BEST FOOT FORWARD Industry experts help guide you into 2022 and beyond
10 reasons to be cheerful
Travel buyer’s to-do list Managing travel risk TRENDS SPECIAL: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO WHAT’S COMING NEXT
TBTM88 COVER FINAL_v8.indd 1
1/4/22 12:27 PM
Untitled-3 1 Untitled-5
20/12/2021 17:03 12/30/21 09:42 AM
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 Features
10 Travel buyer's to-do list: An expert guide to the tasks you should have on your priority list as you get back to
14 10 reasons to be cheerful: We explore some of the many reasons why the
business in 2022
business travel industry should be starting the new
Business travel experts share their insights on the trends to watch and how you should be responding
year feeling positive 18 Trends to watch: Top travel management experts identify
key emerging and developing trends and, crucially, outline what steps you should be taking to be ready for them
Up Front 6
Opening Shots: The most exciting openings in the world
of travel – in pictures 8
Speaking Out: Bex Deadman, Managing Director of Blue Cube Travel, says it's time for
the industry to get proactive on managing travel risk with the help of the new ISO 9
Everyone's Talking About: The lack of Government support for the travel industry
Departures 28 Reality Check: We check in to
three very different UK hotels and give an honest account of a long-haul flight experience
1/4/22 05:50 PM
Welcome Always by your side
ntering a new year should be about positivity, hope and fresh beginnings. Sadly, the arrival of Omicron has taken the shine oﬀ the start of 2022 but there's still plenty for the business travel community to be cheerful about.
Reinstated travel restrictions and tighter testing regimes have left us all feeling frustrated and deﬂated but it won't be long before the world will open up again and the recovery will be back on track. Turn to page 14 and you'll see 10 reasons why, despite the current obstacles, industry leaders agree we're starting this year in a much better place. After all the challenges and uncertainty of the last 22 months, we've decided to do something diﬀerent with our January/February issue. We've reached out to those in the know and asked them for their expert insights. This Trends Special is packed full of ideas, advice and observations so that you can embark on the next 12 months and beyond feeling better prepared, better equipped and better informed. On page 10, our industry experts suggest what travel buyers and managers should have on the top of their to-do lists, so get your checklist at the ready. In our main feature, starting on page 18, we dedicate nine pages to corporate travel trends to watch. Some you'll already be familiar with but our commentators have come up with others that you might not have registered – and crucially they've shared their thoughts on how best to respond to them. On behalf of the team at The Business Travel Magazine I would like to wish you all the very best for 2022 but also to let you know that, whatever the coming year brings, we will be there alongside you and will be doing all we can to make sure you're business ready.
Bev Fearis CONTRIBUTORS
Charlotte Flach, Gillian Upton & Gary Noakes STAFF JOURNALIST
ADVERTISING SALES PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD
DESIGN & PRODUCTION DESIGNERS
Matt Bonner and Caitlan Francis PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe for free at thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe
BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR
Matt Bonner CEO
Martin Steady (Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO. 1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233 ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK / BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK THIS PUBLICATION IS PRINTED ON 100% FULLY RECYCLED PAPER AND
Bev Fearis, Editor
DISTRIBUTED TO SUBSCRIBERS IN A COMPOSTABLE WRAPPER. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2022 COVER IMAGE: iSTOCK.COM / OVEREARTH OTHER IMAGES SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, iSTOCK.COM, BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM AND UNSPLASH.COM
Welcome v6.indd 4
1/4/22 03:54 PM
Untitled-1 1 Untitled-5
30/12/2021 09:25 12/30/21 09:42 AM
ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
The hotel will embrace the brand's hallmark of simple, smart travel, based on the idea that travel should be free from hassle and complication”
Holiday Inn Express
big in japan
IHG Hotels & Resorts has bought its budget brand to Japan for the first time with the opening of Holiday Inn Express Osaka City Centre Midosuji. The 306-room hotel, on the city's most famous Boulevard, promises a "fresh, bold and modern design", high-speed WiFi, top quality bedding, a choice of pillows, and a cooked buffet breakfast. 6
opening shotsv9.indd 6
12/30/21 03:19 PM
Westin London City
Cove Landmark Pinnacle
Serviced apartment brand Cove has opened a flagship location in the heart of London’s Canary Wharf. The property has 162 serviced apartments – 54 with a private winter terrace – plus a social lounge, co-working area, yoga studio and several meeting rooms. Guests also get access to a highspec gym, private dining area, and roof terrace.
The Westin London City - Marriott's first Westin hotel in the UK capital has opened on the site of the redeveloped Queensbridge House on the North Bank of the Thames. The 220-room hotel boasts a spa, pool, champagne bar, and a Junior Ballroom.
jurassic karT Airport 'fast track' has taken on a whole new meaning at Singapore's Changi this winter thanks to a temporary dinosaur-themed neon karting race track in the airport's T4 Departures Hall. The electric karts reach speeds of up to 24km/hr but passengers are warned not to get carried away and arrive late for boarding! THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
opening shotsv9.indd 7
12/30/21 03:19 PM
UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT
BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT Mitigating travel risk should be approached proactively, not in reaction to a crisis, says Blue Cube's Bex Deadman
Outside the box
Familiarity breeds contempt but market innovations challenge established travel modes too and often, by operating outside existing legislation or industry norms, they can represent even more risk. Today, Airbnb has 5.6 million registered listings worldwide and in the UK alone Uber has 70,000 ride-hailing drivers, many working a few hours as a second job to top up earnings. By contrast, there are 69,600 licenced taxi drivers. What is needed now is a common global framework to meet the growing demand from corporates and to ensure suppliers behave more responsibly and actively support traveller wellbeing and mental health.
Internationally-recognised standards around hotel risk already exist but increased risk for travellers relating to every aspect of their trip needs to be addressed – from door to door and back again – where every service provider in the travel supply chain must step up. Self-regulation and industry schemes are laudable, but independent accreditation spanning processes and behaviour across the entire traveller journey is what’s needed now for the global travel industry to take care of its customers every step of the way.
Historically, traveller safety only improves when change is forced on the industry and, typically, in the wake of a crisis. Think of extra security at airports and on planes post 9/11. For the first time, ever, the Covid-triggered 8
travel shutdown has given our industry the chance to be proactive – not reactive – in making business travel safer. The critical question isn’t just about tracking your travellers and knowing where they are in a crisis, it’s how you prepare them for such incidents and what your organisation actually does as the next step to keep them safe.
Travelling by air is extremely safe, with an average of one fatality for every 287 million passengers carried by UK airlines (compared to a one in 17,000 chance of being killed in a road accident). But what might not spring to mind is what can happen in hotels. For instance, a single London postcode with a high density of five-star hotels saw 4,113 incidents of crime in January 2019, including cybercrime – data hacked from business laptops – hidden among 1,115 (28%) reported cases under the ‘Other Theft’ category. Not all took place in hotels, but we can’t blindly assume that none affected business travellers.
BEX DEADMAN Bex Deadman is Managing Director of Blue Cube Travel. She joined in 2013 as Director of Sales, then Commercial Director and ﬁnally MD in 2019. She is also now helping BSI promote ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management in the UK
ISTOCK.COM/ ALEXEY SURGAY
n my early 20s my boyfriend and I had an extraordinary travel adventure in Thailand, but towards the end of our stay, in a restaurant just off the tourist trail, we were suddenly confronted by an angry gun-toting local and his machete-wielding mate. Imagine how I explained that later over a dodgy internet café connection to my Mum back home in the UK. Throughout my 20-plus years in travel, I’ve never lost sight of how, through no fault of your own and anywhere in the world, you can suddenly find yourself in a dangerous, life-threatening situation. So, I’m pioneering to make business travel safer, but also more rewarding and sustainable for travellers.
The ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management standard is the framework the global travel industry needs – a roadmap for change. You don’t need to strive for accreditation – that’s not possible yet. What you can do now is identify how your existing programme and policy measure up to the standard, identify gaps and understand how to address those – or in some cases, decide whether it's relevant and business critical to your organisation. For the UK, we’ve already taken a great step and I’m directly involved in an initiative with BSI to progress ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management to the point where UK businesses will be in the first market able to gain accreditation – and post-pandemic this will help make us a Business Ready Britain!
Speaking Out_v10.indd 8
12/30/21 11:31 AM
UP FRONT OPINION
Everyone's talking about... the lack of support for travel “Despite no new restrictions introducEd in England, UK businesses reliant on international travel are
“This country and economy is based on more than beers and burgers. Grant Shapps, why are you not standing up for an industry you supposedly represent? Absolute joke”
suffering a detrimental drop in confidence fuelled by fruitless and expensive testing measures. The travel industry – a vital social and economic business sector – awaits its lifeline” Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO Advantage Travel Partnership
It is devastating to see that once again business travel and its supply chain have been left out of Government financial support. We urgently need the Treasury to correct this oversight and support our industry into 2022” Clive Wratten, CEO Business Travel Association
Chris Lewis, Founder and CEO Travelogix
“Travel agents, tour operators and TMCs will rightly be asking why they haven’t been given the same treatment as other businesses that are suffering at this time" Luke Petherbridge, Director of Public Affairs ABTA – The Travel Association
“It is difficult to understand why the blanket self-isolation requirements for travellers, along with expensive pre- and post-arrival testing for even the fully-vaccinated, have not been removed, particularly given the damage they do to lives and livelihoods” Mark Colley, Managing Director Sunways Business, Leisure & Sustainable Travel
“We cannot and will not see this gross neglect of our industry go unchallenged, or worse – as it seems – have our voices go unheard” David Chappell, Country Director UK MIDOCO Group
Everyones Talking about v7.indd 9
1/4/22 11:00 AM
BUYERS TO-DO LIST
BUYER'S TO-DO LIST
As we enter a new year it's hard to know what to prioritise, so we asked business travel experts what they think should be on a travel buyer's 2022 to-do list... 10
TO-DO LIST v18.indd 10
12/30/21 04:30 PM
BUYERS TO-DO LIST
SPEAK TO TRAVELLERS
"Travel buyers should survey their travellers about their attitude to returning to travel and be aware that a proportion of them might be very nervous despite being road-warriors pre-pandemic," says Nick Pratt, Head of Sales, Blue Cube Travel. "They should use the feedback to construct ongoing direct communications with travellers that address whatever concerns are raised – be that mental or physical anxieties – and put in place support and tools to help travellers." Melanie Quinn, Clyde Travel Head of Sales and Customer Relations, also advises buyers to check the appetite for travel within their travelling community and, if necessary, adjust policies to be inclusive. James Stevenson, CEO GlobalStar Travel Management, says buyers should be asking several questions, such as who is going to need to travel, what conditions must they meet, where can they travel, and why are they travelling? "Include some scenario planning – what’s the worst that could happen and how would you manage it? Buyers need to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible," he advises. Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO Advantage Travel Partnership, notes that policies are being adapted to empower travellers to be accountable for their own travel decisions, aligned to guidance and with multistakeholder engagement, rather than just being about bottom line cost savings. She explains: "Employees need to continue to feel valued by their employer and staying away from home and travelling on business is part of this process of recognition and loyalty."
REASSESS TMC PARTNERSHIP
"Given the changes in the past 20 months, it’s worth reassessing whether your current TMC partnership can still deliver effectively in the new travel, health and wellbeing landscape," says Katie Skitterall, UK Director of Sales and Operations ATPI. "It’s crucial that you are partnered with a TMC that is able to keep your travellers safe and provide them with peace of mind in an uncertain time, while also helping you plan for the long term in a world where travel has changed fundamentally." This advice is echoed by Julie Cope, Managing Director TakeTwo Travel Solutions. "Travel buyers need to talk to their TMC about their service level agreement and address whether their TMC can still comply with the agreed terms. Too many buyers are reporting long wait times on the phone when trying to contact their current TMC, slow turnaround of email requests and poor customer service in general."
If you have a travel policy dated 2019 or earlier, then rip it up - it's simply not fit for purpose. Start again and make sure you update it quarterly" Pat McDonagh, CEO Clarity, adds: "Many TMCs have restructured and service may be delivered slightly differently to before the pandemic, so perhaps you no longer have a dedicated team. That can work, but has your TMC got the data transparency and demand management processes to support excellent service?"
LOOK AT TMC PAYMENT TERMS
"The recuring topic of TMC remuneration models will no doubt be on the agenda again in 2022," says Julian Munsey, Sales Director, Meon Valley Travel. "I would urge companies operating on an invoice account to take a very close look at their payment terms. Credit will dry up in
2022 and there could be a move by IATA to align BSP with the rest of Europe by moving to a weekly payment cycle. "The mathematics on this are therefore very simple. With minimal income for the past 20-plus months, the cash is simply not there for TMCs to leverage debt. It never really has been! I believe 30-day payment terms, or longer in some instances, will become a thing of the past. "If you don’t already know, take time to find out how and when your TMC must pay suppliers. Work to support your TMC by meeting their required terms to ensure their business remains economically viable and can remain open 24/7/365 to support you. Finally, don’t be surprised when a weekly billing cycle with settlement by direct debit becomes the new norm."
FRESHEN UP TRAVEL POLICIES
Buyers need to take a close look at their travel policies as we enter 2022, say a number of travel management experts. "This might mean looking at whether to make policies more traveller-centric, renegotiating rates, taking advantage of offers, and perhaps even considering implementing an interim policy," says Nicola Cox, Director Midas Travel. Aman Pourkarimi, Head of Consulting Gray Dawes Group, suggests: "If you have a travel policy dated 2019 or earlier, then rip it up – it’s simply not fit for purpose. Start again and update it quarterly. A good travel policy regularly updated can reduce a travel manager’s time spent on issue resolution by as much as four-fifths. Thus, allowing them to focus on strategy." Belinda Hindmarsh, Senior VP Head of Global Market Management and
TO-DO LIST v18.indd 11
12/30/21 04:31 PM
BUYERS TO-DO LIST
Travel buyers need to talk to their TMC about their service level agreement and address whether their TMC can still comply with the agreed terms” Development CWT, says a 2022 policy must provide peace of mind and support for the traveller in this changed travel landscape. "For instance what happens if someone becomes unwell on the road, how would you treat planned or unplanned quarantine situations, what is covered by the company in terms of testing requirements, and any additional expenditure such as selfisolation, medical support?"
GET UP TO SPEED WITH START-UPS
"Buyers need to ensure that they approach start-ups that have launched during the pandemic to find out how, as an industry, we can become more efficient and more automated," says Julia Lo Bue-Said of Advantage Travel Partnerships. Indeed, according to Mark O'Brien, Managing Partner Avenue5 Consulting, more than 2,800 travel and mobility start-ups were established in 2021, attracting $48 billion from venture capital investors, which is the highest dollar investment in the sector in the last 10 years. "These start-ups share one vision –
they're trying to bring innovation into the marketplace," says O'Brien.
CHECK 'RETURN TO WORK' STRATEGY
Speak to your colleagues in HR and other stakeholders to find out how your organisation plans to handle the return to work. This will have a big impact on your return to travel strategy going forward. "Of all the socio-economic factors to consider, the biggest is working from home," says Aman Pourkarimi at Gray Dawes Group.
BRUSH UP ON BREXIT RULES
"Travel Buyers need to ensure travel policies include guidance for travellers who may be affected by changes in EU entry requirements," says Blue Cube's Nick Pratt. "UK passport holders can no longer breeze through EU channels and are increasingly likely to be interrogated about the nature of their trip with some travellers now requiring work permits. "Crucially, it’s not simply a change in rules for UK citizens travelling anywhere in the EU. Each member state can potentially impose different restrictions."
DABBLE WITH DYNAMIC PRICING
Ramp up your engagement strategies to support traveller confidence and wellbeing”
"One in two of us in the UK now work from home at least part of the week and that compares to one in three in 2019. That’s a seismic shift in a very short space of time and, importantly, is very relevant to how business travel is shaped in an organisation. I encourage travel managers/ buyers to gather their employer’s 'return to work' strategy and adjust the policy accordingly. Supplier programmes, for example, will need to adjust in terms of volumes, types of suppliers and routings if offices have been closed." Nick Vournakis, Chief Customer Officer CWT, adds: "Managing mobility of a more scattered workforce, thanks to the Covidinduced ‘work-from-anywhere’ trend, will see little let-up. "Navigating different tax, immigration and visa rules when it comes to safe and stress-free mobility adds even greater complexity for travel managers to navigate next year and beyond."
"Now is the time to experiment with hotel dynamic discounts that can roll over to the following year with 100% last room availability," says Peter Grover, Managing Director EMEA for TRIPBAM. "This is hardly a new option available to buyers, but whereas in the past they may have been hesitant to test out these kinds of rates while static agreements remained attractive, in 2022 conditions are ripe to explore this new sourcing approach. "There are a couple reasons why. Firstly, volumes should return but they’re still not at 2019 levels, so there’s an opportunity to pilot with a smaller programme size than in the past. Secondly, a handful of travel buyers, large and small, have already opted to go dynamic, which has paved the way for smoother collaborations between corporates and hotel partners to make it happen."
STEP UP WELLBEING SUPPORT
"Ramp up your engagement strategies to support traveller confidence and wellbeing," advises Ciska Teunis, Strategy Manager, Global Business Consulting at American Express Global Business Travel. "Today’s volatile, changing situation is likely to continue during 2022. Travelling in an uncertain environment can impact on wellbeing. To make travelling a positive and motivational experience, people need to feel secure and confident in their ability to
TO-DO LIST v18.indd 12
12/30/21 04:32 PM
BUYERS TO-DO LIST
seamlessly navigate evolving travel requirements and protocols on their journey," says Teunis. "Travel managers can build confidence by communicating with travellers using tools and channels to keep them informed at every stage – as they plan and book a trip, before they go and while they’re on the move – and putting all the information they need at their fingertips. "Review the different ‘personas’ in your travelling community. Understand what tone and messaging, and which channels, are most effective with these different personas." ATPI's Katie Skitterall says communication is now more important than ever. "It is essential that travellers know every detail of their trip, including what they potentially can or cannot do to protect their wellbeing and how they will be updated if or when something important changes. And this doesn’t just apply to the travel itself, but also the before and afterwards." ITM CEO Scott Davies points out that the travel programme has shifted to be more about ‘traveller management’ than ‘travel management’. "One size doesn’t fit all. Individual needs and support need to be included for all elements of the travel programme, but especially around information, health, wellbeing and security," he explains.
SAY HELLO TO THE NEW ISO
“For anyone without a risk management background, the new ISO31030 Travel Risk Management may seem intimidating, but in reality it’s a very approachable document and
reading it should be high on a travel buyer’s to-do list," says Alex Twiggs, Business Development Director, EMEA, at World Travel Protection. "While it’s only guidance and there are no requirements to implement it, we’re seeing employees have higher expectations for travel risk assessment now that they’ve experienced a pandemic." He believes the ISO provides a practical framework for creating a bespoke travel risk management system, regardless of the size of an organisation. "Your company might already be implementing many of the steps in the standard so it can also act as reassurance that you’re on the right path, as well as give additional ideas to consider," he explains. Blue Cube's Nick Pratt says now is the perfect time for buyers to get their operations prepared. "The new global standard has been published by ISO but is not ready for organisations to be assessed for accreditation. This gives travel buyers the chance to prepare now for any changes needed to meet what is set to become the framework to govern travel risk management practices globally across the entire travel supply chain."
GET INVOLVED IN INDUSTRY LOBBYING
We've still got some way to go to cement the sector's recovery so, if you haven't already, it's time to join the fight.
Buyers need to ensure that they approach start-ups that have launched in the pandemic to find out how, as an industry, we can become more efficient and more automated” "As an industry, the pandemic has taught us that educating our local politicians, local governments, the EU Commission and the White House is key," says Catherine Logan, GBTA Regional Vice President EMEA. "Advocacy efforts have gained momentum during the pandemic and great strides have been made. It is the responsibility of everyone in the industry – suppliers, corporate travellers, buyers and industry associations – to fly the flag and continue these efforts, to educate and to lobby governments from the bottom up to help deliver the message on behalf of the business travel industry."
TO-DO LIST v18.indd 13
12/30/21 04:32 PM
10 Reasons_v11.indd 14
12/30/21 04:31 PM
1o reasons to be
cheerful We can't deny that the emergence of Omicron has set the industry's recovery back, but there are still plenty of reasons why we should start the year feeling positive. Here goes...
We're better protected and better prepared
Despite new variants and the reinstating of some restrictions and testing requirements, the world is still better protected from the impact of the pandemic than it was at the start of 2021. "We're now much better equipped to deal with uncertainty and the vagaries of variants and short-notice (often knee-jerk) changes in policy," says Peter Gerstle, Head of Travel Products at Collinson. "Although it might not always feel this way, there is emerging standardisation in the area of health status. Only a handful of Covid test and vaccination status standards have survived the early-day gold rush and there is further alignment to come in 2022." Pippa Ganderton, Product Director ATPI Halo, agrees: “We’ve come a long way compared to a year ago, with the introduction of vaccines allowing for the return of more flights to more destinations and making necessary travel less restrictionheavy. As vaccine rollouts increase globally, the outlook for 2022 is far more positive for business travel.”
Sustainability has stepped up another gear
It’s been creeping up the agenda for the last few years but, rather than just being something we talk about – a lot – we are finally making firm
commitments to sustainable business travel and giving it the full attention it deserves. “There is now a re-energised awareness of sustainable activities and an increased passion for ensuring their implementation across the industry following major events such as COP26,” says Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association. “2022 brings a new dawn of sustainable urgency and it is incredibly exciting to be at the forefront of this change.” Aman Pourkarimi, Head of Consulting Gray Dawes Group, says COP26 has helped make sustainability goals "a must have, rather than a nice to have". But he warns: "Travel managers must explore various carbon measurement approaches and work out how they can influence travel sustainably through identifying low-carbon emitting suppliers, rather than stunting business continuity and traveller comfort through restricting travel and/or downgrading class."
The appetite for travel is strong
Half of global senior finance professionals interviewed by the GBTA at the end of 2021 expect their company’s business travel spend to reach 2019 levels in 2022 while 86% of business travellers report that they need to travel to meet their business goals. UK TMCs reported a surge in international bookings as soon as restrictions were lifted,
particularly when transatlantic routes restarted. Ewan Kassir, Head of Global Sales at Clarity, says from September to November 2021 the TMC saw a significant month-on-month increase in trips booked and revenue. "November saw us hit levels we didn’t expect to see until later in quarter one 2022. This is great news and an indication the appetite for travellers and businesses to be on the move is strong." Debbie Male, Head of Europe Sales, IHG Hotels & Resorts, adds: "The future is bright for some segments of travel, particularly domestic, SMEs, and corporate transient, which are all helping business travel make a comeback. We ultimately believe corporate travel will continue to recover with some industries bouncing back faster than others." Salv Silvera, General Manager London & Southeast at CTM UK, adds: "Even with the latest announcement of the Omicron variant I believe customers are becoming fatigued with Covid and will want to travel regardless."
We're now much better equipped to deal with uncertainty and the vagaries of variants and short-notice (often knee-jerk) changes in policy” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
10 Reasons_v11.indd 15
12/30/21 04:31 PM
Face-to-FACE is still King
When the business world started to open up again at the end of summer 2021, we couldn't wait to get back to in-person events. Later, when restrictions on international travel were lifted, the sharp rise in demand demonstrated the strength of our desire to see each other face-to-face. "Businesses have reconsidered that, while virtual platforms delivered during the pandemic, the return to live meetings and events is still a major consideration within business planning and relationship management and with more corridors reopening, this provides opportunities of reengagement, reconnection and experience as an international traveller and delegate," says Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of Advantage Travel Partnership.
Business travel is no longer seen as just a cost centre
"There's been an enforced period of reflection where many travel buyers have reassessed not just priorities but what fundamentally drives the need for business travel," says Barry Fleming, Head of Marketing, Blue Cube Travel. "In what is an exciting and potentially seismic shift, many organisations are moving away from treating travel as simply a controllable cost of doing business and are instead getting to grips with how it drives value for a business by treating it as an investment that supports commercial goals." Erik Magnuson, Vice President Product Management, Mobility & Payments CWT, agrees: "No longer just a cost centre, travel is now a key enabler of company goals - a fusion between corporate responsibility, traveller wellbeing, programme performance and overall return on investment."
New types of business travel are emerging
While some initially predicted a sharp fall in internal business travel, remote working has, in fact, led to the emergence of new types of business travel, bringing opportunities for corporate travel and meetings managers. "Future of work strategies mean that the commute will move to becoming business travel in many situations, and small meetings will thrive as companies exchange real estate for more fluid meeting space," says Paul 16
Tilstone, Managing Partner at Festive Road. IHG's Debbie Male agrees: "As we see less people return to offices, corporate travel will actually have an even more important role to play in client interactions, so people will likely spend more time travelling for business than to their own office."
The travel manager role has been elevated
"The extraordinary expertise and stakeholder engagement that buyers demonstrate routinely will become even more priceless in the new era of travel," says Scott Davies, CEO at ITM. "As business travel resumes, it will require far more attention and touch than ever before owing to complexities arising from Brexit, PSD2 and Covid-related measures, to name just three dynamics. Travel managers will play a key part in consulting with senior management and educating relevant stakeholders, not just on these complexities, but also the narrative around sustainability and meeting net-zero carbon targets." Mike Orchard, Festive Road Principal APAC, believes: "Emerging from the tough times of the pandemic, the travel manager role and its strategic importance is flourishing like never before. Travel managers around the world are broadening their sphere of influence within their
Travel managers have never had so much opportunity to directly link the outcomes of corporate travel to delivery of the company strategy” companies and driving the debate about the value of travel, often at C-suite level. "Travel managers have never had so much opportunity to directly link the outcomes of corporate travel to delivery of the company strategy." Peter Grover, Managing Director of EMEA for TRIPBAM, adds: "Professionals who were primarily focused on 'blocking and tackling' have now become strategic leaders and authorities within their companies on the vital topic of travel. In 2022 we expect travel managers to further innovate and expand their roles as they take greater ownership
over strategic programme performance and safety and risk management, as well as drive sustainability objectives."
travel is getting simpler "The very act of being able to travel again has got to be a key reason to be happy in 2022," says Nicola Cox, Director MIDAS Travel. "For travel bookers, this will become simpler again. With global drives to work together, we only see travel getting easier. "There will be a shift towards eradicating paperwork and complex entry processes for individual countries, and a move towards more universal standards. The pandemic has highlighted better ways to work together and systems will continue to get better."
We know what we're up against
"In all likelihood, vaccines, tests and passes are here to stay and business travellers might have additional needs," says GlobalStar Travel Management CEO James Stevenson. "But if the last 20 months have taught us anything at all, it is that we are resourceful, resilient, and stronger than we ever anticipated – all reasons to be cheerful."
We're still in this together
We said it at the start of 2021 and we’ll say it again: the pandemic crisis has brought the business travel community together in ways never before seen. The camaraderie that shone through on LinkedIn and in virtual webinars was even more apparent when we all finally got to see each other face-to-face, as anyone at the Business Travel People Awards in September will testify. What a buzz! “Lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to pause and reflect and the trials and tribulations have enforced a great sense of communal industry strength,” says the BTA's Clive Wratten. "As the fallout from Covid-19 continues and its associated challenges endure, the travel community’s united power is an exciting outcome of the pandemic and we will make every effort to nurture this over 2022.” Melanie Quinn, Head of Sales and Customer Relations, Clyde Travel Management, sums it up nicely: "This renewed humanity is something to continue to harness and celebrate across the industry in 2022. So much good has come from it."
10 Reasons_v11.indd 16
12/30/21 04:32 PM
Subscribe for free Sign-up to receive the magazine and our online newsletter at: thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe
TBTM subs advert v4.indd 1
1/4/22 05:35 PM
TRAVEL TRENDS TO WATCH Predicting the future is a risky game – now more so than ever – but in this fast-changing and uncertain world we all need something to work towards, so we asked the experts to give it their best shot ONLY a very brave soul would claim to know for sure what the next few years hold for corporate travel. The last few weeks of 2021 taught us, yet again, that nothing is certain. But despite the continued challenges of new variants and ever-changing travel restrictions, there are key underlying trends emerging and developing that travel buyers should be aware of. Anyone who has attended a businesss travel conference, seminar or webinar in the last few months will already be familiar with the major themes: sustainability, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing and duty of care to name just a few. The next nine pages cover these, of course, but our experts have identiﬁed other trends that might not have been on your radar.
We've asked the experts not just to outline the trends but to explore how the travel buyer community should be responding to them. We've challenged them to identify what the repercussions might be, what buyers should be doing to prepare, and what action is required to stay ahead of the game. We've also included the results of recent surveys to back up some of the trends and provide further valuable insight. As we enter 2022 many aspects of corporate travel have fundamentally changed and our colleagues across the whole eco-system – buyers, suppliers, TMCs and more – are looking at new ways of working. Business travel has changed forever but alongside the welldocumented challenges there are also opportunities for those who take the right steps.
The value and proﬁle of the travel manager has been elevated in the pandemic (see page 26) and this positive trend is set to continue. With all organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint (see page 23), travel managers will play an increasingly vital role. As business travel resumes in 2022 – and all of our experts are conﬁdent it will come back – being up to speed on the key trends will help you provide the support and guidance your travellers need as they venture out again. So, get comfortable, have your notebook and pen at the ready, grab a cuppa and read on...
We've asked the experts not just to outline the trends but to explore how the travel buyer community should be responding to them”
1/5/22 09:29 AM
TREND: THE ERA OF PURPOSEFUL TRAVEL 'PURPOSEFUL travel’ is a phrase that everyone in our industry is going to hear a lot more of in 2022 and beyond, says Chris Thelen, Founder and CEO of TakeTwo Travel Solutions and the new
owner of Eton Travel Group, who cites two key factors driving the trend. "Firstly, there is sustainability – and everyone is already talking about that. Business travellers need to have a very speciﬁc reason for travelling and to justify their trip because of the impact on their company’s carbon footprint.
"What’s not being discussed so openly is the second factor: risk management. Due to Covid, traveller health and wellbeing have now all been added to the ‘risk’ list, alongside natural disasters and terrorist atrocities. The level of risk will be a key factor in the decision whether a traveller should make the trip or not." Barry Fleming, Head of Marketing at Blue Cube Travel, says organisations need to get a better understanding of what business travel should be and what value and ROI each trip will bring. "Travelling less but travelling more eﬀectively might be where corporates want to take this," he says. Companies must now deﬁne what ‘good travel' looks like at a strategic level before looking at how various processes and tools could help manage that, he says. "A symptom of this is an apparent swing away from pre-trip approval of bookings, often used to control whether the right in-policy options have been chosen, towards pre-booking approval, where the basic question is whether the trip should even happen," Fleming adds.
ACTION: REVISIT YOUR TRAVEL CATEGORY PLAN MANY procurement-based travel managers regularly dust oﬀ and revisit their travel category strategy plans, but Mike Orchard, Principal APAC at consultancy ﬁrm Festive Road, believes now could be the time for a complete overhaul. "Many would advocate for a completely fresh approach given how the market has fundamentally changed and the priorities have shifted," he says. "The category planning process still works well but the context is totally diﬀerent. Start afresh. Start talking to key stakeholders and gathering their latest requirements from travel. Look at your latest data and extrapolate how your programme will grow." Before they rebuild their vision and plan,
he advises travel managers to deeply evaluate the market, supplier changes, technology improvements and, most crucially, reassess how their organisation's travel priorities have moved.
BUYER INSIGHT MORE than one third of buyers say they are actively involved in their company’s rationale about the ROI of in-person meetings, according to an ITM survey (see page 24). Sharing her experience with delegates at ITM's virtual Trends Summit in December, Ami Taylor, Senior Director, Product Strategy EMEA Regional Lead at SAP Concur, said: "In order to identify the value it's important to work with multiple diﬀerent areas within the business, particularly with human resources teams, on the return to travel and the ROI of travel." Nikki Parsons, Global Travel & Meetings Manager for Arcadis, added: "What keeps us with a company is a sense of belonging, purpose and community. "So, it was interesting recently at a senior leadership team meeting, where everybody was asked to reﬂect on 2021 and what they’ve learnt, and most of the senior leadership team talked about when they had got to meet in person. That was so inciteful for me."
“We're starting to see a rise in slow travel, which is both an individual taking time to get to a destination – say, going by train or car versus flying – and spending more time at the destination. Workcations and the rise in extendedstay asset classes show travellers are being more thoughtful in their travel decisions. Staying longer in a place also allows workers to combine business meetings and do more with more time, reducing the need for multiple trips."
VIVI CAHYADI HIMMEL, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER ALTOVITA
1/5/22 09:29 AM
SHIFTING SHAPE OF BUSINESS TRAVEL REMOTE working will continue and oﬃces will transform into 'collaboration hubs'. At the same time, employees will increasingly yearn for in-person experiences and more physical interaction.
Working from a fixed office, the daily commute, the regimented working hours – all these things will become a thing of the past”
These growing trends are blurring the deﬁnition of the term 'business travel'. "This changes the shape of business travel, where we will increasingly see trips for the purpose of gathering remote employees for innovation, collaboration or engagement purposes but less ‘classical’ travel for one-to-one meetings,"
explains Mike Orchard at Festive Road. Katie Virtue, Festive Road US Senior Consultant, expands on this trend. "As hybrid and remote working grow, we will increasingly question what a business trip is," she predicts. "It’s no longer a trip away from the oﬃce. For remote employees, it might be a trip to the oﬃce or it could be a team meeting in a destination where no oﬃces are located but it presents the right environment for their purpose. As where people work is more ﬂuid, we need to move past the traditional view of a trip." She also identiﬁes a possible knock-on trend: local travel. "With more employees working in hybrid or remote settings, local and commuter travel is emerging as its own subset. This could be an employee meeting a client at a local coﬀee shop or workspace "Companies need to assess if this falls under the deﬁnition of business travel. One client has taken this a step further and says it is looking at owning all ‘movement’ by employees any time they leave their established working base."
REMOTE WORKING CHANGES THE RULES "There’s a big focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). It’s not new but it’s less acceptable to ignore it within your business, across your suppliers and with the travel choices you make. Those involved in corporate travel have a responsibility to be advocates for DEI. This no longer sits just with the HR team alone. Travel managers will need to get to know their traveller community, incorporate unique needs within policies, protect travellers, be aware of high-risk destinations, educate people and, finally, consider the ethics of their chosen suppliers. Expect more questions to be asked, especially as younger travellers start to demand more."
NICOLA COX, DIRECTOR MIDAS TRAVEL
NEW working patterns are here to stay, observes Peter Gerstle, Head of Travel Products at Collinson. "Working from a ﬁxed oﬃce, the daily commute, the regimented working hours – all these things will become a thing of the past. Not for all, but for many of us, especially white-collar knowledge workers. "Remote working is here to stay and will generate new business travel patterns. "Additionally, staﬀ might decide – or be allowed – to be ‘digital nomads’ for a period of time, maybe located nearer to an important client and thus reducing the number of long-haul trips needed. And that dreadful word ‘bleisure’ will now ﬁnally come into its own as there will be a more ﬂuid delineation of work and play.
"This all, in turn, has an impact on ﬂight fare rules. ‘Saturday Night Stay’ is being rendered obsolete as a means to maximise fares from cash-rich business travellers – an increasingly-rare breed."
1/5/22 09:29 AM
COLLABORATION "A PRETTY important umbrella challenge that everyone in this industry needs to be ready for is being agile," says Neil Ruth, TapTrip Co-Founder and Director. "Never has it been so important for businesses to be agile, and that means being prepared for all eventualities, running pre-mortems and scenario planning the hell out of everything. "Given the vast number of potential variables now aﬀecting business travel, one thing Covid has taught us is that no-one can predict the future. All we can do is try to plan for the myriad of diﬀerent possibilities so that we are better able to swim rather than sink."
On the plus side, Ruth believes the crisis has and will continue to inspire rapid innovation because it "forces people to see the world through new eyes". "Throughout the pandemic – when we have all been asked to travel diﬀerently or not at all – innovation, creativity and collaboration have come to the forefront. "All three are incredibly important when it comes to rebuilding corporate travel in 2022 and beyond but it’s possibly collaboration that will have the biggest, longest lasting impact. "For a sector that has previously operated in aggressively competitive silos, the fact that collaboration is on the rise is a really beautiful thing. Specialist companies can now partner with each other, which in turn fuels more innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and a more positive year ahead."
B T A U P D AT E
The system is failing so the fight must go on The travel industry has taken great strides in becoming a collegiate, collaborative and united voice since the beginning of Covid-19. We've had the opportunity to pause and reﬂect and the pandemic challenges have strengthened the sector's community spirit. But while we should celebrate the ways in which we've pulled together, it saddens me that we are all still having to battle this pernicious virus and ﬁght for our voice to be heard in Government. As we approached the end of 2021, the travel industry was the only sector trying to continue operating under any Government-mandated restrictions. This has been ignored by those who make the rules. While the red list might have been abolished, then temporarily reinstated, then abolished again, it still hangs in the ether – a continuous threat to every corporate or leisure traveller. Hotel quarantine, endless testing and no clear plan for future variants mean the British public, economy and health service are at odds. This can’t go on. Scientists are clear that Covid-19 in its many forms is here to stay. We must equip ourselves to live with the virus. This means a ﬁrst-class booster roll-out, getting a better global vaccine programme and prioritising a consistent international approach to travel. The correct uproar over the undue sanctions imposed on South Africa after they discovered the Omicron variant put the ﬂaws in our current system under a
spotlight. We can't go on like this. An integrated global approach is needed. And, if that is not feasible in the short-term, then a UK contingency plan is required – now. It is clear that closing borders doesn’t slow the rate of transmission of any variant. By the time this has been identiﬁed it is already in the country. Therefore, we must work together with the Government and utilise the expertise across the industry to deliver an eﬀective plan of action. We stand ready to deliver a toolkit, should the Government be willing to share data and learn from our experience and expertise. As we enter 2022, travel manager and buyer concerns will continue to revolve around the safety and risk management associated with travel post-Covid. Lockdown has demonstrated the true value of meeting in person, boosting productivity and helping to build lasting, trusted relationships. It is paramount that the traveller is safe throughout to allow this to prosper, and clear communication across sectors is the most viable method of ensuring this. I truly believe that 2022 is the year in which we must learn to live with Covid-19, become a truly global Britain and deliver on the Government’s levelling-up agenda. But we can only do this successfully with safe and frictionless travel.
Clive Wratten Chief Executive Oﬃcer
1/5/22 09:29 AM
TRAVELLER ENGAGEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT AS WE slowly start to make our way out into the world once more, the toll the pandemic has taken on the individual traveller cannot be underestimated, says Travelogix Founder and CEO Chris Lewis.
"For travellers to move across borders safely they will, of course, need to be in the know on the move, which will demand duty of care solutions and in-trip communications, but we will also see lots more opportunity for in-trip engagement and re-marketing while the traveller is away on business," he says.
"An organisation that manages to go beyond legislation in regard to employee practices will elevate themselves from being a good employer to a great one. Business travel plays a major part in that. A lot of business travel is about building relationships and a culture, which in turn creates an organisation that attracts, retains and develops the best talent. A travel manager should be an advocate of face-to-face meetings, highlighting the dangers of not only Zoom fatigue, but new employees failing to integrate to a business they haven’t really met."
AMAN POURKARIMI, HEAD OF CONSULTING GRAY DAWES GROUP
"Pushing personalised messages and recommendations will provide a more engaging and familiar experience, helping the traveller to feel safe when away from home – especially as the average trip duration has now increased." Nicola Cox, Director MIDAS Travel, says businesss travel is becoming a much more personal experience. "Travellers will be much more aware of the impact business travel has on their personal life now that the pandemic has forced signiﬁcant change here. The more you can support travellers and provide ﬂexibility with times, bolt-on travel, transfers, the happier your traveller community will be," she says. "Cost of travel remains important, but there are now more factors taking priority. As travellers start to have more sway with travel policies, this is an opportunity for travel managers to evolve policies in way that supports wellbeing, mental health, inclusivity and comfort. Look at adding extra services such as ‘meet and greet’ or lounges to make feel them feel more comfortable and valued."
CONNECTIVITY THE 'INTERNET of Things' has become a standard in our homes, says James Stevenson, CEO GlobalStar Travel Management. "We use it to integrate our home security, energy management and entertainment solutions. "Corporate travel can expect a similar level of connectivity and dynamic booking platforms are the
Theory has so far exceeded capability but we are now seeing gaps closing and this is good news for corporate travel” ﬁrst step to delivering this, giving a single access point to book – and importantly fully service – disparate content including GDS, NDC, LCC and direct connect."
WIDER SCOPE OF MANAGING RISK AND WELLBEING RISK MANAGEMENT and wellbeing aren't new to business travel but their scope is now expanding dramatically from past conversations, says Barry Fleming, Head of Marketing at Blue Cube Travel. "It’s now more than simply tracking travellers in case of an incident," he says. "It's about operational, ﬁnancial, and even reputational risk related to the travel programme, obviously all against the backdrop of the new ISO 31030 standard. "Similarly with traveller wellbeing, this is now what it says on the tin: the overall wellbeing of any traveller. That could cover physical and mental health, the stress and attrition of frequent travel, and understanding how an individual’s personal situation might make them
anxious about travelling to certain parts of the world where they could feel very uncomfortable, whether for Covid, other health reasons, or for concerns around gender, religion or sexuality."
1/5/22 09:29 AM
"Macro environment impacts will be a major consideration in all business activities, with performance metrics and personal accountability enforced to ensure that all employees, businesses and approaches are aligned to the big ticket items such as sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, risk, safety and security and mental health. These are no longer tick box exercises, these are serious business credentials which should become part of a company’s DNA."
NOT GOING GREEN COULD HIT YOUR BOTTOM LINE SUSTAINABILITY will be the theme that deﬁnes not only the next few years but the next few decades, says Ian Sinderson, CEO ATPI, who believes travel managers and TMCs have a key role to play.
JULIA LO BUE-SAID, CEO ADVANTAGE TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP
LACK OF POLICY COVID-19 will usher in a new era of sustainable business travel, according to a recent survey by Trainline Partner Solutions. The study of 1,000 business travellers in the UK showed that just over half (53%) felt businesses were irresponsible before the pandemic with the level of unnecessary business travel.
Three in five businesses confess that staff are increasingly asking tough questions about sustainable policies" Meanwhile, a separate survey of 1,000 UK employers found three in ﬁve confess that their staﬀ are increasingly asking tough questions about sustainable business travel policies but only 64% of businesses have a clear policy for reducing the impact of business travel on the environment.
"It’s increasingly likely that, like ﬁnancial disclosures, emissions disclosures will become mandatory and that greater transparency regarding what businesses are doing to reduce their environmental impact will be the norm," he explains. "Travel managers will need to work with their TMCs to evaluate their supply chain and develop ESG-compliant travel programmes that meet the needs of the business, both in terms of competitiveness and sustainability with very long goals in mind." Ewan Kassir, Head of Global Sales, Clarity, says responsible TMCs need to help clients understand their own objectives, how they ﬁt into corporate strategy and what success looks like. "They should help translate this information to shape travel policy and give guidance to bookers and travellers on how to drive behavioural change. "The booking process also needs to encourage and promote these changes. Does your booking technology display CO2 data at the point of sale? Is that data captured so you can use it to drive change? Can you police carbon footprint and set budgets by department or by individual, and report on them monthly? Can the CO2 impact of your meetings and events be measured?"
Nobody can ignore sustainability, says Nicola Cox, Director at Midas Travel, but achieving truly responsible business travel is not an easy task. "The important thing for corporates to remember is that they’re not expected to have all the answers, but they are expected to be taking steps. This could be through education, data, behavioural change or just oﬀering more choice," she explains. "Sustainability is a key cultural driver for younger generations, so not having a policy in place will undoubtedly impact your recruitment as they look towards your travel policy. That, and proposed future ﬁnancial penalties, could mean that inactivity will start to really hit your bottom line." Eﬀorts will need to be supported company-wide, says Barry Fleming, Head of Marketing for Blue Cube Travel. "Whoever in the business (ideally at C-Suite level) with overall responsibility for sustainability needs to create a clear actionable strategy and plan, whether that means reducing travel for certain reasons, enforcing less impactful forms of travel on certain journeys, building a preferred supplier programme which considers sustainability credentials, and maybe even setting departments a CO2 budget that they need to keep within, alongside a spend budget. "But, fundamentally, you need to have a plan, policy and tools that directly drive change, rather than it just being about awareness and aspiration."
1/5/22 09:29 AM
RETURN TO TRAVEL
Don't worry – better days are ahead While the end of 2021 didn’t feel particularly merry in the world of business travel, this remarkable industry will, of course, approach 2022 with the same vigour, optimism and hope that we have applied to every challenge we have faced. The potential for virus mutations will lurk in our consciousnesses and our business plans for some time, but the wonders of medicine leave me feeling that we are now on our way towards much better days. In ITM’s recent Buyer Priorities Survey, carried out over a two-week period at the end of November, buyers mostly felt that 2022 travel spend would be around 50% of 2019 levels. I’ll take that. Elsewhere in our survey, 100 corporate buyers ranked their critical priorities for the year ahead. Every other indicator told us that sustainability – incapsulating the travel programme’s role in supporting ESG commitments – was rapidly rising to the top of to-do lists. But in terms of absolute priorities sustainability ranked fourth for the second consecutive year, just behind traveller wellbeing, duty of care and a brand new entrant at the number one spot: managing the return to travel. Actively optimising the conversation around who, how and why we meet in a Covid world has overshadowed previously perennial challenges like budget control and content access. However, upon further examination it
Scott Davies Chief Executive
is clear that the travel that may return must comply with newly-enhanced criteria around impact upon our planet. Boardrooms around (most of) the globe increasingly wish to tread lightly on this world of ours, as opposed to just being seen to do the same. Two years ago, 17% of buyers said their policy allowed travellers to choose a more sustainable travel option, even if it was higher priced than the initial oﬀering. This year 36% of buyers said their programme would allow this trade up. This is a very signiﬁcant development when we consider that many of the step changes needed to reduce emissions come at a higher initial cost. It is also heartening to see that 95% of buyers say their value and proﬁle within their organisations had been maintained or increased during the pandemic. But one of the key questions we face as an industry is how to qualify and quantify the value/ROI of a face-to-face meeting or event. Over a third of our buyers said they were actively involved in their company’s conversation and that active analysis was underway. The other two thirds would be well served to get themselves inserted into this essential debate at the earliest opportunity. And if you can’t ﬁnd evidence of the appraisal taking place in your business, I would strongly suggest you make yourself the instigator of it. You are already an expert after all!
IS TOP PRIORITY TRAVEL buyers ranked 'managing the return to travel' as their number one priority in 2022, according to ITM's annual survey of buyer members. The priority, which was included in the survey for the ﬁrst time, was closely followed by duty of care, traveller wellbeing and sustainable practice. While sustainability appears to have retained its fourth place position, it has in eﬀect risen one step since last year, taking into account the new number one. In addition, 58% of buyers expect to see a modal shift in air to rail travel in 2022 compared with 33% last year.
Diversity, equity and inclusion moved into the top 10 for the ﬁrst time, rising two places to rank ninth, while budget control fell by two places to sixth place. The poll also found that 51% of buyers will not make any changes to their TMC commercial models as a result of the pandemic, while 38% will switch to a hybrid model and only 2% said they would switch to a subscription model. When asked about the development of their role, 58% of buyers said the pandemic has impacted favourably on their proﬁle and value within their business. Only 5% said it had been aﬀected less favourably. Over one third said they are now actively involved in their company’s rationale about the ROI of in-person meetings.
1/5/22 09:29 AM
TREND: CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPECTATIONS MAINTAINING high levels of customer service is crucial in this increasingly challenging and uncertain world but lower revenues and dramatically downsized workforces means standards might slip.
It's a problem across the whole business travel eco-system, including the TMC sector. "With a reduced demand for travel but an increased demand for support, diminished workforces have resulted in some TMCs not being able to provide a quality service," says Ewan Kassir, Clarity Head of Global Sales. "Organisations are demanding the highest
level of support and need a TMC that can demonstrate stability, both ﬁnancially and resource wise, and an unwavering commitment to their clients." Clarity CEO Pat McDonagh says it's all about instilling conﬁdence. "Now, more than ever, maintaining high levels of service is a necessity and expectation. Travellers, bookers and procurement managers must have conﬁdence in their TMC. "It should go without question that they have your back, from booking, to getting home and every bump along the way. Our industry is navigating its way back to recovery, requiring a level of adaptability never experienced before. "Technology is important, of course, but it has to be underpinned by experienced, knowledgeable people." Julie Cope, Managing Director TakeTwo Travel Solutions, believes it might be time to reassess your TMC relationship. "If your TMC is not meeting their SLA then you should be reviewing not just the terms of the SLA but potentially also whether your current TMC is the right one for you."
SUPPLIER INSIGHT: PERSONAL SERVICE IS KEY GREAT SERVICE was the highest priority for nine out of 10 UK respondents in a recent survey by IHG Hotels and Resorts. The OnePoll survey, carried out in November 2021, asked 2,000 UK guests to rate their priorities as travel resumes. It found 90% rank great service as most important to them when staying at a hotel, with 68% of travellers thinking hotel staﬀ should act in a friendly manner. Almost half say they want to be able to talk to staﬀ and vice versa in a friendly, conversational manner, rather than one that’s overly formal. Nearly half (47%) agree that a friendly, approachable, and personalised experience is more important than ever following the pandemic.
“With nearly half of travellers stating they want to be valued as an individual, a one-size-ﬁts-all approach to hotel service no longer resonates,” said Will Yell, VP Luxury and Upscale Conversion and Aﬃliate Brands.
LOST TALENT "THERE IS much in the headline ‘the great resignation’," says Melanie Quinn, Head of Sales and Customer Relations at Clyde Travel Management. "Sadly, many in our industry had to seek alternative employment and some have left the industry for good. It's a candidate's market. "Firms should respond by holding
Only through investment in the future can we secure it and, as a service industry, this has to start with our people” the talent they retain dear to them by listening to them, investing in them and nurturing them. "We have a responsibility to grow the next generation of business travel experts. Only through investment in the future can we secure it and, as a service industry, this has to start with our people."
"When we look at our data it is obvious that whilst bookings may have decreased from pre-pandemic the time take on each booking has dramatically increased. There is no doubt that travelling in today’s Covid world is far more complex than it used to be and it is here that personal service really comes into its own. While we rely on the latest digital systems to be able to offer a wide breadth of services, there is nothing more important than personal interaction."
KIERAN HARTWELL, MD CORPORATE TRAVEL COUNSELLORS
1/5/22 09:30 AM
TESTING TIMES COVID-19 testing will be required until the end of 2022, predicts Peter Gerstle, Collinson Head of Travel Products, who urges buyers and TMCs to get involved. "Engage with a roster of reputable and reliable test providers for your clients’ main markets," he says. "But this requires more than just simply negotiating a discount code
While testing doesn't have the margins it's reputed to have, partnerships can support the revenue lines of TMCs” that is available through other channels. Travel buyers should act as distribution partners/resellers and jointly educate the customer through the process."
PROFILE OF TRAVEL BUYERS CONTINUES TO RISE THE PROFILE and value of corporate travel buyers has risen in the pandemic, according to the latest ITM survey. A poll of 100 ITM members found 58% said the pandemic has had a favourable
impact on their proﬁle and value within their business, while only 5% of buyers said their proﬁle and value had been aﬀected less favourably. Almost all buyers said they have taken on additional responsibilities during the pandemic, including corporate cards, traveller guidance and safety, risk
HYBRID MEETINGS ARE HERE TO STAY HYBRID meetings will reign supreme for years to come, according to Kari Wendel, Global Vice President, Strategic Customers for CWT Meetings & Events. "The last two years have taught us that we really can work virtually and accomplish key goals and objectives as we collaborate remotely, and that some meetings can be successfully delivered in virtual or hybrid format without undermining the impact," she says. "This places increased pressure on sourcing activities, as the meeting that was formerly a hundred-person live event is transforming into a hundred-person hybrid and there is no foundation for forecasting what percentage of the attendees will be willing and able to travel."
As a result, Wendel says benchmarking is critical now and will be for months to come to support accurate sourcing and contracting for this growing number of hybrid meetings.
management and engaging with senior executives for the return to travel More than a third said they are actively involved in their company’s rationale about the ROI of in-person meetings. “The role and responsibilities of travel managers within their organisations will continue to morph and evolve in response to the fundamental way that travel and meetings have changed,” said Scott Davies, CEO ITM. “Throughout the pandemic, buyers embraced new skillsets and frames of reference constantly and this trend is set to continue. “The extraordinary expertise and stakeholder engagement that buyers demonstrate routinely will become even more priceless in the new era of travel." Davies believes Brexit, PSD2 and Covid-related measures will require more expertise. “Travel managers will play a key part in consulting with senior management and educating relevant stakeholders, not just on these complexities, but also the narrative around sustainability and meeting net-zero carbon targets,” he says.
"As we move through the pandemic the industry is taking a thoughtful, informed and adaptive approach even as new variants may emerge. Without clear scientific data, we know knee-jerk restrictions on travel do not generate an effective outcome and taking actions such as border closures and frequently changing entry rules only add to the confusion. Companies are better equipped now with policies and processes to safely mitigate risk and support traveling, as long as testing and vaccines remain part of the equatione."
SUZANNE NEUFANG, GBTA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
1/5/22 09:30 AM
"We aren’t out of the Covid storm yet, and with new strains and tensions on accommodation providers and travel managers, managing travel risk is crucial. Travel risk, in its traditional form, covered physical security on the ground but has now transformed into a dynamic assurance that protects travellers at every touchpoint, from data protection and anti-terrorism to excellent cleanliness standards for Covid-19 protection."
NEW ROLES EMERGE TO MANAGE TRAVEL RISK SEASONED travellers who in the past would think nothing about grabbing a carry-on bag, their passport and circumnavigating the globe are now asking increasingly tough questions to
LEE WHITEING, DIRECTOR GLOBAL SECURE ACCREDITATION
COVID FALLOUT AN INCREASE in crime, such as attacks on security personnel and kidnap-for-ransom plots, is expected to continue in developing and semi-developed countries following a marked rise since 2020 amid the fallout from Covid-19. This is the prediction of Emanuele Scansani, Director of Partnerships and Strategic Relations at Riskline,
Increased crime rates can be linked to the inability of some governments to provide security and stability" who says: “We will see this trend continue in 2022 with organised criminal groups coming into increasingly deadly conﬂict with security forces in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and the borderlands of Latin America, where gang-related shootings are seemingly commonplace."
their employer about their health and safety, says Rodger Cook, Global Security Director for World Travel Protection. He believes questions like "What happens if I get Covid?" or "What happens if border rules change?" will prompt global companies to create specialist travel risk management positions to help steer strategy and provide a necessary interface between the company and third-party service providers. But the remit won't just cover the risks of travelling, notes Cook. "The risk of not travelling needs to be considered and we have learnt that you cannot always get the same business outcomes from a zoom meeting," he explains. "A dedicated travel risk manager provides global organisations with the peace of mind that their mobile workforce has access to up-to-date information, they will be supported if things change, and the risk from a failed assignment or a missed business objective is reduced.” Cook's colleague, Alex Twiggs, World Travel Protection's Business Development Director, EMEA, says the nature of travel risk will also change and could lead to another role emerging. "In recent years, travel risk management was seen to be focused on security risks, such as high-proﬁle ISIS attacks and other
geopolitical situations, but now we see the wider issue of medical risk staying front and centre for many corporate travel buyers," he says. "It’s rare that companies have Chief Health Oﬃcers, but this may change or they may look to bring in expertise on an ad hoc basis." He believes the shift will encompass both health and wellness to provide a more holistic approach to a company's workforce, going beyond the minimum requirements of health and safety legislation. "As employees stay in the workforce longer, we will also see changing demographics who may need additional support," he adds. "We foresee an increasing amount of C-Suite time being devoted to these issues as they realise that oﬀering free fruit and occasional yoga classes are no longer enough in the current environment. "This role will require a highly-specialised skill set, working across diﬀerent stakeholder groups and balancing business requirements with their responsibilities as a clinician." TMCs will also have a bigger role to play, says Travelogix CEO Chris Lewis. "Business travellers will not only expect their company to be taking the right steps to ensure their safety but will expect their TMC to be ahead of the curve when it comes to information relating to health and security risks globally. "Technology will enable this as we head into 2022 and beyond," he observes.
1/5/22 09:30 AM
Reality check HOT E L : F O U R SE ASO NS HAM PSHIR E THE HOTEL
This hotel and spa is in a
Wilton carpets, a walk-in closet, and a
restored Georgian manor house set in
spacious bathroom with bath and walk-
500 acres of pristine parkland and
in shower. All rooms have the famous,
paddocks, 11 miles east of Basingstoke,
luxurious Four Seasons’ Sealy Bed with
an hour’s drive from central London
squishy pillows and high-tech
and a 35-minute drive from Heathrow.
headboards with USB and power points
All staff wore
facemasks and guests were instructed
and reading spotlights. THE BUSINESS
The hotel has
to do the same in public areas. Hand
introduced a new Work at Leisure
sanitiser and disposable masks were
programme with services and amenities
available in our room.
designed for working guests, such as
We arrived in the dark
express lunches, ergonomic desk chairs,
and struggled to find our way from the
monitors, Bluetooth printers, wireless
guest car park. We ended up entering
mouse and keyboards on request.
the hotel via the adjacent spa, which is
The hotel’s crowning
connected via a glass-encased walkway.
glory is its spa, with a stunning glass
evening menu changes according to the
After checking in at the cosy reception
atrium housing a 20-metre pool linked
season. Burgers, salads and fish and
we were escorted to our bedroom on
to a heated outdoor hydrotherapy pool,
the first floor, admiring the classy
plus saunas, steam rooms and a gym.
Christmas decorations on our way.
For families there's Sharkie’s Reef, with
The hotel has 133 guest
a slide and bubble jets, plus plenty of
ROOMS DIFFER IN DESIGN BUT FOLLOW AN ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE THEME
chips are served in the adjacent bar. Service was extremely attentive. THE VERDICT
An elegant rural retreat
that's fantastic for work and play.
rooms, including 22 suites, all recently
outdoor pursuits including horse riding
refurbished. Rooms differ in design and
and a highwire adventure. The main
Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Hampshire
decor but follow an English countryside
restaurant Wild Carrot is also where
RG27 8TD; fourseasons.com/hampshire
theme. Our room, a Heritage Deluxe,
breakfast is served – buffet or à la carte
had sage green walls, sumptuously soft
– from an open kitchen. The extensive
Rooms from £540 inc VAT
HOTE L: R ADISSO N R E D L O NDO N G R E E NW ICH T HE O 2 THE HOTEL
A short walk from North
artwork hanging above the bed. The
Greenwich DLR station and five miles
king-size bed was super-comfortable
from London City, this ultra-artsy and
and the spacious bathroom featured a
style-savvy 70-room hotel is decorated
rain-effect shower and RED-branded
by splashes of red, a theme which
bathroom amenities. A 55-inch flat-
apparently helps "amplify the worlds of
screen Chromecast TV was built into the
art, fashion and music".
wall and there were useful bedside USB
The hotel operates
ports. Triple-glazing kept traffic noise to
under the Radisson Safety Protocol
a minimum. There was also a desk, mini
Programme in partnership with SGS, an
fridge and Nespresso machine.
inspection, testing and certification
There's free Wi-Fi
company that verifies Covid health,
throughout the hotel and on-site
hygiene and cleanliness.
parking. There are plenty of 'social
The reception area sits
in an industrial-styled lobby area that
spaces' throughout for ad hoc meetings. THE FACILITIES
A 'grab and go'
could best be described as 'urban
cupboard in the reception offers snacks,
rooftop Shisha lounge offers drinks
funky'. The area also has a huge 'touch
water, wine, deodorant, toothpastes,
with a view. There's also a small gym.
screen' that allows you to search for
etc. The large Manhattan-style bar has
local attractions, although the two
craft beers and a barman keen to show
friendly staff also had helpful
off his cocktail-making skills. An all-day
suggestions for nearby restaurants.
restaurant serves pizzas, burgers,
My 'superior' room was
chicken wings, and salads. A very
BOLD AND PLAYFUL, THIS IS A STYLE-CONSCIOUS HOTEL WITH ATTITUDE
Bold and playful, this is
a style-conscious hotel with attitude that offers an ultra-relaxed alternative to other more staid London hotels. THE DETAILS
Radisson RED, London
modern, super-clean, sleek and clearly
generous breakfast was cooked to
aimed at millennials (of both age and
order. A 'lounge area', with big sofas
mind). Bold red decor featured via an
and a pool table, leads into the
radissonhotels.com. Rooms from £120
old-fashioned dial telephone and
restaurant. A large glass-covered
Greenwich 02, 228 Tunnel Avenue, London, SE10 0PL; 0208 054 1950;
1/5/22 11:28 AM
Reality check FLIGHT: E thi op i an Ai rli n e s H eath r o w - A ddi s Ababa- L il o ng we I flew Business Class on
Ethiopian attire. My seat, 3L, was
Ethiopian Airlines' A350 Airbus. Business
extremely comfortable with wide arm
Class travellers have access to Lufthansa's
rests that allowed a deep recline. The
lounge in Heathrow Terminal Two.
wrap-around desk surface space was
Terminal Two was
very generous and I was able to work
busy but not crammed. Passengers, all
productively, without feeling cramped.
masked, formed orderly lines and there
After dinner and a movie, I morphed
was a palpable sense of excitement,
the seat into a comfy lie-flat bed.
maybe in part because the UK had put
Onboard service was
several African countries including
satisfyingly classic and began with a
South Africa, my ultimate destination
hand-poured mimosa followed by an
after Malawi, on its Red List a couple of
antipasto salad starter, succulent steak
days earlier. It felt like we were all
and a robust Ethiopian Rift Valley
pulling off a great escape!
Cabernet Sauvignon. After forty winks I
The efficient ground
woke to sunrise peeking through the
crew team made brisk work of checking
windows and wafts of strong Ethiopian
Lunch was followed by a dessert trolley
us in. My negative RT-PCR certificate
coffee. I made use of the well-
with confectionery, cakes, fruit and
was cross-referenced with my passport,
considered personal travel safely kit:
my boarding pass issued and my bag
surgical mask, hand-sanitiser and wipes,
tagged. My pre-travel stress evaporated
plus personal grooming paraphernalia.
with the words: "Have a good flight Mrs
During the short
It felt like we were all pulling off a great escape!
cheese, port, wine and liqueurs. THE VERDICT
The crew were very
attentive – I could see why the airline picked up so many awards this year.
Hartridge, fast track through security
transit in Addis Ababa I stepped into the
and you are good to go".
calm of the Cloud 9 business class
London and Manchester. Return fares
lounge for an invigorating power shower
from around £650 in Economy and
I was welcomed
Ethiopian flies from
onboard with a smile by crew draped in
before boarding a B737-800 aircraft for
£2,100 in Business. ethiopianairlines.com
beautiful Habsha, the traditional
the three-hour regional hop to Lilongwe.
H OTEL: the g r and Hotel Bir m in gham THE hotel
Originally opened in
bathroom with two marble sinks, a
1879, a lack of investment and TLC
gorgeous standalone bath and a walk-in
meant this historic hotel – that once
shower. Molton Brown toiletries and
welcomed Churchill, Cagney and
fluffy bathrobes added to the luxury.
Chaplin – was forced to close in 2002.
Nice touches included a yoga mat and
Lovingly restored (to the tune of £45m),
an old-fashioned telephone.
it re-opened last summer. It's in
Wi-Fi was speedy and
Colmore Row, one of Birmingham's
easy to access and meeting rooms have
most elegant and prestigious streets, a
video conferencing technology. The
10-minute walk to New Street Station.
spectacular Louis XIV-style grand
Meeting and event
ballroom, with its intricately-carved
spaces have sanitising stations and the
ceiling, is worth a peek if you don't have
hotel has engaged the services of
the pleasure of wining and dining there.
Global Secure Accreditation. THE check-in
Guests now enter
Quirky cocktails are
served at Madeleine, a stylish and
through a discreet side entrance, up a
opulent ground-floor bar with gothic
staircase and into an intimate lobby.
fireplaces, contemporary chandeliers
Three smartly-dressed staff greeted me
and low-backed bucket chairs in rusts,
and escorted me to my room.
reds, and pink velvet and leather. In the
As with most historic
basement is Isaac’s, an American diner-
hotels, the 185 bedrooms come in all
style restaurant named after the hotel’s
shapes and sizes, making them all
founder, Isaac Horton, where breakfast,
with art deco glamour, this historic hotel has been given a wonderful new
This historic hotel has been given a wonderful new lease of life
lease of life that respects its glamorous past but embraces a new generation. THE DETAILS
The Grand Hotel
Birmingham, Colmore Row, B3 2BS;
refreshingly quirky. My junior suite had
lunch, and dinner are served. Breakfasts
0121 827 9600;
an enormous four-poster bed, a
change regularly so long-term guests
scattering of sofas and chairs to lounge
don't get bored. There's also a private
Doubles from £136 B&B
about in, and a fabulously bright white
gym, which needs to be booked.
TRADE PUBLICATION — ONLINE
Helping you to be the best in the business ...with our award-winning content
thebusinesstravelmag.com NEWS / FEATURES / RESOURCES / PEOPLE / REVIEWS / EVENTS / VIDEOS / PODCASTS
TBTM website advert v6.indd 1
11/5/21 10:41 AM