The Business Travel Mag May- June 2022

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May/June 2022

NO TIME TO WASTE

Sustainable business travel is in your hands

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The value of meetings Diversity, equity & inclusion People Awards 2022

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THAT

IN-POLICY FEELING It’s thinking it’s Thursday + it’s actually Friday Don’t lose that feeling to out-of-policy hotel bookings Give travellers everything they’re looking for, so they won’t book anywhere else

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UP FRONT

Contents

MAY-JUNE 2022 Features

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14 2022 People Awards: A guide to the judging process and a word from our sponsors

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54

Extended feature

48 Diversity, equity & inclusion: Industry leaders share views and insights on ensuring diversity in our industry

Sustainability 6

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Whichever crossroad you're at on the path to sustainable travel, our 19-page special feature will help guide you further

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16 Budget hotels: How budget hotel chains are responding to five key business travel trends

Up Front 6

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

10 Everyone's Talking About: The business travel surge 11 Speaking Out: Industry expert and tClara founder Scott Gillespie tackles the big dilemma: how to measure the the value of business trip

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12 The Knowledge: How to implement carbon offsetting

News

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20 Reports from the recent ITM and Advantage conferences, plus other news, views, appointments and events

Departures 52 Reality Check: We check out a glamorous new London hotel, a spacious apartment, Emirates Business Class and a Blacklane airport transfer

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54 On Business In: We follow in the footsteps of Google and Apple and head to Austin, Texas, the Silicon Valley in the south

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UP FRONT

Welcome The right message

A

n ongoing frustration of working in this industry is that noone outside of it really understands it – not just the politicians and policy-makers but friends, family and even, perhaps, our peers on the leisure travel side.

Tell people that you work in business travel and most will immediately think of champagne-guzzling CEOs getting some shut-eye in their lie-flat seats and bumping up their air miles, before landing in JFK or Changi to be whisked away in a chauffeur-driven S-Class for a whisky-fuelled lunch meeting. They don't think of the crews of engineers being transported to offshore oil rigs or aid workers responding to third world emergencies. They don't think of drawing up global travel policies, adhering to strict budgets, pre-trip approvals or duty of care. They certainly don't think of all the time, effort and investment being made in sustainability. When it comes to climate change, our industry must take great care not to become the 'bad guy'. While healthy competition is helping to drive innovation, we also need to pull together to make sure we are sending the right message to the outside world. Once again, our May/June issue is focussed on sustainability. In our overview (pages 27-34) we explore the advancements being made and the challenges still faced. We introduce you to some of the key movers and shakers in the sustainability space (pages 36-39) and help unravel the complexities of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (pages 40-42). On the all-important issue of sustainability we're committed to keeping the momentum going and will continue to inform and guide you through our website and weekly newsletters. Go to thebusinesstravelmag.com to be part of the journey to sustainable business travel.

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Bev Fearis CONTRIBUTORS

Gary Noakes, Gillian Upton, Neal Baldwin, Charlotte Flach & Catherine Chetwynd EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

DESIGN & PRODUCTION DESIGNERS

Matt Bonner and Caitlan Francis PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

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 DISTRIBUTED TO SUBSCRIBERS IN A COMPOSTABLE WRAPPER.

Bev Fearis, Editor

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: MATT BONNER OTHER IMAGES SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, iSTOCK.COM, BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM AND UNSPLASH.COM

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2021 WINNER

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

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ARRIVALS OPenInG ShOtS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Through dynamic contextual design and neighbourhood-centric influences the new hotel will be a cultural city hub, with a design that sustains the building’s heritage”

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

hOlY VIrGIn

A 19th-century church that's now a special events venue is one of the highlights at Virgin Hotels' European debut. Opening June 1, the 222-room hotel is a stone's throw from Edinburgh castle and will have a rooftop 'sanctuary', an intimate Scarlett Lounge and other places to unwind. 6

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Marriott Paris Charles de Gaulle Central Airport

double Take

Eurostar cocktail bars

In the mix

Two signature cocktails – Lavender Dusk and Angelique – both created by Raymond Blanc OBE are back on the menu for premium passengers now that Eurostar has reopened its cocktail bars in London and Paris. Smoothies will be served from 6am till midday then mixologists will be conjuring up cocktails from 3pm till the last train boards.

A 7-minute free shuttle ride from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Marriott’s first French dual-brand property – a 229-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 106-suite aparthotel Residence Inn by Marriott – is now open. Guests at both share a Kitchen & Bar, seven meeting spaces, and a 24-hour gym.

De Vere Cotswold Water Park

On the water

De Vere has completed a £700,000 refurbishment of the Kingfisher and Drake event suites at Cotswold Water Park, its hotel five miles from Cirencester. Kingfisher has direct access to an outdoor decking area and indoor adjoining bar while Drake has a private breakout area. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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UP FRONT hot topic

Everyone's talking about... the business travel surge “The business travel market is finally making a real comeback with a major recruitment drive under way” Barbara Kolosinska, Managing Director C&M Travel Recruitment

“We had been predicting that travel was going to come back in force and I’m pleased to say that it is" Doreen Burse, United Airlines Senior Vice President Worldwide Sales

“It’s no surprise there’s a surge in business travel as people reconnect and rebuild business social capital, but the question is what travel demand will look like when things settle” Paul Tilstone, Founder and Managing Partner Festive Road

With barriers to travel coming down, we're seeing the long-expected surge in pentup demand finally being realised. Unfortunately, we are also seeing long delays at many airports with insufficient resources to handle the growing numbers. This must be addressed urgently" Willie Walsh, IATA Director General

I’ve been surprised at how quickly business travel has come back, but it’s different. People aren’t travelling as much to see clients or to their head office but are travelling for small internal meetings to fun places. I expect travel is going to be the same level of spend, but different Steve Reynolds, CEO TRIPBAM

“The overall improvement in each global geographic region has been particularly positive, supported by a significant return of more profitable international and corporate travel” Sean Menke, CEO Sabre Corporation

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UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT

THE BIG DILEMMA

PHOTO BY THISISENGINEERING RAENG ON UNSPLASH

Unlocking the strategic value of in-person meetings is key to managing responsible business travel, says industry expert Scott Gillespie

“How should we meet?” This simple question is at the root of several complex issues. The answer affects morale, teamwork, culture and trust. Writ large, it shapes recruiting, retention, creativity, innovation and sustainability. tClara’s latest white paper 'How We Meet Matters' reveals a perplexing dilemma for US business leaders. 79% of those surveyed say they want their companies to travel as much as or significantly more than their nearest competitors. Yet 77% admit they can’t tell if their companies are travelling too much or too little, other than by looking at the travel budget. I suspect this dilemma persists across the UK and Europe too. In effect, these business leaders are admitting that they have no practical way to measure the benefits of a business trip. This is a big problem for all those who wish to see the business travel industry make a long-term rebound. Without useful metrics tied to the value created by business trips, CEOs and CFOs will rightfully challenge the costs of travelling

in light of the cost, carbon, time and health advantages offered by meeting virtually. While many in the travel industry are pulling for a recovery of travel to prepandemic levels, many others are not. Stakeholders such as heads of sustainability, security, risk management, talent retention, and even a fair share of C-suite executives, see significant advantages from constraining business travel. They are unsurprisingly promoting a “less travel may be better” view – one that is hard to challenge without better metrics for gauging the value of meeting in person. Yet managers at all levels of an organisation recognise there are real and significant benefits from meeting in person. The question is how to frame the costs and benefits of virtual and in-person meetings in a way that helps meeting hosts to make better decisions, and persuades senior executives to use travel resources more strategically, more responsibly, and with greater sustainability. The answer lies in a new goal-based

approach to managing business travel. Firstly, you need to explicitly tie each business trip to the one strategic goal that the trip’s purpose most clearly supports. Simply ask the traveller to identify the trip’s strategic goal before the trip is taken. None of this "external versus internal" crap, mind you. Think “win revenue” or “build trust and teamwork” or “improve our workforce". Then ask the traveller before the trip to define one criterion by which the success of the trip should be judged. Something like “learn three practical approaches to overcoming price-based objections". Let the traveller craft their own criterion. This becomes part of the pre-trip justification record. They must know the trip’s criterion will be visible to their manager and others in their chain of command. Finally, a few weeks after the trip is done, show the traveller the criterion they gave and ask for a simple rating. “On a scale of one to 10, how successful has this trip proven to be?” Insecure travellers might puff up their answers, but provided they realise these are on record and visible to senior executives, one can expect travellers to answer with a reasonable degree of honesty. Now imagine the aggregated results of this approach over a quarter or two. Senior management will see the travel resources consumed for each strategically important goal, along with each goal’s trip success rates. This is not an attempt to calculate the ROI on travel. This is an easy and practical path toward revealing why a company travels and how effective those trips appear to be. And to those who fear asking their travellers to spend time on these three simple tasks, you will be relieved to know senior management strongly supports such a request. tClara’s research shows 92% of US-based C-suite leaders say their frequent travellers should spend a few minutes justifying their trips before they travel. Surely UK- and European-based executives would be at least this supportive of ensuring travel is used for the right reasons.

SCOTT GILLESPIE Scott Gillespie is Founder and CEO of tClara and is an expert on travel management, procurement, analytics and traveller friction. tClara’s white paper 'How We Meet Matters' can be downloaded from its website, tclara.com

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UP FRONT THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... implement carbon offsetting As part of a drive towards sustainability, NES Fircroft turned to its TMC partner ATPI to set up a scheme to offset its business travel.

THE BACKGROUND

NES Fircroft is a global company providing staff for the oil and gas, power and renewables, infrastructure, life sciences, mining, automotive and chemicals sectors. It has more than 100 offices in 45 countries. Renewable energy already makes up a large percentage of its overall business, but its mission is to grow this even further within the next five years. As part of its ESG strategy, the company has also committed to offsetting its entire staff travel, backdating it to the start of 2021. In recent years it has consolidated its global travel management from five TMCs to one – ATPI.

THE CHALLENGE

In line with the organisation’s ESG strategy the travel team began to investigate how it could offset its travel and looked into setting up a scheme themselves. But they quickly realised that when it came to selecting projects to support this wouldn’t be an easy task. Not only did the team want to ensure they worked with workable and worthwhile projects, they also wanted to select projects that would relate

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We quickly realised that going it alone would require a lot of work, time and effort so we decided to leave it to the experts" directly to their own business and help them meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. Following the launch of ATPI’s dedicated sustainability division, Halo, in September 2021, NES decided to approach ATPI for assistance. “We quickly realised that going it alone would require a lot of work, time and effort so ultimately we decided to leave it to the experts,” says Jamie Finnie, NES Fircroft Head of Travel.

THE PROCESS

Under its Halo division, ATPI offers clients the choice of around a dozen projects in partnership with Respira, a CO2 project provider. All projects are independently monitored and have met due diligence. “We wanted to offer projects which would appeal to clients from a global perspective and would fit with our clients, many of which are in the same industries as NES Fircroft,” explains Pippa Strasser-Ganderton, ATPI Halo Product Director. Halo’s current project portfolio is split between Africa, Asia and the rest of the world. ATPI buys carbon credits for these projects in bulk, in advance, to secure more

affordable prices for its client. All projects are listed in detail on Halo’s website. The NES Fircroft travel team held a few meetings with the Halo team to run through the options and then met with its own marketing, HR and risk directors. Together, they chose two projects – the Amayo Wind power project in southwest Nicaragua, and Breathing Space, a voluntary programme providing more energy efficient cooking stoves to households in rural India, replacing traditional inefficient chulhas, which can cause lung problems, especially for women who cook the majority of meals. “We wanted projects that actually make a difference and which mean something to our company,” says Finnie. “The wind power project obviously aligns with the sector we operate in and the cook stove project empowers women, so reflects our company’s approach to equality.”

THE RESULT

In supporting these projects, NES Fircroft is managing to pursue several of its UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Good Health and Wellbeing and Climate Action. “But offsetting is only one part of our sustainability efforts,” adds Finnie. “We are also educating our 1,500-plus staff to make more sustainable choices, whether that’s taking the train rather than flying, flying with airlines with more modern, efficient fleets, or travelling less frequently but for longer.”

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AWARDS

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS As the judging process gets underway, here’s all you need to know about this year’s awards

commitment and we are so grateful that our judges – all of whom are very busy people – take the time to come and spend a full day making sure the awards go to the absolute best people across the whole industry,” says Cowlishaw. “Winning a prestigious People Award is a great honour and can really influence a career. Some of our judges are past winners so they know what a difference it can make, so they're absolutely dedicated to making the right decision.” For the Rising Star category the shortlisted candidates will attend the Judging Day to be interviewed by the allocated judges. If the quality of candidates in any category is particularly high, judges might decide to also award a highly commended or, as was the case in 2021, create a whole new category (Shining Star) for a particularly strong candidate.

The ceremony

Tickets are now on sale for this year’s glittering ceremony at the Leonardo Royal City Hotel on Tuesday September 13. The evening will begin with networking drinks and bowl food, before guests make their way into the auditorium for winners to be revealed. The celebrations will then continue into the night. For tickets go to: thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

The sponsors

The first round of judging

Our esteemed judges have already declared any conflicts and have been allocated their categories by our Judges Chair, Leigh Cowlishaw. Judges will each be taking a close look at the entries in their categories in order to rate them according to the criteria. As well as the written submissions they will study the supporting evidence, which might be client references, videos, examples of work, or anything else that supports the nomination. These initial ratings will determine which candidates go through to the shortlist.

The shortlist

This will be announced in the second week of June. The number of shortlisted 14

Free noW For buSineSS hEad Of saLEs JasOn dUndErdaLE We are delighted to be sponsoring the People Awards and in particular the Industry Contribution Award. We see the business travel The Business Travel candidates in each industry as a community People Awards celebrate category will depend of outstanding on the quality of the individuals and we the achievements of entries. Each of the wanted to highlight outstanding individuals shortlisted finalists will those who have really and teams across our be notified by email gone above and beyond industry and will also be sent to fight for business marketing collateral travel during its toughest designed for sharing with period ever. Whether this is friends, colleagues and clients through outstanding on social media. Even getting leadership, fighting for change or through to this stage is worth lobbying the government we want to help shouting about! highlight those who have bought real and positive change to the sector. FREE NOW The Judging Day will also be on hand to help guests get to On July 7, judges will meet in central the event not just safely but also London to make the final decision. sustainably in an electric black cab. Keep “Being a judge is a big responsibility and your eyes peeled for more info!

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awards

Sirius Talent Solutions CEO Lynne Griffiths The People Awards is a very special event in the business travel calendar as it recognises the individual rather than the organisation. Sirius Talent Solutions is delighted to sponsor the Rising Star award as it is vital to shine a spotlight on the younger talent rising through the ranks. As an industry specialist recruiter, we know that one of the main challenges facing our industry is a talent shortage, so it’s rewarding for us to showcase a superstar in the making! It is particularly poignant this year as the industry recovery is in full swing and the awards let us celebrate our resurgence. We always said the travel industry is a people business and the pandemic has proved this more than we ever thought possible.

As we emerge from the pandemic, it's important to celebrate those in the community who go above and beyond, setting examples for the rest of us”

HotelHub Chief Commercial Officer Eric Meierhans Few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than travel. We understand the challenges these organisations have faced and continue to face. As we emerge from this period, it’s important to celebrate those in the community who go above and beyond, setting examples for the rest of us to follow. TMCs are at the forefront of our industry’s recovery and it is with immense pride that HotelHub is presenting the TMC of the Year award in recognition of those organisations that continue to provide support through the most trying of times, relentlessly strive to affect positive change and realise a more equitable and sustainable future. Focus Travel Partnership CEO Abby Penston We were incredibly touched last year when the judges acknowledged our Partnership Project Manager, Dani Ives, for the newlycreated Shining Star award so we were very keen to support this award for 2022. The diversity amongst the judges is also to be celebrated. They are individuals from all different parts of our industry and create a well-rounded panel. We eagerly await the shortlist for this year’s Business Travel People Awards and look forward to celebrating with everyone on September 13.

Agiito Chief Commercial Officer Steve Banks Coming out of the pandemic has reinforced our view that our people are our biggest assets, so it’s important they get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication over another challenging year in the industry. We’ve always been a strong supporter of the Business Travel People Awards in the last 11 years. They are the perfect platform to highlight the outstanding talent we have in our industry and Agiito is proud to have so many awardwinning alumni in our teams. As a TMC, we work closely with travel buyers and recognise how much their role has evolved. It’s great the Travel Buyer of the Year category has been added for 2022, so all the individuals making a difference in the industry can be recognised. United Airlines UK Marketing Manager Shelley Evans We’re delighted to be supporting the DE&I category at this year’s People Awards. As a global airline, our business is bringing people together and we’re committed to being a force for good in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and world. More recently, we have started to train at least 5,000 pilots through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of colour.

The awards are the perfect platform to highlight the outstanding talent we have in our industry”

virgin atlantic VP Corporate Sales, Tom Maynard and Delta Air Lines Regional Sales Manager UK & Ireland, Nadia Clinton We’re proud to be involved in these prestigious awards to celebrate the standout individuals in our industry. As we move into the post pandemic era, supporting the travel sector in finding more sustainable ways to connect people across the globe is more important than ever before, which is why we’re proud to be sponsoring the first ever award for Sustainability Champion. The path to Net Zero 2050 is not one we can travel alone, and this award will shine a light on the people paving the way as we work as an industry-wide collective to meet our goals for the benefit of our people, customers, communities and the planet.

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BUDGET HOTELS

Take

FIVE

Budget hotel chains are fast adapting to the changing needs of business travellers. Charlotte Flach and Bev Fearis explore five key trends and how the sector is responding

PREMIER INN

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BUDGET HOTELS

1

New ways of working

Working remotely is now commonplace and, rather than being a pandemic trend, it’s looking like a more permanent shift in behaviour, says Markus Keller, Senior Vice President, Sales and Distribution at Accor. It’s given rise to yet another new travel sector buzzword – workspitality – where hotels are adjusting their products and services to cater for the rising number of ‘digital nomads’ working on the move. In response, Accor is transforming its hotel spaces into optimised workplaces with access to Wi-Fi, printers, water and coffee. Later this year, YOTEL will open a 237room futuristic hotel in Geneva Lake, incorporating HYGGE, an entertainment, meeting and co-working space. Billed as a ‘destination within a destination’, the 2,000sqm HYGGE will feature a 24/7 restaurant/bar/café, with meeting facilities and co-working space. Meanwhile, Premier Inn is continuing the rollout of its Premier Plus rooms, which are kitted out with amenities to make the lives of business travellers easier. Ironing boards, a bigger desk and an improved vanity area all feature. “The technology has been enhanced too: all rooms come with a flat screen TV, a bedside USB charging point and free access to our faster ‘Ultimate’ Wi-FI,” adds Dawn Lister, Premier Inn's Senior Sales & Business Support Manager. Travelodge’s new budget-luxe design, being rolled out across 60 hotels this year, including Southampton and Thame, comes with a “next generation bedroom” and the brand’s contemporary restaurant concept, the Bar Café, featuring spaces for guests to “work, relax and socialise”. The restaurant has distinctive zones designed to suit the different needs of guests, including counter seating with built-in USB and laptop power for working guests or those attending meetings, plus dining zones with intimate booths and dining benches for groups. The move towards remote working has prompted a rise in small internal meetings where teams get together for collaboration and creativity. With head offices now closed or scaled back, these meetings are increasingly being held in locations that

work well geographically for the newlydispersed workforce, rather than in the main city centres. Traditionally, budget brands have been well represented in these secondary locations and are continuing to invest in them. The roll-out of Premier Inn Plus, for example, is not confined to its city centre properties but to hotels across the UK. The trend for hybrid working and the drive to make trips count means more business travellers are extending their stays by adding on leisure time. It’s a trend backed by Premier Inn research. “From the business guests that responded to our post-stay survey in March, 28% said they were staying for 'bleisure'. Our research in 2021 showed that half of 1,000 office workers said that bleisure is appealing, with many saying it is definitely something they will consider doing more of," says Lister. YOTEL has spotted a similar trend. “We’ve noticed an increase in guests taking advantage of the new hybrid model and working remotely while exploring a new city without the need to take time off,” said Chief Commercial Officer Edward Pinchard. As offices reopen, Travelodge is also reporting a “small but emerging” trend for city centre commuters who live outside of cities and are starting to return to more regular mid-week travel, now staying in a Travelodge as a cheaper alternative to the cost of commuting each day.

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Planet and community

The ability to measure and monitor sustainability policies gives

TRAVELODGE

The move towards remote working has prompted a rise in small, internal meetings where teams get together for collaboration and creativity" budget hotel groups an edge over other types of accommodation. The lack of ‘frills’ like miniature toiletries, bath robes and laundry services, also means budget hotels generally have a lower carbon footprint than four- or five-star properties. Being able to guarantee a standard approach to sustainability practices across all properties makes budget chains attractive to corporate buyers who are committed to making their travel programmes more responsible. “We have rolled out our ‘Purple to Green’ programme, founded on the development of intelligent buildings, promoting sustainable operations and taking care of our people,” says YOTEL's Pinchard. Meanwhile, every new build Travelodge hotel has green features, including low energy lighting, aerated showers and smart meters. The chain has also invested in a new carpet made from recycled fishing nets, as part of a project supporting clean ocean initiatives. The carpet backing is made of old plastic bottles. There is also increased interest in CSR policies as customers look to align with likeminded brands that care about communities, the environment and the 

YOTEL

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BUDGET HOTELS

Budget hotels are going digital with convenient apps, self-service stations to avoid long queues and Smartkeys which can be downloaded to guests' mobiles"

GREET

PREMIER INN

planet, says Premier Inn’s Lister. Premier Inn has never used single-use plastic for its toiletries and has made a commitment to eliminate single-use plastic altogether by 2025. It operators a ‘Force for Good’ programme and has partnered with Project Art Works, a collective of neuroXxxxxx xxxxxxxx diverse artists and activists. “Through this partnership, each Premier Plus bedroom has a specially-selected print, created by these artists,” adds Lister. Accor has introduced a new sustainable brand to its economy portfolio. Called greet, the brand promises a “high-quality and affordable hotel experience”, where each hotel has its own unique identity. The brand has set a ‘no waste’ policy, an eco-system where everything is secondhanded, and has partnered with Emmaüs, a French charity that offers employment to homeless people and renovates secondhand objects and furniture. The goal is to open 300 units in Europe by 2030.

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Health, safety and wellbeing

Corporate buyers need to be reassured that safety is playing a pivotal role in an employee’s stay, says Pinchard. “We are supporting corporate buyers and travel managers by ensuring that our health and safety protocols are continually reviewed and adapted to the changing needs of their travellers, for example with #SmartStay, which is our operational response to keeping crew and guests safe and secure.” During the pandemic investment in lowtouch experiences has been accelerated. “Health and safety also remains a top 18

priority with a low-touch customer journey and ongoing adaptable plans and protocols in place to look after guests,” says Lister. Guests expect checking in and out to be a smooth and uncomplicated process, so budget hotels are going digital with convenient apps, self-service stations to avoid long queues and SmartKeys which can be downloaded to guests’ mobile phones. Key to conversations in many industries is the recognition that employee preferences hold more weight than before. “People are a company’s greatest asset, and retaining employees is more critical than ever. A company’s T&E programme can directly impact an employee’s experience,” says Keller.

4

Booking flexibility

The pandemic period prompted a rise in demand for booking flexibility and for the best possible price and there are no signs that this will subside any time soon. “Our current pricing model includes options to amend or cancel bookings right up to 14.00 on the day of arrival, acknowledging that as business travel returns our guests' plans may change at the last minute,” says YOTEL’s Pinchard. Amending bookings without penalties has become the norm. Premier Inn’s Flex rate, for example, offers additional peace of mind should plans change at the last minute and allows guests to amend or cancel bookings right up to 13.00 on arrival day. Flexibility is still key, at least temporarily. “Since reopening, the corporate market has seen a much shorter booking lead time. However, we are now starting to see this increase as travellers are becoming more

confident and businesses establish their new norm,” adds Premier Inn's Lister.

5

Customer loyalty

With growing competition from the likes of AirBnB and other ‘alternative’ types of accommodation, budget hotels are looking at ways to earn brand loyalty, particularly from their corporate customers. Accor's loyalty programmes have moved beyond simply earning and spending points. “Our Accor Business Offer Auto-Enrol is a self-registration programme specially designed for SMES, allowing them to benefit from preferential discounts of 5% to 9% across more than 4,100 hotels,” says Keller. YOTEL is also capitalising on this trend. “Members save 10% on every booking they make when booking direct,” says Pinchard. Although it does not currently offer a loyalty scheme, Premier Inn’s online booking tool, Business Booker, gives companies exclusive access to its Business Flex rate with up to a 15% discount. Travelodge enhanced its Travelodge Business product in 2021 after a study with over 3,000 businesses, including blue chip companies, SMEs and entrepreneurs. The self-service business travel solution offers cost savings, exclusive benefits, and a dedicated support team. Travelodge claims that, on average, the product can give a large company annual savings up to £250,000 on their hotel spend or up to £1,000 for SMEs. Holders of Travelodge Business Account cards are entitled to the Travelodge Business benefits and also get six weeks' interest free credit, including room bookings, WiFi and food and drink in the Bar Café.

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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

ROOMS WITH ALL THE PERKS

As Premier Inn continues to roll out its Premier Plus rooms, we speak to Tamara Strauss, the group’s Global Customer Director.

What insight lead to the decision to expand the room choice? Feedback from guests showed us they’d value more choice. Anchored in research, we then took the aspects of our Standard rooms that our guests love like the king-size bed - and introduced additional features for even more comfort, convenience and connectivity. What are the additional product features in the Premier Plus room? We’ve added ironing boards, a bigger desk with an adjustable chair, a comfortable armchair and a mini fridge with complimentary water. We’ve also added a Nespresso machine with coffee pods and Green & Blacks chocolates. All Premier Plus rooms have airconditioning, a rainfall shower, upgraded toiletries and an improved vanity area with a stool and hairdryer. The technology has been enhanced too: all rooms have free access to our faster Ultimate Wi-Fi.

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Sustainability is so important to businesses right now. What measures have been incorporated into the Premier Plus room proposition? We’ve never used single-use plastic for our toiletries, and this extends to our Premier Plus rooms. We’ve made a pledge to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic altogether by 2025. We’ve also partnered with Project Art Works, a collective of neurodiverse artists and activists. Each Premier Plus bedroom has a specially selected print, created by Project Art Works’ artists. Where can we find Premier Plus rooms and what’s the growth plan for them?

What do your guests think of Premier Plus? They absolutely love it. The introduction has boosted our brand metrics and we were so delighted earlier this year to be voted the number one travel brand by YouGov. Are Premier Plus rooms available on all booking channels? Yes, they can be booked directly through our website, our booking tool, Business Booker and via our TMC partners. Find out more Premierinn.com/premierplus

We now have around 2,000 Premier Plus rooms in over 100 of our hotels. As the product is popular with both our business and leisure guests, they are not exclusively in city centres and span the entire length of the UK. Premier Plus is very much part of our forward pipeline too.

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Entries open for 2022 Tech Hotlist ENTRiES are now open for the 2022 Tech Hotlist, showcasing the best technology providers, products and initiatives in the business travel sector. The hotlist, which was re-launched last year, recognises technology innovators that are shaking up corporate travel. “Once again, we are looking for innovations that are really having a positive impact on the industry ,” says Bev Fearis, Editor of The Business Travel Magazine. "Entries are welcome from any sector and could be start-ups or established players bringing something new to the table. As long as they’re making a difference to the business travel space, this is a chance to be recognised." Please email hotlist@bmipublishing.co.uk for more information about how to enter.

THE RETURN of business travel is helping to boost the jobs market in the travel sector, according to recruitment company C&M. Its March figures show more candidates were placed in new travel jobs than at any point since January 2012 when the specialist first began reporting. March’s total was up by 79% from February 2022, up by 679% from March 2021 and by 51% from March 2019. Meanwhile, more travel placements were made in March 2022 than in the previous two months of the year combined.

SiriuS SignS pArtnerShip with BuSineSS trAVel ASSociAtion SiRiUS Talent Solutions has become a prime partner of the Business Travel Association and will play a key role in events the BTA is set to host this year. The recruitment firm will also get access to the BTA’s consultancy services, including podcast interviews. BTA CEO Clive Wratten said: “It has never been more vital for our community to source and hire the right staff, bolster recovery and support increased demand.”

[ NEWS BITES ] >> AIR CANADA has resumed its year-round non-stop service between London Heathrow and Halifax, operating up to once daily with Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft >> CHOICE HOTELS EMEA has begun a refresh of its Clarion brand after its research into post pandemic travel requirements found guests are looking for hotels that are authentic to their destination >> HYATT HOTELS CORP has opened the 225-room Hyatt Regency London Stratford and the 127-room Hyatt House London Stratford >> BATTLEFACE, the insurance specialist, has partnered with TripActions in the US to give users of TripActions corporate card and expense solutions customisable travel insurance solutions and an exclusive increased Rental Vehicle Damage protection limit <<

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Barbara Kolosinska, MD of C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive, said: "We've never seen a month like March. The industry is currently recruiting on a scale unlike anything we've seen before. "This is due to a combination of reasons – a number of big travel companies are looking to recruit again, the business travel market is finally making a real comeback with a major recruitment drive under way, while many other travel companies simply need to take on extra employees to cope with increased demand."

300%

jump in Amex GBT bookings since mid-January

The latest data from American Express GBT shows strong progress in the recovery of corporate travel, with transactions up by 300% since midJanuary and booking levels reaching 61% of 2019 levels for the week ending April 2 2022

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tripStAx officiAlly lAuncheS on mAy 18 And clAimS itS 'AffordABle' technology, initiAlly deVeloped By Atpi, will unpick And reinVent A 60-yeAr-old ecoSyStem

bcD poll shows lack of wellbeing support COMPANiES are lagging behind when it comes to providing wellbeing support for business travellers, according to a global survey by BCD Travel. Its poll of 875 business travellers found that although 89% said employee wellbeing is a priority at their company, only 51% feel their company provides traveller wellbeing support. “Air transaction levels are currently at more than 50% of pre-Covid levels and they continue to rise,” said Mike Janssen, BCD Global COO and CCO. “As employees get back to travel, companies should be aware of key stress factors for business travellers, stemming from disruptions related to ongoing pandemic uncertainties, travel restrictions and geopolitical events.”

As we continue to emerge from the dark days of the pandemic, we are all more aware of our impact on the planet. For the corporate traveller, sustainability is an increasingly important factor in international and domestic plans. This was heightened in the wake of COP-26 and the momentum must not be lost. Travel is often regarded as the enemy of sustainability and it is incumbent on our industry to combat this trope whilst making tangible steps towards mitigating the damage of climate change. At the start of this year, we set out to benchmark the progress of the industry against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our landmark report showed strong trends and made encouraging reading. We are now building on this and responding to industry demand with a series of white papers looking more closely at areas of sustainability and looking in-depth into the carbon offsetting industry. Carbon offsetting alone is not the answer. We also need to reduce our carbon

emissions. However, offsetting is an unregulated industry, becoming increasingly commercially competitive and change is needed. We at the BTA are calling on the UK Government to introduce a kite mark for responsible offsetting schemes so that TMCs, corporate and leisure travellers can be confident in their decisions. The kite mark would only go so far. If we are to genuinely collaborate as an industry to contribute to getting to Net Zero, there needs to be widespread standardisation. This starts with measurement. There needs to be one way of reporting the carbon cost of the total journey. This would level the playing field and help drive proper change. Our responsibility to our planet and future generations should not be a point of commercial advantage. As our benchmarking report highlighted, collaboration is required throughout the travel supply chain. With effective measurement and recognised accreditation, we can take strides towards a better future.

clive wratten Chief Executive Officer

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aDvanTagE aPPoInTs global busInEss TravEl DIrEcTor ADVANTAGE Travel Partnership has demonstated its commitment to the business travel market with the appointment of Guy Sneglar as Global Business Travel Director. Sneglar joins from Partnership Travel Consulting, LLC, where he was Senior VP Global Travel Technology Integration, and from Barndello, a consultancy he set up in September 2019 focused on supporting corporations, TMCs and technology suppliers. He previously held sales and commercial positions at Travelport, Amadeus and Diners Club.

"Business travel accounts for over 50% of our members’ annual turnover, to the tune of £3bn per annum, and Guy’s extensive background and understanding of the industry, coupled with his vast knowledge of technology, will make him a real asset to the business and help us deliver even greater value to our members as we continue to invest significantly in our commercial products and services," said the consortium's CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said. "He will be a driving force behind our ambitious growth plans."

Booking complexity increASeS demAnd for humAn touch BOTH TMCs and leisure agency members of the Advantage Travel Partnership are reporting a “phenomenal” increase in enquiries from customers who had previously only booked direct. Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said 80% of members say they are now hearing from customers who are new to agents because every booking is more complex and clients are requiring a "human touch".“Every booking is,

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Customers now require the 'human touch' by their travel consultant on average at least three times during the transaction process due to increased booking complexities for both business and leisure trips, according to the Advantage Travel Partnership

Industry must stop being a 'punchbag' THE TRAVEL industry must do better at educating policy makers or risk being a “constant punchbag”, according to Advantage Travel Partnership CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said. Speaking on the first morning of the Advantage Conference in Madeira, she said: “I think the pandemic taught us many things. For me, personally, the pandemic taught me to never assume policy makers know your market, but is that perhaps in part because we haven’t been educating them?” She told delegates: “The pandemic also showcased the complexities of the industry, how regulation in a crisis is not fit for purpose, and how the supply chain can hang agents and consumers out to dry, but also how the industry can work in unity and as a collective.”

[ NEWS BITES ] >> JYRNEY, the mobility solutions platform, has partnered

with the Advantage Travel Partnership to develop the Advantage Mobility Hub, allowing TMC members to offer mobility as a service in co-operation with Advantage preferred partners Carey and Sixt Ride >> THE ADVANTAGE TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP is replacing its 20-year-old supplier payments system with a new settlement platform using the latest technology developed by Travel Ledger >> HICKORY GLOBAL PARTNERS , the US business travel agent alliance, is joining forces with the Advantage Travel Partnership to co-host the next ITMC (Independent Travel Management Companies) Summit at The Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on October 9-11 2022 <<

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Treading responsibly Before 2020, the last significant shock to the business travel world was the economic downturn that took hold following the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008. In comparison to the events we have recently experienced, the impact was rather less pronounced and travel soon returned to the highest levels ever seen. In the years prior to that recession, however, sustainability was becoming a key criterion in the industry. Travellers and business leaders alike were becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their actions on the planet, and many buyer/ supplier meetings covered the topic as a priority. The reality is that, when the recovery happened and we all got back to reaping the benefits of a vibrant, successful industry, ESG seemed to fall back down the list of travel programme priorities, as proven by ITM’s own Trending Survey at the time. I would argue that the subject only began to receive something like an appropriate level of attention in the two to three

scott Davies Chief Executive

years before Covid came and put our airmiles in the deep freeze. I think we can mostly agree that the more modest recovery we have now begun will not push sustainability to the side-lines. This is primarily because a) the pandemic has given us tools and awareness to decide when and how to travel more responsibly and b) because the climate change discussion has continued to move on, along with the awareness and demographics of the traveller. Put simply, only travel and service providers who tread responsibly will succeed. However, where suppliers are in the initial stages of building back their people and capacity, buyers are telling us that travellers are (through necessity) mostly taking the cheapest option that is available over the one which may perhaps be more responsible. These are interesting times for travellers and buyers to try to remember that, like any kind of market dynamic, a purchase is a vote for what you would like to see more of.

buyer workloads reach 'record levels' TRAVEL buyers are working harder than ever despite the drop in travel, according to the latest member poll by ITM. The April survey of 100 corporate travel buyers, managers and heads of travel found they expect international travel to reach 45% of 2019 volumes in the second half of this year, a jump from the 34% in the first half. Meanwhile travel buyers expect domestic travel to reach 56% of 2019 volumes by the end of this year, up from 47% in the first six months. Scott Davies, CEO ITM, said despite the drop, the workloads, responsibilities and challenges buyers face continue to run at "record levels". "The remit of travel managers within their organisations will continue to morph and evolve in response to the fundamental way that travel and meetings have changed," he said.

ITm wElcomEs nEw buYEr anD suPPlIEr boarD DIrEcTors NEW FACES have joined the ITM as Board Directors and Associate Directors. Graham Ross, Optimisation Director FCM, and Jackie Clark, VP Europe Global Strategic Sales at Japan Airlines, have joined as Board Supplier Directors. Nikki Parsons, Global Director for Travel at Arcadis, and Nikki Rogan, Global Travel Director for Fujitsu, have joined as Buyer Directors. Jo Westlake, Accor’s Director of

Regional Key Account Management Northern Europe, and Dominique Swales, Director Global Corporate Accounts at United Airlines, have joined as Associate Supplier Directors. Neil Woodliffe, Global Travel Category Manager at Clarivate, has joined the organisation as an Associate Buyer Director. The changes were announced at the ITM Conference held in Birmingham at the end of April.

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small business leaders are worn out

IN BRIEF Tech platform

Lufthansa Group airlines and TripActions have launched a business travel platform for SMEs with fast and personalised access to flight, accommodation, rail and car rental content. Clients can choose between two BusinessToGo platform tiers – Essentials or Premium – depending on their requirements.

Double take

Travelogix has signed a multi-year deal with TakeTwo Travel Solutions. The deal will see the newly-launched TMC utilise Analytix, Travelogix’s reporting platform, along with all elements within the suite: DataShare, DataPublisher and DataValet, allowing it to help its clients with risk analysis, sustainability and passenger wellbeing.

Easy access

NH Hotel Group, part of Minor Hotels, has launched Click&Meet to make it easy for customers to book meeting and event spaces online. A new feature of NH PRO, users will be able to access 'in four easy steps' more than 1,600 spaces in 103 hotels in 14 countries.

Pillow talk

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Etihad has upgraded its Economy class experience with a 35% larger pillow made locally in the UAE, a soft blanket made from recycled plastic, quality stainless-steel cutlery and new trays, plates and lids that can be recycled in a closed loop system.

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Virgin Atlantic launcheS flights from London heathrow to austin, Texas, on May 25. The service will operate four times a week on Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with return economy fares from £409

RESEARCH from American Express has highlighted that leaders of small businesses in the UK are now prioritising better work-life balance after a challenging few years during the pandemic. The study, which surveyed over 500 small business owners and leaders, reveals that 71% say the pandemic has changed the way they think about their life and personal priorities while 69% agree that improving work-life balance is high on their list of priorities. It found 62% say they make more mistakes if they don’t have periods of time away from work and 85% say regular breaks are important to being a good leader or manager. Just under half (49%) of small business leaders say they are currently worn out and 88% also say that work regularly interrupts their life outside of work, with 27% reporting that these interruptions happen every day.

TakeTwo expands into Ireland

QATAR gives corporateS offset option

TAKETWO Travel Solutions has launched in Ireland, giving it an important foothold to manage clients in the UK and Eurozone. It follows the acquisition by TakeTwo CEO Chris Thelen of Eton Travel Group last December. Eton had previously acquired Cork-based CorporateTravel.ie in September 2019. Although TakeTwo and Eton Travel operate as separate entities in the UK, the expansion into Ireland will see Corporate Travel.ie rebrand as TakeTwo Ireland. TakeTwo said it plans to build the Ireland team whilst supporting employees in a new-age hybrid working environment. Heading up TakeTwo Ireland is travel industry veteran and former co-owner of CorporateTravel.ie, Paul Sexton, in the role of General Manager.

Qatar Airways has launched a voluntary carbon offset scheme for its corporate customers. The programme will allow corporate and trade clients to offset their own carbon emissions via a dedicated web portal at any time before or after a flight. It uses the IATA industry best practice for calculating CO2 emissions. Initial emissions will be offset with a leading renewable energy project with additional verified projects to be included in the near future. Qatar Airways has run a voluntary offset scheme for individual passengers since 2020.

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global hotel bookings bounce back HOTELHUB has revealed data that shows recovery in the hotel sector is well underway, with hotel bookings via its platform likely to reach pre-pandemic levels ahead of previous forecasts. Global hotel transactions by its TMC clients dropped in January to 45% of volumes in January 2019, due to the uncertainty caused by the Omicron variant. The drop came after transactions had climbed to 61% at the end of the previous quarter. But its latest figures show transactions jumped back to 87% of 2019 volumes in March. Although the majority of transactions globally continue to be domestic hotel bookings, HotelHub is reporting a gradual return to international travel.

MORE THAN a third of airline and travel agency leaders believe travel will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 while a further third believe this will happen in 2025 or beyond. A study by Sabre, based on the views and experiences of more than 500 decision-makers in both sectors, indicate that ‘revenge travel’ – with the objective of making up for lost time – is a meaningful phenomenon, with 68% of travel leaders forecasting a higher spend from consumers on their future travel plans.

[ NEWS BITES ] >> AMERICAN EXPRESS GBT has added non-binary ID options to its NEO booking tool to make business travel more inclusive for all users >> ATPI has agreed a strategic partnership with a franchise network of independent travel agencies, Lufthansa City Center (LCC), to further enhancing its presence in the German market >> VIBE has teamed up with ground transport experts CMAC Group to give its clients on demand or planned access to taxis, executive cars, minibuses and coaches >> GLOBALSTAR TRAVEL MANAGEMENT has signed Kuoni Business Travel Switzerland as its latest new partner, giving it a presence in Switzerland and Liechtenstein >> COLLINSON has signed a joint venture with Aspen Medical to provide a new offering of medical support <<

Blue cuBe integrAteS technology SolutionS from pSngr1 BLUE CUBE TRAVEL has signed a deal with PSNGR1 to incorporate NDC capabilities and next generation store front into its self-booking tool. “We are very excited at the third party integration possibilities PSNGR1 offers and look forward to seeing further content in PSNGR1 for our corporate customers," said Kevin Trill, Blue Cube Director of Technology and Transformation.

Travel leaders reported that travellers are considering more decision factors than ever before committing to a trip and more than half of agencies are spending more time looking into new tools, services and technologies. “Our latest research has highlighted a degree of optimism across the travel ecosystem,” said Andy Finkelstein, Sabre Senior VP Global Agency Sales and Corporate Solutions. “But it also suggested that not all travel leaders may be ready for these potential changes if they happen quickly."

87%

want to see sustainability information when booking

A survey of 1,000 US business travellers by SAP Concur, in partnership with carbon offsetting specialist Thrust Carbon, found 87% would now like to see sustainability information when they book a business trip

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EVENTS May 17 2022

BUSINESS TRAVEL LUNCH FORUM The Caledonian Club, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

May 18 2022

TRIPSTAX Launch pARTY Science Museum, London tripstax.com

Alex Kington

JUlian M unsey

Robe rt A lley

JOINS: Gray Dawes Travel AS: Vice President Global Sales FROM: Meon Valley Travel

JOINS: Festive Road AS: Consultant FROM: AK Consulting

JOINS: Synergy Global Housing AS: Executive VP International FROM: Roomzzz Aparthotel

Julian Munsey, who joined Meon Valley Travel as Sales Director in January 2021, has now joined the team at Gray Dawes Travel in the role of Vice President Global Sales.

Alex Kington, who held senior marketing roles at TMCs Clarity and TAG before setting up her own marketing consultancy, has joined the UK team at consultants Festive Road.

Robert Alley, the former Chief Operating Officer of Roomzzz Aparthotel, has been appointed Executive VP International for Synergy in EMEA and APAC.

May 19 2022

Dinner CLUB Corinthia Hotel, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

June 29-30 2022

business travel show ExCel London businesstravelshoweurope.com

August 14-17 2022

GBTA Convention San Diego Convention Centre convention.gbta.org

September 26-27 2022

Ric h ar d Saunders

Henning Gr oSS

Jessica Land

JOINS: Blacklane AS: Chief Technology Officer FROM: Zeile7

PROMOTED AT: CWT TO: VP Global Partners Network FROM: Co-lead Global Partners Network

PROMOTED AT: AltoVita TO: Head of Client Partnerships FROM: Client Relationship Manager

Henning Gross, Co-Founder and Advisor at technology consultancy Zeile7, has joined chauffeur company Blacklane to head up its product and engineering teams.

Richard Saunders, co-lead of CWT's Global Partners Network team, has been promoted to a VP role, reporting to Vince Chirico, Senior VP Global Supply Chain Partners.

Jessica Land, previously Global Sales Manager at BridgeStreet, has been appointed Head of Client Partnerships at AltoVita, where she has worked since January 2022.

BTA Conference Belfast thebta.org.uk

october 3 2022

Dinner CLUB Corinthia Hotel, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> Stuart Donnelly, formerly Senior Director Group International Sales Europe/ USA for Sixt, has joined The Miles Consultancy Limited as President Mobility >> The Business Travel Association has appointed Helen Turner as Membership and Partner Manager. She previously worked for TMCs, Travelport and SITA in the UK and Italy before taking a career break >> CWT has named Patrick Andersen as President and Chief Executive Officer after Michelle McKinney Frymire decided to step down from the roles. Andersen has been with CWT for 13 years, most recently as President and Chief Commercial Officer >> Bill Marriott has stepped down as Executive Chairman and Chairman of the

Board at Marriott Hotels and will be succeeded by his son David Marriott <<

November 8-10 2022

GBTA EUROPE Conference Square Convention Centre, Brussels europeconference.gbta.org

E X P E RTS AT TA L E NT R ECR U I T M ENT, D E V E LO P M E NT A ND R E T E NT ION.

DEcember 5 2022

Dedicated to the business travel sector.

Christmas Dinner CLUB

Contact us to discuss our solutions.

Corinthia Hotel, London

+44 (0)1932 562007 | hello@siriustalent.co.uk | www.siriustalent.co.uk

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SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS TRAVEL: IN YOUR HANDS It's going to be a long and difficult road, but whichever stage you're at on your sustainability journey, our extended feature will help inspire you and guide you on your way. Read on...

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et’s start with the good news. According to a landmark global study published in April by the GBTA, 88% of the business travel sector now views addressing climate change as the number one priority area for action. Even more encouragingly, 80% have a sustainability programme and/or a sustainability team in place. But the same study found only 14% believe the industry is currently well advanced on sustainability. It seems that despite the myriad of sustainability startups popping up, the countless partnerships signed, ESG reports published, the many hours of conference sessions and webinars and the column inches devoted to how to achieve sustainable business travel, there is still a long, long way to go. Committing to even a handful of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is a challenge, let alone trying to tackle all 17. One could question, what it’s to do with travel? The 17 goals correlate to the wide-reaching impact travel makes to a country’s economy, through employment, gender equality, infrastructure, and so on. 28

Arguably, sustainability should not be taken in isolation but part of broader goals in line with the UN’s goals, driven by the urgency of the task. Some corporates are adopting the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, which cover societal values embracing people and the planet. These examples reflect mature sustainable programmes of larger corporates with good resources. Two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, many TMCs kick-started their own sustainable journey, setting goals, partnering with a greener supply chain and improving technology. The exercise informed their approach to clients, for which demand has soared since last autumn. “It makes us more sticky with our customers,” says Mark Colley, MD Sunways Business, Leisure & Sustainable Travel. Sustainable travel carries a premium and those companies embracing it “will be better placed for the future,” says Nora Lovell Marchant, VP Global Sustainability, American Express GBT. Helen Hodgkinson, Head of Travel Product and Sustainability Options at Barclaycard, 

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Venturing on a sustainable journey can seem a daunting task but with that climate clock ticking fast there’s no time to waste. Gill Upton reports

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agrees: “That singular financial lens of cost needs to change and it will become socially unacceptable not to.”

Leading the way

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Trailblazing clients with policies driven by CO2 rather than fiscal targets include EY, Salesforce, Lush, Siemens and WWF. Certain TMCs are in the vanguard of change, alongside sustainability start-ups (see more on pages 36-39). Reed & Mackay/TripActions has adopted the 10 UNGC principles and is partnering with Neste – the Finnish energy supplier, which allows clients to purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – and with ClimateCare and Natural Capital Partners to let clients purchase verified carbon offsetting credits. Chris Truss has been appointed as Director of Sustainability. ATPI launched Halo, a carbon reduction and offset business to help clients measure their carbon footprint and reduce travel or travel more sustainably. It partners with Respira, taking volume carbon credits onto its own balance sheet to pass on to clients more competitively than if at the mercy of the volatile carbon credit industry. CTM upgraded its Lightning OBT, allowing clients to see green choices across all modes of travel and set carbon budgets at company, country, departmental and individual levels. It has also partnered with Delta to purchase SAF. Diversity Travel was an early adopter and

has been carbon neutral since 2011. “We’ve always led in this space,” asserts Sales Director David Coe, who was appointed Head of Environmental Action in October last year. Diversity has also created a climate emergency team across the business as the conduit for client conversations on sustainability. Sunways launched its sustainable brand, Sunways Sustainable Business Travel (SSBT), and offers UN-certified carbon credits. SSBT calculates carbon on every mode of transport and offsets by donating the first tree in the ground for every flight each client takes. Some companies have been hiding behind offsetting but it is only one tool in the toolbox. “Avoiding is the best option to hit reduction targets, while removing (offsetting), should be the last resort, ” says Barclaycard’s Hodgkinson. Mark Colley, MD of Sunways, argues that offsetting has another use. “It means we can start that conversation with clients as it’s an educational process and will take some time.” Either way, clients should choose offset projects wisely to connect with local communities and projects from where they do business and/or choose their workforce. “Verifiable, auditable offset schemes are the ones you need to go for,” says Andrew Perolls, CEO of Greengage.

First steps

For those companies starting out, Chris Truss advises: “The corporate culture must support the over-arching sustainable strategy and overall corporate goal. Some clients are enormously sophisticated and set science-based targets; some want to do that by 50%. Equally, we have some who don’t have that internal resource.” And start they must; avoiding travel altogether is not viable but educating clients on how to reduce and mitigate is the priority, starting with understanding the carbon footprint of a trip before it’s booked. Amex GBT’s Marchant has observed hesitancy from some clients. “It feels so complicated clients don’t know how to take the first step. The measurement process is not perfect but just go ahead and build it into your policies. There’s a time stamp on this and this is the decade to do it.” Rich Johnson, CWT Senior Director

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Solutions Group, agrees: “Start…before you know all the answers. Be prepared to modify, adjust and iterate.” Clarity Travel offers clients a simple travel programme health check. “A lot of clients know they don’t have all the answers and are looking for guidance,” says Ewan Kassir, Head of Global Sales.

Data crunching

Data capture is the first step and despite different methodologies in carbon calculation it is becoming more granular, particularly with airlines. It can be calculated by age of aircraft, by business versus economy class seats and against other modes of transport – so a flight to Paris versus Eurostar for example. Decarbonisation of the airline industry includes using lower carbon SAF, which is expensive and lacks sufficient capacity. It can only blend up to 50% with regular jet fuel currently. “SAF is being produced by some fantastic start-ups but it takes time to get the fuel produced and there needs to be more indication of demand for it,” says Doreen Burse, Senior Vice President Worldwide Sales for United Airlines, which is leading the way on SAF (see pages 40-42). Virgin Atlantic, which has worked with LanzaTech for SAF since 2011, is committed to using 10% SAF by 2030 and is supporting efforts to build the first UK SAF plant by 2025. The airline offers offsetting options through ClimateCare. Electric aircraft is another solution, but only for short-haul. Finnair is part of the Nordic Network for Electric Aviation and will be a customer for Heart Aerospace’s Electric Qrt Business Travel Ad PRINT READY.pdf

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ES-19 electric aircraft in 2026. It is also driving a move toward synthetic carbon neutral fuels and a feasibility study for a pilot production plant in Finland. The far more fragmented hotel market is more challenging for data capture and guesstimates and averages are used as there is little standardisation. Location, star rating, facilities, season, waste management protocols, AC usage, etc, differ widely. BTA’s recent White Paper ‘We can’t do it alone' flagged the inconsistencies in the supply chain. “The objective is to have a measurement globally recognised,” says BTA CEO, Clive Wratten, recognising that only when the industry works together will innovation materialise. Josh Gunn, Global Head of Product Marketing at CTM, advises clients to apply pressure round the negotiating table. “Clients can have a positive impact when they discuss supplier deals,” he says. Hilton and Marriott integrate the Sustainable Hospitality Alliances’ Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) tool into their corporate reporting platforms to help clients calculate the carbon footprint of stays, while Greengage ECOsmart accreditation rates hotels holistically beyond emissions, waste and water – and covers around 200 independent hotels and all Radisson properties across the UK and Dublin currently. “We drill down to a wide variety of measures in a hotel, to the type of food – is it local, are there vegan options, for example to the guest room, where we ask 'is there a load of plastic items there?'“ explains Andrew Perolls, CEO of Greengage. 

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The acid test is when business returns to pre-2019 levels, when commercial pressures are real and competitors are travelling to clinch deals”

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Sustainability / Introduction

 Clarity Travel and Inntel are using Greengage’s ECOsmart accreditation and the company will soon introduce a measurement tool for events. Data on rail is robust as there is limited differentiation but car hire is challenging as length of travel is unknown. It means companies are a long way from securing total trip carbon calculations.

Behavioural shift

The second step is to revise policy to meet carbon reduction targets rather than cost reduction goals. Influencing traveller behaviour to ensure policy compliance means a more robust pre-trip authorisation process and messages at point of sale on the online booking tool, which filters by CO2, to prompt visual guilt. Taking direct flights, switching to rail when feasible, swapping internal meetings for virtual ones, taking one trip with multiple stops not several return trips (to reduce takeoff and landings), should be part of the game plan. Post-trip reports should flag up those who don’t make the right choices and loyalty programmes must be abandoned. An ITM survey revealed that 33% of buyers expect a shift from air to rail but it has yet to materialise due to concerns over the lack of air circulation and reduced service. Companies can issue carbon goals and budgets by departments/teams, which may trigger a resurgence in gamification. Posttrip reviews can flag up historic footprints and shame key emitters. Intra-office meetings must continue our love affair with Teams and Zoom. “It’s a question of education and influence, and it’s a slow burn that will evolve as the volume of travel builds,” says Ian Sinderson, CEO ATPI Group. “It’s the carrot rather than the stick approach and the sticking point in all of this is the travellers themselves.” Companies are setting legally-binding goals and need to reach them – but challenges remain. Truss points to travel managers not driving this agenda but answering to the sustainability teams. Nonetheless, they have to try and square carbon targets with budgetary goals, and “the two don’t often go together”. If the travel budget remains static then the business impact has to be less trips and cutting out unnecessary trips to release monies for more expensive London32

Brussels trips on Eurostar, for example, and direct flights. Truss is seeing more clients travelling less rather than downtrading from business to economy. A sustainable travel programme will ensure a place on pitch lists but, in the long term, how deep are corporates’ pockets? The acid test is when business returns to pre-2019 levels, when commercial pressures are real and competitors are travelling to clinch deals. “It’s great that people are looking at the justification of travel over cost but will it last?” asks ITM’s CEO Scott Davies. The focus will vary depending on how a company's travel emissions compares with its overall emissions, adds Festive Road's Paul Tilstone. “For a consulting firm, for example, business travel might account for 70% of total emissions while for a gaming company, where most emissions are from real estate and running technology, travel is a very small percentage so they will be hitting the bigger emissions first. But as these companies reduce their non-travel emissions, their business travel emissions will become a larger percentage," he says. “The intense focus on sustainability is a really interesting opportunity because we can now completely reimagine the purpose of business trips, but there is a spotlight on travel from regulators and the media and if we don’t act fast and get our house in order we are in danger of becoming demonised, like the tobacco industry.”

It's a question of education and influence, and it's a slow burn that will evolve as the volume of travel builds"

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Sustainability? Duty of Care? Data Reporting? Efficiency?

What really matters when it comes to your travel programme? Complete our short survey and have your voice heard

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Sustainability / Data

Sustainability

by numbers

Here are the key findings from the GBTA's landmark report, The State of Sustainability in the Global Business Travel Sector

76

%

88%

14

of the global business travel sector views addressing climate change as the number one priority area for action

of travel buyers have already incorporated or are planning to incorporate sustainability objectives in their travel policies

%

73

of business travel professionals believe the industry is currently well advanced on sustainability

55

%

of corporate travel professionals are already measuring the environmental impact of their business travel activities

The two main challenges to

%

achieving more sustainable business travel

of buyers support encouraging or mandating taking fewer trips, while 60% of suppliers do not encourage this blanket reduction in travel

88%

lack of data 63% Limited data and lack of access to transparent information were key issues highlighted by the GBTA reporT

of the global corporate TraveL industry ranks reducing business travel emissions as the top priority for the sector over the next two to three years

are reporting the environmental impact of their business travel activities

56

%

80

%

of the global business travel industry reports having a sustainability team and/or a sustainability programme in place

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Higher costs 82% Global Business travel leaders and relevant stakeholders rated higher cost as the biggest barrier to achieving sustainable business travel in the GBTA global survey

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SUSTAINABILITY

10 sustainability

MOVERS&

SHAKERS

Here's our pick of 'ones to watch' in the sustainability space, selected with the help of consultants Black Box Partnerships COCO+ COCO+ brings a business travel solution to market which combines a slick user experience with an ethical commercial engine that allows businesses to tackle their travel emissions without any additional cost, guiding businesses to travel net zero. It was founded in April 2022 by serial hospitality entrepreneurs, CEO Neil Fincham-Dukes and COO Phil Brown,

and is a Pending B Corp. It targets all businesses that have an ambition to reach net zero, most specifically SMEs and businesses that have unmanaged travel programmes. In partnership with Climate Care, which provides GOLD standard offsetting certification, COCO+ pays for the carbon offsetting of its customers' emissions on their behalf through

upfront bulk buying of carbon credit and this is built directly into the commercial model. It operates a transaction fee-based model with carbon offsetting built in. Its product offering also includes COCO+ Fuel, a corporate Fuel card service. Black Box verdict: An exciting new addition to the TMC landscape, which is set to make a big impression.

adding credibility to green initiatives, and identifies any gaps to prioritise improvements. Its ECOsmart accreditation provides a quality stamp of approval to help companies make a sustainable decision when booking and, in turn, gives suppliers a competitive edge. It is targeted at sustainableminded businesses in hotel, aparthotel,

and event venue sectors and provides consultancy services for agents, TMCs and the public and private sectors. It operates a subscription-based model for accreditation and offers consultancy on a bespoke basis. Black Box verdict: The approach of guidance and consultancy within a community is a refreshing one.

GREENGAGE Greengage has designed a business ecosystem that connects and supports businesses with an interest in sustainability. Established by Andrew Perolls in 2018, it provides independent advice and support to the travel and events sector by providing independent audit and accreditation,

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STAZE

ATPI HALO

Staze is a fast-growing hotel platform that helps businesses take their hotel bookings to net zero. The London-based business launched in March 2020 and raised a seed round later that year. Its platform displays a live carbon footprint for

Launced by ATPI in September 2021, ATPI Halo supports clients with identifying and achieving their sustainability goals and targets regarding travel related emissions. Headed up by Pippa Ganderton, Product Director Sustainable Travel & Events Solutions, ATPI Halo is essentially a consultancy service built around three core pillars: measure, reduce and offset. ATPI is able to calculate a client's travel-related CO2 emissions and present this data in robust carbon analytics, while account managers help clients identify ways to reduce their CO2 footprint through improving behaviours and revising travel policy. The final pillar offers clients the opportunity to invest in carbon credits, bought in bulk, for nature-based restorative and regenerating to

3 million hotel rooms worldwide, allowing travellers to find and book the hotel with the lowest carbon footprint in any given city. Each booking is carbon negative, meaning the carbon footprint is double offset to ensure the trip results in negative CO2 emissions. The Staze platform gives travellers visibility on the actual carbon footprint of different hotels with a unique, data-driven approach. The calculations rely on millions of datapoints, such as local energy mixes and regional occupancy, and are updated daily. It operates a transparent subscription-based model, with tiered pricing based on monthly spend and provides access to negotiated wholesale hotel rates. Further discount is available for annual subscriptions. It only supports verified offsetting projects and its portfolio is aligned to the Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting. Black Box verdict: A smart combination of wholesale procurement for advantageous hotel rates, placed alongside a very credible offsetting solution.

alternative energy projects, all providing social and environmental benefits. Projects are curated in partnership with Respira, a CO2 project provider, and are all independently monitored. The projects also fulfill various UN Sustainable Development Goals. For CO2 measurement, ATPI Halo has partnered with Thrust Carbon. The Halo model can offer a full consultancy service or specific elements, such as carbon analytics reporting and analysis or periodic offsetting. Clients can offset historic travel related emissions, accrue for future periodic offset or offset at point of sale or invoice. Black Box verdict: An excellent addition to ATPI's customer proposition, offering credible and proactive carbon reduction advice.

TREES4TRAVEL Trees4Travel calculates the impact of journeys by translating trips into trees and then planting trees in developing countries to absorb CO2 emissions, helping to restore forests, biodiversity, and supporting local communities. Every tree comes with a share of an investment into UN-certified renewable energy programmes. Trees4Travel is part of the UN’s Environment Program; One Trillion Trees campaign and supports 13 of the 17 UN global sustainability goals.

Self-funded by Elkie and Nico Nicholas, it is aiming for B-corp status. Revenue is split 67% for tree planting and renewable energy and 33% for management of the business. It engages with corporates, TMCs and suppliers, including Eurostar, offering simple file uploads and API connectivity Black Box verdict: A mission-led business with an admirably open and transparent commercial model.

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Sustainability

10 sustainability

Movers&

shakers THRUST CARBON

Thrust Carbon, founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and technologist Mark Corbett, builds technology that enables companies to operate sustainably. Its software products can be used with no set-up and the API solutions have been built so developers can integrate within hours. The business offers three core products: Thrust Calculator, using hundreds of data points to provide robust and defensible reporting which can be integrated across the supply chain and generate visual impact reporting that can be white-labelled, Thrust Engage, a suite of behavioural change tools that can create and measure department and personal carbon budgets and can deliver carbon policy messaging at point-of-sale and on-trip, and finally Thrust Offset, which provides an independent platform to

connect to any carbon offset scheme, with the total transparent display of fees. It analyses multiple data points to provide calculations across the entire travel spectrum, using the ICAO methodology, layering both aircraft model and class into the calculations and working to include SAF. Data points from the Cornell Institute and DEFRA are also analysed and updated frequently. The business recently launched the first sustainability tool in the SAP Concur App Centre. This allows SAP Concur to generate on-demand reports for travel managers and senior leaders to analyse. These reports can also be shared with government and industry bodies, as well as shareholders, to highlight a company's progress towards becoming net zero. Thrust Carbon operates a simple

subscription-based model and offers an affordable API. It is committed to a ‘freemium’ entry level for small business and this scales based on volume of records. It also offers bulk-discounted offsets. Thrust Carbon is targeted at all sustainableminded businesses in the travel eco-system, dealing with both corporations and offering a reseller agreement for TMCs. It also provides bespoke services to enterprise clients. Earlier this year it partnered with global travel management company CWT to offer its clients free point-of-sale carbon footprint indicators for myCWT mobile and web. Black Box verdict: The effortless approach is truly delivered in the ease of integration and the sheer simplicity of the product suite.

API, an open API-based service for travel management platforms and their customers. The service allows users to measure their carbon footprint and build strategies to cost-effectively reduce emissions and help them reach net zero. It provides direct access to data and analytics about a company's carbon footprint across travel verticals including flights, rail, accommodation

and car hire. GreenPerk API can also provide emissions comparisons of different modes of low-emissions travel, dependent on factors such as route, city destinations, and the availability of alternative travel modes. Black Box verdict: An affordable and transparent initiative supporting VERRA certified projects, and with data that can be accessed via an API.

Greenperk GreenPerk was launched in March 2020 by booking platform TravelPerk and enables its clients to offset travel-related CO2 emissions. Once they’ve opted in, businesses will be charged per trip with a fixed price per tonne of CO2 of €10 (charged per local currency). Earlier this year TravelPerk launched GreenPerk

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SUSTAINABILITY

LEGACY In 2021 Gray Dawes, in partnership with Forest Carbon, created an offset programme designed specifically for its corporate clients. Inspired by COP26 and in support of the BTA's ESG initiative, LEGACY ensures its clients’ business travel can be managed with a tangible focus on sustainability. From clients’ travel bookings data, carbon emissions are calculated using the DEFRA model and the numbers are transferred (anonymously) to Forest Carbon, which turns that data into Carbon Credits. With a range of UK-based or international woodland and peatland projects within the LEGACY portfolio,

the clients’ carbon credits are then invested in the product of their choice. Gray Dawes' owners – the Inchcape family – has converted nearly 300 acres of working farmland on its Glenapp Estate in Ayrshire, Scotland, to permanent woodland creation. Occupying an area the size of 200 football pitches, the project will sequest at 42,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The business operates a transparent model for its clients’ purchase of certified carbon credits. Black Box verdict: The ‘keeping it in the family’ approach makes this an offsetting scheme with a difference, and with tangible solutions for clients.

GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE TOURISM COUNCIL The Global Sustainable Tourism Council establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria. It was set up by UN agencies, together with NGOs and the private sector, to operate as an independent organisation. The Council provides sustainability accreditation services in partnership with ASI (Assurance Services International). It also runs Sustainable Business Travel courses using the

GSTC Criteria, incorporating best practice presentations, case studies, plus in-depth advice and consultation on how to implement sustainability practices in business travel. It is the only UN-certified course for business travel professionals and is delivered online over four weeks by travel sustainability experts Bernard Harrop and Horst Bayer. Black Box verdict: Backed by sustainability heavyweights, the GSTC courses are helping to build ESG knowledge and awareness.

EQUINOX TRAVEL TMC Equinox Travel and its sister company Equinox Charter have launched a service offering sustainability assessments of airlines and charter operators. There are three levels, from basic assessments of carbon mitigation culture, SAF use, ESG efforts and published technical data, through to the top level, which involves a much deeper operations review with expert analysis, direct flight observations, and in-depth evaluation against criteria such as culture, ground operations and crew training. Black Box verdict: An excellent initiative providing much-needed insight to empower client choice.

BLACK BOX EXPERT Paula Cullen is the Associate for Growth & Sustainability at business travel, meetings and events consultancy Black Box Partnerships and has worked in the industry for almost 30 years, with director level commercial roles in both the TMC and supplier networks.

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Sustainability / SAF

POWER points

In our beginner's guide to Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Gary Noakes answers some of the key questions

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SAF / Sustainability

What is SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL? A good question! There are three types, but arguably only one that’s truly sustainable. SAF can be produced from household and industrial waste that would otherwise go to landfill. While this avoids the use of kerosene it does still emit greenhouse gases and often uses a recyclable resource like plastic waste. Biofuels, produced from crops like rapeseed, are another form of SAF, but are land-intensive and prioritise fuel over food. The use of farm machinery, pesticides and transporting the raw material must also be factored in. However, when the plants are growing they absorb Carbon Dioxide (CO2) A third type is derived from hydrogen and captured carbon, literally plucked from the air. This process uses water and renewable electricity, like wind power, to refine hydrocarbons into liquid fuel. It sounds unbelievable, but KLM has already powered a flight to Madrid with fuel produced by Shell based on CO2, water and renewable energy from sun and wind. Why should corporateS know about it? SAF is important because it's one way of making business travel more sustainable and should be on any corporate’s social responsibility agenda. Electric aircraft will never replace jetpowered over long distances, so SAF’s development as an alternative to kerosene must be encouraged. What difference does it make? Currently, SAF is making very little difference: at present it’s only 0.1% of total industry usage, but supply is ramping up. SAF has a much cleaner 'burn' compared to conventional kerosene, with one carrier estimating a near 80% reduction in greenhouse gases, particularly CO2. In the case of plant-based fuels, CO2 absorbed by plants during their lifecycle is roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced when the fuel is burned, unlike fossil fuel. In addition, particulate matter is reduced by around 90% and sulphur by 100%. Why is it not widely used yet? Simply because there isn’t enough of it, which also makes SAF more expensive

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Sustainability / SAF

than kerosene. The premium paid for SAF varies from at least double the cost of kerosene to five times more depending on the source and location. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates just over 2.4 million gallons of 100% SAF were produced in the US in 2019, compared to 21.5 billion gallons of conventional kerosene used by US airlines, making SAF only 0.01% of the nation’s total jet fuel supply. The picture is similar or worse in other countries.

hOW arE airLiNEs UsiNG saF? Airlines are only currently permitted to use 50% SAF blend. In December, United Airlines claimed an industry first after it flew a Boeing 737 from Chicago to Washington with one engine run entirely on SAF and another on conventional kerosene. Longer term, aircraft will be delivered with SAF modifications as standard, but until then, blends will be used. WiLL it GEt LEss EXpENsiVE OVEr timE? Yes, simple economics tells you that as supply increases the price will drop. And airlines are keen to encourage production. In January, Air France/KLM introduced a SAF levy of €1-€12 on departures from France and the Netherlands. The levy will finance the 0.5% SAF being added to KLM’s fuel mix. WhO is LEadiNG thE Way? United Airlines, KLM, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among those beginning to use SAF and encourage production. In December, United, which has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 without any carbon offsetting, committed to purchasing 7.1 million gallons of SAF – almost twice all current global airline SAF commitments. United’s efforts are laudable but the scale of the challenge is apparent when you consider the carrier consumes four billion gallons of conventional jet fuel a year. United signed a deal in March with Houston’s Cemvita to produce SAF from CO2 and synthetic microbes, another process of taking CO2 from the air and producing a low carbon fuel. KLM is in a partnership to build a commercial synthetic SAF factory at Amsterdam port, while Britsh Airways has taken its first deliveries of SAF produced in Humberside from used cooking oil. The Phillips 66 Humber refinery is currently 42

UNITED AIRLINES BOEING 737

processing nearly half a million litres a day and the airline’s contract is enough to power 700 net zero CO2 emissions flights between London and New York on a Boeing 787 – roughly nine weeks’ flying given its 11 flights a day. Virgin Atlantic will use 2,000 metric tonnes (440,000 gallons) of SAF, due to be delivered to Heathrow in the first half of 2022. What ELsE is aViatiON iNVEstiNG iN tO cUt its carBON FOOtpriNt? United is also funding Direct Air Capture technology that removes CO2 from the air and buries it. The first plant in the US is planned to capture and store one million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to 40 million trees. Technology like this can be added to an airline’s carbon offsetting programme. is saF thE aNsWEr? It’s the biggest part of the solution along with hydrogen and electric power, once this is developed for short-haul flights. There are other ways to chip at the edges, for example continuous descents instead of stepped descents, single-engine taxiing and more accurate wind and weather data to permit better flight planning. hOW arE tmcs GEttiNG iNVOLVEd? TMCs recognise SAF must be a big part of their sustainability approach. TripActions and its sister TMC, Reed & Mackay, have signed a partnership with Neste to offer SAF

United Airlines, KLM, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among those beginning to use SAF and encourage production" to all clients. The fuel is unlikely to be used on actual flights taken but is purchased as an offset. The pair identify the volume of CO2 produced by the client, allowing Neste to quantify the SAF required to meet the client's CO2 reduction goals. Fuel is then delivered “to the appropriate location” for use, audited by a third party. A spokesman for Reed & Mackay said: “SAF is, broadly speaking, four times more expensive than jet kerosene, but specific costs for individual clients will vary.” American Express GBT has a similar partnership with Shell Aviation. The idea is that by encouraging clients to purchase SAF, the premium paid can be invested and production increased. Si-Yeon Kim, Amex GBT Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, said corporate investment in credible carbon offsets and SAF can restore consumer confidence and trust in the intrinsic value of travel. "Now is the opportune time to capitalise on these opportunities so that we can solve this together,” she added.

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Sustainability / Extended stay

Setting better

STANDARDS In the fragmented world of serviced apartments, how do travel buyers find the most sustainable partners? Catherine Chetwynd investigates

N

ot only is sustainability becoming a driving force for suppliers of serviced apartments and in buyers’ requirements, the sector is also looking at how all elements of the industry can pull together to provide a recognisable measure of sustainability. This is a wide-ranging brief. “It involves everything from the construction of a building through every aspect of operation, supply chain and planning, to recruitment, provision of benefits and even pension facilities,” says CEO of ASAP James Foice. However, it is not cut and dried.

FLYING BUTLER

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LEED certification may prove ethical construction but where operators are leasing a space they have no control over the building, energy supply or emissions, and serviced apartment agents are one step farther removed from that. Worse still, there is no one measure of sustainability and although agents and operators are beginning to subscribe to valid protocols, they largely do not marry up, making it the devil’s job for buyers to work out who is doing what and compare it. Forensic questioning is required, starting with whether the organisation has a

CITADINES

sustainability programme, what its aims and achievements are, and whether it is measurable against a public standard such as the UN Global Compact, covering everything from renewable energy to ethical recruitment. Does it monitor the performance of clients and suppliers, and equally important, what is in the pipeline for renewing contracts and finding new suppliers? The lack of uniformity is being tackled by ASAP, CHPA, ERC and EuRA, which are combining forces with other key players in the industry to promote discussion and move towards a universal way of measuring sustainability. Green Tourism is part of this, as is operator Flying Butler. Director at essa marketing, Richard Majewski, supports this approach: “There needs to be understanding and collaboration in the sector between clients, agents and operators,” he says. Director of CAP Worldwide Jo Layton adds: “At the moment, everyone is doing their own thing and that doesn't help anybody. Sustainability has to be collaborative, not ‘mine is better than yours’. It's not a marketing opportunity. This needs to be led by an external body that understands the industry.” If there were any doubt as to the disparity of approach, organisations are working with the following bodies: GRESB (real estate

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certification), Considerate Group, Greengage ECOsmart, Green Key, Responsible Ethical Sustainable Travel (REST) Scheme, United Nations Global Compact, Green Tourism and Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). And this list is not exhaustive. Situ has signed up to the United Nations Global Compact and reports annually on how it is performing against the UN’s 10 principles – 7, 8 and 9 focus on sustainability – and it has achieved ISO14001 certification in environmental management. It encourages its supply chain to be assessed for Greengage

ECOsmart accreditation and plans to deploy technology to allow clients to filter properties by green credentials. Staying Cool is gold rated by Green Tourism, and a number of Frasers Hospitality UK properties have achieved bronze and silver. Fraser Suites in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Queens Gate and at Park International Hotel are use 100% renewable energy and teams will soon wear uniforms made from 100% recycled plastic. Frasers is aiming for UN Global Compact goals and plans to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2025. 

Although agents and operators are beginning to subscribe to valid protocols, they largely do not marry up”

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Sustainability / Extended stay

CITADINES

Flying Butler is switching to EVs for maintenance staff, as is Roomspace, which is installing solar panels on its warehouse. Synergy has set a net zero target date of 2030 backed by SBTI. CAP Worldwide will be net zero by 2023. Until there is a universal approach, buyers will rely on the ability to filter suppliers’ services online, and any agent or operator committed to the cause will provide this. House of Fisher has a dedicated web page on sustainability and Reside 3Sixty’s vetting process looks weekly at suppliers’ CSR and DE&I initiatives. Mysa’s new platform Myo sets sustainability standards that all operators and properties need to meet in order to become available for corporates to book and buyers have complete access to all the information associated with each operator. In a sustainability partner initiative, SilverDoor is collecting information from

At the moment, everyone is doing their own thing and that doesn't help anybody. Sustainability has to be collaborative, not 'mine is better than yours'” 46

partners worldwide to allow it to guide operators to improve their offering and to make properties searchable by sustainability rating. It is also collaborating with other agencies to establish standard measures for the industry. Cheval Collection is working with Considerate Group to create and maintain a sustainability strategy and it plans to carry out regular performance checks on suppliers. Ascott brand Citadines is now trialling technology that controls air conditioning according to whether a room is occupied and is installing more environmentally-friendly water heating systems. Ascott aims to reduce water consumption by 50% through aerated

TURING LOCKE

water and other methods. CapitaLand Investment, which owns Ascott, has a 2030 Sustainability Master Plan with three goals: to build a resilient and resource-efficient real estate portfolio, to enable thriving and future-adaptive communities, and to accelerate sustainability innovation and collaboration. Edyn holds up Turing Locke in Cambridge as an example of sustainability ideals in action. It’s in the new neighbourhood of Eddington, built by the University of Cambridge as an exemplar of sustainable living. The building is certified BREEAM Excellent and includes on-site renew-able energy sources feeding excess energy into the local grid, responsibly-sourced furniture, lighting, and timber, a communal underground recycling system, sustainable modes of transport for guests (bikes) and a large, landscaped courtyard to boost local biodiversity. Compared to hotels, serviced apartments by their very nature offer several sustainabilityrelated advantages, not least that longer stays require less housekeeping and laundry and serviced apartment guests control their energy and water consumption and recycling. Where groups stay in an apartment, energy savings are notable. “With major companies now encouraging fewer journeys and longer stays, and with guest wellbeing being paramount, serviced apartments are the natural choice for traveller accommodation,” says Head of Sales UK for Premier Suites Treda Shotton. Sustainability is a huge, complex subject with widespread ramifications and tackling it can only effectively be done collaboratively to ensure uniformity and cohesion. The sector is now pulling together to take that step.

FLYING BUTLER

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

All together

now

Leaders from different corners of the travel industry share their views, insights and advice on diversity, equity and inclusion

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Diversity, equity & inclusion

NICHOLAS NELSON EY GLOBAL LODGINGS AND EMEIA DEVELOPED MARKETS TRAVEL M&E LEADER Fuelled by increased demand from clients, there are plans to grow headcount across EY and to do that we know we must make ourselves the employer of choice and DE&I is a major part of that. We fully recognise that it is critical for the organisation to live and breathe the values that its people live and breathe in their own lives. From a supply chain perspective, it’s important to make sure we are bringing the industry's best into our programme, including a range of diverse suppliers, whether that’s businesses which are women-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, or veteranowned, as examples. It’s about making sure we see and welcome the best innovations. One of the priorities for supply chain services is to make sure we are accessible to these diverse suppliers and to make it as easy and smooth for them to engage with us and be considered for our travel and M&E programs. We have been working with our Environmental Social Governance Services team to develop an intake process that makes it as easy as possible for a diverse supplier to find their way to us. We hold pitch forums where we invite potential suppliers to showcase their products and services, which work well. It’s a great way to discuss ideas and to see what’s out there in the marketplace, but we are always careful to make sure the suppliers understand that it might not turn into an opportunity. Some of these businesses might be small in comparison to our larger suppliers, so we recognise we need to find an effective way of plugging them into our programme. It’s imperative to make sure they get an equitable voice and don’t get swamped.

CAROLYN PEARSON CEO MAIDEN-VOYAGE A generic approach to travel safety falls short of good practice when it comes to duty of

From a supply chain perspective, it’s important to make sure we are bringing the best of the industry into our programme, including a range of diverse suppliers” care. Instead you need to personalise your travel risk management. First off, poll your business travellers and take a temperature check. Dig deep, ask lots of open questions and collect diversity data. Keep responses anonymous to protect an individual’s privacy. Ideally you want to be looking for specifics related to gender, sexual orientation, health, disability, age, and race. Offer multiple-choice responses, nobody is one-dimensional. Engage with your Employee Resource Groups and diversity networks to learn about the people they represent and their unique travel needs or concerns. Consider running travel safety deep-dives and focus groups. Always adopt a ‘never about us without us’ approach, where you allow different minority groups to tell you what they need rather than speaking for them. Audit current travel safety information resources. Source and share relevant content such as the ILGA map on state sponsored homophobia and a list of countries where the zika virus is prevalent. Make content widely available for all employees and ensure that it can be consumed anonymously. Pre-travel risk assessments should be considered for all destinations and be a combination of generic risks such as hotel fire or road traffic accident as well as some personal elements. Even relatively safe and local destinations could be complex for certain demographics. It’s not OK to ask employees about personal issues such as sexuality or health issues but you can ask two ‘magic' questions. Firstly, ask if a traveller is comfortable and feels able to take the trip. Secondly, ask what adjustments can be made to better support them on the trip. Make sure you provide a confidential ‘no justification, no travel policy’ which allows employees to decline a trip without having to justify their reasons why. You should also provide pre-travel safety training that incorporates specific diversity

elements for everybody and an easy posttravel feedback mechanism that goes much deeper than a basic travel survey. Educate or remove those suppliers from your travel programmes who don’t reflect your DE&I values or policies. And then repeat! Make this a continuous loop of learning and improvement whilst capturing new employees as they join your organisation. FRANK HARRISON REGIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR UK AND NORTH AMERICA, WORLD TRAVEL PROTECTION There is great debate over best-in-class approaches to addressing DEI in the workplace, especially when it comes to business travel. The old school approach was to target the individual traveller through self-declaration but today businesses and organisations that have developed a strong culture grounded in DEI have taken steps to facilitate a community of belonging. Duty of Care encourages a framework where all travellers receive the same awareness and education before travel approval. By providing universality of information through awareness and education programmes, everyone has the same risk threshold and understanding, without prejudice or fear of losing personal privacy, reinforcing acceptance. When an organisation requires employees to travel internationally, travel approvers might unknowingly expose travellers to unsafe situations or environments that may be hostile or uncomfortable to them. As identified by Human Dignity Trust, 11 countries maintain the death penalty, and 71 countries still criminalise gender and sexual orientation. An organisation must understand their travellers; the destination, including local laws and customs; and the activity to be conducted. They must provide honest, 

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Diversity, equity & inclusion

non-biased trip advice that is uniform to all travellers. If a traveller has concerns around DE&I, there must be resources available to answer concerns, give advice, or allow the traveller to speak with an unbiased third-party travel risk provider whose focus is the safe, successful fulfilment of the anticipated journey. By ensuring all employees receive the same information, they can pack the proper knowledge for travel regardless of their person risk profile.

LINDA BEKOE CEO OF APLBC AND FOUNDER OF BEKOE.COM Think of luxury or business travel and instantly you think of images featuring traditionally European, white, mainly middle-class travellers. But as travel is thankfully coming back, and as DE&I now has a much more prominent voice, many ethnically diverse travellers who’ve felt neglected and even excluded are looking for business travel or luxury experiences that fulfil their needs. This is a huge opportunity for our sector that we all need to respond to. Change is needed and brands must take the lead in demonstrating how important inclusivity is to them. If they don’t, they’ll be left behind and their business will suffer. We’re already seeing new competitors entering the market that are catering specifically for black or ethnic minority travellers seeking refined, personalised experiences. For established companies, it’s not enough to rely on existing customers. If you want growth you need to attract new customers. And that means diversifying your reach. But why have black or minority ethnic travellers felt neglected or excluded up to this point, and why have these new businesses emerged? One significant reason is representation in

advertising, and how luxury or business travel is portrayed. If someone of colour is to feel welcomed and included, they need to feel represented and see themselves reflected back at them. But few companies within the luxury or business travel are actively speaking to black or ethnic minority audiences through their advertising. Businesses need to address this issue and demonstrate their DE&I credentials by visibly promoting greater diversity. When they do that, they’ll become more appealing to a much broader demographic. And they need to do it now, when the world is opening up again. Because if they don’t, black and ethnic minority travellers will look elsewhere, to the new businesses entering the market. And they’ll be lost as a customer that helps deliver your growth. CAROL FERGUS DIRECTOR GLOBAL TRAVEL, MEETINGS AND GROUND TRANSPORTATION FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL DE&I is something very close to my heart and earlier this year, at the GBTA Conference, I set out a challenge to the industry. I would like to see everyone – whether that’s corporate buyers, suppliers, TMCs or anyone else in the business travel ecosystem – to hire at least one person from an underrepresented group to diversify their workforce. That might be someone from an ethnic minority, or from the LGBTQ+ community, someone with a disability, or a Mum returning to work. My dream is to see 100 companies adopt the apprenticeship scheme I developed internally for Fidelity International and implemented in collaboration with my TMC and other third party providers. The scheme provides education, training and learning – both on the job and in a classroom or virtually – and supports the apprentice by meeting their career

Change is needed and brands must take the lead in demonstrating how important inclusivity is to them. If they don't, they'll get left behind and their businesses will suffer” 50

aspirations, providing visibility and helping to identify future career opportunities. The scheme also supports the apprentice via sponsorship, mentoring and networking to help build their confidence and improve their people skills. I’ve called it the 100 Challenge and it’s already grabbed the attention of a number of companies. It’s a simple process but I believe it will make a big difference to the industry and its future. PHIL WOOSTER VICE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF SALES EMEA AT CWT A robust DE&I program is an imperative for engendering successful teams and positive corporate cultures. According to data from consulting firm McKinsey & Company, there is an undeniable link between diversity and financial success for all types of businesses. So, creating an environment that is inclusive to employees of all backgrounds and genders is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a critical business driver to succeeding financially for years to come. Companies where employees feel welcome, where success is celebrated and attainable for all, irrespective of gender, religion, sexual orientation, or race, enables deeper trust and more commitment from employees as everyone brings their true self to the workplace. Clarifying and prioritising your organisation’s inclusivity stance is, in my view, the most impactful way for companies to attract and importantly retain brilliant and diverse talent. At CWT, our diversity commitment is ingrained into our operational DNA. Our 12,000 employees range in age from 18 to 90, we are physically present in over 140 countries and comprise 90 nationalities. Beyond promoting inclusivity and transparency in our workplace, we strive to help our customers and their business travellers choose how they want their genders classified when booking. This gives a clear view of any disparities or possibly unrecognised biases in gender. As an LGBTQ+ person on the CWT management team, spearheading CWT’s

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Diversity, equity & inclusion

LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, this level of commitment to diversity cements for me, and our global team, that incubating an inclusive workspace and culture is fundamental to how we monetise, build, grow, evolve and thrive. THOMAS MAYNARD HEAD OF SALES UK AND EUROPE VIRGIN ATLANTIC At Virgin Atlantic we live by our purpose, which is that everyone can take on the world. We’re focused on creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging, an environment which values and respects people’s unique identities and fosters pride in being part of Virgin Atlantic, where our people, our customers, our partners and our communities are united, and minority groups are represented. Our new campaign ‘See the world differently’ champions the individuality of our people and customers and draws on our heritage of challenging the status quo – as well as recognising that the travel industry is entering an exciting new era after the pandemic disruption. We believe that no matter who you are or who you love, you should be able to travel anywhere. We have long supported LGBTQ+ rights both within our business and the numerous destinations we fly to. It’s something our founder Sir Richard Branson has championed since our inception 38 years ago. Over the past two years we have been working with Open for Business to study the benefits of LGBTQ+ inclusion in 12 countries in CARICOM. Through this work, we’ve demonstrated that inclusion delivers huge benefit to both business and society, highlighting that anti-LGBTQ+ laws restrict tourism and economic growth, costing some Caribbean countries up to £4.2 billion a year, and that's not to mention the social impacts. As the world opens up post-Covid, and many of our customers look forward reconnecting with colleagues and clients, or take a well-earned holiday, it’s more important than ever that we continue our work in ensuring the destinations we fly to

are open for all. To support the economic recovery of the Caribbean, as well as the travel industry, we’re on a mission to support economic and social prosperity in the region though the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity to help attract the widest possible demographic of travellers, including those who identify as LGBTQ+ and their allies. JOHN BUKOWSKI VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC SOURCING & CONTENT STRATEGY, AMEX GBT Amex GBT is a diverse company serving a global client base and it is vital that our supplier and vendor community reflect a broad spectrum of lives and experiences. Progressive organisations have long been aware of the importance of diversity in supply chains but to some degree the pandemic has highlighted the need to address equality, as small businesses and marginalised communities were impacted the most. Our supplier programme aims to support environmental, social, and economic progress in our supply chain ecosystem. We want to ensure we support diverse suppliers, along with those that prioritise diversity within their own companies. Within this strategy we have increased our target of utilising diverse suppliers across our

sourcing portfolio, from 4% to 10% by 2030, and we continue to work with our supply base to progress environmental, social and economic causes. We have re-vamped our supplier onboarding system to embed ESG within the entire process. We take the time to learn the story behind a business and understand how our suppliers are supporting environmental, social and economic causes. This process helps us align our supplier partners with our company values. We work to expand our diverse supplier footprint, along with working with industry-leading ESG companies such as Microsoft and others. As part of our programme, we distribute our Supply Chain Values documentation to all partners an annual basis. These values include key priorities in a range of areas including human rights, equal employment opportunities and modern slavery. Our supplier programme also supports and advises our customers on helping them achieve their goals, from diverse supplier spend targets to sustainability advisory services. We will continue to lead our industry and work closely with our supplier partners to make true progress across environmental, social and economic priorities.

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DEPARTURES

Reality check HOT E L : T HE L O NDO NE R THE HOTEL

This 350-room 'super

THE BUSINESS

The Londoner is

boutique' hotel, by Edwardian Hotels,

quickly making its mark on the capital's

opened with much fanfare in September

meetings and conference scene thanks

2021. It's 16 storeys high but only half

to its 6,000sq ft, pillar-less ballroom (for

are above ground level (due to height

up to 850 guests), Green Room (up to

restrictions developers instead dug

150), and seven other meeting rooms

down). Developed to the tune of £500m,

set over three floors and connected by

it's fast achieving its goal of reviving

a magnificent staircase. There are also

London's Leicester Square.

two private screening rooms.

THE CHECK-IN

The lobby-cum-bar,

THE FACILITIES

Hotel guests can

where live musicians play nightly, was

hunker down at The Residence, split

buzzing with well-groomed millennials.

into three spaces: The Y Bar for

The bold art, glamorous lighting and

cocktails, The Drawing Room for all-day

lofty ceilings are are an instagrammer's

complimentary antipasti, soft drinks, tea

dream. It smells gorgeous too, thanks to

and coffee, and the intimate Whisky

Diptyque diffusers. The reception staff

Room. The 'Retreat' spa has a classy

lobby, for live music, champagne,

treated me like a celebrity. A great start.

pool and hydropool surrounded by

oysters and afternoon tea. There's

THE ROOM

Highlights include the

super-sized cabanas, sauna and steam

orb-like doorknobs, Japanese Toto

room, hair and nail salon and treatment

washlet toilets with heated seats, Dyson

rooms, the Refuel Bar for smoothies

hairdryers, Steamery steamers,

and juices and a sizeable gym. On the

dressing-room lightbulbs around the

F&B side there's the fine dining

bathroom mirror, a genius bedside

Meditterean-inspired Whitcomb's (also

digital concierge panel to control the

for breakfast), the rooftop izakaya bar

lights, theatre binoculars, hand-picked

with a stunning terrace, the cosy

art and the fabulous rooftop views.

Joshua’s Tavern, and The Stage, in the

THE HOTEL SMELLS GORGEOUS TOO, THANKS TO DIPTYQUE DIFFUSERS

quirky, contemporary art everywhere, even in tiny peepholes in the lifts. THE VERDICT

A veritable tardis, The

Londoner lives up to its billing as an 'urban resort' and you will leave wanting to go back for more. Excellent service too. THE DETAILS

38 Leicester Square,

London, thelondoner.com, rooms from £400 a night. Bev

Fearis

CHAU F FE U R DR IV E : BL ACK L ANE THE BACKGROUND

Blacklane offers

pick-up sign, and any other notes for

intercity rides – one way, return or by

the driver. I was then directed to create

the hour – and airport transfers. At the

an account (requiring all the usual

start of 2021 it introduced chauffeur

details) and to enter card details for

hailing in 21 key cities, including

payment. Confirmation came by email.

London, New York, Paris and Berlin.

PRE-JOURNEY

On the evening of

Thanks to an investment in Havn, if you

my flight, I received a text message

hail a Blacklane chauffeur-drive in

confirming the time of pick-up and the

London it will always be in an all-electric

name of my driver (Ali Zulfiqar). On

Jaguar I-PACE or Tesla. In other cities,

touching down at Gatwick Airport, I

Blacklane offsets all journeys.

received another message telling me Ali

THE BOOKING

The online booking

was fairly simple. I entered my pick-up details (Gatwick Airport) and my drop-

had arrived, alleviating any worries I might have had about being stranded. THE PICK-UP

Ali, smartly dressed,

off (my home). My exact home address

was waiting for me as I came through

wasn't recognised so I selected a nearby

arrivals with a digital sign with the name

temperature. We both wore face masks,

petrol station. I entered my preferred

I had requested (being a female

as that was still required at the time,

time and, reassuringly, the system told

travelling alone I had deliberatly not

me that for an airport pick-up my

used my full name.) He greeted me

chauffeur would wait 60 minutes free of

politely and kindly wheeled my trolley

charge (15 minutes for other journeys).

bag through the airport, asking me if I'd

Various options were offered, the

had an enjoyable flight.

cheapest being an S-Class Mercedes,

THE JOURNEY

It was late and

BMW or similar or an electric car (Jaguar

there was little traffic but Ali drove

I-PACE or Tesla). I was then asked for

carefully and well within the speed limit.

my flight number, what I wanted on my

The S-Class Mercedes was the perfect

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A SMOOTH EXPERIENCE FROM THE BOOKING TO THE PRE-ARRIVAL ALERTS TO THE DRIVE ITSELF

and had a really fascinating chat about his children (one is a maths genuis). THE VERDICT

A smooth experience

from the booking and the reassuring prearrival alerts to the drive itself. THE DETAILS

Prices depend on the

journey and are all-inclusive of taxes, tips and any tolls. blacklane.com

Bev Fearis

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DEPARTURES

FLIGHT: E MIR AT E S BU SINE SS CL ASS, L O NDO N G AT W ICK -DU BAI I flew Business Class

THE FLIGHT

on flight EK016 on an Airbus A380. It was a busy flight

THE CHECK-IN

including leather covers, and the walnut-coloured, mock-wood panelling, reminded me of an executive jet. The

but multiple check-in desks were open,

seat was fully reclining and, once prone,

with First Class and Business Class

had none of the bumps and ridges of

passengers also directed to the first

other business seats. Slightly odd was

available Economy check-in desks. I was

the thin ‘popper’ mattress that couldn’t

grateful for the Premium Security

be affixed to the bed. For entertainment,

channel (£6 if not flying Business and

a personal fixed (but removable) tablet

you want to pay for it).

was synced with the large screen in

Emirates’ spacious

THE BOARDING

front, with easy access to a wide range

lounge is close to a W.H. Smith. Wi-Fi

of ICE channels. I found it a bit odd that

was speedy, there were plenty of power

movies were occasionally interrupted by

sockets and USB ports and a wide range

a short Dubai tourism advert.

of lunchtime food options included

THE SERVICE

The cabin was full rows to be served, the ‘Arabic mezze’

aubergine masala, vegan pasta and

so the drinks service was slow but many

Moroccan spiced beef. Boarding was

passengers filled up their glasses at the

starter was already unavailable but the

called 30 minutes before scheduled

on-board lounge at the back of the

charred sea bass was sensationally good.

departure. It was a short walk to the

upper deck, which is exclusively for First

gate and access to the plane was via a

and Business Class passengers. Here a

dedicated Business Class walkway.

cheerful barman was struggling to keep

THE SEAT

Business Class was

up with requests for espresso martinis

‘upstairs’, in a 1 X 2 X 1 configuration.

and gin and tonics. Lunch was very

My forward-facing window seat, 23K,

impressive, with cutlery wrapped in a

was super comfortable and felt very

white cloth napkin. I was disappointed

‘private’. The premium-looking fittings,

that, although I was in one of the first

THE PREMIUMLOOKING FITTINGS... REMINDED ME OF AN EXECUTIVE JET

THE VERDICT

An ultra-relaxed and

highly-enjoyable flight with entertainment, food and comfort levels you'd expect, but don’t always find, at a five-star hotel. THE DETAILS

One-Way Business

Class fares, Gatwick-Dubai, from £2,494.95. emirates.com

Steve Hartridge

APA R T M E NT : F LY ING BU T L E R K E NSING TO N THE APARTMENT

This is one of the

ceilings make the apartment feel really

latest apartments to be added to Flying

bright and spacious, especially the

Butler's London portfolio. It's an elegant

open-plan lounge/kitchen/dining room.

Victorian townhouse in Kensington's

The kitchen has a a dishwasher and a

prestigious Lexham Gardens, just off

washer-dryer, a decent-sized fridge,

the Cromwell Road, under a 10-minute

oven, electric hob and a microwave. The

walk to Earl's Court and Gloucester

lounge area has an L-shaped sofa and

Road tube stations, and with a mix of

two armchairs, coffee tables, a flat

one- and two-bed apartments

screen TV on the wall and a few plants.

THE CHECK-IN

I had arranged a

It's modern but homely and has a nice

'Meet & Greet' with Ponnusha, who had

view over a pretty, cobbled mews. The

contacted me in advance to confirm a

master bedroom has ample cupboard

time and was waiting on the steps when

and wardrobe space, a dressing table

I arrived. She gave me a very thorough

with good lighting, and a super-comfy

tour of the apartment, paying particular

king-sized bed with a plush velvet

attention to the coded entry system and

bedrest. The second bedroom, a

short walk away is Kensington High

the key box, instructing me to leave my

double, has a cute balcony. Compared

Street, which has plenty of shops, pubs,

keys there when I left the following

to the rest of the apartment, the

morning. I was delighted with my VIP

bathroom is small but was spotlessly

welcome pack, which included a small

clean, with a bath and built-in shower.

bottle of Proseoco, a box of chocolates and some White Company toiletries. THE ROOMS

I was one of the first

THE FACILITIES

I set up my laptop

on the large kitchen counter, which had conveniently-positioned power points.

FABULOUSLYTALL WINDOWS AND HIGH CEILINGS MAKE IT FEEL REALLY BRIGHT AND SPACIOUS

restaurants and cafés. THE VERDICT

With such a great

location and feeling of spaciousness I would have happily stayed a few weeks, and I felt safe too. THE DETAILS

9 Lexham Gardens

London, flyingbutler.com, one-beds

guests to stay here so it was all still

The Wi-Fi worked well. There's a

sparkly and new. Fabulously-tall

Sainsbury’s supermarket just round the

from £180 a night, two-beds from £280

windows (double-glazed) and high

corner for all your essentials and a

Bev Fearis

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DEPARTURES

On business in...

Austin Texas

Despite its long and illustrious history, the Texan capital shows no signs of being stuck in the past. It’s the fastest-growing US city, thanks in part to its ‘Keep Austin Weird’ motto attracting a hip, free-spirited crowd. Meanwhile, low taxes have drawn in the likes of Google, Apple, Oracle and Facebook to create a new Silicon Valley in the south, known as Silicon Hills, writes Neal Baldwin

KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD

S L E E P IN G

Located at the Fairmont Hotel

with a four-passenger maximum

For cattle baron chic, look no further

(another top stay option), this

and fares around $30.

than The Driskill. This impressive

elegant grill house takes meat, fish

period property exudes old-

OLD SCHOOL SOUTHERN CHARM

Getting there Austin’s modern infrastructure has meant boom time for tech start-ups and prompted the arrival of the biggest players. To meet demand, Virgin Atlantic is launching a new direct service from London Heathrow four times a week on Boeing 787-9 aircraft from May 25 – it’s first new US route since 2015. Together with joint venture partner Delta Air Lines, it offers seamless connections from Austin to 10 US cities; Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Raleigh Durham and JFK. British Airways also offers four weekly flights a week to the Texan capital from Heathrow, while Lufthansa and KLM fly from Frankfurt and Amsterdam respectively.

54

and poultry to new levels of juicy!

M ust-see Sights

Alternatively, Veracruz All Natural

Austin is as Texan does, so make

hide-covered coaches and

has a host of outlets and taco trucks

sure your trip takes in the cowboy

longhorn busts celebrating

around the city serving up the

classics. First stop has to be Allens

its cowboy heritage. For a

freshest ingredients – fast food

Boots, a landmark

maybe, but delicious definitely.

outfitters boasting the

school Southern charm, with

more modern take, Colton House – with its 80 Texas-sized apartment-styled suites – attracts

best in boots, hats and AF TER HOURS

fancy shirts. Properly

DIVE-bar honky tonks

the trendy tech crowd, while

Downtown restaurant, bar and

attired, head to either

Kimpton’s Hotel Van Zandt, amongst

nightclub Higher Ground has a

The Broken Spoke or

the slick bars of Rainey Street, is a

religious theme and a ‘Seven Deadly

the White Horse – the best

must for hipsters.

Sins’ cocktail list likely to put you on

in dive-bar honky tonks offering free

the path to damnation in the

Texan two-step lessons. Legendary

morning. In the Warehouse District,

Franklin Barbecue has long queues

Tex-Mex and barbecue rule in

the stylish Roosevelt Room has a

and awesome ribs, while the Texas

Austin, and Garrison tops the lot.

bold playfulness (plus a loyalty card

Capitol Building is an historic gem.

E ATIN G

to tick off – complete its 50 cocktails and you’ll win a free T-shirt!) G etting Dow nto w n

By far the cheapest way to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the reliable high-frequency Capital Metro Route 20 bus, which does the 35-minute trip for just $1.25. Taxis operate from a rank

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Fly direct to Austin,

Virgin Atlantic style From 25th May, we’re flying direct to Austin four days a week. Onboard, you’ll find everything you need to relax, recharge, or carry on working - from inflight WiFi, to lie-flat suites, we make business travel a pleasure. Learn more at virginatlantic.com

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11/04/2022 12:57

Austin Business Trade Magazine_Single page ad_210 x 275_3mm bleed.indd 1

04/04/2022 21:22


JOIN the party Celebrate with the best talent in the business travel industry at the 2022 People Awards at the Leonardo Royal City Hotel, 6.30pm till late, Tuesday September 13 2022

Tickets now on sale at TheBusinessTravelPeopleAwards.com