American Express Global Business Travel saw its revenue increase by 17 per cent year-on-year to $571 million in the third quarter, including a “significant contribution” from previously unmanaged SMEs.

The TMC said that overall transactions increased by 7 per cent in Q3 compared with the same period in 2022, thanks to $3.3 billion in new client wins over the past 12 months, including $2.2 billion from SMEs.

Amex GBT’s CEO Paul Abbott said that its focus on SMEs was “clearly paying off” and it was now the “number one” TMC for this segment of the market, with around 30 per cent of new SME wins coming from organisations which previously did not use a managed travel service.

“In the third quarter, we again delivered outstanding financial results with revenue growth of 17 per cent, significant margin expansion and positive year-to-date free cash flow,” added Abbott. 

“We remain highly focused on continuing to drive further margin expansion through our ongoing cost savings initiatives and Egencia synergies.”

Total transaction value (TTV) rose by 8 per cent year-on-year to $7.1 billion during the quarter, while the company’s net loss was reduced from $73 million in Q3 of 2022 to a $8 million loss during the third quarter of this year.

Amex GBT’s adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) was up by 135 per cent year-on-year to $95 million during the quarter.

Abbott highlighted major new client wins such as Blackstone, Fortescue and Warner Bros Discovery, alongside its growth in the SME market. He also said that the TMC’s revenue remained at about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter.

The TMC’s strong financial performance means that it is on track to achieve revenue of $2.28 billion for the whole of 2023, which would be a 23 per cent increase on last year.

Abbott said that the company was “not ready” to establish financial guidance for 2024 and admitted that the global macro-economic environment was now more “challenging” than it had been in August when it announced its half-year results.

“We will have to see what fuel is left in the tank for the recovery and what macro-economic environment we are going to see,” he added. “We need more time to see how the year ahead is going to play out.”

Abbott reiterated that the SME market remained the “biggest opportunity” for the TMC as more of these organisations looked for the “service, savings and control that we provide”.

He also noted that 77 per cent of transactions were now coming through its digital channels, including Egencia and its Neo booking platform – with digital transactions up by 13 per cent year-on-year.

Amex GBT is also using more “AI powered solutions” to increase its productivity and further reduce costs.

“40 per cent of our costs are people serving customers in the voice channel – there’s a large opportunity with AI to drive further efficiency,” added Abbott.

Amex GBT is not the only company to take advantage of the trend for previously unmanaged companies to start using TMCs for the first time.