The Business Travel Mag January/February 2023

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94 January/February 2023 + 10 reasons to be cheerful People Awards 2023 How to ease the pressure nominations now open for the 2023 Business t ravel people awards Expert predictions to put you on the right path 2023 trends

Entries close March 15th

The prestigious awards ceremony will take place on the evening of September 25th at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, London

With thanks to our first sponsors thebusinesstravelmag.com For sponsorship contact: Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

NOMINATIONS OPEN Get your entries in now for the 2023 Business Travel People
Awards

Contents

Features

10 Reasons to be cheerful: Start the year with a spring in your step with our 10 reasons to be cheerful, according to those in the know

19 Trends to watch: More than 40 business travel experts identify key emerging and developing trends and suggest how you should be preparing and responding to them

Up Front

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

8 Everyone's Talking About: How to attract new talent

9 Speaking Out: Louise Kilgannon at Festive Road explores how travel managers can keep their sanity while being pulled in all directions

16 The latest news, appointments and industry events

Departures

36 Reality Check: We check in to hotels in London, Manchester and Las Vegas and jump on the Eurostar to Brussels

UP FRONT 3 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2023
News
18 10 (p19-35)
Make sure you're ready for what's coming next with our annual trends report, straight from the experts 27 22 8 6 35 36 17
2023 TRENDS

Welcome

Strange times

Events over the last 12 months have taught us, yet again, that it's difficult to predict the future: the invasion of Ukraine, three UK Prime Ministers in less than three months, the death of the Queen, almost winning Eurovision.

But in this unpredictable world it's good to have something to work towards, especially when it comes to our professional lives. So, once again, we've devoted our first issue of the year to future trends in business travel (see pages 19-35).

This year, we've reached out to more experts than ever, and from all corners of the industry. As you might expect, key themes have emerged but each of our experts has brought a different perspective. Importantly, we haven't just asked them to identifiy trends, we've also asked them to share expert advice on how travel managers should be preparing and responding to them.

We've also asked those in the know to share their thoughts on why they think we should be entering the year feeling positive. January is always a tough month, with the festivities over and the cold weather and energy crisis taking its toll (I know from recent zoom calls that I'm not the only one sitting at my desk in a woolly hat and scarf) but our 10 reasons to be cheerful should warm your cockles.

It's great to see our events page looking busy again, with the industry's social gatherings and conferences back in full force. We're gearing up for our Business Travel Lunch Forums and, of course, the 2023 Business Travel People Awards. Nominations are now open, so get your entries in and put the September 25th in your diary for the awards ceremony. Now there's something we can all look forward to.

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Bev Fearis

CONTRIBUTORS

April Waterston, Charlotte Flach & Stuart Forster

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April Waterston

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Steve Hartridge

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PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

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Matt Bonner and Caitlan Francis

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Clare Hunter

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Steve Hunter

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4
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SWR business direct allows you to book your business rail travel how you want to book your business rail travel • No Fees • Book Rail Travel Anywhere in Mainland UK • E-Ticket options • Book London Underground add-ons with ease • Control Your Travel Policy • Save Money • Simple but in-depth reporting
And More Be in control of your Visit southwesternrailway.com/train-tickets/business-travel for more information Business Travel Business Direct

Hyatt Regency London

cITy lImITS

Hyatt's eighth hotel in London, the Hyatt Regency London

Albert Embankment has 142 rooms and a 14th floor of executive suites. On the River Thames, it also boasts an on-site fitness centre, several bars and restaurants and five meeting rooms.

UP
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The well-appointed and contemporary guestrooms make the most of the enviable riverside sp0t, with many featuring floorto-ceiling windows with immersive skyline views”
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
FRONT OPENING SHOTS
g AR y b R i TTO n

The Huxy One SO DEcaDENT

Starting at £1,050 a night, The Huxy One is the new luxury flagship suite at The Hux Hotel in London's Kensington. billed as an 'epicurean haven' and an 'evocative ode to city decadence' the suite's artwork and custom furnishings were created by icelandic artist, Kristjana S. Williams, in sexy reds, royal blues, and other sumptuous colours.

Residence Inn Dortmund City

TwO fOr ONE

Part of a dual-branded, development by Marriott, the 120-suite Residence inn Dortmund City is an aparthotel with two studio sizes, each with separate living and sleeping areas and kitchenettes. in the heart of the West german city, it also has on-site car parking and spaces for 50 bikes.

Moxy Dortmund City

GErmaN DESIGN

With bauhaus elements, including a copper bar in a nod to the history of a neighbouring brewery, the Moxy Dortmund City has 36 twin and 154 queen guestrooms. Sister to the Residence inn (above), both share a casual dining space for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a wellequipped 24/7 gym.

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fi L i PE WE in S fi L PE WE in S

Everyone's talking about... how to attract new talent

“We need to get back to training people. We need to show ours is a sector you can join straight from school or college. We need to allow people to come in and learn”

The needs, desires and communication amongst younger generations changes so quickly and can be incredibly specific at times, so use whatever resources you possibly can. Social media is your best friend when it comes to delivering a powerful message

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“WE SHOULD LOOK TO OTHER INDUSTRIES TO ATTRACT NEW TALENT. MANY SKILLS ARE TRANSFERABLE BUT I THINK BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY LOVE IT SO MUCH, WE TEND TO MOVE AROUND WITHIN IT AND PERHAPS FORGET ABOUT THE TALENT OUTSIDE”
Paul Clark, National Account Manager, Business Travel, Avis Budget UK
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO REACH THE PARENTS TOO, WHO HAVE A BIG INFLUENCE ON THEIR CHILD’S CAREER CHOICES”
UP FRONT HOT TOPIC
Martina Greeves, Head of Careers & Work Placement, West Thames College
Pades Dugha, Account Executive, HRS
Gavin Smith, Director, Element
The normal, traditional methods are no longer e ective. Social media is now the way to attract new talent. Platforms like Tiktok and Instagram need to be used”
Eloise Ferrara-Neched, Royal Mail Senior Procurement Manager Print, Travel and Events
”NEW TALENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE YOUNG TALENT. I AM AT THE END OF MY CAREER, WAS NEW, AND HAVE HAD A PRETTY SPECTACULAR YEAR “
Toria Houston, Senior Partner Hugger, Trees4Travel

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT

KEEP YOUR SANITY

Here are some ideas to help travel teams cope with challenges, which we all hope are only in the short term:

Managing senior stakeholders:

• Use all of your expertise and the resources at your fingertips to put together a ‘state of the industry update’ for your business.

• Outline what's in your sphere of control and influence versus what is happening at a macro level. This helps to remove the emotion from the situation.

At the end of 2022, I agreed to moderate a taskforce on behalf of the ITM. It was a topic close to my heart: The Future of the Travel Manager.

We set about preparing the content and where we thought the conversation would go. Five minutes into the first call, I realised we needed to rip up the plan and be guided by the seasoned buyers in the group.

Of course, everybody wanted to look forward and create an optimistic view of the future. However, since Covid and, some would agree, in the years leading up to it, the perfect storm has been brewing, and it’s having a huge impact on those leading travel programmes, with 61% of the taskforce members saying they're stuck in the weeds.

A litany of industry challenges was exacerbated by the pandemic, and current economic and social volatility have led to unprecedented (yes, there’s that word again) challenges across our supply chain.

Travel managers split their time between managing suppliers and managing the expectations of internal stakeholders, managing up and down the chain of command. And in both cases, things have changed beyond recognition. Because how do you manage a service when your SLAs have dipped to below 10% and your senior stakeholders don’t understand the bigger picture? No amount of scenario planning could have prepared travel teams for this.

As travellers, bookers and senior stakeholders become increasingly irate with the situation, buyers are being dragged into the operational details.

Finding time to step back and look objectively at the facts is a huge challenge but it's essential. It will give you clarity around what's in and out of your sphere of control and influence. The uncertainty is set to continue but restating your role, your supplier relationships and the state of the industry may just be the sanity saver you need.

• Present clear options to your leadership. There may be a drive to make knee-jerk changes in your supply chain but take time to apply the same due diligence you would in a normal business environment.

• Use organisations like ITM and GBTA to build networks and have regular check-ins.

Managing travellers and bookers:

• Create a travel playbook to build traveller and booker confidence, sharing what has changed. Engage often with key bookers and travellers to build a network of advocates with access to the facts.

• Put a weekly report out detailing SLA statistics and priorities on your recovery plans. It may not be good news but it's helpful to acknowledge challenges head-on.

Managing TMC relationships:

• As your TMC recruits and trains new staff, what can you do to support the building of knowledge? Create FAQs and onboarding support documents for these new agents.

• Dust off your contract and initiate your governance process, escalating wherever possible. Bring in more senior members of the TMC team to meet with stakeholders and demonstrate your influence

• Work with your TMC and OBT provider to formulate a joint plan to get travellers back online. Consider segmenting queries and calls to drive the queries to the right channels

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UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT
It’s not easy being a travel manager right now, says Louise Kilgannon at Festive Road, who suggests ways to ease the pressure
Louise Kilgannon has worked in the travel industry for 15 years, mainly on the buyer side. Before joining Festive Road she was Outsourcing Director for American Express Consulting. She also sits on the Board of the ITM and various other industry committees. LOUISE KILGANNON
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Reasons to be chee R f U l

Business travel is well and truly back

Despite the gloomy predictions during the dark days of the pandemic, business travel is far from dead. After coming back faster than many predicted in 2022, it looks set to significantly grow again this year.

According to a GBTA poll of travel managers, 78% expect the number of business trips taken by employees will be higher or much higher in 2023 versus 2022. Travel suppliers are even more optimistic, with 85% believing the number of corporate bookings will be higher or much higher. And it’s not just the number of trips: 80% of suppliers expect corporate travel spending will rise too.

“There is much to anticipate in 2023,” says Catherine Logan, Regional VP EMEA, GBTA. “For the first-time post-pandemic we can look forward and plan with confidence for the year ahead, knowing that the event will be able to take place. We are now seeing attendee numbers rise in line with prepandemic levels and opportunities to open new events in new markets is attracting a lot of support and interest.”

Felix Attua-Afari, founder of Blue Cube Travel Ghana, agrees. “I am more hopeful than ever before that corporate travel and travel in general will continue to see increased activity. Despite all the gloomy economic forecasts, I think it is fair to say

that 2023 will be a lot busier on the business travel front as more and more entities push for business as usual.”

Lee Whiteing, Commercial Director at GSA, is just as optimistic. “According to a recent survey from Sabre, 82% of travel agents and TMCs expect a bounce back of corporate travel and 15% expect a travel boom within the next 12 months. Despite many organisations scaling down business travel, there is still plenty of appetite for face-toface interactions.”

Which brings us neatly on to reason number two…

There’s a big appetite for in-person meetings

“Whatever shorthand you use – in-person, face to face, IRL (in real life) – as volumes have returned so has the sense of occasion for meeting face to face and the importance to how an organisation works,” says James Parkhouse, CEO at Agiito. “We are social creatures and think we understand now both the potential, and probably more importantly the limits, to virtual activity.”

Joel Hanson, Senior Director Innovation Business Development, CWT, notes that meeting in “full, vivid, 3D technicolor” contains at least 100 times more data than any web conferencing tool. “There is simply more information transmitted. One glance

into anyone’s eyes is a treasure trove of more data than can be fully consumed.”

Sarah Wilson, CEO ACE Travel Management, shares that view. “Though virtual meeting technology has advanced in recent years, people still agree that the value of face-toface interactions cannot be replaced by any kind of digital tool,” she argues. “When face to face with a prospect you can build a sense of trust that is not possible via a

screen. This, in turn, helps you to forge a strong relationship that can translate into new business opportunities.”

People have realised that Zoom “just doesn't cut it”, says Jack Dow, Founder & CEO, Grapevine. “Whilst video calls now have a well-earned place in our lives, time has also proven that both external and internal in-person meetings are critical for businesses to function. External meetings are essential to build new relationships from scratch, close deals and prove that you are open for business. Internal meetings are a necessity to help build culture and

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Our industry continues to face tough challenges but there are still plenty of reasons to be feeling positive as we stride into 2023. Here are 10 for starters…
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By the end of 2023 supply and demand should have become more balanced and much of the friction should be in the rear-view mirror”

relationships within your organisation.” Which provides the perfect segue to reason number three…

Internal travel is alive and kicking

Informal conversations with colleagues and face-to-face meetings were the two top things employees missed when working remotely during the pandemic, according to research by IESE Business School. Of course, we’re no longer forced to work in isolation but remote or hybrid working is increasingly the norm in many companies, prompting a rise in internal get-togethers or team meetings.

“Company events are booming, accounting for 39% of bookings, up from 30% prepandemic, with more to come as events, workshops, and offsites become more prominent reasons for business travel in the new normal,’ explains JC Taunay Bucalo, Chief Revenue Officer at TravelPerk.

Kent Hendricks, Business Development Director EMEA, World Travel Protection, agrees: “2023 is going to be the year that teams can finally get together and regroup. Teams spread over different locations have often been working together for two or three years yet have only met via Teams and Zoom. They’re excited to be seeing each other in person and many organisations are building in time for informal socialising in a way they didn’t do before.”

In-person events in our own industry are also back in force and are being embraced with a newfound enthusiasm.

“I don’t think I would be the first to say that in 2019, after over 20 years of attending industry events, I was starting to find them a little bit tiring,” admits Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director, The Advantage Travel Partnership. “Having them suddenly taken from you, however, really changes the perspective.”

Sustainable travel is entering a new era

“2023 will be the year when many businesses truly turn climate commitments into action,” says Kit Aspen, co-founder of Thrust Carbon. With new rules coming into force relating to reporting progress towards net zero, he predicts that after several years where organisations have been busy setting ambitious goals there will now be an increasing effort to ensure they are backed by real clarity and action.

Coupled with recent EU commitments to provide a harmonised methodology to calculate transport-related emissions, the speed of change is accelerating, says Delphine Millot, SVP Sustainability and MD GBTA Foundation.

“There is much more to be done, but momentum is building to get us closer to meeting our global climate targets."

”Greater transparency is key, says Katie Skitterall, Group Commercial Director ATPI. “We are seeing more flights being advertised and sold with emission rates signposted upfront. Similarly, different destinations, accommodation options and locations are following suit and beginning to classify more in regard to their impact on the environment.”

Johnny Thorsen, VP Strategy & Partnerships, Spotnana, hopes this will help prompt corporate travel to shift money away from the suppliers who fail to disclose their green KPIs in a transparent way.

“They must also make clear policy rules designed to reduce the overall travel volume, such as eliminating one-day trips and enforcing rail for short-haul trips whenever possible,” he adds.

New tools – some free – are helping buyers manage accommodation, transport, and even ‘green-up’ conferences and events, adds Elkie Nicholas, Co-founder Trees4Travel.

05 Our people are more highly valued

“As we enter 2023 I am super-excited about the overall state of the travel industry, and in particular the fact that we appear to be at the beginning of a new phase where the people working in the travel industry will be valued and appreciated more than in a very long time,” says Thorsen at Spotnana.

“Working in travel used to be synonymous with a long list of perks and benefits designed to compensate for the sometimes crazy working hours and demanding customers expecting perfect service all the time. It is fair to say the perks and benefits have evaporated, but as we now need to attract a new generation of travel industry employees there are signs that some of these might return – and I am hopeful that the fast-growing leadership pool of Millennials and Gen Zs will challenge the

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There is much more to be done, but momentum is building to get us closer to meeting our global climate targets”

norm and start providing unique and attractive benefits for the next wave of youngsters joining with native digital skills."

Lynne Griffiths, founder and CEO of Sirius Talent Solutions, adds: "With so much emphasis now on our industry’s talent, we are seeing how companies are changing their human resources focus to put the employee at the heart of their strategy.

"From the initial interview process, onboarding, employee engagement and career development, never has the employee been considered so valuable and therefore appreciated.

"It can only mean a more engaged, happy, productive workforce ultimately making the difference to winning and retaining clients and happy travel managers.”

Expect to see more mental wellbeing initiatives, duvet days, volunteering days, charity team events, a greater focus on ESG and company values, condensed working weeks and flexible part-time roles.

The talent pool is widening

After a challenging year struggling to ramp up teams and improve service levels while faced with continued disruption, the industry has been forced to look carefully at recruitment and talent development and build sustainable strategies for the future, says Pat McDonagh, CEO, Clarity.

“Historically, TMCs have fallen into the trap of only recruiting experienced staff and failing to develop the next generation,” he explains. “With the recruitment landscape changing, many TMC staff left the industry during the pandemic and didn’t return.

"The industry has had to invest heavily in training and development and the use of internships, apprenticeships, back to work and neuro-diversity schemes.

“Geography is also less of a barrier, with the ability to offer working from home, hybrid and ‘lifestyle’ working patterns expanding opportunities in the industry for those who previously may not have had access. The cavalry is coming!”

Companies are recognising the value of a more diverse workforce, says Jo Layton, Director CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments.

“It’s taken a pandemic and a war for us to realise that we are not as diverse, as inclusive, as welcoming or as popular an industry as we all thought we were for so many years.

“Our senior teams must be cheerleaders of change, providing the support and the permission to adapt and futureproof the processes for recruitment opportunities.

"The global recruitment challenges are not just a line on a business plan to be handed to HR to solve, but they are a huge opportunity to think and act differently in how we attract and keep the best talent in our wonderful industry,” she says.

Advancements in technology are helping too, says Eric Meierhans, Chief Commercial Officer, HotelHub.

“Automation and emerging AI technologies will help bridge the current gaps in the ongoing TMC staff shortage and service levels post-Covid. It will also help make it easier to train new starters and future-proof a TMC’s talent needs.”

Demonstrating faith in the industry’s future, many who were forced to leave the industry are now coming back too.

“With the upturn in business and the urgent need for companies to recruit, I’m delighted to see so many old friends and colleagues return to the industry they have worked in and been passionate about,” says David Thomas, Sales Director, Meon Valley. 07

A new generation is coming

More apprenticeships and internships, closer cooperation with colleges and universities, new vocational qualifications and initiatives like The Business Travel Magazine’s Business Travel Ambassadors campaign will help attract new people into our industry this year. The post-pandemic talent shortage is bringing a sharper focus on how to futureproof the industry.

"It’s good to see the industry embracing new talent and recognising the importance of bringing students into our workplaces to give them ‘real life’ experience of what our industry is all about," says Blue Cube Travel founder and Director, Mel Phaure. "We're now working with local colleges and apprenticeship schemes to help tailor the curriculum and provide opportunities to enthusiastic young individuals."

Mazel Vaz, a Trainee Travel Consultant, is starting 2023 with enthusiasm after completing her first year at Blue Cube.

“It’s been an incredible journey so far for me and the other trainees. I’ve gone from a flaky 19-year-old to a responsible 20-yearold," she says.

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Expect to see more mental wellbeing initiatives, duvet days, volunteering days, charity team events...and flexible part-time roles”

The travel manager role keeps elevating

“The last two years have of course been challenging, to say the least, but travel managers have embraced this challenge, navigating their organisation and travellers through a turbulent time with many twists and turns,” says Adam Kerr, CEO and Co-Founder, Tripism.

“During this period, travel managers seized the opportunity to elevate their role, advising the C-Suite and rebuilding travellerfocused travel programmes in line with the ever-changing work environment.”

Travel is now front and centre in most organisations in terms of cost, the return on investment and on travel and sustainability initiatives, says Steve Banks, Agiito's Chief Commercial Officer.

“So, now is the time for travel managers to engage with different stakeholders to make sure their company’s programme and buying behaviour is fit for purpose."

Dennis Vilović, Founder Troop Travel, agrees the work of the travel and meetings manager now touches every aspect of a business and has never been more crucial.

“We have entered a new geography of work – the hybrid work era – which has completely changed how people connect.

"Adapting to hybrid work is the single most critical challenge organisations are facing today. Meetings management plays a leading role in solving this challenge.

"The work of the travel/meetings manager has a direct impact on maintaining company culture, achieving sustainability targets and driving usage of office space through enabling employees to connect in-person in a meaningful way.

"This is our Kodak moment,” he says.

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Supply is catching up with demand

“Whilst last year saw a lot of friction in business travel as we emerged from the pandemic, I think we can optimistically say that by the end of 2023 supply and demand should have become more balanced and much of the friction should be in the rearview mirror,” comments Agiito CEO, James Parkhouse.

“That may involve changes to prices, fees and wages, but those adjustments will be made and things will feel much smoother for everyone.”

Donna Joines, General Manager for Corporate Traveller UK, says the TMC is already seeing the signs.

“At Corporate Traveller, when making 2023 bookings we’ve started seeing airline capacity levels increase. If this continues, the cost of travel is likely to reduce, which is definitely something to be cheerful about,” she explains.

“The benefits for travel managers is that they'll be able to present their clients with convenient options rather than those dictated by price. This opens the possibility of more direct flights from more convenient airports. Plus, with pricing levelling out, this suggests more freedom within travel budgets, leading to more people from a business being able to travel, which is great news for growing SMEs.”

But it’s not just about lower prices, she adds. “It also gives the traveller a bit more comfort and convenience when travelling.”

Which leads us to our final reason to be cheerful…

There’s a greater focus on wellbeing

“Looking ahead to 2023 it’s great that wellbeing is pulling rank on the agenda of more businesses and an increase in investment in tools to answer questions like ‘Are people in the air too much?’ ‘Are employees spending too long on the road?’" says John Sturino, VP Product and Technology, Egencia.

As a result, travel managers will be able to build travel programmes that deliver not only at a business level but equally consider their colleagues’ wellbeing.

“A greater focus on this sort of data will be valuable across different areas of the business and equally help to inform HR, ESG and even security conversations,” he adds.

Stefan Cars, Chief Executive & Founder, Snowfall, says the ability to now capture the first and last mile of a trip – ride-hailing, public transport, e-scooters or e-bikes – is also helping to improve traveller wellbeing and enhancing duty of care by reducing programme leakage.

“Further automation of service support, including disruption management, will enhance traveller satisfaction and wellbeing," he believes.

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We have entered a new geography of work –the hybrid work era – which has completely changed how people connect”
Untitled-4 1 15/12/2022 17:08

CAA joins push for air emissions data

THE UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched an initiative to determine what environmental information should be provided when people are searching and booking flights.

The regulator's 'Call for Evidence', which runs until April 7, seeks views on the type of information that should be supplied and how it can be presented in a way that is clear, comparable and enables people to make informed choices.

The lack of standardised and comparable sustainability data has been identified as a key challenge for corporates looking to meet their ESG goals.

“Simply put, if we don’t know what our emissions are, it’s perilous to put a plan in place to reduce them," says Delphine Millot, SVP Sustainability and MD GBTA Foundation (see trends feature on page 22).

[ HOTEL NEWS BITES ]

>> YOTEL is to open its first hotel in Saudi Arabia in 2025. The 300-room hotel will be in Oxagon, set to be the home of advanced and clean industries in NEOM, a planned smart city in Tabuk Province >> ACCOR has launched the Handwritten Collection, a portfolio of 'charming bespoke' hotels. It already has over 110 Handwritten leads globally, including five hotels expected to debut early in 2023 >> TIVOLI Hotels & Resorts will open its first hotel in the Netherlands. The Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam, located in the city centre by the canals, is scheduled to launch in March >>

VIRGIN Hotels, the luxury lifestyle brand of the Virgin Group, has joined forces with Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson's private global collection of unique retreats, hotels and islands, under the new parent brand, Virgin Hotels Collection >>

INDUSTRY NEWCOMER RECRUITED TO HELP MEETING BOOKERS

AGIITO has partnered with API developer, TravelTime, to provide venue options ranked by travel time in Meetingspro, its venuefinding booking tool.

It means Agiito’s meeting bookers will no longer need to guess travel times or calculate them via third party websites.

"Venue-finding tools typically use straight-line distance to define the proximity of venues, a metric which assumes we all travel in straight lines, which of course we don’t,” said Charlie Davies, CEO of TravelTime.

“The reality is we must navigate the transport network around us, meaning the actual distances are often much further than displayed in venue listings.

"We were finding that bookers could book a venue they believed to be a short distance away based on a radius search, when the real travel time actually takes twice as long as they were expecting.”

TravelTime specialises in the property and recruitment sectors and is now entering the business travel and meetings space in partnership with Agiito.

CLIMATE TECH COMPANY GETS MULTIMILLION DOLLAR FUNDING ROUND

CHOOSE, the Norway-based climate tech company, has announced a $15 million funding round backed by climate tech-focused investors.

It was co-led by GenZero, a decarbonisation-focused investment company wholly owned by Singaporeheadquartered investment company Temasek, and SOUNDWaves, a sustainability-focused investment vehicle founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.

51% of premium flyers don't care about their carbon footprint

Half of passengers flying in business and first class don’t care about their carbon footprint, according to a poll from YouGov Profiles. When asked if they agreed with the statement that they "don’t care what (their) carbon footprint is” 51% agreed and 18% disagreed.

THE NEWS REVIEW 16 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM GO ONLINE FOR LATEST NEWS

LUXAIR STARTS LONDON FLIGHT TO ANTWERP

LONDON City has regained a service to Antwerp thanks to the launch of flights by Luxair, the national airline of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The service, which takes one hour, will initially operate four times a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but will increase to five from April with the addition of a Wednesday flight.

It is the only direct flight between the two European cities.

With a London City departure time of 6.40am, business travellers could be at a meeting in central Antwerp by 10am.

Luxair is using a 78-seat De Havilland Dash DHC-8-Q400 on the route, with an economy and business class, with fares starting at £45 one way.

ITM APPOINTS NEW CHAIR OF THE BOARD

NIKKI Parsons, Global Director of Travel for Arcadis, has been appointed the next Chair of Board of Directors of The Institute of Travel Management (ITM).

She takes over the role officially on May 1 when the current Chair, Alison Rogan, Global Head of Travel and Expense Barclays, steps down. Rogan has led the ITM Board since June 2020.

Parsons joined ITM in 2017 as an Associate Director before becoming a Board Director in 2022. She has also been an active member of ITM’s Future Role of the Travel Manager taskforce and ITM’s Mentoring Programme.

Before Arcadis, she spent nine years as Global Head of Travel and Meetings at AIG, including stints in Singapore, before returning to the UK in 2016.

IN BRIEF

French connection

EasyJet is adding a new route from Manchester to Paris Orly Airport from March 27, with departures up to five times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It already flies from Manchester to Paris Charles de Gaulle,

India expansion

Air India is launching flights from Gatwick to Goa, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi (Cochin) from March 26 and will add five extra weekly frequencies from Heathrow, with Delhi increasing from 14 to 17 times a week and Mumbai from 12 to 14 times a week.

Gone in a whizz

Wizz Air will no longer fly from Cardi from January 25, blaming the challenging economic environment and higher costs. The no-frills airline opened the Welsh base in April 2022, operating two routes to Milan and Bucharest.

Gray Dawes planning US acquisition

GRAY Dawes Group has acquired Australian travel management business MP Travel as part of its strategic global growth plans and has earmarked the US next.

“With the addition of something in the US, we’d have a follow-the-sun set up – that’s our strategy,” said Suzanne Horner, Gray Dawes Group CEO.

"Our clients increasingly want global solutions, even the smaller ones. They’re taking us on the journey. We’ve been very successful picking up businesses in the UK and integrating them. We know how to do that well. Now we’re doing that overseas and Australia is the beginning with MP Travel," added Horner.

The deal – its twelfth acquisition to date – takes familyowned Gray Dawes Group’s turnover to over of £250 million.

All change

JetBlue is switching one of its daily New York JFK flights from London Gatwick to Heathrow from March 25. The airline will still operate three daily London-New York flights – two from Heathrow and one from Gatwick.

Free internet

Delta Air Lines will o er free Wi-Fi in partnership with T-Mobile to all passengers on most of its domestic mainline flights from February 1. The airline plans to extend the service to international and regional aircraft by the end of 2024.

THE NEWS REVIEW 17 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM
NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE 2023 BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS, WITH 14 CATEGORIES DESIGNED TO RECOGNISE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE INDUSTRY'S FINEST TALENT
THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

JAMES DIAZ TOM STONE

PROMOTED AT: Travel Planet

TO: UK CEO

FROM: Director of Sales & Business Dev.

James Diaz has been promoted at Travel Planet. Diaz joined the TMC in 2021 as Director of Sales and Business Development. He will replace Robert Gilhooly who is taking an advisory role.

PROMOTED AT: Sony Pictures

TO: Director, Global Travel Procurement

FROM: European Travel Director

After more than 18 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment Tom Stone has become Director, Global Travel Procurement to focus on sourcing, contracting and supplier management.

IVAN PERALTA

JOINS: AltoVita

AS: Chief Technology Officer

FROM: TravelPerk

Ivan Peralta, formerly Vice President Engineering at TravelPerk, has joined AltoVita, the corporate accommodation software specialist, to lead its technology strategy.

EVENTS

FEBRUARY 20 2023

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB

The Corinthia, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

MARCH 6 2023

BTA SPRING CONFERENCE London thebta.org.uk

MARCH 23 2023

BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM SERVICED APARTMENTS

The Caledonian Club, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

APRIL 26-27 2023

ITM CONFERENCE Hilton Brighton Metropole itm.org.uk

KENT HENDRICKS TIM MUNEMO

JOINS: World Travel Protection

AS: EMEA Business Development Director FROM: MDS Group

Kent Hendricks has been appointed EMEA Business Development Director for travel risk management company World Travel Protection.

JOINS: CAP Worldwide AS: Corporate Account Director FROM: Greystar Europe

Formerly Leasing Manager for Greystar Europe, Tim Munemo has joined CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments as Corporate Account Director for corporates clients and TMCs.

ROBERT KOREN

JOINS: SH Hotels and Resorts

AS: Senior VP & Area MD EMEA FROM: Belmond

Sustainable hotel brand management company, SH Hotels and Resorts, has appointed Robert Koren to oversee its new European Corporate office in London.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> CMAC Group, the managed ground transport and accommodation specialist, has appointed Jason Hilton as Head of Account Management, reporting into the Director of Commercial, Ashley Seed, based in CMAC’s Accrington office >> TripStax has expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Aymeric De Bergevin in the newly-created role of Head of Product Management. He joins from Amadeus where he worked for 11 years, most recently as Global IT Account Manager >> Palladium Hotel Group has appointed Gloria Juste as Corporate Senior Director of Social Responsibility. She previously worked in project management at the Endesa Foundation >> Vine Hotels has appointed Lauren McSorley as its new groups and tours sales manager >>

MAY 15 2023

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB London thebusinesstravelmag.com

MAY 20-23 2023

ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE

Melia Villaitana, Benidorm advantagemembers.com

AUGUST 13-16 2023

GBTA CONVENTION Dallas, Texas gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 25 2023

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS Grand Connaught Rooms, London thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

OCTOBER 5 2023

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB London thebusinesstravelmag.com

NOVEMBER 14-16 2023

Dedicated to the business travel sector

Contact us to discuss our recruitment, HR & training solutions +44 (0)1932 562007 | hello@siriustalent.co.uk | www.siriustalent.co.uk

GBTA EUROPE CONFERENCE Hamburg europeconference.gbta.org

ON
THE MOVE
AWARD-WINNING RECRUITMENT & HEADHUNTING SPECIALISTS
Untitled-2 1 26/04/2021 16:14
18 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THE NEWS REVIEW

BUSINESS TRAVEL TRENDS TO WATCH

To help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of the next 12 months and beyond, we spoke to more than 40 business travel experts and asked them to identify the key trends and share advice about how travel managers and buyers should prepare and respond. Read our special report.. 

uncertainty

p UT DISRU p TIONS f RONT AND CENTRE

Managing Partner, Festive Road

Disruption used to be the exception to the rule but the accumulation of big disruptive trends means travel managers now need to focus on a number of simultaneous areas at once. These include continuing service level challenges brought about by the ongoing talent shortage; disrupted travel services caused by volatile weather patterns due to climate change; supply chain impacts caused by natural resource shortages, industrial action and increasing political instability globally; and fragmented access to inventory brought about by emerging supplier distribution strategies.

Travel managers will need to put this widespread set of disruptions front and centre. They will need to better understand the landscapes in which they operate, be able to mitigate risk where possible, work

uncertainty

with key suppliers in deeper partnership, know what the emerging options are and use effective communication to inform and support. In a disrupted world there’s an opportunity to adapt and shine, to provide service where and when it matters more than ever, and those who do so will see an increase in their organisational value.

xp ECT m AN y SHORT - TER m p RICE CORRECTIONS

Mike McCormick, EVP of Business Development at Onriva

Travel buyers will need to step away from fixed annual or multi-year forecasts and manage flexible, dynamic budgets due to the uncertainty of current global economic conditions and still recovering global business travel industry.

Travel costs will never be as predictable as they once were, but travel managers can adapt by focusing on dynamically managing budgets and using longer range forecast estimates for guidance.

The best way to respond is by simply knowing that the industry will have many short-term ‘price corrections’ in the supply and demand curve, and recent price increases and decreases are just one of the many the industry will face. My prediction is that we will have an unprecedented number of short-term price corrections in the next few years, and the best advice is to anticipate them and work with your supplier partners to adjust with these daily/weekly price changes. Combining that with being closely aligned with every changing internal travel demand will continue to make the travel buyer’s role critical.

uncertainty

2023 WILL BE THE y EAR O f DISCOVER y

Kerry Douglas, Head of Programme, ITM

The complex nature of the recovery and the perfect storm of global inflation and the cost-of-living crisis is going to pile yet more pressure on travel buyers in 2023.

ITM’s Chair said at our recent Trending Summit: “If 2022 was the year of recovery, 2023 will be the year of discovery”. The discovery will be on lots of levels: discovering how to handle challenges like managing travel programme budgets when average trip costs are going up and up; how to overcome supply chain servicing issues which are impacting on traveller confidence; how to influence sustainable travel practice.

Online booking tool performance will also continue to be a major issue, not just in terms of content but aspects such as duty of care, disruption handling and helping travellers and bookers make responsible travel choices. In 2023, travel managers can continue to elevate the strategic importance of their role and show their expertise in helping organisations deliver on strategic pillars whilst attracting and retaining talent by building and executing responsible travel programmes.

20 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
E

COST CONTROL IS BAC k WITH A BAN g

Officer, Agiito

Cost Control will come back with a bang this year so now is the time for travel managers to engage with different stakeholders to make sure their company’s programme and buying behaviour is fit for purpose in 2023 and beyond. With much discretionary and at times unnecessary travel now eliminated through effective video meeting and conferencing, you can be more confident that travel has a purpose, which should bring cost benefits and help achieve sustainability targets.

p RICES WILL ONL y CONTINUE TO RISE

BU y ERS CAN ' T STIC k WITH THE STATUS q UO

In 2023, I expect to see buyers break away from entrenched programme management strategies to adopt practices that truly best fit their organisations. This isn’t wishful thinking; we’re actually seeing it.

A major professional services firm is shifting its entire air programme to direct booking. Another global giant has already thrown out hotel negotiating and is using advanced analytics to establish market-wide rate caps.

On a smaller scale, buyers are combating climbing rates at conference and event hotels by sending transient business to boutique or independent properties. Part of these changes are the result of a Covid reset but they’re also the product of changing supplier behaviour. For example, look at the distribution moves American Airlines is making. Buyers can’t stick with the status quo because suppliers are already upsetting it. Here’s to exciting changes ahead. We can expect to see everyone in the industry doing things differently.

Rising prices and costs will define the next 12 months. Travel prices have spiked quickly due to the ongoing energy crisis, and with no end in sight these prices will only continue to rise. Air fares may continue to climb by 20% and hotel rates will likely increase by 15%. Along with a greater focus on ESG generally, this means our clients are all becoming more thoughtful travellers. The consequence of these factors colliding at the same time means a certain tightening of the purse strings and a greater scrutiny from businesses regarding travel. Budgets and trips will have to be managed according to precedence, duration, and methods of travel.

Trends 2023 21 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
uncertainty
Juliette Jackman, TRIPBAM Head of Business Development, Europe Alwyn Burrage, ATPI Global Hotel Programme Director Steve Banks, Chief Commercial
rising c osts

s ustainability

BRANDS WILL NEED TO WOR k DOUBL y HARD

Research shows that customers are willing to pay more to stay in low-carbon, low-emission hotels. Low carbon traditionally isn't always associated with low price, so brand s will need to work doubly hard to demonstrate that customers can enjoy affordable prices and lowemission solutions. It is important to implement proactive and authentic low-carbon solutions,

WE m UST AVOID CARBON TUNNEL VISION

As we enter the corporate travel industry’s next phase of sustainability, it has become critical to avoid ‘carbon tunnel vision’ and start exploring the noncarbon sustainability metrics.

Non-carbon metrics are a blend of all considerations for sustainable travel choices. These are metrics such as percentages of bio-cleaning products, local sourcing percentages for F&B programmes, non-single use or microplastic cleaning equipment, and much more. These indicators and metrics are closer aligned to our day-to-day consumer decisions and will begin to increase in importance throughout the modern sustainable travel programme.

For the next 12 months, I foresee product developments where travel

s ustainability

managers will be able to highlight options based on their performance within various categories in differing scales, in addition to balancing the traditional factors, including cost and duty of care, all to ensure the modern sustainable travel programme is an evolution into our everyday lives.

THE TIDE O f SENTI m ENT IS TURNIN g

rather than lots of unspecific measures to compensate for higher emissions. And this doesn’t just apply to individual travellers. As we get closer to key net zero deadlines , more businesses will be looking to travel sustainably. Hotels that provide concrete low carbon solutions for their guests without compromising on comfort or cost will be most likely to succeed.

Last April, the UK Government enshrined into law mandatory climate disclosures for over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies. This was just the first stage of the legislation’s roll-out, but it was a significant landmark that paves the way for businesses to ensure that sustainability considerations are embedded in their decision making, with the risks (and opportunities) of climate change properly considered.

Companies are encouraged to measure scope 3 emissions where appropriate. In 2023, it will also be mandatory for large companies and certain financial sector firms to publish transition plans, again with the recommendation to include scope 3 emissions. For those companies with significant business travel footprints,

having such legislation in place provides real impetus for travel buyers and managers to step up and embrace the challenge. The tide of sentiment is turning already and the impetus from these changes will enable travel buyers and managers to embed sustainability at the forefront of their business's agenda.

22 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
“Research shows that customers are willing to pay more to stay in lowcarbon, low-emission hotels”

T he run to net zero and the current socio-economic climate are driving real change in work and mobility and behaviours, both from an employee but also from a company perspective.

Currently, over half of the workforce are Millennials and by 2025 27% of the workforce will be Gen Zs. These generations put sustainability at the forefront.

SUSTAINABILITy IS CRUCIAL fOR OUR fUTURE

2022 was a strong year for business travel’s recovery and yet concerns mount for 2023. Issues around cost, geopolitical instability and sustainable travel are on the rise. To pick one trend, the development towards sustainable travel is crucial to the future of our industry. However, BTA research suggests that almost a third of the business travel community view the subject as a major challenge for 2023. We know that the industry must address the global introduction of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the

electrification of rail, and the implementation of stricter carbon offsetting regulations to incite meaningful change.

To tackle these issues, we are asking the Government to ring-fence part of its Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax for the development of SAF or green initiatives. Supporting this, travel management companies are widely taking steps to highlight the sustainable choice for travellers at the point of booking. Our industry can collaborate to make the sustainable choice the cheapest and easiest for traveller. We will not tackle sustainability targets outside of this.

For instance, fewer people in these age groups, particularly from Gen Z, have a driving licence or consider car ownership because they don’t see this as the most convenient and ‘best’ transport mode to travel, particularly those who live and work in cities.

Furthermore, this new workforce is less willing to commute or travel for work purposes and when doing so, they want to do it in a costeffective way that gives them flexibility and freedom of choice, ideally combining different modes of transport.

Our recent survey revealed that 60% of employees would be more likely to go back to the office if they had a mobility budget.

pRESSURE TO INNOVATE WILL INTENSIfy

Travel Managers will hold an even more pivotal role in 2023 as organisations prepare for incoming legislation, which will broaden the scope of mandated emissions reporting to include business travel for any organisation with operations within the EU. 2022 saw huge strides in sustainability, with online booking solutions now informing travellers of their emissions at point of sale. Research from SAP Concur found 88% of buyers would switch to technologies with more

sustainability support, meaning that other corporate booking tools will likely be quick to follow suit this year.

Boardrooms recognise that sustainability is financially rewarding, so the pressure on the industry to innovate will intensify. Carbon budgets have been cited as the most cost-effective lever to reduce emissions at the pace and scale needed to meet climate targets. A rising number of organisations are implementing carbon budgets at departmental level, so for forward-thinking TMCs and OBTs, this is likely to be their next area of focus.

Trends 2023 23 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
sustainability
sustainability
Ami Taylor, Thrust Carbon, Head of Channels Mariusz Zabrocki, General Manager of FREE NOW UK NEW gENERATIONS pUT SUSTAINABILITy fIRST sustainability
“The run to net zero and the socio-economic climate is driving real change in work and mobility behaviours, both from an employee and a company perspective ”

s ustainability

TI m E f OR TRANS p ARENT , O p EN - SOURCE DATA

Delphine Millot, SVP Sustainability and MD GBTA Foundation

As we move into 2023, pressure will accelerate for concrete action and progress to reduce emissions from business travel. While efforts to date have been laudable, they’ve also been fragmented. Voices are now emerging to call for radical collaboration, transparency and open-source data to move sustainability from a competitive differentiator to an ‘all must win’ game.

2023 will also be the year government action will materialise, especially in Europe. The lack of standards and methodologies have been holding us back short-term due to a lack of comparable data. Simply put, if we don’t know what our emissions are, it’s perilous to put a plan in place to reduce them. This is where governments,

working hand in hand with industry players like GBTA, will step in, to give a measure of certainty and level the playing field. It’s critical for travel managers to stay abreast of these developments as they will increasingly be asked to track, report and reduce emissions from their programmes. Travel managers are at a critical nexus because they can directly manage emissions related to business travel and also drive change along the supply chain through collaboration and engagement with their suppliers.

CLIENTS ARE SEE k IN g A g REENER SU pp L y CHAIN

Toby Roberts, Quality Assurance Manager, SilverDoor

Sustainable travel is a massive consideration which is driving the trend towards fewer trips and longer length of stays. There is greater internal discussion at a corporate level on whether transient travel is necessary and whether online meetings are a substitute for in-person assignments.

Clients are increasingly seeking a greener supply chain in order to reduce their own carbon footprints, meet their ESG targets and work toward net zero goals.

The supply chain would do well to track, report and provide tangible data on their carbon reduction efforts, as well as their overall carbon footprint – starting now.

24 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
sustainability
“Sustainable travel is a massive consideration driving the trend towards fewer trips and longer length of stays”
“60% of employees would be more likely to go back to the office if they had a mobility budget”

H otels

SHO p AROUND f OR m ULTI p LE RATE T yp ES

Anu Kuchibhotla, Hotel Practice Line Lead, Global Business Consulting Amex GBT

Hotel rates in 2022 grew at a fast pace and further price rises are expected globally in 2023. The impact of inflation on fundamental service provision – staff, energy, food and beverage – will continue to compound lost income and talent scarcity from recent years, alongside pent-up demand for hotel accommodation as business travel and in-person meetings and events continue to recover.

Suppliers have headroom to keep increasing rates in the face of economic slowdown, with a wide gap remaining between supply and demand. Our Hotel Prices 2023 report analyses local, regional and global factors to forecast price rises in key business cities, including London (6.2%), Paris (10%), Dublin (8.5%), New York (8.2%), San Francisco (7.3%) and Hong Kong (1.3%).

Smarter sourcing strategies will be all-important in 2023. Travel buyers can mitigate the challenges by shopping around for multiple rate types, including public rates available in the GDSs, third-party rates and TMC preferred partner rates. They can also optimise hotel spend by using re-shop technology Using rate caps will help shine a light on cities where inventory might be insufficient, and relevant data demonstrating demand and commitment will support bids. Rate-setting at individual hotels will vary, so relationship-building and communication will be even more important.

Global inflation, weakened exchange rates against the US dollar and hotels facing increased costs because of staff resourcing challenges, higher wages and energy bills, will mean that hotel rates will continue to rise by anything up to 15% in the first half of 2023. However, the size of the increase will depend on city and destination and I

suspect the increases will be primarily in Europe and Asia.

US hotel rates, while looking flat in absolute value as compared to pre-Covid, have in effect increased by 10% over the past two years for European and Asian travellers due to the dollar appreciation against other currencies. However, inflation in the US too will probably drive rates up there also to a certain extent.

Accommodation daily rates in some cities were very high in the first three quarters of 2022 but we were encouraged to see some of these rates start to plateau and we expect to finish the year on an even keel. There will be some anomalies, with New York and Paris continuing to see increases of around 10-15% per quarter, whereas London fell back by 2%.

Heading into next quarter we are expecting to see demand for travel increase, the average length of stay to be consistent and pricing to regulate. We understand that not all pricing is driven by demand as there are some inflationary challenges and recruitment pressures too. There is confidence that suppliers will be able to open their properties with full room inventory in 2023 and this should see the average price regulate.

Trends 2023 25 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Eric Meierhans, Chief Commercial Officer, HotelHub p RICES WILL RE g ULATE AS m ORE ROO m S O p EN H otels John Hobbs-Hurrell, Head of the Advantage Global Network
RATES WILL RISE B y AN y THIN g U p TO 15%
H otels

WE m A y SEE f EWER AIRLINES O p ERATIN g

One of the key trends we can expect to see in 2023 is the consolidation of air travel, specifically in the pan-European space. Generally speaking, the European airspace is now led by low-cost carriers, at least from a capacity perspective. We may see fewer airlines operating, as well as premium carriers like British Airways running fewer flights on European routes. This was a strong possibility, even before the pandemic and with evident interest from certain carriers, but the current, obviously much more challenging landscape seems more ripe than ever for such transactions.

In 2021, low-cost carrier Wizz Air approached easyJet with a takeover offer, and while the bid was refused by the British airline, it signals a desire for consolidation across the board, especially amongst low-cost airlines. Overall, we have reason to believe that 2023 will be a good year for the aviation industry. While consumer confidence is fairly low, and corporate travel still has not returned to its pre-pandemic levels, travel is slowly returning to playing the same important role in our lives that it once had. There is a sense of hope and newfound optimism about regaining the freedom to travel, which will hopefully fuel growth for the industry in 2023.

air travel

TA k E A g RANULAR , NUANCED A pp ROACH

Air fares are rising on key business routes globally, driven by capacity, inflation, rising fuel costs and surcharges, and more rigorous inventory management pushing travellers into higher fare categories It's more important than ever for buyers to have a granular, nuanced approach to fares, analysing spend by region, class, origin and destination. Strategies include a review of contracting to identify an optimal approach, which could combine rolling dynamic sourcing with traditional sourcing. Given the pace of change, be proactive in your programme management and keep it under review.

Slow recovery in some regions means you may need to factor in 2019 data to better anticipate demand. Fuel surcharges have risen significantly but airlines don’t typically report these in quarterly business reviews, so you may not see your full spend with carriers. While negotiated discounts are not applicable to surcharges, insist that airlines at least recognise YQ/YR as part of your true travel spend.

26 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
a ir travel
John Grant, Chief Analyst, OAG

m A k E m ENTAL AD j UST m ENTS TO NEW p RICES

Until airlines have more capacity, high airline pricing will remain and be the biggest barrier for the recovery of domestic business travel. Travellers and travel buyers alike will need to make mental adjustments to new prices. They may currently be paying twice as much or more than they used to pay for the same flight, and they may even be able to book their employees on international flights for less money than they would pay for domestic flights.

Airline capacity is slowly increasing but is still down compared to 2019. When airline capacity increases, travel buyers will then start to see flight prices decrease and sticker shock wear away.

For 2023, travel buyers should prepare for increased travel costs and work closely and collaboratively with their airline partners to optimise savings as they, in turn, look to build stronger, direct relationships with corporate customers.

CONSOLIDATE S p END WITH f EWER SU pp LIERS

Travel prices have skyrocketed in 2022 and will likely continue to climb in 2023. The strong recovery in both leisure and business travel demand, coupled with supply-side issues including higher energy costs, labour shortages and broader inflationary pressures, have caused travel prices to increase sharply, albeit from a low base. These demand-supply dynamics are expected to continue, keeping prices elevated in the year ahead. In our latest Global Travel Forecast, we have projected that global air fares will increase 48.5% year-on-year in 2022 and a further 8.45% in 2023, while hotel rates will increase 18.5% in 2022 and 8.2% this year.

To mitigate the impact of higher prices on their travel programme, travel buyers

should encourage their travellers to book further in advance, consolidate spend with fewer suppliers to be in a stronger negotiating position and form genuine, win-win partnerships with suppliers and finally, think strategically. Don’t lose sight of your sustainability and employee wellbeing objectives while trying to keep costs under control.

A major trend we expect to see in 2023 is greater transparency around the levels of accommodation security, especially considering the current staffing issues in hotels. A recent FOI request taken from eight of the largest police forces in the UK found there were 4,589 allegations of violence and 1,307 of public disorder in hotels, motels, and guesthouses in the last 12 months. A YouGov survey of 1,000 business travellers across the UK revealed 78% of travellers are not provided with any information on the safety

and security of the accommodation they use and 82% said they would feel reassured if they knew they were staying in accommodation that had been independently accredited for security and safety. This feels like a pivotal moment and, sadly, I cannot help but think it won't be long before a major legal case will be launched against a company for negligence over hotel accommodation security. The introduction of ISO 31030 has set a clear benchmark for corporates to follow. Given the concern around business travel post-pandemic, companies will be looking to align policies and procedures against the standard to keep employees safe when travelling for business.

Trends 2023 27 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
air travel
c are
THIS f EELS LI k E A A p IVOTAL m O m ENT Duty of
air travel
“I cannot help but think it won't be long before a major legal case will be launched for negligence over hotel safety”

bleisure

A NEW INDUSTR y BU zz WORD IN 2023

Hartman, Chief Revenue Officer, 3Sixty

The term ‘bleisure’ has been in use for some years, but a new term, 'blended travel', will be a key industry buzzword in 2023. Unlike the laptop lugger or digital nomad, this is intentionally visiting somewhere for business but using the time outside working hours to explore a destination.

Corporates' attitudes towards blended travel are already starting to change, and they are becoming

j UST ABOUT AN y BOD y CAN WOR k RE m OTEL

The future of travel is ‘bleisure’: business and leisure, blended. This trend is expected to take hold over the next 12 months. A Sabre study showed 82% of airline executives expect the combination of business and leisure to become more frequent among travellers. Thanks to recent advancements in digital tools, just about anybody is able to

y

work remotely, so long as they have a laptop and access to the internet. The flexibility that technology offers is appealing to business travellers and many will seek out opportunities to explore new destinations through work.

Another factor is employee wellbeing. Employers that reward their staff with the possibility to extend business trips to incorporate annual leave will benefit significantly. It shows their teams that they value their hard work but also respect their need to unwind and relax. Studies show that happier staff are far more productive and generate better results for their companies.

Perhaps more pressing are economic factors. People are cutting down on personal spending yet travel is still a priority as it helps to relieve stress and can enhance a sense of fulfilment. Bleisure allows people to explore new destinations, experience different cultures and meet their business targets.

DISCONNECT OVER ATTITUDE TO BLEISURE m I x

more accepting of how these trips boost employee productivity and career satisfaction.

Blended travel will be a key driver in the continuing recovery of our industry into 2023 and will play a crucial role in the continuing popularity of extended-stay accommodation. It's no coincidence that over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an increase in the average length of stay booked on our 3Sixty platform by about 20%. Business travel trips are shifting towards mid and long-term stays and this brings a big opportunity for accommodation operators to market themselves to this new segment.

Companies are rethinking their approach with business travel as they face a more challenging economic outlook, changing work patterns and a growing focus on sustainability.

Our research uncovered a disconnect between business travellers and travel decision makers, who aren’t aligned on how to make business travel as successful and valuable as possible.

In our survey, two in five (42%) business travellers prefer it when they can blend business travel with leisure time. While companies are increasingly exploring new ways to help their

employees enjoy this trend, six in 10 (62%) travellers still think there is more their employer can do to make trips easier, more productive and fuss-free.

28 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
Carrie bleisure bleisure Hana Lear, Vice President, Corporate, UK Card Services, American Express
"blended travel"

bleisure

LIVE IN THE m O m ENT , BLOW - IT m INDSET

Combining your business trip with a holiday at the end of it will become more attractive this year as more consumer travellers are priced out of travelling abroad because of the high price of flights. We expect ‘bleisure’ to be a hot topic in 2023 as organisations grapple with who pays for what? Where do businesses draw the line when your business traveller has also added their partner and kids to the booking?

Having clear rules will be more important than ever, as well as being clear about which parts of the trip are the responsibility of the organisation and which are not. In the past a company may have turned a blind eye to a partner joining for a couple of nights at the end of a trip, and this perk can be good for morale and company loyalty, but from a risk and insurance point of view it important that everyone knows the rules.

As travel resumes to more normal patterns, we’re also seeing increased risk-taking from individuals. There's a ‘live-in-the-moment’, ‘blow-it’ mindset where people seem to be doing things and trying things that maybe they wouldn’t have done three years ago, such as a business traveller visiting Peru deciding to do the Inca Trail whilst they are there. But from a safety perspective, it’s important that risk is not underestimated. Many destinations have changed since the pandemic, often with increased crime. Business travellers have always been a target for criminals. Now is the time to take travel safety seriously and not let your guard down

HI g HER NU m BER O f IN - E xp ERIENCED TRAVELLERS

Lone Konradsen, Head of Customer Insight, Agiito

Whilst we found the number of individuals travelling fell by 69% on average during the Covid pandemic, and we expect this to return to or even go above pre-pandemic levels during Q1 2023, the average number of trips undertaken has remained static throughout. Subsequently, travel managers will likely have a much larger proportion of individuals within their business undertaking travel in 2023 that are not ‘seasoned' travellers’, who may not know the right place to stay, the right ticket type to purchase or even how to book all these components.

Therefore, the partnership between the travel manager, the booker and traveller, and their TMC really comes to the

forefront as it delivers value against the varied expectations of new and existing business travellers.

This means TMCs need to remain adaptable and provide the right support mechanisms to deliver frictionless and effective business travel.

z WILL STILL TRAVEL

BUT S m ARTER

As early Gen Z travellers start to move into senior positions, they’re beginning to determine what travel policies will look like. We’ve seen the BTA respond to this development, by launching a Generation BTA Advisory Board, created to bring diverse perspectives to the Board and to meet the needs of the next generation of business travellers. Gen Z is looking for a different travel experience. Wellbeing considerations are likely to feature more heavily in their preferred travel programmes.

Understanding this is another vital way for companies to attract and retain the next generation of talent. The winners in sectors that are highly competitive, such as financial services, will be those that are more agile and

willing to adapt. There are a lot of new, young players coming in across all sectors who will shake up the way business is done. Already we’re seeing the way Gen Z engages with technology is going to shift the way they interact with travel and their TMCs. They’ll continue to travel – business will still be won by personal interaction – but the way they travel will be smarter.

Trends 2023 29 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Fred Stratford, Reed & Mackay Group CEO
gEN
, n ew travellers n ew travellers

o ff-site meetings

A WA y TO DISCONNECT f RO m DAIL y ROUTINE

Julia Green, Sales & Marketing Director at Center Parcs’ Conferences & Events

While it’s been proven that colleagues can successfully collaborate virtually, in-person meetings which drive human connection are vital – not least because strong employee relations help retain talent an imperative in today’s climate. But many businesses have struggled to entice their employees back into the office as staff fight to protect their right to work from home.

o ff-site meetings

A proven solution has been to invite staff to attend an off-site meeting, somewhere different and exciting, to engage and motivate. Taking employees away from their desks and out of their comfort zone, particularly to nature-rich outdoor environments, is a great way of bringing colleagues together and boosting team creativity and productivity. Off-site meetings are increasingly being combined with overnight stays and an itinerary of activities, with nine in 10 of our event bookings in 2022 incorporating outdoor leisure activities – the trend continuing into 2023. Whether field archery, laser combat or adventure golf, these experiences allow people to disconnect from the daily routine and nurture work relationships.

NEW RETREAT AND INCENTIVE BRANDS

Retreats and incentives are higher up the priority lists for many corporates. We have seen a 65% increase in live face-toface meetings, including incentives this year. Time being a precious commodity isn't something new, but the very fierce focus on how we spend our time has never been more important.

& Events

Enabling teams to be together, in calm spaces where attendees can focus, think, innovate and create, away from the hustle and bustle of big cities has seen the emergence of new brands. Even within the big brands' portfolios, lifestyle retreats focused around wellness, sustainability, from farm to table eating and building agendas that include time to relax, are expanding.

30 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
“Off-site meetings are increasingly being combined with overnight stays and an itinerary of activities”

BOOk IN ADVANCE TO gET THE BEST DEALS

IT'S LESS ABOUT WHAT A TmC CAN OR CAN'T DO

Expect to see more sections in RFPs which call out the different sectors, from pre-travel risk assessment, travel content, travel booking and tracking technologies, TMCs and incident management. Organisations don’t want hundreds of direct relationships. While there is a place for service providers to manage this centrally, companies are looking for ingenuity, collaboration and commercials that benefit everybody, whatever the future holds.

It’s something we saw more of in 2022, especially in the domestic market, and we expect this trend to not only continue but to develop as organisations take a wider view of their travel programmes. Companies that have meaningful sustainability objectives or are riskaware understand that they are in control of and ultimately own their travel programme. It’s less about what a TMC can and can’t do and more about what the corporate needs to ensure those that travel have a positive user experience and support.

With rising costs, coupled with a high demand to get people together for external meetings and events, travel managers will need to get their creative caps on to deliver memorable experiences to meet budgets, but also deliver an ROI for key stakeholders.

Booking well in advance to meet expectations around both the destination and budget will be of high importance going into this year, with high demand for venues and accommodation. We are seeing savings of up to 40% on venues when booked more than six months in advance.

There are, however, more benefits to booking in advance, above and beyond securing availability. The ability to plan an entire experience for attendees that makes the most of the chosen destination, building in cultural experiences, meeting sustainability goals and tying back to the purpose of the meeting, incentive or event will also be increasingly important.

RECRUITINg WILL CONTINUE TO BE A BATTLE

With business returning overnight and at a faster pace than most expected, recruiting and retaining talent has and will continue to be a battle for all travel managers over the next year.

The industry is more competitive than ever and we are all trying to combat the staff shortages that we continue to face. The focus in the next year needs to be on

attracting new talent into the industry and investing in our current employees.

Packages and benefits are at the forefront of people’s minds, and so is growth and progression opportunities. This will be heightened further in the current economic climate

It is currently an employee-driven market and we need to be proactive in retaining our people through continuous training and development opportunities.

Trends 2023 31 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
microservices rfps
talent crisis Leah Yiakoumi, Director of Human Resources, Altour UK Tracey Edwards, CTM Global Strategic Lead, Event Travel Management (ETM). off-site meetings

CO mp ANIES NEED ' IN REAL LI f E ' STRATE g IES

Over the past few years companies have had to radically alter the way they work, many of them turning to a hybrid work environment combining the best of physical and digital realms. Post pandemic, reality is starting to hit and a realisation that the concept of hybrid working itself doesn’t cover all the bases of what is required to retain a company culture, maximise collaboration and help talent acquisition.

The contractual obligations of a hybrid environment, of how often an individual

or team comes to the office, is not enough. The idea of In Real Life (IRL) is so much more than just how often someone will come to the office. Creating an IRL strategy that brings teams together in person, that provides both leaders and employees with a unified policy and understanding of the value of IRL moments, will be the next big trend.

The pandemic accelerated the digital revolution and the way we work, but it is limited. Companies are starting to recognise that in certain instances the value of real-life connections, meeting in person, goes beyond the digital workspace and is intrinsically linked to driving your company’s bottom line. Every modern company should have a detailed and transparent IRL strategy to build real life connections to suit the needs of the company and employees, and ultimately drive profitability.

I S IT CO mm UTIN g OR BUSINESS TRAVEL ?

Yesterday’s commuters are today’s business travellers. In 2023, companies will have to plan, manage and measure journeys that were previously considered to be a commute because a trip to the office beomes business travel if that employee now works from home.

It will also potentially affect employees’ access to mobility if they now need a vehicle at or near their home rather than starting their trip from the office. A greater focus on integrated and multimodal business travel will enable employees to combine several transport types to get where they’re going. They’ll also need access to low- and zero-emission vehicles as more cities introduce low emission zones.

32 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com Trends 2023
n ew ways of working n ew ways of working
“The pandemic accelerated the digital revolution and the way we work, but it is limited”
“Yesterday’s commuters are today’s business travellers”

l onger trips

I mp ACT ON WELLNESS

More travellers are looking to mitigate travel risks and rising costs by travelling less, but for longer. These often multi-leg trips are more efficient and better for the environment but being away from home for longer periods of time can have its downside Loneliness and disruption to sleep, eating and exercise habits can have negative impacts on wellbeing and productivity. But due to an explosion in the availability of personalised content and flexible services, destinations are increasingly well equipped to cater for travellers' food, exercise and entertainment needs.

multi-mo D al

CONNECTED j OURNE y S

EVENTS ARE g ETTIN g BUNDLED INTO TRI p S

2023 will bring a growing appetite among corporates for multi-modal forms of travel and seamless tech to book all those options in one place, including shared mobility such as e-scooters and e-bikes, public transport and ride-hailing. This will be driven by factors such as hybrid working patterns and the sustainability groundswell and policy changes. We also expect to see the continued convergence of traveller expectations (leisure vs business) as travellers increasingly demand connected journeys and being able to search and book door-to-door travel in one place.

Chief Executive, Travelogix

We’re seeing a lot of behaviour change around advance purchase and trip duration that could inspire real change within the travel industry as we head into 2023. Advance purchase is a good indicator of traveller confidence: the further out from the departure date bookings are made can contribute to the markers associated with traveller confidence. In 2019, we saw the average advanced purchase trend sit at 23.37 days. In 2020, this dropped by 14.75% to 19.93 days and by a further 51% to 9.76 days in 2021. In 2022, we started to see this improve greatly. With the average advanced purchase at 21.11

days, we are now within striking distance of the averages seen in 2019 by 9.67% or 2.26 days, up significantly on 2021 to the tune of 116.29%.

For trip duration, we have seen steady growth since before the pandemic. In 2019, the average trip duration was 4.57 days, in 2020 it was 4.78 days, 2021 was 6.01 days and in 2022 it was sitting at 7.12 days.

Longer trips also demonstrate the desire for budget holders to achieve a greater ROI from any given trip, thus many conferences and events are getting bundled into journeys where new business or account management meetings would also be taking place.

Trends 2023 33 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Stefan Cars, Chief Executive & Founder, Snowfall Chris Lewis,
l onger trips

longer trips

ADVANCE m ENTS IN H yp ER AUTO m ATION

We expect 2023 to see exciting advancements for hyper automation in TMC service delivery. Hyper automation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms such as AI, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), integration platforms and low-code/ no-code tools, to deliver high-speed outcomes via the users’ choice of service channel – whether that’s email, chat, in-app or phone.

This investment in automation will enable TMCs to deliver faster, more relevant outcomes to their customers by using automation to identify, vet and automate processes, ultimately freeing up travel advisors to focus on complex service-related tasks. We also expect to see continued deployment of AI within the booking environment, ensuring both online and offline booking channels are optimised for speed, relevance, and personal preference, all of which support increased customer satisfaction and efficiency.

C HAT SERVICE BECO m ES g LOBAL p HENO m ENON

Business trips are getting longer. The data from our latest Global Business Travel Review shows average duration in 2022 was 6.7 days, compared with just 4.6 back in 2019 before the pandemic.

There are a number of reasons for this. It certainly fits with what we hear from corporate travel managers around sustainability and traveller wellbeing, with less frequent travel (and therefore fewer flights) but more business fitted into each trip. It could also meet some corporate objectives around cost saving in 2023, although the current high hotel rates are making that harder to deliver. It also means there are more elements in each trip and, therefore, more for a TMC to manage.

As well as accommodation and ground transportation, there is a real opportunity for greater personalisation, as travellers on longer stays look for more than a run-of-the-mill hotel and seek restaurant recommendations, local facilities or maybe alternatives, such as serviced apartments.

2022 was ticking along nicely with the usual flow of minor travel tech news when a new entrant suddenly emerged out of nowhere. On November 30, OpenAI launched ChatGPT and in just one month this new software service has become a global phenomenon.

The first few months has been full of amazing examples of how ChatGPT can answer questions and generate content for almost any topic and the next six to 12 months will bring an explosion of new software services developed on top of this incredible powerful content platform.

The timing couldn’t be better for the travel industry as we are faced with a critical shortage of people ready (and willing) to work in the complex ecosystem of travel suppliers and service providers. Given that travel essentially is a digital product until the actual travel service is consumed, the potential for the ChatGPT technology to optimise the service delivery is almost

unlimited, and by end of 2023 it's likely we'll stop talking about a staff shortage and focus more on how we can improve the overall business and service model.

Considering that most TMC and travel agency staff members spend a majority of their time searching for information and then sharing it with their customers, it seems obvious that ChatGPT can evolve into the world’s first AI-powered travel assistant capable of answering 95% of all questions within seconds. Travel managers should watch out for dramatic changes in this space.

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pp ORTUNIT y f OR m ORE p ERSONALISATION
Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director, The Advantage Travel Partnership
O
tec Hnology
tec Hnology Johnny Thorsen, VP Strategy & Partnerships, Spotnana

There will inevitably be continued investment from lightly-funded tech start-ups in 2023 which are trying to do something different and unique around business travel data, whether that’s to enhance the traveller experience, help TMCs grow revenue or meet demand for sustainable travel solutions. I call them pocket innovators because they are each trying to automate pockets of our industry.

But these innovators will still struggle with the cost and complexity of connecting their solutions because our industry is still fundamentally tied to legacy technology and commercial models. If we’re not careful, we'll end up with too many pocket innovators who can’t connect their innovation to the tech eco-system to make a workable or meaningful difference to TMCs and corporates.

The industry will also continue to see the move towards narrowing the gap between offline and online points of sale and that’s a good thing. Business travel is

way behind the curve in this respect. In what other industry would anyone talk about offline versus online transactions to the extent that we do? Any Gen Z newcomer joining business travel must think our industry is so antiquated. Narrowing that gap will help make it easier to bring in new talent because less training is needed to use online solutions.

could add yet more complexity to an already very complicated tech landscape. TMCs also shouldn’t rush to adopt new technology merely to solve human resource challenges as hasty decisions could lead to yet another level of chaos in terms of integration from multiple vendors.

As an industry, we need to be mindful that bringing automation to specific areas of business travel won’t necessarily be the panacea for solving the ongoing staff shortages. The urge to fill the talent gap with tech without truly understanding how best to apply that tech could lead to a whole new level of complex integration requirements, which could be even more burdensome for TMCs on multiple levels.

There will also be new tech players entering the industry looking to narrow the online/offline gap, which will invest heavily in trying to simplify the complexity of business travel management. This will lead to a snowball effect whereby travel agencies and TMCs start to manage their businesses differently and change how they use technology. My fear is that this

It’s vital that TMCs harness new tech in the right way for the longevity of their business and avoid just sticking a plaster on the problem. The last thing our sector needs is to create an even more complex landscape where, in a year or two, TMCs are unpacking the tech they adopted because it hasn’t made any difference to their customer service levels.

Trends 2023 35 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG com
Jack Ramsey, CEO TripStax
“Any Gen Z newcomer joining business travel must think our industry is so antiquated.”
tec Hnology RIS k O f OVER - CO mp LICATIN g TECH LANDSCA p E

Reality check

THE H o TE l With 14 city centre hotels worldwide, including two in London and one in Glasgow, the Yotel concept offers a stylish and classy option that might be short on big thrills and unnecessary costly extras but is high on comfort, amenable technology smart design, and strong eco-credentials This one is ideally located in the heart of the busy Deansgate area, a 10-minute taxi ride or a 20-minute walk from Manchester’s Piccadilly train station.

T HE CHE C k-IN The hotel had supplied me with a QR code that could be used for check-in at a circular station with several self check-in kiosks.

THE room My Premium King room had exposed industrial-chic piping on the ceiling and used all available space imaginatively. The king-sized bed had a comfy organic, hand-made Naturalmat mattress, with bedside spotlights and multiple USB ports and sockets. There was also a work desk, mirror and a 40-inch TV. The rain shower was a luxury touch with water flow ensuring

Hotel: yotel deansgate manc H ester

the showerheads and taps are 45% more efficient than standard. Yotel has partnered with Australian brand Urban Jungle to offer amenities with an ethical (and vegan) bent, in refillable oversized plastic bottles. Other green credentials include solar roof panels, low-energy LED lights and occupancy sensors.

THE bus INE ss Four ‘spaces’ host between eight and 50 people for meetings, events or private dinners. The hotel says it offers “better than standard meeting room fare”, super-fast WiFi, AC, stationery and more.

THE fa CI l ITIE s MOTLEY, a ground floor restaurant and bar, has a great selection of draft local beers on tap, including its own Motley Lager. Hotel guests get 15% off their bill. A fabulous breakfast buffet has cereals, porridge, fruits, croissants, ‘real’ coffee and cooked options, including vegetarian sausages. On each floor, close to the elevator, there’s free tea and coffee and ironing facilities in a self-serve galley. At TRIB3, the fitness studio, free 45-minute

Green credentials include solar roof panels and lowener

coach-led HIIT classes are available with five free guest spots in every session.

T HE v E rd ICT An unbeatable citycentre location, plenty of green touches, and enough creature comforts to banish all thoughts of a ‘minimalist’ experience.

THE d ET a I ls 2 John Dalton Street, Manchester M3 2NW; 0161 511 5060; yotel.com. Premium King rooms from £130 a night, with breakfast.

THE H o TE l Located in Great Russell Street in London, this stylish 153-room, 1930s neo-Georgian hotel is right on top of Covent Garden, Soho and Oxford Street, with Tottenham Court Road station just a two-minute walk away, giving quick access to both Northern and Central tube lines and the new Elizabeth line.

T HE CHE C k-IN Entrance is to the side on a pedestrian area and guests walk past the very Instagram-friendly Dalloway Terrace restaurant. On arrival, I got a warm greeting and was asked if it was a first time visit so staff could tailor the welcome and not repeat information to regular visitors. Check-in was quick and easy.

THE room My Deluxe Room (424) was larger than the Classic Room. A personal welcome note and four bottles of complimentary still and sparkling water were appreciated, along with the fluffy slippers and bathrobes, high-end bed linen with choice of pillows, Wallpaper magazine, Nespresso

Essenza coffee machine, cookies, and the well-stocked mini bar. The turndown treat was hand-made macaroons. The bathroom came with generous 50ml size Templespa products and a great rainforest shower.

THE fa CI l ITIE s Breakfast included both buffet and à la carte options. It was pretty busy, so probably not ideal for a breakfast meeting. There's an in-house gym and pay-for car parking can be found nearby on Great Russell Street (not on site) although I think it’s far easier to arrive via public transport. On-site eateries, open to both guests and visitors, include Dalloway Terrace restaurant, The Coral Room cocktail lounge, a Grand Salon Bar, the intimate Bloomsbury Club Bar and The Juicery. The hotel's loyalty programme is DISCOVERY. Meetings rooms come with flat-panel displays, LCD projectors, high speed WiFi and all the usual bits you need. Options range from smaller rooms to stately ballrooms, including the stunning George V.

a personal welcome note and four bottles of water were appreciated

THE v E rd ICT A great location. Dalloway Terrace was already one of my favourites for a business lunch. Staff genuinely seem to want to ensure every guest is well looked after.

THE d ET a I ls 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN; doylecollection.com/bloomsbury.

Deluxe King rooms start at £665 and Classic Queen rooms £475.

DEPARTURES
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H otel: t H e B looms BU ry H otel B y t H e doyle collect I on , l ondon
led li G ht s
G y

THE JOURNEY Eurostar operates eight return services a day Brussels to London taking from 1hr 53 minutes. My train was due to leave at 15:56 and arrive at 16:57 but was delayed so arrived 30 minutes late.

THE CHECK-IN The terminal is at one end of the busy Brussels Midi station. There was no queue for luggage security screening, where I had to remove my laptop from my bag (but hadn’t on the outward leg). There was a short queue for Belgian customs but UK passport control was fast, with e-gates.

THE LOUNGE An airport-style lounge is entered through sliding tinted glass doors, makeing it feel exclusive. I left my trolley bag in a storage space by the reception desk, which also had tiny lockers for valuables. The lounge is a mix of single seats, seats around tables and bar stalls at bar-style tables. A bar/ snack area had fridges with cold drinks, chilled wines, apples, salty snacks and some biscuits. My seat had a power point and a small airline-style side table.

RAIL: EUROSTAR BUSINESS PREMIER BRUSSELS-LONDON

THE BOARDING An announcement in French, English and Flemmish told us our train was delayed and then, around 30 minutes later, told us it was ready for boarding. We joined the end of the queue of other passengers who had been waiting in the main lounge.

THE SEAT The Business

Premier carriage has single seats, tables for four, or pairs of seats. My single window seat had a large fold-away table, a decent-sized pocket for valuables, a coat hook, a tiny mirror behind a discreet cover, and a power point (European style plug or USB).

THE SERVICE The crew were excellent, especially Sebastian. Soon after we left Brussels I was offered an apéritif and couldn’t decide between the Cote de Rhone and the Sauvignon (in miniatures) so Sebastien insisted I tried both! Dinner, served on trays, began with a couscous and olive salad followed by a choice of hot chicken in tarragon and tomato with potato gratin and shredded greens or cold chicken with potato salad. I went for

NO ANXIETY ABOUT THE SIZE OF MY CARRY-ON TOILETRIES OR IF MY BAG WOULD FIT

the former and it was piping hot. I was a disappointed (for sustainability) that water was in small plastic bottles.

THE VERDICT Definitely more relaxing and productive than taking a plane, with very little queueing and no anxiety about the size of my carry-on toiletries or if my carry-on bag would fit.

THE DETAILS eurostar.com Business Premier is £490 return.

THE HOTEL Opened in June 2021, Resorts World has 3,506 rooms and suites on a 88-acre site. The $4.3 billion complex is the first integrated resort to be built in over 10 years on South Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip). It houses three hotels: the Las Vegas Hilton with 1,774 rooms and suites, the Conrad Las Vegas with 1,496 and the upscale Crockfords Las Vegas with 236.

THE CHECK-IN Check-in to the Conrad Las Vegas was quick and efficient. I was allocated a bedroom overlooking the resort’s 5.5-acre pool area. Staff helpfully provided restaurant and attraction suggestions.

THE ROOMS The Conrad’s rooms vary in size from 550 to 2,800 square feet. Mine was one of the smaller rooms but it was still spacious and comfortable, featuring a large TV and plush carpet that felt good under my bare feet. Blackout curtains helped me get a good night’s sleep, while bedside charging points proved handy for recharging the batteries of my phone

and laptop. Next morning, the circular desk proved adequate for checking emails before heading downstairs for my first business meeting of my trip.

THE BUSINESS The resort has its own events centre and 50 meeting rooms and is ideally located for the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can ride a Tesla to the center through the tunnel network under the resort from the on-site Vegas Loop station.

THE FACILITIES A vast gaming floor features table games, poker tables, a sportsbook and 1,400 slot machines. A 5,000-seat theatre hosts residencies by the likes of Katy Perry and David Blaine, plus corporate events. Sun’s Out, Buns Out and The Kitchen on the ground floor are popular for breakfast. Famous Foods Street Eats offers a choice of global cuisines, craft beer and seating in front of big screens showing live sports. Choices for discerning diners include the Caviar Bar, Carversteak restaurant or Crossroads Kitchen – the Strip’s first plant-based fine-dining restaurant.

RIDE

THE VERDICT The resort is vast and offers variety. It’s stylish and offers easy access to attractions elsewhere in Las Vegas. It’s a good option both for business and leisure travellers.

THE DETAILS Resorts World Las Vegas, 3000 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109, USA; +1 800 266 7237; rwlasvegas.com. Double rooms from £131.

DEPARTURES 37 THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM
HOTEL: RESORTS WORLD LAS VEGAS
A TESLA TO THE CONVENTION CENTER THROUGH THE TUNNEL NETWORK
KRIS VAN DE SANDE
Registe R you R inte R est now March 23 rd 2023, The c aledonian c lub , l ondon Spaces are limited to senior corporate buyers. For more information or to register your interest, please contact: Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk This event is kindly sponsored by Premier Suites, Situ, MYSA and AltoVita. thebusinesstravelmag.com Serviced Apartments Business Travel lunch Forum
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