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Business Businesstravel the



February/March february/march 2018



o t H G R U B AIR TIME N I ED al LONDONs: achturs 2 min

Discover the latest trends and innovations in an extended air travel report


Car hire Distribution Alternative working Talking Travel: Shazia Mirza


36% of Virgin Trains services from Edinburgh Waverley to London King’s Cross at the advertised journey time or less, Monday to Friday.








4hrs 2 mins

36% of Virgin Trains services from Edinburgh Waverley to London King’s Cross at the advertised journey time or less, Monday to Friday.

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Businesstravel the


February/March 2018



Discover the latest trends and innovations in an extended air travel report


Car hire Distribution Alternative working Talking Travel: Shazia Mirza


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F E BR UA R Y/ MA RCH 2018 Features

16 Alternative working 28 Car hire 32 Distribution





Extended feature

Air travel

Arrivals 6

Opening Shots


Everyone's Talking About... Travel trends

10 Six of the Best: Amazing airport hotels



12 Spotlight on: TMC partnerships 13 The Knowledge: Travel risk management 14 Speaking Out: The future of chatbots

Discover the latest developments in air travel for business


61 Extended feature: Air travel


20 The Conversation: Ken Cameron, Evolvi 22 The Big Picture


23 Meet the buyer: Robert Curley, Amey 26 The Business Travel People Awards


36 The Business Travel Conference 2018 37 Sustainability: Waste elimination


62 86

87 92

39 Technology: Streamlined solutions 42 Talking Travel: Shazia Mirza

The Review

45 Twelve pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures 86 On the Road

48 91

87 New Kid on the Block 89 Meeting in: Oxford


91 On Business in: Beirut 92 Focus on: The Gulf 96 Reality Check 98 The Final Word


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Welcome Up in the air...


ir travel has long been the darling of business travel, possessing the glamour and prestige associated with travelling to far-flung destinations and the signing of big business deals. But it is also a key area of

focus for many corporates for the somewhat prosaic reason that it is frequently the largest area of business travel spend. And that’s why you’ll find a 24-page guide to the subject in this issue (p61-84), with topics ranging from spend management and onboard products to innovative tools, low-cost carriers and even private jets. It's a feature which, by the way, might challenge common perceptions of executive aviation. Car hire, meanwhile, often lies further down the list of priorities, but change in the sector is accelerating and car clubs, sharing pools and even driverless vehicles need careful consideration. Rob Gill, who received a journalism award for his coverage of the topic in this magazine last year, brings things up to date (p28-30). The future of the business travel industry may in fact lie in, well, not travelling so much. Co-working and living spaces are finding favour among workers and Jenny Southan shares her experience of alternative working practices on pages 16-17. The last of our main features in this edition provides an update on the latest distribution developments and NDC. The topic is not going to go away any time soon, and many commentators believe 2018 will be a watershed year for NDC. It's certain to be high on the agenda at the forthcoming Business Travel Show, an event that also provides an opportunity for visitors to come and meet The Business Travel Magazine team on stand B602 – see you there.

Businesstravel the




Julie Baxter, Colin Ellson, Linda Fox, Roger Gardner, Rob Gill, Jenny Southan, Stephanie Taylor, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS

Benjamin Coren & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge



Craig McQuinn



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

Clare Hunter


Steve Hunter


Martin Steady

Andy Hoskins, Editor



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Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Moxy aims to surprise travellers with a thoughtful, spirited and fun guest experience�

Cool crowd


The Marriott hotel group has opened its third Moxy hotel in the UK, the 294-room Moxy London Stratford, featuring vibrant designs and tributes to the area's Olympic legacy. A further seven Moxy hotels are scheduled to open in the UK this year in destinations including Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Southampton. 6

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Vine time

VINTRY hotel

The new Vintry & Mercer hotel in London is inspired by the historic Guilds after which it is named, trading since the 1300s in wine and fine fabrics respectively. The hotel features a rooftop restaurant and basement speakeasy bar.

Gorge yourself

Hotel du vin

Š Amy Murrell

The boutique hotel group is opening its 18th property this spring, The Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin in Clifton, Bristol. A major refurbishment "will restore the property to its rightful place as the premier hotel in Bristol," says the group.

Daring Darling


The Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour has opened in the city's CBD. It is set opposite the International Convention Centre and is the first new-build five-star hotel in Sydney for over 15 years, providing a boost for the ongoing revitalisation of the Darling Harbour area.

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Put meetings at the heart of travel and save up to 30% Face-to-face meetings drive your employees’ travel needs, yet meetings are often the last spend category tackled in booking tools, processes and policies. Find out how we’re using behavioural science to influence people into making smarter planning decisions that reduce your costs and improve their wellbeing! Visit us at the Business Travel Show, 21-22 February 2018, stand B140. Or find out more today by speaking to a member of the team. 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. All rights reserved.

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"Business travel has got more onerous. Road warriors are valuable assets and I would love to see our industry focus on enhancing the travel experience" Ed Adams, CEO, Direct Travel


Brexit will have a big impact on travel programmes and travel managers really need to start thinking about how their travel programme will look at the end of 2018” Paul East, COO, UK/Europe & Americas, Wings Travel Management


Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner, Festive Road

“Don’t be surprised to see the UK government backtrack on their preferred status of London Heathrow for a third runway. The numbers used to support the case have subsequently been blown out of the water and the government has commissioned a new set of numbers” John Grant, Senior Analyst, OAG


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Six of the best... Amazing airport hotels 1


The design hotel officially opened on February 1 and offers a stylish stopover option for business travellers. The property features 193 rooms and suites and the design pays homage to New Zealand’s native Tui bird, with art playing a major role throughout the hotel.

4 2



Modern and bright, the Crowne Plaza Hotel has pool-access guestrooms and a striking rainforest garden alongside a spa and impressive outdoor landscaped pool.



Fairmont's luxury hotel and spa is conveniently located within Vancouver Airport’s grounds and offers a unique service for avid fishermen. The hotel’s valet will take your catch and store it in the hotel’s fish freezer.




The hotel expanded last year with a new design and 162 additional rooms. It also increased meetings capacity at the hotel’s palm atrium to 500. The location near the Alps was considered in its interior design, with all rooms by JOI Design featuring authentic references to the region.


This hotel is all about the glamour associated with elite and private travel. Guests will find leather accented furniture and a guest-only stairwell to the fitness studio. The Sky Lounge combines with the atrium for exclusive events.


Minutes from Denver Airport, the hotel’s architecture is inspired by aviation. The indoor pool offers amazing floor-to-ceiling views of the Rocky Mountains and the hotel also has a landscaped outdoor plaza. The Sky Lounge Bar has views of the runway.


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LARGE TRAVEL COMPANIES Standardised Fare Pricing

Creative Fare Pricing

Standardised Pricing Module

Individual Consultant Lead Pricing

Standardised Service Level

Tailored Service Level

Standardised Reporting

Tailored Reporting

Standardised Quality Control High Fees

Individual Consultant Lead QCS Competitive Low Fee Model

Fee for Account Management

No Fee for Account Management

Fee for 24 Hour Service

No Fee 24 Hour Service

Bells and Whistles

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Authentic Reliable Consistent Service

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A closer look at industry developments

Spotlight on... TMC partnerships

Increasingly more TMCs are signing partnerships around the world to expand their presence and better serve their fast-growing clients. “Business Travel Direct delivers global TMC alternative with ATG” – that was the key marketing message from UK-based BTD after tying up a deal to become the exclusive UK franchise partner for the Ohio-based agency. “As an independent TMC we have many strengths that our clients value such as intimate market knowledge, a real focus on innovation and the ability to provide a personalised service but with global standards,” says Julie Oliver, BTD Managing Director. “But we had a challenge in not being able to provide the same levels of service for clients on a global level. With ATG, we have found the missing piece,” adds Oliver. ATPI Group's new transatlantic deal is also about strengthening its presence in North America. It has teamed up with US-based Direct Travel to form Direct ATPI Global Travel. Each business will continue operating under its existing name, but


the new venture – in which the TMCs have made equal investments – is targeting midmarket companies with global travel needs. “We're big in North America and ATPI is big in the rest of the world. It's the perfect coming together of two companies,” says Ed Adams, CEO of Direct Travel. “Direct ATPI Global Travel is perfectly aligned to service any company that requires scalable, personal service on a multinational basis.” ATPI's Chief Commercial Officer, Gary Pearce, says that although the TMC's network is strong globally, there is some room for improvement in North America and the deal with Direct Travel enables it to better serve its globally growing clients. “As existing clients need help around the world we can push Direct ATPI, giving them

We had a challenge in not being able to provide the same levels of service for clients on a global level”

a seamless operation globally,” he says. Both TMCs have grown through mergers and acquisitions which puts them in good stead, says Adams. “People on both sides understand collaboration. If you can manage change – and change is not a bad word – then you will get the most out of people.” The venture has already won a number of joint bids totalling £50million's worth in business from a mixture of UK, US and European companies. It is a different arrangement to BTD's and to networks such as Radius, GlobalStar and WIN Travel Network. Each set-up has its own merits, but Direct's Adams believe it has hit upon the ideal arrangement. “Direct has been part of other global groups and had other one-off partners outside North America but things weren’t always that efficient. Buyers wanted a relationship with a one-company feel and that's what we've now got,” he says. What works best is down to the particular needs of a client, but a market with more TMCs geared up to offer regional expertise on a global scale, is good news for us all.

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How to... Master travel risk management Travel risk management (TRM) has evolved significantly over the last few years and what used to be thought of as adequate will no longer suffice. Read on to find out how one company developed a far more resilient operation.


One of the world’s largest aerospace companies with around 150,000 employees had a travel risk management model in place that seemed to have successfully met its travel, medical and security requirements for several years. Traveller tracking, risk intelligence services, secure journey management and emergency response were all part of standard travel policies. But with natural staff turnover and an apparent rise in hazardous incidents, there was concern that awareness of practices – and even the services themselves – was not sufficient. Furthermore, the services weren’t integrated but since the TRM plan had a safety net in the form of a phone number to call in the event of anything going wrong while on the road, the programme, to all appearances, seemed to work fine.


Then suddenly, civil uprisings and unrest erupted close to one of the company’s overseas plants and a large number of personnel required evacuating from the area. In such a situation, even the most easily accessible and rapid action of an emergency phone number was just not

adequate. After the incident, the company reassessed its TRM and knew that the only solution to achieving a highly resilient risk mitigation practice was a comprehensive solution fully integrated into its day-to-day activities and included, but also went beyond, the standard travel-related issues.


The company sought a strategic partner to work with on two levels. Firstly, to understand its needs and implement a TRM solution that would meet the prior solution’s capabilities. And secondly, to improve and evolve the solution over time, factoring in the company’s broader strategic objectives, business operations and pain points. Ultimately, it brought the Anvil Group onboard to deliver the solution. “Travel risk management needs to be viewed as part of a much broader operational consideration. In order to protect their people and ultimately achieve true resilience, organisations need to be able to identify, assess, manage and mitigate risk effectively. Simply responding to incidents is not enough,” says Matthew Judge, Anvil's Group Managing Director.

particularly benefitted from an employee tracking and alerting service and threat awareness reporting. All the elements – each a part of Anvil’s Riskmatics solution – were synchronised, delivering improved information and intelligence that it could utilise to better manage the different risks that its travelling and remote employees experienced. “Companies of this size are bound to be exposed to increased risks and to be affected by most major events that occur throughout the world,” says Judge. “But companies of any size should not be leaving the safety of their employees to chance. In a changing world, resilience is crucial in lessening the impact of an incident, speeding recovery after one, and maintaining strong business operations.”


What materialised was a proactive approach that incorporated a number of components communicating with each other automatically. They included 24/7 response and assistance, secure journey management, and global risk intelligence analysis and reporting. In addition, the company


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The future of chatbots Ending an industry hiatus There’s much hype surrounding the rise of chatbots, but is 2018 the year of widespread adoption? Mezi’s Johnny Thorsen puts forward the case Until now the travel industry hasn’t been able to take advantage of the unlimited number of customer interactions processed via online travel solutions. In fact, all we knew about a user when they booked via a browser-based or mobile app is who they were and what they bought (or at least what they searched for). Travel planning lends itself perfectly to the automation and personalisation that artificial intelligence and machine learning can provide. AI can help understand the traveller’s preferences like a human travel agent can, while machine learning can help finetune the

most personalised recommendations based on the traveller’s preferences and instant analysis of large numbers of similar conversations from the past. As a result, I expect to see chatbots representing 20% or more of transactions in the corporate booking world by 2020. So, what does this mean for human jobs? As the presence of chatbots increases, so does the fear that AI will replace many jobs. However, AI will never replace human expertise completely. AI, machine learning and algorithms are developed to do specific tasks, but cannot think on their own or beyond what has been programmed to be processed. The technology does not have the complex systems of a human mind. While job functions for humans may shift, or new jobs may be created due to AI, robots will never completely take over. For instance, there will be scenarios in which it fails to understand the traveller’s need accurately and assume the wrong preferences. In such scenarios, it's important requests are seamlessly transferred instantly to a human travel agent so that the service never fails even if the AI fails. Currently, with Mezi, 60% of requests are handled without human intervention and we hope to shift that to 80% looking ahead to 2018. With these uncertainties looming, who will embrace chatbots? Frequent business travellers and millennials are drawn to booking tools that utilise

AI and machine learning because they provide convenience. The immediacy of the process is facilitated through a text message-style interface, which is how most people are used to communicating on a day-to-day basis. In fact, AI for travel provides a re-launch of the “personal travel assistant” back in the digital version. Millennials and very frequent travellers are used to heavy multitasking. To them, the idea of being forced to remain active in a travel search for multiple minutes to avoid a “session timeout” is very frustrating. Chat technology removes the requirement as conversations can remain active for

While job functions for humans may shift, or new jobs may be created due to AI, robots will never completely take over” hours and even days making it far more compelling to use in a multitasking environment. Despite the arrival of smartphones some ten years ago we haven’t really changed the process and workflow associated with travel searching and booking. AI chatbot technology makes it possible to finally create a truly personal end-to-end travel experience. Once users realise that they actually get a more personal service based on their past behavior and decisionmaking they will find it increasingly hard to go back and use a service which doesn’t offer this capability.

JOHNNY THORSEN Johnny Thorsen is VP of Travel Strategy and Partnerships at Mezi, an AI-powered personal travel assistant. He has over 20 years of experience helping usher in new technology that has changed the corporate travel landscape.



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Yes! Only £10 more to fly from City Airport. No long trip across London – well worth the extra money!

What does it take to make your customers say ‘yes’? Sabre beats the competition in finding the lowest fares, with the most ancillary options. So, give customers their YES Fare with Sabre. Say Yes with Sabre

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WHEREVER I lay my laptop...

More employees are eschewing the traditional hometo-office existence and instead living and working remotely. Jenny Southan has first-hand experience


few months ago, I decided to move to Los Angeles for a month, rent a treehouse apartment on Airbnb, and see what it was like to live and work as a ‘digital nomad’. The traditional home-to-office existence is changing: people are swapping commuting by car to running or even swimming down inner city rivers; companies are embracing flexible working to allow more people to work home; and an increasing number of people are leaving their full-time jobs altogether to go freelance. And all of this affects businesses and their travel and relocation programmes. By 2027, Upwork predicts that the majority of the US population will be self-employed, up from 36% in 2017. In the UK, industry body IPSE says that over the last ten years there has been a 43% increase in freelancers. According to Upwork, not only do almost two-thirds of people think that having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure 16

than one employer, but more than half are concerned their jobs won’t even exist in 20 years, meaning learning new skills is critical. Leading the way are millennials, 47% of whom are already freelance in the US. Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work, says: “We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a period of rapid change in work driven by increasing automation. But we have an opportunity to guide the future of work, and freelancers will play more of a key role than people realise. “Professionals who choose to freelance make this choice knowing that, as their own boss, they are in control of their destiny. Freelancers, therefore, think more proactively about market trends and refresh their skills more often than traditional employees.” Being a journalist able to write from anywhere, I was in a better position than

most to go freelance and chose where to live, but as frequent travellers know, all you really need these days is a smartphone and a laptop to perform your job from wherever you are in the world. My apartment in the Hollywood Hills, booked through Airbnb, had a terrace facing out over the city and more space than I could ever have afforded at a hotel. It also had a more personal feel than a corporate serviced apartment. For those wary of unpredictable standards on Airbnb, you can get a degree of reassurance from 'business travel ready' listings that guarantee wifi, 24-hour check-in, workspace and no flatmates. Although I was happy to spend some of my time working from my apartment, I sometimes found it was often easier to focus when in an environment alongside other professionals, so I decided to sign up to co-working space provider WeWork. It has more than a dozen locations in Los Angeles


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Bridging the gap between apartment rentals in the sharing economy arena and co-working spaces is a new trend for co-living”

and hundreds more around the world, including 32 in London. When booking a 'business' Airbnb, you get a free day at any We Work location, which seemed like a good deal to me, and I was so impressed I decided to continue using them. They all have trendy, design-led communal lounges for you to sit with a laptop, as well as hot desks from about $350 a month, and private offices from $650. The model has been such as success, that the eight-year-old company is now worth more than $20billion. Bridging the gap between apartment rentals in the sharing economy arena and co-working spaces is a new trend for 'co-living'. The next logical step for longer-term stays abroad or even full-time occupation on home soil, these are essentially modern communes for the 21st century professional. They combine the best of apartment living with hotel-style facilities (think gyms, cinemas, bars and restaurants), plus on-site co-working

space and a calendar of networking and social events for guests. It’s no surprise, then, to see WeWork has already branched out into co-living with the launch of WeLive, which currently has one location on Wall Street in New York and another in Arlington, Virginia. A statement from WeLive when it launched in 2016 read: “Our living units are immediately ready with everything you need – pack a suitcase, bring your bicycle and move in. “Your furniture, towels, linens, silverware, internet and HDTV – all the way down to your toothbrush – are waiting for you.” It continued: “Members can grab a drink in the mailroom, play ping pong while their laundry dries, and enjoy a potluck dinner in our state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen.” Proving that the trend is already entering the mainstream, other companies building co-living communities include Roam, which has properties is Bali, London, Miami and

Tokyo; the Collective, which has a residence in London for more than 500 people; and Lyf, which is a millennial-targeted brand being developed by Ascott, the Asia-based serviced apartments specialist. By 2020, it aims to have 10,000 units in both Asia and Europe. Ascott describes Lyf as “a new co-living concept that connects you with like-minded travellers” and allows residents to “bond in an array of social spaces and foster a new way of community living”. With Upwork reporting that 69% of Americans see perceptions of freelancing as a career becoming more positive, and 71% reporting the amount of work they obtained online increased in 2017, digital nomadism is proving the next big disruptive force in travel. As I sit watching the sun go down from my terrace in LA, gin and tonic in my hand, I vow never to go back to full-time employment again. For the first time ever, I feel I achieved work-life balance.


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Managing Director, Evolvi Rail Systems

ken cameron

Andy Hoskins speaks with the boss of the corporate rail booking system as he marks ten years at the business


en Cameron notched up a decade of service with Evolvi Rail Systems in January, the latest chapter in his lifelong career in travel. The journey began as a reservations agent with British Caledonian and has seen him help establish travel tech specialist Amadeus in the UK and take on roles at Eurostar and then IATA in Geneva. Most recently, he was Head of Operations at Rail Settlement Plan. “Travel is a fantastic industry,” he says, “and I don’t think I’m unusual for having spent considerable years within it.” Many business travellers will not know the Evolvi name, even though it accounts for around 60% of all corporate agency rail bookings in the UK through the EvolviNG booking tool and EvolviWS API. “Travel management companies own the relationship with corporate users and the visibility of the Evolvi system depends upon how the booking and fulfilment tool is implemented,” Cameron explains. “If it’s through a third party system like a self-booking tool or a TMC’s own bespoke system then the end user won’t necessarily know they are using Evolvi.” While the Evolvi system allows business to better manage their rail travel needs, it also continues to innovate in the complex arena of booking and ticket fulfilment. It has over one million registered users across 22,000 corporate clients of TMCs and handled more than 8.6 million transactions in 2017. 20

Impressively, it has also seen the average ticket value (ATV) fall from £59.03 in 2013 to £56.82 in 2017, despite annual fare increases of up to 3.9% over that period. Nevertheless, the corporate market has its limits. “We're finding there is more demand for us to supply rail content for a wider variety of systems,” says Cameron. “We're investing heavily in the development of our API to provide highly configurable content for travel portals. We are becoming more of a technology provider than just a TMC partner.” The corporate rail travel market is dominated by competitors Evolvi and Trainline, with the latter benefitting from a high-profile presence in the consumer market. Is that a problem for Evolvi? “I think it is a bigger issue for the industry rather than Evolvi. The consumer market and business travel market are very different and our focus is creating value for TMCs and other clients,“ says Cameron. “The consumer market is where competition is required and the industry needs

Business travel still does not seem to be held in high enough esteem on some networks. There are still examples of new rolling stock completely missing the point”

to do more to promote new entrants.” Cameron also identifies room for improvement in ticketing and onboard product from train operating companies (TOCs). “I have concerns about the pace of progress towards true digital ticketing integration across the UK rail network, but I’m also worried that business travel still does not seem to be held in high enough esteem on certain networks,” he explains. “The needs of business people are not unreasonable. We want a comfortable seat, a table, power socket, strong mobile signal and good, free, secure wifi. Some TOCs do take business travel seriously, but there are still examples of new rolling stock completely missing the point.” Meanwhile, Cameron cites IATA as a source of inspiration for ticketing developments. “When IATA decided to move to airline eticketing in the early 2000s, it only took four years to reach 100% penetration. That was possible because it was properly scoped and funded,” Cameron stresses. “The savings opportunities were enormous and the airlines invested time, effort and resource to achieve them. I’ve lost count of the number of years that the rail industry, commentators and Department for Transport have been talking about smart cards, wave and pay, contactless, barcodes, EMV, post pay... If we want to move forward at all in these areas, the industry could learn a lot from IATA.”

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in brief... What is the future of the humble orange paper train ticket? “It will be with us for some years to come, but the government is clearly keen on supporting the industry as we move towards ‘frictionless’ travel. Unfortunately there are many hurdles, notably that mobile ticketing cannot support journeys involving travel across multiple train company networks, or even across London.” What's the next step for ticketing then? “We always hear from TMCs that business travellers want frictionless travel. The move to eTickets, which don't require activation – mTickets do – and which are stored automatically within a travel wallet, moves us closer to making this a reality. The Rail Delivery Group's goal is for industry-wide mobile solutions by 2020.” How do you spend your time away from the office? “I love going skiing and travelling in general. I’m also an avid supporter of Brighton & Hove Albion, although that’s not a particularly relaxing pastime at the moment!” KEN CAMERON Ken joined Evolvi (owned by Capita Plc) in January 2008 from Rail Settlement Plan (RSP) where he was Head of Operations. Prior to RSP, he worked for IATA in Geneva, and was responsible for Global Data Processing Consolidation for BSPs and the development and launch of BSPLink. His relationship with railways began at Eurostar UK as General Manager responsible for development and distribution, where his portfolio included Elgar and its initial deployment into the travel trade.

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17 HOURS AWAY It once took four days and seven flights to travel between the UK and Perth, but from March 26th Qantas will connect London and Western Australia with a 17-hour flight. The daily service is the first scheduled, non-stop operation between the UK and Australia and will become the world’s third longest flight.



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ROBERT CURLEY Travel management is one of Robert Curley’s many responsibilities at consulting and infrastructure support services business, Amey I work in business improvement for Amey’s Consulting and Rail business. We are a leading supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services both in the UK and internationally. I started as a graduate structural engineer in November 2012 and have gained a wide range of management experience by following a non-traditional route in Amey. I first got involved in business travel in 2014 when we were trying to transition to online booking from paper-based processing.

The majority of our business travel is project driven so, for example, we currently have a lot of journeys to and from the sites of the new Elizabeth line being built as part of the Crossrail project in London”

Working with our procurement team, one of my responsibilities is to make sure that our employees and contractors get the right level of service and experience when there is a business travel need. I also spend some of my time promoting the use of technology, such as Skype for Business, to act as a safer substitute for travel.

We have a strong collaborative partnership with our TMC, Clarity, and we use their Go2Book tool. It’s encouraging to work with people like Patrick McDonagh, their CEO, who place such a high value on investing in technology to enhance the user experience and that enables us to achieve savings on travel spend.

About three years ago I spent up to 40% of my time managing travel but as a result of our hard work and business adoption it is now managed far more efficiently and I can be effective with only about 10% of my time spent on business travel management.

We have a very robust company travel policy in place that gives clarity to our business travellers about our mutual expectations of business travel.

The majority of our business travel is project driven so, for instance, we would have a lot of journeys to and from the sites of the new Elizabeth line being built as part of the Crossrail project We have a network in London. Our regular of business support destinations include OUT OF THE OFFICE employees who are the Reading, London, I play hurling, which is one business travel heroes Stafford, Oxford and of Ireland’s national sports, for in my eyes and Birmingham. Our most the Warwickshire county team. manage travel as part travelled rail routes We are one of three British teams of their roles at our are between that travel over and back to local offices and Manchester, Ireland to compete in the All depots across the Birmingham and Ireland championships UK and in our London and all at different levels. international territories. surrounding areas. We undertake a lot of night We employ approximately work as we design, build and 19,000 people and in 2017 we had maintain public infrastructure so we around 6,000 people who regularly travelled regularly require late check-out at the on business via rail or air, or staying hotels we stay in and adequate security and overnight in hotels. premises for our welfare vehicles.

Safety is our primary concern because we put our people first. Our biggest challenge is being able to respond effectively to unexpected events, such as those that affect security. We are proactively engaging our local counter-terrorism units to promote training at our offices and depots around the country.


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When Global actually is Global… Worldwide business travel spend will reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. That’s the same as the US government has spent in the war on terror since 9/111. As spend rises, so does the criticality of travel management. In 2016, half of corporates spending £500,000+ on travel contracted with a single TMC for managed travel services worldwide2. Single sourcing offers the corporate visibility

of spend, traveller tracking and compliance as well as savings.

Networks not working

fine providing service levels are consistent and data is consolidated.

In business travel, global doesn’t always mean global. The corporate buyer has alternatives to the single TMC relationship.

These networks claim to offer global control supported by local content and knowledge, but in reality they use different technology and reporting systems, making consistent service virtually impossible. Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll often find conflicting processes, cultures and contractual arrangements.

Not all TMCs have in-country teams like FCM. Many work with local partners or franchises. Most global TMCs own their offices in key locations but smaller agencies will invariably be consortium or network members - which is

Travel programmes are increasingly global. The proportion of corporates with over 20 countries in their programmes rose from 17% in 2001 to 49% by 20113.

This was driven by the same factors that make single sourcing so attractive to travel buyers. In addition, TMC consolidation and technology has enabled leading TMCs to offer both online booking tools and a more ‘high touch’ service where required.

The value of local content and expertise explains why FCM’s 90+ in-country teams are all fully-trained. Having teams on the ground who understand their local markets, but who have the common technology platform and processes to use that knowledge is the hallmark of a truly global TMC.

New business enquiries: Visit to find out more.

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Global workforce As the cost of attracting talent rises, company travel programmes will increasingly be regarded as a means to retain staff by turning travel into a process in which the individual’s needs are inbuilt intuitively. The global workforce is changing too, blending temporary staff working on short-term engagements with fulltimers assigned to short-term projects. The implications for travel management are immense, and make the decision as to which TMC to choose more crucial to the achievement of corporate goals.

1. this-is-what-1-6-trillion-bought-inthe-u-s-global-war-on-terror.html

wouldn’t you employ

2. The Beat survey of 160 corporate travel buyers with at least $500,000 in annual U.S.-booked air volume, conducted JuneAugust 2016

We live in a global economy, so why a TMC that really can deliver globally? ”

3. united-kingdom/documents/ english/research-and-studies/ globalization_of_corporate_ travel_programs.pdf

Coming to the Business Travel Show on 21st & 22nd February? Visit us in person at Stand B130 to discuss your travel programme.

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meet the winner

Jodie Edwards-Locke The Appointment Group’s Jodie Edwards-Locke received the Rising Star accolade at the The Business Travel People Awards 2017 You received the Rising Star award in 2017. How did that feel? It felt absolutely amazing. I was completely shocked and totally honoured to have been chosen, even just as a finalist. The winners trip to Abu Dhabi was incredible and I got to meet some wonderful people. I wasn’t sure what would happen to my career after returning from maternity leave, but I’ve continued to take on new challenges and roles since returning and the Rising Star award was incredibly special to me and made me realise I’d done well and that my career in travel wasn’t yet over! Tell us about your new role at The Appointment Group? My role now as Managing Director of The Appointment Group (TAG) in London is really varied and has daily challenges. I work alongside great people from our various trading divisions as well as all of our support services, so I get to have a broad overview of how all areas are performing. I’m integral to changes that we’re looking at making in order to keep the business continually evolving.

have been given so many amazing opportunities at TAG.

What do you think of The Business Travel People Awards in general? I think they’re an excellent way to recognise your star performers in a business and retain them. It can boost morale and is great PR not only for the individual but also for The Business the business in return. It Travel People Awards doesn’t cost anything recognise outstanding except a little of your individuals and teams across all aspects of the supplier element time in writing the of corporate travel management nomination, which is whose professionalism and worth every penny.

Your rise through the business has been rapid – what do you attribute it to? Working really hard and always asking for business excellence make them more challenges and stand out from their industry responsibility, being a And as the Rising Star peers. The 2018 awards are team player and winner you’re now on open for nominations grasping opportunities this year’s judging panel until March 6 with both hands – even if – are you looking forward they’re daunting. It’s also down to that? to working with great people in the I’m really excited to be involved in the business, recognising fresh talent and judging this year. I can’t wait to read the wanting to retain them by keeping them nominations and then see the happy faces motivated. I’ve been extremely lucky to of the finalists and winners at the ceremony 26

I would strongly encourage as many people as possible to get involved and nominate themselves or colleagues” in May. I would urge as many people as possible to get involved and nominate yourselves or your colleagues. What advice would you give to others entering the awards? Don’t be shy! Tell us what you’ve done to go above and beyond, what your team achieves on a daily basis that may differ from others, and what really makes you shine brightly. The more detail the better as it will give us detailed insight of the nominee and help us decide on the worthy shortlist and deserving winners. There are new categories this year – the Best Newcomer award and Champion of Champions accolade so there are even more opportunities to win.

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RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL The Business Travel People Awards are your chance to pay tribute to those in the business travel industry whose professionalism and excellence help them really stand out from their peers. The winners of The Business Travel People Awards are individuals and teams who are judged to be outstanding performers in their field, with an emphasis on recognising winners that are leading the business travel sector into the future. Nominations close on March 6th If you’d like to enter The 2018 Business Travel People Awards or want to nominate someone you know or work with, visit and complete your nomination by March 6th.

AWARDS CEREMONY The Business Travel People Awards will be presented at a celebratory lunch on Friday May 25th at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London.

The 2018 People Awards are now open for nominations in the following categories:


• Reservations Consultant of the Year • Reservations Team of the Year • Operations Manager of the Year • Operations Team of the Year • Account Manager of the Year • Account Management Team of the Year • Sales/Business Development Manager •

of the Year Sales/Business Development Team of the Year

SUPPLIERS (airlines, accommodation, ground transportation, online booking tools, GDS, data management services) Account Manager of the Year Account Management Team of the Year Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Sales/Business Development Team of the Year

• • • •


• Meetings and Events Manager of the year

• Meetings & Events Team of the year INDUSTRY AWARDS

• Rising Star Award • Best Newcomer • The Champion of Champions


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car hire


revolution Car clubs, sharing pools and even the prospect of selfdriving vehicles could transform the way the car rental sector operates, writes Rob Gill


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car hire


echnology is helping to shape all elements of business travel but it may be that car rental is the sector that will see the biggest changes of all over the next few years. While traditional car rental still makes up the bulk of sales for the sector’s big names – Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Sixt and Europcar among them – they are all having to diversify the services they offer to corporate travellers to combat the emergence of new players within the wider ground transport industry. This includes offering additional options such as car clubs – Avis Budget Group has owned Zipcar for five years, for example – and car-sharing pools. Europcar purchased a minority stake in peer-to-peer car-sharing specialist SnappCar in 2017. Car hire firms have also moved into other areas such as professional driver services: Hertz launched a service with transfer specialist Blacklane last year while Sixt offers its own myDriver chauffeur product. The lines between ground transport suppliers are becoming increasingly blurred. Iain Collinson, product manager at FCM Travel Solutions, says: “Car rental companies are rethinking their offering, increasing flexibility and looking to retain business that might otherwise have been lost, or to acquire new customers. “An example would be Zipcar that offers rentals from £0.29 a minute. As more options are provided by suppliers, we’re seeing more questions being raised by our clients. But many of these options are yet to be used as much as they are discussed.” A key strategy for car hire firms has been to offer corporate customers a more flexible and diverse range of ground transport options – particularly to attract younger 'millennial' travellers who are accustomed to using ride-hailing services such as Uber or MyTaxi. Mia Ehrnrooth, manager of Global Business Consulting, which is part of American Express Global Business Travel, says: “Today’s travellers are increasingly preoccupied with how to integrate business travel into their busy lives, giving rise to demand for flexible rental options.

As charging infrastructure for electric cars becomes more readily available, we expect drivers to become increasingly open to renting electric vehicles” “Evolving ride-sharing services remain a key ground transportation trend and will continue to influence the car rental market.” The rental firms have clearly been listening to this message and are aware of the threats and opportunities affecting their future prospects, even if the adoption of some of their new products can initially be slow. Clive Forsythe, Corporate Sales Director for Europcar UK Group, says: “We recognise the importance of flexibility and choice when supporting business travellers in creating and implementing the most effective travel plans for employee journeys, taking into account cost, safety and environmental objectives. “We offer a holistic approach that encompasses car use by the hour, chauffeur-drive and even the integration of public transport as part of the journey.” As well as car clubs and car-sharing, rental firms are also offering more environmentally friendly vehicle options such as electric cars and hybrid technology which help to reduce emissions. Some new products also focus on reducing unnecessary journeys for business travellers such as a 'pick-up' service being offered by sister brands Enterprise and National. “It eliminates the need for extra parking at customer premises, saves on CO2 as only one car is used and is often vital for lastminute rentals,” explains Rob Ingram, Director of Business Development EMEA at Enterprise and National Car Rental. “More fleets are turning to pick-up over delivery and collection as well as the adoption of Enterprise Car Club. These vehicles offer instant access, reduce the need for traditional pool fleets and facilitate

the introduction of electric and hybrid vehicle options into a company’s mobility mix and travel policy.” One area that may be holding up the wider use of electric cars by business travellers around the UK is the lack of suitable charging points and fears about how far these vehicles can travel before losing power. Nina Bell, Managing Director of Northern Region at Avis Budget Group, says: “At present, the UK’s charging infrastructure is patchy and the distances electric vehicles can travel are relatively unknown, which makes each car less desirable. She continues: “But as charging infrastructure becomes more readily available, we expect drivers to become increasingly open to renting electric vehicles.”

Self-driving future

Looking further ahead, there is also the tantalising prospect of how autonomous or self-driving cars will have the potential to revolutionise the corporate car hire sector. For example, Waymo, which is Google parent company Alpabet’s self-driving vehicle project, is currently partnering with Avis on the pilot of a ride-hailing service in Arizona. Uber and Lyft are also working on autonomous vehicle projects. It may still be way too early to assess the long-term implications of driverless vehicles, but most car rental firms think they have 

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car hire

a big part to play in future developments. Rob Ingram, from Enterprise and National Car Rental, adds: “Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles. “The car rental industry will no doubt be an early adopter and will be able to help introduce autonomous driving technology to millions of consumers, just as we’ve done with anti-lock braking, stop-start technology, hybrid electric vehicles and other new technologies,” he points out.

Harnessing technology

With driverless cars not likely to become a practical option for business travellers to use for several years (if not longer), car rental firms are currently concentrating on more prosaic technological advancements such as improved booking and mobile systems, new partnerships with other transport providers and adding tools that

The data supplied by car rental firms will become even richer, moving from tracking systems to even include information such as driver fatigue levels and details on driver behaviour” provide enhanced data to corporate clients. Supplying clients with key information around their employees’ vehicle use and the emissions produced is an important element of car rental companies’ services. Europcar’s Clive Forsythe says: “We were the first company to introduce carbon emission and performance data by car group, allowing customers to make informed choices when selecting their vehicle. Europcar UK has publicly stated a commitment to moving its fleet to five per cent electric vehicles by 2020.” There is also an increasing awareness of duty of care concerns by car rental firms – something they are tackling by introducing new technology that can measure risk factors such as fleet age, maintenance standards and the mileage driven, as well as tracking systems. This data will only become richer over the next few years, says Hertz’s Richard 30

Bowden, and even include information on driver fatigue levels and detailed behaviour. “This will help corporate customers create personalised and smart policies but also dramatically increase driver safety.” he says. With so much focus on the future and the onset of major technological advances, it can be easy to forget about a more pressing question that’s nearly always on a travel buyer’s lips: how much is car rental actually going to cost this year? Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) Foundation have predicted a “slight price hike” in average global car hire rates in 2018 as demand improves and rental companies “shift from a simple market-share focus toward profitability goals”. CWT suggests that buyers can mitigate these expected price increases by increasing leverage with car hire suppliers by “knowing your current global patterns, how costs are distributed and the global market place, including information about strong regional suppliers”. The car hire sector may be on the precipice of a fundamental technologydriven change in the way it operates but, just like every other aspect of business travel, prices will continue to be a key focus for buyers, particularly with more potential competition shaking up the ground transport sector.

[ IMPLEMENTING A CAR CLUB ] North Ayrshire Council began working with Enterprise Car Club in order to offer employees an alternative to using their own cars (the so-called grey fleet) for business travel trips. The scheme initially started with eight vehicles for council staff to use but this has now grown to a fleet of 14 cars, including three electric vehicles, after the number of users grew from 250 at the launch of the programme to more than 500 employees. The vehicles are clocking up a total of around 11,000 miles a month, which the council says has reduced CO2 emissions by 37% or 9.1 tonnes per year. The club operates under flexible rules allowing employees to take cars home overnight for early morning meetings and can also be taken back to base the following morning for meetings held late in the day. Councillor Jim Montgomerie says: “We were spending around £1.2million on business miles and that simply needed to change. The scheme is about changing the mindset of our staff and making it the norm for employees to book car club vehicles for meetings. “The car pool scheme saves the council money, reduces our carbon footprint and is really positive for staff. It allows them to leave their own car at home which takes away all the hassle of traffic and parking and minimises the wear and tear on their car.”

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To find out more why not visit us on stand:B340 at the Business Travel Show, 21 - 22 February 2018, Olympia London

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There is no content distribution alternative that offers the depth and breadth of the GDS that allows us to provide the value and efficiency we do for our clients�



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taxiing for

TAKE-OFF Developments around NDC are gathering pace, but there’s still plenty of hurdles to overcome, says Linda Fox


link and you wouldn’t be blamed for missing the latest developments in the airline distribution space. Over a period of about six weeks late last year, British Airways and Iberia began implementing a new surcharge on bookings made via the GDS systems, originally announced in May. At the same time, Air France-KLM revealed it would be also be moving down the fees route with more details to come this year. Meanwhile, HRG, Sabre and Travelport made announcements about their achievements as regards NDC. Travelport also revealed it had reached an agreement with British Airways for partners to avoid the BA/Iberia surcharge if they have ‘private channel’ agreements with the airlines. And more of the larger travel management companies, such as Clarity and FCM, confirmed their clients would avoid the surcharge following discussions with BA and revealed how they are working with the airline and technology partners to allow continued access to content. The travel management community hasn’t really had time to draw breath, decipher what these developments really mean and where it will all end. What it knows is that the landscape is rapidly changing.

If we start with NDC and the various levels achieved by IT players and aggregators, or both in the case of companies such as Travelport and Sabre. Simply put, the levels represent the technological readiness of the companies to implement certain areas of the New Distribution Capability standard. Travelport gaining certification from IATA as a Level 3 certification aggregator means it has developed what’s needed for the offer and order management elements of the standard. The exciting bit for Travelport is that it’s first and it made a lot of progress in 2017, having only achieved Level 1 in late February. Moreover, the company – alongside technology partner Farelogix – says it will announce implementation with a large global airline soon. As a point of comparison, Sabre says it plans to achieve Level 3 aggregator some time in 2018. It announced in December that it had achieved Level 2 as an IT provider. What’s more important is the distribution giant’s public statements about NDC in recent months. Chief Executive Sean Menke said in early October that the company wanted to be the industry’s leader in the development and distribution of technology using the NDC standard. More interesting in all of these developments, however, is the language

being used. When you compare it with the original feedback from GDS – when NDC was announced in October 2012 and it was seen as a sort of GDS bypass – the tune has changed to being far more conciliatory, with the GDS companies now seen as business partners on NDC. The airline-GDS language also seems to be changing. In early November, Travelport Chief Executive Gordon Wilson was quoted in the business press describing the developments around fees and NDC as not GDS-airline change but “broader distribution industry change.” He added that NDC is playing into the hands of the distribution giants in many ways because it highlights their value as travel content aggregators. Many travel management companies, large and small, have added their voice in this, with CWT declaring in mid-October: “There is no content distribution alternative which offers the depth and breadth of the GDS that will allow us to provide the value and efficiency we do for our clients and our airline partners today.” American Express Global Business Travel also supports this view, saying the GDS provide “a highly efficient and transparent booking environment.” Travel buyers are also having their say 


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Balancing costs and experience – offering fares that will make business travellers say YES Travel managers often have to balance their travel programme success as a trade-off between travel costs and traveller satisfaction. But as consumer behaviour changes, and people expect more from their travel, it’s no longer enough to simply offer the lowest standalone fare.

better fits their busy schedule. In fact, our latest study showed that travellers are willing to spend up to 25% more on their perfect fare.

A recent study from Dr Fried & Partner showed that 55% of travellers now look for more than just the cheapest fare when booking travel. They want the best fare for them – personalised travel experiences with all the added extras to meet their personal requirements. We call this their ‘Yes’ Fare. In the self-service era, travellers expect their consumer experiences to transfer into the corporate travel arena. As found out in a recent study by GBTA, enhancing the travel experience for employees promotes better job satisfaction, retention and business productivity. Neglecting this, or acknowledging it too late, jeopardises programme compliance, and ultimately costs the employer. of business travellers in Europe say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their business results.

We believe that personalising the traveller experience is not an option anymore but a musthave in any travel programme. Finding the best fare for a traveller means understanding their reason for travelling and their individual needs. For business travellers, flexibility and convenience are key. While there might be a cheaper flight available, they might opt to pay slightly more to fly with their preferred airline, at a time that

But, TMCs and travel managers are still continually tasked to reduce costs…. At Sabre we’ve covered all bases. We find the lowest fares 10% more often than Amadeus, and 7% more often than Travelport. And that’s not all – ancillaries are available and bookable with 75% of our content. At Sabre, we’ve been offering ancillaries through our GDS for the past 8 years. And as the trend for personalised travel experiences continues to grow, we understand how important it is to provide the widest possible range of services. That’s why we’re always working on our air shopping platform to add more content, create even faster, more sophisticated search results and enrich the quality of our data. Learn more about the Best Fare Study and Sabre’s commitment to delivering travel options that make customers and travellers say YES.

¹ Creating a Frictionless Travel Experience, GBTA, Oct. 2017 ² Sabre Best Fare Study, Dr Fried & Partner, 2017

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18 16:36


 and airing their concerns. Like TMCs, they highlight the impact on the end traveller, the element which has been sorely lacking in much of the debate so far. This is something that also concerns buyers. Mark Cuschieri, who heads up global travel management at UBS, describes all the changes as “challenging, confusing and frustrating.” From a travel management perspective he, like all buyers, just wants access to all content but it has to be in a user-friendly way for bookers and travellers. Cuschieri feels the industry has been guilty of only considering what’s right for itself and overlooking consumers in the process. Like CWT and other TMCs, he sees value in the GDS and believes they will continue to play an important role in shaping distribution. He’s also an advocate of NDC but says it has been too slow to market. “The benefits of NDC have been clouded by the topic of surcharging, which I believe is misguided by using both in the same context. Industry collaboration needs to go beyond simply partnerships and contractual relationships – distribution business models need to evolve,” he says. At the ACTE-CAPA event in London last October, Travelport's Global Head of Product and Marketing, Ian Heywood, said some airlines were “hiding behind NDC to force on the market their commercial changes”. As part of his presentation he highlighted the technology journey airlines themselves have to go on in terms of developing APIs to implement NDC. Heywood also stressed the “collaborative effort” needed across the industry. Fighting the airline corner at the same event, IATA’s Director of NDC, Yanik Hoyle said: “What we’re seeing is that airlines understand what API distribution is now. NDC is nothing more

than a standard for airlines to move as flexibly as the low-cost carriers.” In addition to concerns of consumers being overlooked, Cuschieri also highlights the development work required by the travel management community to incorporate changes in distribution and the related cost which will inevitably be passed on to the consumer.

The use of artificial intelligence is revolutionising the consumer experience already. Why should we think that the corporate travel industry will be any different?” That said, he’s optimistic that NDC as a standard will advance in 2018 especially with the GDS now firmly on board. Travelport has also stressed the costs involved to airlines and TMCs saying: “NDC is not a costless panacea for agents or airlines looking to avoid costs or revolutionise the current model. Indeed, in an independent report published in October 2017, economists found that the costs of direct distribution for airlines are in fact the same as through a GDS, when taking

into consideration advertising, marketing, customer support and payment fees, as well as the significant resources needed for online customer acquisition.” And there’s a further issue likely to cause a headache in the travel management community as it strives to ensure efficient access to all content. There are more than 600 airlines in the world and many of them don’t have NDC on their radar. Only about 250 are members of IATA so that leaves a whole lot more content to be aggregated by GDS and/or other existing mechanisms. In many ways the ongoing debate around airline distribution has put developments in other segments of travel in the shade – chatbots, the potential for voice and the role of artificial intelligence, in particular. Apple, Facebook and Google have made significant acquisitions in AI and travel companies would be foolish not to keep an eye on developments there. Travelport believes use of AI platforms in travel will explode in 2018 as the quest to analyse consumer intent and tailor results accordingly, continues. Think, for example, how chatbots driven by data and artificial intelligence, might turn the hotel search experience on its head. Cuschieri sums up how it will inevitably spill into the corporate world, saying: “The use of mobile devices, big data and artificial intelligence is revolutionising the consumer experience already. “We see this in the retail space, so why should we think that the corporate travel industry should be any different? Is the way we've booked/sourced travel in the past really the single and only way to do so?”


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The Business Travel Conference 2018

A meeting of minds

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


Sign up for free to attend The Business Travel Conference and find out if you qualify for a hosted place The Business Travel Conference 2018 returns to the Hilton London Bankside this September, once again bringing buyers and suppliers of business travel together for a two-day exhibition and conference programme. “The Business Travel Conference is now in its 12th year and we pride ourselves on delivering a conference programme with the highest quality speakers in the industry to our delegates who can learn, share experiences with their peers and do great deals for their business all under one roof,” says Event Director, Kirsty Hicks. An integrated exhibition and conference area will feature up to 60 business travel suppliers – from hotel groups and airlines to travel management companies and technology suppliers – while delegates can attend some 18 seminars through the same ‘silent conference’ technology that proved so popular in 2017. Limited to only 200 verified travel bookers, PAs, travel managers and procurement personnel, attendees can also look forward to a networking drinks and

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Government action to eliminate avoidable waste is too slow, writes Roger Gardner, who urges the hospitality sector to take action of its own


he UK government has declared war on plastic, especially single use plastic, and the hospitality industry needs to play its part. The world’s oceans, a barometer for the effects of our throw-away culture, clearly show that urgent action is needed. The government’s goal is for elimination of all avoidable waste by 2050 and all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. With plastic waste gripping the public imagination and many of us looking more critically at our own behaviour, the business travel sector would do well to examine its own performance. There is something over 100,000 flights every day worldwide and a huge number of airline meals with packaging that gets thrown away. While hygiene and freshness may dictate that some packaging is needed, greater innovation is needed to enable biodegradable materials that minimise long-term adverse impacts. Airlines increasingly use ‘big data’ to

predict the number of meals that may be purchased or consumed so as to avoid current over-catering but they could go further and require pre-ordering of food. Way back in 2004, the US Natural Resources Defence Council found that the US airline industry discards enough aluminium cans each year to build 58 Boeing 747 aircraft, discards 9,000 tons of plastic and enough newspapers and magazines to fill a football field to a depth of more than 230 feet. And, in the intervening 14 years, the situation may not be a lot better despite growing awareness. Sustainable Aviation reports that over half of all cabin waste could be recycled but contamination concerns linked to Category 1 food waste and engaging staff with effective procedures get in the way. The scale of the waste problem now is such that far greater care has to be taken to get the message across to the traveller as well as to sharpen procedures. Hotels have their own challenges but it is good to see the trend of fewer plastic bottles in conference rooms and more reusable glass bottles and for refillable toiletries in bathrooms.

Action at government level will be too slow so each sector of the economy must be a champion for minimising its plastic use" So what can be done by the business travel sector? Awareness is key so giving all levels of management, staff and consumers information about impacts and simple positive actions is essential. Encouraging people to use their own water bottle, making reusable tote bags available and avoiding single use plastic containers all make a difference. The business travel community is alive to these issues but perhaps treads warily and does not show the evangelical zeal it could for fear that more dictatorial policies would discourage custom. That time is past as the body of evidence shows that we are all placing an intolerable burden on our biodiversity, ecosystem and the future health of the planet. It is clear that action at a governmental level will be too slow so each sector of the economy must be a champion for minimising its own plastic use.


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STREAMLINED SOLUTIONS Chatbots are in the spotlight right now but businesses are turning to an ever wider array of tools to achieve savings, writes Linda Fox


utting costs remains top of the priority list for business travel buyers in 2018, and you can bet that efficient technology and new tools will play a key part in achieving this. It could be for example that a chatbot or virtual assistant might mean less handholding, leaving consultants free to focus on other things. According to one industry report, Hudl, a sports video startup, is already using a chatbot-based platform to replace existing travel and expense management systems. But if that seems like too much of a stretch, there are lots of other systems to keep an eye on that could see efficiency gains, from airfare trackers such as Yapta, which is already working with Amex GBT, to incentive-based booking platforms such as Upside which rewards travellers when they save money on their business travel trips. And it's not just bigger businesses turning to technology to achieve savings. Corporate Traveller, which works with companies with a spend of £50,000 to £2million annually, has just released technology aimed at the SME market. General Manager Andy Hegley says: “We are sensing now in the market that SMEs are looking to have more technology. The market is growing up and there is demand for technology now.” Duty of care was named as the second biggest issue for travel buyers in 2018 according to Business Travel Show research. In this area there are also interesting technology

developments such as Concur Labs’ prototype virtual reality concept to help travel managers track employees in the event of an incident. Chatbots and virtual reality might be headline grabbing right now but it’s clear some companies already have them firmly on the radar. It’s interesting to note that keeping up with technology comes fifth of the 2018 list but that’s probably for a combination of reasons. Most travel managers are already doing that whether it’s travel approval via mobile device or accessing data and drawing reports on traveller spend via an iPad app. Enforced compliance has also fallen

further down the list of priorities. Some corporates are realising that travellers are more likely to respect programmes if they have enough choice. There are also now a number of startups in the corporate travel space including Rocketrip, Travelbank, Trippeo and Travo which provide a more modern view of corporate travel booking whether by offering user-friendly systems, savings on travel through smarter buying or some other efficiencies. The Business Travel Show research asked buyers a follow-up question: “What will the biggest change in the way you buy/manage travel in the next 12 months be?” From a technology standpoint the answers here were more telling in terms of acknowledging the role of technology and its increased use coming second and increased online bookings coming fourth. The same question asked last year is also revealing as a comparison point in terms of changing attitudes. In late 2016 and early 2017 travel buyers viewed forcing compliance to corporate travel policy as a big change in travel management for the year then ahead, alongside increased use of an online booking tool. Perhaps frustration with increasing out of policy spend alongside the pressure to reduce costs was at a peak but the time, effort and desire to look at emerging solutions was just not there. This could all change in 2018 as corporate travellers back away from systems that are not user-friendly and seek a better booking and management experience from their technology.


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The Business Travel Show 2018

There's no business like show business The Business Travel Show 2018 takes place on February 21-22 at Olympia London – the biggest event in Europe for corporate travel buyers

󰇬o󰈟 Fe󰇧t󰇼󰇶e󰈤 󰇧t 󰇹󰇭󰈥 s 󰈥 t󰇬i󰈤 y󰇪󰈜󰇶 i󰈡c󰇰󰇻󰈨 t󰇬e 󰈦󰇪t󰇼󰇶󰈡 of 󰇹󰇭󰇪 La󰇻n󰈛󰇭p󰈜󰈧 a󰈡d Dis󰇶󰇻󰇵t A󰇿󰈜󰈦d󰇷

Business travel bookers and managers will descend upon Olympia London for two days in February as the Business Travel Show brings some 7,500 attendees and 250 exhibitors together to talk travel. The annual event will also feature a conference programme comprising over 60 panel sessions, masterclasses and workshops suited to everyone from those starting


their careers to the most experienced travel buyers. This year’s programme covers the biggest issues affecting travel management, including GDPR, PSD2 and traveller security. Features at the show this year also include the return of the Launchpad and Disrupt Awards – which The Business Travel Magazine's Editor Andy Hoskins will help judge – plus the International Hotel Village, Airline Pavilion, Responsible Travel Zone, GTMC Pavilion and an ASAP association area for serviced apartment operators and agents. “Book appointments and take part in the full programme,” advises Mette Louise Skjærbæk, Travel Manager at LEGO.

“the annual event will feature a conference programme comprising over 60 panel sessions, masterclasses and workshops”


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Bus󰇮󰇳󰈥 bo󰈢󰈫󰈥󰈦s a󰇳󰈤󰈨s 󰇹󰈦av󰇪󰇰 wi󰇰󰇱 d󰇪󰇷󰈝󰈥n󰈧m󰇧󰇳󰈜󰈪er󰇷 Ol󰈂󰈩pi󰇧 L󰈣󰇳u󰇵󰈢n 󰈨on

BTS Conference Programme WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 1000-1100 The NDC revolution begins – triumph or disaster for your travel programme?

THURSDAY 22 FEBRUARY 1000-1100 Keynote speaker: Steve Martin. Use the psychology of persuasion to manage your travel programme

1000-1100 The storm before the calm – managing successful TMC and booking tool implementations

1000-1100 Save more through advance air and hotel booking

1000-1100 Inside my global travel programme 1000-1100 Ten quick wins to get you started in travel management 1130-1230 TMCs – are we paying them too little, or too much, and with the right model? 1130-1230 Make your travel programme GDPR-compliant 1130-1230 Online booking and expense management – how to choose it, how to implement it, how to maximise adoption 1300-1400 Connected supplier technology – good for travellers, good for travel managers?

1015-1115 AI and bots – science fiction or travel management fact? 1000-1100 Using data for improved savings and control 1130-1230 Nudge, nudge – engage your travellers to choose smarter behaviour 1130-1230 Building a better airline deal

"su󰇮󰇹󰈥󰈨 to m ev󰇪󰇶󰈠󰈣ne 󰈇󰈦t󰈢i󰇳󰈪 t󰇬o󰈤󰇪 s󰇹󰈜󰈦 󰇪󰈦s t󰇬e󰇮󰈦 c󰈜󰇶e 󰇷󰇺 to 󰇹󰇭󰇪 m󰈣 󰈨 ex󰇴󰇪󰈦󰇯en󰈛󰇪r󰇷" t󰇶a󰇾󰇪l 󰇨󰇼󰈠e

1300-1400 The payments revolution – what’s changed and what are my options? 1300-1400 Safety and security – a best practice guide for beginners 1430-1530 Get paid to fly – is it time to incentivise your travellers? 1430-1530 Driving a better ground transportation and car hire strategy 1430-1530 How suppliers’ revenue management affects the price you pay – and what you can do about it

1130-1230 Travel management for SMEs 1300-1400 Are we getting a good price? Why it’s time to audit and re-book your airfares and hotel rates

1300-1400 Breathe life back into your hotel relationships 1300-1400 Corporate payments – achieve more savings, more data, more process efficiencies 1430-1530 Forecasting forum – the travel price and risk outlook for the next 12 months 1430-1530 New savings from mature programmes

Wednesday February 21 & Thursday February 22, 2018

Whe󰇶󰇪? Olympia London

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

Mor󰇪 󰇯󰇳󰈆o @btshowlondon #BTShow


Business Travel Show group


1430-1530 Getting the most out of my TMC and other service providers

1430-1530 Choosing a travel management company and other partners

1430-1530 Travel policy – your key to balancing maximum compliance with traveller experience

1600-1700 Policy – why it’s time for a complete re-think

1600-1700 Dynamic pricing – time to switch?

1600-1700 The app of my eye – choosing the right mobile app provider

1600-1700 Negotiating the best savings and value with travel suppliers

1600-1700 Communication – how to engage travellers and other stakeholders in your travel programme



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Shazia Mirza The comedian and writer talks to Angela Sara West about her rib-tickling travels and going back to basics for Channel 4’s Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls


nown for her deadpan delivery and pushing boundaries on stage, Shazia Mirza has delivered sharp one-liners all over the world. Recent travels have taken her to Turkey, Los Angeles, Pakistan and Switzerland, while next up are Paris, Ireland and Sweden. “I travel all the time – every day, really, either up the M1 or on a plane abroad,” says Mirza. “It’s a privilege to go to a different place every night and not know where I'm going. It always feels like an adventure.” The Brummie funny girl has comical tales from the City of Angels. “In LA, they think I'm Mexican and people come up to me talking in Spanish. They get very confused when I speak with an English accent.” The trailblazing entertainer’s favourite destinations include Norway and Denmark and, in the US, she’s a fan of San Francisco. “I love performing in the city. It’s a great place to do stand-up. It's interesting to do comedy in the States at this time in the world. There's so much to say to the Americans, although they probably don't want to hear it from me. I still have to explain to them what Brexit is, and why we did it.” Mirza recommends Mexico for culture and a warm welcome. “It also has great beaches, as does the south of France. I recently stayed at L’Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo whilst filming a TV show – that was an experience. But I also love Saint-Jean-CapFerrat’s kitsch and dated two-star hotel, L'Oursin. It’s a bit like Fawlty Towers!” After the glitz and glamour of the Côte d'Azur, being abandoned on a remote island in the Pacific by Bear Grylls last year proved 42

no laughing matter for Mirza. “It was ten times worse than what you saw on TV. But I realised that you don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only option. It’s a test of mental strength, but there were times where you just had to stop thinking and get on with things.” Driven by desperation, determined Mirza became the group’s warrior. She not only found water and navigated a jungle, but was the one bringing home food for the camp. Defying strong currents, Mirza’s strong swimming saw her excel at fishing. No-one, it seems, was amused in such an

There’s nothing more exciting than waking up in a strange hotel in a different place, in a country you've never been to before" unforgiving place. “On the island, there was no laughter – we didn't laugh once. It was strange. We were struggling all the time. Being alone with your thoughts at night for such long periods of time was hard, like being in solitary confinement.” After a month of dehydration, starvation and being dashed against rocks (causing her to fall unconscious), Mirza was one of the final six stranded contestants who survived to the end. What did she learn about herself? “Once you've survived 'The Island', you can do anything in life,” she says. The comedy queen’s travels and gruelling island experience have served as a source

of inspiration for material for her sell-out shows. “Everything I see and hear could end up in a show, as that's where most of my material comes from. On Celebrity Island, we saw how the environment – earth, land and sea – is such a beautiful place being ruined by humans. The amount of plastic we found on those beaches was horrific. It’s very sad. I love the sea and swam for hours every day. It’s beautiful and calming.” Catching many flights a year, Mirza is a fan of Emirates and Norwegian and offers a single travel tip: “Always listen to other people's conversations.” When she has time off she heads home for some rare R&R. “Nowhere beats my mum's house in Birmingham,” she says. “I sleep in the same room as I did as a teenager and my mum makes me food all day. That is the best holiday. I love visiting my roots in Pakistan, too.” Travelling has taught Mirza much about people, along with an understanding of other cultures. “Travelling’s given me so much in life. It’s helped me to become more tolerant. You learn things when travelling that you could never learn from a book. “Getting on an aeroplane and being up in the sky above the clouds for a few hours, ending up on the other side of the world, is a miracle. I never take for granted what an exciting thing that is.” She continues: “There’s nothing more exciting than waking up in a strange hotel in a different place, in a country you've never been to before. You look out of the window into the unknown. The mystery of life is a such a gift.”

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© Martin Twomey

SHAZIA MIRZA Mirza’s new show With Love From St. Tropez kicks off in Birmingham on 2nd February before touring the UK. For details, visit Her last stand-up tour, the critically acclaimed The Kardashians Made Me Do It, played for 103 nights internationally across the UK, US, Sweden, Ireland and France and completed four sell out runs at London’s Soho Theatre.


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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.

Rail Systems Untitled-2 1 Untitled-3

Bu S ST sine ee AN ss us D Tra at t NO ve he . B l Sh 94 ow 0

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.

22/01/2018 15:19 1/23/18 11:04 AM



Review [ t h e lOWDO W N ]


Small businesses spending more on travel

Emirates provides boost for future of Airbus A380

[ I N THE A IR ]

[ O N THE G R O U N D ] Virgin Trains extends on the day Advance fares

Mixed outlook for meetings and events market






[ R OOM R EPORT ] Radisson Red prepares for UK debut






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IN BRIEF Profit jump

TRAVEL technology specialist Amadeus has been ranked the 16th most sustainable corporation globally. It is the travel industry's only represenative in the Corporate Knights Top 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index. French software company Dassault Systemes topped the chart. Nearly 6,000 companies with revenues over $1billion were analysed on 17 quantitative key performance indicators related to governance, environmental and social aspects.

Review Travel Group posted annual turnover of £14.8 million, a 15% increase on 2016. The company acquired hotel and conference booking specialist Executive Status in April 2016 and has grown its UK-wide client base across all sectors, from healthcare to legal.

Tech for SMEs

Corporate Traveller will launch YOUR.CT at the Business Travel Show. The platform gives travellers, bookers and managers access to a booking tool, approvals system, profile management, traveller tracking and alerts, travel policy, reporting and invoice data. The TMC’s UK General Manager, Andy Hegley, says that although SMEs have typically done business offline, there is growing appetite among the sector for online tools and booking technology.

UBS outlook

UBS has deployed PredictX's predictive analysis and data intelligence platform to build more accurate travel budget forecasts and provide more contemporary and complete spend reporting.

Small businesses to spend more on travel FOUR out of ten SMEs (40%) will spend more on business travel in 2018 while only 12% expect to spend less than in 2017. Nearly half (48%) expect travel spend to remain static. The research, carried out by Business Travel Show, showed half of SMEs (49%) claim they will spend more on both air travel and accommodation in 2018. Nearly half of survey respondents (47%) expect travel costs to rise in the year head, with only 13% expecting airfares and hotel rates to fall. Only 15% of travel managers said they expect to manage fewer trips in the year ahead, compared to 37% who thought this heading into 2017, with the sharp decline in pessimism suggesting that concerns around geopolitical events such as Brexit have quickly dissipated.


use of sharing economy accommodation

One in four UK business travellers have used Airbnb or similar shared economy accommodation options

“recognising unsung heroes who do the hard graft without complaining” Will Hasler, Business Travel Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers & awards judge

Recognising excellence in business travel – nominate now at



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IN BRIEF Workplace bias

One in five females in the travel industry feels they have been discriminated against in their careers by a lack of diversity in the workplace, according to a new whitepaper from BCD Meetings and Events. Its Women in Travel, Events and Hospitality report also showed 33% of women and 7% of men believed a quota system should be put in place to address imbalances in the workplace.

Age concerns

Millennials are more likely to cancel a business trip due to security concerns than other age groups, with 29% having done so, compared to 20% of Generation X and only 12% of baby boomers, according to CWT’s Connected Traveller Study.


Bleisure travel still riding a wave NEARLY a quarter of employees now request an additional night’s stay on their business trip in order to explore the destination, according to new research. Evidence of the ‘bleisure’ trend was found in a survey by Business, which also reveals that nearly three-quarters of business travellers seek accommodation with leisure facilities such as gyms, pools and saunas. London, the Lake District, Edinburgh and Manchester emerged as the top business destinations in 2017 – considerably more popular than overseas destination. “It’s interesting to see how employees are being savvy with their business trips, using them as an opportunity to take a night away and enjoy cost-effective access to the best of the UK,” says Graeme Descoteaux of Business.

Getting together

London-based Reed & Mackay has expanded its overseas footprint with the purchase of Frequent Flyer Travel Paris, while Gray Dawes has acquired Surrey’s CTM (formerly Chelsea Travel Management). The deal - Gray Dawes’ fifth acquisition in less than three years - will take its annual turnover to around £120million.

Wallet watching

Cutting costs remains business travel buyers’ biggest priority in 2018, followed by an increased focus on duty of care. The poll by Business Travel Show found hotel pricing and availability is the third largest area of concern, Brexit is fourth and keeping up with technology is fifth.


G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes Chief Executive, GTMC

There is a growing trend for companies looking to TMCs to manage both their travel and events needs, offering a consolidated service that ultimately delivers a more efficient programme. Many TMCs have recognised the value in extending their service offer to include expertise in the meetings and events space. This includes not only finding the right venues, managing the end-to-end travel requirements, delegate registration and forensic analysis of the full spend on MICE activity, but also full event marketing, production, onsite management and post-event evaluation to review ROI and achievement of objectives. A recent study by the GBTA found that travel, meetings and events consolidation has grown by 62% in the last two years. If this pace continues, two-thirds of travel, meetings and events programmes will be fully consolidated over the next three to five years. The TMC community has proved its evolutionary prowess by diversifying its product and service offering to offer market-leading solutions in the conference, meeting and events space. A more efficient MICE and travel programme is well worth considering.


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Emirates provides boost for A380s EMIRATES has placed an order for 36 Airbus A380 aircraft in a deal worth $16billion. It already has a fleet of 101 A380s and 41 aircraft already on order, and says its latest purchase will ”provide stability to the A380 production line”. Airbus Commercial Aircraft's John Leahy says: “I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.” Emirates will launch flights from London Stansted in June.

[ TAKING OFF ] >> CATHAY PACIFIC has increased its operation between Manchester and Hong Kong to a daily service >> TAP AIR PORTUGAL will launch a six-times-weekly service from London City Airport to Porto on March 25 >> NORWEGIAN will introduce a non-stop service from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires on February 14, followed by flights to Chicago and Austin in March

SINGAPORE Airlines’ latest Airbus A380 aircraft featuring new seat and cabin designs will be deployed on London services from February. Unveiled in November and first deployed on services between Singapore and Sydney, the new aircraft feature six spacious first class suites with separate flatbeds and leather chairs. New 25-inch-wide business class seats convert to 78-inch flatbeds and are in a forward-facing 1-2-1 configuration. Dividing panels between the two central seats can be lowered to form double beds and each seat comes with an 18-inch HD screen and 1,000 entertainment options, USB ports and enlarged dining tables.

Premium economy seating with extra legroom is located in a cabin of its own on the aircraft. From February 17 to April 5, the new aircraft will operate SQ305 (London-Singapore) and, from April 7, the new A380s are scheduled to operate SQ317 (London-Singapore) on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The enhanced cabins are initially being fitted to five new A380s, while the airline’s 14 super jumbos already in service will be retrofitted with the product thereafter. In total, the aircraft can carry up to 471 passengers, with six first class suites, 78 business class seats, 44 in premium economy and 343 in economy.

ICELANDAIR ADDS TO BURGEONING NORTH AMERICA NETWORK ICELANDAIR will add three US destinations to its network this summer, with a new service to Kansas City joining returning services to San Francisco and Baltimore. Flights to the three destinations will commence in late May and early June, providing increased connections between the UK and North America. Icelandair currently operates from six UK gateways via its hub in Reykjavik to 23 destinations across North America. Flights to Kansas City will depart Keflavik Airport three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays from May 25. The San Francisco and Baltimore services will commence on June 1 and May 28 respectively.

“we can't have a successful future as an industry without fantastic people” Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner at Festive Road & awards judge

Recognising excellence in business travel – nominate now at



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New distribution capability (NDC) is now regarded as a good thing by over a third of travel buyers – significantly up from just 10% who agreed it was a positive development in the previous BTS survey. The number of buyers who disagree it is a good thing has fallen from 34% to 27%.

Record breakers

A record number of passengers passed through both Heathrow and Gatwick airports in 2017. Total passenger numbers were up 3.1% to 78 million at Heathrow, and up 5.2% to 45.6 million at Gatwick, with the latter attributing growth to new long-haul connections.

Lounging around

Qantas has opened its first lounge at Heathrow Airport. Located at Terminal 3, the facility has seating for 230 people, a marble cocktail bar, gin bar on the lower level, menus designed by Rockpool, hot and cold buffets, wifi, workstations and six showers.

Fine China

British Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines, giving access to four additional destinations. BA customers will be able to connect on to Shenyang and Harbin in northeast China via its services to Shanghai, and to Dalian on the Liaodong Peninsula via Beijing. Passengers will also be able to fly via either Shanghai or Beijing to Changchun, the capital and largest city in Jilin Province.


EASYJET is introducing two new routes from Edinburgh this summer with services taking off to Jersey in the Channel Islands from March 31 and to Seville in Spain from March 26. Both are twice-weekly operations and take the airline's network from Edinburgh to 40 destinations. “We’re committed to expansion at Edinburgh and the addition of new routes will help us to deliver long-term, sustainable growth, providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service,” says easyJet’s UK Country Manager, Ali Gayward. The two new routes will be operated by A320 aircraft throughout the summer season. In total, easyJet will operate 838 flights in and out of Scotland per week during the peak summer season, connecting to 45 airports in 19 countries. The airline has carried over 41 million passengers in 22 years at Edinburgh Airport.

Japanese airlines top the time tables


JAPAN Airlines was the most punctual large airline in 2017 with on-time performance of 85.27%. ANA All Nippon Airways was second and Delta Air Lines third in the OAG report. The top 20 included a broad geographic spread with six airlines from Asia-Pacific, six European airlines, one airline from Latin America and seven North American airlines. “British Airways (10th) and easyJet (15th) are holding their own amongst their global counterparts,” says John Grant, Senior Analyst at OAG. “In a highly competitive environment, it’s great to see them reporting an impressive OTP.” London Heathrow was the tenth most punctually operating airport worldwide in the ‘mega airport’ category with Tokyo Haneda topping the chart. Birmingham was the best performing globally in the ‘medium airport’ category.

BRITISH AIRWAYS has introduced new catering in its World Traveller economy cabins on long-haul services. The airline is introducing “more quantity and quality to the catering, delivering tasty meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.” The new offering includes four-course meals and a second meal or substantial snack depending on the length of the flight. The service is complimentary, in contrast to its short-haul economy offering where BA offers paid-for food and drinks supplied by Marks & Spencer.


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SERVICED APARTMENTS SECTOR ANTICIPATES GROWTH IN 2018 OVER 40% of serviced apartment operators intend to accelerate expansion plans in 2018 following a strong performance in 2017. Research from the Association of Service Apartment Providers (ASAP) and Savills shows that economic conditions remain the biggest perceived challenge facing the sector over the next three years, according to almost two-thirds of survey respondents. “2017 was a phenomenal year of growth for our sector right across the UK and it’s particularly encouraging to see operators confirming in our Sentiment Survey that, in spite of the challenging economic environment, they remain firmly committed to their future expansion plans,” says James Foice, ASAP Chief Executive.

Radisson Red set to make UK debut THE millennial-focused 'lifestyle select' Radisson Red hotel brand will arrive in the UK this spring as parent group Carlson Rezidor opens a property in Glasgow. Due to open its doors for business in April, the new hotel is located at Finnieston Quay, adjacent to the SEC Centre and SSE Hydro event venues. It will comprise 174 studios, RED Sky cocktail bar, OUIbar+KTCHN 'neo-canteen', three events studios and fitness centre. The brand promises “a new hotel philosophy that connects with an ageless millennial mindset through art, music and fashion“, delivering local flavours and “anti-biege“ design. The fledgling Radisson Red brand is currently present in Brussels, Campinas (Brazil), Cape Town and Minneapolis, with hotels in Portland and Miami also opening this year.


The number of Travelodge hotels in London

The winners of the 2017 ASAP Serviced Apartment Industry Awards were announced shortly before Christmas, with Premier Suites Plus winning the Guest Experience Award, SACO taking home the Serviced Apartment Corporate Account Management Award, and Cycas Hospitality's Kimberley Barber winning Rising Star of the Year. Meanwhile, Habicus Group has been unveiled as the new parent brand of SilverDoor and Citybase Apartments. It follows Silverdoor’s acquisition of Citybase and its Central London Apartments and Orbital Partnership brands in May 2016. “I’m confident that we are now in the perfect position to continue our growth and expand further internationally,” says Managing Director, Marcus Angell.

Following the opening of properties in Harrow and Brent Cross, budget hotel group Travelodge now operates over 70 hotels across London and over 530 throughout the UK. The group has also recently opened a fourth hotel in Newcastle and identified nine sites in Surrey for future development

“a great opportunity to showcase those people who have done great work” Jon Bolger, Equilibrium Consultancy & awards judge

Recognising excellence in business travel – nominate now at



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IN BRIEF Wyndham goes soft

The Wyndham Hotel Group has created the Trademark Collection, a soft-branded collection of upper-midscale and above hotels. It launches with 50 hotels across Germany, Switzerland and Austria, each maintaining its 'independent spirit and individuality'.

Novotel takeover

A major refurbishment at the four-star Novotel London Stansted Airport is now complete, marking the end of the property's transition from its former Hilton branding. The overhaul incorporates the hotel’s 250 bedrooms, restaurants and bars.


Hyatt clamps down on cancellations THE HYATT hotels group has amended its minimum cancellation policy, joining the likes of Marriott, Hilton and IHG in imposing restricted terms. Guests must now cancel rooms at least 48 hours in advance of their stay to avoid a cancellation fee. Hyatt says the amended policy “allows hotels to manage guestroom availability more effectively, including offering rooms and upgrades to rooms that would have gone unoccupied”. World of Hyatt loyalty programme can make penalty-free cancellations up to 24 hours ahead of their stay. Corporates had mixed reactions to similar moves from Marriott, Hilton and IHG, with some saying cancellation policies in their corporate deals would be honoured and others considering moving their business elsewhere.

Mandarin moves in

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will open a second hotel in London – a 50-room boutique property. It is scheduled to open on Mayfair's Hanover Square in 2021 and will also include 80 private residences, a fine-dining restaurant, lobby lounge, bar and roof terrace. The group currently operates 31 hotels and eight residences in 21 countries.

B2B Melia

Meliá Hotels has introduced a new online B2B booking and management portal for businesses, travellers and agencies. The new-look MeliáPro portal features 20% discounts on selected hotels in prominent business cities around the world and a search and RFP tool for meetings and events. The group has also created a MeliáPro Rewards loyalty programme.

EDINBURGH ON THE LIST AS YOTEL GOES FOR GROWTH YOTEL will open a city centre property in Edinburgh in 2019 as it accelerates global expansion plans. Located on Queen Street, at Erskine House, the property will have around 280 ‘cabins’ – from premium to VIP categories – each including ‘technowalls’ with mood lighting and smart TVs, as well as signature adjustable SmartBeds. The hotel will also have a bar, screening room and Club Lounge. “Yotel is on a rapid expansion path

and the announcement of our Edinburgh city hotel plays an integral part in our future plans in Scotland and the rest of the globe,” says Yotel CEO, Hubert Viriot. The group currently operates four YotelAir airport hotels and three city hotels in New York, Boston and Singapore. New city centre hotels have been announced for London (due to open later this year), Dubai, San Francisco, Miami and Amsterdam.

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

Of all the many people I get to meet in the business travel industry, I think perhaps three-quarters of them do not seem to be satisfied with their work life. In fact, many are actively dissatisfied and want to talk about it. I realise this is neither a statistically significant sample nor a ground-breaking piece of research, but it does seem that the “grass is greener” phenomena is widespread in our industry. Dissatisfaction appears to stem from two things: a poor relationship with the individual’s boss and/or career progression not matching their aspirations. I don’t wish to generalise or over-simplify but, to the first point, anyone who has ever managed anyone knows management can be as downright difficult as it can be rewarding so, in general, ease up on your well-intended and imperfect boss. Meanwhile, when our careers don’t progress as we would like, we have to consider what capabilities and efforts are needed to move on and whether the end will justify the means. Maybe we should just take care when surmising that changing employers is the answer. But maybe I’m not the best person to comment – I love my job!


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Unlocking the enjoyment in car rental The defining moment of a customer’s rental journey often takes place at the end, after they return the car to the rental location. Customer confidence in both products and services is central to the car rental industry as we strive to offer an experience that is as enjoyable as possible from start to finish. With this in mind, we have spent the last year refining both the customer and internal-facing

photographed, timed and logged. This is then e-signed as acknowledgment by the renter and a copy is emailed directly to them as well as feeding into internal Avis systems where it serves as a permanent record for any follow-up that might be required. In short, it delivers complete transparency of the maintenance and repair processes – and in doing so, eliminates paperwork, reduces

elements of the return process. In 2017, we launched our Avis Maintenance and Damage Management System (MDMS), an industry-first mobile checking system that integrates a digital vehicle condition report into each rental agreement. It offers extra transparency and empowerment to the renter on return as the number plate, the miles travelled and any significant damage is

out-of-service time and optimises the internal supply chain. As we look into the future of transportation and mobility with significant vehicle innovations on the horizon, we will have an opportunity to embrace and integrate these emerging technologies to provide business and leisure customers with the most enjoyable, stress-free and modern travel experience as possible along their journey.

James Turner Sales Director at Avis Budget Group


New Caledonian carriages on track THE FIRST carriages for the new fleet of Caledonian Sleeper trains have arrived in the UK. The new carriages will begin operating on the overnight rail service between London and Scotland this October. Over £100million has been invested in the new fleet, with 75 new carriages being introduced from this autumn. The new trains will be the culmination of a range of improvements since Serco took the operation over in 2015. New features include a hotel-style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, charging panels and wifi. A range of accommodation options will be available, including Comfort Seats from £45pp, Classic Rooms from £85pp, Club Rooms from £125pp, and Suites from £200pp.

[ ON TRACK ] >> The first electric black cabs have arrived in London and have been officially certified by TRANSPORT FOR LONDON. From the start of the year, TfL rules allow only low-emission capable vehicles to join its fleet >> TRAINLINE has announced partnerships with Eurail and Interrail, providing its customers in Europe with access to a borderless European rail experience. The partnership makes travel to 40,000 stations in 30 countries simpler >> Work on the HS2 rail project will continue with no disruptions despite the recent collapse of CARILLION. Construction firm KIER GROUP, formerly partnered with Carillion, is to take on more than 200 workers and confirmed a 50/50 joint venture with EIFFAGE


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A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Rail fare rises

Executive Director, ACTE

Average rail ticket fares in the UK have risen by 3.4%, marking the biggest price hike since 2013. Season tickets have gone up by around 3.6%. The rail industry and government defended the increase as essential for investing in the modernisation of the railway network.

Blacklane investment

Driver service company Blacklane will add new cities and a global airport concierge service following its largest investment to date from UAE-based ALFAHIM. Blacklane will be available in over 300 cities with growth across the Middle East and Africa.

Europcar chauffeurs

Europcar has introduced Europcar Global Driver Services to enable customers to book a chauffeur for the first and last kilometres of their trips. It is currently available in some European countries, but will be gradually available across the Europcar network. The service uses Brunel's tech platform, which operates within ride-hailing markets.


Addison Lee is launching a digital global service, allowing customers to book journeys via its app in over 100 cities worldwide. The company also announced an investment of £65million in additional fleet for its London and New York operations. The new service allows corporate customers to book cars across the globe.

Virgin reduces fares and adds 'super train' VIRGIN TRAINS is continuing to tempt customers away from air and road travel and on to rail following moves to reduce fares on its East Coast network by a third on day of travel. Virgin began offering reduced advance fares on the day of travel in May, but the popularity of the fares has led the operator to dramatically expand their availability and the number of destinations on the East Coast route where they are sold. Based on the number of walk-up fares currently bought, Virgin Trains has calculated the changes could save customers up to £11million a year. The East Coast route will additionally be upgraded with state-of-the-art Azuma trains this year which are among the most advanced passenger trains on the UK rail network.

EUROSTAR RELAUNCHES LOYALTY EUROSTAR has launched a new three-tier loyalty programme available to all passengers. The Club Eurostar programme rewards members with one point for every £1 spent on tickets which can then be used to spend on future travel, upgrades and ticket discounts. New members join as Classique members. Members of the Advantage middle tier – attained after earning 400 points or five return journeys in a year – can additionally spend points on travel with Rail Team partners and on

gifts from a new online Club Eurostar Shop. Top-tier Carte Blanche members (1,800+ points or 24 return journeys in a year) can use fast-track check-in and access to Business Premier lounges. “We’re delighted to launch our new loyalty programme, which offers travellers a more streamlined offering, making it easier for customers to book tickets and access benefits and rewards,” says Dorothee Mariotte, Senior Customer Insight and Retention Manager, Eurostar.

What a heck of a year 2017 was! From Brexit and unrelenting concerns about terrorism to immigration issues and electronic bans, as well as other geopolitical and industry events that quickly became old hat – the challenges just kept coming. The amazing thing is that as an industry, everyone put their head down, forged ahead and came out on the other side. You should be proud of yourselves. Whether on the supply side or the demand side, you are becoming even more adept at responding. Integrating change – never an easy prospect – was done with such deftness that these relatively new issues seem to have always been with us. As for industry-specific changes likely to make 2018 interesting – from the impact of blockchain and Bitcoin to content availability and new ways of booking – let's keep an open mind. You’ll need it to make the technological innovations work for your travellers and companies. So congratulate yourselves on what you’ve learned over the past 12 months and how prepared you are for the next challenge. Given what you handled in 2017, have no doubt that you’re ready for anything that 2018 throws at us.


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Sitges Coming Soon

A collection of luxury hotels

inspired by contemporary European lifestyle CABO




Information and reservations via


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IN BRIEF Suite success

The Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel has unveiled a bigger and brighter Christleton Suite following a major refurbishment and rebuild. The function room can now seat up to 240 people for banquets, or 300 guests for a theatre-style conference or reception. Public areas and smaller meeting rooms have also been refurbished.

Radius expansion

The Radius Travel network has launched Radius Travel Meetings & Events, including strategic meetings management, end-to-end events and specialised services. As part of the new division, Radius has added Inntel and Germany-based events agency Proske to its network.

Confex heads north

The team behind International Confex is launching Confex Future Focus, a new show taking place on July 4-5 at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester. Like International Confex, it is a platform for event planners to meet with venues and event services.

Mixed outlook for meetings market MEETINGS and event costs in the UK could fall by up to 4% in 2018, but London and other key cities will buck the trend. Rates at venues in London are predicted to rise 2.42% and the report from MEETalytics also forecasts rising rates in Edinburgh and Birmingham. Outside key city centre locations, DDR rates will either remain static or decrease. “Early indications show 2018 UK DDR average rates are 1.5% down on 2017,” says Paul Hussey of The company's figures contradict the predictions of some major TMCs, which vary from no change to a 5% rate rise across the board in 2018. “We believe the rise in bedroom rates during the latter half of 2017 is probably behind these predictions,” says Hussey.



Six of the best

Workspace provider Regus opened six new business centres across the UK, located in Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool’s Mann Island and Derby Square. Lewisham and Redhill. Each features a mix of co-working space, serviced offices of various sizes, virtual office services and bookable meeting rooms.

GLASGOW'S Scottish Event Campus has opened the SEC Meeting Academy, a newly created space for self-contained small to medium-sized meetings. The new space is the result of a £500,000 investment and it can also be integrated with the wider SEC conference facilities. The SEC Meeting Academy features a central 300-400 theatre-style capacity room and links with breakout rooms and networking spaces overlooking the concourse. Alongside the larger theatre space, the four smaller meeting rooms formerly known as the Seminar Suite are additionally being upgraded in line with the new facility and also form part of the SEC Meeting Academy.

>> AMADEUS has integrated HRS’ meetago solution into the Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense platform. The deal will help users get to grips with small meetings bookings and spend >> Workspace specialist SPACES has opened a new hub in Reading and will open another in Birmingham this summer. The facility will occupy all 7,523m2 of The Crossway on Great Charles Street, a ten-minute walk from New Street station >> LAS VEGAS was named the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for the fifth consecutive year at the World Travel Awards >> Liverpool's CONSTELLATIONS event venue is opening Hinterlands in February, a new 975m2 multipurpose event space

the average lead time for booking meetings

The average lead time for meetings bookings will continue to rise in 2018 as bookers realise the benefits of advance planning. The average lead time in 2017 was 83.74 days - up 9.28% on 2016, says the MEETalytics report THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London






JOINS: Choice Hotels AS: Director, Corporate Sales, Europe FROM: Club Quarters Hotels

JOINS: Oakwood Worldwide AS: Director of Sales, EMEA FROM: NH Hotel Group

JOINS: Eurostar AS: Chief Executive Officer FROM: Yodel

Choice Hotels has hired Andrius Remeikis, who will be responsible for managing its portfolio of European corporate clients and developing corporate business.

Juliet Howie has joined serviced apartments specialist Oakwood Worldwide as Director of Sales, EMEA. She has previously held senior positions with NH Hotel Group and O'Callaghan Hotels.

Mike Cooper has taken over from Nicolas Petrovic as CEO of Eurostar. He has previously held the positions of CEO of Yodel and Deputy CEO and MD Mainland Europe of Arriva.





SPRING SPARKLE, BY TBTC Sofitel London St James


APRIL 29 - MAY 1


MAY 2-3


MAY 10-13


MAY 25



TBTM WORLD CUP PARTY England v Belgium, venue TBC





AUGUST 11-15






JOINS: Light Blue Travel AS: Business Development Manager FROM: Kuoni

PROMOTED AT: AirPlus TO: Managing Director FROM: Chief Operating Officer

JOINS: Gray Dawes Group AS: Commercial Director FROM: Atriis Technologies

Cambridge-based Light Blue Travel has appointed Grainne Hodgson-Kerry to further develop its business travel division. She has previously worked for Kuoni and HRG.

Spencer Hanlon has been appointed Managing Director at payments specialist AirPlus. He has been with the company for almost 15 years since leaving British Airways.

Gray Dawes has appointed David Bishop in a new role of Commercial Director at the travel management company. He has spent over 15 years in leadership roles in travel.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Clyde Travel Management has hired Martin Jubb as Customer Relations Manager >> Joe Sweeny has joined Select Apartments as Business Development Manager >> Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has appointed Adela Cristea as Senior Director and Head of Development, UK and Ireland >> Traveldoo has appointed Sam Cande as UK Country Manager >> Jose Silva is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah hotels group >> Ian Jones has joined the Festive Road consultancy >> Corporate Travel Management has appointed Stephen Taylor, 1 11/05/2017 15:01 Mark Eden and Richard Ware as Senior Business Development Managers

EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND RECRUITMENT SPECIALISTS Dedicated to the business travel sector • +44 (0)845 605 9055 •


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business stays


St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW

TAKE A VIRTUAL SHOW ROUND Visit to explore St. Ermin’s Hotel from every angle.

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The Business Travel

Christmas Party

Raising a glass to Christmas

The Business Travel Christmas party took place at London’s Grange Hotel St Paul’s in December, with support from ANA All Nippon Airways and Flybe. A raffle raised over £3,200 in aid of Centre Point, a charity that provides housing for homeless young people across the UK.

The Business Travel Christmas Party ▼

▲ 12.12.2017




Entering into the festive spirit






With thanks to our generous event partners

For more photos from the event visit

Turkey time approaches!



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the way businesses book and manage their air travel needs is on the brink of change. DISCOVER the latest developments in our annual guide to


Introduction, 62-64 / Six of the Best..., 67 / Premium cabins, 68-70 Spend management, 72-73 / Behind the Scenes, 75 Low-cost carriers, 76-78 / Five Reasons to..., 81 Private jets, 82-83 / Data, 84

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Air travel / Introduction


thinking The aviation industry is buoyant heading into 2018, with new routes, products and sales channels all taking o, reports Gillian Upton


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Introduction / Air travel


n the face of it, the latest IATA BSP figures, of 8% growth and a rise in transactional volumes, point to a strong and growing aviation industry. Statistics highlight that the industry adds a cool £20billion to the UK economy, but its rude health has mixed implications for businesses with significant spend on air travel. Look at most UK airports and extra capacity is being piled on in the regions. Emirates is launching flights from London Stansted to Dubai this summer, Qatar Airways is adding flights from Cardiff, Wizz Air is expanding at Luton and Virgin Atlantic at Manchester – British Airways, Norwegian and Eurowings are growing too. It’s all about connecting traffic from as many points as possible. The strategy creates both new short-haul and long-haul operations. EasyJet has launched Southampton-Geneva, EdinburghSofia and Gatwick-Klagenfurt, plus a raft of others from Berlin Tegel prompted by its partial takeover of Air Berlin’s assets after its demise last year. British Airways has also benefitted from an ailing airline, acquiring bankrupt Monarch Airlines slots at London Gatwick and subsequently announcing its largest summer schedule at the airport for almost a decade. As well as expanding its shorthaul network, the airline is adding services to Toronto and Las Vegas this summer. Meanwhile, United Airlines is launching Edinburgh to Washington DC and will also re-instate flights from Heathrow to Denver this year – a non-stop service to one of the airline’s key hubs. And one of the most notable launches of all comes in March when Qantas commences 17-hour-long flights between Heathrow and Perth – the first non-stop scheduled service between the UK and Australia. In what looks like a bullish marketplace, new business models are emerging too. Monthly membership ticket type purchases are being offered on high frequency routes, initially London City to Zurich on Surf Air utilising small jets. Having moved from Luton in December, the ‘all you can fly’ model copies a similar model operating successfully in California.

And who can ignore Norwegian's growing low-cost long-haul network from London Gatwick? The carrier currently flies to nine US destinations, plus Singapore. Boeing 787 Dreamliner have helped make such operations feasible, and money is being poured into new aircraft as more fuel efficient models are launched. Virgin Atlantic, for example, is nearing completion of a £300million investment programme improving food and beverage, aircraft cabin and its Clubhouse lounges. Last summer it became the first European airline to have a fully wifi-connected fleet. Arguably, the spectre of NDC – the new platform by which airlines can better display their wares – will bring further opportunities for airlines to carve out new income streams, principally around unbundling and selling ancillaries. “From the consumer perspective it’s a positive picture,” says the GTMC's Chief Executive, Adrian Parkes. “NDC will bring a change in how value is perceived.” But look deeper and there are some dark clouds on the horizon. Consolidation across Europe has already begun, and the mix of extra capacity and stagnant consumer spending can only lead to one thing, and that’s pressure on airfares. Europe is a more fragmented aviation market compared to say, the US, made up as it is of more smaller airline players who don’t have scale and size, and that doesn’t bode well in a market under pressure. “To compete effectively airlines need a wide global network and we’re seeing more airline actively seeking out complementary partners in order to offer their customers a wide range of easy connections,” says Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, Craig Kreeger. “As a result, we’re seeing more and more consolidation within the airline industry.” Virgin’s four-year partnership with Delta Air Lines will be augmented by an extended joint venture with Air France-KLM due for completion in early 2019. The Brexit effect is another unknown quantity which adds to the uncertain climate around the industry, although aviation is at the forefront of negotiations and the weaker pound has at least meant strong inbound travel to the UK.

The delayed decision over extra runway capacity in London is another factor as construction at Heathrow will not commence before 2021. As Adrian Parkes points out: “By 2034 we will reach full airport capacity in the South East so it’s important that regional airports continue to receive investment.” That is certainly the hope of RABA (the Regional & Business Airports Group), which represents 40 airports in the UK. RABA's recommendation is that the UK government will improve the UK's connectivity strategy so that all parts of the UK will be connected to the UK's global hub at Heathrow. Some 14 new domestic routes are currently on the drawing board but RABA would like more, stretching from Cornwall Airport Newquay in the southwest to Scottish airports such as Glasgow Prestwick north of the border. Market dynamics over the next 18 months will impact heavily on the aviation industry, as Brexit negotiations will be in their final stages and new bilateral agreements are hopefully sewn up. “We need the extra runway capacity earlier,” says aviation consultant Chris Tarry of CTAIRA. “Any reasonable individual should conclude that it’s not expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick that’s needed, but expansion at both.” This is also the Institute of Directors’ recommendation. In the short term, however, Tarry predicts that fares will continue to fall. “The economic outlook for the UK is dire, consumer confidence is declining, alongside spending power, but it’ll be great for travellers.” He adds that the spot price for fuel is 35% higher than it was a year ago, putting airline’s margins under increasing pressure. Fuel is one of the top two expenses for airlines, alongside salaries. And adding fuel 

Market dynamics over the next 18 months will impact heavily on the aviation industry, as Brexit negotiations will be in their final stages”

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Air travel / Introduction

It’s up to airlines to focus on their strategies, differentiate themselves and show what makes them stand out from the crowd”  to the fire, the latest IATA forecast flagged up that labour costs in 2017 would increase by some 3%, a trend likely to continue this year. “The inescapable conclusion is that airline margins in 2018 and 2019 will fall,” says Tarry. “I’ve got a list of 40 airlines who are either looking for investment, who are struggling or are looking to exit the market. Only a very small number of airlines – the 30 largest – distort the industry picture as they are the only ones still bringing in profits,” he explains. Tarry believes the small group of outperformers will widen the gap between the rest of the industry and that 2018 and beyond will see a repeat of what we witnessed in 2017 – ie, more financially challenged airlines as the going gets tough. “There’s more competition than ever before,” says Virgin’s Kreeger. “Gone are the days where there was just one national carrier per country. It’s up to airlines to focus on their strategy, how they differentiate themselves and what makes them stand out from the crowd.” Time will tell if the extra capacity being poured into regional airports will be sustained. One thing is for sure and that is that while capacity remains high there will be pressure on fares to fall. American Airlines is one of the industry’s outperformers, delivering profits. The airline is currently taking delivery of a new aircraft every four days, and retiring an old one at the same time. “In the US we’re in a really healthy spot, making healthy margins so we have the ability to invest,” says Tom Lattig, MD EMEA Sales. But he does not believe the picture is rosy globally. “In Europe, quite a bit of capacity has been added and that gives us some concern. There are a lot of low-cost carriers so we have to think how we can compete with that. “If there is not enough demand then prices will come down in the short term,” he says. “We need to be a big global company


with lots of scale so we can service the big global customers who travel premium, but not forgetting the backpackers too.” American’s focus for 2018 is premium economy, one of the booming areas industry wide. AA's partner airline British Airways has had a premium economy cabin for a long time. It will be available on the vast majority of its flights this year, having rolled it out in early 2017. It claims to have been the first US carrier to do so. More legroom, noise-cancelling headsets and upgraded meal service form American’s premium economy product, which is fairly typical of the extras industry wide. The number of seats in this cabin varies by aircraft type. On American’s A330 for example, the cabin offers 21 seats. Lattig says that the big uptake has been from leisure travellers but corporates are looking at it too, downtrading from business class on one or both legs of a journey. Lattig cites one particular corporate who has incorporated premium economy in policy, specifically on any outbound flight from the UK on a daylight flight. The overnight inbound flight remains in business class. Delta launched its version of Premium Economy – called Comfort+ – first in March 2015 as an upgrade from the main cabin and formally as a separate fare class last autumn. Available on most transatlantic routes and between North America and

Africa and Israel, it offers extra legroom and recline, priority boarding, dedicated overhead bin space and amenity bags. “The popularity of Delta Comfort+ has surged and we’re delighted to bring it to more international markets around our network,” remarked Corneel Koster, Delta’s Senior Vice President EMEA. Qantas unveiled a revolutionary new Premium Economy seat last year which debuted on its Dreamliners in October. The airline claims a unique recline motion provides “a class-leading” level of comfort. It is also 10% wider than the previous seat, with TV screens that are 25% larger. If premium economy is the class faring well for airlines, then the region showing the most promise is Asia. The most recent World Economic outlook from the IMF highlights the highest rate of GDP growth over the 2018-2022 period will be from Asia at 6.4%, compared to 1.7% for the Euro area, for example. So it’s no surprise that everyone is looking eastwards. American Airlines is busy filling the gap in its network with a codeshare with China Southern. “We have a vested interest in working together,” says Lattig. Other airlines are busy launching new routes and upping frequencies into Asia. The air travel market is very much a picture of two halves, with the big boys soaring ahead and the smaller airlines struggling to keep up.

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Six of the best / Air travel

Six of the best... New business class cabins 1

Delta Air Lines

Delta said it was "redefining international business class travel" when it launched Delta One suites last year. The product includes sliding privacy doors and 18-inch TV screens. It is currently onboard some A350 aircraft on selected routes but will also be introduced on Delta’s B777s.

4 2


singapore airlines

The airline has spent four years and US$850million developing new cabins for its fleet of Airbus A380s. Dividing panels that lower to form a double bed across the central seats is 'comfortably' the most notable development.

qatar airways

Qatar Airways’ Qsuites enable four passengers travelling together to open up their pairs of aft and forward-facing seats to dine or work together in a ‘quad’. Pairs of central seats also convert into double beds. The product debuted on a B777 flying between London and Doha last summer.



The airline’s new business class won't take to the skies until 2020 when it rolls-out B777-9 aircraft, but seats will be installed in rows of 1-2-1 and 1-1-1, giving passengers a choice of longer beds or seats with double the desk space.


United Airlines

The roll-out of United’s Polaris seats is gathering pace with the product now onboard various B777-300ER and B767-300ER aircraft. It joins perks such as enhanced dining and Saks Fifth Avenue bedding that were introduced soon after the summer 2016 launch of Polaris.


Emirates says its new design for B777-300ER aircraft (of which it operates 166) is inspired by the interior of a modern sports car. The seats are 20.5 inches wide and convert into 78-inch flatbeds but, with a 2-3-2 configuration, three passengers in each row are left without direct aisle access.

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Air travel / Premium cabins


suite life

It's a case of quality not quantity for first class seating, but business class cabins are raising the game too, writes Stephanie Taylor


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Premium cabins / Air travel


© Singapore Airlines' first class suites

f you were to define 2017 as ‘the year of the suite’ for the airline industry, it would be a fair assessment. Over the last 12 months, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are among the carriers which have decided premium travel is very much here to stay and pushed the boundaries to new heights – even if it is with fewer seats in first class. In December 2017, Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first of five Airbus A380s featuring all-new cabin products. The aircraft is equipped with 471 seats (the largest number SIA has had on this type to date) across four classes, but the airline has cut the number of suites in first class from 12 to six. The result? A 60% increase in personal space for each passenger in the cabin. “We firmly believe the premium market will remain relevant in air travel and we remain committed to providing a suites or first class offering on many of our routes,” says a spokesperson for SIA. “Of course, first class may not see as much demand on some routes with short flying times, but we are mindful of such trends and deploy aircraft with a two- or threeclass configuration. However, across much of our long-haul network and even on some of our intra-Asia routes, we continue to see healthy demand for first class.” The new aircraft will be deployed on services between London and Singapore from February 16. The airline's 14 additional A380s are to be retrofitted with the new cabin products from the end of 2018, with the work scheduled to be complete by 2020. Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300 first class suites also entered service in December 2017. Fully enclosed from floor-to-ceiling, they centre around a seat with a ‘Zero Gravity’ setting designed to promote relaxation. Another differentiator is virtual windows for the central suites, which project high-definition images from outside the aircraft using real-time technology. Like SIA, Emirates has opted for six suites onboard. Despite the obvious wow-factor of these new offerings, the gap between business and first class is closing. In December, Qantas took delivery of the second of eight new 787-9 Dreamliners configured with 42 ‘Business Suites’, mentioning in its official

Despite the obvious wow-factor of some new first class suites, the gap between business and first class is closing” press release they have been nicknamed “mini first class” by its frequent flyers. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker is well-known for claiming his airline’s new business class would render first class obsolete. Indeed, the airline’s new QSuite business class, launched in March 2017, has dividers between central seats that can lower to create a double bed or even a 'quad' so that four passengers can dine or work together in a private space. Cathay Pacific is also using business class to differentiate itself on its new Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, which have no first class cabin. The first A350-1000 is due to be delivered this spring in time to operate the carrier’s new non-stop route between Hong Kong and Washington DC. “The new business class seat designed by Studio FA Porsche, as seen on the Airbus A350-900 and the incoming Airbus A3501000, builds on its award-winning predecessor with numerous enhancements, including enhanced space and a superior inflight entertainment system with HD personal TVs,” says James Ginns, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager in Europe. It's not only full-service carriers investing in premium product offerings, either. In April 2018, Eurowings will become the first low-cost carrier to introduce business class on long-haul routes. The ‘BIZclass’ product is due to premiere at ITB in Berlin this March, but the carrier – a Lufthansa subsidiary – has already revealed the product will feature a two-metre-long fully-flatbed seat and include special catering services. Oliver Wagner, Chief Commercial Officer of Eurowings, comments: “We see strong demand for another top product from our company on routes with a higher proportion of business travel, for example on US flights from Düsseldorf to New York, Miami or Fort Myers.” Initially, the carrier will introduce 

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© Cathay Pacific's premium economy

© Air France first class

Air travel / Premium cabins

 BIZclass on two Airbus A340-300s and one Airbus A330-300. The former can accommodate 18 lie-flat seats while the latter will have 16. Daniel Goering, Head of Product, Ancillary Revenues & Innovation at Eurowings, says: “By having efficient and smart solutions in the back-end, we can offer our guests a premium experience at very good value-formoney without having to cut costs at the guest experience. Overall, we stick to our low-cost concept.” Another low-cost carrier, Norwegian, will also introduce a larger Premium cabin on its final 20 B787 Dreamliners, which will be delivered from February 2018 onwards. The 56-seat cabin marks a 60% increase in capacity, with seats having over a metre of legroom and 11-inch monitors – but there's no sign of a business class product with flatbed seating yet. New airlines like Air France subsidiary Joon are also sticking to more traditional two and three-class configurations. It has committed to business class seats on long-haul flights that will be operated using four Airbus A340s from this spring. On these aircraft, Joon is also offering a 21-seat premium economy cabin in a 2-3-2 layout. Its medium-haul fleet, made up of six A320s and A321s initially sourced from Air France, will only feature two classes, business and economy. Contrary to some reports, business class is even maintaining a place in the short to medium-haul market. For example, British Airways has chosen to re-introduce a Club Europe cabin on domestic flights, featuring a 2-2 configuration with the middle seat


kept free. Club Europe passengers also benefit from the use of fast-track security channels, lounges and complimentary catering on board. “More than 350,000 customers have chosen to travel in our new Club Europe cabin since its introduction in May 2017,” says Carolina Martinoli, British Airways' Director of Brand and Customer Experience. “All our short-haul flights are now aligned, and customers connecting from UK destinations onto our extensive global network can now choose to travel in Club for all, not just part of their journey.” Air Astana will have a similar layout on a new A320neo aircraft to be delivered later this year. Richard Ledger, VP Marketing & Sales, says: “A separate business class cabin will use a moveable curtain to define its capacity, leaving the middle seat of three empty. The new A320neo configuration will enable the airline to provide a full business class service when demand dictates, but simultaneously enable us to align capacity with demand.” The Kazakh carrier recently took delivery of the first of five A321neos, and has confirmed later deliveries of the type will be used for medium-haul international routes and be configured with 16 six-foot-long lieflat Thompson Vantage business class seats. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand is upping the number of Business Premier seats from 18 to 27 on four new B787-9s, as well as increasing the number of premium economy seats. The first of the four in this refreshed configuration was delivered last October and deployed on the airline’s Auckland–Houston route.

[ The compromise cabin ] While business class products are refined and relaunched and airlines ponder the future of first class, the premium economy cabin has enjoyed a steady and stealthy rise in popularity. Cost-conscious businesses are often downgrading from business class to premium economy for daytime flights but allowing employees to continue stretching out in business class flatbeds seats on overnight flights. Premium economy capacity continues to increase although what exactly passengers can expect differs to some degree. While some airlines offer simply a few extra inches of legroom, others have purpose-built hardshell seats, enhanced dining and other perks. Airlines with premium economy cabins include: Aeroflot • Aeromexico • Air Canada • Air China • Air New Zealand • Air France • Alitalia • American Airlines • ANA • British Airways • Cathay Pacific • China Airlines • China Southern • Delta Air Lines • El Al • EVA Air • Iberia • LOT Polish Airlines • Lufthansa • Norwegian • Qantas • SAS • Singapore Airlines • United Airlines • Vietnam Airlines • Virgin Atlantic

Elsewhere, with a niche market of business travellers from Cyprus and the Middle East, Larnaca-based newcomer Cobalt Airlines has begun offering a twoclass configuration on its Airbus A320 aircraft. Select routes currently flying with business class include flights between Cyprus and Gatwick, Abu Dhabi and Athens. Andrew Madar, CEO of Cobalt Airlines, explains, “What we’re offering is full-size seats, which is as close as possible to a real business class, rather than the low-cost model which is a row of three economy seats with the middle seat blocked. The airline operates a fleet of Airbus A319s with 144 seats. “The maths works out really well. The prices for our business class are a multiple of our economy seats. We make the equivalent of an A320 with 185 economy seats, so we don’t sacrifice any revenue,” Madar concludes. While the press has long been ringing the death knell of first class, it seems more apt to think of its reincarnation. While top-end suites are still there for the super-rich, it’s exciting to see a trickle-down effect taking place, allowing more travellers to have a first class experience without adversely affecting their business's bottom line.

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Air travel / Spend management

TURBULENT TIMES The way businesses book and manage air travel spend is in the midst of a revolution, but some things never change, says Gillian Upton


ir travel is the single biggest area of business travel spend for the vast majority of companies so, as Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel Management, stresses: “It’s extremely important to get it right.” In a survey of ITM’s 1,200+ buyer members their top priority for 2018 was traveller safety – unsurprisingly – but the biggest jump in the survey, from 7th to 5th position, was the demand for full content access in air spend. It’s a controversial topic but NDC may well satisfy this need, blended as it is with enhancing the traveller experience. Whether it will lead to more maverick spending though is a moot point as travellers will be faced with a visually tantalising menu of options, from seat type and location to meal options and baggage. “I’m worried about upselling to a degree,” says Roger Peters, Senior Purchasing Manager UK Travel & Global Hotels, at Cap Gemini. “But it depends on how it’s displayed and what the caps are.” Nonetheless, a good traveller experience is key to happy and compliant travellers and corporates are trying to achieve that set against tough budgets. However, the change in historically lucrative route deals by some airlines hampers progress. Route deals from Air France-KLM and the BA/Iberia/AA/Finnair grouping have been replaced with discounts across all their flights. “It’s a broad regional deal and it provides value,” argues Tom Lattig, Managing Director EMEA Sales at American Airlines. Corporates say that they end up with discounts on flights they don’t want and smaller discounts on flights that they do. Lattig defends this pricing 72

strategy when he says: “Corporates are looking for new places to do business so it doesn’t make sense to offer discounts on specific routes.“ Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at Business Travel Direct, says she has fewer clients on route deals today. “A route deal is the maximum you would pay rather than the minimum,” she says. ATPI's Head of Account Management, Karen Abbott, says only 6% of their clients negotiated route deals in 2016. She cites the example of a volume-led, 45% discount with Delta on London-NY being reduced to 12%, so the clients moved away and the airline lost market share. “Normal route deals and bigger discounts are still available with smaller airlines though,” she adds. Instead, cost-conscious corporates are going for lowest logical fare on the day and fine-tune their one, two or three-year airline deals at regular intervals. “Have the negotiated rate in place as an insurance,” advises Lora Ellis, Associate at consultancy Festive Road. Spot buying has been particularly worthwhile on transatlantic routes over the last few years as airlines have been releasing less expensive fares nearer to departure in their fight for volume. Corporates’ travel patterns shape the deals too, says Ellis: “If 95% of your volume is in a hub there is little space to negotiate but if it isn’t then you’ll have more negotiating power.” Another tactic at buyers’ fingertips is changing thresholds on class of travel in order to save money, on one or both legs of the journey. Thresholds vary enormously, often by industry verticals. The huge popularity of premium economy cabins has helped stretch budgets, particularly

on outbound daytime flights where flatbed seats are less of an issue. It’s allowed corporates to downtrade from business class on one leg and pocket substantial savings. For those travellers who fly only in economy, premium economy offers “wellbeing without too much cost attached,” observes Bailey. At Cap Gemini, premium economy is only used when an economy class traveller has a business need. Only VPs can fly business class on flights of six hours or more and they are encouraged to look at hubbing with a stopover say, via Dubai, on a trip to India, “which can save £2,000,” says Peters. However, there is one line that most corporates won’t cross and that’s downtrading from business class if it’s on a red


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Spend management / Air travel

Changing to indirect flights is one strategy employed to save money on long-haul flights” eye flight and the traveller is going straight into a client meeting the next day. Changing to indirect flights is another strategy employed to save money on longhaul flights, as the experience has improved significantly in terms of minimum connecting times (MCTs). “The connection experience is so much more slick,’” says Davies, “particularly at mega-hub airports around the world.” Also worthwhile is taking advantage of airline corporate loyalty schemes, which nets the corporate a few free flights at the end of the year, although ATPI's Abbott warns that very often, “some are absolutely impossible to spend and the cash value is really low.” Technology helps the corporate immeasurably in this spend category as

software programmes such as Yapta and FairFly scour the market for less expensive fares post-booking and right up to day of departure, taking in cancellation penalties and other restrictions. Business Travel Direct say they tend to find less expensive fares in one out of ten cases – always on long-haul and usually on UK-US routes – and often by as much as hundreds of pounds. However, Cap Gemini’s Peters says: “Is it really worth doing when you take into account the time and cost of checking that fare again nearer departure?” What is worth doing is capturing total journey spend: “all the expenses of the trip including the taxi to the meeting and the

meal,” says Marine Bergeron, Director of CWT Solutions Group. “It’s about travelling smarter, maybe not just travelling for one meeting, and to reduce the domestic travelling by using videoconferencing, managing time and evaluating ROI.” It’s something that Concur has been in the forefront of, to “control spend before it happens” and “to capture 100% of it,” says Daffyd Llewellyn, UK Managing Director, and then to streamline expenses with reports that write themselves. It is possible today, as is using self-booking tools for more than short-haul point to point journeys. They can now book multi-sector journeys, offering another cost-cutting tool in a corporates’ armoury. TMCs, however, may argue that their creative ticketing consulting offline on multi-sector long-haul flights will be less than paying a lower transaction fee on the same journey. Cap Gemini’s Peters is in the enviable position of having high online adoption globally of 70% of the company’s total spend of €120million, plus a 93% compliance figure. How does the company achieve that? By agreements with 26 airlines, utilising a mix of lowest logical fare, route deals and cost parameters set within their booking tool and educating staff to advance book. Some 80% of Cap Gemini’s spend is achieved through lowest logical fares, which are the first fares shown at time of booking. “We’re a tech-driven company, our policies are clear and travel follows through into our Concur expense system,” he says. “It’s textbook stuff, constantly shifting market share.” Managing air travel needs has never been so complex but a panoply of tactics can bring a level of control that will go straight to the bottom line.


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New fares - more WOW WOW Basic WOW Plus NEW

WOW Comfy WOW Biz

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Behind the scenes / Air travel


FACING THE PRESS Julie Baxter gets a front row seat and backstage tour as American Airlines' top management team faces expert scrutiny


t is not often an airline subjects itself to the full-on scrutiny of 300 top investors and journalists. So when TBTM was invited to see American Airlines’ top brass step into the firing line at a dedicated Media and Investors Day, we were quick to book our seat. And so began a fascinating couple of days during which, one by one, members of the

management team – from CEO Doug Parker to those responsible for sales, IT, operations, networks and product – enthusiastically sought to transmit a boundless optimism for the carrier’s future with an unrelenting avalanche of stats and analysis, financials and forecasts, investment schedules, route projections, strategy and product plans. They faced plenty of challenges from the expert crowd but the intended take-away was clear to all. Since its merger with US Airways in 2013 the airline has transformed every element of its admin, operations and product and is now set for future investment and growth. As

Parker put it: “Now it is all about strategy, investment and thinking for the long game.” And that long game means building a world class passenger experience, strengthening the network and growing its assets. There will be greater focus on premium travellers and technology, staff and efficiencies. The nine AA hubs will provide the platform from which to develop a unique collection of global connections. So far AA has clocked up 350 destinations, 1,050 non-stop markets, plus 35,000 connected markets on its own account – but add in partnerships with the likes of BA/Iberia, LATAM, JAL, Cathay Pacific, China Southern and Qantas and it claims the world’s largest network: 990 destinations, 2,800 non-stop services and 50,000 markets. Expect product launches and fleet investment, lounge enhancements and tech innovations. We previewed lush new business class bedding and lie-flat beds, innovative Flagship lounges with sundaes, cerviche and sommeliers, all designed to raise the bar. A back office tour showcased slick operations centres at Dallas Fort Worth

Airport (with 800 daily connections) and the Integrated Operations Center, overseeing global emergencies, fleet management and worldwide efficiencies. And business travel agents can expect to be a part of it all. Alison Taylor, Senior VP Sales, said: “We are broadening all our deals with agents and TMCs and understand they are a lucrative source of revenue. Partnering with them will help ensure we are truly locally relevant despite being an American airline.” After some years apparently in the doldrums, it seems US aviation is changing. AA, at least, is certainly talking the talk.

Our airline has been materially and permanently transformed. Now it is all about strategy, investment and thinking for the long game”


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Air travel / Low-cost carriers


The growth of low-cost carriers, latterly on long-haul routes, has prompted legacy airlines to join the fray, writes Colin Ellson


ay back in the 1970s, Freddie Laker shocked the somewhat staid aviation world when he announced he would begin ‘no frills’ low-cost flights by Laker Airways’ Skytrain from London Gatwick to New York JFK. Consternation and disbelief was written on the faces of executives in boardrooms across the industry. Sir Freddie, as he later became, had a fight on his hands, battling with British regulators and the bigger established airlines for years. Nevertheless, he survived the flak for five years, using 272-passenger MD DC10s, and gaining respect among peers, including Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. Beginning the Brits’ love affair with America, Skytrain charged an affordable economy return fare of £139. Fast-forward some 40 years and some traditional airlines are undergoing structural changes to compete with their upstart low-cost rivals. The market segment is in transition and still reeling from the demise

Low-cost carriers are increasingly flying from major airports to attract customers from the legacy airlines – and the traditional airlines are taking note” 76

of low-cost Monarch Airlines in October last year, but others are only just taking off. The most notable, perhaps, is Level, the new low-cost transatlantic airline from British Airways' parent group IAG. Its first flight was from Barcelona to Los Angeles, followed by Boston, and the airline will extend its coverage to Paris Orly from July this year, with fares starting at £99 one-way. Premium economy fares include checked luggage, meals and seat selection, while passengers in economy can purchase food and drink onboard. Wifi connectivity is also available starting at £8.99. “Level’s Barcelona operation has been an incredible success,” says IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh. “Customers love it and Level will be profitable this year. Barcelona was always a first step and we’re delighted to launch flights from our second European city, Paris,” he adds. The group expects to have a fleet of 30 aircraft by 2022 and London is thought to be on the shortlist for new transatlantic routes. In a two-class configuration, Level – like rapidly growing Norwegian – does not sit comfortably in the conventional image of low-cost carriers. So what is a low-cost airline? Eurocontrol, an international organisation working to achieve safe and seamless air traffic management, describes budget airlines thus: “The low-cost model focuses on business and operational practices that

reduce airline costs. That means using secondary airports with no taxes, offering no frills on flights, and charging for services like seat reservation and checked baggage.” Eurocontrol also points out that such carriers typically stick to single-aisle aircraft and usually a single aircraft type – such as Ryanair's preference for B737-800s – in order to lower maintenance cost and improve crew flexibility. But, crucially, the organisation also sees business models adapting in both directions. Low-cost carriers, for example, are increasingly flying from major airports to attract customers from the traditional airlines, and even Ryanair is now experimenting with connections. Flybe has many hallmarks of a low-cost carrier but bills itself instead as Europe's largest regional airline. It caters to the corporate market with a variety of products but also operates from London's key business airports, Heathrow and City Airport, and has a network of legacy airline codeshare partners. Meanwhile, traditional scheduled airlines are increasingly unbundling their offers like low-cost carriers, selling food, seat choice and separate checked baggage. Carlson Wagonlit Travel is keeping a close eye on developments in the market on behalf of its corporate clients. “You only need to look at the expansion of 'business' offerings from low-cost carriers over the


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Low-cost carriers / Air travel

past few years to see there is demand for them,” says Dan Kelly, Director of Product Marketing at CWT. “EasyJet was one of the first low-cost airlines to provide priority boarding, loyalty schemes and allocated seating, making the most of its network, which covers many popular business destinations.” Kelly continues: “This was quickly followed by Ryanair so the product is there and businesses are willing to use it, especially with cost control still high on the list of priorities for buyers. “At CWT we have seen demand grow for low-cost bookings and worked to offer a solution to our customers. This has resulted in rolling out the implementation of LCC content into our booking app, and this will be introduced in 2018.” It is not just secondary and smaller cities which have benefited from the oxygen of publicity and finding their place on the map due to the growth in low-cost airlines. London Gatwick, for example, became the world’s top international low-cost airport in 2016, according to the Centre for Aviation. Of particular significance is Norwegian’s low-cost long-haul services to North America and the Far East. Its service to Singapore is the longest low-cost airline route in

the world, and its network of flights will be enhanced by new departures to Denver, Boston, and New York JFK, followed by routes to Buenos Aires, Chicago and Austin this year. The airline is growing rapidly. Says Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations at Gatwick: “Norwegian currently offers over a dozen low-cost long-haul services from Gatwick, with other carriers WestJet, Air Transat and Air Canada Rouge flying to cities across Canada. These flights are all to important business centres.” King adds: “Low-cost long-haul is here to stay and other carriers have seen their success and are following suit. It is also likely that we will see new low-cost longhaul services coming to London from Asia and other markets.”

Low-cost long-haul flights are here to stay and other carriers have seen their success and are following suit” New York is another business destination grateful for the rise of no-frills services across the Atlantic. Norwegian launched its second daily flight from Gatwick to JFK in August 2017, and now London Stansted and the UK’s second city are also getting into the schedules thanks to Primera Air. The airline, whose background is in charter flights for the Scandinavian and Nordic markets, will introduce flights from Stansted and Birmingham in April this year to New York Newark. In the short-haul market, a significant development has been the launch of Worldwide by easyJet. It allows passengers to book and connect its own services and those of Norwegian and Westjet at Gatwick – and also with Norwegian and Neos flights at Milan Malpensa – using the airports' respective self-connect service. At the time of launch, easyJet said it hoped to extend the service to other European airports and that talks were “far advanced” with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern carriers. 


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Air travel / Low-cost carriers




NETWORK: It carries more than five million passengers from the UK to 50 destinations worldwide every year. In 2017, it launched flights from Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Shannon to the US East Coast, using its new Boeing 737 Max. It serves nine US cities from London Gatwick, plus Singapore, with flights to Argentina, Chicago and Austin planned. FLEET: 50 aircraft, with 250 on order, including B737-800s, B787 Dreamliners, B737 Max 8 and Airbus 321 Long Range. LOYALTY PROGRAMME: Norwegian Reward for individuals and CashPoints for businesses. EXTRAS: The carrier offers a Premium cabin with 43 to 46-inch seat pitch, inclusive dining, fast-track security and lounge access. Also has onboard wifi.


Founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyJet’s inaugural flights were from London Luton to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Growing to become one of Europe’s largest airlines, it flew 80.2 million passengers to every corner of the continent in 2016. Its primary base is London Gatwick. NETWORK: 890+ routes to 140+ airports in 31 countries. Its largest bases are Gatwick, Geneva, Milan Malpensa, Luton and Amsterdam Schiphol. New routes for 2018 include Luton to Genoa, Palermo and Reus, Southend to Prague, Bordeaux and Dubrovnik, and Bristol to Genoa and Seville. FLEET: 280 aircraft comprised of Airbus A319s and A320s, plus a handful of A320NEOs - with more on order. The airline also has a significant order with Airbus for A321NEO aircraft. LOYALTY PROGRAMME: Invitation-only Flight Club. EXTRAS: easyJet Plus is a membership programme costing £199 a year. It give extras such as allocated seating, dedicated bag drop, fast track security and speedy boarding. Also available are Flexi fares and GDS-only 'inclusive' fares.


Services includes flights from London City to nine destinations and from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Other key hubs include Southampton, Manchester, Aberdeen and Exeter. FLEET: 81 aircraft, including Bombardier Q400s, Embraer E195s, E175s, ATR 72s. LOYALTY PROGRAMME: Avios. EXTRAS: Offers a range of fares – Just Fly, Get More and All In – some of which include free ticket changes, checked baggage, seat selection, complimentary food and drink onboard, and fasttrack security and lounge access where available.

Europe’s number one airline, carrying over 129 million passengers a year. It is targeting 200 million passengers annually by 2024 and has an average fleet age of 6.5 years. NETWORK: Operates from 200+ airports across 33 countries and operates 2,000 flights a day. It has over 80 bases, with key hubs including Dublin, London Stansted and Milan. FLEET: Operates 400 B737-800s, with orders for 115 new B737s and 110 B737 MAX 200s. EXTRAS: Offers Plus and Flexi Plus fares. A B737700 aircraft is available to hire, seating up to 60 in a business class configuration.


Over 34 years in operation, Flybe does not consider itself a low-cost carrier in the accepted sense. Instead, the Exeter-based carrier advertises “cheap flights and low-cost tickets” and bills itself as a regional airline. NETWORK: Operates across 85 airports in nine countries: 62% domestic, 28% European cities.



Founded in 1993, Norwegian only became a low-cost carrier in 2002, when it took delivery of larger Boeing 737 aircraft. Today it is one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, has a fleet whose average age is 3.6 years, and is a pioneer in creating low-cost long-haul routes.


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T H E Y M A K E Y O U F E E L A T H O M E.



J O U R N E Y.

i n d i v i d u a l.



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Five reasons / Air travel


TURN TO TECH Jenny Southan selects five innovative tools to help business travellers enhance their journeys and companies save money

1 2



Fairfly helps companies and TMCs maximise savings on air travel. The company says flight prices typically change more than 90 times between booking and take-off, and that in the US alone, £19billion a year is lost in the overpaying of tickets. Taking advantage of this volatility, the system uses algorithms to track airfares after booking, flagging up deals that could be advantageous to switch to depending on your travel policy and airline cancellation fees.


Seatfrog allows travellers to bid for upgrades in eBay-style auctions. Enter a booking reference and, if you win, payment is automatically taken and a new digital boarding pass is sent to your phone. The start-up is partnering with airlines and train companies to offer white label solutions that they can package up for customers in their own way, as well as offering the Seatfrog smartphone consumer app.

SKYGURU Skyguru is an app designed to give realtime updates about the weather and turbulence on your flight, while you are in the air, which could help reduce your fear of flying (or you might just find it interesting). It even works in airplane mode. If you are anxious before getting on board, you can get advice and predictions of what to expect form take-off to landing, and if the flight is bumpy, you will know how long it will go on for. The app also employs iPhone sensors to tell you about unfamiliar aircraft sounds and manoeuvres, and will display information about the countries you are flying over.

The system uses algorithms to track airfares after booking, flagging up deals that could be advantageous to switch to”

WINGLY Wingly describes itself as a “community of trustworthy aviation enthusiasts”, with 9,000 pilots, 100,000 users and a network of 3,000 destinations across the UK and Europe. The idea is that pilots on light aircraft (with two to six seats) can advertise empty seats on the routes they are flying and then sell them to passengers wanting to travel between those locations. You can read reviews of the pilot, see how many hours’ flying experience they have and what kind of plane they will be flying. In terms of safety, Wingly is certified by both EASA and the CAA in the UK.


DEALRAY Dealray is a membership platform for individual frequent flyers. It costs $9.99 a month and, in return, you will be alerted via text message to airfare sales with up to 70 per cent off. According to data from the company, an average of $428 is saved on every ticket, with past deals including $19 one-way tickets from Miami to New York, and from Boston to Reykjavik for $264 return. Behind the scenes, the team monitors airline websites for price glitches and sales, then shares them with members looking to book. First-time users can get a month free.


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Air travel / Private jets

Flights of



rivate jet travel may not seem a viable option for many businesses, but depending on who is travelling and to where, joining the jet-set can prove a practical solution. The seemingly exclusive sector is not aided by the multitude of business models out there – even before costs are quoted – but the sector's conveniences are clear. Private jets provide a seamless means of getting from A to B with no check-in queues for passengers and no waiting in line to pass through security, helping save that most precious of commodities – time. And for businesses that need to reach specific destinations not served by existing air or rail routes, a private jet is the ideal solution. They are also effective for companies with groups of employees travelling together. Travel management company The Appointment Group (TAG) counts musicians, film production crews, sports teams and VIPs among its clients – a discerning portfolio that appreciate the privacy of private jets. “Artists find that the nature of using private jets and using General Aviation Terminals (GAT) – rather than public terminals – allows them to travel without the hassle of fans, media and the general public,” says John Gianquitto, TAG Joint Chairman and CEO. 82

“In addition, an artist may have back-toback shows in different cities where the commercial carrier departures and arrivals may be too late to facilitate.” He continues: “And for corporate clients where time is their most valuable commodity, using a private jet may allow them to facilitate multiple meetings in a day, so in the long run it becomes extremely financially viable.”

Model behaviour Private jets is an all-encompassing term that comprises various business and user models. Jet ownership provides the ultimate convenience of operating at short notice but this pricey option is only worth it if travellers are flying 400 hours or more a year. Fractional jet ownership still requires a large commitment and allows users to buy a number of flight hours in an aircraft, but owners will have to commit to a contract which is normally around two or three years. Jet card options require similar payment in advance for a fixed number of flying hours although there is a large initial cost and members are bound to these hours. Empty legs are the least flexible option but can offer excellent value for money, with jet operators selling off seats on flights that are

© Stratajet

Use of private jets is perceived as too costly for many corporates, but operators argue their efficiencies can pay dividends, says Benjamin Coren

repositioning. Finally, ad hoc charters are a flexible pay-as-you-go option and suitable for short notice assignments. One innovative new operator is Surf Air. Based in California, it flies between 12 destinations around the state and has now brought its ‘all you can fly’ subscription model to Europe. For a monthly fee of as little as £1,750, members can take unlimited flights on small, private jets around Europe. Passengers are subject to specific flight times and, for now, the network comprises only services between London City and Zurich.

Healthy prospects The private jet industry is buoyant currently, which would suggest that for all its costly associations, companies and wealthy individuals are sold on its benefits. Vistajet, which has a fleet of over 70 aircraft and offers jet hire with as little a 24 hours notice, announced record results in the third


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Private jets / Air travel

quarter of 2017. Its Program Membership flights – for those who fly on a regular basis – were up 38% year-over-year and there was a 32% increase in new flight hours flown. GlobeAir, meanwhile, logged more flights in Q3 2017 than it has done during the same period in its ten-year history. The UK market accounted for 299 of GlobeAir’s departures, a rise of 33% on last year. A rise in fees on private jets announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond last autumn looks set to have minimal impact on the sector. Jonny Nicol, Founder and CEO of Stratajet, a tool allowing customers to search, compare and book a range of private jets, says: “When considered at a granular level, the increase of £47 for those travelling by private jet is minimal as a percentage of costs.” While online search and booking tools are creeping into the sector, some believe that private jets are not a commodity ideally suited to online transactions.

Global Travel Management (GTM) launched its own private jets offering after receiving increasingly more enquiries from clients but does not offer an online booking tool. “There are companies that are increasingly offering this but we have no plans to take away the personalised service we offer,” says Scott Pawley, Managing Director at GTM and its Global Travel Jets subsidiary.

Cost comparisons While private jet use can seem expensive, there are times when they present an economical solution in addition to the timesaving and privacy benefits. A spokesperson for Bmi Regional, which operates a private jet division – albeit larger capacity aircraft – says: “With the jets available to hire from £15,000 per day, this can work out as little as £300 per person for a return flight if all seats are filled.” But even smaller groups can gain an

economic advantage. Time spent queueing at airports can translate into considerable costs for senior executives on high hourly rates. And as jet charter company Monarch Air Group says: “Every year, an increasing number of companies rely on the services of business aviation. Small to mid-sized companies are choosing to fly their products with private charters, not just seeking a faster and more reliable service, but because commercial airlines have reduced or eliminated their reach to certain towns and cities, thus granting private aviation with the opportunity to cover the routes.”

For corporate clients where time is precious, using a private jet may allow them to facilitate multiple meetings in a day ” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Air travel / Data

premium choice

Source: IATA


7.8 billion by 2036





belfast international


london city

77% bristol

75% 70%

nottingham east midlands

EMEA: London, Dubai, Paris,


North America:



Frankfurt, Zurich

New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco

Asia: Singapore,

Source: ARC


London Heathrow

The world’s busiest airports for premium cabin passengers

Source: IATA

The top 10 UK airports for on-time performance in 2017

Bangkok, Tokyo Shanghai, Hong Kong

2 22

China will displace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market in 2022, while the UK will fall to fifth


May-June and September-November are the most expensive months for premium international airfare May is the most expensive month for international economy flights out of the UK June is the most expensive month for economy travel within the UK – December is the cheapest

Source: OAG

4 billion

Businesses are getting more savvy when it comes to purchasing air travel, according to the ARC 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report: Unlocking how to save money on flights. The report says that TMC clients have been shifting to longer booking windows for premium fares – typically 15+ days in advance – with between one-third and half of its clients including advance purchase requirements in their travel policy. Data also shows that over 80% of corporate premium cabin tickets are booked to depart Monday through Thursday, with around 20% travelling on weekends. The report also identifies Monday as the most expensive day of the week to start a domestic economy journey.


London Gatwick

The top destinations for premium passenger traffic to/from London: New York JFK, New York Newark, Los Angeles, Kuwait, Dubai

Source: ARC

The number of air passengers globally

Source: ARC


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Rio de Janeiro Mexico City Chicago

Oakwood Worldwide Knows Dublin ®

Shanghai Dubai London Tokyo Berlin

Peter A. Prefers to be close to the office

Likes cooking, loves dishwashers

Enjoys jogging by the river

Desires a dining area fit for entertaining

No matter the journey, Oakwood Worldwide is always the perfect destination. Our global footprint, regional presence and local market knowledge gives us the flexibility to customise our serviced apartment solutions to best suit your business requirements, wherever your job may take you. That’s how we ensure every road leads to Oakwood Worldwide®. Call or visit us online to see how we can help you today. ®

Wants room for relatives with weekends to spare

+44 (0) 20 7749 4460

© Copyright 2017 Oakwood Worldwide All Rights Reserved

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06/11/2017 11:17 1/26/18 12:18 PM


Luke Braham

On the road with


Luke Braham travels some 50,000 miles a year in his role as IT Manager at an SAP recruitment company Regular destinations: New York. Most recent trip: Munich. Next trip: New York.


DETAILS Name: Luke Braham. Position & company: IT Manager at Red, an SAP recruitment company. Based in: London. Business trips per year: Around ten. Estimated annual mileage: I'd estimate it's around 50,000 miles.


Best business travel experience: A two-week trip to Curitiba, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It's a truly WELCOME incredible country. BACK TO Worst business travel FRANKFURT! experience: Flying from Frankfurt to London City recently. We were 90% of the way back to London but had an issue with the plane that meant we had to return to Frankfurt. I’m still not sure what the logic was behind it!

SUPPLIERS Preferred airline or hotel: Our TMC, Corporate Traveller, is great at keeping us in the loop with our airline/hotel spend and online adoption. My preferred airline is Virgin Atlantic (they offer an incredible amount of food!).

Lido Palace in Lake Garda is a favourite hotel – it’s effectively six-star standard. Loyalty points – obsessive collector or not bothered? Fairly obsessed! It’s the key to cheap or even free travel in the future and your upgrade chances are better. Favourite loyalty scheme: British Airways and Avios primarily, but Accor and Virgin are racking up too.

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: work, rest or play? Play! I tend to watch films and eat and


drink as much as I can! People who don’t travel on a Onboard connectivity: regular basis simply because take it or leave it? Wifi they are so slow at security! TRAVEL LIGHT – BUT connectivity should be Pack light or go DON'T FORGET standard on every plane. prepared? I take as little as TECH! Onboard habits: Eating too possible away with me. much onboard just because Never leave home without: you can is a bad habit of mine. Travel adaptors, laptop, phone.

DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to: Penzance. It's a long way west! Send me back to: Rio de Janeiro Top overseas landmark: Iguazu Falls in Brazil. Stunning.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: Airports, planes and hotels that are out of bounds to infrequent travellers. Biggest business travel irritation:

TRAVEL POLICY Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? I have a tendency to be a bit of a maverick, but our account managers at Corporate Traveller keep me on track and always makes me aware if I’m booking out of policy. If you could change one thing about your travel policy: Stay at set hotels in each destination, regardless of the cost. • Red is a client of Corporate Traveller


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1/26/18 03:36 PM


New kid on the block New Road Hotel, London THE LOWDOWN

This 80-room

boutique property is due to open at the end of February in London’s East End. Located in Whitechapel, the independent hotel is set within a former textile factory and, with an ‘industrial design’ concept, retains original features such as exposed brickwork and large windows.

The hotel will feature Marco Pierre White’s first Chophouse in London, serving meaty English classics “with a little French flair”. Guestrooms have 49-inch TVs, Hypnos beds and rainfall showers. A Loft apartment comes with a rooftop hot tub, there are two meeting rooms, a bar, and breakfast outlet Cereal Grind. that's a FACT

The hotel is

owned by three brothers whose father used to work at the former textile factory. The garment sector in the East End peaked in the 1960s but the factory closed in 2000 and has remained empty since. they said it

“While our

prices are modest, the bespoke experience we offer is entirely unlike any other hotel in the area. It’s unique, interesting and in keeping with our ethos of creativity and independence through our signature industrial detailing.” RATES

Rates at New Road

Hotel start from £169 per room on a bed and breakfast basis.

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Meeting in


Wow factor

Home to the oldest university in the Englishspeaking world, Oxford is as known for its academic roots today as it was in centuries past, although its industries have broadened, with strength in publishing, IT and science-based businesses

Small but perfectly formed

The Macdonald Randolph Hotel

On a shoestring

The Old Parsonage

The King’s Centre Oxford

1 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN, 01865 310210 /

Osney Mead, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 OES, 01865 297400 /

One of Oxford’s leading five-star hotels, its notable architecture and historic setting serves as an excellent venue for meetings and events to make an impression. The Morse Bar is recognisable as the watering hole of Inspector Morse. The Ballroom can hold up to 300 theatre-style and 220 for banqueting. The DDR is from £45pp WATERING (min. ten people). HOLE OF

The 17th century property has country house charm, modern interiors and a collection of 20th century portraits. The Pike Room is available for hire and can cater for ten boardroom-style, 24 for a reception or 20 theatre-style. The venue is also suitable for private dining. The DDR is from £70pp (including VAT) based on a minimum of six people. 24-hour delegate rates are from £275pp based on a minimum of six.

Oxford’s largest multipurpose venue is located right in the centre of the city. The venue offers over 30,000 square feet of flexible event space. There are ten rooms of varying size, from the Thames Hall which can hold up to 1,000 theatre-style, to the Hinksey Room which can hold up to 60 theatre-style. The DDR is available from £30.50 (including VAT). The Hinksey room can be hired from £175 for a half-day.

Quirky venue

Wired up

Out of town

Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LN, 01865 256400 /


The New Theatre Oxford George Street, Oxford OX1 2AG, 01865 320760 /

Getting there Great Western Railway operates a regular rail service from London Paddington and Chiltern Railways operates a service from London's Marylebone station. By car, Oxford is accessed via the M40. Further information Contact Experience Oxfordshire Conferencing for advice on all aspects of organising a conference or event in the city. Visit conferencing, email conferencing@ or call 01865 686443 for information.

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP, 01865 288846 /

Opened in 1934, the city's The Oxford Hub for International New Theatre has a traditional Virtual Education (HIVE) is the auditorium space with three tiers first of its type in the UK. Session and a traditional proscenium leaders can engage with up to 84 arch stage with seating capacity participants who can access the for up to 1,785 guests. The session via The theatre also has additional break technology is fully interactive out spaces in the recently and participants can see and refurbished bar areas. The hear one another and share ground floor theatre bar can be documents. The room is used for meetings or available for hire from presentations and includes a £500 per hour. separate VIP lounge. MEETINGS OF

Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PS, 01993 813874 /

Set in over 2,000 acres of parkland and gardens, Blenheim Palace offers hospitality for business meetings, corporate BAROQUE GRANDEUR conferences and away days. There are numerous venues available including The Long Library, which holds up to 300 for a banquet, and The Orangery for a reception. Room hire starts from £375.


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1/19/18 04:22 PM

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An event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings Spring Sparkle Advert.indd 1

1/24/18 11:13 AM


On business in…


Two decades of regeneration has helped remodel Beirut's historic centre and waterfront, with a skyline of cranes and new skyscrapers showing continued optimism in Lebanon’s capital. The banking and tourism sectors are two of the linchpins that stabilise the economy, while the metropolis continues to re-invent itself within the creative industries

Beirut's Al-Amin Mosque

night, with a dose of art and design.

taxis are recognised by an airport

The menu offers seasonal dishes

logo on the door and are located

Commanding a prime location on

sourced from the owner’s organic

outside arrivals. The journey time to

Martyr’s Square, Le Gray Beirut

garden in north Lebanon. Le

(pictured below) is a flagship

Gray’s Indigo on the Roof is a

property of the Campbell Gray

sophisticated restaurant

collection. This hip hotel has just

with an extensive terrace

completed an extension project that

area, offering everything

includes updates to its business and

from brunch to glamorous

events facilities. The Mövenpick

evening dining.


downtown Beirut is 20 minutes. ROOFTOP DINING IN THE CAPITAL

Hotel has state-of-the-art business facilities and two dedicated club floors suitable for business travellers.

Dip into Beirut’s history through the Lebanon National

Museum, Canaanite and Ottoman era archaeology on Martyr’s square


and the Ottoman-style Al-Amin mosque. Much of downtown can be

Enjoy rooftop bars such as Sky at

explored in a day thus making it

BIEL (Beirut International Exhibition

possible to trek further afield to

& Leisure Centre) and Square at the

Jeita Grotto, Byblos (pictured below)

Kaléo manages to mix informal

Mövenpick Hotel & Resort, before

or Lebanon’s oldest winery, Ksara,

brunches by day with fine dining by

moving on to the Gemmayze and

in the Bekaa Valley.

EATING Getting there British Airways operates a daily service to Beirut from London Heathrow; Middle East Airlines operates the only other direct service from the UK to Lebanon, with two services a day from Heathrow to Beirut. One-stop options via their respective hubs include Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.


Monot districts. B 018 nightclub, with its sliding roof, is Beirut’s most iconic dance venue.

GETTING DOWNTOwN Taxis are plentiful and pretty much the sole means to get about the city. Regular taxis have red license plates and an official tariff. Certified airport

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Focus on...

The Arabian Gulf is experiencing rapid growth in visitor numbers while opportunities for UK-based businesses are also plentiful. Benjamin Coren looks at five key destinations across the region

The Gulf

The Gulf is synonymous with arid deserts and vast reserves of crude oil, but the region's key cities – including Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Muscat and Riyadh – are vibrant centres of commerce and important trading partners of the UK. The diverse region comprises the nations of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. And with Brexit looming, the UK is working to strengthen links with trading partners in the region. Prime Minister Theresa May upped the ante in November when she visited

the Middle East to hold talks with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the UK's largest civil export market in the region currently. The UAE has diversified its economy away from 'black gold', with non-oil sectors now contributing to around 70% of its GDP. And the emirates' economy continues to grow thanks to well-established infrastructure, a stable political system, thriving tourism and ongoing developments in key cities – and regional rivals – Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Among the big British companies currently

operating in the UAE are Rolls Royce, BP, Shell, BAE Systems and HSBC – but the Department for International Trade (DTI) says opportunities abound in education, professional services, healthcare, infrastructure and the environment. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is the largest economy in the region and is the UK’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East. Following the launch of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme to diversify its economy and develop public sector services, there is renewed appetite for overseas skills,

THE GULF Time zones: Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia: GMT +3hrs; UAE and Oman: GMT +4hrs. Currency: UAE: UAE Dirham, £1=4.94 AED; Bahrain: Bahraini Dinar, £1=0.51 BHD; Oman: Omani Rial, £1=0.52 OMR; Qatar: Qatari Riyal, £1=4.89 QAR; Saudi Arabia: Saudi Riyal, £1=5.05 SAR. Exchange rates are approximate. Visas: available on arrival in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. Applications must be made in advance for entry to Saudi Arabia. Dialling codes: UAE +971, Bahrain +973, Oman +968, Qatar +974, Saudi Arabia +966.



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particularly in construction, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and automobile assembly. Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world and is set to invest up to £140billion in infrastructure over the next seven years, many of the projects coming as a result of hosting the football World Cup in 2022. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), Qatar’s top import industries include aircraft, machinery, vehicles, commodities, gems and plastics. It also has significant oil and gas reserves with energy production per

head dwarfing other Gulf countries. Diminutive Bahrain is ranked by the Index of Economic Freedom as having the freest economy in the Middle East, and the Kingdom is a significant banking, financial services and human resource development and training centre in the Gulf. Though much of its growth is derived from the oil sector, non-oil sectors have been steadily growing with notable contributors to GDP being financial services, transport, manufacturing and construction. Oman, too, thrives on its natural resources, with the energy sector

delivering over 50% of the country’s GDP and some 75% of its export earnings. The UK is currently Oman’s biggest foreign investor and economic growth for the nation is expected to show improved numbers in 2018. Openings for British companies lie in education, healthcare and infrastructure developments as it ploughs over £50billion into new ports, airports, roads, hotels and resorts.


Focus on Middle East.indd 93


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Factfile: The Gulf FLIGHTS EMIRATES: The airline operates 133 non-stop flights per week from the UK to Dubai – six services a day from Heathrow, four daily from Birmingham, three daily from London Gatwick and Manchester, two per day from Glasgow and a daily service from Newcastle. Emirates will add a daily service from London Stansted in June. ETIHAD: Etihad Airways operates three daily flights from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. The airline also flies twice daily from Manchester to its home hub and five times a week from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi. QATAR AIRWAYS: Qatar has seven flights a day from London Heathrow to Qatar. In addition, it flies twice-daily from Manchester to Doha (with three departures on Saturdays) and has a daily flight from Edinburgh. It is also due to launch DOZENS daily flights from OF FLIGHTS Cardiff this May. TO THE MIDDLE EAST OMAN AIR: The airline has two flights a day from London Heathrow to Muscat and a daily service from Manchester. GULF AIR: The airline operates two non-stop services a day from London Heathrow to Bahrain. SAUDIA: Saudia operates daily non-stop services from Heathrow to both Riyadh and Jeddah, and also operates from Manchester to Jeddah five times a week.



BRITISH AIRWAYS: BA operates non-stop from London Heathrow to Dubai twice daily, Abu Dhabi daily, Doha daily, Muscat five times a week, Bahrain daily and both Riyadh and Jeddah six times a week.

SLEEPING There are huge numbers of luxury and business hotels in the Middle East with new openings and developments planned across the region. There are over 80 hotels due to open in the UAE this year and most major hotel brands are AFTER HOURS already represented including Hilton, Fairmont, Crowne Plaza, ABU DHABI: Louvre Abu Dhabi, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, plus native Rotana Hotels. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Top international hotel brands in Doha include Shangri-La, BAHRAIN: The Pearling Trail, Westin, Sheraton, St Regis and Bahrain National Museum, Ritz-Carlton. Bahrain Fort, Al Fateh Grand Plenty of international hotel Mosque, Bab el-Bahrain Souq. brands are also represented in Oman. Among them are the DUBAI: Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Grand Hyatt and InterContinenal Dubai Parks and Resorts, desert and, at the budget end of the safari, Dubai Museum, Dubai scale, Ibis and Holiday Inn. Top Mall, Al-Fahidi neighbourhood. luxury options include The Chedi and the Al Bustan Palace. In Bahrain (pictured left), popular hotels include the Mövenpick Hotel, EXPLORE InterContinental Regency OMAN'S Bahrain and the MOUNTAINS Downtown Rotana. Travellers to Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia will find major international brands including Hilton, Four Seasons, Ibis, Mercure, Holiday Inn and Intercontinental, as well as properties from the Rotana group in both cities.


OMAN: Al Hajar Mountains, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muttrah Souk, Nizwa Fort. QATAR: Souq Waqif, Al Zubarah, Katara Cultural Village, Qatari Dhow boat trip. SAUDI ARABIA: The Kingdom Centre Riyadh (pictured below), Al Maktaba Park, Al Musmak Castle, Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum, National Museum.


Focus on Middle East.indd 94

1/26/18 03:39 PM

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Untitled-1 1 BTS18_06449_full page print ad_AW2.indd 1

1/26/18 09:51 AM 26/01/2018 08:10



Cycas Hospitality's

such chill upon entering my one-

South Point Suites aparthotel opened

bedroom suite, however, which was

last October and has 101 studios and

thoughtfully designed to maximise

one-bedroom suites. It is located on

space. Decor was largely blues and

Bermondsey Street, a ten-minute walk

greys, augmented with some quirky

from London Bridge station.

London-inspired art and curios. A


I was welcomed into

doubled bed was right by the door,

the reception area by two cheerful

which felt a little odd at first, with a

members of staff, one of whom

small bathroom and wardrobe

proceeded to check me in and give a

separating it from the living area.

useful rundown of the property's

This comprised a kitchenette, sofa bed,

facilities. The reception is adjacent to the

table and chairs, with street views.

'pantry' and lounge area, all of which

There were wall-mounted TVs in both

had an understated, slightly industrial –

areas and facilities included a safe,

and therefore fashionable – look to it. I

ironing board, nespresso machine,

was told the aparthotel is proving popular

kettle, cooker, microwave, sink, fridge,

well-pitched – cool but not cloying so –

with both leisure and business guests,

toaster, tiny dishwasher and all the

and the suites pack a lot into a relatively

including the employees of a major

necessary crockery for a short stay.

small space. A good choice for an

professional services company nearby. THE ROOM

Emerging from the


Use of the gym, wifi

and laundry room are all complimentary,



The overall design is

extended stay in the area. THE DETAILS

South Point Suites,

lift on the third floor, a multi-storey

and a social event is held every Tuesday

'light well' illuminated the corridor to

evening for guests to meet and mingle.

the left, while there was an opaque

Breakfast is served in the lounge and

including VAT for stays of one to six

glass wall to the right with open gaps

pantry area, where snacks and drinks

nights. The nightly rate decreases for

that meant the corridor was not much

are available around the clock. There

warmer than the outside. There was no

are plenty of bars and cafes nearby.

190 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ. Rates start from £160 per night

longer stays.

Andy Hoskins


This new addition to

panelling makes it feel much less

Heathrow’s stock of value hotels

'airport hotel' – which can only be a

opened its doors in October. The clue to

good thing. There was a desk, large flat

its location is in the name but guests

screen TV on the wall, coffee machine

will need to take the complimentary

and complimentary snacks. I was lucky

shuttle (approx. every 20 minutes

enough to get a bowl of fresh fruit and

between 4.20am and midnight) or a cab

bottle of chilled prosecco which can be

to the terminal – 1,2 and 3 are ten

requested for clients on booking. The

minutes away.

bathroom felt less up-to-date than the


The first impression

you get on arrival is space – certainly the most I’ve ever seen in a Holiday Inn.

bedroom but was clean and neat with a shower/bath and fluffy towels. THE FACILITIES

The hotel has three

The vast lobby has ample desks and I

bars and restaurants, a fitness centre,

didn’t have to wait long. The check-in

parking and free wifi. Seasons

was efficient and, seeing that I’m slightly

Restaurant has a vast à la carte menu

flustered by my late arrival and hearing

with British favourites ranging from

inspiring name but the hotel is

how early my wake-up call is, the staff

burgers, steaks and fish & chips to

convenient, surprisingly stylish in places

member informs me where I can get

Caesar salad, chicken curry and salmon

food quickly and arranges for my

supreme. The T6 bar is the star of the

morning taxi to the airport.

hotel. With tiled and wooden floors,


My spacious

exposed brick walls, eclectic furniture,

Executive Double room was decorated

warm lighting and sports on screens as

in calming neutral colours like grey,

well as a dedicated Gin Parlour and

brown and olive, with splashes of

pizza and craft beers on the menu, you

turquoise. It was modern, but the

could be in Shoreditch. The Lounge Bar

winged leather arm chair and wooden

was busy and had a good atmosphere.




It's not a particularly

and practical in all other areas. The staff were unfailingly helpful and it's a great pre- or post-flight hotel. THE DETAILS

Holiday Inn London -

Heathrow M4, Jct.4, Sipson Road, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0HP. Rates for a Double Executive Room start from £87 per night. See:

Laura Gelder


Reality Checks.indd 96

1/26/18 11:55 AM


HOTEL: HYAT T R E G E NCY L O NDO N – T HE CHU R CHIL L The 440 guestrooms


theme depending on the season, offers

and suites offer a quintessentially

an imaginative cocktail menu inspired

British stay in the heart of London's

by the life and times of Churchill. In

West End, with plenty of stylish artwork

winter, the terrace is a place to get cosy,

and nods to Winston Churchill.

with gas heaters and blankets and

This was ultra-speedy


service with warming smiles. The

and seamless. Suites are located on the

current Vintage London Winter Terrace

eighth floor, which has its own

pop-up is on until March 2018.

reception and the Regency Club, a

One of two restaurants at the hotel,

cocktail lounge-cum-breakfast room.

The Montagu – inspired by the kitchen,

I stayed in the newly


dining room and menus of Chartwell,

designed Saatchi Suite, which once

Sir Winston Churchill’s country home –

through the door, announces itself with

offers top-quality cuisine that comes

a blaze of reds, purples and yellows.

with a farm-to-table label with

It comes with a king-size bed, one-of-a-

ingredients provided by independent

kind furniture pieces, 42-inch HDTV,

and local suppliers. See chefs at work in

large desk and vividly red couch and

the open-plan kitchen or enjoy a front-

Winston Churchill and British history.

chairs. However the lasting memories

row view by booking the Chef’s Table

It’s a hotel you won’t forget in a hurry –

are provided by artworks from Saatchi

experience. The Montague also serves

Gallery artist James Alec Hardy and

afternoon tea. A second restaurant, the

iconic furniture designs from Vitra. The

Michelin-starred Locanda Locatelli, has a

huge bathroom, with Molton Brown

menu of Italian-inspired cuisine.

toiletries, has an eye-catching ‘2000-bar soap’ installation by artist Celine Fitoussi. THE FACILITIES

The Churchill Bar and

alfresco Terrace, which changes its


Located close to


and it felt pretty cool nodding off in a room brought alive by those unique Saatchi Gallery artworks. THE DETAILS

30 Portman Square,

London, W1H 7BH. The Saatchi Suite starts from around £800 a night. See:

Portman Square, this stylish and ultra-

comfortable hotel has plenty of eye-

Steve Hartridge

catching features and tributes to


I travelled on the

carriage was fairly busy, I chose to move

10.40 London Euston to Manchester

to an unreserved seat of the latter kind

Piccadilly service with a journey time

so as not to be banging elbows with a

of two hours and six minutes. It was

fellow passenger as I attempted to get

operated by one of Virgin's famed tilting

some work done. All seats in first class

Pendolino trains. The service is one of

have power sockets. Elsewhere in the

the operator's key routes on a network

carriage were a luggage rack, compli-

that also serves Liverpool, Glasgow,

mentary bottles of water and toilets.

Edinburgh, Birmingham, Milton Keynes

The free wifi service in first class was

and Crewe, among others.

fairly seamless and enabled me to be


I had an advance

reasonably productive. Virgin's BEAM

first class return ticket on stipulated

entertainment system (free for all

services but, as I was short on time, I

passengers) was also available, featuring

had no need to head upstairs at Euston

a selection of films, TV shows, games

station to Virgin's first class lounge.

and magazines. Smartphone and tablet

From previous experience, it is often

users are advised to download the app

arrived on time, while the excellent first

busy but with a decent selection of

before boarding the train, but laptop

class service and city centre termini

complimentary snacks, drinks, reading

users can access it through a website.

made the journey comfortable,

material and comfortable seating.

Two cheerful train crew passed through


The vast majority of seats

the carriage offering tea and coffee



The train departed and

convenient and even enjoyable. THE DETAILS

Virgin Trains operates

in first class carriages have tables at

soon after leaving London, followed by a

which to dine or work – four seats

choice of brunch items (I opted for the

around a table on one side of the aisle

bacon roll), snacks, fresh fruit and both

cheapest fare is £22 for a standard

and a pair of seats and suitably smaller

soft and alcoholic drinks. The crew

single and £43 in first class.

table on the other. Although my seat

passed through the carriage a couple

reservation was for the former and the

more times later in the journey.

47 services a day from Manchester to London with journeys from 2hrs. The

Andy Hoskins


Reality Checks.indd 97


1/26/18 11:55 AM


The final word

Cool customers only


he Arctic Bath Hotel in Harads, Sweden, is quite literally the coolest hotel we’ve set eyes on. Developed by the team behind the famous Treehotel in the same destination, the new project incorporates six guestrooms set around an Arctic Bath with the entire construction floating on the Lule River during summer and freezing into the ice in winter. If that weren’t enough of a USP, it’s also set in a prime location to witness the Northern Lights. The hotel is due to open early this year with facilities including several saunas, spa treatments, reception, lounge and restaurant.

Marathon ambitions for team SACO


team of four senior managers from SACO, The Serviced Apartment Company, will tackle the London Marathon in April in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. The company has supported TCT for five years and already raised £30,000 in that time, but is now hoping to raise a further

I’ve always said I will never run a marathon and now I am training like crazy” £8,000 as the team takes to the streets of the capital. “I’ve always said I will never run a marathon and now here I am training like crazy, but I have a great team with me,” says Jo 98

Redman, Marketing Director at SACO. “TCT is the most amazing charity that makes a huge difference to teenagers and young adults across the UK diagnosed with and being treated for cancer. We want to raise as much money as possible for

them so, if we have to run 26.2 miles to do this, then we will!” To donate, visit https://uk. SACOMarathonRunners Pictured: from left to right are Ben Harper, Jo Redman, Clare Ace and Dan Dickinson.

“The circular shape of the spa and Arctic Bath creates a protected environment sheltering guests and creating a haven to relax and soak up the Arctic environment,” notes Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel.

THE TOP 10: CITY SONGS Travel and music go hand in hand, but which cities get the most mentions of all in song lyrics? A study by Munichbased travel startup Holidu produced the answers after analysing a database of over 14 millions songs… 1

New York – 30,867 songs


Paris – 20,007 songs


London – 14,805 songs


Rome – 11,859 songs


New Orleans – 8,798 songs


Miami – 7,809 songs


Berlin – 6,267 songs


Atlanta – 4,834 songs


Houston – 4,737 songs

10 Tokyo

– 4,719 songs

FINALword.indd 98

1/26/18 02:48 PM

Registration open 11-12 September 2018

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

To register for hosted places, visit To book a stand please contact

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1/25/18 01:05 PM

Making Business Travel affordable




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 | |

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09/01/2018 1/22/18 12:04 16:54 PM




39% of Virgin Trains services from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley at the advertised journey time or less, Monday to Friday.

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1/23/18 12:15 PM

Making Business Travel affordable










Your business is our business Getting rammed by

“FINAL wheelie suitcases CALL” 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.

LONDON to EDINBURGH: 4hrs 20 m

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 | |

39% of Virgin Trains services from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley at the advertised journey time or less, Monday to Friday.

The Business Travel Magazine February/March 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 February/March 2018  

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