American Express Global Business Travel's transaction volume in February climbed back to more than 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, as part of a "strong recovery" from the omicron variant of Covid-19.
The travel management company reported its 2021 financial results on Monday (7 March), ahead of its plans to go public later this year, which showed total transaction value (TTV) of $6.8 billion for the year, up by 14 per cent from $5.9 billion in 2020. Amex GBT's TTV in 2019 was $39 billion.
Amex GBT’s travel revenue in 2021 was down 5 per cent year-on-year to $446 million, while product and professional services revenue declined 2 per cent to $317 million compared with the previous year.
In the fourth quarter, which included figures after Amex GBT completed its acquisition of Egencia, TTV was up 488 per cent year-on-year to $2.8 billion, with travel revenue rising by 244 per cent and product and professional services revenue increasing 31 per cent.
Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott said in an earnings call that the TMC ended the year “on a high note”, despite the emergence of the omicron variant in late November, which hurt travel volumes in December and January
“Corporate travel volumes have shown a lot more resilience and a much faster recovery rate from the omicron wave, as governments and businesses have adopted a more pragmatic response that recognises the transition to the more endemic state,” said Abbott.
"We actually passed the omicron volume trough in mid-January, only about four to six weeks after the initial outbreak."
In the last week of February, transaction volumes reached 51 per cent of 2019 levels, and total transaction value was at 45 per cent of 2019 levels, added Abbott.
Amex GBT also has seen growing demand for meetings and events, as organisations around the world reopen their offices amid the removal of many Covid restrictions.
Abbott said forward bookings at the beginning of March for meetings and events were at 63 per cent of 2019 levels.
The TMC reported a customer retention rate of 95 per cent in 2021, which Abbott said was higher than pre-pandemic figures.
He listed Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Standard Chartered and Palo Alto Networks as “notable wins” for TMC last year, as well as Raytheon Technologies and Ferrero Group in 2022.
Amex GBT reported a net loss of $474 million in 2021, an improvement from a net loss of $619 million in the previous year.