The Business Travel Magazine February/March 2024

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the business travel people awards 2020: nominate now! Businesstravel the Magazine February/March 2020 SLEEP EASY An extended guide to business accommodation + Business class Taxis & transfers Independent consultants TravelTheBusinessMagazine ChristmasParty! Ticketsnow sale. page For buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings UK airports update Corporate cards Buying rail travel How to... take control of your travel Flying to... NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 out of sight, out of mind? Keeping track of your travellers THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE Business TravelConference June17th-18th p22-23 details For buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings Premium economy On business in... JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE on the button are you ready to embrace mobile technology? THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE Pay pals the new wave of expense management solutions Also in this issue... Airline update GDS review • Global v local get your supply chain in order On business in... Los Angeles TBTM ChristmasParty tickets on 70 June/July 2018 BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR Businesstravel the Magazine + UK aviation happy returns Taking traveller wellbeing to the next level the USI ne SS avel magaz September/October 2022 RFPs are back Five steps to carbon reduction Talking Travel with Andy Murray for more news and views go to March/April + Accommodation trends Gender inequality Reimagining travel A new dawn for traveller wellbeing BRIGHTER HORIZON December/January 2019/20 INCORPORATING THE 2020 TMC DIRECTORY 2020 travel trends Distribution update Traveller wellbeing Focus on: the USA DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019/20 SUPER POWERS Travel management companies show off their star qualities April/May Businesstravel the Magazine + Booking tools Serviced apartments Focus on: The Nordics the science of compliance Helping business travellers make the right decisions March/April + Travel risk management People Awards 2022 Find the perfect TMC partner with our essential pull-out guide THE RIGHT FIT BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017 Businesstravel the MAGAZINE AIR TIME Discover the latest trends air travel report + Car hire Distribution Alternative working Talking Travel: Shazia Mirza MARCH/APRIL 2012 expense management why it pays to use new technology Rail Travel Hotel Booking Agents Ground Transport How to... control hotel spend Flying to... Hamburg Vancouver Save date! ConferenceBusinessTravel takes place Londonon October22nd-23rd For buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings TheBusinessConference 17th-18th See for For buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL road works driving down ground transportation costs Also in this issue: Budget hotels Business class • Booking tools How to... improve stakeholder engagement On business in... New York April/May 2019 + Focus on Canada serviced apartments Business travel consultants alking ravel: Kevin mcCloud EXTENDED FEATURE: RAIL TRAVEL (p55-78) Why traveller wellbeing should be shaping your travel policy fit for purpose November/December 2021 KEY INSIGHTS FROM THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE 2021 + Top tech trends People Awards winners Breaking eco barriers Sustainability news Demand for premium soars as long-haul flying resumes Back to the skies TBTM87 COVER FINAL_v6.indd 11/4/21 Premium economy cabins THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT Sustainable travel in the spotlight 100 ISSUE th As we celebrate a milestone, we take a journey back in time and get ready for the future 100 February/March 2024 ENTRIES NOW OPEN FOR THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS 2024 LOOKING FORWARD LOOKING BACK ›› ››


Sign of the times

You should see the state of my home office: piles of magazines everywhere –this magazine to be precise. Yes, as you might have spotted from our cover, we've reached a milestone and I've been taking a trip back in time.

We hope you don't mind us indulging in a little nostalgia for our 100th issue, which takes us into adulthood, our 18th year. It's been fascinating reading through old articles to see how the industry has evolved. Turn to pages 14-17 for a trip down business travel memory lane.

On page 12 we've been even more indulgent and shared some of the reasons why our readers have stuck with us over the years. These were just some of the comments we received in our recent travel buyer survey and it was reassuring to see that we're still hitting the spot.

The survey also asked buyers some searching questions about their roles and their expectations and fears for the future, which we reveal in full on pages 26-31, along with some insights from those in the know.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our survey. We'll be running follow-up surveys later this year, with more amazing prizes to be won, so watch out for those in our newsletter and on social media.

In this issue we cover the rise in team travel (page 34), the launch of the 2024 People Awards (page 32) and lots more. It also comes with our annual Guide to Serviced Accommodation, with a fresh new look.

Thank you again for your support and here's to the next 100 issues. Although I wasn't Editor back at the start, I was a regular contributor. At that time, we ran profile pictures of all the writers and it took me a while to recognise my younger self – and ditto when I spotted pictures of a few familiar industry faces. Something to share on LinkedIn perhaps...






26 Travel buyer survey: We share the results of our reader survey with analysis from industry experts

32 The Business Travel People Awards 2024: With the nominations now open, we reveal the new categories, judges and more

34 The rise in team travel: How the move to hybrid working has led to the emergence of a different type of meeting

40 Accommodation: In an increasingly fragmented market, how do you choose your accommodation partners?

Up Front

6 Opening Shots: The most exciting openings in the world of travel – in pictures

8 Speaking Out: Danny Cockton at Wood explains why corporates need to be part of the drive to recruit, retain and reward talent

10 The Conversation: We check in with Jo Layton, CEO and co-Founder of CAP Worldwide

12 Everyone's Talking About: The Business Travel Magazine News

18 Business travel news, views, appointments, events and Diary of a CTO

49 50 19 6 (p14 -17)
our 100th
24 40 8 26 26 4 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM Look out for The 2024 Guide to Serviced Accommodation included with this issue 32
a nostalgic look back over the years to see how business travel has changed, or not...
Departures 47 Reality Check: We review six very different places to stay 50 Gadets and gear: New tech and lifestyle products that every traveller needs 51 Final Word: The quirky side of travel, from adult-only flights to commuter hell holes Discover GWR Group Travel by train at 26% off 10+ persons from GROUP SEATING ON SELECT SERVICES DEDICATED BOOKING TEAM SWAP SCREEN TIME FOR FACE TIME Untitled-2 1 19/09/2023 10:47 34 40 42 10 24 51

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Interiors draw influence from the elements of the coastal city built on volcanic rock, with fire and water providing juxtaposed inspiration throughout"

W Edinburgh Cultural hub

The first W hotel in the UK to have the brand’s signature Sound Suite recording studio, this hotel is set to appeal to musicians, DJs and artists. In Edinburgh’s thriving St. James Quarter, it has 244 rooms and suites, many with outdoor terraces.

UP FRONT OPENING S h O t S v EE rl E E v E n S

Hotel Maria Helsinki

NOrdIC Charm

Billing itself as an urban sanctuary, this luxury hotel, set across four historic buildings, has 117 rooms and 38 lavish suites, 19 with their own private Finnish saunas or steam rooms. In the Kruununhaka district of Helsinki, Hotel Maria also has a bar, two restaurants, a grand ballroom, chapel and a spa. A fitness space is due to open in June.

The Tokyo Edition, Ginza PuNCh druNk

The second Tokyo hotel for this Ian Schrager and Marriott International collaboration, this 14-storey boutique property has 86 spacious rooms and suites. It also boasts Japan’s only punchfocused cocktail bar, drawing on local sake, ryokucha tea and spices. A top floor restaurant, Sophie, features Tokyo street photography.

citizenM Rome

ON braNd

The Italian debut for this 'affordable luxury' brand, the citizenM roma Isola Tiberina was designed with sustainability in mind and is working towards lEED Gold certification. It has 162 bedrooms, a 24-hour canteenM bar, and a living room space, in the 'curated chaos' style that distinguishes citizenM.

n IK ol AS KE on IG H o TE l MA r IA



Recruiting, retaining and rewarding talent is the industry’s collective responsibility, says Danny Cockton, VP Global Travel Services for Wood

e’re big into culture at Wood.

(As the saying goes, culture eats strategy for breakfast.) One of our three core pillars is to create a great place to work by building an inspired culture, driven by interactions –leadership engagements, team celebrations and engaging with clients.

During the pandemic, we did a great job of making that happen by virtual means but there’s still, I believe, a need for face-to-face connections. An inspired culture is what builds deeper connections, enables us to innovate and to attract the best talent. The role that travel plays can't be underestimated.

In 2012, I was one of the founders of the Business Travel People Awards, now run by The Business Travel Magazine. Based on the mantra ‘recruit, retain and reward’, the awards were created on the back of the financial crisis and the subsequent exodus of people from the travel industry. A little over a decade later and we find ourselves in even greater need following the pandemic.

Talent acquisition has been discussed at great length but what is abundantly clear to

me is that creating an environment conducive to attracting new talent is not solely the responsibility of the supply chain, but a shared obligation of corporate clients.

The priority, of course, has been on getting people into the TMCs and suppliers. There’s been a big focus on TMC academies and educational partnerships and, from a volume perspective, that makes sense, to a degree. However, what we saw in the last couple of years is something of a revolving door. It has been, on occasions, brutal. I know; I was in the thick of it. While much of that was the post pandemic situation, I saw little focus on creating the right environment and solely a focus on numbers and service factor percentages.

The best and most successful travel teams are those that are integrated and engaged at all levels and the responsibility, on me, is to ensure our inspired culture is embedded across my teams. We want the best talent on the account, whether it is the travel counsellors at the TMC, the representatives at airlines and hotels, or my own travel management team and, crucially, we want

to retain them. The only way we can do that is to ensure the environment is a great one, especially when the going gets tough, or we will see the revolving door again.

With this in mind, over the past few months I’ve been on a talent acquisition trail and we’ve built a formidable and diverse team, virtually from the ground up, alongside our global TMC, American Express GBT.

Our two recently-onboarded travel managers bring commercial prowess – one specialising in TMC client management and the other in travel technology.

Additionally, 25% of our travel counsellors are newcomers to the industry. They are individuals we aim to nurture within the Wood account, providing a safe space for learning and cultivating our inspired culture.

Amex GBT has opened the door to 20/20 Levels, an organisation which champions emerging talent from underrepresented communities. It’s not exclusively tied to the travel sector but has allowed us to add a new team member with great analytical and data skills, bringing a fresh perspective.

Retaining talent is just as important and to create compelling opportunities for our longstanding members, we’ve restructured our in-house ‘travel team,’ into ‘global travel services’. This transformation involved upskilling colleagues from operational roles to more strategic and consultative ones, shifting the focus from transactional activity to signposting, training and supporting.

Our combined team has witnessed the deserved promotion of talent from within to two senior roles – global client manager and global operations manager – which is testament to our commitment to rewarding excellence.

Having diversified our talent sources, retained exceptional individuals, and duly rewarded those deserving, we begin the next phase of our plan with an energised and inspired culture at the heart of our journey.

DANNY COCKTON Danny Cockton is Vice President Global Travel Services at engineering giant Wood PLC. He previously held commercial roles with Amex GBT and Agiito, as well as serving ITM since 2005 in various capacities.

Win the ultimate trip

Race to Necker with Sky High Club

There are one-of-a-kind trips. And then there’s shout it-from-the-mountaintops, pinch-me-I’m-dreaming incredible. And if you’re a member of our Sky High Club, that experience could be closer than you think.

Log the most bookings between now and 31st July, and you could be packing your bags for a five-night stay at Richard Branson’s private island, Necker, courtesy of Virgin Limited Edition.

Start your engines, the race is on! Visit

You’ll be treated to Upper Class flights, two nights at the sensational Sandals resort in Antigua and then get whisked away by private jet thanks to Tradewind to the sparkling waters and white sands of Richard’s home in the British Virgin Islands.


CEO and Co-Founder CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments Jo Layton

As CAP Worldwide celebrates its fifth anniversary, CEO Jo Layton talks about the company’s inception, its culture and what’s coming next

Jo Layton didn’t plan to start her own business, but when she was suddenly ‘let go’ without notice from the senior position she’d held for five years, she and her co-founder Andrew Hopgood took the plunge – and have never looked back.

“CAP was born out of adversity,” she says. “I certainly never dreamt of running my own company. I very much enjoyed the security of being employed. But after my rather unceremonious departure from a job I loved, I was ready to try. What I did know was that I wanted to create an inclusive business to be proud of, with a positive culture that would attract a diverse, cosmopolitan and driven workforce.”

While many competitors and start-ups in the sector rely on outside investment, CAP was – and still is – completely self-funded.

“It wasn’t easy. We had to make hard and sometimes emotional, life-changing decisions, including selling our original family home to invest in the company. My children backed and trusted me, as did my team, and so many incredible people and organisations in our wonderful travel sector,” says Layton.

CAP has 50 employees today but began with a team of five, including co-founder and fellow shareholder Andrew Hopgood COO, also the architect of the CAP digital eco-system CAPTURE. He brought a wealth of knowledge from the relocation sector and was joined by fellow highly-experienced and respected industry professionals Kate Scott,

Francine Migliorati and Liz Warnes, who had worked alongside Layton in her previous roles for 10-15 years. The original leadership team expanded quickly with arrival of Clare Ace and Sabrina Carparelli.

CAP was conceived in March 2019 and officially launched at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge in June 2019, but Layton’s house didn’t sell until that October.

“We launched just 90 days from inception, and we sailed very close to the wind more than once during that first year. We used all of our savings, ran credit cards to the max, and, thankfully, only once had to borrow money to pay salaries (thank you Liz!).

“It was during those rocky times that our incredible network truly stepped up. The love, support and positive energy we received from far and wide in the travel sector was just mind-blowing.

“We were invited to events as speakers, sponsored with free or discounted tickets, and we hosted tables on behalf of contacts."

CAP’s first contracted client, Corporate Travel Management (CTM), was signed in

My children backed and trusted me, as did my team, and so many incredible people and organisations in our wonderful travel sector”

August 2019 and a number of large, global corporate accounts quickly followed. Covid hit the following March but, thanks to the CTM contract, CAP was given the chance to service the NHS and other CTM clients with key workers, so it grew during the pandemic.

Layton remembers: “We worked 24/7. There was no time to bake banana bread! We rarely left our desks to ‘clap for the NHS’ because we were so busy housing them. But it was so worth the effort, and to be nicknamed the ‘accommodation angels’ made everything worthwhile.”

Emerging in good shape, CAP continued onboarding a plethora of well-respected team members, global clients and partners.

“Together, we had created a clear vision and we all agreed that ‘our tech was our tool but not our why’. Our tech carried our heavy load and made working with us seamless, but it was the blended integration of people and technology that was vital.

"Our clients choose us because they want our experience, our consultative approach and our astute understanding of the sector. We work in true partnership with our clients to achieve their goals and aspirations.”

On its website, CAP describes its leadership as a ‘team of opinionated listeners - creative, future-focused, safety orientated, frugal and inclusive’.

“I want people to thrive,” says Layton. “I’ve learned what to do and what not to do from every leader over my 30-plus years working for great brands, including Marriott and IHG.


Jo Layton is CEO and Co-Founder of CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments. During a career spanning more than 30 years, Layton has also held senior sales and marketing roles at The Apartment Service, BridgeStreet, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott. In 2023, CAP Worldwide achieved an 80% growth year-on-year to just under £40m turnover globally.

“In my heart I'll always be a sales person, and now I am truly honoured and privileged to also be a CEO. This is a responsibility and position I do not take lightly. It’s my role to provide a safe haven for people to learn, grow, and thrive, to inspire teams to believe in their own ability and to always do the right thing, and to be the best version of themselves, that THEY want to be.”

Layton and Hopgood personally interview every candidate who applies to join the CAP team and are passionate about diversity, accessibility and inclusivity.

At the company’s CAPFest celebration two years ago, a new member of the team, Dan

Woodburn, announced to the table that he felt he had joined The Avengers. “He was so right. We're all so different but when we come together we become something special, something incredible, like a symphony.

“Our culture is to celebrate all individuals and always encourage positive conflict and opinion sharing. We're a matrix organisation, so myself and all directors will report into whoever is leading the project. Everyone in the team is always encouraged to take the opportunity to lead.

“At CAP, we don’t set ridiculous sales goals and targets. We have one goal and that’s to serve our clients and book their business –

CAP is a female-owned company with a 75% female leadership team. What does that mean?

When we were certified a diverse women-owned company under WEConnect, we immediately created two programmes.

Firstly, the ‘At CAP, You’re Welcome’ Programme ensures we always pay forward and report on opportunities of accessibility, providing training and support to start-ups and diverse suppliers. Secondly, the ‘At CAP, YOU are Welcome’ accessibility and inclusivity HR programme ensures everyone at CAP is invited to bring their whole self to work.

While many of our competitors are now marketing diversity measurement as ‘new’ and ‘ground-breaking’, we’ve been measuring diversity in our clients’ programmes since 2020.

What’s on the agenda for CAP in the next 12 months?

CAP 3.0 is enhancing our vision even further, but it is an evolution, not a revolution. We won’t be changing our shape. We want to remain relevant We’ll be refreshing our look and feel but we will retain our authenticity and will be firmly holding on to our culture and original vision.

Our goal remains the same – to create the most successful extended stay accommodation programmes in the market.

and whether you work in reservations, finance or sales, you’re just as important to achieving that goal, so everyone gets bonuses when we hit our targets.”

Layton wells up with emotion as she describes the strength of the CAP culture.

“It’s so humbling when I hear our teams share our mantras and our visions with heart and passion. I imagine it’s like being on stage at a concert and hearing a song you sing sung back to you – only a 1,000 times better - it absolutely takes my breath away. I think we are proving a growing company can be caring, kind and do the right thing, and still be profitable."

in brief...

Everyone's talking about... The Business Travel Magazine

Leyla Tugwell, Global Corporate Travel Leader, Buro Happold
"Approachable and always has detailed articles that are really relevant to the modern-day thinking"
Mark Dawson, Global Procurement Director, William Grant & Sons
The magazine provides great coverage of the industry and trends. Features are an excellent way to share experiences and encourage people into the industry”
Eloise Ferrara-Neched, Senior Procurement Manager, Royal Mail Group
Theresa Mabbutt, Personal Assistant, CIPD the industry”
Cristina Chimenti, Head of Travel, Sky UK Limited
“I thoroughly enjoy reading The Business Travel Magazine. It keeps me abreast on all of the latest information and news within the industry”
Lorraine Grant, Travel Coordinator, Russell Reynolds Associates
BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM THE NDC JOURNEY Thursday April 11 2024, The Caledonian Club, London For more information or to register your interest, please contact: This event is kindly sponsored by Navan

We dusted off the very first copy of The Business Travel Magazine, and every issue that followed, and looked back at everything that's happened over the years to see just how much things have changed – or not. For our 100th issue, join us on a trip down memory lane...




If only they had let their imaginations run a tiny bit wilder, those clever techies at Amadeus would have got it spot on when they outlined their "vision of the business travel future" in our very first issue.

They predicted that online booking tools would be reduced to a "piece of kit the size of a mobile phone", otherwise known as a "universal access handset". They even had a video of a traveller unlocking his hire car and getting into his hotel room by waving his "mobile phone lookalike", but still didn't quite make the leap. To be fair, the best phone around at that time was The Blackberry Pearl.



France was "blazing a trail in Europe that others are set to follow" when it began to test a new in-flight mobile phone service in partership with OnAir that allowed passenger to make in-flight calls.

It's good to see that even as far back as our third issue, we were dedicating our cover lines and countless column inches to the important issue of sustainable business travel. Sadly, though, in 2007 it wasn't quite the major industry focus it is today.


According to our Editor's welcome, at that year's Business Travel Show (when it was still at Earl's Court - oh, wasn't it so much easier then?) it appears there wasn't yet much of an appetite for sustainability-related discussions.

A session entitled 'Green taxation in aviation – who should pay?' was cancelled, and another session exploring the benefits of video conferencing as a travel alternative was attended by just five people.

Thankfully, now, the subject has risen to the top of the agenda and entire conferences –and entire issues of our magazine – are now devoted to finding sustainable solutions. It's going to be a long and difficult journey but we'll get there.



All we can say is thank goodness this one didn't take off. Well, not yet anyway. At the start of 2008, we reported that Air

Needless to say, the pilot scheme didn't go too smoothly, with one onboard journalist reporting "a not entirely happy planeload of passengers". Those taking part in the trial complained that the call quality wasn't great, with one sounding "like a small robot", and other calls went straight through to voicemail. Meanwhile, passengers sitting nearby weren't entirely pleased with the idea of having to listen in.

At that time, no UK airline had applied for a licence amendment for in-flight calls and, according to the CAA, today only a small number of aircraft are equipped to allow calls. On the rest, a mobile phone signal can't be received once the plane reaches about a few thousand feet anyway.


In the European Union, however, the arrival of 5G has prompted changes in legislation which mean passengers will no longer be required to put their phone on airplane mode. And the CAA is watching closely.

"We are working with Ofcom and the Ministry of Defence to make sure that the deployment of 5G in the UK does not cause any technical problems for aircraft and are keeping our position under constant review," a spokeswoman told us. Enjoy the peace and quiet while you still can.


ISSUE: 10 MAY 2008

It led to the loss of 15,000 bags, the cancellation of 250 flights and the prosecution of a super model – who can forget the disastrous opening of Heathrow Terminal 5?

Despite 20 years of planning and an investment of £4.3 billion, a catalogue of technical and organisational errors led to what was described by Alistair Carmichael, a Member of Parliament, as “a national disgrace, a national humiliation”.

But, while the tabloids had a field day, we kept our readers firmly in mind and instead of wallowing in the chaos we shared helpful

It led to the loss of 15,000 bags, the cancellation of 250 flights and the prosecution of a super model"

advice. We ran a feature on the subsequent reshuffle at Heathrow's terminals, where British Airways' relocation allowed Star Alliance airlines to move into T1 and Skyteam to move into T4, and so on.

We also shared advice from the FCO about keeping important documents online using a “secure online storage site”, in case of any more bags going missing.

And, with “the black comedy” of the Heathrow opening “a timely reminder that air travel today is not all champagne and canapés”, we also featured a news story about the latest video conferencing technology as a viable alternative.

Dubbed the “Volvo of virtual meetings”, Datacom’s new system allowed up to nine participants to meet online and "even share documents or presentations".

“If laptops and PCs are not modern enough to come with a camera and speakers, £35 or so spent on a plug-and-play equipment will do,” says the article. Plus, there was a £70 fee for the software and £75 a month running cost, per person. No wonder it didn’t properly catch on until more than a decade later.



We know from more recent events that our industry is resilient and resourceful, so we weren't altogether surprised to see the headline "Reasons to be Cheerful" in a feature about business travel as the UK began to emerge from the 2008 recession.


It was based on the experiences and opinions of five travel buyers, who were relishing the fact that, with the C-suite now on board, they could "actually fulfill the job they are charged to do".

One buyer remarked: "Policy is king now and we don't have much leakage as a result." Another noted: "Non-compliant reports are now being looked at and people will be challenged."


As we've seen time and time again – whether it's volcanic ash, storms, snow, cabin crew strikes, pesky drones, airline failures or terror attacks – TMCs come into their own in a crisis”

Of course, the post-recession compliance was short lived and those disobedient travellers were soon up to their old tricks again.

It seems that some traveller traits never change, as some of the other buyer comments demonstrate. "They still want five-star hotels but want to pay two-star prices," said one, while another nicely summed up every travel buyer's frustration: "As long as you travel, you're a travel manager – or you think you are."


ISSUE 22: MAY 2010

Just weeks after the bedlam, we ran an in-depth feature on TMCs, which read: "Until April 14th, hardly anyone in the UK had even heard of it. That quickly changed when the distant volcano belched into action, spewing ash high into the atmosphere to drift slowly over Europe and, perversely, give travel management companies the chance to shine."

The editorial that followed was eerily similar to what we ran during the Covid pandemic. As one TMC chief said on the first day of the ash cloud shut down: "Some people question the cost of TMCs but on days like today a TMC pays for itself tenfold."



Even those of us who can remember it happening won’t remember how to pronounce it, let alone spell it. The eruption of Iceland’s tonguetwister Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April and May 2010 caused the biggest air traffic shut down since World War II, with an estimated 107,000 flights grounded over eight days, impacting the travel plans of a staggering 10 million passengers.


IATA put the losses for the airline industry at approximately £1.3 billion, airports lost another £80 million and goodness knows how many hours sleep were lost by travel managers and TMCs trying to deal with the fall-out.

As we've seen time and time again – whether it's volcanic ash, storms, snow, cabin crew strikes, pesky drones, airline financial failures or terror attacks – TMCs come into their own in a crisis.


This was our 50th issue and, naturally, we celebrated it. It wasn't in such a big way as we're celebrating our 100th, but we dedicated a few pages to look back at some of the main news headlines and we also discussed some of the terms that hadn't even been on the horizon when we first launched.

By 2015, phrases 'travel management 2.0', 'mobile booking' and... wait for it...'New Distribution Capacity (NDC)' had joined the business travel vocabulary. In fact, for the latter, we ran a Beginner's Guide.

The guide explained that some parties were concerned about NDC in relation to transparency, the potential to do away with price comparison, the need for, and the cost of, developing the required technology, and the protection of consumer data.

A survey that year showed that almost twothirds of travel managers in Europe didn't feel they knew enough about NDC and how it might affect them to be able to decide whether it's a good thing or not.

Nearly a decade later and we're not sure the sentiment is that much different.


ISSUE 51: MARCH 2015

With an election looming, we carried a news story outlining the election manifesto of the Business Travel Association (BTA), then known as the GTMC (Guild of Travel Management Companies) and not many of you will be surprised to learn that it was all a bit of a waste of the guild members' time.

There were four key demands from the organisation, on behalf of the industry: – an immediate decision from the Government on additional airport capacity


"with spades in the ground by 2020"

– the financing and construction of HS2 and HS3 rail links and better domestic air links to address the north/south divide

– the abolishment of Air Passenger Duty – free Wi-Fi available on all trains.

In a shock election result, the Conservative Government won with a slim majority and failed to listen on all fronts.


ISSUE 81: APRIL 2020

Due to our publication schedules, most of the April 2020 issue of our magazine would have gone to press before the full impact of Covid-19 was felt in the UK.

At that time, it was still a "mystery illness" emerging in Wuhan, a place most of us had to search on Google, along with the word 'coronovirus'.

Our ironically-timed feature on travel risk spoke of the vital role of security experts, who had intelligence on the ground in China and had helped put "safety and security procedures firmly in place" so that the potential threat to travellers had been "identified, communicated, acted upon and largely avoided".

We recognised the enormity of it all in our Editor's Welcome: "It has brought economic turmoil and travel restrictions that few would ever have imagined possible," it read.

But little did we know then that we were about to endure a long period of strict lockdowns a bit closer to home, that all but essential international and domestic travel would come to a complete halt, that many of us would be furloughed and the rest would be downloading Teams or Zoom and frantically trying to get to grips with the mute button, while home-schooling the kids and baking banana bread.

For the first time since its launch, The Business Travel Magazine skipped a few issues and instead we kept you up to date with developments online through our website and weekly newsletter.


get its act together. They tried their best to explain the devastating impact it was having on our industry, and the wider economy, but in the end we just had to ride it out.



'In safe hands. Restoring travel confidence in an uncertain world' was the cover line of our September 2020 issue as we began to emerge from the first round of pandemic lockdowns, only to be quickly locked away again.

It was a surreal time of maskwearing, social distancing, webinars and virtual conferences. Even our legendary Business Travel People Awards were announced virtually, the presenters standing two metres apart in the recording studio.

Who can forget those weekly press conferences from No. 10, the ever-stricter lockdown rules, the ever-shifting FCO travel advice, and the ever-changing colour of the dreaded traffic lights – green, red, amber, amber plus – often announced via Twitter at 10pm.

Even our legendary Business Travel People Awards were announced virtually, the presenters standing two metres apart”

But there was a real sense of togetherness and collaboration as we "pulled together to tackle the new challenges, sharing advice and information openly and freely, even with rivals".

The highlight of our week was seeing our very own Clive Wratten or Julia Lo Bue-Said on the television, urging the Government to

"From the messages of support on LinkedIn for those who have been displaced to the industry-wide lobbying and campaigning, the sense of community is stronger than ever," we observed.

As a magazine devoted to business travel, we like to think we've helped to nurture that community spirit over the years, and will continue to do so for as long as you'll carry on reading...


BTA COMMENT spotlight on business travel

Each year brings tech advancements enhancing customer experiences. The future of business travel relies on tech and collaboration for efficiency and top-notch service.

Virtual tools like video conferencing reshape the landscape, challenging the need for physical attendance. While technology provides alternatives, it cannot fully replicate in-person interactions.

Technological advancements not only facilitate a more flexible and remoteoriented work culture but also streamline the intricacies of travel, offering a seamless and convenient experience for all travellers navigating professional and personal commitments.

Flexible work arrangements are crucial for the future of business travel due to the rising trend of remote work. This shift has redefined travel policies, with businesses adapting to support employees' diverse work preferences.

Companies recognise the need for flexibility in travel schedules, accommodating individual needs while maintaining effective


communication. Adapting not only enhances employee satisfaction but also ensures that businesses remain agile and responsive in a dynamic business landscape.

Environmental sustainability is also critical to business travel, as corporates are increasingly prioritising eco-friendly practices. There's a growing emphasis on sustainable travel policies, with companies investing in and leveraging technology to minimise the environmental impact of travel.

In the upcoming 2024 general election, we must spotlight the value of business travel. As an industry, we must vocalise key needs: prioritising travel initiatives, investment in transportation infrastructure and ensuring smooth business travel through resolution with transport unions, SME support, and proactive guidance on reducing carbon footprints.

Businesses must prioritise seamless and responsive customer service to address the evolving needs of travellers and ensure a positive experience.

Global business travel 'riding a wave'

GlobAl business travel is “riding a wave of momentum” at the start of 2024, according to the latest GBTA Outlook Poll. Nearly 60% of global travel buyers anticipate more travel in the coming year, with two-thirds expecting increases in business travel spending. However, the figure was lower for buyers in Europe (37%) than in North America (66%).

“The business travel industry has ushered in a new chapter and moved beyond the pandemic. There are strong indicators for continued growth in travel volume and spending in 2024," said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.

But the survey of over 700 business travel professionals from 41 countries identified concerns about rising travel costs, overall economic uncertainties, lagging corporate budgets and travel disruptions.

clarasiGHT recruiTs eXperTs TO aDvisOrY BOarD

ClImATe Club, which helps organisations close the gap between climate-related intention and action, has added industry heavyweights as advisors.

Under the new name of Clarasight, it has recruited “some of the brightest minds in the travel sustainability space” to “expedite its mission to enable companies to confidently build pathways to sustainability goals that optimise financial performance”.

Joining the Advisory Board are: Scott Gillespie, Industry Advisor tClara; Glenn Thorsen, Global Sustainability Lead FCM Consulting; Erika Murdock Balbuena, Head of ESG Robinhood; Patrick Diemer, Co-Founder & Board Chair BT4 Europe and Chrissa Pagitsas, Founder and Principal Pagitsas Advisors.

Clarasight is backed by venture capital firms XYZ Venture Capital, Vestigo Ventures and others.


Travelperk secures $104m invesTmenT

TrAvelperk has closed an additional $104m investment led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with significant participation from existing investors.

The round is an extension of the Series D-1 raised in January 2022, led by General Catalyst.

Stephen Thorne, Investment Director for SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join the TravelPerk Board of Directors.

Travelperk said the cash will be used to increase investment into its platform, enhance the customer experience through new inventory capabilities and new business travel services, as well as expanding product automation through AI.

The company will also grow its 1,200-strong global workforce.

pOll: lOw use Of elecTric renTal cars

A survey of more than 900 US and European business travellers who rented a car at least once last year found 81% never opt for an electric car on a business trip.

The poll by BCD Travel found this was mainly because of complex logistics (46%), low availability at rental locations (35%) and because of the cars' short range (33%), while 12% say their company’s policy doesn’t include electric cars.

“This reflects the wider challenges of infrastructure and range that impact the uptake of EVs in general," said Olivia Ruggles-Brise, BCD’s VP of Sustainability.

"But moving from petrol vehicles to electric will become increasingly important as new legislation requires companies to measure and report the carbon emissions of their business trips."

virgin AtlAntic is Adding A seventh dAily flight from heAthrow to new york Jfk And A second dAily service from heAthrow to Boston for summer 2024

High intercontinental fares set to normalise

AbnormAlly high fares being charged for flights last year from North America are now returning to normal, according to Advito’s Quarterly Price Index report for the first quarter of this year.

The index says intercontinental airfares are mainly dropping, driven by a significant airline capacity rebound in Asia and the solid growth of frequencies on the North transatlantic sector

The index shows a year-on-year drop in intercontinental airfares from Europe of 6% in Business and 9% in Economy.

Advito is anticipating an overall drop in intercontinental airfares in Q4 2024, down overall by 7% in Business and by 9% in Economy, and particularly to Asia, where it expects fares to fall by 23% in Business and by 27% in Economy.


rock on Gibraltar has been confirmed as the location for the Business Travel Association’s Autumn Conference 2024. The event, which was held in Antwerp in 2023 and in Belfast the year before, will take place on September 29-October 2 at the Sunborn Yacht Hotel.

more productive Focus Travel Partnership has signed an agreement with MyOverview, a digital platform designed to improve agent productivity. It automates and integrates client communication channels and day-to-day operational tasks.

luxury escapes London TMC, Business First Partnership, has launched a leisure division. Partnering with global tour operator Turquoise Holidays, it has created a new brand, Escapes by BFP, to offer bespoke, high-end holiday experiences for its corporate clients.

Down under Qantas is launching a second international route from Darwin, with direct flights from the Northern Territory to Singapore.

Starting on December 9 2024, the flights will save around five hours in flying time by no longer having to fly via other Australian capital cities to get to London, providing a seamless connection to London on QF1, as well as other destinations across Europe or Asia with partner airlines.


advantage report shows 'new normal'

busIness TrIps are being booked further in advance and are getting longer, according to the latest Global Business Travel Review from Advantage Travel Partnerships.

The report, compiled with Travelogix, found the average advanced purchase time for business trips was 28.6 days in 2023, compared to 23.4 days in 2019.

Meanwhile, the average trip duration during 2023 was 6.95 days, a rise of 51% when compared to 4.6 days in 2019.

Advantage Global Business Travel Director, Guy Snelgar, said this trend can be considered the ‘new normal’ as travellers increasingly opt for more purposeful, fuller trips that deliver greater value. “We can finally say goodbye to the pre-covid comparisons of 2019 and truly look to understand what the ‘new normal’ for business travel now is," he said.


>> AGIITO, now part of Clarity Business Travel, has received the ISO 20121 certification for sustainable meetings and events >> TRIPSTAX has become the primary provider of travel management technology to Tangerine Travel, the largest privately-owned agency in US Pacific Northwest >> TRAVELPORT has signed a new content distribution agreement with easyJet to bring more “enriched” easyJet content to travel agents and to OTAs >> LONDON GATWICK has opened GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourt, a dedicated charging station for electric vehicles >> SABRE and International Airlines Group (IAG) have signed a multi-year distribution agreement to enhance digital retailing practices >> EMIRATES is ramping up its Dubai-Seoul schedules from February 19 2024, with three additional flights a week >>

TrenDs repOrT HiGHliGHTs unpreceDenTeD pace Of cHanGe

A blAnk piece of paper and a fresh perspective are probably two of the most important tools for successful travel management in the 2020s, according to a report from Festive Road.

The Macroscope Report, an update on a report released in February 2022, outlines the key trends shaping the future of business travel and notes the speed of change.

The initial report identified eight major trends to watch and a ninth trend ‘Disruption at the core’ has been added to this latest version.

Managing Partner Caroline Strachan said: “In addition to the evolution of the trends we have already identified, we can see that disruption has moved from being incident-specific to become an everyday issue that our industry needs to constantly manage and adapt to – whether it’s supply chain and service issues, the ongoing talent shortage, disrupted distribution channels and content fragmentation, heightened geo-political conditions or the increasingly unpredictable impact of climate change on travel plans.”

virgin AtlAntic signs codeshAre to imProve chinA connections

vIrGIn ATlAnTIC has signed a codeshare agreement with China Eastern to provide greater access to destinations across China.

The first phase of the agreement will allow customers booking through Virgin Atlantic to connect from the airline’s London Heathrow to Shanghai services to six destinations in China on one ticket, including Chengdu, Changsa, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Xi’an.

48% changing travel policies due to new ways of working

Just under half of travel buyers have revised or plan to revise their company’s business travel policy or programme because of the move to remote or hybrid working, according to the GBTA’s latest global Business Travel Outlook Poll of more than 700 people.


How times have changed

It's incredible how the role of the travel manager/buyer has evolved across the 100 editions of this publication.

In the early days, travel management was highly people and paper intensive, with almost all transactions conducted by phone with trained operatives. Ticketing conditions and green screen jargon meant there was a mystique around those who fully understood the end-to-end complexities.

Travel managers tended to be former TMCs or 'business travel agents'. Due to the open-ended nature of commissions and fixed sales and marketing agreements, the way TMCs earned their money was rather opaque. Making a few Concorde bookings in a week would transform a branch's performance.

In addition to perennial stakeholder and other internal stuff, travel managers would conduct a revolving door of monthly supplier meetings, focussed on driving down costs. Many of us are still struggling to forget those painfully attritional negotiations.

Efficiencies through tech have thankfully driven out

the paperwork, native displays and delayed reporting, but in all other ways, travel management is a lot more complicated.

Buyers must now be experts in areas of carbon removal, neurodiversity, accessibility, equity and inclusion, duty of care, visas, retailing and distribution technologies.

In those early days, travel managers had to be smart with collaboration and relationship-building skills, vision and resilience. This would seem to be just as applicable today, albeit with each element supercharged.

Just to add to the fun, fundamental shifts in the commercial models and approaches from suppliers have meant money flows in the industry are once again rather confusing, complicated and opaque.

It would be nice to think that in another 100 editions this rather troublesome part of our industry will clarify and crystalise in a universally satisfactory way.

But, do I care? By then, I hope to be jetting away in retirement on whatever the successor to Concorde is... in my dreams!

THe news review 21 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM find out more by Trees4Travel turning on its heAd sustAinABility entries Are now oPen for the 2024 Business trAvel PeoPle AwArds with 19 cAtegories to choose from, including siX new for this yeAr. nominAtions must Be suBmitted By middAy mArch 15. enter now At: BTA UPDATE


rail OperaTOr BeGins Trial Of simpler fares scHeme

lner is trialling a new ‘Simpler Fares’ pilot scheme for selected journeys along the East Coast route.

The two-year trial will include journeys between London King’s Cross and Newcastle, London and Berwick-upon-Tweed and London and Edinburgh.

Complicated ticket types will be removed and replaced with three straightforward options on the trial routes: Advance (Fixed), the best

value fare, booked in advance for a fixed journey with a reserved seat; ‘70-min Flex’ (Semi-Flexible), with the flexibility to travel on other LNER services 70 minutes before or after their original booked journey, and Anytime (Fully-Flexible).

Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak fares, which only represented 11% of journeys included in the pilot, have been removed.

singAPore Airlines will fly from london gAtwick to singAPore chAngi

from June 22 2024

cHOOse partners with energy giant

ClImATe tech company CHOOOSE has partnered with bp to expand its lower carbon product solutions for the aviation industry.

The collaboration is set to help airlines with a variety of decarbonisation initiatives, including meeting the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) compliance obligations and to scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) initiatives with advanced digital solutions.

CHOOOSE is seeking to build on its digital “one-stop shop” for aviation’s carbon needs. Airlines and air freight companies can currently use its platform to centrally manage the diverse components of their decarbonisation journeys, such as multi-faceted SAF programmes, emission calculations and reporting and compliance obligations.


ESG decision makers think the industry will hit net zero goal

A survey by Amadeus of 896 senior ESG (environmental, social and governance) decision makers across nine markets and seven segments of the travel industry found 89% believe the industry can hit the UNWTOproposed target of net zero by 2050.

Business trAvel sAlAry indeX shows shArP rise since 2019

AverAGe sAlArIes for new business travel jobs rose by 7.28% to £32,414 in 2023, according to the Travel Salary Index 2023 from C&M Travel Recruitment.

Compared to 2019, average business travel salaries have risen by just over 20%.

Meanwhile, placements in the sector dipped by 66% last year from 2022’s record-breaking year, but were down by just 6% from 2019.

THe news review


Just rewards

Hilton has launched a digital-forward travel management programme aimed at SMEs.

Called Hilton for Business, it aims to simplify travel management while enhancing rewards and discounts for the loyalty of businesses and their travellers.

fraud alert

American Express Global Business Travel will use Expedia Group’s Fraud Prevention as a Service solution for travel bookings on its Amex GBT Egencia solution.

in credit

Music and entertainment specialist Equinox Charter has begun the rollout of a new rewards programme for air charter clients, giving instant travel credits which clients can redeem for diverse travel experiences globally, with carbon offset matching.

new-look lounge

Singapore Airlines is investing more than £3.5 million in refurbishing its SilverKris Lounge at London Heathrow Airport Passengers can expect “a refreshed experience”, with up to 16% more seating space, enhanced facilities and a new look.

Green award

Millennium Hotels & Resorts has received the Green Tourism accreditation across its UK hotels The certification champions energy efficiency, waste reduction and CSR initiatives that drive staff wellbeing and community engagement.

find out more

Diary of a CTO

A lot has been written about how Artifical Intelligence will totally change life, the universe and everything. We’ll have to see: our three dogs, Bow, Ozzie and Reggie, will still want walking whatever happens: and, if their master has any say in the matter, that walk will still end at an alehouse –or at least it will when my New Year resolution to stay off the sauce for three months finally ends on March 31st.

But I do believe AI truly will prove transformational. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to understand what that change might look like, so I thought I would give you a real-life example.

We’re working on a prototype which I hope will help end a chore I absolutely hate: submitting my dreaded expenses. Personally, I consider expense filing the work of the devil!

The way most expense reporting works today is that if travellers book a flight, hotel or whatever through their booking tool or TMC, the transaction is automatically captured and flows into their expense report.

But if the traveller books, say, direct with Ryanair or on a car-ride app, they often have to add the booking manually as a line item to their expense claim.

Solutions exist to capture these “off-piste” bookings, by automatically extracting the information from the email reservation confirmation.

But this process relies on those emails conforming to a regular template structure where details like the airline, origin and destination are always located in the same place. If any details move position on the email, even marginally, identification can fail.

Another challenge is batching together

different line items (flight, hotel, dinner and so on) to provide visibility of the whole trip, which helps you to better understand travel costs. But, again, if the traveller isn’t to do this manually, you need very sophisticated tech to sift through information like dates, cost centres and email addresses from lots of different sources to make reliable matches.

Our pilot uses AI to do all of it. It deploys large language models to seek and recognise certain types of data irrespective of where and how they are located in the document being scanned.

“I absolutely hate submitting my dreaded expenses. Personally, I consider expense filing the work of the devil!"

It’s much more flexible than the older tech it is replacing and it keeps learning, so the success rate just keeps climbing.

The pilot has gone even better than we dared hope and has really brought home to me how much potential AI has. There’s plenty of innovation just around the corner.

Talking of AI potential, I recently heard that it’s being used to improve the taste of vegan meat with ‘smart ingredient pairing’ techniques – it’s the new flavour matchmaker apparently. Call me a cynic, but I think I’ll stick with my dry-smoked sizzling rashers for now, thank you.




AS: Travel Manager EMEA & APAC


Juliette Jackman, previously Head of Business Development Europe for TRIPBAM, has joined global engineering company Wood as Travel Manager EMEA and APAC.

JOINS: TakeTwo Eton

AS: Group Finance Director FROM: Altour

Naz Hussain has joined TakeTwo Eton as Group Finance Director to oversee the finance functions for both brands in the UK, Europe and US markets.

JOINS: Corporate Travel Management

AS: SVP Sales Strategy and Transformation


Julian Mills has joined CTM as Senior Vice President Sales Strategy and Transformation, reporting directly to EVP Business Development EMEA, Shelley Mathews.

JOINS: Lufthansa Group Airlines

AS: Group Senior Director Sales for Northern Europe FROM: Swiss Lufthansa Group has named Sven Thaler as Senior Director Sales Northern Europe, responsible for the UK, Ireland, the Nordics, the Baltics, and the Netherlands.


AS: Account Director of Business Travel


Jake Seage, previously Head of Sales and Reservations at STAY, has joined the Situ team as Account Director of Business Travel, reporting directly to MD Rebecca Gonzaga.


JOINS: Meon Valley Travel

AS: Commercial Director FROM: Ski Verbier

Meon Valley Travel has appointed Stephen Inskip in the new role of Commercial Director. Inskip previously worked at Reed & Mackay and BCD Travel before Ski Verbier.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> FINNAIR has appointed Turkka Kuusisto as CEO, starting in July 2024 >> Etihad Airways has named Christophe Didier as Vice President of Sales and Distribution. He previously worked at COPA Airlines >> Jane Worrow, previously Partnership Director at Grasp Technologies, has joined HotelHub as Director of Product Marketing >> Trainline Partner Solutions, Trainline’s B2B arm, has promoted Andrew Cruttenden to the newly-created role of General Manager >> Nathaniel Pieper has become CEO of oneworld. He was formerly Senior Vice President of fleet, finance and alliances at Alaska Airlines >> Karen Hutchings, former EY Global Head of Travel, Meetings & Events, has joined HeadBox, a B2B digital events platform, as a Board Director >>


FEBRUARY 21 2024


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FEBRUARY 27 2024


MARCH 11 2024

BTA SPRING CONFERENCE Congress Centre, London

APRIL 11 2024



The Caledonian Club, London

APRIL 24-25 2024


DoubleTree by Hilton, Brighton Metropole

MAY 15-18 2024


Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa, Mexico

JUNE 5 2024


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JUNE 10 2024


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JULY 18 2024


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JULY 22-24 2024


24 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THE BUSINESS TRAVEL RECRUITMENT EXPERTS Contact us to discuss your recruitment needs +44 (0)1932 562007 | | Untitled-1 1 09/10/2023 15:33

The Business Travel Magazine

Dinner Club

The final Business Travel Magazine Dinner Club of 2023 took place at the Carlton Tower Jumeirah, London, in December. The event, sponsored by TripStax, Synergy and South Western Railway, saw travel buyers, TMCs and other business travel leaders gather for networking drinks followed by a three-course dinner. Afterwards Rob Fontana-Reval, Chief Economist at WPI Economics, shared an expert overview of the UK economic outlook.

Welcoming first-time guests

For more photos from the event visit

The Dinner Club ▼
Dinner is served
Catching up with industry friends Sharing a joke over dinner Champagne reception PHOTOS BY GLENN FOSTER

State of play

As The Business Travel Magazine publishes its 100th issue, we took the chance to check in with you, our readers, with a travel buyer survey

Are you happy in your job, how’s your workload, are you being paid enough? How are you feeling about the year ahead – excited, cautious, stressed?

To mark our 100th anniversary issue, we’ve reached out to our travel buyer readers to get a feel for how you’re all doing and to make sure we stay in tune with what you’re experiencing in your professional lives. We’ve also asked some industry experts to analyse some of the key findings and to share their views and insights.

This is the first of a series of surveys we will carry out this year to help us remain relevant and to evolve our products. As a publication dedicated to those who book, manage and arrange travel and meetings, we want to make sure we continue to provide you with the right content, tackle the burning issues, and give you the information and advice you need to make your jobs easier.

Since our first issue back in 2006, we’ve seen how your roles and responsibilities have shifted and expanded, particularly in recent years. There will always be more challenges ahead, and many of you expect your workloads to increase, but we’re heartened and reassured to see that the majority of you are still happy in your jobs – and that you still enjoy reading The Business Travel Magazine.

Since our first issue back in 2006, we've seen how your roles and responsibilities have shifted and expanded, particularly in recent years ”


34% are very happy

We're sorry for the 7.9% of you who aren't happy in your job. Maybe it's time to speak to your manager or get your CV updated and start looking around?

But it's so heartening to see that the vast majority of you are enjoying your current role, and even more heartening to see that more than a third of you are "very happy".

It's been a tough few years for travel buyers and, while there are still challenges to overcome, the findings reflect a general feeling of optimism in the sector for the 12 months ahead and beyond.

Kerry Douglas, ITM’s Head of Programme, remarks: "It was interesting to see that most buyers are happy in their role, despite most of them expecting to see their workload increase this year." (See graphic on the right.)

Douglas was reminded of the ITM's autumn conference in London in 2023 when buyers were asked to describe what made it special to work in "this wonderful discipline". Many of you will remember the results shared on a big screen at the event, showing that buyers prioritised words including ‘fun, ‘people’, ‘community’, and even ‘sexy’.

WHile more than half of you are feeling positive about your work in the next 12 months, over a third of you are feeling cautious. Sadly, a small number are feeling anxious and stressed.


Kerry Douglas, ITM’s Head of Programme, said a ‘Pulse Check’ of ITM travel managers at a Buyer Knowledge Exchange last year also found most are optimistic or excited about their travel programme for the year ahead. "But they also expressed a degree of caution as 2024 is likely to see ongoing disruption due to several factors, including geopolitical and economic uncertainties,” she explains.

You're already a hard working bunch and, if your predictions are right, it's only going to get worse in the year ahead.

More than 75% of you expect your workloads to increase in the next 12 months, although many only expected a slight rise.

"Our most recent survey confirmed that there are a multitude of complex challenges that are competing for space on travel managers’ desks," says ITM's Douglas.

"Buyers must now be experts in areas of sustainability and carbon removal, neurodiversity, accessibility, equity and inclusion, duty of care, visas and other border documentation, not forgetting of course the complex changes in airline retailing and distribution." It's exhasting just reading the list!

Very happy 34.3% Happy 30.7% Quite happy 27.1% Not happy 7.9%
W HEN I t c O m ES t O YOUR PRO f ESSIONA l l I f E , WHAt WOR d BES t d ES c RIBES HOW YOU ARE f EE l IN g ABOU t 2024? I N t HE NE xt 12 m ON t HS , WHAt d O YOU E x PE ct tO HAPPEN tO YOUR WOR kl OA d? • Increase significantly 20.4% • Increase slightly 55.1% • Stay the same 21.5% • Reduce 3%
HappY 3% stressed 6.1% aNxious 27 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com 

"tHis split is what I would expect and reflects the wider industry," says Lynne Griffiths, CEO and co-Founder of Sirius Talent Solutions.

"We're seeing more companies asking their employees to come back to the office environment but there's been some resistance and many people are preferring to work from home, at least a few days a week.

"At the same time, some employees want to

work in an office and we've seen TMCs who've closed offices losing people as a result."

Griffiths expects the balance between home and office working to continue to be a conversation point throughout 2024.

WHile 58% of you feel you're paid the right amount for your role, a significant number (42%) believe your salaries are falling short.

“It’s a sought-after role and since Covid, travel managers and travel buyers have higher profiles and are even more visible and valued in their organisations, so their salaries need to reflect this,” says Lynne Griffiths, CEO Sirius Talent Solutions.

“We know from client experience that companies that have recruited in the last three years have had to substantially increase their hiring budgets to attract the best people.”

When it comes to your five-year career plans, some of you are clearly restless but most of you seem fairly settled.

"In some cases buyers have progressed through different roles with suppliers or TMCs before transitioning to the buyer side," notes Griffiths. “Once there, they are usually at a point in their career where they are settled and less likely to move back to the supplier side, although a move to another travel manager role is not uncommon.

"But what we're increasingly seeing is more junior roles being created by organisations that want an intermediary between bookers and their TMC, as travel is more complex. These roles may be more transient as they look to progress their careers.”

"It will also be impacted by new regulations, due to take effect on April 6, which will enshrine, in law, an employee's right to request flexible working arrangements from the start of their employment," she adds.

B ASE d ON YOUR c URREN t SA l ARY, d O YOU f EE l A d E q UAt E lY RE m UNERAt E d f OR YOUR RO l E ? 58% 42% I N f IVE YEARS , d O YOU E x PE ct t O BE WOR k IN g IN t HE SA m E RO l E ? • Definitely 20.6% • Maybe 49.7% • No 29.7% WHERE dO YOU WOR k? I N f IVE YEARS , d O YOU E x PE ct t O BE WOR k IN g f OR t HE SA m E OR g ANISAt ION ? 50.3% MaYBe 20% No 29.7% deFiNitelY 43% MaiNlY FroM HoMe 38% HYBrid MaiNlY FroM aN oFFiCe 19% 

Wednesday June 5 2024,

The Caledonian Club, London

To register your interest or for more information about sponsorship of this event, please contact:

This event is kindly sponsored by FREENOW and MOBILITY IQ


Based on economic and geopolitical situations in the UK and further afield, Travelogix forecasts that 2024 will outperform 2023 by at least 15.5%”

NearlY two thirds of you expect to see your business travel volume and spend increase in the next 12 months, which is higher than anticipated by buyers across Europe, based on the latest figures from the GBTA. Its latest Business Travel Outlook Poll found 59% of

buyers globally expect the number of their organisation's business trips will increase at their company in 2024, compared to 2023, but the figure was significantly lower among European buyers (37%). The GBTA poll doesn't give specific figures for the UK. Reflecting the general upwards trend, a report out earlier in February from Advantage

Travel Partnerships and Travelogix, based on detailed data analysis of 25.4m records, recorded an aggregate value of £12.3bn in transactional revenue in 2023. Based on economic and geopolitical situations in the UK and further afield, Travelogix forecasts that 2024 will outperform 2023 by at least 15.5% and by at least 6.2% compared to 2019.

I N t HE NE xt 12 m ON t HS , d O YOU E x PE ct t HE VO l U m E O f BUSINESS t RAVE l IN YOUR OR g ANISAt ION t O : Decrease slightly 5.4% Stay the same 28.9% Increase slightly 51.2% Increase significantly 13.3% Decrease significantly 1.2% 51% I N t HE NE xt 12 m ON t HS , d O YOU E x PE ct YOUR OR g ANISAt ION ’ S BUSINESS t RAVE l SPEN d t O : 66% expeCt BusiNess traVel speNd to iNCrease tHis Year iNCrease sliGHtlY • Decrease significantly 0.6% • Decrease slightly 8.5% • Stay the same 25.4% • Increase slightly 55.8% • Increase significantly 9.7%

“WHat stands out for me in these results is that 50% of buyers said ‘better technology’ would make their job less challenging in the next 12 months," says Scott Davies, ITM CEO.

"This very much echoes the sentiment that ITM buyers expressed in our 2024 Priorities Survey as OBT optimisation ranked as their

top priority, particularly in terms of access to full content.

"Most buyers are dissatisfied with their OBT’s delivery and fulfilment of several content-related areas, not just non-GDS and NDC content, but also rail.

"They are also frustrated by the OBTs’ ability to capture off programme bookings, guide responsible travel choices and provide duty

of care at point of sale. None of this is an easy fix and the OBT is the manifestation of a lot of issues in a complicated ecosystem. Yet buyers are still so reliant on their OBT to support their programme."

31 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com SURVEY annual expenditure on business travel and meetings Up to £500,000 26.4% £500,001 - £1,000,000 12.9% £1,000,001 - £5,000,000 ....................... 7.4% £5,000,001 - £10,000,000 ........................ 8% £10,000,001 - £20,000,000 ................ 10.3% £20,000,001 - £100,000,000 19% £100,000,001+ 16% Number of travellers in the organisation 1 – 50 37.6% 51 – 250 12.7% 251 – 500 .................................................. 3% 501 – 1000 ............................................. 6.7% 1000+ 40% regions where you book travel UK & Ireland 16.9% Europe 13.3% Asia 1.8% Africa, Middle East & India....................2.4% North America ...................................... 7.8% South America ...................................... 0.6% Australasia 1.2% All of the above 56% R ea D e R p R of I le W HAt WOU ld m OS t HE l P t O m A k E YOUR JOB l ESS c HA ll EN g IN g IN t HE NE xt 12 m ON t HS ? W HAt WI ll BE YOUR BI gg ES t f O c US f OR 2024.
• Better technology 50.3% • More staff 38.5% • More data 35.4% • More support from supplier partners 29.8% • More support from your TMC 24.8% • More support from your managers/C-suite 22.4% • A bigger travel budget 21.1% RFP 11% MANAGING YOUR TMC RELATIONSHIP 20.2% I MPROVING POLICY COMPLIANCE 23.9% B USINESS TRAVEL SUSTAINABILITY 33.1% T RAVELLER WELLBEING , SAFETY AND SECURITY 34.4% I MPLEMENTING / IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY 35.6% S UPPLIER SOURCING / NEGOTIATIONS 36.8% M ANAGING / CUTTING COSTS 39.9% D ATA ANALYSIS AND REPORTING 39.9% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 PER c ENTAGE Upto3answerswerepermitted. Upto3answerswerepermitted


Preparations are underway for this year’s Business Travel People Awards, celebrating our industry’s finest talent

ominations are now open for the 2024 Business Travel People Awards, with six new categories to enter. The prestigious awards, now in their 13th year, recognise individuals and teams whose professionalism and business excellence make them stand out from their peers.

Unlike other awards, the People Awards celebrate the achievements of the people in the industry, rather than the companies or brands.

Categories are designed to encourage nominations from people working in all business travel sectors and at all stages of their career.

Submissions for all 19 categories are open until midday on March 15.

Winners will be presented with their awards at an evening ceremony on Tuesday September 17 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden.

Virgin Atlantic has been confirmed as the Platinum sponsor, while Direct ATPI is Silver sponsor and will be sponsoring the welcome drinks reception once again. Sirius Tavel Solutions, JetBlue and Travel Risk Academy are Bronze sponsors. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kirsty Hicks, Publisher of The Business Travel Magazine, at


• Account Management Team of the Year

• Account Manager of the Year

• Meetings and Events Team of the Year

• Business Travel Team of the Year

• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion

• Duty of Care Champion

• Sustainability Champion

• Travel Technology Innovator

• People Manager of the Year

• Rising Star

• Shining Star

• Buyer of the Year

• Outstanding Industry Contribution Award

“These awards celebrate the achievements of the people in the industry, rather than the companies or brands”

NEW FOR 2024

• Sales and Business Development Team of the Year

• Sales and Business Development Manager of the Year

• Consultant of the Year

• TMC Above and Beyond

– Individual

• TMC Above and Beyond – Team

• Mentor of the Year

There will also be a Chair’s Award chosen from across all of the categories by the Chair of the Judges Panel, Leigh Cowlishaw.



Three new industry experts have joined the panel of judges for the 2024 Business Travel People Awards. Ensuring complete impartiality, each judge is required to declare any conflicts of interest to the Judges Chair before being given access to the submissions. Each judge is then allocated specific categories and will extensively study each entry in that category.

Following tradition, the Rising Star winner is invited to join the judging panel for the following year.

New to the panel this year are:

The three new judges will join the other members of the panel:

DARREN JEACOCK, Assistant Director in the global Supply Chain Services team at EY and Travel Supplier Manager for the Asia-Pacific and EMEIA region

DANNY COCKTON, Vice President, Global Travel Services at Wood PLC, and a co-founder of The Business Travel People Awards. He has previously held commercial roles with American Express GBT and Agiito as well as serving ITM since 2005 in various capacities

FRANCESCA MENDOLA, Vice President of Global Travel Collection UK and voted Rising Star in The Business Travel People Awards 2023 in recognition of her aptitude and aspirations to become a business leader of the future

• ELIZABETH ANDERSON, Manager Global Travel Operations, Inmarsat (recently acquired by Viasat)

• BEX DEADMAN, Founder 8 Phase Consulting

• CAROL FERGUS, Director of Global Travel, Events and Ground Transportation, Fidelity International

• CAROLYN PEARSON, Founder and CEO, Maiden Voyage

• JULIET PRICE, Consultant Executive Director, Beam

• CLIVE WRATTEN, Chief Executive Officer, Business Travel Association

• DANI IVES, Commercial Manager, Focus Travel Partnership

• EMMA LAMB, Global Travel Safety and Security Specialist Mitie @ Meta

• JAMES FOICE, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Serviced Apartment Providers

• JAN T. JACOBSEN, Global Category Director Travel and Mobility, Accenture

• SONIA MICHAELS, Head of Business Travel Services and Events, Advantage Travel Partnerships

• LEE WHITEING, Commercial Director, Global Secure Accreditation

• LYNNE GRIFFITHS, CEO and Founder, Sirius Talent Solutions

• MERV MOONIEN, Travel Consultant and BPS (Black Professional Scotland) Ambassador

The panel is chaired by Leigh Cowlishaw, Joint Managing Partner of business travel consultancy Black Box Partnerships.

“I'm delighted to welcome three new judges, joining our team of wellrespected and highly-experienced individuals,” said Cowlishaw.

“Being a judge for these prestigious awards involves time and commitment and there are often tough decisions to be made. I am so grateful to all of our esteemed judges for being part of the process and ensuring that the incredible people in our industry get the recognition they deserve.”

“Three new judges are joining our team of well-respected and highly-experienced individuals”
Platinum sponsor Silver sponsor Bronze sponsors


Bringing people together is more vital than ever in the new hybrid workplace, prompting the emergence of a new type of business travel. Bev Fearis reports

Sniper shooting, off-road driving and a lesson in escape tactics from ex-SAS soldiers in the Scottish highlands isn’t exactly your bog-standard team meeting, but it’s one of the bespoke experiences on offer from a new dedicated corporate division at Untold Story Travel. And, despite costing up to £10,000 a head, it’s proving popular.

Like many in the industry, the luxury travel agency spotted a rise in demand for group itineraries with “more meaningful and intelligent” experiences to help organisations build culture and motivate their people through personal and professional development. Alternative experiences include a snowmobile safari in Iceland or tracking dolphin mega-pods with marine expedition experts in Costa Rica.

“In the new world of hybrid working, with teams increasingly displaced, there’s a greater need to bring people together,” says Melanie Allvey, Head of Corporate for the Londonbased travel specialist and also a qualified therapist and events professional.

“Our corporate customers are asking us to facilitate an environment where their people can learn to work as a team again and provide the human element that we all need.”

Many predicted that the pandemic would spell the end of internal meetings and that we’d all be happy to carry on meeting virtually, but this hasn’t been the case.

“Not having an office space has created

the rising trend of team travel, bringing employees together to bond and create relationships with their colleagues. We’ve noticed this increasing significantly over the past few years, with no signs of slowing down,” says Ela Nowacka, Director of Sales at PPHE Hotel Group.

Catherine Logan, Regional Senior Vice President EMEA and APAC for the GBTA, also reports a “robust resurgence” in in-person meetings, reflecting a “growing desire among employees to engage in work-related travel and enjoy collaborative work experiences”.

“More than 65% of GBTA members now operate a hybrid working environment, and last year travel managers estimated their organisation would allocate 19% of managed travel spend to internal meetings,” she notes.

Business travellers surveyed in the latest GBTA BTI Outlook forecast an 18% growth in internal group business travel when compared to 2019, further proving the trend.

American Express GBT’s 13th Annual Global Meetings and Events Forecast concluded

Teams are becoming more mindful of the purpose of the meeting, with a renewed focus on topics that can be discussed and resolved more effectively face-to-face”
Typical corporate meetings venues may be eschewed for more creative options for co-working and for relaxing and creating together”

that internal meetings will continue to significantly drive growth in the sector in 2024, primarily driven by organisations seeking to build relationships and connect their distributed workforces.

What’s the purpose?

These team gatherings are not the same as corporate ‘jollies’ from times gone by, designed purely to incentivise and reward salespeople. Post pandemic team gettogethers generally incorporate strategy meetings, creative time and team-building sessions, with specific objectives in mind.

“Teams are becoming more mindful of the purpose of the meeting, with a renewed focus on content and topics that can be discussed and resolved more effectively face-to-face,” explains Louise Kilgannon at corporate travel consultants Festive Road.

“After the prolonged experience working remotely and seeing everyone on a screen, when a team does get together in person, many feel invigorated by the experience, so the desire to do it more is there.

“Furthermore, planning a meeting in person is more significant than assuming getting together is the default. There is more focus on measuring the real ‘impact’ of the meeting from a people and planet perspective.”

Scott Blondel, Reed & Mackay Head of Event Travel, believes there needs to be more thought behind bringing whole companies or departments together “given the benefits it has for culture, wellbeing and training”.

“In addition, as travel has always been seen

as a perk, in this competitive job market –with the battle to recruit and retain talent still very high – some companies are using incentive or team travel as a way to attract new hires or maintain workplace morale."

Anna Snoep, Director of Operations for Inntel, notes that most of these team meetings include an overnight stay, a team dinner and some sort of team-building or connecting activity.

“These are quite often focused on wellness or personal growth. It is important that the delegate feels there is value in attending in person by connecting with their team and/or learning a new skill,” she observes.

Kirsty Tod, Reed & Mackay General Manager Events EMEA, says for offsite events of more than one day, clients are planning gaps in schedules to give their people free time “whether that’s the opportunity to relax by the pool, use hotel facilities or take a walk around the destination”.

“Team-building activities are varied,” she adds. “While we are still seeing demand for the usual cocktail making master-classes and treasure hunts, we’ve had clients request salsa lessons, graffiti classes, perfume making in Paris and cookery classes. We recently had a ‘Game of Thrones’ team-building event where guests got very competitive!”

Little and often

Where previously companies may have got together for an internal meeting just once a year, they’re now meeting more frequently, observes Dennis Vilovic, Co-Founder and CEO

of cloud-based meeting platform TROOP. “We’re seeing more all-company meetings, as well as regional, departmental and team meetings,” he says.

“When we speak to our customers and the wider industry there is a consensus that companies and employees recognise the need to bring colleagues together in person, to unite teams, collaborate, build company culture or close a sale.”

TROOP is seeing a rise in smaller meetings through its platform, with almost 80% of meetings for 20 people or below, and 54% of these for internal meetings.

“These meetings include everything from board meetings and strategy meetings to various types of leadership retreats, departmental gatherings, training meetings, boot camps, team building, project workshops and onboarding sessions,” says Vilovic.

Change of venue

Henrietta Balint, Chair of the GBTA Europe Meetings and Event Committee, says there has been a drop in the traditional one-day meetings where teams "brainstorm and discuss" in a hotel conference room.

“Companies are now strategically planning meetings around employee engagement and satisfaction, stretching team travel to two to four days, ensuring the meeting is engaging and in line with company objectives and really concentrating on the benefits of meeting in person. We see more requests for unusual venues and experiences to foster collaboration, inclusivity and team building.”

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Meredith Smith, responsible for meetings and events practice at Festive Road, has noticed the same trend.

“Some dispersed teams are now finding more innovative venues for meetings. Typical corporate meetings venues may be eschewed for more creative options for co-working and for relaxing and creating together.”

Inntel’s Snoep agrees. “Venues tend to be of a higher standard, a bit quirky or different or situated in a place of beauty or nature, so we are expanding and enhancing our supplier base to include innovative suppliers who offer a unique service, product or activity.

“Alongside our more traditional suppliers, we also include wellness suppliers such as yoga coaches and motivational speakers. In terms of venues, we continue to add quirky, unique and off-the-beaten-track venues. The quality of catering has become more important, as well as the sustainability credentials of the venue.”

Organisations are also actively searching for locations that help reduce flight times, not only to limit the carbon impact but also to reduce costs.

The right location

The number one challenge, according to TROOP, is comparing destinations and deciding where to meet.

“It’s so time-consuming,” says Vilovic, who claims that in 2023, TROOP helped clients save $31 million dollars, 176,000 hours travelling and 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by automating the process.

“The second biggest challenge for meeting planners is efficient meeting planning, closely followed by budgeting and cost reporting.”

Balint at the GBTA, who is also Executive Director Global Commercial Services for Radius Travel, cites budgeting as a major issue, especially with costs increasing.

“It’s a challenge to submit a final budget and then accurately measure the value of team travel,” she says. “It’s so subjective

Our clients are asking us to facilitate an environment where their people can learn to work as a team again and provide the human element we all need”

and can have multiple measurements, such as staff retention, staff morale, improved collaboration, sales or processes. For travel managers, I would advise aligning metrics with the overall goal or objective of the meeting, trying to introduce tangible measurements.”

Balint also cites further complexities.

“Attendees all have differing needs and expectations around travel. DE&I factors need to be considered, such as accessibility, cultural sensitivity, neurodiversity and dietary requirements to ensure inclusivity.”

Hollie Brooks, Executive Assistant SilverDoor Apartments, warns of other factors that organisers need to consider.

“Typically team travel includes larger numbers of travellers, often with multiple nationalities, which can mean itineraries and programmes are significantly more complex, made all the more so because of different passports, visa requirements and the need to arrange travel and research options and availability from multiple locations and various modes of transport,” says Brooks.

“It’s vital that you communicate at an individual as well as a team level, epecially as the itineraries, while not necessarily more complex, are still needed for multiple people so you need to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need. Key to this is setting deadlines you wouldn’t necessarily set for solo travellers. Ensure you can supply the right information at a team level at various stages of the trip, for example passport information for flights or hotels to enable check-in and allocation of room lists.”


Start with your ‘why?’. From a strategic point of view, what are you trying to achieve by bringing internal meetings into your portfolio? Talk to people in your network who are already doing this successfully. Engage with legacy and new suppliers in the marketplace and experts, who can give you independent advice.

Principal Consultant, Festive Road

For travel managers who have a transient hotel programme I would advise on renegotiating this to extend the individual rates for groups so the rates are honoured, alongside increased flexibility in their cancellation terms.

C-suite guests want a VIP experience, something that hasn’t been done before, and their support teams want to be in front of everything, so communication is key. Even if there’s nothing to report, they need to know that communication channels are there.

Kirsty Tod, General Manager Events EMEA, Reed & Mackay


Sleeping PAR tn ERS

As the accommodation market becomes even more fragmented, how do travel buyers decide who to get into bed with? Gill Upton investigates

The global chain, sub-brand, smaller player, independent, boutique, budget hotel, aparthotel or any number of different apartment types –the accommodation category has particularly fragmented content which can challenge any hotel programme. Ensuring it is fit for purpose requires more flex than it ever has now that travellercentric policies are the norm in the postpandemic world of business travel.

The basics remain the same – to have capacity in key cities, locations with proximity to company offices, robust

safety and security protocols, providing the quality, services and facilities to meet traveller expectations and, naturally, at the right rates.

But today there is more on the company agenda – hotels with the lowest emissions, serviced apartments for four colleagues sharing, or to cater for the marked shift for fewer, longer trips, and those hotels who go the extra mile and reward the company with extras in return for volume. These could be rapid check-in, access to a lounge and personalised service, such as breakfast items, a pillow menu or mini-bar selection.

There is also one other major influencer that just won’t go away and that is those hotels that incentivise travellers with loyalty points.

Reason codes can knock out any bookings chosen solely to gain loyalty points and one Head of Travel and Sustainability for a major professional services group takes a pragmatic approach. “Loyalty schemes are not going to go away,” he says. “Those travellers generate a certain amount of business for the company. The best advice is not to rail against it but go with it, although a price optimisation tool will

Accommod A tion

usually curb it. If that’s the only problem you have with your programme then you’re doing well.”

Chain reaction

So should all the volume in a hotel programme go the way of InterContinental, Hilton, Marriott and Accor, for example, who have multiple sub-brands to satisfy multiple price points and styles, plus massive loyalty schemes?

Arguably the value of any loyalty scheme has reduced as they are so commonplace.

“Is there a USP in them anymore when everyone has them,” asks Sian Sayward, Immediate Past Chair and Governance Director at industry association BEAM and Director of People, Partnerships and Strategic Projects at Inntel. “You can’t get in anymore anyway when you want to use them and nine times out of 10 it’s not a driver.”

One buyer who favours the big chains is Carol Fergus, Director Global Travel, Meetings and Ground Transportation at Fidelity International. “We have a big

There is also one other major influencer that just won't go away and that is those hotels that incentivise travellers with loyalty points”
Accommod A tion
 Turing Locke, Eddington | North West Cambridge | @lockehotels More space than a hotel. More style than a serviced apartment. Where you can eat, sleep and unwind in your own, beautifully designed space. With all the stuff you need to continue your everyday, when you’re away from home.

percentage of our volume with the chains who have multiple brands and we collaborate with other parts of our business so we can leverage spend,” she says.

Fidelity International supplements that with independent hotels for local requirements. The company’s cheapest-onthe-day policy knocks out any premiumpriced, points-led bookings.

But big isn’t the best for everybody. Sayward bemoans the confusing plethora of choice in the market and questions the lack of differentiation between the global chains’ sub-brands.

“Accor has 41 hotel brands so how do you choose? Plus the name above the door is not the owner if it’s franchised, so a procurement person given travel post Covid can’t guarantee the same price, quality and services across the same brand,” she notes.

These are all challenges for the travel buyer but one upside is that chainwide discounts still work, although loyalty to them isn’t the same post Covid, says Sayward.

“You can’t be loyal in such a price-led market,” adding that Inntel finds it easier to work with smaller brands who are more agile and tactical.

“The big brands can be hamstrung by messages from their global HQ, on rate structures, managing accounts and commissions and the like."

It means small players such as Village Hotels, Premier Inn and Virgin Hotels, can play a part in hotel programmes.

Buying power

Jo Lydon, Executive Assistant at law firm HFW, is a smaller buyer. With under 100 bed nights a year, in many of the 20 destinations worldwide where the company has offices, she knows she can’t wield the buying power

to secure deep discounts enjoyed by others.

“Instead I rely on my TMC [Good Travel Management] to group my volumes with others and get me negotiated rates at midpriced hotels close to our offices.”

Double Tree, Leonardo and Citizen M make it on to HFWs London programme, for example.

The going rate

Rates are a big part of any negotiation and a variety of them prevail, namely standard rates for the main volume, a premium rate largely used for late room availability (LRA), and a dynamic rate, which is a discount off BAR and used by hotels as a channel to dump distressed inventory.

Channel price parity is an issue, with public OTA rates from the likes of Expedia and often undercutting negotiated rates. Sayward’s strategy is simply to incorporate them to give clients the best price each time: ”If you can’t beat them, join them,” she says.

Despite the lack of channel parity, Melanie Quinn, Head of Corporate Development at Travel Counsellors, stresses that negotiated rates are still worth having. “The valueadded benefits make the negotiated rate preferable, so the free parking, breakfast and LRA so the rate is held when an event is on in town, for example.

“There is no value in going for the rock bottom rate if you’re going to have add-ons because you will have no transparency of total trip cost. Adding £15 for breakfast, for example, will dilute the value of the rate."

Value added

It makes sense to buy on value, not price as best practice. Of course, value can mean different things to different buyers but

There is no value in going for the rock bottom rate if you're going to have add-ons because you will have no transparency of total trip costs”
Accommod A tion 

generally it’s anchored around service, location, quality and being fit for purpose.

Value to Fidelity’s travellers also means personal preferences. ”When we go to RFP we send emails to customers asking if there are any new properties we should use,” she says. Fidelity’s customers are vocal over any issues and together with feedback from the TMC some properties may be taken out of the programme.

Apartment living

Fergus’ current challenge is finding apartments in the 26 markets Fidelity operates in that are also close to hotels and meet the standards of security and safety.

“Things have changed post Covid and people want choice in terms of their work-life balance and may not want to go into a hotel,” she says.

The UK has sufficient product range but it’s not replicated elsewhere.

“There is no global reach on apartments yet and it requires a lot more homework and due diligence,” says Fergus.

Fidelity uses The Ascott across Asia, for example, but struggles to find the right quality in India and would like to see more opportunity in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Asia accounts for the largest share of corporate serviced apartment volumes, according to annual GSAIR statistics and that might explain some of SilverDoor’s ongoing expansion plans regionally and globally.

“Currently this includes a real drive to grow our portfolio and partner network in India, China, Thailand, Germany and Croatia,” explains Martin Klima, Chief Customer Officer at the company. SilverDoor already operates across 125 countries.

Other providers in expansionary mode

include Staycity, lyf (Ascott’s co-living brand), Hyatt Studios and Edyn’s Locke brand.

GSAIR reports that the European market –which is second in size to Asia - will expand by 21.2% over the next three years.

Becca Gonzaga, Advisory Board Member of The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), disputes the lack of global reach. “It is global but it’s clunkier. The challenge is the consistency and how the apartments can be bought.”

She says it’s down to each provider to install technological solutions and bring the stock to market more quickly and is optimistic that the need has been identified. “It feels like they’re doing that," she says.

Taking stock

Pending UK and US licensing legislation is more of worry, which has already seen stock in Edinburgh, for example, reduce from 23,000 to 4,000 units.

The Government is trying to combat the second homes market and the lack of licensing around Airbnb and the short and mid-stay accommodation market has got caught in the crossfire. “We will be impacted significantly unless operators and agents get involved," explains Gonzaga.

Gonzaga is also MD of the privatelyowned provider SITU, which operates in 144 countries and has announced a simplification to the booking process - among other thingsthrough the acquisition of the full technology stack of short-term rental technology company, Rentivo.

Serviced apartments have come on in leaps and bounds – with online content, manned receptions, better food options, no limit on number of nights booked and at rates more static than hotels – but a lack of global reach is still an issue. The GSAIR report highlights

With hotels you've got to have the right relationships and work with the right partners and do not base it on an annual RFP”
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availability in required locations and the inconsistent quality of stock as barriers to greater use.

Fidelity doesn’t mandate apartments on bookings of five days or more but it is best practice at the company. nonetheless, with a high adoption rate in the upper 80s, Fidelity’s hotel programme is working well.

The criteria for choosing hotel partners for the professional services giant is based on three things, explains its anonymised travel chief. “Does it reduce cost, does it reduce CO2 and does it improve the user experience?

If they raise the bar in some way then I’m interested.”

Hotels that can provide lower emission rates per room will make it on to the group's hotel programme. Two years ago it combined global mobility – which sat in HR – with travel to leverage spend and achieved a 30% rate reduction. Its travel team also managed to change what was a manual system of 27 touches down to three with a system able to book anything from a studio apartment to a three-bed family space.

With 92% online booking for all travel, it’s a slick digital system. Offline bookings are the preserve of high risk and complex bookings, and each time he is looking for “consumer grade booking systems” often they feel “quite clunky”.

you’re there for a week you need a different proposition," he explains.

"A female traveller finds it difficult to go into the bar without being hit on or they have to sit in the restaurant with their laptop.”

The tipping point for serviced apartments is a four-day stay but his bete noire is their technology and booking systems.

Like Fergus, he is also cognisant of traveller predilections. “You have to give choice. What a 28-year-old traveller is looking for is very different to an older project manager and you have to factor it all in. Put in the groundwork at the beginning so it’s not more work later on,” he advises.

He is also a fan of the global chains with sub-brands, such as InterContinental’s Indigo for example, which is personalised to the local market, and praises hotels for being more nimble than airlines. “Airlines can take five years before they can change something on the aircraft but hotels can be a lot more reactive.”

Both stress how important it is to build good relationships with providers.

“You have no God-given right to get what you want out of the market so work with your supply chain,” he advises.

What a 28-year-old traveller is looking for is very different to an older project manager and you have to factor it all in. Put

in the groundwork at the beginning”

Personal preference

He is a great advocate of serviced apartments. “They have better food and beverage offerings, more space, they’re quieter, and you can cook.

"If you look at the average 20 sqm hotel room in new York they’re pretty dreary and if

Fergus adds: “Hotels is not a difficult spend category, as air is more challenging. With hotels you’ve got to have the right relationships and work with the right partners and do not base it on an annual RFP.”

Horses for courses is a hackneyed phrase but sums up that the criteria used to create hotel programmes is entirely subjective, reflecting company agendas, cultures and working relationships, all geared to satisfying a more traveller-centric policy today.

46 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Accommod A tion

Reality check

THE HOTEL This 278-room hotel, previously the Arbor City Hotel, was the first to open in the City of London from this fast-growing brand. It’s in Osborn Street in an up-and-coming district between the City and Shoreditch, within a five-minute walk of five tube stations, including Aldgate East and Whitechapel, and close to Liverpool Street for the overground and the Elizabeth Line.

THE CHECK-IN The reception is in a colourful, open-plan lobby, bar, lounge and workspace, nicely buzzing with people. Curved upholstered benches with scatter cushions were dotted between tables and workstations with high and low seating. Nice touches included a sign behind the desk saying ‘Sometimes the best souvenir is a smile’. I was greeted with one of those smiles, given a brief rundown of the breakfast times etc. and handed my room key.

THE ROOM Rooms make the most of the space. Mine was a Queen with a sofa bed. The safe (in a draw) was easy to operate and fitted my laptop. The


free WiFi worked well. Also handy was an iron and ironing board, hair dryer, mini-fridge and a kettle for teas and coffees (but no coffee maker). A flat panel HDTV had freeview channels. The shower room had a good-sized shower, fluffy towels and full-sized pump toiletries. The comfortable Hampton bed came with two types of pillows. Décor was modern and neutral with wood-effect floors, rugs and quirky art work. From the window my city skyline views included the famous gherkin.

THE FACILITIES All stays include a self-serve hot breakfast in the openplan lobby/lounge area, with sausage, eggs, bacon and also a decent selection of cold meats, cheeses, cereals, pastries and the brand’s signature make-yourown waffle station. If you’re short on time the hotel provides ‘On the Run’ breakfast bags. In the basement there’s a small but well-equipped fitness centre with a Peleton bike. There's no restaurant but snacks and soft drinks can be bought from reception.



THE HOTEL This modern 219-room hotel is on Simon-Von-Utrecht-Strasse, just around the corner from Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn. Straight away, it felt reassuringly familiar to UK Premier Inns I've stayed at, so I knew it was going to give me everything I have come to expect from this budget hotel brand.

THE CHECK-IN My colleague and I arrived at lunchtime, so the hotel was quiet and we were checked in straight away by two friendly staff. They took us through the facilities, highlighted the Wi-Fi codes and indicated the choices of the in-house café and restaurant, both on the ground floor. We were assigned adjacent rooms, which is always reassuring for female travellers to know a colleague is nearby.

THE ROOM This hotel has a mixture of Standard and Premier Plus rooms. Mine (339) was a Standard room and was larger than the usual UK Premier Inn room. Décor was modern with purple hued lighting to give a nice relaxed feel. The room had a double

bed, with the signature quilt and choice of pillows, a small desk, TV, armchair, tea and coffee facilities, hair dryer (close to a full-length mirror), ample clothes storage and a bathroom with a large rainforest shower and eco-friendly pump dispenser toiletries. I was able to request an iron and ironing board for the duration of my stay. Mulitple plug sockets were in convenient positions and full-length blackout curtains ensured a restful night’s sleep.

THE FACILITIES An all-you-can eat buffet breakfast (€16.90) includes freshly-cooked sausages, bacon, eggs, sliced meats, cheeses, fresh bread, fruit and cereals, yogurts and pastries. I enjoyed a decent Americano from the self-service machine, plus a giant, warm pretzel (when in Rome!). There's also a bar and a limited menu for evening meals, a separate café on site for graband-go, and a 24-hour vending machine.

THE BUSINESS Wi-Fi was speedy and my desk had plenty of room for a laptop. Parking is €24 per day.

THE VERDICT In such a vibrant location, I didn’t miss having an on-site restaurant. The hotel is tucked down a relatively quiet side street, which means less noise but also meant that, after dark, being a lone traveller, I opted for a taxi back to the hotel rather than walk from the nearby tube.

THE DETAILS Rooms from £175 per night, including breakfast.


THE VERDICT A central location for work and fun and great to be close to Walter Moller Park, which stretches through Hamburg and provided some welcome green space for my morning speed walks. From the end of February the hotel will have 33 Premier Plus rooms.

THE DETAILS Rooms, excluding breakfast, from €100 a night.


Reality check

THE HOTEL Right in the heart of London's theatre district, the Strand Palace has been welcoming guests since 1906. It's had many makeovers since –most recently a multi-million-pound refurbishment of all 785 bedrooms –but always sympathetically done to retain a touch of Art Deco glamour.

THE CHECK-IN This is a big hotel and the lobby was bustling, a small queue forming at the long reception desk and staff looked a little frazzled. I'd chanced an early check-in and was lucky my room was ready. A map by the lifts on each level helps guide guests to their rooms down a maze of corridors.

THE ROOM Rooms range from cosy singles to deluxe studio kings. Mine was the latter, with a pull-out sofa bed, although the king-sized bed would have been easily big enough for a family of four! Other highlights included a complimentary minibar, Nespresso machine, Rituals toiletries in the ensuite shower room, tea and coffee making facilities, a large LCD HD TV, fluffy


robes, slippers, iron and board. In a nice eco touch, the hotel has teamed with Bottle Up to give guests free reusable, plant-based water bottles in their room, that can be refilled at water stations by the lifts and along corridors.

THE FACILITIES Sadly the onsite modern British restaurant, Haxell’s Restaurant & Bar, had a private event that night, but the following afternoon I was treated to the hotel's delicious and delightfully-presented Festive Afternoon Tea served on snowmen cake stands and with an assortment of loose leaf teas. The rest of the year it becomes a Theatre Afternoon Tea. There's also an elegant cocktail bar, Gin Palace, with over 50 types of gin, and from the hotel lobby you can directly access the nextdoor New York-style brasserie, Joe Allen, although it's not part of the hotel. A basement gym has all the basics but lacks views. In the lobby, umbrellas can be rented for £2 for 48 hours.

THE BUSINESS The Wi-Fi was super speedy and easy to access. A private

dining room at Haxells can be hired for meetings of up to 40 people.



THE HOTEL Set in 165 acres of rolling countryside, this 18th century manor house became a golf and country club in the mid 1970s. Since then, new accommodation wings have been added over the years to make it a 93-bedroom hotel. It’s a short drive and a 15-minute walk from Tewkesbury, a pretty Gloucestershire town with a famous Medieval Abbey.

THE CHECK-IN Like all good country house hotels, this one is reached up a long drive, through the golf course. The large reception area is also home to the bar and a dining area specifically for guests with dogs. I was informed about breakfast times and given directions to my room, which was a bit complicated and I had to go back for more directions.

THE ROOM We stayed in one of six new dog-friendly rooms with fullyenclosed terraces with glass balustrades, so you still get the stunning views. Rooms can be accessed via the terrace, so you don’t have to walk through the hotel with a muddy dog. A doggy wash area

with a shower is located just outside the terraces and our room came with two pairs of welly boots, a memory-foam dog bed, blanket, food and water bowls, a bag of healthy salmon treats and wooded flooring, so you don’t have to worry about mishaps. My bed was softer than I usually like but super comfy and the shower – overhead and handheld – was the perfect strength and easy to work out. Some rooms come with baths too.

THE FACILITIES Golf is the main attraction, mainly for the 18-hole 72-par course, but there’s also another ninehole par-three course. The health club has an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, barrel sauna, steam room, two squash courts and a decent gym. These, and tennis courts, are all free for guests to use. For dining, the split-level Mint restaurant has views of the green and a seasonal menu with Indian touches.

THE BUSINESS Following a fouryear renovation in 2016, the hotel has conference rooms to accommodate

THE VERDICT Great if you've got overseas colleagues or clients visiting who want to mix work with sightseeing and a West End show. But it's a big hotel, so allow extra time for checking in and out.

THE DETAILS Single rooms from £139, deluxe studio kings from £324.

private board meetings for eight people to conferences for up to 200. A 10-acre field is ideal for team-building events


THE VERDICT Perfect for meetings, conferences and events, especially if you want to throw a game of golf into the mix – and take your dog!

THE DETAILS Dog-friendly rooms cost £258, including breakfast.


THE HOTEL This Grade II listed five-star ‘lifestyle’ hotel is next door to London Liverpool Street station. Part of the Boundless Collection by Hyatt, it features 267 spacious and modern guest rooms, including 15 suites. It originally opened as The Great Eastern Hotel in 1884 and launched as the first Andaz in 2007, with the most recent refurbishments happening in 2018.

THE CHECK-IN Guests enter through enormous automatic revolving doors into a stunning reception area full of colour and local art. I was warmly welcomed by the young team on reception and offered a drink before they took me through the check-in process and highlighted the weekend timings for the restaurants and facilities. They gave me a couple of keys, which I would need for both the lifts and different access doors, so I felt immediately safe as a female traveller.

THE ROOM My kingsize deluxe room (328) was a spacious 33sqm with a dead bolt fitted to the door. Double


aspect windows added plenty of light and there was a good-sized desk and a seating area. A complimentary mini-bar included vegan ‘roast beef' crisps, strawberry cookies and a fridge with non-alcoholic drinks, plus a Nespresso coffee maker, pods and a selection of teas. My bathroom had a fast-fill bath tub, large pumps of T-London luxury amenities and fluffy towels. It was easy to access the complimentary Wi-Fi and catch up on some news on the 55’’ TV, which had mirroring capabilities.

THE FACILITIES Five onsite restaurants and a bar include the classic gastronomy in Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen, Miyako an intimate Japanese restaurant, modern European in Rake’s Café Bar, 1901 Wine Lounge which also offers afternoon tea and Eastway Brasserie with British Classics. The hotel also has a health club. I enjoyed a memorable cocktail and calamari with saffron aioli and chilli gremolata in Rake’s Café Bar, busy with an after-work city crowd. Breakfast is also served here.

THE BUSINESS Meetings spaces include a stunning Grade II listed 1901 Ballroom and a Masonic temple in the basement, available for private hire.


THE APARTMENT In the super trendy Hawley Wharf canalside development in the heart of Camden, STAY Camden has 169 spacious, stylish one, two or threebed apartments. Below is the equallly stylish co-working and office space, LABS Hawley Lock, one of 10 LABS in London and part of the same company.

THE CHECK-IN My colleague and I both had trouble finding the entrance (not on the canal side), but once inside it was an oasis of calm. A few Gen Zs were working in the plant-filled lobby lounge and the team at the 24-hour reception and concierge desk greeted me like an old friend. I immediately felt at home and wished I was staying longer, – or was moving in permenantly!

THE ROOMS Our Premium Twobedroom Apartment was like something out of Wallpaper Magazine. In fact, I googled it and the apartments featured in that magazine in 2022, the article noting that in-house designer Yaara Gooner "draws light in through the full length windows and balconies, which


frame the spacious pastel-coloured interiors". I couldn't have put it better, and would add that the use of brass, exposed joinery and brushed steel cleverly reflect the location, too. As well as top notch design, the apartment is enormous, has underfloor heating (such a luxury), not just one but two balcony terraces with canal views, and a very generous welcome pack of goodies. Everything was spotless, despite everything being white or in pastel, earthy colours. Credit to the cleaners.

THE FACILITIES Choose from a wide choice of funky eateries close by or there's a Sainsbury's across the road. STAY guests can use the ultra-modern fitness centre in the same building.

THE BUSINESS Guests get 20% off day membership at LABS Hawley Lock, three floors of stunning, industrial-style flexible work and meeting space with floor-to-ceiling windows streaming in more of that natural light. A communal lounge and kitchen encourages creativity and collaboration or there are fully-

THE VERDICT With its buzzy vibe and Insta-worthy interiors, the Andaz will be a big hit with younger guests, but will also be enjoyed by older ones (like me!).

THE DETAILS King Deluxe rooms from £429 a night.

Kirsty Hicks

equipped meeting rooms and phone booths for private meetings and calls.


THE VERDICT A fine example of what you can do if you start from scratch. This is serviced apartment living and co-working at their very best. I would be happy to live and work here.

THE DETAILS There is a minimum stay of seven nights. Prices on request.


The best new... Gadgets & gear


The NETGEAR M6 PRO is a portable powerhouse that replaces slow internet connection with 5G Wi-Fi for those on the go. Unlocked to work in over 125 countries, it will keep business travellers connected even in remote places and gives them secure, private connectivity instead of using risky public Wi-Fi networks where data can be easily compromised, making it worth every penny at £899.99.



From Virgin Atlantic's stylish new travel and lifestyle range, this super roomy weekend bag was designed in collaboration with Fenella Smith and is made from sturdy recycled canvas, with a detachable shoulder strap and a handy waterproof dustbag that doubles as a shoe or laundry bag – all for £95.


This cute luggage tag (£40) is made from tea-based plant leather, which uses less energy than other plant-based leathers. It's part of a new range from Virgin Atlantic and Oliver Co, a certified B-Corp.

GOOGLE PIXEL 8 PRO The latest from Google comes complete with upgraded rear cameras and great new editing capabilities. Get photo-ready with the Google Tensor G3 chip, custom-designed with Google AI for speed and efficiency.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA With the Galaxy’s biggest sensor to date, lightabsorbing pixels and video stabilisation technology, avid photographers can capture their favourite moments in high definition. A long-lasting battery is ideal for those snapping well into the night.


filmmakers will love the 15 Pro Max’s 48 MP main camera and A17 Pro chip for multiple focal lengths and high quality low-light video. Night mode gives sharper details, while Smart HDR means more true-to-life renderings.

HONOR MAGIC 5 PRO On a budget?

Then opt for the Magic 5 Pro. Its 3.5x optical zoom makes “cover page worthy” portraits and an 8P ultra-sensitive wide main camera, with anti-flare coating technology, makes it easier to get the perfect shot.

VIVO X100 PRO This model has five 4K cinematic preset templates, as well as a Super Night Video feature. Its clever Smart Eye Protection Mode helps to protect your eyes in dim surroundings, too.


The final word

Silence at the front please

The debate about adultonly flying is doing the rounds again as another airline joins the handful of carriers taking this route.

Turkish-based Corendon Airlines has started to offer a dedicated section for anyone aged 16 and above at the front of its Airbus A350-900 aircraft on flights from Amsterdam to Curaçao in the Caribbean.

The 102-seat section will have walls and curtains to help keep out the noise from all those raucous little monkeys down the back. The pleasure of sitting here will cost a surprisingly modest extra fee of €45, and if you want additional legroom too, you can pay around €100 for one of the nine extra-large seats.

It's not the only airline to have adult-only spaces on board.

Scoot, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, offers the option for passengers to sit in a

'ScootinSilence' seat towards the front of the plane, where under12s are banned, while passengers on Japan Airlines can see on its booking system which seats will be occupied by infants up to the age of two.

Charging points

It's a problem set to come to more of us as we switch to electric cars: failing to find a free charging spot when you need one.

Luckily, the helpful people at EV charging app Bonnet have done some research to find out the best and worst times of day to top up.

Their analysis found that Monday morning is the best time to locate an available EV charger, while Friday at 9am is when the charging network is likely the most congested

But the best idea, they say, is to charge up your Tesla overnight when several networks offer cheaper tariffs. Simple.

But based on a LinkedIn poll posted recently by BTA CEO Clive Wratten, perhaps what we really need are cabins that ban selfish armrest hoggers, and those idiots who dare to recline their reclining seats.

An analysis of the top 100 busiest train and tube stations across the UK, by printer ink supply specialist TonerGiant, has identified where poor commuters were suffering the most delays and cancellations at the end of 2023. Here goes:

1 Manchester Oxford Road

2 Wolverhampton

3 Leicester

4 Huddersfield

5 York

6 Milton Keynes Central

7 Birmingham New Street

8 Coventry

9 Gatwick Airport

10 Crewe

Research by TonerGiant

It's o cial. The notion of work-life balance just isn't working – not for half the working population anyway. A new study by Forbes Advisor has revealed that half of UK employees are working on their days o and, on average, spend two and a half extra hours per day working. The study also found 64% of remote and hybrid employees work while 'o the clock', compared to only 44% of o ce-based employees. Half say working on holiday means they are unable to fully relax, but three out of 10 believe it's the only way they can keep on top of things. Bosses, are you taking note?
NOMINATIONS OPEN Get your entries in now for the 2024 Business Travel People Awards Entries close midday on March 15 The prestigious awards ceremony will take place on the evening of Tuesday September 17 2024 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, London With thanks to our first sponsors For sponsorship contact: Platinum sponsor Bronze sponsors Silver sponsor
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