetus for the new division is twofold. First, the increased involvement of procurement in meeting and travel purchasing has upped the demand for better sourcing policies and processes. Secondly, as online booking has brought transaction processing fees down, Amex is looking for other areas in which to make an impact.

The new unit includes 200 consultants and analysts from Business Travel's Policy and Online Adoption consulting groups, as well as the eCLIPSE and Corporate Meetings Solutions brand. “We brought every area that could possibly deliver savings to a client into the organization together,” Streit said. “The savings side is the future of the business, because that's where we add real value.”