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August/September 2018

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

ROOM SERVICE

An extended report on the dynamic hotel sector

+

Chauffeur drive Corporate cards Focus on the USA Predictive analytics

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR

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JAPAN’S 5-STAR AIRLINE ANA is Japan’s largest airline who has been awarded 5-Star rating from Skytrax for six consecutive years. ANA flies daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 to Haneda, Tokyo’s most central airport. From Haneda, a hub for 40 of ANA’s domestic routes and 23 of its international routes, ANA also connects you to Sydney with a daily non-stop flight.

WINNER

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

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WINNER

Business Airline of the Year

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ARRIVALS

Contents

A UGUS T /S E PT EM B E R 2018 Features

20 Predictive analytics 32 Corporate cards

15

40 Chauffeur drive

57

40

26

Extended feature

The hotel sector

Buying trends, consolidation, brand proliferation... we've got it covered!

(p59-83)

89

59 Extended feature: The hotel sector

Arrivals 6

Opening Shots

9

Everyone's Talking About... The UK rail network

10 Six of the Best: Team-building experiences

10

12 The Knowledge: Streamline a hotel programme 14 Event report: GTMC Conference 15 Speaking Out: Bleisure travel 16 Event report: Travel Counsellors Business Travel Conference

44

Regulars

17 The Business Travel People Awards: winner's interview 18 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 23 Photo gallery: TBTM Golf Masters 24 The Conversation: Kurt Ekert,

49

Carlson Wagonlit Travel 26 Sustainability: Climate change 28 The Big Picture 30 Technology: Loyalty schemes 31 Meet the buyer: Karen Gay

86

12 17

44 Talking Travel: Steve Wilson

23

57 Photo gallery: Avis at Henley 86 Photo gallery: Summer Sparkle

28

The Review

47 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures 84 On the Road

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85 New Kid on the Block 87 Meeting in: Swansea

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89 On Business in: Dublin 90 Focus on: The USA 96 Reality Check 98 The Final Word

31 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Integrating technology to help your business travel smarter TRAVELLERS Actionable Management Information - ATPI Analytics

TRAVEL MANAGERS

Stay up-to-date when travelling - ATPI On The Go

Expert insights and case studies - ATPI Knowledge Hub

One single view of travel and expense costs - ATPI ExpenSys

Product and compliance training - ATPI Academy

FINANCE HR

Real time travel data - ATPI Traveller Tracking System

atpi.com/travelsmarter | travelsmarter@atpi.com | #travelsmarter

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ARRIVALS

Welcome The name game

D

o you know your Conrads from your Canopys and your Sheratons from your St Regis? Or how about Dolce from Days Inn? The hotel sector is awash with brands, all promising a different experience

and appealing to a different customer demographic. Or at least that's what the world's major hotel groups say. Following its merger with Starwood, Marriott now has 30 brands while AccorHotels is on the acquisition trail and IHG has just unveiled Voco, another upscale brand. As a travel buyer, the proliferation of brands can cause seemingly needless complexity. “Brands don’t mean anything anymore – it has become ridiculous,” says one travel buyer in this issue’s extended feature on the hotel sector (p59-83). “It's difficult to determine what you're going to get,” says another. This blurring of brands is among several buyer bugbears with the hotel industry that are discussed in this comprehensive report, which also covers new spend management strategies, consolidation in the industry, the rise of aparthotels and more. Elsewhere, we take a look at the power of data in a feature on predictive analytics (p20-22), track the latest developments in corporate payments (p32-39) and find out how chauffeur drive companies are positioning their services against a wave of ride-hailing apps. Finally, if you've not registered to attend The Business Travel Conference yet, what are you waiting for? Our two-day conference and exhibition takes place on September 11-12 at the Hilton London Bankside and bookers and buyers of business travel and meetings can sign-up for free. We look forward to seeing you there!

Businesstravel the

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Andy Hoskins andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com CONTRIBUTORS

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

Benjamin Coren

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES PUBLISHER

David Clare david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner

LEAD DESIGNERS

Louisa Horton & Monica Notarnicola DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION CONTROLLER

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR

Martin Steady

(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON,

Andy Hoskins, Editor

SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2018 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

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ARRIVALS oPening shots

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Bellagio

seconD citY

WATG and Wimberly Interiors have opened a second Bellagio hotel, a sister to the Las Vegas original. The new Shanghai property, located close to The Bund, "exudes the elegance and glamour of the city's period of greatest cosmopolitan excess, the 1930s." The hotel has 184 guestrooms, four restaurants, spa and grand ballroom. 6

The Bellagio Shanghai exudes the elegance and glamour of the city's period of greatest cosmopolitan excess, the 1930s�

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Montcalm Hotels

town talk

10 Castle Street

go west

Luxury London hotel group Montcalm has opened The Chilworth, the first of a new generation of boutique townhouse hotels. Located close to Paddington Station, the 124-room property has a restaurant, bar, urban spa and library.

Hotel, restaurant and private members club 10 Castle Street, in Cranborne, Dorset, is now welcoming meetings and events. The converted 18th century manor house has nine guestrooms and is also available for exclusive use.

Bulgari Hotels

fine china

The Bulgari Hotel Shanghai opened this summer, becoming the sixth property in the collection. Guestrooms and facilities are set across a section of a 48-storey tower and the restored Chamber of Commerce building dating from 1916. A rooftop restaurant has views across the city. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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WE’VE GOT THE BEST LEGS IN EUROPE. We have Europe’s best short-haul economy legroom* and a great route network to Germany.

* On our A319 (first 10 rows) and A320 (first 12 rows) fleet.

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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

The UK rail network CROSSRAIL “AS REPORTED IN THE UPDATE TO PARLIAMENT LAST YEAR, COST PRESSURES HAVE INCREASED ACROSS THE

“GREATER

PROJECT. BOTH THE DEPARTMENT AND TFL REMAIN

INVESTMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE KEY TO “TECHNOLOGYARE DOESN’T RESCUE BUT CAPACITY IT PROVIDES SUPPORTYOU DEMAND, AND CONFIDENCE VISIBILITY. PRODUCTIVITYAND NEEDS. THE GTMC YOUR WILL TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS CONTINUE TO LOBBY THE GOVERNMENT AND RUN REPORTS TO PROCEDURES ENSURE WE HAVETO A RAILWAY THAT AND HELP YOUTHE REACH THOSE IS TRULY FIT FOR 21ST CENTURY AFFECTED BYTRAVELLER” AN INCIDENT” BUSINESS

COMMITTED TO ITS SUCCESSFUL DELIVERY AND HAVE AGREED AN OVERALL FUNDING ENVELOPE FOR DELIVERY OF THE PROJECT OF £15.4 BILLION” Jo Johnson MP & Minister of State for Transport

“Stagecoach and Virgin Trains got their bid wrong and they are now paying a price. They will have lost nearly £200million meeting their contracted commitments”

Network Rail’s route plans for the next five years are an opportunity for a step-change in efficient delivery, but that can only happen if all the routes are prepared to hit the ground running from day one. At the moment it is clear more needs to be done to ensure this is the case”

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary

Joanna Whittington, Chief Executive, Office of Rail and Road

Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity Adrian Parkes, Chief Executive, GTMC

“THE GROWTH WE’RE NOW SEEING PROVES OUR INITIATIVES ARE PAYING OFF AND THE RAILWAY WE HAND OVER TO LNER IS NOT Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group

ONLY BETTER THAN WE INHERITED, BUT ONE THAT HAS CUSTOMERS BEEN POSITIVELY TRANSFORMED FOR CUSTOMERS” “Passengers want timetables finalised in good time – 12 weeks is the standard – so they can plan their trips with confidence and get the best-value Advance tickets available. They then want the trains to run reliably. That simply hasn’t been happening on parts of the railway” David Sidebottom, Director, Transport Focus

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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best... Team-building experiences 1

The Crystal Maze Live Experience

With locations in London and Manchester, teams can experience the hit 90s TV show complete with tricky challenges and bomber jackets. Booking with 32 guests or more will provide exclusive use of The Maze and outer spaces.

4 2

3

Go Ape

Leap off Tarzan swings, solve giant puzzles and navigate treetop crossings and zip wires on 40-foot platforms in the trees. Go Ape can organise personal team challenges and knock up a forest BBQ for the team.

It’s a Knockout

Big inflatables and big challenges! There are several It’s a Knockout companies operating around the country, providing big props, big laughs and plenty of staff to keep everyone in line. Each company will slickly run the day for your organisation, ensuring a fun but competitive atmosphere.

6

Escape rooms

Escape rooms bring heads together to solve increasingly difficult puzzles in order to escape. ClueQuest in London is highly rated while Mission: Breakout, also in London, is set in an abandoned tube station.

5

10

Words: Benjamin Coren

Zombie Experiences

Fill your staff with fear and in the process make them a better team at a thrilling zombie survival experience. There are a number of eerie locations available across the country. Kitted out and trained in weapon usage, they will be sent on missions while working together to stay safe.

The S.F. Experience

Staffed by ex-SAS and other special forces, the events are not for the faint-hearted but offer an excellent physical outdoor activity. Bespoke package options are available pushing teams to complete the infamous ‘Fan Dance’ or undergo evade, escape and interrogation activities.

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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... Streamline your hotel programme A UK-based corporate wanted to automate its hotel programme and identify savings but was lacking the resources to do so. Find out how it achieved its goals.

THE BACKGROUND UK-based Imperial Tobacco Group (ITG) has a comprehensive worldwide travel programme covering more than 55 countries. It has global service standards and works with a single travel management company. The international tobacco giant was seeking a more disciplined approach to its hotel programme and was targeting both time and cost-savings on its existing processes.

THE CHALLENGE

ITG lacked the resources to manage its RFP process and its manual hotel sourcing procedures were consuming up to six months of the year. “We had a lot of ideas, but we didn’t have the resources on our own to thoroughly assess our hotel strategy or update and automate our hotel sourcing procedures,” says Julie Iliffe, Travel and Fleet Manager at Imperial Tobacco. “We needed best-practice guidance from experts who understood the hotel market and had rolled out strategies that worked at other companies. We needed expert knowledge about what was working in other sectors,” she adds.

THE PROCESS

The company turned to Advito, the consulting branch of its long-term travel management company, BCD Travel, 12

which meant it wasn’t dealing with an unknown entity. “We were comfortable sharing our information and data with them,” says Iliffe. Advito undertook a comprehensive analysis of ITG’s spend and volumes as well as its overall programme structure. It became clear that the company’s greatest needs were increasing hotel programme efficiency while retaining local market influence over preferred hotel choices. “Our countries absolutely know the best accommodations in their own markets and we didn’t want to lose that input,” says Iliffe. Cost-cutting was important to ITG, but the company also wanted Advito to prioritise local market specifics and requirements as it created the strategy and measured results. Advito helped make more hotel content available to ITG by looking beyond GDS channels, and it designed and implemented a global RFP process for preferred hotels. It also implemented BCD’s TripSource platform to simplify bookings and provide enhanced data through DecisionSource, BCD’s business intelligence platform. In addition, Advito conducted audits to ensure ITG was getting the rates it had negotiated with hotels.

THE RESULT

Imperial Tobacco’s hotel programme has been fully modernised and automated. It now has access to more hotel content, enabling travellers to make the most appropriate choices. ITG has also improved spend visibility and data, giving it a stronger negotiating position with hotels and helping it make more informed decisions. The changes have helped reduce annual hotel spend through time savings and cost avoidance, delivering six-figure savings annually. Up next for ITG is a decision on MICE consolidation.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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The greater the connections, the smaller the world. Discover over 400 destinations worldwide.

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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT

GTMC Conference Mind the gap The GTMC’s annual overseas conference took place in County Wicklow, Ireland. Benjamin Coren reports Delegates at this year's GTMC overseas conference were urged to ‘Mind The Gap’ by seizing new opportunities within the business travel market. The TMC sector was told it could challenge in areas including new technology, meetings and events organisation, and influencing political changes such as Brexit and transport policy. In his keynote address, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said technology, infrastructure and consumer behaviour and demands will impact TMC business. “We’re going to see more change and we are going to have to start understanding how they [customers] are going to want to be served ten years from now”, said Walsh. On Brexit, Barlacys head of investment strategy, William Hobbs, offered a less bleak view on the future: “We think it would be a headwind for the UK economy, but a digestible one. Economic output has risen and that long-run growth massively outweighs recession, but in any case recessions are incredibly hard to predict.” He added that despite Brexit, “the UK economy is still an attractive economy

INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS Delay repay rail app for businesses and TMCs, Railguard, won the inaugural Innovation and Entrepreneurs in Business Travel Award. Five businesses pitched to delegates who chose the winner 14

compared to the rest of the world.” However, political commentator Steve Richards said votes in parliament will add to uncertainty on Brexit. “The June EU summit will not be decisive. Theresa May wants to be able to say ‘accept the deal or it’s no deal’. If she loses, May would have to go.” Furthering the themes of growth and opportunities to TMC revenue, David Trunkfield, partner at PwC said: “UK corporate spend totals about £40billion in

travel, but about only £10billion is managed by TMCs.” He cited two opportunities to capture this: the leakage in managed business travel and also the unmanaged business travel segment. Meanwhile, Travelport’s EVP and CCO, Stephen Shurrock, highlighted the need to deliver tailored products in today's market: “Personalisation is so important today. Customers talk about mobile and the fact they run their life through that device today.”

WALSH ON HEATHROW

MEETINGS & EVENTS

“THE £14BILLION [EXPANSION] PRICE HEATHROW IS TALKING ABOUT IS OUTRAGEOUS. I SUPPORT EXPANSION, BUT NOT AT ANY PRICE AND THE PRICE THEY HAVE STATED IS UNACCEPTABLE”

“There is a fantastic opportunity for the TMC sector to get involved in the M&E sector. We’re seeing the start of that with some of the acquisitions we’ve seen” Adrian Parkes,GTMC

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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT

Duty of care Bleisure travel is a risky business Think twice before giving the green light for bleisure travel, says Jonathan Bancroft of medical and security assistance organisation Traveller Assist, who asks where a corporate’s duty of care begins and ends A recent survey of over 1,000 ‘bleisure’ travellers that we conducted revealed that more than two-thirds of employees switch off their work-related mobile devices as soon as their business trip ends and their leisure trip begins. But businesses should have in place a comprehensive travel risk management plan that includes travel tracking, notifications, security check-in and a ‘panic’ button feature, so when travellers turn off their employerissued devices, it makes it extremely difficult for organisations to fulfil their duty of care obligations to those workers now enjoying some downtime. This scenario leads to a much

Duty of care laws do not take into account the human factor – people make mistakes – and a travel risk management plan is not a foolproof system” broader question: when does an organisation’s duty of care obligation start and end when allowing business travellers to add leisure travel to the beginning or end of their trip? Are employees on their own without the support of their employer the moment that they sign-off from work duties, or should that company still be looking out for them? “At what point the legal obligations start and end is not clear, even to legal experts,” says one legal expert, Stephen Barth, Founder of Hospitality Lawyer. There are many factors to consider but chief among them is what the law of the land is where the company is based. Perhaps the question should be: is duty of care a legal obligation or a moral obligation, or a combination of both, with some decidedly grey areas? In one recent case we handled for a client, an international oil and gas company had

sent their employee to Bogotá, Colombia, and the traveller had decided to add two days of leisure travel to the end of his trip. We provided travel safety training for this particular client’s staff and, in addition, we provided a pre-travel safety briefing and a risk map of areas to avoid. The employer also had a no alcohol policy. However, on the first night of the employee's post-business leisure travel they went to a bar in an out of bounds area, got drunk, and was attacked and robbed, resulting in multiple injuries. A horrific experience for the traveller, but one that could perhaps have been avoided. Duty of care laws do not take into consideration the ‘human factor’ – people make mistakes – and a travel risk management plan is not a foolproof system. It will reduce the risks a traveller faces, but only if travellers follow the plan. The employer in this instance, who self insures, paid the medical bills, and paid for the employee to be repatriated home at a total cost of $55,000. Not a small sum! It is becoming increasingly clear that a line needs to be drawn in the sand when it comes to organisations’ duty of care obligations. There are too many grey areas that leave both employer and employee confused, and that is not good for either party if an incident were to occur. One process that all employers should consider implementing is to ensure that any employee who wants to add leisure travel to their business trip must provide proof of personal travel insurance that covers the specific dates of the leisure segment. Only then should the leisure aspect of a ‘bleisure’ trip be approved. JONATHAN BANCROFT Jonathan Bancroft has spent the past 32-years protecting and rescuing people. He has served as a kidnap response manager for Lloyd’s Insurance Group and as a security manager for the FCO. He is now Managing Director of Traveller Assist.

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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT

Travel Counsellors Going for growth Business growth, client relationships and technology were among the key themes discussed at Travel Counsellors’ Business Travel Conference in Birmingham Opening the event, CEO Steve Byrne set the scene with details on the company’s strategy as it celebrates another year of double digit growth – the Travel Counsellors corporate travel division now accounts for over 25% of company revenue. Byrne confirmed that over 1,000 corporate travel accounts were won in the last 12 months, generating over £16million in dedicated business travel revenue alone. “We’ve created a business model for the future based on nurturing close relationships with our clients, underpinned by technology that helps offer an outstanding corporate travel service with a human touch. “Travel Counsellors is as relevant and disruptive now as we were 24 years ago. So much so that our corporate travel offering is set to make £140million in sales across seven countries this year,” said Byrne. The company is investing £6million in technology throughout 2018 (twice what it spent in 2015) following an injection by Vitruvian partners which backed the company in a secondary management buyout from Equistone Partners Europe.

TIMELY INVESTMENT “The fact that we have secured a secondary buy-out is testimony to the confidence in the long-term growth prospects and plans for the company” said Travel Counsellors CEO Steve Byrne

16

New investment in technology includes enhanced MI reports and automation across the booking journey, together with the development of online booking tools incorporating artificial intelligence. Global Sales Director Jim Eastwood highlighted that over a third of the company’s Travel Counsellors now run corporate travel businesses, supporting nearly 300,000 passengers per year. Many of the company’s business franchise owners are 100% focussed on delivering corporate travel services, as well as the

NUMBERS UP TRAVEL COUNSELLORS HAS OVER 1,800 TRAVEL FRANCHISEES, SUPPORTED BY MORE THAN 360 STAFF ACROSS ITS UK HEADQUARTERS IN MANCHESTER AND SIX OVERSEAS OFFICES

provision of dedicated MICE initiatives with the support of special events and groups teams at Travel Counsellors Manchester HQ. Eastwood added that many of the company’s corporate Travel Counsellors are “seeing an increase in leisure bookings from their corporate clients, whether that’s increasing the length of stay to accommodate ‘bleisure’ time, or booking holidays for their regular business travellers. “We’re well placed to provide a 360-degree travel experience for our clients that includes any form of travel they need.”

GETTING PERSONAL “It’s the personal touch that really sets us apart,” said Travel Counsellor Helena Raleigh. “It’s also about knowing our clients’ businesses as well as we know our own, taking on a consultant role that helps to work out the best ways to meet their business travel needs and budgets”

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awards

meet the winner

Amy Edmonds Clarity’s Amy Edmonds was named Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year at The Business Travel People Awards 2018 How did it feel to win the Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year award? One word: unbelievable. Being able to share this award with my incredible team has been an absolute joy. We work hard to bring in new business, especially when sales can often be displayed in a negative, cut throat way. We truly stand by our strong work ethic, challenging the status quo and a consultative approach to responsible selling. Why did you decided to enter the awards or how did you come to be nominated? Our Head of Sales, Ewan Kassir, alongside our Head of Marketing, Alexandra Kington, nominated me without my knowledge. I found out while I was on holiday in Miami; the nominees had been officially announced and I woke up with lots of congratulatory messages from colleagues, past and present.

What do you enjoy about your role? The people. I am such a 'people person'! I like to think of myself as approachable, so no question is stupid in my book. I think clients enjoy working with me, and there isn’t a better feeling than watching somebody’s travel programme really excel after partnering with myself and Clarity. Business

Tell us about your role. My responsibly lies wholly within the new business sales function for Clarity, mainly focusing on engaging with companies The within the consumer Travel People Awards goods sector. As the What do you think of recognise outstanding first person customers The Business Travel individuals and teams across are likely to meet from People Awards? Clarity, it’s important The Awards do an all aspects of the supplier for me to create a excellent job of element of corporate travel. good impression from recognising those who Nominations for the 2019 the start. I recently won work so hard behind the awards will open in an internal award based scenes, yet rarely get the January on my ‘passion’ for finding professional accolades they customers the right solution to deserve. Business travel excels suit their needs. My work has due to the people. The technology involved winning a large amount of new on its own is getting more advanced each business, pioneering new practices within year, but without those personal relationships the sales function, and generally inspiring and knowledge the proposition would fall flat. others around me to embrace change and to The awards ceremony was a fantastic day innovate new ways of selling. and a great chance to catch up with people.

The Awards recognise those who work so hard behind the scenes, yet rarely get the professional accolades they deserve” What impact will winning an award have on your career? At present, it can only elevate me into having more involvement with our strategy of strengthening our multinational proposition, which will ultimately see me working on a global platform – something I really enjoy. What do you think are the business travel industry’s biggest challenges right now? As a TMC, I see our value as being fast-paced and adaptable enough to ensure that we are at the forefront of travel for the benefit of our customers. That said, I do think there is a danger of companies leaning too far into the realm of artificial intelligence and forgetting the most important element of business travel, the people.

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EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2018

The final countdown The programme has been confirmed and exhibitors and speakers are busy preparing, but there's still time to sign up to attend The Business Travel Conference in London this September... Bookers and arrangers of business travel and meetings can look forward to 15 educational sessions across two days at The Business Travel Conference 2018. Devised by the team behind The Business Travel Magazine and based largely on delegate input, the conference programme covers everything from online booking tools and finding the right TMC, to duty of care, travel policy compliance and negotiating with suppliers. The majority of sessions will feature experienced travel managers discussing their own experiences in tandem with leading industry suppliers, and the event will close with an inspiring keynote address from Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Delegates can also network with around 60 travel Brought to you by The Business suppliers in Travel Magazine the exhibition area and prebook meetings to maximise their time at the event. Refreshments, meals and a drinks and canape reception are included and there are some top prizes up for grabs. Sign up to attend one day or two – either way it's free to attend so don't delay, register today!

Don't 󰇲i󰈤s 󰈢󰇼󰇹 – bo󰈢󰈫 󰈠󰈣ur F󰉊E󰈺 p󰇰a󰈝 󰇪 18

n󰈣󰇿!

TBTC 2018 PROGRAMME TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11

Setting the scene: business travel management in a fast-changing world Geopolitics, Brexit, airport expansion, NDC, industry consolidation… TBTC gets underway with a look at the big issues playing out across the industry. View from the top: a trio of bosses discuss the state of the industry Three industry figureheads reflect on the preceding session, sharing their views on corporate travel today, the industry’s pain points and the quest for best practice. Online shopping: sourcing and implementing online booking tools Taking your travel programme online can reap big rewards. Find out about the tools to help you do so. Do behave! Getting your travellers to comply with travel policy Ensure your travellers adhere to company travel policy and you’ll be able to keep a lid on costs and consolidate spend. Sizing things up: benchmarking your travel programme against others How does your travel programme stack up – are you getting value for money? What rates should you be paying? Perfect partners: make your TMC a travel partner, not just a supplier Don’t keep your TMC at arm’s length – make them an essential partner and you’ll both enjoy the rewards. Careers advice: the opportunities that await in the business travel industry A career in travel will take you places! But what opportunities are out there, what professional qualifications are available and how do you sell brand ‘you’?

Deal or no deal? How to optimise your accommodation spend Make your hotel and serviced apartment spend go further by leveraging data to secure favourable rates, negotiating soft perks and tweaking travel policy.

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12

Travel manager clinic: discover best practice from leading travel buyers Hear how three experienced travel managers honed their travel programmes and improved the traveller experience. Simply the best: how to find the right TMC for you and your company Size, cultural fit and industry specialisms are all key to selecting the right TMC for your needs, but what else helps make a perfect match? Tech support: getting to grips with NDC, AI, chatbots and the future of booking Distribution models and technology are on a steep development curve, but what’s hot air and what should be embraced? Rooms to manoeuvre: there’s more to life than RFPs Is the tried and trusted RFP process under threat from new hotel booking strategies, and how can the pain points be ironed out? Up in the air: what you need to get airlines round the negotiating table Larger companies might have the volumes to get airlines’ attention, but the door isn’t necessarily shut to SMEs. Taking care of business: duty of care and traveller wellbeing in the spotlight It is a company’s legal obligation to take care of its employees but corporates are increasingly looking beyond the basics. Keynote speaker: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM THE

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EVENT PREVIEW

Confirmed Exhibitors

Whe󰇳? Tuesday September 11 and YOUR CORPOR ATE TR AVEL SPECIALIS T

Wednesday September 12, 2018

Whe󰇶󰇪?

Hilton London Bankside (the nearest stations are

Blackfriars and Southwark)

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

Register for FREE online at thebusinesstravelconference.com

Bo󰈢k 󰈜 󰇷󰇺an󰈧 kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk Tel: 07747 697 772

Exhibition and delegate enquiries should be directed to Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

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PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

DATA

and the dark arts First there was Big Data and then came Smart Data – now Predictive Analytics is forecasting the future today, writes Andy Hoskins

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PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

H

eading the list of business travel buzzwords right now is predictive analytics – the latest incarnation of the way corporates and suppliers put data to use. “First came old-fashioned data reports, then everything was automated and digitalised and called Big Data,” says Andrew Jordon, Chief Technology Officer at Carlson Wagonlit Travel. But so much data was there that sorting the wheat from the chaff became key and so we had Smart Data. Predictive analytics is the latest manifestation of how we use data, says Jordan. There are many facets to predictive analytics (see panel overleaf), but at its core is the use of multiple data sets to model possible scenarios, enhance travel policies and improve the traveller experience. “Predictive analytics is about taking unstructured data, putting it into a structured format and using it to forecast different outcomes,” says Raj Sachdave, Managing Partner at Black Box Partnerships. “It’s something that is creeping up in terms of profile, and it’s helping corporates and suppliers have more insight into people’s preferences and projects. The FMCG sector has been doing it for years and now the travel industry is embracing it too.” As with many technological innovations that require investment, TMCs are in two camps: “Those that are making a noise

about it, who have the data scientists and are making the connections between different data sets,” explains Sachdave, “and then there are those that are using third party technology – like Grasp Technologies and Cornerstone – and probably need to invest.”

Putting it into practice

For Capita Travel & Events, predictive analytics is a key component of its Smarter Working programme which uses combined data sources, analytics and insight-led behavioural change to “enable organisations to avoid unnecessary travel and meetings spend, achieve best value and optimise traveller welfare for any necessary travel.” Chief Commercial Officer Trevor Elswood says it is fortunate to be able to draw upon the experiences of 25,000 business travellers within the wider Capita business. “We’ve been able to find a correlation between the way people travel, the concentration of travel and the individual themselves – what it is that may or may lead to absenteeism post-trip, for example,” says Elswood. It has enabled the TMC to create groups or types of travellers that act as a benchmark, “and we can expect to see the same groups in other organisations”. He continues: “We’re enabling conversations with wider stakeholders – HR directors and CFOs that might not normally be interested.

The important thing is what you do with the information. It could be policy changes, it could simply be communication, or it could be pre-emptive strikes. “For example, saying to a traveller ‘if you carry on doing what you’re doing we might have to put an amber alert on it because people travelling as much as you are suffering 26% greater absenteeism’.” Elsewhere in Capita, the group is working with Universities to help retain students by pre-empting drop-outs in the first six months. Suddenly the Tom Cruise film Minority Report, in which his character apprehends people before they have even committed the crime, doesn’t sound so far-fetched. Oil and gas sector specialist ATPI Group, meanwhile, is analysing historic behaviour against variable factors to help formulate the best ways to handle future events or react to disruptions. “This could be looking at disruptions to a crew travelling to an oil rig in an area which is known for extreme weather at a particular time of year, such as hurricane season in America,” explains Ali Hussain, the TMC’s Chief Innovation & Technology Officer. “Predictive analytics enables a TMC and client to build the probability of an event – in this case a storm – and the impact this may have on budgets and duty of care within a travel programme. The TMC is therefore able to make a recommendation 

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to book more hotel rooms in the likely event that a crew member will need extra days on land before travelling to the oil rig. In this way it is possible to make the travel policy more flexible based on the increased probability of events taking place.” Another TMC making progress is BTD which last year launched SMARTInsight. The tool “takes the guess work out of formulating travel policy changes” and “answers clients’ ‘what if?’ questions,” says Andrew Perolls, BTD Executive Director. It uses a range of data sets including clients’ historical data, plus internal data, publicly available data and paid data sets. “External data ranges from travel-specific to economic and geo-political, depending on the ‘what if’ scenario prompted by the client,” says Perolls. The tool can instantly manipulate data to show the impact of changes to travel policy such as class of travel, advance purchase, preferred carriers and online or offline booking over any selected period of time. “One of our clients was looking to improve programme performance by putting a seven-days advance purchase policy in place,” Perolls explains. “We were able to provide him with a financial outcome for this scenario right there in the meeting, providing huge strategic value at the simple click of a button.” Elsewhere, Carlson Wagonlit Travel is using predictive analytics to calculate the potential value of meetings as well as improving the balance between travel policy, budgets and the wellbeing of the traveller through personalisation.

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“Our interactions with businesses are becoming increasingly personalised and predictive,” says Carlos Sánchez, Senior Head of Big Data Analysis at CWT. “Platforms such as the giants Amazon and Netflix are clear examples of this. Once a product has been consumed, they immediately recommend another based on the tastes of the user and those of others with similar profiles.”

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are intrinsically linked with predictive analytics and are already shaping the way it evolves”

The future of data

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are intrinsically linked with predictive analytics and are already shaping the way it evolves, with big potential gains in the realm of personalisation. “As AI and machine learning is applied across the board in other industries and across a large range of topics, we expect it will be easier to implement it to support travel programmes and enhance the traveller experience,” says ATPI’s Hussain. But Capita’s Elswood also sees an evolving role for the TMC. “Tripartite relationships that bring mutual value are the future,” he says. “I see the intermediary of the future looking at the requirements of both the supplier and the customers and connecting them together logically. “So the ability to say to an airline, for example, ‘your aircraft is jam-packed on that day’. And then to the customer ‘if you look at travelling on an alternative day we can help balance load for the supplier and as a result your price is better’. That mature conversation is becoming far more credible,” says Elswood.

[ PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS DEFINED ] "Predictive analytics is the ability to use historical data and known variable factors – such as economic and operational conditions – to provide insight into and guidance on the likelihood of future events and outcomes," says Ali Hussain, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer, ATPI Group. "Specifically in travel the data sources used relate to corporate policy, operational efficiency, supplier statistics and traveller behaviour – how often they travel and what and where they are booking. "The more data sources and reference points across a business you have, the better and more accurate predictive analysis can be. "To enrich this data it can then be used across other areas of a business – for example HR can track traveller behaviour against staff retention rates to identify if the traveller experience and employee satisfaction correlate. "Traveller data can also be used to review the effectiveness of travel policies and inform any future changes if required."

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EVENT REVIEW

Lining up a monster putt

The Business Travel Magazine

Golf Masters 2018 The eighth annual TBTM Golf Masters took place at Mannings Heath, West Sussex, in June, with 18 teams from across the travel industry battling it out to be crowned champions. The team from Sixt were ultimately victorious, with American Express GBT the runners-up and British Airways in third.

Mannings Heath Golf Course, West Sussex ▼

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Mind the trees!

A trip to the beach!

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THE CONVERSATION

President & CEO, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Kurt Ekert

The TMC boss talks to Andy Hoskins about CWT’s digital revolution, emerging technology and industry consolidation

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WT, one of the world’s largest travel management companies, is in the midst of a technological revolution, says its President and CEO, Kurt Ekert. Branded CWT3.0, the TMC is aspiring to become the “world’s first and leading digital TMC”, says Ekert. “It’s all about delivering a great consumer-grade experience. It’s about the intelligent use of data to drive personalisation, to drive better analytics to the buyer, and to look at software that changes the nature of our offering. It’s a transformative time for the industry but also for CWT.” The challenge, he explains, is to satisfy the needs of corporates, end users and supplier partners alike, and not to lose focus on traditional service. “Our job is becoming more complex but the way we do business needs to be more simple. That’s the conundrum we’re trying to solve,” he says. The TMC is much more of a tech business than it was even a few years ago, says Ekert, and innovation is coming both from within the business and through third parties. “What we’re doing from a data and analytics perspective to include personalisation, what we are doing with our RoomIt hotel offering, and some of our front-end digital techs – to me they’re very proprietary and it’s important that we own and control those assets. “But innovation is also out there in the market. There’s a lot of venture capital around and a lot of start-ups coming into travel so we have relationships with two tech incubators. There’s no pride of authorship in terms of innovation – we just want to make sure we bring together the best mousetrap possible.” 24

CWT is experimenting with chatbots, having “great success” with the use of big data, and says its work around predictive analytics is helping determine the right time to make a booking and the most appropriate channel. It also has two new data products for travel managers in the pipeline. IQ is an enhanced data analytics programme with “the ability to query anything you want” rather than simply “getting a set of canned reports”, says Ekert. Meanwhile, Travel Consolidator “integrates our programme data, a client's expense data, their card data etc, and you get one version

We're very comfortable with the scale of our business today. We certainly don’t need to be doing anything from an M&A perspective to execute our strategy” of the truth. It’s exciting because there’s nobody who’s doing it that well in the market place so there’s a great opportunity there.” In air travel, Ekert believes CWT has the “most robust set of content in the world”, while the TMC has also upped its game in the mobile and hotel content arenas, integrating Expedia and booking.com content. “We’ve now got the longtail properties and we’ve put more rate categories on the table because there’s so much fragmentation with hotel distribution,” says Ekert. “I think we’ve made good movement on air but I think

we’ve made breakthrough movement on our hotel capabilities. Now we need to scale that across all our platforms and all our channels.” He continues: “We expect that, in three or four years, 70% or so of our transactions will be digital or electronic transactions – a combination of online booking tools and mobile transactions – so we’re very focused on growing our mobile channel.” Ekert says the company overall is growing at a “very healthy 3-4% in terms of transactions, traffic and revenue, and client retention is in the upper 90s”. But is Amex GBT’s acquisition of HRG – two of CWT’s major competitors – a threat to his business? Apparently not. “While they’re focused on doing integration we’ll be focusing on executing our strategy,” he says. “I can’t say I was surprised about it. It’s a mature industry so consolidation is natural. It has occurred and I expect it to occur in the future. “We’re very comfortable with the scale of our business today and with the value that we offer to both clients and our supplier partners. We’re not compelled to consolidate, but I wouldn’t rule out anything for our business,” says Ekert. “We believe we’re on the right track organically and we certainly don’t need to be doing anything from an M&A perspective to execute our strategy.” Ekert concludes: “If we go and do what we’ve committed to our shareholders and clients in the next few years then we’re going to be in terrific shape. We’ll really be able to distance ourselves from the competition and we’ll look and feel very different to how we or anyone else in the market does today.”

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THE CONVERSATION

Spotlight

KURT EKERT Kurt Ekert was appointed President & CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in April 2016 and has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel industry. He has previously held leadership roles at Travelport, eNett, Orbitz Worldwide, Cendant and Continental Airlines. He holds a B.S. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and saw active duty as a US army officer.

Kurt Ekert on NDC “If we think about improving the user experience and helping airlines maximise their differentiation and helping corporations manage their programmes as effectively as possible, we’re very pro-NDC. We think it’ll be good for the industry as it evolves. “The challenge has been that when new things come to market – e-ticketing for example – there’s a technology standard and so it can happen rapidly. But with NDC there is no actual common standard. It’s each airline by each airline, even within airline alliances. “Most of the airline APIs are quite limited. They do a small amount of what they do in the B2C space so what they talk about in terms of their vision is not necessarily the reality currently. The aspiration is tremendous but there’s no easy technology medium to solve it and one-off solutions are not scalable. “I think you’re going to see NDC become a reality here in Europe over the next couple of years and it’ll be on a continuing basis, but it’s got to be because key stakeholders get together and solve this. “We’re still getting buyers in the room with TMCs, airlines, tech parties, the GDSs – and they have deep pockets. Getting everybody together to solve this collectively to me would be the right way to go.”

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SUSTAINABILITY

[ CLIMATE CHANGE ]

FEELING THE HEAT

The sizzling summer is a reminder of the effects of climate change, says Roger Gardner, who urges the business travel sector to take action on carbon emissions

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he wonderful weather that we have experienced this summer serves to show that we are living close to the edge on sustainability. We may be tempted to believe that it is just good fortune to tie in with the peak of the big sporting events. However, the evidence suggests that there are links with climate change and that all sectors need to redouble their efforts to curb emissions. El Niño events are more variable and more intense in the last few decades than over the norm established over several thousand years. The suggestion is that these events are becoming more intense as a result of climate change and

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looking at a 100-year graph of extreme weather – flood, storm and drought – shows a massive increase in such incidents. The blessing and the curse of climate change is that it happens relatively slowly, so it is always possible set goals for action that are years if not decades away. But we should take note that melting roads, buckled rails and sweltering trains and cars are signs that a warming world affects the business travel sector as much as any other. Add to that the incidents of high pollution levels in cities and it is easy to see that the world is being too complacent about how our actions affect our environment. In a couple of months time when autumn is here, we might be forgiven for thinking that there is no apparent urgency. On the contrary, a sector that relies upon moving people from A to B and accommodating them whilst on the move, has to take note and push sustainability up the boardroom agenda. The sector’s activities are inherently carbonintensive. Recent business travel shows and conferences that I have attended still give little profile to sustainability. Sadly, it does not seem to be regarded as a marketing differentiator of sufficient value to be worth sticking your neck out for. Perhaps it's important then to note that last year’s provisional UK greenhouse gas emissions published in March suggest that transport emissions are broadly the same now as they were almost ten years ago. Over the same

As a sector, business travel does not want to be in the dock in the years ahead as an environmental laggard” timeframe, nearly all other sectors have nearly halved their CO2 emissions. It is reasonable to assume that transport will continue to buck that trend and that aviation, a key part of the business travel sector, will be the hardest and most complex of all to decarbonize. As a sector, business travel does not want to be in the dock in the years ahead as an environmental laggard. It is interesting that in the world of civil aviation, all parts of the sector have come together to form Sustainable Aviation, an initiative that analyses and projects sector performance and looks at how it can take on collective sustainability initiatives in addition to that of individual companies. Roadmaps for CO2 control have been established that provide a strong focus for action and encourage aviation to drive harder to reduce CO2. The business travel sector could usefully establish something similar, driven by the TMCs, involving providers across the sector as members and sharpening the collective resolve. As sustainability does not seem to be picked up a competitive market differentiator, all players should join together to establish sector-wide goals and roadmaps for carbon reduction. It would be heartening if TMC senior management could rise to this challenge and ponder ways to mobilise the whole business travel sector while the summer weather continues to remind us of the dangers of inaction.

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A R R I V E R E A DY F O R B U S I N E S S

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the big picture

Hong Kong

High riser Hong Kong has been declared the world’s most expensive city for overseas workers in Mercer’s worldwide cost of living survey. Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore and Seoul were second, third, fourth and fifth respectively, with Luanda, Shanghai, N’Djamena, Beijing and Bern completing the top ten. Tashkent, Tunis and Bishkek were declared the world’s least expensive cities.

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A new business culture Coming to London October 2018 This October Bankside Hotel is set to open on London’s culturally vibrant South Bank, a neighbourhood that galleries, theatres, cinemas and street food restaurants call home. Their creative spirit has inspired the hotel’s 161 bedrooms & suites and public areas; eclectic artwork and handpicked furniture create a residential air throughout the hotel. Hi-tech touches and a collection of inspirational work/lives spaces blur the lines between business and leisure. Bankside is well connected, The City is a short stroll over a bridge, plus a host of tube and mainline stations are all within walking distance.

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7/30/18 11:58 AM


TECHNOLOGY

[ LOYALTY PROGRAMMES ]

KEEP THE CUSTOMER SATISFIED Airlines are not making the most of the data at their disposal in frequent flyer programmes, writes Linda Fox

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he concept of loyalty and how travellers are rewarded is long due for a shake up and it’s got everything to do with data. Airline frequent flyer programmes have access to vast amounts of data – from transactional and behavioural to sociodemographical – but carriers are not really using it, yet. But there is recognition of the value there for airlines as well as travellers. Imagine the potential to really serve companies at a corporate level and/or the individual business traveller if the dots were joined. “It’s a currency you can only spend in one channel and you know how much people have in their account so it’s a goldmine,” said Dominic Matthews, Group Head of Loyalty for Amadeus. He was part of a panel alongside senior airline executives at the recent CAPA Airline Leader Summit in Dublin who debated the issue. They

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stressed that it’s about changing the mindset, getting the relevant skills on board, ensuring programmes are relevant for today’s travellers and developing the technology to bring it all together. Setting the scene, Evert de Boer, Managing Partner of On Point Loyalty, said that 35% of all credit card spend in Australia earns Qantas frequent flyer points. Pat Byrne, Executive Chairman of CityJet, believes loyalty is about really knowing the customer and “building an emotional relationship” with them. He says loyalty has to be earned and it’s down to two principles: “Frequent flyer programmes ignore the two most important things in the customer vocabulary – to be recognised whether during the booking, at the gate or on board, and to be accommodated or apologised to if my needs can’t be met and given access to someone who can help me. That’s where the money is not invested. The last thing I want is another free seat.” Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer of Finnair, predicted that the current form of loyalty schemes would not be around in a few years time. He believes they will evolve to become more of a lifestyle product with partnerships and products that are relevant to the audience. Getting there is not going to be easy. Dominic Matthews, Global

Head of Loyalty for Amadeus, said airlines have to deal with the tension between rules and regulations they have to comply with and the desire and drive to differentiate. He believes bringing in people from other industries with experience in digital transformation would help. Byrne, who supports this view, said: “We are great at putting out fires but if you really want to monetise the passengers it’s a different skill set. There’s knowledge in the airline but I would have someone from Google to lead it.” He drew the conversation back to data saying that airlines lack that person “who lies awake at night saying ‘how can I serve my customers better’”. “You have got to have someone who is really hungry, alive and alert to the possibilities,” he said. Byrne added that money needs to be invested in looking after existing customers and rewarding their loyalty. “We are in an industry where we have a fantastic opportunity to build up a relationship because we mess up a lot. If we recover well then that person will dine out on it. You can’t do that if you are not recognising your customer and giving them access to solve that problem. That’s where the dollars should be going.” As a final word, panellists were asked whether the industry is on the “cusp of revolution in loyalty or if it's business as usual in three years time”. Byrne felt it would be a constant recalibration of loyalty and recognition and both Matthews and Jarvinen broadly supported this view saying schemes would evolve beyond flights to be more about lifestyle experiences.

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MEET THE BUYER

meet

KAREN GAY The Shaw Trust’s National Procurement Manager talks about her role at the charity that helps young people and adults enter work and develop a career Shaw Trust helps young people and adults gain an education, enter work, develop a career or rebuild their lives, both in the UK and internationally – we’re probably the biggest charity you’ve never heard of! I’ve worked in procurement for more than 25 years for a range of international businesses, buying everything from toilet paper to fire engines. I joined Shaw Trust nearly 12 years ago as its first ever National Procurement Manager. The organisation was rapidly expanding and needed a procurement specialist to provide a focused approach to its spending. We want our team to be empowered, so the majority of arranging and purchasing travel is handled by individual travellers. However, as the number of companies sitting within the Shaw Trust continues to expand, I’m helping to manage that growth in travel requirements. Other than spending time analysing all money spent by the charity, one of my main responsibilities is to train our staff to make good purchasing decisions.

We try and encourage our employees to travel in the most environmentallyfriendly way possible, which predominantly means by rail. We don’t make many international flights, but we do fly within the UK when required. Most of the trips we make are for company or client meetings, so overnight hotel bookings form a large part of our travel needs. THE OFFICE

We don’t have travel bookers as such. We prefer to rely on an intuitive end-user tool that allows our staff to make their own arrangements, which is why Click Travel’s travel.cloud self-booking system is ideal. It works OUT OF like a one-stop shop I’m a PADI Dive Master and for all our travel love to travel and dive across arrangements, saving the world. I’m a big fan of us time and money. shipwrecks and sharks and love

As we’re a charity, every employee understands the importance of to dive in Egypt, where I’ve Shaw Trust employs spending money been probably more than 3,500 people and 1,400 effectively and 30 times volunteers across the UK, appropriately. Our policy but only around 20 per cent stipulates clearly-defined of those regularly travel. That thresholds on spend for hotels said, we are rolling out travel.cloud and travel. The policy is hard-wired to more companies as the Shaw Trust into the booking system so staff can easily expands, so the number of users will easily identify what falls within the policy when double in the next six months. searching for options, and therefore they

know they’re making the right choice. There’s also a reporting system which means we can easily drill down into exactly what is being spent and by whom, so we can effectively track budgets. We want to get the best value for money from our travel, so we tend to book as early in advance as possible. However, as with any business, meetings can change or be cancelled at the last minute, so we need to be flexible – something that the TMC helps us manage.

As we’re a charity, every employee understands the importance of spending money effectively and appropriately. Our travel policy stipulates clearly defined thresholds on spend” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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CORPORATE CARDS

out with

THE OLD OLD Digital, mobile and virtual are the corporate card industry's three big goals, writes Catherine Chetwynd

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he banking sector is not particularly renowned for innovation, with many leading organisations using platforms that are nearly 20 years old. In the travel and hospitality industry, however, dedicated players such as AirPlus and Diners Club International have an advantage because they have developed platforms from the beginning. “We have been able to innovate efficiently for nearly the last three decades,” says Head of Commercial and Partnerships at AirPlus, Jay Patel. “But we do understand that our customers are looking for more and we are now undertaking the biggest transformation in our organisational history, including modernised IT to lay the foundation for seamless end-to-end processes, data quality and customer proximity, and the introduction of a European Corporate Card,” he says. The latter removes the need for a relationship with a bank to issue corporate cards in a European country where a company is opening an office – it will need 32

an agreement only with AirPlus. It is being rolled out in France from September and is expected to be available in 18 other European countries by the end of 2019. Nonetheless, digital, mobile and virtual are the corporate card industry’s three big goals. The amount of data the cards collect is oceanic – broad and deep – and card companies are beginning to transform the data into valuable management information (MI), giving corporate clients improved reconciliation, more powerful vendor negotiation and deeper insight into employees' policy compliance. Pre-paid cards may soon be overtaken by their virtual incarnation but they are still useful for temporary or intermittent travellers who need access to cash or to pay for services as they consume them – Citi no longer provides pre-paid cards.

Virtual on the move

Meanwhile, virtual cards are fast becoming mainstream and when combined with mobile, will give companies a convenient payment

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vehicle that provides copious transactional data for corporates to pore over. “Virtual cards are the biggest growth area we have. They grew globally by more than 60% over the past four years and it is not just us – in our region, we saw 50% growth last year,” says Head of Wholesale Cards, CTS, EMEA for Citi, Steve Robson. They are particularly useful where reconciliation can prove difficult for lodge cards, such as low-cost carriers, which have traditionally not given good data. Citi is trialling mobile virtual cards with a facilities management client and hopes to launch it in the US by the end of the year. This allows a field agent who needs to fix air conditioning, for example, to order a part from a local store on a mobile, collect it and pay with a mobile virtual card, uniting invoice and client. It removes the need to order the part from a central supplier, who takes days to deliver it. The platform can also play a part in crisis management. If a traveller’s wallet is stolen, for example: “We can send a virtual card to

their mobile to allow them to buy items to see them through the rest of the day,” says Citi's Robson. Mobile virtual cards can also help overcome a common problem at hotel check-out, when the traveller thinks the bill has already been paid centrally by virtual card, only to discover that has not been understood at reception. “Mobile virtual cards deliver something tangible to the employee, making check-out like using physical plastic – and the funding source is still centralised,” says Director for Business Development for MasterCard, Ollie Fellowes. Travellers can also use a mobile virtual cards for per diems in restaurants and taxis, removing the need for pre-paid cards or old fashioned cash for temporary employees or those with low spend. And it works a treat for car rental too, often an ad hoc requirement that has traditionally been fragmented, with attendant scratchy data. “You capture the data at the point of transaction,” he says. 

The amount of data that cards collect is oceanic – broad and deep – and card companies are beginning to transform the data into valuable management information” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like

sterminshotel

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CORPORATE CARDS

Recognising this problem, ground transport provider Karhoo has integrated virtual cards for payments, removing the need for cash. “We like this solution and are working to integrate their product into our range of options,” says Executive Director for Business Travel Direct, Andrew Perolls. And one supplier in the oil and gas industry is planning to pay suppliers with virtual cards to smooth cash flow and manage thousands of suppliers who get paid in small amounts. Diners Club has products for general expenses, purchasing, event management and businesses who book travel direct, all with dual Diners Club/MasterCard networks. “Single use virtual cards can be embedded within the account and single use card transactions will appear on the same statement,” says Diners Club Marketing Director, Adrian Steele. The organisation launched a company card this year with added functionality, including: dual networks, receipt capture and storage with statement, VAT reconciliation automated within account downloads, enhanced data options included with each transaction (for example, cost centre, staff ID, etc) so that expenses can be automated without an expense management system, and improved daily uploads to expense management systems. “The new Diners Club Company Card has been developed to set a new standard for the company card, making the under-served SME market a thing of the past,” says Steele. In the US, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) still witnesses pre-paid cards being used more commonly than virtual, but 

Mobile virtual cards deliver something tangible to the employee, making hotel check-out feel like using physical plastic – and the funding source is still centralised”

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elsewhere: “Virtual cards have very much taken off in corporate life worldwide,” says Head of Global Card and Comprehensive Payables for BoAML, Jennifer Petty. Barclaycard launched virtual card Precisionpay last year to complement its debit, credit and pre-paid options. It operates in the same way as walking plastic in that Barclaycard settles the bill and customers pay at the end of their billing cycle. “This can boost working capital, even when card payments don’t seem to be an option,” says Director Commercial Payments, Maria Parpou. At engineering company Cullum, senior management has a credit card and employees working on sites have charge cards with an assigned limit per person. The company also uses pre-paid cards, depending on the site location or security issues, for example. Hotels are largely paid for centrally by Cullum and in advance, leaving expenses to be picked up by employees. “We give them a charge card with an assigned limit per person and they can add to that in the field to cover unexpected expenditure or emergencies,” says PA to the Directors, Cherry Salvesen. However, “We are looking at new ways of spending and virtual cards might be part of that.” Continental Teves trialled virtual cards, limited to one transaction for a meeting but has not rolled it out yet. “In principal, it 

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Your Travel Payment Company

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AirPlus is a multi-award winning business travel payment specialist. When it comes to the payment and evaluation of business travel costs, we are the experts. Our customised products and solutions save time and money for more than 50,000+ companies of every type and size worldwide.

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Lodge Account A.I.D.A Virtual Cards Multiple GDS integration Worldwide acceptance Category blocking

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Multi-award winning Corporate Card available in multiple currencies Real-time changes to limits and cash access 24/7 customer support

Direct integration with the leading expense management solutions and accountings systems Unique data capture with unrivaled matching capabilities

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25 years in business travel

TRAVEL AGENTS that we work with

that we employ globally

STAFF MEMBERS

TRANSACTIONS processed in 2017

we have worldwide

CUSTOMERS

400+

1,300+

182m+

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60 COUNTRIES

with country-specific AirPlus solutions

For end to end solutions that manage business travel expenses more efficiently, get in touch today.

+44 (0) 20 8994 4725 London@AirPlus.com

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CORPORATE CARDS

tap and go  worked fine but we need to straighten out some of the processes on the accounts payable side,” says Corporate Purchasing, Global Category Manager Travel & Mobility, Rüdiger Bruss. Otherwise, Continental’s travellers worldwide have an American Express card and, “most travellers have a second card, depending on whether the country they are in feels it is necessary, largely because there is discussion about acceptance of Amex – though I have never run into any problems”, Bruss explains. “In principal, anyone can get a card. The suggestion is that they should do at least three trips a year but that is not enforced.” He continues: “We have walking plastic to cover the cost of hotels and rental cars, and have a lodge card for air spend and meetings. We use prepaid cards in some Asian countries and Eastern Europe, where the average pay is low compared to what you would spend in a week on a business trip in Japan, Germany or the US. “Most likely those people would not be able to get a card, so we tend to issue pre-paid cards or those that have to be activated by an administrator, depending on what is offered in that country,” he says.

Making contact

It has long been the case that corporate life follows consumer trends and contactless payments are finally following suit, a process largely hindered by the £30 threshold. “Last year saw early adopters of contactless commercially and this year pretty much all issuers will be providing it,” says MasterCard’s Fellowes. “Fewer transactions come under the threshold but there is stuff we would like to mop up, like taxi rides.” American Express has been introducing the function over the past year in Europe and Citi rolled it out in EMEA in June. The United States is hardly trail-blazing with its recent entry into chip and pin technology but Citi in North America and Asia will go mobile first. Similarly, BoAML has provided contactless to cardholders in EMEA and Australia and is 38

launching mobile payments in North America and Canada in September; and the rest of the world follows.

Digital discussions

The move towards digital is universal. Citi aims to be 100% digital by the end of the year – statements, apps, information sent to cardholders on mobile phones or by email; and it is embedding the corporate card into Google Pay. “It is likely we’ll see an increased appetite for eWallets that house corporate cards alongside consumer cards. This will enable travellers to toggle between payment options,” says Barclaycard’s Maria Parpou. The wider world is presenting other digital opportunities too. “Point of sale technology is rapidly moving on and iZettle and Square are bringing people on to the card network,” says Steve Robson. “In areas where there are infrastructural challenges, phones read QR codes and authorise payment. We have to be alive to what the future looks like in other territories – Asia is a leader in that and Africa has been leader in true mobile wallets with M-Pesa.” And American Express is “investing in digitisation, tokenisation and contactless technologies”, says Vice President and General Manager, Global Client Group International, Global Commercial Services, Fabienne Cauli. It has introduced Apple, Android, Samsung and Amex Pay in various European markets.

It has long been the case that corporate life follows consumer trends and contactless payments are finally following suit, a process largely hindered by the £30 threshold”

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CORPORATE CARDS

Have a care

The voluminous data collected through corporate card transactions delivers in forensic detail exactly what a traveller is doing, when and where. “Enhanced data attached to each transaction continues to be expanded. For instance, PNR numbers and VAT breakdowns are increasingly required,” says Diners Club’s Adrian Steele. For duty of care, data is paramount. “Clients are asking us for more than standard insight,” says Steve Robson. “Through richer data we hope to be able to give them advice on pinning together their cardholder behaviour.” Card data demonstrates how far in advance a traveller books and how much extra they spent by not doing so; over 40,000 travellers, this mounts up. In addition, it can show not only what an employee planned to do but what he actually did – booked a hotel but didn’t check in. And it can track in real time that he landed at the destination airport, bought coffee and used his card on the metro system. “The challenge is how we present that and whom we might partner with in the industry to provide that data because that is not our specialism.” Amex is also seeing growing demand for spend analysis tools. “Data alone is not enough and we have launched Compliance Insights, which helps clients identify how they can best prevent out of policy spend and ensures greater cost control,” says Fabienne Cauli. Also new is American Express Ready Response, which gives real-time spend data. It alerts travel managers to an incident and showing recent transactions of employees in or near the affected location, helping to pinpoint their whereabouts. Digitisation will move on card services apace and with virtual cards and mobile, the industry is responding to what is happening in the consumer world, hopefully to create a perfect storm.

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Through richer data we hope to be able to give clients advice on pinning together their cardholder behaviour”

[ CASE STUDY ] Meetings and events are important to grow business, develop strategy, further R&D and promote stakeholder engagement for a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials that improve performance. It implemented Cvent to manage meeting and events, including assigning budgets, creating an event-specific website/mobile app, managing delegate invitations, venue selection and more. Simultaneously, the business introduced purchasing cards to enable a limited number of people to manage last-minute expenses. But there were still challenges such as suppliers that needed immediate payment, cross-border payments, sustainability and visibility, so the organisation sought to develop a process based on four objectives: agility of booking, real-time payment capability, controls and security, and effective budget tracking. Citi and Cvent together determined that credit cards would be ideally suited as a payment method but traditional plastic was impractical as it would require cards with extremely high limits and sharing the card details with a number of suppliers. So they integrated Cvent’s meetings management platform with Citi’s Virtual Card Account platform, bringing real-time payment capability. “The combined tools not only meet the client’s objectives but bring the meetings management lifecycle on to a single platform, improving visibility and control,” says Steve Robson.

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CHAUFFEUR DRIVE

ride on

time

How has the chauffeur drive sector reacted to competition offered by ride-hailing operators? Rob Gill reports

I

n a world increasingly dominated by ride-hailing brands and technology, a traditional chauffeur-driven transfer may seem like a luxurious anachronism for corporate clients, but the sector is quick to talk up its advantages. Quality, safety and reliability are the words most regularly used by chauffeur operators when describing their key selling points over the likes of Uber, with duty-of-care an increasingly prevalent requirement from corporate customers.

Client profiles

But what type of clients are using chauffeur services these days? And what are their expectations of this type of higher-end ground transport service? Beth Sampson, Commercial Director at Brunel, which is now part of the Europcar Group, says: “We have an extremely diverse client base from many different business sectors, including financial, media, legal, insurance, mobility, pharmaceutical, hotels, TMCs and the entertainment sector – all of whom rely on Brunel to provide a safe, reliable and cost efficient service.” Jonathan Dow, Managing Director of Club Class Chauffeurs, adds: “While we don’t have a stereotypical corporate client, our clients range from medium to larger blue chip organisations. These organisations need a 40

professional, safe and reliable service that efficiently transports their people.” The type of journey and number of destinations being visited can also play a part in a client’s decision on whether to use a chauffeur service. Heather Matthews, Managing Director of Little’s, says: “If they have important meetings, a busy itinerary within one city, or a more complex schedule across multiple destinations, a chauffeur removes any element of worry or stress about arriving at the right place at the right time, freeing clients up to worry about the important business matters of the day.”

Duty of care

There’s no doubt that duty of care has risen up the priority list for travel buyers. It has been ranked as the second-most important issue, behind cutting costs, for buyers over the past two years, according to a survey by the Business Travel Show. This is a key selling point for chauffeurdrive operators, particularly in destinations where other ground transport options may raise potential red flags and safety concerns. Greg Mendoza, Regional Vice President – International Operations at Carey International, says: “The ability to be able to book chauffeur-driven transportation in over 1,000 locations around the world and be

confident that all the checks and due diligence has been carried out on your behalf is a major source of comfort to TMCs, procurement and travel managers.” Mendoza also points out the importance of using ground transport operators with adequate insurance arrangements, with Carey offering coverage of $20million through its global insurance policy. “On your own, the minimum insurance coverage in some countries can be as low as £1,000,” he adds. “In addition, full chauffeur vetting and the many checks performed add extra value when using Carey’s unique global franchised network.” Craig Chambers, Group CEO of TBR Global Chauffeuring, says chauffeur specialists also have the ability to offer a “bespoke” service to clients, which other types of ground transport providers cannot match. “If required, we offer personalised pretravel risk assessments and contingency route planning, making expert

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CHAUFFEUR DRIVE chauffeur drive

recommendations based on details such as location, size of party, itinerary and passenger status,” he explains. GPS tracking of journeys is also becoming more widely used, including the monitoring of driver behaviour – Club Class Chauffeurs offers “real time feedback” on the quality of their drivers’ performance, which can identify “harsh braking, speed, idling and cornering”.

The ability to overcome the perception of being an expensive service is one of the hurdles that chauffeur companies have to overcome”

Corporate deals

than bringing a person from A to B. It is an efficient booking and planning transport option, which includes unique cost efficiencies, management reports, journey and travel audits, as well as providing the pinnacle in duty of care standards.” Chauffeur operators also emphasise their flexibility for clients, which can allow them to be more cost-effective on more complex and longer ground journeys. Offering fixed prices for journeys, without peak period or “surge” pricing, is also seen as being an advantage. Another plus point for chauffeur-drive firms

If duty of care is one of the sector’s major selling points, the ability to overcome the perception of being an expensive service is one of the hurdles chauffeur companies have to overcome – particularly when ridehailing firms, such as Uber, sell themselves on being significantly cheaper than their competitors. Although many say this is a false comparison. “In reality we don’t need to compete on price,” says Jonathan Dow. “Chauffeur drive is a value-added service that is much more

is their willingness to offer corporate discounts – an absolute no-no for Uber, which has so far ruled out offering these types of deals to companies. Brunel’s Beth Sampson says: “We work closely with all of our customers on a consultancy basis, whereby – based on a combination of factors including volume, location and also time of the day – we extend corporate discounts and incentives.” Greg Mendoza, from Carey, adds: “We will always be competitive in a like-for-like situation. Our sales directors and account managers will work closely with our clients to ensure that our overall value proposition, including rates, will offer the best solution.”

Innovation and integration

As with all areas of business travel, chauffeur-drive specialists are improving their technology to make it easier for business travellers to book their services using corporate tools and platforms,

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including those offered by TMCs. TBR’s Craig Chambers says: “We focus on delivering peace of mind and ease of booking. Our inhouse reservations system allows us to be flexible to the needs of our customers and manage successful integrations, which allow them to book directly from within their own internal software system, meaning they don’t need to manage multiple applications when arranging travel.” Carey says its distribution strategy is to be “available wherever the customer wishes to book”. Greg Mendoza adds: “Carey is currently available on most corporate booking tools and various other channels including GDS.” Some chauffeur-drive specialists are also benefiting from becoming part of larger ground transport operators, such as Brunel being a subsidiary of car rental giant Europcar and Addison Lee acquiring Tristar Worldwide two years ago. These moves have allowed the creation of a more integrated style of ground transport combining different options including chauffeur-drive. Europcar, for example, is now offering a chauffeur-drive service through Brunel as part of a wider range of services, which can be combined with traditional car hire. This allows customers to book a chauffeur service for the first and final miles of their trips in European countries, when necessary. Clive Forsythe, UK Sales Director for Europcar UK Group, says: “The key to success for organisations is taking a holistic approach to mobility; encompassing car use by the

hour, day or week, as well as car-sharing, car-pooling and chauffeur-drive in order to meet their business travel needs. “The solutions we offer business travellers focus not only on providing the best and most competitive price, but on saving time for the traveller, thereby enhancing business productivity,” says Forsythe. Despite the essential focus on technology and offering a wider range of transport options, it’s old-fashioned high-touch customer service that the chauffeur-drive companies continue to really sell on. This concept can still be a winning proposition for business travellers, as Little’s Heather Matthews explains: “Corporate clients value the personal service on offer and the support network sitting behind each car and chauffeur. “For airport collections, for example, live flight arrival times are monitored, ensuring the chauffeur is waiting in the arrivals hall no matter if their flight lands early or has been delayed. The chauffeur will always have a personalised nameboard and will escort the client and their luggage to the vehicle.” Matthews also stresses how a chauffeurdriven vehicle can effectively become an “office on wheels” where passengers can still be productive while on the move, especially on longer journeys. With these advantages to the fore, there still seems to be plenty of life – and innovation – in the chauffeur-drive sector, particularly for the more complex types of ground journeys that business travellers often have to deal with.

It’s old-fashioned high-touch customer service that the chauffeur drive companies continue to really sell on”

[ CHAUFFEUR STANDARDS ] A new set of service standards for the chauffeur-drive sector in Europe has been developed by the Association of Car Rental Industry System Standards (ACRISS). ACRISS has worked with Germany-based professional driver network Blacklane and travel technology giant Amadeus to create the Vehicle with Driver Service Industry (VDSI) standards for the chauffeur sector. It defines what is meant by categories such as standard, business and first class services, including what type of vehicles are typically used in each class. VDSI also includes standards on vehicles such as passenger and luggage capacity, and specifying what should be expected by terms such as “meet and greet”, “curb side pick-up” and “flight monitoring duration”. The partnership has also established norms around booking times, making changes or cancellations, driver attire and language skills, and waiting times. Melanie Methven, secretariat of ACRISS, says: “The chauffeur industry was long overdue to create VDSI standards. Thanks to them we can simplify bookings for travellers and professional driver companies.”

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TALKING TRAVEL

Russian revolutions

Steve Wilson The BBC’s Steve Wilson spent five weeks travelling around Russia to cover the World Cup this summer. He tells Andy Hoskins about his time in the country

Y

ou might not recognise his face, but you may well be familiar with his voice, for Steve Wilson spent the summer in Russia commentating on the World Cup for BBC television. He is one of the corporation’s key commentary team and criss-crossed Russia to cover ten matches for live TV broadcast, typically moving hotels every two nights. “Just call me Dr Trivago,” he jokes, before highlighting the “fantastic” job the BBC does to meet his challenging travel requirements. “They book everything – flights, trains, hotels – but they can only plan for the group stages in advance because you don’t know who will be playing where after that,” says Wilson. “It was the sixth World Cup I’ve commentated on and it was a brilliant experience – probably the best I’ve covered from a football point of view but also for enjoyment. The people were welcoming and there were some really surprising places I’d barely heard of.” The first game Wilson commentated on at the tournament was the thrilling 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain on the second day of the tournament, while he also covered Croatia’s 3-0 thrashing of Argentina, Russia beating Spain on penalties, and England’s loss to Belgium in the third-place play-off match, among others. “The routine was more or less doing a game one day and travelling the next. We were never anywhere long enough to make it worth unpacking, and it was also difficult to get your laundry done!” he says. “The travel team have to be massively adaptable because stuff changes all the time but also because of the size of the country. 44

When evening games were kicking off at 9pm in Moscow it was 4am in Vladivostok.” Wilson continues: “The number of flights and trains we took were both into double figures. The 14-hour overnight train from Moscow to Rostov on a really Soviet-style train was certainly an experience!” Hotels included mid-market brands such as Hampton by Hilton and Days Inn, says Wilson. “The BBC is very careful about the way they spend money. We all fly economy class and stay at mid-market hotels. They look after your license fee!”

The routine was more or less doing a game one day and travelling the next. We were never anywhere long enough to unpack!” The irony, he says, is that he saw none of the BBC coverage himself until he returned to the UK in mid-July: “People imagine you’re sitting there watching every game that you’re not commentating on but a lot of the time you’re travelling and the rest of the time you’re watching the Russian TV coverage. “I always go prepared on all 32 countries in the tournament and particularly those you know you’re covering in the group stages. But you also need to know enough about the others in case you’re thrown a curve ball and get Saudi Arabia with 24 hours notice!” Travelling with a producer, sound technician and a translator, the group’s itinerary took him to Moscow (“several

times”), St Petersburg (“a beautiful city”), Sochi (“a strange, surreal place”), Rostov, Kaliningrad and Nizhny Novgorod, while culinary highlights included “plenty of great Georgian and Azerbaijani food”. “Moscow is fantastic. We managed to get out and see the Kremlin, Red Square, Novodevichy Cemetery, and the metro is incredible – chandeliers, mosaics, marble – real palaces for the people in the Soviet days,” says Wilson. “But the place that really surprised me was Nizhny. It used to be a closed city because it had a lot of heavy industry, but it’s absolutely beautiful, set on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. The town centre there has its own fortified Kremlin and everybody who went there loved it. It’s a real hidden gem.” Wilson’s career as a football commentator has taken him to destinations as far-flung as Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Korea, but covering the African Nations Cup in Mali in 2002 was his most eye-opening experience. “It’s an incredibly poor country. You see beggars begging from people who have nothing. You don’t forget stuff like that,” he says. “But we stayed in a lovely, basic familyrun hotel. They couldn’t do enough for us. “We were flown around the country on a plane borrowed from Armenia Air to transport teams and media and I covered a game in a town called Kayes. It’s the most out of the way place I’ve ever been and at 7pm in the evening, in the shade, it was 44 degrees – truly sweltering. It’s supposed to be Africa’s hottest town and having been there I wouldn’t argue with that!”

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TALKING TRAVEL

Photography by David Clare

STEVE WILSON Steve Wilson has been a sports commentator at the BBC for 20 years, having previously worked for several other media outlets. He has covered six FIFA World Cups, six European Championships and two Olympic Games, among other major sports events, and will be commentating on the Premier League for Match of the Day for the 21st consecutive season from August. He is a Tranmere Rovers fan.

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THE REVIEW

the

Review [ t h e lowdo w n ]

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

Corporates tune in to new booking channels

Virgin Atlantic reveals Upper Class upgrades

[ i n t h e a ir ]

[ o n th e g r o u n d ] Overall rail passenger satisfaction on the slide

[ me eti n g p lac e ]

Accor introduces new Meetings at Novotel concept

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p50-51

p54

p55

[ r oom r e por t ]

IHG to roll-out Kimpton in the UK

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O N

T H E

M O V E

I

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THE REVIEW

T H E

L O W D O W N

'blEISURE' TRaVEl bEnEFITS bUSInESS TRaVEllERS

corporates tune in to new channels BUSineSS travellers are considerably more open-minded to new booking channels than their fellow leisure travellers, but nearly half of all respondents would be comfortable booking travel through Amazon. Consumer platforms (32%) like Amazon, Facebook and Google topped the list of non-traditional booking channels in a recent survey by OAG, in which respondents were quizzed on their willingness to secure travel through alternative platforms. Website chatbots were ranked second (28%), mobile assistants like Siri were third (25%) and text messages fourth (20%). Only 13% of respondents said they would be very comfortable doing so, 37% weren’t sure but would be willing to try it, and 49% said they couldn’t envisage doing so.

BUSineSS travellers feel the benefits of combining business and pleasure while travelling for work and say it is good for wellbeing and productivity, according to new research. The findings come from the new Bleisure Travel Report from the University of East London (UEL) which was commissioned by London City Airport. The research found that 78% of people agreed that being able to take part in bleisure travel increases their wellbeing when they return to work, while 61% said it contributes

american express gbt completes hrg acQuisition aMeriCan eXpreSS Global Business Travel (GBT) has successfully completed the acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) in a merger of two of the world’s largest travel management companies. The combined group says it will offer its clients a wider range of products and services. AMEX GBT is planning to accelerate growth by utilising the footprints of each company including existing infrastructure and tech.

[ TMC NEWS ] >> Rolls Royce has appointed NYS CORPORATE for its strategic management and events services. They will provide venue finding, full event management, meetings policy review and managed venue supplier programmes >> CLARITY has signed the Mindful Employer Charter which is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace and supporting businesses in recruiting and retaining staff >> BCD TRAVEL has taken the majority ownership stake in its operation in Colombia. It will join Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru in BCD's owned markets in Latin America >> CTI has signed a technology agreement with TRAVELPORT that includes the provision of sales solutions Travelport Smartpoint, Travelport Hotelzon and Trip Assist.

48

to increased productivity. Over a third of passengers questioned for the report said they have extended their business trip to engage in leisure activities. Among the main leisure activities and interests noted were food and drink, sightseeing, culture and history, and visiting friends and relatives, with 54% of travellers saying they were joined by family or significant others during a bleisure trip. 71% of respondents also noted their employer does not actively promote leisure travel before or after business trips.

75%

of business travellers believe AI can help personalisation

More than half of business travellers believe artificial intelligence can help make business trips safer, while 75% expect it to be the engine room of more personalised travel experiences. In addition, 12% of business travellers believe chatbots will be beneficial for bookings

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THE REVIEW

T H E

IN BRIEF Redfern rebrand

Redfern Travel's integration with Corporate Travel Management (CTM) is now complete and it has taken on its parent group's name and branding. CTM’s clients will benefit from more domestic travel options in addition to globally negotiated supplier rates and access to NDC content, says the parent agency. In addition, CTM has acquired a majority stake in Hong Kong-based Lotus Travel Group as part of the TMC's continued strategic expansion into the Asian market.

L O W D O W N

Only one in ten SMEs book travel efficiently

Hotel and air prices set to rise in 2019

Only 11% of SMEs act efficiently when making business travel booking according to research from YouGov and LateRooms.com Business. The study found just 4% of SMEs surveyed mainly use a TMC when it comes to booking business trips. Instead they favour their employer footing the initial bill and then compensating their expenses, with more than 27% using this method. The survey found an SME takes on average 88 minutes to plan and book a trip. Medium-sized enterprises waste an additional 12 minutes with trip bookings taking over 100 minutes. Additional findings showed that more than half (53%) of SMEs felt that doing business and building relations was best achieved when done in person, which further increases the need for business travel.

Travel prices are expected to rise in 2019, with hotel rates going up 3.7% worldwide, and flights 2.6%, driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices. The findings are according to the fifth annual Global Travel Forecast published by GBTA and CWT. The report predicts the introduction of ultra-long-haul flights and competition from low-cost carriers, while rising oil prices could see airfare shoot up. The hotel rate increases are driven by the overall increase in air travel which fuels demand for rooms (see page 83). The report also says technology will play an important part as hotels are introducing new developments to personalise guest experiences. When it comes to ground transportation, pricing is only expected to rise by 0.6% in North America, but by 2% in the UK, while remaining flat elsewhere across the world.

Price tracking tech

Carlson Wagonlit Travel has partnered with Yapta to roll-out price tracking technology following a successful trial that delivered savings of up to 2% total travel spend. The technology continually monitors prices for flights and hotel rooms, comparing them against existing bookings.

Appointment group bought by apiary

EU corporate card

AirPlus International is introducing a European corporate card supporting companies and their employees operating across the continent. It will be available in France from September and in 18 other European countries by the end of 2019.

More from Tripbam

Hotel rate-checking and re-booking tool Tripbam has introduced a new benchmarking tool. It allows users to identify savings lost due to LRA issues and obtain rate changes by city or brand.

private jet charter customers are getting younger, with many senior executives in their mid-30s increasingly flying in private jets, according to air partner, who points to a new wave of tech-savvy entrepreneurs jumping onboard

Apiary Capital has acquired The Appointment Group (TAG) as its first investment after raising ÂŁ200million in UK deals. The primary buyout is expected to drive growth for TAG through acquisitions, investment in technology and people, as well as international expansion. A new CEO, Steve Barrass, joins from dnata Travel, where he was Senior Vice President, while Maurice Veronique, co-founder of TAG, will step down from the board and co-founder John Gianquitto will remain as Founder and President.

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THE REVIEW

I N

T H E

A I R

HEATHROW FLIES 'BUSIEST EVER' FIRST HALF IN 2018

Virgin reveals £10m cabin boost on A330s VIRGIN ATLANTIC has unveiled new interiors for its fleet of A330-200 aircraft which will be retrofitted thoughout its Upper Class and Premium cabins as well as Economy. Upper Class suites will feature direct aisle access and enhanced surface area for additional personal space. There will be three types available including double Love Suites, Corner Suites and Freedom Suites. Seat fabric has been entirely upholstered with natural and soft Espresso leather. The makeover comes ahead of Virgin's A350s arriving in 2019, currently in development "to set another industry standard for business class travel". As standard for Virgin Atlantic, all flights will offer high-speed wifi, power in every seat and the latest onboard entertainment.

HEATHROW AIRPORT has reported its busiest ever first half of the year with 38.1 million passengers passing through the airport up to the end of June. It is a boost of 2.5% year on year, with growth across all markets. Four new connections to China in 2018 helped trade through the airport grow 2.2%. As traffic grows, passengers are also spending more in Heathrow's retail outlets, with growth 4.8% higher, pushing revenues up 2.3% to £1,405 million. Nearly £1 billion in global financing has been raised in 2018

UK AIRPORTS FOUND TO BE AMONG WORLD'S WORST THE UK has four airports ranked among the poorest 20 in the world, with Stansted the second worst globally, according to AirHelp’s annual ratings. Manchester and Edinburgh airports also appeared in the bottom 10, with ratings based on on-time performance, quality of service and passenger sentiment. Gatwick was placed 123rd out of the 141 airports ranked, while Heathrow was the UK's best performing airport in 84th.

[ TAKING OFF ] >> Polish airline LOT will introduce a Warsaw to London City Airport service from January 7, 2019 >> GULF AIR is now operating its double-daily service between London Heathrow and Bahrain International Airport using new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft >> AIR CHINA has begun flying the UK’s only non-stop service between the UK and Chengdu out of Gatwick Airport >> LUFTHANSA will launch a twice-weekly service between Edinburgh and Munich, as well as adding a fifth daily service between Dublin and Frankfurt when the new winter schedule begins on October 28 >> PRIMERA AIR will operate three transatlantic services from London Stansted this winter – to New York, Boston and Washington DC – but operations at Birmingham remain suspended.

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to invest in the airport and after nearly £6million of investment, Heathrow has also installed sustainable transport options providing the airport with the densest electrical charging network in Europe. The results follow the news of government support for runway expansion at the airport, hailed as an "historic moment" by ministers. Heathrow is now reviewing over 100 ideas from UK businesses and entrepreneurs to help deliver the project more innovatively, sustainably and affordably.

76%

of passengers are willing to pay for carbon reduction

Finnair is to launch a new 'green' service to enable customers to help combat the airline's CO2 emissions. More than 76% of passengers were found to be willing to pay for this as part of their ticket fare, but only if the extra money was ring-fenced for use towards environmental initiatives

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THE REVIEW

I N

T H E

A I R

IN BRIEF

G T M C U P D AT E

World's longest route

Adrian Parkes CEO, GTMC

Singapore Airlines will introduce the world’s longest commercial flights this October, with non-stop services between Singapore and New York Newark. Operated by the new Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range), the service will launch on October 11, covering a distance of some 16,700km with a travelling time of up to 18 hours 45 minutes.

Virgin boosts capacity

Virgin Atlantic is increasing its services from Manchester by up to 20% from March 2019. It includes a direct service to Los Angeles which will operate three times a week and four flights a week to Las Vegas, up from two. Flights to Boston will also increase to three per week while larger capacity Boeing 747s will primarily serve daily New York and Atlanta services.

Norwegian Canada

Norwegian will commence its first route between Europe and Canada on March 31, 2019, when it introduces flights between Dublin and HamiltonToronto. Fares are on sale now and start from €189 one-way.

Delta refreshes 777s

Delta Air Lines has revealed its first refreshed B777-200ER aircraft featuring Delta One suites, the new Delta Premium Select cabin and a main cabin featuring the widest seats on Delta's international fleet. It will initially operate the DetroitBeijing route before being deployed on other services.

BRITISH AIRWAYS WILL BECOME THE ONLY AIRLINE TO OFFER DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM THE UK TO PITTSBURGH NEXT YEAR. FROM APRIL 2, 2019, THE AIRLINE WILL OPERATE A FOUR-TIMES-WEEKLY SERVICE

EasyJet aims to boost regional connections EASYJET believes low-cost carriers could offer flights from an expanded Heathrow Airport for around 30% less than current fares, as well as boost regional and European connectivity. The airline made clear its intention to operate from an expanded airport at the Heathrow Connectivity Conference, where it also drew attention to the decreasing number of domestic destinations served from the airport. EasyJet and Heathrow agreed an Indicative Operating Framework in 2015 to establish the practicalities that would enable the airline to operate, including the carrier’s requirement for its ‘walk in, walk out’ boarding process and 25-minute aircraft turnaround time. EasyJet will additionally undertake its largest expansion at Manchester this winter with five new aircraft and routes from the airport.

As I write, the third runway at Heathrow looks to have got over the line following the vote in the Commons. The GTMC has long campaigned for investment in UK airport capacity, so we welcome the decision by MPs to green-light the project. The challenge now is to ensure these votes and positive statements translate from debate into affirmative action. What the UK needs is well thought-out policies encompassing essentials. The National Infrastructure Commission is devising a 30-year assessment of what’s needed, which could form the basis of a long-term strategy for the country. However, it has not been granted independence, meaning any plan will not be binding on future governments. Heathrow’s expansion is likely to face hurdles in the shape of planning appeals and legal challenges along with ongoing confusion with Brexit and concerns about queues at border entry points, especially at airports. But there is a lot to be positive about for Heathrow, including 15% of slots being assigned to domestic routes to help rebalance the UK economy and support businesses outside of London and the South East.

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EUROPE'S LARGEST RESIDENCE INN OPENS IN LONDON

IHG reveals UK debut details for Kimpton INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) is set to bring its Kimpton Hotels brand to London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and introduce its Voco Hotels brand in Cardiff. The announcement follows IHG’s agreement in May with Covivo to rebrand and operate 12 high-quality hotels in the UK. The four hotels to be rebranded as Kimpton properties are the Principal London, Principal Manchester, Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square and the Principal Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow. The announcement is part of IHG’s plans to take the Kimpton brand global and follows the signing of the first Kimpton in Japan, in Tokyo, as well as three properties in South East Asia and Greater China. It also adds to Kimpton’s fledgling expansion in Europe.

MARRIOTT has opened its largest Residence Inn in Europe, the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington. Located on Warwick Road in Earls Court, the hotel comprises 319 suites, of which seven have private terraces. The one and two-bedroom suites are available from £90 plus tax and include separate living, sleeping and working areas, fully-functional kitchens in each of the seven suite categories, free wifi, smart TVs, USB plug points and desk space. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast seven

SACO ADDS THIRD AND LARGEST LOCKE APARTHOTEL TO DATE SERVICED apartment company SACO will open its third Locke aparthotel in October, Whitworth Locke in Manchester. The former cotton mill will be the largest Locke to date and comprise 160 studios and onebedroom suites. It follows openings in London and Edinburgh and will feature a co-working space, meeting and event space, gym, yoga studio, cocktail bar, wine bar, coffee shop and healthy all-day dining.

[ ROOMS ROUND-UP ] >> The dual-branded CROWNE PLAZA and STAYBRIDGE SUITES Manchester - Oxford Road is due to open in late summer >> The DOUBLETREE BY HILTON brand has made its debut in France with the opening of a hotel in Carcassone >> HAMPTON BY HILTON has opened its first hotel in Northern Ireland, the 178-room Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre >> The DE VERE WOKEFIELD ESTATE near Reading has completed a £20million restoration of its historic Mansion House and a refresh of all meeting and event spaces >> All 301 rooms and suites at the London MARRIOTT HOTEL WEST INDIA QUAY have been refurbished >> Accor Hotels has opened the 120-room Ibis Styles London Ealing Hotel, located close to Ealing Brodway tube station.

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days a week and the property features a 24/7 Grab ’n’ Go market and fitness centre. The property is operated under a franchise agreement with hotel management company and specialists in the extended-stay market, Cycas Hospitality. It is not only the largest in Europe but third largest in the world. The opening marks the brand's seventh property in Europe, with further expansion in the pipeline including the brand’s entry into France with the opening of Residence Inn Toulouse-Blagnac.

£140.28

The ADR at UK serviced apartments in H1 2018

The average daily rate at serviced apartments across the UK rose by 1.2% to £140.28 in the first half of the year. Figures from ASAP and STR show occupancy levels were down 1.1% to 81.1% in London and by 8.5% in Edinburgh, but rose by 4.7% in Birmingham and by 1.9% in Manchester

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IN BRIEF Roomzzz in London

Aparthotel brand Roomzzz has opened its first London development in Stratford. The £20million development offers 98 luxury serviced apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, spacious living areas, king-size beds, super-fast wifi access and an on-site gym.

Apex Grassmarket

Refurbishment of the Apex Grassmarket hotel in Edinburgh is now complete following a £15million programme of improvements across the Apex portfolio. All 169 rooms have been refurbished as part of the investment, with a calm Scandinavian feel with contemporary grey patterned carpets.

R E P O R T

Serviced apartments hit the million mark THERE are now over one million serviced apartments worldwide according to figures in The Apartment Service’s Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAIR). The new report says apartments are now found in over 13,164 locations worldwide. This compares to 826,000 apartments in 10,777 locations two years ago in the previous edition of the report and represents growth of 23.7%. The report found that over half of corporates are using serviced apartments for business travel, with 40% of corporates allocating up to 20% of accommodation budget to extended solutions. Additionally, 37% of corporates are not mandating the use of a specialist agency channel, and 47% of corporates allow travellers to independently select their own long-stay accommodation.

PREM in Glasgow

Irish hotel and apartment operator PREM Group has opened its second Premier Suites collection in Glasgow,as part of wider expansion plans in the UK. It is the 11th PREM property to open in the UK and the third opening over the past two years as part of a sustained expansion plan.

East London Hotel

The East London Hotel in Bethnal Green is due to open this autumn in the heart of East London. Located by Bethnal Green Underground station, the hotel will comprise 161 rooms offering bespoke top-of-the-range mattresses, super-fast wifi, 43-inch 4k TVs and online check-in. It is the first hospitality venture from Definition Capital.

TRAVELODGE LAUNCHES 'BUDGET CHIC' PRODUCT TRAVELODGE has introduced Travelodge Plus, a new hotel product designed for budget travellers seeking more style and choice during their stay. Each Travelodge Plus hotel will feature enhanced rooms with a new 'Tranquility Zen' colour scheme, a king-size Travelodge Dreamer bed, blackout curtains and USB ports. A premium economy option, SuperRooms,

will also be available and feature Hansgrohe Raindance Showers, Lavazza coffee pod machines, iron and ironing board and larger desks. The new Travelodge Plus format will be rolled out initially in York, Brighton, Edinburgh and Gatwick Airport, and at the group’s largest ever new-build hotel, a 395-room hotel in the City of London, representing an investment of more than £10million.

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

The on-going, never-ending saga of Heathrow’s third runway just rumbles on. It’s just one example of the decision paralysis that our political system can bring about. Our international trading neighbours watch us continue to restrict the growth of the most highly prized flight destination in the world with incredulity. I think the decision on additional runway capacity at our most strategically important transport hub would have been a better use of a national vote than the Brexit question. We must of course be mindful of the environmental and human impacts of such a project. When all permissions are finally granted and the new runway at Heathrow opens sometime in 2030, I’ve got a horrible feeling that we’re going to wish we had taken our medicine in one go and built two new runways. The main airports of Frankfurt, Paris and Madrid already have four, whilst Amsterdam Schiphol has six runways! Maybe we should switch our attention to encouraging Airbus and Boeing to design a vertical take-off and landing airliner to get around the issue? It might be about as likely as those extra runways at this rate!

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CABFIND BECOMES UK'S LARGEST GROUND TRANSPORT PROVIDER

Grand Central tops satisfaction survey GRAND CENTRAL and Heathrow Express took the joint top spot in the twice-yearly National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), but overall satisfaction across all train companies fell to 81%, down from 83% in spring 2017. Conducted by Transport Focus, the two operators both achieved 95% satisfaction, with Merseyrail (92%) second, Chiltern Railways (90%) third and Virgin Trains (89%) in fourth. Southern has retained its place at the bottom of the rankings and is joined by TFL, both at 69%, while just above were Southeastern (75%), Greater Anglia (76%) and Great Northern (78%). Rail operators were widely criticised for how well they deal with delays, with only a 37% level of satisfaction, and for the value for money of fares (45%).

MANAGED taxi specialist, Cabfind, is now the UK’s biggest provider of managed ground transportation services following it acquisition by CMAC Group. The new group now has revenues in excess of £50million and has seen CMAC’s ground transportation network of private hire, executive vehicles and coaches in the UK receive a major boost. “It was important for both Cabfind and Transdev to find a new parent company who shared our strategic vision and would provide Cabfind with the

LNER IS RIGHT ON TRACK THE London North Eastern Railway company (LNER) commenced operations on the East Coast at the end of June, taking over from Virgin Trains East Coast. Services will be operated under the LNER name for at least two years until a new contract is granted following the termination of the franchise under Virgin Trains East Coast and Stagecoach. Virgin took over the route in March 2015 and invested £75million in improving services. It also made preparations to roll out the new fleet of 65 Azuma trains.

[ IN BRIEF ] >> In a new scheme from BLUECITY, passengers, staff and local residents can reserve and pick up a 100% electric car at Gatwick Airport and return it to any of 300 compatible pick-up/drop-off points across London or back at Gatwick – 100 cars are currently available in total >> Half of hire car drivers (47%) have felt misled about how much a hire car would cost, according to research from ICARHIREINSURANCE, with many drivers only finding out the real cost when they pick up the car at the rental desk >> The University of Manchester’s School of Earth & Environmental Sciences has saved around £2,000 on its travel costs in its first year by switching from daily car rental and grey fleet to an ENTERPRISE CAR CLUB and daily rentals for trips further afield.

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opportunity to flourish and compete in a very aggressive market. I am delighted to say we have found that appetite from CMAC,” says Lee Wasnidge, Managing Director of Cabfind. “This change of ownership to a business with a direct focus for growth within the business taxi market will enable the company to be better positioned to compete in the ever-evolving mobility market place.” Lancashire-based CMAC currently transports over a million passengers each year.

50%

Virgin Trains' goal for digital tickets

Virgin Trains is the first UK train operator to offer digital season tickets as it bids to fulfil half of all tickets digitally by April 2019. Currently over 43% of tickets purchased through Virgin Trains' online channels (website, mobile app and mobile site) are fulfilled digitally

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IN BRIEF

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Meet South West

A new trade show has been launched to showcase the South West's vibrant events industry. MEET South West will take place in Bristol on January 30 2019 and is sponsored by Destination Bristol, Visit Bath and VisitWiltshire.

Executive Director, ACTE

Managing meetings

More than half of companies book simple meetings outside of managed channels, according to research from the GBTA and HRS. In addition, 70% of respondents don’t follow a required bidding process for shopping/booking simple meetings.

Sheffield star

A new events space, The Mowbray, has opened in Sheffield's industrial Neepsend area. Located at 118 Mowbray Street, the building was originally a steel and iron merchants built in 1889. Following a three-year restoration period and comprising a range of spaces, it is now available for events of up to 180 guests.

Red7 does the business Brighton-based group travel specialist Red7 has launched a new business travel service promising a "bespoke offering featuring incredible perks and Instagram-worthy destinations".

Mindful Mandarin

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has introduced a Mindful Meetings concept that focuses on delegates' wellness during events by offering a range of relaxing activities.

Accor adds Meetings at Novotel concept ACCOR Hotels has introduced a Meetings at Novotel concept that will launch at Novotel London City South before expansion across the brand portfolio. The scheme will provide redesigned meetings and breakout spaces – featuring natural wood and steel – plus gaming areas and a kitchen offering balanced refreshments. Dana Lewis, Director of Sales M&E & Leisure, AccorHotels says: “The space has been designed with flexibility and guests’ wellbeing in mind, to ensure we not only meet modern meeting expectations but also create a positive and inspirational working environment, such as the new soft break-out areas that will encourage team work and brainstorming as well as the opportunity to relax.”

ADVANTAGE CONSORTIUM DEVELOPS M&E OFFERING THE Advantage Travel Partnership has launched a new meetings and events offerings to all its UK members and their clients. It will provide members with resources, expert knowledge, assistance and a full-service event management offering. It also provides members with access to negotiated hotel rates, the ability to request and book group rates with selected carriers, supplier agreements with DMCs and print and design providers.

Andrew Winterburn and Ian Quartermaine have been appointed to develop the product. “There is major growth in the SME sector which is driving the need for small to mid-size meetings,” says Winterburn. “The UK M&E market is estimated to be worth £21billion, so this new solution will provide members with a fantastic opportunity to grow their revenues within the sector, service the needs of their existing clients and pitch for new business.”

I recently met with a San Francisco startup that wants to change business travel – from bookings through the actual trip – and go head-tohead in competition with established providers. So far, it’s attracted more than US$50 million in funding. Will it succeed? Maybe. Will it pivot elsewhere? Possibly. The point is that business travel can be cumbersome and someone will always be trying to improve it. Their thoughts about simplification resonate. Recent ACTE research found 72% of travel buyers would like to simplify their travel programmes. Unburdened by legacy systems or thinking, startups are a formidable challenger. Once they get a bead on regulations and the intricacies of the industry, they could get traction. Most existing travel companies already support tech groups and startups. That’s smart. They understand the industry. Unfortunately, corporate structures sometimes hamstring their ability to attract talent. To ignore innovation or traveller pleas for simplicity is a recipe for disaster – for your company, for your travellers and for your careers. Everything is hard until it’s obvious.

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M O V E

EVENTS AUGUST 11-15

NIKLAS ANDRÉEN

GBTA CONVENTION San Diego, US / gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 5-7

AVIATION FESTIVAL Busines Design Centre, London terrapinn.com/conference

SEPTEMBER 11-12

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

VICKI WALLACE

JOINS: Carlson Wagonlit Travel AS: Chief Traveller Experience Officer FROM: Travelport

PROMOTED AT: STA Travel TO: Head of Business Travel FROM: Business Development Manager

Niklas Andréen will oversee Traveler Experience to align against CWT’s 3.0 digital strategy and an holistic approach to customer experience across all channels.

Vicki Wallace has recently been appointed Head of Business Travel at STA Travel. Working for the company for over seven years, she brings a wealth of travel industry knowledge.

ANDREW BOXALL

ANNA SNOEP

CLARE PEREIRA JOINS: ATPI AS: Global Director of Content and Customer Platforms FROM: Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Clare Pereira has joined ATPI in a newly created role that will bolster the company’s initiatives around the personalisation of its technology.

London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 28

TBTM DINNER CLUB The Dorchester, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

OCTOBER 4

ITM SCOTLAND SUMMIT & BALL The Principal Edinburgh itm.org.uk

OCTOBER 14-16

ACTE GLOBAL CONFERENCE Paris / acte.org

CRAIG MUSSON

JOINS: FCM Travel Solutions AS: European Managing Director FROM: Flight Centre Travel Group

PROMOTED AT: Inntel TO: Operations Director, Meetings & Groups FROM: Meetings & Events Manager

JOINS: Flybmi AS: Sales Manager UK FROM: Qatar Airways

Andrew Boxall moves to FCM in the new role of European MD, responsible for overseeing and growing its equity-owned business. He has been at Flight Centre Group for 20 years.

In her new role at Inntel Anna Snoep will have the primary responsibility of delivering the medium and long-term vision and strategy for the department.

Craig Musson has joined flybmi as it plans to expand and grow its routes and passenger numbers over the coming years. He has 28 years' experience in aviation.

NOVEMBER 5-7

ALSO ON THE MOVE... A trio of arrivals at The Appointment Group: Peter Snowdon joins as Global Head of Account Management; Amy Hogarth is the new Head of UK Sales – Global Corporate Travel; and Richard Smith is the new UK Sales Manager >> Business travel industry veteran Tom Stone has joined the Nina & Pinta consultancy >> Sarah Edwards, Amy Murphy and Sarah Van Dyke have all joined the Festive Road travel and meetings consultancy >> The Advantage Travel Partnership has appointed its first Head of Innovation, Fraser Nicol, and hired Andrew Winterburn and Ian Quartermaine to lead the organisation's new meetings and events offering.

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET ExCel London / london.wtm.com

NOVEMBER 23

ADVANTAGE SYMPOSIUM ME London advantagemembers.com

13061-Sirius-AD-138x40-v3.ai

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NOVEMBER 27-29

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE Estrel Congress Centre, Berlin europeconference.gbta.org

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CM

DECEMBER 11

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

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EXECUTIVE SEARCH AND RECRUITMENT SPECIALISTS Dedicated to the business travel sector info@sirius-cv.com • +44 (0)845 605 9055 •

www.sirius-cv.com

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EVENT REVIEW

A day of music and rowing

Avis Budget UK at

Henley Royal Regatta The Business Travel Magazine was delighted to once again partner with Avis Budget UK at the Henley Royal Regatta in July, where guests from across the business travel industry were treated to a day of fine hospitality on the banks of the River Thames.

Avis Budget Group at Henley Royal Regatta ▼

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 06.07.2018

Drinks all around

Lunch is served delicious!

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Avis Budget Group

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Steady rate rises are forecast for 2019, hotel groups continue to consolidate, more brands are launched and new buying tactics are being trialled. find out more in an extended guide to

HOTELS Introduction, 60-62 / Hotel brands, 64-66 Spend management, 68-70 / Consolidation, 72-73 Aparthotels, 75-77 / Show report: LE Miami, 78-79 View from the top, 80-81 / Budget hotels, 82 / Data, 83

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wake-up

call

Hotel group consolidation, rising rates, new purchasing tactics... it's just the latest round of challenges faced by business travel bookers and buyers, writes Rob Gill

C

onsolidation has been all the rage within the hotel industry for a few years now – most notably the mega-merger of US giants Marriott and Starwood, while France’s Accor continues to go on an impressive acquisition spree. The impact of these moves on both hotel prices and corporate purchasing trends have yet to fully play out as integrating massive hotel companies takes time. Even though Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood was officially completed nearly two years ago, there is still plenty of work to do, including the much-heralded merger of their respective loyalty programmes, due to take place in August. There could be even more M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity to come, with rumours about InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) being a possible takeover target. Meanwhile, the Radisson Hotel Group could be put up for sale by its owner, the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, as HNA looks to reduce its debts by selling off some of its assets. Marriott could also be in the market for more acquisitions to add to its existing portfolio of 30 brands – although not on the same scale as the Starwood deal. CEO Arne Sorenson has hinted it may look at companies in the $100-$200million price bracket, similar to the deals it previously did to buy AC Hotels and Delta. 60

Pressure on pricing?

Generally, when there is this kind of significant consolidation in an industry it can have an upward pressure on prices with fewer major players to compete for business. But the hotel business is a diverse and complicated beast with lots of regional variations. Penny Munn, Head of Supplier Relations at travel management company CTM, says: “The consolidation within the hotel sector gives chains like Marriott and Accor a stronger position when it comes to overall negotiations. However, in most major cities there are still plenty of competitors so we need to have a broader and wider approach to partners who may not have come to the table previously.” There are also new procurement strategies being developed by corporates when it comes to travel purchasing (see pages 68-70). A good example is professional services organisation EY’s move away from the traditional RFP process for negotiating with suppliers (see case study overleaf). David Marcus, Vice President of hotel sourcing firm hotelCONNEX, says buyers are increasingly looking at alternatives to RFPs, such as dynamic programmes and “continuous sourcing”, as they look to strike the “right balance” between negotiations, using TMC hotel programmes, emerging technologies and open booking processes.

Technology is playing a crucial part in this changing dynamic by opening up more diverse ways to source hotels and other forms of accommodation – particularly in the independent and non-traditional sectors – which should help to act as a counterbalance to the negotiating power wielded by the multinational hotel companies. Rachel Newns, Hotel Programme Manager at Flight Centre and FCM Travel Solutions, adds: “Only 40% of hotels in Europe are part of a chain, meaning 60% are independent. My experience of working with smaller, usually privately owned hotel chains and properties is that they can be far more responsive and creative when it comes to negotiation with customers.” Newns continues: “These types of hotel groups tend to be able to take a much more holistic view of the business opportunity presented by a customer and may choose to offer discounted rates in one location in order to agree a rate elsewhere.”

Speading the net

The major hotels companies are also continuing to diversify by offering a wider range of brands (see pages 64-66) targeted at certain types of travellers. The rapid growth in aparthotels (p75-77) is a great example of this kind of segmentation where the likes of Accor and Marriott are competing with traditional serviced 

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[ Farewell to RFPs? ]

My experience of working with smaller, usually privately owned hotel chains is that they can be far more responsive and creative when it comes to negotiation with customers” apartment operators to create a product that fits in between the two contrasting categories of accommodation. Expect to see more of these developments in the coming years as these brands have so far proved to be a highly profitable part of the hotel market and carry much lower financial risks to investors than building massive “big box” hotel projects. They can also be seen as a partial response to the competition provided by voracious 'sharing economy' platforms such as Airbnb and others in the space.

Rates in focus

As for what to expect on hotel pricing in the near future, leading TMCs Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and American Express Global Business Travel – which has recently completed the purchase of HRG – have both issued their pricing forecasts for 2019. 62

CWT expects hotel prices in Western Europe to increase by 5.6% next year as strong economies in the region will “keep occupancy levels at an all-time high for most of the key cities”. Average daily rates (ADRs) are also forecast to increase by 2.1% in North America. Hotel rates have been rising in the region for the past five years and CWT expects this trend to continue in 2019. It anticipates rate hikes of around 5.1% in Asia-Pacific but falling rates of 1%-2% in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. American Express GBT has drilled a little deeper by looking at key global business travel cities. The TMC is predicting prices to be flat in London, partly due to the potential impact of Brexit; while overall UK rates are set to rise by a modest 1% in 2019. Elsewhere some of the largest hotel rate increases in Europe are expected in Paris (+6% in 2019) and Dublin (+7%). While in North America, Toronto (+7%), Chicago (+6%) and Seattle (+5%) are expected to see some of the highest price increases. But whatever happens with rates over the next year, there’s no doubt the hotel industry is going through a major period of change that will shape the landscape for years to come, presenting both more challenges and opportunities in how travel buyers work with the sector.

One company that is moving away from the request for proposal (RFP) process is the professional services organisation EY. The London-based business previously had three full-time staff members working on the hotel RFP process for around six months of the year. However, EY realised moving away from RFPs could free up time for its people to work on more valuable tasks, and would provide an opportunity to boost employee satisfaction through a broader array of travel choices. “We threw out the traditional RFP process and looked at a more dynamic programme, but still with controls in place and some fixed pricing,” says Karen Hutchings, EY’s Global Travel, Meetings & Events Leader. “The idea is to give our travellers more choice so they can in turn be more satisfied and engaged.” EY scrapped its historical RFP programme, which previously consisted of 2,500 preferred hotels and increased the coverage of hotels with EY rates to approximately 36,000. It then implemented city caps. “Our employees can stay in any property with an EY rate below the ceiling in that particular city,” says Hutchings. The city caps were determined by previous years’ data and have been tweaked up and down as appropriate. “San Francisco is a challenge right now, for example, but we can also achieve quick savings by reducing a cap by, say, 10% if we need to,” says Hutchings. “We were very open with hotels about our city caps, and that prompted them to pay attention if they weren’t getting business from us. Conversely, if we see hotels raising their rates towards our cap we have been very clear that we may blacklist them.” EY previously conducted around 4,000 RFPs annually, but that number is now down to around 500, and they’re primarily with independent hotels and properties close to its key locations with very high volumes. “We’ll still negotiate value-added benefits for our employees like room upgrades, but our EY rates must include complimentary gym access, breakfast in some cities and wifi,” says Hutchings. “Also, employees that were very brand loyal could still have an option – in a particular brand albeit at a lower category – if their first choice was above the cap.” A survey completed by nearly 300 members of staff showed 75% were more or equally satisfied with the new hotel programme. “We love it and the team love it. When we launch our RFPs this autumn all we’ll do is send out our new city caps to hotels. We’re challenging the traditional processes.”

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staying on

BRAND Why so many hotel brands within a group? Catherine Chetwynd takes a look at the big groups' relentless roll-out of new hotel names

IHG's Hotel Indigo brand

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M

arriott has 30, Wyndham 20, Accor 28, Hilton 14 and IHG has 12 – the proliferation of brands seems to be unstoppable, with hotel companies continuing to acquire and launch them at every turn. They cover every conceivable consumer requirement from budget to lifestyle and luxury but whatever any hotel operator tells you, these are not created in answer to traveller demand. “Owners are causing the proliferation of brands. In some cases contracts between hotel operators and owners prevent the operation of another property of the same brand within five miles but that does not stop them putting one of similar market positioning within five miles,” says consultant to the hotel industry Melvin Gold. It is all about expansion: “They have to find ways of getting more product out there. I am sure the consumer – business or leisure traveller – does not think ‘what we really need is another hotel brand’.” But originality is thin on the ground, he believes. “I don’t think the big hotel companies are coming up with anything hugely innovative. Smaller entrepreneur hotel brands are doing that but they tend to be acquired by the larger companies, who sell the real estate and hang on to the management contract or franchise deal.” However, experience is all and that has to be innovative. “Ibis Canning Town has embraced the open lobby concept and done away with hotel reception desks and receptionists. In 40 hotels in the UK, they check you in on your phone and issue a key, which you touch to card readers by the lift. The system knows who you are and charges your key card to your room,” says Gold.

I am sure that the consumer – be it business or leisure traveller – does not think ‘what we really need is another hotel brand’” Loyalty points are a double-edged sword: “The net value of points that have not been redeemed is an eye-watering amount and hotel companies can plug that exposure by opening more properties in key locations, where travellers can redeem their loyalty points. It does not hurt the net return of the portfolio,” he says. This way, cannibalisation is not an overriding concern. Edwardian Hotels’ bot called Edward is a case in creative point. As guests approach the hotel, he knows they are in the vicinity through their mobile device and offers to check them in. As they arrive in the lobby, they are given a room number and use their smartphone to access their room.

“Technology enables us to remain innovative,” says Director of Information Technology, Michael Mrini. “Our virtual host, Edward, interacts with our room guests and meeting delegates to ensure they have what they need during their stay, whether that is extra towels or additional cables. We are constantly looking for new ways to provide exceptional service and technology plays a key part in that.”

Brand bombardment

If two buyers’ views are typical, however, brands are not a corporate priority. “Marriott, Hilton and IHG have so many brands under their banner, it is difficult to determine what you are getting,” says PA to the directors at engineering company Cullum, Cherry Salvesen. Similarly, “Brands don’t mean anything anymore, it has become ridiculous,” says Corporate Purchasing, Global Category Manager Travel & Mobility for Continental Teves, Rüdiger Bruss. 

Wyndham Grand

Logistics of loyalty

Raj Sachdave of consultancy Black Box Partnerships adds: “Quirky brands like Moxy... how you check in, the property management system, the interaction with the hotel – that is all a key part of innovation, rather than the brand itself.” Accor’s investment in customer experience is a good example: “And that underpins loyalty, they are not just relying on the number of points customers can get.”

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Hotels / Brands

Hyatt Place

Radisson Red

Hilton

Marriott

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Instead, location comes first. “We are not in a position to get a deal with many hotels because we don’t stop long enough in any one place,” says Salvesen. “We look at what is best for travellers in location and facilities – that may mean car parking if they have vehicles full of tools.” And Continental’s priority is: “Where is the hotel and can I get from the hotel to our plant or the customer easily and quickly? It does not matter if it was a Courtyard and has been rebranded as a Moxy,” says Bruss. “We negotiate with individual properties we use regularly, where we can give them some volume, and have chain-wide discounts with certain groups because they have properties in a location convenient for our need and those are preferred properties in our system.” Meanwhile, soft brands are making their mark. Typical are Autograph by Marriott, Tapestry by Hilton, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and Trademark Collection by Wyndham. 'Collection' in the name is usually the giveaway. “Most soft brands are aimed at the luxury hotel owner but we saw an opportunity to work with independent hoteliers who operate upper midscale properties and who want to maintain that independence while taking advantage of Wyndham’s scale, services and loyalty programme,” says the group’s Chief Development Officer EMEA, Philippe Bijaoul. And acquisition master AccorHotels has bought a business or brand every month for the past two years in a bid to provide augmented hospitality, according to an article on skift.com. “A large hospitality group can’t compete with large technology platforms without comprehensive brand portfolios that cater to every single human need,” said Accor's Global Chief Brand Officer, Steven Taylor, at the Skift Tech Forum, a reference to platforms such as Google and Amazon, which have increasing influence on travel. The company acquired Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in April, took a 50% stake in South Africa-based Mantis Group and is buying Mantra Group in Australia. Meanwhile, Hyatt has launched Hyatt Centric aimed at ‘luxury and business travellers who are curious, independent and hungry for authentic experiences’ and it also bought wellness hotel brands Miraval and Exhale last year.

A large hospitality group can’t compete with large technology platforms without comprehensive brand portfolios that cater to every human need” Wyndham has added ‘by Wyndham’ to all its brands so that, “customers know they are receiving a trustworthy service and international standard of accommodation, no matter which brand they choose”, says Philippe Bijaoui. At the budget end, Yotel has Yotel in city centres, YOTELAIR at airports and, in January, launched serviced apartments under the YOTELPAD flag. Business travellers have access to a variety of styles and service levels through preferred hotel partners in a travel programme, but brands do not, it seems, get the message across to travel buyers, whose main concern is convenience for the traveller.

[ RADISSON RE-THINK ] Radisson has relaunched the brand as Radisson Hotel Group (RHG), brightening its image from top to toe, with every brand given a tagline to express its identity. The eight brands range from economy to luxury, with Red, Country Inn & Suites and Prizeotel giving select service and Park Inn, Radisson, Park Plaza, Radisson Blu and Radisson Collection (formerly Qorvus), climbing up the full service ladder to luxury. There are 15 Collection hotels so far, including The May Fair London and Radisson Collection Strand Stockholm. Starting with the brand statement, Simply Delightful, Radisson is being revitalised and is returning to its Scandinavian roots, focusing on lifestyle and work/life balance. Launched two years ago, Red has also been repositioned, partly because the colour represents everything from love to death. Much has been invested in the larger public spaces, which attract and reflect the local community. Procurement is local. “We have clearly defined the brands so that they do not confuse customers,” says Executive VP and Global COO, Eric de Neef. And RHG is not aiming for mega scale: “Numbers are not the point,” he says. “Brands need to be relevant to the market."

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23/07/2018 10:41 7/24/18 11:53 AM


Hotels / Spend management

bringing it all

TOGETHER

The ways in which corporates are consolidating and managing their hotel spend is diversifying, writes Gillian Upton, who looks at how best to optimise your accommodation outlay

C

ontent is king in the world of accommodation and travel managers today are able to find a B&B in Lancashire as easily as they can a four-star hotel in London. TMCs are working hard to not only pull in content from the GDSs but also a raft of aggregators and direct channels to offer as wide a choice as possible, from the mega hotel chains to the independents and more. Moreover, technology has enabled greater visibility of that content, so a traveller or travel manager can view the rooms virtually before making a decision and also check out any feedback on a particular property. Mark Bevan, Head of Strategic Relationships at Business Travel Direct, believes the choice is now overwhelming: “It’s a minefield of content particularly when trying to find the best rate as the OTAs like Trivago have confused the market. The rate may be lower but there’s no traveller tracking, CSR or duty of care, for example.” Optimising hotel spend comes down to utilising sophisticated rate auditing technology to find like-for-like lower rates and then re-booking. Often these rates are lower than the corporate rate, which gives 68

the travel manager leverage for the following year’s negotiations or makes the decision easier to drop negotiated rates and RFPs and switch over to a dynamic rate instead. These are a percentage off BAR but could be as little a 4% discount. “Hotels are moving away from a static rate for 12 months,” says Click Travel’s Chris Vince. “It’s all about competition at the end of the day but a dynamic rate is only great if you haven’t got huge amounts of volume.” Andrew Sisons, Strategic Account Manager at Good Travel Management, reckons hotel inventory now looks more like airline inventory, by offering highly-discounted, non-refundable room rates.

Turning up the volumes

Booking 100 nights per annum in a small town will likely get you a discount plus an array of benefits, but a hotelier in London won’t shift for that number of bed nights. It’s supply and demand at work, supported by very sophisticated revenue management software that influences availability and pricing. However, if a client can offer a minimum of 500 bed-nights a year then hotels are more likely to be more flexible

but there is a caveat here too: “Volumes of 500-plus will generate deeper discounts but this will also depend on the customer’s specific travel patterns such as days of the week, advance booking behaviour and the hotel size,” explains Rachel Newns, Hotel Programme Manager, FCM Travel Solutions. If all your business is on Tuesdays – a hotel’s busiest night – you’ll have less negotiating power than, say, bookings on a Thursday or Sunday night. Similarly, if you can offer a hotel a spread of business – transient, M&E and F&B – you are a more attractive corporate and more likely to negotiate discounts. Moreover, Vanessa Griffiths, outsourced procurement practitioner at ROK Consulting, says that luxury hotels will often be flexible

Booking 100 nights per annum in a small town should get you a discount and benefits, but a hotel in London won’t shift for that number of bed nights”

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Spend management / Hotels

with lower volumes. “They’re happier with smaller volumes,” she says. Rather than be swamped with a few larger accounts – which would be risky if they lost one of them – luxury hotels will often take the lower-risk option of more, smaller accounts. She also believes that of all the potential soft benefits, Last Room Availability (LRA) – whereby a hotel is obliged to sell you its last available room at your contracted terms and rate – is the most difficult to negotiate. “You need high room night production and tight controls in place to deliver what you’ve promised,” she explains.

Rates with benefits

More easily achieved in the negotiations process, perhaps, are soft benefits such as free wifi access, cocktails on arrival, F&B discounts, dinner concessions, gym access (which in some markets is charged for), early check-in, parking or a shuttle bus service to/from the airport. Each negotiation process is personal to your company and its business travellers.

Another cost-saving strategy is to hand the choice back to the traveller and achieve higher policy compliance. Introducing a rate cap by destination allows the traveller to either splash it all on a five-star hotel outside London and commute in, or downgrade to a Travelodge.

Putting it into practice

It’s a frustration for Richard Childs, Group Procurement Category Manager at Biffa, whose significant hotel spend – the majority of which is domestic – constitutes 80% of the company’s annual spend. The spend may be sizeable but it’s also fragmented, which challenges preferred suppliers to negotiate discounts. Biffa’s single biggest supplier, Premier Inn, accounts for just 15% of its business. “Most hotels want 200 bed nights a year and above before offering a rate so it’s

difficult for us to get deals because we haven’t got the volumes,” says Childs. “Our fragmented spend is a frustration as we know we could get better deals. “We have deals with IHG, Premier Inn and Best Western and we use whatever’s local to our site and negotiate preferred hotels regionally,” says Childs. So the Village in Newcastle and the 2,000 bed nights a year the business can offer the Holiday Inn in High Wycombe – Biffa’s HQ – shaves something off the rate. Childs pays close attention to quarterly data in case new projects may have changed travel patterns and he’s 

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Hotels / Spend management

Some TMCs help the SME by consolidating multiple clients’ volumes. It means they benefit from increased volumes that they wouldn’t get themselves”

particularly keen to negotiate on soft benefits such as free conference rooms, parking, upgrades for directors and free projector use for the company’s M&E spend. “Data is key today. We negotiate in December or January for the following year and we monitor those rates. Rate auditing is really crucial. What we’re good at is booking a long way in advance say, 8-9 days out, but our biggest challenge remains booking accommodation in London. It’s actually cheaper for us to stay in High Wycombe and get a taxi in. Usually we can save £500 in total,” says Childs. Biffa’s travel policy is supportive rather than a hindrance so a traveller can stay overnight to make a 9am meeting the next day, for example. The company’s £25 food allowance can be spent as they wish.

Shortcuts to discounts

Some TMCs help the SME by consolidating multiple clients’ volumes. Inntel, for example, provides a consortia programme. “It means that they benefit from increased volumes that they wouldn’t get themselves,” says Douglas O’Neill, CEO of Inntel. In addition, it’s worth trying IHG and Accor as they both require reliably low spend for entry into their chain discounts. IHG Business Advantage provides 4% discount off the chain’s Best Flex rates; AccorHotels’ Business Offer programme provides a discount on the BAR rate; and Hyatt Leverage gives eligible SMEs access to discounts of up to 15% off the standard rate at certain hotels. Movenpick’s Partner Benefit Program – which kicks in at 50 overnight stays – provides a fixed discount across any of its 84 hotels, for example. Another option, albeit a contentious one, is to reward and benefit frequent business travellers at no cost to the company by allowing them to become loyalty scheme members.

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IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham and Accor are popular as they have a global network of brands at different price points. Expect room upgrades, free wifi access, breakfast, access to the executive lounge offering free meeting space, light meals and refreshment throughout the day. Many of these perks can actually help save the company money.

Loyalty pays

Such schemes for individual travellers work well in association with a company's chain discount and regional or global relationship with a hotel chain. FCM’s Newns says: “Aligning the scheme with the company corporate travel strategy is key, then the loyalty generated can improve hotel programme performance and adherence, improve traveller experience, and it’s all funded by the hotel.” Good Travel Management's Andrew Sisons reckons it works best for companies with a good number of regular travellers, from around 25-50, because they could effectively earn one to two nights per week over a year that they don’t have to pay for. Of course there is the grey area of just who should benefit from the perks accrued through individual memberships – the company or the traveller themselves, who may wish to spend the privileges earned on business in their own leisure time instead. Some companies allow members to use points to upgrade to a superior brand within the same group which would otherwise be above budget. Wyndham Rewards unites some 25,000 hotels, apartments and holiday homes and is rated as one of the most generous schemes in the marketplace. It has a staggering 56million members globally. Members earn a guaranteed 1,000 points for every qualified stay and can redeem them for a free night at any of Wyndham’s properties worldwide for just 15,000 points per room per night. Accor’s Le Club provides rewards after only spending 10 euros. The scheme is based around four tiers – Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum – and the group's budget brands such as Ibis and Ibis Styles have an even lower entry level. As with all these strategies, it’s about the time you put in to ensure you can deliver the volumes. Negotiate an annual rate for your hotel programme and leave it for 12 months at your peril.

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Hotels / Consolidation

all in it

TOGETHER Catherine Chetwynd finds out what increasing consolidation in the hotel industry could mean for travel programmes

A

t first glance, it would appear that increasing consolidation in the hotel industry is a bad thing for travel buyers, reducing competition and innovation, and removing any incentive for hoteliers to negotiate rates. Although there is still talk of the potential for further mega mergers, following Marriott and Starwood's get together, that is not the salient point: “More critical is the acquisition of the small brands by large hotel companies,” says consultant to the industry Melvin Gold. Examples of this include IHG’s taking over of Principal Hotels and Regent Hotels; Accor’s purchase of Mövenpick, Fairmont, Mamashelter and more; and most recently, Minor Hotels' plans to take full possession of Spain-based NH Hotels. “It does have an impact on competition and creates challenges,” says founder of Black Box Partnerships, Raj Sachdave. “There is less room for healthy, robust conversation about rates and it allows chains to be smarter about how they manage inventory as clusters, depending on whether they are in one brand or competing brands, to give greater returns for the portfolio.” Sachdave adds: “But with consolidation, companies are selling off properties so there is always the opportunity for smaller to mid-scale players to bring in some really nice hotels with good catchment and loyalty, and that brings the opportunity to invest in the business.” In addition, “Generally, consolidation implies less competition and higher prices 72

but sub-brands and properties under the same group umbrella still compete with one another,” says Senior Global Director of Hotel Sale & Strategy at American Express GBT, Pauline Houston. “It also means combined loyalty programmes and hotel companies are likely to work towards one cohesive and appealing programme.” This allows travellers potentially to earn more points across a wider range of hotels. This can boost corporate programmes, with the opportunity to motivate travellers to book and stay within a preferred partner group, while providing them with benefits that improve their travel experience. Consolidation also gives travellers greater choice. If several companies merge, they are providing a far greater diversity of brands under one banner and provided that banner is the preferred group in a travel programme, employees can pick from more styles of accommodation while on the road.

Spending power

Consolidation of brands can mean consolidation of spend for buyers, bringing more clout – although it can also mean they have all their eggs in one basket. “Consolidation does not hamper our ability to negotiate discounts at all,” says Corporate Purchasing and Global Category Manager Travel & Mobility for Continental Teves, Rüdiger Bruss. “In Europe about half of the hotels are owned or managed by one of the brands and otherwise they are local properties. In

the US it is different: at an intersection, on each of four corners are two hotels of different brands of the same group – but there is still competition, even more so because supply is so concentrated.” Bruss continues: “You do get monopolies of hotels on occasions, especially in locations that are not in the top tier of cities such as Grimsby, where you are lucky to get a hotel at all. There we are faced with only one or two hotels but that’s because we are in a location which has disappointing supply – and that is of much more concern than Marriott buying Starwood and throwing together their portfolio.”

Size matters

Larger hotel companies will generally have more properties in more places, making them stronger competitors with a greater ability to meet business travel demands in terms of service and presence. “These companies are often renowned for their consistent, reliable standards and efficiencies, compared to boutique hotel and sharing economy options, which can be more of a gamble,” says Pauline Houston. That said, the latter two categories are becoming more popular with corporates and presenting hot competition to legacy hotel groups. In addition, smaller groups are perceived to be able and willing to provide a much more personal service. It will be interesting to see whether larger companies prove able to retain that culture when they acquire smaller groups.

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Consolidation / Hotels

Their ability to distance themselves from the original brand may play to their advantage. “Mamashelter by AccorHotels and Curio by Hilton are both upscale hotel brands with a greater emphasis on individuality within the portfolio of a larger corporate hotel group, but they maintain their branding in order to differentiate the offering of their parent firm,” says Senior Director Global Lodging at Egencia, Kevin Mauffrey.

Market presence

Charles Human, Managing Director for HVS Hodges Ward Elliott, highlights Rüdiger Bruss’s point about the European hotel scene: “The market remains very fragmented in terms of branding, management and ownership, particularly in Europe,” he says. “I cannot think of any city, in Europe at least, where the Marriott/Starwood merger has put them in a dominant position. The

Minor/NH deal is as much opportunistic as strategic, with NH remaining a relatively small player,” he says. “It is becoming harder for big brands to expand in mature markets. They come at a significant cost, which is becoming harder for owners to justify.” It is also worth noting that the expansion of the big hotel groups is facilitated through acquisition, management contract and franchise agreement, so although they all sail under one badge, they are still competing against each other for market share. Steve Fitz-Costa, Director of Sales – Business Travel, for AccorHotels, sees the status quo as an opportunity for travel buyers. “The development of brand portfolios and inventory bring with them more structure and choice to the marketplace. In turn the travel buyer has a much stronger, clearer voice when it comes to negotiating rates,” he says.

“However it is important that buyers and account managers work with hotels to help guide them through the sourcing process and for hotels to understand the buyer’s requirements. Hotel groups need to be aware of being too aggressive in the marketplace – when there is a high level of competition from rival owners and brands, this also works to keep a ceiling on price. “Each brand within AccorHotels has a unique proposition developed to meet the specific needs of that market,” says FitzCosta. “The recent acquisitions by AccorHotels have been carefully considered to complement rather than compete with existing brands and geographic territories.” Whether you see hotel group consolidation as a cup that is half empty or half full, it does not necessarily represent the death of competition, as those with tabloid tendencies might have you believe.

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26/07/2018 15:39 7/30/18 02:55 PM


Aparthotels / Hotels

the

MIDDLE ground

Aparthotels are seeing significant growth as a “stepping stone” between hotels and serviced apartments, writes Rob Gill

W

ith the proliferation of different hotel and serviced apartment brands, it was only a matter of time before a hybrid of the two – the aparthotel – really started to take off in the business travel arena. As the name suggests, the aparthotel lies somewhere between a traditional hotel and serviced apartment, both in terms of the type of accommodation and the services and facilities being offered. The concept is not particularly new – the first Residence Inn, promoted as an “extended stay hotel” and now part of Marriott, opened more than 40 years ago – while fellow hotel giant Accor owns the Adagio Aparthotel brand. On the other side of the equation, serviced apartment providers are joining the fray with their own aparthotel brands, such as SACO’s Locke and Staycity Group’s Wilde properties focusing on a more “design-led” ethos.

But what can buyers and their travellers expect to get from these aparthotel brands and, perhaps more importantly, where do they sit in terms of prices compared with hotels and serviced apartments? The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) says that aparthotels offer “contained apartments within a dedicated building with the added convenience of offering hotel-type services to guests”. “An aparthotel is the perfect combination of both,” explains Eric Jafari, Locke’s Creative Director. “Guests can enjoy the homely comforts of an apartment such as a living space and functional kitchen while still having hotel amenities.” Services typically include a 24/7 reception, housekeeping, communal or social spaces, and often facilities such as a gym and breakfast bar.

Aparthotels generally offer studios or one-bedroom apartments with a kitchen or kitchenette, whereas a serviced apartment complex often features larger units with up to four bedrooms. So what’s driving the surge in aparthotels? Part of the reason is consumer demand, particularly with all the publicity generated by sharing economy groups such as Airbnb. Caroline Saunders, Group Head of Marketing at SilverDoor Apartments, says: “For years, people didn’t really know what a serviced apartment was. Now, with companies like Airbnb and Onefinestay proving so popular, people are more aware they can book a whole apartment. An aparthotel is a nice stepping stone for

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18 12:00

Aparthotels / Hotels

people who would traditionally book a hotel as it offers all the services typical of a hotel but with the benefits of an apartment.” Anja Muller, Director of European Operations for Adagio, agrees the sharing economy is helping to drive a change in “lifestyle and travel behaviour”. But aparthotels are also proving attractive to property investors because they are more profitable than hotels and can easily be converted into private homes or for other uses, if necessary. The increasing trend of “bleisure travel” – combining business trips with leisure time – could also be helping to push the aparthotel revolution, particularly with millennials. “Aparthotels are perfectly placed to help business travellers make the most of their time away from home and explore the city they’re visiting,” says John Wagner, Co-founder of Cycas Hospitality. “Younger executives will expect the same conveniences that they’ve come to enjoy on their holidays and the demand for these styles of alternative accommodation will continue to increase,” he adds.

Sarah Gaze, Director of Business Development at Native (formerly Go Native), agrees food and beverage costs can “reduce dramatically” by using aparthotels. “And average daily rates will come down for longer stays, which are not typically offered as a standard by hotels,” she adds. “Larger cost savings for corporates can also be achieved if guests are sharing, say, a two bed, two bathroom apartment.”

Is the price right?

Further growth ahead

As with all types of accommodation, prices for aparthotels are affected by the usual commercial forces such as demand, availability, time of travel, length of stay and location. Aparthotels generally offer more spacious accommodation than hotels, but they also have the potential to save money on longer stays. Tom Meertens, Oakwood Worldwide’s Managing Director for EMEA, says: “Aparthotels tend to offer up to 30% more space while being more cost effective. On average they are 15% to 30% cheaper than a full-service quality hotel.” Adagio, for example, offers a “degressive” pricing model – as offered by most serviced apartment operators – with the rate falling from the fourth night onwards and dropping as much as 40% for a stay of several months. James Foice, CEO of ASAP, adds: “As with traditional serviced apartments, it will cost less the longer you stay as you pay per apartment not per person, while VAT also reduces to just 4% after 28 nights. “A key way to save money is by having the use of your own kitchen so you don’t have to dine out each night and can have breakfast, a drink or snack in the apartment.”

Wilde by Staycity

With all these factors in play, we should expect to see a significant increase in the number of new aparthotels appearing in the next few years in the UK and further afield. SACO is due to open its third Lockebranded aparthotel in Manchester later this year, in addition to its existing Locke properties in London and Edinburgh. In addition, the first of Staycity’s Wilde Aparthotels opened on London’s Strand in March, and will be followed by properties in Edinburgh and Manchester in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Staycity Group’s CEO Tom Walsh says the first Wilde property in London has received “extremely positive” customer feedback and was “very competitively priced for such a central location where four or five-star hotel accommodation is the norm”. Native is also due to open three aparthotels in the UK this year: in London’s Bankside district and Glasgow this summer, followed by Manchester later this year. Aparthotels are not just a UK phenomenon, with Staycity planning to open two Wilde properties in Berlin over the next couple of years, while SACO’s Locke has secured further sites in Berlin, Dublin and Paris.

Locke by SACO

[

Aparthotel Round-up

]

Cycas Hospitality has opened the 319-suite Residence Inn London Kensington – the largest Residence Inn (a Marriott brand) in Europe. Cycas already operates a Residence Inn in the London Bridge area, which opened last year. Room 2 by Lamington has opened a 71-studio room aparthotel in Southampton. It is the brand’s second property after making its debut in Hammersmith, London. Supercity Aparthotels is set to open its fourth London property, The Chronicle in the Chancery Lane area. It is also due to open Brighton Queens Square and will relaunch the refurbished former Light Aparthotel Manchester later this year. Roomzzz is to open its first London property with an aparthotel in Stratford offering 98 apartments. Staying Cool will be opening a new 40-unit aparthotel in Manchester in spring 2019 located in a former cotton warehouse. Premier Suites is to open a new aparthotel in Amsterdam in 2019 under its Premier Suites Plus brand. BridgeStreet Global Hospitality is to due to open a Mode Aparthotel with 82 apartments in Edinburgh this summer. Movenpick is set to open its Downtown Dubai aparthotel in late 2018 followed next year by Al Burj Business Bay in Dubai and Al Tahlia Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

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Hotels / Event report

MiNistRY OF iDeas 'Rebels with cause' gathered in Miami in June to share best practice hotel sourcing and discover new product at LE Miami's Ministry of Ideas Travel managers joined together at LE Miami's Ministry of Ideas conference to discuss their hotel sourcing concerns in June. Andy Hoskins reports on the event’s Creative Corporate Lab Travel managers from major fashion labels, entertainment businesses and media organisations in the UK and US got to grips with two broad topics at this year’s Creative Corporate Lab: the traveller experience and the thorny issue of payments. Buyers’ bugbears ranged from the basics – poor hotel signposting and a lukewarm welcome – to more complex issues such as billing inconsistencies and negotiating rates. Pain points with chain brands and independent hotels alike were aired, with data capture one of the key concerns with the use of boutique hotels. “We have a lot of spend with independent and boutique hotels but achieving total transparency on that spend is difficult,” said one buyer. “Data on our spend through non-GDS hotels is hard to capture but the independents like those platforms.” Of greater concern was the availability and value of the rates that corporates had successfully negotiated with hotel groups, with several travel managers pointing to

SMILE A WHILE “Hotels should motivate their staff to do the best job they can all day long. Good hospitality and a smile shouldn’t end once the credit card has been handed over” 78

publicly available rates lower than their own. “Hotels need to monitor their best available rates (BAR) versus negotiated rates but they don’t have the staff or technology to do it. They should be matching your negotiated rate to BAR whenever it drops lower,” suggested one buyer. “The hotels’ sales department are thinking about long-term relations but the revenue

departments that crunch the numbers only think of short-term gains,” they added. Several buyers insisted high-end hotels should have a member of the sales team dedicated full-time to the entertainment sector and the exacting needs of its guests, but accepted that smaller properties simply do not have the resources to do so. “Smaller hotels won’t have an entertainment sales

THUMBS UP FOR...

TOP TIP

lOews hOtels, PRaiseD bY tRaVel MaNaGeRs FOR its eFFicieNt, ceNtRaliseD billiNG OFFice which haNDles PaYMeNts FOR all PROPeRties aND has lONG

If lower rates than your negotiated deal are publicly available then hotels should offer to manually override them, “but not many hotels make buyers aware that they’ll do that”

OPeNiNG hOuRs

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Event report / Hotels

person but someone needs to be engaged and on the ball with this sector. We need people who really understand our business,” declared one travel manager. “Sales teams should know exactly who’s arriving each day and how they pay, and that needs to be communicated with the front desk,” said one buyer, as part of a longer debate around payment issues. “If a room has been paid upfront then there should be an obvious message to staff on the bill: 'do not ask for credit card', but the default at the front desk seems to be to ask for a card,” they continued. “There are always going to be service issues and when there are people just want a timely solution. Hotels need to solve it, get their guest on the way and investigate it afterwards. It’s all about recovery – make it not happen again. When things go wrong it makes the travel manager look bad.” Another buyer called for hotels to ensure their merchant numbers are set up correctly, explaining that staff have had payments rejected because transactions on the card

were limited to certain spend categories: a hotel rather than a hotel restaurant, for example. “It’s surprising the number of calls I get about blocked payments,” they said. Another bone of contention was corporates’ groups spend being disregarded at the negotiating table, with buyers unable to leverage their total outlay to agree preferred rates with a hotel. “Hotels think they can charge something higher for group room bookings when we are feeding them all year long with corporate business,” noted one buyer. But as a hotelier explained, hotels don’t like the risk of a group booking on low rates being cancelled. At higher rates, they are prepared to take the risk. Nevertheless, there can still be complications as a travel manager from a large media company explained: “If you book 20 different rooms with the same hotel on the GDS at your negotiated rate they’ll be straight on to you, even though it could be three different photoshoots taking place in the same city. It makes no sense!”

There are always going to be service issues but when they occur people just want a timely solution. It’s all about recovery – make it not happen again for someone else”

[ Rebels with cause ] LE Miami is an invitation-only event that brings together 'travel visionaries and pioneers' for four days of business, networking and thought leadership in Miami every June. Ministry of Ideas is its annual 'un-conference', which takes place alongside the trade show, and Creative Corporate Lab is a closed-door stream of seminars for corporate travel managers working in the entertainment, media and fashion sectors.

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Hotels / View from the top

changing

rooms Benjamin Coren spoke to three industry leaders to find out their plans and seek their views on the issues affecting the hotel sector

Q.

With consolidation taking place among hotel groups, what are your plans in this area and what are your views on consolidation? B e l i n d a P o t e , M a r r i o t t Consolidation in the hotel industry is a trend that is likely to continue over the coming years. With organic growth becoming increasingly challenging, especially in mature markets, the fragmented nature of the hotel industry lends itself to growth by brand acquisition. Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016, creating a company with 30 brands and more than 6,500 hotels. In addition to providing further choice for guests, the combined company has gained scale, providing enhanced value and economic advantages for owners, more efficient deploy-ment of centralised service funds, plus greater ability to invest in systems that drive profitability.

D i m i t r i s M a n i k i s , W y n d h a m If there is a good deal out there, there is no reason why we wouldn’t be looking. In the last 18 to 24 months we concluded the purchase of a great brand called La Quinta, which has 900 hotels. The new brand will be coming in 2019. We are in the game and we’re pleased with this major acquisition. We’ve got a board that has proven it is open to new opportunities when they come along. We are not the only industry where consolidation plays a big role, look at airlines and travel agencies – it is a sign of the times.

80

C h r i s R o e , Acc o r It’s been clear that Sebastien Bazin (CEO) has been on the investment trail. We’re out there looking and we’ve not been shy on acquiring and optimising business. The acquisition of Raffles in 2016 launched us as a player. That’s continued with Rixos. We have to look at what’s right for our business and what’s right for our guests. The acquisition of Raffles has confirmed us as specialists in luxury. I think it enables us to keep with the corporate market. If there is cost-cutting we can go up and down the food chain of brands.

Q.

What about the proliferation of brands? What are your plans for existing or new brands? B P The diversity of our brand portfolio is a way to tailor the hotel experience to our guests. We are continually investing in our brands to ensure that they stay top of mind in today’s competitive marketplace. For example, last month we announced our new vision for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, reverting to the brand’s roots as the gathering place for locals and guests. We are also launching our brands in new markets. In May, we debuted Delta Hotels in Europe with the opening of Delta Hotels by Marriott Frankfurt Offenbach. The Delta Hotels portfolio now encompasses more than 50 properties, with a pipeline of over 30 signed projects in North America, Europe, and Asia.

D M We’ve got 20 hotel brands and all 20 of them fit a purpose and as a company we have a duty to give every brand substance and provide support. From a new brands perspective I would use the example of Trademark. It’s a brand we developed a year ago and there are 50 Trademark hotels already. It’s a soft brand, so it allows individuality and allows certain DNA to take advantage of what we do. Consumers dictate what we need but I think we perfectly fit in the segment. With over 9,100 hotels it would be difficult to say we’re missing out anywhere. We’ve got the Dolce brand for the meetings and events business and we purchased it because it reflected what our MICE and corporate clients want.

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View from the top / Hotels

Q.

Are there any particular plans for expansion this year and beyond? What can you share? B P In 2017 we announced our 2020 vision which included growing our portfolio by an additional 90,000 signed rooms by the end of 2020. Following the Starwood acquisition, we revaluated and amended these goals and our focus now here in Europe is to be ‘number one where it counts’. We are already the largest operator of luxury and upper upscale hotels in Europe, and we see great potential to expand our mid-market and lifestyle brands such as Aloft, Courtyard by Marriott and Moxy. Moxy is particularly interesting. We launched the first Moxy Hotel in Europe in 2014 and we now have 19 open across the continent. And more than 50 Moxy hotels across 40 destinations are expected to open between now and 2020 showing the phenomenal demand for this affordable lifestyle brand.

C r Our focus right now is on integration. The next brand for us to integrate is Movenpick. It’s regionally very strong in the Middle East and that’s the next one to go through – it gives us strength in multiple Middle Eastern countries. In the UK we like to challenge and get under the skin of what the customer is looking for, leisure and business traveller alike. For example with Ibis brands, a frustration for customers was check-in and check-out so in new hotels we are not putting in receptions, but instead having mobile check-ins with staff who have mobile devices and customers are checked-in by someone who has a mobile device. Check-in is now faster and there is no check-out, with the invoice simply emailed to customers.

d M We choose our locations based on a lot of facts such as advice from developers and owners. We speak to them to find out which brand would best suit them. It serves the purpose of our owners as it has a focus – for example, brands focusing on the MICE market. We would love for all our brands to be everywhere. If you take on one brand after the other in a city you can easily have any number of our brands. We buy brands for our customers to experience them and for our owners to make money out of them. C r In May we acquired Atton in Chile who have 11 hotels and in April we acquired a 50% stake in the South African Mantis Group which has boutique hotels and eco lodges. We’ve got the growing Adagio brand and that services business travellers who want an extended stay option. I think the challenge it faces are that a lot of corporates stay away from private extended stay options but Adagio has maid services and meets regulations that corporates insist on. With project and consulting work, you see corporates moving towards it. At the same time, Adagio is not a luxury product and I think there is a gap in the market there that One Fine Stay can fill.

Q.

How much of a threat is Airbnb and the sharing economy, and how are you addressing it? B P We welcome healthy competition and embrace the challenges it brings. It has certainly been a disrupter in our industry and has prompted hotel companies to think differently about guest needs and behaviour. In April this year we launched Tribute Portfolio Homes – a six-month home-sharing pilot in partnership with Hostmaker, a London-based home rental management company. We selected 200 exceptional homes across London and put in place a set of enhanced requirements consistent with our company’s overall approach to guest accommodations. This pilot has been an important step in understanding the intersection of hospitality and home sharing, and how this type of accommodation can complement our existing portfolio. d M The sharing economy gives people the chance to travel. Airbnb has their business model and we’ve got ours. I think there is room for everybody. At Wyndham we have everything the traveller needs in the place they need it and at the time they need it. C r Airbnb and HomeAway service a lot of the small market but the big corporates have very strict policies in place for what their travellers can stay in. Travellers have to comply with these policies and I think we’re better placed to service that going forward.

[

the eXPerts

]

BP

Belinda Pote, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Europe, Marriott

dM

Dimitris Manikis, President and MD for EMEA, Wyndham Hotel Group

Cr

Chris Roe, Vice President, Sales, Accor Hotels

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Hotels / Six of the best

Six of the best... budget hotel brands 1

Hampton by Hilton

With over 2,345 properties in 21 countries, Hampton by Hilton provides quality accommodation and amenities with a tidy price tag. There are 27 properties in the UK with two recent openings in Blackpool and Belfast. Room rates at the Blackpool property start from £50 per night.

4 2

3

Innside by Melia

Innside’s ‘urban lifestyle hotels’ are geared towards business travellers with free wifi, meeting spaces and exercises classes and wellness areas. Room rates range from £40 in ZhengZhou to £120 in New York.

The budget accommodation giants will have nearly 800 UK properties by the end of the year. August alone will see the brand open three new London properties, with further city and town locations in the pipeline. Room rates start from as low as £35 per night online.

6

Motel One

This German budget-boutique hotel group has a strong presence in central Europe but also has properties in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle. Single rooms start at £59 a night.

5

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Premier Inn

Z Hotels

Z prides itself on offering compact city centre luxury at out of town prices. It has seven London properties, plus one in Liverpool and one in Glasgow. Each hotel has a Z Café offering breakfast. Room rates start from £35 per night outside of London and £50 per night in the capital.

Sleeperz

The design-led premium budget brand opened its fourth UK hotel in Dundee this summer, joining Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh hotels. Each one is located close to mainline rail stations and includes extras such as breakfast and free wifi. The lead in rate is £59 per night.

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Data / Hotels

Rates on the rise Hotel rates are set to rise by some 5% in Western Europe next year, according to the fifth annual Global Travel Forecast, published by GBTA and CWT in July. The report says the hotel outlook for 2019 is driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices, while an increase in air travel will in turn fuel demands for rooms. Other issues coming into play include further mergers among big groups and midscale brands increasingly competing with upscale hotels due in part to a growing appetite for boutique accommodation among younger travellers. Dynamic pricing strategies are also likely to gather momentum, particularly in Asia-Pacific, and in regions where accommodation is in high demand. Unlike static pricing, rooms are priced differently at different times and are managed using an automated revenue management system. Corporates are offered a percentage off the best available rate. In addition, the report continues: “As customers look to drive more efficiency in the hotel sourcing process, multi-year agreements will gain traction, thus reducing the number of negotiations required each year.�

going up...

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independent boutique hotels will open throughout the UK by the end of 2019, increasing capacity by over 6,100 rooms, according to CWT Solutions Group

DYNAMIC PRICING

will increase In regions where accommodation is in high demand

Multi-year agreements

85% 85%

of all customer interactions will be digitized by 2020, when hotel booking, dining reservations and adding extra facilities will all be done via smartphone, according to Microsoft

Will increasingly help drive efficiency in hotel programmes

Global 2019 hotel price projection Western Europe Asia-Pacific North America Source: GBTA/CWT

+5.6% +5.1% +2.1%

Latin America Middle East & Africa Eastern Europe

-1.3% -1.5% -1.9%

40%

of corporates allocate up to...

20%

...of accommodation budget to extended stay solutions

Corporates are continuing to leverage long-stay savings of between 17% and 29% versus their hotel programme spend

There are now in excess of

1 million

serviced apartments worldwide, across more than

13,000 locations

Source: Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report (GSAIR) THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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DEPARTURES

On the road with

Richard Krulik

The CEO of New York-based premium luggage brand Briggs & Riley documents his life on the road factories with my dad during college as an introduction to our company. Worst business travel experience: Being jailed in Beijing when I arrived with an expired visa. Fortunately, a friend with connections was able to get me a visa in the morning.

SUPPLIERS

DETAILS

Preferred airline or hotel and why: RK Airways – my own single engine turboprop! And I love the Nayara Costa Rica, an amazing hotel and is like the garden of Eden. Loyalty points: obsessive collector or not bothered? Not bothered really. I have too many other things to BASED IN THE focus on! BIG APPLE Favourite loyalty scheme: I don’t have one.

Name: Richard Krulik. Position & Company: CEO, Briggs & Riley. Nature of your business: Travelware. Based in: New York. Business trips per year: 18. Estimated annual mileage: Not enough, especially if I’m the pilot! Regular destinations: London, Chicago, Toronto, Beijing, Shenzhen or any small town with an airport. Most recent trip: Hong Kong, London, Beijing and Seoul. Next trip: Chicago.

GOOD & BAD Best business travel experience: A three-week overseas trip to

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: work, rest or play? Mostly work but some play. I like to catch up on reading my flying magazines, business books and the Wall Street Journal and, on overseas flights, I’ll watch a movie or two. Onboard connectivity: take it or leave it? It’s nice to have for sure but I can zone out without it. Onboard habits: I’ll wear slip-on shoes, comfortable trousers and a long-sleeved shirt since it’s always a little cold on the plane.

ALL AT SEA IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

DESTINATIONS

Biggest business travel irritation: When airline delays screw up the plan. “I love it when a plan comes together” – Hannibal Smith. Pack light or go prepared? NO MORE Pack light AND be prepared! NIGHTS BEHIND Never leave home BARS! without: My iPad and a bunch of magazines.

Happy never to go back to: Jail in Beijing! Send me back to: The British Virgin Islands. Island hopping on a boat without any schedule to follow and a shower which consists of jumping in the ocean in the morning – you can't beat it. Top overseas landmark: Visiting the Panda reserve in Chengdu, China, with my daughter.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

THE PANDAS ARE PERFECT!

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One thing that would improve business travel: Having my own F-18 supersonic jet with a refueling tanker following me.

TRAVEL POLICY Stick to the company travel policy or a bit of a maverick?: If I can fly there myself, I always will. If you could change one thing about your travel policy...: Our policy is balanced and reasonable. We stay at modest hotels and, with so many overseas flights, premium economy is a good compromise.

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DEPARTURES

New kid on the block NATIVE BANKSIDE, LONDON THE LOWDOWN

The first in a

walk from Shakespeare’s Globe and

string of new openings from Native,

Borough Market. The heritage of the

its new Bankside aparthotel will add

building has been preserved with

to its portfolio of 25 properties.

polished concrete, exposed brick

Comprising 75 studios, one and

walls and the original arched

two-bedroom units, the aparthotel

warehouse windows.

will feature 24-hour check-in, free

they said it

“This has been a

high-speed wifi and a communal

rare opportunity to take a beautiful

workspace. It is the brand’s flagship

heritage building in one of London’s

London property and is located on

most culturally vibrant areas and

historic Bear Gardens, close to

transform it into a stylish aparthotel.

Southwark Bridge. Native has two

The launch of Native Bankside is the

further aparthotels in the develop-

first milestone in plans to expand

ment pipeline: Native Glasgow,

our aparthotel business in all major

due to open in the autumn, and

cities across the UK and will set a

London Warehouse in Manchester,

benchmark for the category in terms

opening January 2019.

of design”, says Guy Nixon, Chief

that's a FACT

The property

was formerly an 18th century tea warehouse and is located a short

Executive of Native. RATES

Rates at Native

Bankside are from £160 +VAT per night.

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EVENT REVIEW

PA & EA networking evening

Summer Sparkle The Business Travel Conference hosted Summer Sparkle, an exclusive event for PAs and EAs, at Crowne Plaza London – The City in July. Attendees enjoyed complimentary drinks, canapes, massages and manicures, plus the chance to win some fabulous prizes courtesy of the generous partners.

Meeting with suppliers

Deep in conversation

Summer Sparkle ▼

An alternative view!

Summer Sparkle PA & EA Networking Evening

Brought to you by The Business Travel Conference With thanks to the host venue ▲ 03.07.2018

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We have a winner!

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DEPARTURES

Meeting in A former centre of the copper industry, earning itself the nickname Copperopolis, Swansea today is a centre for the service sector, with opportunities in public administration, education, health, insurance and finance. Amazon, BT, HSBC and Virgin Media are among major employers in the city.

Swansea

Wo w factor

Brangwyn Hall The Guildhall, Swansea, SA1 4PE 01792 635432 / swansea.gov.uk/ brangwynfunctions

This is an impressive art-deco building in grand style with fantastic acoustics and hung with the vibrant and colourful Brangwyn Panels. The Brangwyn is a versatile flat-floor space accommodating just over a 1,000 delegates and has a wide range of breakout rooms including an adjacent room that can seat 200. The main room can be hired from £1200.

National Waterfront Museum Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3RD 0300 111 2333 / museum.wales/ swansea/hire

A blend of old and new, one of Swansea’s listed warehouse buildings is integrated with an ultra-modern slate and glass building. The exhibition units move aside to offer an interesting and adaptable conference space for up to 300 overall – while still providing access to the exhibition. DDRs are available from £27pp.

On a shoestring

Wales National Pool Sketty Lane, Sketty, Swansea, SA2 8QG 01792 513513 / walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk

Ideal for small events of up to 60 delegates, this excellent sporting facility has been a training base of Olympians and Paralympians. Situated just a stone’s throw from Swansea Bay the venue has the added flexibility of hiring rooms by the hour if required – which make it a very cost effective venue. Both rooms can be hired for £140 a day, or just the meeting is from £80.

ART DECO GRANDEUR

Small but perfectly formed

Getting there There are regular direct trains from London Paddington, Bristol Parkway, Cardiff, Newport, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Crewe and Manchester. Drivers can reach Swansea via the M4 and the journey time from London is around three and a half hours. Alternatively, fly to Cardiff with Flybe or Aer Lingus.

Quirky venue

Wired up

Out of to w n

Dylan Thomas Birthplace

University of Swansea

Oxwich Bay Hotel

Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea, SA2 0RA / 01792 472555 / dylanthomasbirthplace.com

Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP8AA 01792 295665 / venueswales.com/ conference-venues-swansea

Oxwich Bay, Gower, Oxwich, SA3 1LS 01792 390329 / oxwichbayhotel.co.uk

Famous wordsmith Dylan The Bay Campus is new, on the Thomas was born and raised in edge of town, and its Great Hall Swansea, and his birthplace has has excellent state-of-the art been lovingly restored. An facilities. The Singleton Campus evocative venue for a small is beachfront and includes the corporate event or meeting; Taliesin Theatre. The University refreshments are prepared in has first class AV facilities and Dylan’s Mam’s kitchen and have wifi at no extra cost, and hi-tech a distinctive Welsh homemade IT and videoconferencing wholesomeness. DDRs are from facilities. Singleton DDRs £15 or add the Taste of Wales are from £24.95 and Bay buffet for £20. DDRs are from £26.95. STATE OF THE ART SET UP

Situated on the curving shore of Oxwich Bay in the heart of the Gower Peninsula BACK – the first coastal area in TO NATURE the UK to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Oxwich Bay Hotel is an inspirational setting. Catering for up to 100 guests, there is also an external beachside marquee for larger events. DDR starts from £25pp.

Further information Contact the Visit Swansea Bay tourism team for advice on organising a conference or event. Visit visitswanseabay.com/ conferences-groups to discover venues and suppliers available, email tourism.team@swansea. gov.uk or call 01792 635 208.

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GET CLOSER TO

GETTING

DOWN TO BUSINESS

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80 departure points comprise of 31 UK and 49 European airports (routes on sale until 16.06.19). 2. Some routes may be operated by Flybe’s franchise partners, Stobart Air, Blue Islands or Eastern Airways. Which? Report (Jan 2018) on ‘Best and Worst Airlines. 4. Correct as at 30.07.18. See flybe.com for full schedule details.

10966032_Flybe_TBTM_Business_ad_210x275mm_AW3_R TBTM.indd 1 Untitled-2 Untitled-1 1

30/07/2018 13:41:46 30/07/2018 13:49 7/30/18 02:56 PM


DEPARTURES

On business in...

Dublin

The capital city of Ireland is also the country’s economic centre. Traditionally a hub for textile production, brewing and distilling, it is now a key financial services centre too. Meanwhile, Guinness continues to be brewed in the city some 250 years after the brewery's beginnings in 1759.

sample the 'black stuff'

The Pig’s Ear. For Michelin-star

options. Taxis cost around €20 to

dining check out Chapter One. Fallon

€25 to the city centre and are

Business travellers are spoilt for

and Byrne is a food hall and wine

available outside Terminals 1 and 2.

choice with modern and traditional

shop with excellent dining upstairs.

The Airlink Express bus runs to and

SLEEPING

from the airport and city centre and

hotel options. Popular options include The Alex, The Merrion, make your mark at the marker!

Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, The Radisson Golden Lane

9 Below opened last year in the

and The Westin. Cool picks

basement of the Hibernian Club and

include The Gibson, The Spencer

M U ST-SEE SIG HTS No trip to Dublin is complete

end whiskies. Peruke and Periwig

without visiting the world-famous

offers a refined drinking experience

Guinness Storehouse where you can

with walls adorned with oil paintings,

sample the 'Black Stuff' straight from

wood panelling and Chesterfield

the brewery and enjoy views over

Celebrity hotspot The Ivy recently

seating. Farrier and Draper is set

the city from its Gravity Bar. Staying

opened on Dawson Street in Dublin.

over three uniquely styled floors and

on the alcohol theme, pay a visit to

SOLE is a popular seafood restaurant

The Sidecar bar at The Westbury

Teeling Whiskey Distillery for a fully

in the city centre, and for classic

offers a modern take on a 1930s

guided tour and tasting session.

dishes try the Cliff Townhouse or

cocktail bar. For a traditional Irish

EATING

Further information For further information on meetings and events and visiting Dublin, see dublin conventionbureau.com, email info@dublinconventionbureau. com or call +353 1 8847 271.

beyond with low-cost fares.

has an impressive collection of high-

and the luxurious Marker hotel.

Getting there Aer Lingus flies to Dublin from 18 UK airports, while British Airways, CityJet, Flybe and Ryanair all offer regular services to Dublin from various London and regional airports across the UK.

Af te r hour s

pub experience head to The Stags Head, a Victorian pub famous for food, drink and live Irish music.

GETTING D O WNTOwN Dublin Airport is located 10km north of the city centre and has access to plenty of buses, coaches and taxis to reach town, as well as car hire

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DEPARTURES

Focus on...

Despite Brexit uncertainty and Trump tariffs, AngloAmerican relations remain strong and the United States is the UK’s top export market. Benjamin coren discovers how UK businesses can benefit

the USA

Comprising 50 states, a federal district and self-governing territories and possessions, the United States of America really is the land of opportunities for business. The USA is the largest, most competitive and technologically advanced economy in the world and US GDP has experienced consistent growth of 1.8% or more since 2011. And what's more, it's also the UK’s top export destination. The US is an attractive prospect for a range of

UK companies and benefits from low regulatory barriers, minimal language barriers, access to global supply chain and a strong rule of law. However, exporting businesses will be aware of President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs imposed in January 2018. The controversial fees add a 25% tariff on imports of steel, and 10% on aluminium on European Union countries.

the UsA time zones: Pacific time GMT –8hrs; Mountain time GMT –7hrs; Central time GMT –6hrs; Eastern Time GMT –5hrs currency: US Dollar; £1=$1.32 US Dialling code: +1

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DEPARTURES

And items ranging from solar panels to washing machines produced outside of the US will also have tariffs imposed which start at a higher rate and gradually decreases over the following years. The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, told parliament: “For the products within the scope of these tariffs, in 2017, the US accounted for 7% of UK steel exports and 3% of UK aluminium exports. The UK accounted for 1% of

US steel imports and 0.1% of US aluminium imports, in tonnage, at a value of £360 million and £29 million respectively.” Washington D.C. and New York are home to both the World Bank and the United Nations, respectively, and these organisations can provide good business opportunities for those breaking into the U.S. market to tap in to. The two agencies, combined with numerous others, spend over $180billion on goods,

services and aid each year. For UK businesses, the top importing opportunities into the US are electrical machinery and equipment, mechanical appliances, vehicles, mineral fuels and oils, pharmaceuticals, furniture, precious stones and metals, organic chemicals and plastics. Businesses need to be aware of the market they are entering into and the potential risks. There are major differences between the 50

states and, as such, should each be treated as separate markets. The US is very competitive and there is saturation of products due to the size of the country. Legal action and litigation is commonplace, so businesses need to be prepared for any legal proceedings against them. There are some potentially high costs for doing business including business insurance, cost of living and working visas which are also expensive.

The Chicago skyline

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Fly to over 200 destinations and beyond

Experience so much more of the US when you fly with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines. We offer a choice of over 200 destinations across North America. Enjoy innovative products, award winning entertainment, inflight WiFi and friendly service onboard both airlines, and our mutual loyalty programmes means your customers can earn great rewards with Virgin Atlantic and Delta.

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: the USA FLIGHTS

Flight data correct at time of print and courtesy of OAG

British Airways: The airline flies from Heathrow to Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, San Jose and Seattle daily, and to Nashville and New Orleans five times a week. It flies twice daily to Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York Newark, Las Vegas, Plenty of Philadelphia and options Phoenix, and on with BA certain days to San Francisco and Washington DC. Additionally, the operator flies to Boston four times a day, Los Angeles three times a day, and New York JFK nine times a day. From Gatwick British Airways flies to Fort Lauderdale, Oakland and Las Vegas three times a week, and New York JFK, Orlando and Tampa daily. It also flies to New York JFK from London City Airport six times a week, missing Saturdays. American Airlines: From Heathrow, the airline flies to Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte twice daily; New York JFK and Chicago four times a day; Dallas three times a day; and operates a daily Raleigh/ Durham service. AA also serves Scotland, flying from Edinburgh to New York JFK daily and from Glasgow to Philadelphia daily. From Manchester, the operator flies daily services to Chicago, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. Delta Air Lines: The airline flies from Heathrow to Atlanta

Reach San Francisco with ease

The bright lights of New York City

and New York JFK twice daily and operates daily services to Boston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Denver. It also flies daily to Detroit (twice a day on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) and to Portland four times a week and St. Louis three times a week. It also serves New York JFK from Edinburgh and Glasgow daily and Atlanta from Glasgow daily. United Airlines: United operates daily services from Heathrow to Denver and Los Angeles. It flies three times a day to Chicago and Washington DC and operates to Houston and San Francisco twice daily and New York Newark five times a day. From Scotland, United operates daily services to New York Newark from Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as daily services to Chicago and Washington DC from Edinburgh. Additionally, the carrier operates daily services to New York Newark from Manchester. Virgin Atlantic: Operates direct daily services from London Heathrow to Miami, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta, New York Newark and Washington DC; Los Angeles three times a day and twice on Fridays; New York JFK six times a day; and San Francisco twice-daily. Virgin gears its Gatwick operations more towards leisure travellers with flights to Las Vegas six times a week and a daily service to Orlando. Outside of the UK capital, Virgin operates flights out of Manchester to Atlanta,

New York JFK and Orlando daily, with services to Boston and Las Vegas twice a week and San Francisco three times a week. Norwegian: The low-cost long-haul operator runs daily from London Gatwick to Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, which is twice a day on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The carrier flies to Austin and Denver from Gatwick three times a week and operates to New York JFK twice daily, with the exception of Low-cost transatlantic options

one flight on Wednesdays. Passengers also have the option to fly to Seattle and Orlando four times a week, and Oakland six times a week. The carrier recently announced a new twice-weekly service from Gatwick to Tampa, commencing October 31, and it will increase services to Fort Lauderdale to daily, and additionally offer three flights a week to Las Vegas this winter. From Edinburgh, Norwegian flies to Providence, Rhode Island three

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London - Miami Fly to Miami on board our Boeing 787 Dreamliner for an unforgettable flying experience. Daily flights from London Gatwick. All flights are via Madrid.

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: the USA WOW Air’s North American routes all fly via its ReykjavikKeflavik hub. From here it flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Boston St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Dallas, New York JFK and Newark and Washington DC.

times a week, and New York Stewart four times a week. Other Direct Carriers: From London Heathrow Air New Zealand operates a daily service to Los Angeles while Air India flies three times a week to New York Newark. Primera Air operates services from London Stansted to New York Newark daily and to Boston four times a week, and is also launching flights to Washington DC this summer. Singapore Airlines flies from Manchester to Houston five times a week and Thomas Cook Airlines takes passengers from Manchester to Seattle twice a week and also flies to San Francisco and Los Angeles three times a week. ONE-STOP OPTIONS: Air Europa operates daily services via its hub in Madrid to Miami and New York JFK from London Gatwick.

ICELANDAIR flies to some 15 cities across the US from its Reykjavik hub, and has launched new services to Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport. The service is fed by Icelandair connections from over 25 European destinations including London airports, Manchester and Glasgow.

sl eep i ng NEW YORK CITY: Check out the trendy Ace Hotel or the popular New York Marriott Marquis on Times Square. In Midtown, try the art deco-style WestHouse Hote. CHICAGO: Consider the trendy and unique Virgin Hotel. The upscale Sheraton Grand Chicago commands great river views while W Chicago sits on the shores of Lake Michigan. HOUSTON: For luxury try the Four Seasons Hotel Houston. For longer visits, Staybridge Suites Houston I-10 may suit as will the Residence Inn by Marriott Houston Downtown.

The seat of political Flying to 14 destinations in power the US, Aer Lingus has helped make Dublin Airport the fifth-largest transatlantic gateway in Europe. It operates services to New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Orlando, San Francisco, Newark, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Philadelphia. The latter two services were introduced earlier this year. Its US network from Dublin is fed by Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus Regional flights from 18 UK airports.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Fairmont San Francisco

Get inspired in Houston has great views over the bay. Hilton properties include Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco. Also consider Axiom Hotel and Proper Hotel. LOS ANGELES: Upscale options include the Beverly Hills Marriot and W Los Angeles. Business travellers may also like the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City or the Sofitel Los Angeles. MIAMI: No shortage of trendy hotels here: try Loews Miami Beach, Setai Miami Beach or the AC Hotel by Marriott Miami Beach. Downtown options include Kimpton EPIC Hotel, Conrad Miami and Hilton Miami. WASHINGTON DC: Try the revamped post office, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC. The modern Wink Hotel is well located near Dupont Circle.

aft er h our s NEW YORK CITY: Take the chance to see the Statue of Liberty and see the observatory at the top of One World Trade Centre. In summer months, the High Line is a great walk on the formerly disused rail tracks. CHICAGO: The Navy Pier juts out onto the waters of Lake

Michigan and is home to a 200foot Ferris wheel, or go for a stroll in the 24.5-acre Millennium Park. HOUSTON: Discover America’s history of space exploration at Space Center Houston. Also see Houston Zoo and the Menil Campus, which is home to a 30-acre neighbourhood of art. SAN FRANCISCO: Check out the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The former prison on Alcatraz Island is a popular tourism destination. Also visit Alamo Square to see its array of colourful houses. LOS ANGELES: Griffith Observatory offers excellent views of the city. In Santa Monica, go for a stroll along Santa Monica pier, and if time permits, check out LA’s various movie studios. MIAMI: Check out the South Beach social scene on Ocean Drive and see the colourful art deco buildings. Stroll around the Wynwood Art District filled with colourful street art. WASHINGTON DC: Take a trip to famous museums including the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. Don't miss the home of the US President, The White House.

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DEPARTURES

Reality check FL IG HT : AE R L ING U S, BU SINE SS CL ASS THE FLIGHT

I travelled from Dublin

meant more privacy and space. The 23

to Miami on Aer Lingus flight EI141

seats were in alternating rows of 1-2-2

departing at 15.00 and arriving at 19.20

and 1-2-1, so the majority had direct

(local times). The flight was operated by

aisle access. The seat converted to a

an Airbus A330-200. I'd initially flown

77-inch-long, 22-inch wide flatbed and

from London Gatwick to Dublin on EI233

had ample storage, simple seat controls

in order to connect with the service.

and IFE featuring a reasonable selection

THE TRANSIT

On arrival in Dublin, a

of new releases and classic films. With

bus took passengers from the aircraft

no central overhead luggage bins the

to the terminal and I followed the clear

cabin felt particularly spacious.

connections signage. Only one of two

THE SERVICE

An amenity kit and

security lanes was open, making for

menu were laid-out on my seat and

slow progress, and from here it was a

drinks were quickly offered after

short walk to the main terminal

boarding, together with codes for

concourse. Next was US pre-clearance

complimentary wifi access. The dining

which comprised another security check

was good, with a choice of starters and

often interminably long procedures on

– and as a business class passenger, I

three mains (I chose the beef fillet).

arrival in the US. So if you need to take

was more or less straight through – and

Drinks were frequently offered and

connecting flights from your local

then a short queue for US immigration.

snacks were available in the galley

In total it took 45 minutes from touch-

throughout the flight. Afternoon tea

down to the 51st and Green Lounge

was served an hour before landing.

airside of US immigration. This was

THE VERDICT

The real boon of flying

spacious, light and quiet, with a coffee

to the US via Dublin is clearing US

and cocktails bar plus self-service food.

customs and immigration in Dublin,

I was in 5K, a solo

THE SEAT

seat at the back of the cabin which

"THE REAL BOON OF THIS SERVICE IS CLEARING U.S. IMMIGRATION IN DUBLIN"

airport to reach your US destination then look no further than this. Great service and friendly crew too. THE DETAILS

Aer Lingus flies three

times a week to Miami. Fares start from £899 one-way in business class and £219 in economy. aerlingus.com

meaning you land as a domestic

Andy Hoskins

passenger and avoid the same but

HOTEL: POW E R SCO U R T HOT E L , CO U NT Y W ICK L O W, IR E L AND THE HOTEL

Around half an hour

discreetly around the room to control

from Dublin, this hotel resort and spa is

lighting and air conditioning. The room

located on the Powerscourt estate,

had two interactive TVs in the bedroom

which dates back to 1741.

and living room as well as a recessed TV

THE CHECK-IN

Due to a late arriving

in the bathroom mirror. The walk-in

flight and transfer I did not arrive at the

wardrobe was massive, and the huge

hotel until 1am, however night staff

bathroom had a separate toilet and

were present and very welcoming. I was

rainforest shower, all finished in marble

checked in, up to my room and in bed

and stocked with ESPA amenities.

within ten minutes. The reception is

THE FACILITIES

The hotel has more

large and open with comfortable

than 12,030ft2 of meeting and event

seating areas and a lounge at the back

spaces, comprising a ballroom,

with a large glass window offering views

boardroom and ten meetings rooms.

of the evergreen forest.

There are four dining options: Silka

THE SUITE

I stayed in one of

Restaurant offers Irish contemporary

53 Classic Suites, mine benefitting from

cooking; Sugar Loaf Lounge is for

a courtyard view. The room was huge at

afternoon tea or evening cocktails;

731ft2 and had a separate living area,

McGills pub offers a cosy atmosphere

bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and

and traditional Irish food; and there’s

bathroom. The room was well furnished

Espa Café for a healthy breakfast or

in light green and wooden tones, which

lunch. Guests also can access the spa

were very fitting for this country retreat.

with its 20 treatment rooms, and there

Behind the traditional look, though, is

is a 20-metre swimming pool and a

hidden a very high-tech room. There

fitness suite. The Powerscourt Golf

was high-speed wireless internet and

Course is located beside the hotel and

cool electronic touch panels placed

is of championship quality.

96

THE VERDICT

This hotel is a welcome

and comfortable retreat, and close enough to Dublin to make it an

"BEHIND MY SUITE'S TRADITIONAL LOOK WAS HIDDEN A VERY HIGH-TECH ROOM"

excellent choice for a multi-day event or conference. The rooms are a generous size and very comfortable. THE DETAILS

Powerscourt Hotel,

Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, A98 DR12, Ireland. Rooms start from around £210 per night. powerscourthotel.com

Benjamin Coren

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DEPARTURES

AIR L INE : QANTAS, E CO NO M Y THE FLIGHT

Flight QF10 from

doubled as an iPad holder. Passengers

London Heathrow to Perth departed

received a pillow and good quality

London at 13.15 and arrived in Perth at

blanket but I was pleased I’d brought

13.00 the next day. The 17-hour flight

extra lumber pillows. The amenity kit

was operated by a B787 Dreamliner and

was cute but basic containing just an

is the first scheduled non-stop service

eye mask, ear plugs and toothbrush.

between the UK and Australia. PRE-DEPARTURE

Online check-in was

THE SERVICE

Cabin crew were

friendly and looked great – bright

easy and while there was some queuing

uniforms, fresh, cheery faces through-

for the bag drop the process was

out and always available. A drinks

straightforward and relatively quick. The

service with rice snacks came twice,

staff were friendly and acknowledged

with dinner served about three hours

the long flight ahead with reassurances

in. I took the beef bourguignon. Seven

of good feedback from past passengers.

hours in, the lighting gradually dimmed

The economy 3-3-3

THE SEAT

and we were encouraged to sleep. A

configuration of the aircraft makes for a

night snack of hot calzone was offered

really does seem to support wellbeing

busy looking economy cabin and first

to those still awake. A well-stocked

in the air. The atmosphere remained

impressions were that it felt over-full as

pantry included cheese and biscuits,

passengers boarded, but things settled

hummus and carrot packs, cereal bars,

down. My aisle seat (52F) had a slight

cake and apples. Lights came up for

recline and netted footrest plus

breakfast three hours out, and my

adjustable headrest/support. The back-

choice – the fruit plate, Greek yoghurt

of-the seat touchscreen was like an

and muffin – was excellent.

enlarged iPad and could tilt to improve

THE VERDICT

The thought of this

the viewing position. Below was a

long flight was very much worse than

charging doc and storage shelf which

the reality. The cabin environment

relatively fresh throughout, there was

"THE CABIN ENVIRONMENT REALLY DOES SEEM TO SUPPORT WELLBEING IN THE AIR"

very little operational noise and the lighting created a pleasant environment. The crew were great too – nothing was too much trouble at any time. THE DETAILS

Qantas flies daily from

Heathrow to Perth, with return fares in economy from £816. qantas.com

Julie Baxter

HOTE L: TH E G R O SV E NO R AR M S, SHAFT E SBU RY, DO R SE T THE HOTEL

The Grosvenor Arms is

of uneven flights of stairs at one end of

part of the Stay Original Company's

the Georgian building. The room was

four-strong collection of boutique

uncomfortably hot but a fan on full

hotels and inns in South West England.

power and opening the double doors –

This 16-room hotel is its most

which opened on to a roof terrace with

corporate-focused, with around three-

table and chairs – soon helped remedy

quarters of midweek guests staying at

this. The room was generously

the hotel on business. A fifth hotel, the

proportioned and included a bathroom

30-room King's Arms in Dorchester, is

with walk-in shower and a separate roll-

currently being renovated and is due to

top bath within the room itself. There

open in early 2019. "We love interesting

was also a desk, sofa, wall-mounted TV,

buildings and interesting people," states

coffee machine and large wardrobe.

the group's website. THE CHECK-IN

I arrived around 9pm

THE FACILITIES

The restaurant is

headed by Tom Blake (formerly of River

on a balmy summer's evening and a

Cottage) and is big on locally sourced

convivial atmosphere emanated from

produce. There's also a nicely furnished

the bar and open courtyard as I entered

bar (with extensive wine list) and a

a delightful historic hotel in a lovely

the reception. I was quickly checked-in

central courtyard area. For meetings

market town setting. It exudes a homely

and issued with a complimentary pass

and events, there's the first-floor

to park overnight just down the road in

Assembly Room with high ceilings, huge

a long-stay car park. I was also asked if

sash windows and space for up to 60

I'd like to order anything from the

guests for dining or 100 for networking

restaurant which was closing imminently.

events. The Library (for up to 16 people)

I stayed in a junior suite

is a private room within the restaurant

(there are also doubles, premium rooms

and there's also The Snug for up to 10

and a luxury suite) located up a couple

people. Wifi access is free throughout.

THE ROOM

THE VERDICT

"A DELIGHTFUL HISTORIC HOTEL IN A LOVELY MARKET TOWN SETTING"

The Grosvenor Arms is

atmosphere with rustic but stylish decor and its facilities belie its small size. THE DETAILS

The Grosvenor Arms,

The Commons, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8JA. Tel: 01747 850 580. Rates start from £105 per night including breakfast. grosvenorarms.co.uk

Andy Hoskins

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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DEPARTURES

The final word

Carry on up the car park

I

t’s been a big month in motoring circles, for both the World’s Coolest Car Parks and England’s best and worst service stations have been revealed. Thousands of votes were cast in the unlikely competition to “celebrate creativity and design in buildings that can often be perceived as dull and dreary”. Quick Parking Morelli – set in an underground cave in the centre of Naples – was the runaway winner from a shortlist compiled by DesignCurial and airport parking site Looking4.com. AZ Sint Lucas in Belgium and Victoria Gate in Leeds were second and third. Pictured is Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, also in Belgium. Meanwhile, Thurrock services on the M25 in Essex has taken the unwanted title of England’s worst service station with a user satisfaction score of 68%.

A collaboration between Flightnetwork.com and over 500 travel professionals has produced a definitive list of the world’s greatest journeys. Expedition to Antarctica Cruise the Galapagos 3 Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway 4 Trek to Machu Picchu, Peru 5 Drive California's Pacific Coast Highway 6 Drive Iceland’s Ring Road 7 Cruise to Alaska 8 Walk the Camino de Santiago 9 Sail the Greek Islands 10 Drive the USA’s Route 66 1 2

Ranked in 111th place, Thurrock is joined at the bottom by two more service stations operated by Moto: Toddington Southbound M1 in Bedfordshire and Southwaite Northbound M6 in Cumbria.

Flying Nests take off

F

lying Nest is the unconventional new accommodation offering from AccorHotels. The converted marine containers provide a mobile and sustainable solution for temporary use. Assembly of one ‘Island’ takes half a day, with five units operating as guestrooms and a sixth as a technical room. “Originally developed for a B2B clientele – event organising agencies, exhibitions, festivals, events, corporate clients etc – the Flying Nest concept could also be offered to a B2C target in 2019,” says Sebastien Dupic, New Business Senior Project Manager at Accor.

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THE TOP 10… ULTIMATE JOURNEYS

The survey from travel watchdog Transport Focus saw Norton Canes services on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire top the poll, with a fellow Roadchef establishment, Stafford Southbound M6, the runner-up.

An estimated £819million’s worth of foreign currency is currently sitting in households and offices across the country, while airports benefit from over £725million spent on giant Toblerones, fridge magnets, souvenir t-shirts and other tasteless trinkets at duty free. The figures from WeSwap, which is launching the nation’s first ‘currency cleanup’, suggest that on average, £90 in excess currency is brought back from an overseas trip, leading to a total of £2.5billion, billion, although much of it is changed back into sterling

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Travel & meetings suppliers: final stand spaces email Kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

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The Business Travel Magazine August/September 2018  

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

The Business Travel Magazine August/September 2018  

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