the Business travel magazine â€¢ APRIL/MAY 2019
fit for purpose
Why traveller wellbeing should be shaping your travel policy
Focus on Canada Serviced apartments Business travel consultants Talking Travel: Kevin McCloud EXTENDED FEATURE: RAIL TRAVEL (p55-78)
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For us it’s A to Z, not just A to B Booking? That’s the easy bit. When it comes to travel – not just booking travel, but planning, anticipating and overseeing every aspect of a trip – Fello is all about the details.
Happy to help manage your business travel. +44 (0)20 7650 3100 | fello.co.uk
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A PR I L /M A Y 2019 Features
14 Traveller wellbeing: Are companies doing enough? 24 Serviced apartments: Going from strength to strength
It's a complex industry but managing your rail spend can be mastered
38 Consultants: How expertise can transform your programme 55 Extended feature: Rail travel
Everyone's Talking About... Aviation emissions
The Knowledge: Boosting traveller satisfaction
10 Six of the Best: Rooftop venues in London 11 Speaking Out: Data security
12 The Business Travel People Awards: Meet the winner 19 Event report: Advantage Focus 20 The Conversation 22 The Big Picture 34 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 36 Technology: Disruption detection 37 Meet the Buyer: Key Assets' Suzanne Wade
40 Talking Travel: Kevin McCloud
43 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments
80 On the Road:
Alon Baranowitz 81 Meeting in: Liverpool 82 New Kid on the Block: Dakota Manchester 83 On Business in: Singapore 84 Focus on: Canada
88 Reality Check 90 Final Word
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Welcome Indicative notes
'd been expecting to use this page to reﬂect on the UK's departure from the European Union – we even pushed our deadline back in order to accommodate coverage of the early aftermath. In hindsight, perhaps we should have known better than to have
banked on the ongoing Brexit saga (or should that be 'ﬁasco'?) being resolved by now. Indeed, even back in September last year, a poll of delegates at our annual event, The Business Travel Conference, showed nearly two-thirds thought the UK would not leave 'on time' on March 29. A second poll revealed only 10% of delegates thought Brexit would not aﬀect their business. One travel business that has suﬀered from "uncertainty around Brexit" – as well as other economic headwinds – is regional airline Flybe. As its Chief Executive Christine Ourmières-Widener says in an interview in this issue (pages 20-21), if she had handled a process within her business as badly as Theresa May and her government have then she would have been out of a job a long time ago. Then again, perhaps dogged Mrs May will be unemployed by the time you read these words. While Westminster is seemingly absorbed in just one issue, it is reassuring that life goes on elsewhere in government and this autumn will see the publication of a white paper that is the "culmination of the biggest and widest review of the railways for a generation". Rail travel is one of the most complex cost areas for many businesses, but our extended feature on the subject (pages 55-78) shines a light on spend management and the latest developments from operators. Full steam ahead!
Andy Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Dave Richardson, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West JOURNALIST
David Clare email@example.com
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(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON,
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SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM, BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM AND UNSPLASH.COM. COVER PHOTO BY TIM GOEDHART ON UNSPLASH
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ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
The scope and detail of this renovation is designed to ensure this iconic London establishment is recognised as one of the finest hotels in the worldâ€?
The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London will fully reopen to guests on April 15, finally completing the most extensive restoration in its 117year history. All 181 rooms have been upgraded, along with its ballroom, spa and public areas, and two new penthouses have been added. Work was delayed after a roof fire last June. 6
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Manchesterʼs most expensive suite has had a £700,000 facelift. The five-star The Lowry Hotel took three months to refresh its 2,228ft2 penthouse, which is a favourite of A-list celebrities and royalty. The suite is priced at £4,000 a night.
Sheraton Hotels and Resorts has unveiled a new communal lobby concept to be rolled out across Europe. The spaces will include a ‘community tableʼ where guests can work, eat or drink, as well as private booths and a coffee bar.
mixing it up
Ascott has extended its Citadines serviced apartment brand with the launch of Citadines Connect – a line of business hotels with selected services. The properties, debuting in Sydney and New York, feature mobile keys, self check-in kiosks, a Grab ‘nʼ Go F&B offering and gyms open 24/7. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
Aviation emissions RYANAIR IS THE ONLY AIRLINE NAMEDDOESN’T AMONG “TECHNOLOGY EUROPE’S TOPBUT TENITPOLLUTERS, RESCUE YOU PROVIDES CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR A CHART OTHERWISE COMPRISED TMC SHOULD HAVE THEPLANTS. PROCESS OF COAL-FIRED POWER AND PROCEDURES TO RUN REPORTS HOWEVER EMISSIONS ARE AND HELP YOU REACH THOSE GROWING MORE RAPIDLY AT AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT” EIGHT OTHER Ewan Kassir, Head ofAIRLINES, Sales, Clarity EU DATA SUGGESTS “Aviation is Europe’s biggest climate failure. The worst thing we can do is to put all our hopes in an offsetting scheme that gives airlines a license to grow indefinitely” Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager, Transport & Environment
“AS AN INDUSTRY IT’S IMPORTANT WE WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE THE SECTOR’S ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT. IT’S REFRESHING TO SEE SO MANY GTMC MEMBERS AND PARTNERS INVESTING IN SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES, BUT WE ENCOURAGE MORE TO DO SO IN ORDER TO FUTURE-PROOF THE SECTOR” Adrian Parkes, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC
As we prepare to expand our airport, we’re working with airlines to encourage fierce competition for the top spot of the ‘Fly Quiet & Green’ league table” Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability
“IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT TO SAY THAT AIRLINES ARE NOT TAKING CLIMATE ACTION Michael Gill, Executive Director, Air Transport Action Group
SERIOUSLY. AIRLINES ARE HEAVILY ENGAGED IN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVING FUEL EFFICIENCY” “Ryanair is the greenest airline in Europe. Our CO2 per passenger km is 67g, which is 25% lower than the other big European airlines. Our environmental policy commits to further reducing this to 61.4g by 2030 – 31% lower than other big airlines in Europe” Ryanair spokesperson
THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
Boost traveller satisfaction Networking platform LinkedIn was seeking ways to boost the satisfaction of its business travellers. Read on to discover how it went about it.
LinkedIn recognised that traveller satisfaction should be at the forefront of thinking for travel procurement today, using travel policy as a carrot to attract new talent. Around 8,000 LinkedIn employees take regular business trips, the bill for which exceeds $40million. But with LinkedIn's travel policy being just four years old there were some kinks to be ironed out. “LinkedIn has a 'non-mandate culture' where employees take ownership of their actions,” says LinkedIn's Global Travel and Event Operations Manager, Leslie Hadden. “While there is a travel policy, it's basically just a guide and it wasn't always clear which suppliers travellers should use. And when they used their own alternatives it could cost the company more.” Critically, however, all these issues led to a situation where only 64% of LinkedIn's travelling community were satisfied with their experiences.
To this end, the company launched a survey and asked all their travelling employees to complete it. Once it had the data, LinkedIn could break down the various issues their people were having and begin devising solutions. “Segregating the groups and really listening gave us a very good understanding of our travellers,” says Hadden. “We learned that 44% of LinkedIn travellers are in sales, products and services who travel often and care about their budget. “But in addition to the road warriors, there are travel arrangers, new travellers, executives and people in the finance department who have an interest in travel. And we learned that travellers were interested in exploring new accommodation and travel options – like Airbnb and Uber – when they were on the road.”
LinkedIn set about addressing each issue. A new platform, TravelIn, allowed the company to deliver travel messaging more effectively than before. In addition, the inSider platform also allowed messages to be shared socially between the company's travellers. The in-house booking tool was streamlined
and upgraded with new guidelines and advice, with satisfaction in booking trips rising 13% as a result. Within 18 months, overall traveller satisfaction in the LinkedIn travel experience had risen to 84%, with reports of dissatisfaction or extreme dissatisfaction down to just 4%.
Traveller satisfaction is going to continue to be a hot topic as we move through 2019. LinkedIn has shown that by simply listening, things can be set back on course. “People are starting to really love our programme. They're noticing that we're communicating with them and connecting with them,” says Hadden. “My goal is to make travellers happier and more productive on the road and traveller engagement is at the heart of that.” • LinkedIn's Global Travel Manager, Leslie Hadden, will be hosting a session on Traveler Satisfaction: Finding The Balance Between Experience, Productivity and Cost at ProcureCon Travel 2019, taking place in May at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas, Henderson, May 14-15. For more information see procurecontravel.com
The first step towards solving a problem is to make sure you fully understand it, so LinkedIn needed to know who its travellers were, why they travel, and what information, services, and amenities they needed to best achieve their business travel goals.
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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... Rooftop venues in London 1
THE TRAFALGAR ST JAMES
The go-to central London rooftop, the Trafalgar St James hotel’s smart-yet-relaxed bar looks out over Trafalgar Square. It’s a great place for cocktails and there are even cashmere blankets to keep guests warm on chilly nights. The glass-enclosed ‘Room’ is available for private events.
THE BILTMORE, MAYFAIR
Set to become another sky-high central London staple, the new Biltmore hotel’s rooftop bar will open in well-heeled Mayfair this spring. The sheltered alfresco terrace lets visitors take in the sights whatever the weather.
Named after two historic guilds and nestled above the city’s atmospheric old trade halls, the roof terrace of the City’s newest boutique hotel is full of charm with a conservatory-style dining space and a pretty bar leading to a patio with views of St Paul's.
12TH KNOT, SEA CONTAINERS, SOUTHBANK
Part of the nautical-themed Sea Containers hotel, this recently revamped rooftop bar has a playful design with space to host receptions and cocktail parties for up to 300 people.
VINTRY & MERCER’S ROOF TERRACE, CITY
THE STRATFORD AT MANHATTAN LOFT GARDENS, STRATFORD
The Stratford opens soon, and with it a terraced restaurant and garden, Allegra, on the 7th floor. Higher up, there will be a sheltered alfresco enclave on the 25th floor complete with fire pits, barbecues and bar.
THE STANDARD LONDON, KING’S CROSS
Hip US brand Standard Hotels is opening its London outpost this spring. Three new storeys have been added to its revamped Brutalist home in King's Cross, topped by a precipitous bar accessed by an exterior lift.
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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT
Data security The numbers add up In a digital world that demands more rigorous requirements around data privacy and security, Elyes Mrad considers the challenges that organisations face when building more robust systems We have become accustomed to hearing about major data breaches in the travel industry, and although it may appear that cybercrime is increasingly prolific, it is a more complex picture than that. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force last year, brought in universal breach notification obligations, while all US states have also passed breach notification laws. So to some degree, the apparent rise is because we have better visibility on cybercrime. But it’s also true that today those carrying out data attacks are increasingly better organised and resourced, so attacks are more sophisticated and harder to prevent. GDPR has reinforced the fact that we are an industry that cares for people on the move, and part of that care is protecting their data. So we all need to understand our responsibilities and what we can do to mitigate risk at individual, organisational and at industry level. When selecting a supplier, it’s vital you put them through their paces on their privacy ELYES MRAD Elyes Mrad is International Senior Vice President and Managing Director at American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). Elyes heads up commercial business in EMEA and APAC and is responsible for driving growth and client retention strategies in these regions.
regime – and you should shine the spotlight on your TMC in particular. Your TMC needs to share traveller data with a vast network of travel partners all around the world, so it’s essential they have a highly robust thirdparty assessment programme to ensure those partners meet security standards. All your suppliers should be able to show expertise, transparency and a robust compliance framework. If they have a compliance regime such as Binding Corporate Rules, which are approved by the EU data
A traveller's PNR reveals a lot of information, yet people often treat printed itineraries rather carelessly” protection authorities, you know you’re dealing with a company that takes it seriously. Your attitude with new suppliers should be: ‘Don’t just tell me what your policy is; show me and prove you have all the right controls in place.’ Another area that needs attention is your strategy for managing a data breach. GDPR places breach notification obligations – to individuals and authorities – on the data ‘controller’, rather than the ‘processor’. If your TMC is contracted as a controller, you’re in a good position because you have removed a source of liability from your own organisation. But if your TMC is contracted as a processor, the obligation to notify of a breach remains with you – and you need clear internal strategies for handling such notifications procedures.
What else can we do to minimise risk? Insider threats are one of the biggest factors in data attacks, not usually because an employee is deliberately doing wrong, but because they inadvertently give access or information to the bad guys. There is plenty that organisations of all sizes can do to mitigate this risk, such as building an identity and access management programme that minimises privileged access to sensitive data and monitors activity of those accessing it. Another vital area is education. For example, phishing – fraudulent emails disguised as genuine requests from trustworthy entities – is becoming more pervasive and convincing. So you should put rigorous, regular phishing training and testing in place, including sending sample phishing emails to employees. For organisations with limited resources, advice on phishing is freely available online and can be shared with employees. Another area where education can reduce risk is in training travellers to be more vigilant with their own data. A traveller’s passenger name record (PNR) reveals a lot of potentially sensitive information about that person, and where they are travelling from and to, yet people often treat printed itineraries carelessly rather than as confidential material. The same awareness should be applied to working on laptops in public places. But while cybercrime makes the headlines, remember to look beyond the digital environment at traveller behaviour and vigilance. Think about this: long before the advent of the internet, how many company secrets have leaked out via lively discussions in planes, trains and bars? Safeguarding private and sensitive information should be everybody’s business.
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meet the winner
Martin Hayes-Gleave Clarity’s Martin Hayes-Gleave was named MICE Manager of the Year at The Business Travel People Awards 2018 How did it feel to be named MICE Manager of the Year at the awards? It was a real shock to hear my name read out! It was such a surprise and honour to be nominated, so a win was completely unexpected. Tell us about your role and the work you’ve done that clinched the award. Working in the MICE business, there's always plenty to do. Not only does my role involve managing the team, but I also deal directly with clients helping to find suitable venues, manage the event logistics and working with creative directors to bring events to life. What do you particularly enjoy about your role in the industry? I love that this role challenges me as I'm not the kind of person that likes to do the same thing over and over again. Being part of the MICE sector means there's plenty of variety in the work we do. I also enjoy working not just with my own team, but with the wider Clarity business. The
What impact do you think winning an award will have on your career? Having been nominated by my colleagues for the award, it has made me feel really valued and definitely gave me a confidence boost. Winning the award has Business given me an opportunity Travel People Awards to shine within the recognise outstanding business and get my individuals and teams across name out there in the wider industry. all aspects of the supplier
What do you think of The Business Travel People Awards and of the winners event in particular? element of corporate travel. It was a spectacular What do you think This year’s award winners afternoon, not just for are the industry’s will be announced on me but for Clarity as a biggest challenges? Friday 24th May whole as we scooped four I think there are a number awards in total. The event of challenges ahead such as isn't my usual scene, but the budget constraints. And of course whole experience was quite humbling. And with the uncertainty of Brexit we have the awards are a great way of recognising plenty to prepare for as we book a number the hard work of the people who are often of our meetings and events in Europe. It's a behind the scenes, rather than the suppliers challenge, but it's one we are absolutely and agencies themselves. ready to take it on! 12
[ NEW DIRECTIONS ] Members of The Business Travel People Awards team recently visited the University of Greenwich to talk to travel and tourism students about the business travel and events industry. The event follows last year's commitment to promoting the industry as an exciting career path for today's students, who had the opportunity to pick the brains of some industry veterans. As part of the continuing collaboration some of the students will attend this year's awards ceremony in London this May.
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B E T H E F I R S T T O F I N D O U T T H E W I N N E R S AT T H E B U S I N E S S T R AV E L P E O P L E A W A R D S L U N C H T I M E C E R E M O N Y
FRIDAY MAY 24 GRANGE TOWER BRIDGE HOTEL LONDON With nominations closed and now in the hands of the judges, you can look forward to the winners ceremony being held at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel on Friday May 24. Tables for 10 people cost £950, tables of 12 cost £1,140 and individual places can be booked for £99 (all costs exclude VAT). Enjoy a drinks reception courtesy of Evolvi Rail Systems, a fantastic three-course lunch with wine and a post-lunch drinks party sponsored by ANA All Nippon Airways as we recognise outstanding individuals and teams from across the business travel industry.
RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL
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How far should a company go to ensure the wellbeing of its business travellers? Catherine Chetwynd examines some of the latest measures
one are the days when companies took the view that employees who travelled a lot on business accepted the job on that basis and they could put up or shut up. Now, traveller wellbeing is a serious consideration that requires taking a holistic view of the individual and is part of duty of care. It is also a commercial imperative – employees whose wellbeing is taken into account perform better; in fact, Nuffield Health reports that FTSE 100 companies that monitor wellbeing outperform those who don’t by more than 10%. In an article entitled Mental health: a state of wellbeing, the World Health Organization defines the condition: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Although a traveller’s health is ultimately the responsibility of the individual, they need to be equipped with the wherewithal to look after themselves so that the stresses and strains of corporate travel do not take their toll. Such strains include disruption to routine, difficulty sleeping, the crossing of time zones and associated effects of jetlag, too much alcohol and no exercise, eating badly and being away from home, friends and family. If staff are exhausted, ill, lonely, stressed and/or unhappy, they can hardly 14
perform at their best, and that is before looking at consequences that include hypertension, obesity and heart disease, plus mental health problems such as burnout. All these things are highlighted in The importance of business traveller wellbeing in mitigating risk, written by Dr Lucy Rattrie for Drum Cussac, which presents a compelling argument for companies to care about traveller wellbeing as part of a risk management strategy. But looking after travellers’ wellbeing is difficult because it means different things to different people and definitions vary within companies as well. Someone with a strict training regimen may want to stay in a hotel with a first class gym, where someone else may prefer the more sedentary ability to stream entertainment on a device through the TV in their room. The requirements of a non-travelling employee will differ from those of a road warrior, and flexibility is key: “Even within that, there are different types – a 22-year-old travelling salesman, a 35-year-old traveller mum and a 60-year-old whose kids have left home,” says Lucy Rattrie. “Most important is for the travel manager to ensure the support they offer is tailored to travellers’ needs, so individuals can choose from a menu.” Often, small gestures go a long way and offering a company subscription to a
meditation or mindfulness app might make the difference between stressed out and chilled out to some. “The cost is £4-£5 per month per employee and the benefit to mental health will far outweigh increasing the hotel rate cap by £10-£20 per night,” says Head of UK Marketing for Travel and Transport Statesman, Josh Gunn, whose company has a wellbeing council and champion, and promotes it internally. “It is also important to evaluate company culture and what will fit into that when you incorporate wellbeing. If you do something that does not fit, there is a risk it will be seen as a token gesture,” he says. Everything a traveller does has an impact on their wellbeing: planning a trip, booking it, doing it and returning home, only to have to catch up in the office and with family and friends. “A better traveller experience means greater engagement with the traveller and ultimately greater compliance, which is the driver to achieving a corporate client’s goals of savings, efficiency, productivity and visibility for both duty of care and supplier leverage,” says Vice President Traveller Care UK for
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Evaluate company culture and what will fit into that. If you do something that does not fit, there is a risk it will just be seen as a token gesture"
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Travel and Events
We’re with you, every step of the way. The safety and wellbeing of your travellers is vitally important to us. With duty of care being a particular focus for organisations today, we help ensure you have complete peace of mind by providing access to 24/7/365 support, helping your travellers, wherever or whenever they need us. This, combined with our Intelligent traveller tracking technology, supports your organisation when the safety of your employees is paramount. We appreciate that travelling on business can often be a stressful affair, but it doesn’t have to be. We harness the power of behavioural science, which supports our Smarter working approach to help you cut down on traveller ‘friction’. We’d love to talk to you about your requirements and how we might be able to improve wellbeing within your organisation. Speak to a member of our team to find out more:
0330 390 0340 firstname.lastname@example.org capitatravelevents.co.uk
Capita Travel and Events Limited. Registered office 30 Berners Street, London, W1T 3LR. Registered in England No. 01094729. Part of Capita plc. www.capita.co.uk. All rights reserved.
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American Express GBT, Richard Stabbins. GBT research published last year found that 94% of UK travellers cited reasons of health and wellbeing as a justification for booking business travel out of policy. These days, how a travel policy is constructed and communicated plays a role in recruitment and retention, as Clive Wratten, CEO of Amber Road explains: “Employers increasingly realise that a joined up approach to traveller wellbeing not only aids productivity whilst travelling for business, but has a positive impact on retention. “It’s also starting to boost recruitment too as we know that the coming generation of employees rate wellbeing at work as one of the top five reasons for choosing the company they work for,” he adds. While some businesses see a more flexible travel policy as a key part of delivering
a wellbeing programme, others are wary of the financial implications that could result. Matt Holman, Head of Traveller Experience at Capita Travel and Events, expands: “While some customers do see investing in wellbeing as exactly that [a relaxed or more flexible policy], we are equally working with others to continue to bring down costs and enhance wellbeing.” He continues: “Allowing flexibility in the policy will help to engage the travellers better. If they feel supported, trusted and able to make decisions that also benefit their mental wellbeing then the company will benefit in the long-term.” Traveller wellbeing should be all about “prevention and preparation”, says Amber Road's Wratten. “Employees are corporate athletes so their physical and mental wellbeing is crucial to having them operate at the highest level.”
Wratten says some clients are now building extra time into travel schedules, some are encouraging healthier practices on the road – including better diet and more exercise – and, inevitably, others are attempting to use data to monitor employee health and productivity. Capita's Holman says many clients are giving greater consideration to 'trip intensity' – how often and for how long people are travelling – and building more recovery time in post-trip. Katie Skitterall, ATPI's Director of Sales and Operations UK, paints a similar picture: “Intelligence and reporting on the number of flights taken outside business hours enables our customers to shape policy, so that a travel policy can be amended. Or if a corporate feels that a traveller’s wellbeing is impacted by their travel, procedures can be put in place.”
Allowing flexibility in the policy will help engage travellers and make them feel supported"
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Xxxxxxx Traveller Xxxxxxxx wellbeing
If someone is physically ill it is usually very visible but if someone is a bit tired, day in day out for years, then that is also going to take its toll"
Providing travellers with some quality basics is easy for companies to do and removes a lot of stress from the traveller: access to lounges, regardless of class flown; reliable, high-speed wifi in hotels – not just for working but so that travellers can Skype/ Facetime with family; convenient online or mobile check-in – these are all services that can be easily and inexpensively organised. Some clients of Areka Consulting removed from policy the need to refuel cars to reduce traveller friction when returning vehicles. “They decided that refuelling isn’t a big ticket item compared to the stress of finding the petrol station and the extra 15 minutes it takes to do it,” says Areka Managing Partner, Louise Miller. Travel policies are not necessarily becoming less strict but they are becoming more flexible to allow for the variety of individuals on the move. And although the corporate emphasis is still on cost saving, there can be a corollary. Downgrading longhaul travel from business class to economy can save a lot of money but if someone who is travelling in economy has to go straight
into a meeting on arrival, they are not going to give their best or get the best out of the meeting. This can be mitigated by giving them time to recover on arrival and a day off when they get back, rather than going straight into the office. When it comes to accommodation, location rightly comes first. It needs to be in a safe area and close to the people or site that travellers are visiting. “People pick accommodation because it is in the right place but they go back because of the service they get,” says Hotel Product Manager for FCM, Rachel Newns. Loyalty schemes also play a part. “One customer encourages hotels to boost employees to a higher status. Travellers are happy with the additional benefits and are loyal to the programme, plus the hotel chain is getting the business and leakage is reduced.” Measuring travellers’ wellbeing is essential to caring for it but people may not want to answer numerous questions about their trip on return. In addition, if they are feeling tired and negative and depressed, they may not want to discuss it or do not even view it as a problem – it just goes with the territory. “If someone is physically ill there is big focus on it but if someone is a bit tired, day in day out for years, it is going to take its toll. You don’t have to be physically or mentally unwell to need some support,” says Lucy Rattrie. The advantage of companies providing an external person to talk to is that they are impartial and people will often speak freely to them when they might not do so to someone in the office. It is important that travel managers do not try to tackle this alone. Firstly, it is too great a task, and secondly, it should involve HR, senior executives, procurement and risk departments, otherwise there is a risk of disjointed and ineffective communication. “We say to our travel managers that they must get their own oxygen mask on before you start helping others,” says Josh Gunn. Anyone who is not looking after themselves is in no fit state to look after others. Concern for business travellers’ wellbeing means taking a holistic view of the individual and investing in that to ensure they know the negative impact of business travel is being mitigated and that, crucially, they are being looked after.
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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
Advantage Focus Partners The detail is in the data With Brexit banned from the agenda at the Advantage Focus Partners recent meeting, the emphasis was instead on data sharing, market intelligence and how it can be used to benefit TMCs and their clients. Sasha Wood reports “The good, the bad and the ugly” of data strategy in the travel industry was the main topic of discussion at the Advantage Focus Partners meeting held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London on April 1. IATA’s Senior Manager for Business Intelligence Projects, Juan Oliver, kicked off with a presentation covering IATA’s Direct Data Solutions (DDS) programme, an aviation data hub currently in development. He said IATA is in the unique position of managing wide data sets across international borders so the organisation is taking the opportunity to create ‘data lakes’. Combined with technology and business knowledge, it could be a huge force for good as a source of market intelligence for TMCs and their clients. Discussing the challenge of building data systems, he said “it becomes ugly when we have home rules and regulations across the globe”. Travelogix CEO Chris Lewis, meanwhile, took to the stage to talk about the IT developer’s new Farecast tool aimed at
making it easier for TMCs to analyse airline data. The data collection platform has already been installed at 58 member organisations, where commercial teams can create different data sets to examine market behaviour and make informed decisions. Demonstrating the product, Lewis said: “It gives you the organisation and data required to give you the edge over your competitors.” Mark Colley from Sunway Travel, which has been trialling the tool, said
FACTS & FIGURES
• $1.3 trillion: the value of the business travel market • 25,000: the number of TMCs worldwide • 2.2 billion: the number of business trips booked a year • 40%: %: the percentage of trips booked independently
“DON’T LET THE LIKES OF GDPR, PCI AND ALL OF THE OTHER BUZZWORDS SCARE YOU OFF DATA. IT’S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT TMCs EMBRACE DATA AND USE THE RIGHT PLATFORMS TO CONSOLIDATE IT, ANALYSE IT AND MAKE CHANGES”
it has already been useful to the business. The GTMC's CEO, Adrian Parkes, followed up with a lively presentation on how TMCs can use data to understand customers and their needs, understand the competition, and think beyond the transaction. “The data is an enabler. The value of the data is not the data itself but what you do with it,” he said. The overall message from the afternoon was that TMCs need to embrace data or risk being left behind.
20TH ANNIVERSARY Advantage Focus celebrated its 20th anniversary with an evening reception and dinner for its TMC members and partners at Altitude London, high above the city
CHRIS LEWIS, CEO, TRAVELOGIX THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
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Chief Executive, Flybe
CHRISTINE ourmiÈres-widener The regional airline’s CEO talks to Andy Hoskins about its turbulent times, and now, its fresh future under a Virgin Atlantic-backed consortium
arlier this year Flybe was within a day of going out of business, a scenario its Chief Executive Officer Christine Ourmières-Widener not surprisingly describes as the toughest experience of her career to date. “It was so close,” she says, “but the outcome is phenomenal. It was a complicated process but we are very proud because we saved the company and the jobs of 1,500 employees.” Connect Airways, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, was Flybe’s knight in shining armour, purchasing the airline at a price its shareholders were in no position to reject. “It was a low share offer but we had to sell for 1p [per share] or the company would have disappeared,” says Ourmières-Widener. She joined the airline in January 2017 and although aware of the challenge that she faced, she could not have foreseen the extent to which it would worsen. “When I joined it was obvious we had service issues and we launched a strategy to shrink the fleet to improve the revenue and optimise our cost structure,” she explains. “We worked a lot on improving revenue per seat – and the results have been quite impressive – and on our load factors too. When I joined these were in the high 60s and now we are more mid-80s.” The airline was also dealing with “legacy issues” including cumbersome historic contracts. The situation worsened as shorthaul markets softened, fuel costs rose and foreign exchange rates started to bite. A profit warning was issued in November last year and credit card companies subsequently became more cautious, withholding users’ payments to the airline. 20
“We started to see restricted cash,” says Ourmières-Widener. “We were sitting on more than £50million of cash but we couldn’t use more than £10million of that.” The message now, however, is very much “business as usual” for Flybe while work goes on behind the scenes to plot a path forward. The airline is expected to be rebranded under the Virgin name but will function with a separate management team and fly under its own Air Operator Certificate.
We need people to feel empowered to take the next steps. It has been a tough time and very emotional for some people” The airline is currently subject to EU derogation conditions following the takeover, meaning it is relatively restricted in what changes it can practically implement. “We are expecting clearance in June or July and that’s when you can expect some announcements,” says Ourmières-Widener. “We just had a kick-off last week with our main stakeholders where the message was 'the future starts with us' because we need people to make sure they feel empowered to take the next steps. It has been tough and very emotional for some people.” The Flybe CEO says there are “no plans” to make redundancies, but its fleet and network streamlining will continue. “We need to decrease the fleet. We have already said we want to work with our new shareholders to decide the next steps but first we must shrink
whilst keeping the backbone of our fleet.” For now, its summer operation includes routes into Heathrow from Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Newquay, as well as flights from Edinburgh and Aberdeen. And it is Flybe's “backbone” of 78-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops that make such routes feasible where others before them have failed – including Virgin’s Little Red operation. “There's a massive difference between what Virgin [Little Red] did at Heathrow and what we're doing,” says OurmièresWidener. “We are the only operator of turboprops into Heathrow.” It is clear that Flybe’s feeder traffic from the regions into Virgin’s long-haul hubs at Heathrow and Manchester has helped secure its future under Connect Airways. Flybe currently operates from Heathrow Terminal 2 and Virgin from Terminal 3, “but we will see what is possible”, says Ourmières-Widener regarding co-location. “We want to give to our common customers a fantastic experience and I agree the experience on the ground is critical.” Flybe is shaping up for its next phase but other airlines have not been so fortunate, including Flybmi and Wow Air which both ceased operations this spring. “It is absolutely a trend,” says OurmièresWidener. “We have been through it so we can see the pressures and the challenges, and I strongly believe we will see more consolidation in Europe. In the UK, uncertainty around Brexit really has not helped.” • On the day this issue of The Business Travel Magazine went to press Flybe announced it will cease all jet operations this October. Its Q400 turboprop aircraft will continue to operate across the network.
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spotlight How has Brexit played a role in Flybe's fortunes? Let’s call it the 'B-word'! It's a massive disappointment. The impact of Brexit on the business is real and it’s not finished. I’m not sure we will ever be able to really understand the true impact, but businesses in the UK are resilient. They will survive and thrive or adapt, but it is an additional pressure that no one needs. Deciding to leave or not is just a decision – it is the way you do it and the way it is implemented that is crucial. If I had managed the process of Brexit like this in my company I would not have a job anymore!
CHRISTINE OURMIÈRES-WIDENER Christine Ourmières-Widener started her career in aviation in the maintenance department of Air France before working her way up to become the airline’s UK and Ireland General Manager and later Vice President in New York. She was Chief Executive of CityJet from 2010 to 2015 and then Chief Global Sales Oﬃcer for American Express Global Business Travel before joining Flybe as CEO in January 2017. She has a Masters in Aeronautics and an MBA from ESSEC Business School. In June 2018 she was voted on to the IATA Board of Governors.
Tell us about how your career in travel began... I trained as an engineer and have a Masters in Aeronautics and I still feel good when I visit an aircraft hangar! I'd like to see more girls interested in maths and physics and we could be doing more in the UK and rest of the world on this. We have launched our flyShe initiative to inspire more girls to join the industry as pilots and engineers and it is good there is a lot of attention on diversity right now. If we don’t embrace female pilots we are restricting ourselves to recruiting from 49% of the population – it wouldn’t make sense. I am one of two females on the IATA Board of Governors right now, but hopefully it will be more soon.
4/3/19 05:12 PM
THE BIG PICTURE
Japan’s neon-lit capital has been named Asia’s best bleisure destination in a new study from the Economist’s Intelligence Unit. Tokyo was ranked first for its unbeatable combination of stellar business facilities and leisure appeal, while the manicured metropolis of Singapore came in second and Hong Kong was placed third.
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RAISING the roof
As serviced apartment stock booms and suppliers become more innovative, should corporates be moving more of their spend into the sector? Catherine Chetwynd reports
he serviced apartment sector goes from strength to strength: larger European operators have grown at an average of 6.1% per year in unit numbers, a figure that is due to escalate to 39.4% before the end of 2022, representing more than 13,000 units. And the UK accounts for one-third of planned European growth. Accor, Staycity and SACO are main contributors to this, largely thanks to their lifestyle-focused brands, according to Savills’ Spotlight, European Extended Stay Market report. Main UK cities of interest are London, Manchester and Edinburgh. And Dublin, to date desperately short of stock, is expected to grow by 1,484 units in eight projects by 2022, including several projects from Staycity and SACO’s Locke. Further opportunities for serviced apartment operators include a group of high-growth cities: Oslo, Stockholm, Madrid, Edinburgh and Dublin, plus Tallinn, Warsaw, Sofia, Berlin, Budapest and Porto, according to Savills, Oxford Economics and official local tourist office statistics. Favoured destinations tend to be those where there is notable tourist arrival growth and a strong
GDP outlook, so operators can tap into both the leisure and corporate markets. Although the sector has become a recognised asset class, the main deterrent for investors is the lack of purpose-built stock, although operators are now pursuing expansion through new development. Staycity’s acquisition of developer Pretique is a good example. It will build its own sites, alongside those with partners, to secure sites and stop having to acquire leases.
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One agency 7 global offices
1,096,547 serviced apartments in more than 160 countries Powered by
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It is important to reassure corporates that apartments are safe and secure, and being part of the ASAP accreditation is a great support with this”
Meanwhile property entrepreneur Stephen Vernon recently acquired a 5% shareholding in Staycity and has become a non-executive director, all with an eye on boosting its expansion programme. Further evidence of this trend is the level of applications for the job of Chief Executive at SACO, which was landed by Stephen McCall, former Chief Operating Officer Europe at IHG, plus the appointment of Cycas’s first Chief Executive, Matt Luscombe, a former Chief Commercial Officer at IHG. “We are finding loads of exciting opportunities,” says Native Chief Executive, Guy Nixon. “We have grown up; we are clear about what our brand is and have become easier to work with.” Supporting these strong signs is the sector’s greater traction with corporates. Research released by ASAP and Business Travel Show found that among the 134 corporate buyers polled, 29% increased serviced apartment booking in 2018. Adagio notes that smaller companies, formerly less visible, are showing new needs and are potential clients. Frasers Hospitality COO EMEA Rebecca Hollants van Loocke says: “There is still work to do and making sure corporates see the apartment sector as an alternative is key. “It is important to reassure corporates that apartments are safe and secure, and being part of the Association of Serviced
Apartment Providers (ASAP) accreditation is a great support with this. RFPs need to be adapted for longer stays and accommodate all that an apartment has to offer.” Badge of honour ASAP accreditation is proving a success for suppliers and their clients alike. “Two have confirmed that they have recently won contracts on the back of accreditation and five organisations that left us when we went 100% accredited at the end of last year have said that they have lost business and want to come back,” says ASAP Chief Executive, James Foice. “We are also seeing a rise in the number of corporate buyers who are opting to book only via accredited apartment providers.” However, Oakwood Managing Director EMEA, Ken Moore, insists companies need to ‘socialise’ the inclusion of serviced apartments into travel programmes. “It is not as simple as ‘if you build it they will come’. There is a robust middle step required so that employees understand the benefits and change behaviour.” Reluctance to book serviced apartments may be a hangover from the days of fixedterm stays, self check-in and no welcome. “The sector has a lot of myths to dispel and is working hard to do this,” says COO of SACO, Nick Barton. “Today’s easy to book, flexible models, such as aparthotels and
new lifestyle brands like Locke, which cross over with hotels, are putting the sector on the map for both converted buyers and those who have been reticent to date. This is coupled with the clamour for Airbnb from corporate travellers – and not always from the millennial generation either.” Evidence of corporate faith in serviced apartments comes in the form of EY’s booking of between 180,000 and 200,000 nights a year through its long-stay vendors. These are generally used for those on project work and people relocating, who are looking for somewhere to live long term. Transient travel is a smaller proportion of the whole. ADAGIO
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No matter the journey, Oakwood® is always the perfect destination. Our global footprint, regional presence and local market knowledge gives us the flexibility to customise our serviced apartment solutions to best suit your business requirements, wherever your job may take you. That’s how we ensure every road leads to Oakwood®.
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While 89% of bookers like to research online, they much prefer the reassurance of dealing with a knowledgeable consultant, especially when dealing with long-stay bookings”
DURHAM BOUTIQUE APARTMENTS
“We generally encourage people to use serviced apartments if they are spending five nights in one location – less time than that and they would stay in a traditional hotel,” says EY’s Global Supplier Leader, Travel Meetings & Events, Tim Nichols. “They book through our TMC or intranet site, which goes through to the vendor for completion of the leasing process. Last year, we implemented an innovative online booking platform for long stay, which provides instantaneous online booking for serviced apartments in the US, London and elsewhere, and which gives a quick connection between vendor and traveller. It is much more efficient and we get great feedback from travellers.”
Ask an expert Serviced apartments comprise a relatively small proportion of overall travel spend but still represent significant sums of money. As was highlighted in the latest Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAIR), travel managers are increasingly turning to their TMCs/agents to manage this service, which enables cost and traveller tracking to be consolidated into established reporting tools. And TMCs are working more with specialist providers to procure serviced apartments due to the idiosyncrasies of the sector. As TAS Chief Executive Charlie McCrow points out, this is largely due to the lack of visibility of serviced apartments on the GDS, for reasons such as difficulties in identifying properties (names don’t always give it away), lack of availability, cancellation charges and the requirement for a higher
touch as traveller preferences and other personal details are expected to be managed in more detail. Stay extensions also stand in the way of booking serviced apartments online, as they are often arranged direct at the property, causing fractured information for reporting, traveller tracking and duty of care. “When we relaunched our website a few years ago we carried out some research which showed that while 89% of bookers like to research online, they much prefer the reassurance of dealing with a knowledgeable consultant, especially when dealing with longer stay, high value bookings,” says Select Apartments Managing Director, Simon Morrison. “And if for any reason something does go wrong with a booking, it can be easily rectified, which is not always the case with a GDS. The biggest plus is that we guarantee a one-hour turnaround to all enquiries.”
Confident approach Like the sector it represents, ASAP is also going from strength to strength. “Through the formation of a global alliance, we’re looking to drive this understanding worldwide, while also utilising our newly launched directory as a portal for visibility at stayingwithconfidence.com – both will help to ensure minimum standards for guests as we bid to safeguard the reputation of the industry,” explains Foice. “By getting more associations on board, we’re hoping to increase the level of traction among the corporate buyer community on a global scale,” he adds. Similarly, the big players are also highlighting standards and facilities. For example, apps that allow mobile check-in contain an electronic key to apartments and allow guests to communicate with front desk or housekeeping are beginning to take hold in the sector: SACO already does this while Cheval Residences will roll out mobile keys at Gloucester Park when it reopens after a refurbishment later this year. Frasers’ app will allow online mobile check-in, serve as a key and enable requests. “Local information is appreciated by guests and apps offering concièrge services, 24-hour chat, booking engine capability and other functions such as food delivery are extremely valuable in our industry,” says Hollants van Loocke. House of Fisher recently upgraded its online booking engine to provide a more efficient, customer-friendly service. “It crosssells the locations better, offering a solution that fits date range and/or price and promotions; and we are able to offer
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long-stay discounts and details for anyone looking at 28 nights or more,” says Managing Director, Trine Oestergaard. Also seeing an increase in online bookings of 28 nights or more, both direct and via OTAs, is SACO. This is partly due to improvements in direct booking platforms and because shoppers are becoming more comfortable with larger online spend. On the B2B side, the industry is trying to bring longer-stay business such as projects, relocation and secondment bookings online to help meet more demanding SLAs. “This is in its infancy but could grow substantially as booker/guest generation become more millennial,” says SACO’s Barton. “Part of this is also influenced by travellers’ being given more freedom – for example, given a budget and told to book what they want, rather than being constrained by managed travel programmes that dictate preferred suppliers and are bound by traditional norms.” Jo Layton, Director of Bloom Mobility Consulting and Corporate Apartment Programmes Worldwide (CAPWW), agrees: “Corporate clients are definitely seeing the benefit of accessing availability and online booking for travellers in the long stay space. But there are barriers, she adds: “In many global locations a signed lease is required by the operator for the unit. Whether this lease is signed directly by the traveller or on behalf of the traveller, this requirement can quickly halt the opportunity of a fully online global programme and can prove expensive if not managed correctly.” Meanwhile, Adagio’s new internal data system records guests’ preferences and
Apps offering concièrge services, 24-hour chat, booking engine capability and other functions such as food delivery are extremely valuable” makes them accessible to all properties, allowing hotels to prepare personal touches before guests arrive. And Oakwood is undertaking a three-year digital transformation, which includes the next generation of accommodation management tool ‘epic’, a recently launched mobile app and oakwood.com. Meanwhile, a partnership with TravelClick will deliver greater streamlining with fewer points of contact on the reservations platform, realtime booking and more transparent pricing. New world order The growth of dual-branded properties and having to meet the needs of ever-more demanding clients are two of the biggest trends in the sector. Adagio has noted a contradictory approach from guests – calls for relaxation and yet more connection, for more personalisation and more privacy, and the desire to live like
locals while sticking to their usual habits. The brand will be launching premium apartments and has just initiated a breakfast that combines a hearty buffet in situ or an Adagio-to-go service that is picked up from reception. SilverDoor has opened its Americas headquarters in Denver, Colorado. “With offices in the UK, US and Singapore, we are now able to offer our clients a 24-hour global account management service,” says Commercial Director, Stuart Winstone. Meanwhile, Native recently achieved an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM sustainability rating for Native Bankside, illustrating the company’s commitment to cutting its carbon footprint. Dual-branded properties continue to provide complementary services, with shared investment cost for brands, bigger ROI for investors and consolidated back-ofhouse operations delivering savings of up to 15%. At the same time, guests get more choice and increased opportunities for earning loyalty points. Developments include Paris Hyatt Place/ Hyatt House, which is under construction at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (2020). Holiday Inn in Cardiff will be refurbished and gain a 75-unit Staybridge Suites and Moxy/Residence Inn opens in Slough alongside residential apartments. “It’s easy to see how Moxy’s bar will appeal to locals as well as hotel guests and how
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Travel Managers – breathe… Travel Travel Managers Managers –– breathe… breathe… Make it easy for your employees Make it easy for your employees Make it easy for your to find it, book it, employees live it. to find it, book it, live it. to find it, book it, live it. BridgeStreet.com/Hub BridgeStreet.com/Hub BridgeStreet.com/Hub
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Trust Trust & Confidence Trust & Confidence & Confidence
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Pricing Pricing Transparency Pricing Transparency Transparency
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At a time when the retail world is struggling, we continue to come across conversion opportunities as former department stores come onto the market”
the wider development will add new life to the town centre,” says co-founder of Cycas, John Wagner, who draws parallels with Cycas’s Holiday Inn/Staybridge Suites in London’s Stratford, where guests benefit from the Westfield shopping mall on the doorstep and the hotels benefit from the retail teams that visit the stores. “At a time when the retail world is struggling, we come across conversion opportunities as former department stores come onto the market,” he explains. “We’re increasingly seeing that incorporating hotels into mixed-use developments and regeneration schemes can help inject new life into town centres.” Great technology, smaller rooms and more focus on mid-term stays contrast with reduction in average length of stay, possibly reflecting a more cautious approach and reduced confidence, thanks to Brexit. The ‘B-word’ has also seen some businesses holding fire on projects, pending the outcome of the negotiations, and while shorter lead times put on pressure, an appetite for new brands (SACO's Locke, for example) maintains the buzz. Globally, Oakwood sees huge potential in Africa, particularly the Nigeria-Kenya belt, and like many in the sector is focusing on emerging markets and key gateway cities in Europe such as Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Geneva, Warsaw and London, plus other UK cities. And although many companies continue to focus on cost, a worldwide upsurge in growth markets is transforming the global economy, leading to corporate demand for extended travel and long-term relocation programmes. In addition, “Multi-family housing (US) or private rental sector (UK) is of growing interest to developers,” says TAS’s McCrow.
NEW BRICKS IN THE WALL ]
A selection of confirmed openings for 2019 Access (Accor): Saclay, Montpellier. Adagio: Paris, Lille, France; Casablanca, Morocco; Bremen, Germany; Sutton, Leicester, UK; Doha, Qatar; Jeddah (x2), Jizan, Saudi Arabia. Cheval Residences: London – Gloucester Park reopens after a 20-month refurbishment. Element: Frankfurt Airport. Frasers Hospitality: Fraser Place Puteri Harbour and Capri by Fraser Johore Bahru, Johor, Malaysia; Fraser Residence Orchard, Singapore; Fraser Suites Hamburg; Fraser Suites Akasaka, Tokyo; Capri by Fraser Liepzig, Germany. House of Fisher: Fleet Serviced Apartments, UK. Native: Native Manchester, with openings to follow in Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds. Oakwood: The Oakwood Showroom, Singapore, heralding the next generation of serviced apartments; Oakwood Arlington, Virginia, US, Oakwood Chicago River North, Illinois, US. Oakwood Apartments, Sanya, China; Oakwood
These large residential buildings can be compared to the mansion blocks in London such as Chelsea Cloisters, Nell Gwynn House or even Grosvenor House. They offer more services than the typical residential landlord, including bicycle stores, gyms, reception desks with porterage, function rooms and support services such as cleaning and highquality concièrge. “These will typically be long-term rentals but this is a rapidly growing sector in the UK specially,” explains McCrow. More controversially, Cheval’s George Westwood suggests the sector could
Hotel & Residence Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Oakwood Residence Hanoi, Vietnam. Quest Apartments: Liverpool, its first location outside Australia. Roomspace: Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain. Roomzzz: Harrogate, York and Liverpool. Staybridge Suites: Heathrow Airport. Staying Cool: Manchester. Staycity: Wilde aparthotel, Edinburgh; Marne la Vallée, near Disneyland Paris; Venice, Berlin and Manchester follow. SACO: Broken Wharf, London. The Ascott Limited: Citadines Islington London, UK; Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam, NL; Citadines Confluent Nantes, France. YotelPAD: San Francisco; London Clerkenwell, Edinburgh, Glasgow, UK; Istanbul Airport; Singapore Changi Airport; Amsterdam, NL; Dubai Business Bay, UAE; Porto, Portugal. • Space prevents a broader list of activity but brace yourself for 2020…
become more relaxed in its approach: “We will start to see a mixture of short- and longterm stay, five-star and four-star properties with common areas and a community workspace such as WeWork all under one roof. Consumers are driving this change.” To cater for the demands of consumers and the speed at which the market evolves, operators and developers are going to have to be nimble to keep up. Technology will continue to play a major role in the industry but service is also essential – robotic vacuum cleaners may make customers smile but robotic receptionists will not.
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The Business Travel Conference 2019
a forum for buyers an suppliers to tackle theid r travel issues
Navigating the future
Reserve your place at The Business Travel Conference and find out if you qualify as a hosted delegate
Corporate travelʼs must-attend event – The Business Travel Conference 2019 – returns to the Hilton London Bankside this September. The packed two-day programme brings together all the key players from the TMC and meetings sectors together with representatives from airlines, tech suppliers and hotels, and once again promises thought-provoking business sessions, entertaining speakers and valuable networking opportunities. And with preparations well under way, we are pleased to confirm two of our keynote speakers. Conservative MP Gillian Keegan will open the event on September 17, marking a return to the familiar. While she now represents the constituents of Chichester, Gillian spent much of her 27 years in business working in travel, including spells at Mastercard, Amadeus and Travelport. A knight on the road Having heard from a former industry insider, it makes sense that delegates learn more from someone on the client side of our business. And you wonʼt find many who have covered more business miles than Sir Trevor McDonald. The award-winning journalist will be our keynote speaker on September 18, and he is promising plenty of tales about his life on the road (and in airports!). During his career Sir Trevor has been present at some of the worldʼs major historic events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release from prison of Nelson Mandela. The veteran newsman has also sat across the table from Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, meaning he's unlikely to be phased 34
more than “Network withvel suppliers in 60 leading trtae exhibition" the priva
by any questions from the audience! The Business Travel Conference is also pleased to announce our event charity – the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children. Visitors will be able to find out more about its valuable work and we will be raising money through our raffle in the Tuesday Drinks and Canape reception.
Sir Trevor has sat across the table from Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, meaning he is unlikely to be phased by any questions he might get from the audience!”
Sign up today Corporate buyers and arrangers can sign up for complimentary visitor passes at thebusinesstravelconference.com. Delegate feedback is helping shape the conference programme, which again will feature the popular ‘silent conference’ headphones so visitors can dip in and out of the sessions between meetings in the exhibition, which will feature more than 60 travel and meetings suppliers.
LTCFC, which began in 1928, runs annual outings and funds appeals for special needs children
'The FREE-to-attend two-day event will once again be limited to 200 verified travel managers, bookers and PAs'
Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th September, 2019
London Hilton Bankside
and to ďŹ nd out if you qualify for a hosted place... thebusinesstravelconference.com
Book a stand email@example.com Tel: 07747 697 772
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[ DUTY OF CARE ]
DISRUPTION DETECTION Can TMCs use data and artificial intelligence to improve traveller wellbeing and duty of care processes? Linda Fox reports
uty of care and traveller wellbeing are considered the two biggest challenges for business travel buyers in 2019. A survey from Traveldoo released earlier this year reveals 73% of buyers ranked duty of care as the biggest challenge, followed by traveller wellbeing at 70% and data security at 65%. The finding is supported by similar research from FCM, which showed duty of care remains high on the agenda this year alongside distribution concerns and data. The travel management company also stresses the increasing need for TMCs to incorporate data into traveller safety, no matter which booking channel is used. With so much talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as other emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, TMCs are beginning to explore how they might make best use of these developments. One TMC sees applications for AI and machine learning in predicting the likelihood of disruption and being proactive in finding alternative travel arrangements. Sarah Hale, Director of Engineering at Click Travel, says it is already exploring the use of AI with its travel assistant to help determine what responses to queries can be automated depending on how frequently they are asked and the speed with which they can be resolved. “The tech is going to have to advance to become truly useful in these scenarios, but it’s exciting to think these opportunities may be part of the standard travelling experience in the future,” says Hale. Risk mitigation business Drum Cussac believes machine learning has the potential to revolutionise
how companies approach and manage risk. In its Future of Risk report the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Alistair Wyse, says technology could be employed to tailor alerts to specific travellers as opposed to the more blanket approach used today. Wyse says machine learning can be used to identify who may be impacted by an incident based on their location, as well as past behaviour such as mode of transport. He also sees potential for machine learning in pre-travel training which draws on detailed profile information including past behaviour and experiences. The company goes a step further by imagining how augmented reality might be used with machine learning to provide travellers with a virtual overlay of risks in real time and in an area they are visiting. It also foresees a scenario for security managers to use virtual reality to review incidents and fine tune response. While much of this may still sound science fiction, a number of companies have incorporated emerging technologies into prototypes. Concur, for example, released details last year of a VR-based duty of care initiative. For many however, there is still a lot of work needed in just getting the basics right.
Machine learning has the potential to revolutionise how companies approach and manage risk” Mike Atherton, Chief Executive of Mantic Point, a specialist in mobile technology, says what the travel management community needs most is “contextually relevant information at the right time”. But even before that a crisis management plan must be in place. “Technology won’t deliver unless people know how to act during an event,” he says. Once that’s there, he believes the role of technology currently is in reducing the time it takes for a travel manager to take action.
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MEET THE BUYER
SUZANNE WADE Suzanne Wade arranges travel for Key Assets’ CEO and directors. She tells us about her role at the Birmingham-based organisation Key Assets, The Children’s Services Provider, is an international social enterprise providing children and family social services in eight countries across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. I joined Key Assets in May 2017 as a Senior Business Support Officer and am based at our head office in Birmingham. I’ve previously held roles in the charitable, education and travel sectors. I arrange business travel for the Group CEO, other senior managers and company directors. Time spent on business travel arrangements can vary depending on what meetings or events are planned or scheduled during the year. I also provide support to the Group CEO and coordinate reporting and business planning processes as well as projects, as they arise. Every day is different and rewarding. We have a number of people across the organisation who are designated ‘travel bookers’ and liaise locally with our preferred travel partners.
Kimberley area of Australia or Goose Bay in Labrador, Canada, for example. We also deliver services on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. Inbound travel to the UK is also high on the list.
We employ over 1,200 full-time and parttime staff across the eight countries we work in. Approximately 25 people travel extensively on business and a number of others travel periodically.
Our travel bookings are based not only on getting value for money but also speed in terms of the best route to a destination. There aren’t many social enterprise organisations like OUT OF THE OFFICE us whose operations "My two passions are history extend to different and travelling. Last summer parts of the world. our family holiday was a road
Our senior team in the UK travels extensively visiting our worldwide trip to Spain. We combined the offices. Our regional We work with beaches, cities and wine regions. CEOs and directors are Corporate Traveller The kids loved the beaches more likely to undertake as our TMC in the UK, and I got to visit lots of domestic travel with some but also sometimes use historical places!" international travel for self-booking tools. Katie is global summits and meetings. our dedicated consultant at Corporate Traveller and she is Our regular destinations are reflected by brilliant – she always provides great service, where we operate but we have some responds to my queries in a very timely remote locations like Halls Creek in the East manner and gives clear and accurate
information, all of which helps us make our travel arrangements efficiently. We have a very comprehensive travel policy in place and it is effective. It sets out clear expectations regarding travel and helps us ensure that we are all working to company requirements. We don’t really experience any challenges in arranging travel for employees as our policy provides a clear framework. Everyone knows what to expect and how to arrange travel. Obviously, cost is a factor and this is clearly a big influencer in how our travel arrangements our organised.
Our travel policy is comprehensive and effective. It sets out clear expectations and helps us ensure we all work to company requirements” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
4/2/19 12:06 PM
HELP is at hand
When time and resources are in short supply, it might be time to call in an independent business travel consultant, writes Gillian Upton
ack of resource and the need for expertise are two main reasons why buyers turn to the services of an independent consultant. They add gravitas to a project and fill a gap between the buyer and the suits in the boardroom who often have little grasp of what the travel department actually does. Consultants – who are frequently former buyers themselves – answer questions as diverse as, ’What is my programme like today and what do I need to do to improve it’?, or they will neatly solve a problem and get ahead of a challenge. “What’s shifted is that consultants were used primarily as a resource and secondly for their expertise, but today it’s primarily for our expertise, which reflects the increasing complexity of the market,” says Louise Miller, Managing Partner of Areka. “They want to know what the likely disruption is of NDC, for example,” she adds.
To this end, Miller says that savings are not necessarily the end goal, but rather that programme improvement is. Natalie Gardner, Global Travel Manager at computer games company Electronic Arts (EA), had exactly this need. Based in the UK, and with company headquarters in Silicon Valley, she handles travel for 47 office locations in 25 countries. “It is good to have someone who is out there in the industry to give an independent view,” she says. As such, much of her time is spent with an eye on multiple projects that
Festive Road has undertaken for them. This work includes auditing and rewriting policy after benchmarking against similar-sized companies in a reciprocal information gathering project; reducing the policy document from 25 pages to a more userfriendly three; helping Natalie move forward with a strategic vision by creating four pillars to the company programme; and a gap analysis on EA’s relationship with its TMC to bring consistency across the globe. “Festive Road has been a wonderful business partner,” she says. “I have been challenged to think differently about our programme and I’ve tweaked and changed it every year to evolve and move forward – but I only got to that point as a result of these conversations. “I learned what ‘better’ and ‘different’ look like. It helped me with being able to challenge what we do, as by challenging we can innovate.” Gardner continues: “It’s helpful to me as a buyer to articulate direction to our
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suppliers and TMCs and that’s made a difference. Festive Road has helped elevate what travel is at EA so it has a higher profile. Now I have no trouble getting 30 minutes with my EVP since having them onboard.” Gardner’s comments reflect the wideranging assistance and clear benefits consultants provide today, although Chris Pouney of Severnside Consulting recalls a time when they had a more combative role. “We used to be brought in to fire people but today we have more of an arbitration role,” he says. “Suppliers welcome our arrival and we can coach and mentor buyers, with both parties understanding that we are neutral.” Pouney advises whether buyers are on the right track, particularly if travel is only part of their remit. “They want to understand what’s coming down the track; what might impact them, and are often fearful of being asked questions from senior management.” Johanne Young of Opteva concurs. “Buyers want someone independent to review their vendors and ensure they’re getting the best from them. They don’t have the capability and there is so much going on in the marketplace and the industry is complex.” Most commonly buyers ask Opteva for an initial review of their programme and travel technology so they can understand where there are gaps. They want to know who’s best in class and what the best processes are to drive the optimum traveller behaviours. These services come at a cost, naturally, and Nina & Pinta’s Jo-Anne Lloyd reckons buyers require a certain amount of spend to demonstrate ROI. “If it’s a spend below £10-15million, their first port of call wouldn’t be a consultant,” she says. That’s when a TMC’s account management team would assume the role of consultant, particularly on any benchmarking exercise as they have sufficient data.
I have to know more about the client's programme than they do and leave them in a position where they don't need me anymore” Finding the right TMC is arguably the most important vendor decision a buyer makes and Nina & Pinta commonly take on these sourcing and change management roles. The consultancy also specialises in air programme management as it utilises an air data dashboard that lets buyers make informed decisions about switching market share. If they’re a good fit, particularly culturally, buyers will often return to the same consultancy over a period of time. ”It’s like hiring back an internal resource,” says Lloyd, who has worked with one client for 15 years. Chris Reynolds began life as a consultant 13 years ago, undertaking RFPs for TMCs. Today his work tends to focus on more technology-based projects, such as rolling out a global expense tool or credit card. “I have to know more about the clients’ programme than they do,” he says, and agrees with Pouney that his goal is to do himself out of a job. ”I want to leave them in the position that they don’t need me anymore and by having that approach I do get called back.” Sue Reeves at Data & Detail has created a niche in the marketplace, acting as an outsourced account manager, taking data right down to PNR levels and actuals, and working with TMCs to manage their clients and with clients to manage their TMCs. “I explain travel patterns, highlight departments which need online or policy training and opportunities for savings,” she says.
Raj Sachdave, a former TMC employee and now of Black Box Partnerships, is a relatively new kid on the block. He aims to solve the pain points between TMC and travel buyer by redefining client policy so they can have smarter conversations with their TMC, and also works with TMCs to work out a more defined proposition. “It may prevent an RFP for a TMC and take the costs down and the value up,“ Sachdave explains. “Getting aggregated global data is often a sticking point.“ Caroline Strachan, of Festive Road, refers to consultants’ role as being akin to marriage guidance counselling. “Consultants can highlight the frustrations and if it’s not broken too much, redeem the relationship or, if not, move on.” Either way, consultants will give buyers an invaluable road map to follow.
[ CONSULTANTS: WHO'S WHO ] 3SIXTYGlobal: specialises in procurement related to travel and meetings Areka: travel programme and technology reviews specialist Black Box: works with agencies to finesse their proposition and buyers to redefine policies Data & Detail: strategic account management and travel procurement services with a specialism in deep-dive data analysis Festive Road: helping travel buyers with knowledge of the market and suppliers with buyer insights Nina & Pinta: programme management and the sourcing of preferred vendors Opteva: travel technology, implementation of OBTs and change management Severnside Consulting: bridging the gap in procurement between buyers and suppliers
4/3/19 02:23 PM
Kevin McCloud Angela Sara West chats with the Grand Designs presenter about his global travels on the trail of amazing architecture
hether it's unearthing medieval mysteries or inspiring the public to build outstanding homes, Kevin McCloud’s prolific travels and engaging style have been captured on camera at ancient sites and self-builds in Britain and in far-flung corners of the globe. His experience of living on an organic farm in Tuscany as an 18-year-old first opened McCloud’s eyes to the world “That time was seminal. I had a place to study, worked on a farm, fell in love… it was great! I came from a small Bedfordshire village with a very limited view of the world. Italy showed me a world which was bigger and more beautiful and that, personally, I might be capable of a bit more.” He also took a few other things away: “A broken heart, but at least I learned Italian.” What does he love most about Tuscany? “Partly that it’s so historic, and partly they look at this idea of patrimony, treating landscapes like a historical object, so it’s beautiful to drive through. You get this great sense of sweeping shapes, almost as though everything, such as umbrella pines and cypresses, has been carefully placed.” Back on home turf, his extensive travels for his BAFTA-winning Grand Designs series see him criss-crossing the country to shadow people’s building journeys and dreams. Grand Designs Abroad took McCloud to ambitious builds overseas, while Grand Tour of Europe saw him following in the footsteps of the 17th-century’s ‘Grand Tourists', delving behind the façades of some of the continent’s greatest buildings and ruins, including sites in Greece and Turkey. For Homes in the Wild, McCloud stayed in some of the remotest 40
places on the planet, such as the shadow of an active volcano in the foothills of the Chilean Andes. Living with intrepid Brits who have quit their rat-race existence, he inhabited some of the wildest places on earth. “We followed people building in ridiculous places. I’m not very good with snakes, and so I had some psychotherapy before we went to the middle of the Belize jungle where one of the largest, most aggressive snakes in the world lives,” says McCloud. A stay in a slum in Mumbai for Slumming It, meanwhile, saw another ironic twist for
Matera is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to and has some of the most amazing contemporary architecture I've ever seen” McCloud’s crew. “I’ve no sense of smell, so I’m blessed with this fantastic ability to tolerate the places that other people find highly offensive,” he says. Foraging for fatbergs while filming with the Thames Water team, meanwhile, had handily taught McCloud some top ‘decontamination’ tips. “I took bottled water, whisky, handwipes and gel. Whisky completely cleans your digestive tract, sorting out any bugs. The wet wipes and the hand gel – which are also alcohol – deal with the outside, but you’ve also got to deal with the inside. That was my approach in the slum, and it worked!”
The presenter’s preferred destinations? “It’s memorable people, for me, that make places stand out. Northern Ireland is one of the most glorious destinations in the world. The people are so welcoming plus it has almost everything conceivable in the landscape. I calculated that Northern Ireland punches about seven times above its weight compared with the rest of the UK, in terms of producing great architecture and awardwinning buildings,” claims McCloud. As for abroad, Vicenza, in northern Italy, is irrefutably top of his list. “I love going back there. It’s a magical place and it’s one of the places where the people are all so lovely and the food is delicious.” In addition, Europe's Capital of Culture for 2019, Italy's spectacular city of caves, Matera, has chiselled out some cherished memories. “Matera is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and has some of the most amazing contemporary architecture I’ve ever seen. It’s full of the most amazing buildings built right back into the rock. It’s sort of primal and feels medieval but even more ancient.” What has travelling taught him? “That the world is a very small place, and a very precious place that we destroy at our peril,” he states. The architecture guru has ventured everywhere from Australia to the South Pacific for work and, when it’s time to hang up his hard hat for a broadcasting break, he loves to sojourn in Scotland or Ireland. However nowhere’s whet his design whistle quite like one particular place… and it’s inevitably Italy that rocks McCloud’s world. “Italy is still my destination of choice. I think my heart is a little bit linked to it…”
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KEVIN MCCLOUD Kevin McCloud will be appearing at Grand Designs Live at Londonâ€™s ExCeL from May 4-12, 2019. For more information see granddesignslive.com
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The Business Travel Magazine
Thursday June 27, Mannings Heath, West Sussex Now open for bookings Team and individual entries include brunch on arrival, 18 holes of golf, use of golf buggies, on-course refreshments and post-event barbecue. Teams of four cost just ÂŁ680 and individual places can be purchased for ÂŁ170. All prices exclude VAT. For more information and to book, see thebusinesstravelmag.com
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T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER
[ T h e lowdo w n ]
[ Ro o m r e po rt ]
[ on the ground ]
[ me eti n g p lac e ]
TMCs lay down a marker with new technology
MUJI makes it a hat-trick in Tokyo
Hertz offers the best of British with new range
BTD puts the Zen back into meetings
[ i n th e ai r ]
British Airways unveils long-awaited new Club Suites
T H E
M O V E
The latest industry appointments p52 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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T H E
L O W D O W N
airbnb signals move into transport
TMC NEWS Miles ahead
AIRBNB is accelerating plans to oﬀer an ‘end-to-end’ travel platform by appointing a Global Head of Transportation. It intends to provide a single platform that combines “where you stay, what you do and how you get there, all in one place”. It has hired Fred Reid, once CEO of Virgin America, to head up the new division. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, says: “We’re going to explore a broad range of ideas and partnerships that can make transportation better.”
Australia’s 1000 Mile Travel Group is plotting expansion in the UK this year by establishing a London headquarters. The network of independent travel businesses was founded in Australia in 2015 and posted 200% growth in the last year.
Ireland-based TMC Hannon Travel is setting up offices in Belfast to serve the Northern Ireland and Great Britain market.
More for Dawes
Gray Dawes has extended its regional reach with the acquisition of INC. Travel Group’s corporate and marine business in Manchester. It has also purchased VIP Leisure Travel Ltd. They are the TMC’s seventh and eighth acquisitions in the last four years.
Reed & Mackay is launching in the Netherlands through an alliance with long-term partner Munckhof Business Travel. The two TMCs have opened a co-branded office at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport which will serve the legal, insurance and finance markets.
TMCs lay down a marker with new tech TRAVEL management companies have rolled-out a raft of new technology, tools and functionality this spring as agencies clamour to demonstrate their superiority. American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) released several tech upgrades including a new mobile experience, a new benchmarking service – called Peer Travel Insights – and its own re-shopping tool, Hotel Re-Shop Expert. Corporate Travel Management, meanwhile, has introduced 'next generation' tech suite, CTM Portal. The end-to-end management platform includes fare forecasting, booking, pre-trip approval, traveller tracking and business intelligence reporting. It is for bookers, managers and travellers alike. Clarity has also upgraded its tech oﬀering with the relaunch of its Go2Book booking tool. The TMC held a series of user workshops to inform the overhaul, with personalisation and NDC developments taking centre stage.
of buyers have faith in Artiﬁcial Intelligence
Only 12% of travel managers believe that AI has the potential to revolutionise the travel industry by 2022
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T H E
IN BRIEF Advantage TAG
Travel and event management company TAG has joined the Advantage Travel Partnership. The company, formerly known as The Appointment Group, joins the consortium as a Corporate Premium member.
Fello is joining GlobalStar Travel Management to offer a worldwide travel management proposition. It joins Capita Travel and Events, Omega World Travel and Giles Travel as GlobalStar's UK members.
L O W D O W N
Amber Road gives green light to SMEs AMBER Road has launched TRAQ, a new business travel platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. The software uses app-based booking components to help SMEs ensure the best available price even after booking, removing the need for travellers to use search aggregator tools when making reservations. Users will also beneﬁt from automatic ﬂight-delay compensation and a named travel advisor within the Amber Road team without paying booking, management or transaction fees. Instead, TRAQ is priced at a ﬂat fee of £29 per traveller, per month, when the traveller is active. “SMEs have speciﬁc needs and TRAQ is a bespoke, smart business travel platform that has been created to meet them,” says Clive Wratten, CEO of Amber Road.
Upgrades on the hop
Seatfrog, an app that allows users to upgrade their train tickets, has signed its first partnership with a TMC. The relationship will allow customers of Capita Travel and Events to bid for first class upgrades to journeys on the LNER network.
Corporate Traveller is rolling out its Sam chatbot app to its SME clients in the UK. The tool has already notched up 20,000 users among clients of sister agency, FCM.
Time and again
Japan Airlines has been named the world’s most reliable airline. Just 1.05% of the airline’s flights were cancelled and 10.5% were delayed during the research period in autumn last year. Get Going insurance analysed a wide variety of data sources, with KLM, Emirates, Qatar Airways, ANA and Finnair also named among the most reliable airlines.
LONDON REMAINS THE TOP DESTINATION FOR EUROPEAN BUSINESS TRAVELLERS DESPITE ONGOING UNCERTAINTY AROUND BREXIT, ACCORDING TO BCD TRAVEL'S CITIES & TRENDS REPORT. AMSTERDAM WAS THE SECOND MOST-VISITED CITY AND VIENNA WAS THIRD
I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM
When people are looking to grow professionally or are feeling challenged in reaching the next level of their career, one of the most eﬀective ways to develop is by working with a mentor. I think that sometimes people do not consider mentoring because either they do not feel that they need it or that they see the process as rather formal and potentially uncomfortable. Similarly, potential mentors may be put oﬀ by the perception that it will be onerous and time-consuming. The point is that the best mentoring is informal and conversational. Something that is often overlooked is just how rewarding it can be to mentor someone and help them get where they want. ITM’s members have been asking us to provide more support in this area and so we are proud to be launching our Mentoring initiative at our conference on 30th April. One of the four ITM pillars is to connect the industry and so we will be providing a framework, a roster of mentors (with key areas of expertise highlighted) and a means of applying to be appropriately matched. I’ll see a record 500 of you in Brighton to discuss this and other ways we can 'ELEVATE'!
4/3/19 03:28 PM
T H E
A I R
Average airfares to rise as NDC beds in
BA SHOWS OFF LONG-AWAITED NEW BUSINESS CLASS CLUB SUITE BRITISH Airways has unveiled its long-awaited new business class seats which will feature on the ﬁrst of its A350 aircraft launching in July. The seats, which convert to ﬂatbeds and have been rebranded as Club Suites, all have direct aisle access and a sliding door for
greater privacy, and will be set out in a 1-2-1 conﬁguration. They have 40% more storage and 18.5-inch IFE screens. The new product will also be installed on B777 aircraft and on other long-haul aircraft and deployed across the network from early 2020.
WIDER NDC adoption is likely to force a 'continued upward trend' in airfares this year, despite a short-term dip this March. Global average ticket prices (ATP) for air bookings are expected to fall 4% in April – to US$673 – as fares readjust after a sharp increase in the ﬁrst two months of the year. However, in its latest Air Trends Report, the CWT Solutions Group says it expects generally rising fares for the rest of the year as
BRUSSELS AIRLINES HAS NEW CABIN FEVER ON LONG-HAUL OPERATIONS BRUSSELS Airlines has launched completely new business class, premium economy and economy class products for its long-haul ﬂeet. The airline is spending €10million per aircraft installing the products, with new-look A330s operational from April. Dubbed a ‘boutique hotel in the air’, the airline says it will oﬀer typical Belgian hospitality and ‘make the journey as important as the destination’.
Oman Air ups the ante
NDC solutions gain traction. “We foresee a continued upward trend in the average ticket price through 2019,” says Christophe Renard, VP of CWT Solutions Group. “One of the reasons is that more airlines are looking to adopt IATA’s NDC standard as a means to generate greater ancillary revenues such as seat selection and baggage fees.” Renard advises corporates to adopt post-booking price tracking tools to optimise spend of ﬂights.
Oman Air has secured first place in London Heathrow's latest 'Fly Quiet & Green' league table, with new aircraft (B787s) and new flying techniques propelling it to the top of the chart. British Airways' shorthaul operation was second, with SAS third, LOT fourth and Air India in fifth place
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T H E
A I R
G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes
Doing the business
Chief Executive, GTMC
Spanish carrier Air Europa will launch a new business class cabin and increase premium capacity this autumn. The seating will be installed on the airline’s new B787-9 aircraft from October. A new 1-2-1 configuration will mean all passengers have direct aisle access, while leather seats will convert into flatbeds and have 17-inch entertainment screens.
Flybe commences a daily flight between the Isle of Man and London Heathrow this April – the first such direct service for almost 20 years. The launch is part of the airline’s summer schedule that also features extra capacity between Heathrow and Edinburgh.
Swiss International Air Lines is investing around £30million in installing a new premium economy class on its long-haul aircraft. The new product will take to the skies in spring 2021, with the airline saying it has been “encouraged by the positive experiences with such a product at Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines”, its sister airlines.
American Airlines has a launched a daily service between London Heathrow and Phoenix Sky Harbour Intrnational Airport. The morning departure complements transatlantic business partner British Airways' existing afternoon flight to the Arizona city.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC WILL INTRODUCE FLIGHTS FROM LONDON HEATHROW TO TEL AVIV THIS AUTUMN AND FROM HEATHROW TO SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, NEXT YEAR – ITS FIRST FLIGHTS TO SOUTH AMERICA
Oneworld to open alliance lounges THE Oneworld airline alliance will introduce a network of managed lounges this year and has rebranded to mark its 20th anniversary. Rob Gurney, Oneworld CEO, says the alliance is also upping its provision of digitial services and “ramping up co-location activities at key airports around the world”. It will unveil its ﬁrst Oneworld-branded lounge later this year, with more to be rolled out in due course. A number of airports are said to be under consideration for development of its ﬁrst lounge. As part of the overhaul, Gurney also highlighted development of its Carrier Connect scheme. “Up until now, every customer who has had to transfer from one airline to another has had to go to an airline check-in. This removes that, and removes the need for multiple apps.”
As an industry organisation, it is important that we broaden our commitment to nurturing new talent in the business travel sector. And so we recently launched our GTMC Education programme that consolidates all activities and objectives in our People and Talent Strategy Group to promote the industry, its career opportunities amongst future talent and support the industry through qualiﬁcations and learning. Initiatives such as the Bournemouth University partnership and the newly launched ‘Pathway to Business Travel Professional’ apprenticeship programme support our strategy to attract and develop exceptional talent. And a central pillar to GTMC Education is the Diploma in Business Travel Management developed for both current TMC employees and for those who wish to join the industry with a certiﬁed diploma. The e-learning programme will help drive standards within the sector and create a clear pathway for career development. At a time when automation is a hot topic, it’s important to recognise our sector thrives on human interaction and we must all nurture talent.
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R O O M
QuEEn'S gATE HoTEl opEnS undER CuRIo tHe 100 Queen's Gate Hotel has opened in London as part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The historic building has been transformed over the course of two years and has 228 rooms and 11 suites each named after famous historic Kensington residents that include Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie. The hotel's interior design reﬂects the rich history of the Victorian terrace building, say its developers, and it houses three dining establishments: all day brasserie W/A Kensington; Botanica, for afternoon teas and cocktails; and ESQ, a 'discreet drinking den' inspired by the travels of former resident William Alexander.
R E P O R T
MuJI makes it a hat-trick in Tokyo JaPaneSe lifestyle brand MUJI has opened its third hotel, a 79-room property in Tokyo. The MUJI Hotel Ginza is its first property in its native Japan and follows openings last year in Beijing and Shenzhen. Its latest hotel has opened alongside a new global ﬂagship MUJI store in the Ginza district of Japan's capital and reﬂects the brand’s philosophy of “promoting a pleasant life, minimalist aesthetic and good design”.
Rooms feature traditional Japanese textiles, natural materials and upcycled products. Unusually, the hotel says its fixed pricing structure will remain consistent throughout the
[ OPENINGS & UPGRADES ] >> Over 80% of JURYS INN and LEONARD HOTELS UK properties have now received four-star AA accreditation as the group targets four-star status across the group >> HYATT HOTELS will add over 2,000 guestrooms across 14 new properties in India over the next 24 months, with a focus on emerging cities within the country >> MARKET STREET HOTEL, a 98-room property and member of the Design Hotels Group, is due to open in Edinburgh early this summer >> LOCKE HOTELS has named three new openings as part of its expansion plans to add four to six new properties every year. It has invested £100million in a site in Lisbon and has also confirmed additions in Berlin and Dalston, London.
The investment sum raised by Airbnb rival Plum Guide
year to support the group’s commitment to “fairness and affordable living”. The hotel also has a cocktail bar, restaurant, diner, library and lounge space for informal meetings and events.
The Plum Guide has raised £14million in a Series B funding round, allowing it to expand into six new cities this April. The home rentals rival to Airbnb has already announced the addition of six cities in the US this year, joining London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris and Rome on the platform
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE
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R O O M
IN BRIEF Radisson moves in
The Radisson Collection Hotel & Suites, Paris La Défense, will become the Radisson Collection's first hotel in France. It take the group’s portfolio in the country to 17 hotels and more than 3,000 rooms in operation or under development.
Additions at the Abbey
Stanbrook Abbey Hotel in Worcester has opened a new restaurant, The Refectory Dining Room & Terrace, and added 15 new bedrooms as part of an ongoing investment programme by its owner and operator Hand Picked Hotels.
R E P O R T
Millennium has eye on the SME market
travelodge hails five-year turnaround
Millennium Hotels is courting the SME market with new corporate product Millennium for Business (M4B). The scheme features a dedicated online portal enabling businesses to make bookings, earn rewards and benefit from the group's best room rates. “With the new programme we can guarantee that small businesses that don’t have an in-house travel team can achieve the same benefits as bigger companies and get the best corporate rates,” says the group's Chief Commercial Officer, Clive Harrington. Benefits available as part of the new scheme include discounted dining, the ability to amend bookings, early check-in and late check-out, an upgrade every third stay, and access to a dedicated club or business lounge. It will also offer 'micro rewards' such as Spotify subscriptions.
Budget hotel group Travelodge says its positive 2018 performance caps a ‘five-year transformation’ for the business. Total revenue was up 8.8% in 2018, at £693.3million, while the group opened 17 new hotels, rolled out its first ‘premium economy’ SuperRooms and opened its first ‘budget chic’ Travelodge Plus hotel. Occupancy over the course of the year also rose – by 2.5% to 78.5% – while the average room rate was static at £53.09. In the five years since 2013 sales have increased by over £250million and EBITDA has more than trebled to £122million. “Once again we outperformed our competitive segment and delivered another year of strong growth,” says Peter Gowers, Travelodge Chief Executive. “These are uncertain times and we are not immune from the short-term challenges, but beyond, we remain confident that there are more opportunities ahead.”
Centara into Qatar
Thailand's Centara Hotels & Resorts has continued its international expansion with the opening of a 265-room property in the West Bay district of Doha, the Qatari capital city.
The Jumeirah Group will close its flagship hotel in London, the Carlton Tower, this September for a year-long refurbishment. The 17-storey building will be completely overhauled and the number of rooms reduced from 216 to 188 as several suites are added.
Kimpton carries on
IHG's boutique Kimpton brand has arrived in Scotland with the opening of the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. It is one of 12 Principal and De Vere properties to be rebranded under IHG management and follows the opening of the Kimpton Fitzroy London last year.
accor sets out big plans for new tribe Marriott lines up 30 luxury additions for 2019 Marriott International expects to open more than 30 new luxury hotels across the world this year, including Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, Bulgari and Edition properties. The group currently has more than 200 luxury hotels in its long-term development pipeline, including confirmed openings in 2019 of four Ritz-Carlton hotels (including Perth and Mexico City) and seven W Hotels including
properties in Dubai, Muscat, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, St. Regis hotels will open in Hong Kong, Cairo, Venice and Zhuhai, while among nine additions to the Luxury Collection is The Langley in Buckinghamshire (pictured) which is due to open this summer. The group is also scheduled to open two Edition hotels and six JW Marriott properties.
Accor has announced the expansion of its Tribe brand, a new midscale lifestyle option from the hotel group. A 126-room property is already open in Perth, Australia, but Accor says the brand will arrive in Europe this summer with a 290-room hotel opening in Glasgow. A further eight Tribe hotels are due to open across Europe and Asia-Pacific by 2022 and 50 more are currently under negotiation worldwide. The brand will “surprise travellers with an original, exciting and carefully curated offer that focuses on style rather than price.”
4/3/19 05:33 PM
T H E
G R O U N D
Driven hits the road with with all-electric fleet
Best of British hertz has introduced The British Collection in the UK, a premium range of hire cars, customer lounges and a suite of extras such as delivery and collection services. Vehicles on offer include the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar F Pace, E Pace, XE and XF from its locations at Heathrow Airport, Marble Arch in London and Edinburgh Airport. The launch follows the successful introduction of the Selezione Italia range in Italy last year.
[ h i t the ro a d ] >> Car rental company Avis has launched its upgraded app with new elements including self-serve functionality and the ability for Preferred customers to switch their vehicles on arrival >> The Highland Council has cut average business road travel costs by around a third since introducing a fleet of 35 Enterprise Car Club vehicles to replace employees' reliance on 'grey' fleet. Moreover, it estimates it has also reduced its carbon footprint by around 50tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) >> European Luxury car hire specialist Vroomerz has relaunched as Driverso and added 100 new models to its fleet.
the UK’s first all-electric airport shuttle service, Driven, has commenced operations using a fleet of Tesla Model X SUVs. It offers a door-to-door service, either with exclusive use of the car or as a shared service, with rates starting from £9 per person for a 40-minute trip. The company says it is aiming to ‘take cars to airports off the road, replacing them with zero emission shuttles’. Driven is targeting both the leisure and corporate market and, for the latter, has developed a travel management application that enables companies to book trips and track activity and costs. The tool also provides detailed reporting and highlights potential savings. All drivers are employed by Driven and the 24/7 operation serves all locations within three hours of all major UK airports.
Taxis going green Sherbet London Taxis is trebling its all-electric taxi fleet ahead of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone legislation coming into effect this April. “Our evolution is about the future: the future of the industry, our children’s future and the environment,” says Asher Moses, Sherbet London Taxis CEO. “We are establishing a community that truly supports safety, privacy, technology and accessibility, where customer service and excellence is key.” The taxi service offers passengers amenities such as 4G wifi, air conditioning and phone changing points as well as its new Ride App, which allows passengers to book an electric taxi and see where the closest one is using their personal or corporate account.
ON INSTAGRAM @THEBIZTRAVMAG
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4/3/19 03:26 PM
4/3/19 03:37 PM
M e e t i n g
p l a c e
HILTON UNVEILS dedicated M&E brand
IN BRIEF Inntel additions
Inntel has enhanced its Meetings Management Portal with a new delegate management system in collaboration with Groupize. Users can create customised, branded and mobile responsive delegate invitations, as well as manage room blocks, take payments and share documents. “Following the addition of a new event app for our clients and enhanced meetings MI, the Groupize delegate management solution is a great incorporation to our Meetings Management Portal,” says Douglas O’Neill, Inntel CEO.
The Advantage Travel Partnership has signed a deal with MeetingPackage to make its M&E booking platform available to all its member agencies. “Travel agents and their clients are increasingly looking for transparency and simplicity when it comes to researching and booking meetings and events,” says Advantage Meetings and Events' Ian Quartermaine.
BCD's record year
BCD Meetings & Events has completed a threeyear strategic plan that has resulted in a 141% increase in total sales and a 218% increase in its global footprint, now serving clients in more than 50 countries. “In 2016 we launched our first strategic growth plan,” says Scott Graf, BCD M&E’s Global President. “We have exceeded expectations in every area, culminating with a record year in 2018.”
BTD puts the Zen back into meetings Business Travel Direct’s meetings and events division has been relaunched as a standalone, full-service agency called Zen. The TMC’s parent company, Ickenham Travel Group, has expanded the team behind the agency, hiring Mandy Warwick as Senior Director and Kirsty Tod as Senior Event manager, with further additions likely. Zen will initially serve BTD’s diverse clientbase before extending its reach to non-clients, offering a range of services including venue-finding, event management, event marketing and incentives. Through an online booking tool, it offers live availability for small meetings and events in the UK and Europe, and also incorporate clients’ own inhouse meeting rooms.
Fairytale events Disneyland Paris is introducing a new division to serve its busy meetings and events industry. The Disneyland Paris Event Group will provide access to the resort’s various theme parks, event spaces and hotels, creating, hosting and producing a diverse range of corporate events at the resort. “At Disneyland Paris Event Group, we create highly immersive, unique and powerful experiences, connecting guests to our incredible franchises, seasons and Disney storytelling,” says Gustavo Branger, Vice President, Disneyland Paris Event Group. “We bring unexpected emotion to life and create lasting memories for all audiences, individuals and business alike.” The resort has over 19,300m2 of floor space, including two convention centres, three auditoriums, 95 meeting rooms and an exhibition hall – all within a ten-minute walk of each other – and can host corporate events for up to 4,000 people.
The Hilton group has launched a new hotel brand dedicated to meetings and events. Signia Hilton properties – Hilton’s 17th brand – will have a minimum of 500 guestrooms and at least 75ft2 of meetings and event space per room. Located in major urban and resort destinations, the brand is expected to debut in 2020 with the Signia Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, followed by the Signia Hilton Atlanta and Signia Hilton Indianapolis. Most Signia hotels will be new-build properties and, initially, expansion will be focused on the United States. ‘Unparalleled’ meetings and event facilities will comprise large ballrooms, pre-function areas and a wide range of meeting rooms and breakout spaces. “Signia Hilton is the latest example of Hilton's ability to successfully build brands from scratch, which is key to its organic growth strategy,” says a spokesperson for the Signia Hilton brand.
Agency's green ambitions events and communications company UKSV is championing the cause for 'greener' events, notably through cutting the use of single-use plastics and through greater adoption of renewable energy solutions. The business cites recent initiatives such as London's Barbican Centre switching to 100% renewable energy. "I'm really pleased to see high-profile events and prestigious venues taking a stand on single-use plastic and adopting renewable energy," says Nick Dean, Senior Operations Manager at UKSV.
4/3/19 11:22 AM
T H E
M O V E
EVENTS APRIL 7-9
ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT Chicago acte.org APRIL 30 - MAY 1
ITM CONFERENCE Hilton Metropole, Brighton itm.org.uk MAY 14-15
PROCURECON TRAVEL Henderson, Las Vegas procurecontravel.wbresearch.com
JOINS: Black Box Partnerships AS: Associate - Ground/Rail Services FROM: Rail Delivery Group
JOINS: Cycas Hospitality AS: CEO FROM: InterContinental Hotels Group
JOINS: Gray Dawes Group AS: Chief Technology Officer FROM: Zoopla
Nick Bamford has joined Black Box Partnerships, bolstering its ground and rail services division with his more than 30 years experience in travel and passenger transport.
Former IHG heavyweight Matt Luscombe has been appointed Cycas Hospitality's ﬁrst CEO after the company recently welcomed three new brands and doubled its portfolio.
Gray Dawes has welcomed new Chief Technology Oﬃcer Steve Fisher to drive technological innovation. He brings with him 18 years of experience in senior roles at a variety of tech ﬁrms.
ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE Cadiz, Spain advantageconference.co.uk MAY 21
TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London thebusinesstravelmag.com MAY 24
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS London thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com JUNE 20
ITM SCOTLAND SUMMIT Edinburgh itm.org.uk JUNE 27
TBTM GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com JUNE 30
GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE Noordwijk, Netherlands gtmc.org
JOINS: American Express GBT AS: Vice President of Global Product Strategy FROM: Sabre Hospitality
PROMOTED AT: Qantas TO: Regional General Manager, EMEA FROM: Regulatory Head of Legal
PROMOTED AT: easyJet TO: UK Country Director FROM: Manager, Airport Procurement
Mark McSpadden has moved from Sabre Hospitality to American Express GBT to become the TMC giant’s new Vice President of Global Product Strategy and Digital Experience.
A former head in Qantas' legal department, Anna Pritchard has been tasked with leading the airline's largest international geographical footprint in time for its upcoming centenary.
Neil Slaven has become easyJet's UK chief after more than eight years at the airline delivering commercially-focused improvements, which he will carry over into his new role.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... Jens Penny is the new Chief Financial Oﬃcer at TAG >> The Oetker Collection has appointed Joelle Edwards-Tonks as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing >> ITM has announced ﬁve new board directors: Gemma King, Director of Corporate Travel – EMEA at Omnicom; Emma Jones, Director of Global Travel at Willis Towers Watson; Hilton Worldwide's Tanya Cliﬀord; LNER's Sam McKnight; and easyJet's Andrea Caulﬁeld-Smith >> Edi Wolfensberger has joined Brussels Airlines in the role of Managing Director Operations >> HRS has hired former ACTE Director Greeley Koch in a Global Marketing Executive Role
GBTA CONVENTION Chicago gbta.org SEPTEMBER 17-18
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE Hilton Bankside, London thebusinesstravelconference.com
3/29/19 06:49 PM
3/29/19 07:05 PM
A R R I V E R E A DY F O R B U S I N E S S
With more seats, free Wi-Fi and power at every seat, travel time neednâ€™t be wasted time. Book your business trip with your local TMC or at GWR.com
Advertising based on an increase of over 10% in train seats on long distance, intercity services in January 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Correct as of 03/01/19. Selected routes only. Wi-Fi terms and conditions apply. Power sockets available on selected rolling stock only. For full terms and conditions visit GWR.com
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IT's a significant area of spend for many companies but its complexities and recent travails can make it hard to tackle. Find out more in our guide to
RAIL TRAVEL Introduction, 56-57 / Spend management, 60-64 Operator update, 66-70 / Booking tools, 72-74 Overseas rail travel, 77 / Data, 78
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Rail travel / Introduction
Millions of pounds is being invested in the UK’s rail network to enhance the passenger experience. Dave Richardson assesses the state of the industry
fficial inquiries into the state of Britain’s railways are a regular occurrence, and indeed date back to the 'Railway Mania' of the 1840s when the industry was new and over-speculation brought economic ruin to many. So why should the latest be any different? The Williams Review – led by former British Airways chief executive Frank Williams – is open for consultation until May 31 but is, by its chairman’s own admission, the 30th review since 2006. At least he has set the bar high. Williams has already commented publicly in advance of a white paper that the Department for Transport will issue in the autumn, saying: “Put bluntly, franchising cannot continue the way it is today. It is no longer delivering clear benefits for either taxpayers or fare payers.” In the meantime the Rail Delivery Group, which includes train operators and Network Rail, has weighed in with its own proposals for reform of the highly complex fares system. The RDG’s guiding principle is that “customers only pay for what they need and are always charged the best-value fare”, with pay-as-you-go pricing on season tickets and simpler ticketing on smart cards. Longdistance passengers should benefit from better-value fares bought on the day of travel, with more flexibility on peak-hour pricing to even out demand. Commenting on behalf of the ITM, industry affairs committee member Will Hasler says: “Touch-in/touch-out ticketing must be available on all platforms, not just B2C. Train operators all have different objectives, a key one being trying to extend the franchise. 56
“There’s likely to be extra expense in the short term if they sort out split ticketing anomalies, which we would not be happy about. However, the prospect of spreading demand more evenly on trains has cost and wellbeing benefits for commuters and business travellers. It all sounds good, but it's easier said than done.”
A new hope
The Williams Review, which could enforce or disregard the RDG’s pronouncements on fares, goes much further. It is looking into the entire structure of how the rail industry is organised and may even tackle – and likely dismiss – Labour’s call for renationalisation. “Renationalisation wouldn’t solve anything as there would still be no competition between operators or incentive to provide a customer-facing service,” adds Hasler. “But we shouldn’t lose sight of infrastructure improvements made, such as the redevelopment of major stations at London Bridge, King’s Cross, Reading and Birmingham New Street. This should be commended, but the railways are still struggling to cope with demand. “I’m not convinced anything much will come out of the Williams Review, especially if Chris Grayling is still in charge,” Hasler adds. Raj Sachdave, of consultancy Black Box Partnerships, welcomes the Williams Review for addressing some basic questions, along with RDG proposals on fares reform – but with a warning. “There’s a focus on how the new fares will impact the commercial relationships of franchising, and we hope this doesn’t mean
higher fares for business travellers and those who need to travel at peak times or need flexibility at peak times,” he says. “The study could have segmented business travellers but doesn’t, which is disappointing to read.” Another consultant, Nick Hurrell of Nick Hurrell Associates, says he has “a glimmer of hope” that Williams will usher in real change. Removing control of the industry from the Department for Transport is key for him. “We had a terrible year in 2018 with delays, falling public satisfaction and the debacle on East Coast where Virgin was allowed to walk away from the franchise,” he says. “Overall blame has to sit with the DfT, which is too close to the industry. “On fares we need to introduce rates based on the distance travelled, as we have the highest regulated fares in Europe.” Josh Collier, Head of Proposition – Rail and Ground transportation, Capita Travel and Events, wants uniformity in how train operators pay delay compensation. This is a growing business for specialists such as Railguard and Travel Compensation Services, which target business travellers. As overall public satisfaction with the UK's railway network slumps to its lowest level for ten years at 79% – according to twice-yearly surveys by watchdog Transport Focus – the Williams Review is keenly awaited and very timely indeed. “In the autumn we will bring everything together and, alongside government, recommend change through a white paper,” Williams promises. “It will be the culmination of the biggest and widest review of the railway for generations.”
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Introduction / Rail travel
This autumn will see the culmination of the biggest and widest review of the UK's railway network for generationsâ€? THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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AN OFFICE WITH A VIEW
LNER.co.uk/business Untitled-1 1
LONDON - LEEDS - YORK - NEWCASTLE - EDINBURGH
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ON ALL OUR TRAINS
25/03/2019 16:11 3/29/19 07:07 PM
Rail travel / Spend management
FAIR FARES? The complexity of rail fares can make it diﬃcult identifying the best ways to manage spend. Gillian Upton ﬁnds out why
ews in February that average ticket prices have fallen for Evolvi users, despite rail fares increases, suggests that travel buyers are getting to grips with what is probably one of the most complex spend categories in business travel. Is it that the message of booking early, shunning anytime tickets, and planning well ahead for non-customer-facing meetings, is finally getting through? According to Evolvi, which analysed some 9.4m transactions undertaken last year, the average ticket value in 2018 was £56.32 – compared to £56.83 in 2017. Back in 2012 the average ticket value stood at £61.81. Despite a clear picture of what best practice looks like, rail is often the poor relation in a travel programme. Typically, what’s needed is better-worded travel policy and policy enforcement, since there are still huge numbers of tickets being purchased in the four to seven days before travel. Advance rail tickets go on sale three months before departure and while that seems challenging for business travellers to commit to so far out, Gary McLeod, MD Corporate Division of Traveleads, believes these tickets are worth booking. “The £10 or upwards change fee on this ticket is outweighed by the savings accrued. “Some 80% of journeys happen as planned so travellers can book a restricted ticket and 60
still save when taking into account the cost of changing 20% of tickets,” he says. “Our maxim with clients is to narrow down the dates, get the cheapest ticket and then pay for any change.” Advance booking is a key savings strategy with rail. More than 14 days out and an average fare is £45.63; seven days out that becomes £64.34 and on the day of travel it is £71.45, explains McLeod. Consumers know how to buy train tickets cost effectively for leisure but Chris Vince, of Click Travel, believes they act differently when on business. “They will buy an offpeak ticket for personal use but they don’t want to wait around if it’s for business use.” The modal shift between car and train has been largely won on health and safety and CO2 grounds, but use of first class flourishes on longer-distance trains, generally due to better productivity. “Travellers can open their laptop with impunity and do billable work so it’s money well spent,” says McLeod. Rail travel is one of the largest spend categories for Hilti GB and the company has made the rules clear in its travel policy, resulting in around 80% of the company’s rail travel being booked outside the minimum advance booking horizon of 21 days. “We ask travellers to be mindful of costs and, if possible, book off-peak tickets only,” says Ana Gibson, Hilti's GB Supply Manager – Travel.
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Spend management / Rail travel
Customers know how to buy train tickets cost effectively for leisure, but act differently when on business”
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Rail travel / Spend management
“Rail is managed quite well,” she says. “Behaviour is managed through exception reporting, highlighting travellers who regularly book outside policy.” The company is also mindful of short-notice customer meetings or business-critical meetings that can’t be changed and advises that the policy should add flexibility in these circumstances. So what are the 28 train operators doing to help buyers manage rail spend better? The launch of the 26-30-year-old rail card has been good news over the last 12 months and TMCs are busy identifying the age of travellers to see who is eligible as a one-third reduction in cost – even taking into account the £30 upfront cost of the card – still results in savings. Exploiting the 16-25 railcard, the 60+ senior rail card and even the 2 Together cards is also lucrative. Corporate fares do exist, but generally for those businesses with significant volumes and usually only on the long-distance and intercity routes. Corporates regularly using the London-Scotland route will have more leverage than a corporate only booking short-haul, for example. Smart buyers must find routes serviced by multiple competitors to get a deal as the principle of supply and demand applies. On London-Birmingham, for example, Virgin Trains, Chiltern and London Northwestern Rail operate so offering to switch market share would bear fruit. But on the Bristol-London route, serviced by Great Western and with no air alternative, a deal is much less likely. Some operators are happier to dish out soft perks such as free wifi access, discounted car parking or F&B vouchers rather than looking at fare discounts. Hilti’s Gibson says: “Buyers need to be aware of not just rail spend but any spend which goes to air which could be switched to rail. For example, don’t just look at Manchester to London Euston rail volumes, but also Manchester to London Heathrow air travel and take this whole amount of travel into the discussions. “Be mindful of what you as a company can implement and what the policy allows. Route deals can be on peak trains but if the policy suggests off-peak only, then this offering would not be suitable.” This is when a clearly worded travel policy comes into its own, for both suppliers and travellers. As a general rule, Gibson believes rail operators are less proactive
Another source of savings is processing refunds if trains are delayed, as this is finally being automated and has become less of a hurdle”
£ than air and hotel operators. It’s something that Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel Analyst at Oil Spill Response, is acutely aware of. “We’ve never been approached by any rail supplier so my experience is that they’re not proactive. But, on the flip side, I’m not sure we have the sort of volume that they’d be interested in, in order to spur them on to be proactive.” Going for the low-hanging fruit is an obvious buyer strategy, says Raj Sachdave of Black Box Partnerships. ”Buyers go for what is going to give the biggest return and that’s air and then hotels. And rail hasn’t helped itself either as it’s still very complicated.” Oil Spill Response spends somewhere between £8,000-£10,000 annually on rail, and chiefly on the Southampton-London route. Nonetheless, the company encourages staff to book in advance. ”We pitch it to them that it will save them having to do a laborious expenses claim as
the cost will be invoiced to us by the TMC,” says Linley-Munro. Despite this, only four travellers book through this channel (the Evolvi tool) with the remainder turning up on the day and paying. One glimmer of hope could be the prospect of pay-as-you-go ticketing, which would allow buyers to consolidate season ticket expenditure with rail expenditure and offer TOCs greater volumes. Another source of savings is processing refunds if trains are delayed, as this is finally being automated and has become less of a hurdle. How to manage Delay Repay is appearing on tender documents now and third-party solutions exist to refund 100% of compensation to the customer via the TMC on advance purchase tickets. One such, Business Travel Compensation, claims a 95% success rate and says that depending on policy, the options are for the TMC to hold the money on account, pass it back to the client, or reimburse an individual traveller. “Claims are higher on intercity services as the cost of those tickets are considerably more and often the next train may be an hour away,” says Lee Fortnam, CIO. “For the TMC it’s an opportunity to do the right thing for the customer.” To a large extent, corporates are reliant on their TMCs to communicate what can be done to manage rail spend better as they have the data, but it’s here where there appears to be a disconnect.
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Hello Business Hello Business Direct. Goodbye Direct. Goodbye booking fees. booking fees.
Sign up to our Business Direct online portal in Great Britain and neverDirect pay aonline booking fee again. Sign up to our Business portal Find out more about our Business Direct online in Great andtravellers: never pay a booking fee again. portal forBritain business Find more about our Business Direct online Visit out southwesternrailway.com/SME portal for business travellers: Call 020 3872 2226 Visit southwesternrailway.com/SME Email firstname.lastname@example.org Call 020 3872 2226 Email email@example.com
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Rail travel / Spend management
“I find that not a lot of information is passed on regarding the rail category,” says Hilti’s Gibson. “TMCs seem to concentrate on air and hotel bookings and not much is done to explain how the rail fare structure is changing,” she adds. TMCs can analyse rail spend data in any number of ways, “but it does require the client to invest time in finding ways to maximise savings,” says McLeod. Direct relationships with suppliers is one way forward, as is a better understanding with TMCs and educating travellers. “Use a carrot rather than a stick,” advises Vince. “For example, say, ‘If we could change our lead time this is how much we could save in the business and this is where we could redistribute it in the business.’ “ Eve Smith, Product Manager, Rail & Vendors, for FCM Travel Solutions, suggests a two-pronged attack. “To persuade travellers or bookers through ‘visual guilt’ into selecting lower fare classes is effective, as is having the initial discussions with clients about policy.” GWR, LNER and Virgin Trains appear most open to negotiating special deals. “For a corporate with anytime business, we offer a deal on the premium cabin,” says David Hill, Business Development Manager, Corporate at Virgin Trains. “Other deals are based on a minimum spend of £200,000 a year on a specific route.” Deals are more forthcoming on routes dominated by air, as is the case with Virgin
[ TOP BOOKING TIPS ]
Trains to Glasgow. “If anyone has considerable air spend on that route we would offer a discount,” says Hill. “There’s an opportunity for us if a corporate has a spend of £50,000 on rail but £100,000 on air and they are prepared to do a modal shift.” Forget getting a deal on Manchester services, however, as Virgin has a high market share, but on Birmingham services it is more possible. Elsewhere, Eurostar requires a minimum annual spend of £130,000 before negotiating deals on Business Premier as it’s in a strong position having decimated the air route. South Western Railway is looking to be
proactive on its main routes of Portsmouth, Southampton, Basingstoke and Bournemouth, with on-site educational roadshows and discounts on a retrospective basis, says Business and Commercial Director Peter Williams. “It’ll be a tiered approach based on travel share switches and percentage growth in revenue,” he explains. The franchise is also introducing more advance tickets and trialling Tap2Go, a discounted fare on sameday, flexible tickets. Despite the complex structure of the industry and the proliferation of fare types, some corporates are managing rail spend almost as effectively as hotel and air.
£ To persuade travellers through ‘visual guilt’ into selecting lower fare classes is effective, as is having the initial discussions with clients about policy”
• Avoid anytime return tickets: these are the most expensive ticket type • The best option for a business traveller is an advance outbound and flexible inbound ticket •
A travel policy should clearly state the rules on rail – such as advance booking – and also exceptions
The travel policy should state when rail should be used over car, for example
The policy should not allow open returns
The policy can allow first class when it is the cheaper option over standard or advance fares
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Spring Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening brought to you by The Business Travel Conference
20th May Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf Join us for an evening at the only ﬁve star independent hotel in Canary Wharf. Set in the historic wharfs and quays of East London this stunning hotel has 142 spacious rooms with many oﬀering stunning views of the River Thames and city beyond, Quadrato restaurant and adjacent Health Club and Spa. Enjoy the full ﬁve star experience with complimentary drinks, delicious food and the opportunity to view the facilities ﬁrst hand. Attendance is free. To register, visit thebusinesstravelconference.com
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4/3/19 04:07 PM
Rail travel / Operator update
All the right
SIGNALS New services, new trains, new products… operators are upping the ante in their eﬀorts to earn passenger satisfaction, writes Dave Richardson
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Operator update / Rail travel
nvestment in many new train fleets might be behind schedule, but developments that begin to come on-stream this year will transform rail travel on a host of routes. Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators and infrastructure operator Network Rail, says that by 2021 around 7,000 new carriages will have been introduced, making possible 6,400 extra services a week. At least £13.8billion is being invested by the private sector, in addition to the government’s financing of new trains and Network Rail. New trains are only part of the story, as in many cases the older trains they replace are being “cascaded” onto other routes to replace the very oldest trains, such as the four-wheel “Pacers” of Northern, Great Western and Transport for Wales, which are all due for retirement by the year-end. Many of the InterCity 125 trains replaced by Great Western are being transferred to regional services in Scotland. Here they won’t be able to operate at high speed, but offer a
comfortable business environment on routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. Great Western will complete the introduction of its new express fleet by May, meaning the vast majority of trains into London Paddington will be electric. But as electrification is not being extended to Bath, into Bristol city centre, from Cardiff to Swansea or from Didcot to Oxford, all these trains are bimodal, meaning they can use electric or diesel power. The same type of train, by Japanese manufacturer Hitachi, is being introduced on East Coast routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland this year. Some are electric-only while bimodal trains will serve cities not on the electrified network, with new services to Middlesbrough and Lincoln. New trains are also being introduced by TransPennine Express (TPE) and Hull Trains, with TPE ushering in three new fleets dubbed Nova, which will transform services between Northern cities, and from the
GWR MAIN: CROSSCOUNTRY
Rail Delivery Group says that by 2021 around 7,000 new carriages will have been introduced, making possible 6,400 extra services each week”
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Rail travel / Operator update
North to Scotland. TPE’s total £500million investment in new trains will start to bear fruit later this year when Nova 3 trains start operating on routes between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, TPE’s all-electric Nova 2 trains will link the North West with Scotland including a new, direct Liverpool-Glasgow service. Bimodal Nova 1 trains, by Hitachi, will operate from the North West to Newcastle and Edinburgh. By 2020, 70% of TPE’s fleet will be new. Like many modern trains, these will offer a major upgrade on what went before, including comfortable seating with more luggage space, plug and USB charging points. Free on-board wifi access will be available in both standard and first class. Local services will soon start to benefit as Northern also brings in 98 new trains across its network. As with most operators, free wifi and plug/USB sockets will be standard, allowing you to work on the move.
Further eye-catching improvements are being made in Scotland, where the devolved government is very pro-rail. The routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh and from these cities to Stirling and Dunblane have been electrified, with ScotRail able to increase capacity and shorten journey times. Caledonian Sleeper will introduce the first new overnight trains in Britain for more than 30 years from May, starting with the LondonEdinburgh/Glasgow route followed by its Highland services to Inverness, Fort William and Aberdeen. For the first time on ordinary service trains, en suite cabins will be an
Further eye-catching improvements to the rail network are being made in Scotland, where the devolved government is very pro-rail travel”
Get the train to work.
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Operator update / Rail travel
option, greatly improving the appeal of sleeper travel to the business market. It will be interesting to see if it gains a loyal corporate offering. Built at a cost of £100million, the new sleeper fleet has been funded to the tune of £60million by the Scottish government. Another eye-catching development comes at Greater Anglia, owned by the same organisation as ScotRail, where the entire fleet is being replaced from 2019 with a mixture of electric and bimodal trains. Ten new electric trains for London-Norwich will reduce the journey time to under two hours, while more will be used by Stansted Express. Notably, first class seating is being abolished on all its routes except between London and Norwich. Meanwhile, London North Eastern Railway (previously Virgin Trains East Coast) will begin operating new Azuma trains this spring, with the first service scheduled to hit the tracks on May 15 between London King’s Cross and Leeds.
Commuter services in southern England may not benefit from such major investment over the next few years, but in other parts of the country this investment is long overdue. However, capacity has been increased decisively on Thameslink north-south routes via Central London, despite the botched timetable revamp of May 2018 which led to massive cancellations. Most commuter operators are introducing extra trains to cope with overcrowding, such as South Western Railway which will add 90 new trains by the end of this year. Whether Transport for London’s Crossrail project (the Elizabeth Line) starts operating in 2019 remains to be seen, but, when it does finally open, Heathrow will be connected directly to the West End and Canary Wharf. These major fleet renewals might cast train operators not currently investing in a poor light, but as franchises around the country are renewed it will be the turn of routes including East Midlands and CrossCountry to benefit from investment.
Show your emails who’s boss. Free on-board WiFi*
Connect to more
Operator Update AH_v2.indd 69
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Rail travel / Operator update
Owned by: Trenitalia, part of the state-owned Italian rail operator Franchise period: 2014-29 Main routes: London Fenchurch Street to stations in Essex CALEDONIAN SLEEPER
Owned by: Serco Franchise period: 2015-30 Main routes: London Euston to Scottish cities CHILTERN TRAINS
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, part of stateowned German operator DB Franchise period: 2002-21 Main routes: London Marylebone to Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham CrossCountry
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains Franchise period: 2007-19. Renewal postponed due to Williams Review Main routes: Birmingham to the South West, Cardiff, Nottingham, Stansted, Manchester, Leeds, the North East and Scotland East Midlands Trains
Owned by: Stagecoach Franchise period: 2007-19 Main routes: London St Pancras to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; Norwich to Liverpool Govia Thameslink Railway
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis (majority owned by French state-owned operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group Franchise period: 2015-21 Main routes: London to Bedford, Peterborough and King’s Lynn; and London to Brighton and south coast (including Southern services). Includes Gatwick Express Grand Central
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Non-franchised open access operator Main routes: London King’s Cross to Bradford, York and Sunderland GREATER ANGLIA
Owned by: A partnership between Abellio (part of Dutch train operator NS) and Japanese rail interests Franchise period: 2016-25 Main routes: London-Norwich; Stansted Express; regional services across East Anglia 70
The operators: wh o d oes what Great Western Railway
Owned by: FirstGroup Franchise period: 2006-20 Main routes: London Paddington to the West Country, South Wales and Cotswolds; regional services in the South West and Thames Valley Heathrow Express
Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated by Great Western. Non-franchised open access operator Main route: London Paddington to Heathrow HULL TRAINS
Owned by: FirstGroup Non-franchised open access operator. Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull LONDON NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY
Owned by: Department for Transport Operating period: 2018-20, when new franchise is due to start Main routes: London King’s Cross to Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness London Northwestern Railway London Northwestern Railway/West / WeST MIDLANDS RAILWAY
Owned by: West Midlands Trains, a partnership between Abellio and Japanese rail interests Franchise period: 2017-26 Main routes: London to Birmingham and Crewe; Birmingham to Liverpool; local services in West Midlands London Overground
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, operating on behalf of Transport for London Franchise period: 2016-24 Main routes: Local services around London Merseyrail
Owned by: A partnership between Abellio and Serco Franchise period: 2003-28 Main routes: Local services around Merseyside Northern
Owned by: Arriva UK Trains Franchise period: 2016-25 Main routes: Local and regional services throughout the North
Owned by: Abellio, operating on behalf of the Scottish government Franchise period: 2015-25 Main routes: Most services within Scotland Southeastern
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and Go-Ahead Group Franchise period: 2006-19 Main routes: London to Kent, including highspeed services from St Pancras; local services around south London. Southern
Owned by: see Govia Thameslink Railway South Western Railway
Owned by: A partnership between FirstGroup and Hong Kong rail operator MTR Franchise period: 2017-24 Main routes: London to the south coast – including Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth – and Exeter; local services around south London TfL Rail
Owned by: Transport for London Franchise period: 2015-23 Main routes: East London services. Will also operate Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when it opens TransPennine Express
Owned by: FirstGroup Franchise period: 2016-23 Main routes: Liverpool and Manchester Airport to Yorkshire and the North East; Manchester Airport to Glasgow and Edinburgh; Manchester to Hull and Cleethorpes TransPORT FOR WALES RAIL
Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and Amey, operating on behalf of Transport for Wales Franchise period: 2018-33 Main routes: Most services within Wales, and to Birmingham and Manchester VIRGIN TRAINS
Owned by: A partnership between Virgin Group and Stagecoach Franchise period: 1997-2020 Main routes: London to the West Midlands, North West, North Wales and Scotland; Birmingham to Scotland
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WE’RE BETTER CONNECTED. Travel by train to all the major cities in the North. We’ll keep you connected while on the move with free Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment and power at every pair of seats*. Book your business trip with us today.
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Untitled-9 Untitled-1 1 275x210 Mar19.indd 1 TBT Magazine
le on refu
va trains d new No
26/02/2019 15:37 3/29/19 07:08 PM 26/02/2019 13:45
Rail travel / Booking tools
ticket Developments in booking tools and ticket fulfilment are delivering efficiencies and convenience, writes Dave Richardson
he roll-out of mobile and e-ticketing in the rail industry is gathering pace, but is still not happening quickly enough for business travellers accustomed to accessing everything on their phones. An e-ticket does not require activation prior to use and goes straight into the mobile’s ticket wallet. A mobile ticket does require activation, and is delivered as a barcode which can be scanned at ticket gates and on board trains, or printed out. Train operators need to invest in the technology to read paperless tickets, and their willingness to do so may depend on what stage they are at in their franchise. Investment in new ticketing is a requirement when franchises are renewed, but an operator nearing the end of its term may not be too interested. Availability of e-ticketing is often restricted to advance fares, but operators also offering this on other types of fares, including
Business travellers are getting younger all the time and need tickets on their mobiles. It works quite well when it’s available, but that’s not on all train operators or routes” 72
Anytime fares, include Chiltern, CrossCountry, Grand Central, Great Western, South Western and TransPennine Express. M-ticketing is generally more widely available on operators including Heathrow Express, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Hull Trains, LNER, LNWR, Northern, TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains and West Midlands Trains. The move towards paperless tickets is welcomed by GTMC Chief Executive Adrian Parkes, who says: “Our Next Generation strategy group recently put together a white paper, which revealed that 84% of business travellers wish to have booking and rail information accessible through mobile channels; such as an online booking tool and other mobile itinerary solutions. “API technology is allowing greater choice and innovation both at TMC level and distribution intermediaries. There is also increasing interest for a consistent digital ticketing experience,” adds Parkes. “Despite the slow growth of mobile ticketing, regulation will be a key driver with the intention to phase out the ‘physical’ orange ticket from 2020. But in the interim, only a handful of train operators can offer e-ticket functionality. Simplicity of booking and digital ticket delivery sitting in one platform is the best way to drive and manage the corporate rail agenda.” Click Travel, which has developed its own booking platform, also welcomes the move
towards paperless ticketing. “Business travellers are getting younger all the time and need tickets on their mobiles,” says Operations Director Chris Vince. “It works quite well when it’s available, but that’s not on all train operators or routes. However, some travellers will always want a physical ticket in their hand.” Another development, being encouraged and funded by the DfT, is pay-as-you-go or smart card ticketing, such as in London with the Oyster card. This can be used for other forms of road transport including buses and trams, and extension of the concept to season tickets offers better value as travellers only pay for what they use. A non-profit organisation called ITSO has rolled out a mobile pay-as-you-go solution, initially on the metro trams operated by Transport for West Midlands. Passengers download tickets using Google Pay and tap their phone on card readers. Executive Chairman Steve Wakeland says: “We can work with any retailer that wants to fulfil tickets to digital wallet providers such as Google Pay, and this includes specific business travel platforms such as Evolvi or Trainline for Business. “A business travel manager could purchase multiple mobile tickets for several travellers by providing the details of the mobile accounts of each of them at checkout. People want to buy travel in the same way that they buy other goods and services.”
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Booking tools / Rail travel
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Rail travel / Booking tools
API links let you offer things that aren’t done elsewhere, such as seeing rail and air side by side” The DfT says: “Our ambition is to ensure that across regional and urban commuter areas, smart ticketing can deliver the kind of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) structure that is used in London.” While online platforms Evolvi and Trainline concentrate on the wider deployment of paperless travel, their systems have developed to the point that there is little worthwhile functionality to add. But it remains a concern that some developments are only available through train operators direct, and not through intermediaries. Will Hasler, speaking on behalf of the ITM, says: “There is concern about fares only available through train operator websites, although this is more of a problem with airlines. But we want parity so that whatever train operators deliver to the public is available through our systems. “For example, Virgin Trains has been creative with auto-refunds when you book through its own channels, but not through intermediaries. The problem is that if you book through Evolvi or Trainline, or thirdparty systems such as KDS or Concur, the operator can’t see who you are.”
This limits the delivery of useful information to the traveller, such as notification of delays. But intermediaries can develop their own technology, such as Trainline which now has AI-powered voice alerts for disruption, using data from train operators’ Twitter feeds. Capita Travel and Events has developed its own rail booking tool using an API link from Evolvi. Head of Proposition – Rail and Ground Transportation, Josh Collier, says: “API links let you offer things that aren’t done elsewhere, such as seeing rail and air side by side. Some content is not available through API links – mobile ticketing is a prime example that booking tool providers must work on.” Consultant Raj Sachdave of Black Box Partnerships says: “More and more sales are going through the API route, which allow you to be really creative with the content. “For example you could be sent a reminder that your train goes soon and you need to get going, or an app could be used to deliver catering to your seat. Rail booking also needs to integrate with other means of ground transport, including Uber.” Some intermediaries, such as Click, enable split ticketing through their systems when this cost-saving approach is not offered by the main online platforms. Click’s Chris Vince says: “We offer split ticketing, but we shouldn’t be in a position where it’s necessary. You can always have fewer clicks, but only when the rail industry simplifies fares.”
[ THE PRICE IS RIGHT ] Evolvi had another successful year in 2018 when it increased tickets sales and achieved a small decrease in the average ticket value (ATV) paid despite the annual increase (3.3%) in regulated rail fares. Analysis of 9.4 million transactions, up from 8.6 million in 2017, found that the ATV of £56.32 last year compared to £56.83 in 2017. IT Director Andrew Cantrell says: “When you consider that the ATV in 2012 stood at £61.81, the growing adoption of Evolvi’s smart fares search functionality and comprehensive policy options has consistently enabled rail users to beat the effect of annual fares increases. “It’s a great example of technology optimising budgets by setting controls, adding value through analytics, and simplifying navigation through what is the most complex fares structure in the world.” Evolvi is also seeing growing enthusiasm for paperless ticketing in the corporate sector, particularly with increasing availability of tickets that go straight into travel wallets and do not require activation prior to travel.
“We need a system that better reﬂects the digital economy, which uses mobile technology to create value for passengers” “The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is overseeing the rapid roll-out of barcoded tickets across all operators and all routes,” adds Cantrell. “This is something that will enhance the experience of increasingly tech-savvy business travellers. We hope that progress will now be made on the inter-operability that will unlock the government’s vision for network-wide paperless travel. “We also welcome the proposal submitted to the Williams Review by RDG and Transport Focus for a more transparent, modern system of ticketing and fares, based on the principles of simplicity and value for money. We need a system that better reflects the digital economy, which uses mobile technology to create value for passengers, and which opens up opportunities to bear down on costs.”
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Evolvi WS 210x275 Ad 03.19.qxp_Layout 1 18/03/2019 09:43 Page 1
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www.evolvi.co.uk Untitled-2 1 Untitled-1
18/03/2019 12:12 3/29/19 07:09 PM
PARIS • BRUSSELS • AMSTERDAM
26/03/2019 10:28 3/29/19 07:08 PM
Overseas / Rail travel
[ INTERNATIONAL MARKETS ]
FOREIGN EXCHANGES Rail travel overseas could become a more viable option for business travellers in the coming years, says Dave Richardson
urther deregulation of rail travel within the EU will make it a more viable option for business travel from 2020, while Asia could be a big rail market for the future. Amadeus has become established as the leading GDS platform for rail. Eve-Marie Morgo, Head of Marketing for Amadeus Rail, says deregulation will improve the passenger experience in various ways. “Firstly, it will encourage operators to adopt a more customer-centric approach and investment in technology will be an important differentiator,” she explains. “Operators that can offer international distribution enabling cross-border travel, multi-language website services and mobile ticketing will be well-placed in this respect. “Secondly, deregulation will improve service quality as it will not only foster competition among rail operators but also encourage co-operation.” Morgo continues: “Rail operators are collaborating with air, coach travel and ride-sharing services, and we anticipate they will see the benefit of allowing passengers on connecting journeys to transfer to a later service without penalty, should their first journey be cancelled or delayed.” Where competition already exists it has been beneficial. In Sweden, passenger numbers have increased while prices have dropped, while in Italy, NTV Italo became the first private company to challenge the state-owned operator and fares fell by 30%.
“The UK, Europe’s most mature privatised rail market, has been beset by a lack of innovation, with ticket prices the most expensive in Europe,” says Morgo. Amadeus has partnered with China Railways to become the first technology platform distributing its content outside the mainland, but Morgo says the Asian rail market is fragmented. “The planned Kunming-Singapore railway connecting China, Singapore and mainland South East Asia will be a significant move towards greater integration,” says Morgo. Sabre and Travelport are also significant players in rail, especially in Europe. Sabre doesn’t yet offer rail content in China or India, but now has direct integration with RZD, the Russian State Railway, offering real-time availability for domestic and international routes. Travelport is looking at China and other Asian markets, and has already increased its rail content in the US. Trainline users can now book rail in 44 countries, its latest deal being with ticketing agency Real Russia.
French rail operator SNCF has introduced an online booking platform called OUI, which covers much of Europe. Apart from Eurostar, its most popular routes for UK business travellers are Paris-Lyon, ParisBordeaux, Lille-Paris, and Paris-Brussels by international operator Thalys. Strong business travel growth of 12% underpinned a record total of 11 million passengers for Eurostar in 2018. LondonParis and London-Brussels remain popular, whereas London-Amsterdam, launched last year and with a third daily frequency starting in June, is more of a leisure route.
Deregulation will improve service quality as it will not only foster competition among rail operators but also encourage cooperation” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
TBTM_Rail Travel_Overseas.indd 77
4/3/19 11:33 AM
Rail travel / Data
can't get no
TOP 5 OPERATORS 1 HEATHROW EXPRESS 2 GRAND CENTRAL 3 CHILTERN RAILWAYS 4 HULL TRAINS 5 MERSEYRAIL / VIRGIN TRAINS
The latest National Rail Passenger Survey saw satisfaction levels fall to a ten-year low, albeit with mitigating circumstances including strikes and the mishandled launch of new timetables
THE PROPORTION OF TRAINS THAT ARRIVED WITHIN FIVE MINUTES OF THEIR TIMETABLED ARRIVAL IN THE UK IN THE LAST YEAR
96% 94% 92% 91% 90%
THE BIGGEST FACTORS INFLUENCING PASSENGER
THE PROPORTION OF LONG-DISTANCE JOURNEYS RATED AS VERY OR FAIRLY SATISFACTORY
Frequency of trains
Level of crowding
THE BIGGEST FACTORS INFLUENCING PASSENGER
THE NUMBER OF PASSENGER ENTRIES AND EXITS AT THE UK’S BUSIEST TRAIN STATION, LONDON WATERLOO, IN THE LAST YEAR
Train companies dealing with delays
Level of crowding
THE NUMBER OF PASSENGER JOURNEYS IN THE UK IN THE LAST YEAR (SOURCE: ORR)
THE PROPORTION OF REGIONAL JOURNEYS RATED AS VERY OR FAIRLY SATISFACTORY
Level of crowding
OVERALL SATISFACTION BUSINESS TRAVELLERS COMMUTERS LEISURE TRAVELLERS
-4 % -3% -1%
4/3/19 11:37 AM
CONFERENCE Untitled-3 1 Untitled-1
03/04/2019 17:04 4/3/19 05:14 PM
On the road with
The founder of a global architecture and interior design business, Alon Baranowitz shares his travel highlights GOOD & BAD Best business travel experience: Early morning jogging along the New York Highline and feeling the Big Apple waking up. Worst business travel experience: Flying out of Heathrow Airport on Christmas Eve.
service was on fire!
Preferred airline or hotel and why: Chiltern Fire House in London DETAILS for keeping the kitchen open Name: Alon Baranowitz. especially for us for a very late Position & company: Founder and dinner – and embracing us with a Creative Director, Baranowitz + great bottle of Champagne after we Kronenberg Architecture. won the Best Bar and Restaurant Nature of your business: Award. How they found out Architecture and interiors for about it, I will never know. lifestyle venues including Loyalty points – obsessive ROOMS FOR hotels, restaurants, clubs collector or not bothered? IMPROVEMENT and event spaces. To name Just keep flying and the just a few examples: points will eventually reveal W Amsterdam, Sir Joan Hotel in themselves... Ibiza, Mad Fox Club Amsterdam and Favourite loyalty scheme: There we're currently busy with W Ibiza, isn’t one that clinches it for me, W Prague and The Milan EDITION. which says more about them. Based in: Mainly Tel Aviv, but we also have an office in Amsterdam. STEPPING ONBOARD Business trips per year: 30. Flights: work, rest or play? Estimated annual mileage: All of the above. Around 60,000 miles. Onboard connectivity – take it or Regular destinations: Los Angeles, leave it? Stay unplugged. New York, Barcelona, Ibiza, Milan Onboard habits: I always start off and Prague. with a great expectation to catch up Most recent trip: Barcelona and on work – which usually dissolves at Los Angeles. high altitude into a good read, a Next trip: Ibiza to visit an upcoming sketch or a power nap. project there.
Biggest business travel irritation: Why do hotels always have tiny Happy never to go back to: Buenos amenity kits and little bottles of Aires Airport during a strike. shampoo? They are next to useless It was like something out and certainly not luxury. of Kafka but with a South Pack light or go prepared? do cry American touch. In between – I would say I am for me, argentina Send me back to: The lightly prepared! endless pristine beaches in Never leave home without: the Algarve, Portugal. A good book. Traveling allows me Top overseas landmark: You can't ample time to catch up on my beat the bright blue icebergs in the reading list. stunning Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: Definitely having more speedy e-gates at airports. I hate the queues.
Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? I don’t think I’ve got time to improvise. If you could change one thing about your travel policy: Abandon early morning flights.
On the Road.indd 80
4/2/19 11:31 AM
Meeting in Home to The Beatles and two Premier League football teams, Liverpool’s prowess as a sporting and musical centre is known the world over. Its industrial past was built on its port, which handled goods and raw materials from across the British Empire, but today it is a centre
On a shoestring
The Beatles Story
1 St James Mount, Liverpool, L1 7AZ 0151 709 6271 / liverpoolcathedral.org.uk
Britannia Vaults, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AD 0151 709 1963 / beatlesstory.com
17 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP 0800 368 8478 / avenue-hq.com
Britain’s biggest cathedral (and the fifth largest in the world) features impressive gothic arches and a huge tower, making it a perfect choice for grand gala dinner or awards evening. The events space can cater for anything from 20 to 2,000 delegates. Wifi is available throughout the property. Due to the versatility of the property, call for a quote.
The Beatles Story is home to a recreation of Mathew Street in 1960s Liverpool, including a replica of the original Cavern Club. The museum can provide themed live entertainment, food and drink in either the Cavern Club replica or the Fab 4 café. Hire from £3,200 plus VAT for the entire venue after opening hours. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
The modern and airy co-working space provides visitors with in-house catering, a bar and coffee shop, and is located on Liverpool’s historic waterfront. A second space in the city‘s nearby commercial district at St Paul’s Square is due to open this year. Lobby room hire is available from £130 per hour up to £800 for a full days hire, for a maximum of 30 delegates.
for financial services, education, life sciences and tourism.
Small but perfectly formed
Getting there The city has its own international airport and is located two hours from London by train. By car the city can be reached by taking the M6 then joining either the M62, M58 or M56 to Liverpool.
Out of town
Hope St. Hotel
40 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9DA 0151 709 3000 / hopestreethotel.co.uk
Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP 0151 475 8888 / accliverpool.com
Knowsley Place, Prescot, L34 4AG 0151 489 4827 / knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk
Located in the heart of the city centre, the smart four-star hotel has five modern meeting spaces. Rooms can cater for small meetings of up to 14, to 30-70 theatre-style. Food is available from its AA two rosette restaurant, The London Carriage Works. DDR from £35 including VAT and room hire is from £800. CENTRAL AND CONVENIENT
The sprawling ACC Liverpool is the home to the BT Convention Centre, Echo Arena and the Exhibition Centre Liverpool on the city’s waterfront. Meetings and events of almost any size can be held on the site. There is around 14,225m2 of exhibition space across the three venues as well as numerous breakout spaces and an 11,000 seat arena. Enquire for bespoke rates.
This 2,500-acre estate and historic hall is set within acres of fields and lawns despite being only 15 minutes from the city centre. The venue is geared towards large conferences, 24-hour delegate packages and team building days. It has a safari park, in-house catering, a spa and on-site rooms. DDR from £39. HISTORIC HIDEAWAY
Further information Contact Liverpool Convention Bureau for advice on organising an event. Liverpoolconventionbureau.com has details of venues and accommodation. Call 0151 233 5933 or email conferences@ marketingliverpool.co.uk
4/2/19 11:32 AM
New kid on the block Dakota Manchester THE LOWDOWN
This brand new
The Dakota brand
is named after the pioneering US
heart of Manchester and looks set to
aircraft that transformed air travel in
become a popular urban bolthole for
the 1930s by offering stylish and
the savvy business traveller. It has
affordable service in an age when
137 guestrooms, including 20 suites –
flying was reserved for the elite.
one of which Dakota claims will be
they said it
"What sets Dakota
the largest in the city – plus an 'urban
apart from other boutique hotels in
brasserie', The Grill, which will serve
Manchester is that the guest is at the
classic dishes paired with fine wines,
forefront of our minds at all times.
plus a cocktail bar and Champagne
We believe we can make a difference
room. The hotel is located on Ducie
by purely focusing on doing the
Street, close to Manchester Piccadilly
simple things brilliantly. Dakota is
station, and a ten-minute walk from
stylish, luxurious and timeless. Expect
bustling Market Street and 20 minutes
fabulous food, impeccable service,
from Manchester Convention Centre.
timeless design and attention to
It is the fifth hotel from the chic
detail, a magnificent Champagne
British brand, joining existing
room and a cigar garden.”
properties in Leeds, Edinburgh and two in the Glasgow area.
that's a FACT
boutique hotel opens this May in the
Rates at the
hotel start from £203 per night.
4/3/19 11:38 AM
On business in...
Originally founded as a colonial trading post by Sir Stamford Raffles, the small island city-state of Singapore is today one of the world’s most highly developed market economies and is a melting pot of different religions and cultures, writes Emma Allen
new highs at gardens by the bay
Singapore’s famous chilli crab.
be arranged via the airport’s
Downtown, Lau Pa Sat has great
24-hour Ground Transport desks in
satay dishes. Try hawker centres
the airport arrival halls.
(food courts) like Maxwell Food Centre for cheap eats.
Gin and you're winning
Head to CÉ LA VI perched at
Getting there British Airways operates direct flights twice a day between Heathrow and Singapore’s Changi Airport, and one direct daily flight from Manchester. Singapore Airlines also operates direct flights from both Heathrow and Manchester to Singapore. Flights take around 12 hours. Further information For details on conferences and events, visit Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB) at visitsingapore.com/mice or email email@example.com
Must-See Sights Little India and Chinatown have heritage and temples in abundance. Shoppers will
the top of Marina Bay Sands for a
love Orchard Road, a three-mile
sky-high view or hang out in the
stretch of malls and designer stores,
Singapore outpost of New York
while the nearby resort island of
Raffles, the grand dame of Singapore
bar Employees Only for swanky
Sentosa offers attractions like
hotels, reopens this summer
cocktails. Native on bustling Amoy
Universal Studios and SEA
following a complete refurbishment.
Street serves a range of fine gins
Aquarium. The tranquil greenery of
Elsewhere, the recently opened Six
while night owls can head to club
Gardens by the Bay, with the
Senses Maxwell is set in a restored
favourite Zouk in Clarke Quay.
incredible Supertree Grove, makes a restful retreat from the city.
row of chop houses in Chinatown while M Social in nightlife district Robertson Quay boasts eclectic Philippe Stark designs.
Getting Downtown Changi Airport is around 10 miles from the city centre. Singapore’s
efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train is the cheapest way to get into
Incredible city views and Michelin-
the centre and takes around 30
star dining are on offer at Jaan, while
minutes. Metered taxis are freely
Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House is
available at the airport or,
one of the best places for
alternatively, private transfers can
TBTM_On biz_Singapore.indd 83
4/2/19 11:33 AM
Straddling six time zones, the second-largest country in the world has strong historic and economic ties to the UK, writes emma allen
Canada is vast. The second-largest country in the world stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, meaning there is plenty of opportunity for ambitious UK business. Much of its interior is beautiful wilderness, but Canada’s
cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and Vancouver regularly top the ‘best places to live’ listings and the country ranks highly for its education levels, government transparency and disposable income per capita. It is also one of the world’s biggest economies, taking tenth place in the 2018 IMF global
ranking of GDP value, ahead of Russia and South Korea. A long shared history between Canada and the UK has helped forge strong alliances between the two countries – we share the same head of state and a common language, after all. Economically, there are already well-established trade links too, making Canada an accessible option for UK firms, particularly as its legal and business practices are built on the UK’s systems. Two years ago, trade between the two countries was given a big boost when the Comprehensive
canada time zones: Canada has six time zones. GMT -8hrs Vancouver; GMT -7hrs Edmonton; GMT -6hrs Winnipeg; GMT -5hrs Toronto; GMT -4hrs Halifax; GMT -3.5hrs St John’s. currency: Canadian Dollar. £1 = $1.74. dialling code: +1 Visas: Brits don’t usually need a visa to visit Canada for short periods, but will need to get an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before leaving the UK if travelling by air.
4/3/19 11:39 AM
Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was brought in, boosting investment and making it far easier to trade goods and services between Canada and the EU. Labelled ‘the most ambitious trade agreement that the EU has ever concluded’, CETA threw open the door to UK firms keen to bid for Canadian public contracts, and in turn, meant that British importers have seen taxes reduced to zero on some 9,000 Canadian products. The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: “British businesses and consumers are already feeling the benefits since the
agreement came provisionally into force. The agreement eliminates almost every tariff on goods traded between our two countries and we will transition it into UK law after we leave the European Union so that businesses can continue to enjoy as free and frictionless trade as possible.” Post-Brexit, the hope is that trade relations remain unhindered. Department for International Trade figures show that the UK exports around £8.2billion of goods and services to Canada each year, making it our eighth-biggest export market outside the EU. Key exports
include air and space craft, pharmaceutical products, boilers and electronic equipment. In return, the UK is by far Canada’s most important commercial partner in Europe. Over the last five years, the UK has grown into Canada’s second-largest goods export market after the United States. However, there are considerations for UK firms wanting to enter the Canadian market. Canada’s federal structure means each province has its own regulatory processes in place, meaning good local research is needed to ensure the legal requirements are met for products
in each location. Canada’s sheer size may be another issue – it may be worth using a local agent or representation to work around distance and time zones. While Brexit uncertainty continues, there are signs that positive trade ties with Canada are being given a new focus by the UK government. Speaking recently, UK High Commissioner to Canada, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, said she was confident the two countries could avoid tariffs in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU, with officials from both sides holding talks to preserve existing CETA rules.
4/3/19 11:39 AM
Factfile: Canada VANCOUVER mixes old and new
TORONTO celebrates its 'little nyc' status
FLIGHTS British Airways: flies direct twice a day to Toronto from London Heathrow and once daily to Vancouver and Montréal from Heathrow. Air Canada: operates daily flights from Heathrow to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, as well as regular flights to Halifax and St John’s. Glasgow flights are also available to Montréal and Toronto daily, and twice weekly to Calgary and Ottawa. Westjet Airlines: increases Gatwick services from April 28, offering daily flights to Toronto, up to seven weekly flights to Calgary and Halifax, up to six flights a week to Vancouver, twice a week to Edmonton and once a week to Winnipeg. Flights from Glasgow to Halifax will run six times a week. Air Transat: runs seasonal services from Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montréal, Toronto and Québec.
calgary loves a stampede
Canadian-owned boutique brand Le Germain Hotels has stylish properties in Toronto, Montréal, Québec, Charlevoix, Calgary, Ottawa and other destinations across Canada. Sister brand Alt Hotels is also well represented across Canada and offers eco-friendly, 'affordable luxury' in cities including Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Brossard, Québec City, Halifax, Saskatoon and St. John’s. Four Seasons will open a hotel in Montréal this June, while US brand Loews has hotels in Montréal and Toronto. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has luxury properties in Banff, Ottawa, Victoria, Québec and Toronto. Marriott has properties across Canada with multiple hotels in locations including Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa. Ramada by Wyndham Hotels has the largest coverage in Canada with over 75 hotels spread across Alberta, Québec, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
Quebec City: Walk along the fortified walls surrounding Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit notable historical sites like the PetitChamplain District, Place Royale, the Plains of Abraham and the Parliament Building. Village Vacances Valcartier is one of Canada’s biggest theme and water parks. embrace Toronto: Head your inner skywards to 360, the cowboy revolving restaurant two-thirds of the way up Toronto’s 553m-tall CN Tower. Historic food hall St Lawrence Market offers the best seasonal produce. Each September, the city hosts the Toronto International Film festival. Vancouver: Wander the historic neighbourhoods of Gastown and Chinatown. Visit scenic English Bay and the Vancouver Harbour. Don’t miss Stanley Park, a 1,000 acre park with the city’s iconic totem poles, spectacular views of the mountains and Lion’s Gate
Bridge. The Inuit Gallery of Vancouver offers the best in traditional handcrafted art. Ottawa: In summer, see the daily Changing of the Guard on the front lawn at Parliament Hill and return in the evening for the nightly sound and light show. Visit the dramatic Canadian War Museum, or stroll around the courtyards of shopping district Byward Market. Calgary: Calgary Zoo has more than 1,000 animals, a prehistoric park and botanical garden, and is praised for its conservation work. The 191m Calgary Tower has a revolving restaurant a with sweeping views. Each July the city hosts the Calgary Stampede, a giant wild west festival. Montreal: Visit the Basilique Notre-Dame with its impressive interior. The Musee de BeauxArts has a vast collection of fine art. Head to Montréal’s Old Port for boat tours or a stroll along the St Lawrence river.
4/3/19 11:39 AM
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4/3/19 04:52 PM
Reality check HOTE L : R E SIDE NCE INN L O NDO N K E NSING TO N THE HOTEL
for rugs, curtains, a sofabed and feature
aparthotel became Marriott's largest
wall. A number of London-themed
Residence Inn in Europe – and third
photos and artworks adorned the walls.
largest worldwide – when it opened in
The lounge area also had a coffee table,
May last year. It is a short walk from
wall-mounted TV, dining table and
Earl's Court and West Kensington
chairs and access to the roof terrace,
Underground stations and a ten-minute
while the kitchenette was equipped with
stroll from the Olympia exhibition centre.
a small fridge, compact dishwasher,
I arrived at around
basin, oven, kettle, toaster, dual hob
5pm and wasn't surprised to see a short
and all necessary utensils and crockery.
queue for check-in in the light and airy
Further amenities included a coffee
lobby. It wasn't long before I was heading
machine, iron and ironing board,
for my room albeit after another short
hairdryer and safe.
wait, this time for the elevators. THE ROOM
There are seven
breakfast (featuring a good continental
room – or suite – categories and I was
and cooked offering) was served in the
range of suites – and the roof terrace
staying in a top-floor premium suite, the
ground floor bar area. There's also a
was a nice bonus. My suite was certainly
main perks of which were more space
'grab & go' pantry, a lounge space with
well suited to longer stays although my
(it's a 30m2 suite) and a roof terrace
the likes of table football and games
with fine views across London. A lounge
consoles, a small gym and a laundry.
and kitchenette area gave way to a
Wifi access is free throughout the hotel.
small bedroom (with wardrobe and TV)
Guests opting to cook in their suite
and bathroom (with shower but no bath
will appreciate the Tesco superstore
London W14 8PU. Rates start from £99
– hot water took an age to come
right next door to the hotel.
per night (+VAT) including breakfast.
through), all decked out in dark wood flooring plus various shades of green
THIS IS A WELL-RUN, SMART AND ATTRACTIVE APARTHOTEL
patience with the small number of elevators might be tested at busy times! THE DETAILS
Residence Inn London
Kensington, 181-183 Warwick Road,
Tel: 020 3146 7980. marriott.co.uk
This is a well-run, smart
and attractive aparthotel with a good
HOT E L : NAT IV E G L ASG O W THE HOTEL
Opened in summer
I stayed in apartment
2018, this 64-unit aparthotel occupies an
103 (Premium One Bedroom) on the
Edwardian property that was once the
first floor, a few paces from reception. It
headquarters of the Anchor Line
felt like three apartments in one, with
Shipping Company (look for historic
the extensive shower room, cosy living
features like the carved nautical
room and large bedroom all having their
emblems on the outside of the Art Deco
own separate doors. The main living
building). It is centrally positioned, on
space featured an iron fireplace, a
Vincent Street, and close to George
comfy three-cushion couch, a large TV
Square and the Gallery of Modern Art.
and a fully-equipped kitchen with an
It’s just 20 minutes (by the Airport
induction hob, fridge, kitchen chairs, and
Express bus) to Glasgow International
washer/dryer. The eye-catching feature
Airport and a short walk from the city's
of the bedroom was a walk-in wardrobe
two central train stations.
that was once a safe – the heavy-duty
The small reception
area is on the first floor, up stone steps
door is wedged permanently open. THE FACILITIES
speed wifi but no meeting spaces. Two
(there is also an elevator). It was Estonia
restaurants are attached to the building.
Independence Day when I visited, which
I had dinner, with a French theme, in
explained the small bowl of sweets
Atlantic Bar and Brasserie, and
wrapped in the blue, black and white
breakfast, a full Scottish affair, in Anchor
colours of that country's national flag.
Line. Both were fabulous and hearty.
The receptionist, from Tallinn, was all
Native’s first Scottish
smiles but initially there was no record
property provided an ultra-comfortable
of my reservation or dinner booking.
stay in a spacious apartment. Impressive
Both were quickly located.
is the way the building's conversion
incorporates original features such as
There’s free high-
that have been trodden down by history
terrazzo flooring, fireplaces and several windows restored by the same family
THE WALK-IN WARDROBE, WITH A HEAVY-DUTY DOOR, WAS ONCE A SAFE
firm that first fitted them in 1906. THE DETAILS
14 Vincent Street,
Glasgow G1 2DH. Rates start from £85 (+VAT) a night for a Studio and £118 a night for a Premium One Bedroom. There is no minimum stay. Tel: 020 7313 3886. nativeplaces.com
Reality Check.indd 88
4/3/19 12:11 PM
FL IG HT : BR IT ISH AIR WAY S, FIR ST CL ASS BA016 from Sydney to
open storage area. The seat’s side wall
Singapore operated by a B777-300 and
included a wardrobe with hangers and
departing at 16.30 local time.
net racks for storage. There was also an
Check-in was handled
additional coat hook and magazine
by Qantas staff who were friendly and
rack. Seat recline to fully flat was easily
efficient for me but were suitably
adjusted with a swivel switch rather
assertive with an obnoxious passenger
than buttons and worked smoothly.
on the next desk along. Boarding was
The IFE screen was huge and the
on time and all was on schedule until
controller, headphone socket, two USB
two passengers failed to board and
ports and three audiovisual sockets
caused a delay while their bags were
were all easily accessible.
offloaded. Sydney is now a ‘quiet’
The crew were smart
airport with no announcements. Perhaps
and business-like, offered a cheery
improving the environment has
welcome and then personally introduced
increased such no-shows.
themselves. Welcome drinks came
I was in seat F1 –
quickly and on hearing of a delay a
one of the two centre seats with an
second round of Champagne muted
optional seat divider for privacy. A
any moaning. Dining was impressive,
cushion and large pillow were on the
with my choices including a prosciutto
seat, plus blanket and headphones.
appetiser, Tasmanian salmon as my
Pyjamas and a Liberty amenity kit were
starter and pan-seared fillet of beef for
personally offered by the crew. The
my main. Desserts included coconut
roomy seat was wide enough to curl
panna cotta, sticky toffee pudding or an
your legs up into, with plenty of elbow
impressive cheeseboard. A second
room to the right where a wide shelf
service of cake and sandwiches was
doubled as a small drinks table and
offered two hours before landing.
This was a daytime
flight so lights weren’t dimmed and no mattress liner was added but the seat
THE DINING WAS EXCELLENT AND THE SERVICE WAS ATTENTIVE
was roomy and I felt nicely cocooned by the wrap-around walls. The dining was excellent and the service was attentive. THE DETAILS
British Airways flies
daily between Sydney and Singapore. One-way fares are from around £2,500 in First Class. britishairways.com
HOTEL : PO INT A, L O NDO N L IV E R PO O L ST R E E T THE HOTEL
The Point A hotel group
the main feature of note. Space was at
promises "everything you need and
a premium in the seriously compact
nothing you don't" and targets both
bathroom but the shower was good.
business and leisure travellers at the
There was a safe (which unfortunately
budget end of the spectrum. It has six
was locked shut) by the bed and a
hotels across London and one in
hairdryer was located in a storage space
Glasgow, with additional properties
that cleverly converted into a small desk
opening in Edinburgh and London
area with power points. There was a
Kensington this summer.
wall-mounted TV, a large mirror and
The hotel is a short
hangers on the wall. Room temperature
walk from both Shoreditch High Street
and lighting – including a mood lighting
and Liverpool Street stations. I
option – were controlled from a smart
approached from the latter and found
panel by the door that illuminated upon
the hotel hidden away on a quiet
close contact. Wifi access was free.
cobbled street that could easily be
There's a large cafe
passed by without notice. I had a short
and dining area on the ground floor
Tucked away on a quiet street, it is a
wait at check-in while two members of
where breakfast (a good self-service
good budget refuge with fairly basic but
staff dealt with other guests.
continental offering) and coffee is
Some rooms do not
served, plus a verdant garden area is
have windows – a guest in front of me
open from 8am to 9.30pm. There's
at check-in had booked such a room –
no dining menu but basic snacks are
but mine was a slightly larger, standard
available around the clock. There's
double room on the third floor with
also an ironing room.
views east towards Brick Lane. Decor
The hotel is in a good
was smart and stylish with a huge grey
location for business in the City and
headboard with colourful studs being
connections elsewhere in the capital.
attractive guestrooms – and some great
IT IS A GOOD BUDGET REFUGE WITH BASIC BUT ATTRACTIVE GUESTROOMS
rates for advance bookings. THE DETAILS
Point A London
Liverpool Street, 13-15 Folgate Street, London E1 6BX. Rates start from £69 per night. 'The Brekkie' is an additional £9 and early check-in (11am rather than 3pm) costs £20. pointahotels.com
Reality Check.indd 89
4/3/19 12:11 PM
The final word
A stay that’s really fit for a king
e live in difficult times. Things are tough and everyone has a little side hustle. Youʼve gotta make a quid, right? The secret is being able to identify where the opportunities lie, so it is good to see Airbnb management company GuestReady doing its patriotic duty and working out how much the Queen might be able to get, should she start renting out Buckingham Palace on the home-sharing site. Given that the property has 775 rooms, including 19 Staterooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, there is plenty of money-making potential for Her Maj. As you might expect, rates are at a bit of a premium. Location, the buildingʼs history, and the fact that it has an indoor swimming pool, private cinema,
Software giant Oversight Systems checked out millions of publicly available expense claims made in the US in 2018. Here's some of our favourites 1 2 3
post office and helicopter landing pad all count in its favour. But how much? A night in one of the 52 Royal bedrooms would likely set you back £3,570, while a cheap stay in one of the staff apartments
World of possibilities
rom a treehouse in the frozen north to Gamirasu Cave Hotel inside the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Turkey’s Cappadocia, Tripadvisor has named some of the most unique hotels around the world according to its travelling community. The collection is truly international and includes Sweden’s Treehotel where guests can spy the northern lights, Hotel Eclat in Beijing that resembles a glass pyramid (pictured), and Giraffe Manor – a safari lodge in Kenya that has its own herd of friendly giraffes that regularly pop a head in.
CLAIMS WITH SOME BLAME
A sports bra (so a client could go to a yoga class) Eyelash extensions ($69) Lenovo computers ($99,000), bought with corporate discount and then sold on A bottle of wine, expensed as ‘a snackʼ Three books on how to prepare for, and survive, a nuclear holocaust ($44.85)
would be £284 per night. TMCs might want to note that the banqueting room, which seats 160, would be priced at £16,000 while the gardens, which can host parties for 8,000, would cost around £400,000 to hire.
Proof that you can sell certain people almost anything if you make it sound special enough comes flying in from Stansted Airport luxury food outlet Not Always Caviar. Its new Sky High Sandwich (salt beef or seafood) is supposedly designed to deliver maximum flavour at 35,000ft, thanks to ‘a unique umami spice blend’. Science says your taste buds are affected by dry air and low pressure, and the umami - that mysterious fifth taste - is vital to get things working. At £11.95, we’ll stick to the Pringles, thanks.
Final Word.indd 90
4/2/19 05:18 PM
Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like
St. Erminâ€™s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW +44 (0) 207 222 7888 www.sterminshotel.co.uk
Take a virtual show round visit www.sterminshotel.co.uk/tour
4/3/19 02:38 PM
Hear Sir Trevor McDonald speak at TBTC'19 REGISTRATION OPEN
ďˆ Join us at TBTC 19 and hear from one of the UKâ€™s most popular journalists and TV presenters as Sir Trevor McDonald brings the two-day event to a close. The FREE event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings Hilton London Bankside, Southwark
For further information about attending as a delegate or exhibitor contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
thebusinesstravelconference.com TBTC Advert.indd 92
4/3/19 01:17 PM
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...
Published on Apr 4, 2019
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...