Business on your terms
Onboard, you’ll ﬁnd everything you need to relax, recharge, or carry on working – from superfast WiFi to lie-ﬂat suites, and warm, welcoming service that’s designed around you. Bespoke, ﬂexible and brilliantly di erent. It’s business that’s personal.
18 Rail: When it comes to rail distribution there are still major barriers to break through but the industry is making tracks
24 Ground transport: how new technology and innovation can help you capture that first and last mile of a business trip
6 Opening shots: Eye-catching images of the latest openings and developments
8 Everyone's Talking About: New Distribution capabilities
9 Speaking Out: Sap concur's paul Dear shares advice on coping with lingering uncertainty, hybrid working and rising costs
10 Ask the Expert: Getting to grips with the iSO 31030 Standard
12 News and trends, plus comment from the BTa and the iTm
28 On Business In: los angeles
30 Gallery: Dinner club
31 Final word: The lighter side of business travel
Guiding hand D
escribed as the 'pivot point' in the business travel ecosystem, travel management companies are now providing even more bang for the buck in this increasingly complex world of business travel.
As pressures mount on travel managers to help their organisations meet ESG goals, support the wellbeing of their travellers or find ways to cope with rising prices, TMCs are playing an even more crucial role. So, that's why our pull-out 2023 TMC Guide in this issue is essential reading, whether you're considering using a TMC for the first time, thinking about switching, or want to know how to get the most from your TMC partner.
Of course, TMCs are also playing a key part in the industry's NDC journey. Are you ready? See what the experts think on page 8 and in the in-depth features in our TMC Guide. We'll also be holding a special Business Travel Lunch Forum on this important topic on April 18th, where I predict a lively debate.
Later this month, leaders from the world of serviced apartments will be sharing their expertise at a Business Travel Lunch Forum dedicated to the sector. Check out our 2023 Serviced Apartments Guide, out now in print and available in digital format on our website – thebusinesstravelmag.com
Nominations have been coming in thick and fast for our 2023 Business Travel People Awards and tickets are now on sale for the presentation ceremony on September 25th at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London. It seems a long way off, but at the rate this year is going so far, it won't be long before we're all gathering at the welcome drinks reception, this year kindly sponsored by ATPI. Cheers!
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Virgin Hotel New York City
IN THE club
Virgin Hotel's first hotel in the Big Apple spans the entire block between 29th Street and 30th Street at 1227 Broadway in the NoMad neighborhood.
The Pool Club (right) is exclusively for hotel guests, with a heated pool, outside space, cocktails and nibbles.
Hotel Marrakech EaSTErN SPIrIT
Nobu Hotel Marrakech is home to 71 spacious suites, each embodying the Japanese concept of Kokoro (heart, mind, spirit), plus a Nobu Restaurant and Bar, with a DJ deck and poolside terrace. Guests can also relax in a 2,000 square metre spa and chill out on the rooftop, with a circular pool, a restaurant and a Nubo sushi bar.
Phileas Fogg's 80 days around the world is the theme for each of the 109 bedrooms at the first Mövenpick hotel in Hungary, which is part of BalaLand, a new lakeside development with an indoor and outdoor family park. The hotel bar is named after the Reform Club, where Fogg's adventure began.
Battersea POwEr TrIP
Promising to bring a bold new energy to the newlyregenerated Battersea Power Station, the first UK opening for the art’otel brand has 164 bedrooms, a spa, skyline restaurant, Venetian café, and a stunning 16th-floor rooftop bar with an infinity pool, hot tub and 360-degree views of the power station and beyond.
Everyone's talking about... New Distribution Capability (NDC)
“ b uyers have got to get their heads around where distribution is headed and how they need to adapt. i t’s an in C redibly C omplex topi C , but we break it down to our C lients in terms of what it means to C ost and C ustomer experien C e, short term and long term ”
“The fragmenTaTion ThaT nDC has CauseD will ineviTably leaD To a new form of ConTenT aggregaTion. will The gDss Change anD ConTinue To be The CenTraliseD DisTribuTion plaTform, or will we see a new form of aggregaTor emerge, ulTimaTely DisTribuTing The same seaTs on The same airlines buT via a new TeCh lanDsCape anD wiTh a new CommerCial moDel?”
“Our buyer members are feeling battered by the challenges of air content and lack of readiness for NDC; many have described it as a 'mess'; hence ITM has set up a Distribution Taskforce to help buyers find workable solutions”
Airlines are at different stages of their NDC journey, so the GDS isn’t going away soon. However, the benefits of NDC over traditional fare ladders are clear, and with airlines offering exclusive content via the channel, clients will expect their TMCs to be able to provide them with cost-saving solutions via NDC”
“ Content fragmentation is a real issue for buyers leading to leakage and la C k of C ost C ontrol. b uyers and b usiness travellers needs one sour C e of truth for their travel programme ”
“As an industry it’s important that we continue to evolve and work together to offer business travellers the content they need in a way that supports and services the corporate travel programme”
Catherine Logan, Regional VP, EMEA and APAC, GBTA
Adam Kerr, CEO, Tripism
Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner, Festive RoadJulie Oliver, Global COO & CEO Europe, Reed & Mackay Jack Ramsey, CEO, TripStax Scott Davies, CEO, ITM
A FINE BALANCE
According to SAP Concur’s latest Global Business Traveller Report, over half of travel suppliers (55%) admitted that they are now more concerned about rising oil prices and inflation than the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.
As these pressures mount, travel managers and business leaders will increasingly need to carefully consider the cost-benefit of their travel programme while maintaining key business relationships.
Although cutting back on business travel may bring short-term financial benefits, as the lack of business travel during the pandemic showed, in-person business meetings are still critical to increasing and maintaining revenue streams.
As the squeeze on saving resources increases, travel managers will have to work more closely with business leaders to be strategic in where they restrict travel funds, ensuring that budgets prioritise potentially lucrative accounts.
It may also mean lessening the number of business trips but extending each excursion to optimise efficiency. This will place the company in a financially resilient position and prepare them for competitive growth once the economy begins to stabilise.
As corporate travel policy continues to evolve from being a costly business affair to an effective employee incentive, travel managers hold the responsibility of reinstating the importance of business travel as a driver for employee recruitment and retention.
Unsurprisingly, there will be pressure to cut initiatives that some may view as ‘nice-tohaves’. As a result, travel managers will likely have to prove the value of workplace initiatives like business travel, tech adoption, hybrid working support and sustainability.
While some cutbacks may be unavoidable, it’s important that the foundations of these programmes remain and employees continue to feel supported. Although internal and external business travel may seem like an expense that doesn’t directly link to revenue, such initiatives are an effective tool in talent retention, which can make a big difference in the ongoing war for talent.
Tools for the job
As more businesses continue to adopt a hybrid working model, travel related to internal team building workshops and meetings are gaining momentum.
Although in the past these were solely managed by the HR department, travel managers are now being urged to play an active role in implementing and driving more purposeful travel and wellbeing programmes. However, the transformation or integration of these two departments is sure to add more financial pressure for organisations already struggling to cope with macroeconomic factors such as inflation.
As travel managers and HR teams continue to cope with the complexity of their changing roles, digital tools will play a greater role in connecting and integrating traditional departments to create new efficiencies. Connected tools can essentially generate comprehensive data, which can provide the advantages of full visibility of travel spend, accurate forecasting, automated reporting, dashboards and analysis. These insights can be used to make decisions to help the business navigate a turbulent market.
Meanwhile, employees will take advantage of having more time to do high-value work, with connected tools covering admin tasks. Business leaders and travel managers now need to be particularly prepared for the fastchanging developments on the financial and political scene. Strategies will have to incorporate flexible and cost-effective measures to ensure employees are as safe as possible when they travel.
uncertainty, hybrid working and rising costs are putting travel managers in a precarious position, says Paul Dear at SAP Concur
Ask the expert... ISO 31030 StandardJames Wood, Regional Security Director, International SOS
In a nutshell, what is ISO 31030?
The ISO 31030 standard, introduced in September 2021, exists to help ease some of the complexities that businesses face when managing employees travelling abroad. It acts as a benchmark for organisations to strive towards and empowers non-SME practitioners to make risk-based decisions. It covers seven key areas: understanding your organisation’s risk context, managing travel risk effectively, incident response, specialist support, communication and consultation, and programme monitoring and review.
What are the benefits of adopting it?
Like all ISO standards, when the highest standards are set and adhered to, organisations will benefit from long-term stability, improved business continuity, reputation and productivity. Adopting the ISO 31030 standard will give your organisation and travelling employees peace of mind and will show that traveller health and safety is being taken seriously. It will help to identify both opportunities and threats and where to allocate adequate
resource to manage risk. In addition, organisations could also benefit from reductions in insurance premiums.
Is it being widely implemented?
It's been more than a year since the standard was introduced, but it's still far from universally understood. Some major misunderstandings are still out there regarding the standard's application and certifiability. This means that some businesses are not utilising its full benefit, leaving their travelling employees potentially exposed.
What are the most common misunderstandings?
One major misunderstanding associated with the standard is that it is not certifiable, which has the potential to lead to misinterpretation from a legal coverage perspective by businesses. It is vital that companies understand that the standard resembles more of a benchmark, providing an expert led set of guidelines of risk management best practice.
It is also important that businesses don’t treat the standard as a surface level boxticking exercise. To really protect and put employees at the centre of a business, the ISO standard should be embedded into a wider travel risk management strategy that accounts for these issues.
The standard is not intended to represent a company’s entire risk management strategy. Rather, it should act as part of a solid foundation for a wider platform that prioritises employee safety. Regular training is also vital, for instance, as a recent
International SOS survey found that only 48% of organisations are giving their employees regular training on health and security risks when travelling.
How can the ISO standard assist with Duty of Care?
Duty of Care emphasises the importance of employees feeling adequately prepared and protected and the ISO standard can play a large part in this. Applying it appropriately demonstrates that an employer takes employee travel risk seriously, and this is essential if organisations want to stand out amongst their competitors for the right reasons.
Is the standard more relevant for larger corporations than for SMEs?
The standard is designed to be flexible and apply to any organisation that bears responsibility for keeping employees safe
when travelling. Every business is unique so can utilise the ISO standard in a variety of ways. A large NGO with a substantial number of employees operating in a country experiencing civil unrest will have a significantly different risk appetite to a small technology company sending an occasional business traveller on a trip to Switzerland, for example.
Different organisations will take different aspects of the standard and apply it to their operations. It’s not one size fits all and this flexibility is hugely beneficial for businesses.
Is traveller health and safety higher on the agenda since the pandemic?
According to the International SOS Risk Outlook Report 2023, 86% of surveyed experts reported that they expect budgets to support the health and safety of travellers to increase or stay the same in 2023, highlighting how important business
traveller support will be even in a predominantly post-pandemic world. It is vital that these funds are directed towards the most appropriate risk management strategies – a task the ISO 31030 standard can provide guidance for –ensuring the safety of employees is properly maintained.
How are the new ways of working impacting risk management?
Looking to the future, which may well feature new working patterns like the increasing ability to work remotely from anywhere, it is likely that businesses will rely ever more heavily on their risk management programmes. Acting proactively rather than reactively, with the help of a thorough travel risk management strategy underpinned by the ISO 31030 standard, will help organisations put their employees’ safety first and continue to thrive.
It's been more than a year since the standard was introduced, but it's still far from universally understood. Major misunderstandings are still out there”
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For more information or to register your interest, please contact: Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
GBTA predicts fastest growing market
WESTERN EUROPE is expected to be the fastest growing business travel market in the world this year, according to the GBTA’s most recent Index Outlook.
The report predicts the region will continue to experience one of the sharpest recoveries by 2026, with business travel spend rising 61.7% in 2022 and expected to grow another 25.3% in 2023. Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands accounted for 65.1% of business travel expenditure in Western Europe last year.
But Catherine Logan, GBTA Regional Vice President EMEA and APAC, warned: "Despite a healthy start to the year, there is caution as uncertainty continues due to rising inﬂation and economic crisis, all threatening to derail progress as we move further into 2023.”
NORSE UNVEILS NEW ROUTES FROM GATWICK
NORSE ATLANTIC is to launch a further six transatlantic routes from London Gatwick this summer.
Alongside its existing daily New York route, the airline is adding services to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale
From May 25, Norse will ﬂy four times a week to Orlando, with schedules increasing to daily in peak summer. The following day it will launch three ﬂights a week to Fort Lauderdale.
Six ﬂights a week to Washington DC will start from June 1 and from June 30 Norse will add daily ﬂights to Los Angeles.
Three ﬂights a week to San Francisco launch on July 1 and ﬁve ﬂights a week to Boston take oﬀ from September 2.
Stewart Wingate, CEO Gatwick Airport, said: "Long-haul routes, particularly in North America, are a hugely important aspect of our strategy, especially as we look to return to pre-covid levels of passengers and destinations."
EU DELAYS LAUNCH OF ETIAS SCHEME
THE EUROPEAN Union has again postponed the launch of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias).
It is now set to be introduced in 2024, although no exact date has been given.
96% Predicted 2023 global air capacity as a percentage of levels pre-Covid
The Etias scheme was ﬁrst due to launch in 2022 and has now been delayed three times. The most recent launch date was November 2023.
No formal public announcement was made but the delay was conﬁrmed on the Etias website.
Global aviation capacity will be back to 96% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, with current airline schedules o ering just 4% less seats than in 2019, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report.
Gray Dawes expands into North America
GRAY DAWES Travel has launched operations in North America by announcing two key appointments.
Michel Botbol joins as Chairman of the Board North America from Frosch. Before that he was with Ultramar Travel Management as President Travel and Transport Ultramar and International.
Carolann Martini takes the role of Chief Customer Oﬃcer and joins from TakeTwo Travel Solutions, where she was Executive Vice President for Global Solutions. Before that, she was part of the senior executive team at CTM and Ultramar Travel Management.
The appointments follow the TMC’s expansion into Australia last month with the acquisition of MP Travel.
BTA COMMENT Getting back to business
January and February have ﬂown by and the year has certainly started with a bang. It's great to be back in the midst of industry events; networking and catching up with old and new industry faces.
It seems we are ﬁnally getting back to what business travel is all about.
The length of the TMC guide in this issue of The Business Travel Magazine is evidence of this, as well as verifying the signiﬁcant role that TMCs continue to play in the wider business travel infrastructure to ensure the UK keeps moving.
What is clear is that this role continues to change, especially as the needs of the planet evolve too.
Last year we saw the industry’s focus shift to tackle environmental, social and governance concerns, with TMCs developing their services to support clients in their quests to measure, reduce and oﬀset their carbon footprint and wider impact on the planet.
This challenge will remain under constant review until the industry eﬀectively collaborates for a truly sustainable future. But I
remain optimistic that this is not far away.
It’s clear that the survival of the sector through the pandemic, its eﬀective response to sustainability concerns and its broader inﬂuence on the business travel network is a testament to the tenacity of our community after what has been a very long and challenging few years.
This community is one I am proud to be a part of for over 30 years of my career.
It is a fantastic industry to learn in, challenge yourself, network and grow.
While TMCs are now reaching and exceeding 90% of staﬃng levels, talent recruitment and retention remain key barriers to the progression of the industry and standards of service seen in the days pre-pandemic, which we are working hard to address through initiatives such as our Generation Advisory Board and Business Travel Ambassadors.
Overall, the TMC outlook for 2023 remains a positive one as we all look to reconnect, facilitate and increase business travel throughout this year.Clive Wratten Chief Executive Oﬃcer thebta.org.uk
TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR THE 2023 BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS CEREMONY ON SEPTEMBER 25 AT THE GRAND CONNAUGHT ROOMS, LONDON. GO TO THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
ITM COMMENT Finding the perfect match
When a company appraises its TMC partner or looks to tender for a new one there are many factors to consider.
Despite the ongoing consolidation over the last few decades, there is still a multitude of protagonists from which to choose and, typically, a business will select around half a dozen for its shortlist.
Assessment criteria will include items such as footprint and international presence, technology stack, agility and customisation, sector specialisms, content access, commercial leverage and, of course, pricing.
Operational resourcing and resilience have been on this list too, and they have arguably sat at the top since travel resumed.
The good news is that most of these elements can be expressed and compared relatively objectively, using tried and tested metrics.
However, ITM’s buyer members consistently tell me that the overriding criteria that trumps all others when matching a TMC partner is cultural ﬁt.
But how in the world do you go about sussing out the culture of your
prospective TMC and subsequently, whether it will complement that of your organisation?
Of course, you can read or hear testimonials of the TMC’s existing customers, and this is probably well worth doing. Better still, try to spend a day or more within the TMC’s business, to observe how they work, how they interact with and support each other.
But none of this will be useful unless you fully understand the culture of your own company.
Your values need to sit well with any potential partner, especially given the highly emotive nature of business travel. Equally, I’m afraid any weaknesses and inconsistencies in your corporate culture may be projected onto your TMC over time, particularly when things get tricky.
So, as in other kinds of relationships, ﬁnding the perfect one for you may not be easy. But when you do, hold them close, treat them well, make time for each other, don’t skip date night.
Oh sorry, I seem to have gone too far with this metaphor!
Call to support rail's Green Travel Pledge
TRAVEL MANAGERS, OBTs, TMCs and industry associations are being urged to back the development of the Green Travel Pledge, an initiative to provide the industry with more granular sustainability data for UK domestic rail.
Led by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), with the help of consultants Black Box Partnerships, the pledge will see the creation of a common standard to measure carbon emissions of train journeys in order to inﬂuence travel behaviour and enable robust reporting.
Following extensive research last summer, rail operators will be required to share information on various data points, including engine and fuel types, distance, number of carriages, class conﬁguration, load factor and timetables, which will give more accurate measurements than existing Defra data.
SUPPORT GROWS FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL AMBASSADORS CAMPAIGN
MORE Business Travel Ambassadors have joined a campaign to help attract talent into the sector.
Spearheaded by The Business Travel Magazine, the initiative aims to raise the industry's proﬁle and encourage potential candidates to pursue a career in it.Scott Davies Chief Executive itm.org.uk
New Ambassadors include: Pades Dugha, Account Executive, HRS; Eloise Ferrara-Neched, Procurement Manager Travel & Events, Royal Mail Group; Alison Rogan,
Director Procurement, Barclay’s; Gavin Smith, Director, Element; Pauline Houston, VP Business Development, Silverdoor; Toria Houston, Senior Partner Hugger, Trees4Travel; Paul Clark, National Account Manager, Avis Budget UK; James Beagrie, MD, Meon Valley; Natasha Maraj, Global Sales Director, Entertainment & Corporate, NH Hotels and Tony McGetrick, VP & Director of Sales & Marketing UK & Ireland, BCD Travel.
ON THE MOVE
MARCH 23 2023
BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM SERVICED APARTMENTS
STEPHEN BAXENDALE LUKE GOGGIN
JOINS: Advantage Travel Partnership
AS: Technology Partnerships Manager
Stephen Baxendale has joined Advantage in the newlycreated role of Technology Partnerships Manager from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
JOINS: Virgin Atlantic
AS: Vice President, Global Sales
FROM: British Airways
Luke Goggin, previously Head of UK & Ireland Sales and Global Accounts for British Airways, will become Vice President Global Sales for Virgin Atlantic in August.
JOINS: Conferma Pay
AS: Chief Executive Officer
Jason Lalor has been named as CEO Conferma Pay, following its acquisition by Sabre last August. He was previously Chief Executive of Square's European business.
The Caledonian Club, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
APRIL 26-27 2023
Hilton Brighton Metropole itm.org.uk
MAY 15 2023
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
MAY 20-23 2023
Melia Villaitana, Benidorm advantagemembers.com
AUGUST 13-16 2023
PHILIPPE BIJAOUI CRISTINA CHIMENTI KAROLIEN DE HERTOGH
AS: Senior VP Development
FROM: Christie & Co
Philippe Bijaoui has been appointed Senior Vice President Development, Europe & North Africa, for Accor’s Economy, Midscale and Premium brands, based in Paris.
PROMOTED AT: Sky
FROM: Global Travel Manager
TO: Head of Travel
Cristina Chimenti, previously Global Travel Manager at Sky, has been promoted to Head of Travel. She joined Sky in July 2015, initially working in ﬁnance before moving to procurement.
PROMOTED AT: United Airlines
FROM: Head of Corporate Sales
TO: Director UK & Ireland
Karolien De Hertogh, previously Head of Corporate Sales UK and Global Agency Sales, has been promoted to Director UK & Ireland at United Airlines.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> Trees4Travel has appointed Fiona Barclay to lead its North America expansion plans. She joins from CWT Vacations where she was Director, Supplier Management North America >> Blacklane has named Cindy Rubbens as Chief People Experience Oﬃcer and Gudrun Herrmann as Global Head of Communications >> Principal Business Travel has welcomed Cassie Beal to head up its expanding Meetings and Events division >> Festive Road has welcomed ﬁve new members to its Leadership Team: Lora Ellis, Meredith Smith, Louise Kilgannon, Mike Orchard and Katie Virtue, joining co-founders Paul Tilstone and Caroline Strachan >> Barbara Blue joins TRIPBAM as Vice President Strategic Partnerships after 22 years with BCD Travel >>
GBTA CONVENTION Dallas, Texas gbta.org
SEPTEMBER 11-13 2023
BTA CONFERENCE Antwerp thebta.org.uk
SEPTEMBER 25 2023
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS Grand Connaught Rooms, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
OCTOBER 5 2023
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB London thebusinesstravelmag.com
OCTOBER 16 2023
BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM AIR TRAVEL
The Caledonian Club, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
NOVEMBER 14-16 2023
GBTA EUROPE CONFERENCE Hamburg europeconference.gbta.org
AWARD-WINNING RECRUITMENT & HEADHUNTING SPECIALISTS
Dedicated to the business travel sector
Contact us to discuss our recruitment, HR & training solutions +44 (0)1932 562007 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.siriustalent.co.uk
DECEMBER 5 2023
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL DINNER CLUB London thebusinesstravelmag.com
THE HOTEL This stylishly-renovated 15th-century palace is one of three historic, five-star Puro Group hotels, all within a stone's throw of each other in the cobbled streets of Palma's old town, surrounded by high-end galleries, tapas restaurants, bars and boutiques and within a short walk of the city's famous cathedral. It opened in summer 2022.
THE CHECK-IN The lobby-cumgallery is full of eye-catching pieces of art – paintings, murals, sculptures and giant, contemporary light-fittings –perfectly blending with the wood, stone and marble of the restored beams, arches and floors. Stairs with ornate banisters spiral around the courtyardstyle space and up to the 15 suites above. Apart from the discreet check-in desk on the left (itself a work of art) it felt like we were walking into a palace, or a luxurious Mediterreanean home.
THE SUITE Our spacious suite, number 11, is particularly special as during the hotel's renovation, which took almost two years, developers
THE JOURNEY I travelled in a First Class carriage on LNER's 10:58 Azuma train, Newcastle to London King’s Cross.
THE BOOKING Reserving a ticket via the LNER website was straightforward. Easy to navigate, the website made it clear which services were available on the day I wanted to travel. The booking was complete within a few minutes. Selecting the e-ticket option meant I had a PDF version of the ticket emailed to me so I could access it from my phone.
Scanning the QR code at the barrier gave me access to the platforms at Newcastle Central Station.
BOARDING At LNER’s First Class Lounge I grabbed a complimentary cup of coffee and a packet of Reids’ Baked Treats biscuits. Tea, chilled Harrogate spring water, Piper’s crisps and other refreshments were also available. I used the Wi-Fi to do a zoom meeting, during which I received a notification on the LNER app reminding me of my carriage, seat number and telling me where I should stand on the platform for my
HOTEL: PURO GRAND HOTEL, PALMA
uncovered 12th-century beams with Arabic scripts, which have been painstakingly restored and can be admired from the king-size bed. An ensuite has double sinks, a stand-alone bath and a walk-in shower, and SeaSkin toiletries. Shutters kept out any noise, although it's not in a busy street
THE BUSINESS The hotel's lobby/ breakfast room would be perfect for a meeting, with private alcoves to discuss business. If you want even more privacy, nextdoor is The Puro House, also part of this trio of boutique hotels, with stately rooms and an outdoor terrace that can be hired for exclusive use.
THE FACILITIES Breakfast is served in an area just beyond the lobby. It has an open kitchen so you can see the chefs preparing your organic eggs and delicious toasties. My 'simply avocado'rye bread with crushed avocado, pomegranate, toasted almonds and mint - was a work of art. There's also fresh fruit, croissants and freshly-baked cakes to tuck into.
RAIL: LNER FIRST CLASS, NEWCASTLE-LONDON KING'S CROSS
carriage, so I boarded feeling relaxed. The train left Newcastle on time.
THE SEAT Seating was around tables of four or individual seats on the other side of the aisle. My seat (K14) was a large, single seat with a table, ample legroom and recline. A USB charging point and three-pronged plug below the seat arm gave power for my devices. Luggage racks near the sliding doors provided storage space for large items. I used the overhead rack, above my seat, to store my briefcase and coat.
THE SERVICE LNER’s seasonal Dine menu was on the table when I boarded the train. The free food and drink is sourced from producers along LNER’s routes. Breakfast choice includes porridge, waffles and fruit and a cooked option of Lincolnshire sausage, bacon, hash browns, baked beans, tomato and a fried egg (with vegetarian or vegan alternatives). Wi-Fi was reliable and the carriage was quiet. The 2hr 54min journey was 17 minutes delayed but it gave me extra time to work.
THE VERDICT You'll feel like a VIP in this luxurious but intimate hotel, which is the perfect urban retreat. Puro Group also owns two beach clubs on the island, one close to the airport where you can relax in a poolside cabana and take a dip before checking in for an evening flight.
THE DETAILS Carrer del Forn de la Glòria, Palma. Suites from €400 a night, purohotels.es/en
THE VERDICT A pleasant and comfortable way to travel, with lounge access, reliable Wi-Fi, comfortable seating with adequate space to work and good refreshments.
THE DETAILS One-way NewcastleLondon First Class fares from around £62 (£27 standard) but prices vary considerably depending on time of booking and time of day. lner.co.ukStuart Forster
A PLEASANT AND COMFORTABLE WAY TO TRAVEL, WITH LOUNGE ACCESS AND RELIABLE WI-FI
YOU'LL FEEL LIKE A VIP IN THIS LUXURIOUS BUT INTIMATE HOTEL
THE FLIGHT I flew Business with Qatar Airways on flight QR30 on an A350-900 from Edinburgh to Doha.
THE CHECK-IN As per pre-travel instructions, I arrived for check-in three hours before departure, just as the desk was opening for my 14:00 flight. The Qatar station manager, Tamer, made himself known to me quickly and was extremely informative and helpful, providing the next steps and directing me to the shared British Airways Business Class lounge. Check-in was faultless and quick, despite extensive documentation now required for inspection to travel internationally. The lounge had comfortable seating and various quiet areas with a wide range of hot and cold food and drink options.
BOARDING Upon announcement I made my way to the departure gate where I was again greeted by Qatar ground crew who escorted me to the aircraft. On board, I was warmly greeted by the Cabin Crew Manager who ushered me to my allocated seat.
FLIGHT: QATAR AIRWAYS BUSINESS CLASS, EDINBURGH-DOHA
THE SEAT My seat, 4E, was fantastically comfortable, with plenty of storage cubby holes and functionality allowing for the many different seating settings, including that all-important flat bed. Each seat was beautifully presented with an environmentallyconsidered cardboard boxed Diptique Amenity kit with a fresh lotion, essential face cream, nourishing lip balm, 34 eau de toilette, ear plugs, an eye mask and pair of socks. With it, I received a wonderfully soft, warm blanket and matching bolster pillow, and an Oryx One headset to enjoy the extensive choice of inflight entertainment.
THE SERVICE Menu options included artisan bread, soup of the day, appetisers, mains, cheese plate, desserts, light options and snacks. I opted for a fresh salmon and prawn starter, followed by steak and finally had to skip dessert as I was full and my pallet in overdrive! The choice of nonalcoholic cocktails was vast, each of which I tried. The alcoholic wine list was
I RECEIVED A WONDERFULLY SOFT, WARM BLANKET AND MATCHING BOLSTER PILLOW
HOTEL: THE BELFRY, BIRMINGHAM
extensive, from Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Champagne to the Nittnaus Dessert Wine. Crew were attentive, enhancing the passenger experience.
THE VERDICT Excellent food, warm service, luxury amenities. Qatar Airways once again didn't fail to impress.
THE DETAILS Return Business Class fare, Edinburgh-Doha, from £2,613. qatarairways.comCraig McQuinn
THE HOTEL On a 550-acre estate in the North Warwickshire countryside close to Birmingham, this resort is perhaps best known as being a multiple host of golf's prestigious Ryder Cup in the 1990s. It's now back on the golfing map as the host of the British Masters until 2026. Acquired by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Cedar Capital Partners in 2021, it has been substantially refurbished with over £26m spent on various upgrades and more planned.
THE CHECK-IN For such a large and sprawling resort the reception area is on the smallish side but as I arrived long before the afternoon check-in time I was dealt with swiftly and courteously, handed a map of the complex and an explanation of the various facilities and invited to make a dinner reservation.
THE ROOMS The 320 rooms are spread out across a labyrinth of corridors and stairways and finding mine, 2531 in the Torrance wing, proved something of a challenge! A map would be useful. Overlooking the
18th green of the PGA course, the room was generously spacious with two double beds - the heavy duvet and fluffy pillows were perfect for a dead-of-winter staya spacious seating area with comfy chair and table, a work desk, a large HD Freeview widescreen TV, tea and coffeemaking facilities. A large bathroom had a walk-in shower with ESPA toiletries.
THE FACILITIES For kids there are various activities like woodland walks, indoor games, library and mini-golf. The sports bar, Sam's Club House, serves pub food and shows games. For a more refined high tea, The Brabazon Bar is housed in an atrium. The resort's main restaurant, the Ryder Grill, has a classy feel but is relaxed and informal with an open kitchen. Private dining is available in the Wine Room, accommodating up to 12 guests. There's also a Roca’s Pizza Pasta with a Starbucks. The ESPA Spa has a full-size pool, hot tubs, relaxation rooms and thermal experiences. The gym is extremely well equipped and offers fitness classes.
NOW BACK ON THE GOLFING MAP AS THE HOST OF THE BRITISH MASTERS UNTIL 2026
THE VERDICT The Belfry is determined to further re-establish itself as one of the finest resorts in the UK. It will soon boast more dining options and new accommodation thanks to funding for further development.
THE DETAILS Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield B76 9PR, double rooms from £225, golf and spa short breaks also available. thebelfry.comSteve Hartridge
Just the TICKET
Despite the chaos that has afflicted Britain’s railways since strikes began in June last year, the Buyer Priorities Survey by the ITM indicates that 44% of corporate travel buyers expect a significant modal shift from air to rail in 2023.
Although travel to and around Europe may be included, that still indicates a willingness
to switch to rail on routes where rail competes – especially from London, the Midlands and North West to Scotland.
But whether or not the strikes continue –as seemed likely at the time of writing –there are still other significant barriers to modal shift, whether from air or car travel.
Ticketing can be confusing, especially for occasional users and some SMEs, and e-ticketing is far from universal. The UK Government plans to move forward with the creation of a new organisation, called Great British Railways (GBR), this year but there are doubts over how much this will benefit the corporate sector and the speed of change.
ITM's CEO Scott Davies says a switch to rail would be driven by sustainability objectives, but adds: “However, 40% of respondents felt that their online booking tool is not ready to support delivery against their top priorities, including seamless air and rail policy inclusion, and integrated air/rail display.
"Buyers need good quality rail content integrated into online tools, particularly for EMEA, and also rail content that's agnostic.
Rail travel might ﬁt the bill when it comes to sustainability, but there are still sizeable barriers to overcome, says Dave Richardson
The key to driving confidence – and to encouraging modal shift –is to make it easier for the business traveller to choose and buy rail”
"Buyers also need clear visibility of emissions and true integration within an online booking tool rather than punch-outs to another rail booking tool.”
One of the key proposals of GBR, first announced two years ago but not yet operational, is to oversee a simplification of fares and wider introduction of digital technology, such as smartcard and e-ticketing.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and with a transition team managing the switch to GBR, welcomes the proposals set out by the Government, including the wider roll-out of single sector pricing.
Flexible single fares would cost no more than half the return fare for the journey, which is not the case at present.
“This will give customers control over the journeys that they pay for – no more guessing whether to buy a return or two singles,” says a spokesperson.
“Customers would be able to mix and match their requirements from basic single fares and get the best price. This will help to unlock further benefits, such as the ability to tap in and tap out on more journeys.”
RDG Chief Executive, Jacqueline Starr, adds: “We have initiated the Green Travel Pledge, which will establish a standard for
UK rail emissions reporting. By measuring rail over air, we are confident that the Green Travel Pledge will enable businesses to make better informed decisions.”
There are an estimated 55 million fares available across Britain’s railway network, but business travellers using online systems have been able to choose mix-and-match single sector fares for many years – a fixed time discounted fare in one direction, for example, and a flexible fare for the return trip.
Andrew Cantrell, Managing Director of Evolvi Rail Systems, says: “The extension of the single sector pricing trial on LNER will remove a few anomalies, however, the overall impact is debatable. If it is widened to cover all operators it may provide further opportunities to simplify the customer experience, by standardising fare types and removing the plethora of restrictions.
“There is a growing proportion of e-tickets compared to other fulfilment channels but this could be improved by RDG allowing TMCs to provide some of the same aftersales services to their customers for e-tickets that are in place for Ticket on Departure, and catering for cross-London travel. The further expansion of smartcards and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) provides some
Put bluntly, there are too many fare options, most unnecessary, that compete with one another to increase revenue on that particular route”
challenges to retailers who are excluded from these, and a level playing field needs to be in place.”
Raj Sachdave, Managing Partner of consultancy Black Box Partnerships, also cautiously welcomes the GBR proposals, adding: “The expansion of PAYG can only be a success if passengers have trust and transparency in fares and pricing first, so targeting this seems like the most logical step.
“Put bluntly, there are too many fare options, most unnecessary, that compete with one another to increase revenue on that particular route. It’s good news that more operators are switching to e-ticketing as a default option. The emergence of smartcard and s-tickets is the next
evolution, similar to Oystercard, but confidence in fare structures and pricing needs to keep pace.
“There’s a great opportunity to consolidate multiple ways of doing the same thing into one industry-wide initiative. A good example would be a central service for Delay Repay, as why do we have 19 different options to ask for the same type of compensation?”
TMCs are joining the debate. Jason Geall, Executive Vice-President SME of American Express GBT, says: “We convened the Rail for Business forum to bring businesses together with UK rail to collaborate on customer experience improvements.
"We have already identified fare simplification and greater use of digital technology as key priorities, and now we’re setting up working groups to drive improvements in data, Delay Repay, and central services that can deliver a better customer experience.”
He adds that Amex GBT supports the RDG’s Green Travel Pledge, and that it is enhancing its Neo travel and expenses tool to show air-rail comparisons across Europe and North America. “The key to driving confidence – and to encouraging modal shift – is to make it easier for the business traveller to choose and buy rail,” says Geall. Behind the scenes developments do seem to be moving in the right direction, but the BTA is worried about how long improvements will take, bearing in mind that confidence in rail travel has been shattered by months of strikes, cancellations and uncertainty.
Commercial Director Andrew Clarke, who frequently takes Manchester-London trains, says: “Rail transactions are still considerably down on pre-pandemic levels, and modal shift is held back due to a lack of confidence. Cost is also driving this, and we need to get rid of things like restrictions on fare availability at peak times. E-ticketing is still only 27% and is very uneven between train operators.
“Rail has sustainability in its favour, and there is now more awareness of high-speed travel in Europe, especially when companies have headquarters there. It will be interesting to see how integration of the Thalys network under the Eurostar brand pans out.
“Plans for GBR show there's a willingness to change, but the speed of delivery is a concern. If the rail industry doesn’t get its act together soon, it will lose a raft of rail customers, probably forever.”
Customers would be able to mix and match their requirements from basic single fares and get the best price”SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY LNER
GOING THE DISTANCE
I’ve been in the industry for a long time but I’m still very much bewildered by ground transportation,” admits Carol Fergus, Director Global Travel Meetings and Ground Transportation at Fidelity International.
“Ground Transport has always been a bit of a black hole,” says Jessica Banish, North America Leader, Strategic Sourcing, GE.
From modal choice between car rental, e-bikes, scooters, taxis and black car service to supplier and booking fragmentation, most buyers find ground transportation a bit of a headache.
The issue, says Fergus, is that nothing is gelling and everyone is going off and doing
their own thing. “It is really stressful. So many things have changed. I think if ground transportation, TMCs and OBTs got together they could help with that,” she adds.
Issues haven’t gone unnoticed by ITM and the GBTA, who have joined forces to create a Ground Transportation Working Group. It is producing a guide for ITM and GBTA buyer members when reviewing or building a ground strategy for their programme.
“The scope of ground transport has shifted to include multi-modal options not just the traditional rail, car hire and chauffeur drive, but ride-hailing and shared mobility such as e-scooters,” says Kerry Douglas, Head of Programme at ITM.
“Many travel buyers are looking for guidance as to the best way to incorporate all these ground transport modes into their travel programme.”
The guide will look at the ‘modal shift’ impacting ground transport today.
Ben Park, Senior Director Procurement & Travel Parexel, says: "I think we are asking too much from the travellers on a modal shift in the current set up and it will result in them trying to do the right thing and getting frustrated. It is, and has always been, very fragmented, complex and difficult to centrally manage."
GE’s Banish adds: “Some of the global solutions like Uber are easy to control at
Can new tech and a meeting of minds help capture that elusive first and last mile, asks Felicity Cousins
Rail, air, hotel – they all kind of synch with business travel technology, but ground transport isn't really integrated even though it's the connective tissue"
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a global level, but the local problems still exist. That being said, there are forwardthinking apps like The Miles Consultancy’s Mobility iQ.”
The new “super app” MobilityIQ challenges what travellers do on autopilot (tapping Uber just because they always do) to make savvy choices (is it possible to walk or take a bike to avoid sitting in traffic?).
The app works like a fitbit for each mode of ground transport, collating data on all journeys for cost, carbon, calories (steps) and clock (time) and feeding that information to corporates, TMCs and travellers. That information can then be used to develop programmes to suit company culture. The second phase of the app’s launch is the booking tool.
President of Mobility, Stuart Donnelly, says: “We are building a booking tool that enables corporates to place preferred providers on the app. If they don’t value ride-hailing they won’t have it, and if they don’t want a lone female traveller taking a train at 22:00, that option won’t come up.”
Jyrney, which consolidates bookings for taxi, ride-hail and chauffeur rides on its platform and manages the data to work with TMCs, OBTs and GDSs, has just announced its partnership with TripStax. It says this is a game changer for the sector as TripStax uses a fully-connected modular stack of travel tech applications driven by a central data processing powerhouse known as The Core', so all content is integrated.
Jyrney's CEO, Daniel Price, says: “If you look
at rail, air and hotel they all kind of sync with business travel technology, but ground transport isn't really integrated even though it's the connective tissue that holds everything together. The part we are working on now is integrating it all at the other end with expense management systems, TMCs’ tools and integration into TripStax. TakeTwo Travel Solutions is our first client with TripStax."
TMCs, which have traditionally struggled to track that invisible spend, welcome this new technology. Rob Cope, TakeTwo Chief Technology Officer, says: “Working with partners like Jyrney consolidates content, allowing a much more frictionless booking experience. Focusing intensely on the ‘where’ something is booked (mobile app, OBT) and calibrating our technology and content … and connecting the booker, arranger and content in a more seamless way, there’s a disconnect across this process that can be bridged through technology.”
With nearly 80% of travel programmes incorporating an agreement with a car rental company, it’s no wonder there is some focus over changing traveller behaviour. Postpandemic there has been an increase in demand for long-term car rental as business travellers take longer trips, and one in five travel managers are now fleet managers too – adapting as technology enables a broader picture of business mobility.
Oliver Moore, Director of Travel Agency Sales EMEA at Enterprise, says: “Technology
tools need to be policy-based and easy to use and we’re working to assist travel managers in building their knowledge quickly, to help them better understand how, why and where employees move around.”
With all companies setting ESG goals to be carbon neutral by 2030-2045, the last mile is a huge consideration for Scope 3 emissions.
Parexel’s Park says: “You have to reduce the emissions generated massively.
"There is no choice and this is hard to do because if you jump into a regular cab, next in line, how can you influence if it's electric? It's not easy to be green but it's not an option. We need to go in this direction, but also need to make it easier for travellers to make greener decisions.”
In another sustainability move, in January FREE NOW launched its Mobility Benefits Card, which is a virtual prepaid card allowing users to choose the mode of transport, even if it’s not on the FREE NOW app, via the budget provided as a benefit by their employer.
FREE NOW Team Lead for UK & Ireland, Kristina Stapulionyte, says: “We launched it to help travel managers. People started to come back to offices after Covid so it was an employee benefit to use across public transport. If you are going to the office twice a week you don’t need a private car.”
If company culture requires a more sleek approach, chauffeurs are still on call. Blacklane has watched the ride hailing trend closely and changes in behaviour have pushed it to diversify to on-demand services. The first location is Dubai, followed by New York Modal shift, centralisation, collaboration –new technology can solve it all but it's wise to remember ground transport is an interpersonal experience.
“Ride hailing is great and everyone followed Uber and focussed on the technology, but now anyone with some pyjamas and a car could turn up," says Fidelity's Fergus. New technology may be a boon, but the first and last mile also needs the human touch – with or without pyjamas!
It's really stressful. So many things have changed. I think if ground transportation, TMCs and OBTs got together they could help with that”
The NDC Conundrum
BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM
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TUESDAY APRIL 18TH 2023 , THE CALEDONIAN CLUB , LONDON
Spaces are limited to senior corporate buyers.
For more information or to register your interest, please contact: Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
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On business in... Los Angeles
With a population of around 3.9 million, Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US, second only to New York City. The financial and commercial centre of California and the entire West Coast, the city of angels is home to the Hollywood film industry and is also hot in tourism, technology, digital media, aerospace, fashion and the arts, says Bev Fearis
ta K e a spin aound the V inyl district
Downtown LA (known locally as DTLA) has seen a flurry of hotel openings. Last year, Conrad Los Angeles introduced a Frank Gehry-designed luxury hotel, opposite the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The AC Hotel Downtown Los Angeles and Moxy Downtown Los Angeles will open later in 2023. Sharing a 37-storey skyscraper, these Marriott brands will offer nearly 750 rooms and more than a dozen dining options.
There are more than 50 direct flights from London Heathrow to LAX International Airport every week. A new daily Delta Air Lines service launches from London Heathrow to Los Angeles on March 26, on Airbus A330-900neo, with all four cabin classes, including Delta One suite.
An impressive 26 Los Angeles restaurants were awarded one or more MICHELIN Stars in the 2022
Guide and reflect the diverse range of cuisine here, from modern French at Camphor and European-style at Gwen to Southern-inspired American at Hatchet Hall and contemporary fare at Manzke. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, the Arts District in DTLA is a hub of trendy, more affordable eateries with a cool Shoreditch-style campus vibe.
The Vinyl District is Hollywood’s hottest night out, with rooftop bars that are buzzing into the early hours. Mingle with LA's next-generation entrepreneurs and creatives at sundown at the rooftop Highlight Room, where DJs provide the perfect soundtrack to 360-degree views of the surrounding Hollywood Hills and the magnificent city skyline.
G ETTING A b OUT
LA’s Metro is expanding, with the K Line now open and with seven new stations. In the next phase, the line will connect with a new station at LAX, due to open in 2024, so arriving
passengers can travel directly to DTLA on public transport. LAX is also opening a new Consolidated Rent-ACar facility later in 2023, making it even easier to hire a car on arrival, while ride share apps like Uber and Lyft are well represented citywide.
M UST - SEE S IGHTS
Join a guided walking tour or saddle up for a sunset horseback tour to see the famous Hollywood Sign, which turns 100 this year. Warner Bros. also celebrates its centenary, so don’t miss its famous Studio Tour. Or, go gaming at the new Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios.
saddle up to the h ollywood sign
FLY IN STYLE WITH DELTA ONE SUITES .
NONSTOP TO LOS ANGELES .
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The Business Travel Magazine
Corporate travel buyers and representatives from TMCs and travel suppliers gathered at the Corinthia London for the first Dinner Club of the year. A champagne reception and three-course dinner was followed by a lively, informal discussion about the business travel recovery and key trends and challenges for 2023. The evening was kindly sponsored by South Western Railway, TripBAM, 3Sixty and United Airlines.
Plenty of time for networking
Dinner guests are introduced
For more photos from the event visit thebusinesstravelmag.com
Thank you to our sponsors
Girl power showers
Full-length mirrors, separate shampoo and conditioner, and bathrobes and slippers that actually fit, female travellers don't ask for much from the hotel industry. But, despite voicing their frustrations on countless occasions over the years, it seems the needs and wishes of half the population are still not always being met.
A survey of 5,000 female frequent travellers in the UK, US, France, Brazil and China found 90% aren’t getting what they want from their hotel stays.
The poll was carried out by SHe Travel Club, a travel tech start-up launching in the UK which grades hotels by their efforts to meet the needs of women guests – silver, gold or platinum – based on how they meet four main criteria: safety, comfort, services and amenities, and dining and entertainment.
All hotels must meet minimum criteria, including the provision, on request, of a kit containing make-up remover, nail polish remover and sanitary products.
Hotels are also assessed through canvassing of their
Field work request
Anyone fancy a week in a mobile home close to the French resort of Saint Cyprien, or a fortnight in a chic chalet or lodge at Camping dei Fiori on the Italian Riviera? Well, have a word with your boss.
These are just two of the Wi-Fi-vetted places now on offer from Campsited 'the digital marketplace for the open-air economy' which has launched an ‘Open Air Work From Anywhere’ programme, enabling companies to give their employees the chance to work and live in a natural setting for one to 12 weeks at a time. See you there...
The final word
Europ E an arrivals
Absolutely no UK airlines made it into the top 10 rankings for flight punctuality last year, according to aviation data firm Cirium. In fact, Spanish airlines took the top four places. Here are the top 10 most punctual airlines in Europe in 2022:
2 Air Europa
3 Iberia Express
5 Austrian Airlines
6 Norwegian Air Shuttle
7 ITA Airways
8 Norwegian Air International
10 LOT – Polish AirlinesResearch
Research by Cirium
female guests. So, ladies, next time you find yourself stepping out of the shower with sticky hair, weighed down by a bathrobe big enough for a bear, or standing on the bed on tiptoes to check your outfit, speak up.
Don't tip in China, expect shops to shut at 2pm in Spain and don't be shocked if you're invited to a sauna meeting in Norway. Many will already know these cultural norms but might be less familiar with some identified by YourOverseasHome.com. The property experts are advising visitors to Greece to watch out for teeth falling from the sky (apparently Greek children toss their teeth onto the roof of their home, not under their pillow), while visitors to Denmark shouldn't panic if they see people throwing cinnamon at single 25-yearolds, apparently another local tradition. Really?