TURNING THE TABLES Time to get ground transport under control
Booking tools Meetings management Focus on: South America T A L K I N G
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A PR I L/ MA Y 2017 Features
16 Meetings management 30 Booking tools 57 Extended feature: Ground transport
Everyone's Talking About... Artificial intelligence
11 Six of the Best... Country house hotels 12 Spotlight on: Direct booking campaigns
13 The Knowledge: Going global 14 Speaking Out: Nick Scott
Rail travel, car hire, taxis, transfers and a whole lot more...
20 The Conversation: Karen Hutchings 22 The People Awards 24 The Debate:
The approvals process 26 Picture This
27 Meet the Buyer: Nikki Foster 36 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 39 Technology: Loyalty programmes 40 Talking Travel:
Theo Paphitis 55 Event review:
Spring Sparkle by TBTC 77 Event review: TBTM Dinner
43 12 pages of news, views and
the latest developments
86 New Kid on the Block 87 On the Road 89 On Business in Johannesburg 91 Meeting in Aberdeen 92 Focus on South America 96 Reality Check
98 The Final Word
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Welcome Wheels in motion
ir travel, accommodation and, at the back of the queue, ground transport. That is the long-established hierarchy of travel management in which rail travel, car hire, taxis and transfers wait in line to be dealt with after the
big ticket items. Or so the story goes. Turn to this issue's extended feature, on pages 57-85, and you could be forgiven for thinking all eyes are on rail and road spend right now. Neglected for too long, the sector is ripe for savings and is accelerating into the future thanks to supplier investment, new technology and duty of care concerns. Nevertheless, it remains a disparate area and the journey is only just beginning. Meetings management (p16-19) is another oft-overlooked area, but new tools, live availability and benchmarking data are now permeating the sector. But it is the booking tools arena where technology is the greatest driving force right now, with artiﬁcial intelligence and chatbots taking personalisation to another level. Head to pages 30-34 to discover the latest developments and an array of opinions on the future of booking technology. On pages 20-21 we speak to Karen Hutchings of EY who not only manages the organisation's global travel, meetings and events programme, but also takes over as Chair of the Institute of Travel Management at the ITM Conference in Birmingham this May. It is the ﬁrst of three events in quick succession from which we'll be reporting, followed by the Advantage Conference, also in May, and the GTMC Conference in June. I'll see you on the road, or you can catch up with the latest news, trends and industry challenges in our next issue.
Andy Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Dave Richardson, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS
Benjamin Coren & Cameron Roberts EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
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(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2017 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM
ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
The hotel is the embodiment of Arabia through a modern lens, which in turn mirrors the modern reality of Dohaâ€?
MONDRIAN DOHA The Mondrian Doha hotel opens in Qatar this spring, becoming the Sbe hotel group's first property in the Middle East. The 270room hotel will have five room categories, eight bars and restaurants, a pool, spa and grand ballroom. Sbe is also due to open two hotels in Dubai in 2017-2018. 6
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
The boutique hotel group Malmaison has opened a property in Brighton following a multimillion-pound transformation of the former Hotel Seattle.
The number of longhaul routes flown from Gatwick in February was up 20% on 2016, while three million passengers passing through the airport was a February record.
THE GREAT HOUSE The Great House at Sonning, Berkshire, reopens in May following an extensive refurbishment. The grade-II listed former coaching inn is a tenminute drive from Reading and has 49 guestrooms. The new Great House Lodge meetings and events space has a terrace and lawns that lead down to the River Thames. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
Artificial intelligence “THERE’S THIS PERCEPTION THAT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS GOING TO REPLACE THE TRAVEL CONSULTANT. IT’S
“VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS WILL CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE MAKE TRAVEL PLANS AS THEY INCREASINGLY BECOME THE NEW MEDIATORS BETWEEN TRAVEL PLAYERS AND TRAVELLERS”
NOT, IT’S GOING TO BE YEARS AND YEARS BEFORE THAT HAPPENS” David Fastuca, Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Founder, Locomote
Christophe Ancolio, Innovation Manager, Amadeus IT Group
“There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence and robotics will rebalance what jobs look like in the future, and that some are more susceptible than others” Jon Andrews, Head of Technology and Investments, PWC
AI will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalised offering. By automating lower priority tasks, it will free up human travel agents to add more value” Mike Eggleton, Senior Manager Analytics & Research, BCD Travel
“BY 2020 WE PREDICT CONSUMERS WILL START FEELING APP FATIGUE AND TEXT OR VOICE BASED INTERFACES WILL BE THE NEW NORM FOR COMMUNICATING WITH THE WEB"
Kelvin Kroll, CIO, Flight Centre
"Chatbots are a welcome addition for our team, specifically FCM Travel Solutions’ Sam. It takes a traditional online tool and marries it with the ability to have personalised, offline service" Benjamin Park, Director of Procurement & Travel, PAREXEL International
WINGS CELEBRATES 25 YEARS As Wings Travel Management celebrates 25 years in the business, the TMC continues to develop its risk management technology
Wings CEO Tony Soﬁanos (right) celebrating the TMC's 25th anniversary with Paul East, chief operating oﬃcer, UK/Europe & Americas
n 1992, Wings’ founder and CEO, Tony Sofianos, set up a travel agency in South Africa with one office and a handful of staff. Today that company is Wings Travel Management with a global turnover of £250million, 400 staff worldwide and 14 wholly owned and managed operations in North America, South America, UK/Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Over the last 25 years, Wings has carved a niche as a global TMC providing high-touch complex travel and support services to clients in the energy, marine, security, specialist finance and engineering industries, where travel is a critical part of their business model – particularly to developing markets and highrisk destinations. International expansion began in 2002 when Wings established a 10
London operation. Next came Houston, Texas in 2006. Aberdeen followed in 2008, Dubai and Angola in 2010, and Brazil in 2013. In 2016 Wings made an acquisition in Norway and also began operations in Saudi Arabia. Last year, Wings acquired Grosvenor Travel Management, significantly strengthening its UK presence, ready for the transition of the TMC’s global headquarters to London. And this year, Wings will officially commence operations in Singapore. From the outset, Wings’ commitment to travel risk management and traveller safety support has been at the core of the TMC’s operations due to the nature of its clients’ complex and often hazardous travel needs. Tony Sofianos explains: “My vision was to adopt a business
model where we own and control all of our operations around the globe. Most other multinational TMCs use partner networks, particularly in markets like Angola, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. “Because we own and manage all our offices, our technology operates on a single global platform. This is critical in times of emergency as our staff can access travel reservations on demand to provide assistance immediately 24/7, regardless of where or when the reservation was made.” Wings has now added another layer of safety support with the launch of goSecure™, a sophisticated risk management and alert portal, that enables Wings’ consultants to locate and communicate with travellers and bookers accurately and rapidly during a crisis. Alternatively, for those clients who already have an established risk management strategy in place, Wings offers the option of goSecure+™, whereby the TMC will implement a customised portal for use in-house by travel managers. A unique aspect of goSecure is that clients can opt to link the tool to Wings’ new intuitive mobile app, VIMA™ (Virtual Itinerary Management Application). “As terrorist attacks become more indiscriminate, traveller safety and risk management have moved to the top of every corporate’s agenda,” says Sofianos. “Our 25 years’ expertise in this area and proprietary infrastructure is hugely beneficial to any company,” he concludes. www.wings.travel email@example.com
ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... Country house hotels 1
This prestigious Hertfordshire hotel and golf course is located only 18 miles from central London. There are 26 rooms and suites in the Mansion House and a further 189 rooms in the modern West Wing. The diverse meetings, conferences and events facilities can host up to 450 delegates.
Located between Luton and Harpenden, the five-star hotel famously appeared in Four Weddings and a Funeral. It has 228 rooms and suites, spa, golf course and purpose-built Warren Weir events venue. Team-building activities are also available.
The five-star Berkshire hotel has numerous guestroom options, from club rooms to the grand Lady Astor Suite. There is relaxed dining at the Astor Grill, or try the AndrĂŠ Garrett Restaurant for fine dining. Meetings and event spaces include the new Churchill room and Motorhouse venue.
Set in 1,000 acres of Sussex countryside, 12 miles from Gatwick Airport, exclusive Gravetye Manor has only 17 bedrooms and suites. It is popular for small meetings and events, plus private dining.
Set on the banks of Loch Lomond, this five-star hotel offers worldclass golf at the Cameron Club and has its own luxury spa. There are numerous luxury and casual dining options and the hotel is well suited for meetings and events, located only 25 minutes from Glasgow Airport.
Slaughters Manor House
The 17th century Gloucestershire manor house underwent ground floor renovations last year to help marry its historic character with the hotel's modern style. The restaurant is one of the most highly acclaimed in the Cotswolds. There are 19 guestrooms and the hotel is available for exclusive use.
A closer look at industry developments
Spotlight on... Direct booking campaigns
News of Best Western’s 'Better Book Direct' campaign might be anathema to travel managers, but such schemes could prove fruitful for SMEs More than a year since launching, Hilton’s ‘Stop Clicking Around’ campaign is still prominent, most recently spotted by this writer circulating the electronic advertising boards of Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion during England’s 1-0 defeat against Germany. Marriott, InterContinental and Hyatt all adopted the same tactics, each of them urging customers to book direct through their websites to achieve the best rates and
The trick is to encapsulate these schemes as part of the corporate policy, which requires careful negotiation” 12
a variety of member-only perks, with each of them scoring something of an own goal, at least in the eyes of travel managers. The latest player entering the field is Best Western Great Britain, offering member-only Reward Rates – “of at least 2% against the equivalent public Flexible and Advance rates” – plus Reward points in exchange for gift cards and free nights. According to an HSBC report, Anatomy of a Consumer, 51% of people asked said they thought an online travel agent (OTA) presents them with the best hotel deals. “What’s frustrating is that we know this isn’t the case and that’s a perception that our ‘Better Book Direct’ campaign is looking to break,” says Sarah Fussey, Director of Marketing at Best Western Great Britain. These campaigns are largely targeting leisure customers in an attempt to win them back from the big OTAs who take large chunks of commission. Travel managers have nevertheless been irked, arguing that they would tease their corporate travellers away from their preferred suppliers and booking channels, be it by design or not.
One travel manager is more pragmatic, arguing it is not a new problem, just a new manifestation of it. “It has always been an issue with air miles and is becoming increasingly prevalent with hotels,” says Craig Cherry, Procurement Director at Dentsu Aegis Network. “The trick is to encapsulate them as part of the corporate policy, which requires careful and innovative negotiation.” Easier said than done, perhaps, but playing two particular cards can help, says Cherry: “MI standardisation and duty of care are vital tools in the compliance to policy toolkit.” Best Western’s scheme could prove fruitful for SMEs with insufficient volumes to achieve their own corporates deals. As well as preferential rates, members should have enough points for a free night after ten stays, with no blackout dates, says Best Western. Ultimately, it is down to employers to fathom how such schemes might be incorporated into travel programmes – or completely ruled out – but as one buyer succinctly pleads with the partaking hotel groups: “Work with us, not against us.”
ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
How to... Go global without a global TMC Is it really possible to manage a global corporate travel programme through a regional TMC? One company developed an innovative solution that has managed to do exactly that
A major manufacturer for the automotive and architectural markets needed to implement a global travel programme across all the countries it operated in. It has nearly 30,000 permanent employees, with principal operations in 30 countries and sales in over 130.
The company spoke to four global travel management companies, plus Manchesterbased CTI. Ultimately it was the regional TMC that won the business by coming up with a flexible alternative to the usual global set-up. It identified key partners in the company’s biggest markets and
built a bespoke travel alliance for the client. “With a global TMC there is very little flexibility,” says Melanie Quinn, Commercial Director at CTI. “You have to work with the brand or their partner in each territory, regardless of the size of spend or agency.” She continues: “After listening to what was working for the client and where they were struggling, we knew that building a tailormade alliance would deliver the best in class service they were looking for.”
The model appealed to the client as all the agencies involved would share data to enable UK management to police their policy and enable global traveller tracking. Some of CTI’s fellow bidders could only guarantee data from six countries. CTI also created a global hotel programme, introduced new payment processes to save on credit card fees, and an online implementation system was created to give the company complete control of the roll-out. “Each partner is the right size and shape for the client’s spend and must deliver against a strict SLA,” explains Quinn. “On the rare occasion that a partner has failed
to deliver, we have replaced them with a new partner without disrupting the rest of the programme.” Quinn believes the high level of service together with the provision of consolidated global data has been important to eight other clients that have adopted the same approach to their global travel needs.
Among the benefits that the company achieved were greater compliance, significant savings and better spend visibility. CTI guaranteed in excess of £140,000 in savings from day one simply by changing the client’s payment processes. Compliance rose, with 95% of all travellers booking via a CTI-appointed alliance member, while global data enabled the company to identify new cost savings opportunities and reduce spend. CTI also negotiated preferred hotel deals in the UK that delivered a further £21,000 saving in the first 12 months. It also negotiated free wifi and breakfast and in one particular hotel obtained £44 per night in additional benefits.
ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT
Paper chase To tender or not to tender… The business travel industry is stifled by tenders, says arrangeMY’s Nick Scott, who encourages procurement to engage more with suppliers To tender or not to tender? It’s a question that has become increasingly prevalent in our sales office and has become so important that it now has its own process document titled after it. And controversially, perhaps, the resulting answer to the question is increasingly becoming a 'no'. When I first joined arrangeMY in 2004 as a very keen but very green sales exec, an invitation to tender was perceived as a wonderful prospect. It was the chance to boast of potential opportunities at industry
I could write a book about bad tender examples, including irrelevant questions, unrealistic timescales and copy and pasted text”
events and a sign of increasing success and importance. In a relatively short amount of time, however, I now look at the process very differently. My change in attitude has mainly come from my own bad experiences, resulting in an unfortunate distrust with the tender process. I could write a book about bad tender examples and these normally include irrelevant questions, unrealistic timescales, and copy and pasted text that is repeated over and over again. This lowering of tender standards led to arrangeMY writing a ‘policy for participation (to tender or not to tender)’ in 2008, which has increasingly seen us decline the opportunity to participate. In fact, we now turn down over 80% of the tenders that we are invited to respond to. I also see it as no coincidence that while our participation has massively reduced, our batting average has massively increased to around a three out of five success rate. To aid procurement and to increase the quality of participants to a tender, I would encourage procurement departments to engage with the industry. Research supplier bases and take the time to really understand what it is you are
looking to buy, how your organisation would prefer to buy it and what's important to your organisation in choosing the right supplier. Not all tenders are bad and there are some really great pieces of work that have successfully brought together the best fit for a customer and a supplier which, as much as it hurts me to say it, sometimes hasn't been arrangeMY. So, to help kick-off the thought process, here are the basics of our 'to tender or not to tender' process below: • Do we already know the client or are they willing to engage? • Are the right questions being asked and are they being asked in the right way? • Is it a realistic timescale? • Is it the right fit for our business and do our strengths and offerings meet a company’s need? • Does the client’s reputation match our own business objectives? • Would it be a suitable working relationship for us? • Is the budget and account size suitable? • Is there any chance of us winning the tender? • Are they open to change or is it a benchmarking exercise? We understand how important a tender process can be in terms of winning a contract and retaining valuable business. As a result we have taken active steps to train and equip our workforce to service these needs to the best of their ability. Procurement managers need energised suppliers who are keen to bid and suitable. By opening up how we approach the process, it might just help us all achieve more successful and satisfactory tender outcomes. NICK SCOTT Nick Scott is Managing Director of Worcester-based arrangeMY. He joined the family-owned travel management company in 2004 and took over as MD in 2008, overseeing growth in turnover from £8million to £25million since then.
St. Erminâ€™s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW
TOGETHER Corporate conﬁdence might be low but the meetings and events sector is holding steady, says Catherine Chetwynd
hat with Brexit, the falling value of the pound and the attendant uncertainty, it is no surprise that corporate confidence is somewhat lacking right now. The reaction of many has been to consolidate meetings, look for cheaper venues – or at least seek better value – and to pay closer attention to terms and conditions. In addition, tools to manage events are playing a larger part, providing efficiencies of time and money. One long-standing issue, however, is the lack of benchmarking data for meetings and events, with perplexed meetings organisers looking on in envy at the wealth of such data for transient business travel. The Meetings Benchmark, however, is attempting to address the disparity. Launched by Jim Quintrell and Paul Hussey, the company’s MICEtracker tool gathers anonymous data on events from agents such as venue classification or description, the number of delegates, average day delegate rate (DDR) and 24-hour rate, plus client sector SIC code. Subscribers to the service can then use all these categories as filters to help them find out where they stand. According to MICEtracker, in 2016 average day delegate numbers rose by 5.07% on 2015 and 24-hour delegate number were up by almost 23%. 16
“The significant increases in both average lead times (76 days) and conversion (19 days) support the delegate size indicators that meetings got bigger in 2016, with a return to more residential types,” says Quintrell. Spend, however, is a more complex picture. Average 24-hour and day delegate rates fell, the latter by 2.3%, although some cities went against the grain, with Birmingham and London rates rising. However, average spend per meeting rose by more than 15.73% to £1,698.66 and average spend per delegate went up by more than 13%. Another newcomer to the market, MICE in the Bag has been launched by Rosy Burnie, the former travel buyer for manufacturing company Levata, and Ayse Sabbatini. It aims to marry up buyers and suppliers, saving money for suppliers, who can pass that on to their clients.
Companies are not cutting back on the number of events they are holding but they are being more savvy about what they spend”
According to Burnie, companies are not cutting back on the number of events but are being more savvy about what they spend. Not only are budgets smaller but events are more cost-effective and cheaper destinations are benefiting. When it comes to overseas events, that means the likes of Spain, Malta and Portugal. Also popular are Florence, San Diego and Miami, while Event Travel Management (ETM) has seen a rise in demand for cities such as Riga, Tallinn and Lisbon. “Clients are able to put on the same quality of event at a similar, if not better, price than in previous years,” says Senior Events Manager, Victoria Deprez. Many organisations are also hosting events in the UK, cutting costs on travel and accommodation.
Economic efficiencies Also reflecting economic use of budgets is a move to organising smaller events in-house, suggesting better use of office meeting space, and those in the know add that to their programme management tool, to encourage best use. Slightly larger events also feature, often where they are aggregated to benefit from combined budgets to make more impact. Inntel has noted longer gatherings, with a small increase to 2.1 days: “Companies are frequently combining their requirements
and holding meetings back to back,” says the company’s Director of Business Development, Jane Dibble. AccorHotels has seen shorter lead times, fewer delegates and more negotiation on terms and conditions. Buyers also increasingly expect added value. And Arora Hotels notes that bolt-on elements can make the difference. This includes additional break-out space, greater use of AV, late check-out from meeting rooms and specific menus, which are “vital, given meeting planners now care more about what their delegates eat and the productivity value generated as a result”, says Commercial Director, Raj Shah. The Hilton London Metropole, meanwhile, is experiencing more enquiries but no increase in value, and companies are stalling on signing contracts for larger events, which are showing a peak in demand. Organisers are using more data on meetings to showcase targets and act as
There is a revolution under way and the world is moving online for meetings, albeit smaller events for up to 30 delegates”
We’re the meetings, accommodation and travel management experts.
a motivational tool to inspire employees. “The deeper purpose of using data and statistics is staff retention, by making sure that a company’s top performers are fully invested in a business’ overall strategy and goals,” says Paul Casement, Director of Sales and Account Management for travel management company Portman Clarity.
The Brexit effect Although Britain is easing towards Brexit, it is still an unknown quantity, with the fall in the value of the pound taking its toll on British companies, which are operating on straitened budgets. According to MICEtracker, post-referendum returns have been 1.84% down overall, where the same period in 2015 saw steady rate growth each month except August. And there may be more to come: “There is also the prospect of higher air fares to consider and fewer flights between the EU and UK. New travel requirements to Europe,
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Inntel are proud to be Radius Travel members - now offering meetings and events solutions to a network of over 100 agencies worldwide.
If your organisation is interested in exploring the benefits that a global strategic meetings management programme with local, personalised service could deliver we would love to hear from you. Call us on 0844 8475500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org inntel.co.uk #INEEDINNTEL
such as visas, could also result in travel becoming more costly and the admin beforehand more laborious,” says Casement. However, “Post-Brexit, the need for UK business to expand and export into non-EU countries will become increasingly important,” says GTMC Chief Executive, Paul Wait. “Holding conferences in key emerging markets, including destinations such as South America and Asia, is a great way to develop local knowledge and build cultural competence, which can become invaluable in the long term,” he adds. Destinations worldwide are also promoting themselves to Britain. “Many countries are sending their tourist and destination MICE specialists to the UK on a frequent basis to drive business to their destinations and support international trade,” says Wait.
Online alternatives Technology continues to hold sway and although the recent merger of Cvent and Lanyon has consolidated the options, there are also new entrants and some longstanding providers looking to expand their capability and range. “There is a revolution under way. The world is moving online for meetings, albeit small meetings of up to 30 delegates initially,” says Managing Director of venuedirectory.com, Michael Begley. “We have offered an online option for the last ten years and adoption has been slow but now that live online booking of meeting rooms from a wide range of venues and brands is possible, we are seeing significant growth in this area.” Begley adds, “In addition, clients are aggregating internal meeting space with external space and are seeing online as a solution for all their small meeting needs.” One TMC and M&E agency making progress in this area is NYS Corporate. It has recognised the trend for online booking and launched its MeetingsPro tool to handle venue finding, website creation, delegate management and spend management. And hotel management company Interstate Europe has launched a live online booking tool powered by Meetingsbooker.com for small meeting space that handles rooms, coffee breaks, lunch and equipment, with payment by credit card. In addition, “We have seen a huge rise in the number of bookings placed online via
We understand the importance of appointing a specialist agency to manage this area of spend successfully” our Meetings Management Portal (up 17% to 69%), which may be due to clients’ wishing to track spend in real time and put their budgets under even greater scrutiny than before,” says Inntel’s Jane Dibble.
TMCs move in Booking tools are also contributing to the increasing number of TMCs that are offering M&E services. “Companies may be changing their attitude to using external software because TMCs are now offering that as part of their service,” says Rosy Burnie. For a long time, TMCs were not viewed as a credible option for M&E services but a combination of technology and bought-in expertise is changing this. Radius Travel recently launched a MICE strategy, backed by new (MICE specialist) member Inntel. TMCs’ growing success in this area also reflects the number of travel managers with responsibility for group travel and/or meetings management, which rose from 58% to 63% in 2016, according to research undertaken by Business Travel Show. But one such buyer, Karen Hutchings, Global Travel, Meetings & Events Leader at Ernst & Young, believes TMCs could do a better job of helping clients utilise internal meetings space. “Some of the venue sourcing agents do it well but TMCs could do too,” she says. EY is attempting to cut down on the number of non-client day trips occurring within the organisation and using its telepresence suites to help do so. “We’re trying to work out how to get our travel agencies to push these. TMCs should see it as another revenue stream,”
says Hutchings. “If they got paid for persuading someone not to travel for a meeting and get a transaction fee for a telepresence booking instead, why would they not want to do that?,” she asks. Another meetings and events buyer is loyal to the specialist approach: “While we recognise that a number of TMCs in the UK now provide meetings and events departments, at Royal London Group we understand the importance of appointing a specialist agency to manage this area of spend successfully,” says a spokeswoman from group sourcing. “Our relationship with Inntel began in September 2016 and we have already started to notice the benefit, both in procurement value and the ease of process for key stakeholders,” the spokesperson adds. Likewise, RWE npower also separates the two areas, using Inntel for meetings and events alongside its travel management company, CWT. For real control – of prices, compliance and MI – a Strategic Meetings Management Programme (SMMP) is essential, particularly for large companies. It allows combining of internal and external meeting space, diary and delegate management, a holistic view of every event, the ability to measure compliance of delegates to the programme and of venues to service level agreements, plus the opportunity to negotiate better rates using the data gathered. But SMMPs are still not the norm among corporates. “We would love to see all our M&E clients introduce a strategic meetings management programme and we actively encourage and support these, but in reality only 40% of our clients actually have one,” says Inntel’s Jane Dibble. The meetings and events industry continues to be under pressure but it is responding dynamically. Whatever the approach that meeting and event planners are taking – be it constructing an SMMP, introducing a live booking tool or consolidating events – it is worth their looking at what they do and how they do it to ensure that not only do they get the most out of their budget, but that their attendees get the most positive and productive experience possible too.
Global Travel, Meetings & Events Leader, Ernst & Young
The incoming Chair of the Institute of Travel Management speaks to Andy Hoskins about the industry, her role at EY and her hopes for ITM
aren Hutchings joined EY just over four years ago with a mission to consolidate its travel programme, deliver savings and streamline processes at the professional services organisation. She had previously held travel management roles at Merrill Lynch, Citi and, most recently, AIG, but the transformation she has delivered at EY is perhaps her biggest achievement to date, although it has not been without its challenges. “It’s the longest I’ve been at an organisation for a while and they probably should have taken before and after photos of me,” Karen jokes. “When I started at EY we were working with over 110 different travel agencies – and they were just the ones we knew about!” She launched RFPs to find the best partners by region and ultimately consolidated down to three travel management companies. “We spent 18 months from start to finish on the RFPs, including implementation,” says Karen. “We needed to get the agencies in place ASAP and subsequently get the data in order that could deliver value and savings. “Where there’s a will there’s a way. You just need to get the right people involved in the RFP. Not just the travel team, but also the senior stakeholders. When you involve them in the decision-making, voting and ranking of suppliers they are more apt to support you through the implementation.” Year-on-year savings comfortably exceeded her FY16 US$65million target and, as a result, 20
the bar has been raised for 2017. “My boss thinks it will be easy!” laughs Karen. She is now in the midst of a similar consolidation process for EY’s meeting and events needs, an area she describes as “like herding cats”. In addition to her day job, Karen will take over as Chair of the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) in May. “It’s an organisation I’ve always rated highly and the conference sessions are always excellent,” she says. “This industry has given me the most amazing career so it’s a great opportunity to give something back.” What are the challenges she expects the ITM and travel management fraternity to face during her tenure? “Security and duty of care will remain right up there,” she says. “Making sure there is robust security tracking and having emergency plans in place is going to be vital. I think there are still many people out there who react to an incident in a piecemeal fashion rather than having proper processes in place.” Karen also highlights the rising number of suppliers encouraging direct booking, the need for TMCs to evolve and the onslaught of disruptors and start-ups. “They’re going to rock the traditional travel programme,” says Karen. “People who don’t use or embrace new entrants do so at their peril.” EY is well prepared in this respect. The organisation has appointed a head of innovation who is tasked with examining emerging trends and disruptive tools. The
average age of its employees is 27 – a demographic all too keen to jump onboard the latest trends. “I don’t want to be on the back foot,” says Karen. “I want to be proactive, investigate new tools to see if they make sense for us and work out how we can incorporate them.” Supplier relations are also close to Karen’s heart. She spends much time in “blue-sky strategy meetings, not just going through numbers but figuring out how we can work together better or differently. We share our objectives with key suppliers so they’re focused on helping us achieve them. “It doesn’t matter how large your travel spend is, it’s about how you work together,” she argues, citing her experience on the supplier side of the business. “Yes we are large – there’s no getting away from that – but this is the thing I want to take to the ITM: you may be smaller but as long as you don’t over-commit on targets, you deliver to expectations and you’re open and honest, then you can still do very well working with airlines and hotels.” The modern travel manager’s role is diverse but communication and stakeholder engagement have never been so pertinent, Karen believes. “The key to success is getting buy-in from colleagues,” she says. “We’re like sales people on steroids, explaining why it makes sense for them to do what we ask! The travel manager role has developed but that’s what makes it interesting.”
out of the office... How much do you travel in your role? “Probably a week per month on average. A lot of that is meeting with stakeholders. We’re sales people so I need to make sure we’re spreading the word of what we do and finding out what’s needed in our markets. Once a year I try to get to the major markets we’re working in so this Saturday, for example, I go to Singapore then Sydney, Manila, Hong Kong and Shanghai. I’m then back for a week before heading to Colombia, back to the UK again for two weeks and then I’m off to Japan. But given the excitement of my role I never feel fatigued.”
KAREN HUTCHINGS Karen is responsible for EY’s global travel, meetings and events programme, including travel and venue sourcing agencies, corporate cards, hotels, air travel, ground transport, rail travel, car rental and all the technology elements they incorporate. Around 70% of EY's 250,000 employees are regularly on the road, with around US$1.7billion spent on travel and events annually, excluding meals. It operates in 155 countries and in the US alone around 7,000 employees spend over 100 nights away from home in a year. Karen has previously held roles with AIG, Citi, Merrill Lynch, HRG and Swiss. She takes over as Chair of the ITM in May.
Do you have any favourite travel destinations? “I like everywhere for different reasons. If I’m travelling for leisure then there’s always wildlife involved of some description. And I try never to go back to the same place twice because I can do that when I’m too old to be adventurous! I love South America – it always fascinates me – and the service mentality in Asia is amazing. And at home in Somerset, in the UK, I have two horses that keep me busy and grounded – when I’m there!”
THE PEOPLE AWARDS
meet the winners
the people awards The People Awards recognise excellence among individuals and teams in the business travel industry. We speak to two of last year's winners
Corporate Traveller Reservations Consultant of the Year Anna Piredda beat off stiff competition to be named Reservations Consultant of the Year at The People Awards 2016. The judges said: “In a highly competitive category where five nominations were shortlisted, Anna’s inspirational leadership and strong communication skills demonstrated the true value of customer service by recognising the importance between relationship management, client retention and gaining new business.” Anna’s career with Corporate Traveller began six years ago as a consultant. Her passion for providing personal service and building exceptional relationships with clients helped her stand out from the crowd and in 2015 she was promoted to Team Leader.
Anna’s strong communication and inspirational leadership skills demonstrate the value of customer service” Her commitment is second to none, say her colleagues, whether that’s an individual request from a CEO for specific refreshments in his car transfers, or always booking an aisle seat for a particularly tall traveller. She has also played a key role in helping Corporate Traveller to win five new accounts via recommendations from existing clients. “Anna is wonderful to work with,” says one of her client’s PA bookers. “She is proactive and quick to act on any request. She thinks outside the box and goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist us with our travel.” 22
FCM Travel Solutions Account Manager of the Year Dusko Kain joined FCM two years ago and has excelled in his role as Account Manager, particularly in the implementation of a major new client with an annual spend of £22million. Despite the complexity of the account and a number of unexpected issues, the project was completed in less than 12 weeks.
The foundation for being a successful account manager is working as a team, learning from one another and sharing knowledge” To his great credit, although Dusko is often under pressure to meet critical deadlines, he always makes time for his colleagues and continues to be a source of inspiration and encouragement. The most pertinent and meaningful compliments often come from colleagues and that is certainly true in Dusko’s case. He has been recognised not only as an efficient team player but a highly-respected leader and decision maker. Having landed the award for Account Manager of the Year at The People Awards 2016, Dusko said: “It was inspiring to win this award that acknowledges my achievements. I’m devoted to providing my clients with exceptional diligence in everything I do on their behalf. I believe the foundation for being a successful Account Manager is working as a team, learning from one another by communicating and continually sharing knowledge.”
The Join the celebrations at the 2017 awards ceremony Recognising excellence in business travel
Be the first to find out the winners at The People Awards lunchtime ceremony on Friday May 26th. With nominations closed and now in the hands of the judges, you can look forward to the winners ceremony being held at London’s Grange Tower Bridge hotel on Friday May 26th. Tables for 10 people cost £850, tables
of 12 cost £1,020 and individual places can be booked for £90 (all costs exclude VAT). Enjoy a drinks reception courtesy of Evolvi Rail Systems, a fantastic three-course lunch with wine and a post-lunch drinks party sponsored by ANA All Nippon Airways as we recognise outstanding individuals
and teams from across the business travel industry. For information on sponsorship opportunities or the awards ceremony contact David Clare on 020 8649 7233 or email@example.com Book your place at thepeopleawards.co.uk
Head of Sales and Account Management, Good Travel Management
If you have a robust travel policy in place do you really need an approvals process as well?”
Director of Account Management, Corporate Travel Management
f you want to control travel costs pproval is certainly not a thing within your organisation you probably of the past, but the key to have a travel approval process in managing it effectively is to place. But is it more hassle than it’s get your TMC to implement an Wayne Durkin worth? automated approval tool. It’s important to remember you already However, these tools should not be used to have a corporate travel policy. A well-written approve trips that are within policy, rather and robust travel policy should serve as the only those that are out of policy. If cornerstone of your business travel individuals who try to beat the policy know programme. If you have this in place that there is an approval tool behind do you really also need to include the scenes they are less likely to try an approval process as well – again in future and compliance isn’t this just duplication of therefore increases. the same thing? The approval tool needs to If you are not confident be accessed via any type of that your travel policy smart phone, tablet or provides enough laptop, in a real-time protection to control digital environment, so out of policy spend travellers and bookers then a review is in can easily request trip order to ensure that authorisation and it is delivering your managers can respond objectives and promptly. controlling costs. Approval tools puts However, if you do the process into the need to have an user’s hands, which is approval process, particularly important work with your TMC to for the millennial automate the process. generation, driving Two senior figures at UK-based travel management Manual authorisation is engagement at a personal companies offer contrasting opinions time consuming and if the level, helping corporates to approver is unavailable then win their travellers’ support in the delay could mean seats adhering to travel policy, as well held on flights have to be as meeting duty of care obligations. re-booked at a higher price. Our clients are recognising the Approval processes are also not all significance of this. We recently impleabout cost. Many companies pre-approve mented our Smart Approve tool across five trips to ensure that employees do not travel global accounts which improves efficiency to high-risk destinations. and highlights savings opportunities to both Your agency will be able to advise you on traveller and approver. how you can best use technology to help Depending on the client’s policy and reduce and streamline the travel approval internal hierarchy, approval need not be a processes and still control costs and risk burden. Not only does it provide visibility of without impacting on your employees. The non-compliance among travellers, it also reasons for approving business travel are allows businesses to capture the most frequent out-of-policy still valid but with techbooking types, which may nology improving all the time there are make them question often new and better if their policy is ways to reach the appropriate for their Stuart Birkin same goal. current travel needs.
Are the days numbered for corporate travel approval?
If individuals who try to beat the policy know there is an approval tool behind the scenes they are less likely to try again in future”
MASTERS The popular TBTM Golf Masters is back once again and now open for bookings This year’s event takes place on Friday June 9 at Mannings Heath’s superb Waterfall Course in West Sussex. Team and individual entries include brunch on arrival, 18 holes of golf, use of golf buggies, on-course refreshments and post-event barbecue. In addition, the ﬁrst 17 teams to enter receive the option of free sponsorship of a hole.
For further information and to book a place see: thebusinesstravelmag.com Partners
HIGH RISE Singapore is the world’s most expensive city, while London has fallen 18 places to 24th. The latest research from the Economist Intelligence Unit placed Hong Kong second and Zurich third. Kazakhstan’s capital city, Almaty, was the cheapest city worldwide, with Lagos close behind.
MEET THE BUYER
NIKKI FOSTER Nikki Foster is the Global Travel Category Manager at a global data management company. She explains what her role involves Tell us a little about your career to date and your current role. My career began in the hotel industry, predominantly in events and sales. I then moved to client and event management for a large events agencies where I led a successful team and developed strong client relations. In 2012 I made the transition into the corporate world focusing on meetings, events and travel procurement. I am now the Global Travel Category Manager for a global data management company where I'm responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the programme. The role includes overseeing our partners such as the travel management company and technology providers, as well as supplier relations with airlines and hotels. What do your responsibilities include? Every day is different, but overall my role is split roughly 50/50 between end-to-end procurement responsibilities â€“ including strategic sourcing, contract management and supplier relationship management â€“ and ensuring the smooth running of the travel programme. My reporting line is ultimately to the CFO but I develop relationships for cross-collaboration in all departments within the company to ensure goal alignment, risk mitigation and increased policy compliance.
Give us an overview of the company's travel patterns. We are headquartered in California's Silicon Valley and 54% of our travel spend is driven from the US. The How many staff rest comprises 24% from "In an attempt to get fit and regularly travel on EMEA, 17% from Asiasupport a local charity I have business? Pacific (including India) signed up for a half marathon. Out of the 7,500 and 5% from Latin I am not a natural athlete so the employees at the America. Our intertraining is proving a challenge! I also enjoy music and hope to company, around 40% national travel is largely to attend as many festivals as travel regularly. Travel is and from our key locations possible in 2017" booked individually or by our within EMEA, Asia-Pacific and administration community. We India, as well as customer use one TMC globally along with locations. Some of our most frequent an online booking tool in six of our destinations include San Francisco, London, key markets. Dublin and Pune.
OUT OF THE OFFICE
One of our biggest challenges is the constantly changing distribution of inventory and the capability of our technology partners to evolve quickly enoughâ€? How effective is the company's corporate travel policy? We have a very robust travel and expense policy. While it is not 100% mandated it is strongly enforced through policy messaging and expense control. We're happy to have achieved high compliance to the T&E programme globally. What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to managing travel for your colleagues? One of our biggest challenges is the constantly changing distribution of inventory and the capability of our technology partners to evolve quickly enough to keep up with changes. We need them to provide price comparisons and availability of flights and hotel rooms within our approved platforms and booking processes. Differences in global technology offerings also means our travel functions and policy is inconsistent across different markets, which is frustrating. Finally, data accuracy and data frequency has been and will continue to be a main priority. We need the best data possible to help inform and direct our travel programme. Obtaining relevant and timely data from multiple sources is a key objective currently.
A complete solution. AirPlus is a multi-award winning business travel payment specialist with more than 25 years of experience. We make business travel payment and reporting smooth and seamless with our range of products backed-up by award-winning service. Want to learn more about how AirPlus simplifies business travel management? To speak to one of our experts, contact the team today â€” weâ€™re always happy to help. Call +44 (0) 20 8994 4725 or email us at London@airplus.com
All in the
EXPERIENCE The consumerisation of business travel continues as booking tool specialists ﬁne-tune their focus on the user experience. Linda Fox reports on the latest developments
alking the floor of the Business Travel Show in London in February revealed two discernible booking technology trends. At first glance, the first doesn't seem very exciting. After all, we've been talking for some time now about the content that business travellers want and the need to make it available in an easy and efficient way. But the signs are positive. Long-stay accommodation provider BridgeStreet launched an online travel agency to bring together corporate accommodation and the offerings of peerto-peer marketplaces in one place, but with all the checks and measures in place. Meanwhile, travel and expense management specialist Traveldoo released a mobile app that aims to provide travellers on the move with all the information of the online booking tool and integration with Uber. The business travel industry might still be some way off the Holy Grail of seamless integration, from researching and booking a trip to on-trip services and through to expense fulfillment, but it's certainly heading in the right direction. Dan Fitzgerald, Chief Product Officer for Traveldoo, describes what's happening as the pieces “in the middle filling”, but adds “no one has created a seamless experience where it feels like the platform takes you through by the hand.” 30
He believes mobile will continue to add to that seamless experience as people already turn to devices to manage much of their lives, but he says it's unlikely anyone will flick a switch for that aforementioned Holy Grail. While companies such as Traveldoo are putting emphasis on developing their apps, others are creating an ecosystem around their own and third party apps. For example, Concur has just launched its UK App Centre with some 70 partners including Marriott International, Rocketrip and Uber. It comes more than three years after the opening of a similar service in the US in which the top five most frequently used apps are Uber, Starbucks, United Airlines, SPG (the Starwood loyalty scheme) and HotelTonight. Valuable insight into spend patterns and behavior can be extracted, says Chief Revenue Officer, Scott Torrey: “We saw in the data that Starbucks was the place where more meetings were happening than any other place.” Uber is another good example where travellers are going to use the service so why not find ways to bring it into the ecosystem. “Whether the philosophy is control and compliance or employee enablement, we want to offer both,” says Torrey.
The user experience
The second technology trend that stood out at this year's Business Travel Show was the focus on the user experience. In the past when user experience has been spoken of it has felt like lip service, but developments at the show demonstrated a renewed effort. Corporate Travel Management has just released its Lightning booking tool in the UK. As its name suggests, it aims to return results to the user in seconds as well as enable them to make changes in an intuitive way. The company claims to be applying a consumer-led approach to the process of business travel booking and says bookings can be completed in under 90 seconds. Lightning combines some of the look and feel of leisure travel services but also builds in corporate travel policy, preferred suppliers and approval. For example, if a user can access a better rate or fare, the saving is highlighted early on the process and the user can easily switch options without having to start a fresh search. Several Australia-based corporates are already using the technology, including
Representing the industry. Influencing the future.
the voice voiceof ofbusiness businesstravel travel voicethe of business travel We connect people, developing relationships and insight that enable a focused approach to lobbying. We are the voice of UK business travel. We promote business travel as an investment, a commercial strategy and a driver of economic growth.
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.gtmc.org | +44 (0) 20 3657 7010
The GTMC is a highly respected Membership organisation and professional association representing the interests of the business travel community. We promote the activities of our Members as delivering the best standards of service, quality and value to the business traveller.
Biarri. The company says: “It simplifies the booking process without skirting on the features we want most. The ability to bring up unused tickets and apply this credit towards new bookings is fantastic.” CTM’s Global Head of Technology, Tom Clark, says the system was developed with users very much in mind and that it’s particularly appropriate for the SME market where those booking travel have another main job and day-to-day responsibilities. Clark, who joined CTM from the leisure industry, adds that many companies are trying to come up with game-changing technology but that his company’s strategy is to go back to basics and build something easy to use and intuitive. Also keen to make its mark on the UK business travel sector is Locomote, which stated its case at the Business Travel Show. The Melbourne-based booking technology company sits alongside Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT) within the recently rebranded Travelport Digital division. It ticks boxes in terms of access to content via the Travelport Universal API and being able to integrate with additional services from the GDS. David Fastuca, a co-founder of the company, says the approach is to be less booking tool-centric and more about the user experience and making the workflow of the booker more efficient. As with CTM Lightning, the Locomotive system aims to limit the steps required to make a booking and generally offer fast response times.
“We see the UK as being crucial to Travelport Locomote’s success with a population of early technology adopters and a focus on innovation,” says Locomote CEO Sandra McLeod. Review Travel is another company pursuing simplicity with its recently launched OrBiT booking tool. The technology aims to aggregate everything in one place and remove the administrative burden by automatically reconciling different pieces of information. Lawrence Williams, Managing Director of Links Project Management, has been trialling OrBiT. “The booking process is easy to follow and the tool caters to all of our travel requirements in one place, allowing us to compare rates and fares,” he says. “I like that OrBiT is customised to our travel policy, removing the headache of out of policy purchases and capturing relevant company information to enable our finance department to reconcile costs efficiently.” American Express Global Business Travel is also turning its attention to the end user, but not completely at the expense of procurement in the middle. “We have been very focused on the travel manager but now it’s all about the traveller,” says Christophe Tcheng, Vice President, Core Products and Platform Architecture. “We need to be with the traveller at all times – a partner to them,” he says. “We needed two things: a core platform and a suite of tools. Historically you would rely on the GDS but now that’s only 90-95% of content. We can’t think of a world where we only use GDS connections.” Amex GBT’s purchase of booking specialist KDS last year was crucial to its offering, says Tcheng: “We now have the complete suite and we are one of only a couple of major TMCs that have their own OBT. “KDS understood the consumerisation of business travel from the beginning and has always put the business traveller first.” Following the acquisition, KDS’s Oli Quayle moved over to GBT as Vice President of Product Marketing and Innovation. He says: “The focus has to be on the needs, demands and expectations of travellers. At every release you look at how to decrease the burden on the self booker and provide a door-to-door trip that is bookable in seconds, and all of this without outsourcing complexity to the travel manager.
“To provide a fully compliant trip that takes into consideration the corporate and personal preference in under 12 seconds took a lot of user and corporate feedback.” The fact that content is reaching travel buyers from all angles is forcing the GDS to up their game, as demonstrated by Travelport’s burgeoning Digital division and developments at Amadeus. At the Business Travel Show it was showing off its next generation Cytric Travel & Expense tool, “a truly end-to-end solution created with the millennial traveller in mind,” says Kevin Myhill, Head of Corporate, Amadeus UK. The system was launched last year and combines the best elements of its e-Travel Management platform and i:FAO’s Cytric
We have been very focused on the travel manager in the past but now it’s all about the traveller. We need to be with them at all times” solution to deliver an “amazing” user experience as well as the usual corporate controls and comprehensive content. “Customers were telling us they need to optimise their processes and reduce costs and that they are looking for an integrated and end-to-end booking and expense management solution,” says Myhill. “We are engaging with new corporations and entities from diverse sectors and they like what they see and want to know more.” New Cytric features being introduced this year include enhanced hotel booking functiontality and an Expense Reader on the Mobile Companion app; Smart Trip, which reduces the search and booking process to only a few clicks; a new responsive user interface; and Corporate Insight, a new MI platform for advance spend analysis. While a number of companies are pursuing the path to simplicity, others have gone even further back to basics to question where the inefficiencies in the process are. Capita Travel has carried out significant research on 27,000 travellers and more than 470,000 trips to try to identify different patterns and personas and what makes them tick. The thinking behind the
There’s this perception that artificial intelligence is going to replace the travel consultant, but it’s going to be years before that happens”
Smarter Travel initiative is to get people to consider whether trips are necessary and, if so, making sure they’re as cost-effective and productive as possible. While there is an argument that says this is what all TMCs should be doing, Capita says by correlating information on particular segments of frequent travellers with insight on absenteeism – and more – it can bring in human resources to flag where there is too much travel. It is also using behavioural psychologists to help develop the right sort of messages to encourage the right behaviour. “Technology is the enabling factor of behavioural change,” says Chief Commercial Officer Trevor Elswood. He believes that although some things in business travel seem logical it can often leadsto a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t work. He adds that a further stage of the initiative is to go deeper into the profiles of travellers to ensure the process is as efficient as possible. “Clients have been very receptive to it,” says Elswood, who adds that the business has been able to draw on both the behaviour of other divisions of the parent Capita group and innovation within them.
Blurring the lines
Whether it’s a focus on the user experience or going back to basics, leisure travel technology will continue to drive much of the 34
development in booking tools and mobile services going forward. What’s interesting to note is that while much of the talk a year ago was around integrating leisure travel services such as Airbnb and booking.com, these have now become the norm. Carlson Wagonlit, for example, recently announced its CWT 3.0 initiative with the aim of repositioning itself as a digital travel management company. Part of the development is an accommodation platform with negotiated rates sitting alongside rates from suppliers such as booking.com. Properties from peer-to-peer accommodation services such as Airbnb will also be available to travellers whose employers have arranged deals with the service. These sorts of content aggregation deals will continue and can only serve to improve the shopping and booking experience. Other technologies that started in the consumer world will undoubtedly continue to creep into business travel. HRS’ Smarthotels initiative is one example, with the company using its mobile app and beacon technology to improve the check-in and check-out experience for travellers. The service uses technology from Conichi, a startup that HRS invested in last year, to allow travellers to enter their preferences into the app. Beacon technology recognises when they have arrived at the hotel and lets front desk staff know that they’re checking in and what their stored preferences are. Around 300 hotels within HRS' inventory are currently equipped with the necessary beacon technology but this is expected to grow rapidly. In addition, the goal is to extend the technology to also use the mobile app as a room key going forward. “We believe this is the future,” says HRS' Director Sales and Account Management UK & Ireland, Ian Blackie. “People will want it as standard – it will be an expectation.” The rise of chatbots is not going unnoticed either. Airlines including KLM and Lufthansa already take advantage of Facebook Messenger to provide a chat service to passengers, but others are incorporating a degree of automation and artificial intelligence too. KLM also works with various messaging services around the world, including WeChat, to ensure that it is engaging with customers on the platforms where they choose to be.
FCM Travel Solutions recently joined the fray with the launch of its Sam (Smart Assistant for Mobile) chatbot last year in the US and in the UK at the Business Travel Show where it was hard to miss the TMC’s widespread promotion of it. The Facebook Messenger and SMS-based tool aims to marry the online and offline worlds to ensure travellers have access to all the information they need at appropriate times, including itineraries, airport gate information, local restaurants tips and reservations and driving directions. Marcus Ekland, FCM Global Leader, believes providing the TMC’s services via the chatbot is going to be a “game-changer”. Additional functionality in Sam includes pushing rebooking options to travellers who have missed a flight, and it is all backed up by the experise of a consultant. The technology is being beta tested with customers in the US with a plan to launch in August, followed by Asia in November and the rest of the world slated for 2018. Benjamin Park, PAREXEL International’s Director of Procurement & Travel, says: “Chatbots are a welcome addition for our team, specifically FCM Travel Solutions’ Sam. While many business travellers tend to do things online or via an app, there are times when you just want to deal with a human being. Sam takes a traditional online tool and marries it with the unique ability to have personalised, offline service. “The end result is a seamless experience with the reassurance that there is always someone available to communicate with you, how you want and when you need to. It’s essentially an on-call concierge at your disposal, which is invaluable,” he says. Despite the chatter and excitement around chatbots, many still believe they have a long way to go. Traveldoo's Dan Fitzgerald says what he has seen so far is disappointing with most developments “quickly revealing themselves as not people”. That said, they remain on the watchlist for the company and he believes these sorts of AI services will eventually be transformative. Locomote’s David Fastuca adds that everyone is realising AI is much harder to master than initially thought. “There’s this perception that it’s going to replace the travel consultant. It’s not, it’s going to be years and years before that happens.”
To find out more call Kevin on 0345 055 8943 Email email@example.com or visit www.amadeus.com/corporatesolutions
The wait is over! Welcome to a new era in streamlined and user-friendly travel booking and expense management for the UK & Ireland. Find the content that is right for your trip, book it on any device, and the expenses are taken care of hassle-free. Job done!
Amadeus for Corporations Integrated travel and expense solutions
The Business Travel Conference 2017
Delegate places in high demand
Don't is , bo ur c o!
Places are already going fast for The Business Travel Conference 2017 at the London Hilton Bankside on September 19-20
ecg r e y i “t te n r i h ne ne ind Trad, El Exes, Bels Cya Isa Ari li" Hos “Day one at TBTC this year will finish with a drinks and canapé reception sponsored by Melia Hotels International”
' is k 'Met opGur ded du
TBTC's new open format will include the popular workshop area and an open theatre utilising ‘silent conference’ technology for the first time, delivering audio straight to personal headphones. Sessions to appeal to both large companies and SME attendees TBTC will feature more tailored sessions to ensure all attendees leave with key takeaways whether they are from a large 36
or small business, and whether travel and meetings is their full time role or just part of it. The ‘Meet the Guru’ sessions hosted for the first time at last year’s event will return having proved highly popular among attendees. New exhibitors for 2017 TBTC includes an exhibition of around 60 leading travel and meetings suppliers and this year it welcomes new exhibitors to
r e t n ‘a utin ‘sie’ t cor ' teny
the event including TransPennine Express, Belmond, El Al Israel Airlines and Cycas Hospitality, which has a large portfolio of hotels and serviced accommodation. Also confirmed as exhibitors are the likes of Premier Inn Hotels, ATP Corporate Travel, trainline, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Cabfind, Flybe, Applehouse Travel, South African Airways, AirPlus International, The Doyle Collection, Traveleads, Egencia, ANA – All Nippon Airways, Giles Travel, Selective Travel Management, newly-merged Portman Travel/Clarity Travel Management and executive sponsors FCm Travel Solutions.
Melia Hotels International to host drinks and canapé reception Day one at TBTC this year will close with a drinks and canapé reception sponsored by Melia Hotels International, giving our attendees an opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere. The free-to-attend two-day event will once again be limited to 200 verified travel managers, bookers and PAs, and feature a programme of around 18 seminars,
Whe? Tuesday September 19 and Wednesday September 20, 2017
workshops and keynote speakers. Registration is now open at www. thebusinesstravelconference.com. Suppliers who want to attend can book stands and sponsorship directly with Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk
'The FE-to-atd -da n wi n an e me t 200 veed tal ag, bos a PAs'
Hilton London Bankside – the nearest stations are Blackfriars and Southwark
u s a Th os! s
Register online at thebusinesstravelconference.com
Bok an “Well known exhibitors return to TBTC'17 such as Premier Inn Hotels, ATP Corporate Travel, trainline, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Cabfind, Flybe, Applehouse Travel and many more!”
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 8649 7233
BE E VERY WHERE connect to
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[ LOYALTY SCHEMES ]
INSTANT GRATIFICATION Traditional loyalty schemes are ripe for change, says Linda Fox, who examines the trend for more rapid rewards
otel loyalty schemes are changing. It’s no longer enough for the big chains to offer room nights and upgrades after a certain number of stays, guests want something different. The younger, on-demand workforce is looking for something more in exchange for its loyalty – instant gratification – whether it’s a coffee, a voucher or another quick fix. But what’s this got to do with technology? In short, everything. It’s about direct distribution, it’s about mobile behaviour and it’s about customer insight and relationship marketing. In the past 18 months, big brand hotel names such as Hilton and Marriott have introduced digital campaigns to try and encourage direct bookings from loyalty scheme members with the promise of additional benefits and perks. The tactics have of course upset the travel management community, who do not want their colleagues being tempted out of their preferred booking channels. Whether it's an attempt to placate their lucrative business customers or not, these same big hotel brands have made interesting changes to their loyalty schemes. Hilton, for example, announced the ability for up to ten members to pool their points with the scheme managed via a web-based platform. A further notable change in the scheme allows members to redeem points for purchases on Amazon. The developments are a departure from the traditional rooms-for-points schemes that have dominated the industry for years.
Marriott is following a similar tack with its approach. The company has said it is moving on from the “delayed gratification business model” to instant gratification and that it wants to create more “stickiness in more moments” throughout a stay. Much of the development will be pushed through mobile devices and the hotel giant
believes these developments will appeal to millennials and younger people entering the modern workforce. Essentially, this enables the guest to earn points at for more elements and at more stages.
AccorHotels is not to be left behind in all this either. In a recent earnings call, the group's Chief Executive, Sebastien Bazin, highlighted how its loyalty scheme members represent about 30% of revenue, so it’s big business. He went on to talk about tying its hotel business with its community services such as the John Paul concierge business. The idea would be that the two areas share a common database, loyalty programme and technology to drive further engagement with the company and its services and offer more to members. Bazin says that developments could see it using its hotels which are open and staffed around the clock to offer its loyalty members services such as dry cleaning pick-up and food and beverage services. “It’s new touchpoints. I need to enter your daily lives,” said Bazin. “Outside our branded hotels, I can meet your needs – I can interact with you,” he added. The AccorHotels boss has been looking at startup companies such as Uber and Airbnb, which are asset light and have huge market capitalisations. “We’re beginning to read the digital market better. All these big market caps, they don’t want to have capital tied up in physical property,“ said Bazin. “They’re capital light and labour light. We’re capital intensive/labour intensive so it’s freeing that up,“ he added. “We want to transform the weakness into a strength, melding the physical and digital world, throughout 4,100 locations,” he concluded, arguing that change is on the horizon.
Theo Paphitis The former Dragons’ Den investor, retail magnate and self-confessed ‘shopkeeper’ talks to Angela Sara West
fter struggling with dyslexia and leaving school at the age of 16 without any qualifications, few would have foreseen Theo Paphitis' ensuing career as multi-millionaire businessman. His defining moment came after moving from office boy for a Lloyds of London broker to work for Watches of Switzerland on Bond Street. “I realised the power of a good salesperson and, crucially, what a rewarding and passionate sector retail is,” says Paphitis. “I’ve never looked back.” His business empire spans retail, property and finance, and the Cypriot-born entrepreneur has revived the fortunes of notable high street names. In 2015, he launched the Theo Paphitis Retail Group, comprising Ryman Stationery, ironmongers Robert Dyas and lingerie brand Boux Avenue. His multiple businesses mean plenty of travel, and his past TV ventures have seen him following and advising companies taking
Your dream will only work if you live and breathe it. Making £100 million is easy; it’s making your first £1 million that’s difficult” 40
a risk in dynamic international markets. His travels for BBC Two’s Theo’s Adventure Capitalists took him to Vietnam, Mumbai and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for example. Paphitis says he never gets on a plane without a great pair of headphones and his iPad. “I like to stay-up-to-date with all the news and current affairs, so digital versions of all the newspapers and latest magazines are a must for me, along with some good music and films.” His favourite refuges include the Jumeirah Villas in Dubai and the Four Seasons in Limassol. And his favourite airlines? “Emirates, for its excellent customer service and attention to detail, and easyJet for those shorter journeys as they are pretty efficient.” Paphitis' top-performing employees also stand a chance of joining the businessman overseas. “A highlight for me is an annual incentive holiday for my store managers across my four brands,” he says. “If they hit target, they get to come away for five nights on a five-star trip to fantastic destinations such as Barbados, Croatia, Greece, Spain and Malta. It gives me a chance to spend time with our hard-working colleagues and it’s a time for them to be rewarded, let their hair down and have fun!” He believes his own success is built on keeping it simple and working hard. “I truly believe in the saying ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’. I’ve always done my homework, worked on knowing more than
my competitors and used my common sense. Making it to the top is all about taking calculated risks. Often, your first mistake is your best one, because you can only learn from it,” he says. As a stalwart on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, Paphitis invested in numerous small businesses in a wide variety of industries, from consumer goods to online antique valuations, leaving the show in 2012 to focus on his expanding retail empire. He says the decision wasn’t an easy one, but the time was right to surrender his seat. “There were many businesses that crossed my path in the Den that I admired and ended up working with. As soon as I realised that a good person with an average idea is a better bet than an average person with a great idea, I didn’t look back,” he says. Paphitis has these words of caution for budding entrepreneurs: “The biggest reason businesses fail is because people haven’t done their homework. You wouldn’t sit an exam without revising, so why do that with your own business? It’s knowing more than your competitor that gives you the edge.” He says without having dreams, you cannot be successful in business, and it’s how you turn those dreams into reality that’s key. “Your dream will only work if you live and breathe it. Making £100 million is easy; it’s making your first £1 million that’s difficult. Do what you love – life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy.”
THEO PAPHITIS Along with his role as chairman of Boux Avenue, Ryman Stationery and Robert Dyas, Theo Paphitis is a patron of numerous charities, including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Comic Relief, of which he is a director. Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday (#SBS) competition runs every Sunday between 5.007.30pm on Twitter. theopaphitissbs.com / ryman.co.uk
T RE ATI N G YO U TO A N I GH T AT TH E M OVI ES , AND M O R E Showtime is our way of saying thanks for your meeting, conference and training business. Sign up and youâ€™ll receive two cinema tickets, just for making an enquiry. After that youâ€™ll earn a point for every pound you spend, redeemable on John Lewis gift cards and more. Find out more at phcompany.com/showtime
Review [ T H E L O W DO W N ]
[ R O O M R E POR T ]
T H E NE W S & V I EW S T H A T R E ALLY M AT T ER [ ON TH E G R OU N D ]
[ M E E T I N G P L AC E ]
Artificial intelligence boosts compliance
Budget hotel brand Point A arrives on the scene
Virgin Trains celebrates ÂŁ40million East Coast overhaul
'Coolest' meeting and event venues revealed
[ I N T HE AI R ]
Qatar Airways 'sets new standards' in business class
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The latest industry appointments p54 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
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CAPITA'S ‘SMARTER WORKING’
IN BRIEF Risky business
NGOs and universities are expressing greater sensitivity towards the risks of business travel but there is still room for improvement. That is the conclusion of an annual survey by Key Travel which shows 67% of respondents' organisations stipulate a risk assessment must be carried out for either all or some trips prior to booking. Additionally, nearly two-thirds said that world events have affected their decision to travel.
Traveldoo has launched an open technology platform to help travel management companies boost their business proposition. Traveldoo Connect enables TMCs to integrate expense management alongside their own travel services, including receipt handling, expense creation and approval workflows.
Paul Wait, Chief Executive of the GTMC, will leave his role later this summer to take on a new position as COO at Southall Travel Group. Meanwhile, Paul Allan, Chairman of Ian Allan Travel has taken over from ATPI’s Graham Ramsey as the organisation's Chairman.
Off to a flyer
FairFly, the company that maximises savings on business airfares postbooking, won the 2017 Business Travel Show Disrupt Award. The tool searches for identical and similar flight options and can automatically re-book fares within policy.
Female leaders seek ‘level’ playing field THREE industry leaders have joined together to launch ‘level’, a social movement for the development and support of women in the UK business travel industry. The launch coincided with International Women’s Day and is the brainchild of Caroline Strachan of business travel consultancy Festive Road, Sam Cande of the Business Travel Show and Ami Taylor of SilverRail Technologies. Plans are already afoot for a series of initiatives later in the year, including ‘On the level’ small group discussions, ‘Up a level’ webinars and ‘The Level Playing Field’ featuring keynote, inspirational speakers. The group’s ﬁrst event will be hosted by Egencia and take place in London on April 6.
CAPITA Travel and Events has launched Smarter Working, a scheme designed to help companies streamline their travel programmes and better manage traveller wellbeing. Smarter Working uses combined data sources, analytics and insight-led behavioural change to help companies avoid unnecessary travel and meetings spend, achieve best value and optimise traveller welfare. “It’s a gamechanging approach to traditional travel and meetings management,” says Trevor Elswood, Chief Commercial Oﬃcer, Capita Travel and Events.
take a selective approach to airline negotiations
[ TMC NEWS ] >> ARRANGEMY has landed a three-year contract with Halfords to support its business travel, accommodation, venue ﬁnding and event management needs >> AMERICAN EXPRESS GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL has been selected as the global provider of travel services for BASF >> CARLSON WAGONLIT TRAVEL has won the tender to provide travel services to Siemens across 32 European countries >> Northern Ireland’s largest independent TMC, SELECTIVE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT, has won contracts to service the travel needs of the University of Glasgow and the University of Sunderland >> The ATPI GROUP has added Saudi Arabia-based GTS (Global Travel Solutions) to its growing network
More travel managers are opting for targeted negotiations with airlines in 2017 – particularly on longhaul routes – with 78% preferring a selective approach to full RFPs (22%), according to the ITM's Industry Outlook
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IN BRIEF Safe and secure
Wings Travel Management has introduced its new risk management and alert portal, goSecure. The new tool enables Wings’ consultants to locate and communicate with travellers accurately and rapidly in times of emergency. The tool features four dashboards: Who’s Where; Who’s Flying; iJet World View and Locate an Individual.
The UK's largest MICE specialist, Inntel, has joined the Radius Travel global agency network. The majority of Radius’ 106 members offer MICE services in addition to core transient business, but Inntel is the first specialist agency to join the global TMC’s network.
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Artificial intelligence boosts compliance ARTIFICIAL intelligence technology can improve travel and expense compliance by 70%, claims a new report. The ﬁnding comes from Oversight Systems’ third annual Spend Analysis Report, which also revealed 10% of travellers are responsible for almost 100% of ‘high-risk’ spending. The report analysed the global spending behaviour of 600,000 travellers at Fortune 2000 companies and found 37% were guilty of at least one instance of waste or misuse. Its key ﬁnding, however, was that by leveraging AI technology to transform their expense process companies reported a 70% improvement in compliance. “The annual report demonstrates the value artiﬁcial intelligence technologies bring to corporate spend programmes,” says Patrick Taylor, Oversight CEO.
A mixed year
Carlson Wagonlit Travel achieved over US$2billion in new business sales for the first time in 2016, but overall transaction numbers and total transaction volumes both fell. CWT recorded over 58.7 million transactions in 2016, down from 61.4 million in 2015, and US$23billion in transaction volumes, down from US$24.2billion.
Travel management company CTI has seen more than £510,000 in flight delay and cancellation compensation identified for its clients through its partnership with AirRefund. It predicts 5% of CTI’s clients’ flights will be affected by delays and qualify for a refund.
BRITISH AIRWAYS HAS TOPPED THE ANNUAL SUPERBRANDS CONSUMER SURVEY FOR A FOURTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR, WITH VOTERS OPTING FOR "REASSURING AND TRADITIONAL BRANDS" IN UNPREDICTABLE TIMES. LEGO WAS SECOND AND ROLEX WAS THIRD
G T M C U P D AT E Paul Wait Chief Executive, GTMC
As TMCs and the business travel community look to navigate their way through new economic and political landscapes it’s always wise to seek the advice of those more informed. One such expert is Chris Smit of Culture Matters, an intercultural specialist who explains the importance of understanding and embracing cultural nuances when doing business abroad. It’s 2017 and soon Brexit will become a reality and we don’t know how that reality will look. What will be the terms and conditions with which we will do business in Europe, Smit asks. He says that although most of us are familiar with doing business in Europe, less are familiar with doing business beyond Europe. We realise things will be diﬀerent and rules and regulations will be diﬀerent. And, particularly importantly, the culture changes, Smit explains. Being culturally competent will be the diﬀerence between succeeding or failing, he argues. You can hire a local lawyer to advise on local regulations but, in the end, it is you who will have to talk to and sell to your new client. This can be overcome, so take Smit's advice and get familiar with local culture.
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Qatar ‘sets new standard in business’ QaTaR Airways claims to be setting a new standard in business class travel with the launch of its new QSuite seating. Two years in the making, the flexible private suites can be opened up into a double bed – the first in business class – while adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats can be stowed to create an even larger suite for four passengers to work and dine together. Unveiled by the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, the seats will be retrofitted on the existing Qatar Airways fleet from June and could make its debut on services to/from London. “This new product offering – an unrivalled enhancement of our already award-winning business class cabin – will absolutely challenge industry norms and expectations,” says Al Baker.
BRITISh Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) is entering the low-cost long-haul market with the launch of a new airline, LEVEL. The carrier will take to the skies in June with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana. Barcelona has been chosen as the first European city for the launch but IAG says it will look to expand to other European cities. With fares starting from €99 one way, IAG is taking the fight to the likes of Norwegian and Westjet who
norwegian lines up ten new transatlantic routes lOW-cOST airline Norwegian will launch ten new transatlantic routes from five cities in the UK and Ireland this summer. The new services comprise 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast, Cork, Shannon and Dublin to smaller airports in the greater New York, Boston and New England areas. The airports' ‘significantly lower’ landing charges have enabled Norwegian to offer one-way fares from £69.
[ TAKING OFF ] >> UNITED AIRLINES will add a sixth daily flight from London Heathrow to New York Newark this summer >> FLYBE has increased services between London City and Amsterdam Schiphol in a bid to win over the corporate market. Previously operated only at weekends, the service is now a daily operation >> AIR ASTANA will add a fifth weekly flight between London Heathrow and Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, from June >> AMERICAN AIRLINES has resumed services from Edinburgh to New York JFK with a B757-200 featuring a new business class. It will also resume seasonal services from Glasgow to Philadelphia from May 6 >> BMI REGIONAL has launched flights between London Stansted and City of Derry Airport and from Birmingham to Graz, Austria.
are enjoying success with low-cost services across the Atlantic. LEVEL will operate two new Airbus A330 aircraft fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. Checked luggage, meals, seat selections and movies will be complimentary in Premium, while all passengers will be able to earn and redeem Avios points. "LEVEL is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable," says Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive.
of MPs back the expansion of Heathrow Airport
Parliamentary support for the expansion of Heathrow Airport reached a record high of 77% of MPs on the eve of Article 50 being triggered. The ComRes poll showed the project was viewed as more beneficial for all regions of the UK than the High Speed 2 rail development
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IN BRIEF Milan expansion
British Airways is introducing new services to Milan from two London airports. The new year-round operations to Milan’s Linate Airport commence on April 24 from London City and April 29 from Stansted Airport. Basic one-way fares start from £45.
A new business lounge has opened at London City Airport. The facility is located in the newly transformed area of the airport’s Private Jet Centre and access is available for £35 per person. The lounge can accommodate up to 30 passengers and is located less than five minutes from the terminal.
Delta's meal deal
Delta Air Lines is reintroducing complimentary meals in economy on some of its longest domestic flights including services between New York and San Francisco. It will be the only US carrier to offer complimentary meals from nose to tail on coast-to-coast routes.
Alitalia has introduced a five-year turnaround business plan that includes a range of "radical and necessary measures" across the whole company. The airline aims to reduce costs by €1billion in the first three years of the plan, by 2019, through reductions in operating costs and manpower. Its fleet of narrow body planes will be fitted with extra seats and see an increase in utilisation.
Qantas has unveiled its next generation premium economy seat which will take to the skies from October. IT will be fitted on b787s serving long-haul routes, including the new Non-stop service from London to Perth launching in 2018
WOW Air introduces business bundles Icelandic carrier WOW Air is introducing tiered travel bundles that include a business-focused package. The airline will offer business seating and priority boarding for the first time from June 1 as part of a WOW Biz fare category that also includes checked baggage, hot meals, seat reservation and cancellation protection. The airline says a new section of ‘Big Seats’, with up to a 37-inch pitch, will be available on its Airbus aircraft serving long-haul routes. Passengers booking the airline's new WOW Plus and WOW Basic fares will be able to book the larger seats as an add-on. The airline flies from London Gatwick, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cork and Dublin to a range of US destinations via Reykjavik, including New York, Boston and Washington DC.
The Plaza Premium Group is opening two new landside arrivals lounges at Heathrow’s Terminals 3 and 4. The lounge in T4 opened in March and includes a lounge and bar area, a multifunction room for meetings and 25 shower rooms. Details for the Terminal 3 lounge are still under wraps but the facility is due to open later in the year. The lounges will also feature a new airport dining experience called Flight Club, a herbs and seeds-inspired healthy dining concept specifically designed for air travellers. “Our arrivals lounges are designed to bring convenience, comfort and value to passengers who are looking to combat travel ailments, awaken their senses and revitalise their mind and body after a long flight,” says Song Hoi-see, founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Group. The company already operates airside lounges in Terminals 2 and 4 and landside in Terminal 2.
oman air all set for manchester OMAN Air will introduce a daily service between Manchester and Muscat on May 1 – the first service to Oman from outside of London. The service joins the airline's double-daily flight from Heathrow. “We have long been aware of Manchester Airport’s popularity and the excellent service it offers travellers in the region,” says Simon Cook, Country Manager UK&I for Oman Air. “Oman has seen a 17.7% increase in visitor numbers since 2014. With investment in new hotels and the MICE market, these figures are expected to continue to grow.”
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CORPORATES MISSING OUT ON NEGOTIATED RATES
New budget brand makes a point A NEW budget hotel group, Point A Hotels, has opened seven properties in the UK. Launched by the Queensway Group, the brand’s ﬁrst hotels were a renovated 122-room Glasgow city centre property and a 181-room new-build London Shoreditch hotel. The remaining ﬁve properties, all in London – Westminster, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Canary Wharf – were formerly operated as Tune Hotels but re-branded as Point A Hotels at the end of March. The new brand's 1,100 guestrooms come with Hypnos beds, power showers, air conditioning and fast, free wiﬁ. Rates for the compact rooms start from £39 a night in Glasgow and £69 in London.
COMPANIES are often paying too much for hotels due to discrepancies in the rates appearing in booking systems. According to a new report from the GBTA and HRS, a third of travel managers (33%) ﬁnd discrepancies between their negotiated rates and the rates oﬀered more than 20% of the time. A further 30% note discrepancies between 6% and 20% of the time. Overall, a quarter of 23,000 rates analysed by HRS were incorrect or failed to correctly incorporate amenity details, and 11% of the rates were
GRAND PLANS FROM SACO SERVICED apartment company SACO will open six new properties by 2020, including its ﬁrst overseas locations. The additions comprise three Locke aparthotels – one each in London, Manchester and Dublin – two apartment properties in London (Fitzrovia and Moorgate) and an aparthotel in Amsterdam. The expansion is backed by SACO’s partnership with Oaktree Capital Management and will total 905 units, almost doubling its footprint of managed units. The Fitzrovia property opens in April, with the Amsterdam aparthotel due by the year's end.
[ OPENINGS & ADDITIONS ] >> The highly anticipated NOBU SHOREDITCH hotel is due to open on June 1 on London's Great Eastern Street >> The HILTON LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT hotel will reopen as a four-star Novotel property this summer >> The Malmaison Hotel Du Vin group has opened the MALMAISON BRIGHTON following the transformation of the former Hotel Seattle >> The JURYS INN CHELTENHAM has undergone a £3.1million refurbishment >> AccorHotels has signed two new MERCURE properties, the Mercure Thame Lambert Hotel in Watlington (Oxfordshire) and the Mercure Hunton Park,Watford. Both will be renovated this spring >> PREMIER INN has opened its 750th hotel in Chiswick, London, as it moves towards a target of 85,000 guestrooms UK-wide by 2020.
higher than originally negotiated between the company and hotel. The trend could be due to travel managers’ approach to auditing, says the report, which found only 2% of companies conduct a rate audit on a weekly basis while 7% do so monthly. Nearly a third of companies (31%) check only once a year and a further 33% check only when the rate is ﬁrst loaded. Nearly half (48%) of the 200 travel managers surveyed audit rates manually while 40% rely on travellers to report discrepancies.
– the number of Moxy Hotel rooms due to open by 2020
Marriott says its growth in Europe will be spearheaded by its affordable lifestyle brand, Moxy Hotels. It currently numbers 1,000 rooms in Europe but Marriott expects to sign a further 22,000 by 2020, of which some 18,000 will open in the next three years
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Hotel re-booking service Tripbam is moving into the European business travel market with the opening of an office in London. Launched in 2013, the company currently works with over 1,300 companies and claims to have achieved $5million in savings in January 2017 alone. The platform promotes the use of customers’ preferred hotels and alerts users to lower rates post-booking and cheaper options at hotels within a predetermined cluster area.
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BridgeStreet claims an industry first SERVICED apartment company BridgeStreet has launched what it calls the ﬁrst OTA for the extended stay business travel market. Over 65,000 apartments and homes across 60 countries will be searchable on BridgeStreet.com, with GDS connectivity to enable booking through key channels. “We are uplifting the extended stay industry and for the ﬁrst time giving travel managers – and businesses – exactly what they need: transparency, immediacy and unparalleled customisation,” says Sean Worker, BridgeStreet CEO. Every featured operator must comply with a ‘BridgeStreet Guarantee’ that includes timely delivery of keys, clean and comfortable rooms and reliable wireless access. The company has also launched its new hotel/apartment hybrid brand, Stüdyo, in Paddington, London.
Budget hotel group Yotel has announced plans for its third property in the UK and its first city centre location in Europe. The fledgling group, which currently operates four YotelAIR airport properties and a single central property, in New York City, will open a hotel at 96-100 Clerkenwell Road, London, next year.
12 in 12
DoubleTree by Hilton has increased its UK presence with 12 hotel openings in 12 months, taking the brand’s portfolio to over 30 hotels in the UK. Eight of the 12 openings were part of a £16million conversion programme, with each hotel refurbished to reflect their respective locations: Aberdeen, Bristol, Coventry, Dartford Bridge, Edinburgh Airport, Newbury North, Southampton and Strathclyde. Since launching in the UK in 2008, the brand has opened an average of four new hotels a year.
SERVICED APARTMENT OPERATOR SKYLINE WILL OPEN A NEW DEVELOPMENT AT ARENA TOWER IN LONDON'S CANARY WHARF THIS APRIL. SKYLINE WILL HAVE 50 UNITS IN THE 45-STOREY BUILDING, INCLUDING EXECUTIVE SUITES AND ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENTS
I T M U P D AT E Simone Buckley Chief Executive, ITM
I’ve always tried to be as insightful and topical as possible. However, the pace of change is rapid, making it almost impossible to write copy that retains relevance until publishing day. I’m going to assume, therefore, that by the time you read this, the government will have invoked Article 50 of the EU Treaty and we will have started the process of negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU. It’s going to take at least two years but we as an industry need to be on our toes. Numerous issues could impact business travel: freedom of movement, EU open skies agreements, visa regulations, data privacy rules and security. Brexit will likely be disruptive and create uncertainty, but it is an opportunity for travel managers to demonstrate their value. Buyers should work with TMCs to stay on top of developments and have a structure in place to communicate to stakeholders. At our conference in May we will provide delegates with a platform to collaborate and share knowledge based on an interactive method of assessing trends in ﬁve areas: distribution, risk, traveller behaviour and politics/economics.
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CAR CLUBS' INSTANT BENEFITS
IN BRIEF Blurring the lines
Car hire company Hertz has partnered with chauffeur transfer specialist Blacklane to offer its premium services to customers. The Hertz Driver Services initiative will initially be rolled out in the UK and seven other European markets, and enables Hertz users to book transfers in over 250 cities and 500 airports worldwide.
New rail travel booking site ticketclever.com is taking advantage of split-ticketing – whereby journeys are broken down into multiple fares – to identify savings opportunities. Savings can also be made at the last minute by using a smartphone to book fares at the station.
Europcar UK has opened a commercial vehicle supersite at Heathrow Skyport, close to the motorway and airport. “This location provides businesses operating in and around London with access to a wide range of commercial vehicles to suit almost every need, from the standard short wheel base and 4x4 pickups to crew vans and Chapter 8 vehicles.”
Expense specialist Concur has introduced new technology that automatically captures mileage data. Concur Expense Smart Drive uses GPS on a user’s phone to automatically track mileage and create an expense line item for a trip.
Mytaxi makes its mark on London MYTAXI, Europe’s largest taxi app, has launched in London following the acquisition of Hailo in July last year. Hailo users can migrate their accounts to mytaxi via a personalised link from the Hailo app, negating the need to re-register with mytaxi. All London’s former Hailo black cab drivers will also move across to the mytaxi app. New functionality allows users to note their favourite driver so they are more likely to be allocated them in the future, and passengers can also share their journey to provide details of location and an estimated time of arrival. “We are delighted to be able to bring mytaxi’s market leading technology to London, where the iconic black cab is an inextricable part of the city’s heritage,” says mytaxi CEO, Andrew Pinnington.
[ N E W C A R H I R E L O C AT I O N S ] >> EUROPCAR UK has opened a new branch at Milton Keynes Central railway station that includes all forms of vehicle rental, from hybrid and electric vehicles to hourly hire and long-term rentals. The launch demonstrates its commitment to sustainable mobility solutions, says Europcar >> Car hire company SIXT has opened a rental station at Cork Airport – Ireland's second biggest transport hub – and refurbished its Dublin Airport outlet >> HERTZ UK has launched a full rental service from the Soﬁtel London Gatwick Hotel, and in doing so becomes the only rental company to have ﬂeet available at the airport's North Terminal, as well as a rental desk. The new branch is situated in the Soﬁtel hotel lobby which is reached via a short walkway from the North Terminal
INSTANT access and roundthe-clock availability are the main beneﬁts of car club programmes, easily outranking cost savings, according to new research. A survey of managers involved in public and private employee car club programmes found only 13% of respondents considered cost-savings the main beneﬁt. Immediate access (29%), 24/7 availability (24%) and improved employee mobility (22%) were identiﬁed as the biggest beneﬁts. A further 18% named the reduced administrative burden of multiple mileage expense claims, 17% cited environmental beneﬁts and 6% considered corporate liability reduction a factor.
the average rail fare booked through EvolviNG
The average ticket value of rail journeys booked through the EvolviNG online booking tool has fallen to £57.20 despite rises in fares. The number of transactions also rose, from 7.8 million in 2015 to nearly 8.2 million in 2016
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A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch
Passengers flying from Edinburgh to London's Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted airports can now buy express rail tickets into central London from a team of mobile agents at the Scottish airport. Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express Director, says, “We are delighted to be working on this project – the first of its kind - as it serves to highlight the time and money savings passengers can make in using the train.”
Apps and APIs
Evolvi Rail Systems has launched a new version of its EvolviNG mTicket app. The app includes a wide range of features and enables users to browse train times, make new bookings, check departure boards and specify fulfilment preferences. This includes accessing and activating mobile tickets on the go. Additionally, Evolvi's web services API is set to be fully integrated within Concur travel and expense management tools.
Executive car specialist Addison Lee says bookings have grown 20% and expects revenues to increase by 40% by the end of the financial year. It attributes the growth to a £100million investment in new technology and the acquisitions of Tristar and Flyte Tyme. "Our vision of creating the world’s first truly global ground transportation service is coming to fruition," says Addison Lee CEO, Andy Boland.
Executive Director, ACTE
VIRGIN TRAINS BROUGHT A TOUCH OF 'KLASS' TO CELEBRATIONS AT LONDON'S KING'S CROSS STATION RECENTLY. MUSICIAN MYLEENE HELPED THE OPERATOR MARK THE COMPLETION OF A £40MILLION INVESTMENT IN A STYLISH 'TOTAL RE-HAUL' OF ITS EAST COAST FLEET
Eurostar opens Paris business lounge EUROSTAR has opened a ‘state-of-the-art’ new business lounge at Paris Gare du Nord station. The lounge is situated on the top ﬂoor of the original 19th century building and features high ceilings, marble ﬁreplaces, a cocktail bar and snug spaces with views over the station concourse. Open to Business Premier passengers, the lounge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner snacks, plus canapés, salads and seasonal cold dishes devised by the celebrity chef and Eurostar Culinary Director, Raymond Blanc OBE. The cross-channel operator posted a £25million loss in 2016 following a challenging year of tough trading conditions and lower demand. Passenger numbers fell by 4%, from 10.4 million in 2015 to 10 million in 2016, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Europe.
There is an odd relationship between politics and business travel in that the former almost always has a negative eﬀect on the later. A policy becomes law and the headlines read: 'Business travel industry reels in response to…', or something like that. Never will you read: 'Political change prompts big upswing in business travel.' Regions respond diﬀerently to political issues impacting travel. In some areas, business travel managers focus on the big picture involving trade, economics and gross national product. And in other regions political issues become more personal. Brexit fell victim to personal convictions of nationalism which won over an analysis of business and economic considerations. Could any other conclusion or a compromise have been reached? Two recent surveys initiated by ACTE on the US travel ban prompted some to think ACTE was about to take a stand on a social issue. In fact, we were measuring industry reaction to a policy change prior to educating our members. We are in a business that involves the care of travellers and measuring results, yet today’s politics are so volatile that you can become the subject of a 'tweet' for merely asking a few questions.
M E E T I N G
P L A C E
MEETINGS MOVE INTO THE MAINSTREAM
IN BRIEF Merger growth
The merger of travel management companies Portman and Clarity has created one of the largest events divisions in the country, generating over £20million annual turnover. The division comprises 20 meeting and event specialists who carried out major events for clients including John Lewis and Crown Commercial in 2016. The TMC works in a range of sectors with particular experience in pharma, retail and government.
NYS events boost
NYS Corporate has reported record breaking figures for its meetings and events division. Billings for the 2016/17 financial year were up 75% shortly before the end of the reporting period. Event management is a relatively new service for the TMC, which won its largest contracted event management client in 2016 and hosted its largest event to date, for 2,200 guests. The company launched a new management tool, MeetingsPro, at February's Business Travel Show.
Flight Centre Travel Group’s global meetings and events division, cievents, has achieved rapid growth in the UK over the last six months, winning £3.8million in new business. Projects include a £1.4million 1,200-delegate, four-day conference to Rome and delivery of a major fashion retail conference, show and gala awards for 950 delegates in Manchester.
The secret is out for NY-LON venue THE Secret Meeting Room at NY-LON, the aviation-themed lounge bar at The O2, London, was named the Coolest Venue for Small Meetings in the annual Cool Venue Awards. The venue is a collaboration between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic to promote their joint venture between New York and London. Accessed by a hidden door, the meeting room was praised for its “charisma, originality, style, innovation, authenticity, aspiration and uniqueness”. Other winners included Hand Picked Hotels (Coolest Hotel Chain); M by Montcalm in Shoreditch, London (Coolest Hotel); London's Somerset House (Coolest Historic Venue); the Science Museum (Coolest Museum/Gallery Venue); and the Soho Farmhouse (Coolest Country House).
THE number of business travel managers with responsibility for meetings management and/or group travel is on the rise. Research by the Business Travel Show suggests nearly two-thirds (63%) of travel managers now handle these areas, up from 58% the previous year. Additionally, the number of respondents adopting a structured approach to managing meetings and events leapt from 38% to 60%. BTS has monitored the convergence of the meetings and travel categories since 2010 when 51% of respondents were responsible for managing both.
-2.3% DDRs down
[ OPENINGS & ADDITIONS ] >> TOBACCO DOCK in London has opened The Dock Gallery for corporate hire, seating up to 255 theatre-style >> DE VERE WOKEFIELD ESTATE, near Reading, has launched a 95-bedroom Executive Centre. The venue has over 50 high-tech meeting rooms >> Creative oﬃce space provider SPACES will open a new venue at Brighton's Trafalgar Place this summer. It already has hubs in London, Glasgow and Liverpool >> JURYS INN MIDDLESBROUGH has unveiled upgraded meetings and events spaces followwing a £3.2million refurbishment programme >> SOMERSET HOUSE in London is launching two new ‘blank canvas’ spaces in a previously unused wing of the historic building this summer
Average 24-hour and day delegate rates for meeting and events fell in 2016, the latter by 2.3% according to MICE Tracker. Rates in some cities rose, however, including Birmingham and London. See pages 16-19 for more THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM
T H E
M O V E
EVENTS APRIL 23-25
ACTE GLOBAL CONFERENCE
G R EG MA N N IX
New York / acte.org
ITM ANNUAL CONFERENCE Birmingham / itm.org.uk
ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE Provence, France
AN ITA MAR CH IO R I
DA NI E L P RI C E
JOINS: Redfern AS: Head of Sales FROM: Laterooms.com
JOINS: Colpitts World Travel AS: Sales Manager FROM: Flight Centre
JOINS: Cabfind AS: Commercial Director FROM: Avis Budget Group
Travel management company Redfern, part of CTM Group, has bolstered its senior management team with the appointment of Greg Mannix as Head of Sales.
Anita Marchiori has joined Edinburgh-based Colpitts to head up its sales operation in the UK. She joins from Flight Centre where she spent three years managing business travel.
Daniel Price brings extensive experience of the ground transport sector to his new role at Cabﬁnd having previously held senior positions at Avis Budget Group and Sixt.
MAT T H E W ADDE R LE Y
C LAU D I A U NG E R
THE TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
A N D R EW WALLE R
THE PEOPLE AWARDS Grange Tower Bridge, London thepeopleawards.co.uk
GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE Monaco gtmc.org
THE TBTM GOLF MASTERS
JOINS: ATPI Group AS: International Director of Corporate Development FROM: CWT
JOINS: CTI AS: Head of Sales & Client Management FROM: Blue Cube Travel
JOINS: Nina & Pinta AS: Director FROM: Claudia Unger Ltd
Andrew Waller has joined ATPI's senior executive team in a new role created to support the group's ambitious growth plans. He joins from Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
Matthew Adderley has joined CTI with responsibility for client management and growing the business. He has previously worked for Blue Cube Travel, SAT Travel and CWT.
Claudia Unger has joined business travel consultancy Nina & Pinta. The former lead of BCD Travel’s Research and Intelligence Department has extensive industry experience.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... Robert Whitﬁeld is the new UK Regional Director for the Dorchester Collection and General Manager of The Dorchester hotel, London >> Olivier Daguzan has been appointed as Chief Operating Oﬃcer for AccorHotels’ HotelInvest division in the UK >> Sir Terry Morgan CBE has joined London City Airport as its new Chairman >> Paul Wait will step down as Chief Executive of the GTMC this summer and join Southall Travel Group as COO >> Aman Dubey has been appointed Senior General Manager, London, for BridgeStreet Global Hospitality >> Anja Müller is the new Director of European Operations for Aparthotels Adagio >> Traveldoo has 13061-Sirius-AD-138x40-v3.ai 1 14/03/2017 11:42 appointed Daniel Fitzgerald as Chief Product Oﬃcer and Romain Ehrhard as Chief Technical Oﬃcer
Mannings Heath, Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com
THE MEETINGS SHOW Olympia London themeetingsshow.com
GBTA CONVENTION Boston convention.gbta.org
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com
EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND RECRUITMENT SPECIALISTS Dedicated to the business travel sector email@example.com • +44 (0)845 605 9055 •
PA networking in London
Networking with peers while enjoying some tasty treats
Spring Sparkle â–ź
The Business Travel Conference hosted an exclusive PA night at the brand new Novotel London Canary Wharf in March. Attendees enjoyed complimentary massages, cocktails and canapĂŠs and the chance to win some fabulous prizes courtesy of our generous sponsors
Attendees enjoyed a massage courtesy of Xhilarate
Spectacular views from the 39th Floor â–˛ 14.03 2017
New heights at Novotel London Canary Wharf
With thanks to our generous event sponsors
Spring Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening
Get your rail travel, car hire and transfer needs in order and you'll be on the fast-track to savings. Find out more in our annual guide to
GROUND TRANSPORT Introduction, 58-60 / Five reasons... 62 / Rail travel management, 64-65 Beginner's guide, 67 / Rail travel product, 68-70 / Car hire, 72-76 Taxis & transfers, 78-80 / Reader's rant, 83 / Data, 84
Ground transport / Introduction
The disparate category of rail travel, car hire and taxis can be difficult to master, says Gillian Upton, who reports on new technology, tools and trends in this fast-changing sector
he term ‘ancillary spend’ often springs to mind when thinking about ground transportation as, historically, this was how it was viewed by businesses and TMCs alike. Travel managers had their hands full managing the far bigger areas of cost – ie, air travel and accommodation – and often spend on ground transport came under the remit of a different department, such as facilities, fleet or on-site services. Out of sight and out of mind, it became overlooked by travel managers and, with no checks and balances in place, became rich pickings for those maverick travellers wanting to book a first class train ticket, use their favourite chauffeur to get home or book a black cab to Heathrow. In many ways it’s how meetings spend was viewed up until a few years ago. That too was a spend category difficult to capture, fragmented across multiple departments, with no automation and with the added challenge of emotional attachment. Ask any travel manager today what they spend on ground transport and many will
not know and if they do tell you it’ll most likely be a guess. Yet this spend can be significant. Those in financial services in particular – traditionally the preserve of chauffeur car provision and first class rail travel – can spend around £3million a year. And with the average saving in the region of 10%, it is a saving not be overlooked. In a similar vein, TMCs have concentrated their time and effort on clients’ big areas of spend. It was not so long ago that rail bookings were made manually and TMCs had to have specially trained staff to tackle these bookings, for little in return. “Rail used to be a pain to deal with,” recalls David Gardner, Head of Sales at GWR, who joined the business in 1988. “TMC staff had to know how to read a timetable then cross reference that by pouring over large volumes of fare manuals. It was complicated.” It was no wonder that TMCs gave ground transport bookings a wide berth and viewed them as ancillary spend. “TMCs have been guilty of concentrating on the big ticket items and referring clients to third-party providers for ancillary products,”
says Iain Collinson, Product Owner at FCM. But technology has also been a barrier to this sector’s progress. “TMCs don’t push car hire as much as they could,” said one TMC boss at an industry event last year, arguing the way car hire is awkwardly presented in the GDS is a hindrance. However, with the focus from travel managers on achieving total cost of journey visibility, this ancillary portion of the journey needs to be integrated into the travel programme sooner rather than later. The rail sector was the first to attempt to move into the 21st century. It had a bigger hill to climb, having 40-year-old rolling stock in some cases and crumbling infrastructure to match, many would argue. Through online rail booking platforms, technology companies such as Evolvi have helped TMCs simplify the booking process, the ticket offering and delivery options with the installation of office ticket printers. Booking systems also allow travel policies to be incorporated and full management reporting and comprehensive MI to be provided – in short, transparency and
Introduction / Ground transport
TMCs have been guilty of concentrating on the big ticket items and referring clients to third party providers for ancillary productsâ€? THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
Ground transport / Introduction
control, and therefore an opportunity for savings. Ken Cameron, Managing Director of Evolvi, says corporates using the company’s platform can beat the fares increases, quoting overall average ticket values reduced from £59.05 to £57.20 in the period 2013 to 2016, despite regular fare hikes by operators. The rail sector may have been first off the starting blocks in terms of embracing the digital age but it still has a long way to go. Duncan Schofield, Business Development Manager at Trainline, says education is still needed to unravel the mystery of rail fares. “One in five people don’t know which ticket they can buy for their journey,” he says. For corporates wanting to cut costs swiftly, a starting point is to avoid buying Anytime Return style tickets, which are the most expensive type, and consider cheaper nonflexible Advance fares where appropriate. Trainline for business sends Ticket Alert emails when Advance fare tickets go on sale for specific journeys, as long as the traveller has signed up for the service.
While the rail industry is taking action to address the challenges of today, we also need to be looking at the solutions for tomorrow” What’s taking longer to evolve than booking systems are infrastructure improvements. Slowly but surely, the government, Network Rail and Rail Delivery Group (formerly ATOC) has begun a long-overdue investment programme to update rolling stock and electrify lines to enable high-speed intercity express trains to ride high volume routes and knock minutes off journey times. The next major step will be ‘intelligent’ trains that run closer together on a digital railway, part of a £450million government investment in the digital railway. The digital programme is part of an even bigger £50billion-plus Railway Upgrade Plan and blueprint for the future that extends to new technology, with Bluetooth and biometric ticketing replacing the outdated
orange ticket; smartphones with bluetooth technology that will open ticket gates at stations; and easier-to-understand fares. And then, of course, there is the sticky subject of HS2, the high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham in the first phase, due to open in 2026, and extending north to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds in phase two. “Our railways are increasingly full and while the industry is taking action to address the challenges of today we also need to be looking at the solutions for tomorrow,” said Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group. Harnessing digital technology is an integral part of this plan. Progress elsewhere in the ground transport sector has some momentum as it enters the digital age. Disruptors such as Uber, mytaxi (formerly Hailo in the UK), Lyft and Gett have forced change in the taxi and transfers sector that was just as outdated as rail, to the extent that it’s probably now the most dynamic sector in business travel. New entrants may have breathed new life into the sector, but it can also be a grey area and corporates remain largely divided over the use of Uber for business purposes. What’s more, consolidation in the marketplace – the merger between Hailo and mytaxi, for example, and the acquisition of Tristar and Flyte Tyme by Addison Lee – is creating large players getting to grips with market demands. The same is happening in the car hire sector too, not triggered by disruptors this time but by the main players embracing new technology and advancements in the automotive industry. Most rental companies now have a reservations and rental management system that provides all the MI a corporate could possibly want, plus more streamlined processes for business customers when picking-up and dropping off vehicles, as well as smartphone app functionality. ‘Connected cars’ provide new opportunities too and autonomous vehicles aren’t as far off as you might think and have the potential to changed the sector beyond all recognition. The good news is that today visibility and greater transparency equates to savings and an opportunity to control ground transport spend as never before.
G round transport i n nu mb e rs ]
Government funding per rail journey is £2.35, 29% lower than in the first full year of privatisation Source: Rail Delivery Group
Over half of respondents in a survey for an Avis white paper said vehicle to vehicle communication is the future
The majority of companies don’t have a defined taxi expense policy in place. Source: Cabfind
Just over half of travellers will round-up their taxi claim by an average of 25%. Source: Cabfind
Ground transport / Five reasons
[ FIVE REASONS TO... ]
CHOOSE RAIL OVER AIR Consider letting the train take the strain for long-distance domestic journeys, says Kate Wimpeney, Chief Operating Oﬃcer at Redfern Travel
There’s no denying that budget airlines can offer some fantastic deals but don’t assume air is your cheapest option. For example, booking four weeks in advance for a trip in April, a return airfare from London to Leeds costs around £90. An advance booking by rail costs less than half that. Even when a flight might seem the cheaper option, make sure you’ve factored in the cost of travel to and from the airport and potential parking costs.
PRODUCTIVITY Check-in, security and boarding queues at the airport are ‘dead’ time when travellers can’t work effectively. You might spend longer on the train than on a plane but with a table seat, wifi and the ability to makes calls, your travellers will be far more productive.
TIME The journey from airport to airport might be quicker than the journey by rail, but don’t forget to factor in travelling to and from the airport at each end – which are invariably out of town – and time spent at the airport itself, often in queues. With rail, there are also more frequent departures so you have back up. If you miss a flight the wait for the next one could be considerably longer.
CARBON EMISSIONS While environmentalists might urge us all to Skype our meetings, there are times when only face-toface meetings will ensure the right result. Trains offer big advantages over air travel when it comes to carbon emissions. For example, a return trip from Edinburgh to London by air can produce 160kg of C02; the same trip by train produces 50kg.
You might spend longer on the train than on a plane but your travellers will be more productive during the overall journey”
Air travel can be stressful. There’s the worry about missing a flight, the hassle of getting through security and boarding and usually at least an hour or so spent waiting around in the airport. With rail, travellers can stroll to the ticket gates with a few minutes to spare, get settled and use their travel time as an opportunity to catch up on work or relax.
Ground transport / Rail travel management
Enhanced technology and savvy travellers are helping procurement get to grips with rail travel spend, says Dave Richardson
oday's online rail travel booking systems have developed a high level of sophistication, but concerns remain about whether Evolvi and Trainline for Business – the leading players in the sector – can always offer the best fares. Another big frustration is the slow roll-out of mobile ticketing, but this is a rail industry issue and outside their control. Many business travellers use rail for leisure bookings too, often booking online via a train operator’s own website to avoid booking fees. Train operators’ own websites also often offer better fares or preferential treatment, such as CrossCountry which allows free amendments to advance bookings within 24 hours of travel, whereas the rail industry generally charges £10. It also allows users to pick up a ticket from a station machine within five minutes of purchasing it, whereas the industry norm is two hours.
Virgin Trains’ automatic payment of delay compensation is likewise limited to bookings through its own website, as are some train operators’ loyalty rewards. It is part of a trend whereby suppliers are increasingly targeting direct bookings from business travellers by offering added perks – hotel groups are guilty too – and travel managers are not happy about it. One area that is attracting consumer interest and might offer new opportunities is ‘split ticketing’ – using two or more tickets for a journey without needing to change trains. A new online operator called Ticketclever claims its technology can beat existing rivals such as splitticketing.com in identifying the best deals. For example, on a peak hours return journey from Coventry to Reading booked a week in advance, Ticketclever quoted £108.40 for the walk-up return fare but only £65.90 when using three flexible
return tickets on the same train (CoventryBanbury, Banbury-Oxford, Oxford-Reading). Evolvi and Trainline don’t offer split ticketing unless you’re canny enough to book each journey separately, but then you will incur fees. However, anomalies such as split ticketing could disappear after the Rail Delivery Group (bringing together train operators and Network Rail) announced a major review aimed at simplifying rail fares. Trials start on a few routes in May. The availability of mobile ticketing is probably of more concern to businesses, but train operators need to invest in scanning equipment at electronic ticket gates and on-board. Concerns about a flexible ticket being used fraudulently more than once are being addressed, but many operators still allow mobile ticketing only for Advance tickets to be used on a particular train. According to Trainline, the only operators
Rail travel management / Ground transport
allowing mobile ticketing on all flexible tickets were Virgin Trains West Coast, Chiltern (which is also trialling biometric technology such as fingerprint or iris-scanning), Northern and Heathrow Express, as of the end of February. Paul Wait, the GTMC Chief Executive, says apps that allow passengers to manage their journeys on the go are also needed. “Our own research shows that 90% of business travellers are satisfied with ease of booking online,” he says. “This offers a solid and positive base from which to build further digital solutions to enable operators to sell products via the TMC channel that they only sell direct. Rail operators and network providers must have the desire to invest in the infrastructure necessary to make it happen.” Will Hasler, Chairman of the ITM’s Industry Affairs Group, says: “We have been pressing train operators and intermediaries such as Trainline and Evolvi to offer the same functionality through all preferred channels as they do via their B2C routes. Mobile ticketing is one example of this.” He adds, “Split tickets are not illegal and arise because rail fares are so complicated.” Trainline is confident about the roll-out of mobile ticketing, which it says is now available at over 50% of stations. Alidad Moghaddam, European Director of Trainline for Business, says: “We have introduced mobile tickets for all of our UK business
The corporate market probably isn’t that bothered about split ticketing, but you can use it to make major savings” customers, as well as our TMC partners. Hopefully, waiting in queues to collect your train tickets will soon be a thing of the past. “Our mobile app is now available to SME business account customers. This means travellers can easily switch between personal and business profiles in the same app.” Evolvi is also enthusiastic about mobile ticketing. It dominates the market through TMCs, achieving 8.2 million transactions in
2016 compared to 7.8 million in 2015. The average transaction values fell from £58.87 in 2015 to £57.20 in 2016 despite rail fares rising across the board – proof that businesses are “buying smarter”. “We see great potential in non-conventional ticketing, and currently provide more fulfilment channels, including mobile, than any other online provider in the corporate sector,” says Evolvi's Managing Director, Ken Cameron. “Yet there is a sense that we have a way to go to create a truly joined up approach to mobile, and that a more cohesive industrywide strategy is needed.” Issues include failure to activate mobile tickets prior to use, using screenshots from another phone or tablet, mobile tickets presented for more than one journey, and front-line staff being poorly trained. Redfern Travel, Evolvi’s biggest customer, is one of the TMCs that have customised it and the first to offer rebooking, cancelling and auto-refunding of UK rail bookings via its tRIPS system, being rolled out in the second quarter. Redfern's Business Development Director, Kate Wimpeney, says: “Business customers want the same functionality and feel as when booking travel for leisure, such as apps that let you know your train is delayed, mobile ticketing and being able to book your parking at the same time. They want the TMC booking tool to be just like the operator’s website.” Paul Dear, HRG’s Director of Supplier and Industry Affairs, says one reason for mobile ticketing's slow progress is a lack of investment by operators nearing the end of franchises. “There is definitely a recognition by some operators that they need to work with TMCs in different ways,” he says. “From our own point of view, there is great value in what we offer in terms of security, traveller tracking and MI, but we are seeing leakage to train operators’ own websites and that’s a concern.” But 3SIXTY Global Consultant Nick Hurrell says: “It probably isn’t cost-effective for many businesses with a lot of low-cost travel to put this through a TMC, and some companies will only use a TMC for tickets costing over £50. “The corporate market probably isn’t that bothered about split ticketing, but you can use it to make major savings and it may also stimulate the market to change,” he adds.
Book it right
• Always book as far in advance as is reasonably possible. • Save money by booking the outward journey in advance, but a flexible return trip if unsure when a meeting will finish. • Consider whether MI and duty of care outweigh any cost savings when allowing travellers to book cheap tickets direct. • Split ticketing could bring savings. • Consider allowing first class travel when advance tickets cost less than the standard class fully flexible fare. • If you don’t value the extras offered by a TMC, booking direct through a train operator’s website incurs no extra fees. • Configure your booking tool with ‘cheapest ticket functionality’
Global Distribution Systems (GDS) dominate rail booking for Europe but face a major challenge from Trainline EU as it gears up to launch online bookings for 48 train operators across 24 countries to business customers. With Eurostar due to launch direct London-Amsterdam services by the end of this year, there will be heightened awareness of rail as an alternative to air. “Multi-modal bookings that include both air and rail travel are on the rise, presenting unprecedented commercial opportunities for smart railway operators,” says Travelport’s director of programme delivery, David Classey. “We’ve developed the Travelport Seat Map App for Eurostar and the Travelport Booking App for Amtrak to redefine the way TMCs sell rail travel, enabling them to book in the same way as they book a flight.” Amadeus’ rail GDS claims to have the highest number of rail operators integrated, and in the UK it also connects TMCs to Evolvi and Trainline for local content.
Connecting business across the UK Arriva UK Trains’ network reaches far and wide; CrossCountry, Chiltern Railways, Grand Central, Arriva Trains Wales and Northern operate a range of services, from rural commuter lines to long distance and inter-urban journeys. Arriva UK Trains connects the three countries of Great Britain and collectively runs 4,186 services each weekday.
Connecting people and communities to what’s important to them.
We will always go the extra mile for our customers.
Newcastle Sunderland Middlesbrough
Delivering great service, on great journeys across Great Britain.
We provide great value and enjoyable journeys that help remove the limits on where businesses can go.
Doncaster Sheffield Lincoln Stoke-on-Trent Nottingham Birmingham
Explore ways to make your business rail travel more effective – connect with us at: arriva.co.uk/uk-trains
Aylesbury Stansted London
We are passionate about making sure that your journey with us is a great experience.
York Preston Leeds
Beginner's guide / Ground transport
THE ROUTE TO SAVINGS Considerable savings can be achieved by carefully managing your ground transport spend, says Lesley Ford, Senior Partner at 3SIXTY Global, who advises on best practice Car rental – where do I start? Begin by finding out how competitive your current rental pricing is, assuming you have a deal in place with a supplier. Try and benchmark this against similar companies with similar needs to yours – your TMC and other sources should be able to help with this. How often should I revisit our corporate contracts? A full RFP should be conducted every year to see whether an incumbent’s pricing and conditions remain competitive. What types of rates should I be looking for? Consider negotiating day rates. Most organisations spend 30-40% of their car rental budget on weekly or monthly rentals, but they do not realise they could negotiate these (lower) rates. What sort of data should I seek to help inform our programme? It’s crucial to know exactly where your car rental spend is going. You should request full spend data from suppliers, with a breakdown of rental rates compared to ancillary fees and other charges. Ancillary fees can represent 10-20% of total costs and add significantly to the overall cost of car rental – don't forget that these sorts of costs can be negotiated with suppliers.
Ancillary fees can represent 10-20% of total costs of car rental, but don't forget that these costs can often be negotiated with suppliers”
Any further car rental tips? Request that suppliers respond to RFPs with rates that include a loss damage waiver and a collision damage waiver on all rate types. Refuelling rates should also be negotiated although many corporates are unaware that this is possible. And try and land yourself some ‘soft’ benefits too, like meet and greet services, vehicle delivery and upgrades. It is also best to negotiate terms that will limit major price hikes over the duration of an agreement. And what about rail travel? When it comes to booking, buy tickets online and in advance of travel where possible. It’s more cost effective than buying at the station and online systems have a wider range of fares. Should I book through my TMC, online system or the operator? Most TMCs will already have a relationship with a rail booking system such
as Evolvi or Trainline, so using this will save contracting time and enable your travel policy to be embedded into the system. But won’t that cost me? Yes, you will be charged a fee per booking – probably between £4 and £10. Avoiding the TMC will reduce your booking fees, but you may lose an element of cost control and visibility. Any particular tips in regard to booking rail travel? There are a few simple rules you should try and stick to: book in advance; avoid travelling in rush hour; and consider combing restrictive (and cheaper) outbound Advance tickets with more flexible off peak return tickets. Travelling in the rush hour really is more expensive. For example, an Advance single ticket booked two days before travel from London to Manchester costs around £142 on the 7.35 train, but drops to £82 an hour later.
Ground transport / Rail travel product
on board Rail operators are making significant investments in infrastructure and onboard product, and not before time, says Dave Richardson, who tracks the latest developments
here is a definite disconnect between the bullish statements made by the government and the rail industry, and the often miserable experiences endured by many passengers on our overcrowded network. Many passengers can look forward to much improved services within a few years, but how many would have abandoned rail travel before then if they had any choice? Consumer groups are certainly concerned, and so is parliament, with the House of Commons transport select committee branding the franchising system “no longer fit for purpose” and calling for a review. Independent watchdog Transport Focus, which conducts surveys twice a year, found that overall satisfaction with rail services dropped to 81% in autumn 2016 compared to 83% in autumn 2015, while satisfaction with punctuality and reliability slumped to 73% from 78%. The annual rail survey by Which? berates train operators “that don’t deliver even the basics”, with strike-hit Southern achieving an overall customer score of only 21%. The top scoring operators were Merseyrail (72%), Virgin Trains West Coast (69%), East Midlands Trains (67%) and Chiltern (62%) But at least operators are taking action. Great Western’s new InterCity Express (ICE)
trains will deliver an increase in seating capacity and modest journey time reductions on electrified routes. The same type of train will be introduced on Virgin Trains East Coast’s routes out of King’s Cross from the end of 2018, with 65 new trains increasing capacity by 12,000 seats. These routes are already electrified as far as Leeds/Bradford and Edinburgh, and journey times will be significantly shorter to Scotland with one train per hour completing the London-Edinburgh trip in four hours – about 30 minutes faster than at present. Virgin is targeting a 50% share of the market vis-à-vis airlines, compared to 25% at present, by the end of its franchise in 2023. A city centre to city centre journey between the two capitals will be about four hours by both air and rail within a couple of years, and with rail offering a seamless journey and wifi on board, Virgin’s target appears feasible. Wifi is a key factor in winning over the business market, along with a good working environment. Eurostar has lagged behind but does now offer wifi on its new and refurbished trains, whereas some inter-city operators have offered wifi of variable quality for years. Passengers in the North of England and Scotland will benefit from free wifi and new trains in the near future. TransPennine Express will be delivering an investment of
£500million over the next three years which will include 44 brand new trains as well as a full refurbishment of their existing fleet and station improvements. Northern, which operates mainly local but some long-distance routes, is investing £400million in new trains that will increase total seat capacity by 40%, again with wifi as standard. Infrastructure work includes a much needed rail link between Manchester's Piccadilly and Victoria stations, which is currently under construction. The Scottish government is actively pro-rail, funding the opening of new lines such as from Edinburgh through the Borders region to Tweedbank. Electrification between Glasgow and Edinburgh and from both cities to Stirling and Dunblane means that ScotRail will introduce 70 new trains by December 2018. InterCity 125 trains made redundant further south will be deployed to routes such as Glasgow/Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness, meaning more comfort but little improvement in journey times. Caledonian Sleeper services from London to Scotland are now operated by a dedicated franchise rather than as part of ScotRail. They might not be considered by many business travellers currently, but from next year a new fleet of trains will come into service, with en suite facilities in first class.
Rail travel product / Ground transport
A city centre to city centre journey between London and Edinburgh will be about four hours by both air and rail within a couple of yearsâ€?
Ground transport / Rail travel product
The biggest operator for business travellers is Virgin Trains West Coast, whose current franchise runs until April 2019 when a new franchise operator – possibly Virgin – will be appointed. This will run the existing routes linking London, Birmingham, the North West, North Wales and Glasgow, and HS2 when it starts coming on-stream after 2026. Virgin is consistently one of the best performing long-distance operators in Transport Focus and Which? surveys. Since being appointed 20 years ago it has set the standard for business travel by rail including meals and drinks in first class fares and increasing frequency on all its routes. Chiltern has always been an innovative operator, a major reason being its longer than average franchise which has encouraged investment. Its Business Zone services between London and Birmingham have proved very successful, and it has now opened a new route from London to Oxford. The city has joined a short list of places with a genuine choice of operator – Great Western to Paddington or Chiltern to Marylebone. The latter is part of Arriva, which is owned by DB German Railways, also operating CrossCountry, Northern, Grand Central and Arriva Trains Wales. CrossCountry has proved innovative too, with hot meals now available to pre-order on the Manchester-Bournemouth and Edinburgh-Plymouth routes. Another part of the country set for significantly better rail services is East Anglia, including the London-Norwich inter-city route, Stansted Express and many regional or local services. New franchise operator Abellio took over in October and is committed to spending £1.4billion on a complete renewal of the train fleet by 2020, with some LondonNorwich journeys reduced to 90 minutes. East Midlands Trains has achieved major improvements in reliability and frequency on routes from London to Sheffield, but franchise owner Stagecoach faces competition to continue after next year. Commuter routes in the South East are often the subject of lurid headlines about strikes and overcrowding, and massive investment will be needed to make things better. Heathrow Express, with an overall satisfaction rate of 96% in the Transport Focus survey, is the stand-out operator.
First Hull Trains
Longer and more comfortable trains now appear on Thameslink services via central London, and from 2019 Crossrail – now dubbed the Elizabeth Line – will bring major improvements to east-west travel, including from Heathrow to Canary Wharf. There is no doubt that a huge amount is being invested in the railways, but infrastructure projects need to deliver what they promise and there is very little competition between train operators, a major flaw. The GTMC's Chief Executive, Paul Wait, says: “More competition would have a positive impact on ticket prices, connectivity for towns that currently aren’t served by mainline services and better facilities on-board, such as wifi, to support productivity,” he says.
We all know that structural improvements are needed, but equally we know that there is no quick fix” “Business travellers ’ main criteria are cost, connectivity and ability to be productive – it is these three areas that require focus, investment and improvement in both the short and long-term to make rail more attractive.” Nick Hurrell, a consultant advising buyers at 3SIXTY Global, says: “Franchising needs an overhaul, but it is not broken. It has delivered a better rail service used by a record number of passengers, but franchises need to be for longer as the cost of bidding rules out all but the biggest companies.” He adds, “The Great Western electrification is an absolute mess and East Midlands electrification is many years away, but other improvements could be made. There needs to be more of a differential between first and standard class on many routes.” Evolvi Managing Director, Ken Cameron, adds: “Investment on longer routes, notably around ease of use, wifi, catering and the opportunity to work, is enhancing productivity across the total journey – something that is a key factor in choosing rail. We all know that structural improvements are needed, but equally we know there is no quick fix.”
The New TransPennine Express
REPORTING FOR DUTY All change please It’s all change here at TransPennine Express. Over the next three years we’ll be investing £500million to transform intercity train travel in the North and Scotland. This means new trains, more seats, better connections and the latest travel technology. Not to mention a proper cup of coffee – about time, right?
Your new state-of-the-art office We’re investing in 44 brand new state-of-theart intercity trains, which will provide 13 million extra seats across the North and into Scotland. Each of these trains will be fitted with power sockets at every pair of seats, free Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment systems. So, whether you need to finish that presentation or catch up on a podcast, you can stay connected on the go.
A proper cup of coffee We’re giving our onboard catering a makeover too and have already introduced Lavazza coffee, great tea and fresh pastries. And if you’re travelling in First Class you can enjoy complimentary refreshments, or pick up a great value meal deal in Standard Class.
Swap traffic for the track We run regular services between major cities including Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, York, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Trains arrive right in the heart of the city so you can easily get from the platform to the pitch without a traffic jam or airport transfer in sight. And this is just the beginning. We’re also set to increase our services linking the largest cities in the North and Scotland by 55%, meaning even more chances for you to get connected and close new deals – all at up to 125mph.
Save 50% on advance fares* With all these improvements, we’re committed to keeping your travel costs competitive. Book with us up to 24 weeks in advance or through your TMC and you’ll save over 50%*. There’s no booking fee with TransPennine Express and a range of ways to get your tickets, from self-print to collection, or download straight to your phone.
Visit tpexpress.co.uk or contact your travel management company * Savings are calculated by comparing Advance Purchase standard single ticket fares for 300 TransPennine Express journeys purchased before the day of travel to the equivalent price of an Anytime Standard Single ticket. Subject to availability. Full terms and conditions at tpexpress.co.uk
Ground transport / Car hire
life in the
As corporates fine-tune their car hire programmes, Gillian Upton discovers suppliersâ€™ increasingly diverse propositions
Car hire / Ground transport
ar hire has traditionally been seen as a sector with little value-add and an area devoid of providers that can service all needs, from leasing cars and hourly car hire to managing grey fleet. It has been a fragmented sector, making management and control a challenge for businesses. Over and above that, travel management companies have tended to view it as a noncore spend and treated it as such. But, as Mike Galvin, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Addison Lee points out, “a car can often cost more than a flight and be as emotionally connected with the passenger.” Car hire spend can be substantial yet “it’s often perceived as a supporting function of other areas of policy, to the airport or hotel, rather than an element in its own right.” One brake on progress has been the outdated booking technology. “It’s been a slow burn,” says GTMC Chief Executive, Paul Wait. “The GDS has been the dominant piece of booking technology for the last 40 years and only of late has it added trains and hotels. Only a few people using car hire are using the GDS.” Thankfully, technology enablement is changing the car hire options for corporate users. “All suppliers are looking at their digital strategies and how they can integrate into clients’ platforms and improve the user experience,” says ITM Chair, Mark Cuschieri. By way of example, Avis has an app designed to save users time and deliver greater control. “It is created for our customers and by our customers,” says Nina Bell, Managing Director, Northern Region (EMEA), Avis Budget Group. “Customers can see which car they have been assigned and have the option to exchange or upgrade their vehicle. Upon return, customers can close out the rental agreement from their phone.” Available to Avis Preferred members, the app works at 60 Avis locations across the
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Car hire / Ground transport
US and is being piloted in five key European airport locations, including London Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted. The Avis Business Statement Account, also new, is designed to help buyers better manage their rental needs. “The aim is to give buyers an easy way to save time and money with a single monthly payment, and to give them full control and oversight of their account so they know what's been spent, who's spent it and why,” says Bell. It’s not just the big global players who are making progress. Nexus Vehicle Rental is the largest corporate rental provider in the UK and acts as a broker for over 500,000 vehicles across 2,000 locations. Its IRIS rental portal allows users to book any vehicle within 30 seconds. Damage claims can be managed here too and MI is available in real time to keep track of rental spend and download any reports on demand. This access is replicated in the company’s app. Enterprise Rent A Car is doing something similar. Some 18 months ago the company filled a yawning gap in the car hire market by launching a complete offering through the Enterprise Hub, including hourly and daily car hire, a car club provision, accident management services, large commercial vehicles and the management of grey fleet policy. Leased cars is the only service currently missing from the line-up. Enterprise is looking to evolve into a version of how Amazon has approached the market, with seamless access points. Bookers log into the Enterprise hub and book cars by time periods. “We have the full end-to-end suite so it’s access for all,“ says Adrian Bewley, Head of Business Rental for the UK and Ireland. “Today it’s about how you move people and goods. The days of pure car hire are on the wane,“ he adds. Europcar UK is also in the vanguard of technological change. Europcar.biz is the company’s car and van rental reservations and rental management system, enabling bookings to be placed and amended quickly from anywhere in the UK, 24 hours a day, seven days per week, both by travel managers and drivers themselves. It can be tailored to apply the business travel policies of an organisation so that only
the appropriate vehicles can be booked for the relevant journeys and time-saving features include one-click ‘Quick Links’ to key areas of functionality, dynamic search capability in the live reservation areas and also rental reports. “Anything that streamlines the car hire experience is worth investing in and we have focused on all aspects of the process – from the initial reservation, through to vehicle pick up and return as well as having insight into driver usage and behaviour,” explains Clive Forsythe, Corporate Sales Director for Europcar UK. The company has launched an effective Fast Track service at Heathrow, allowing business travellers to bypass the normal counter and get on their way quicker. Forsythe reckons that on-board electronics delivers accurate real-time data on vehicle usage and this greater insight leads to improved cost control by managing fuel consumption and maintenance. “The technology is also designed to influence driver behaviour, with innovative communications solutions, including ‘gamification’, integrated to encourage better eco-driving and road safety,” he adds. In tandem with technological advances has come richer content moving effectively into multi-modal platforms. “Our goal in the last couple of years has been to be much more open-minded about the range of transport solutions that will work best for an organisation – public or private sector. “It’s not just about daily rental,” Forsythe continues. “We need to encompass car use by the hour, ride hailing, chauffeur drive and even the integration of public transport as part of the journey.” To this end it has taken a majority stake in Ubeeqo, a mobility start-up offering a multimodal transport platform, and a minority stake in a similar venture, Wanderio. New-fangled car clubs are being integrated into traditional car hire company’s portfolios too. The burgeoning concept has re-defined the market and made it easier for consumers to book cars for short periods of time. Europcar acquired E-Car Club and Enterprise purchased City Car Club, for example. Enterprise's Adrian Bewley believes they will have a huge impact in the business sector.
We need to encompass car use by the hour, ride hailing, chauffeur drive and even the integration of public transport as part of the journey”
Ground transport / Car hire
“Clubs have created a false perception of their service as in reality it’s a rental car available 24/7 so it’s a core service. It’s the access to the car that’s different,” he says. The car club pick-up points for one-day hires will have to be in different places – less suburban and more city centre – and the company is working on that. “Corporates need a lot more today so we are turning into a mobility provider taking into account all the services a company needs. They want more choice and they need it from one place,” says Bewley. He believes that once the corporate community grasps the opportunity to manage the sector just as they do hotels and air, that responsibilities and roles will morph. Historically it’s been a mix of fleet and procurement sharing the responsibility for car hire within a corporate, with HR taking care of grey fleet. Grey fleet in any case is proving less popular since the Corporate Homicide and Manslaughter legislation came into force. Corporates accept there is culpability and some are outsourcing the management of grey fleet to ensure cars are roadworthy and limiting usage to shorter journeys to, say, ten miles, to meet clients. Bewley appreciates that it’s easiest to keep the status quo as grey fleet is convenient and keeps the employees happy, but that safety, price and operational efficiencies outweigh those concerns. “Car hire is generally more policy driven,” concedes Paul Dear, Director of Supplier and Industry Affairs, HRG, “which means that there is less leakage than say with rail bookings.” Corporate accounts are standard procedure and afford a level of control over costs as service level agreements are integrated; the ‘time is money’ principle comes into play here.
Savings come from visibility of spend, consolidating into preferred programmes and adding value from booking efficiency” 76
“Savings come from visibility of spend, consolidating into preferred programmes and adding value from booking efficiency and process efficiency,” says ITM’s Cuschieri. Europcar’s Forsythe adds that time efficiency and competitive pricing are other advantages of a corporate account. “They’re achieved through a strong working relationship between Europcar and each corporate customer to understand their business challenges and identify ways to solve them. This is facilitated by an account management team who understand both usage and a company’s specific travel policy.” Europcar requires a minimum spend of £1,000 per year to open a corporate account, whereas Enterprise Rent A car has no minimum but a requirement for an ongoing monthly need, with a particular focus on SMEs. “They are our lifeblood,” says Bewley. Car sharing is another innovation and it’s slowly gaining traction. “Corporates would love to do car sharing, specifically on airport runs,” says ITM’s Cuschieri. Europcar’s Forsythe cites an example of rental usage analysis that revealed a considerable level of multiple rentals on the same days at around the same time with one corporate client. “By using Europcar.biz the employer was able to create a ‘car sharing’ scheme where employees could buddy up for journeys to different sites. A daily automated future reservations report is generated that feeds into the company’s intranet and travel page, enabling any employee planning a journey to check if anyone else has already booked to make a similar or same journey.” As a result, the organisation has seen as much as half of employee journeys being car shared, delivering important cost savings and reducing the environmental impact. And, crucially, it has been achieved without any disruption to employees’ travel plans. It’s clear that this category of spend is on the move in exciting and business-friendly ways. “The sector was dull as ditch water but it’s very interesting now,” says Bewley. “We’re at the core of what a business needs and way more important to them as part of their operational responsibilities.”
“For years, car rental hasn’t dramatically changed,” says Nina Bell, Managing Director, Northern Region, Avis Budget group. “While vehicles have upgraded and services improved, customers still go to a counter, sign paperwork, collect keys and head to their vehicle. But as the world embraces connected car technology, this will all change – and it’s happening now.” A report from the company says that connected cars – featuring telematics and data collection – and autonomous vehicles will, not surprisingly, have a huge effect on car rental, the wider automotive industry and on travel management, providing both an opportunity and a threat. Among the many issues they pose are concerns regarding safety and liability, insurance, data usage and security. While connected cars are already on the road, it is fully automated vehicles that are the next big leap. “Self-driving cars will change the world,” says Anders Eugenson, Director of Government Affairs and Core Values Communications at Volvo, co-sponsors of the report. “For rental cars, instead of just using apps for booking, the car will actually drive itself to you. There will be no need to go to the rental place.”
TBTM Dinner Club
Dining at The Dorchester
Come dine with us! The Business Travel Magazine Dinner Club ▼
Senior personnel from across the business travel industry joined TBTM for dinner at The Dorchester hotel in London, where guest speaker Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, brought us up to date with the latest developments in aviation and at the airport
A glass of bubbly before dinner
Guests were wined and dined at London’s prestigious Dorchester hotel
With thanks to our generous event sponsors
For details of the next Dinner Club contact email@example.com
Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, was guest speaker for the night
Travega Travel Marketing Solutions Worldwide
The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Travega
Ground transport / Taxis & transfers
DEALS on wheels The once maligned taxi and chauﬀeur drive market is rapidly maturing, says Gillian Upton, who brings things right up to speed
omething is afoot in the taxis and chauffeur drive market. Maybe it was Uber that stirred up the sector, but the whole sector is on the move. New operators are entering the market, existing ones are merging and many are launching the tools and technology that travel managers and users have been craving. The GTMC has benefitted from a rash of new supplier members in this sector, so
what’s going on? “You can see that these people regard our industry as a growth industry,” says Paul Wait, GTMC CEO. “Taxi spend was seen as incremental spend but client demand for end-to-end journey costs has forced these companies to provide the tools so corporates can bring this spend into the managed space,” he explains. Craig Chambers, Group CEO of TBR Global Chauffeuring, highlights both the need to cut costs and an increasing focus on duty of care. “Aside from fulfilling their corporate social responsibility by guaranteeing their travellers a licensed vehicle and a professional driver, many companies are realising that including ground transport in their policy and giving travel managers full control over the entire journey makes good financial sense, reducing unexpected expenses,” says Chambers. Uber, however, continues to divide opinion. It has changed consumer behaviour, triggering business travellers to demand the same ease of access to a taxi service enjoyed in their private lives. Duty of care muddies
the water and until it’s decided whether Uber drivers are self-employed or employed leaves concerns over its suitability for corporates. If it’s determined that Uber drivers are selfemployed then corporates can reclaim VAT, if the drivers are VAT registered. Insurance and vetting is another issue and Uber has tried to assuage concerns that drivers are vetted and cars are roadworthy. Surge pricing is also a barrier but, with regards to safety and security, Uber cars are at least tracked. Despite these concerns, TMCs are incorporating Uber spend for clients, but the GTMC’s Wait points out that there is a cost: “It’s summed up in the war between integration and fragmentation. There is a cost to pulling in all those APIs.” Mark Cuschieri, Chair of ITM, recognises that the sector has upped its game but reminds us that change comes slowly: “It’s been less than a year since all black cabs accepted credit cards,” he says. In the post-Uber world of taxis, transfers and chauffeur drive, corporates now have
Taxis & transfers / Ground transport
the opportunity to choose from several aggregators and portals. In this consolidated environment corporates can manage taxis and transfers as they do hotels and air. “They’re a data repository of individual taxi companies,” explains Paul Dear, Director of Supplier & Industry Affairs, HRG. These new players offer a solution to the leakage issue synonymous with taxis of having no receipts. Corporates had no idea who was using a taxi, where they were going or at what time. New players have changed that, linking with expense management providers to streamline the expense piece. One is SummitQwest, a US-based company offering an independent platform aggregating a wide variety of ground transport providers via APIs and offering an on-demand app. “We can plug anyone into our system and there is no conflict of interest as we do not align ourselves with any car company,” says UK Director Jonathan Willoughby. “We can take this horrible, messy spend category and manage it for clients.”
Companies now see that including ground transport in their policy and giving travel managers full control makes financial sense” Full reporting can drill down to spend by distance, journey time, vehicle type, cost etc, and that visibility influences policy so that perhaps a black cab is only used for London postcodes and Addison Lee for airport runs. “The end objective is to ensure that the right car is being used at the right price,” says Willloughby. He says that clients can expect a minimum 10% saving from rate negotiations, consolidation of suppliers, stopping maverick usage and trend analysis. Groundscope is another such portal and comprises 600 service providers including taxis and executive cars, integrated with KDS and Concur. Its ride-sharing concept was
launched a year ago and is proving popular. “It stops 20 cars going to Heathrow at 3pm,” says CEO John McCallion. Chauffeurs are still mainly the preserve of banks and financial service companies but the requirement to use a premium service is apparently being questioned. The days are certainly numbered for the rows of top of the range Mercedes parked outside smart hotels for hours. Stakeholder pressure and the availability of tools that provide visual guilt when booking will help see to this. “Big corporations are having to set an example from the top,” suggests Willoughby. TBR's Chambers says its four core business areas are corporate, roadshows, events and secure transfers, with the latter an area in which he reports increased interest. It provides a suite of tools for clients, including MyTBR for online and app-based bookings, and partners with GroundSpan to makes its services available through the GDS systems to travel management companies. Club Class Chauffers, which operates a
Ground transport / Taxis & transfers
fleet of Volvos, says the majority of its clients – some 90% – spend between £1,000 and £10,000 per month with the remainder spending between £100,000 to £500,000, who tend to be banks and multinationals. The company’s USP is simple when selling against app-based cab companies. “Our cars are no older than six months old, we recruit ex-servicemen who are suited and booted and on guaranteed salaries and we undertake mystery shoppers. And we are more cost effective than a taxi,” explains Managing Director, Jonathan Dow. Meanwhile, Carey, a member of the aforementioned GTMC, serves more than 1,000 cities in 75 countries through a global network and undertakes more than 1.5million chauffeur journeys a year. Meanwhile, Berlin-based Blacklane used the recent Business Travel Show to announce its integration with ground transport management platform GroundSpan, allowing users of Sabre, Concur and Travelport platforms to avail of its services in 250-plus cities. “We want to make it as easy as possible for business travellers to book reliable transfers worldwide,” says Sascha Meskendahl, Blacklane’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Groundspan is the link between corporate travel tools and Blacklane’s quality service, fair rates and straightforward policies.” GroundSpan President Tony Bonanno says the company bridges the gap for businesses seeking trusted ground transpot providers.
Uber is fine for getting around town but business travellers arriving at an airport need a pre-arranged taxi” More recently still, Blacklane has expanded its distribution channels through a deal with car rental company Hertz. The partnership allows Hertz customers in ten European markets – including the UK – to book Blacklane services through the Hertz website. Further dynamism in the marketplace is coming from mergers and acquisitions. Europcar acquired executive car company Brunel. Addison Lee bought Tristar to provide an executive offering on this side of the pond and Flyte Tyme to do the same in the US. In the UK, Hailo has become part of mytaxi and One Transport evolved from Radio Taxis. With critical mass, business models have evolved. Addison Lee provides an on-demand app (which has a snooze facility to delay a car in 15-minute increments), as does Gett Taxi and Carey Chauffeurs. Now part of mytaxi, Hailo for Business was ahead of the game when it launched over two years ago with an online tool for bookers, an app for travellers and account management tools for MI to monitor usage, apply cost centres and policy controls.
Travellers can save their favourite driver and receipts are emailed at the end of the journey. Aiming for mid-market clients and those in the unmanaged space, KPIs include a three-minute wait for a cab for a central London journey. “It negates waiting time costs and we offer reports from a dashboard on what it’s costing your business and which departments are spending more than others,” says Andy Lewis, Head of Business Marketing. “It gives transparency and control and avoids rogue claims which gives another level of saving.” The merger with mytaxi – Daimler is a key shareholder – provides 10,000 drivers covering ten markets across Europe, from Sweden to Greece. “Our ambition is to dominate Europe,” says Lewis. Crucially, Avios points can be collected and fixed fares are offered on longer runs, including airports. Addison Lee, meanwhile, provides a Manager Portal which allows travel managers to add new users to their account and monitor against managed spend and policy compliance. “Use per individual or team is easily accessible,” says a spokesperson. The focus on payment, compliance and quality MI is not unwarranted, with research from managed taxi service Cabfind suggesting over half of employees round-up their taxi expense claims by an average 25%. Moreover, 55% of companies don't have a defined taxi expense policy. The report also points to the considerable time spent by employees on expense claims for traditional taxi receipts. “A company with an annual taxi expenditure of £500,000 could be facing hidden additional costs of approximately £33,000 relating to expense processing and administration,” says Daniel Price, Cabfind's Commercial Director. One travel management company, FCM, has taken this spend into its own hands and launched a taxi and transfer business eight months ago to meet customer demand in India. “We have an offering where there is a need,” says Iain Collinson, Travel Essentials Product Owner. “Uber operates in 70 countries so there are still blind spots. Around town Uber might be fine but arriving at an airport business travellers need a pre-arranged taxi.” Collinson concludes: “Ground transport is not an afterthought anymore, it’s a considered offering.”
DRIVING DOWN THE COSTS OF BUSINESS TAXI TRAVEL Cabfind is the UK's leading managed taxi service providing seamless end-to-end mobility solutions to business travellers. Utilising a country-wide network of private hire and executive vehicles, we combine ground-breaking technology with industry expertise to make taxi travel and expense management simple. As a dedicated mobility transport partner, Cabfind helps organisations from leading travel management companies to corporate businesses drive down their taxi travel costs. To reveal the hidden costs of your taxi travel visit www.cabfind.com/hidden today
CALL 0843 658 1122 EMAIL SALES@CABFIND.COM VISIT WWW.CABFIND.COM
Reader's rant / Ground transport
[ READER'S RANT ]
IN THE HOT SEAT An anonymous travel manager lets off steam about onboard seating arrangements
I’m on a train in my pre-booked seat and the carriage is almost empty. So why does the operator insist on squeezing everyone into seats next to each other and leaving half the carriage unfilled? It's utterly exasperating! Worse still, why, when passengers get on to a half-empty train, do they insist on sitting in their pre-booked seat next to me even though 90% of the other seats in the same carriage are empty. Do they not have the common sense to realise they could pick almost any seat they like? This happened to me recently. I was sat in a window seat with a table, laptop out and trying to work when a lady got on and sat in ‘her’ seat next to me. She got her laptop out, stuck on her privacy screen (oh, by the way, I could still see everything you were doing for the bank you work for!) and then proceeded to clash elbows with
me for the next ten minutes as there obviously wasn’t enough room for both of us. I have no problem with that if the train is full – although a little more space would be nice – but there were dozens of seats available elsewhere in the carriage. Did she have the sense to sit in one of them? Obviously not or I wouldn’t be ranting! Instead, after ten minutes of this debacle, I packed up my own belongings and pointedly said “excuse me, if you let me out I’ll move to one of those empty seats across the aisle so we both have more room”. In any case, half of the pre-booked seats are never occupied because passengers have Anytime tickets and are on a different train anyway. And Anytime tickets – I could write a whole essay on those. As a travel manager, I see far too many people booking these expensive options without giving a thought to Advance fares. So, rail operators, please spread us about a bit. And passengers, when you get on, just because you have a pre-booked seat doesn’t mean you have to sit there. If the train is half empty, don’t go and squeeze in next to someone else – they don’t want to be sharing your personal space any more than you want to share theirs.
Ground transport / Data
ALL HAIL THE POLICY! Managing taxi costs can be a difficult process in its own right, but it is compounded when over half of companies do not have a defined taxi policy within their travel and expense policies, says a report from Cabfind. Without a policy in place, organisations are open to expense abuse, companies don’t have visibility of their employee movements, nor can they manage when taxi journeys are permissible and at what price, the company warns. While the percentages are still on the low side, Cabfind’s UK Taxi Expenses Review 2017 reveals larger companies do tend to have a taxi policy in place (56% of companies with 250-499 employees), but smaller companies are not reaping the benefits of a managed taxi policy – only 22% of companies with 1-9 employees and 42% of those with 10-99 employees have specific taxi policies in place. The research was commissioned by Cabfind and undertaken by Censuswide. The survey incorporated over 500 UK-based respondents who use taxis for business.
of companies don’t have a defined taxi policy
of 16-34 year-olds pay for taxis by card, versus less than 20% for those aged 35+
of travellers fill in expense forms during work hours
of travellers pay for taxis by cash
54% of travellers use the same taxi provider for every journey
is the average time it takes to fill in a single expense claim
PAYING OVER THE TOP
51% round up their claim by an average of 25%
36% of claimants forget the taxi charge before writing it down
of taxi users tip drivers
43% of women never tip drivers
is the average tip paid to drivers
WHO MONITORS YOUR TRAVEL EXPENSES? Finance Line Manager Human Resources Admin Team MD/CEO No One Other
New kid on the block THE NED, LONDON THE LOWDOWN
Ned Hotel on Gracechurch Street is the product of a partnership between London–based Soho House & Co and New York’s Sydell Group. Set to open in April, the property will host nine restaurants and ‘Ned’s Club’, where members have access to a rooftop pool, gym, spa, hamam and late night lounge bar. Ned’s has six private hire rooms and two terraces for event hire. The hotel features a variety of rooms and suites, from the Crash Pad Room to the luxurious Lutyens Suite. THAT'S A FACT
Set in the former
Midland Bank building, designed by Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens in 1924, the bank’s original vault will house Ned’s Club and Vault Room lounge bar. The vault contains over 3,000 stainless steel safety deposit boxes inspiring the design of Fort Knox in the 1964 Bond film, Goldfinger. THEY SAID IT
channels 1920s and 1930s design, with vintage pieces, hand-knotted rugs and rainforest showers. Brass and mahogany furniture, chandeliers and richly patterned furnishings decorate The Ned’s 252 bedrooms.” RATES
Rooms start from
£250 per night (including VAT). Prices vary depending on room size. Day delegate rates range from £95 up to £120 per person, with a minimum of eight guests.
Each room channels 1920s and 1930s design, with vintage pieces, handknotted rugs and rainforest showers” 86
On the road with
Frederic Perdrix travels between the UK offices of
SEND ME BACK TO TOKYO
Houlder and shipbuilding centres globally, clocking up thousands of miles in his role as Chief Technical Officer
D E TA I LS Name: Frederic Perdrix. Position & company: Chief Technical Officer, Houlder. Nature of your business: Houlder provides offshore and marine design and engineering services. Based in: London. Business trips per year: I travel once every two weeks on average but it could be weeks of intense travelling followed by a longer time at home depending on the project. Estimated annual mileage: It’s hard WARNING! HOLIDAYMAKERS
to estimate without doing the maths but 10,000-mile round-trips to South Korea certainly add up! Regular destinations: I travel constantly between our UK offices and then overseas to NEXT UP... shipbuilding centres throughA UK TOUR! out Europe and in the East. We also work in Africa, Scandinavia and the Americas – it’s a truly global business. Most recent trip: Three snowy trips to Quebec, Canada. Next trip: A round robin trip to all our UK offices from Aberdeen to Portsmouth. I’ll get to see the UK’s rail network in all its glory!
G O O D & B AD Memorable experience: I fondly remember the first time I laid flat on a long-haul flight having been unexpectedly upgraded on a flight from Johannesburg. Being treated like kings by clients in Tokyo is a great memory too. Worst experience: A helicopter straying into our path during takeoff at Aberdeen airport. Cue some very hard braking, swearing from the cockpit and feeling a bit shaken up.
SUPPLIERS Preferred airline or hotel: Singapore Airlines always provides impeccable service. Loyalty points – obsessive collector or not bothered? They're mainly useful for accessing airport lounges. Favourite loyalty scheme: Whoever can get me in to a lounge for some peace and quiet!
S U P PL I E R S One thing that would improve business travel: Keeping holidaymakers completely separate.
Biggest business travel irritation: Delayed flights are always a pain. Pack light or go prepared? I do both. In fact, there is a lot of preparation involved in travelling light. Never leave home without: My toothbrush and headache pills.
DE S T IN ATI O N S Happy never to go back to: Don’t ask me to fly between Jo'burg and Luanda in a tropical storm again – especially not on a 40-year-old B747. Send me back to: Tokyo. Top overseas landmark: We are often far from tourist landmarks so, sadly, I can probably name more of my favourite fabrication yards!
R O O M FO R IMP R OVE ME N T Flights: work, rest or play? I always take the opportunity to rest.
Onboard connectivity: take it or leave it? Travel is a great time to reflect. That’s hard to do if you’re still getting emails from the office. Onboard habits: I try to sleep as CATCH much as I can. SOME ZZZs ONBOARD
TR AV E L P OL I CY
Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? There's no need to stray from it. We have a good company travel policy, support from our office and a good working relationship with agencies such as Colpitts. It all runs very smoothly. If you could change one thing about your travel policy... Avoiding travel in the summer holiday season would be great. • Houlder is a client of Edinburghbased Colpitts World Travel
On business in…
Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and its economic and financial hub. Much of its prosperity is built on mining and many of the industry's leading companies are still based in the city. The city is also strong in the manufacturing, banking, IT, real estate and transport sectors. The ongoing revival of the city centre, plus measures to reduce crime, have improved safety for visitors
Sl eep i n g
for services linking the airport with
Dr in kin g
the Sandton district – a primary tourist area – and the rest of
Much of the accommodation in
Johannesburg has a vibrant and
Johannesburg is concentrated in the
diverse bar scene. For great
city’s northern suburbs. Rosebank is
views of the inner city, stop
home to a large number of hotels,
by the Living Room. The
plus malls, cafes, restaurants and
Artisan is a fantastic cocktail
bars. Some of the top options in the
spot with an extensive tapas
city include the Monarch Hotel,
menu and Radium Beer Hall is one of
MEET A GUIDE TO EXPERIENCE LOCAL LIFE
the city's Gautrain system. There are plenty of car hire options at the airport and there is also a good choice of private express buses into the
central business district. Licensed taxis with meters are also plentiful.
located minutes from the Rosebank Gautrain station, and nearby is the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, while
M u s t- s e e s i g ht s
54 on Bath has numerous business amenities available to guests.
Johannesburg's cultural attractions
Tourism infrastructure in the
A CITY ON THE UP
South African Museum of Military History and Constitution Hill. Meet
E at i n g
Getting there British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and South African Airways all fly non-stop between London Heathrow and Johannesburg. KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and others offer one-stop options via their respective hubs.
include the Apartheid Museum, the
city centre is improving.
with a local guide and take a walking Johannesburg’s oldest bars and has
tour of some of the city suburbs or
Johannesburg has a diverse dining
regular entertainment. For cool
venture further afield for a tour of
scene and is home to some of South
cocktails and a retro vibe visit the
the famous Soweto township and
Africa’s finest restaurants. Cube
Cosmopolitan Hotel – built in 1899,
Hector Pieterson Museum.
Tasting Kitchen in the North
the antique bar and unique exterior
Parktown suburb offers a unique
makes it a superb spot to relax.
10-course tasting experience. Level Four, located inside the 54 on Bath hotel, is popular for business lunches.
G et t in g Do w nto wn
For great sushi check out Sandton’s
Johannesburg is serviced by O.R.
Yamato restaurant and the Licorish
Tambo International Airport as well
Bistro offers South African fare with a
as the smaller Lanseria International.
O.R. Tambo has a Gautrain station
SCOT LOND Now flying to
LONDON HEATHROW ABERDEEN
Up to 4 flights per day from Edinburgh from £39.99 one way* Up to 3 flights per day from Aberdeen from £39.99 one way*
Book now at flybe.com/business
flybe.com/business * Fares are one way including taxes and charges. Subject to availability. Available for travel until 28.10.17. No debit card fees apply. Bookings made by credit card or PayPal will incur a fee of 3% of the total transaction value, with a minimum charge of £5 per booking.
WO W FAC TO R
Aberdeen's economic welfare is inextricably linked to the UK's oil and gas industry. Despite the industry taking a hit in recent years, meetings and events in the Granite City remain popular, writes Benjamin Coren
Getting there Aberdeen is well connected with an international airport and rail links. The airport is located six miles from the city centre and there are daily flights to all three major London airports, plus the likes of Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris. The railway is right in the heart of the city and has regular connections to nearby Scottish cities. Aberdeen can also be reached overnight from London on the Caledonian Sleeper. By road, Aberdeen is around 2.5 hours from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Further information Contact tourism executive Gemma Cruickshank at Visit Aberdeenshire: Tel: 01224 900494; Email: gemma.cruickshank@ visitabdn.com; and see visitabdn. com. Visit Aberdeenshire offers venue and accommodation booking as well as help planning social programmes.
Elphinstone Hall, University of Aberdeen 110 High Street, Aberdeen AB24 3HE 01224 272660 / abdn.ac.uk/confevents
The University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Hall is one of the most stunning venues available at the University. Suitable for events of varying sizes, the Linklater Rooms, are a unique space. Hall rates start from £950, with extras such as catering and AV support charged at additional costs. Capacity ranges from 250 to 400 and the minimum number A UNIQUE of guests is 80. AND HISTORIC LOCATION
SM A L L BU T P ER FE C T LY FO R ME D
Society of Advocates Concert Court, Broad Street, Aberdeen AB10 1BS 01224 640079 / socofadvocates.com
The private members’ library is an excellent location for meetings and meals in the centre the city. The venue can accommodate a maximum of 50 delegates at a time. The use of facilities during normal office hours is £50 for the first hour and £30 per hour thereafter. Outside office hours and up to 10pm a surcharge of £10 per hour is levied and after 10pm the rate is £60 per hour.
QUIR KY VE N UE
O N A SH OE S T RI N G
Gordon Highlanders Museum
The Aberdeen Altens Hotel
St. Luke’s, Viewfield Road, Aberdeen AB15 7XH 01224 311200 / gordonhighlanders.com
Souterhead Road, Aberdeen AB12 3LF 01224 379240 / aberdeenaltenshotel.co.uk
This unique and historical venue is packed with regimental treasures, making it an unusual setting for dinners, conferences, board meetings and receptions. The museum auditorium can accommodate up to 80 delegates and the conservatory and tea room can seat 50 people. Various catering arrangements are available. Day delegate rates start from £32.50. The smaller the group, the higher the rate.
This modern hotel is conveniently BIG SPACES situated in FOR ANY Aberdeen’s Training GROUP SIZE District. It features 12 contemporary meeting rooms for one-toone meetings or conferences for up to 400 delegates. There is free parking for up to 300 cars and free wifi for all delegates. Tailor-made event packages are available. Day delegate rates start from £25.
W IR E D UP
O UT O F TOWN
Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre
Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course
Exhibition Avenue, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen AB23 8BL 01224 824824 / aecc.co.uk
Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire AB51 0AE 01651 872294 / meldrumhouse.com
The versatile Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) is suitable for any number of events from meetings to large exhibitions. The venue has 20 meeting rooms that can be adapted for numerous purposes. Parking, wifi and catering packPLENTY ages are available. OF EXTRAS Day delegate rates AVAILABLE start from £40.
Meldrum House is located 30 minutes' drive from Aberdeen and offers three options for conference facilities. The Ballroom can hold up to 200 delegates theatre-style or 160 caberet-style. The Boardroom is suitable for up to 10 delegates and The Stables operate as a purpose-designed conference centre suitable for 32 in boardroom layout or ten people theatre-style. Enquire for DDRs.
With the UK seeking new trade deals across the world, some of South America’s fastest-growing economies could prove lucrative markets. Read on for your guide to travelling to and doing business across the continent
It was a visit of several ‘firsts’ when Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos touched down in London last November. It was both the first official state visit to the UK of a Colombian president and also the first state visit since Theresa May became Prime Minister. The Colombian leader was warmly welcomed by the PM and the Queen and was wined and dined amid the usual pomp and pageantry. He was congratulated for his efforts in bringing peace to his homeland –
a feat that earned him the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize – and his country was cited as an important trading partner of the UK. “As the UK prepares to leave the EU, I am determined that Britain should become the global champion of free trade, and that means boosting trade with fast-growing economies like Colombia,” said the Prime Minister. Indeed, the UK has been the thirdlargest foreign investor in Colombia over the past decade and the two
nations’ trading relationship was worth £1billion in 2015. The UK’s business dealings with Brazil – the seventh-largest economy in the world, if stuttering – are even larger. According to the Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment), the UK’s top exports to Brazil are machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances and chemical products, while the DIT has identified ample opportunities for exporters in sectors such as healthcare, marine, oil and
gas, education, mining, agricultural products and technology. In Peru and Chile, meanwhile, the DIT names infrastructure, defence and security, oil and gas, mining, healthcare and retail as area of opportunity for UK businesses, and in Argentina it highlights communications technology and security, among other sectors. Those heading southwest across the Atlantic on business will be pleased to hear that getting to South America is easier than ever. Brazil
and Argentina have long been served by non-stop flights from the UK but British Airways is now showing further confidence in the region. It launched non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Peru’s capital city, Lima, last year and added services from London Heathrow to the Chilean capital, Santiago, in January this year. The latter became British Airways’ longest flight on its global network, so passengers will have plenty of time to plan their perfect business pitch onboard.
Factfile: South America F LIG H TS
Non-stop flights BOGOTA, COLOMBIA: The national carrier, Avianca, operates a daily non-stop flight between London Heathrow and Bogota, the country’s capital city. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: British Airways operates a daily service from Heathrow to Buenos Aires, departing each evening and arriving the following morning. LIMA, PERU: British Airways introduced non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Lima in 2016. The service operates three times a week during summer but will not operate this winter. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: British Airways NON-STOP flies five times a week TO LIMA from Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro. SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: Both British Airways and LATAM operate daily from Heathrow to Sao Paulo. SANTIAGO, CHILE: British Airways launched non-stop flights from Heathrow to Chile’s capital city in January. The fourtimes-weekly service is flown by B787 Dreamliners and is BA’s longest route worldwide.
One-stop alternatives Convenient connecting services are available to the above destinations with the likes of Air Europa, Iberia and LATAM (all via Madrid), Air France (via Paris) KLM (via Amsterdam) and TAP Portugal (via Lisbon). Further one-stop services are available with North American airlines via their various hubs.
S L EE P I N G Spanish hotel groups Melia and NH Hotels both have a good presence in South America. Melia’s portfolio includes 15 hotels in Brazil, three in Argentina and one apiece in Colombia and Peru. NH has 15 properties in Argentina, 15 in Colombia and four in Chile. Golden Tulip has 38 hotels in Brazil and one in Chile. Of the global hotel groups, Accor has the widest coverage with over 200 hotels in Brazil, ten in both Argentina and Chile, seven in Colombia and five in Peru. InterContinental Hotels Group has 13 hotels in both Brazil and Colombia, nine in Chile, seven in Argentina and one in Peru. Marriott has 11 hotels in Brazil and five in Chile and Colombia.
TH E DE TAILS ARGENTINA Time zone: GMT -3hrs Currency: Argentinian Peso Dialling code: +54 BRAZIL Time zone: GMT -2hrs Currency: Real Dialling code: +55 CHILE Time zone: GMT -3hrs Currency: Chilean Peso Dialling code: +56 COLOMBIA Time zone: GMT -5hrs Currency: Colombian Peso Dialling code: +57 PERU Time zone: GMT -5hrs Currency: Sol Dialling code: +51
HIT THE BEACH IN RIO
AFT ER H O UR S
upmarket Miraflores district overlooks the Pacific Ocean, while BOGOTA: La Candelaria is the bohemian Barranco offers an city’s historic district and main area alternative view of Lima. of interest. Colonial buildings line RIO DE JANEIRO: Make for one of the streets that connect cobbled Rio’s two key view points – the plazas, with the Museo Del Oro Christ Redeemer Statue atop (Gold Museum), Museo Botero Corcovado mountain or Sugarloaf (showcasing the work of the famed Mountain (Pao de Acucar) towering native artist and sculptor), Plaza over the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a Bolivar, cathedral and Emerald football match at the famous Market among the highlights. Maracana stadium or catch some BUENOS AIRES: Head to the city’s rays at Copacabana and central Plaza de Mayo and Ipanema beaches. check out the cathedral, SAO PAULO: Avenida town hall and Casa TIME TO Paulista is the throbbing Rosada, the presidential TANGO! business and commercial office. Visit La Boca for the heart of Sao Paulo, roughly city’s famous colourful houses separating the city’s new and old and arts and crafts; gaze in awe neighbourhoods – explore the at the tombs of the rich and numerous galleries, museums, famous, including Eva Peron, at restaurants and bars that line its Recoleta cemetery; and sample tributaries. Check out the city’s the nation’s famous steak and take impressive Municipal Theatre and in a tango show by night. Metropolitan Cathedral, or head LIMA: The Plaza Mayor is the out to Ibirapuera Park for acres of historic heart of the coastal capital, green gardens and fresh air. with the colonial plaza flanked by SANTIAGO: The modern capital the government palace, cathedral, city is scenically set against the archbishop’s palace and municipal towering Andes mountain range. palace among other colonial The Plaza de Armas is the central constructions. The modern, focal point and dominated by the cathedral and historic Post Office. Make for Cerro San Cristobal in Parque Metropolitano for views across the cities to PERU'S the Andes and explore the COLOURFUL nearby bohemian district CAPITAL of Bellavista and La Chascona, the former home of Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda.
MIA HAV CUN SDQ
Latin America closer than ever.
ASU COR MVD
Fly from London Gatwick to Caracas, Bogota, San Pedro Sula, Guayaquil, Salvador de Bahia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sao Paulo, Lima, Asuncion, Cordoba, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
All flights are via Madrid. Cordoba is via Madrid and Asuncion For more information visit us at: www.aireuropaexperts.com or call: 08714230717
Reality check FL I GH T : ALL NIP PO N A IR WAYS , B U SINES S CL ASS THE FLIGHT
NH 212 from Heathrow
T2 to Tokyo Haneda, departing at 7pm. PRE-BOARDING
After a lengthy walk to
from Skychannel, which has a fairly average choice of movies, videos, news, audio and a games and entertainment
Terminal 2B I was pleased to have access
guide. The noise-cancelling headphones
to the contemporary United Lounge,
were a bit screechy at times. Wiﬁ was
conveniently opposite the gate.
reasonable, at $19.95 for the full ﬂight
ANA’s staggered seats
and a 100MB limit. There was a choice
are very private and all have aisle access
of a Western or Japanese menu. I went
– although if you do want to talk to your
for the latter and, after an amuse bouche,
neighbour you’ll have to lean forward.
received a beautifully-presented set of
Seat controls let you go straight from
dishes: sashimi, soy-simmered vegetables
upright to flatbed position, or play with
and dressed clam, followed by a deep-
the tracking, recline and lumbar support.
fried ﬁsh main course. On the side was
A generous side table with light was
steamed rice and miso. The dessert
useful and there is a USB charge point
trolley came with four tasty options.
under the TV screen.
A menu of light dishes was available at
comfortable. Not all the cabin crew’s
any time after the main service. The
English was up to conversation that
The sleep set
included the impressive mini mattress,
Donburi N7 – a fresh and light seafood
Nishikawa Sangyo’s Air Cyclone, which
dish – was the culinary highlight. Other
was customised for ANA. The pad is full
options included a ham and cheese
of a springy structure, which is very
baguette and udon noodles with dried
comfortable. The duvet comes folded
sea lettuce. My western breakfast was a
into a useful extra pillow and unfolds to
rich omelette with smoked cheese sauce
flies daily between London Heathrow
a light but cosy and silky-feeling cover.
and the usual yogurt, fruit and bread.
and Tokyo Haneda. Return business
You also get a pillow, slippers and Neal’s Yard-branded amenity kit. The IFE comes
strayed too far from the basics of
GREAT DINING AND EXCELLENT BEDDING!
questions and the staff went out of the way to answer them. THE DETAILS
ANA All Nippon Airways
class fares start from £3,503. ana.co.uk
ANA’s business class
service but I did ask lots of difficult
product is well thought out and
HOTEL : MAL MAISO N, L IV ER PO O L THE HOTEL
and a sofa. It also comes equipped with
boutique hotel group has 15 properties
a fully stocked mini-fridge and bar. While
across the UK. The Liverpool hotel is
the room was impressive, the fire alarm
situated on the shores of the River Mersey,
system is connected to the apartments
adjacent to Princes Dock, and a 10-minute
above the hotel, thus when its alarm
drive from the city centre and the nearest
went off at 3am, so did the hotel’s –
transport hub, Liverpool Lime Street
not the wake-up call I was after!
station. It is also within walking distance of a variety of restaurants and bars. THE CHECK-IN
Staﬀ were eﬃcient and
Free wifi was available
throughout the hotel, with good speeds in the room allowing for pain-free
friendly and, while it wasn’t exactly busy,
internet browsing. The ground ﬂoor has
the process of checking in was quick and
a bar, which doubles as a restaurant that
easy. The style of the hotel is immediately
serves up comfort food and a range of
apparent upon check-in where a large
cocktails. Also on the ground ﬂoor is a
ﬂaming set-piece suggests a modern and
brasserie, which is a luxury aﬀair where
visually striking property.
breakfast, lunch and dinner are all
everyone, the hotel's great location and
available. The hotel also has four
facilities make it an excellent choice for
I stayed in a River View
Standard Double room, which was a
meeting spaces equipped with pro-
good size and included a view of the
jectors, ﬂexible seating arrangements
Mersey River (which became a lot less
and friendly staﬀ on hand to help. The
appealing when high winds rolled in).
rooms can be combined into one space
The bathroom was the standout feature,
for up to 118 people theatre-style.
as it not only included a large bath but
travellers staying in Liverpool. The
A MODERN AND VISUALLY STRIKING BOUTIQUE HOTEL
room itself had the staple amenities for business travellers as well as a few additional luxuries. THE DETAILS
The boutique style of
7 William Jessop Way, Liverpool, L3 1QZ
also a walk-in shower. My room also
the hotel goes hand in hand with good
United Kingdom. Room rates start from
included a large bed, desk, several
service and amenities. While certain
power outlets, a flatscreen television
design choices might not appeal to
£85 per night. malmaison.com
H OT E L : T HE PR INCE G ALL ERY TO K YO KI O ICHO THE HOTEL
Prince Hotels is a
A board room is
prestigious Japanese brand that is over
available as one 24-person space or two
60 years old. It has 50-plus hotels, mostly
12-person spaces. It includes projection
in Japan (nine in Tokyo). The Prince
equipment and a touch panel display and
Gallery opened in 2016 and is also part of
comes at 60,000 JPY (approx £432) for
Starwood’s Luxury Collection. The
two hours. Club floor guests get two
property is located in the central Chiyoda
hours free and suite guests four hours
ward in the Tokyo Garden Terrace, a slick
free. The Bar Illumiid has a private room
skyscraper with retail and F&B spaces
for when business turns to leisure.
45-minutes from Haneda Airport. THE CHECK-IN
Quick, eﬃcient and
The indoor pool and
hot bath also have spectacular views and
scrupulously polite – although we were a
the atmosphere is exclusive club rather
big group so the staﬀ were prepped and
than hotel. Pampering can be found in
all hands were on deck to receive us.
Swiss Perfection Spa Kioi and there's also
an impressively equipped gym. The all-
Club Deluxe King room had a two-metre-
day dining Oasis Garden serves up an
Tokyo then book this hotel. It’s worth it
wide bed, widescreen TV and, best of all,
impressive breakfast buﬀet and Italian
for the window seat alone, where you can
a huge window seat with a breathtaking
pasta and grill the rest of the day.
lie in your helpfully provided kimono and
city vista. The decor was light and mixed
Washoku Souten is a ﬁne-dining Japanese
warm and neutral tones. The shower and
restaurant with plenty of theatre. There is
large bath tub are housed in a glass cube
also a sushi bar and sake bar. The cool
which can be clear or opaque at the
Sky Gallery Lounge Levita has cathedral-
touch of a button. The Club rooms come
like windows and comfortable arm chairs.
with access to the Club Lounge, an
ROOMS WITH A VIEW THAT WILL APPEAL TO TECH NERDS
being Scarlett Johansson (or Bill Murray)
complimentary food and drinks.
in Lost in Translation during your stay in
you. The only drawback was the the iPadcontrolled lights – too techy for me! THE DETAILS
The Prince Gallery Tokyo
Kioicho, 1-2 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8585 Japan. Club Deluxe rooms from
If you, like me, dream of
exclusive and calm space with all-day
watch the glittering city laid out before
around £307 per night. princehotels.com
H OT E L : H OT EL J EN O R CH AR D G ATEWAY, SIN G APO R E THE HOTEL
Opened two years ago,
unit (both marble) sit alongside the sink.
this was the first of Shangri-La's Hotel Jen
There was a fridge and tea/coffee-
brand. The property is located right in the
making facilities, plus complimentary
heart of the bustling shopping district,
water and iced gem snacks, as well as an
Orchard Road, a 25-minute taxi ride from
iron, safe and hairdryer. A small desk
Changi Airport. There is convenient access
and long ledge provided space for
to the MRT (which also connects to the
gadgets and beyond the big bed a
airport) via the hotel lift's mall access.
cushioned window seat was a great
I entered the hotel at
street level where staff directed me to
place to take in the view. THE BUSINESS
Club rooms come with
the main reception and the hotel hub on
access to the Club Lounge on Floor 19, a
floor 10. Here I was met by a friendly
relaxed informal space with great views,
member of staff who escorted me to my
complimentary refreshments including
room and completed check-in in the
daily cocktails, Pressreader access to 500
room. Staff were friendly and informally
newspapers and magazines, plus high
dressed in jeans and red t-shirts.
speed wifi access and a small business
beds are set around an impressive
area. Breakfast can be taken here too.
rooftop swimming pool.
My Club room had
expansive views of the city, stretching to the Marina Bay Sands development, and
The hotel has six meeting rooms. THE FACILITIES
The floor 10 hub
A HALLMARK OF THE BRAND IS ITS INFORMAL TONE AND STYLE
A contemporary hotel
with all the service and facilities of a
was bright and airy with a contemporary
includes a cafe for snacks and
style. A hallmark of the brand is its
takeaways, the main breakfast/dinner
informal, fun interactions with guests
restaurant, Makan@Jen, the Lounge@Jen
and in the room these included cushions
bar and touchscreen information
Gateway, 277 Orchard Road, Singapore.
with slogans and post-it-note-style room
boards. Floor 19 has a gym and decked
Club Rooms start from £190 a night.
information, all with a friendly, chatty
outdoor Sky Terrace with workout bikes
tone. A separate toilet and large shower
and loungers. Cabanas and bean bag
traditional business hotel but with a fun, informal vibe and great customer service. THE DETAILS
Hotel Jen Orchard
See hoteljen.com for more information.
The final word
Guilty pleasures A nyone who believes that spending a couple of nights away from home each week is tedious and tiring is surely kidding themselves. Or at least that's what some might argue. In fact, a Best Western survey of over 1,000 business travellers has revealed the guilty pleasures of those who try and convince their families that they’re heroically flying the flag for their employer rather than actually revelling in some much-needed peace and quiet. According to the research, the biggest guilty pleasure among business travellers on the road was the freedom of enjoying time on their own. Not having to share a bed also proved popular, while not having to cook also ranked highly. Overall, only a quarter of workers enjoy getting away
from the office and actually find business travel relaxing. However, the chance to relax or let off some steam at hotel pools, gyms and golf courses influenced the choice of accommodation for more than a third of survey respondents.
ased solely on guest reviews, LateRooms.com has named the best performing hotels in the UK. Among the winners are the Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport (Best Airport Hotel), Fraser Suites Glasgow (Best Apartment Hotel) and Madingley Hall, Cambridge (Best Budget Hotel). Listed below are LateRooms.com's top ten Business Hotels. 1. Qbic London City (pictured) 2. ABode Manchester 3. Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh 4. The Waterside Hotel, Inverness 5. Novotel Nottingham Derby 6. The Z Hotel Glasgow 7. The Starling Cloud by Marston Inns, Aberystwyth 8. Holiday Inn Express Newcastle City Centre 9. Travelodge Sunderland High Street West 10. DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Piccadilly 98
SUITE SENSATIONS Pick your room carefully when making a reservation at the new Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous, Mallorca, for one of the property’s five themed suites has been created as a homage to Fifty Shades of Grey. The hotel's Naughty Suite comes with a large round bed, mirrored ceiling, chaise longue, poledancing pole, a minibar stocked with Champagne and a ‘box of tricks’.
“It was revealing to hear that corporate guests use business stays to recharge from everyday life with some nightly indulgences such as a good sleep, nice food and time to relax,” says Rob Payne, Best Western GB CEO.
Eurostar marked the launch of ticket sales for the new high-speed line to Bordeaux by recreating the region’s famous vineyards at London St Pancras Station. The new service – which involves a connection in Paris – begins on July 2 and reduces the journey time by an hour. Return fares start from £110.
Registration open New dates â€˘ New venue â€˘ New format
ďˆ Hilton London Bankside, Southwark 19-20 September 2017 To register, visit thebusinesstravelconference.com
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Published on Jul 19, 2017
Published on Jul 19, 2017
The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...