THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE • OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT Sustainable travel in the spotlight
Focus on: the Gulf states Premium economy cabins In conversation: Clive Wratten The Business Travel Conference EXTENDED FEATURE: GROUND TRANSPORT (p55-86)
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O C T O BE R /NO VE M B E R 2019 Features
18 Sustainable travel 30 Premium economy cabins
Everyone's Talking About... The collapse of Thomas Cook
11 The Knowledge: take your TMC
Car hire, rail travel, taxis, chauﬀeur drive... we've got it covered!
55 Extended feature: Ground transport, including... • Introduction, 56-58 • Tech & tools, 60-62 • Car hire developments, 64-68 • Rail spend management, 70-74 • Operator update, 78-80 • Taxis and transfers, 82-83 • Chauffeur services, 84-85 • Industry data, 86
RFP in the right direction 12 Six of the Best: Co-working providers in London
14 Event report: The Business Travel Conference 2019 16 Photo gallery: TBTC 2019 17 The Big Picture
26 The Conversation: Clive Wratten, Business Travel Association 28 The Business Travel People Awards: winner's interview 40 Meet the buyer:
Jimena Alvarez Vallina
41 Technology: Demographic developments
42 Talking Travel: Prue Leith 88 Photo gallery: Advantage Business Travel Summer BBQ
45 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments
87 New Kid on the Block 89 Meeting in: Glasgow 91 On Business in: São Paulo 92 Focus on: the Gulf States 96 Reality Check
98 The Final Word
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Welcome Travel's got talent
he sad collapse of Thomas Cook was mourned by many across the country recently, from those who have fond memories of package holidays with the operator – myself included – to its many loyal customers and, above all, the
unfortunate staﬀ that lost their jobs following its demise. Just what legal or regulatory changes its collapse might prompt remains to be seen, but the ramiﬁcations could aﬀect us all. The tour operator had long been a springboard for talent and there's a huge number of people working in the business travel industry today whose careers began at Thomas Cook. Among them is the Business Travel Association's new Chief Executive, Clive Wratten. You can read about his vision for the BTA in an interview on pages 26-27 of this issue. Attracting and nurturing industry talent is one item on the BTA's agenda, and it was quick to launch a jobs board on its website to help keep the careers of former Thomas Cook staﬀ on track. It would be a shame to let their tremendous knowledge and expertise disappear from the industry. Expertise of another kind is served up in this issue's cover feature which takes a look at the eﬀorts of both buyers and suppliers to reduce their impact on the environment and promote sustainable travel (p18-24). Meanwhile, our extended feature gets to grips with the often neglected area of ground transport (p55-86), covering everything from rail, car hire and ride-hailing, to booking tools, content aggregators and supplier negotiations. At more than 30 pages long, it is our most extensive report of its kind to date, proving that business travel's Cinderalla sector shall go to the ball – the only question is by which means of transport?
Andy Hoskins email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS
Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill, Gary Noakes, Dave Richardson & Gillian Upton STAFF JOURNALISTS
Sasha Wood & April Waterston CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
SALES COMMERCIAL HEAD - BUSINESS TRAVEL
Kirsty Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGN & PRODUCTION SENIOR DESIGNER
Louisa Horton DESIGNERS
Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
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Martin Steady (Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON,
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SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233 ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK / BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK THIS PUBLICATION IS PRINTED ON 100% FULLY RECYCLED PAPER AND DISTRIBUTED TO SUBSCRIBERS IN A COMPOSTABLE WRAPPER. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM
9/26/19 06:23 PM
ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
Quest Apartment Hotels has opened a property in Liverpool â€“ its first outside of Australasia. The project features 100 apartments, reception, gym and conference room, located on the top floors of an old office block. Quest has 170 properties in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and aims to have 10 in the UK by 2024. 6
Liverpool is a dynamic business hub that will continue to thrive. We are confident this will be the start of an exciting journey for Questâ€?
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on a high
Indian hospitality brand OYO Hotels now represents 100 British properties less than a year after entering the country. The business, which has pledged to spend £40million on UK expansion, uses technology to boost occupancy and revenue.
BA’s first Airbus A350, featuring its new Club Suite business class offering, is now operating selected services to Dubai. Having been tested on Madrid routes, the A350 is gearing up to tackle Bangalore, Tel Aviv and Toronto.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing is making its first foray into the meetings market with the launch of event space MK-7 at its Milton Keynes factory headquarters. The concept gives guests a glimpse of the team’s race heritage, and includes an events space for 450, mezzanine area and 22-seat boardroom. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
The collapse of Thomas Cook “THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY IS A VOLATILE BUSINESS AT THE
MERCY OF EXTERNAL FORCES – ECONOMIC, POLITICAL,
MANY OTHERS IN THE
GEOGRAPHIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL. THE STAFF, THE
INDUSTRY, I AM EXTREMELY “TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T RESCUE YOU PROVIDES SADDENED BYBUT THE IT NEWS ABOUT CONFIDENCE VISIBILITY. YOUR THE DEMISEAND OF THOMAS COOK. TMC SHOULD HAVE PROCESS IT IS ONE OF THE UK’STHE MOST ICONIC AND PROCEDURES TO RUN REPORTS TRAVEL BRANDS AND THOUSANDS AND HELPARE YOUFACING REACHLOSING THOSE OF STAFF AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT” THEIR JOBS”
CUSTOMERS AND A VERY EXTENSIVE SUPPLY CHAIN WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE DEMISE OF THOMAS COOK” Professor Jackie Watson, University of Surrey
There is huge knowledge and expertise among ex-Thomas Cook staff. It is important Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA to the industry that this is not lost and that these “The task [of getting customers home] people have the chance to continue building is enormous – it is the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history” their careers” Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
Clive Wratten, Chief Executive, BTA
“WHILE BREXIT HAS BEEN IMPACTING AIRLINES AND OPERATORS, IT CANNOT BE BLAMED FOR THE DEMISE Dr Sarah Rawlinson, University of Derby
OF THOMAS COOK – THE GROUP WAS IN FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES BEFORE BREXIT WAS ANNOUNCED” “Our aviation industry offers consumers choice and value - it is an open and competitive marketplace. Sadly, that means on occasion companies will be forced to withdraw. It is important that we minimise the fall-out for consumer confidence as a result of this situation” Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business
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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
How to... Take your RFP in the right direction Culture, capability and cost are the three key factors influencing an organisation’s selection of travel management company. Read on to find out how one global business went about it.
“You’ve got to have a really good understanding of your objectives and requirements,” advises the head of travel for a London-headquartered financial services business. “Going to RFP for a TMC is a really time-consuming process for both you and the TMCs you meet with,” they explain. The organisation had been with the same TMC for five years and was seeking a new approach. “We’d directly contracted with Concur as our booking tool and we needed a TMC that could work with that, so the process was very geared towards that.” They stress the importance of doing your research within your own organisation:
“We engaged our stakeholders from the start. Finding out what they wanted was key. You also need buy-in – not just from your senior people but from your bookers and travellers too.”
For this organisation, there was a limited number of TMCs that had the global presence and capability to serve their needs. “We wanted global consistency – working with multiple TMCs was too complex,” explains the head of travel. “We went out to five TMCs and it was a very structured process. We looked at their technical expertise – specifically relating to Concur – plus their reporting capabilities and cost effectiveness.” They continue: “The incumbent has an advantage because they know your programme and culture, so we wanted to help the others understand our specific requirements too.” The organisation narrowed the shortlist down to three TMCs it believed could meet their needs.
THE TMC POINT OF VIEW
“They did a tremendous job throughout the procurement processes,” says a senior member of one of the shortlisted TMCs. “Bidding isn’t cheap for a TMC so we have to be careful what we go for. Sales used to be about going for every bit of business, but that just doesn’t work anymore.” They add: “We also have to consider the risk: will that company be around for long? Is it a good
name for us to work with? Would we prefer a rival? Are they currently with a TMC that we’d like to take them off?” And what helps TMCs during the RFP process? “Companies need to share the real reasons behind the RFP before it is even issued. I can name many companies who habitually go out to RFP every three years just to screw their incumbent on price,” says the TMC spokesperson. “Don’t waste everyone’s time doing that. It’s expensive for all parties and it’s also time-consuming.” Transparency is key, they add: “Companies being secretive during the process doesn’t help us one iota. We don’t mind if we ask for more information and they therefore have to share that with all bidders.” And as for unsolicited TMCs... “If you receive an invitation to bid out of the blue then you know you’re probably just making up the numbers,” says another TMC boss. “That’s probably a piece of business we wouldn’t pursue.”
It took 10 months from start to finish for the organisation to carry out the RFP process and make its selection. “We absolutely made the right decision,” says the head of travel, who attributes the successful outcome to constant stakeholder communication and a thorough and fair RFP process. “We kept revisiting them to advise them on progress along the way. Our goals had been identified from the offset and referred to throughout, which was key to the whole process – it was a consistent evaluation process,” they explain. And one last piece of advice: “Going through an RFP for a global TMC is a heck of process – I’d say to do it no more frequently than every five years.”
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9/26/19 04:07 PM
ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... Co-working providers in London 1
With a much talked about share issue on the horizon, WeWork is the undoubted co-working star. It’s trendy start-up vibe has meant rapid expansion around the globe – hence the 51 sites currently on offer in the capital, ranging from hipster chic to stripped back minimalism.
Eight contemporary sites across the central and eastern ends of London make up The Space portfolio. Eco-friendly buildings, roof terraces, welcome parties and a busy programme of social events are among the draws.
Living up to its name, Workspace piles in with an impressive 63 London venues, including offices, studios and light industrial spaces. The company prides itself on its short break clauses, state-of-the-art technology and commitment to making sure its 3,000 tenants can connect.
This dedicated shared space for tech entrepreneurs and startups is situated a stone’s throw from London's Silicon Roundabout. Benefits include PR support, VC introductions, business advice and a mentoring programme.
The old dame of the office rental game has worked hard to keep up with its new wave of competitors. Ready-to-use office spaces, hot desks, coworking and meeting rooms are available on a pay-as-you-go basis at 96 locations across London.
Happiness is a big motivator for Work.Life, making its eight London locations some of the most smiley in our selection. Members can use any site they choose, and can opt for benefits including massages, yoga sessions and unlimited coffee.
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EAST MEETS WEST INTRODUCING NEW LUXURY FIRST CLASS AND BUSINESS CLASS CABINS
ANA, Japan’s largest 5-Star airline*, have collaborated with famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and British designers Acumen to create new First Class ‘THE Suite’ and Business Class ‘THE Room’, debuting on the direct daily London – Tokyo route. Inspired by Japanese heritage and British design, the new luxury cabins are each complete with a private door, large 4K monitor and specially crafted dining facilities. ‘THE Room’ also now offers double the seat width compared to previous Business Class seats, creating unrivalled space in harmony with ANA’s award winning 5-Star service — connecting you in comfort to over 50 destinations across Japan and beyond.
We Are Japan. ana.co.uk
By passenger numbers across all Japanese carriers
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ARRIVALS event report
TBTC'19 Making it personal Personalisation, crafting a traveller policy rather than a travel policy, and making wellness a priority were high on the agenda across the 14 sessions at The Business Travel Conference which took place in London in September. Sasha Wood reports. Around 200 delegates and 60 exhibitors from the business travel world including TMCs, travel managers and suppliers came together for the event at the Hilton Bankside Hotel. Guest speaker MP Gillian Keegan who has a background in the travel industry opened the event with an informative talk on the current state of Brexit, reassuring the audience that a no-deal Brexit is highly unlikely, and that withdrawal from the European Union will have a minimal impact on the travel sector. She said the government has “put in place a nine-month deal to minimise travel disruption post-Brexit”. And that all the necessary regulations such as Right to Fly, European Aviation Safety Agency and road haulage
It's not about the £1 saving – it's about getting the right location and style of service, and not irking your travellers” Has your organisation witnessed changes that can be attributed to Brexit? None yet 18% Yes, some small changes 29%
Yes, a significant shift 7%
CONFERENCE BUZZWORDS • Personalisation • ndc • RFP • BRexit • traveller policy • Wellbeing
permits have been secured and replicated in UK law. According to Keegan, Freedom of Movement should also remain unaffected, “as the original deal keeps until December 2020”. A poll of delegates showed the majority had not yet witnessed any changes in their organisation that could be attributed to Brexit, though 29 per cent had seen some changes. Emerging themes over the two days included the need to personalise the business travel experience and develop ‘traveller policies’ – as opposed to travel policies – that focus on individual requirements rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Meanwhile, traveller wellbeing has been steadily climbing up the agenda and is increasingly being balanced against cost savings in terms of its positive impact on productivity.
In a session covering travel managers' approach to accommodation needs, Black Box Partnership’s Leigh Cowlishaw pointed out “it’s not about the £1 saving – it’s about getting the right location and style of service, and not irking
Not yet, but maybe when Brexit happens 39%
Not yet, and it won't affect us 7% 14
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ARRIVALS event report
If you're prepared to talk seriously, if you really want a solution, then you have to be prepared to compromise” your travellers. We need to be more dynamic in our approach, not just looking at the bottom line. For example, your travellers should have the ability to have room service if they want to stay in and work rather than walking out and eating alone.” Wellness specialist Gavin Percy from Winning Edges Consultancy echoed this sentiment in his talk on making traveller wellbeing central to your business. Addressing the issue of productivity and days lost due to travel fatigue, he said travel managers need to consider factors beyond cost savings. For example, booking travellers in business class cabins for long flights so that they arrive refreshed and ready to work makes sense for the business when flying in cheaper economy seats might lead to a day lost in recovery time. Closing the conference, Sir Trevor McDonald captivated a full house with a keynote speech full of fascinating anecdotes covering his travels and time as an international journalist. Perhaps most illuminating were the memories he shared about his friend Nelson Mandela who was still willing to negotiate with his former captors after 27 years in prison. Mandela simply told him: “If you’re prepared to talk seriously, if you really want a solution, you have to be prepared to compromise.” Wise words we can all apply to solving issues in our professional and personal lives. The Business Travel Conference will return to Hilton London Bankside on 15-16 Sept 2020.
as a traVel manager or buyer, wHat's your main focus rigHt now? CoSt SAvInGS
DUtY oF CAre
SoUrCInG neW SUppLIerS IMprovInG proCeSSeS
IMpLeMentInG neW teCHnoLoGY
SHApInG trAveL poLICY
trAveLLer WeLLBeInG otHer
All results are from delegate polls at The Business Travel Conference
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cHarity driVe This year's conference supported the London Taxi Drivers' Charity for Children, helping to raise nearly £800 to improve the lives of special needs and disadvantaged children across the capital
wHat is your company's approacH to booKing meetings and eVents? booK directly witH tHe Venue 58% booK Via an external agency
17% combination of tHe two
9/26/19 01:02 PM
Thanks to our headline sponsors!
The 13th annual event from The Business Travel Magazine took place in September, featuring two days of educational sessions and an exhibition, plus the introduction of a new wellbeing area and keynote speeches from Gillian Keegan MP and Sir Trevor McDonald
The Business Travel Conference 2019 ▼
Meditation in the
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new wellbeing area
Relaxing at the day one drinks reception
With thanks to our event sponosrs
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THE BIG PICTURE
SPAIN European hotel rates will rise fastest in Spain, Luxembourg and Ireland in 2020, with average daily rates increasing by 3%-5%. Rooms in London will be marginally more pricey, rising 1%-3%, according to the latest industry forecast from BCD Travel.
THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com 17
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Doing the right
Travel and hospitality brands are ﬁnally backing up their talk about sustainability with real action, says Gillian Upton
hen Sir Elton John leapt to the defence of Prince Harry and wife Meghan in August for flying by private jet to his villa in Nice by saying that he offset the carbon emissions, it didn’t really wash. Carbon offsetting was initially sold as an easy trade off. Companies could invest in various environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gases in order to compensate for the emissions made elsewhere. Environmental groups now view carbon offsetting as a distraction from reducing emissions first and foremost. Offsetting should be a last resort. So how green is the business travel world? Studies highlight that 40% of companies are finding it hard to become more sustainable, with cost proving the biggest barrier. “They’ll have to absorb the cost,” says Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client 18
Partnerships at Business Travel Direct. “All we can do is present the options but the decision has to be made at board level. Usually the sustainability team want to reduce CO2 but the travel team are looking at cost.” Many planet-friendly initiatives are not cost neutral but it is also abundantly clear that consumers want action, otherwise they will vote with their feet. 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 Gen Z employees rank sustainability as a leading concern when evaluating employers. Chris Bowen, Managing Director EMEA at CWT, reckons that the tipping point is fast approaching. “Budget versus mis-perceived additional sustainable trip costs are a frequent discussion point as many travellers
continue to prefer individual comfort versus more sustainable options,” he says. “However, we are starting to see a shift with changing employee demographics.”
Sustainability is high on government and public agendas and is no longer a box-ticking exercise, particularly today when business is wide open to public view. Moreover, C-level executives are mindful of minimising reputational damage. Most business tenders today will request details of carbon capture and sustainability goals, and TMCs are increasingly being asked by clients for best practice and how they can change traveller behaviour. “Corporates want to travel less and travel smarter and not necessarily focus on the cost,” says Click Travel’s Director of Sales and Implementation, Vicki Williams.
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The UK government has a target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 and to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2040. It declared a Climate Emergency earlier this summer, the first G7 country to do so. Industry-specific goals strengthen the message. The European Union wants the airline industry to reduce emissions of CO2 by 75%, slash nitrogen oxides by 90% and cut noise by 65% by 2050. In 2020 a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for
Planet-friendly initiatives are not cost neutral but it is abundantly clear that consumers want action, otherwise they will vote with their feet”
international aviation comes into force that has been agreed by 70 countries. With passenger numbers set to double to some 8.2 billion by 2037, Boeing forecasts that more than 40,000 new aircraft will be flying by then. Most corporates start by tackling their carbon footprint from air travel as it’s usually the largest. The Dutch-based Carbon Neutral Group reckons a return trip to New York causes the same amount of CO2 as heating a family house in the Netherlands for a year. In terms of travel policy, travellers have myriad options, many of which do save money. Flying less is the biggest cost saving, along with using more audio or video conferencing (once you have factored in the cost of the equipment needed). Flying direct cuts emissions, but is usually more costly. Flying from closer-in regional airports is a carbon-friendly action, so too is taking the
lowest carbon flight. Reducing the number of business class flights saves money, while choosing the train rather than the plane for short trips under 400km is another planetfriendly strategy – CO2 emissions from train travel are about 80% less than flying. Booking an electric car rather than a petrol/diesel vehicle, instigating car pooling, replacing the company’s grey fleet with a more sustainable company car fleet, and ensuring sustainable procurement are all good green practices too. Travel class does impact on emissions as business class seats take up far more room in a plane and therefore a larger proportion of the emissions are assigned to premium passengers. Ruling out business class and first class for flights under 5,000km delivers savings of 131 tonnes of CO2, and this trading down in class has the added benefit of significant cost savings.
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Travel and Events
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Sustainable procurement of products is a real option as well. Many business travel suppliers are doing what they can within the confines of cost to find viable alternatives to more polluting options. An early win was the campaign this year to rid the hospitality industry of plastic straws as metal, bamboo and birch wood alternatives were readily available, with many hotel groups now adopting the change.
The search for viable biofuels
Finding a renewable source of fuel is more challenging. Transportation causes 27% of greenhouse gas emissions so much of the noise has been around changes to cars, vans, planes and trains. The world’s major airlines are busy trialling biofuels to part or totally replace jet fuel, with some even building factories to satisfy future demand. Airlines are additionally using slower cruising speeds, taxiing on one engine rather than two or towing between gates, using continuous descent approaches, optimising air routes and even recycling retired planes. Huge effort is also going in to reducing the weight of on-board items, which helps cut fuel burn. IATA reckons that by 2025, some one billion passengers should be travelling on flights powered by a mix of jet fuel and sustainable alternatives. Modern fleets are key in the sustainability strategy of airlines. For example, the new Airbus A350 series is 25% more fuel efficient than its previous generation aircraft.
Motoring changes gear The car industry is making headway along a similar path, with more fuel-
efficient vehicles. Emissions of the average new car coming off the production line from next year will be 95 grams of CO2 per km, down from 150 grams. More challenging is the major modal shift to electric cars as battery life, battery cost and the lack of tax breaks and other subsidies are conspiring to slow conversion rates. Nonetheless, the National Grid reckons that 11 million electric vehicles will be on our roads by 2030.
Modern fleets are key in the sustainability strategy of airlines. For example, the new Airbus A350 series is 25% more fuel efficient than its previous generation aircraft”
Decarbonising rail is a more complex ask due to the significant expenditure required. Electric trains emit between 20-30% less carbon than diesel trains and while the likes of Sweden, Switzerland and Germany have made headway, the UK is lagging behind. One ray of hope is solar-powered trains. The Riding Sunbeams project, pioneered by climate change charity 10:10 and London's Imperial College, in conjunction with Network Rail’s Wessex route and Community Energy South, links around 100 solar panels to an ancillary transformer on the railway’s traction systems. This world-first project is currently undergoing tests. Hyperloop mass transport is another idea for the future. With no direct emissions, it could potentially carry large volumes of people and cargo in faster-then-air travel times inside low-pressure tubes. It is currently being pioneered by Elon Musk and Virgin Hyperloop One. Elsewhere on the ground, airports and airlines are switching to electric vehicles and recycling water when washing aircraft, while London Underground is trialling a scheme to use waste heat to reduce energy costs for local residents.
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The hotel industry
Hotels have taken up the sustainability mantle with gusto. As 24/7 operations they soak up many resources and major players such as IHG, Hilton, Radisson and Accor lead the sustainability pack with deep-rooted programmes that run through employees, stakeholders, owners and contractors. In 2017, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) galvanised the hotel industry and set it four goals: to reduce carbon, conserve water, help youth employment and improve human rights. Hilton and Radisson have signed the UN CEO Mandate, the world’s largest public-private sustainability initiative to ensure access to water and sanitation around the world. Consumers can patronise green-minded hotels when they book any of the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders properties. Marriott has the most entries in the US and Accor the largest number across Europe. Hotels have been busy watching food miles, installing solar panels, green roofs, LED lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVACs), rationalising the flow rate in toilets and showers, recycling soap, reducing the laundry of towels and bed linen and promoting carbon-neutral meetings. The World Travel & Tourism Council believes the sector improved carbon efficiency by 20% between 2005 and 2015. Marriott’s Edition Hotels is taking an altruistic approach by providing a list of vendors offering plastic alternatives to the myriad plastic items used in hotels.
A sustainable travel programme
TMCs provide environmental reporting – that’s the first and easy part of a corporate’s green journey. CWT's Bowen says the company is typically asked for insights into different aircraft types and age, comparison between air, rail, bus and car pooling, and a preference for more ‘green’ hotels. “In some companies, employee benefits now include an annual train card versus a company car, and bike options are often built in as part of wellbeing in conjunction with sustainability,” he says. Bowen adds that the trend has reached meetings and events, so clients can select a low-emission location, hotels that have an established environmental programme and opt for more vegetarian food. Business Travel Direct’s Bailey has noted a rise in clients asking how to become a carbon neutral company and putting in place a variety of measures. Commonplace is an auto-response to a travel email request to the TMC or to the homepage of the booking tool checking whether the travel is absolutely necessary and highlighting the emissions it will generate. “The booking tool can show the number of emissions on a direct flight versus an indirect flight,” says Bailey. She is also aware of clients prioritising car parking places for car sharers, and others planning homeworking one day of the week. “It helps reduces the number of journeys to work by 20% and is being looked at widely.”
For meetings and events, clients can select a low-emissions location, hotels that have an established environmental programme and opt for more vegetarian food”
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Click Travel’s Williams cites other initiatives, including traveller behaviour sessions, an avatar used as a model green traveller to encourage behaviour change, a policy change to hand-luggage only to lighten the load of the aircraft, and travel-ban days each month to make people think twice. CWT cites examples of travel policies that outline the emission differences when flying Business in Airline A versus Premium in Airline B versus Economy in Airline C. Downtrading class of travel has the added bonus of lowering programme costs.
Corporates can rely on their TMCs on their sustainability journey, or on a range of thirdparty providers to become climate neutral businesses. One such, the Climate Neutral Group, offers a CO2 calculator, data analysis, offsetting programmes and products and services to set up an active policy to reduce CO2. It is conscious that implementing drastic policy changes can cause stress in an organisation and always suggests implementing measures less stringently. “For example, the flexibility in travel timing
depends on the nature of the visit: many business trips do not have any flexibility at all,” says Ciska Uijlenbroek, Marketing & Communications Manager. Nonetheless, making smarter travelling choices can be a win-win. Flying less, using alternatives and flying on the flight with the lowest impact when there is no choice but to take to the skies, are justifiable when there are the additional advantages of lowering programme costs and retaining talent. One thing is clear, doing nothing is not an option.
A shining example
One corporate ahead of the curve is CapGemini. Its award-winning Travel Well programme takes a holistic approach to sustainable employee travel. The company’s international and national business travel accounts for more than half of its annual carbon emissions and it has successfully de-coupled travel from growth. Travel Well promotes virtual meetings as an alternative to travel, has encouraged a modal shift to lower carbon travel options such as rail, public transport and cycling, and has changed the culture and behaviours around travel to give people more freedom, flexibility and accountability for their travel choices. Since 2015 CapGemini has reduced travel emissions per head by 15%, cut air travel emissions per head by 7%, and reduced car travel emissions per head by 22%, while increasing revenues by 10%. It has involved car sharing in India, the use of public transport and cycling in the Netherlands, company bus services in some countries, and Virtual Collaboration Hubs in the UK, among other initiatives. As a company with 190,000 employees worldwide, it has also undertaken a range of initiatives in the workplace too, and reduced the total amount of waste generated by 17% since 2015, during which time its workforce rose by 15%. Increased recycling has resulted in a 30% reduction in waste sent to landfill. James Robey, Global Head of Sustainability at CapGemini, said the savings were generated by enabling employees to work remotely and collaborate from wherever they are. ”For every euro spent on travel, the emissions generated were 9% lower in 2018 than 2015, reflecting a shift in the modes of travel taken,” says Robey. 24
[ SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL: WHO'S DOING WHAT ] AIRLINES Air France/KLM has partnered with Biojet to produce biofuels and reduced emissions by 21.56% since 2011. It has also reduced water consumption in ground operations by 6%. British Airways invested last year in 18 new aircraft which are up to 20% more fuel efficient. It also plans to construct a plant to convert household waste to jet fuel in 2021 and be producing fuel by 2024. The airline will invest a total of $400million on alternative sustainable fuel development over the next 20 years. Cathay Pacific has made an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year between 2009 and 2020 and is moving towards a goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2050. It has invested in biofuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy. Delta has replaced plastic straws with bamboo and birch wood stirrers, and introduced compostable plates, bowls and buffet dishware. EasyJet is developing an electric-powered aircraft with partner Wright Electric. Qantas has flown its first zero-landfill commercial flight, from Sydney to Adelaide, and a biofuel flight using fuel processed from mustard seed. United Airlines claims a 45% improvement on fuel efficiency since 1990. HOTELS Accor Hotels has a goal of reducing food waste by 30% by 2020. It also runs a sustainable programme called Planet 21 under which all 4,600 hotels must reach the minimum bronze level standard by 2020. Grange Hotels has installed solar panels, bore holes, green roofs, a HVAC system and combined heat and power systems. Hilton Hotels has a goal to cut its environmental
footprint by half and double its social impact investment by 2030. IHG was ranked first in the hotel industry on the 2017 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. It runs a Green Engage System to manage energy, carbon, waste and water. Marriott’s Edition Hotels is running a Stay Plastic Free campaign which includes sugarcane cups, bamboo toothbrushes and coasters made from recycled ocean plastic waste. Marriott International is replacing all single-use shower toiletry bottles with larger bottles across all hotels worldwide, diverting 1.7 million pounds of plastic from landfills. NH Hotels has reduced the carbon footprint per room sold by 72%, energy consumption by 34% and water consumption by 31%. Radisson Hotels was the first hotel group to sign up to the UN CEO Mandate to conserve water and has cut water use by 3.5% per guest per night. CARS Avis runs a green fleet of hybrid gas/electric vehicles called Eco-Rides, carbon offsets in projects, and recycles and re-uses around 80% of waste water when washing vehicles. Hertz runs a green fleet called the Green Collection across Europe, the US and Canada. TRAINS East Midlands Railway will be add new rolling stock in 2022 with lower emissions by running on electric overhead lines on intercity routes. Eurostar launched its Tread Lightly environmental programme in 2018 which funds renewable energy and has set goals of reducing traction energy by 2030 and train energy by 2020.
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Chief Executive, Business Travel Association
CLIVE WRATTEN The newly-appointed boss of the BTA tells Andy Hoskins about his vision for the industry organisation
t was a summer of change for the Business Travel Association. First came the unveiling of a new identity at its annual overseas conference, with its former moniker – the Guild of Travel Management Companies – cast aside. A new Chair, Suzanne Horner, CEO of the Gray Dawes Group, was announced at the same event and then, in September, Clive Wratten took up the reins as Chief Executive of the new-look, ‘more inclusive’ organisation. Wratten, close to his 40th year in the travel industry, has worked for a number of airlines and TMCs but has also had a long relationship with the BTA in its various guises. “It was the mid-90s when I first came across the organisation,” he says. “I’ve been a partner or supplier member for many years and on the executive board for the last three years, so it’s been very close to me. I’ve seen it evolve and it’s been an interesting journey.” Wratten was involved in the process of rebranding the organisation, a move he says is “hugely important... and key to modernising”. “We wanted to be the total voice of the business travel supply chain and the new name reflects that better than before. It helps take the great work that Adrian [Parkes] and Paul [Wait] have done and moves the organisation forward.” Wratten continues: “It’s about getting the business travel industry recognised, particularly within government, as its own industry rather than being lumped in with travel as a whole. It’s hugely different.” Was it difficult to leave his former role at travel management company Amber Road? 26
“Clearly it was a tough decision,” says Wratten. “It was the first time I’d been a CEO running a private equity business. I was only threequarters of the way through my project there, but sometimes you have to grab an opportunity when it comes along. “There’s so much happening in the industry – from sustainability, to distribution, to education – that to represent the industry and all those matters is hugely exciting.” The future of TMCs is a popular debating point, but their value was brought into focus on the day of this interview when British Airways pilots went on strike. “It is these sort of times when the value of what we do as TMCs is most apparent, but equally there is the good value of what we do beforehand around advising clients and helping their businesses grow across the globe – that is bigger than what we do at times of disruption,” says Wratten. Another hot topic is consolidation in the TMC sector – most recently the acquisition of Amber Road by the Gray Dawes Group, announced shortly after this interview – which is being tempered by several new tech-based entrants.
The prime thing is getting government to understand the value of the business travel industry to the UK, particularly right now when things are a bit rocky”
“Our members are of all shapes and sizes, specialisms and non-specialisms. There’s always a space within the membership for every piece of that jigsaw,” says Wratten. “It’s good for the industry that new entrants [like TravelPerk and TripActions] are coming in and looking at things from a different way. Change makes people and businesses stronger and equally makes them evolve.” Wratten’s immediate focus is engaging with BTA members, growing the organisation and raising its profile in Westminster. Launching an All-Party Parliamentary Group on business travel is an important step, says Wratten, which he sees focusing on infrastructure, sustainability and inclusivity. “The prime thing is getting government to understand the value of the business travel industry to the UK, particularly right now when things are a bit rocky. The importance of business travel has never been greater.” He continues: “As an organisation we need to define the future rather than tweak the past. By that I mean that we’ve often gone through a scenario where something in the industry is changing but we've not been involved – it becomes negative disruption. “We’re all for evolving this industry and making it better through tech or our people, but we need to work in collaboration with partners and our supply chain so it becomes something positive rather than us all fighting about how to make it work for everyone. “This industry’s been amazing to me and now it’s almost about the chance to leave a legacy in this role for the next generation of companies and individuals coming through.”
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in brief... Clive Wratten on Brexit... “We’re no different to any other industry in that we just want clarity and direction because when you don’t have that it creates noise. We just want to get it sorted. But when we do come out of Europe, business travel will be central to shoring up relationships and sealing deals around the world.” On sustainability…. “It would be foolhardy of anyone to say that it’s not here to stay this time. But sustainability is not just the ‘green’ piece, which is hugely important, but it’s also the sustainability of this industry. It’s about bringing new blood into it, doing business more efficiently, and making sure that when we are sending people away we’re doing it in a sustainable way.” On life away from work… “I am a Reading FC fan and it’s my 20th season as a season ticket holder at the Royals. That is my first love outside of my family.”
CLIVE WRATTEN Clive Wratten joined the Business Travel Association (BTA) as Chief Executive in September 2019, taking over from Adrian Parkes. Wratten was previously CEO at travel management company Amber Road. His extensive career in the travel industry has also included roles with Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qantas and British Airways, plus HRG and American Express Global Business Travel.
On travel destinations… “Having had years of working for airlines and enjoying concession tickets on long-haul carriers, I’ve not visited Europe much on holiday. But we have been exploring it much more since I left Etihad and I'm really in love with the Med at the moment – Greece and Turkey in particular.”
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meet the winner
CLICK TRAVEL Click Travel’s CEO Jill Palmer celebrates the company’s Account Management Team triumph at the Business Travel People Awards 2019 How did it feel to be named Account Management Team of the Year at the awards? We were ecstatic! Click Travel has had such a great 12 months – we’ve broken our own records for retention, sales and satisfaction. It was brilliant to see that recognised. I’m so proud of the team, they’ve worked incredibly hard and truly deserved this accolade. Why did you enter the awards or how did you come to be nominated? We decided to enter after the tireless work the team had put in to hit some huge milestones. They have landed 55 new clients in the last 12 months, achieving a 24.8% increase in total sales and helping to secure our status as the country’s fastest-growing large TMC. They have also played a pivotal role in moving more than 1,000 customers on to our brand new booking platform.
the job brings, working with our customers to help them make savings in their business travel – in some instances of up to 38%. We listen to their needs, and that’s why we’ve seen such great success.
Tell us about the role of the team and the work they did to What do you think of The clinch the award? Business Travel People What they did to Awards and of the The Business successfully transition all winners’ event? Travel People Awards of our clients to the It’s a great way to recognise outstanding new booking platform connect with our individuals and teams across was exceptional, with peers in the sector many evenings and and celebrate the all aspects of the supplier weekends dedicated current strength of element of corporate travel. to seeing the job the industry. The Nominations for the 2020 through. This winners’ event at The awards will open in commitment to their Shard was also fantastic, January customers is reflected in an giving the team the chance industry leading retention to celebrate their success. We rate of 98%, and a booking to also loved our caricatures – we’re complaint percentage of just 0.005%. planning to display them in the office! What does the team particularly enjoy about the role they play in the industry? Our account managers love the challenges 28
What impact do you think winning will have on the team and their careers? Our team is an ambitious bunch and being
Commitment to customers is reflected in an industry leading retention rate of 98% and a booking to complaint percentage of just 0.005%” awarded for their exceptional effort will only spur them on even more. Winning the award will also help us to continue recruiting the highest calibre of new team members, as well as continuing to promote from within the business. What are some of the biggest challenges the team are currently facing in their various roles? Because the team has been performing so well, we have had a record year for sales. That means we have had a lot of new customers to implement so they smoothly settle into life with Click Travel. It’s a challenge, but it’s a great one to have.
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For travel buyers, it’s a golden age of choice; for too long, premium economy has meant too many different things” 30
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Cost-conscious corporates are now looking more favourably at premium economy, prompting carriers to refresh their offerings. Gary Noakes assesses the latest cabin upgrades
ot that long ago, premium economy either didn’t exist on most airlines or was merely an option that offered a seat a tiny bit wider and with slightly more legroom. Now, premium economy generally offers a very distinct product, with a separate cabin and a spacious seat with a good recline, plus upgraded food service on designer plates and branded amenities to match. It has been a long time coming. It was first introduced by EVA Air way back in 1991, but it has taken until this year for all the major US carriers to finally accept that premium economy didn’t just mean paying extra to sit at the front of the economy section with a little more space but the same food and beverage offering. For travel managers, it’s a golden age of choice. For far too long, premium economy has meant too many different things and the consistency now in the market offers a degree of certainty not seen before. Moreover, a glaring gap in the premium economy sector among the big Middle East carriers is being filled – at least by one of the region’s three major airlines – meaning that there are more premium economy options when flying eastwards too.
Premium economy falls into the economy booking category for most corporates, but it is not without its sceptics. Many will point out that it is comparatively poor value for money considering it offers a limited space in which to work and, most importantly, rest, compared to business class.
Published premium economy fares can be almost double economy rates and, as such, it is a purchase often best made close to departure or, in some cases, at the very last minute. It is then that the differential between full-fare economy and premium economy can become very slim. Moreover, many airlines sell upgrades at check-in at knock-down rates when flights have spare seats – not that this helps buyers making purchases ahead of departure. There is more awareness of, and demand for, premium economy generally, but the cabin’s impact on corporate sales is surprisingly small, according to one leading brand. There is no generic market data on premium economy, but American Express Global Business Travel’s own figures show sales declining and making up less than 1% of its overall business.
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2019 EL Untitled
Jennifer Charlton, GBT’s Vice President Global Supplier Relations, EMEA, admits this might not be representative industry-wide. She believes in recent years that more competitive business class fares have suppressed demand for premium economy
seats, but notes that “our consultancy team say it’s becoming much more common to ask for premium economy.” Charlton continues: “We’re seeing premium economy requested as part of contracting – we’re being asked for three classes at RFP stage.” Rates, however, may be a hurdle at the early booking stage. “Sometimes the advance purchase price can be 85% more than economy. It’s one of the highestyielding sales for airlines if they get early business,” she explains. However, late bookings can often see rates only 35% higher than economy and then there are sales at the airport – depending on how liberal a corporate’s policy is – plus the potential to upgrade using points. These can fall under the radar, so premium economy’s part of the mix is probably greater than it appears. It should be more so, with the range of new cabins coming online. Charlton singles out the US carriers for “leading the march” at the moment, but
Sometimes the advance purchase price can be 85% more than economy. It’s one of the highest-yielding sales for airlines” they are among a host of new products for buyers to choose from. Each year there are more premium economy converts among airlines around the world, but two of the earliest were British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and the new cabins from these two carriers unveiled earlier this year were eagerly awaited. Both airlines revealed updates on new Airbus A350 aircraft. BA has opted for a cabin of 56 seats – the same number on this aircraft as in Club World – in a 2-4-2 layout. New additions include upgraded soft
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The Middle East carriers have long resisted premium economy, perhaps because their business cabins are so price-competitive” furnishings, a revamped amenity kit and “improved” dining experience. The cabin debuted on A350 services to Dubai from September 2 and to Toronto from October 1, with Tel Aviv and Bengaluru to follow. Meanwhile, Virgin’s first A350 commenced operations between Heathrow and New York JFK on September 10. Its new premium economy cabin has more storage, 13.3-inch screens and leather seats, also in a 2-4-2 configuration. The 56 seats are 18.5 inches wide with a seven-inch recline. A new “intuitive” IFE system can be controlled through passengers’ electronic devices.
Brit of alright
BA and Virgin’s product has had particular impact across the Atlantic, as the tardiest adopters of premium economy have been the US carriers. However, this year, the big three are now well up to scratch. In 2016, American Airlines was the first US carrier to introduce premium economy, with seats having the standard 38-inch pitch, but it took until August this year to complete the installation across its wide-body Boeing 777, 787 and Airbus A330-200 fleet. American now boasts 3,025 seats in its premium economy cabins, more than that
Delta Premium Select
offered by its US rivals combined. Another 12 Boeing 787s fitted with the cabin enter service next year, boosting its premium economy capacity by 10%. American is the first of the major US carriers to complete its refit, with its two main rivals still having some way to go. Delta Air Lines announced its premium economy intentions in 2017 with its Premium Select product, debuting it on new Airbus A350s with 48 seats in a 2-4-2 layout. At 18.5 inches wide, A350 seats are only half an inch wider than economy, and on A350 routes, Premium Select is the only available move up from coach, as these aircraft do not offer Delta’s Comfort+ extra legroom economy option. Premium Select has been fitted to some Boeing 777s on which seats are 19 inches wide, but the only European route option so far is Amsterdam-Detroit. From November 13, however, refitted Boeing 767-400s will offer Premium Select on Heathrow-Atlanta. It will then appear on flights from Heathrow to JFK from November 17 and to Boston from November 21. Next summer, the new product will also be offered on flights from Heathrow to Detroit, Portland and Minneapolis. The 767s will feature 20 seats in a 2-2-2 layout and offer Delta’s latest “fixed tablet” streamed entertainment system. United Airlines’ premium economy cabin, Premium Plus, made its debut in March, with
22 routes now offering it, including one daily Heathrow-San Francisco frequency and its Dublin-Newark service. From September, all five daily Heathrow-Newark flights will offer Premium Plus. Like its US rivals, United offers branded pillows and bedding, noisecancelling headphones and, at 19 inches, seats are two inches wider than economy. United also continues to sell its Economy Plus extra legroom option in coach class.
The Middle East carriers have long resisted bringing premium economy onboard, perhaps because their business class cabins are price-competitive and so having a lower price option in the form of premium economy could dilute revenue. Emirates, however, is taking the plunge from next year, although its premium economy ambitions may be as much about what it has planned for its main cabin. The airline’s president, Tim Clark, has spoken of ambitions to compete with lowcost airlines in offering “three or four types” of economy fare with optional extras via a sophisticated digital platform. A premium economy cabin would allow Emirates to further differentiate its offering by permitting economy customers to upgrade away from the basic concept. Initial reports are that Emirates will opt for a railway-style “sleeperette” seat with a
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CABIN • Fully enclosed high privacy cabin • 21 seats in 3 rows only Premium Economy
One of the largest HD screens in Europe (13.3”)
Ergonomic leather headrest
Individual center armrest
Generous 40 degrees recline (56% more than in Economy)
23% more legroom than in Economy
ON BOARD SERVICES 3-course meal, including a fresh starter and ice cream Hot towel service Handheld IFE remote AC and USB power outlets at each seat
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GROUND SERVICES Free advanced seat reservation 2pcs check-in luggage allowance Lounge access in BRU (for € 25) Premium check-in counter (BRU only)
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Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker boldly claimed his passengers would be more comfortable in its new economy seats ‘than in a premium economy cabin with another airline’”
10-inch recline, harking back to airline business classes of yesteryear. The seat will not be a fixed shell, which Clark regards as a business class proposition. “We’re trying to trade people up from economy, not down from business,” he says. Etihad has taken a different approach involving much less outlay, offering Economy Space seats on Airbus A380s. It is essentially an economy seat with an extra five inches of legroom. Seats are in their own section, but it is definitely not a premium economy product. Qatar Airways, meanwhile, is sticking to its belief that its economy cabin is so good it does not need premium economy. Unveiling a new economy seat in March, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker boldly claimed his passengers would be more comfortable in Qatar Airways’ economy seats “than in a premium economy cabin with another airline”. Others doubtless disagree; including Air France, Brussels Airlines and ANA, which all revealed new cabins this year. Finnair has also announced the introduction of a fullyfledged premium economy product on its long-haul services towards the end of next year, though details are still to be released. Air France unveiled its new product in February, including a redesigned premium
economy section that will be retrofitted to 15 Airbus A330s by next year. The cabin’s 21 seats in a 2-4-2 layout are of generous proportions, being 19 inches wide with a 40-inch pitch. The cabin – with 24 seats – is also on Air France’s first Airbus A350 that debuts on Paris-Abidjan from October and Paris-Toronto in November. Brussels Airlines entered the premium economy market this year with cabins featuring 21 seats (which have a 38-inch pitch and 40-degree recline) in a 2-3-2 configuration. The option is already available on flights to North America and is now being rolled out on services from Brussels to Africa, beginning with Kinshasa and Luanda from October. The conversion of its entire longhaul fleet should be completed by mid-2020. ANA’s new premium economy concept by V&A Dundee architect Kengo Kuma and British consultancy Acumen, has been available on Boeing 777-330ERs flying the Heathrow-Tokyo Haneda NH211/12 frequency since August. The new cabin was due to be on each of the carrier’s LondonHaneda flights from September. When “starchitects” like Kuma have a hand in designing a cabin, you know that premium economy has really arrived.
[ SELECTED CARRIERS OFFERING PREMIUM ECONOMY ] Air Canada • Air China • Air France • Air New Zealand • American Airlines • ANA All Nippon Airways • British Airways • Brussels Airlines • Cathay Pacific • China Southern • Delta Air Lines • EL AL • EVA Air • Finnair • Iberia • Japan Airlines • KLM • Lufthansa • LATAM • Malaysia Airlines • Norwegian • Qantas Airways • Singapore Airlines • TAP Portugal • United Airlines • Vietnam Airlines • Virgin Atlantic • WestJet
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MEET THE BUYER
meet Jimena Alvarez Vallina As travel manager for a mobile gaming giant, Jimena Alvarez Vallina has to manage lots of trendy creatives. But do they stick to the policy? I started in the business travel industry in 2011 at American Express GBT, where I was working in operations on various tech projects and managing supplier relationships. In 2015, I took a role in Global Business Consulting as an outsourced service excellence manager at a pharmaceutical company, and since 2016 I have been the outsourced travel manager of a mobile gaming company. I am responsible for the travel programme in terms of sourcing and relationships mainly with hotels and supporting the airline programme. I also manage the relationship with the TMC; supervise, investigate and resolve any internal or external complaints that arise; define, negotiate and execute the hotel programme; and I have responsibility for the configuration of the online booking tool. I also work with the data team tracking and reporting on CO2 emissions from travel, and advising on best practices on how to reduce and offset them.
90% of our travel takes place between the nine offices the business has across the United States and Europe where the company operates.
All my time is spent managing the travel programme and Based on the nature OUT OF THE OFFICE providing support on of the industry, "I love to explore new various projects. I am employees' travel cultures and to learn from other not necessarily plans are constantly people’s experiences. South East involved in travel changing. And as our Asia is where I feel life in all its arrangements – nor offices are located splendour, and before the end of do we have a team of in very popular the year I am hoping to bookers – but I am destinations – such as complete my diving happy to provide London, San Francisco certification" assistance if anyone and Barcelona – it is requires my intervention. important for us to have the It’s company policy for the right strategy in place to keep organisation for everyone to make the costs within budget and to their own reservations through the booking guarantee hotel availability. tool or by contacting the travel agency. We work with American Express Global The company has approximately 2,000 Business Travel and we have an online employees globally and, on average, some booking tool. I'm satisfied with the 350 employees travel every month. Around performance and the service levels of both 40
companies. The online adoption is 85%, which reflects how effective both the tool and travel policy are. The company has a comprehensive and effective travel policy that applies to all employee levels. Compliance levels are very good. We expect very high levels of service to be provided by our suppliers, so one of our main challenges is that I have to make sure our expectations are met. Equally, if there are any issues that arise I have to make sure they are immediately solved.
The company’s offices are located in very popular destinations. The key is to have the right strategy in place to keep the costs within budget and to guarantee hotel availability”
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[ DEMOGRAPHIC DEVELOPMENTS ]
THE POST-DIGITAL ERA The workforce is filling up with staff who have grown up around online technology and that is heightening the need for travel to adapt, writes
n the next decade the majority of the world’s population will belong to a “post-digital generation”, according to a report from aviation technology specialist SITA. The report is referring to those who have grown up immersed in online technology, and mobile devices – and grown used to managing their lives – with them. It’s a sobering thought when you consider the high expectations of this generation (born from 1981 onwards) and their impact on corporate life – including their travel behaviour – going forward. The SITA 2025: Air Travel for a Digital Age report reveals more than 80% of airline and airport IT leaders believe the changing demographic will be the “most important influence” on their digital strategy by 2025. And, according to the study, the demographic expects travel to be selfservice – using mobile devices, apps and chatbots – and totally seamless. Technology is already being used by most passengers across a journey, says SITA’s Passenger IT Insights 2019, with more than 50%
using technology to check-in for their flight. In addition, an increasing number of travellers are using automated gates at passport control too. In the not too distant future, further steps towards seamless travel will come with the use of mobile devices for identification whether that's through biometric or possibly blockchain technologies. SITA’s research reveals that 59% of passengers are ‘very willing’ to use their mobiles for ID verification along the journey, with another third open to the idea. The study also shows that more than 50% of air transport IT leaders view biometric travel tokens as the main driver for change in the future passenger experience. A number of initiatives in this area are already under way with industry stakeholders including
59% of airline passengers are ‘very willing’ to use their mobiles for ID verification along the journey” Amadeus with its Digital Traveller ID and IATA through its One ID projects. Meanwhile, the Known Traveller Digital Identity project from the World Economic Forum and a number of partners, took a step forward in July with the launch of a ‘paperless travel’ pilot between Canada and the Netherlands. The SITA report says that by 2025, the number of people using a governmentissued digital ID will rise from a predicted 1.7billion in 2019 to more than 5billion in 2024. The study also shows that by 2021, more than 70% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID solutions and almost half of airports are planning to employ secure single tokens across all touchpoints. Chatbots are a further area of development, with 25% of airlines already using artificial intelligencedriven chatbots and another 55% expecting to do so by 2021. EasyJet went a step further recently with an announcement about adding voice search to its mobile app. The 'Speak Now' technology has been developed by Travelport and will enable travellers to search flight options by saying their destination, dates and preferred airports to their device. Voice booking will undoubtedly come further down the road, with EasyJet or other airlines. With an increasingly tech-driven workforce and growing investment from governments, airlines and other travel companies, the concept of seamless travel is getting a little closer to reality. •
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Savouring the world
prue leith The Great British Bake Off judge, restaurateur, chef, author and novelist speaks to Angela Sara West about her prolific travels and culinary adventures
ell-travelled cookery queen Prue Leith enjoys a good bake-off in Berkshire. “I love Welford Park, and hanging out there with Paul, Sandi and Noel. The owners fixed up an old barn as a comfy make-up and wardrobe room, so we don’t have to rock about in a Winnebago!” When not filming for the hit BBC baking show, she’s on the road promoting her books, new glasses for Ronit Furst, or her itchy feet whisk her overseas. “I’m in Scotland – where I am Chancellor of Queen Margaret University – three times a year, all over England, Ireland and Wales for food and literary festivals promoting my cookbooks or novels twice a month, and I visit Europe a couple of times annually. “Since I met my husband, John, eight years ago, we’ve been to Oman, the Far East, India, Bhutan – from where I famously tweeted the winner of ‘Bake Off’! – Latin America, Dubai for their famous Desert Literary festival, and elsewhere. We discovered Segways in Savannah, Georgia, which was a great way to see all the 18th-century colonial houses along streets which would have taken ages on foot.” Leith’s also journeyed to Lesotho, taken a walking trip in Transylvania, visited Uruguay after an Argentinian riding experience, cruised the Med and the Nile, and been ballooning in Turkey. She’s also relished tackling extreme climates, with road trips through the Arizona desert, California and Utah. She says Laos (where she slept in a tribal chief’s hut) surprised her the most. Any other places that score highly in this cook’s book? “Bhutan, because it was so very different from neighbouring India. It was very 42
underpopulated, the people are still largely in national dress and devoted to their royal family; the Buddhist temples dominate life.” Leith describes her recent trip to Tokyo and Naoshima in Japan as “the experience of a lifetime”, which took 50 years for her to “dare visit” due to it being so different and a place where English is barely spoken. “But that, I discovered, is the attraction,” she adds. As a child, Leith sailed with Winston Churchill, who disembarked at Madeira. She recently visited the island’s famous Belmond Reid’s Palace, following in his footsteps.
Once you’ve packed, take half of it out to make room for an empty fold-up bag to fill with lovely things while you are away!” “Reid’s holds a food festival, The Art of Flavours, and we just missed it. I’ll be back!” Her time spent studying at Cordon Bleu in Paris hugely inspired her career. “France taught me that food was to be taken seriously. Everyone talked about food… something no-one did in South Africa.” Leith returns to her birthplace, Cape Town, every year. “As a child, I hated what was then called the Game Reserve (now the National Park) but now I love a safari. Best of all is Baroque in the Bush, a weird combination of classical music and safari, and then a braai with a lot of beer and wine,” she says. This summer saw her set sail on a river cruise along the Rhone, discovering the
gastronomic heart of France and giving a demonstration for Good Housekeeping. “It was brilliant, especially considering I was in a wheelchair with a busted Achilles tendon!” Glamis Castle and Ballindolloch were highlights of her honeymoon (second time around) aboard Belmond’s Royal Scotsman train for a grand tour of Scottish castles. And Scotland is back on the menu for Leith’s milestone 80th birthday next year. “Fly-fishing on the Naver with a dozen friends. We’re also going around the west coast on the Puffer, the only remaining steam-powered boat. “ So, where can we find the world’s best food? “For France, I’m out of date now. Sadly, the famous routiers where you used to get amazing food, cooked from scratch, now turn out indifferent baguettes “But Italy and Japan, obviously; Southern India and, surprisingly, parts of America. I had the best grilled octopus in a Greek restaurant in Atlanta, and we were knocked out by all the local breweries making really cool beer.” Her top travel tips? “Once you’ve packed, take half of it out to make room for an empty fold-up bag to fill with lovely things while you are away! I constantly bring back cooking equipment; I have a hopper pan from the Maldives, a chapati iron from India, and teppanyaki tools from Japan.” When not cooking, judging, writing or promoting, where rates highly for relaxation? “My idea of R&R is a nice beach, a hammock and a piña colada. I once risked one of those expensive Austrian medical spas that feed you hayflower tea and little else, make you eat your stale spelt biscuit in silence, and believe in colonic irrigation. I hated it!”
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PRUE LEITH CBE OBE Prue Leithâ€™s latest book, The Lost Son, published by Quercus, is out now. Her new eyewear collection, Prue by Ronit Furst, is available in independent opticians across the UK and Ireland, see: pruebyronitfurst.com For further information, visit prue-leith.com
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T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER
Airfares and hotel rates expected to rise in 2020
LATAM debuts Premium Business class product
[ i n t h e a ir ]
London takes top spot for meetings and events
[ m e e tin g pl ac e ]
[ o n th e grou n d ]
Research warns of 'grey fleet' dangers
[ room r e por t ] Accor launches new economy brand, Greet
T H E
M O V E
The latest industry appointments p54 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
9/26/19 12:59 PM
T H E
L O W D O W N
BTA SWELLS TMC RANKS
THE Business Travel Associaton (BTA) has welcomed eight new TMC members since rebranding from the GTMC in July. Newly signed up are Belfast’s Beyond Business Travel; Global Travel Management and Omega Business Travel, both based in Surrey; London-based ABT UK, part of Amsalem Business Travel Global Group; Quintessentially CTM, which has operations in London and New York; Kent’s Sunways Business Travel; The Travel Company Edinburgh; and Gloucestershire’s Wotton Travel.
Fairfly targets health
Airfare price assurance specialist Fairfly has released a new wellness programme that enables users to see the impact of frequent travel on employees’ physical and mental health. Fairfly Wellness examines data and delivers insights on the negative impacts of factors including delays, red-eye flights, layovers, weekends away and airline quality to help identify ‘at-risk’ employees.
Arbitrip room tool
Online booking tool Arbitrip has added a new feature that guarantees business travellers get the best hotel rates even after booking. The monitoring mechanism automatically rebooks accommodation at a lower rate if a price drop occurs.
Stress in spotlight
Nearly one in five business travellers (18%) say that work trips leave them stressed and exhausted, while 20% would like their employers to be more aware of the effects of business travel on their health. The survey by exclusiveprivatevillas.com also revealed that poorly organised trips cause stress levels to rocket.
Prices to rise on back of costs and demand HOTEL rates and airfares are set to increase in 2020, according to the latest forecast from BCD Travel. Driven by demand and high occupancy rates, hotel prices will rise by 1%-3%, while airlines will hike fares by an average 1%-2% to compensate for higher fuel and labour costs. Rate increases will be higher in Asia, particularly Japan, host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Vietnam, where both leisure and business travel demand is strong. BCD’s 2020 Industry Forecast predicts that airfares in Latin America will experience the largest increase, jumping 3%, while intercontinental business class fares will remain ﬂat. Strong demand will boost hotel occupancy, with Asia, the US and Canada seeing average rises of 2%-4%. “Buyers face the prospect of a slowdown in advanced economies, while the performance of emerging markets improves,” says BCD’s Director for Research and Intelligence, Mike Eggleton.
£355.95 The amount that UK business travellers contribute to local economies per week, excluding hotel spend, says Homelike
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T H E
IN BRIEF Reed & Mackay move
Travel management company Reed & Mackay has acquired Business Travel Direct (BTD), a division of Ickenham Travel Group, as part of its global growth strategy. The company’s latest merger follows its takeover last year of Hillgate Travel and its more recent acquisition of the Concierge Travel Group in Australia, and takes its combined turnover to more than £750million.
L O W D O W N
Gray Dawes snaps up rival Amber Road THE Gray Dawes Group has continued on the acquistion trail by snapping up rival TMC Amber Road – it's ninth purchase since 2015. The deal pushes the company’s annual turnover to more than £200million and increases its workforce to around 300. Gray Dawes Group bought Manchester-based INC Travel Group nine months ago, and the latest purchase – for an undisclosed fee – further bolsters the TMC's presence in the north of England. The TMC’s CEO, Suzanne Horner, says: “Contrary to expectations we weren’t necessarily looking to make any acquisitions in 2019 but the opportunity to acquire a highly respected business such as Amber Road Travel was a prospect too tempting not to explore.”
The Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) has named Clarity, Click Travel, Diversity Travel, Key Travel, Selective Travel and STA Travel as its new travel management partners, handling an estimated £700million in university spend across the UK. The arrangement, which covers staff travel and some student group travel, runs until August 2023.
GBT sails with Kanoo
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has acquired a controlling stake in Kanoo Travel, one of the leading travel management companies in the Middle East. Kanoo Travel has been a member of GBT’s global travel partner network for many years, and operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. GBT will hold 65% of the new joint venture, headquartered in Dubai, and assume control of the business and its 500-plus employees.
BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ARE LEARNING TO EAT BETTER AND EXERCISE MORE WHEN ON TRIPS, ACCORDING TO CWT RESEARCH. OVERALL, 38% SAID THEY ATTEMPT TO EAT MORE HEALTHILY, WHILE HOTEL GYMS AND SWIMMING POOLS ARE THE MOST POPULAR WORKOUT SPOTS
I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM
At ITM we’re often asked how travel buyers and suppliers should address and corral the so-called 'millennial traveller', as if this mercurial generation is a diﬀerent species. That said, half of the global workforce will be within this category by next year and so it does make sense to consider their tendencies. Firstly, they have a shorter attention span than previous generations. They have more stuﬀ coming at them; and this means communication and interactions need to be punchy. No 12-page travel policies here, please. Secondly, they do everything via their phone. So anything meaningful you do or say must be mobile-driven. Thirdly, millennials think that if you have to be shown how to use something, it’s rubbish. Think booking tools. If you need a webinar or lunch to learn how to make a booking, it probably hasn’t been designed well enough. Finally, this generation blurs the lines between work and play. When they travel, they have a greater appetite to meet locals, and will certainly compare how it feels to travel with one employer versus another. In competitive industries this is key to attracting and retaining the very best talent.
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T H E
A I R
Virgin and BA bring new A350s to the fore
LATAM DEBUTS PREMIUM OFFER LATAM has launched a new Premium Business class cabin with custom-designed seats and new tailored cabin service. The airline’s ﬂeet of Boeing 777s is being retroﬁtted with the cabins and all international services will feature the upgrade by May 2020. The new Premium Business cabin in a 1-2-1 conﬁguration has
the option for private solo seats or paired seats with dividers. Each seat fully reclines to become a bed, and there is more workspace and storage than before. A new culinary concept matches its destination-inspired interiors. LATAM currently ﬂies daily between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo.
BRITISH Airways and Virgin Atlantic have put their new Airbus A350 services into action, both featuring new-look premium cabins. Virgin showcased its redesigned Upper Class oﬀering for the A350's debut on the busy London Heathrow–New York JFK route. It features a new Loft area in the Upper Class cabin where passengers can meet, drink and dine. All seats in the redesigned business class cabin face towards the windows and
UK AIRPORTS ARE GLOBAL LEADERS... WHEN IT COMES TO DELAYS UK airports are among the worst in the world for delays, with London Stansted ranked 105th out of 106, just behind Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International. Other poor performers in the global study by Stasher included Manchester Airport in 96th place, Gatwick (93rd) and Heathrow (65th). Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International came out on top, also winning plaudits for the aﬀordable parking, lounges and hotel quality.
positive sentiment for ANA on social media
have enhanced privacy, adjustable mood lighting and 18.5-inch screens. Virgin has ordered 12 A350s, with the ﬁrst four dedicated to New York JFK this year. Los Angeles will follow in 2020. Meanwhile, BA deployed its A350 on Heathrow–Dubai services. The aircraft will also be used for London services to Toronto, Bangalore and Tel Aviv. Business class cabins are ﬁtted with BA’s new Club Suites in a 1-2-1 layout.
ANA All Nippon Airways is the best performing airline on social media, with 84% of mentions expressing positive sentiment compared to 57% on average. British Airways, KLM and Delta Air Lines were the most talked about airlines according to the study from Awario but had more mixed feedback
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T H E
A I R
B T A U P D AT E
Wizz at Edinburgh
Budget airline Wizz Air will begin flights from Edinburgh Airport this November, with four new routes to the Polish cities of Warsaw and Gdansk, Hungarian capital Budapest and Bucharest in Romania. It already flies between Aberdeen and Gdansk, and from Glasgow to Budapest and Katowice.
Chief Executive, BTA
Air Canada will deploy Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on its daily services between London Heathrow and Ottawa – the Canadian capital – from March 29, 2020. The aircraft features Air Canada’s Signature cabin with flatbed suites and premium economy seating.
Budget airline Norwegian has halted transatlantic flights between Ireland and North America, claiming the global grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft had made the routes no longer viable. Norwegian had been forced to hire replacement aircraft to keep operating the routes from Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
Star Alliance, whose 28 airline members include ANA, Lufthansa and United, has announced a partnership with NEC Corporation to develop biometric data-based identification to streamline the airport experience for passengers. The first such facility is expected to go live at a Star Alliance hub by the first quarter of 2020.
JAZEERA AIRWAYS WILL LAUNCH A DAILY SERVICE BETWEEN LONDON GATWICK AND KUWAIT FROM OCTOBER 27, USING THE AIRLINE’S NEW A320NEO AIRCRAFT FEATURING BUSINESS CLASS, PREMIUM ECONOMY AND ECONOMY SEATING
APD cut would boost regions, claim MPs A CROSS-PARTY group of backbench MPs has urged the government to slash Air Passenger Duty (APD) in order to boost the economy after Brexit. The report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on APD Reform says two-thirds of airlines it surveyed would invest in new routes outside of London and the South East if APD was cut by 50%, while nine out of 10 airlines would invest more in existing routes. APD is the highest charge of its kind in Europe and is more than twice the fee levied in Germany which imposes the next highest fee. Conservative MP Henry Smith, Chair of the all-party parliamentary group, says: “We have the highest aviation taxes in Europe, and this is simply not sustainable and runs counter to the government’s aims for a truly global Britain.”
Reﬂecting on the so-called quieter summer season, it transpired to be anything but. The mercury rose to new heights and the aviation sector deﬁnitely felt the heat. Passengers experienced continuous disruption, ﬁnding themselves wondering if they were going to be able to board ﬂights. That’s when TMCs come to the rescue. Working closely with corporates, our members are ready to oﬀer advice and to make alternative travel plans when required to ensure that business travellers are taken care of when the unexpected happens. Speaking of the heatwave, it’s an undeniable sign of the need to be environmentally minded when choosing to travel by air. Many big players in the industry have created green initiatives, including platforms allowing passengers to track and oﬀset their individual carbon footprint. Being environmentally savvy will sometimes require choosing an alternative to air travel. Despite recent downbeat comments from the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the BTA continues to support UK infrastructure improvements, including HS2 and appropriate airport expansion. They are vital for the UK economy to thrive.
9/26/19 03:34 PM
R O O M
R E P O R T
Hyatt at the double in Manchester HYaTT Hotels plans to open its first two hotels in Manchester next year, one of which also marks the debut of its extended-stay brand in the UK. The 212-guestroom Hyatt Regency Manchester Oxford Road and the 116-room Hyatt House Manchester Oxford Road will be located in the city's landmark Lume building. They will become the third Regency branded hotel in the UK and the first Hyatt House opening – the
RESIDEnCE Inn LooKS noRTH foR opEnInG
group's long-stay brand – in the country. The hotels will be located in the University Quarter, a ten-minute walk from the city centre and close to Manchester Oxford Road
train station. The Regency will feature a 120-seat restaurant, bar, club lounge and fitness centre, plus meeting and events spaces with capacity for up to 200 delegates.
[ NEW AND IMPROVED ] >> The ACCOR hotel group has opened three new MERCURE properties, in Bedford, Telford and Nottingham, and will add a further three, in Cardiff, Birmingham and Harlow, by the end of the year. All six previously operated under the Park Inn brand >> Executive Serviced Apartments (esa) has re-branded as FLYING BUTLER APARTMENTS. The company has over 400 units across London and the South East >> Aparthotel operator NATIVE has opened a 166-unit property in Manchester's Northern Quarter. It occupies eight ﬂoors of a former Victorian warehouse >> FOUR SEASONS has opened a 219-room hotel at the top of Philadelphia's tallest building, the Comcast Center.
The number of new hotels in the UK's development pipeline
MarrioTT hotels will open its first Residence Inn in the North of England, with an extendedstay property due to open in Manchester in late 2020. Cycas Hospitality will operate the 155-room property located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – a ten-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly station. Eighty-four independent serviced apartments are already open as The Northern Quarters while the phased refurbishment takes place. “We’re confident that the central location will tap into the growing demand for alternative accommodation options from business and leisure travellers,” says Asli Kutlucan, Chief Development Officer at Cycas Hospitality.
Hotel development is at a record high in Europe, according to the Hotel Monitor 2020. Germany leads the way with 379 projects in the pipeline followed by the UK with 281 in the works. London will see a further 10,000 new rooms open in 2019 and 2020, helping to keep rate rises in check
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R O O M
IN BRIEF Selina adds Latin flair
Latin American hotel group Selina has made its UK debut with the launch of the Selina NQ1 Manchester. The Northern Quarter property has 37 guestrooms, suites and shared rooms, a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, Irish pub and a basement club.
CitizenM goes fourth
CitizenM will open a 226-room hotel close to London Victoria railway station in 2021, its fourth hotel in the city. Slated for a site on Vauxhall Bridge Road, construction on the 10-storey hotel will begin in May next year using CitizenM’s innovative prefabrication method.
R E P O R T
Greenwich goes RED thanks to Radisson
yotel starts city centre programme
radisson Hotel Group will open its third Radisson RED property in the UK next year, with a London opening joining existing hotels in Glasgow and Liverpool. The 70-room property from the ‘upscale, lifestyle selectservice’ brand will be located in Greenwich, within walking distance of the O2 Arena and five miles from London City Airport. It is part of an £8billion project to redevelop the capital's Greenwich Peninsula and will also feature a bistro, bar and gym. “Radisson Red is for those who wish to stand out of the crowd and it now lands in London. Opening in 2020, it perfectly blends business and play around the O2,” says Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group.
YOTEL Edinburgh has opened its doors to become the brand’s first city centre hotel in Europe. The property comes as part of a rapid growth strategy that will see five Yotels debut across the continent in the next year in key locations including Amsterdam, London and Porto. The 276-room hotel is on bustling Queen Street, close to the city’s historic hot-spots. Signature Yotel features include space-saving adjustable SmartBeds with Serta Gel mattresses and amenities from Urban Skincare. Rooms also include multiple power and USB charging ports, free super-fast wifi, and HD smart televisions. Additional amenities include self-service kiosks, a modern gym and two interconnecting meeting spaces equipped with modern AV technology. The hotel also features Imaginex 360-degree projection space for film screenings, social events, product launches and meetings.
IHG will open its fourth Voco hotel in the UK before the year's end. The 201-room hotel in Reading, currently operating as the Millennium Madesjki, will be transformed to offer guests "an unstuffy and exciting new hotel experience." IHG aims to open 200 Voco hotels globally by 2029.
Brand new Hyatt
The Hyatt Hotels group has launched Caption by Hyatt, a new lifestyle brand within the select service category. The concept "will bring people closer together, allowing them to work, eat or socialize in comfortable, flexible, communal spaces that encourage meaningful conversations". Hotels will be located in 'dense' urban markets and emerging neighbourhoods.
Listed return to edinburgh from IHG
ACcor has launched an economy brand, called greet, that will feature boutique design hotels with a focus on upcycling. The first has opened in Beaune, Burgundy, with further openings planned in paris, lyon and marseilles. accor aims to have 300 greet properties open by 2030
InterContinental Hotels has returned to Edinburgh with the opening of the InterContinental Edinburgh – The George. The listed building, located in the city’s New Town, has been welcoming guests since 1881 including the likes of Scottish poet Robert Burns and novelist Sir Walter Scott. InterContinental previously operated the hotel before it became The Principle Edinburgh George Street in 2005. The refurbished property offers ten different room types, while its King’s Hall can accommodate up to 300 guests.
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M e e t i n g
p l a c e
bright forecast A C T E u p d ate for M&E
IN BRIEF Tasting space
South Downs sparkling wine vineyard Tinwood Estate has created a new corporate events space with a glass-covered veranda and outdoor patio. The new purposebuilt Tasting Room can accommodate up to 400 people, with the option to include a vineyard tour and tasting as part of the package.
Somerset House is offering events planners the chance to incorporate private views, curated talks and tours of its 24/7 art exhibition into events held at the venue between 31 October and 23 February 2020. The exhibition of immersive works from renowned global artists examines our 24/7 culture and inability to switch off.
TMC Capita Travel and Events is expanding its list of approved venues to include unique boutique properties and small hotel brands, giving event managers a greater choice of meetings spaces away from the mainstream chains. The collection now includes more than 300 hotels in towns and cities across the UK.
London takes top spot for meetings & events London has been named the number one city for meetings and events in 2020, with Frankfurt moving into second and Paris taking third. The report from CWT M&E is based on industry data and has London retaining its position despite uncertainty around Brexit. Berlin was placed fourth, Barcelona drops to fifth and Milan breaks into the top ten in sixth. Cologne, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Vienna complete the top ten. “London and the UK continue to be strong for meetings and events,” says Ian Cummings, Vice President, EMEA, CWT Meetings and Events. “The uncertainty over Brexit – and the resulting devaluation of the pound – has made the UK an even more attractive destination.” The report also identified a number of up-and-coming meetings and events destinations including Manchester, Porto, Seville, Rome and Nice. The report said these destinations “typically offer better values than the top-tier cities, along with an increasing number of competitive hotels and venues”.
The meetings and events sector is set for its fifth consecutive year of steady growth in 2020, according to the latest forecast from American Express Global Business Travel. In fact, the report says there are now more meetings taking place than there is space available while overall meeting spend for 2020 is expected to rise across all regions. Surveying the opinions of 550 global events professionals, the report also found that planners are now prioritising experiential elements and integrated technology over basic logistics.
dolce debuts new venues Wyndham Hotels' meetingsfocused brand Dolce Hotels is expanding, with a slew of new properties debuting in the next few years, alongside enhanced hotels in the US and a new hub for event planners. Dolce's new destinations include the 441-room Wyndham Hanoi Golden Lake, due to open in late 2019, and Dolce by Wyndham Versailles, set for autumn 2020. The brand will also open south-eastern Europe's largest convention centre at the Akti Imperial Hotel in Greece.
A guide to meetings and incentives travel in the Caribbean Visit thebusinesstravelmag.com CTO_MICE Guide.indd 1
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T H E
G R O U N D
AV I S U P D AT E
Geared up for changing customer demands
Research warns of ‘grey fleet’ dangers INCREASING use of ‘cash for cars’ schemes are potentially creating a duty of care nightmare for businesses, according to a new study from Europcar. Changes in Beneﬁt in Kind tax rules means many employers now give staﬀ money to run their own vehicles for work, yet these so-called 'grey ﬂeets' present a legal headache unless they are properly maintained, taxed and insured. Europcar research suggests one-third of businesses now utilise grey ﬂeets, yet many do not
have systems to monitor if the vehicles are safe. The average grey ﬂeet vehicle is older and more polluting than a company car, and is also more prone to breakdowns. “The high usage of grey ﬂeet vehicles underlines the importance of monitoring employee travel,” says Gary Smith, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK. “Worryingly, nearly one in ﬁve said they don’t monitor employee travel at all. Only 45% of businesses monitor fuel expenses.”
[ ON TRACK ] >> VIRGIN HYPERLOOP ONE will conduct a study with Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) about building a 35km test track – the longest to date. Hyperloop could cut the journey time between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from 8.5 hours to 48 minutes >> Rail booking platform LOCO2 will be rebranded RAIL EUROPE from November 6, giving it a consistent name in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy >> All-electric cab operator SHERBET LONDON TAXIS has invested £7million in adding 125 vehicles to its ﬂeet.
There’s been a real shift in consumer behaviour in recent years, with a noticeable change in attitudes towards vehicle ownership. This trend is reﬂected in corporate travel, where businesses are seeing the beneﬁts of corporate car hire. Corporate car hire oﬀers businesses increased ﬂexibility, particularly with shorter or
Not only does corporate hire beneﬁt businesses by providing better vehicles, but it also helps the environment, with rental cars emitting 26% less CO2 than the average car on the street. As our customers’ mobility requirements continue to evolve, so do we. We have developed our services to suit a range of needs and this includes
medium-term rental options that don’t tie customers in to lengthy contracts. It means that employees are renting vehicles that are newer and more eﬃcient – a real positive considering Britain’s grey ﬂeet (employees’ own vehicles used for business) is responsible for some of the oldest cars on UK roads, whereas rental cars are on average less than a year old.
our recently updated Avis App, which lets users manage their own rental experience from start to ﬁnish. More than just being a booking system, Avis Preferred members can also beneﬁt from self-serve functionality, allowing them to select their exact vehicle model and, in some stations, bypass the rental desk altogether and get straight on the road.
Louisa Bell General Manager, UK, Avis Budget Group
9/26/19 03:37 PM
T H E
M O V E
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JOINS: Amex GBT AS: Chief Executive Officer FROM: American Express
JOINS: Advantage Travel Partnership AS: Head of Business Travel Commercial FROM: Key Travel
JOINS: FCM Travel Solutions AS: UK Head of Sales FROM: SIXT
Paul Abbott has moved over to Amex GBT from American Express, where he was Chief Commercial Oﬃcer for the company’s global B2B Payments Business.
Simon Bennett brings more than 20 years' experience in the travel sector to the newly-created role of Head of Business Travel Commercial and Innovation at Advantage.
Jason Dunderdale has joined FCM Travel Solutions from car rental provider SIXT where he has been Head of Travel Sales UK and Ireland for the last three years.
ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT Amsterdam acte.org NOVEMBER 4-6
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET ExCel, London london.wtm.com NOVEMBER 19-21
GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Munich europeconference.gbta.org NOVEMBER 22
ITM IRELAND CONFERENCE Dublin itm.org.uk DECEMBER 17
ITM CHRISTMAS PARTY Victoria Park Plaza, London businesstravelchristmasparty.co.uk FEBRUARY 26-27
BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW Olympia London businesstravelshow.com
JOINS: CWT Meetings & Events AS: Vice President of Global Operations FROM: Sabre
PARTNERS WITH: GoldSpring Consulting AS: Consulting Partner EMEA
JOINS: TRIPBAM AS: Head of Business Development FROM: Accor
CWT has welcomed Cristina Scott to the role of Vice President of Operations for its global meetings and events division. She joins after 24 years at Sabre.
Industry inﬂuencer and independent consultant Chris Pouney has partnered with GoldSpring Consulting to bolster its EMEA presence and expand his consulting portfolio.
TRIPBAM has appointed Juliette Jackman as its new Head of Business Development in Europe. Juliette brings with her 18 years’ experience working for global hotel chains.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... TravelPerk has appointed Ross McNairn as Chief Product Oﬃcer >> Fraser Jordan and Aaron Butchers have joined Good Travel Management's business development team with responsibility for the North West and London and the South respectively >> Chris Hope has joined Connect Airways as Flybe’s new Chief Operations Oﬃcer >> Sarah Gaze has joined Cathay Paciﬁc as Head of Corporate Sales UK >> Hard Rock International has appointed Mathew Turvey as Regional Director of Global Sales – Europe >> Dawn Jaynes is now director of UK M&E sales and sales support for Northern Europe at Accor
ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT New York City acte.org MAY 12-13
ITM CONFERENCE 2020 Brighton itmconference.org.uk
9/26/19 11:28 AM
this fragmented area of spend is evolving with such pace – with technology and sustainability issues at the core – that it simply can't be ignored. find out more in an extended guide to
GROUND TRANSPORT Introduction, 56-58 / Tech & tools, 60-62 Car hire, 64-68 / Rail spend management, 70-74 Rail operator update, 78-80 / Taxis, 82-83 Chauffeur services, 84-85 / Data, 86
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Ground transport / Introduction
journey Ground transport remains the most fragmented and challenging sector for travel managers – but that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the big suppliers, says Rob Gill
round transport has become one of the most innovative parts of business travel but managing it effectively is still a challenge. Ask any travel buyer about how they fare and you wil be met with a sigh or a groan followed by some grumbles about how the sector is too “fragmented” or “complex”, as well as being difficult to book using the current crop of corporate tools. Ground transport used to be something of an afterthought compared with higher spending parts of the travel programme – airfares and hotels – but the increased availability of enhanced data has helped to shine a light on how much money is actually being spent on the likes of trains, taxis and chauffeur-drive transfers. For all the talk within the corporate travel industry about the “seamless” or “end-toend” business journey, it’s often the bits at either end of a trip that cause the most problems: getting from one's home to the airport and then to the hotel or meeting venue at the other end remains a tricky issue to manage in terms of pricing, visibility of spending and duty-of-care concerns for the traveller. The bad news for buyers – at least in the short term – is that ground transport is getting even more complicated as various suppliers including car rental firms, ride56
hailing platforms and traditional taxi firms have changed their business models and are now offering a much more varied portfolio of ground transport products. Major car rental firms such as Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt have now ventured into areas such as car clubs, car-sharing pools and chauffeur-drive services. Although traditional car rental still remains their core business, expect this kind of shift into a wider range of products to continue. Car rental firms are also working with supposed competitors such as the ridehailing firms. For example, both Hertz and Avis have partnerships with Lyft in the US where they provide vehicles for some drivers (Hertz also works with Uber). The taxi and ride-hailing sector is another area seeing a lot of activity with new competitors set to challenge incumbent players such as Uber in London, while the likes of Gett and FREE NOW (formerly Mytaxi), which offer online platforms for the booking of traditional taxis, continue to target the corporate market. Ground transport itself is almost becoming an outdated term as it’s increasingly being replaced by concepts such as mobility solutions or even Mobility as a Service (MaaS), where a technology platform offers an array of different ground options for
9/26/19 04:22 PM
Introduction Introduction / Ground / Ground transportation transport
Technology is the obvious solution for enabling the successful management of ground transport. But while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go on thisâ€?
9/26/19 04:22 PM
Ground transport / Introduction
a journey, ranging from a car or bus to a train, taxi or even an electric bicycle. Matteo de Renzi, CEO for Western Europe at ride-hailing platform Gett, says: “Managing ground transport for companies has always been a challenge and it’s getting even more challenging. Everyone is mindful about how much their people are spending but the implementation and monitoring of travel policy is still very difficult.”
Making it click
Technology is the obvious solution for enabling the successful management of ground transport. But while progress is being made in creating better corporate booking tools and apps, there is still a long way to go on this particular journey. “We understand the pain points for corporate clients when it comes to booking and managing ground transportation,” says Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales at FREE NOW. “Travel managers have multiple journeys to take care of, with differing demands and hectic schedules. Increasingly, corporate clients want more control over their travel and expect everything to be on demand and in one place,” he adds. Finding a single app or platform to meet all these ground transport requirements continues to be the goal of online booking tool providers, travel management
companies and also the specialist players in the market, such as Groundscope. John McCallion, Groundscope’s CEO, says the organisation's goal is to create a “managed global taxi service” that offers a similar service to online travel agencies, such as Booking.com. “We are focused on providing a service which removes uncertainty and reduces the general stress of business travel. Our service has been specifically designed to meet the needs of corporate clients,” McCallion adds. “For the corporation, our service brings this area of spend under control and provides visibility on all spend via our monthly MI (management information) reporting.”
While this all sounds great in theory for travel buyers, one of the more immediate questions is what’s likely to be going on with prices for ground transport over the next year or so? Leading travel management company CWT is predicting that global car rental prices will rise by 1% next year in its 2020 Global Travel Forecast, although this increase in average prices is forecast to be higher in the UK at 1.8%. Across Western Europe as a whole, CWT expects rates to go up by 0.5% as the region is affected by sluggish economic growth.
Travel managers have multiple journeys to take care of, with differing demands. Increasingly, corporate clients want more control over their travel and expect everything to be on demand and in one place” The story is not so positive for UK train fares, which are scheduled to increase by another 2.8% in January 2020, leading to another round of protests about the network’s poor service, high levels of disruption and pricey tickets. A lack of technological advancement and flexibility when it comes to rail ticketing is also a continuing bugbear. The UK government’s much-criticised franchise system continues to trundle on for now. One of most significant recent moves saw a consortium of FirstGroup and Italian rail operator Trenitalia winning the West Coast rail franchise, which runs services between London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It will take over from current operator Virgin Trains in December. But there could soon be significant changes in the way the rail franchising system operates, as the process is currently being reviewed by a team headed by former British Airways CEO Keith Williams. Another huge rail project under government review is HS2 (High Speed 2), despite construction on the line already being under way between London and Birmingham. The £56billion project could be cancelled if the ever-growing bill is deemed to be a waste of money – a definitive decision is due from new transport secretary Grant Shapps by the end of this year. Wherever you chose to look, there’s a lot going on in the world of ground transport – expect fragmentation and complexity to continue in the sector, much to many buyers’ chagrin. The big question is whether technology can bring all of these options together in a single platform to make life easier for buyers. That’s the dream but can it become a reality?
9/26/19 04:22 PM
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Ground transport / Tech & tools
Bringing it all
TOGETHER Ground transport is at the forefront of the on-demand trend, but TMCs are still battling to adapt. Linda Fox looks at progress so far
ne of the biggest behavioural shifts in recent years is the move to on-demand services that fulfil a range of needs, be that music consumption, transportation, food delivery or many more. The incredible rise of services such as Lyft and Uber were only the start of disruption in the ground transportation space and many more developments, from new entrants to mergers and acquisitions, have followed. In recent months alone, trend-setting Uber has acquired Careem, the United Arab Emirates-based ride-hailing service, for just over $3billion. Another demonstration of how seriously the sector is 60
being taken is the acquisition of travel management technology platform Deem by car hire giant Enterprise back in January this year. As exciting as these developments are, they create challenges for travel managers and their TMC partners. Vicki Williams, Director of Sales and Implementation at Click Travel, says: “When it comes to integration, the fast rise of suppliers such as Uber means they have a tendency towards focusing on the needs of B2C channels first. “This has made seamless integration more challenging in a B2B environment, as the user experience around policy, reporting and duty of care can become
compromised if not contained within one single platform, for all travel types. “For example, the ability to have full integration, with a perfect payment process, remains our strategy, rather than just a link to a 3rd party website. We develop our own technology, so we are
When it comes to integration, the fast rise of suppliers such as Uber means they have a tendency towards focusing on the needs of B2C channels first”
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Tech & tools / Ground transport
working with suppliers to add full integrations as quickly as possible.” And established players have not stood still either as they move to stay relevant. A further glance over at developments in the US reveals that Uber and Lyft combined appear on 16% of all expense claims, according to Certify figures. Those in the ground transport space are taking note and have seized on opportunities to expand, evolve their content and improve their technology. CMAC Group acquired B2B taxi company Cabfind just over a year ago, followed by managed taxi, bus and coach hire service Cabline this year. Meanwhile, GroundScope, which has been providing ground
transportation services to travel management firms, booking tools and corporate clients for a number of years, recently announced its partnership with technology consultancy DataArt to develop a version of its mobile app for iOS users that would also integrate with the existing platform.
Gray Dawes Group uses Groundscope as its ground transport aggregator and says it is important that the system is integrated with not only the GDS but also the TMC’s Atriis agency and corporate booking tool. Commercial Director David Bishop says this means ground transport slides
seamlessly into the booking flow and is offered once flights and/or hotels have been booked. He adds that the ground transportation attachment ratio is currently at about 4% but that figure is growing. At present, the technology is used predominantly to book transfers from the airport when travellers arrive at a destination. Bishop also says that the company is not seeing much demand from corporates to include the ground transport element into travel policy or approval flow. Meanwhile, Fello Travel uses the Amadeus-owned Cytric booking tool which has integrated Talixo, while Blacklane will be added shortly.
9/26/19 03:38 PM
Ground transport / Tech & tools
And, as API connectivity improves, the industry is likely to see more ground transportation content integrated into booking systems. American Express Global Business Travel's Content & Distribution Manager, Alexandrea Coughlin, says: “The growth of disruptors such as Uber and Lyft has helped put the spotlight on ground transport within managed travel programmes. “They generated wide-ranging discussions around servicing and safety issues, which meant travel managers increasingly focus on the whole sector, the levels of fragmentation within it, and where visibility and management could be improved.” Amex GBT launched its ground platform last year in partnership with Mozio. The company says it brings chauffeur drivers, taxis, airport express trains and shuttles, plus ride-sharing via a deal with Lyft, to a single booking and management app. The TMC believes the platform not only helps travel managers by providing spend visibility on ground transport and consolidating bookings in one place, but also assists travellers by encouraging them to book in one place.
Out and about
Paul Wait, Commercial Director of iGO, a marketplace for ground transportation developed by Autocab, says the platform is trying to support TMCs by bringing the on-demand element into managed travel. He feels that while Uber for Business has started to address this through its integrations with expense management specialists Chrome River and SAP Concur, the move only takes care of bookings in major towns and cities. Wait says the company is adding more partners up and down the country as well as beyond the UK to provide travellers with more options. In an ideal world, a single global solution for ground transportation would exist but much the same as with local technology providers and payment solutions, there are different providers for transport in different countries and regions. That said, there is an increasing trend towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) whereby different forms of transport – public, on-demand taxis, trains and even scooters – are aggregated in a single place 62
or app. Again, this is being driven by consumer demand for convenience. A number of cities in Europe are working on the trend in the belief that betterquality information coupled with ease of use will drive up usage. Examples include Whim, launched by MaaS Global in Helsinki in late 2016, and Jelbi, launched more recently in Berlin. The Whim initiative aims to connect many of the Finnish capital’s mobility options in one application and allows users to plan, book and pay for those options, ranging from public transport to taxis, car hire and car-sharing. Jelbi, meanwhile, is a service that brings together mobility providers in Berlin on to one mobile application. It has been developed by the city’s public transport provider BVG and mobility technology startup Trafi. These are positive developments from the point of view of the user and should encourage transport providers, both public and private, to share data and collaborate more. Bishop, from the Gray Dawes Group, says different modes of transport, especially rail, are now being integrated into booking systems. He says the company has access to both UK rail and Amtrak in the US and that European rail should be added by the end of this year. He adds that while the company would also like to widen out the offering with European airport rail shuttles such as the S Bahn in Germany and the Arlanda Express in Sweden, it is a more complex ask technologically. Going forward, expect more integration and more content partnerships as travel management companies and their technology suppliers move to bring more choice to the traveller, increase control and gain spend visibility.
There is a trend towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) whereby different forms of transport – public, on-demand taxis, trains and even scooters – are aggregated in a single place”
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Ground transport / Car hire
DIRECTIONS Environmental concerns, new forms of taxation and changing consumer habits are prompting a sea-change in car hire, says Catherine Chetwynd
hat some car rental companies have added the word ‘mobility’ to their name says it all. The boundaries between fleet, car rental and mobility have blurred to the point that they are jointly managed to reduce cost, administration and complications for travel managers, meet employees’ requirements, and at the same time cover duty of care requirements. Companies have long ceased to own their own fleets of cars and 64
where some form of vehicle perk exists employees either pay for it via salary sacrifice, take a personal lease, or use their own cars for business trips (the so-called ‘grey fleet’). And where staff members take cash instead of a company car, the risk is that they do not have their own vehicle regularly maintained, leaving employers exposed. “Rental vehicles have the latest equipment and a structured programme of regular
maintenance and repair,” says Assistant Vice President of Business Mobility UK & Ireland at Enterprise, Adrian Bewley. “They are generally less than a year old, so they will also have lower emissions compared to the average privately owned car. It is often difficult for businesses to confirm that grey fleet cars are regularly serviced, maintained or even insured for business use.” Research published in a white paper
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Car hire / Ground transport
this year by Europcar Mobility Group UK found that more than one quarter (28%) of companies with 10 to 25 staff relies on grey fleet vehicles, rising to 40% for firms with 26-50 employees. And nearly one third of companies with 10-25 employees said that up to a quarter of their staff choose cash for cars. “These factors can present significant health and safety challenges, which is why so many fleet managers look for options such as car clubs or daily rental, which can be particularly valuable for employees who might not drive enough to justify a dedicated company car, while still requiring regular transport,” says Bewley. “Businesses want flexibility in length of contract and how it is budgeted; rental achieves both these goals.”
Rental companies are now the ultimate flexible friend, providing traditional rental, car clubs, pool cars and long-term leases covering every vehicular eventuality. In addition, technology continues to move on apace: booking engines can have policy embedded, increasing compliance and
Rental companies are the ultimate flexible friend, providing traditional rental, car clubs, pool cars and long-term leases covering every vehicular eventuality” traceability while giving drivers a wide choice of cars with attendant cost implications, and this is all backed by first class management information. Enterprise Travel Direct (ETD) is a booking platform that allows drivers to compare the cost of a journey, depending on whether they use private vehicle, car club or daily rental car. They can choose by lowest rate or most sustainable option. It even manages grey fleet, requiring users to confirm their vehicle is suitable for business use, so that this complicated area is monitored and recorded from the off, rather than after the event. “Our LaunchPad tablet technology enables employees to conduct a speedy rental transaction anywhere worldwide – even without wifi. It pre-fills customer
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Car hire / Ground transport
data and preferences, speeding up the transaction, and captures vehicle condition in pictures to provide contractual transparency and reduce disputes when vehicles are returned,” says Bewley. Europcar has been upgrading its technology and in the past year rolled out Europcar One to more than 780 B2B customers. The platform records the process from reservation to return and invoicing, showing travel managers how different mobility options impact on financial and environmental targets. In addition, the company’s Pathfinder app handles thorny issues such as damage and fuel recharging, giving access to electronically stored data and timestamped photographs of a vehicle’s condition on delivery and collection.
Join the club
Where car clubs were once a potential threat to car rental providers, they are now an inherent part of their service, ensuring a 24-hour offer, as well as rental by the hour. Europcar acquired electric vehicle E-Car Club in 2015 and car club Ubeeqo (which has electric, petrol and hybrid vehicles) in 2016. “While the conventional view of car clubs is vehicles on streets that can be accessed to meet any short-term requirement, Europcar Mobility Group is working closely with a number of organisations to explain the benefits of adopting the car club model for their pool fleet needs,” says Head of Sales Performance, Corporate Mobility and Market Intelligence, Dan Hawkes. At 800 cars and vans, Enterprise claims to offer the UK’s largest fleet of dedicated car club vehicles for business, bookable by specific business customers; and Enterprise Car Club is integrated into its branch network. Hertz gives a similar service, providing dedicated car pool fleets of low emission
The need to meet cost-cutting and sustainability targets has made car-sharing options increasingly popular with fleet managers”
vehicles for employee use. The need to meet cost cutting and sustainability targets, and release parking spaces, has made car-sharing options increasingly popular with fleet managers. And the company claims the damage rate and attendant cost on corporate pool fleets is lower “as users tend to be more respectful with the cars to ensure co-workers can use them without encountering issues”, says Sales Director Andy Johnson. Avis Budget Group, meanwhile, operates Zipcar, which it purchased in 2013, and its subsidiary Zipcar for Business. The organisation provides on-demand access to cars by the hour or the day in cities around the globe, including London, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge. “We’re committed to making cities better places to live and that starts with increasing access to smart mobility solutions that reduce reliance on personal cars,” says Tracey Zhen, President of Zipcar.
There are external pressures on companies and travel managers too: the growth in urban Clean Air Zones (CAZ) was intended to stimulate demand for lowemission vehicles. London’s Low Emission Zone was launched in 2008 and its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) policy commenced in April this year. Leeds, Birmingham and Bath follow in 2020, Sheffield’s proposals are under consultation and Greater Manchester will introduce a zone in stages according to vehicle type between 2021 and 2023. Meanwhile, Nottingham’s Workplace Parking Levy – effectively a charge on company parking spaces – could prompt copycat scheme in other cities that are looking to encourage people to commute by means other than their cars. Air quality, congestion and road safety are priorities across dozens of cities across the UK. Dealing with these urban mobility issues represents both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity facing the rental and leasing sectors. And inevitably, with a government volte-face on the merits (or not) of diesel, the status quo is not exactly clear. As the BVRLA Industry Outlook 2019 points out: “BVRLA members are learning that there is very little middle ground in the fast-
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Ground transport / Car hire
We are working with many of our corporate clients to help them design business travel policies that encourage employees to access low-emission vehicles, or even mandate that”
evolving world of local politics, where road transport is so often cast as either the hero or the villain. With so much hype and misinformation surrounding the demonization of diesel, the real-world capabilities of electric vehicles and the potential for Mobility as a Service (Maas), they are spending huge amounts of time trying to educate and inform local policymakers and customers.” In addition, the report states that 2019 is a year when multiple mobility models compete for a bigger share of city trips. Car rental and car club suppliers will have to work harder than ever to demonstrate that they have an important place in the hierarchy of urban transport solutions. MaaS means users view any mobility provider as part of a pay-per-go service, as opposed to a one-off or long-term financial arrangement. “The automotive industry in general is in the early stages of a paradigm shift when it comes to vehicle ownership,” says Sales Director for Thrifty Car & Van Rental Caroline Gallagher. “A combination of factors – including changing consumer attitudes, intensifying environmental concerns and advancements in connected and autonomous technology – is causing a trend towards mobility as a service. “This encompasses services like ride hailing and sharing, public transport in its various guises and also vehicle rental. Essentially, it is borne out of a shift in the consumer psyche, from viewing mobility as an asset that one owns (a car) to seeing it as a service that can be used at any time.”
Companies are under pressure from shareholders to be environmentally responsible and one way they can do that is move towards electric and hybrid vehicles – EVs in car clubs are particularly popular. Enterprise more than doubled the number of alternatively powered vehicles in its UK fleet in 2018. As Europcar’s Dan Hawkes explains: “We are working with many of our corporate clients to help them design business travel policies that encourage employees to access low-emission vehicles, or even mandate that if they are likely to be travelling into low emission zones.” Europcar’s hybrid/EV vehicles represent 8.7% of its UK fleet, and hybrids constitute 5% of the cars purchased by Hertz. “Although the percentage of diesel vehicles in Hertz UK’s fleet has noticeably reduced this year, customers who drive long distances still request them,” says Johnson. According to the BVRLA Annual Insight research 2019, the UK car rental fleet’s environmental credentials are notable, having an average 119g/km emissions, 94% CAZ compliance and an average age of just six months old. Corporate bookings make up 57% of transactions, with an average eight-day rental and travelling 616 miles. Car rental used to be the last bastion of unmanaged travel, but this has changed thanks to improved technology and a more flexible service that bring together car clubs, short-term and long-term rental on one booking platform, giving travel managers ultimate control and visibility.
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Sign up to our Business Direct online portal in Great Britain and neverDirect pay aonline booking fee again. Sign up to our Business portal Find out more about our Business Direct online in Great andtravellers: never pay a booking fee again. portal forBritain business Find more about our Business Direct online Visit out southwesternrailway.com/SME portal for business travellers: Call 020 3872 2226 Visit southwesternrailway.com/SME Email firstname.lastname@example.org Call 020 3872 2226 Email email@example.com
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Ground transport / Rail spend management
On the right
track? Corporates and TMCs are demanding a more collaborative approach from train operators. Catherine Chetwynd examines the latest progress
ith trainfares something of a minefield and most train operating companies (TOC) refusing to negotiate with companies on the basis of volume discount, it was no surprise that the government launched a major review of the UK's rail market. The Williams Rail Review was due to report its findings in September but has predictably been delayed – the impact of Brexit on Whitehall rather than leaves on the line the most likely cause of its late arrival later this autumn. Even the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operators, recognised the need for an overhaul. In its submission to the Review, Chief Operating Officer Jacqueline Starr explained: “Increasing use of technology and remote working over the past decade has been accompanied by more employers offering flexible working; fewer people need to be in the office five 70
days a week or to commute at peak times. We have seen this in falling sales of season tickets but with passenger journeys still reaching record highs. “The decades-old fares regulations have created an inflexible and confusing range of fares. Fares reform would also allow us to tackle crowding on some of Britain’s busiest commuter services by removing the cliff-edge price difference between peak and the first off-peak services.”
Full steam ahead
This, suggested Starr, could bring advantages for business, including tap-in tap-out, pay-as-you-go travel with price capping across the country, and a best-fare guarantee. Other bonuses could be increased competition on long-distance routes, creating a demand-led market and quicker journeys, more space per seat, faster wifi, and better service on board; at
last the customer would feature large. But that is all for the future. What about the picture today? Virgin Trains has corporate fares which are available on key business routes on the west coast. These are for sale via TMCs only. “A travel manager’s objective is generally to bring down the cost of travel as much as they can and, conversely, ours is to maintain yield, so we aimed to meet them in the middle,” says Head of Corporate Sales, Claire Walton. “Business customers can fix their outbound journey but they get more value out of the flexible return. If somebody misses a train, it is expensive to buy a single fare home, or if a meeting finishes early and people arrive at the station hours before their booked departure that is a complete waste of time. Some of our Business Corporate Fares also come with a free first class upgrade,” she says.
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Rail spend management / Ground transport
One SME customer is setting up a business in London and has negotiated rates with Caledonian Sleeper on the basis of some 20 journeys a months”
“We are seeing good uptake of these.” Otherwise, if a company shifts business from road or air to rail, Virgin may give a bespoke deal. However, that switch isn’t easy. “The opportunity to move business from air travel to rail is diminishing because in the last few years there are fewer domestic air routes,” says Associate – Ground/Rail Services for Black Box Partnerships, Nick Bamford. “It is interesting to see that LNER has launched the Azuma on the Edinburgh route. It can reduce that service to four hours, which will really eat into the time advantage of air travel; otherwise, travel is mostly in a car now and that is much harder to quantify.”
they will be travelling with us to see if we can offer special rates. The starting point is not very high because we are quite small,” he says. For example, Flaherty says one SME customer is setting up a business in London and has negotiated rates on the basis of some 20 journeys a month. The company introduced new carriages in April that were built by Spanish manufacturer CAS, bespoke to Caledonian’s requirements. Club carriages have an en suite shower/loo and there is fast wifi and multiple charging points throughout. “Business travellers are increasingly opting for Club rooms because they see it as overnight accommodation and en suite is pretty basic in most travel policies,” says Flaherty.
The new rolling stock has upped Caledonian’s game: “We have always had corporate relationships but now we have a product that is suitable for the corporate world and we are looking forward to growing those relationships over the next few months,” adds Flaherty. Delay repay – 50% refund for 30 minutes’ delay, 100% for an hour or more – in varying forms is offered by TOCs, either payable direct to the traveller (Caledonian Sleeper, Virgin Trains) or to the purchaser, whether TMC or traveller (GWR). But Black Box’s Bamford warns that when organisations such as Rail Guard or Travel Compensation Services (TCS) claim it on companies’ behalf, “They match delays with a corporate booking file and highlight how many journeys were ticketed and delayed, but they take a fee for doing so.” However, according to Director of Client Partnership for BTD, Vanessa Bailey: “Travellers are not interested in claiming delay repay and third parties monitor progress automatically to get refunds, so clients do not have to do anything to benefit from them.”
Great Western Railway (GWR) offers discounts only where a company needs to hire a carriage or a large number of seats on any one train. However, Caledonian Sleeper takes a more flexible approach. Its Flexipass buys a carnet of 10 journeys, valid on all Highland or Lowland routes, and it will also negotiate according to volume of spend. “When comparing our prices to the cost of a hotel in London or Edinburgh, plus flight and transfers to city centre, it can make real economic sense to use us. Also, travellers are not getting up at the crack of dawn, plus they are travelling while sleeping, saving time as well,” says Managing Director, Richard Flaherty. “We talk to companies about how often
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Ground transport / Rail spend management
Travelling first class continues to have an ‘unnecessary luxury’ stigma: “Where sectors are thriving, there is a slightly more relaxed view, and where the economy is tightening up, we see a soft performance in first class – for example, construction at the moment,” says Virgin’s Walton. Otherwise, some companies are happy for travellers to spend within defined parameters to upgrade if there is a deal and others ban it altogether.
Generally, the corporate world has every reason to be disenchanted with TOCs. “We get no support from the rail sector. Whether we are spending £5 or £1million, it doesn’t seem to make any difference,” says Group Procurement Category Manager for Biffa, Richard Childs. He encourages travellers to book as early as possible to get a good fare and to note when peak and off-peak times are: “We are starting to think about booking meetings that start at 11am in London instead of 10am – if we miss the peak period, we can save up to £30,” he says. “When people are travelling more than two hours, we look at potentially upgrading within £30 and sometimes operators offer that anyway if we are booking early enough; booking late can cost 50% more.” Childs’ main problem is with the network. Biffa’s offices are in High Wycombe, which has services to Birmingham or London. “There are no rail services to a lot of the places we go to, so it tends to be more cost efficient to go by car,” he says. “HS2 could make a difference but from what I hear, it
won’t from a time point of view.” Head of Procurement for Church of England, Chris Day, specifies the lowest possible fare, including first class where applicable. “We are flexible about when meetings start and finish to allow the lowest price,” he says. A lot of meetings are at Church House in London but travellers are departing from across the UK. Day is looking for a TMC to handle the Church’s £550,000 rail spend, which he hopes will highlight travel patterns and potential negotiating opportunities.
The right platform
Whether travellers are booking through a TMC or online booking tool, they may be using Evolvi Rail Systems, whose API provides configurable rail content for those channels, plus content aggregators and expense management systems. “The Evolvi API is increasingly being embedded within third-party customerfacing online booking systems, underlining the growing trend among TMCs and corporates to treat UK rail spend with the same degree of focus as every other element of significant travel spend,” says Managing Director, Kirstie van Oerle. In addition, the well-documented complexity of rail fares means such systems are crucial in helping find the best fares and the most cost-effective
configuration of tickets such as fixed outbound and flexible return, with travel policy embedded in the tool. Barcode ticketing is also winning fans in the corporate sector, especially as these go straight to a travel wallet, removing the need to activate prior to travel like mobile tickets. “Making this available on all routes would bring greater consistency of ticketing options to business travellers. There is clearly a digital transformation under way but we need assurances on timescales and interoperability,” says van Oerle. Other innovations in ticket types include Advance Purchase on the Day (APoD) on certain routes, enabling travellers to access advance tickets even when buying just before travel. It is determined by passenger loads at the time. The railways and ticketing are long overdue for reform and it seems this may finally be on the cards.
The well-documented complexity of rail fares means technology systems are crucial in helping find the best fares and the most cost-effective configuration of tickets”
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Ground transport / Rail operator update
One of the industry's best-known names is about to disappear from our networks having lost out on the West Coast franchiseâ€?
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Rail operator update / Ground transport
New operators and the delivery of long-awaited investments are shaking up the UK's rail network, says Dave Richardson
s the rail industry awaits the outcome of the Williams Review, two of its best-known names are about to disappear. Virgin Trains will give up the West Coast franchise – which covers many major business routes – in December, having lost out to a new partnership of FirstGroup and Trenitalia. It has operated these routes since 1997 and won many business awards, and also operated the East Coast routes from 2015-18. Virgin Group owns 51% of the West Coast franchise, the remaining 49% being owned by major international bus operator Stagecoach. Stagecoach lost the South West franchise in 2017 and the East Midlands routes in August this year, so this name too is set to disappear from rail. The loss of West Coast is controversial, as the Department for Transport barred Stagecoach from bidding as it was unwilling to take on the risk of underwriting pension deficits. A legal challenge is in the courts. The DfT had insisted that any new West Coast operator must have experience of operating a high-speed network, so Italian operator Trenitalia has partnered with FirstGroup. With the franchise running until 2031, First Trenitalia will start operating HS2 – if it ever gets built. What makes the West Coast award even more contentious is that some of FirstGroup’s major shareholders are in
open revolt over plans to continue operating rail franchises after heavy losses on the South West and TransPennine Express routes. Meanwhile, Dutch rail operator NS has strengthened its hold on the UK rail industry with subsidiary Abellio taking over East Midlands, promising investment of £600million and new bimodal express trains by 2022. Abellio already operates four other franchises.
A huge investment programme is under way across the rail industry, but some passengers are only just starting to see the benefits while many have become frustrated by the delayed introduction of new trains. First-owned Great Western will introduce a new timetable in December with journey time improvements on many routes to London, following full deployment of new Hitachi-built bimodal trains. Hitachi is also supplying the new fleet for East Coast routes currently operated by LNER, with new trains starting operation in summer 2019 and all old trains due to be replaced by the end of 2020. As on Great Western, the main benefit is a welcome increase in seat capacity rather than significantly reduced journey times. TransPennine Express will transform inter-city travel across the North and to Scotland when its new trains are all in
service, bringing on-board comfort and facilities to rival trains on main business routes to London. But major delays meant the first new trains did not start to carry passengers until late August. Northern, one of the most criticised operators, at last began to introduce some new trains in summer 2019. Caledonian Sleeper also introduced new trains this year but has been hit by teething problems and adverse media coverage. Crossrail services through central London, due to start in December 2018 and branded as the Elizabeth Line, may not now happen until 2021 – while the Government’s review of HS2 could mean this whole contentious project is scrapped.
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9/26/19 01:09 PM
Ground transport / Rail operator update
The U K' s train operators: wh o's who
Owned by: Trenitalia, part of the state-owned Italian rail operator. Franchise period: 2014-29. Main routes: London Fenchurch Street to destinations in Essex. CALEDONIAN SLEEPER
Owned by: Serco. Franchise period: 2015-30. Main routes: Overnight services from London Euston to major Scottish cities. CHILTERN TRAINS
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, part of stateowned German operator DB. Franchise period: 2002-21. Main routes: London Marylebone to Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham. CrossCountry
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Franchise period: 2007-19. Main routes: Birmingham to the South West, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Nottingham, Stansted, Manchester, Leeds, the North East and Scotland. Franchise renewal postponed indefinitely due to the Williams Review. East Midlands Trains
Owned by: Abellio, part of Dutch train operator NS, which replaced Stagecoachowned East Midlands Trains in August 2019. Franchise period: 2019-27. Main routes: London St Pancras to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; Norwich to Liverpool. Govia Thameslink Railway
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis (majority owned by French state-owned operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group. Franchise period: 2015-21. Main routes: London to Bedford, Peterborough and King’s Lynn; and London to Brighton and other south coast cities (including Thameslink services via central London); plus local services across south London. Many routes carry Great Northern or Southern branding, and it includes the Gatwick Express service. Grand Central
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Non-franchised open access operator. Main routes: London King’s Cross to Bradford, York and Sunderland. 80
Owned by: A partnership between Abellio and Japanese rail interests. Franchise period: 2016-25. Main routes: London-Norwich; Stansted Express; regional services throughout East Anglia. Great Western Railway
Owned by: FirstGroup. Franchise period: 2006-20. Main routes: London Paddington to the West Country, South Wales and Cotswolds; regional services in the South West and Thames Valley. Heathrow Express
Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated by Great Western. Non-franchised open access operator. Main route: London Paddington to London Heathrow Airport. HULL TRAINS
Owned by: FirstGroup. Non-franchised open access operator. Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull. LONDON NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY
Owned by: Department for Transport. Operating period: 2018-20, when new franchise is due to start. Main routes: London King’s Cross to Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. London Northwestern Railway London Northwestern Railway/We / WeST MIDLANDS RAILWAY
Owned by: West Midlands Tren Abellio (part of Dutch train operator NS) and Japanese rail interests. Franchise period: 2017-26. Main routes: London to Birmingham and Crewe; Birmingham to Liverpool; local services in West Midlands. London Overground
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains (on behalf of Transport for London). Franchise period: 2016-24. Main routes: Local services around London. Merseyrail
Owned by: A partnership between Abellio and Serco. Franchise period: 2003-28. Main routes: Local services around Liverpool.
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Franchise period: 2016-25. Main routes: Services throughout the North. ScotRail
Owned by: Abellio (on behalf of the Scottish government). Franchise period: 2015-25. Main routes: Most services within Scotland. Southeastern
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis (majority owned by French state-owned operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group. Franchise period: 2006-19. Franchise renewal postponed due to the Williams Review. Main routes: London to Kent; local services around south London. South Western Railway
Owned by: A partnership between FirstGroup and Hong Kong rail operator MTR. Franchise period: 2017-24. Main routes: London to the south coast and Exeter; local services around south London. TfL Rail
Owned by: Transport for London. Franchise period: 2015-23. Main routes: East London. It will operate Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when it opens. TransPennine Express
Owned by: FirstGroup. Franchise period: 2016-23. Main routes: Liverpool and Manchester Airport to Yorkshire and North East; Manchester Airport to Edinburgh and Glasgow; Manchester to Hull and Cleethorpes. TransPORT FOR WALES RAIL
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and Amey (on behalf of Transport for Wales). Franchise period: 2018-33. Main routes: Most services within Wales, and to Birmingham and Manchester. VIRGIN TRAINS
Owned by: A partnership between Virgin Group and Stagecoach. Franchise period: 1997-2019. To be replaced in December by a partnership between FirstGroup and Trenitalia (franchise to 2031). Main routes: London to the West Midlands, North West, North Wales and Scotland; Birmingham to Scotland.
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Advertising based on an increase of over 10% in train seats on long distance, intercity services in May 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Correct as of 18 June 2019. Selected routes only. Visit GWR.com for full terms and conditions.
19/09/2019 11:46 9/24/19 07:14 PM
Ground transport / Taxis
CABBIE fever A host of newcomers are shaking up London’s ride-hailing and taxi market with Uber in their sights. Rob Gill reports
ompetition in London’s ride-hailing and taxi market is hotting up as Uber faces down a host of new entrants, while black cab apps continue to actively court the corporate market. Uber had been operating in the UK capital on a 15-month probationary licence from Transport for London (TfL) since June 2018, which was extended for another two months in September. TfL had originally refused to renew Uber’s five-year licence because of concerns over the reporting of serious criminal offences and background checks for drivers.
Whatever happens with its licence renewal, Uber is facing a raft of extra competition in London from other ride-hailing firms – Estonian-based Bolt launched in June, while Indian start-up Ola has also been granted a 15-month licence by TfL with the service due to start in September.
Then there’s Kapten (formerly known as Chauffeur Privé), backed by German car giants BMW and Daimler, plus car-sharing service ViaVan, which secured a three-year licence to operate in London earlier this year. Meanwhile black cab apps such as Gett and FREE NOW (formerly Hailo and then Mytaxi) are also upping their games in attracting corporate business, while industry veteran Addison Lee also remains a significant player in the market. Despite the intense competition, Uber currently accounts for 80% of London’s ridehailing journeys and does not seem to fear the emergence of these additional rivals. “They are competitors that we’re familiar with. We’ve been competing against those players in Paris for many years,” says Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. “We are not seeing anything in London that’s a surprise or unexpected that we’re not seeing in 20 other cities around the world.” One potential advantage of this increased competition is a reduction in journey prices in London. But Matteo de Renzi, Gett’s CEO of Western Europe, is not so sure this will be the case as the ride-hailing companies compete to secure the services of the drivers. “There are many new players in the consumer space,” says de Renzi. “They will add competition but we’re quite neutral about that. All the new players will have to start with a large amount of drivers and so pay them generous incentives. This could have a detrimental effect on Uber and lead them to increase the prices even more.” Companies like Gett continue to stress the unpredictability of Uber’s prices for corporate
clients, particularly around “surge” rates. More corporate-focused players also emphasise their ability to offer clients what they need to meet duty of care requirements and supply management information (MI). Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales at FREE NOW, adds: “Almost every week we see a new service provider launch. Technology has made people much more engaged in their travel plans. While having lots of choice is obviously attractive, we find that for business travel safety, speed and comfort remain the most important factors. “With taxis, as with any corporate travel, people want seamless transfers – a cab waiting for them with a driver they already know the name of, contact details, the route and shareable ETAs (estimated time of arrival). It reassures people that they are in safe hands, knowing their driver is fullylicensed and knows where they are going.”
Play it safe
Offering duty of care to passengers and their employers continues to be a major selling point for those operating in the corporate taxi market – particularly as this issue has been a serious hurdle for Uber to overcome in its fight to get its London licence renewed. Clare Mahood, Senior Marketing Manager at ground transport specialist CMAC Group, says: “We understand how critical it is that organisations provide a duty of care to their employees. One of our biggest contributions to this is our vetted, compliant suppliers. To give peace of mind to employers we provide real-time tracking of journeys that is also accessible by the organisation.”
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Taxis / Ground transport
Many corporate clients are concerned about working with ridehailing companies who do not vet their drivers and therefore do not make these services part of their company policy”
Having the ability to vet drivers is crucial, says John McCallion, CEO of Groundscope. “Corporate clients want safe, reliable and cost-effective ride-hailing services and these do not always go hand-in-hand. We are committed to providing fully vetted ridehailing service partners globally and we’re rolling this service out as soon as we can.” McCallion adds: “Many corporate clients are rightfully concernced about working with ride-hailing companies who do not vet their drivers and as a result are not making these services part of their company policy.” Another challenge is delivering user-friendly apps for corporates. “The massive growth of the consumer market has created different
expectations,” says Gett’s de Renzi. “The challenge from corporates is to get closer to the experience you have on a consumer level.”
One of the next frontiers is the ability to offer more environmentally friendly vehicles and rides, particularly with cities introducing evertighter regulations on emissions. Rob McGinn, Addison Lee’s Chief Commercial Officer, says the company wants to “set the agenda around the introduction of new vehicle technology” and has committed to having a zero-emissions capable UK fleet by 2022. It started that journey with a recent investment in over £40million-worth of low-emission
vehicles. “We’ve just begun trialling five Audi E-trons – a fully electric SUV – with corporate customers so we can understand the requirements for an electric fleet and customer attitudes towards the cars,” adds McGinn. Uber, meanwhile, has introduced a ‘clean air plan’ in London to aid the electrification of its fleet. But this obviously involves a cost to passengers with Uber introducing a 15p per mile charge earlier this year on each journey in London as it aims to raise £200million to help drivers switch to electric vehicles. The ride-hailing/taxi market is certainly one to watch over the next few months and it will be interesting to see how many of the new entrants are still standing in a year’s time.
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Ground transport / Chauffeur services
in the BACK seAt ChAu F F e u R se R Vi Ce s i n the spotL i g ht In a world of digitalisation, content aggregators, on-demand services and a renewed focus on sustainability, some might assume that the chauffeur drive sector is in a tight spot. But that, it seems, would be a big mistake. Leading providers of chauffeur services – often perceived as something of a luxury – say demand is growing, with corporates covering off duty of care and security concerns and, increasingly, highlighting the traveller wellbeing benefits. “Even in the age of ride-hailing apps we find the demand is still there from those who prefer the premium service, comfort and reliability of a professional chauffeur,” says one leading provider. There is no doubt that ride-hailing services have shaken up the taxis and transfers landscapes, so the chauffeur drive sector has been forced to evolve. This is good news for corporates, with increasingly more chauffeur companies
providing API links for booking their services and integrating their content with aggregators and online booking tools. The next challenge is for providers to meet corporates’ sustainability needs by at the very least offering carbon offsetting facilities. They must also maintain a fleet of newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles and, as some providers are doing, begin incorporating electric vehicles for shorter or urban transfers. “Nearly every RFP asks about sustainability initiatives now,” one provider recently told us.
C RAig ChA M B e Rs Group CEO, TBR Global Chauffeuring
When does a chauffeur service come into its own? “When business travellers have to go to unfamiliar or risky locations. Duty of care is of paramount importance. But at any time, chauffeur services provide travellers with complete peace of mind by offering a fully managed end-to-end service, getting them where they need to be in comfort, reliably and on time.” Are you integrated with corporate booking tools and TMCs? “When it comes to online booking tools and integrations, our technology portfolio is quite broad. We offer booking tools developed entirely by our in-house innovation team as well as API-based links to our clients via our own TBR Connect API or through third-party booking channels. We have successfully integrated directly with a number of key global clients’ GDS systems and directly into TMCs’ own platforms, allowing them to provide a truly door-to-door travel solution to their customers.”
[ high FiVe: A seLeCtion oF LeADing pRoViDeRs ] • Blacklane: The Berlin-based company offers chauffeur services, airport transfers and a range of business solutions – including airport lounge access and expedited arrivals services – in more than 300 cities worldwide. • Carey: Founded in 1921, Carey offers a range of chauffeur services, including transfers for large scale meetings and events. The Carey Global Network covers more than 1,000 cities in 75 countries and performs more than 1.5million chauffeur journeys every year. • Club Class: Offers both corporate and private bookings across the UK with hubs in Sussex, Cheltenham, Leicester and at
London Heathrow. It specialises in airport, seaport and long-distance transfers. • TBR Global: Offers chauffeur services to corporates, fully managed ground transport services for events ranging from one to 10,000+ people, and works with 16 of the top 20 global investment banks. Its Major Global Events Team was named MICE Team of the Year at The Business Travel People Awards earlier this year. • Tristar: Provides airport transfers and transport for roadshow, meeting and events with a fleet of luxury vehicles and two service levels: First and Executive. It operates in more than 80 countries and is part of the Addison Lee group.
What trends are you witnessing in this sector? “As the industry matures and becomes increasingly digital, we are starting to see the ground transport sector harness new technology – AI, big data, etc – to further understand and optimise the customer experience. It is vital for ground transport providers to understand their customers' evolving needs and the booking channels that best suit them.” Anything else on the agenda currently? “With the rise of autonomous vehicles and ride hauling apps becoming part of the fabric of society, traveller wellbeing continues to remain of paramount importance to the ground transportation space. As a customer-centric industry, ground transport businesses still place this high on the agenda and this shows no signs of abating.”
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9/26/19 05:45 PM
Chauffeur services / Ground transport
p u t ti ng i t to the te st
There's something very comforting about stepping off a long-haul flight early in the morning and being greeted at arrivals by a smartly dressed driver bearing a board with your name on it. So it was a shame that my flight's early arrival had caught out the driver of my booked chauffeur service. Not to sweat, though, an email confirmed my driver's name and contact number, and a text message assured me he had arrived at the airport. A call shortly afterwards helped unite us and we were soon on the road. I'd booked the service with Blacklane, selecting an entry level 'Business Class' service – a Mercedes Benz E Class – costing £243 (including VAT, fees and tip, and for up to three passengers) from Heathrow to my home in Sussex. An hour's tolerance
chauffeur Untitled-6 drive 1 AH.indd 85
is included for airport pick-ups, or 15 minutes for other services. I took the opportunity to trial the service because it was substantially quicker than using a combination of the Underground and Southern train services. And if I'd driven my own car, the expense claim for petrol and parking wouldn't be too far behind the cost of a chauffeur service. However, it is the duty of care argument that is perhaps the most powerful, for the law wouldn't look kindly on a company that allows an employee to step off a red-eye flight and drive themself home. And then of course there is the wellbeing factor. This was a totally stress-free and comfortable journey home. Bottled water was provided, I could charge my phone, and the driver was polite – checking I was happy with the volume of the radio and temperature – but also not too chatty. Just the tonic after a busy trip and little sleep!
9/26/19 11/09/2019 05:45 16:06 PM
Ground transport / Data
Hitting the ground
THERE'S A RENAISSANCE FOR RAIL TRAVEL AS FLYGSKAM TAKES HOLD
From rising car hire costs and ‘flygskam’ to the growth of rail travel and average ticket values
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DRAW TO USING A PROVIDER FOR RAIL/TRANSFERS/CAR HIRE? £10
DUTY OF CARE
CUSTOMISATION OF TRIP
VALUE ADDED INCLUSIONS
EUROSTARS EUROSTAR ADDED A THIRD DAILY SERVICE FROM LONDON TO ROTTERDAM AND AMSTERDAM THIS SUMMER. IT GIVES THE OPERATOR SEAT CAPACITY EQUIVALENT TO 12 FLIGHTS PER DAY – BUT THERE ARE STILL MORE THAN 200 DAILY FLIGHTS BETWEEN LONDON AIRPORTS AND AMSTERDAM
RAIL BEATS AIR MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA +0.5%
FLIGHTS BETWEEN BERLIN AND NUREMBERG WERE DISCONTINUED AFTER THE START OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICES BETWEEN THE TWO GERMAN CITIES
WESTERN EUROPE +0.5% EASTERN EUROPE +1.5%
GROUND TRANSPORT COSTS ARE EXPECTED TO RISE IN 2020
BELGIUM: -4.5% UAE: -3.5% SPAIN: -2.5% NETHERLANDS: -2.5% ITALY: -2.5% AUSTRALIA: -1.5% GERMANY: -1.5%
AVERAGE RAIL TICKET VALUE IN 2018, DOWN FROM £56.83 IN 2017 DESPITE A 3.3% INCREASE IN FARES
THE NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS UNDERTAKEN THROUGH EVOLVI RAIL SYSTEMS’ RAIL BOOKING TOOL IN 2018 (UP FROM 8.6M IN 2017)
NORWAY: -1% SWEDEN: -1% UK: -0.5% CANADA: +1% US: +1% FRANCE: +1% SOUTH AFRICA: +2% SWITZERLAND: +2.5%
Source: Ground Monitor 2019 by Amex GBT
CAR RENTAL RATES SHOW MIXED OUTLOOK FOR 2019-20
JAPAN RAIL TRAVEL ACCOUNTS FOR 65% TO 70% OF DOMESTIC BUSINESS TRIPS IN JAPAN. THE MOST POPULAR ROUTE IS THE TOKAIDO SHINKANSEN WHICH CONNECTS TOKYO, OSAKA AND NAGOYA
FLYGSKAM THE SWEDISH TERM, MEANING ‘FLIGHT SHAMING’, HAS SEEN BUSINESS TRAVELLERS INCREASINGLY TURNING TO RAIL TRAVEL. AIR PASSENGER NUMBERS BETWEEN STOCKHOLM AND COPENHAGEN FELL 7% IN THE 12 MONTHS TO JUNE THIS YEAR
Source: BCD 2020 Industry Forecast
Source: globehunters.com Source: CWT 2020 Global Travel Forecast
Source: poll of delegates at TBTC'19
THE MOST EXPENSIVE UK AIRPORT FOR ‘KISS & FLY’ DROP-OFF RATES (PRICE FOR 15 MINUTES)
9/26/19 05:07 PM
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9/24/19 04:12 PM
GALLERY Advantage members meet and mingle!
The Advantage Business Travel
Summer BBQ Business travel members and partners of The Advantage Travel Partnership got together at the association’s annual Summer Barbecue in early September. Attendees enjoyed Champagne and cocktails at Chapel Down’s Gin Works bar and venue in Kings Cross, London, courtesy of sponsors Air Europa, IHG, Avis and The Business Travel Magazine
Advantage Summer BBQ 2019 ▼
Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼
Serving up a ﬁnal taste of summer
Brewing up plans for the busy autumn season
Advantage Gallery.indd 88
9/24/19 07:22 PM
Meeting in Lively and dynamic, Glasgow boasts a vibrant cultural scene, plenty of green spaces and the largest academic community outside London, with world leading research in life sciences, engineering and tech. It’s also known as a financial services centre – Barclays, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse are among
ON A SHOESTRING
Glasgow Science Centre
Set on the banks of the River Clyde, the £75m Science Centre’s three titanium-clad buildings are amongst the most recognisable landmarks in the city and the venue makes an impressive backdrop for events. Inside, there is an IMAX 3D cinema, a Planetarium and conference suites of varying sizes. Its biggest space, the Atrium, can host up to 600.
The multimillion-pound riverside Clydeside development opened in 2017 and is the city’s first single malt whisky distillery to open in more than 100 years. Inside, a private tasting room can seat up to 50, or receptions for up to 200 can be held in the Distillery complete with its large copper stills. Exclusive hire drinks packages are £65 per head, including a tour.
Situated just a few minutes’ walk from Central Station’s main concourse, thestudio offers seven light-filled and brightly designed meeting rooms, each with outstanding views of the city’s rooftops to the hills beyond. An exclusiveuse space for up to 260 can be hired on the ninth floor for receptions. Day packages start from £27.50 per head.
Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay, G51 1EA / 0141 420 5008 glasgowsciencecentre.org
The Old Pump House, Queen’s Dock, 100 Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8QQ 0141 212 1401 / theclydeside.com
Thestudio Keynes, 67 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6AE / 0141 370 4500 studiovenues.co.uk
OUT OF TOWN
the many multinational banks with a base in the city, writes Emma Allen
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Getting there Glasgow offers excellent road, rail and air links. There are three international airports within easy reach and two major railway stations. More than 20 trains daily operate from London Euston with an average journey time of just over four hours. Further information Contact the Glasgow Convention Bureau for advice on venues, accommodation and conference bookings. Telephone 0141 566 0807 or email conventions@ glasgowconventionbureau.com
Scotland’s first outpost of the Ivy brasserie chain opened on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street this summer, and its elaborately decorated interior makes an elegant setting for parties and dinners. Aside from the main restaurant, there is a first floor bar that hosts live music at weekends and the private dining Morgan Room which can sit 20 guests on one long table or up to 40 standing.
Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel
Hampden Park Stadium
11 Blysthwood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD / 0141 248 8888 kimptonblythswoodsquare.com
Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow G42 9BA / 0141 620 4120 hampdenconferenceandevents.co.uk
Hampden Park is the home This elegant Georgian townvenue to Scotland’s national house hotel re-opened football team, just three KIMPTON this year under the miles south of the city TAKEOVER Kimpton brand following centre. Ideal for large a multimillion-pound refit. events, there is 1,800m2 Six luxury modern meeting of exhibition space, an rooms offer state of the art auditorium and more than 45 technology, with the Monte separate conference rooms Carlo suite able to host up to available, with the largest, the 120 theatre-style. There's also a Lomond and Nevis suites, both 40-seat screening room for hire. seating up to 500 theatre-style.
106 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2NB 0141 378 1200 / theivyglasgow.com
THE IVY ARRIVES IN SCOTLAND
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The finest experience in the sky. We connect the UK to over 120 destinations across Latin America with direct daily flights to our hub in São Paulo. Over the next two years, we will renovate the cabins of two-thirds of our global fleet. The Premium Business class will boast a new seat design with seating options for both individuals and couples (including a full-flat bed), direct aisle access, ample space for personal items, and an improved in-flight entertainment system on an 18” personal screen. latam.com
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On business in... South America’s largest metropolis and Brazil’s economic epicentre, São Paulo is a bustling, booming city with surprising pockets of calm, as well as plenty of places to drink, dine and soak up the culture, writes Sasha Wood
SÃo Paulo comes alive after dark
celebrity chef Alex Atala’s
order from the amazon
Dalva e Dito restaurant
Set between the sloping streets of
serves traditional Brazilian food
São Paulo’s smart and leafy Jardins
prepared with ingredients sourced
district, Tivoli Mofarrej São Paulo
from the Amazon rainforest.
scores points for both location and luxury. Its top-floor breakfast room has panoramic views of the city’s
Getting there LATAM and British Airways both operate direct flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport, while Virgin Atlantic will launch services in March 2020. Flights take around 11hrs 45mins. Further information For flights, visit latam.com; visitor information: visitbrasil.com
summon an Uber, which is considerably less costly.
Must-see sights The covered Mercado Municipal
market in São Paulo’s downtown district is a feast for the senses.
skyline and the tropical pool is the
Lively Bar Brahma on the corner
Pockets of heritage architecture
perfect place to chill. All guest rooms
of Avenida Ipiranga and Sao Joao
such as Patio do Colegio, where
have the latest tech and amenities
Street is the best place in São Paulo
the city was founded, and the
including smart TVs, USB charging
to sample local live samba and
16th-century Church of Santa
points and a decent workspace.
classic local fare. Alternatively,
Ifigenia still shelter between modern
visit the Vila Madalena district for
skyscrapers in central São Paulo.
music, poetry and dancing at Bar
Ibirapuera Park, based on the
Samba or Bar Camara.
design of NYC's Central Park, offers
a huge expanse of green space and
For a gourmet meal in a modern rustic setting, South American
a break from the hustle and bustle.
There is an official Airport Bus service between Guarulhos International Airport and the city centre. It’s fairly cheap and frequent, but can take between one and three hours, owing to São Paulo’s notoriously bad traffic. Taxis are also readily available outside the airport terminal, or you can
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The six oil-rich Arabian Gulf States – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman – have diversified their economies, creating new opportunities for British trade and investment post-Brexit, writes Sasha Wood
the Gulf States
Nature bestowed the Gulf two gifts: pearls from the oyster-rich sea and 'black gold' from beneath the sand. The former fed the earliest industry while the latter catapulted the region into the global economic stratosphere. The region’s oil-rich GCC nations include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, but some, such as Oman and the UAE, are increasingly turning to tourism as the wells run dry. Harnessing the plentiful supply of sun, sand and sea to turn a profit, they are creating fresh opportunities for UK companies to
invest in hospitality and infrastructure, and especially in construction, in a set of safe and secure countries, albeit in a turbulent neighbourhood. The desert emirate of Dubai is undoubtedly the Gulf's financial centre and economic gateway, with free trade facilitating access to other regional markets such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It also boasts the biggest sea container port in the Middle East, part of the city's original plan to establish itself as a trade centre when it lacked the massive oil reserves of its neighbours.
As a whole, the UAE has been successful in diversifying its economy away from oil, and now has Arabia’s second strongest economy after Saudi Arabia. More than 5,000 British companies already operate in the destination, including well-known brands such as BP, Rolls Royce, Barclays, HSBC and Waitrose, with plenty of room for more. Aside from Dubai, the region's other key centres of commerce include Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait City, Muscat and Riyadh, all of which are valuable trade partners with the UK – even more
Time zones: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia: GMT +3hrs; Oman and the UAE: GMT +4hrs. Local currency: UAE Dirham: £1 = 4.57 AED Omani Rial: £1 = 0.48 OMR Bahraini Dinar: £1 = 0.47 BHD Qatari Riyal: £1 = 4.53 QAR Saudi Riyal: £1 = 4.66 SAR Kuwaiti Dinar: £1 = 0.38 KWD Visas: Available upon arrival for the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain; for Oman, apply for an e-visa in advance; for Saudi Arabia, apply in advance from visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. Dialling codes: Kuwait +965; UAE +971, Bahrain +973, Oman +968, Qatar +974, Saudi +966.
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so post-Brexit. The UK government has stated its commitment to increasing cooperation between the UK and the Gulf States’ financial services sector with mutual opportunities for business across asset management, cyber security, sustainable finance and FinTech. Despite stalling in 2017, the Gulf States’ economies are surging ahead, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which predicts 3% growth by the end of this year alone. GDP growth across the GCC is also expected to be healthy this year largely due to the region’s increased
investment in development projects. With the Gulf’s strongest GDP growth – at 5% – Oman’s commitment to expanding its tourism offering seems to be bearing fruit. A uniquely close relationship between Oman and the UK fostered by historic ties and friendship between the monarchies makes it a great business proposition. In fact, the UK is Oman’s largest source of foreign direct investment and there is a strong appetite to see more trade with the UK. At the crossroads of international trade routes since ancient times,
Bahrain was the first GCC state to strike oil. The island nation has good bilateral relations with the UK and direct access to the Saudi economy via King Fahad Causeway. Similarly to Bahrain, Kuwait has a longstanding business relationship with the UK, with exports to the Kuwaiti market up 23% this year alone. Oil, meanwhile, still forms the backbone of the Saudi economy, while across the Gulf the IMF says public investment projects, including those consistent with the five-year development plan in Kuwait, infrastructure investment projects
ahead of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and ongoing preparations for Expo 2020 in the UAE, have all contributed to growth. Qatar has also instituted the 2030 Qatar National Vision, one of the world’s most ambitious infrastructure projects with a budget of £140bn. Qatar is a significant investor in the UK and its third largest export market in the region, buying largely heavy machinery, vehicles and power generation equipment. Considering the growing bilateral economic relationship, like the other GCC countries, it’s ripe for investment.
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Factfile: the Gulf States FLIGHTS BRITISH AIRWAYS: Flies daily from Heathrow to UAE capital Abu Dhabi, plus Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatari capital Doha and the Saudi gateway of Jeddah; and 19 times per week to Dubai. It also has four flights per week to Omani capital Muscat from Heathrow. EMIRATES: Flies to Dubai six times daily from London Heathrow; 22 times per week from London Gatwick; and twice daily from London Stansted. There are also double daily flights from Birmingham and Glasgow, and daily flights from Newcastle and Edinburgh, plus a thrice daily service from Manchester. ETIHAD AIRWAYS: Has five flights a day to Abu Dhabi from Heathrow, and twice daily flights from Manchester. GULF AIR: Serves Bahrain with double daily flights from Heathrow.
JAZEERA AIRWAYS: Will fly to Kuwait from Gatwick from October. KUWAIT AIRWAYS: Operates 13 flights per week to Kuwait from London Heathrow. OMAN AIR: Flies twice daily to Muscat from London Heathrow, and daily from Manchester. QATAR AIRWAYS: Flies to Doha seven times per day from London Heathrow; four times per day from Manchester; daily from Birmingham and Cardiff; 10 times per week from Edinburgh; and has 28 flights a week between Doha and Gatwick. SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES: Has nine flights a week from Heathrow to Jeddah and five a week from Manchester. • Information kindly supplied by travel data and analytics specialist Cirium (cirium.com)
sleeping MARRIOTT: Is growing its presence in the region with new openings under its W Hotels brand including W Dubai – the Palm, W Muscat in Oman and W Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. IHG: Is one of the biggest hotel groups in the region with properties in all the key business travel destinations under its Crowne Plaza, lnterContinental and Holiday Inn brands. FOUR SEASONS: Has hotels in all the key destinations across the
region including Dubai, Doha, Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain. JUMEIRAH: Has its flagship hotel – the famous Burj Al Arab – in Dubai and a flush of upmarket properties across the region including the new Jumeirah Muscat Bay in Oman. ACCOR: Is expanding fast with a number of brands under its umbrella including MGallery and Mama Shelter, plus others. New hotels slated for Abu Dhabi and Dubai include Raffles the Palm Dubai and Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina Park.
HILTON: Runs a swathe of hotels across the Gulf with openings set for the UAE, Saudi waldorf Arabia, Kuwait and astoria Bahrain, including the arrives in Waldorf Astoria Dubai. dubai MOVENPICK: Has a large footprint in the Gulf region, with a dozen upscale hotels in Saudi Arabia, seven in the UAE, and a handful more in Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.
BA has the region covered
off duty DUBAI: Glimpse the past at Dubai Creek and take a walking tour of the Al Fahidi historic district. Spy the city’s megastructures including the Burj Al Arab, then scale world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. ABU DHABI: Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in 2017, the largest art museum on the Arabian Peninsula, bridging the gap between east and west, and undoubtedly musk and a city highlight. mosques in muscat MUSCAT: Oman’s low-rise waterfront capital is a portal into authentic Arabia with one of the Middle East’s oldest bazaars, Mutrah Souk, where you can barter for local frankincense, and the visitor-friendly Grand Mosque. Alongside the recently-opened National Museum, the Sultan Qaboos Opera House is well worth a visit too. MANAMA: Bahrain’s chief city can be charted in a day with key stops including the National Museum, Bab al-Bahrain bazaar, Bahrain Fort and the Pearling Trail.
DOHA: Make the most of a trip to Qatari capital Doha with a peruse of the wares of atmospheric Souk Waqif and a stroll along the bustling waterfront corniche. For a relaxing arabian voyage, consider taking a wooden dhow boat tour. jeddah: Saudi Arabia is at its most fascinating and liberal in the gateway city of Jeddah, which sits at the crossroads of ancient Arabian trade routes and close to the holy city of Mecca. Heritage architecture and bustling souks await.
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Reality check HOT E L : L IV E ! BY L O E W S AR L ING TO N, T E X AS THE HOTEL
This is the first Live!
while amenities included a huge TV,
hotel from the North American Loews
desk, chaise longue, coffee machine,
Hotel Group. It is located adjacent to
safe and ironing board. There was no
major sporting venues (the Dallas
bottled water in the room (complimentary
Cowboys' AT&T stadium and both the
nor otherwise), which was an oversight.
existing and new homes of the Texas
Thereʼs a well-
Rangers baseball team) and the Texas
equipped gym, outdoor pool and bar,
Live! entertainment complex. More Live!
small business centre, River Market
hotels will be rolled out in similar settings,
coffee shop, all-day restaurant Cut &
targetting business travellers during the
Bourbon (specialising in steak), adjacent
week and leisure guests at weekends.
bar and outdoor Clover Club bar and
Arlington lies midway between the twin
lawn. Thereʼs 35,000sqft of event space
cities of Dallas and Fort Worth (both
including a 14,000sqft ballroom that
around 20 minutes away) and just south
seats up to 950 people – the largest in
of DFW International Airport (15 minutes).
Arlington. A small creek and riverside path snake around the rear of the hotel
enthusiasm for this flagship property.
guestrooms across four categories –
where work was still under way on
Indeed, the Arlington area is enjoying
plus suites – in this 14-storey building.
constructing a showpiece fountain.
There are 300
I was staying in a premium room on
Itʼs an interesting new
the 12th floor, where floor-to-ceiling
concept from Loews, with an appealing
windows framed the impressive Dallas
design and excellent location for leisure
Cowboys stadium. However, it is
and business guests alike. Its proximity
baseball-themed art that adorns the
to DFW airport is a real boon and is
corridors and walls of guestrooms.
already helping deliver ‘excellent’
Decor was smart greys – and stone in
meetings and events bookings. The staff
the bathroom, with walk-in shower –
were fantastic throughout and full of
something of a renaissance currently
THE STAFF WERE FULL OF ENTHUSIASM FOR THIS FLAGSHIP PROPERTY
with around $4billion being invested in infrastructure. Major local employers include Airbus, GM and American Airlines. THE DETAILS
Live! By Loews, 1600
E Randol Mill Road, Arlington, Texas, 76011. Rates from £135 per night. loewshotels.com
F L IG HT : L ATAM , BU SINE SS CL ASS THE FLIGHT
LATAM flight 8085
kit that included L'Occitane essentials
from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo's
such as lip balm, a moisturising face
Guarulhos International Airport operated
cloth, toothbrush and toothpaste.
by a Boeing 777-300, departing at 22.00 and arriving at 05.40 local time. PRE-BOARDING
Check-in was smooth
Every section of the
cabin has a dedicated air hostess who introduces themselves by name and is
and efficient. Boarding was on time, and
available for anything you need
speedy boarding for Premium Business
throughout the flight. I was immediately
customers meant I could cut out the
offered a glass of Champagne and some
tiresome queuing and walk straight on.
water, and asked to fill in a card with my
The airline has
preferred meals. The airline has just
recently launched a new Premium
introduced new service protocols
Business cabin with state-of-the-art seats
offering more flexibility for customers
in a 1-2-1 configuration, all with direct
and fewer interruptions. As it was an
aisle access and more storage (see page
overnight flight, this included the option
48). It's currently being rolled out across
to be woken one-and-a-half hours
the fleet, but I was flying in the old cabin.
before landing for a full breakfast or
After take-off, tinkering with the buttons
40 minutes prior to arrival for a light
transformed my roomy seat into an
breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and tea. The
armchair with a pull-out tray for dinner
redesigned meal service includes Latin
and then a lie-flat bed with a mattress
American fare, though I opted for a
liner, duvet and pillow when I was ready
tasty pasta tortellini with parmesan,
for sleep. The old 2-3-2 configuration
accompanied by renowned Chilean and
meant I had to discretely step over my
Argentine wines selected by a master
sleeping neighbour to visit the bathroom
sommelier – my red Malbec was the
where I made use of my classy amenity
perfect night cap.
It was definitely up
there with the best business cabins I've
NEW SERVICE PROTOCOLS MEAN MORE FLEXIBILITY AND FEWER INTERRUPTIONS
experienced – and the upgraded version should be even better. THE DETAILS
LATAM flies daily direct
between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo with a flight time of around 11 hours and 45 minutes. Return fares are from around £1,561 in Premium Business. latam.com
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FLI GH T : AM E R ICAN AIR L INE S, BU SINE SS CL ASS American Airlines flight
plus simple controls for adjusting the
78 from Dallas Fort Worth International
seat or converting it to a flat bed. The
Airport to London Heathrow. The service
IFE screen was good quality and the
was operated by a B777-200 with
entertainment available was pretty
scheduled local departure and arrival
comprehensive and included some
times of 19.20 and 10.30 (the following
live TV channels.
day) respectively. I was travelling in the airline's Flagship Business class. PRE=BOARDING
Iʼd checked in online
Bedding, an amenity
kit (by This is Ground) and Bang & Olufsen headphones were all laid out
and, with only hand luggage, headed
when I boarded. Drinks were offered
straight for priority fast track security at
pre-take-off while hot towels were
Terminal D which seemed only slightly
distributed soon after take off and
quicker than the regular line. Airside, I
dinner orders were taken. I chose red
visited the airlineʼs main Flagship lounge,
snapper with risotto from the list of four
which was refreshed earlier this year at
options – the fish was good. For dessert I
the same time as Flagship Dining was
indulged in an iconic ice cream sundae
introduced for first class passengers.
with all the trimmings. Drink servings
and the smart, comfortable seat
Gordon Ramsey is rumoured to have
were generous! A breakfast of omelette
rewarded me with possibly the best
praised the cuisine on offer here.
or yoghurt and fruit was served an hour
I travelled in seat 8H,
before landing. I paid $19 for wifi access
one of the centre seats in a 1-2-1
for the duration of the flight but
configuration of angled, forward-facing
reconnecting was a faff each time it was
seats (all seats have direct aisle access).
left unused for 30 minutes. An arrivals
The seat was spacious and had plenty of
lounge invite and fast-track immigration
storage points – a couple that I only
pass were handed out shortly before
discovered when preparing to land –
arrival, with the latter put to good use.
I WAS REWARDED WITH POSSIBLY THE BEST NIGHT'S SLEEP I'VE HAD ONBOARD
Crew were courteous
night's sleep I've had onboard. My only moan was the finnicky wifi. THE DETAILS
operates daily flights from London Heathrow to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Return fares in Flagship Business start from £1,664. See aa.co.uk
HOT E L : STAY BR IDG E SU IT E S M ANCHE ST E R THE HOTEL
This 116-room property
thankfully more subtle in the sitting
is in the Oxford Road Corridor business
area, where a comfortable sofa and
and academia hub of Manchester and is
chairs faced a generous widescreen TV.
attached to an education centre that is
The kitchenette had a Nespresso
part of the University of Manchester. It
machine with four free capsules
is a short walk to Manchester Oxford
supplied and a detailed guide to the
Road rail station; Manchester Piccadilly
room left no stone unturned – hob,
is about one mile away. The hotel is on
dishwasher and air conditioning were
the 16th to 18th storeys of the building,
all clearly explained. Cards on the notice
with a Crowne Plaza underneath.
board explained how to order pizza
Reception is on the
18th floor and fronts the lounge and breakfast area. Check-in was quick, friendly and efficient. THE ROOM
I had a corner room
from the ground floor kitchen and supplied further menu details. THE FACILITIES
A large breakfast
buffet caters to every requirement, with pancake maker, yogurt, nuts, seeds,
(1801) with great views of Manchester,
several types of bread, salami, cheese,
particularly attractive at night. The
cooked breakfast and fruit. The lounge
bedroom was generous with a large
has a gas fire, floor to ceiling windows
double bed, crisp sheets and a firm
and a conservatory area. Free wifi, self-
mattress, allowing an excellent night’s
service laundry room and The Pantry
sleep, plus light controls both sides of
convenience store are complemented by
the bed. There was a shower over the
guest access to Crowne Plaza facilities
bath and the shower screen made
such as a 24-hour gym, meeting space,
access slightly tiresome but lights in the
The Graduate Bar – which has a great
bathroom were bright, which was useful
cocktail list and a bar menu – and the
for putting on make-up. Lighting was
excellent Laureate Restaurant.
Everything ticks over
smoothly and staff were warm and welcoming; add excellent business
A DETAILED GUIDE TO THE ROOM LEFT NO STONE UNTURNED
facilities and it’s a good place to stay. THE DETAILS
30 Higher Chatham
Street Manchester, M15 6ED. Rates from £75 per night +VAT for a 29-night stay or more (20% VAT for 28 nights, 4% thereafter), with breakfast and evening events. Tel: 0161 359 5556. ihg.com
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The final word
Raging against the machine
ore proof that humanity is just a click or two away from some Terminator-style armageddon pings in to our inbox courtesy of AppZen. The company, which uses artificial intelligence to check travel expenses, unsurprisingly reveals that computers are better at spotting ‘creative' claims than human auditors. Citing all sorts of examples – sightseeing helicopter flights, strip club visits and trips away for extramarital fun among them – it reckons that almost 9% of expense claims could contain unauthorised items. Of course, some faceless AI machine is never going to slide your receipts through as easily as Dave in accounts, who'll do it for a pint at lunchtime. But the bigger question is, which companies did AppZen survey – and how do we get a job there?
Oh dear, what is it about us Brits and geography? Boat charter firm SamBoat has discovered more evidence that UK travellers don’t know the first thing about the world. Examples of our geographical ignorance include... 1 2 3 4 5
Shining knight Barron
n a break from our usual sarcasm, The Final Word thought it was only right to raise a glass to hotel entrepreneur Barron Hilton, who passed away in September. Barron, 91, was son of Hilton's founder Conrad and was responsible for building it into the giant corporation it is today, starting out as a parking valet. Most remarkable is his decision back in 2007 to create a charitable foundation dedicated to alleviating poverty and disease. His death sees 97% of his $2.6bn fortune going towards continuing this work globally. 98
in a world of confusion
8 1% of Brits can’t identify the capital of Spain 6 6% didn’t know the Trevi Fountain was in Rome 6 1% think the Great Wall of China is visible from space 5 7% believe Greenland is a country 4 9% think Sydney is the capital of Australia
No matter how enabling the new digital world is, we all know that face-to-face contact is always best. So fair play to IHG Hotels & Resorts for a new campaign giving away 10,000 free nights via IHG Rewards Club points, simply to celebrate human connection. The 'Be There In Real Life' promo celebrates moments that could only have happened via real meetings, and runs until the end of 2019
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Save the date september
Hilton London Bankside The 2020 event for buyers and arrangers of business travel & meetings
For further information contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk thebusinesstravelconference.com
TBTC Save the date ad.indd 1
9/26/19 11:33 AM
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The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...
Published on Sep 27, 2019
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...