THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE â€¢ AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
LOUD AND CLEAR THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
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How SMEs are attracting the attention of suppliers and TMCs
UK hotel groups
Payments & expenses The 2019 Tech Hotlist
TALKING TRAVEL: SIR TREVOR MCDONALD
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A UGUS T /S E PT EM B E R 2019 Features
16 The 2019 Tech Hotlist 30 UK hotel groups 40 Payments & expenses
Travel management for SMEs
Everyone's Talking About... Sustainability
11 The Knowledge: Travelling into a conflict zone
12 Six of the Best: Airport lounge operators 14 Event report: BTA Conference 15 Speaking Out 21 Event report: ITMC Summit
39 Event report: Travel Counsellors Corporate Travel Conference
63 Extended feature: Travel management for SMEs
22 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 2019 25 The Big Picture 26 People Awards: winner's interview 27 Photo gallery: People Awards
winners' trip 2019 28 The Conversation: with Hubert Viriot, Yotel 36 Photo gallery: People Awards winners' lunch
37 Meet the buyer:
Pradeep Nair, NBA 38 Technology: delays & disruption
48 Talking Travel: Sir Trevor McDonald 61 Photo gallery: TBTM Golf Masters 90 Photo gallery: Avis at Henley
51 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments
Departures 86 Gadgets & Gear
87 New Kid on the Block 89 Meeting in: York 91 On Business in: Manama
92 Focus on: East Africa 96 Reality Check 98 The Final Word
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Travel and Events
Implementing a business travel solution has never been easier. Navigator is our easy to implement, off-the-shelf suite of unique travel management solutions. We’ve neatly packaged our online travel portal, helping you take control of your business travel, including; a personal offline booking team, online booking tool, monthly insight reports, expert advice, exclusive discounts and much more!
important to make sure your travellers are safe and have access to assistance when they need it. With access to our full-service options such as; intelligent traveller tracking and direct links to our offline support teams, you can relax knowing that your travellers have 24/7/365 support, whether they need to change their travel plans or have been affected by a wider crisis.
More often than not, you’ll be traveling to a meeting, either by train, plane or automobile and there may be a hotel awaiting your arrival at the other end. With so much to consider in terms of routes, times, suppliers, hotel options and price comparisons, not to mention the small matter of who’s going to pay for this and how… it’s little wonder then, that traveling on business can lead to what we know as, ‘traveller friction.’
Is there a catch? No…
Your company travel policy will be deeply integrated into the booking process, so you can be sure all bookings follow your rules without you or your travellers having to think about it. Travelling on business can be stressful and this can impact employee wellbeing, especially when travel doesn’t always go to plan. This is why it’s so
Traditionally, there’s a fee associated with your TMC doing all of these things on your behalf, however we are delighted to be able to offer all of this as a fee free booking service. We’d love to talk to you about how we might be able to improve business travel, duty of care and wellbeing within your organisation. Get in touch. 0330 390 0340 email@example.com 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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Welcome Small but mighty
MEs are small cogs in the economy but their output, cumulatively, is mighty. Moreover, today’s small business is tomorrow’s big-hitter. TMCs and suppliers are increasingly wise to the rich potential of this sector and SMEs
are now better catered to in the travel management arena than ever before. Find out more in our extended feature on pages 63-84. Delegates from small and medium-sized businesses typically account for around half of attendees at The Business Travel Conference. Our annual two-day event takes place in London on September 17-18 featuring 14 conference sessions and some 60 exhibitors. It's free to attend and there's still time to register, so what are you waiting for? Keen-eyed subscribers might have noticed a subtle change when this issue landed in their laps. While the magazine has been printed on recycled paper for some time now, this is the ﬁrst edition to be distributed in a fully compostable wrapper. Derived from potato starch, it is a considerably more environmentally friendly alternative to polythene wrapping. It's a small but important change in the way we operate. Lastly, this issue marks the end of an era for The Business Travel Magazine and my colleague David Clare – it is his last edition as Publisher. David has been an instrumental ﬁgure at BMI Publishing for more than 20 years. He oversaw the launch of The Business Travel Magazine in 2006, has ensured its ongoing commercial success, and helped develop our wide portfolio of events. We thank him for his dedication and innovation over the years and wish him a fond farewell, from myself, Kirsty Hicks and the team.
Andy Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Nick Easen, Linda Fox, Rob Gill, Ramy Salameh, Jenny Southan & Gillian Upton JOURNALISTS
Sasha Wood & April Waterston CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
COMMERCIAL HEAD - BUSINESS TRAVEL
DESIGN & PRODUCTION SENIOR DESIGNER
Louisa Horton DESIGNERS
Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR
Matt Bonner CEO
Andy Hoskins, Editor
(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK; E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK; T: 020 8649 7233; W: 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 AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM
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ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
The rooms have benefitted from structural upgrades along with daring new feature walls, refreshed avant-garde furniture and atmospheric lightingâ€?
The W London hotel has completed a multimillion-pound transformation of its 192 guestrooms and suites, each of them unique. A "provocative new look" is paired with innovative in-room technology including DigiValet tablets that allow guests to control various aspects of their guestroom and stay at the hotel. 6
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London's new meeting and co-working club Arboretum is aiming to be the venue of choice for eco-conscious workers in the capital. Located close to Trafalgar Square, the "botanically inspired haven" is due to open this summer.
Native will open its largest aparthotel to date in Manchester this September. Set within a Grade II-listed former cotton mill on Ducie Street, it has 166 apartments – including eight penthouses – and an independent bar, restaurant and café.
The new Live! by Loews concept makes its debut in Arlington, Texas, this autumn, with the hotel group opening a 300room property within the Texas Live! sports, entertainment and dining district. Located between Dallas and Fort Worth, the hotel has 35,000sqft of meeting and event space. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
Sustainability “CLIMATE CHANGE “TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T AFFECTS EVERY ONE OF US RESCUE YOU BUT IT PROVIDES AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR ENSURING THAT TRANSPORT TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS PLAYS ITS PART TO IN DELIVERING AND PROCEDURES RUN REPORTS NET ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS AND HELP YOU REACH THOSE AFFECTED BY AN EMISSIONS BYINCIDENT” 2050”
“WE ARE DETERMINED TO PLAY OUR PART AND FIND SOLUTIONS TO HELP REDUCE AVIATION EMISSIONS WHICH CONTRIBUTE 2% OF CO2 EMISSIONS GLOBALLY” Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO, British Airways
“Emissions are calculated differently around the world and there is little regulation of offsetting. Travel managers know they need to do it but they don’t know where to start”
Sustainability is high on the agenda but it’s driven by travellers not travel managers. Offsetting is not something we’re pushing but it is something that people want”
Jo-Anne Lloyd, Partner, Nina & Pinta
Nikki Rogan, Global Travel Manager, Synamedia
Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity Chris Grayling, Former Transport secretary
“ INTERNATIONAL CARBON OFFSETTING HAS A CRITICAL ROLE TO PLAY
IN ENABLING AVIATION TO REACH OUR TARGETS. UK AIRLINES ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE GLOBAL CARBON OFFSETTING SCHEME, CORSIA, WHICH WILL DELIVER CARBON NEUTRAL GLOBAL Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive, Airlines UK
AVIATION GROWTH FROM 2020” “We want to work with government to see what more we can do in reducing our emissions, including through modernising UK airspace, investing in the creation of low-carbon technologies and delivering sustainable aviation fuels at scale” Neil Robinson, Chair, Sustainable Aviation
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Delivering what really matters TM
Technology that works
Compliance and cost savings
Traveller safety and security
Consistent service worldwide
Direct ATPI combines the power of leading travel management specialists to create a scalable solution for multinational organisations. We offer access to the influence and consistency of a steadfast global brand alongside the local knowledge and sector-specific expertise of an on-theground travel management company.
Find out more atpi.com
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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
How to manage... Travelling into a conflict zone When political upheaval or natural disasters strike, most companies are moving their staff out. For NGOs and charities, however, their challenge is getting staff into the danger zone
In June this year pro-democracy protestors in Khartoum, Sudan, were violently dispersed by gunmen in military fatigues. While the official death toll was put at 61, the World Health Organisation estimates 748 were killed or wounded, while of the 11 main Khartoum hospitals, half were shut or partially closed.
While most companies would be seeking to get all staff out of such circumstances, other organisations are going in to offer aid and assistance. “We focus exclusively on arranging travel for NGOs and charities, specialising in hard-to-reach destinations,” says Diversity Travel's President, Matthew Truin. “We work with charities such as Save the Children, the Salvation Army and International Rescue Committee to enable workers to reach regions affected by natural disasters, civil unrest and epidemics.” The TMC's clients needed to arrange travel for staff who provide timely services for victims of sexual violence, taking in supplies to support maternal and neonatal care, and transporting other staff to provide health and emergency services. “We use a 24-hour risk intelligence system to track
world events, and when we saw this one unfolding we knew there would be a big emergency response. Within hours, we were co-ordinating plans for clients,” says Truin.
In the immediate aftermath of the military crackdown, scheduled airlines quickly cancelled services to Khartoum, meaning the task of getting first responders to the affected area wasn’t easy. Flights are usually limited anyway, and the rapidly evolving situation on the ground meant the travel options changed on a daily or even hourly basis. A swathe of further cancellations across the region meant the TMC had to look at airports in different countries and road transport into Sudan.
“Our in-house technology, IQ, allows us to look at a variety of options through the selection of partners,” explains Truin. “Multi-leg journeys, extended layovers and transferring across airlines are quite common. Going into places where civil unrest is unfolding is a daunting experience for response workers, so our expertise can help ease concerns for our NGO partners.” Diversity says having access to an extended network of trusted travel suppliers and specialised operators provides clients with peace of mind, which in turn increases travel policy compliance. “We’re able to arrange almost any mode of transport – chartering aircraft, buses, boats, helicopters,” says Truin.
An NGO working in the region at the time of the unrest said: “As soon as we realised that violence had broken out in Khartoum, we knew we would need to redirect our resources into the area to offer aid and assistance. In these circumstances, time is always critical as borders close, perimeters are set and getting to those in need becomes even harder.” The spokesperson continues: “When commercial airlines began cancelling all flights into Khartoum, we were worried that we would be unable to get there but we were able to enter the city via ground transport instead and get to work. “We had a global overview of our travellers with live-location data, direct messaging capabilities, travel data for every booking and instant travel alerts to advise workers of emergencies and potential dangers. In providing these services, we can act quickly, efficiently and ensure all communications to and from our travellers are logged and can be used to demonstrate compliance with duty of care obligations.”
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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... Airport lounge operators 1
With over 70 lounges worldwide, Plaza Premium offers shower rooms, charging stations and free wifi, as well as comfortable seating and bars. Select lounges also offer spa, massage and beauty services. Frequent visitors can earn discounts with the Arrture loyalty programme.
No 1 Lounges
For those travelling from the UK, No 1 Lounges can be found at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Heathrow. The lounges are designed for “the everyday traveller”, with fully tended bars, unlimited wifi and fresh food.
A subsidiary of No 1 Lounges, there are two My Lounges in London and one in Brisbane. The loft-style lounges offer a more casual airport experience, and the lounge at Gatwick’s South Terminal is home to the airport’s only outdoor terrace.
Found throughout Europe and in Canada, Nairobi and South Africa, Aspire Lounges can be accessed by any traveller, no matter the airline or travel class. You'll find more Aspire Lounges in the UK than any other provider.
Words by April Waterston
If you’re heading east, Marhaba lounges are available to help you relax, eat and catch up with work at airports in Dubai, Singapore and Australia. You’ll find all the business services you need as well as buffets offering international cuisine and bars.
The Club lounges are primarily found in the USA, with two UK affiliate lounges at Gatwick and Heathrow. Visit for a comfortable environment with complimentary snacks and drinks, televisions, workstations and free wifi.
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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
BTA Conference Sustainability in the spotlight The GTMC revealed a new name and identity at its Netherlands conference in July, with the organisation moving forward as the Business Travel Association. Andy Hoskins reports from the event. Sustainable travel initiatives are firmly back on the corporate agenda if sentiment at the BTA Conference can be presumed to emanate across the industry. The majority of sessions touched on the subject at the annual event, which also saw the organisation unveil its new identity as the Business Travel Association (see p53). “We all need to take responsibility for sustainable growth,” said IATA’s Aleks Popovich. “We’ve got a good track record [as an industry] but we need to be stronger if we’re going to grow sustainably. We need to deliver more to earn the right to grow.” Andy Shand (pictured), General Manager of Customer Affairs at NATS, added that in a period when the total distance flown in the UK domestic air space has grown 39%, emissions have risen by only 20%. However, he said that UK airspace tools and procedures need modernising to cope with traffic growth and, in order to do it sustainably, the airspace must be managed much more efficiently. “It needs NATS, airports and airlines to work together,” he
said. “The government does currently understands the need for change.” Conservative MP James Heappey claimed the aviation industry is “disproportionately blamed for not decarbonising quickly enough” but added that, in the not-toodistant future, “we’re going to have to make a robust case for travelling to do business”. Birmingham Airport's Aviation Director, Tom Screen, suggested that airports should offer incentives to airlines using
greener, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Jo-Anne Lloyd of business travel consultancy Nina & Pinta believes APD could be replaced with a carbon offset tax, but also indicated a degree of confusion among travel managers as to how to address their environmental responsibilities. “We need simplification,” said Lloyd. “Emissions are calculated differently around the world and there is little regulation of offsetting,” she claimed.
NEW IN THE CHAIR
END OF THE TENDER
Suzanne Horner, CEO of Gray Dawes Group, is the BTA's new Chair of its executive board. She takes over from Paul Allan who steps down following Clarity's acquisition of Ian Allan Travel earlier this year.
“THE RFP PROCESS IS DEAD. IT CREATES UNNECESSARY WORK FOR BUYERS AND SUPPLIERS AND WE ARE READY TO GET RID OF IT”
For its overseas conference in Noordwijk, Netherlands, the BTA offset the emissions of 170 flights from London to Amsterdam with ClimateCare, offsetting 20.47 tonnes of CO2.
Stephanie Smook, ACTE’s Regional Director for EMEA
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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT
Serviced apartments The Holy Grail of online booking The serviced apartment sector is booming but live online booking is still a rarity. Jo Layton of CAP Worldwide explains why When I ask a buyer what they think utopia looks like in the extended stay sector, the answer is often the same: “it’s when a traveller can view and book their serviced apartment online, without the intervention of an agent or consultant”. However, the desire of the buying community to book apartments just as they book hotels is yet to be fully achieved by any platforms currently available on the market. I often compare booking apartments online to booking a meeting or event online. Both are complex transactions that require lots of research. Bookers need to understand the options available, the location, transport, parking, terms and conditions and more. And there’s even more to it for apartments: how to access the unit on arrival, the room sizes, the particular facilities, views, the local community, proximity to schools, transport and more. For a guest staying in a serviced apartment for several weeks – or months – the minutiae really matters. The details are all paramount to achieving a successful stay for the guest, and that’s before you include a review of the lease and the (sometimes very confusing) terms and conditions. If you are booking a hotel room for a couple of nights and the room doesn’t quite meet your standards or your needs, it’s annoying, but if you’ve booked a stay for 28 nights or more and there is no option to change it on arrival it is a different story. On the other side of the booking, meanwhile, the operator is looking to achieve the optimum length of stay for their units. For the majority of providers, this would be over
seven nights and ideally a minimum of 30 nights-plus. The small gaps in between are then plugged by loading this distressed inventory online – but this kind of business is more expensive to manage for operators in terms of both administration and servicing. Add in the fact that online distribution costs for apartment operators can be high – and without any guarantee of securing business – and it becomes clear why online booking options are currently limited, perhaps in the best interests of both guests and operators. Bridging the gap between hotels and longstay apartments is the growing aparthotel sector. These properties offer online booking and amenities such as staffed front desks, cafés and communal areas, plus, in the units themselves, basic kitchen facilities and more
If you book a hotel for a night and it doesn't meet your standards it's annoying, but if you've booked an apartment stay for 28 nights it's a different story”
living space than a hotel. They are usually found in city centre locations and guests also have the option to cancel or change a reservation at late notice. In contrast, most serviced apartment providers have built their models in primary and secondary residential areas, provide more living space, weekly housekeeping, limited facilities and more stringent terms and conditions for cancellations or changes. They are very different business models and, for travel managers and guests alike, require different approaches. It is difficult to build a comprehensive global extended stay programme that satisfies all stakeholders, with just aparthotels. The expectations of bookers must be managed as the reservation experience is often traded off, wrongly, against suitability and value. Travellers need to be protected from the pitfalls of instant gratification, but operators nonetheless need to make their apartments as accessible as possible. Travel programmes that incorporate both options can of course be built, and that is when you will benefit from working with an informed agent (like us!) who can help corporates build a solid programme.
JO LAYTON Jo Layton is Director of CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments. She formed the company in 2019 after spending nearly 20 years in the sector. Jo and her leadership team have identiﬁed the gaps in current global programmes and have built CAP to bridge them.
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TECH HOTLIST summer sizzlers
New technology can both disrupt and streamline existing business travel processes. Nick Easen examines the players currently shaking up the market
he biggest disrupter in the tech space right now are business travellers themselves. Today, we live in an era of great expectations, fuelled by the ease with which executives book their holidays. Therefore, there’s a drive to bring consumer-style tools to the corporate market. “Turning business travel bookings into a buzz instead of a bore is what it’s all about,” explains Neil Ruth, Co-founder of Taptrip. A user experience that’s as fast as doing a Google search is the goal, and there’s been a seismic shift in the industry over the last couple of years towards being able to deliver this.
At the same time significant venture capital, VC money, is moving into business travel globally, creating the perfect storm. Just ask four-year-old TripActions. It’s already had a $4billion valuation. Unicorns are now gamely trotting on to the business travel scene. “This is an exciting time for the industry as more start-ups creep into this space. Some are working with travel management companies – others are going direct,” states Jenny Thornton, Director of Digital Services at travel management company ATPI. “Investors are seeing opportunities and supporting start-ups that are spotting new niches in the market. For the end traveller
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it’ll mean a much better experience and for the corporate it creates greater choice.” New tech-driven solutions are quickly filling in so-called black holes that have been poorly served by a highly fragmented market, whether it’s travel for SMEs, ground transportation, expense management or better duty of care programmes. “Any time that money is invested into the space it raises the bar and forces the industry to up its game, which can only benefit the traveller and their organisation in the long run,” says Kirk Hayes, Director of Product Partnerships at SAP Concur. However, business travel is a hard sector to crack and there’s a whole ecosystem of players out there. Not all innovations can be integrated seamlessly into the industry, which is pivotal for widespread adoption. And it is why a lot of disruption occurs at the fringes rather than at its core. It’s also a traditionally conservative industry. “It is easy to say, ‘oh but I can have that on my favourite leisure site or app,’ but the reality is that the value chain of business travel is a lot more complex,” says Christophe Tcheng, VP of Products & Platforms at American Express Global Business Travel. “You have to consider virtual payments, travel policy, reporting or expenses. This is where the opportunity lies. The industry goal is for business travel to be as seamless as possible,” adds Tcheng.
Recently, there’s been a big focus on biometrics and AI, including machine learning, as well as big data and cloud computing technology. The aim is for greater personalisation and automation in business travel. Fare tracking and price forecasting, as well as the use of chatbots to book travel are also increasingly the norm. “The Holy Grail is about demonstrating ROI and taking traveller experience to the next level,” explains Valerio Fuschini, VP Chief Architect at CWT. “Whether it’s costcutting or revenue-enhancing, the onslaught of innovation will continue.” These are exciting times for tech disruptors and start-ups in the business travel space. Not all will survive, but it’s a stark warning for incumbents. “As the market develops, there will be fewer players, most of whom will be tech companies,” says Jill Palmer, CEO of Click Travel. “It’s the businesses that blend technology with a strong track record and customer service that will make the biggest difference in the industry.” It’s also true that the big boys are fighting back, with the titans of industry investing in incubating start-ups or improving their own platforms. A week doesn’t go by when an airline such as American Airlines – which has introduced a new management tool for travel managers – or a hotel group such as Millennium – which has launched a new app – announces a new or improved platform to service corporate clients. Watch this space.
TRAVEL BOOKING TOOLS Taptrip: The vast majority of businesses in the UK are SMEs yet they’re woefully underserved by any form of managed business travel. This is where TapTrip comes in, allowing executives to book via their phone calendar. It has inventory around flights, hotels, rail and car services. It is a self-service travel and expenses solution facilitating bookings with just one tap. It was a former finalist at the BTA’s Entrepreneurs in Business Travel Awards and was the overall winner at the 2019 Disrupt Awards. Tripactions: Business travel platform Tripactions is already a unicorn in the US and is fast moving into the UK after raising $250million in funding. It’s a hybrid between a travel management company and an online booking tool. It currently works with more than 2,000 customers globally and claims to reduce booking times from 60 minutes to six minutes. Travelperk: Aggregation is the key word
for this all-rounder start-up, as is seamless business travel management. The
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TECH HOTLIST summer sizzlers
company has a simple, single platform that looks and feels like a leisure site. The aim is to make business travellers feel good about the booking process and the idea is to get away from the legacy booking platforms. It features a lot of inventory by plugging into major consumer providers – such as Booking.com, Expedia and Skyscanner – and has healthy financial backing. It has recently launched FlexiPerk to cover booking changes and cancellations.
Salestrip: Measuring the real ROI of a
business trip can be a real issue. Quantifying spend against revenues is always a challenge. Salestrip allows executives to calculate exactly the return on investment. The all-in-one travel booking system sits on Salesforce, one of the world’s largest customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. It was a shortlisted finalist at the Disrupt Awards in 2019.
One to watch: Meetings, events and
travel specialist Inntel has been developing a new online booking platform called Logic. It’s been well received by pilot clients who operate in the financial services, hospitality and media sectors.
TACKLING DELAYS AND DISRUPTION Lumo: Every business traveller hates being delayed by bad weather, air strikes or cancelled flights. This company predicts the potential issues, hours, days and weeks
before departure using historical data and machine learning. Lumo then offers up alternative itineraries that are less likely to be impacted. Lumo can be seamlessly integrated into the platforms of TMCs and has recently teamed up with Flight Centre. It was a finalist in both this year’s BTA Entrepreneurs in Business awards and last year’s Disrupt Awards.
Freebird: Rebooking a flight can be a pain if you are disrupted and miss your business trip. But if you pay an insurance fee to Freebird they will help you deal with it. This can be extremely useful if you’ve got a complicated series of flights. They guarantee rebookings with three taps on your mobile phone and are backed by American Express Ventures. Users pay per flight and charges depend on distance flown, the time of year and user location.
GAINING GROUND CONTROL Your Parking Space: While Airbnb saw
a market for underutilised rooms and apartments, this company is focused on another asset – people’s driveways, garages and empty spaces. The online marketplace has 350,000 of them to rent in the UK via a user-friendly app, and it can be integrated into the booking platforms of TMCs. The site made £15million for owners last year and is working with over 150 businesses. It was triumphant at this year's Entrepreneurs in Business Travel Awards from the BTA.
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The Most Flexible Business Travel. Ever.
Business trips get cancelled for endless reasons, most of them out of your control. FlexiPerk by TravelPerk gives you a 90% refund for all cancellations, no questions asked. TravelPerk is Europe’s leading business travel management platform. Helping de-stress travellers and travel managers is what we love to do.
FlexiPerk is the newest addition to TravelPerk, Europe’s fastest growing online travel management platform which offers the world’s largest travel inventory, automated travel policies, smooth UX, and consumer prices alongside 24/7 support. When booking business trips, travellers have to choose between flexible fares that are on average 60% more expensive, or risking the cost of a cancellation.
With FlexiPerk, businesses pay 10% of the price of a trip to receive a 90% refund—for any reason. You can choose to cover trips for all travellers or just a specific group. Cancel the entire trip if you need to, or just one reservation, such as the hotel, flight, train, or car. With FlexiPerk, business travel is finally flexible.
But for trips whose cancellation was covered, there are big issues: • Flexible fares cost on average 60% more than a traditional ticket • Traditional cancellation coverage is for illness and injury only • Some old coverage can be unavailable to business travelers
To learn more about FlexiPerk and sign up for the Beta program, visit
FlexiPerk Key Points
cost per trip.
Traditional flexi fares don’t cover business-related cancellations Research shows that cancellation rates for businesses are consistently over 20%.
minimum refund. No questions.
100% of trips are eligible.
your travel is covered. Flights, trains, hotels, cars.
Companies that love FlexiPerk
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TECH HOTLIST summer sizzlers
One to watch: iGo marketplace consolidates taxi and private hire vehicles to address the difficulty that UK travel buyers face in booking the ground transport elements of a business trip. The market is extremely fragmented and it’s iGo's tech that is helping to solve this.
MAGNIFICENT MEETINGS MEASURES Asemblr: This online event technology
platform is trying to disrupt the meetings sector by making it easier and more intuitive to book events. With this tool you can manage conferences, trip incentives and team building events all in one place. They also offer inspiration, advice and contacts on their platform. It is backed by Travelport and has recently been adopted by Cresta Business Travel. It was shortlisted for the BTA’s Entrepreneurs in Business Awards in 2018.
Wizme: This is a smart venue reservations tool for travel buyers and business travellers. It connects venues and suppliers to those that need meeting and event space and their specific business needs. Wizme version 2.0 has recently been released for venues to better manager details, bookings and event proposals.
TRAILBLAZING ON RAIL TRAVEL Seatfrog: This mobile app allows passengers to muscle in on a train seat in first class. By bidding for an upgrade standard class passengers can often get cheap access to empty first class seats – for as little as £10, in fact. Users can do this via an online auction up to 15 minutes before departure, with seats released three hours before the train is to leave. So far Seatfrog has partnered with the likes of Virgin Trains and LNER, as well as Capita Travel and Events. It has also won a host of trade and supplier awards for its innovative work to date. Railguard: Few passengers claim for
train delays or cancellations but with poor punctuality at a record high it’s a growing issue. This app allows employers to claim compensation for staff delays which can amount to 3% of travel costs. The traveller inputs their past or future ticket details while Railguard monitors trains in real time via national railway data feeds. It will submit eligible claims, recoup the money and pay users their claim minus a 20% fee. It won the BTA’s Entrepreneurs in Business Travel Awards 2018 and was also a finalist at the Disrupt Awards in 2019.
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ITMC Summit The need to get ‘rewired’ TMCs from around the world gathered in the UAE in June for the annual ITMC Summit where the ‘rewired’ conference theme tackled the changing face of travel management, writes Andy Hoskins. Organised by the WIN Global Travel Network, the two-day event was attended by suppliers and TMCs responsible, between them, for an estimated US$20billion in annual business travel spend. “We’re often threatened and frequently challenged in a constantly changing landscape,” said WIN CEO Neil Armorgie in his opening remarks, as he urged TMCs to “stand up and fight their corner”. Festive Road’s Ian Jones urged TMCs to differentiate themselves from the competition in order to thrive. “People use a TMC because they’re told to, not because they choose to,” he said. “Business travellers are led by loyalty and experience but the business is price-led. It’s a precarious business model.” Jones also discussed the eight types of TMC his organisation has identified, including high-touch ‘creme de la creme’ agencies such as Eton Travel and Reed & Mackay, and those ‘holding on to the past’ who don’t have “the will, the skill or the bill to move forwards”.
JOINING THE CAUSE New WIN Global Partners include Clyde Travel A.B (Sweden and Nordics), Options Travel (USA), TravelCare (Portugal), Oceantur (Argentina), CIT and Kopetro (Malaysia).
Procurement specialist William Pegg advised TMCs to carefully consider what business they pitch for. “If the first you hear about a tender is the invitation then the likelihood of you winning it is slim,” he said. He also challenged TMCs to calculate how much it actually costs them to go through a tender, to build rapport with potential clients and to ask questions of the organisation during the tender process. “Very few say ‘let’s have a chat’ when they
GETTING TOGETHER THE WIN GLOBAL TRAVEL NETWORK HAS INTRODUCED A MEETINGS AND EVENTS MANAGEMENT SERVICE TO HELP ITS MEMBERS FULFIL CLIENTS’ REQUIREMENTS IN THIS AREA. IT IS A WHITE-LABELLED FULLSERVICE OFFERING.
receive the tender. It doesn’t happen enough and it’s a great way to build rapport,” he said. Meanwhile, John Gray of Rockport Analytics revealed $1.4trillion was spent on business travel in 2018 but warned the rate of growth was slowing – dropping to 3.1% in 2019, following growth of 5.7% in 2018 and 5.8% in 2017. “This year is projected to be the weakest year for global growth since the recession,” said Gray.
GLOBAL COVERAGE WIN is now represented in 75 countries with 6,000 agency locations. Its members handle a combined turnover in excess of US$25billion.
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7/25/19 05:49 PM
The Business Travel Conference The final countdown... It’s the final countdown to The Business Travel Conference 2019, taking place on 17th-18th September at the Hilton London Bankside! The event brings together buyers and suppliers of business travel for a two-day exhibition and conference programme. Delegates will be able to dip in and out of conference sessions that are of interest and listen from anywhere within the venue via ‘silent conference’ headphones – or simply meet around 60 leading business travel and meetings suppliers in the integrated exhibition space. For the very first time, this features a Star Alliance meetings zone and a dedicated travel wellbeing and advice area in collaboration with a number of partners.
TBTC wellbeing partners
• Naomi Jones of Shizen Nutrition is a registered Nutritional Therapist. Her mission is to help clients improve their health and wellbeing to manage their busy, demanding lives through easilyimplementable diet and lifestyle advice,
The mission is to help clients improve their health and wellbeing to manage their busy, demanding lives through easily-implementable diet and lifestyle advice” focusing firstly on boosting their energy and vitality, and improving resilience during regular travel to maintain productivity. Delegates can complete a three-day food diary to email to her pre-event (download from the TBTC website) for analysis too. • Silvia Vizzoni is founder of Trip Unwind and will be on hand to give delegates an introduction to mindfulness and meditation. Trip Unwind works with corporates and has designed a range of services that help leaders and employees within the travel industry to build resilience and live a more balanced life. 22
PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS DAY O N E : T U E S DAY 1 7 S E P T E M B E R
• Opening keynote: Gillian Keegan MP, kindly sponsored by Air Europa • View from the top: a trio of industry figures reflect on the business travel sector’s current trends and challenges • On the button: how to select, implement and drive adoption of online booking tools • Deals on wheels: find out how to optimise your car hire and rail travel spend • Sleep talk: is it time for a change of approach to your accommodation needs? • Small wonders: helping SMEs make the most of their travel spend • New kids on the block: discover a new wave of technology, tools and TMCs on the market
DAY T W O : W E D N E S DAY 1 8 S E P T E M B E R
• The travel manager clinic: three leading travel managers discuss their travel programmes and the challenges they currently face • Going to market: sourcing the best TMC for your particular needs • The mavericks: get rogue travellers under control and gain compliance • In safe hands: risk mitigation, traveller tracking and duty of care in the spotlight • Fit for purpose: making traveller wellbeing central to your policy • Wellness advice (group huddles) • Diverse traveller safety • Mindfulness and mindful eating • Closing keynote: Sir Trevor McDonald brings the conference to a close with a keynote address
• Air time: take your air travel spend to new heights with expert guidance • Wellbeing advice (group huddles) • Mindfulness and meditation • Top nutrition tips for more sustained energy levels • Diverse traveller safety • Drinks Reception and Charity Raffle Wind down with complimentary drinks and canapés plus a charity raffle with fabulous prizes kindly donated by our exhibitors in aid of London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children.
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What is TBTC? An intimate exhibition and conference for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings
Helping organisations navigate the gender agenda in the business travel duty of care space”
When? Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th
• Maiden Voyage is the leading expert in diverse traveller safety. Erica Toase will be able to share advice on how organisations can navigate the gender agenda in the business travel duty of care space. Maiden Voyage also provides a range of online and offline training solutions to help educate and support female and LGBTQ+ travellers and provide assistance with shaping diverse corporate traveller policies. • Gavin Percy is Managing Director of Winning Edge Consultancy and a mental
industry sectors, including large corporations, NGOs, higher education, government departments and the travel and tourism industry. This allows the TRIP group to draw on a wide range of experience, knowledge and expertise in order to keep travellers safe. Delegates will also be able to hear Lloyd on stage during the In Safe Hands session. All attendees at TBTC will be able to drop in and out of the area to catch up with the companies featured and attend some small group huddles at allocated times.
TBTC'19's charity of choice
health first aider. Following some mental health issues close to him, Gavin decided to specialise in mental health first aid training to improve attitudes to mental health in the workplace. He will be able to share how this can improve morale, loyalty, productivity and employee wellbeing. Gavin is the nominated trainer for the HBAA in this area. • Finally, we are pleased to welcome back Lloyd Figgins, a former keynote speaker at TBTC who is Chairman of the TRIP Group. The TRIP Group is made up of like-minded risk management professionals, who are responsible for the safety and security of personnel when they travel overseas. Members come from a wide variety of
The Business Travel Conference will be supporting the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children with a raffle at the Monday Drinks and Canape reception. The reception is kindly sponsored by aparthotel group Native.
LTCFC, which began in 1928, runs annual outings and funds appeals for special needs children
Where? The London Hilton Bankside Hotel, Great Suﬀolk Street, London SE1 0UG
How do I register for free? thebusinesstravelconference.com Find out if you qualify for a hosted place
Exhibition and sponsorship enquiries? Contact Kirsty Hicks email@example.com Tel: 07747 697 772
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STAR ALLIANCE LAUNCHES NEW ROUND THE WORLD BOOKING SITE Round the World tickets are not just for the adventurous. More and more business travellers are discovering the perks of Round the World tickets for their duty travel. In fact, the UK ranks among the top ten markets for business travel on Star Alliance Round the World bookings. When choosing a Star Alliance Round the World ticket, business travellers beneﬁt from an excellent priceperformance-ratio when combining several duty trips into one, and at the same time increase their eﬃciency by not having to return to the point of origin.
For example, one of the most popular routes out of London Heathrow for business travellers is LHR-NYC-SFO-TYOSIN-FRA-LHR. On its mission to improve the customer experience, Star Alliance has relaunched its Round the World booking tool with a completely new look. Based on customer feedback, the design is more map-based and provides a more intuitive experience. Inspiring images and brief descriptions of the destinations make it easy to plan the ideal routing. In just a few easy steps, Round The World or Circle Paciﬁc trips can be organised and validated. See: staralliance.com/en/round-the-world
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THE BIG PICTURE
Switzerland Think twice before catching a cab in Switzerland – it has been declared the most expensive destination for taxi fares worldwide. The average 5km trip costs £20.25, which is considerably more than second-placed Japan (£13.97). Germany and the Netherlands were next most expensive while the UK was eighth, according to research from taxi2airport.com
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meet the winner
Colin Harvey BCD Travel’s Colin Harvey was named Account Manager of the Year at the Business Travel People Awards 2019
How did it feel to be named Account Manager of the Year at the awards? I was immensely proud and honoured. To be recognised personally by our industry on a national level feels such a huge achievement and is also a great reflection on the whole AstraZeneca and BCD Travel team. Why did you enter the awards or how did you come to be nominated? I was very humbled to learn that I was nominated by our global lead at AstraZeneca to show appreciation and recognition for my work and contribution to our partnership. It was really special to find out that they’d done this for me. My colleague Jill Burnett was also nominated by our client and it was amazing to see her win the Reservations Consultant of the Year category too!
leading-edge solutions to optimise their program and increase traveller satisfaction. There’s a real spirit of partnership and Tell us about your role and the work mutual respect across our global team – you’ve done that clinched the award. we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do I am the EMEA Regional Program better, but we have fun as well. Manager with the responsibility of managing the What do you think of The AstraZeneca/BCD Travel Business Travel People program across 35 Awards and of the countries. Although my winners event? The Business Travel remit is regional, I This was my first time People Awards recognise collaborate on many attending these outstanding individuals global projects. I awards, and I hadn’t and teams across all aspects constantly challenge quite realised the size of the supplier element of the “business as usual” and scale of the event. corporate travel thinking, not just looking It’s such a great at the “so what” but “so showcase to recognise what do we have to do”. and acknowledge the amazing talent that is not What do you particularly enjoy often represented. It was about your role in the industry? particularly special to share the experience I really enjoy the varied nature of my work on the day with the AstraZeneca/BCD Travel and how quickly the industry is changing. team. The opportunity to spend time with Working with a client who has a desire to the other winners on an all-expenses-paid innovate allows me to be creative and offer trip to Boston is a very generous prize. 26
The awards are such a great showcase to recognise and acknowledge the amazing talent that is not often represented” What impact do you think winning an award will have on your career? It has certainly given me more exposure both internally and externally and I am sure this has raised my profile further within BCD. Knowing that the client recognises and values your work is very rewarding. What are some of the biggest challenges you’re currently facing in your role? New technologies, changes in distribution and the amount of disruptors entering our space constantly challenge us to find new solutions. Sustainability and traveller wellbeing are also front and centre right now. Removing the complexity associated with all of the above – and exploiting the opportunities they bring – is essential.
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The Business Travel People Awards 2019
Winners’ trip to Boston Boston’s iconic Fenway
The winners of The Business Travel People Awards 2019 jetted off to Boston last month for a well-deserved treat, with flights courtesy of Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines and accommodation provided by Loews Hotels.
Park baseball stadium
The People Awards winners’ trip ▼
Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼
Cheers to all our 2019 winners!
Having a whale of a time...
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7/25/19 07:06 PM
Chief Executive Officer, Yotel
HUBERT VIRIOT The distinctive hotel group’s CEO tells Catherine Chetwynd about its rapid growth after a relatively low-key beginning
otel’s recent growth has been phenomenal. A year and a half ago, the company had only one hotel in the US that catered primarily to domestic New York customers and European guests. Now there are also Yotels in Boston, San Francisco and Washington, and a recently opened tenth US property, in Atlanta. And expansion is not just restricted to the US. “The announcement in July of our hotel in Melbourne [planned for 2022] was the turning point for the organisation. Our growth is not just wishful thinking, it is a strategy and it is happening,” says the group's CEO, Hubert Viriot. “We are not only a good, efficient operator, we need to demonstrate operational synergies across hotels and reach our customer base. To do that we need to have multiple properties within the market.” The idea is to follow the same strategy elsewhere: Australia, where Yotel Melbourne will be joined by YotelAIR and YotelPAD; the Far East, in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong; and Dubai. By the end of this year there will be 16 Yotels in operation and by the end of next year, 24, with the company on track to have 60 open by 2023. “Our strategy so far has been to open up new markets with a flagship, which is what we have done in New York, Singapore and Istanbul. The next phase of development is to grow within these markets.” The group's very first properties opened in 28
2007 at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. They have since been joined by a property in Edinburgh (this summer), while Glasgow and London Clerkenwell will open later this year and Amsterdam and Porto follow in September and the year-end respectively. Yotel destinations are not chosen to fill a gap in the budget hotel market, they are based on the group’s target consumer and “on certain realistic dynamics”, as Viriot puts it. The Yotel customer is urban and well travelled and, being independent, will go out to explore their surroundings, so their requirement is premium accommodation and limited facilities. Properties are also in locations that suit Yotel’s investors. “Two things are unique in our organisation. We are going through tremendous growth in a new market segment, so we are building our own destiny to some extent. We cannot follow and cannot do what others have done, and that takes a lot,” Viriot explains. “The second thing that takes a lot is that we immediately decided to occupy a global
We raised capital with Starwood three years ago and frankly, had we not been located in the UK, it would have been a much harder job to achieve”
footprint because our customer is not a specific nationality. We find him or her in Sydney, or San Francisco or London or Paris, so we are meeting the challenges of a new segment and building a business with the complexity of doing it across the world.” Viriot joined Yotel in 2014 and was living in Dubai at the time. “At the time, Yotel was a small enterprise – 12 people and four hotels under management. We could have based this business anywhere, it didn’t have to be London, but there were several reasons to be in London and stay in the UK. “Firstly, logistics. If you are going to grow a business into a global concern, the centre of gravity is London,” he explains. “Secondly, looking for capital, and that worked out well. We raised capital with Starwood three years ago and frankly, had we not been in the UK, it would have been a much harder job to achieve,” says Viriot. “Thirdly, and most importantly, if you are going to grow a global business, you need to attract the best talent and where else but London to do that?” The availability of foreign operational employees post-Brexit is a concern, although its new Edinburgh property opened with a full complement of staff. “So far, we haven’t suffered much and I am a great believer that it is not an endgame and there is a bright future ahead,” says Viriot. “It might take a few more years than it would have, but it will all work out.”
7/25/19 10:28 AM
in brief... What was it like living in Bangkok? Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world and Thailand is a fantastic country – a great market. Ironically, I was there from 2008 to 2013 when most of the world was going through a global financial crisis. However Thailand was immune because it had been the origin of another crisis in 1997. As a result, all banks and companies across the country were restructured between 1997 and 2008, and had very healthy balance sheets, which is why we were going through tremendous growth – triple digits year on year. It was a great experience. Also, that background has helped me understand how developers think and what is important for them; that has facilitated our growth to date.
HUBERT VIRIOT Hubert Viriot joined YOTEL in May 2014 to roll out an aggressive growth strategy targeting key city centres and international airports worldwide. Prior to this, he was CEO of Raimon Land PLC, a real estate developer listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. During his four-year tenure, Viriot orchestrated its successful turnaround and increased the company’s development portfolio from $200m to $1.1bn. Previously, he spent four years as VP of Investments & Acquisitions with IFA Hotels & Resorts, YOTEL’s parent company, and ﬁve years with global consulting ﬁrm HVS.
What do you do when you are not 'yotelling'? That doesn’t leave much time! I don’t know whether it’s a good idea but I don’t have a very clear border between work and not work. This is the second business I’m growing and I know how much it takes – and so does my family. My job and personal life involve a lot of travel. Most of my spare time is spent with my wife and two kids, letting them get used to a normal lifestyle and trying to build a social life in fantastic London, which I am very much enjoying.
7/25/19 10:28 AM
UK hotel groUps
The UK hotel industry is facing a number of Brexit-related challenges but has received a timely boost from the government. Catherine Chetwynd charts the changes
n June, the UK government announced it would be making a significant investment in tourism and hospitality to help reaffirm “the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry”. It has committed to adding 130,000 new UK hotel rooms by 2025 – 75% of which will be outside London – and to deliver 10,000 new apprenticeships in the sector every year. In addition, it will invest in broadband connectivity for UK conference centres to boost business travel and develop a strategy to grow off-season travel.
The positive news for this important economic sector comes at a time when the prospect of leaving the European Union is causing headaches for many hoteliers. “The biggest concern that Brexit brings for the hospitality sector is how it could affect staffing,” says SVP Hotel Solutions for BCD Travel, April Bridgeman. “Hotels in the UK rely heavily on overseas workers, many from other EU states. If that labour force leaves, by choice or by policy, hotels will face a shortage of labour and if that has to be filled by local staff, costs will go up which, in turn, will increase room rates.”
Brexit isn't all bad
However, Advantage Travel Partnership’s Hotels Market Report (January to March) shows a positive picture compared to 2018: UK room nights were up 5.1%, London room nights up by 5%, Portsmouth up 68% and York up 82%. In addition, a further ten towns showed a growth of more than 20%. London remains buoyant and seems to be a microclimate amid the rest of the country. Hotel numbers continue to grow apace and as soon as they open, beds fill up and average room rates climb. Bookers are getting wiser about booking in advance but high demand is putting pressure on
corporate relationships. Conventional wisdom might dictate that with properties springing up all over the country and business slowing down, that competitive corporate rates should be plentiful. However, the problem is not negotiating them, it is being able to use them. “In London, hotels are happy to give good rates but they are apprehensive about how much volume corporates are going to give,” says Managing Director of Sirius Management, Tom Stone. “You might think the more business a company gives a hotel, the cheaper it’s going to be, but the pace in London is so great that a hotel will give a rate on only 100 or 1,000 room nights, not for the 30,000 a buyer can potentially give. “And there is an elephant in the room. A lot of hotels that work with corporates want to do so on the basis of longevity and as a partnership but hotels in London are generally privately owned and managed by chains. This means owners are constantly putting pressure on management teams – the GM, revenue manager or sales manager – to deliver higher yield on the rooms and that sometimes doesn’t lead to a feeling of partnership with a corporate. There is nowhere outside London where occupancies are so high that that applies,” he says.
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UK hotel groups
With new properties springing up all over the country and business slowing down, you'd think competitive corporate rates should be plentifulâ€?
Hand Picked Hotels' Stanbrook Abbey
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UK hotel groUps
The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit presents clear challenges. Never has it been more important to ensure your brand is as strong as possible”
There are, however, cities that are benefiting from London's ripple effect, which extends to Reading, Bristol and Milton Keynes, where rates have remained stable. There is also considerable construction in Manchester, although there is not yet any suggestion of oversupply. In addition, “Birmingham is one to watch,” says Managing Partner for Black Box Partnership, Leigh Cowlishaw. “There has been a lot of investment in regeneration of key areas, it is a central location that people want to visit and the NEC pulls in crowds who need to stay overnight. “There has also been government investment in infrastructure, with HS2 pending, and this all points towards strong city growth. Traffic through the airport is also increasing, with more international direct flights, and the New Street hub has excellent links with the rest of the country.”
Group growth plans
Travelodge is growing exponentially, while there is an increase in mid- to high-range hotels too. “There are a lot of groups focusing on the UK domestic market and doing very well,” says Tom Stone. Evidence includes the 17 hotels Travelodge expects to open in the UK, in locations that include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Marlow, Solihull and Swindon, with an investment of around £115million. It will continue to roll out Travelodge Plus, its ‘budget chic’ model, having just opened its seventh in Marlow-on-Thames, while its 'premium economy' SuperRooms are now available in 50 hotels, with facilities that include Lavazza coffee machines, USB power outlets, hairdryer and irons. 32
Leonardo Royal St Paul's
“Since Travelodge started its modernisation programme more than five years ago, it has opened 60-plus hotels and invested more than £150million in improving quality and choice, while staying true to its budget roots,” says spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed. “Sales have grown by more than £250million, fuelled by a rise in corporate and SME business. More than 50% of customers are business travellers.” These guests benefit from Travelodge Business, a new business account card with features that include a guaranteed 5% discount on all flexible rate bookings, up to six weeks' interest free credit, a monthly consolidated VAT invoice, and room allocation on quiet business floors.
An abundance of openings
Bespoke Hotels owns and manages 76 properties in the UK and has taken on agreements for five more. In 2020, it will open Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester with 120 rooms, Coventry Evening Telegraph Hotel (66) and Hotel Gotham, Glasgow (56). The company offers reduced corporate rates to organisations with a high volume of demand in a specific location and participates in agency and consortium programmes nationally. The impact of Brexit is mixed, with the low value of sterling attracting leisure visitors from the rest of Europe and keeping Brits at home. But Managing Director Operations, Graham Marksell, says: “The corporate and conference markets have weakened as businesses became nervous about the future and companies have focused their resource, both in people and finance, on securing their Brexit strategies.”
With five hotels in the UK – located in Glasgow (two), Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester, which opened this year – Dakota Hotels is now looking at locations such as Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, the M4-corridor, Manchester Airport, Newcastle, Oxford and central London. The group aims to deliver luxury hotels and restaurants at accessible prices, stimulating interest from higher management and C-Suite executives. It does not offer corporate schemes. “We focus on recognition and build personal relationships, ensuring that every guest’s experience is exceptional – our ultimate goal is complete satisfaction,” says Group Director Andrew Overstone. “The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit presents clear challenges in terms of planning ahead. Never has it been more important to ensure your brand is as strong as possible.” Scottish-based Apex has ten hotels in London (3), Bath, Edinburgh (4), Glasgow and
Hub by Premier Inn
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UK hotel groUps
Apex City of London
Dundee. The group is not planning to expand but instead spent £12million last year on improvements to the portfolio, including £6million on restoring and refurbishing an extension to the Apex Temple Court Hotel on Fleet Street, London, adding five suites, large deluxe bedrooms, a wine bar and two private dining rooms. The group’s Bath property opened in 2017 with 177 bedrooms and the city’s only purpose-built city centre conference facility. Since then the property has hosted more than £1million of business. Brexit has inevitably had an effect: “Booking windows from the US have shortened from six to eight weeks to three to four weeks, particularly in London,” says Commercial Director Clinton Campbell. “And across the portfolio, properties have seen lead times decrease year-on-year, sitting at approximately 17 days.” In London, Apex saw a slowing of corporate bookings in Q1, leading up to the original Brexit deadline, and although business has picked up, Campbell says it could see a similar pattern later in the year as the new deadline looms. However conference bookings across the group have changed from seasonal to a “steadier stream month to month”. EasyHotel has 13 hotels in the UK and in the past 12 months opened in Leeds,
Sheffield, Ipswich and Milton Keynes; its flagship property in London’s Old Street reopened in July after a full renovation. Next off the blocks are Chester, Cardiff, Oxford and Blackpool, with Cambridge and Bristol to follow, subject to planning consent.
Country house hotel group Hand Picked Hotels has 19 properties and there has been recent growth in corporate bookings at Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath (35%), Crathorne Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire (6%), and at two properties in Surrey: Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa in Redhill (30%) and Woodlands Park Hotel, Cobham (8%). Corporate rates are available for businesses giving the right volume of bookings and members of the company’s Privilege Rewards programme get 5% to 10% discounts on room rates. Malmaison and Hotel du Vin are owned by Singaporean company Frasers Hospitality and the 29 properties that comprised the brands when it acquired them in 2015 have grown to 35, with a goal of 50 by 2022. Malmaisons open in Edinburgh late this year, York in 2020, and in Bournemouth and Manchester in 2021. A number of projects for Hotel du Vin are also on the cards. “Corporate bookings in today’s world are
more and more difficult to track because a lot come through online channels – that makes up some 70% of our business,” says CEO of EMEA, Guus Bakker. “Malmaison, in particular, remains a strong brand for corporate bookings. We have Work and Play meeting spaces in a number of hotels and we are developing it in others, to provide smaller flexible spaces. Up to 40% of our business is corporate in Malmaison. “Trading in the UK has challenges: uncertainty around Brexit is not helpful but at some stage it will improve and then at least there will be clarity. It has had an impact on confidence and we continue to
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UK hotel groUps
[ WHO OFFERS WHAT ] Apex Hotels: will have invested £12million in its portfolio of ten properties by the end of 2019, including a £6m project to restore and refurbish Apex Temple Court on Fleet Street. Bespoke Hotels: owns and manages 76 properties in the UK, including new agreements for five hotels in the past 12 months. It will add three more in 2020 in Manchester, Glasgow and Coventry in time for the city’s year as UK City of Culture. Dakota Hotels: has only five properties to date but is looking for new sites. EasyHotels: has an aggregate 37 owned and franchised hotels in the UK and Europe, four of which opened in the UK in the past year. Its pipeline comprises another five, with two subject to planning consent.
feel that in consumer spending,” he says. “For the time being, we are consolidating and making sure we optimise the management of our existing portfolio within the UK, rather than spreading ourselves thin and going abroad,” says Bakker.
Bakker’s comment about booking channels reflects the increasing tendency for buyers to move away from RFPs, as Tom Stone explains. “They still play an important role but people are wise to savings that can be achieved through dynamic pricing and most organisations might, typically, have a preferred rate and then underpin that by charging the TMC to see what’s available on booking.com or Expedia that will potentially undercut their negotiated rate,” says Stone. “I also think there is a move to see whether the hotel RFP can be done on a biannual basis rather than annually – it is very labour intensive,” he says. “The trick is to try and factor in an agreed increase. This might be
Brexit has stimulated conversation and debate regarding the future of our country, creating positive engagement” 34
the rate of inflation or the cost of living index. I think that’s possible in some markets but very difficult in markets like London – hoteliers want the ability to increase rates if the market dictates,” Stone explains. WIN Global Travel Network's CEO Neil Armorgie adds: “The top challenges facing the hotel industry are similar to other industries: uncertainty with the slowdown of the global economy; rising costs in salaries and utilities; the trade tariff wars between China and the USA, and the still unresolved Brexit negotiations.” He continues: “So despite the strong start to the year for our members, there are signs that overall economic growth could have an effect on slowing hotel booking volumes through the rest of the year. That, and increased supply in the UK, will mean that hotel rates will flatten and could even drop.” Dakota's Andrew Overstone ends on a positive note. “Brexit's impact, so far, has been quite encouraging. It has stimulated conversation and debate regarding the future of our country, creating genuine dialogue and positive engagement. “People are actively considering the position of the UK, which affects their day to day decisions. With last year’s glorious summer, and the recent spell of sunshine, people have definitely seen the benefit of the great British staycation, which has definitely been positive for the UK hotels industry.”
Hand Picked Hotels: last year upgraded and relaunched its loyalty programme as Privilege Rewards, with new awards that include exclusive room rate discounts and upgrades. Hotel du Vin & Malmaison: is aiming for 50 properties by 2022, from the current 19 (Hotel du Vin) and 16 (Malmaison). Jurys Inn & Leonardo: has properties in over 30 cities in the UK and Ireland. It acquired and rebranded four Grange Hotels in London earlier this year. Macdonald Hotels: over 35 luxury hotels across the UK and is particularly strong in Scotland. Premier Inn: has over 800 hotels across the UK and Ireland, plus sub-brands Zip (just one so far, in Cardiff) and Hub (in London and Edinburgh). Q Hotels: having launched in 2003 with two hotels, it now manages 21 across the UK. Travelodge: has more than 560 hotels and aims to open another 17 in 2019. Also has a £100million expansion plan, targeting the UK's largest conference locations. Village Hotels: has 30 hotels across the UK; strong in the North and Midlands. Z Hotels: 13 hotels offering 'affordable luxury' in London, Glasgow and Liverpool.
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7/22/19 07:01 PM
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The Business Travel People Awards 2019
Raising a glass to success!
People Awards winners’ lunch ▼
All the winners from The Business Travel People Awards 2019 were hosted at a celebratory lunch courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts at The Shard in June. On a beautiful clear day, the winners were treated to a Champagne reception, three-course meal and some stunning views.
All seated and ready to tuck in to a three-course feast!
Awesome views from the London landmark
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7/25/19 06:49 PM
MEET THE BUYER
PRADEEP NAIR Pradeep Nair is Director of Global Procurement at the NBA. He tells us about his organisation’s evolving use of data to inform its travel programme I’ve been in my role for two years and have been in procurement for much longer. I’m based in New Jersey and travel management takes up around half of my time. The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: The National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. Approximately 60% of our travel spend is on domestic travel. We use an online booking tool and have a very high adoption rate. The transformation of business travel started last year for us, in 2018. We’re enhancing three things: the traveller experience, the policy and our contracts. Central to all this are our travellers – they are partners in this change. Data and technology are evolving at an exponential rate and we want to leverage these to transform business travel. We want to provide a great experience to our travellers and reduce the cost of travel by aggregating and consolidating data. One of our biggest challenges in doing this was that we had 13 sources of data, internally and externally, and they were fragmented and not normalised. The next question was whether to develop an in-house tool or to use third-party technology to bring it all together to get a true picture of our travel spend. We chose to do it in-house because we had the resources and skills. It gave us flexibility and produced a solution based on our specific needs, enabling us to make factbased changes to policy and contracts. It took eight months to build but I was working on it as a concept for a year before that. Our Enterprise Data Warehouse, as the tool is called, is a one-stop shop for all our
sources of data. They all feed into it and from there reports and analytics are generated. There is a dashboard for senior level reporting for CFOs and the leadership team. And we can drill down to individual travellers or trips to look at advance booking behaviour, booking method, high value tickets, cabin class, lost savings, number of days travel, and a whole lot more. We can also move boundaries and see what the impact would be of making certain changes to policy. We also now have real-time savings alerts through a third party partner which highlights the potential savings through rebooking between the time of the initial booking and the time of travel. We’ve saved more than a million dollars using this. What we have achieved so far has worked because we have involved people right from the start, and we’ve achieved pretty good results. We’ve seen a 10% reduction in our travel costs and very high traveller satisfaction.
We really listen to our travellers. Getting feedback is so important, so we conduct regular traveller surveys. These are targeted at the people who are travelling frequently. We’ve had more than an 80% response rate – and 93% favourable response – because people know they’ll be listened to and that we’ll take action. We’re not done yet! This is an ongoing process and we continue to evaluate the information. What works today might not work tomorrow, so we have to keep abreast of change.
We really listen to our travellers. Getting feedback is so important, so we conduct regular surveys. We've had more than an 80% response rate because people know they'll be listened to” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
7/25/19 11:33 AM
[ Delays and disruption ]
Smooth landings Airlines are adopting new technology to help alleviate the stress around airline disruptions, writes Linda Fox
ll corporate travellers will have suffered them at one time or another, be it because of weather events, tech problems or something else, but flight delays are a bind whatever form they take. One airline taking action is Cathay Pacific, which began looking at how it might mitigate the disruption caused by typhoons in its home region. The airline says it wanted to take a customer-centric approach to something that can impact as many as 100,000 passengers if flights have to be cancelled for one day. Josh Rogers, Head of Airport Customer Service at Cathay Pacific, says the airline dealt with 31 typhoon-related events last year alone. Speaking at the Amadeus Airline Executive Summit, held in Istanbul in June, he said the carrier opted for a “designthinking approach” by asking itself questions around how it can improve the experience for passengers, employees and the airline’s operations. What Cathay ended up with was a threepronged solution, with Amadeus Passenger Recovery technology used to optimise how disruptions are handled, 15Below used for communications, and a chatbot tool called Vera developed with Accenture to help passengers rebook their flights. With this technology in place, the hope is that when a typhoon is expected, the airline can plan ahead more effectively. For example, customers on non-essential travel have the opportunity to change their plans ahead of time and will receive an email with options and a link to the chatbot. The chatbot is then able to rebook their preferred flight in four steps. In the aftermath of disruption, the airline is hoping that the same four steps to book will prevent the chaotic scenes at the airport that have made media headlines in the past. The airline has so far trialled the solution, with all passengers on a cancelled Hong 38
Kong to Shanghai flight rebooked within six to eight minutes. Scenarios are already being run for when typhoon season hits. The next step is to work with Amadeus to use the Vera chatbot to help with rebooking passengers that booked via a travel agency or other third party, rather than direct. Lufthansa, however, says that it has no email or contact details for about 20% of its passengers and hopes that it can address this challenge, as well as handle disruption more effectively, by equipping its staff with the Amadeus Airport Companion application. Ultimately, the airline’s vision is to remove counters and check-in desks and have roaming staff at its airports with the app able to check them in, handle transfers in a disruption and sell ancillaries, among other various duties. Initially, however, the app is focused on helping Lufthansa’s passengers during disruption. Also speaking at the Amadeus event, Vicky Scherber, Senior Director of Passenger and Baggage Processes for Lufthansa Group, said: “In ten years time there will be less desks and counters. We want to mobilise our agents to give them the tools because a lot of the time the passenger knows more about the status of a flight than the employee, so we really need to enable the colleague to make a positive impact.” Scherber added that some education is also required, with the airline discovering in tests that between 50% and 70% of passengers queueing at a service desk have already been rebooked.
We want to mobilise our agents and give them the tools because a lot of the time the passenger knows more about the status of a flight than the employee”
7/22/19 06:59 PM
Travel Counsellors conference The human touch Client relationships, technology and the ‘human touch’ were among the key themes discussed at Travel Counsellors’ business travel conference in June. Travel Counsellors’ biggest corporate travel conference to date saw nearly 200 business travel specialists and supplier partners gather in Birmingham for the two-day event. Opening the event, CEO Steve Byrne said the organisation – which specialises in the SME sector – aims to continue its doubledigit growth over the next five years. “Each year up to 300 people across the globe become entrepreneurs through Travel Counsellors, running their own corporate travel businesses from home or shared offices, supporting their clients to make up to 150,000 trips to 175 countries across the globe,” said Byrne. “We’ve seen 18% global growth year-onyear for corporate travel, winning £22million in new business in the last 12 months alone. This growth trajectory is in no small part due to the trusted relationships you create with your clients, and the care and dedication you show each day to ensure they enjoy seamless travel and booking experiences,” he added. Meanwhile, Travel Counsellors Director of Digital and Innovation, Waseem Haq,
NUMBERS UP Travel Counsellors generates turnover of more than £220million a year and has over 1,800 travel franchisees supported by 400 staff across its Manchester headquarters and six overseas offices.
discussed the organisation’s technology developments. “The biggest trend we’re seeing from our corporate travel clients is the desire for an increasingly ‘mobile’ experience,” said Haq. “60% of our customers use mobile travel apps and find push alerts incredibly useful to support frictionless journeys. With 81% of our customers favouring voice search on mobile too, we’re continuously looking for opportunities to incorporate artificial
intelligence where it enhances our client’s experiences with us,” he explained. Haq said that the company's bespoke technology platform Phenix continues to receive £2.5million in investment per year, with the booking system set to become an intelligent tool that will recommend personal itineraries according to client booking behaviour. Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines were headline sponsors of the annual event.
DOING IT RIGHT
“TRAVEL COUNSELLORS WILL CONTINUE TO BE SUCCESSFUL BY ALWAYS DOING THE RIGHT THING BY PEOPLE, SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITIES WE WORK WITHIN AND THE PLACES OUR CLIENTS TRAVEL TO.”
Travel Counsellors reported an 80% increase in sales attached to MICE activities in the first half of this year in comparison to the same period last year.
Steve Byrne, CEO, Travel Counsellors
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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES
MONEY Payment processes are set for a shake-up this autumn, writes Gillian Upton, while virtual cards and expense management systems continue to gain traction
he prospect of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook influencing the global economy with an alternative financial system based on Libra, its crypto currency, is sending shockwaves throughout the world’s banking system. It’s probably second only to concerns over the readiness of the European market for the new European security legislation, Strong Consumer Authentication or SCA, intended to launch this September. For the UK at least, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recognises the challenges of meeting the autumn deadline of what is also known as the PSD2 directive, a twofactor authentication (PIN code, password, available device, biometric data etc) on online payments, and has announced a grace period. Before the FCA announcement, banks were predicting that some 30% of e-commerce transactions would be declined. SCA is already in practice in Germany and France. Christophe Lacour, Head of Merchant Services at Amadeus Payments, believes the grace period may add confusion over intra-EEA cross-border transactions. ”The local regulator of the issuer country 'A' may take a different stance on the grace period than the local regulator of the 40
acquirer in country 'B',” he says. “In the UK, the local regulator (the FCA), has confirmed it will consider a grace period for individual firms that can provide a documented migration plan towards SCA compliance.” Lacour advises moving towards SCA readiness as soon as possible. Industry experts believe SCA will have the greatest potential impact on corporate travel management companies as all service providers will have to build authentication into their payment flow and introduce an extra step of identification. Merchantinitiated transactions that use lodge or virtual corporate cards, commonly used by TMCs, may not require separate authentication, according to the UK’s FCA.
Who’s exempt from SCA and who’s not is still a grey area. However, it appears unlikely that all corporate travel cards will be exempt from SCA. Complying with it won’t necessarily be straightforward in the corporate travel space where authorisations for card payments are often made as a batch. This could explain how the industry appears somewhat under prepared. Bertrand Blais, Vice President, Product Management at KDS says, “For online travel
booking this will add a step to the online booking process for travellers using their personal credit card. “Meeting the requirements is not only a question of compliance, but also a technological, strategic and operational challenge which extends beyond finance and banking. It will require a technological change and integration with suppliers – that’s time consuming. For SMEs, it’s likely to have a huge impact as they are not generally using lodge cards or virtual cards.” Blais believes there will be disruption, whatever the implementation date, and that some transactions could be blocked because of it. “We might be caught out on day one,” agrees Robin Smith, Chief Product Engineer at Click Travel. “And we won’t know if a card is not going to meet that exemption until it happens.” Despite these misgivings, adding an additional layer of security on electronic payments is welcomed as it will help protect from fraud, which is a massive global problem with physical credit cards. It’s a strong argument for using virtual cards instead, which can be tightly controlled by merchant type, a pre-set value and time windows, and are not affected by the new SCA regulations (as far as anyone can tell).
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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES
AirPlus says the FCA outlined which products could be exempt if the issuer met certain requirements and therefore submitted an exemption request that included “a lengthy explanation of how we would fulfil the exemption requirements,” explains Paul Spelman, AirPlus’ Managing Director UK & Ireland. “We had a follow-up call and they have said that no further action is required on our side, so in essence our lodge and virtual products are now covered under the FCA exemption,” says Spelman.
As the use of credit cards declines, it is anticipated that virtual cards will be the default payment of the future. Virtual cards contain the same information as physical cards – ie, an expiration date and CVV – and are primarily used as an alternative to corporate credit cards for hotel payment. In the early days there were acceptance issues with hotel front desk staff announcing to the traveller on arrival that the room hadn’t been paid for, but training and familiarity have eased the situation, although some travellers carry a copy of it on their phone as back-up. “We had to generate pictures of it and fax round copies to prove the card existed,” says Click’s Smith. “The bread and butter locations have adopted virtual cards, particularly
the large hotel chains,” says Maria Parpou, Managing Director of Commercial Payments at Barclaycard, one of the largest providers of virtual cards under its Precision Pay branded platform. And as far as expenses are concerned, they can be sent to a digital wallet which makes reconciliation more seamless. Virtual cards consolidate spend across multiple sources of credits and the corporate receives a consolidated invoice from the provider with rich, detailed invoices including custom data and cost centres. Next year a virtual card will be able to be sent to an app and payment made via a phone via Apple Pay. “That will help bridge the gap between a physical and virtual card,” says Parpou. According to BCD's report on the subject, in 2016, fewer than 1% of respondents said their company was using a virtual card as a method of payment. This figure rose to 11% by 2017. Germany, in particular, has adopted virtual cards in a big way, with 29% usage according to the BCD report. The virtual credit card from AirPlus International, called A.I.D.A, is a digital version of a MasterCard. Of its three products, A.I.D.A, a lodge account card (mainly for airline spend), and a physical plastic card, AirPlus' Spelman says that by far the biggest growth is from virtual cards. “We’ve witnessed 25% year-on-year growth, which is much higher than the other products are growing, and within
In the early days of virtual cards there were acceptance issues but training and familiarity have eased the situation” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
7/25/19 05:11 PM
PAYMENTS & EXPENSES
We have single digits of clients who have got their head around the whole payments and expenses piece. We still come across companies doing expenses on Excel spreadsheets” the next three years virtual cards will be our biggest product.” MasterCard is more optimistic and predicts 30% year-on-year growth of virtual cards. Spelman believes usage to date has been with non-frequent travellers such as contractors and part-time employees, who wouldn’t be eligible for a corporate credit card. “It means that they can pre-pay for hotels,” says Spelman. “Corporates also issue them off a central account to keep better control of costs which has the knockon benefit to improve compliance.”
to streamline invoicing processes and remove manual intervention. The news, announced in July, is available to clients across EMEA and the APAC region. TMCs are comfortable switching over to a virtual card and are big users of virtual technology. And corporates more and more so as some will not realise they are even using a virtual card as it comes out of a central account and they will only see it as a transaction.
The future of cash
Spelman predicts that, ultimately, cash will disappear and that while a physical card will continue to be convenient, they will also disappear in the long run. “The winner will be the virtual card,” he says. The growth in Apple Pay and WeChat testifies to the fact that consumers no longer want to, or need to, carry a wallet full of credit cards. John Vasili, Head of Global Sales at Conferma, concurs, citing misuse and fraud, and the cost to print and manage physical card programmes as significantly reducing the appetite for both the issuer and customer to continue with physical cards. He also believes there is another driver to grow the market for virtual cards – mobile enablement. Virtual cards linked to Apple and Google wallets is being delivered today, which removes the requirements for physical cards for on-the-go corporate spend. Disruptors such as Alipay and WeChat moving in to the corporate pay arena supports the case for the transition to virtual cards with mobile contactless and NFC enablement. It hasn’t stopped Conferma Pay joining forces with mid- and back-office technology provider Procon Solutions to offer corporates a fully automated virtual payment solution 42
Despite the enormous dynamism in the marketplace, expense management is still in its infancy with corporates, according to Dave Bishop, Commercial Director at travel management company Gray Dawes. “We have single digits of clients who have got their head around the whole payments and expenses piece,” he says. “We still come across companies with paper expenses, ExCel spreadsheets and invoices stapled together in an envelope.” Needing to deliver something that’s easy to use and saves travellers’ time, Gray Dawes offers the Certify expense tool to clients, which allows mobile receipt capture by photo (thanks to optical character recognition – OCR) to the Certify app and then autofills expense entries into an expense report to review and submit. It also allows faster reimbursement and insightful reports on T&E spend. Meanwhile, expense management specialists are upping the ante when it comes to the sort of analytics functionality they provide customers. Traveldoo, for example, introduced Insight this summer, a platform it claims is “one of the most sophisticated and dynamic business intelligence modules on the market”. Users can search over 100 KPIs on the platform and filter and drill-down into data visualisations to identify trends and patterns. “Our clients are very excited about this new product feature,” says Traveldoo analyst Suganya Sivasubramanian. “Unlike most other products on the market which have static reporting and clunky functionality which require analytics experts to delve into the data, Insight has been designed to be flexible, usable and dynamic.”
7/25/19 05:11 PM
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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES
Getting as many of the big-ticket items on a central account as possible is the seamless way to deal with travel and expenses. Then that leaves less to spend on the corporate card and makes for greater compliance. Consolidate all of that into an expenses system attributed by trip and all that’s left to capture is the small, on-theroad expenses such as a meal or taxi fare or roaming charges from an international trip. It should all be paperless and seamless. The key to achieving this is the TMC, who can capture all the data from the disparate sources via APIs, as long as you ensure that the provider you choose is directly integrated with your TMC. This seamless travel and expenses flow is seen as best practice and is what corporates should be aiming for once they see the potential of integrating travel and expenses. “Look at the US,” says Bishop. “Some 80% of the client base is on Concur and, of that,
50% have successfully integrated travel and expenses. That feels like where we could get to in the UK.”
Resistance to change is one factor slowing integration, while trust issues over providing employees with cards is another. A third reason is losing the beneficial cash flow arrangement a TMC provides. “Some corporates like to use some TMCs as a bank as we give them credit and that’s part of our value proposition,” says Bishop. “Their cash flow is important, ‘Let them pay for it’, they say. I’ve seen glacial movement from invoice to card over 20 years.” A younger workforce is more accepting of change, which translates largely to more entrepreneurial SMEs automating travel and expenses. “Some 50% of millennials will be in the workforce next year who are used to
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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES
direct consumption and this disaggregated economy,” says Ian Ferguson, who runs the Solutions Consulting Group at Business Travel Direct. AirPlus’ Spelman adds: “Don’t assume that it’s the bigger brands moving ahead. Only last week I talked to a very big brand that still issues cash advances and leaves it up to the individual to sort out what is personal expenses and what is not.” Another challenge is the silos corporates create that must be broken down to connect all the pieces together. “Rather than log into different sites, take all the sources, such as direct bookings, expenses invoices, TMC bookings, Uber and Starbucks expenses, into one silo,” says Brian Tarble, Vice President of Global Product Management, Concur Data & Analytics at SAP. Over the last two years the company has re-designed its data platform to integrate all the data sources and systems and to selfpopulate it all into an expense report.
Mobile payments are also lagging behind in the corporate world. The next big step here is to store a corporate card in a digital wallet in a smartphone from which to make payments, “but the technology isn’t quite there yet,” says Airplus’ Spelman. “I can go to my banking app and do it in the leisure space but not in the business space. We will see it in the latter end of next year,” he says, adding that it will transform the way corporate cards are used. It’s the ideal application for small expenses but not big-ticket items like airfares. Moreover, the move away from centralised bookings and towards travellers booking their own travel will drive growth in mobile payments in the long run.
Corporates can wave goodbye to the manual inputting of travel and expense data and lengthy approval times and say hello to a sleeker, automated travel and expenses process” 46
Much has been said about the spectre of blockchain and at SAP Concur’s annual Fusion conference one session flagged up the five forces that will change the face of corporate travel. Two of these were virtual pay and blockchain (the others were NDC, global tax laws and AI). Blockchain is a way of securely transferring money via intermediary banks to a payment wallet in about four seconds rather than the traditional two to three days. “It’s all fully encrypted – it’s like a big database,” explains Martin Biermann, Chief Product Officer of HRS. It would see an end to the high-profile account hacking, experienced by Yahoo in three billion accounts, for example. “It’s plug and play without doing anything,” he says. The downside is that blockchain is focussed on crypto currencies currently so, for now, the jury is out on what impact, if any, it will have on instant payments in corporate travel. “We haven’t figured out yet how blockchain will be used in travel,” says Barclaycard’s Parpou. “I put a big question mark around it as it needs to solve a problem and, in travel, collaboration isn’t an issue so I don’t see a primary need for it in our business,” she says. Other emerging technologies will have an impact too. Machine learning – a form of AI – will provide self-writing, self-checking expenses in the future says BCD's report. With hotels and airlines demanding upfront payment, the ecosystem will have to evolve and fast. AirPlus’ Spelman believes payment will become a condition of booking. “It will be a case of, ‘if you want full NDC content this is how you pay’,“ he says. Corporates can wave goodbye to the manual inputting of travel and expense data and lengthy approval times and say hello to a sleeker, automated travel and expenses process with greater efficiency of process, tighter control over spend, improved compliance and visibility of spend. It’s an exciting prospect if they choose to embrace it.
7/25/19 05:11 PM
Autumn Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening brought to you by The Business Travel Conference
Wednesday 16th October Native Manchester Join us for an evening of hospitality and networking at this new property from Native. The innovative aparthotel and independent Cultureplex social hub includes the Bistrotheque restaurant, a mini cinema, bar, coﬀee counter and ﬂexible events and workspaces along with independent ﬁtness space from BLOK. Set in Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter and close to Manchester Piccadilly Station, PAs and EAs can enjoy the full Native experience, seeing the facilities ﬁrst hand whilst enjoying complimentary drinks, delicious food and the chance to win some fabulous prizes on the evening courtesy of event sponsors. PAs & EAs can apply for a free place via thebusinesstravelconference.com
Suppliers can contact Kirsty.email@example.com regarding sponsorship opportunities
An event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings thebusinesstravelconference.com
autumn sparkle AH.indd 13
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
7/25/19 07:23 PM
SIR TREVOR MCDONALD News veteran and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald loves balmy Caribbean evenings, hates airports, and describes himself as a coward in a conflict zone, writes Sasha Wood
s the leading newscaster of his generation, Sir Trevor McDonald has been responsible for many landmark TV moments and has interviewed key historical figures ranging from Saddam Hussein to Peace Prize winners such as Nelson Mandela and Benazir Bhutto. Born in Trinidad, McDonald worked as a local news reporter before moving to London to join the BBC in 1969, and has since travelled far and wide in his profession. McDonald says he travelled like a king for his most recent documentary, Indian Train Adventure, covering his eight-day journey between Mumbai and Jaipur aboard the legendary Maharajas' Express. “India overwhelms the senses. It’s such a large country, so populous, so crowded and the driving is utterly mad. It’s something you have to do once,” says McDonald. But it has not always been plain sailing. When he joined ITN in the 1970s he was sent to Northern Ireland during the height of The Troubles. “There were people being shot and bombs going off all the time,” he says. “I was from Trinidad and used to seeing the odd skirmish outside the rum shop on a Friday night, but I’d never heard a bomb go off before. I must admit there were times when I was scared out of my wits. I am very cowardly by nature so I learned to run.” He reported from Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, and went to Baghdad before the first Gulf War to interview Saddam Hussein. In fact, he lists Beirut among the most surprising places he’s visited, partly because it managed to remain so civilized even in the midst of raging civil war. 48
“People were fighting and killing each other during the week and on Sunday morning people came out and set up little stalls selling the finest French perfume and Champagne. I turned up to a fine restaurant and I couldn’t believe all the tables were full,” he explains. But McDonald doesn’t always get the chance to explore when he’s on assignment, so he frequently revisits places where he’s worked: “The west coast of America is one of them – I love San Diego and Santa Monica. You discover new things every time you go.”
I'm from Trinidad so I was used to seeing the odd skirmish outside the rum shop, but I'd never heard a bomb go off before” One of the places McDonald has returned to often, after working there for many years, is South Africa. He was the first person to interview Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990 and again when he became president in 1994. The two subsequently met on many occasions and became firm friends. “It was fascinating to watch the country go through all the traumas of what it was to what it wants to be. I saw a lot of changes, but quite frankly on my last visit about a year ago I was a little distressed that some of the changes have not been greater... and quite shocked to see some of the same slums that were there when I first visited 25 years ago,” he says.
As a journalist, he has always been fascinated with meeting world leaders. He was friends with Benazir Bhutto and interviewees have included notorious despots such as Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. He has also been invited to the White House on several occasions, interviewing President Clinton and later President Bush the younger. McDonald has travelled extensively in the Caribbean, from Barbados and Antigua to St Kitts and Nevis. “My father was born in Grenada and he always used to boast that their beaches are better than our beaches in Trinidad,” he says. “What I like about the Caribbean is that it’s always warm after 6 or 7 o’clock. Even on summer evenings here you feel you need a light sweater, but in the Caribbean you put on a short-sleeved shirt and pour yourself a large rum punch, and you can sit out there on the verandah forever.” Barbados is also one of his go-to places for a relaxing holiday, along with Cape Town in South Africa – “the waterfront area there is very nice,” says McDonald. Between travelling for work and sojourns in South Africa and the Caribbean, the broadcaster says he has spent far too long in airports, which are his least favourite aspect of his globe-trotting exploits: “I approach them with dread,” he laughs. That said, his time spent working in troubled destinations around the globe has nurtured a certain warmth for British aviation: “I must confess that it was always nice to get on to a British Airways flight and hear the captain’s voice – you always felt you were heading home and out of trouble.”
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SIR TREVOR MCDONALD Sir Trevor McDonald is a keynote speaker at The Business Travel Conference 2019 in London, from 17-18 September. His broadcasting career spans ﬁve decades working for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 covering everything from politics to travel. He became a household name presenting the News at Ten in the 1990s and regular current aﬀairs programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald. He was awarded an OBE in 1992, a Knighthood in 1999 and has received more awards than any other news broadcaster in Britain.
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Upcoming destination, Iguazu Discover Iguazu with Air Europa this summer. Two weekly flights from London Gatwick starting 1st August 2019. All flights are via Madrid.
7/22/19 07:10 PM
Review [ T H E LOWDO W N ]
[ RO O M R E PO R T ]
T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER [ O N TH E G R O U N D ]
[ ME ETI N G P LAC E ]
Duty of care among managers' top travel concerns
The Great Scotland Yard hotel is poised to open in London
Overall train passenger satisfaction is on the rise
Events sector is unprepared for no-deal Brexit
[ I N T H E AI R ]
ANA's new first and business class cabins to debut on London services
T H E
M O V E
The latest industry appointments p60 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
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7/25/19 12:09 PM
T H E
L O W D O W N
TRAVELPERK'S FLEXIBLE FARES
ONLINE travel management platform TravelPerk has launched FlexiPerk – which it claims is a ﬁrst for the business travel industry. The scheme enables customers to avoid booking expensive ﬂexible fares and instead pay a 10% fee on bookings upfront. This then guarantees a minimum 90% refund on any cancelled booking, be it hotel, ﬂight or car rental. Customers taking part in a trial achieved savings of 26%, on average, compared to the cost of booking ﬂexible fares and paying last-minute cancellation fees.
Out of line
One in four travel managers (39%) believe the biggest challenge to booking tool compliance is the belief among users that they can get a better price elsewhere, according to new research from ACTE and Amex GBT. Meanwhile, 18% blamed a poor user experience and 16% said travellers prefer to call a consultant.
ACE Travel Management has partnered with Driven Airport Transfers to provide its clients with fully-electric transfers using Tesla X vehicles. The TMC says it is confident that the option also provides good value, often saving a third compared to traditional airport transfer services.
Frequent business travellers – those who make more than five trips a year – are 13% more likely to book flights on their smartphones than occasional travellers, while travellers revisiting a location are 11% more likely to do so. CWT also says travellers are more inclined to book flights via mobile devices closer to their date of departure.
Duty of care among biggest concerns ORGANISING correct entry documents, health and medical issues, and terrorism and security threats are the top three concerns for managers when their staﬀ travel on business trips, new research from ABTA has revealed. However, there are some marked diﬀerences between managers’ concerns and the actual problems encountered by their staﬀ. For example, 60% of managers expressed concerns over terrorism or security related issues, but only 6% said their staﬀ had actually experienced those problems. When asked what problems staﬀ had encountered on business trips in the last year, the top three issues were natural disasters or severe weather conditions (18%), health or medical issues (15%) and issues around organising correct entry documents (13%). Over half of managers (51%) said that none of their staﬀ had encountered any problems on business trips over the last 12 months.
58% of European millennials believe that business travel has the potential to stimulate creativity and productivity, says a new report from CWT
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IN BRIEF BCD moves
BCD Travel has signed up to Qantas Airways’ Qantas Channel, giving its users access to a wider range of fares and content through the NDC channel. The TMC has also signed an agreement to take a majority ownership in its Japanese partner Hitachi Travel Bureau, one of the country's leading TMCs with annual sales of more than $330million.
Travel management company Reed & Mackay has enhanced its reach in Asia with Connexus Travel joining its International Partnership. It is Hong Kong's largest TMC and additionally has offices in China and Taiwan.
L O W D O W N
GTMC reveals new identity as the BTA THE Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) announced a new name and identity at its annual conference in the Netherlands in July, with the organisation moving forward as the Business Travel Association (BTA). Its new name reﬂects a “more inclusive, more ambitious, more collaborative and bolder outlook”, said Adrian Parkes, the association's Chief Executive, who steps down this summer. “We've developed as an organisation in recent years and the time was right [to rebrand],” he said, pointing to its growing number of supplier partners and increasing lobbying activity. “This evolution to the BTA celebrates a step-change for the association and allows us to more clearly communicate the board’s broadened strategy,” said Parkes. A new CEO will be announced this summer.
TripActions has raised a further $250million in funding as it aims to “solve the antiquated product, service and experience of the corporate travel management industry”. The California-based company has achieved “hyper-growth while maintaining 93% traveller satisfaction”. It handles more than $1.1billion in annual travel spend.
Hull of a Good job
Hull-based Good Travel Management is targeting SMEs with the launch of a new website that includes a range of downloadable resources. The TMC offers a range of services such as a personal travel team, strategic account manager, real-time travel analytics, online booking, expense management and travel risk technology.
58% OF BUSINESS LEADERS BELIEVE A STRONG TRAVEL CULTURE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THEIR ORGANISATION’S BUSINESS PERFORMANCE, ACCORDING TO A REPORT FROM EGENCIA AND THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM
Sustainability used to be a term presented in relation to fuels and resources, but our travel buyer community tells us it is now also applied to the most precious resource a business has – their people. In order to have a sustainable travel programme, travel buyers and managers are being increasingly guided to make travel options available that place minimum strain on the individual as well as the ecosystem and local communities too. There are broadly two ways to do this. The ﬁrst is to work with partners who minimise emissions, support environmental reparations and that travellers enjoy using. The second is to help with employee travel frequency and work/life balance, which could be perceived to negatively hit productivity (but probably doesn't). Now, I’ve worked for airlines and other organisations who beneﬁt from increased demand, so both of these remedies could sound like bad news. The truth is they’re not because a) we’ve all got to take care of the big round rock we call home or we’ll have to go somewhere else one day, and b) frazzled, burned out people physically can’t travel anymore any way.
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T H E
A I R
Virgin and Delta up the ante on US routes
UK DEBUT FOR NEW ANA CABINS ALL Nippon Airways (ANA) will debut its new business and first class seating on services between London and Tokyo in August. The new first class product, The Suite, and business class seat, The Room (pictured), will be fitted on 12 B777-300ER aircraft, the first of which will fly between London and Tokyo Haneda from August 2.
The airline says the new first class Suites are inspired by luxury Japanese hotels, with new features including privacy doors and 43-inch 4K screens. Business class ‘Rooms’ are in a forward and rear-facing configuration and have privacy doors that can be adjusted so passengers can dine together or conduct meetings.
FLIGHTS operated by Virgin Atlantic's new A350s and featuring its new-look Upper Class cabins are now on sale, with the aircraft due to enter service between London Heathrow and New York JFK on September 10. Four A350s will join the airline’s fleet by the end of 2019 to operate daily flights between London and New York. The airline will take delivery of a further eight A350’s from 2020-2021. The A350 is the first Virgin Atlantic aircraft to feature a
manUfacTUring hUb becomes heaThrow's laTesT china link CHINA Southern has commenced services between London Heathrow and Zhenghou in eastern China. The twice-weekly service to the Chinese manufacturing hub is the only direct operation from Europe. Some 70% of the world’s Apple iPhones are manufactured in the city and it is a key player in the textiles industry. Heathrow now has 13 direct services to destinations across China, having more than doubled since 2018.
of passenger traﬃc travelled in airlines' premium classes
new social space, the Loft, as well as new Upper Class suites with window-facing seats and privacy screens. Meanwhile, Virgin's joint venture partner Delta Air Lines will bring its new cabin concepts to the UK for the first time this winter. Its four upgraded seat products – Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin – will feature on services from London to Atlanta (from November 13), New York-JFK (Nov 17) and Boston (Nov 21).
The number of passengers flying in premium cabins has dropped marginally, to 4% for the first four months of 2019, down from 4.1% a year ago. IATA's latest Financial Monitor also shows that premium traffic accounts for 27.4% of total international passenger revenues
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A I R
B T A u p d ate
Eastern's Leeds boost
Business Travel Association
The latest from the
Eastern Airways will increase services between Southampton Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport from September 9. A new afternoon flight will take the operation to up to three flights a day, offering more choice on its Flybe franchise services.
(formerly the GTMC)
Great Dane arrival
Great Dane Airlines has launched twice-weekly services between Edinburgh and Aalborg – the airline’s first service to the UK.
Air Canada and fellow Canadian airline Air Transat are set to merge. The deal will see the Air Transat and Transat brands retained alongside the Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge brands.
Cathay Pacific has completed the acquisition of Hong Kong Express Airways which will continue to operate as a standalone low-cost airline.
Virgin for SMEs
Virgin Atlantic has closed its Flying Co scheme and joined the Bluebiz corporate loyalty programme for SMEs alongside Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines and Kenya Airways.
Bristol to Brussels
Brussels Airlines will relaunch services between Bristol and Brussels this September (served by CityJet CRJ900 aircraft), a route previously operated by its defunct partner airline Flybmi.
minneapolis-ST.PAUL has become aer lingus' 16th transatlantic route from Dublin. It is expected to become a key business service, with the ‘Twin Cities’ a growing tech hub and home to 17 Fortune 500 companies
Delays worsen as UK flight numbers grow NEW research has revealed that flight delays are getting worse at nearly every major airport in the UK, highlighting the need to modernise the way the UK and Europe’s air space is managed. Consumer association Which? analysed flight delay statistics for the last five years and found that 6.2% of all incoming and outgoing flights were delayed by more than an hour last year, up from 4% in 2014, though Which? notes delays are often out of the control of the airlines themselves. Aircraft movements in the UK have increased from just over 1.5million in 2014 to 2.25m in 2018. “UK airspace has failed to keep pace with this surge in traffic,” says Which?. “It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s and the CAA acknowledges that this is a reason for increased delays.”
It’s been an eventful year so far, with lots of changes, not least for us. In April, we announced that CEO, Adrian Parkes, was stepping down and embracing retirement. Adrian’s work at the helm of our association reflected his passion for the business travel industry. He led the organisation during major regulatory changes, the advancement of NDC and the uncertainty of Brexit, all of which required our focus. The most substantial change however, was announced in early July during our 2019 Overseas Conference in the Netherlands, where we unveiled our move to become the BTA (Business Travel Association). The new brand is a natural step as our association seamlessly expanded our scope of work over the past few years. Initiatives have been designed to futureproof the industry and look at talent development, engage with government, promote the economic benefits of business travel and collaborate with our wide range of partners to unite over our industry’s challenges and celebrate its successes. While Adrian Parkes steps down, we welcome Suzanne Horner of Gray Dawes as our new Chair of the executive board. We all look forward to working together under the new name, not only implementing the BTA’s strategy but also carrying the association’s commitment even further.
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R O O M
LIVERPooL LaunCH FoR QuEsT ausTralia's largest serviced apartment company Quest will open its first European property in Liverpool this September. Quest Liverpool City Centre will be the first of eight to 12 planned European openings for the group over the next five years. The new property has 100 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, all featuring fully equipped kitchenettes. Facilities at the Church Street property include a gym, laundry, conference facilities, staﬀed reception and housekeeping. Operating a franchise model, Quest has 170 properties across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and is part of Singapore's The Ascott Limited hospitality group.
R E P O R T
Hyatt opens at famous London address THE Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London, will open late this summer as the first hotel in the UK under Hyatt's Unbound Collection. The historical home of law and order in Westminster, the building has been converted to feature 152 luxury guestooms plus a number of dining options. They include The Yard, championing home-grown dining; cocktail bar The Forty
Elephants, named after a notorious all-female gang of thieves; the India-inspired modern tearoom, The Parlour; and Sibin, a more intimate drinking space. The hotel's basement will include
[ NEW AND IMPROVED ] >> The RAMADA BOURNEMOUTH hotel has been refurbished and reopened as a Holiday Inn >> Cheshire's WYCHWOOD PARK HOTEL is undergoing a £3million makeover of its guestrooms, bar, restaurant and public areas, due for completion this autumn >> The 369-room HILTON GARDEN INN London Heathrow Terminal 2 has now opened for business >> GRANTLEY HALL in Yorkshire has opened after an extensive three-year renovation. It is a member of Relais & Châteaux >> The HOLIDAY INN London Kensington Forum has unveiled a new look following a multi-million-pound refurbishment >> Aparthotel brand LOCKE will open a 142-key development in London’s Tower Bridge area in summer 2020.
Wiﬁ is the biggest factor inﬂuencing hotel selection
a range of event spaces and co-working areas. Hyatt says the hotel will oﬀer "a modern British experience that’s rooted in hospitality and suited to such a historic landmark."
Wifi (84%), room rate (81%), distance from business site (81%) and breakfast (79%) are the most important factors influencing a business traveller's choice of hotel, says RoomIt by CWT. In addition, research showed that service is a stronger driver than image or amenities offered
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IN BRIEF Layton's launch
Serviced apartment industry stalwart Jo Layton has formally launched new global booking agency CAP Worldwide. The company serves the corporate market and promises to deliver a “consistent, cost-effective, secure and sustainable evolving global programme, so that travellers experience caring service and safe solutions through a blended integration of people and technology”.
BCD gets radical
R E P O R T
Japan's Prince Hotels set for London debut
capital gains sustainable hotel brand
THE Arch London Hotel will re-open as the Prince Akatoki this September, becoming the group’s first UK hotel. It will also be the first hotel to open worldwide under the Prince group's new Akatoki brand. The opening is scheduled for September 16 and will “take the best of Japan and introduce it to London”. Located close to Marble Arch, the five-star property will have 82 guestrooms – including a range of rooms and suites – featuring minimal designs, natural elements, calming colours and premium amenities. Dining options will include fusion food restaurant Liquid Spoon and cocktails and whisky bar The Malt Lounge, while further amenities include a gym and The Prince Room for meetings and events of up to 36 guests.
Starwood Capital Group has revealed a new hotel brand, Treehouse Hotels, that will make its debut in London later this year. The brand is the creation of Barry Stenlicht – Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group – who was the original founder of W Hotels and is also known for his nature-inspired 1 Hotel and Baccarat hotel brands. Treehouse Hotels is described as “the little brother of the 1” and “less serious, more torn jeans and t-shirts, and infinitely accessible”. All Treehouse properties will embrace sustainable protocols and the group is targeting business and leisure travellers alike. Its first hotel will open in London later this year with additional locations to follow in the United States and beyond. Treehouse London is located across the street from BBC headquarters on Regent Street and will comprise 95 guestrooms, a restaurant and rooftop bar.
BCD Travel has launched a dedicated global hotel division in what it says is a “dramatically new approach to managing hotel programmes”. Called Stay by BCD Travel, the division offers spend management, content aggregation, shopping and booking, virtual payment and digital invoice management, price assurance, hotel rate availability management, analytics and awareness and adoption campaigns.
dedica hotel collection arrives in UK
Red Carnation blooms
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection will open its first hotel in Scotland next year following the 'respectful renovation' of 100 Princes Street in the heart of Edinburgh. The group says the hotel will replicate the boutique atmosphere of its five-star sister property Hotel 41 in London. “It has been a dream of ours to open a hotel in Edinburgh for some time, and with the best address in the city, it was well worth the wait,” says Jonathan Raggett, the group's Managing Director.
Marriott opens the luxury Langley Hotel in Bucks Buckinghamshire's Langley Hotel has opened as part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. The high-end property has 41 rooms across a former hunting lodge and Grade II-listed 18th century brew house. It is the result of a six-year, multimillion-pound renovation that sees it open as a hotel for the first time. The main house is home to the three-bedroom Duke of Marlborough Suite
while historic features are preserved throughout the hotel. Drinking and dining options include the Churchill Bar, Cedar restaurant and the Drawing Room for afternoon teas. Meeting and event facilities comprise the Winter Garden and six further rooms for up to 120 guests, plus a private screening room. There is also an extensive spa, indoor pool, gym and a range of outdoor activities.
luxury hotel collection The Dedica Anthology is launching in the UK this summer. Headquartered in Milan and established last year, the collection of seven high-end, independent hotels is united by a “sense of curation and dedication to the guest experience”. The seven ‘landmark’ European hotels – all additionally members of the Autograph Collection – include the Palazzo Naiadi in Rome, Palazzo Matteotti in Milan, the Grand Hotel dei Dogi in Venice, the New York Palace in Budapest, and the Carlo IV in Prague.
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G R O U N D
Transpennine express takes on super nova trains
The scores are in... THE latest National Rail Passenger Survey shows that overall journey satisfaction has reached 83%, up from 79% last autumn and from 81% last spring. At a national level, the proportion of journeys rated as satisfactory by passengers regarding punctuality/reliability was 77% – up from 72% a year ago. Heathrow Express once again emerged as the best-performing operator among passengers, followed by Virgin Trains.
[ ro l l i ng out ] >> Transportation platform Bolt has launched in London promising lower fares, improved safety and greater competition in the on-demand market >> Virgin Trains has applied to the rail regulator to launch hourly services between London and Liverpool from May 2021. The ‘open access’ application would deliver the “UK’s most advanced and customer-focussed train service”, says the operator >> Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty customers can now use debit card payments across selected European locations instead of a credit card >> Enterprise has introduced eight Toyota C-HR hybrid SUVs to its Car Club network in Edinburgh.
TRAIN operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has received its first new Nova 1 trains. TPE says the Hitachi-built trains – of which there will be 19 in total – mark a “major milestone for rail customers across the North and Scotland”. The bullet train-style, five-carriage trains will bring additional capacity on services between Manchester, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh. All the new trains will offer free wifi access in both first and standard class, plus plug sockets and USB points and access to complimentary Exstream entertainment. Testing of Nova 2 and Nova 3 trains continues, with the latter entering service towards the end of the summer. A date for Nova 1 trains entering service is still to be confirmed.
Car hire's bumpy road Consumer organisation Which? says it receives more complaints about car hire than any other travel service. Its recent research revealed that nearly half (47%) of Interrent customers and more than four in ten (42%) Goldcar customers reported a problem with their rental. The next worst offenders were Thrifty (31%), Dollar (29%) and Firefly (29%). Larger rental brands fared better, with 18% of Sixt customers reporting problems, 21% of Enterprise customers, 24% of Europcar customers, and 27% of both Avis and Hertz customers encountering issues. The organisation is launching a more extensive investigation into three key issues that came to attention, focussing on high insurance excesses, unauthorised and unfair charges, and questionable damage repairs.
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M e e t i n g
p l a c e
Cresta’s MICE booking tool milestone
IN BRIEF Red Bull events
Red Bull Racing has unveiled its vibrant new event space, MK-7, in Buckinghamshire. The stylish new venue centres around an auditorium that houses the team’s collection of race cars dating back to 2005. The space can be hired exclusively for up to 450 guests, while a boardroom can seat 22 people.
UK meetings market booming
The UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2019 has revealed that the UK meetings industry is flourishing, with an estimated £20billion direct expenditure generated by conference and meeting delegates in 2018. The overall number of conferences and meetings held in 2018 was the highest in recent years, with an average of 428 conferences and meetings per venue.
New Manchester venue
Plans have been unveiled for Depot, a new 10,000 capacity venue in Manchester's historic Mayfield, next to Piccadilly station. The proposed performance, community and studio space at the Mayfield site could welcome up to a million visitors next year. Alongside the main performance space there will be two smaller areas that will provide a range of free-to-attend community events, seasonal activities and food experiences. The venue will launch this summer when it hosts Manchester Pride Live on August 24-25.
Sector is unprepared for no-deal Brexit half of the UK’s event and hospitality businesses admit to having made little or no preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. In a survey conducted by trade association the HBAA, businesses appear to be more pessimistic about their prospects while the ongoing uncertainty about the UK’s exit from the EU continues. When asked whether Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, only 15.6% this year say it has had none – a significant shift from a year ago when 57.7% reported no impact. Recruitment was the biggest concern, with 18.7% of respondents saying Brexit had hit the hiring and availability of staff. That figure has leapt from just 2.3% in 2017.
Top of the pops the Hilton London Metropole is the UK's most popular hotel for meetings and events, according to Cvent, an event management technology company that sourced more than $16billion's worth of business and more than 42 million hotel nights in 2018. The Sofitel London Heathrow was runner-up, the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow was third, The Tower Hotel fourth and Hilton London Paddington fifth. The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, in sixth, was the only hotel outside the capital city to feature in the top 20, and also has one of the largest meeting space offerings, 6,000sqm, in the top 50. Hilton's strong showing also included the Hilton London Bankside in seventh, the DoubleTree Tower of London in eighth, Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 in ninth, and the Hilton Heathrow in tenth. Outside the capital, the De Vere Beaumont Estate was 23rd, the DoubleTree Manchester Piccadilly 31st, The Runnymede On Thames was 34th, the Radisson Blu Edinburgh 36th and the Sheraton Grand Edinburgh was 37th.
cresta Business Travel has launched what it claims is the first complete travel and events online booking tool for MICE customers. The TMC has partnered with Asemblr to introduce the new online MICE booking solution which will “streamline and simplify the way corporate meetings, events and incentives are sourced, planned and booked”. The tool will give MICE bookers instant access to thousands of event suppliers globally, with costs, availability and booking options all available within a few clicks. “As workloads continue to increase, budgets tighten and KPI expectations soar, the partnership is providing a unique, smarter, cost-effective service solution across MICE and business travel,” says a spokesperson for the travel management company. The service includes complimentary insurance on event booking investment, a budget tracker and messaging system.
boost for event budgets mARKETING budgets for events rose in the second quarter of the year, according to the IPA's latest Bellwether Report, despite overall marketing budgets flatlining. The net balance of marketing executives reporting a rise in events spending increased to +4.8% from +3.5% previously. The figure is at its highest since the first quarter of 2018 and corroborates earlier forecasts that events budgets would grow over the 2019/20 financial year. “Until a clearer political and economic path is outlined, the vast majority of companies are locked in stasis,” says Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General.
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T H E
M O V E
EVENTS AUGUST 3-7
GBTA CONVENTION Chicago gbta.org SEPTEMBER 4-6
WORLD AVIATION FESTIVAL Business Design Centre, London terrapinn.com/conference SEPTEMBER 17-18
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE Hilton Bankside, London thebusinesstravelconference.com
JOINS: Virgin Atlantic AS: Executive Vice President, Customer FROM: Delta Air Lines
JOINS: Quest Apartments AS: Business Development Manager UK FROM: Independent business owner
JOINS: Cathay Pacific AS: Regional Head of Marketing & Sales FROM: Whitbread
Corneel Koster has moved over to Virgin Atlantic from joint venture partner Delta Air Lines. In his new role he will lead Virgin Atlantic’s customer, product and service strategy.
Kerry Smith has been appointed to develop sales at Quest Apartments' ﬁrst European property, in Liverpool. She has previously worked for Pullman Hotels and Staybridge Suites.
Based in London, Edward Fortheringham will oversee the airline's European operation together with newly-appointed Lisa Delaney whose remit covers digital sales.
DAVID DI FELICIANTONIO
ITM SCOTLAND CHARITY BALL The Principal Edinburgh itm.org.uk OCTOBER 15
TBTM DINNER CLUB London thebusinesstravelmag.com OCTOBER 16
TBTC'S AUTUMN SPARKLE Native Manchester thebusinesstravelconference.com OCTOBER 23-25
ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT Amsterdam acte.org NOVEMBER 4-6
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET ExCel, London london.wtm.com NOVEMBER 19-21
GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Munich europeconference.gbta.org
JOINS: De Vere Latimer Estate AS: Director of Sales FROM: Maybourne Hotel Group
JOINS: Black Box Partnerships AS: Managing Partner FROM: Capita Travel and Events
JOINS: Corporate Travel Management AS: Director of Client Services FROM: Flight Centre
Robert Featherstone has joined the De Vere group to head up sales at its Latimer Estate in Buckinghamshire. He has more than ten years' experience in the hospitality sector.
Leigh Cowlishaw has left Capita Travel and Events to join business travel consultancy Black Box Partnerships as Managing Partner specialising in accommodation and events.
David Di Feliciantonio will head up implementation projects and manage business growth in his new role at CTM. He has six years' experience in corporate travel.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... Flight Centre Business Travel has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of Joe Beevis as General Manager UK & Ireland and Aisha Battersby as Head of Customer Experience >> Garry Moroney is the new Chief Executive Oﬃcer at Roomex >> Travelport has appointed Greg Webb as Chief Executive Oﬃcer >> Alistair Rowland has been elected as the new ABTA Chairman >> Linda Hodgson has been promoted to Commercial Director at The Savoy, London >> The Board of Eurostar has named Dominique Reiniche as its new Chair >> Chris Darch is the new Director of Operations at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport
TBTM'S CHRISTMAS PARTY London thebusinesstravelmag.com FEBRUARY 26-27
BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW Olympia London businesstravelshow.com
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ANA gets things oﬀ
The Business Travel Magazine
to a ﬂying start at the ﬁrst tee
Golf Masters 2019 The ninth annual TBTM Golf Masters took place at Mannings Heath, West Sussex, in June, with teams from across the business travel industry competing to be crowned champions. Participants were blessed with fine weather and a strong breeze, but the team from Emirates conquered the conditions to emerge triumphant.
The TBTM Golf Masters 2019 ▼
Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼
Sunshine and smiles at Mannings Heath
16 teams all raring to go!
With thanks to our partners
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BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Wings Travel Management gives SME clients dedicated local servicing backed by global travel risk management support
anaging a travel programme within an SME company can often be a juggling act of balancing the day-to-day requirements of your travellers with compliance, whilst seeking out the best value. Often missed or overlooked is planning a strategy for travel risk management. Yet traveller safety is just as important for an SME as a large corporate. Wings Travel Management has wholly owned operations around the globe – from London, Lagos and Luanda to Dubai, Durban and Damman – and the TMC’s staff are experts in handling complex travel, logistics and traveller safety for corporates of all sizes in the finance, construction, security, energy and marine sectors, particularly those travelling to high-risk destinations. Notably at Wings’ office in London, staff are also experts in looking after the travel needs of SMEs as some 60 per cent of customers have an annual business travel spend of up to £1million. “Our UK-based SME clients have the best of both worlds as they receive local, personal and dedicated offline service from their Wings travel consultant, backed by the capabilities and risk management expertise of a leading independent global TMC,” says Colin Goldney, Managing Director UK, Europe & Russia, Wings Travel Management.
“As part of an SME’s duty of care as an employer, it’s vital that they can locate their travelling employees quickly in an emergency and that they have access to immediate assistance,” he added. “Most SMEs don’t have the resources in-house to handle traveller safety and risk management, so they rely on us to provide this critical support. Our services and expertise in this respect are especially suited to SMEs due to the menu of options and flexible pricing we can provide.” But travel risk management isn’t the only advantage SMEs gain from working with Wings. Because the TMC owns all its operations globally, this means it operates off a single GDS technology platform as well as a proprietary front/mid-end reservations system TMA (Travel Management Application). “Most other TMCs do not own their own operations in high-risk markets such as
Nigeria and Angola; they use partner agencies or franchisees. But the difference at Wings is that we own and manage all of our global operations,” explains Goldney. “This means that our clients – whether UK-based SME or large multinational corporate – not only benefit from consistent technology and servicing across our standardised global operational platform, but in times of emergency, our teams can access travel records regardless of where or when the reservation was made and provide support immediately.” www.wings.travel firstname.lastname@example.org @WingsTravelMgmt
7/23/19 04:52 PM
Small companies might not have the spending power of multinationals, but that doesn't mean suppliers and TMCs aren't interested in their business. Find out more in our guide to...
travel management for SMEs Introduction, 64-66 / The TMC conundrum, 68-72 Back to basics: travel policy, 74 / Spend management, 76-80 Six of the best: digital banks, 82 / Data, 84 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
7/23/19 05:03 PM
SMEs / Introduction
Are the challenges that SMEs face really that different to those encountered by larger companies? Catherine Chetwynd explores the challenges and solutions at hand
mall and medium-sized enterprises are often said to face a whole raft of size-related challenges when it comes to managing their business travel needs, but in fact they are often contending with many of the same issues faced by larger companies but on a smaller scale. Nevertheless, there are some notable differences. Although SMEs benefit from greater agility and willingness to innovate, they also have fewer people to dedicate to the task: the person organising travel is often doing so in addition to their day job and their expertise might lie elsewhere. And while large corporates have higher compliance to policy and therefore greater ability to control costs, smaller organisations are more likely to undergo speedy growth and have sporadic travel patterns that do not allow them to negotiate airfares or hotel rates. Reliable sources of advice include the ITM, Business Travel Association (formerly the GTMC) and the Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest group of independent travel agencies, whose aggregate business gives it good negotiating clout. Dedicated supplier products are also available to SMEs. Millennium Hotels & Resorts this year introduced Millennium for Business, a digital platform where users can manage travel, make itinerary-style bookings, cater to individual needs and earn rewards. 64
It includes a Best Rate Promise, is integrated with the MyMillennium rewards programme, and gives bookers access to aggregated insights and reporting.
Tricks of the trade
Also launched this year was TapTrip, a business and expense app and website for booking all elements of travel, allowing users to see what they are spending and where, and to customise travel policies. TapTrip derives content from Skyscanner, Booking.com, Goeuro, Uber and more, and integrates with expense management systems such as Xero. There is no contract, with a charge per transaction. “Thanks to centralised visibility, clients save on average £1,200 per year,” says founder Neil Ruth. Expense management tool Traveldoo is available to SMEs through partner TMCs, ensuring all expenditure is captured, providing management information to power negotiations. “A lot of SMEs do not have a full understanding of technology; they think it’s simple because they use Expedia, but someone needs to extract the information behind that to do contract negotiations,” says UK Country Manager for Traveldoo, Sam Cande. Small companies often rely on consumer booking sites before they switch to a managed travel programme. “To manage that change, it is important to meet
7/23/19 05:03 PM
Introduction / SMEs
Although SMEs benefit from greater agility and willingness to innovate, they also have fewer people to dedicate to the taskâ€?
7/23/19 05:03 PM
SMEs / Introduction
expectations of a consumer-grade experience in booking and expense management tools, but there also needs to be added value to drive adoption; for example, layering policy onto the booking experience makes it easier for employees to follow the rules,” says Vice President Product Management for KDS, Bertrand Blais.
A helping hand
A TMC is not an unnecessary expense for an SME: with the ever-rising threshold for negotiated rates, the alternative is trawling through supplier and aggregator websites to find the best tariffs. A TMC can access widespread content within one search, bringing together standard pricing, promotional rates and aggregated content. Also, if travellers are handling travel individually and the SME does not have an HR structure in place, the company will be hard pressed to find travellers in an emergency – a requirement of duty of care. “Someone looking for a TMC can do no better than speak with the BTA, the representative body for UK TMCs,” says
Managing Director of Traveleads, Gary McLeod. “All members are vetted, required to operate to professional standards and uphold the integrity of the industry; and the BTA website provides information about members.” He also recommends looking at this magazine's annual listing of the top UK TMCs, which gives size, specialisms and the ‘flavour’ of their business. The next step is to do due diligence to ensure potential suppliers provide the expertise you need, such as an online booking tool for a large volume of domestic travel or global relationships to handle international travel needs. Several TMCs have a dedicated SME operation. “SMEs are definitely getting smarter, more demanding – and that is absolutely right, they should be looking for more from their travel provider,” says UK General Manager for Corporate Traveller, Andy Hegley. “If an SME goes to a travel partner, they should meet the person who is going to be providing the service on a day-to-day basis; and as they grow and their travel needs and priorities change, they should have agreed business objectives for each quarter.”
The right TMC will provide quick and easy access to the best travel options with guaranteed best-price availability and can
provide support for travel policy creation, mandation and more. “It is vital that a provider goes beyond just booking travel. To ensure adherence and adoption, it is important that the client and the TMC communicate clearly the reasons behind working with a travel partner,” says Head of Client Development for Gray Dawes Group, Gavin Sanderson. “Educating the audience as to the benefit and value to individual travellers and the wider business ensures they are far more likely to book via the TMC,” he adds. Good Travel Management often sees a tipping point when a company needs external support to manage business travel. “For the most part, that is driven by positive requirements such as business growth, where an increased amount of travel means it is not being managed efficiently and a travel management company is required,” says Head of Sales, Account Management and Marketing, Wayne Durkin. “A good SME TMC should be offering account management as standard, as well as managing corporate supplier programmes on their behalf.” Some years ago, dedicated SME services from a TMC were few and far between. Now, says Adrian Parkes, CEO of the BTA: “Several of our members have specific products dedicated to the SME marketplace.”
If an SME goes to a travel partner, they should meet the person who is going to be providing the service on a day-to-day basis; they should have agreed business objectives” 66
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SMEs / The TMC conundrum
TOGETHER SMEs are ﬁrmly in the sights of TMCs these days but are they strictly necessary for small travel budgets? Rob Gill assesses the pros and cons of working with a TMC
o misquote Shakespeare, “To TMC, or not to TMC”, that is the question worth considering when it comes to how small and medium-sized enterprises choose to manage their business travel. During the past few years, travel management companies have increasingly targeted smaller organisations, who may never have considered using a business travel agency, instead relying on leisureorientated platforms to book flights, hotels, rail tickets and more. TMCs see the SME market as a vast untapped market for their services – and it’s hard to doubt their logic: SMEs in the UK employ 16.3 million people with a collective turnover of £2trillion per year. Previously, larger TMCs have struggled to come up with products to effectively serve the SME market but this is changing rapidly as improved technology and automation reduces the costs of them reaching smaller clients. 68
Even American Express Global Business Travel, for example, is offering a “bundle” of services to SMEs through its Business Travel Made Simple platform. For an SME new to the concept of managed travel, the choice can be daunting as it’s not just TMCs vying for their business. Technology companies, including online booking tool providers and travel management platforms such as TravelPerk, as well as big-name leisure travel brands, including Booking.com, are also making a play for the market.
Click Travel’s Chief Executive Jill Palmer says SME clients should look beyond whether a company has a “TMC badge” or not, and instead consider the advantages of managing travel. “There’s a huge benefit to having all your business travel booked in one place,” she says. “You can implement a travel policy to get travellers to make the
right choices and get reporting to know how much they are spending. It also means PAs don’t have to spend a lot of time booking travel on three different consumer sites.” Simone Buckley, CEO of Fello, adds that “speed and ease of service” are two of a TMC’s top selling points, alongside the ability to change bookings either online or by calling a consultant familiar with the SME’s requirements. “They also benefit from 24-hour emergency service, traveller risk management, a single point of payment and credit facility, as well as consolidated reporting of travel spend and booking patterns,” says Buckley. Other TMCs are also keen to stress that managing business travel effectively goes far beyond making bookings. “We can bring more value to a business especially when it comes to controlling costs – both in terms of the best rates and ensuring bookings are within travel policy,” says Tyler Buckley, Strategic Business Proposal Manager at Business Travel Direct. “The value we bring to SME clients is often quite significant compared with larger clients with mature programmes. We can achieve a significant ROI for clients in the earlier stages of managing their travel spend.”
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The TMC conundrum / SMEs
One of the first questions on the lips of any SME thinking about using a TMC for the first time is 'how much is it going to cost us?' The answer is not always simple as TMCs now offer a plethora of payment options and strategies, which are largely dependent on the level of service required. The general rule of thumb is the more automated the process, the cheaper it’s going to be. For those wanting a “higher touch” human experience, the cost is always going to be higher. Click Travel offers SMEs use of its online booking tool for free with no transaction fees – the TMC makes its money from suppliers. Click has also just introduced a new upgraded “Plus” package for £399 per year, including extra functions such as the ability to customise travel policy, sync
calendars and automate pre-trip approvals. Similarly, TravelPerk offers a basic booking option for free and then charges £9 per trip for a premium plan offering a higher level of service to clients, including priority customer and concierge services. Earlier this year, travel management company Amber Road launched a new SME service called TRAQ, which charges clients a monthly flat fee of £29 per traveller, which is only paid if the traveller is active during the month. While this sort of subscription-based model is becoming more popular, transaction fees remain common among TMCs specialising in the SME market, including Corporate Traveller, which is part of the
Flight Centre Group along with FCM. “We don’t tie clients into contracts and our payment model is based on transaction fees, but we provide flexible payment options so clients can choose whether to pay by credit card or on account,” says Andy Hegley, UK General Manager at Corporate Traveller. Offering flexibility to SMEs is also crucial for Gary McLeod, Managing Director of Traveleads. “When business travel might be sporadic, we would usually recommend the transaction fee route. Once they develop a more regular pattern of travel, we can look at management fees or subscription
One of the first questions on the lips of any SME thinking about using a TMC for the first time is 'how much is it going to cost us?'”
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SMEs / The TMC conundrum
models where we tailor charges against agreed activity,” he explains. Most SMEs recognise that there is a “cost to managing travel”, says Kevin Harrison, Good Travel Management’s Managing Director, with TMCs needing to “demonstrate broader value”, he says. “There is no such thing as a free travel management service. If there isn’t a fee, it will be somewhere within the pricing model,” adds Harrison.
Size matters – or does it?
Another key question is how much does a SME have to spend on business travel each year to make using a TMC worthwhile? The answer varies, with some suggesting at least £50,000 per year and others being more flexible, depending on the client’s current needs and potential growth. “A business is never too small for a TMC,” says Brett Gerrett, General Manager, Isleworth Travel Management, which looks after clients with a business travel spend of up to £1.5million per year. “Clients spending less have access to the same great fares and service that all clients access,” says Gerrett. “And an offline service is perfectly suited to a client with a budget of less than £60k.” Kyle Daniels, Product Marketing Manager for Clarity, adds: “If we judge companies based on annual spend or number of journeys each year, we aren’t taking into account their ability to grow. “Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s about having open and honest conversations with prospects to determine if they need a TMC or just a better way of booking their current volume of travel,” says Daniels. Mark Wilson, Corporate Travel General Manager at Travel Counsellors for Business, adds: “We aren’t interested in the number of transactions a client does. Our operating
model flexibility allows Travel Counsellors to operate in a way that ensures a personal service, with a single point of contact for all aspects of travel – SMEs value this connection the most.” Jason Geall, VP Northern Europe for American Express Global Business Travel, says travel management is becoming “more accessible” to SMEs because of “digitally-driven services”. “Depending on the customer’s factors and circumstances, we already offer services to clients with annual spend from £250,000,” Geall adds. “And we are continuing to explore new tech-based travel management solutions to help businesses with even smaller spend.”
If we judge companies based on their annual spend or the number of journeys they make each year, we aren’t taking into account their ability to grow”
Of course, there are other options for those companies keen to better manage their travel but wary of using a TMC. One of these alternatives is to start using an online booking tool offered by specialist companies such as SAP Concur, KDS or Traveldoo, among others.
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SMEs / The TMC conundrum
Darryl McGarvey, Director of Channel Development at SAP Concur, says they work with SMEs both through TMCs and directly with the client - the same booking platforms and technology are offered to all sizes of organisations. “Some SMEs are not of a size to engage with a TMC to gain access to their services and expertise – our TripLink product is a much better fit for them,” says McGarvey. “This allows businesses to manage their own travel programmes, but still have access to the consolidation of data they would usually get through working with a travel management company.” There is also the option of using a high street travel agency chain. It may seem like an 'old school' approach but brands such as Flight Centre and STA Travel – who both have numerous retail stores – have each been targeting the SME business travel sector, recognising its potential. “We stand out from typical TMCs because we are a truly global company,” says Ellen Rayner, Director of STA Travel’s travel management division. “Our global network of stores means hands-on support is never too far away. Getting the best price is our priority. SME business clients are treated to bespoke corporate hotel rates and we also negotiate exclusive corporate airfares and rail bookings,” Rayner explains. The choice of travel management options for SMEs has never been greater and continues to grow – whether they want to go down the full TMC route or simply dip their toes by using an online booking tool for little or no initial cost.
We are continuing to explore new techbased travel management solutions to help businesses with even smaller spend”
[ BUILDING FROM SCRATCH ] A UK-based technology start-up saw their workforce grow from two to 50 people in five years, with business travel also increasing quickly to Europe and the US. The SME originally had no TMC, travel policy or anybody in charge of travel internally. The company wanted to work with a TMC to make savings on airfares, improve booking efficiency and implement a travel policy to enhance the safety and security of travellers. The financial director was appointed as the internal “travel owner” and then implemented a travel policy with the help and advice of CTM Europe. CTM assisted the company in signing up to airline loyalty agreements, including both corporate and individual traveller schemes, and securing specific SME airfares and hotel rates. It also began weekly pre- and post-trip reporting to monitor spending and compliance with policy. After the first 12 months, the client had achieved 97% policy compliance and 74% online booking adoption, as well as savings of 23% on airfares and hotel savings of 5%. The company also saved an estimated four hours per person per week by using a booking tool.
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SMEs / Back to basics
the importance of policy Writing and implementing a company travel policy is a key first step for getting your business travel spend under control. Jenny Southan examines the essential components Managing travel relies on drafting a solid travel policy to make sure there is a consistent approach to booking flights and hotels, for example, and parameters in place about how much can be spent on what. It also needs to have guidelines in place to keep people safe.
Divide your travel policy into sections
A travel policy will usually need to cover quite a bit of ground so dividing it into sections is a good place to start. Things you need to account for are safety and security, flights (rules related to bookings, upgrades, cabin classes, air miles, lounges and so on), public transport, hotels, incidentals, meals, tips, taxis, car rental, entertainment, corporate credit cards, business hospitality and other travel expenses (visas, passports and currency). You may also want a clause relating to combining business trips with add-on stays for leisure.
Do your due diligence
Firstly, assess what locations you and your employees will be travelling to and check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for country-specific advice. Decide what kinds of accommodation will be suitable. For example, in some riskier cities only five-star international chains will guarantee the security you are after and should be booked whatever the price. However, for companies frequenting the United States, for example, using mid-range hotels or even Airbnb for Work apartments could be the benchmark.
Decide on your boundaries
State hotel categories or nightly rate limits that you are happy for travellers to book. This might be on a cityby-city basis. You might want to specify particular chains or airlines but it’s a good idea to provide a choice. Having rules about when it’s appropriate to fly premium 74
economy or business class will also be important. For some companies, flights under six hours must be flown in economy, while 10 hours-plus could be in business.
Specify how bookings should be made
If you are using a travel agency, the policy will probably need to state that all trips must be booked by them as they will get preferential rates. If you are using a TMC, there may be a mobile booking tool to use for less complex journeys. However, in an SME, everyone might have to book their own trips. Highlight who has sign-off and outline your approval process flow.
Outline how trips should be paid for
You might want to issue a company credit card to certain managers. Giving employees pre-paid cards is a good way of controlling expenses. Or try digital banks such as Tide and Starling (see page 82).
How will you keep track of travellers?
Make sure provisions are in place to keep track of travellers’ itineraries and contact details. If travelling to hostile territories, will there be training requirements? You should specify if any particular tracking technology is required or simply an email update. Staff all need to know what to do in an emergency. Overall, a decision needs to be made on how strict or relaxed you are as a company. Your policy should reflect this.
Make sure provisions are in place to keep track of travellers’ itineraries and contact details. Staff all need to know what to do in an emergency”
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SMEs / Spend management
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Spend management / SMEs
SAVE the pennies
SMEs needn't play second ﬁddle to multinationals when it comes to supplier negotiations, writes Gillian Upton
t’s ironic how a global financial meltdown can change the course of a company’s sales strategy but that’s exactly what happened after the Stock Market crash in 2008. TMCs previously ignoring the rich seam of SME business turned their attention to these entrepreneurs with potentially growing businesses. It means that for the last decade or so small and medium-sized companies have been taken far more seriously by the wider TMC community. The penny has dropped for some that SMEs may be small but gathered in large numbers are a far less risky strategy than relying totally on a smaller number of larger clients. “They had holes to fill in revenues,” suggests Gary McLeod, MD of Traveleads. The opportunity is huge as The Federation of Small Businesses says that SMEs account for 99.9% of all private sector companies in the UK, and over 5.7 million companies fall into the SME definition. Those SMEs employing between 10 and 250 staff make up a group of 250,000 companies, compared with approximately 7,500 in the private sector's large employer category, employing over 250 staff. Once an SME of 10-15 staff grows to 30-50 staff, a lot of travel and meetings begin as
they seek to expand and open offices further afield. Annual travel spend of between £100,000 and £500,000 is the benchmark for SMEs but very often that can quickly rise to £5million. Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel Management, highlights other attractions of the SME market: “The business is generally less volatile [than larger corporates] so there's lower risk and higher margin, since the buying power of multinational companies drive fees downwards. “In addition, SMEs usually have simpler requirements and so can be serviced via off the shelf propositions,” he adds. A product embracing an online booking tool has been the core provision for SMEs from the larger TMCs, with just telephone account management, which is fine if travel is largely point-to-point. However, American Express GBT has an offering called Business Travel Made Simple (BTMS) which offers online and offline servicing, based on a per transaction cost model and designed for quick deployment. It offers discounts with suppliers, streamlined booking, robust reporting and 24/7 support, plus personalised service before, during and post-trip. “SMEs naturally gravitate towards small and mid-size TMCs,“ believes Adrian Parkes,
of the Business Travel Association, many of which are part of global buying groups such as Advantage and Uniglobe and can pass on deals and perks. “We use leisure fares and IT fares too,” says Kevin Harrison, Managing Director of Good Travel Management, who thinks that SMEs can buy as well as the big boys.
facing up to the challenges
TMCs can aggregate spend and arrange cluster deals with airlines and hotels and offer best value solutions. However, it’s not all plain sailing as Raj Sachdave of Black Box warns that some suppliers will not accept aggregation as they want to know client names rather than receive consolidated volume made of
We are keen to work directly with SMEs, but the challenge is that it is a very fragmented sector and many SMEs book in the same way as leisure customers, such as through OTAs” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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SMEs / Spend management
anonymous multiple SME spend. Traveleads is typical of the TMC approach, spending time in the discovery and educational process with clients as many of them have no travel policy, approvals process or have considered data needs. “Often it’s a case of spending time showing them how sophisticated a programme we can create for them, which is often an eye opener if they’ve been used to the experience of ‘give us your credit card and go away’ online booking,” says McLeod of Traveleads, one of the smaller TMCs which has long focussed on this market. The availability of technology has helped level the playing field as SMEs can benefit from mobile solutions and data analysis software for very little outlay.
Suppliers raise their game
SimiIarly, suppliers are waking up to the SME opportunity. “Suppliers certainly
recognise the critical mass which the SME market generates in terms of travellers and combined spend,” says McLeod. And ITM’s Davies adds: “Suppliers need a lot of SMEs to match or replace revenue generated by large corporates. For this reason, the sales support tends to be virtual or delivered online through web portals.” Accor Hotels, for example, has a team looking after SMEs and has developed products and services for them, most recently Business Offer which offers a discount off BAR (see panel for details). Its LeClub Member Offer (for those booking leisure travel) includes perks. “We are keen to work directly with SMEs, but the challenge is that it is a very fragmented sector, and many SMEs book in the same way as leisure customers, such as through OTAs, perhaps unaware of the advantages of corporate accounts and booking direct,” says Jonathan Pettifer, Director of Corporate Sales and TMC partners, Accor UK & Ireland. TMCs can offer consortia rates from independent hotels says Mark Bevan, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Business Travel Direct, where SMEs are a core part of the client portfolio. “Consortia rates from independent hotels discount the rate by 5%-15% and more like 10%-15% regionally, both on transient and day delegate business,” he says. Forwardthinking suppliers are targetting SMEs, says Bevan, citing Best Western as an example. Perks aside, SMEs need help managing the travel spend. “Collecting Nectar points from
The spending power of smaller corporates should never be underestimated, which is why we offer our loyalty progamme OnBusiness, so they can benefit from free flights” a train company might not be meaningful but a hotel billback facility that gives you 14 days credit to help cashflow is much more valuable,” says Black Box’s Sachdave. “A TMC will give an SME resource and cashflow so that’s the real saving.”
Airlines move in
On the airline front, despite it being a more challenging spend category, SMEs can benefit from nett fares and discounted fares. “We use rate analysing tools from time of booking to time of departure and the same flight can be reduced by 20-30%, particularly on long-haul,” says Bevan. Airline loyalty schemes can be of benefit too, providing discounts, extra points or value-added items. Fortunately, they have moved away from perks and towards more tangible benefits such as discounted rates and flights in response to buyer feedback. “Most airlines offer fares targeted towards SMEs,” says Brett Gerrett, General Manager, Isleworth Travel Management. “British Airways offers discounted and increased flexibility on Business Bespoke fares
A MEMBER OF THE GLOBAL TRAVEL SOLUTIONS GROUP
SPORTS & GROUPS
MARINE & OFFSHORE
SCHOOLS & ACADEMIA
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SMEs / Spend management
Even if a business isn't large enough to justify a full-time travel manager, having someone responsible for this area, and with the authority to enforce any policies, is vitally important” while Air France-KLM and Virgin-Delta offers the Bluebiz scheme with some excellent perks such as free name changes and an enhanced points structure.” British Airways OnBusiness and the Bluebiz schemes are two of the most popular schemes for SMEs. Other airlines, such as Emirates, have low thresholds for deals. “The non-dominant carriers have lower thresholds as they have a desire to gain marketshare from companies whose business is more moveable,” says Harrison. TMCs claim to generate savings of their own on behalf of a client. “We save our clients thousands of pounds every year by managing these programmes effectively, all as part of our service, but it’s imperative that you have an agent who can manage them for you, ” says Rebecca Deadman, Commercial Director of Blue Cube Travel. “Businesses of all sizes are incredibly important to us,” says Marie Hilditch, Head of UK & Ireland Corporate Sales at BA. “The spend power of smaller corporates should never be under-estimated, which is why we offer our loyalty programme OnBusiness, so they can benefit from free flights, upgrades and other travel management benefits.” Accor’s Pettifer reckons creating a travel policy and getting staff to stick to it is the most beneficial way of SMEs making the most of their spending power. “Having a properly applied policy will enable them to benefit from the best deals. Ensuring that travellers are aware of the deals that are in place and understand the value in following this policy can make an immediate impact.” Pettifer adds: “Even if a business isn’t large enough to justify a full-time travel manager, having someone responsible for this area, and with the authority to enforce policy, is important in making the most of their buying power and any deals agreed.”
SME loyalt y sc hemes
Bluebiz has over 200,000 members in 125plus markets. Every flight booked on Bluebiz member airlines earns blue credits, worth £1 each, which can be knocked off future flights. UK members can earn and burn credits on five airlines: KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which joined this summer. Taxes and surcharges are included in the price of award tickets. BA Onbusiness
Offers discounts of at least 5% on many flights (excluding taxes, fees and charges), and allows pooling of points. They can be spent on Reward Flights with BA, AA and Iberia. Flights can be changed free of charge before the outbound flight. Points can also be spent on upgrades, including Club Europe/ Club World. Execs can collect personal Avios points for themselves at the same time. Etihad Airways’ BusinessConnect
Etihad Airways’ BusinessConnect is open to companies with two to 50 business travellers. Travellers earn Guest Miles for themselves while the business earns an additional percentage. Accounts can be managed online and miles can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades and gifts. New sign-ups get a bonus of 5,000 Miles. The airline is running a double mileage promotion from Aug 1 to Nov 30. Accor Business Offer
Eligibility is 50 nights per year booked across any participating Accor property. It offers discounted rates of up to 10% off the best available rates in its luxury, upscale and mid-market hotels, and 5% in the group’s economy hotels. Event organisers can earn points for personal trips by arranging events at the group's 2,400 hotels worldwide with Le Club Meeting Planner. IHG business edge
The global hotel group's SME offering offers guaranteed discounts at more than 5,400 hotels globally and a management portal book trips, monitor spend and savings data and access premium content. Registered travellers receive an upgrade to IHG Rewards Club Gold Elite status after their first IHG Business Edge stay. There is no fee to join and no minimum annual spend.
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The finest experience in the sky. We connect the UK to over 120 destinations across Latin America with direct daily flights to our hub in São Paulo. Over the next two years, we will renovate the cabins of two-thirds of our global fleet. The Premium Business class will boast a new seat design with seating options for both individuals and couples (including a full-flat bed), direct aisle access, ample space for personal items, and an improved in-flight entertainment system on an 18” personal screen. latam.com
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SMEs / Six of the best
Six of the best... Digital banks for SMEs 1
Starling’s business account can be set up in a few minutes, has no monthly fees, zero transaction charges on overseas payments, real-time notifications when money goes in or out and a slick app that presents finances visually. All deposits are protected by the FSCS up to £85,000.
Used by more than 85,000 business owners, another smart digital-only bank is Tide, which issues free business Mastercards, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and lets users instantly freeze their PIN via the app.
Sign up for a global business account with Revolut and you can issue employees with prepaid business cards to help manage expenses, set up multiple accounts for different offices, hold, receive and exchange 29 different currencies, and make up to 1,000 bulk payments in one click.
Known for its orange debit cards, Monzo launched its first business accounts in February as part of a trial. With income and outgoings all managed within a user-friendly app, Monzo wants to become “the financial hub for your business”.
Words by Jenny Southan
Aimed at freelancers and the self-employed, N26 issues trendy transparent Mastercards that sync with an app that gives 0.1% cashback on all purchases and uses AI to categorise your spending so you don’t have to mess around with spreadsheets.
Curve combines all your existing bank accounts in one – just choose which one you want to make a transaction with on the app and then swipe or tap with your Curve card. There are five cards – Blue is free, while Metal is £14.99 and includes various perks.
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WELCOME TO A NEW LEVEL OF HOSPITALITY
The Level at Meliรก White House is a new concept of a boutique hotel within a hotel; offering exceptional services for the discerning traveller. Whether for business or leisure, guests will experience a personalised service to make their stay an unforgettable experience. Private check-in with drinks welcome
Packing and unpacking of luggage
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Complimentary access to the exclusive Level Lounge; a private area where guests can enjoy a selection of drinks and snacks throughout the day
Book via melia.com or call +44 (0)20 7391 3000
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SMEs / Data
Managing business travel costs and expenses administration are the biggest headaches for SMEs in the UK, according to research from Allstar Business Solutions...
THE AVERAGE MONTHLY SPEND BY SMEs ON TRAVEL EXPENSES
MISLAID RECEIPTS A PARTICULARLY COMMON ISSUE AMONG WORKERS, WITH MANY WORRYING ABOUT LOSING BILLS AND, WITH THEM, ANY PROSPECT OF BEING REIMBURSED
THE ADMIN LOGJAM
MANAGING TRAVEL COSTS IS THE BIGGEST HEADACHE FOR UK SMEs
HALF OF SME EMPLOYEES SAY THEY ARE LEFT OUT OF POCKET EVERY MONTH AFTER USING THEIR OWN MONEY WHEN TRAVELLING FOR WORK
OF SMEs SAY THAT COST SAVINGS, SPENDING CONTROL FEATURES AND EASE OF MANAGEMENT WERE THE KEY BENEFITS THEY WOULD LOOK FOR IN A MORE ADVANCED BUSINESS CREDIT CARD PROGRAMME
THE FOUR MOST COMMON BUSINESS EXPENSES HEADACHES
LONG-WINDED WAYS TO SUBMIT CLAIMS, OFTEN WITH A BIG PAPER TRAIL, MEAN EXPENSES BUILD UP, CAUSING CASHFLOW ISSUES FOR BOTH THE EMPLOYER AND THE EMPLOYEE
OF SME OWNERS SAY HELPING CASHFLOW WAS A KEY REQUIREMENT OF BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS
FAILURE TO KEEP AND SUBMIT FUEL RECEIPTS THIS HAMPERS OR PREVENTS BUSINESSES MAKING AN HMRC CLAIM TO GET VAT REFUNDED ON FUEL
OF SME OWNERS SAY THAT BALANCING CASH FLOW ‘KEEPS THEM UP AT NIGHT’
LATE CLAIMS ANOTHER STRESS POINT FOR WORKERS ARE MONTHLY CLAIM CYCLES. FOR EMPLOYEES WHO MISS THE DEADLINE, IT CAN MEAN WAITING ANOTHER ENTIRE MONTH TO BE REIMBURSED. FOR THE BUSINESS, IT CAN MEAN EXTRA RESOURCES PROCESSING LATE CLAIMS
7/25/19 06:57 PM
Get with the programme! REGISTER NOW
View from the top: industry ﬁgures reﬂect on travel’s current trends and challenges
On the button: how to select, implement and drive adoption of online booking tools
Deals on wheels: ﬁnd out how to optimise your car hire and rail travel spend
Sleep talk: is it time for a change of approach to your accommodation needs?
Small wonders: helping SMEs make the most of their travel spend
New kids on the block: discover a new wave of tools and TMCs on the market
Air time: take your air travel spend to new heights with expert guidance
The clinic: three travel managers discuss their travel programmes
Going to market: sourcing the best TMC for your needs in a slowly shrinking market
The mavericks: get rogue travellers under control and gain compliance
In safe hands: risk mitigation, traveller tracking and duty of care in the spotlight
Fit for purpose: making wellbeing central to your policy
Book your free place now at thebusinesstravelconference.com
With thanks to our headline sponsor Star Alliance, and Executive sponsors, Amadeus and Air Europa. TBTC'19 is proudly supporting London Taxi Drivers' Charity for Children
TBTC Advert(Programme).indd 92
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Gadgets & gear
The best new...
Stow it! Luxury travel brand Stow is showcasing its products at Heathrow Airport’s VIP private lounge in Terminal 5 this summer, with a 25% discount being offered for a limited time. The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is said to be among fans of the designer wallets, cases and accessories. The tech case, pictured, normally retails at £305. stowlondon.co.uk
stow claims royal approval
zip it up with Briggs & riley
high five... Business travel podcasts
A first for B&R Swanky luggage brand Briggs & Riley has launched its first femalefocused collection this summer. Called Rhapsody, the range includes backpacks, a crossbody bag, slim business brief, essential tote and a cabin spinner carry-on case in plum, navy and black. Prices start from £109. briggs-riley.com
Liquid solutions Beat airport liquid limits by bagging some of Men-U’s concentrated shaving foams, moisturisers and shampoos. The 100ml products cost from £8.95. Or for a refreshing scent without any liquids whatsoever, try a tiny tin of Solid Cologne. The wax-based substance comes in several scents and costs from £14.95. 86
get fresh with cologne in a tin
Absolute Clarity Clarity Travel Management launched its series of topical podcasts last year. There are now 30 episodes available online featuring a range of guests tackling industry topics. Singapore Airlines Called Make your Productivity Fly, this 30-minute podcast is designed to help the airline’s business class passengers make better use of their time onboard. TED Talks Business There’s a massive choice of the popular TED Talks podcasts available online featuring a hugely diverse range of topics and ranging from five to 20 minutes.
TUNE in AND ZONE OUT!
Airplane Geeks As the name suggests, this US podcast is only for those with a serious penchant for all things planes and aviation. It’s now released over 550 episodes. ITM The Institute of Travel Management will release its very first podcast this summer – we look forward to hearing more from them.
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New kid on the block the standard, london THE LOWDOWN
tenth-floor restaurant featuring
International has transformed a
live fire cooking and offering 360
Brutalist 1970s building in London’s
degree views of London.
King Cross – the former Camden
that's a FACT
The hotel includes
Town Hall – into a unique 266-room
a wood-panelled, sound proofed
hotel that draws inspiration from the
studio to host, stream and record
area’s political, intellectual and
DJ sets, interviews, podcasts and
cultural history. Designed in
intimate live shows.
partnership with Shawn Hausman,
they said it
“We could not be
the hotel is Standard’s first outside
more proud of what The Standard
the US and marks the beginning of
team and our many collaborators
planned global expansion. The
have created in a beautiful,
Standard has 42 different styles of
overlooked building that was almost
room, from ingeniously designed
left for naught. We look forward to
windowless ‘Cosy Core’ rooms to
welcoming the world in to see, and
terraced suites with outdoor
more importantly, feel what it is that
bathtubs overlooking St Pancras.
makes The Standard so special.”
Public spaces include a library
Cosy Core rooms
lounge, two restaurants, and –
start at £199 while prices rise to
opening in September – a third,
£1,050 per night for the top suite.
7/23/19 04:40 PM
BECAUSE GOOD CONNECTIONS ALWAYS HELP On the move worldwide with the Lufthansa Group airlines
FRANKFURT MUNICH BRUSSELS VIENNA ZURICH
NORTH AMERICA 23 destinations in 2 countries
EUROPE 157 destinations in 44 countries MIDDLE EAST 13 destinations in 10 countries
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA 12 destinations in 9 countries
The Lufthansa Group airlines are Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. Via the Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich hubs, and with numerous direct connections, they offer their passengers more than 11,000 flights a week to more than 270 business and holiday destinations
ASIA 24 destinations in 11 countries
AFRICA 41 destinations in 29 countries
worldwide. Passengers therefore benefit from a large choice of destinations and many combination options. The Lufthansa Group airlines stand for high-quality products and services. With more than 700 aircraft, they have one of the largest and, above all, most modern fleets in the world.
2018/2019 winter timetable, as at: 09/2018, subject to changes.
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Meeting in The attractive walled city of York is one of the UK’s most visited tourist hotspots but it has much to win over business travellers too, with its plentiful choice of historic and cultural venues and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, writes Emma Allen
Merchant Adventurers Hall
ON A SHOESTRING
The York Dungeon
The atmospheric Grade I listed Merchant Adventurers Hall is one of Europe’s best surviving examples of a medieval guild hall. Its impressive interior lends itself perfectly to grand dinners and events. Groups of up to 180 can be seated in the main hall, and outside there are scenic walled gardens, bordered by the River Foss. Hall hire starts at £1,100.
The York Dungeon is part of the national Dungeon group and it hosts interactive shows and live action events that bring historical stories to life, with actors taking visitors through more than 2,000 years of York history. Private events during the day or evening can be catered for in the Dungeon’s cellar rooms. Visitors can also go on tours after hours, with prices starting at £20pp.
Just outside the city walls, Clements Hall is a community run events hall located a short walk from the railway station. The light-filled main room is suitable for receptions and presentations, seating up to 120, while the first-floor art room can seat 20. A separate meeting space is available for up to 18. Room hire starts from £18 per hour for the main hall and catering can be organised.
Fossgate, York YO1 9XD merchantshallyork.org
12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD thedungeons.com/york
Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW clementshall.org.uk
STEP BACK IN TIME
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
York’s Chocolate Story
Getting there York is less than two hours from London by train, and around two hours from Edinburgh. There are also direct services from Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and the South West. The nearest airport is Leeds/Bradford, which is around 50 minutes away by road.
OUT OF TOWN
Spring Lane Building
Set in the historic Minster In the city centre, the modern Quarter, York’s Chocolate Story Spring Lane building is part of sets out the history behind the University of York. It York’s chocolate-making re-opened in 2016 after a KEEPING IT industry, and the building £13.8m refit. It now offers SWEET makes an interesting a 350-seat lecture theatre backdrop for dinners and and 26 seminar rooms, receptions. Tastings and along with state-of-the-art AV workshops can be arranged, as and an on-site technical team. well as tours and hiring of the In the York Conferences Factory Zone. Prices start at university portfolio there are £100 per hour for evening hire, more than 200 venues, most and 20-75 can be catered for. with free high-speed wifi. 3-4 Kings Square, York YO1 7LD yorkschocolatestory.com
York Racecourse is located a mile outside of the city centre, and has a wide range of conference and meeting space available, along with hospitality suites suitable for groups up to 650. The venue also has more than 2,000sqm of exhibition space, as well as 2,500sqm of external tarmac courtyard areas, allowing events to be extended outdoors. There are 2,000 free parking spaces.
397 Harewood Way, Heslington, York YO10 5DS yorkconferences.com
Racecourse Road, Knavesmire Road, York yorkracecourse.co.uk
A DAY AT THE RACES
Further information VisitYork4meetings is the official conference bureau for York. See: visityork.org; Tel: 01904 555676; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Avis Budget UK at
Henley Royal Regatta Guests from across the industry gathered on the banks of the River Thames in July to enjoy a day of fine hospitality at the Henley Royal Regatta courtesy of Avis Budget Group. A charity auction raised nearly £10,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. The Business Travel Magazine was once again delighted to be an event partner.
Avis Budget Group at Henley Royal Regatta ▼
Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼
The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Avis Budget Group
7/25/19 11:27 AM
On business in...
Bahrain's capital city, Manama, is the largest of its six inhabited islands. Its financial harbour, dominated by the iconic twin towers of the World Trade Centre, is home to the Kingdom’s strong banking sector, second only to oil. Diversification into other sectors is part of the Kingdom’s ‘Economic Vision 2030’ strategy, writes Ramy Salameh
VISIT THE AL FATEH GRAND MOSQUE
Centrally located beside Bab
Stay put at The Merchant House’s
Although walking is an option, the
Al-Bahrain (historic gate) and
rooftop Indigo Restaurant and
primary means of transport is by car
bustling Manama Souk, the
savour the ever popular 'Hamour'
recently opened Merchant House is Campbell Gray Hotel Group's first foray into the region and the first
fish dish or head to Block 338, BRUNCHING IN BAHRAIN
official luxury boutique hotel in Bahrain. The 46-suite property Getting there Gulf Air operates 14 direct flights a week – two a day – from London Heathrow to Bahrain International Airport. The flight takes around 6.5 hours. British Airways operates a daily service from London Heathrow. Bahrain International Airport is located on Muhurraq Island, 7km north of the capital city Manama and a 16-minute drive away. Further information For more details on planning a trip to Bahrain visit: btea.bh
or taxi. Rent a car from one of the many city rental companies or jump
located in the heart of
into one of the relatively inexpensive
Adliya, and search out ATTIC
metered cabs that traverse the city.
restaurant. It's a beautifully designed eatery with plenty
of terrace space offering
is defined by original art and design;
Mediterranean cuisine. A tip for
Journey through 5,000 years of
Chagall, Hirst and Warhol hang
brunch would be to find the
history at Bahrain National Museum
beside a host of Bahraini and GCC
atmospheric Lukmatina Cafe on
or visit the UNESCO World Heritage
artists of international repute. For
listed Bahrain Fort. Divers can go in
the glitz and glamour of major hotel brands, the likes of the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons are close by.
search of pearls or a submerged
Boeing 747 within the world’s largest eco-friendly underwater theme park.
By day, Block 338 is a pedestrianised quarter of restaurants, galleries and boutiques. By night, it becomes a nightlife hot-spot with super-cars queuing to be seen, as the fine diners and bars start to fill up. For nightclubs head to the nearby Juffair district for headline venues klub360, Apollo Club and Club Wrangler to dance into the early hours.
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Buoyant economies, abundant resources and a growing population could make East Africa the next big economic success story, and its historic ties to the UK make it a promising prospect for trade cooperation post-Brexit, writes Sasha Wood
The new Scramble for Africa is well underway, according to Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at London thinktank Chatham House. Foreign powers are vying for a stake in the economies of the world’s second most populous continent, expected to overtake China by 2025. The continent is entering a period of unprecedented growth with foreign embassies popping up all over, and a slew of new investment and trade deals with foreign powers and multinationals. As a whole, Africa has the second fastest-growing economy in the world, with strong signs its emerging markets are set to replicate Asian growth in the next decade.
The six-nation East African trade bloc that includes Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda has been the most successful and stable of Africa’s regional blocs since it was re-established in 2000. It’s formed a customs union and the basis of a common market, and is aiming for a single currency by 2024. According to the African Development Bank’s East Africa Economic Outlook Report 2019, the region’s economy is racing ahead of the rest of the continent with annual growth at 7% "making it a promising investment and manufacturing destination”. The report notes that job creation and ramping up manufacturing will
continue to be major priority areas for creating growth. So it’s small wonder that governments and businesses from around the world, including the UK, are rushing to strengthen diplomatic and commercial ties. Especially in light of Brexit, UK Trade Minister for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith points out: “One of the opportunities that Brexit affords us is increased interest from UK companies in Africa as they have to expand outside their normal trading blocs.” In preparation for leaving the EU, the UK recently signed the UK-Eastern and Southern Africa Agreement, intended to replicate the existing EPA
Time zones: GMT +3hrs in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia & Uganda; GMT +2hrs in Rwanda. Local currency: Ethiopian Birr: £1 = ETB 36; Kenyan Shilling: £1 = KES 129; Tanzanian Shilling: £1 = TZS 2,872 Ugandan Shilling: £1 = UGX 4,613 Rwandan Franc: £1 = RWF 1,124 Visas: UK passport holders need a visa to visit all East African countries. The East Africa Tourist Visa is also available, allowing multiple entry into Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Visas for Tanzania can be obtained from the Tanzanian High Commission or from a main port of entry. Kenya offers e-visas or visas upon arrival. Uganda requires an e-visa or visa from the Ugandan High Commission; Rwanda offers 30-day visas upon arrival for £20. Ethiopia also offers e-visas or visas upon arrival at Addis Ababa airport. To obtain a business visa, check the latest instructions from the Ethiopian Embassy.
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between East Africa and the EU, and ensuring free trade. Last year the government actively courted business in the region, setting a new goal for the UK to be the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022. The ambition was announced alongside a range of measures to boost trade and encourage UK investment in the region, including the creation of a new Africa Investors Board. Trade between the UK and African nations, which is already worth more than £31billion, continues to grow. The UK already has a firm foothold in Kenya, with more than 60 British companies operating there. And thanks to strong political and
historical links, the UK remains the country’s strongest trading partner with more than £1.3billion of annual bilateral trade. Marks & Spencer alone buys products worth £100 million per year from Kenya, with other British supermarkets close behind. On the reverse, machinery and chemicals form the bulk of UK imports. Ethiopia, meanwhile, is expected to maintain the rapid pace of growth it has experienced over the last decade. The continent’s fourth largest city and Africa’s diplomatic capital, Addis Ababa is another major gateway to the region. Trade between UK and Ethiopia has increased considerably in recent years and UK exports to
Ethiopia have grown by 135%. Like many East African nations, major imports include machinery, oil and petrol, while coffee makes up more than a third of total exports. A free market economy and abundant natural resources make Tanzania equally attractive to foreign investors, and the UK is one of its largest. The country is rich in gems and minerals such as rubies and diamonds, sapphires and tanzanite, with large mining operations for gold, silver, copper and platinum in the north of the country. The nation’s economy has been expanding steadily over the last decade partly due to an increase in
agriculture and manufacturing, while vehicles and machinery are the mainstay of exports from the UK. Rwanda and Uganda are also ones to watch. Rwanda’s mining industry is going from strength to strength and its main imports include industrial machinery, something the UK can capitalise on. The population of capital Kigali is set to triple by 2040 and plans are afoot to decentralise the city. With Brexit looming and economic indicators across the region positive, all signs point to East Africa being a strong prospect for future cooperation on trade. But with stiff competition from China, India and the US, businesses need to act fast.
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Factfile: East Africa FLIGHTS BRITISH AIRWAYS: Has daily direct flights between London Heathrow and Nairobi, Kenya. KENYA AIRWAYS: Has daily direct flights between London Heathrow and Nairobi, Kenya. ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: Flies ten times per week between London Heathrow and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. RWANDAIR: Has five weekly services between London Gatwick and Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Outbound flights on Fridays and Sundays are nonstop services, while outbound flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are connecting services via Brussels.
Time out in Tropical Zanzibar
HOTELS INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS: Runs 28 hotels in Africa including the Intercontinental Nairobi and Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre. Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport hotel opened recently.
LOUVRE HOTELS GROUP: Has ONE-STOP SERVICES: properties across sub-Saharan There are no direct services Africa under its Tulip brands to Uganda's international including the Golden Tulip gateway, Entebbe (25 miles Westlands Nairobi, another in from capital city Kampala), Addis Ababa and one in Kigali. nor to Tanzania's commercial centre, Dar Es Salaam, but BEST WESTERN: Has 24 hotels convenient connecting options across ten African countries are offered by the likes of including Kenya, Uganda and Emirates, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Tanzania, and three hotels in Qatar Airways and Brussels Nairobi alone. Airlines via their respective hubs. Alternatively, fly via HILTON: Has 39 hotels in Africa, Nairobi with Kenya Airways or with 100 new properties in the via Addis Ababa with Ethiopian pipeline. The Hilton Nairobi Airlines. Qatar Airways also Upper Hill is set to open in the flies from Doha to Zanzibar, continent’s tallest building. QATAR Kilimanjaro and Mombasa. AIRWAYS has • Information kindly supplied by travel data and analytics specialist Cirium
RADISSON HOTEL GROUP: Recently added the Pearl of Africa Hotel Kampala in Uganda, as well as the Park Inn Addis Ababa to its collection of 42 hotels across 20 countries.
set sail from dar es salaam
OFF DUTY DAR ES SALAAM: The city on the Indian Ocean is East Africa’s second busiest port with frequent ferries to the tropical island of Zanzibar famous for its snorkelling and diving spots. The city's National Museum is a great introduction to the country. NAIROBI: Just 7km south of the city, Nairobi National Park let’s you see lions, leopards, rhinos and giraffes in their natural savannah home, and there's an elephant orphanage too.
ACCOR HOTELS: The group ontinues to grow its portfolio in Africa, where it currently has 114 hotels across its Ibis, Sofitel, MGallery and Novotel brands, including four in Kenya. MARRIOTT: Has a strong presence in Africa with 149 hotels across 29 countries including Rwanda, with new hotels slated for Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Kampala.
play the big five game in nairobi
ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia's colourful cultural portal boasts great music and museums including the National Museum of Ethiopia featuring the threemillion-year-old Lucy skeleton. The bustling open-air Mercato market is Africa’s biggest. Take some time to visit the Great Rift Valley lakes or take a boat trip to see the local hippos and UNESCO-listed Adadi Mariam rock-cut churches. KAMPALA: Uganda’s capital borders Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, and it's a short drive south-west to the source of the Nile River at Jinja, which offers rafting and boat trips. The Uganda Museum explores the country’s tribal heritage. Tours of Lubiri royal compound reveal the fascinating and dark history of the region. KIGALI: Rwanda’s capital Kigali is safe, attractive and modern. Two hours’ drive from the capital, mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is a oneoff experience not-to-be-missed.
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7/22/19 07:12 PM
Abidjan, Accra, Banjul, Bujumbura, Conakry, Cotonou, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, LomĂŠ, Luanda, Monrovia, Ouagadougou and YaoundĂŠ.
Fly to 17 sub-saharan destinations with Brussels Airlines.
TIME FOR AFRICA!
Reality check HOT E L : DAKOTA, M ANCHE ST E R THE HOTEL
This chic boutique
The design scheme
addition to the Manchester hotel scene is
flows seamlessly throughout the hotel.
fast becoming a favourite haunt of celebs
My room featured muted grey tones with
and savvy business travellers. On Ducie
plush armchairs, framed vintage prints,
Street in the heart of Manchester’s old
floor-to-ceiling windows and a large
mill district, it’s one of a clutch of trendy
flatscreen TV. The very comfortable king
venues to open as the neighbourhood
sized bed had an upholstered leather
undergoes rapid regeneration. Interiors
headboard and crisp white Egyptian
are dominated by dark slate tones,
cotton linen. Tucked inside an alcove,
complemented by warm yellow lighting,
there was a nice leather desk area with
fire places and candles. Studded leather
USB charging ports and thoughtful
chairs and tables, and vintage photos on
touches like a magnifying mirror and
the walls featuring stars such as Clarke
slate board for heated appliances. The
Gable, are a nod to the 1930s New York
stylish tiled bathroom had a walk-in
influence. Tellingly, the brand is named
rainshower with Dakota toiletries.
after the pioneering US passenger aircraft
leather seating, framed photos from old
offering an affordable service in an age
Hollywood, low lighting, and cool bespoke
when flying was reserved for the elite.
cocktails, nowhere is the moody
The buildng is perched beside a canal
Manhattan influence more apparent than
and is just a five-minute walk from
in the bar – it feels glamorous without
Manchester Piccadilly train station.
being glitzy. The Dakota Grill’s classic
My late afternoon
perfect for entertaining clients.
With dark marble,
that transformed travel in the 1930s by
Complimentary wifi was faultless. THE VERDICT
IT'S A CLEAR CONTENDER FOR BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN MANCHESTER
gourmet dishes draw locals as well as
check-in was smooth with a warm
guests, and the buffet breakfast offers a
welcome from staff. I was given a quick
brilliant selection. An atmospheric lounge,
tour and shown to my Classic King Room.
cigar terrace and Champagne room are
It’s a clear contender
for best boutique hotel in Manchester. Even though it’s a tad more pricey than other properties in the area, I would choose to stay here again. THE DETAILS
29 Ducie Sreet,
Manchester M1 2JL. Rates from £203 per night. dakotahotels.co.uk
AIR L INE : E M IR AT E S THE FLIGHT
I was travelling in
economy class on Emirates flight EK9 from Dubai to London Gatwick,
although that might be put down to the long walk between lounge and gate! THE SEAT
I'd chosen an aisle seat
departing at 14.55 and arriving at 19.45
(47C) in the forwardmost section of the
(local times). The service is one of three
lower deck of the A380. Just a few
Emirates flights a day on the route and
rows from the front, it enabled swift
was flown by an Airbus A380.
disembarkation on arrival and is in a
After being dropped
more 'intimate' space than the some-
off at Dubai International I headed
what cavernous economy sections on
straight to security as I'd checked-in via
the rest of the lower deck. Seating was
the Emirates app the previous day (and
in a 3-4-3 configuration with most seats
selected a seat) and as I was only
occupied. It's a pretty standard economy
travelling with hand luggage. It took
seat offering with a small amount of
around 20 minutes to pass through
recline and in-seat USB points. I was
security and passport control, and then
impressed by the seatback screens
I hopped on the airport train for the
(better than one business class offering
short transit to Terminal 3. I used my
I'd recently experienced) and the huge
economy class product and a slick
Priority Pass membership to visit a
range of films, TV and music on offer.
experience on the ground too.
Marhaba lounge for a quick drink and
Wifi connectivity included limited free
bite to eat, before heading to the
access, plus several paid-for options.
allocated gate almost as soon as it was
The truly global cabin
announced. I was therefore surprised
crew were pleasant throughout the
to see the boarding process already
flight as they served a choice of three
underway (and in surprisingly orderly
hot dinners and, later, afternoon tea. An
fashion, given the number of
additional drinks run or two would have
passengers travelling on this A380),
A good, comfortable
THE RANGE OF ENTERTAINMENT ON OFFER WAS SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE
Emirates flies to Dubai
six times a day from Heathrow, three times a day from Manchester and Gatwick, twice daily from Birmingham, Glasgow and Stansted, and daily from Newcastle and Edinburgh. Return fares start from around £379. emirates.com
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HOTE L : L O E W S BO STO N HOT E L , BO STO N, U SA THE HOTEL
The hotel is housed in
the former headquarters of the Boston Police Force in the Back Bay area of the
range of toiletries. A nightly turn-down service was also offered. THE BUSINESS
The hotel has
city. It's just a five-minute walk from the
approximately 4,200 square feet of
railway station and a 15-minute drive
meeting space divided into six rooms,
from the international airport. Boston
the largest having a capacity for 125
Common was a ten-minute walk away
persons. The business centre offered
and two of Boston’s major malls and
24-hour access and there was free wifi
shops were also in close proximity. The
throughout the hotel. Premium wifi
stately limestone building has 222
access with larger bandwidths was
guestrooms, two luxury suites and an
available for an additional cost.
expansive Presidential Suite. THE CHECK-IN
A friendly welcome was
The hotel lobby
adjoins the Apothecary lounge area
offered by the bellboys and front desk
with plenty of seating for guests. The
staff. Check-in was swift and after an
lounge has a media wall, complimentary
explanation about hotel facilities I was
tea and coffee are provided and there's
most welcoming. The hotel’s free fitness
handed my key and shown to the
plenty of space for casual meetings. The
centre was open 24 hours.
elevator. My bags arrived shortly after.
hotel’s restaurant is named Precinct
I stayed in a Deluxe
after the hotel's former incarnation and
King Room. As well as the king-size bed,
is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner,
the room had workspace, a reading chair
serving a range of American and
and a flatscreen Smart TV. Amenities
international dishes within its open
included a Nespresso coffee machine,
kitchen. The Precinct also doubles as a
iron and ironing board, laptop friendly
bar and is obviously a popular meeting
safe and a mini-fridge. My bathroom
point for after-work drinks. In warm
had a bath and separate shower plus a
weather the outdoor seating areas are
THE HOTEL'S RESTAURANT IS NAMED PRECINCT AFTER ITS FORMER INCARNATION
The superb location was
a definite plus point. I was travelling to New York after my stay so the proximity to Back Bay station was a bonus. Overall a very pleasant stay in a lovely hotel. THE DETAILS
Loews Boston Hotel, 154
Berkeley Street, Boston. Loews' lead-in price is $195 per night. loewshotels.com
T R AIN: L NE R AZU M A, F IR ST CL ASS THE JOURNEY
I travelled first class on
The LNER service
LNER's new super-fast Azuma train
provides an inclusive first-class offering,
service between London King's Cross
which includes food and drink. All
and Peterborough, which took less than
First Class travellers are offered a
an hour. It was the first of 65 new LNER
complimentary two-course meal, with
trains using Japanese bullet train
three-course meals served on evening
technology engineered with the help of
trains coming out of King's Cross. New
Hitachi. This month the new East Coast
dishes prepared in the onboard kitchens
service will extend its reach from London
using locally-sourced ingredients and
King's Cross to Edinburgh and the North
served by attentive staff include stilton
East of England, cutting the journey time
and broccoli quiche, vegetable curry and
from London to Edinburgh from an
chicken cassava, all of which tasted
average five-and-a-half hours to four.
surprisingly delicious. Proper cutlery and
Upon boarding, I was greeted by friendly
crockery made my on-board experience
staff and shown to my seat.
feel much more civilized than your
Compared with the
standard commute. There's a seemingly
existing trains, the Azuma’s First Class
limitless supply of tea and coffee and
carriages have more leg room, larger
passengers travelling in standard class
tables, reclining seats with adjustable
have access to the Let’s Eats Café Bar
headrests, and both USB charging and
and on-board trolley service.
plug sockets at every seat. Coaches on
The First Class
nine-carriage Azuma trains are longer,
experience was akin to the service you
enabling space for 101 First Class seats,
would expect on a decent airline. I was
510 Standard seats and 10 toilets. The
well fed and watered, the carriage felt
on-board wifi worked really well for
quiet, and I had plenty of space to
simple tasks such as checking emails.
spread out and work.
LNER operates more
than 1,000 services a week between MY ON-BOARD EXPERIENCE FELT MUCH MORE CIVILIZED THAN YOUR STANDARD COMMUTE
London King's Cross and Inverness, calling at key East Coast cities in the East Midlands, North East and Scotland. Advance First Class single fares between London King's Cross and Edinburgh can be found for as little as £79.50 when booked well ahead. For more information see: lner.co.uk
Reality Check AH.indd 97
7/25/19 07:36 PM
The final word
Nowt better than a nice cuppa…
s a tea-loving nation it comes as no surprise that we drink an excessive amount of the stuff, and this doesn't change when we take flight. According to holiday company TUI, its airline passengers will drink enough English breakfast tea onboard its flights to fill 920 bathtubs this summer. The nation is also a fan of snacking as we head off on our holidays, and passengers are expected to eat enough ham and cheese toasties onboard to feed Wembley Stadium twice, and munch through a marathon amount of Sour Cream & Chive Pringles – literally! Laid back-to-back, the number of pots of Pringles expected to be consumed on TUI flights this summer would stretch along the entire London Marathon route. You know what they say – once you pop, you can't stop...
Hotel booking site alpharooms says one in five holidaymakers has booked a holiday to a destination after seeing it featured in a reality TV series. For example, it noted a 73% rise in trips to Mallorca after the 2018 finale of Love Island. The most influential series are: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Out of this world!
oubleTree by Hilton has some serious bragging rights, with its famous chocolate chip cookies poised to become the first food baked in space. Later this year, its iconic cookie dough will take off onboard a rocket bound for the International Space Station and will be baked using a prototype oven that is designed to make longduration space flight more hospitable. “Hilton has long been an industry innovator, and as we celebrate our 100th year, we’re excited to send our hospitality into orbit,” says Hilton's Shawn McAteer.
THE INFLUENCE OF REALITY TV
Benidorm (23%) Love Island (22%) Ibiza Weekender (20%) TOWIE (19%) Ex On The Beach (11%) The Only Way is Marbs (5%)
Around 80% of Brits have experienced a life-changing 'Sliding Doors moment', says rail company LNER, referring to the film in which two versions of a life pan out. LNER’s survey found that one in 20 people came home earlier than expected and caught their partner cheating, while a similar number believe they missed out on their dream job after being late for an interview because of delays or cancellations.
Final Word.indd 98
7/25/19 07:03 PM
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20/05/2019 08:01 5/24/19 10:47 AM
The FREE event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings REGISTER NOW
ďˆ Join us at TBTC'19 and hear from keynote speakers: one of the UK's most popular journalists and TV presenters, Sir Trevor McDonald, and Gillian Keegan, former Chief Marketing OďŹƒcer at Travelport and now the Conservative MP for Chichester. Hilton London Bankside, Southwark BOOK YOUR PLACE AT thebusinesstravelconference.com For further information about attending as a delegate or exhibitor contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
With thanks to our headline sponsor Star Alliance, and Executive sponsors, Amadeus and Air Europa. TBTC'19 is proudly supporting London Taxi Drivers' Charity for Children
TBTC Advert register now.indd 100
7/25/19 11:04 AM
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...
Published on Jul 26, 2019
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...