Page 1

NOW manage your travel spend better

June 2010

On top of the world Pfizer SA


Van der Linde enforces preferred vendor programme to get her savings

Are YOU our


Newsmaker ■ How best to ‘manage’ your TMC ■ Car-rental industry looks beyond 2010 ■ Volcano ash debacle – how did you cope? ■ Win a weekend away with BTN and Corporate Traveller!



Let the games begin!


UNE is set to be an exciting month for us. As I write this, while many are waiting with bated breath for that first whistle to blow, signalling the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, there are also those who approach an event of this magnitude with cautious optimism. Some – like my 89-year-old grandmother who believes her regular TV-viewing habits will be interrupted – find it a downright nuisance. On whichever side of the fence you’re sitting, I hope the World Cup is a winning experience for you. Speaking of winning, this month BTN – in association with the Institute of Travel & Meetings Southern Africa (ITMSA) – is proud to announce the launch of our annual Newsmaker Awards. The awards have been initiated to recognise the newsmakers of the year in South Africa’s corporate travel sector. So whether you’re a corporate travel procurement professional, the md of a travel management company, or a hotel corporate sales representative, you could be nominated – or you could nominate a colleague or partner who you believe is making a difference in our industry. There are no limits to the nominations received, so please send through your motivations. Further details are on page 3 of this issue. So in the interests of acknowledging the people who should be recognised, please – in all the excitement around the pursuit of excellence on the sports field – give some thought to those leaders who pursue excellence in the corporate travel arena and then nominate them to be the first BTN/ITMSA Newsmaker of the Year. It could even be you! With regard to adding value, our snap survey on how you coped during the recent volcano ash debacle indicates that travel management companies definitely proved how they make a real, positive difference in the lives of their corporate clients. From those of you who took the time to participate – thank you – it seems that no one used only their online booking tools to handle the situation. Of respondents, 56% used their travel agencies, 33% used both TMC and online solution and 11% used alternative options. And as to whether your preferred partners/suppliers came to the party to assist you? No – 56%; yes – 44%. One respondent clarified: “It was our agent who worked hard to ensure our travellers had secured accommodation and flights. The airlines were hard to get hold of and had no solutions.” I hope you enjoy this issue. And finally... May the best team win! KIM COCHRANE (



BTN speaks with Beulah van der Linde about how her own travels have influenced the way she manages Pfizer South Africa’s corporate travel. Cover image taken by Tijana Huysamen at Pfizer SA’s Sandton head office.



Power panel






How to


Deal detective


New option


On the radar


On the radar




On the radar


• Volcanic ash crisis – how you coped • Newsmaker of the Year 2010 Awards launched • Are Voyager members losing out? • New tool to help with management of loyalty programmes

What does it mean to ‘manage’ your TMC?

BTN profiles Pfizer SA’s Beulah van der Linde

• New Park Inn Sandton opens • Kenya Airways increases fleet and frequency

Assess alternative accommodation options

Spain, Phuket, Greece and many more Travelinfo specials

Win a weekend away with BTN and Corporate Traveller

Car rental – moving beyond 2010

European carriers – what’s new? PUBLISHER David Marsh MANAGING EDITOR Natalia Thomson CONSULTING EDITOR Kim Cochrane CONTRIBUTORS Linda van der Pol, Max Marx, Hilka Birns, Liesl Venter, Natasha Tippel, Sue Lewitton DESIGN & LAYOUT Michael Rorke ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Diana Comninos SALES REPRESENTATIVE Tanya Cloete ADVERTISING CO-ORDINATOR Natalie Walker SUBSCRIPTIONS ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RSA full price R275.00, RSA annual debit order R220.00, Foreign on application PRINTED BY Juka Printing (Pty) Ltd PUBLISHED BY Lugan Investments (Pty) Ltd trading as Now Media, Now Media Centre, 32 Fricker Rd, Illovo Boulevard, Illovo, Johannesburg, PO Box 55251, Northlands, 2116, South Africa. Tel: +27 11 327 4062, Fax: +27 11 327 4094, e-mail:, web:

The Gulf’s MICE industry set to recover

Oil & gas – unique challenges Brought to you by Now Media, Business Travel Now is a professional travel publication aimed at South African travel procurement decision-makers in travel-buying companies. This publication aims to reflect an unbiased perspective of the corporate travel industry offering insight and tools encouraging readers to manage their travel spend better. BTN is the media partner of ACTE SA and the ITMSA.





Airfares set to soar after ash crisis? By Sue Lewitton


RAVELLERS may pay up to 5,2% more this year for a European air ticket as a direct result of losses incurred by airlines during the volcanic ash crisis. This is according to a study commissioned by, a European-based e-commerce site, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). It’s estimated that the losses incurred by European airlines as a result of the volcanic ash crisis sit at around US$1,7bn (R13bn) and although the European Commission is looking at ways of providing relief, CEBR predicts that up to two-thirds of the costs will be borne by the airlines. “As a consequence, it is expected that this may lead to an increase in airfares as airlines try to mitigate the impact on their already tight profit margins,” says the CEBR report. Bruce Fair, md of Kelkoo UK, says many airlines were already struggling prior to the crisis as a result of soaring oil prices, increasing competition and falling demand. “Based on the impact of oil prices, economic growth and inflation on air travel, it is expected that cost pressures and

constraint profitability will lead to an average rise in fares of 5,2% in 2010 across Europe, increasing to 11,5% by 2012.” Airlines may also face additional unforeseen operational costs in the coming months, predicts Stephen Wright, an aviation lecturer at the University of Leeds, who says the full effects of volcanic ash on the aviation industry remain to be seen. He says the cost of maintenance of aircraft is likely to increase as a direct result of the ash cloud as various components will require more frequent inspection, including the air-conditioning system. “As planes taxi round airports, the air-conditioning systems suck up dirt, which then clogs up the heat exchangers. Sometimes dirt levels are so high, systems have to be changed after just three to four months, whereas they’re expected to last around 18 months. The planes will now be sucking up ash as well, which will put these systems under very high stress.” Wright adds: “As a result, the cost of engineering budgets is going to rise significantly in the coming months and such cost increases

How did you cope? By Natasha Tippel BTN conducted a brief survey to assess the impact of the recent volcanic ash flight restrictions across Europe on corporates’ travel programmes and their business travellers. These were the results: How many of your travellers were impacted? • Less than 10 – 89% • 10 to 20 – 11% Did you have a plan in place to help stranded passengers? • Yes – 40% • No – 60% Did you have appropriate insurance/s in place from which to claim/assist travellers? • Yes – 78% • No – 22%



Did you use your online booking tool to handle the situation or did you revert to a traditional travel consultant? • We used our online booking tool – 0% • We used our travel agency – 56% • We used both – 33% • Other – 11% Did your preferred partners/ suppliers come to the party to assist you? • Yes – 44% • No – 56% Will the extra expense result in reduced business travel for the rest of the year? • Yes – 11% • No – 89%

will need to be passed on to end users, unless the carrier has been very prudent with fuel hedging.” But some experts believe the competitive aviation market will force airlines to keep fares down. Paul Charles, a former airline executive with Virgin Atlantic and now crisis management expert at Lewis PR, says: “Airlines would rather focus their attention on obtaining compensation from governments for the ash cloud and tightening their crisis procedures in case there is further disruption. That way, they can minimise any future costs created by further cancellations and delays.”

We depend on airline companies, the travel industry and the airports company. They have the power and only they can make decisions. – Anonymous How much do you estimate this will cost you in additional travel expense? • Under R10 000 – 22% • R10 000 to R50 000 – 33% • R50 000 to R75 000 – 33% • R75 000 to R100 000 – 11% • Other – 1% Do you have measures in place should a crisis like this happen again? • Yes – 62% • No – 38%


Are YOU a

corporate travel



USINESS Travel Now, in association with the Institute of Travel & Meetings Southern Africa (ITMSA), is happy to introduce The Newsmaker Awards 2010, an annual awards programme recognising the newsmakers of the year in South Africa’s corporate travel sector. The awards acknowledge those individuals, opinion leaders, thought provokers and initiative takers within the industry, whether in the capacity of corporate travel management and procurement, retail travel management or on the supply side. “The accomplishments between June 2009 and June 2010 of these influential newsmakers are what will set them apart,” says Natalia Thomson, Now Media’s travel divisional executive. “The nominees will be judged while anonymous purely on their accomplishments by an independent panel of judges sourced from the industry.” Nominations need to be sent to by the end of June this year to give BTN enough time to compile a supplement profiling the Top 20 nominees along with their achievements. A nomination

of a minimum of 100 words is required (from any industry professional) for consideration. There are no limits to the nominations received, says Thomson, as the awards are to acknowledge individual achievements irrespective of a company’s size (the person can be employed permanently by an organisation, a third-party contractor or an individual entity). Trophies will be awarded to two Newsmakers of the Year – a corporate travel buyer and a corporate travel supplier – who will be announced at a gala event during the ITMSA’s annual conference from September 15-16. Says Sharon Richards-Lund, ITMSA sales and marketing manager: “The South African travel industry needs to formally recognise individuals who’ve made a substantial contribution to the sector. Travel is not an exact science and it takes immense bravery and contingency planning to change existing policies or models.” Watch out for mailers with further details and visit or for further information as it becomes available.

Criteria for nominations • This individual is approached by others to share his/her expertise, authoritativeness, knowledge and insight into the corporate travel sector. • This individual has shown initiative within his/her company with regard to the procurement of corporate travel or the betterment of the industry as a whole. • This individual has achieved something extraordinary this year that is admired by and has exceeded the expectations of colleagues in the industry.




Voyager members

getting a raw deal?

By Max Marx


EMBERS of Voyager, SAA’s frequent flyer programme, have to pay twice – and sometimes more than three times – as much as members of other airlines’ loyalty programmes in airfares to earn a domestic reward ticket on the JNB/New York routing. We recently compared British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and SAA to find out how many frequent flyer miles a passenger needs to earn to get a free return domestic frequent flyer reward ticket in their home market. To try and compare apples with apples, we asked airlines to give us the amount of miles earned on a return flight from Johannesburg to New York in the different booking classes and cabins, and then what the lowest fare would be to earn that reward ticket. The investigation reveals that to earn a domestic reward ticket on SAA, passengers flying to New York have to buy a business class ticket at R54 340 (excl taxes). The next most expensive is Air France where passengers have to buy a premium economy fare for R26 800 (excl taxes). Lufthansa is the cheapest with passengers only having to fork out R17 100 (excl taxes) to earn a domestic reward ticket. The situation on the UK/Europe routings seems more equitable where passengers flying on SAA can earn a domestic reward ticket

by paying similar fares to those of European and UK carriers. Explaining the significant price difference, Josh Bustos, SAA’s head of Revenue Management, said SAA currently is not offering any mileage specials in the market. “The mileage earn rates that the other airlines quoted are tied to bonus mileage specials they are running in their respective frequent flyer programmes. At this point in time, SAA does not always match other airlines when they have these types of offerings. SAA is considering bonus mileage specials in some markets and you may see those in the not too distant future.” One corporate travel manager, who prefers to remain anonymous, says he’s seen these types of figures before and believes the local loyalty proposition is not what it’s been portrayed as. Jacqui Abrahams, Accenture South Africa’s travel manager, says Accenture permits its travellers to accrue frequent flyer benefits for personal use and therefore the rate at which rewards are earned or redeemed is not of much concern to the company. “At the point of booking, travellers are required to book the cheapest reasonable fare on an Accenture-preferred carrier to their destination. Frequent flyer rewards may not be taken into consideration.”

How many air miles does a passenger have to earn on your airline to earn a return domestic economy class ticket and to earn a business class ticket?

Economy class




Air France


18 000

25 000

20 000 in SA

20 000

18 000 (Miles Keeper)

12 500 (BMI)

Business class

36 000

35 000

30 000 in SA 22 500 (BMI)



28 000 (Anyday award)

40 000

30 000 (Miles Keeper) 40 000 (Anyday award)


New tool to simplify management of loyalty programmes


ANAGEMENT of loyalty programmes will become unbelievably simple following the launch in Southern Africa of a new online tool that assists in this regard, says Monique Swart, vice president – Africa for TraVision.

“Loyalty programmes are generally a nightmare to manage, both from a corporate and individual traveller perspective. Keeping track of the different programmes and rewards is time-consuming and frustrating, but we now have access to MileageManager.” MileageManager – a solution offered by

TraVision, a global management and marketing consultancy – enables travellers to track all the loyalty programmes (airlines, hotels, car rentals, credit cards and others) in which they may be enrolled. “We are currently associated with close on 100 programmes – including SAA’s Voyager – and we continue to add to the list.” The beauty of the solution, she says, is that for Examples of statements generated through MileageManager: under R15 a month, members will be able to view consolidated statements informing them of all ACCOUNT SUMMARY (EXAMPLE) - all of your accounts at a glance the miles accumulated on various programmes, Click the program name for detailed information or to change your PIN their expiry dates, status summaries etc. Programme Account Number Balance Status Last Updated She says statements include an account   American AAdvantage ***2760 32,685 Gold AUG-11-2007 summary (snapshot of all accounts, balances   British Airways Executive Club ****3634 0 Blue pending and programme statuses), elite-status summary   Continental OnePass ****7836 1,576,915 Platinum AUG-11-2007 (summary of current elite-level statuses,   Delta SkyMiles year-to-date earnings and requirements to ******6886 17,525 Basic AUG-14-2007   Hilton Hotels HHonors attain the next level), expiration summary *****3785 249,548 Gold VIP AUG-16-2007 (summary of all miles and expiration dates Northwest WorldPerks *****3136 0 Basic pending – and how to keep the miles alive) as well as   United Mileage Plus *******3909 385,672 Premier Executive AUG-14-2007 a recent activity summary. In addition, MileageManager also ELITE-STATUS SUMMARY (EXAMPLE) - see what you need to reach the next level provides information about Click on the programme name for details regarding elite level qualifications and benefits using our Programme Guides. bonus promotions and sends “Basic” indicates that you have not yet attained elite status in the specified programme. automatic e-mail reminders about Programme Current Status YTD Qualifying Next Status Level Needed to Earn miles that are about to expire or American AAdvantage Gold 28,826 miles/18 segments Platinum 21,174 miles/42 segments alerts when awards are granted. British Airways Executive Club Blue 0 EC points Silver 700 EC points The solution is strictly a mileage Continental OnePass Platinum 9,540 miles/9 segments N/A N/A tracking service and cannot help Delta SkyMiles Basic 5,628 miles/4 segments Silver Medallion 19,372 miles/26 segments members book award tickets or Hilton Hotels HHonors Gold VIP 17 nights/4 stays Diamond VIP 43 nights/24 stays redeem frequent flyer miles. Northwest WorldPerks Basic 0 miles/0 segments Silver Elite 25,000 miles/0 segments MileageManager is available United Mileage Plus Premier Executive 7,891 miles/6 segments Premier Executive 1K 92,109 miles/94 segments through Tables supplied by TraVision



This month’s panel of expertise

Power panel

What does it mean to ‘manage’ your TMC? Felicity Meyer, Ernst & Young travel manager

Claude Vankeirsbilck, Tourvest Travel Services chief sales officer

Digby Johnson, TravelWorks founder and owner


Taking the numerous interactive relationships of travel into account, none is possibly more important than the one between travel manager and TMC. But who manages whom in this delicate relationship? And is management even required? By Liesl Venter.


O manage or not to manage may be the question at hand, but most travel managers and TMCs agree it is more about relationship building and trust than anything else. “I don’t believe in the term ‘managing your TMC’, says Claude Vankeirsbilck, Tourvest Travel Services chief sales officer. “A TMC and a corporate work in a relationship. What is critical in this partnership is that the TMC clearly understands the business travel objectives of the corporate and that the strategies are developed together to ensure these objectives are achieved.” Ernst & Young travel manager, Felicity Meyer, agrees it’s all about the relationship and the outcome. “It’s important that both parties understand what the common goal is. Both parties also need to have an understanding of the challenges each one faces and there must be trust that everyone is working towards the same goal.”


According to independent business travel strategist, Digby Johnson, there are many varying degrees and perceptions of what management of a TMC entails. “So much so that it is hard to actually give a straightforward answer as to what it means. Most corporates believe they are managing their TMC if they interact with them on a quarterly basis, review a few PowerPoint slides, listen to travel talk lingo for an hour, ask some questions and move on to the next meeting,” he says. “Then there are other companies who get completely bamboozled by their TMC through technical jargon, war stories and fear tactics coupled with the showering of gifts and visits to television shows.” But, says Johnson, then there are those travel managers who take the time to build long-term relationships with their TMCs, the ones who have gained sufficient knowledge to be able to challenge the service, the ones who can empathise with the TMC yet maintain a strict

control of the cost-to-service ratio. “That is management of one’s TMC – the win-win scenario for all involved.”

What is too much/too little management? While Meyer believes it’s tempting for many travel managers to manage by remote control, to be effective and efficient there needs to be clear communication between what is expected from the TMC by the travel manager and what is expected of the travel manager by the TMC. “It wouldn’t be fair to expect a service provider to exceed service expectations with no input from the travel manager and the corporation.” On the other hand, she says, too much management is when travel managers start to micro-manage and that usually happens when everyone is not on the same page, not communicating effectively and not sharing enough detail about where the relationship is headed. “It also means an

Power panel

element of distrust has crept into the relationship.” Vankeirsbilck adds that if there are very clear business travel management objectives in place and these are effectively communicated, there should never be a situation where there is too much or too little management. “There are situations, however, where a corporate will proceed with strategies without communicating or including their TMC or occasions where there is an expectation of delivery yet no communication of that expectation is done. This is when you will find that the corporate and TMC are not aligned and then there could be a perception created that a TMC needs to be managed.” Johnson says, from a corporate perspective, too much management is when the travel manager has to get involved on a daily basis to sort out inefficiencies within the scope of a TMC contract. “Too much management is when the TMC relies on the travel manager to deal with service failures because the TMC does not have sufficient knowledge or a good relationship with the complainant. Too much management would be being copied on every mail that goes out.” Too little management, he says, is the way corporates abdicate their responsibility to the supplier. “The creation of a ‘sink or swim’ environment just doesn’t work. The whole travel portfolio needs to be a partnership.”

Effective management means… Ensure you are regularly meeting with your TMC, advises Meyer. “And be accessible and available to them should they need you. Obviously the same goes for the TMC as well.” She believes clearly defined goals and criteria along with clear processes and

procedures go a long way towards ensuring a good working relationship between the travel manager and the TMC which effectively results in good management. “It is also important to have a clearly defined preferred supplier programme in place that has been well communicated to the TMC.” Add to this ethics, service attributes and product knowledge for both parties and one has the recipe for success, says Johnson. Vankeirsbilck says it’s important that the business travel management objectives of the corporate are always clearly understood. “They also need to be clearly communicated and more importantly the leadership of the corporate must have firmly bought into these objectives and they must drive these down within the business.”

It is a very gullible, selfish and unprofessional corporate who washes their hands of travel cost management. – Digby Johnson Who is really managing who? It is true that there is still a lack of understanding in many companies of what it means to manage business travel, says Vankeirsbilck. “This, I have to say, is changing rapidly as some TMCs have evolved into business partners rather than continuing as mere agents.” Meyer says too often corporates don’t have the time or the understanding of the travel industry, which due to its specialised nature, often results in them just handing over the management of travel to the TMC. “But the ownership of travel must remain

with the corporate. They are paying for it after all. At the same time though it is important for corporates to become more knowledgeable about the idiosyncrasies of travel. Corporates must find the time to understand travel. It is necessary if the relationship is to work.” She says, the travel manager, a critical link between the corporate and the TMC, needs to be in control of decision-making. “The TMC, essentially the third party, cannot enforce a corporate travel policy or supplier programme. That must remain the responsibility of the corporate.” Johnson believes that all TMCs manage their corporate clients in some way or another. “The only difference is how far the wool can be pulled over the corporate’s eyes. And it is bad for the relationship when the corporate finds out that they have been bamboozled, cheated and lied to for the past few years.” He says TMCs are naïve if they think that they won’t be caught out. “It is important for both the corporate and the TMC to believe that they are in a business partnership and that each party has a firm trust in each other to meet the objectives that are set,” says Vankeirsbilck. “Once this is achieved, both parties will have every reason to believe that whatever each party does it is in the best interest of achieving the set objectives.” ■

Next month our Power Panel assesses if there is a level or marker at which it becomes important to employ a full-time travel manager within a corporate organisation.




y Ah there,

skipper! BTN speaks with Beulah van der Linde about how her own travels have influenced the way she manages Pfizer South Africa’s corporate travel. By Kim Cochrane.


Cape Town, 1994 Beulah van der Linde is a qualified coastal skipper who left SA with her husband in 1994 to sail from Port Elizabeth up the SA coast to Mozambique, Madagascar and the Comores back to Cape Town. From there, they sailed across the Atlantic to Saint Helena, Brazil and Barbados. They then island-hopped to the US and British Virgin Islands where they chartered their catamaran for two years. To avoid the hurricane season, they sailed to Miami up the Intracoastal Waterway stopping in, amongst others, New York, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Maryland and Chesapeake Bay all the way to Camden, Main. They sailed from New York to Bermuda back to the Caribbean and returned to SA in 1997.



HEN Beulah van der Linde sailed part of the world for four years with her husband on their 44 foot catamaran, she never imagined that the corporate travel of a pharmaceutical giant would be her responsibility a few years later. In retrospect, she says the sailing experience taught her that she could do anything in life and that anything was possible. This was a lesson she fell back on after her promotion in July 2006 to Pfizer South Africa procurement manager, which is when she was exposed to the travel portfolio for the first time, as the travel & events portfolio was made redundant. Before then, Van der Linde had no official travel-related working experience. “I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1998 as a contract worker with Procter & Gamble. I was employed permanently by G.D. Searle & Co during the same year and I completed my BA degree in Industrial Psychology in 1999. Two acquisitions later saw the start of my career with Pfizer SA in July 2003 as their commodity manager. In 2003, Pfizer acquired Pharmacia where I’d been looking after the company’s fleet.”

Her first priorities as procurement manager were pricing negotiations (identifying high-spend categories), contract finalisation (including travel) and changing traveller behaviour by ensuring awareness of global travel and procurement policies. HRG is Pfizer’s globally appointed travel management partner and Van der Linde relied on the HRG Rennies Travel in-house travel office to help her ensure travellers were adhering to policies and that travel operations continued smoothly. In January this year, Van der Linde was promoted to the role of procurement lead: Africa Region. With regard to travel, she focuses on spend analysis, out-of-policy requests and emergencies. Markets within her portfolio include South Africa, NEAR (Nigeria and East Africa Region), Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia/ Libya and West Africa. Two procurement team members in the region (based in SA and Nigeria respectively) identify commodities where there could be global leverage with appointed vendors as well as possible leverage from a local market perspective. Van der Linde is part of the Worldwide Procurement (WWP) Global Procurement Operations (GPO) Business Unit and she reports to the senior


director: WWP GPO based in New York who is responsible for the Emerging Market Business Unit (EMBU) that includes Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Japan and Korea. “All WWP team members on a global scale also work very closely with global category managers based in New York who are experts in a specific commodity and who give guidance to procurement team members when it’s time to renew supplier contracts for specific categories. Categories include Meetings and Events, Logistics, Promotional Gifts, Facilities and IT, as examples.” All operational issues related to travel are handled by Global Operations (GO) based at the Pfizer UK office. “All travel-related service level issues are escalated to GO,” she says. “WWP and GO work closely together. WWP is responsible for spend analysis, vendor negotiations and contract finalisations upon which time GO rolls out specific programmes and takes responsibility for the operational side.” She advises that travel spend from a local market perspective comprises 14% of total procurement spend for Pfizer South Africa. Travellers in South Africa are based in all the main centres (Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein), with the biggest complement in Gauteng. “All travel is booked via the in-house travel office at the Pfizer SA head office in Sandton. We have an imprint of three consultants who manage the travel requirements for around 300 colleagues. A dedicated consultant books our international travel.” Local markets, she states, are encouraged to incorporate global preferred suppliers into local travel programmes if there is local representation. “There is a global and local hotel and airline preferred programme in place

Pic: tijana huysamen

There is a global and local hotel and airline preferred programme in place and annually vendors are invited to take part in a global request for proposal process. Rates are re-negotiated and partners signed up for a 12-month period.

and annually vendors are invited to take part in a global request for proposal (RFP) process. Rates are re-negotiated and partners signed up for a 12-month period. Only hotel properties that are prepared to give fixed rates for this period are signed up, as best available rates (BAR) play havoc with budgets and planning.” Since Pfizer’s business is so diverse, finding appropriate accommodation partners is a challenge, says Van der Linde. “Our biggest spend comes from the Pharma (pharmaceutical) division so we sign up properties with a national footprint.” This preferred programme will also be key to the successful implementation of the global online booking solution, Travel Connect, in this market later in the year, she says. “The solution has already been rolled out successfully in other markets.” It is hoped more point-to-point bookings will be facilitated through the solution via virtual agents within the region. “The whole idea is to streamline requisitioning and approval processes.” Despite the global directives, Pfizer does support preferential procurement. “One of our successes is a 65% procurement spend with BBBEE-accredited vendors.” She is also proud that the procurement team achieved overall savings of US$1,9m for the 2009 financial year, with travel contributing to that figure. “Saving money for the company is my biggest and sole priority,” says Van der Linde. “I’m always looking at ways where costs can be saved.” ■

Caribbean, 1996




Ingrid von Moltke leaves CWT INGRID von Moltke, Carlson Wagonlit Travel national sales and marketing manager in South Africa (pictured right), has left the company to pursue her own interests. “I leave with mixed feelings – very sad on the one hand, but also very excited at the prospect of much travelling in the future as well as the opportunity to do all the things I haven’t had time for in the past. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but after 14 years with the company in all its different shapes and sizes, I realised it was now or never.” BTN wishes our friend and loyal supporter the very best going forward. Photographed with Von Moltke is Debbie Duncan from CWT SA’s account management department who has taken over her portfolio.

KQ plans to increase fleet and frequency KENYA Airways is looking to increase its daily frequency into Johannesburg from the East African hub of Nairobi with a fourth flight on Sundays. Rosemary Adogo, Kenya Airways area manager Southern Africa, says that with the looming 2010 FIFA World Cup, the carrier has received a surprising influx of bookings for the period and has seen the necessity to increase the frequency. The increase will coincide with the carrier’s



‘Escape South Africa’ promotion for the duration of the tournament. The campaign is to promote the carrier’s connections to six popular hotspots: Bangkok, Mumbai, Mombasa, Nairobi, Guangzhou and Cairo. Adogo said the carrier would be utilising a Boeing 777 throughout the period to increase its capacity on the Johannesburg route. The aircraft will be instated on the route from June 9.

New Park Inn Sandton opens this month THE Sandton Park Inn is scheduled to open in mid-June. The hotel, located on Katherine Street, has 273 rooms including six Junior Suites, which offer high-speed internet access. Also on offer is a buffet breakfast, all-day menu from RBG ‘Red Bar & Grill’, and fine dining at the private dining room or the Chef’s Table. The property also features four meeting rooms, a 154sqm conference room, a business centre, gymnasium, outdoor pool and entertainment/bar area, and secured parking. Patrick Dhoore, gm of Park Inn Sandton, says: “Our midmarket hotel has taken everything into consideration to give guests more value and comfort during their stay. From the ‘Yes I Can’ HR training policy, to our responsible business programme, which includes recycling, water consumption and energy saving lights, to the ‘all South African staff’ hire policy – ultimately making Park Inn the number-one choice when seeking affordable, stylish accommodation in Gauteng.”

How to

How to assess alternative



The Parkwood Guest Lodge (pictured) has for the past five years achieved a corporate repeat business rate of 70%. Corporate guests return because of consistency of standard, familiarity of surroundings (guests often choose the same room – regular corporate guests often leave their running shoes and cell phone chargers at the establishment and find them in their rooms on arrival) and the opportunity to meet business allies in the small, personal breakfast room.

Must-haves for

corporate stays

In Shonfeld’s experience, must-haves include internet access (preferably free of charge), negotiated corporate rates, nearby restaurants or an easy order-in facility, a small onsite boardroom or informal sitting area where private meetings can be held, an onsite or nearby gym, and an efficient breakfast service. Grant Kirchmann, managing member of Westpoint Executive Suites, luxury self-catering apartments in Sandton, says there must be recourse for corporates if a property is not up to speed. Medical assistance must be in place and good security. The property must be in close proximity to highways and other amenities as well as offer after-hours concierge services.


B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering apartments are often used by corporates as alternatives to hotel stays. By Max Marx.

&Bs and guesthouses are often popular with corporates because of the personal service, home-from-home atmosphere, and at times because their location is better suited to travellers who seek to avoid heavy traffic, says Sarah Shonfeld, co-owner of the five-star The Parkwood Guest

Sourcing guesthouses apartments

Lodge in Johannesburg. Jenny Kopsch, Dimension Data gm: travel MEA, agrees: “Proximity of guesthouses to our offices is a big factor to avoid horrendous traffic. Guesthouses are also often cheaper than hotel stays.” Karen Serretta, strategic relations manager at MTN’s American Express in-house


The only way to properly assess a guesthouse, B&B or apartment hotel is to visit the establishment, says Kopsch. “One must be careful because sometimes people just convert two rooms in their homes once their children have left and call it a B&B. This is not the sort of establishment we want our travellers to stay in.” Shonfeld suggests googling suburbs, which will lead to collective associations that cover the majority of accommodation alternatives. One such website is

agency, says while MTN travellers are allowed to book B&Bs as long as their rates fall within the capped rate stipulated by the company’s travel policy, many B&Bs don’t accept bill-back vouchers and require pre-payment, which can be difficult for corporates, especially with last-minute bookings.



Shonfeld says corporate rates are essential for frequent travellers and deals can be re-assessed should frequency of visits decline. Kopsch negotiates corporate rates with guest houses dependent on the number of bed-nights stayed. Kirchmann adds that not all corporates entertain a corporate “structured deal” approach but suggests corporates consider this, as it simplifies the booking process and provides for competitive corporate rates.

Many corporates write the use of guesthouses, apartments and B&Bs into travel policy but accepting corporate business can sometimes be more hassle than its worth, especially for smaller establishments, says Shonfeld. “Sometimes corporates require too much paperwork in order for smaller establishment to become suppliers or prove their BEE compliance. Many are not geared for this and would prefer a hassle-free booking.” ■

corporate deals

and travel policy



Deal detective

Top10 specials

Linda van der Pol, Travelinfo’s editor, is our Deal Detective, bringing you great specials from Travelinfo, the online travel information system in daily use by travel agents all over SA. Just book through your TMC and tell the consultant it’s a Travelinfo special. To get connected, e-mail



Thompsons Tours. Ten-night packages from R4 299 per person. Package is inclusive of return flights ex-Johannesburg and accommodation with breakfast. Special is valid until June 30. Rate does not include levies, which are about R2 902. Prices ex-Cape Town and Durban are also available.

1. GREECE Greece specials – self-catering villa accommodation in Skiathos from R690 per twin or double room. Rate is per night and valid until December 31.


Beachcomber Tours. Last-minute June special – pay for five nights, stay for six. Rates are from R10 943 per person sharing at the four-star Le Mauricia. Special includes return flights ex-Johannesburg or Durban, all taxes, return airport-hotel transfers, accommodation with breakfast and dinner plus free land and water sports. Packages ex-Cape Town are also available.


Travel Vision. Dubai – ‘Kids go free’ special at the five-star Atlantis, The Palm. Rates are R13 799 per adult sharing a deluxe room. Offer includes return flights ex-Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, airport taxes, private return airport transfers, three nights’ accommodation with breakfast and dinner. Value add: unlimited access to Aquaventures and The Lost Chambers. Plus two kids under 16 years fly (excluding taxes and surcharges), stay, eat and play for free when travelling with two paying adults. Free visas for kids and 15 free attractions from which to choose. Offer is valid until September 8.

Cruises International. Special offer onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas. Seven-night Greek Isles and Turkey Cruise from US$889 (R6 935) pp sharing. Price is roundtrip Venice and includes onboard accommodation, all meals and entertainment. Price excludes port charges and is valid for set departures in September, October and November.


Brothers Sports. 2010 World Cup – five-star package to the quarter final, rate is R12 990 pp sharing. Offer includes return flights ex-Cape Town, all taxes, two nights’ full board at Kariega River Lodge, game drives, transfers to the lodge and stadium, plus category 1 match ticket for July 2. Three-star package available from R7 900 per person.


Falcon Africa Safaris. Seven-night packages are from R7 490 pp sharing. Package is inclusive of return flights ex-Johannesburg, airport-hotel transfers, five-star accommodation with daily breakfast and dinner. Price excludes taxes and surcharges. Rates for other properties are also available. Special is valid until July 15.


Air Holidays. Four-night packages to Vilanculos Beach Lodge from R6 185 pp sharing. Package is inclusive of return airfare ex-Johannesburg, airport-hotel-airport transfers, accommodation with breakfast and dinner plus a sunset cruise. Rate excludes taxes and surcharges, which are R1 715 pp. Seven-night packages are also available from R8 700 pp sharing. Special expires August 31.

DISCLAIMER: All specials are subject to availability, currency fluctuations and seasonal surcharges.






Emirates Airlines. Inaugural fare of R5 006 to Madrid. Fare is inclusive of all taxes and valid for round-trip travel ex-Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Offer is valid for travel from August 1 to September 30.


Let’s Explore Safari & Tours. Elephant Camp and Rovos Rail package from R11 485 per adult sharing. The cost includes one-way flight Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, taxes and surcharges, transfers in Victoria Falls, two nights at the Elephant Camp on an all-inclusive basis and two nights’ Rovos Rail in the Pullman Suite from Victoria Falls to Pretoria, all inclusive. Special is valid for South African residents only on selected departure dates in July, August and September. ■

Nothing beats the

personal service


of Corporate Traveller

ORPORATE Traveller is a leading travel management specialist for the SME market, says marketing manager, Michelle Jolley. “We offer a combination of expert advice and personal service and are backed by the power of Flight Centre South Africa. At Corporate Traveller, we believe it’s our people who make the world of difference and that when it comes to business travel, nothing beats having an expert onboard.” She says Corporate Traveller can offer a full suite of services, from business and leisure travel to group tours, conferences and events. “Our personal approach means support is just a phone call away, where a real person who is in touch with your travel needs will help you.” Corporate Traveller offers a customer loyalty programme called CT Loyalty. “This programme is the first of its kind in South Africa’s corporate travel sector and provides real rewards for each booking made. CT Loyalty is based on a simple principle that the more your company spends with Corporate Traveller on our range of services, the more

CT Loyalty points you earn and the greater the variety of personal rewards you will be able to redeem, says Jolley.” She says companies have the choice of allocating a personal membership to their travel bookers or controlling the rewards at management level, ensuring a flexible solution that best suits their requirements. “Your point balance is tracked automatically and can be viewed online using your unique login. Throughout the year you will have the opportunity to earn additional bonus points via a range of special promotions.” She adds: “Points can be redeemed against incredible rewards ranging from a selection of travel escapes to day tours, attraction passes and spa vouchers. For corporate members, points can be used to help reduce and offset business travel costs. Redemptions can be made quickly and easily by browsing through the online rewards catalogue and making your selection.” Call 0860 400 787 to sign up or visit for more information. ■


WIN a weekend away!

Corporate Traveller, in conjunction with BTN, is offering a lucky reader a weekend away, including a two-night stay (sponsored by Thompsons Holidays) at a selection of Protea Hotels around the country in a twin room, return tickets to any domestic destination offered by 1time Airlines and three days’ group B Avis car hire including super waivers.

Question: What is the name of Corporate Traveller’s loyalty programme? To enter all you have to do is answer the easy question above and e-mail your answer to Entries must reach BTN no later than July 7, 2010. Please supply us with your name, contact details, company and title clearly. Strictly one entry per person.

Terms and conditions: It is taken that the entrants agree to abide by the rules, which are: the prize is not transferable and may not be exchanged for cash. Staff members of Now Media, the host company or organisation sponsoring the prize, their advertising and public relations agencies, their immediate families, and travel agents may not enter.



On the radar

Car rental With the FIFA World Cup here and other developments adding new dimensions to the car-hire industry, rental companies have to look into the future and strategise. Natasha Tippel reports.


S car-rental companies prepare to meet an influx of demand as the FIFA World Cup kicks off, many are left questioning what will happen after the event. “It is a huge opportunity for South Africa in general, not just on a leisure tourism front, but also corporate investment,” says executive head of strategy, development and marketing of First Car Rental, Melissa Storey. “Our country will be showcased to the world. Imagine all the various tourism source markets, which SA Tourism (the entity) would never have been able to reach.” Sales and marketing director of Tempest, Janita Edwards, believes the momentum will remain after the event. “While we don’t anticipate significant ‘make-up’ travel from the corporate base, we are absolutely positive there will be growth over last year. Our feeling



is that the SA tourism industry can expect a really bumper Christmas season, as people around the world who have watched the World Cup on TV make SA their holiday destination of choice in the months after the tournament.” But some car-rental companies believe it will be business as usual after the World Cup. “Once the World Cup is over, travellers will continue as normal and fall back into their normal rental patterns,” says Hertz marketing manager, Susan Stouffs. Budget Car Rental is expecting a spike in corporate travel post World Cup. “Business travellers need to ‘get out there’ to visit their branches and customers,” says md Ray Booth. Budget has increased its fleet up on last year by around 15%, with a further flexibility of growing these volumes by 10% should the demand materialise, says operations director, Paulette Scrooby.

Car-rental fleets will be inflated after the World Cup when compared to what fleet levels are normally like in June and July, which are traditionally low season months. “Inflated fleet sizes are mainly due to the delayed defleeting practice many car-rental companies have adopted to accommodate the World Cup and these vehicles can be defleeted if required once the visitors head home,” says ceo of Tempest, Leslie Matthews. “Tempest has bought vehicles to cater for large contracts acquired over the World Cup but not to such a large extent that they won’t be used after the event. We anticipate that the industry is on the up, the economy more buoyant, and these vehicles will be used.”

On the radar

Booth also affirms that Budget will defleet after the World Cup period. Europcar does not see issues with disposal of its fleet in the ordinary course of business thereafter. First Car Rental is holding 50% of its summer fleet to meet the transportation demands of the World Cup, which it is confident can be disposed of comfortably after the World Cup. However, Storey is not as confident about other car-rental companies. “I have no doubt there will be few car-rental companies (big and small) that will face massive financial consequences post World Cup when the secondhand market is flooded with rental stock.” Stouffs agrees: “All current indications, based on forward reservations, reflect that there will be an oversupply of vehicles only if car-rental companies have increased fleets in expectation of high World Cup demands. Some companies have already realised they have fleeted up too high and are starting to undercut corporate rates to get their oversupply on the road.” As a result, rates may decrease after the World Cup. “We have seen our competition dilute inbound traditional high season business to the same rate level as low season 2009 due to the

fact that they have acquired additional fleet for the World Cup, or are carrying vehicles for longer to achieve greater numbers over the World Cup,” says Storey. Sales director of Europcar, Martin Lydall, affirms that certain car groups within its leisure channels will attract premiums due to high demand and the need to acquire additional fleet (for example mini-buses) over the World Cup. “Pricing for these groups will normalise after the event,” he says. Stouffs does not expect rates to decrease after the World Cup. “Our corporate customers have the benefit of their preferential corporate rates, which are already competitive.” Edwards agrees: “Ideally rates should not drop to make up for the marginal increases the car rental industry has asked for over the last two years but it’s somewhat inevitable that in an effort to move excess vehicles after the World Cup, specials and discounts will be available to stimulate local travel.”

The Gautrain – risk or opportunity? WITH the Gautrain and the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in advanced stages of development and implementation, new dimensions will be introduced to the car-rental industry with new risks and strategies to preempt them. Most car-rental companies anticipate migration of rentals from airports to station hubs in metro areas. “When the Gautrain is up and running, we anticipate a movement of some passenger check-outs to the Gautrain portals rather than from OR Tambo. The corporate customer will then either be picked up at the portal or rent a vehicle from the portal,” says Ray Booth. Leslie Matthews, agrees: “We anticipate migration of rentals from airports to station hubs in metro areas, although this comes with its

own unique set of challenges in terms of parking space for vehicles as well as facilities to refuel and turn vehicles around quickly.” Another challenge is the costs to rent space in MSPs, which are prohibitive, and shuttling vehicles from main depots to metro areas somewhat defeats the objective of trying to reduce road usage, says Matthews. “Tempest is fortunate in terms of already having branches at or close to all Gautrain hubs. Delivery and collection requirements will increase as, instead of needing the rental car for the full duration of their stay, travellers may require the vehicle for specific journeys and would therefore need the vehicle delivered to their hotels or offices.” Matthews also foresees a movement to economy

turn to page 18



On the radar

Continued from page 17

The Gautrain – risk or opportunity? ‘around-town’ vehicles that are light on fuel and easy to park instead of luxury vehicles. Martin Lydall, believes new rental opportunities will be presented as new travel markets are formed. “We expect to follow international trends of short-term car share/club models. This can only come into effect once the ancillary networks are fully functional.” Meanwhile Susan Stouffs believes there are two possible scenarios as a result of the advent of the Gautrain: “Depending on the cost of a trip on the Gautrain it could have either no effect at all and renters continue to rent from airports or if [the Gautrain is] cost effective and seen to be convenient, travellers will rent from the train stations.” The result, she says, is that downtown rental branches will be busier and less kilometres will be travelled, possibly reducing car-rental revenues. But Stouffs notes that regular business travellers are not likely to use the Gautrain, as they generally need transport full time when on business. “There will, however, be exceptions. There could also possibly be an increase in the chauffeur drive and transfer business,” she says.



“The initial focus of the Gautrain infrastructure project will be the migration of day to day road users to using the Gautrain system, with secondary but no less important focus on incoming corporate or leisure travellers whose uptake of using this mode of transport will very much depend on the frequency, efficiency and safety of the service,” says Janita Edwards. “Ultimately we predict one-day or short-term rentals will see some attrition as travellers gain confidence in using the Gautrain but strongly advocate that as soon as there is a requirement to stay overnight or travel further than the Gautrain infrastructure allows, that car rental will be used. Tempest has a diversified business, with a focus on long-term rental growth rather than being purely reliant on short-term rentals.” Overall, Stouffs believes the threat to be negligible, depending on the individual branch’s business pattern. “If they have a high number of one-way travellers to the airports, they may lose some business. We have also studied similar charges that have come about in other parts of the world and formulated on strategy from all sources of information.”

On the radar

Europcar and Avis open new branches at Cape Town International

Europcar’s new branch at Cape Town International Airport.

EUROPCAR has opened its newest branch at Cape Town International Airport. Its new location is reached through underground tunnels, opposite the main airport building and is easily accessible to passenger traffic from both domestic and international terminals. According to Europcar ceo, Dawn Nathan-Jones, the main attraction is Europcar’s Ready counter, which promises keys in hand in 30 seconds. “Most customers, particularly if they are travelling on business, want to be on the road as quickly as possible.” The parking area, which has been increased by over 60 bays, is directly outside the branch. “This has made for an even quicker exit and is in line with our initiatives to get our customers to their destinations on time. We are determined to make the Europcar experience as fast and seamless as possible,” says Nathan-Jones, also assuring that the return process is just as streamlined, with vehicle and key drop-off within metres of each other. Meanwhile, Avis has also opened a new car-rental branch at Cape Town International Airport, at the new dedicated car-rental area. Avis regional manager for Western Cape, Riaan Schoeman, says the new Avis airport office is the result of extensive changes to the design of the airport, which now includes a purpose-built car-rental facility with dedicated

Europcar appreciates the partnership it enjoys with its customers and therefore will honour its rates with them over the World Cup period. Sales director of Europcar, Martin Lydall road, parking and customer service areas, from where all car-rental operators will transact. “These changes have enabled us to further streamline our service offerings for the various customer segments and our new, prime positioned outlet will be much larger in size than our current kiosk,” he says.                                                                   The change has also resulted in the expansion of the parking area to incorporate a total of 316 parking bays. In addition, Avis has a dedicated vehicle returns facility to conduct its ‘Rapid Returns’ process.  

turn to page 20



On the radar Continued from page 19

World Cup gives Budget a boost THE South African car-rental industry has been given increased impetus by the upcoming World Cup that will have significant benefits for its foreign and local customers, according to md of Budget Car Rental SA, Ray Booth. “The rental industry, by its nature, is vibrant and innovative, but the infrastructure upgrades at our airports and the preparations for a big influx of foreign visitors have given us an extra boost,” explains Booth. “We, at Budget, have used the World Cup as a major motivator for our company and our team members as we gear Budget for the future. And the future is now!” The biggest and most noticeable recent changes are in Budget’s facilities at the airports where the company has spent more than R45 million since early 2009 on new or upgraded rental outlets at the revamped OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg and the new King Shaka International Airport in Durban, as well as at the upgraded airports in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and George. Budget is also ensuring representation near the Gautrain portals. Budget has grown the number of its countrywide branches to 96 with the addition of seven new outlets last year. “We needed to expand to stay competitive and service corporate accounts, such as mining houses, which sometimes need vehicles in areas away from the major centres,” say Booth. “We did not retrench staff during the past

Europcar welcomes Kia Soul EUROPCAR SA has welcomed the new Kia Soul to its fleet. Europcar ceo, Dawn Nathan-Jones, says the hatchback is currently available from all major branches. She believes this will be a renter’s hot favourite, as it offers consumers unique styling, comfort and many equipment choices. She warns against leaving bookings for the World Cup to the last minute, especially if you want a model like the Kia Soul.




economic downturn, but have redeployed some of them and improved productivity and efficiencies so that we did not have to increase the size of our staff complement from its approximate 600 people to cater for the new branches.” “Another vital link in the relationship with our customers is the in-house call centre, based in Isando, which has also been improved and will operate 24 hours a day during the World Cup, as will all our depots and rental operations at the major airports,” says Booth. Another area in which Budget has made a substantial investment is in home-grown adaptation of IT systems to improve the way business is done. “Seven years ago we embarked on rewriting and developing new systems and programmes focused on our specific requirements and I am delighted with the results, particularly in terms of their contribution to productivity improvement and customer service.” Another area Budget is developing and which is proving to be a growth opportunity is that of chauffeur drive and Door2Door transfers, which is being driven partly by traffic congestion and high charges for airport parking but mainly by convenience.

News WATCH out for the Foozi tables at OR Tambo, Cape Town and Durban International Airport Tempest kiosks. These funky foosball tables occupy prime position at these locations and Tempest challenges clients to take five minutes and have a game with staff.

Business as usual during the World Cup DESPITE concerns that local travel will be out of bounds for business travellers over the World Cup, Avis is assuring corporates that, if they plan their trips carefully, there is no reason why business cannot continue as usual. “Demand for flights and vehicles will be greatest on match days, similar to what is experienced over high-demand periods such as the Argus Cycle Race in Cape Town or the Comrades in Durban,” says chief executive, Wayne Duvenage. “The trick is to plan your travel between match days and book to avoid the peak periods. In addition, hotels and airlines have freed up seats and rooms with normalised pricing for the corporate and local travelling market in between match days.” Avis has put several measures into place to ensure fleet availability and will not be overpricing its products for the soccer World Cup period, Duvenage confirms. “In fact, all our contracted customers’ rates will be honoured during the event, with only a reasonable daily World Cup Surcharge applicable to cover additional logistical challenges over this period. For non-contracted customers, normal price yielding will be in effect and rates will be no higher than during local peak demand events.”

Didyou know? TEMPEST has set up shop at its new premises at King Shaka International Airport with increased check-out capacity, more parking spaces, a customer connect zone, GPS rental counter and an all-round great atmosphere. ■

On the radar



European carriers On the radar

The economic recession has been disastrous for many European airlines. Many have had to look towards greater consolidation as well as the introduction of new profitable routes and services to survive. By Sue Lewitton. THE hard times are set to continue for European airlines, who have struggled over the past year to boost both demand and revenues. In 2009, the European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) recorded the worst year on record with a decrease in passenger numbers of 4,2%. The situation was even worse for Europe’s major carriers, recording a drop of 5,6% in traffic. Just as the airlines began to feel cautiously optimistic about 2010, an erupting volcano in Iceland sent massive ash clouds over large portions of Western Europe. Amidst safety concerns, many European airlines were forced to ground their aircraft for up to six days. This cost airlines an estimated $1,7bn in lost revenue. Discussing this crushing blow is Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and ceo: “For an industry that lost $9,4 billion last year and was forecast to lose a further $2,8 billion in 2010, this crisis is devastating. It is hitting hardest where the carriers are in the most difficult financial situation. Europe’s carriers were already expected to lose $2,2 billion this year—the largest in the industry.” Shortly after the skies reopened, the European Commission detailed the necessary avenues of assistance and relief connected to industry losses. This step was applauded by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), who felt that although safety was the main prerogative of the EU and airline industry, it had become clear that the basis for taking decisions to close airspace was in need



of dire improvement. AEA secretary general, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, says: “Practical measures will be put in place to ensure that any future incidents of this kind will be handled in a more efficient and less disruptive manner.” The EU has also signalled an agreement, in principle, to a mechanism allowing the airline industry to seek damage compensation. In the meantime, IATA maintains that a Single European Sky could have softened the blow significantly. “It’s an embarrassing situation for Europe, which after decades of discussion, still does not have an effective Single European Sky.” The reduced delays and greater efficiency that a Single European Sky will bring have broad benefits. It is estimated that it will save €5bn and reduce carbon emissions by 16m tonnes per year. Other benefits include: • The creation of blocks of airspace. Europe has 27 national air navigation services and over 60 air traffic control services, which has meant co-ordination is complex and costly. For over six years, EU member states have been obliged to create Functional Airspace Blocks, by merging air space and centralising navigational services. • The fragmentation of air space has meant air navigations services are incompatible with one another. Standardisation of technology is urgently needed. • Uniform safety regulations in Europe should improve the high level of safety on the continent.

FlyNet takes off again From the middle of next year, Lufthansa’s customers on longhaul routes will once again enjoy the freedom to communicate via the internet whilst onboard, as the airline re-launches FlyNet, its onboard broadband internet service. The new service will permit inflight data transfer over standard GSM/GPRS mobile networks. Not only will passengers have WLAN internet access, they’ll also be able to send SMSs by mobile phone and transfer data via smartphones.

Lufthansa A380 flights to Johannesburg now bookable CUSTOMERS can now book flights on Lufthansa’s new A380, which from October 25, is expected to be deployed thrice-weekly on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays on the Frankfurt-Johannesburg route. The return flight from SA to Frankfurt will depart the following day. Four frequencies will be operated with an A340-600. This is just a step towards a daily A380 service, says newly appointed director for Southern Africa, Axel Simon. “We are hoping to introduce the service daily from February 2011.” Johannesburg is among the first three Lufthansa destinations to be served by the flagship aircraft. Lufthansa’s A380 has 526 seats including a completely new first class with eight seats on the upper deck. Also on the upper deck is business class, which comprises 98 seats, while economy class will have 420 seats on the main

On the radar deck. A new business class product is currently in development. The A380 is the so-called ‘three-litre-plane’ (per passenger/100km), improving the eco efficiency of the Lufthansa fleet. The aircraft’s fuel consumption is 3.4l per passenger/100km. The first A380 is scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg on June 7 on a special flight carrying the German Soccer Team, around 150 fans and special guests to the World Cup. Meanwhile, Lufthansa is adapting gates and boarding areas for the new A380. In Frankfurt, boarding will be on two levels via three jetways linked to the upper and main decks.

Air France and KLM launch joint corporate loyalty scheme in SA BLUEBIZ, the new joint Air France and KLM corporate benefits programme for small and medium businesses, is now available in SA. Up to now, both airlines had their own programmes aimed at this segment. As a member of the BlueBiz programme, the company earns Blue Credits each time one of its employees travels with Air France or KLM. Blue Credits are valid for at least 24 months up to a maximum of 36 months and are granted according to the route and the booking class. For the Blue Credits to be credited on its account, the company just needs to give its BlueBiz number when making a booking. In addition, the members of Flying Blue, the Air France and KLM frequent flyer programme, continue to earn

miles when travelling on Air France and KLM. Blue Credits can be converted into award tickets and upgrades to any destination in the global network of Air France and KLM using a simple scale: 1 Blue Credit is equal to 1 rand. Any company employee can use the awards. Membership is simple and free of charge, with no conditions required concerning a minimum number of trips to be made. Membership is valid for a minimum of two years and then as long as company members continue to travel. As a separate issue, the two airlines have extended their hold baggage transport rules so there are no longer different rules applied to different destinations. Now the ‘piece concept’ as opposed to the ‘weight concept’ will be used across the board, enabling Air France and KLM passengers to check in up to three bags free of charge, weighing up to 23kg each, depending on the cabin class. For each bag weighing more than 23kg and less than 32kg a set sum will be charged: €100 (R977) from Europe, US$100 (R799) from elsewhere, or the equivalent in local currency. Flying Blue members from Silver status upwards will be able to check in an additional bag of up to 23kg and 158cm (sum of the three dimensions), whatever their travel class.

SWISS goes daily on Basel – Hamburg route SWISS has launched a daily non-stop service between EuroAirport Basel, Switzerland and Hamburg, Germany.

Hamburg is one of Germany’s most important industrial locations and general freight hubs, so SWISS anticipates this new route will well serve the two popular business destinations. Amsterdam is no longer receiving a nonstop service from Basel but will continue to be served four times daily via Zurich.

BA and Iberia sign merger agreement IBERIA and British Airways have taken a further step towards creating a new European airline group by signing their new merger agreement. The merger is expected to be completed in late 2010 and the new company will be one of the world’s largest airline groups, with 408 aircraft flying to 200 destinations and carrying over 58m passengers per year. Through the merger, the airlines will create a new holding company called International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, which will be known as International Airlines Group. Both airlines will retain their current operations and operate under their individual brands. The completion of the merger is subject to regulatory approval from the relevant competition authorities, including the European Commission and approval by BA and Iberia shareholders. ■






The Gulf holds many exciting MICE opportunities for SA corporations. Sue Lewitton and Natasha Tippel bring you the latest developments.

Recovery on the cards for Gulf MICE industry


Dubai Towers - Dubai

Middle Eastern carriers race to Tokyo THE last weekend in March saw Middle Eastern carriers Etihad and Emirates launch flights to Tokyo, with Etihad arriving on March 28 and Emirates on March 29, and Qatar Airways following shortly after. Both Emirates and Etihad launched five-weekly non-stop services from their respective hubs. Etihad’s Tokyo flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in addition to its five flights to Nagoya. Flights depart Abu Dhabi at 22h25, arriving in Narita at 13h25 next day. The return service departs Narita at 22h10, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 04h50 next day. Emirates’ flights operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Qatar continues aggressive expansion



Flights depart Dubai 03h15, arriving at Narita at 18h00. The return service departs Narita at 21h40, arriving in Dubai at 04h35 next day. Etihad uses a three-class A330-200 on the route, featuring in-flight services dedicated to the Japanese market, including a tailored menu, local in-flight entertainment content and cabin crew consisting of a number of Japanese speakers. Emirates’ flights are operated by a B777-300ER also in a three-class configuration. On April 26, Qatar Airways also expanded its operations to Tokyo. The flights operate from Doha via Osaka. The airline serves Tokyo with an A330 in a three-class configuration with 12 first, 18 business and 208 economy class seats. QATAR Airways’ recent introduction of flights to Tokyo is only one of the new routes launched in 2010. The airline has announced its long-term commitment to growth with continued investment in new aircraft, new routes and improving airport infrastructure ahead of next year’s opening of New Doha International Airport. So far Qatar has launched four new routes from its Doha hub this year – Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Ankara and Tokyo – with a further three – Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires – set to begin in June.

ESPITE a challenging year in 2009 for the MICE industry in the Gulf, forecasts for the year ahead are cautiously optimistic. The meetings industry, in particular, is expected to pick up over the next few months. The Middle East Meetings Industry Report for 2010 states that half the buyers polled in the region anticipate that they will organise more events this year than they did last year. The report also shows that Dubai remains the most popular destination for events in the Middle East while Abu Dhabi continues to gain market share. A sign that the MICE industry in the Gulf may be on the verge of recovery, the latest Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) Exhibition brought in record numbers in terms of exhibitors and visitors. Graeme Barnett, GIBTM exhibition director, said: “In what has been a particularly challenging time for the industry in the last year, the event has proven there are clear, optimistic signs that meeting and event planners are recognising the enormous potential the region has to do business. One only has to see the new hotel and venue developments opening or being planned for Abu Dhabi alone.” Industry stakeholders are voicing their optimism, including Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, who have properties in both Doha and Dubai. Dubai-based Jumeirah Group has reported high occupancies for the first quarter of 2010, with particularly strong growth in its business hotels, reflecting an upturn in the business and corporate markets. Supported by the arrival of more than one new aircraft a month, including the airline’s first B777 freighter delivered in May, and the opening of a new airline-owned airport hotel and new arrivals terminal in Doha, Qatar Airways’ expansion is forging ahead with vigour. The New Doha International Airport is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2011. The airport will have a capacity of 24 million passengers in the initial opening phase.

Continued on page 26

On the radar




Continued from page 24

First Armani Hotel opens in Dubai

Emirates heads to Amsterdam EMIRATES has launched daily flights to Amsterdam. Flight schedules are as follows: Exiting Johannesburg: Johannesburg to Dubai – depart 19h05/arrive 05h05. Dubai to Amsterdam – depart 08h25/arrive 13h30. Amsterdam to Dubai – depart 15h30/arrive 00h00. Dubai to Johannesburg – depart 04h40/arrive 10h50. Exiting Durban: Durban to Dubai – depart 18h40/arrive 05h20. Dubai to Amsterdam – depart 08h25/arrive 13h30. Amsterdam to Dubai – depart 15h30/arrive 00h00. Dubai to Durban – depart 10h25/arrive 17h10. Exiting Cape Town: Cape Town to Dubai – depart 18h10/arrive 05h25. Dubai to Amsterdam – depart 08h25/arrive 13h30. Amsterdam to Dubai – depart 15h30/arrive 00h00. Dubai to Johannesburg – depart 08h50/arrive 16h25. The service, which commenced on May 1, is operated with a B777-200 and B777-300 in a three-class configuration: eight private suites in first class, 42 lie-flat beds in business class, and 216 or 304 seats in economy (depending on aircraft).

ARMANI Hotel Dubai, the first project under the collaboration between Giorgio Armani and Emaar Properties PJSC, has opened its doors. The hotel is housed in the Burj Khalifa and features 160 guest rooms and suites, an Armani Spa, a private member’s club, five restaurants and a nightclub. The hotel hopes to tap into the lucrative events industry, with several spaces dedicated to this market. The Armani Ballroom can seat up to 450 people and include black marble details and backlit resin walls. Set amongst the gardens at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, is the Armani Pavilion, an outdoor terrace with its own kitchen facilities. It can seat up to 400

Starwood announces new Abu Dhabi hotel STARWOOD Hotels & Resorts has announced plans for the opening of a second St Regis hotel in Abu Dhabi. St Regis Abu Dhabi will be located on the waterfront as part of National Towers, a two-tower mixed-use development central to the business district. The hotel will feature 281 guest rooms including 56 suites, signature restaurants, a destination bar, sky bridge restaurant and 4 800sqm of meeting and event space.

There will also be 3 000sqm of dedicated health club facilities, including an outdoor swimming pool. A beach club, adjacent to the hotel, will be operated by Starwood. “The announcement of our second St Regis in Abu Dhabi is another sign of Starwood’s commitment to developing all nine of its brands in key Middle Eastern destinations,” says Roeland Vos, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa and Middle East.

Emirates Park Towers development right on track CONSTRUCTION is on track for the Emirates Park Towers development, a 1 612-room twin-tower hotel and apartment property. Emirates Airline and Group will be ready to hand over the South Tower to Marriott International as scheduled in May 2011. Marriott will operate a JW Marriott Marquis hotel on the site, offering some of the 26


largest guest rooms available in Dubai. Facilities will include 18 food and beverage outlets, a business centre, conference halls and meetings rooms, a banquet hall, a 3 700sqm spa and health club, retail outlets, swimming pool and a gymnasium. The adjoining North Tower will be ready for hand-over in 2013.

guests at a time. Al Majalis is located on the lobby level and is a private meeting room reflecting an Arabian-style meeting place. The hotel also has a selection of boardrooms, meeting rooms and meeting lounges on offer and fully equipped with communications and presentation systems. In celebration of the hotel’s launch, it has teamed up with Emirates Airline to offer first and business class passengers flying to, or via Dubai, a complimentary stay. First class passengers receive a two-night stay, with breakfast at the property, while business class passengers receive a onenight stay with breakfast at The Address Downtown Dubai. The offer is valid until August 31.

In brief • GULF Air has launched a dedicated Business to Business (B2B) internet booking tool for its corporate customers and travel agents. The new service allows customers to book directly with Gulf Air from their own offices. With the new internet booking tool, corporate customers can check availability of flights in real-time, select the flight they want and book seats instantly. They can also choose seats from an online seat map. The B2B tool also provides dedicated fares, multiple forms of payment and instant ticketing, as well as internal functions such as account management and booking retrieval. • ETIHAD Airways has launched a new destination management company, Hala Abu Dhabi. It will offer travel products, services and activities throughout all seven Emirates of the UAE to business and leisure travellers. Travel products offered by the Hala Abu Dhabi brand will include tours and desert safaris, event management, bespoke experience packages and VIP services, airport meet and assist, ground transportation, business conference and meetings venues, and a full range of accommodation options. ■

On the radar



On the radar


HE oil and gas industries face a myriad challenges, from difficult geographical locations and highly volatile crude oil prices, to depleting resources that demand oil and gas companies find ways to lower operational costs. The effective transportation of people to/ from these oil and gas fields is another great challenge. Here’s where effective travel management can play a vital role, not only in ensuring that crews arrive safely and on time at their destinations (enabling exploration operations to continue seamlessly), but also in assisting companies to save on travel costs. In the current economic climate, says Hendrik Du Preez, Wings Corporate Travel – Africa’s head of Business Development, oil and gas companies are cutting down on nonessential travel and expect TMCs to offer tools to assist them in offsetting carbon footprints. As with the marine industry, the unique obstacles faced by oil and gas companies require the services of specialist travel agents who have an intimate understanding of their needs. Unlike other industries where corporates seek ways to cut down on the involvement of TMCs in the booking of travel, the oil and gas industries remain heavily reliant on travel agent expertise. As an industry characterised by short lead times, remote and hard-to-access locations and often hostile, undeveloped environments where the slightest error can result in huge costs, a great deal of responsibility is placed on TMCs to get travellers in/out of these areas on time and to the correct destinations, says Du Preez. With many oil and gas field explorations located off the African coastline, travellers face safety and security challenges. “Active hands-on experience of the countries is crucial to get travellers around safely and efficiently. Take Angola for example. Luanda is half an hour’s drive from the international airport on a map but in reality it takes about four hours to get through the traffic.” Bronwyn Philipps, HRG Rennies Travel business development director, says seat and fare availability in SA during the 2010 FIFA World Cup could be a challenge. “Connecting oil and gas crews need to disembark and be repatriated within 24 hours and the lowest possible fares might therefore not be available.” Saleem Parker, financial accounting manager of Tullow Oil, a multinational oil and gas exploration and production company with offices in Cape Town, says a major challenge when travelling in Africa is the complexity of reaching certain destinations either due to infrequent flight scheduling or no direct access. “This leads to problems of availability on flights, which directly influences doing business in Africa. Where destinations are not accessible by 28


& Oil gas By Max Marx

direct flight, one either has to re-route or travel via Europe.” Parker says airline reliability is another issue. “Sometimes flights are cancelled at the last minute, which means having to find last-minute alternatives.” Philipps says travellers face security risks as travel in much of Africa can be hazardous. “Secure road transport is needed in armoured vehicles due to high-risk areas within Africa (kidnapping is one hazard) and helicopter transfers to rigs must also be arranged. Visas must be applied for beforehand, not on arrival, and insurance is normally done through the various oil companies as it is a tailored policy to suit this type of high risk.” Du Preez says technology that can improve safety and security such as traveller tracking products are essential.

Special fares for oil and gas The oil and gas industries are able to take advantage of the special marine fares that are used by the shipping and offshore industries and negotiated with local airlines represented in SA. Specialist agencies have access to marine contract rates and agencies that belong to global marine agency networks like the International Marine Travel Group (such as HRG Rennies Travel) and MTA7 Marine Travel Alliance

Saleem Parker, financial accounting manager of Tullow Oil.

Janice Johnson, executive assistant to Eirik Renli, vp: sub-Saharan Africa of Baker Hughes – an oil and natural gas services company, says visa requirements must be well understood, especially those for when travellers are transiting between countries. She advises companies to build strong relationships with embassies, which makes for easy visa processing and strong journey management. (Global Marine Travel) have access to worldwide fare options that are not limited to what’s on offer in the SA market. Among those eligible for these fares are engineers, contractors, inspectors travelling to carry out work on a vessel, whether in dock or at sea, as people engaged in repositioning semi-submersibles or drilling rigs. Employees of off-shore companies who work on oil rigs or jack up rigs need a letter of authorisation to be eligible for these fares. ■

BTN June 2010  

Volcanic ash crisis - how you coped