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Strengthening network ties

The event included a team-building session the last day
photos : rogers aviation | american express global business travel

Michael Murphy, Regional Director of American Express Global Business Travel’s Travel Partner Network for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), shares his views on a recent Partner Conference for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean, which was held at Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort. American Express Global Business Travel and Rogers have now been working together for nearly 40 years, nowadays through Rogers Aviation’s BlueSky travel agency business.

Travel specialists representing 12 network partner markets gathered at Heritage Le Telfair

Some 30 travel specialists, representing 12 network partner markets, and representatives of American Express Global Business Travel from the UK, the US and Belgium gathered at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort between 30 April and 3 May 2013 for the fourth American Express Partner Conference for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean. Topics covered included presentations on American Express Global Business Travel, the economic situation in Africa, and growth opportunities for partners and American Express in the region, as well as presentations by each partner on their countries and services that they provide and a series of interactive workshops. “As well as the obvious networking benefits,” Michael Murphy told PRESENCE, “we were also able to share best practice ideas, learn more about each others’ markets and discuss plans for the future direction of our network.” The event, which opened with a dinner at the C Beach Club and ended with another at the Château de Bel Ombre, also included a team-building session on the last day. In Mauritius, American Express Global Business Travel has partnered with the Rogers Aviation travel agencies, now BlueSky, since 1974, and more recently also in Mozambique. “In markets where we have no wholly-owned presence, we maintain an integrated network of leading agencies that share our vision and values,” explains Michael Murphy. “We work closely with our network partners to ensure our clients receive consistent and superior services globally, wherever they deal with us.” Partnering with American Express means associating with one of the world’s largest travel agency networks, allowing both parties to strengthen and enhance their position in the local market. Where applicable, network partners can benefit from industry-leading technology, the opportunity to participate in supplier programmes and inclusion in global client bids. Speaking about the current climate in the travel and aviation sector, especially in the Southern African region, Michael Murphy says, “Through our partnership with Tourvest Travel Services (trading as American Express Travel Services South Africa), which manages all of our American Express Network Partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean, we know that Southern Africa has also been impacted by the downturn, however not to the same extent as other markets in EMEA.” The company has proved strong enough to withstand these challenges and remains optimistic about the future. “We are aware of the huge growth opportunities in the Africa and Indian Ocean region and look forward to closer collaboration with our network partners there in order to meet the potential for increased demand.” As for the future of the relationship with BlueSky in Mauritius and Mozambique, Michael Murphy is clear. “We are looking for closer collaboration with our network partners and helping them to further maximise the value and growth opportunities provided by American Express.”

Driving global strategy initiatives

American-born Michael Murphy has been based in the UK since 2001. Prior to joining American Express in 2008 as Global Director of Business Development for its Travel Partner Network, he worked for Instone International, a leading marine and offshore travel management company, and TRX, a provider of transaction processing and data integration services for the travel and financial industries. In his role as Global Director of Business Development, Michael focused on driving the Network’s value proposition and future strategy, mastering franchise relationships, and accelerating business travel sales volumes to partners. In May 2013, he was appointed to the role of Regional Director Travel Partner Network – EMEA. This position has given him expanded responsibilities to cover the Travel Partner Network’s global strategy initiatives, as well as provide leadership to the more than 60 network partnerships in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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