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Business Businesstravel the

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Magazine

April/may April/May 2018

the Business travel magazine • April/mAY 2018

the science of compliance THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Helping business travellers make the right decisions

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Rail travel Booking tools Serviced apartments Focus on: The Nordics

BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017

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Businesstravel the

69

April/May 2018

Magazine

the science of compliance Helping business travellers make the right decisions

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Rail travel Booking tools Serviced apartments Focus on: The Nordics

BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017

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soars to the Number 1 position in Heathrow’s ‘Fly quiet and green’ report*

Experience our luxurious Dreamliner aircraft

Direct flights from:

* source: www.heathrowflyquietandgreen.com

London to Delhi • Mumbai • Ahmedabad • Newark & Birmingham to Delhi • Amritsar

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ARRIVALS

Contents

A PR I L /M A Y 2018 Features 16 Compliance

26 Booking tools 38 Serviced apartments

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Extended feature

9 84

Rail travel

Arrivals 6

Opening Shots

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Everyone's Talking About... TMC expansion plans

10 Six of the Best: Business travel hacks 12 Spotlight on: Industry consolidation

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Getting to grips with rail travel for business

14 The Knowledge: Travel programme savings

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(p61-80)

Regulars

20 The Conversation: Fred Stratford, Reed & Mackay 22 The Big Picture 23 Meet the booker: Grace Power, KPMG 24 The Business Travel People Awards 32 The Business Travel Conference 2018

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61 Extended feature: Rail travel

34 Sustainability: Climate change 36 Technology: Booking trends

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85 46

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46 Talking Travel: Suzi Quatro 84 Gallery: PA night

The Review

49 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures 82 On the Road

83 New Kid on the Block 85 Meeting in: Hull 87 On business in: Abu Dhabi

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88 Focus on: The Nordics 93 Reality Check 94 The Final Word

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Upgrade your travel programme.

A travel management solution built using extensive customer and traveller feedback All the products, technology and services you need, in one place Comprehensive toolkit to help you with implementation and rollout Straightforward pricing and terms, so there are no surprises for your business Benefit from our latest innovations as they become available

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Start your business travel journey at www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com/takeoff

©2018 GBT Travel Services UK Limited. American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express). ‘American Express Global Business Travel’, ‘American Express’ and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express and are used under limited license.

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ARRIVALS

Welcome On track...

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ail travel for business often languishes towards the bottom of corporates' travel management priorities, yet many business travellers will spend considerably more hours on-board trains than on

planes or in hotel rooms. Perhaps the lack of competition, the limited variation in product and the complexity of fares are a turn-off, or perhaps it is a perceived lack of scope for negotiating supplier deals. All these subjects are tackled in our first extended feature on rail travel (p61-80), where you can learn more about best booking practice and find out how to secure soft perks and corporate discounts. Elsewhere in this issue are comprehensive features on the maturing serviced apartment sector (p38-44), the latest developments in online booking tools (p26-30) and, our front cover story, how to help business travellers make the right decisions and stay in policy (p16-17) for their benefit and that of their employer. The acceleration of mergers and acquisitions among travel management companies was taken to a new level in February when American Express Global Business Travel announced plans to buy HRG, and we explore the development on p12-13. Another trend gaining traction is traveller wellbeing, which will be the focus of our extended feature in our June/July issue. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject – or anything else travel-related – so drop us a line: editorial@thebusinesstravelmag.com.

Businesstravel the

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Andy Hoskins andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com CONTRIBUTORS

Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Roger Gardner, Rob Gill, Dave Richardson, Jenny Southan, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS

Benjamin Coren & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR

David Clare david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER

Craig McQuinn craig.mcquinn@thebusinesstravelmag.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner DESIGNERS

Louisa Horton, Ross Clifford, Monica Notarnicola & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION CONTROLLER

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR

Martin Steady

(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233

Andy Hoskins, Editor

E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2018 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

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ARRIVALS Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Š Joachim Wichmann

OPENING SHOTS

Danish mainstay

radisson

A total refurbishment of the iconic Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Copenhagen was completed this spring, all designed in the spirit of architect Arne Jacobsen's original scheme. Many of his most famous furniture designs were created for what the Radisson group claims was the world's first design hotel, including the popular Egg Chair. 6

The hotel is one of the most recognisable and cherished examples of Danish modernist architecture and interior design�

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Country collection

de vere

Work and play

The Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor, part of De Vere's collection of country hotels, has unveiled the results of a £12million overhaul that incorporates new guestrooms, restaurant and restoration of a 19th century chapel.

mortimer

Newly-opened Mortimer House in London’s Fitzrovia offers six floors of meeting rooms and workspace for “those who wish to create, work and unwind in equal measure”. It includes a restaurant, gym and social areas.

Box clever

marriott

The Courtyard by Marriott Suite at the Allianz Arena in Munich gives a whole new meaning to ‘room with a view’. The suite is the hotel brand’s new hospitality box at the home of Bayern Munich football club, but sadly it’s not available for overnight stays. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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Catching the early bird. Fly with Lufthansa to over 400 destinations worldwide

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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

TMC growth “WE’VE POSTED £70MILLION IN SALES. WE’RE LOOKING AT £100MILLION FURTHER AHEAD AND

“I’M NOT “TECHNOLOGY INTERESTED IN DOESN’T BUYING RESCUE YOU BUT IT GROWING PROVIDES TURNOVER. WE’RE CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR 30% A YEAR ORGANICALLY. TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS HOWEVER WE DON’T HAVE A AND PROCEDURES TO RUN REPORTS GLOBAL OFFERING ANDTHOSE THAT’S AND HELP YOU REACH AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT” ON OUR THREE-YEAR PLAN”

WE HAVE AMBITIOUS PLANS TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE BUSINESS WITHIN THE NEXT THREE YEARS” John McEwan, Chairman, CTI – see page 51 for more

“We’re looking for additional volume and capabilities but the deal has to be the right one so we’re not in any particular hurry. It’s about the right deal at the right time”

In three years we’ll be double the size we are today. That will take some acquisitions. Being a £750-800million business in three years is more than achievable”

Pat McDonagh, CEO, Clarity

Fred Stratford, CEO, Reed & Mackay – see pages 20-21 for more

Ewan Kassir, HeadDirector, of Sales,Click Clarity Jill Palmer, Managing Travel

“WE CONTINUE TO EXECUTE ON OUR MULTI-YEAR ACQUISITION PLAN. SINCE THE OUTSET, WE HAVE BEEN FOCUSED ON IDENTIFYING BUSINESSES THAT SHARE Suzanne Horner, CEO, Gray Dawes Group

OUR ETHOS AND CULTURE OF INNOVATION”

“We’re proactive in acquiring in the areas of people, content and technology. Future acquisitions of more TMCs is very possible” Jason Geall, VP & Regional Manager Northern Europe, American Express Global Business Travel – see pages 12-13 for more

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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best... Business travel hacks 1

GET FREE CO-WORKING SPACE

Airbnb has teamed up with co-working giant WeWork to offer people who book an apartment through the Airbnb for Business portal a free day at any nearby WeWork space in cities such as London, LA, Chicago and New York. Facilities include free wifi, coffee, tea, beer and hot desks.

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STAY FOR A DAY

Book hotel rooms for short blocks during the day, either for meetings, a power nap or a quick shower. They cost up to 75% less than an overnight stay and, so far, dayuse.com features 4,000 hotels across 20 countries.

NO FRILLS LUXURY

A new breed of ‘affordable luxury’ hotels offer stylish interior design, trendy communal spaces and great dining, but no swimming pools, gyms or room service that bumps up the price. Examples include Marriott’s Moxy, Motel 1, Citizen M and Ace Hotels’ forthcoming Sister City.

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FIND EMPTY SEATS

Locate empty seats on crowded trains by clicking on the Journey Tracker tab in the Busy Bot service launched by Trainline last year. The app uses real-time feedback from passengers to identify less crowded coaches.

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Words: Jenny Southan

PREPAID CARDS

There are a number of new prepaid cards and mobile-only banks out there that don’t charge foreign transactions, ATM withdrawals or exchange fees when you travel abroad. Try Monzo (current accounts only from April 2018), Revolut, Curve or Glint, which also allows you to buy gold.

COMPARE TRANSPORT

Fleetondemand’s Mobilleo helps users compare the best ways of completing end-to-end journeys using multiple modes of transport (taxi and train versus taxi plus plane, for example). You can book and pay in line with your travel policy, and even add hotels, parking and restaurants.

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ARRIVALS SPOTLIGHT

Spotlight on... Industry consolidation

Is a trickle of TMC mergers and acquisitions becoming a torrent? The impending purchase of HRG by American Express Global Business Travel this spring is certainly a watershed moment Where were you when you heard the news? For the business travel industry, and for the TMC sector in particular, the announcement in February that American Express Global Business Travel has lined up the purchase of HRG was of the magnitude that tends to stick in the memory. There was naturally a lot of chatter and speculation as people digested the news, but most will freely admit that they were surprised. After all, Amex GBT and HRG are two of the biggest travel management companies in the world, with respective

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estimated annual turnovers of £18billion and £16billion globally. The news drew parallels with the leisure travel industry in 2007, when a merger between Thomas Cook and MyTravel was swiftly followed by the merger of Thomson and First Choice – four became two. Could the same happen in the corporate sector?

The domino effect

“This is the first move in a big game of chess,” one industry veteran told me. “Other big TMCs will be in a position where they need to move. They can’t afford to let one TMC be so much bigger. If I was in the boardroom of one of the other big TMCs I’d be seriously looking at following suit.” They continued: “It’s all about volume. The combined business will be able to get

much lower rates for their customers. And if I was a supplier I’d be seriously worried. They’re in a position where they have to be giving them a good deal. Amex will want serious discounts.” That’s good news for clients but is tempered by the potential for disruption as the two companies “deliver synergies through cost savings and scale benefits” – wording taken from the two TMCs’ official statement. It spoke of the businesses’ respective investments in people and technology and highlighted the “complementary geographical footprint of each company” – something that most commentators agree on. “But clients won’t want the disruption of integration,” says our industry commentator. “And imagine if you’d just left one of them and moved to the other one because you

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A closer look at industry developments

disruption as an integration of this size takes place. For us it represents a great opportunity to acquire new business from corporates who are looking for a more tailored approach.” Our anonymous contributor concurs: “There could be a chance for mid-market TMCs to pick up accounts from the fallout. They will go right up the scale in those TMCs’ priorities.”

Mid-market movers

Many mid-market TMCs are themselves looking at growth through mergers and acquisitions, a theme that was prevalent at February’s Business Travel Show. Almost every TMC I met with declared an interest in not just organic growth – which goes without saying – but also in acquiring fellow agencies in the UK or overseas to help fast-track expansion. “It’s becoming harder for the smaller guys to keep pace with the technological and regulatory demands of tomorrow’s market and some owner-managers are going to be looking for an exit,” says McDonagh.

This is the first move in a big game of chess. Other big TMCs will be in a position where they need to move. They can’t afford to let one TMC be so much bigger” were unhappy with something? You wouldn’t be pleased, would you?” Another potentially detrimental effect – or at least one that some in the industry have voiced – is the impact of less competition. “Reduced competition will make procurement of travel tougher,” says business travel consultant Chris Pouney.

Natural progression

Other TMCs are viewing the merger as the natural progression of the industry but also as an opportunity. “Our market is incredibly fragmented and will naturally consolidate,” says Pat McDonagh, CEO of Clarity, which merged with Portman Travel in 2016. “The deal makes sense as it creates unrivalled scale but there is likely to be

Gray Dawes, for example, has picked up five smaller TMCs in the last three years and is known to be seeking further additions, while CTI and Reed & Mackay have both made public their intentions. Backed by private equity investors, CTI is “expecting to grow aggressively”. It is on target to achieve £80million in turnover in this financial year and aims to double in size within the next three years. “We’re looking at TMCs in similar sectors to which we already operate, such as professional services, but we wouldn’t exclude other opportunities,” says CTI Chairman, John McEwan. Reed & Mackay, also with the backing of investors, has similar ambitions to double in size and believes that becoming a £750-800million business in three years is

“more than achievable”. Could that involve UK acquisitions? “Yes, if the right ones come along,” says Group CEO Fred Stratford. “We’ve been selective to date but we’ll always look at things if they have the same mindset as us.” Clarity’s McDonagh is more coy about his TMC’s targets. “We’re looking for additional volume and capabilities but the deal has to be the right one at the right time. We’re not in any particular hurry,” he says. And it would appear that Amex GBT, too, remain on the lookout for appropriate opportunities. “We’re proactive in acquiring in areas of people, content and technology,” says Jason Geall, the company’s VP and Regional Manager for Northern Europe. “Future acquisitions of more TMCs is very possible,” he adds.

[ M&As GATHER PACE ] American Express GBT’s acquisition of HRG is set to close in the second quarter of 2018 and represents the industry’s most significant merger to date. Below is a rundown of M&A activity in the last few years. The figures in brackets represent estimated annual turnover at the time of the deal. 2018 • American Express GBT (£18bn globally) > HRG (£16bn globally) 2017 • Gray Dawes > CTM Chelsea Travel Management (£120m combined total) • Capita Travel and Events (£550m) > NYS Corporate (£40m) • Meon Valley (£40m) > Longreach Travel • Travel & Transport (US-based) > Statesman Travel Group (£151m) 2016 • Clarity (£200m) > Portman (£200m) • Direct Travel (US-based) > Colpitts World Travel (£110m) • Wings > Grosvenor Travel Management (£60m) • CTM > Redfern (£310m) • Gray Dawes > Travel Management Group • Gray Dawes > Cambridge Business Travel 2015 • Business Travel Direct (BTD) (£65m) > Amity Business Travel (£20m) • Altour > Top Flight Travel • Gray Dawes > Business Travel Partnership • Gray Dawes > Travel Focus

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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... find further savings in a mature travel programme Energy supplier npower fundamentally changed its business travel programme as it sought savings and efficiencies. Read on to find out how it went about it

THE BACKGROUND

Swindon-based npower had a mature travel programme but Group Travel Manager, Jo McQuade, was tasked with finding further savings as part of a company-wide initiative. It has worked with Carlson Wagonlit Travel for over 20 years and had an implant from the TMC within its headquarters. “As well as cost savings on actual travel, we knew we could reduce operational costs too,” says McQuade.

THE PLAN

npower went out to tender and ultimately reappointed CWT. The company’s plan was multifaceted and would fundamentally change its travel operation. “One of the key pillars of the tender was to remove the implant,” says McQuade. “As a company we were becoming much more agile in terms of working practices so having an implant wasn’t necessary anymore.” The second key component of the plan

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was to increase adoption of its cytric selfbooking tool through a new mandate, and the third was to switch GDS from Galileo to Amadeus in order to align with the Amadeus-owned cytric tool. npower also looked at reducing internal travel and promoting the use of videoconferencing.

THE PROCESS

Although CWT had been reappointed, it was treated as a new implementation and a dedicated team was appointed. “The implant was closed down and we pushed the button on the booking tool mandate in March last year,” says McQuade. “Buy-in from senior management was crucial for all these aspects to succeed.” Equally important was her experience in stakeholder engagement. “We were nervous about mandating use of the booking tool but decided a soft approach wouldn’t work,” she says. “We made it very clear to travellers why we were making the changes and what they should book through cytric and what could go through CWT – namely long-haul and complex travel. CWT were able to redirect our staff to cytric if they were only making straightforward bookings.” McQuade was nervous about the GDS switch, which went smoothly. The only stumbling block was the way in which cytric support was delivered. “Previously this was offered by the implant and under the new contract

would be delivered off site by a technical team only. We soon realised that when travellers were faced with a challenge in cytric, they needed travel advice, not necessarily ‘technical support’. We therefore moved the support back into the dedicated team where service has returned to its previous high level.”

THE OUTCOME

npower achieved its targets by both cutting travel spend and operational costs. “Before the changes were implemented we were at 75% adoption of cytric for eligible bookings through natural progression,” says McQuade. “This is now up at 90% and in November was 98%. We were so excited by that – I was bouncing around the room!” The increase has translated to cost savings in the region of 32% reduction against operational costs. Average room rates and fares also saw a reduction. “To support these changes, we continued to educate our travellers and bookers to ‘meet’ in alternative ways – Lync and VC, for example – but also about the importance of booking in advance,” says McQuade. “Overall, it’s been hugely successful and that’s in no small part down to the amount we communicated with travellers ahead of the changes.”

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WINNER

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

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WINNER

Business Airline of the Year

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COMPLIANCE

welcome

ABOARD Improving compliance to travel policy by ‘nudging’ your travellers into making the right decisions is one of the hottest topics in travel management, writes Rob Gill

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raditionally when travel buyers have launched a drive to increase compliance, the number one tool has been to wield the metaphorical stick – often in the form of a mandated policy. While this 'command and control' approach was all the rage during the aftermath of the financial crisis and ensuing recession a decade ago, there has also been a growing recognition in recent years that a more subtle approach to managing travellers’ behaviour may actually bear more fruit. Concepts such as behavioural economics and 'nudge theory' have been around for a while – TMCs including BCD Travel and Capita Travel and Events are among the corporate travel specialists trying to harness these techniques as a way of improving travel management.

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The subject also took centre stage at this year’s Business Travel Show where Steve Martin, Chief Executive of behavioural change consultancy Influence at Work, delivered a keynote presentation on how the 'psychology of persuasion' can be used to improve the effectiveness of travel programmes. Martin says that the traditional ways of encouraging travellers to comply, such as education and using incentives, are “entirely valid but not without their problems”. He believes business travellers can often suffer from “information overload”, which means they may not pay sufficient attention to messages from the travel department, while incentive-based programmes can work out to be expensive, as well as “crowding out intrinsic ways for people to behave well in the first place,” he says.

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COMPLIANCE

Martin instead suggests using six “universal shortcuts” to influence or “nudge” traveller behaviour in the desired direction. These concepts are: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, likeability and social proof. “These are six additional tools to help deliver the message in the most compelling and persuasive way that go to the fundamentals of human behaviour,” says Martin. He adds that using penalties, such as punishing employees who fail to follow policy, can often be counterproductive by actually helping to increase the problem. “Penalising behaviour that’s undesirable just makes people want to do it more,” he says. “If people are always turning up late to meetings and you say that meetings are always late, then the problem will continue. You are normalising the very behaviour you want to eradicate. What you want to do is to normalise behaviours that are desirable.” Martin uses the example of how HMRC increased the number of people paying tax on time by simply inserting statements such as: “most people pay their tax on time” and “most people in your postcode have submitted their tax return”.

Practical steps So that’s the theory, but what’s being done in practice to use behavioural science to improve travel programmes and policies? Visual guilt is one concept being used to drive down the cost of trips by asking travellers to make the most suitable booking decision. Danielle Martinez, Marketing Coordinator at Good Travel Management, says: “Using visual guilt within an online booking tool is an effective way of driving actual cost savings, while also asking a booker to reconsider their choices if they have not selected the lowest cost or option within policy.

Mutual respect between travel managers and business travellers is an important factor in minimising travel expenses” “The warning that their selection is noncompliant along with a checkbox approval of the higher cost, and the added requirement to explain why the higher price option has been chosen, is a great way of influencing bookers to buy more cost effectively without the need to have complex travel policy rules.” The traveller will “find it tough to overspend because their conscience won’t let them”, while any missed savings will also be reported to the travel manager. Former travel buyer Yvonne Moya, now a principal at consultancy Festive Road, agrees that visual guilt can be effective. “Seeing is believing and as soon as they see a price difference displayed, it might trigger a right decision,” she says. “Your flight is €200 more expensive and leaves just 20 minutes later – do you really want to book this ticket?” This process does not just work at the point of sale but can be followed up by reports showing the lost savings from booking more expensive travel options. The data can be further segmented by department within an organisation to show which ones have the highest levels of compliance. Another area where nudge theory is becoming more prevalent is for meetings and events – particularly for corporates' internal travel needs. This has become a focus for Capita Travel and Events under its Smarter Working programme, which aims to

cut down on unnecessary travel as well as making trips smarter and safer. Trevor Elswood, the TMC’s Chief Commercial Officer, says it is not just about focusing on travel costs but looking at “the decisions that take place before you start travelling”. “When you’re sending people on training courses, you can pre-populate the hotel you want them to stay at,” he adds. “People don’t need the choice, as long as they understand why that property has been chosen.” He continues: “We also have had clients who habitually hold internal monthly meetings but if you just change that to every six weeks instead you can reduce the budget by 20%. It’s about thinking differently and technology can help with this.” Getting the right message over to the right people at the right time is crucial. Steve Martin says: “Receptivity depends on the persona you have, so use the digital message that’s most likely to influence that person. Use data to build these profiles as they can be more accurate than asking people themselves. The convergence of data and behavioural science to do this seems to be a no brainer.” Communication should also flow both ways to be successful, says Marcus Clarke from psychology website, psysci.co. “Employees are more likely to save money for a company when they feel that their concerns can be raised and dealt with at any time. Mutual respect between travel managers and employees is an important factor in minimising travel expenses,” he says. Concepts like behavioural science and nudge theory are not new but they are starting to have an increasing role in travel management. These often subtle techniques are not so much one big carrot, but lots of little ones that can collectively make a big difference to a travel programme.

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THE CONVERSATION

Group CEO, Reed & Mackay

Fred Stratford The TMC boss tells Andy Hoskins why the business is now in a position to raise its profile

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ne of my first questions to Fred Stratford is why he has agreed to meet with me. After all, the company has maintained a low profile for many years and is perhaps known primarily for its 'premium' positioning. Is that a fair assessment, I ask. “Yes, I think it is,” he says. “We took a decision around five years ago to stay below the radar. We have been on a journey that we are now very excited to talk about.” His ebullient nature is at odds with the company’s low profile – to date – as he talks me through his career path. “I studied maths at university and then qualified as a chartered accountant – I couldn’t wait to get out of it,” he laughs. A finance role at Thomson Holidays marked his entry to the travel industry, but much of his career has not been within the sector. In 2012 he was urged to join Reed & Mackay by an old acquaintance. “He was my boss at Thomson, so I've come full circle back to travel,” he says. He joined at a time when the company was deeply committed to developing its own technology, and doing it well away from the limelight. The investment is paying dividends now, Stratford explains, with a mobile app – with booking functionality across air, hotel and ground transport – released in February proving “a final piece in the jigsaw”. “Now is a good time for us to speak more openly because what we’ve done isn’t easy to replicate. That uniqueness we have is not something you can just take to market and deliver,” he explains. 20

“Our technology is a real differentiator for us. Owning our own tech enables us to give clients bespoke developments. Ask an offthe-shelf supplier to do that and you have no chance, no matter who you are.” Despite its investment in tech, it is the company’s high-touch service that appeals to its portfolio of largely legal, finance and professional services companies. “It’s service first, second and third,” he says. “It’s in the DNA of the business. You’ll pick it up if you walk around here.” He continues: “We’re unashamedly not the cheapest TMC in the market, but our client retention is really high and there’s a good reason for that. We focus on the total value. We pay our staff great wages and we incentivise them to find clients savings. That’s very different to what anybody else does.” The company’s commitment to clients is such that international expansion, backed by a private equity investor, was necessary. Some customers were clamouring for an international offering and the TMC knew it needed to act. “We were running the risk of losing some of our clients. We got to the point where they

In three years' time we’ll be double the size we are today. That will take some acquisitions. Being a £750million business in three years is more than achievable”

were looking for global MI, global traveller tracking and the full Reed & Mackay service in their key markets. We moved at the right time,” Stratford explains. The TMC now has 40 partners around the world, it has made acquisitions in France, Germany and the US, and it has opened its own offices in Singapore and Dubai. “There are one or two markets we’d like to be in which we’re not at the moment, so we’re working on those. And we're looking at getting our overseas offices up to scale quickly,” he says. And what about Reed & Mackay’s longterm goals for growth? “My view is that in three years time we’ll be double the size we are today. That will take some acquisitional business. Being a £750-800million business in three years is more than achievable,” says Stratford. Acquisitions of UK TMCs are not out of the picture, but the company will be selective. “If they have the same service mindset we’ll take a look,” he says, but he also fears for the future of some TMCs. “The challenge is that some TMCs are unable to invest in the tech they need, but also some TMCs are so online-based, and have clients with such simple travel needs, that profit margins are seriously slender.” Stratford concludes: “As long as clients see they’re getting value for money then you’ve got a sustainable business. The vast majority of TMCs are resilient and robust, and as the world gets more complicated and travel gets more complicated, the future is bright for our sector.”

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THE CONVERSATION

Fred on... New Distribution Capability “The airlines and GDS have commercial negotiations that they have to get sorted out but they’ve played it out in public and that’s wrong. We know from conversations with clients that they feel forgotten. “As a TMC we are happy to plug into half a dozen key airlines but what we don’t want to be doing is plugging into 100 airlines. “As for British Airways, I’m not sure they went about it the best way. Where corporates have their own route deals, they just went and put the fee on everything and that sent a message to clients that they weren’t important to the airline.”

FRED STRATFORD Fred Stratford joined London-based Reed & Mackay in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer and took on his role as Chief Executive Officer in 2015. He previously held roles at LPM Group, Direct Wines, Dixons Stores Group and several positions at Thomson Holidays (now TUI). He lives in East London, is married with two daughters, and is a fan of West Ham United FC and rugby union’s Exeter Chiefs.

TMC consolidation “We’ve seen consolidation in the sector for a couple of years, but the Amex GBT acquisition of HRG is genuinely a surprise. I don’t think many people were expecting it. It reminds me of the leisure travel industry a few years ago when four big players merged down to two. I’d be less surprised to see another deal of this scale on the TMC side now. “If I was the boss at CWT or BCD my first thought would be 'do they offer anything I don’t?' Secondly, I’d want to protect my clientbase. It’s clear they will want to grow beyond the current combined size. “I think it’s an opportunity for us though. If clients are coming up for renewal or in RFP stage they might take a longer look at other options in the market.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

Denver

BACK ON THE MAP United Airlines has introduced a daily service from London Heathrow to Denver, a route it last operated in 2010. The seasonal service continues to October 27 and is operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline will operate up to 17 flights a day from Heathrow to seven US cities this summer.

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MEET THE BOOKER

meet

GRACE POWER Booking travel is among the many elements of Grace Power’s role as an Executive Secretary at professional services business KPMG • Tell us a little about your career to date and your company’s line of business. I’m an Executive Secretary for two partners and two directors here at KPMG, based in Canary Wharf, London. I joined the company in January last year as a Team Secretary on the recommendation of a friend. Before that I spent three years in logistics roles at Direct Line Group. It was very different to what I’m doing now! • What do your general responsibilities include at KPMG? My role is pretty varied but the main things that I take care of are diary management, booking business travel for the partners and directors I look after, and arranging events, as well as some other day-to-day responsibilities. Events take up a lot of my time and the amount of business travel bookings I handle really depends on the time of year.

to arrange a trip to Maastricht recently, for example, where they wanted to travel by rail, which I couldn’t do online.

• Roughly what proportion of your time is spent managing and/or arranging • Does KPMG have a comprehensive business travel? travel policy in place? This time of year is quite busy for business Yes, and it’s well respected. We’re all very travel but it quietens down in the summer. well behaved! Anything booked outside of Most of the trips I book are to policy on our online tool is flagged overseas destinations – I've up for approval. The travel booked travel to Berlin this team will look at them on a week, for example, plus case-by-case basis, but OUT OF THE OFFICE there have been recent typically it will be OK I’m currently training for business trips to the because there’s a the Brighton Marathon this Netherlands, France, genuine need. For April, which I'm running in aid Munich, Serbia… example, someone might need to stay at of the National Autistic Society. • How do you a hotel that’s out of And then I’m looking forward actually go about policy because a client to a well-earned holiday booking travel? is staying there. The rest in Marrakech! Once I have a travel of the time we use the request from one of the hotels with which we have partners or directors I’ll either our own negotiated rates. go to our inhouse travel team and speak to them or I'll use our online tool to • What’s the most complicated trip outline the flight options. What I do really you’ve arranged recently? depends on how complex the trip is. I had One of the directors was travelling to India

and then to several destinations within the country. That was complicated, plus we had to make visa arrangements. But our travel team are great – there’s always someone available on the phone. • Have you experienced any recent travel disruptions? One of the directors got stuck in Munich earlier in the year when there was heavy snowfall. We have an out of hours contact but he rearranged his flight and booked himself a hotel room rather than bothering me in the evening!

Our company travel policy is well respected - we're all very well behaved! Anything booked outside of policy on our online tool is flagged up for approval and assessed on a case-by-case basis” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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awards

meet the winner

angela williams Angela Williams, BCD Travel’s VP of Human Resources, received the Outstanding Achievement accolade at The Business Travel People Awards 2017 How did it feel to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award? It was the most humbling experience of my life and I feel incredibly privileged to be selected for this award out of so many notable people in our industry. I can barely remember the walk to the stage as I was shaking so much! I am so proud to be honoured this way. Tell us about your role and the work you’ve done that earned you the award? I am responsible for BCD's people strategy in the UK and Ireland and my purpose is really to help our employees fulfil their potential. I am a strong advocate of CSR and I belong to a global team, raising the profile of some of the most vulnerable people to help combat poverty and injustice. In the UK, with my counterparts in the How was the winners’ trip to Abu Dhabi? People Strategy Group of the GTMC, It was the trip of a lifetime! We were spoilt we share best practice and promote our from the moment we arrived at Heathrow industry to new generations. I am and visited Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse. We immensely proud of our successful were together only a few days but we forged collaboration to launch an strong ties and had some incredible apprenticeship for travel experiences. We were wined and consultants that provides dined at the Southern Sun a clear pathway for Hotel and the Emirates The Business Travel inexperienced Palace and visited the People Awards recognise candidates to become Sheikh Zayed Mosque outstanding individuals and fully fledged business and Arabian Nights travel agents in as village. There was also teams across all aspects of the little as 12-24 months. a desert safari, drag supplier element of corporate racing, a speedboat travel. The 2018 winners What do you ride and some time to ceremony and lunch takes particularly enjoy relax by the pool. place on Friday May 25 about your role? I come into contact with What do you think of such a diverse range of people; the awards? everyone is unique and has We love the awards and have something to offer. I enjoy being around supported them from the beginning. They people and seeing the value they bring to our give us the platform to celebrate our very company and their colleagues. I particularly best talent and shout about how proud of love to see our staff develop in ways they did them we are. I love the fact that we are not anticipate or believe they could. recognising the real stars of our industry – 24

The awards give us the platform to celebrate our very best talent and shout about how proud of them we are” those working at the coal face whose efforts really do make a difference, not only to their companies who are very proud to showcase them, but to our wider industry. We are very fortunate to belong to an industry that is incredibly sociable and transparent and the awards reflect our industry culture and spirit. What do you think are the greatest challenges right now? Our greatest challenge is attracting new stars to our industry which was the impetus for launching the Travel Apprenticeship. As an industry we have to be nimble and move with the times. Change brings opportunity and I’m very optimistic for the future if we continue to attract new recruits who can capitalise on this in a fast-paced technological world.

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AWARDS

B E T H E F I R S T T O F I N D O U T T H E W I N N E R S AT T H E B U S I N E S S T R AV E L P E O P L E A W A R D S L U N C H T I M E C E R E M O N Y

FRIDAY MAY 25 GRANGE ST PAUL’S HOTEL LONDON With nominations closed and now in the hands of the judges, you can look forward to the winners ceremony being held at London’s Grange St Paul’s Hotel on Friday May 25. Tables for 10 people cost £850, tables of 12 cost £1,020 and individual places can be booked for £90 (all costs exclude VAT). Enjoy a drinks reception courtesy of Evolvi Rail Systems, a fantastic three-course lunch with wine and a post-lunch drinks party sponsored by ANA All Nippon Airways as we recognise outstanding individuals and teams from across the business travel industry.

RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL

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BOOKING TOOLS

Market

INTELLIGENCE TMCs are not just enhancing their booking tools – they’re also stripping back functionality and pitching them to SMEs, says Linda Fox, who rounds up the latest developments

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BOOKING TOOLS

A

flurry of new booking tools targeting small and mediumsized companies released at the recent Business Travel Show was a clear marker that this area – the SME market – is viewed as very much up for grabs. Travel management companies continue to pursue the elusive, less-managed traveller with several breaking down existing tools to make them more attractive to this category and others developing entirely new offerings. American Express Global Business Travel is a good example. The company has just released its Business Travel Made Simple concept which bundles up existing technology and services in to what the company hopes is an uncomplicated, off-the-shelf option for SMEs.

Kate Roe, head of marketing, EMEA and APAC, for Amex GBT says this is not a new product or service, but the company’s most popular solutions with simplified pricing. It includes elements such as a booking platform, servicing, GDS content and auditing tools with support available via traditional channels as well as the company’s new chat tool. It also offers tips and advice on how to implement the technology, and how to present it at board level as well as traveller level. “It helps travel managers get to the point where they are making bookings faster,” says Roe. The TMC decided what to include in the service by measuring usage of its technology and interviewing customers on what they are looking for in managed travel.

Roe says that while this is not Amex GBT’s first foray into trying to launch a simplified service, it feels in a better place now because it owns the booking technology and therefore has more control. Similarly, Corporate Travel Management has unveiled its Lightning Lite tool. The Lightning platform was originally launched in 2017, aiming to provide results to users in seconds in a booking environment with a consumer feel to it but with travel policy, preferred suppliers and approval built in. CTM's new Lite version is designed for companies with travel spend of up to £750,000 per year and comes in three packages – Silver, Gold and Platinum. All three offer the Lightning booking tool and from there businesses choose the level 

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CAR HIRE

Behind every journey Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense our integrated online booking and expense management tool. Amadeus is behind almost every journey on the planet so travel is in our DNA. Are you trying to strike the right balance between creating better journeys for your travellers, while ensuring your travel programme is as efficient as possible? Some of the world’s biggest global corporations are getting it right, because Amadeus is powering smarter business travel for them. Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense will give your corporation complete access to the right travel options. It also takes the pain out of managing and filing travel expense for your travellers and allows them to get on with making your business more successful. Your employees’ bookings will comply with your corporate policies, allowing them to make on-trip changes and you will know where your staff are at all times. Stay ahead of the curve and contact Marc Wise on 0345 055 8943 or marc.wise@amadeus.com to find out how Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense can help your business. For more information visit amadeus.com/corporatesolutions You do the business. We do the travel. 28

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BOOKING TOOLS

TMCs need to be a lot more connected than we have ever been before and be able to communicate in trip. We can’t just sit here and say we’re going to take the booking any more” of service they need based on the number of travellers and trips they do. Flight Centre’s business travel brand Corporate Traveller also continues to chase the SME market and recently unveiled YOUR.CT – a bundle of services it says are designed purely with that market in mind. Its General Manager, Andy Hegley, says the company is finding there is real demand from SMEs for automation. He describes the market as “growing up” and YOUR.CT provides a platform of elements including pre-trip approval, booking, traveller tracking, profile management, and reports all within a customised dashboard. The technology is available via desktop, tablet or mobile. The TMC's sister business, FCM, has also been developing its corporate booking tools and recently unleashed Seeqa. It uses the Amadeus cytric platform and according to FCM Solutions Global General Manager, Markus Eklund, is less about “reinventing the wheel” and more about providing a “unique experience and adding value.” Seeqa is not only about combining various sources of content including GDS, non-GDS and FCM’s own content on to one platform, but also about trying to make better use of traveller and company data,” he says. Eklund believes the industry is poor at using the information it has available such as who the traveller is, their preferences, their company preferences and what peers

are booking, and should use it better to make direct recommendations. A further interesting element of Seeqa is the integration of FCM’s artificial chatbot application, Sam, which acts as an on-trip assistant and has been learning and evolving since its launch two years ago. Its roadmap for 2018 includes traveller tracking via GPS, a version of Sam for travel managers and development of a Sam community for the sharing of information and travel tips. There’s also talk of bringing Sam onto additional platforms such as WeChat. One thing that stands out in the FCM developments is the talk of using data. It’s not a new discussion but particularly pertinent for the SME market which is always looking for a better price and is often hard to keep in policy.

assist 24 hours a day via a variety of channels to help where needed. A white paper from Advantage Travel Management confirms this approach in terms of the ongoing need for human interaction. This is supported by recent research from Travelport around UK millennials which reveals that this age group seems to want a blended approach with 42% saying they get frustrated when they can’t access human consultants during the booking process (see page 36). The need for travellers to be able to get in touch with consultants during a trip is also important and part of Travelport’s Trip Assist mobile product is push-to-call 

The human touch

Mobile penetration makes it easier to keep in touch with travellers and some sort of hybrid of automation and human touch is where the consensus currently seems to lie. One US start-up, Upside, aimed at travellers from SMEs, believes the DIY business travel market is under-served and in desperate need of innovation. The company recently announced a deal with the Wall Street Journal to help readers with their business travel. What’s interesting is that the deal includes consultants who are on hand to

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BOOKING TOOLS

functionality. The company sees mobile as bridging the technology-human relationship and helping to reduce stress for the traveller, influence behaviour through timely alerts, provide the craved for consumer experience and generally use mobile to engage with travellers.

Booking on the fly

Some of these elements have also been recognised by mobile specialist Roadmap which recently announced its work with Microsoft to provide its travelling employees with a better on-the-road experience for travellers. The idea is to give travellers back some of their time by providing them with all the information they need, from trip details to restaurant suggestions, best routes to their accommodation and where to get medical help. Taking it one step further, Reed & Mackay launched a mobile app with full booking functionality at Business Travel Show. Called R&M/Mobile, it is integrated with the TMC’s proprietary technology suite and features air, hotel and ground content, check-in facility and push notifications. “We know from research that today’s business traveller wants the ability to start a search on one device and complete the booking on another – R&M/Mobile makes it a seamless experience,” says Group CEO, Fred Stratford. 30

Where some TMCs develop their own technology, others like FCM, continue to seek partnerships to offer what they hope is a best of both worlds approach.

Third-party people

Another noteworthy launch showcased at BTS was BCD’s marketplace for third parties. Called SolutionSource, at launch it offered access to tools including Rocketrip, Fairfly, Yapta and Freebird, with more to come. The company believes the marketplace is a way of keeping up with the latest technology developments through partnership and enables it to act in a consultative role. Business Travel Direct also sees huge value in technology partnership. The company has unveiled a tie-up with Traxo and TripBAM enabling it to capture out of policy hotel bookings. The technology gleans information from confirmation emails and then passes it off to compare rates on TripBAM to see if there are cheaper options. BTD Managing Director Julie Oliver describes it as “closing the loop on the unmanaged world.” The company is also positioning itself to act in a consultative role on technology and advise corporate clients on solutions in the market. Oliver says: “It’s very complicated so we’re trying to uncomplicate it. We’re trying to look at it from every angle and say what is causing the chaos.”

She sees the role as also looking at issues including AI, NDC and GDPR and making them more palatable for corporate travel managers. “There is a cocktail of stuff going on,” she says. “Millennials want different things and there are other things we have to manage. We need to be a lot more connected than we have ever been before and be able to communicate in trip. We can’t just sit here and say we’re going to take the booking any more.” One further interesting partnership is a Concur tie-up with booking.com. The desire to book in the same way you do in your leisure life is still alive and kicking in corporate travel so Concur believes it’s on to a winner by enabling this through booking.com and then capturing the spend via its TripLink system. Quieter on the corporate travel front this year is Airbnb, although its partnership with channel management company Siteminder signals its intentions when it comes to hotel inventory distribution so watch this space for more tie-ups in the corporate world. Traditional TMCs, meanwhile, are recognising the need to stay on top of these developments in a consultative way as well as through partnerships. There is a real need to find the best ways to marry automation with the human touch to make sure the travellers is happy and can be as productive as possible on the road.

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Extend the possibilities Introducing a marketplace of solutions that take your travel programme to the next level Shop the SolutionSource marketplace to find solutions from SolutionSource Authorised Partners that will meet your travel programme’s unique needs. • Optimise programme spend • Influence traveller behaviour • Drive operational efficiencies

Visit solutionsource.bcdtravel.com to learn more

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EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2018

A world of opportunities

Don't 󰇲i󰈤s 󰈢󰇼󰇹, bo󰈢󰈫 󰈠󰈣ur 󰇴󰇱󰇧c󰈥 󰇳o󰈟!

Conference sessions and an exhibition come together over two days at The Business Travel Conference 2018 Delegates attending The Business Travel Conference 2018 on September 11-12 can look forward to a keynote speech from the man described as ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He will address delegates on September 12 at 2pm, closing the conference. Fiennes has undertaken numerous expeditions and holds the title of the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface, along with a first for completely crossing Antarctica by foot. This is a man who at the age of 65 climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, so we look forward to being inspired by this incredible living explorer. How to attend The Business Travel Conference is limited to just 200 travel managers, bookers and PAs, so apply for your free place sooner rather that later at thebusiness travelconference.com, with choices of one and two day places. All buyer places are fully hosted so attendees can benefit from on-tap refreshments and meal breaks throughout the event. On day one attendees will also have a place at the TBTC drinks and canapés

u󰇧l󰇯󰇹󰈠 “As 󰇿e󰇱l 󰇧󰇷 󰈜 󰈢󰈚󰈪r󰈜󰇲󰈩e, co󰇳󰈆󰇪r󰈥󰇳󰈝e p󰇶󰇮󰈡t󰇯󰇲a󰇺󰇪 t󰇬e󰈦󰇪 󰇯s a󰇳 󰇹󰈢 60 t󰇶a󰇾󰇪l ex󰇬󰇮󰇩󰇯ti󰈢󰇳 󰈣󰈆 sup󰈛󰈢󰈩p󰈜󰇳i󰇪󰈤 f󰈣󰇶 an󰈧 󰈩󰇪󰈥ti󰇳󰈪 󰇷 󰇺󰈢 m󰈥e󰇹" de󰇰󰇪󰈪󰈜te As well as conference sessions, there is an exhibition featuring up to 60 top travel and meetings companies for delegates to meet and network with during the event. What's more, the whole conference and exhibition area are integrated in one openplan area thanks to the use of silent conference technology that proved so popular at last year's event.

reception held in the exhibition zone, offering a chance to meet with influential industry colleagues as the day closes.

Delegates can look forward to a keynote speech from the man describe as 'the world's greatest living explorer' by the Guinness Book of Records, Sir Ranulph Fiennes” 32

Conference programme The full TBTC event programme will be available online soon and featured in the next issue of The Business Travel Magazine whose editorial team is curating the combination of sessions based on delegate feedback. If you are a travel manager and your business has implemented an interesting change to its travel and meetings programme and you would like to share your experiences on stage at TBTC with other delegates attending, please contact Andy Hoskins, Editor of The Business Travel Magazine. Call 020 8649 7233 or email andy.hoskins@bmipublishing.co.uk. Suppliers interested in participating should call Kirsty Hicks on 020 8649 7233.

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EVENT PREVIEW

'The F󰉊E󰈺-to-at󰇹󰇪󰈡d 󰇹󰈟󰈣-da󰈂 󰇪󰇾󰈥n󰇹 wi󰇰󰇱 󰈢n󰈛󰈥 a󰈪󰇧󰇯n 󰇨e 󰇱󰇮m󰇯󰇹e󰈨 t󰈢 200 ve󰇶󰇮󰈆󰇯ed t󰇶a󰇾󰇪l 󰇲󰈜󰈡ag󰇪󰇶󰈤, bo󰈢󰈫󰈥󰈦s a󰇳󰈨 PAs'

Whe󰇳? Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 12, 2018

Whe󰇶󰇪? YOUR CORPOR ATE TR AVEL SPECIALIS T

Hilton London Bankside – the nearest stations are Blackfriars and Southwark

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

Register for FREE online at thebusinesstravelconference.com

Bo󰈢k 󰈜 󰇷󰇺an󰈧 kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk Tel: 07747 697 772

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SUSTAINABILITY

[ CLIMATE CHANGE ]

THE HEAT IS ON

Companies must act now to mitigate both their contribution to climate change and the impact of it, writes Roger Gardner

W

e know only too well that climate change is going to affect the way we live and work, but the key debate now is whether we can achieve global warming of less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100. Scientists advocate a target of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius but, despite growing decarbonisation, political inertia and short-term economic drivers, there is an increasingly slender chance of realising that goal. So change to our way of life is inevitable and we need to understand the implications. Responding to this rather gloomy prospect, a new and necessary industry is growing: ‘climate services’ covers the science, data analytics and strategy of dealing with a warming world that will affect the business travel sector like any other. Service providers, such as airlines, are users of these services as they will directly feel the effects but there are wider consequences for TMCs that need to be understood. The knock-on effects of temperature rise for airlines includes having to fly further to get around deep convective systems and storms, the prospect of poorer aerodynamic lift necessitating lower payloads and reduced availability of some, especially coastal, airports. A recent paper suggests that by 2100 between 10-30% of flights on warm days will have to reduce payloads by up to 4% which would directly affect

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cost and availability. Aircraft are already being prevented from taking off during extreme heat and severe storms hamper some airport functionality. What this boils down to is the need for effective risk management. Companies need to know that they can account for the changes that are already starting to be felt and to minimise the risks to business. Expert organisations such as the UK Met Office or The Climate Services Partnership are able to model and predict trends and impacts and then offer decision support and risk mitigation strategies. By its very nature, business travel includes some uncertainty that companies address by choosing travel modes, location and date etc to minimise disruption. Climate change will take this requirement to a different level whereby we can envisage that some locations are increasingly difficult to serve at certain times of year and journey times will be far harder to predict. Optimism that followed the Paris Accord is fading and the Trump administration’s ambivalence towards international effects – witness new enthusiasm for oil and gas drilling and the imposition of tariffs on solar panels – means that we can reasonably expect to fail to achieve the two degree target. Indeed, warming above one degree Celsius has already happened and, without

The pace of adverse impacts will accelerate and operational effects will happen sooner than previously predicted” mandatory obligations, states are unlikely to take steps to force change domestically if that courts economic penalties. That probably means that the pace of adverse impacts will accelerate and operational effects will happen sooner than previously predicted. Prudent companies will, along with driving their carbon reduction strategies harder, also be looking to get the best reasonable advice on how to adapt. That relates to service providers at the coal face, to use an unfortunate metaphor, but also to those like TMCs who look to shape the way that the business travel sector will deliver effective value for customers in a warming world.

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TECHNOLOGY

[ BOOKING TRENDS ]

IT'S GOOD TO TALK While mobile booking tools were once the holy grail, chatbots and voice search could take travel booking to the next level, writes Linda Fox

T

he one thing that was conspicuous by its absence in several pieces of recent research on technology in corporate travel was the apparent lack of drive for travel transactions on mobile phones. If you cast your minds back a couple of years ago, there was a bit of a race to get booking functionality, especially for hotels, up and running on the various corporate travel applications. But the latest studies Advantage Travel Partnership’s white paper and Travelport’s Global Digital Traveller research – paint a slightly different picture. While there is a huge amount of discussion now around the importance of putting the traveller experience first – and according to Advantage “at the heart of the process” – what that pretty much comes down to is connectivity and convenience in terms of being able to leave things and then pick up where a traveller left off across whatever device they choose. As a consortium of smaller travel management companies it is perhaps not surprising that the Advantage white paper talks about the importance of ongoing human interaction, with the role of technology enhancing TMCs' relations with their corporate clients. And while the Travelport study hones in on the habits of UK millennial travellers, sometimes viewed as the silent traveller, it also highlights the importance of humans, especially if something is going wrong. The study reveals that 42% of UK millennial business travellers describe being unable to get advice from human consultants during the booking process as a common painpoint. The idea that business travellers, especially millennials, want to do everything themselves isn’t necessarily true. They do want access to mobile 36

booking capability and online booking tools that mirror their consumer experience, but there is perhaps a little too much focus on mobile as the ultimate transaction medium. Simon Ferguson, Travelport Vice President and Managing Director for Northern Europe, says it’s more about managing the whole trip in the mobile environment and comes back to that need for “convenience, speed and ease of use”. Ferguson adds that travel managers should be thinking of mobile as an engagement medium and something to be used to encourage and influence the right booking behaviour. Booking business trips via mobile will likely become more widely sought after as technology improves while chatbots and increasingly voice search are areas that could also help. The Travelport research reveals 56% of millennial business travellers in the UK already use voice search in the travel planning process and there are wider predictions out there that 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. The potential for voice as a means to book and manage business travel is exciting. Travelport’s Ferguson highlighted a leisure example with an online travel company experimenting with Alexa that could easily translate into the corporate travel world. In the leisure experiment Alexa hooks into a digital travel profile which knows data on health,

payment, calendar, frequent flyer and hotel preferences, to make travel recommendations. If, or should that be when, it’s hooked into a business traveller’s profile with historical information, it starts to look very interesting in terms of not only a more user-friendly experience for travellers but maybe also in terms of analysing best times to travel and finding potential savings.

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One agency, 7 global offices

New York London Lisbon Madrid Barcelona Frankfurt Singapore 826,000 serviced apartments in more than 160 countries The Apartment Service is perfectly placed to provide the most comprehensive, connected, serviced apartment programmes across the globe We are renowned for successfully handling some of the most challenging accommodation needs, in order to understand how we can help handle yours, contact our experienced teams in any of our seven offices, we are ready to take your call +44 (0) 20 8944 3612 info@apartmentservice.com

www.apartmentservice.com

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Serviced apartmentS

cOminG of age

Š Lyf by Ascott

Supplier consolidation, new technology and increasingly diverse products are the hallmarks of a maturing industry, says Catherine Chetwynd

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Serviced apartments

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or the burgeoning serviced apartment sector, high demand and low supply made 2017 a good year for operators, while their corporate guests absorbed rising rates. “The hospitality sector overall is growing in the UK and that affects serviced apartment and hotel performance,” says Director of Business Development for data and analytics company STR, Thomas Emanuel. “Operators were able to continue to push average rates, leading to RevPAR increases; and for the most part, the country seems to be absorbing new supply,” There were some 50 new properties across the UK last year, bringing 1,000 extra keys across the serviced apartment industry and occupancies are averaging 81.7%. This is not the norm for most cities and in London, Edinburgh and Manchester this is despite growth in supply. Serviced apartments have yet to make their mark in secondary or tertiary towns and cities but hotels in those locations are trading at over 75% occupancy, so serviced apartments will follow. Suppliers are responding to this: “We have seen an uptick in interest from corporate clients and we are adding more serviced apartment inventory at our deepest corporate rates,” says Managing Director for HRS UK & Ireland, Douglas Green. “The demand from business travellers for more flexibility and choice has been a major boost for players like Airbnb and serviced apartments,” says Senior Analyst for Euromonitor, Miles Agbanrin. “Airbnb is now the largest player to make a distinct move into business travel and own serviced apartment properties.” Many business travellers are keen to have Airbnb properties in their programme and IMG is responding to that: “We are talking to Airbnb because travellers want to book this sort of accommodation but it is against policy currently as our risk people don’t like the thought of our people staying in homes that don’t have strict safety checks in place,” says Global Travel Manager, Hero Trew. PwC brooks no argument: “We do not promote Airbnb through PwC,” said Sam van Leeuwen, Head of Hotels and Venues, at the ASAP conference. “Our global security teams see it as an unmitigated risk and that message has gone out globally.” Meanwhile, ASAP, the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, continues to

We are at the very beginning of the growth of the serviced apartment sector – there is definitely potential for further acquisitions” emphasise and promote members’ point of difference, with a move to being an 100% accredited-only organisation. “Our key focus for this year is getting corporate buy-in for duty of care and quality accreditation,” says Marketing Manager Joyce Cawthorpe. “We are in discussion with Reviewpro, which aggregates customer reviews, and that will give us real-time feedback about how everyone is performing – it really enhances the quality accreditation programme,” she adds.

Market consolidation

SACO’s recent acquisition by Brookfield is the latest in a raft of movements in the sector. Last year alone, Hua Kee invested in Cycas, Choice Hotels purchased Woodspring Suites, The Ascott raised its stake in Quest Apartment Hotels to 80%, Q Apartments bought Skyline International and Mapletree bought Oakwood Worldwide. “We are at the very beginning of the growth of the sector – there is definitely potential for further acquisitions,” says Managing Director of Hospitality for JLL, Max Thorne. “Those businesses that have invested in property and in technology to enhance their operation will be of particular interest. I see 2018/19 being an opportunity, largely in the Brexit turmoil, for capital investments to take advantage of foreign exchange rates and consolidation.” Tom Meertens, Managing Director of EMEA for Oakwood Worldwide, says: “Our acquisition by Mapletree Investments has helped accelerate the growth of our portfolio and we have more than 20 Oakwood branded properties in the global pipeline.” Chairman of Quest, Paul Constantinou, adds: “This type of investment is good for the industry as it will see the market share of serviced apartments grow. They still comprise only 5% of the accommodation market in the UK, whereas in Australia, for example, apartments make up 25%.” 

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The booking tool is customised so that travel managers can set approved properties which are then highlighted on the platform when users search for an apartment”

And regarding Ascott’s investment: “Quest is now able to compete on a global scale. We are able to establish stronger relationships with corporate clients located in key geographic hubs where Ascott’s brands operate such as Singapore, India, China, UK and Europe, which is having a flow-on effect to our properties in Australasia,” he says.

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© Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity

Technology continues to be a contentious subject in the serviced apartment sector and despite increasing claims of live availability, as soon as a customer wants to extend a booking, they need human intervention. Habicus’ online booking tool Orbi has been in development for a year. It allows buyers to log in, book, manage the reservation, see MI and pull off reports. “We have customised the booking of serviced apartments for travel managers and guests, and travel managers can set approved properties so that they are highlighted when users search for an apartment. The system shows live availability and we bring online and offline, booked through account managers, together, reducing fragmentation,” says Caroline Saunders, Group Head of Marketing for SilverDoor.

The company bought Citybase in 2016 and the two now operate together under parent brand the Habicus Group. If a guest needs to extend their stay, they are transferred to their account manager. BridgeStreet’s technology operates in a similar way. There are more than 140,000 properties on the site, with another 200,000 to load this year, and some of this is available in real time, according to whether the supplier has released it. In addition, “If someone is extending a booking, they can re-book on line, via the call centre or go through to the account manager – there is always the choice between self-service and someone to help,” says CEO Sean Worker. Prompted by the difficulty of putting together guest information at serviced apartment operator Lateral City, Julie Grieve founded Criton Apps. It allows operators to turn guest information into an app and update it as required. “Guests use the app to interact with guest technology such as online check-in, controlling air conditioning and ordering room service,” says Grieve. PMS integration follows. Criton is building an app to contain those for each of Mansley Serviced Apartments’ six locations. Guests can choose what is relevant to them and, “It will also allow the

operator to upsell their locations,” says Julie Grieve. Mansley introduced apps to digitise bookings and posted on it videos of staff demonstrating how to use washing machines or change the heating, for example, which is popular with guests. Prestige Apartments uses online booking platform Elina, which is designed for serviced apartments, holiday rentals and lodges. “It shows live availability and you can add cleaning, airport transfers etc,” says Managing Director Alex Wood. “We had to have consecutive availability, so that the system did not split a booking between apartments to fill available space.” And SITU, with a global network of 36,000 apartments, introduces booking with live availability this year; properties offering this will be identified with a lightning bolt symbol. TMC Clarity has appointed SITU as its preferred apartment provider worldwide. SACO’s mission is to become a major operator of aparthotels in Europe and use technology to do it, according to CEO Stephen Hanton. This is partly driven by Brexit, which threatens a huge shortage of unskilled labour. Robot cleaners are taking over corridors in SACO’s Amsterdam and 

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WILDE APARTHOTELS BY STAYCITY Curated for the curious traveller and alive with Irish spirit, Wilde brings bespoke creative design led studio apartments to The Strand, London. Inspired by the wit of Oscar Wilde, it’s where you will escape, unwind, cook and work in beautiful spaces designed to evoke your curiosity. ESCAPE ORDINARY Book now at staycity.com/wilde

PART OF THE STAYCITY GROUP

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Bristol properties and, in a trial at The Cannon in London, guests have been using a mobile app to check in online, access the building and open apartment doors. Large numbers of guests also used it to communicate with staff. SACO plans to deploy that and other technology in its Manchester Locke aparthotel, which opens with 160 rooms, four restaurants and two bars. “We will have check-in kiosks where guests can access their reservation and cut their door key,” says SACO’s director of IT Dan Dickinson. “We will also offer reception but the automated element will help reduce the number of people at the front desk, which is especially useful at properties where the number of rooms and F&B outlets means a lot of activity in the reception area.” The company will add almost 1,000 units between 2018 and 2020 and further aims to more than double its footprint under its

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new ownership with an expansion programme targeting 12 major cities across Europe including Berlin, Dublin and Paris. Staybridge Suites Amsterdam will have mobile check-in and Ascott has trialled this in France. It is also experimenting with mobile messaging, allowing guests to use WhatsApp or WeChat to make reservations direct, for example. Chatbot trials follow. Mobile check-in and room key are also available at Lamington Apartments’ Room2 property in Southampton, where a selfcheck-in counter is another option.

The spice of life

The evolution of the sector continues apace. Aparthotel Adagio Access has experimented with micro apartments – smaller rooms and a communal kitchen – in Frankfurt and plans more. This year, Lyf enters the fray with two openings in China, and now Yotel is also a contender.

Adagio: London Brentford, Amsterdam, Munich, Airport NATO Bruxelles, Morocco; Hipark by Adagio: Marseille, Paris, Serris, Nice and Grenoble; Adagio access: Montpellier Ascott: Lyf, Shenzhen, China; Citadines, London Islington; Kwarleyz Residence, Accra, Ghana; Crest Collection, La Clef ChampsElysées Paris; Citadines Fifth Avenue New York Native: Empire Warehouse, London; The Anchor Line, Glasgow Oakwood: Oakwood Apartments in Japan, Tokyo (40) and Shin-Osaka (285), and China in Yanghzhou and Sanya Q Apartments/Skyline: Sao Paulo, Brazil (120); and Central London Quest: 10 aparthotels in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria Room2: Southampton SACO: Manchester Locke, London Moorgate (branding tbc) and a further London property (details tbc) Staybridge Suites: Manchester, London Kensington, The Hague – Parliament Staycity: Wilde Aparthotels London the Strand (106); Staycity: Liverpool

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CHELSEA Our collection of homely and luxurious serviced apartments offer: ▶ Space ▶ Privacy ▶ Flexibility ▶ Independence ▶ Exceptional Customer Service Short Stays: One Night Plus

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APARTMENTS BY

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• • CHELSEA MARYLEBONE CITY

WWW.THEAPARTMENTS.CO.UK E: sales@prestigeapartments.co.uk T: +44(0)20 7603 7629 F: +44(0)20 7603 7729

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Our beautiful apartments are more economical, offer more living space & comfort than that of a hotel room.

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Throughout the brand, facilities will include gyms, bike storage, laundry, home cinema and communal lounges for working and socialising. The Yotelpad app will allow booking, check-in/out, act as digital key, ordering of amenities and food, and give details of activities in the neighbourhood.

A world apart

Competition among aparthotel operators continues to push the boundaries. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is redesigning Staybridge Suites with a more contemporary feel and typical of this is the co-branded Manchester Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites property. It is Cycas Hospitality’s first double-decker property and opens in April with 116 units. The aparthotel occupies the top eight storeys of the building, with meeting room, fitness room, laundry and free buffet breakfast on the 18th floor. The Crowne Plaza has a restaurant, seven meeting rooms and gym. “Dual branded sites are becoming increasingly popular with investors as they allow a higher density of rooms and provide extended stay guests with the additional 

Travellers want to pay less and are willing to accept smaller apartments, which is where we are seeing an increase in demand – for more economy options within the market” © Adagio

“Travellers want to pay less and are willing to accept smaller apartments, which is where we are seeing an increase in demand – for economy options within the market,” says Director of European Operations for Aparthotel Adagio, Anja Müller. Managing Director of Select Apartments, Simon Morrison, agrees. “In the past six to 12 months, we have definitely seen a trend for clients’ looking at the budget segment of the market,” he says. But words like economy and budget meet opposition in some quarters. Yotel wears the label ‘affordable luxury’ and Ascott’s Marc Sandfort says: “I am hesitant to use the word budget; it is an offering to a different market. Brands like Lyf or Yotel look specifically at millennials – the very tech savvy travellers – others appeal to the more experienced traveller, the business executive.” Yotel has signed deals for five properties, including Utah and Miami. As is common, the property in Dubai, announced in 2015, deviates from the norm, having two F&B outlets and a minimum room size of 35m2, as opposed to 20-22m2 elsewhere.

+44 (0) 191 490 0789

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Serviced apartments

facilities offered by a full service hotel such as restaurants and meeting rooms,” says Cycas Director John Wagner. Adagio Birmingham reflects the brand’s latest thinking, with a communal working space and an Object Library, allowing guests to borrow items such as a guitar, rice cooker or mobile charger. Meanwhile, with the imminent launch of three aparthotels this year, Go Native has emerged resplendent under new brand Native. Empire Warehouse opens this spring on London’s South Bank with 24-hour check-in, free Wifi, communal work space and free pantry. The Anchor Line in Glasgow opens in the summer and London Warehouse in Manchester follows. Lamington opens its first Room2 aparthotel (comprising 78 units) in Southampton in March. “We have been inspired by Hoxton and CitizenM and the design has references to cruise ships,” says Director Robert

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Godwin, who is currently in discussions about a building in Glasgow. Never short of dynamism and creativity, the market is hosting a newcomer in the form of MY Serviced Apartment Consultancy, which handles all aspects of constructing a service apartment programme for those wanting to take advantage of direct sourcing and pricing, with potential for considerable savings over booking via a third party. All properties are assessed to ensure duty of care, safety, quality and comfort, and client portals allow buyers to book and correspond directly with operators in their programme. “We believe that operators are more accountable if they own the relationship with the corporate, paving the way for greater client service,” says the consultancy's founder, Gary Hurst. The initiative is one more sign of the serviced apartment sector's maturation.

[ Market insight ] The serviced apartments market in Germany is some way behind that of the UK and France but since 2010 it has grown by 112%, with an annual average occupancy of 77%, according to apartmentservice.de. This is set to continue, with some 13,000 units planned until 2019, an increase of 40%, and some 100,000 units forecast to open by 2030, representing 10% of the country's hospitality business. Top providers currently are Derag Livinghotels with 1,461 apartments, Adina Apartment Hotels (1,356), Aparthotel Adagio and Adagio Access (698), Citadines (556) and GHOTEL hotel & living (459). Branding is playing a major role in new projects, with micro apartments fast becoming a trend. Operators are also showing a strong interest in secondary destinations – a mark of the sector's growth.

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dating back to the 11th century; bold, coloured tiled walls; and 1950s ceiling lamps in the former renowned Lewis’s 5th floor restaurant – now the Adagio breakfast room, lounge and meeting space – which have survived since the building’s heyday as Liverpool’s leading department store.

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile ★ ★ ★ ★ Apartments: 146 apartments Address: 231 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8BJ Tel: 0131 322 8299 Email: h9289@adagio-city.com

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travellers, within easy walking distance of the city’s business district, Colmore Row and New Street Station which has excellent connections to Birmingham Airport.

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A new-look property from top to bottom, Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile is the first aparthotel to feature new apartment designs with lighter, brighter and altogether more dynamic living spaces. The public space is a welcoming, comfortable and stylish living area where guests can meet, share and collaborate. The design is inspired by the architecture and nature of the Edinburgh landscape. Located on the world-famous Royal Mile, minutes from Edinburgh Waverley station, the aparthotel is perfectly located for business and leisure in Edinburgh. adagio-city.com

Adagio Birmingham is part of the Beorma Quarter Development scheme in Digbeth. The first phase of the development saw the conversion of the 35,000ft2 Grade II listed Cold Store building on Allison Street into the innovative Adagio aparthotel. The Beorma Quarter, which has received national recognition, provides a new wave of leisure and business capital to the city centre, with Adagio at the heart of the development. Its central position is an ideal base for business

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TALKING TRAVEL

Travel rocks!

Suzi Quatro The leather-clad rocker talks to Angela Sara West about her relentless rock ’n’ roll life on the road

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lvis wanted to meet her, she’s lived it up with the likes of Led Zeppelin and rocked along with the Rolling Stones – the Detroit-born, Britain-based chart-topper Suzi Quatro started touring at the age of 14 and, having clocked up five decades in the music business, is still on the road today. The multi-talented musician has also found fame as a Hollywood actress, landed a lead role in London’s West End and starred in several TV shows. And recently she received an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, in recognition of her services to music. “I’m now Doctor Quatro! It’s a great honour,” she says. She has sold over 55million records and continues to write, perform and record her own material while juggling her weekly BBC Radio 2 show. “Music means everything to me,” she says. “It is my heart, my soul and my gift to the world. I feel honoured to have been doing my job for so many years.” Performing around 80 gigs a year, Quatro plays all around the globe and is just off the plane from headlining The Red Hot Summer Tour Down Under. She’s on track with another gruelling schedule this year, with Lucerne and Vienna next on the bill. But her favourite spot of all? “I’ve been going to Miami since I was eight and have never stopped loving it. I love Bal Harbour: beautiful beaches, great weather, great restaurants – whatever your wallet – and wonderful shopping, especially at Sawgrass Mills – I’m a shopaholic! I adore South Beach, Lincoln Road and all the Art Deco too, but I'm not so crazy about Downtown.” 46

Destinations still on the rock star’s bucket list include Greece and China, while a few far-flung performances have already struck a chord. “I love playing in Tokyo and have done since 1974 and, of course, in my second home, Australia, which has the best audiences in the world.” The Isle of Wight scores highly, too. “I headlined the festival a few years ago, which was a really nice one.”

Elvis has been my music icon since I was six years old. I had a feeling when I first saw him that I would do what he did… I really wanted to be him” Having travelled “all my life for my work,” Quatro has mastered packing. “The secret is to pack light, especially shoes: one walking pair, one going-out-to-dinner pair and one beach pair. You never wear everything you take on a trip – that is a fact.” Her hit hotels include Sea View in Miami’s Bal Harbour, Crown Casino in Melbourne, MotorCity Casino in Detroit and The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA, while her favourite airlines are Qantas, Emirates and British Airways. “There’s nothing more off-putting than noise when you’re trying to catch a few winks of sleep on a flight,” she says. “I always have some Valium, too, in case it gets crazy and I need to calm down. I’ve only actually used it for long-haul flights to Australia – you need to chill out and

disengage sometimes. I also travel with a small flask of brandy for the hotel.” Her big travel bugbear, like many of us, is queues: “Lines at the passport counter, customs, at baggage reclaim... and why does the turbulence always happen when you are finally able to get some sleep?” As you'd expect, there have been plenty of highlights and rock ’n’ roll stories throughout her career. “My first big tour of Australia was crazy! And my 50th birthday in front of 22,000 people in Berlin was a highlight. I also loved performing in Philadelphia to a crowd of 60,000. I was once doing a 10-minute goodbye, real diva-like, walking side-to-side, bowing, waving – the whole thing – and then I fell over a monitor, bass on, legs waving in the air! That was in Finland and the band called it my 'big finish'!” Having famously said, “I will retire when I go on stage, shake my ass, and there is silence,” this music business stalwart shows no signs of slowing down, and is as fit as she was in her 1970s heyday: “I jog, go to the gym and do yoga everywhere I travel.” Every rocker needs a place to chill and the first woman of rock ’n’ roll heads to her Balearic bolthole on Mallorca for some much-needed R&R. “It’s a place to unwind,” she says. “I fell in love with Mallorca the first time I visited the island. I liked the pace of it – that you could be loud at the disco and quiet on the beach.” She adds: “Mallorca means escape, peace and quiet to me, and the best thing about it is that it’s easy to get to from the UK, so there's no jet lag. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime in my profession!”

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TALKING TRAVEL

© Suzi Quatro - Gered Mankowitz

SUZI QUATRO The Best of Suzi Quatro: Legend is out now on Chrysalis Records. Quatro has also formed the supergroup Quatro, Scott and Powell (QSP), comprising herself, Sweet's guitarist Andy Scott and Slade's drummer Don Powell. Listen to Quatro’s radio show, Quatrophonic, on BBC Radio 2. Her poetry book, Through My Eyes, and novel, The Hurricane, are available on New Haven Publishing Ltd. See suziquatro.com

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THE REVIEW

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T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER

[ i n t h e a ir ]

[ o n th e g r o u n d ]

Small businesses fuel a rise in business travel spend

Scotland secures its first flights to China

Evolvi gives TMCs auto-refund capability

Significant rise in M&E spend reported by HBAA

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[ ro o m repo rt ] IHG shows off new Crowne Plaza designs

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Travel managers benefit from connected tech too How can technological innovation in business travel be beneficial to travel managers as well as the end user? I was joined by fellow innovators on a panel discussion at the Business Travel Show to tackle this question. On the panel, we discussed how the customer experience could be improved by sharing data across the supply chain, particularly with travel managers and travel management companies. At Avis Budget Group, this is something we’re doing behind the scenes already, thanks to some strong and well-established relationships with TMCs, as well as new and innovative technologies we have introduced to facilitate this. For example, the Avis Rental Tool (ART) portal enables travel managers to view live rentals for their travellers at any time. It’s hard to think of a more pressing topic facing businesses today than cyber security. We strongly believe in the importance of using data responsibly and we have invested heavily in our API platform in order to facilitate this. The forthcoming GDPR legislation will simultaneously force people to think differently about data, while also offering an opportunity for organisations to break down silos and collaborate securely both

internally and externally. At Avis Budget Group, we continually seek to provide our customers – both end users and travel managers – with innovative solutions to offer the most convenient, streamlined and stress-free experience possible. We have invested in connected cars which provide real-time reporting information on a vehicle’s ready-state, service needs, mileage and fuel consumption. In fact, we will have 100,000 connected vehicles in our fleet later this year and have committed to a fully connected global fleet by 2020. We have also digitalised our range of service offerings – including those offered through Avis and Zipcar – with optimised mobile technology. My belief is that increased collaboration is key for the business travel industry if suppliers are to realise the full potential of modern technological capabilities. Only when we truly collaborate across the supply chain to create a seamless end-to-end experience can we confidently claim that business travel offers the personalised and flexible experience that the modern business traveller wants. This, by default, will offer a better experience to travel managers too.

neal Sunners Innovation & Emerging Technologies SVP at Avis Budget Group International

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fello is the new face of merged TMCs TraveL management companies Sandy Row Travel and World Club Travel have joined together under a new brand and name, Fello. The new company is positioning itself as a “traveller-centric TMC offering a premium service”. Fello is targeting small and medium-sized companies and has particular expertise in the financial services, retail and entertainment sectors. Simone Buckley joined as CEO ahead of the merger of the two businesses which are both owned by their original founder Danny Shahaf. “We won’t bid for businesses looking only for the lowest transaction fee,” says Buckley. The TMC has an annual turnover of £24million and is weighing up acquisitions in the United States. “We need a US footprint,” says Shahaf.

[ TMC NEWS ] >> CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT (CTM) has introduced Lightning Lite, a package of tools and services for companies spending up to £750,000 per year on travel >> BCD TRAVEL has debuted SolutionSource, a one-stop shop of third party travel technology solutions for travel managers. Partners include Freebird, Rocketrip, Fairfly and Yapta, with more to be added over time >> CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS has partnered with GlobalStar Travel Management, boosting international office locations and in-country travel and meetings solutions for its UK-based clients >> CLARITY has launched a fortnightly podcast called Absolute Clarity, tackling all things business travel

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THE REVIEW

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IN BRIEF Mobile Amadeus

Amadeus is integrating its cytric self-booking tool into the Amadeus mobile platform. “Customers are excited as the app was missing the corporate stamp,” says Ghassan Teffaha, Global Head of Sales & Partnerships of Amadeus' mobile division. Amadeus will also add expense capture and push messaging. “We are seeing a demand for travellers to have one app to rule them all,” says Teffaha.

Spreading Wings

L O W D O W N

CTI sets out plans to double in size

Public sector Partners announced

CTI has launched a new integrated booking platform and laid out plans to double in size in the next three years. Called PLANNET, the new platform draws in content from a range of sources – including multiple GDSs – to provide a “simple, one-stop shop for corporate customers”. Content can be added from additional partners at any time. Meanwhile, Chairman John McEwan has set out CTI’s ambitious growth plans since private equity investor Endless took a majority stake in the company. “We’re expecting to grow aggressively through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions,” said McEwan. It notched £70million in sales in its most recent financial year. “We’re looking at £100million further ahead and we have ambitious plans to double the size of the business within the next three years.”

seven travel companies have been selected to fulfil the business travel needs of the UK’s public sector organisations following a rigorous selection process by the Crown Commercial Service. Trainline has been appointed to serve Online Rail Booking needs; HRS will handle Online Accommodation Booking; and Diversity Travel will take on Online Air Booking requirements. Selected to serve organisations’ Online and Offline Business Travel Booking needs are three travel management companies: Capita Travel and Events, HRG and Redfern. Lastly, Calder Conferences landed the Venue finding Services and Group Accommodation Booking category. The seven contracts will expire in February 2021. CCS says: “The five new commercial agreements include online and offline service provisions, specialist services from specialist providers, plus zero and low-cost booking fee models.”

Wings Travel Management is expanding its risk management offering with the introduction of a specialist disaster and crisis response service. It includes traveller evacuation, search and rescue logistics and emergency medical assistance.

Disrupt Award

Troop Travel was crowned winner of the 2018 Business Travel Disrupt Award. The company processes a wide range of data to recommend meeting locations for employees coming together from around the world, based on criteria such as cost, convenience and visa requirements.

Xpenditure targets UK

Belgian start-up company Xpenditure has launched in the UK, aiming to eradicate manual expense processes. The app and web portal enable users to record and track travel expenses by scanning a receipt. It claims to reduce the cost of recording and tracking travel expenses by 70% on average.

airfares are rising faster than forecast

Business travel spend grew 3.1% in 2017, exceeding previous forecasts, with small and medium-sized companies driving the increase. spend is estimated to rise a further 3.4% in 2018 according to American express global business travel

airfares are slowly climbing in markets with the strongest demand, according to BCD's update to its 2018 Industry Forecast. The travel management company says fares have risen more than originally predicted in some markets due to the improved economic outlook and rising oil prices. “Intercontinental economy airfares will increase slightly more than our original forecast as the global economy continues to strengthen,” says Charuta Fadnis, BCD Travel’s senior director of research and analytics.

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THE REVIEW

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A I R

VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIMS TO ‘DELIGHT’ WITH NEW FARES

Scotland secures its first flights to China HAINAN Airlines is set to connect Dublin and Edinburgh with Beijing this summer. Flights will depart Beijing for Dublin, before flying on to Edinburgh and returning to Beijing twice a week, with the route reversed for a further two flights a week. The innovative operation will commence on June 12 and be served by Airbus A330-300s. Edinburgh Airport says the launch is the culmination of more than three years’ work. Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, says: “China is a major importer of Scottish goods and services – food and drink in particular – and this flight will give Scottish businesses a direct link into this important market.”

VIRGIN Atlantic will introduce three new economy fare types this spring as it responds to the rise of low-cost competition across the Atlantic. Economy Light is its first hand baggage-only offering and is also non-refundable and cannot be changed. The middle tier, Economy Classic, includes checked baggage and seat selection, while Economy Delight additionally includes seats with more legroom (34-inch seat pitch rather than 31 inches) and premium check-in along with priority boarding. All three fare

START-UP AIRLINE TARGETS UK’S REGIONAL MARKET START-UP carrier Firnas Airways is targeting the UK’s regional market when it commences operations later this year. Using 19-seat BAE Jetstream 31 aircraft it will serve airports where passengers enjoy “short check-in times and quick turnarounds”, naming London Oxford, London Southend, Waterford and the Isle of Man. The airline is completing regulatory checks and securing financial backing, aiming for a third quarter launch.

[ TAKING OFF ] AIR ASTANA, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, will increase its operation between London Heathrow and Astana to a daily service from June 1 >> NORWEGIAN has commenced non-stop services from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, Argentina – its first service to Latin America >> PRIMERA AIR will add flights from London Stansted to Washington Dulles from August 22, following the April launch of services from Stansted, Birmingham and Paris CDG to New York, Boston and Toronto >> DELTA AIR LINES is reintroducing seasonal services from London Heathrow to Portland (from May 4) and Salt Lake City (from April 2) this summer, strengthening its joint venture with Virgin Atlantic

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categories include meals, drinks and snacks on-board. The airline says Economy Delight “will offer the leading economy product of any UK airline”. Price points for the new fares have not been made available, nor a confirmed date for their introduction. The new fares fall in line with joint venture partner Delta Air Lines’ Basic Economy, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ fares. The airline will launch a new economy cabin in spring 2019 when it begins taking delivery of 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

80%

Sustainable fuels' potential to cut carbon emissions

IATA is urging airlines to adopt sustainable fuels and wants one billion passengers to have flown on flights powered by a mix of jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025. A flight wholly powered by sustainable fuel could reduce the carbon emissions of that flight by up to 80%

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THE REVIEW

I N

T H E

A I R

IN BRIEF

G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes

United takes-off

Chief Executive. GTMC

United Airlines is launching seasonal services between London Heathrow and Denver (March 25 to October 27) and from Edinburgh to Washington DC (May 24 to October 4) this summer.

A330-300 for SAA

South African Airways has introduced the new Airbus A330-300 on London to Johannesburg services. The airline is also adjusting frequencies on the route to a single daily service.

New Wuhan route

China Southern Airlines is introducing a new non-stop route from London Heathrow to Wuhan, China. It will operate three times a week from May 30, with fares from £377 return.

BA cabin facelift

British Airways has unveiled its new World Traveller Plus and World Traveller seats on its fleet of ten Boeing 777 aircraft. Cabins feature 50 per cent larger entertainment screens and USB sockets at every seat. The first seats will be ready by winter 2018.

© Airbus S.A.S

Star appeal

Star Alliance’s new Digital Services Platform enables its member airlines to incorporate the data of fellow Star carriers in their own apps. “Most frequent travellers have a ‘home airline’ in our network and would prefer to control their entire travel experience through a single app or website,” says Star Alliance CEO, Jeffrey Goh.

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES IS BOOSTING ITS DAILY SERVICE BETWEEN LONDON AND ADDIS ABABA WITH THREE EXTRA FLIGHTS A WEEK THIS SUMMER – AND EXPANSION ELSEWHERE IN THE UK IS ON THE CARDS

Qatar Airways lines up Gatwick flights QATAR AIRWAYS will introduce flights from London Gatwick Airport to its Doha hub this summer. The doubledaily service will commence on May 22, three weeks after it launches flights from Cardiff. The airports become the airline’s fifth and sixth UK destinations, joining London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Flights will be operated by B787 Dreamliner aircraft – with 22 seats in business class and 232 in economy – and form part of a joint business venture with British Airways. “The United Kingdom is one of our most important markets, and one in which we have increased our capacity significantly over the years,” says Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.

It appears the initial mixed reaction to the introduction of New Distribution Capability (NDC) is beginning to subside. A survey has revealed that over a third of corporate travel buyers (35%) now regard NDC as positive, compared with just over one in ten (11%) the year before. With this shift in attitude it seems timely to step back and see the initiative as part of the bigger trend towards change in content distribution and in digitalisation. Much has been made of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and chatbots. And, as with NDC, there are early adopters and those that are still considering how best to incorporate automation. So far, technology powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) has been more widely adopted by leisure travel brands. However, there is enormous potential for TMCs to harness AI to streamline processes in areas that matter to business travellers. In our industry I see scope around expense management, itineraries that meet both policy and traveller preference and real-time changes. But the nature of our business means there will always be a place for human involvement.

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THE REVIEW

R O O M

R E P O R T

AVERAGE SERVICED APARTMENT RATES RISING STEADILY

Carlson Rezidor rebrands & expands THE CARLSON Rezidor Hotel Group has rebranded as the Radisson Hotel Group and introduced a new premium lifestyle brand. The group, whose brands include Radisson, Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Park Plaza and Park Inn, has launched Radisson Collection, a “premium collection of exceptional hotels in landmark locations”. It brings together the “finest” hotels in the group’s portfolio and launches with 14 properties. They include The May Fair in London and the Radisson Collection Royal Mile Edinburgh. Currently the 11th largest hotel group in the world, comprising some 1,400 hotels in operation and under development, Radisson Hotel Group aims to become one of the top three hotel companies in the world.

THE AVERAGE daily rate (ADR) for serviced apartments across the UK rose last year, but growth in London was markedly steeper. Year-end figures from data and analytics specialist STR show average rates in the capital city rose 9.8% to £198.74 but across the rest of the UK crept up only 1% to £93.71. Occupancy levels of 81.7% for the year were up by just 0.2% on 2016. The figure was boosted by London, where occupancy was up 2.2% as opposed to a 1.7% decline across the rest of the UK.

FIVE-STAR YORK HOTEL DOUBLES IN SIZE FOLLOWING INVESTMENT BOOST YORKHIRE'S only five-star hotel, The Grand Hotel & Spa in York, has opened 100 new guestrooms as part of a £15million investment. The additional rooms double the hotel’s size and are inspired by The Grand’s past as the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway. Investment has also delivered the opening of the White Rose Lounge for both work and relaxation, while work on an Arrivals Lounge begins this spring.

[ ROOMS ROUND-UP ] >> CLARITY has appointed SITU as its global preferred provider of serviced apartments for corporate accommodation >> SACO plans to add almost 1,000 new units between 2018 and 2020 to its Locke lifestyle aparthotel concept, targeting 12 major cities across Europe >> HYATT HOTELS' Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London will be the first UK hotel to join its Unbound Collection >> TRAVELODGE will open 20 hotels across the UK in 2018 including three new London properties and hotels in Glasgow and York >> SO/ HOTELS will open four new properties this year in Berlin, St. Petersburg, Auckland and Vienna. The hotels are expected to open by the year's end and will double its global presence

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Manchester experienced a strong increase in supply over the course of 2017 which contributed to a 6.3% decline in occupancy and a 3.4% drop in ADR, to £100.09. Edinburgh, meanwhile, posted 0.4% growth in occupancy and 7.3% rise in ADR, to £119.21. Thomas Emanuel, Director of Business Development for STR says: “Strong demand growth and the ability of operators to drive rate growth in several markets are positive indicators for how the sector will continue to adapt as its inventory expands.”

2-4%

Hotel rates rising globally for the rest of the year

Hotel rates will rise 2-4% over the rest of the year according to BCD's Industry Forecast. Rates are set to increase 1-3% in Europe, by 2-4% in North America, 5-7% in Africa and 2-4% in Asia. Only in the Middle East are rates expected to remain static

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THE REVIEW

R O O M

IN BRIEF Hilton goes soft

The Hilton hotel group plans ‘major expansion’ of its Curio and Tapestry soft brand collections in the year ahead, with both conversions and new signings. Additions to the Curio Collection include the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, the Porter Portland and two hotels in Paris. Tapestry Collection additions include The Graham Hotel Washington DC and Rose Hotel Chicago.

Royal growth plans

Nigerian Royal, Queen Catherine Ajike, has detailed ambitious plans for a new hotel group with a five-star property in every country in the world by 2026. The first eight Ugwunwa Ajike Hotels are due to open in August this year and include a property in Aberdeen.

R E P O R T

Virgin confirms first European hotel THE VIRGIN Hotels Group will open its first European property in Edinburgh. Sir Richard Branson has revealed plans to ‘re-envision’ the Scottish capital’s India Buildings on Victoria Street, converting it to a 225-room hotel scheduled to open in 2020. The property will feature multiple dining and drinking outlets – including the brand’s flagship Commons Club – as well as numerous meeting spaces. “Edinburgh is such an iconic city and we’re thrilled to be able to say it will be the home of the first Virgin Hotel in the UK and across Europe,” says Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. Hotels in Nashville, Dallas, Washington DC, New Orleans, New York and Silicon Valley are also in the pipeline, and the group is also exploring opportunities in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, Seattle and London.

Female-friendly

Capita Travel and Events is teaming up with Maiden Voyage to showcase hotels that are certified female friendly based on various safety and comfort criteria. The TMC says that, as companies become increasingly aware of their duty of care obligations, it will help travel managers make more informed choices when selecting accommodation.

Go Native

Aparthotel operator Go Native will open three flagship properties this year under its new Native branding. Opening this spring is Empire Warehouse in London, followed by a Glasgow property this summer.

'BOLD NEW DESIGNS' UNVEILED FOR CROWNE PLAZA HOTELS INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group has unveiled new designs for Crowne Plaza Hotels that will feature in its European properties. The Plaza WorkSpace concept is an area modelled on a public square where guests can switch between work and downtime. Co-working spaces will also feature 'huddle' spots and built-in touch screens alongside food and drink options. Guestrooms have been

designed to support work, downtime and sleep with noise reduction materials and enhanced lighting settings. Informal meeting areas including The Forum, Spanish Steps and The Studio will also be transformed for events and co-working. The new designs will be rolled out later this year at Crowne Plaza London Heathrow, Paris Republique and Hamburg City Alster.

I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM

Among all the possible reasons for wanting to work in travel, I’m guessing none of them were because it was perceived to be well-paid. ITM has recently published its 2018 Salary Survey, which explored pay levels amongst UK travel buyers. This is a warmly anticipated piece of research for our buyers, who are curious to see how packages compare. The survey is also a valuable benchmarking tool for organisations looking to pitch reward levels when recruiting. This year the survey confirmed the three primary influences upon buyers’ salaries are qualifications, industry experience and the employer’s market sector. 79% of our respondents said they benefit from an annual bonus scheme and, of these, it will surprise no one that 70% reported that cost reduction was the leading KPI to achieve it. However, we were encouraged to see 57% of those eligible for a bonus were KPI’d on traveller satisfaction. I can imagine some buyers taking the survey with them to their annual performance reviews as evidence of a deserved pay rise, unless the survey reveals them to be doing rather well versus their peer group.

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VIRGIN TRAINS INTRODUCES CAPPED OFF-PEAK FARES

Evolvi gives TMCs auto-refund power EVOLVI RAIL SYSTEMS is now providing TMC customers with auto-refund capability. It will enable users to process both standard orange paper tickets and unused mTickets and eTickets. Previously, mobile ticketing issued via TMCs was restricted to non-refundable Advance fares. The company has also seen the average value of tickets booked through its system fall from £57.02 to £56.82 across 2017. “TMCs and their corporate users are increasingly recognising the value of a managed travel environment when it comes to rail,” says Evolvi’s Managing Director, Ken Cameron, “and the ATV reduction is all the more satisfying given that businesses are not always in a position to book rail journeys a long time in advance.”

VIRGIN TRAINS is introducing capped Advance fares on off-peak services between Leeds and London. Customers will pay no more than £29 for a Standard Advance ticket purchased one week before travel for direct trains on the route between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Saturday. The scheme – the first of its kind from the operator – also allows Railcard holders to apply discounts to the capped fares. “We’ve launched this fantastic capped ticket deal to make sure our customers know exactly what

GROUNDSCOPE ADDS BLACKLANE GROUNDSCOPE, the ground transport booking specialist, has added access to Blacklane’s professional driver services in more than 250 cities across 50 countries. “Blacklane broadens corporate travel managers’ options to book reliable, safe and affordable ground transportation,” says John McCallion, CEO of GroundScope. “Blacklane fills the gap for global travellers needing premium rides at reasonable fares. It is ideal for airport transfers, train station transfers and rides to and from conferences and company offices.”

[ ON TRACK ] >> Only a third of rail passengers believe their train fares represent value for money and two-thirds are dissatisfied with the way journey delays are handled. The figures come from the latest National Rail Passenger Survey from TRANSPORT FOCUS which puts overall satisfaction at 81% >> GRAND CENTRAL is applying to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to operate more services on its North East and West Riding routes. If approved, the additional services between Sunderland and London Kings Cross and West Yorkshire and London would add 1,600 seats to and from the capital per day. The operator was ranked number one for overall journey satisfaction in the aforementioned NRPS survey

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they’re paying and can save money,” says Suzanne Donnelly, Commercial Director for Virgin Trains’ East Coast services. “Customers will never pay more than the capped rate for a Standard Advance ticket when purchased a week before.” She continues: “On top of the saving, customers can also enjoy all the comforts of travelling with Virgin Trains, such as great food, free wifi, power sockets, and our onboard entertainment service, Beam, where you can catch up on your favourite movies.”

32%

Eurostar's carbon emissions reduction since 2010

Eurostar has published new environmental targets in support of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. It aims to cut plastic consumption in half by 2020 and use 5% less energy operating trains. It will also introduce alternatives to fossil fuel energy by 2030

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THE REVIEW

M E E T I N G

P L A C E

IN BRIEF

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Regus openings

The global workspace provider is to open a third Regus Express location at Heathrow Airport, in Terminal 3. It will feature 12 meeting rooms, wifi and shower facilities. It will also open a new business centre in Croydon's Interchange House with 300 workstations, 74 private offices and two meetings rooms.

Healthy Hilton

The Hilton London Metropole has enhanced its food and beverage offering for meetings of up to 50 people. Forming part of the 'Meetings Simplified' package, it features all day grazing stations including 'free from' food, superfoods and energisers alongside a few guilty pleasures and a hydration station.

Vegas opening

Las Vegas's Aria Resort & Casino has opened a 200,000ft2 convention centre expansion across four storeys. The $170million expansion brings the total space to 500,000ft2 with ballrooms, privates suites, conferences and the new Cypress Executive Meeting Lounge.

Inntel addition

Meetings and events specialist Inntel is integrating Wizme, a new venue-booking platform that features an innovative bidding option. Wizme will work alongside Inntel’s proprietary technology and other third-party tools to offer users simple online access, live availability and a more comprehensive RFP tool.

Executive Director, ACTE

‘Significant’ rise in M&E spend reported CORPORATE SPEND per meeting and per delegate rose significantly in 2017, despite a slight decline in the average daily delegate rate (DDR), according to the HBAA. The HBAA Meetings Barometer for 2017 shows the average spend per meeting rose to £1,954 in 2017, up 21.2% from £1,613 in 2016. Meanwhile, the average spend per delegate rose 21% to £88.35 in 2017, up from £73.04. With the average DDR falling slightly to £32.88 from £33.06 in 2016, the key driving force behind the growth is the increase in the average meeting size, says the HBAA. Its report found the average number of delegates increased from 50 to 53, while the average lead-time fell from 83 to 77 days. HBAA members operate over 4,000 venues in the UK.

[ NEW & IMPROVED ] >> SPACES is opening its first business hub in Uxbridge's Charter Building. The workspace provider will also open a hub in Guildford, Surrey >> WYBOSTON LAKES has announced plans to invest over £3million on its conference venue, delivering enhanced meeting areas and a conference room for up to 200 delegates >> BLENHEIM PALACE is offering corporate and banqueting packages for 2018 in the Orangery as well as meeting room, event space and outdoor marquee hire >> KENSINGTON PALACE'S new events space, the Pavilion in the Sunken Garden, is now available for hire >> The ABERDEEN EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE CENTRE build has passed its halfway stage and is due to complete in 2019

Sometimes things work the way they were intended. Remember when corporate travel innovations would start in one country and take months to hit all four corners of the globe? With tech today, when a light bulb goes off in one region, it can become a worldwide trend in a matter of minutes. Our world is constantly changing. Changes in travel content sources and pricing; and changing entrants in the booking, flight, lodging and ground transport segments. But perhaps the biggest change of all is how we pay for everything. The tsunami of change forces ever more strategic thinking. Often, that means looking a year ahead when you know something may be obsolete by month’s end. This reality requires that business or travel programmes be as nimble as start-ups while having a long-term playbook, similar to what goes into making an aircraft carrier. Challenging? You bet. Hard to do? Yes – but increasingly important. You must hit change head on. Be an early adopter, read white papers, network, pore through magazines like this, attend conferences and join industry groups. Your company and your travellers will thank you.

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EVENTS APRIL 29 - MAY 1

ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT

LIZ EMMOTT

New York, US / acte.org

MAY 2-3

ITM ANNUAL CONFERENCE Aviemore, Scotland itmconference.org.uk

MAY 10-13

ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE

ANDREW REITMAIER

ROBERT ALLEY

PROMOTED AT: Amadeus TO: General Manager, UK FROM: Commercial Director

JOINS: Oakwood Worldwide AS: Director, Business Development EMEA FROM: Independent consultant

JOINS: Roomzzz AS: Chief Operations Officer FROM: Hallmark Hotels

Liz Emmott has been appointed as General Manager for the UK at Amadeus. She leaves her role as Commercial Director to oversee business strategy and drive growth for customers.

Oakwood Worldwide has hired Andrew Reitmaier, who will be responsible for all real estate development across the EMEA region, including acquisitions and management contract deals.

Robert Alley has been appointed Chief Operations Officer at Roomzzz, overseeing guest experience, commercial approach, sales and marketing and financial controls.

RICHARD JEWSBURY

RICHARD VINER

ANDREW PEROLLS

Miami, US advantageconference.co.uk

MAY 22

TBTM DINNER CLUB Dorchester Hotel, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

MAY 25

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS Grange St Paul's Hotel, London thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.co.uk

JUNE 10-12

GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE Co. Wicklow, Ireland gtmc.org

JOINS: Emirates AS: Divisional Vice President, UK FROM: Independent consultant

JOINS: ATPI AS: Director, Global Sales UK and Europe FROM: Expedia

JOINS: Business Travel Direct AS: Executive Director FROM: Giles Business Travel

Richard Jewsbury returns to Emirates as country head for the UK. He will oversee Emirate's entire sales and service functions across its operations in the market.

ATPI has appointed Richard Viner in the new role of director, global sales UK and Europe. Viner brings over ten years' experiences previously working for Expedia.

Andrew Perolls has joined Business Travel Direct as Executive Director with a brief to focus on business growth. He brings 20 years of experience from across the industry.

JUNE 15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, West Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com

JULY 3

SUMMER SPARKLE London thebusinesstravelconference.com

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AUGUST 11-15

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GBTA CONVENTION

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San Diego, US / gbta.org

Y

CM

SEPTEMBER 11-12

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

MY

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CMY

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ALSO ON THE MOVE... Supercity Aparthotels has appointed Liz Devaney in the newly created role of Group Head of National Sales >> Dieter Vranckx is the new Chief Financial Officer and deputy CEO of Brussels Airlines >> Deniz Inceer has joined Select Apartments as Business Development Director >> Diners Club International has hired Wayne Pollard as Senior Business Development Manager >> ATPI has appointed Helen van Berkel as Global Head of Events >> New travel management company FELLO has appointed Mark Cuschieri as Non-Executive Director >> Tony Mikkelsen has joined Europcar Group as Group Corporate Sales Director 1

11/05/2017

15:01

EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND RECRUITMENT SPECIALISTS Dedicated to the business travel sector info@sirius-cv.com • +44 (0)845 605 9055 •

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GOLF

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL

MASTERS 2018

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Friday June 15 Mannings Heath West Sussex Team and individual entries include brunch on arrival, 18 holes of golf, use of golf buggies, on-course refreshments and post-event barbecue. In addition, the first 17 teams to enter receive the option of free sponsorship of a hole.

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MEBYMELIA

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train travel is an essential component of most corporate travel programmes but is complicated by the number of disparate players. Get to grips with it in our dedicated guide to

RAIL TRAVEL

Introduction, 62-64 / Spend management, 66-68 / Behind the scenes, 71 Onboard product, 72-74 / Airport connections, 77 European rail travel, 78-79 / Data, 80

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Rail travel / Introduction

mixed

signals Rail operators are investing in their product and improving the business experience but the industry’s progress is far from full steam ahead, writes Dave Richardson

B

etter productivity on the move and wider deployment of mobile ticketing are top of many business travellers’ lists of the improvements needed when travelling by rail. But of course they also want to see train operators get the basics right – punctuality, and being able to get a seat whichever class they are travelling in. Here there is often a sharp divergence between inter-city operators, which generally provide a good service, and commuter operators whose over-congested trains are a daily grind at an ever increasing cost. The huge amount of investment going into the rail network should enable more operators to get the basics right, with new franchise agreements usually building in commitments to new or revamped trains, better and free wifi, and more customer care. But the huge corporations running Britain’s railways – many of them owned by foreign rail operators – can bid too much to run a franchise and get caught out. Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) (90% owned by Stagecoach) may have ceased to exist by the time you read this, amid political uproar that it has been allowed to walk away from its franchise early after sustaining heavy losses. But it is the Department for Transport (DfT), via infrastructure operator Network Rail, which is in charge of major projects to improve our railways, and sometimes it also 62

funds new trains as for Great Western and VTEC. The government is also investing in rail’s wifi connectivity, promising speeds of up to one gigabit per second by 2025. The roll-out of mobile ticketing is happening slowly, with rail lagging far behind the airline industry. Virgin Trains West Coast, Greater Anglia, CrossCountry, Arriva Trains Wales, TransPennine Express and Chiltern Trains offer the best mobile ticketing covering both advance and flexible 'Anytime' tickets, with operators such as Great Western and East Midlands Trains lagging behind. But Adrian Parkes, CEO of the GTMC, calls for patience. He says: “It is encouraging to see rail ticketing and booking service providers take proactive steps to deliver new functionality and offer TMCs wider options, such as enabling TMCs to process refunds on both e-tickets and mobile tickets. This is a significant step forwards and the trend towards greater flexibility of mobile and e-tickets is expected to continue.” Trainline for Business is working to ensure mobile ticketing is rolled out across the country as quickly as possible, including a full range of ticket options. Currently mobile tickets are available on over 50% of routes but not for all ticket types, and it expects this to increase rapidly over the next 12 months. Ken Cameron, Managing Director of Evolvi Rail Systems, says: “We know from talking to TMCs that frictionless travel is increasingly 

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Introduction / Rail travel

With over 20 train operators, it’s not surprising that getting them all around a table to agree operational standards is a tall order”

© Virgin Trains

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Rail travel / Introduction

 an aspiration. The move to eTicketing, stored automatically within a travel wallet and available without activation, moves us closer to the rail industry vision of industrywide mobile solutions by 2020.” Gary McLeod, Managing Director of Traveleads, feels that mobile ticketing standards are best agreed by intermediaries such as Evolvi and Trainline, rather than train operators with different agendas. “With over 20 train operators, it’s not surprising that the likelihood of getting them all around a table to agree operational standards and the requirements for investment is a tall order,” he says. “It’s been positive to see Evolvi coming forward with third-party mobile and e-ticket solutions, which can then be adopted by operators. This is probably the best way forward as long-term investment from industry technology partners makes more sense.” A new independent technology company called Railguard is automating the process of claiming compensation for delayed journeys. It says a company can recoup up to 3% of their rail spend simply by claiming the compensation they are entitled to. Working through TMCs, it trawls through the journeys booked and calculates compensation due, taking a 15% cut which it shares with TMCs. All train operators pay back 50% of journey costs for delays of one hour, while those operating the Delay Repay scheme pay out after a 30-minute hold-up, and some for as little as 15-minute delays. Matt Freckelton, Managing Director of Railguard, says: “Two of the top 10 TMCs are already working with us and we are talking to many others. Some businesses don’t claim

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any money back or leave it to the individual traveller, but as Delay Repay is extended, they could get back nearly 7% of their spend.” Paul Dear, HRG’s Director of Supplier and Industry Affairs, says another improvement that businesses need is live data and the ability to check their travellers’ movements. But this will only work when available across the whole network. “All travellers want more information about their journeys, and airlines communicate about delayed or cancelled flights,” he adds.

Long distance services are generally very good and Advance fares are widely available, but tickets bought on the day can be eye-wateringly expensive” “Train operators should get to know the traveller as airlines do, but we are only at the beginning of this kind of development.” This is one of the aspirations of new consultancy Black Box Partnerships, set up by Raj Sachdave who spent ten years with Capita Travel and Events and before that worked for Trainline. “The crux of my business is to look at whatever supplier, and ask how they can be smarter in working with TMCs and the corporate market,” he says. “Train operators see themselves purely as train operators and don’t consider they are part of a wider itinerary that may include parking at one end and ground transport at

the other. They need to follow through on their franchise bids by interacting more deeply with the traveller.” While most passengers want operators to get the basics right first, there is growing concern about the franchising system in the wake of VTEC’s failure on the East Coast route. Consultant Nick Hurrell says the problem is that few travellers have any choice in the train operator they use. “The current franchise system is, in many people’s view, broken,” he says. “We are seeing fewer companies bidding for franchises and often the winning bidder is predominantly overseas owned. It seems that British companies simply can’t afford to pay the enormous rebates demanded by the Department for Transport. “Stagecoach and Virgin simply couldn’t make a profit on East Coast and I wonder who will be next,” he says. Many companies now mandate use of rail travel over air if feasible, an example being the Wellcome Trust charity whose people travel to and from many universities from its London base. Its Travel Manager, Rod Richardson, says: “Long distance services are much better and good Advance fares are available, but tickets bought on the day can be eye-wateringly expensive compared to airlines. “The wellbeing of our people is a very important part of our travel policy, and on a journey from London to Edinburgh by air there is so much wasted time. Long-distance operators are generally good, but commuter operators such as Southern are appalling. Train operators are only as good as your last journey with them.”

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STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION Travel TransPennine Express for your next business trip and you’ll enjoy free Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment and power sockets at your seat. Our trains travel directly to the heart of major cities, so you can get from platform to pitch without a traffic jam or airport transfer in sight. And this is just the beginning. We’re set to increase our train services linking the largest cities in the North and Scotland by 55%, meaning more chances for you to get connected and close new deals – all at over 100mph. Book tickets in advance and save 50%.*

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*Savings are calculated by comparing Advance Purchase Standard single ticket fares for 300 TransPennine Express journeys, purchased before the day of travel to the equivalent price of an Anytime Standard single ticket. Subject to availability. Full terms and conditions at tpexpress.co.uk

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Rail travel / Spend management

BU

Y

the price

IS RIGHT The complexity of rail fares can make spend management hard work, writes Gillian Upton, who advises on best booking practice

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ail travel remains the poor relation to hotels and air in terms of spend management. It is equivalent to how meetings spend was viewed until not too long ago, but slowly it is playing catch-up, spurred on by the government’s aim to simplify ticket types. The Rail Delivery Group’s (RDG) mission is to roll out ticketless technology by introducing e-tickets and m-tickets and eradicate the bulk of paper orange tickets by 2020. The target is for 70% of all tickets to be fulfilled by digital ticketing by 2020. Few believe that deadline will be met as the train operating companies have been slow to respond. The brake on progress is the length of the franchises granted to the train operating companies; too short to allow sufficient profits to be ploughed back. Ticket barcode scanners at stations are still not widespread; getting refunds on e-tickets are still a challenge, and so on. Currently, passengers on Virgin West Coast can create an e-ticket on Advance fare types, delivered as a PDF, while East Coast doesn’t support e-tickets but does offers m-tickets accessed through an app, but they must be activated pre-travel and it cannot be printed. 66

Trainline and Evolvi's booking technology has transformed rail spend management. Evolvi, for example, allows multiple sub sets of policies, good data collection and cost attribution. Bookers can compare peak and off-peak fares and see the difference in price between an open return and two single Advance tickets, which can often be cheaper. Despite annual fares rises – 3.9% this year – the average ticket value across the Evolvi booking platform has fallen, from £59.03 in 2013 to £56.82 in 2017, and is testament to the ability to manage rail spend. “The key to making savings is to drive compliance,” says Gary McLeod, Managing Director at Traveleads. “Be proactive and ensure that travellers are not going off-policy or doing their own booking.” McLeod reckons the average saving they can demonstrate, when a client moves from unmanaged to a managed framework, is 20%. “It’s quite easily achievable,” he says. Chris Vince, Director of Operations at Click Travel, says it can be as high as 25% by putting in guidelines. “Buyers can definitely manage rail as effectively as hotel and air as there are quick, easy wins,” he says. ”There is low-hanging fruit to go for.”

Good practice begins with a tight policy around what ticket types and class of travel travellers can book. “This will become more important as rail technology develops for mobile booking within corporate selfbooking tools,” says Denise Harman, Senior Director Programme Manager UK&I, CWT.

One ticket type to avoid is open returns. Some 80-85% of journeys happen as planned so there is no need to book an open return ticket”

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Spend management / Rail travel

The next step is mandating the booking channel in order to collect data and get visibility of spend from the management reports. Savings can begin from changing behaviour and the key message is to book early to access the cheapest fares. The optimum time to book is 14-16 days out, while travelling after 9am and after 7pm on weekdays massively cuts costs. Booking a meeting at 11am rather than 9am can easily save 50% on the fare price. “Educate travellers to look at the fares before they arrange the meeting,” says McLeod. “Clients don’t mind if you shift a meeting back by an hour to save money.” Robust communication is key and clients can create prompts on the log-in screens to book early. The one ticket type to avoid is an open return ticket. “Some 80-85% of journeys happen as booked so there is no need to book an open return ticket,” says McLeod. The on-the-day Advance tickets, introduced by Cross Country and Virgin, can accrue savings but their availability is limited. There are still a handful of train operating

companies who do not offer them, namely Arriva Trains Wales, South West Trains, Southern, Southeastern, ScotRail and GWR. By far and away the cheapest rail tickets to buy are the Advance tickets where the exact time and date of travel are stipulated. Lone Konradsen, Head of Consulting Services at Capita Travel and Events, says: “Booking a specific train could save you 44% on the cost of a full anytime single.”

Tactical tickets

Meanwhile, the jury’s out on split ticketing where a traveller divides their journey into a number of separate tickets. For example, on a London Kings Cross to Leeds journey it could entail buying one leg between London to Doncaster and another between Doncaster and Leeds. More well-known is the Didcot Dodge on West country journeys such as London-Bristol. Split ticketing savings can be in the range of 15-20%. “I’d question the value of it,” says McLeod. “The savings are not massive and the time spent doing it is not necessarily worthwhile. Plus, you have to move halfway through the journey and you’re not guaranteed to get the same seat.”

Imelda Aspinall, UK Travel Manager & Group Coordinator at MBDA, says it’s difficult to include split ticketing options on a booking platform so has parked the idea for now. “A few bookers are savvy and book them but they do have to invest time in doing it,” she says. Moreover, the train operators are busy eradicating these loopholes.

First class thinking

The jury is out over first class travel, although its appeal endures. With its extra space to work, more privacy, free teas and coffees and wifi included in the fare, this is where the multiple travel policies take hold. There are many companies who dictate standard fares across the entire population of travellers and have a total ban on first class, but others who have one policy for 90% of the workforce and another for the remaining 10%. But who are the 10%? Across Capita Travel and Events’ customer data as a whole, around 12% of rail tickets purchased are in first class, but once you take out 

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Rail travel / Spend management

professional services and legal firms from the mix, that figure drops down to 2%. “It’s generally revenue-generating employees using first class, and not always necessarily the top earners,” says Konradsen. First class is undeniably a good product and the case for improved productivity is strong, says Click's Chris Vince. “Advance first class tickets are often the cheapest option if you look at total travel cost and add up the cost of the coffee, bacon roll and wifi. We recommend a tolerance level in the policy – an extra £10 might let them upgrade and be more productive.” Travellers at MBDA, for example, are permitted to purchase Advance first class tickets if they are cheaper than standard tickets on the day of travel. Some companies are utilising data analytics to find the ROI of first class over standard class. If a traveller is able to work one more hour in first than in standard class on London-Manchester, for example, then “you don’t have to be earning much more before that ticket is paid for,” says CWT’s Harman.

Capita suggests trying for a deal on those routes where there is modal competition between air and rail. Some TOCs will offer a deal to the TMC as a reward, or to Evolvi, rather than on a per client basis. “My message would be, if you have a reasonable amount of spend with a train operator then approach them and ask,” says Melanie Glass, Head of Client Services at Evolvi. Adds HRG's Ian Windsor: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get. London-Manchester is a really busy route so there is no reason to give anything away, but on London-Scotland there is more scope.” Another strategy is to take advantage of emerging technology such as price tracking, advises CWT’s Harman: “Firms like Yapta are well established and work with businesses and TMCs to find savings through automatically tracking flight and hotel prices but there’s also similar technology for rail. “Trainline now offers a price prediction tool allowing business travellers to track the price of Advance tickets through its app,” she says.

Doing a deal

One travel manager trying to take all this good practice on board is Imelda Aspinall at MBDA. Having tackled air and accommodation over the last three and a half years she is now turning her attention to rail. Aware that the company loses out on MI as there is no mandate to use their TMC for rail bookings, the first change will be the implementation of an online booking tool later this year and to mandate its use. MBDA's employees travel between four UK offices in Stevenage, Bristol, Bolton and London as well as bases in France, Italy, Germany and Spain on a regular basis. “Car hire is our major competitor to rail as our major sites are out of the way so we use an Avis implant,” says Aspinall. “We know we spent £1.4million on rail last year through the TMC but we also know that’s only a fraction of the total.”

Aside from educating travellers on ticket types and the times of meetings, buyers can approach the operators to negotiate soft benefits. Success will depend entirely on your volume of spend. It’s worthwhile approaching them if your rail spend is over £100,000 a year. It will also depend on your routes: those with more competition, such as Birmingham-London where there are three train operating companies, are more likely to negotiate.

Putting it into practice

Having had the freedom to book what they want to date, her plan is to get the 100 or so travel bookers on-side and she has already created a focus group of top users to start the process of change. “The question ‘What’s in it for me?’ will always be the main issue but once I have strong MI I'll start looking at negotiating soft benefits and those will be the rewards. But first, TOCs want to know what volumes can be shifted,” explains Aspinall. Both e-tickets and m-tickets will be requirements once the booking tool is implemented too. “Rail is a difficult nut to crack,” she says. “There are so many ticket types and it’s still very confusing. I think booking tools struggle sometimes in presenting rail as there are so many algorithms to go for but I know that there are better solutions out there.”

[ Ten Top Tips ] 1. For internal meetings, book the rail ticket first before deciding on the time of the meeting. 2. Take advantage of off-peak fares. 3. Changing an Advance ticket can be as little as £10 so it's worth committing to early. 4. Put in prompts on a booking tool's log-in screen to help influence behaviour. 5. Negotiate soft benefits with the operators, such as parking, lounge and coffee vouchers, if your spend is over £100,000. 6. Look at Advance first class fares as they can be the cheaper option on a total trip cost basis. 7. Book as far in advance as possible. 8. Try and avoid Anytime (open) rail fares. 9. Make use of season tickets for travellers on long-term projects. 10. Fix the outbound ticket to save money rather than an open return for the trip. If you don’t know what time you’re returning, book a single Advance ticket for the outbound leg and a separate, flexible ticket for the return leg. That could save up to 40% on the total journey price.

Buyers should approach train operators to negotiate soft benefits if your rail spend is over £100,000 a year” 68

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The cost of rail travel just went... down again!

UK rail fares may have gone up again, but for users of Evolvi’s online rail booking and fulfilment system, the average cost of a ticket in 2017 actually went down. Savvy purchasing made possible by access to best value fares, policy setting and industry-leading MI, enabled the corporate clients of TMCs to pay an average ticket value (ATV) of £56.82 compared to £57.20 in 2016. In 2013, this figure stood at £59.03 and despite year-on-year fares increases of up to 3.9% since then, the ATV is now much lower.

Rail Systems

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Travel and Events

Did you know that 8-10% of a company’s rail tickets go unused? It’s even higher during times of travel disruption caused by unavoidable issues, such as bad weather. That’s potentially thousands of pounds of unnecessary travel costs. Our customers benefit from access to many initiatives, one of which is the automatic refund/repay of unused rail tickets where the fare permits. Speak to a member of our team to see how we can help your organisation minimise or avoid unnecessary travel costs.

capitatravelevents.co.uk travelevents@capita.co.uk 0330 390 0340

Capita Travel and Events Limited. Registered office 17 Rochester Row, London, SW1P 1QT. Registered in England No. 01094729. Part of Capita plc. www.capita.co.uk. All rights reserved.

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Behind the scenes / Rail travel

[ EUROPE BY RAIL ]

GOING DUTCH Andy Hoskins hops onboard the new Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Amsterdam

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he 08.31 Eurostar departure from London St Pancras on February 20 wasn’t any old Eurostar service – this was a one-off preview of its new service to Amsterdam. Tulips lined the platform and Dutch flags were waved as a handful of photographers and TV crews captured the occasion. After many delays, the service was finally on track.

Onboard were more TV crews and journalists from national newspapers in the UK and Netherlands, as well as travel trade and rail industry press. Accompanying us was a glut of Eurostar staff – including CEO Nicolas Petrovic – all hoping the journey would pass smoothly and without incident. And so it proved. Breakfast was served soon after departure, followed thereafter by a series of talks from Eurostar staff on the merits of the new service and its refreshed product. First came a presentation and tasting of its new catering for the service, including Dutch produce such as cold meats, cheeses and stroopwafels. Next was a talk about the technology provision, including wifi and an onboard entertainment portal.

And then we took it in turns to join the driver in the cab (strictly no talking to him!) as we scudded through the countryside. The wifi worked well and I managed to get some work done too. And then suddenly, out of the window, we spotted planes descending into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the train was pulling into Amsterdam Centraal Station. The journey, three hours and 41 minutes, had passed quickly and comfortably – it is a wonderful way to travel. But will it really take marketshare from the airlines? And surely not to the same extent as its services from London to Paris and Brussels have? This one-off service, like the one that commences on April 4, stopped only twice en route. First in Brussels, which was reached in a new fastest time (1h48m) due to the omission of a stop in Lille, and then in Rotterdam (3h1m). Its twice-daily service will depart from St Pancras at 08.31 and 17.31. We spent an hour in Amsterdam – enough time to visit Eurostar’s passenger facility at the station and for a wander down the Damrak avenue in the bitter cold – before embarking on the return journey. And it is this leg that poses a bit of a problem. First we boarded a Thalys train bound for Brussels, where we disembarked, passed through security and passport control and then boarded a Eurostar service. This will be the arrangement until the end of 2019 at the latest, when Dutch and UK authorities should have a more convenient arrangement in place. The change in Brussels adds around an hour to the return journey, giving an overall time of around 4.5 hours.

It is not ideal, particularly for time-poor business travellers. Simon Calder, the Independent travel journalist, documented his return journey by air from Schiphol to Gatwick. Eurostar travels from city centre to city centre – one of its big advantages – and Calder's journey, incorporating two airport transfers and a flight, was 3hrs 44mins, despite spending only 50 minutes in the air. His conclusion? “It’s been an awkward and stressful journey and frankly I’m frazzled. Even with the Brussels bother, let the train take the strain.” In an age of traveller centricity and focus on wellbeing, it will be interesting to see if the service strikes a chord with those doing business in the Netherlands.

It is a wonderful way to travel, but will Eurostar services between London and Amsterdam really take marketshare from the airlines?”

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Rail travel / Onboard product

building

MOMENTUM Investment in onboard product is raising the bar for business travellers, writes Dave Richardson, who tracks the latest changes

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Onboard product / Rail travel

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he private sector is investing nearly £14billion in new trains over the five-year period from 2016 to 2021, according to Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which brings together train operators and publicly funded infrastructure operator Network Rail. Companies winning franchise contracts are usually committed to heavy investment, but sometimes they are over-ambitious as with Virgin Trains East Coast. It promised to pay £2.3billion to the government by 2023 but is being allowed to back out of its contract. Many of the older trains still trundling around the rail network will be gone by 2021, by which time all trains must provide toilets with disabled access. Another requirement in new franchise contracts is free wifi connectivity throughout, while the public sector is investing in upgrading rail’s mobile infrastructure. Over 7,000 new carriages will have been delivered by 2021, according to the RDG, and by then an extra 6,400 services each week will be operating. Electrification projects by Network Rail are enabling cleaner, greener, more efficient trains to run in some parts of the country, although journey time reductions are usually modest. The Great Western electrification from London to Bristol and South Wales is behind schedule and over budget. Electric trains will not run to Oxford or beyond Cardiff to Swansea, but new high-speed trains can operate on both electric and diesel power. The main Edinburgh-Glasgow line has been electrified at last and both cities will soon be linked to Stirling by electric trains. Several routes in Northern England have also been wired up, including one route from Liverpool to Manchester and the Manchester-Preston-Blackpool corridor, which is just being completed. But other electrification schemes have been put on hold, including ManchesterLeeds and throughout from London to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield. Bimodal trains (diesel and electric) will be introduced to serve cities beyond the core electrified routes on the network. Below are some of the major improvements that UK rail passengers can expect

over the next few years. With the exception of developments at Great Western and Transport for London’s Elizabeth Line (also known as Crossrail), the most eye-catching improvements are generally in Northern England and Scotland.

Great Western

Electrification of the line to Bristol and Cardiff is due to be completed by the end of this year, with a new timetable introduced from January 2019. It is taking delivery of 93 new high-speed bimodal trains built by Japanese manufacturer Hitachi in the UK, with promised journey time reductions of up to 17 minutes on London-Bristol and 14 minutes on London-Swansea. The 40-year-old diesel powered High Speed Trains (HSTs) are nearly all being replaced, with the new trains having 24% more seating capacity. A fleet of 45 new electric trains has been introduced on local Thames Valley routes, with the diesel trains they replace increasing seating capacity around Bristol.

East Coast

The Virgin Trains East Coast name may disappear, although it may be allowed to continue in a new arrangement agreed by the DfT. But whoever operates them, a new fleet of publicly funded Hitachi high-speed trains will start to operate in December from London to Leeds, Edinburgh and beyond. The London-Edinburgh journey will be cut to four hours, a saving of nearly 30 minutes that could persuade more business travellers to switch from air, while LondonLeeds will take two hours. The 65 new trains will also open up a new direct link to London from Middlesbrough, and increase frequency from Harrogate, Bradford and Lincoln.

TransPennine Express

A major investment in new trains will transform the on-board environment on routes from the North West to the North East and Scotland over the next couple of years, including a new link between Liverpool and Glasgow starting in December.

Caledonian Sleeper

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Rail travel / Onboard product

Three new fleets of trains include 19 bimodal trains by Hitachi with a top speed of 125mph, with on-board facilities including more seats at tables with plug sockets, free wifi access throughout, and first class seating. The older diesel trains being replaced are being refurbished to increase capacity on other parts of the network. A Business Development Manager, Susie Palmer, is working with corporates to alert them to the new opportunities for a productive journey by rail rather than road or air, in the case of Manchester-Edinburgh/ Glasgow. TransPennine Express is also working with the GTMC and ITM.

Northern

Northern

Elizabeth Line

Operating some longer routes such as Manchester-Barrow, Leeds-Carlisle and Middlesbrough-Newcastle-Carlisle, plus many local services, Northern is also investing heavily in new trains. It will introduce 43 new electric trains and 55 new diesel trains starting in December, again with free wifi throughout.

ScotRail

Virgin Trains

Thameslink

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Elizabeth Line

Transport for London is spending £1billion on 66 new trains to operate through central London from December 2018, using new tunnels and connecting with Underground services. When the route is fully open from December 2019, trains will operate from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, including direct trains from Heathrow to stations including Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.

Thameslink

New trains costing £1.6billion have already led to a major increase in capacity on northsouth routes via the City of London, serving Gatwick and Luton airports. From May this year new routes without changing trains will include Brighton to Cambridge.

Apart from new electric trains on the Edinburgh-Glasgow and Stirling routes, it will transform services to the north of the country from May by introducing High Speed Trains displaced from Great Western. Although they will not operate at their 125mph top speed, they will increase seating capacity and introduce new levels of comfort and catering on routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Virgin Trains (West Coast)

Caledonian Sleeper

Commuter operators

A new fleet of trains is being introduced on overnight services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William from October at a cost of £100million – the first new sleeper trains in the UK for 35 years. For the first time ever in the UK (except on Royal Scotsman luxury charters), passengers can book cabins with en suite facilities as well as cabins with sinks only or reclining seats. Tickets for Comfort Seats start from £45; Classic Rooms from £85; en suite Club Rooms from £125; and double bed suites from £200 (all per person).

Greater Anglia GWR

electric trains for the London-Norwich route and ten 12-carriage electric trains for the Stansted Express. Commuter trains will also be renewed with 38 new bimodal trains introduced for regional services.

The operator is spending £1.4billion on a total fleet renewal including ten 12-carriage

While not introducing any new trains, the operator has signed up to a raft of improvements after its franchise was extended through to 2019 with an option for a further year if the DfT so decides. The Pendolino fleet used between London and Birmingham, the North West and Glasgow is having a refit including free wifi access for all passengers (not just first class) by January of next year.

Many such operators are also introducing new trains to increase capacity and ease overcrowding, including South Western Railway, c2c and Great Northern. London Northwestern (formerly London Midland) has over 100 new trains on order while Merseyrail will replace its fleet by 2020.

A requirement of new franchise contracts is free wifi connectivity, while the public sector is investing in upgrading the rail’s mobile infrastructure”

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Connecting business across the UK Arriva UK Trains’ network reaches far and wide; CrossCountry, Chiltern Railways, Grand Central, Arriva Trains Wales and Northern operate a range of services, from rural commuter lines to long distance and inter-urban journeys. Arriva UK Trains connects the three countries of Great Britain and collectively runs 4,186 services each weekday. Aberdeen

Connecting people and communities to what’s important to them. Glasgow

We will always go the extra mile for our customers.

Edinburgh

Newcastle Sunderland

Carlisle Barrowin-Furness

Delivering great service, on great journeys across Great Britain.

Bangor

Doncaster Sheffield Lincoln Stoke-on-Trent Nottingham Birmingham

Oxford

Swansea

Cardiff

Aylesbury Stansted London

Bournemouth

We are passionate about making sure that your journey with us is a great experience.

Hull Grimsby

Manchester Liverpool

Shrewsbury

We provide great value and enjoyable journeys that help remove the limits on where businesses can go.

Scarborough

York Preston Leeds

Blackpool Holyhead

Middlesbrough

Guildford

Penzance

Explore ways to make your business rail travel more effective – connect with us at: arriva.co.uk/uk-trains

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Airport connections / Rail travel

FAST-TRACK FOCUS Benjamin Coren explores the airport express services available to and from London’s major airports

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here are plenty of options for business travellers making their way to London’s key airports, so leave the car at home and consider an airport express instead. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports each has a dedicated express service running from central London but these often run alongside regular, often much cheaper, rail options. Travellers departing from Gatwick Airport, for example, can head to the airport on services from Southern and Thameslink from across the South, as well as the high-speed Gatwick Express service itself. To Heathrow, options include braving the 50-minute trip by London

Heathrow Express Runs from: London Paddington station to Heathrow Airport Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5. Operating hours: 05:10 to 23:25 (Mon-Sat); 06:10 to 23:25 (Sun). Journey time: 15 minutes to Terminals 2 and 3; 21 minutes to T5; and 19 minutes to T4. Amenities: Complimentary newspapers and magazines in Business First class. Onboard Express TV in both First and Express class featuring BBC news and journey information. Plenty of luggage racks. Business/First class: Business First Class. Tickets: Prices from £25 (peak) and £22 (off-peak) oneway and £37 return. Book well in advance for one-way weekday fares from £12.10.

Gatwick Express Runs from: London Victoria and Brighton to Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal. Operating hours: 05:00 from London Victoria to 23:05 from Gatwick (Mon-Fri), and 23:00 at weekends. Trains depart every 15 minutes. Journey time: 30 minutes between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. Amenities: Power sockets and free wifi throughout. Dedicated luggage racks in every carriage. 2x2 seating with additional under-seat storage. Business/First Class: First Class. Tickets: Anytime single fares available from £17.80 and Anytime returns are from £32.70. Off-peak day returns available from £28.10.

Underground, spending half an hour on the Heathrow Connect or cutting 15 minutes off that time with the speedy Heathrow Express from London Paddington. Stansted Airport, meanwhile, is served by Greater Anglia’s Stansted Express from London Liverpool Street and by CrossCountry trains. Crossrail, due to open in December 2018, will offer an additional connection to Heathrow and connect with the DLR and other major stations in London including Paddington, Liverpool Street and Farringdon, which provide connections to London City Airport, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Southend.

Stansted Express Runs from: London Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale and Stansted Airport. Operating hours: On Monday, Friday and Saturday the service starts at 03:40 from Liverpool Street. Sundays it’s 04:10 and 04:40 on other days. The last train is at 23:25. Trains operate every 15 minutes. Journey time: 47 minutes from London Liverpool Street and 36 Minutes from Tottenham Hale. Amenities: Plug sockets and free wifi. First class features spacious seats and airport security FastTrack. Business/First Class: Business Plus or First Class. Tickets: Single fares are available from £7; Open returns are available from £29.

Heathrow Connect Runs from: London Paddington to Heathrow terminals, calling at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes & Harlington. Operating hours: 04:42 to 23:03 from Paddington (MonSat) and 06:27 to 23:12 (Sun). Journey time: 30 minutes, operating every half an hour to Terminals 2 and 3. There is a free transfer to Terminals 4 and 5 every 15 minutes. Amenities: Luggage space, air conditioning, legroom. Business/First Class: First Class seating available. Tickets: From Paddington, a single is priced at £10.30 and an open return is £20.70. National railcards are accepted and Oyster and Travelcards can also be used on some services.

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Rail travel / Europe

when planes take on

TRAINS

Are new rail services between London and Amsterdam a sign of things to come? Dave Richardson reports

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he launch of Eurostar’s direct service from London to Rotterdam and Amsterdam on April 4 will make more corporates consider rail for travel into Europe, although the initial service is low key. Two trains a day depart from London St Pancras International at 0831 and 1731, with an attractive city centre to city centre journey time of 3h 01m to Rotterdam and of 3h 41m to Amsterdam – and a new, shorter journey time of 1hr48 to Brussels. At present there is no inbound direct service, as the British and Dutch governments have yet to agree on passport and security checks on departure, and this is 78

not expected until the end of 2019. Instead, inbound passengers can jump on a Thalys service and change at Brussels to complete formalities, with a typical end-to-end journey time of around 4h 40m. Business travel consultant Nick Hurrell, of 3sixtyglobal, says: “Surely the UK Border Agency could have sorted this fiasco out sooner? The reality is that most people will probably continue to fly between the cities until the governments get their act together.” The lack of frequency and of a direct inbound service will limit Eurostar’s appeal to business travellers in the shortterm. Travelling out to Amsterdam on the evening departure for meetings the following

morning and then returning by plane is a feasible scenario, however. And in the longer term Eurostar hopes to challenge airlines who currently fly four million passengers a year between London and Amsterdam. But Eurostar is never likely to become the dominant player as on London-Brussels and London-Paris, due to the longer journey time. The operator is also boosting its appeal to business with a new loyalty scheme and renewed focus on reducing carbon emissions. Club Eurostar rewards customers for their frequency of travel and spend rather than the class they travel, and members can now spend points on upgrades, in addition to free tickets and discounted travel, with no blackout dates or fees.

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Europe / Rail travel

Eurostar’s long-established environmental programme Tread Lightly has cut carbon emissions by 32% and waste by 50%, and a new ten-point plan based on the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement is now in place. Eurostar’s newer trains – as used on all Amsterdam and many Paris and Brussels services – are all equipped with wifi, offering a productive journey end-to-end. A journey time of four hours is often considered the tipping point for modal shift, with some cities in northern Germany also within that range via a change at Brussels – Cologne and Dusseldorf, for example. Many business travellers have not considered rail in Europe due to the perceived difficulty of booking, but this is being addressed by online specialists such as Voyages-SNCF and Trainline, as well as GDS providers. Paul Lacey, UK Manager of Voyages-SNCF, says the new Amsterdam route has significant potential. “We are definitely seeing sustained growth in business travel as the

benefits of time, comfort and the ability to work and communicate via wifi become more apparent,” he says. “The GDS, often linked to selfbooking tools, and our trade website are the preferred booking methods for our TMC and business travel partners. “The introduction of Print@Home on Eurostar Connection routes is a new feature. Paris, Brussels, Cologne and northern French and European cities are still the most popular with business travellers because of journey times, but we have also enhanced the offer in Italy and Spain.” Trainline for Business research shows that business travellers will opt for train rather than plane on journeys of four hours or less. “The shift to rail from air on high-speed international routes is being encouraged by businesses for a variety of reasons,” says a spokesperson. “Rail travel is vastly more environmentally friendly, and the office-tomeeting journey can often be faster.” Amadeus is leading the way in connecting more train operators to GDS with investment of €100million planned over the next five

years. It offers bookings on up to 90 train operators worldwide, with Asia Pacific being identified as the next growth area. Train operators with IATA codes are shown in the same display as airlines. Antoine de Kerviler, Global Head of Rail and Ground Travel at Amadeus, says: “People want the simplest possible booking experience using mobile, but that can be quite difficult for cross-border travel as each country has its own standards. De Kerviler adds: “We are working hard to achieve better integration including cancellation, refunds and exchanges of tickets. Corporate travel policy is increasingly mandating use of rail and our aim is to make it as easy to book as air travel.”

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Rail travel / Data

THE HIGHS AND LOWS 96% GRAND CENTRAL 95% HULL TRAINS 92%

the average ticket value in 2017

£59.03

VIRGIN TRAINS EAST COAST

the average ticket value in 2013

91% VIRGIN TRAINS 91% HEATHROW EXPRESS

Despite rising fares, the average ticket value (ATV) purchased through the Evolvi rail system has fallen over the last four years. Evolvi says its smart purchasing options and ability to set bespoke rules has helped corporates nullify annual fares increases.

£

Rising fares

Route Bristol-Edinburgh London-Cardiff London–Manchester London–Norwich London–Derby London–Newcastle

…and why The biggest impact on overall satisfaction

…the lows… The poorest performing operators

72% SOUTHERN 75% TFL RAIL 75% SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY 77%

GREAT NORTHERN

79%

36% PUNCTUALITY 17% OTHER 15% CLEANLINESS 10% FREQUENCY 9% CROWDING 7% JOURNEY LENGTH 6% COMFORT Overall passenger satisfaction with longdistance train journeys

86%

ARRIVA TRAINS WALES The table below shows the increases in fares of several ticket types across various routes and operators in recent years. All sample fares are standard class and valid by ‘any permitted route’. All ticket prices to London are to ‘London Terminals’ or to a specified London terminus, rail-only.

Operator

Fare

Jan 2013

Jan 2014

Jan 2015 Jan 2016 JanSurvey 2017 Source: National Rail Passenger

Jan 2018

CrossCountry

Anytime

£333.00

£343.00

£355.00

£362.00

£376.00

£393.20

Off-peak

£158.40

£164.10

£168.20

£169.80

£173.00

£138.20

Great Western Virgin Trains NXEA / Greater Anglia East Midlands Trains East Coast / VTEC

Source: National Rail Passenger Survey

£56.82

The highs… The best performing train operators

Anytime

£207.00

£213.00

£218.00

£220.00

£226.00

£234.20

Off-peak

£88.00

£90.50

£92.50

£93.40

£96.10

£104.50

Anytime

£308.00

£321.00

£329.00

£332.00

£338.00

£338.00

Off-peak

£77.30

£79.70

£81.60

£82.40

£83.90

£86.90

Anytime

£107.70

£105.70

£105.70

£105.70

£105.70

£109.50

Off-peak

£48.10

£50.50

£51.70

£52.20

£53.10

£55.00

Anytime

£180.00

£185.50

£185.50

£178.50

£182.00

£194.50

Super Off-peak

£64.00

£66.00

£67.50

£68.00

£64.50

£66.50

Anytime

£301.00

£301.00

£308.00

£278.00

£292.00

£306.00

Super Off-Peak

£122.00

£126.00

£129.10

£130.30

£132.70

£137.40

Source: Research by Transport Focus, based on National Fares Manual January 2013 - January 2018

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Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like

sterminshotel

St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW +44 (0) 207 222 7888 www.sterminshotel.co.uk

Take a virtual show round visit www.sterminshotel.co.uk/tour

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DEPARTURES

On the road with

Muriel Muirden travels worldwide in her role as Executive VP and Chairwoman of design firm WATG

DETAILS Name: Muriel Muirden. Position & company: Executive Vice President and Chairwoman, WATG. Nature of your business: Hospitality design, planning, landscape and strategy. Based in: London. Business trips per year: 20. Annual mileage: Significant. Regular destinations: Singapore, New York, Los Angeles, Europe-wide. Most recent trip: Honolulu, Hawai'i. Next trip: Algarve, Portugal.

GOOD & BAD Best business travel experience: So many wonderful experiences – the food in MUHAMMARA Aleppo, the beaches in IS ON THE Maui, the vibrancy of MENU

A ROSE-RED CITY HALF AS OLD AS TIME

Hong Kong, the unspoilt beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the wildlife in the Serengeti... I've had a fabulous career and am privileged to have travelled to amazing places and spent time with inspiring people. Worst business travel experience: I was undertaking a tourism strategy in a remote part of Kyrgyzstan. After a rough day on the road we had a supper arranged with local dignitaries where I was served a boiled sheep’s head – a great honour – but not quite what I was expecting. I had to try and eat the thing – it was the longest dinner of my life!

SUPPLIERS Preferred airline or hotel brand: I love Air New Zealand. The crew are friendly and the wine list is a treat. Loyalty points collector? I collect a lot of miles with British Airways and I use them to get home to Scotland to spend time in my cottage in Argyll. Favourite loyalty scheme: Avios.

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: work, rest or play? All three! I kick off with a huge pile of work, then a movie and finally a snooze. Onboard connectivity – take it or leave it? Leave it. I would never get through all my reading if those endless emails kept on pinging into my inbox. Onboard habits: Comfortable clothing, a pashmina scented with lavender, as little food as possible, one glass of wine and gallons of water.

DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to: Never say never. I will always give a destination a second chance.

82

Muriel Muirden

Send me back to: Zanzibar. Historic Stone Town is a magical place, eclectic and atmospheric, and the people are wonderful. Top overseas landmark: Petra in Jordan. The beauty and splendour of this ancient pink city really took my breath away.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Pack light or go prepared? Despite 20 years of extensive travel, I still struggle to pare down my luggage to nearly nothing – men are significantly better at this. Never leave home without: A great book. Endless hours spent at airports can be swallowed up by immersing yourself in a fabulous piece of fiction. My iPad and a bottle of Jo Malone Grapefruit scent are also compulsory.

One thing that would improve business travel: Removing baths from all hotel TRAVEL POLICY bathrooms and installing CRANK UP Stick to the travel policy huge walk-in showers that THE (SHOWER) or a bit of a maverick? do not flood the bathroom PRESSURE I am Scottish so seeking floor but do pack a punch in out the best deals is terms of water pressure. absolutely in my DNA! Biggest business travel If you could change one thing irritation: Complex in-room about your travel policy: I think lighting. You spend an hour trying we are treated fairly – no changes to work out how to switch all the necessary on that front. lights off sometimes!

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DEPARTURES

New kid on the block Cow Hollow, Manchester THE LOWDOWN

This 16-room

boutique hotel is located in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter and opened this spring after three years spent refurbishing and converting the former textile warehouse. The hotel aims to offer affordable luxury throughout with kingsize beds, Hypnos mattresses,

antique brass bathrooms with REN products, fibre-optic wifi and Smart TVs with complimentary Netflix access. The hotel has collaborated with selected restaurants in the area to offer guests discounts on lunch and dinner. The hotel is named after the chic Cow Hollow neighbourhood in San Francisco. that's a FACT

The building is

around 150 years old and was once a key part of Manchester’s ‘Cottonopolis’. Original features from its illustrious past have been retained, with huge exposed oak beams, Carrara marble fireplaces, wrought iron machinery and original textile factory doors. they said it

“The perfect spot

for hustling through business deals or in which to spend a romantic weekend, the hotel is located just a five-minute stroll from Manchester’s Piccadilly Station and the city’s hippest bars and restaurants.” RATES

Rates at the

Cow Hollow Hotel start from £120 per night with suites from £150.

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EVENT REVIEW

The Business Travel

PA & EA networking evening PA & EA Networking Evening ▼

The Business Travel Conference hosted Spring Sparkle, an exclusive event for PAs and EAs, at the Sofitel London St James in March. Attendees enjoyed complimentary massages, cocktails and canapés and the chance to win some fabulous prizes courtesy of the generous partners.

Sweet treats on offer!

▲ 12.03.2017

Flybe were among the partners in attendance

Networking with industry peers

Spring Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening Brought to you by The Business Travel Conference With thanks to the host venue

Fabulous prizes were won!

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DEPARTURES

Meeting in As the UK City of Culture for 2017, Hull and its history have been in the spotlight. The wellconnected city was built on trading and seafaring, but today the city is focused on the chemical and healthcare sectors

Getting there First Hull Trains operates direct daily services between London and Hull with the fastest time of around two and a half hours. Alternatively, overseas visitors can fly into Humberside International Airport, located 30 minutes from the city centre. P&O Ferries operate overnight crossings from Holland and Belgium into Hull. Further information Contact Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Conferences for advice on all aspects of organising a conference or event in the city. Visit visithullandeastyorkshire. com/conference, email conference.bureau@vhey.co.uk or call 01482 391535.

Hull

Wo w factor

Quirky venue

On a shoestring

Hull Venue

The Deep

Albermarle Music Centre

Myton Street, Hull HU1 2AG 0844 8440444 / hull-venue.co.uk

Tower Street, Hull HU1 4DP 01482 381000 / thedeep.co.uk

The state-of-the-art music and events complex is scheduled to open this summer and will have a capacity of up to 3,500 people. The arena will be capable of holding large corporate conferences, exhibitions and trade shows. It will also have the flexibility to reduce for seated events. There will also be a VIP lounge suitable for workshops. DDR ALL-NEW is £30 +VAT. VENUE FOR 2018

The spectacular aquarium is great for hosting events in a marine setting, as guests can meet and dine as sharks and rays swim by. Various packages are available from large-scale events and gala dinners to meetings. Room hire is available by the hour in the adjacent business centre for small meetings. Full venue hire including all access to The Deep is £1,000 and dinner options can be added on.

60 Ferensway, Hull HU2 8LN 01482 318800 / hullmusichub.com/ albermarle-music-centre

Small but perfectly formed

Wired up

The Music Centre offers a range of rooms from a 300-seat auditorium to five classrooms accommodating 25 people. The spaces are adaptable for exhibitions and the venue is wired up with data projectors. The centre itself houses numerous musical instruments and workshops can be arranged on request. Prices start from £30 per hour for room hire.

Out of to w n

Ferens Art Gallery

University of Hull

Bridlington Spa

Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3RA 01482 613902 / hcandl.co.uk/ferens

Cottingham Road, Hull HU1 7RX 01482 346311 / hull.ac.uk

South Marine Drive, Bridlington YO15 3JH 01262 678258 / bridspa.com

The gallery is home to a magnificent collection including paintings, sculptures and works by European Old Masters. Gallery 2 and 4 have capacity for up to 150 and 140 people respectively, theatre style or reception and classroom style. The gallery’s café with a pay bar can be hired for evening events and The Live Arts Space can be used for conferences and exhibitions. Rates available on request.

The main University campus is located just over two miles from the city centre and can offer rooms at the Lawn Centre in Cottingham where there are five meeting rooms. The facilities are wired up with in-house AV, internet access and wifi. There are facilities to suit dinner functions, conferences and boardroom meetings. DDR starts from £30 per MODERN person per day. ACADEMIC FACILITIES

The award-winning venue and local landmark features a 1930s Art Deco ballroom and the 675-seat HEAD OUT OF Edwardian theatre. TOWN IN STYLE Able to accommodate events for two people up to a standing capacity of 3,800, the venue is suitable for meetings, events and exhibitions. There's also a full catering team for gala dinners. DDR starts from £32.50 +VAT.

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DEPARTURES

On business in...

Abu Dhabi

The capital of the United Arab Emirates and its second most populous city, Abu Dhabi’s rapid development and wealthy citizens have seen it grow into an advanced metropolis. The UAE has diversified its economy away from oil, with new business opportunities in the likes of professional services, healthcare and education

Amazing Emirati CULTURE

French, Mediterranean and Niçoise

airport terminals and car hire is

cuisine. Another new opening is the

available in the airport’s Skypark

The new five-star Saadiyat Rotana

Butcher and Still at the Four Seasons

Plaza opposite Terminal 3. The A1

Resort opened in March and

Hotel, a 1920s Chicago-themed

bus runs every 40 minutes to

features conference facilities, while

steakhouse which also has a cocktail

downtown Abu Dhabi.

SLEEPING

the Hyatt Capital Gate is located

bar. For an authentic Emirati

beside the Abu Dhabi

experience, visit Mezlai at the

BEACH LUXURY

National Exhibition Centre. Also consider Jumeirah at Etihad Towers with its own private beach and the Eastern Mangroves Hotel &

Further information For information on meetings and events, visit visitabudhabi.ae, email Angela Bates (abates@dctabudhabi.ae) or call 0207 2016 401.

M U ST-SEE SIG HTS Check out the stunning Sheikh Zayed

af te r hour s

Grand Mosque. The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in November and has

For top views of the city and

works on display from da Vinci,

cocktails, check out Ray’s Bar on

Monet and Van Gogh. Adrenalin

level 62 of Jumeirah at Etihad

junkies should take a trip over to

Towers. Barfly by Buddha-Bar in the

Ferrari World, which is home to the

Venetian Village has a lounge and

world’s fastest rollercoaster, or visit

La Peite Maison at Al Maryah Island

bar overlooking the Grand Canal.

the Yas Marina circuit where visitors

opened in October last year offering

Alternatively, watch the sunset at the

can take to the track in a sports car.

Spa by Anantara. Getting there Etihad operates three daily flights from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi and also flies twice daily from Manchester and five times a week from Edinburgh. British Airways operates a daily service to Abu Dhabi from London Heathrow.

Emirates Palace.

EATING

outdoor bar at Asia de Cuba on the Corniche beside the beach.

GETTING D O WNTOwN Etihad Airways customers travelling in Business or First can use the free Etihad Chauffeur service, which can be requested 24 hours prior to flight. Taxis are plentiful from all

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DEPARTURES

Focus on...

The Nordic economies are among the strongest in the Western world, enjoying increased GDP and export volumes. benjamin coren is your guide to travelling to and doing business in the nations of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland

The Nordics

The Nordic nations are famous for their high standards of living and economic freedoms. In fact, the five countries all secured a place among the top 10 nations in the recent World Happiness Report. Comprising Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, each of the nations has a multitude of business opportunities for UK-based enterprises and already-strong economic ties could receive a postBrexit boost in the years ahead. The region has a combined population of just half that of the UK, but the countries are nevertheless important business partners. English is widely spoken and is often the preferred language in which

business is conducted, while innovative technology solutions, economic competitiveness, equality and welfare policies keep the Nordics one step ahead of many competing neighbours. Denmark is receptive to UK products and investments and is ranked third in the world in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. As a member of the EU there are no significant trade barriers, however keep an eye on Brexit negotiations to see if this could affect future trade. There are plenty of opportunities within engineering and transportation, including one of the largest rail renovation projects in Europe, running until 2025.

The UK is one of Norway’s most important trading partners and is the UK’s most significant supplier of oil and gas, with bilateral trade reported to be worth £18.57billion in 2015. As one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita, Norway remained strong through the economic crisis. Opportunities within Norway for UK business abound in energy, renewables and low-carbon economy – the Norwegian government runs the Enova initiative, encouraging efficiency measures and low carbon energy. British companies such as BP, British Airways, BAE Systems and GlaxoSmithKline are operating in Sweden and doing business is very

the nordics time zones: Denmark and Sweden: GMT +1hrs; Norway: GMT +2hrs; Finland: GMT +3hrs; Iceland: GMT +/-0hrs. currency: Denmark Krone, £1=8.39 DKK; Norwegian Krone, £1=10.98 NOK; Swedish Krona, £1=11.19 SEK; Finland Euro, £1= €1.13; Icelandic Króna, £1=141.26 ISK. Visas: British passport holders do not need a visa to enter any of the Nordic countries. dialling codes: Denmark +45, Norway +47, Sweden +46, Finland +358, Iceland +354

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DEPARTURES

similar to the UK. It is important to note the intricacies of Swedish labour laws and that relationships between employers and unions are strong. Organisations posting workers to Sweden need to register at the Swedish Work Environment Authority. The country is the UK’s biggest export market in the Nordics and opportunities exist in electrical and communications products, machinery and manufactured goods. Additionally, there is increasing demand for renewable energy – the Swedish government has a target of zero reliance on fossil fuels by 2030, which has seen rapid expansion in

the solar, water, biofuel and wind power industries. Finland has a highly industrialised, largely free market economy with one of the highest per capita GDPs in Europe, with around 50% of its GDP coming from exports. The country is experiencing a demand for business services due to public and private sector outsourcing, providing opportunities across the entire value chain for UK companies including in the areas of consultancy, advisory services, engineering and design. Finland is also strategically located at the centre of a developing

marketplace of 80 million consumers in north-western Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Iceland has the smallest population of the Nordic nations, with the majority of people residing in the capital, Reykjavik. The UK is its closest neighbouring country and it has a long trading relationship with British businesses, notably in the food, drink and consumer goods sectors. Now, however, the country has a number of major projects underway, presenting business opportunities including a £500million airport highspeed rail connection, a £5billion energy transmission system and a £4billion power generation project.

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New fares - more WOW

FLY THE WORLD FOR LESS WOW basic WOW plus NEW

WOW comfy WOW biz

WOW air offers the lowest fares, a modern fleet with the lowest emissions and the biggest smile; this is the WOW air promise to its valuable customers. As of spring 2018, the airline services 36 destinations across Europe and North America.

WOWAIR.CO.UK

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: The Nordics FLIGHTS bmi: The airline flies from Aberdeen to Esbjerg in Denmark (daily, Mon-Fri); to Gothenburg from Birmingham (daily, Sun-Fri) and from Bristol (Mon-Thurs); from Newcastle to Stavanger (Sun-Tue, Thurs-Fri); and from Aberdeen to Oslo (Tues-Fri). British Airways: The airline flies from London Heathrow to Copenhagen (up to seven times a day) and Billund in Denmark (twice a day); to Stockholm (up to five times a day) and Gothenburg (three times a day) in Sweden; and to Oslo (up to four times a day), Helsinki (twice a day) and Reykjavik (daily). British Airways also offers several services operated on its behalf by Sun-Air of Scandinavia. These include Manchester to Billund (up to three times a day) and Gothenburg (seasonal), and London City to Billund. easyJet: Operates to Ostersund, Sweden, from Gatwick once the easy per week, and to way to the Stockholm Arlanda nordics from Luton (4) and Bristol (2). There are 20 flights a week from Gatwick to Copenhagen, plus services from Edinburgh (4), Bristol (2) and Manchester (11). It flies from Gatwick to Keflavik nine times a week, and also from Stansted (3), Edinburgh (3), Belfast (2), Manchester (9) and Bristol (3). Finnair: Operates from four airports in the UK: Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh. There is a seventimes-daily service from Heathrow to Helsinki, a twice-daily service from Manchester, and flights from Edinburgh are three a week, rising to five weekly flights during the summer. During the winter season, Finnair flies twiceweekly from London Gatwick to Ivalo and once weekly to Kittilä. Icelandair: The airline flies non-stop to Keflavik from Heathrow twice a day with onward connections to other Nordic destinations.

colourful reykjavik

Loganair: Flies to Bergen from Manchester three times per week, plus Inverness (three times per week), Shetland (2), Glasgow (2) and Orkney (1). Norwegian: Flies from Manchester to Stockholm Arlanda twice per week, to Oslo three times and to Stavanger twice. From Edinburgh it flies to Oslo seven times per week, Copenhagen (6) and Stockholm (3). From London Gatwick it has services to Copenhagen and Stockholm (both 31 times per week), plus Oslo (25), Bergen (13), Helsinki (13), Gothenburg (11), Stavanger (8), Trondheim (4) and Aalborg in Denmark (3). Ryanair: Flies to Copenhagen from London Stansted daily, Luton (daily) and Edinburgh four times per week. The carrier also flies from Stansted to Aarhus (five times per wek), Aalborg (4) and Billund (13). It flies from Stansted to Stockholm-Skavsta 16 times per week, StockholmVästerås (4) and Gothenburg Landvetter (9). Ryanair operates to Oslo three times daily and Oslo Sandefjord Torp from three times per week, from Stansted.

(33), Edinburgh (7) and Birmingham (2). There are 39 flights a week between Heathrow and Copenhagen, plus services from Manchester (18), Birmingham (11), Aberdeen (6) and Edinburgh (2). Wow air: The airline operates flights twice daily from Gatwick to Keflavik, four flights a week from Edinburgh, and commences daily flights from London Stansted from April 25. Wideroe: Wideroe flies from Aberdeen to Bergen and Stavanger twice a day from Tuesday to Friday and once on Sundays and Mondays.

h ot els Several of the big international hotel groups have a good a thriving presence in the hotels Nordics, not least the market Radisson Hotel Group which was founded in the region. 18% of its 81,000 hotel rooms are located in the Nordics. Choice Hotels also has a strong presence (Comfort, Quality, Clarion and other brands), while Hilton is making progress in Iceland – the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel recently joined its Curio Collection and there is the Canopy Reykjavik City Centre. Notable regional hotel groups include Scandic Hotels and Thon Hotels.

SAS: The airline operates bergen's from Manchester to ludvig Bergen twice per week, holberg and from Aberdeen (12) and Heathrow (11) to Stavanger. It flies from Heathrow to Oslo 32 times a week, and also has services from Manchester (9), Aberdeen (6) and Edinburgh (2). There are 40 flights a week from Heathrow to Stockholm, plus services from Manchester

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TRAVELERS GET MORE IN SAS PLUS

SAS LOUNGE ACCESS

SAS FAST TRACK

FOOD AND DRINKS

2 × 23 KG BAGGAGE

Come fly with us in SAS Plus and experience something extra. Enjoy access to the SAS Lounge before your flight and ease through security check with SAS Fast Track where available. Plus complimentary food and beverages on board from our New Nordic menu. Check in two pieces of baggage × 23 kg. Welcome on board!

flysas.uk

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DEPARTURES

APARTH OTE L : L E MAN LOCK E , LOND ON Leman Locke in

THE HOTEL

The kitchenette had a fridge-freezer,

Aldgate, London, was the first opening

sink, oven, twin hob, microwave, washing

under the fledgling Locke aparthotel

machine, dishwasher, toaster and

brand from SACO, The Serviced

Nutribullet. A set of consolidated

Apartment Company. It is conveniently

instructions – rather than a draw full of

located a stone's throw from Aldgate

manuals – simplified the workings of the

East Underground station. The 168

various facilities. Basic provisions

units range from 30-39m2.

included tea, coffee, water and milk. The

I entered through the

THE CHECK-IN

bathroom was surprisingly spacious,

building's bar and restaurant outlet,

while the bedroom's long open

Treves & Hyde, and was directed

wardrobe and untreated wood finish

around the corner to the dedicated

typified the overall style – just like the

reception and small lounge area, which

polished concrete corridors of the

has its own entrance off Buckle Street.

building. There was also a laptop-size

Check-in was swift and a little about the

safe, TV, old-fashioned phone, hairdryer

aparthotel's facilities was explained.

and ironing board in the bedroom.

THE APARTMENT

On the 21st floor, my

THE FACILITIES

The Treves & Hyde

one-bedroom suite had an open kitchen

restaurant and bar occupies the ground

and living area and oblique views

and first floors of the building. It is open

through large windows of the 'Gherkin'

for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and can

and the 'Cheesegrater'. Decor was

also be hired for events. Locke Labs

fashionably spartan and with a pastel

meeting rooms on the 21st and 22nd

palette of blues and pinks. In the living

floors have impressive views of London.

area was a small round dining table and

There's also a gym. Events advertised in

chairs, standing lamp, trademark pink

the elevator included a free Saturday

corner sofa, coffee table and Smart TV.

yoga session and a running club.

THE VERDICT

The apartment was

surprisingly spacious and I liked the

THE LOCATION IS EXCELLENT FOR TRANSPORT LINKS ACROSS LONDON

understated style. With the onsite facilities, the Locke brand seems to have mastered the aparthotel model. THE DETAILS

15 Leman Street,

London E1 8EN. Nightly rates start from around £110 for studios and £140 for one bedroom suites. lockeliving.com

Andy Hoskins

FLIGHT: S OU TH AF RICAN AIRWAYS, BU SINE SS CL ASS THE FLIGHT

Flight SA235 from

not seen before and seemed to confuse

London Heathrow to Johannesburg.

a few passengers. The 15-inch high-

Departing London at 19.00, we arrived

definition touchscreen was impressive,

in Johannesburg at 07.30 the following

and I liked the generous space on my

morning (+2 hours). This was the

right side and the storage space behind

inaugural flight out of the UK on one of

me. The seat turned into a lie-flat bed

the airline’s five new A330-300 aircraft.

that extended almost two metres long

On April 20, SAA will cut its Heathrow-

and, with padded seat covers, felt ultra-

Johannesburg service from two daily

comfortable. The space had its own

flights to one, but the number of business

power portal and USB port. The RAVE

class seats will remain almost the same.

inflight entertainment system powered

PRE-BOARDING

Check-in was

by Zodiac, features over 100 movies.

seamless. It was a Sunday evening and

There is no wifi onboard, but users can

Terminal 2 was busy, but SAA’s Business

stream extra content to their personal

check-in desk was quiet. Passengers

devices, via an app, before their flight.

have a choice of Star Alliance lounges.

THE SERVICE

The A330-300 is an

THE VERDICT

extremely quiet aircraft. It looked and

Before take-off I was

I headed to the United/Star Alliance

offered sparkling wine, orange juice or

smelt spanking new and the business

lounge. I have been here before and

water and a scorching-hot towel. I

seat and space was extremely spacious.

have always been impressed by the

enjoyed the dinner of salad, soup and a

choice of hot and cold food on offer.

seafood trio of shrimp, scallops and cod

THE SEAT

I was in 7K, a window

– eventually! I had the suspicion that I

seat. All business class seats are

had been overlooked but the head

forward-facing with aisle access in a

steward apologised and we laughed it

1-2-1 configuration. There is a double-

off together – over an extra glass of

seat belt – one across the waist, one

bubbly.

diagonally across the chest, which I had

Moreover, there is comfort to be had

EXTREMELY QUIET, COMFORTABLE AND SPACIOUS

knowing you are flying on a state-of the art piece of kit. A few more smiles from the crew would have been welcome. THE DETAILS

Business class flights

start from £3,469.61 return, inclusive of taxes. flysaa.com

Steve Hartridge

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Reality Checks.indd 93

93

04/04/2018 13:02


DEPARTURES

The final word

Corporate etiquette confusion

M

ore than half (52%) of business travellers find socialising with clients the trickiest hurdle when away on business, while 28% prefer to dodge social situations with room service and 26% find the concept of ‘smart casual’ confusing. The findings were uncovered in a survey by LateRooms.com Business. The booking specialists’ Head, Graeme Descoteaux, says: “Etiquette and expectations of how to act when travelling for business can easily be misjudged, and it’s clear from the survey conducted that this is the case for many people. From knowing when to stop on the alcohol, to packing appropriately for every eventuality, etiquette continues to cause confusion for business travellers of all ages, across the UK.” The research also found over a quarter (28%) of Northern

No two jobs are the same in the world of aviation, as Air Charter Service (ACS) reveals its strangest cargo requests...

business travellers can’t decide who foots the bill and whether or not they opt for a fillet steak. In terms of deciding to stick with wine, beer or getting shots, 28% of 25-34 year-olds struggle to gauge how appropriate it is to

Pints on the platform

P

assengers at Durham station can now enjoy a pint in the former platform 2 ladies first class waiting room as it has been transformed into an alehouse. Called The Waiting Room, the pub opened its doors after a significant renovation brought the building back to its former glory. Graeme Robinson, owner of The Waiting Room, says: “Regular commuters and locals have embraced it and we look forward to the development of the outside seating area ready for the summer.” 94

6 OF THE STRANGEST... AIRCRAFT CHARTERS

order a large measure or shot. The report found that alcohol etiquette was of highest concern among business travellers based in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, so millennials would be among kindred souls.

1 90 tonnes of ketchup – a restaurant chain transported the cargo across the US before hundreds of branches ran out. 2 World’s heaviest woman – the former heavyweight, Eman Ahmed, flew from Egypt to Mumbai for life-saving surgery. 3 Dresses – 400 dresses and 72 pairs of shoes flown from Milan for Paris fashion week. 4 Wild lions – ACS flew seven wild lions from South Africa to Rwanda to reintroduce them. 5 Sand – an Antonov An-12 was required to fly 13 tonnes of sand from Rome to Cairo for a glassmaking company. 6 Priceless art – Priceless Pablo Picasso paintings were shipped from Paris to Morocco.

Source: Air Charter Service

Etihad Airways executive Andrew Fisher has travelled around the globe in just 52 hours and 34 minutes, using only four scheduled commercial flights. Guinness World Records has declared his attempt a world record after he smashed the previous record by three hours and 13 minutes. The carrier’s Vice President of Fleet Planning flew 41,375km from Shanghai to Auckland, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam and back to his starting point, with Air New Zealand, KLM and China Eastern.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Final word April.indd 94

3/26/18 12:53 PM


Registration now open Book your free place now

ďˆ The FREE event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings Hilton London Bankside, Southwark

To register for hosted places, visit thebusinesstravelconference.com To book a stand please contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

TBTC Advert.indd 1

3/26/18 12:29 PM


Making Business Travel affordable

10

Years

siness travel afforda ing bu ble Mak since 2008

Your business is our business At Applehouse, we know that business travel is essential for company growth, as well as benefitting the UK economy through increased trade (Oxford Economics Research 2016). We understand the importance of achieving a balance between returns on investment, traveller satisfaction and budgetary requirements, all incorporated within a duty of care culture. We don’t just get you there, we help you before, during and after your trip, with our all day, every day service. Call us today to find out more about our services, discuss how we can assist you or simply for a free quotation.

0207 355 8509 | sales@applehousetravel.co.uk | www.applehousetravel.co.uk

Untitled-2 1

28/02/2018 11:40 3/20/18 04:36 PM


Untitled-2 1

16/03/2018 11:44 3/20/18 05:15 PM


Making Business Travel affordable

10

Years

siness travel afforda ing bu ble Mak since 2008

Your business is our business At Applehouse, we know that business travel is essential for company growth, as well as benefitting the UK economy through increased trade (Oxford Economics Research 2016). We understand the importance of achieving a balance between returns on investment, traveller satisfaction and budgetary requirements, all incorporated within a duty of care culture. We don’t just get you there, we help you before, during and after your trip, with our all day, every day service. Call us today to find out more about our services, discuss how we can assist you or simply for a free quotation.

0207 355 8509 | sales@applehousetravel.co.uk | www.applehousetravel.co.uk

Untitled-2 1

Untitled-2 1

28/02/2018 16/03/2018 11:40 11:42 3/20/18 3/20/18 04:36 05:15 PM PM 27/03/2018 09:26

The Business Travel Magazine April/May 2018  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...

The Business Travel Magazine April/May 2018  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...