THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE â€¢ JUNE/JULY 2019
An extended guide to An extended guide to managing air travel managing air travel spend
Travel policy Chauffeur drive Global hotel groups Focus on South East Asia TALKING TRAVEL: LEVISON WOOD
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J UNE /J UL Y 2019 Features
16 Chauffeur drive 24 Travel policy 40 Global hotel groups
Everyone's Talking About: Gender diversity
12 Six of the Best: Unusual event venues
14 Event report: ITM Conference 15 Speaking Out: Independent hotels 30 Event report: Advantage Travel Conference
11 The Knowledge: Reacting to extreme weather
Buying trends, airline consolidation, new products... we've got it covered!
63 Extended feature: Air travel
36 Event report: Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference 47 Event report: ProcureCon Travel
21 The Business Travel People Awards: the 2019 winners
22 Photo gallery: The Business Travel People Awards 31 The Big Picture 32 The Conversation: Katherine Bennett, Airbus 34 Event preview:
The Business Travel Conference 38 Photo gallery: TBTM Dinner Club
39 Technology: Biometric data 48 Talking Travel: Levison Wood 61 Photo gallery: Spring Sparkle
51 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments
87 On the Road: Guy Ivesha 88 New Kid on the Block: Hard Rock Hotel London 89 Meeting in: Nottingham 91 On Business in: Boston
92 Focus on: South East Asia 96 Reality Check 98 Final Word
5/30/19 04:55 PM
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Welcome An appetite for events
he business travel industry exists to facilitate face-to-face encounters, yet the human touch is increasingly being stripped from the booking and management processes. Technological innovation and seamless systems are
de rigueur but of course couldn’t exist without the collaboration of the brains behind their development. In fact, it's probably fair to say that none of us could do our jobs as well as we do without meeting new people and embracing fresh ideas. It's therefore pleasing that this spring has presented such a rich line-up of learning and networking opportunities for travel suppliers, buyers, bookers and industry journalists alike. In this issue we bring you reports from the ITM and Advantage Travel Partnership’s respective annual conferences (p14 and p30), plus ProcureCon Travel (p47) in the United States and the ﬁrst Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference (p36), which we were pleased to support as media partner. We also hosted three events of our own within ﬁve days at the end of May, welcoming around 600 guests in total to our 12th PA & EA Networking night, our 14th TBTM Dinner Club and the eighth annual Business Travel People Awards. The latter brought the week to a close by recognising some of this industry's ﬁnest talent. Congratulations to all our ﬁnalists and winners – turn to pages 21-23 to ﬁnd out who triumphed. Our next major event is The Business Travel Conference in September. The programme for the two-day event has been ﬁnalised (p34-35) and free delegate places are still available – we hope you'll join us there.
Andy Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill, Gary Noakes, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West JOURNALIST
David Clare email@example.com
DESIGN & PRODUCTION SENIOR DESIGNER
Louisa Horton DESIGNERS
Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR
Matt Bonner CEO
(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON,
Andy Hoskins, Editor
SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM
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ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
Eero Saarinen’s cathedral to aviation has always looked towards the future. We have restored and reimagined his landmark”
The iconic former TWA terminal at New York's JFK airport has reopened as an aviation-themed hotel. The joint venture between MCR – which includes New York’s High Line Hotel in its portfolio – and the airline JetBlue has 512 rooms, the world’s biggest hotel gym, a rooftop pool and a 50,000ft2 events centre. 6
IMAGE: Max Touhey
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in the club
Rocco Forte Hotels
British Airways has completed a £50million investment at JFK Airport with the opening of its new Club Lounge (Terminal 7). The 22,000ft2 space includes an entertainment room, Elemis Spa, bar and Brewdog craft beer room – the first of its kind.
London favourite Brown’s has transformed its front hall and reception in a country garden style, underlining its British heritage. A new glass roof has been added, completing a wider restoration that took place last year.
Already a hit with celebs and influencers is the Times Square EDITION, which opened for business this spring. Marriott's luxury joint venture with Studio 54 founder Ian Schrager has added serious chic to the Big Apple. Highlights include fine dining eaterie 701 West. Rates start at $269. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
Gender diversity “THE ESSENCE OF AVIATION IS BUILDING A GLOBAL COMMUNITY BY
CONNECTING PEOPLE, BUSINESSES AND CULTURES ACROSS GREAT
ORGANISATIONS IS EXPEDITED WHENDOESN’T IT’S LED “TECHNOLOGY RESCUE YOU BUT IT CURRENTLY PROVIDES TOP-DOWN. WITH MEN CONFIDENCE ANDINVISIBILITY. YOUR IN THE MAJORITY SENIOR RANKS, TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS EDUCATING AND INFLUENCING THEM AND TO RUNBALANCE REPORTS TOPROCEDURES HELP SUPPORT GENDER AND YOU REACH THOSE IN HELP THEIR ORGANISATIONS IS AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT” CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity
Ami Taylor, LEVEL UK
“We launched our flyShe initiative to inspire more females to join the industry as pilots and engineers. It is good there is a lot of attention on diversity right now” Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO, Flybe
DISTANCES. TEN MILLION PEOPLE WORK IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS WORKFORCE REFLECTS THE AMAZING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION THAT IT FOSTERS IN OUR SOCIETY”
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General & CEO, IATA
The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter has made great progress since it was launched last July. We have taken a huge step towards making greater gender diversity in our industries a reality” Katherine Bennett, SVP Airbus and Co-Chair of the UK Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter
“THE WOMEN IN HOSPITALITY TRAVEL AND LEISURE 2020 INITIATIVE IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO ENSURE THAT HOSPITALITY CONTINUES TO PROVIDE WOMEN WITH OPPORTUNITIES AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL WHICH WILL, IN TURN, ENSURE THAT BUSINESSES Kate Nicholls, CEO, ARE IN A BETTER POSITION TO OFFER EVEN MORE” UKHospitality
“I see lots of incredibly talented individuals in our sector, male and female, with great opportunities open to both” Carolyn Pearson, CEO, Maiden Voyage
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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
How to manage... An extreme weather event Hurricane season in the Caribbean is always a cause for concern. But in 2017, mega-cyclones Irma, Jose and Maria were exceptionally fierce. Travel management company Business Travel Direct had one client with travellers across the region…
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season was unprecedented. It consisted of 17 named storms including ten hurricanes, with three of these – Irma, Jose and Maria – rating among the biggest in recorded history for the region. The three storms alone are estimated to have been responsible for a staggering 99% of the $282billion damage caused that year. In all, more than 3,300 people were killed. Early forecasts from meteorologists had been for an average year of storms, although this changed to a ‘slightly raised’ risk by the start of August. One of Business Travel Direct’s clients – a large hospitality business – had 46 employees spread across the Caribbean when Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm, was identified on August 30. “The weather is historically turbulent in the Caribbean in August and September so we always consider the potential risk our travellers could face during this time,” explains Business Travel Direct Operations Manager, Mark Roberts. “But Irma, and then Maria which followed two weeks later, escalated really quickly.”
Business Travel Direct received risk alerts from the Met Office in mid-August and began its crisis planning. “It required some quick thinking to make sure we had access to the latest news and used the time efficiently to successfully evacuate everyone,” says Roberts. “We held a number of team briefings and determined a course of action for the travellers in the affected areas. The operations team we assigned consisted of our most experienced staff. They had 53 years of expertise between them.” With Irma bringing winds of 190mph much of the Caribbean was in lockdown, with multiple airport closures, travel disruption and loss of power. “Beginning the evacuation process was impossible because airports had closed and most local boat travel to and from islands barely made it out. Hurricane Maria severely hindered recovery efforts for everyone and every day the situation seemed to change.”
Business Travel Direct’s security and duty of care tool SMARTtrack, powered by SAP Concur, enables the creation of a single database of
booked travel, with a filter to search for specific travellers, clients, flights, locations or risk profile. SMS and email alerts were sent to all the client’s travellers in the region, and Business Travel Direct reported back to stakeholders with a list of detailed traveller information and itineraries. Having identified clients’ whereabouts and safety, Business Travel Direct’s operations team worked in shifts to provide an out-ofhours service. To keep up with the situation on the ground, it combined updates from the media, travel providers, local suppliers and tourist boards. Many islands lost internet services so all communication was by phone, where possible. Getting travellers out was the issue. A number had restrictive visas; others couldn’t make it to airports even when seats on flights were secured. This created an additional burden of getting cancellation fees waived and refunds on flights. “The team worked closely with airlines to source alternative routes and secure lastminute seats, leveraging some industry partnerships to give travellers the best option,” says Roberts.
Over a 30-day period Business Travel Direct safely repatriated 46 travellers. Moreover, the operations team managed to get £9,432 of cancellation fees waived as a result of travellers missing their flights and obtained refunds totalling £7,622.
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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... Unusual event venues 1
Solent Forts, hampshire
Built in the 1860s to counter the perceived threat from Napoleon III, the Solent Forts – No Man’s Fort and Spitbank Fort – never saw military action. Today these quirky lookouts have been recommissioned as retreats that mix luxury hotel facilities with the ultimate in ‘away-from-it-all’ chic.
IWM Duxford, Cambridge
The former Battle of Britain fighter base is now part of the Imperial War Museum and offers plenty of meeting and events space. Team building options include vintage aircraft flights and tank rides.
Looking for a venue with a touch of adventure? The limestone cliffs and caverns of Cheddar Gorge test the mettle of guests with an array of climbs and caving packages that can be added to meetings (for up to 50). Instruction and equipment is provided.
Mail Rail, London
The Post Office’s private underground line once shifted mail across London. Farringdon’s Postal Museum has two subterranean event spaces, plus the chance to take a 1km train ride through tiny tunnels.
Cheddar Gorge and Caves, Somerset
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
The UK’s largest aquarium has plenty of watery ‘wow’ for corporates. A range of catered facilities, with full site hire (for up to 1,500 guests) are available. The underwater Eddystone Reef is a favourite for dinner events.
The Lost Village of Dode, Kent
The Black Death is thought to have wiped out the inhabitants of Dode back in 1349, and the village was abandoned until the 1900s when its church was restored. The historic venue can host catered events for up to 40 guests in isolated beauty.
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A R R I V E R E A DY F O R B U S I N E S S
With more seats, free Wi-Fi and power at every seat, travel time neednâ€™t be wasted time. Book your business trip with your local TMC or at GWR.com
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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
ITM Conference Wellbeing steals the show Wellbeing was the big topic at the ITM Conference in Brighton, where buyers discussed ways to ease the strain of business travel. Andy Hoskins reports An increasing priority for travel managers, wellbeing was the focus of a packed breakout session and was also selected by delegates for the association’s Industry Affairs Group to tackle in the year ahead. Research presented at the event showed 87% of organisations will be changing their approach to traveller wellbeing in the next 12 months. The high intensity of travel, lack of recovery time and poor quality experience were the biggest challenges. One travel manager described her company’s introduction of a pre-trip ‘fit for travel’ assessment form “which prompts them to question whether they are OK to travel”, along with the trialling of heart monitors to help identify stress points. Meanwhile, panellist Dr Lucy Rattrie revealed pre-trip questions that should “help make a quick and fair assessment of whether the travel being asked of that person is fair”. These covered how someone feels about a proposed trip; what the company can do to protect their wellbeing; how the trip will affect their personal life; and what the organisation can do to
ITM CHAMPIONS Roberta Iorizzo of SCOR was named Rising Star of the year. Biffa’s Richard Childs took home the UK Travel Manager prize and George Grund was top Multinational Manager
mitigate risk before, during and post-trip. Elsewhere at the event, sustainability was addressed by senior figures from British Airways and Airbus in separate sessions. British Airways Chairman and CEO, Alex Cruz, said there has been a “change of mindset” at BA to cut CO2 emissions. The ‘Future of Fuels’ is one strand of BA’s centenary celebrations that will see 13 universities present their findings to the airline, with the winner receiving funding for
further research. In total, BA parent IAG will invest $400million on alternative fuel development over the next 20 years and has told all its suppliers that they want to see more sustainable options, “from tooth brushes through to product wrapping”. Meanwhile, Airbus Senior Vice President, Katherine Bennett, highlighted its efforts to work with alternative fuels and design more efficient aircraft. “Short-haul all-electric flights aren’t necessarily that far off,” she said.
RFPS... SOME ADVICE
“WHAT WE HAVE IS PARLIAMENTARY PARALYSIS. THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO IS NOW A REFERENDUM – AND THAT WOULD BRING A WHOLE NEW SET OF PROBLEMS” STEVE RICHARDS, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR
“If you’re only going to do an RFP on price to screw your incumbent TMC, then please don’t waste everyone’s time!”
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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT
Independent hotels Freedom to stay Mainstream hotel brands are a fixture of managed travel programmes. But, asks Mark Lewis, do business travellers crave something more than the cookie-cutter experience? Historically, business travel management has been all about big business. Corporate travel programmes have focused on the major hotel brands, knowing they can achieve discounts with sufficient spend and ensure consistent standards for their travellers from one country to the next. Today, however, some business travellers are looking for more from their appointed accommodation. Increasingly consumerminded, they are shaking up the way travel is booked and the options they wish to choose from, be it independent hotels aparthotels, or even private residences. The choice becomes even more pertinent for the growing number of business travellers who choose to convert their stay into a ‘bleisure’ trip by tacking on a couple of days of free time, and experience their destination through, in part, their choice of accommodation. Independent hotels come into their own here, offering character and something different from the run of the mill. Take The Nadler in London’s Covent Garden, or Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa in Chester – both are completely in tune with business travellers’ desire for authentic experiences. They don’t have the predictable corporate feel but deliver an outstanding business service. Their presence on platforms such as HotelREZ, accessed via the GDS providers, mean the properties can still be part of a fully managed programme. The big chains recognise that independent hotels have huge appeal, as evidenced by the slew of new brands being launched to tap this funky spirit or knit together very different, independent (and often unbadged) hotels of similar upscale standards. Even so, the properties are still are part of a larger corporate entity and they just cannot provide the authentic experiences today’s business travellers are looking for. Truly independent hotels provide all the
Choice becomes even more pertinent for the growing number of business travellers who choose to convert their stay into a ‘bleisure’ trip” amenities that business travellers need to be rested and productive, but also personal service from usually local staff providing a strong sense of place. Similarly, care and attention have been lavished on interiors because these hotels can’t rely on a big brand reputation or giant loyalty programmes to deliver bookings – they live or die by their character and their choice of distribution partner. To offer travellers a richer choice, travel buyers should take a look at incorporating
independent hotels and small groups within managed programmes. Appropriate thirdparty platforms – including our own – incorporate RFP tools to identify the right properties and rates for businesses, matching supply and demand to meet travel managers' needs whilst driving incremental income to our members. Traveller experience is a key priority today, but corporates can be assured that quality independent hotels with the right partners can help them achieving savings and simplify processes too. MARK LEWIS Mark Lewis is the founder and CEO of HotelREZ and World Rainbow Hotels. He started HotelREZ in 2004 after a successful career at travel companies including Thomas Cook Group and Airtours Plc and Pegasus Solutions.
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RIDERS Does the traditional chauﬀeur-driven transfer still have a place in business travel in a world in which cutting costs and carbon emissions prevails, asks Rob Gill
ith all the talk about ride-hailing apps, car-sharing and electric vehicles, it would perhaps be tempting to think of chauffeur-drive as a luxurious anachronism that most corporates are now shying away from. But leading chauffeur-drive players say demand for their services continues to grow, particularly when visiting unfamiliar destinations, and is driven by an increased focus on duty of care and a desire by companies to provide a high-quality and personalised service to their travellers. Martin Edwards, Chief Operating Officer of TBR Global Chauffeuring, says: “Even in the age of ride-hailing apps, we find the demand is still there for corporate travellers who prefer the premium service of a professional chauffeur and the guaranteed amenities that come with opting for a ground transportation provider. Duty of care is of paramount importance to the customer.” 16
Similarly, Germany-based chauffeur firm Blacklane says it has seen sales double year-on-year, helped by an increased focus by corporates on the safety and security of employees along with an “easier and more efficient” booking process. There are still plenty of circumstances where corporates are willing to pay for a chauffeur-drive service, adds Dave Tanner, Senior Manager, Thought Leadership, at American Express Global Business Travel. “Depending on local conditions, chauffeurdrive can offer a better travel experience than other ground transport modes,” he says. “In some destinations, traveller safety concerns may mean corporations will want to limit ground transport options to vetted chauffeured services only.” However, Rebecca Deadman, Commercial Director at Blue Cube Travel, says it has “noticed a fall in demand for chauffeur-drive in recent years as other more cost-effective
alternatives have come into the market”. She adds: “One of the most frustrating aspects of chauffeur-drive is final price and instant purchase. With Uber, clients have a fair idea of the price at the point of sale. It’s still a very grey area with chauffeurs, as we are invoiced after the event and add-ons are applied such as waiting time and parking.”
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When we talk about the end-to-end business trip, it’s still the ground transport elements that are the most difficult to book” TBR
The difficulty in being able to shop, compare and book ground transport – including chauffeur-drive services – through corporate booking tools has long been a bugbear of travel buyers, who have been left frustrated by a lack of suitable technology and the fragmentation of this part of the industry. “When we talk about the end-to-end
business trip, it’s still the ground transport elements that are the most difficult to book,” says one UK buyer. “The market is so fragmented and technology needs to solve it.” Driving change So what are the chauffeur-drive companies doing to clear these hurdles? Tristar, which is part of the Addison Lee Group, says it is “agnostic” about the booking platforms, offering its own digital channels and API links for sales through third parties. David Bruce, Managing Director, Tristar EMEA and APAC, adds: “We have invested in our core operating system and seen material improvements in how we service our customers at scale.” Greg Mendoza, Vice President, International Operations at Carey International, says it is making services “as available as possible, whichever booking method clients want to use”, including through API links and GDSs.
API links are also being used by TBR Global Chauffeuring with key customers “embedding our content and capability directly into their systems”, as well as using aggregators, such as GroundSpan, Mozio and GroundScope. The latter integrated both Blacklane and Carey last year, and incorporates over 600 local ground transport services across the world, including chauffeur services, taxi firms and coach companies. Some TMCs are also enhancing services. American Express GBT, for example, has created a multi-channel ground transport platform offering chauffeur-drive, taxis, airport express trains and ride-sharing services in a single app. Going green Another clear trend is growing demand from corporate clients for more environmentally friendly vehicles to be made available for their travellers, as well as requests for the
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Buyers want us to help them meet their CSR goals. Nearly every RFP asks about sustainability initiatives” ability to carbon-offset their journeys. Operators are responding to meet these requirements from clients: Blacklane introduced its “Green Class” of emissionsfree rides in 2018 which uses Tesla electric cars – this service is now available in 29 cities in 13 countries, including the UK. “Buyers want us to help them meet their CSR goals. Nearly every RFP asks about sustainability initiatives,” says Sascha Meskendahl, Blacklane’s Chief Revenue Officer. This is clearly something all major players are taking seriously, particularly with evertighter emissions rules being introduced by
some major cities, such as London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which charges an extra £12.50 for the most polluting vehicles in the city centre. Tristar’s David Bruce says Addison Lee Group has spent more than £40million on vehicles to comply with ULEZ – including the recent addition of fully electric Audi e-trons – while also launching the Greener Future Programme to offset emissions. As for electric vehicles, Carey’s Greg Mendoza says there are currently no suitable options for the chauffeur-drive market but he expects this to change soon. “There isn’t an electric vehicle that ticks all the boxes to do the job – in terms of size, comfort, luggage capacity and cost,” he explains. “If we converted our whole fleet to electric vehicles now it would double prices. When we see the right vehicle that works for us, then we would definitely buy it.” Instead, Carey's entire fleet will be made up of hybrid vehicles by the end of 2020.
Despite facing an almost unprecedented wave of competition, the chauffeur-drive sector is stepping up its game to take on the ride-hailing and car-sharing operators. All this choice should be good for both buyers and their travellers but there are still clearly challenges to be met when it comes to providing the right technology to improve the shopping and booking experience.
Glasgow, Manchester & London Boston Shanghai Dubai
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The Worldâ€™s Premier Chauffeured Services
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20/05/2019 08:01 5/24/19 10:47 AM
AND THE 2019 WINNERS ARE... The business travel and meetings industry came together in May at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London Tower Bridge to ﬁnd out – and celebrate – the winners of The Business Travel People Awards 2019. Around 450 people attended the lunchtime ceremony where ﬁnalists were recognised for their exceptional work over the last 12 months. Guests included students from the University of Greenwich who were invited along as part of a mentoring partnership. A panel of judges chose the winners in 16 categories, with the victors jetting oﬀ to Boston with Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and Loews Hotels this summer. To read a full description of each category, view all the ﬁnalists and ﬁnd out more about the awards, please visit thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com
TMCs AND HBAs CATEGORIES
Operations Manager of the Year Tracey Wilson, Blue Cube Operations Team of the Year Client Services, Business Travel Direct
SUPPLIER CATEGORIES Account Manager of the Year Mohammed Laher, Sixt Rent A Car
Reservations Consultant of the Year Jill Burnett, BCD Travel
Account Management Team of the Year Corporate and TMC Account Management Team, Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines
Reservations Team of the Year Production, Sports & Creative Team, Corporate Traveller
Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Jason Dunderdale, Sixt Rent A Car
Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Andy Boorman, Advantage Travel Partnership
Sales/Business Development Team of the Year London North Eastern Railway (LNER)
Sales/Business Development Team of the Year Click Travel
Account Manager of the Year Colin Harvey, BCD
MICE Manager of the Year Sarah Symington, Capita Travel and Events
Account Management Team of the Year Click Travel
MICE Team of the Year Major Global Events Team, TBR Global
INDUSTRY AWARDS Best Newcomer Rob Cope, Corporate Travel Management Rising Star Hugo Jarvis, Blue Cube Travel Special Recognition Award 2019 Ken McLeod, for services to the travel industry and The Business Travel People Awards
RECOGNISING E XCE LLE NCE IN BU SINE SS TRAV E L THEBUS INE SSTRAV E LPE OPLE AWA RDS.COM
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The Business Travel People Awards 2019
Recognise, reward, retain!
Around 450 people gathered at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London Tower Bridge in May for the eighth annual Business Travel People Awards. The winners across 16 categories were revealed, as well as a Special Recognition Award for popular industry leader Ken McLeod
The Business Travel People Awards 2019 â–ź
Around 450 guests in attendance
2019's Rising Star
Celebrations continue at a post-lunch drinks reception
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Congratulations to all the winners at The Business Travel People Awards 2019
The Business Travel People Awards 2019 ▼
With thanks to all our sponsors
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The days of lengthy, complex travel policies are numbered and simpliﬁcation is now the order of the day, writes Rob Gill
he days when bulky printed travel policies lay gathering dust in office drawers or lurked in a rarely visited corner of a company intranet may not quite be over, but there are signs that travel policy is being seen in a new light. Technology is helping to bring elements of travel policy to life: many online booking tools warn travellers if they are about to book a flight or hotel that’s out of policy before they complete the process. Often this is done using a “traffic light” system to persuade travellers to book, if not the best option, at least one that complies with policy. Priorities within policies are also shifting. While improving duty of care has long been an essential part of policies, this is now going beyond safety and security to tackle issues such as the health, wellbeing and productivity of travellers on the road. 24
One trend, which pretty much everybody agrees on, is that corporate travel policies are being “streamlined” and those which used to run to 20 or 30 pages are disappearing. Some organisations have even got their policies down to just one or two pages of A4 detailing a few key principles for employees to follow. Jo Lloyd, a partner at consultancy Nina & Pinta, says clients are making their policies “easier to follow and less complicated”. She says: “How they carry this out depends very much on the company that they work in and who ‘owns’ the travel policy. What is recognised is that this is a collaborative process and engaging the right stakeholders is key.” Lesley O’Bryan, Vice President and Principal of BCD Travel’s consultancy arm Advito, says travel policies have to use technology to “become more dynamic”.
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“To start the streamlining process, we recommend clients benchmark their travel policy to identify gaps that need to be addressed,” she adds. “There are then several ways to condense the policy to make it more absorbable for travellers – like adding hyperlinks in the body of the document to other referral materials.” There has also been a move away from corporates operating two-tier travel policies where the top executives or VIPs in an organisation have previously been allowed to follow different rules to the rest of the employees. Click Travel’s Director of Operations, Chris Vince, says many clients have been “flattening” travel policy, so that a single set of rules applies across the company. Another area of agreement is that communication is crucial to achieve a successful streamlining or simplification of a travel policy. Fail to secure “buy-in” from
travellers and any policy changes are likely to hit a brick wall. Lea Duchemin, Account Manager at Corporate Traveller, says: “Corporates need to let their travellers know of any policy changes and the reasons for those changes. Technology helps this process – whether that’s via the client’s intranet, internal communication channels or their TMC’s online booking tool. “Engaging with individual travellers really helps to drive compliance. Travellers can check whether they are in policy providing it has been communicated to them.”
To mandate or not
Whether to mandate a travel policy often depends on the particular sector the organisation operates in, or its own internal corporate culture. Many companies choose to use elements of both “carrot and stick” in their efforts to
There has been a move away from two-tier travel policies where the top executives or VIPs in an organisation have previously been allowed to follow different rules” drive higher compliance levels. One industry that tends to see higher levels of mandated travel policy is the energy sector, which has its own unique dynamics in terms of moving ship crews and rig workers around the world. Alice Linley-Munro, Travel Analyst at Oil Spill Response, says: “Our policy is mandated and there are consequences for stepping outside of it which range in severity dependent on the number of
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times the traveller has done it before and just how badly they’ve stepped outside of the lines. “For the most part our travellers are good at sticking to what they should be doing, which boils down to booking through the correct channels and not going directly to suppliers.” But for other industries, there can be a danger that having too strict a policy could be off-putting for younger employees – particularly millennials and the even younger Generation Z (the oldest of whom are now in their early 20s) who are just starting to join the workforce. “As the workforce gets younger, the more staff are looking for choice and culture outside of just pay, and so they will pay more attention to policy such as travel,” says Darryl McGarvey, Director of Channel Development at SAP Concur. “I’d suggest that the more severe that the travel policy is, the more restricted you may find yourself for talent acquisition and retention.” One company drawing attention to policy compliance is TravelPerk. Richard Viner, newly appointed UK Country Manager of the online platform, claims it delivers “100% travel policy compliance while putting trip control back in the hands of those travelling”. Viner says business travellers are more likely to comply with policy if they're provided full content and user-friendly technology. “They want the consumer grade experience they have in the leisure travel world,” he says. Former buyer Louise Kilgannon, now a consultant at Festive Road, says more clients are now putting in place “travellercentric” policies. “We are definitely seeing a move away from the stick to the carrot in organisations,” she adds. “A culture encouraging travellers to ‘do the right thing’ is becoming more normal.”
As the workforce gets younger, the more they are looking for choice and culture outside of just pay, so will pay attention to policy such as travel” “We are starting to see traveller wellbeing being considered as part of duty of care,” says Jo Lloyd from Nina & Pinta. “Technology makes it even easier to monitor and track traveller activity and we see accommodations being made accordingly. This covers everything from levels of policy based on the amount somebody needs to travel through to the use of video collaboration technology for internal meetings.” Hugo Jarvis, Account Manager at Blue Cube Travel, agrees mental health and
Health and wellbeing
Another key trend over the past few years has been a new focus on the health and wellbeing of travellers, and this is a consideration starting to find its way into more enlightened travel policies.
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wellbeing are “becoming more important” for clients, with elements starting to appear in their policies. But there is also a balance to be struck alongside other key travel priorities. “One of the most difficult things for someone writing a travel policy to achieve is to put the traveller’s health and wellbeing first, while at the same time delivering a cost and time-effective strategy to travel,” he says. Indeed, Reed & Mackay's CEO, Fred Stratford, says some clients have lowered the threshold for business class partly with wellbeing in mind. ”We’ve had some clients changing policy but we’re still scratching the surface,” he says. ”But wellbeing is definitely changing the way people recruit and retain staff.” To improve wellbeing some organisations will have certain rules such as allowing employees to travel in business class if the flight is over a certain duration – typically six or seven hours – or they could be permitted a chauffeur-driven transfer from the airport to their hotel if they are arriving after a long-haul flight. Other initiatives include allowing employees to work from home after a long-haul trip, particularly if jet lag is a factor. But all the talk about traveller wellbeing is not yet necessarily resulting in concrete changes to travel policies, says Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at Business Travel Direct. “What we are finding is that we are having to produce a lot more data surrounding this subject, to help identify who are the main road warriors within the company and which travellers regularly travel or stay away overnight,” she adds. These changes in attitudes and priorities may sum up the way travel policies need to be more flexible and adaptable these days – rather than some weighty tome that gets dusted down every couple of years for a cursory review or tweak. Fortunately, improved technology, including new communication tools, should help ease the pain for buyers worried about having to manage a constantly changing travel policy.
[ PUSH THE WRONG BUTTONS ] Gamification was all the rage – at least during business travel conferences – a few years ago as a way of rewarding travellers who followed travel policy. Typically, employees who achieved the highest levels of compliance would receive online badges and “high fives”, as well as the kudos of topping company leaderboards. But despite plenty of publicity, it seems gamification has failed to take off in any big way. As Traveldoo’s UK Country Manager Sam Cande puts it: “That came and went as quick as Pokémon Go.” Jaydev Pandit, Account Development Manager, UK & Europe, at Wings Travel Management, agrees: “This digital pat on the back was not a sufficiently popular incentive and as a result gamification largely failed to achieve its purpose.” The internal resources needed by organisations to tap into gamification may have been another stumbling block, adds Click Travel’s James Vince. “It’s really tailed off,” he says. “It’s a massive investment for an individual organisation and involves quite a bit of administration.” Having said this, many in the industry believe there is still a place for using incentives to manage travellers behaviour. SAP Concur’s Darryl McGarvey talks up the incentives offered by the likes of Rocketrip, which operates a rewards scheme for travellers who save money on bookings. “It’s also important to allow travellers to access and use the apps they use in their own time,” he adds. “By bringing these into the corporate environment, you can ensure policy compliance and programme utilisation in a controlled and measurable way.” Festive Road’s Louise Kilgannon believes travellers will always be more interested in securing real-life vouchers. “The ‘what’s in it for me’ question isn’t always satisfied with a shiny digital badge,” she adds. “Gamification has not proved transformational, but can be a really effective driver if used alongside targeted engagement efforts.” If a corporate chooses to create some sort of rewards programme, Fello’s Head of Client Services, James Newns, warns they should “be aware of the tax implications”.
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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 spacesâ€Ś 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 Londonâ€™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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www.banksidehotel.com 5/30/19 04:08 PM
ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
Advantage Travel Conference Future proof Cadiz in southern Spain welcomed delegates to the travel consortium’s annual conference. Sasha Wood reports Technology and how TMCs can plot a path to the future through the shifting landscape of business travel were two of the key themes at this year’s Advantage Conference. More than 400 delegates gathered in Cadiz for networking and advice on topics as diverse as RFPs and defining business image to embracing new technology and AI. In the opening plenary session, Advantage’s Chief Executive, Julia Lo-Bue Said, noted that legislation and technology continue to create challenges for the industry, while Advantage’s Global Product Director, Neil Armorgie agreed: “We all recognise that tech is playing an increasing role in TMCs.” This was addressed in a session looking at the role of future tech and AI in the travel business. “AI is moving into the travel industry and it’s not letting go,” said Steve Dunne, CEO of Digital Drums. There’s now big data on all our travel habits and it’s allowing AI algorithms, customised search platforms and website chatbots to spread. Speaker Michael McSperrin from Alexander Mann Solutions said we need to maintain a balance between human interaction and efficient automation. Thankfully robots won’t
TO BOT OR NOT TO BOT Well over 70% expect artificial intelligence to fundamentally transform their customer experience strategy and how consumers view their brand, while 87% are already evaluating and integrating AI
be taking our jobs any time soon: “AI will augment the business, taking over mundane tasks, freeing you up for more in-depth work.” Another session, TMC Identity Crisis, looked at strategies for defining a business. On the basis that “nobody can be all things to everyone”, Festive Road’s Louise Kilgannon led a two-hour role-playing workshop in which TMCs adopted a persona. The TMCs of the future included a crème de la crème premium model providing outstanding service no
matter the cost, and a new breed of digitallydriven TMC that uses new technology, including data analytics, to their advantage. In another lively breakout, dubbed RFP Tennis, travel managers were pitted against TMCs to debate issues around RFPs, with both sides conceding the process needs to be more transparent. “From what I’ve been hearing, there needs to be more dialogue between buyers and TMCs,” said session umpire and The Business Travel Network MD, David Clare.
NEXT PORT OF CALL
“IN 250 RFPs, I HAVE NEVER BEEN ASKED BY A TMC, 'CAN I MEET YOUR INTERNAL CUSTOMERS?'. THERE ARE HIDDEN COSTS TO NOT ENGAGING THE TRAVELLER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO STRESS AND WELLBEING"
Portugal is the next port of call for the annual Advantage Travel Conference. It will be hosted in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira from May 15-18, 2020
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THE BIG PICTURE
NEW YORK city The Big Apple is the worldâ€™s most expensive city for business trips, according to research from ECA International. Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles also appear in the top ten, together with four Swiss cities: Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Bern. London is the tenth most expensive city for those visiting on business.
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Senior Vice President, Airbus
KATHERINE BENNETT The Airbus SVP speaks to Andy Hoskins about its stance on Brexit and sustainable aviation developments as it marks 50 years in business
atherine Bennett’s storied career to date includes almost 15 years at Airbus – incorporating a twoyear stint at its global headquarters in Toulouse – and, previously, a role heading up government affairs at General Motors. “I’ve done cars and planes but I have no intention of doing trains at the moment,” Bennett quips. Her considerable achievements have been recognised firstly with an OBE for services to industry and charity in 2004 and then, this January, a CBE for services to the aerospace and aviation sector. She describes her current role at Airbus as ambassadorial, leading external engagement and strategy in the UK. Brexit is naturally high on the agenda and the organisation’s stance has been well publicised. “No deal is an extremely bad thing for Airbus and the aerospace sector is being completely consistent in saying that,” says Bennett. “Despite what some of the more Brexit-supporting ministers said, it is not that straightforward. We have thousands and thousands of parts moving across borders. You could have a case where one truck not getting through a border could hold the production line up.” Airbus has spent nearly €100million on stockpiling parts and various logistical activities in preparation for a potential no-deal Brexit, which it has said could cost the company €1billion a week. In addition, post-Brexit, the UK would no longer be a full member of the European 32
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), adding further complications for Airbus. “Way before Brexit we said we didn’t want one European safety agency, one American safety agency, one Chinese agency – we’d rather have a global regulator,” Bennett explains. “So going back to being on our island with the CAA is absolutely contrary to what we saw the industry needed.” She also highlights the need for collaboration if the aviation sector is to address its environmental responsibilities. “Our company and our sector has to play its part in tackling the climate change challenges,” says Bennett. “It’s got to be with our partners in aerospace and aviation, that’s the airline operators, the engine designers and the airports. And also, here in Europe, improvements in air traffic management – we’re still operating with air traffic management set up in the 1950s.” The company has signed up to some “tough targets”, including the industry’s goal of halving its carbon emissions on 2005 levels by 2050, and also aims to reduce
Our company and our sector has to play its part in tackling the climate change challenges and it’s got to be done with our partners in aerospace and aviation”
emissions through its own operations by 5% this year. Meanwhile, work on developing alternative fuels and electric power is one of its top priorities currently. E-Fan X, announced in 2017, is Airbus’ latest electric concept. “It is based on an earlier version, E-Fan, which was the first electric flight over the Channel a couple of years ago, so it is based on hard facts and real flights,” explains Bennett. “We have a vision that in the next 15 years we could see aircraft under the 100-seat mark propelled by hybrid propulsion.” By that time it is possible the company’s much-loved A380 ’superjumbos’ will be in their last days of active service, with Airbus announcing it will cease production in 2021. “It’s a great icon of the aviation industry,” says Bennett. “We had less demand than we were hoping and than had been predicted. Emirates reduced their order and their demand is now being met by our other aircraft in the slightly smaller segment.” That includes the A350, which Bennett quickly points out is the fastest-growing aircraft in aviation history. “We’re adapting and working on it and that’s the key focus for Airbus now. We’ve had an A350 fly one of the longest flights ever done, from Singapore to New York, so maybe that will be the future – improving the midsize aircraft,” says Bennett. “It will be exciting to see how the aviation sector responds to the use of new technology that permits these longer flights.”
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in brief... You've been involved in several diversity initiatives including Pride@Airbus and founding the UK’s Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter... It was an idea that came about as a result of a meeting we had with the then aviation minister Baroness Sugg. We launched at Farnborough (Airshow) last year and just last month announced we have 100 signatories. It has real momentum. It’s not just a bit of paper – it’s solid work we’re doing. The companies signing up have made various commitments to improving gender diversity. EasyJet and Flybe have already done a lot of work getting more female pilots onboard. We’ve had a lot of interest from other countries – Germany and the Netherlands – and a lot of support in Ireland too.
KATHERINE BENNETT Katherine is a Senior Vice President of Airbus and has been with the company for 14 years. She leads the company’s external engagement and strategy in the UK and reports directly to the Global CEO, Guillaume Faury. Katherine has held roles in communications and spent two years based at Airbus HQ in Toulouse, France. She has previously headed up government aﬀairs at General Motors UK. Katherine was awarded a CBE in January 2019 for services to the aerospace and aviation sector, which follows her OBE in June 2004 for services to industry and charity.
You're a church organist in your spare time... Yes, I played at a wedding just last Saturday and I actually get paid for doing it! It's hardly anything but it’s nice to get paid for doing something using your brain and your hands. I’ve been a musician since I was a child so it keeps me busy. I do a lot of singing as well and I’m taking a singing exam next month. It’s my hobby and my release. I also started the Airbus Filton Workplace Choir. We’ve now got 30 members and it’s been a very engaging and energising thing to do.
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The Business Travel Conference 2019
Quick, sign up now to secure your free place at TBTC'19!
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 2019 returns to the Hilton London Bankside this September. Details of the full conference programme are now available, and there's plenty to keep delegates busy. With around 60 leading business travel and meetings suppliers attending our integrated exhibition, there is plenty of reason to network too – our ‘silent conference’ headphones mean you can dip in and out of sessions without missing any of the great content. We are pleased to welcome Star Alliance as the conference's headline sponsor and Air Europa and Yapta as executive sponsors of the event. This year we will be supporting the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children through our raffle in the Monday Drinks and Canapé reception. The organisation’s chairman, Michael Son, BEM, says: “We are so thrilled to be your nominated charity. It will help to highlight the wonderful work we are doing and promote awareness.” The Business Travel Conference takes place on September 17-18 at London Hilton Bankside. Suppliers who want to book a stand should contact Kirsty.Hicks@ bmipublishing.co.uk or call 07747 697772. Corporate buyers and arrangers are invited to sign up for complimentary visitor passes via the conference website at: thebusinesstravelconference.com
LTCFC, which began in 1928, runs annual outings and funds appeals for special needs children
PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS DAY O N E : T U E S DAY 1 7 S E P T E M B E R
• Opening keynote: Gillian Keegan MP, sponsored by Air Europa • View from the top: a trio of industry figures reflect on the industry’s current trends and challenges • On the button: how to select, implement and drive adoption of online booking tools • Deals on wheels: find out how to optimise your car hire and rail travel spend • Sleep talk: is it time for a change of approach to your accommodation needs? • Small wonders: helping SMEs make the most of their travel spend • New kids on the block: discover a new wave of tools and TMCs on the market • Air time: take your air travel spend to new heights with expert guidance
DAY T W O : W E D N E S DAY 1 8 S E P T E M B E R
• The clinic: three leading travel managers discuss their travel programmes and the challenges they currently face • Going to market: sourcing the best TMC for your particular needs • The mavericks: get rogue travellers under control and gain compliance • In safe hands: risk mitigation, traveller tracking and duty of care in the spotlight • Fit for purpose: making wellbeing central to your policy • Closing keynote: Sir Trevor McDonald brings the conference to a close with a keynote address Star man: Sir Trevor McDonald is keynote speaker on Day Two
• TBTC Drinks & Canapé Reception Wind down with complimentary drinks and canapés plus a charity raffle with fabulous prizes kindly donated by our exhibitors in aid of London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children.
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For the first time, The Business Travel Conference will feature a dedicated travel wellbeing zone with a range of experts on hand to administer advice 2019 SPONSORS
STAR ALLIANCE FURTHER ENHANCES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AT HEATHROW This June, Star Alliance celebrates its ﬁfth anniversary of operations at London Heathrow Terminal 2 І The Queen’s Terminal In 2014 the purpose-built facility became the home of Star Alliance member carriers operating to and from Heathrow, with the aim of oﬀering customers a state-of-theart travel experience with seamless transfer options. To further improve the customer experience for those travelling via Heathrow, Star Alliance introduced its Connection Service earlier this year. This assists passengers with tight connections between two Star Alliance member's ﬂights.
Dedicated staﬀ use special software to monitor the transfer window for customers with onward ﬂights. Cases where passengers and checked bags appear in danger of missing a connection are automatically highlighted. The agent can consider the various options available to ensure that the customer reaches the onward ﬂight, or if necessary book alternative options, before the inbound ﬂight even lands. Find out more about the Star Alliance airlines serving Heathrow at staralliance.com
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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
Traveller Wellbeing Conference Healthy outlook The first Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference took place in London in April, where The Business Travel Magazine was media partner. Andy Hoskins reports At the first event of its kind in the business travel industry, a diverse line-up of speakers delivered practical advice to help educate, inform and shape delegates’ corporate travel programmes. “Wellbeing is no longer niche,” said Steve Dunne of Well Intelligence. “It is mainstream and it will change the way we talk about everything. The next generation of employees is joining the workforce and is being so much more demanding around wellbeing. And there is growing evidence that better wellbeing means a stronger economy.” Andy Neilson of Twisted Orange shared his story of deteriorating mental health as a high-flying procurement professional, advising attendees to lookout for vulnerable people within their own organisations. “I thought I was in control, a role model, confident and invincible… but in reality I was scared, miserable, unproductive and uncommunicative,” he said. “I was tired and exhausted all the time and I didn’t know who to talk to.” Now on the road to recovery, he said: “If you have business travellers in your
ON THE BEAT Ever considered monitoring employees’ Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to assess an individual’s health? Tim Wright of First Beat explained how to go about it – and why it’s growing in popularity 36
organisation then there will be people there with problems. Unfortunately I don’t think the stigma of mental health will go so you have to build in the fact your travellers probably won’t ask for help.” Matthew Holman of Simpila highlighted research that shows one in four adults will have a diagnosed mental illness each year, yet only 20% of business travellers with mental illness tell their employer. Holman said that in 20 years as a regular business
traveller there were two questions he was never asked. “Firstly, nobody ever asked me if I was fit to travel – it was the expectation that you have to go. And secondly, nobody ever asked how I was when I got back.” Meanwhile, sleep expert Rachel McGuinness of Wake Up with Zest said that some research has indicated that every time zone crossed during a flight equates to one day until you feel fully fit again, highlighting the impact of long-haul travel.
“SLEEP DEPRIVATION IS A PRECURSOR TO DEPRESSION, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, STROKE, HEART DISEASE – AND WORSE”
The Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference was organised by The Business Travel Network in partnership with Amber Road, Virgin Atlantic, Melia Hotels, ANA and South Western Railways
Sleep expert Rachel McGuinness, Chief Vitality Officer at Wake Up with Zest
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WELCOME TO A NEW LEVEL OF HOSPITALITY
The Level at Meliรก White House is a new concept of a boutique hotel within a hotel; offering exceptional services for the discerning traveller. Whether for business or leisure, guests will experience a personalised service to make their stay an unforgettable experience. Private check-in with drinks welcome
Packing and unpacking of luggage
Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout
Pressing of one shirt per day
Luxury bath amenities 24hr room service
Complimentary access to the exclusive Level Lounge; a private area where guests can enjoy a selection of drinks and snacks throughout the day
Book via melia.com or call +44 (0)20 7391 3000
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A warm welcome
TBTM Dinner CLub
Dinner at the Corinthia The Business Travel Magazine’s latest Dinner Club took place in May and was hosted for the first time at the Corinthia Hotel London. Matthew Holman of Simpila spoke on the subject of wellbeing, while South Western Railway, Amadeus, Etihad Airways and Avis Budget Group supported the event
TBTM Dinner Club ▼
Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼
Welcome to the Corinthia Hotel!
Travega Travel Marketing Solutions Worldwide
Five-star luxury at the Corinthia
The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Travega
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[ Data deployment ]
Smooth operators Seamless journeys are on the horizon as industry players put purchasing behaviour and biometric data to practical use, writes Linda Fox
madeus has been working on a Digital Traveller ID which recognises travellers and uses biometric data so they do not need to share their information at every stage of a journey. This is one of a number of initiatives that have come to light in the past couple of years aiming to eliminate some of the friction in a trip, particularly at airports. Emirates' launch of a “biometric path” for travellers at Dubai International Airport late last year is another example. The carrier began testing a system involving ‘checkpoints’ at key locations such as checkin, lounge entry and aircraft boarding that incorporates a mix of facial- and irisrecognition technology. One element is its Smart Tunnel immigration, a collaboration with the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs. The system, which does away with the need for ‘real-life’ immigration officers, gives passengers the green light to go through passport control in under 15 seconds. The wider technology could also be used to locate passengers who might otherwise miss their flights. Many travel companies, including Amadeus, are also working with the World Travel and Tourism Council on its Seamless Traveller Journey initiative. This aims to use biometrics to not only make it easier for travellers to pass through airport controls but also brings in car rental, hotels and other industry segments to help join up the journey.
The Solid Project, which is being led by world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, is all about consumers getting back control of their data” The Digital Traveller ID is connected to the traveller’s passport so that they remain in control of all their information and choose who to share it with. The distribution company revealed details of the concept during its recent Amadeus
T3CH event in Madrid. Some airline customers will pilot the technology, which could also have the benefit of enabling travel companies to personalise services to travellers who share their information. These sorts of developments point towards a definite trend in how travellers view and share their personal data. And, while these initiatives are to do with physical travel, other developments such as the Solid Project are more to do with the virtual side of things. The Solid Project, which is being led by world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the acclaimed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is all about consumers getting back control of their data. Berners-Lee, who was also at the Amadeus event, talks of storing data in a Personal Online Data store, or POD for short. He paints a picture for the travel industry where all his data, including past purchase behaviour, passport details, food preferences and other likes and dislikes, is stored on a Solid Pod and travellers can give access to it to trusted travel companies. These companies could then use the information to make much more precise recommendations to wouldbe customers. Applications, both storing and interacting with the data, would be compatible as both would be developed using the Solid platform. These sorts of developments could fundamentally change how travel is researched and booked and reinstill trust in brands. They will also drastically improve the travel experience itself which can only be a good thing for corporate travellers. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com 39
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
hen Marriott completed the purchase of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016, it created the world’s largest hotel group, with 30 brands, 5,800 properties and 1.1 million rooms across 110 countries. And although, over the years, consolidation has reduced the overall number of global hotel groups, the number of brands owned by each one has grown. Acquisitive Accor is now the largest chain in Europe and is spreading its wings worldwide via financial interests in, or takeovers of, other hotel groups. In 2018 alone, this included Mantis Group in South Africa, Mövenpick, SBE Entertainments Group (which embraces brands such as Mondrian, Hyde and newly created The House of Originals), US management company 21C Century Hotels and Polish chain Orbis. There is also increasing emphasis on luxury. IHG has bought Kimpton and UK hotel group Principal, many of which have been rebranded to Kimpton, plus Regent and Six Senses. Best Western has grown its upper upscale and luxury portfolio through the acquisition of WorldHotels, and launched upmarket boutique brands Sadie and Aiden; Deutsche 40
Hospitality is relaunching Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, investing €120million in the existing portfolio, with a global brand strategy of 15% expansion per year; Belmond has been bought by LVMH; Orient Express Hotels has reappeared under the Accor flag, joining the group’s Fairmont, Raffles and Sofitel brands, and more recently, independent boutique hotel collection Greet; and Jumeirah Hotels has announced the group will increase its global presence with another 15 properties in the next five years and will eventually create a third, ‘super luxury’ brand. Got all that? All this activity puts new focus on loyalty programmes, which continue to evolve. Marriott finally integrated Starwood Preferred Guest into Marriott Rewards late last year, naming it Marriott Bonvoy and uniting 120 million members. And Accor has announced an investment of €225million in creating ALL which, by the end of 2019, will bring the company’s eclectic portfolio on to one platform, allowing B2B, B2C and SME customers access to every element of Accor’s increasingly diverse offering. Behind the scenes and rarely recognised as playing a major role in negotiations is the franchising of brands, as a result of which hotels are being run by different parties,
© Abaca Corporate/Xabier Aldazabal
As global hotel groups continue to expand their line-ups with new brands and acquisitions, Catherine Chetwynd surveys the latest moves and what they mean for buyers
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
Rarely recognised as playing a major role in negotiations is the franchising of brands, as a result of which hotels are being run by different partiesâ€? ACCOR's MERCURE
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
Barely a week goes by without someone somewhere announcing another brand. It is driven by the need of the big global hotel companies to continue to spread their wings” often under the same brand name. “Whereas 20 or 30 years ago, we started seeing the split of bricks and brains (property and operator), in the last five years in particular, we have seen the separation of brand, operator and owner,” says consultant to the hotel industry, Melvin Gold. “Although a buyer may sign a global deal with a group, where they are dealing with a favoured hotel near their office or in a certain location, even where they are using the same brand in Bordeaux and Barnsley, they may be negotiating with separate operators – I think that makes it slightly more cumbersome to deal with,” he says. “When an organisation is looking for a particularly sweet agreement because it is a big company, but not the biggest in Barnsley, is it going to inspire an operator to give them the best possible rate just because they give business to a property
IHG'S HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
in the same hotel group in Bordeaux, where they happen to be that hotel’s biggest corporate client, but when the two properties are run by different franchisees?” asks Gold. “And a corporate might know the European sales director for one of the big hotel companies but that person is often having to deal with someone who is operating a hotel on the company’s behalf and they are dealing with the cultural differences inherent in that. It should be seamless but it isn’t necessarily, and their interests are different.”
hotel group can take further advantage of the location is to offer a different brand. “That is the main reason we are seeing this plethora of brands,” he explains. The current leader in the field of acquisitions is Accor, which has managed to purchase a business or brand every month over the two years to 2018 with a view to providing augmented hospitality.
The diversification game
The unstoppable juggernaut of brands is a major characteristic of global hotel groups and is certainly not in response to customer demand. “Barely a week goes by without someone somewhere announcing another brand. It is driven by the need of the big global hotel companies to continue to spread their wings,” says Gold. A management or franchise agreement may give exclusivity of a particular brand within a defined radius, so the only way the
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Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
IHG'S ATWELL SUITES
In addition to hotels, this wide array of companies includes restaurant reservation and table management platform ResDiary, catering platform Adoria, hotel booking software Availpro and concièrge service John Paul. “In the past four years, Accor has acquired a number of businesses in areas that don’t fit straight into the heart of hospitality, and we are working very closely with all those businesses to support the disruption of hotels,” says Senior Vice President Commercial, Northern Europe for Accor, Karelle Lamouche.
Be clear about expectations, not just the budget, and be clear about the brief when placing a piece of business: give as much info as you can to hotels so they can match your needs” 44
“We are diversifying the business. They are not rooms but contribute to the whole hospitality experience. Accor is a relatively large connectivity player and we use and work with these groups to enable us to connect with a variety of markets. “We will be using Availpro for connectivity, the announcement of a hotel website or any e-commerce activity,” she says. “It also enables us to bring additional knowledge and skills to the market. We have merged Availpro with Fastbooking to create D-Edge, providing technology that helps hoteliers maximise distribution revenues.” And it does not stop there. With co-working now a hot topic, Accor has launched Wojo co-working space in a joint venture with Nextdoor in all Ibis properties where public areas are being revamped. “We don’t need hundreds of square metres to check someone in, so what are we going to do with that space instead?” says Lamouche. “Consumers have become more social, which adds to the appeal of those spaces, and from an owner’s perspective they are
more profitable. We have also introduced some food and beverage services. “All those additional companies and brands complement the hospitality experience and attract more people from outside, making the lobby more lively. We are reinventing and transforming traditional hospitality,” Lamouche explains.
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
Take a good look at dynamic pricing opportunities and give us the chance as hoteliers to demonstrate that it is deﬁnitely worthwhile” Negotiating a deal
Interestingly, the large hotel groups will mostly not commit to a negotiating yardstick. Lamouche points out that where some buyers want a global contract, others like WPP, advertising agency and parent company of JWT, prefer to have a regional or national agreement. “Suggestions are put forward by the operating companies per area of operation to WPP Travel and they handle the rate negotiations with those properties,” says Europe Middle East and Africa HR and Mobility Manager for JWT, Winky Evans. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts will start to talk in “most locations” at between 100 and 200 room nights per year, with caveats such as commitments on projected/guaranteed revenue and location. And aspiring global group Maritim Hotels (43 properties in seven countries, and growing) sets a minimum volume of 50
CHOICE HOTELS' ASCEND
room nights per year, with more favourable rates for larger volumes. Although there are still companies wading through RFPs. “Buyers now favour BAR rates, which are more tailormade to the needs of the client, particularly when booking Tuesday and Wednesday, the two most commonly requested corporate room nights,” says Director of International Sales for Maritim, Mark Spivey. Wyndham continues to see consolidation of key programmes, with dynamic discount pricing to supplement this. Early check-in/ late check-out and complimentary airport transfers are high on most buyers’ list for added value touches. Karelle Lamouche urges buyers to “look at dynamic pricing and give us the opportunity to demonstrate that it is definitely worthwhile going for it”. She says the more mature markets such as the UK are increasingly lean towards this. Alternatively, “Make use of the global chain discount programmes to improve the competitiveness of the rates you receive year-round,” says Wyndham’s Regional Vice President for Western Europe, Patrick Divall. And the advice from Head of Sales for Best Western Great Britain, Nikki Farr, is: “Be clear about expectations, not just the budget, and be clear about the brief when placing a piece of business: give as much information as you can to hotels, so they can match your needs.”
IHG'S HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
One global organisation is elevating dynamic pricing to an art form. Previously, it would negotiate fixed pricing with hundreds of properties worldwide, with the process taking six months to complete. Meanwhile, hoteliers had been steadfastly selling the idea of dynamic pricing for years and, finally, the organisation took the plunge – and to considerable effect. Instead of hundreds of negotiated fixed rates achieved over six months, today the firm has a negotiated rate at thousands of properties worldwide and the cycle of renewal takes six to eight weeks. These form the foundation of chain-wide
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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS
Hoteliers had been steadfastly selling the idea of dynamic pricing for years and, ﬁnally, the organisation took the plunge – and to considerable effect”
CHOICE HOTELS' CAMBRIA
discounts with the company's principal hotel providers globally. The discounts either provide a fixed percentage off the best available rate of the day or a fixed rate within the organisation's permitted city cap. The change enables the business to see whether a property is remaining competitive in relation to the city gap and the shorter cycle also frees up time to be invested in other projects. In addition, where savings were previously difficult to achieve on short-term highvolume projects that sprang up at short notice, a price is now in place even before a project gets the green light. Some hotels have gone “from zero to over 1,000 room nights overnight” because projects were suddenly secured, but travellers can now take advantage of a negotiated rate at those properties. The business should now find a negotiated rate wherever they go. What's more, travellers get same day cancellation, complimentary wifi access and free gym use, which the firm has negotiated as part of the programme. Previously “they would have had none of that”. And better still, traveller feedback shows satisfaction is at an all-time high. The arrangement is proving a success for the
business, its hotel partners and its travellers. If the current trend towards integrating increasingly diverse business and leisure requirements continues, hotel groups will be extending hospitality to ensure that guests can work, rest and play, something Mars used to claim for its confectionery bars. Perhaps moving into the chocolate bar business is just a step too far for hotel groups – even Accor.
[[ NUMBERS GAME: THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL GROUPS ]] NUMBERS GAME: THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL GROUPS Group
Percentage share by rooms
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Jin Jiang (incl. Louvre & Radisson)
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT
ProcureCon Travel A question of compliance Ensuring travellers stick to the policy was one of the big discussion points at this year’s ProcureCon Travel, held in Henderson, Nevada, in May. Andy Hoskins reports Company culture plays a significant role in gaining traveller compliance – or not – according to several procurement managers taking to the stage at the two-day event. “I’ve been in organisations with strict travel policies,” said Kim McGlinn of Workday, “but here it’s very simplistic and built around traveller preferences. Having seen both structures, I can say there are a lot more efficiencies in a simplified structure.” McGlinn continued: “Historically our policy has been a guideline line and still is, but people stick to it. The only thing that is required – and it truly is required – is that you book through our system. “If you have your travellers only making decisions within the booking tool then you have them in the right place. We have our preferred suppliers up top within the tool and that’s who they’re choosing.” Another procurement manager noted that as machine learning streamlined their company’s travel programme and reduced choice within its booking tool, compliance was increasingly difficult to achieve.
BIG NAMES The event featured 30 conference sessions and 40 exhibitors, and was attended by over 200 delegates including buyers from Starbucks, the NBA, IBM, Time Warner and KPMG.
“As we got more efficient, we actually ended up with more rogue behaviour. With the internet, everyone thinks they’re the smartest booker around,” they said. The role of travel policy in staff retention and attrition was debated as part of a wider focus on traveller experience on day two. One travel manager, Cheryl Benjamin, said traveller experience can be used to woo prospective employees as well as keep them onboard further down the line. “When we bring in candidates for interview we
WISE WORDS “AS AN INDUSTRY WE’RE SUFFERING FROM APP FATIGUE. WITHIN FIVE YEARS YOU CAN EXPECT A MUCH MORE INTEGRATED TRAVEL EXPERIENCE ON
want to make it as easy as possible for them,” she said. “It’s the little things that from the start show we look after our staff.” Positive travel experiences are also key to retention, said Benjamin, adding that questions about travel policy are included in staff exit interviews. Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s Global Travel Manager, Leslie Hadden, explained how the company's traveller surveys seek feedback on its preferred suppliers, TMC performance and top travel-related stress factors.
PAYING THE PRICE Travellers who chase loyalty points and book outside a company’s preferred hotel programme typically spend 20% more on accommodation, according to IHG’s Ryan Plemmons
OPERATING SYSTEMS” Christina Wrobel, VP Digital Strategy, Carey International
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Following in famous footsteps
Levison Wood Angela Sara West speaks to one of our greatest living explorers about his adventurous career path and lessons learned from his epic walking expeditions
rom riding a badly behaved camel through the Sahara desert to a battle tank in Iraq, not to mention his epic walks along the Nile, Himalayas and the Caucasus, Levison Wood certainly throws himself into his travels. The paratrooper-turned-adventurer grew up reading tales of great explorers past, from Alexander the Great to Speke, Shackleton and T.E. Lawrence, first venturing out into his native Peak District before heading off further afield. Wood’s awe-inspiring TV documentaries and best-selling books began in ambitious fashion with one of the last Holy Grails of exploration – the first-ever walking expedition along the entire length of the River Nile, from source to sea; a 4,000-mile journey through deserts and war zones. Having nailed that, other acclaimed series have watched him walk the length of the Himalayas, Central America – from Mexico’s Yucatan to Colombia – and the Caucasus, from the Black Sea to the Caspian. Last year’s incredible 5,000-mile circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula, travelling through 13 countries proved his most arduous challenge. “Crossing borders in times of conflict is tricky, not to mention the practical difficulties of travelling across Arabia’s ‘Empty Quarter’ desert,” says Wood. “Many of the countries I passed through on my Arabian journey were hair-raising. Unable to get to Saudi Arabia through Yemen, I had to take a dhow around the Horn of Africa, through some of the most pirate-infested waters in the world,” he explains. While Wood dislikes certain aspects of his 48
nomadic lifestyle, (“It makes maintaining a steady life at home much more difficult. I’ve missed countless family engagements and weddings,” he admits), the ‘camaraderie’ of travel makes up for it. “Even in the most desolate places, where people have near to nothing, I’m greeted with overwhelming hospitality. Their happiness and hope restores my faith in humanity,” he says. His ‘must-visit’ recommendations include Nepal, Lebanon, Oman and Jordan. Itinerant Wood is proud of all his
I like a challenge. The regions of the world that are least trodden happen to be the hardest to reach and toughest to survive in. That's no coincidence” expeditions for different reasons. “My first one, the Nile, because I was just a veteran and no one knew who I was, so I was proud of the way it turned out and how it was received. I’d been working up to my latest, Arabia, for five years, so I had a lot to prove. “I like a challenge. The regions of the world that are least trodden happen to be the hardest to reach and toughest to survive in. That’s no coincidence, but it’s why I’m drawn to them. I want to inspire people of all genders, age, race, ethnicity and ability to follow their dreams. I love reading letters and emails from people who have travelled
to a far-flung destination because of me.” Passionate about showcasing off-thebeaten-track places, he sets out to highlight the positives of places and their people. “Sudan was surprising because of the incredible hospitality. I was prepared for a country clearly recovering from years of conflict, but was met with generosity on another level. We had to divert our route around some villages because the locals were slowing us down with their offerings of tea and food. One man was so determined to look after us that he carried a bed on his head to us out in the desert!” For would-be adventurers, Woods advises travelling light and not over-planning. “You never know who you might meet or what you might see that will influence your action,” he says. Having said that, he's partial to the occassional posh hotel. “I recently stayed at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik. It’s probably the coolest place I’ve ever been. The Hoshinoya in Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, is embedded in the middle of the jungle, which is pretty epic.” As for food, he cautions about what’s on offer in Uganda. “I was served maggot stew and bush rat soup – both are terrible!” And when it’s time to dust off his walking boots, where does he head for some R&R? “Somewhere sunny with a beach. In January, I went to Sri Lanka to surf and do some yoga; it was a pretty perfect set-up.” Although his eternally-itchy feet mean he’s always planning the next big adventure. “I find it hard to relax. Because I’m my own boss, I’m always ‘on’, always on the lookout for the next opportunity…”
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Levison Wood is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, and a visiting Fellow at CASS Business School. He’s an ambassador for several charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. His latest book, Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East, is now out in paperback and the TV documentary series will commence on June 27 on Discovery UK.
IMAGE: ALBERTO CARACES
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Hello Business Hello Business Direct. Goodbye Direct. Goodbye booking fees. booking fees.
Sign up to our Business Direct online portal in Great Britain and neverDirect pay aonline booking fee again. Sign up to our Business portal Find out more about our Business Direct online in Great andtravellers: never pay a booking fee again. portal forBritain business Find more about our Business Direct online Visit out southwesternrailway.com/SME portal for business travellers: Call 020 3872 2226 Visit southwesternrailway.com/SME Email email@example.com Call 020 3872 2226 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Review [ t h e lowdo w n ]
[ ro o m r e po r t ]
T H E NE W S & V I E W S THAT REALLY MATTER [ o n th e g r o u n d ]
[ me eti n g p lac e ]
Cost control overtakes traveller security as buyers' top priority
Fifth hotel from Dakota group lands in Manchester
LNER rolls-out new Azuma trains across East Coast network
Fairmont St Andrews completes M&E refurbishment
[ i n t h e ai r ]
WestJet introduces new business class on Gatwick services
T H E
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The latest industry appointments p60 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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T H E
L O W D O W N
SLOW UPTAKE OF OFFSETTING OPTIONS
IN BRIEF Extra Clarity
Travel management company Clarity has acquired Ian Allan Travel, giving the combined company a turnover in the region of £500million. Clarity CEO Pat McDonagh said its fellow TMC “has a real strength in the corporate, education and charity sectors and we believe that through both businesses we have the best talent, quality, innovation and solutions for our customers.”
BCD Travel and integrated maritime solutions leader Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) have sealed a new joint venture to create a specialised global marine travel services offering. The arrangement bolsters BCD’s expansion of its global Energy, Resources & Marine practice.
TMC network Radius Travel has signed two new members: Incanto Travel, based in the Dominican Republic, and TOV Travel, based in South Korea. The network comprises over 100 agencies worldwide and manages more than $30billion of annual travel spend.
FEWER than 1% of passengers choose to oﬀset the carbon dioxide emissions associated with their ﬂights – and that’s when airlines actually oﬀer the option. Research by the BBC revealed that of the 28 major airlines it contacted, less than half oﬀer passengers a carbon oﬀsetting scheme and most of the airlines quizzed by the news organisation declined to report on take-up, “often saying their ﬁgures were too low to report”.
Cost control revealed as buyers' top priority GETTING costs under control is currently the number one priority for travel managers, usurping traveller security at the top of the list, according to new research. The latest edition of the European Business Travel Barometer from American Express Global Business Travel showed data security was the second biggest priority, while traveller security fell to third. In fourth was traveller satisfaction, with 71% of businesses now measuring satisfaction levels compared to 56% in the previous year. Meanwhile, the report also forecasts an increase in business travel spend of 4.3% among European companies. In 2018, spend rose 3.8% year on year, 0.4% more than was initially predicted. "The challenge businesses face is balancing cost eﬃciency and eﬀectiveness," says GBT’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, International, Elyes Mrad.
40hrs Companies spend 40 hours a month, on average, reconciling travel expenses and payment data according to a GBTA study
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T H E
IN BRIEF New-look ATPI
Travel management company ATPI is marking its centenary year with the launch of a new website, branding and structure, which includes the renaming of ATPI Griffinstone as ATPI Marine and Energy.
Hotel room nights booked in the UK by customers of the Advantage Travel Partnership grew by 8% last year. The growth suggests that business confidence among SMEs remains strong in spite of economic uncertainty, according to Advantage. The consortium’s 2018 Hotels Market Report shows significant growth in room nights booked in cities in the Midlands and North East in particular.
L O W D O W N
Business travellers shun the human touch MORE than two-thirds of business travellers prefer to book their air travel digitally, via a computer or app, than by speaking to a consultant. That ﬁgure is even higher for hotel bookings, at 78%, and ground transport, at 71%, says a new report from CWT. The report, Human vs Machine, also shows that booking travel on smartphones is growing – up to 41% currently, compared to 34% in 2018 and 32% in 2017. Nearly half (45%) book through a computer, 11% by tablets and only 2% of business travellers claim to get help from a person, according to the report. “Technology is becoming more and more dominant in the travel ecosystem,” says Andrew Jordan, CWT’s Chief Product and Technology Oﬃcer. “Digital transactions are taking over.”
IT developer Travelogix has unveiled a new data tool aimed at making it easier for TMCs to analyse airline data for market intelligence and business development. The new Farecast program was developed within six months and has already been successfully trialled by 58 Advantage Travel Partnership members. It will be available to SMEs from August this year.
Level UK is the new name for the industry association formerly known as Level Women, which supports gender balance in the UK business travel industry. It has also welcomed Sonia Michaels of Advantage and Louise Kilgannon of Festive Road to its leadership team.
BRIGHTON IS THE FASTEST-GROWING BUSINESS HUB IN 2019, SAYS TRAVELPERK, WITH BOOKINGS TO THE CITY UP 53%. HAMBURG AND MUNICH WERE ALSO AMONG THE FASTESTGROWING, BUT LONDON, BERLIN AND MADRID ARE THE MOST POPULAR OVERALL
I T M U P D AT E Scott Davies Chief Executive, ITM
Did you make it to the ITM Conference in Brighton? If you did, I hope you had a great few days getting informed, connected and inspired with 530 of the industry’s ﬁnest. An enormous amount of planning goes into the event, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the reaction to our inspirational keynote speaker, Henry Fraser. Henry’s positive mindset, powerful message that failure is optional and reminder of the importance of the little big things drew a standing ovation from our delegates. I had wanted Henry to address our Conference for some time and holding it together on stage for his Q&A was the hardest thing I have done in this role. He is a true hero. Although Conference is our annual centrepiece, the ITM calendar of events is packed with goodies and oﬀers everything from buyer huddles, themed summits and workshops, to showcases and supplier skills training throughout the year. For next year’s Conference we'll be back in Wales at the new state-of-the-art venue of ICC Wales, and planning is already under way. Save the date: May 6th-7th, 2020. We’re going to try to outdo ourselves, right Karen?
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Delta connects Edinburgh & Boston
VIRGIN ATLANTIC TO FILL THE VOID LEFT BY JET AIRWAYS VIRGIN Atlantic will double its services to India this autumn when it resumes ﬂights to Mumbai after a four-year hiatus. The new daily service from London Heathrow has been
prompted by Jet Airways’ suspension of ﬂights between the cities. The new service takes oﬀ on October 27 and will join the airline’s long-established route between London and Delhi.
DELTA Air Lines has launched a new service from Edinburgh to Boston – its second direct route between the Scottish capital and the United States. The service will operate daily this summer and complements the airline's existing daily ﬂight between Edinburgh and New York JFK which will become a yearround service this winter. The new ﬂights to Boston Logan International depart from Edinburgh at 10.40 and arrive at 12.49 local
JETBLUE TO BRING 'PRICE DISCIPLINE' TO TRANSATLANTIC MARKET JETBLUE will launch transatlantic ﬂights from New York and Boston to London from 2021. The airline is currently evaluating which London airport it will ﬂy to, but the UK will become the carrier’s ﬁrst European destination. It will operate multiple daily ﬂights from both cities and says "legacy airlines charge obscene fares and JetBlue can bring price discipline. The airline has a history of successfully lowering fares and stimulating traﬃc".
Qatar Airways ranked number one
time. And ﬂights from Boston depart at 21.53 and arrive in Edinburgh at 09.25 the following day. The service will be operated using a B757-200 aircraft with 164 seats. A summer service from Glasgow to New York has also resumed. Delta and transatlantic joint venture partner Virgin Atlantic have also revealed plans to introduce services from London Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK in summer 2020.
Qatar Airways has been named top airline in the world in an annual survey by air passenger rights organisation AirHelp. Flybe and Virgin Atlantic were the only UK carriers to feature in the report's top 20, which rates airlines on KPIs such as on-time performance and claims processing
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A I R
G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes
Chief Executive, GTMC
Aer Lingus is introducing an enhanced economy offering, AerSpace, which will feature on short-haul flights between selected UK destinations and Ireland from September. Travellers booking AerSpace seats will be guaranteed a first-row window or aisle seat with an unoccupied middle seat, and receive lounge access, fast-track security and priority boarding.
Etihad Airways is boosting services between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi this summer. The current three-times-daily operation will increase to four flights a day from May 26 to June 22 and from September 29 to October 26, and to five flights a day for the peak summer season from June 23 to September 28.
CANADIAN AIRLINE WESTJET HAS DEPLOYED ITS NEW DREAMLINER AIRCRAFT FEATURING A NEW BUSINESS CLASS CABIN ON SERVICES BETWEEN LONDON GATWICK AND CALGARY, ITS BUSIEST UK ROUTE
Isle of Man link
Flybe has launched a new daily service between London Heathrow and the Isle of Man - the first such service for almost 20 years. Flights take around one hour and 20 minutes and allow customers travelling to and from the Isle of Man to connect with numerous international flights at Heathrow.
FlyArystan, the new low-cost airline from Air Astana has commenced operations. The carrier has launched with six domestic routes in Kazakhstan but intends to expand internationally and grow its fleet to at least 15 aircraft by 2022.
Heathrow kicks off consultation period LONDON Heathrow Airport will commence a statutory consultation on its expansion plans on June 18. The 12-week project is the latest stage of the ‘critical national infrastructure’ project and follows the High Court’s dismissal of legal challenges against the addition of a third runway at Heathrow. The consultation will seek feedback on four key areas, including the preferred masterplan for expansion (including terminal locations and access) and how three runways would be operated. It will also cover the likely impact of the airport’s growth on the environment and local communities and plans to manage the impact of growth. A ﬁnal proposal will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2020. A third runway is projected to open in 2026 and the overall masterplan to be complete by around 2050.
This is my last column as I step down this summer to embrace retirement, so a review of events in my role here seemed ﬁtting. In the ever-changing world of business travel one constant is our love of acronyms: GDPR, PSD2, IATA, and even GTMC. One that continues to grab attention is APD. Intended to contribute towards countering the environmental impact of aviation, there appears to be little evidence of what relevant activity the tax has supported. While we welcome initiatives that promote environmental concerns, we would be more supportive if these funds were going towards investment in sustainable transport around the country’s regional airports, for example, rather than straight to the treasury. NDC has also kept me busy. It seems to be stuck in commercial negotiations and complex technology development for TMCs. Hopefully, airlines working on their own solutions will take a consultative approach to market implementation. I won’t miss the acronyms, but I will miss the industry and the friends and contacts I have made over the years. Thanks for an unforgettable 25 years in the industry.
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R O O M
dE nIRo's nobu To add sEcond london HoTEl noBU Hospitality – the lifestyle brand created by acclaimed Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and Hollywood film producer Meir Teper – will open its second London property early next year. The Nobu Hotel London Portman Square will be the ninth property in the group's portfolio, and joins its sister hotel located in Shoreditch, which opened in 2017. Previously branded the Radisson Blu Portman Square, the revamped property will feature 239 rooms and suites – a reduction from its current 272 – along with a Nobu restaurant and meeting facilities. Properties in Riyadh, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and Warsaw are also in the pipeline.
R E P O R T
marriott ups the ante with home rentals Marriott International has launched Homes & Villas, a home rental division featuring over 2,000 'premium and luxury' homes. Following an initial trial period, the group now offers home rentals in over 100 destinations throughout Europe, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Members of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty scheme can earn and
redeem points on bookings at the properties which are all under the care of property management companies. “What started out as a pilot a year ago is now a global offering, providing our
[ GOING FOR GROWTH ] The new FOUR SEASONS Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, has opened in the Back Bay neighbourhood. It is set within the city's third tallest building and is the group's second hotel in Boston >> TRAVELODGE expects to open 17 new hotels in the UK this year including properties within its Travelodge Plus and SuperRooms categories >> HYATT intends to open 21 new hotels in Asia Pacific by 2020 under its Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Alila brands, increasing its luxury footprint in the region by over 25% >> A YOTELAIR with 130 cabins has debuted at Singapore Jewel Changi Airport – the first airport hotel in Asia from the brand – adding to its YOTEL city property in Singapore Orchard Road.
of business travellers would like hotel self-check-in tech
guests with the space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company, and the very best in loyalty benefits,” says Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott's Global Chief Commercial Officer.
Nearly tw0-thirds of regular travellers (62%) would be likely to checkin to a hotel via an app if the technology was available, while 58% would be likely to checkin via an app and use a digital key to access their room if they were able to do so, according to research from travel tech business Criton
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IN BRIEF Property extension
American Express Global Business Travel has expanded its accommodation programme to comprise more than two million properties worldwide. The new content comes through the extension of GBT’s existing partnership with booking.com, adding ‘more properties in different types of locations’. Users can now also access booking.com Genius Rates which offer savings of at least 10% on bookings at ‘thousands’ of hotels worldwide.
R E P O R T
IHG expands its extended stay options
grange hotels rebadged by new operatoR
intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is introducing a new brand, Atwell Suites, an upper-midscale product that will bridge the gap between its hotel and extended stay offerings. IHG says the new brand will be suited to guests staying four to six nights – a market it values at $18billion – and believes it is a strong follow-up to the successful rollout of Avid hotels, the fastest brand launch in its history. Features of Atwell Suites properties include all-studio suites featuring kitchenettes, plus social areas, flexible meeting spaces and a bar. In addition, the hotels will offer complimentary hot breakfast to all guests and inclusive wifi. “Our newest offer gives owners and guests something different to what’s out there today – a stylish suite with the flex for guests to work, socialise or explore over a four-tosix-night stay,” says Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer.
London’s four Grange Hotels are now operating under new names following their acquisition by the Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland group. The four central properties add 1,300 rooms to the group’s growing portfolio and now go by the following names: Jurys Inn London Holborn, Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Pauls, Leonardo Royal Hotel Tower Bridge and Leonardo Royal Hotel London City. All four properties will undergo refurbishments and will also see the Holborn hotel reopen as the group’s first NYX Hotel by Leonardo Hotels in the UK. The group took over Manchester’s Midland Hotel last year and opened the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton earlier this year. It has also acquired sites on Adair Street in Manchester and in Bristol Glassfields, and has plans to extend the existing Jurys Inn Edinburgh and create an adjacent 131-room NYX hotel.
Edwardian Hotels London has secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK to ensure its new hotel, The Londoner, will be one of the greenest hotels in the UK. It is the first deal in the sector that meets the Green Loan Principles, which were set out in March 2018 to encourage and facilitate environmentally-friendly economic activity. The funding will be used to ensure the new hotel meets, and exceeds, the BREEAM Excellent standard in building environmental and sustainable performance.
The 150-year-old Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel – the oldest hotel in the city – has undergone a multimillion-pound restoration. The work has been completed across all rooms at the four-star hotel, plus six meeting rooms and 20 breakout rooms including the grade II listed Victorian Palm Court room.
a brave new world of hospitality fifth hotel from dakota group lands in manchester the Dakota Manchester hotel opened in May, situated on Ducie Street close to Piccadilly Station. It has 137 guestrooms – including 20 suites, among which is the largest in the city – plus The Dakota Grill, a vibrant neighbourhood brasserie. There's also a cocktail bar, Champagne room, cigar garden and waterside terrace for al fresco dining or exclusive hire for events of up to 80 people.
All guestrooms include rainfall showers, full Sky TV packages and high-speed wifi. First floor Garden King rooms have access to a private terrace while suites include Signature, Executive and Deluxe options, plus its trademark Grand Deluxe Suite. It is the fifth hotel from the Dakota group which already has properties in Leeds and Edinburgh and two in Glasgow.
A STUDY from Amadeus and IHG is predicting sweeping changes in the way hotel rooms are priced and sold, with personalisation driving the trend. Hotels, which have traditionally been bought in a uniform way, and booking technology will need to adapt as 61% of travellers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options. This will see the emergence of attributebased booking, says Amadeus, where guests select the individual components of their room, much like NDC will deliver for airlines.
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G R O U N D
app upgrades from leading car rental companies
Azumas for LNER LNER has launched its first bullet-style Azuma trains on the East Coast mainline between London King’s Cross and Leeds. The new train made its inaugural passenger journey on May 15, completing the route in just over two hours and travelling at around 125mph. In total, 65 new trains will replace the existing LNER fleet connecting key cities in the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and Scotland across the entire 936-mile East Coast network in the coming months.
[ u p gr a de s & a dd i t i on s ] >> Virgin Trains passengers can now bid for First Class upgrades through a collaboration with Seatfrog. Customers will be able to bid from 24 hours through to 30 minutes before departure, with upgrades costing as little as £10 >> Online travel management platform TravelPerk has integrated full UK rail content from Trainline. The first three months of 2019 saw train bookings increase 138% on the previous quarter >> Cabs.com has launched a taxi-hailing platform it claims will rival Uber. The new tool integrates more than 150,000 vehicles from 8,000 independent UK cab firms with “far better geographical coverage” than Uber.
vehicle rental companies Avis and Hertz have both released upgrades to their respective customer apps. Following a successful launch in the US and Australia, the new Avis App will streamline the rental process at key locations in Europe, including Heathrow, allowing users to manage the rental process “from start to finish”. Features include push notifications to update customers on the location of their vehicle and prepopulated forms for future bookings. In addition, Avis Preferred members will be able to bypass the rental desk completely and change or upgrade their vehicle as they approach a rental location. Meanwhile Hertz says its news app will deliver a faster and more personalised rental experience, and include access to historic bookings and its rewards programme.
All hail Mobilleo Ground transport specialist Mobilleo has added ridehailing capability to its app with the integration of several leading providers. Its app now allows users to hail taxis as well as book car rental, transfers and chauffeur services across Europe, with payments controlled and charged to company accounts or corporate cards. The tool incorporates eight providers – Gett, Karhoo, Cabfind and Sixt mydriver, as well as Avis, Enterprise, Europcar and Sixt – and the company is in talks with further companies in the United States and Far East. “Our strategy is to aggregate providers globally, enhancing the service proposition for customers, and enabling them to choose the travel services that best suit them,” says Mark Harwood, Product Director at Mobilleo.
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M e e t i n g
p l a c e
businesses seeking value in capital
IN BRIEF Terrace talk @No6
Events @ No 6 is now fully open, having completed its roof top terrace and boardroom. The top floor terrace can accommodate up to 60 guests and is complemented by a boardroom designed for fine dining, meetings and away days. Both spaces have views across London. The upmarket M&E venue is situated in Aldgate, above The Royal College of Pathologists, and offers a variety of meeting rooms for groups of up to 210.
Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire has finished a £3million transformation of its conference and events facilities. The new Woodlands Events Centre includes a main conference room capable of seating 620 delegates theatre style, updated AV technology, the on-site Olive Restaurant with room for 280 diners, and Cedar Bar. The site also includes the specialist Willows Training Centre. In total the resort has 65 rooms for hire, plus 400 bedrooms, a health club, an 18-hole golf course and separate 103-room Waterfront Hotel.
The Londoner, which opens in Leicester Square in spring 2020, has revealed deatils of its proposed M&E offering. The 15-storey, 350-room luxury property, part of Edwardian Hotels, will have a ballroom able to accommodate up to 864 guests, plus two private screening rooms and seven meetings spaces.
Fairmont St Andrews gets back in the swing SCOTLAND’s largest hotel event space has been refurbished at a cost of more than £1million. The five-star Fairmont St Andrews took seven weeks to update its Ballroom and 14 meetings and events rooms – an area totalling 3,000m2. Owner Accor began a programme of improvements at the hotel in 2016 with work on the atrium and corridors. This was followed by the spa complex and sports bar last year, with the events facilities completing the project. General Manager John Keating says: “We look forward to welcoming local, national and international businesses of all sizes. The changes have breathed new life into the resort.” The flexible space at the hotel and golf resort can cater for groups of 10 to 600 guests.
Radisson revitalised the RADISSON Hotel Group has relaunched its meetings and events offering across its seven global brands with an offer of free carbon offsetting for all venue users. The new Radisson Meetings proposition, which will be rolled out to more than 1,100 venues worldwide over the next five years, features a partnership with First Climate that ensures investment in wind energy and sustainability projects in Peru, Kenya, Turkey, India and the US to offset the carbon footprint of meeting attendees. The group says Radisson Meetings is based around the core pillars of ‘Personal’, ‘Professional’ and ‘Memorable’, with meetings planners, on-site support and improved menus ensuring a high-quality, consistent service. The offering is being backed up with a multimillion-pound investment in venue technology and facilities. So far, 55 properties in the portfolio feature the upgraded services.
LondoN-based businesses cut their per person spend on meetings by 20% last year, according to research. Figures from online venue marketplace Tagvenue revealed average Day Delegate Rates in the capital fell from £58.28 in 2017 to just £46.50 in 2018. Meanwhile, overall average meeting spend was down 1.9% to £657.77, backing up evidence that average meeting size rose from 12 to 14 attendees. Despite the findings, Tagvenue said demand among London businesses for ‘quirky and unconventional’ spaces, rather than traditional rooms, was on the rise and now accounts for 53.8% of bookings. The average spend for conferences was up 20% in 2018, to £3,355. “Events are getting bigger and venues are elevating their standards and prices to accommodate higher and more sophisticated demand,” says Tagvenue CEO Arthur Stepaniak.
Dubai hotels in spotlight DUBAI continues to rule the roost when it comes to MICE activity in the Middle East and Africa. Seven of the top 10 busiest meetings hotels in the region are in the emirate, with the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai continuing to hold on to the top spot, followed by the InterContinental Festival City and Grand Hyatt. "We saw a near 20% increase in RFP volume year-on-year and hotels are elevating their MICE strategy through innovative digital marketing and quick online responses to RFPs,” says Chris McAndrews, Cvent Hospitality's Vice President of Marketing.
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T H E
M O V E
EVENTS JUNE 20
ITM SCOTLAND SUMMIT Edinburgh itm.org.uk JUNE 26-27
THE MEETINGS SHOW Olympia London themeetingsshow.com JUNE 27
TBTM GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com
JOINS: TravelPerk AS: Country Manager, UK FROM: ATPI
MOVES AT: Wings Travel Management TO: Head of Strategic Account Management FROM: Key Account Manager
PROMOTED AT: FCM TO: UK General Manager FROM: Head of UK Sales
Online TMC TravelPerk has appointed Richard Viner to head up its new UK operation. One of his ﬁrst jobs will be to double the size of its team in the country.
Roselyne Hue moves from South Africa to head up Strategic Account Management for Wings Travel in Singapore. She has been with the TMC for more than 12 years.
Graham Ross has landed the top job at FCM six years after joining the business. The promotion recognises his major account wins and eﬀorts to raise the company’s proﬁle.
GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE Noordwijk, Netherlands gtmc.org AUGUST 3-7
GBTA CONVENTION Chicago gbta.org SEPTEMBER 4-6
WORLD AVIATION FESTIVAL Business Design Centre, London terrapinn.com/conference SEPTEMBER 17-18
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE Hilton Bankside, London thebusinesstravelconference.com OCTOBER 4
ITM SCOTLAND CHARITY BALL The Principal Edinburgh itm.org.uk OCTOBER 23-25
ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT Amsterdam acte.org
JOINS: The Londoner AS: Hotel Director FROM: Heckfield Place, Hampshire
JOINS: Hannon Travel AS: Head of Sales & Account Management FROM: Amadeus
JOINS: CWT AS: Head of Channel Evolution FROM: Travelport
Hospitality expert Charles Oak has been appointed by Edwardian Hotels London to launch and run the £300million property that is due to open on Leicester Square next year.
Regina Gregan will be part of Hannon Travel’s recently announced push into Northern Ireland and Great Britain. She brings more than 20 years’ experience to her new role.
David Zimmer has joined CWT in the newly created role of Head of Channel Evolution, boosting the business with his 20-plus years of product development experience.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... Maritim Hotels has appointed Mine Cakmak Celikkol as Account Executive, Corporate Business Travel in the UK >> Christine Ourmières-Widener will step down from her role as Chief Executive Oﬃcer of Flybe Limited in July following the successful sale of the business to Connect Airways >> David Holmes is the new VP of Payments at CWT >> American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has appointed Gerardo Tejado as General Manager of American Express Meetings & Events >> IHG has restructured its European Sales Teams under the leadership of Debbie Male, Head of Sales for Europe
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET ExCel, London london.wtm.com NOVEMBER 19-21
GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Munich europeconference.gbta.org
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PA & EA networking evening
Spring Sparkle Meeting with suppliers
Spring Sparkle, the 12th PA & EA networking evening from The Business Travel Conference and The Business Travel Magazine, took place at the Canary Riverside Plaza, London, in May. Guests enjoyed complimentary drinks, canapés, massages and manicures, plus the chance to win some fabulous prizes courtesy of the generous partners
Summer Sparkle ▼
Our 12th PA & EA event
Spring Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening
Brought to you by The Business Travel Conference and the event venue and partners ▲ 20.05.2019
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Discover Air Europaâ€™s new VIP Transfer Service for Business Class Passengers. At Air Europa, we aim to deliver the best service to our passengers every step of the way, from booking through to arrival at their destination. Our Business Class Passengers can now benefit from our VIP Airport Transfer service, available upon departure or arrival from selected transatlantic flights.
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IT's the largest area of travel spend for many companies, yet competition is disproportionately limited. Track the latest buying trends and industry challenges in our guide to
AIR TRAVEL Introduction, 64-66 / Spend management, 68-72
Business class, 74-78 / Behind the scenes, 79 / Distribution, 80-82 Six of the best..., 83 / Consolidation, 84-85 / Data, 86
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The aIr Brexit uncertainty and consolidation are not taking the shine oﬀ a relatively buoyant period for airlines. Gary Noakes examines the state of the market
ummer’s here, but Brexit fall-out continues, meaning predicting travel patterns is a headache for buyers and airlines. The view out there seems to be one of short-term uncertainty set against a general backdrop of confidence and investment. However, some research makes alarming reading; a poll of travel managers from Alphawise Morgan Stanley in March found confidence tumbling since November. Then, around 26% of buyers predicted a spend increase of 6-10%, but this proportion dipped to about 17% six months later as Brexit limped on. IATA’s latest stats highlight a fall in global passenger growth from 8% in the first half of 2018 to 4.5% in February. It’s not all gloom however, with Europe leading the world, recording expansion of 7.6% in January and February, making it the strongest performing region for the fifth consecutive month. Europe’s airlines are averaging an almost 64
82% load factor and Mark Bevan, Business Travel Direct’s Head of Strategic Relationships, said: “The market seems pretty buoyant and positive and there’s quite a lot of airline investment. Inbound traffic is busy as well. “Our customers seem to be investing. I’m not sure it can be linked to Brexit, but transatlantic is busy – maybe corporate clients are looking further afield for business.” He welcomes a range of business route additions, including British Airways’ Pittsburgh service and Virgin Atlantic’s Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv routes. Some leaders worry there are still too many carriers, particularly short-haul, in continental Europe. Lufthansa Group Chief Executive Carsten Spohr called Europe’s short-haul sector “overheated” and believes 2019 will start a process that leads Europe’s aviation scene to resemble the US, China and the Gulf, where three carriers dominate in each. “We are seeing the final phase before consolidation,” he says.
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Our customers seem to be investing; transatlantic is busy – maybe corporate clients are looking further aﬁeld for business” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
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We are seeing the end for four-engine aircraft. Just 12 years after entering service, the axe has fallen on the double-decker Airbus A380, a giant just too big to sell in large numbers” He has good grounds to say this, as OAG figures show Europe’s top five airlines had a combined 30% market share in 2018 – in the US, the top five accounted for 75%. That’s not great news for buyers: “It’s never good to see too much consolidation, because it weakens competition,” says John Bolger, Director of Equilibrium Consultancy. “At the moment, it’s a good time for buyers. Internationally, the big thing I’ve noticed is the improvement in the product and the experience. Travellers are getting more, and because of the competition, it’s not like fares have gone up 20%.” Watch this airspace, however, because Spohr believes Europe will follow the US, where consolidation into three big network brands is working well for their bottom lines. Delta’s March quarter revenue was a record $10.4billion, including an 8% increase in premium ticket revenue; proof that fewer carriers mean higher fares. “Across the pond, you don’t often get the sense that there is a lot more competition,” says Will Hasler, a member of the ITM Industry Affairs Group. “Clearly we would prefer BA/American Airlines and Virgin/Delta to be four airlines, rather than two.” Underlining the differences between the US and Europe, Lufthansa’s first quarter losses reached €336million, compared with a €52million profit a year earlier when Air Berlin’s collapse prompted a brief capacity shortage, one now firmly over-corrected. Consolidation in Europe will likely mostly involve budget brands like Lufthansa Group’s Eurowings. Logically, Hungary’s Wizz Air could become part of a bigger European group and IAG could persuade Portugal’s TAP to join Iberia in its stable. Alitalia has seen overtures from Lufthansa, Delta and easyJet, but is still without a saviour and faces Qatar Airways-backed Air Italy. The UK has already seen the Virgin-led
consortium’s rescue of Flybe in January and Flybmi’s collapse in February, so perhaps the consolidation will now switch to Europe. One thing for certain is 2019 marks the beginning of the end for four-engine aircraft. Just 12 years after entering service, the axe has fallen on production of the doubledecker Airbus A380, a giant just too big to sell in large numbers. Only 15 carriers bought the A380 and, early this year, Airbus suffered a fatal blow to its order book of 79 when Emirates reduced its commitment for 53 to just 14. Emirates has been the mainstay of the A380 production line and will finish with 123 in service, more than 100 more than the next biggest customer, Singapore Airlines. Tom Enders, Airbus’s then Chief Executive, called the Emirates cancellation “painful for us”, adding: “We have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production.” News that production will end in 2021 came in February, just as the Boeing 747 celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was not quite a Boeing victory, as only Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China have bought the passenger version of the latest 747-8. What will sustain the jumbo jet is as a freighter – Boeing hedged its bets with the original 1960s design, which allows for a lift-able nose, making it attractive to cargo airlines.
Passenger airlines have a variety of more economical twin-engine wide bodies to choose from, as Airbus’s Enders admits: “What we’re seeing is the end of the large, four-engine aircraft,” he says, adding that the company was a decade late in developing the superjumbo. Boeing has not been without its setbacks, with the tragedies that befell its 737 MAX after crashes involving Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air. Carriers operating the MAX have looked at summer schedules and decided they must plan ahead in case the all clear is not given before the peak period. American Airlines, which has 24 in service among 100 on order, has reshuffled its fleet and cancelled hundreds of flights until August 19. The carrier’s Chief Executive Doug Parker says it is “highly confident that the MAX will be recertified before this time” but has cancelled 115 flights a day – a big number, but just 1.5% of its capacity. In the UK, the MAX grounding has more serious consequences for Norwegian Air, whose 18 are used in part for budget transatlantic flights. It is the latest challenge for the carrier, which, in common with other airlines, has already grappled with engine reliability issues on its Boeing 787s. Norwegian’s latest estimate is that the MAX grounding will cost up to £44.7million. The compensation claim will be a big one.
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Tel Aviv is taking off Attention all business adventurers: Virgin Atlantic’s new route to Tel Aviv is here Drum roll, please… the seat cushions are plumped. The pilots are set. Our brand new route to Tel Aviv is on the way! Booming companies, thriving tech scene, red-hot startups — the White City is hot right now. White-hot, you might say. Fancy playing hard too? There’s tons to keep you busy, from the ancient port to the cutting-edge architecture, to the stunning beaches. With the buzz building, there’s no better place to do business. So stop reading, drop everything and get ready for Tel Aviv. Contact your TMC to book today. Flights start September 2019.
*Flight times subject to change, please check at time of booking.
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Air travel / Spend management
UPWARDS The way corporates negotiate deals and manage air travel spend is shifting. Gillian Upton takes a look at best practice
or years airline RFP negotiations have gone in one direction, rewarding volume on key routes. It has shaped travel policies, putting pressure on corporates to ensure compliance to preferred carriers so that targets are met and discounts secured. But in a more dynamic air market, where fares fluctuate and competitors undercut each other, an RFP doesn’t necessarily manage spend the best way. Overlay that with all the changes in the distribution landscape – by aggregators, GDSs, NDC and ONE Order – and clearly there has to be a better way.
“Many corporates are asking if the RFP cycle and model continues to make sense in the light of this evolving environment. They are now looking at a dynamic pricing model to best take advantage of maximising their savings,” says Mark Cuschieri, Executive Director Global Travel at UBS. For a large player such as UBS to espouse such views means that it’s time for a rethink. A real sea-change could materialise by the end of 2019, with airlines out of the driving seat and buyers taking control. Olivier Benoit, VP & Global Air Practice Leader at consultant Advito, has tracked eight-year cycles in the aviation industry and reckons
the current cycle is coming to an end. “The expectation of global economic uncertainty in Europe and the slowdown in the Chinese economy could lead to a lower GDP growth and airline growth is correlated to global GDP growth,” he says. “Secondly, operational costs for the airline are on the rise due to increased fuel costs so they will need to increase their revenue and put up ticket costs and that will negatively impact demand, so there will be more scope for corporates to negotiate.” Corporates could achieve more bang for their buck. The opportunities are greater on competitive long-haul routes and results
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Spend management / Air travel
Many corporates are asking if the RFP cycle and model continues to make sense in this day and ageâ€?
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Air travel / Spend management
Rate auditing software checks fares after booking, until day of departure, with algorithms taking account of cancellation charges. The savings can be considerable” depend on company culture, type of travel policy and enforcement, size of spend and the attitude towards traveller wellbeing. The latter, combining traveller experience and satisfaction, is increasingly a factor in buying decisions and designing policy. “It’s a growing recognition by HR people of the stress and mental health caused by business travel,” says Ian Davies, Head of Supplier Management EMEA at SAP Concur. Companies have to balance wellbeing versus savings, explains Blue Cube’s Director Kenny Stirling, using the example of LondonHong Kong. ”Flying via Dubai means two seven-hour flights and little chance to sleep and the traveller won’t be in a good condition when they arrive. Make the hop into Europe first, say via Paris, and then you get a 12-hour flight and a decent opportunity to sleep,” he said. Other savings strategies include rate auditing, mixing classes, flying indirect, negotiating route deals, exploiting corporate loyalty programmes and incorporating nudge messages in the online booking tool.
Historically, route deals were based on spend and volume on city pairs and favoured large corporates spending anything between £50,000 and £150,000 on a city pair in return for a discount. Juan Antonio Iglesias, Head of Account Management at FCM, questions their benefit today as not everybody needs the flexibility it gives. “Ask whether you need that,” he says. “If you’re a corporation spending close
to £1m on the London-Frankfurt city pair, for example, buying 21 days out instead of a route deal could mean a huge saving.” Furthermore, Advito’s prediction might materialise as already, airline thresholds for route deals are shrinking, according to Chris Vince, Director of Operations at Click Travel. “Airlines are willing to put a deal in place on a smaller spend now, particularly the Middle Eastern carriers. Emirates, for example, used to want a spend of £1million – but now they’ll do a deal on £500,000.” More commonplace is the blanket deal. Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at Business Travel Direct, says some of the big carriers are offering these rather than route deals, largely to SMEs. “It means that the percentage discounts are much smaller but the airlines are getting more loyalty. Mid-size clients don’t have huge volumes so blanket deals might work for them,” she explains. Lowest logical/best option on the day might undercut all of the above and often the TMCs' own negotiated fares are the best/ cheapest option. Today, route deals are being used as a benchmark and the key takeaway is to constantly monitor any deal. “An agreement might be for a three-year period but it needs tweaking throughout that term as it may not be fit for purpose in year two,” stresses Kerry Douglas, Head of Corporate Sales at Virgin Atlantic.
in seeking potential savings but more importantly as a form of validation across stakeholders within your business.”
Mixing classes and fares
Flying to the US on a day flight in premium economy and back on a red eye in business class can result in savings as high as 30% – and happier travellers. However, configuring an online booking tool is difficult and some clients won’t mandate an OBT for some long-haul flights. Travellers have to use the TMCs’ offline team to book instead. Moreover, these deals are generally based on availability and you can’t always find them. Mixing fare types can also provide saving – ie, buying a restricted outbound and flexible inbound – but the reason for travel will influence what fares you can use, explains Sandy Moring, Director of Education, ITM. “Travel for attending training can be fixed whereas for a client visit you might need more flexibility,” she says.
In such a dynamic market, rates must be constantly checked and rate auditing software checks fares after booking, until day of departure, with algorithms taking account of cancellation charges. The savings can be anything between £20 and £1,000, and more so on the inbound sector. “These tools play a critical part in corporate programmes,” says UBS’ Cuschieri, “not only
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BECAUSE GOOD CONNECTIONS ALWAYS HELP On the move worldwide with the Lufthansa Group airlines
FRANKFURT MUNICH BRUSSELS VIENNA ZURICH
NORTH AMERICA 23 destinations in 2 countries
EUROPE 157 destinations in 44 countries MIDDLE EAST 13 destinations in 10 countries
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA 12 destinations in 9 countries
The Lufthansa Group airlines are Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. Via the Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich hubs, and with numerous direct connections, they offer their passengers more than 11,000 flights a week to more than 270 business and holiday destinations
ASIA 24 destinations in 11 countries
AFRICA 41 destinations in 29 countries
worldwide. Passengers therefore benefit from a large choice of destinations and many combination options. The Lufthansa Group airlines stand for high-quality products and services. With more than 700 aircraft, they have one of the largest and, above all, most modern fleets in the world.
2018/2019 winter timetable, as at: 09/2018, subject to changes.
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Air travel / Spend management
Indirect flights are all about the ROI. They can work if the connecting times are not too onerous; a maximum of a three-hour layover is the threshold. They provide a win-win if the traveller can upgrade to the comfort of business class on a decent carrier instead of flying premium economy, and the employer accrues substantial savings. Business Travel Direct’s Bailey has a client who specifies Finnair via Helsinki on flights to the Far East. “All the connections are in the same terminal at Helsinki, and the gates are close together so they’ve been clever. Some 50% of this client’s travellers are using this route – they fly in business class indirect rather than premium economy direct.” Similarly, if clients are located halfway between Birmingham and London, flights from Heathrow shouldn’t be the default. Using regional airports can bring benefits beyond costs, in terms of time saved and more than a nod to traveller wellbeing and an improved travel experience. Click Travel’s Vince highlights flying Aer Lingus Birmingham-New York via Shannon or Dublin in order to clear US immigration there and arrive in the US as a domestic passenger and walk straight out.
Low-cost carriers often serve markets that scheduled carriers do not and can improve
Indirect flights provide a win-win if the traveller can upgrade to the comfort of business class on a decent carrier instead of flying premium economy, and the employer accrues substantial savings” the traveller experience by utilising regional airports, but savings in the air may not be replicated on the ground if there are extra transfer costs travelling to/from an out-oftown airport at the destination.
Corporate loyalty schemes
Using corporate loyalty schemes such as British Airways’ OnBusiness can bring cost savings as the points can be banked and used for free flights, raffle prizes, internal trips or upgrades. Click’s Vince sees them as a good alternative to the route deal, “as it’s less administration, and less hassle than managing a route deal as clients still face traveller opposition from a route deal”.
Airlines want to sell their inventory as soon as possible so the farther out you book, the greater the savings. But you have to influence traveller behaviour in order to reap the benefits of booking the optimum 21+ days out rather than seven. This is where the booking tool can come into its own, by uploading messages and pre-trip approvals, for example. A communications strategy can support these tactics, with monthly tips and reminders on the company intranet. Blue Cube’s Stirling goes further by combining multiple trips months out to make substantial savings. “One client sends me travel details every quarter so I combine
Athens in June, Santiago in October and Brussels in November and take advantage of really good fares, which can result in savings of as much as 30-40%.” Supply and demand affects booking horizons too, explains FCM's Iglesias. “On London-Jo’burg there are only three airlines and six flights a day to choose from so you need to book early to secure a seat, but if it’s London-Germany there is more choice.”
With fewer and fewer organisations with dedicated travel managers, the travel policy must work harder. HR or Procurement don’t have time to answer queries so 20-page documents don’t cut it anymore – two pages of simple guidance notes will help build compliance. And the trend is for one policy for all rather than tiered policies. “For all customers it’s about addressing the fundamentals and clear policies and communicating those policies hasn’t changed,” says Concur’s Davies.
Booking tools can load travel policies, highlight preferred carriers and limit others, support messages by routes, show refundable fares and so on. “One of the biggest advantages of using a booking tool is the visual guilt element, and the transparency it gives clients,” says Concur’s Davies. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic’s Douglas stresses the need to “continually monitor your OBT settings and displays from a traveller user experience to drive visibility.” Taking advantage of all of the above rests entirely on drilling down to data on travel patterns and taking a more collaborative and consultative approach in supplier negotiations – maybe even a lead if Advito’s prediction proves correct. Some strategies will work for some and not for others; in each case it’s a question of trading off savings that the budget holders demand against what the stakeholders actually want.
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Air travel / Business class
SENSATIONS Airlines are upping the ante in business class. Gary Noakes examines the latest trends – including BA’s long-awaited new oﬀering
t began with the cradle seat, morphed into the flat bed, but now the airline industry's latest must-have business class feature is sliding doors. The enclosed or semi-enclosed cabin in business class is what all top airline models are sporting this season, with personal space onboard becoming the key selling point for the next few years. The most eagerly awaited new cabin is of course from British Airways. BA is dispensing with its current bewildering Club World layout in favour of a 1-2-1 format that guarantees aisle access without having to step over another passenger’s feet and, unlike the current design, all seats face forward. The new Club Suite product is fully enclosed once the door is shut and has a bigger 18.5-inch TV plus PC and USB power points and high-speed wifi. “It’s probably the largest decision I took since coming in [to the airline],” said the 74
airline’s Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz at the recent ITM Conference. “A lot of analysis had been done but no decisions had been taken. But we took it [the decision] very early on because we know it takes a long time.” He continued: “The seat that we have announced is a very significant evolution, but it’s not just about the seat. The seat is the hardware... we have wifi, new bedding, new food onboard, the lounges... I’m pretty convinced that at the back end of next year we will begin to be referred to as having the best Club in the air.” The full reveal of the 56-seat cabin takes place when the first of BA’s Airbus A350s is delivered from July. The aircraft will initially operate between Heathrow and Madrid to familiarise crews before commencing longhaul routes from October 1. The A350 has no first class, so will not operate routes where this cabin is a big selling point, but will initially serve “selected”
services to Toronto and then Dubai. This autumn will see another three A350s join the fleet and the first two Boeing 777s being refitted with the new product. The refit will be of interest to buyers, as the Club Suites will presumably take up more space than the existing Club World seats, and fewer seats may mean higher prices. In response, BA will only say that it “hasn’t yet announced the seat config for the 777 refits”. If travellers develop a liking for the enclosed BA cabin, they won’t find it on flights run by transatlantic partner American Airlines, whose seat does not feature a door at all. It’s the reverse picture with Virgin Atlantic and Delta. The latter has gone full door, while Virgin, which will also debut its new seat on an A350 this summer, has opted for a partial sliding door. A Virgin spokesperson says: “The feedback from customers was that they wanted privacy but still wanted to interact with each other and our crew.”
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Business class / Air travel
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5/30/19 05:57 PM
Air travel / Business class
JetBlue is promising a bigger business cabin with a ‘reimagined, transatlantic version of Mint’ on London services, so buyers can expect a price war” Time will tell which carrier has got it right when Virgin’s A350 debuts on flights from London Heathrow to JFK and Atlanta. Virgin’s new design dispenses with its traditional herringbone pattern; all Upper Class suites will face towards the windows in a 1-2-1 layout, while each seat will have two USB ports, an adaptable plug socket and an 18.5-inch IFE screen. Another difference passengers may notice is that Virgin’s business cabin is also smaller than BA’s on the A350, with 44 seats, although there is a lounge for eight passengers called The Loft. This space replaces the bar area, which while attractive to leisure passengers, can be a source of unwanted noise for business travellers just wanting to sleep. As well as being a social area, the new Loft space will have a 32-inch touchscreen monitor and eight Bluetooth audio jacks, which may encourage keen executives to treat team members to an on-board presentation. For reasons of space, the smaller Virgin Boeing 787 fleet will have a different Upper Class layout when they are refitted early in the next decade. Similarly, BA’s new seat will
not be fitted to its 747 fleet, as these aircraft will all be retired by February 2024. Mark Bevan, Business Travel Direct’s Head of Strategic Relationships, rates BA’s new seat as “really good, with a lot of privacy”. He adds that corporates’ business class policy is becoming harder to predict. “We have customers who previously said only over six hours that have brought it down to four, but some have gone the other way,” he says. “It depends on the client; we have some high-end IT clients and they want staff fresh when they arrive. Others don’t expect travellers to work straight away.”
Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel Analyst at Oil Spill Response, adds: “If you’re in a country over 15 days, it’s economy. Anything over 10 hours is business, 6-10 hours is premium if available.” There are “some amazing deals”, she says, adding: “People are travelling more and there’s so much choice.” Choice will get bigger next year on two transatlantic routes, when BA, Virgin and others face a new challenge in the shape of New York’s JetBlue, which brings its Mint business cabin – some with sliding doors – on to routes between London and both JFK and Boston from summer 2021. JetBlue will use the new LR (Long Range) version of the single-aisle Airbus A321 to fly transatlantic after employing similar aircraft and the Mint cabin on transcontinental US routes, which has really shaken up the market. JetBlue promises a bigger business cabin with “a reimagined, transatlantic version of Mint” on London services, so buyers can look forward to a price war. Aer Lingus has also purchased the A321LR and will use the first of 14 on the DublinHartford route from August 2. The Irish carrier should receive four of the aircraft, which will carry 16 fully flat business seats (minus sliding doors), this year and its plan is to eventually have half its passengers using Dublin as a gateway to North America.
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JAPAN’S LARGEST 5-STAR AIRLINE* ANA is Japan’s largest 5-Star airline, awarded Skytrax’s highest accolade for the seventh consecutive year. ANA flies daily from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Haneda, Tokyo’s most central airport. From Haneda, ANA connects you with 40 domestic and 24 international routes, including a daily flight to Sydney.
We Are Japan. ana.co.uk
By passenger numbers across all Japanese carriers
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5/30/19 05:57 PM 16/05/2019 13:03
Air travel / Business class
The A321LRs will fly some key short-haul routes connecting with the US services, so some business class passengers will get the benefit of the lie-flat seat on their connection to and from Dublin as well. Another carrier to watch is Qantas, which this autumn unveils refurbished premium cabins on its 12 Airbus A380s. Business cabins on these aircraft will be refitted with the same seats as on the airline’s Boeing 787s, offering direct aisle access for the first time, plus a 16-inch HD screen. The number of seats increases from 64 to 70 and the single lounge at the front of the upper deck, which currently has bench-type seating, will be replaced by two new areas either side of the staircase. One has two cafe-style tables with lounge seating and the other a large video screen plus self-serve minibar. With the closure of the A380 production line and the accelerating disappearance of the B747 from our skies, features like this will become the exception, so the emphasis on personal seat space may increase instead. If 2019 is about more carriers bringing the A350 into service and the demise of its
Flying direct doesn’t necessarily mean the most comfortable journey. If flying via Europe gives a business class flat-bed on a new Dreamliner for a night flight, it’s a no brainer”
bigger brother, next year will be about the latest version of the Boeing 777, the 777X, for which Lufthansa is the launch customer. The aircraft is four inches wider than the current 777 and Lufthansa’s sneak preview suggests staggered semi-enclosed cabins with a middle row that alternates between two seats and a single – the latter offering double the amount of elbowroom. Before this, in October, Madrid’s Air Europa unveils its new business class on three new Boeing 787-9s it uses on an expanding South America network. The cabin has 32 seats in a 1-2-1 layout with free wifi and 17-inch screens. Air Europa is one of several emerging carriers challenging incumbents with cheaper indirect flights, new aircraft and a lie-flat business cabin. The airline’s UK Director Colin Stewart says: “Flying direct doesn’t necessarily mean the most comfortable journey. You can’t fly direct to some cities anyway and if flying via Europe gives a business class flat-bed on a new Dreamliner for a night flight, for a similar price as an economy recliner seat, it’s a no brainer.” Stewart makes a broader point too; new aircraft types, new cabins and more indirect flight options are pushing rates down, as buyers are noticing. “It’s competitive,” says Tom Stone of Nina & Pinta Group. “There is still a surplus of seats on certain routes – you’re looking at a price point considerably less than five or six years ago.” With more and better product to choose from and with an ever-increasing range of route options available, it’s currently a buyer’s (and a flyer’s) market.
[ The investors ] Canada’s Westjet has unveiled its first business class cabin on new Boeing 787-9s. The first of these aircraft began flying to Calgary from Gatwick in April, with 16 lie-flat pod seats, 18-inch TVs and dine-on-demand. Cathay Pacific now offers ‘restaurant-style’ dining on all UK flights. A la carte business class dining includes a choice of three appetisers, six mains and three desserts or cheese. An express option is also available. Singapore Airlines continues preparations for its rebranding of regional subsidiary SilkAir, with flat beds being fitted to single aisle aircraft complete with seatback TVs. Air China now operates a new Airbus A350 on Heathrow-Beijing services. The business cabin of 32 flat bed seats is in a reverse herringbone layout. All 10 of Emirates’ Boeing 777LRs have been refitted with new business cabins. The 2-2-2 layout means the third seat in the middle row has been removed. Seats are also two inches wider. United Airlines will operate its first Boeing 767-300 with refitted Polaris business cabins to the UK by the end of 2019. The aircraft will operate from Heathrow to Newark. Air France will operate its first Airbus A350s fitted with new business class seats from September. The design is similar to United’s new Polaris class.
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5/30/19 05:58 PM
Behind the scenes / Air travel
[ product innovation ]
Lofty ideals Virgin Atlantic has reinvented its business cabin with a glamorous new loft space. Julie Baxter went behind the scenes at Gatwick Airport for a sneak preview
irgin Atlantic has taken the wraps off its long-awaited Airbus A3501000 aircraft, which includes an entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand new ‘suites’ and social space. Flying from summer 2019, the goal is to raise the bar and embed innovation.
In anticipation of the launch, the airline hosted travel industry partners and media at The Hub, its Gatwick training base, where a mock-up of the new cabins and key features were installed for crew training. As with all Virgin-related unveilings, there was no shortage of pizzazz – red carpets, Champagne, plus a host of smiley crew and airline top brass are all obligatory. Star of the show was the new onboard social space, The Loft. Virgin was the first airline to introduce an onboard bar and this takes that idea to the next level as a place for customers to gather, drink or dine. Guests got to see how The Loft takes the Clubhouse lounge experience to the skies. The space includes six belted seats (for use during turbulence) and a communal 32-inch screen so passengers can watch a movie using Bluetooth headphones. There was also the opportunity to put the new Upper Class ‘suites’ through their paces too. Nobody could resist the chance to deploy
the privacy screens, check out the 44-inch pitch and stretch out on the fully flat bed. All seats have direct aisle access and convert from upright to a bed with the touch of a button – a marked difference from the current offering that requires crew assistance. Each space benefits from mood lighting too, with the six settings said to help passengers prevent jetlag. Daniel Kerzner, Vice President of Customer Experience at the airline, explained: “The investment in the A350 gave us the chance to challenge everything we know, and build something to fall in love with – the dreamiest aircraft possible. It has been designed with love and built for the future.” Elsewhere, guests had the chance to meet the team obsessing over every element. They’ve worked with fashion houses for new heritage fabrics and taken inspiration from top-end handbags and cars. Mock-ups for the premium and economy cabins showed off creative stitching and leather work. The Hub also housed an example of the new door for crew to train on, presenting them with multiple scenarios for opening through the use of VR. It will also host crew refresher courses and CAA testing. Virgin Atlantic will have 12 Airbus A3501000 by 2021 worth an estimated $4.4billion.
We want to provoke emotion in our passengers, effect how they feel about travelling and to create something unmistakeably Virgin”
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5/30/19 01:30 PM
Air travel / Distribution
Airlines and TMCs have not really shown what additional value NDC will bring to corporates and that question mark is still very much out thereâ€?
THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
5/30/19 02:27 PM
Distribution / Air travel
New Distribution Capability is changing the way airlines present and sell their various product oﬀerings, but NDC is a slow burn, writes Linda Fox
hile some travel industry commentators tipped 2019 as the year that NDC would finally take off, the progress we are seeing – and there is much of it – is currently taking place behind the scenes. In recent weeks, for example, Sabre announced the release of its first lot of NDC APIs with United Airlines as the launch carrier. The development provides the capability for Sabre’s Beyond NDC agency partners to make NDC bookings. The global distribution company then uses its advanced shopping API to integrate other air content including low-cost carriers so that agents continue to access the full range. The GDS is planning further developments in 2019 including integration of NDC content in its Sabre Red 360 agent desktop system. Qantas has also announced its own NDCbased developments with a plan to introduce an agency booking channel from August. It says the channel will provide access to “the widest range of fares, products and information” as well as content not available in current indirect channels. The airline has said that agents not registering for the service could incur a
channel fee and its top agency partners are already on board, including Flight Centre and Expedia. In a statement, Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson says that the carrier has watched on while other airlines have adopted new distribution models and that Qantas believes “collaboration will deliver the best outcomes.” Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport are partnering with Qantas to open up the channel to agents globally. A further recent announcement came from Amadeus who is partnering with FCM Travel Solutions and Flight Centre to test the distribution company’s NDCenabled user interface. Amadeus describes the development as “an important milestone” in its NDC-X program with FCM and Flight Centre to begin making NDC bookings via the UI within the Amadeus selling platform. These are small steps and there will be many over the course of this year and well into 2020 as airlines, travel management companies and technology partners move towards a modern retailing system that aims to work for everyone.
The developments are also a clear sign of the sort of collaboration now taking place in the industry, something which was not so apparent just a few months ago. Marcus Eklund, Global Managing Director of FCM Travel Solutions, says NDC content will become more of a reality in 2019. The TMC is clearly taking NDC seriously having established a team at the beginning of 2019 to help drive adoption of the technology standard. Eklund sees the Amadeus user interface as a positive first step towards how consultants will “book in an efficient way and how we are going to service those bookings.” The servicing element is critical for the travel management community as right now, while NDC bookings can be made via various airline channels, making changes is a big challenge and, for the majority, requires picking up the phone to the airline. While these elements are being developed in the background, the message being presented to corporate buyers and travellers can still be quite confusing. Eklund believes the industry has not helped itself in this regard. “The main thing is what does it actually mean for me as a
THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM
5/30/19 02:27 PM
Air travel / Distribution
NDC still has a long way to go. Airlines have underestimated the amount of work involved in developing the technology and there's a lot of pointscoring going on” corporate traveller and corporate purchaser. Airlines and TMCs have not really shown what additional value NDC will bring to the corporates and that question mark is still out there.” He adds that FCM has plans to beginning showing off some of the tangible benefits and demonstrate the value of NDC over the coming summer. Eklund says the confusion for corporates is fuelled with some airlines exploring different pricing points and releasing lower fares in the name of NDC which are more of a revenue management play. His comments around collaboration and remaining confusion are echoed by Stephen Brook, Manager, Distribution Strategy, EMEA for American Express GBT. He says that while the industry has already gone through a step change, it is not seeing the end products of NDC yet. “The situation is encouraging and the discussions are around how this works for the client. It has gone towards a collaborative environment. There is definitely hype that NDC is ready now if only agencies and the GDSs switched it on,” says Brook. Fred Stratford, CEO of Reed & Mackay, believes there's an element of “NDC fatigue” at the moment, and that 2020 could be the breakthrough year. “NDC still has a long way to go,” he says. “Airlines have underestimated the amount of work involved in developing the technology and there seems to be a lot of point-scoring going on.” He continues: “As a TMC, we don't want to be building hundreds of airline connections – that would just make us another GDS. The most important thing is making sure we still have all the content available.” GBT's Brook also expects to see more significant steps in 2020. “It’s going to be an
exciting 12 to 18 months when I think we will start to see NDC as offering something different to what exists today.” It’s easy to get lost in the NDC developments not only for the partnership announcements but also talk of further levels coming out. NDC Level 4 around full offer and order management for airlines has been introduced and aims to address the servicing issues for the intermediary channel when changes are required. And there’s also talk of NDC@Scale which is a set of criteria for airlines, aggregators and sellers to demonstrate that they have the minimum capabilities in place to get towards volumes of NDC bookings. As the dots begin to be joined up for the industry, attention will gradually turn towards One Order. This will act as a complement to NDC and combine the information from Passenger Name Records, etickets and Electronic Messaging Documents into a single electronic record. The hope is that it will simplify processes, increase efficiency, reduce cost and improve the passenger experience especially around changes and disruption. FCM's Eklund says: “A lot of TMCs have actually worked with almost a One Order concept for quite some time. We have our own super PNR with non-GDS content, hotels and we add other content.” Eklund also says there will be no rush towards One Order because the spotlight, for now, remains firmly on sorting out NDC.
[ NDC EXPLAINED ] An IATA initiative, NDC is designed to help airlines better display their various product offerings and set themselves apart from the competition, but is intrinsically linked to the fact airlines were unhappy with fees that GDSs charge to distribute their content. From a TMC point of view, GDSs do a perfectly good job of gathering content together but now both parties are investing in new technology to incorporate direct connections from airlines. Buyers rightly want assurances that they will still be getting choice and the best price from their travel management company.
THE BUSINESSTRAVELMAG COM THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
5/30/19 02:27 PM
Six of the best / Air travel
Six of the best... Premium economy cabins 1
As you would expect from one of the world’s top-rated airlines, Singapore’s premium economy makes a reliably-good flying experience even better. The 2-4-2 seating allows for more personal space, while enhanced meals include the option to preorder chef-designed dishes.
Delta Air lines
Delta’s Premium Select seats, with 38-inch pitch and 19-inch width, are standard for premium economy, but extras include Tumi amenity kits, noise-cancelling LSTN headphones and Westin Heavenly blankets and pillows.
Virgin Atlantic’s Premium cabin covers all the bases. Enhanced 21-inch-wide leather seats have adjustable foot and headrests; there’s an upgraded meal service on proper dinnerware; and a Wander Wall social space at the front of the cabin offers selfservice drinks, treats and snacks.
It’s all about ergonomics in Cathay’s premium economy cabin. Seats are 20-inches wide with a generous pitch of 40 inches, and each has a six-way adjustable headrest and extendable padded leg rests.
Qantas has upgraded its premium economy cabin for extra comfort, with a 2-3-2 layout making for easier aisle access, 10% wider seats and more legroom. Leg rests offer more support and HD seat-back screens are 25% larger than previously. Like Virgin, it has also added a self-service bar.
The airline is among the latest to introduce a premium economy cabin and the product has been well received. As well as more space and speedier security and boarding, amenity kits, plush pillows and blankets, and inflight meals crafted by celebrity chefs all enhance the experience.
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5/30/19 06:06 PM
Air travel / Consolidation
GROUND Despite a relatively healthy outlook for aviation, several airlines have grounded their services – or been bailed out – of late. Gary Noakes ﬁnds out why
5/30/19 06:06 PM
Consolidation / Air travel
ardly a month has passed since last autumn without headlines proclaiming an airline’s collapse or financial peril. The list is long; budget transatlantic carrier Primera Air failed in October, with Norwegian appealing for funds in December; then Flybe’s rescue in January was followed by flybmi’s collapse in February. Shortly afterwards came Wow Air’s demise in March, while April saw Jet Airways ground its fleet. It’s not a good picture, yet broadly speaking most other carriers in the UK, Europe and US are profitable. So are these examples part of a trend, or do they run against the grain? In Primera’s case, ambition was thwarted by bad luck. A wildcard attempt by a Latvian/Danish charter brand to launch transatlantic flights with long-range singleaisle aircraft ended in defeat after Airbus failed to deliver in time, forcing Primera to lease in replacements. Primera said this had meant “additional costs of over €20million”. Flybe has different issues and its rescue by Connect Airways, the consortium comprising Virgin, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital will see £80million pumped in and a rebrand under the Virgin banner. Its new owners have already set about removing expensive jets from the fleet, but must cope with other factors dogging Flybe. Its predominantly UK network means Air Passenger Duty is disproportionately levied on it, while revenue its mostly in sterling but expenditure mainly in dollars and euros. Moreover, Ryanair and others are adept at putting larger aircraft than Flybe operates on its more successful routes. Once Flybe begins acting as a feeder for Virgin and its majority shareholder Delta, its fortunes may revive. If not, Virgin has acquired more Heathrow slots via the £2.8million deal for an absolute song. Flybmi was another niche UK airline, but those niches, including intra-European routes such as Munich to Saarbrucken, were even smaller than Flybe’s and when Brexit threatened those flying rights, it became unable to expand within the EU, relying on
the crowded UK regional market. This meant it faced the same issues as Flybe and coupled with expensive 37-seat and 49-seat jets (average load just 18 passengers), its demise was sealed. None of these collapses display the classic airline cause of death, wildly optimistic overexpansion... but then came Iceland’s Wow Air. It planned to make Reykjavik a budget flight hub between the US, Europe and Asia, but leasing a wide-body fleet and launching routes like Reykjavik-Delhi was a step too far and, sensibly, two potential investors pulled out of deals to take it over. Samuel Engel, Head of Aviation at global consultancy ICF, is sceptical of what he labels “the long-haul low-cost experiment”. “There’s a step-change in risk and complexity from short-haul to a wide-body operation,” he says. “Wow was exposed to the North Atlantic market, which is one of the most seasonal in the world. Traffic halves in winter, so to be successful in this market you have to shift capacity, have corporate contracts and offer ‘beyond’ and ‘behind’ connections. “A long-haul airline with a handful of aircraft and no network connections or corporate travellers is going to struggle. Norwegian could be in a different category, but Wow and Primera were setting themselves up a steep hill,” he says. Like Lufthansa’s boss Carsten Spohr, Engel is unsurprised about the rash of failures in the UK and Europe. “If you compare the number of carrier hubs in Europe versus the United States, there are probably twice as many in Europe per population, so there is still more consolidation yet to happen.” However, Engel rejects the idea that Wow and Primera will deter new entrants, with aircraft readily available. “Right now, 6% of the A330 fleet is on the ground (including Jet Airways). That’s 90 aircraft. There are a couple of factors that make people continue to start airlines: there is unlimited capital to lease aircraft and a massive leasing market. There is also a trend now for lessors to make speculative orders without a home for them, based on the assumption that they
A long-haul airline with a handful of aircraft and no network connections or corporate travellers is going to struggle” will be able to find airlines that will take these planes,” he explains. So despite the recent collapses, expect some new, perhaps equally short-lived attempts at breaking the big carriers’ grip. Engel concedes there is “room to challenge” the price points that airline alliances have established, particularly across the Atlantic, and expects JetBlue, with its ready base of corporate traffic in New York and Boston and numerous connections from these airports, to make an impact on the corporate market next year. Thanks to those willing to risk their shirt, it all means more choice and (hopefully) lower fares for corporates and consumers. As Engel puts it, there is a clear winner: “From a consumer perspective, these are the glory days of aviation.”
5/30/19 06:07 PM
Air travel / Data
Wondering how your airfares compare to industry averages? Prime Numbers reveals the average cost on the top ten routes from the UK to Europe and the United States
(DATA SUPPLIED BY PRIME NUMBERS WHICH CAPTURED $5.4BILLION IN TRAVEL SPEND AROUND THE WORLD IN 2018)
OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE PREFER WINDOW SEATS TO AISLE SEATS
TOP 10 ROUTES EUROPE CITY PAIR
BASED ON THE NUMBER OF JOURNEYS BOOKED PER ROUTE
COST / TICKET
AVG ECONOMY TICKET
AVG BUSINESS TICKET
LHR-Paris Charles de Gaulle
TOP 10 ROUTES USA
BASED ON THE NUMBER OF JOURNEYS BOOKED PER ROUTE CITY PAIR
COST / TICKET
AVG ECONOMY TICKET
AVG BUSINESS TICKET
LHR-New York JFK
LHR-New York Newark
OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE PREFER TO TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY THAN DOMESTICALLY
OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE WOULD PREFER TO MISS THEIR FLIGHT RATHER THAN LOSE THEIR LUGGAGE
OF UK BUSINESS TRAVELLERS BELIEVE SHARING THEIR TRAVEL PREFERENCES WITH AGENCIES, BOOKERS OR APPS MAKES THEIR LIFE EASIER WHEN TRAVELLING (SOURCE: CWT)
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5/30/19 06:40 PM
On the road with
The founder and CEO of workspace provider Maslow’s, Guy Ivesha, shares his travel habits and preferences good & bad Best business travel experience: Early morning jog in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo or Central park in New York. I really love the morning hours wherever I am. Worst business travel experience: Being stuck in morning traffic in Los Angeles. This is one negative aspect about LA – you can't avoid the traffic.
Preferred hotel: The Norman Hotel Name: Guy Ivesha in Tel Aviv. Irreplaceable location, Position: Founder & CEO, Maslow’s beautiful design and architecture Nature of your business: We own and great service. and operate a hospitality-led private Loyalty points – obsessive workspace and wellbeing destination. collector or not bothered? I like to Our emphasis is on cultivating know that I’m collecting airmiles or creative community, harmonising points, but I will not go out of my everyday life and satisfying both the way to do so. personal and the professional needs Favourite loyalty scheme: I choose of inspiring and ambitious individuals. a supplier based on convenience, Based in: London comfort, service and value for Business trips per year: 15 money for every trip I take. Estimated annual mileage: 45,000 Regular destinations: New York, STEPPING ONBOARD Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Flights: work, rest or play? Rest. Barcelona, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Milan. It’s the only time I can truly switch Most recent trip: Tokyo off between family and work. Next trip: Los Angeles. Onboard connectivity – take The lifestyle there is ALWAYS PACK it or leave it? Leave it. I know incredible. More and A CAMERA more and more airlines are more people are leaving adding wifi on planes but it’s the the East Coast for the West. only place I feel less connectivity is better. You are forced to switch off and that’s a good thing these days. Onboard habits: Catching up on reading and movies. I also enjoy chatting to people I’m seated next to.
DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to: I honestly cannot think of a single place I have been to that I wouldn’t
SEND ME BACK TO TOKYO!
want to go back to. I always try to aeroplane food. Although I must see the good in places and underconfess the latter is much better stand and respect the culture and these days. people who welcome me. Pack light or go prepared? Super Send me back to: Tokyo. This city light. There is nothing I hate more never ceases to amaze me. The than waiting for luggage after a long food, culture, aesthetic and sheer journey. I want to get out of the size of it is mind-blowing. I love the airport as soon as possible. courtesy of the Japanese. They will Never leave home without: always go out of their way to assist A DSLR camera and high-quality without wanting anything in return headphones. I love listening to other than your satisfaction. podcasts. My favourite being The Top overseas landmark: Daily by the NY Times. I also DON'T MISS The Iguazu Falls. enjoy listing to music when I THE IGUAZU Experiencing the falls firstrun or walk. Photography has FALLS hand is extremely powerful. also becoming a real passion. It is almost surreal – it’s a remarkable feeling and sight.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: Hotel check-in time. Should be much quicker and seamless with today’s technology. Biggest business travel irritation: Security at the airport and
Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? Stick to policy. I guess I need to set an example. If you could change one thing about your travel policy... It’s there for a reason but generally I like to avoid early morning flights if possible or red eyes.
On the Road.indd 87
5/29/19 12:57 PM
New kid on the block hard rock hotel London THE LOWDOWN
The famous brand
returns to the birthplace of its first rock-themed café for the opening of its first ever London hotel. The mammoth 900-room property (formerly The Cumberland) perches on the corner of Park Lane and Oxford Street, putting guests right in the heart of the city.
Musical memorabilia and original artwork decorates the hotel from top to bottom and guests have access to unique brand amenities such as a curated in-room playlist, The Sound of Your Stay, and the Rock Om in-room yoga program. The hotel also houses a Hard Rock Café, alongside two lively bars. that's a FACT
including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna have all stayed here in decades past. they said it
"We are delighted
to open a new hotel in London, the brand’s spiritual birthplace. In true Hard Rock style, the property offers stylish and contemporary design, incredible in-room amenities, fantastic food and unparalleled service, with the thread that unites them all – music." RATES
rooms designed with business travellers in mind cost from £296; Deluxe Queen rooms from £306.
New Kid on the Block AH.indd 88
5/29/19 02:06 PM
Meeting in Nottingham grew out of the lacemaking and coal-mining industries but these days is better known as a tourist destination, largely due to its links with the legendary Robin Hood and proximity to the Peak District National Park. The city is home to a number of large companies, including Boots UK, Sports Direct and Experian.
Nottingham Conference Centre
The National Justice Museum
The Centre opened in 2010 following a refurbishment of two Grade II-listed Victorian buildings. It can host up to 500 in a variety of flexible event spaces including the Old Chemistry Theatre with its glass vaulted ceiling, the Old Library and the large Central Gallery. In-house catering and event management are available.
Situated in the Lace Market, the museum has a choice of rooms for hire, ranging from the grand Shire Hall, which houses the crime and punishment displays, the split-level Magistrates’ Suite, and the ornate Victorian Courthouse for up to 120 theatre style. Tours and costumed performers can be organised for groups.
Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU 0115 848 8000 / nottinghamconferencecentre.co.uk
High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN 0115 993 9822 / nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk
Further information Contact Meet in Nottingham for advice on organising a conference or event. Meet in Nottingham has up to date information on venues and accommodation available. Call 0115 962 8320 or email conferences@ visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk
Cellar 9 at Baresca This atmospheric cellar bar sits underneath the popular Baresca tapas restaurant and makes an intimate space for private parties and networking drinks. With a capacity of up to 100, the venue has a PA system, overhead projector and screen available and the bar has excellent acoustics, making it ideal for live music. The kitchen team at Baresca will tailor menus according to taste. 9 Byard Lane, Nottingham NG1 2GJ 0115 948 3900 / barescatapas.co.uk
centre of excellence
Small but perfectly formed
Getting there Centrally located, Nottingham offers excellent road, rail and air links. Trains from London St Pancras to Nottingham take just over 90 minutes, and the city is easily accessible from the M1. East Midlands Airport is 13 miles away with connections to Europe and the US.
On a shoestring
This independent boutique hotel is built by the ramparts of Nottingham’s medieval castle and boasts an upscale awardwinning restaurant. Its private dining room can cater for up to 14, or larger groups can opt for Harts Upstairs, a dedicated event space for up to 100. The hotel has 32 smart bedrooms, private parking and a garden. Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham NG1 6GN 0115 988 1900 / hartsnottingham.co.uk
Crowne Plaza Nottingham
Out of town
Set in 280 acres of Colwick Park The 210 bedroom hotel two miles from the city has a total of 17 meeting centre, the racecourse spoilt for rooms, including its Royal offers six flexible event choice Suite banqueting room spaces with the largest for which can accommodate up to 150 delegates. A 400. Delegates can use the further 12 syndicate rooms business centre and an can be set up in various in-house technician is available configurations. Outdoor to assist with AV and teambuilding packages and production. There are two events can be arranged in the restaurants, a bar, leisure club parkland. DDR starts at £19.99. and spa, and ample car parking. Wollaton Street, Nottingham NG1 5RH 0871 942 9161 / crowneplaza.com
Colwick Park, Nottingham NG2 4BE 0115 958 0620 / jockeyclubvenues.co.uk
mixing old and new
Meeting in NottinghamAH.indd 89
5/24/19 11:06 AM
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR NINE TO FIVE
AND AFTER HOURS, TOO. When work takes you on the road, we take care of you. All of the amenities you love, right in the heart of Back Bay.
5/24/19 10:52 AM
On business in... Awash with colonial history, America's oldest city is most famous for its revolutionary Tea Party. But it's still breaking the mould today as a sophisticated business centre, and Harvard University makes it an intellectual hub for the entire country, writes Sasha Wood
Boston is a rich mix of old and new
House, so it comes as little surprise
ride or taxi. The subway, known as
that the city is renowned for its
the T, offers simple connections into
succulent seafood. Cod, lobster and
the city. There’s also a free Silver Line
seafood chowder is at its best down
bus from the airport to South train
by the harbour in the Seaport
station in downtown Boston.
District. Head to the North End for pasta and Chinatown for Asian. Try
Further information For more details on planning a trip to Boston visit: bostonusa.com
Boston’s smart cobblestone streets
are rich in history. Follow the 2.5-mile
For a host of bustling bars head off
Freedom Trail from Boston Common
to Faneuil Hall – try the Green
to hit the main sites, including the
This smart bay-side city has no
Dragon Tavern for live music or the
Revolutionary War battleground.
shortage of appealing hotels. Housed
Vanderbilt Kitchen and Bar for craft
Once described as the Athens of
in a historic building in the Back Bay
cocktails. As well as live
America, the city is awash with the
neighbourhood, Loews Boston Hotel
performances, the Theater District is
arts, while Harvard University – a hop
is a well-located luxury option. Design-
home to lots of lively clubs for
led and affordable, the new CitizenM
those who want to stay out
Boston North Station offers business
late. For something a bit
travellers modern accommodation
different, visit the Skywalk
infused with local charm a baseball’s
Observatory to take in the
throw from the TD Garden Stadium.
city’s pretty skyline by night.
SLEEPING Getting there Joint venture partners Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines operate daily flights from London Heathrow to Boston, as does British Airways. Norwegian flies daily between Boston and Gatwick, while Virgin/Delta will commence Gatwick-Boston flights in 2020. US carrier JetBlue has also announced plans to connect London and Boston from 2021.
across the Charles River – don't miss the sacred codfish!
qualifies the city as America's intellectual hub.
Cod is the official symbol of
Boston’s Logan International Airport
Massachusetts, with Cape Cod just to
occupies a fragment of land encircled
the south and the Sacred Codfish
by the bay and close to the city centre,
hanging in Massachusetts’ State
which can be reached via a quick train
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A vibrant economic hub, South East Asia’s highly trade-engaged economies include Singapore and Indonesia, offering the UK ample opportunities for economic expansion as Britain eyes post-Brexit trade deals, writes Sasha Wood
South East Asia
Driving trade with South East Asia is a clear priority for the UK, especially post-Brexit. The UK government has been busy strengthening relations with the diverse region, which includes modern metropolises such as Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, as well as emerging economies in Vietnam and to a lesser-extent the Philippines. These countries rank as the third largest Asian investor in Britain, contribute more to global growth than any other region, and are set to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030.
A diverse region of the world with a young population, at the heart of global trade routes and with promising prospects for the future, South East Asia is ripe for UK investment and new trade. In 2017, no less than 15 UK government ministers visited one or more South East Asian nations in a bid to curry economic favour. Among the visitors was former UK Minister for International Trade, Greg Hands, who attended last year’s South East Asian leaders trade summit in Singapore in an attempt to bolster trade ties with the region,
which is now home to four of the world's fastest-growing economies, including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. In fact, the UK already has a firm foothold in South East Asia. Economic Development Board statistics show that more than 4,000 British companies have a presence in Singapore alone, including global giants Rolls Royce, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Barclays, GSK, Dyson, Shell and BP. A more recent meeting between UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, and the
Time zones: GMT +7hrs in Thailand, Vietnam and western Indonesia including Jakarta; GMT +8hrs in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and eastern Indonesia including Bali. Currency: Indonesian Rupiah: £1 = IDR18,496 Malaysian Ringgit: £1 = MYR5.32 Thai Baht: £1 = THB40.50 Vietnamese Dong: £1 = VND29,828 Philippine Peso: £1 = PHP67.19 Singapore Dollar: £1 = SGD1.75 Visas: UK passport holders do not need a visa for short visits to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Passports must be valid for at least six months upon entry. Dialling codes: Thailand: +66 The Philippines: +63 Indonesia: +62 Singapore: +65 Malaysia: +60 Vietnam: +84
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“UK exports to South East Asia rose 19% in 2017 alone,” he adds. Britain is also considering a bilateral free trade agreement with Singapore given the trading relationship and shared history between the two countries, and has also entered into trade discussions to expand trade with Malaysia. A free trade agreement between the UK and the Association of South East Asian Nations is also said to be in the offing. This would present UK businesses with strong prospects in the region – from basic to hi-tech industry and
services. FinTech, green finance, developing smart cities, cyber security, education and increased defence co-operation are among the likely areas of focus and opportunity for future business cooperation between the UK and ASEAN. Meanwhile, growing economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia already make use of the UK’s expertise in manufacturing and infrastructure development. The UK has also launched two new UK programmes supporting ASEAN priorities for economic reform and low carbon energy,
and engaging the UK private sector in its interests in South East Asia. According to the Asian Development Outlook 2019, growth in South East Asian economies remains steady, providing stable conditions for future co-operation on trade. “Strong consumption, spurred by rising incomes, stable inflation, and robust remittances is underpinning growth in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, as is foreign investment in Cambodia and Vietnam,” says the report. UK businesses – and government – should strike while the iron is hot.
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General, Dato Lim Jock Hoi, reaffirmed the UK’s strong commitment to forging a stronger partnership with ASEAN as a bloc, building on the foundations of the already strong bilateral relationships across South East Asia. Britain traded £32billion worth of goods with South East Asia in 2016, and according to Mark Field: “UK investment in South East Asia exceeds UK investment in China and India combined, and the region is a growing and important source of investment into the UK.
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Factfile: South East Asia FLIGHTS
BRITISH AIRWAYS: Has daily flights between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur; flies twice-daily from Heathrow to Singapore; and daily from Heathrow to Bangkok.
BANGKOK: Soak up colourful Thai culture and architecture at peaceful Wat Pho, with its enormous golden reclining Buddha. Then head to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, considered Thailand’s most sacred temple, and the Grand Palace, all located in the same riverside spot in the capital.
Hot-foot it to MALAYSIA AIRLINES: old HANOI Has twice-daily direct flights between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur. THAI AIRWAYS: Flies twice daily between Heathrow and Bangkok. SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Flies four times daily between Heathrow and Singapore and five times a week from Manchester. GARUDA INDONESIA: Flies direct between London Heathrow and Bali three times a week, stopping in Jakarta on the return leg. It also operates flights between Heathrow and Jakarta via Amsterdam six times per week. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Flies five times a week between London Heathrow and Manila. VIETNAM AIRLINES: Flies between London Heathrow and Hanoi four times a week, and does a round-trip between London Heathrow and Ho Chi Minh City three times a week. QANTAS: Flies direct from Heathrow to Singapore and then on to Sydney. EVA AIR: Operates a daily route between London Heathrow and Bangkok, and on to Taipei.
sleeping MELIA HOTELS: Has a strong presence in South East Asia with around 20 hotels across Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, including 9 properties in Indonesia. ACCOR HOTELS: Runs a raft of brands in Asia, such as Fairmont, MGallery and Sofitel, including the Raffles Singapore, the city-state’s most famous heritage hotel and birthplace of the Singapore sling cocktail. MARRIOTT: Has an abundance of hotels in the region under its Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection and RitzCarlton brands, including new openings in Vietnam and Bali. INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP: Has more than a hundred hotels in South East Asia with a particularly strong presence in Thailand operating under different brands including Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo. Recent new openings across the region include new Holiday Inns in Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
JAKARTA: The wide streets, malls and skyscrapers of Indonesia’s modern capital offer great food and shopping, old meets but the city is at its new in most atmospheric MANILA around Old Batavia, a remnant of Jakarta’s Dutch colonial days with heritage buildings and cafes. BALI: Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination is known as the 'island of 1,000 temples' for good reason. Take your pick of amazing stone stupas from Tanah Lot and Uluwatu on the edge of the ocean to Pura Bratan in the crater lake of a dormant volcano – and don’t miss lush Ubud at the island’s cultural heart. KUALA LUMPUR: At 88 storeys, the city’s iconic Petronas Towers are a must-see symbol of this modern metropolis’ economic ambitions, and air-conditioned walkways connect the city’s
shiny shopping malls. The Putrajaya Tropical Botanical Gardens offer an escape from the hustle and bustle and include a canopy walkway and Explorer’s Trail. SINGAPORE: The muchphotographed Singapore Gardens by the Bay has amazing panoramas of this smart cosmopolitan city, while a dip in the infinity pool will make you feel like you are swimming in the sky. MANILA: Visit the wellpreserved Fort Santiago and head to the old Spanish colonial quarter of Intramuros, full of historic buildings, museums and two churches. HO CHI MINH CITY: Take a stroll up Dong Khoi, one of Ho Chi Minh’s oldest streets lined with French colonial remnants and stop in to Ben Thanh market for delicious Vietnamese street food and drinks. For history fans, the Reunification Palace is immensely interesting. HANOI: Discover Hanoi’s old quarter on foot and don’t miss pretty Hoan Kiem Lake. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and, if you have more time, the famous UNESCO-protected Halong Bay is three hours’ drive away – well worth it.
the high life in Kuala lumpur
WYNDHAM HOTELS: Is rapidly growing its portfolio in South East Asia including new openings in Indonesia and Vietnam.
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Reality check HOT E L : O CK E NDE N M ANO R , SU SSE X THE HOTEL
countryside and South Downs. Pale
Hotel & Spa is part of the three-strong
greens and flashes of pink gave the
Historic Sussex Hotels group. It is a
room a fresh, natural feel and an
20-minute drive from Gatwick Airport
oversized headboard comprising a
and a five-minute drive from Haywards
patchwork of different textile patterns
Heath station on the mainline between
and colours was a nice touch. A large
London and Brighton. The hotel has 28
set of shutters folded back to deliver
rooms across the historic manor house
additional light to the bathroom, which
and a modern spa building, all set on
had a freestanding bath, separate
eight acres of grounds. It is a member
shower and Temple Spa products.
of Pride of Britain Hotels.
Amenities included wall-mounted TV,
The hotel is at the end
Nespresso machine, safe, fridge, iron/
of a short, narrow lane and there’s
ironing board, plus a sofabed and table
plenty of parking outside the main
and chairs on the roof terrace.
house. The small reception/lobby area
has character features including
afternoon teas and dinner are all served
wooden beams and a fireplace, while
in the award-winning restaurant which
building and guestrooms could hardly
side rooms feature wood-panelled
specialises in locally sourced cuisine.
be more different to those of the main
walls. I was handed my key and directed
There’s also an oak-panelled bar and
to my room in the modern spa building.
drawing room, and plenty of outdoor
In contrast to the
seating. I’m no spa aficionado but it was
The modern spa
IT IS CLEAR THAT THE SPA FACILITIES HERE ARE SPECIAL
building but the contrast doesn’t jar one bit. The dining was good and the youthful staff did a grand job.
period rooms of the main manor house,
clear the facilities here are special. The
the suites in this modern addition are
indoor/outdoor pool was a real treat,
& Spa, Ockenden Lane, Cuckfield, West
contemporary and have the added
and there’s also an outdoor Jacuzzi, a
Sussex, RH17 5LD. Rates start from
bonus of access to a roof terrace with
gym, studio and fitness classes, plus a
£199 per night. hshotels.co.uk
impressive views of the Sussex
range of spa treatments and therapies.
Ockenden Manor Hotel
HOT E L : M AR R IOT T L E ICE ST E R THE HOTEL
Location is one of the
wardrobe space. The view through the
big advantages of this property – right by
window was of the atrium and open
the junction between the M1 and M69.
lounge area on the ground floor.
The 227-bedroom hotel is just 10
Hooking up to the wifi was something of
minutes from the city centre, and is close
a fiddle, but reception staff were keen to
to the King Power Stadium (Leicester City
help and soon had it sorted.
FC), Leicester Cricket Ground, the giant
The hotel has 20
Fosse Park retail park and the National
meeting rooms, the Market Kitchen
Space Centre. It has recently undergone
restaurant, swimming pool, fitness
extensive refurbishment encompassing
centre and off-site parking. Interestingly,
new bedrooms, meeting room and
an innovative 3D virtual reality tour is
events space, restaurant, executive
being launched, allowing event bookers
lounge and atrium.
to experience first-hand any one of the
I was early, but the
conference and event spaces without
staff quickly changed my allocated room
stepping into the building. The
so I could check in without delay. The
restaurant layout is fine, if not elaborate,
weekends) but if like me you are in
reception desk was friendly and efficient.
and you can see the chefs at work. The
and out many times then the require-
My room on the fifth
menu is uncomplicated and diverse.
floor was attractive, spacious and
Each meal I had here was excellent and
comfortable, with two single armchairs
and coffee table as well as a work desk
This is a great business
ment to get an exit card each time is
A 3D VIRTUAL REALITY TOUR IS BEING LAUNCHED FOR EVENT BOOKERS
annoying – although you do only get charged once a day. THE DETAILS
Smith Way, Grove Park,
and chair. The super king-sized bed was
and conference centre that suited me
a pleasure. There were no bathrobes,
equally well for leisure needs. I was
but there were coffee and tea-making
thoroughly impressed at every turn. The
facilities, a fridge, hairdryer, Smart TV
only minor fly in the ointment is the
and more than enough drawers and
parking. It’s only £5 per night (or £2.50 at
Enderby, Leicester LE19 1SW. Tel: 0116 282 0100. Rates start from around £90 room only. Breakfast at £13pp is good
Reality Check AH_V2.indd 96
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HOT E L : L O E W S CHICAG O THE HOTEL
One of the city’s
of soft beiges, grey and ivory tones.
newest hotels is located less than a mile
Floor-to-ceiling windows offered rather
from the city centre and 0.2 miles from
drab local views. There were numerous
the main business centre. With 400
power outlets, a Keunig coffee maker
rooms and suites, it sits away from the
and speedy wifi. The bathroom was
city’s main road arteries, but shopping,
large, with plenty of counter space. It
museums, boat tours, and the shores
was also extremely quiet, which
of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier (the
suggests excellent soundproofing.
Midwest’s top visitor attraction) are an
easy walk away. Two CTA stations,
Bistro is a fabulous rooftop restaurant
Washington and Clarke/Lake, are a
and bar that draws a local crowd. Its
10-minute taxi or Uber ride away from
food is on the gourmet side and there’s
the hotel. Both stations are on the Blue
an excellent – but pricey – cocktail list
Line which serves O’Hare Airport. The
and craft beer selection. There’s also a
train takes around 35 minutes.
restaurant and Starbucks in the hotel lobby and a spa and a fitness centre
expansive and elegant lobby – which is
spring blizzard and arrived with hair full
with a 75ft pool. There’s a Whole Foods
saying something in a city bursting with
of snow and fingers that didn’t feel my
store across the road and a Target just
own. A porter rushed to take my bags
round the corner. The hotel boasts
to the check-in desk where I was
more than 30,000ft2 of meeting and
offered a welcome hot chocolate. I was
event space, including 11 meeting
processed and escorted to the elevators
rooms, and two meeting planners.
in a matter of minutes.
The ETA + Restaurant and Bar has two
I arrived during a rare
Long and rectangular,
the room was extremely spacious. It was contemporary, uncluttered and full
STREETERVILLE SOCIAL BISTRO IS A FABULOUS ROOFTOP RESTAURANT AND BAR
private dining rooms. THE VERDICT
impressive architecture. The rooms are super-comfortable, although if I ever return I would select a room with a lake view instead. THE DETAILS
455 North Park Drive,
Chicago, 6061, USA. Tel: 312 840 6600. Rates start from around $160 a night for a midweek stay. loewshotels.com
The Loews Chicago
impresses the moment you walk into its
HOT E L : W E ST IN L AS V E G AS THE HOTEL
This Westin hotel, part
The room was a
of the Marriott group, is a couple of
generous size and decorated ‘safely’
blocks off The Strip – far enough to
rather than spectacularly. The one
mean, it seemed, that business
attempt to inject some Las Vegas glitz
travellers outnumbered leisure guests
was a large blue and gold abstract
at the property. It was originally opened
painting above – and partially obscured
as a hotel and casino in the 1970s and
by – the headboard of the (very
has operated under the Westin brand,
comfortable) king size bed. There was a
under several different owners, since
sofa, desk, wardrobe, wall-mounted TV,
2003. The casino was closed in 2017
plus fridge, coffee machine, safe, iron/
and the space used to expand its
ironing board and a batch of leaflets
meetings and events facilities instead –
promoting the brand’s focus on
the absence of the usual flashing lights
wellness: Stay Well, Stay Productive,
and tinkling of fruit machines makes a
Stay Fit (guests can borrow New
refreshing change. Interestingly, the
Balance training gear), Stay Energized
property was one of the first in the city
etc. The bathroom was also spacious
to go completely smoke free.
and came with Heavenly by Westin
By Las Vegas
standards, the hotel is not big and the lobby area was pretty quiet when I
amenities. Views were across a car park to the High Roller observation wheel. THE FACILITIES
There’s 30,000ft2 of
This is a good business
hotel on the fringe of the glamour that permeates the Las Vegas strip. It’s close
THE CASINO WAS CLOSED IN 2017 TO EXPAND THE EVENTS FACILITIES
enough to the action for those who seek it and at the same time a refuge for those who don’t!
checked in around 4pm. There was no
function space – and evidence of a
queue and just a couple of friendly staff
couple of big events while I was at the
working the reception desk. I was told
hotel – plus a Starbucks, outdoor pool,
I’d been upgraded from a Deluxe King
spa, gym and the Jake & Eli Restaurant,
room to a Premium King room and
which specialises in American dishes
around £107. westin.marriott.com
directed to the elevators.
and premium whiskeys. Wifi is free.
The Westin Las Vegas
Hotel & Spa, 160 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. Rates from
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The final word
Arranging aisle seats all round
orking in corporate travel can be a pretty thankless task, right? On one side, clients ask for ways to keep spend down and, on the other, suppliers want exactly the opposite before they are willing to stump up the best in extras and benefits. Being able to negotiate a way through this contractual wrangling is why our loyal readers are paid big bucks! But have you ever thought your talents for diplomacy might be better employed elsewhere? News of a hot new business opportunity for TMCs comes courtesy of research from Grosvenor Casinos, which reveals that 60% of engaged couples now consider eloping rather than endure the expense of a UK wedding. Typical nuptials now cost over £30,000 – and then there’s all the arguments
On the Go Tours used Google search data to find out the most popular real destinations used for fictional places in hit movies. 1
about where pervy uncle Alan should sit at the reception. As sorting out flights and accommodation for demanding/ clueless travellers is a core TMC skill, grabbing a slice of this emerging market could be a
It’s a blooming liberty
tumping up £22 for a single ‘saver’ fare on the Heathrow Express might leave some people feeling gloomy. So fair play to the line’s PR team, who attempted to brighten the mood on board with a dedicated ‘Flower Express’ celebration during last month’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. One carriage was a fragrant riot after being decked out with hydrangeas, wisterias and fresh sea lavender, which – at least for 15 minutes – should have diverted travellers’ attention away from the cost of the ticket. Still, at least it can be expensed, right.
Separating truth from fiction...
Wakanda – Black Panther (Cape Town) Pandora – Avatar (Tianzi Mountain, China) Asgard – Thor (Cedar Creek Falls, Australia) Neverland – Peter Pan (Turneffe Atoll, Belize) Capitol – The Hunger Games (Les Espaces D’Abraxas, France)
goer. For the record, the top five ‘elopement’ destinations are all in the US – California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York and Florida, while traditional favourite Gretna Green, in Scotland, is down in 12th place.
Despite suggestions that we are all becoming more cosmopolitan and demanding of genuine ‘experiences’ on holiday, it appears the reality is somewhat different. Alliance Assistance quizzed Brits about their travel nightmares – and guess what... the big gripes are no wifi and the horror of not being able to get an English breakfast. Further reinforcing our lack of adventure as a nation is a fear of lost luggage, forgetting our glasses and worrying about mosquito bites. Let's just stick to Butlin's, shall we?
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The Business Travel Magazine
Thursday June 27, Mannings Heath, West Sussex Now open for bookings Team and individual entries include brunch on arrival, 18 holes of golf, use of golf buggies, on-course refreshments and post-event barbecue. Teams of four cost just ÂŁ680 and individual places can be purchased for ÂŁ170. All prices exclude VAT. For more information and to book, see thebusinesstravelmag.com
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The FREE event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings REGISTER NOW
ďˆ Join us at TBTC'19 and hear from keynote speakers: one of the UK's most popular journalists and TV presenters, Sir Trevor McDonald, and Gillian Keegan, former Chief Marketing OďŹƒcer at Travelport and now the Conservative MP for Chichester. Hilton London Bankside, Southwark BOOK YOUR PLACE AT thebusinesstravelconference.com For further information about attending as a delegate or exhibitor contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
With thanks to our headline sponsor Star Alliance, and Executive sponsors, Yapta and Air Europa. TBTC'19 is proudly supporting London Taxi Drivers' Charity for Children
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The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...
Published on May 31, 2019
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...