Page 1

85

May/June 2021

Step it up

+

Now is the time to take sustainability to the next level

Digital transformation Traveller Covid testing Rail gets back on track People Awards makeover THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE • SEPTEMBER 14-15

TBTM85 COVER FINAL v4.indd 1

5/6/21 04:53 PM


Untitled-1 1 Untitled-2

26/04/2021 12:34 5/4/21 03:19 PM


ARRIVALS

Contents 28

MAY-JUNE 2021 Features

8

18 The Business Travel Conference 2021: 10 reasons why you must attend this year 28 Technology: How to keep up

25

18

with the digital revolution 30 Talking Travel: Bear Grylls talks adventures, escapes and...

Extended feature

7

22

Sustainability 20

The travel pause has given our industry a once-in-a-lifetime chance to achieve true sustainability. Make sure you're part of the story when travel resumes

(p10-16)

lockdown home schooling 32 Travel management: Expert insight on three career paths emerging in the new era of business travel 34 Rail: Update on what rail operators are doing to reassure business passengers as trains

32

get busier, plus advice on how to navigate the latest trends 40 The Business Travel People Awards: We unveil some exciting changes for 2021

Up front 6

Everyone's Talking About: Digital health passports

7

Speaking Out: TapTrip COO Neil Ruth shares his views on diversity and inclusion

16

34

8

The Knowledge: How the PGA European Tour implemented a travel testing programme

News Review 20 News and trends, plus comment from the BTA and the ITM

Departures

10

42 Reality check: We try out a Covid testing service for travellers and check out a

15

new hotel in Asia 43 Final word: The lighter side of business travel

40

30 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

contents_V7.indd 3

3

5/6/21 06:50 PM


Welcome Ready, reset, go

W

ell, what an eventful few weeks it's been in the world of business travel. Our newsdesk has never been so busy keeping track of and reporting on all the recent consolidation.

It was inevitable in the circumstances but we weren't expecting it to come quite so thick and fast. From the reaction on LinkedIn, it seems many of you were taken by surprise too. It was heartening, though, to report that these changes of ownership will bring more job security and might even see some of those displaced brought back. Let's hope so. Too many in our sector are still furloughed or out of work but the long-awaited recovery is now in sight. We're busy preparing for our Business Travel People Awards 2021 and, in acknowledgement of the challenges of the last 12-18 months, we're making sure that recognition extends to both those who have been displaced and those who have continued to work throughout the pandemic. You can find out more about our new-style awards on page 40. With lockdowns easing, we're all looking forward to getting back together in person again and we can't wait to see you at the awards and at The Business Travel Conference, both being held in London in mid- September. Our conference theme this year is Reconnect, Reset, Restart (see page 18). We'll be announcing details about the programme soon but sustainability will be a key topic of discussion. It's also the main focus of this issue – and deservedly so. Responsible travel is now even higher up the agenda for the whole industry and the pandemic pause has given us the chance to hit the reset button. As we gear up for the restart, let's make sure we don't waste our chance to make a difference.

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Bev Fearis CONTRIBUTORS

Dave Richardson & Gillian Upton

STAFF JOURNALIST

April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Julie Baxter

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Callum Blackwell

DESIGN & PRODUCTION DESIGNER

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

Bev Fearis, Editor

DISTRIBUTED TO SUBSCRIBERS IN A COMPOSTABLE WRAPPER. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2021 COVER IMAGE: leonard_c, iSTOCK.COM OTHER IMAGES SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, iSTOCK.COM, BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM AND UNSPLASH.COM

5

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Welcome v4.indd 5

5/6/21 04:23 PM


Reconnect Reset Restart Register now - for free for The Business Travel Conference 2021, the intimate, in-person event exclusively for corporate buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings September 14 -15, 2021 London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravel conference.com

Executive sponsors

TBTC Advert Theme v6.indd 1

Brought to you by

5/6/21 03:37 PM


UP FRONT OPINION

Everyone's talking about... digital health passports “IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THE IATA TRAVEL PASS IS INTRODUCED AND

“IN THE RACE TO INTRODUCE DIGITAL HEALTH PASSPORTS, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CHALLENGES FROM A PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION PERSPECTIVE” Christel Cao-Delebarre, CWT Global Head of Privacy and Group DPO

“Without bilateral or multilateral recognition from other countries, an NHS app counts for very little" Martin Ferguson, VP Public Affairs for Amex GBT

ACCEPTED BECAUSE WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO OFFER THE CUSTOMER A DIGITISED OPTION TO TRAVEL. WE CAN'T HAVE A SITUATION WHERE PASSENGERS ARE REQUIRED TO GO TO A CHECK-IN COUNTER AT AN AIRPORT WHEN THEY WANT TO TRAVEL” Willie Walsh, IATA Director General and CEO

If vaccination passports are to be the key to accessing so many aspects of life when they reopen, then there is a very strong motivation for millions of people to acquire a fake passport when they haven’t yet had their jabs, either by choice or lack of opportunity” Adam Schrader, Riskline Director of Operations

“A DIGITAL SOLUTION FOR HEALTH CREDENTIALS IS ESSENTIAL FOR TRAVEL WHILE COVID-19 REMAINS A RISK. MANAGING THE RISK OF IMPORTING COVID-19 CASES USING PAPER PROCESSES WILL BE A HASSLE FOR PASSENGERS, UNMANAGEABLE FOR AIRLINES, AIRPORTS AND BORDER AUTHORITIES, AND WILL LEAVE THE SYSTEM Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security

VULNERABLE TO FRAUD”

“Even if the Travel Pass streamlines information about travellers’ Covid-19 testing results, it is unlikely the programme will convince governments to suspend quarantine requirements. New Covid-19 variants are, instead, making quarantine rules stricter” Alex Jarman, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International

6

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Everyones Talking about v3.indd 6

5/6/21 01:10 PM


UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

BRAND AWARENESS Attitudes need to change for the sector to resonate with the next generation, says TapTrip COO Neil Ruth

IGORISS ISTOCK.COM

R

epresenting the biggest group of consumers worldwide, Gen Z and digital natives are essential to the recovery of our industry and are leading the ‘bleisure’ movement. Layer onto this reassurances around sustainability, safety, and diversity and inclusion (D&I), this influential consumer group demands and responds to transparency. It’s important, then, that we represent D&I considerations rather than just respond to them. Without a representative workforce, how can you fully understand your consumer and build an unbiased, fullyrepresentative product for them? There are lots of ways to look at the issue of diversity and inclusion – gender, race, age, sexuality, social status/mobility, neurological access – but when it comes to determining how the business travel sector compares, it’s difficult to judge because there’s little research or stats. From a sexuality perspective, I don’t personally see a problem within travel and I say that as an openly gay man. From a gender perspective, the travel industry looks on paper to be sound but (IMHO) only to a point. There are many women working in travel, but there is also a pretty evident glass ceiling. I still see very male-heavy – if not 100% male dominated – senior management teams, which definitely needs to be rectified. I will gladly hold a mirror up to TapTrip’s own board, which consists of three similarly-aged, white men. Lots can and needs to be done, starting with

Speaking Out_v9.indd 7

transparency. The sector must be open and honest (in public) about its workforce split. We, along with Duffel, are one of the few organisations I know to publish this data. Development is so male dominated but achieving a 50/50 gender split is something TapTrip aspires to. We actively encourage applications across the spectrum and from minorities through a partnership with Salford University and North Coders in Manchester. We also have a sliding salary scale, which gives us space to factor in potential alongside experience and expertise. So, if we think someone could be brilliant in say six to 12 months, but just needs a bit of help right now, we don’t rule them out. We support them with training to reach their potential, rather than risk missing out on their future genius.

We also approach creative disruption through a D&I gaze. We believe it’s par for the course these days to represent your brand in an inclusive way (and a huge hat tip to Travelport here). It isn’t about box ticking anymore, about shoehorning stock shots of black and brown people or women into corporate brochures. This is about having a 360-degree approach to diversity and being authentic and accountable, so product development, conference panels, boards, trade associations, editorial and communications all need to change. When creating our brand identity, we chose to work with Divina de Campo from Ru Paul’s Drag Race (everyone’s guilty pleasure!). As a pop culture phenomenon she elevated our campaign with intrigue and resonates in a fun way with Gen Z and Millennial business travellers who use our product and who are under-represented in terms of comms, which are dominated by those stock shots of businesspeople in suits sat in airports yet make up 60% of the workforce. This was us giving a massive nod to inclusion in its most extreme form and (authentically) ticking all the diversity boxes. Working with Davina was our way of giving everyone a great big bear hug. NEIL RUTH Neil Ruth is COO of TapTrip, a Manchester-based company which provides an online booking tool with an intuitive, userexperience focused platform for booking and managing business travel, plus a mobile app for safety and wellbeing

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

7

5/6/21 11:53 AM


ARRIVALS UP FRONT THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... manage traveller testing

THE BACKGROUND

The European Tour is an organisation which operates professional golf tours worldwide and this year will be responsible for getting more than 500 people, including the world’s top golfers, their caddie and support staff, TV crews and tour staff to and from 42 tournaments in 24 countries on a weekly basis. While the majority are from the UK, the tour has members from 30 countries. To ensure Covid safety, last summer it set up a stringent testing programme, initially to meet its own duty of care requirements and then to meet national and regional testing rules.

THE PROCESS

The first step was to scale back the number of tournament attendees, limiting it to essential personnel only. Championship Director Mark Casey and Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Murray were put in charge of testing and now have eight dedicated Covid officers responsible

8

The most important requirement from our testing partner is to know we can turn around a test very quickly and accurately" for liaising with local and national health authorities and reviewing testing protocols, which can change on a weekly or even daily basis. “Most of these were re-purposed but some were also recruited from outside – mainly experienced project managers. It’s a new role but it requires skills similar to those required of a project manager: you need to be able to adapt quickly and think on your feet,” says Casey. Cignpost, a company which had previously worked with the European Tour on skin health screening, was selected as a testing partner. “It already had a strong relationship with our medical team,” Casey adds. Together, they held a trial event in the UK in June to develop testing protocols. Since then controls have changed so protocols have had to adapt. They also depend on the destination. For the Austrian Open in April, for example, players had to take a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travelling to the tournament, test again to enter the tournament bubble, and take a lateral flow test every two days. They then had to take another PCR test before travelling onwards to the next event in Gran Canaria.

At each event, Cignpost sets up a mobile testing centre, bringing in its own project managers, scientists to operate the equipment and swabbers. “The most important requirement from our testing partner is to know we can turn around a test rapidly and accurately. So if an individual has symptoms at 07.00 we can get a test result quickly and tell them if they can compete or not. Our biggest fear is false positives, but with the protocols we have in place we can test and test again in a controlled environment."

THE CHALLENGE

“We initially thought it was going to be a three-month challenge but I now expect my dedicated testing team to remain in place for the forseeable future, although perhaps the rules might change a little,” says Casey. “We haven’t got everything right.” Fastchanging requirements have been the biggest issue, and communicating these effectively. The key, he says, is to have trusted testing partners and to work closely, at an early stage, with the local health services, sporting bodies and governments to keep on top of regulations.

THE RESULT

“We have carried out 30,000 tests since last July, with no outbreak and only a handful of positive results on site. Our pre-event protocols have meant we've prevented a number of people travelling to events -it’s important that they don’t enter the tournament bubble,” says Casey. Around £3 million has been spent on testing to date. “It’s a sizeable investment but a worthwhile one, which has allowed us to continue to play golf and meet the requirements of our sponsors and our broadcasters around the world."

PEOPLEIMAGES ISTOCK.COM

When the PGA European Tour was given permission to resume golf tournaments last July, in the midst of the global pandemic, it had to put an effective and workable testing regime in place.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Knowledge_v7.indd 8

5/6/21 04:17 PM


Medicine that changed the world The medical breakthrough occurred 14 years after Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin, almost by accident in 1928, when he saved a man’s life by using the antibiotic to treat fatal meningitis. He didn’t patent Penicillin to profit from his discovery though, stating "I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that”. His goal was a cheap and effective medicine for everyone worldwide.

We’re a pioneer for safer, more productive and sustainable travel As we emerge from the global travel shutdown triggered by the pandemic, it is crucial that we re-set expectations; not by focusing on just cost reductions (although that still needs to be managed) but instead by targeting improved traveller safety, productivity, and sustainability as key drivers for effective travel management. We know that you are keen to restore traveller confidence, so we created a travel risk management framework that conforms to a newly defined global standard (ISO 31030). By working with us, you can respond to the challenges of a post-COVID world; safety and hygiene for travellers, stronger alignment between trip purpose and business goals, and a clearer understanding of what a sustainable travel programme looks like for your business.

Business travel was always more than just another purchase category, and greater levels of engagement are now needed across your stakeholders, especially with HR and Risk managers.

TO FIND OUT MORE TALK TO US ON 0208 948 8188 - OR EMAIL sales@bluecubetravel.co.uk

www.bluecubetravel.co.uk

Untitled-2 1

21/04/2021 11:35 5/4/21 03:25 PM


Sustainability

Step

CHANGE Business travel's imminent restart is the chance to take sustainability to the next level, says Gill Upton

E

very cloud, they say, has a silver lining. Or in the case of Covid’s impact on business travel, should that be green? The pandemic triggered a long period of travel abstention but also served to accelerate the focus on sustainability. Many travel managers are exploiting their zero emissions status to improve their sustainability programmes by setting tougher carbon goals and even carbon neutrality targets. The hiatus also offered a lifeline to those struggling to reach sustainability goals pre Covid. Studies highlight that 40% of companies cite cost as the biggest brake on achieving a more sustainable business. There are other factors at play: C-level execs are mindful of minimising reputational damage, the imminent 'Return To Office' has sharpened the focus, and the fact that sustainability is a noncompetitive area means buyer collaboration and information exchange is plentiful, including guidance on best practice. “Buyers seem to understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to reconsider 10

how they could operate more sustainably and determine what travel will be necessary to deliver their objectives,” says Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner of Festive Road. The first priority is data on a sustainability journey. Corporates need data to discover the emissions generated from business travel and both suppliers and third-party players can provide CO2 calculators, data analysis, offsetting programmes and templates for CO2 policies. In a recent development, TripActions clients can now identify user groups and individuals producing the largest amount of carbon emissions within their organisations and track their company emissions against a yearly budget. After measurement comes a carbon reduction target aligned to a science-based target. With inevitably smaller travel budgets to contend with, the challenge will be absorbing higher travel costs as demand increases. Unfortunately, planet-friendly initiatives are not cost neutral.

Difficult measures

The challenges are many and varied for  buyers. ITM CEO Scott Davies refers to the difficulty of carbon measurement, particularly in the accommodation sector Stephen Hanton, President International at long-stay specialist Synergy Global Housing, sums up the challenges: “Expertise, time, understanding, focus, determining what really impacts and, importantly, knowing what and how to measure.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 10

5/6/21 06:21 PM


Sustainability

Dr Wendy Buckley, Client Director and Co-founder of The Carbon Footprint, acknowledges that Covid has given the industry time to get its house in order but points to the need for more granular data. “We need better data to provide real choices for end users,” she says. Good data informs point of sale so travellers can choose between different aircraft types and ages, view emission comparisons between direct and indirect flights, and between air, rail, bus and car pooling, options for sustainable accommodation, and low-emission locations for conferences.

Changing behaviours

Business travel may only account for 2% of all carbon emitted but it can be a significant part of a company’s overall carbon footprint. At PwC, for example, corporate travel accounts for more than 85% of the group’s annual carbon emissions. At Cap Gemini it’s over 50%. Typically, flying accounts for the most emissions so companies make it a priority. A revised travel policy can include the popular ‘virtual first business travel‘ to reduce travel, then other smarter travel options such as a tighter pre-approval process, disallowing day trips, reducing the number of employees travelling to the same meeting, combining trips, moving to more economy-class flying, and accelerating the modal shift from air and car travel to rail. Pre-trip approval will be key, as will any form of ROI measurement. Concerted efforts to change traveller behaviour using educational campaigns will also be needed. Festive Road has dubbed this new way of travelling as ‘purposeful travel’. GBTA undertook a survey of its European buyers on behalf of The Business Travel Magazine to determine how they were tackling sustainability and it’s clear that modal shift is a common strategy. One buyer, Eija Kurttila of Telia, has switched from air to rail on city pairs of less than 500km. “We had this Daring Goals strategy ongoing already before Covid-19, which means that 500km or less than five hours by rail city pairs are steered to train,” she says. “Telia travel has to reach zero CO2 emission by end of 2022. Now with Covid-19 we are ahead of time with this one.“ Another buyer, Carol Fergus at Fidelity, is

attempting to maintain the trend of decreased travel due to the pandemic by setting a target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions over the next two years. Buyer Jens Liltorp of LEO Pharma has revised the company’s travel policy by incorporating a 50% reduction in travel activities by utilising virtual meetings. RFPs may need to be undertaken to find the most sustainable suppliers (and more questions on sustainability incorporated), and those with sciencebased targets. Supplier reviews will also have to be re-imagined and new relationships fostered over Zoom or Teams. A switch to virtual travel won’t cut it if your competitors are staging face-to-face meetings and clinching the deals instead of you, and travellers may need cajoling into reverting back to their preCovid Road Warrior days. They have become accustomed to not commuting to an office, let alone through an airport, and are also enjoying more time with their families. Employers will have to ensure traveller safety and perhaps even give gentle nudges to take the trip. Some travel managers have been asking their travellers to write a blog post about their tentative first ‘Covid’ business trip, while a GBTA poll of European buyers in March this year, questioning travellers’ nervousness about return to work, revealed that 72% believe health verifications or vaccine passports are a good policy. One oil and gas company, Oil Spill Response, has responded to the return to work with a wide range of support material including a family and friends guide for travellers to send to their relatives to allay any safety fears they may have.

Carbon offsetting is increasingly frowned upon in green circles so reduction is best practice"

Pressure points

Like ITM, the GBTA has also been providing education to help guide travel managers implement robust

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 11

11

5/6/21 06:21 PM


Sustainability

sustainability practices and policies, and set ambitious goals. Both organisations have been lobbying governments hard to support corporate efforts in building a more sustainable future for the industry. Businesses have to decide whether to offset their carbon or reduce it, or a combination of both. Carbon offsetting is increasingly frowned upon in green circles so reduction is best practice. Today, most suppliers have a sustainability agenda. Airlines have been retiring polluting  aircraft, a ircraft, hotels are playing catch-up with more energy-efficient water, waste and heating systems, and car manufacturers are switching to hybrid and electric-powered cars. But it is still impossible, for example, to

12

find out whether an aircraft has biofuel on board or ascertain its load factors, which affects the rate of emissions. A trip from London to Paris by train, including three nights’ accommodation, can be offset by planting one tree; a flight between New York to Chicago and two hotel nights is equivalent to three trees. “For most corporates they would rather you didn’t travel rather than offset but the trend is towards using both in tandem,” says Davies.

Planting the seed

Trees4Travel was set up in 2020 to help reach the World Economic Forum's goal of planting one trillion trees this decade. Partnering with the likes of BTA, Focus and ITM, its offsetting programme calculates emissions from all modes of transport and all classes of travel and supplies monthly reporting. Granular detail of aircraft load and aircraft type is only provided for private jets, not commercial airlines. It allows companies to track and follow their trees, matching the CO2 absorbed to the CO2 emitted by their travel. A dashboard shows how many trees have been planted, the CO2 absorbed and the monthly allowance. Emissions can be detailed by department, class, traveller, timeline and even by a ‘what if’ scenario to see potential savings if you change the class of travel. CEO and founder Nico Nicholas is the first to advise that offsetting should run in tandem with reduction. “Reducing travel is good and smarter travel needs to happen too; but if we repair the damage we’ve done to the planet we eliminate the problem and keep nature safe,” he says. The future will inevitably mean a rise in travel as businesses seek to replenish their business pipelines. ”Corporates are saying that they’re making only half of the new contacts that they used to,” says Davies. In the longer term, when business travel returns fully, will there still be an appetite for sustainability? A younger workforce, making career decisions based on the sustainability of an employer, would suggests responsible travel has to be a long-term strategy as

In the longer term, when business travel returns fully, will there still be an appetite for sustainability?” ignoring it impacts a company’s employee retention levels and therefore their bottom line. “If you don’t have a demonstrable sustainability programme you won’t attract business or staff,” adds ITM's Davies. According to a study from WRAP, 67% of UK consumers would boycott brands that lack an ethical conscience, a value that MiIlennials – who will make up the bulk of employees over the next few years – hold dear. MiIlennial and GenZ employees rank sustainability as a leading concern when evaluating employers. That alone augurs well for our planet. Moreover, the Government’s proposed changes to its procurement practices, which cites a change from Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), to Most Advantageous Tender (MAT) will also drive long-term sustainability strategies. ”This could result in cost not being the only driver of purchasing decisions,” says Chris Pouney of Severnside Consulting.

BUYER ATTITUDES TO CARBON REDUCTION • 96% of buyers say sustainability is a key criteria in supplier selection • Of those, 67% said they would strongly favour ‘green’ suppliers, against only 39% a year before • Sustainability rose six places to become the fourth priority for buyers for the coming year • 30% of buyers said it would be in-policy to book a flight on an aircraft using biofuel. That figure was only 17% in the 2020 survey Source: ITM Top Priorities Survey 2020 and 2021

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 12

5/6/21 06:21 PM

Untitled


Taking care of business and the planet. Embrace the future of work. www.tripactions.com/uk/sustainable-travel

Fast becoming the default for corporate travel and spend management, TripActions is the leading cloud-based T&E platform that combines industry-first technology with best-in-class travel agency service. Trusted by travel managers and finance teams alike at 4,000+ companies globally, TripActions leverages real-time data to keep travelling employees safe, control costs and save time. www.tripactions.com/uk.

Untitled-1 1 v20.indd 13 Sustainability

05/05/2021 11:44 5/6/21 06:21 PM


Sustainability

AIR TRAVEL Airlines are investing in biofuels, more efficient aircraft and other innovations to achieve ambitious emissions targets

Carbon footprint from air accounts for the biggest chunk of travel emissions. According to the German travel trade body VDR, air accounts for 40% of emissions, followed by accommodation at 21% and ground transport, food and restaurants soaking up the remainder. Thankfully, when it comes to sustainability the aviation industry is ahead of the curve and is moving towards net zero emissions by 2050 to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. CORSIA, the carbon offsetting scheme for airlines, is helping airlines in a quick-fix/least expensive/phase 1 carbon reduction drive. The long game is the costlier electrification of aircraft and the switch to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). IATA reckons that by 2025, some 1 billion passengers should be travelling on flights powered by a mix of jet fuel and SAF. IAG, for example, is investing US$400m over the next 20 years in the development of SAF. The impact of Covid should get the industry there faster. Last year saw the largest ever decline in global emissions and it has forced

many polluting aircraft to be retired. New aircraft, such as Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, are up to 40% more fuel efficient, which should go some way to counteracting an expected doubling in passenger numbers to 8.2 billion by 2037. Large capital investments will be more challenging, as Covid decimated revenues last year to the tune of US$252bn according to KPMG, but Delta’s Amelia DeLuca, MD of Sustainability, says “stakeholders are demanding an acceleration of the company’s sustainability efforts”. The world’s major airlines are therefore continuing to trial biofuels to part or totally replace jet fuel, reducing weight, finding lighter materials for on-board items, and building factories to satisfy future demand for biofuel. Airlines are also using slower cruising speeds, taxiing on one engine rather than two, towing between gates, using continuous descent approaches, optimising air routes and recycling retired planes. Delta, which has a carbon neutral goal, offers a carbon offset calculator. Its sales team works closely with travel managers to evaluate a business’ carbon footprint and in

February it partnered with Deloitte to reduce its carbon emissions by purchasing SAF. “The market is so underdeveloped that all SAFs produced in 2020 would only power Delta’s fleet for one day pre-Covid,” says DeLuca. “This is why investments, guided by a strong long-term vision, are so critical." United launched a similar scheme in April, when a dozen global corporates, among them DHL, Nike, Siemens and Deloitte, under the Eco-Skies Alliance Program, are allowing individual customers to purchase SAF. United will be the first airline to invest in game-changing atmospheric carbon capture technology known as Direct Air Capture, as well as in SAF, environmental compliance and waste, water and energy programmes. "We want to be authentic in our intention. It is going to be a challenge to get there,” admits Lauren Riley, MD of Global Environmental Affairs & Sustainability. “There is no silver bullet to decarbonise aviation. Sustainable aviation fuel is two to four times the cost because there is not enough supply so we’re investing in production plants to create capacity.” United is also testing a system that will provide greater transparency.

Thankfully the aviation industry is ahead of the curve and is moving towards net zero emissions by 2050” 14

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 14

5/6/21 06:22 PM


Sustainability

ACCOMMODATION The pandemic has reaffirmed the commitment by the accommodation sector to cut its environmental footprint

Renewable energy, such as solar panels and more fuel-efficient waste and water systems, is the big push for accommodation. In their efforts to be more sustainable, hotels have also been busy watching food miles, installing green roofs, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVACs), LED lighting and heating, recycling soap and promoting carbon-neutral meetings. As 24/7 operations, hotels soak up many resources but many have deep-rooted programmes that run through employees, stakeholders, owners and contractors. Typically, global players have muchpublicised schemes - Wyndham Green, IHG Green Engage and Radisson Think Planet. NH Hotels is regarded a trailblazer. But Martin Biermann, CPO of hotel portal HRS, advises not to connect size with sustainability success as the bigger the player the more complex their business models, particularly franchise groups, and it can be harder to apply uniform practices. “There's no correlation between hotel size, their scope and carbon emissions but overall newer hotels are more carbon efficient.” One caveat is that small vendors lack the resources to launch a robust sustainability programme. Biermann believes there will be a “post pandemic calibration to re-shape carbon deduction programmes". Specifically, independent hotels are generally struggling now, just as they were before in refurbishing their properties more sustainably, he adds. Hilton typifies the global players. In 2018 it

launched Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals in to cut its environmental footprint by 50% and double investment in social impact across all 6,400 hotels and this goal remains unchanged. “If anything, the past year has reaffirmed our commitment to our 2030 goals both from an environmental and social point of view,” says Kate Mikesell, VP Corporate Responsibility. She believes sustainability can reduce costs and drive long-term business value and profitability, crucial in the current financial pressures. Hilton rose to the challenge of new Covid measures, eliminating unnecessary disposable items in operating procedures. “New initiatives, such as Hilton EventReady with CleanStay Meeting and Event programme, have been developed with sustainability in mind,” Mikesell explains. “Through our LightStay Meeting Impact Calculator tool our customers can also request an estimate from our sales team of the carbon footprint of their event, giving them the opportunity to offset and reduce their footprint and helping to further limit the impact,” adds Mikesell. “There may not be many positives from this

There's no correlation between hotel size, their scope and carbon emissions but overall newer hotels are more efficient” pandemic, but there has undoubtedly been an increase in understanding of the importance of sustainability and supporting our communities,” she says. Mikesell believes that as travel resumes, travellers will be more conscious than ever of their impact. Together with Accor, the Expedia Group has joined forces to expand UNESCO sustainability pledge into 96 countries, while hotel portal, HRS is also playing its part with its Green Stay Initiative, which identifies, compares and prioritises hotels that contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of the lodging portion of a typical business trip. Bookers can look out for the Green Stay label and choose efficiency classes A, B, C or D and cross reference that with accommodation ratings and reviews.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 15

15

5/6/21 06:22 PM


Sustainability

GROUND TRANSPORT The switch to electric cars is accelerating and plans are on track for solar-powered trains

The UK Government’s ban on the sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is driving a modal shift to electrified transport options. The car industry is launching electric vehicles or more fuel-efficient cars, with emissions of the average new car down to 95 grams of CO2 per km, from 150 grams. Rental car agencies have responded well. Avis has been carbon neutral since 2000 by using carbon offsetting and runs an earthfriendly fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles known as Eco Rides. Hertz provides a Green Collection of cars too, including Teslas. ”In the Netherlands, every second car is a Tesla,” says Zoran Kovacevic, Director of Product Management at TripActions. David McNeill, AVP Global Corporate Sales at Enterprise, says customers are opting for electric rental cars to decarbonise employee travel. “They are using our software tools and consultancy services to understand the detailed implications of how to support employee journeys effectively with more sustainable options,” he says.

Enterprise is also recycling water at branch level, using renewable energy and providing plug-in company cars for all eligible staff. Meanwhile, hotel groups are gearing up for the shift to electric. Premier Inn (which claims to have more car park locations across the UK than the NCP) has signed a deal with energy giant ENGIE to install rapidcharging points in 600 locations in the next three years as part of its Force for Good sustainability scheme, with the first installation in early summer. Premier Inn's parent, Whitbread, has announced a commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in support of the Government’s plan to speed up the switch to electric vehicles. Decarbonising rail is a more complex task, due to the significant capex required, but rail is already widely regarded as a viable option for corporates over air travel. Data from SAP Concur shows that in the period between the first and second waves of the pandemic in Europe, rail travel recovered much faster than any other mode of prebooked transport in the core European business travel markets. “Rail is the only mode of motorised transport to

continuously reduce its CO2 emissions since 1990,” says Ami Taylor, Senior Director, Product Strategy, SAP Concur EMEA. “So it’s likely to be a preferred option as views on sustainability continue to be reinforced.” One ray of hope is solar-powered trains, a world first. The Riding Sunbeams project, in conjunction with Network Rail, is powering clean energy from solar farms and wind to rail networks. In the longer term there are plans to offer shares in solar farms to communities and commuters so that local people will own and benefit from the clean energy that's powering their train journeys. Meanwhile airports and airlines are switching to electric vehicles and recycling water when washing aircraft. Farnborough Airport became the first carbon neutral business airport over a decade ago. It appears that Covid is in no way dimming suppliers’ spotlight on sustainability but has served to reinforce long-term plans and convince travellers to opt for sustainability over convenience. Covid may not be a silver bullet but it has accelerated plans to make the industry more sustainable.

Rail is the only mode of motorised transport to continuously reduce its CO2 emissions since 1990, so it's likely to be a preferred option ” 16

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Sustainability v20.indd 16

5/6/21 06:22 PM


Get your team back to the office, safely, securely and sustainably. London’s first choice ride-hailing app for business travel Choose from both black cab & PHV Climate-neutral, with every single trip carbon offset The largest fleet of both electric black cabs & PHVs in London

Discover us

Untitled-1 1 Untitled-2

www.free-now.com/uk/business business.uk@free-now.com

06/05/2021 10:44 5/6/21 06:25 PM


UK HOTEL GROUPS CONFERENCE

Your conference needs

YOU!

The Business Travel Conference is back again for 2021, with the theme Reconnect, Reset, Restart. Here are just 10 of the many reasons why you should attend this year 18

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

TBTC 10 Reasons v9.indd 18

5/6/21 03:09 PM


CONFERENCE

1

Your industry is going through the biggest upheaval it has ever experienced and there are still more obstacles to overcome and key decisions to be made. Never before has it been so important to come together with your industry colleagues and partners to share your experiences, hear about theirs and, in turn, learn from each other. The business travel community has always been a closeknit one but the pandemic challenges have bought us even closer together. This is an opportunity to support your sector and play your part as we move on to the next chapter.

2

Exclusivity is what we’re all about at The Business Travel Conference. Numbers are deliberately limited and delegates are required to meet certain criteria to qualify for the 200 free places. This means the event attracts leading business travel suppliers and, crucially, because they know you’re worth meeting, these suppliers send their senior teams to our conference, giving you direct and easy access to the right people – the decision makers – so you can get down to business.

3

The intimacy of our conference makes it easy to meet the people you want to talk with. To help facilitate that further we’ve allocated certain periods throughout the event when delegates can meet with exhibitors. There’s also an optional appointment service for delegates who want to line up meetings with particular exhibitors. Of course, we want to encourage informal networking too, so you’re invited to catch up with industry friends, and make new ones, at a relaxed drinks and canapé reception at the end of the first day.

4

Let’s be honest, at the start of the pandemic we were keen to register for every webinar, attend every virtual conference, and listen to every podcast. We were glued to our screens in the hope of gleaning some snippet of advice from experts or our peers to help us make sense of it all. But now that the novelty of virtual communication has worn off, we’re all

Executive sponsors

Zoomed out and desperate to get back to a real, in-person event. Thank goodness we can finally meet face-to-face again – and this is the perfect occasion to do just that.

5

In a period of such transformation, even the most experienced of you will still find something to take home from the business travel experts who will share their insights and advice during the tailormade conference sessions. And when we say tailor-made, we mean by you. Each year we survey travel buyers to find out what they want and need to know to ensure our programme provides the discussions, workshops and presentations that will be relevant, useful and inspiring and will help you navigate the post-Covid world.

Bridge or a 10-minute walk from London Waterloo/Waterloo East. As you would expect from Hilton, stringent health and safety measures are in place with regards to Covid, including regular disinfecting of common touch points in the event space, sanitisers in key public areas and dedicated event teams on hand to reassure you that you’re in good hands.

8

Wellbeing is now firmly on the agenda, particularly post-Covid, so we’re bringing back our hugely popular wellbeing area this year. Drop by to chat with experts on nutrition, mental health, First Aid training, mindfulness techniques, travel risk and more. This year recruitment experts will also be on hand to share their advice. We’ve got some exciting things planned.

9

6

We know that travel managers and arrangers come in all shapes and sizes so we make sure our conference programme has something for everyone. Whether you’re a PA or office manager arranging and booking travel for a small or medium-sized business or a contract negotiation analyst, finance chief or procurement head for a large multinational corporation, you will go back to your desk better equipped to do your job.

7

Our conference takes place at the London Hilton Bankside, a conveniently-located hotel in central London, just a five-minute walk from Southwark Tube station (Jubilee line) or London Blackfriars mainline/tube (District/ Circle line), a 12-minute walk from London

We know that time is precious (and budgets are restricted) so we’ve made some changes to the format this year. For the first time, we will be holding our prestigious annual Business Travel People Awards on the second evening of the conference, which means you can attend two of the most important events in the business travel calendar at the same time. The conference programme will finish earlier on the second day to give you time to catch up with industry friends and colleagues (or go home or to your hotel to freshen up) before the awards ceremony. It’s time to party!

10

We’ve missed you, and we’re sure you’ve all missed each other too. The Business Travel Conference has been held every year since 2007 and over that time has become one of the industry’s most important and popular events. Sadly, due to the pandemic we weren’t able to hold the conference last year so it’s been a long time since we’ve seen you all. We can’t wait to do that in September. There’s so much to catch up on. The Business Travel Conference 2021 September 14-15 at the London Hilton Bankside. Apply for free registration at: thebusinesstravelconference.com

Brought to you by

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

TBTC 10 Reasons v9.indd 19

19

5/6/21 03:09 PM


The newS review

G O

O N L I N E

F O R

L A T E S T

N E W S

gBTa'S laTeST gloBal Poll ShowS SignS of PoSiTiviTY

expedia sells egencia to amex gBT aMeriCan eXpreSS Gbt is to buy Egencia from Expedia, subject to regulatory approvals. The deal will see Expedia Group become a shareholder in GBT and enter into a long-term strategic commercial agreement with the TMC. Details were not disclosed. A spokesman for Amex GBT insisted the deal had not come about because of the impact of the pandemic. “M&A has been a component of GBT’s strategy for some time and we are always exploring strategic opportunities to accelerate growth,” he said. Ariane Gorin, President of Expedia Business Services, added: "We’re excited about our potential ownership in GBT and our long-term arrangement to power Egencia and GBT, as we do for thousands of other travel companies.”

tWO-tHirDS of GBTA members said their employees are “willing’’ or ‘’very willing’’ to travel for business in the current environment, according to the latest report from the association. In an April poll of nearly 1,000 members worldwide, the figure was 11 percentage points higher than in a similar survey in March. The GBTA said the latest results showed more positive signs for the business travel recovery. Just under one in 10 respondents said their company has already resumed non-essential business

global traVel management buYs baxter hoare assets GlObal travel ManaGeMent has acquired some of the assets of Baxter Hoare, which ceased trading earlier this year, including the TMC's name. GTM Managing Director Scott Pawley said he has not yet decided how to use the name in the future. He said he had long admired Baxter Hoare and added: "It's so cruel that the effects of the pandemic caused Baxter Hoare to have to call in the administrators."

[ NEWS BITES ] >> EDITION HOTELS has announced the opening of eight new properties, including sites in Rome, Madrid, Dubai, Reykjavik and Doha, plus a second property in Tokyo. The brand, conceived by Ian Schrager and Marriott International, plans further expansion in 2022 >> MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL will open its first Westin hotel in the UK later this summer. The 222-room Westin London City, due to open in August, will have a ballroom, other event spaces and a riverside location with views over Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Tate Modern >> JETBLUE has become the latest industry partner of the BTA, ahead of the launch of the airline's new services later this year between London and two U.S. cities – New York and Boston – on new Airbus A321LR aircraft <<

20

travel, while an additional 13% reported their company now has in place a fully developed travel-resumption plan. Nearly a third (31%) said their company is actively working on a travel-resumption plan, while 20% said their company has begun the process but has more work to do. Only 18% reported no formal planning is underway, while 7% reported being unsure. Half feel more optimistic about the industry’s recovery than they did last month, with 43% saying they feel the same.

39%

drop in staff numbers

Figures released in April by the HBAA, based on a survey of nearly 100 of its members, show that since February 2020 there has been a 39% drop in the number of full-time staff within agencies in the meetings, events and accommodation industries

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 20

5/6/21 05:17 PM


The newS review

T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

IN BRIEF

ITM

Talent pool

Scott davies Chief Executive

Sirius Executive Search has rebranded as Sirius Talent Solutions and has added new services, such as training and outplacement support, amid the Covid challenges.

web widget

Riskline has launched a new widget, TravelCheck, which can be embedded onto a website or platform and gives users access to detailed, up-to-date travel information.

Transatlantic tie-up

U.S.-based RESIDE Worldwide, an alternative accommodation platform with operations in over 19,000 cities and 60 countries, has partnered with European start-up Homelike.

hi-tech ballroom

Pan Pacific London will open in late summer 2021 and claims it will have the “most technologicallyadvanced ballroom in the area”, accommodating up to 400 guests.

data bank

Anvil Group has partnered with SAP Concur to integrate Anvil’s risk management platform, Riskmatics, and data from SAP Concur solutions through its itinerary API (Application Programming Interface).

going dutch

The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) has purchased ASAP NL, which it partnered with in October 2017. It said the move was a "natural progression".

entries are now oPen for the 2021 tech hotlist, which recognises the most innoVatiVe technologY in the business traVel sector. email hotlist@bmiPublishing.co.uK

Tripactions snaps up reed & Mackay tripaCtiOnS has pledged to retain the Reed & Mackay brand after buying the TMC for an undisclosed sum. Reed & Mackay CEO Fred Stratford described the deal as “game-changing” and said both companies have a “forward thinking mindset”. Ariel Cohen, TripActions CEO, said the pairing will “create a new breed of travel management" to cater to the "needs of companies in all sizes in every geographical location”. TripActions Chief Travel Officer Danny Finkel said the move comes at the perfect time. "Corporate travel is rapidly coming back but it isn't yet at full speed, so we have a bit of time to make sure we get this right and do the best thing for our clients, our employees and the entire ecosystem."

Both the roadmap out of the latest lockdown and Covid vaccination programmes have given our sector a muchneeded light at the end of the tunnel but the recovery is still going to take many months and times will still be tough for many in our community. The ITM team is focussed on two primary activities: firstly helping those displaced, furloughed or looking for career support in the face of the pandemic; secondly, continuing our mission to advise on and help solve the various challenges that do not conveniently diminish despite a global pandemic. Our latest ITM Community initiatives include extending complimentary Business membership for those furloughed or displaced until the end of September and a new six-month Business membership plan for those unable to commit to a full year. Additionally, record numbers of members have joined ITM’s Mentoring Programme, where we match experienced industry executives with those open to learning and guidance. We connect and support individuals through the good times and bad. Right now that means helping our members revive, so that they can ultimately thrive again.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 21

21

5/6/21 05:17 PM


The newS review

G O

O N L I N E

F O R

L A T E S T

N E W S

Ba To Take More 'huMBle' aPProach wiTh corPoraTeS britiSH airWayS has pledged to step up its focus on trade and corporate partnerships as part of efforts to help the industry recover from the impact of the pandemic. Head of Sales Mark Muren said the airline would be working with its partners in a more “authentic, approachable and humble” way going forward. “Our partners make us who we are and these partnerships will be at the core of the recovery. We haven’t been around 100 years because of ba.com,” he said. “We know we will always need to

have great partners, whether that’s leisure agents or business travel agents or corporate customers, and we will be approaching these partnerships with more energy and enthusiasm.” Muren, who joined from United Airlines in November 2019, said BA would have a “smaller, leaner” sales team but this would be a “better sales team” using more efficient digital ways of working. The airline will also be working more closely with trade bodies, such as the BTA and ITM, to help secure the sector's recovery.

traVel buYers under less Pressure to justifY their roles a Survey of travel buyers found only 36% are now feeling increased pressure to justify the travel function within their organisation, compared to 47% who said they felt under pressure a year ago. In a poll of ITM members, carried out in the first two weeks of April, 62% of buyers felt the perceived internal value of a buyer’s role and remit will increase in 2021, compared to 47% last year. See our feature on page 32.

13%

travel programmes that measure wellbeing

22

Only 13% of corporate travel buyers report that their company's travel programme measures the wellbeing of travellers, according to a survey of 123 ITM buyer members, which was carried out by the institute over a twoweek period at the beginning of April

report shows impact of lockdown on work FOur in five business travellers have seen their job affected by a lack of cross-border business travel, according to research undertaken by Collinson. A survey of nearly 8,000 business travellers in the UK, U.S. Australia and 10 other countries worldwide found a third said that not seeing clients face to face has negatively affected the way they do business. A third of respondents said the lack of travel has made their company less productive while 28% said they have felt unable to do their job effectively since pandemic travel restrictions came into force. Collinson is a global provider of travel experience services and the UK’s largest provider of airport Covid-19 testing.

[ NEWS BITES ] >> SKYTEAM ALLIANCE has unveiled a number of enhancements to its SkyCare&Protect pledge, designed to restore customer confidence. Members, including Air France, Alitalia, Delta Air Lines and KLM, can now offer passengers an online travel requirement checker, information on testing sites, contactless boarding and pre-trip communications >> LEONARDO HOTELS opens its first hotel in Bristol in May, with 197 bedrooms, a fully-equipped gym, bar and restaurant >> ADVANTAGE TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP has partnered with Covid-19 PCR testing company Randox Health to halve the costs of tests to £60 for clients of Advantage TMCs. Randox has also joined with British Airways to offer the same discount (see Reality Check on page 42) <<

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 22

5/6/21 05:17 PM


The newS review

T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

B T A C O M M EBNT TA U P D AT E

different sides of the same coin The speed of recovery for the business and leisure travel industries is now very much in the hands of the Global Travel Taskforce and its much-anticipated traffic light scheme. Our two industries are united in hoping and lobbying for a strong and safe travel green list that can kickstart our economy once more. But, sadly, our two industries have not been treated the same way throughout this pandemic. Whilst leisure travel agents have been able to access additional financial support through the Government’s Additional Restrictions and Recovery Grant, our TMCs have been locked out of the scheme. Despite facing the identical challenges of plummeting sales, huge refund demands and a lack of traveller confidence, our business-focused community is being punished for its lack of presence on the High Street. These grants would offer a vital lifeline as we face more months of uncertainty. However, they alone will not solve the crisis we face. For this, we’re calling on the

clive wratten Chief Executive Officer

Government to not only be clear and transparent about the criteria for its traffic light list but to extend the furlough scheme for the worst affected industries. The business travel industry is suffering long-Covid. Business travel will not have recovered by September when the furlough scheme ends. We are therefore reluctantly asking for furlough to be extended until the end of 2021 so we can enter the new year as a leaner, more resilient and economically viable industry that’s ready and able to support UK plc. We stand beside the Government in prioritising public health and, of course, understand the need to keep our borders under review. However, business travel will be vital to the recovery of the aviation industry and the UK’s economy as a whole. We will be fighting to get business travel destinations onto the travel green list as soon as it is safe to do so – and I’m sure many across our industry will be supporting their leisure colleagues by booking a much-needed holiday.

Transatlantic move for aer lingus aer linGuS is to launch its first ever transatlantic flights direct from Manchester, starting this summer. Non-stop services to New York JFK and Orlando will begin on July 29, Barbados starts on October 20 and Boston services will commence in summer 2022. The New York route will be a daily service, Orlando five times a week and Barbados three times a week. Schedules for the Boston service have yet to be confirmed. The New York JFK and Boston flights will serve 58 onward destinations, with schedules designed to maximise onward connectivity to destinations such as Las Vegas, Nashville, and Jamaica. There will also be flights from Manchester to San Jose, Bermuda and Dallas for the first time.

adagio oPenS flagShiP aParThoTel in london aDaGiO has opened a second property in London – the flagship Aparthotel Adagio London Stratford. The new-build development has 136 self-catering apartments with staff on hand 24/7, a private gym, a small on-site convenience store and guest parking. Apartments comprise 100 two-person studios and 36 flats accommodating up to four people, all with fully-equipped kitchens.

Each apartment will feature the brand’s new “FACELIFT” concept, which promises a functional and contemporary design. The property will also serve as a pilot site of the brand’s new Digital Room Directory, where all customer enquiries can be answered by scanning a QR Code. Agagio now has six aparthotels in the UK, including London Brentford. A property in Sutton is set to open later this summer.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 23

23

5/6/21 05:17 PM


THE NEWS REVIEW

G O

O N L I N E

F O R

L A T E S T

N E W S

Travelperk funding will fuel growth

IN BRIEF Put to the test

IATA has partnered with Unilabs, the European diagnostic services provider, to incorporate Unilabs’ worldwide Covid-19 testing network into the IATA Travel Pass. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic has become the first UK airline to begin IATA Travel Pass live trials. A one-month pilot has begun on the airline’s London Heathrow to Barbados services.

Study time

Diversity Travel has set up a new division dedicated to group study trips. It comes after the TMC identified a "huge gap in the market" following the collapse of student travel specialist STA Travel. The new business will be headed up by Ellen Rayner, who joins from from STA as Groups Director and has already recruited five other former STA employees.

Boutique goes large

Billed by Edwardian Hotels London as the world’s first super boutique hotel, The Londoner has announced an opening date of September 2021. The 16-storey hotel in Leicester Square will have 350 guest rooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, and six "concept" eateries, including bars, a tavern, and a modern Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit. The hotel will also have an "expansive" ballroom, a variety of meeting and event spaces and a gym and wellness centre.

24

Ventur has been unveiled as the new name for leeds-based traveleads following extensive research. The new brand comes after the TMC acquired Omega Business travel in March and sterling last june.

Travelperk has raised $160 million in Series D equity and debt funding for the next phase of its expansion in the U.S. and Europe. Announcing the deal, the business travel platform said the move represents “a huge vote of confidence" from investors in the future of a "thriving new normal for the industry". The funding round was led by Greyhound Capital, along with existing investors, and brings the total investment raised to date to $294 million. The deal comes after TravelPerk bought risk management start-up Albatross last year and U.S.-based rival NexTravel in January 2021. “There is no doubt that from 2021 onwards the average business trip will look very different to how it did in 2019,” said Pogos Saiadian, investor at Greyhound Capital. “But we are confident that business travel will recover and thrive in the years ahead.”

Buyers predict rise in sustainability focus

Advantage reschedules conference

Sustainability has seen a sharp climb in focus since the start of the pandemic, with 76% of travel buyers saying it will increase in importance in 2021 and beyond. This compares with a figure of 37% when buyers were asked the same question 12 months ago. Despite the new emphasis, an April poll of 123 members of ITM found 75% of buyers do not know what percentage of their organisation’s emissions is linked to business travel. But the survey indicated that progress is being made as 62% of buyers are now including sustainability consideration in all RFPs, while 40% have already implemented travel programme emissions targets and 26% have introduced carbon offsetting. See our feature on page 10 for more on sustainability.

ADVANTAGE Travel Partnership has postponed its annual conference until 2022 due to the uncertainty surrounding the opening up of international travel and green list destinations. The event, which was due to take place from May 21-24 at the Savoy Palace Hotel in Madeira, will now be held between April 29 and May 2 2022 at the same location. In an announcement the travel trade group said the decision was based on the current uncertainties about vaccine passports, testing and quarantine requirements and other travel restrictions.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 24

5/6/21 05:17 PM


The newS review

T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

aMadeuS reSearch indicaTeS willingneSS To Travel

Boutique brand takes over York landmark MalMaiSOn will open its first boutique hotel in York in late May, in the former landmark Aviva insurance building. The hotel is on the corner of Rougier Street, close to York railway station, and will have 150 rooms and suites with views across York Minster and York's City Walls. As well as the signature Chez Mal Brasserie & Bar, a rooftop skybar will serve cocktails and Asian tapas. An extension to the rear of the building will house Malmaison’s Work+Play facilities, with meeting pods for hourly use or longer term co-working space, conference rooms and event space for up to 150 guests. Guests will also be able to use the hotel's spa, Technogym, and an on-site Starbucks with an outdoor terrace.

a StuDy by Amadeus found the vast majority of frequent travellers would be comfortable to travel today as long as the right safety measures were in place. Its survey of 1,400 regular business travellers in the UK, U.S., France, Germany, Spain, India and Japan found 84% would be happy to travel now. Among the most frequent travellers the figure rose to 87%. When respondents were asked to rank the measures that would need to be implemented, the highest priority was Covid-19

[ NEWS BITES ] >> CHEVAL COLLECTION has unveiled an extension to Cheval Old Town Chambers in Edinburgh. From mid July, the property will have 25 new apartments (bringing the total to 75), a reception area and guest lounge >> CYCAS HOSPITALITY has signed three hotel management agreements in Europe. In a deal with Eastern & Oriental it will manage the group’s first European serviced apartment, The Lincoln Suites, a 54-room luxury property opening in Holburn in autumn 2021. Cycas has also taken over the management of the 148-room Qbic Brussels and the 261-room Qbic Manchester, opening in May >> NYX HOTELS, a new luxury brand from Leonardo Hotels, opens its first hotel on May 17. The NYX Hotel London Holborn will have 213 bedrooms and suites, a bar, restaurant and spa. A rooftop events space opens in 2022 <<

PriVate jet sPecialist grows fleet to meet 'urgent' demand viStaJet has received delivery of the first two of its Global 7500 aircraft. Up to 12 of the aircraft are set to join its fleet over the next two years, the majority of which are expected to be delivered during 2022. VistaJet has also announced the order of 10 new Challenger 350 planes from long-standing partner Bombardier, citing “growing and urgent” demand from corporates in the supermid segment.

medical insurance along with up-to-date information on health and travel restrictions for each destination. This was closely followed by hygiene information about the hotel or office they would be visiting and the ability to pay with contactless methods. Rudy Daniello, Amadeus Executive Vice President Corporations, said: “Our findings show that travellers are eager to travel if the right safety measures are in place, which is hugely encouraging for the business travel industry."

67%

in favour of vaccine passports

In a poll of 1,000 U.S. business travellers who travelled regularly before the pandemic, 67% said they are in favour of a vaccine passport. The survey was carried out by eco-friendly product specialist Promoleaf, in conjunction with Censuswide

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

General News V17.indd 25

25

5/6/21 05:17 PM


THE REVIEW

O N

T H E

M O V E

EVENTS JULY 12

TBTM DINNER CLUB Corinthia London thebusinesstravelmag.com

SEPTEMBER 14-15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

MICHELLE MCKINNEY FRYMIRE

MARTIN PEARCE

CHRIS CROWLEY

JOINS: Focus Travel Partnership AS: Consultant FROM: Omega Business Travel

PROMOTED AT: CWT TO: CEO FROM: Chief Financial Officer

JOINS: Duetto AS: Senior Vice President Sales FROM: Nina & Pinta

Martin Pearce, the founder and former owner of Omega Business Travel, which was sold to Traveleads (now Ventur) in March, has joined Focus Travel Partnership as a consultant.

Michelle McKinney Frymire has been promoted to CEO of CWT. She replaces Kurt Ekert, who has stepped down as CEO but will take on the role of senior advisor to the company.

Duetto has appointed Chris Crowley to its Executive Leadership team as SVP of Sales to lead its global sales organisation. He joins from consultancy firm Nina & Pinta.

NORA LOVELL MARCHANT

DONNA FITZGERALD

London Hilton Bankside (evening event) thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 1

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW ExCel London btn.businesstravelshow.com

OCTOBER 5

TBTM DINNER CLUB Corinthia London thebusinesstravelmag.com

OCTOBER 13-15

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Weisbaden europeconference.gbta.org

NOVEMBER 17-19

GBTA CONVENTION 2021 Orlando convention.gbta.org

APRIL 26-27 2022

ITM CONFERENCE Brighton Hilton Metroopole itm.org.uk

PROMOTED AT: American Express GBT TO: Vice President Global Sustainability FROM: Director of Global Regulatory Compliance

Amex GBTA has promoted Nora Lovell Marchant to the newly-created role of VP Global Sustainability to help the TMC meet sustainability targets.

SIMONE BUCKLEY

PROMOTED AT: Capita Travel and Events TO: Chief Operating Officer FROM: Director of Sales and Solutions

JOINS: TripActions AS: Vice President Marketing EMEA FROM: Fello Travel

Capita Travel and Events has promoted Donna Fitzgerald to its executive team as Chief Operating Officer. She has been with the company for 30 years and replaces Nel Flint.

Simone Buckley, former CEO of Fello Travel, has joined TripActions as Vice President of Marketing EMEA. Before Fello she was CEO of the Institute of Travel Management.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Festive Road has appointed Thiago Castro to its data and analytics team. He has over 15 years of experience in industry, including roles at Amex GBT, IBM, United Airlines and Air France >> HBAA has appointed Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, and Gareth Warnock, Group Sales Director of De Vere, as venue sector advisors to the Board >> Former Bridgestreet Global Head of Sales, Juliet Howie, has joined Reside Worldwide as VP Global Enterprise Sales >> Marriott International has appointed Jerome Briet as Chief Development Officer EMEA while Carlton Ervin has become Global Development Officer for Marriott’s International portfolio >> The BTA has appointed Andrew Clarke, formerly a director with Egencia, as Interim Strategic Director <<

APRIL 29-MAY 2 2022

ADVANTAGE TRAVEL CONFERENCE Savoy Palace Hotel, Madeira advantageconference.co.uk

EXPERTS AT TALENT RECRUITM EN T, DEVELOPMENT AND RET E N TI ON . Dedicated to the business travel sector.

Please note that due to pandemic restrictions, some of the above events might be postponed, cancelled or switched to virtual events

Contact us to discuss our solutions. +44 (0)1932 562007 | hello@siriustalent.co.uk | www.siriustalent.co.uk Untitled-2 1

26

26/04/2021 16:14

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

On The Move V12.indd 26

5/6/21 02:48 PM


[ Subscribe for free ]

Sign up to receive the magazine and our online newsletter at: thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe

TBTM subs advert 85 v2.indd 1

5/6/21 06:31 PM


TRAVELLER SAFETY TECHNOLOGY

Digital

REVOLUTION Technological transformation in business travel is happening so fast it’s hard to keep up, says Bev Fearis

28

They had realised that, as we emerged from the crisis, we would all be relying on touchless, virtual, and cloud-based technology, to keep our travellers safe and restore their confidence. “As we return to business travel, travel technology will be more critical than ever before to ensure a seamless and safe experience for the traveller and the proper duty of care that travel managers and their businesses require,” says Simone Buckley, VP Marketing TripActions. “This includes features that offer real-time visibility, such as live reporting, traveller maps, Covid-19 dashboards, as well as integrated health and safety tools, such as digital health passports and trip change notifications.”

Full throttle

Of course, many of these solutions would have eventually come into being even without Covid, but nowhere near as quickly. “Very few of these trends are new, but they are moving fast and are significantly impacted by the new needs of our companies, colleagues and travellers as we emerge, as a diverse geographically spread workforce, into a post-Covid hybrid world,” says Chris Crowley, who was recently appointed Senior Vice President Of Global Sales at Duetto. Rudy Daniello, Amadeus EVP Corporations, agrees: “Most companies had these transformation tasks on their to-do list anyway, but the pandemic has shone a very bright light on some of the shortcomings

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Technology v7.indd 28

5/6/21 04:51 PM

AF-STUDIO ISTOCK.COM

I

n the first six months of the pandemic, while we were all busy baking banana bread, clapping for the NHS and buying puppies, a technological transformation was taking place – a transformation so significant that, according to a report from Amadeus and the Business Travel Association, it would usually have taken place over two to three years. Even in the early days of the Covid outbreak, before many of us had understood its significance and the enormous impact it would have on our daily lives, somewhere in the world there were teams of clever travel techies tapping, clicking and swiping at their screens to develop digital solutions we didn’t even know we needed.


TRAVELLER TECHNOLOGY SAFETY

business travellers have tolerated for too long,” he says. “It’s already clear that strategic technology projects in areas like contactless services, biometric digital identity and digital payments and expense are being accelerated at a rapid pace.”

AF-STUDIO ISTOCK.COM

Starting block

Amadeus and the traditional technology companies have been busy developing and tweaking their products while a host of newbies have entered the travel technology marketplace. The trouble now for many corporates, perhaps, is that there is simply too much choice. So, if you haven’t already embraced the digital revolution, where do you start? “You’ve got to take that leap of faith,” says Jeff Berk, CEO of TripKick, a tech add-on for corporate travel programmes. “Technology is not something to be feared. It’s not always about replacing what’s being done. In a lot of ways you’re adding new ways, you’re not necessarily stopping with the old ways, so it shouldn’t be scary. For example, I now use Slack but I can still email; I text but I can still call people. People can transition when they’re ready.” He believes now is the time for travel managers to be having conversations with their senior executives and travellers about exploring new technologies. “Executives are expecting this. They are expecting travel to look very different, and your travellers are expecting travel to look

very different. Nobody wants to see travel programmes resume where they left off.” It’s important, he says, to keep an eye on what those around you are doing. “Remember, yours is not the first department within your company that’s going through a digital transformation. There is a lot to be learned out there from the other parts of your business and also from your peers in the industry,” he advises.

Automatic override

Karen Hutchings, Global Travel, Meetings & Events Leader for EY, says technology should be used to automate the simple, repetitive tasks and free up time for the rich interactions that we all thrive on. Forced to cut her workforce by one third in the crisis, the department was able to continue operating effectively thanks to its ‘digital workforce’. “Most companies will already be using a digital workforce in some way,” she says. “What we did was find out where we were using it and looked at how we could adapt it. It’s about understanding what the technology can do and how it can help. "Once you get that understanding, you can take away the simple, mundane and repetitive tasks and this means you can make everybody’s roles more meaningful and interesting and we can have those human interactions that we are all craving right now,” she says. “Be curious, go and learn. It doesn’t mater what stage you’re at. We should all be

The pandemic has shone a very bright light on some of the shortcomings business travellers have tolerated for too long” curious. There are so many new companies sitting in our space and there are new things happening all the time, and if there isn’t anything out there you can build things yourself which can enhance the experience of your people and your customers.” Jerry Hubbard, Vice President Customer Office and Professional Services EMEA at Blue Prism, believes it’s all about being selective. “The worse thing you can do is go digital for digital’s sake,” he says. “Sometimes we are overwhelmed by technology. You have to take a holistic view and look at which tasks are high impact, high effort. Technology should be the enabler, the tool to help us thrive, and propel our businesses forward."

THE 2021 TECH HOTLIST Entries are now open for our 2021 Tech Hotlist, which will showcase the best technological innovations in the business travel sector. Email us at hotlist@bmipublishing.co.uk

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Technology v7.indd 29

29

5/6/21 04:51 PM


TALKING TRAVEL

Born Survivor

Bear Grylls Survival expert Bear Grylls OBE talks awe-inspiring adventures, peak escapades, respect for nature…and home schooling

H

e’s survived tsunamis, sharks and sky falls in some of the most hostile environments on Earth. Jungles, deserts, mountains and mangroves… paragliding, ice climbing, base jumping, wrestling alligators, running through forest fires, free climbing waterfalls with apparent ease… the quest-list is endless. Eager to test his boundaries in new places and follow the path less trodden, he’s pushed himself to the limits planetwide. Boundless Bear Grylls has proudly led record-breaking expeditions, from Antarctica to the Arctic, and conquered challenges for countless charities worldwide. It’s more a case of where HASN’T he been in the name of adventure. His familiar face embodies the ‘Above and Beyond’ spirit, with travels for the latter taking him to the world’s first designated wilderness area, New Mexico’s protected Gila National Forest, and beyond. Grylls gears up to rise to the challenge wherever he goes. “Adventure has always been in my DNA,” he says. His appetite for adventure began at an early age. “My biggest inspiration is my dad, a former royal marine commando and politician, and always an adventurer at heart,” he says. “My earliest adventure memories are of climbing with him on the sea cliffs and sailing around the Isle of Wight, where he taught me the fundamentals of adventure: keep moving towards the mountain before you, even if it scares you; respect and humility mean more than wealth and status; and, above all, never give up.” The foundations established, by 18 he’d helped develop mountaineering and martial 30

arts clubs at Eton College, learnt to skydive and mastered the martial art of Karate. After leaving school, and a spot of train surfing in India and hiking in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim and West Bengal, the ardent adventurer studied languages at university (Spanish and German) before becoming a soldier in the British Special Forces, serving with 21 SAS and honing his survival skills. What lights the fire in Grylls’ belly? “Life is all about that tenacity and dogged determination to keep going despite the overwhelming odds. This is the key for any

You can’t take the wild for granted, and it’s that volatility that’s the magic. Respect the wild and never forget, Earth does not belong to us. We belong to Earth” survival situation, as well as for life in general,” he says. “I’ve had to work hard all my life at goals, and that has kept my inside ‘effort’ muscle strong and trained. It was my late father who inspired me to keep going, have big dreams and to see failure as stepping stones to success.” The seasoned traveller says surviving some of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges has taught him of the world’s unpredictability. “You can’t take the wild for granted, and it’s that volatility that’s the magic. Respect the wild and never forget, Earth does not belong to us. We belong to Earth,” he says.

One of his closest shaves was on Mount Everest. “We had four climbers lose their lives up there during the three months I was on that mountain and I very nearly lost mine down a deep crevasse. “I had a bunch of close calls on that mountain. No summit is ever worth a life but I look back on it hugely grateful to have survived it and hugely grateful for the friendships made. I will never forget that summit. Seeing the curvature of the world at the edges was amazing.” As for Britain’s biggest escapades, “You don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to experience incredible adventures,” Grylls reveals. “Sometimes, the best things are found right here, at home." His epic journey of discovery across the British Isles for ITV saw our own shores at their most spectacular, highlighting Britain's spectacular landscapes galore. The world-famous adventurer’s home is actually afloat – formerly a Polar explorer’s houseboat he’s converted on the Thames. “London’s the most fun, exciting city there is,” he says, and he'll soon be making the leap to dry land, having recently bought a pad in Battersea’s historic Power Station where he’s already enjoyed some abseiling exploits. “We love the spirit of the place. They’ve created a brilliant dynamic community there, and we feel privileged to be part of it.” Lockdown adventures, meanwhile, saw the adrenaline seeker train daily with the veteran-run business he co-owns, Be Military Fit (BMF). “Oh, and home schooling… now that’s an adventure!”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Talking Travel V5.indd 30

5/6/21 11:57 AM


TALKING TRAVEL

Bear Grylls has launched the world's first Bear Grylls Explorers Camp on the UAE's highest peak, Jebel Jais. Courses are suitable for all abilities and ages (between 8 -70) and cover everything from the 'Bear' necessities to challenging hardcore explorers, including practical life-saving skills and extreme-weather survival. See beargryllscamp.ae. His new autobiography Never Give Up, published by Penguin, is out on October 14 2021

IMAGE: ALBERTO CARACES

BEAR GRYLLS

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Talking Travel V5.indd 31

31

5/6/21 11:57 AM


INSIGHT

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT

THREE-WAY JUNCTION Distinct new travel management roles are emerging post Covid, says industry expert Scott Gillespie

L

ike it or not, we have entered the third era of managed travel, one grounded on questioning the need for travel. We’ve been forced to adopt virtual meetings, forced to adapt to working from home, and forced to recognise that meetings, not travel, create the value businesses crave. We must accept that a good chunk of business travel will be permanently replaced by virtual meetings and the imperative to do business in a more sustainable manner.

The pandemic has ushered in the Great Travel Reset – a massive disruption opening a window for radically rethinking the goals and strategies for managing travel. The future of managed travel will be built on smaller corporate budgets, which will mean more contention about who gets to travel, and why. More time will be spent managing travel demand and rejecting trip requests. In the new era, we can expect to see fewer but more important trips, done by fewer and more important travellers.

What hasn’t changed is the need for meetings. The question of how to meet will loom large. When will meeting in person be notably better than yet one more virtual meeting? How will management recognise the need to meet in person more often? What can be done to help travellers achieve more successful results from their meetings? It's now much less about getting people to meetings and much more about the value of the meeting itself. The implications for business travel are large. Fortunately, these questions open up new career paths and these three roles are immediately relevant:

The Travel Strategist

This role is not for the fainthearted. To do this job you must own the question “How will we recognise if we are travelling too little or too much?” You will need to drive consensus for measuring important yet frustratingly subjective symptoms such as decays in trust, weaker collaborations and less impressive innovations. You’ll carry the burden of linking business travel to the achievement of key business goals. You will strive to own the answer of when and where more travel is needed, and why. You will need to be an impartial framer of the trade-offs between the cost of travel and its benefits. You will regularly and credibly challenge senior management to make better use of travel budgets and travellers’ time. This is a pioneering role; one which no organisation, to my knowledge, has yet funded. And to any brave soul who takes this bait, i say this: know that this will be by far the most impactful role one can have in travel management.

The Travellers’ Champion

This role is for those more comfortable synthesizing than pioneering. Here you will own the question “How can we make our travellers safer, healthier, more willing to travel and more likely to succeed on their trips?” Not an easy remit, but one with a fairly clear path forward. You’ll build on the good work already done in the fields of duty of care and traveller friction, and integrate key findings relevant to traveller health and wellbeing.

32

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

InsightScott v13.indd 32

5/6/21 04:17 PM


INSIGHT

You’ll borrow insights from trainers of professional athletes with respect to diet, exercise, stress management, sleep, concentration and relaxation. You’ll extoll the benefits of putting travellers in the best position to succeed at their jobs, on trip and off. You’ll steer the redesign of travel policies and push for the adoption of technologies that put the traveller first. As with the travel strategist’s role, you’ll need to develop new metrics, measure trip success and track traveller wellbeing. These metrics will become the new North stars of your travel programme.

The Meetings Maximizer

This role goes far beyond managed travel’s borders. For this you must own the difficult question “How can we make ALL of our meetings more impactful?” Note that the need to travel is a small subset of the need to meet. Why not swing for the fences and tackle the far bigger problem of the wasted time we spend sitting

in mediocre meetings? Fear not, for there is a wealth of excellent resources waiting to be put to work on this epic problem. Take this path and you will quickly learn about the proven tools and techniques from the field of meetings science. Note that this is very different from event planning. Think more about training people to be better meeting facilitators, and less about venue selection and registration sites. You might decide to team up with your HR colleagues or go solo as you break this new trail. Rest assured that every company needs fewer and better meetings. Find the keys to this problem and you’ll always have a long career runway. SCOTT GILLESPIE An expert on travel management, procurement, analytics and traveller friction, Scott Gillespie has provided training and consultancy to many of the Fortune 500 companies and to the U.S. Government. He is Industry Advisor at tClara LLC.

The future of managed travel will be built on small corporate budgets, which will mean more contention about who gets to travel, and why”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

InsightScott v13.indd 33

33

5/6/21 04:18 PM


RAIL

Is this seat

Taken?

Trains are set to play a big part in corporate travel's recovery but there’s still work to be done to reassure travellers, says Dave Richardson

Avanti West Coast

34

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Rail Feature v10.indd 34

5/6/21 11:52 AM


RaIL

I

t’s a bit of a catch 22. Rail is widely tipped to play a critical role as Britain’s domestic business travel recovers but first corporate travellers need the confidence to get back on trains at a time when, inevitably, carriages will be getting busier. Passenger usage of the rail network slumped to between 10% and 20% of prepandemic levels during the last lockdown, with commuter operators the worst affected. Empty station car parks clearly demonstrated the impact. The cost of subsidising train operators since Covid hit is enormous, put at £10 billion even before the latest lockdown began. So, are cutbacks and higher fare increases inevitable further down the line? At the end of last year American Express GBT produced a report called Let’s Go by Train. Designed to help understand how to put rail at the heart of business travel, the report identifies areas where rail is not meeting customer expectations and calls for more dialogue and data sharing across the industry. Key points include bringing business travel into the rail industry conversation; setting up a single authority to oversee rail and monitor data sharing; investing to improve reliability; extending connectivity and boosting regional growth; and giving commuters a fairer deal in the age of hybrid working. Jason Geall, GBT Senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA, says: “Our customers have been engaging with the Let’s Go by Train report, with one financial services company deciding to integrate rail into their RFP process while another asked us to review their HR policy and use of season ticket loans and purchase options. “Our report opened a conversation with customers and key industry stakeholders, but we want to build on the momentum and take the campaign to the next level. "Over the next months, we want to bring together key stakeholders across rail – retailers, infrastructure, and technology providers – to better understand the needs of our corporate clients and travellers.”

Sustainability and competitive end-to-end journey times are expected to drive the demand for rail, along with more regional travel as commuting declines. Geall welcomes the Safer Travel Pledge introduced by Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators and Network Rail, and he expects fares reform and a greater focus on customer engagement to emerge from a longdelayed government review of rail. Known as the Williams Review, it was delivered to ministers in autumn 2019, but not made public, and has subsequently been overtaken by events. Author and former British Airways chief Keith Williams has since said the franchise model was to end, which in effect happened after Covid hit anyway when the Government took control of all passenger train operators, paying them a premium of up to 1.5% of costs to run services, linked to targets.

Capacity constraints

Business Travel Association (BTA) CEO Clive Wratten says the Williams Review should still be published, despite the enormous impact of Covid since it was written. He welcomes an increased focus on customer experience and says he doesn’t feel that train operators will be any less innovative even though they are no longer facing the same financial risk. “We still need to understand what the Williams Review means by the end of 

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Rail Feature v10.indd 35

35

5/6/21 11:53 AM


RaIL

franchising, and innovation and product improvement must be key,” he says. “Our members need access to more ticket types as rail will play a huge part in corporate travel recovery. It will grow for reasons of safety, sustainability and a shift from commuter to longer distance travel.” Wratten feels the rail industry has done “a pretty good job” with enhanced cleaning of trains and stations but believes more comprehensive and common guidelines across all operators would be welcome. Scott Davies, CEO of the ITM, adds: “It will be important for rail operators to overprovide on capacity as travel begins to build again. Perceptions will be important to optimise traveller confidence and so minimising experiences of overcrowding will certainly help." To help manage social distancing onboard, rail operators have reduced seating capacity and are strongly recommending that customers book their tickets in advance and reserve a seat on their preferred service to guarantee they will be able to travel. "Reservations help us to monitor demand, and once a train reaches its allocated seat capacity in line with social distancing we then remove it from our booking platforms so no more advance tickets can be sold for that train," says Avanti West Coast. "We’re also recommending that people buy tickets through our website or app before travelling and choose a contactless, digital ticket. Passengers can book a minimum of five minutes before their scheduled departure time." Those booking on LNER's website can see when trains are likely to be quieter by looking out for green seats. Other operators, such as Southern Rail, are adding

AVANTI WEST CoAST

36

CHILTERN RAILWAYS

alerts to services in Journey Planners where it expect trains to be busy. Supplying capacity over and above demand, of course, presents challenges and one of the biggest worries is what it means for pricing. "Buyers are concerned that if fares increase as a result, the medium-term effect will be to suppress a sustained recovery,” says ITM's Davies. David Sykes, Corporate Product Manager of FCM/Flight Centre, says mandatory seat reservations, spacing out of seat allocations, mask wearing and continued additional cleaning will all help boost confidence. He adds: “Whilst there will, eventually, have to be an acceptance of being in closer confines with other members of the public than we’ve become used to, measures like these should be feasible to continue with as volumes increase and will certainly ease people’s concerns at the start.” The indications are that the Government will not step back from funding major rail infrastructure developments, despite the overall financial outlook, the negative media coverage of HS2 construction works and continuing delays to opening Crossrail through central London, regarded by some

Perceptions will be important to optimise traveller confidence, and so minimising experiences of overcrowding will certainly help" as a white elephant in a post-Covid age. It has released £760 million to open the first phase of East West Rail between Oxford and Milton Keynes by 2025 and created a fund to support feasibility studies into reopening closed lines. Northern Powerhouse Rail continues to plan better services across the North, while even the idea of a rail tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland has been floated. The Government may 'talk big' but if rail usage does not return significantly in the next 12 months some serious questions will need to be asked. Corporate travel can be a major contributor but only if business travellers feel confident to take that allimportant first step and get back on board.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Rail Feature v10.indd 36

5/6/21 11:53 AM


Untitled-1 1 Untitled-2

12/04/2021 15:11 5/6/21 12:18 PM


RAIL

INSIGHT

STAY ON TRACK Rail specialist Raj Sachdave of Black Box Partnerships outlines the latest train travel trends

A

s lockdowns ease and domestic business travel resumes, train travel is widely tipped to play a bigger part in many corporate travel programmes, and rightly so. Here are some of the major trends and issues that travel buyers should be aware of.

Let’s get digital

Way before the pandemic there was a shift to digitisation within UK rail, in some ways playing catch up with the rest of the world. When I say digital, I don't mean simply moving away from those orange tickets, it’s about the use of information pre, during and post rail travel in equal measure. Information, such as how busy is my train or station, where to stand on platforms and information on assurance and performance, are all there to be utilised and integrated into the business traveller experience. Meanwhile the rollout of eTickets across the rail network has been supercharged, although some of the basics still need attention. For one, the ability to validate the ‘scanning’ of an eTicket is a must for Duty of Care and for agencies to be able to perform support functions such as automated refunds.

Happy customers

All operators have DfT oversight under new commercial arrangements that came into play from 2020. This means operators will need to measure and illustrate customer satisfaction in order to ‘qualify’ for points to climb the ladder - and we all know what points mean, right? Furthermore, many agencies have been capturing NPS and customer satisfaction scores and interacting with organisations on traveller sentiment whilst on the move, so there’s an opportunity to define how to collaborate with operators in a more structured fashion. Look out for 'Wavelength', which is the DfTapproved, industry-wide satisfaction framework.

60 million and counting

That’s the number of fare and journey combinations in the UK alone. Yikes, no wonder UK rail is confusing. The industry is getting poised to look at rail fares and pricing (including the headache of split ticketing) through a formal consultation. We should all be getting ready to add our views and insight. Be vocal. For years, both corporates and TMCs have been frustrated about why flexibility comes at a super high

premium, and why buying the most expensive rail fare doesn’t even guarantee a seat. These are challenges that need to be resolved once and for all. Inventory technology for rail has been upgraded and there are a number of opportunities to move distribution to a more personalised framework, ensuring more relevant fares, pricing and business traveller products.

All the ‘ilities’

Rail is a posterchild not just for sustainability but also for productivity, suitability, accessibility and flexibility. Rebuilding travel volumes both by profile and spend is happening with carbon neutrality at its core. This is great news, so let’s not get seduced by other modes of transport that may give the impression of feeling safer or giving you bonus points. Rail oozes confidence and assurances that other modes cannot offer consistently. Measuring the ROI of travel is a hot topic and the threshold to travel needs to be validated with rigour. Rail is a smart choice that can be measured with ease and fewer touchpoints. Let’s move to a deeper conversation.

Death of the commute

We all love routine, right, but not Monday to Friday. Believe it or not, this isn’t a pandemic phenomenon. Back in 2018, with commuter traffic falling, the rail industry stood back to reflect. Movement of staff to home based or virtual has long been a strategy for many organisations as they evaluate the ‘seat cost’ of their office space. Technology and cloud-based services mean you can work from anywhere, so why the need to commute daily on a full-fat season ticket? There isn’t! With many employers now switching contracts to home based comes an opportunity to aggregate business commuter spend with rail spend. Have a holistic discussion with your TMC and operators to ensure there’s a smarter customer experience and service on offer.

Raj Sachdave is Managing Partner of Black Box Partnerships, a specialist consultancy that creates a value-driven approach in travel through smarter and faster exploitation of technology and supplier partnerships.

38

ISTOCK.COM/TEEKID

RAJ SACHDAVE

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Rail Insight v10.indd 38

5/6/21 06:35 PM


At SWR we are doing everything we can to keep you safe when travelling by train. Get our free Touch Smartcard and you can book a range of tickets online from home, before you travel, to minimise contact at every stage of your journey. Search ‘SWR smartcard’. Stay safe. Travel Smart. Untitled-2 1 Untitled-1 1

26/10/2020 12:56 26/02/2021 14:11 3/1/21 03:06 PM


AWARDS

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE The Business Travel People Awards will look and feel different this year, with new categories, new faces on the judging panel and an exciting new format for the ceremony itself. Here’s what’s in store for 2021

MORE CHANCE TO SHINE IN RECOGNITION of the significant changes taking place in business travel and the challenges the people in our industry are working hard to overcome, we’ve refreshed our award categories for 2021. Six new awards have been introduced to reflect major trends and to give as many people as possible – even those who have been furloughed or displaced – the credit they deserve. This year, more of our awards are open to both individuals and teams, including teams where some of the key players might not currently be in full-time employment or might no longer be with the company. Four of the awards are dedicated to efforts and achievements relating to specific initiatives – duty of care, Covid-19 support, customer

Watch this space because closer to the date we will be giving away free ceremony tickets to some of those who have sadly been displaced”

40

wellbeing and business transformation. A special award will go to a Change Champion Leader who has made significant and impactful change within their business, sector or in the wider industry. In addition, a new Industry Contribution Award will be given to an outstanding doesn't matter which area of the leader, innovator, and influencer supply chain you work in. As long as whose contribution, throughout your achievements are related to their career, has bought real and business travel, you could win one of positive change to the business our prestigious awards. travel industry. Nominations have come in All of the awards will thick and fast and, as acknowledge always, competition is outstanding fierce. Join us on individuals and September 15 to teams whose celebrate with the professionalism worthy winners, and and business watch this space excellence make With special thanks because closer to the them stand out from to our sponsors date we will be giving away their industry peers. free tickets to the awards For the first time, we’ve ceremony to some of those who opened up the majority of categories have sadly been displaced. to all sectors of the industry too, so it

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM

TBTP_Awards_DPS_v8.indd 40

5/6/21 05:34 PM


AWARDS

INTRODUCING OUR PANEL OF EXPERT JUDGES... AS ALWAYS, entries for The Business Travel People Awards will be judged by a panel of esteemed industry experts. For the second year, the panel will be led by Chair Leigh Cowlishaw, Joint Managing Partner of Black Box Partnerships, Global Supplier Partnership Director for the Advantage Travel Partnership and former Chair of the HBAA. “It was an honour and a pleasure to chair the judging panel for last year’s People Awards and I jumped at the chance to take the chair for the second time, especially in this special 10th anniversary year,” she says. “Once again, we have chosen astute and highly-respected individuals to form our team of independent and impartial judges. Selecting the right mix of judges has been hugely important to us, ensuring the panel represents a range of knowledge, expertise and skills from across the sector.” Joining the panel this year is Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA, who was the winner of a special award in 2020 for individual excellence in approach and actions during Covid-19. “I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel for the People Awards,” says Wratten. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the best in the business. Our industry is driven by our people, today more than ever, and their work and passion for travel deserves to be recognised.” New judges in 2021 also include James Foice, Chief Executive of ASAP, Sonia Michaels, Head of Business Travel Services and Events at the Advantage Travel Partnership, and Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director at the HBAA. Joining the panel to represent the buyer

community is Carol Fergus, Director Global Travel, Meetings and Ground Transportation at Fidelity International, Ian Blackie, EMEA Travel Manager at Bloomberg, and Rod Richardson, Deputy Head of Travel EMEA at UBS. Following tradition, the winner of the previous year’s Rising Star award is also invited to be a judge and we’re delighted that Peter Snowdon, who was recently promoted to Director of Commercial UK for TAG, will be joining the panel this year. “I feel very honoured to be joining the judging panel and look forward, in what has been such a difficult period for the industry, to take time to celebrate and recognise all the positive achievements of the past 12-18 months,” he said. “I’m excited to see what creative things the nominees have been doing to support each other, clients and suppliers during these unimaginable times for travel. Having won an award last year I know how much these awards mean and the effort that goes into each and every nomination, so I am looking forward to hearing the passion in the nominations and to reminding ourselves what a fantastic industry we’re part of.” Alongside these new additions, we’re pleased to welcome back on to the judging panel Cilla Goldberger, Managing Director at ABT-UK; Emma Lamb, Global Travel Safety and Security Specialist at Milestone Tech @ Facebook; Elizabeth Anderson, Manager Global Travel Operations at Inmarsat; Consultant Jan Jacobsen; Lee Whiteing, Commercial Director at Global Secure Accreditation, and Nikki Rogan, Global Travel Director at Fujitsu. Pictured from top: Juliet Price, Peter Snowdon and Clive Wratten.

TIME TO PARTY IT’S THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY of the awards so we’re stepping up to the occasion with a new format. Instead of the usual sit-down lunch, we’ll be celebrating in style at a fun and informal evening at the Hilton London Bankside on September 15. The awards will be a fitting finale to The Business Travel Conference, which takes place at the same venue on September 14-15. The fabulous ballroom of the London Hilton Bankside will be transformed into a glittering party space where we can catch up with friends and colleagues and enjoy top entertainment.

After all this time apart, we all want to make the most of seeing each other face-to-face again” “We are mindful of time and budget restraints at this time, especially with more of us now working outside of the capital, so we decided to coincide the awards and the conference this year," says Kirsty Hicks, Publisher of The Business Travel Magazine, which organises both events. “After all this time apart, we all want to make the most of seeing each other face-to-face again and our new party-style ceremony is designed to ensure maximum networking. "It's set to be a night to remember. We can’t wait to see you there.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM

TBTP_Awards_DPS_v8.indd 41

41

5/6/21 05:34 PM


DEPARTURES

Reality check RANDOX HE ALTH COVI D T E ST ING SE R V ICE , W IT H ADVANTAG E T R AV E L PAR T NE R SHIP OVERVIEW

The Advantage Travel

end of the swab over my tonsils. I also

Partnership has partnered with Covid-

found it slightly difficult to break the

19 testing company, Randox Health, to

plastic swab to fit it into the tube, but

provide discounted PCR tests to

apart from that it was all pretty

travellers through its TMC members.

straightforward. Test done, I registered

Clients are given a code which reduces

my sample on the Randox website,

the price of each test from £120 to £60.

providing my contact details and a URN

Randox also offers the same discounted

number which was printed on several

price to British Airways' customers.

stickers in my testing kit.

Ordering my pre-

BOOKING

THE RETURN

This is where things

departure PCR test was a simple

got a bit tricky. I live just outside

process on the Randox website, similar

Brighton, but at the time of doing my

to an Amazon purchase. It was clear

my test (end of April) the closest

where to add the discount code. I was

Randox drop box was in Croydon - a

asked to provide basic details, such as

38-mile, 1hr drive away. The alternative

my name and address, and to say

was a DX drop location at Gatwick, still

whether my test was part of the test

a 21-mile, 28-minute drive (and this

and release scheme. Clear instructions

would mean my sample would take

about the service were provided in

longer to get to the lab). When I

several ways, including a short video.

contacted Randox to ask for alternative

THE TEST

My test arrived in the

options, I was told that I was lucky

out of its drop boxes in time for the easing of travel restrictions on May 17.

ORDERING MY PCR TEST WAS A SIMPLE PROCESS, SIMILAR TO AN AMAZON PURCHASE

My test result (negative) came the following morning by email. THE VERDICT

Provided there are

more drop boxes available to return

post two days later in a small cardboard

because I lived on the "route back to

box. Each item in the kit was attributed

the helicopter" so a courier could collect

a letter, which made it easier to know

it from my home. It was collected two

what to do. As with previous tests, I

hours later, for free. I was also told that

Tests cost from £60

found it very uncomfortable to rub the

Randox is rapidly ramping up the roll-

Bev Fearis

samples, this is a simple and efficient service. I felt I was in good hands. THE DETAILS

randoxhealth.com

HOT E L : HYAT T R E G E NCY PHNO M PE NH THE HOTEL

After breaking ground

THE ROOM

My 49 m2 King Palace

in 2016, this addition to the Hyatt

View Deluxe category suite (room 801)

Regency family had a low-key opening in

had views of the Royal Palace and the

early January due to Covid-19 travel

Mekong River, king-size bed, and

restrictions. In the Doun Penh district of

65-inch Smart TV. The mini-bar was

Cambodia’s capital city, the 247-room

well-stocked with locally-sourced drinks

hotel blends modern urban with

and snacks. Individually-controlled air-

traditional Khmer architecture.

conditioning and a lighting set-up that

COVID STRATEGY

Enhanced

cleanliness and wellbeing measures are evident throughout the hotel, reflecting

doesn’t require a degree to navigate are welcome touches for weary travellers. THE BUSINESS

The multi-functional

the Global Biorisk Advisory Council

desk with data port, ergonomic chair

STAR accreditation held by all Hyatt

and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi

hotels. Rooms come with hand sanitiser

make work a cinch and a nespresso-

and a Hyatt branded face mask. ‘Knock

style coffee machine delivers mind-

& Go’ room service is also available.

sharpening caffeine. But it’s the

level 14 with DJs and skyline views.

impressive choice of meeting rooms

There's also an outdoor salt-water

THE CHECK-IN

All visitors are greeted

in the shaded veranda area of a

where the Hyatt Regency truly excels,

restored villa by smartly-uniformed staff

spread over 1400m2 and with a

wearing facemasks and protective

capacity of up to 1,500 people.

gloves. After my temperature was

THE FACILITIES

An atrium houses the

checked by an electronic scanner

all-day concept Market Café Restaurant

screen, I was ushered into the elegant

& Lounge, popular for ‘Teatails’, a Khmer

lobby area and invited to sink into one

spin on the traditional British afternoon

of the deep sofas while the reception

tea. Locals vie to get a table at the

team swiftly took care of my check-in.

FiveFive Rooftop Restaurant & Bar on

42

22-metre infinity pool. A Jivapiti Spa is

THE LIGHTING SET-UP DOESN'T REQUIRE A DEGREE TO NAVIGATE

due to open when Covid rules allow. THE VERDICT

The Hyatt Regency isn’t

letting the pandemic rain on its parade and is confidently establishing itself as a destination hotel. THE DETAILS

Double rooms from

$165 hyattregencyphnompenh.com

Rachel Roberts

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

RealityCheck V9.indd 42

5/6/21 06:00 PM


DEPARTURES

The final word

Beware of the strip-off rip-off

I

f you prefer to keep your private parts, erm, private when you're on the beach, there's now another reason to swerve Britain's most popular nudist seaside spots. Research by hotel booking platform, Hoo, has revealed that hotel room rates around Britain’s naturist beaches cost an eye-watering 57% more than the UK average. We've no idea why, but the hotel booking site decided to look at the average room rate of hotels surrounding 41 of the UK's most popular nudist beaches and found a sevennight stay in August was an average of £115 a night, compared to the UK average of £73. The most expensive of the lot is at Lymington’s Taddiford Gap in Hampshire, where you'll pay £181 a night, 148% higher than the national average.

The Long and winding road There was a staggering rise in Google searches for UK road trips between January and March this year and here's a list of the top 10 climbers: 1

Leeds (up 638%)

2

Manchester (632%)

3

Glasgow (500%)

4

York (391%)

5

Cardiff (329%)

6

Scottish Highlands (292%)

7

Cornwall (232%)

8

Bournemouth (167%)

9

Bath (167%)

10

Lake District (162%)

Analysis by Uswitch Car Insurance

Hoo co-founder, Adrian Murdockes, quipped: "Although a visit to one of the UK’s most popular nudist beaches might mean a lighter suitcase, it’s also likely to come at a higher price.

Fancy a fancy dip?

H

as anyone else noticed how hotel ensuites are getting larger and more luxurious? In some cases, even more so than the bedroom itself. We thought we'd seen it all, but then this photo pinged into our inbox and we realised bathtime indulgence is being taken to a whole new level; the 39th level to be precise, in the Penthouse of Berlin's Alexander Tower, due to open in 2023. Based on a superyacht design, this is just a small section of the 'HERS' bathroom, which is a staggering 45sqm. Enough room to swing a hippo.

"If you’re less inclined to go starkers at the seaside, you might want to look further afield. Whatever beach you opt for, just remember to bring the sun cream." Sound advice.

More than 3.2 million households have apparently acquired a four-legged friend since the start of the pandemic, which means five out of eight households now own a pet. We know, because these figures were shared in an Ipsos Mori presentation at the recent ITM virtual conference, prompting many of you to share pictures of your beloved home office pets in the virtual chat box. Ipsos Mori then went on to share other fascinating stats, but with all those cute puppy photos, was anyone actually paying attention? We thought not. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Final Word V6.indd 43

43

5/6/21 03:00 PM


BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW TO FIND OUT THE WINNERS AND

CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENT AT THE 2021 AWARDS CEREMONY ON THE EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 15, 2021

Recognising outstanding individuals and teams across all aspects of the supplier element of corporate travel TheBusinessTravelPeopleAwards.com For sponsorship enquiries contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

TBTP_Awards_ISSUE-85_v3.indd 1

5/6/21 12:15 PM

Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The Business Travel Magazine - May/June 2021  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded