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September/October 2021

ALL SYSTEMS GO It’s time to reconnect, reset, restart

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The 2021 Tech Hotlist Business Travel People Awards UK accommodation Instilling travel confidence

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE • SEPTEMBER 14-15

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UP FRONT

Contents

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2021 Features

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10 SMEs: They're first off the blocks with the long-awaited restart, but will it be a clear run? 16 The Business Travel People

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Awards: With the big night just days away, here's what's in store, plus the 2021 shortlist

The 2021

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Tech Hotlist 22

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From sexy start-ups to established players, see which tech innovations and innovators made it into our hotlist this year

(p28-32)

26 Airport Update: As air travel ramps up, we investigate how airports are speeding up arrivals and departures 28 2021 Tech Hotlist: Our pick of the top tech specialists who are shaking up the industry 34 Accommodation: Join us on a

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tour of the most exciting new openings and renovations on the UK's accommodation scene 40 The Business Travel Conference: Expert panels, top tips and an immersive moviethemed experience - see what's on the agenda this year

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Up front 6

Everyone's Talking About: The transatlantic restart

7

Speaking Out: The GBTA’s new Executive Director, Suzanne

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Neufang, champions the power of connection 8

The Knowledge: How to instill confidence in your travellers

News Review 19 News and trends, plus comment

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from the BTA and the ITM

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Departures

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42 Reality check: We test drive an electric rental vehicle and escape to a rural retreat just minutes from Belfast

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43 Final word: The lighter side of travel

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Welcome Back together again

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fter months of being restricted and relying on virtual communication, our lives are finally getting back to normal again - and doesn't it feel great. We're seeing each other faceto-face, popping back into the office,

and meeting industry friends and colleagues for coffees and lunches. We've been on trains, even planes, and posted selfies about it on LinkedIn - in our masks, of course. Our lives aren't completely back to the way they were – and they might well never be – but the vaccine roll-out has allowed us to venture out again into the world with more confidence. On September 14-15 many of us will meet in London for two of our sector's most important annual events: The Business Travel Conference and The Business Travel People Awards. For the conference (see page 40) we've got a fantastic line-up of speakers and some great sessions planned under the theme Reconnect, Reset, Restart. There's lots to talk about and still so much to learn. For the People Awards (see page 16) there's a new relaxed, evening format, new categories, and it's the 10th anniversary too. For both, there'll be plenty of time for networking and socialising, which is always a big part of these events and now more than ever. Being apart for so long has made us all realise how important it is to be together, to make those spontaneous connections, to put a face to a name, to forge closer relationships, share experiences, a joke - all those things that don't happen naturally on a screen and, after all, the reason why we're in the industry we're in. For me personally, these events will be a chance to finally meet many of the people I've only known virtually in the year since I joined The Business Travel Magazine and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it.

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Bev Fearis CONTRIBUTORS

Catherine Chetwynd, Gillian Upton & Gary Noakes STAFF JOURNALIST

April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Julie Baxter

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

DESIGN & PRODUCTION DESIGNERS

Caitlan Francis & Emma Norton PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe for free at thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe

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Martin Steady (Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO. 1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233 ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK / BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK THIS PUBLICATION IS PRINTED ON 100% FULLY RECYCLED PAPER AND

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UP FRONT OPINION

Everyone's talking about... restarting transatlantic travel “SINCE THE UK AND EU RELAXED ENTRY PROTOCOLS FOR FULLY

“REOPENING OF THE US BORDER FOR FULLY VACCINATED UK/ EU NATIONALS REPRESENTS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MILESTONE FOR GLOBAL TRAVEL. IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF CHRISTMAS COMING EARLY” Jason Oshiokpekhai, Managing Director, Global Travel Collection UK

“Transatlantic routes are crucial as British businesses strive to re-energise our economy and even more so for some of our agile and growing SMEs clients that see the US as a vital market to break into" Bex Deadman, Managing Director Blue Cube Travel

VACCINATED US TRAVELLERS, WE’VE SEEN A MEANINGFUL UPTICK IN ARRIVALS. FREEDOM TO TRAVEL IS VITAL TO SAVING BUSINESSES, JOBS AND ECONOMIES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POND. IT’S TIME FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE A COMMON SENSE, SCIENCE-BASED APPROACH TO REOPENING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL" Martin Ferguson, Vice President Public Affairs, Amex GBT

The safe re-opening of the transatlantic corridor is critical so that we can begin to see a meaningful restart and recovery of business travel, and support the thousands of businesses and jobs across the UK and globally” Sonia Michaels, Head of Business Travel Services and Events, Advantage Travel Partnership

“WITH THE US, UK AND MANY EU COUNTRIES MAKING STEADY PROGRESS WITH THEIR VACCINATION CAMPAIGNS, WE’RE SEEING A SHIFT IN ATTITUDE AND PEOPLE WANTING TO GET BACK ON THE ROAD, BUT WITH SAFETY, SECURITY AND WELLBEING STILL HIGH ON THE AGENDA” Niklas Andreen, CWT President and Chief Operating Officer

“Before the pandemic devastated the sector, the US was the biggest source market for the UK in terms of visitor numbers and the UK was the third biggest source market for the US. This shows just how vital a corridor would be in boosting both economies” Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO

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UP FRONT SPEAKING OUT

THE POWER OF CONNECTION

A CHANGED WORLD Life is starting to feel more familiar, says the GBTA’s Suzanne Neufang, but will it ever be the same?

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— but also different. It was energising to feel the buzz, to see so many people networking, learning and collaborating, while event organisers prioritised health and safety for all. But the reality is there are still some detours on the road back to business travel. Government restrictions and lockdowns have made it difficult for businesses to plan a return to travel, especially across borders. This summer I was able to visit my husband, who is spending time in Germany, but I couldn’t travel to the UK for the industry Day of Action – a reminder that we still need to keep up our advocacy efforts for a consistent approach across nations. There have been upsides too. The pause in business travel gave the GBTA the opportunity to reset and implement changes. I’ve made it my top priority to listen and speak to members, buyers,

SUZANNE NEUFANG Suzanne Neufang was appointed Chief Executive of the GBTA in February 2021. She was previously Senior VP Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions and before that held roles at Sabre Travel Network, GetThere and Travelocity.

ISTOCK.COM/BORCHEE

hen you take a new role in the midst of a pandemic you’re not quite sure what to expect, but in the six months since I joined GBTA I continue to know one thing for sure: there’s an important task ahead in navigating the challenges and fostering recovery in the business travel industry and the travel ecosystem. In normal years, my role would involve lots of business travel, conferences, and events, but like so many of you I’ve found myself working almost solely remotely, with only my laptop and virtual meeting tools as a way of connecting with our members, teams, and industry colleagues. A big step forward came in early August when I was delighted to attend my first in-person conference since the outset of the pandemic. Walking into a convention centre with 1,000-plus other attendees felt familiar

suppliers, partners, staff, and volunteers across each of the regions. This will enable us to transform as an association fit for purpose, to ensure a solid foundation to see us through the pandemic and support members through education, networking, and of course advocacy efforts, to aid the recovery of the industry. We’ve also increased global representation with the recent GBTA Board of Directors elections, welcoming a UK-based VicePresident as well as regional board members to represent Canada and Europe. Even though there are challenges, our industry has and will always be resilient. We know that GBTA members are also keen to get out on the road again. In our most recent Covid-19 poll, most respondents reported they’ve been vaccinated with their vaccine passport at the ready. We are optimistic for a future where in-person events will be the norm again, even if a little different. The power of meeting, collaborating and connecting in person cannot be underestimated nor replaced. GBTA is committed to hosting several in-person events during the final quarter of 2021, with events in Paris, Orlando, Canada and Berlin. I very much look forward seeing many of you there.

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UP FRONT THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... instil traveller confidence With its essential workers continuing to travel overseas throughout the pandemic, Oil Spill Response was quick to put procedures in place to protect its teams and instil confidence.

THE BACKGROUND

Oil Spill Response Limited is an international industry-funded cooperative which responds to oil spills around the world. It has 12 global locations employing around 270 people – with 150 travelling regularly throughout the pandemic. Since June, its emergency response teams have been assisting with a major environmental disaster in Sri Lanka after a container ship caught fire off Colombo’s port. Alongside its emergency response teams, other employees travel regularly to undertake essential equipment maintenance. Although the company already had effective procedures in place to protect traveller safety, the outbreak of Covid-19 meant it had to add a whole new layer of support and reassurance.

THE CHALLENGE

With the company’s work deemed essential, some employees have continued to travel, even at the peak of the pandemic. Travel bookers

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There hasn’t been a lot of nervousness among our travellers, or their loved ones, because we’ve been so thorough in our procedures" have had to navigate complex and fastchanging border requirements, which are different for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers, and also deal with air and hotel capacity constraints. “We’re nowhere near the previous levels of travel but as a travel manager it feels like more because it’s now so complicated,” said the company's Alice Linley-Munro. “We’ve been rushed off our feet and I only breathe out when travellers return home.” The company prides itself on supporting the mental wellbeing of its people and recognised that concerns over Covid-19 made this even more vital.

THE PROCESS

Within weeks of the coronavirus emerging, the company began putting together a document, called the 'Human Factor', designed to allay as many fears as possible for its travellers. It covers off everything,” explains Linley-Munro.

“It’s a 12-page document which runs through all the different scenarios, such as ‘what if I have to quarantine?’, ‘what if I catch Covid while I’m away?’ or ‘what if one of my family members catches it?’. It’s a comprehensive checklist, down to tiniest of details. We wanted to cover off anything our people could potentially worry about.” Crucially, the company also distributed a leaflet for the families of travelling employees. “We made sure the leaflet was written in layman’s terms, with no jargon, explaining how we were going to keep our people safe at every step of the journey,” says Linley-Munro. Travelling employees have also posted blogs about their journeys on the group’s intranet, sharing their personal experiences and tips, often in a light-hearted way. These posts have led to online conversations, creating a sense of community and alleviating concerns. “We have our documents and checklists but this is people living the documents, which really helps. It’s nice to see it taking shape.”

THE RESULT

“There hasn’t been a lot of nervousness among our travellers, or their loved ones, because we’ve been so thorough in our procedures, constantly checking everything and adjusting measures along the way,” says Linley-Munro. For example, employees who have had to isolate – either at home or in hotels - are now sent hampers with their favourite snacks and magazines, along with all the necessary IT equipment. “We’ve arranged the delivery of toasters, an afternoon tea, car magazines.” HR teams send fortnightly wellbeing questionnaires asking employees to score 1/10 on how they’re feeling. “It helps us to spot patterns,” says Linley-Munro. “We’ve learnt things from the first wave of travellers and we’ve updated the procedures in place.”

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SMEs

First off the blocks

SMEs are way out in front when it comes to getting back to business travel, but there are still many hurdles to overcome, says Gill Upton

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t’s no surprise that the more nimble SMEs, with their flat hierarchies and quick decision-making skills, are leading the charge back to business travel. Return-to-travel policies have been created, pre-trip approvals tightened up and thirdparty providers engaged to share the latest on quarantine rules, certificates, vaccination centres, new testing requirements, safety protocols and the like. James Mcilvenna, Corporate Traveller Head of Account Management, neatly sums up the sentiment: “SMEs are done with the pandemic. They're all hyper-focussed on growth and getting back to normality.” The situation is particularly acute for those companies who acquired other firms during lockdown and haven’t been able to meet any of their new employees or colleagues. In contrast, the larger PLCs are slowed by their structure, believes Douglas O’Neill, Managing Director of Inntel. “Our larger corporates (generally plc level) have very strict internal governance that is restricting travel and meeting enquiries being placed. Overcoming this internal governance or the changing of it does not happen very quickly.” Maggie Monteith, Client Services Director – Corporate at VENTUR, believes the large PLCs have another reason to be slower off the mark. “Some larger, blue-chip companies may hold out a little longer as they’ll have the financial luxury to do so,” she says. Wyndham Hotels, however, has witnessed a mix of demand for hotel stays from both 10

SMEs and large corporates, “which is a good sign of economic recovery momentum,” says Julie White, VP Commercial, EMEA. Leading the way by sector are the IT, creative industries, media, entertainment, sport, training, HR and consultancy companies, while critical oil, gas and energy workers had no need to dust off their suitcases as they continued to operate throughout the pandemic. The early push was domestic travel and the end of quarantine for fully-vaccinated journeys between amber-list countries announced in early July gave a fillip to international travel. The EU vaccine passport kickstarted frantic intra-European travel and the UK has now reached agreements so foreign vaccination records can be recognised. At the time of going to press, talks continued on a US-UK 'travel corridor'. A corporate travel ban is still in place at Inchcape Shipping services, a global maritime services company with offices in 68 countries. Simon Potter, Group Procurement & QHSSE Officer, says the ban won’t be lifted until the passport vaccination scheme takes off. “Clear guidance from government would make my life easier and an international vaccination scheme recognised by all the major nations,” he says. It is the vagaries of different countries’ restrictions he finds the most challenging. His costs have also increased, not only for PCR testing but from higher hotel rates and the need for more hotel stays. 

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SMEs

All companies are keen to fill their business pipeline, while British companies must find new markets for their goods in a post-Brexit world. They have overcome huge challenges to get back on the road, exemplified by SME corporate Samantha Matthews, Admin Manager/Engineer Supervisor at LBBC Technologies. “To start with it was understanding the travel rules, reference isolation periods, what and how many PCR tests are required, what supporting paperwork is required to get our engineers safely through the borders and what PPE equipment is required," she says. “We also have to make sure our customers have their Covid measures in place in preparation for a visit and sometimes we have to educate them if they’re unsure. Essential workers letters are required from every customer for overseas work, so there is a lot of prep work involved. “ To add to the strain, government websites are sometimes not very clear and offer conflicting information, she says, causing a lot of confusion for both LBBC and its TMC, Good Travel Management.

Helping hand

Corporates are relying heavily on their TMCs to ensure clients are prepared and their travellers kept safe. Sourcing and understanding the current guidelines is a minefield because of the uncertainty. “As long as there is confusion and disparity between governments globally we’ll be needed,” says Corporate Traveller's Mcilvenna. Much of the groundwork was undertaken during lockdown. TMCs helped travel managers update travel policies, with stronger pre-trip approvals, shared links to official sites and communicated a clear process flow from approval to journey end. “Robust travel policies are a must,” adds

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SMEs are done with the pandemic. They're all hyper-focussed on growth and getting back to normality” Emma Louise Forrestall, Head of Service Delivery at VENTUR. “We are considering things such as accommodation requirements in a Covid world, the process for booking travel to amber or red-listed countries, and ensuring bookers leave flexibility in their plans should things needs to change. “We can provide quotes and route suggestions, which then change in less than 24 hours, so we need to be on top of the current recommendations around entry requirements and tests, always.” Starting bookings much earlier than usual is key, largely to satisfy the ever-changing testing requirements. TMCs are generally outsourcing this service to third party providers but corporates are footing the bill. LBBC Technologies’s Matthews says: “We are taking the hit. There are lots of extra costs, in the hundreds for each engineer for each visit. There is much more prep work for engineers planning a trip, to make sure they have the tests done within the required travel windows." LBBC has a big US customer base and has had to apply for visa entry for

each trip, not only a long process but not always successful. “This has had a big impact on our scheduling and planning work. We have a massive backlog due to all the postponed visits. The list goes on….” says Matthews. Travel managers, bookers and PAs are also having to balance a return to travel with ESG (environmental, social and governance) agendas to reduce unnecessary travel. Bill Gates’ gloomy prediction that 50% of business travel will disappear permanently hangs over the industry and many corporates are grabbing this once-in-alifetime moment to use their zero emissions status as a new sustainability baseline.

Sense of purpose

All corporates are deciding what travel is really critical. Blue Cube Travel, for example, ran a series of client webinars earlier this year to re-set expectations and challenge the purpose of travel. Corporates are also asking TMCs to cajole reluctant travellers. “We’ve been helping to restore traveller confidence as they’re reticent over their safety,” says Blue Cube’s Managing Director Bex Deadman. “What Covid has done is allowed travellers to spend time with their families and they’ve bought into working from home so they don’t want to travel as much,” she says. Blue Cube has also been helping clients to change the office environment, adding 

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A pioneer of modern nursing Florence Nightingale introduced effective sanitisation in military hospitals during the Crimea War in 1854 and laid the foundations of modern nursing. Surprisingly, the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ was a sharp statistician too. Her ability to visualise data revealed in one study that 89% of 18,000 military deaths were from preventable diseases not battle. This helped revolutionise military medical care but also

BULGARIA

shaped civilian hospital nursing the world over.

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Businesses get judged by how they look after their employees How many corporate websites declare ‘our people are our most valuable asset’? So, when did we lose sight of treating business travellers with appropriate due care and attention? Whether you are a global corporation or a fledgling SME business, is the mental and physical wellbeing of your travellers truly a priority? Global opportunities have driven expansion at an unprecedented rate, and expectations for travellers being available 24/7 wherever they are in the world have increased dramatically. But the cost to human capital has also escalated. And the downsides of reduced productivity, demotivated employees, and mental burnout often undermine business goals, risking project disruption and potentially dissatisfied customers.

Blue Cube is pioneering a shift in corporate expectations, moving away from a narrow cost-driven focus to treating travel as an investment. And the best way to invest in future success is to look after your people, especially when they travel on business. We’re here to help you integrate traveller wellbeing into your travel programme as a crucial part of a wider approach to making travel safer, productive, and more sustainable.

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

www.bluecubetravel.co.uk

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SMEs

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Starting bookings much earlier is key, largely to satisfy the ever-changing testing requirements”

Deliveroo services, pop-up cafes and the like. “Some clients want to make their office a destination,” she says. Inchcape is moving offices in London, triggering such a re-think, explains Potter. “There was quite a lot of uproar when we first sent staff home and I think we will probably experience a reluctance to come back but it’s the commuting before the travelling that is the challenge,” he says. He hopes new offices with a more openplan workspace, no fixed offices, more Zoom booths and a social area will entice them. Blue Cube Travel books the flights to manage the crew rotations and Potter and his 30-strong team manage the journey between the airport and vessel. “It certainly hasn’t got easier,” he says. But the logistical nightmare that is now corporate travel has an unlikely silver lining.

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Kevin Harrison, Managing Director of Good Travel Management, points to a closer engagement between TMCs and clients. “Our Account Managers and Relationship Managers have been able to step up further in their consultancy offering and this is now starting to translate into an improving trading environment," he says.

The right balance

While the value proposition of a TMC has been perfectly demonstrated over the last 15 months, questions remain whether they can handle the surge in demand as travel resumes. TMCs have empty coffers and many staff are still on furlough, so tough decisions have to be made on when and how many staff to bring back to meet demand. “The hardest time for TMCs is coming,” reckons Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA. “There is a lot of work going on to get the balance right; it will be tricky,” he says. He cites urgent training issues of TMC staff who have been out of the business for 15 months and others who have lost confidence. “It’s going to be a long climb out,” he says. But Douglas O’Neill, Managing Director of Inntel, believes TMCs should be primed and ready to take on business. "We have all had enough time to think about it and to train our teams to be ready for it! - so there can be no excuses. Furlough etc is no excuse.” ATPI has brought all ops staff back, despite

not having sufficient demand, and will bring a further 25-30 staff back in September. “We’ve had to invest in bringing more staff back as we can’t manage on the same staffing levels so it’s an investment decision for the longer term,” says Adam Knights, ATPI Regional MD Europe & Middle East. “We’ve budgeted for travel not to come back to 2019 levels but bookings are taking six to 10 times as long. It’s very, very difficult to make a booking. We say, ‘Bear with us’.” ITM’s CEO Scott Davies agrees: “TMCs have performed miracles to survive on meagre volumes and will need support and understanding to regain their strength and service levels.” What is taking the time is the more labourintensive, white glove, offline service. “People are avoiding booking online,” says Wratten. “Bookings are so complex that service will certainly be high-touch to start with.” “The average booking took 2.5 minutes before and now it takes an hour,” says Blue Cube’s Deadman. That is labour-intensive and the company is busy recruiting, having made 50% of its staff redundant. “I’d rather the headache of a smaller TMC who can scale up,” says Barry Fleming, Head of Marketing at Blue Cube. “There is a pool of incredible talent out there without jobs.” Some TMCs are starting to charge for calls; others are looking at costs as a short-term pain. “To recover quickly, the temptation would be to hike fees and I can see that appeal but our model is not a high-volume, sausage factory,” says Fleming. The company offers a pay-as-you-go/transaction model and a subscription model. Good Travel Management's Harrison says business models need to change. “We are seeing that travel managers and PAs are far more reliant on their TMC and are looking for guidance in aspects far deeper than it had been pre-Covid. That creates an opportunity to look at consulting and financial models that truly reflect what customers need and places a value on the expertise we provide.”

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Map your return to travel. Corporate travel has changed. It's now time to get back on course and continue the journey, while taking the opportunity to review and renew your wider goals and targets – specifically in relation to sustainability, content and service. Wherever your destination and whatever the future holds, Direct ATPI has the expertise to get you there.

Delivering what really matters™

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AWARDS

IT'S PARTY TIME Just days away, The Business Travel People Awards will celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with a new-look ceremony, new categories and a new judging panel. Join the industry's finest talent for a night to remember...

SINCE their inception a decade ago, the Business Travel People Awards have become one of the major highlights of the business travel social calendar. After a year of being virtual, they're making a comeback this year with a new evening format, new judges, brand new categories and, of course, a new shortlist of potential winners all hoping to take one of the prestigious trophies back to their desks. This year the ceremony has been timed to coincide with The Business Travel Conference (see page 40), and will take place at the same venue, the Hilton London Bankside, on the evening of Wednesday September 15.

After all these months apart, the business travel community cannot wait to meet face-to-face again to network and celebrate with the winners”

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If you haven't already got your tickets, there are still some available, but be quick: after all these months apart, the business travel community cannot wait to meet face-to-face again to network and celebrate with the winners. As always, the fizz will be flowing but guests can also be reassured that the evening has been planned with Covid safety and comfort firmly in mind. Tickets will be sent electronically prior to the event to simplify arrivals and registration staff will be increased to further speed up the process. Bowl food will be served on trays so guests can select their choice and have minimal contact with waiting staff. Hilton's stringent EventReady and CleanStay programmes will be in place and all hotel staff will be wearing masks and taking regular lateral flow tests in the lead-up to

and during the event. Tickets cost £95 plus VAT and include welcome drinks, bowl food, and entry to the after party in the Hilton London Bankside's fabulous ballroom. We look forward to seeing you there.

As always, the fizz will be flowing but guests can be also reassured that the evening has been planned with Covid safety and comfort firmly in mind”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM

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AWARDS

THE FINALISTS ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

CUSTOMER WELLBEING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Corporate Traveller

Colleagues Unite, Clyde Travel Management

Reed & Mackay Travel

Covid Shield, Agiito

Agiito

Juliette Hassell, Fastrack VIP

Click Travel

DUTY OF CARE INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

SilverDoor

ACCOUNT MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Repatriation Service, Focus Travel Partnership ATPI

Amy Ashby, Inntel

Accor

Emma Horton, Synergy Global Housing

Supplier Management Team, Agiito

Ann Thomas, Agiito

BEST NEWCOMER

Trish Williams, Clarity

OPERATIONS TEAM OF THE YEAR

Amber Madden, Agiito Kris Kolev, SITU

Production Team, TAG

RISING STAR

Operations Team, ATPI Operations Team, Reed & Mackay Travel

Jennifer Cummins, Synergy Global Housing

Continuity Team, Diversity Travel

Molly Winterton, Agiito

OPERATIONS MANAGER OF THE YEAR Charlotte Winter, Synergy Global Housing Danielle Myers, TAG Hazel Maw, Click Travel

MEETINGS & EVENTS TEAM OF THE YEAR TAG

Dani Ives, Focus Travel Partnership Matt Furnell, SITU CHANGE CHAMPION LEADER Katie Blount, Agiito Samantha McKnight, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) Nico Nicholas, Trees4Travel Annette Ritson, Clarity

Agiito Reed & Mackay Travel

MEETINGS AND EVENTS MANAGER OF THE YEAR Jadene Cook, Agiito Dani Ives, Focus Travel Partnership

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTION AWARD

Clive Wratten, Business Travel Association James Parkhouse, Agiito Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage Travel Partnership OPERATIONS MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Charlotte Winter, Synergy Global Housing

TrustedStays, UnderTheDoormat

Danielle Myers, TAG

The Working Party, Reed & Mackay Travel

Hazel Maw, Click Travel

Sarah Wilson, ACE Travel Management Lynne Griffiths, Sirius Talent Solutions

COVID-19 SUPPORT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR Homes For NHS, UnderTheDoormat Sirius Talent Solutions Agiito Synergy Global Housing ALTOUR UK

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ThE NEWS REvIEW

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BRITS To PAy vISA WAIvER To ENTER SChENgEN STATES BRITISH nationals will have to pay a visa waiver fee to enter Europe’s Schengen Area from next year under new rules confirmed by the European Commission. An online platform – the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) – will come into operation before the end of 2022. ETIAS authorisation will cost €7 for all applicants between the ages of 18 and 70. It will be a one-off fee, valid for three years, and will allow multiple entries into Schengen states. Travellers will need to complete

an online application form via an official website or app to receive their approval. The European Commission said it expects a "vast majority" of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval. If further checks are needed, the authorisation may take up to 30 days. The EC said the scheme would facilitate border checks, avoid bureaucracy and delays and substantially reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points.

IAtA IntEGRAtES nHS CovId APP Into dIGItAl tRAvEl PASS THe NHS COVID Pass and EU Digital COVID Certificate can now be uploaded into the IATA Travel Pass as verified proof of vaccination for travel. Nick Careen, IATA Senior VP for Operations Safety and Security, said it was “an important step forward, providing convenience for travellers, authenticity for governments and efficiency for airlines" and urged the WHO to revisit its work to develop a global standard.

98%

expect travel to return before the end of 2021

The majority (98%) of American Express GBT clients expect travel to return before the end of 2021, according to the TMC's latest report on business travel trends and insights, based on client research, traveller surveys, and data analysis

Eurostar adds trains after rise in demand eURoSTAR is adding more rail services between the UK and the continent in response to growing demand following the relaxation of travel restrictions. It will expand schedules from September 6 after the removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from France to the UK and the easing of restrictions for travel to Belgium and the Netherlands. A new timetable, running until November 1, will see eight daily return services, with five in each direction on the London to Paris route and three in each direction between London and Brussels, with one each way extended to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. All tickets are flexible with no exchange fee up to seven days before departure. Fares start from £39 each way.

[ NEWS BITES ] >> ADVANTAGE Global Business Travel and WIN Global Travel Network have signed two TMC partners in Australia – Bay Travel Group in New South Wales and FBI Travel in Victoria >> HYATT has opened its second property in Ekaterinburg and its first Hyatt Place property in Russia, developed by LLC Hotel Development Company >> AIR CANADA is increasing its non-stop flights between Heathrow and its Montréal hub from three times weekly to four times weekly from September 8 >> GBTA has moved its 2021 European conference from Weisbaden on October 13-15 to Berlin on December 6-8 after a survey of members and potential delegates >> TRANSPENNINE Express has added two extra train services on its Glasgow-Manchester route <<

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ThE NEWS REvIEW

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RISK SPECIALIST To oPEN LoNDoN CoMMAND CENTRE WoRlD TRAVel PRoTeCTIoN has expanded into the UK with a core London-based team and has announced plans to open a purpose-built Command Centre in the city in the coming year. The company, part of Zurich Insurance Group, already operates two Command Centres in Brisbane and Toronto, providing 24-hour emergency assistance to travellers. CEO Adrian Leach said: “Until recently World Travel Protection didn’t have a team in place within the UK but with a growing team based in our new office in London

we’re working hard to raise awareness that our travel risk management services are now available for UK organisations. "Discussions are already starting on how travel has changed since Covid and our services will be even more essential as travel resumes for organisations in the UK.” Zurich’s Global Head of Accident and Health, Drazen Jaksic, added: "The growing complexity of business travel risks has brought into sharp focus the value of assistance services helping travellers on the ground."

IAtA SuRvEY SHowS PASSEnGERS fEEl SAfE on boARd THe MAJoRITY of travellers who have flown since June 2020 felt safe onboard (86%), while 89% believe Covid-19 protective measures were well implemented. According to an IATA survey of 4,700 global travellers, air passengers also strongly support mask wearing onboard flights (83% ) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86%), but the majority also believe mask requirements should be ended as soon as possible.

32%

increase in average EMEA air fares

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Average flight ticket prices for the EMEA region in April to June 2021 jumped 32% compared to January to March 2021, according to the latest quarterly report from travel management company FCM, based on data from its corporate bookings

Emirates scales up UK operations eMIRATeS is expanding services to and from five UK gateways after a relaxation of travel restrictions prompted a spike in demand. Since August Emirates has been serving London Heathrow with three daily flights, all operated by its flagship A380, and by the middle of October it will have restored its Heathrow operations to six daily flights, four served by the A380. It will also fly double-daily A380 flights from Manchester, 10 services a week from Birmingham, daily flights from Glasgow and twice a week from Newcastle. Across its entire network, Emirates will be restoring capacity across 29 cities and fine-tuning its schedules to boost frequencies and capacity this autumn.

[ NEWS BITES ] >> CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT (CTM) has been selected as Supporter Travel Provider for Arsenal FC for the 2021/2022 season >> ACCOR has teamed up with venuedirectory.com to make it easier for meeting and event planners to make bookings at its properties >> GRAY DAWES EVENTS, the MICE division of the Gray Dawes Group, has signed an agreement with venuedirectory. com for its end-to-end venue finding software, GRATIS >> RADIUS TRAVEL has announced that Clyde Travel Management, a specialist in corporate, maritime, offshore and renewables travel, has joined the its partner network >> ENTERPRISE has opened a new £1.8m flagship vehicle rental site and technology hub in Sheepscar, Leeds, replacing a smaller branch on North Street <<

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ThE NEWS REvIEW

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

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

It's time to go back to school September is a time of new beginnings and this year a new start is needed more than ever. As children start a new school year, workers head to the office and MPs return to Westminster, we in the business travel industry need urgent action. Many will have enjoyed a staycation and applauded themselves for helping the UK’s economy. This is to be celebrated, but two vital sectors – business and leisure travel – are being prevented from making valuable contributions to this economy. For MPs keen to do their homework, business travel contributes £220billion to UK GDP every year and we employ tens of thousands of people across the supply chain. Business travel is essential to the aviation sector and enables lower fares for holiday makers. This term, we are setting three tests that MPs must pass to keep this vital sector alive. Firstly, end the arrivals testing debacle. The expense and Wild West nature of the process is a huge barrier for the corporate traveller. Instead, work with the

Clive Wratten Chief Executive Officer

business travel community to do a proper trial of daily lateral flow tests on arriving travellers. If it’s good enough for Michael Gove, we’re willing to give it a go. Secondly, abolish the traffic light system. Bring forward the final review and rid travellers of the confusion around green and amber countries. With the UK’s effective vaccine roll-out, we should be making it easier for people to go about their daily lives. This involves travelling for work. Travel remains the only sector being governed by Covid regulations. We need to be opened up once more. Finally, extend furlough for our sector. While the current conditions remain, we can’t fling open our doors and operate effectively in a pre-pandemic fashion. We want to trade, to travel, to facilitate global Britain. We urge the hand that is taking so much away from us to give back the furlough scheme in a targeted way. At the BTA, our door is open for MPs who need a cramming session.

TapTrip ventures into new waters FolloWINg a further £1.7 million investment, TapTrip has unveiled Vessul, an online service to more efficiently manage the movement of essential marine and energy workers. Using similar technology to its online booking tool, TapTrip says Vessul is set to “revolutionise the industry”, where 98% of travel bookings are still made offline. Vessul is a dedicated marine and energy solution, providing travel bookers with easy-to-use, hands-on, real-time travel management technology blended with human support. A key feature of the technology is a multi-city departures function, a smart tool which gives companies the ability to book up to 50 flights for multiple travellers, in a single booking, to arrive at the same destination at the same time, no matter which location they have departed from.

NEW ChAPTER FoR AER LINgUS AFTER SToBART FAILURE AeR lINgUS has signed a 10-year franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines to operate its regional flights, starting from January 2023. Emerald will replace former franchise partner, Stobart Air, which ceased trading in June. Aer Lingus said until the agreement comes into play, it will continue to “work closely with Emerald Airlines to evaluate options with respect to an earlier contract start date".

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus Chief Executive, said the franchise agreement "marks a new chapter" and “significantly boosts" the airline’s intent to develop Dublin Airport as a hub between Europe and the US. She said it will also facilitate convenient connections between Ireland and regional airports in the UK, the Isle of Man and Jersey, with options for network expansion to other airports in the future.

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QANTAS: ALL STAFF MUST BE JABBED

IN BRIEF Cairo change

British Airways will start operating a second daily flight from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Cairo from October 31. The service will operate on BA’s short-haul Airbus fleet. Services will run year-round with a slight change in schedules from March 27 2022.

Flexi time

Accor has launched a Commute and Stay aimed at flexi workers. It gives workers a central base in a city hotel, with discounts up to 15%, enabling two days in the office and a venue for evening entertainment before commuting back home.

Train link

TapTrip has teamed up with Trainline Partner Solutions (TPS), Trainline’s B2B arm, to further streamline its service and give users greater rail coverage.

Capital returns

Air Astana resumes direct flights from Kazakstan’s capital Nur-Sultan to London Heathrow on September 18, starting with two frequencies on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Economy Class return fares start from £511.

EasyJet seat

Former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester has been named as the new Chairman of easyJet. He initially joins as Non-Executive Director and will succeed John Barton as Chairman in December.

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IAn SCHRAGER's Public hotel has become the first in new York city to require guests and visitors to show proof of covid-19 vaccination on arrival. The new policy came into force on September 5

TRIPBAM begins trials of air solution TRIPBAM, the hotel reshopping specialist, has begun the Beta testing phase for its air solution, working in partnership with selected global TMCs and corporate clients. CEO Steve Reynolds said if the trials are successful the product will be officially released in mid-October. With NDC content available from the start, the solution will give users ‘lowest qualified fares’ to accurately measure the value of air travel contracts. Clients will also be able to audit contracts to make sure they are being applied accurately. This data, along with some historical data, will be fed into a benchmarking solution called Air Intelligence. Reynolds said the next step would be to move into the car rental space, with discussions set to start in early 2022.

QANTAS is to make it compulsary for all frontline employees – including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – to be fully vaccinated by November 15 2021 and the remainder of employees by March 31 2022. The decision follows a major consultation with Qantas and Jetstar employees, including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination. The results showed that of those who responded 89% had already been vaccinated or are planning to be and only 4% were unwilling or unable to get the jab. In a separate survey of more than 1,000 Qantas customers, 92% cent said they expect Qantas crew to be fully vaccinated. United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Cathay Pacific are also mandating Covid vaccinations for their employees. There will be exemptions for those who have documented medical reasons for not having the vaccine.

SIA revamps highflyer programme Singapore Airlines has combined its SIA Corporate Travel Programme, aimed at large corporates, with its SME-focussed programme, HighFlyer. From September 1 they will both come under the HighFlyer brand. Current SIA Corporate Travel Programme accounts will have their contracts renewed under the new HighFlyer programme. The airline said all benefits will be retained and new features will also be introduced, including the option to "earn and burn" options with non-air partners such as hotels and car rental services.

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THE NEWS REVIEW

t h e b u s i n e s s t r a v e l m a g . c o m

IN BRIEF Delta on track

Delta has launched an Air+Rail programme in partnership with Thalys high-speed trains to provide speedy rail connections between Brussels and Antwerp. Passengers can seamlessly transfer between plane and train at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with one ticket booking.

Kayak launch

Travel search engine KAYAK has officially launched its free corporate travel solution, KAYAK for Business, and is promising to bring “the leisure travel experience to the outdated interface of the corporate travel world”.

SME travellers keen to get back on the road the vast majority (95%) of travellers working for SMEs are willing to travel again for business within the next year and 63% are actively willing to do so, according to new research. The study, commissioned by SAP Concur, found travellers from small businesses see their companies facing severe consequences if they don’t increase travel soon. Among their concerns, SME travellers fear there will be fewer deals signed (35%) and a difficulty to build new relationships (33%). According to SAP Concur, travellers at SMEs are more likely than those at larger companies to have professional concerns about not travelling (79% compared with 72%). See feature on SMEs on page 10.

TAG app

TAG has developed a new integrated travel app, TAGgo, to help travellers and travel managers prepare for the return to business travel. Part of the TAG Digital suite, TAGgo provides real time updates and traveller essentials like gate changes and baggage collection.

Brand loyalty

Ascott has launched a single global online booking platform, discoverasr.com, for its Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty members, covering all of its brands.

Covid alerts

Shep has enlisted Riskline to provide API-driven, in-depth local, city and state-level Covid-19 travel information for its alerts and notifications.

British airways reopens flagship lounge at New York JFK British Airways has reopened its flagship US lounge at JFK’s Terminal 7 after a 16-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It came after a change in entry requirements for US customers flying to the UK. The lounge is available for those travelling in First, Club World and eligible card holders. BA also recently reopened three domestic lounges in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

ITM Scott Davies Chief Executive

Travel managers have, for many years, been adaptable chameleons, embracing new skillsets and frames of reference. During the pandemic, their priorities have morphed from emergency response to crystal ball-style forecasting, to budget cancelling, to border immigration/ quarantine gurus – all while reviewing and improving existing suppliers and programme management. Many travel buyers have earned enhanced respect within their businesses by demonstrating their value in new forums as their companies revise their strategic understanding of the way travel oils the wheels of their operation. Of course, some travel buyers have felt the same pressure on headcount that has bitten so hard on suppliers and providers. The irony here is that travel is likely to be a little more complex than before as it picks up again, so the very experts that have reduced in number may be disproportionately needed and central to a recovery. Next time you meet with a travel manager, ask what they are focussed on in the short term. I guarantee you will gain a new level of respect.

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THE REVIEW

O N

T H E

M O V E

EVENTS SEPTEMBER 14-15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS London Hilton Bankside (evening event) thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

CAROL PETERS

ROB JONES

MIKE WEBB

JOINS: HotelHub AS: Business Development Manager FROM: Gray Dawes Group

JOINS: Festive Road AS: Consultant FROM: American Express

PROMOTED AT: Healix International TO: Chairman FROM: CEO

Formerly Global Corporate Sales Manager at Gray Dawes Group, Rob Jones has joined HotelHub to help grow its TMC customer base in the UK and across Europe.

Carol Peters joins the team at global consultancy firm Festive Road. She was previously at American Express, where she worked as Travel and Expense Consulting Manager.

After four years as CEO, Mike Webb has been promoted to the role of Chairman for Healix International. Charlie Butcher, formerly Commercial Director, takes over as CEO.

NIKKI STIMSON

PETER GIANUSSO

LAURA RURODE

SEPTEMBER 19-21

THE BTA CONFERENCE Liverpool thebta.org.uk

SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 1

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW ExCel London btn.businesstravelshow.com

OCTOBER 5

TBTM DINNER CLUB Corinthia London thebusinesstravelmag.com

NOVEMBER 17-19

GBTA CONVENTION 2021 Orlando convention.gbta.org

DECEMBER 6-8

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Berlin europeconference.gbta.org

APRIL 26-27 2022

JOINS: TripActions AS: Senior Director of Communications REMAINS WITH: GBTA

JOINS: Flight Centre Travel Group AS: Global Chief Technology Officer FROM: Prudential Financial

JOINS: CAP Worldwide AS: Director Key Accounts North America FROM: The Apartment Service

TripActions has appointed Nikki Stimson as Senior Director of Communications. Stimson, who runs her own marketing and PR consultancy, continues to work with GBTA.

Flight Centre Travel Group has appointed industry outsider Peter Gianusso to the role of Global Chief Technology Officer, Core Systems, for its Corporate Division.

CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments has welcomed Laura Rurode to its global senior leadership team to manage CAP service delivery in North America.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... HotelHub has appointed Andrew Harreiter, previously Marketing Manager for ACC Aviation, as Head of Marketing >> Mark Cuschieri, Executive Director Global Head of Travel UBS, has been elected Vice President of the GBTA and will serve a two-year term, while Jens Liltorp, Manager Global Travel and Meetings LEO Pharma, also joins the GBTA's Board of Directors in the role of Direct Seat, Regional European, for a three-year term >> Sarah Hanan joins Dohop as Commercial Director from Omio >> CWT has appointed Cheng Meng, Hwang as Head of Global Market Management and Development to its dedicated APAC Leadership team >> Air Transat has promoted UK and Ireland Commercial Director Adrian Keating to a role which also covers Europe and the Americas <<

ITM CONFERENCE Brighton Hilton Metroopole itm.org.uk

EXPERTS AT TALENT RECRUITM EN T, DEVELOPMENT AND RET EN TI ON .

APRIL 29-MAY 2 2022

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

Dedicated to the business travel sector. Contact us to discuss our solutions.

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GALLERY

The Business Travel Magazine

Dinner Club

The first Dinner Club since the start of the pandemic was the chance for travel buyers, TMCs and suppliers to experience, once again, the joy of meeting face-to-face. The event, held at The Corinthia Hotel London, was sponsored by South Western Railway and Sixt Rent-A-Car. Pre-dinner drinks, with Covid safety measures in place, were followed by a threecourse dinner and a fascinating talk and discussion on the travel restart.

An industry overview was shared by American Express GBT CCO Drew Crawley

Dinner Club ▼

The Corinthia Hotel London ▲ 12.07.2021

The after dinner talk was followed by a lively Q&A

Guests enjoyed networking and a three-course dinner

In association with

Travega Travel Marketing Solutions Worldwide

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Airport Update

Fast track

Additional checks will be required as air travel resumes but new technology is helping to counteract any disruption. Gary Noakes reports

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Airport Update

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usiness travellers who breezed through empty airports during the pandemic must be dreading the return of normality and the crowds that will follow. The good news, however, is that technology is making getting moving again more seamless and less stressful. Negotiating immigration control on return to the UK has been a challenge during the Covid crisis but the UK Government is due to finish upgrading e-Gates by the autumn, when corporate travel is expected to restart in a meaningful way. According to a Government spokesperson, upgraded digital gates will then recognise Passenger Locator Forms and pre-departure test certificates. London City airport had upgraded all its e-Gates by July but bigger airports were still completing changes. While Border Force deals with incoming passengers, airlines must process those departing and develop systems to do so. “Carriers will play a critical role, checking passengers’ documents before boarding and ensuring people have the right Covid-19 certification,” said the Government spokesperson. The whole departure and arrival process will take longer but there are ways travellers can make some up some of this lost time. For British Airways passengers, the luxury of checking in their bags at the airline's London Paddington station desks disappeared after 9/11 but Covid has prompted BA to revive this concept for Heathrow Express customers, who can drop their luggage on train platforms and get it taken straight to Terminal 5. The new fast bag-drop is free to passengers who have checked in at home but is initially only available between 05.00 and 10.00. BA said it would continue to look at options for bag-drop areas “at other key locations”.

The stop-gap measure is in response to the extra time needed to check Covid credentials. BA’s partner on this, Airportr, is testing whether London Underground locations could also be used to alleviate queuing at terminals. Airportr screens travel documents and tags bags, storing them in secure cages before shipping them airside. It also offers BA passengers baggage collection and check-in from home or the office up to 24 hours before the flight (from £19), in an area spanning Guildford, Oxford, Watford and Greater London – something Airportr feels will be in demand once airports fill again. Its founder Randel Darby believes Covid prompted the beginning of the end of legacy airport processes. “If you look at trends coming from the pandemic, it’s e-commerce, home delivery and logistics. They appeal to

Airlines are way behind theme parks, attractions and retail in offering virtual queuing, but it's coming" consumers not previously engaged with delivery solutions,” he said. Ground handlers, airports and airlines are examining long-term developments, shocked into action by the pandemic. The need to fast-forward integration of health credentials with bookings was one example, Darby said. “The pace with which this is happening is really surprising. People would have laughed five years ago. In the near future the journey can be entirely contactless.” The pandemic’s legacy means more passengers will arrive at airports readier to fly, having undertaken extra procedures at home that digital systems enable. “It all lends itself to the trend of doing it before you travel. You will be able to confirm your digital ID from home, check in, send bags, book a shared ride and proceed through a designated security channel,” said Darby. For Airportr the next stage, from late September, is a luggage delivery service for inbound passengers using a digital customs declaration that will permit passengers to “entirely bypass” baggage reclaim. Contactless travel is the new trend and

while many airports already match boarding passes to travellers’ photographs taken at security, facial recognition technology is a step further, removing the need for handlers to check that faces match photos. ANA introduced Face Express in July at Tokyo’s Narita airport for passengers using automatic bag check-in. Travellers are photographed by the kiosk, allowing them to pass through Security and board without presenting their ticket. Following trials on Narita-Mexico City, ANA plans to offer the facility at Haneda airport and on other international services. If Covid has prompted some radical innovations, others are more mundane. Airlines are way behind theme parks, attractions, and retail in offering virtual queuing, but it's coming. This summer BA completed trials of an intelligent queuing technology from Qmatic, which allows passengers to pre-book a timed check-in slot before they travel to the airport. The system is already used by the Post Office and during the trial BA passengers who had not booked a slot either proceeded as normal or joined the virtual queue by scanning a QR code. All these things will chip away at the extra time needed to pass through airports postpandemic. It is not all good news, however. From October, Heathrow will impose a £5 drop-off fee at terminal forecourts for all vehicles, including taxis and private hires, meaning the only free option will be in Heathrow’s long stay car parks, which entail a bus transfer to the terminal. Picking up at terminal forecourts is already forbidden. The airport said the fee will help alleviate the £5 million a day lost during the pandemic, but as travel resumes it might well be this new development that frequent travellers remember, not all that new technology speeding their progress.

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The 2021

TECH HOTLIST

Here are the innovators and innovations shaking up the industry… TAPTRIP The young and enthusiastic TapTrip team has brought a breath of fresh air to the sector with eye-catching marketing campaigns and bold ambitions to make managing travel “as easy as watching Netflix".

Its technology – designed for mobile first, not as a mobile add-on – is achieving impressive results: 95% compliance, 98% repeat business, up to 30% savings on monthly travel spend and 90% faster bookings. In a change of direction, TapTrip is about to launch Vessul, a tech solution designed to tackle the logistical challenge of crew rotation for marine, oil and renewables. If anyone is going to make waves in this niche corner of the sector (deliberate pun) it’s these guys.

THRUST CARBON Driven by the belief that going green must be effortless, Thrust Carbon is creating the future of emissions reporting, reductions and removal with products which are easy to use, visually persuasive and designed to work with existing solutions. It’s working in partnership with TMCs and directly with Fortune 500 clients, who can view their travel emissions

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and see where they need to change their behaviour thanks to engaging dashboards, innovative carbon budgeting and point-of-booking nudges. It’s already making a difference and the next step is to integrate its full product suite inside the OBT environment.

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ALTOVITA CORPORATE HOUSING SOLUTION

TRAVEL VITALS AND WORKSPACES, BY AMERICAN EXPRESS GBT

AltoVita’s founders – road warriors Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina Saviova – had a bold vision: to simplify the “fragmented and inefficient” corporate housing booking process. In January 2018 they launched an innovative cloud-based accommodation platform, delivering duty of care compliant housing solutions across 165 countries and more than 800 cities through a two-way API integration. Their technology is designed to reduce the legacy sourcing timeline from 48-72 hours to a few minutes, saving clients 80% in accommodation

The tech teams at American Express GBT have been beavering away since the start of the pandemic updating existing technology and bringing brand-new products to market. Quick off the mark was Travel Vitals, deserving particular credit because it was immediately made available not just to the TMC’s own clients but to the wider industry. It’s a one-stop shop for up-to-date Covid information, providing data aggregated from hundreds of sources, including GBT’s travel risk intelligence partner Riskline. All the information can be searched by destination, airline, airport, hotel chain, train operator or ground transport provider.

charges. This year Alto Vita added new functionalities, helping clients contrast and compare average and seasonal market prices and search more easily for specific needs, such as accommodation that’s pet-friendly, comes with good entertainment facilities, or is geared up for remote working. Based on the company’s most recent figures – 976% revenue growth year-on-year – they’re clearly doing something right and have earned their place in our 2021 Tech Hotlist.

What began as an agile response to an acute situation has evolved into being part of the TMC's longer-term strategy to help the industry navigate the safe return to travel and, at the last count, there had been more than 2.35 million searches in the Travel Vitals portal. Meanwhile, in recognition of the new ways of working, GBT has developed Workspaces, a booking service which helps remote workers and teams make flexible, daytime bookings of co-working spaces, hotel rooms, meeting venues and small hotel meeting rooms for work and collaboration. Launched in the US in March 2021, it is now being rolled out to clients across Europe.

BLACKLANE CHAUFFEUR Ride hailing is nothing new, of course, but Blacklane took it to a whole new level earlier this year when it introduced chauffeur hailing in 21 key cities, including London, New York, Paris and Berlin. Crucially for corporate travellers, Blacklane chauffeur hailing promises the same quality, health and safety standards and fixed competitive fares as its pre-booked trips. Better still, in London if you hail a chauffeur drive it will always be in an all-electric Jaguar I-PACE or Tesla thanks to the

company’s investment in Havn, London’s all-electric chauffeur service. In other cities, Blacklane offsets journeys, helping you reach your sustainability targets.

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The 2021

TECH HOTLIST GRAPEVINE With TMC revenues drastically down in the travel downturn, Grapevine is coming into its own. It’s a selling platform, driven by an AI engine called Marvin (get it?), to help TMCs grow their ancillary sales beyond air tickets, using techniques widely used by the retail industry to capture revenue from hotels, car hire, parking and

ground transportation. Eventually it will also capture in-destination spend such as restaurants and attractions. Its a no-brainer for TMCs – Advantage Travel Partnership and WIN Global Travel Network have adopted it – while for corporates it provides a single source for ancillary bookings, which is crucial with duty of care higher than ever on the agenda.

JYRNEY

TRIPBAM’S AIR TRAVEL SOLUTION

It’s still relatively early days for this Manchester-based start-up, due to officially launch this autumn, but backed by a highly-experienced team and already signing some key deals in the corporate travel space, we felt it was worthy of a place in our hotlist. In a particularly fragmented market, Jyrney brings Mobility as a Service to business travel, offering ground transport

We’re jumping the gun a bit with this one, but having witnessed how TRIPBAM’s global rate auditing, benchmarking, analytics and sourcing has shaken up the hotel sector, we’re confident that its foray into air travel later this year will be

within a traveller's online booking tool or directly into its portal, with visibility of total journey cost, CO2 emissions and meeting duty of care. The only thing we’re not so keen on – because it confuses our sub-editors – is its spelling!

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just as impactful. If all goes to plan, travel buyers will be able to enjoy big savings by rebooking flights, auditing air contracts, grading suppliers for how well they uphold agreements, and benchmark against peer companies down to a single route.

HOTELHUB Inefficient processes, low visibility of volumes and leakages are just some of the pain points HotelHub promises to help eradicate with its next generation tech, which consolidates GDS and non-GDS content into intuitive web-based platforms – one for TMCs and another self-booking tool. In addition, its Rate Optimiser dynamically tracks hotel rates, continuously searching for lower rates and rebooking if a better rate is

found. Already a long-term partner of CWT, it was recently selected by Flight Centre after a rigorous RFP.

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Launching October ‘21

Crew rotation logistics tech Sign up for updates at:

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The 2021

tech hotlist Locomote

See businesstravelmag.com for video entries from the 14 innovators who made it on to our 2021 Tech Hotlist

Traxo Detecting and eliminating travel programme leakage is more vital than ever as we emerge from the Covid crisis and, in this area, Traxo continues to lead the pack. Its tech solution automatically captures comprehensive information on TMC and non-TMC bookings to help travel managers drive compliance, identify

savings and maximise duty of care. As its CEO Andres Fabris says: “Expectations for traveller safety and support are higher than ever. If itinerary blindspots prevent companies from knowing where travellers are, or plan to be, they’re putting themselves and their travellers at unnecessary risk.”

TRIPACTIONS When Covid-19 struck, TripActions jumped into action and developed a Return to Travel Feature Suite to help clients upload, manage and share health documents and track entry requirements, with instant chat support and a travel impact dashboard. But the main reason it's in our hotlist are its new

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sustainability tools, added this year. Users can set carbon budgets based on historical spend and industry benchmarking data and get real-time data for all inventory via an easy-to-use analytics dashboard, and with access to three globally-recognised methodologies to measure and track progress.

This Melbourne-based tech-led TMC made the business travel headlines back in 2016 when it was snapped up by Travelport. But following a change of leadership at Travelport and the arrival of the global pandemic, the original founders – cousins David and Ross Fastuca – bought back the company in early 2020 and say it’s time to complete some unfinished business. They’ve got some of the old gang back on board and have been busy expanding beyond Asia Pacific into the UK and US. Definitely one to watch.

NavAgent “A game changer for the travel industry - we love it!” says Scott Pawley, MD at Global Travel Management, an early adopter of NavAgent. In a nutshell, NavAgent makes life much easier for travel consultants who use the GDS by giving them dynamic customer data without interrupting their normal workflow, freeing them up to deliver a more consistent and personalised service to you, the client. With TMCs under enough pressure already, it got a well-earned spot on our hotlist.


BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW TO FIND OUT THE WINNERS AND

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

Recognising outstanding individuals and teams across all aspects of the supplier element of corporate travel TheBusinessTravelPeopleAwards.com

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ACCOMMODATION

step

INSIDE

Catherine Chetwynd takes a tour of some of the most exciting developments in the UK’s accommodation sector this year – from renovations to new openings

L

ockdowns might have been financially punishing for hoteliers and serviced apartment operators but on the plus side they provided an opportunity for refurbishment without disrupting guests. The pandemic also failed to suppress investment in new-builds and conversions – many projects were already too far down the line to stop – so as domestic business travellers get back on the road they will discover some new kids on the block. Let's start our tour in London. Quick off the mark was the Cheval Collection, with the opening of its first four-star brand, Cheval Maison, just off Cromwell Road. The building was taken over from another provider, stripped down, redecorated and a ground floor lounge and lower-ground gym introduced. The group’s upgraded app brings pre-arrival check-in and instant messaging with front office teams. The Savoy opened its forecourt as a 1920s-inspired pop-up bar and terrace in April, allowing it to welcome visitors before taking overnight guests in May; and the former The Curtain Hotel launched as Mondrian Shoreditch London after a comprehensive redesign, with 120 rooms and BIBO Shoreditch brasserie and tapas 34

bar under Andalucian Michelin-starred chef Dani García, complete with an adjoining Spanish Courtyard with a retracting glass roof. With Covid safety and comfort in mind, many hotels have created such outdoor spaces for their guests. Over in Soho, the much-anticipated debut of The Londoner – billed as 'the world’s first super boutique hotel' is set to breathe new life into Leicester Square. From Edwardian Hotels London, the 16-storey hotel opens in September and brings 350 rooms, six concept eateries, a members club-style private area, a wealth of meeting and event space, a cinema and an entire floor dedicated to wellness. Beaverbrook Town House, a 14-room sister hotel to the luxury country house hotel in the Surrey Hills, has just opened in Sloane Street in partnership with Cadogan and The Westin London City is another notable September opening. Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane has added a spa with a 20-metre pool, private training room, gym, sauna and steam rooms, and hydrotherapy pool to Mayfair Park Residences – facilities that are open to guests in either property. Leonardo Hotels spent an aggregate £34.5 million on the Royal London City, Royal 

MONDRIAN SHOREDITCH

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ACCOMMODATION

As domestic business travellers get back on the road they will discover some new kids on the block”

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ANDREW BEASLEY

ACCOMMODATION

It was important to offer our corporate guests a chance to socialise with other like-minded customers outside their private apartment”

THE LONDONER PENTHOUSE

London St. Paul’s and Royal London Tower Bridge, providing updated bedrooms and Leo’s bar and a restaurant on all three sites. New is a rooftop bar with public access at the St. Paul’s property and a renovated and rebranded Spa at Royal London City. In addition, May saw the launch of BREEAM-certified Leonardo Hotel Bristol Glassfields on Temple Way, with 197 rooms, meeting room, bar and restaurant. A massive makeover took place at The Hoxton, Holborn, creating a brighter, larger lobby, a coffee bar, restaurant and wine bar Rondo, 46 additional bedrooms, and redesigned event space described as ‘disco chic’ (which sounds more distracting than conducive to work!). Lower occupancies and lockdowns allowed all the work to be done at once, rather than in phases.

THE SAVOY

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Bishopsgate Plaza, opposite Liverpool Street Station, hosts Pan Pacific London, which will open at the start of September and represent the group’s entry into Europe. An entire floor will be dedicated to wellness with an 18.5m infinity pool and gym, while the hotel's meeting rooms will come with floor-to-ceiling windows. Flying Butler took on 12 new properties throughout London and in Reading as part of its plan to grow inventory by 140 units and undertook major refurbishments of four of them. This included a £800,000 refit of Flying Butler Reading Central, where in response to the isolation some guests may have experienced during lockdowns a multifunctional communal area was created on the ground floor with a café and zoned spaces for working or socialising.

RESIDENCE INN SLOUGH

“It was important to offer our corporate guests a chance to socialise with other likeminded customers outside their private apartment,” says CEO Dominic Sherry. As Flying Butler hosts many long-stay travellers, the apartments are notably spacious, starting at 33sq.m for a studio. Properties on London’s doorstep have also had a retelling. For example, Coworth Park in Ascot has opened a three-bedroom gatehouse cottage, North Lodge, on the outskirts of the grounds, with a private garden and outdoor dining area. De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor undertook a refurbishment of Georgian mansion house The White House, which forms part of the property. The upgraded 26 bedrooms include walk-in showers, Roberts radios and smart TVs. 

STAY CITY MANCHESTER

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ACCOMMODATION

THE HOXTON HOLBORN LOBBY

Lower occupancies and lockdowns allowed all the work to be done at once, rather than in phases"

 Hilton has opened the latest Curio Collection property, aparthotel The Fellows House Cambridge, with 131 rooms, pool, sauna and steam room. Cycas’ signature double-decker properties now include aparthotel 92-unit Residence Inn Slough and the 152-room Moxy, with a shared Thunderbirds-themed bar, fitness studio and six meeting rooms. They are in the former library, part of a multi-use development that includes restaurants, retail space and stylish private apartments. Oxford is benefitting from the opening in July of Westgate Premier Inn, with the top floor dedicated to Premier Plus rooms

which come with improved working areas, air conditioning, flatscreen TVs, fridges with free water, Nespresso machines with pods, stronger Wifi and more. The hotel hosts the brand’s 1000th Premier Plus room and there are plans to double the number of these to 2,000 across the network. Development in Manchester continues apace, including the opening of Staycity in the Northern Quarter, with 224 apartments, 24-hour reception, lounge, pantry, Staycafé, exercise room and laundry. Meanwhile, The Midland Manchester has emerged from a £17 million overhaul of its bedrooms. New is a split-level bar and

Say hello to Turing Locke. Opening October. Whether you’re here for punting or partying, working or researching, discover a thoroughly modern side to magical Cambridge.

# FEELFREE

lockeliving.com | @lockehotels

Turing Locke, 47 Eddington Ave, Cambridge CB3 1SE

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ACCOMMODATION

MONDRIAN SHOREDITCH

lounge in the foyer; Mount Street restaurant now serves classic dishes all day. Meliá property INNSide Liverpool opened in August after a three-year redevelopment of the former Echo and Daily Post building, with 207 rooms, restaurant, Sky Bar with 360-degree city views, and seven meeting rooms on a floor with a dedicated kitchen. In Scotland, Cheval Abbey Strand Apartments at Holyrood were renovated ready for reopening in June, with new access to the physic garden – with its medicinal and culinary plants that would have grown in the 17th-century garden – in the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is exclusive to Cheval guests in the evening, once the palace is closed to the public. Meanwhile Cheval Old Town Chambers has added an extension, with 24 new apartments, ground-floor reception, lounge, bar and restaurant, plus a new entrance on the Royal Mile (rather than via an alley). A £1.3 million renovation of The Ballachulish Hotel, Glencoe, upgraded 53

RESIDENCE INN SLOUGH

bedrooms, restaurants and three meeting rooms for a reopening in April, while Crerar Hotels invested £500,000 in Glencoe Inn, modernising 15 bedrooms, public areas and introducing a garden Spa. Its restaurant, The Gathering, features a new Steak & Lobster Bistro and Red Shed Pizzas. And last on our tour is The Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, which has undergone a £3.5 million makeover of its 75 bedrooms with six Seaview and two Retreat suites. Its public areas, restaurant, spa and pool have been upgraded and a new sea deck overlooks Craignure Bay. It's dog friendly too, so perfect for all the lockdown puppies.

With Covid safety and comfort in mind, many hotels have been quick to create outdoor spaces for their guests”

People deserve to feel at home even when they’re not. www.staywithreside.com

hotels

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CONFERENCE

TBTC'21

RECONNECT, RESET, RESTART With just days to go until The Business Travel Conference 2021, here's a reminder of what's in store...

Long-awaited and much-needed, The Business Travel Conference is back for 2021 and promises to be one of the most memorable in its 15-year history. The intimate event, with a maximum of 200 buyer delegates, is being held at the Hilton London Bankside on September 14-15 with a top line-up of speakers and a programme packed full of content that will help you and your travellers get back to business travel. With a theme of ‘Reconnect, Reset, Restart’, the event will kick off with a keynote speech from MP Stephen Hammond, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) dedicated to business travel. Delegates will then hear from industry leaders, including Ian Sinderson, CEO of ATPI, and James Parkhouse, CEO of Agiito (formerly Capita Travel and Events), and Dave Bishop, CCO Gray Dawes Group, who will set the scene before the

40

conference sessions begin. Programme highlights include a Back to the Futurethemed immersive experience, with headline sponsors Blue Cube Travel, where delegates will step into Doc Brown's time machine for an unforgettable journey back to the origins of business travel and into its future. Alongside lively and engaging sessions, there'll be plenty of time for the networking that we've all missed so much during the pandemic and exhibitors representing all corners of the sector are looking forward to meeting you and updating you about their products and services.

Peace of mind

With the safety and comfort of visitors in mind, the conference organisers and the Hilton London Bankside have put a number of measures in place. Hilton is continuing to implement EventReady, its stringent global meetings and events programme designed to create event experiences that are clean, flexible, safe and socially responsible. This includes room seals for guest and meeting rooms, sanitising stations in public areas and meeting spaces and an EventReady Room Checklist. Hilton Bankside staff will continue to wear masks throughout the conference and will also be taking regular voluntary lateral flow tests. There will be numerous

hand sanitisation stations positioned throughout the venue and attendees will be encouraged to use them frequently.

Speedy arrivals

To minimise queuing and speed up the arrivals process, conference registration will be open an hour early each morning (8am) and registration teams have been expanded. Registration teams and all conference staff will wear masks when interacting with attendees and will also take daily lateral flow tests in the run-up to and during the event. Attendees will also be asked to take a voluntary lateral flow test prior to attending.

The right signals

In order to meet different levels of comfort with regards to social distancing, visitors to the conference will be offered optional wristbands in three colours, based on a traffic light theme. Wearing a green wristband will indicate to others that you're comfortable with hugs and physical contact, amber will show that any greetings should be restricted to fist or elbow pumps, while red signals that you're comfortable to chat but prefer to avoid any physical contact. Wristbands can be changed during the conference. “We hope this will help all attendees relax and respect comfort levels and avoid any awkward moments!” says Kirsty Hicks, Publisher and Head of Business Travel for event organisers BMI Publishing.

Risk factors

In collaboration with the Hilton London Bankside, a full risk assessment has been completed for the event. The hotel has an NHS check-in/check-out code displayed at the entrance to the property and if anyone presents with Covid symptoms at the conference there are plans in place to protect them and others from the risk of transmission.

Double celebration

All of the safety measures outlined here will also apply to the conference refreshment breaks, lunches and evening events. On the first night, delegates will be able to catch up with friends and colleagues over drinks and canopés and, for the first time, the Business Travel People Awards will be held on the evening of the second day of the conference. There's so much to catch up on and we can't wait to see you there. thebusinesstravelconference.com

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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CONFERENCE

CON FEREN C E PROGRAMME DAY ONE 8AM

9.30AM

9.45AM

10.20AM

Tuesday September 14

4PM

SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS Now is the time to make your travel programme truly sustainable, but how is that achieved? Our experts offer practical ways to make your business travel more responsible and outline what suppliers are doing to help you meet your targets.

4.30PM

DIVERSITY CHALLENGE In an open and honest conversation, our experts will discuss what the corporate travel sector must do to be truly representative and how it can fully represent the business travellers it serves.

Registration opens/breakfast networking WELCOME OPENING KEYNOTE AND Q&A Stephen Hammond MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Business Travel VIEW FROM THE TOP Where are we now? Industry experts share their insights into the current state of the business travel sector and set the scene for the conference.

11.00AM

Refreshments/networking

11.40AM

TMC TRANSFORMATION Brand, culture, servicing, data capabilities and business models are all under the spotlight as buyers look for their future TMC partners. Experts will discuss the shifting landscape to help you ensure you have the right relationship for success.

5PM

DAY TWO

12.20PM

READY FOR TAKE-OFF As domestic and international air travel restarts - with reduced schedules, fewer suppliers and no meaningful data to base your negotiations on - an expert panel shares top tips on how to get your programmes back in the air and instill confidence in flying.

12.50PM

Lunch/networking

2PM

WAKE UP CALL Representatives from across the accommodation sector provide valuable insights on rate and booking trends and how to progress your hotel programme post-pandemic.

2.30PM

TRANSPORT LINKS Experts from rail, car rental and taxis and transfers debate the impact of technological innovation, remote working, and growing concerns about sustainability and safety, and tell you how to better manage that 'last mile'.

3PM

Afternoon refreshments

DRINKS & CANAPE RECEPTION

Wednesday September 15

8AM

Registration opens/breakfast networking

9AM

VIEW FROM THE TOP What’s next? Industry leaders share their insights into what the future brings for the sector, how it should respond to current challenges and take advantage of the exciting opportunities going forward.

10AM

Late breakfast/networking

10.45AM

BACK TO THE FUTURE In a first for The Business Travel Conference, an immersive experience will take delegates on a journey to the origins of business travel and back to the future of corporate travel, featuring travel risk management as the flux capacitor and traveller wellbeing safely strapped into a DeLorean. Hold on tight!

11.45PM

Refreshments/networking

12.15PM

THE NEXT GENERATION A buyer-focussed panel discusses the changing role of the travel manager and the exciting new opportunities for those who are up for the challenge.

12.50PM

1PM

6.30PM

CLOSING REMARKS Lunch/final networking THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS 2021

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DEPARTURES

Reality check

Go online for the full reviews: thebusinesstravelmag.com

CAR HIRE: VAU X HAL L CO R SA E R E NTAL F R O M E NT E R PR ISE BACKGROUND

Starting with Teslas two

THE RENTAL

Branch staff had told

years ago, Enterprise has been

us charging the car was a very easy

expanding its electric fleet and this

plug-in-and-go process but whilst this is

summer added a selection of lower-mid

the case for Teslas, all other makes of

range cars, including the Vauxhall Corsa

electric cars use a different network of

E. With five doors, built-in satnav,

chargers and it’s more complicated. It

climate control, and up to 160 miles

turned out we needed an account with

range on a full charge, it seemed

‘Charging Place Scotland’ to access the

perfect for our 850-mile Scotland trip.

network, and ideally a RFID card linked

BOOKING

The online booking

to our account to tap on the machines

process was easy. We’d originally

to begin charging. It's also possible to

booked to collect the car from the

charge using an app but this caused us

Edinburgh Waverly branch but due to

a wealth of problems as internet signal

Covid it was temporarily closed. Instead

was limited, if not non-existent, in many

we were offered complimentary pick-up

locations. The machines themselves

from our accommodation to collect

also needed internet connection to

very receptive of our comments on

from the Edinburgh City Centre branch.

receive data from the app and more

charging issues and said they'd relay

COLLECTION

The wheel was

this back to the head office.

often than not this proved impossible.

A SMOOTH RIDE OVERALL, BUT WITH A FEW BUMPS IN THE ROAD

wrapped in a protective cover and with

Thankfully, mid-way through our trip, a

Enterprise’s ‘Complete Clean Pledge’ we

fellow EV driver kindly lent us his

felt very confident the car was sanitised

personal 'Charging Place Scotland' card

and all necessary precautions had been

so we no longer had to worry about

taken. Masks were worn at all times,

difficulties charging. This meant we

even outside. After a thorough check

could begin to really enjoy the car –

and a brief on how the charging worked

effortlessly smooth and almost eerily

0800 800 227. Rentals from £88 a day.

(more on that later), we hit the road.

quiet to drive. At drop-off, staff were

April Waterston

THE VERDICT

A smooth drive overall,

but with a few bumps in the road. Directions on charging could have been clearer but otherwise the process, and the car, was efficient and enjoyable. THE DETAILS

enterprise.co.uk;

HOTEL : T HE CU L L O DE N E STAT E & SPA, BE L FAST THE HOTEL

A Hastings Hotel

THE ROOM

My spacious and ultra-

property and a Small Luxury Hotel of

comfortable Bishop Suite on the fourth

the World, this five-star hotel is six miles

floor had a partial dividing wall

from Belfast city centre and yet its

separating the bedroom from the

setting is more akin to a tranquil rural

lounge area. Features included a King

retreat. With the wooded slopes of the

Coil ‘Cloud Bed’, a work table, couch and

Holywood hills as its backdrop and 12

lounge chairs, and two TVs. A large bay

acres of manicured gardens, it has a

window offered views down to Belfast

real sense of grandeur, history and

Lough and the County Antrim Coastline.

serenity. Its 98 elegant rooms and

THE BUSINESS

There's a dedicated

suites, spa and restaurant have been

business reception area, with secretarial

recently refurbished.

services, and a plethora of conference

COVID STRATEGY

Health and safety

and meeting rooms. The gardens offer

protocols are in line with industry-wide

team building exercises and activities

'Peace of Mind Policy' guidelines, an

like archery, laser clay pigeon shooting

industry standard established in

and target golf. WiFi is free and speedy.

association with the National Tourism

THE FACILITIES

Organisations of Great Britain and

Vespers, is serving dinner only on a

Northern Ireland. Measures include

Friday and Saturday but is open daily

sanitising stations throughout the hotel

for breakfast. The Lough Room, which

and a chemical-free disinfectant system.

will revert to a residents' bar once Covid

THE CHECK-IN

The reception area is

treatments), a pool (with Jacuzzi), a weight room, sauna and an eucalyptus

The main restaurant,

rules allow, offered a limited but

SIX MILES FROM BELFAST BUT ITS SETTING IS MORE AKIN TO A TRANQUIL RURAL RETREAT

steam room. THE VERDICT

A premium-class hotel

with top-range facilities that offers a sense of peace and solitude that no city centre hotel could match.

surprisingly small for such a large

wholesome menu. At the bottom of the

property but never felt crowded. Two

estate is the pub-cosy Cultra Inn.

front desk staff members, wearing

Afternoon Tea is served in the Drawing

Rooms from £300, including breakfast.

masks, were friendly and efficient.

Room. There's a gym, Spa (with ESPA

Steve Hartridge

42

THE DETAILS

Bangor Rd, Hollywood,

Belfast, BT18 0EX; hastingshotels.com.

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DEPARTURES

The final word

From Shitterton to Twatt

F

orget Lands End to John O' Groats. If all those lockdowns have left you with the urge to do something worthwhile, like a charity fundraising trip across Britain, there's now a much more fun way to do it. Follow in the footsteps of Paul Taylor, from Oxfordshire, who this summer sped off on a 50cc moped for a 1,800-mile tour, in memory of a friend, taking in all the places with names that'll make you chuckle. Starting in the Dorset hamlet of Shitterton (tee-hee) he'll be calling at Crazies Hill and Cockpole Green near Reading, Berkshire, Butthole Lane in Shepshed, Leicestershire, and Titty Ho in Northamptonshire. His tour - known as the Moronic Moped Marathon - also takes in Happy Bottom Nature Reserve, Sandy Balls Holiday

Sunhat or umbrella? Packing is so much easier when you know if it's going to rain or shine, so here's a handy list of European cities with the most predictable weather: 1

Valetta

2

Nicosia

3

Dublin

4

London

5

Rome

6

Athens

7

Reykjavik

8

Amsterdam

9

Brussels

10 Paris

Research by Uswitch Car Insurance

Park, Pishill, The Knob, Butthole Lane, Slack Bottom Road, and more, before ending up in Twatt in the Orkney Isles. At the last count, cheeky Paul had already raised just under

Oh, I do like to be...

W

hether you jetted off to sunny Spain or cloudy Cornwall, hopefully most of you got a well-deserved seaside break this summer. This year, more than ever, what we've all yearned for is a day at the beach, to feel the sea air and the sand between our toes Or have we? Apparently not, according to hotel platform, Hoo, which looked at some data and found that 63% of us prefer a dip in the pool to the beach, and for a number of reasons: our dislike of pebbles, sand, and seawater and a fear of what lies beneath. The makers of Jaws have got a lot to answer for.

£20,000 for Cancer Research way over his initial £1,800 target. If you want to add a donation, check out this link: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ paul-taylor233

What we had for dinner became the most exciting thing that happened to many of us in those long, dark days of the lockdowns. With nothing else to brag about, social media became flooded with heavily-filtered photos of mealtimes, showcasing our national dishes. According to Dutch delivery website, Thuisbezorgd, pizzas were the instagram favourites across Europe, while in the UK we were all keen to share snaps of our beloved fish and chips, Sunday roasts and Shepherd's Pie. Sadly, not quite so photogenic! THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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

Headline sponsor

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