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Businesstravel the

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June/July 2018

Magazine

the Business travel magazine • JUNE/JULY 2018

happy returns Taking traveller wellbeing to the next level

+ THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

UK aviation Business class Focus on India Sir Ranulph Fiennes BUSINESS TRAVEL EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR

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ARRIVALS

Contents 09

J UNE /J UL Y 2018 Features

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22 UK Aviation

32 Business class 44 Expense management

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28

Extended feature

Traveller welfare

(p63-85) 22

Arrivals 6

Opening Shots

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Everyone's Talking About... The Business Travel People Awards 2018

10 Six of the Best... Hotels in Shoreditch, London

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12 Spotlight on: Ultra-long-haul travel 14 The Knowledge: managing an emergency medical evacuation

How to take your travel programme to the next level

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63 Extended feature: Traveller welfare

16 Event report: Advantage Conference 17 Speaking Out: the sharing economy 18 Event report: ITM Conference

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Regulars

19 The Business Travel People Awards 2018 winners

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26 The Conversation: SkĂşli Mogensen, WOW Air 28 Sustainability: Eco-friendly travel 29 The Big Picture 30 Technology: Booking tools

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31 Meet the Buyer: Richard Childs, Biffa 42 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 2018

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31

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48 Talking Travel: Sir Ranulph Fiennes 62 TBTM Dinner Club

The Review

51 Ten pages of news, views and the latest developments

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Departures 86 On the Road

87 New Kid on the Block 89 Meeting in... Plymouth 91 On Business in... Mexico City 92 Focus on... India

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96 Reality Check 98 The Final Word

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ARRIVALS

Welcome Power to the people

H

as there ever been a time when employee wellbeing has been so central to business travel programmes? Where once corporates were focused on reducing costs, cutting travel

volumes and tightening travel policies, they are now moving in the opposite direction, relaxing the parameters and carefully monitoring the impact of business travel on their staff. Caring for the people in your organisation has become a top priority. Traveller centricity, traveller friction, traveller wellbeing… they are now ubiquitous phrases that point to a clear shift in how businesses treat their travellers. Corporates are paying increasing attention to the impact that days spent travelling on business has on productivity, morale and welfare, and moreover, the indisputable link between travel fatigue, staff retention and even recruitment. We have covered this evolving topic in many past issues of The Business Travel Magazine, but never have we devoted so many pages to it. Eighteen pages, in fact, from traveller wellbeing, accessible travel and traveller tracking, to female travellers, the LGBTQ community and duty of care obligations. Also putting people in the spotlight is our very own event, The Business Travel People Awards, which took place in May and recognised the hard work of teams and individuals across the industry over the last 12 months. See pages 19-21 for all the details. We were pleased to announce at the event a partnership with the University of Greenwich that will help nurture young talent and raise awareness of the business travel industry as a wonderful career path. It is a fledgling project but we look forward to working with additional colleges and universities and welcome the support of industry suppliers and organisations. Get in touch if you'd like to leverage your own people power for the benefit of the industry.

Businesstravel the

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Andy Hoskins andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com CONTRIBUTORS

Neal Baldwin, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Roger Gardner, Rob Gill, Jenny Southan, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS

Julie Baxter, Benjamin Coren & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES PUBLISHER

David Clare david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner DESIGNERS

Louisa Horton, Ross Clifford, Monica Notarnicola & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION CONTROLLER

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR

Martin Steady

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

Andy Hoskins, Editor

© BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2018 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

The Balmoral

suite scone

Rocco Forte's iconic Edinburgh hotel, The Balmoral, has unveiled a new look for its signature room, the Scone & Crombie suite. Named after Scone Palace in Perthshire, the 220m2 room can be booked as a two or threebedroom suite and has views over Edinburgh's Old Town.

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An entrance hall provides the perfect location for discrete private check-ins and opens onto a multipurpose meetings and dining space�

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American Airlines

FLYinG HiGH

Marylebone Hotel

American Airlines has opened new Flagship Lounges at New York JFK, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles airports as part of a $200million investment. New lounges at Heathrow, Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia airports are next in line.

Meet DoYLe

London’s Marylebone Hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, has opened new meeting and event facilities. The spaces have been designed to ‘challenge the traditional expectations of meetings and conference venues’.

Kempinski Hotels

oMAn oPeninG With 310 rooms, ten restaurants and bars, a luxury spa, ballroom for 700 and 11 function rooms, the Kempinski Hotel Muscat is another upmarket addition for Oman’s happening capital city. The new property is conveniently situated in the Al Mouj district, close to the marina and airport. THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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GET CLOSER TO

GETTING

DOWN TO BUSINESS

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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

The Business Travel People Awards 2018 “TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING, BUT BEHIND EVERY PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY THERE’S THE PEOPLE.

“I THINK THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW “TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T

THE PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE,

RESCUE IT PROVIDES WE CANYOU GIVEBUT BACK, HOW WE CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR CAN RECOGNISE TALENT AND HOW TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS WEPROCEDURES CAN MAKE SURE PEOPLE GET AND TO RUN REPORTS AND HELP YOU REACH THOSE THE EXPOSURE THEY NEED WITHIN AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT”

THE INDUSTRY”

Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity Colin Stewart, Air Europa (Sponsor)

“There’s not another awards ceremony like it – it’s a great morale booster for the people within the industry” Claire Harrington, ATPI (Sponsor)

SO RECOGNITION FOR THEM IS SO IMPORTANT“ Martin Hayes-Gleave, Clarity (Winner: MICE Manager of the Year)

The people who’ve been here and have won today are just exceptional quality and to be recognised by my industry peers is just fantastic; the highest accolade I could have hoped for” Alexandra Kington, Clarity (Winner: Best Newcomer)

“THE INTEGRITY OF THESE AWARDS IS CRITICAL. WHAT MAKES THESE SO IMPORTANT IS THE FACT THAT THE JUDGING GROUP IS INDEPENDENT OF THE Mark Cuschieri, Chairman of the Judges & Global Travel Lead at UBS

REST OF THE ORGANISATION” "Winning the award is a massive step in being recognised for all the hard work that you've put into the industry and the passion you have for it. Who knows where it'll take me, but I'm really excited" Scott Alboni, CTM (Winner: Rising Star Award)

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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best... Hotels in Shoreditch, London 1

The Hoxton

Hoxton’s Shoreditch property is the brand’s original, showcasing its contemporary boutique style. There are 210 rooms available, a handful of which are unique Concept rooms that can’t be booked, only requested. The trendy open lobby is a popular spot for casual meetings.

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Nobu Hotel

Opened in June last year, Nobu Shoreditch is the Hotel’s first European property. As well as 150 guestrooms and seven suites, the hotel features the 240-seat Nobu Restaurant which opens onto an open-air terrace.

Courthouse Hotel

Formerly the Old Street Magistrates Court, the hotel today is a five-star property that holds on to its heritage. The Judge and Jury restaurant features wood-panelled walls while drinks are served in the jailhouse bar. There's also a pool, spa, bowling alley and screening room.

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The Curtain

Another recent Shoreditch opening, the five-star hotel has several restaurants – The Red Rooster Harlem among them – a live music venue and a members club, not forgetting an impressive rooftop lounge and pool.

5

10

Words: Benjamin Coren

M by Montcalm

Taking a high-tech angle, the hotel is filled with gadgets, including touchscreen tablets and high-speed wifi throughout. The hotel also has a pool, gym and a Club floor lounge. The Plate restaurant offers à la carte dining throughout the day and there are six meeting spaces.

Ace Hotel

This Shoreditch High Street property offers a range of cool designer guestrooms, from standard to deluxe rooms and suites. The rooftop bar is a popular hang-out and has fine views of London. There are also numerous spaces for co-working and for meetings and events.

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ARRIVALS SPOTLIGHT

Spotlight on... Ultra-long haul travel

The record for the longest scheduled flight in the world will change hands once again in October, but is the thought of a 19-hour flight a turn-off for too many? Singapore Airlines will introduce the world's longest commercial flight this autumn, a non-stop service between Singapore and New York Newark. The 16,700km flight will take up to a bum-numbing 18hrs 45mins and operate on a daily basis from October 18. The airline has in fact operated the same service as recently as 2013 but new aircraft from Airbus are enabling SIA to have another attempt at making it profitable. As technology and manufacturing improve, airlines are pushing the limits of long-haul travel. Fuel efficiency is the key, and Singapore Airlines is the first carrier in the world to take delivery of the new A350900ULR – ULR stands for ultra long range. The airline's new operation, which will trim four to five hours off its current service via Frankfurt, will usurp Qatar Airways' 14,530km service between Doha and Auckland launched in spring 2017.

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In turn, the non-stop service between London and Perth, launched by Qantas only this March using B787-9 Dreamliners, will be bumped down to third, at 14,500km. The Australian airline is also hoping to go non-stop between London and Sydney in the next few years, potentially using A350900ULRs or Boeing 777X aircraft, a service that would once again raise the bar. Airlines typically charge higher fares on non-stop services than on their indirect options, but is there also an element of one-upmanship spurring them on? “Singapore Airlines has always taken pride in pushing the boundaries to provide the best possible travel convenience for our customers, and we are pleased to be leading the way with these new non-stop flights using the latest-technology, ultralong-range Airbus A350-900ULR,” says the airline's CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. That's all very well, but is it really in passengers' best interests to save a few hours by being buckled into the same seat for 18 hours? It is significant that Singapore Airlines' forthcoming service will have no

Airlines typically charge higher fares on non-stop services than on their indirect options, but is there also an element of one-upmanship spurring the airlines on?” economy seating on-board and instead offer just 67 business class seats and 94 seats in premium economy, both pictured above (return fares in the latter cabin start from £1,250 including taxes). The airline also stresses the “more comfortable travelling experience” delivered by the new aircraft, including improved air quality and lighting, optimised cabin altitude and humidity levels, plus higher ceilings and larger windows. By the end of the year Singapore Airlines will have seven A350-900ULRs in its fleet, with non-stop flights to Los Angeles also planned. It is clear the limits of long-haul travel will continue to be tested.

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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE

How to... manage an emergency medical evacuation It’s a corporate’s worst nightmare: a business traveller falls seriously ill in a remote location. Read on to find out how one company managed the situation

THE SCENARIO

One of your employees falls ill with a lifethreatening condition miles away from home. How would you ensure they receive the urgent medical treatment they need with the clock ticking? This is the exact position one company found itself in recently.

THE BACKGROUND

The company in question, a global biopharmaceutical organisation, often has employees travelling to conduct business all around the world. During one such trip, a traveller developed thrombosis and was admitted to hospital in Belém, Brazil. The patient was given a 50:50 chance of survival and just 24 hours to receive the specialist treatment she needed before her critical organs failed. With the nearest

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hospital able to perform the vital surgery 3,000 kilometres away in São Paulo, and national and cultural holidays under way which seriously limited the availability of local public services, it quickly became a life or death situation.

THE SOLUTION

The company called upon the services of its assistance provider, Anvil Group, which sprang into action. It immediately convened a team of security, medical and operational personnel to manage an emergency medical air evacuation and work alongside the patient while she was transported to São Paulo. The team deployed a bilingual security professional locally to aid the translation process, provide security and emotional support and coordinate movements on the ground. They also arranged for an ambulance and medical crew to transport the patient from the hospital to the airfield; a Learjet 35 air ambulance with a pilot, co-pilot, doctor and nurse to fly the patient from Belém to São Paulo; and an ambulance to transfer the patient from the São Paulo airfield to the receiving hospital. With the stakes so high, Anvil also engaged a back-up evacuation team to

provide support in case of any unforeseen complications with the initial evacuation. “You can’t always rely on the local infrastructure or standard emergency services to provide the assistance you need in such situations,” says Juliane Kause, Anvil’s Chief Medical Officer, herself an experienced aeromedical physician and a specialist in acute and critical care medicine. “When time is of the essence, you need the reassurance of knowing that your people are in the hands of experts who’ll keep a cool head, take control and move heaven and earth to achieve the desired outcome,” she says.

THE RESULT

The patient arrived at the destination hospital in São Paulo within 12 hours of Anvil being notified of the case. The prompt and thorough response doubtless helped ensure the patient’s survival. “Cases like these serve as a harsh reminder to companies of what could go wrong without the proper plans in place,” says Kause. “The company in question here had made the necessary provisions but, all too often, companies assume the worst will never happen to them. And as this case highlights, that could literally mean the difference between life and death.”

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A collection of luxury hotels

inspired by contemporary European lifestyle

336 - 337 STRAND · LONDON · WC2R 1HA T. +44 (0) 20 7395 3400 · MELONDON@MELIA.COM MELONDONHOTEL.COM . CABO

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@MELONDONHOTEL

IBIZA LONDON MADRID MALLORCA MIAMI MILAN DUBAI (2018) DOHA (2019) BARCELONA (2020)

SITGES

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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT

Advantage Conference Miami advice The travel consortium's annual conference took place in Miami last month. Andy Hoskins reports Consolidation, relationships and technology were among the key themes considered at the Advantage Conference, where the consortium’s management also announced significant growth in business travel sales. In the opening session of the event, held at the National Doral Hotel in Miami, Florida, Advantage Chief Executive Julia Lo Bue-Said highlighted increasing consolidation among suppliers and TMCs. “Consolidation will create opportunities for smaller TMCs,” she said, referring to American Express GBT’s upcoming takeover of HRG – two of the world’s largest TMCs. Many are forecasting fallout from the merger and, with the potential for job losses, a wealth of talent available to recruit. “We’ve also seen acquisitions at the small to medium level and many TMCs making the enquiries are Advantage members,” she said. Neil Armorgie, Global Product Director for Advantage, used a series of Star Wars metaphors to describe the progress of WIN (the Worldwide Independent Travel Network), concluding that the combined Amex GBT and HRG operation will become “the new Death Star”.

GETTING FAMILIAR 66% of travel buyers feel TMCs take the time to get to know them and their business during the RFP process, but only 21% feel TMCs are open and honest about their capabilities

Ron DiLeo, founder and CEO of consultancy In the Black, named several areas he expects to evolve in the years ahead, including blockchain, machine learning, NDC and industry consolidation. He also stressed “service will continue to rule the day” in an increasingly customercentric environment and that “procurement will have a diminishing role”. In another session, three travel managers discussed their relationships with their

WISE WORDS "OUR TRAVEL POLICY HAS THREE FUNCTIONS: TO PROTECT OUR TRAVELLERS, TO PROTECT OUR BUSINESS AND TO PROTECT OUR

TMCs, with the consensus that cultural fit was more important than size or cost. “We’re drafting RFP documents on the basis of what key stakeholders want. Our partners must really understand us,” said the travel manager of a charitable foundation. Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel Analyst at Oil Spill Response, added: “We may be a small fish in a big pond but our TMC listens to us and they are proactive – not just reactive. They really ‘get’ our business.”

SPAIN REIGNS... Next year’s Advantage Travel Conference will take place in Cadiz, Spain, May 17-20, 2019. It will be preceded by a Business Travel Symposium in London on November 23

SUPPLIERS. OUR POLICY IS NOT MANDATED BUT WE HAVE GOOD CULTURE AND PEOPLE DO THE RIGHT THING"

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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT

The sharing economy Airbnb woke up the neighbours Forget what you thought about Airbnb threatening traditional accommodation options – its growth has revitalised the sector, writes John Wagner, Co-founder of Cycas Hospitality When the sharing economy first began to enter our consciousness, many traditionallyminded businesses went into panic mode. There’s no doubt that the hotel industry didn’t know how to react to the introduction of global home-sharing site Airbnb, which fast became the poster child for this economic revolution. Fast-forward a decade and the tourism sector has a lot to thank this accommodation pioneer for. For a start, by combining convenience and cost-effectiveness with booking simplicity, it helped make travel more accessible. And, by encouraging more people of all ages to broaden their horizons in the comfort of a home away from home, Airbnb has changed consumer behaviour. More importantly, it also helped trigger mainstream awareness of an alternative to traditional hotels and gave the self-catering serviced apartment sector a welcome boost. So, while 2008 saw Airbnb welcome its first customers, it also opened the door for extended-stay brands such as Staybridge Suites – which were already successful in North America – to cross the Atlantic. According to the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), the UK extended-stay industry is set for a record 17% increase in supply this year, making serviced apartments one of the fastestgrowing accommodation sectors. At the same time, despite the introduction of Airbnb for Business to better cater for corporate travel clients, one STR report suggests that Airbnb guests are “primarily leisure-oriented” and that use by business travellers accounts for just 15% of the company’s bookings. Much has been made of Airbnb’s appeal to hyperconnected millennial travellers seeking authentic experiences and the chance to live like a local. Aside from these terms helping make buzzword bingo more

Airbnb has triggered awareness of an alternative to mainstream hotels and given serviced apartments a welcome boost” fun, many hotel groups have responded positively to better serve this growing demographic, whether they’re travelling on business or for leisure. For example, Residence Inn’s ‘Take Residence’ programme of free events, from food to fitness, are hosted by local residents to bring a destination to life. Duty of care and traveller safety rightly remain top priorities for corporates, so it’s easy to understand why travel managers appreciate the reliable service, consistent standards and central locations typically offered by branded aparthotels and apartment providers.

And, with increasing pressure on city councils to regulate Airbnb’s impact on residential housing, there’s some uncertainty around its future. Little wonder that a PwC survey indicated consumers were 34% more likely to trust a leading hotel brand than Airbnb. There’s still a big opportunity for more corporate travellers to save money while combining the flexibility of home with classic hotel services. After all, with ASAP suggesting guests can enjoy 30% more space in a serviced apartment than in its hotel equivalent, what’s not to like? JOHN WAGNER John is co-founder of hotel management company Cycas Hospitality which will have 14 properties open across the UK and mainland Europe by summer 2018, with four further hotels in development.

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ARRIVALS EVENT REPORT

ITM Conference A magnificent seven Travel buyers and suppliers came together to tackle seven key subjects at the ITM Conference in Aviemore, Scotland. Andy Hoskins reports This year’s ITM Conference was opened by the organisation’s Chair, Karen Hutchings, and CEO Scott Davies (pictured), who introduced the industry’s evolving areas of focus: consolidation, distribution, security, technology, geopolitics, sourcing and the traveller experience. A subsequent panel debate featuring representatives from Hyatt, Travelport, American Airlines and American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) not surprisingly dwelt on consolidation and distribution. There were mixed opinions regarding the advancement of New Distribution Capability (NDC), with one panellist suggesting only a handful of airlines were making meaningful progress and that the industry was “very much on a journey”. “Airlines are investing in their technology but there’s a whole range of models out there. There is no common flavour,” said the Travelport representative. “Our job is to bring it all together and make it look neat.” Hyatt’s spokesperson added: “If airlines are on a journey, then the hotel industry is only just packing its bags. Our sector is so

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS ITM named its annual Achievement Awards winners at the conference’s gala dinner. They included Rising Star Robert Mayne of PwC; UK Travel Manager, Imelda Aspinall, MBDA; Multinational Travel Manager, Tanya Elliott, WPP; and Travel Team of the Year, Direct Line Group with Capita Travel and Events

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fragmented. It’s an area of concern but also of opportunity for us.” Traveller experience was the theme of one breakout session at the conference but it permeated many others too. “People are making the link between traveller experience, job performance and staff retention,” said one TMC representative. “We’re seeing more health and wellness policies coming into place and it’s all about mitigating stress.”

SOUND ADVICE

"WHEN COMPANIES VIEW TRAVEL AS AN INVESTMENT RATHER THAN A COST YOU HAVE GREATER INFLUENCE OVER TRAVELLER EXPERIENCE AND COMPLIANCE"

A travel manager overseeing the programme of two merging companies described they action they took: “We consolidated five travel policies down to one and 23 TMCs down to one. We looked at our competitors and actually put in place a higher, more generous policy,” they said. “It’s helped us gain stability around the traveller experience. We can now measure traveller satisfaction and it’s going up everywhere, they added.”

ITM CONFERENCE 2019 Next year’s event will take place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on April 30 – May 1

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AWARDS

AND THE WINNERS ARE... The business travel and meetings industry came together at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London, in May as the winners of The Business Travel People Awards 2018 were announced. A record attendance of just over 450 people enjoyed the lunchtime ceremony where individuals and teams were recognised for their exceptional work over the last 12 months. A panel of independent judges headed by Mark Cuschieri determined the winners in 16 categories following a record amount of entries. Congratulations to all the winners! To read a full description of each category, view all the finalists and find out more about the awards, visit thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

TMCs AND HBAs CATEGORIES

Operations Manager of the Year Natalie Payne, FELLO Operations Team of the Year Reed & Mackay Emergency Travel Service Team Reservations Consultant of the Year Paul Coghill, CTM Reservations Team of the Year Manchester Reservations Centre, BCD Travel Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Amy Edmonds, Clarity Sales/Business Development Team of the Year Business Travel Direct

MICE CATEGORIES

Account Manager of the Year Katie Billington, CTI – Trusted Travel Partner

MICE Manager of the Year Martin Hayes-Gleave, Clarity

Account Management Team of the Year Clarity

MICE Team of the Year Inntel Meetings & Events team

SUPPLIER CATEGORIES Account Manager of the Year Nina Coffey, Premier Inn Account Management Team of the Year Marriott Global Sales Corporate, Central Europe Team Sales/Business Development Manager of the Year Sofia Oragano, Oakwood Worldwide Sales/Business Development Team of the Year Virgin Trains East Coast Business Development Team

INDUSTRY AWARDS Best Newcomer Alexandra Kington, Clarity Rising Star Scott Alboni, CTM

Travel and Events

RECOGNISING E XCE LLE NCE IN BU SINE SS TRAV E L THEBUS INE SSTRAV E LPE OPLE AWA RDS.COM

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AWARDS

The Business Travel People Awards 2018

The ceremony

Wandering Soul entertain the revellers

Over 450 people gathered at the Grange St Paul's Hotel, London, for the seventh annual Business Travel People Awards in May. The winners across 16 agency, supplier, MICE and industry categories were revealed, including the winner of the prestigious Rising Star accolade

The Business Travel People Awards 2018 â–ź

â–˛ 25.05.2018

With thanks to all our sponsors

Independent Chair of the Judges, Mark Cuschieri

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Congratulations to all the winners at The Business Travel People Awards 2018

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AWARDS

The Business Travel People Awards 2018 ▼

Winners and finalists take to the stage

▲ 25.05.2018

Your table awaits!

Post-ceremony celebrations

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uk aviation

Project

runway The UK's aviation landscape could be shaped for decades by imminent government decisions, says Rob Gill

T

he next 12 months could be truly pivotal for the UK’s airport sector, with the impending final decision on Heathrow’s third runway and also crucial negotiations about how the aviation sector will operate following Brexit. If that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, there’s the government’s new wide-ranging aviation strategy report that aims to set out the future for the sector up to 2050.

Runway rundown

The most pressing issue is airport expansion in the South East – the government backs Heathrow’s third runway but the project still needs to get the approval of the House of Commons. A vote is due to take place imminently (by the end of June, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling) and it’s by no means a foregone conclusion with vocal opponents to Heathrow expansion such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. It is possible, or in fact likely, according to some sources, that the ultimate verdict will be pushed back until after the UK's post-Brexit position is clearer. While it waits for a final decision, Heathrow is ploughing on with preparations for a new runway. The airport says it cut £2.5billion off the cost of the project – taking it down to a mere £14billion – by extending existing terminals instead of building a new facility. 22

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye has been busy selling the benefits of the third runway as a way of increasing connectivity from UK regional airports and has suggested that airports such as Newquay, Liverpool and Humberside could be in line for routes to the UK hub airport if expansion goes ahead. “Without expansion what we’re likely to see is a continual reduction in regional and UK domestic routes as they are replaced by long-haul,” he warns. “We have to make sure all of the UK benefits from increased connectivity. It’s important not just for London but the whole of the UK.” Holland-Kaye adds that a new runway will also allow the introduction of “more routes to secondary cities in China and the Americas than we would have without expansion”. Gatwick has not given up hope of being allowed to build a second runway, insisting that it is “ready to deliver” on expansion should Heathrow’s third runway run into political problems. Gatwick has also been looking at how to make more of its existing facilities, such as potentially using its emergency runway to boost capacity. The airport is also pressing its case by emphasising growth in long-haul routes, particularly across the Atlantic, where passenger numbers rose by 19% to 3.4 million for the 12 months to the end of March 2018.

The future of Manchester Airport

CEO Stewart Wingate says: “Gatwick is playing an increasingly important role for the country on the world stage, providing global connectivity at a time when the UK really needs it. We have exciting plans for growth at the airport, maximising the use of our existing facilities while continuing to offer the country the prospect of a financeable and deliverable new runway scheme.”

Leaving the club

How UK aviation will continue to operate when the country leaves the European Union has been one of the biggest questions hanging over the travel industry since the referendum in 2016. While most in the industry – with the notable exception of Ryanair – have chosen to play down fears that flights could be grounded from March 2019 onwards, the situation is a long way from being resolved. A positive step forward has been the agreement between the UK government and the EU on having an “implementation” or transitional period running from March 2019

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to the end of 2020, during which the UK will continue to be part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) allowing the status quo in aviation to continue – although this only buys time to find a longer-term solution. Aviation groups have welcomed the “reassurance” that this implementation period brings to the industry. Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), says: “The transition period provides the aviation industry and its passengers some certainty over air travel in the coming years. “Airports across the EU would like to see an agreement that matches as closely as possible today’s arrangements to maintain a competitive aviation market across Europe.” Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, adds: “We welcome that aviation is a priority in the negotiations and look forward to discussions on future market access beginning as soon as possible. We are confident there will be a deal that secures open and liberal aviation arrangements beyond 2020.”

How UK aviation will operate when the country leaves the EU has been one of the biggest questions since the referendum in 2016” While there a lot of positive noises from all sides about the post-Brexit aviation landscape, there will still be an anxious wait before long-term arrangements can be agreed and put into place.

Aviation examined

Another major plank in the government’s post-Brexit thinking about aviation is the new Future of UK Aviation document, which was published in April, and sets out “the longterm direction” of UK aviation up to and beyond 2050. This tackles all sorts of issues such as new UK border arrangements, compensation for delays and cancelled

flights, and even how to reduce drunken behaviour by passengers. The government says it has six key goals to the strategy: helping the aviation industry to work for its customers; ensuring a safe and secure way to travel; building a “global and connected UK”; encouraging competitive markets; supporting growth while tackling emissions; and developing innovation, technology and skills. Much of the 93-page document is fairly vague – the government promises to look at the impact of Air Passenger Duty (APD), for example, although it claims the aviation industry would be “relatively under-taxed” if APD was scrapped completely. At the same time, the industry is being invited to come up with ideas as to how the tax “could be reformed to support regional airports”. The government will also review whether a “single dominant carrier at airports could harm consumer interests in the future”, and cites British Airways’ position at Heathrow, where it operates 52% of slots, as well as the dominance of easyJet and Ryanair at 

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Heathrow Airport

Gatwick and Stansted airports respectively. “Concerns were raised around the ability of airlines to acquire slots, particularly at congested airports, and whether the existing slot regulations incentivise behaviour that could harm the interests of passengers when new capacity is due to be allocated,” says the report. The government will start consulting later this year, with plans to draw up a final aviation strategy early in 2019.

Magic numbers

While the government considers the longterm view, the majority of the UK’s airports continue to set new records for passenger numbers on an almost monthly basis. Away from the South East, Manchester airport saw its passenger numbers reach almost 28 million for the year to the end of March 2018 – a 6.4% rise year-on-year. The airport is nearly one year into the construction phase of its £1billion renovation project which will double the size of Terminal 2 including the building of two new security halls and 50 extra shops and dining outlets. Long-haul routes have been at the cornerstone of Manchester’s growth with services to Beijing, Hong Kong, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Muscat all being introduced over the past three years, with routes to Mumbai and Addis Ababa taking off later this year. Other airports are also benefiting from more long-haul routes, with Chinese carriers proving particularly active this year. Hainan Airlines launches a route from Beijing to both Edinburgh and Dublin in June, while 24

Gatwick Airport

Heathrow is being boosted by new services to Xian (Tianjin Airlines), Changsha (Hainan Airlines) and Wuhan (China Southern). Danish low-cost carrier Primera Air has also introduced long-haul services from the UK, namely Birmingham to New York Newark and Toronto, as well as flights from Stansted to Newark, Toronto and Boston. Norwegian, meanwhile, has continued to expand its transatlantic options from Gatwick with the addition of more US destinations – Austin and Chicago – as well as introducing flights to Buenos Aires and Singapore. Cardiff Airport and Gatwick are both welcoming new services to Doha with Qatar Airways, but it’s not been all good news for airports with Etihad Airways due to drop its Edinburgh-Abu Dhabi service from October. All this growth is inevitably putting pressure on existing UK airport infrastructure which is only likely to get more intense with passenger demand forecast to grow from 268 million in 2016 to 410 million by 2050. AOA’s Karen Dee says this is a challenge the government has to meet through the development of the new aviation strategy. “Airports stand ready to meet this growing demand – more than £8billion of investments are already being delivered over the next five years,” says Dee. “The aviation strategy must urgently set out a clear framework for how the industry can grow beyond these existing plans.” A good first step in this process would be finally deciding on that new runway in the South East – perhaps we will know the answer to this one soon.

Expansion plans at London City Airport

[ AIRPORTS ROUND-UP ] Luton Airport is set to unveil its extended terminal later this year as part of its £150million redevelopment. Work has also started on the £225million Luton DART rail link between the airport and Luton Airport Parkway station, due to open in 2021. London City Airport has started work on its £480million four-year development which includes an expanded terminal, eight new aircraft stands and a parallel taxiway. Birmingham airport is redeveloping its security area to improve the passenger journey through its terminal. A 178-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel opens this summer. Cardiff Airport has unveiled a redesigned Executive Lounge and a new business lounge, called 5100° Lounge, as part of a £4million investment programme. Newcastle Airport has launched its Masterplan 2035, setting out how it will grow from 5.35 million passengers per year currently to 9.4 million by 2035. Stansted Airport has opened the first eight of 30 new check-in desks planned as part of its £600million redevelopment, transforming departure areas, car parking and the airfield. Manchester Airport is planning a £180million 'hotel district'. Four properties adding 1,171 rooms will open by 2021.

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THE CONVERSATION

Founder & CEO, WOW Air

Skúli Mogensen The Icelandic entrepreneur talks to Andy Hoskins about starting an airline “for fun” and its steady ascent

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wide grin spreads across the face of Skúli Mogensen when he talks about the origins of WOW Air, of which he is founder, CEO and sole owner. “Sometimes I say it started out of boredom,” he explains. “I’d been in tech and telecoms, made some money and retired at 40,” he continues in something of an understatement. “But I woke up one day and realised I didn’t have any friends to play with because normal people work. I was missing the action and I needed to get going again.” After years of flying on business between Iceland, Europe and North America and “looking at the overheads of Iceland Air and its ageing fleet, I thought surely we can do better,” says Mogensen. “But you don’t start an airline thinking it’s going to be a financial success. Everyone advised me not to do it, but we’ve made it work.” Six years after the low-cost carrier’s first flight took off from its base at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, its fleet stands at 20 aircraft and its network at 38 destinations. In April the airline launched WOW Premium fares – with larger seats and a pitch of 37 to 45 inches, plus fast-track security and other perks – in a bid to win a greater share of the business market. It has also added its third UK route, from London Stansted, and a hattrick of developments was completed when WOW revealed in May that it will commence services between Iceland and New Delhi in December, its first South Asia service. 26

“Three years ago we had no North America destinations and now we have 14. Could we have 14 destinations in Asia in three years time? Yes,” says Mogensen, although he adds a word of caution. “Asia looks good in Excel but it’s easy to get rich in Excel.” He is serious, however, when he says Iceland has the potential to become the “Dubai of the north”, connecting North America and Asia over the top of the world. In North America WOW has predominantly focused on secondary markets where there is little existing competition – recently adding Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St Louis and Detroit – much like its larger low-cost counterpart, Norwegian, has done. “Our value is in secondary markets but we also have premium destinations such as New York JFK. London direct to the US is feasible,” he says. “But going direct between the big US and European hubs is where there's the most competition. We are at the size now where we are able to play around with our network.”

I like to think we are prudent, largely because the airline is 100% owned and funded by me. I'm still the start-up guy in the garage watching every penny”

One area in which Mogensen can draw on previous experience is technology. He speaks enthusiastically about “business intelligence” and the information businesses have about consumers today, and how he hopes to “make the seat fare as close to zero as possible” by selling ancillary services such as accommodation, car rental and theatre tickets. “We currently have $52 per passenger in ancillary revenue,” he explains. “I expect that to be closer to $60 by the end of the year and I would be disappointed if we didn't have higher ancillary revenue than passenger revenue within four years. I think we will be the first airline to do so and it will be a game changer. We are not just an airline – we are in the travel experience business.” In the meantime, Mogensen is pondering the next move for WOW. “We have been profitable since 2015 and we still continue to expand but I like to think we are prudent, largely because the airline is 100% owned and funded by me. I'm still the start-up guy in the garage watching every penny,” he says. “One of the things now being discussed is whether we should raise capital for the first time in order to fund continued growth, or should we slow things down a bit. I’m having such a great time essentially doing what I want and that’s a fantastic luxury. “Has it been a success from day one? No, and the verdict is still out. Anyone running an airline today know it’s a tough industry but it's also a hell of a lot of fun.”

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THE CONVERSATION

in brief... How do you persuade business travellers to fly to the US via Iceland? We already have a significant amount of business travellers across the network, and price is key. The logic from the beginning – and it has been nice to have it confirmed – is that if you are a small or medium-size business and looking at all your expenses you can't justify $5,000 on a transatlantic fare. We see a lot of smart businesses who want value for money. How would you sum up the low-cost market? Low-cost carriers have taken over Europe in the last ten years. They’ve been effective airlines offering great value for money. Ryanair has had incredible results – they’re so efficient. But the legacy carriers are not standing still, they’re responding by adding seats in the back of the cabin and adding more fares. It's the consumers who win.

SKÚLI MOGENSEN Skúli Mogensen is the founder, CEO and sole owner of WOW Air. The entrepreneur has an extensive business background largely in technology and telecoms in Iceland, Europe and North America. Mogensen was named Business Man of the Year in Iceland in 2011 and 2016. WOW Air's inaugural flight was to Paris on May 31 2012 and in October that same year WOW air took over the flight operations of Iceland Express.

Any observations for budding entrepreneurs? If you start a business just to make money you will probably fail. There will be a guy or girl who starts that same business out of passion and I would put my money on them any day of the week. The five biggest corporations today are all tech businesses and they’re also all run by their founders. Those founders could sell-up but they’re driven by passion and that is admirable.

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SUSTAINABILITY

[ ECO-FRIENDLY TRAVEL ]

LESS TALK, MORE ACTION TMCs have a vital role to play if 'green' travel suppliers are to prosper. So far the industry has been slow to meet customer demand, says Roger Gardner

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early seven years after abolishing the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the government launched policy paper A Green Future at the start of 2018 aimed at recovering lost ground on environmental protection. While the 25-year plan to improve the environment states that “the scale of human impact on the planet has never been greater than it is now”, it looks more towards strategies rather than behaviours. Improving energy efficiency or accelerating clean technologies is great but as the plan says, “it is in everyone’s interest to be part of the solution”. There is a need for a bottom up boost to deliver a greener future: evidence suggests that business

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travellers want to be more environmentally conscious but they also want help. The 2018 global sustainable travel report from Booking.com showed that over half of surveyed business travellers want to go green but don’t know where to start. The report also suggests that two-thirds of travellers intend to stay in eco-friendly accommodation over the next year and roughly the same proportion consider that their companies should do more to promote such options. So, are companies and TMCs caught up in a tussle between the bottom line and driving responsible practice? If there is an appetite for business travellers to travel sustainably, why is the sector not responding forcefully? It was notable that February’s Business Travel Show in London contained very little on sustainability. Yes, there were high level ambitions tucked away in strategies but seemingly only one company – Green Tomato Cars – was overtly driven by sustainability.

Are companies and TMCs caught up in a tussle between the bottom line and driving responsible practice?” If governmental goals are to be met, then companies at all levels need to respond to the rising tide of personal environmental responsibility. Business cycles are short so organisations favour quicker returns that are out of line with lengthier sustainability timelines. The emergence of Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) is perhaps a way to align business investment and strategies closer to sustainability and thus promote greener options. Typically, looking at 10+ years, S-ROI has been applied in the industrial sector to good effect. Embedding this mentality in business travel service provision could raise the attractiveness of pushing green investments and encouraging travellers to use them. Many of the raw ingredients for success exist: receptive business travellers, new eco-technologies, business and investments models that enable transformation. The sector needs momentum to get to the tipping point whereby the traveller’s desire to make the right choice is automatically enabled. While progress towards achieving the government’s 2050 target to reduce CO2 emissions to 80% of those of 1990 is generally positive, the current trend is for emissions from transport and building stock to rise. The business travel sector has a direct impact on these two sources and thus has a responsibility to help turn that trend back towards a more positive environmental future by making eco-choices the default choices.

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THE BIG PICTURE

Moscow

golden goals The Russian capital’s hotel rates are already among the world’s most expensive, so fans hoping to pop over if England make the final of the upcoming FIFA World Cup (June 14-July 15) will need very deep pockets. A third of the £11.8billion spent on the tournament’s infrastructure has gone on airports though, so at least business travellers will have something to cheer.

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TECHNOLOGY

[ BOOKING TOOLS ]

ON TOP OF THE WORLD A booking platform that acts as a virtual TMC... TravelPerk is among a new breed of businesses shaking up the market, writes Linda Fox

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resh from a $21million round of funding, TravelPerk is one of a new breed of startups looking to fix corporate travel. The Barcelona-based business, which started life wanting to reward business travellers who save money on their trips, is now addressing the entire booking and management of business travel via its evolving platform. According to the startup’s Vice President for Marketing, Gidi Pridor, customers liked the idea of incentivisation but felt the problem was much more profound. He says that the majority of small and medium-sized companies either do not use a TMC, or have an agency they dislike. “[Travel] is practically unmanaged so the second biggest expenditure in a company is left in a blindspot,” he says. This will come as no surprise to existing players in the corporate travel market so

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how does TravelPerk think it can successfully address the issues? Pridor says the answer is offering a travel booking and management platform that combines inventory from both leisure and corporate sectors with a great ‘consumergrade’ user-experience and backed up by 24/7 support using various channels. In addition to those points, the platform is free to use. TravelPerk makes its money through commission from travel suppliers, although there is also a premium offering which Pridor says is used by about 30% of customers. He acknowledges there are a lot of companies addressing business travel right now, from new entrants and

niche startups such as TravelPerk and Rocketrip to existing players such as Concur, travel management companies with their own technology and even GDS companies going direct to corporates. But, he says: “The market is huge and being created right now. Two years from now the question won’t be if you’re using a travel platform, it will be which one.” Pridor says that the advantage TravelPerk has over existing players is in its ability to be agile. He predicts TMCs will become technology-first companies and the market will end up being a mix of travel and expense companies, startups and a handful of TMCs that change their core focus. TravelPerk must be doing something right. It claims revenue growth of 1,200% year-onyear. The company’s plan is to continue doing what it’s doing now in terms of speeding up development and scaling the business. Expansion into up to five new European countries is also on the cards by the end of 2019. Pridor sums up the investor appetite for corporate travel startups by saying that it’s the “biggest unsolved market”, with technology having been ‘rewired’ in dozens of other markets but not this particular one. “It’s by far the biggest market that has managed to stay so behind when the pain is so great. The vast majority of companies are not satisfied with how they book travel. That pain calculates into huge opportunity. It shows this market is ready for disruption,” he says. Investors certainly seem to think so. Rocketrip has announced its own $15million round of funding and others circling the corporate travel world such as Lola and Upside have also announced large funding rounds in recent months.

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MEET THE BUYER

meet

RICHARD CHILDS With over 200 sites, travel management is a key operation for one of the UK’s leading waste management companies, Biffa, says its Group Procurement Category Manager Biffa is a leading UK integrated waste management company providing collection, recycling, treatment, disposal and energy generation services to businesses and households across the UK. I have been working as the Group Procurement Category Manager for the last six years looking after the group’s business and professional services. Over the years I have seen significant growth in the company. We currently have around 7,900 staff of which roughly 2,500 are office based. Around 800 of our staff travel regularly to over 200 sites across the UK. I used to be heavily involved in the travel aspect of the business but we now utilise the services of travel management company Inntel, which has been a key instrument in the smooth running of Biffa’s travel requirements. We spend approximately £2million on travel per year which covers hotel nights, meetings/events, rail travel and air travel, so outsourcing business travel arrangements is the right business option for us.

travel sees twice as many transactions. Our overseas requirement is minimal, only representing 3% of our total bed nights.

Using a travel management company allows us to effectively balance the needs Our most frequent UK travel and requirements of our staff with destinations are our head the needs of the business. offices and depot It allows me to focus on locations. High other projects and spend OUT OF THE OFFICE Wycombe is our highest less time on travel "I’m very much into sport demand area which is management, although and used to play basketball, where our head office I still manage the football and cricket to a high is located, followed by negotiation of standard. I'm also quite a Newcastle where our contracts with hotel competitive tennis player and recent acquisition of chains and oversee that winning mentality O’Brien Waste corporate events. comes in handy in Recycling Solutions is procurement!" situated. Our locations For Biffa, group travel change and spike according combined with meetings to acquisitions. In terms of and events adds another layer transport to and from these of complexity requiring specialist locations we have a sizeable fleet of cars knowledge, capabilities and relationships to used, but also use rail travel and air travel. be managed effectively – something that Air travel spend is higher although rail Inntel are very good at.

Ultimately, our desire to minimise fees is one of our greatest challenges in managing business travel. We always try to encourage employees to stay within our travel allowance, however this often proves difficult with increased budget pressures. Dynamic pricing and varying cancellation policies are also big challenges as it is harder to forecast business spend when there are so many variables. In previous years we booked early for the best rates but the recent changes in hotel cancellation policies are now giving us less flexibility with last-minute business requirement changes.

Using a travel management company allows us to effectively balance the needs and requirements of our staff with the needs of the business” THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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BUSINESS CLASS

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Ahead of the

GAME Airlines are investing in their business class product as corporates switch back on to its benefits, says Gillian Upton

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ot so long ago, the gold standard in business class was a lie-flat bed. Before that, airlines were competing on IFE. Change is in the nature of the beast and the noise has been around forward-facing seats and direct aisle access over the last few years. Today, however, the buzz is all about privacy and it has become the new benchmark. Not surprisingly, it’s the Middle Eastern carriers who have set the bar high in this area, epitomised by Qatar Airlines’ Qsuite Quad. It comprises pairs of aft and forwardfacing seats, which create a quad-seating layout in the centre seats when passengers slide back the moveable IFE display panels. The quad is ideal for meetings and families travelling together and there are six quads on the A350-1000 aircraft. These suites with doors also offer ambient mood lighting, lie-flat beds, generous storage space, an all-access power port, an amenity kit designed by two luxury Italian brands, a turndown service with pillows, mattress and duvet, plus sleepwear and slippers from The White Company; and 4,000 entertainment options on its IFE system. Qatar says it is in “a class of its own” and is “a new way to fly” although Delta is one non-Gulf carrier that has created something similar. Delta’s One Suite gives every passenger their own private suite with a sliding door, plus extra storage room and larger entertainment screens. It is currently available on flights between Amsterdam and Detroit. “Privacy is the top priority in business class these days and Delta One Suite really does set us apart,” says Nadia Clinton, Delta’s Country Manager UK & Ireland. “This takes business class to a new level.” There is also added privacy from a herringbone configuration on the A330s Delta recently introduced on some of its routes from Heathrow.

Prepare for take off

At the other end of the scale is low-cost carrier Eurowings with its own version of business class for long haul. Yes, there will be a lie-flat bed on its Airbus A330 aircraft, marketed as an improved BIZclass, but none of the other frills associated with business class. Those airlines that haven’t

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Singapore Airlines

followed suit with a suite or door, yet, say that a cabin configuration offering direct aisle access affords sufficient privacy. They also stress that it’s not all about the hardware – the service elements and soft product are equally important and this is where they differentiate themselves from the competition. One such airline is Singapore Airlines. “We experimented with privacy screens and they’re quite claustrophobic,” says Sheldon Hee, General Manager UK & Ireland. “Our fibre glass shell provides the same privacy but without a door or screen. Our customer surveys say that privacy is important but equally, they want useable space, to stow cabin baggage and to have devices within easy reach, and be able to control lighting.”

The hardware alone doesn’t make the ultimate long-haul flight experience. It’s just as important to provide fine dining, connectivity, duvets, amenity kits and IFE”

Air France

SIA reckons it has ticked all those boxes, including a bigger bi-fold table, so it’s easy to work on a laptop, and ambient lighting. “Beyond that, it’s about service as the hardware alone doesn’t make the ultimate long-haul flight experience. It’s just as important to provide fine dining, duvets, connectivity, amenity kits and IFE,” says Hee. “Those airlines pushing the boundaries are from the Gulf but I think we’ve found the right combination of space and service. We all deal with the same aircraft so it comes down to the design of the cabin. We’ve prioritised personal space.” Tom Lattig, Managing Director EMEA Sales at American Airlines, has a similar view. “Privacy screens and suites are out there in the market but the jury’s still out on that. Our gold standard is a lie-flat bed, aisle access and faster wifi.” Another carrier selling the soft benefits is United Airlines, whose Polaris product first appeared in the shape of enhanced dining and onboard amenities such as Saks Fifth Avenue bedding. Roll-out of the highly anticipated new seat is now gathering pace. Virgin Atlantic has both 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 cabin configurations – so direct aisle access for all – and the ability to make and receive

calls, to watch or listen to personal content on a smartphone or tablet, and claims to have the biggest bed at 79.5 inches. It’s also big on soft options: a private bar, bedding, duvets, sleeper suits, mood lighting and ice creams during movies, for example.

New world order

South African Airways has introduced a new A330-300 on the Johannesburg to London route with a new business class product offering passengers their own ‘living space’. A staggered 1-2-1 cabin configuration offers forward facing lie-flat seats and direct access to the aisle. Meanwhile, Japanese carrier ANA will be taking delivery of three Airbus A380 aircraft, which are expected to enter service in spring 2019. These will comprise 56 business class seats, each with aisle access, an 18-inch monitor, wide table and side table and two USB outlets. They will be in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration on the upper deck of the aircraft. All eyes are on British Airways to see which way it will go when it unveils its new Club World product next year. Will the airline follow the lead of the Gulf carriers and add privacy for premium customers? 

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Travel managers will check on-the-ground facilities as what they're interested in is total trip cost. A free limo, for example, can be critical”

United Airlines

Sarah Klatt-Walsh, Head of Product, British Airways, is tight-lipped on the subject, unsurprisingly. “From 2019, we’ll be introducing a new seat in our Club World cabin which will give customers direct aisle access, and we’ll be revealing more details on this at a later date,” she says. What she is willing to reveal though, are a range of enhancements in the ‘soft‘ business class product, specifically with a new dining and sleep service. The White Company, which already provides bedding and amenity kits in business class, is creating a bespoke extra soft, large pillow and white cotton pillowcase “to enhance customers’ comfort” while a new restaurantstyle dining experience will offer freshly prepared starters and desserts from a display trolley. The last element is the rollout of wifi to 90% of its long-haul fleet by the end 2019. American Airlines is also enhancing the experience, specifically the food offering, with partnerships with various prominent chefs to offer local cuisine per route, and a partnership with a Master of Wine to do the same, so that on LA-Sydney flights, for example, there will be more Australian wines, on Auckland routes more New Zealand wines, on Tokyo routes a Japanese

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chef to provide an authentic taste of food in that region, and so on. Fancy lobster thermidor? SIA has 'Book to Cook', a special menu from which to order 48 hours before flying. Air Canada is offering cocktails, espresso and cappuccino, Laurent-Perrier Champagne and enhanced menu from chefs David Hawksworth and Vikram Vij in its new Signature Class. Aeromexico’s updated version of Rockwell Collin’s MiQ business class seat features a number of design enhancement which will be installed on the airline’s fleet of Boeing

737 MAX aircraft. A number of functional elements of the seat can be switched out to create a new appearance. This includes the headrest shell holding the new ‘IFE zone’, the fixed magazine pocket and soft pockets on the back. It also features a larger tray table and added a tablet holder, taking into consideration how passengers may want to use the surface. What remains unchanged is the size of the cabin. It is the economy cabin which is shrinking to make room for the everpopular premium economy seats. “There is more movement from economy to premium economy than downtrading from business class,” says Americanʼs Lattig. Of course, the business class product 40,000ft up is only half the story. The service kicks off on ground, with chauffeur drive limo to/from the airport, dedicated check -in, fast track security, reliable wifi, a departure lounge offering restaurant quality dining and somewhere quiet to work, and sometimes an arrivals lounge too. Air Canada has gone one step further with a BMW service to whisk premium passengers between domestic and international legs at Toronto Pearson airport.

Adding up the extras

ANA

Travel managers should check out these on-the-ground facilities as what they’re interested in is total trip cost. A free limo, for example, can be critical. Americanʼs arrivals lounge at Heathrow for US-originating passengers has a spa-like facility of 29 showers, food by high-end caterer Rhubarb and a conference room. Virgin Atlantic’s – called Virgin Revivals – at Heathrow has 18 shower rooms, a valet cleaning service, bar and lounge, a business area with free phone calls, and access to internet and email. Lessening traveller friction at the airport 

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Qantas  is Virgin, for example, with a dedicated security channel which helps passengers speed from limo to the Upper Class Wing at Heathrow in under ten minutes. Innovation is coming from Etihad Airways on the ground, meanwhile, with a trial of SkyLights Aero virtual reality entertainment technology at its lounge at its hub in Abu Dhabi’s T3. The 2D and 3D headsets offer a cinematic experience of six hours’ uninterrupted entertainment and a more personalised service.

Qatar Airways

Delta Air Lines

Routes manoeuvre

If passengers can tear themselves away from the distractions in the departure lounge at Heathrow to catch their flight, they are more than likely flying to JFK, Dubai, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chicago and San Francisco than anywhere else, according to statistics from OAG. These are the top seven long-haul destinations from Heathrow, with most showing yearon-year increases in capacity comparing summer 2018 over summer 2017. Singapore will see the biggest hike in number of seats, at 23%, followed by Chicago at 11.6%, Los Angeles at 9.3% and JFK at 2.5%. Of the big seven, Dubai seat numbers will fall, by a massive 20.5%. Looking at the number of business class seats by UK airport, Stansted is offering 27.7% more this summer over last, followed by Derry with 20.7%, Gatwick with an 18.8% increase and London City with 14.1% more. Heathrow will drop by 0.7%. OAG figures show that it’s the low-cost long-haul and Asian carriers who are adding the most capacity, topped by Norwegian with a massive increase of 211.3% this year over last (justifying IAG's 4.61% minority stake in the airline), and no-one comes

close: Eurowings is 85.3%, Japan Airlines 77.6%, Brussels Airlines 68.4%, Icelandair 62.8% and Hainan Airlines up 58.7%.

Business benefits

Whether it has privacy screens or not, the business class product is as popular as ever and is being included in employee benefits packages to help boost staff retention. “Most common is to specify business class both ways on flights of five hours or more,” says Gavin Mossop, Supplier Relations Manager at BCD. The Asian routes are too long to mix classes but on some UK-US routes, corporates mix premium economy for the daylight outbound leg and business class for the red eye return. Short-haul business class allowance has all but disappeared. “Short-haul and medium haul is economy class now,” says Olivier Benoit, Global Air Practice Leader at Advito, although he has had some clients asking them to evaluate moving from economy to premium economy. It appears that companies in the IT field in particular are meanest to their employees, with a largely main cabin travel policy for long-haul. One has to wonder what staff churn is like on average at these 

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Route deals only take a percentage of the highest fare, which means that lowest logical fare on the day can often undercut a corporate deal”

American Airlines

companies and how they absorb what must be high staff recruitment costs. Industry verticals that see travelling for business very differently come as no surprise. “It’s important that those in insurance, pharma, finance and investment verticals have a nice travel experience as they drive their company sales,” says Americanʼs Lattig. And they can often bill the cost back to a customer. Who can book business class is still synonymous with status. “It’s available for travellers of a specific grade, or for client

Emirates

40

meetings but not internal meetings,” says Advito’s Benoit. But he advises that the more rules and exceptions companies add the more difficult it is for travellers to understand, follow and keep to. “Travel policies are never black and white,” he says. Caveat-laden policies may be a reflection of the hard-won deals corporates extract from airlines, who still appear to hold the cards around the negotiating table. The American/BA/Finnair/Iberia group is offering network-wide discounts rather than route deals, which can mean corporates are getting discounts in the wrong places. BCD’s Mossop says airlines are more ruthless than they used to be. “Targets have to be met and checks done to ensure the deal is on track,” he says. Advito’s Benoit agrees: ”Airlines have high load factors so it’s more difficult to negotiate today.” As usual, it is the big boys who have the best chance. “Most airlines offer route deals and the biting point is £100,000 upwards,” says Mossop. Some airlines may negotiate on smaller annual spends, say from £50,000, if there is a chance to leverage more volume currently going to a competitor airline. “What airlines want is big volumes on point to point destinations,” he says.

“Airlines look at the size of the opportunity and how many routes,” adds CTM’s Head of Supplier Relations, Penny Munn. Added-value items such as FFP upgrades, lounge access and free wifi are part of the negotiation, as long as both parties can agree on what each of the items are worth. “The challenge is to estimate the value realistically,” says Benoit. “They say lounge access is worth $100, but why not $50?” Loyalty schemes such as BA’s OnBusiness, KLM’s BlueBiz, SIA’s High Flyer Programme, Etihad’s BusinessConnect and Emirates’ Business Rewards help SMEs stretch their budgets by using points for upgrades. Route deals only take a percentage of the highest fare – on intercontinental routes it’s around 15% on average – which means that lowest logical fare on the day can often undercut a corporate deal, as long as the restrictions are taken into account. Most TMCs use a bunch of different metrics to check how route deals are performing and will switch to ensure that they get the best fare. BCD calls it Dynamic Performance Management. There is a groundswell of opinion from corporates questioning whether route deal negotiations are worth the effort, particularly now that fares are being broken down into basic fares and all the additional ancillaries. “Corporates are starting to ask, ‘Forget about the fare discount, how about including seat assignment and baggage?ʼ“ says Mossop. However, route deals score in one very important area. “Corporates like route deals for the busy times; it’s a back-up for them,” says CTMʼs Munn. And cutting across these dynamics, one thing still holds true – the basic rule of supply and demand. There is no leverage on monopoly routes but all to play for on competitive routes like London-JFK.

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WINNER

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

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EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2018

Don't 󰇲i󰈤s 󰈢󰇼󰇹 – bo󰈢󰈫 󰈠󰈣ur 󰇴󰇱󰇧c󰈥 󰇳o󰈟!

A world of opportunities

Two days, 15 conference sessions, up to 60 exhibitors – and it's free to attend for business travel bookers and managers Delegates attending The Business Travel Conference on September 11-12 will hear from leading travel managers and suppliers across 15 seminar sessions. The conference programme – devised by The Business Travel Magazine's editorial team and largely based on delegate input – will tackle topics ranging from traveller compliance and best practice for securing hotel and airline deals, to duty of care, distribution, booking tools, benchmarking and a whole lot more. The majority of sessions will feature experienced travel managers discussing their own experiences in tandem with industry suppliers, while a keynote appearance from Sir Ranulph Fiennes will bring the conference to a close. Full-time travel managers and PAs alike will benefit from the programme which will be delivered via 'silent conference' technology so that attendees can listen in throughout the event space. Delegates can also look forward to a drinks and canape reception at the close of day one, while day two will culminate with a grand prize draw for those completing the everpopular TBTC Calling Card.

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS Tuesday September 11 • Setting the scene: business travel management in a fast-changing world • Online shopping: sourcing and implementing online booking tools • Do behave! how to get your travellers to comply with policy • Sizing things up: benchmarking your travel programme against your rivals • Perfect partners: make your TMC a travel partner, not just a supplier Sign-up to attend! The Business Travel Conference is limited to 200 free delegate places for business travel bookers and buyers. Attendance includes meals, refreshments and networking reception. Apply online for a one or two-day pass. See: thebusinesstravel conference.com. Suppliers who wish to attend should contact Kirsty.Hicks @bmipublishing.co.uk. TBTC 2018 takes place at the Hilton London Bankside, September 11-12.

The FREE-to-attend two-day event will once again be limited to 200 verified travel managers, bookers and PAs. Don't miss out - register now!” 42

• Careers advice: the opportunities that await in the world of business travel • Deal or no deal? how to secure the best accommodation deals Wednesday September 12 • Travel manager clinic: discover best practice from leading travel buyers • Simply the best: how to find the right TMC for you and your company • Tech support: getting to grips with NDC, AI, chatbots and the future of booking • Rooms to manoeuvre: the buying strategies challenging the future of RFPs • Up in the air: what you need to get airlines round the negotiating table • Taking care of business: duty of care and traveller wellbeing in the spotlight • Keynote speaker: Sir Ranulph Fiennes Full programme available online

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EVENT PREVIEW

Confirmed Exhibitors

YOUR CORPOR ATE TR AVEL SPECIALIS T

Whe󰇳? Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 12, 2018

Whe󰇶󰇪?

Hilton London Bankside (the nearest stations are Blackfriars and Southwark)

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

Register for FREE online at thebusinesstravelconference.com

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

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Expense management

Automatic for the

people

Automating expenses is just the first step towards the seamless capture and reimbursement of travel spend, says Catherine Chetwynd

V

isibility is the business travel buzzword and is prevalent in expense management to the point that some might feel they hear too much of it. Think again, however. The National Fraud Authority estimates that £100million per year is lost in the UK to fraudulent business expenses such as illegitimate and exaggerated claims. And The Association of Certified Fraud put the cost of expense fraud at some £30,000 per UK company per year – one in five employees think it is OK to exaggerate claims, it turns out. Visibility is a commercial imperative. Automation overcomes the problem by channelling users into company policy. It improves efficiency, allows faster and more accurate submission of expense claims – with attendant faster payment – and makes it easier for travel managers to see 44

trends and negotiate discounts on the back of them. There is ever greater demand for online integration of expense management and booking tools, according to Barclaycard, which also keeps travellers within policy. Moreover, apps enable employees to change and manage their itinerary and reconcile expenses while on the move. This may sound seamless but it does not remove some of the challenges organisations face when attempting to manage expenses. Astonishingly, around 40% of businesses still use receipts and spreadsheets, slowing down submission, approval and reimbursement with a cumbersome and costly process that undermines control and reduces visibility. Even with an expense management system it is not plain sailing. “If your company has complex rules for expense approvals, allocations and reimbursements – law firms are a good example – does your solution

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have the flexibility to handle these or do you end up changing your business processes to account for the solution’s shortcomings?” asks General Manager EMEA for Chrome River, Nick Ludlow. “Is the user interface available in the native language of all of users and can the system handle the tax regulations in every market where you do business?” Further, does your chosen system work well on mobile devices, particularly where BYOD policies bring numerous platforms into the mix?

Spend analysis

American Express is seeing growing call for spend analysis tools to enable customers to better monitor and manage policy compliance, but data alone is not enough. “Companies are looking to their corporate card providers for consultancy, so they can best leverage the data to drive compliance and control,” says General Manager Global Client Group International, Fabienne Cauli. “The fact that we are seeing increasing card acceptance in areas such as taxis means that more and more aspects of travel can be booked, and monitored, as part of an expense management programme.” However, errant behaviour can derail compliance. “Fragmentation of spend across multiple providers is getting more acute as business travellers opt for suppliers in the sharing economy,” says Director of Barclaycard Commercial Payments, Maria Parpou. Recent research from Barclaycard highlighted further frustrations for travel managers, which include travellers using their personal

When automating expenses processes, organisations often miss the opportunity to implement best practice” cards for business travel expenses and booking trips via mobile apps, resulting in their employers getting data only when they submit expenses.

Difficult first steps

Change management is another problem for organisations when they introduce an online expense management system. “There is a distinct lack of readiness for the change required to automate the process and that will affect finance leaders as well as employees, who have to learn how to use a different tool,” says Senior Director Account Management for Concur, Natalie Gwilt. “That is often the hardest part because people who are used to stapling receipts to a piece of paper don’t want to change. It is easier for them but does not meet the needs of the business. And when automating processes, organisations often

miss the opportunity to implement best practice but instead try to shoehorn existing processes into the tool.”

Keeping it simple

Despite these problems, expense management systems do simplify the process. Concur recently launched Concur Travel and TripLink to the SME sector. Even without a TMC or self-booking tool, they can track spend through signing into TripLink and from there all costs automatically populate an expense report in Concur. Xpenditure started life as an expense management app and, last year, alongside booking tool iAlbatros, was acquired by Sodexo. The two have been combined to provide an integrated service, allowing users to generate an expense report and export it to formats ranging from PDF to accounting software such as Sage. American Express’s payment product, Business Travel Account, enables customers to manage travel expenses through a centralised account, putting everything in one place, while a reporting tool provides secure access to corporate card data. Barclaycard clients also have access to an online platform where they can interpret data from their card programme, all in one place. “There are widespread efforts to integrate payment data into expense management tools so it flows from card accounts into the platform and pre-populates expense reports,” says Maria Parpou. “Requests for this have skyrocketed in recent years.”

Virtually there

Walking plastic remains popular but virtual cards continue to grow in popularity. “I believe that combining virtual cards 

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 with digital wallets – another important development – will be extremely powerful in helping companies effectively manage expenses in the future,” says Parpou. According to research undertaken by HRS through analysis of 30,000 corporate hotel bookings, half before the introduction of virtual cards and half afterwards, savings come not only from time efficiencies and reduced fraud, but travellers also book more wisely when using virtual cards, possibly because the increased transparency of the tool makes them feel exposed. As a result, bookings in regional chains and local hotels (less expensive than major brands) grew from 30% to 40%, and travellers booked 8.5 days in advance of travel rather than the average 11 days, contributing to lower rates, and the 'no show' rate dropped by 15%. The average cost of a room after implementing virtual payment dropped by 12% to €98.60 from €112.30. Chrome River’s Nick Ludlow highlights the back-end capability of expense management: “Some examples of this are the ability to enable pre-approvals for travel bookings, per diem integration, real-time analytics and sophisticated business rules capabilities for approvals and policy enforcement,” he says.

On the horizon

Suppliers continue to pursue the ultimate goal in digitising data and AirPlus is trialling with some TMCs the automated collection of hotel information from AirPlus products and merging it with transaction data. Also new is AirPlus Connect, which sends transaction details live to the traveller’s mobile phone, complete with a bleep alert, allowing the user to photograph the receipt and swipe it, sending the lot to their expense management system. AirPlus is also integrated into restaurant technology to create dine+go, which recognises customers on arrival. They can order on the app or verbally and can leave without waiting for the bill. Trials are cooking in Germany, with France next. Concur launched Budget Insight in February this year, highlighting to customers not just what they have spent but measuring 46

the departmental budget against which they are spending. “It allows them to make informed decisions about business spend,” says Natalie Gwilt. This was followed by Drive, an app that lets drivers track their journey and the results are entered automatically into an expense report, removing any likelihood of rounding up mileage. And Chrome River recently inaugurated phase one of PROSPER, which integrates with companies’ CRM systems to juxtapose T&E with sales spend, so they can allocate expenses to sales opportunities and see how various types of spend contribute to revenue. Traveldoo has launched a mobile app to allow travellers to create and manage expense reports while on the go. Features include multi-currency, geocoding and voice recognition, and photos can be used to record expenses and receipts. Once submitted,

Automation is not just about convenience but also data collection and analysis. They are the bedrocks of visibility and control” reports can be tracked and integrated with ERP, HR and accounting systems. “We surveyed more than half our customer base. Up to 70% indicated a requirement for a mobile app specialising in expense processing and more than half these respondents wanted to complete their expenses while on the go,” says CPO for Traveldoo, Dan Fitzgerald. “We have used these findings to provide consumer-inspired functionality in a simpler and more engaging format for the business traveller.”

The final analysis

As automation becomes increasingly widespread and artificial intelligence and bots hover on the horizon, it becomes apparent that this is not just about convenience but also data collection and analysis. These are the bedrocks of visibility and control and make a fundamental contribution to travel policy and compliance. Expense management is once again undergoing a transformation as technology and creativity combine to ensure providers stay ahead of the virtual game.

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Your Trip, Your Way.

Travel. Simplify with 3-click booking in a unique collaborative space

Expense. Optimise the expense report process and budget monitoring

Contact us. Learn how Traveldoo simplifies travel booking and expense management +44 (0)203 810 1180 info@traveldoo.com Š 2018 Traveldoo SAS. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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TALKING TRAVEL

Pushing the boundaries

Sir Ranulph Fiennes The legendary explorer talks to Angela Sara West about lessons learned from his record-breaking travels and how he now hopes to voyage to the bottom of the sea

H

e has survived near-death experiences, lost fingertips to frostbite and once ran seven marathons in seven days on all seven continents – the first 7x7x7 – just four months after a major heart attack, double bypass operation and three-day coma. Rightly so, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been heralded ‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ by The Guinness Book Of World Records. Truly testing the limits of human physical and psychological patience, stamina and endurance, his exhaustive endeavours over the last five decades have taken him to every corner of the globe, all in the name of charity. This pioneer of exploration was the first person to reach both Poles by surface means, to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported and to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis. At 71, the veteran adventurer also become the oldest Briton to complete the gruelling Marathon des Sables, a six-day ultra-marathon in the Moroccan Sahara Desert in temperatures topping 50C. Inspirational Fiennes tells me he caught the bug for travel and adventure at a young age due to his unusual upbringing in South Africa. “After my father was killed, we moved to Constantia, Cape Town, when I was one, returning to the UK when I was 12. I’d been to four schools and was unsettled. I think that’s where it stemmed from.” His escapades often entail years of complex communications and meticulous planning. The most memorable? “Probably looking for the lost city of Ubar on the 48

Yemeni border. It took so long... eight Land Rover expeditions in the sand dunes before we eventually found it in 1992. We started looking for it in 1968.” At 65, following two previous attempts, he finally conquered Mount Everest, becoming the oldest Briton (at the time) to summit. But he says scaling the dizzying heights of the Eiger's North Face in the Bernese Alps felt like a greater achievement due to his, albeit temporary, victory over vertigo. It's a condition he still has, he says, “even just climbing a ladder.”

I had an audition with Cubby Broccoli to play James Bond. I got down to the last six, but the role went to Sir Roger Moore” As a force of nature, Fiennes successfully combines willpower and creative thinking with physical fitness to push boundaries. How does he do it? “At 74, with more difficulty than at 64! You need to take your running shoes wherever you go and run for a minimum of one hour every day. It used to be running, then it became jogging, and now it’s shuffling... so, an hour a day of whatever you can. And when you get to 65, spend 25 minutes every morning before breakfast stretching, doing press-ups and breathing deeply,” he advises. When not in a tent, Fiennes favours two hotels. “When we were looking for the Lost City, we stayed at Al Falaj in Muscat in

Oman, just outside the desert. The Al Bustan Palace next door is even better.” He also sings the praises of British Airways. “It was the only airline that could accommodate us when Dr Mike Stroud and I did the first ever 7x7x7, in Patagonia, the Falkland Islands, Sydney, Singapore, London, Cairo and New York. American Airlines took two years to say they couldn’t do it and United took 18 months to tell me the same, so I got on to BA and within a month they’d worked it out.” Fiennes is a fan of early arrivals. “I always make sure I arrive at airports very early and sit and have a coffee,” he says. And he never boards a plane without a good read. “I always take a copy of The Week, which sends me to sleep after I’ve read it.” Along with proud memories, he has a few souvenirs from his extensive travels: “Inuit soapstone figures from Northern Canada and old weapons from Arabia.” His action-man lifestyle once landed him a 007 audition with Cubby Broccoli – and saw him pipped at the post to play James Bond. “I made the final six and later learned the role went to Sir Roger Moore,” he laments. Next up? “Probably deep underwater somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but that’s dependent on sponsorship. Very few people get the chance to go on the machines that go down there,” says Fiennes. From the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean, Fiennes will soon have just about everywhere covered, whether by foot, boat, man-hauled sledge or skidoo... so is there anywhere still on his bucket list? “The Mongolian desert,” comes the response.

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TALKING TRAVEL

©Liz Scarff/Fieldcraft Studios

SIR RANULPH FIENNES Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the keynote speaker at The Business Travel Conference in September. His book Beyond The Limits: The Lessons Learned from a Lifetime's Adventures is available from Amazon and bookshops, while his UK tour, An evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Living Dangerously, takes place this July. Named the UK’s top celebrity fundraiser by JustGiving, Fiennes has raised over £18.3 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care. ranulphfiennes.co.uk / justgiving.com/Ranulph

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There are five more stars in the sky now. Lufthansa is proud to be Europe’s first certified 5-Star Airline.

LH.com/5-star_en

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THE REVIEW

the

Review

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

United Airlines links Scotland and Washington DC

[ ROO M RE PORT ]

[ o n th e grou n d ]

TMC consolidation continues apace

The Grand Central Belfast poised to open

Government takes back East Coast line

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[ t h e lowdo w n ]

[ i n t h e a ir ]

[ MEETING PLACE ] New Road Hotel adds a splash of colour

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T H E

L O W D O W N

AV I S U P D AT E

Moving towards a frictionless future Travel management is evolving. New and emerging technology is enabling faster and smarter ways to help reduce stress, delays and issues; from booking to the journey itself. Innovation is helping frictionless travel become a reality. As a mobility service provider, at Avis UK we continue to evolve our business to meet the present and future needs of our customers. We are reinventing rental and digitising our business to ensure our service is convenient, streamlined, personalised and automated. For regular business travellers, checking in, form filling and paying are seen as inconveniences. We create innovative solutions to help streamline these pressure points, improving our customers’ experience through technology and collaboration across the industry. To help ensure stations can accommodate any travellers on delayed flights and increase the speed-of-service at the rental desks, we introduced a new tool, FAN (Flight Arrival Number) across selected European airport locations. The tool ensures our staff are always ready for customers arriving to collect their vehicle, even when their flight is

delayed out of hours. As well as providing fast and convenient service, it’s essential innovation that helps deliver the highest standards of care and service for customers. This goes hand in hand with providing clear and fair pricing on all rentals. With this in mind, we introduced our Maintenance and Damage Management System (MDMS) tool – an industry first. MDMS takes detailed images of the rental car and records them digitally to ensure full transparency on any car damages. These pictures are listed directly in the agreement before the customer’s journey begins for the reference of both the customer and our team. This new procedure means absolute transparency for our customers, along with faster vehicle returns and shorter waiting times. We now process 75% of all returns using this innovative tool. By reducing friction points in a business traveller’s journey, we are helping to empower business people to focus on the job at hand so they can enjoy the journey. That’s why we work hard every day to give our customers a fully connected and integrated journey, from start to finish.

James Turner Sales Director at Avis Budget Group

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TMC consolidation continues apace THE TREND for industry mergers continues with the takeover of Hillgate Travel by Reed & Mackay, which said it welcomed its former rival 'into the family', to create a business with a combined global turnover of more than £600million. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Both businesses are strong in the financial services, insurance and professional services sectors, and have invested heavily in their own technology to service clients. It is unclear if the takeover will result in redundancies or office closures or if the Hillgate name will remain. Fred Stratford, Group CEO, Reed & Mackay, says: “There is a passion for service at the heart of both businesses that makes this a very natural fit.”

[ IN BRIEF ] >> CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT (CTM) has achieved the highest level of certification, Level 3, for IATA's New Distribution Capability (NDC) programme >> 68% of business travellers book half or more of their travel outside approved tools, according to research from EXPEDIA AFFILIATE NETWORK. 47% of survey respondents cited better direct rates outside of approved channels for doing so >> New research from CHROME RIVER found up to a fifth (20%) of business travellers have falsified a business expense in the past >> An overwhelming 94% of UK business travellers say they would book out of company policy if it meant minimising any negative impact to their health and wellbeing, says a new report from AMERICAN EXPRESS GBT.

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THE REVIEW

T H E

IN BRIEF Personal choices

A snap poll held at the IHG Expo 2018 found nearly one-third of travel managers identified traveller satisfaction as their top priority when creating a programme, followed by a desire to work with trusted brands (28%) and the safety/ security of their employees (19%).

Black Box

Raj Sachdave, a former director of commercial partnerships at Capita Travel and Events, has launched Black Box Partnerships. The new consultancy will work with TMCs, event agencies and travel suppliers to develop improved strategies for increased sales, commercial benefits and enhanced value for customers.

L O W D O W N

Brexit blues for business travellers

THE CHATBOT BOOKING REVOLUTION

NEW research has found that 92% of respondents have worries about business travel after Brexit, with concerns centred around visa requirements (39%), delays at passport control (20%) and increased airfares (16%). Carried out by the DCC Forum, the research also showed only 6% of business travellers believe they will feel happy when Britain leaves the EU next year. “Businesses need and deserve clearer guidance on how they should be planning for travelling abroad for work after Britain exits the EU next year,” says Gino Ravaioli, Chairman of the DCC Forum. “Businesses want clarity around what Brexit really means to them, whether it’s visa applications or exchange rate costs, they want reassurance,” he adds.

HALF of travellers making bookings don’t mind whether they deal with a real person or a computer as long as their questions are answered, while a large majority, 80%, actively prefer to self-serve in order to get the information they need. The study conducted on behalf of Booking.com concluded: “AI is not about replacing human interaction, but is instead a vehicle to facilitate an even more personalised, instantaneously gratifying and frictionless travel experience for consumers. The winning combination of AI and human interaction is fuelling a more personalised, rewarding and frictionless experience.”

Business boost

Berkshire-based Business Travel Direct, part of the Ickenham Travel Group, has acquired Uniglobe Preferred Travel. The deal creates a combined business with a turnover in excess of £100million. Uniglobe will retain its name, membership and staff at its Brighton and London Offices.

Maiden partner

The Gray Dawes Group is partnering with female travel safety specialist Maiden Voyage. The TMC’s clients will gain access to Maiden Voyage's programme of hotels vetted and approved as female friendly, while its staff will also undergo training in the safety of female travellers.

45%

of travellers required to adhere to approval policy

CORPORATE TRAVELLER UK HAS LAUNCHED A PRODUCTION, SPORTS AND CREATIVE DIVISION PROVIDING SPECIALIST TRAVEL AND LOGISTICS TO CLIENTS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA AND SPORTS SECTORS. THE TMC ALREADY MANAGES AROUND 300 NICHE CLIENTS

Less than half (45%) of business travellers are required to adhere to an approval policy for travel bookings. A new report found that companies tend to give travellers the freedom to make travel choices without prior approval THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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I N

T H E

A I R

MANCHESTER DOUBLES UP WITH MUMBAI AND ADDIS ABABA DEALS

Capitals are United with Washington first UNITED Airlines has commenced seasonal services between Edinburgh and Washington DC – the first ever flights connecting the two capital cities. The service will operate to United’s hub at Washington Dulles International Airport on a daily basis until October 4. Passengers will be able to connect to United flights to almost 70 destinations across North America and the Caribbean. Services are being operated by B757-200 aircraft with 169 seats, including 16 flat-bed seats in Polaris business class and 45 Economy Plus seats with extra legroom. Flights depart Edinburgh at 12.30 and arrive in Washington DC at 15.30. Return flights depart DC at 22.10 and arrive in Edinburgh at 10.25 the following day.

JET Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have both pledged to launch new services from Manchester Airport this winter. The Indian carrier will operate four times a week to Mumbai (Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays) from November 5, using a 254-seat A330-200 aircraft. The service joins Jet's existing UK operations from Heathrow to Mumbai and Delhi. “With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8,000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business and

EMIRATES LAUNCHES EIGHTH UK ROUTE TO MEET SCOTTISH DEMAND EMIRATES will introduce its eighth route between the UK and its Dubai hub on October 1, adding Edinburgh to its growing network. Flight EK024 will depart Edinburgh daily at 20.15 and arrive in Dubai at 06.40 the next day, allowing it to connect with onward flights to destinations including Bangkok, Lahore, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Emirates already operates double-daily to Dubai from Glasgow.

[ TAKING OFF ] AER LINGUS is offering its biggest-ever schedule to North America this year with 575 flights from Ireland. Having added routes to Philedelphia in March and Seattle in May, the carrier now offers 12 US destinations >> LUFTHANSA has introduced a daily service from Glasgow to Frankfurt, boosting German connectivity. The airline already has five flights a week from Glasgow to Munich >> BRITISH AIRWAYS has switched one of its three daily Heathrow flights to Moscow to Sheremetyevo International instead of Domodevo. The airport to the north of the Russian capital has been upgraded as part of the FIFA World Cup preparations >> NORWEGIAN has introduced a new service from London Gatwick to Austin, Texas, operating three times a week, year-round.

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leisure travellers to travel between the UK and India. This will deepen both commerce and tourism ties,” says Jet Airways Chief Executive Vinay Dube. Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed it will operate a new service between Manchester and Addis Ababa from December. The flights will operate four times a week – initially transiting via Brussels – unlocking connections to more than 58 countries across Africa. The route will be operated by B787 aircraft with a two-class configuration.

98%

Heathrow is operating at 98% capacity

Heathrow Airport marked 50 years since the Roskill Commission – the first to ever look into the issue of airport capacity in London – by calling on the government to urgently table a vote on expansion at the airport. It is operating at 98% capacity

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THE REVIEW

I N

T H E

A I R

IN BRIEF

G T M C U P D AT E Adrian Parkes

Primera expansion

Chief Executive. GTMC

Low-cost carrier Primera Air has started services between London Stansted and New York. The Nordic airline is the first carrier to fly scheduled transatlantic services from Stansted for over a decade. It will expand its network this summer by establishing bases at London Stansted, Birmingham and Paris Charles De Gaulle and flying non-stop to Boston, Toronto and Washington DC.

Qatar additions

Qatar Airways has launched services from both Cardiff and London Gatwick to its Doha hub. They become the airline’s fifth and sixth UK destinations, joining London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Air Canada upgrades

Air Canada has rolled-out a new experiences for passengers travelling in its Signature Class business cabin. As well as the usual priority services, customers now receive updated menus from chef David Hawksworth, a new range of wines, spirits and Champagne, new amenity kits by Want Les Essentials and mattress pads for lie-flat seats.

EasyJet eyes loyalty

EasyJet is looking to introduce a loyalty programme to strengthen its offering and boost business passenger numbers. The plan was mentioned in its recent results statement which saw total revenue top £2billion for the first time.

ROYAL BRUNEI WILL FLY NON-STOP FROM LONDON HEATHROW TO BRUNEI FROM OCTOBER 28, CUTTING OUT ITS CURRENT STOP IN DUBAI AND REDUCING THE JOURNEY TIME BY 3HRS 30MINS

British Airways heads to Durban BRITISH AIRWAYS is to introduce a direct service between London Heathrow and Durban, South Africa, this winter. Beginning October 29, the route, operated by B787 aircraft, will be the only non-stop link between Europe and King Shaka International Airport. The three-times-a-week service will leave London at 15.45, arriving in Durban at 05.35 the next day. The return leg will depart at 07.35 and arrive in London at 17.45. Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, says: “Durban is home to the busiest port in South Africa and is a large manufacturing hub, so the new route will secure another important link between the UK and the region that will be a welcome addition for business travellers.” Fares start from £599 in economy, £1,214 in premium economy and from £3,199 in business class.

As many of you read this we’ll be gearing up for the flight over the water to Dublin for our annual overseas conference. This year’s theme is ‘Mind the Gap’ – one that we will be addressing across a number of topics courtesy of speakers from a host of different political, economic and travel backgrounds. One gap that both business and the travel industry faces is that of Brexit and its potential impact on trade. There can be no doubt that choppy waters may well lie ahead but it is up to us to recognise where the opportunities lie so that we can bridge these gaps with innovative approaches to business travel and encourage investment in new routes to new markets. That may well be beyond the EU or within our own domestic transport networks to support those businesses that have an appetite for growth and travel. Business owners, travel managers and TMCs are operating in an everchanging political, social and economic landscape. We have proven ourselves to be robust and innovative and I look forward to us continuing to build more bridges in the future. Slainte!

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THE REVIEW

R O O M

R E P O R T

HYATT PROGRAMME HANDS SPECIAL RATES TO SMES

Grand Central ready for grand arrivals HASTINGS Hotels' highly anticipated Grand Central Hotel, Belfast, opens its doors to guests this June. The former landmark office block now comprises 300 luxury guestrooms, a restaurant, rooftop lounge, retail units and office space. Its first guests will be a group of international delegates attending the Hosts Global Forum, a global meetings and incentive travel event being held in Europe for the first time. “This is a fantastic one-off opportunity to showcase Belfast and Northern Ireland on a worldwide level. Given its capacity of 300 bedrooms and central location, the Grand Central Hotel is the ideal base for business travellers wanting to explore our city”, says Caitriona Lavery, Group Sales Manager of Hastings Hotels.

SMALL businesses can now access an exclusive global business travel programme with Hyatt Hotels, offering special rates at properties worldwide. Called Hyatt Leverage, the new offering enables SMEs to receive discounts of up to 15% off the standard room rate at Hyatt hotels, as well as 5% off qualifying stays at Oasis home rentals. “With Hyatt Leverage, we are adding value for small and mid-sized businesses by providing a tool that makes booking travel more seamless,” says Gus

LONDON'S GRANDE DAME REOPENS FOLLOWING £45MILLION FACELIFT LONDON'S former Hotel Russell has reopened as the Principal London following an extensive £45million restoration project. The new-look hotel, which is set on Russell Square and originally opened in 1898, has 334 guestrooms, including 39 suites, plus eight meeting and event spaces with capacity for up to 100 delegates. The Grade II-listed ballroom, with capacity for 450 guests, reopens later this summer.

[ ROOMS ROUND-UP ] >> The MANDARIN ORIENTAL HYDE PARK in London has completed the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history, encompassing 181 guestrooms, suites and public areas >> The CORINTHIA HOTEL LONDON is launching eleven new ‘Garden’ and ‘London’ suites, available to book from mid-June >> HYATT will open its first Hyatt Centric hotel in Ireland, the Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin, next spring >> SILVERDOOR APARTMENTS has launched an online booking platform, Orbi, enabling companies to manage and customise their serviced apartment programme online >> InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has made its debut in Bulgaria with the opening of the 194-room INTERCONTINENTAL SOFIA in the capital city.

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Vonderheide, Vice President of Global Sales at Hyatt. “Hyatt Leverage also includes resources that enable businesses to view reservations and track room expenses in one easy solution.” Registered businesses receive a unique programme number, enabling employees to receive discounts when booking through Hyatt.com or Hyatt Reservation Centres. As reservations are made, administrators can view employee travel and track their room spend via the Hyatt Leverage dashboard.

52%

of travel managers expect personalisation to take hold

More than half of travel managers surveyed by IHG believe the personalisation of hotel services – such as the ability to select in-room amenities – will have the greatest impact on business travellers. Additional loyalty perks was second in the poll and fully mobile checkin/out was third

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THE REVIEW

R O O M

IN BRIEF AccorHotels acquires

AccorHotels has signed an agreement to acquire Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts for €482 million, consolidating the group's footprint in Europe and the Middle East. Mövenpick currently operates 84 hotels in 27 countries with plans to open an additional 42 properties by 2021.

Holiday Inn goes large

IHG has opened its largest Holiday Inn Express hotel in France, a 305-room ‘Next Generation’ property at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. The hotel is connected to the airport’s Terminal 1 and has a 24-hour Express Café & Bar and several meeting and event spaces.

R E P O R T

Staycity declares its brilliance with Wilde STAYCITY Group has opened the first of its new premium aparthotels, Wilde, in London. Located on The Strand, the property was opened by Merlin Holland, the only grandson of Oscar Wilde, from whom Dublin-based Staycity drew inspiration for the new design-led brand. “My grandfather took a great interest in aesthetics, particularly interior design,” said Holland. “He memorably said ‘have nothing in your house that is not useful or beautiful’.” The 106-unit, eight-storey property includes studios, superior studios and double rooms, with rates starting from £160 per night. The brand will be rolled out across Europe, including a property on Edinburgh’s King’s Stables Road that is due to open next year.

Wyndham brand move

The Wyndham Hotel Group is uniting its brands by adding the Wyndham name to those that do not already bear it. A ‘by Wyndham’ suffix will be applied to 12 brands including several with an extensive presence in Europe, namely upscale brand Dolce Hotels and Resorts, midscale brand Ramada, and economy brands Days Inn and Super 8.

Advantage on the up

The Advantage Travel Partnership has revealed that its members booked 4.9 million worldwide corporate hotel rooms last year, an 8.4% rise. The average stay was up slightly to 1.92 nights. Data was gathered from Advantage’s corporate hotel programme of more than 30,000 hotels.

AEROTEL TOUCHES DOWN IN THE UK WITH HEATHROW OPENING AIRPORT transit hotel brand Aerotel will arrive in the UK this June when Plaza Premium Group opens a facility at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3. Rooms at the hotel – the only airside property at T3 – can be booked in hourly slots for a minimum of six hours, with rates from £50. The 82-room hotel is located in the east wing of arrivals and is also accessible on foot from

Terminal 2, the central bus station and Heathrow Express. ‘Premium yet affordable’ rooms come in four different categories, from Solo Plus to Family, while food and drink will be served in the 24-hour Library Lounge. It is the sixth Aerotel to open worldwide, joining hotels in Singapore, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Rio de Janeiro and Kuala Lumpur. Rates start from £50 for six hours.

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

Finding the right travel management company to work with is perhaps the most important decision an organisation can make. Your TMC is the partner you choose to be the executor of your travel policy and programme and it is the team you entrust to safely and efficiently transport your people. But where do you start to find the right partner? The answer is by getting the culture right. If you are to be in sync with your TMC you are going to have to have values and ways of working that are complementary. In a recent ITM survey conducted with The Advantage Travel Partnership, only 40% of buyers reported that prospective TMCs took the time to understand their company culture during the sourcing process. The survey also suggested that only 21% of buyers believed that TMCs were “open and honest about their capabilities” during RFPs. Integrity is essential but I would prefer to go with a TMC that was ambitious and hungry for my business with a brilliant culture rather than one that did what it said on the tin but wasn’t on my wavelength. Come to the next ITM TMC Showcase to hear from some of the best!

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THE REVIEW

O N

T H E

G R O U N D

AMEX GBT COVERS NEW GROUND FOR BOOKERS

Government takes back East Coast line RAIL SERVICES on the East Coast Main Line are to be brought back under government control due to the failure of Stagecoach and Virgin, the current operators. Transport secretary Chris Grayling informed Parliament that the contract is to be terminated on June 24. The Department for Transport will run the line under the name of London North Eastern Railway (LNER) for at least two years until a new contract is granted. “The route has its challenges but it is not a failing railway,” said Grayling. “Stagecoach and Virgin Trains got their bid wrong and they are now paying the price. They will have lost near £200million meeting their contracted commitments.” The companies were contracted to pay £3.3billion to run the franchise until 2023.

AMERICAN EXPRESS Global Business Travel (GBT) has introduced a new ground transport platform for bookers and managers. The multi-channel platform – currently being piloted by European and US customers – provides access to more than 750 ground operators in more than 2,000 cities across 18 countries. Options include taxis, limos, airport express trains and ridesharing options through a new partnership with Lyft. Travel managers can customise the tool to suit travel policy and

GREAT WESTERN GOES MOBILE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY has introduced mobile ticketing across its full network. The system allows passengers to go from “booking to onboard in just a matter of minutes” and without the need for a paper ticket. Customers will be able to instead travel with a mobile ticket on their smartphone or tablet following the installation of barcode readers at station gates across the entire GWR network. Tickets bookable through the GWR app include all single and return tickets in standard and first class.

[ ON TRACK ] >> GRAND CENTRAL trains has revealed the new look of its ten refurbished Adelante trains, which are part of a £9million refurbishment programme set to continue throughout 2018. The interior and exterior overhaul includes a full interior refresh, new seats with leather edging in standard class, new floor covering, upgraded catering facilities, energy efficient LED lighting and power sockets to charge personal electronic devices >> CHILTERN RAILWAYS customers will be able to benefit from "ticket-free travel" as part of an extension of its network of post-pay technology. Passengers use a smartphone app, Ninja, which bills customers based on best value fares using bluetooth low energy-enabled gates at selected stations.

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access negotiated supplier discounts. The portal will capture bookings made online, offline or through the GBT mobile app and enable travel arrangers to revise bookings remotely on behalf of a traveller. “GBT clients saw 95%+ leakage through out-of-policy booking channels for ground bookings in 2017, resulting in lost opportunities for our clients to negotiate on that spend and ensure traveller compliance,” says Michael Qualantone, Executive VP of Global Supplier Relations for GBT.

400

New daily train services in GTR's timetable change

Govia Thameslink Railway has introduced almost 400 or 13% more trains every day as part of its RailPlan 20/20 timetable changes. Due to the expansion, 80 more stations will have direct services to central London stations by next year. The operator will run 3,600 trains per day across its network

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THE REVIEW

M E E T I N G

P L A C E

IN BRIEF

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Self-serve meetings

BCD Meetings & Events has introduced Simple Meetings, a self-service system enabling users to choose how and where they book meetings. The tool provides access to a global sourcing inventory and the ability to instantly book meeting space and guestrooms. It can be configured to a company's meeting and travel policy to ensure compliance.

Mercure refurb

The Halliwell Suite at the Mercure London Watford Hotel has been unveiled following refurbishment. The locally inspired new-look events space can hold up to 200 people and features its own private entrance with a grand sweeping staircase, a fully-serviced bar, large dance floor and air conditioning.

Wyboston rename

Wyboston Lakes Resort is renaming its main events venues as The Woodlands Event Centre and The Willows Training Centre. The changes will take effect from September when the first phase of a £3million investment in the centre is due for completion.

Hanbury relaunch

Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club is relaunching its meetings and events spaces after a £1.7million renovation. Delegates now have access to three new meeting rooms: Cedar, Pine and Willow, which can host ten, eight and eight delegates respectively, with access to innovative new technology.

Executive Director, ACTE

City's slick new meeting spaces open NEW ROAD HOTEL in the City of London, near Whitechapel and Aldgate East stations, has added two modern meetings spaces. The venues are designed to emphasise the balance between work, rest and play with an open-plan layout, natural light and relaxed decor. The Kitchen is suitable for up to eight people in a boardroom layout and comes with a state-of-the-art E-Board and a fully stocked fridge included in the room hire price. The Lounge offers space for eight delegates in a more informal setting with plush sofas, vintage furniture and an E-Board. The two can also be combined into one space for up to 25 people theatre-style. The Kitchen can be hired from £350 per day and the Lounge from £200 per day.

[ NEW & IMPROVED ] Venue association HBAA is experiencing a surge in membership in the first quarter of 2018, welcoming several boutique agencies as well as multiple and single property venues >> Loughboroughbased IMAGO VENUES is investing £150,000 at Holywell Park on new AV facilities and a refurbishment to ground floor spaces. It also has plans to upgrade the conference and meeting facilities in Burleigh Court >> The RADISSON BLU HOTEL LONDON STANSTED is investing £660,000 in its meetings and events facilities as part of a wider £6million refurbishment project due to be completed this September >> ASHFIELD MEETINGS & EVENTS has launched a new website, ashfieldmeetings.com, featuring additional pages, more content, videos and case studies.

Striking the right balance between choice and control has always been an issue. The good news is that we are closer to addressing this in terms of business travel. Some research we’ve completed, in conjunction with Amex GBT, shows that companies with younger travellers are closer to cracking the code. Companies where the average business traveller is aged 40 or younger, are better at providing their staff with technology and support to build flexible corporate travel experiences. Younger travellers have grown up with technology and expect that in their business life. A survey of global travel managers said they are seeing ever higher concern about work-life balance. Since they’re away from home anyway, travellers would like to add leisure to business trips. They also want the possibility of mixing things up – staying with friends or family rather than at hotels. They’re even up for alternative accommodation arrangements. Somehow in the craziness of work and life and being on the road, they are figuring out a way to improve their work-life balance and want the technology to support their needs.

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THE REVIEW

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T H E

M O V E

EVENTS JUNE 10-12

JOSE BLANCO

GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE Co. Wicklow, Ireland gtmc.org

JUNE 15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL GOLF MASTERS Mannings Heath, West Sussex thebusinesstravelmag.com

JUNE 27-28

MELISSA PEEL

TIM SHATTOCK

JOINS: Europcar UK AS: Sales and Marketing Director, UK FROM: Pullmantur Cruises

JOINS: ATPI AS: Multinational Bid Manager FROM: Egencia

JOINS: Bmi AS: Managing Director FROM: Babcock Mission Critical Services

Jose Blanco has been named Sales and Marketing Director at Europcar UK. The move marks a return to the business, with Blanco having spent five years at Europcar Group in Spain.

ATPI has appointed Melissa Peel as Global Sales Support and Multinational Bid Manager where she will guide bid management as part of the group's expansion plans.

A restructure of the bmi’s executive team has seen Tim Shattock take up the new role of MD. He joins from air ambulance specialist Babcock Mission Critical Services.

MICHAELA SLOAN

STEFAN LESER

THE MEETINGS SHOW Olympia London themeetingsshow.com

JULY 3

SUMMER SPARKLE London thebusinesstravelconference.com

AUGUST 11-15

GBTA CONVENTION San Diego, US / gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 11-12

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

OCTOBER 4

PROMOTED AT: STA Travel TO: Implementation Manager FROM: Head of Account Management

JOINS: Langham Hospitality Group AS: Chief Executive Officer FROM: Jumeirah International

PROMOTED AT: Hastings Hotels Group TO: Business Development Manager FROM: Consultant

Michaela Sloan has been appointed Implementation Manager for Business Travel by STA Travel. The role will provide coordination between accounts, finance and operations teams.

Langham Hospitality Group has appointed industry veteran Stefan Leser to oversee the company’s portfolio of hotels, resorts and residences and lead its global expansion.

Patricia Murtagh will focus on boosting business at Belfast property the Europa Hotel and the newly opened Grand Central Hotel in her new role with Hastings Hotels.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Air Europa has welcomed Alvaro Florez on-board as UK Sales Manager >> Simon Hanna has been appointed Cluster General Manager for Jupiter Hotel’s newly formed Country House Collection of Mercure hotels across the UK >> Lynn Brutman has joined Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane as Regional Vice President and General Manager >> Wyboston Lakes Resort has appointed Richard Smith as Director of Sales >> Chrome River has appointed financial software veteran Sunil Kayiti as CTO >> Richard Moriarty has joined the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as its new Chief Executive

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

OCTOBER 14-16

ACTE GLOBAL CONFERENCE

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

Paris / acte.org

NOVEMBER 5-7

C

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET

M

ExCel London london.wtm.com

Y

CM

NOVEMBER 23

MY

ADVANTAGE SYMPOSIUM

CY

ME London advantagemembers.com

CMY

K

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PATRICIA MURTAGH

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14/03/2017

11:42

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

www.sirius-cv.com

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Business & leisure in equal measure Business stays like

sterminshotel

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

Take a virtual show round visit www.sterminshotel.co.uk/tour

Untitled-1 1

5/30/18 09:45 AM


EVENT REVIEW

TBTM Dinner Club

Dinner at The Dorchester Gillian Keegan, MP for Chichester and a former Amadeus and Travelport leader, was guest speaker at The Business Travel Magazine’s latest Dinner Club. The popular event took place at The Dorchester hotel, London, in May and was attended by senior personnel from across the industry.

A warm welcome

The Business Travel Magazine Dinner Club ▼

Fine dining among friends at The Dorchester ▲ 22.05.2018

With thanks to our generous event sponsors

For details of the next Dinner Club contact david.clare@bmipublishing.co.uk

Guest speaker Gillian Keegan mingles with former travel industry acquaintances

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The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Travega

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5/31/18 09:39 AM


Introduction / Traveller welfare

Conversations around duty of care have morphed into wider debates about traveller wellbeing and staff retention. Find out more in our guide to

TRAVELLER WELFARE Introduction, 64-66 / Traveller tracking, 68-70

Traveller friction, 72-75 / Extra measures, 76-78 Accessible travel, 80-81 / Ground transport, 83 / Data, 85

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Traveller welfare / Introduction

thinKing differently

Burned-out and de-motivated staff who donʼt perform, increased staff turnover, and a poor reputation for your business among potential recruits... it is no wonder companies are moving duty of care and traveller welfare up the agenda, says Gillian Upton

T

he Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 was not only a landmark piece of legislation when it came onto the statute books in 2008, but also a huge wake-up call to corporates to ensure they fulfiled their duty of care to their employees. In the intervening decade, TMCs and specialist third parties such as International SOS have been doing brisk business in risk management, traveller tracking and repatriation to keep travelling employees

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safe from harm. Now the boundaries of duty of care are stretching to incorporate a holistic view of travelling employees and traveller wellbeing is the new buzzword. “All successful businesses understand that their people are their most valuable asset and so they build strategies for traveller wellbeing in addition to risk mitigation arrangements,” says Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel Management. “Whilst cost control is an essential focus, organisations are increasingly aware that they are asking more and more from their people and therefore the need to support their wellness at work is mostly increasing.” But is that awareness translating into action? HRG Consulting has been in the forefront of using metrics to track traveller burnout. They provide data to highlight the pinch points in existing travel policies. A threshold of ten hours in economy, high frequency of trips, long layovers, too many Red Eye flights, travelling through multiple time zones and insufficient downtime between trips are some of the negative physical impacts of travel. HRG is then able to rank those travellers most at risk. There is mounting evidence, for example, that disrupted body clocks from flying

through too many time zones increases the likelihood of liver cancer. There is a real risk of DVT from flying too many long-haul sectors, and too frequently, in economy class. Law firm Pinsent Masons, for example, issues compression socks to its frequent travellers, as does engineering firm Spirex Sarco. Where these issues start to get noticed in the boardroom is on the bottom line, when employers have to absorb recruitment costs of 25% of their staff every year. An issue over talent retention should be a red flag to an employer and the solution could be a more generous travel policy. ITM’s Davies has some insight as to how travel policies can be used. “In some industries, such as professional services, the travel programme is sometimes used as an employee engagement and satisfaction differentiator,“ he says. Measuring the risk as a starting point can be frustrated by company structure as part of the issue is a lack of joined-up thinking within organisations. Often, wellbeing sits within HR or medical but that may only involve a vaccination programme. “Organisations have got to break out of their silos and join up more and get more insight on the pinch points,” advises Dan 

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Introduction / Traveller welfare

In some industries the business travel programme is used as an employee engagement and satisfaction differentiator� THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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Traveller welfare / Introduction

[ THE RISKS OF FLYING ] There are 13million long-haul travellers within the UK. Between 4-10% take two longhaul flights within a month and are estimated to already have Asymptomatic calf vein DVT (diagnosed by ultrasound, but not large enough to cause symptoms). DVT sufferers can expect to take between two weeks to three months off work and are not allowed to fly for three to six months. After suffering from DVT the risk of suffering another is increased and medication will likely be required prior to future flights. Pulmonary embolism (when a blood clot travels from the leg to the heart and lungs), is fatal in one-third of cases and it is vital that compression stockings are measured and worn correctly. Source: ISOBAR

We are beginning to see an increase of adjustments to add flexibility if needed, to ensure travellers can rest, so that’s one step in the right direction”  Raine, Global Director Consulting at HRG. “Wellbeing is often seen as something negative, through statistics on absenteeism or stress-related illnesses.” The good news is that Raine is hearing a more positive spin around wellbeing and less around mental health so gradually it will lose the stigma associated with it. Bragging rights of road warriors will be received less favourably in the future and ITM’s Davies warns that, “all sizes of companies should avoid celebrating the million-miler road warriors within their business and be mindful not to role model excessive demands on their people.” And there is a further issue, that either the traveller feels that it’s not macho to complain or as Paul East, Chief Operating Officer of Wings Travel Management, says that, “not all travellers recognise the risk as well.” Ultimately, it is up to the employer to take

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action. The physical impact of travel is an increasingly measurable metric through advances in Big Data and analytics. Rather than use the data to model savings projections, TMCs can help corporates change travel policies to factor in wellbeing. “Some organisations are even gamifying the capture of this data and giving employees a score to optimise in order to avoid burnout,” says ITM’s Davies. Juan Antonio Iglesias, Head of Account Management EMEA, FCM Travel Solutions, says clients are beginning to factor this in, through more hotel inclusions and switching to business class for night flights even on restricted travel policies. “We are beginning to see an increase of adjustments to add flexibility if needed, to ensure travellers can rest, so that’s one step in the right direction. Creating policies around these issues is something that will come in time,” he says. ITM’s Davies agrees that it’s a slow burn. “We are not seeing a concerted move to relax travel policies but we are seeing companies being more aware of their responsibilities to their people regarding their wellbeing, from paid gym memberships to providing healthier snacks. “The reality is still that the demands put upon individuals are most influenced by the

internal culture, line manager’s direction and the way that staff are incentivised.” Easy wins for businesses are choosing hotels with more leisure facilities, or a day flight on a Monday rather than a night flight on Sunday to reduce the number of out-ofcore hours being worked – ie the hours between 6pm and 6am. HRG even hooks up with suppliers to offer bespoke ISOBAR compression socks, nutritionists to advise on diet, sleep experts and even stages educational workshops for frequent travellers. If traveller wellbeing isn't on your agenda yet, it should be.

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Advertisement feature

comprehensive cover Wings Travel Management adds traveller evacuation and consular support to risk management services

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raveller safety and duty of care are essential elements of any travel programme. It goes without saying that as terrorist attacks become more indiscriminate and natural disasters more prevalent, everywhere in the world is potentially a high-risk destination. But a comprehensive travel risk policy means a lot more than offering a quick response and having 24/7 out of hours access to your travel management company. “For over 25 years, we have honed our expertise in managing complex travel and logistics for corporates in the energy, marine, construction, engineering, security and financial sectors, where travel is an integral part of their business,” explains Paul East, Chief Operating Officer, UK/Europe & Americas, Wings Travel Management. “Travel risk management therefore lies at the core of Wings’ operations due to the nature of our clients’ business and the type of destinations that they are travelling to.” Now Wings is expanding its portfolio of travel risk management resources even further with the introduction of a specialist disaster and crisis response service that

includes traveller evacuation planning and coordination, search and rescue logistics and emergency medical assistance. The global travel management company is also launching a dedicated consular assistance service which provides in-country diplomatic advice to resolve incidents from

lost passports and visa issues to serious scenarios such as crime incidents, missing persons or abduction. These new services not only appeal to Wings’ large-scale multinational corporates handled by the TMC’s 16 regional operations around the globe, but also its SME client base in the UK, as the level of support and fee structure is highly flexible to suit the individual corporate’s needs. For example, clients can request disaster and evacuation support on demand as no fixed fee or formal agreement is required. They can choose from a menu of traveller support options ranging from in-country advice by telephone to high level personal bodyguard services. “Traveller safety and risk management have moved to the top of every corporate’s agenda and our expertise in this area is

Clients can request disaster and evacuation support on demand as no formal agreement is required” hugely beneficial to companies in every sector and whatever their size of business travel spend. Since Wings acquired Londonbased Grosvenor Travel in 2016, our portfolio of SME clients with a business travel spend of up to £1million now accounts for 60% of UK turnover,” says Paul East. “As part of an SME’s duty of care as an employer, it’s vital that they can locate their travelling employees quickly in an emergency and that they have access to immediate assistance,” he adds. “Most SMEs don’t have the resources in-house to handle traveller safety and risk management, so they rely on us to provide this critical support.” wings.travel info.uk@wings.travel @WingsTravelMgmt

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Traveller welfare / Traveller tracking

SAFE and sound

Duty of care and traveller safety continues to be one of the biggest issues facing travel buyers, writes Rob Gill

Y

ou only have to turn on the TV to see how dangerous the world is: from a seemingly endless succession of terrorist attacks to natural disasters and political unrest – there’s a lot going on that can potentially affect business travellers. And it’s not just dangers lurking in far-flung parts of the globe, the UK suffered a series of terrorist attacks in 2017 which have certainly concentrated minds on traveller safety, even when travelling domestically. Duty of care was ranked as the second most important priority for travel buyers in 2018 in a survey carried out by the Business Travel Show. Only cost-cutting was viewed as a bigger issue. For Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel Analyst at Oil Spill Response, duty of care is the organisation’s “number one priority” and not just for overseas travel. “We have been looking recently at London in particular and how in the past we have not known when we have staff in the capital,” she says. “This is changing with our new tracking application.” While technology is offering a practical solution to improve duty of care processes, there are other ways in which companies can try to mitigate these risks and ensure their travellers know what to do in an emergency situation. 68

Expect the unexpected

One of the most important starting points is making sure that employees are prepared for any problems they may face when on the road. Security specialists say organisations need to identify potential medical, security and environmental risks to any journey well in advance of travel. Emergency assistance and contingency plans should also be put in place for when things go wrong. Offering this kind of pre-trip advice and training, particularly to more unfamiliar or potentially dangerous destinations, is seen as being a key way to offer support and reassurance to travellers. Paul East, Chief Operating Officer, UK/ Europe & Americas at Wings Travel Management, says it’s vital to keep travellers “at the centre of the information loop”. “Preparation is crucial to managing risk, but there is not one simple solution as it depends on the size of your organisation, number of travellers and where they travel to,” adds East. “It is important to plan an agreed strategy, prepare your travellers and use the best available tool and technology to ensure everyone in the travel operation is clear about what to do should a difficult situation arise.” So what are the most important pitfalls to avoid when putting together a system and tools to improve duty of care for travellers?

One potential misstep can be to focus too heavily on headline-grabbing events, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, or by setting up a system that concentrates only on travel to “higher risk” destinations. Jonathan Brown, Risk Team Manager at global assistance specialist CEGA, says: “Some organisations will attempt to prepare employees for worst-case scenarios and overlook basic precautions, such as providing staff with an emergency assistance contact number or with advice about effective hygiene to avoid disease. “Others may assume traditionally safe destinations are largely risk-free. But there are good arguments for deploying tracking even in destinations close to home. In the wake of recent European terror attacks, many businesses were unable to establish whether their employees were in the vicinity or to find out if they needed assistance.” 

[ Risky Business ] Security specialists and TMCs name their top five 'riskiest' global destinations: CEGA: Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Nigeria Direct Travel: Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Iraqi Kurdistan (Erbil), Colombia Review Travel: Colombia, El Salvador, Pakistan, Nigeria, Venezuela

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Traveller tracking / Traveller welfare

Preparation is crucial to managing risk, but there is not one simple solution as it depends on the size of your organisation, number of travellers and where they travel to�

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Technology is helping to increase the quality of tracking tools, many of which now operate through mobile devices and use GPS to pinpoint the location of employees”  Having clear lines of responsibility and action plans for dealing with incidents is also vital as duty of care normally falls across multiple departments, such as travel, human resources and security. Alex Cousins, Director of Client Services at CTM, says: “Companies need to ensure the approach is ‘owned’ by someone, and that should disaster strike, there is an agreed and understood documented process and escalation route. It’s all well and good knowing where your travellers are, but it’s even more critical that there is someone responsible for communicating with them, and they know when, how and what needs to be done to evacuate them, seek medical help, and so on.”

Tracking tools

Technology is helping to increase the quality and reliability of tracking tools, many of which now operate through mobile devices and use GPS (Global Positioning System) to pinpoint the location of employees. “The ability to locate travellers is constantly improving, particularly as travellers increasingly use mobile devices to ‘check in’, providing real-time information on their whereabouts,” says Rob Condina, Regional Security Expert at International SOS and Control Risks. “We introduced Travel Tracker Incident Support recently, which automatically initiates communications with potentially impacted employees after a major incident.” Most tools provided by security and assistance specialists can send alerts to travellers about health, security and environmental risks that could affect their trips. During an emergency, these platforms can also “push” messages to travellers so they can confirm whether they are safe with one click. On more sophisticated platforms, 70

[ CAse sTuDy ]

travellers can also request medical or security assistance with the screen swipe. Steve Blows, Director at Review Travel, says: “There are some fantastic third-party, military-style tracking providers available that do a fantastic job at locating your exact position. This level of software is best suited to particularly high-risk destinations. “I expect that as time goes on, and the sophistication of such systems improves, they will be rolled out on a much wider scale.” But it’s also important to undertake a realistic evaluation of the risks your travellers face and use the appropriate solutions. Andrew Newton, Head of Corporate Travel at Direct Travel, says using basic tools such as text messaging could be the best solution for some companies who do not really need a system offering 24/7 monitoring. “GPS use is not standard across the industry and, in many cases, may not be necessary,” says Newton. “It’s important that we don’t go overboard. Most companies can comply with reasonable duty of care requirements without Big Brother tactics.” Aside from tracking, there are also other tools and data sources that can be harnessed to improve duty of care. These capabilities are often enhanced by the corporate client, security specialist and TMC sharing important traveller data such as booking, itinerary and contact details. Adrian Parkes, CEO of the GTMC, says: “Companies can also check real-time data from company credit cards if they require a clearer picture of employee activities and whereabouts.”

Oil Spill Response’s Global Travel Analyst Alice Linley-Munro explains how her organisation has introduced a new tracking system. “We have always kept track of our travellers but this was a very manual process which was flawed and open to errors. We are moving to an automated process to ensure we can locate travellers a lot faster in an emergency. “The solution gives travellers a greater sense of security as it has a two-way communication platform for use in a crisis and means that their whereabouts are at our fingertips. “There was a small amount of resistance to being tracked as staff thought it meant we would know where they are all of the time – even when off work – however the tracking is based on a check-in function, so if they don’t check in, then we can’t spy on them during personal time. “We are also implementing a communications platform which pings messages to travellers in a crisis situation in various formats, and keeps pinging them until they get a response. It means you can communicate with a mass of travellers at once.”

Compliance

With traveller safety and security becoming such a big issue, buyers have an opportunity to further promote the importance of booking within company travel policy. Russell Hurst, Head of Client Management UK & Ireland, for American Express Global Business Travel, says: “If travellers book a hotel through an alternative source – such as direct – then it’s not in the system and there will be gaps in the data.” He adds: “The higher the level of compliance, the higher the level of duty of care is going to be. “There’s a massive opportunity to communicate the message about driving duty of care through increasing compliance.” There’s still plenty of progress needed on delivering this message, though, with an American Express GBT survey finding that 61% of UK business travellers do not always follow policy. Meanwhile, the fact that only one-third of business travellers think their safety is “always” in their employer’s mind suggests there’s work needed on both sides of this debate.

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Traveller welfare / Traveller friction

FRICTION burned

More companies are paying attention to the relationship between travel policy and sta retention, writes Neal Baldwin, who examines the latest thinking on traveller experience

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A

sk any big-name celebrity agent the number one rule for success and the answer comes through loud and clear: ‘Don’t upset the talent!’ When you’ve got someone on the books making you big money it makes sense to keep them happy, even if it does throw up some seriously unusual demands. God forbid handling Madonna’s travel arrangements, for example – she’s rumoured to insist any hotel suite she stays in is always equipped with a new bed, while ageing rocker Rod Stewart has a ‘darkening team’ to ensure his room can be sufficiently blacked out before he’ll check in. And then there’s Justin Timberlake, who likes housekeeping staff to disinfect doorknobs every two hours. Of course, there is no places for such divas in the world of business. But the idea that staff perform best when they are well looked after isn’t anything new. By its very nature, travelling a lot for work can be tiring and soul-destroying. Executives may miss out on leisure time and significant family events, endure long, uncomfortable journeys in economy class, and suffer the physiological effects of disrupted sleep. It’s a recipe for physical and mental burnout that creates employees who aren't fit for the job – or worse, who quits in search of an easier life. Scott Gillespie, Managing Partner at Ohiobased travel benchmarking specialist tClara, coined the phrase ‘traveller friction’ five years ago in a bid to identify and measure the

Buyers are aware of traveller friction, but what has been difficult until now has been demonstrating the economic incentives for them to take action” stresses associated with business travel trips and help companies reduce staff turnover. Two studies developed in conjunction with ARC and American Express Global Business Travel (Traveller Friction - Insights from US Road Warriors [2016] and The hidden expense of cost-focused travel programmes [2017]), have served to keep the issue front of mind by highlighting that survey participants – in this case seasoned US travellers – tend to view their employer through the prism of its corporate travel policy. A little flexibility in the rules – even if that proves slightly more expensive – boosts outcomes and goes a long way to remove gripes. Gillespie has since developed a way to measure ‘friction’ by applying point scores to individual elements of a trip. A whole host of elements are factored into the equation. For example, hotel quality, aircraft cabin class and flight length, and post-trip recovery time are all high priorities when it comes to keeping workers happy and rested, while policy rules such as allowing use of hotel laundry services gets a lower ranking.

“This test gives us a way to quantify how one policy might compare against another,” he says. “Everything can be factored in – from travel to more dangerous regions of the world, to items that cause traveller frustration, such as the length of time it takes to have expenses reimbursed.” However, benchmarking the pinch points in a travel policy is only a small part of the battle. Gillespie says companies still struggle to understand where the issue and its cost fits in their own organisation. While trip outcome has an obvious effect on the bottom line, employee wellness is typically seen as the domain of human resources. Meanwhile, travel procurement – and especially the desire to save cash – sits somewhere else. “I get a sense that buyers are aware of traveller friction, especially given the increased focus on duty of care. But what has been difficult until now has been demonstrating the economic incentives for them to take action,” he explains. “In terms of staff retention I suggest a simple test: companies should look back four years to find the employees spending more than 35 nights on the road each year, and then ask the HR department how many of these staff have left the business. If this ‘attrition rate’ is high then the TMC should be adjusting the policy. “What’s too high? HR experts say the cost of replacing a mid-level executive is twice their annual salary. Losing people is expensive. 

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“Measuring trip outcomes is a more difficult concept, especially on a return-oninvestment kind of way. How long do you wait to see the rewards? How many trips went in to getting the deal? Getting staff to self-assess how they have done and what percentage of their trips were effective can be useful, but looking at staff retention is easier. Happier staff just perform better.” In Gillespie’s home market of the US, he claims to know of no more than five businesses actively applying any kind of metrics to their staff attrition rate. And all of them are blue chip companies such as banks and software firms that need to retain highlyspecialised staff. Back here in the UK, building some flexibility into travel policy has continued to gain traction, particularly as the financial crisis fades into the past. Reed & Mackay Chief Executive, Fred Stratford, says he’s noticed a shift back to business class flights as companies target retention and recruitment. “If you’re a reasonably regular traveller it impacts on your life. With business class people think ‘wow, they’re actually valuing me as an individual’ and we’ve seen companies take it to HR and change their policies. “Companies are asking ‘are our travellers happy?’ When they feel valued they feel more inclined to fly off on a Sunday afternoon or come back late on a Friday night. It’s also about the message it sends: ‘we expect you to work hard but we reward you for doing so’. Staff are so valuable, particularly in professional services. It’s time consuming and expensive to recruit. If travellers are looked after their psyche changes.”

their clients’ requirements to save money. Dan Raine, Global Director Consulting and Business Intelligence, HRG Consulting, says the secret is getting closer to HR departments – and being able to offer helpful evidence of friction and its effects. “About a year ago we built a measurement tool that allows us to delve into the data we have on travellers – where they’ve been, how long they flew, where they stayed – which allows us to identify the staff that might be at risk of burnout,” he explains. “TMCs have to become better at explaining the benefits of how having flexible policy guidelines can work. That means increasing the consumerisation of the offering by adding choice. Often line managers approve bookings anyway, so let’s give them the KPIs to show why a particular staff member deserves special treatment. Keeping policy simple is what clients want, but one-size-fitsall isn’t the best way.” Emilie Moutou, UK Consulting Senior Manager at American Express GBT, adds: “Looking at flight dates and times, working hours, overnights and weekends, you can measure the balance of working and travelling time versus personal time.” Moutou continues: “Other indicators include frequency of travel, destinations, cabin class allowance and hotel comfort levels. All these can be monitored and used to determine ‘stress’ factors, or even ‘physical’ factors, in percentages, that can then help identify the travellers at risk. With this knowledge, key stakeholders can be engaged, and objectives can be set to minimise these risks.”

[ PREDICTING THE FUTURE ] Being able to know in advance if your staff are going to quit might sound like something out of a science fiction movie. But computer giant Hewlett Packard (HP Inc) has been doing it for years. The US multinational has established itself as the leader in Predictive Analysis to keep workers happy and motivated, and reducing its recruitment bill. Since 2011, HP has used big data to assess the ‘Flight Risk’ of each one of its 300,000 global staff. Algorithms look at a range of factors – including promotion and pay rise history, feedback from employee surveys and performance stats – to come up with a score representing how likely each individual is to leave in search of a new job. Results are used by managers to work out how best to reward employees and create an environment where staff feel valued. HP estimates the system saves it up to $300million each year by cutting recruitment costs and preventing low productivity.

Measure for measure

Clarity Travel is another TMC taking a technologically-driven approach – this time with IBM’s Watson analytics system. The powerful tool is being developed to measure consumer sentiment of travel brands and services from

All in the data

With duty of care now high on the corporate agenda, the real issue for TMCs is how they can actively influence corporate travel policies to reduce friction points while also meeting

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Traveller friction / Traveller welfare

sites across the internet, and this data is then merged with trip feedback gathered from travellers via a simple app questionnaire. Darren Williams, Head of MI and Data at Clarity Travel, says: “We’ll be able to provide real insight into a brand or particular hotel property by tracking how they are being spoken about. If we see standards going up or down, we can pass that message on and shift policy, which is good for travellers. “We can also monitor feedback from individual members of staff. If we see their responses about trip satisfaction go down over a period of time, we can ask ‘is this a problem with the services offered or is this person de-motivated and struggling at work?’,” he explains. While this use of data sounds revolutionary, Williams believes it will soon be a standard part of TMCs' ever-diversifying offering. “Our industry has access to huge amounts of information. Just like providing MI is now an accepted service, TMCs will have to evolve and provide this sort of insight. Rather than just being about saving clients a few quid on hotels we will be about helping them use their whole budgets better and saving them from losing staff,” says Williams.

In the future AI will see how and where you travelled and what the results were in order to create a policy tailored to you” Raj Sachdave, Managing Partner at recentlylaunched TMC and supplier consultancy Black Box Partnerships, predicts an even bolder computer-aided vision to help companies manage performance and welfare. “I can see a world where procurement, recruitment and HR are completely collaborative. We already know that the way a company presents its benefits like gym

www.traveleads.co.uk

membership helps recruit and retain staff,” he says. “In the future the use of data and artificial intelligence will help businesses look after employees and monitor performance. Algorithms will be able to see how and where you have travelled and what the results were to create a travel policy tailored to you. “We could even link to personnel records. Has an employee just divorced and is that affecting performance, for example? There are obvious privacy concerns, but if staff want to be looked after by organisations then sharing this data may be worth it.”

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Traveller welfare / Extra measures

Handled with

CARE

Should companies offer additional support to their female and LGBTQ business travellers, and if so, how? Jenny Southan reports

Some female or LGBTQ employees might not feel comfortable to say they are unwilling to go to certain places”

A

s a female business traveller in a same-sex relationship, there have been times when I have had to think carefully about the trips I take. But there haven’t been any destinations that I have decided not to go to for work. I have travelled around Nairobi alone (a city known for high levels of violent crime), and been to countries such as Iran, where being gay is punishable by death. In both cases, I did a lot of due diligence, stayed in good hotels, had a driver, dressed appropriately, made my Instagram account private and kept quiet about my personal life. Luckily, I had no problems, but not everyone would be confident about taking these kinds of assignments on – and rightly so. Within a corporate environment, there can be a perceived obligation to travel for work, meaning some female or LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) employees might not feel comfortable to say they are 76

unwilling to go to certain places or need additional support, especially if they are not “out” about their sexual orientation. As companies have duty of care responsibilities towards the people they send into the field, there need to be policies in place that protect and uphold the unique rights and wellbeing of all individuals, as well as sensitivity and flexibility around how they are applied. Catherine Maguire-Vielle, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, says: “Travelling for business means people often don’t have a choice where they go. If they don’t feel comfortable, don’t feel supported or don’t feel prepared, and there’s someone more suitable, then they should question why they need to go. Companies should never be putting their employees in situations that haven’t been properly risk assessed.” Just as some firms have special travel needs for employees – oil and gas businesses, for

example – Maguire-Vielle says TMCs should work to develop female-centric policies for clients where appropriate. According to Trip.com by Skyscanner, the riskiest countries for solo female travellers in 2017 included Guatemala, Turkey, India, Morocco and Egypt, while the Foreign and Commonwealth Office listed Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen (among others) as generally unsafe for all travellers.

Putting women first

While there are some countries that every potential visitor should be wary about going to, there are destinations that pose greater risks to women in particular because of the heightened chance of sexual harassment. Like it or not, women are seen as vulnerable targets that can be taken advantage of so it’s

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important they are equipped to deal with this before touching down. Maguire-Vielle says: “Stepping into cultures where women don’t have the same rights or respect as they do at home can be difficult. We are seeing an increase in companies putting questions in their requests for proposals (RFPs) asking the travel management company what they do to safeguard females. The clients want it and TMCs are now thinking about it. TMCs now realise they must consider the genderspecific needs of their travellers.” Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage, a network for female business travellers, says: “While we have a predominantly egalitarian society here in Western Europe, the world at large isn't equal. The key areas that we help the industry focus on are: legal restrictions around the world – for example, reporting a sexual assault in the UAE can put the woman at risk of arrest; cultural restrictions –

initiating a handshake or even eye contact could mean the woman is perceived as promiscuous; the risk of sexual harassment; handbag theft; and specific health risks – even access to sanitary protection and contraception is limited in some countries.” Pearson adds: “There are plenty of welltravelled women out there, myself included, who are more than happy to travel to edgy destinations and take a risk when travelling on holiday. However, we have to accept that employers have a legal obligation to protect us when we are travelling for business and therefore some provisions put in place could feel restrictive.” For a firm not to send women to a certain destination point blank might be considered too crude, though, and even discriminatory. People need to be empowered to make the best decisions for themselves as professionals, as well as within the organisation in which they work. Pearson says: “Company cultures

vary massively and some are much more open to women voicing concerns about travel to a certain destination than others and, sadly, some do think less of employees who don't want to travel. “Conversely we also see employers refusing to send women to certain destination because they are deemed too risky even though the women are happy to make the trip.” What can TMCs do to help? “Easy wins would include arranging the trip end-to-end with connections, and having that info on your app, so you are never having to stand outside and flag a cab. Traveller tracking is really important too, so someone at your company always knows your itinerary if incidents do arise,” says Maguire-Vielle. “Our partnership with International SOS is really important and our CWT To Go app has a direct contact for those travellers requiring medical assistance. These sorts of features are increasingly important for a policy.” 

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In February, travel, meetings and event management specialists Capita Travel and Events partnered with Maiden Voyage to identify female-friendly hotels across the UK. Leigh Cowlishaw, Director of Supplier Partnerships, Capita Travel and Events, says: “We asked travellers whether or not they ever feel at risk when travelling for business and 67 per cent of women said yes, compared with 19 per cent of men.” Maiden Voyage has a “strict inspection process” that looks out for physical security features such as reception staffed 24/7, a well-lit entrance and two independent door locks, as well as the location and how savvy the staff are – it’s no good if they announce someone’s room number loudly at check-in. “A common failing is where TMCs and their clients are complicit in focusing on cost rather than duty of care,” says Pearson. “By adhering to hotel rates only, travellers can be put further out of town, perhaps in places where they have to go out 'hunting' for something to eat. This drives up the total cost of the trip, often by having to use taxis, and also increases the risk. By focusing on duty of care, it's easy to build a case for compliance, making it easier to drive economies of scale and ultimately reducing costs.” For those female travellers venturing into more hostile territories, there are training courses available. For example, LFL Global Risk Mitigation offers a one-day course on “Sexual assault awareness and prevention”, aimed at women and men, and has been designed by Lloyd Figgins, a former police officer, soldier and expedition leader. The curriculum includes case studies, improving personal security, reducing your digital profile, police advice and survival strategies.

Under the rainbow

The Office for National Statistics reports that just over one million of the UK population aged 16 and over (two per cent – or one in 50 people) identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual in 2016. In a world where more than 70 countries criminalise homosexual acts, this can be a problem for people required to travel on business. A 2017 report on Global Mobility for LBGT Staff from gay rights charity Stonewall says: “International assignments may need more careful consideration for LGBT staff. In more 78

than half the world, LGBT people may not be protected from discrimination by workplace law. Very few jurisdictions legally recognise the gender identity of trans people.” But as Stonewall says, this doesn’t mean LGBT people shouldn’t travel for work.

No matter how ‘out’ you might be at home, travel can mean keeping silent while you’re away or lying about your identity” “Supporting LGBT employees in taking on international assignments means organisations benefit from having the best person for the job, wherever they are needed. It also ensures this person can perform at their best, regardless of location.” Compliance is essential. Stonewall says: “Taking steps to ensure that employees can take advantage of, and are supported during, international postings can protect organisations from costly and damaging employment disputes.” John Tanzella, president of the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association), says: “No matter how ‘out’ you might be at home, [travel] can mean keeping silent about anything personal while you're away or lying about your identity”. This is a big ask. He adds: “No one should be shamed into a business assignment that puts them in danger. Personal safety should

always be a priority. Travel management companies need to be aware of the laws of the countries where their clients are travelling so they can help them to be informed. “They can also help to find hotels and businesses that are LGBTQ-welcoming in countries with less favourable laws. For IGLTA members in more than 75 countries see iglta.org,” says Tanzella. Uwern Jong, Editor-in-Chief of Out There magazine, and LGBT travel ambassador, says: “Unlike leisure travellers, business travellers do not get to pick their destination. Staff have every right to voice their concern if they feel that they will be discriminated against but businesses can argue that sexual orientation is not a determinant factor on whether someone is able to carry out their job. “It's not an easy debate. You can't tell an employee to get on with it and hide the fact they're gay, but you have to ensure you have the measures in place to deal with a situation should it arise. It’s also the responsibility of travellers to be fully aware of the implications of the law of a country and be sensitive to local customs and regulations, whether or not they agree with them.” Although women and LGBT travellers might have differing requirements, it’s important not to treat people as a ’type’ or ’minority’ that need special treatment because they fit a certain criteria. Jong says: “There can't be a gay tick-box on a form that means you provide a special service just because someone is LGBTQ – that in itself can exacerbate the problem.” It’s about being treated appropriately, as an individual.

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Traveller welfare / Accessible travel

Purple

PARITY Many suppliers fail miserably when it comes to catering for travellers with disabilities, says Catherine Chetwynd

T

he purple pound – the spending power of the seven million disabled people of working age – is worth around £249billion to the UK economy. Yet when travelling, disabled people generally get a pretty raw deal. Accessible facilities in hotels vary from ill thought-out to functional but unattractive; while poor customer service skills are commonplace – overlooking those with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia and anxiety, or talking to the person accompanying a wheelchair user, even when the latter is paying the bill, for example. Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard, became paralysed from the neck down when he contracted Guillan-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in 2004. He was a wheelchair user for nearly 20 months and having now re-learned how to walk, has returned to work. But his time in a wheelchair was an eyeopener and he experienced facilities in hotels that ranged from depressing to inadequate. “Disability makes you anti-social. It is quite frightening and is partly due to lack of information and knowledge,” he says. “It is madness for a hotelier, who is a commercial beast, to have two or three rooms in a hotel of 70 bedrooms and not to give those any of sense of the style you would get in a room for able bodied guests. “You have to be careful with the words 80

hospital and hospitality but there is definitely an over-emphasis on the medical in what is seen to be correct for a disabled room,” says Sheppard. “I long for the day when someone walks into a hotel and says, ‘I would like an upgrade to a disabled suite, please’.” Showers alone are a minefield. “There is a big disconnect between a walk-in shower and a wet room,” says disability consultant Ross Smith, who is a wheelchair user and travels with a PA to help him with personal care. “A walk-in shower can mean a cubicle you can’t get a shower chair in and a threshold which is inaccessible. You have to say wet room, roll-in.” His experiences include double beds he is expected to share with his assistant and a booked accessible room with walk-in shower/wet room which turned out to have a bath. On that occasion, the hotel paid for him to stay in a nearby five-star hotel. Smith rates some low-cost suppliers, including easyJet (“I can’t fault them”) and Travelodge highly (“Perfect. Functional but had everything I needed.”) Edwardian Hotels runs disability awareness courses for customer-facing employees, including basic fingerspelling alphabet and how to guide guests with visual impairments. Rooms for hearing

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Accessible travel / Traveller welfare

impaired guests have vibrating (alarm) pillows, flashing door bells and fire alarms. And according to Sheppard, Radisson Blu Edwardian Leicester Square plans to have, “the best disabled rooms in the country”. John Calder, Methods and Tools Analyst at Airbus, travels between Bristol and Toulouse three times per month. “In UK airports, you are treated like cattle, I find it quite degrading. You are segregated, put in a corral airside where you wait for someone to push you on to the aircraft. “In Toulouse, you wait landside, tell them where you are going to be and they come to find you, which is better; although on a couple of occasions, the French handlers have forgotten, causing a delay. I got a round of applause on boarding!” he says. Carriers should not deny boarding unless there is a safety issue and an assistant should be seated next to or as close as possible to the disabled traveller. Virgin Atlantic has accessible loos

on all aircraft but with a person in a wheelchair and an assistant, it is inevitably cramped.

Badge of honour

In the UK, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds Bradford, Belfast and Dublin airports work with OCS special assistance to supply hidden disability lanyards to those who may need assistance or extra time. Heathrow also has a lanyard programme. Flybe and Virgin Atlantic recognise the lanyards but because they are applicable only in the UK, Virgin has produced a heartshaped aircraft badge for those with hidden disabilities, which can be worn, printed or carried on a mobile device and which is recognised by its crews worldwide. United Airlines, meanwhile, consults its Accessible Travel Advisory Board which comprises 14 people with a variety of disabilities. It has a simulated travel programme for families with children with autism and other developmental disabilities, and Virgin invites disabled people to experience its mock-up training aircraft. In addition, with input from blind people, Virgin has developed a tablet that speaks to help visually impaired people operate the touchscreen entertainment system. Not all hotels load accessible rooms on GDS systems or other booking channels, which means TMCs have to contact suppliers direct, and getting assistance on last-minute

bookings can prove problematic, especially at rail stations and airports. Director of Supplier Partnerships for Capita Travel and Events, Leigh Cowlishaw, says some train operating companies also provide a good service: “A member of the team meets people on the platform, takes them calmly to their seat and someone helps them off on arrival. It is managed in a very discreet and helpful manner.” As part of its preferred agreements with suppliers, Capita asks for their policies on disabled travellers and requests updates when there are changes. Business Travel Direct creates traveller profiles for disabled travellers in the same way as any other employee, with a section for special requirements. “We then follow up to get all travellers’ feedback and learn about their preferences, so that we can automatically make bookings that meet their needs,” says the TMC.

A step in the right direction

Bespoke Access Awards, managed by RIBA, was launched by Sheppard in 2015. The winner last year was the AllGo accessible hotel room designed by Ryder Architects and Motionspot, which includes hand rails with Braille navigational aids, tracks for hoists on ceilings, accessible sinks with fully lit mirrors without shadows and much more. “I’m thrilled about the amount of work they have won on the back of the publicity,” he says.

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DRIVING DOWN THE COSTS OF BUSINESS TAXI TRAVEL Cabfind is the UK's leading managed taxi service providing seamless end-to-end mobility solutions to business travellers. Utilising a country-wide network of private hire and executive vehicles, we combine ground-breaking technology with industry expertise to make taxi travel and expense management simple. As a dedicated mobility transport partner, Cabfind helps organisations from leading travel management companies to corporate businesses drive down their taxi travel costs. To reveal the hidden costs of your taxi travel visit www.cabfind.com/hidden today

CALL 0843 658 1122 EMAIL SALES@CABFIND.COM VISIT WWW.CABFIND.COM

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Ground transport / Traveller welfare

[ TAXIS & TRANSFERS ]

GROUND CONTROL

T

Caution about the use of Uber for business travel highlights the challenges travel managers face when it comes to taxi and chauffeur bookings

here’s no denying it – Uber is cheap. The price, convenience and prevalence of Uber cars in large cities are the ingredients of its success. But a number of high-profile incidents and concerns around driver regulations has also landed the sharing economy exponent in hot water. It is banned in several European countries and is under review in London.

That should set alarm bells ringing for corporates but many continue to turn a blind eye to its use by employees on business. “Taxi transfers present the biggest perceived and actual risk for female travellers,” says Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage. “Our community members have reported incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, robbery and kidnap. “Travel managers and organisations can mitigate risk by using trusted taxi suppliers, with processes and safeguards in place to ensure the safety of passengers.” It’s sound advice from Pearson and applies equally to all business travellers. And many suppliers – taxi and chauffeur companies

alike – are taking the duty of care message to the corporate sector. A recent report from cabfind.com found that more than half of survey respondents have no restrictions on their taxi travel. “While most travel policies have robust plans and best practices for accommodation, rail and air travel, taxis are often left for the traveller to arrange independently, despite that fact that taxis are the least regulated mode of transport,” it states. “Our research found that 54% of respondents have no restrictions on their taxi travel, often processing costs through expenses. While this may seem a simple and flexible approach, if an incident occurs there is no way of knowing where the traveller is.” It continues: “This exposes both the traveller and the company to considerable risks. These risks can be mitigated with a dedicated ground transportation provision as part of company travel policy, optimising expenditure and enhancing duty of care provision.” Danny Chesworth, Director, Head of MICE and Strategic Partnerships at Carey Worldwide Chauffeured Services, says corporates often use chauffeur cars for VIPs, airport transfers and out of hours journeys. “Some corporates have policies in place for female passengers to book chauffeur driven cars due to a guarantee of security checks on the drivers,” he says. “And we can integrate into any booking system or via the GDS and provide real-time MI.” TBR Global Chauffeuring’s Group CEO, Craig Chambers, adds: “In addition to the obligation of guaranteeing a licensed vehicle

and a fully vetted, professional driver, including ground transport in a travel policy and giving travel managers full control over the entire journey can also reduce unexpected expenses that occur when travellers jump into a local taxi or use a ride hailing app.” Chambers adds: “Being able to track travellers’ movements is a huge advantage and avoids them being ‘unaccounted for’. Using a regulated provider guarantees your clients are in the best hands.”

[ TAXIS FOR BUSINESS: THE TOP FIVE PRIORITIES ] 1. Getting to the destination on time 2. Being picked up on time 3. Vehicle safety 4. Driver safety 5. Vehicle cleanliness Note: cost was the second biggest priority for leisure users but did not make the top five for business users SOURCE: cabfind.com

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THE WORLD’S PREMIER CHAUFFEURED SERVICES Carey is the world’s leading provider of chauffeured services and ground transportation logistics management. With an exclusive global network spanning more than 1,000 cities worldwide, Carey offers unrivalled safety, consistent service standards, and innovative travel technology for both travellers and arrangers. • Carey Global Franchise Network and the Carey Alliance Partner Network ensure that our customers receive a consistent, high quality service wherever you are

• Our phone app allows you to book services in over 1,000 cities worldwide, plus giving you real-time information, vehicle location, chauffeur image and contact information

• Our comprehensive data security • Our diverse fleet of luxurious, policy is both PCI and PII well-maintained, non-smoking compliant. All our employees, vehicles are held to the highest contractors and agents sign standards of safety, maintenance confidentiality provisions. and presentation

Reservations email: reservations.uk@carey.com Reservations phone: +44 (0) 208 326 7600 Website: www.careyuk.com

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Data / Traveller welfare

Striking a balance New research highlights an increasing focus on business travellers’ work-life balance and corporate travel managers’ challenge in “walking a tightrope between flexibility and sensible travel policy”. The report, Balancing Business Travel Tools & Policy for the Traveller Experience, from ACTE Global and American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), reveals 37% of travel managers surveyed report an increase in enquiries about work-life balance, up from 31% just six months previously. “Business travel can be exhausting and stressful, but pursuing a collaborative process can go a long way towards supporting healthy, rested and productive employees,” says Greeley Koch, Executive Director, ACTE Global. “You never want to lock your travellers into strenuous itineraries and overly strict policies.” Evan Konwiser, Vice President, Digital Traveller at American Express Global Business Travel, adds: “Traveller centricity doesn’t mean travellers can do whatever they want or that travel policies will become so flexible that they become detrimental to the bottom line. It’s about creating policies and deploying tools that improve the traveller experience. The compliance then comes naturally, as will the savings.”

32%

of travel managers reported growth in requests to use chain hotels

37%

46%

of travel managers reported enquiries about travel safety, down from 51% six months before

of travel managers reported an increase in enquiries about work-life balance, up from 31% in October 2017

22%

of travel managers reported more employees asking about sharing accommodation options with colleagues

38%

of travel managers said programmes suffer from limited content, but nearly half believe increasing the options would erode their control of the programme

61%

of travel managers said more travellers are asking for improved technology to manage travel

30%

of travel managers say traveller satisfaction is their top priority when putting together a travel programme, the most popular option selected

19%

of travel managers say the safety and security of employees is their main priority, the third most popular option

73%

of travel managers that say catering to the needs of millennial travellers is noticeably different to that of other generations Source: InterContinental Hotels Group

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DEPARTURES

On the road with

Thea Green

Thea Green founded Nails Inc aged just 23. The UK firm now has 60 outlets and turns over £22million annually

JAPAN PUTS A SPRING IN YOUR STEP

ex-boyfriend showed up on the plane a week after they broke up and was in the aisle next to us! TRAVEL LIGHT – BUT TAKE SAMPLES!

DETAILS Name: Thea Green. Position & Company: Founder and CEO of INCredible and Nails Inc. Nature of your business: Beauty products. Based in: London. Business trips per year: 20. Estimated annual mileage: Too high! Regular destinations: New York, San Francisco, Paris, Tokyo and Stockholm. Most recent trip: Tokyo Next trip: A family holiday to Anguilla

GOOD & BAD Best business travel experience: I recently fell in love with Tokyo – I love the lifestyle concept stores. I judge a city by my early morning run and it was a beautiful run by the Imperial Palace, through the park with the first buds of blossom. Worst business travel experience: When my colleagueʼs

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SUPPLIERS

Preferred airline or hotel and why: British Airways return flights always makes me feel like I am coming home to London and to my family. Loyalty points – obsessive collector or not bothered? Air miles is living the dream... as long as you have the commitment to work out when you can cash them in. Favourite loyalty scheme: BA

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: Work, rest or play? A mix. I always download a new series or a movie to my iPad rather than risk in-flight entertainment, especially if I have been travelling a lot and may have seen everything already. I also love to catch up on my reading. I do tend to work for half of the flight and rest the other half, which I think is a good balance. Onboard connectivity – take it or leave it? It was never very good and often dropped out, but the new BA wifi is excellent even if it is on too few planes. So yes, I love it – multi-task all the way! Onboard habits: A face mask from INCredible, frequent teeth brushing, huge amounts of water and a skin care routine that I never manage daily but can do on a flight because I actually have the time.

DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to... There is nowhere I would mention as between holiday with family or business with colleagues we have a fun time wherever we go. It’s the people not the place. Send me back to... New York – always! It’s my favourite city after London. Top overseas landmark: I love a Paris hotel view of the Eiffel Tower. That never gets old.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: Duvets wherever you sit. I think aircraft are often subzero temperature zones. I'd also never have to take my shoes off at security. I know we have to but laces suddenly seem such a chore.

Biggest business travel irritation: Snorers on a night GERMS flight. And people HEADING with coughs – you MY WAY! just know it’s coming your way tomorrow. Pack light or go prepared? When travelling on business I go light on personal stuff but heavy on samples. A girl’s got to sell! Never leave home without: Battery packs for charging and headphones to run when I can’t sleep.

TRAVEL POLICY Stick to the company travel policy or a bit of a maverick? I wrote it so I better stick to it. If you could change one thing about your travel policy... It’s perfect – see above!

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DEPARTURES

New kid on the block Radisson RED, Glasgow THE LOWDOWN

The 174-room

Radisson RED Glasgow is the first hotel in Europe from the fledgling brand. It is located in the centre of the city’s music and art scene and minutes from the SSE Hydro. The bold and modern interior style carries through into the hotel ethic, with keyless room entry,

and self check-in and check-out. Almost all guests' needs can be managed through the RED app, from requesting pillows to booking transfers. The OUIBar + KTCHN serves food, wine and craft beer and the RED Sky Bar is Glasgow’s first rooftop bar. Three Events and Games studios feature meetings space with high-tech equipment and super-fast wifi. that's a FACT

The wallpaper

found in the rooms has been designed by Glasgow comic artist Frank Quitely. The interiors are intended to create a feeling that is fun, modern and minimal. they said it

“Radisson RED

is bold and pushes the boundaries of the traditional hospitality experience. We’re genuinely excited to give people the opportunity to enjoy RED and deliver a memorable and RED experience for guests.” RATES

Rates at the

hotel start from £99 per night.

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GOLF

MASTERS 2018

T H E B U S I N E S S T R AV E L M A G A Z I N E G O L F M A S T E R S I S B A C K

FRIDAY JUNE 15 MANNINGS HEATH WEST SUSSEX

If you are a corporate travel buyer and would like to join us at this year’s Golf Masters as one of our guests please email david.clare@bmipublishing.co.uk

For more information, see thebusinesstravelmag.com

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DEPARTURES

Meeting in The waterfront city of Plymouth has a renowned maritime heritage and is famously the home of Plymouth Gin Distellery, but its workforce today includes a growing public sector contingent – notably in education, health, medicine and engineering – and several hundred marine-based businesses

Plymouth

WOW FACTOR

Further information Contact Conference Plymouth and Visit Plymouth for advice on organising a conference or event. Visit visitplymouth.co.uk/conference to discover venues and suppliers available or email conferences@ plymouthpavilions.co.uk.

ON A SHOESTRING

Mount Batten Tower

Jurys Inn Plymouth

Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LF 01752 522205 / plymouthpavilions.com

70 Lawrence Road, Mount Batten, PL9 9SJ 01752 404567 / mount-batten-centre.com

50 Exeter Street, Plymouth, PL4 0AZ 01752 631000 / jurysinn.com

Located in the heart of the city, Plymouth Pavilions is a multipurpose venue suitable for conferences of up to 2,500 delegates and for seated banquets for up to 700 guests. The venue also offers a variety of backstage areas and versatile breakout spaces as part of the overall hire package. Prices are available on request from the venue.

One of Plymouth’s oldest iconic landmark buildings, Mount Batten Tower is available to hire and is suitable for hosting smaller, more intimate events. The venue can host a minimum of 12 guests and a maximum of 25. The ‘Prosecco and Canapes’ package, served on the roof of the tower, is priced from £12.95pp. Hire of the tower is priced from £300.

Plymouth Pavilions Conference Venue

Jurys Inn is located adjacent to Plymouth’s historic quarter and Drake Circus shopping centre, less than five minutes from the railway station. There are 11 suites available for hire. Suite 4 is suitable for banqueting and can sit 36 delegates. Suite 6 has enough space for 120 theatrestyle and can be used for large boardroom meetings. Smaller suites can cater to small-scale meetings. Call for lead-in prices.

FOR BIG NAMES AND BIG EVENTS

SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

Getting there First Great Western operates trains between London and Plymouth. Drivers can use the M5 to connect to the A38 into the city. The drive from Exeter Airport takes around an hour.

QUIRKY VENUE

WIRED UP

OUT OF TOWN

Plumer House

University of Plymouth

Kitley House Hotel

Tailyour Road, Crownhill, PL6 5DH 0808 2306500 / plumerhouse.co.uk

Plymouth University, Drake Circus, PL4 8AA 01752 588992 / Plymouth.ac.uk

Yealmpton, Plymouth, PL8 2NW 01752 881555 / kitleyhousehotel.com

This modern business centre The university hosts more than has a conference suite to cater 300 events every year. It has 10 for up to 150 delegates theatremeeting rooms, three video style and comprises seven conferencing suites and 17 stateboardrooms for smaller of-the-art lecture theatre which meetings, accommodating seat from 90-280 delegates. It between four and 24 people. also has galleries and large open Amenities include unlimited tea, spaces to suit versatile events. All coffee and water, wifi, use of AV spaces are catered for with AV equipment, laptops and flipchart technology and the events team boards. Lead-in room rate from can provide support. Room £110 per day; conference hire is from £175 per day TECH NEEDS suites are from £350. and DDR from £40pp. COVERED IN-HOUSE

This luxury historic house is located in its own private woodland estate just ESCAPE TO outside Plymouth, THE COUNTRY making it an ideal venue for corporate meetings and dining. The property has a number of conference and meeting rooms – the Fitzroyal Suite purpose-built conference room can hold up to 100 delegates. DDRs are from £34.50pp including lunch.

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DEPARTURES

On business in...

Mexico City

Mexico City, which can trace its history back to the Aztecs in 1325, is one of the most important economic hubs in Latin America. The greater city area is home to more than 21 million people, making it the most populous city on the continent. Economic reforms have boosted competition recently, with food, tobacco, construction and financial services among its main industries

don't miss PALACIO DE BELLAS ARTES

restaurant is only open for lunch.

seven routes into the city and costs

Raíz Cocina de Estaciones offers

30 pesos (approx £1.15) per ride. The

The InterContinental Presidente

Mexican food that is ever-changing

metro underground network, with

Mexico City is a well-regarded

depending on what is in the market.

its 12 lines, is cheap and modern.

business hotel located in the main

Restaurant Nicos is considered by

upscale urban district of Polanco.

many to be the best restaurant in

Other options in the district include

Mexico City. Though unassuming in

the boutique Las Alcobas and W

its décor, the food is great.

SLEEPING

Mexico City. Also consider the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City or the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico in the Getting there Both AeroMexico and British Airways operate a daily service from London Heathrow to Mexico City. United, American, Iberia and Delta, among others, operate one-stop services from Heathrow. Air Europa operates two services a day from London Gatwick via Madrid. Further information For further information on meetings and events and visiting Mexico, go to visitmexico.com, email uk@visitmexico.com or call 020 7488 9392.

historic heart of the capital city.

AFTER HOURS Limantour is a temple to

Pay a visit to the opulent Palacio BEERS... WITHOUT THE LIME

modern cocktails, with designer

EATING

MUST-SEE SIGHTS de Bellas Artes to see its marble performance hall and museum with murals by Diego Rivera. The National Museum of

drinks using fresh herbs, flowers

Anthropology houses artefacts from

and rare foreign spirits. It has two

as far back as the ancient Maya

Contramar in La Roma is known for

locations, in Roma and Polanco. For

civilization. Further afield, take an

its seafood and traditional service –

views of Mexico City, visit Area Bar

excursion to the Pyramid of the Sun.

booking is essential and the

which belongs to Hotel Habita and

in nearby Teotihuacan.

has its own rooftop pool and lounge area. For a taste of the Mexican craftbeer scene check out the relaxed Tasting Room in Roma Norte.

GETTING DOWNTOwN Authorised ‘Taxi de Sitio’ provide a safe and comfortable service. Alternatively, the Metrobus offers

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DEPARTURES

Focus on...

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the UK is its third-largest investor. Benjamin Coren discovers the benefits of doing business in this innovative market

India

Made up of 29 states and seven union territories, India is a vast country packed with potential. With a wide range of trading opportunities and a fast-growing economy encompassing multiple sectors, it is an attractive prospect for UK companies willing to navigate potential pitfalls and be patient with what can seem strange and slow cultural practices. English is widely spoken in India so the good news is

language needn’t be a barrier to business. Other benefits include common legal and administrative systems, rising personal incomes that are creating a new middle-class consumer market, and urban growth that has created more than 50 cities of over a million people. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy in 2017 was

nominally worth US$2.611 trillion, making it the sixth largest economy in the world. Top exports to India include mineral fuels and oils, gems and precious metal, electrical machinery, mechanical appliances, organic chemicals, iron, steel, plastics, fertilisers, animal or vegetable fats and oils, and medical and surgical equipment. Businesses need to be aware of the potential risks they may face

INDIA Time zone: GMT +5.5hrs Currency: Indian Rupee; ÂŁ1 = 91.24 INR Visas: British passport holders will need to apply for a visa for entry. Ensure you get the correct visa that is valid for the purpose and duration of your stay. Dialling code: +91

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DEPARTURES

doing business in India, however. It is a competitive market, and price is an extremely important consideration for consumers. Additionally, there is a risk of delays due to administrative requirements, infrastructure challenges, extremes of weather and a high risk of bribery and corruption. What's more, India is not a single nation market and each state can resemble a separate

country, often with its own language and idiosyncratic practices. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited the UK in April with a huge boost for the UK economy as a range of new Indian investments worth more than £1billion will create or safeguard 5,750 British jobs. Alongside the investment, a new India-UK trade partnership has been

forged, seeking to improve the accessibility of trade for businesses in both countries. The partnership will focus on three key sectors: life sciences, IT and food and drink. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and India was £18billion in 2017, a 15% increase from 2016. And UK exports to India, led by innovative machinery and mechanical appliances, contribute a large element of growth.

The UK's International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, says: “It is clear that the opportunities for growth in trade with India are plenty, and as an international economic department we will continue to use tools such as trade missions not only to boost UK exports, but also to help businesses of all sizes forge ties and cultivate relationships with potential buyers and investors.”

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: India CHECK OUT HUMAYUN’S TOMB

FLIGHTS BRITISH AIRWAYS: The airline flies twice-daily from London Heathrow to both Mumbai and Delhi. It also flies daily from Heathrow to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. AIR INDIA: Operates from Heathrow to Delhi (twice a day) and Mumbai (daily). VIRGIN ATLANTIC: Operates a daily non-stop service from Heathrow to Delhi. JET AIRWAYS: The airline has increased capacity from Heathrow to Mumbai to three flight a day. Jet also operates a daily service to Delhi and will launch a four-times-weekly service between Manchester and Mumbai from November. ONE-STOP OPTIONS Emirates flies from its Dubai base to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Etihad Airways operates a similar network via its Abu Dhabi hub, to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. Gulf Air flies from Bahrain to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Oman Air operates via its Muscat hub to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. Qatar Airways flies from several UK airports via its Doha hub to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. Turkish Airlines operates via Istanbul to Delhi and Mumbai, while Russian carrier Aeroflot operates a regular service via Moscow Sheremetyevo.

SEE MUMBAI'S DAZZLING SKYLINE

SLEEPING NEW DELHI: Major brands are well-represented in India. Travellers should check out Hilton Mayur Vihar, The Leela Palace, and Bloomrooms HOTELS IN GREAT in Jangpura is close LOCATIONS to the station and opened last year. MUMBAI: Trident Nariman Point commands excellent views of Marine Drive and is in the heart of the financial and business district. Alternative options include Vivanta by Taj–President, the Oberoi Mumbai, Novotel Mumbai and centrally located Hotel Kohinoor Elite. CHENNAI: Travellers should check out international brand offerings including Hilton Chennai, Le Royal Meridien, ITC Grand Chola and Radisson Blu Hotel Chennai City Centre. Alternative include The Residency Towers, The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway and The Park Hotel which is located close to the train station.

BANGALORE: Known as India’s Silicon Valley, popular hotel choices include the Mövenpick Hotel and Spa and the tech-savvy Davanam Sarovar Portico. Vivanta By Taj MG Road offers chic style with a pool and spa. HYDERABAD: Another destination for the IT industry, travellers should consider the Park Hyatt Hyderabad, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre or the luxurious ITC Kakatiya with its state-of-the-art business facilities.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Fort St. George and Chennai’s Government Museum. BANGALORE: Bangalore Palace offers tours and Bannerghatta National Park includes a zoo and animal rescue centre. HYDERABAD: Check out the 16th century Charminar mosque. Ramoji Film City offers tours and has a theme park. Cultural attractions include Salar Jung and Golkonda Fort.

AFTER HOURS NEW DELHI: Take the chance to visit The Red Fort, India Gate, Jama Masjid, Qutb Minar and the opulent Humayun’s Tomb.

TUCK INTO GREAT CUISINE

MUMBAI: Try a Bollywood Studio Tour, and don’t miss Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya museum. CHENNAI: Major attractions include Marina Beach,

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DEPARTURES

Reality check FLI GHT: AM E R ICAN AIR L INE S, FL AG SHIP BU SINE SS THE FLIGHT

Flight AA57 from

of beef, followed by a choice of cheese,

London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Miami,

cake or ice cream sundae to follow.

departing at 09.45 and arriving at 14.20

Drinks were served several times and a

(local times), and operated by a B777-

range of snacks was available in the

200. I was flying in American Airlines'

galley throughout the flight. A beef and

Flagship Business Class.

cheese toastie and salted caramel dessert

PRE-BOARDING

The airline’s check-in

area at T3 was reasonably busy but staff

were served 90 minutes before landing. THE SEAT

I travelled in seat 9D, a

were on hand to help people proceed

central aisle seat in a 1-2-1 configuration

through the area. After a short wait I

of angled forward-facing seats. Bedding,

was checked-in and then heading for

a Cole Haan amenity kit and Bose head-

fast-track security which was swift.

phones were laid out on my seat when I

American’s lounge was large and had

boarded, although I only made use of

numerous areas to it – including a good

the latter which were excellent. Controls

breakfast buffet – but it is due an

for the lie-flat seat were simple and the

upgrade this year as part of the airline’s

bed was comfortable when I tested it out

were both excellent, with a well thought

programme of lounge refurbishments.

briefly. It being a daytime flight I instead

out design and friendly staff, although I

Boarding was at Gate 42 at the far end

took advantage of the wifi offering ($19

was a little underwhelmed by the dining.

of the terminal from a surprisingly large

for the duration of the flight – other

and calm boarding area.

options were available) and completed

THE SERVICE

Drinks were offered

several hours work before turning to the

THE VERDICT

"THE SEAT AND SERVICE WERE BOTH EXCELLENT"

The seat and service

The wifi, although temperamental, enabled me to get plenty of work done. THE DETAILS

American Airlines flies

pre-take-off while hot towels were

comprehensive IFE system, which was

distributed and lunch orders taken

well stocked with recent film releases.

with return business class fares starting

shortly after reaching cruising altitude.

There were several useful storage

from £2,159 including taxes. For more

Thirty minutes later I was served a

compartments, a sturdy tray table and

chicken starter, my main course choice

plenty of space to spread out in.

twice a day from Heathrow to Miami,

information see aa.co.uk.

Andy Hoskins

HOT E L : T HE L E NOX , BO STO N THE HOTEL

Located in the city’s

centrepiece crystal chandelier and an

central and hip Back Bay district, this

cast iron fireplace. On request, hotel staff

11-storey hotel, with its red brick

will set your logs ablaze. The marble

frontage, has been peering down on

bathroom, with an oversized shower

Boyleston Street, one of the city’s main

area, had Beekman amenities.

arteries, since 1900. Boston Common

THE FACILITIES

There are three

and the designer shops and galleries of

dining options: City Table, a popular

Newbury Street are a short walk away.

spot for breakfast and dinner; Solas, a

THE CHECK-IN

I was warmly

lively pub serving a range of ales and

welcomed by a swarm of bellhops. They

pub grub that attracts the pre-game

had my bag out of the taxi and into the

crowds when there’s a baseball game

hotel before I had even settled the fare.

on at nearby Fenway Park; and the

The reception is to the right of a large

lounge-style City Bar, which has a table

lobby area made striking by its

menu and a list of classic cocktails.

chandeliers, Turkish carpets and a

The hotel is geared up to the corporate

staff who go out of their way to

caramel-coloured tiled floor. It is both

visitor. City Bar has couches, nooks and

preserve the hotel’s reputation for

historic looking – a working mailbox

crannies for those private chats while

courteous service. It is also reasonably

from the early 1900s is set into the wall

five, various-sized, conference and

priced throughout – for example, $13

opposite reception and runs the length

meeting rooms are available to hire.

of several floors – and super-stylish.

Day rates for these range from

THE SUITE

One of 214 luxurious

$250 to $500. A boardroom (called a

rooms, my seventh-floor Junior Suite

‘Groom Room’ when the hotel hosts a

(with 450ft2 of space) was modern and

wedding) hosts 12 people. There’s also

chic. Features included two Queen beds,

a small business centre.

bedside crystal lamps, a 55-inch TV, a couch, Bluetooth hi-fi system, a

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THE VERDICT

This ideally situated

and ultra-comfortable hotel has classy

"FROM ARRIVAL TO DEPARTURE MY ENTIRE EXPERIENCE WAS TOP DRAWER"

for a cocktail in one of Boston’s top hotels is almost a steal. THE DETAILS

61 Exeter Street at

Boylston, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA. Tel: 001 617 536 5300. Junior Suites start from around $300 a night for a midweek stay. See: lenoxhotel.com.

Steve Hartridge

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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DEPARTURES

HOT E L : PE NTA HOT E L , WAR R ING TO N THE HOTEL

The Penta Hotel

Warrington is a 103-bedroom property situated on Birchwood Park near

bright pink. All rooms at the hotel are non-smoking. THE FACILITIES

The hotel has two

Warrington, close to the M6 and M62

meeting rooms, one catering for 40

and 20 miles from the centres of both

attendees and the other for 24. The

Manchester and Liverpool. Penta Hotels

pentalounge is the hub of the hotel with

has 29 properties worldwide including

a billiard table, games consoles, music,

six in the UK. These are in Birmingham,

24-hour bar and what the group claims

Derby, Inverness, Ipswich and Reading.

are “the best steak 'n' burger and

THE CHECK-IN

The reception area

cocktail combos in town”. There is

is situated in the stylish ‘pentalounge’,

complimentary wifi throughout the

the statement centrepiece of the hotel.

hotel, plus a gym with a comprehensive

Along with the reception, the lounge

range of equipment and ample on-site

consists of a restaurant, bar, meeting

car parking. The lead-in DDR for

spot and chill-out area. My details were

meetings is £35 and includes main

checked and payment details taken,

meeting room rental, morning break,

and I was then given my key card and

buffet lunch, afternoon break,

the room was basically furnished, it was

directed to the lift.

equipment, conference kit, flipchart,

very comfortable. The pentalounge is a

THE ROOM

My room was

notepads and pencils, screen and

tastefully furnished and had everything

unlimited mineral water in the main

you’d need for a night away – comfortable

meeting room and during lunch.

bed, desk, free on-demand TV with

THE VERDICT

The Penta Warrington

premium sports and movies channels,

is a very trendy property conveniently

the obligatory hairdryer and a selection

situated by the Northwest’s main

of toiletries. Décor was modern, largely

motorway networks, offering easy access

in black, grey and white, with a touch of

to both Manchester and Liverpool. While

really buzzing place and the food,

"THE BEST STEAK 'N' BURGER AND COCKTAIL COMBOS IN TOWN"

especially the steak, was exceptional. THE DETAILS

The Penta Warrington,

Aston Avenue, Warrington, WA3 6ZN. Rooms start from £69 per night on a bed and breakfast basis. Tel: +44 (0) 1925 847 050. See: pentahotels.com.

David Clare

FLI G HT : U NIT E D PO L AR IS BU SINE SS CL ASS THE FLIGHT

Flight UA26 from

Avenue-branded textiles – a soft blanket

Heathrow to Denver departed about 40

and a thick quilt. Hot towels were

minutes after its scheduled departure of

handed out before a drinks service and

11.25 but arrived on time at 14.15. The

then the three-course meal including

aircraft was a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

chicken, rice and asparagus. The best

PRE-BOARDING

There was virtually no

course was the dessert, which offered

queue in Terminal 2 and I had my bag

a choice of the signature sundae –

weighed and ticket presented with advice

bespoke-made in front of you – or a

on how to take the fast track through

choice from the stylish cake stand which

security in about five minutes.

added a little ceremony to the meal.

I didn’t use the lounge this time but it’s

THE SEAT

Seats were arranged

located very close to the gate and I know

in a 2-2-2 configuration and I had a side

from experience it offers a good variety

aisle seat, so my neighbouring passenger

of food and seating – private and social;

had to climb over me to get out. The

lounge-style and business-like.

seat controls are simple to use and

rolled out and should address some of

converted the seat into a very

the niggles I experienced, as well as

attentive, full of character and

comfortable flatbed or a reclining chair

adding aesthetically pleasing points like

entertaining as well as helpful. I was

with soft footrest. Storage is a little

softer lighting. The service was excellent

presented with a tin-style amenity kit

lacking, with no obvious place to put a

which had socks, earplugs, a brilliant

laptop and the cup holder somewhat

light-blocking neoprene eye mask (and

awkwardly placed behind and above.

I’m a connoisseur of eye masks),

The touchscreen TV came with padded

Cowshed beauty products like lip balm

noise-cancelling headphones and a great

and hand cream, and a mini toothpaste

choice of movies and TV programmes.

THE SERVICE

The staff were very

with brush. The bedding included a large fluffy pillow and the signature Saks Fifth

THE VERDICT

The image above is of

the new Polaris cabin currently being

"THE STAFF WERE VERY ATTENTIVE AND FULL OF CHARACTER"

but the food a little disappointing – but much better on the return flight. THE DETAILS

United Airlines flies its

daily seasonal service from Heathrow to Denver until October. Fares in July start from £2,924.41 in United Polaris. For full fare details see: united.com.

Laura Gelder

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

Reality Checks.indd 97

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5/31/18 10:28 AM


DEPARTURES

The final word

Heathrow's money for old rope

A

The Irish coastline seen in Star Wars takes the top spot as PrivateFly reveals the most stunning airport approaches Donegal, Ireland Barra, Scotland 3 Nice, France 4 Queenstown, New Zealand 5 Saba, Dutch Caribbean 6 Orlando Melbourne, USA 7 Toronto Billy Bishop, Canada 8 London City, UK 9 St Maarten, French/Dutch Caribbean (pictured) 10 Miami, USA 1 2

airport terminal is unprecedented, to say the least,” says Daniel Gray, Managing Partner of auctioneers CA Global Partners Europe. “Not only does this represent a rare opportunity for a young

Royal wedding crew

B

ritish Airways operated a crew made up of only staff named Meghan and Harry to celebrate last month's Royal Wedding. Flight BA93 from Heathrow to Toronto, the city where their relationship took off, was operated by a special crew on the day of the wedding, comprising two Harrys, seven Megans and one Meghan. “I've flown with another Megan once or twice before, but never seven, so we might have to all call each other by our surnames,” said Megan Horsley, BA Customer Service Manager.

98

airport to fully equip a new terminal, but many of the items in this sale could be refurbished or repurposed for a variety of uses in other industries – let alone some of the historical value to many of the items.”

Source: PrivateFly

mid the trinkets and tat being sold off in Heathrow Airport's auction of Terminal 1 items, one buyer reportedly spent £900 on a length of red velvet rope used for cordoning off a VIP area within the airport – proving that you literally can make money for old rope. Among the items on sale from the defunct Terminal 1 were complete baggage reclaim systems, seating, clocks, security cameras, iconic airport signage and vintage advertising. According to The Independent, a clock that previously hung in the departures area sold for a whopping £4,750 and a row of black leather seats found in the departures area, which many readers may be familiar with, sold for £800. “A sale such as this, comprising the entire contents and infrastructure of an entire major

THE 10 Most Scenic Airport approaches

Most of us can admit to snaffling the odd toiletry or coffee pod when checking out of our hotel room, but research from travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct has revealed that 24 million Brits risk additional hotel charges and even prosecution for 'accidental' theft. Hotels reportedly lose millions of pounds each year as lightfingered guests help themselves to dressing gowns and slippers, as only 38% of guests believe taking items from hotel rooms counts as theft

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

Final word.indd 98

5/31/18 11:48 AM


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The Business Travel Magazine June/July 2018  

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

The Business Travel Magazine June/July 2018  

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