First, it was hotels adding coworking to their properties. Then it was United Airlines bundling flights with flex workspace and event venues. Now, the collision of travel and the future of work continues. American Express Global Business Travel has announced a new partnership with Dublin -based Meetingsbooker.com. In addition to searching for and booking workspace, users will also be eligible for preferential rates, terms, and amenities.

Why is AMEX Adding Workspace Booking to their Global Business Travel Portal?

Because it’s a no-brainer, in fact, I’m asking, “Why did it take this long?” We’re nearing one full year since the US started to lockdown. Personally, I expected an announcement like this by November of last year. Perhaps they needed some time to finalize a deal or to make sure the tech works. There are dozens of workspace and meeting room booking platforms out there, but they should all consider themselves put on notice.

Called “Workspaces” (really creative name there), this flex workspace and meeting room aggregator is no different from the one AMEX has in place for hotels, flights, rental cars, and more. It makes perfect sense that a business traveler will need to book a flight, hotel room, and workspace. Again, I am more surprised as to how shocked people are that this is happening.

I’ve consulted both Marriott and Wyndham on integrating coworking into their hotel brands in my professional life. Seeing where the industry was headed, I began working on a concept identical to AMEX’s for one of the world’s largest real estate companies. We called it “Workspace on Demand”. That was until they determined that there wasn’t “enough potential”. That, or they realized it was going to radically rock their world and bring about the end of massive, expensive office leases. No, I’m not bitter, and yes, I’m totally over it. Why do you ask? 🙄

150,000 Workspaces Available With the Ease of Flipping a Switch

Kudos to AMEX for rolling this out. With the ease of flipping a switch, they’ve now lit up over 150,000 locations. Workspace locations that employees of companies of all shapes and sizes can now seamlessly search, book, pay, and access without even having to submit an expense report. This move speaks volumes about how much the return of business travel will revolve around the concept of remote work.

travelers in an airport

Even when most of the population is either vaccinated or immune to COVID-19, the days of the road warriors en masse are over. We’re going to see a decline in the number of employees traveling weekly. With that, an increase in the number of total employees traveling 2-5 times a year. Someone should tell David Soloman at Goldman Sachs to stop saying remote work is an aberration. Rather than shilling the investment potential of empty skyscrapers, he should be focused on remote work ETFs instead.

Business travel made up the vast majority of revenue for both airlines and international hotel brands. But, that money dried up and will never return to the levels they were in 2020. What we’re witnessing is them following the money. Airbnb’s CEO recently hit the nail on the head. Workers, not the companies, are going to make the decision. That is why for the travel industry to recover, they must continue focusing on the remote worker, not the road warrior, as the future of travel.

What’s Next?

Next, you’ll start to see other corporate travel portals like Egencia integrate listings for workspace, powered by innovative solutions such as Syncaroo. Then, we will see credit card companies begin to run promotions for bonus points on flex workspace category spend. Finally, the development of flex workspace loyalty programs will eventually earn employees and business owners points that will be no different from those from any other travel program. Mark my words.

The post AMEX Global Business Travel Launches Workspace Booking Service was first published on Coworkaholic.

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