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February/March 2019


From bots to booking tools – the latest in travel tech


Car hire innovation Business class cabins Focus on Latin America Talking Travel: Kate Humble BUSINESS TRAVEL DESIGN TEAM OF THE YEAR

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YOU’VE GOT THE BUSINESS. WE’VE GOT THE NETWORK. Discover a network of over 160 destinations worldwide with Eurowings.

Book now!

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Contents 78

F E BR UA R Y/ MA RCH 2019 Features


28 Business class 40 Car hire

61 Extended feature: Travel technology




Extended feature

Travel tech



Opening Shots


Everyone's Talking About... Traveller wellbeing

11 Six of the Best: First class rail lounges


13 The Knowledge: How to rejuvenate your travel programme 14 Speaking Out: Climate change


Booking tools, bots, distribution... we've got it covered!



17 Event preview: Business Travel Show 20 The Conversation: Steve Barrass, CEO TAG 22 The Big Picture


23 The People Awards: Meet the winner 26 Technology: Mobile services


38 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 46 Talking Travel: Kate Humble

The Review 62 26

20 13

49 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures 80 Gadgets & Gear

81 New Kid on the Block 83 On Business in: Cape Town 84 Focus on: Latin America 88 Reality Check 90 The Final Word

81 23


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Welcome Rise of the machines


echnology has long been the driving force behind the travel industry's evolution, but as you absorb the pages of this issue's extended feature (p6179) you might come to the conclusion that 2019 could be something of a

watershed moment for the tools and processes that power the business travel industry. Booking tools are increasingly incorporating bots and artificial intelligence as TMCs bid to deliver greater personalisation and efficiencies, while the divisive topic of NDC is also gaining traction. It is interesting that technology also underpins the vast majority of entrants in this year's Disrupt Awards. I'll have the pleasure of joining the judging panel when the finalists pitch their businesses to delegates at the Business Travel Show on February 20-21 and I look forward to hearing more about their various innovations. The Business Travel Magazine team will be out in force at the show reporting on the latest announcements and trends, so come and say hello. One topic that will undoubtedly reverberate around the halls of Olympia London is that of Brexit. At the time of writing, it is still not clear how – or even if – the UK will depart the European Union on March 29. Perhaps the picture will be clearer by the time our next issue goes to press at the end of March – or perhaps not! Finally, it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Colin Ellson who passed away in January. Colin was a regular contributor to The Business Travel Magazine and other BMI Publishing titles. A veteran travel journalist, he was well-loved and respected by his many industry acquaintances.

Businesstravel the




Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West JOURNALIST


Steve Hartridge


David Clare


Louisa Horton DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter


Steve Hunter


Matt Bonner CEO

Martin Steady


Andy Hoskins, Editor



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Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Inhabit London will be free of single-use plastics and has partnered with a number of social enterprises�

Inhabit London


New brand Inhabit Hotels will open its debut property in London this summer. Occupying six revamped Georgian townhouses in Paddington, the 90-room property mixes classic Scandinavian and British design. Inhabit London will include a cafĂŠ, plus a pantry stocked with free trendy snacks. 6


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Biltmore Hotel


One Aldwych


Hilton will launch its new luxury brand LXR Hotels & Resorts into Europe with the opening of the Biltmore Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square this spring. The property will have 257 rooms and 51 suites, fitness studio, alfresco terrace and cocktail bar.

One Aldwych will reopen in April after completing a multimillion pound refurbishment of its guest rooms and public spaces. The work includes four new suites, a revamped bar, lobby and dining areas.

Hotel Indigo Manchester


Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station has opened its doors to guests, marking the brand’s debut in one of the UK’s largest cities. The boutique hotel, with 187 rooms, takes its design cues from the city's industrial past and is located in a Grade II listed building close to the Northern Quarter. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity Mel Phaure, Director, Blue Cube Travel

“The importance of travel wellness is increasingly becoming recognised by business travellers and their employers. As a result, ‘conscious travelling’ in mind, body and spirit is here to stay” Papillon Luck, CEO, 15th Degree


Some organisations now have a Chief Happiness Officer – an enviable title reflective of the growing emphasis on staff wellness, morale and retention” Sam Cande, UK Country Manager, Traveldoo



“Wellness is becoming increasingly important to our customers and The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga in our Pier Business Class lounge is the perfect place to relax before a flight. We listen to the needs of our customers and continuously evolve to improve their experience with us” Vivian Lo, General Manager Customer Experience, Cathay Pacific



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Planes are fast, airports are not. Get the train from London to Edinburgh in just 4 hours and 19 minutes, and get a load of work done too. /Business

Most common journey time between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley Monday to Friday. Untitled-4 1

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Six of the best... First class rail lounges 1


Business Premier customers and Eurostar carte blanche holders can access Eurostar’s luxury lounges. There are locations in London, Paris, Brussels and Ebbsfleet. Visitors can benefit from free wifi, a digital library, food, drinks and a range of magazines and newspapers.

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Virgin Trains First class passengers can access Virgin’s lounges up to two hours prior to travel and an hour after arrival. The operator has lounges across its network. Most have wifi, TVs and workspaces, plus free food and soft/hot drinks.

Great Western Railway

GWR operates lounges at London Paddington and Cardiff Central stations. Both offer visitors free wifi and food and drink. The Paddington site is currently being remodelled with a new look and feel. Check in advance for opening times and entry requirements.



Since the recent takeover, the line’s first class lounges feature new relaxation areas, workspaces and chaise longues. They also offer free wifi, drinks, snacks and newspapers. Its lounges are across the East Coast network.



Aberdeen has a lounge managed by Scotrail which offers showers, free wifi, snacks and drinks. The lounge can be accessed by passengers carrying first class tickets for travel that day. However, First Class Advance tickets are not accepted.

East Midlands Trains

Entry is granted to first class ticket holders, including First Advance. Each lounge features free wifi, refreshments and a selection of newspapers. Lounges are located at Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, St Pancras and East Midlands Parkway.

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How to...

Rejuvenate your travel programme The RSA insurance group changed TMCs in a bid to improve processes and ease the procurement department’s workload. Find out how they went about it


RSA’s incumbent TMC had been in place for eight years but the company felt the service and technology it supplied was falling short of expectations. RSA launched a competitive tender for its UK, Ireland and Group Corporate Centre (GCC) travel management programme and ultimately appointed FCM in January 2018. RSA has around 12,600 employees and operates in over 100 countries.


RSA wanted to improve its travel programme in several ways, including having a greater focus on personal service and more of a partnership approach with its TMC. It also wanted to deploy futureproof technology – including an online booking too – as well as introducing an approvals process, automated traveller tracking and, finally, to lighten the workload of its stretched procurement department. “We needed more support from our TMC in terms of taking over some of the business travel tasks and responsibilities that had been handled by procurement,” says Sarah Morrison, RSA's Procurement Category Manager.


RSA was allocated six FCM consultants to look after its travel needs, plus a VIP consultant to work with a number of its executive assistants. The FCM team also handles any general queries from bookers or travellers, considerably lightening procurement’s workload. RSA also implemented FCM’s Seeqa booking tool – for which PAs and EAs were invited to attend training roadshows – which incorporated a new approvals process based on rate caps for hotels and flights in accordance with RSA travel policy. “The roadshows gave travellers and bookers the opportunity to flag up any changes they felt were needed within Seeqa and we were able to respond quickly and ask our IT people to make those changes,” says Hayley France, FCM Account Manager. “There are always a few teething problems when implementing an OBT, but despite some initial challenges, Seeqa is proving to be a great online tool for RSA and adoption rates are excellent,” she adds. France acted almost as ‘implant’ account manager, providing greater internal support and communication, assuming responsibility for

RSA’s intranet travel pages and overseeing all internal travel communications. She has an RSA email address and travels the country visiting RSA’s offices. “At the end of the day we are not travel experts, so having Hayley and the support of the offline FCM team – who have access to our systems – made a big difference,” says RSA’s Sarah Morrison.


By October last year online adoption had reached 82% for hotels and 61% for air while the approvals process resulted in a more streamlined and efficient set up. Traveller satisfaction has also risen following improved service levels and traveller tracking has been vastly improved with greater visibility. “We are very happy with the level of engagement and service that FCM is providing,” says RSA’s Sarah Morrison. “They did an excellent job of training our staff to use the online booking tool,” she continues, “and the introduction of FCM’s HUB portal as our own travel portal means that everything is integrated in one place include rail, car hire and other services. “We can also make better business decisions as a result of the proactive provision of data and MI available to us via HUB.”


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Climate change Your part in its slowdown Are suppliers and corporates playing their part in arresting the pace of climate change? Possibly not, says Gary McLeod, who asks what more we could be doing Twelve years to halt cataclysmic climate change: so what are your organisation and travellers doing about it? Are business travel suppliers doing enough? And how can we help them perform better? The United Nations COP24 climate change conference in Poland agreed to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement and has got China and the USA on-board – who jointly create 40% of the world’s greenhouse gases – but the business travel community has an important role to play in reducing its own impact on the environment. It’s easy to say “it’s too big a topic for me to be able to influence”, but there are millions of global business travellers who, if they all did some of the “small stuff”, could have a huge impact. The UK’s Department for Transport recently published Aviation 2050 – the future of UK aviation, which invites comment from all interested parties on various topics, including feedback on how to “support growth while tackling environmental impacts”. Very laudable, but 2050 is 31 years away and we only have 12 years to effect a slowdown in global warming, so what can we do today at a corporate and individual level? The obvious steps seems to be to use more efficient public transport when aviation can be avoided. Train travel is the primary option in the UK and Europe, but in the UK all we tend to hear is bad news about high fares, cancelled services and over-crowded carriages. Many of the train operators, however, are investing in new fleet and there

If buyers add more ‘green’ questions into RFPs we will see operators become more open about what they are doing and how we can help them” is strong evidence of this across the network. Check out what your local operator or longdistance provider is doing, and avoid the UK’s over-crowded roads by trying the train option. There are of course instances when train travel is just not practical and cars will reach the destinations that trains don't – but what of the availability of electric powered or hybrid hire cars? Most car rentals tend to involve relatively short distances, so why are we not being offered more electric cars or a range of hybrids by suppliers? Prices are high and lack of charging infrastructure are primary concerns among potential renters but, over the next couple of years, manufacturers are promising to deliver sensibly-priced electric cars with impressive range. If car hire companies get enough requests – especially from large corporate users – it will be fed into their buying operations and may actually impact their fleet decisions and depot infrastructure planning. ‘Green’ hotels are a talked about concept, but you rarely see much evidence of how they are making themselves more energy efficient other than the ubiquitous “do you need to change your towels?” cards. On a more positive note, it was interesting to see that a Premier Inn in Edinburgh recently claimed to have become the first

hotel in the UK to be powered by battery – albeit a five-tonne lithium ion battery! Its parent company Whitbread said the trial would help it meet its goal of halving its carbon emissions by 2025 and save the hotel some £20,000 a year in energy bills. We all know how easy it is to leave the keycard in, the lights and the television on and run endless showers, but being mindful of our behaviour is one easy way we can take personal responsibility a bit further. If it helps, act as if you were paying the electricity bill! And how about the way hotels operate, often with over-heated hotel corridors and always-on, inefficient lighting? There are many things that hotels could do to reduce power consumption, so let’s start asking the questions of them about how and when they’re going to act. If buyers start putting ‘green’ questions into travel RFPs we will see operators become more open about what they are doing and suggest how we can help them be more efficient – maybe even incentivising travellers to make greener choices through better pricing? Millions of us, all doing our bit, can actually make a difference.

GARY MCLEOD Gary McLeod is Managing Director of Traveleads and has worked in the travel industry for over 35 years across a variety of companies and in operational, sales and management roles.



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The Business Travel Show 2019

There's no business like show business The Business Travel Show celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and will include a range of new features

r󰈧󰈤 The 󰈊󰇮󰇷󰈦󰇼p󰇹 A󰈟a 󰇺h re󰇹󰇻󰈦n 󰈇󰈣󰈦 a f󰈢󰇼󰇶󰇶 co󰇳󰈤󰇪c󰇼󰇹i󰇾󰇪 y󰈥a

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Europe’s largest business travel exhibition and conference takes place on February 20 & 21 and is expected to welcome more than 9,000 travel professionals through its doors. The two-day event includes over 80 conference and seminar sessions – for all levels of experience – and features over 260 global travel brands, from innovative new start-ups to the world’s largest airlines, hotel groups and TMCs.

Dedicated exhibition areas include the new Meetings Management Pavilion, International Hotel Village, Airline Pavilion, the GTMC Pavilion and the ASAP Pavilion, with the latter showcasing members of the Association of Service Apartment Providers. A comprehensive educational programme features a focus on the future of business travel management, including sessions on creating an agile travel platform; Brexit and the global risk outlook; introducing bots to your travel programme; and artificial intelligence, blockchain and more. The 25-year-old event will also include several new and returning features under its ‘Travel 2022’ theme, including WonderLAB, Future Forum and the Disrupt Launchpad and Awards.

“A comprehensive educational programme features a focus on the future of business travel management”


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BTS Conference Programme

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10:00 - 11:00 Ten quick wins to get you started in travel management

10:00 - 11:00 Negotiating the best savings and value with travel suppliers

11:30 - 12:30 Predictive analytics – can it improve your travel programme?

11:30 - 12:30 Traveller profiling – a new way to organise your travel programme

11:30 - 12:30 How to influence my C-suite and win big – a boardroom exec reveals all

11:30 - 12:30 Solving the challenge of booking non-employee travel

11:30 - 12:30 Managing supplier consolidation to make sure you win

11:30 - 12:30 How to find what you need when you’re drowning in data

10:00 - 11:00 Brexit & the global risk outlook 10:00 - 11:00 How to improve traveller wellbeing without harming your travel budget 10:00 - 11:00 Introducing bots into your travel programme 10:00 - 11:00 Buyers’ revolution – let’s take back control of our data! 10:00 - 11:00 How to get your business booking meetings smarter 10:00 - 11:00 The meetings revolution

13:00 - 14:00 The annual hotel RFP 13:00 - 14:00 Getting data protection right 13:00 - 14:00 Benchmarking – check how well you're doing 13:00 - 14:00 Stars of the East – getting to grips with travel in China and India

“ Su󰇮t󰈥󰈧 󰇺o m ev󰇪󰇶󰈠󰈣ne 󰈇󰈦t󰈢i󰇳󰈪 t󰇬o󰈤󰇪 s󰇹󰈜󰈦 󰇪󰈦s t󰇬e󰇮󰈦 c󰈜󰇶e 󰇷󰇺 to 󰇹󰇭󰇪 m󰈣 󰈨 ex󰇴󰇪󰈦󰇯en󰈛󰇪 󰇷” t󰇶a󰇾󰇪l 󰇨󰇼󰈠er

13:00 - 14:00 Corporate payments – achieve more savings and efficiencies 14:30 - 15:30 NDC – will travel buyers win? 14:30 - 15:30 Integrating transient travel & meetings

11:30 - 12:30 Online booking and expense management 13:00 - 14:00 Forecasting Forum 2019 13:00 - 14:00 Making hotel and meetings payments work 13:00 - 14:00 Managing the mavericks 13:00 - 14:00 Get ready for One Order

13:00 - 14:00 Safety and security – a best practice guide for beginners 14:30 - 15:30 How AI, blockchain and bots will transform travel management


Wednesday February 20 & Thursday February 21

Whe󰇶󰇪? Olympia London

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

Mor󰇪 󰇯󰇳󰈆o @btshowlondon #BTShow


Business Travel Show group

14:30 - 15:30 Re-thinking what success 14:30 - 15:30 Does traveller incentivisation looks like for a travel manager really lower spend and help your business? 14:30 - 15:30 Get what you 14:30 - 15:30 Inside track – how I manage want by telling data stories our air and hotel programmes 14:30 - 15:30 Life as a 14:30 - 15:30 Choosing a TMC multinational travel manager 16:00 - 17:00 What are the new skills I need 14:30 - 15:30 Travel policy to win as a travel manager? – your key to balancing maximum compliance with 16:00 - 17:00 New opportunities to make traveller experience the most of your travel policy 16:00 - 16:45 The first steps 16:00 - 17:00 Dangerous liaisons – How to to managing meetings spend de-risk your meetings programme 16:00 - 16:45 How to engage 16:00 - 17:00 Using data for improved your travellers savings and control



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STEVE BARRASS The industry stalwart tells Andy Hoskins about his move into business travel and the future for TAG following private equity investment


here are two new names in the business travel arena, although both have impressive pedigrees in the travel industry. TAG is the new moniker of The Appointment Group, the company that specialises in travel and events for the music, entertainment and corporate sectors. And Steve Barrass is its new CEO, appointed as part of the investment by Apiary Capital that is anticipated will “drive transformational growth”, according to a statement from the fledgling private equity investors. Barrass, now six months into his role, arrived at TAG after some 20 years in leisure travel that included senior roles at Gold Medal, Thomas Cook and, most recently, Emirates-owned dnata Travel in Dubai. “It’s where I got a passion for mergers and acquisitions,” says Barrass, as he explains how his latest role came about. “I wanted to return to the UK in travel but in something quite specialist and as a CEO.” He continues, “I hadn’t heard of The Appointment Group but the stars seemed to be lining up. Travel is a hobby as well as a career and I love music too. It is a perfect fit. Now, with TAG's private equity backing, it is very much my remit to raise our profile and deliver sustainable growth.” Nearly two-thirds of TAG's revenue comes from clients in the entertainment, film and media sectors, with corporate and events business accounting for the remainder. 20

So how does Barrass describe the company's position in the market? “We are a high-quality, premium TMC providing a global personalised concierge experience and we are completely flexible,” he says. The organisation handles over 2,000 tours a year and former clients include Coldplay, U2, Lady Gaga and myriad other global stars. “Imagine organising a two-year worldwide tour for the artist, their band and their crew! TV and film is no less challenging. It's a hugely complex process getting crews through customs and on planes with all their kit and then getting them on location,” says Barrass. He continues: “We can do point-to-point travel too but we're better at serving demanding clients, including the likes of C-suite executives, hedge funds, high net worth individuals and bankers.” Barrass is based in TAG's new Manchester office – where there is plenty of room for expansion – and travels regularly between its nine global offices. “We have 300 staff now and John [Gianquitto, Co-founder and now

As a TMC you have to be big or be specialist. The middle ground is tough right now. All the old drivers of profitability are being squeezed”

President] and Maurice [Veronique, Co-founder, who has stepped down from the board] have built almost a family alliance. “This is a very successful entrepreneurial business with great people. Apiary want to build on that and take it to the next level but without 'corporatising' it.” He continues: “Private equity will look to, say, double the business over a period of time. What I’m doing is building the plan to achieve that. It will come from organic growth – which is already double digit across all our verticals across the globe. We may open up in other territories – Asia is an economic hotbed – and we are also looking at a couple of new business sectors.” Back in the UK, Barrass, like others, believes the TMC market is ripe for M&As. “We've seen plenty of it and we’d love to make two or three acquisitions of our own over the next five years. There are new opportunities in Asia and the United States, with its huge music industry, is a natural target, but the real consolidation options are here in the UK.” He continues: “In my opinion, you have to be big or be specialist – the middle ground is tough right now. All the old drivers of profitability are being squeezed, there’s all the regulatory issues, and then there’s the technology and infrastructure that's required. It’s easy to be left behind. Technology is important to us, but we’re a people-driven, customer-centric business and that's where our future lies.”


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in brief... How did you enjoy your time in Dubai with dnata? "I had an absolute ball looking after multiple businesses out there. It was an incredible place to be. I’d been almost blinkered by my background in UK outbound travel so it was a new experience. It has a completely visionary approach to business and is growing so quickly. The culture is ‘anything is possible’. They’ve built one of the biggest and best airlines in the world in just 30 years! It wasn’t quite an epiphany but it certainly opened my eyes to the art of the possible." Any other favourite destinations? "For all the long-haul destinations I’ve been to – and I started out in the Merchant Navy so it's a lot – my favourite destinations are actually closer to home. I love spending time in Austria in both summer and in winter, and also the Algarve. I’m a big family man and I’d love my kids to go into the travel industry too."

STEVE BARRASS Steve Barrass joined TAG from dnata Travel, where he was Senior Vice President responsible for multiple businesses throughout the Middle East and South East Asia. He previously held a number of senior positions across the leisure sector including roles at Thomas Cook, Avis, Airtours and as CEO of the Gold Medal Travel Group where he led the successful sale of the business to the Emirates Group in 2014. He started his career as an officer in the Merchant Navy where he developed his now lifelong love for travel.

NDC - love it or loathe it? "I understand why the airlines are doing it and, with British Airways as our number one airline, we are having some high level conversations because we have so much premium travel. We’re also working closely with Travelport and are part of their pilot NDC programme."


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the big picture


OSAKA British Airways will commence non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Osaka, Japan, on March 31 when its new fourtimes-weekly service commences. Flights will operate to/from Kansai International Airport. The 2019 Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan this autumn while capital city Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympic Games. BA last operated flights to Osaka in 1998.

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meet the winner

Paul Coghill CTM’s Paul Coghill was named Reservations Consultant of the Year at The Business Travel People Awards 2018 How did it feel to be named Reservations Consultant of the Year? It was a massive shock. I didn’t expect to be shortlisted, never mind win. When they said my name, my first thought was ‘Oh God, I’m going to have to get up on stage in front of everyone!’ I’m not one for attention. I never blow my own trumpet or big myself up. So, it was a massive surprise, but I was delighted. Why did you decide to enter the awards or how did you come to be nominated? CTM UK’s General Manager Julie Cope nominated me, which was really lovely of her and obviously it was worth doing! What do you particularly enjoy about Tell us about your role and the work your role? you’ve done that clinched the award? I love stepping in to help people when I’ve been with CTM for nearly 19 years, back they have problems and finding the best when we had to print tickets and I would solution. And I love building those hand deliver them to our City clients. I’d previously worked in travel at Lunn Poly relationships with travellers and bookers. and with Gemini Travel, where I moved over from leisure to business. I work on lots of What do you think of The Business different accounts with CTM and some of Travel People Awards, and of the my clients have been with me for winners event? over a decade – Sir Tim Rice, It’s really important to look for example. He and his beyond the business and family are a joy to work profit and loss sheets in with. Having worked on any industry, and to The Business Travel the same team for recognise the people People Awards recognise some 18 years, I who make things outstanding individuals and naturally know my happen and who go teams across all aspects of clients really well. above and beyond, the supplier element We have solid and that’s what the of corporate travel. relationships and a People Awards does so Nominations for the 2019 great rapport. My whole well. I really enjoyed the awards are now open! ethos is to always provide awards ceremony – it was them with the best possible a great event, and a lovely service at all times. I give every opportunity to meet up with booking the greatest attention to people as I work from home. I would detail to ensure everything runs as have loved to join everyone on the winners’ smoothly as possible for my clients which trip to New York, which sounded fantastic, reflects well on me and on the business. but sadly I wasn’t able to.

What impact do you think winning an award will have on your career? For younger winners, I can see how winning this award could have a massive impact on their career ambitions and trajectory. For me, I’ve been in the industry for nearly 30 years so that was never the goal behind entering. However, I have changed roles at CTM since winning, moving from the reservations team to the Elite/VIP team and I’m really enjoying building relationships with a new group of clients. What do you think are the travel industry’s biggest challenges right now? The continuous transition from offline to online bookings, plus NDC and finding a way to manage this within a TMC.

It’s really important to look beyond the business and the profit and loss sheets in any industry, and to recognise the people who make things happen”

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RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL The Business Travel People Awards are your chance to pay tribute to those in the business travel industry whose professionalism and excellence help them really stand out from their peers. The winners of The Business Travel People Awards are individuals and teams who are judged to be outstanding performers in their field, with an emphasis on recognising winners that are leading the business travel sector into the future. Nominations close on March 4th If you’d like to enter The 2019 Business Travel People Awards or want to nominate someone you know or work with, visit and complete your nomination by March 4th.

AWARDS CEREMONY The Business Travel People Awards will be presented at a celebratory lunch on Friday May 24th at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London.

The 2019 People Awards are now open for nominations in the following categories:


• Reservations Consultant of the Year • Reservations Team of the Year • Operations Manager of the Year • Operations Team of the Year • Account Manager of the Year • Account Management Team of the Year • Sales/Business Development Manager •

of the Year Sales/Business Development Team of the Year

SUPPLIERS (airlines, accommodation, ground transportation, online booking tools, GDS, data management services) Account Manager of the Year Account Management Team of the Year Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Sales/Business Development Team of the Year

• • • •


• Meetings & Events Manager of the year

• Meetings & Events Team of the year INDUSTRY AWARDS

• Rising Star Award • Best Newcomer


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With more seats, free Wi-Fi and power at every seat, travel time needn’t be wasted time. Book your business trip with your local TMC or at

Advertising based on an increase of over 10% in train seats on long distance, intercity services in January 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Correct as of 03/01/19. Selected routes only. Wi-Fi terms and conditions apply. Power sockets available on selected rolling stock only. For full terms and conditions visit

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MOBILE APPETITE The demand for mobile-friendly services shows no signs of abating, writes Linda Fox, who examines travellers’ biggest priorities


mobile experience that captures day-to-day tasks such as emails is now a given but travellers still yearn for something that allows for much more in a consolidated way. Research from Travelport released late last year shows that business travellers also want elements and functionality such as voice search, e-payments and digital room keys to help simplify their trips. The 2018 Global Digital Traveler Survey of 16,000 travellers from 25 countries reveals that more than half of participants have now booked and paid for part, or all of, a business trip via smartphone. While the focus of the study was leisure travellers, as the lines continue to blur the findings will continue to put pressure on the corporate travel space, with travellers looking for the same userfriendly experience, if not better. Mobile applications are now a firm feature when it comes to making life easier on the go with maps, airlines, weather and social media among the preferred apps that travellers reach for. Demonstrating the point, the research says nine out of ten travellers have apps on their phones that are specifically used in-destination. What’s interesting here from a business travel perspective is developments to bring in far more contextual services to travellers’ mobile devices. Event-based

Leisure travellers want searching and booking functionality but corporates prioritise having an entire trip itinerary in one place and real-time flight alerts” 26

messaging is one good example which some TMCs and their partners have developed in line with the consumerisation trend in corporate travel, as well as the desire from corporate customers to have access to timely information. While leisure travellers put the ability to search and book flights as the most

important feature in apps, for corporate travellers it was having the entire trip itinerary in one place and access to realtime flight alerts, which come out second and third in the study. Other technologies such as voice control and newer payment methods are also gaining momentum. The Travelport research shows that half of travellers use voice to search during booking or while travelling, up from 3% a year ago. It adds that in China and Turkey, more than 70% of travellers are already using voice search functionality. The finding comes as no surprise with voice being the most natural way we communicate, across all generations. In corporate travel, it has already been accepted as perhaps the most efficient way for carrying out tasks while on the go. Further efficiency will also be driven in new and more seamless payment methods. It’s often the business traveller who will have Apple Pay on his or her mobile device, for example, and acceptance of such methods is growing. The research shows that 55% of business travel respondents see the ability to pay via mobile phone as important or very important, compared to 47% of leisure travellers. In addition, it’s business travellers that are driving innovation such as hotel check-in and room lighting and temperature control via an app, and 50% say they also want to use a digital room key on their phone to unlock a hotel room – a feature that is gaining traction and will surely become the norm. It’s fair to say that leisure and corporate travellers are not that different when it comes to technology for travel. After all, we all want access to convenient services that make travel a more seamless and efficient process so that the actual trip can be the best it can be.


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ON THE ATTACK Blue Cube Travel has invested in extensive cyber security measures to ensure clients’ data is safe


ver four in ten SME businesses (43%) and seven out of ten (72%) large companies in the UK experienced online data attacks last year according to a 2018 governmental Cyber Security Breaches Survey. The travel sector has also seen its fair share of high-profile data breaches involving the hacking of customer credit card information, passport details and personal information. Cyber-attacks not only cost money and threaten the loss of existing customers, they also cause brand and reputational damage. As a leading independent travel management company with a large and varied client base, Blue Cube Travel handles significant amounts of sensitive data on behalf of its clients. Robust cyber security systems and processes to protect that data are critical to the continued success of Blue Cube’s business. That is why the TMC has invested in working with leading cyber security consultancy CNS for the last two years. CNS implemented Aegis, a benchmarking tool that measures and scores the TMC’s cyber security maturity against standards such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus.

“CNS and Aegis enabled us to identify any potential risks and prioritise areas we needed to focus on bolstering our cyber security,” says Kevin Trill, Blue Cube’s Director of Technology and Transformation. “We now have a multi-layered approach in place to deal with the vast array of existing and future cyber threats. For example, our new online booking tool, launched last year, is fully PCI DSS compliant.” Blue Cube has also enhanced safety for sending and receiving sensitive data via email by implementing message encryption and the internet email standard DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformances). This means Blue Cube staff can encrypt emails sent to clients if required. “Our customers need to be confident that emails they receive from us are genuine and cannot be tampered with,” explains Kevin Trill. “These enhancements ensure identification of fraudulent emails, and when needed, secure message encryption to protect sensitive information.”

Mel Phaure, Director and Co-founder of Blue Cube adds: “We have built up a very successful business over the last 15 years with a reputation for providing exceptional personal service. To suffer a cyber breach would be hugely detrimental. We believe Blue Cube has gone further than any other similar-sized TMC in ensuring clients’ data is safe. Meeting and surpassing not only what clients require, but also what GDPR regulations require, is essential to our continued growth.” • | | 0208 948 8188 Blue Cube - Advertorial.indd 1

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PERFECT Airlines are enhancing their business class products as corporate use of the premium cabin continues to grow, writes Gillian Upton


ake a look at any major long-haul carrier’s business class capacity between 2017 and 2018 and almost all of them have increased capacity from the UK to each country market overseas. It’s a bullish market and demand for this premium cabin has not abated. The likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, JAL, Emirates and Air China have all piled on the extra seats, the latter soaked up by the introduction of a third daily flight between London Heathrow and Beijing. And those extra business class seats equate to healthier profits. “That’s where the highest yield is for airlines,” says John Grant, Senior Analyst at aviation intelligence specialist OAG. “Business class revenue can make up to 40% or 50% of their profits.” That is as long as the seats are full, which they seem to be right now. An Egencia study on global flight demand highlights total business travel flight bookings increased globally by almost 110% between January 2014 and December 2018, with New York, London, Paris and Singapore the four stand-out destinations. Richard Jewsbury, Divisional Vice President UK at Emirates, is particularly bullish. “We are optimistic that our business class will 28

continue to be in strong demand among UK passengers in 2019. With the A380 being deployed on to the Glasgow route from April-October 2019, more UK passengers will be able to enjoy the unique A380 premium offering this year. Our recent launches into Stansted and Edinburgh also put us in good stead to meet business class demand,” says Jewsbury. Bob Schumacher, Managing Director UK & Ireland at United Airlines, paints a similarly positive image. “Corporate traffic was exceptionally strong last year. Some 70% is US-sold on the back of a strong US economy and that underpins our investment in new fleet,” he explains. For example, the 787-10 series has just joined the United fleet, the largest and longest of the 787 family of aircraft, which will bring new capacity to certain markets such as Dublin from May this year.

The fleet street

And there’s the rub. New fleet has triggered a whole host of innovations in the business class cabin and, arguably, it’s never been better. Lie-flat beds are now the norm, so too direct aisle access and forward-facing seats. Today, the gold standard is suites which is all about the level of privacy, be 



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New aircraft have triggered a whole host of innovations in the business class cabin and, arguably, it’s never been better”


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celebrating 5 years of bringing people together

Over the last five years, our transatlantic partnership has gone far. We’ve introduced WiFi on all our flights and fully flat bed seats in our Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Delta One® cabins. We’ve set up mutually rewarding loyalty programmes and we’re co-located at key international airports. Not to mention, we offer award-winning lounges and Clubhouses on both sides of the Atlantic. Here’s to many more amazing years together.

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Companies really recognise the value of business class travel and that it will get their travellers to their destination in the best possible condition” it with a cocoon-like moulded seat unit, sliding doors, a moveable privacy screen or an all-singing, all-dancing suite. On the ground is restaurant-quality food service in departure lounges, dedicated check-in counters, spa-like facilities and, in some cases, chauffeur transfers. United Airlines, for example, is opening new departure lounges exclusively for their Polaris business class passengers. Its fifth has recently opened in Los Angeles and during 2019 it is hoped that Heathrow T2 will be upgraded to a Polaris Lounge. Moreover, airlines are paying as much attention to the soft facilities – the quality of the duvets, amenity kits, food and



entertainment. Singapore Airlines has fitted a bigger bi-fold table and ambient lighting, for example, while American Airlines has partnered with celebrity chefs and a Master of Wine to offer local cuisine and wines on different routes. “Companies really recognise the value of business class travel and that it will get their travellers to their destination in the best possible condition,” says Jo Lloyd, partner of consultancy Nina & Pinta. There is a caveat, however, as there is a difference between what a traveller wants and what their employer wants from business class. “Key for the business is the right network, speed of getting there, direct aisle access and a lie-flat bed,” she says. “The suite products are priced differently and I haven’t seen much uptake by corporates; they place no additional value on suites. All they want is to ensure that the product is fit for purpose.” Delta Air Lines’ Country Manager UK & Ireland, Nadia Clinton, says that privacy and conferencing are the two priorities for the business traveller. Delta introduced its Delta One Suites – with sliding doors – in 2017 across its fleet of A350s and is currently refitting all its B777s with suites, which will be completed by end 2019. “The plan is to go across the entire fleet. Suites are a new concept plus we really focus on giving corporates what they want

in the palm of their hands via our app which allows travellers to arrange a cabin upgrade or to change their fight. Time is precious to them so we focus on our on-time performance.” The airline holds regular Corporate Advisory Boards to elicit feedback from travellers and to ensure they deliver on customer requirements. Traveller wellbeing is one issue that’s come to the fore and Delta has been trying to improve the on-board experience in its Delta One cabin – its international business class cabin – with additions such as a new duvet, pillows, amenity kits and larger IFE screens. “Wellbeing could also mean changing the flight schedule or biometric terminals to enhance the boarding process and being able to get to your seat quicker – something we did at Atlanta airport in 2018. That has shaved nine minutes off the boarding time,” Clinton explains.

Overdue upgrades

All eyes are on British Airways this summer when it is due to unveils its new larger business class seat on the A350 when it enters the schedule in July. We already know that it will offer direct aisle access from all seats – a shortcoming of its current product – as well as a restaurant-style dining experience offering freshly prepared starters and desserts served from a 


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trolley, and more comfortable bedding from The White Company. The overhaul is part of BA's wider £6.5bn investment for customers in the air and on the ground and will help it compete with the likes of Delta and Qatar Airways. The latter has the Qsuite Quad which comprises pairs of aft and forward-facing seats which can be configured so that four passengers can work or dine together. As with other airlines, British Airways is also paying attention to its soft facilities. ”We completed our roll-out of The White Company bedding in Club World and we are installing our industry-leading streaming wifi on long-haul aircraft, while all short-haul aircraft will be fitted with the system by next summer,” says Carolina Martinoli, the airline's Director of Brand and Customer Experience. “In terms of food, we’re proud to be extending our partnership with Do&Co, a premier provider of fine dining in the skies, for all flights departing from Heathrow. “We’ve also launched a multimillion-pound investment in our World Traveller catering, improved dining in Club World, and revamped our Club Europe offer with new

 

Business class thresholds are static, with most corporates keeping them at flights of over six to eight hours – travellers can then upgrade to business and languish in greater comfort” 32


menus and improved recipes. Feedback from these changes has been extremely positive,” says Martinoli. “Looking to the ground, we’ve enhanced our connections service, doubling the number of cars offering premium customers on tight connections a chauffeur-driven ride to their next flight. Connections managers now fast-track customers through to their next flight or re-book them onto another flight and organise a hotel if needed, all while they’re still in the air.” Back in the air, not all airlines have gone the suite route. Singapore Airlines, for example, long synonymous with high-end service, has created a fibreglass shell which the airline claims provides the same level of privacy as a door or screen but minus the claustrophobia. American Airlines has also turned its back on the suite, preferring to offer a lie-flat bed, direct aisle access and fast wifi. Japan Airlines and South African Airways have taken a similar view.

Business class thresholds are static, with most corporates keeping them at flights of over six to eight hours when travellers can then upgrade to business and languish in greater comfort. Business trips to the Far East and the West coast of America, for example, are exclusively in the premium cabin. A six-hour threshold will secure business class to New York. Some say short-haul business class has a limited future but it still thrives in the US domestic market. “I don’t think it will die a death,” says United’s Bob Schumacher. British Airways is the only UK airline offering short-haul business class and remains positive about its future. “Such is its popularity that in 2017 we introduced the service on our domestic flights, with nearly 70,000 customers choosing the premium service in the first six weeks of its operation,” says BA's Carolina Martinoli. “We continue to invest in the cabin and 

Paying the price

All this innovation does comes at a cost and corporates have the challenge of writing a travel policy that balances cost against traveller wellbeing and risk. It’s why some opt for business class only on overnight flights and save the money by downtrading on the daylight leg. “Mixing classes is popular,” says Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at Business Travel Direct. “If the traveller is not going straight into a meeting on arrival then it’s premium economy on the day flight,” she says.



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 this year revamped Club Europe with new menus and improved recipes.” That some companies can afford to buy short-haul business class is surprising but keeping an eye on cost is also driven by advance booking. Booking at least 14 days in advance helps the bottom line, slashing two thirds off some flight prices (see panel), although some corporates are becoming exasperated by the increasingly long list of exemptions travellers hide behind. Carol Neil, Global Travel Manager at Fidelity International, has a long list of exemptions. “It creates major problems,” she says. ”We’re looking at our policy and reviewing it. We have 64% of travellers flying business class. It will cost us to change the business class policy so we’ll need to balance that with wellbeing.” The other attempt at cost-cutting is by the annual rounds of airline negotiations. Traditional route deals are more prevalent


from non-domestic carriers who will discount based on volume and the client being able to shift market share. Our national carriers drive a harder bargain, preferring to discount across the network, regardless of where the corporates’ volumes lie.

Partnership approach

Jo Lloyd has seen a shift to more corporates getting fully behind their air programmes and preferred carriers so they can focus more on cost efficiency rather than just cost alone. “That way they get real benefits from those relationships, but that does require compliance,” she explains. “In previous

years buying air travel was around leverage but now it’s around making the air programme effective.” In tandem, Lloyd is seeing a far more collaborative approach from airlines. “Depending on the carrier, there is a lot more flexibility in how they’re willing to price a programme; that’s really a positive change. Before, airlines were more rigid and attached to a specific route say, London-New York, but now they’re trying to reach a blend of getting the value on their high volume routes but also the rest of their business, with more flexibility around terms and conditions.” Delta’s Clinton says the airline is in a good position in this regard because of its 

[ TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE ] Booking flights as far in advance as possible can save thousands of pounds, especially for business class fares, as these examples supplied by Business Travel Direct illustrate New York

Hong Kong


Flights booked more than 14 days before departure

BA - £2057.42 VS - £2057.42 UA - £2610.42

AF - £1875.84 VS - £2993.82 BA - £2997.82

SA - £1813.32 VS - £1813.32 BA - £2290.32

Flights booked 7 days before departure

VS - £6023.42 UA - £6496.42 BA - £6568.42

CX - £5819.42 VS - £6613.82 BA - £8376.82

VS - £4148.32 SA - £6338.32 BA - £6902.32

Source: Business Travel Direct

That some companies can afford to buy short-haul business class travel is surprising, but keeping an eye on cost is also driven by advance booking behaviour”


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BUSINESS CLASS Rosewood Grosvenor Square


joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. “If there’s enough traffic to validate a route deal then we sit around a table and offer a deal and a rate. We sit with our corporates and work with what suits them. A route deal is our classic offering,” she explains. It’s a strategy echoed by United Airlines. “We’ll give the customer what the customer wants,” says Bob Schumacher at the US airline. “We appreciate that in this market we’re not necessarily the brand leader but the discounts will vary depending on whether it’s a soggy Wednesday in winter or a sunny day in May.”

Who goes where

Just who is filling the business class cabins is a moot point. Having two separate travel policies within the same company is commonplace, with one rule for one part of the workforce – usually the engineers – and another for the execs. “Probably in more than half of our client base, even around 60-70%, we find this,” says Business Travel Direct’s Bailey. “Some companies have CEOs who set a good example, but they’re in the minority.” By industry vertical it tends to be the traditional companies with strict hierarchies and executive perks who operate two travel policies, rather than the more modernthinking companies such as media and technology companies who often operate


with a flatter management structure and a more egalitarian travel policy. United Airlines is conscious that the millennials and employees in the new industries are happy to travel in premium economy, which is the rationale behind the airline’s introduction of Premium Plus in 2018, with the cabin's seating featuring five inches more legroom than economy. Although there are no statistics to support the theory, some industry observers believe that swathes of Ultra High Net Worth individuals form a chunk of the new breed of business class travellers. These wealthy individuals – two-thirds of whom are said to be self-made – are often indistinguishable from their business counterparts and commonly tack on a leisure portion to their business trip. One in four do so. But whoever is filling airlines' business class seats, they are in greater numbers than ever before.

Modern-thinking companies such as media and technology businesses often operate with a flatter management structure and a more egalitarian travel policy”




2:33 PM

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The Business Travel Conference 2019

Navigating the future

Reserve your place at The Business Travel Conference and find out if you qualify as a hosted delegate The Business Travel Conference is returning to the Hilton London Bankside this September, bringing buyers and suppliers of business travel together for a two-day exhibition and packed conference programme. Now in its 13th year, the 2019 conference could be the first time the event takes place when the UK is no longer a part of Europe – or maybe negotiations will still be ongoing. "Europe and our ongoing relationship with it is likely to feature highly on the conference programme," says Event Director Kirsty Hicks. "It will be key to ensure that we provide a forum for buyers and suppliers to discuss their issues and navigate what could be a challenging transition period." Corporate buyers and arrangers are already signing up for complimentary visitor passes and will be able to network with around 60 leading travel suppliers in the private exhibition. Our popular ‘silent conference’ headphones will enable both visitors and exhibitors to dip in and out of the educational sessions taking places throughout

󰇶󰈤 fo󰇶 󰇩󰇻y󰇺󰈥󰈢 󰈩 󰇼 󰇶 󰈢 f “a 󰇴󰇱󰇯er󰇷 an󰈧 󰈤󰇻ph󰈥i󰇶 󰇮󰈤s󰇼e󰇷” 󰇺 di󰇷󰈝󰇻s󰇷


Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th September, 2019


London Hilton Bankside

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

an󰈧 󰇺󰈢 fin󰈧 󰈣u󰇺 󰇮f 󰈂󰈣u qu󰇧󰇰󰇯󰈆y 󰈇o󰈦 󰇧 h󰈣󰇷󰇺ed 󰇴󰇱󰇧c󰈥... the two days and the inspiring opening and closing keynote sessions, with guest speakers to be confirmed. The conference programme is compiled by the editorial team of The Business Travel Magazine and will be unveiled in the April/ May issue. It will include several subjects nominated by readers and TBTC delegates who have already signed up to attend this year's event. As a buyer, if you feel your business has made an interesting journey with your travel and meetings programme and you would like to share your experiences on stage, then please contact Andy Hoskins, Editor of The Business Travel Magazine, to discuss speaker opportunities.

Bo󰈢k 󰈜 󰇷󰇺an󰈧 Tel: 07747 697 772

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Registration open ďˆ The FREE event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings Hilton London Bankside, Southwark

For further information about attending as a delegate or exhibitor contact TBTC Advert.indd 1

1/31/19 12:05 PM



DIRECTIONS New technology and new competition have forced car hire ďŹ rms to explore new avenues, writes Rob Gill



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ar hire used to be so simple – a business traveller would simply make their way to the rental firm’s airport desk, sign a few forms and then receive the key to their vehicle, which would be waiting in a nearby parking lot. While this experience still exists across the world, the car rental sector is becoming a lot more complex in the range of services now on offer to the corporate market, with technology inevitably playing a big role. Traditional car rental still represents the bulk of their business but the likes of Avis, Hertz, Enterprise and Sixt have been quick to move into other areas of ground transport including car clubs, chauffeur-drive services and even car-sharing pools. We are also seeing them starting to work with ride-hailing firms by renting part of their “excess fleet” to ride-hailing operators – for example, Lyft works with both Hertz and Avis Budget on its Express Drive programme in the US for drivers who don’t own a car. Some rental firms are even moving away from describing themselves as car hire companies – Europcar last year renamed itself as the Europcar Mobility Group to reflect its role as a “global provider of mobility solutions”. The industry is also full of talk about offering “mobility as a service” (MaaS). Sixt, meanwhile, bills itself as the “largest integrated mobility provider” and offers

traditional car hire, leasing, chauffeur services, ride-sharing and on-demand services. And late last year it invested in Berlin start-up Chargery, a mobile charging facility for electric cars.

Flexi time

There seems to be growing demand for this more flexible approach to car hire, according to Dean Rose, Head of New Business and National Accounts at Nexus Vehicle Rental. “Clients are moving away from single-source modes of mobility and incorporating different forms of transport such as car hire, trains and ride-hailing apps like Uber to get to where they need to be,” he says. “In the UK, the demand for flexibility has been accelerated by the ongoing economic uncertainty we face over Brexit. Businesses are holding back on decisions to invest in assets and new vehicles, and many are turning to car rental as a short and mediumterm solution to their mobility needs.” This increased variety and flexibility of car hire options is also giving buyers the chance to better address some of their key priorities – such as cost, duty of care and increasing the sustainability of their travel programmes. Sez Beecher, Corporate Land Product Executive for FCM and Flight Centre Travel Group, says: “We are seeing our clients begin to take advantage of the increase in

Our policy now says that travellers cannot pick up a rental car at the airport if they have been on a flight of six hours or more” alternative methods of transport. This is largely due to the recent focus in the evergrowing chauffeur transfers sector within the corporate travel industry as service levels, technology and integration begin to catch up with the current car rental offering. “This coupled with the fact that many client travel policies are beginning to look deeper into traveller welfare means that many corporate clients are considering it safer for their employees to use transfers over selfdrive options, particularly after long or overnight flights,” adds Beecher. One UK-based buyer agrees: “Our policy now says that travellers cannot pick up a rental car at the airport if they have been on a flight of six hours or more. Instead they should take a transfer to their hotel and pick up the vehicle the following day. This process is now much easier to do as many car hire firms offer chauffeur-drive and other more flexible collection options than in the past.” Integrating these different types of services is becoming a key part of car hire firms’ 


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YOU ARE ALWAYS ON OUR MIND We keep our customers at the heart of everything we do. That’s why every time we innovate, we aim to make your experience easier and better. From our brand-new Avis app that puts you in control of choosing, picking up and dropping off your car, to investing in rental tools to make corporate booking simple and transparent - it’s all with you in mind.

To find out more, visit us on stand B6200 at the Business Travel Show 20 - 21 February 2019, Olympia London WE TRY HARDER 0 8 0 8 2 8 4 0 2 8 4 | AV I S . C O . U K / B U S I N E S S

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 strategy. Enterprise, for example, has already co-located its car club within many of its rental branches around the UK. David McNeill, Assistant Vice President of Global Corporate Sales, EMEA, at Enterprise/ National, adds: “Rental still has a vital place in the ground transport sector, particularly for organisations that are keen to provide a viable alternative to the grey fleet and ensure their employees drive modern, safe and environmentally-friendly vehicles. “We work closely with businesses and analyse journey data to determine how their employees travel and what can be done to make it more efficient and sustainable.” With the advance of technology and the ability to tap into more 'connected' data sources, car hire firms will also increasingly be able to monitor the behaviour and even the tiredness levels of drivers in the future – this sort of telematic data from vehicles can obviously help to improve duty of care for business travellers.

Sustainable solutions

Making travel programmes more sustainable and environmentally friendly has been a key goal of many organisations, with a priority of reducing their carbon emissions. While most of the focus of this sustainability drive has been on air travel, it is also an issue being tackled within ground transport as a whole. One of the major ways of doing this in the UK has been through the introduction of electric and hybrid cars, which are widely offered by the rental companies. “Corporate demand for sustainable car hire solutions is

Hybrid and electric vehicles are having a massive impact in the car hire world now, which is great, and they are easily bookable” being driven by increasing legislative measures from local and central authorities, as well as a global understanding for businesses to be more sustainable,” says James Turner, Sales Director UK at Avis Budget Group. In the UK, its fleet comprises a growing percentage of hybrid and electric vehicles and its car-share brand Zipcar has added over 300 e-Golfs to its London fleet. “Hybrid and electric vehicles are having a massive impact in the car hire world now which is great to see, and they are easily bookable and comparable to conventional fuel vehicles in our booking channels,” says Sez Beecher from FCM. “When going through the car rental RFP process we identify the most important aspect to our customers and many customers opt for electric or hybrid vehicles in order to comply with CSR policies as well as lower costs on fuel and carbon emission taxes.” Accountancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), for example, provides its employees with information on choosing the most fuelefficient and low-carbon cars as well as advice on driving “efficiently” and car-sharing options. PWC also uses sustainable vehicles within its car lease scheme in the UK in a bid to lower its carbon footprint, while hybrid 


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and electric vehicles are heavily promoted on its booking platform to ensure that “environmental issues are front of mind when our people are choosing a vehicle”.

Tech takes the lead

Technology is also allowing car rental providers to supply more detailed management information (MI) to both buyers and TMCs about their car rental usage and emissions, with increased automation also helping to speed up some of the traditional car hire processes. A good example is Hertz’s new partnership with security technology firm CLEAR to create Hertz Fast Lane. It utliises biometric identification to speed up the rental process with travellers able to use just face or fingerprint recognition at the exit gate to get on the road more quickly. Hertz says the service, introduced at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta airport in December and currently open to U.S. license holders only, can reduce the time it takes to pick up a rental vehicle by “at least 75%”. Innovation is also the name of the game for Avis, which signed a deal 18 months ago to manage Waymo’s fleet of self-driving cars. In another move, Avis has teamed up with Amazon and Google to allow customers to use voice technology to make or change their reservations. The company also has a target of connecting all of its vehicles to the internet by 2020 to allow increased data analytics. Co-operation seems to be the name of the game in the car hire sector. The major players are working with potential competitors (such as the ride-hailing companies), TMCs and technology providers. This growing trend should only benefit buyers looking for a more joined-up approach to their ground transport programmes. “Rental providers are increasingly working with TMCs to confront some of the challenges businesses face when moving their employees between locations,” sums up Dean Rose from Nexus. “A less siloed approach is required and companies should be working collaboratively to meet the needs of the modern day business traveller.” 44

Technology is allowing car rental providers to supply more detailed management information to both buyers and TMCs” Car hire may no longer be the straightforward proposition it once was, but increased flexibility and choice should help buyers to tackle key priorities such as improving duty of care and making their programmes more sustainable.

A case in point

Gloucestershire County Council is one organisation that has tackled its sustainable responsibilities head on, cutting its CO2 emissions from vehicles by around two tonnes per month since setting up a car club. The council introduced the club for staff through Enterprise Car Club in mid-2018 with a fleet of eight vehicles based at its Gloucester headquarters – the aim being to reduce the amount employees use their own cars (the grey fleet) for business journeys. So far, more than 450 of the council’s 2,000 employees have signed up to use the vehicles, which include two Nissan LEAF electric cars, three Toyota Prius hybrid cars and three Hyundai i20s. Club members can book the cars by using a mobile app. The council had already been working with Enterprise on a long-term programme which saw it using rental cars as a way of reducing business mileage and emissions, as well as to improve air quality in the county. Will Spendlove, the council’s Commissioning Officer, says: “The on-site car club is not only helping us to reduce our risk, but it also encourages our employees to use more sustainable hybrid and electric vehicles. “These are most useful for shorter business trips, which are often the ones where employees would use their own cars. We also have flexibility to add or remove vehicles based on our utilisation.”


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Living cheek by jowl with nature

Kate Humble The BBC TV presenter has ventured to some of the world’s most remote and hostile places to feed her passion for the great outdoors, writes Angela Sara West


think I was born with the travel bug,” says Kate Humble. “I was given a wheelbarrow for my third birthday and was found a mile away from home with it. I told mum we were having an adventure!” At just 19, an intrepid Humble travelled alone around Africa. “It was a seminal journey; my first time travelling solo and out of Europe. I learnt more in that year than I would ever have at university.” Her African adventure saw some scary arachnid action. “On my first trip, I came home with a sore toe which swelled up. A spider had laid eggs in it, which were on the point of hatching!” She went on to experience numerous small-screen expeditions, both in Blighty and abroad, as a presenter on BBC shows such as Holiday, Tomorrow’s World and Springwatch. “Some of my most memorable filming experiences abroad were in Siberia in the depths of winter for Living with Nomads. Some days, it was -50C, the coldest I’ve ever been. I have also filmed a very rarely seen sixgill shark from a submarine in the Cayman Islands, which is right up there with my most exciting wildlife encounters.” Numerous places stand out. “I love the Gobi desert in Mongolia because of the family I lived with there, and the bamboo forest of Kahuzi Biega National Park in the DRC, where I sat with a troop of 19 eastern lowland gorillas. I love the reefs around West Papua and Papua New Guinea. And I love Wales – it is beautiful and it is home.” Living on a working farm, Humble’s passion for animals and the big outdoors hugely influences her travel choices. “Seeing wildlife or being able to head out into the wilderness 46

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are very much my reason for travelling.” Frequently on the road for work, the latter part of last year saw her travelling prolifically, mainly in the UK, while this year will feature India, Mexico, the Arctic and Colombia. She says Mali and the Sahara made for her most memorable trips. She’s also enjoyed cycling in Cuba. “I went with my husband in the early noughties. We thought the best way to get under the skin of the island would be to travel the way the locals do – by bike. We stayed in local houses, ate with families, and cycled around for a month.”

There’s rarely anything enjoyable about being in an airport. Can someone please make the Harry Potter mode of travel possible for Muggles, too?” She had never pedalled with panniers, or any great distance, before. “At first, it was hard – Cuba is staggeringly hilly – but by the end we were covering 100 miles a day. It was a great way of seeing and experiencing the country, particularly the out-of-the-way places. The south coast was spectacular… some of the best diving I’ve ever done.” There were numerous mouth-watering moments on her tasty Spice Trail journey across the Middle East. “I loved Yemen; the buildings, the people, the food… It breaks my heart to see what is happening there now. Petra is always breathtaking, but so is

Mada’in Saleh, in Saudi Arabia, also built by the Nabateans, but rarely visited and somewhat ignored.” She describes her month living with the Afar people in Ethiopia’s hostile Danakil Depression for The Hottest Place on Earth as “Tough. Dusty. Eye-opening. Humbling. Hot!”. Meanwhile, the Wakhi people in the northeastern region of Afghanistan are “amongst the most hospitable, warm and genuine.” Her top travel tips? “Go with an open mind and don’t follow the herd.” And her big travel bugbear? “There’s rarely anything enjoyable about being in an airport. Can someone please make the Harry Potter mode of travel possible for Muggles, too?” As for airlines, “I choose flights on routing, price and time,” she says. “With all the competition airlines should offer customers safe, comfortable travel, and not all do.” For a much-needed break, Humble heads to her poacher’s cabin home in the Dordogne, France. “I speak no foreign languages well enough to say I speak a foreign language, but I do try,” she says. Humble’s a speaker at Stanfords’ Travel Writers’ Festival this February, having recently released her new book Thinking on My Feet, highlighting the benefits of walking. “Having time outside in the fresh air and being part of nature is an essential part of my day. So many people have contacted me with uplifting stories of how walking has helped them deal with depression, grief or anxiety. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can work miracles!” The best thing about travelling? “It is the best way to learn. Life is too short to sit still!”

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KATE HUMBLE Kate Humble‘s new book Thinking on my Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot in Front of Another, is out now, priced £20 from It has just been shortlisted in the Travel Memoir of the Year category at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2019, which recognise the world‘s best travel writing. For further information, visit


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A different view on business travel New hotel, new approach. Bankside Hotel has everything a business traveller wants, bedrooms & suites, the latest technology, meeting spaces‌ but most importantly it has personality. A personality that comes from its design and location on the culturally vibrant South Bank. Our neighbourhood, close to The City and Blackfriars station, is home to London’s creative scene with many local artists having made original pieces for us. Blurring the lines between work and play, public spaces are filled with handpicked furniture creating a residential atmosphere, while Art|Yard Bar & Kitchen serves up seasonal food all day in relaxed surroundings.

Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground, London SE1 9JU

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Review [ t h e lowdo w n ]

[ i n t h e a ir ]

T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER [ o n th e g r o u n d ]

[ me eti n g p lac e ]

Brexit tops the list of travel managers' concerns

British Airways upgrades World Traveller Plus

Rail passenger satisfaction at ten-year low

Amex GBT launches small meetings platform





[ t h e r oom r e po rt ] NH nhow heads to London






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Distribution and data set to dominate 2019

Brexit tops list of managers' concerns Brexit is now the biggest challenge facing travel managers, knocking cost-cutting off the top in an annual survey conducted by Business Travel Show. Trimming travel spend whilst maintaining quality has topped the poll for the last three years but the proximity and uncertainty of Brexit has seen it leap from fourth place to first, with 65% of travel managers admitting they don’t have post-Brexit plans. Concerns around travel budget was third, airline pricing was fourth and availability was fifth in the survey. Globalisation, hotel pricing, appointing a new TMC, the weakness of sterling/strength of the euro, and meeting senior management requirements completed the top ten. Buyers were also asked to predict the biggest challenges they’ll face in three years’ time, with Brexit again topping the poll. Rising costs was second, NDC third, traveller safety fourth and travel alternatives fifth.

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The biggest factors influencing business travel this year will be distribution, data and duty of care according to FCM Travel Solutions. Changes in distribution as the industry moves towards New Distribution Capability (NDC) along with hotel suppliers driving direct booking could pose a challenge for travel managers and TMCs this year, it says. Duty of care will also be high on corporate agendas due to the ongoing risk of terrorism, natural disasters and geo-political volatility. FCM warns that travel data will be more critical and TMCs will need to evolve as

aggregators of information from multiple booking sources to support clients effectively. “It will no longer be sufficient for TMCs to say that they can only track travellers if all bookings have been made via their reservations systems,” says Jo Greenfield, UK General Manager, FCM Travel Solutions. “We need to be able to pull in data and bookings from other channels, even if the client has booked externally, so that we can truly support corporates with their duty of care obligations”. The TMC says corporates will continue to focus on cost and ROI in 2019.

Machine learning boosts compliance, says bcd report Machine learning, blockchain and chatbots can provide corporate travel managers powerful communication tools for driving travel programme compliance, according to an Inform series report published by BCD Travel. Called Communications, Emerging technology and Travel Management, the report explores how emerging technologies can utilise automated and targeted messages to travellers, engaging them at exactly the right moment to encourage compliance with corporate travel policies.

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IN BRIEF Cresta partnership

Cresta Business has partnered with online event technology platform Asemblr. The deal allows Cresta to extend its specialist corporate travel solution to include booking meetings, events and incentives globally.

Travel risk deal

Travel assistance specialists Collinson has teamed up with Drum Cussac, a global risk and security consultancy. The two organisations will launch a 24/7, 365-days-ayear integrated travel risk management solution to help organisations fulfil their duty of care obligations.


Blue Cube tackles traveller wellbeing BLUe Cube has introduced a complimentary wellbeing package for its top 100 frequent travellers. Perks of the new programme include VIP meet and greet services at London Heathrow and health food supplements to help mitigate the impact of jetlag. Blue Cube has appointed Diamond Air International to provide agents to meet clients as they disembark flights and speed them through customs and security. Agents will also assist with luggage and guide them to their waiting taxi or chauffeur service. A ‘Travel Without Fatigue’ wallet containing a range of vitamin, mineral and food supplements will be supplied by travel wellbeing specialist 15th Degree. The TMC will analyse feedback on the initial scheme before introducing a wider range of wellness packages for its clients in the year ahead.

Radius adds two

Radius Travel is welcoming two new partners into its global agency network: the UK’s Travel and Transport Statesman and Switzerland’s Kuoni Business Travel.

Travelport takeover

Travelport Worldwide Limited has announced an agreement that would see it acquired by two private equity funds in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.4billion. Travelport signed the deal with affiliates of Siris Capital Group, LLC and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp.

maiden advantage

The Advantage Travel Partnership has partnered with Maiden Voyage to offer its members training and expertise in supporting and safeguarding female and LGBTQ travellers.

one third oF bUyers Will see an increase in corporate traVel bUdgets in 2019 according to neW research. a bts report sUggests bUyers Will haVe More trips to Manage, althoUgh there Was a drop in the nUMber oF bUyers reporting groWing costs

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

The travel industry is like any social network. To progress and have success, you need to be authentically well connected. This doesn’t just mean you’ve exchanged emails or business cards. Meaningful business relationships have a human warmth and relatability. Buyers tell us they prefer to establish a rapport and get to know the company and people before they consider being open to buying. This is key for suppliers to understand and many will concur that a sale rarely occurs during the first contact. At industry events we see suppliers go for the hard sell early on in their relationship. This almost always has the effect of repelling the very opportunities they are trying to close in on. When a business relationship is embryonic, buyers tend to be more receptive to an approach demonstrating trustworthiness, commitment and sharing information. These qualities show the buyer that a partner would be good to work with and sellers who do this tend to find the buyers come to them. Building your network by initially establishing a rapport and discussing shared challenges is so natural and fun that it doesn’t even feel like work.


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BA upgrades premium economy BRITISH Airways is rolling out enhancements to its World Traveller Plus premium economy product as part of its wider £6.5billion investment programme. Changes will be introduced over the coming months and include new furnishings, enhanced service and, from February 1, an improved dining experience. It will feature a third main meal option and a more substantial hot second meal later in the flight. The airline will also be adding amenity kits, quilts and pillows. “This latest tranche of our £6.5billion investment is set to improve World Traveller Plus and customers will see a real change to the cabin,” says Carolina Martinoli, Director of Brand and Customer Experience.

THE cost of flights within the UK and Europe are expected to rise by 2% in the year ahead but could drop to some global destinations, according to a new report from American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). GBT’s Air Monitor 2019 forecasts a 2% rise across both economy and business class cabins, as well as similar rises in both cabins for fares to Asian and North American destinations. Economy fares to Central and South America are set to fall 1% while business class fares show no change. Business

FLYBE TO BE BOUGHT OUT BY VIRGIN-LED CONSORTIUM FLYBE is to be acquired by Connect Airways, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital. The three organisations have committed a £20million bridge loan to support Flybe until completion of the acquisition. Up to £80million of funding will be provided after the deal goes through. Flybe will continue operating across the UK and Ireland and is likely to be rebranded under the Virgin name.

[ TAKING OFF ] >> FINNAIR will increase capacity on its schedule between London Heathrow and Helsinki this summer by over 20% with the addition of another daily departure and a change of aircraft on some services >> NORWEGIAN will launch new flights from London Gatwick to Rio de Janeiro, Miami and San Francisco as part of its summer 2019 schedule >> ROYAL BRUNEI AIRLINES has announced a non-stop flight between Brunei and Brisbane. The route will open up the Australia market for UK travellers flying the daily non-stop service from Heathrow to Brunei >> ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES is now operating flights from Machester, its second UK destinations, with a four-times-a-week service to Addis Ababa.


class fares to the Middle East, meanwhile, will drop 1% and remain unchanged in economy. Demand for flights are outpacing capacity, says the report, while airlines are renewing aircraft to improve efficiency rather than to expand volume. As a result, it continues, flights from the UK and Europe are set to generally increase across the board. GBT examined five years’ worth of flight transaction data and factored in variables such as oil prices, economic projections and airline strategies.


Cost to easyJet of the Gatwick Airport drone incident

EasyJet suffered a £10million cost impact because of the drones incident at Gatwick Airport in December. The disruption affected around 82,000 customers and led to over 400 flights being cancelled. The figure was revealed in its Q4 2018 financial report.


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G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes

Flybmi route

Chief Executive, GTMC

A daily service between Leeds Bradford Airport and Munich has been announced by flybmi. The service will commence on April 8, with one-way fares available to book online from £99. Passengers will be able to connect at Munich with services from airline partner Lufthansa.

BA resumes Pakistan

British Airways will become the first Western carrier to restart flights to Pakistan after a 10-year hiatus. It will fly from London Heathrow to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, from June 2, with tickets now on sale. Pakistan’s PIA is the only airline currently operating direct flights from Pakistan to Britain.

New regional service

Flybe franchise partner Eastern Airways will introduce a double-daily service between London City and Newcastle airports. The new business-focused flights have two morning departures and two evening departures Monday to Saturday and a single service on Sundays.

Air Transat business

Air Transat is offering a programme of fares for business travellers on its routes between the UK and Canada. They are available on daily flights from Gatwick to Toronto, and on direct and connecting services from Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton and Quebec City.


Suite success for Malaysia Airlines MALAYSIA Airlines has rebranded its First Class cabin to Business Suites as it targets further growth in corporate business. The Business Suites are now available on all the airline’s A380-800 and A350-900 aircraft, including services between London and Kuala Lumpur. It says the conversion is a response “to the high traffic of business travellers,” with the product offering “an enhanced business class service at an attractive price point”. On A380s, Business Suites are located on the main deck in a 1-2-1 configuration. Seats convert to fully flat beds measuring 87 inches long and 40 inches wide. A smaller seat features on A350-900s – at 83 inches long and 23 inches wide – but the IFE screen is marginally larger at 24 inches, compared to 23-inch screens on the A380.

So the New Year arrives and with it new aspirations for the aviation sector. Early 2019 should see government clarify the UK’s position around Brexit. Regardless of what the next three months have in store concerning the wider debate, it's critical that the post-Brexit aviation strategy is solid. The big issue grabbing our attention at the moment is the government’s grandlytitled Green Paper ‘Aviation 2050 – the future of UK aviation’, which is inviting responses until April 11. It’s a pretty ambitious document, which seeks to shape a globally connected Britain in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. Everything is covered, from the development of a ‘Passenger Charter’ setting out the rights of travellers, to managing border delays, boosting economic development of the regions and ensuring we have a workforce that is able to meet the industry’s various challenges. The GTMC is working hard to address the issues most important to corporate travellers and we are keen to include as many viewpoints as possible from members. It is work like this that gives us a great opportunity to shape future policy and legislation.


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Marriott unites loyalty under ‘Bonvoy’ name MARRIOTT Hotels has unveiled Marriott Bonvoy, its new loyalty programme that unifies its current schemes under one name. The new programme brings together Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guests, and launches on February 13. Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy will offers experiential events for members, taking advantage of Marriott’s marketing partnerships with brands including FIA Formula One, FC Bayern Munich and the NCAA. Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite will replace Platinum Premier Elite for members who surpass 75 nights and Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite will replace Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador.

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) will open more than 25 Kimpton hotels in 20 new global destinations including Edinburgh, Mexico City, Paris, Barcelona and Shanghai over the next three to five years. Since IHG acquired Kimpton in 2015, the group has been a driving force behind the brand’s growth. New openings include Kimpton Da An Hotel in Taipei and Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel in Edinburgh, both opening this spring. “With IHG’s scale and network of owner relationships, we’ve

AIRBNB'S BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ARE GETTING ADVENTUROUS AIRBNB has identified Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa as its fastest-growing destinations for business users of its sharing economy accommodation. London, Paris, New York and Sydney remain among its top-selling cities for business travellers. It also notes that business travellers book, on average, 20 days in advance. When factoring in leisure travellers, the average trip is booked 35 days ahead.

[ OPEN FOR BUSINESS ] >> The latest UK Hotel Market Tracker produced by HVS, ALIX PARTNERS and STR has found that average room rates in Q4 of last year rose by 5% in London’s hotels, boosting RevPAR by 10% >> DOMINVS GROUP has acquired Arbor City Hotel in Central London. The group will partner with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand the property as a Hampton by Hilton. The hotel currently comprises 115 rooms and suites. However, the group is exploring the possibility of adding more than 150 rooms >> HILTON has opened the Lincoln Plaza London, the newest addition to its Curio Collection portfolio of more than 60 upscale and unique hotels. The new hotel is located in Canary Wharf.


unlocked the global growth of Kimpton Hotels & Resorts,” says Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, Americas, IHG. “We have flagship hotels now open in London and Amsterdam, a series of fantastic hotels slated to open this year – including our first in Asia – and a growing pipeline of projects in key markets around the world,” adds Maalouf. Together with Hotel Indigo, IHG’s boutique portfolio totals almost 170 hotels globally, with almost 120 more hotels in the development pipeline.


Buyers using more serviced apartments in 2018

Almost one third of corporate travel buyers increased their use of serviced apartment suppliers for longstay bookings in 2018, according to a survey carried out by the Business Travel Show. The figure marks a 20% leap on the numbers recorded in 2017.


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IN BRIEF Adagio expansion

Aparthotels Adagio has announced the opening and signing of several properties in London, Brussels, Stuttgart, Casablanca, Glasgow and Bucharest, strengthening its presence internationally.

100 not out

IHG has opened its 100th Hotel Indigo property. The Berlin East Side Gallery has 118 rooms and marks a milestone for the global boutique brand. Owner IHG is promising to double the size of the portfolio within five years.


Hampton by Hilton at Edinburgh Airport EDINBURGH'S first Hampton by Hilton property is now open on the doorstep of the city's airport terminal. The hotel joins an existing 28 Hampton by Hilton properties in the UK. The property is located within walking distance of the airport terminal. "Edinburgh International Airport serves more than 12.4 million passengers every year and we are delighted to be opening the hotel at the doorstep of the airport terminal," says Craig Webster, General Manager of the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh Airport. The six-storey property features 240 bedrooms, an Edinburgh Fringe Festival-themed lobby, state-of-the-art fitness centre, business hub and 24-hour food service. Edinburgh Airport has seen an 11% passenger increase year on year.

Staycity in Paddington

A 620-room hotel and aparthotel complex is due to open in London’s Paddington. The tenants of the scheme will be Premier Inn and Staycity Group and it is expected to open by 2021.

Marriott Inverness

Work has started on a multimillion pound Courtyard by Marriot property in Inverness. The 130-room hotel will be located within Inverness Airport Business Park. The property will offer convenient airport access and feature fitness and meetings facilities along with a bar and bistro.

SilverDoor expansion SilverDoor Apartments has opened its US headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The opening follows the company's growing international expansion, which has driven requests from customers to have local support.

LONDON HIPSTERS GET A CHANCE TO SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING NHOW THE NH Hotel Group will open its first nhow property in London – and its second in the UK – this summer. Located between the City, Islington and Shoreditch, the 190-room property is part of the NH Group’s design and lifestyle brand and will open under the theme ‘London Reloaded’, featuring a Big Ben rocket sculpture, pixelated carpets and an art installation.

The hotel will feature a bar, gym, networking spaces, meeting rooms and The Bell – a restaurant that developers say will be an avantgarde version of a traditional British pub. "Visitors will find themselves immersed in a world of art and design that tells a story and engages the senses; a dynamic melting pot created to surprise and inspire the guests,” says architect James Soane.

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch Executive Director, ACTE

Rarely do we take time to reflect but, this March, I’ll leave ACTE, so I find myself thinking what’s changed in the six years since I became executive director. Not long ago, success in business travel was measured in financial savings. Now it’s about traveller satisfaction and productivity. There was a time when companies had one preferred car service and one or two preferred hotels. Today, with myriad ground transport options and boutique hotels within preferred hotel chains, travel buyers are making decisions better suited to themselves and their employers. Some things, of course, are evergreen – like concern about duty of care. Another – the understanding that uncertainty reigns. That seems like a bad thing, but without uncertainty, there is little innovation. I’ve learned so much in travelling the world, sitting with buyers and suppliers and hearing your issues and concerns. At ACTE, we try to be a conduit for ideas, advocacy, sharing and plugging away. I know that will continue after I’m gone. I’ll still be in business travel and look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you for your support over the years.


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[ On track ] >> Crosscountry trains is now providing free wifi for all passengers travelling on its UK network. So far 92 trains have been fitted with wifi systems following a year-long project to implement it >> Eurostar will add a third daily service from London St Pancras to Rotterdam and Amsterdam this summer "in direct response to customer demand". The new service, for which tickets are now on sale, will commence on June 11 with fares starting from ÂŁ35 one way.



Rail user satisfaction sinks again Passenger satisfaction with rail services has fallen to a ten-year low in findings from the latest National Rail Passenger Survey. Overall satisfaction was 79%, the lowest level since 2008. Poor punctuality, timetable chaos last summer and a series of strikes appear to be to blame for deteriorating satisfaction. Operators with the lowest ratings were Great Northern (68%) and Northern (72%).

South Western, TransPennine and Greater Anglia were also in the bottom five, each scoring 73%, with Southern ranked sixth-worst with a 74% satisfaction score.

Topping the rankings was Heathrow Express on 96%, followed by Grand Central (94%), Chiltern Railways (92%), Merseyrail (90%) and Virgin Trains (90%).

Going places?


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M e e t i n g

p l a c e

Connaught Rooms makeover

American Express GBT launches small Meetings Platform American Express Meetings & Events, a division of Amex GBT, has introduced a meetings and events management platform providing a single interface for sourcing small, simple and recurring meetings. The platform, called Meetings Express, sources relevant local content from Groupize in North America, in the UK and Nordics, Bizmeeting in France, meetago in Germany and iVvy in Australia. Each provider has been vetted to ensure they combine the right hotels, venues and meetings spaces. The M&E team aims to help arrangers align small and simple meetings strategies with existing programmes. Meetings Express connects to AMEX M&E’s central data platform, Meetings Insights, and integrates with AMEX M&E’s reporting and management tools.

De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms has unveiled the results of a £700,000 refurbishment of its meetings and events spaces. The venue, located in London's Covent Garden, underwent changes to bring its spaces in line with De Vere's Smart Space Concept. The meeting rooms – 13 of which were refurbished as part of the project – are now equipped with the latest AV technology, free super-fast wifi and there is also an on-site Burr & Co coffee shop. Each of the meeting rooms can accommodate events of various sizes from 12 to 80 delegates. The refurbished Grand Hall can accommodate up to 750 delegates for large events with its grand chandeliers, staging and AV technology.

You could be if you work on the train. Free on-board WiFi*

Connect to more

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PROMOTED AT: ATPI Group TO: Director of UK Sales & Operations FROM: Head of UK Operations & Events

JOINS: Oakwood AS: Managing Director EMEA FROM: Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

JOINS: Gett UK AS: VP of Business Solutions FROM: eBay

ATPI Group's Katie Skitterall, a former Rising Star winner at this magazine's People Awards, continues her rise within the business having joined the TMC back in 2001.

Hospitality veteran Ken Moore will lead Oakwood’s efforts to scale up its presence across EMEA using his experience of strategic planning and property acquisition.

E-commerce expert Lina Margolin has been tasked with building partnerships and adding top-tier users in her new role at the growing taxi hailing company.




APRIL 30 - MAY 1

ITM CONFERENCE Hilton Metropole, Brighton MAY 14-15

PROCURECON TRAVEL Henderson, Las Vegas MAY 17-20


TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London MAY 24


TBTM GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, Sussex

JOINS: Maritim Hotels AS: Account Manager, C&IT FROM: Sun Resorts

JOINS: Evolvi Rail Systems AS: Managing Director FROM: Capita PLC

PROMOTED AT: Sabre Corporation TO: Managing Director UK, Irl & Benelux FROM: Managing Director South Africa

Rebecca Creasey has returned to Maritim Hotels where she previously spent six years as account manager. She will be responsible for growing MICE business in the UK and Ireland.

Kirstie van Oerle switches from Evolvi’s owner Capita as the rail booking site looks to develop its relationships with TMCs. She has held senior roles at a number of tech businesses.

Richard Addey has made the move from South Africa to head up Sabre’s UK operations. With extensive knowledge of travel agencies, he will oversee sales strategy and key accounts.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Darren McCormick has been appointed as Corporate Account Manager at Oman Air, based in Manchester >> Astrid Masle-Boer has become Director of Relationship Management, EMEA at WEX Corporate Payments >> Stefan Ropers has been appointed to lead Strategic Growth Businesses at Amadeus >> Maria Baty (Managing Director, Altour UK), John O’Sullivan (Managing Director UK & Europe, Key Travel) and Steve Barrass (Chief Executive, TAG) have joined the GTMC’s Executive Board >> Alexandra Brunner has joined Native as its new Chief Operating Officer >> Greeley Koch will relinquish his role as ACTE Executive Director in March






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Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like


St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW +44 (0) 207 222 7888

Take a virtual show round visit

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Introduction / Travel tech

today's travel industry is driven forward by cutting-edge technology. Find out more about the latest functionality and trends –- from booking tools to bots -- in our guide to

travel tech Introduction, 62-64 / Booking tools, 66-68 TMCs & tech, 70-72 / Five Reasons, 74 Distribution, 76-77 / Speaking Out, 78 / Data, 79

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Travel tech / Introduction

sPeed merchants

With travel technology evolving so rapidly, TMCs and suppliers are scrambling to lead the way – or even keep up – says Gillian Upton, who rounds-up the big issues


o one doubts the massive dependence that travel management companies and their corporate clients have on technology, but their needs differ greatly. Automation has already made TMCs more efficient and cost effective in both back office and front office processes, enabling them to focus on offline. But the huge and constant capital investment needed to keep abreast of technological change has forced some to consolidate, merge, acquire or exit the game altogether. Corporates, meanwhile, have to juggle the needs of those managing their travel programmes and of the business travellers themselves. 62

“Managers want control and compliance, and travellers want ease and choice. Sometimes it’s hard to have a travel management system that’s one fit for all,” says Katie Skitterall, Director of Sales ad Operations UK at travel management company ATPI. “It’s important that businesses have an adequate technology management roadmap in place and ensure it benefits everyone in the organisation.” Harnessing technology is part of the DNA of any good TMC today and many are ahead of the curve but this has split the TMC market into those that both develop and integrate/white label third-party tools, ie. the Big Three – American Express GBT, BCD and CWT – and those smaller TMCs who rely

on third-party providers almost exclusively. Mid-market TMCs with venture capitalists’ backing can also compete with the big boys; others work with third-party providers. “The lower you go down the food chain the less likely that in-house development will take place,” says Tom Stone, partner with Nina & Pinta. Any tender for a TMC will ask what technological armoury they can muster – an intuitive booking tool, mobile apps and a data management tool are the basics. But corporates also want travel and expense management integration, a robust duty of care platform, interactive business intelligence reporting (as opposed to static reporting), rate auditing tools and


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Introduction / Travel tech

benchmarking software. And you can add chatbots, artificial intelligence and blockchain to the list, as these buzzword topics increasingly gain traction. “With AI, travellers can benefit from personalisation just like features in their everyday life such as Netflix or YouTube recommendations,” says ATPI’s Skitterall. “Business travel technology needs to be able to make clever recommendations to travellers on the go and include a great user interface to make the personal experience smooth, streamlined and concise.” Innovation in these areas include FCM’s much-talked-about AI-enabled chatbot SAM, while Business Travel Direct’s SMARTInsight predictive tool answers the ‘what if…’

questions. If a client wants to change the business class threshold from six to eight hours, for example, the tool will come up with how much the client will save.

Horses for courses

Of course, travel technology needs differ hugely by customer type. A multinational corporate would have an online booking tool and a relationship with a third-party provider such as Concur, whereas an SME might hook up with a TMC to provide the booking engine. Corporate Traveller, for example, is a TMC predominantly serving companies with small to medium travel spend requirements, but nevertheless offers a comprehensive

suite of tools via its YOUR.CT platform. “No one size fits all,” says Ace Travel Management CEO Sarah Wilson. “One may want tracking to see all their travellers in one place and mitigate risk while, for others, global tie-ups and merged MI are required.” ACE buys third-party technology because “We’re not experts and it’s changing so quickly so it enables us to be nimble,” says Wilson. She’s waiting patiently on the launch of a mobile app that will allow travellers to check in on any airline. “I believe it’s coming,” she adds, hopefully. CWT’s Chief Data Scientist Dr Eric Tyree explains that they stay ahead of the curve by funding start-ups as, “it’s better, faster and easier to go to them.


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Travel tech / Introduction

“We guide them and help them get to market. It’s a big TMC thing to do and it’s a well-trodden path. The key is not to stop peddling, as there’s no resting on your laurels.” Regardless of size and every corporate wants to provide the best possible travel experience for their travellers. “It’s all about moving to a consumerised experience,” says GTMC Chief Executive Adrian Parkes. And that means that there is one essential provision for 2019: content. “With NDC, GDS surcharging and airlines removing content from the GDS, it’s imperative that a TMC offers full content,” says Andrew Burroughes, Product and Implementation Director at Business Travel Direct.

Out in the open

Content is so fragmented that it is a challenge; TMCs capture data from multiple sources via APIs in order to achieve it. The APIs allow TMCs to aggregate omni-channel content, create products and partnerships, and provide tools and services to support what is otherwise an out-of-policy booking. “We’re trying to make our technology as much open source and connectable with other technologies as new disruptors come in,” explains Burroughes. The fact that travellers are using channels outside their company’s mandated channels to book travel means that TMCs must try and replicate the leisure booking experience as much as possible to improve compliance.

The cost of innovation is coming down in terms of computing power so this will only accelerate over time” 64

Apps can offer many of these lures, such as keeping users abreast of gate changes, flight delays and the like and in so doing, helping them run their business lives just as seamlessly as their personal lives. The buzzword is to reduce trip friction and enable self-service across multiple devices. According to a joint GBTA and Concur report, travellers want three things: personalised booking, pre-trip approvals/ travel personalisation and intelligent expense reports. Are TMCs delivering what their clients want? According to Carol Neil, Global Travel Manager at Fidelity International, some are. “A good TMC should be able to support you with the right data that’s global and clean; provide an online booking tool that’s seamless and global; and provide apps to enhance the user experience. “Outside that, I need a TMC to come up with a solution for the NDC piece, to join it all up – and none are doing that at the moment,” she says. A workable solution to NDC remains challenging. TMCs are price checking all the time but often clients prefer to pay the extra and stay within a TMCs workflow rather than risk booking through an NDC portal in case something goes wrong (see pages 76-77 for more on NDC). Progress is being made and IATA is already pushing ahead beyond NDC with One Order which will eradicate the PNR in the long term. “The pace of change is very high,” says Ian Davies, Head of Suppler Management EMEA at Concur. “The cost of innovation is coming down in terms of computing power so this will only accelerate over time.” Concur’s report looking to travel in 2030 reads like science fiction but it’s all perfectly feasible. GTMC’s Parkes predicts three big areas of technological advancement in 2019: the service capabilities of APIs; the ability of any API to handle industrial-size scale; and the development of the GDSs within NDC. It's unlikely that technology will bring an end to the uncertainty of Brexit, however, but watch this space!


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Travel tech / Booking tools

TOOLS of the trade

Booking travel should be smooth, swift and easy. So how are suppliers incorporating new content and functionality? Catherine Chetwynd investigates


ith growing use of AI and chatbots, increased booking sources and the much-vaunted advent of NDC, booking tools are having to become ever more flexible and versatile, while still trying to keep travellers within travel policy. Part of this goal includes continuing to emulate the ‘Amazon experience’, so travellers can research, book and change their itinerary with ease. This includes taxis, arguably the last bastion of unmanaged travel and a major expense – so much so that, according to research KDS undertook at last year’s GBTA conference in Berlin, only a third (33%) of respondents got sufficient insight into taxi costs in their booking tool. To that end, KDS has partnered with ground handling aggregator Mozio, bringing to book content for more than 300 cities. 66

In addition, integration of Route Happy adds ancillaries information for airlines worldwide, making onboard wifi, preferred seat and meal bookable with KDS’s door-todoor service, which allows travellers to search a full itinerary, from departure point to arrival doorstep. Synchronisation with expense management tools (not just KDS) completes the picture.

OK computer

Click Travel, meanwhile, is working on AI and voice technology, and 5% of customer enquiries in November 2018 were answered by AI rather than an agent. “It is embedded into the tool and does not feel as though you are being answered by a robot,” insists product engineer Robin Smith. “People are happy they are getting the information they want more quickly. It is going to be very important over the next few years.”

Also aiming for a consumer shopping experience is SAP Concur, which has included the confetti of branded fares that embraces every requirement from hand baggage-only to two bags checked in. As NDC evolves, this will extend to lounge passes and more. “This is interesting because we will be able to have conversations with companies who want to cluster employees, from infrequent travellers where lowest logical fare would

AI is embedded into the tool and it does not feel as though you are being answered by a robot. People are happy they are getting information quickly”

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Booking tools / Travel tech

be more appropriate, to VIP travellers, who are revenue generating, where organisations want to have the right value of service provided,” says Senior Alliance Manager for EMEA, Darren Foster. “If NDC does deliver on its promises, we will be able to do that, although it will take some work.” Deconstructing technology will follow, removing the need for users to log on and spend time searching. Instead, the booking tool, search engine and travel policy engine can be wrapped around the way the traveller works, interacting with emails between travellers or traveller and travel manager to learn date, time and location, and “leaving the traveller to do nothing but travel – that’s our vision”, says Foster. Last year, Concur launched a travel bot which does that and it sees bots as the way forward, given that 75% of workers will be using digital assistants in 2019.

Also, the recent extension of TripLink direct to British Airways and American Airlines (Lufthansa follows this year) takes the travel policy engine direct to partners, ensures that travellers pay the right corporate fare when booking direct and brings the information back into the booking tool, providing MI and duty of care. Whether TMCs develop booking tools in house or go for a tried-and-tested third party depends on size and financial clout. “The levels of security, uptime and globalisation needed for strong travel technology requires the TMC to have a certain critical mass,” says Global Innovation Director at Reed & Mackay, Antoine Boatwright.

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Travel tech / Booking tools

“Developing technology inhouse means we have the flexibility to integrate systems and roll out functionality in anticipation of client need. In addition, the turnaround is more agile and we can develop to unique requirements,” he says. Conversely, “The complexity in integrating booking tools with travel industry technology, especially as suppliers are creating new business models, is a nightmare. That is why there are fewer than six OBTs on the market that can compete globally,” says VP of Product for KDS, Bertrand Blais. “It is important to outsource and to be able to integrate third parties into booking tools; and with NDC, there is greater complexity still.”

Small is beautiful

Mobile apps progress apace and providers are perfecting the art of replicating desktop functionality through a responsive site but with more tailored information. This is particularly important in areas such as Asia-Pacific, where most business travellers use only a mobile, but in the western 68

world, desktop use is still prevalent and those in finance and HR want access to travellers’ booking information, as well as travel arrangers. Personalisation is in increasing demand and ties into consumerisation. KDS’s doorto-door service makes every part of the journey personalised, including time taken from home or office to the airport. In addition, “An effortless trip also requires that cancellations are immediately met with rescheduled options, refunds are automatically submitted and any impact on productivity is anticipated and resolved with little or no need for traveller intervention,” says Reed & Mackay’s Boatwright. However, although the simple processes inherent in consumer models mean users do not have to fight with copious constructs to purchase one product, it can be in direct conflict with corporate requirements such as policy compliance, business intelligence and project billing, and this can stand in the way of the much-desired seamlessness.

Making it easy

Event organisation company Imagination deployed Reed & Mackay’s self-booking tool for domestic and European bookings in January 2018. “We have seen an adoption rate of 75%-85%,” says Head of Logistics and travel, Nicola Mahon. “The system consolidates all bookings on one platform, irrespective of whether they were made on or offline, which has been incredibly useful for traveller tracking and duty of care responsibilities.” Before this, travellers booked via an offline team, who generated monthly MI updates. “One of the advantages of R&M Book is how user-friendly it is and full integration with other proprietary travel software means you’re always looking at the most up-to-date information,” adds Mahon. Self-booking tools continue to evolve, including their capacity for providing a smooth, consumer grade experience, while juggling the complexities of corporate travel. And artificial intelligence and chatbots will only enhance the services they provide, simultaneously keeping an eye on travel policy compliance and gathering in errant bookings.

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Travel tech / TMCs

TRAVEL into the future

Catherine Chetwynd discovers how TMCs are utilising new technology to provide customers with better, smarter services


eading edge technology is now at the heart of a TMC’s operation. It makes service delivery more efficient, allows them to be more creative and flexible, and provide simpler processes that mirror consumer trends – something clients today take for granted. Technology facilitates communication, whether that is via mobile, web or VOIP, according to travellers’ and travel managers’ preferences; it ensures travellers can change their itinerary while on the move and lets travel providers learn more about clients in order to personalise their services. “In the past it was all about collecting data, but now people are thinking about what they can do with tech; we want to translate that into action,” says FCM Chief Technology Officer Michel Rouse. This requires platforms that can automate the processing of data, analyse it, draw out trends and present the results in a way that is meaningful and easy to read. “Good data scientists are crucial,” he says. Innovation is allowing TMCs to compare corporate spend on a particular route or in a certain hotel to the market average, pulling in data from a number of entities such as mid70

office and back-office systems, GDS, OTAs, payment and expense management providers, and traveller tracking systems. Modern tech has also moved data use away from just giving a historical view. If someone normally travels to Los Angeles in February, a TMC can see they would benefit from booking six weeks before departure, instead of eight weeks, because fares drop at that point. “That is where we increase value, using data predictively rather than historically,” says Global Product Director of Advantage Travel Partnership, Neil Amorgie. CWT also uses predictive algorithms to discern what a traveller has done, is doing and the likelihood of its occurring again. AI data visualisation tool CWT AnswerIQ lets

In the past it was all about collecting data, but now people are thinking about what they can do with tech; we want to translate that into action”

users interrogate the TMC’s travel data in a similar way to shopping online and it learns over time, making suggestions to give clients faster answers. This leads to greater personalisation. “We believe we can drive more intelligent search results, based on what you’re doing, have done in the past, and what your colleagues are doing,” says VP, chief data scientist Dr Eric Tyree. It allows CWT to present options for a flight based on the passenger’s loyalty, corporate policy and preferences. Data also highlights traveller behaviour. “We are collecting open booking data; we pull it from our own systems but more and more travellers are booking outside travel programmes and we are able to bring that into managed travel programmes and report on it, and that covers duty of care,” says BTD Product and Implementation Director, Andrew Burroughes. Similarly, ATPI Analytics provides measurable, real-time data in a single platform, allowing clients to see what they want, when they want in one place. Technology is also helping harness information about the bugbear of many travel managers – ancillaries. Since the


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TMCs / Travel tech

launch of low-cost carriers, who refined the art of charging for everything beyond the aircraft seat, and the realisation by legacy carriers that they could only compete – especially on short-haul routes – if they did the same, ancillaries have been a common but unwelcome part of corporate life. Now hotels are following suit.

Making extras add up

Wifi, speedy boarding, inflight meals, additional bags, hotel breakfast, parking… the list is long and varied and if there were any doubt as to the value of these niggly intruders into the cost of travel, airline ancillary revenue alone is forecast to hit $93billion in 2018, according to a report by IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler. Rouse adds ground transport to that equation. “One travel manager was saying that someone can purchase a £75 flight but will tack on a £50 transfer at each end of the journey and on a return trip. That is £200 on transfers and £75 on air,” he says. “We are able to feed multiple sources of data into our reporting and when people book outside the travel programme, we can feed all that back

in to give a more complete picture to the travel manager of what the spend is on and outside their programme.” It is increasingly common for TMCs to be able to gather up this off-channel spend and bring it to book. And NDC just adds to the problem. “NDC presents airlines with the opportunity to break out ancillaries and present them to the consumer, who can pick and choose what they want,” says Head of Innovation for Advantage Travel Partnership, Fraser Nicol. “But unless agents have developed systems to gather that information, I don’t think many will be able to serve it up in any detail; that will take off at the back end of next year.” However, NDC might also lead to discrimination, with two people on the same flight travelling at different fares. 


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Travel tech / TMCs

This level of personalisation chimes with the consumerisation of business travel. It may not yet have reached the stellar levels provided by Amazon but TMCs’ technology combined with that of suppliers ensures traveller can feel recognised as an individual. Traditionally, OBTs were functional while retail tools put user experience first, which made travellers less willing to use the corporate option. Now, however, corporate technology is changing the way it looks and feels, and in addition, “We have brought in some of the suppliers that people use outside work, such as,” says Burroughes. “Keeping track of the numerous new leisure providers is difficult. We support open booking, which allows people to book outside the traditional TMC environment and means we can pull data back in,” he says. Zeno by ATPI is another personalised tool. “It was developed to look like a consumer site to engage travellers,” says Group Head of E-commerce, Jenny Thornton. “It provides itinerary recommendations and uses AI to enhance the booking experience by recalling preferences such as favourite departure airport, hotels and even streamlines loyalty programmes.”


Bright young things

Newcomers are only viewed as disruptors if they are doing something you are not, and on that basis TMCs are now partnering with start-ups to benefit from their free thinking and creativity. FCM has integrated AI chatbot Claire from booking platform 30 Seconds to Fly into its chatbot SAM, so that travellers can chat and book flights. FCM is also running pilots in a number of markets. “Rather than develop a large-scale programme to look at all the ways we interact with travellers in a vacuum, we are attempting different approaches in a number of markets; like gamification to drive behaviour and multi-channel approval flows,” says Rouse. “We are testing what we think will be popular in those markets and we are backing up those tests with research.” Advantage has partnered with language app Whym, which connects members’ clients with a human interpreter in seconds; and Win Hotel Hub pulls together 1.5 million hotels, allowing members to offer clients the best rates with attendant reporting. BTD claims to have been first to market in Europe with hotel benchmarking provider TRIPBAM, which analyses hotel bookings in the TMC’s system, and if any of the rates for those bookings decrease before travel it automatically rebooks. The tool has been widely deployed by corporates and some TMCs have mimicked the concept with their own technology. TRIPBAM claims to achieve savings of 32.5% on average and has recently introduced Strategic Shift Share (S3) to help travel managers identify opportunities to move share to its preferred hotels. BTD also uses automated

TMCs are now partnering with start-ups to benefit from their free thinking, innovation and creativity” rail delay repay system RAILGUARD. Meanwhile, CWT works with accelerator Plug and Play in Silicon Valley, which connects organisations to the world’s start-ups. However, all this activity raises a major problem for TMCs: how to integrate modern technology into legacy systems, a headache that would once have been fixed with Band Aid and prayers. No longer, however, and this is partly thanks to the increasingly widespread use of open technology such as APIs, which make businesses less reliant on GDS, allowing them to build their own platform and choose with whom they plug and play. Legacy tech providers are also girding up for the 2020s. “We are working with Amadeus to make a more open platform. GDS used to be about locking people into their system and they are now looking at being more open and allowing you to integrate, giving access to their technology and content,” says Rouse. BTD’s in-house development team designs proprietary technology, providing easier integration with modern systems through an open-sourced booking system; and ATPI’s TravelHub dashboard is built with an open API platform, too. The final word goes to Advantage’s Nicol: “The fourth industrial revolution is digital and APIs are at the heart of that; it is an API economy and anyone not working with an open platform could be left behind.”


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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. Here’s to working smarter. To travelling the world. Effortlessly.

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Travel tech / Five reasons


AUTOMATE EXPENSES Catherine Chetwynd identifies the gains to be made by automating your business travel expenses

1 2



Automating expenses can reduce the cost of processing every transaction by 55% or more. Receipts can be photographed on mobiles, uploaded and the data automatically read and transformed into an expense line. They can be filed one day and paid the next. There are also benefits from working with one provider for the entire booking, expense and traveller care chain: one point of contact increases efficiency and reduces costs, says KDS/ American Express GBT.


Replacing the human factor and the manual keying in of data with an automated system considerably reduces errors not only from travellers but by accounts departments as well, leading to wrong reimbursements and inaccurate books. By automating expenses through one digital platform that includes travel data, travel managers, finance and accounting can together build an accurate picture of spend.


CLARITY With systems automatically catching transaction data such as expense type and merchant, it is much easier to analyse the figures than pouring over a huge spreadsheet. This level of visibility can help drive huge cost savings, from identifying patterns of wasteful spend to tracking spend volumes with airlines or hotel chains to help secure volume discounts, says Chrome River. And functionality continues to develop, with offline working via a mobile app and time sheet capabilities available from Infor XM.

Systems can be set up with company policy embedded, including types of allowable expense and category limits”





Systems can be set up with company policy embedded, including types of allowable expense and category limits, which reduces the likelihood of out of policy claims. Insight into travel patterns can spark ideas for new policies because managers can see when employees are booking flights at the last minute and therefore losing out on potential deals or can analyse mileage claims to ensure their validity, says SAP Concur.

Expense fraud – whether inflation of legitimate expenses or completely fabricated transactions – is still a big issue and can be hard to spot and prevent with manual expense processes. Expense automation systems can help prevent falsified expenses from being submitted with tools such as duplicate receipt detection and automatic credit card matching, says Chrome River. They can also use analytics and data visualisation tools to detect fraudulent spend patterns which could otherwise go unnoticed.


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Benefits Flight booking Weather & traffic alerts Check-in reminder Travel alerts City guides Chat

Delivered by

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Travel tech / Distribution

CHANGING channels

NDC dominated 2018 but is this the year that new distribution models really take off, asks Linda Fox


ew year, new distribution confusion? Or perhaps it can finally be collaboration? These are serious questions if you stop and think of the machinations IATA’s New Distribution Capability has been through since it was first announced more than six years ago, and where it goes from here. While much of the mistrust of the early days has dissipated and there is generally more of a desire to work together, some of the confusion still reigns. Research carried out by American Express Global Business Travel and ACTE last October revealed 58% of travel managers were “somewhat” confident in their understanding of NDC while 23% were “not at all confident” in their understanding of it. Feedback from travel buyers saw NDC described as being “as confusing as blockchain.” Other buyers acknowledge there is still confusion around what NDC is and how it affects them. However, one travel manager recently commented that NDC should be seen as an opportunity for corporate buyers to engage with airline suppliers about the offers most relevant to them and their travellers. She added that it could mean a much more seamless experience for travellers. For the most part, the research and comments hardly inspire confidence, but 76

that’s not surprising for a number of reasons. It’s only recently that travel management companies and technology providers have had something a little more tangible to demonstrate to travel buyers. The technology standard that NDC sets out to be needs to be implemented across the entire workflow to demonstrate how it will work, and its latest version is said to be the one that, if finally robust and stable enough, can do that. Previous versions worked for simple elements but fell short when it came to more complex routes and other tasks, says Click Travel’s Chief Product Engineer, Robin Smith. But the technical aspects of NDC aside, travel buyers should not need to be concerned about NDC – they just need to know that it continues to give them access to all the content they need in a way that is just as efficient as current processes, if not more so. Many TMCs see it as their role to explain how NDC will work as well as ensure the content is there. Smith agrees that buyers are still not completely aware of what NDC is and says a lot of it is down to much of the effort until recently that has been devoted to getting airlines, IT providers and TMCs on board. “It has all been very theoretical but now we’re seeing movement in the commercials, pricing and advertising of what the benefits are to buyers,” says Smith.

Channel discrimination

Moves from airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways to change commercial terms as well as further steps from the Germanybased carrier to only provide certain fares in NDC channels have contributed to bringing NDC more sharply into focus. Smith says: “Lufthansa and its approach to restricting fares or other airlines charging fees means we’re starting to get questions from buyers. They’re asking if they can’t get the cheapest fares, is their TMC still able to get them those fares? It’s becoming more public that NDC is changing the way you get those fares and we’re thinking about how we can explain it and gain confidence that we have access without complicating things.“ As a means to drive up adoption of its NDC channels, Lufthansa is making its “best offer fares” available only through those channels. The airline says it has a pipeline of about 70 agencies wanting to connect to these. In late November, Andreas Koester, Senior Director of Sales for the UK & Ireland, said it was seeing about 1,000 bookings a month in the UK coming via NDC channels. He said that the figure compared with a few hundred per month in the first few months of 2017. Koester added that from August 2018, the airline saw a 300% spike in bookings across those same NDC channels which was down to already connected agencies such as Click

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Distribution / Travel tech

Travel and Clarity – early TMCs to establish direct connects to Lufthansa – as well as more recently connected agencies. The bookings don’t currently add up to more than a percent or two but ongoing initiatives from Lufthansa also see cheaper fares only accessible via NDC-driven booking methods. The latest example is the airline’s “light” fare which is being removed from GDS channels. One additional element worth keeping an eye on is a challenge to Lufthansa’s developments from the European Travel and Technology Services Association. The organisation filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against the airline in December. ETTSA, alongside VIR, which represents the digital travel industry in Germany, believes the airline is using its dominant position in its home market as well as “discriminatory and exclusionary practices against independent distributors of airline tickets.”

Gaining momentum

Also in late November, BCD Travel announced its partnership to pilot NDC with the Lufthansa Group. Thane Jackson, BCD’s Vice President of Global Distribution and Channel Strategy, says its own presence and strength in Germany pushed it to look more closely at what Lufthansa is doing. “We have to respect their strategy so rather than sit on the outside, we saw an opportunity to pilot with them to learn about NDC and their objectives. It’s a case of recognising where the industry needs to go and being involved from the inside,” he says. He adds that BCD continues to put time and effort into educating its own staff as well as its travel manager customers and airlines. Thane says it’s important to “demystify” NDC so that the whole industry moves away from a world where no one collaborates. While all these developments around NDC are positive, there is still a long way to go. Initiatives such as IATA’s airline leaderboard – with 21 airlines committing to have 20% of

indirect transactions via an NDC-driven API by the end of 2020 – act as a good target and will help drive adoption. Even after that deadline has come and gone, however, it’s likely that NDC will still only be for simple bookings and more complex itineraries with interlining will require further development. Jackson says: “There will be much more talk, activity and ideas in 2019 and 2020 but we’ll only get critical mass, in my opinion, when the GDSs develop full-blown, fully interlineable, fully functioning NDC solutions and most are still talking about that from midyear onwards this year that their first iterations are going to come to market.”

There will be much more talk and activity in 2019 and 2020 but we’ll only get critical mass when the GDSs develop full-blown, fully interlineable, fully functioning NDC solutions”

The future is bright

Sabre’s recent acquisition of Farelogix is being seen as further positive step in NDC’s journey. The distribution giant believes the deal gives its own NDC strategy a significant boost across retailing, distribution and fulfilment as well as seeing benefits for airlines, TMCs and corporate buyers. Others see the deal as solid evidence that the industry is no longer ignoring NDC. GDS rivals Amadeus and Travelport are also far along in their own developments. Travelport recently laid claim to be the first GDS to manage live bookings of flights made via the NDC technology standard. Meanwhile, Amadeus has been signing up large TMCs including Amex GBT and Carlson Wagonlit to help pilot is NDC solution. With more robust versions of NDC coming out, the buy-in of large IT providers and significant partnerships emerging between TMCs and airlines, the distribution future looks brighter. There is no silver bullet, however, that will magic away the complexity in travel booking and management so progress will continue to be measured.

[ ONE ORDER ] IATA’s One Order initiative is meant to complement NDC and aims to combine the information from Passenger Name Records, etickets and Electronic Messaging Documents into a single electronic record. The idea is that it will simplify processes, increase efficiency, reduce cost and improve the passenger experience, especially around changes and disruption. Examples where it could help in corporate travel include better visibility around out of policy ancillary spend on airline websites. According to IATA it also makes duty of care easier for travel managers because it means access to information on flight and non-flight services from one place. An additional benefit being highlighted is its potential to also simplify back office processes by providing combined information on the complete journey. Over the course of 2018, IATA was communicating its strategy for One Order. It hopes that from 2021, NDC will have reached a critical mass for adoption and the One Order standard will have been tested by several airlines. While TMCs are keeping an eye on what’s happening with One Order, it’s not a huge focus for them currently. Most see it as something the airlines and IT providers need to work on first before bringing it into the travel management world.

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Travel tech / Speaking out


SOMETHING ODD IS GOING ON Let’s cut through the jargon, the complexities and the mechanics, and focus instead on greater choice and ease of booking, writes David Chappell Now, I’m a tech person through and through. Cut me and I don’t bleed – I report a percentage change in my skin integrity (then document it in Excel). But techie though I am, I fear that with NDC, TMCs may be missing the point. There are seismic shifts occurring in travel distribution. Of this, TMCs are acutely aware. For many reliant on GDS revenue NDC is a four letter word. The change of the role of the GDS from a distributor of aggregated content via ATPCo to an aggregator of distributed content via API means a revolution in what TMCs can sell and in how they earn. And yet, that is the point. As an industry, the terror of this inevitable change to the distribution landscape has been so allconsuming that it’s all we’ve talked about for nigh on two years. I say this not to belittle the change. It is driven by the market and therefore essential. Changes to GDS

earnings will be a point of survival for some not appropriately diversified in their profit models – and this is of course a big deal – but it simply shouldn’t be the headline. Do you remember SIPS? Invented by Volvo in 1991, it was all they advertised for years. Slow-mos of test dummies being saved from obliteration by some clever engineering and, of course, that catchy acronym. Don’t get me wrong, SIPS was a clever piece of safety tech, but ultimately it was a mechanic of the machine. No one would care about SIPS if the car didn’t start. But here’s the thing. You don’t hear about it much anymore and do you know why? Because the buying public doesn’t care about catchy acronyms, that’s why. What they care about is the experience. The car industry figured this out years ago. So now when you watch an advert what do you see? Technical breakdowns regarding

We need to change the dialogue in our industry. We are currently obsessed by the mechanics and not by the experience” the throttle configuration of the EMS? No! You see cars in forests or on roads filled by dancers, or the computer reading aloud a funny text message – it’s all about the experience and not the mechanics. We need to change the dialogue in our industry, both to each other and to our customers. We are currently obsessed by the mechanics and not the experience. We should be talking about what these changes enable. Retail architecture in corporate travel – think of that! The Amazon-style, dataset-driven booking where we cannot only offer X, but also Y because your colleague booked Z. Making content relevant and easy to book should be our mantra. This is where the conversation should be, not about the data transmission standard between an airline and the intermediary distribution platforms. The retail revolution has happened already out there in the real world – we’re playing catching up. Here in 2019, NDC uses XML, a language created five years after SIPS, in 1996. And just like SIPS, we would do well to remember that NDC is just the mechanic of the machine. DAVID CHAPPELL David is Technology Director at travel management company Fello Travel, having joined from Gray Dawes Group in October 2018 where he was Head of Technology.



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Data / Travel tech

DISTRIBUTION CONFUSION “We could be closing in on drastic change,” states Greeley Koch, Executive Director of ACTE, in the organisation’s white paper on the evolution of air distribution. And if the findings of the survey are anything to go by, there are certainly mixed views and varying levels of engagement with IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. “For decades, the corporate travel booking process has operated in basically the same way. While the system worked in simpler times, it’s needed to be updated for quite some time,” continues Koch. “Six years ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) started talking about New Distribution Capability (NDC). The idea: offers could be personalised for specific travellers, helping them to be more efficient while companies would benefit from cleaner reporting on their total airline spend, and airlines would have greater flexibility with pricing options.” Discover the findings of its survey, in association with American Express Global Business Travel, below, and read more about distribution developments on pages 76-77.





















POLICY COMPLIANCE Significantly concerned
























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The best new... CRASH PROOF DuPont Kevlar has launched an eight-piece Kevlar luggage collection. Built using Kevlar fibre, the luggage is light but tough. The collection has been designed with business travellers in mind and includes an easy access laptop pocket to a backpack with an open flip lid. The large eight-wheel trolley luggage is priced at £599 and the medium trolley is £499. The kevlar duffle bag is £360 and the backpack is £299. All can be bought from

Gadgets & gear



LIVE ACTION The GoPro Hero7 Black is the latest offering from GoPro and ups the ante with professional looking shots, enhanced stabilisation, improved audio recording, a new 'TimeWarp' function to create timelapse videos and the ability to livestream to Facebook. The device is no bigger than its predecessor and is waterproof.


SMART BUDS These tiny Earin M-2 wireless earphones do more than provide quality sound. They can filter out unwanted noise around you, and feature four built-in microphones to give intelligent noise reduction. The clever buds can also tell which of your ears they are in. 80

MOPHIE CHARGE STREAM GLOBAL TRAVEL KIT This kit is a one-stop shop for every charger, lead or adapter you’ll need on the road and it all comes in a handy carry case. The kit includes a charge stream pad, car charger and a micro USB adapter. LEAKPROOF WATER BOTTLE The new Ion8 Leakproof bottle lives up to its name of being totally leakproof but it is also highly durable and has a double walled vacuum to help keep liquids hot or cold all day. CORI CUSTOMISABLE TRAVEL PILLOW Funded via Kickstarter, this travel pillow has a modular design which offers head and neck support. It also features memory foam and soft fabrics. It even looks cool too! GOTENNA MESH Stay connected wherever you are with this smart Bluetooth device that provides text and GPS service to your phone in remote locations where there is no signal. Download the app, pair the device and away you go. TRAVEL IN COMFORT AND STYLE


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1/31/19 03:06 PM


New kid on the block Lincoln Plaza London THE LOWDOWN

This addition to

hotel is one element – earned the

Hilton’s Curio Collection opened for

unfortunate title of ‘Worst new

business at the turn of the year in a

Building’ in Building Design’s 2016

prime position in Canary Wharf.

Carbuncle Cup competition.

There are 129 rooms across

However the organisers also

seven categories, plus an Indian

conceded that “architectural design

restaurant, cocktail bar, fitness

is… a matter of personal tastes” and

room, 465m2 of event space and

that “the scheme sold out, so clearly

seven meeting rooms, plus, from

the project is liked”.

April, a pool, sauna and steam

they said it

“The hotel echoes

room. The hotel is part of a new

the sleek architectural cues of

30-storey residential development

Canary Wharf, drawing inspiration

on London’s Isle of Dogs, close to

from the area’s rich industrial

South Quay DLR station and five

heritage. In the lobby, guests are

kilometres from City Airport. The

welcomed by polished concrete

Curio Collection by Hilton is an

floors, a steel feature wall and steel-

'upper upscale' portfolio of more

framed windows, allowing daylight

than 60 individual hotels.

to flood into the space.”

that's a FACT

The new Lincoln

Plaza development – of which the

room rates

Rates start from

£103 per night.

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1/31/19 11:52 AM

20-21 February 2019 Olympia, London

REVITALISE BUSINESS TRAVEL Europe’s largest specialised event for business travel professionals.




hosted buyers



pre-scheduled hosted buyer appointments

networking opportunities

Register for free at Using code TBTM19 Untitled-1 1

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20/11/2018 09:03

1/31/19 10:11 AM


On business in...

Cape Town

Sitting beneath Table Mountain, the port city of Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa. The thriving city port was developed by the Dutch East India Company and today is still an economic powerhouse, boasting a varied economy.

Amazing views from Table Mountain

the Codfather, located in Camp’s

the airport and South Africa drives

Bay. The Pot Luck Club offers

on the left. Avoid unauthorised taxis

The Silo Hotel on the V&A

seasonal fine dining, and for fine

or minibus ‘Quantum’ taxis which

Waterfront has been open for just

French bistro food visit La Tête.

can be risky for visitors to use.

over a year and offers five-star

Further out in the historical seaside

luxury in a converted grain elevator.

town of Hout Bay, Snoekies is the

Major brands are also represented

place for great fish and chips.


including Taj, Hilton and Westin. In Camps Bay, The Bay Hotel is a popular luxury option with sea views and beach access.

If the weather is clear take the cable

Further information For details on meetings and events and visiting Cape Town, see or email conventionbureau@


car to the top of Table Mountain –


or tackle the steep hike to the top. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

The popular V&A Waterfront is filled with bars,

Getting there British Airways operates direct flights from Gatwick to Cape Town three times a week and a daily service from London Heathrow. Alternatively, South African Airways operates daily services from London Heathrow via its hub in Johannesburg.


restaurants and shops. Watering holes here

Drinks on the waterfront

is considered one of the best gardens in the world and wine fans should visit Groot Constantia, the oldest vineyard

Carnivores will like the Hussar Grill,

include Mitchell’s Ale House

with the original branch in

and Ferrymans Tavern.

Rondebosch. One of the best

Beerhouse on Long Street stands

to Simon’s Town, home to a large

seafood restaurants in Cape Town is

out with plenty of beers and is

colony of rare African penguins.

in the region. Further afield, drive

popular with locals. Victoria Road in Camp’s Bay is home to hangouts including Dizzy’s and Café Caprice.

GETTING DOWNTOwN Transfers can be arranged to and from the airport via reputable taxi services. Alternatively, most major car hire brands are represented at

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Focus on...

Comprising 20 diverse nations, Latin America covers a vast area of South and Central America. Countries within the region represent some of the world’s largest economies, writes Benjamin coren

Latin America

Latin America loves Great Britain. In 2016, countries in the region imported £12.5billion of UK goods and services, with total trade both ways hitting £22.1billion. With its exit from the European Union imminent, Britain needs to adapt as a global trader and rapidly-developing nations with populations keen to consume are key to the UK's future success. And Latin America's young population, diverse economy and bountiful natural resources put it in

a strong position as a trading partner. Speaking last year in Leeds at the Northern Powerhouse and Latin America Trade Corridor Report, Minister for Investment Graham Stuart MP said: “The IMF is predicting that 90% of global growth in the next 10 to 15 years will come from outside the EU.” He added that the Department for International Trade is making the region a high priority. “UK export finance has doubled government support for firms

looking to export into countries across the region, including up to £5billion for Mexico, £4.5billion for Chile and £3billion for Brazil.” Brazil is the seventh biggest economy in the world with a GDP of $2.3trillion and companies such as Rolls Royce, Shell, BP and Experian operating there. It is Latin America’s largest economy and acts as a gateway for businesses in neighbouring countries. Top exports from the UK to Brazil include machinery, vehicles,

times zones: GMT -3hrs in Argentina and Chile; GMT -5hrs in Colombia and Peru; GMT -2hrs in Brazil. currency: Argentine Peso: £1= $47.53 Brazil Real: £1= R4.75 Chilean Peso: £1= CLP865.99 Colombian Peso: £1= COP4048 Peru Sol: £1= PEN4.30 dialling codes: Argentina: +54; Brazil: +55; Chile: +56; Colombia: +57; Peru: +51 visas: UK passport holders do not need a visa to visit Latin American countries as a tourist. Ensure passports have six months validity on entry date


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pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances and chemical products. Chile is the fifth-largest economy in South America. Despite language difference and a long travel time, international business is on the rise to this part of the world. British Airways revealed in its On Business programme data that its route to Santiago (pictured) posted yearly growth of 18% in 2018 from SMEs. The figures were backed up by James Ashton-Bell, CBI Head of International Trade, who said: “2018

was a great year for UK exports, with new records set for innovative British goods and services reaching overseas destinations. Small and scale-up firms are powering this drive, breaking into new markets and discovering that demand for British expertise is ever-growing.” Chile also benefits from free trade agreements with the majority of goods from the UK entering the country with zero tariffs. In Peru and Colombia, the Department for International

Trade names beverages, vehicles, machinery and pharmaceuticals as export opportunities. Meanwhile, in Argentina top exports from the UK include plastics, chemicals, medical equipment, professional and scientific instruments, machinery and mechanical appliances. More businesses in the UK than ever are seeking expansion overseas and in Latin America in particular.

“With exports now reaching £626billion we look forward to 2019. Overseas trade will continue to play a crucial part in economic growth and my international economic department will do all it can to support UK businesses to expand their operations overseas”, says International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP.

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Factfile: Latin America FLIGHTS British Airways: Flies to Santiago five times a week from London Heathrow. The carrier also operates direct flights to Lima three times a week between April and Regular October, and for the rest services of the year it operates a with BA one-stop service from Heathrow. There are additional daily services from Heathrow to Rio, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, as well as a five times a week service to Mexico City from London Heathrow. South America including There is also a three-timesBogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, weekly service from Gatwick Sao Paulo. British Airways to San Jose, Costa Rica. partner Iberia flies to Buenos Aires, Lima, Rio, Sao Paulo Latam: Operates a daily and Bogota via Madrid. service to Sao Paulo from american Air France KLM flies to London Heathrow. options various destinations in the abound region via its Paris hub Norwegian: Flies daily from and there are flights via US London Gatwick to Buenos hubs with United, Delta and Aires and, from March 31, will American Airlines. all also offer four weekly flights

miraflores laps up the sun in Lima

to Rio de Janeiro. Avianca: Operates a daily service from London Heathrow to Bogota, Colombia. Aeromexico: Flies daily from London Heathrow to Mexico City. There is also a new seasonal flight from the UK to Belize via Mexico City offering convenient same-day connections for UK travellers. One-stop options: TAp operates routes to Rio and Sao Paulo via its Lisbon hub. Air Europa flies from Gatwick via Madrid to 18 destinations in



Melia Hotels: Has a strong presence in Latin America with properties in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru.

Bogota: Visit the city’s cobblestoned centre, La Candelaria, which features colonial-era landmarks. Also check out Plaza Bolivar and the Gold Museum and art on display at Museo Botero.

NH Hotels: The group is well represented in these countries with hotels located in the country capitals and Find the additional hotels in Chile. colour of La Boca Accor Hotels: Has amongst the largest coverage in Latin America with over 200 properties in Brazil, and a solid presence in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Intercontinental Hotels Group: Has properties in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Medellin and Caracas. Marriott: Has an abundance of hotels in the region with most of its hotels in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Ecuador. It also has locations in Central America in Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras.


Buenos Aires: See the city’s colourful houses at La Boca. In the central Plaza de Mayo visit the cathedral and the presidential palace or see the tombs at Recoleta cemetery.

Lima: From Lima’s central square visitors can see the government palace, cathedral, and the archbishop’s palace. Discover Peru's history at the Larco Museum and find the ruins of Huaca Pullana. The beaches of Miraflores are a great place to escape. Rio De Janeiro: Climb up Corcovado Mountain for stunning views and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Take the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain or relax on Copacabana beach. Sao Paulo: Discover green fields at Ibirapuera Park. Paulista Avenue is the location of numerous museums, restaurants and bars. The Museum of Art has a vast and impressive collection. Santiago: Climb San Cristobal Hill for views of the city with a backdrop of the Andes. The central Plaza de Armas is filled with statues and is a central focal point of the city.

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New route Medellin Fly on board our Boeing 787 Dreamliner for an unforgettable flying experience. Three weekly frequencies from London Gatwick. All flights are via Madrid.

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Bridge in one direction and HMS

Cheval has eight

locations in London but this is its

Belfast and the Shard in the other. And

flagship property. It has 159 units and

the novelty didn't wear off throughout

is well located in the City of London

my stay. The furnishings and facilities

and adjacent to the Tower of London,

were befitting of Three Quays' excellent

Tower Bridge and Tower Pier for

location, with this two-bedroom unit

riverboat services along the Thames.

featuring a large living, dining and


The lobby was more

kitchen area and three – yes three –

akin to a luxury hotel than a serviced

small balconies. The kitchen had a

apartment reception, with two murals

dishwasher, hobs, fridge-freezer,

depicting medieval life when the site

microwave, coffee machine, oven and

was once a working dock hanging

a welcome box of basic essentials.

above a water feature, plus stone

Elsewhere, there was a washing machine

mosaics on the floor and leather

and tumble dryer, a safe and spacious

seating populated by well-heeled

bathroom (and an additional ensuite

guests. I was soon checked in and

bathroom off the master bedroom).

enjoyed studying the fascinating black and white photographs of historic

reception and concierge, fitness suite,

London that adorn corridor walls as I

daily housekeeping and, at ground

headed to my apartment.

level, several river and street-side


coffee shops and restaurants.

I'm not sure I've

witnessed such impressive views from


overseas – it should be noted that this property comfortably fulfils its 'luxury

There's a 24-hour


While it's easy to dwell

residence' billing with well-equipped


and tastefully decorated apartments and good service too. THE DETAILS

40 Lower Thames

Street, London, EC3R 6AG. One

any London accommodation before,

on the views that Three Quays' River

bedroom apartments start from £275

with the apartment's floor-to-ceiling

View apartments command – which

per night. There is no minimum stay.

windows offering magical twilight views

make this a top choice for those


across the Tower of London and Tower

looking to wow executives visiting from

Andy Hoskins


Oaks on Market is a


On-site business

serviced apartment property located in

facilities include three function rooms

the heart of Melbourne CBD, close to

designed to provide flexible meeting

the iconic Flinders Street Station and

arrangements for 10-200 delegates in a

the useful tram network. The 4.5 star

range of configurations, with specially

tower block houses 280 studios, one

designed meetings menus when

and two-bedroom apartments.

required. Guests can use 30 minutes


First impressions are

of free wifi each day with longer access

welcoming. I am greeted by smiling

available at an extra cost – the concept

staff and check-in is quick and efficient.

of free wifi access as standard (typical

This means prompt access to the

in Europe and the US) still hasn’t

apartment, despite my early morning

reached Australia!

arrival – a great benefit after my long journey from the UK. THE ROOM

My one-bedroom


The reception

adjoins a contemporary public area which serves as a buzzing meeting

apartment was located on the 17th

point and social hub complete with

South Bank, many good restaurants

floor with floor-to-ceiling windows

contemporary furnishings. It adjoins an

and the city’s transport system, the

overlooking the Melbourne skyline.

informal restaurant. There is a small

Smart and minimalist in style, the

but well set up gym and lovely pool

apartment was spacious with an open

and sauna. Room service is also

plan living area with huge TV and table/

available, while the property offers

desk area, well-equipped kitchenette,

free newspapers, a laundry with 24hr

large bedroom and large ensuite. An

turnaround and undercover car park

‘opt to go green’ option (no room

as part of its offer.

cleaning) earns guests a A$5 a day credit in the restaurant.



Conveniently located

for business and the attractions of the

property provides a fuss-free home-


from-home with a relaxed vibe and facilities well suited to combining business and leisure. THE DETAILS

Oaks on Market, 60

Market Street Melbourne, Victoria. Rooms start at around £100 per night. Tel +61 038631111. Julie Baxter


reality AH.indd 88

1/31/19 04:26 PM



Flight BA015 from

per the menu but there was another

London Heathrow Terminal 5 to

chicken option, beef stroganoff or a

Singapore, departing on time at 9.45pm

Christmas dinner option. I went for the

on Christmas Day and operated by a

turkey. It was good – plenty of thick

B777. I was flying in British Airways’

slices of meat, roast potatoes, parsnips,

World Traveller Plus cabin.

plenty of gravy, a couple of sprouts and

While the chaos caused


chestnut stuffing, followed by mince pie

by drones at Gatwick pre-occupied the

and cream. The red cabbage salad and

media, Heathrow T5 was full of festive

cheese and biscuits completed the offer.

spirit, decorations and cheery staff.

Two hours prior to landing a full English

Check-in was quick and easy.

breakfast or omlette along with pastries

Crew were warm and


welcoming and were all entering into the

and juice was served. THE SEAT

Seat 24E was an aisle

spirit of the day with reindeer antlers or

seat in a row of four with rows of two on

Santa hats and tinsel. Sparkling wine was

each window side. The seat recline was

offered promptly as a welcome, and

stiff and hard to operate but the recline

festive food choices were advised on a

was good and the leg space ample. I

special menu card. Drinks and pretzels

was given an excellent noise-cancelling

were served within the hour with

headset and there was a good selection

generous ‘well as it’s Christmas’ double

of inflight entertainment. The in-arm

G&Ts and two mini wine bottles with

tables mean the arm can’t be lifted

dinner. Dinner was served within two

which made it hard for middle seat

hours with our ebullient stewardess

passengers to get out. A small amenity

admitting her trolley was a bit like

kit included socks, toothbrush and eye

start at £1,144 including all taxes. See:

Santa’s sack – full of surprises. There

mask. There was a good fleece blanket

didn’t seem to be any chicken stir-fry as

and pillow provided.

Julie Baxter


The premium economy

seat was comfortable and my meal was good but the stand out feature was the


staff. Great service from a crew that were upbeat and full of Christmas spirit. THE DETAILS

British Airways operates

two direct flights a day from London Heathrow to Singapore. Return prices


This aparthotel is


All guests can take

one half of a dual development from

advantage of the complimentary hot

Cycas Hospitality which sees it reside

and cold breakfast buffet, while evening

alongside a fellow IHG brand, a Holiday

social receptions for guests to meet

Inn, at Westfield Stratford City. The

and mingle and enjoy complimentary

Staybridge aparthotel has 162 studio

drinks and nibbles are held three times

and one-bedroom suites.

a week. There's also a fitness room,


The aparthotel was

laundry facilities, 24-hour reception

reasonably well signposted as I made

and a Pantry, Lounge, Den and roof

my way through the crowds of shoppers

terrace – with fine city views – which

to the elevators that whisk guests up

all appeared well used by guests as

to the reception floor. I was checked in

social and relaxation spaces. Guests

by a friendly member of staff – there's

can also make use of the neighbouring

an almost informal atmosphere about

Holiday Inn's restaurant, bar and

this aparthotel – after a short wait

meeting room facilities, and can also

behind a couple of overseas visitors.

order room service from the sister

equipped for longer stays, with the

property. Wifi access if free.

compact kitchens containing all that a


A kitchenette and small

lounge area (with sofa, desk and TV)


self-caterer needs, while there's a good

Its location within

range of facilities here too.

gave way to the bedroom and bathroom

Westfield Stratford City means it

– all tastefully decorated and enhanced

welcomes plenty of shoppers, but its

with mirrors, lamps and photographs

strategic position between Stratford

of London. The kitchenette was cleverly

and Stratford International stations

laid out and contained a fridge, hob,

and proximity to Canary Wharf and

from £95 per night (plus VAT). Nightly

oven, dishwasher, coffee machine,

London City Airport appears to ensure

rates drop for stays of seven nights or

plenty of crockery and utensils, and a

there's a steady stream of business

more. See:

couple of recipe cards.

guests too. The suites are perfectly

Andy Hoskins



10b Chestnut Plaza,

Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Road, London, E20 1GL. Rooms start


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1/31/19 04:27 PM


The final word

Remember your WC graces


on’t let it be said that The Final Word isn’t prepared to get its hands dirty in search of cheap gags. So here's a little story about toilets. Or, to be more precise, the lavs aboard Virgin Trains. You see, it appears the reason the facilities are often closed is that people are simply flushing inappropriate items. Keen to remind us that you should restrict the pan to ‘the three Ps’ – a euphemism that is difficult to shake from your mind, since it actually stands for pee, poo and paper – we learn that all sorts of rubbish has been disposed of into Virgin’s toilets. Since we are scraping the bottom of the barrel (or should that be bowl?), you are no doubt keen to learn that baby wipes are the top culprit when it comes to blocking up pipes, accounting for 90% of incidents.

The annual Travelodge ‘items left behind’ list is always fun. But this year it appears some business travellers have faced a difficult conversation with bosses over what’s been lost 1 2


4 5

In total, says Virgin Trains, blockages cause 18,000 lost toilet hours every year, and cost more than £182,000 to fix. More concerning is the list of items also found to have been caught up in and around the

Meet, and all veg


egans, it seems, are everywhere. And now they are coming to a hotel near you too. Never ones to let a PR opportunity slip, the Hilton London Bankside has taken an eco-friendly plunge with a dedicated vegan suite. Yes, this is really a thing! To be fair, the property has done it right, consulting experts from the Vegan Society to create a room that is completely ethical yet still swanky. Highlights include pillows without feathers, faux leather made of pineapple fibres, plus menus and toiletries that have never been near an animal.



A set of company accounts (Aberdeen Central) A Louis Vuitton 'man bag' containing designs for a new product launch (Glasgow Central) A Coutts cheque book and Silk account card (London Farringdon) Tax returns for the year (Inverness City Centre) Business plan for a pop-up shop (Portsmouth)

U-bends of it pendolinos. Pity the unfortunate customers who lost a bra, a wedding ring and glasses, but how a Manchester United scarf came to be on the list is understandable given the team’s form under Jose.

It is some time since British Airways could be considered a bellweather for all that was right about the UK. But at least you can rely on its customers for a pretty accurate picture of what we like as a nation. Research into onboard viewing habits reveals that Blue Planet II was its mostwatched TV show at 36,000ft last year (who doesn't love Sir David?), followed by Peppa Pig and a documentary about Prince Harry and Meghan. Meanwhile, Red Sparrow - starring ever popular Jennifer Lawrence – was perhaps predictably the top movie


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Advertorial Feature


The goal of Lufthansa Group airlines is to create a powerful distribution landscape for trade partners and travel agents which is able to match the offerings the airlines can already provide to travellers via their own channels. Travellers are used to individualised offers from airlines own channels and New Distribution Capability (NDC) makes these offers also available for sales partners and travel agents. Lufthansa Group airlines has invested in new technology, distribution dialogues and also a team of more than 65 distribution specialists who make sure partners are properly taken care of whilst engaging in a distribution project. With the NDC Partner Program, Lufthansa Group airlines takes another step forward with regards to modern airline-retailingbusiness models, by offering sales partners and customers a preferred value proposition encompassing 4 components: “NDC Smart Offer”, “NDC Bonus”, “Servicing”, and “Technology”. Find more information on our NDC Partner Program website, a platform dedicated to sales partners, corporates and travel technology providers. A new NDC Smart Offer for Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS will be introduced from 01 December 2018. From this date the

lowest fares on point to point routes* from the UK, will be available exclusively through direct distribution channels (Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC API including SPRK,, and As from this date, the Economy Light (LGT) of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS will no longer be available in the GDS. The current NDC Best Fare will remain in place for the London gateways, London Heathrow and London City, where a saving of almost GBP30 on a round trip can be made. Lufthansa Group airlines is an industry leader in the distribution topic and will continue to invest in this field. Currently engaged in more than 70 Lufthansa Group airlines NDC API projects in the UK, Lufthansa Group airlines also support the free of charge NDC webbased booking platform SPRK. In order to motivate trade partners who have invested in NDC technology or are in the process of doing so, Lufthansa Group airlines will continue to develop this channel with attractive content such as new fare types and ancillaries in 2019. In the highly competitive market of the airline industry, Lufthansa Group airlines stands out with customer-centric and innovative solutions aiming not only to stay ahead of competition but also to shape the industry.

Key Facts  Economy Light fares only available through Lufthansa Group NDC API including SPRK*  NDC Partner Program website for information on Lufthansa Group NDC API solutions:  Register for the free of charge NDC web-based booking platform SPRK, via the online form available on the NDC Partner Program website  Save Distribution Cost Charge of GBP11.30 with Lufthansa Group NDC API solutions including SPRK  Access to the attractive Lufthansa Group NDC Smart Offers

To find out about Lufthansa Group’s NDC Partner Program visit or contact your Lufthansa Group Account Manager

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Disruptive t e c h n o l o g y? Whatever next. Travel technology moves fast. We keep ahead by embracing the very latest developments. So whether the future brings disruptive new tech, new data or new thinking, we’ll plug it straight in and continue to evolve, Bring it on.

Happy to help manage your business travel. +44 (0)20 7650 3100 |

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The Business Travel Magazine February-March 2019