Your guide to doing business on the US East Coast I N S I D E :
E X T E N D E D
Corporate cards Alternative travel tools Talking travel: Ben Fogle G U I D E
A I R
T R A V E L
( p 6 3 - 8 9 )
7 01 e 2 th w at Sho us l 30 e ve 8 Se s Tra d B n es ta sin S Bu
rail booking & fulfilment as unique as me A n n a R e id, Acco u
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utive Profile: First Cla ss pe rmitted, 96% po lic y co mplia nt, m obile b oo ki ng & tick etin g en ab led
my evolvi Customisation built into the EvolviNG online rail booking platform means you define precisely the travel policies, functionality and management information you want for your people... right down to each individual. Enabling you to create benefit that’s yours and yours alone – and which goes way beyond offering the most fulfilment channels of any online system and average ticket values considerably below walk-up fares. An online platform exclusive to TMCs and corporate travellers that’s as unique as you are. Corporate rail travel has never felt so personal.
FE BR UA R Y/M A RCH 2017 Features
16 Alternative travel tools 30 Corporate cards 63 Extended feature: Air travel
Everyone's Talking About... Brexit
11 Six of the Best...
A wide-ranging guide to managing your company's air travel needs and the latest trends and developments pervading the sector
13 The Knowledge:
Aparthotel brands 12 Spotlight on: Brand bombardment
Duty of care 14 Speaking Out: Randall Gordon-Duff
20 The Conversation: Charlotte Lamp Davies 22 The People Awards 25 The Debate:
Sustainable travel 27 Meet the Buyer: Ambika Aggarwal
28 Picture This 38 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 41 Technology: Bleisure bookings
43 Sustainability: Political interference 44 Talking Travel:
Ben Fogle 60 Event preview: Business Travel Show
The Review 27
47 12 pages of news, views and the latest developments
90 New Kid on the Block 91 On the Road 93 On Business in Oslo 95 Meeting in Bristol 96 Focus on the US East Coast
100 Reality Check 102 The Final Word
Welcome Taxiing for take off
ir travel is the single biggest area of spend in most corporate travel programmes and with fares on the rise and budgets under pressure, getting it under control has rarely been more pertinent.
Helping you do exactly that is the latest in our series of extended features on pages 63-89. It covers everything from the state of the industry, the latest product innovations and spend management, to low-cost carriers, alliances, RFPs and NDC. Next up in this series, in our April/May issue, is an exhaustive guide to ground transport in the UK, covering rail travel, car hire, taxis and transfers. Elsewhere in this issue you'll ﬁnd features on the future of corporate cards (p30-36) and the alternative travel management tools that are both helping and hindering travel managers (p16-18). And peppered throughout the issue, as always, are more 'faces of the industry': interviews with TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle, travel technology specialist Charlotte Lamp Davies, Fitﬂop Travel Coordinator Ambika Aggarwal and Richard Parkinson, who clocks up over 70,000 miles a year in his role at Text100. To shine the spotlight on the people you think deserve recognition for their contributions to the business travel industry, nominate colleagues and acquaintances in The 2017 People Awards (thepeopleawards.co.uk). Entries close on February 28 and the winners will be named on May 26.
Andy Hoskins firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS
Catherine Chetwynd, Colin Ellson, Linda Fox, Roger Gardner, Rob Gill, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS
Benjamin Coren & Cameron Roberts EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
David Clare email@example.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER
Craig McQuinn firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGN & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Matt Bonner DESIGNERS
Louisa Horton, Ross Clifford & Monica Notarnicola JUNIOR DESIGNER
PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
BMI PUBLISHING Andy Hoskins, Editor
(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2017 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM
ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS
Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
It was an honour to work so closely with Churchill’s family to bring to life the character and history of the hotel’s namesake and we are delighted with the results”
hyatt regency The Hyatt Regency London, the Churchill, has officially reopened after a multimillionpound refurbishment. Additions at the Portman Square property take it to 440 guestrooms and 11 meeting and event spaces. Pictured is the Chef's Table at the Montagu restaurant. 6
united Polaris Lounging around
United Airlines is rolling out its new business class product, Polaris, across lounges and onboard new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The Plaza Premium Lounge at London Heathrow, Terminal 2, was named Priority Pass Global Airport Lounge of the Year based on over 60,000 ratings provided by Priority Pass members.
kimpton hotels Kimpton Hotels will open its first property outside the Americas this spring. The 274room Kimpton De Witt is located close to Amsterdamâ€™s Centraal station and is set within three Renaissance-era buildings. Kimpton was acquired by IHG in 2014. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
Want to take the pain out of business travel? Virgin Trains has got you covered
ravelling up or down the east coast for business? Virgin Trains have been sprucing, pimping and improving their service to make travel with them the best choice for your business trips. Since taking over the east coast mainline, they’ve invested £40M into making their trains sexier, more frequent and highly entertaining.
Close your laptop on and open up BEAM, the new, free onboard entertainment service jam-packed with big blockbusters, box sets, TV shows, games and magazines to make your journeys even more glorious. Available throughout Standard and First Class. Download the BEAM app from the app store or Google Play and prepare to be enterTRAINed.
Brand spanking new interiors
Dishier dishes at 125mph
They’ve rolled out glorious new interiors through a massive £21M transformation of their east coast fleet. This huge overhaul includes plush new seats, fresh new carpets and lovelier loos. They’ve even gone leather in First Class. Fancy! They’re so nice that you’ll struggle to find a more comfortable mobile office.
Wifi your heart out
That’s right; Virgin Trains have made their onboard Wi-Fi along the East Coast free in standard, when you book through a participating travel management company or Trainline for Business. So stay connected and work on the go! Just opt-in for their latest leisure news and offers and Wi-Fi your socks off.
House of cards? Yes please
Wanting to unwind on your journey home?
Take your pick of services
They’re also making more journeys than ever between Edinburgh and London, per week. With their services along the west coast included, you’ll find more Virgin Trains travelling this route every weekday than any domestic airline. Find out more at virgintrainseastcoast.com/glorious
Brand new menus are now being served in First Class. These taste bud tingling menus focus on the use of locally-sourced, highquality ingredients, showcasing producers from along the east coast route. Whether it’s jam from a mother-daughter dream team or coffee ground in hip East London, you’ll be able to enjoy the taste of the UK as you travel through the regions it’s from.
Virgin Trains First Class Lounges have had a touch up too on the east coast, with slick workstations, comfy relaxation areas and even a few chaise longues, so you can kick back in true Virgin style. You’ll also find free Wi-Fi, soft drinks, snacks and newspapers. These luxurious lounges can be found at Edinburgh Waverley, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Darlington, Newcastle, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds, Doncaster and London King’s Cross.
Pictured: ‘London King’s Cross First Class Lounge’
ARRIVALS EVERYBODY'S (still) TALKING ABOUT...
Brexit “Currently, it's business as usual. The world is bigger than Brexit. However, the uncertainty means that future investment projects go on hold” Rosy Burnie, Travel Advisor and Former Global HQ Office Manager, Luvata
"Low-cost airlines are far too smart to let something like Brexit unhinge their excellent brand positioning and growth in the long term" Dean Mitchell, Supplier Relations Manager, ATPI Group
"Theresa May’s speech clarifies the government’s intentions up to a point, but there is no way of knowing what will come out of the negotiations. The uncertainTy is not good for business" Jason Geall, Vice President, Amex Global Business Travel UK
It is crucial for the hospitality and tourism industry – the UK’s fourth largest sector – that EU migrants continue to be welcomed into our country” Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association
"The fallout of the Brexit vote from 2016 is likely to have had a knock-on effect on the average room rates of hotels in the UK, but the hotel industry should be prepared further as we brace ourselves for what might be the full impact of Brexit later this year"
Andy Besent, Managing Director, HRS UK & Ireland
“Access to the liberalised aviation market in Europe [is crucial], ensuring the public can still have visa-free travel and ensuring that travel businesses can access and place the staff they need to run effective businesses across the EU” Alan Wardle, Director of Public Affairs, ABTA
Corporate travel, brilliantly simplified. Introducing an end-to-end corporate travel platform that empowers you to drive change and achieve a quantum leap in program efficiencies. More than an online booking tool, our range of app-powered workflows consolidates the entire travel lifecycle. Meet us at Booth B1040 at the Business Travel Show for the official UK launch and visit locomote.com/uk to learn more.
ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST
Six of the best... aparthotel brands 1
Locke by SACO
SACO‘s new aparthotel brand, Locke, launched at the end of 2016 in the Aldgate area of central London. It combines the best aspects of boutique hotels and serviced apartments and features 168 one-bedroom suites and studios, plus Treves and Hyde drinking/dining venues.
The Accor hotel group's dedicated aparthotel brand, Adagio has recently opened its first new-look location in Edinburgh. The new design will be rolled out in all its future properties, including a London location expected to open later this year.
MODE by BRIDGESTREET
Another serviced apartment operator launching an aparthotel brand, BridgeStreet introduced Mode last year and is going about retrofitting a selection of its existing apartment buildings, starting in the US. It will make its European debut in Paris with London to follow.
The Lamington Group recently launched its aparthotel brand Room 2, in Hammersmith, London, focusing on “friendly, community living” for millennial travellers. Two further properties are in the pipeline.
Independent operator Supercity aparthotels will open its fourth central London location this summer on Chancery Lane. It will join The Rosebery in Clerkenwell and Templeton Place and Nevern Place properties near Earl's Court. The operator is set to add a Brighton location in 2018.
Staycity is expanding with four openings in Liverpool, London, Manchester and Birmingham in the next 18 months. The latter opens in February while the new London property will feature the group’s new deluxe brand. It is also expanding its property near Heathrow this March.
A closer look at industry developments
Spotlight on... brand bombardment
Hilton Tapestry promotional photography
Hilton now has 14 and Marriott 30, but do more hotel brands just mean more confusion in an already crowded market? Less than four weeks into the new year and the global hotel groups are at it again. Or at least Hilton Worldwide is, introducing yet another hotel brand in January. After a rash of new brands in 2016 and the merger of the giant Marriott and Starwood hotel groups, isn’t it all getting just a little confusing? The new brand from Hilton, its 14th, is called Tapestry and is described as “a gathering of original, upscale hotels, offering travellers
Hotel groups must not overload consumers with new brands, nor brands with insufficient identity to make an impression” 12
independent hotel experiences combined with value and reliability.” Seven unidentified hotels in the US have signed letters of intent with Tapestry – with the first expected to convert to the new brand in the third quarter of the year – and a further 35 deals are in the pipeline. The ‘soft brand’ is positioned in the upscale segment just below Curio - A Collection by Hilton, which was launched in 2014 and now has 30 hotels to its name in the upper upscale market and another 45 on the way. That’s right, Curio is upper upscale and Tapestry is simply upscale. Or the four to five-star and three to four-star ranges, as some might explain it. According to Bobby Bowers, Senior Vice President of Operations for industry research firm STR, the supply of independent properties in the upscale market is estimated to be more than 15,000 hotels globally, which is good news for Tapestry’s potential growth. "Considering the size of the market, Tapestry Collection by Hilton should find ample opportunity for conversions well into the future," says Bowers. "This move is
consistent with Hilton's strategy of creating and developing original brands that fuel organic growth." As well as Tapestry and Curio before it, Hilton has also added Home2 Suites, Canopy by Hilton and Tru by Hilton in recent years. Combined, they have added 20,000 rooms to Hilton’s inventory – and a whole lot of confusion among the many travellers and travel managers who struggle to identify the selling points and idiosyncrasies of each. Hilton’s rivals on the global stage have their own ‘soft brand’ collections too: Marriott’s 30 brands include the Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio, for example, and Hyatt introduced Unbound last year. The nature of ‘collection’ brands means there are few brand standards, but as the global hotel groups continue in their bid to cover all corners of the market, they must be careful not to overload consumers with new brands, nor brands with insufficient identity – particularly in the soft brand sector – to make a lasting impression among their potential customers. That would be detrimental to all concerned.
ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE
How to... ensure duty of care to employees It is a company’s legal and moral responsibility to take care of their employees when they travel on behalf of their company. Paul Casement, Director of Sales and Account Management at Portman/Clarity, offers some advice
When faced with the prospect of an employee travelling abroad on business, it’s vital to pose some initial questions. Why are they travelling? Where are they going? What will they do when they get there? This duty of care is essential for protecting the people you send off to work on your behalf. In a time where global unrest, terror attacks, security breaches, infectious diseases and political unrest are increasingly common, employers must evaluate any potential dangers and the risks of sending employees abroad for work. The key to providing adequate duty of care is to demonstrate that steps have been taken to identify and assess all foreseeable risks and eliminate them by building a travel risk assessment programme into your corporate travel policy.
Offering training and education programmes for travellers is important and these can range from online
awareness courses on general travel risks and how to avoid them, to medical risks, specific country preparation and intercultural training. Companies can also take steps to provide pre-trip information reports covering destination risk assessments, medical information and country profiles. Deploying a traveller tracking system that can pinpoint a traveller’s exact location and allows identification and communication with those at risk in crisis situations is vital, as is providing 24/7 personal support to travellers.
It may sound obvious, but does your business keep up-to-date contact details for every employee and their next of kin? If not, it should be a key exercise to ensure this information is regularly updated. Good communication also extends to being aware of the latest travel news and updates and keeping abreast of advice and alerts issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
the holder to the same medical attention – and fees – as a native of that country. Medical care and fees are often high outside of the EU. A broken leg in the US, for example, could set back patients without travel insurance up to $9,500 and they may be put to the bottom of a long waiting list.
Flying with an EU approved airline with a good safety record ought to be top priority, as should booking accommodation in a safe location with good security. Using the services of a travel management company is also advised. A TMC will carry out risk assessments and monitor staff itineraries to provide real-time reports and advice on safety precautions, as well as booking travel and accommodation and troubleshooting in the event of a crisis.
Not only could it potentially save businesses thousands of pounds in medical, legal and flight cancellation fees, but it will also entitle your employees to immediate care, as and when they need it. Carrying an EHIC card in countries within the EU entitles
ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT
Travel safety FCO advice doesn’t go far enough Companies can’t afford to rely on FCO advice alone to inform their Duty of Care decisions, says Collinson Group’s Randall Gordon-Duff The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as many people know, does an excellent job in providing a good level of travel advice and information on security risks. Many news services and organisations such as charities and businesses base much of their travel information on FCO advice. Indeed, our own research reveals the FCO website is used by more than six in ten corporates to complete risk assessments for employees travelling abroad. The FCO recently announced that it is going to reform how it issues travel advice by offering more information about terrorist targets and the likelihood of attacks. While this is a welcome development, FCO guidance does not provide an entirely comprehensive safety and security briefing for all elements of business travel. In a heightened global risk environment, organisations need to rely on more itinerary
Only half of HR professionals said they ensure employees are issued with guidelines for safety and security when travelling” specific information to provide a more comprehensive service for their staff. Companies should recognise FCO advice may have a foreign policy perspective and will not necessarily be tailored to the nuances of those who, irrespective of general advice not to travel, still have a need to do business in potentially dangerous places where independent risk mitigation and advice can have much more value. For example, a female business traveller going to Saudi Arabia should be especially 14
vigilant and may find it unsuitable visiting the far north of the country for reasons of cultural expectations or safety. However, if visiting an international centre such as Riyadh or Jeddah the advice is more lenient. The FCO advice for Saudi Arabia currently focuses on the border conflict zones with Yemen in the south of the country, advising against travel to these parts, with little context or nuance given to the particular traveller and their specific journey. The FCO does publish 'Travelaware' advice which focuses on certain traveller profiles and risky activities while overseas, but again is not itinerary or country specific and is aimed more at the leisure sector rather than business travellers. Even with enhanced guidance on terrorist threats, using just this tool for risk assessments could be inadequate and see companies not legally compliant with their Duty of Care obligations. When it comes to briefing employees pre-travel, only half of HR professionals at corporates said they ensure employees are
issued with company guidelines for safety and security when travelling on business, reducing to just 40% among SMEs. Last year was marked by the rise of growing global social unrest and terrorist acts. Companies sending employees overseas in 2017 need to maintain focus on their Duty of Care responsibilities to ensure employees have access to appropriate guidance pre-travel and when abroad. The FCO provides a good starting point, but companies must provide more differentiated, individual advice suited to the specific context in order to safeguard the wellbeing of their travellers and provide maximum protection. RANDALL GORDON-DUFF Randall has over 20 years' experience in the assistance industry working with insurers, government, corporates and NGOs. At Collinson Group he is responsible for the delivery of the company’s suite of corporate travel risk solutions.
AlternAtive trAvel tools
DiFFerentlY Companies eschewing the services of traditional TMCs are welcoming the rise of alternative travel management tools, writes Gillian Upton
o the names Lola Travel, Upside or Little Emperors mean anything to you? If they don’t now they will do very soon as they are among a clutch of different digital disruptors entering the managed travel space. As travellers demand more control over their travel so these alternative travel management tools may play a part. It’s a recognition that not all bookings will be channelled through a TMC. Upside, a Washington DC start-up company, with BCD providing a call centre, rewards travellers with gift cards via a mobile app when they save their company money on their travel bookings by purchasing flight and hotel packages. Typically the saving is around 15%. The product is geared to SMEs and those in the unmanaged travel space who are willing to be flexible in their travel plans. With a series of questions, Upside tests just how much your flexibility is worth and is currently geared to US-originating trips. 16
Since 2009, meanwhile, members of Little Emperors have been promised savings too, from the company’s 5,000+ partners. It promises a direct discount from the hotel’s online BAR rate or a fixed corporate rate valid throughout the year. Its rates are non-commissionable and hotels in the programme include The Connaught in London, Mandarin Oriental in New York, The Peninsula in Paris, the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam and the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.
With a series of questions, Upside tests how much your ﬂexibility is worth. The typical saving is 15% and the product is geared to SMEs”
A team of in-house concierges makes the booking and there is a discounted corporate membership tier for ten or more users of £180pp on travel bookings only. Another entrant, Travelperk.com launched in 2015 from its Barcelona headquarters as a web-based tool that claims to have all the major airlines (including LCCs) and over 800,000 hotels on its database, all bookable 24/7 from one single tool. It offers pre-trip approval, creates profiles and accepts credit cards or issues monthly invoices. Bookings integrate with expense management partners (such as Expensify), and it offers travel budget reporting too. It can display and bill prices in all of the world’s currencies. The system can also reward travellers for booking below their dynamically created budget by facilitating a reward calculation and redemption store. It claims companies can save over 30% on travel costs in this way, as well as freeing up to 80% of bookers/travellers’ time.
AlternAtive trAvel tools
Alternative Travel Tools
Playing the game
The trend for gamification had a similar end goal and but the game-based reward system didn’t really take off so it will be interesting to see how Upside’s gift cards and Travelperks’ rewards gain traction. “We aim to make business travel booking and management suck less,” it says. Travel perk.com is free to use for an unlimited number of travellers and it makes its money from booking commissions. Its co-founders, Javier Suarez and Avi Meir, came from Skyscanner and Bookings.com. So what does all this mean for the travel manager? A potential headache as far as duty of care is concerned if travel is not being booked through a corporate's preferred channels. However, TMCs can pull in multiple APIs and aggregate data from these new startups so that a corporate knows where their travellers are at any one time. “These start-ups are about empowering the end user in a controlled environment. It’s a very busy space and you could say it’s open season, but that’s a less and less likely response. Through APIs, travel managers can have that control,” says Bryan Conway, Head of Travelport Digital.
The mobile invasion The proliferation of mobile devices means that travel managers have to be aware of what apps are out there and use them to improve the experience of the traveller. “We’ve opened Pandora’s box but don‘t see the start-ups as threats,” says Conway. “Work out how to manage them effectively. Recognise the benefits and you will achieve more successful compliance. “Remember that Uber was disruptive against the wishes of the corporate traveller management process but that didn’t stop it being successful because of end-user power. You can’t have a completely managed space. It’s a fine balance,” adds Conway. Travelport moved into the mobile platform space through acquisitions – MTT and Locomote. “40% of Expedia transactions are going through mobile so we needed a meaningful mobile platform,” says Conway. MTT powers mobile platforms for the likes of easyJet, BCD and Etihad, while Locomote is a self-booking tool that seamlessly merges offline and online bookings and offers a complete end-to-end service. The latter was 18
Future travel bookings are likely to go off piste as more disruptors enter a marketplace ripe for change” launched by an Australian start-up company and quickly piqued the interest of Travelport. The tool will be showcased at February's Business Travel Show and is said to offer travel managers “a quantum leap in programme efficiencies”.
Intelligent solutions On the horizon are AI-enabled technologies that use artificial intelligence to let us talk to our fridge and computer, for example. The travel industry has been an early adoptor of AI and already we have robots at hotel check-in and hovering around airports to guide travellers. Chatbots are another product of AI, automating repetitive jobs and freeing up staff to undertake more useful work. FCM’s Smart Assisted Mobile – or SAM as it’s better known – will be available from September. “Rather than pressing buttons in an app or on the web, it’s moving the user experience from a graphical interface to a message platform and communicating in textual form,” says Peter Stephens, Chief Technical Officer at the TMC.
“It’s a simpler way to communicate and it keeps users happy and is a huge revenue benefit for the TMC,” adds Stephens. SAM will allow a TMC to re-deploy staff on more complex trips and for the corporate it takes away complexity by sending push messages that remind them of visa applications, travel times to an airport, notification of what time to leave and so on. Not far away will be the ability to book a simple point-to-point journey utilising NLP (Natural Language Programming) to translate what can be an ambiguous request by text into a relevant response. “It’s a nut we’re nearly cracking,” says Stephens. Currently SAM is a combination of light automation with a human behind it. The key will be to send travellers information relevant to them at a particular time, like the number of the carousel to collect their luggage as they’re going through security. The type of notifications can be personalised to each client and trials have proved popular. Lola is a consumer-facing mobile app from Paul English, the co-founder of Kayak, with customer service at its heart. It too has a real person at the end of the line, for the moment. “It’s massively resource-intensive to provide service to a corporate as a TMC,” says Travelport’s Conway, who thinks Lola will turn into a chatbot once adoption rates are high enough. Ultimately, future travel bookings are likely to go off piste as more disruptors enter a marketplace ripe for change. “If travellers are entirely comfortable, they won’t hesitate to book through an app,” says Conway.
Cost savings and satisfied employees. HRS supports you along the whole value chain of hotel booking.
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Vice President of Travel & Hospitality Europe, DataArt
Charlotte Lamp Davies DataArt's Charlotte Lamp Davies discusses the latest trends in travel technology with Benjamin Coren
n the rapidly evolving world of travel technology the ability to adapt, develop and spot new trends is perhaps the most valuable skill of all. It is a quality that DataArt’s Charlotte Lamp Davies has in abundance, as the list of major tech players she has worked with would attest: Google, Microsoft, lastminute.com, Skyscanner and Amadeus, among others. “With technology you have to react fast. Every day there is something new,” she says. “And the business travel sector is the most focused on bringing in new technology. There are many smaller, new players grabbing a piece of the market as their technology is more advanced.” To many they are known collectively as 'disruptors' but in fact the work they are doing promotes innovation in technology, pushing it forward, and the benefits are being seen in the business travel sector.
The business travel sector is the most focused on bringing in new technology and there are many new players entering the market” 20
“Smaller companies tend to come from other industries where they have seen a gap in the travel market. These organisations are niche and not bureaucratic – they test to see if something is a good idea, but they also abandon quickly and move forward very fast,”. DataArt, a global technology consultancy that designs and develops software solutions, entered the business travel market only a few years ago, with the big TMCs all investing heavily in new technology, says Lamp Davies. “We are certainly seeing more uptake and investment in technology and we operate as a consultancy as they migrate from legacy systems to new technology,” she explains. She cites software like WayBlazer, provided by IBM, which analyses traveller habits and offers personalised recommendations. Visit Orlando and Thomson have already trialed it and reported fantastic customer feedback. “It’s adding more to the travel agent's role, streamlining many processes for the current and next generations.” Another example is chatbot app, Lola, which connects customers with teams of travel agents for on-the-go advice. “We are working with customers to implement these particular technologies, though details are currently under wraps,” says Lamp Davies. She moved to London from her native Denmark 26 years ago, taking on a number
of high-profile sales and marketing roles before moving into the travel technology arena. She joined DataArt four years ago in a position created to develop the company's travel and hospitality practices work in Europe. “My role is about understanding the synergies between our existing markets and the new ones we are moving in to. When I joined there were 800 people in the company. Today, DataArt employs 2,200 people across 20 locations worldwide – it’s been phenomenal growth.” One area of particular attention for the company in the year ahead is likely to be cyber security, says Lamp Davies. “The focus right now on this is growing. Today, we have access to more data and information than we have ever had access to before. We’re looking at ways in which all this information should be accessed and shared. We ask for more information to service our clients better but the more we have, the more we have to lose.” She points to the finance sector as a good place to look in terms of data protection and the technology that is in place to facilitate these needs. “The sector is very security-driven and we try to learn from that in travel. When clients ask us what technology to include it’s great that we can relate to DataArt's finance practice which has a few more years of experience in these areas,” Lamp Davies explains.
in brief... Do you have a typical working day? “There isn’t a typical working day for me. It really depends on whether I’m in London or preparing for meetings and overseas trips, taking clients to our development centres. This is one of my favourite aspects of the job. We have centres predominantly in Eastern Europe, Buenos Aires, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, with headquarters in New York, where there are further development centres.” Tell us about some of your favourite travel destinations? “I love the Middle East. I’m fascinated by the history and I’m fascinated by the heat of that part of the world in the desert. I’ve travelled and worked in the Middle East a lot in my life and I’m mesmerised by how rich the culture is. I’ve travelled most of my life and I think it was only a matter of time before I ended up working in the industry. My love of travel is something I am passing onto my children. It makes you explore aspects of yourself that otherwise you would not discover.“
CHARLOTTE LAMP DAVIES Charlotte Lamp Davies is Vice President of Travel & Hospitality Europe for DataArt, the global technology consultancy. A multi-linguist and passionate proponent of innovative travel technologies, Charlotte joined DataArt in 2012, having previously worked with a number of big names including Expedia, Thomas Cook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. She has worked across several industries including international media, oil and petrochemicals, before moving to the travel sector.
Do you have any hidden talents you can share with us? “I am a trained opera singer! I trained at a young age in Denmark before leaving for London when I was 24. Although I work in the travel technology sector my passion for the theatre remains strong.”
THE PEOPLE AWARDS
meet the winner
Helen Gordon was named Operations Manager of the Year at The People Awards 2016. She tells us about her role and what winning the accolade means to her Tell us a little about your career in the travel industry My career in travel started when I was 18 and I worked in the groups and reservations department at British Airways. From there, I moved to American Express, World Travel Management (now Egencia) and Expotel (now Capita), before joining ATPI as an operations manager in Aberdeen five years ago. I’ve now been in the travel industry for over 30 years! Since May 2016 I have worked as the assistant head of UK operations. This role involves working closely with the head of UK operations and the head of training to ensure we deliver a great performance throughout our business in all our UK locations. We look at team development, coaching and technology training to allow us to plan ahead. What do you particularly enjoy about your role? It gives me the opportunity to work across all of the ATPI Group’s brands, which means I am not only always learning but also contributing to the future of the group. And what has winning the award meant The company’s appetite to always achieve for your career? great things and its focus on innovation are Winning the accolade has allowed me to two of the things that I love. My progress further within the company. own career is a testament One of the key things that I have to a culture that allows learnt is that development, The People Awards passionate people coaching and training recognise outstanding with a goal and programmes are imperative individuals and teams within vision to flourish. to the ongoing success of and across all aspects of the any business, benefitting supplier element of corporate How did you feel both the customers and travel management whose about winning staff. I’ve always seen professionalism and business excellence make them stand out an accolade at change as an opportunity from their industry peers. The People and I can’t wait to see what Entries for The People Awards? the future holds. Awards 2017 are Winning the award now open was recognition not THE PEOPLE AWARDS 2017 only of my experience but Entries are now open for The the commitment I have made People Awards 2017 with nominations to the ATPI Group in a role that continues to welcome across 17 categories. For more allow me to learn and develop. information see thepeopleawards.co.uk. 22
Development, coaching and training programmes are imperative to the ongoing success of any business, benefitting both the staff and the customers”
The stands out from the crowd? 2017 nominations now open Recognising excellence in business travel
Recognising excellence in business travel
The People Awards are your chance to pay tribute to those in the business travel industry whose professionalism and excellence help them really stand out from their peers. The winners of The People Awards are individuals and teams who are judged to be outstanding performers in their field, with an emphasis on recognising winners that are leading the business travel sector into the future. Nominations now open If you’d like to enter The 2017 People Awards or would like to nominate someone you know or work with, simply visit thepeopleawards.co.uk. The closing date for entries is February 28.
Awards ceremony The People Awards will be presented at a celebratory lunch on Friday May 26 at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London.
The 2017 People Awards are now open for nominations in the following categories: Travel Management Companies and Hotel Booking Agencies • Reservations Consultant of the Year • Reservations Team of the Year • Operations Manager of the Year • Operations Team of the Year • Account Manager of the Year • Account Management • Team of the Year • Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year • Sales/Business Development Team of the Year
Suppliers (air, accommodation, ground transportation, online booking tools, GDS, data management services) • Account Manager of the Year • Account Management Team of the Year • Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year • Sales/Business Development Team of the Year MICE (NEW FOR 2017) • Meetings and Events Manager of the year • Meetings & Events Team of the year Industry Awards • Outstanding Achievement Award • Rising Star Award Nominate now! thepeopleawards.co.uk
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believe that only government legislation will encourage companies to make a stronger commitment to greener business travel. Over the last ten years we have encouraged clients to use sustainability initiatives such as carbon emissions tracking tools but the vast majority of businesses show little or no interest in implementing options to help them track and reduce their carbon footprint. The focus for the vast majority of our clients remains firmly on keeping costs down. The means to achieve greener travel are in place but businesses have to actually start reporting on their carbon footprint to assess how they can reduce it. That said, we believe companies will only take this matter more seriously if the government introduces appropriate legislation. One trend we have noted is increasing demand for flights on the fuel efficient Airbus A380 and Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. However, this is driven by the more comfortable flight experience they provide rather than their greener credentials – the average traveller is quite unaware of the research and development that has gone into these more environmentally friendly aircraft. For now, it seems companies will continue to ask about greener travel when they put their travel management needs out to tender but it’s more of a box-ticking gesture and they rarely follow up on it. Let’s hope that this starts changing soon and companies start taking more positive action.
The focus for the vast majority of our clients remains firmly on keeping costs down” Scott Pawley
CATHERINE MCGAVOCK Global Business Travel Association, Regional Vice President, EMEA
ompanies are absolutely taking their environmental responsibilities seriously – having a sustainable travel programme is no longer just a ‘nice to do’. A requirement for greater transparency from stakeholders, staff and customers, linked to a growth in UK and EU legislation, is making it a ‘must do’ instead. A 2016 GBTA member survey of buyers and suppliers revealed two-thirds viewed sustainability as at least somewhat important to their companies’ purchasing decisions (67%) and their companies’ travel choices (64%). Another GBTA survey of European business travel buyers showed that over 57% of European companies have sustainability initiatives in their company’s travel policy, and 52% think the topic is more important than two years ago. Responding to member wants and needs, GBTA recently launched an updated Sustainability in Travel SelfAssessment Tool that helps organisations identify strengths and weaknesses in their travel programme as it relates to sustainability. The new tool provides recommendations and will identify specific resources for improving or implementing sustainability initiatives for corporate travel programmes. It can transform the entire process of planning and implementing a robust environmentally sensitive travel programme. All the signs we are seeing point to the growing importance of sustainability in the business travel industry.
Are we taking our environmental responsibilities seriously? Senior figures from a TMC and a leading travel association have their say
Over 57% of European companies have sustainability initiatives in their travel policy” Catherine McGavock
St. Erminâ€™s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW
MEET THE BUYER
AMBIKA AGGARWAL Ambika Aggarwal is Travel Coordinator and Product Team Assistant at footwear specialist Fitflop. She explains what her diverse role entails I’ve been working for Fitflop for 18 months as the Travel Coordinator and Product Team Assistant. I have a degree in hospitality and tourism management and gained experience in both leisure and business travel during 2.5 years with Flight Centre before heading off travelling. Fitflop was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore. We create the world’s most addictive ergonomic footwear, using world-class design, a splash of fashion, and an innovating mix of beauty, brains and biomechanics! Fitflop employs over 200 permanent staff globally, over half of which are based here in the UK. We have roughly 75 travellers of whom 50 travel regularly. I am responsible for arranging all longhaul travel from the UK and also from our US office. I also work very closely with our Hong Kong office for the arrangement of travel out of Asia. As well as booking travel I also manage the relationships with our suppliers and TMC. My other responsibilities include assisting the Product Director and wider product team. I support with diary management, expenses, team bonding and internal events. I also make recommendations for cost efficiencies.
I have a close relationship with our other travel arrangers. They feel comfortable coming to me with any question, big or small. I’ve also created a ‘travel tips’ page on our Yammer site, which is a fantastic way to share "I love to cook up a mess and information.
OUT OF THE OFFICE
We have nine employees globally force my culinary creations upon who are authorised to others! I also revel in playing board As a global fashion book travel on behalf games and love to explore new of others, most of brand, staff regularly places – Sri Lanka, Vietnam whom are EAs. They fly between our London and Iceland being my current predominantly book shortheadquarters and our top three" haul travel for their direct four other offices around reports while I focus on all longthe world. Hong Kong and New haul and more complex bookings York are our most popular routes. where the potential to save money They also travel to meet distributors and is greater. suppliers, for trade shows, fashion shows
I’m looking forward to receiving our TMC's new booking tool later in the year. We expect it to drive up numbers for online bookings and therefore reduce our fees” and photo shoots. Recent locations featuring in our advertising and marketing include Miami and the South of France. Airfares, most of which are long-haul flights, account for roughly 50% of our total travel spend. With Fitflop sales growing worldwide, our travel needs are set to grow even further. In the UK we work with a TMC which provides us with an online booking tool. It allows employees to self-book their domestic/short haul, point-to-point travel. I’m looking forward to receiving our TMC's new tool later in the year. We expect it to drive up numbers for online bookings and therefore also reduce our fees. We have a travel policy in place but due to the growth of the company over the past couple years we are currently in the process of revamping it. One of our biggest challenges is getting people to plan and confirm their trips in advance. The majority of international travel is booked within three weeks of departure. The ones that are booked well ahead of time often end up changing at the last minute and therefore cancelling out the benefits of advance booking and causing twice as much work!
TAKING OFF Portland, Oregon, has been tipped for big things in 2017. It has a fast-growing economy and was named in both Lonely Planetâ€™s Best in Travel 2017 Top Ten Cities and the New York Timesâ€™ prestigious 52 Places to Go in 2017 list. Timely, therefore, is the launch of the first-ever flights between the UK and Portland this summer. Delta Air Lines' new seasonal service from London Heathrow commences on May 26.
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MONEY Integrated payment solutions provide transparency and control, says Catherine Chetwynd, who looks at the latest corporate card developments
hether it's traditional plastic, virtual, lodge or pre-paid, corporate cards play a vital role in providing data, control and visibility in travel and expense management systems (EMS). But however well integrated, they are not a standalone product: “Technology only works if organisations have the right policies and processes in place,” says Commercial Director UK & Ireland for AirPlus, Jon Fox. “However, a corporate card, integrated into a robust, omni-channel expense management system, drives down fraud and human input errors, improves completion of expenses in a timely fashion, and raises compliance and governance,” he says. Corporate cards provide centralised, standardised transaction data and, depending on the product, detail beyond date, supplier and value. “Business travel managers can use this increased visibility to negotiate terms with preferred suppliers to provide significant cost savings,” says Alan Gillies, Vice President, UK Sales, Commercial Payments UK, American Express. Cards also make the process easier for employees and restrictions can be put on their use – cards can be blocked for
certain merchant categories such as department stores, for example. In addition, mandating use of a TMC ensures that data is captured centrally and removes the need to submit expenses manually.
Virtual cards is the space to watch right now as their use can be closely defined. “Virtual cards are evolving from restriction by broad merchant category code to definition by merchant name,” says Head of Wholesale Cards for Citi, Steve Robson. This brings detailed data: “We have the ability to offer data based on spending – where, what, is it rising, falling, where top travellers are spending, how that compares to the previous year’s spend. This is significant for our large multinational clients who have some of their people on planes all the time,” he says. Virtual cards also provide considerable security. They have an underlying, unchanging card number and every time a user wants to make a payment, he or she generates a new one-off virtual card number, which is linked to the main card, whose number is never revealed. The unique number can be predicated on any number of controls – a specific payment, expiry date, sum defined to the last 20p –
ensuring that once it has been used to fulfil those things, it becomes extinct. As a result, there is very little fraud attached to use of virtual cards. And Citi is about to raise the game: “We are working on a new version of a virtual card with 29 data fields. This allows users to include reconciliation data with a specific payment such as who is buying, the cost centre, the purpose and more. Clients can offload that information from our system into reconciliation tools and have incredibly strong data levels,” says Robson. Virtual cards also have widespread uses. Low-cost carriers, which are largely not on GDS, are a prime example, as are temporary or contract staff, who may not qualify for a credit card but still need to pay for hotels. In addition, “They are especially well-suited to remote transactions in locations where card security might be at risk or the supplier is unproven,” says Marketing Director for Diners Club International UK, Adrian Steele. “And there are sectors where the benefits of virtual cards have yet to be realised, including meetings and events, and corporate ad hoc spending,” he adds. Close definition is not the only option and HRG’s Group Marketing Director, John Harvey, says the TMC has a broader vision for the future: “We see them as a way to
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THE TRAVEL COMPANION
virtua l i n teg rat io n
Sabre’s integration of Sabre Virtual Payments (SVP) into Sabre Red Workspace, used by 425,000 travel agents, is indicative of a trend to integrate virtual cards into the travel payments industry. SVP Red App uses Conferma virtual card number (VCN) booking and settlement technology and Corporate Travel Management UK (CTM) has spent the past 12 months beta testing SVP. The TMC has implemented the suite of Conferma products and rolled out Sabre SVP throughout its operation to allow VCNs to be raised and deployed for hotels. The integrated, secure payment facility ensures hotel payments during a trip are easier to manage, as is the expense reconciliation process. On completion of a hotel booking in Sabre, CTM consultants are notified to set up a Billback payment in the form of a singleuse virtual card, created with unique card number, expiry date and CVV. Card information is then securely passed to the relevant hotel and payment is made via the VCN at the time of stay. Bookings and payments are automatically matched in the reconciliation tool. “Previously, reconciliation could take up to two weeks and this has been reduced to two days,” says Director of Innovation & Smart Working for CTM UK, Averil Hooper. Travel managers also gain visibility of hotel payment with clean, consistent data in one place. “And SVP drives policy compliance, as the VCN includes only allowable expenses on payment confirmations to merchants within the authorised value,” she says.
enable clients to capture total trip costs because a unique number could be issued for a trip rather than just an element of that trip,” he says. For example, it could pay for a trip to New York, including air fare, hotel, ground transport and parking. “So it might be better to issue a personal card for the individual traveller and, for a trip to New York, you could issue a virtual card with a credit limit of £5,000, which gives plenty of headroom for all the things a traveller needs but still with some restrictions on suppliers and the date range in which it is valid,” he says. Education, training and raising awareness in both travellers and hoteliers would play an important role. Virtual cards also overcome an inherent problem with lodge cards, whose data is sketchy. A statement of air fares bought on a lodge card might show Derek Smith, D. Smith, Mr Smith, Mr D Smith or D Smith Mr. Even with the transaction dates, travel managers could struggle to marry up the information with the individual or cost centre. However, as a central means of paying for travel, as opposed to the vagaries of numerous corporate cards, lodge cards have a strong role in corporate life. “While lodge cards continue to be popular, and in some sectors are increasing in popularity, the long-term view is that a lot of central travel accounts could be replaced by virtual card,” says John Harvey. AirPlus’s lodge card is a UATP, largely used for flights. It provides detailed data, including employee identification, which is especially valuable for large companies that need to reclaim for unused air tickets, for example. The company’s A.I.D.A. is a virtual card with a particularly strong security feature: “Should a single virtual card be compromised, the corporate or TMC does not need to get a new account with us, whereas with some others, a compromise of the virtual card would mean comprise of their entire system,” says Jon Fox.
Touch and go
Given that payment by mobile involves near field communication (NFC) or touch payment, this is an area some card providers are looking at. “The first stop will be contactless on our cards,” says Citi’s Steve Robson, who does not yet see much demand for Apple or Samsung Pay functionality. Mobile wallets are, however, on the radar.
Lodge cards remain popular but the long-term view is that a lot of central travel accounts could be replaced by virtual card” “Digital wallets will enable a number of new services for travellers, including dynamic emergency card replacement and virtual cards issued specifically for individual trips or payments,” says Head of Commercials, Mastercard UK & Ireland, Kelly Devine. Barclaycard is able to issue single-use virtual cards through a mobile device and with required controls and American Express is integrated with them, including Samsung, Apple and Android Pay. “Increasingly, the travelling population is made up of millennials who are tech savvy and expect to be able to do everything on their smartphones, from searching through paying to uploading expense receipts. The more integrated your solution, the greater adoption you’ll get from your travel and expense programme,” says Barclaycard Commercial Payments' Maria Parpou.
The devil in the details
In December 2015, interchange fees (IF) were capped on consumer cards to 30 basis points of the merchant fee or 0.3%. For commercial cards, the average amount is 175 basis points or 1.75%. These are paid by acquiring banks such as Visa and
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Mastercard to card-issuing banks like Barclays, HSBC, Citi. The legislation was introduced by the EC, which believes that competition between acquirers to attract issuers lead to escalating Interchange Fees (IFs), bringing rising Merchant Service Charges (MSCs), which are passed on to customers. However, the interchange fees that issuers earn also pay for innovation, fraud management and credit risk management, suggesting all these may be compromised. It also means that where providers using Visa and Mastercard are now regulated with capped IFs, American Express, which is acquirer and provider, will remain uncapped. There is, however, a grey area. Where cardholders are paying corporate card bills out of their personal bank account and then reclaiming it from their employer, the UK Payment System Regulator (PRS) views that as consumer spend, with a capped IF. This brings a downside for corporates, who often use rebates, predicated on interchange fees, to offset the cost of running travel programmes. Many companies are now – with varying degrees of success – trying to move away from the cardholder paying the bill and being reimbursed, to central payment. But as Diners’ Adrian Steele points out: “We have yet to see clear evidence of the demise of surcharges for card payment or the trickle down of reduced interchange costs in supplier pricing.” In fact, British Airways is now passing those fees on to the client: “This is my biggest concern,” says the global head of travel operations for a major bank. “To me it is a cost of doing business which they should bear, not pass on to corporates.”
W h o o ff e rs w h at
• AirPlus – Company Account (lodge card), corporate cards, A.I.D.A. Virtual Payment • American Express – corporate card, corporate purchasing card, corporate meeting card, dollar and euro cards, lodge card, vPayment (virtual card) • Barclaycard Global Commercial Payments – Barclaycard Corporate Card, Barclaycard Purchasing Card, Barclaycard Precisionpay (virtual card), Barclaycard Tracker (virtual card used for hotel payments), Barclaycard Travel Management Account (virtual account used for airline payments), Barclaycard Fuel+, Barclaycard Prepaid • Diner’s Card – Travel Account (lodge, including virtual card capability) corporate card, Trainline Statement Account (credit account for SMEs using trainline.com), General Expenses Account (virtual card) • Mastercard – Central Travel Solution lodge card, Mastercard in Control virtual card
Next on the cards
Citi has invested considerably in improving the cardholder experience, with emphasis on a digital strategy. Cardholders can now receive alerts to their mobile or email to tell them they are getting close to their credit limit or that their card needs renewing. Clients can also choose or view their pin online. In addition, an administrator can set up a temporary credit limit online.
Diners Club International has launched an enhanced virtual card solution, a companion card programme that enables 100% global acceptance for all its accounts, a purchasing account solution, and has invested in a re-invention of the traditional charge card that will be introduced during 2017. American Express has introduced some digital expense management tools to drive use of corporate cards and to improve productivity. Its TripCase app enables cardholders to manage travel itineraries and see card benefits embedded in their TripCase itineraries. Barclaycard added pre-paid card capability in December 2016 to PrecisionPay, which uses virtual charge cards with flexible settlement dates. It sees development of tokenisation, e-wallets, mobile and invisible payments as part of the future. With a twin emphasis on technological developments and improved user experience, corporate cards are revving up for a new incarnation that makes them as compelling to the user as they are to the travel manager. Filing expense returns may soon cease to be a burden, even if it’s not yet fun.
engineering a solution
An engineering and project management company outsources its travel handling to a facilities management organisation. Air and overseas hotel stays are charged to an American Express single use, virtual card, and only a handful of senior staff have corporate cards. Otherwise, due to the number and level of travelling employees (5,500) corporate cards are not viable. “I think paying for hotels on billback helps with compliance – 95% on hotels – because travellers only get that if they go through the TMC, Capita,” says the senior supply chain manager for the facilities company. “And air needs to be booked through the TMC to go on the American Express account, otherwise they have to pay for it themselves, so on air, we have 99% compliance. “We get a lot of detail from the lodge card and we need that because every line might be going to a different project in the client.”
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[ CLIMATE CHANGE ]
HEATING UP Sweeping political change could put the brakes on the positive environmental initiatives of the future, says Roger Gardner
obody would doubt that 2016 was a year of shocks and surprises. With the momentous implications of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, you might be forgiven for overlooking how our climate and environment may be affected. Let's start with the worrying statement from the World Meteorological Organisation that “2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record and new high for a third year in a row”. So this is certainly not a good time for environmental issues to be sidelined, as is often the case when governments and business are preoccupied with political, economic and social issues. It seems certain that the Trump White House will cancel or row back on many of the pro-environmental policies of the Obama era – such as the Clean Power Act – and the UN Paris Climate accord is at serious risk of being undermined. If the reported views of the climate denier Donald Trump are to be believed, worse may be ahead with the appointment of climate change sceptic, Scott Pruitt, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Will the position this side of the Atlantic be able to counterbalance that negative shift? Probably not. Europe has major political problems at present with migration, terrorism, security and economic instability that push sustainability down the priority list. Add Brexit to that mix and there is
real uncertainty about the fate of environmental protection. Doubtless the Brussels machine will continue to push sustainability policies but with the UK already losing influence, our pro-environmental stance will likely have an effect upon Europe’s ability to drive improvements. Moreover, a rearguard action may be needed to try and preserve the international integrity of the Paris Accord if the US reneges. Business and industry sustainability strategy and performance is hugely influenced by the words and actions of governments and it is clear that these will be mixed at best over the coming year or two. And business risks, in terms of probability and impact, are still impacted by climate and environment. Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, has previously called climate change “the tragedy on the horizon” when talking to the insurance industry and we can expect that the ‘locked in’ warming will doubtless see some of that tragedy come to pass in our life time. How very important it therefore is that business takes the environmental agenda by the scruff of the neck and makes it its own. The business travel industry is reliant upon activities that are fairly carbon intensive yet
new technologies, innovative practices and social capital abound to improve the sector’s sustainability performance. Many companies in the sector are part of international groups or at least operate internationally so there is scope for UK travel management companies and travel service providers to be beacons for good practice and exemplars of corporate responsibility. Great progress has been made by the business travel sector in bringing sustainability in to the boardroom but, as we embark upon 2017, the vision of business leaders will be needed as never before to challenge governments to keep the faith. If the trend of ever warmer years continues, let the business travel community be able to hold its CSR head up. It must show by its actions that controlling climate emissions really matters not least as a commitment to the wellbeing of future generations.
A taste for adventure
BEN FOGLE The TV presenter and adventurer talks to Angela Sara West about his extreme expeditions, relentless travels and latest projects
en Fogle's appetite for adventure has seen him tackle some of the most hostile environments on earth. He’s survived extreme climes, tropical diseases (requiring chemotherapy) and being bitten by a rabid dog. His exploits have seen him racing across the Antarctic to the South Pole, swimming with crocodiles Down Under, running marathons in the Sahara desert, climbing volcanoes and flying fighter jets – who'd have thought this adrenaline junkie had a fear of heights? Fronting programmes including New Lives in the Wild, Fogle films extensively abroad and, as a special correspondent for NBC News, he reports from all over the world. “I travel weekly for work and most of my filming commitments are overseas. I spend a great deal of time in the US for NBC. From Mongolia to Scotland to Abu Dhabi... I never tire of travel. Each trip brings fresh
Seeing a place through the eyes of a local makes for an immersive, magical and possibly once-in-a-lifetime travel experience” 44
experiences, new people and different cultures. I’m very lucky to do what I do.” Fogle’s epic challenges have also included rowing across the Atlantic with James Cracknell, setting the British pairs record. What motivates him to attempt such feats? “Learning and discovering. I like to push my own boundaries, both mental and physical,” he says, and reveals he keeps fit by running wherever he can. “It’s a great way to discover new places, to get lost in a city. I have run just about everywhere in the world.” A more sedate project of late is the creation of a series of active shore excursions for Celebrity Cruises. They include cycling, swimming and kayaking in Croatia, a wildlife encounter snorkelling with Norwegian salmon, a Sicilian gastronomic tour and a fast-paced boat ride through the Stockholm archipelago. “Whether discovering a destination through food, nature, architecture or cultural heritage, I hope they help people to explore and get out of their comfort zone,” he says. “Seeing a place through the eyes of a local makes for an immersive, possibly once-in-a-lifetime, magical experience.” With the whole world his playground, Fogle recommends Italy for food, Iceland for night life, New Zealand for wine, Botswana for a warm welcome and Bolivia for culture. His favourite hotels include Oxford’s Malmaison (a former prison), Portugal’s Hotel Farol in Caiscais and Antigua’s Carlisle Bay, while his
favourite restaurant is Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner. For pure escapism, he heads to Cornwall, the Outer Hebrides or Austria. Fogle says he knows all the tricks for fast-tracking through airports and advises packing light. “I only ever travel with hand luggage. I don't think you can travel as frequently as I do if you have bugbears. I often fly twice a week. You have to sit back and embrace the whole thing. The more relaxed you are, the more you'll get from the experience,” he believes. “Assume the journey is all part of the adventure,” Fogle advises. “To avoid jet lag, switch your clock to the time at your destination as soon as you board the plane and stay awake until night time.” He says travelling has taught him both patience and resourcefulness. “I got caught in Ethiopia during Iceland’s volcanic eruption. To get home, I ended up flying from Addis Ababa to Beirut, then taking a boat to Italy, where I got a taxi to Paris and then Eurostar. It took three days and cost me a fortune, but I made it home two weeks ahead of everyone else stuck in Egypt.” Fogle names British Airways and Air New Zealand among his favourite airlines but, with all his travelling, does he worry about his carbon footprint? “I do, and I try to offset it as often as I can.” So are there any destinations still on his wish-list? “Space, Madagascar and Easter Island… in no particular order,” he says.
BEN FOGLE Ben Fogle’s highly-acclaimed series Through Hell and High Water won a prestigious RTS award. He has also written six Sunday Times Bestseller books. Further details can be found at benfogle.com. He is an ambassador for WWF, Médecins Sans Frontières, Tusk, Centrepoint and the Prince’s Trust. He is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and patron of The Royal Parks Foundation.
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T H E
L O W D O W N
COMPANIES PAYING TWICE FOR EXTRAS
IN BRIEF Twice the risk
Risk management specialist iJet International has officially acquired Red24, a London-based, publicly held company in the same arena. “Red24 is well aligned with our growth strategy and service offerings, making this acquisition a great win for iJet and Red24’s clients,” says Bruce McIndoe, CEO of iJet International.
Door to door
Users of KDS Neo can now access a network of over 15,000 executive vehicles across 3,000 cities following a partnership with TBR Global Chauffeuring. Neo is currently used by over two million business travellers in 60 countries and says the latest addition boosts its door-to-door offering.
Payments provider AirPlus International has signed an agreement to acquire BCC Corporate (BCCC), the Belgian Visa and MasterCard corporate card issuer, and subsidiary of Alpha Card Group. The deal is part of AirPlus' growth strategy in Europe based on virtual and mobile payment solutions.
Demand for air travel gathers momentum DEMAND for air travel is at its strongest for almost a year according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Overall capacity worldwide was up 6.5% year-on-year in its latest ﬁgures, with load factors rising 0.8% to 78.9%. “Stronger demand for air travel reﬂects – and is supporting – a pick-up in the global economic cycle,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “As the stimulus eﬀect of lower oil prices recedes in the rear view mirror, the strength of the economic cycle will play a key role in the pace of demand growth in 2017.” IATA says an 8.3% increase in demand and 6.3% rise in capacity in Europe suggests that disruption caused by terrorism and political instability has lifted.
[ MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS]
Travel safety training specialist beTravelwise is shining a spotlight on the threats facing female corporate travellers when abroad. It has launched a new travel safety presentation that details some of the potential scenarios facing female travellers and offers practical advice for dealing with risks safely and effectively.
A LACK of communication between businesses and employees results in companies often paying twice for previously negotiated extras. A study conducted by the GBTA and HRS said businesses should make more eﬀort explaining travel policy at all stages of the booking process. It was found that wiﬁ access is already included in the hotel rate in 89% of cases but more than a ﬁfth of business travellers (22%) also pay for the service on-site.
>> GRAY DAWES has snapped up two companies in a move that takes its annual turnover past £100million. The Essex-based company has acquired both TRAVEL MANAGEMENT GROUP and CAMBRIDGE BUSINESS TRAVEL >> REED & MACKAY has boosted its US presence with the acquisition of Chicago-based GRAY’S TRAVEL MANAGEMENT. The deal follows a recent round of investment from private equity house Inﬂexion >> Bradfordbased REDFERN TRAVEL has been acquired by Australian travel provider CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT as it bolsters its expanding global footprint. The deal puts CTM among the top ten biggest travel management companies in the UK
experiencing higher prices post-Brexit vote
A small number of UK businesses, 16%, claim to be experiencing rising travel prices since the country's vote to leave the European Union. But the vast majority, 80%, said it is simply business as usual in a BTS survey of buyers
T H E
IN BRIEF Lounge for longer
Travellers who book airport lounge access at executivelounges.com can now take advantage of Guaranteed Delay Cover. Available to those who make an Aspire or Swissport lounge booking, the cover allows delayed passengers to remain in the lounge until their flight is ready to board at no extra cost. The operator runs lounges across 16 UK airports and 23 international locations.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Solutions Group says businesses could reduce travel over-spend by up to 15% simply by enforcing existing corporate travel policies. Its white paper, Behaviour Management: a new way to think about an old problem, focuses on the challenges of travel policy compliance and how to influence the behaviour of travellers, and advocates a four-stage process: analyse, educate, engage and compete.
L O W D O W N
Travel managers' new balancing act PRESSURE to cut costs while maintaining quality remains travel managers’ biggest challenge according to a survey in which Brexit makes its debut in fourth place on the list. An increased focus on duty of care and rising airfares occupied second and third positions in a Business Travel Show survey of travel managers. And completing the top ten issues facing buyers in 2017 are enforcing compliance, price variations between booking channels, integrating one TMC across the whole business, hotel rate management, keeping costs down and the collection and use of data. The research also revealed that 32% of buyers will have more to spend on travel in 2017 and nearly half anticipate an increase in the number of trips. Conversely, 21% have smaller budgets but only 15% expect a reduction in trips.
Prestige Hotel Reservations has unveiled a new team, brand and website to take the agency into its third decade of operation. After joining the company 12 months ago, Erica Livermore is heading up a new sales and business development team comprising Account Director Amy Bewley and Business Development Manager Samantha Cook. The company, whose clients include Siemens, DPD and Fresenius Kabi, has also shortened its name to Prestige.
BMI REGIONAL HAS PARTNERED WITH THE DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE TO SUPPORT ITS ‘EXPORTING IS GREAT’ CAMPAIGN BY OFFERING DISCOUNTS FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ACROSS ITS ROUTES. THE CAMPAIGN IS DESIGNED TO CAPITALISE ON DEMAND FOR UK EXPORTS
G T M C U P D AT E Paul Wait Chief Executive, GTMC
When the GTMC was founded in 1967, travel was a very diﬀerent beast. Air travel still had jet-set connotations and, with the roll out of Concorde’s ﬁrst prototype later that year, the combination of supersonic travel plus the advent of jumbo jets was set to shake up the world. Fast-forward ﬁve decades and the exponential growth of technology has had a dramatic impact on the way we travel to do business. Business travel has also seen huge growth, no longer the privilege of just CEOs. Laptops, tablets and smartphones are ubiquitous, and even the technophobes among us rely on these gadgets to deliver a seamless experience across all aspects of our lives. The trend towards a more ﬂexible working style is inspiring productivity, with today’s expectation for wiﬁ everywhere making us more likely than ever to spend our journey working and expecting the facilities to be available to do so. In a time when hyperpersonalisation, AI and digital wallets are set to transform the travel industry still further, there’s never been a more important time to embrace progress.
T H E
A I R
neW toolKIt desIGned to streaMlIne trICKy rFps ThE Global Business Travel
Martin, Chair of the GBTA EMEA
Association (GBTA) has launched
Aviation Committee. “The numerous
an airline RFP toolkit in a bid to
existing versions of RFPs have led to
streamline and standardise the often
inconsistency and inefficiency. This
suite of documents will ease this
The document is available to all –
to work with common standard
a revamp of an eight-year-old
across the industry.”
template. It represents shifting
europe continues to do the business AMSTERDAM, Dublin and Frankfurt are the top destinations for overseas air travel from the UK according to new data from GTMC members. Its analysis of nearly 900,000 flights booked by travel management companies in 2016 also suggests that a spate of terror attacks and last summer's Brexit vote have not dampened UK businesses' dealings in Europe – almost three-quarters of the top 20 destinations lie within the European Union. “There is a clear, heavy reliance on Europe and it's important that businesses also bear in mind the key international growth areas further afield,” says Paul Wait, CEO of the GTMC. “Southeast Asia is a prime example as a region ripe for business opportunities too.”
Kim Kaye, Chair of the GBTA North
industry trends, says the GBTA, and
American Aviation Committee, adds,
the evolution of ancillary services,
“It was incredibly important for us to
fuel surcharges and distribution fees,
create a standard document that
among other developments.
could drive consistency in the RFP
“Far too often, buyers and suppliers
process across the industry and
spend countless hours editing
across the globe.” The toolkit can
proposals to fit their needs,” says Jörg
be downloaded at gbta.org.
flybe STepS iN wiTh New ServiceS from heAThrow FLyBE will operate flights from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh for the first time this spring. The carrier will oﬀer more than 40 scheduled flights a week from March 26, complementing its existing London City operation to the Scottish cities. The airline will use slots which became available following the demise of Virgin's Little Red venture. Fares start at £39.99 one-way including taxes and charges.
[ TAKING OFF ] SINGAPORE AIRLINES has introduced Airbus A350 aircraft on its non-stop routes from Manchester Airport to Singapore and Houston – the first commercial A350 services from the airport >> BMI REGIONAL is creating a new hub at Birmingham airport, launching services to Graz, Austria (twice weekly Mon-Fri from February 27), Nuremburg, Germany (from May 8) and Gothenburg, Sweden (from May 8) >> STOBART AIR is adding 12 new destinations from London Southend Airport in May through its franchise agreement with Flybe. The additional destinations include Cologne, Budapest, Milan, Vienna, Prague and Lyon >> AIR INDIA has moved from London Heathrow's Terminal 4 to join fellow Star Alliance member airlines at its Terminal 2 hub
complicated task by setting an easy
not just GBTA members – and marks
76 million passengers at Heathrow
Heathrow celebrated 70 years of history as 'Britain’s front door' in 2016 by welcoming a record 76 million passengers. Around 40% of long-haul passengers travelled on cleaner and quieter new generation aircraft such as Airbus A380s, A350s and Boeing 787s, up from 25% in 2015
T H E
A I R
Cathay boosts uk schedule
IN BRIEF Into Ireland
Qatar Airways is to introduce a daily service between Dublin and Doha from June 12. Operated by a B787 Dreamliner, the aircraft will offer 232 seats in its economy cabin and 22 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have begun trials to offer high-quality internet on short-haul operations. The airlines, which have both offered connectivity on their long-haul flights for some time, will each now trial the service on five A320 aircraft in Europe.
Three of Gatwick Airport’s biggest carriers switched terminals at the end of January. EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic now operate solely from the North Terminal, while British Airways flights are now based at the South Terminal.
Lufthansa has acquired 100% of Brussels Airlines by purchasing the outstanding shares. Brussels Airlines will continue to operate its 23 long-haul destinations and 79 destinations within Europe under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group.
Gulf Air has revamped its Falcon Corporate Programmes for both businesses and employees, offering competitive fares, discounted rates and exclusive benefits for corporates.
QANTAS will introduce the first non-stop service between London and Australia in 2018 by deploying B787 Dreamliner aircraft on flights to Perth
Cathay Pacific will increase its Gatwick-Hong Kong operation to a daily service in June and introduce a fifth weekly flight from Manchester to its Asian hub. The latter will also become an all A350-900 operation. The enhanced services come hot on the heels of innovation at Heathrow, where the airline has opened a new-look lounge in Terminal 3 – its first outside Hong Kong to have separate first and business class areas. The renovated lounge is 30% larger than its predecessor and has floor-to-ceiling windows with views across the airport's northerly runway. It also features a full-service bar, eight shower suites and The Bureau for those who need somewhere to work. It is open to First and Business Class passengers, Silver or above Marco Polo Club members, and Sapphire or above oneworld members.
UK airports among best performing
Expansion on the agenda AT Norwegian
NEWCASTLE and Birmingham airports are among the top airports in the world for on-time performance, each achieving a rating of over 90 per cent in 2016. The research from OAG saw Newcastle crowned the best performer globally in the small airport category (2.5-5 million departing seats per annum) while Birmingham took the top spot in the medium-sized airport category (5-10 million). Liverpool also appeared in the top 20 in the small airports category, but no UK airports made the top 20 in the large airport category (10-20 million) – which was topped by Surabaya – nor the major airport category (20 million+). The latter was topped by Tokyo Haneda, with Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis airports completing the top five.
LOW-COST airline Norwegian is gearing up for a series of key developments in 2017 including new transatlantic routes and the debut of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The airline will become the first in Europe to fly the new single-aisle aircraft which it looks set to deploy on new routes from UK cities to the US east coast. It is also poised to announce details of its first non-US long-haul routes.
R O O M
R E P O R T
BEST WESTERN'S NEW CAMPAIGN DOES 'BUSINESS DIFFERENT'
CitizenM lines up four openings THE citizenM hotel group will open four new hotels this year following its ﬂagship London openings in 2016. The Dutch hotel group will open the citizenM Paris La Defense this spring and the citizenM Gare de Lyon in the summer. A citizenM will open in Taipei this April and a hotel in New York’s Bowery district will follow by the year’s end. A further hotel is planned for Shanghai in 2018, with additional locations targeted across Asia and US cities such as Boston, Seattle and San Francisco. Last year it added two hotels in London, the citizenM Shoreditch and its ﬂagship and largest hotel, the citizenM Tower of London where rates start from £125. The group expects to double in size within the next ﬁve years.
THE Best Western hotel group is launching its ﬁrst promotional campaign targeting the corporate market, getting things underway at February's Business Travel Show. With 260 independently owned properties across the country, Best Western is targeting travel managers, TMCs, procurement, purchasing, travel booking and event management personnel. Its new campaign will focus on its “brilliantly diﬀerent hotels – in contrast to dull hotels in drab locations with bland, homogenised bedrooms”, says the group.
MARRIOTT UPS THE ANTE IN THE LUXURY HOTEL SECTOR MARRIOTT is on course to double its luxury hotel portfolio across eight brands following its merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The group is due to open nearly 30 luxury hotels in 2017 and has a total of 180 high-end properties in its development pipeline, including 20 new destinations for the company. This year's additions include six W Hotels including openings in Shanghai, Tel Aviv and Panama City.
[ OPENINGS & ADDITIONS ] >> The Felbridge Hotel and Spa in East Grinstead, Sussex, is rebranding as the CROWNE PLAZA FELBRIDGE >> Dominvs Hospitality has begun work on converting the former Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court into a luxury AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION BY MARRIOTT HOTEL >> The 240-room COURTYARD EDINBURGH has opened at the east end of the city's Princes Street >> The four-star MERCURE LONDON HYDE PARK HOTEL is now open for business in a historic garden square >> Germany's MARITIM HOTELS has now refurbished nearly 3,000 of its 9,680 guestrooms across the country >> MOTEL ONE will open the Motel One Manchester Royal Exchange in May, its second hotel in the city, and has secured a lease for a third hotel in Manchester
It says its properties each have their own unique character and distinctive atmosphere as well as business essentials such as speedy wiﬁ and practical meeting rooms. “We’re looking forward to showcasing our ‘Business Diﬀerent’ campaign,” says Nikki Farr, Head of Sales at Best Western GB. “Our business travel product is diﬀerent to the hotel chains where each room is the same, wherever in the world you are. Just because someone is travelling for business doesn’t mean they have to stay somewhere without personality.”
average UK room rates
The average hotel room rate in the UK fell 12% to £113 in 2016, according to the latest data from HRS. The average rate in London fell 9% to £150 but it remains the second most expensive city in Europe after Zurich (£154) and ahead of Oslo in third (£148)
R O O M
R E P O R T
I T M U P D AT E
Simone Buckley Chief Executive, ITM
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Mumbaibased Taj Hotels have formed a strategic alliance that commences in March with integration of their respective loyalty programmes. The Warmer Welcomes scheme gives members reciprocal benefits across the brands. Shangri-La has nine confirmed hotel openings in the year ahead, primarily across China.
Mal's York project
The Malmaison hotel group has received planning permission to go ahead with a multimillionpound transformation of Yorkshire House on Rougier Street in York. Work will begin later this year to develop the brand's first hotel in the city. Sister brand Hotel du Vin already has a hotel in the city.
DUKES DUBAI HAS OPENED ON THE PALM JUMEIRAH, INSPIRED BY ITS FAMOUS UK COUNTERPART, DUKES LONDON, AND BILLED AS 'AN OASIS OF LUXURY AND QUINTESSENTIAL ENGLISH CHARM'
Aloft will makes its debut in Ireland early next year with the opening of the Aloft Dublin City hotel in the historic 'Liberties' area. The hotel will comprise 202 rooms, fitness centre, deli and its signature WXYZ bar. The Aloft brand currently numbers 100 hotels across 16 countries.
Marriott International has added several flagship properties to its Luxury Collection brand, including The Wellesley and The Westbury in London. The group intends to open 12 Luxury Collection hotels globally by the end of 2017.
UK businesses splash out on Airbnb UK BUSINESSES are spending millions of pounds on Airbnb accommodation despite concerns surrounding its use for corporate travellers – and volumes continue to rise. Analysis of 50,000 Concur transactions made over two years showed $9.2million in spend on Airbnb from businesses in the UK, France and Germany. The UK accounted for more than two-thirds of the total sum, with spend rising 61% year-on-year in the most recent period alone. The growth rate in France is even higher at 74% but only 32% in Germany. Also revealed were the most popular cities for Airbnb bookings among business travellers. London took top spot, followed by Paris, Cannes, Berlin, Munich and Edinburgh.
In a recent experiment, a group of six-year-old children was shown a traditional rotary watch and asked if they knew what it was. A small number could tell immediately and were able to make a good guess at the time. Others knew it was a time-telling device, but were not sure how it worked. Signiﬁcantly, many had no idea. Of the entire group, nobody wanted one. Watches are not facing extinction, they’re just less relevant – so many other devices display time digitally. Consumers [of anything] want a simple, fast and personalised user experience – aesthetics are a question of taste. Things we once thought sacrosanct are now not relevant. In a managed travel context, we are seeing something similar. New entrants are challenging hitherto untouchable aspects of procurement, travel policies and programmes. Who is the customer? Buyers make contract decisions; corporates pay the bills: but for whom are policies and programmes developed? For whom are products and services developed? Only time will tell what it means for the structure of the traditional supply chain.
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Contact us to learn more about how we can support your rental needs right across the world. Email us at email@example.com or call +44(0)344 335 0218.
©2017 Enterprise Holdings, Inc. H00382 01.17
T H E
G R O U N D
A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch
Only 59% of business travellers check hire cars for damage on pick-up, leaving businesses open to costly repair bills. The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of iCarhireinsurance.com, also showed over a third of respondents had found damage on a hire car that was not highlighted on the checkout sheet and 15% have had a rental company try to charge them for existing damage.
Train operator CrossCountry has removed the administration fee charged when customers need to change the date or time of Advance tickets. The change applies to Advance tickets booked direct through its own website and alterations must be made more than 24 hours before travelling.
Trainline is continuing its European expansion by offering tickets to destinations across the whole Benelux region. The enhanced availability across Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg follows a deal with the BeNe Rail booking system.
Chauffeur drive company Blacklane has expanded its Asia-Pacific network with 64 new cities across 12 countries. The company has opened a regional office in Singapore and its additional destinations include 24 cities in China, five in Australia, three in New Zealand, five in Japan and six cities in India.
Executive Director, ACTE
Operator embarks on ticket-free travel trial CHILTERN Railways is teaming up with travel technology company SilverRail to develop a ‘ticket-free travel’ trial. The proposed technology would allow passengers to use their smartphones to detect commencement of travel, use Bluetooth to open ticket gates and automatically charge the best price for their journey at the end of the day. A smartphone app would also include personalised real-time travel updates, commuter advice and multi-modal journey options, plus a journey history, prices and details of how fares have been calculated. The pilot will be conducted on Chiltern’s newly built route between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone.
Trains versus planes MORE than a million Virgin Trains passengers have travelled between London and Edinburgh in a year for the ﬁrst time, a ﬁgure that helps the operator's bid to have an equal share with air travel between the cities. It attributes 8% annual growth in passenger numbers to a £140million investment programme on the East Coast route, including an extra 45 services a week and a ﬂeet overhaul. The operator says air traﬃc on the route remained broadly ﬂat over the same period, reversing the trend seen in 2015 when growth on the Edinburgh-London corridor was driven by air travel. Virgin Trains has now set out to achieve half of the overall air/rail market by 2023 as it continues to roll-out its ﬂeet of new Azuma trains.
The eyes of a nation and indeed the world will be on Washington, D.C. as the ﬁrst 100 days of the Trump Administration begin to yield legislative reality. The global business travel industry will be tracking the progress of proposed infrastructure legislation, and it is no secret that any proposed infrastructure legislation will favour revenue-generating projects ﬁrst – that means airports. The legislation will also determine the respective shares of the states, the airport authorities, airlines and, ultimately, the traveller. The cost of infrastructure improvement is staggering. The modernisation of LaGuardia Airport in New York City is slated at $4billion alone. Airport authorities in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. have facilities with similar needs. Improvements to US international airports are a legitimate and pressing need for the millions of travellers that pass through them each year, yet the costs already cited do not include thousands of interstate highway miles and their bridges. This legislation may bring improvements that last the next 50 years. It may take that long to pay for them.
M e e t i n g
Spaces unveils UK expansion plans SHARED office space and meeting rooms provider Spaces has set out its expansion plans for the UK in the year ahead following its 2016 launch. The Amsterdam-based company opened its first UK site last year just off London’s Oxford Street and quickly added a second location in Gerrards Cross. It has already confirmed five new sites for 2017 with openings in Glasgow and Liverpool in February to be followed by facilities at The Causeway, Teddington, Globe Park in Marlow and Park Royal in West London later this year. And now the company has announced it has five further locations in the pipeline – two in London and three in the North, with details to be confirmed later in the year. “People are far more productive and successful in an enjoyable, social and inspiring work environment and we’re rolling out our network to cater to this demand for new ways of working,” says Richard Morris, UK CEO of Spaces.
p l a c e
regus makes express additions global workspace provider Regus has announced plans to open two Regus Express facilities at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 (April) and Terminal 3 (September). The Terminal 2 space will be situated landside in arrivals and include nine meeting rooms of various sizes as well as a drop-in business lounge, free access and complimentary refreshments. The Terminal 3 facility will be located airside and compreise ten meeting rooms and a business lounge. The additions follow the roll-out of the group's Express facilities at Heathrow Terminal 5, Gatwick Airport and Birmingham Airport. “The growing Regus Express network is making business travel much more productive for our customers across the globe,” says Richard Morris, UK CEO at Regus.
St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW www.sterminshotel.co.uk
M E E T I N G
P L A C E
SoDEXo Prestige Venues & Events is offering business
Following a soft launch late last year, the new Birmingham Conference and Events Centre (BCEC) will fully open for business this spring. The new purpose-built function centre is located in the heart of the city, close to Birmingham New Street Station, and has over 2,000 square metres of space for over 1,000 delegates and a total of 24 meeting rooms.
Don't stop - rethink
The Meetings Industry Association will be urging the sector to "get creative and push ahead" with new and innovative plans at its March 20 conference. The event is entitled ‘Don’t stop – rethink’ and takes places in London.
Rooms with a view
The Montcalm Royal London House hotel is adding new meeting and event facilities this spring. The Royal London Suite hosts up to 300 people while three Palm Suites on the ninth floor overlook the city skyline. The new spaces mark phase two of the 253-bedroom, five-star hotel’s launch.
Cornwall’s Idle Rocks and St Mawes hotels have launched meeting and event venues including a private cinema and conference room. The sister hotels can also organise incentive activities including sailing, hikes and gastronomic events. Idle Rocks became part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection last year.
bookers a variety of complimentary Prestige Perks to add to their daily delegate package. The scheme was introduced last year and has now been extended into 2017. In addition to catering treats and complimentary breakout rooms, participating venues are offering special perks that are
Blenheim's new palatial options
unique to their specific venues
oXFoRDSHIRE’S Blenheim Palace is expanding its meetings and events facilities this spring, making the Orangery available for corporate and banqueting hire. The room, already available for hire during the evenings, has high ceilings, a glass panelled roof, large arched windows and its own terrace. It has capacity for up to 200 guests for sit-down meals and 300 for drinks receptions and is catered by luxury suppliers Searcys. Other venues at the 2,000-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site include the Campaign Rooms, accommodating between 12 and 18 people boardroom-style and the SpencerChurchill room for up to 70 theatre-style. Dining spaces include the Great Hall and Saloon for up to 150 guests; the Marlborough Room for up to 60; and the Long Library (pictured) with capacity for up to 300 seated diners.
United’s St James’ Park, the Royal
such as tours, museum entry and afternoon teas. Among the events venues participating are London's Imperial War Museum, Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, Newcastle Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Hampden Park.
[ OPENINGS & ADDITIONS ] Scottish five-star resort, CAMERON HOUSE, is adding an extensive new terrace overlooking Loch Lomond in the latest stage of its ongoing multimillion-pound renovation. It is due to open in May >> HAND PICKED HOTELS has introduced a range of new options for meetings and events to ensure delegates enjoy a "productive, creative and memorable experience". There are a range of new venues and three inclusive package options >> LONDON STADIUM, the former Olympic Stadium and new home of West Ham United, has launched a range of meetings and events facilities. The largest space, The Boleyn, has capacity for up to 1,000 guests.
London remains the number one city for meetings and events in Europe, followed by Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, says American Express Meetings and Events, followed by Rome, Frankfurt and Madrid THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com
T H E
M O V E
EVENTS FEBRUARY 22-23
BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW
PAU L A S H ER I DAN
Olympia London businesstravelshow.com
OFFICE SHOW Olympia London officeshow.co.uk
SPRING SPARKLE – FOR PAs & EAs
ANDR E W FI S H
SE O RA S LYO NS
JOINS: DialAFlight Corporate Travel AS: Corporate Relations Manager FROM: Lufthansa
PROMOTED AT: Finnair TO: General Manager UK, Ireland & Benelux FROM: Sales Director UK, Ireland & Benelux
JOINS: Inntel AS: National Account Manager FROM: Lloyds Banking Group
After 23 years at Lufthansa, most recently in the position of Head of Sales UK, Ireland & Iceland, Paula Sheridan has joined DialAFlight Corporate Travel (The Lotus Group).
Andrew Fish is the new General Manager for Finnair in the UK. Prior to joining the airline he held management positions at HRG, global data ﬁrm TRX, Premier Inn and Gulf Air.
Travel and meetings specialist Inntel has appointed Seoras Lyons as its ﬁrst National Account Manager for Scotland. He has over 20 years' experience in the ﬁnancial sector.
L E E WAS NI DGE
T R AC E Y H ILTO N
M AR K BR O OK E R
Novotel London Canary Wharf thebusinesstravelconference.com
ACTE GLOBAL CONFERENCE New York / acte.org
ITM ANNUAL CONFERENCE Birmingham / itm.org.uk
ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE Provence, France advantageconference.co.uk
THE TBTM DINNER CLUB
JOINS: Cabfind AS: Managing Director FROM: Transdev
JOINS: Review Travel AS: Business Development Manager FROM: The Hotel Collection
JOINS: Trainline AS: Chief Operating Officer FROM: Betfair
Lee Wasnidge is the new Managing Director at Cabﬁnd. He joined its parent company Transdev as Strategy Director last year after more than seven years at Northern Rail.
Tracey Hilton has joined Review Travel from The Hotel Collection, where she spent four years as Area Director of Sales. She has also held positions at Crewe Hall and Mere Golf & Spa.
Trainline has appointed Mark Brooker in a newly created Chief Operating Oﬃcer role. He has responsibility for product, marketing and Trainline International.
ALSO ON THE MOVE... easyJet has promoted Ian Cairns to a newly created role of Director of Customer and James Millett to the newly combined Director of Digital and Marketing. Anthony Drury, Head of Business, has left the airline >> The Institute of Travel Management has named Karen Hutchings of EY as Chair Elect, taking over from Mark Cuschieri in May >> Scott Chapman has joined Egencia as Managing Director UK >> Adiel Mambara is the new UK Country Manager for Royal Brunei Airlines >> Kelly Packington has been promoted to Operations Director and joins the board at Global Travel Management >> Evolvi's Jon Reeve has retired after an illustrious 43-year career in the travel industry 12743-Sirius-AD-133x40-v4.ai 15:05 & Events, UK, IE & Benelux >> Paul Stoddart has taken up the role of1MD24/11/2016 for CWT Meetings
The Dorchester, London thebusinesstravelmag.com
THE PEOPLE AWARDS Grange Tower Bridge, London thepeopleawards.co.uk
THE TBTM GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com
THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com
NEW YEAR, NEW JOB! Recruitment specialists dedicated to the business travel industry
firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)845 605 9055 • www.sirius-cv.com Untitled-4 1
The Business Travel Show 2017
It’s show time at Olympia London The Business Travel Show 2017 takes place on February 22 & 23 at Olympia London, the biggest event in Europe for corporate travel buyers
Buy c me 270 bus ra sul
The Business Travel Show marks its 23rd anniversary this year, following last year’s record-breaking event with 7,730 visitors and 267 exhibitors. The event provides buyers with a unique opportunity to meet professionals from across Europe for peer-to-peer and supplier networking sessions, informal social events and share knowledge, contacts and develop successful travel programmes. Buyers can meet 270 business travel suppliers ranging from airlines and accommodation providers, to ground
transportation specialists, technology providers and a host of travel management companies. The show hosts Europe’s largest conference programme, with 40 sessions for everyone from absolute beginners to the most experienced travel buyers. Sessions are independently produced and will tackle issues such as personalisation, Brexit, data, the sharing economy and duty of care. The event also provides buyers with the chance to meet around 7,700 professionals from across Europe.
Regr o atd!
“A comprehensive hosted buyer programme offers a range of benefits in return for committing to five or more pre-scheduled appointments per day”
Buss T vir aas l S ind er so TeclEo Tr ur
BTS Conference Programme Tuesday 21 February (hosted buyer-only sessions)
1600-1710 How to build a crisis management plan
1350-1505 How emerging technologies will re-shape business travel
1600-1700 Making mobile work for you and your travellers
1520-1620 Re-think your travel technology strategy
1600-1700 How to handle policy, compliance and communication
1520-1620 Pre-trip approval
1600-1700 Travel management for SMEs
1520-1620 Buyer self-help group 1635-1735 Travel management KPIs and benchmarks 1635-1735 Realign your travel programme after company mergers, acquisitions and divestments
Thursday 23 February 1000-1100 Getting to grips with ground transportation 1000-1100 How travel managers can raise their profile within their company
1635-1735 How to deal with difficult travellers
1000-1100 Choosing a TMC and other travel partners
Wednesday 22 February
1130-1240 Forecasting Forum 2017 – what will happen to travel pricing in the year ahead?
1000-1100 Making a success of managing suppliers and service providers in Asia 1000-1100 Getting more out of your accommodation strategy 1000-1100 Ten quick wins to get you started in travel management 1130-1240 Brexit – what does it mean for you travel programme?
1130-1230 Virtual and other next-gen travel payments – why you and your travellers will benefit
Eur’s ag core 60 por, wiyo sen or t fo bu ben to mo xin tal er
1130-1230 Upgrade your TMC from a commodity supplier to a relationship supplier 1130-1230 Negotiating the best savings and value with travel suppliers 1300-1400 Procurement – is travel different from other buying categories? 1300-1400 Corporate payments 1300-1410 How buyers and suppliers benefit by personalising service delivery to travellers 1430-1540 Strengthen your relationship with your TMC 1430-1530 Airline contracting 2.0 – how carrier agreements are set for radical change 1430-1530 My travel tech toolkit 1430-1530 Using data for improved savings and control
1130-1230 Travel policy – your key to balancing maximum compliance with the traveller experience 1300-1410 New savings from mature programmes 1300-1400 Protect your travellers’ data
Whe? Wednesday February 22 and Thursday February 23, 2017
Whe? Olympia London
To rte businesstravelshow.com
Mor o @btshowlondon #BTShow
Business Travel Show group
1300-1400 Online booking and other technology – how to choose it, how to implement it and how to maximise adoption
1430-1540 Access economy or excess economy? Figuring out the best way to manage new-gen suppliers and distributors
Confirmed Launchpad exhibitors include…
1430-1530 Better TMC and service provider contracting and auditing 1430-1530 How I manage my air and hotel programme 1430 – 1530 Communication: how to engage travellers and other stakeholders in your travel programme 1600-1700 How I manage my multinational travel programme 1600-1700 Safety and security – a best practice guide for beginners
AirWander Business Trip Buddy ByHours.com Data Syrup FLIO Meetings Benchmark My Webspot Provide Apartments ReboundTAG Transporters.io Travelhorst Business Tripbam Tripcloud.io
it's the largest and most complex area of spend in most corporate travel programmes, so buckle up and get yourself comfortable for our annual guide to managing
AIR TRAVEL Introduction, 64-66 / Five reasons... 69 / Class wars, 70-75 / Technology, 77 Spend management, 78-79 / Beginner's guide, 81 / Alliances, 82 Back to the future, 83 / Low-cost carriers, 84-85 / Reader's rant, 87 / Data, 88
Air travel / Introduction
Up in the
The world’s aviation industry has posted record proﬁts but its future could be more turbulent, says Rob Gill, who assesses the situation for airlines and travel managers alike
or an industry that has often been derided for its paltry (and often non-existent) profits, the last few years have been unusually bountiful for the global airline industry thanks to low oil prices and significant consolidation among carriers in key markets. Collectively, airlines around the world made an estimated profit of $35.6billion during 2016, according to IATA, the International Air Transport Association. This is a new record, it points out, just ahead of the previous mark of the $35.3billion profit recorded in 2015. But the picture is not looking quite so rosy for the airline industry in 2017, with rising fuel costs and fierce competition likely to chip away at profits. However, IATA still expects airlines to make an aggregate profit of $29.8billion this year. IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac, says that the projected lower profits in 2017 would still represent “a very soft landing” for the airline industry and points out that the period between 2015 and 2017 is set to be
“the best performance in the industry’s history”, despite a host of political, economic and security obstacles faced by airlines. It’s also clear looking at the figures that there are huge regional variations in the financial health of airlines. Carriers in North America have been the highest profit makers, bringing in more than half of all profits (adding up to $20.3 billion in 2016). European airlines have been lagging behind their transatlantic cousins when it comes to profitability and this trend may be set to continue in 2017 with IATA predicting overall profits in the region to fall from $7.5billion in 2016 to $5.6billion this year. The impact of the Brexit referendum result in the UK and the consequent fall in the value of the pound against other major currencies has already hit profits at some major European airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group. Lufthansa, meanwhile, has been beset by industrial disputes with its own staff. Nevertheless, these airlines are in far more robust health
than struggling competitors such as Alitalia and Air Berlin, which are undergoing crucial restructuring efforts in an attempt to turn their financial fortunes around. As for business models, one area to watch in 2017 is the low-cost long-haul market, which has for so long been the Cinderella of aviation. Budget carrier Norwegian has been leading the way with its transatlantic services from Gatwick and other European bases, and there have even been talks about a 'feeder flights' deal being struck between Norwegian and Ryanair, which could seriously up the ante. Meanwhile, IAG is stepping up the competition with plans for its own budget long-haul operation from Barcelona starting in June 2017. It’s also worth noting that British Airways will soon be directly competing with Norwegian on new routes from Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Oakland in California. These moves in many ways typify the merging of business models between traditional legacy or 'full service' carriers
Introduction / Air travel
One area to watch in 2017 is the low-cost long-haul market, which has for so long been the Cinderella of the airline industryâ€?
Air travel / Introduction
and low-cost carriers on short-haul services. This is neatly illustrated by BA’s decision to start charging for food and drinks on short-haul flights this year through a deal with Marks & Spencer. Another trend is the increasing availability of premium economy cabins, which gives buyers and their travellers more flexibility on long-haul flight bookings. American Airlines and Delta are both adding genuine premium economy cabins for the first time.
After years of dithering, the government has finally said that it supports a third runway at Heathrow but the decision is hardly set in stone” But one airline model that continues to struggle is the all-business-class carrier, with French-owned La Compagnie suspending its short-lived services between Luton and New York last year, blaming this decision on the economic impact of Brexit. British Airways is also cutting the frequency of its business class-only flights between London City and New York’s JFK airport. So what does all this mean for the prices of flights in the year ahead and what impact will the drop in the value of the pound have on airfares? Most forecasts suggest that short-haul fares from the UK may fall this year, particularly with one of the major players, Ryanair, adopting a policy of reducing prices by an average of 13%-15% to fill its seats. With such intense competition, American Express Global Business Travel is forecasting that short-haul airfares in the UK will fall by 2% this year, with long-haul business fares also set to fall, by 3%. Around Western Europe as a region, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the Global Business Travel Association think that there will be 'modest' increases in overall airfares in 2017, while they also predict that UK airfares as a whole will rise by 2.2% this year compared with 2016. As with all pricing predictions, we will have to wait and see
what happens, which is also the position with the somewhat thorny issue of airport expansion in the UK. After years of dithering, the government has finally said that it supports the building of a third runway at Heathrow. But the decision is hardly set in stone as there is intense opposition from many cabinet members and the policy is not due to be ratified by parliament until winter 2017/18. Even if the project then secures a green light, a third runway still faces significant planning and legal hurdles before construction can even begin. These potential problems for Heathrow mean that Gatwick has not quite given up on being able to build a second runway. In the meantime, the Sussex airport is to spend around £250million expanding both its two terminals’ departure lounges and upgrade its train station. Regional airports are also improving their facilities with Birmingham airport spending £100million to enhance baggage screening, self-service check-in and air traffic control, while Bristol is now benefiting from its new £24million terminal extension. In terms of new routes, one of the most interesting developments has been Flybe’s decision to launch flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen from March 2017, using some of the slots previously flown by Virgin Atlantic’s short-lived Little Red domestic airline. Can Flybe succeed where Virgin failed? New long-haul routes for 2017 include BA’s services from Heathrow to Santiago in Chile and New Orleans, while Virgin is adding flights from Manchester to Boston and San Francisco this summer. Manchester is already benefiting from Singapore Airlines’ introduction of non-stop flights to Singapore and Houston, as part of a new SingaporeManchester-Houston route. This year should also bear fruit from the New Distribution Capability (NDC) project designed to make it easier to sell airline ancillaries through B2B booking channels. 2017 should be another year of change for the airline industry although some things (airport expansion and NDC in particular) may not change fast enough for many of those working in corporate travel.
th e airli n e in d u s try in n u mb er s ]
The collective profits of airlines around the world in 2016, forecast to fall to $29.3bn in 2017 (IATA)
The number of passengers carried globally in 2016. The figure is expected to reach 7.2bn by 2035 (IATA)
On average, airlines will retain $7.54 for every passenger carried in 2017 (IATA)
The length of the current longest flight in the world, Doha to Auckland, in nautical miles (OAG)
The percentage of departures and arrivals on time at the UK's best performing airport, Birmingham (OAG)
100,000+ The number of flights operated globally every day (IATA)
Five reasons / Air travel
[ FIVE REASONS TO... ]
RECONSIDER THAT RFP Chris Truss, Director of Proposition & Consulting Services at Capita Travel and Events, names ﬁve reasons to think twice before compiling that RFP
In domestic and regional markets, the growth of low-cost carriers has forced bigger airlines to sharpen prices. So do you actually need any route deals? Spot buying could be a perfectly practical option and, if it suits, buying restricted fares with long booking horizons can be very fruitful. If you go with spot buying, weigh up the cost of fares and travel amendments compared with the price of more flexible fares. If your amendments start spiralling, alarms bells should ring out that spot buying isn’t working.
CURRENT DEALS & TERMS Are your airline deal expiry dates forcing you to renegotiate? If not, put your deals in the context of the regional and global economic environment. If your existing fares and terms are favourable there’s little value in going out to market when airlines may not be willing to play ball. If expiry dates are looming, ask airlines about rolling over the contract instead of going through full renegotiation.
TRAVEL VOLUME & SPEND Has your flight spend increased or decreased? If it’s changed, is it overall or just on specific routes? From the knowledge you have of your business, you should understand whether any changes are just blips or genuine trends. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but increased spend may be enough to start talking to some airlines, even if you’ve never had enough business to warrant a deal in the past – ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’.
POLICY & GEOGRAPHY INFLUENCE there are competing & NETWORK Ifairlines on your regular The more routes you use, the more complex your RFP process can become. Keep things as simple as possible by concentrating on your key routes. Even better, look at your key routes where there are competing airlines. This will focus efforts on routes with material impact and/or real negotiation potential.
routes, can you prove to your existing supplier that you can influence travellers to switch? If you can, you’re on to a winner. If existing suppliers can’t offer you the best deal to stay and you switch your business onto an alternative supplier, you’d send a very clear message. The wider marketplace will take notice if you show them you have the muscle to shift market share when it matters.
If deal expiry dates are looming, ask airlines about rolling over the contract instead of going through full renegotiation”
Air travel / Class wars
FEVER First class cabins are in danger of extinction while premium economy's star is rising, says Colin Ellson, who looks at the latest developments onboard and how businesses can take advantage
he premium economy cabin concept might have been around a long time but there are plenty of latecomers – both passengers and airlines – that are only now embracing it. Despite the product varying widely from one airline to another, it is proving a boon for the budget-conscious traveller and a new revenue stream for airlines whose
Singapore Airlines Premium Economy
passengers can’t afford the flatbed seat, enhanced dining and pampered service up front in the business class cabin. Passengers really appreciate the savings they can make on premium economy and the benefits of business class, according to GTMC CEO, Paul Wait. “Demand for business class and premium economy remains strong,” he says. “The vast majority of business travellers rely on the service and facilities available [in both cabins] to ensure that they can be productive and get the maximum return on their investment.” Introduced by EVA Air, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in the late 20th century, premium economy – a separate on-board economy section borrowing enhancements such as extra leg room and meals from business class – seems to have come of age. In fact, it represents something of an aerial revolution. As business class gets better and better, many airlines are phasing-out or scaling down first class in a new three-class configuration: economy, premium economy
and business class. Proof of the trend, which may take years to implement round the world, comes from at least three carriers: Cathay Pacific which is taking deliveries of Airbus A350 aircraft without a first class cabin; Singapore Airlines, which is cutting first class suites from its Airbus A380s; and Lufthansa, said to be ridding itself of first class on Munich-based A380s. Improvements to business class and premium economy are spread across the regions. But all eyes are on the Gulf, where even Emirates has done an about-turn, announcing it will launch a premium economy cabin too. Emirates president Sir Tim Clark says the airline could launch the service “within the next year to 18 months.” What form this will take is the subject of much discussion, although it will probably be a standardised premium economy like that of Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines. One problem the new cabin could solve is the disparity with joint venture partner
Class wars / Air travel
Lufthansa Business Class
Qantas on routes between Europe and Australia. The Australian flag carrier offers a premium economy cabin; Emirates launching a similar product would reduce any negative customer feedback about the lack of choice. Emirates believes its Gulf rivals, Etihad and Qatar Airways, will follow its lead, although Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker is vehemently opposed to the idea. He has issued no statement on the subject, but in informal talks with journalists said: “We won’t roll out premium economy… I don’t think there is any room for premium economy in our region. We give you a premium economy seat with an economy class price.” The airline has announced a new business class seat, however, which will be unveiled at the ITB travel show in Berlin this March. It will be rolled out across the fleet of B777s and A350s, with a separate seat for B787s as the new seating will not fit into the aircraft. Qatar Airways has long promised a new super business class, but when it became the launch customer for the Airbus A350 XWB,
Many airlines are phasing out first class in a new three-class configuration: economy, premium economy and business class” the aircraft featured the existing model. This includes, among other extras, a 1-2-1 configuration, with seats reclining to a fully flat 80 inches, more stowage space, a stateof-the-art entertainment system, USB and power sockets, wifi and gourmet dining. Across the Atlantic, American Airlines introduced a fully-fledged premium economy product last autumn. “We have elevated all our offerings, from amenity kits to headsets and entertainment options,” says the airline. The cabin includes a new class of seat superior to that in the main cabin, but nothing close to the lie-flat seats installed in its business class cabin.
Delta Air Lines also plans to become a fully paid-up member of the premium economy club when it debuts its new product on Airbus A350 services in autumn this year. Delta President Glen Hauenstein says the new cabin is targeted at business travellers whose employers may not pay for business class but are willing to cut staff a little slack. Passengers will enjoy seats with a 38-inch pitch, access to Sky Priority lines for check-in and security, a pre-departure beverage, priority boarding and an amenity kit. While such a product is a silver lining for passengers hoping to improve the economy experience, some fear that new premium economy cabins could enable airlines to make regular economy even more basic. But Joe Kiely, Delta’s Managing Director of Product and Customer Experience, says the Atlanta-based carrier is not planning to “materially change” the attributes of the economy cabin in the face of premium economy. American Airlines also confirms it is not considering alterations to economy.
Air travel / Class wars
American Airlines Business Class
Business class • Qatar Airways will unveil a new business class seat at the ITB travel show in March. This will appear across the airline’s fleet of B777s and A350s. • Cathay Pacific has reopened its lounge at London Heathrow T3 for first and business class passengers after a major refurbishment. • Singapore Airlines’ first A350900 flights from Manchester to Singapore and Houston in January featured new seats in business class, along with more stowage space and fine dining. • To much industry head scratching, airberlin defied conventional wisdom when it introduced business class on short-haul routes within Europe last October. The cabin offers just four seats, priority check-in and lounge access.
US airlines are not the only carriers fretting over the implications of the new cabin. Cathay Pacific, for example, will reduce the width of economy seats in its B777 economy cabin to squeeze in more passengers. As proof of the validity of the move, it points to the Hong Kong to Vancouver route, where its B777s carry a total of up to 275 passengers, compared to 458 flying the same route with Air Canada. The good news for Cathay passengers travelling via Heathrow is that the airline has reopened its first and business class lounge in T3 after an extensive renovation.
Eva Air Elite Class
In the north of the UK, Singapore Airlines gave Manchester a first glimpse of its Airbus A350-900, when it began flights to Singapore and Houston in January. The new aircraft features a premium economy cabin with a wider seat and a 13-inch touchscreen monitor, among other extras. Improvements in business class include new seats that transform into a 78-inch fully flat bed. The new cabin also includes more stowage space, fine dining in a restaurant setting on board, with full table service and wines to match, and enhanced KrisWorld inflight entertainment. As global airlines are ever more competitive in business class on long-haul routes, a casualty could be the cabin on short-haul journeys, with the future instead being in high-speed rail, according to some, or in the feeder networks of low-cost carriers, according to others (see pages 86-87). “Demand on short-haul business class clearly dropped in 2009, mainly as a result of more restrictive corporate travel policies,” says Rudolf Schumacher, Swiss International Air Lines Head of Sales and Marketing, Switzerland. “Meanwhile, long-haul policies have changed back to [favouring] business class, but have not yet on short-haul.”
Premium economy • Emirates plans to launch premium economy within a year to 18 months. Although no details of the new cabin are available, it will probably be a standardised version similar to that offered by Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. • American Airlines launched its premium economy product on flights from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sao Paulo and Madrid onboard its new B787-9 Dreamliner. It has upgraded all its facilities, including a wider seat, amenity kits, headsets and entertainment. • Delta Air Lines will introduce premium economy when it launches Airbus A350 services on international routes this autumn. The cabin will include 48 seats with a 38-inch pitch. Additional services include priority boarding and a pre-departure beverages. • Singapore Airlines showed off its new Airbus A350-900 when it began flights from Manchester to Singapore and Houston in January. The new aircraft offers a premium economy cabin, giving passengers priority check-in, a wider seat and a 13-inch touchscreen monitor.
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Class wars / Air travel
Etihad Airways Business Studio
Finding the right airline for the route at the right price is complicated by the increasing range of options available”
PREMIUM ECONOMY: WHO'S ONBOARD? ]
Major airlines offering premium economy: Aeroflot • Air Canada • Air China • Air New Zealand • Air France • American Airlines • ANA • British Airways • Cathay Pacific • China Airlines • China Southern • El Al • Eva Air • Japan Airlines • KLM • LOT Polish Airlines • Lufthansa • Norwegian • Qantas • SAS • Singapore Airlines • Thomas Cook Airlines • Thomson Airways • United • Vietnam Airlines • Virgin Atlantic
Indeed, only a handful of carriers still offer the business cabin on shorter routes. Which makes the decision by airberlin to introduce such a service last year on shorthaul routes in Europe all the more curious. Justifying the move under what the airline describes as a “strategic realignment”, Stefan Pichler, CEO of airberlin, says: “We find ourselves at the beginning of a far-reaching transformation from which a new, stronger airberlin will emerge. By introducing business class on short- and medium-haul flights we are making key strategic decisions that will pave the way to a sustainable future for the company.” The new cabin, limited to just four seats, will include passenger extras such as two pieces of hand baggage, premium check-in and lounge access. Whether flying in economy, premium economy or business class, in the final analysis, executives travelling on business will be intent on finding the right airline for the route at the right price, a process complicated by the apparently increasing range of options available. So is premium economy a worthwhile proposition? If you book in advance it is generally 85% more costly than standard economy on transatlantic routes; book closer
to departure and the difference can be 35%. Remember to ask about premium economy if you have a last-minute economy booking: with day-to-day upgrade opportunities, the extra cost could be as low as 10% and that represents good value. If you opt for premium economy – generally around 65% less than a ticket in business class – check out the extras in advance and be prepared to compromise. Depending on the airline, you could be limited in terms of space and amenities. Business class, on the other hand, can provide 50% more legroom, superior food and wine, inclusive wifi access and the all-important flatbed seat. Talking of value-for-money fares, how about $69 one-way from London to the US East Coast? That’s the forecast of Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian, Europe’s third-largest low-cost carrier, which flies from London Gatwick to US East Coast destinations including New York JFK and Boston. The prediction came ahead of the two-class carrier’s biggest-ever UK expansion. The only airline offering low-cost transatlantic fares from the UK, this year Norwegian will expand its fleet with the addition of nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and the manufacturer’s latest aircraft, the B737 MAX. “Norwegian has seen rapid UK growth and this year will be no different,” says Thomas Ramdahl, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Through exciting new routes and even more low-cost US flights, we will enhance the travel choices for UK consumers at a time when cost and great value are more important than ever.” UK companies will drink to that. Air New Zealand Premium Economy
Technology / Air travel
[ NEW DISTRIBUTION CAPABILITY ]
SHOPPING SOLUTIONS The way airlines display information and sell their products is changing, albeit slowly, thanks to IATA’s NDC platform. Linda Fox has the lowdown
ew Distribution Capability is an evolving platform from IATA – the International Air Transport Association – that aims to enhance the way air travel is bought and sold by delivering richer content and a transparent shopping experience. IATA says the system is gaining traction and, last spring, was expecting around 90 airlines to be using the standard by 2020, based on a survey of 180 member carriers. The other half said they were considering how they might integrate it into the way they currently work. Fast-forward six months and the latest figures, released by IATA in December 2016, reveal that 27 airlines are currently using NDC for live transactions via direct or intermediary channels. IATA’s consistent message is that if airlines are using the standard then they must see value in it. Live examples include British Airways selling seats direct via its NDC gateway and Skyscanner named as the first metasearch service to offer the tickets. British Airways has also partnered with Airlines Technology for NDC-compliant aggregation services. The deal will help the airline sell tickets and related ancillary elements through third parties such as online travel agencies. Qatar Airways is also using the standard to provide a number of travel agents with access to rich content and fare family products. The airline also offers its seat map display in the NDC platform. According to IATA, capabilities offered to a select number of agents include displaying the various fare families not necessarily available in the GDS systems. Users can easily see the fare family attributes on the NDC platform by hovering the mouse over the respective category.
Emirates has also made developments around NDC. The airline announced last year that it has partnered with an unnamed technology company to release an NDCcompliant B2B API interface which enables third parties to connect to the host reservation system. The API enables access to services including availability, pricing and ticketing and also makes the sale of ancillary elements easier. In general there has been more engagement and collaboration around NDC with IATA’s 'hackathons' also playing a positive role in fostering innovation and driving further awareness. The airline body has also made greater steps in engaging the business travel community. In June, it held its first Business Travel Summit where more than 100 travel management
companies, travel buyers and IT specialists came together to look at how it could be developed further. A second Business Travel Summit is expected in 2017. There continue to be stumbling blocks, however. While many airlines understand the need to move to more modern retailing practices, investment is required to make the connections and open up airline systems. In addition, the front-end – the bit that travellers see – needs to be right so that the customer experience is a good one. There’s also a danger that with various players going off and adopting various bits of the standard but not others, it will just become a bit of a mess. This view was expressed at a conference in London in September with fears that the distribution landscape could simply become even more complex. It’s clear that NDC and the ideas behind it are only beginning to scratch the surface. There’s more work to be done around tricky elements such as interlining but the foundations have been laid.
THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM 77 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM 77
Air travel / Spend management
on A WING
AND A PRAYER Managing the complexities of air travel is one of the trickiest tasks facing any travel buyer, says Rob Gill, but there are ways to improve the performance of your programme
ealing with airlines and their seemingly endless different booking classes and fares has never been an easy task and it’s certainly not becoming any simpler. So, what’s the best way for travel buyers to manage their air programmes in this ever-changing area of the travel industry? Like so many parts of corporate travel, it depends on each company’s individual circumstances: how much they fly, which routes they use and how often, as well as key policies such as when travellers are permitted to use business class and whether booking with preferred airlines is mandated or not. A key question is whether it’s better to rely on negotiated corporate deals with airlines or take your chances by 'spot buying' and hope you can secure better deals that may be available in the wider market. One experienced UK-based travel buyer says: “It all depends on the culture of the company. Negotiated deals work well if you have sufficient spend on a particular route and you have a company culture whereby you can mandate a particular airline through your group travel policy. They continue, “Spot fares work well in a non-mandated environment where you’re taking the chance on the best available fare 78
on the day, but they normally come with restrictions or cancellation fees. It works best for companies with travel in the UK or Europe and who don't often change their plans.” But it’s not as simple as just choosing one strategy or the other, according to consultant Chris Pouney, a partner at Nina & Pinta, who says: “Many companies recognise that you need a combination of your own contract rates, travel management company fares and
More corporates are increasing the threshold for business class travel to eight hours – in line with a full working day” a tactical and spot-buying approach across their programme as a whole.” Airlines have also been clamping down on companies that do not deliver the agreed volume of bookings on negotiated deals. This adds even more complexity to the picture and is forcing buyers to closely examine what kind of strategy they need to employ to maximise their air programmes.
Paul East, Chief Operating Officer UK, Europe & Americas for Wings Travel Management, says there are key questions facing buyers on any negotiated fare: “Will you reach the threshold for the deal in the following year? Do you need a deal if the percentage of spot fares achieved outweighs the value of the negotiated deal?”
There is also the thorny issue of when travellers should be allowed to book business class seats. Ask people in the industry and the answer generally varies between journeys of three hours and 12 hours, while many say the average threshold is around six to seven hours, which brings transatlantic flights into play. However, there are signs that some companies are extending this threshold. Ryan Johnson, Multinational Account Manager for FCM Travel Solutions, says: “I am seeing more and more corporates view this as a cost avoidance or significant savings opportunity and they have increased the duration to around eight hours – in line with a full working day – as the threshold for flying in a premium cabin.” The increasing number of airlines that are now offering premium economy cabins is also having an impact on booking options for
Air travel / Spend management
corporates – particularly now that US carriers such as American Airlines and Delta are finally installing premium economy cabins. This is giving companies more scope to reduce travel costs through a “mix and match” approach which allows travellers to combine daytime flights in premium economy with business class travel on overnight flights. One travel buyer agrees that this approach is being adopted by some companies – “especially near the end of the financial year when travel budgets are squeezed”. Nina & Pinta’s Chris Pouney adds: “Premium economy has always been a viable option for smaller companies, but traditionally larger multinational organisations have struggled to integrate it into policies due to the inconsistency of availability across countries. “But this is changing and premium economy will soon be available across most major global players and travel managers will have this in their toolbox.”
Tricks of the trade
So what other trends are shaping the way that companies are managing their air travel? One area is the ability of some firms to successfully use their own travel data, combined with a deeper understanding of airlines’ individual goals and strategies, to
secure better deals. A Germany-based buyer explains: “Most airlines work by local profit centres – you need to have a couple of big markets rather than lots of little ones. Where is the big volume and where does the airline want this business? “Look at your key city pairs – this is where the most leverage is. This is where you can create the most value. “Beyond these city pairs, look at where it is essential to fly direct and where it’s not. You may be able to maximise savings by going one-stop instead of non-stop. But you don’t want to do this on short-haul, as no traveller wants a connection on a two-hour flight.” One big issue in recent years has been the development of online booking tools for flights but there has been much criticism from buyers concerning the perceived slow pace of improvement in this technology. The key question is: are these tools useful for anything more than straightforward ‘point-to-point’ air bookings? The general consensus on this subject seems to be no, for now at least. Indeed, TMCs are making a virtue of their consultants’ experience in putting together more complex
air travel arrangements for their clients. “They are still only good for point-to-point travel and then only if the travellers do not change too much,” confirms one buyer on the subject of OBTs. FCM’s Ryan Johnson adds: “Self-booking tools are constantly improving but there is a lot to be said around the expertise a consultant can bring to the table, particularly for fares originating outside the country of enquiry or complex multi-sector bookings.” Nina & Pinta’s Chris Pouney agrees: “Online still works beautifully for point-to-point bookings but I would always have an agent cast their eye over a more complex trip.” There’s always a lot to consider when managing air travel and it’s certainly not going to get simpler given the dynamics driving the airline industry. But arming yourself with more knowledge and data about both your own company’s air booking travel patterns and the strategies being adopted by airlines can only help enhance the programme’s effectiveness.
SKYPRIORITY. THE ONLY WORD YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR SEAMLESS TRAVEL. SkyTeam’s iconic red SkyPriority signs guide you through airports across the globe with speed and ease. From priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling to priority lanes at ticket offices, transfer desks, security and immigration – it’s all seamless. And it’s all automatic for SkyTeam Elite Plus, First and Business Class travelers. Discover the services available for your next trip with the SkyPriority Finder on our app or skyteam.com
Beginner's guide / Air travel
ON THE SPOT If you don’t have the travel volumes to strike a deal with airlines – or even if you do – spot buying airfares can pay dividends What is spot buying? It’s buying air travel close to the date of departure usually from airline websites and leisure travel websites. If an airline has a cancelled booking for a group, for example, they will release those seats, often at good rates. This type of buying is the polar opposite of negotiated rates and route deals arranged far in advance with preferred airlines. Who does it work best for? Those SMEs who do not have the buying power and volumes to reach the minimum volumes with airlines on city pairs to trigger a route deal. Also, those companies in the unmanaged travel space who don’t book through a TMC, who cannot firm up meeting dates and who are happy to spend time exploring the options across lots of different websites. When is spot buying best used? Close to departure as it's possible airlines will offload distressed inventory at attractive rates. Anything to be wary of? Spot buying is a risky business. You might hang on for a lastminute deal and a less expensive fare may not materialise. Furthermore, if you do find one, it will be laden with restrictions.
Spot buying is the polar opposite of negotiated rates and route deals arranged in advance with preferred airlines and based on certain business volumes”
“It’s rarely the case that it’s a great offer,” warns Juan Antonio Iglesias, Multinational Account Manager at FCM Travel Solutions. Why are there so many different airfares available for the same seat? Because an airline seat is a perishable commodity, airlines employ sophisticated yield management systems to elicit the best possible fare for each seat, based on supply and demand. Fully flexible tickets are the most expensive option and restricted fares are the cheapest. Prices are also affected by destination and the number of carriers sharing the route. They can also be affected by the day you fly. A European fare on a Monday or Friday will be more expensive than one on a Tuesday or Wednesday. And there are better deals on intercontinental flights at the weekend
than on weekdays. When you book also affects the price you pay: the least expensive fares are those booked 14-21 days in advance and can be up to half the full fare. What are the benefits of spot buying over negotiated rates? You're not committed to a particular airline or deal and, if you’re lucky, you will save substantial sums. What is the downside? You may find a less-expensive fare but the restrictions outweigh the benefits. There is also a potential productivity issue as it can be a labourintensive process checking different websites if you’re not booking through a travel management company. TMCs have web-scraping technology to automatically audit fares up until day of departure.
Air travel / Alliances
NETWORK SOLUTIONS Three major airline alliances exist today, sharing mutual benefits and providing their passengers with smooth connections, larger networks and the ability to ‘earn and burn’ air miles across multiple carriers. Last autumn, however, two leading CEOs – Willie Walsh of British Airways owner IAG and Tim Clark of Emirates – questioned the future of alliances. Speaking at World Travel Market in London, Walsh said, “I think they have value today but question if they’ll have value in the future. I would be surprised if they still exist 20 years, or even 10 years, from now.”
The benefits for passengers are clear, but how can companies do business with these giant alliances?”
British Airways belongs to the oneworld alliance; Emirates continues to fly solo. In response, Bob Schumacher, United Airlines’ Managing Director of Sales for the UK and Ireland, who also chairs Star Alliance’s UK steering committee, recently told The Business Travel Magazine: “I see the opportunities we get from Star Alliance and none of us want to walk away from them. The world has matured and we need global networks.” For now, airline alliances continue to fly high. Star celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has at last welcomed Air India to its showpiece Heathrow hub at Terminal 2 – the last member airline to move 'under one roof'. It also added a Star Alliance branded lounge at Los Angeles last year. Similarly, SkyTeam opened its own lounge in Dubai, joining co-branded facilities in
London, Istanbul, Sydney and Hong Kong. The benefits of alliances for travellers are plain to see, but a dilemma for companies is how they can do business with these giant alliances. After all, it is unlikely that a company’s travel needs are perfectly aligned with an alliance network and of sufficient volumes to land significant deals. Many businesses believe they are better off striking deals with individual airlines. Nevertheless, each of the three alliances operates a dedicated corporate programme, promising a single contract and point of contact. “Oneworld is proud to include some of the biggest international names in business as clients,” a spokesperson told us. “Multinational corporations with extensive global travel needs are increasingly turning to global alliances like oneworld for consolidated network deals. “Depending on the nature of their travel needs, they may be eligible for discounts and benefits... that will minimise their administration time and maximise their travel budget.”
Member airlines: 14, including American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, airberlin, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qantas, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways Daily flights: 13,800 Network coverage: 1,010 destinations in 159 countries Annual passengers: 558 million For businesses: oneworld global corporate programme. Promises a single contract and point of contact, up to four-year contract, aligned expiry dates across member airlines and coordinated business reviews.
Member airlines: 20, including Air France, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Alitalia, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, KLM, Kenya Airways, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines Daily flights: 17,300 Network coverage: 1,062 destinations in 177 countries Annual passengers: 665 million For businesses: SkyTeam Corporate agreements, offering one contract, one point of contact; enter a corporate agreement and travel with five or more SkyTeam member airlines and the alliance promises a tailored, competitively priced travel solution for your business.
Member airlines: 28, including Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, brussels airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines and United Daily flights: 18,450 Network coverage: 1,300 airports in 190 countries Annual passengers: 690 million For businesses: Corporate Plus condenses numerous airline negotiations into just one and provides a designated point of contact.
Back to the future / AIR TRAVEL
[ BACK TO THE FUTURE ]
GOING MOBILE In 2008 we reported on the early days of in-flight mobile services. Has the technology caught on and where is it available today?
Here's what we said in The Business Travel Magazine July/August 2008: Air France is blazing a trail in Europe that others are set to follow, while a few days before the launch of the French carrier’s in-flight mobile service, Emirates had become the world’s first airline to host authorise mobile phone calls in the air during a flight between Dubai and Casablanca in Morocco. It was noted that both airlines limited the number of simultaneous calls available. OnAir, which developed the system, said limiting calls was an airline choice. While the new technology has been declared safe,
any airline wishing to install it must gain approval for each aircraft type and the okay from the airline’s national telecommunications authority and its governing civil aviation authority. In the UK, Ofcom requires airlines to apply for a license amendment for inflight mobile calls and reported no applications. The CAA needs to be shown airline crews are checked out equipment operations, and no UK airline has applied for the certification. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has so far approved the safety of just one aircraft type – and that’s the OnAir system in the A318.
“The demands of the connected traveller, whether for leisure or business, is shaping the passenger experience landscape, with over 90% now expecting connectivity in their airborne experience,” says Dominique El Bez, SITAOnAir’s VP of Strategy. “We’re seeing airlines make significant investment to meet this demand and develop their connectivity offer. Passengers
Airlines can now offer passengers a true gate-to-gate experience. It is up to each airline to allow the use of Portable Electronic Devices”
want access to a seamless on-board wifi service to browse the internet, message loved ones, stream content and update social media,” says El Bez. “In the past, there have been restrictions on Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) onboard aircraft. However in 2013 EASA made it possible to allow the use of PEDs for almost the entire flight duration, so long as the device was not transmitting.” Dominique Fouda, Head of Communication at EASA adds: “From a regulation point of view, airlines are now able to offer a ‘gateto-gate’ experience to their passengers. It is up to each airline to allow the use of PEDs." Today, SITA's Mobile OnAir, the service allowing mobile telephony onboard aircraft, is available with a number of carriers. Emirates and Singapore Airlines are among those enabling calls on a number of their flights using the service.
Air travel / Low-cost carriers
FLYING LOW Low-cost and traditional airline models are increasingly meeting in the middle, says
Benjamin Coren, who tracks the latest trends and examines the impact on corporates
he lines between low cost carriers (LCCs) and legacy airlines continue to blur and the two models can no longer be so easily separated. Among the latest demonstrations of this was British Airways axing complimentary drinks and snacks in its short-haul economy cabin and introducing a range of buy onboard items from Marks & Spencer. As Ryanair gleefully pointed out, a bacon sandwich on BA costs more than the Irish airline's lowest fare (£4.49 from Luton to Copenhagen, since you ask). The self-styled 'ultra low cost carrier' is the mast of unbundled fares and optional extras, while the likes of easyJet and Norwegian are increasingly targeting the corporate market with perks for business travellers.
With airlines increasingly tinkering with their fare models, how do LCCs fit into corporate programmes, and is the low-cost label even relevant any more? “Low-cost carrier may not be a defunct term but it is wrong to assume that this means a low price to the traveller,” says Paul Wait, CEO of the GTMC. “A low-cost carrier just means its operating costs are lower than a legacy airline operating from a major hub.” Wait suggests that airline pricing is just shifting to unbundled and bundled packages, making the process of selfbooking more time-consuming as users struggle to create and compare prices. “Think of how you buy a car: having
chosen the brand, then the model and then the build specification, you are then presented with the price. Airline pricing is going the same way,” says Wait. “It's time for the term low-cost carrier to be consigned to the graveyard!” The ATPI Group’s Supplier Relations Manager, Dean Mitchell, believes most airlines are moving towards a middle ground. “The main airlines are now offering low fares with limited products and, as a result, the lines have become blurred. The LCCs have pushed up as the mainstream carriers have pushed down,” he says. Ryanair’s Head of Communications, Robin Kiely, says: “Other airlines simply can’t compete, so it’s no surprise to see them try and change their models.”
Low-cost carriers / Air travel
In it for the long-haul
One low-cost airline that is making great strides is Norwegian, which was bold enough to roll-out its low-cost operations on routes across the Atlantic. It is calling 2017 its ‘biggest year ever’, with more transatlantic routes likely to be launched and the arrival of new aircraft - more Boeing 787s and the latest Boeing 737 MAX. “Cost will always be a leading factor when booking flights but the price of long-haul travel has been too high for too long,” says Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian. “Flying a modern fleet of aircraft with an average age of 3.6 years keeps our maintenance costs and fuel bill down, in addition to serving airports with lower landing charges.” Watching Norwegian's long-haul expansion with interest is easyJet CEO, Carolyn McCall. Speaking at a recent GTMC she ruled out its own assault on the market. “Norwegian had a lot of obstacles but they might prove there is a model there,” she said. “As a result of Brexit we are not looking at long-haul. We still see organic growth in Europe. It’s not inconceivable but right now, it’s not in our plan,” said McCall. Although Brexit has been cited for reduced profits and poorer performances, most believe long-term effects will be absorbed. “In the short-term the fall of the pound against the Euro and Dollar may affect LCCs'
profitability, but these businesses are far too smart to let something like Brexit unhinge their excellent brand positioning and growth in the long-term,” says ATPI’s Mitchell. The GTMC’s Wait agrees: “Brexit will only impact LCCs if businesses in the UK stop doing business with Europe, which I seriously doubt will happen.”
Doing the business
Airlines’ changing business models present a challenge to TMCs and travel managers trying to book the best experience at the right price. And even with hundreds of variables in the booking, the expected outcome is always the same: a satisfied and productive traveller who delivers a return on investment for the company paying. Clare de Bono, Head of Product and Innovation for Amadeus UK & Ireland says: “Amadeus have been at the forefront of bringing together all sorts of airline content onto a single screen. For TMCs that professional booking environment offers point and click access to a fast-growing catalogue of airline products and services that can be tailormade to suit the preferences of individual travellers and the policies of a corporate travel programme.” She continues, “As airlines continuously tweak their offers and price points in order
Airlines' evolving business models present a challenge to travel managers and TMCs trying to book the best experience at the right price”
to remain competitive, it is down to the TMC and corporate traveller to make sense of it all. They now have the technology at their fingertips to do so.” EasyJet is a fan of GDS distribution and in fact offers several fare options exclusive to GDS users. The GTMC's Wait says it is a sign the airline has made it a core strategy to build its revenues from the corporate travel sector. EasyJet says one in every five of its passenger is travelling on business. “For any airline that wants to grow in the business travel space it has to understand how the B2B sector works and be able to adapt accordingly,” says Wait. “Its growth will be largely determined by which airports it operates from and to and the proximity of those airports to large portions of business travellers. On top of that, frequency and schedules are key factors in attracting business travellers. Once the convenience and connectivity elements have been delivered it is then about affordability and delivery of traveller satisfaction,” he explains.
Getting it together
Another trend gaining momentum is the partnering of low-cost or regional carriers with legacy airlines in order to feed the latter's long-haul networks, leaving each partner to concentrate on what it does best. The short-haul operations of legacy airlines are, after all, far less profitable than their long-haul services, so why not let someone else do the regional legwork for you? Flybe, which recently picked up slots at Heathrow to operate flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh, signed several codeshare agreements in 2016, including a partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Their networks meet at London Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and now Heathrow too. Ryanair, meanwhile, is also on the lookout. “We are speaking to a number of airlines concerning feeding their long haul flights, and we are in advanced talks with Aer Lingus and Norwegian,” says Kiely. Given we have the largest route network in Europe, it’s a logical move and a very attractive proposition for long-haul carriers. But it will represent a very small proportion of our business, particularly as our flights our almost full, with a 95% load factor in November.” Watch this space.
Reader's rant / Air travel
[ READER'S RANT ]
THERE’S ALWAYS ONE An anonymous travel manager speaks up about that business traveller who always knows best...
Every company has at least one of them and if asked you could probably name them without too much difficulty – the diva, the prima donna, the one who always knows best. Or at least they think they do. In my experience a lot of regular travellers tend to view booking travel as something a trained monkey could do as long as they had access to an internet connection and a couple of popular websites. And while it’s good to have travellers engaged with the process rather than passively just letting travel happen, I do have a limit at which I become positively potty mouthed. It’s when travellers fastidiously check every step of their arrangements to see if they could do a better job using a consolidator, because invariably they never compare apples with apples and two plus two equals five.
I’m sure their time could be much better spent doing their own job rather than dictating to me how I should do mine. I’ve spent years cultivating knowledge far beyond what Google can suggest and I know full well that if I tried to tell them how to do their own jobs they would tell me exactly where to go. Travel remains a service industry, however, so I will smile through gritted teeth while I explain to you for the third time why the fares are different when you’ve asked me to check LHR-SIN and you’re comparing them to SIN-LHR fares that you found on a price comparison site. And I’ll keep smiling when you ask me to check rates at the sixth hotel because it’s closer to the nightlife than the previous five. I’ll even keep smiling when you send over details of a cheaper chauffeur service you’ve found that may as well be run by someone called ‘Honest John’ in a clapped out uninsured Vauxhall Cavalier. Let’s be clear though that this behaviour will place you on my radar, and when I have the ability to seat you beside the toilets on your flight, make your hotel bed configuration permanently single or ‘forget’ to put your frequent flier number in, I may just be tempted to do so.
Air Travel / Data
AIR SPEND TAKES OFF Overall corporate spend on air travel might be on the rise, but nearly half of companies are reducing their use of airlines’ business and premium cabins. New research from the Business Travel Show also reveals a marked increase in the use of low-cost and budget airlines among businesses. “This year’s survey shows that airline budgets are increasing for 40% of buyers, compared to 37% in 2016, and 38% are buying more business and premium fares, which indicates a healthy outlook for the business travel industry,” says David Chapple, Event Director, Business Travel Show. Chapple continues, “It’s also interesting to see the introduction of DCC is already creating waves – 17% of buyers claim it has led to price increases and one in ten have switched suppliers. However, 20% are enjoying greater transparency of pricing.” The Business Travel Show takes place on February 22-23 (businesstravelshow.com)
AIR TRAVEL BUDGETS HOW WILL YOU R 2017 AIRL INE BUD GET COM PARE TO THIS YEAR ’S?
CO MPARE D TO THE LAS T 12 MO NTH S, ARE YOU US ING THE FOL LOW ING MO RE OR LES S?
WHA T IMPA CT HAV E YOU SEEN FROM THE DCC CHA RGE?
DC C HA S BEE N A GO OD THI NG ...
GREATER SMALLER SAME
33% 21% 46%
40% 15% 45%
PRIVATE JETS FIRST CLASS BUSINESS/PREMIUM LOW COST AIRLINES BUDGET AIRLINES
MORE 3% 7% 38% 81% 73%
LESS 14% 25% 48% 15% 16%
WE HAVE SWITCHED CARRIERS OUR PRICES HAVE INCREASED OUR PRICES HAVE DECREASED MORE TRANSPARENCY WITH PRICING OUR TMC KEEPS US UP TO DATE DON’T KNOW
STRONGLY AGREE AGREE DISAGREE STRONGLY DISAGREE DON’T KNOW
1% 10% 24% 10% 55%
DO NOT USE 83% 68% 14% 4% 11%
10% 17% 3% 20% 24% 26%
2016 ON-TIME PERFORMANCE TOP 20 MAINLINE AIRLINES 1. Hawaiian Airlines 2. Copa Airlines 3. KLM 4. Qantas Airways 5. Japan Airlines 6. Flybe 7. Alaska Airlines 8. Iberia 9. Singapore Airlines 10. Austrian Airlines 11. All Nippon Airways 12. Virgin Australia 13. Delta Air Lines 14. Finnair 15. Aer Lingus 16. Gulf Air 17. Lufthansa 18. Avianca Brazil 19. Aerolineas Argentinas 20. Aegean Airlines
89.87% 88.75% 87.89% 87.56% 86.74% 86.62% 86.05% 85.67% 85.19% 84.89% 84.71% 84.52% 84.29% 84.12% 83.97% 82.70% 82.37% 82.30% 81.96% 81.96%
TOP 20 LOW-COST AIRLINES 1. Monarch 2. GOL 3. Transavia 4. Jet2.com 5. Germanwings 6. Westjet 7. Southwest 8. Norwegian 9. Thai AirAsia 10. Skymark Airlines 11. Eurowings 12. Frontier Airlines 13. Virgin America 14. IndiGo Air 15. JetBlue 16. easyJet 17. Spring Airlines 18. Spirit Airlines 19. Jetstar Airways 20. AirAsia
85.67% 84.63% 83.98% 82.64% 82.48% 81.36% 81.04% 79.23% 78.60% 78.32% 77.88% 76.70% 76.40% 75.27% 75.26% 74.73% 74.50% 73.92% 73.66% 73.52%
Source: OAG 2016 Punctuality League, published January 2017
New kid on the block FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LONDON AT TEN TRINITY SQUARE THE LOWDOWN
hotel is a major addition for the luxury Four Seasons hotel group. It opened for business at the end of January and occupies a grade II-listed building – once the Port of London Authority’s headquarters in the City of London. It has three dining options, including acclaimed French chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s first UK restaurant, plus events space for up to 200, a spa, indoor pool and fitness centre. THAT'S A FACT
Square was the setting for the inaugural reception of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. The restored wood-panelled UN Ballroom can be hired for dinners and receptions and has views over the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the River Thames. QUOTE
“In this landmark
of power and prestige, we plan to introduce a more intimate, personalised experience for international travellers as well as local guests,” says the hotel’s General Manager, Charlie Parker. “In the story of Ten Trinity Square, a new Four Seasons chapter in London is about to unfold.” RATES
Rooms start from
£344 per room per night (including VAT) for an introductory period, and start from £430 thereafter. The day delegate rate for meetings and events is £120 (including VAT).
In this landmark of power and prestige, we plan to introduce a more intimate, personalised experienc” 90
On the road with
Richard Parkinson racks up around 70,000 miles a year
SEND ME BACK TO SINGAPORE
in his role with Text100, a client of Uxbridge-based travel management company Business Travel Direct Most recent trip: Las Vegas (where I'm writing this) Next trip: Atlanta (surprise, surprise!). We have three major clients that I look after who have their HQs there – it feels like a second home.
ATLANTA: MY SECOND HOME!
G OO D & BA D
D E TA I LS
Memorable experience: Flying under the Golden Gate Bridge in a helicopter! Worst experience: Nearly dying after eating nuts in Brazil on a work trip, particularly as I had asked if there were any nuts in the dish and they assured me there wasn’t. I take my epipen everywhere now.
Name: Richard Parkinson. Position & company: Global Creative Director, Text100. Nature of your business: Marketing communications agency. Based in: London. Business trips per year: MUST CUT S U PP LI E R S BACK! Around 18-20. I always say I'm Preferred airline or hotel: going to cut back but it never British Airways and the other seems to happen. oneworld airlines and the Andaz Estimated annual mileage: 70,000. West Hollywood hotel – the rooftop Regular destinations: Atlanta, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and did I pool is fantastic. mention Atlanta?! Loyalty points – obsessive collector or not bothered? Obsessive. I charge everything to my BA Amex along with flying oneworld airlines. The Avios build up pretty quickly that way. At the last count I had about 1.3million. Favourite loyalty scheme: It would have been Hyatt although they are changing it so I'll reserve judgement for now. So I'll go instead for the BA Exec Club.
R O O M FO R I MP R OVE ME N T One thing that would improve business travel: Better boarding procedures. It always seems to be a mess no matter what airline, although American Airlines seem to get it right
more often than not. British Airways is the worst offender. Biggest business travel irritation: Queues at Heathrow T5 Fast-track (it really isn’t!) along with the useless double scanning of the boarding pass for no apparent reason. Pack light or go prepared? Both. I can get everything I need into my Tumi roll-on bag for about 10 days. Never leave home without: Charging cables.
DE S T IN ATI O N S Happy never to go back to: Stuttgart. I never really understood the city in all the times I went there. Send me back to: Singapore. I love the way the city and in particular the airport just works – and the heat. Top overseas landmark: Sydney Opera House, particularly at night. It shines out like a beacon.
S TE P P I NG ON BOA RD Flights: work, rest or play? Rest. I prefer not to look at my laptop while on board – flying should SWITCH OFF ideally be a relaxing AND ENJOY experience. THE RIDE Onboard connectivity: take it or leave it? Leave it. Although just occasionally I have used it in the United States to send some urgent emails from my phone. Onboard habits: Sleeping and watching TV catch-up on my iPad.
TR AV E L PO LI CY Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? There’s a policy? If you could change one thing about your travel policy... I would write it!
On business in…
Oslo is said to be Europe’s fastestgrowing capital and sits at the heart of Norway’s economy. Friendly and compact, it claims innovation and entrepreneurship as its driving forces. Digitally advanced, architecturally stylish and with plenty of parks, water and cultural attractions, it is also one of the world's most expensive cities
Sl eep i n g
has some of the most expensive beers in the world,
Most hotels are near the city centre
and wine and cocktails have
and range from top spots such as
an even higher price tag.
Hotel Continental and the landmark
For the better deals head to
Grand Hotel to the designer style of
pubs and cafes rather than
The Thief, the first hotel in Oslo with
bars connected to hotels and
(departing every 10-20 minutes)
WATCH OUT FOR THE BAR BILLS!
direct access to the Oslo Fjord.
for about £25. Buses also leave every 20 minutes. Taxis are widely available but cost around £80 or more.
M u s t- s e e s i g ht s Cultural attractions include the historic Akershus Castle and Fortress
E ati n g
and a plethora of quirky museums. Check out the Fram Museum for the
Reindeer, moose and lutefisk
OSLO IS A FAVOURITE OF START-UPS
experienced in atmospheric
the Holmenkollen Ski Museum for
restaurants like Gamle
4,000 years of skiing history. The Vigeland Sculpture Park boasts more
Raadhus and Engebret Café restaurants. Residential areas to the
than 200 bronze, granite and cast
east of the city centre are more
iron sculptures and the Viking Ship
fårikål (lamb and cabbage stew),
moderately priced and include the
Museum with the world’s best
kjøttkaker (meatballs) or fish soup, try
old beer hall Olympen at Grønland.
preserved Viking ships.
in the historic city centre. For everyday Norwegian dishes such as
Getting there There are numerous services between the UK and Oslo, including flights with British Airways, Norwegian, SAS, bmi and Ryanair – although the latter flies to Oslo’s Sandefjord airport, some 100km south of the capital.
strongest wooden ship ever built or
are classic choices best
Kaffistova and Restaurant Schrøder. Dovrehallen Maaemo (three Michelin stars) and Kontrast offer more modern and creative Nordic flavours.
G et t in g Do w nto wn Oslo has three airports but the main international airport is the one at
D r i nk i n g
Gardermoen, 47km northeast of
Norwegians love to party but visitors
Train connects visitors with Oslo
reel at the shock of the bar bill. Oslo
Central Station in about 20 minutes
Oslo. The Flytoget Airport Express
Europeâ€™s largest specialised exhibition and conference for buyers and managers of business travel.
Register now for free using your invite code TBTM90 at www.businesstravelshow.com
WO W FAC TO R
QUIR KY VE N UE
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Lively and dynamic Bristol is truly a 21st century city, combining art and culture with a rich maritime heritage and retail culture. It is also home to a rich
Brunel’s SS Great Britain
Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL 0117 922 2127 / bristolmuseums.org
Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6TY 0117 926 0680 / ssgreatbritain.org
Telephone Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4BQ 0117 915 2600 / armadahouse.co.uk
The impressive Winterstoke Hall makes quite an impact for guests entering the huge hall while the ground floor galleries additionally contain a range of exhibitions and permanent displays. The halls can accommodate up to 400 people for drinks receptions and 120 for formal dinners. • Day delegate rates start from GRAND £21 (+VAT). DESIGNS
The restored ship in the heart of Bristol’s harbour is steeped in history and provides spectacular views across Bristol. The Weather Deck and Promenade Deck are available to hire for 250 guests and 150 guests respectively. The First Class Dining and Wayward saloons can be hired for private dining. • A day conference and dinner package is available for £120 (+VAT) per person.
SM A L L BU T P ER FE C T LY FO R ME D
W IR E D UP
Centrally located in an Edwardian building, Armada House has numerous rooms for hire along with in-house catering, free wifi access, AV equipment and IT support. Various DDRs are available to suit different budgets BESPOKE and all events EXTRAS packages are AVAILABLE bespoke. • Rates start at £28.50pp (+VAT).
array of venues, writes Benjamin Coren
O N A SH OE S T RI N G
The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NU 0330 016 0391 / hotelduvin.com
1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX 0117 927 5100 / watershed.co.uk
Castle Street, Thornbury, Bristol, BS35 1HH 01454 281 182 / thornburycastle.co.uk
As one of Bristol’s most advanced venues, Watershed provides hightech AV facilities and free technical support. Spaces and services are available to suit most needs, from conferences to private screenings. The suite of three rooms provide views of the harbourside and can be used separately or together. The venue's ‘Plot to Plate’ policy provides excellent healthy catering. • Day delegate rates are from £32.75 (+VAT).
The 500-year-old castle was once visited by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn so delegates can expect a royal experience here. The venue features 27 bedrooms, public rooms and meeting rooms. The Tudor hall can seat up to 70 theatre-style. Various delegate packages are available with a wide range of dining options as well as team-building activities. • The DDR is from £40 per person though rates are variable.
Further information Contact the Destination Bristol conference team: Tel: 0117 946 2200; Email: conference@destinationbristol. co.uk; and see: visitbristol.co.uk/ conferences
Hotel Du Vin & Bistro
Located in an old sugar factory, Hotel Du Vin has four quirky and unique dining rooms of various sizes and styles. Day delegate packages SWEET AND include room UNIQUE hire, stationery, water, wifi, two tea and coffee breaks and a two-course lunch. • Rates are from £50. ©VisitEngland/Newcastle Gateshead Initiative
Getting there Bristol is easily accessed by road, rail and air. By road, the city is accessible from the M4 and M5 motorways. Bristol Temple Meads is the city's main railway station and is located 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. CrossCountry trains operate services from Birmingham, the North East, Edinburgh and Penzance. First Great Western run regular services from London Paddington, Reading, Swindon, Cardiff, Gloucester and more. Bristol Airport has direct services to over 100 European destinations including Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Dublin.
O UT O F TOWN
The United States' East Coast is home to one of the largest and most important economies in the world. Read on for your guide to travelling to and doing business in this dynamic region
US EAST COAST Time zone: GMT -5hrs Currency: US dollar Dialling code: +001 Culture: As a minimum, tip 15% when dining in restaurants or at least $1 per drink in bars
The US East Coast
Against all the odds and the predictions of pollsters, Republican Donald Trump swept into the White House in the US presidential election in November. His party also won control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time since 2005-2007. All of which has left the world scratching its corporate head about what the unpredictable new President will do having assumed office in January. For the UK, the big issue is trade with our largest single
overseas market, and with Trump rumoured to be receptive, a new and fruitful deal seems likely. The stakes are high. This is a market of more than 300million consumers expanding at a moderate pace, supported mainly by solid private consumption, the high-profile services sector and manufacturing. And despite facing challenges at the domestic level, along with a rapidly changing global landscape, the US economy remains the largest and most important in the world. It
represents around 20% of total global output – still larger than that of China – and features a highly developed and technologically advanced services sector in areas such as finance, healthcare and retail. But while the services sector is the main engine of the economy, the US also has a major manufacturing base. In fact, it is the world’s second-largest manufacturer, at the forefront in higher-value industries such as automobiles, aerospace, machinery, telecoms and chemicals.
Also growing in importance over the past decade has been the controversial shale oil and natural gas industry, with a new combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing offering access to previously untappable resources. All this, however, is a fragile edifice dependent on the new administration’s policy developments, which economists say will be of make or break importance in the future. UK exporters seeking business opportunities should take heart from
the Department for International Trade’s forecast that the spectrum of opportunities has the potential to deliver almost £3billion in export value to the UK economy. Here, it has identified good sales prospects in aerospace, technology, food and drink, the automobile industry and energy – all areas in which the UK has proven experience. Getting to the US East Coast to sell that experience and capability is a doddle. There
are more than 400 flights a week to the cities in our survey – New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Miami – from London and regional gateways like Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. In fact, London to New York City is the busiest long-haul passenger route from any European airport. If Donald comes up trumps with a favourable US-UK trade deal, heading across the Atlantic could be among the smartest moves your company will make this year.
Factfile: US East Coast FL IG H T S British Airways: operates 57 flights a week from Heathrow to New York JFK; 14 a week to New York Newark; 24 a week to Boston; 14 a week to Philadelphia; 14 a week to Miami and 13 a week to Washington DC. BA also operates five flights a week from Gatwick to New York JFK. Virgin Atlantic: 32 flights a week plenty of from Heathrow to options! New York JFK; 6 a week to New York Newark; 13 a week to Miami; 7 a week to Boston; and 6 a week to Washington DC. American Airlines: Up to 28 flights a week from Heathrow to New York JFK; 14 a week to Miami; and 14 a week to Philadelphia. From Manchester: 7 a week to both New York JFK and Philadelphia. From Scotland: 7 a week from Edinburgh to New York JFK and 7 a week from Glasgow to Philadelphia. From Ireland: 7 a week from Shannon to Philadelphia; 7 a week from Dublin to both Philadelphia and New York JFK. Delta Air Lines: operates 21 flights a week from Heathrow to New York JFK; 7 a week to Boston; and 7 a week to Philadelphia. It also operates 7 flights a week from Manchester to New York JFK. United Airlines: operates flights to New York Newark 35 times a week from London Heathrow; 4 a week from Birmingham; 7 a week from Edinburgh; 7 a week from Glasgow; and 7 a week from Manchester. It also operates 21 flights a week from Heathrow to Washington DC. Norwegian: 7 flights a week from Gatwick to New York JFK; 4 flights a week from Gatwick to Boston. Others: Kuwait Airways has 3 flights a week from Heathrow to New York JFK. Pakistan International has 2 flights a week from Manchester to New York JFK.
REGION A L r o o m s Kimpton Hotels was launched in San Francisco 30 years ago as the first boutique hotel company in the US. It introduced the concept of a liveable and stylish home from home, as opposed to the big and impersonal properties of the day. Today, there are 64 boutique hotels and 92 restaurants in 33 cities across the States, with Kimpton represented in all the East Coast destinations in our survey. Among the group's expansion plans are three hotels each in Boston, Miami and New York City, plus two in Philadelphia and more in Washington DC.
o p en i n g f o r b us i ne s s When it comes to new hotel development New York City leads the way. Notable recent additions include the AKA Wall Street, the first luxury all-residential property in the Financial District, The Beekman, The Redbury, the Williamsburg and The Bernic. Hotels due to open this year include The Moxy, Courtyard New York, Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Courtyard Yonkers. Among recent openings in Boston is The Godfrey and coming soon is The Boston Park Plaza. The W Hotel and Element are among the notable hotels due to open this year in Philadelphia, while the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC was the city's big opening in 2016.
Af t e r H o ur s New York City Must-sees include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the city's many museums, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National September 11 Memorial and Ellis Island. Memorable shopping and a show on Broadway are the prelude to visiting trendy bars and eateries.
Night spots can be found across the city, but possibly the best known is the high-energy Howl at the Moon, featuring live bands.
Boston Take the Freedom Trail in Boston following 16 sites recalling the Washington DC American War of Independence. There is much to see and do in the Find time to visit the Old State nation’s capital. Start at the House, which features tea National Mall, home to the salvaged from the original city’s best-known Boston Tea Party, and A capital monuments, then continue Faneuil Marketplace. Pop day out on to the Smithsonian into Good Life, with its Institute, the National Air sizzling club scene. & Space Museum, the White House, and Capitol Hill. After Philadelphia hours there is a good range of America’s Founding Fathers signed nightclubs and an array of venues the Declaration of Independence with rooftop decks. in Philly. Notable museums include the Mutter and the Miami Philadelphia Museum of Art. The city at Florida’s southeastern tip has a Cuban influence. This is reflected in the cafes and cigar shops that line Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Across Biscayne Bay is Miami Beach, home to South Beach, noted for its Art Deco buildings, hotels, bars and trendy nightclubs. Arguably the best known is Mango’s, with lavish dining and live music.
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Reality check F LI G HT : ETIH AD AI R WAYS, BU S INESS CL ASS THE FLIGHT
Flight EY20 from
wide and convert to fully flat beds of up
Heathrow Terminal 4 to Abu Dhabi –
to 80 inches. Four buttons control the
an afternoon departure, arriving shortly
seat position and lighting (which
after 1am. The flight was operated by an
included a reading light, mood light,
Airbus A380. Etihad flies three times a
table light and decorative light behind
day from London to its Abu Dhabi hub.
my shoulder) and a handheld unit with
Terminal 4 was
LCD screen is used to screen TV/films on
serenely quiet and there was no queue
the ample screen. There was also a
at check-in nor fast-track security.
power point and two USB sockets.
Etihad's lounge – for both first and
business class passengers – is located
noise-cancelling headphones, menus
beneath the SkyTeam lounge. There
and amenity kits (one of a series of
was a bar, dining area (a buffet and
collectible city-inspired kits complete
an à la carte menu were available),
with LUXE city guide) were all laid out on
various seating options, waiter service,
my seat. My jacket was taken and hung
work stations, plenty of power points
up and drinks and hot towels were
and a Six Senses spa with compli-
swiftly handed out. The ﬂight took oﬀ
around 45 minutes late after taxiing for
I was in rear-facing
an age, and dinner orders were taken
centre seat 21G on the A380's upper
soon afterwards from a choice of three
deck which is reserved for first class
starters, four mains – I chose the
and business passengers. The business
chicken biryani – and four desserts. A
class cabin comprises 70 'Studios' in a
number of light bites were available for
dovetailed 1-2-1 configuration that gives
the duration of the ﬂight. Wiﬁ access
all passengers direct aisle access and
was available, from $11.95 for two hours
plenty of space. Seats are 22 inches
to $21.95 for the whole ﬂight.
This is a really smart,
spacious and comfortable business class
A LOUNGE AREA BETWEEN THE FIRST AND BUSINESS CLASS CABINS IS A NICE TOUCH
product that could benefit only from an extra privacy screen. A cool lounge area between the first and business class cabins is a nice touch. THE DETAILS
Etihad Airways flies
three times a day from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. Return fares in business class start from £1,750. etihad.com
FL I G HT : B RI T IS H A IR WAYS CIT Y FLYER , EU R O T R AV EL LER THE FLIGHT
Flight BA3277 from
Euro Traveller (economy) seats in a 2-2
London City Airport to Düsseldorf
configuration. There is no change in
Airport, flown by an Embraer E-170.
seat pitch and width between classes
British Airways operates with two flights
although dining options do vary. I was in
a day on the route Monday to Friday
seat 16B, in the Euro Traveller section;
and one a day at weekends. I flew on
the seat was perfectly functional for the
the Friday evening service.
one hour, 20 minute flight with no bells
I checked in online and
and whistles. The seat reclined and had
made use of the British Airways app,
a personal reading light and there was
which provided a digital boarding pass,
adequate storage space in the overhead
streamlining the process. I had an issue
locker for hand luggage.
with the self-check-in machine at LCY,
At the time of ﬂying
however – it did not recognise my
British Airways oﬀered complimentary
booking and I was unable to print off a
snacks and drinks for those in Euro
bag tag to drop off my luggage. On the
Traveller. Alcoholic and soft drinks were
plus side, there were no queues at the
available as well as popcorn, crisps and
terminal and this was resolved quickly
biscuits. But from January this year
at the desk. London City's departure
complimentary food in Euro Traveller
lounge is small but has a good selection
cabins on ﬂights from LCY has been
of shops and a restaurant. At the time of
replaced with a new Marks & Spencer
flying the gates at LCY were undergoing
paid product. Club Europe travellers can
renovation. Unfortunately the flight's
still enjoy a complimentary menu of hot
departure was delayed 30 minutes due
and cold dishes and drinks. The cabin
to Düsseldorf. Fares start from £42 each
to adverse weather conditions.
crew were friendly and attentive
way in Euro Traveller and from £115
There are 52 Club
Europe (business class) seats and 24
throughout the duration of the ﬂight, making for a pleasant experience.
The Euro Traveller
cabin was comfortable, with plenty of
BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIES TWICE DAILY FROM LONDON CITY TO DUSSELDORF
seat space and good legroom. Service was personable and the flight's delayed departure was no fault of BA's. THE DETAILS
British Airways flies 12
times a week from London City Airport
each way in Club Europe. ba.com
Reality check H OT EL : TH E P ENINSU L A, H O NG KO NG THE HOTEL
The Peninsula is one of
walk-in shower and a large, deep bath
the best-known hotels in Hong Kong
tub with terrific views of Kowloon. The
and indeed Asia. The 300-room luxury
living area had a sofa, desk and chaise
hotel opened in 1928 on the southern-
longue, plus large TV, minibar and coffee
most tip of Kowloon. It is 45 minutes
machine. There was more seating and a
by road from Hong Kong International
telescope in the bedroom – perfect for
Airport while Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station
taking in the views. Tablet devices
is right on the hotel's doorstep.
controlled lighting, air con and more.
I arrived at this 'grand
dame' hotel ahead of the usual check-in
include The Lobby for all-day dining and
time and was told my room was not yet
afternoon tea; Spring Moon serves
available. They made a note of my
Cantonese cuisine; Gaddi's for French
mobile number and I took a seat in the
dishes; 28th-floor Felix for European
bustling and lavish lobby area. Ten
cuisine; the cosy Chesa Swiss restaurant;
minutes later I was informed I could
Japanese restaurant Imasa; and The Bar.
collect my key card from reception.
There are seven meetings and events
but there was no danger of that. The
spaces with capacity for up to 140
classic style might not be everyone's cup
views! My corner suite in the Peninsula
people. The spa is adjacent to the
of tea, but it's hard not to be wowed
Tower looked out across Victoria Harbour
Roman-style swimming pool and a sun
to Hong Kong Island's iconic skyline on
terrace with more fantastic views across
one side and the lights of Kowloon on
the city. There's also a shopping arcade,
the other. Quite an impression. The suite
gift shop and the hotel's famous ﬂeet of
comprised a living room, bedroom, walk-
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows.
First things first – the
in closet and bathroom, with decor in
THE BEST VIEWS FROM A HONG KONG HOTEL ROOM?
as The Peninsula's there's always a risk
floral motifs. The bathroom had a
that visiting could prove an anticlimax,
bend over backwards to accommodate guests' wants and needs. THE DETAILS
Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Rates start from around £411 per night.
With a reputation such
light tones with dark trim and smart
regardless. Moreover, the excellent staff
F L IGH T : CAT HAY PACI FIC, P RE MIU M ECO NO MY THE FLIGHT
Flight CX257 from Hong
worked without having to repeatedly jab
Kong to London Heathrow, operated by
it. There was a USB socket to the side of
a B777-300. I was travelling in premium
the screen and a power socket in the
economy, a product the airline first
arm rest. A blanket and pillow were
introduced in 2012. A newer version
supplied, as were a very basic amenity
features onboard Cathay’s A350 aircraft.
kit and good quality headphones.
I’d checked in online
Among the features of Cathay’s latest
and sailed through security at Hong
premium economy seat on A350s is a
Kong International Airport. Departing
useful seat-back tablet holder.
from Gate 1, the flight was delayed by
Menus were handed
20 minutes due to ‘congested air space
out shortly before take-oﬀ and bottles
over China’. Boarding commenced
of water soon afterwards, together with
around 30 minutes before the flight
juices. Breakfast was served not long
ultimately took off.
afterwards and comprised fruit, yoghurt,
I had window seat
croissant and a choice of three hot
31A in the 2-4-2 configured premium
dishes. Lunch (salad, a choice of three
economy cabin (compared to 3-3-3 in
mains and dessert) was served midway
economy). With a 38-inch pitch (versus
through the 13-hour ﬂight and a range
32 inches in economy), there was ample
of snacks were available on request
legroom and the recline was reasonably
throughout the ﬂight.
generous too. The meal table lifts out of
the arm rest – rather than folding down
economy product provides just enough
from the seatback – and there was a
extras and added comfort to take the
well-positioned footrest and small slide-
edge off a long daytime flight. As with
out drinks coaster. The 10.6-inch IFE
most Asian airlines, the service from
screen had touch controls that actually
cabin crew couldn’t be faulted.
Cathay Pacific flies from
Heathrow to Hong Kong 35 times a week.
THE AIRLINE IS ADDING MORE FLIGHTS BETWEEN THE UK AND HONG KONG THIS JUNE
It also flies four times weekly from both London Gatwick (daily from June) and Manchester (five times weekly from June), with both routes flown by Airbus A350s. Return fares from Heathrow to Hong Kong travelling in premium economy start from £894 and from £865 flying from Gatwick. cathaypacific.co.uk
The final word
The bear essentials... W
here would you find a forensic wig, a Louis Vuitton brief case, a Swarovski-encrusted waving cat charm and a 40-year-old teddy bear? In Travelodge’s famous Lost & Found office, of course. The hotel group recently issued its annual rundown of items left behind by its business guests, which also included a Mercedes AMG, a suitcase full of invoices that needed to be posted, a Rolex watch and a luxurious personalised set of Mont Blanc pens. The blinged-up waving cat was left behind by a businessman who was so distraught about leaving it he arranged for a special overnight courier to collect it and bring it back to him, says the hotel group. Meanwhile, one CEO was in such a hurry to get to his
business meeting that he forgot his teddy bear which has been his companion for 40 years. “Our business customers tell us that the pace of modern life is fast and furious and that time is of the essence, especially when getting from A to B, and therefore valuable possessions are easily being forgotten,” says Shakila Ahmed, spokes-
Fit to fly
ver wondered how many miles cabin crew walk in a week? Probably not, but London City Airport clearly did and, having crunched all the numbers, has revealed a surprisingly active airport workforce. Airport managers trek an impressive 9.1 miles per shift on average while cabin crew average nearly three miles per short flight. A team of baggage handlers, meanwhile, processes around 550 bags per day. At 13kg per bag, that’s 7,150kg in total – more than an elephant!
person for the budget brand. It seems the group’s leisure guests are no less scatty. Forgotten treasures included an antique stained glass window left behind at a Canterbury Travelodge, a Shitsu called Harold neglected in Harrogate, and a gold portrait of Elvis Presley left at its London Aldgate East hotel.
THE TOP FIVE… ONBOARD MEALS Business travel used to be about fun. Having a beer perhaps, and maybe even a cake. Not any more. Data from Heathrow shows that 2016 was the year of sushi, with raw fish topping the chart for meals bought preflight and taken onboard. Sandwiches and salads come in at number two and three, although only as options 'under 500 calories', which sounds pretty dull. Noodles and pasta remain in the top five but there's no place for pizza and pastries, both of which were in the 2015 chart.
With the sequel to Blade Runner due out later this year, perhaps it's not the best time to mention EVA Air’s newest recruit – a robot called Pepper. Based at Taipei’s International Airport, the automaton can scan boarding passes and provide departure details, as well as play games, shake hands and pose for selfies with passengers
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Published on Jul 19, 2017
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