(American Express Global Business Travel)
Companies using the tool Not disclosed
Number of users/seats Not disclosed
Number of bookings handled annually Not disclosed
Total transaction volume annually Not disclosed
Frequency of updates Major quarterly releases, with interim service pack releases deployed every three weeks. On average, it deploys more than 190 enhancements per year
Type of company Travel management company (American Express Global Business Travel/KDS)
Main markets Global
Set-up fees No
Ongoing fixed costs No
Transaction fees Depends on deal structure
Air Neo connects with Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport GDS partners as well as Travelfusion for low-cost carrier aggregation, plus a direct link for Air Canada. Online modification, cancellation and exchange are available for Sabre and Amadeus, with expansion of this capability for Travelport in development. In some countries, Neo can remind users of unused airline credit and display the credit value during the booking process.
Accommodation Neo sources accommodations content from GDS partners, Expedia, and Booking.com. GBT’s Supply Market Place consolidates this content for booking through Neo and offers users a complete range of accommodation including GBT Preferred Extras rates.
Rail EU train content covers Germany (DB), France (SNCF), Belgium (SNCB), Spain (Renfe), Finland, UK (Trainline), Sweden, Holland (NS), and Luxembourg (CFL). Users can also book tickets on Eurostar and Thalys. Neo plans to develop cross-border booking capabilities. In North America, Neo offers Amtrak and ViaRail. Neo users can now book specific train seats with SNCF and soon with Renfe.
Car Neo supports booking car services, taxi and other ground transportation options as part of its booking process. Car rental content is obtained through supported GDS partners and the Res@Car direct link. Neo provides access to hybrid and/or electric vehicles where available with specific ability to filter and sort on these types to ensure access to lower-carbon vehicles.
NDC and other direct connects Neo was the first OBT to receive GDS-enabled, surcharge-free NDC content from American Airlines and the Lufthansa Group (including Light Fares) in Germany for integrated client servicing, reporting and support. GBT technology and point-of-sale capabilities provide efficient platforms for large scale distribution of GDS-enabled NDC content and seamless integration with GBT client servicing tools. In 2022, GBT plans to accelerate NDC content deployment from more airlines across multiple countries.
CEO Paul Abbott
CCO Andrew Crawley
EVP product strategy Evan Konwiser
VP product management Neo Bertrand Blais
VP e-commerce technology and product Andrew Wardle
What the company says
According to the company, “Neo is a truly unified booking and expense platform, for a faster, more efficient way to manage trips, end-to-end.” Since 2013, the OBT has been known for its door-to-door trip builder and algorithms for proactive suggestions based on booking history, which have undergone many enhancements since they were introduced. Neo is an integral part of GBT’s core technology stack, and the provider promoted Neo’s seamless, multi-channel booking experience between mobile, desktop and travel counsellors. It also provides a flexible environment for travel managers to apply best-in-class travel policies. “As the world returns to travel, it is with a renewed commitment to protect the climate,” Neo execs told BTN Europe in response to its question about the tool’s best innovation going into 2022. They called out Neo’s “suite of award-winning sustainability features,” which include display of and filtering by CO2 data for flights and trains, client-specific green hotel badges and flagging and filtering for hybrid/electric cars. “GBT plans to continue prioritising sustainability developments for Neo in 2022,” they said.
What buyers say
Buyers cited cost as among the main reasons they chose to implement Neo, but two-thirds of buyers BTN Europe surveyed said user-friendliness was a key deciding factor in choosing it. Some said that the tool’s Covid and carbon reporting functions were particularly impressive, while one buyer liked the ability to select seats on British Airways flights. Neo’s door-to-door planning tools were liked by some but considered “not user-friendly” by others. A number of buyers felt that Neo lagged with NDC content and were concerned that it could lead to higher air fares.
What consultants say
“We did a ton of due diligence on the booking and expense platform and we could not replicate what they are able to do in Europe markets. As a result, KDS has functionality highly valued in Europe,” one consultant told BTN Europe. That hasn’t been the case in the US, where the tool has struggled to gain traction, according to consultants. There’s a misperception that one must be an Amex GBT client to work with the KDS tool, since the mega-TMC bought KDS in 2016. Technically, that is not the case. KDS will offer direct corporate contracts, but practically speaking, “a different TMC will then give you 100 reasons not to work with them,” according to one consultant. Neo 1, the recently launched version of the tool targeted to small- and midsize clients, could give the brand a shot in the arm in the US, said one consultant.