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December/January 2017/18

Magazine

the Business travel magazine • december/january 2017/18 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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Businesstravel the

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December/January 2017/18

NEW DIRECTIONS The modern travel management company

MAGAZINE

+

2018 trends Focus on Africa Oil & gas sector Business class travel

BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017

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ARRIVALS

Contents

DE C E M BE R / J A NU ARY 2017/ 18 23

13

Features

16 2018 travel trends 26 Business class travel 32 Oil & gas sector 57 Extended feature: Travel management companies

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Arrivals

Extended feature

Travel management companies

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Find out about the latest trends and technological developments in the world of managed travel

(p57-82)

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Opening Shots

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Everyone's Talking About... The Autumn Budget

10 Six of the Best: New London restaurants 12 Spotlight on: Next generation hotel rooms 13 The Knowledge: Increasing online adoption 14 Speaking Out: Low-cost transatlantic carriers 15 Event report: Advantage Business Travel Symposium

Regulars

20 The Conversation: Julia Lo Bue-Said 22 Picture This 23 Meet the travel manager: Imelda Aspinall, MBDA

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24 Sustainability: Marketing sustainability 37 Technology: Rogue hotel bookings 38 Talking Travel: Dave Myers

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20 16

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40 The Business Travel People Awards

The Review

45 Twelve pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures 84 On the Road

85 New Kid on the Block

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89 Meeting in: Derby 91 On Business in: Canberra 92 Focus on: travelling to and doing business in Africa

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96 Reality Check 98 The Final Word

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ABERDEEN

EDINBURGH GLASGOW

BELFAST CITY

DUBLIN

MANCHESTER

LONDON STANSTED

NEWQUAY

EXETER

LONDON LONDON CITY LONDON SOUTHEND HEATHROW LONDON GATWICK

JERSEY

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ARRIVALS

Welcome People power

B

usiness travel is a perpetually evolving industry wholly reliant upon technology, yet it would be nothing without the talented people behind the scenes. In a sector where complexity is rife and the challenges

are many – as you'll be reminded time and again throughout this issue – it is easy to lose sight of the essential balance between 'man and machine', a theme that was adopted by the Advantage Travel Partnership for its conference and events activities in 2017. At The Business Travel Magazine, we are also firm believers in people power, and that's why we choose to recognise outstanding individuals and teams within the industry – rather than the companies and brands they represent – in an annual awards ceremony. Now in its 7th year, The Business Travel People Awards 2018 open for nominations this month, with more categories and a new panel of judges – see pages 41-44. Speaking of awards, it would be remiss of me not to mention a recent triumph of our own. We were honoured to receive the Business Travel Editorial Team of the Year accolade at the Business Travel Journalism Awards, organised by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and praised by judges for producing "stand-out content". Of course, we wouldn't be able to do that if the industry were not as complex and fastmoving as it is, nor its people so engaging. And that just leaves me, on behalf of the team, to wish you a very happy, healthy and successful 2018.

Businesstravel the

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Andy Hoskins andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com CONTRIBUTORS

Neal Baldwin, Catherine Chetwynd, Colin Ellson, Linda Fox, Roger Gardner, Rob Gill, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS

Benjamin Coren & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR

David Clare david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER

Craig McQuinn craig.mcquinn@thebusinesstravelmag.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner DESIGNERS

Louisa Horton, Ross Clifford, Monica Notarnicola & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION CONTROLLER

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR

Martin Steady

(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE

Andy Hoskins, Editor

WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2017 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

Park life

royal refit

Fifty years on from its opening the Royal Lancaster London has unveiled its new look. An £80million refit at the Hyde Park hotel has remodelled the frontage, Nipa Thai restaurant and all 411 guest rooms. The property has one of Europe's largest ballrooms, with space for 3,000 guests, and 16 meeting rooms. 6

The Royal Lancaster London famously hosted the after-party for The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film premiere”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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Irish cream

red cow

Gothic golfing

Dublin's Red Cow Moran hotel has completed the addition of a sevenstorey extension adding 152 rooms, 14 meetings spaces, fitness suite and wine bar. Work also includes revamped public areas and a new restaurant, Tom's Table.

adare manor A 21-month restoration has revived famed Irish mansion Adare Manor into a five-star golf retreat. The neo-Gothic hotel is set in an 840acre estate and boasts 104 guest rooms, Grand Ballroom for 350, spa, restaurant and cocktail bar.

Singapore surprise

yotel

Yotel has made its debut in Asia with a Singapore property featuring 610 'cabin' rooms. The opening also includes Yotel's new Grain & Hops restaurant concept and Club Lounge with pool terrace and gym. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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business stays

sterminshotel

www.sterminshotel.co.uk

/StErminsHotel @sterminshotel

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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

The Autumn Budget 2017 “THE £16 INCREASE FOR INTERNATIONAL TRIPS

“WE ARE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED BY THE CHANCELLOR’S “TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T RESCUE YOU IT PROVIDES DECISION TO BUT INCREASE APD ON CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR LONG-HAUL BUSINESS TRAVEL. WHAT TMC THE PROCESS WASSHOULD INITIALLYHAVE INTRODUCED AS AN ANDENVIRONMENTAL PROCEDURESTAX TO HAS RUNBECOME REPORTS ANDA HELP YOU THOSE STEALTH TAXREACH ON TRADE” AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT” Jason Geall, Vice President, Northern Europe, Ewan Kassir, of Sales, Clarity American ExpressHead Global Business Travel

IN PREMIUM CABINS EQUATES TO A 1% INCREASE AGAINST THE AVERAGE TICKET VALUE OF INTERNATIONAL TRIPS IN PREMIUM CABINS” Tom Rigby, Commercial Director, Reed & Mackay

Aviation is crucial to connecting the UK to the existing and emerging markets that will be vital to our post-Brexit future”

“The country is looking to the Government for confidence and encouragement and we get a dull and uninspiring budget from a dull and uninspiring Chancellor” Spokesperson for the International Airlines Group

Karen Dee, Chief Executive, Airport Operators Association

“WE THINK THIS MOVE IS RATHER SHORT-SIGHTED, ESPECIALLY WITH BREXIT ON THE HORIZON. Julie Oliver, Managing Director, Business Travel Direct

UK BUSINESSES SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED, NOT PENALISED, AS THEY SEEK OUT NEW MARKETS” “Only aviation can provide the global connectivity the UK needs to thrive economically and it cannot be right that air passengers remain singled out as the only transport users paying such a tax” Dale Keller, Chief Executive, Board of Airline Representatives UK

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Six of the best... New London restaurants 1

ARTHUR’S, LIBERTY LONDON

This stylish Art Deco-inspired eatery has opened to mark the completion of the famous store’s year-long renovation. Produce is from Liberty’s food hall, with light mains, sandwiches, baked goodies and afternoon tea on offer. It also has a bar extending the length of the restaurant.

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ELLA CANTA

Martha Ortiz uses exotic ingredients and unusual combinations for her Mexican restaurant at the InterContinental Park Lane. Supremely colourful and surprising – plus live DJ sets at the weekend.

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VILLA MAMAS

Discover the flavours of Bahrain at this Chelsea restaurant, which opened earlier in 2017. The restaurant is open for breakfast from 8am for homemade jams, cheese and yoghurt. Later in the day try the authentic mezzeh.

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FIUME

Opened in November, Fiume is an Italian restaurant in Battersea Power Station. This is the third restaurant from Francesco Mazzei and takes inspiration from the country's Mezzogiorno region. Expect handmade pastas, cicchetti, antipasti and signature main dishes.

ARTHUR HOOPER’S

Right next to Borough Market, the small plates restaurant uses ingredients from local suppliers and has an extensive wine list. The space is compact but suitable for small meetings or a working lunch. Say how you would like your meal to be paced as dishes come out with regularity.

BOSI AT BIBENDUM

Acclaimed chef Claude Bosi set up shop in Chelsea’s impressive Michelin building earlier this year, serving up more of his signature haute French cuisine. Though technically not a new opening, the restaurant has been totally reimagined – its pricey dining is gathering top reviews.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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F LY T H E N O R D I C WAY

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Our Northern heritage has shaped the way we think. We know the value of personal space, privacy and simplicity. Feel it yourself and book your flights at finnair.uk

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ARRIVALS SPOTLIGHT

A closer look at industry developments

Spotlight on... Next generation hotel rooms

Global hotel groups are going to ever greater extremes to perfect the guest experience, but a good night's sleep remains the number one requirement. Ever felt exasperated by the time it takes to get your bathroom shower to the right temperature each morning? No? Oh, well the 'tricky tap' conundrum will nevertheless disappear in the hotel room of the future. Working in conjunction with IT partners Samsung and Legrand, Marriott International has unveiled its vision for the type of hotel rooms we can all expect in years to come. And as you’d expect, personalised, weblinked services will be the norm. “We are leveraging mobile and voice-enabled technology to give our guests the ability to

With the 'internet of things' becoming ubiquitous, the list of programmable in-room gadgets is endless” 12

set up the room to best meet their needs – whether that is creating the ultimate relaxation environment or one that enables productivity for business travellers,” says Chief Commercial Officer, Stephanie Linnartz. In practical terms, Marriott’s Innovation Lab predicts that could mean guests asking a virtual assistant to request extra pillows from housekeeping or set a 6am wake-up call and then, with access to your preference data, the hotel might already know your shower should come on three minutes later at a particular temperature. There is also talk of 'customisable' hotel room walls that display guests' preferred city view, decor or family photos. With the ‘internet of things’ becoming ubiquitous – plenty of folk already control home heating from their smartphone, for example – the list of programmable in-room gadgets is endless. Of course, the issue here is having your preferences stored by the hotel chain, especially with the new GDPR regulations on the way. More apposite are the practical steps hotels are taking to make stays more

pleasant now. Sofitel has been at the forefront of bathroom design, making them bigger and more luxurious in general, since research constantly reveals people prefer a more ‘spa-like’ experience. Starwood’s trendy Aloft brand is currently trialling robot butlers at a couple of venues in the US, and is talking up the roll-out of ‘smart carpets’. These will recognise when guests step out of bed at night and automatically light the way to the bathroom. For all the science fiction, what guests really want is a good night’s sleep – so it’s no surprise Hilton is currently testing rooms that are wired to emit white noise, drowning out the sound of traffic, roadworks or the noisy couple tumbling out of the elevator after a night on the tiles. Alternatively, there is always Starwood, which launched a Five Senses suite at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane in October. It combines a host of ‘sensory experiences’ to promote the release of endorphins – including cool jazz, the aroma of lavender and the poshest linen. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the Champagne.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE

How to...

Increase online adoption Transport operator FirstGroup was seeking to consolidate its travel management partners and streamline its booking processes. Read on to find out how it achieved its goals.

The background Transport operator FirstGroup was seeking to streamline its travel procedures, introduce better budget controls and grow online booking adoption. Its first move, in 2016, was to undertake a full market review with the objective of bringing all travel and meetingrelated services and payments into a single supplier. As the incumbent provider of accommodation and meeting management services, Inntel were invited to participate in the tender and ultimately beat off the competition. FirstGroup awarded Innel with the whole travel and meetings contract.

“While we were very familiar with FirstGroup already, we took the opportunity to review and refresh our partnership,” says Inntel’s Jane Dibble, Director of Business Development. “We spent time with the organisation’s key stakeholders to understand all their requirements in detail.” One of FirstGroup’s requirements was to introduce a new policy around making bookings online and to improve their existing 21% online booking usage.

The process During the re-implementation of the partnership, Inntel examined FirstGroup’s full requirements across air, rail, venues and accommodation. A survey was carried out with all the company's travel bookers and Inntel’s recommendations were presented to key stakeholders at FirstGroup. Inntel’s online booking tool, iCentral, was configured to FirstGroup's exact requirements and a target of 75% online adoption was agreed.

“We scheduled a series of training and education roadshows across all FirstGroup divisions – from Aberdeen to Plymouth – supported by regular communications to bookers outlining the new best practices and highlighting successes,” says Dibble. FirstGroup supported Inntel’s efforts with full buy-in from procurement and category managers in all divisions.

The incentive In addition to the savings on reduced transaction fees for online bookings and savings on air and hotel costs, Inntel also incentivised FirstGroup in the form of a financial rebate for achieving the 75% online target.

The outcome In the eight months following the implementation of new tools and processes, FirstGroup’s online bookings rocketed from 21% to exceed its 75% target, while simultaneously delivering financial savings and time-saving efficiencies. “In 2016, I set a goal to consolidate FirstGroup travel under a single TMC,” says Glen Lovett, Head of Group Procurement, FirstGroup. “Inntel were the selected provider and following a strong and focussed implementation plan that has helped us achieve our online booking goals, I have every confidence that Inntel will continue to support us in all areas of our corporate travel needs.”

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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT

Low-cost carriers A new era for transatlantic travel The options for flying between Europe and North America are more diverse than ever before. John Grant, Senior Analyst at aviation intelligence business OAG, examines the impact of low-cost carriers. Transatlantic routes to popular destinations such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Florida, Las Vegas and San Francisco remain some of the most profitable in the world, and it is no surprise they are dominated by the established giants of aviation. British Airways, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and their ilk certainly don't want to give up a slice of this lucrative market to pesky low-cost start-ups, but times they are a-changing and new entrants are circling. For a long time, established airlines were able to push back on the idea of low-cost transatlantic flights, knowing the technology didn't exist to make longer routes financially viable. But aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner have empowered the likes of

Norwegian and Iceland's Wow Air to launch US services from a number of European hubs and disrupt the transatlantic market in the same way Ryanair and easyJet have done across Europe. Airfare wars for the winter season are heating up and the demand for flexible, convenient and low-cost travel to the US has continued to rise throughout 2017, with UK capacity for such flights increasing by 3.4%; from Europe, capacity is up 8.4%. Like with short-haul routes, it seems demand quickly arrives when capacity is created. Norwegian has 77% more seats than last winter, and will offer close to 320,000 seats this season, operating to six new destinations. Clearly, it has reacted to consumer demand, triggering fare wars on long-haul routes by launching bargain basement prices for travel between the US and Europe. The shake-up has prompted offshoot low-cost brands from established carriers, with IAG's LEVEL launching from Barcelona in June and Air France's Joon taking off this December. Next up is

Airfare wars for the winter season are heating up and the demand for flexible, convenient and low-cost travel to the US continues to rise” Scandinavian carrier Primera Air which will launch services from London Stansted, Birmingham and Paris to New York Newark, Boston Logan and Toronto in spring 2018. Interestingly, IAG boss Willie Walsh has said modern customers – who are used to no-frills flights – 'get' the idea of flying long-haul without too many comforts. This mindset change has been critical to the success of low-cost carriers, but will it transfer to business travellers? They are far more likely to notice the service offering, product quality and measures that low-cost carriers take to cut costs. That said, Walsh predicts a LEVEL fleet of 30 aircraft by 2022, plus a new base in either Paris or Rome, so must be confident its figures add up. Price is the driver of growth and business travellers will make a value judgement on the suitability of new services. More choice, more destinations and more frequency can't be a bad thing though.

JOHN GRANT John Grant is Senior Analyst at OAG, a global provider of digital flight information. OAG has the world’s largest network of air travel data, including the definitive schedules database of more than 900 airlines and over 4,000 airports.

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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT

Man & machine Advantage Symposium The second annual Advantage Business Travel Symposium took place at the ME London hotel in November. The leaders of Advantage, the GTMC and ITM made a rare appearance together on stage at the Business Travel Symposium, uniting to air their frustrations with recent developments around NDC and new booking fees from some airlines. “The one thing everyone wants in this industry is transparency, and we’re better off talking about it as a united voice,” explained Advantage Managing Director, Julia Lo Bue-Said. “Buyers want transparency and a good deal, so this is a great opportunity for TMCs to show what they do best. Corporates are looking to them to help them get to grips with NDC,” said ITM's Scott Davies said. “It has been coming a long time but there is no one-size-fits-all and things haven’t been thought through. How do you go about tracking travellers and consolidating data?” Lo Bue-Said added: “TMCs are not burying their heads in the sand but they don’t like being vulnerable to change,” with the GTMC's Adrian Parkes ominously adding: “This is only the start of something. We can’t see the end game right now.” The day had earlier got underway with a

CONFERENCE BUZZWORDS NEW DISTRIBUTION CAPABILITY • COLLABORATION • GDPR • PSD2 • PEOPLE POWER • CHANGE MANAGEMENT

session tackling “industry distractions” including General Data Protection (GDPR), Payment Card Industry compliance and the second Payment Service Directive. Simon Ferguson of Travelport took delegates on a whistlestop tour of the evolving technology landscape and the need for TMCs to be agile. “I wouldn’t want to be a multinational right now,” he said. “They’re oil tankers that are going to have

trouble changing direction.” Delegates also heard from Advantage members in a session moderated by The Business Travel Magazine’s Andy Hoskins. Adam White of Baxter Hoare talked about investing in people; Key Travel’s Jo Cowling discussed an incentivised online adoption scheme; and Suzanne Horner of Gray Dawes explained how the TMC has handled change management during a period of rapid growth.

SUPER SERVICE

NUMBERS UP

THE STORY CONTINUES...

“The best ideas come from the people working with your customers every day”

70% OF TRAVELLERS WOULD

The Advantage Conference 2018 takes place May 10-13 in Miami. Dubbed 'The Next chapter', the event promises to open a new chapter in customer engagement

said Linda Moir in a keyonote speech on service excellence

LIKE TO USE SELF-SERVE TECHNOLOGY, SAID SIMON FERGUSON. "CUSTOMERS WANT A CONSISTENT, IMMEDIATE, PERSONAL AND RELIABLE SERVICE"

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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travel trends

2 0 1 8 TRAVEL TRENDS The business of corporate travel always throws up surprises – the secret to success is being prepared! With that in mind, check out our handy guide to what's likely to be on the agenda for 2018 and beyond

Taking off AUSTRALIA

March 25 marks the launch of the first non-stop scheduled services between the UK and Australia – a milestone for aviation. Qantas will operate a daily flight from London Heathrow to Perth, Western Australia, using a B787-9 Dreamliner. At 17 hours long, it is set to be the world's third-longest scheduled service.

Price forecasts AIRFARES

2%

Regional airfares in Europe are forecast to rise by 2% in economy class and 1% in business class in 2018. Intercontinental fares are predicted to remain static in economy and rise 2% in business class. Source: Advito

HOTELS

1%-3%

Key dates in 2018

Hotel rates in Europe are set to rise by 1%-3% in 2018

JANUARY

January 13 Implementation of PSD2, marking the end of some card charges and the first steps towards ‘open banking’

Source: Advito

3.7%

Hotel rates are forecast to rise 3.7% globally in 2018

MARCH

The deadline for travel agency compliance with IATA’s PCI DSS standard March 25 Start of summer airline schedules MAY

May 25 Implementation of GDPR regulations, tightening the way data is held and used OCTOBER

Government’s target for having a final Brexit deal in place October 28 Start of winter airline schedules DECEMBER

The first sections of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) due to open between Paddington and South East London 16

The big one

Source: CWT

NDC

It’s already garnered more column inches than most industry developments in 2017, but NDC, airline distribution models and booking fees look set to continue as the industry’s biggest talking point in 2018. British Airways and group partner Iberia joined Lufthansa by introducing a fee on most GDS-based bookings from November 2017, while Air France/KLM has announced it will add a similar surcharge from April 2018. US carriers are believed to be watching the Europeans carriers with interest.

The lack of hotel availability at preferred rate is becoming more of a challenge heading in to 2018 and this will affect corporate procurement” says Scott Alboni, Corporate Travel Management

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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travel trends

Mobile apps ONES TO WATCH

Marriott Hotels’ recent TestBed accelerator initiative for European start-ups produced a couple of winners that have clear benefits for business travel. The first, UK-startup MyManu, has developed a live translation service available via earbuds. The 'Click' earbuds mean business travellers can talk in their native language to hotel staff, drivers or other people during their trip and what they say is translated to the language of the person they are talking to via a smartphone.

Business travel has already found a number of uses for chatbots but another one to listen out for is Lola. The US-based start-up is well backed, with $45million raised in various funding rounds. The company recently pivoted to focus purely on business travel. Its AI-based service, makes personalised recommendations by gleaning information on previous stays such as price range, style and what reviews say. It also gathers information on what groups or clusters of similar travellers have booked.

On the horizon

The second, HiJiffy, is an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that uses Facebook Messenger to enable hotels to keep an ongoing conversation with guests before, during and after a stay. It's not difficult to see how this might help travellers with specific requests as well as make for a more efficient stay in terms of automating some of the processes. A further one to watch in this area is App in the Air which has a demo of ARViS, its AI-powered, voice search booking experience with augmented reality also built in. The app enables users to search for flights, filter them by preferences and even take a tour of aircraft cabins using AR.

THE CASHLESS SOCIETY

Virtual cards and mobile wallets are rapidly increasing in popularity and adoption, even though the market is fractured with numerous systems and suppliers. In some cities, such as Amsterdam, the number of outlets accepting cash is actually declining. DRIVERLESS CARS

AI, AR, VR, chatbots and robots... TECH

Travel industry suppliers will increasingly harness artificial intelligence to enhance the customer experience, while a number of airports and hotels have introduced service robots such as Hotel Jen’s recent roll-out of ‘Jena’ and ‘Jenno’ in Singapore (pictured above).

A little further off, but the impact of autonomous vehicles on business travel will be interesting, particularly on short-haul flying and train journeys. Most recently, Uber has announced it plans to buy 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo. BLOCKCHAIN

It’s attracted a lot of attention in 2017 but companies such as Lufthansa and SITA are now exploring various use cases for blockchain. Amadeus recently released a research paper saying it was developing prototypes and working with partners on the technology. Potential uses include making loyalty schemes more userfriendly and improving identity management in travel.

Chatbots, while limited in their functionality, sometimes requiring a human operator to step in, provide a snapshot of what the future of travel could be like” says Paul Broughton, Country Manager UK & Ireland, Travelport THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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THE CONVERSATION

Managing Director, The Advantage Travel Partnership

JULIA LO BUE-SAID The travel consortium’s leader talks to Andy Hoskins about the many and varied items currently on Advantage’s agenda

C

omplexity and clarity are two words that come up several times during my conversation with Julia Lo Bue-Said. Complexity in reference to the wave of challenges the travel industry is currently facing, and clarity with regard to what Advantage seeks to administer to its members. That is not an easy task when you have some 350 businesses to please, who between them cover all corners of business and leisure travel and have combined annual sales in the region of £4.5billion. Perhaps it is the challenge that has kept Julia at the business for over two decades. “When you say it like that it sounds quite frightening,” she says, admitting that she’s had too many job titles at Advantage to recall as she’s worked her way to the top. “The organisation has changed hugely over that time. The industry has diversified and Advantage has had to keep up with that – and in some cases champion change as well. When I started I was the eighth employee and now we have over 70 staff. We’ve evolved considerably over that time.” Once predominantly focused on leisure travel, there is now a roughly even split in its members’ business and retail sales. “If you look at business travel, we’d be in the top five [customers] for most of the legacy carriers,” says Julia. “Business travel is fascinating and our members are hugely collaborative. Of 20

course there are sensitivities. Would everyone share their commercials? No. Would they share how they’ve implemented a new system? Absolutely. It’s wonderful. “It’s more complex than the retail side but ultimately it’s still serving an end client – it’s just the process of getting there is different. “Then there’s the technology landscape. There is clearly more requirement for TMCs to invest. The expectations are a lot different so the need to innovate is greater,” she explains, as the conversation neatly segues on to the thorny subject of NDC – or rather the wider issues it envelops. “With NDC you have the issue of what it actually is, and then there is the whole conversation going on around airlines’ commercial negotiations with the GDS,” says Julia. “We are absolutely supportive of NDC and new, innovative retail environments and of personalisation. The benefits it is meant to deliver are great but actually how it is manifesting recently is disappointing – and TMCs are stuck in the middle.”

Our job is to deliver clarity but we can’t tackle everything at once so we have to decide where our investment and our time is best placed”

More acronyms roll off her tongue: “PCI, PSD2, GDPR… they are among the challenges that we’re trying to break down and help our members understand what they need to do about them. Regulatory changes are a pain that distract us from actually managing our businesses but we have to comply.” She continues: “Our job is to deliver clarity but we can’t tackle everything at once so we have to decide where our investment and time is best placed. “We have a lot of stakeholders to keep happy. You can never do the right thing by everyone but I’m comfortable we go about things in the right manner. We have to take complexity out of this industry.” One way in which Advantage is doing just that is through the recent restructure of the organisation’s hierarchy and the “interlining” of its previously siloed business and leisure travel divisions. “It’s about optimising the relationships we have for the benefit of our membership,” says Julia. “Members will see a much more comprehensive package from Advantage” – meaning clients will benefit too. “It’s part of our Vision 2020 plan to make things easier for members, to be more ambitious and to invest in the business. Our objectives are based on member engagement so we determine success not on how we grow but on how our members grow on the back of what we’re offering.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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THE CONVERSATION

in brief... How is Advantage best described in just a couple of sentences? We’re a membership organisation that provides consultancy to independent businesses in the SME sector across business and leisure travel. Each of our members is a shareholder so our raison d’être is to provide for them. How did you find your way into the industry? I studied travel and tourism at college and started off in retail with WHSmith Travel when they had stores. I then got into tour operating with Best Travel Group. I really thought I’d found my job for life but that didn’t last when the airline part of it took the tour operating side down as well. I moved to Balkan Holidays and then the opportunity came up with Advantage.

JULIA LO BUE-SAID Julia Lo Bue-Said celebrated her 22nd anniversary with Advantage Travel Partnership this year. Before taking up the top job in 2013, her time was predominatly on the leisure side of the business, in a variety of commercial roles. She developed the consortium's cruise business from scratch, along with driving its Gateway distribution technology project – both areas that have stood her in good stead for tackling the 'real complexity' she faced when learning more about business travel. Outside of Advantage she sits on the board of the Institute of Travel and Tourism

Were you always set on a career in travel? It sounds like a cliché but as a kid I wanted to be a dancer. In my head I had all the steps but in reality I didn’t! As a child I travelled a lot. My family are immigrants of Italian descent so we visited their homeland quite a lot and travelled a lot elsewhere too. I was bitten by the travel bug. The industry has a really exciting and dynamic feel to it but what no one tells you is that in some roles you don’t actually get to travel that much!

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PICTURE THIS

Seville

new horizons Seville has been declared the best city to visit in 2018. Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel report says the city has been transformed over the last 10 years: “Once a traffic-congested metropolis resting on its historical laurels, Seville has bloomed into a city of bicycles and trams, keen to reinvigorate its artistic past.”

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MEET THE TRAVEL MANAGER

meet

IMELDA ASPINALL Imelda Aspinall is UK Travel Manager at European defence organisation MBDA. She tells TBTM about her role

We’ve recently implemented a significant number of changes to reduce out of policy spend, but travel requirements never stand still and we will continue to shape our policy and reduce travel spend further in the future”

I’m the UK Travel Manager and Group Coordinator for MBDA, the leading European defence organisation. I joined the firm in October 2014 after working as the UK Travel Operations Manager at KPMG, which I joined in 2010. When I first joined MBDA my role largely focused on the operational aspects of travel management. However, I now spend the majority of my time on the implementation of group travel strategy projects and work very closely with our European travel managers and buyers. As a true European conglomerate, comprised of a range of previously diverse companies, we have a significant amount of travel activity within our business, largely between our sites in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. In the UK alone, we have more than 100 business support officers who are our key travel bookers. My team and I liaise with them on a regular basis and make sure they are kept up to date with any changes that may affect them. They’re also a great source of feedback and are a good sounding board to run any ideas past.

developing an app, which we hope to introduce by the end of this year.

locations for internal networking opportunities or team building events, for example, means undertaking a robust security process. We work closely with our large internal security department – as well as our external providers – to ensure all risks are mitigated as much as possible.

We employ approximately 10,000 people across our European sites with around 3,500 in the UK split We have a travel I live a busy life with a across three separate management company full-time job, husband and two locations. Of that group, in place along with a young children, Felix (seven) and around 1,500 travel on separate online Hazel (two) so I don’t have time for much more! However, I am a a regular basis. booking tool. Both are knitting addict so attempt to get effective and we have a few rows done every evening Working in the defence an 85% adoption rate on along with attending a industry – and specifically the OBT. However, the monthly knitting for a European days of impartial OBTs are a group conglomerate – involves a thing of the past and moving significant amount of travel and forward we may look to utilise our we unsurprisingly put a heavy focus on TMC’s technical booking solutions in the security. Even visiting ‘run of the mill’ future. We’re also in the process of

OUT OF THE OFFICE

We have a comprehensive travel policy and it’s something we constantly adapt to fit the needs of our employees. We’ve recently implemented a significant number of changes to reduce out of policy spend, for example. But there’s always work to do – travel requirements never stand still and we will continue to shape our policy and reduce travel spend further in the future. MBDA is an organisation borne out of European collaboration and integrating different national units into a cohesive team does create challenges. For me, one of the main ones is keeping up with the pace of technological change. We see frustrations from travellers who don’t understand why they don’t have access to the technology that’s available when they’re booking personal holidays. Technology is improving at a rapid rate but it’s impossible to keep up with the external commercial market. Another issue is delivering changes that fit within the capabilities of our OBT. We’re looking to shift our expenses procedure to fit more closely with our operating model, but it can be challenging to deliver these major changes in short timeframes.

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SUSTAINABILITY

[ LEADERSHIP ]

BREAKING THE MOULD Suppliers should market sustainability as forcefully as price, convenience and the product themselves, writes Roger Gardner

A

re we reaching the tipping point at which travellers genuinely make choices based upon comfort and sustainability rather than just cost? There are a number of indicators to suggest this is happening. If so, how should that feed through to service offerings and the marketing and management of business travel? ‘Habituation’ is both a blessing and a curse. We get used to a product or service, value its certainty and, hopefully, its reliability too. But that can mask a bunch of negatives such as decreasing economic or sustainability value. Habituation can also make people put up with something that should be intolerable in terms of comfort, service level or ‘feel good’ value. The last of these is a perennial personal KPI and it may be a factor of rising importance as business travel becomes more difficult. We all want to enjoy our experiences and there is a growing tide of opinion of wanting to ‘do the right thing’ by the planet and humanity. Change starts as a slow burn, as we have witnessed with electric car technology. When it starts to really take hold, change can be dramatic. For that sector, we can now see the end of manufacture of traditional combustion engines in favour of hybrid or full electric vehicles within a couple of decades. The shift to rail and the rise of carbon performance improvement in the hotel sector are still at the earlier stages of that same journey but the message is getting clearer – sustainability and better carbon performance is now mainstream not peripheral. So, we should aim to break the ‘habit’ and instead adopt a disruptive and proactive approach. 24

In the same way that ‘legacy’ automotive firms have looked over their shoulders to see the disruptive ambitions of Tesla, a wave of new providers can now change attitudes in the business travel sector. Cost will doubtless continue to be the dominant driver for TMCs and their clients, but in the same way that electric cars started off

with a heavy premium, so too the cost base of sustainability is dropping. For example, the solar industry is now growing without subsidy. There are lessons here. Business travel is dependent upon the perceptions of the traveller and it might not take that much to make choice based upon secondary – i.e non-cost – factors a great deal more important. If cause-based marketing is also growing in its effectiveness, not least through the ubiquity of social media, why not apply the marketing of sustainability more strongly? A triple whammy benefit awaits as this would catch a rising tide, play to fatigueladen travellers who want a more positive experience and, importantly, deliver sustainability benefits. Most providers in the sector are not in the position of business dinosaurs such as Kodak: there is a lot of good behaviour, initiatives and reinvention to be found. In order to be seen to be a sustainability leader it is necessary to put a lot of effort in and living by an environmental narrative that it is easy to spin. Traveller expectations are rising all the time and, as the evidence of the harm we collectively do to our environment becomes clearer, the case for strong sustainability action makes increasingly good business and CSR sense.

Business travel is dependent upon the perceptions. It might not take that much to make choices based on non-cost factors a great deal more important”

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ac On es ly re a f m ew ai ni ng ! pl

Celebrate the festive season with industry colleagues

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 2017 CHRISTMAS PARTY Tuesday, December 12 The Grange St Paul's, LondoN [ BOO K NO W ]

For more information and to book, see thebusinesstravelmag.com

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BUSINESS CLASS TRAVEL

Back in

BUSINESS Flying business class on long-haul journeys used to be the norm for many business travellers but now things are a lot more complex, writes Rob Gill CATHAY PACIFIC

N

othing is more likely to incur the displeasure of a business traveller than telling them their long-haul flight will not be in business class. But there have been plenty of conversations like this over the last decade between travel buyers and their travellers following the restrictions placed on flying “at the front of the plane” in the aftermath of the financial crash and subsequent recession of 2008 and 2009. With the world economy looking more 26

robust – the International Monetary Fund has upgraded its global forecast for economic growth to 3.6% for 2017 and 3.7% in 2018 – will this mean a return to those flatbed seats for long-suffering, long-haul business travellers? And what impact will this improved economic outlook have on prices for longhaul business class fares? Oil prices have been creeping up over the last year and fares may be going in a similar direction, so what can companies do to counteract this upward pricing pressure?

Long-haul outlook

Economic and aviation market conditions seem likely to lead to an increase in overall long-haul business class fares in 2018, according to the latest research. BCD Travel’s consultancy arm Advito forecasts prices in the sector will rise by an average of 1% next year due to rising demand and airlines undergoing only “cautious expansion”. But these increases will vary by region, with intercontinental fares in Europe and North America predicted to see the largest

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BUSINESS CLASS TRAVEL

price increases of 2% and 1% respectively. Elsewhere, Advito thinks long-haul fares will drop 1% in Africa and stay flat in other parts of the world. It adds that airfares are “trending slowly upwards in markets where demand is strongest”. Carlson Wagonlit Travel and GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) are also expecting average airfares to rise by 3.5% globally in 2018, with Europe seeing the highest increases – up by 5.5% in western Europe and 7.1% in eastern Europe, the latter being partially driven by the football World Cup in Russia next summer. “Airline prices are expected to rise along with oil prices in 2018,” says CWT/GBTA in its Global Travel Forecast 2018. “Oil hovered below $50 per barrel thus far in 2017 after bottoming out in early 2016 at $29.” Airline organisation IATA (International Air Transport Association) adds that “stronger global trade” has increased demand for premium travel, particularly to and from “the key manufacturing region of Asia”. “By contrast, premium demand has lagged behind the economy in a number of cases, most notably between Europe and the Middle East – the latter may reflect less demand for travel to the Middle East region, as well as the impact of the ban of personal electronic devices in early 2017,” IATA observes in its latest Airlines Financial Monitor. Premium travel continues to be a crucial financial element for airlines, particularly on long-haul routes – while only 5.3% of total airline passengers are flying in premium cabins, they account for a whopping 26.3% of all revenue, and this is a percentage that has been creeping up in 2017. The transatlantic continues to be the leading market for business class air travel.

Sector views

If demand for long-haul business class is increasing, which industries and sectors are currently filling these seats? Inevitably this depends on how each sector is performing. Paul Dear, Global Director of Supplier and Industry Affairs at HRG, says: “We are seeing an overall increase in the number of business class bookings – it’s probably been a single digit percentage increase this year. But it depends on the sector. Obviously the oil and gas industry is still really cautious, even though the oil price has moved up a bit this year and has stablised.

“Finance, banking and consulting are improving as industries so we are seeing more demand there – particularly switching from premium economy to business. But other sectors, like retail, remain cautious.” Demand for premium long-haul travel continues to be strong in the consulting and professional services sectors, says Jennifer Charlton, Vice President of Global Supplier Relations for American Express Global Business Travel. “The result of continued business growth in these sectors is fuelling travel opportunities,” adds Charlton. “In comparison, the financial services and pharmaceutical sectors have had a challenging time over the last 12 months. Stress on these industries has forced companies to exercise greater travel discretion, curbing long-haul trips and premium choice selections.” There is also a trend towards more medium-sized firms booking business class flights rather than just the policydriven larger companies, according to Julie Oliver, Managing Director of Business Travel Direct. “Mid-size companies with no mandated travel policies across most industries tend to represent the growth area,” says Oliver. “The larger corporates are policing policies with more rigour and requiring noncompliance reports more often. “Strong growth areas tend to be the Far East, where the Gulf carriers are winning business due to keen pricing and North America where American Airlines, in particular, has shown growth.”

Negotiating deals

While negotiated corporate deals on short-haul business class have largely disappeared across the industry to be replaced by procurement strategies based around “best available fare on the day”, long-haul business class remains an area where negotiated deals are set to stay. This area of procurement could soon become more interesting due to the onset of New Distribution Capability (NDC) projects, which will allow airlines to sell their ancillaries through B2B platforms. NDC, which is being driven by IATA, has been kicking around for a few years (since 2012, in fact) but 2018 could finally be the year when it actually reaches fruition. Many TMCs think the increased flexibility

offered by NDC-enabled channels could allow corporate clients to secure more “bespoke” deals with airlines instead of the tradition volume-based agreements that have dominated in recent decades. “Business class on long-haul will continue to have corporate fares,” says HRG’s Paul Dear. “Any area where legacy airlines are competing for market share drives the ability for corporates to negotiate. “Long-haul business class is still a relatively high ticket item, so procurement is looking to drive that price down. NDC will increase the customisation and personalisation of the business class fare, which should also increase the ability for the corporate and their TMC to negotiate with the airline,” adds Dear. While NDC may usher in a brave new world, for now volume-based agreements continue to rule. But what’s the going rate in terms of passenger numbers and spending to get a route deal these days? Geraldine Valenti, Senior Director EMEA for CWT Solutions Group, explains: “It depends on factors such as the global spend and the total spend potential for the airline, the competitiveness on the 

[

BUSINESS CLASS CAPACITY 2017 ]

Top 20 departing airports for business class seats London Heathrow – 3.9 million Dubai – 3.7 million New York JFK – 2.7 million Los Angeles International – 2 million Frankfurt – 1.95 million Paris Charles de Gaulle – 1.9 million Singapore Changi – 1.88 million Tokyo Narita – 1.7 million Hong Kong – 1.6 million Seoul Incheon – 1.5 million Bangkok - 1.33 million San Francisco – 1.31 million Doha – 1.3 million Beijing Capital – 1.2 million Shanghai Pudong – 1.14 million Amsterdam Schiphol – 1.1 million Sydney – 1 million New York Newark – 980,000 Tokyo Haneda – 844,000 Abu Dhabi – 808,000 Source: OAG

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UNITED AIRLINES

routes, as well as overall travel pattern – is it fragmented or concentrated spend on top routes? “Each airline has a different approach in terms of minimum spend threshold per contract, point of sale and routes. A very rough estimation is that you need more than €75,000 and more than 20 tickets to get a competitive long-haul route deal.” Jo Savory, Head of Account Management at Clarity Travel Management, thinks the bar to getting a good route deal is even higher – starting at an annual expenditure of more than £100,000 per route. “We find airlines tend to push clients towards corporate reward schemes over corporate deals,” adds Savory. “With reward schemes, businesses can amass points under all travel spend, which is a benefit if they don’t fly frequently enough to warrant being offered a corporate deal. Points can be redeemed

We find airlines tend to push clients towards corporate reward schemes over corporate deals”

on hotels and in cash as well as used towards other flights.” Kavon Bagheri, Air Product Manager for FCM Travel Solutions, says that airline policies on offering long-haul corporate fares vary, with some willing to agree deals for annual spending below £50,000 on a route, and others insisting on at least £100,000 per route. “Some airlines will offer a corporate deal on the agreement that the revenue target amount is reached; others need you to deliver the revenue before an agreement can be made,” adds Bagheri. However, one clear trend, identified by Business Travel Direct’s Julie Oliver, is that “foreign airlines are more ‘generous’ than the UK-based carriers” when it comes to the deals they offer.

Travel policies

While figures show that business class long-haul travel is increasing, that does not necessarily mean that companies are loosening their restrictions on allowing employees to travel in business. Certainly many believe that it will never get back to the kind of levels seen before the financial crisis took hold.

“We see more and more a trend for corporations to increase their threshold from a previous four-to-six hour rule to a six-to-eight hour rule depending on their savings objectives and travel pattern,” says CWT Solutions Group’ Geraldine Valenti. “Very mature corporate clients are exploring alternative rules that can be added to the classical flight-hour rule and that are driven by travel purpose, traveller type and travel duration.” FCM’s Kavon Bagheri is also seeing a tightening in policy in how companies use the length of flight to determine whether an employee can fly business class. “A number of customers are increasing the number of hours permitted for booking business class,” adds Bagheri. “A direct trip to New York or Boston will now be premium economy rather than business. On routes to Singapore and Asia-Pacific, customers are only allowing business class if the ticket is a non-direct flight booked via the major hubs such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Istanbul from the UK.” The rules can also vary depending on where the company is based, with those headquartered in Europe tending to allow business class if the flight is over four hours and those in North America more likely to have policies of more than six hours. As well as these factors, there is a sense that the decision by many airlines to introduce premium economy cabins in recent years has backfired somewhat by encouraging many companies to downgrade their passengers from business class to premium economy.

Loyalty questions

Another long-running problem for buyers is that travellers may make booking decisions based on getting the most loyalty points or benefits rather than staying within their travel policies or programme. Although TMCs say that the issue has reduced in recent years, it can still crop up, particularly with senior managers who “don’t want to jeopardise their hard-earned loyalty status”. American Express GBT’s Jennifer Charlton says: “The appeal of earning loyalty points is very much a deciding factor for travellers when booking. If travel programmes change, there is often an overlapping period where travellers are prone to book an airline with which they have loyalty 

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BUSINESS CLASS TRAVEL

QATAR AIRWAYS

points, even if it’s out of policy. Despite travellers booking outside of policy, travel managers are finding ways to influence positive behaviour. Around 80% of travel managers are now using visual guilt to nudge travellers into booking within policy. Many also employ positive reinforcement, incentivising employees with the perks of traveling within policy.” So, while travel buyers and their departments are having some success at cutting down on these “rogue” bookings, there is still some way to go to eradicate it. Clarity’s Jo Savory adds: “It‘s very easy to spot travellers with preferences for certain airlines, especially where they’re declining lower fares with alternative carriers for their own personal gain, rather than acting in the best interests of the business. However we can help enforce through policy control and authorisation.”

High expectations

With all the focus on airfares and policy restrictions, it can be easy to forget about what travellers are getting in terms of the cabin, seat and service when they fly business class on long-haul services. Flatbeds, which were once seen as a luxury when the likes of British Airways

Airlines are spending more on their non-flight products, and particularly their lounges” 30

DELTA AIR LINES

introduced them two decades ago, are now expected as standard in business class, while several airlines – particularly those in the Middle East – have added suites in their first class cabins. Qatar Airways has raised the bar further this year with its new Qsuite, which is being billed as offering a ‘First in Business’ service with a quad-seating configuration that can be adapted to host onboard meetings. US-based airlines, which used to be derided for the poor quality of their business class product, have also stepped up their game. Delta has introduced its Delta One suite in business with its own sliding door for more privacy, while United’s new Polaris seat is currently being rolled out across the fleet. Closer to home, British Airways is planning to introduce a new Club World seat in 2019, which will feature direct aisle access from every seat. This should finally end one of the major criticisms of the current Club World configuration. Meanwhile, BA’s arch-rival Virgin Atlantic has this year been retrofitting a new Upper Class cabin on its fleet of Airbus A330s from Gatwick and Manchester. “British Airways' forthcoming investment in upgrading its Club World product will make the business class products a lot more competitive as it is rolled out, but the key to making it successful will be speed and that the new product is served on popular routes,” says Jennifer Charlton, from American Express GBT. But what will be the next major develop-

ments for long-haul business class cabins – particularly as airlines push the boundaries on the length of their flights? HRG’s Paul Dear says: “The next stage in product development will come on the ultra-long-haul routes – Qantas going from Heathrow to Perth, and Qatar flying from Doha to Auckland. “If you’re flying for 17 or 18 hours, you are going to need further enhancements because on such long flights you’re going to have to move around more than on shorter flights. I’ve heard rumours of exercise bikes but we’ll have to wait and see.” The business class experience is also not just about the flight; airlines are also trying to outdo each other with their airport services, as well. “Airlines are spending more on their non-flight products, and particularly their lounges,” says Kavon Bagheri from FCM. “There has been a rising popularity in airport swimming pools since Singapore’s Changi airport offered a rooftop pool in one of its terminals, giving connecting customers the chance to enjoy some sunshine on a long transit. “Virgin Holidays took this a step further by launching its beachside pre-departure lounge in Barbados, due to be available in early 2018,” adds Bagheri. Despite the airlines trying to tempt travellers with these extra services and facilities, most agree the most crucial elements when looking at booking longhaul business class are still “price, seat and schedule”, and that’s not likely to change.

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OIL & GAS SECTOR

fuel for

THOUGHT The logistics of travel in the oil and gas industry present a unique challenge, says Gillian Upton, who explores the sector’s idiosyncrasies

I

t has been said that the oil and gas sector is like no other in the corporate business travel world and if you consider its market characteristics you’d be hard pressed to disagree. Organising crews to reach oil rigs in Brazil, ensuring the safety of employees in Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta, avoiding car jackings in Lagos, pirates on the high seas, organising travel to a remote mining site and arranging last-minute visas for Angola are some of the challenges for a TMC managing travel to and from the sector’s key exploration and operating regions. Meet and greet takes on a whole new meaning. Don’t expect a chauffeur in a shiny limo but a bus with armed guards, whose driver has been vetted and photo sent to the traveller. Or it could be a convoy of three vehicles, with the engineer in the middle vehicle, to circumvent any vehicle breakdown or carjacking. Accommodation is also a different picture. “There isn’t a Radisson Blu,” says Paul East 32

of Wings Travel. “We’re transferring crew to heavily fortified compounds.” Travel for the workers is augmented by more ‘normal’ business trips of corporate travellers and senior level executives between key headquarters locations globally such as Houston, Singapore, Stavanger, Aberdeen, London and Malaysia. Disruptions due to adverse weather conditions or technical hitches pile on the pressure for a TMC as 28-day rotations of crews – the bread and butter FIFO (rotational fly-in, fly-out) travel – means having to have contingency plans and specialist knowledge in add-on services such as charters, heliport transfers, air freight, airport to port transfers and additional baggage. If the North Sea is too rough or foggy for helicopters to fly, for example, then alternative arrangements have to be made to re-route the out-going

crew – and the TMC may be looking for a Radisson Blu after all. Rigs can’t operate without full crews and those workers who have done their stint do not want to stay a minute longer than their allotted shift. Moreover, it is typical for workers to use early morning flights inbound and late flights outbound to avoid the cost of overnight stays. In Africa, weather isn’t an issue, but violence and corruption are the challenges. Oil exploration and drilling very often takes place in countries of abject poverty and residents want a piece of the action. “It’s a fast and changeable market; it's very complex with a high cost of failure. The focus is on cost and duty of care is a high priority,” explains Wayne Durkin of Good Travel Management, which launched a dedicated marine and energy division targeting SMEs in early November (see p46).

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OIL & GAS SECTOR

There is no place for a self-booking tool in this sector – it’s all offline bookings with experienced staff who often make up to five changes per booking and deal with last-minute changes when things go wrong”

Travel programmes of large corporates can be sizeable, with an annual spend of up to £50million, and even smaller subcontractors can spend between £2-3million on travel each year. The programmes are underpinned by duty of care, understandably, and reach new levels of keeping employees out of harm’s way. Paul East has one client for whom they cannot issue any tickets until they receive confirmation that all the security is organised. TMCs liaise with HR, security/risk department or the travel manager, or all three. There is no place for a self-booking tool in this sector – it’s all offline bookings with experienced staff who very often make up to five changes per booking and deal with last-minute changes when things go wrong. But before any booking is initiated, checks have to be completed by HR on the crew member’s visa, safety certificates and eligibility to ensure they can be holed up on a rig for a month.

Explains Murray Burnett, Global Lead – Energy and Marine, American Express Global Business Travel: ”There are strict documentation requirements to consider, such as offshore survival certificates, a valid seaman discharge book or offshore workers adjoining letters. Without these documents, travellers risk delays and trip cancellations.” And he adds a further complication. “Travellers who work on offshore platforms are not always permitted to use mobile phones, making communications difficult. It’s important that travellers are fully briefed for their destination and journey.” The travel requirement then comes through to the TMC who have to get crews, engineers, surveyors, geologists, drillers, rig managers and contractors where they have to be on time, preferably without the need for an overnight stay. It costs oil companies between $4,000-5,000 a day to drill so time really is money. “The number of workers rotating ranges from a dozen for a small rig to thousands 

[

quiet diplomacy

]

Working under the radar is often a necessity, explains Wayne Durkin of Good Travel Management. “I’ve been part of a team that has helped arrange the travel post resolution of a number of kidnap situations in West Africa, one involving the CEO of an offshore support vessel firm. “We worked in collaboration with the company and risk management provider who undertook the kidnap negotiations with the FCO. We held and rebooked space on flights out of the country for a number of days to ensure as soon as the situation was resolved we were immediately able to repatriate the man back to his home country, via his office, for a debrief. “And we also ensured that no news was generated of the event.”

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OIL & GAS SECTOR

for a mining set,” explains Tony Berry, VP Energy, Resources and Marine at major player CWT Energy. nd it’s not a simple, one-way process either. A typical rotation might work like this: - Incoming crew A travels to oil and gas destination to relieve departing crew C; - Crew C travels to home destination; - Crew A works with Crew B for two weeks and then Crew D relieves Crew B; - After working with Crew D for two weeks, Crew A is relieved by Crew C. Overlay that with extreme climates and the potential for failure is great, turning a seamless end-to-end itinerary into a logistical nightmare. “Atirau in Kazakhstan can go from -40C to +40C and disruptions like hurricanes are common,” says Berry. Amex GBT’s Burnett adds: “It can be challenging to achieve both cost reductions and operational efficiencies in this challenging environment.” Traveller tracking, crisis and repatriation processes, 24/7 capability globally, access to special industry fares and integration with crew software push this sector into the hands of specialist TMCs and earns it the reputation of being a challenging market. “It is critical that corporates work with a travel partner who is experienced and has a proven track record within this industry,” says Durkin. Travel processes must be integrated into the client’s rostering processes include ERP integration, and

Clients have to be kept aware of events such as elections that might result in mass demonstrations to ensure contingency plans are in place”

interfacing customer HR and finance systems with the TMC’s booking platforms. Larger clients contract directly with the likes of International SOS and Anvil for risk management services and integrate that travel partner into their own risk management processes. They have to be kept aware of any upcoming events in destinations, such as elections that might result in political upheaval or mass demonstrations, to ensure contingency plans are in place. “Oil and gas crews are a global workforce and specialist TMCs know the routes – that Lufthansa flies out on a Friday, for example. They have contacts in embassies to expedite visas and know the eligibility rules of using marine and offshore airfares,” says David Robertson, Energy consultant with Direct Travel. The specialist airfares for the sector are fully flexible and fully refundable, offering savings of between 15-20%. “Most of the main carriers, such as British Airways, Singapore Airlines and KLM all have offshore fares bookable within the GDS,” says Paul Jarvie, Head of Account Management – North UK, FCM Travel Solutions, based in Aberdeen. KLM goes one step further with a free-to-join Petroleum Club for energy sector employees, granting benefits such as lounge access and fast track through security. However, from the outset, demand for travel in the oil and gas sector is projectdriven, dependent on where the corporate is exploring or drilling – and since 2013/14 there has been a singular lack of projects. Oil and gas are commodities that underpin world economies and are used as a tradebartering tool in terms of energy security. As a benchmark for economic development globally, the sector is just beginning to come out of a dark period. 

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OIL & GAS SECTOR

A global oil glut saw the price of a barrel of oil nosedive from a high of $147 in 2008 to a low of $27 last year. Today, it is showing modest rises and is currently hovering at $56 a barrel. The International Energy Agency reported in August that OPEC (the union of oilproducing countries that regulate the amount of oil each country is able to produce), needed to reduce output for a much longer period before the situation can be reversed. “It needs to get to over $75 a barrel for energy sector clients to operate efficiently,” says FCM's Jarvie. The discovery of natural gas reserves in Mozambique in 2011 is one light at the end of a dark tunnel. Italian energy company ENI is planning to start drilling and processing soon and Wings Travel Management has set up an operation in the South East African country as clients line up to take advantage of the find. But as far as oil is concerned, it’s still a slow recovery process. The price drop a couple of years ago sent a ripple of redundancies across the industry, over one million globally, while companies folded, consolidated or attempted to diversify as exploration and production slowed. The slump not only hit corporate clients but the downstream supply chain, including those TMCs who specialised in the sector as the need for travel diminished. “We’ve seen 30-40% reductions in travel volumes,” says Paul East at Wings Travel. “One exploration-based company decreased its travel by 70%,” he recalls. Wings swiftly diversified, with the strategic acquisition of mainstream TMC Grosvenor Travel. Elsewhere, Direct Travel acquired Colpitts Travel, headquartered in Edinburgh, in the summer of 2016. In the wider travel market, some of the largely inhospitable destinations that airlines were flying to became unviable and frequencies and routes were cut. Hotels reliant on crews emptied out and the local

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economies of whole cities – such as Aberdeen – dependent upon lucrative business based around the North Sea became ghost towns. Aberdeen has seen 300,000 redundancies since 2016. For the handful of specialist TMCs, life has been tough. FCM says its clients are downtrading in terms of travel spend by around 50%; Wings reports 30-40%. Major players in the sector include CWT Energy, ATPI Griffinstone, HRG Logistics and Wings Travel Management plus an array of regional businesses such as Munro’s, and Good Travel Management based in Aberdeen and Direct Travel in Edinburgh. Good Travel Management remains upbeat, planning to buck the trend and expand, explains Durkin. “We’ve ridden out the impact and there is a drive to get greater value and consider low-cost carriers for the first time, when those options only add a short delay. Before, clients worried less about the cost and were only concerned about getting the crew there on time.” Durkin believes there has been a widespread mindset change. “We’re not targeting the big global players but the sub-contractors who fall between the cracks of the mega-TMC travel programmes,” he explains. CWT's Berry is also upbeat, based on the modest increases in price that has kickstarted the exploration again by the Big Five. “This confidence has trickled down the supply chain,” he says. “Hopefully this marks the beginning of real recovery and Aberdeen should see a positive impact.” Direct Travel’s David Robertson has anecdotal evidence that suggests recovery has definitely begun: “I passed a restaurant in Aberdeen that was full on a Wednesday night; this time last year it wouldn’t have been open.”

The global oil price needs to get to over $75 a barrel for energy sector clients to be able to operate efficiently”

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TECHNOLOGY

[ HOTEL BOOKINGS ]

ROOMS FOR IMPROVEMENT TMCs are turning to technology to tackle the issue of rogue hotel bookings, writes Linda Fox

W

hat is it about hotels that make business travellers want to go out of policy? Certainly location plays a role. No one wants to arrive at a hotel, with limited facilities, in a soulless industrial estate for the night. Brand could also be a factor – or perhaps the opposite; the traveller knows a favourite independent hotel in a city where he or she feels comfortable. Whatever the reason, hotels booked out of policy is a significant issue for corporates. Recent research from Egencia, the business travel arm of Expedia, shows almost half of business travellers (46%) have been allowed to book their hotels using their chosen method, despite a travel policy being in place. The survey is pretty comprehensive covering more than 4,500 travellers across Australia, Canda, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and the US. The results reveal that travellers go rogue with hotels because they didn’t find a hotel close enough to their destination (37%), or found a better price or better hotel that came within their daily cap (also 37%). Egencia’s remedies are, as you might expect, kind of obvious – travellers want hotels that are relevant to their needs, taking price, location and flexible booking options into account. What’s perhaps more interesting is that the company says three-quarters of its travellers book a hotel from the top seven listed in results, while half book from the top three. This shows that if travel management companies can use technology to serve up a relevant choice of places to stay and give travellers a number of ways of booking, this should lead to better compliance. The study goes on to talk about

incentivising travellers to stay in policy – and money usually talks. More than 60% say that if they received a percentage of savings for booking a hotel below the daily rate, they would book within policy. A similar number would be less likely to go rogue if they could apply saved funds to other travel options. Some TMCs have already bought into the idea of incentivisation. US-based Altour announced a partnership with Rocketrip which uses technology to reward travellers for coming in under budget. A similar partnership was signed with CWT earlier this year. All this feeds into the issue of whether travel policies are fit for purpose in today’s world. A recent study by the Association of

Corporate Travel Executive and American Express GBT says one size no longer fits all, leaving travel managers trying to strike some sort of balance between compliance and the traveller. The ACTE study suggests travellers can be persuaded to do the right thing if presented with cheaper options and again technology can be used to serve up various options – cheapest, most flexible etc. However, if after all alerts and options have been explored and the traveller still books out of policy, there’s technology for that too. Concur Triplink is the system most often mentioned to capture out of policy bookings. However, more recently Traxo has unveiled FILTER, which it says tracks “off-channel corporate leakage as it occurs.” The technology works by integrating into a corporate’s email server to find travel reservation confirmations as well as emails from hotels after stay. Traxo claims the technology recognises travel confirmation emails from more than 5,000 unique airline, hotel, car rental and travel agency suppliers.

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11/23/17 11:50 AM


TALKING TRAVEL

On the road again

Dave Myers The Hairy Biker talks to Angela Sara West about his two-wheeled adventures with foodie friend Si King

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rom wife-carrying and riding tanks in Finland, to sumo wrestling in Japan and music pilgrimages along the Mississippi, Dave Myers’ career is a travel agent's dream. As one half of popular TV cooking duo The Hairy Bikers, Myers is on the road five months a year – “It used to be more like ten,” he says. “But who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places on the planet with your best friend on your favourite form of transport! The food’s pretty inspiring, too.” Freewheeling their way around the world in search of authentic cuisine and cultural experiences, the biking buddies (Myers and pal Simon King) have created a unique form of travelogue that is based around cooking, eating and partying with the locals. ‘Bakeation’ saw the biker boys embark on an epic two-month escapade; a 12-nation, 5,000-mile gastronomic trip taking in baking, bobsleighing, yodelling, truffle-hunting, tapas-tasting and gondola-riding across Europe. “Bakeation was so amazing. We both put on massive amounts of weight and then had to film The Hairy Dieters!” Venturing into largely-untapped countries, and some of the wildest places in Europe, ‘Northern Exposure’ circumnavigated the

The worst food I’ve eaten? Namibian mopane worms are bad, but a Vietnamese goat’s penis hotpot is worse!” 38

Baltic Sea, sampling a smorgasbord of Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. “Gdansk was interesting as we’re both from shipyard communities. It’s so beautiful; a great weekend destination with surprising architecture. We visited Treblinka’s concentration camp… such sadness in the air.” The duo delighted in discovering the land of their forefathers. “It was great to find out I was a Viking. I always thought my heritage was Jewish. Si had told me about his supposed Viking ancestry – his face was a picture when he found out he was Swiss-German with a hint of Italian!” Entering Russia on a post-war Ural bike complete with sidecar, they encountered flamboyant fashion designers and ruthless oligarchs, and indulged in the world’s rarest caviar washed down with fine vodka at St Petersburg’s Fabergé Museum. “One of the best foodie experiences of my life! The cold, the wait at the Finnish border and the Russian traffic were a challenge, though.” Other series have seen the boys rev up their Harleys for a mouth-watering mix of music ’n’ motorcycles in America's Deep South, and sampling the diverse flavours of Asia, where they discovered the roots of their all-time favourite food. “Sushi lovers must visit Tokyo fish market. It’s special.” The duo's forthcoming Mediterranean Adventure TV series celebrates French, Spanish and Italian cuisine. Multi-Michelinstarred Majorca was a must for Myers, especially the colourful Mercat de l’Olivar. And his favourite destinations? “There are so many. There are numerous foodie

capitals now, all offering something special. Chinese New Year in China has to be one of the best parties in the world. I loved Argentina and Mexico, but summer in the Mediterranean was stunning.” The boys’ biking expeditions not only uncover countries’ food secrets, but get under the skin of the local way of life. “I can’t pick a culture that’s been more welcoming than any other. We always look for the best in places and people, meaning you tend to have a great time,” says Myers. “Learning the minimum in a language is really useful; just ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’. Beyond that, patience and a smile will take you around the world.” For world-beating authentic food and cutting-edge cuisine, Myers favours the Med. “It’s so varied, it has everything.” Any global dishes not to his taste? “Namibian mopane worms are bad, but a Vietnamese goat’s penis hotpot is worse!” Myers’ most treasured purchase on his travels is a 1,000-year-old Mayan chocolate pot, but the pals also collected a souvenir from Argentina – a tattoo of Che Guevara. “It was Si’s dream. There’s no show without punch, so I thought I’d have one, too!” His travel tips? “Chill out, don’t worry, and never get on a airplane without a book. I love Thai airlines. The service is fantastic, a real treat, as is Virgin Upper Class. EasyJet’s comfortable and really efficient. Wizz Air is good for travel to Eastern Europe.” Still on the menu? “More travelling in South America and I’d love to go into space! Travel broadens the mind and helps understand your fellow man and woman.”

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DAVE MYERS The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure is due to air on BBC2 in January 2018. The accompanying book to the series, Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure, includes 150 feel-good recipes and is now available. For further information, visit: hairybikers.com

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AWARDS

meet the winner

Caroline Medcalf Caroline Medcalf of NYS Corporate was named Meetings and Events Manager of the Year at The Business Travel People Awards 2017 Tell us about your career in the industry... I’ve worked in conferences and events for over 20 years, across a variety of sectors and roles including hotels and agencies. I joined NYS Corporate eight years ago to build and launch our Event Management division. The division has been hugely successful and while managing its growth, I’ve also been hands-on in the dayto-day management of events. What do you particularly enjoy about your role? Events are demanding creatures and they require long – and sometimes unsociable – hours, so you have to love them. I enjoy the variety, creativity and the satisfaction I get from doing a great job for clients. You could be managing a series of pharma client roadshows across Europe one week, and a one-off event for 50 engineers the next. I’m lucky because I get involved in the end-toend process, from pitching ideas to the client and creative development, through to on-site team management and post-event analysis and insights.

recognising that meetings and events are at the heart of so much travel. What will the award mean for your career? I’m customer facing so it’ll help raise awareness of an amazing events team that has grown organically in line with our business requirements.

How did you feel about What do you think of The Business winning an accolade Travel People Awards? at The People It’s great to be part of awards The Business Travel People Awards recognise Awards? that recognise teams and outstanding individuals and I was so thrilled individuals – not just the teams across all aspects of the and it genuinely companies. It showcases supplier element of corporate felt like an some of the great travel management whose accolade for the personalities around and professionalism and business whole team, helps them shine, while excellence make them stand out because you can’t recognising their from their industry peers. The be a good event contributions to the entire 2018 awards open on manager without a industry. It’s well organised December 1 great team. I am also too, and that’s no mean feat! proud to win in the year that the meetings and events What advice would you give to others categories became part of the awards. It entering The People Awards? feels like I’m part of a real market shift in Do it! You have everything to gain from 40

I'm proud to win because it feels like I’m part of a real market shift in recognising that meetings and events are at the heart of so much business travel” letting people know how committed you are to the industry and customers. I already plan to enter my team in 2018. And the winners’ trip is the icing on the cake. Who wouldn’t want a five-star VIP trip to Abu Dhabi? What do you think are the industry’s greatest challenges currently? The industry has many opportunities to improve, from enhancing crisis management within events, to building greater relationships in emerging markets. And with technology evolving daily, there are boundless chances to use innovations to improve the experiences of bookers and event delegates.

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RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL The annual awards recognising outstanding individuals & teams in business travel

Now in its 7th Year! NOM INATIONS NOW OPE N THEBUSINE SSTRAV E LPE OPLE AWA RDS.COM

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AWARDS

WELCOME TO THE 2018 AWARDS Our industry continues to go through significant change and there’s never been a more important time for us not to lose sight of the fact that our greatest asset is our people. What better time to reward, recognise and retain our most talented and dedicated staff! The Business Travel People Awards recognise the professionalism and excellence of outstanding individuals and teams across all aspects of business travel. Each year, we hear from people delighted to get the news they have been shortlisted. And each year, we see companies delighted to find out their employees have won. We’re excited to announce a few changes for 2018, not least a new category, Best Newcomer, plus new faces on our esteemed judging panel. Let’s make 2018 even bigger and better! Mark Cuschieri Chairman of the Judges

The Business Travel People Awards categories cover a wide range of roles for both suppliers and agency entrants. The judges are aware that companies have many different job titles to illustrate core business responsibilities such as sales, account management and business development. It is important that nominations are entered in the category with the description that is the most suitable and appropriate.

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT COMPANIES AND HOTEL BOOKING AGENCIES

• Reservations Consultant of the year

Recognising the individual who has demonstrated excellent customer service, a can-do attitude, and the ability to go the extra mile for both colleagues and customers.

• Reservations Team of the year

Recognising the team that has demonstrated excellent customer service, a can-do attitude, and the ability to go the extra mile for their customer(s).

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THE 2018 CATEGORIES

• Operations Manager of the year

Recognising the individual who has demonstrated the ability to provide excellent customer service using an innovative, practical and strategic approach across operational management.

• Operations Team of the year

Recognising the team that has demonstrated the ability to provide excellent customer service using an innovative, practical and strategic approach across operational management.

• Account Manager of the year

Recognising the individual who takes a proactive and consultative approach to their role in order to provide unrivalled customer service, care and value to their client(s).

• Account Management Team

of the year Recognising the team that takes a proactive and consultative approach to providing unrivalled customer service, care and value to their client(s).

RECOGNISE • REWARD • RETAIN

]

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AWARDS

• Sales / Business Development

Manager of the year Recognising the individual who has driven growth through outstanding sales results by the development and use of a creative and successful business strategy.

• Sales / Business Development Team

of the year Recognising the team that has driven growth through outstanding sales results by the development and use of a creative and successful business strategy.

MICE CATEGORIES

• Meetings and Events Manager

of the year Recognising the individual who has demonstrated the ability to provide excellent customer service or event management and project management using an innovative, practical, strategic approach across the operational delivery of meetings and/or events.

• Meetings & Events Team of the year Recognising the team or department that has demonstrated the ability to provide excellent customer service or event management and project management using innovative, practical, strategic approach across the operational delivery of meetings and/or events.

SUPPLIER CATEGORIES (Air, Accommodation, Ground Transport (car hire and rail), Online Booking Tools, GDS, Data Management Services)

• Account Manager of the year

Recognising the individual who demonstrates impeccable product knowledge and takes a proactive and consultative approach to their role in order to provide unrivalled customer service, care and value to a TMC or HBA and/or corporate customer.

• Best Newcomer

• Account Management Team

of the year Recognising the team that demonstrates impeccable product knowledge and takes a proactive and consultative approach to their role in order to provide unrivalled customer service, care and value to a TMC or HBA and/or corporate customer.

• Sales / Business Development

Manager of the year Recognising the individual who has driven outstanding sales growth through the development and use of a creative and successful business strategy.

• Sales / Business Development Team

of the year Recognising the team that has driven outstanding sales growth through the development and use of a creative and successful business strategy.

INDUSTRY CATEGORIES

• Rising Star award

Recognising an outstanding individual from any sector of the business travel industry who is under 35 years of age. Entrants should have demonstrated a desire to develop into a business leader of the future by showing excellence in their role, allied to a fresh approach to its challenges.

Recognising an individual from any sector of business travel who has been involved in the industry for less than two years. This person will have shown an aptitude and and appetite to develop their role in the sector.

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THE JUDGES

]

Chair of the Judges

Mark Cuschieri Executive Director, Group Corporate Services, UBS

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Ken McLeod Director of Industry Affairs, Advantage Travel Partnership

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Adrian Parkes Chief Executive Officer, GTMC

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Scott Davies Chief Executive Officer, ITM

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Barbara Kolosinska Director, C&M Travel Recruitment

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Vanessa Ancill-Griffiths Director, ROK Consulting

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Caroline Strachan Managing Partner, Festive Road

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Jon Bolger Director, Equilibrium Consulting

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Audrey Muir Corporate Travel Manager, Baillie Gifford

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Will Hasler Business Travel Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers

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2017 Rising Star

Jodie Edwards-Locke Managing Director, The Appointment Group

NOM INATIONS NOW OPE N THEBUSINE SSTRAV E LPE OPLE AWA RDS.COM

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EVENT REVIEW

The Business Travel People Awards 2017

Winners trip to Abu Dhabi The Business Travel Magazine Dinner Club ▼

Taking one of the sought-after top prizes is kudos enough, but there’s fun to be had too – a luxury trip to Abu Dhabi! Check out how this year’s victors enjoyed the glittering desert jewel...

No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to the Grand Mosque

Taking to the track at the Yas Marina Circuit served up high-octane thrills ▲ 27.09.2017

With thanks to our generous event partners

Enjoying Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin

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THE REVIEW

the

Review [ LOWDO W N ]

T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER

Managing the modern business traveller

IATA urges UK to prioritise post-Brexit aviation plans

[ I N T H E A IR ]

[ O N TH E G R O U N D ] Driving down the cost of rail travel

Bold new look for Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel

[ ME ETI N G P LAC E ]

p46-47

p48-49

p52-53

p55

[ R OOM R E PORT ] Principal London ready to do business

p50

O N

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THE REVIEW

T H E

L O W D O W N

SME PLAYERS TARGETTED IN ENERGY DEBUT

IN BRIEF Anvil strikes on risk

A new authorisation tool from travel and operational risk company Anvil enables travel managers to automatically factor traveller safety into their approval process. The technology matches trip details against risk data, forwarding an alert to the manager if higher risk trips are requested.

Statesman rebranded

The Statesman Travel Group has rebranded as Travel and Transport Statesman following its acquisition earlier this year by Nebraska-based Travel and Transport. The business is promising improved technology, including a new booking portal called Dash with mobile app.

Mapping the threats

International SOS and Control Risks have launched the latest version of their Travel Risk Map, with revised risk ratings on key security and medical issue including increased international terrorism, extreme weather events and political instability.

Egencia adds value

Egencia, the business travel arm of Expedia, has launched Egencia Advantage, a suite of services designed to support business travellers throughout their journey. The programme is designed to provide travellers with perks to improve efficiency and productivity, and include airport lounge access, risk management and visa services.

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Getting to grips with modern travellers TRAVEL managers must take a more traveller-considerate approach to developing travel policies and programmes, according to research from Amex GBT and ACTE. Speaking at ACTE’s global conference in London, Philip Haxne, Regional Director EMEA, Global Business Consulting at Amex GBT, said: “The modern business traveller is hyper-connected, has a consumer mindset, demands flexibility, and is age and gender agnostic,” he said. He advised travel managers to educate travellers about policy and use psychology – such as visual guilt – to win them over, with corporate social platforms such as Yammer offering personalised engagement. “Online booking tools remain vital but need to deliver a consumer-like experience.”

GOOD Travel Management has created a marine and energy division geared towards SMEs. The 24/7 service will offer customers access to marine and offshore fare discounts, with added flexibility and additional luggage allowance on airfares. Jennifer Lee Wright, who has 25 years' experience in the marine and energy sector, has been appointed to head up the division. “We will create bespoke solutions that really make a difference to how SMEs manage marine and energy travel,” she says. Parent company the John Good Group is well known in the maritime industry, with contacts to ports and ship operators.

62%

[ NEWS BITES ] >> Only a quarter (27%) of Europeans business travellers touch base with their families while on the road, according to research from CARLSON WAGONLIT TRAVEL, compared to 31% of travellers from Asia-Pacific and nearly half in the Americas >> KEY TRAVEL has partnered with INTERNATIONAL LOCATION SAFETY to provide risk management services to its customers in the humanitarian and academic sectors. The TMC works with around 2,000 third sector organisations in 54 countries >> BCD TRAVEL has earned a gold ranking in an assessment by EcoVadis that measures corporate social responsibility performance – the only TMC to achieve the top rating for two consecutive years

of travellers are members of a loyalty scheme

A Wanup study of 6,000 business travellers found almost two-thirds are members of supplier loyalty schemes. Seven out of ten respondents were happy to share their consumer habits in order to receive personalised offerings

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THE REVIEW

T H E

IN BRIEF Big on bleisure

Almost half of working professionals (45%) value the ability to blend business travel with leisure activities over more traditional workplace benefits, according to Booking.com for Business. Its survey of 17,000 workers across 24 countries also revealed that 33% would accept a lower paying job if it meant more travel.

Leftover loyalty

58% of customers who have signed up to loyalty schemes do not utilise their accounts at all, and this number is rising year-on-year, according to Matilda Dorotic, Professor of Marketing at BI Norwegian Business School. Despite the number of customers joining loyalty programmes increasing annually, the difficulty of earning points, irrelevance of rewards and poor company interaction mean that over half of these customers do not use their services at all.

L O W D O W N

Europeans are most relaxed about safety EUROPEAN travellers are less concerned about their safety and security abroad than their counterparts in other regions, research from Carlson Wagonlit Travel has revealed. The TMC found one third (37%) of European travellers worry about safety while nearly half (47%) of travellers from the Americas are concerned about it. Asia-Pacific travellers show the most concern at 56%. The CWT Connected Traveller Survey of over 1,900 individuals also found two-thirds (67%) of business travellers believe travel is safer today than in the past as they have more tools at their disposal to mitigate safety concerns. Terrorism ranks fifth (35%) among travellers’ worries, despite the high visibility of terrorist attacks, with forgetting something needed for work the biggest fear (40%).

Digitally lost

A study by Travelport has found that modern travellers depend heavily on digital tools with 57% admitting they would be lost without their smartphone. Based on a sample of UK respondents, 40% of travellers research and book their trip on a smartphone and 46% believe a good digital experience is important when choosing an airline. The survey also revealed travellers use an average of 14 different categories of apps when on the road.

LONDON WILL FALL DOWN THE LIST OF THE WORLD'S MOST VISITED CITIES IN THE NEXT EIGHT YEARS, FROM FIRST PLACE CURRENTLY TO SIXTH IN 2025, ACCORDING TO FORECASTS FROM EUROMONITOR. HONG KONG WILL RISE TO THE TOP FOLLOWED BY BANGKOK AND SINGAPORE

G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes Chief Executive, GTMC

Following an eventful 12 months across the political and economic landscapes we know that constant change will be an ongoing theme throughout 2018. This time of year brings with it a focus on reflection and planning. Brexit and trade relations, investment in UK rail and transport infrastructure, the Northern Powerhouse, and the sharpening focus on workplace diversity are all issues that will resonate in the plans of our members and industry partners. Debate is intensifying around distribution, credit card legislation and GDPR. Economic and political changes like GDPR will have a significant impact on our industry. Likewise, new technology and the ever-shifting sands of distribution will inevitably raise more questions than answers as we embark on new ways of working. With these factors in play, it remains vital to invest in talent. Recruiting and supporting the next generation and recognising the importance of a diverse workforce will ensure we are ready for everything the future throws at us. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.

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ThE rEvIEw

I N

T H E

A I R

sInGAPorE AIrLInEs FoCusEs on sPACE wITh nEw A380 CAbIns

IATA urges uk to prioritise aviation iAtA, the International Air Transport Association, has urged the UK government to “shore-up its international air connectivity” ahead of the country’s departure from the EU. The organisation believes the government must also focus on the cost-effective expansion of London Heathrow Airport. Speaking at the UK Aviation Club, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said: “In building the post-Brexit world, the prosperity of the UK will depend on the strength of its connectivity – links with Europe and the rest of the world.” De Juniac called an early resolution for aviation in the Brexit talks. "The Brexit clock is ticking towards a deadline of March 2019. But the aviation deadline is earlier. Normally passengers can book travel about a year in advance.

singAPore Airlines has revealed its new cabin products following an $850million investment across its fleet of Airbus A380s. The new products provide more space and privacy in all classes and will enter service on the first of five new A380s. Retrofit work will take place on 14 existing aircraft to ensure consistency across the entire A380 fleet. Following four years of development the new aircraft will be configured with 471 seats in four classes, comprising six Singapore Airlines Suites, 78 business class

amErican airlinEs strEngthEns commitmEnt to BusinEss travEl AMeriCAn Airlines has pledged to introduce its new lounge concept at London Heathrow in late 2018 or early 2019 for First and Business passengers. Upgraded lounges have already opened in US destinations including Chicago and Miami. The carrier says the move is part of a commitment to business class travellers, who bring in 44% of its revenue but represent only 13% of its passengers.

[ TAKING OFF ] >> NORWEGIAN has launched the world's longest low-cost route, from London Gatwick to Singapore. The service operates four time a week with fares from £149.90 >> BRITISH AIRWAYS will increase its Heathrow-Inverness service from seven to ten flights a week from March 2018 >> AER LINGUS is expanding its transatlantic operations with a twice-daily service to Chicago, daily services to San Francisco and Los Angeles, increased capacity to Washington DC and a new Philadelphia route >> Low-cost airline PRIMERA AIR will launch services to Toronto from both London Stansted and Birmingham in 2018 >> JET AIRWAYS has introduced a third daily service from Heathrow to Mumbai

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seats, 44 premium economy seats and 343 economy class seats. Singapore Suites have separate flatbeds and leather chairs together with a 32-inch full HD monitor. Business class seats recline into fully-flat beds and are in a 1-2-1 configuration with USB ports, increased stowage space and a large dining table. All seats on the aircraft have personal monitors with access to KrisWorld, Singapore Airline's in-flight entertainment system. High-speed wifi is also available throughout the aircraft.

82%

– passengers who want to use a digital passport

IATA’s 2017 Global Passenger Survey of over 10,000 travellers found 82% of respondents would like to be able to use a digital passport on their smartphones for as many travel activities as possible, from booking flights to passing quickly through the airport

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THE REVIEW

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China Airlines returns with taipei service

IN BRIEF EasyJet trials IFE

EasyJet is to introduce inflight entertainment for passengers, one of several announcements delivered at the airline’s Innovation Day. Supported by Rakuten and Immfly, the Air Time service will enable passengers to stream TV and films to their own devices. The service will be free to customers and will initially be available on five easyJet aircraft with plans to roll the service out to the entire fleet.

T5 Plaza Lounge open

A new Plaza Premium Lounge has opened in London Heathrow's Terminal 5. It is the first lounge in the terminal for the group and completes its presence at all Heathrow terminals. Prices to access the lounge start from £40 for two hours’ access including a bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, a hot and cold food buffet, high-speed wifi, shower facilities, seats, work stations, charging outlets and international publications.

Cathay expands wifi

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific will introduce high-speed wifi on its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft next year. The service is set for launch in mid-2018 and follows the successful introduction of wifi onboard its Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Price details have not yet been announced but wifi access on Cathay’s A350 aircraft currently costs $19.95 for flights of more than six hours.

Emirates has unveiled refreshed interiors for its Boeing 777 fleet, including new First Class private Suites offering up to 40 square feet of personal space

China Airlines’ new non-stop service between London Gatwick and Taipei’s Taoyuan International begins on December 1. The new service will operate four times per week from Gatwick’s South Terminal with a flight time of just over 13 hours aboard an A350-900, offering premium business, premium economy and economy cabins. The premium business product features 180-degree lay-flat beds, aisle access for every seat and access to the onboard Sky Lounge. Premium Economy will feature fixed back seats that recline within their hard shell and economy features slim-line seat design. The new service marks the end of a five-year hiatus for the carrier. It previously offered a London Heathrow-Taipei flight between 2010 and 2012. Economy fares start from £525.60, premium economy from £915 and Premium Business class fares from £1,875.

Aeroflot receives brand recognition

London City wins new tap lisbon link

Aeroflot's goal to be the "best in Europe" has received a welcome boost from several sources, despite the hindrance of historical perceptions. The airline has received a four-star Skytrax rating and been named Europe's Best Airline in Tripadvisor's 2017 Travellers' Choice awards. Perhaps most surprising of all was its crowning as the world's strongest airline brand. "I have to say it was a bit of a surprise when we saw who came out on top," says David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, "but Aeroflot is a strong brand aspiring to become bigger and more valuable." In the first nine months of 2017, Aeroflot Group carried 38.3 million passengers – up 16.8% year-on-year – and it claims one of the youngest fleets among major airlines with an average aircraft age of 4.2 years.

Portuguese airline TAP has launched flights from London City Airport to Lisbon, its third route between the two capitals. Already operating from both Heathrow and Gatwick, TAP also now offers a twice-daily service on weekdays (daily at weekends) between City Airport and Lisbon. The services depart London at 10.10 and 19.50 and from Lisbon at 07.00 and 16.40 from Monday to Friday. Services are operated by an Embraer 190 aircraft with capacity for 106 passengers. The expansion is part of TAP’s plans to reinforce its UK presence.

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SMEs BUCKING A DOWNWARD ROOM NIGHT TREND

Principal to reopen London grande-dame LONDON'S former Hotel Russell will reopen as a luxury Principal hotel early next year. Principal – a collection of hotels based in landmark buildings – is currently renovating the 334-room, Grade II listed building in the capital's Bloomsbury neighbourhood. To be known as Principal London, it will be restored to its original glory and "administer a shot of adrenalin” to the heart of London’s most literary neighbourhood. The hotel should create a hub, not only for its guests, but also for Londoners, says the Principal Hotel Company. It is the latest hotel from Principal, following the restoration of historic properties in Edinburgh, Manchester and York. It also has hotels in Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Oxford.

BUSINESS TRAVEL in the SME sector is reportedly bucking the downward trend of hotel room night bookings. Reservations made by members of WIN, the international travel network, show an increase in total room nights booked by UK TMCs on behalf of SMEs of 5.49% across the first six months of the year versus the same period in 2016. In addition, the total number of room nights booked to the UK by international TMC members was up by 10.98% from January to June 2017.

BUSINESS TRAVELLERS' ROGUE BOOKING BEHAVIOUR NEARLY half of all business travellers confess to straying out of policy when booking hotel rooms, according to new research from Egencia. 46% of business travellers surveyed book hotels however they choose, with rogue bookings largely attributed to hotel locations and pricing. 62% of business travellers say they would book within policy if they received a percentage of savings for booking below the cap.

[ ROOMS ROUND-UP ] >> The COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT Edinburgh West Hotel has opened next to Oriam, Scotland's Sports Performance Centre >> The ARORA GROUP and HILTON have signed agreements to refurbish and rebrand the Arora Hotel Gatwick as a DoubleTree by Hilton and to launch its latest development at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 as a Hilton Garden Inn >> THE DIXON, a boutique style hotel part of Marriott International's Autograph Collection, will open close to London’s Tower Bridge in autumn 2018 >> The EASYHOTEL group has opened a 78-room “super budget” hotel on Castle Street, Liverpool >> THE BLOOMSBURY, London, has relaunched following a multimillion-pound investment programme

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Neil Armorgie, Chief Executive of WIN, says: “These figures show that both our international members and UK members are performing well and business travel continues to drive forward. “SMEs are generally less affected than large conglomerates by geopolitical events and are quicker to recover in times of economic uncertainty,” he says. Figures show UK TMC members have increased domestic room nights by 6.4%, while overseas nights were up 4.77% in the first six months of 2017.

38%

– travel managers who feel RFPs give them the best ROI

Just over one third of travel managers believe traditional RFP-based hotel sourcing methods give them the best return on investment, according to research from ACTE and BCD, with respondents increasingly turning to dynamic sourcing methods instead

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IN BRIEF Hyatt doubles in Africa Hyatt Hotels & Resorts expects to double the number of its hotels in Africa, with six properties due to open by 2020. The expansion will see Hyatt enter four new countries: Algeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Senegal.

Hampton debut

The Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End has opened for business, becoming the first of the value brand in the Scottish capital and the fifth in Scotland. The new-build, 228-room property is a short walk from Edinburgh International Conference Centre and has two meeting rooms, bar, fitness centre and complimentary wifi and breakfast.

R E P O R T

Dynamic pricing in favour with buyers HOTEL sourcing methods were in the spotlight at the ACTE Conference in London this autumn, with travel managers and hoteliers alike criticising the ‘cumbersome’ RFP process and exploring alternative models instead. Conducting RFPs for businesses' top 20% of hotels – around 80% of spend – was advised by panellists in the breakout session, with dynamic pricing deployed for the next swathe of hotels and finally chainwide discounts for the bottom level. Two-year corporate deals were also seen as one way of easing the pain of annual RFPs. A study from ACTE and BCD Travel, New Approaches to Hotel Sourcing, found 56% of survey respondents plan to source more than half of their room nights via RFP.

Carbon footprint cut

The hotel sector must reduce its carbon footprint by 90% by 2050 in order to play its part in meeting global warming limits, says a report from the International Tourism Partnership (ITP). Commissioned by ITP and conducted by Greenview, the report states the hotel industry must reduce its absolute carbon emissions to stay within the two-degree threshold set in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Royal Lancaster refurb The Royal Lancaster London has unveiled its brand new design following an £80million renovation. The redesign of the 18-storey property encompasses the refurbishment of all 411 guestrooms and suites.

HILTON LANDS DEAL TO OPEN ICONIC LONDON HOTEL THE HILTON group has secured a deal to open and operate London’s iconic Admiralty Arch as a Waldorf Astoria hotel. The group has been appointed by Prime Investors Capital Ltd who purchased the former government building in 2015. The Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria will open in 2022 following an extensive refurbishment programme. It will include 96 guestrooms and suites

and three restaurants, while a rooftop bar, spa and meeting and event spaces are also included in initial development plans. Hilton’s President and Chief Executive, Christopher Nassetta, says: “Projects of this calibre are rare, and the Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria hotel will provide a truly unforgettable hospitality experience when it opens to guests.”

I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM

As another year in the travel industry draws to a close I’m struck by the number of events and conferences so many of us attend annually. I have always chosen to allocate time and money to attend events if they, a) give me an opportunity to network with new and existing contacts, and b) offer the chance to share and learn new initiatives that will benefit me and my company. Both attendees and sponsors alike need to justify a return on their investment. There is quite a responsibility upon those who create and execute a conference to challenge the form and bring something new and stimulating in each instance. There is an adage that says we only retain 5% of what we heard 48 hours ago and, furthermore, we can only recall three pieces of information from any given presentation. These are sobering realities as we plan our 2018 ITM Conference in Scotland. Thankfully we are all made up differently and if only 5% or three things will be picked up as we head home, they will likely be a different combination of things for each of the 400+ attendees. Join us in Aviemore in the first week of May – register now at itmconference.org.uk

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Seamless integration & end-to-end travel The rise of flexible mobility solutions means that business travellers can now enjoy an increasingly seamless experience from door to door. With the range of options now wider than ever, the need for efficiency, simplicity and clarity has never been greater. Fair and transparent pricing is of the utmost important to us, and in response to first-hand feedback from TMCs, we have introduced an all-inclusive pricing option in the UK and Europe, which guarantees that the amount on the invoice is indeed the final amount to be paid. All the essentials are included from the word go, including additional and young driver options, unlimited mileage and Road Fund Licence. It’s added peace of mind so when the customer collects the vehicle they know they have everything they need. We have also introduced e-signature technology to help speed up the rental car pick-up process – it’s similar to that seen in the parcel delivery industry, and has the potential to add real value in terms of efficiency and clarity. We capture customers’ signatures digitally on easy-toview screens, which clearly highlight areas on the rental agreement for review. A digital copy is also emailed to customers for their records.

To further improve the customer experience – specifically relating to transparency around charges – we have created an industry-first mobile damage checking system. The Avis Maintenance and Damage Management System integrates a digital vehicle condition report into each rental agreement. Any significant damage is photographed, timed and logged, and then fed into the billing and reconciliation system.

As part of our commitment to support TMCs, we recently launched the Avis online training academy, which provides jargon-busting guides and a series of helpful resources to empower booking consultants to make the right choice as part of a ‘complete journey’ approach. With our customers at the centre of everything we do, we combine their first hand feedback with the wider industry insights we gain, as the only car rental member of the GTMC, to help us respond to their continually evolving needs.

James Turner Sales Director at Avis Budget Group

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Evolvi users drive down rail costs THE average price of rail tickets purchased through the Evolving booking platform has fallen to £57.02 in 2017. Average ticket values (ATV) for over one million users registered by Evolvi's TMC customer base have consistently defied year-on-year fare increases. The ATV of £57.72 in 2016 compared to £59.03 in 2013, despite annual mandated increases of up to 3.9% over the period. “The continued reduction in ATV in 2017 to £57.02 is testament to the ability of the Evolvi system to navigate the incredibly complex UK rail fares structure and present the best available fares options within a policy-driven environment, whether through the Evolvi GUI or web API,” says Ken Cameron, Managing Director of Evolvi Rail Systems.

[ ON TRACK ] >> GoMedia is bringing a selection of HBO shows including Game of Thrones to rail passengers as part of a new onboard entertainment package from TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS >> One in three London car journeys could be in an autonomous vehicle by 2025, and a third of private vehicle journeys could be made with new technology, says ADDISON LEE-led MERGE Greenwich consortium. One in seven of London’s overall journeys, by any form of transport, could be made by autonomous ride-sharing within eight years >> The average SME business traveller takes 6.4 trips a month according to research from TRAINLINE FOR BUSINESS. It says 74% of SME owners travel off-peak due to budget constraints

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THE REVIEW

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IN BRIEF

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Voice of the trains

Travellers can now 'talk to Trainline' with its new voice app for Google Assistant. Users can ask everyday travel questions about their journey with real-time updates on timetables and delays. The conversational platform also recognises commuting patterns from regular places and can provide relevant information.

Hertz with Travelport

Travelport customers will now have access to Hertz's worldwide inventory of rental vehicle rates following a partnership between the two organisations. Over 68,000 Travelport-connected travel agencies will have access via point of sale too, Smartpoint, as well as via Travelport's Universal API used by OTAs and TMCs.

Europcar expansion

Europcar Group has opened new franchises in nine countries for its brands, Europcar and InterRent. Europcar franchises have opened in Israel, Lebanon, Rwanda, Senegal, Cambodia, Guatemala and Mali. The InterRent brand now operates in Dubai's airport and in Chile. Additionally, Europcar UK is adding the Range Rover Velar to its prestige vehicle fleet.

Concierge acquisition

Chauffeur drive company Blacklane has acquired Solve, a booking platform for airport concierge services around the world, including passenger meet and greet, fast-track security and expedited customs and immigration.

Executive Director, ACTE

SMEs to benefit from East Midlands tool EAST Midlands Trains has unveiled its new booking system specifically designed for SMEs to help them spend less time on admin and more time on business growth. The tool finds the most cost-effective fares allowing simple and quick booking within company policy. Employees can set up individual profiles, book direct and pay using their own card or a single corporate payment card. The system can also book tickets for travel beyond the East Midlands network. Richard Clay, Head of Sales, East Midlands Trains, says: “Our new Business Travel system makes it much easier for small and medium-sized businesses to travel for work. It’s like having a full travel agency at your fingertips but without the fees and costs that larger businesses will pay.”

A CASE STUDY IN CAR CLUB SAVINGS ENTERPRISE Car Club has partnered with NHS Fife allowing the board's staff to access new, eco-friendly vehicles for their business travel needs. The partnership removes the need to use personal vehicles and associated expenses. It is projected the partnership will deliver savings of more than £100,000 per year which can be reinvested in frontline patient care. The low emission cars are also expected to reduce the board's CO2 emissions by around 82 tonnes a year.

The initial rollout sees some 30 vehicles made available to staff, which is planned to increase to over 82 over the coming 12 months. Dan Gursel, Managing Director of Enterprise Car Club, says: “Car clubs are a way of offering employees a wider range of options for business travel. Many organisations, especially in the public sector, now see that these programmes bring a number of benefits including cost savings, improved driver safety and reduced emissions.”

I was at a job a few years back, and I was stuck. Then I figured out the problem – I was focusing on the urgent, not the important. This seems to be a common theme in business travel. You’re too busy dousing flames to dig a firebreak. As new technology and traveller needs expand, managers struggle to maintain complex, multilayered travel programmes. Internal policies geared toward savings can confound the ultimate objective: building business. It’s a problem that will only get worse unless things change. Simplification is the answer. A recent global ACTE Corporate Travel Survey of travel managers found that a simplified travel programme is a top priority. Almost 40% of respondents predicted simplification would lower travel costs, and 47% said it would improve initiatives such as duty of care. An overhaul will make policies easier to understand, booking programmes more intuitive, travel tools more productive and travellers more efficient. But there’s a gap between intention and execution. It’s hard to change a tyre at 100mph. Improvements will only take place when travel managers talk amongst themselves, confer with travellers and speak to senior management.

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Work trip your way to Hamburg Work trip your way around the world. From New York to Manchester to Hamburg. Innside Hamburg Hafen is an international lifestyle hotel for the modern business traveller who is also curious for the city. Designed for those who are always on and never off, its restaurants, bars, lounge, creative meeting spaces and wellness suites will ensure you make the most of your stay, and you will arrive home feeling you’ve achieved more than just business. For exceptional rates visit Innside.com

0808 234 1953

melia.com

Aachen | Bremen | Dresden | DĂźsseldorf | Frankfurt | Leipzig | Madrid | Manchester | Munich | New York | Mallorca | Wolfsburg

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THE REVIEW

M E E T I N G

P L A C E

M&E GROWTH FORECAST

IN BRIEF Jury's Belfast refurb

Jurys Inn Belfast has completed a £2million refurb of its city centre property. The hotel's technology offering has been significantly enhanced, with free high-speed wifi available throughout. Five meeting rooms are available, accommodating up to 30 delegates. The new-look Lagan Room can facilitate cabaret-style meetings and private dining events.

Somerset day rates

London's Somerset House is offering day delegate rate packages for the first time. The packages allow access to the Portico Rooms with a capacity of 100 theatre-style or 56 cabaret-style. The package includes room hire, access to the Navy Board Room for catering, LCD screens, laptop, PA system, wifi, AV technician and more. DDR starts from £98 plus VAT based on a minimum of 80 delegates.

Spaces expansion

Workspace provider Spaces has opened its fourth London hub in The Harley Building, Fitzrovia. The 36,400ft2 facility is close to Regent's Park, Great Portland Street and Oxford Circus in the heart of the capital. The company has also opened a 17,868ft2 space in Bath on the second and third floors of Northgate House, near the High Street and close to the city centre and train station. Both properties feature large, open-plan co-working spaces along with meeting rooms and more than 100 private offices.

Balmoral Edinburgh finishes Forte facelift EDINBURGH'S Balmoral Hotel has completed a multimillion-pound refurbishment that has upgraded its castle view guest rooms and extended its main event spaces. Work at the Rocco Forte Hotel has centred on maximising impressive views across the Scottish capital from its three main event spaces: the Sir Walter Scott, Princes and Holyrood suites. Each has undergone significant restyling to highlight their neo-Renaissance architectural detailing. The Sir Walter Scott Suite overlooks the city’s famous Sir Walter Scott monument – the largest dedicated to a writer in the world – and has capacity for up to 450 guests for receptions. The Holyrood Suite can host up to 200 for receptions and the Princes Suite up to 120.

[ NEW AND IMPROVED ] >> The MERCURE CHESTER ABBOTS WELL Hotel has unveiled its refurbished Christleton Suite, which now sits 240 for banquets and 300 theatre-style or standing >> A new events building will open at the NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM in Staffordshire featuring flexible events spaces and meeting rooms. It is expected to be completed by autumn 2018 >> MALMAISON LEEDS has launched its new events space, Work + Play, comprising four meeting rooms and two soundproof glass pods >> London venue TOBACCO DOCK has introduced two new DDR packages for groups of 50 to 250 attendees. The Conference Package is priced at £95pp and the Dinner Package is priced at £145pp

INCREASED competition in the supply chain for market share, robust investments and a desire for consolidation of spend by buyers could contribute to meetings and events growth in 2018, according to the latest American Express Meetings and Events Forecast. Localisation of meetings programmes will be a key trend, as meetings professionals seek to add flexibility to offerings addressing market needs and driving adoption. Technology is also expected to transform the industry, particularly regarding management of delivery and attendee experience. Survey respondents in the UK also anticipate increased spend in the meetings sector.

+54%

Venues of Excellence increase in growth

Since rebranding, Venues of Excellence, the nationwide collection of UK venues, has grown by 54%. The consortium has also recently welcomed its 37th member, Silverstone Conference and Exhibition Centre THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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EVENTS DECEMBER 1

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS 2018 NOMINATIONS OPEN thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.co.uk

DECEMBER 12

TBTM CHRISTMAS PARTY Grange St Paul's Hotel, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

JANUARY 26

ITM RISK MANAGEMENT SUMMIT

SHARON BURRELL

EUGENE STAAL

HEIDI ROWAN

JOINS: CWT Meetings and Events AS: Head of Operations, UK/IRL & Benelux FROM: Freelance

JOINS: Pentahotels AS: President FROM: Yawnworld

JOINS: Redfern AS: Account Manager FROM: Virgin Trains East Coast

Sharon Burrell will focus on growing meetings business and supporting the global operation in her new position. She has freelanced since 2004, mainly in pharma, retail and motors.

Pentahotels has named Eugene Staal as its new president. The entrepreneur previously founded apartment rental firm Yawnworld. He will oversee global operations.

Redfern has bolstered its account team with the addition of Heidi Rowan. She joins from Virgin Trains, where she previously managed Redfern as a supplier.

SHAUN HEALEY

JAMES GRANT

JONATHAN READ

The Principal, London itm.org.uk

FEBRUARY 7

TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

FEBRUARY 21-22

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW Olympia, London businesstravelshow.com

APRIL 29 - MAY 1

ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT New York, US / acte.org

JOINS: Business Travel Direct AS: Client Partnerships Manager FROM: American Express

JOINS: Amadeus AS: Head of Corporations UK & IRL FROM: American Express GBT

PROMOTED AT: Jurys Inn AS: Head of National Accounts FROM: National Accounts Director

Shaun Healey’s knowledge of Concur technology will see him take on the role of ‘Concur Champion’ as BTD's new client partnerships and implementations manager.

James Grant will be responsible for developing Amadeus’ Cytric travel and expense system in his new GDS role. He was previously Global Account Manager at Amex GBT.

Jurys Inn has promoted Jonathan Read to Head of National Accounts after six years at the business. Previously he held roles at Pentahotels and Q Hotels.

MAY 2-3

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Current Air Seychelles Chief Executive Roy Kinnear will switch to Flybe as Chief Operating officer from January 2018 >> Hotel loyalty specialist Wanup has appointed Brian Garvan as Regional Director for Northern Europe >> Yael Klein has been named Executive Marketing Director at AirPlus >> Venues of Excellence has appointed Mandy Jennings in the new position of Executive Director >> Kresimir Kucko is the new Chief Executive at Gulf Air >> Global Hotels Alliance has added Robin Korman in the new role of Head of Loyalty Marketing & CRM >> Sian Teasdale has joined Seventa Events as Events Producer

ITM ANNUAL CONFERENCE Aviemore, Scotland itmconference.org.uk

MAY 10-13

ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE Miami, US advantageconference.co.uk

MAY 25

13758-Sirius-AD-138x40-v1.ai

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THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDSM Grange Tower Bridge, London Y thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.co.uk CM

AUGUST 11-15

MY

GBTA CONVENTION

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San Diego, US / gbta.org

CMY

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In times of change businesses need a partner they can rely on. But doing the same old thing isn't enough – new technology and new ideas are shaping the world of

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT COMPANIES Introduction, 58-60 / Consolidation, 63 / Trending, 64-65 Beginner's guide, 67 / Technology, 68-71 / Interview, 73 / Distribution, 74 Reader's rant, 77 / The Directory, 79-81 / Data, 82

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TMCs / Introduction

nimble

moVers Travel management companies are deploying new technology, tinkering with their operations and adding supplementary services as they strive to remain essential business partners, writes Gillian Upton

T

he phrase, ‘all things to all men’ springs to mind when thinking about the range of services a TMC provides today. They have successfully evolved from mere travel bookers to offer a panoply of related and ancillary services that add great value to their core provision. These ‛value-adds’ include leisure bookings, event management, expense management, sophisticated MI analysis, duty of care, consultancy, mobile apps and the like. It has made TMCs indispensible to the corporate. “It’s less booking focused and more getting our arms around the whole piece,” sums up Julie Oliver, Managing Director of Business Travel Direct. The evolution and service creep (see p6465 for more) has been triggered by the increasing complexity of business travel. As solution providers, TMCs have had to work hard to keep abreast of changes in the industry, including dramatic changes to the distribution landscape – NDC being the latest example – the advent of disruptors, and consumerisation of the business that has led to demand for more travel-centric policies and programmes. The changes will keep coming: next year it will be GDPR in the data space, while artificial intelligence is

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already making its mark, in chatbots and across aspects of customer service delivery. “The market is hugely complex with lots of noise,” says GTMC Chairman Adrian Parkes. He believes market conditions are pushing more clients to outsource their travel as they look for a supplier to simplify this complexity. It’s a win-win for TMCs. Today’s TMCs have invested heavily in technology, specialist services and their global reach. Strategies include acquisition, mergers, use of third parties and joining networks. Nimbleness and flexibility are essential: Wings Travel Management’s swift turnaround from a 70/30 split on marine and oil/corporate when the oil price slumped, to 70/30 corporate/marine after the acquisition of Grosvenor Travel Management exemplifies this. CTM's acquisition of Redfern is another example, so the TMC can offer everything from white glove service to 100% online. “TMCs are incredibly robust,” says Parkes. “They have grown in strength and in the value they bring to clients of all sizes,” says Parkes. “They bring productivity benefits in terms of out-of-hours service and knowing where clients’ staff are all the time in terms of duty of care, for example.” Their evolution is such that Business

Travel Direct’s Oliver believes TMCs have outgrown their name. “I’m thinking of renaming us as we’re not TMCs anymore,” she says. “We manage business disruption. We understand it and we understand the complexity – we don’t want to be reliant on just a booking.” Thankfully, technology has automated much of TMCs’ labour-intensive workload, from back-office systems to the repetitive, point-to-point client journeys, freeing them up to focus on more revenue-generating services such as long-haul offline bookings, meetings and consultancy. “We’ve had to become more clever in our business model,” says Scott Alboni, Marketing Director EMEA at CTM. “For example, using technology and automation at the back end to improve efficiency.” It means most TMCs have reduced operational staff from 70% of the total to 50%, recruiting analysts and business managers to help clients undertake benchmarking exercises and the like. Alboni believes that TMCs have come a long way in terms of demonstrating ROI. “We can consolidate information and give that holistic view of the client account,” he argues. “We are being pushed to ensure we’re doing the most for clients’ money. 

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TMCs / Introduction

There is a sense of opaqueness about TMC fees. Many travellers think they can do better from the 25 apps they have access to”

For example, we offer hotel auditing software to check clients are being charged the right rate, and our iClass tool to check clients are getting the lowest airfare right up to day of departure.” Technology is key to the range of core services that TMCs provide. Today, clients can choose to self book, mobile book or use a consultant. Policy management – to drive costs out of the supply chain – duty of care, data consolidation and reporting round off the core services a TMC can provide. Rate benchmarking and risk management are often costed as extras. The same goes for consultancy, any customisation in alerts, and any modifications to a self booking tool, for example. The cost of third-party providers – usually suppliers that fall into specialist areas such as repatriation and risk management – also have to be passed on. Clients need to pin down account management costs and ensure the costs presented during the tender process are sustainable. “The best time to negotiate fees is when you’re down to the final two TMCs,” advises Chris Reynolds, Senior Partner, 3SixtyGlobal. CTM's Alboni believes TMCs are working hard to break the perception that they cost too much money. “TMCs bring a huge amount of value to an organisation in savings and efficiencies; it’s about creating a partnership that maximises return on investment,” he says. Chris Crowley, Senior VP, Global Client Management, BCD Travel, believes clients understand they have to pay for TMC services, but it’s the way they pay for it that

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is the issue. “There is still a sense of opaqueness about TMC fees; what’s included in the hotel rate, for example. Many travellers think they can do better than the TMCs from the 25 apps they have access to.” On Oliver’s radar is the spectre of a subscription fee model, where clients pay by number of users rather than per transaction. “It’s on our road map,” she says, “and will be good for the unmanaged piece.” Education is key to communicating TMC value and reducing the scepticism, something Giles Travel is attempting with a two-day programme called The Principles of Business Travel. Geared to PAs and travel bookers, it shows off the full repertoire of what a TMC does. “They say, ‘My God, I didn’t know you did all that’,“ says David Giles. “Most clients get it and it makes them understand the cost.” When going out to tender, should you appoint a similar size TMC and one that shares clients in your industry? Equally, is good service guaranteed as a small fish in a large pond or will that only materialise the other way round? The fact that small and mid-size TMCs are landing large, global clients speaks volumes. Arguably, flatter management structures in mid-size TMCs give greater access to senior staff. David Giles won global client Nike five years ago. “They’ve recognised that we bend over backwards for them,” says Giles. “Size and sector is not at all important,” says Reynolds. “It comes down to the beauty parade and can we work with these people. Site visits are critical. Some companies have really good bid writers, but when push comes to shove you need to know if they can do what they say.” The future looks bright. Clients still need a TMC to fulfill a ticket and provide data. And for as long as that’s the case they will meet a need, providing speed, efficiency and simplicity. “It’s a mad world – someone’s got to get you there,” says Alboni.

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11/7/17 12:28 11/21/17 04:33 AM PM


Consolidation / TMCs

[ MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS ]

LET’S GET TOGETHER Mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships among TMCs have continued apace in 2017. TBTM rounds-up the main market movements

W

hile mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships can cause concern among staff and clients, they can also deliver more opportunities and improved services. Since the publication of last year’s TMC Directory, Portman Travel and Clarity Travel Management have completed their integration under the Clarity name, while several UK-based TMCs have been subject to overseas takeovers. Bradford-based Redfern Travel has been acquired by Australia-based Corporate Travel Management (CTM), taking its European business to over £500million annually. CTM said Redfern’s key advantage was its proprietary, automated end-to-end system, which processes more than 95% of all transactions online. Statesman Travel Group was acquired by US-based Travel and Transport and subsequently rebranded as Travel and Transport Statesman, promising clients an enhanced suite of tools and technology. “It’s our combined vision to provide a consistent traveller experience, shared proprietary technology, and a truly personal service wherever you and your people are going in the world,” it said in a statement. “We can only do that as one company, and that is why now is the right time for us to move forward as one globally recognised brand.”

Colpitts World Travel, which has offices in both Scotland and the US, has been taken over by Denver’s Direct Travel. The midmarket specialist has been on the acquisition trail throughout North America this year, and has also joined forces with ATPI, a business that is itself the product of various mergers, partnerships and acquisitions over the years. Jointly the firms represent more than $7billion in sales and have 160 offices in 50 countries. The partnership follows reciprocal investments between ATPI Group and Direct Travel. They will retain their own existing brands in their respective markets, while the new brand, Direct ATPI Global Travel, will focus on mid-market clients with a presence in North America. “The opportunities that this new organisation creates for our mutual clients are very exciting,” says Andrew Waller, Chief Executive Officer, the ATPI Group. “The combination of the two companies under shared ownership creates a unique and unrivalled global proposition that enables us to provide a single offering for our products and services.” Also doing business across the pond is Business Travel Direct, which has become

the first UK partner for ATG Business Travel Management, an independent agency based in New Albany, Ohio. “For some time now we have been looking for the right partner that could help us provide a global service for our clients,” says Julie Oliver, Managing Director of BTD. “It puts us in a really good position to offer an enhanced, joined-up global solution." Closer to home, York’s NYS Corporate is now part of Derby-based Capita Travel and Events in a deal that will see the two businesses retain their own identities but together handle more than £560million in managed travel and events spend. Gray Dawes, meanwhile, is set to acquire a fifth TMC in less than three years this December. The deal will add a further £20million’s worth of business, taking its annual turnover to around £120million. In 2016 the company completed the purchase of both Travel Management Group and Cambridge Business Travel, and in 2015 it acquired Business Travel Partnership and Travel Focus. Gray Dawes is aiming for one acquisition per year as it targets £200million annual turnover.

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TMCs / Trending

EXTRA,

EXTRA!

TMCs have been diversifying their offering for years but now, it seems, there’s no limit to the lengths they’ll go to, writes Catherine Chetwynd

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Trending / TMCs

T

ranslation and interpretation, air delay compensation, concierge services – TMCs are no longer just issuing tickets and booking hotel rooms. And this is not a new phenomenon. Turn back the clock 15 years, when airlines started to remove commission payments to TMCs. This was dressed up in a new moral code: ‘We are not your customers, so it is not appropriate that we pay you; this divides your loyalties and you need add value to your relationship with customers.’ And TMCs grasped the nettle and did just that. “As an industry, we have been spectacularly successful at developing support and services as part of the professional relationship,” says Traveleads Managing Director – Corporate Division, Gary McLeod. “There is a lot more to the relationship than selling tickets.” At first, this diversification was largely travel related – meetings and events, expense management, booking tools. This has grown to embrace traveller tracking, MI, duty of care, risk assessment, security services and most recently, the demands of GDPR. Now, however, to continue to be relevant and to differentiate themselves, TMCs are taking a wider view and, as a result, Traveleads is branching out into ‘dial a translator’ interpretation service through client TheBigWord. “With Brexit, there has to be a bigger focus on the wider world,” says McLeod. Customers buy a one-off licence (£100) and then purchase minutes in two-hour batches. Travellers get a credit card with a company-specific access code to the service, which is billed to the corporate account through Traveleads. The TMC has also supplied furniture, including orthopaedic chairs to travellers with a back problem, and extra-long beds in hotels for especially tall travellers. “If it is legal, honest and decent, we will try to do it for clients,” says McLeod. “I don’t think we have ever said an outright 'no'.” Unclaimed air delay compensation turned out to be costing CTI’s clients half a million pounds so the TMC now handles this for them. In addition, “We partner with Maiden Voyage, who give our clients lone female traveller training,” says Commercial Director

Melanie Quinn. CTI also provides Trace Me tags, which guarantee return of lost luggage from anywhere worldwide or travellers receive $500 compensation. Some of CWT’s more arcane requests have emerged through the Meetings and Events division, including a client who required a circus act at a conference and a media company that needed to transport props such as fake swords. Individuals from security companies who travel with a firearm up the ante: “They don’t just check it in,” says Senior Director Sales, UK & Ireland Jo Dobson in a masterful understatement. “It requires a lot of liaison with the airline and airport.”

If it is legal, honest and decent, we will try to do it for clients. I don’t think we have ever said an outright 'no'” She sees the increasing requirement for data as an opportunity for CWT to provide services to ensure the wellbeing of travellers such as working with a client’s HR team to map the number of sick days someone has taken, to see whether a road warrior needs time off; or weighing the cost of travel against business won, which would preclude unnecessary curtailing of travel spend. “That would come from our consultancy team and will develop our non-travel services. To have longevity as a TMC, we have to deliver these services to clients”, says Dobson. Some of FCM Travel Solutions’ left-field operations came out of setting up a visa service, which Iain Collinson was tasked with. “We were focused on providing the best in the market – flights, hotels – but we needed to create an end-to-end customer experience. The premise behind FCM Travel Essentials was agility,” he says. Visa handling led to providing customers with immigration services, including for one client that retains an immigration professional but prefers the matter to be handled alongside FCM’s visa provision.

Taxation followed. A recruitment company was moving a Swedish national from his permanent residence in Bangkok to South Africa on a two-year contract. “Our client wanted to know what the tax implications were, so we brought in a specialist to assist with that,” says Collinson. FCM has travel clinics in some of its high street Flight Centre shops. Although these are largely catering to leisure travellers, they are also close to business areas such as London’s Monument and therefore convenient for corporate clients. The TMC is now looking at bringing vaccination services to VIP clients’ work premises. After a spate of terrorist attacks in Egypt, FCM has also set up a secure fast-track service for a customer’s VIP travellers, avoiding public areas. “It is about meeting client demand,” says Collinson. “That does not mean we have to do everything possible, we just need to involve the customer in innovation so that we can identify whether there is a need to scale it up or just provide a one-off service.” The last word goes to director of The Corporate Travel Partnership, Robert Daykin: “TMCs that think laterally and see what services customers are using through third parties that they could bring in-house, will become a better one-stop shop,” he says.

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Beginner’s guide to… / TMCs

GDPR General Data Protection Regulation comes into force in May. Charlotte Lamp-Davies, Vice President, Travel & Hospitality at DataArt UK, explains what it will mean General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect from May 25, 2018 across Europe. It is designed to tighten up the way data is used and held and will have a wide-ranging effect on the travel industry. So what exactly is GDPR? Every business that processes customer data must be GDPR compliant by May 25. Rather than think this is some kind of ‘tick box’ exercise, now is the time to audit your business to comply, get a better picture of your customers, then show how you are embracing digital transformation. Why now? Some may argue the introduction of GDPR is needed, as several companies have fallen foul of hacks, highlighting our fragmented sector’s vulnerability to data breaches. Hotels, so reliant on holding debit or credit card details, have been targeted. In July, Sabre’s SynXis system was compromised, and in March ABTA experienced a data breach with 43,000 individuals affected after a web server hack. In April the Holiday Inn chain suffered a payment card-stealing malware attack at 1,200 of its properties. Grabbing the headlines It was reassuring to see the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) set the record straight on several issues on its blog recently, mostly relating to fines and reporting. This means the industry can focus on the technical issues that

Several companies have fallen foul of hacks, highlighting our fragmented sector’s vulnerability to data breaches”

matter: data documentation, management and security. See the ICO website for details of what's needed.

damage to reputation, financial loss, or any other significant economic or social disadvantage. “Tell it all, tell it fast, tell the truth” and you’ll be fine.

What’s at stake? The ICO has the authority to impose fines of £17 million, or 4% of turnover, for regulation breaches. Many articles have stated GDPR will cripple any company found guilty of a breach. However, UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says these are the maximum fines and would only be imposed on repeat offenders that don’t play by the rules.

Who’s ready? Fewer than 50% of companies are expected to be ready by May 25. But what will the government, itself unprepared and under-resourced to examine everyone, do in the travel sector? I think one large, rich business will be investigated and made an example of, in an effort to frighten everyone else.

What must be reported? We’ve also seen headlines stating that all data breaches must be reported. That’s not strictly true. Only those personal data breaches that are likely to result in a risk to people’s rights and freedoms must be reported. And individuals need only be contacted if this is the case too – examples include discrimination,

What next? Everyone needs to prepare to document how they will capture, manage and protect data. Lack of preparation may lead to non-compliance, and while an initial fine might not be high, it could seriously damage your brand's reputation. Comply now and May 25 could be a day to look forward to!

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TMCs / Technology

Switched

ON

TMCs' unrelenting evolution is both powered by and reliant upon new technology, says Gillian Upton, who examines the tools and services on offer

T

echnology has been a dramatic enabler for TMCs, allowing them to flex their business model, respond to developments and extend services. The traditional TMC model is to plan, book travel and report but new models are required to integrate into mobile and web services, to create data platforms and open technology platforms. A PwC study on Millennials at Work highlighted that 59% consider what technology would be available when weighing up a job offer – and mobile is the most urgent development of all. In 2016, just over two-thirds (67%) of travel managers provided, or planned to provide, apps for booking. This year the figure has leapt to 89% according to the GBT/ACTE Modern Business Traveller study. Despite the cost, TMCs are delivering mobile. The ATPI Group recently launched ATPI TravelHub, a platform that gives travel managers and bookers access to the relevant travel tools and technology data all in one place. Click Travel’s booking tool, Travel.cloud, is already mobile optimised, while Statesman Travel is replacing its third-party white label mobile offering with the in-house built Dash Mobile – the fruits of being acquired by Travel & Transport this autumn. 68

“We now have 120 developers; we had four before,” says Mervyn Williamson, MD at Travel and Transport Statesman. “BCD is moving towards three or four different models to embrace mobile, web, data and open technology platforms,” explains Chris Crowley, Senior VP London. ”We want a more holistic environment.” BCD will have fewer offices and staff, more consultative and marketing staff, more homeworkers and more multilingual, multiplatform call centres. The company is mostly reliant on third parties, while emergency services and mobile is proprietary. Data is not outsourced. “We cherry pick the best in the market,” says Crowley. It’s a typical picture, allowing TMCs to choose the right tool for each customer. Some argue building in-house technology allows greater flexibility and bespoke opportunities; others that the cost is

Some argue building in-house technology allows greater flexibility; others use third-party providers to shoulder the R&D costs”

prohibitive and use third-party providers to shoulder research and development cost – or they acquire the expertise.

New and improved

Giles Travel invested £500,000 in its Atlas self-booking tool to replace a third-party option. “It is a big risk for us but for a tweak it was taking months and months to acknowledge the request, let alone do the actual work,” says David Giles. “We own our technology and our focus is on innovation and continuous improvement,” says Vicki Williams, Director of Customer Solutions at Click Travel. Statesman's Mervyn Williamson refers to launches in 2018 of “significantly advanced technology not available in this country”. CWT's popular To Go mobile app was developed by World Mate and then CWT acquired the company. It has since been improved and connects with aggregated content, GDS content and direct connects. The TMC will be launching a mobile flight booking platform in Q1 2018 with the same look and feel. “It’ll be the same multi-channel user experience,” promises Dan Kelly, Director of Product Marketing EMEA at CWT. “It’s always about the user experience,” he says. “Where we can develop tools ourselves that’s what we do.” 

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Technology / TMCs

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17/11/2017 11:00 11/24/17 11:06 AM


17 11:00

Technology / TMCs

[

ON THE HORIZON

]

“Customers will get speed, efficiency and simplicity,” says Chris Crowley, Senior VP London at BCD, helped by the following new technologies: Blockchain, which sequences groups of processes together so it can link multiple suppliers together. It’s more secure, faster and less open to fraud. More ‘gatekeeping’ technology akin to Amazon’s Alexa. This technology is proving particularly popular with younger travellers who are using less apps and using Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin to log into other products and services. Dumb terminals. Travellers will be able to walk into a hotel or airport and scan a code on their phone to access all the information on their desktop, allowing them to work anywhere at anytime. More travel interfaces powered by AI, fuelling the power of the mobile traveller.

What tools each client uses depends on what sort of client they want to be. Selfbooking tools mop up the point-to-point travel and consultants deal with more complex multi-sector journeys offline, while preferred airline and hotel programmes plus web scraping services such as TripBAM and Fare Fly contain costs by double-checking that the lowest logical fare has been booked.

Make it work

Levels of compliance are still dependent on company culture and whether the programme is mandated or not, and increasingly on how consumer-friendly the client’s travel programme is. SLAs and KPIs have given way to personalisation. APIs and direct connects are enriching the content and this is delivering a consumer experience and, theoretically, happy and more compliant travellers. CWT's Kelly says that while personalisation

With more clients expanding overseas, a major requirement of any TMC is geographical reach. Marketing umbrellas and affiliates don’t cut it anymore”

is key, carefully curated content is optimum. “Travellers don’t want lists and lists of options but personal preferences so it’s more relevant. Amazon presents suggestions based on what you’ve bought before and our data allows us to predict; it’s data science.” CWT launched a Data Science team earlier this year, focusing on predictive data analytics. It will flag up booking habits and preferences. For example, how much top sales people travel, cost and how much business they bring in. Clients can then decide if they treat their top performers differently. Naturally, this will be a new revenue channel for the agency. Predictive data analytics is the new buzzword and Business Travel Direct is in the game with SMARTInsight, enabling users to see how tweaks to policy would affect spend. “During client meetings we can instantly show clients how a change in rate caps out of London or class of travel would affect spend,” says MD Julie Oliver. Other data insights will shore up compliance, which is currently swayed by supplier loyalty programmes. Corporates can match what travellers would get by going outside the programme, says Kelly. ”We partner with preferred hotel partners and offer additional points.” Traveller safety is a huge growth area, usually provided by third parties such as

International SOS and Anvil, while out of hours is usually in-house. Benchmarking, reporting and programme analysis are offered in-house, and some TMCs charge it as a consultancy service. Basic reporting has changed dramatically. “Account management of 20 years ago is very different today,” says Crowley. “Clients are not happy with reports listing cost per mile and the top 20 travellers.” Total trip costs is the nirvana so expense reporting is a big opportunity. However, resistance to giving out corporate credit cards is slowing progress.

Worldly wise

With more clients expanding overseas, a major requirement of any TMC is its geographical reach. Marketing umbrellas and affiliates don’t cut it anymore and owned networks are the only way to ensure joinedup systems – GDS, back office and content – and consistent service across markets. US-owned Travel & Transport’s acquisition of Statesman Travel will extend its reach into the UK for example, while ATPI's partnership with Direct Travel will fill a gap in the US. “It’s great for customers,” says ATPI MD Adam Knights. “There is now a range of good independent global TMCs and they are a powerful alternative to the mega agencies. CTM, Statesman and ATPI are a new breed.”

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Travel Traveland andEvents Events 21/11/2017 16:27 11/21/17 04:34 PM


Q&A / TMCs

SCOTT PAWLEY Scott Pawley is Managing Director of Global Travel Management. He tells TBTM about the TMC and airs his views on the wider industry Q You recently received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Advantage Travel Partnership. Tell us how this came about. I launched the company 20 years ago with my wife Natalie and we have gone from ‘zero to hero’. I’ve always ensured that through our membership of the Advantage Focus Group we have stayed at the forefront of technological developments. When my tenure as Chairman of the Focus Group Tech Panel came to an end on in January 2016 I was asked to stay on for a further year. I have shared many cutting-edge initiatives GTM has developed with industry peers for free, which has led to millions of pounds in savings.

How does GTM – and its clients – benefit from being a part of Advantage? Advantage is the largest national consortium of independent travel companies in the UK. By supporting each other we are able to hold our own against the international giants. What we may lack in corporate might and financial resources we make up for by using industry-leading technology and maximising our flexibility. Q

After the success of our 20th anniversary beer, Globe Trotter, we may consider bringing out other real ale labels with Thurston’s!”

Q What sort of businesses is the GTM clientbase comprised of? Our client portfolio is a mix of around 400 SMEs from a wide variety of sectors. Of these 50% are based outside the UK. They range in size and include brewing, the entertainment industry, IT, finance, oil and gas to precious metals and minerals.

Would you say you’re more of a tech or service-led TMC – or can you be both at the same time? Q Tell us more about Without doubt you have to Focus Partnership and be both these days. You your role within it. need the tech side to “I have a lot of fun training GTM is a part of the make sure you’re three or four times a week Focus Group within getting to the market with a local bootcamp, Advantage, which faster but the human Scorpion Training. And I love represents 69 UK TMCs. interaction is really nothing better than going As Chairman of the Tech important to us. We for a bike ride – and then Panel I have been ideally have to understand our there’s always golf!” placed to introduce a customers to know what number of initiatives, testing services are important. We them at GTM and then passing prefer to offer them everything them on to members of the group for initially and see how they work but free. This has included Fare Finder Tool it’s not a one-size fits all approach. So we software, which I invented, and has give them what they want, track their activity enabled members to achieve over and review it as our relationship evolves to £1million of air savings for the group’s make sure we are still giving them what’s members year on year. right for them. Q

OUT OF THE OFFICE

Q What will be the biggest challenges for the TMC community in 2018? Airline content and distribution is going to be our biggest challenge in 2018. More airlines are providing content through IATA’s NDC standard and are adding surcharges to bookings made via GDS channels. TMCs are going to find it harder to find the best price now as it’s no longer a one-stop shop. They are going to have to go through every airline’s NDC channel as well as the traditional GDS route. Q GTM is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. How would you describe the journey so far? The highs have definitely been that as a company we’ve grown to have 30 employees. We are doing well in our market and we are constantly adapting. We’ve had to weather two recessions. That was challenging but we got through them and came out stronger because we diversified and looked abroad for business and to emerging markets. Q Finally, any developments at GTM we should be keeping an eye out for in 2018? It’s a combination of evolution and revolution: we expect to see organic growth and are actively looking at acquisition. At the same time we are always looking at developing new tools and ideas to make our industry more effective. After the success of our 20th anniversary beer, Globe Trotter, we may consider bringing out other real ale labels with Thurston’s Brewery!

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TMCs / Distribution

[ AIRLINE STRATEGY ]

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE TMCs and their corporate clients are caught in the middle of ongoing discord between airlines on one side and the GDS systems on the other, says Linda Fox

I

t's an understatement to say the distribution landscape is changing. There are so many twists and turns currently in terms of technology as well as commercial arrangements that it’s hard to know how it may shake out. Many travel management companies, particularly medium-sized and smaller businesses, are worried about the recent turn of events with an increasing number of airlines adding charges for GDS bookings. It was Lufthansa that made the controversial decision two years ago to introduce a Distribution Cost Charge. But at the beginning of November British Airways and sister-carrier Iberia began levying their own charge on bookings made via the GDS. And during its third-quarter earnings calls recently Air France announced a plan to do the same from next year. The airline said it’s nearly ready to implement NDC, adding that it wants to keep working with “old partners” – namely the GDS and travel agencies – but through NDC technology. Many of the larger agencies such as AMEX GBT, CWT, FCm and HRG have announced separate arrangements over the BA surcharge whereby the fee is avoided on bookings made within

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“participating GDS”. But where does that leave the wider TMC community? Gary McLeod, Managing Director of Traveleads, is concerned that no one is considering all the other elements TMCs deal with that the GDS model facilitates. He says the TMC community has always embraced change but up until now evolution has meant increased efficiency. “We seem to be going backwards in terms of what technology brings to the whole customer servicing equation,” he says. “As far as we can see, NDC seems to be focused purely on allowing airlines to cut distribution costs by cutting out the GDS.” McLeod adds that if every airline introduces a different API, then the TMC is dependent on that carrier building in all the elements needed for an efficient workflow. He added there are concerns about costs being passed back to the end traveller as APIs are integrated and multiple online

portals have to be developed in order to be able to access airline content. Travelport President and Chief Executive Gordon Wilson says few travel agencies are ready for NDC-style connections but adds that airlines are waking up to the fact that the technology does not cover all the other processes involved in managing a booking. Wilson adds that in a strange way NDC, as well as the wider distribution changes, is helping GDS by “highlighting their value beyond aggregation”. Traveleads’ McLeod also believes that the end-to-end costs of implementing NDC would most likely outstrip GDS costs – a fact that IAG chief Willie Walsh acknowledged in its third-quarter earnings call. Walsh told analysts the company would incur additional costs in the short to medium term with the introduction of its charge. He also said the airlines want a relationship with the GDS, adding that the traditional model is “no longer fit for purpose”. However, McLeod and other TMC executives will likely argue the alternative technology being introduced to them is also not up to the job and that few of the proposals are really designed to put the customer first.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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HERE’S TO THE COOL, CALM AND CONNECTED. To a travel management platform that lets your business glide through. One that drills down deep to find you the best value. A savvy system that always keeps your staff up to date. So they stay connected. And never miss a connection. A platform where you can see everything clearly with complete business transparency on local and global market fares. Here’s to working smarter. To travelling the world. Effortlessly. reedmackay.com

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MeetingsPro, the future of strategic meetings management. Search, plan, book and manage your meeting and conference needs in a single online tool. Maximise use of internal meeting rooms to reduce costs, and access external venue availability. Find out more - visit us at the Business Travel Show, 21-22 February 2018, Olympia London, stand B140. 01904 420 810 ask@nysgroup.com nyscorporate.com

NYS Corporate is part of Capita Travel and Events Limited, part of Capita plc. www.capita.co.uk. Registered office: 17 Rochester Row, London, SW1P 1QT. Registered in England No. 01094729. All rights reserved.

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Reader's rant / TMCs

[ READER'S RANT ]

QUIT THE NAME CALLING! An anonymous travel manager asks TMCs to rise above some recent displays of questionable behaviour

The day of the industry event rolls round and you’ve donned your tribal colours, practiced your battle cries (have you seen our new reporting suite/tracking tool/chatbot?) and blown your budget on the best freebies and most eye-catching stand. You’re there to smile until your cheeks hurt and extol the virtues of your company above all the others and you’ll bend over backwards to get my business, particularly if you can pinch me off a rival. It’s good because as a client I like feeling valued and I also like freebies. What I don’t like is the rise in pernicious chat about the other TMCs on the sales floor. We’ve all had a wry smile from a salesperson when they find out who we’re currently using but until now they’ve managed to maintain a dignified silence. However the tides have been turning and it feels like entering a conversation with a potential new TMC can be like taking a place at the Hunger Games as you defend your previous

decisions. Your commenting on how awful they are is a sure-fire way of indicating that you think I’m a moron. Why not stick to talking about what you do that’s better than or different to the others? Telling me how bad other companies are just makes you look petty and insecure. You have a finite amount of my time and you don’t want me to leave your stand with a head filled with your opinions about rivals rather than what you can offer me. It’s also quite amusing to sit there with you representing ABC and running down XYZ when you and I both know you spent many years working for XYZ and extolling their virtues. You all hop between companies without a backwards glance so how loyal are you really to your products? It’s a sad sign of the times that the TMCs that stand out are the ones who don’t indulge in idle gossip – it’s almost like they’re focusing on what they’re paid to do! Everyone wants to be the best but bitterness about companies in the same position as you, facing the same challenges and moving towards the same innovations just makes you look weak. A novel idea would be to stay in your own lane and remember, ‘What Susie says of Sally, says more of Susie than of Sally’.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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The Directory / TMCs

TMCs 2018: Who does what

Your guide to a selection of leading travel management companies in the UK, including turnover and transaction figures and the sectors in which they have particular expertise

Travel management company

Annual turnover

Annual transactions

Company size

Head office (UK)

Established

Advantage Business Travel

£3billion (combined UK)

Not disclosed

120 independent UK TMCs / 190 locations

London

1978

170 staff / 4 offices

London

1991

London

2014

(including the Focus Partnership)

Altour

Specialist sectors served: members serve all sectors of the economy

£120million UK / $2.9billion globally

600,000 (UK)

Specialist sectors served: entertainment, media, finance, fashion, insurance, investment, fund management, movie production, music American Express Global Business Travel

$1.3billion UK / $24.8billion globally

Not disclosed

960 UK staff / 12,000 staff globally

Specialist sectors served: professional services, finance, insurance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, media, entertainment, mining, energy, technology, information services Applehouse Travel

£28.7million

56,000

40 staff / 1 office

London

1984

278 staff / 9 offices worldwide

London

1988

55 staff plus 1 implant

Worcester

1990

2,000 staff / 100+ locations worldwide

London

2002

Specialist sectors served: finance, information technology, energy, SMEs, retail

Information supplied directly by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual turnover figures quoted refer only to business travel in cases where a company also deals in leisure travel

The Appointment Group

£170million

425,000

Specialist sectors served: corporate, private clients, sports, film & media, touring and entertainment, events ArrangeMy

£21million

65,500

Specialist sectors served: car manufacturing, retail, charity, care ATPI Group

£1.2billion globally

Not disclosed

Specialist sectors served: retail, engineering, fashion, financial and legal. ATPI Griffinstone serves shipping, energy and offshore sectors; ATPI Sports Events for events and clubs Barrhead Business Travel

£15million

55,000

15 staff / 2 offices

Glasgow

1976

708 staff / 8 offices and c.13,000 staff globally

London

1981

Specialist sectors served: law, marine, finance, energy, oil & gas, automotive BCD Travel

£604million UK&I / $24.6billion globally

Not disclosed

Specialist sectors served: finance, film & TV, entertainment, professional services, advertising, media, pharmaceutical, FMCG, energy, defence, technology, consulting, sports, SMEs Blue Cube Travel

£33million

27,194

35 staff / 4 offices

Richmond

2003

122 staff / 4 offices

Langley, Berkshire

1970

Derby

1972

Specialist sectors served: technology, finance, law, oil & gas, retail Business Travel Direct

£85million

294,000

Specialist sectors served: SMEs, services, security, defence, multinationals, marine, education, medical, retail Capita Travel and Events

£550million+

Not disclosed

c.1,000 staff / 6 UK offices

Specialist sectors served: all sectors including construction, education, energy, engineering, finance, legal, logistics, manufacturing, professional services, public sector, retail, telecoms, utilities Carlson Wagonlit Travel

$22.4billion (globally)

59million (globally)

1,157 UK&I staff / 20 UK&I locations

Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

1980

Manchester

1959

Specialist sectors served: all sizes and sectors, including finance, media, manufacturing, energy, pharmaceutical, telecoms Clarity

£430million

c.2.5million

547 staff / 13 UK offices, one each in Ireland and Netherlands

Specialist sectors served: particular experience in retail, infrastructure, professional services, marine, oil & gas, charity, central government, higher education and elite sport industries Click Travel

£164.2million

c.1.57million

209 staff

Birmingham

1999

87 staff / 4 offices

Glasgow

1989

400 staff in Europe / 2,200 staff globally

London

1988

Specialist sectors served: legal, retail, public sector, recruitment, utilities, telecoms, charity, education, technology, infrastructure Clyde Travel Management

£46million

200,000

Specialist sectors served: marine, oil & gas, corporate Corporate Travel Management (CTM) (including Redfern Travel)

£504million (UK & Europe)

3.82million (Europe)

Specialist sectors served: legal, finance, insurance, pharmaceutical, media, advertising, retail, technology, architecture, energy, public sector, sport, plus Event Travel Management division

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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TMCs / The Directory

Travel management company

CT Business Travel

Annual turnover

Annual transactions

Company size

Head office (UK)

Established

£21.1million

Not disclosed

63 staff / 3 offices

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

1988

Specialist sectors served: include, but not limited to, finance, media, technology, pharmaceutical, recruitment, energy, fashion, retail, education, insurance CTI – Trusted Travel Partner

£75.5million

413,000

117 staff / 5 offices

Manchester

1983

Specialist sectors served: all sectors including manufacturing, telecoms, professional services, energy, retail, fashion, technology, plus divisions for marine travel and meetings & events

£47million

CTM

140,000

60 staff / 2 offices

Redhill, Surrey

1987

266,000

130 staff / 4 offices

London

1980

Not disclosed

30 UK staff / 2,000 globally

Edinburgh (European head office)

1890

Specialist sectors served: technology, education, government, security, retail DialAFlight Corporate Travel

£130million Specialist sectors served: SMEs

Direct Travel

(incorporating Colpitts World Travel) Diversity Travel

£3billion+ globally

Specialist sectors served: include, but not limited to, SMEs, professional services, multinationals, biotech, pharmaceuticals, arts, education, financial services, telecoms

£59.9million

164,000

136 staff / 3 offices

Manchester

2007

19 staff / 2 offices

London

2002

3,000+ employees globally / 65+ countries

London

2002

100 staff / 2 offices

Eton, Berkshire

1969

832 UK staff / 6,500 staff worldwide

New Malden, Surrey

2004

EFR Travel

£24million

19,000

Specialist sectors served: legal, property, finance, retail, advertising, sports Egencia

$6.4billion globally

Not disclosed

Specialist sectors served: serves companies off all sizes and sectors Eton Travel Group

£43million

120,000

Specialist sectors served: SMEs, pharmaceutical, IT, retail, finance, legal, music, groups FCM Travel Solutions

(incorporating Corporate Traveller) Flightline Travel Management

£723million

1.81million

Specialist sectors served: over 50 industries including finance, pharmaceutical, energy, legal, engineering, manufacturing, technology, entertainment, fashion

£5.2million

27,666

6 staff / 1 office

Haddenham, Buckinghamshire

1999

Amersham, Buckinghamshire

2002

32 staff / 2 offices

Woking, Surrey

1997

48 staff / 3 offices

Hull

1833

147 staff / 6 offices

Colchester, Essex

1927

182 staff / 3 offices

London

1982

Farnborough, Hampshire

1845

Specialist sectors served: law, automobile, finance, manufacturing, medical, aircraft, public relations Giles Travel

£45million

182,000

61 staff / 1 office

Specialist sectors served: various, but particular specialism in pharmaceutical, automotive, retail and oil & gas Global Travel Management

£26million

50,300

Specialist sectors served: brewing, medical, media, SMEs Good Travel Management

£20million

60,000

Specialist sectors served: SMEs, marine, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction Gray Dawes Group

£109million

370,000

Specialist sectors served: finance, fashion, energy, construction, professional sport Hillgate Travel


£180million

410,000

Specialist sectors served: City specialist, but also includes retail, media and manufacturing

£16billion globally

HRG

Not disclosed

14,000 staff globally / locations in over 120 countries

Specialist sectors served: specialist staff for all sectors plus expertise in government, marine and energy, meetings, groups and events, sports and VIP services Ian Allan Travel

£43million

172,116

91 staff / 2 offices

Shepperton, Surrey

1964

130 staff / 3 offices

Colchester

1982

Birmingham

2007

Specialist sectors served: corporate, academic, charity, humanitarian, not for profit, events

£73million

Inntel

360,000

Specialist sectors served: financial and professional services, transport, media, distribution, manufacturing, meetings and events Kanoo Corporate

£30million

34,000

Specialist sectors served: SMEs, corporate, leisure, groups, incentives

80

45 staff / 9 offices

Information supplied directly by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual turnover figures quoted refer only to business travel in cases where a company also deals in leisure travel

Specialist sectors served: charities, academic organisations, not-for-profit

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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The Directory / TMCs

Travel management company

Key Travel

Annual turnover

Annual transactions

Company size

Head office (UK)

Established

£174million

402,000

305 staff / 7 offices

London

1980

Petersfield, Hampshire

2002

Specialist sectors served: not-for-profit, NGOs, charity, humanitarian, faith, missionary, academic organisations Meon Valley Travel Group

£40million

100,000

86 staff / 2 offices

Specialist sectors served: emergency medical assistance, manufacturing, retail, schools groups, event management, recruitment, private equity, white label leisure, loyalty fulfilment Midas Travel Management

£25million

Not disclosed

25 staff / 1 office

London

1998

59 staff / 4 offices

Liss, Hampshire

1981

York

1977

London

1972

Specialist sectors served: private sectors including finance, legal, communications, media Norad Travel Management

£33.4million

139,000

Specialist sectors served: all sectors with particular specialities including marine, energy, yachting, shipping logistics NYS Corporate

(part of Capita Travel and Events) Omega World Travel

£40million+

198,000+

63 staff / 1 office, supported by remote workers

Specialist sectors served: telecoms, finance, pharmaceutical, retail, industrial, healthcare, public sector

£35million UK / £750million globally

Not disclosed

30 staff / 2 offices (UK) and 600 staff globally

Specialist sectors served: medium size UK and global SMEs in industries such as finance, private equity, pharmaceutical, healthcare, engineering, media, marine, government

Information supplied directly by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual turnover figures quoted refer only to business travel in cases where a company also deals in leisure travel

Information supplied directly by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual turnover figures quoted refer only to business travel in cases where a company also deals in leisure travel

Reed & Mackay

£250million

630,000

400+ staff / 3 UK offices; locations worldwide

London

1962

Handforth, Cheshire

1982

Specialist sectors served: professional services, legal, finance, insurance, technology, marine, offshore Review Travel

£14.6million

91,378

29 staff / 3 offices

Specialist sectors served: legal, finance, media, credit agencies, sport, education, manufacturing, construction Simplexity Travel Management

£6.8million

Not disclosed

15 staff / 1 office

London

2011

Not disclosed

20 staff / 1 office

Dartford, Kent

1973

20 staff

Bristol

1940

1,700 Travel Counsellors globally / 6 offices

Manchester

1994

Specialist sectors served: all sectors Sunways Business Travel

£12million

Specialist sectors served: finance, accountancy, pharmaceutical, law, IT, insurance, film & TV production, building services, architecture, SMEs Thornton's Travel

£7.2million

Not disclosed

Specialist sectors served: SMEs, legal, engineering, public centre, energy, group travel Travel Counsellors for Business

£130million

110,000

Specialist sectors served: sports organisations, information and communication, finance, insurance, professional, technical, public administration, defence Traveleads

£40million

135,000

64 staff / 2 offices

Leeds

1971

London

2005

London

1974

London

1981

51 staff / 4 offices

London

1980

18 staff / 2 offices

London

1972

45 staff / 2 offices

London

1970

64 staff / 4 offices (UK) / 450 staff globally

London

1992

Specialist sectors served: energy, sport, medical, legal, media & broadcast, education, charity, finance, technology, manufacturing Travel Leaders UK (Protravel International UK, Tzell UK, Colletts Travel)

Travel & Transport Statesman

£120million

Not disclosed

53 independent agents / 34 staff / 3 offices

Specialist sectors served: leisure, corporate SME, finance, music touring, film/TV production, fashion, VIP concierge, medical repatriation, MICE

£159.2million

Not disclosed

150 staff / 3 offices / 2 implants

Specialist sectors served: finance, legal, advertising, technology, media, energy, architecture Uniglobe Travel

£221million

485,000

40 UK locations

Specialist sectors served: media, IT, marine, telecoms, finance, legal, fashion, pharmaceutical Wayte Travel Management

£35.5million

70,000

Specialist sectors served: oil & gas, finance, manufacturing, legal West End Travel

£12.85million

30,500

Specialist sectors served: corporate travel core, plus specialists in sport, groups, conference and incentive travel Wexas Travel Management

£27million

54,000

Specialist sectors served: tech, finance, retail, legal, creative and group travel Wings Travel Management

£100million

207,126

Specialist sectors served: energy, marine, security, engineering, specialist finance, travel-critical companies

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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TMCs / Data

Size doesn’t matter The size of a TMC is the least important aspect in the process of selecting and appointing an agency, according to new research conducted by Business Travel Show on behalf of The Business Travel Magazine. The most important element of a TMC’s business pitch? Pricing, perhaps unsurprisingly, is top of the pile, with an agency’s technology provision in second place. A TMC’s cultural fit with the customer and its consulting services were third and fourth, with size bottom of the list of concerns. While over half of travel managers surveyed were happy with the service they receive from their TMC, there is overwhelming discontent regarding the technology they supply. A staggering 96% of buyers said TMCs fail to deliver a satisfactory service in this area. The survey sample comprised over 150 travel managers. • The Business Travel Show takes place on February 21-22 at Olympia London.

What is most important to you when appointing a TMC?

1 Pricing 2 Technology provision 3 Cultural fit 4 Consulting service 5 Size of TMC

23%

Are you HAPPY with the service you receive from your TMC? YES

53%

11% NO 36% Don’t USE a TMC 82

In which areas do YOU think TMCs fail to deliver satisfactory service?

96%

Technology

73%

Data provision/analysis

50% Cost/ROI

50%

Consulting/advice

46%

Customer service

0%

None of the above

66% of the survey sample are UK BASED. The remainder work in continental Europe

20% of the survey sample spend more than £10million on business travel annually

25%

of the survey sample manage more than 1,000 business travellers

57%

of the survey sample spend less than £1million on business travel every year

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

BUSINESS TRAVEL DIRECT DELIVERS GLOBAL TMC ALTERNATIVE WITH ATG. “One size does not fit all in global travel” is the message from a new partnership which sees Business Travel Direct, one of the UK’s leading independent TMCs, become the exclusive UK franchise partner for ATG Business Travel Management. “As an independent TMC we have many strengths that our clients value such as intimate market knowledge, a real focus on innovation and the ability to provide a personalised service but with global standards,” commented Julie Oliver, Managing Director of Business Travel Direct. “We had a challenge in not being able to provide the same levels of service for clients on a global level. With ATG, we have found the missing piece. Now our clients can go global while staying local, meaning there is no compromise on service levels.” “With ATG we can deliver tailor made rather than off the peg solutions.” Ohio-based ATG is one of the largest, independently-owned global TMCs, operating a network of offices in 72 countries with US$5 billion travel spend. For corporates this means having access to global service combined with that all important personalised, local service.

The network is made up of ATG owned offices and independent and market leading TMCs, with in-depth local market knowledge. This is backed up with technological infrastructure including a customised, single sign-on Travel Vortal booking tool that delivers local solutions through a gateway customised for each client. All TMCs in the network share ATG’s ethos when it comes to looking after business travellers and providing an individual service for corporates, helping the TMC stand out from the crowd. Business Travel Direct is the UK TMC service provider for ATG clients worldwide and has a dedicated Team working on the ATG innovation platforms, servicing ATG’s global clients. Tammy Krings, CEO of ATG, is looking forward to a long working partnership with Business Travel Direct, “Business Travel Direct and ATG have a shared vision to provide creative solutions and be transparent with customers while understanding that each client and region is unique.”

ABOUT ATG ATG is a global network of independent and market leading TMCs $5 billion travel spend each year Operates in 72 countries worldwide Technology innovators ISO certifications

ATG SERVICES Traveller tracking Collect, trace and analyse travel expenditure Cost savings Improved policy development and compliance Improved productivity with reduced booking and reimbursement times Client Branded Single Sign on gateways to local content and solutions Global service consistency

An ideal ATG client would be customers who buy globally but are looking for regional relationships with one contract and one implementation team. Julie Oliver

Part of the ATG Network

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DEPARTURES

On the road with

Steven Roth SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE IS AUSSIE ICON

Steven Roth is Executive Director at Scottish Ballet, a role that keeps him on his toes around the world Singapore Airline’s all-business class flight SQ22. It was like a flying hotel and very grown-up. Unfortunately the flight was discontinued in 2013. Worst business travel experience: A direct flight from Perth (Australia) to Houston via Moscow. It was excruciatingly long – I thought we would never get off!

SUPPLIERS DETAILS Name: Steven Roth Position & company: Executive Director, Scottish Ballet Based in: Glasgow, but regularly touring across the UK and internationally. Business trips per year: Travel around the UK and Europe is frequent, with travels further afield several times per year. Estimated annual mileage: A lot! Regular destinations: Outside of performance tours around Scotland, my most frequent destination is London. The company also performs regularly in the US. Most recent trip: Aberdeen. Outside the UK it was to Montreal and New York. Next trip: Inverness and then London.

good & bad Positive memorable experience: The first time I flew non-stop from New York to Singapore, with

84

Preferred airline or hotel: Singapore Airlines provides the most impeccable and calming service I have experienced – it is beyond fault. I also enjoy feeling at home, and Australian, by flying with Qantas. My preferred hotel chain is Sheraton who always deliver very attentive service.  Loyalty points – obsessive collector or not bothered?   I’ve been with Qantas – oneworld – since I first started flying. Loyalty schemes are definitely useful for upgrades and getting to the head of the queue. Favourite loyalty scheme:  Oneworld – the only one I know.

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: work, rest or play? Watching films if I’m not catching up on work. I hardly ever go to the cinema, so a long-haul flight is a good movie fix for me. Onboard connectivity – take it or leave it? I first used on-board wifi this year on United to New York. It was a day flight and FAN OF enabled me to STAGE AND get quite a bit of SCREEN work done catching up on emails and communicating directly with the office. I found it very

HOUSTON, WE HAD A PROBLEM...

helpful, and not too expensive either. Onboard habits: I try not to drink much when flying.

OUTBACK TRIPS ARE HOT STUFF

DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to: I haven’t been anywhere where I haven’t found something to enjoy. Send me back to: Rome. Top overseas landmark: Sydney Opera House. I also really love the High Line in New York – it's a tremendous re-use development.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: Quiet cabins just for business travellers. Biggest business travel irritation: Being queued on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport. Pack light or go prepared?

If the company is performing I’ll need an array of suits. Otherwise I travel light. Never leave home without: My iPhone and laptop.

TRAVEL POLICY Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? Flying in and out of Western Australian towns for recces and performances when I ran the State ballet company was definitely ‘maverick’. A good policy should make all travel experiences less stressful – but nothing helps in 44C! If you could change one thing about your corporate travel policy... We engage with staff regularly to keep the policy updated. Hopefully that makes it fit for purpose. • Scottish Ballet is a client of the Edinburgh-based team at Direct Travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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DEPARTURES

New kid on the block The Trafalgar St. James, London THE LOWDOWN

Tucked away on

the south-west side of Trafalgar Square, the 131-room Trafalgar St. James has re-opened after an extensive transformation. Event space includes The Rooftop, featuring a retractable canopy and views of London with a large lounge and spaces available to hire for up to 14 people. The Trafalgar Dining Rooms

serve Mediterranean dishes with a London Twist and the lower ground floor living room, Biblio, is suitable for exclusive events in a setting evocative of a private members’ club. that's a FACT

The hotel has 15

suites, three of which are signature suites named after the artists who designed key landmarks in Trafalgar Square. Rooms offer a 'chic, urban vibe' with views of Central London. they said it

“In the heart of

the West End and amidst the hustle of bustle of St. James, this part of London has long been seen as more of a tourist destination but the hotel wants to put it back into the hearts of Londoners and bring a whole new level of excitement to the area.” RATES

Room rates start

from £315 per night. Guestrooms range from King, Queen and family rooms to suites.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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BTS18_05882_full page print ad-outlined_AW.indd 1 Untitled-1 1

20/11/2017 16:50 11/24/17 01:06 PM


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20/11/2017 16:50 11/24/17 01:06 PM


Connecting business across the UK Arriva UK Trains’ network reaches far and wide; CrossCountry, Chiltern Railways, Grand Central, Arriva Trains Wales and Northern operate a range of services, from rural commuter lines to long distance and inter-urban journeys. Arriva UK Trains connects the three countries of Great Britain and collectively runs 4,186 services each weekday. Aberdeen

Connecting people and communities to what’s important to them. Glasgow

We will always go the extra mile for our customers.

Edinburgh

Newcastle Sunderland

Carlisle Barrowin-Furness

Holyhead

Bangor

Doncaster Sheffield Lincoln Stoke-on-Trent Nottingham Birmingham

Oxford

Swansea

Cardiff

Aylesbury Stansted London

Bournemouth

We are passionate about making sure that your journey with us is a great experience.

Hull Grimsby

Manchester Liverpool

Shrewsbury

We provide great value and enjoyable journeys that help remove the limits on where businesses can go.

Scarborough

York Preston Leeds

Blackpool

Delivering great service, on great journeys across Great Britain.

Middlesbrough

Guildford

Penzance

Explore ways to make your business rail travel more effective – connect with us at: arriva.co.uk/uk-trains

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DEPARTURES

Meeting in

Derby

Wo w factor

Derby is the UK’s most central city and one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. Though some of Derby’s mills still stand, today it is a centre for transport manufacturing and is home to long-standing rail production plant the Lichurch Lane Works, Rolls-Royce and Toyota

On a shoestring

Derby Arena

Derby Roundhouse

Jurys Inn Derby

Royal Way, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JB 01332 640015 / derbyarena.co.uk

Roundhouse Road, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JE 01332 334800 / roundhouse-events.co.uk

King Street, Derby, DE1 3DB 01332 621000 / jurysinns.com

This huge arena and velodrome is adaptable for meetings, parties and conferences. The main space can hold anything up to 5,000 (seated and standing) and there are multipurpose rooms, which can be used for smaller events. The arena’s 250-metre cycle track is also available for use in bespoke packages. Different rates are available for room hire, with fullday prices starting from £170. TALKING

Derby Roundhouse is a Grade II railway roundhouse built in 1839. Opening as a venue in 2009, the Roundhouse itself can accommodate up to 2,500. Additionally, The Carriage Shop Theatre, Carriage Shop Library and Balcony, The Engine Shed Restaurant and pods are available to hire. The Carriage Shop Theatre holds up to 224 and is priced from £360 including VAT.

Close to all of the city’s major transport links, Jurys Inn Derby offers four meeting and function rooms. The largest is The Cathedral Suite which can seat up to 70 delegates theatre-style. Room hire is available from 9am to 5pm and all meeting rooms come with wifi, AV equipment, air conditioning, stationery, sweets and fresh fruit. Hot or cold lunch is also available in either the hotel restaurant or in the breakout area.

Wired up

Out of to w n

'BOUT A REVOLUTION!

Small but perfectly formed

Getting there Derby is 90 minutes from London St Pancras with services on Cross Country and East Midlands Trains. By car, Derby is accessible via the M1 on junction 24. East Midlands Airport is 30 minutes away and receives domestic, international and European flights.

Quirky venue

Pentahotel Derby

The 3aaa County Ground

Derby Conference Centre

Royal Way, Pride Park, Derby, DE24 8JB 01332 376420 / pentahotels.com

Nottingham Road, DE21 6DAA 01332 388105 / events.derbyshireccc.com

London Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 8UX 01332 861842 thederbyconferencecentre.com

The 3aaa County Ground is a Located in the centre of Derby, leading conference and events the modern and vibrant hotel venue offering state-of-the-art has three purpose-built meeting facilities for 350 delegates with a rooms on site accommodating cricketing backdrop. Function and up to 40 delegates. Rooms are meeting rooms can be geared available on a DDR or 24-hour towards a meeting for 10 or a hire basis. The hotel offers all the conference for up to 350, with wifi expected conveniences, such as throughout, LCD projectors, and wifi throughout, and there is a free flipcharts and parking. An modern bar and restaurant ‘All Rounder’ DDR starts at on site. Complimentary Sky SKY TV AND TV, billiards and games GAMES ADD TO £28 in the Elite Performance Centre or £32 in the Pavilion. consoles are available too. THE FUN

Built as a training centre for railway staff in 1938, this picturesque site boasts 15 conference rooms, HISTORIC accommodating anything VENUE WITH from two to 350 delegates. NEW LIFE Free superfast wifi is available, along with the latest AV system. There are 50 en-suite bedrooms and bespoke packages are available. Enquire online for a day delegate rate.

Further information Contact Discover Derby for advice on all aspects of organising a conference or event in the city. visitderby.co.uk/ conferences or call 01332 643418 for further information.

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DEPARTURES

On business in…

Canberra

Canberra was named Australia’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. Today, the city’s main business interests are public administration and security. It is the seat of government and home to numerous national departments and agencies

PARLIAMENT TOURS OFFER GREAT ACCESS

Sleeping

menu for its coffee. In the

Taxis are available for around $25 to

North Quarter try Cream for

downtown, while ACTION buses

Most major hotel brands are

contemporary dishes.

represented in Canberra including

Courgette offers fine dining

Hyatt, Best Western, Novotel,

in the heart of the city.

Mercure and Crowne Plaza. The artsy

Braddon on the edge of the

Hotel Hotel has an award-winning bar

business district is home to the

and restaurant. Avenue Hotel is

award-winning Sage Dining Rooms

located close to the Braddon precinct

and trendy eatery, eightysix.

FULL OF BEANS FOR BRUNCH

and offers stylish, modern rooms. The central East Hotel offers apartments suitable for longer stays. Getting there Canberra is served by Canberra International Airport (CBR) located within the city. There are no direct flights from the UK but there are numerous one-stop options. Among them are Qatar Airways which will begin daily flights from Doha to Canberra (via Sydney) from February 13, 2018. Domestic services are available with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Tigerair Australia and FlyPelican offering services from major Australian cities.

Drinking

operate every half hour to the city bus station – tickets are $4. A private bus service from the Royale Group is available for $10. Major car hire companies

are represented at the airport.

Mu st- s ee s ight s The Australian War Memorial is a

Craft brew enthusiasts should head

vast complex commemorating the

to the hip Braddon neighbourhood

sacrifices of Australia’s armed forces.

and try the ales and ciders at

Parliament House is open for tours,

As in much of Australia, brunch is a

BentSpoke Brewing Co. Parlour Wine

with the best access on non-sitting

popular dining option. Top spots

Room in NewActon has an extensive

days. At the National Zoo and

include Mocan & Green Grout and

wine list and classic cocktails. The

Aquarium, you can pat a cheetah or

The Cupping Room, which has a bean

strip of lakeside bars in Kingston

become acquainted with a meerkat.

Eating

Foreshore includes tropical-themed Betti Bravos and friendly pub, The Durham. The Dock is a great spot for sports and live music.

G etting Downtown Canberra International Airport is located 8km from the city centre.

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DEPARTURES

Focus on...

As diverse as it is large, travelling to and doing business in Africa can present many logistical challenges. Colin Ellson takes a look at seven key destinations across the continent

Time zones Kenya/Ethiopia: GMT +3hrs; Nigeria: GMT +1hr; South Africa: GMT +2hrs; Egypt/Ghana: GMT Currency • Nigeria: Nigerian Naira (NGN). £1=473NGN • South Africa: South African rand (ZAR). £1=17.84ZAR • Egypt: Egyptian pound (EGP). £1=23.27EGP • Kenya: Kenyan shilling (KES). £1= 136.5KES • Ghana: Ghanaian cedi (GHS). £1=5.80GHS • Ethiopia: Ethiopian birr (ETB) £1=35.76ETB Visas Visas for South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia are issued to British citizens on arrival in the country, usually for a small fee. For visas information on Nigeria visit www.nigeria.org.uk; for Ghana, apply online at www. ghanahighcommission.com Dialling codes Nigeria +234, South Africa +27, Egypt +20, Kenya +254, Ethiopia +251, Ghana +233

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Africa

Rift valleys, jungle, exotic cultures and wildlife seen through the eyes of David Attenborough – that’s the general perception of Africa. In fact, in the 21st century the vast land mass often merits the Victorian description, 'Dark Continent'. Once a reference to its remoteness, mystery, danger and tribalism, today the phrase is a synonym for poverty, corruption, political unrest and outdated work practices. The continent is made up of 54 countries, speaking as many as 2,000 languages, and a population of 1.1billion. It is characterised by

economies at strikingly different stages of development, variable degrees of political stability, and slow population growth, which hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty. In this context, the countries that are featured in this survey (Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana) are a microcosm of the whole continent. The region has rebounded in 2017, after registering the worst decline in more than two decades, and growth in the economy is expected to climb to around 2.6% this year.

The continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa (along with Angola), are also seeing a rebound from the sharp downtown of 2016. But recovery has been slow due to snail-like reactions to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty, although a healthy sign has been a rise in UK exports to South Africa in the three months to August 2017. This market will be among the most familiar to British businesses. Executives who visit benefit from a well-established and modern infrastructure, an up-to-date financial and legal system, and will notice a

Pictured: Cape Town, South Africa

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DEPARTURES

growing middle class eager for consumer goods. Hearteningly, the UK’s Department of International Trade has identified growth potential in South African finance, real estate, business services and catering, and accommodation. Elsewhere, the Department has forecast £300billion-worth of opportunities in rebuilding Egypt’s infrastructure, and similar work in Ethiopia, a regional air hub whose basic amenities are outdated. Ethiopia, along with Kenya, continues to show economic resilience, largely due to domestic

demand, recording annual growth rates above 5.4% since 2015. The situation is summed up by Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region. “We need to implement reforms that increase the productivity of African workers and create a stable macroeconomic environment,” he says. “Better and more productive jobs are instrumental to tackling poverty on the continent.” The UK should be ready to meet the challenges of Africa and shine a light on the potential waiting on the Dark Continent.

Sub-Saharan Africa has rebounded in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than 20 years. Economic growth is expected to reach 2.6% this year”

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: Africa

Kwame Nkrumah memorial, accra

FLIGHTS NIGERIA: From London Heathrow, British Airways flies daily to Lagos and Virgin Atlantic also operates daily. In addition, Med View Airlines serves the city from London Gatwick four times weekly. SOUTH AFRICA: The only direct flights from Heathrow to Cape Town are offered by BA, which flies twice daily. BA and South African Airways serve Jo’burg twice daily from Heathrow.

sl eep i n g

Despite the recent slowdown in many of the region’s economies, the long-term outlook for hotel investment in Africa remains positive, according to the World KENYA: Both Kenya Airways Bank. Progress depends on an and BA serve the Kenyan capital end to electoral unrest in Kenya Nairobi daily from Heathrow. and Nigeria, comparatively high economic growth, increasing ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Airlines political stability, favourable (pictured above) flies to Addis demographic trends and Ababa daily from Heathrow. infrastructural investment, direct air It also serves every city in which underpins demand access is our survey from its hub. for hotels. plentiful Understandably, hotel GHANA: BA flies to Accra investors are cautious, but once a day from Heathrow. the emergence of new markets and the saturation of others are One-stop alternatives: leading to new opportunities for There are literally dozens of investment in hotel sectors other alternatives to flying direct region-wide. from the UK to the destinations International hotel groups, in our Africa survey. Choosing to represented by the likes of stop en route has its benefits if Radisson Blu (Lagos, Cape Town, executives are travelling from Addis Ababa, Nairobi) and Best regional UK airports – using Western (Cape Town, Nairobi) European or Middle Eastern are well-known names in the gateways avoids London’s region, along with Sheraton, Taj, congested airports. Of course, Hyatt Regency, Marriott, Hilton journey times are increased, and Kempinski. sometimes doubled. The oneBut the market is standing by stop options begin way up north for new arrivals as international in Aberdeen, which covers every chains unveil their blueprints. city we feature. You can, for Among these is Eko Atlantic near example, fly to Accra via Lagos, a mega-project including a Amsterdam with KLM, or Cape series of hotels on a man-made Town with Lufthansa via island (a la Dubai). In Cape Town, Frankfurt. From Birmingham, the New Coral International will you can reach Accra with offer five-star luxury, although hotel KLM via Amsterdam, those who know the city might groups Brussels Airlines via go for the venerable Mount are eyeing Brussels or Air France Nelson, and in Jo’burg, expansion transiting Paris CDG. Amdec is developing five Manchester, too, offers hotels for Marriott. every destination we cover on In addition, Hilton is planning direct services, its one-stop five hotels in Cairo and Mirage options including Emirates to Residences is part of the new Addis Ababa via Dubai. Exchange development in Accra. EGYPT: BA offers one flight a day to Cairo from Heathrow, with Egyptair flying twice daily.

94

aft er h our s

CAIRO: Pyramids at Giza, historic Tahrir Square, Egyptian Museum. NAIROBI: Giraffe Centre, Hell’s Gate National Park, Karen (Out of Africa) Blixen Museum. ETHIOPIA: National Museum of Ethiopia, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wenchi Crater Lake. ACCRA: National Museum of Ghana, Accra Mall, Kwarme Nkrumah Memorial Park.

LAGOS: Municipal Museum, Lagos Zoo, Prai Dona Ana Beach Cove. CAPE TOWN: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch National Botanica Garden. JOHANNESBURG: Cradle of Humankind archaeological area, Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City amusement park.

cairo's tahrir square

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DEPARTURES

Reality check H OT E L : T HE CAPITAL HOT E L , L O NDO N THE HOTEL

The Capital Hotel is a

safe, iron and ironing board. A second,

49-room boutique property on a quiet

smaller bathroom by the suite's

residential street behind Brompton

entrance had a walk-in shower.

Road and close to Knightsbridge

THE FACILITIES

Outlaw’s at The

Underground station. It is next door to

Capital is a popular Michelin-starred

sister hotel The Levin and is now part of

restaurant headed up by Nathan

Warwick Hotels & Resorts.

Outlaw. Specialising in British seafood

THE CHECK-IN

The lobby has both a

dishes, it received a steady steam of

small concierge booth and reception

diners as I enjoyed a drink in the cosy

desk. Both were overseen by beaming

adjacent bar, where light meals and

members of staff who quickly checked

afternoon tea are also available.

me in and handed over a traditional

For meetings and events, The Eaton

room key attached to a large wooden

Suite can seat 14 for private dining, the

block “so that you have to speak to the

Cadogan Suite has capacity for up to 30

concierge,” joked a member of staff.

theatre-style, and the Sitting Room can host eight for dinners or up to 20 for

its long-serving and charismatic staff

night was a spacious junior suite with

receptions. The Knightsbridge Metro

who certainly added a breath of fresh

classic country house-style décor

restaurant at the next door Levin Hotel

including floral drapes and patterned

is also available for exclusive hire.

wallpaper. A sitting area contained a

Wifi access was complimentary.

THE ROOM

My room for the

sofa, arm chairs, Nespresso machine,

THE VERDICT

The Capital is a

coffee table and TV, while the bedroom

traditional luxury hotel with plenty of

– separated by an archway – had

character – if ‘classic’ is not your thing

another TV, desk and large ensuite

then head next door to sister hotel The

bathroom with a bath and Temple Spa

Levin – in an excellent Knightsbridge

toiletries. A large wardrobe housed a

location. The hotel takes great pride in

air to my overnight visit.

THE CHARISMATIC STAFF ADDED A BREATH OF FRESH AIR TO MY VISIT

THE DETAILS

The Capital, 22-24 Basil

Street, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AT. Double rooms start from £230 per night plus VAT. Apartments are available for seven nights priced from £1,200 plus VAT. Tel: 020 7589 6286. For further information see: capitalhotel.co.uk.

Andy Hoskins

HOT E L : M G M G R AND, L AS V E G AS, U SA One of the best-known

desk and seating area and a separate

hotels on the Las Vegas strip and one of

bathroom. Additionally, the room was

the largest hotel complexes in the world,

equipped with an air purifier, dawn

the MGM Grand is conveniently located

simulator alarm clock and aromatherapy

close to McCarran International Airport

diffuser. It also had numerous lighting

with easy access to all of Las Vegas. The

options and black-out shades. In the

5,044-room hotel is home to a huge

bathroom there is energising lighting

conference centre, a number of theatres,

and a Vitamin C infused shower, which

bars and restaurants, and one of Vegas'

promotes healthy hair and skin. All Stay

largest casinos.

Well rooms are non-smoking.

THE HOTEL

THE CHECK-IN

The main check-in desk

THE FACILITIES

There is a huge

appeared to have a constantly long

gaming area in the hotel and five

queue, but I was staying in one of the

outdoor pools. The hotel has over 23

property's Stay Well suites which

casual and fine dining restaurants and

benefits from a private check-in area,

24-hour in-room dining as well as a

avoiding the wait. I was offered a drink

number of bars and nightclubs. There's

for bleisure travel. It's a distinctive

at check-in and there was a comfortable

also a 380,000ft2 conference centre

complex with a unique personality.

seating area. A credit card may be

featuring indoor and outdoor meeting

required as part of the check-in process.

spaces with two ballrooms. Nearly 60

THE ROOM

I had a Stay Well

meeting rooms are available for 20 to

Grand King room, which was tastefully

10,000 people. The 92,000ft2 Marquee

decorated and included over 20 health

Ballroom suits trade shows or events of

and wellness features, several of which

up to 6,000 guests.

assist in reducing the effects of jetlag.

THE VERDICT

The fabulous hotel is

The room featured a comfortable king

the ultimate destination for conferences

size bed, HD TV, free high-speed wifi, a

in the city and offers a great opportunity

96

THE DETAILS

THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION FOR CONFERENCES AND BLEISURE TRAVEL

MGM Grand, 3799,

S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. Rooms are available from around £80 per night but rates vary substantially. There is an additional $35 resort fee plus applicable tax. Stay Well rooms are available for a $30 upgrade. For more information see: mgmgrand.com.

Benjamin Coren

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DEPARTURES

HOT E L : SO U T HE R N SU N, ABU DHABI THE HOTEL

The four-star property

THE FACILITIES

The hotel has six

has 353 guestrooms and suites over 27

conference rooms and event spaces

floors comprising deluxe and executive

that can accommodate between 12

rooms, one-bedroom suites and three

and 120 delegates for everything from

spacious presidential suites. It blends

boardroom-style meetings to larger

modern design and an authentic

conferences and events. There is

Arabian atmosphere, and has a diverse

complimentary wifi access and a full

range of facilities. The hotel is located in

range of the latest audio-visual

the centre of the city’s business district.

technology. A business centre located

THE CHECK-IN

The reception desk

on the mezzanine floor offers a variety

was well staffed on arrival and

of services including secretarial services

thankfully, after an overnight flight, my

and work stations. The hotel's leisure

deluxe room was ready. I was given a

facilities include a gym, roof-top pool

quick overview of the hotel facilities and

and six restaurants and bars where

how to access them and was soon in

guests can enjoy a range of breakfast,

the elevator to the 20th floor.

lunch and dinner options, as well as

THE ROOM

My deluxe room was

light meals, snacks and refreshments.

generously sized with a comfortable,

I visited the Blu Sky Sports Bar for a

stylish feel, highlighted by neutral tones

drink and a bite to eat from the grill

and dark wood and leather furnishings.

and also enjoyed a visit to the Balcon

There was a large desk, sofa, tea and

restaurant which serves fusion Asian-

coffee-making facilities, safe, 40-inch

Mediterranean cuisine.

LED flatscreen TV, separate bath and

THE VERDICT

For business travellers,

shower and plenty of amenities.

the hotel’s location is perfect. The

Complimentary bottles of mineral water

service was first class and the range of

were provided on a daily basis.

eating and drinking options was

excellent. A very pleasant stay. THE DETAILS

THE HOTEL'S LOCATION IS PERFECT FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS

Southern Sun Abu

Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiya, Abu Dhabi. Room only rates are from around AED 199 in summer (around £40) and AED 550 (£113) at peak times, plus taxes and fees. For meetings and events, DDRs start from AED 175 (£36). For more information see tsogosun.com.

David Clare

HOT E L : L E G R AY, BE IR U T , L E BANO N THE HOTEL

Le Gray, located on

uncluttered and neat. Daily

Beirut's Martyr's Square, opened in 2009

presentations of fruit and sweets

as the flagship hotel of the CampbellGray

appeared in the room in the early

collection. The hotel recently completed

afternoon. A cosy balcony looked out

an extension project that includes

onto Weygand Street with glimpses of

updates to its business and events

the sea. The room connected modern

facilities, a new lobby lounge, an

design with touches of old Beirut.

exhibition venue and 16 new guestrooms, bringing the total to 103. THE CHECK-IN

While the lobby is

THE FACILITIES

The infinity pool at

the top of the hotel resembles a melting iceberg and commands views of Martyr's

small, it is serene and features modern

Square. By night the space is turned into

art pieces. The concierge unburdened

Cherry on the Roof Top, an al-fresco bar.

me of my luggage and I was ushered to

On the same floor, but on the other side

an armchair in front of the reception

of the atrium, Indigo on the Roof is a

desk where the friendly receptionist

sophisticated restaurant, where breakfast,

the demands of a luxury traveller. Had

initiated a quick and simple check-in.

lunch and dinner are served. The Cigar

the new lobby lounge not been in

lounge and access to BarThreeSixty are

existence, this would have formed my

THE ROOM

The Executive Suite

featured high ceilings and the room’s

also on the sixth floor. B1, the new

elegant design cleverly divided each

business and events floor, includes The

element of the open plan space: a comfy

Grand Salon, a 400m2 banquet facility

king size bed; a lounge area sitting

and the Screening Room, a 52-seat mini

opposite a desk with several power

cinema. B2 is home to the PureGray Spa,

points and a wall-mounted plasma

as well as a state-of-the-art gym.

screen. The marble bathroom, closet

THE VERDICT

The staff are attentive

and mini-bar were concealed behind the

yet not overbearing, the beds are

bed-head wall leaving the room

comfortable and the facilities meet all

DESIGN AND INNOVATION WILL CONTINUE TO BRING NEW AUDIENCES TO THE HOTEL

only criticism. Design and innovation will continue to bring new audiences to the hotel and should consolidate its position as a leading luxury hotel in Beirut. THE DETAILS

Rooms at Le Gray start

at $355 (£251) +10% VAT per night in a Deluxe Room. T: +961 1962 828. See campbellgrayhotels.com.

Ramy Salameh

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DEPARTURES

The final word

Hello from the other aisle

B

allad-blaster Adele is the passenger British travellers would most like to sit beside on a plane, according to a survey released by World Travel Market. The cockney songstress scooped 28% of the vote, while runner-up was new Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker, with 21% and Game of Thrones’ brooding Jon Snow, aka Kit Harington, was third with 13% of the vote. Unsurprisingly, politicians appeared much further down the seat-mate rankings, with Theresa May scraping 10% of the vote – down from 20% in the same poll in 2016 – and Donald Trump attracting 7%. But, would you ‘belieber’ it, both beleaguered leaders were ahead of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who scored only a paltry 4%. WTM London’s Paul Nelson, said: “It’s great to see a down-to-

The frustrations of flying are many, but air passengers’ biggest airport issues of all are overpriced food and, not surprisingly, long queues at check-in and security 1 2 3

4 5 6 7

earth celebrity such as Adele is the favourite in our poll of fantasy flight companions. She would certainly be very lively company at 30,000 feet.” Just don't ask her to start singing Skyfall while at 35,000ft.

Wheel good times

I

f you find yourself with a spare few minutes The Final Word recommends heading over to @SeenfromSidecar on twitter, to catch up with Flight Centre travel consultants Reece Gilkes and Matt Bishop. The pair, from London, recently set off with scooter and sidecar on a recordbreaking world trip, raising funds for the UK’s Modern Slavery helpline. The 18-month trip is expected to cover some 40,000 miles across 50 countries. There’s plenty of fun videos – plus news of how a TMC might be needed to help with shipping!

98

THE TOP 10… TERMINAL ANNOYANCES

“We were particularly surprised to see Donald Trump higher up the rankings than Justin Bieber – perhaps the US President has more potential for inflight entertainment, or maybe we just didn’t ask enough ‘Beliebers’.”

8 9 10

Overpriced food and drink in the departure lounge Long queues for check-in and security Duty-free shops which are no cheaper than normal shops Having to check-in three hours before departure Delayed flights Expensive airport parking Long waits in areas with uncomfortable/insufficient seating People laying across the seats in the waiting areas Having to show your boarding pass in the shops Lack of information about delays

Source: GoCompare Travel/Bilendi

Chile has been named the number one destination to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet’s new Best in Travel report. The country will celebrate 200 years of independence in 2018 with festivities focused on “ever-trendier” capital city Santiago, which began welcoming non-stop flights from London in 2017. Second on the list is South Korea, with Portugal, Djibouti and New Zealand completing the top five.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Save the date 11-12 September 2018

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To register for FREE, visit thebusinesstravelconference.com To book a stand please contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

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11/17/17 03:06 PM


Making Business Travel affordable

Your business is our business At Applehouse, we know that business travel is essential for company growth, as well as benefitting the UK economy through increased trade (Oxford Economics Research 2016). We understand the importance of achieving a balance between returns on investment, traveller satisfaction and budgetary requirements, all incorporated within a duty of care culture. We don’t just get you there, we help you before, during and after your trip, with our all day, every day service. Call us today to find out more about our services, discuss how we can assist you or simply for a free quotation.

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The Business Travel Magazine - December- January 2017/18  
The Business Travel Magazine - December- January 2017/18  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...