The Business Travel Mag April/May 2024

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TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS 2024 + Guide to buying SAF Movers & Shakers Traveller wellbeing It’s time to get serious about sustainability GET IN CHECK 101 April/May 2024
BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM GROUND TRANSPORTATION Wednesday June 5 2024, The Caledonian Club, London To register your interest or for more information about sponsorship of this event, please contact: Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk thebusinesstravelmag.com This event is kindly sponsored by FREENOW and MOBILITY IQ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ WUNDERVISUALS

12 People Awards: With judging now underway, one judge outlines the process

22 Sustainability survey: We reveal the results of our very first survey dedicated to sustainability matters

26 Movers & Shakers: The people to watch in the sustainability space

30 Reporting: How to tackle the complexities and challenges of tighter reporting legislation

34 SAF: Our essential guide to investing in SAF

40 Rail: What's preventing you from making the modal shift to train travel?

46 Wellbeing: Three individuals share their personal insights on traveller wellbeing

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

8 Speaking Out: Don't be daunted by sustainability acronyms, greenwashing or greenhushing, says Andy Conduit-Turner at Cartus

9 Everyone's Talking About: Amex GBT buying CWT

10 The Conversation: Adam Kerr at Tripism

UP FRONT 3 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM
2024 Features
Contents APRIL-MAY
Up Front
Departures
review a hotel
transport app
The best trolley bags and more 46 44 38 15 8 18 26 21 10 34 8 40 6 48 (p22-43)
28 Reality Check: We
and a
51 Gadgets & Gear:
Read our guide for expert insights and advice to help you navigate the rocky road to net zero
Sustainability SPECIAL

Welcome

Reaching a new high

Wow. I've just come off a Teams call to chat about this year's Business Travel People Awards and can report that we've had a record number of entries, and of the highest quality too.

I was particularly pleased to hear that the category with the most submissions is 'Sustainability Champion' – with almost twice as many nominations as last year – reflecting the industry's growing commitment to reducing its environmental footprint and the incredible innovations happening in this space.

Once again, we're devoting an entire magazine to this important topic. In this issue we tackle the implications of the new reporting legislation (page 30) and the complexities of investing in SAF (page 34), and for both we share some great tips from experts in these fields.

On page 26 we reveal our latest Sustainability 'Movers & Shakers' – the ones to watch in 2024 – and we also share the results of our very first travel buyer survey dedicated to sustainability (page 22). Thank you to all of you who took the time to take part in the survey, which was designed not only to help us shape our future sustainability content but to help guide the whole industry on its path to net zero. Look out on LinkedIn for the names of the winners of the survey prizes.

Our next issue will be dedicated to travel management companies and following the big news about American Express GBT buying CWT (see pages 9 and 16 of this issue), there's certainly a lot to write about. Alongside TMC consolidation, our essential TMC guide will cover the emergence of the next generation of technology-led TMCs, service levels, the journey to NDC readiness and lots more. I'd better crack on...

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Bev Fearis

CONTRIBUTORS

Neal Baldwin, Dave Richardson, Sheena Adesilu & Gary Noakes

DIGITAL EDITOR

April Waterston

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES

PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

DESIGNERS

Matt Bonner & Caitlan Francis

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Subscribe for free at thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe

BMI PUBLISHING

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner

CEO Martin Steady

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UP FRONT
(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO. 1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233 ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK / BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK THIS PUBLICATION IS PRINTED ON 100% FULLY RECYCLED PAPER WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2024 FRONT COVER: ISTOCK.COM/ D3DAMON, OTHER IMAGES SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, iSTOCK.COM, BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM AND UNSPLASH.COM

Arrive in Mint condition.

Enjoy lie-flat seats, artisanal dining, tons of free entertainment, award-winning service and more.

Always on JetBlue

✓ Lie-flat seats ✓ Individual suits ✓ First to board ✓ Artisanal dining at 35.000 ft Most legroom in Economy Free high-speed wi-fi, live TV & movies at every seat Free snacks + drinks

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Adorned with exotic birds and bold wildflowers, the stylish feature wallpaper is a real focal point and draws the eye to the restaurant’s high ceilings"

TasTe of iTaly

A new restaurant by celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo is bringing premium Italian dining to the INNSiDE by Meliá, Manchester, with bespoke bold wall coverings, rich woods, polished marble, ornate rugs and vast ceiling-tofloor windows.

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Gino D'Acampo, Manchester
UP FRONT o P e N i NG s H o T s

boTaNical Nod

All 321 guestrooms at the Leonardo Royal Hotel Glasgow have been given a fresh new look as part of a £6.8 million refurbishment. Deluxe rooms, executive rooms and junior suites now have colourful, botanical-themed décor in a nod to the city’s motto 'Let Glasgow Flourish', which is found on Glasgow’s historic coat of arms.

oneworld lounge Schiphol

GoiNG duTcH

The oneworld alliance has opened its first fullybranded European lounge at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Tailormade lighting pieces were inspired by the spherical lights on many of the city’s iconic arched canal bridges, which is also reflected in the lounge entrance, while the city’s birds were also a source of playful inspiration.

full recovery

Minimalist decor, neutral tones and floor-to-ceiling windows, which flood in natural light and panoramic skyline views, provide a serene backdrop for introspection and rejuvenation at Kerzner International's inaugural hotel under its SIRO wellness brand, in Dubai's iconic One Za'abeel development.

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Leonardo Hotel Glasgow SIRO One Za'abeel, Dubai
NATELEE c O c KS

FIRST STEP

Don’t be daunted by the myriad of acronyms, measurements and accreditations, says Andy Conduit-Turner at Cartus. Just give it a go.

Let’s begin by acknowledging the green elephant in the room.

The world of sustainability is increasingly complex and for those not already embedded into the wealth of associated acronyms and measurement criteria, it can be pretty intimidating. It’s certainly come a long way from my own experience as a child, when my understanding of pollution was

characterised by images of smoke-billowing factories and when my parents installing a wall-mounted can crusher in our garage to aid our recycling efforts saw me rate myself only just below Captain Planet himself.

Why open with a TV reference that firmly dates my childhood? It’s because I’d fear that starting with a statement on the progress against The Paris Agreement, and the level of business preparedness for the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) may have seen many of you not already working on these topics bounce off this article hard enough to reach sufficient altitude to monitor ozone layer recovery.

For several years now, buyers of goods and services have needed to be cautious of greenwashing, with extraordinary levels of marketing spin and mental gymnastics labelling a myriad of approaches as being “green”. Today, with greenwashing being directly targeted by legislators, we also increasingly need to manage the other side of this bad penny – greenhushing – where even companies who have genuine goals may be hesitant to publish them for fear of scrutiny and bad press. Sadly, neither of these trends makes the job of selecting the most sustainable partners easier, but the solution lies in the questions we ask.

It’s time to get specific and ask for adequate detail and context to guide your decisions. Where we may have once simply asked about any environmental goals, now

we should be actively asking about targets based on science, or the proportion of a property’s energy generated by renewable sources. These are great ways to start getting a clearer picture of real engagement. Knowing where to begin can be hard. While organisations like SBTi and EcoVadis publish rich content on this subject, for buyers not solely dedicated to sustainability projects even the reading can become a daunting task. If I could suggest only two things to anyone looking to take their first sustainable step, they would be:

Start: An imperfect start that can be built upon is infinitely preferable to a lack of engagement or progress until “everything” is worked out. Ask questions of your providers, find out what information is available. How consistent (or otherwise) is this information? What are your peers doing? Knowing where you are is central to deciding where you need to go.

Establish context: Numbers without context make driving actions and understanding progress difficult. Knowing the carbon emissions of a train journey or the gallons of water saved by reducing towel replacements in accommodation are just numbers when alone, but when you can compare these to the equivalent journey by car/plane, or a percentage of water saved versus annual consumption, even ahead of a developing a full suite of sustainability reporting, you immediately benefit from stronger messages on how changes of behaviours in travel are measurably supporting your company’s sustainability goals.

Don’t let a desire for perfection stop you from making initial progress. Whether crushing cans or crunching emissions numbers, never underestimate the importance of taking your first step!

ANDY CONDUIT-TURNER

Andy Conduit-Turner is Director of Sustainable Growth Enablement at Cartus, which provides relocation services to corporate clients and frequently engages with business travel teams on shared priorities and experiences.

SUSTAINABILITY
UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT
ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ TAPHOUSE_STUDIOS

Everyone's talking about... Amex GBT buying CWT

“ MASSIVE NEWS, NOT JUST FOR CLIENTS OF GBT AND CWT BUT FOR THE WHOLE CORPORATE TRAVEL INDUSTRY ”

"Our view is that Amex GBT is acquiring a bigger piece of a shrinking pie and faces significant downside risk on their volume forecasts and technological nimbleness"

"IT IS FAR FROM A BASKET OF ROSES. BEYOND THE RISKS OF A MESSY INTEGRATION AND BUSINESS MODEL DISRUPTION, THERE IS THE WILD-CARD RISK OF CLIMATE CHANGE"

Master stroke I must say. It’s going to be a game changer for this industry and bring a wide range of services for clients”
Jatindra Bagchi, Director of Operations CIBT and
Corporate Operations Manager American Express GBT
“WOW THAT’S A TECTONIC SHIFT IN THE TMC SPACE! MAKES A TON OF SENSE”
“It will be very interesting times ahead. I suspect this acquisition will spur on other consolidation in the industry”
Brian Beard, Technology Executive and Business Leader, THH Holding
9 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM UP FRONT HOT TOPIC
Scott Gillespie, Industry Advisor, tClara, Cory Garner, CEO, Garner Jeroen van Velzen, co-founder and former CEO Roadmap (acquired by Emburse in March 2021)

CEO and founder of Tripism

Ad A m Kerr

Predicting a period of dramatic change in business travel, Adam Kerr explains how Tripism can help travel managers navigate their way through

When Adam Kerr came up with the idea for Tripism back in 2009 he had no experience of the business travel industry. He was working with start-ups and fintechs and frequently travelled overseas, often to destinations in emerging markets. “Each business trip brought with it extensive planning and research to organise transportation, find hotels, restaurants and so on. As this information wasn’t shared, the exercise was then repeated by other areas of the business doing the same trips weeks later."

Kerr found that many organisations had the same problem and were struggling to share vital information with their travelling employees via clunky internal microsites. Microsoft was trying to solve this issue for its travellers and, following a meeting with Kerr at its head office in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft decided to work with him to build the technology. "With their input, we then developed Tripism and launched it globally 12 months later,” Kerr says.

Tripism now works with 40 global enterprise companies, as well as leading travel technology companies and TMCs. Many of the largest travel programmes in the corporate world rely on Tripism.

“Travel managers aren’t content managers. It’s a big ask for them to manage and update so much information," Kerr explains.

“A client recently identified more than 85 categories of information that they need to share with their travellers. With multiple

different stakeholders participating in business travel provision, it’s complex. Booking business travel is so much more than just the transaction."

Thanks to its Cloud and API technology, Tripism creates a customised platform to help companies share and manage all the travel information they need to communicate.

Kerr also recognised that as part of their travel programmes, many companies, from SMEs to large corporations, have negotiated benefits with suppliers, such as room upgrades or free in-flight Wi-Fi, but these perks were not filtering down to the travellers. “Travel teams have done a great job of creating these fantastic programmes but the travellers aren’t aware of the benefits,” says Kerr.

These have also been incorporated into Tripism’s platform, along with travel and expense policies, safety and risk information, links to booking platforms, preferred suppliers, and updates on how these suppliers are tackling sustainability or DE&I to help travellers make more informed choices.

By personalising, managing, updating and monitoring all the information shared with their travellers, we help free up a travel manager's time”

Last year Tripism expanded its reach by launching the platform to the TMC market following requests from SMEs, announcing a new collaboration with Good Travel Management, with more TMC partnerships to follow. “As we’ve worked with more enterprises and TMCs we’ve learned what they need to communicate and also what information is important to them and their travellers,” explains Kerr.

With personalisation key to high value corporate travellers, the Tripism platform tailors content to individual travellers within an organisation. For example, teams in Singapore will see different content to those based in London, or a CEO might see different flight options to a more junior team member depending on the travel policy. Crucially, Tripism also uses artificial intelligence to monitor traveller sentiment to help travel teams get a deeper understanding of how their preferred partners are performing, traveller preferences and potential problems.

“Essentially, by personalising, managing, updating and monitoring all the information shared with their travellers, we help free up a travel manager’s time and optimise the travel experience,” says Kerr.

Kerr recognises the role of the travel manager has already changed, expanding beyond just RFPs and managing TMC relationships, but believes more dramatic changes are to come in three areas.

Firstly, the rapid acceleration of technology and the rise of AI is disrupting the way the

THE CONVERSATION 10 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com

industry operates. New entrants can now get started faster and for a fraction of the cost using cloud-based technology and APIs, no longer hindered by legacy architecture. The rise of AI and access to sophisticated data is empowering travellers to self-serve, opening up opportunities for personalisation and giving rise to a more informed decisionmaking process for corporate clients when selecting partners.

Secondly, the advancement of remote work has brought to light new expectations for the protection of personal time among commuters and business travellers. Efficiency is now the goal. Technology is an absolute necessity to facilitate this flexibility, transforming any location with the right connectivity into a potential workplace.

Thirdly, he recognises that the industry needs to prepare for government policies and

in brief...

As a newcomer to business travel, how have you found it?

It’s been a positive experience right from the very beginning. There’s such a great community spirit across the industry and people are willing to help each other, which you don’t find as much in other industries. We value the collaboration and in the future we plan to launch customer forums, where organisations can share ideas and learn from each other.

How are you winning new customers?

We have a sales team and much of our business growth has come from word of mouth. We have over half a million active users and we pride ourselves on the quality of our content and how quickly we can respond to changes in requirements. We have a small group of investors, and our growth has been largely organic. Our goal is for Tripism to be the defacto standard for traveller engagement.

How do you retain an innovative culture?

The importance of being nimble and innovative is at the core of Tripism. Most of the team is from outside business travel, from industries such as fintech or security. They challenge the status quo and bring new perspectives, which we then balance with knowledge from business travel experts. We want to disrupt, innovate and bring new ideas to the table. It's vital that we continue to attract new talent into this industry.

new regulations relating to sustainability.

“These will all bring major changes for travel managers, but this plays to our role," explains Kerr.

"Our generative platform can consolidate all the moving parts to support a flexible and sustainable working environment, while also operating within the parameters of corporate goals. We can easily add new players and new content and help make sense of it all."

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Adam Kerr launched Tripism in 2014. He was previously Vice President, Head of M-Commerce, for Ericsson, based in Stockholm. Before joining Ericsson in 2011 he was based in New York as President for Bango, a mobile payment company, for more than six years and before that he was Managing Director Asia Pacific for WorldPay, based in Singapore.
THE CONVERSATION
ADAM KERR

TMOMENT OF TRUTH

he judging is now underway for the Business Travel Awards 2024, with some tough decisions to be made.

A panel of 17 independent and impartial judges will be looking closely at all of the submissions to select the finalists in each category.

The panel is made up of astute and highly-respected figures representing a broad range of knowledge, expertise and skills from across the sector.

Judges will score and comment on each submission and this will be used to determine the awards shortlist.

“I’ve seen some of this year’s submissions and, once again, the standards are extremely high,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Judges Chair.

“Each year the Business Travel People Awards grow in stature and their prestige is reflected in the number and quality of the entries, the loyalty and commitment of our expert judges, and the awards ceremony, which I know will be even more memorable this year.”

Successful nominees will be contacted in person towards the end of May before the final shortlist is announced on thebusinesstravemag.com and in The Business Travel Magazine.

Winners will be chosen in July and revealed at a glittering ceremony on September 17 in London. awards.thebusinesstravelmag.com

With entries now closed, a panel of independent judges faces the difficult task of choosing the finalists for the 2024 Business Travel People Awards

THE PANEL OF JUDGES

• Leigh Cowlishaw, Judges Chair, Black Box Partnerships

• Bex Deadman, Travel Risk Academy

• Carol Fergus, Fidelity International

• Carolyn Pearson, Maiden Voyage

• Clive Wratten, BTA

• Dani Ives, Focus Travel Partnership

• Danny Cockton, Wood PLC

• Darren Jeacock, EY

• Emma Lamb, Milestone Tech @ Facebook

“I’ve seen some of this year’s submissions and, once again, the standards are extremely high”

• Francesca Mendola, Global Travel Collection UK

• James Foice, ASAP

• Jan T. Jacobsen, Accenture

• Juliet Price, beam

• Lee Whiteing, Global Secure Accreditation

• Lynne Griffiths, Sirius Talent Solutions

• Merv Moonien, TJX

• Sonia Michaels, Advantage Travel Partnership

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THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

JUDGING IT RIGHT

JAN

explains why he’s proud to be a judge for the Business Travel People Awards

When and why did you agree to join the judging panel?

I was invited to become a judge in 2019 and immediately agreed. For me, the People Awards are special because they recognise the amazing, hard-working talent in our industry on each individual or team’s own merits and achievements, regardless of company affiliation. These awards aren’t about the brands, they’re about the people.

What makes the People Awards different to other industry awards?

These awards recognise industry professionals for their efforts and contribution, not the corporations they work for. As an industry we have so much incredible talent across a range of different-sized organisations, all contributing with their talent and skillset, to make the travel industry the unique sector it is. These awards are a platform to recognise these amazing individuals and teams for their contributions.

What ensures the judging is impartial?

Before the judges are assigned to any categories a list of names of submissions

is disclosed where each judge has to declare if there are any conflicts of interest. After this, the various categories are allocated and the detailed submissions are released to the respective panel members for the first round evaluation. This creates the initial shortlist. At this stage, each judge does not know who the other judges are in the category they have been assigned to.

As soon as the shortlist has been created, based on the first-round scoring, the judges for each category discuss the scoring from the first round and deliberate, in detail, on the reasoning and rationale behind their scoring.

A new round of scoring takes place and a combined score is consolidated, signed off, and handed to the Chair of the Judges along with the reasons why the panel agreed on the winner. At this stage, nobody except the panel allocated for the category and the Judges Chair knows the result. The award organiser, Kirsty Hicks – Publisher of The Business Travel Magazine – is only made aware of the final results by the Chair when all categories have been completed.

For the Rising Star and the Shining Star categories, the judges will also interview the shortlisted candidates before making their final decision.

Why is it so important to you that the judging is completely independent? The integrity of the judging process for these awards is crucial to me. It is often

said within our industry that a sponsor or the ‘big players’ are those that will always be the winners. Having been a judge for the People Awards for several years, knowing the process and my personal role as judge, and knowing I have no influence or steer from the organiser, I know the awards are independent. I evaluate the submissions and score each of them based on what has been submitted, regardless of who each person’s employer might be.

“I find the evaluation process inspiring as I learn about all the amazing work being done in our industry”

What do you personally bring to the panel?

As a licensed international adjudicator in DanceSport I am trained in evaluating talent from a different perspective. I bring this with me as I evaluate each of the submissions. I find the evaluation process inspiring as I learn about all the amazing work being done in our industry, the personal growth and development of the person through their journey, and the business case included as part of the submission. I am looking for inspiration and individuality and what is being delivered above ‘business as usual’.

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Bronze sponsors Silver sponsor Platinum sponsor

BTA COMMENT

BTA UPDATE

Business travel is a force for good

It’s a common misconception that business travel is all about high-flying executives in suits, drinking champagne on flights and closing billion-pound deals. Yes, these people exist, but they are only a small part of the story. Business travel covers many kinds of trips, many of which are not glamorous at all.

Travelling for work is not a luxury that the elite few enjoy. It is a diverse and important activity that supports many aspects of our daily lives, from the movement of goods and ideas to the provision of essential services.

When I think of business travellers, I think of the tired commuter on a windy station platform, or the engineer leaving their family for an offshore oil rig. I think of the charity workers delivering essential supplies to those in need. These are the unsung heroes of business travel, whose efforts often go unnoticed.

Beyond the boardrooms and corporate jets, there is a deeper story – one of humanitarian aid, vaccine development, education

and environmental stewardship. Our clients don't just do deals, they build, repair, install, design, create, play, sail, represent, help, protect, medicate, promote, sell, govern, educate, and learn.

Business travel plays a vital role in improving our world, driving progress and innovation.

But with great privilege comes great responsibility, and sustainable travel matters.

Travel Management Companies can empower companies to assess trip needs, to explore alternatives and to measure impact, ensuring responsible business travel.

Even in our digital world, meeting in person is invaluable. Business travel promotes the human connection, fostering stronger relationships and global collaboration.

Acting as responsible ambassadors, we can champion sustainability and minimise our footprint. By doing this, we can redefine business travel as a catalyst for positive global connections, not just a work requirement.

amex gBT to buy CWT later this year

aMERICaN EXPRESS Global Business Travel has agreed to buy rival CWT in a deal worth around $570 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2024.

The move sees Amex GBT continue on its path to dominate the global TMC space following its purchase of Egencia from Expedia in 2021 and its acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group in July 2018.

Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott said more than a third of CWT's business comes from SMEs, which will increase Amex GBT’s SME business by about 35% and will increase sales by about $5 billion. Amex GBT has already confirmed that attracting more SME clients is one of its key strategic goals.

Abbott said adding CWT's 4,000 clients will also create greater capacity for investment in software and services.

Trainline Business upgrades

TRaINLINE BUSINESS has developed an upgraded platform to help SMEs secure savings and better manage their rail travel.

It comes after its research found nearly two thirds (63%) of UK SMEs are missing out on savings when booking rail for business travel due to delays and complexities in the booking process.

Covering UK and European rail, the new platform "simplifies planning, obtaining expense

receipts, and accessing digital tickets through the app while on the move”.

The platform also has additional customisable tools, such as streamlined business-wide spend reports and bespoke travel and budget rules to help SME businesses control their spend.

Trainline says its research shows that maintaining tight controls over travel expenditure remains a challenge for 38% of SMEs.

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plaTforM for sMes

FESTIVE ROAD

C0-FOUNDERS SPLIT

FESTIVE ROAD co-founder Paul Tilstone has left the consultancy to start his own business, temoji, specialising in supplier consulting.

Tilstone has fully divested his shares in Festive Road, which will continue to be run by its other founder Caroline Strachan.

Strachan will become CEO and sole shareholder to focus on buyer consulting and outsourcery services, retaining the Festive Road core clients and team.

Speaking to The Business Travel Magazine, the pair named the split 'Project Paltrow', referring to the infamous ‘conscious uncoupling’ of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. They insisted that after working together for 15 years, they will "always be friends".

NDC MOVE FOR GLOBAL TMC GROUP

GLOBALSTAR Travel Management has signed a global partnership with AirGateway to give its TMC partners access to NDC and low-cost airline content.

Through AirGateway’s agent desktop tool, BookingPad, TMCs will get full access and end-to-end servicing of NDC content for over 28 airlines under the agency’s IATA/BSP, as well as low-cost and consolidated content.

The platform provides a single interface to shop, book, issue and fully service NDC airlines, with bookings automatically reporting through to each TMC’s mid/ back-office to help standardise billing and reporting.

GlobalStar Travel Management operates in more than 2,500 locations in over 55 countries worldwide.

FREENOW HAS DEVELOPED A NEW IN-APP FEATURE TO ENABLE TRAVELLERS

TO BOOK STATION-BASED CAR RENTALS ACROSS NINE EUROPEAN MARKETS WITH AVIS, HERTZ AND EUROPCAR

Buyers struggling to show value of TMCs

SHOWING the value of using a TMC to stakeholders and travellers is the primary challenge for buyers right now, according to an ITM poll.

Over half (57%) of global, EMEA and UK travel managers at a special ITM Buyer Knowledge Exchange session held in March said they were facing increasing ‘noise’ from travellers wanting to book direct with airlines, and friction from stakeholders about the need to use a TMC.

This was followed by lack of access to fares through their OBT (53%) and managing travellers who are price-checking and booking flights themselves (47%).

OBT optimisation will be a key topic of discussion at the ITM Empower Conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Brighton Metropole, on April 24-25 2024.

IN BRIEF

Shanghai

high Chinese airline Juneyao Air is set to launch a direct route from Manchester to Shanghai on July 1. The service, which will run three times per week on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, will operate on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Grand opening

Hyatt has opened a 465-room urban hotel in Barcelona. The Grand Hyatt Barcelona is situated in the Alta Barcelona area and will have extensive meetings and events space and a luxury spa. It is the fifth Grand Hyatt hotel operating in Europe.

When

in Rome

lTA Airways is introducing a new direct route between London City Airport and Rome Fiumicino this summer, flying 12 times weekly, as part of its plans to widen its network across the UK.

Risky business

The merger of risk specialists Global Secure Accreditation, GSA Security & Risk (formerly BGS Ltd), GSA Cyber Secure, GSA Resourcing and newly-acquired MHG Corporate Risks has led to the launch of GSA Global.

Fly direct

Royal Air Maroc has launched a direct flight to Casablanca, Morocco, from Manchester Airport. Services will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and will take around three and a half hours.

THE NEWS REVIEW 15 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

virgin to go double daily to Mumbai

VIRGIN aTLaNTIC will add a second daily flight from London Heathrow to Mumbai from October, signalling its continued commitment to the region.

The new service will start on October 27 and will be the airline’s fifth daily service to India, complementing its double daily services to Delhi and its recently-launched flights to Bengaluru.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: “There is a huge opportunity for us in India. It has a dynamic, fast-growing economy and we’re anticipating a huge growth in demand for international travel from the region.

"We know both our customers and people love travelling to India and we have a rich history in the destination.”

[ NEWS BITES ]

>> THE AMERICAN EXPRESS lounge at Stockholm Arlanda Airport has reopened after an extensive renovation and expansion, doubling in size >> QATAR AIRWAYS and Aer Lingus have launched a new codeshare partnership giving travellers greater access to the UK and Ireland, including Dublin, London and Manchester >> BEYOND GREEN has expanded its sustainable property portfolio with seven new members, including The Leela Palace Udaipur in India and Dromoland Castle Hotel in Ireland >> ADDRESS GLASGOW, a luxury hotel, has opened with 95 bedrooms in the city centre on Renfield Street >> FINNAIR PLUS loyalty members are now able to use Avios as their new currency, giving them additional upgrade benefits when reaching certain point limits within existing tiers >>

inTerConTinenTal air fares drop as CapaCiTY reTurns

INTERCONTINENTaL air fares are decreasing compared to last year, according to a new report from Advito, the consulting arm of BCD Travel.

The report attributes the fall to the strong recovery in airline capacity, a sluggish economy for some key countries in Asia and Europe and the impact of other high travel costs, such as hotel and car rental, on passenger demand Intercontinental economy fares are dropping by up to 15%, driven by strong capacity growth from Europe to main destinations in

North and South America, Middle East and Asia.

According to Advito's study of fares in late February/early March for departures in April, May and June 2024, intercontinental business fares are resisting.

But its report says figures for business class fares might be misleading because these seats are generally booked much later than economy seats.

Intercontinental business fares from the UK are growing faster compared to Germany and France that are lagging.

THE BUSINESS TRaVEL aSSOCIaTION (BTA) has released a white paper calling for an end to the unfair and excessive drop-off and pick-up fees at UK airports, calling them a "direct hit to both business costs". 'Drop the Drop Off Fees’ has been put together in response to some airports raising their fees by as much as 25% this year. The highest fee is £17 for passenger drop-off and pick-up at London Stansted.

15%

rise in tech investment by travel managers

Amadeus is predicting that investment in technology by corporate travel managers will increase by 15% in 2024, with a third intending to digitise the complete end-to-end expense management process over the coming 12 months.

bta
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calls fOR ENd tO uNfaiR aiRpORt dROp-Off aNd pick-up fEEs

ITM COMMENT personal responsibility

The arrival of spring also heralds the arrival of the conference season. But are we doing enough to run large events and conferences in the most sustainable way possible?

At ITM, we are adopting best practices and working with specialists to address every aspect of event attendance. All areas are scrutinised, from location selection, minimising travel, access to public transport and offsetting delegate travel, to using alternative power sources, reusable cups and other materials, eradicating paper and printing, minimising food waste, and more.

own footprint. I think this is actually a metaphor for the whole subject of sustainable travel. The progress we need to make and the initiatives that need to materialise are so large that it can often seem insurmountable. Whereas if we all take action continuously, the improvements could be game-changing.

governMenT eXTends deadline for neW airporT sCanners

UK aIRPORTS have been given up to a year to install CT scanners, an extension to an initial deadline set by the UK Government.

The extension to the June 2024 deadline is being granted to those airports required to install the new technology.

Announced in 2018, it can detect prohibited items with greater accuracy. Last April, London City Airport became the first London airport to deploy CT scanners.

Once installed, passengers are able to take liquid quantities greater than 100ml in their bags through security.

Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “As with any programme of this complexity, there are significant challenges. We are happy the Government has recognised these and agreed to extend timeframes for delivery where necessary."

And we always try to go further by trying to leave our host city in a better condition than we found it. Arranging beach cleans and supporting local charities are great ways of doing this and delegates also find them to be an excellent way to get to know their fellow delegates better, so it’s a real win/win.

An area I think all event organisers can improve on is empowering, informing and encouraging delegates to own and minimise their

So, when you are attending a conference or event, and you're asked to provide your travel information to enable your emissions to be offset by an event partner, consider it your responsibility to do so. Be understanding of why organisers are providing certain catering options to avoid waste. Ensure your hotel room heating, lights and plugs are all powered off when heading out. Share rides where you can. Travel as light as you can, particularly if you're flying. You'd be amazed by the positive impact that would be created if every air passenger packed one less pair of shoes. That's why I don’t travel with hair products any more, to ensure I’m role modelling good packing behaviour…

THe neWs revieW 17 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM tickEts aRE NOW ON salE fOR thE busiNEss tRavEl pEOplE aWaRds. WiNNERs Will bE aNNOuNcEd at a GlittERiNG EvENiNG cEREmONY ON sEptEmbER 17 at thE dE vERE GRaNd cONNauGht ROOms, lONdON. AWARDS.THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
BTA UPDATE

ConCur founder BuYs Travel ManageMenT CoMpanY

STEVE SINGH, the founder of Concur, has acquired Coloradobased travel management company Direct Travel, along with a group of investors.

Singh will serve as Executive Chairman of the TMC, which has over 4,500 clients in the US and Europe and has a longstanding partnership with ATPI in the UK Direct Travel founder and CEO Ed

Adams plans to retire. He will be replaced by Christal Bemont, who was formerly CEO of Talend and before that Chief Revenue Officer of SAP Concur.

In addition to Singh, the investors behind the transaction include Durable Capital Partners, Top Tier Capital Partners, Madrona Ventures and Blackstone Credit and Insurance.

bRitish aiRWaYs is iNstalliNG NEW shORt-haul sEats iN its NEXt GENERatiON aiRbus aiRcRaft

Meetings pressure hits office workers

MORE THaN half of UK-based office workers are struggling with the rise in demand for face-to-face meetings, according to research by chauffeur specialist Blacklane.

The study, which comprised 2,000 professionals, revealed that 35% believe work-related travel has steadily increased over the last two years. More than half have travelled up to 50 times for business in the last 12 months.

Despite the rise in face-to-face meetings and business travel, virtual meetings persist with 53% citing an increase in remote meetings.

Nearly half of respondents feel an increased pressure to be constantly available, especially on the way to work and during business trips. This result jumps to 50% for Generation Z and 31% for baby boomers.

12% rise in APD for premium ultra long-haul flights

In the latest Budget, the UK Government announced that Air Passenger Duty for passengers flying in premium cabins on departures from UK airports for flights of more than 5,500 miles will rise 12% from £200 today to £224 in April 2025.

RYaNaiR siGNs aGREEmENt tO taRGEt cORpORatE custOmERs

RYaNaIR has expanded its corporate travel offering through a distribution partnership with Kyte.

The airline will gain “streamlined access to the travel ecosystem”, including corporate travel partners, without the need for legacy GDSs.

Kyte CEO and co-founder Alice Ferrari said the move "demonstrates Ryanair’s progressive mindset around supporting new technologies".

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IN BRIEF

Out of Africa

Virgin Atlantic has signed a codeshare agreement with SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways to provide greater access to Nairobi and into East Africa. Passengers booking through Virgin can directly purchase flights on Kenya Airways’ Heathrow to Nairobi service.

Spot on

Spotnana has launched a product to help employees book and manage travel for meetings and events with an unlimited number of attendees. Spotnana Events is available both as an add-on and a standalone product purchased via Spotnana or through its channel partners.

Transatlantic move

New York-based TMC, First in Service Travel, has joined The Advantage Travel Partnership ahead of its first UK office opening in April. The agency has corporate, entertainment, events and leisure clients.

First division

Business First Partnership has launched a meetings and events division, Events by BFP, to focus on managing all event logistics, including sourcing venues, managing group air travel and booking accommodation.

Girl power

Pauline Hoston, Senior VP Global Business Development at SilverDoor Apartments, has been appointed Chair of the EMEA region of GBTA WINiT, the empowerment programme for women.

FIND OUT MORE

Diary of a CTO

I'M PLEASE to report that I successfully honoured my pledge to avoid alcohol for the first quarter of 2024. Strangely, now that I’m officially back on the beer, I want far less of it.

That said, if there’s one thing that might make me reach for a Stella – and I suspect many travel managers feel the same – it’s the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

CSRD came into effect for many companies (including some in the UK) this year and will roll out to thousands more by 2028.

Don’t get me wrong: I like the aims of the directive. Not only does CSRD make companies state their CO2 emissions, including a separate line item for business travel, it also makes them set auditable targets to reduce those emissions.

The problem is that so far the EU has not given guidance on how companies should measure their emissions, at least not for business travel.

It’s a particular headache for business travel because, as any travel manager who has spent five minutes studying the subject can tell you, there is no consistency whatsoever in how aircraft emissions (or hotel emissions) are measured. You can easily see variations of 100% between different online booking tools and travel management companies for exactly the same flight.

One key discrepancy is whether the figure given is based on booked pre-trip data, which relies on historic averages across all airlines; or actual flown data –the kind provided by the new generation of emissions reporting specialists like Thrust Carbon, a partner of TripStax. Specialist data is more precise with every flight measured by factors including

aircraft type, load factor, freight-topassenger ratio and flight path. These details are crucial: if an aircraft has to circle Heathrow three times before landing, that makes a huge difference to its emissions total.

So, if you’re struggling with how to get the data right for CSRD, I offer two pieces of advice. First, given there are no EU-prescribed standards to follow, choose a methodology yourself and stick to it. Second, to achieve consistency, you need a centralised data core that applies the same emissions-counting

“Think of something like Alexa or Siri, but on steroids, that looks after your travellers through the entire trip cycle”

methodology across all data sources

This is exactly what we have been working on at TripStax. We apply Thrust Carbon’s methodology to data from corporates and TMCs consolidating all their booking sources. This consistency makes it fully auditable even if they use multiple TMCs or booking tools.

Many travel managers are taking CSRD very seriously. They know their progress to net zero targets, including the use of business travel, is being tracked, not just by pressure groups but investors too. We all have to be much more careful now about measuring, and reducing, travel emissions.

THE NEWS REVIEW 19 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

JOINS: HSBC

AS: Head of Travel & Events

FROM: Barclays

Alison Rogan, former Director Global Head of Travel & Expense for Barclays, has moved to HSBC as Head of Travel & Events. She was with Barclays for over 24 years.

JOINS: Spotnana AS: Strategic Customer Success Manager FROM: Fujitsu

Nikki Rogan, previously Global Travel Director at Fujitsu and an ITM Board Director, has joined ‘Travel-as-a-Service’ platform Spotnana as Strategic Customer Success Manager.

PROMOTED AT: FCM Travel

AS: Europe Leader

FROM: MD UK, Ireland and Netherlands

FCM Travel has promoted Andy Hegley to the newlycreated role of FCM Europe Leader. Working for FCM since 2007, he was most recently MD UK, Ireland and Netherlands.

JOINS: Focus Travel Partnership AS: Chief Executive Officer FROM: Agiito/Clarity Travel

Focus has appointed Steve Banks as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Abby Penston. Banks was previously COO of Agiito, part of Clarity Travel since last November.

World Travel Protection

AS: Chief Director of Global Provider Networks FROM: Healix

Global travel risk management

firm, World Travel Protection –part of the Zurich Insurance Group – has appointed Chris Knight as Chief Director of Global Provider Networks.

PROMOTED AT: Emburse Travel TO: General Manager FROM: TRIPBAM

TRIPBAM founder Steve Reynolds has been promoted to General Manager of Emburse Travel, a new division incorporating TRIPBAM, which Emburse acquired last year.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> Christal Bemont has become CEO of Direct Travel following its change of ownership. She was formerly CEO of Talend and before that Chief Revenue Officer of SAP Concur >> HRS has appointed Audrey Serror as Vice President of Sales in France >> WEX has recruited Emily Whalley as EMEA Sales Manager for International Corporate Payments >> World Travel Protection has welcomed Brennan Bastyovanszky as its new General Manager of Sales and Marketing >> Air Partner has appointed Kim Borgaard as Head of Business Development in the Nordics region >> Brand experience agency Strata has appointed Caroline Lumgair Wiseman as Group Head of Strategic Meeting Solutions, a new position created to develop Strata’s Strategic Meetings Management >>

THE NEWS REVIEW ON THE MOVE 20 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THE BUSINESS TRAVEL RECRUITMENT EXPERTS Contact us to discuss your recruitment needs +44 (0)1932 562007 | hello@siriustalent.co.uk | www.siriustalent.co.uk Untitled-1 1 09/10/2023 15:33
JOINS: ALISON ROGAN ANDY HEGLEY CHRIS KNIGHT NIKKI ROGAN STEVE BANKS STEVE REYNOLDS
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On the fr O nt line

Fiona Zacharek,

High

top booker with Virgin

Atlantic's Sky
Club, won a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cape Town

When did you join the Sky High Club? I joined back in February 2023 when it first launched. As a Travel Consultant for Reed & Mackay, I was already booking Virgin Atlantic flights for my clients, mainly to New York and the Caribbean, so it was a natural step.

How easy is it to join and to use? It’s so easy. I just signed up with my name and email address and as soon as I made my first Virgin Atlantic booking, I was earning points. Each time I make a booking, I log it with my Virgin locator. It takes seconds. You get more points for booking Premium and Upper Class cabins and sometimes they run incentives where you can earn double or triple points on certain destinations. You can see how many points you’ve accumulated and all the ways you can spend them, from lifestyle and shopping vouchers to events.

I could see the Cape Town trip was coming up but never thought I would be chosen. When the email came, I was completely blown away”

You can see the amazing trips on offer. I could see the Cape Town trip was coming up but never thought I would be chosen. When the email came, I was completely blown away.

What was the Cape Town trip like? It was incredible. It was jam-packed with experiences I didn’t even know were possible. We stayed at Mont Rochelle, Sir Richard Branson’s private retreat in The

Winelands. I had a lovely ground floor suite overlooking a private pool, just for us. We did wine tasting and e-biking around the vineyards, then we took a helicopter ride to Cape Town. This was the highlight of the trip for me, as I’d never been in a helicopter before. We landed on a helipad right in the heart of Cape Town’s Waterfront, close to the One&Only Cape Town where we spent the next two nights. We were meant to go paragliding at Table Mountain but sadly it was too windy. Instead, they arranged some other fantastic experiences – walking up Lion’s Head, exploring the Woodstock street art area and a jeep safari and quad biking at Atlantic Sand Dunes. We also did a ‘food jam’, where we cooked our own dinner, which was really special.

And you also got to experience flying with Virgin Atlantic?

Yes, we were upgraded to Premium on the way out and Upper Class on our return. The Clubhouse at Heathrow was amazing. We drank champagne and made the most of the table service. I was really impressed with the food on board too, in both classes, and it was great to stretch out in the flat bed seats and see how much space there is. It was so useful for me to see the product up close.

What other benefits do you get from Sky High Club?

It’s great that you can also redeem your points for lifestyle and shopping vouchers. I actually used some of my points towards a new washing machine when mine packed up just before Christmas!

Would you recommend Sky High Club to other front line bookers?

Definitely. What’s unique is that it rewards the people actually making the bookings. As a company, we get invited on fam trips and events, but it doesn’t always filter down to the frontline staff, and I think these invites are more rare now. The Sky High Club recognises and appreciates the work you do as a frontline booker.

Are there any other experiences/ trips you're now hoping to earn?

Well, there’s a promotion running right now to Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson's private Caribbean island retreat – definitely another once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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Sp O tlight O n SP o NS o RED

Hot topic

We tested the temperature on your approach to tackling climate change with our latest travel buyer survey

Has your organisation set specific sustainability targets, are they achievable, who is driving them and are your travelling employees even aware of them?

These are just some of the questions we asked in our latest survey, this time dedicated to the important subject of sustainability.

With the requirement to reduce the carbon footprint of business travel now very much part of a travel manager's remit, we wanted to check in to see where you're all at on your road to net zero and what obstacles are still in your way.

It's reassuring to see that nearly two thirds of you have already set clear targets but worrying that nearly a third admit these goals are difficult to achieve.

The higher costs of lower emissions alternatives and a lack of information in your booking tools are the two key barriers.

At this stage, none of you are mandating traveller behaviour, instead taking a more gentle approach. With new reporting rules coming into force, it will be interesting to see if this changes.

Perhaps one of the most positive findings is that the vast majority of you want to travel more responsibly not just to meet legal requirements, or to protect your organisation's reputation, but because you want to drive positive change. Well done!

At this stage, none of you are mandating traveller behaviour, instead taking a more gentle approach

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SURVEY

Ha S Y o UR o R gani S ation SE t S p E cific ta R g E t S

to RE d U c E it S b US in ESS

t R a VE l ca R bon footp R int?

Setting targets is one thing but meeting them is another. Having the right data is key.

"You don’t know what you’re trying to solve unless you look at the trajectory of your business,” says Phillip Charm, co-Founder of Clarasight. “You need to understand historical emissions and costs, the key drivers of these, and then understand what they are projected to look like and test different scenarios to find the best path forward.”

alongSide guidance and gentle nudging, experts advise using healthy competition between divisions to drive better behaviour.

"Sales teams, often the most frequent travellers, are naturally competitive so challenge them to be the best at cutting their footprint,” suggests Sally Higgs at Festive Road.

23 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com 
How wo U ld Y o U b ES t d ES c R ib E Y o UR SUS tainabilit Y goal S ? Realistic 40% Difficult to achieve 31% Unachievable 2% N/A 25% Easy to achieve 2% aRE Y o UR t R a VE ll ERS f U llY awa RE of Y o UR SUS tainabilit Y goal S ? How m U c H of Y o UR t R a VE l p R og R amm E / polic Y i S d R i VE n b Y SUS tainabilit Y ? i n o R d ER to c H ang E t R a VE ll ER b EH a V io UR , H ow wo U ld Y o U b ES t d ES c R ib E Y o UR app R oac H ? • None of them 1113% • Some of them 225% • Many of them 26% • The majority 21% • All of them 15% • None 8% • A small amount 44% • A reasonable amount 38% • A significant amount 10% • All of it 0 • Gentle nudging 36% • Clear guidance 57% • Clear rules 7% • Mandatory 0 aRE Y o UR E mplo YEES t R a VE lling l ESS t H an la S t YE a R to RE d U c E Y o UR E mi SS ion S ? 26% SaY manY of tHeiR emPloYeeS aRe fUllY aWaRe 65% YeS 13% no 22% no bUt it'S in tHe PiPeline SURVEY 58%no 42%YeS

• Travelling

• Combining

• Investing

• Actively

• Offsetting

doES YoUR

How i S Y o UR o R gani S ation RE d U cing it S

it'S good to see that developments in booking technology are making it easier for you to influence behaviour at point of sale, with the vast majority of you able to this at least sometimes.

A global barometer by the GBTA found similar figures and noted that point of sale presents a huge opportunity for companies to nudge their travellers to make more responsible choices.

"The good news is that many travel intermediaries are currently displaying (or are planning to display) emissions at point of sale, providing emission calculation services and carbon-offsetting options," the GBTA report added. d

wH at a RE t HE main ba RR i ERS to ac H i EV ing Y o UR ca R bon RE d U ction goal S ?

Upto3answerswerepermitted.

tHe ReSPonSeS to this question reflect those in the latest global survey by the GBTA, showing UK travel managers aren't alone. While other barriers were identified, the higher cost of lower emission alternatives is still the number one issue. Suppliers take note. • Higher cost

• Lack of data and information in your booking tools

• Lack of understanding about the various certifications/standards used by suppliers

• Lack of interest/support from C-suite

• Lack of willingness among travelling employees

• Lack of clarity about regulations

24 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
lower emission alternatives 63% • Lack
data on emissions 35%
50%
of
of accurate
24%
15%
26%
9%
2%
collaboration 22% aRE Y o U abl E to E nco UR ag E mo RE RES pon S ibl E b EH a
point
booking?
ca R bon
• Feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task
• Lack of industry
V io UR at
of
ai R t R a VE l
footp R int?
less 52% • Cutting financial budgets to force a reduction in travel 34%
shift (ie air to rail, or road to rail) 43%
• Modal
multiple trips 61%
the class of travel 20%
• Downgrading
18%
in SAF
switching to flights on newer/more efficient aircraft 20%
20%
oRganiSation off SE t it S b US in ESS t R a VE l?
o
c URRE ntlY SE t ca R bon b U dg E t S ? butit’sinthepipeline 21% YeS Sometimes 55% Regularly 20% Often 6% Always 4% Rarely 15% 44% no 42% YeS 14% no bUt it'S in tHe PiPeline • No 48% • No, 32%
o ES Y o UR
R gani S ation

• Not at all

• Just for air travel

aRE Y o U t R acking Y o UR b US in ESS

• Just for transport (air, road and rail)

• Yes, across all elements of

getting meaningful data by tracking your emissions is key to success, and not just for reporting reasons.

It can be used to show your C-suite and travellers what action needs to be taken.

“Your audience will be interested to know what’s driving your sustainability initiatives.

Show them a peek behind the curtain. Tell them that a change is happening and how it will impact them,” says Eve Smith Communication and Change Management Lead, Global at FCM.

But she also warns against overloading them with too much information or detail.

tHe majoRitY of travel buyers who completed our survey have more than 1,000 travellers and annual travel spends in excess of £10 million, so we weren't surprised to see that they also have dedicated sustainability teams helping them to drive their net zero strategies. But not everyone has the luxury of having a dedicated sustainability team. If this is the case, it's good to get champions on board, whether that’s at a senior management level or among your executive assistants.

“There will be people in your organisation who are particularly passionate about sustainability. Use these people to influence behaviour,” says Sally Higgs at Festive Road.

Upto3answerswerepermitted.

• To

• To

annual expenditure on business travel and meetings Up to £500,000 15% £500,001 - £1,000,000 4% £1,000,001 - £5,000,000 4% £5,000,001 - £10,000,000 8% £10,000,001 - £20,000,000 ................ 15% £20,000,001 - £100,000,000 .............. 29% £100,000,001+ 25% number of travellers in the organisation 1 – 50 13% 51 – 250 4% 251 – 500 2% 501 – 1000 ............................................. 6% 1000+ .................................................. 75% READER p R o F i LE
t R a VE l E mi
aRE
Y o UR b US in ESS t R a VE l E mi SS ion S ?
SS ion S ?
Y o U RE po R ting
6%
35%
21%
trip (including accommodation) 38%
a
the reputation of the organisation 48%
protect
meet legal requirements 42%
drive positive change 81% • To attract future talent 25%
cut costs 17%
• To
• To
wH o i S mainlY d R i V ing/managing Y o UR o R gani S ation’ S ca R bon RE d U ction E ffo R t S ? The travel team 50% C-Suite/senior management 52% Travelling employees 10% Travel management company 4% HR team 6% Upto3answerswerepermitted. 79% Said dedicated SUStainabilitY team wH at i S Y o UR o R gani S ation’ S k EY moti V ation fo R RE d U cing it S t R a VE l ca R bon footp R int? 81% Wanted to dRive PoSitive cHange 25 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com SURVEY • Yes, internally and publicly 52% • No 17% 31% YeS, bUt onlY inteRnallY

Movers & shakers Sustainability

Isla

A non-profit organisation founded by 12 event professionals and industry leaders in 2020, isla seeks to find a sustainable future for events.

Describing itself as "movement for the industry, by the industry", it works with agencies and brands, organisers and suppliers to create a network with knowledge and expertise to drive change. Members get access to a course of training modules, member forums and round tables and the chance to join action groups. It has also developed a carbon measurement tool for sustainable events, TRACE by isla, to help minimise and monitor carbon at live, hybrid and digital events.

BLACK BOX VERDICT We admire isla's passion for changing mindsets in the events industry. As meetings and events activity continues to increase, a keen focus is needed to minimise impact and share knowledge.

Ones to watch in the sustainability space

SUSTAINABILE HOSPITALITY ALLIANCE (SHA)

The SHA is an increasingly powerful alliance of the world’s leading hospitality brands and now represents more than 40 hotel companies and value chain partners and over 50 supply chain and strategic partners. Last year it drew up a five-year plan committing to a number initiatives, including the introduction of standardised sustainability metrics across the sector. It has embarked on a detailed consultation project defining an industry carbon methodology that will be independently audited by the World Resources Institute and aligned with Greenhouse Gas Protocols to globally “harmonise metrics and KPIs, develop standards and streamline reporting and benchmarking in sustainability”.

BLACK BOX VERDICT When it comes to carbon methodology, the hospitality industry is still playing catch up with air and rail and SHA is helping to deliver much needed change and transparency.

The hospitality industry is still playing catch up with air and rail and SHA is helping to deliver much needed change and transparency”

RE s T, POWERED BY QI a s ERVICE s

QIA (Quality in Tourism) Services offers a range of ESG accreditation, providing “the tools to be responsible, the support to be ethical and the power to be sustainable”. Its initiative, REST – Responsible, Ethical, Sustainable Tourism – is a “one-stop-shop” mark of quality that rates businesses, including hotels and serviced apartment providers, on their commitment to be responsible, ethical and sustainable in everything they do. Not only does it measure the environmental sustainability of a business but it also measures its

commitment to staff and clients, its Corporate Social Responsibility practices, HR policies and supplier relationships and is compliant with RFP processes. Following a stringent inspection, businesses who achieve the REST quality mark, which consists of three rating levels – green, silver and gold – will be included in an online searchable listing of sustainable providers.

BLACK BOX VERDICT This accreditation tackles responsible and ethical elements, alongside sustainability reporting metrics.

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SILVERDOOR CARBON CALCULATOR

Launched last autumn, the SilverDoor Carbon Calculator collates carbon emissions data for the serviced apartments sector, giving corporate clients access to qualitative and quantitative data to review and understand the environmental impact of their accommodation choices. It helps guests and bookers compare the environmental performance of serviced accommodation in the same way as they compare rates, location and facilities. Using data provided by SilverDoor’s 2,000-plus global property partners, the tool calculates a building-specific, per night CO2 emissions estimate for a stay in a serviced apartment, and compares this figure to an equivalent hotel stay using trusted industry standard data from the Cornell Hotel Sustainability

Benchmarking Index. Measurements include the total area of each apartment and wider building, energy use, total area of climate-controlled space, water consumption and laundry management.

BLACK BOX VERDICT An excellent addition to the SilverDoor data proposition. We particularly like the comparison to hotels, driving increased apartment adoption.

TRAVALYST

Founded by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Travalyst is a not-for-profit organisation that uses a hybrid funding model consisting of partner fees and philanthropic funding. It’s a coalition of some of the biggest names in travel and technology, including Amadeus, Booking. com, Expedia Group, Google, Sabre, Mastercard, Travelport, Trip.com and Visa, working alongside sustainability academics and professionals from around the world. Its aim is to change the way people travel by aligning the industry behind clear, consistent and credible sustainability information which is then shared at scale, for free, on

trusted platforms. It has already launched a standardised way to calculate emissions estimates for flights and is now working to bring sustainability information about accommodation to scale for the first time, going beyond just emissions and vetting sustainability certifications for accommodation providers, aiming to have a master list of certifications soon. Initially focussed on leisure tourism, it is now turning its attention to business travel.

BLACK BOX VERDICT Travalyst is collaboration for good at the very highest level, delivering open-source data to make real social impact.

ATPI HALO

ATPI’s consultancy service, headed up by Product Director Pippa Ganderton, is built around three core pillars, helping clients to measure, reduce and offset. This year it partnered with Neste, a leading provider of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), to expand its proposition to help its clients invest in SAF. Simplifying what can be a complex process, ATPI clients can purchase in-sector travel emission reductions and obtain a single certificate for their investment, rather than managing this administration across multiple carriers and sources.

Meanwhile, ATPI Group is setting a good example by earning a Silver EcoVadis Medal for the second year running and has recently appointed its first global Sustainability Officer, Louisa Tour, to spearhead internal sustainability initiatives and develop integral ESG strategies across the entire global business.

BLACK BOX VERDICT This new SAF collaboration demonstrates the commitment of both companies to drive measurable impact for the industry.

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Sustainability
Movers & Shakers were selected with the help of Paula Cullen, Head of Practice - ESG & Growth Black Box Partnerships

Movers & shakers Sustainability

ALTOVITA’S ECOSTATS

AltoVita, a corporate accommodation platform that covers 7 million fully furnished apartments and properties worldwide, partnered with Thrust Carbon to launch EcoStats earlier this year. Using a sophisticated API integration, the tool accurately estimates the CO2 emissions for each night’s stay in properties listed on AltoVita, assessing various sustainability metrics such as sustainability certifications, renewable energy usage, carbon tracking, efficient lighting, single plastic use, recycling and responsible sourcing. Since its launch AltoVita has seen significant uptake by clients, including PwC. It also introduced the CO2 emission calculator into its reporting dashboard, AltoInsights, which displays total CO2 (in tonnes) for bookings within the selected period. EcoStats follows reporting processes

CTM l IGHTNING

CTM’s proprietary online booking tool, Lightning, is back in our Movers & Shakers list for the second year thanks to new features. These include sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) scoring for 250-plus airlines; a hotel verification system where travellers can validate a hotel’s sustainability claims and feedback to colleagues; a search filter for car hire by Hybrid/EV and for hotels that offer hybrid and EV charging points; and the cleverlynamed Lightning Bolt. This is a door-todoor trip search giving travellers a full itinerary, including flights, hotel, train, car hire or taxi using just destination and

Ones to watch in the sustainability space

consistent with practices used in research such as the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index. The solution is available to all users of AltoVita at no extra charge.

BLACK BOX VERDICT A powerful partnership, with Thrust Carbon delivering robust data across AltoVita’s vast inventory to provide much-needed transparency and a commitment to evolve the data suite in this fast growing sector.

Providing clear, actionable insight and forecasting can only help change travel behaviours”

starting point to select the most sustainable journey, supporting modal shift and lower emission routes. Meeting the needs of many travel buyers, the tool also compares flight and rail trips (including Eurostar) based on carbon usage, cost and time, and allows easy switching with just one click.

BLACK BOX VERDICT CTM continues to innovate, helping drive modal shift, encompassing SAF fuel calculations and even highlighting EV charging points at hotels.  We particularly applaud their door-to-door trip approach via Lightning Bolt, offering real carbon transparency.

C la R as IGHT

This New York-based company relaunched earlier this year with a new name and with the kudos of enlisting some of industry’s most respected sustainability experts to its advisory board. Its mission is to help global organisations close the gap between climate-related intention and action with cutting-edge carbon planning and analysis software, accelerating decisionmaking with department-level insights that identify trends and pinpoint reduction opportunities. Founders Adam Braun and Philip Charm are long-time friends who want to make a difference and help secure the future for their young children. Using a Software as a Service subscription model, they are already working with some big global names and managed to double the company’s revenue in the latter half of 2023. Watch this space.

BLACK BOX VERDICT Providing clear, actionable insight and forecasting can only help change travel behaviours.

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ZEERO

This ambitious new venture from Trees4Travel gives corporates and travel companies the chance to invest in impactful climate projects in order to ramp up climate action. A mix between a sustainability sharing economy and a crowdfund, Zeero aims to “turn sustainability on its head” by switching it from being a cost centre to being a potential profit centre. Founders Nico and Elkie Nicholas hope Zeero will be the catalyst that finally scales up action in business travel, helping to fast-track solutions that are urgently needed and already being created by innovators in the sustainability space. Watch out for a reality TV show based on their efforts coming to your living rooms soon.

BLACK BOX VERDICT Great to see the ingenuity of this programme, a unique concept striving to fast-track and scale innovation in the alternative fuel industry. We'll be tuning in!

HR s GREEN s TaY

HRS’ Green Stay Initiative is a sustainability-focused solution that seamlessly incorporates comparative green metrics in the hotel procurement process, saving corporates significant time and expediting insights and decision. It engages with hotel suppliers, from international chains like Accor, Marriott and Radisson, to regional groups and independent properties, to drive their participation in the Green Stay Initiative as they compete for corporate volume. HRS provides quarterly reporting to executives that includes accurate reporting on emissions generated by hotel stays, a summary to enhance their sustainability strategy and predictive metrics illustrating likely outcomes from the implementation of new tactics and/or

refined tech that steers travellers towards hotels with superior green credentials.

BLACK BOX VERDICT Standardisation in the RFP process has been a hot topic so this initiative will ease pain points for both buyers and suppliers.

We admire isla's passion for changing mindsets in the events industry. As meetings and events activity continues to increase, a keen focus is needed to minimise impact and share knowledge”

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.

Turing Locke, Eddington | North West Cambridge lockeliving.com | @lockehotels
Movers & Shakers were selected with the help of Paula Cullen, Associate for Growth & Sustainability, Black Box Partnerships

Coming clean

Neal Baldwin looks at the complexities and challenges of tighter legislation relating to ESG reporting and sustainability claims

Your sales executive is taking a return flight from Milan Malpensa to New York JFK. Simple enough. But what about the carbon emissions?

That journey likely creates around 715kg of CO2. Or maybe 1,360kg. Or perhaps 1,790kg. You might even get to 2,767kg. Welcome to the crazy world of sustainability reporting, where facts and fiction swirl around in confusing and often contradictory fog. With estimates as varied as these from a selection of well-known carbon calculators, it is perhaps no surprise that a raft of European and domestic legislation is now seeking to sort out an area of corporate travel longcriticised for being rife with ‘greenwashing’. For an industry that loves an acronym there is now a new set of letters to obsess over, chiefly the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Having gone live at the start of this year, CSRD vastly increases the burden on large companies to account for the environmental, social and governance impact of their activities, including travel, via the production of independently-audited annual reports. Throw in the EU’s Empowering Consumers Directive and Green Claims Directive too –which both seek to outlaw unsubstantiated environmental claims – and you’ve got an alphabet soup of laws that could leave a

nasty taste for unsuspecting or negligent firms. Extra spice comes from the Uk’s own Advertising Standards Authority, which has pledged to crack down on spurious green statements and has already found fault with ads from a number of airlines.

To add further complication, CSDR reports must feature Scope 3 emissions from supply chain partners, which means delving into the performance of accommodation suppliers. Critically, this includes all ESG areas, including ‘social’ factors such as wages and worker rights alongside ‘environmental’ issues such as water usage.

“CSRD takes sustainability reporting much further than before because it is on a legal footing, rather than just a nice ‘to have’,” explains Adam Braun, CEO of environmental consultancy Clarasight. “Firms must set targets [for 2030 and 2050] and provide commentary on their performance.

“Going forward there are very real penalties for non-compliance, set by each European nation. This can mean huge fines and, in the case of France, even jail for up to five years.”

For Braun, shining light on emissions boils down the issue of sustainability to a level that senior executives will understand – and that’s money. The negatives that come with being seen as a ‘dirty’ business can be very persuasive.

sustainability
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Regular updates on progress are important. Celebrate your achivements but be honest on where you're falling short ”

“The idea is that capital markets and investors will think twice about dealing with companies with poor environmental performance, while there will also be pressure from shareholders and consumers,” he says.

Turn down the volume

Since technological advancements in transport, such as hydrogen and battery power, cannot deliver necessary carbon reductions at speed, the inevitable knockon effect for corporate travel is a potential reduction in trip volume.

Good Travel Management Commercial Director, Laura Busby, says the TMC's clients are naturally gravitating towards more 'purposeful' travel and shifting budgets towards trips that deliver to the bottom line.

“We’re advising clients to look at their policies and identify more clearly the return on investment. For example, giving the sales team a bigger ‘carbon budgets’ to use might make more sense than your operations team, because you are more concerned about winning business.” she says.

“A lot of our work is about capturing data on the reason to travel and showing where carbon savings can be made. Building out the supplier base comes after that.”

At the same time, accuracy is key and businesses are moving away from bog-

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The whole area will become one concerned with presentation. It's no surprise the large consulting firms are massively expanding their sustainability teams”

standard calculators, such as those from Defra and IATO. Good Travel Management uses Thrust Carbon as its calculator of choice, while consultancy Advito has built its own solution, GATE4, to provide more ‘granular’ levels of analysis.

Shelley Fletcher-Bryant, Advito Vice President, Sales & Client Relationship Management, believes having the best-quality data is central in shaping travel policy, and thus forcing down emissions.

“Great info supports travel managers,” she explains. “When presenting travel options in a booking tool, we can, for example say ‘choose Airline A over Airline B’ because it uses a newer aircraft type on a particular route. Our technology can look at detailed specifics –load factors, the amount of freight carried on a particular service, the seat configuration, so you might even point travellers to particular times of departures for these different reasons. These things can affect emissions by as much as 30%.

“Having access to this information helps educate an organisation’s travellers too. We have created videos and infographics to boost policy understanding and show what savings mean in practical terms – ie, what a tonne of carbon really equates to. It also helps us demonstrate the sustainable choice isn’t always the most expensive, and why it might make sense to switch from air to rail.”

Tread carefully

That said, industry voices are still concerned about how the practicalities of extra reporting will shake out. Fletcher-Bryant believes the plethora of ‘green’ hotel certification schemes is a particular worry.

“I’d guess there are more than 200 programmes for hotels,” she says. “Many are robust, but some will just give hotels a stamp of approval for ticking a box and paying a fee. That can be confusing when contracting. Going forward, I think we’ll see travel managers leaning more on the advice of TMCs.”

Similarly, TravelCarbon Managing Partner John Harvey is critical that the new laws are more concerned with presentation rather than actually dealing with the issue of carbon emissions – a fact that has driven his interest in offsetting via Sustainable Aircraft Fuel (SAF), which is recognised by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as making a genuine environmental impact.

“Companies may want to cut carbon over time, but despite the good intentions, there is absolutely no compulsion to do anything yet,” he explains. “At least companies trying to offset their impact with SAF credits are driving development of a technology.

“Emissions offsetting has been used widely in the past and is a real Wild West. The positives from CSDR and the Empowering Consumers Directive is that you won’t be able to make spurious offsetting claims any more, like bogus tree planting initiatives. Sustainability has attracted organisations that want to make a fast buck.

“There's also a problem for companies that are expanding. Your business may do more travel as it grows, but emissions reporting puts the onus on having lower figures each year. Ultimately, the whole area will become one concerned with presentation. It’s no surprise the large consulting firms are massively expanding their sustainability teams!”

top tips from ami taylor,

associate consultant, festive road

Assemble allies and experts. A sustainability team would be the obvious choice when seeking support, but if you don’t have dedicated people get in touch with finance, compliance and legal teams. If you can’t find support internally, seek advice from independent experts outside your business. If you’re leading a global programme, be aware of legislation across all the markets you manage.

Be data ready. Any claim made about a reduction achieved or a target needs to be backed up by solid data that you can retain (consider GDPR compliance) and present on demand to auditors. When setting a target, be specific; you will need a robust plan to demonstrate how it will be achieved. Regular updates on progress are important. Celebrate your achievements and be honest on where you’re falling short.

Manage suppliers. If your goals are reliant on suppliers, be conservative and build formal disclosure obligations in to your agreements. Columbia Law School has a searchable database of climate litigation cases, so consider this in your vendor selection process. Be aware of, and take action on, any misleading or exaggerated claims by your existing suppliers.

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  ISTOC k. COM / HIRU n
WHEN IT COMES TO SUSTAINABILITY, THE SKY SHOULDN’T BE THE LIMIT. We, the Lufthansa Group, enable our customers to offset their CO2 emissions immediately through Sustainable Aviation Fuel or via long term climate protection projects such as reforestation. Learn more on makechangefly.com Learn more #MakeChangeFly
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Know your S a F

Gary Noakes delves into the complex world of sustainable aviation fuel to help corporates make the right choice

Like olive oil and organic meat, how and where sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is produced is something corporate buyers need to be familiar with. It can be confusing and frustrating; some types of SAF are more sustainable than others and there are SAF contracts where corporates will buy fuel but won't actually take delivery.

The European Federation for Transport and Environment’s SAF Sustainability Guide is a good starting point for any buyer wanting to delve in. Its first advice is to examine provenance. There are two types of SAF –e-fuels synthesised from hydrogen combined with carbon, currently available in miniscule amounts, and the more common biofuel derived from biomass.

E-fuels are the Holy Grail, with the potential to be “close to CO2-neutral”, but there is no scheme which offers these yet. It is less enthusiastic about crop biofuels, because they compete with food production needs.

“Waste-based biofuels (for example, those from used cooking oil, animal fats, or forest residues) are more sustainable, but they suffer from limited availability, competing uses in other industries, and fraud risks,” it says.

Despite its scarcity, there is growing interest in SAF among corporates. Chris Truss, Reed & Mackay’s Global Sustainability Director, says: “Many of our clients want a 50% reduction (in their carbon footprint) by 2030; that’s not going to be delivered by airlines, so SAF is the only visible short-term option for decarbonisation. Unless you really take bums off seats, it’s going to be very difficult, so that’s where SAF comes in.”

Knowing how to purchase the right type of SAF means doing some homework. The report warns emission reductions can vary wildly, in some cases “higher than the fossil fuels they seek to replace”. The effect on water usage, biodiversity, land use and

Ask

if the company is producing real SAF or are they just wanting investment in their plant. There's a lot of marketing spin to be aware of”

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When existing agricultural land is turned over to biofuel production, agriculture has to expand elsewhere to meet the existing and growing demand for crops for food and animal feed”

indigenous rights also need to be factored in, the report says.

It adds: “Crop-based biofuels are by far the least sustainable type of SAF. These biofuels can in fact be a cure worse than the disease when the indirect land use change effects are taken into consideration, especially for virgin vegetable oils. When existing agricultural land is turned over to biofuel production, agriculture has to expand elsewhere to meet the existing and growing demand for crops for food and animal feed.”

The UK excludes crop-based fuels from its SAF definition, whereas the US promotes them with tax credits. Also frowned on by EFTE are soy, palm and soap stock derivatives, which have uses in other industries. Consequently, most SAF in Europe is generated from used cooking oils (UCOs) and animal fats.

Animal fats are another cause for concern for the report, being used for heat and power production by the oleochemicals (oil-based) and pet food industries. These have similar displacement issues, especially with oleochemicals, where palm oil is the nearest substitute.

EFTE is less critical of fuels from municipal waste, straw and forestry residue – known as advanced biofuels, but says these have limited scalability and competing uses, adding: “There will never be nearly enough advanced biofuels to meet the sectorʼs demand.”

Short supply

John Harvey is founder of TravelCarbon, a consultancy that helps corporates with sustainability policies. Harvey began his venture after dissatisfaction with carbon offsetting, the industry’s initial response to climate change.

“While purchasing offsetting credits is easy, SAF is a different matter, because there isn’t enough to go around. Only two major companies currently produce fuel – Neste, based in Finland, and California’s World Energy,” he says.

“Others are accelerating production, including Total Energies, Repsol, CESPA, Eni lanzajet and Gevo, but are not yet geared up enough for corporate client direct sales.”

Production stats illustrate this; global requirement for jet fuel is around 300 million

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tonnes a year, whereas total global SAF production is currently only 300,000–600,000 tonnes. Neste currently produces 100,000 tonnes of HEFA (Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids) fuel from vegetable oils, waste oils or fats in Finland. It also has a one million tonne refinery in Singapore, to be followed this year with a 400,000 tonne facility in Rotterdam.

Other forms of SAF are needed, says Harvey. “The volume of SAF required to meet 2050 targets will not come from HEFA alone.”

In the current scramble to develop new plants, many SAF purchasing schemes are appeals for funds. With these, Harvey urges caution: “Ask if the company is producing real SAF or are they just wanting investment in their plant. There’s a lot of marketing spin to be aware of. Ask if it’s a real plant or just a green field site.”

Footing the bill

There also arises the question of whether corporates should contribute to developing SAF and how much airlines and governments should support it.

“Should corporates be signalling demand? Yes. Should they put their dollars or pounds into future SAF? I don’t know. But the risk is a corporate could be pulled into a project they think will reduce their emissions but won’t do so until real fuel is produced and consumed,” Harvey says.

When it comes to purchasing SAF, corporates normally pay the SAF price premium – the cost of SAF including feedstock price, production, logistics and certification minus the price of conventional kerosene and any government subsidy.

Cost is a clear barrier, with SAF prices “from 1.5 to six times higher”. The report says: “During 2022, the average SAF price estimate was around €2,300 per tonne… around 2.5 times higher than the price of conventional jet fuel.”

For those businesses that adopt it, SAF means they can reduce Scope 3 emissions. Buyers should be aware that as most airports

On any scale, the golden rule of business travel expenditure – always obtain a receipt –applies to SAF purchases”

cannot supply SAF, many purchases are ‘Book and Claim’ schemes involving the environmental attribute of SAF through a Scope 3 credit, like purchasing renewable electricity. This means fuel does not go into the actual aircraft but into the system at an airport close to the SAF refinery.

Another option is “offtaking”, using an airline’s scheme where corporates “purchase” SAF during booking. lufthansa launched Business Green Fares in 2023, but the report warns: “It should be noted that only 20% of the fares are used to reduce emissions by purchasing SAF, while the remaining 80% of flight emissions are offset by funding climate protection projects, the effectiveness of which is highly questionable.”

Corporates can also go direct to fuel suppliers, typically paying for an annual amount of fuel physically delivered to an airport, which qualifies for Scope 3 credits. The drawback, the report says, is only two schemes exist: Neste’s My SAF for Business, and Sky NRGʼs Board Now.

Forming a consortia for joint procurement is another tactic and one that offers economies of scale. United Airlines' Sustainable Flight Fund is the biggest, boasting over $200 million in investments from 22 airline and corporate partners and over $450,000 in contributions from 115,000 customers to fund SAF start-ups. The latter can pay $1, $3.50 or $7 when booking.

Proof of purchase

On any scale, the golden rule of business travel expenditure – always obtain a receipt –applies to SAF purchases.

Truss at Reed & Mackay cites one corporate which paid several thousand dollars for SAF without any proof of what it had purchased and warns of pitfalls.

“My desire is that this doesn’t turn into the Wild West,” he says.

“Carbon offset has become sneered upon because of bad actors cutting corners, that’s why documentation is important.

“As long as the SAF credit or credit for future production has credible documentation there’s nothing wrong. The mechanism you buy through is really important.

"Do you own the emission reduction you are purchasing? What corporates need is the credit for the investment to be quantified so they can use it for reporting. It's vital to do your homework because it’s your reputation at stake.”

top tipS

• Consider whether the meeting justifies the flight. Transport & Environment’s Travel Smart campaign recommends reducing business air travel emissions by 50% of 2019 levels by 2025. Don’t be tempted to use SAF purchases to continue high frequency flying.

• Make sure your decision-makers know the benefits and drawbacks of different SAF types. There is a tendency to assume it’s all the same.

• Look out for greenwashing; request maximum transparency from airlines and suppliers when purchasing SAF, and ask about its source. Caution is needed to avoid reputational risks to your business. Always be transparent about what type of SAF you’re investing in.

• Once you’re clear about a supplier’s credentials, take the lead and include a realistic target for each travel arrangement, such as paying for the equivalent of 10% SAF on each flight.

• Don’t buy crop-based biofuels unless absolutely necessary; they are not truly sustainable long-term. Do buy e-kerosene where available.

• Consider transportation of the fuel where the arrangement is a direct supply; importing SAF entails greenhouse gas emissions.

• Recognise that while the SAF premium is usually communicated per gallon or litre, the price per metric tonne of CO2 avoided offers a more meaningful sustainability measure.

• Corporates with bigger budgets could consider being an ‘angel investor’, helping start-ups in the SAF field to crank up production. In terms of social responsibility, this is a big win.

• Remember it’s easier to check that SAF complies with EU standards if it is produced in Europe, which has the most stringent sustainability criteria.

• Bear in mind your supply’s transparency and traceability. Ask if it involves land use change (indirect or direct), avoid palm oil, and make sure to minimise energy and water impact.

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Su S tainability

corporate commitment

A year after the launch of Virgin Atlantic for Business, we checked in with Tom Maynard, Director Global

Corporate Sales, and Nicki Goldsmith, Director UK Agency Sales

Tom, why does Virgin Atlantic have a dedicated programme for business travel?

We’ve always delivered a brilliant experience for business travellers but being synonymous with premium leisure, we’ve not always been top of mind. Virgin Atlantic for Business has given us the opportunity not only to articulate our business travel proposition to trade partners and corporate customers but brings business travel to the heart of Virgin Atlantic, ensuring we’re focussing on improving the experiences that matter most to business travellers.

How important is the corporate market to Virgin Atlantic?

It's central to our global strategy. While other airlines appear to be distancing themselves from corporate buyers at the moment, we’ve been investing in building bigger and stronger corporate sales teams. We’re serious about business travel; it’s a big part of our 12% capacity growth in 2024 and crucial to our future success.

What kinds of initiatives have you put in place to support your corporate partners and their travellers?

Since launching Virgin Atlantic for Business, we’ve worked hard on optimising the recognition business travellers receive. This ensures they’re recognised and prioritised throughout their journey and gives them the opportunity to access enhanced loyalty benefits. These focus on what’s important to the business traveller – a speedy journey through the airport, fast-track security and

lounge access. Through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, your personal life – as well as work life – is made that bit better by flying with us.

Virgin Atlantic for Business isn’t just about the savings we generate for our corporate travel buyers; it’s about demonstrating the total value of the partnership. Our corporate partners have access to a suite of reports showing the total value of our partnership, including contract savings, operational performance, loyalty and additional benefits.

What is planned for the next 12 months and beyond?

We’re excited about the launch of our new daily service from London Heathrow to Bengaluru, providing our corporate partners with even greater connectivity to India. Running alongside our double daily into Delhi and our daily into Mumbai – which goes double daily from October 27 – there’s more opportunity than ever for business travellers to enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience.

Across the transatlantic, in partnership with our Joint Venture partner Delta, we’re supporting business travellers by adding a second daily flight to Boston and Miami and a seventh daily flight to New York, JFK. By the end of summer, 100% of our JFK flights will be scheduled to operate on our A350 and A330neo aircraft*. We’re recognising business travel by putting our best product on the most important corporate route.

today that we’re growing both our corporate and trade account management teams by around 50%, cementing our unwavering commitment to our partners across the industry. We have sector specific dedicated account managers who’ll bring their specialist experience to the SME, MICE, sports and entertainment, marine and charity sectors. This is in addition to our longstanding Groups team, who’ve offered dedicated booking support for many years. And, of course, we have Sky High Club, our always-on incentive programme for our frontline travel agents.

Give us an update on your Sky High Club

Nicki, how does Virgin Atlantic support TMCs?

We remain completely committed to the trade. I’m very pleased to announce

We have around 5,000 people now signed up, half of them from the TMC community. The feedback has been incredible and the programme is giving people genuine once-in-alifetime experiences that they wouldn’t get anywhere else. Our current top booker

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VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Q& a
VIRGIN'S A330 NEo

incentive “Race to Necker” is giving members the opportunity to win a phenomenal trip to Sir Richard Branson’s private Caribbean retreat, worth a whopping £30,000 per person. Other airlines may run incentives for short periods, but we’re the only one offering this scale of opportunity as an ‘always on’ programme.

Are all the rewards travel related? No, there are so many other rewards – lifestyle vouchers, shopping vouchers, accommodation, experiences and money-can't-buy events. We recently took some Sky High Club agents to the Attitude Awards. I think frontline sellers really appreciate that they’re not just rewarded with airline seats. And it’s so flexible too – agents can watch their points growing and choose when and how to use them. Concert tickets, dinners out, something you’ve had your eye on in a department store, it’s all there.

What other initiatives are planned for TMCs?

Building on the success of our inaugural Sky High Club event last year at Level 42 in London, we’ll be running another on July 4th in Manchester. These events are a great way to fully immerse agents in our product and that of our Joint Venture partner, Delta – showcasing just how integrated we are across the board.

Virgin Atlantic for Business isn't just about the savings we generate for our corporate travel buyers; it's about demonstrating the total value of the partnership”

We've got some exciting updates to share with our trade partners and we will be sending out invitations soon. Ultimately, TMCs are an integral part of our business and we’ll continue to support them in every way we can.

*There may be occasions that some ad-hoc New York services are substituted for an alternate aircraft type.

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Q& a
NECKER ISLAND

Make Shift

More reliable emissions data should help travel managers encourage their travellers to switch to rail but there are still sticking points, says Dave Richardson

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RA i L t RAVEL

Modal shift from car or air to rail will accelerate now that the first detailed analysis of the carbon savings on rail is rolled out, according to the rail industry.

The emissions data currently available for rail dates back to the early years of the century and is available on most booking platforms, including Trainline.

“We don’t have our own data for emissions.

The Government data is a single figure averaged for all types of train and likewise for car, so while not precise it is still an official average,” said a Trainline spokesman.

“We’ll be looking at new data that may start to become available from the industry, which is more granular by journey. It’s not available to us yet.”

This is in marked contrast to the aviation industry, with travel managers booking air

confident they have the facts. But that is changing, as the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, rolls out more reliable figures based on painstaking research.

The right signals

Taking the train on the top 100 business routes in Britain is almost nine times greener than using a petrol or diesel car, more than four times greener than using a plug-in hybrid electric car and almost two-and-a-half times greener than using a battery electric vehicle, the RDG research found.

This is the first time the rail industry has combined granular data on train occupancy, fuel type, exact journey distance and many other factors to create detailed, accurate and reliable emissions data.

On board there are problems with Wi-Fi and phone connectivity. Operators should get rid of first class and improve standard class”
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As part of its Green Travel Pledge, RDG promises to measure the emissions of more rail routes and give comparisons with air travel by June”

some of the journeys with the lowest emissions per passenger (compared to one person travelling alone by petrol or diesel car) include london king’s cross to York (15.13 times less carbon), Darlington to london king’s cross (14.88 times less carbon) and ebbsfleet to london st Pancras (14.41 times less carbon).

nearly all the routes measured for the research are electrified, compared to only 38% across the whole Uk network, but RDG denies the list was selective. operators such as south Western Railway, southeastern and southern are 100% electric or nearly so, as are much of the lneR and avanti networks. The proportion is much lower for Great Western, crosscountry, northern and Transpennine, although the latter’s route between Manchester and leeds is being electrified. so is the east Midlands route from london to sheffield which currently only covers london to kettering.

as part of its Green Travel Pledge, RDG promises to measure the emissions of more rail routes and give comparisons with air travel by June.

The RDG data was put together by 3squared, Thrust carbon and Black Box Partnerships, whose managing partner Raj

sachdave described it as “a big step forward”, adding: “at every stage the RDG has worked with the corporate marketplace."

Trainline has come up with research indicating that while 58% of people consider switching to rail for environmental reasons, they over-estimate the green credentials of other environmental measures, with recycling in 60th place for carbon savings.

It says a 30% increase in rail travel is needed by 2035 to hit net zero targets, and that if all those who considered switching to rail swapped just one 200-mile journey each year from car, that alone would deliver onethird of the 30% goal.

Pain points

The case for rail might seem proven, but there are many factors against it including total costs of a journey, convenience, overcrowding, punctuality, continuing strikes by drivers’ union asleF, and duty of care to the workforce.

While many routes to and from london can be highly competitive with car or air, the same is not true for regional routes.

consultant Geoff allwright uses the example of a Bristol-edinburgh journey taking six to seven hours each way by direct train, which can’t be achieved comfortably in one day and allows only four hours for meetings. adding one or two nights in a hotel, plus food, could push the total cost above £1,000, plus further carbon emissions, when easyJet return fares may cost under £100 for a day trip.

“The new RDG data is a start, but all the data for rail, air and car needs to be in one place,” he adds.

RA i L t RAVEL 

“also, the rail industry itself needs a sustained programme to decarbonise. Whereas aviation is developing hydrogen and electric power, I don’t see that commitment from the rail industry.”

Changing track

eloise Ferrara-neched, senior Procurement Manager for Travel at Royal Mail, is leading successful campaigns to switch rail travellers from paper to e-tickets, and car travellers to rail. From January 2022 to october 2023 it achieved a 15% reduction in emissions and a 9% cut in costs due to modal shift.

“There’s been a mind-set change, and RDG’s Green Travel Pledge is now used in our presentations,” she said. “We have switched our people to rail using advance and offpeak fares, not anytime fares. I welcome the move towards simpler pricing, but there are some barriers. We don’t have access to some fares through our system with agiito, and on board there are problems with Wi-Fi and phone connectivity. operators should get rid of first class and improve standard class.”

The cost of rail travel is the major barrier to modal shift for many, and Great British Railways, the new overall body being set up by the Government, is committed to fare reform. a taste of what’s to come is lneR’s switch to single-leg pricing, and a new fares structure between london, newcastle, Berwick and edinburgh, which campaigning group Railfuture says could lead to a 130% increase in fares. off-Peak and super offPeak fares have been abolished and anytime flexible fares replaced with a new “70min Flex” fare, allowing passengers to take an alternative lneR service 70 minutes before or after their booked train.

availability of these fares is restricted, as with advance fares, which now account for 86% of tickets bought on these routes. lneR’s data shows 94% of advance fares are lower than the old super off-Peak fare, and advance and 70min Flex fares can be booked online or at stations up to five minutes before departure. Unrestricted anytime standard class fares cost £195.70 one-way from london to newcastle and £199.60 to edinburgh, very much more than air fares.

The debate rumbles on and travel managers must hope that the new carbon data and fares reform make rail more viable.

The case for rail might seem proven, but there are many factors against it, including costs, convenience, overcrowding, punctuality and continuing strikes”

stay ON track

Joe thurgood at South Western Rail shares seven tips to help travel managers get the best from train travel

1. USE YOUR BUYING POWER

Review your organisation’s overall train travel. If you are able to demonstrate potential for modal shift from road to rail, use this to engage with either the train operator’s business unit or via your TMC to negotiate rates on key routes.

2. GO OFF PEAK

Where possible, encourage your employees to arrange meetings that avoid travelling during peak commuting hours. Not only will this bring down the cost of tickets, but it is also likely to mean less crowded trains, giving travellers more space to work or relax on the way to their meeting. Of course, travelling in First Class will also improve your travellers’ comfort, productivity and wellbeing, so take advantage of upgrade offers, which are available on websites like seatfrog.com, for example.

Educate your travellers about the environmental benefits of switching to rail and how it can help your organisation reduce its carbon footprint”

3. PLAN AHEAD

Book tickets as far in advance as possible to take advantage of special fares and offers. Advise your employees to book their tickets as soon as they have arranged a meeting, which will also help encourage them to schedule meetings that avoid peak times, as per my previous tip. On many routes, booking your ticket even an hour in advance can be cheaper than purchasing it at the station just before departure.

4. RETHINK YOUR MEETINGS

The growth of homeworking and hybrid travel means the most convenient place for your internal meetings in the UK might have changed. It might no longer be best to meet in central London or Manchester, for example, but in other locations. Look at where your employees are based and find options that involve the least amount of travel overall, taking advantage of locations well served by rail. The vast majority of train stations are in the centre of a town or city, so you’ll also avoid the additional cost of taxis or parking and the stress of sitting in traffic.

5. BOOK VIA THE RIGHT CHANNEL

Strongly encourage or mandate rail bookings through the train operator’s business unit, a TMC, or a dedicated rail booking platform to avoid the additional cost and administration of processing ticket receipts. SWR Business Direct, for example, will allow you to buy and manage all your train tickets (and bus and ferry where applicable) for any time and any train company across England, Scotland and Wales, not just on the SWR network, with no hidden fees or charges. It will also simplify and speed up any changes or cancellations and removes the need for finance to process expenses, saving significant time and money.

6. THINK GREEN

Educate your travellers about the environmental benefits of switching to rail and how it can help your organisation reduce its carbon footprint. Rail Delivery Group recently published research which found that taking the train on the top 100 business routes in Britain is almost nine times greener than using a petrol or diesel car on average, more than four times less carbon than using a plug-in hybrid electric car, and almost two-and-a-half times less carbon than using a battery electric car.

7. PUSH PRODUCTIVITY

Remind your employees that travelling by rail is productive. It is their office on the move with free Wi-Fi, room to stretch their legs and space to work. When they are working on the move, this is benefitting the business. Don’t waste productive time: it’s wasting money.

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Different strokes

The wellbeing needs of one traveller won’t be the same as those of another. We asked three individuals to share their personal views and experiences

the female traveller

Solo business travel for female professionals presents a myriad of challenges that aren't isolated incidents but rather part of everyday reality. It’s not just about hopping on a plane; each trip requires meticulous planning to ensure safety and success.

As a seasoned traveller, I’ve encountered my fair share of difficult experiences. Recently, I visited New Orleans and although I generally feel safe in the US, I hadn't had the chance to research this destination. During my taxi ride from the airport, the driver shared concerns about crime and safety in certain areas, which made me feel a bit on edge. When I arrived at my hotel it was late and the restaurant was closed and room service was limited. In a city I felt safe in, I would typically go out to get something to eat alone, nearby, but didn't feel comfortable doing so. Instead, I ordered through a food delivery service to the hotel. In retrospect, I realise the value of having a better understanding of the local environment and potential safety risks could have informed my decisions and possibly altered my itinerary. I've always been a very confident and independent traveller, but this trip reminded me of the importance of safety.

We must be vigilant and take care when travelling late at night. I would advise other female travellers to stay informed about their destinations, carefully select what they choose to pack and avoid displaying valuables such as precious jewellery.

My preferences often lean towards hotels with restricted floor access. Maintaining open communication with colleagues and sharing itineraries with loved ones adds security.

Addressing the unique needs of female travellers isn't just a personal responsibility –it's a collective effort. Travel managers and TMCs play a vital role in implementing comprehensive safety guidelines and offering resources tailored to female travellers. Effective travel risk management programmes should educate on cultural sensitivities and gender-specific considerations.

While adhering to company travel policies is essential, safety should never be compromised for cost. Companies should empower their employees to exercise their best judgment in travel arrangements and not to take unnecessary risks. They should be encouraged to use trusted providers, such as global car services with established safety measures.

Acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by female travellers ensures all professionals, regardless of gender, can navigate the world with confidence and ease.

the lGBt traveller

Jamie Love, CEO & Founder of Monumental

More than half of LGBT travellers report having uncomfortable experiences at hotels, while a staggering 95% of LGBT business travellers hide their sexuality on work trips. Individual reasons for hiding one's sexuality will vary from person to person, but it’s still important to consider LGBT team members more sensitively when arranging travel and accommodation for their work trips.

Nowadays, travellers are more inclined to do their research before they travel, meaning LGBT individuals will search for places that align with their values. It’s still illegal to be gay in 66 nations across the globe.

For professional travellers, this sentiment remains the same, however, they might not

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ISTOC kph OTO COM / F ANG X IA N UO & M ARCIO B INOW D A S IL v A WELLBEING

have a similar luxury of declining a visit. It would be great if LGBT employees could have the flexibility of choosing where they travel to, but sometimes this simply isn’t possible within a work setting. That’s where support from companies can make a real difference, and can ensure that LGBT employees feel heard, considered and valued within their day-to-day roles.

Companies can actively seek partnerships with hotels that have a clear stance on diversity and inclusivity. prioritising partnerships with hotels that openly support and welcome LGBT guests can create a more comfortable and affirming experience for LGBT employees during their business trips.

When selecting accommodation, companies can incorporate diversity criteria into their decision-making process. This includes considering factors such as the hotel's nondiscrimination policies, participation in LGBT diversity initiatives and the presence of LGBTinclusive amenities and services. For example, with my employees’ travel requirements, we only book hotels that are proactively involved with LGBT causes and confidently promote their diversity efforts.

Companies should actively solicit feedback from LGBT employees regarding their travel experiences and preferences. By incorporating employee input into the travel planning process, companies can better understand the specific needs and concerns of LGBT employees and tailor accommodations accordingly, especially as every community under the LGBT umbrella will have different requirements, so it’s important to hear from all voices.

To help facilitate the support from the very beginning, companies can provide training and education to employees involved in travel planning and accommodation selection to raise awareness about the needs and concerns of LGBT travellers. By doing this, it can help ensure that LGBT employees are treated with sensitivity and respect throughout the entire travel process. Companies can organise business events or conferences in LGBT-friendly cities and destinations to provide opportunities for LGBT employees to travel to welcoming environments and not feel the need to hide a part of themselves. To truly support this, I’ve blacklisted several countries - we won’t work with any business present there to avoid ever putting any member of our team in a

situation where they fear being their true self. hiding a part of yourself will impact your ability to perform at your best. Data has shown how bringing your full self to work positively impacts creativity and innovation. Travelling shouldn’t impact your team’s ability to do what they do best.

the frequent traveller

I spent 25 years as a management consultant, working mainly for big, global organisations. I’ve definitely seen my share of the inside of hotel rooms and serviced apartments.

Behind the façade of glamorous destinations and prestigious meetings lies the reality of solitude that many of frequent travellers face. The impact on our mental health is profound, demanding a conscious effort to maintain our wellbeing.

The isolation experienced on business trips is not just physical, but emotional. Days filled with meetings and nights spent in impersonal hotel rooms can lead to feelings of disconnection. This lack of meaningful social interaction can exacerbate stress, contribute to anxiety, and even lead to depression. I often found myself selfmedicating at the hotel bar just to escape the monotony of the room and I know plenty of fellow road-warriors who went down darker paths.

For most of my career, mental health wasn’t something we discussed at work, so my employers were never aware of what went on outside of the meetings. Luckily, this is changing (albeit slowly) and corporate leadership and travel managers are starting to take a more proactive role in improving wellness.

Connecting with others is a fundamental human need. On the road, it becomes a lifeline. Interaction, whether with colleagues, locals, or fellow travellers, can dramatically improve our mood and outlook.

I often found myself self-medicating at the hotel bar just to escape the monotony of the room and I know plenty of fellow roadwarriors who went down darker paths”

These connections remind us that we are not alone in our experiences, providing comfort and a sense of belonging.

Leveraging technology to stay in touch with friends and family is essential, but I've also found value in making new connections. Networking events, local meet-ups, or even casual conversations at a café can enrich the travel experience. participating in group activities or exploring the local culture offers opportunities to interact and break the cycle of isolation.

Finding people to connect with and group activities to attend can be difficult. That’s why I created RAvL, an app that helps business travellers to connect, in-person, while they’re away from home.

WELLBEING 47 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com

open door policy

Transparency was the order of the day at our second Lunch Forum on serviced accommodation

Serviced accommodation is finding its way into more corporate travel programmes thanks to higher demand, better awareness and improved distribution of content.

But travel buyers at a Business Travel Lunch Forum in London dedicated to the sector said although major in-roads are being made, progress is being hampered by the limitations of legacy technology and the unwillingness or inability of some TMCs to invest adequate time and resources.

Corporate buyers from a range of industries met with experts from five key players – SilverDoor Apartments, Stay Situ, 3sixty, AltoVita and Synergy – to discuss the key issues in an honest and open debate.

In advance of the event, buyers were asked to consider a number of questions, including how much their organisation is using serviced accommodation and for what reasons, whether they are capturing spend on serviced accommodation or if it’s falling outside of their travel programme, and whether they are measuring total trip spend, including F&B expense and laundry, or just the nightly rate.

Direct comparison

Travel buyers said the sharper focus on rising costs, sustainability, and on improving traveller wellbeing and safety is prompting them to look to serviced accommodation as a viable alternative to hotels.

They said the ideal scenario would be to access serviced apartment options alongside hotels, with live rates and instant bookings, but this does not yet widely eixst. To meet growing demand from its travellers, one buyer has recently set up a dedicated portal with a global provider to source and book serviced accommodation, outside of the company's TMC and online booking tool.

Buyers heard that API integration means serviced accommodation can be made widely available by TMCs but it "always comes down to commercials". However, TMCs are increasingly realising that unless they can support clients with their full accommodation requirements, more corporates will bypass them and book direct.

Experts fear that serviced accommodation often slips through the net, so that many organisations are failing to maximise their buying power”

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SERVICED ACCOMMODATION
l unch F oru M

Buyers were encouraged to put pressure on their TMCs and OBT providers and to have candid conversations with them about their needs and the current limitations. Both sides agreed that future Business Travel Lunch Forums on serviced accommodation should include representatives from TMCs and OBTs.

Customer profile

When it comes to travel policies, some buyers encourage the use of serviced apartments for stays of more than a number of days, usually around four to seven, but admitted they cannot always enforce this.

They said their most confident and frequent travellers are the most likely to stay in serviced apartments, because they do not require the security or 'frills' of a hotel. The growing number of co-living concepts, with guest interaction and communal work spaces, cater for the move to hybrid or remote working and are appealing to younger, tech savvy travellers. Buyers were encouraged to work more closely with HR or relocation teams to consolidate their accommodation spend.

Experts fear that serviced accommodation often slips through the net so that many organisations are failing to maximise their buying power in order to negotiate the best deals. They also urged buyers to look at the total cost of a stay, not just the nightly rate, to measure overall cost savings by switching to serviced apartments.

Step by step

Both sides agreed that even when serviced accommodation bookings are automated, there will still be a need for human interaction, particularly for longer stays. Experts said although awareness and understanding of the sector is improving, there is still a need to further educate buyers and their travellers about their products and services.

Investment is being made in artificial intelligence, particularly the use of chatbots to deal with simple enquiries and tasks, but buyers said there was still some distrust about AI among travellers, so innovation must be rolled out carefully and slowly and communication is key.

With
TMCs are increasingly realising that unless they support clients with their full accommodation requirements, more corporates will bypass them and book direct”
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ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/LJUBAPHOTO EVENT IMAGES: PHIL GAMMON
thanks to our event sponsors

Reality check

THE BACKGROUND FREENOW is available in nine markets and over 150 cities. Users can book multiple types of transport from the same app, including taxis, private hire, car shares, e-scooters and e-bikes and even e-mopeds. For this journey from Gatwick Airport I opted for an electric black taxi, which seemed the safe choice. (I'm not quite ready to order an e-scooter!)

THE BOOKING I’ve had the FREENOW app for a few years and regularly use it for bookings. All B2B and B2C bookings are via the app and for my Gatwick pick-up in a black taxi this was going to be a metered fare. I just had to pop in my details, including the flight info, and I immediately received a confirmation of the booking which was accepted by my driver, Asim Chaudrey. Pre-bookings can be made up to four days in advance. FREENOW also offer set fares between central London (Zone 1) and Heathrow.

PRE-JOURNEY I had already received my confirmation in the app and the day

GROUND TRANSPORT APP: FREENOW FOR BUSINESS

before my pick-up Asim messaged me to say that he would be monitoring my flight and meeting me at the Short Stay car park by arrivals. I had all his details, including registration number, so knew who I was going to be looking for when I arrived from my flight.

THE JOURNEY Asim greeted me warmly, opened the taxi door for me and helped with my luggage. He asked me to pop on my seat belt for safety and let me know the traffic conditions and the route he planned to take. Asim was a seasoned London black taxi driver and an early adopter of a traditional electric black cab, which he had been driving for the last four years. He told me this was not only an environmental choice but a step up in comfort levels for both the driver and the passengers. The cab was so quiet it made it easy for me to make a few phone calls. Asim had been working prior to my pick-up and yet the cab was still immaculate, so he clearly took pride in his job. He kept within the speed limit

at all times so I felt safe and relaxed on this hour-long journey.

I FELT SAFE AND RELAXED ON THIS HOUR-LONG JOURNEY

THE HOTEL The 91-room, fourstar hotel opened in 2021 at the height of Covid. The property’s ground floor was a former Chinese Restaurant while the hotel rooms occupy spaces that were once offices and consulting rooms for a doctor’s surgery. It is cat and dog friendly and has accessible facilities for disabled visitors. Extra beds and cots can be put into rooms for children.

THE CHECK-IN I was met by smiling faces, including Anna, the GM, who offered me a complimentary drink from the bar. The attractive lobby/reception area has colourful zigzag Chevron flooring and modern couches, well stocked with throws and cushions to give the hotel an instant ‘cosy’ feel.

THE LOCATION The hotel is around a 10-minute walk to the heart of the city and main shopping area with the ‘old town’ a further 10-15 minutes or so away. It's a 25-minute tax ride (around €30) from Hannover-Langenhagen Airport. I arrived by ICE train from Dusseldorf to the central train station,

which is a 20-minute walk or a fiveminute taxi ride (€8) to the hotel.

THE ROOM There are three room categories: Standard, Standard with Room and Terrace and Superior. No two rooms are the same. I was in 601, on the top floor, a super-spacious Superior room with glass doors opening onto a rooftop balcony area, with a table and two chairs and great city views. My spotless room was bright, with a hardwood floor. Features included a flat-screen television, minibar and tea and coffee-making facilities. The large walk-in bathroom had a raineffect shower. The Wi-Fi was fast and free. Superior rooms come with a complimentary Espresso Machine, a bottle of water, bathrobes and slippers.

THE FACILITIES There’s one restaurant, located off the reception. Breakfasts were extensive, with pastries, yoghurts, fresh and dried fruit, hot dishes and small dishes of salmon, guacamole, hummus and more. In the evening, a selection of evening dishes

THE VERDICT I’m a huge fan of black taxis and FREENOW for Business allows customers to tap into this great service while enjoying centralised payments, monthly invoices, data insights and automated expensing in one platform.

THE DETAILS Prices depend on the journey. free-now.com

Kirsty Hicks

from a curated à la carte menu are available. A small 24-hour gym has a treadmill, spin bike and free weights.

COUCHES WITH THROWS AND CUSHIONS GIVE THE HOTEL AN INSTANT 'COSY' FEEL

THE VERDICT Comfortable, spacious rooms and a bountiful breakfast, with the city highlights a healthy stroll away to burn off the added calories.

THE DETAILS Superior rooms for a weekend in June from around €300 a night. nhhannover@nh-hotels.

Steve Hartridge

DEPARTURES
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HOTEL: NH HANNOVER GUENTER
LENZ

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51 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com DEPARTURES
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