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MAGAZINE

August/September 2017

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

SMALL FORTUNES THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Visas Car hire Distribution West Coast USA

An extended guide to travel management for SMEs

T A L K I N G

T R A V E L :

M I C H E L L E

M O N E

7/26/17 03:18 PM


Work trip your way to Hamburg Work trip your way around the world. From New York to Manchester to Hamburg. Innside Hamburg Hafen is an international lifestyle hotel for the modern business traveller who is also curious for the city. Designed for those who are always on and never off, its restaurants, bars, lounge, creative meeting spaces and wellness suites will ensure you make the most of your stay, and you will arrive home feeling you’ve achieved more than just business. For exceptional rates visit Innside.com

0808 234 1953

melia.com

Aachen | Bremen | Dresden | DĂźsseldorf | Frankfurt | Leipzig | Madrid | Manchester | Munich | New York | Mallorca | Wolfsburg

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ARRIVALS

Contents

A UGUS T /S E PT EM B E R 2017 Features

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16 Distribution 26 Car hire 34 Visas

55 Extended feature:

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81 Extended feature

Travel management for

SMEs

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How small and medium-sized enterprises can make the most of their business travel programmes

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(p55-76)

Travel management for SMEs

Arrivals 6

Opening Shots

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Everyone's Talking About... Hotel cancellation policies

11 Six of the Best: Taxi apps 12 Spotlight on: Post-Brexit aviation 14 Speaking Out: Why travel belongs to HR 15 The Knowledge: Improving communication

Regulars

18 The Conversation: Peter Simpson, bmi regional 20 The People Awards 23 The Debate: Mobile booking technology 24 Picture This 25 Meet the Buyer:

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Craig Cherry 30 Technology: Biometrics 32 Event preview: The Business Travel Conference 38 Talking Travel: Michelle Mone

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53 Event review: TBTM Golf Masters 80 Event review: Henley Regatta with Avis Budget UK

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84

The Review

41 Twelve pages of news, views and the latest developments

Departures

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78 New Kid on the Block 79 On the Road 81 Meeting in Belfast

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83 On Business in Osaka 84 Focus on West Coast USA 88 Reality Check 90 The Final Word

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Catching the early bird. Fly with Lufthansa to over 400 destinations worldwide

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ARRIVALS

Welcome Sensational summer

T

he summer is often referred to as ‘silly season’ in UK newspaper circles – the time of year when fewer ‘hard’ news stories emerge, politicians take a break and frivolous subjects occupy far more column inches than they really should.

The mind-boggling popularity and media coverage of 'reality' TV show Love Island is a perfect case in point! There is no such downtime for the business travel industry, however, where distribution developments and the impact of Brexit continue to unfold, new hotel cancellation policies gather pace, and the prospect of rising air fares and hotel rates are a dark cloud on the horizon. Indeed, there is rarely a dull day in business travel, as anyone who was at the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention in Boston last month will testify. Over 7,000 industry professionals attended the event, where they could meet over 400 suppliers and sit in on over 70 educational sessions. There was plenty to talk about. Taking place this September, somewhat closer to home, is our very own event, The Business Travel Conference, in London. It's free to attend and travel managers at businesses large and small will find plenty of interest in the diverse seminar and workshop programme and supplier exhibition. In the meantime, travel managers and bookers at smaller companies should turn straight to our extended feature in this issue, Travel Management for SMEs (p55-76), to find out how to optimise their business travel programme.

Businesstravel the

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Andy Hoskins andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com CONTRIBUTORS

Neal Baldwin, Catherine Chetwynd, Colin Ellson, Linda Fox, Rob Gill, Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West STAFF JOURNALISTS

Benjamin Coren & Laura Gelder EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES PUBLISHER

David Clare david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com SENIOR SALES MANAGER

Craig McQuinn craig.mcquinn@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

Andy Hoskins, Editor

(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2017 IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

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ARRIVALS OPENING SHOTS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

The stylish new dining concept will be introduced at further Jurys Inn hotels after debuting in Brighton this summer”

Dining differently

JURYS INN The 36-strong Jurys Inn hotel group has introduced a new dining concept, the Oddsocks Bar & Kitchen, at its Brighton station hotel. It will be rolled-out at further Jurys Inn hotels – including Manchester and Liverpool – later this year as part of a £75million investment programme. 6

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Escape to the country

DE VERE The De Vere group of country estate hotels and event spaces has completed a ÂŁ5million refurbishment of its historic Tortworth Court property in Gloucestershire.

Capital additions

CITIZENM CitizenM has opened its latest hotel in the heart of Paris' financial district, La DĂŠfense. It will soon be joined by the citizenM Gare de Lyon, its third hotel in the French capital.

Belgium boost

NH HOTELS Madrid-based NH Hotels has opened the Grand Sablon hotel in Brussels under its upper-upscale NH Collection brand which now numbers 68 properties. In total, NH operates almost 400 hotels worldwide.

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ARRIVALS EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

Hotel cancellation fees “BUSINESS TRAVELLERS, LEISURE TRAVELLERS AND HOTEL OWNERS “IN AN EFFORT TO BETTER SERVE GUESTS SEEKING LASTMINUTE ACCOMMODATIONS, GUESTS WILL NOW BE REQUIRED TO CANCEL THEIR ROOM RESERVATION 48 HOURS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN ORDER TO AVOID A FEE” Marriott International statement. The fee applies to properties in North America and Latin America

“To reduce the costs from this policy change, companies should include a lenient cancellation policy in their negotiated rates, push travellers to use preferred hotels, and contact hotels to obtain waivers” Steve Reynolds, Founder & CEO, Tripbam

WILL ALL BENEFIT FROM ACCESS TO ROOMS THAT WOULD PREVIOUSLY HAVE GONE UNUSED” Hilton spokesperson, as the hotel group followed suit

30% of travel managers and TMC executives are considering a travel policy change that restricts travellers from booking Marriott properties, and over two-thirds indicate that they will seek to negotiate an exception for their travellers” Business Travel Coalition

“THERE IS A FINANCIAL BENEFIT TO SUPPLIERS, SO WE BELIEVE THAT THIS CANCELLATION POLICY COULD EVENTUALLY BECOME THE NORM ACROSS THE INDUSTRY”

Melanie Quinn, Commercial Director at CTI

“Any rates in place featuring the previous cancellation policy are likely to be honoured until that agreement ends. It then becomes a point of negotiation in the new rate offer - or not, as the case may be!” Sian Sayward, Supplier Partnership Manager, Inntel

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ARRIVALS SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best... Taxi apps 1

UBER

The best known of the lot and regularly making headlines – not necessarily for the right reasons – the app is based on a network of independent drivers in over 600 major cities around the world. Rides arrive within minutes of a request but are subject to surge pricing at high-demand times.

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MYTAXI

The Daimler-owned business draws on a network of 45,000 affiliated taxis in 40 (mostly European) cities – including licensed black cabs in London. Users can ‘e-hail’ nearby drivers using their mobile's GPS technology and pay by cards stored on a user account.

LYFT

The San Francisco-based company operates in around 300 US cities, but no further afield. Users can select various ride options from the app, including larger vehicles and luxury cars. Passengers and drivers can rate each other and low-rated drivers are dropped from its network.

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GETT

Gett currently operates in four countries (the UK, US, Russia and Israel) and over 100 cities. They include London – where it works with licensed black cab drivers – plus Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and more. It has over 7,000 corporate clients.

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GREENTOMATOCARS

For those who are keeping an eye on their carbon footprint, this London firm offers access to over 700 electric and hybrid vehicles. The app enables users to make instant and advance bookings and switch between personal and business accounts. It operates peak and off-peak pricing.

KABBEE

Minicab specialist Kabbee offers fixed fares from around 70 fleets across Greater London, with plans to expand UK-wide. Vehicles can be booked for immediate pick-up or as much as three months in advance; quotes are delivered within a few seconds of a search; there is no surge pricing.

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ARRIVALS SPOTLIGHT

A closer look at industry developments

Spotlight on... Post-Brexit aviation

The UK's exit from the European Union could herald serious turbulence for airlines, writes Gillian Upton, who reports on easyJet's early steps to circumnavigate the potential problems The news that easyJet has set up an airline based out of Vienna so it can carry on its European operations post-Brexit is inevitable as the UK's exit from Europe has potentially huge ramifications for its airline industry. Brexit negotiations must include new agreements for UK airlines wanting to continue to fly into and out of Europe, and be ratified by March 2019. The current agreement – called Fifth Freedom Rights –

The prevailing uncertainty surrounding Brexit has prompted airlines to take their future into their own hands” 12

dictate traffic rights and access to routes for commercial air transport services within or to and from EU nations. If Brexit negotiations fail, UK airlines will no have automatic access to the single EU aviation market so their rights to operate to, from and within the EU would end. Ryanair's CFO, Neil Sorahan, has already warned of no flights after Brexit if an agreement has not been reached by autumn 2018, as he believes that will leave insufficient time for it to be ratified by the deadline of March 2019. EasyJet’s new airline – easyJet Europe – skirts around the issue by basing the new airline in a country remaining in the EU. Ryanair’s plans include cutting back on UK flights in favour of EU ones and to base its planes outside the UK. EasyJet Europe’s first Luton-Vienna flight took off on July 20 and the airline will be busy re-registering its remaining 110 aircraft by March 2019. It is now a pan-European airline with three airlines, based in Austria, Switzerland and the UK. “This will ensure easyJet can continue to operate flights both across Europe and domestically within European countries after

the UK has left the European Union,” says easyJet CEO, Carolyn McCall. “In addition, like all other European airlines, we continue to lobby for an EU-UK aviation agreement which, as a minimum, will enable flights between the EU and the UK.” Continental European airlines are in the same boat as their UK counterparts as their future routes into the UK rest on the same successful outcome of Brexit negotiations. Industry observers believe the situation will give UK airlines leverage in the negotiations. The ideal outcome would be reciprocal access. Alternatively, it could be a raft of treaties with the EU like the bespoke arrangement that Switzerland has. However, the prevailing uncertainty has prompted airlines to take their future into their own hands. They have already suffered from the currency devaluation since the Brexit vote, with easyJet for example, posting an £88million profits hit in 2016 and £82million in the first half of this year. The UK will also need to negotiate continued access to the EU-US open skies agreements and replace other EU-level bilaterals with countries such as Canada and Australia.

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ARRIVALS SPEAKING OUT

Travel management Why HR should hold the reins Travel management’s position in organisational structures has long been up for debate, but Alan Tyson, CEO at Databasics, believes it belongs squarely under HR. He explains why. Travel management has been something of a vagabond department, variously falling under companies’ finance, procurement or HR departments, or operating independently from all others. Its position under procurement seems to make sense. After all, travel is about buying things. It involves RFPs and supplier negotiations and is a major cost centre. And procurement is good at all of that. Except there is considerably more to travel management than purchasing. I believe this dynamic and emotive area belongs under HR, a department that is typically responsible for – and best at – several key areas that are intrinsically linked with business travellers. Relocation is one such area. It is typically an HR responsibility and business travel is actually relocations – it’s just that it’s more temporary relocation. Arguably, it’s less complicated than permanent relocation so adding business travel to its portfolio wouldn’t necessarily be a big stretch for HR. Productivity is also a key consideration. Business travel is not really about getting

from point A to point B, it’s about helping to accomplish a business purpose. In other words, business travel is about productivity. Workforce efficiency and productivity is definitely in HR’s remit and it’s not really procurement’s speciality.

Business travel is a contributor to staff attrition and low morale. Having control of it would give HR more leverage to fight high turnover” HR is also good at promoting company culture and questions of ‘travel style’ should closely align with personnel, policy and culture. What class do travellers fly? What kind of room do they stay in? How much can they spend for meals? This isn’t the kind of thing at which procurement excels. On the other hand, it is a core focus of HR. Still, what about negotiations and getting the best price or best value? You can’t beat procurement for that.

Business travel costs a lot. You have to watch your spend or things can get out of control. True enough, but do you know what’s a much bigger area of expenditure for companies than business travel? Employee salaries. HR has deep expertise in this and knows how to get what it needs for the right price. Have you wondered why salary negotiations aren’t handled by procurement? Staff attrition is also a concern for organisations and minimising it is a fundamental HR responsibility. High volumes of business travel is a major contributor to the loss of key people and low morale. Having control over business travel would give HR much needed leverage to fight high turnover. Travel policy compliance is still another area that better suits the skills of HR. What should the consequences of breach be? How best can employees be motivated to support the travel policy? Lastly, HR manages employee safety at company facilities so why shouldn’t it manage it for business travellers? Duty of care is a concept with which HR has deep familiarity but for procurement it’s an awkward fit in their remit. Should travel management be an HR function? I definitely think so.

ALAN TYSON Alan Tyson is the Chief Executive of Databasics, a provider of innovative time and expense software. The company is based in Reston, Virginia, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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ARRIVALS THE KNOWLEDGE

How to...

Improve travel policy communication When it comes to organising any form of business travel, it is vital that your employees are fully aware of and engaged with your company’s travel policy and processes. Mike Atherton, CEO at Mantic Point Solutions, offers five tips that will lead to travel policies leaving a lasting impression.

PRE-TRAVEL BRIEFINGS

Pre-travel briefings for employees are essential and should be held immediately after booking to explain the company policy and specifics relating to the planned destination. Don’t take a blanket approach, instead tailor meetings to provide up-to-date and relevant information on risks and procedures. This will help them feel at ease and better equipped to handle any emergency situations should they arise.

INCENTIVISE TO ENGAGE

Whether it's creating a league table of travel spend and policy compliance, or personal scorecards to recognise and reinforce the correct travel habits, using informative and engaging ways to incentivise travellers to keep within company policies will help drive home the message that the travel policy is designed to make business travel easier.

OBTAIN FEEDBACK

Keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process is central to ensuring travellers engage with the policy. This includes post-trip follow-up, so implement a process to gain valuable feedback about what went well and what could be improved. This demonstrates the policy is an inclusive and evolving process.

RISK ASSESSMENTS

A travel risk assessment is a vital part of a travel manager’s duty of care. This should look at the length of the trip, specific issues associated with the destination and the traveller’s state of health and fitness to both travel and work abroad.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

While you work hard to fully inform travellers on every eventuality to minimise travel risk, the unexpected is always possible. Knowing what to do in a high-risk scenario will build travellers’ confidence. It is therefore important that clear procedures are in place to deal with travel emergencies, which encompasses communication strategy, response planning and technological processes – and that everyone is aware that these are in place to help them. 

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DISTRIBUTION

Charges of the flight brigade

How airlines sell their wares has been propelled into the spotlight once again, writes Linda Fox, who assesses the latest developments

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DISTRIBUTION

M

ay and June saw a series of announcements that are taking discussions around airline distribution in a number of different directions – for airlines, corporates and travel management companies alike. The timeline of events is charted below but, cutting to the chase, the situation is this: airlines are not happy with the fees that GDS charge them to distribute their content and are therefore developing new ways of distributing their wares, including via technology using IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. From the travel agency point of view, the Global Distribution Systems (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport) provide an efficient source of pricing and inventory. But new distribution methods mean content fragmentation and, inevitably, investment in technology. As much as it has been argued, it’s unfair to say all this started two years ago when Lufthansa announced its plan to introduce a levy on bookings made via the GDS. Airlines complaints around GDS fees have been rumbling on for decades and traditionally got more heated at contract renegotiation time. What’s changed this time is that we are beginning to see new ways of distributing content via direct connections, first of all between airlines and corporates and more recently between carriers and TMCs. Click Travel and Clarity were the first UK TMCs to announce their direct connections with Lufthansa back in April. In late May, HRG said it planned to connect to British Airways using the NDC standard. And travel and expense technology specialist Concur said it was adding Lufthansa and BA content to its platform, allowing users to book using the NDC standard or the GDS. These were significant moves in strengthening the position of the NDC argument which were further boosted a day later when British Airways and sister carrier Iberia announced their intention to add an £8 charge to bookings not made via an NDCled connection from this November. The announcement caused ripples rather than shockwaves given the recent announcements from TMCs around direct connects, as well as the fact that the GDS have developed their own NDC-capable connections as well as other solutions for airlines. More twists and turns came in June. First, Lufthansa added charges for bags booked

via the GDS. It was already raising its charge for the first bag from £12 to £21 but added a further £4 for bags booked via the GDS. Not surprisingly, the GDSs, the travel management community and several industry organisations are far from happy, and in mid-June a letter was sent to the regulators in Brussels with signatories including ECTAA, GTMC and GBTA. The letter highlighted the threat to “transparency and consumer choice” from airline surcharges, and describes the moves made by large carriers to “limit transparency in airline distribution” as a “worrying trend”. It goes on to say that like Lufthansa’s strategy, IAG’s move “aims at discriminating against the transparent and neutral channel.” As mentioned above, all of this comes at a cost to TMCs and corporates, and airlines of course. Click and Clarity have invested in developing the direct connect technology but believe it will drive efficiency in the long-term.

American Airlines has gone against the grain with a plan to incentivise agents to use NDC-led connections” More recently, Carlson Wagonlit Travel says it is considering levying its own charges in the future to recoup the cost of new distribution methods. It has stated that although its supports the objectives of NDC, changes to distribution are “not productive”. Like most TMCs, CWT passes on the cost of the surcharges on GDS bookings to customers but the TMC said in a statement in late June that it: “may need to implement new/different types of charges”. It goes on to talk about “material non-value added costs” incurred by having to book via “independent fare links or other inefficient means”. Some will recall that CWT has a bit of precedent for this, suggesting back in 2011 that it could charge $3 per transaction fee for clients who wanted to include American Airlines in searches. This was in response to AA’s potential withdrawal from the GDS. Interestingly, the same airline has gone against the grain with an announcement

around a plan to incentivise agents to use NDC-led connections. The carrier wants to encourage agents to adopt an NDC connection and says it will pay them $2 for every AA-marketed segment processed via the connection. A carrot when all else are wielding sticks, perhaps. Naturally, reaction from the agency community to this is more positive, with the GTMC's then CEO, Paul Wait, declaring: “We endorse the concept and intent demonstrated by AA that rather than force change and focus on penalising one distribution channel they have recognised that there is a valuable opportunity to encourage utilisation through incentivisation. “We applaud AA's efforts in developing a model that does not dictate or penalise any particular channel. Its bid to engage with the TMC industry on the basis of managed incentivisation rather than forcing change is one we hope to see replicated by other carriers in the near future.” It’s an interesting move when other national carriers are going down the surcharge route. Either way, NDC is making progress with some airlines adopting it by the book and others developing their own version using the standard. Airline distribution discussions will continue and you can count on two things: that there will be further moves regarding surcharges, incentives and perhaps hybrids; and that the issue will continue to raise blood pressure levels as all parties adapt to change.

[

The sequence of events

]

May 25: HRG and Concur announce their plans around NDC with the former saying it will provide a direct connect to British Airways using the standard. Concur, meanwhile, is enabling customers to choose NDC or GDS. May 26: British Airways and Iberia announce £8 surcharge to be implemented from November. June 8: Lufthansa announces additional bag charge for GDS bookings. June 19: Lobbying groups and agency organisations write to the European Commissioner for Transport. June 23: CWT says it may introduce its own charges for new distribution methods. June 23: American Airlines announces agents’ incentive of $2 for bookings made via the NDC-led connection.

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THE CONVERSATION

CEO, bmi regional

Peter Simpson Bmi regional's CEO speaks to Benjamin Coren about the role regional air services play in keeping UK businesses on the move

P

eter Simpson has been in regional aviation all of his working life – some 30 years – but the challenges have perhaps never been greater than now. There is consolidation across the airline industry, an evolving distribution landscape and the prospect of Brexit among myriad other issues, and then there is the task of managing bmi regional's diverse network. Simpson, who took up the role as CEO of Airline Investments Limited – comprising both bmi regional and Loganair – in 2015, explains: “We have a four-pillar strategy to look at routes and opportunities that come our way.The first of these is public service obligation (PSO) routes.” PSO routes are supported by the government in order to protect regional services that may otherwise be lost. For bmi, this includes its recently launched London Stansted to Derry service. Other new services for the airline include Birmingham to Gothenburg (Sweden), Nuremberg (Germany) and Graz (Austria). “Our other pillars are bespoke business solutions for partners, point-to-point regional services and ACMI (aircraft, complete crew, maintenance and insurance) operations, providing aircraft with a crew to third parties,” says Simpson. “Our point-to-point services allow businesses to trade more effectively. The general flexibility we bring has helped both businesses and the local area.” 18

He continues: “In Birmingham, for example, we worked closely with the automotive cluster to find out what they require in terms of air travel. Previously travellers on these routes would have to fly via Frankfurt to get to Nuremberg.” Similar to this is bmi's Bristol to Milan route which fulfills the needs of helicopter manufacturers. The small aircraft it operates – a fleet comprising 50-seat Embraer 145 jets – enables it to fly point-to-point routes that wouldn't otherwise be served, says Simpson. Its focus on supporting business travel means relationships with travel management companies are crucial to its existence. “We work in a flexible way with TMCs and corporate clients to provide the service they need,” says Simpson. “We offer a tiered fares approach, with the lowest being price-based, rising with additional benefits. For example, if a customer requires lounge access and fast-track security, we can easily add these onto the fare if required.

Being a regional carrier allows us to provide a level of flexibility that can be difficult to provide as a bigger entity”

“The flexibility of being a small regional carrier allows us to provide that level of flexibility for the end customer – a service that can be far more difficult to provide in a bigger entity,” says Simpson. Another facet of bmi's role is acting as a short-haul feeder airline, taking regional passengers from smaller airports to larger hubs to connect with the long-haul services of legacy airlines. As such, it has a keen interest in airport expansion, both in London and nationwide. “We remain adamant that as and when new capacity comes online that a number of slots are reserved for regional services,” says Simpson. “You need to ensure there is connectivity into the likes of Heathrow that can service onward flights.” Like many in the industry, however, he is not overly optimistic about when expansion at Heathrow will finally get underway and how it will take shape. Meanwhile, at a time when distribution costs are under greater scrutiny than ever, the fact that around half of bmi's bookings originate from the GDS is proving a “significant cost burden,” says Simpson. “It's interesting looking at the different options that other carriers are working with: Lufthansa and British Airways with their GDS booking fee or American Airlines and its NDC booking incentive. It is a case of carrot or stick. Whether either option is the right approach will become clear in time.”

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THE CONVERSATION

in brief... What are your thoughts on Air Passenger Duty? The British public is the most heavily taxed in the world and APD is unfair to the industry and airline passengers. It's a tax, so why are airlines and the public asked to pay it when there is no such tax for ferry or rail travel? It has been declared a failure and reversed in both Ireland and the Netherlands. It's a punitive and incorrect way of raising taxes. Do you think we will see further airline consolidation in the future? Inevitably there will be further consolidation. Looking at where it will come from at the moment will get you into the realms of speculation, but I do expect we will see more of it in the industry.

PETER SIMPSON Peter Simpson began his career in aviation 30 years ago and has spent his entire working life in the industry. He was appointed CEO of bmi Regional in March 2015, becoming group CEO for Airline Investments Limited which operates both bmi and Scottish carrier Loganair. Previously he was Finance Director for BA Connect before taking the role of Managing Director at BA CityFlyer and then becoming British Airways' Gatwick Managing Director for two years. His career began as a Financial Controller for Manx Airlines.

How do you think Brexit will impact bmi's operations? The increased point-topoint services that open skies within Europe has provided greatly influences driven-down prices and flexibility to travel within Europe. Losing those advantages would be a failing by the EU and the UK. Lack of visibility as to what it means for business is frustrating at this time as we have a comprehensive European operation.

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THE PEOPLE AWARDS

meet the winner

FIONA KAIL

Fiona Kail of travel management company Clarity was named Account Manager of the Year at The People Awards 2017. She speaks to TBTM about her role Tell us about your career in travel. I’ve been working in travel all of my career having joined the Thomas Cook retail team straight out of school aged 16. After seven years, I established my own agency that dealt with both retail and business travel. I went on to open three offices that I sold to P&O Business Travel in 1997. Ten years later, P&O Business Travel was sold to Portman and now we’re Clarity, having been taken over last November. I’m proud to say that some of my original customers are still organising their business travel through Clarity today. What do you particularly enjoy about your role and the industry? I love the diversity that my role has to offer and every day is certainly different. Having daily interaction with clients is also very rewarding. The job allows me to work independently, which I enjoy as this means I

can manage my own time. What’s really great, though, is having the wider support of the Clarity team. I couldn’t do my job without them. The industry as a whole has changed so much over the years. It’s extremely fast moving and forward thinking, and I think it’s important to challenge yourself by looking at things in new and different ways. It’s enjoyable to see constant change and development across the travel sector. At one time, for example, you could only pick up the phone to make a booking and 20

What advice would you give to someone entering The People Awards? I would say do your job as best you can and draw on the support of your colleagues around you. What do you think the industry’s biggest challenges are currently? The biggest challenges we face include the introduction of NDC and the wider impact it will have on cost and distribution. The knock-on effect will be the investment that the industry will have to make to support it. The UK election results and Brexit are affecting our customers in different ways. Some have reacted positively and for others they present certain challenges. This includes uncertainty around the rate of exchange and continued trading in the EU market. In light of recent UK and global incidents, people also feel more vulnerable when travelling and duty of care is of the utmost now everything is done online – it’s so importance to ensure that people are as much easier and traceable. To that end, I’ve safe as possible. Companies need strong certainly experienced a complete reversal in mandates within their travel policies for all day-to-day operational procedures. employees, whether they’re travelling in the UK, Europe or further afield. How did you feel about winning an Keeping pace with fast-paced technological accolade at The People Awards? advances is vital and it’s an area that Clarity I was surprised to receive the has invested in substantially to award. I definitely didn’t expect capitalise fully on all of the to and now I feel very opportunities the business honoured. travel industry will The People Awards recognise outstanding present in the future. individuals and teams across What do you think it And finally, when it all aspects of the supplier will mean for your comes to recruitment, element of corporate travel career? I feel we’ve resolved management whose professionalism It’s great to receive a many of the issues and business excellence make People Awards around attracting new them stand out from their accolade at this point talent to the industry industry peers in my career. It’s a through the success of See the 2017 winners at testament to all of the the Clarity Academy and thepeopleawards.co.uk people who work with me our apprenticeship scheme. and support me as I do my job. In addition, by deploying That’s why this award isn’t just for millennial generation booking me, it’s for everybody that I have the technology, we’re able to recruit new talent pleasure to work with. based on their excellent service skills.

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Representing the industry. Influencing the future.

the voice voiceof ofbusiness businesstravel travel he voicethe of business travel We connect people, developing relationships and insight that enable a focused approach to lobbying. We are the voice of UK business travel. We promote business travel as an investment, a commercial strategy and a driver of economic growth.

The GTMC is a highly respected Membership organisation and professional association representing the interests of the business travel community. We promote the activities of our Members as delivering the best standards of service, quality and value to the business traveller.

info@gtmc.org | www.gtmc.org | +44 (0) 20 3657 7010

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THE DEBATE

ALICE LINLEY-MUNRO

Global Travel Analyst, Oil Spill Response & ITM Board Member

F

Suppliers can push their new technology too hard but they do have a good understanding of where the market is going to be by 2020”

CHRISTIAN GLEAVE CEO, Review Travel

B

ull booking capability on mobile usinesses are feeling the platforms is swiftly becoming squeeze and it’s our reality, but my reality is that responsibility as travel travellers aren’t clamouring for management companies to it. I’m not sure if it’s due to a lack ensure we’re saving our clients of awareness about what is out there but both time and money. Alice Linley-Munro largely they’re happy with the status quo. Mobile technology plays a huge part A handful use itinerary management in achieving this and it’s foolhardy to applications, but currently appetite for underestimate the value it brings to all of anything more is sparse and SBT us in the business travel industry. tools are seen as the traveller The sector must continue doing the booker’s job. innovating to meet the demands Chatbots such as FCM’s of the modern traveller, and SAM software are going to the last few years have given shake up the market and us platforms that we now once travellers get used take for granted. to the idea of it they These platforms have will find it a great led us away from paperadvancement but based processes and getting buy-in may towards mobile tickets, prove tricky. allowing us to monitor Road warriors delays by tracking should be the first flights in the air and target area because permitting fingerprint they really feel the booking in just a pinch points that less matter of seconds. frequent travellers The ease with which are yet to experience. this mobile technology TMCs and suppliers like to talk-up their latest From there it will be an has been adopted signals technological developments, but is the demand for easier sell to the less the appetite we have for frequent travellers. all the bells and whistles actually there? the software and tools that It can feel like TMCs and save us valuable time and tech suppliers are pushing money – something we’re all their new technology too hard measured on. but at the same time they also have While the benefits of innovative a good understanding of where the mobile technology are unquestionable, market is going to be by 2020 and the rest it’s important that travel management of the industry needs to keep up with them. companies offer a combined approach, I can see the benefits of a lot of the new merging cutting-edge technology with real technology available and am already people and traditional service. implementing some in areas across my Indeed, customer service remains a top programme. However, trying to knit it all priority for clients, and nothing beats together to ensure a seamless end-to-end speaking to someone at the end of the service is proving trickier than expected. phone when you need urgent assistance. Technology will clearly continue to be a A lot travellers don’t know what’s available vital component of the to them and that requires overall service offered a competent travel by TMCs, but the manager to make onus is on us to get informed choices that the balance right best fit their programme Christian Gleave when implementing. for clients.

Is mobile booking technology overhyped?

TMCs need to offer a combined approach, merging cuttingedge technology with traditional service”

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PICTURE THIS

New York City

BEST OF THE BUNCH New York has been declared the best city worldwide in which to live, visit and do business. Abu Dhabi was ranked second and London third in the Ipsos Top Cities 2017 report. New York fared well as a business destination in the survey of nearly 19,000 adults, but was less popular as a city in which to live. Abu Dhabi was also highly regarded as a business destination while London was declared the best allrounder in the report.

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MEET THE BUYER

meet

CRAIG CHERRY Craig Cherry is Procurement Director at communications company Dentsu Aegis Network. He tells TBTM about his role

TMCs can only do so much towards delivering savings, but the data they can supply us that suggests we're not doing something right is the real value of an agency”

Our business is in planning and buying media for all sorts of different clients. As Procurement Director my responsibilities include pretty much everything else and it means no two days are ever the same. I used to be a client of the company when I headed up procurement at Monarch Airlines. I struck up a relationship with some of the people here and that’s how the journey began around two and a half years ago. We have around 4,000 employees with international business travellers numbering around 300 to 400, as far as the UK is concerned. Our regular destinations from the UK are North America – particularly New York, Boston, Los Angeles and the major cities – plus plenty of travel to the Far East and EMEA region. I have a small team of people who focus on booking and arranging travel – they know the systems better than me. I’m overseeing all of that and focusing on RFPs and supplier relations.

We’ve been working with American Express Global Business Travel for over a year now. Looking back, we’d have done some areas of the implementation differently but most areas were spot on. The relationship has given us so much cracking data and insight. We can slice and dice and come up with some great innovations and strategy. opposed to just a transactional, adversarial relationship that can drag you down into a war of attrition. Both parties need to put the effort into nurturing a relationship.

Travel is a big chunk of our spend and we need to make sure we’re on top of it. What’s more, we’ve acquired quite a few businesses over the last When it comes to travel policy, 24 months so it’s about we ensure every part of the making sure that their business is compliant. travel programmes are From a flying perspective fit for purpose. we are almost at 100% "Every year I like to try and Sometimes we’ve compliance, but with travel to at least five places I have actually found accommodation we still never been; I like to see at least one absolute gems of have a bit of work to do band a month I have never seen; deals or policy or to get people in line. and I like to occasionally beat process in them – On the whole, I do think my 11-year-old at golf, things that add value to our travellers understand the tennis or football" our bigger programme. need to be compliant because duty of care is so high profile now. I believe you get the suppliers I also think we’re communicating about it you deserve. Suppliers should be an in the right way, getting the message across outsourced part of your own business as clearly and firmly.

OUT OF THE OFFICE

Making savings is important but it’s not the be all and end all for us. Travel agencies can only do so much themselves towards savings, but the data they can deliver that suggests you’re not doing something right as a business is the real value of an agency. One of the biggest challenges in travel management right now is simply the world we live in. It’s crazy how much is going on in terms of terrorism and disruption. We need to make sure we’re looking after the best interests of our people at all times. We also find that, as much as data reporting has improved in recent years, it’s still often too disparate. Irrespective of your agency and your travel partners – rail, air, ground transport etc – standardised data and reporting would help us use it really innovatively.

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CAR RENTAL

Road

TRIPS

Car rental is set for some major changes as part of a wider revolution within the ground transport sector, says Rob Gill ©NEXUS

C

ar rental used to be something of an afterthought within managed travel, ranking way behind the twin spending titans of air travel and hotels on buyers’ priority lists. For the business traveller themselves, the process was pretty simple and typically involved rolling up to the car rental company’s desk in the airport, completing the paperwork and collecting their vehicle. While this traditional process still applies to plenty of road warriors, car rental – much like ground transport generally – is evolving rapidly with new options such as car 26

sharing, short-term rentals and the use of electric vehicles offering more flexible and potentially money-saving (and carbon emission-reducing) alternatives. In the longer term, there is even the prospect of driverless cars transforming this part of the travel sector completely – Avis Budget has just agreed a deal to manage the self-driving vehicles being developed in Arizona by Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. At the same time, as companies put greater emphasis on duty of care considerations, travel policy is under

scrutiny when it comes to car hire – do you really want your traveller picking up a car in an unfamiliar city after a long-haul flight? The major car rental companies have been adapting to these changes over the last few years by offering more flexible rental options alongside traditional vehicle hire. This is clearly something they need to do: in a survey by ACTE and American Express Global Business Travel, 24% of travel managers said their traditional car hire usage had declined between 2013 and 2016. The study also found that 48% of managers had increased their bookings of

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CAR RENTAL

ride-sharing services over the same period. Clive Forsythe, Corporate Sales Director at Europcar UK Group, says: “As an industry we are embracing new technology to adapt to and meet the changing needs of business travellers in order to provide the best possible driving experience. “Now we think about the broader concept of mobility by creating a solution for each journey. This includes everything from vehicle rental for a day or longer, to chauffeur drive, taxi, car share and even connecting to public transport networks.” Car rental firms have already moved into many of these areas in recent years. Europcar now has a majority stake in carsharing platform Ubeeqo and Avis owns global car club Zipcar. Other big names, such as Enterprise, have launched their own car clubs and Sixt has developed a carsharing service with BMW called DriveNow. Flexibility and offering a wide choice of rental options to corporate customers is now at the core of the sector. Rob Ingram, Director of Business Development EMEA at Enterprise and National, adds: “We’ve broadened our rental services to corporate customers, especially in the UK, to embrace every type of vehicle for every length of rental. “Businesses can hire an electric vehicle for an hour, an SUV or luxury sports car for a day, a van for a week or a specialist HGV for a year or more. Customers can now sign up to Enterprise Car Club and receive expert advice on whether hourly on-demand rental might be preferable to daily hire.” But David Brennan, Chief Executive of broker Nexus Vehicle Rental, is not convinced that concepts such car-sharing, car clubs and hourly rentals have taken off yet within the wider corporate sector. “Within the corporate space we are yet to really see a significant increase in demand for car-sharing pools and hourly rentals,” says Brennan. “Although car clubs can reduce costs, they’re not the right transport solution for a lot of businesses. Corporate customers are seeking flexible transport options and individual car rental provides this.”

Technology driving progress

Inevitably, it is technology that is driving the availability of this plethora of rental and vehicle options for business travellers and their companies. But having such choice can become overwhelming and head-spinning for both travellers and travel managers. Car rental firms are working hard to improve this side of their business by offering apps that make individual travellers’ life easier when booking and picking up a vehicle – queues at airport collection points can be painfully slow – and also by supplying data to companies to make their car hire and spend management more efficient. For example, Sixt has launched a new product, Fastlane, that operates purely through a smartphone and cuts out the

Within the corporate space we are yet to see an increase in demand for car-sharing pools and hourly rentals” need for the traveller to go to a rental counter at all – they can simply select the booked vehicle through the app which also unlocks the car for them. Fastlane has initially been launched in Switzerland with plans to roll out to other markets. Meanwhile Avis is rolling out a new mobile app for its Avis Preferred members at selected UK locations to allow them to manage their booking, including the ability to choose the car they want to drive. “It provides flexibility, ease and control when renting a car,” says Nina Bell, Managing Director of Northern Region at Avis Budget Group. “The app provides customers with the exact bay number for their chosen vehicle. The keys are in the car and all paperwork is pre-prepared. Upon return, the rental agreement can be closed out with a swipe of the app on the customer’s phone.”

But what about the kind of information and services that are being provided to help corporate clients to improve the effectiveness of their car rental and fleet management programmes? Richard Bowden, Hertz’s Vice President of Commercial Sales International, says: “We are mainly seeing that our customers are increasingly looking for data that allows them to manage their business better – such as fleet utilisation and fuel consumption – as well as improving their duty of care with info on fleet age, maintenance standards and mileage driven. “A number of corporate customers require customised programmes to meet their diverse needs across multiple geographies and assistance in monitoring their global spend and compliance patterns.”

TMCs jump onboard

While TMCs continue to focus on the bigger areas of corporate travel spending (air and hotel), there are signs that they are taking car rental – and ground transport generally – more seriously as an area where they can save money for their clients. There is now an increased focus on car rental within managed travel, says Iain Collinson, Product Manager at FCM Travel Solutions, who adds that ground transport is now “front and centre in many debates”. “We work very hard with our clients to make sure we are thinking about every 

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[

DRIVING INNOVATION: WHAT'S NEW ]

• Hertz is offering airport transfers, limousines and chauffeur services through a new deal with professional driver network Blacklane. Hertz Driver Services powered by Blacklane is being offered in more than 50 countries including the UK. Hertz UK has also opened a location at the Sofitel London Gatwick hotel.

mode of transport used – or that may be relevant – to our customers,” says Collinson. “We currently are in the midst of an initiative that will further improve how we can distribute an ever-widening range of content in this area.” Joseph O’Dwyer, Manager, Supplier Management and Procurement for American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), adds: “In recent years, we’ve identified significant cost savings for clients around car rental services, without sacrificing the quality of the business traveller journey.”

Car rental has been under scrutiny as part of the necessity to improve companies’ duty of care to employees” Part of the reason why car rental may not always have been a top priority for TMCs is that it often does not come under the remit of the travel department. “The UK has a unique set-up that has typically put car hire in the remit of fleet managers,” says Rob Ingram, from Enterprise/National. “This has probably been the primary reason for TMCs having less influence over the car hire sector. 28

Whereas the rest of Europe has more of a culture of going through a TMC and a travel manager that combines air, hotel, rail and car hire requirements.”

Accelerating duty of care

Car rental has also been under scrutiny – like so many other elements of business travel – as part of the necessity to improve companies’ duty of care to their travelling employees. “We have witnessed a large number of travel policy changes in recent years from our corporate clients, many of which have employee duty of care central to them,” says David Brennan, from Nexus. “The most frequent has been the specification for a vehicle to have integrated satellite navigation and Bluetooth within the vehicle, particularly for longer journeys or where a customer is flying into a location they may be unfamiliar with.” Brennan adds: “A policy to prohibit rental directly following a long-haul flight has been in existence for some years.” Sixt also says that many of its clients’ travel policies “predetermine” that its travellers must take a transfer from the airport, such as using Sixt’s own myDriver service, if they have taken a flight of longer than six hours in economy class. Car rental might once have been seen as a staid and predictable element of business travel but now it’s one of the most dynamic sectors to watch over the next few years as new developments gather pace.

• Avis has unveiled a new booking system, Avis Rental Tool, which allows travellers and travel managers to book, manage and report on their Avis rentals. The company has also launched the Avis Flight Arrival Notification service that sends messages to UK-inbound customers who are affected by flight delays.

• Sister brands Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental have extended their car club programme in the UK to offer corporate customers more selfservice options as well as access to car rental at 'off-branch' locations and at clients’ offices and workplaces.

• Europcar has launched a new corporate portal, Europcar One, which gives travel managers access to journey planning and a range of services including taxis, chauffeur-drive, car-sharing, hourly car rental and long-term rental. Europcar has also introduced an hourly car hire pilot project in Scotland’s Highlands and islands that makes vehicles available when its branches are closed.

• Sixt has developed its Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform for corporate clients that allows users to combine different Sixt products such as traditional car rental, DriveNow car sharing and the myDriver customer transfer service.

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AWARD WINNING CAR HIRE With over 70 years of premium service we’re dedicated to getting you where you need to be, in the vehicle that’s right for you. That’s why we were named Best Car Rental Company at the Business Travel Awards 2017. We understand every business is different, that’s why we offer a suite of services that can be tailored to you. Our dedicated team will help craft the right solution for your business needs. All delivered by a brand you can trust, with over 5,500 locations in 165 countries worldwide. Contact us on 0808 284 5000 or email avisbusiness@avis.co.uk

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TECHNOLOGY

[ PASSPORT TECHNOLOGY ]

FACE TIME Biometric tech developments by a British start-up could herald the beginning of the end for the traditional paper passport, writes Neal Baldwin

I

n October 1967, so the story goes, Paul McCartney flew to Nice to shoot a promotional film for The Beatles song The Fool on the Hill. The only trouble was that he’d forgotten his passport. “You know who I am,” he told customs officials. They did, of course, and waved him on through. Imagine a world where your face really is your passport to the world; a world where you can go about your business unencumbered by documents and physical border checks. In a global environment where security is paramount, it’s hard to envisage getting this sort of rock star treatment anywhere. Yet British tech start-up ObjectTech Group is hoping to change the way individuals interact with authority, starting with a revolutionary project that will introduce ‘biometric borders’ at Dubai International airport. The system – expected to roll out by 2020 – will see travellers arriving at the emirate having to walk to baggage reclaim via a short tunnel that uses lasers to create a 3D scan of their face. This is then checked instantly against data held in their unique ‘digital passport’. So quick is the process (the company claims an average of nine seconds), that travellers should not have to stop to queue for a border check at all. But ObjectTech’s ambitions go further than simply speeding up the tiresome immigrations process, however welcome that may be. The company’s ultimate aim is the creation of what it calls ‘self-sovereign identity’ – an enhanced 30

type of digital identity document that, just like a conventional paper passport, is held by the individual. As well as containing everything currently stored in chips on existing e-passports, your self-sovereign identity can carry unique biometrics such as fingerprints, iris scans and facial images, along with financial

information, address details and location data from a mobile phone. It all sounds like a hacker’s dream, but the digital passport is completely secure thanks to its use of blockchain – the web’s latest buzzword innovation that has the potential to change the way we communicate and transact with one another. Blockchain technology means the information stored cannot be accessed, copied or altered. The data is yours and only you can decide who can see it. And since this information can be trusted implicitly, all manner of industries are starting to take notice. ObjectTech Chief Executive and co-founder, Paul Ferris, chairs an international working group made up of financial institutions, regulators and legal professionals examining how blockchain technology can transform identity verification. Ultimately, the digital passport could dramatically change the way we obtain a host of services. Forget simple border checks – why not use the data to open a bank account, buy flights or hotel stays, access health insurance or even apply for state benefits? “This is an identity that is fit for the digital age,” explains Ferris. “Not only will it make international travel quicker and safer, but it also gives people back control of their personal digital data, which over the last decade is something that has increasingly become the property of third parties.” Ferris claims users could ultimately add more and more information to their profiles, from internet search history to shopping lists, potentially ‘selling it back’ to companies as they wished. It’s time to face up to the future.

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[ SAVE THE DATE ]

THE TBTM 2017 CHRISTMAS PARTY Tuesday, December 12 The Grange St Paul's, LondoN

Look out for more details at thebusinesstravelmag.com

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EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2017

Last chance to register for new-look TBTC! With its new open format including a workshop area and an open theatre utilising ‘silent conference’ technology, TBTC is just around the corner

Register There is still time to register for this year’s conference. TBTC will feature more tailored sessions to ensure all attendees leave with key takeaways, whether from a large business or small. Popular ‘Meet the Guru’ sessions – hosted for the first time at last year’s event – will be hosted once again, while programme highlights include using data to drive savings, getting ahead in business travel, traveller wellbeing and satisfaction, personalisation, global travel programmes and a number of group workshops. Register now to attend for free at thebusinesstravelconference.com

Learn Attendees can hear from two keynote speakers. Lloyd Figgins is a former police officer and British Army soldier with experience in counter terrorism, international security and crisis management. He will be coming to TBTC with practical travel safety advice for companies large and small. The closing keynote speaker, meanwhile, is Megan Hine. Known as the woman who helps keep Bear Grylls safe, Hine is a survival consultant, celebrity expedition leader and 'adventure catalyst'. She will be drawing on her survival experiences around the world to explain the cognitive side of survival situations.

Meg󰇧󰇳 󰈍󰇯󰈡e's

󰇳e󰈟 b󰈢󰈣󰈫

Th

Network Well known exhibitors will be returning including Premier Inn, ATPI Corporate Travel, Trainline, Etihad Airways, Flybe, Applehouse Travel and many more. Melia Hotels International will be hosting a drinks and canapé reception to close day one of the event, providing an opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere. First time exhibitors this year include Go Native, Meritus Hotels & Resorts, HRG, HRG Consulting, Belmond, Smart Aviation, St Giles London, Cycas Hospitality, Travelport Locomote and TransPennine Express.

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EVENT PREVIEW

Don't 󰇲i󰈤s t󰇬e 󰈬󰇪y󰇳󰈣󰇺e at 10am 󰈢󰇳 Tu󰇪s󰈧󰈜󰈠

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS Tuesday September 19th 10:00 Keynote speech from Lloyd Figgins, travel survival and international risk expert

Whe󰇳? Tuesday September 19 and Wednesday September 20, 2017

Whe󰇶󰇪?

12:00 How to… use data to drive more savings 14:00 How to… get ahead in business travel 16:30 Getting to grips with… traveller wellbeing and satisfaction 17:00 Drinks and canapé reception across the exhibition zone

󰇭 Kic󰈫󰇮󰈡g 󰈜󰈣l󰈇󰈆󰇶i󰈤wki󰇹󰇪󰈀󰇵󰈥r󰇹 󰈡 󰈢 in󰇹󰇪󰈦n󰈜󰇹i

Wednesday September 20th 10:00 Personalisation: How can travel managers make their programmes more personal? Is it worth it?

12:00 How can travel managers be prepared for sudden changes within their company? Group workshop 12:30 Getting to grips with… Global travel programmes

Llo󰈂󰈨 󰈋󰇮g󰇫󰇯󰈡s 14:00 Meet the Gurus Hear leading buyers' views on key issues and topics 14:30 Getting to grips with… benchmarking

Full programme available online

Hilton London Bankside. The nearest stations are Blackfriars and Southwark

To r󰇪󰇫󰇯󰈤te󰇶

The 󰇴󰈢󰇵󰇼la󰇶 'Me󰇪t 󰇹󰇭󰈥 Gur󰇻' se󰇷󰈤󰇮󰈣n - Wed󰇷, 2p󰇲

󰈦 s 󰇹󰈢 󰈣u󰈤! 󰈬 󰇳 a h T 󰇶 s󰇴o󰈡s󰈢

Register for free online at thebusinesstravelconference.com

Bo󰈢k 󰈜 󰇷󰇺an󰈧 “The free-to-attend two-day event will once again be limited to 200 verified travel managers, bookers and PAs - so hurry, book your place now”

kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk Tel: 020 8649 7233

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VISAS

Border

CROSSING Online applications should ease the pain of securing visas but there are still plenty of hurdles for business travellers to negotiate, writes Rob Gill

T

he chore of filling in a seemingly endless visa application form has long been the bane of many business travellers’ lives – make a small mistake and you risk having the application rejected and the prospect of starting the whole process again. Fortunately, the advent and increasing adoption by countries of online visa application platforms in recent years is designed to make this process less laborious for travellers and their employers – at least in theory. India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Kenya and Uganda are among the nations to introduce online application systems in recent years. But online systems don't always run smoothly, says Iain Collinson, Product Manager at FCM Travel Solutions. “The online experience varies hugely by country. Some online services are supported by thirdparty organisations. Even with an embassy’s

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own online service there have been problems experienced by travellers on arrival in the country,” says Collinson. “There have been reported teething problems with the rollout of some countries e-visa sites, notably those from the developing world,” he adds. While electronic visa applications should save time for travellers pre-trip, they are far from a perfect solution and visa specialists point out that embassies can ask for extra information at any time. And frustratingly, applications can be turned down despite travellers fulfilling all the stated requirements online. Tracey Beveridge, Head of operations, UK and Norway, for Wings Travel Management, also warns: “Although e-visas can be initially less expensive and less time consuming to obtain, they can result in more questioning at the point of entry.”

The introduction of e-visas may also be slowed by the fact that some countries in the developing world simply cannot afford to introduce an online system. David Cullum, Elite Passport and Visa coordinator at Corporate Travel Management (CTM), says: “For some poorer countries, it’s a big ask to spend millions on developing a new online database so the global shift online is slow. But I would guess that all countries’ visa processes will be electronic within the next decade.” Given that business visa applications are often more complicated, it may be tempting for travellers to avoid the additional paperwork and enter countries on tourist visas, which are generally easier to acquire. “A lot of business travel is conducted on tourist visas, which carries risk for the individual and the organisation,” says FCM’s Iain Collinson. “Having companies

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VISAS

A lot of business travel is conducted on tourist visas, which carries risk for the individual and the organisation”

legislate for visa provision and process in their travel policy – and minimising leakage – can help with this,” he adds.

A helping hand

Of course, not all companies have a travel management company to lean on when it comes to visa procurement, and that's where the services of visa specialists can help corporates save time and money. CIBTvisas offers a range of options, from a pre-check service for applicants doing their own paperwork, through to a full concierge service in which it handles the whole process. It also has an application status check tool. A useful service provided by some specialists is in obtaining Letters of Invitations (LOI’s) for visas and work permits – a necessary component of some applications. The Visa Team, for example, has expanded its reach in this regard to some 25 countries including China, Russia, several CIS territories and numerous African nations. A useful option in light of the fact African countries are viewed as some of the trickiest to deal with.

“Inefficiencies with visa application systems can be due to a lack of investment, or because of other economic or diplomatic factors,” says CTM’s David Cullum. “For example, in Angola, the process is influenced by economic factors. They are very careful about Western business people with an interest in the oil industry being granted access because of the country's relationship with China,” he explains. To complicate matters, some countries are now insisting that applicants have to go to embassies to complete the visa process, instead of the application being handled by a third party. Liz Carter, General Manager London at ATPI, says: “The introduction of biometric data collection for visas is being adopted by more countries, so applicants can no longer necessarily avoid the embassy visit and the time that this takes.”

Uncertain future

Business travellers may face even more issues due to the process of the UK leaving the European Union – will this result in

[

TOP 10 VISA COUNTRIES

]

ATPI China, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Angola, Algeria, Brazil, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo FCM Travel Solutions China, India, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, US, Guinea, Kenya, Angola Wings Travel Management Nigeria, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Angola, Indonesia, Vietnam

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VISAS

[ British citizens having to obtain a visa or other type of authorisation to travel to EU countries from 2019 onwards? This is an issue that will likely form a major part of the current negotiations between the UK and EU, but what will emerge from these talks is unclear at this stage. There have been suggestions from Brussels that, after Brexit, UK citizens may have to apply to travel to EU countries using the proposed new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which would operate in a similar way to the ESTA “visa-waiver” system that has been operating in the US for eight years. Another potential curveball for UK travellers is how the immigration policies of US President Donald Trump will impact on 

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travel to the US. After a long legal battle, Trump has finally implemented a partial ban on citizens from six countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) entering the US – although, people from these six countries with “business relationships” can still currently enter the US. The ESTA system itself could also be under threat with US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly saying that it will be “reviewed” due to security concerns about terrorism. Anecdotal reports suggest US border security in general has become more intense since Trump came into office. When it comes to visas and immigration generally, things could be about to get a lot more complicated for business travellers over the next few years. Don’t expect form filling – either online or on paper – to end any time soon.

VISA NEWS

]

• China: A two-year multiple-entry visa is now available for all UK passport holders. • India: Visitors can now stay in the country for up to 60 days (it was previously 30 days) under India’s e-Tourist Visa (eTV) system including double-entry for those holding valid business e-visas. The window for applications has also been extended from 30 to 120 days. • Saudi Arabia: Business travellers are required to supply an introduction letter certified by a UK chamber of commerce, as well as buying medical insurance from an 'approved supplier' to secure a visa. • Canada: UK travellers now have to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) for trips of less than six months. The eTA is valid for up to five years. • Ethiopia: A new e-visa system has been launched for international visitors. A single web page manages application, payment and issue of the visa. The e-visa applies to tourist visas, for arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International airport.

18/07/2017 08:49 7/26/17 10:55 AM


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

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FINANCE HR

Real time travel data - ATPI Employee Tracking

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

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TALKING TRAVEL

A baroness in business

MICHELLE MONE The multi-award-winning entrepreneur and Baroness of Mayfair talks to Angela Sara West

M

ichelle Mone – or Baroness Mone of Mayfair in the City of Westminster, as she's now officially known – is one of the country’s most successful self-made women. After growing up in an impoverished part of Glasgow and leaving school at the age of 15 with no qualifications, she now enjoys an expansive, and ever-expanding, business empire. Making her name and fortune as a founder of designer lingerie brand Ultimo, she now has a highly-successful jewellery collection – Michelle Mone for Diamonique – and the latest string to her business bow is the eponymous Michelle Mone Interiors launched only last month. “Although I am labelled an entrepreneur, global speaker, author, innovator and parliamentarian, being a designer has long been a big part of my life and, therefore, my success,” she explains. “I’ve always had the drive, from just ten years-old. Failure drives me and I always keep going as I never will go there,” she explains. “In the beginning, finance was my

Business isn’t easy and success is ever harder. It can be a long journey, so you need to be hard-working and determined” 38

biggest challenge – having a great idea and vision but not having the finance to take it to the next level.” And after early success a distributor “ran off with £1.4m of my money!” Not surprisingly she calls it her biggest lesson. “You learn a lot from the low moments. It may sound clichéd, but I never give up. Business isn’t easy and success is ever harder. It can be a long journey, so you need to be hard-working and determined.” Perseverance paid off and Mone has carved out a glittering career. In 2010, the high-flyer was voted one of the top three female entrepreneurs in the UK and awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to business. “I felt very honoured, and to be recognised on this level – considering my humble background – means a lot to me and my family. For me, though, this is for all of the children and young adults who don’t have hope. Dream, work hard, never give up and you will get there in the end.” In 2015, Mone was awarded a Life Peerage to the House of Lords and the lingerie tycoon-turned-parliamentarian subsequently set up The Mone Review, focusing on helping start-up businesses. “Permanently” on the road for work, Mone has just finished a worldwide speaking tour and is now flying again as the new interiors business takes her all around the globe. “Today I’m in Dubai, tomorrow I fly to the South of France, then it’s back to London and the Isle of Man where my home is with my partner. In the near future, I’m due to visit South Africa, the USA, St. Barths and

Thailand. I’m very lucky,” she says, with a tip for combating travel fatigue: “Always work out one hour per day, no matter where you are! A healthy body equals a healthy mind.” Mone never hops on a ‘plane without her mobile phone, laptop and a copy of her autobiography My Fight to The Top, “in case I meet someone who needs to be inspired, in which case I’ll give them a copy!” Any travel bugbears? “Delays. It’s hard to manage delays when I have such a busy schedule.” The global entrepreneur extols the virtues of Emirates – “They are the best at everything,” she insists – with The Palace at One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai getting the nod as her favourite hotel. Mone’s most memorable business travel experience was a trip to China, where she enjoyed exploring the cuisine and learning about the captivating Chinese culture. She has even enjoyed a quintessentially English ritual with royalty. “I once had afternoon tea with the royal family of Abu Dhabi. But I’d left my make-up bag behind, so I ran into a local pharmacy and bought Vaseline – a last-minute panic purchase!” When it’s time for some R&R, she heads to her holiday homes in the sun. “We have a home in the South of France and we’re very lucky to have a new home in St Barths – we just love spending time there.” Although Mone travels the world, she says there’s no place quite like her first home. “Scotland is my favourite destination. It’s beautiful, it’s where I’m from and I started my first business there. The Isle of Man is home now and I can relax there.”

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© DAN KENNEDY

Baroness Mone began her career as an office junior at brewing giant Labatts, rising to head of marketing in Scotland within two years. She was inspired to start Ultimo after wearing an uncomfortable push-up bra to a dinner-dance. Elevated to a peerage in 2015, Mone advises the government on business, and has some reassuring words on the economy post-Brexit. “Brexit’s like a difficult divorce. Of course it will impact on everything, but after a while it will settle down.” To find out more, visit: michellemone.com / michellemoneinteriors.com / qvcuk.com

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business stays

sterminshotel

www.sterminshotel.co.uk

/StErminsHotel @sterminshotel

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THE REVIEW

the

Review [ T H E LOWDO W N ]

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

GTMC's strong message for airlines

Low-cost long-haul from London Stansted

[ I N T H E A IR ]

[ O N TH E G R O U N D ]

[ ME ETI N G P LAC E ]

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Advance rail fares now on sale for longer

Etc Venues moves into Manchester

[ R OOM R E PO RT ]

London's largest new hotel for 2017 opens its doors

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T H E

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FAST RESPONSE FROM SAFETY SPECIALIST

IN BRIEF CWT's hotels growth

Carlson Wagonlit Travel has launched a new hotel distribution division, RoomIt by CWT. It is designed to deliver greater access and variety of accommodation around the world. RoomIt features increased functionality, personalisation capabilities and enhanced management features.

Shifting priorities

The shift from costcentricity to travellercentricity is gaining momentum, according to a report from Advito. The organisation says travel managers are finding that achieving the highest levels of travel programme savings and trip productivity is impossible without the support of travellers.

CTI takeover

Manchester-based travel management company CTI has been acquired by private equity investor Endless, taking over a majority stake in the business from LDC. “Bolt-on acquisitions” are part of its growth strategy.

Fastrack London

A Fastrack VIP service is now available at Luton Airport, with Gatwick and Heathrow airports to follow. It aims to offer “a queue-free, stress-free experience” and comes in two forms, priced from £89.99. It includes discounted parking and an escort through check-in, baggage drop, security and on to the departure gate. A VIP package additionally includes lounge access and fast-track security.

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Wait signs off with message for airlines GTMC Chief Executive Paul Wait hit out at airlines and suppliers who “disrespect” the B2B channel by adding cost and complexity for corporates and TMCs. Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference, Wait said: “It is with great sadness that I shall be leaving my role as CEO of the GTMC at a time when we are in direct opposition to companies such as Lufthansa and most recently British Airways on the subject of channel inequality and channel discrimination,” said Wait. The event took place a week after BA said it intends to implement an £8 surcharge on bookings made through indirect channels such as the GDS systems used by TMCs. On the subject of New Distribution Capability, Wait said the GTMC is not resisting change but rather must be part of it. “We want to be part of that drive for change but not when the alternatives are not fit for purpose,” he said.

[ TMC NEWS ] >> DIVERSITY TRAVEL won £12.9million worth of new business in the last financial year, pushing overall revenues up 12% to £63.2m >> Hertfordshire's EFR TRAVEL GROUP has acquired Manchesterbased CSR Travel, a specialist in corporate and luxury leisure travel >> WINGS Travel Management is establishing an operation in Mozambique to support clients moving into the market >> BCD TRAVEL has launched a savings calculator in partnership with Cisco to help clients weigh up telepresence against business travel

INTERNATIONAL SOS has launched a travel tracking system, Incident Support, that helps locate employees within an hour of a major incident. The system initiates communications with potentially impacted mobile workers immediately after any major incident. A consolidated report of employee status is then provided to clients within the critical first hour, allowing managers to prioritise those most in need of assistance. “Our clients have increasingly asked for a 24/7 support mechanism minimising the time between incident reporting and locating potentially impacted travellers,” says Leigh Burns of International SOS.

50%

of UK travellers would like to plan travel by text message

Half of UK travellers would like to use text messaging to update travel arrangements, according to an Egencia survey. It also found 41% believe advancements in artificial intelligence will help improve travel experiences in the future

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T H E

IN BRIEF New GTMC boss

Adrian Parkes, formerly of Clarity/Portman, Etihad Airways and bmi is taking over as the new Chief Executive of the GTMC. He was most recently Chief Commercial Officer for Portman (now a part of Clarity), and replaces Paul Wait in the role, who joins Southall Travel Group as Chief Operating Officer.

Concur expansion

Travel and expense management specialist Concur will make Airbnb listings available to view and book within its Concur Travel online booking tool in the coming months. Itineraries and e-receipts will automatically be fed back to Concur to simplify expense reports.

L O W D O W N

The future is... 3D printed luggage BRACE yourselves for a world in which every wall in a hotel room is a customisable screen and luggage and clothes can be 3D printed and collected on arrival. That is the picture painted by Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future, who says it could be a reality by 2025. Speaking at the GTMC conference, Talwar said there will also be multiple hyperloops in operation – a rapid transport system currently in development – while robots will be a common sight and artificial intelligence will be prevalent. “AI is a game changer and the biggest threat to a lot of what we do,” said Talwar. “The speed of development of AI is going to blow us away.” Looking further ahead, it is estimated that 25% of all road journeys in the US will be made in self-driving electric cars by 2030; airports in 2040 will be navigable through biometric tokens; and by 2050-60 hybrid electric planes will be in operation.

Festive appointment

Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner and founder of business travel consultancy Festive Road, has been elected the first ever international member of GBTA's Global Board. He will serve a two-year term as Director - Allied Member at Large. Meanwhile, Festive Road has recently created two divisions: No.52 for all buyer-related services and No.25 for supplier related projects.

Millennial board

The GTMC has developed a Millennial Board tasked with securing the future of business travel by promoting the industry to its peer group. It will work alongside the organisation's senior board and is open to applications.

BUYERS SHOULD BRACE THEMSELVES FOR PRICE HIKES NEXT YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE 2018 GLOBAL TRAVEL FORECAST FROM GBTA AND CWT, WHICH PREDICTS UK HOTEL RATES TO RISE 9.5% AND AIR FARES TO INCREASE BY 8.5%

G T M C U P D AT E Paul Wait Chief Executive, GTMC

This is my final column for The Business Travel Magazine as CEO of the GTMC and as I look back over my time in the role, one thing I can say for certain is that it has been an eventful few years. As we prepare for postBrexit business, I would like to depart with optimism and some food for thought. Leaving the EU will present challenges but I would urge all business travellers and business owners to tackle these challenges with a spirit of optimism and look further afield to the opportunities that lie across the Commonwealth. Recent research from the Royal Commonwealth Society shows the population of its 53 member countries is a total of 2.3 billion – that's 2.3 billion potential customers. Intra-Commonwealth trade is expected to reach $1.85 trillion by 2030 and there is appetite from Commonwealth countries for trade agreements with the UK. To Brexit-proof our economy and future growth I urge the business travel community and government to pay attention to the opportunity the Commonwealth presents. The outlook for trade relationships with these nations is overwhelmingly positive. So what are you waiting for?

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the reVIeW

I N

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brItISh AIrWAyS AddS trIo of cApItALS froM London cIty

danish airline joins transatlantic party daniSh airline Primera Air will launch non-stop flights from London Stansted and Birmingham Airports to New York and Boston next year. The carrier, which currently operates to over 70 destinations across Europe, will announce a third transatlantic route from Stansted by the end of the summer. Primera will use Airbus A321neo aircraft on the routes, featuring a low-cost economy cabin and a full-service premium product. Daily services to New York Newark will take-off in April, followed by four-times-weekly services to Boston Logan from May. The airline will operate the same schedules from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport as it embarks on a similar low-cost, long-haul strategy to Norwegian. Fares are on sale now and start from £149 one-way.

BritiSh Airways will launch new services from London City Airport to three European capital cities this October – Paris, Prague and Reykjavik, in Iceland. The Paris Orly flights – three times a day on weekdays and once-daily at weekends – are being transferred from Heathrow and become the airline’s fifth French route from London City. The six-times-weekly service to Prague marks the carrier’s first route from City to the Czech Republic, while Reykjavik services will operate winter-only, replacing

air france follows in the low-cost footsteps of iag FirSt came LEVEL – a subsidiary of British Airways and Iberia parent group, IAG – and now we have JOON, Air France's answer to the new generation of low-cost long-haul carriers. The former is now flying from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Buenos Aires, while JOON will commence medium-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle this autumn, followed by long-haul flights in summer 2018.

[ TAKING OFF ] >> RWANDAIR has introduced the first ever non-stop flight between London and Kigali, the Rwandan capital. The thriceweekly service from London Gatwick is operated by a new Airbus A330-200 featuring business class (with fully flatbed seats), premium economy and economy cabins >> Fast-growing NORWEGIAN has confirmed its first South American route, with services from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires commencing in February 2018. It will also add flights from Gatwick to Chicago and Austin, Texas, in March >> EASYJET will begin flying from Southampton Airport for the first time this winter when it introduces flights to Geneva

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flights to Granada, Spain, which will resume next summer. The additions take British Airways’ network from London City to 30 destinations this winter. “Well timed flights and a quick and easy journey through the airport will give business customers another option to reach either capital city,” says Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ General Manager Customer and Commercial. Flights will operate on Embraer jets with a choice of Club Europe and Euro Traveller cabins. Fares to Orly and Prague start from £49.

259,917

passengers in a single day at London Heathrow

London Heathrow recorded its busiest ever day on June 30th when 259,917 people transited the airport. The figure helped take total passengers for the past 12 months to 77 million for the first time in the airport’s history. The Middle East posted the biggest rise in passenger traffic

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THE REVIEW

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A I R

etihad adds a range of upgrades

IN BRIEF Qsuite takes off

Qatar Airways' new Qsuite business class product has taken to the skies on B777 services between London and Doha. The ‘revolutionary’ product allows up to four passengers travelling together to transform their space into a private suite for meetings and dining together.

Long-haul Gatwick

Record investment has helped Gatwick Airport exceed 45 million passengers in a year for the first time, as annual passenger numbers increased by 3.2 million (7.7%). The airport attributes the growth to "more planes, bigger planes and fuller planes". Long-haul passenger traffic was up 13.6% with one in five passengers at the airport now travelling on long-haul flights.

300 up for easyJet

EasyJet has taken delivery of its first A320neo, which also marks the airline's 300th A320-family aircraft delivery. The A320neo delivers significant environmental and operational benefits, including up to a 15% saving in fuel burn and CO2 emissions and 50% noise reduction on take off and landing.

delays repay

Claims for delays and cancellations on flights with Ryanair outnumber all other airlines, says refunds specialist refund.me. The company says German airlines Air Berlin and Lufthansa are the next biggest offenders, while easyJet was fourth, Wizzair fifth and Air France sixth.

it's a hat-trick for the star alliance lounge at Los angeles airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal − it has been voted the best alliance lounge worldwide for the third year in succession at the skytrax awards

etihad Airways is introducing a range of chargeable upgrades and axing complimentary chauffeur transfers for premium passengers in international destinations. The airline is introducing a ‘neighbour-free seat’ option in economy class and allowing economy passengers to pay for access to its business lounges around the network. Similarly, business class passengers can pay to upgrade to first class lounge and spa access. Chauffeur services for business and first class passengers will become a paid-for option at all international destinations but will remain complimentary for all eligible business and first passengers at its Abu Dhabi hub. The new ‘neighbour-free seat’ option allows passengers to bid for up to three empty seats next to their own seat. Guests can bid at the time of booking and successful bids will be confirmed 30 hours prior to departure.

SIA reaches out to small businesses

jal boosts capacity to tokyo

Singapore Airlines has introduced a new HighFlyer programme designed to reward small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees. Businesses will earn HighFlyer points when booking travel with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir and employees will earn KrisFlyer miles. There is no minimum annual travel spend required, with HighFlyer points accrued for every S$1 spent on tickets booked through the airline’s corporate booking platform or an appointed travel agent. Points can be used to offset ticket purchases – partially or in full – and members can manage balances, bookings and statements through a self-service portal. Corporates that reach a stipulated annual spend will be invited to transfer to the Singapore Airlines Corporate Travel Programme.

japan Airlines (JAL) will operate a second daily non-stop service between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda from October 29. The additional flight will depart Heathrow at 09.30 and arrive at Tokyo Haneda 06.25 the following day. The return leg will depart Tokyo at 02.45 and arrive in London at 06.25. Interestingly, economy passengers on the 02.45 departure from Haneda will be given access to a dedicated area within the JAL Sakura Lounge that includes complimentary snacks and drinks. Flights will be operated by B787-8 Dreamliners.

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R O O M

R E P O R T

BUDGET GROUP PREMIERES BUSINESS BOOKING PORTAL

London's largest new hotel opens its doors LONDON’S largest new hotel for 2017 has opened for business – the 494-room Park Plaza London Waterloo. The hotel from the ‘upper upscale contemporary’ brand is located by Waterloo Station and features superior rooms, studios and one-bedroom suites. Facilities include an executive lounge, six flexible meeting rooms, an Illy café, gym, spa and pool, plus the Florentine restaurant and bar. The hotel is the former premises of the government’s Central Office of Information. “We are delighted to announce that the newest addition to the South Bank is now fully open for business, joining four neighbouring Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts properties on the South Bank,” says Axel Krueger, the hotel’s General Manager.

BUDGET hotel brand Premier Inn has launched a new booking tool for business travellers. The Business Booker portal consolidates bookings and payments in one place and gives users access to over 750 Premier Inn properties across the UK. It is free for businesses to sign up to and use, with benefits including preferential Business Flex rates (for customers booking ten or more rooms a month), faster booking, the use of spending caps and employee allowances, and downloadable MI reports.

CHOICE COMMITS TO CORPORATES CHOICE HOTELS is increasing its focus on the corporate travel sector with the launch of a new 'We mean Business' programme. The company says it is helping corporates drive compliance and keep travellers happy by opening new business-focused upscale properties, transforming midscale and upper midscale brands such as Comfort Inn, and expanding its presence in top business markets with 6,500 hotels worldwide. It is also offering preferred rates, delivering more essential amenities and enhancing 'Your Extras' benefits.

[ S E R V I C E D A PA R T M E N T S ] >> Serviced apartment operator MARLIN has opened its first aparthotel – a 236-room property – in London Waterloo >> ROOMSPACE Serviced Apartments has officially opened its second new property for 2017, La Roka in London’s Canning Town – its ninth location in the capital – after a soft opening earlier in the summer. The luxury development features fully equipped one and two-bedroom units >> SACO has opened its second Locke aparthotel on Edinburgh's George Street in a listed Georgian building >> Travel management company NYS CORPORATE has integrated The Apartment Network into its service offering, giving clients access to nearly 100,000 serviced apartments in 20 countries

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“We understand that saving time and money are key priorities for all businesses and with the launch of our new online booking tool, we can offer both,” says Karen Plumb, Premier Inn’s Director of Demand and Distribution. “Business Booker simplifies the process of booking your business hotel stays with us, meaning our customers can spend more time running their businesses. Additionally, our exclusive Business Flex rates can save them money, where booking early offers the greatest value,” adds Plumb.

+3%

The average hotel room rate in London (£156) is up 3%

What do Reading, Lisbon and Toronto have in common? They have the fastest-rising hotel rates in the UK, Europe and worldwide respectively, according to the latest data from HRS. Conversely, rates in Liverpool, Istanbul and Seoul fell by the greatest margin

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IN BRIEF Crowne glory

The Crowne Plaza Newcastle Stephenson Quarter has been named the UK’s most femalefriendly hotel in the inaugural SOLO Awards. Launched by travel management company Redfern, the scheme assessed over 100 nominated hotels.

Skyline acquisition

Q Apartments International has acquired serviced apartment provider Skyline Worldwide, strengthening both brands' presence in the apartments sector.

R E P O R T

Hilton rolls-out Digital Key in the UK THE HILTON hotel group has rolled-out Digital Key at ten hotels in the UK, enabling guests to use their mobile phone as a virtual room key after checking in. Participating properties include the Hilton London Hyde Park and DoubleTree by Hilton London Excel. The scheme will be extended to 100 UK properties by the year’s end and is already in operation at over 1,700 hotels worldwide. Hilton Honors members who book direct can also select their preferred room via their mobile phone the day before arrival. The hotel group will also introduce Straight-to-Room properties in the UK later this year, enabling Silver, Gold and Diamond Hilton Honors members the option to bypass the front desk and go straight to their room upon arrival, using their smartphone as the key.

Apex addition

Opening this August, The Apex City of Bath hotel marks the Apex group's first opening outside of London, where it operates four hotels, and Scotland, where it currently has seven properties.

Accor opening

AccorHotels will open an MGallery by Sofitel hotel in central London this August. The property – the fourth MGallery by Sofitel in the UK – is set within Victory House, a heritage site overlooking Leicester Square in the heart of the West End.

Historic collection

The Newcastle-based Cairn Group has launched The Cairn Collection featuring ten historic hotels across the UK. It includes Stoke Place Hotel in Buckinghamshire, the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate, the Redworth Hall Hotel in Durham, the St Georges Hotel in London and the Cairn Newcastle.

STAYCITY HAS DESIGNS ON NEW PREMIUM APARTHOTEL BRAND APARTHOTEL operator Staycity has revealed plans for a new premium, design-led brand called Wilde. It will be rolled-out across gateway city centre locations across Europe, beginning with a property on London’s Strand, followed by openings in Edinburgh, Manchester and Berlin. Its debut Wilde aparthotel on the Strand will comprise 106 studios and deluxe studios over eight

floors, with units featuring fully equipped kitchenettes, Nespresso machines, Nutri-Bullets and 43-inch smart TVs. Amenities also include XL-sized beds and rainfall showers, plus bespoke, commissioned artwork, local curiosities and handcrafted joinery. The new brand takes its name from the 19th century playwright Oscar Wilde in a nod to Staycity’s Irish roots.

I T M U P D AT E Simone Buckley Chief Executive, ITM

As I pass the baton to the new chief executive of ITM, I had wanted to focus my final column for TBTM on farewells and anecdotes about the past six memorable years. But having just returned from the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention in the US, I feel compelled to address the topic of distribution. It was the hot topic in town and people remain confused. Over the years there have been many initiatives discussed, but the reality is that while the prospect of change exists, tangibly little has happened for the majority in the industry. It’s important to remember a few key points: travellers want access to content, the best personalised rates and fares in consumerised channels. Meanwhile, companies need data and insights to optimise travel policies and programmes while fulfilling their duty of care obligations. If change doesn’t support this, and if it introduces cost, one must seriously question the value on offer. Current overtures coming from some carriers make me wary. It would be prudent for buyers to show caution about problems that may lie ahead.

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THE REVIEW

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G R O U N D

IN BRIEF

A C T E U P D AT E Greeley Koch

Rail satisfaction

The latest rail passenger satisfaction figures from Transport Focus shows that passengers in London and the South East are more satisfied with railway journeys after long periods of patchy performance. No train company's overall satisfaction declined significantly from Spring 2016. The highest score went to Hull Trains (97%) and the lowest was Southern (72%).

Lyft's easy expenses

Expense management organisation Chrome River has announced automatic receipt forwarding for Lyft passengers using a business profile, removing the need for additional expense item input. The ride-share service is currently only available in the United States.

SnappCar investment

Car hire company Europcar has invested in peer-to-peer car sharing business SnappCar. The investment will enable SnappCar to take its business to the next stage of development in Europe. For Europcar, the investment is an opportunity to develop its mobility offer and customer base.

Car hire partner boost

Travelport has announced an extended partnership with car rental and ground transportation technology specialist, Mobacar. The global distribution system intends to expand its global car rental and ground transportation content available to its various travel agency customers.

Executive Director, ACTE

Advance fares go on sale for longer RAIL PASSENGERS can now benefit from cheaper train fares as a group of operators extends the availability of Advance fares to up to ten minutes before departure. Following in the footsteps of CrossCountry, which began the practice in 2015, passengers travelling with Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin Trains West Coast and Caledonian Sleeper can now buy Advance tickets for many trains on the day of travel. Until now Advance tickets, which typically represent the best value train fares, have typically been available until midnight before the day of travel. “Not everyone can plan journeys in advance and now more people can buy cheaper tickets on the day, even on their way to the station,” says Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group.

RAIL PASSENGERS DEMAND WIFI BUSINESS travellers using UK rail networks seek more flexible booking options and more free wifi connectivity, according to a Business Rail Travel report published by the GTMC and conducted by Audiencenet. Online connectivity is top of the list for business rail travellers, together with connectivity between cities, and there is widespread support for the development of HS2, with almost half (48%) of those surveyed stating that HS2 should be the government's top priority rail infrastructure project. ”The concerns and demands from business travellers are clear,” says Paul Wait, Chief Executive of the GTMC. “To support and enable the business travel community to work effectively both the government and the network of UK rail operators needs to pay due diligence to connectivity. This means investment in wifi access and the intercity links in which HS2 has a crucial role to play.”

Change in our industry is happening now more quickly than ever. Recently, we’ve seen a temporary reinstatement of the U.S. immigration ban, an in-cabin electronics ban on some foreign flights, and a major hotel chain that’s moved to a 48-hour cancellation period for bookings in North America. As if getting employees from one place to another economically, efficiently and safely were not sufficiently fraught, trends that used to take years to spread around the world now flash through in a matter of days. And each one affects your travellers, their productivity and your company’s bottom line. Such confusion and rapid change demand that travel departments keep abreast of industry issues, but that’s getting harder too. Educational budgets are getting so slim that many travel managers no longer attend industry meetings where they could tap colleagues for solutions. With travel more than ever linked to a company’s success, insight from your colleagues and the industry is vital. Find a way to get out and learn more because your job will get even harder. Time to make it easier.

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THE REVIEW

M E E T I N G

P L A C E

AMEX LINES UP M&E AGENCY

IN BRIEF Cloth Hall Court

Well Met Conferencing, the conference office at Leeds Beckett University, has opened Cloth Hall Court, a new events facility. The city centre venue, close to Leeds train station, has undergone a £4.5million refurbishment to transform it into a state-of-the-art facility.

Regus Liverpool

Workspace provider Regus has announced plans to open its third business centre in Liverpool. Due to open this autumn, it will occupy over 10,000ft2 at the new Mann Island waterfront development overlooking Albert Dock. Regus will also open a site in Rubery, near Birmingham, later this year.

North East boost

Gateshead Council is pushing ahead with plans for a £200million arena and conference and exhibition centre. The 10,300m2 exhibition space and 12,500-seat arena would relocate the existing Metro Radio Arena. The ten-acre site is opposite the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and between the area’s iconic Sage Gateshead and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art buildings.

Carlton experiences

North Yorkshire’s 17th century Carlton Towers hotel is introducing a range of experiential activities for meetings and events delegates, including 4x4 driving adventures, culinary masterclasses, wine tasting and brewing at its onsite microbrewery.

Etc Venues heads to Manchester ETC. VENUES will open its first Manchester training, meeting and conference space in October. The eighth floor space is

AMERICAN EXPRESS Global Business Travel is set to acquire Banks Sadler, an international meetings and events agency headquartered in London. The transaction is due to go through this autumn and the company will operate as part of American Express Meetings & Events. “Banks Sadler is one of the most respected M&E brands,” says Issa Jouaneh, Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Express Meetings & Events. “It brings an extensive range of services and solutions with an independent agency mindset that we will maintain and grow. Our clients will benefit from an expanded value proposition.” The agency was founded in 1982 and has around 250 employees.

located at 11 Portland Street in the city's Piccadilly area. The 20,000ft2 space is in a purpose-built, glass-clad space with adaptable LED lighting, free wifi throughout and 15 flexible rooms and a suite for up to 300 delegates. “Long-standing clients have been telling us for years that they want non-residential city centre spaces with natural daylight that are different, modern and well-connected,” says Dominic James, Operations Head for etc. venues Manchester. The venue will feature on-site dining, bar, a theatre kitchen and a range of hire options and delegate rates. The Manchester opening will be the group's 16th event space, with 14 in London and one in Birmingham.

BRUSSELS Number one

[ OPENINGS & INVESTMENTS ] JURYS INN Hinckley Island Hotel and Conference Venue in Leicestershire has been transformed throughout following an investment of £11million >> HARDWICK HALL has completed a £150,000 refurbishment of its leading function room as part of a wider £350,000 overhaul of the hotel's guestrooms, bars and boardrooms >> Office space provider SPACES has opened its fifth location in the UK, in Teddington, South West London. It joins sites in Gerrards Cross, Marlow, Glasgow, and Liverpool

Brussels hosted more international association meetings than any other city globally in 2016, according to the UIA's 58th International Meetings Statistics Report. Singapore was second and Seoul third THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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THE REVIEW

O N

T H E

M O V E

EVENTS SEPTEMBER 19-20

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

KILIANNE CLEGG

London Hilton Bankside thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 27

TBTM DINNER CLUB Dorchester Hotel, London thebusinesstravelmag.com

OCTOBER 11-13

MARTA PEREZ

ROBERT SINCLAIR

JOINS: Inntel AS: Business Development Manager FROM: Clarity Travel Management

JOINS: Cycas Hospitality AS: Assistant Director of Sales FROM: BridgeStreet Worldwide

JOINS: London City Airport AS: Chief Executive Officer FROM: Bristol Airport

Kilianne Clegg has joined Inntel as Business Development Manager focusing on new client opportunities and developing its presence in the Scottish market. She joins from Clarity.

Marta Perez has joined serviced apartment operator Cycas Hospitality as Assistant Director of Sales. She was previously an EMEA account manager at BridgeStreet Worldwide.

Robert Sinclair will become Chief Executive Officer of London City Airport at the end of October. He was previously CEO at Bristol Airport and was in the position since 2008.

STEVE BURNS

PATRICK PACIOUS

ACTE GLOBAL CONFERENCE London acte.org

OCTOBER 19

ITM SUMMIT MANCHESTER Innside, Manchester itm.org.uk

NOVEMBER 3

GTMC AUTUMN CONFERENCE Grange St Paul's Hotel, London gtmc.org

NOVEMBER 6-8

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET

GUIDO BLANCO

JOINS: BridgeStreet Global Hospitality AS: Managing Director for EMEA & APAC FROM: Consulting (Steve Burns Ltd)

PROMOTED AT: Choice Hotels TO: Chief Executive Officer & President FROM: COO, Choice Hotels

PROMOTED AT: LATAM Airlines TO: Commercial Manager UK FROM: Sales Manager

BridgeStreet Global Hospitality has appointed Steve Burns as Managing Director for EMEA and APAC. He joins from a consulting role and has 20 years experience in aviation.

Choice Hotels' board of directors has appointed Patrick Pacious as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He takes over the role from Stephen Joyce.

Guido Blanco has been promoted to Commercial Manager for the UK, Africa and Nordic countries at LATAM Airlines. He joined the airline in Argentina ten years ago.

London london.wtm.com

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Delta Air Lines has appointed Corneel Koster as Senior Vice President EMEA and India to expand on the carrier's successes in the region >> Thomas Haagensen has been appointed

NOVEMBER 17

Managing Director of easyJet Europe, the airline's new Austria-based subsidiary >> Colin Stone has joined the Board of the Mansley Group after being appointed Group Commercial Director of the serviced apartments operator >> Chema Basterrechea has joined the Rezidor Hotel Group as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer >> Adam Morris has been appointed BCD Meetings & Events' new Director of Industry Relations EMEA >> Oliver Bonke has been appointed 13225-Sirius-BritishTravelMag-AD-138x40.ai 1 11/05/2017 15:01 President and Chief Operating Officer at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

ITM IRELAND CONFERENCE & AWARDS Dublin itm.org.uk

NOVEMBER 28-30

GBTA EUROPE CONFERENCE Frankfurt europeconference.gbta.org

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

www.sirius-cv.com

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EVENT REVIEW

The Business Travel Magazine

The challenging first hole

2017 GOLF MASTERS TBTM's annual Golf Masters event returned to Mannings Heath's Waterfall Course in West Sussex in June. Eighteen teams took part, with the team from Etihad Airways ultimately triumphing. ANA All Nippon Airways was the event's headline sponsor, while Evolvi Rail Systems sponsored the buggies and Melia Hotels & Resorts sponsored the half-way house.

TBTM Golf Masters 2017 ▼

▲ 09.06.2017

With thanks to our sponsors ANA, Evolvi and Melia Hotels & Resorts Etihad's winning team

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Small and medium-sized enterprises need not be shackled by their diminutive nature. FIND out how to make every penny count in our guide to

TRAVEL MANAGEMENT FOR SMEs Introduction, 56-58 / Spend management, 60-64 / SME interview, 67 The Debate, 68 / Beginner's guide, 70 / Case study, 72 Reader's rant, 74 / Consider this, 75 / Data, 76

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It’s a small

WORLD

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99% of businesses in the UK, yet their travel spend as individuals lacks clout. Catherine Chetwynd discovers how SMEs can punch above their weight

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ause a moment to consider these figures: SMEs in the UK employ around 60% of the private sector workforce – that’s more than 15 million people – and have a combined annual turnover of £1.8trillion. In short, UK Plc is powered by SMEs and suppliers ignore them at their peril. Although as individual companies they often lack purchasing power and resources dedicated to travel management, these businesses are typically more agile and fast moving, helping them compete effectively against larger companies. SMEs also tend to have fewer internal systems, and roles and responsibilities that are less sharply defined. As a result, the job of travel booker often falls to someone in addition to their day job such as a PA or office manager, or travellers simply book their own trips. Also, SMEs do not always have a formal travel policy and awareness of duty of care obligations may be scant, with no systems in place to deal with emergencies. “SMEs need a high-touch, personal approach,” says Andy Hegley, General Manager for Corporate Traveller. “We have 65 teams in 20 locations in the UK – local relationships are very important.” This ties in with the need for a dedicated account manager, with travel often booked

56

offline. And where some smaller businesses require reporting, some don’t and are happy to work “from invoice to invoice”. Hegley also points out that SMEs do not go out to tender to award fixed contracts: “That keeps us at the top of our game – we are as good as the last trip we organised.” SMEs have a lot more variety in their travel schedule, usually influenced by the customers they are working with, according to Dafydd Llewellyn, Managing Director of UK SMB at Concur. “Combined with the same duty of care requirements as larger organisations, this can make for a tricky task, as many don’t have the dedicated resource of a travel manager or procurement team to put in place the rigorous processes seen in enterprise organisations,” he says. A TMC’s technology can also play an important role in duty of care, tracking travellers and quickly communicating with them in the event of an emergency. For travel policy, the important thing is to put it in print – even if it constitutes just one sentence – and communicate it to all parties. “Smart SMEs can create a working group of bookers or stakeholders that can collaborate and make decisions together on policy and specifics such as preferred hotels. We have seen this work well,” says Business Travel Direct's Managing Director, Julie Oliver.

Companies with small travel budgets and minimal policy might not appear to hold much interest for TMCs but potential is everything – the majority of multinationals were start-ups once. Take, for example, Innocent Drinks which started out selling juice at a music festival and is now almost wholly owned by Coca-Cola. “SMEs are a hugely important part of our business, many of which have been with us for 20 years,” says Gavin Sanderson, Head of Strategic Account Management at Gray Dawes Group. “Often an SME client becomes a large client and we become an integral part of their business as they grow, allowing us to help them manage travel spend effectively.” Director of Operations for Clarity, John Dick, agrees: “TMCs should be out to have as many small business clients as possible. We actively seek this type of client. They are the acorns of customers and we nurture, develop and adapt them as they grow.” But TMC interest in SME business has been cyclical. “Every now and then the big providers relaunch SME products to try and tap into the market but, on the whole, the SME market is serviced by SME intermediaries, where they feel like a bigger fish in a smaller pond,” says Festival Road Managing Partner, Paul Tilstone, who feels this is less important as more and more services go online. 

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Every now and then the big providers relaunch SME products to try and tap into the market but, on the whole, the market is serviced by SME intermediaries�

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SMEs / Introduction

“Suppliers are interested in these corporates because they see more potential to drive business based on product rather than price and TMCs are an attractive partner for this market as they act as a more efficient sales channel to engage the SME,” he adds. SMEs may feel that paying for the service of a TMC is a luxury they can ill afford but it is

SMEs may feel that paying for the services of a TMC is a luxury, but it is an expertise most of them do not have in house” an expertise most of them do not have in house and it saves them time too. Inevitably, smaller companies are less likely to have the level of travel spend that allows them to have negotiating clout, another

reason for choosing a TMC that is small enough to ensure clients receive the required care and attention, while still able to give them financial leverage. Robert Daykin, Director of The Corporate Travel Partnership, believes SMEs face many of the same challenges that plague larger organisations: duty of care, cost control and having a travel policy that fits company culture, and that includes the choice of TMC. “A small company employing a big TMC would have no clout, no presence and would be talking to a junior account manager, whereas if they were dealing with a more specialist or boutique company they might be talking to a director or even CEO,” he says. “That is one of the things I’ve always done with my clients. Whichever TMC they choose, they are going to have access to the board, and that ensures they have clout with the supply chain – that’s what you need.” The 'small' in SME is misleading and doesn't do the sector any favours. Any travel budget big enough to allow measurement of trends

is potentially big enough to benefit from negotiated rates and, as the following spend management article shows (p60-64), there are numerous dedicated travel services and loyalty programmes for small and mediumsized enterprises which allow them to get real bang for their buck.

[

WHAT IS AN SME?

]

Definitions of SMEs vary widely, but the following figures give a good indication of their status: • Typically employs up to 250 people • Annual turnover of less than £40million • Spend up to £2million on business travel every year • In total, SMEs employ more than 15 million people in the UK • 99% of all companies in the UK are SMEs • It is estimated that around 70-80% of SMEs use TMCs

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SMEs / Spend management

The challenge with travel in a small business tends to be around budgets. When money is tight, every interaction they have with a TMC needs to add value�

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sizing things

UP

Help is out there for small businesses seeking to keep a lid on costs or outsource their travel needs. Catherine Chetwynd takes a look at the market

S

ME travel spend can range from just a few thousand pounds a year up to two or three million pounds. And while micro-businesses with just a few travellers making their own bookings are unlikely to need a travel management company at all, when an organisation starts juggling the requirements of more travellers, more spend and the attendant duty of care, the services of a TMC become paramount. “A TMC provides a service. You buy travel through them but they don’t sell you a product,” says Robert Daykin, Director of The Corporate Travel Partnership. “The service you are buying is help with duty of care and health and safety. They are also giving you information and advice that might help you with your costs,” he says. That service costs money and he advises that any SME needs to weigh the benefit against the cost to calculate the value of the service. For

SMEs, there are plenty of smaller TMCs who provide services that are dedicated to the task, but also larger agencies with divisions dedicated to smaller businesses. Clarity Hub is one such example. “The challenge with travel in a small business tends to centre around budgets,” says Director of Operations at Clarity, John Dick. “When money is tighter, every interaction they have with a TMC needs to add value. That value needs to be demonstrated to them consistently, showing that the savings significantly outstrip the costs.” Clarity Hub customers get access to the technology bestowed upon larger customers, including online booking tool, mobile app, tracking tool and a 24-hour assistance service. Managing Director of Business Travel Direct, Julie Oliver, says: “We provide a resource for smaller organisations such as taking on the role of an internal travel manager, managing budgets, taking over duty of care responsibilities and generally helping the

company with best practice and insights.” And where a client has negotiated direct deals with suppliers, these can be integrated into Business Travel Direct’s booking platforms. “Then they are able to compare their negotiated rates to our deals and consortia agreements etc,” she says. The TMC operates on a pick and mix basis so that businesses can take the services they require. “This means that even the smallest of companies can benefit from special rates without paying huge fees for the services they don’t need,” says Oliver. Another agency, CTI, launched Business Travel in a Box last year with exactly that in mind for companies spending less than £250,000 a year on travel. It offers Starter, Select and Prime levels and customers sign a 12-month contract. The Starter package is aimed at those spending less than £50,000 a year on travel and costs £50 per month. This buys ten credits that cover the cost of making ten bookings via the TMC (but, for the sake of clarity, not the cost of the hotel or flight itself), with the option to top up. 

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Concur integrates travel, expense and invoice data to provide a single, accurate and actionable view of spending as it happens. That's not something you often see from 35,000 feet up. Concur integrates travel, expense and invoice data to provide a single, accurate and actionable view of spending as it happens. That's not something you often see Learn more at concur.co.uk from 35,000 feet up. Learn more at concur.co.uk

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17 13:49

Spend management / SMEs

Select customers (£250 per month) also get three additional services from a choice of six, including hotel programme management and airline loyalty programme management. Prime clients (£500) get all six, plus monthly telephone account management and three discounted Priority Pass lounge accesses. “We have also had some non-SME clients take Prime because the end users cannot see the fee that we charge,” says CTI's Commercial Director, Melanie Quinn. This removes the chance a traveller will challenge a fee where they see there is a £25 saving to be had that could be spent elsewhere. CTI also has a dedicated role for handling airline loyalty run by Juliet Yardley, who analyses the data of new client companies to see where she can sign them up. “She manages membership to ensure that organisations use their points before expiry and she tells them what their points equate to, so that they get most value out of those programmes,” explains Quinn. “Most airlines won’t look at doing a route deal unless spend is over £100,000 per route and that is where loyalty schemes really add value. They provide cost savings for a business when it is at the growing stage.” Corporate Traveller, meanwhile, provides a bespoke service for companies with a travel spend of between £50,000 and £2million. It is part of Flight Centre Travel Group and with that comes serious negotiating muscle: “The group has £10billion global buying power and we prove our worth to SMEs by leveraging that to negotiate rates with travel partners,” says General Manager, Andy Hegley. In addition, Corporate Traveller’s Travel Smart programme gives air, hotel and car rental benefits such as a lounge pass for travellers booking premium economy on Virgin Atlantic, a room upgrade on bookings in selected Accor properties and car upgrade and more on rentals with Avis. And the company’s CT Loyalty scheme gives points for every booking made. Specialist services for SMEs are not exclusive to TMCs. Travel and expense specialist Concur, for

example, has an SMB division that is used by 13,000 companies and growing. The main advantage for these businesses is having all their spend in one place, live, and the visibility that comes with that. It also allows SMEs to ensure spending stays within policy. In addition, “Expenses can highlight trends and supplier costs, giving SMEs the evidence needed to negotiate directly with suppliers to strike a better deal,” says Dafydd Llewellyn, Managing Director of UK SMB at Concur. Another expenses specialist and card provider, AirPlus, is launching an SME product later this year. Clubbing together with other like-minded SMEs to achieve negotiating clout is also an option and one that TravelpoolEurope (TPE) has made a resounding success. Member companies need around €500,000 travel spend to ensure there is enough information to measure trends and because, “the mindset seems to shift when you reach this level and you have more management support in the companies”, according to CEO Søren Schødt. The 30-plus members are largely headquartered in the Nordic region, with spend across 27 countries. “We go out as one company to negotiate on air, hotels, TMCs, meetings, conferences – everything that is related to travel,” he says. The group has procurement specialists who negotiate with suppliers and expense claims are managed through Concur. “We have selected local, mid-sized agencies that have a good service ethic,” says Schødt. They give the consortium local market fares, expertise and products, and they get access to TPE’s negotiated fares. All data from bookings comes back to the TPE warehouse. And the results are tangible: TPE typically saves its members up to 15% on travel spend. The last word goes to Robert Daykin: “Travel is about reducing your unit cost: the unit cost of hotels in a set location, of a seat on a route or on a train between two cities. If you have the ability to bring new revenue, you might be able to do a deal, but beware of doing deals – they can cost you money.” • Turn over for a selection of leading SME schemes from airlines, hotels and rail operators. 

[

ADVANTAGE’S SME FOCUS ]

Smaller TMCs might not necessarily be able to compete with their larger counterparts on price, but they can successfully compete on service. That was the message conveyed at the Advantage Focus Champions Conference in June, where Head of the Focus Partnership, Steve Murray, and Chairman, Mick Gibbs, spoke to The Business Travel Magazine. The Advantage Focus Partnership comprises smaller TMCs whose focus is typically the SME market, explained Murray, though the combined annual turnover of its 63 members is £1billion, giving it commercial clout when entering talks with suppliers. “The big difference compared to some of the large global TMCs and OTAs, is that Focus Partners really know their clients on a personal level and their individual requirements,” said Murray. “It’s not a call centre mentality. The consultants really know their clients and are therefore able to offer that personal service that SMEs require but find it difficult to actually get with the large TMCs.” Murray continues: “Many of our customers own their own companies and indeed are the travellers,” he said. “It’s their money at stake. They’re not looking at corporate policy and spreadsheets, they’re looking at the service they’re receiving while we ensure our clients are looked after consistently by the same person.” As well as securing a place at negotiating tables with the likes of airlines and hotel groups, the partnership's combined spend also allows it to supply technology solutions that might prove out of reach for independent agencies. “But we are not a franchise model and all our partners are passionately independent,” says Murray. “They have built their businesses over many years primarily on the services they offer their clients.”

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Accommodation SMEs / Spend management / UK hotels

[

LOYAL FLUSH

]

Many suppliers operate loyalty schemes specifically for SMEs, allowing the company – and often the traveller – to earn points and redeem them against flights, hotel rooms, upgrades and amenities. While some suppliers offer discounts, others offer useful management portals to keep track of bookings, spend, loyalty points and more. Below is a selection of popular schemes.

AccorHotels Business Solution The programme allows companies to manage their hotel bookings and policies across the group’s various brands, set spending caps, access detailed reports and receive one monthly invoice.

Air France/KLM – BlueBiz Members earn Blue Credits on all flights with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, on a scale based on flights and fares. Individuals can simultaneously earn miles through the Flying Blue programme. Blue Credits can be redeemed on flights, upgrades and other related services.

Alitalia BusinessConnect Companies earn seven miles (ten miles during a limited introductory period) for every euro spent on flights operated by Alitalia or its partners, while individual travellers can also earn MilleMiglia points.

British Airways On Business On Business members can either earn points on flights or receive a cash discount. Points are earned on behalf of the company while members of the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus schemes can also accrue Avios. Points can be earned and spent on British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia.

Emirates Business Rewards Participants must be a member of Emirates Skywards and will also earn Skywards Miles on every flight for their company and themselves.

Etihad BusinessConnect Membership is open to companies with between two and 50 travellers and each earns Guest Miles, with 75 per cent of those going to the company, also on AirBerlin and Virgin Australia.

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Lufthansa PartnerPlusBenefit The airline’s PartnerPlusBenefit enables SMEs to earn points when flying with ten airlines – including Air Canada, ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS and United Airlines – to over 500 destinations worldwide. Points can be redeemed for flights, upgrades and a growing range of rewards.

Premier Inn Business Booker The budget hotel group’s booking and management portal enables companies to set employee allowances on amenities and download spend reports. Companies who spend more than £10,000 a year can access preferential Business Flex rates.

Qatar Airways QBiz Points are awarded to both individual Privilege Club members and the company via the QBiz scheme, and can be redeemed on flights or used for cabin upgrades and services. The programme is linked with other members of the oneworld alliance.

SAS Credits SAS Credits is applicable to businesses of all sizes in Europe, most of Asia and the US. Members earn credits with SAS and partners Widerøe and Singapore Airlines, and when staying at Radisson Blu and Park Inn properties throughout Europe and the Middle East. Members earn 2-4% on all travel with SAS and Wideroe and three Credits per room night at Radisson hotels.

Shangri-La The Business Travel Programme The Business Travel Programme rewards firms that book at least 50 room nights a year at participating Shangri-La, Kerry, Hotel Jen and Traders hotels, where they must not already have a corporate rate agreement. Benefits include up to 10% discount on the Best Available Rates and free wifi access for guests.

Singapore Airlines HighFlyer Businesses accrue HighFlyer points on bookings with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir while employees earn KrisFlyer miles. There is no minimum annual travel spend required and points can be used to offset future ticket purchases with the airlines.

Trainline for Business A business dashboard enables member companies to compare and book tickets, download reports, manage employees' travel needs and set up centralised payment.

Travelodge Business Companies that book 25 nights or more a year can join the scheme and receive a guaranteed 5% discount off all flexible rate bookings. An account card is also available, offering six weeks interest free credit.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Co. An organisation with a minimum of two travelling employees may join Virgin Flying Co. Individuals need to be members of the airline’s Flying Club and the company receives 40% of the miles credited to club members and 10% of those earned with selected partners.

United Airlines The PerksPlus programme gives businesses points every time one of their registered travellers flies with United, United Express and other partners. Individuals will still receive benefits from United’s loyalty programme MileagePlus.

Virgin Trains Railblazers The train operator offers a booking portal to help companies manage bookings and invoices. There is no limit on the number of users and there are no booking or credit card fees.

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Travel savings for your company Join BlueBiz, the loyalty programme for companies and get free tickets, upgrades and flight related services.

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Terms and conditions apply. Enter the promotional code BTM17 when enrolling. Valid from 01.08.2017 until 30.09.2017. This offer is open to new members only. Businesses with an existing contract with Air France, KLM and Delta are not eligible for BlueBiz. Blue Credits earned depend on the destination and booking class. You will receive your welcome bonus within 90 days after your initial flight under the programme, and once the bonus is credited to your account, the credits can be redeemed. All information correct at time of printing. Subject to change without prior notice.

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Interview / SMEs

meet

PETER MACEY SMEs often lack resources but that need not prevent them from operating an efficient and effective travel programme, as Peter Macey of MDDUS tells TBTM The Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland’s business travel spend is modest and its travel policies and processes are not uncommon among SMEs, a business demographic that often lacks resources and the purchasing power to pique suppliers’ interest. But that need not hinder their ability to operate a slick travel programme that both keeps cost in control and business travellers happy, as the MDDUS’ Central Purchasing Officer, Peter Macey, explains. His organisation books around 550 room nights a year and 260 flights, plus nearly 300 return rail journeys and a small amount of car hire. Scale that up and the proportions of bookings wouldn’t look dissimilar to a lot of larger businesses. The processes, however, have less in common. To start with, Peter’s responsibilities range far beyond company travel yet he is the sole travel manager and booker for all staff. “We have a comprehensive travel policy in place and a central booking process,” he explains. “That is to say that I book travel for everyone so they have little choice but to adhere to policy!” MDDUS works with Barrhead Travel for air bookings (and often made through the eAmadeus self-booking tool), ScotRail Business Travel for rail and various hotel groups’ own booking and management portals, such as Premier Inn’s. “My booking systems might appear a little convoluted but it works for us,” says Peter. “We went with Barrhead because they are

We would be a small account for a TMC and I feel that if they lost us as a customer they would not miss us”

local, had an SBT that works well and I negotiated transaction fees down to a level I was happy with.” The organisation has steered away from adopting a single TMC for all travel needs, partly because of its relatively small travel spend. And while Peter points to the fact the only transaction fees that MDDUS pays are on air travel bookings, he concedes a single invoice is an attractive benefit of consolidating all requirements with a TMC. “We would be a small account compared to most and my feeling is that if a TMC lost us as a customer they would not miss us. That said, I have been approached in the past by some big players,” says Peter. Value for money and duty of care are the organisation’s priorities, with Peter describing the corporate travel policy as “direct and firm but fair”. Hotel bookings are typically three-star to four-star deluxe, for example. “So this could be Premier Inns through to the Melia White House,” he says. Peter has secured discounted rates at several hotels in London, Manchester and Glasgow, each based on a minimum of 75 room nights annually.

In contrast, the size of MDDUS’ air spend precludes it from striking deals with airlines. “Our spend is far too small for that and all our travel is domestic so we are limited when it comes to negotiating with competing airlines for route deals,” Peter explains. One aspect of supplier offerings that has proved fruitful, however, are loyalty schemes, with British Airways On Business helping deliver savings on air spend. MDDUS operates a booking authorisation process, meaning travellers complete a form stating their requirements. This must be approved by the employee’s line manager before Peter makes the booking. “Travel is time-critical in terms of cost and availability so when a request for travel is received it is given priority,” says Peter. “In some cases I do book prior to authorisation to get the best value and secure the seats.” The set-up and its idiosyncrasies work well for MDDUS, with its employees providing positive feedback and its processes ensuring duty of care requirements are met. “My ethos has always been that travellers should not need to think about travel – they should only be thinking about the business they are away on,” says Peter. “I take pride in our operation which I know works very well, but our travel has increased significantly over the last three years and is continuing to do so, so therein lies our next challenge.”

[

PROFILE

]

Peter Macey is Central Purchasing Officer at MDDUS, the Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland. It provides healthcare professionals across the UK with access to indemnity, assistance and support. It has around 150 employees, around 50 of whom travel regularly on business. MDDUS spends around £200,000 on business travel per annum excluding expenses and amenities. Its top routes are Glasgow-Edinburgh, London-Manchester and Glasgow-London.

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SMEs / Debate

SCOTT PAWLEY

Managing Director, Global Travel Management

O

As an SME, keeping clients happy is how you build your business. It’s how you work and it’s how smaller TMCs work too”

JASON GEALL

Vice President, Northern Europe, American Express Global Business Travel

S

ne of the most important MEs are the backbone of the needs of all businesses today economy, fueling jobs, increased is reliable, low-cost business tax receipts and prosperity, and travel – but nowhere is this TMCs can play a genuine role in truer than in the SME sector. facilitating this growth. One the fastest growing areas of the Traveller demands are similar across all Scott Pawley economy, its dynamism often outstrips its sizes of business: access to a broad choice of operations policy in this area, a fact that is inventory, the best rates, and a personalised not lost on travel management and consumer-style experience across all companies but is best met by one channels. Smaller businesses, like their with expertise in this sector. larger counterparts and with fewer The absence of a robust travel resources, want to enable their policy underlines the need for workforce to travel and trade in a very hands-on approach, the safest, most comfortable meeting airline costs and and cost-effective way. hotel room rates on a  Unfortunately, traditional case-by-case basis. managed travel models Put your travel have not served the management in the sector well, as they were hands of a TMC that inefficient and so SMEs is a part of the SME derived little value. sector and you  Times are changing, become a big fish in however. Progressive, a smaller pond. Each technology-focused Are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) client gets more TMCs seek to extend better off working with smaller travel management personal service their solutions and companies or is size irrelevant? Two TMCs of precisely because they expertise to allow SMEs contrasting stature have their say are cared for by a to profit from a tailored smaller team. policy and programme What’s more, a smaller because there is no oneTMC understands that an size-fits-all approach. SME has to adapt quickly  To meet traveller demands, a because it too has to be flexible TMC needs supplier relationships to meet the needs of clients. for choice of content; volume and In this respect, they combine access scale for the best deals; and technology to leading technology and software with and expertise to give travellers personalised global partnerships to offer competitive experiences anytime and anywhere. airline net fare pricing and corporate hotel  This new breed of TMC will offer data and rates, matching their larger compatriots. guidance to continually improve programmes; With a TMC in this sector, each client is a combination of online and mobile travel working with a close-knit, experienced unit. technology backed by human expertise and Queries don’t go through to a call centre 24/7 service; and a personalised, seamless where you’re unlikely to get through to the experience pre-, on- and post-trip, locating same person twice; when you’re given 24/7 travellers in times of disruption and support it’s with that same small team. contacting them proactively, as and when As an SME, keeping they need information.  Effective managed clients happy is how you build your business. It’s travel is a driver of how you work and it’s growth and SMEs how smaller TMCs should and can benefit Jason Geall work too. from it today.

Does size really matter?

SMEs can profit from a tailored policy and programme because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to travel”

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SMEs / Beginner's guide

EFFECTIVE RISK MITIGATION Travel security and health risks have a greater potential impact on SMEs, says International SOS’s security expert James Wood, who advises on best practice All companies have a moral and legal obligation to keep their employees safe while travelling on business but, for SMEs, smaller budgets, limited resources and less experience means travel incidents have a greater potential impact on their business. Recent terrorist incidents in the UK and across Europe have put emphasis on the need for businesses of all sizes to have robust solutions in place to protect their travelling employees. It is therefore crucial for SMEs to put in place risk mitigation policies which are effective, consistent across borders and flexible. Businesses of all sizes have a duty of care to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, with employers held culpable if proven they did not do enough to support their workers. Remember, smaller companies cannot hide behind smaller budgets; legislation applies as equally to SMEs as it does to multinational companies. Implementing a comprehensive travel risk policy also makes good business and operational sense. When it comes to travel risks, every country is different. The same applies to organisations – there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to travel management. However large the organisation, travel patterns and culture play a significant role in developing a good travel risk framework, and those just getting to grips with it should digest the following advice.

Smaller companies cannot hide behind smaller budgets; legislation applies as equally to SMEs as it does to multinationals” 70

Six things SMEs should do to ensure their travel policies are effective: OWNERSHIP Clearly identify who is responsible for travel risk management in your company and ensure there is clear definition of responsibilities at management level when it comes to managing your mobile workforce abroad.

I

INFORMATION Make sure sources used are objective and up-to-date so that decisions are based on reality. Issues like healthcare provision and road safety, which accounted for over 70% of the assistance provided by International SOS last year, can often be obscured by less likely issues such as terrorist attacks.

COMMUNICATION Have the right communications in place, from pre-travel information to multimodal two-way communications in case of an incident or emergency.

PREVENTION Working with a travel risk management company can help you develop an integrated framework which covers pre, during and post-travel. This also results in cost and insurance savings.

EDUCATION Educate employees on the travel framework and their risk profiles. International SOS’s Business Impact survey shows this is a key priority. SMEs may have an advantage given they have fewer staff but they may need outsourced support.

CHECK REGULARLY It is essential to review your mitigation framework and identify priority areas if there are gaps. Our Business Impact survey shows that more than a quarter of European executives are not confident in their level of preparedness.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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SMEs / Case study

[ the tmc option ]

getting it together Find out how one fast-growing SME transformed its unmanaged travel programme and reaped the benefits of engaging a TMC

Deciding whether to engage the services of a travel management company can be a real conundrum for small companies with relatively low business travel volumes. Some see only the cost of a booking fee and rates they might beat by going direct to suppliers. Others see the benefits of using a TMC – chiefly spend consolidation, visibility and time-saving efficiencies. Read on to find out how one company took the plunge and what it achieved by appointing its first TMC.

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Objectives

results

,

A UK-based technology software provider had grown from two to 50 employees in five years and its business travel volumes were also increasing rapidly and out of line with profit growth. The company had no real travel policy or cost controls and, moreover, there was no ownership of travel internally. It had no TMC in place and it also had concerns around traveller safety and security. The company had a team of three sales personnel travelling across Europe weekly and to the US monthly. Ultimately, the company was seeking savings on air fares and hotels, plus booking efficiency gains. It wanted to implement a travel policy, assign responsibility for business travel to a member of staff and monitor policy compliance.

execution The financial director was assigned as the travel owner within the company and it implemented a travel policy based on industry benchmarks advised by its newly appointed travel management company, Corporate Travel Management (CTM). The company signed up to airline loyalty agreements – both corporate and individual traveller schemes – and secured specific SME airfares and hotel rates. It also began weekly pre- and post-trip reporting to monitor spend and compliance.

After six months the company achieved: • 93% policy compliance • 15% airfare and 4% hotel savings • 55% online adoption • Four hours per week saved per person on making bookings • Travel costs falling; client profits growing • Visibility of spend and reasons for travel

After 12 months: • 97% policy compliance • 23% airfare and 5% hotel savings • 74% online adoption • Automated approval tool implemented • The company was promoted to ‘silver’ status within its TMC's client portfolio

SAVINGS Travel management company CTM offers some advice to SMEs seeking savings on business travel: • Implement a simple, clear travel policy incorporating air travel rules, hotel booking rules, ground transportation and ancillaries such as airport parking. • Consider an approvals process to capture missed savings and unnecessary trips. • Consider advance

purchase rules and regional route caps for air travel and city rate caps for hotel bookings. • Mandate the use of preferred suppliers. • Sign up to and strategically use airline and hotel loyalty programmes – both corporate schemes and individual traveller schemes. With thanks to Stuart Birkin, Director of Account Management at Corporate Travel Management (CTM)

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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Relax. We’ve got it covered. Fast and simple with no set-up costs, Navigator brings together the essential elements of business travel, making it easier for you to save time, reduce your costs and add value for your travellers. Talk to our team to find out more about our ‘out of the box’ travel and meetings management solution. capitatravelevents.co.uk travelevents@capita.co.uk 0330 390 0340

Capita Travel and Events Limited. Registered office: 17 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1QT Registered in England No. 01094729. Part of Capita plc. www.capita.co.uk. All rights reserved.

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SMEs / Reader's Rant

[ READER'S RANT ]

BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT! An anonymous travel manager hits out at suppliers’ and TMCs’ disinterest in their modest travel spend as an SME

We don’t have a multimillionpound spend – we barely hit two million – and I can name every single traveller in my programme (there are only about 100, so I’m not exactly Rain Man) so I know we’re never going to get a huge amount of attention from TMCs and travel suppliers. Fair enough, I can live it with that. But it doesn’t mean that my travel spend is no good to you. More fool all those suppliers who go out of their way to make us think it is! If I had a pound for each supplier who gave some halfhearted response to my approaching them offering my business (er, hello? Am I supposed to do your job for you?!)

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then I’d have at least enough for several rounds of drinks to lament being an SME fish in a very big travel management pond. Our business is there for the taking and yet because our spend is modest we’re often treated like a poor relation. You all want to land the big fish but you’re missing a trick by ignoring us minnows. And don’t think we didn’t see through your thinly-veiled cosying up to the SME sector when the global financial crisis hit. I can’t fly our employees in business class all the time, they’ll never stay in a five-star hotel as long as they work for us, and I can’t magic up a bigger spend, but I still have market share to offer. You won’t give me route deals, you scoff at requests for corporate rates, and I fight to get a seat at the table. Those of you who can see far enough past the end of your nose to court us stand out for all the right reasons. Our TMC gave us the warm and fuzzies from the beginning by clearly valuing us and our modest spend, a lesson some of the rest of you could do with learning. But then again, my SME spend is no good to you, is it?

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Consider this... / SMEs

[ AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH ]

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL A network of independent travel consultants is growing its share of the business travel market based on the premise of providing tailormade, personal service and a single point of contact

S

maller travel management companies make much of the personal service they deliver clients, arguing that their typically smaller clients aren’t competing for time and attention with larger, big-spending companies. And if the logic is that the smaller an agency is, the higher its service levels, then look no further than Travel Counsellors, which comprises some 1,500 independent travel professionals operating as microbusinesses, backed up by 250 staff at head office. Indeed, Travel Counsellors makes much of its personal service, tailormade programmes and satisfaction levels. It claims 96% of clients recommend it and that Travel Counsellors for Business is the fastestgrowing area of the company. It offers account management, programme optimisation and compliance management to an extent dictated by the client as they work with their personal Travel Counsellor. The business has access to 450,000 hotels worldwide and negotiated air fares, but it doesn’t provide a self-booking tool – that would rather defy the point of its existence. “We’re all highly experienced and we’re all our own bosses,” says Tim Fitzgerald, a Brighton-based Travel Counsellor specialising in business travel. “You’re not just dealing with a consultant, but a business owner. I truly believe we are the best at service.”

Having worked for American Express and Flight Centre Business, he was drawn to Travel Counsellors by the chance to be his own boss. “Six years later I’ve got 40 companies with very little attrition,” he says. His clients – largely secured through cold calling – come in all forms, from an annual travel spend of £10,000 with five or six significant trips a year, through to a handful of clients spending up to £350,000. They’re also geographically diverse, located from Leeds and London to Latvia and New York. “Typically they have 20-50 staff and you get to know them all very well. I build traveller profiles with their passport, ESTA and visa expiry dates and details of all their loyalty schemes and Avios points. We keep sight of everything and use information strategically,” says Fitzgerald. “I always offer account management and advice on travel policy and I’m helping more clients move towards looking at total trip cost,” he says. The cost of the service varies by client and by Travel Counsellor, who are free to set their own booking fees within a structure recommended by head office. “We might not be the cheapest but we are the best at what we do,” says Fitzgerald. “Clients can phone me at any time of the night but until

they find themselves having to do that they don’t fully appreciate the value of the service.” So what about time off? “The downside is not being able to switch off,” Fitzgerald concedes. “I’m on call 24/7 but we can buddy up with colleagues to handle each other’s clients when we’re on holiday or out of reach.” The model might not be for everyone – certainly not companies that do not lie within the SME bracket – and not necessarily even for all small companies. If you want selfbooking technology, in-depth data and wider travel consultancy services then you’ll need to start your search elsewhere. “If someone says they’re located by Gatwick and they only fly easyJet then we’re not going to save them money,” says Fitzgerald, although he is quick to point out that’s it’s not all about savings and time efficiency – duty of care is also paramount. He continues, “Some clients use us only for air travel because they have negotiated rates in place with hotels. I also work with some senior executives at companies that otherwise employ a more traditional TMC.” Others place their complete travel needs in his hands, as a client of Fitzgerald explains. “When our clients say jump we have to jump,” says the CEO of brand agency Space Doctors. “We have to be really responsive and Tim helps us do that. He gets us where we need to be without missing a beat.”

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SMEs / Data

NUMBERS GAME The figures below paint a picture of business travel programmes at SMEs in the UK and Europe versus those at their larger counterparts. While in some cases there are marked contrasts, there is also evidence to suggest that they encounter similar challenges. For the purposes of the survey, companies spending less than £1million on business travel per annum were classed as SMEs. Those spending more than this threshold comprise the ‘others’ category. Data extracted from the Business Travel Show industry report 2017.

THE NUMBER OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS FEWER THAN 50 51-100 101-500 500+

SMEs

OTHERS

60% 24% 12% 4%

0% 2% 10% 88%

THE SME OUTLOOK

44%

of SMEs don’t use a travel management company

8%

THE PERCENTAGE OF COMPANIES WITH TRAVEL POLICIES SMEs OTHERS

of SMEs are unhappy with the service they receive from their TMC

72% 98%

TRAVEL SPEND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS RISE FALL STATIC

SMEs

OTHERS

36% 32% 32%

38% 18% 44%

of SMEs believe today's TMCs must evolve if they are to have a future

HOW OFTEN TRAVELLERS BOOK OUTSIDE POLICY ALWAYS REGULARY SOMETIMES RARELY NEVER

SMEs 4% 0% 56% 32% 8%

WHY TRAVELLERS BOOK OUTSIDE POLICY PRICE PREFERENCE GO DIRECT FORGET POLICY OTHER

SMEs 20% 16% 16% 24% 0%

OTHERS 18% 32% 20% 14% 0%

OTHERS 0% 4% 52% 42% 2%

32%

of SMEs do not have a traveller risk strategy in place, although half of that figure intend to implement one

12% of SMEs consider disruptors such as Airnbnb and Uber threatening or very threatening, versus 36% of larger companies Source: Business Travel Show Industry Report 2017

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DEPARTURES

New kid on the block DOrsett City Hotel, Aldgate, London THE LOWDOWN Right in the heart of London’s financial district, the Dorsett City Hotel opened for business in July. The 13-storey building formerly known as The Matrix has 267 guestrooms and suites alongside two restaurants, a rooftop bar, 24-hour gym and 1,600ft2 of meeting space. The sleek building is located next to Aldgate Underground station and the 18th century St Botolph Church. Two dining options in the hotel are Shikumen, offering Asian-inspired dishes, and VingtQuatre (VQ), the home of 'comfort cuisine' and cocktails.

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that's a FACT The four-star Dorsett City hotel is only the Hong Kong-based hospitality group's second property outside Asia, joining the Dorsett Shepherds Bush, also in London. It has two further London hotels in the pipeline and several in Australia. they said it “All bedrooms are designed and inspired by Dorsett’s very own in-house design team which reflects the unique Dorsett brand concept: modern, innovative and comfortable.” RATES Room rates start from £155 per night. Guestrooms range from Superior to Suites.

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DEPARTURES

On the road with

Dave Ward SLING ME BACK TO SINGAPORE

As Operations Director for Hydrodive, Dave Ward flies around the world on business, but it's a glass of Champagne that oils his travel plans Most recent trip: London. Next trip: Probably Singapore.

GOOD & BAD

DETAILS Name: Dave Ward. Position & Company: Operations director, HydroDive. Nature of your business: Sub-sea oilfield solutions, dive support vessels and offshore diving. Based in: Lagos. Business trips per year: It varies from year to year. The downturn in the energy sector means that I have certainly travelled less over the last 12 months, but that could all change now that the oil and gas industry is picking up again. Estimated annual mileage: Honestly, I've no idea. It's difficult to estimate and it obviously varies but I'd guess around 100,000 miles. Regular destinations: Middle East, Ghana and Singapore.

A GLASS OF KRUG PLEASE!

Positive memorable experience: Enjoying Emirates' Dubai airport lounge during a four-hour layover. Worst business travel experience: I once landed in central India instead of the west coast when my flight went technical. The airline was totally unhelpful and even though I was travelling business class I had to pay cash upfront for food while I was stuck on the ground.

SUPPLIERS Preferred airline or hotel and why: Emirates. It's so comfortable and the inflight experience is relaxing. There are large IFE screens and the cabin crew are attentive but EMIRATES not intrusive. RULES FOR Loyalty points – obsessive RELAXATION collector or not bothered? Not bothered. Favourite loyalty scheme: None.

STEPPING ONBOARD Flights: work, rest or play? Rest. It’s good to have a break from my phone ringing. Onboard connectivity – take it or leave it? Leave it. The time without emails certainly gives you a chance to think and wind down. Onboard habits: I organise my belongings like glasses, notebook and landing card just before the flight lands so they are not trapped under my seat. I can't bear to be scrambling around.

DESTINATIONS Happy never to go back to: Mumbai or Houston.

Send me back to: Singapore. It’s simply an amazing place. Top overseas landmark: I don’t have a personal favourite.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT One thing that would improve business travel: A glass of Krug Champagne always helps. Biggest business travel irritation: Having to the call the cabin attendant several times, or if they forget to bring what I have asked for. Pack light or go prepared? I always travel light. Never leave home without: Checking my itinerary and being sure of flight times, connections and which hotel I’m staying in.

TRAVEL POLICY Stick to the travel policy or a bit of a maverick? I tend to be a bit of a maverick by nature, but we have a good company TRAVEL travel policy in place, so POLICY MADE XXXXX there is no need to stray EASY too far from the policy. Our TMC – Wings Travel Management – ensures that our travellers comply and are happy with what they get. If you could change one thing about your travel policy... I'd make sure I only ever have to travel with airlines whose cabin crew greet you with a smile and a glass of Champagne when you board the plane!

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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EVENT REVIEW

Avis Budget UK at

Henley Royal Regatta

A warm and hospitable welcome from Avis Budget UK

Henley Royal Regatta ▼

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

▲ 30.06.2017

Lunch is served – delicious! Gently down the stream...

For more photos from the event visit thebusinesstravelmag.com

Don’t mind if I do!

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Over £10,000 was raised on the day for Team Reece, a charity conducting research into brain tumour cancers. Inspiring the collection with his own story of battling the disease was Reece Holt

Reece and his family pictured with Penny Worthy from Avis (left)

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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DEPARTURES

Meeting in

Belfast

WOW FACTOR

Belfast is being hailed as the up-and-coming destination for savvy event professionals in search of a hidden gem. This vibrant and compact city is a world leader in cyber-security, agri-food, financial technology and creative industries

ON A SHOESTRING

Titanic Belfast

Crumlin Road Gaol

Assembly Buildings

1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast, BT3 9EP / 028 9076 6386 / titanicbelfast.com

53-55 Crumlin Road, Belfast, BT14 6ST 028 9074 1500 / crumlinroadgaol.com

2-10 Fisherwick Place, Belfast, BT1 6DW 028 9041 7200 / assemblybuildings.co.uk

Voted the World’s Leading Visitor Attraction in the 2016 World Travel Awards, this impressive building offers two floors of dedicated conference and banqueting facilities as well as its popular interactive visitor galleries. The Titanic suite – with a replica staircase from the Oscar-winning film – is the backdrop for events. Bespoke day delegate packages are available and start from £25 per person.

With a range of modern conferencing and hospitality facilities, Belfast’s Victorian prison – in use for 150 years from 1846 – is an unusual space for events. Options include the Governor's Boardroom and The Scullery. Private tours offer guests the chance to visit cells and wander the tunnels to the nearby courthouse. NO ESCAPE DDRs start from FROM THE £16 per person. PAST

Following an £8million refurbishment, the former Presbyterian church headquarters offers state-of-the-art technology in a historically rich environment. The city centre venue provides a range of unique spaces which can accommodate from as few as ten delegates in a boardroom or one of the elegant meeting rooms, up to as many as 1,150 attendees in the Assembly Hall. Enquire for delegate rates and further info.

SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

Getting there Belfast is easily accessible from the UK with over 230 flights a week to and from London alone. The city has two airports (Belfast City and Belfast International), both located close to the city centre and they are served from over 20 cities around the UK.

QUIRKY VENUE

WIRED UP

OUT OF TOWN

Bullitt Belfast

Belfast Waterfront

Culloden Estate & Spa

40A Church Lane, Belfast, BT1 4QN 028 9590 0600 / bullitthotel.com

Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3WH 028 9033 4400 / waterfront.co.uk

Bangor Road, Cultra, BT18 0EX 028 9042 1066 / hastingshotels.com

Belfast’s newest hotel likes to do things differently, offering 45 rooms – from ‘dinky’ to ‘roomy’ – rainfall showers, grub-to-go bags and king-sized beds. The hotel makes a virtue of its hip design, and features a buzzing espresso bar, Taylor and Clay restaurant, rooftop bar and the private hire Good Room. Half-day hire of the latter SHOOT costs £150; a full FROM THE day is from £250. HIP

Belfast’s award-winning conference centre added a 4,000m2 extension in May 2016. Offering the latest AV tech and wifi, the building has capacity for over 2,200 delegates and offers functional exhibition and breakout spaces with views over the river Lagan. Belfast Waterfront is adjacent to the Hilton Belfast and within minutes’ walk of 20 city centre hotels. Enquire for delegate rates and further info.

Overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coastline, the Culloden Estate and Spa was built as a ELEGANT palace for the MEETING Bishops of Down SPACES and stands in 12 acres of secluded gardens and woodland minutes from Belfast. Elegant meeting spaces are combined with highly-rated service. DDR packages start from £55 per person.

Further information Contact the Visit Belfast Business Tourism team for advice on all aspects of organising a conference or event in the city: conference@visitbelfast.com / visitbelfast.com/conference / 028 9023 9026 / @visitbelfastbiz

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DEPARTURES

Osaka

On business in… The port of Osaka is Japan’s second largest city. It played a key role in the rice trade during the country's Edo period but today is an economic powerhouse home to several major technology companies

options in the neon-lit Dotonbori

Rapid Service. The Nankai Rap:t

district, but for dining at the luxury

express trains take about 34 minutes

Most major international hotel

end of the scale try Matsuzakagyu

to Namba Station. From the more

brands have a presence in Osaka,

Yakiniku M for fine Japanese beef.

central Itami Airport there is a regular

including the likes of Marriott,

Sushi fans should make for Harukoma.

monorail and bus service. Taxis are

SLEEPING

readily available but expensive.

InterContinental and Hilton. For a luxury European-style hotel, the

DRINKING

Hankyu International is a good choice Getting there Osaka is served by Itami Airport (also known as Osaka International Airport), the city's primary domestic airport, and Kansai International Airport, further south of the city. There are no non-stop flights from the UK, so fly instead to Tokyo Haneda or Narita with British Airways, ANA or Japan Airlines, with onward flights to Itami and Kansai operated by both ANA and JAL. Alternatively, fly to Kansai with Air France via Paris, Finnair via Helsinki and Emirates via Dubai, among others. A further option is to catch a Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Osaka, with a journey time of 2.5 hours.

while The Fraser Residence is located close to the Namba business district.

Japan is well known for its

PARTAKE IN PANCAKES

EATING

MUST-SEE SIGHTS

Karaoke scene, so have a

Check out the bright lights of Minami,

few drinks and grab a

packed with shops, restaurants and

microphone at Moonshine

bars, in the southern downtown area

Karaoke Bar. For craft beer head to Garage 39 in the heart

of Osaka. The iconic Osaka Castle (pictured) is a popular destination to

No trip to Osaka is complete with

of Osaka, a relaxed and trendy bar

see traditional architecture and

eating Osaka-style okonomiyaki, a

which also serves food. Fine Japanese

discover Japanese history. Take the

Japanese savoury pancake – head to

and world whiskies are on the menu

elevator to the top of the Umeda Sky

Okonomiyaki Chitose to experience it.

at Whisky Dining WWW.W, although

Building for brilliant 360-degree

There are plenty of street food

reservations should be made to

views of the city.

guarantee entry.

GETTING DOWNTOWN

GREAT VIEWS OF THE CITY

Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located 40km south of Osaka. The JR Haruka limited express train goes directly into Tennoji station as does the slower but cheaper JR Airport

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DEPARTURES

Focus on...

The trio of states that comprise the USA’s West Coast make up an economic powerhouse driven by technology and entrepreneurship. Colin Ellson is your guide to Washington, Oregon and California

West Coast USA

The East and West Coasts of the US are chalk and cheese. While the East is fast-paced and home to financial firms, the cities on the shores of the Pacific are more laid-back and noted for their entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology. Consisting of states which include California and Oregon, with an economic output equivalent to the combined wealth of Indonesia, Switzerland and Mexico, the West Coast is big in every sense. California, for example, has the largest population of any state in the country, some 38 million people. The state is home to major many businesses, including those in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, where Facebook, Google and Apple have

their headquarters. And with a growing GDP of $2.23 trillion in 2015, there is a significant opportunity for UK firms to enter the market. The clincher is that American customers love British brands, which they associate with high quality, hand craftsmanship, and traditional family skills passed on down the years. Washington state, meanwhile, is home to business behemoths in Seattle and the surrounding region that include Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Expedia and Starbucks. The UK already has a strong trade relationship with the US, worth £45.3billion in exports to the West Coast, but a shadow looms in the shape of Brexit.

Which is why the UK International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, flew to the US in June to discuss the two countries’ bilateral trade relationship after Brexit with US trade representative Robert Lightzhizer. During the meeting, both ministers committed to strengthen economic links between the UK and US, including the possibility of laying the groundwork for a potential new trade agreement soon after Brexit. Said Dr Fox, who was making his first international trip after the General Election: “I am delighted to be making my first visit back to the US, which is our largest single trading partner, accounting for a fifth of all exports.

US WEST COAST Time zone: GMT -8hrs Currency: US dollar (£1=$1.30) Dialling code: +001 Visas: UK passport holders do not generally need a visa when visiting on business but must be in possession of a valid ESTA. They can be purchased online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta

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DEPARTURES

“Our talks underlined the shared interest in forging a closer trade and economic relationship, including making progress on policy coordination, regulatory issues and expanding trade and investment between our economies.” In a joint statement, Lightzhizer added: “As UK negotiations with the European Union begin, I look forward to working with Dr Fox and the United States Congress to lay the groundwork for our future trade relationship, including exploring the possibility of a new US-UK agreement. “In the meantime, the United States is committed to continuing discussions for improving trade and investment, and coordination on addressing global excess capacity issues.”

Whatever the trade implications of Britain leaving the EU, the West Coast will continue to be a major market for UK trade and investment, with all major cities no more than 11 hours from the UK. The region is key to the airlines and has attracted significant interest. Virgin Atlantic, for example, has taken over the Heathrow to Seattle route from partner Delta, and the arrival on the scene of low-cost Norwegian Air has shaken up the fares situation. The airline, which flies from Gatwick to Los Angeles and Oakland, San Francisco, has taken delivery of its first two new Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft. “The Max 8 will pave the road for a totally new concept. It gives us the ability to open up routes

between Europe and the US on a new fares basis,” says Norwegian founder and CEO, Bjorn Kjos. This poses something of a threat to the competition, not least British Airways, which has responded by unveiling its own low-cost carrier, Level. Based in Barcelona, the airline will serve Los Angeles and Oakland, San Francisco, from the Spanish gateway. Talk is of one-way basic economy fares of £99 and premium economy returns from £1,285. Back in the UK, the flight schedule from the UK to cities on the US West Coast – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego – continues to expand, as will export potential to the region, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

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DEPARTURES

Factfile: West Coast USA FLIGHTS

Non-stop flights

Grand Hyatt in downtown seattle

SEATTLE: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly from London Heathrow to Seattle, Washington state, 12 times a week and daily respectively. PORTLAND: Delta Air Lines flies from Heathrow to the largest city in Oregon four times a week until October 2. The service is due to resume in April 2018. SAN FRANCISCO: From Heathrow, United Airlines and BA both serve the city twice-daily, and Virgin flies 13 times a week. From Manchester, Virgin departs three times weekly, while Thomas Cook Airlines offers two services a week. In addition, Norwegian flies from London Gatwick to Oakland San Francisco five times a week.

sl eep i n g

All of the big hotel chains have a presence on the US West Coast. Choice, one of world’s largest lodging groups, offers limited to full-service facilities, with the chain’s 11 brands represented in Los Angeles, San Francisco and nearby Oakland. Luxury brand Fairmont, which operates under the Accor LOS ANGELES: From Heathrow, umbrella, has upscale properties Air New Zealand and United offer in San Francisco, Seattle and San daily flights to Los Angeles, while aft er h our s Diego. Hilton Worldwide is also in American and BA provide doubleSan Diego and has six properties daily services, and Virgin has 21 SEATTLE: Visitors will see the in Los Angeles, including swanky services a week. In addition, lowSpace Needle from wherever they Beverly Hills and Pasadena. cost Norwegian flies daily to are in the city. Also worth a look Another big name is Los Angeles from Gatwick. are Pike Place Market, Woodland plenty of Hyatt, whose upscale flights to Park Zoo, Pacific Science Centre 'LA la land' hotels on the West Coast SAN DIEGO: The only and the Museum of Flight. include the flagship Grand services to the southern Hyatt San Francisco, along with Californian city from the UK are PORTLAND: Take time out in the Hyatt Central, Hyatt Place flown by BA from Heathrow seven lovely Forest Park or on a Food and Hyatt House. The group also times a week. Court Tour, visit Distillery Row operates the Manchester Grand and Lan Su Chinese Garden, and Hyatt San Diego. One-stop alternatives browse awhile in Powell’s Books, Top properties in Seattle, There are around 150 direct flights the largest independent chain of Washington state, include the from the UK to the West Coast bookstores in the world. Grand Hyatt, The Inn At The every week so it is hardly Market, Four Seasons and necessary to fly via a European SAN FRANCISCO: Must dos in the Kimpton Alexis. gateway or through a US transit spectacular City on the Bay In neighbouring Portland, point unless your journey begins include a ride over the Golden Oregon, central options at one of the UK’s many regional include Embassy Suites, airports. In which case it’s worth search for the Paramount, the checking options via Dublin and a star in Heathman, a Kimpton Reykjavik as well as connections to hollywood hotel and a Hilton. the non-stop services listed above. Marriott also has a high profile on the West Coast, offering many of its 30 brands, including Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, W hotels, JW Marriott, the Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Renaissance, Westin and Sheraton. The group has 118 properties in Los Angeles, 88 in San Francisco and 15 in San Diego, plus hotels in Silicon Valley.

86

Fairmont luxury in san fran

Gate Bridge and on the cable cars, sauntering along Fisherman’s Wharf and through Union Square, and visiting the former prison island of Alcatraz. LOS ANGELES: Get an overview of this sprawling metropolis on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, take the Hollywood Walk of Fame, join a trip to the neighbourhoods where the stars live, and find time for Universal Studios and Disneyland. SAN DIEGO: Home port of the US Pacific Fleet, San Diego is also home to SeaWorld, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum and La Jolla Caves.

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WIFI UP HIGH We’re the first European airline to offer WiFi across our entire fleet, so when you fly Virgin Atlantic or with our partner, Delta Air LinesŽ, you can stay connected on all your transatlantic flights. Find out more at virginatlantic.com

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DEPARTURES

Reality check FLI G HT : AIR CANADA, PR E M IU M E CO NO M Y THE FLIGHT

Flight AC851 from

London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Calgary, Alberta. Operated by a Dreamliner 787, the flight departed at 13.05. Premium

PRE-DEPARTURE

water, headphones and no frills amenity pack were on the seat. THE SERVICE

Welcome drinks of

orange juice or water were swiftly followed by menu delivery and hot

Economy passengers receive priority

towels. I chose the chicken which was

check-in and boarding, plus a larger

great – stuffed with parmesan and leak

baggage allowance (two 23kg checked

and served on Madeira-infused farro

bags). Efficient check-in staff and a

with cherry tomatoes and asparagus

smiley welcome onboard made for great

along with a salad, roll and butter.

first impressions. The aircraft was bright,

Dessert was a lemon tart and snacks

spotlessly clean and felt new. The smart

of ice cream and pretzels were served

charcoal and red seating and carpets

mid-flight. A second meal service –

were set in a cabin that felt roomy

chicken or roasted veg pastry – was

thanks to the sculpted overhead bins,

served prior to landing. Staff were

which gave plenty of head room, and

efficient and available with regular

while there was plenty of elbow room

the good lighting.

rounds of water throughout the flight.

and laptop space – plus power easily

THE SEAT

The Premium

THE VERDICT

accessible – for those working on route.

Premium Economy

In short, a very enjoyable flight.

Economy cabin was configured in three

offers good leg room and comfort

rows of 2-3-2 seating and there was a

and the general spaciousness of the

good sense of space and comfort. The

Dreamliner cabin sets the mood for an

wider seat, with seven-inch recline and

upbeat and comfortable journey. The

38-inch pitch, plus extra leg room and a

staff were attentive and professional

Heathrow to Calgary. Economy return

footrest, enhanced personal comfort.

throughout. The wide seat with

flights start from £595.27 including taxes

The touchscreen IFE selection included

adjustable back and footrest added

25 films, games and more. A bottle of

comfort for those who wanted to sleep,

PLENTY OF ELBOW ROOM AND SPACE FOR LAPTOPS

THE DETAILS

Air Canada operates a

range of flights from the UK including a daily non-stop service from London

and charges. aircanada.com

Julie Baxter

HOT E L : HOT E L AR T S, CAL G ARY, CANADA THE HOTEL

Formerly a Holiday Inn,

feature wall and distinctive art works.

Hotel Arts was bought and rebranded in

The bathroom had a bath with overhead

2005 when it reopened as Calgary’s first

power shower and was a reasonable size.

‘designer boutique-style hotel’. The 185

THE FACILITIES

A select buffet and à la

guestrooms, two restaurants – Raw Bar

carte breakfast is served each morning in

and Yellow Door Bistro – reflect a culture

the Yellow Door Restaurant which, for

that celebrates innovation and attention-

lunch and dinner, offers bistro-inspired

to-detail and aims to be distinctive and

cuisine. It was named Best Restaurant

just that little bit different.

2015 at the Tourism Calgary White Hat

THE CHECK-IN

The hotel certainly lives

Awards and is especially rated for its

up to its name, with a wide range of

weekend brunch menu. The Raw Bar

interesting and world-class pieces of art

features 'Vietmodern' cuisine and an

in its entrance hall, reception and public

award-winning range of cocktails in a

areas. The check-in was quick and easy

contemporary lounge-style setting open

and the staff were friendly. My first

Tuesday to Saturday. In the summer, the

impressions were of a designer feel

bar links to the poolside patio where

property with widespread use of slate,

meals are served al fresco. Guests will

with lots of character and quirky style.

glass and object d’art.

look twice at lamps made from a life-

The somewhat uninspired exterior hides

THE ROOM

My standard room

sized horse or rabbit sculpture, high-

included two very comfortable queen-

back booth style chairs, multicolour glass

sized beds, desk area and chair. The

ceiling light features and mismatched

sliding floor to ceiling doors opened to a

black and yellow chairs in the restaurants.

small balcony overlooking the road and

There is a small open air pool in the

Calgary Tower beyond. Contemporary in

centre of the building, viewable through

style, leather furnishings and stylish

floor to ceiling windows in the hotel's

modern lamps were set against a funky

reception and lounge area.

88

THE VERDICT

A QUIRKY HOTEL WITH BAGS OF CHARACTER AND A GOOD LOCATION

An interesting hotel

a boutique property which is home to a restaurant of high renown and world class art works. The beds are super comfy and the location is great. THE DETAILS

Hotel Arts, 119-12th

Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta. Rates start from around £99. hotelarts.ca

Julie Baxter

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DEPARTURES

HOT E L : NOVOT E L , TO U L O U SE THE HOTEL

Novotel Toulouse

chair and plenty of power points around

Centre Wilson is in the picturesque heart

the room. There was a large wardrobe

of Toulouse beside Jardin Pierre Goudouli

and plenty of storage space.

on Place Wilson. It is close to the Jean-

THE FACILITIES

The hotel has a lounge

Jaures metro station and there are two

area in the reception and a modern and

public car parks nearby. Toulouse airport

bright bar connecting to the open lounge

is around 20 minutes away by car.

area. La Brasserie Du Capoul is a

THE CHECK-IN

I arrived at the hotel

traditional brasserie and there is the

in the afternoon following a flight from

Novotel Cafe by Capoul which is an open

London Luton and an airport transfer.

plan space suitable for business

The reception is bright, modern and

meetings. There is also a breakfast buffet

scaled down with a small desk. Check-in

available in the morning. For meetings

was quick and I was settled into my

and events the hotel has three room

room in minutes.

options. The Vivaldi room can sit up to 40 I stayed in a Superior

THE ROOM

people theatre-style and the Mozart room

room located on the top floor of the

is suitable for boardroom meetings of up

hotel. It was modern and comfortable,

to 12 attendees. The larger Espace

across the city. Rooms were comfortable

but did not benefit from much natural

Capoul can hold up to 200 delegates for

and free wifi access is a boon for

light due it being an attic room with a

dinner events. The facilities benefit from

single roof window. The bedroom and

AV facilities, high-speed internet access

bathroom were divided by a glass

and screens and projectors. Leisure

partition which had a mist function for

facilities include a fitness centre, suana,

privacy. The room had a queen-size bed

hammam and jacuzzi.

and in-room amenities included free wifi,

THE VERDICT

business guests. The staff were helpful

MODERN COMFORTS IN THE HEART OF TOULOUSE

convenient for business travellers and

screen TV. There was a large desk and

there are good road connections from

THE DETAILS

Novotel Toulouse

Centre Wilson, 15, Place Wilson, 3100 Toulouse, France. Nightly rates are available from €95. Check-in and check-

The central location is

a minibar, rain shower, safe and a flat-

and friendly throughout my stay.

out are both midday. novotel.com

Benjamin Coren

FLIG HT : T HAI AIR WAY S, BU SINE SS CL ASS THE FLIGHT

TG917 from London

comfortable private space. At 20 inches,

Heathrow Terminal 2 to Bangkok’s

the seat felt wide, the lie-flat option was

Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

easy to operate and came without any

Operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, the

of the lumps and bumps of some other

flight left at 21.20.

business ‘beds’. The oversized fold-out

PRE-BOARDING

Check-in was at

table was a neat feature. The only slight

Terminal 2’s A Zone. Three hours before

negative was the rather clunky seat belts

the flight, both Business (Royal Silk)

– theme park ride-style – that fitted over

desks were vacant and I was the sole

the shoulders and felt quite restrictive.

passenger. I was welcomed with a smile

THE SERVICE

The smiles started as I

and shown the way to the business

boarded the plane and were never far

lounge. It's a 15-minute walk

away during the duration of the flight –

(underneath the runway to the B gates)

a precursor of what I was to find in the

to Star Alliance partner United Airlines'

‘Land of Smiles’. As soon as I took my

lounge. There were plenty of stools,

seat I was offered a hot towel (on a

allowing passengers the space to enjoy

chairs and couches, with power points

silver platter), Champagne (Veuve

the premium facilities and the in-flight

and phone charge stations, a wide range

Clique) and a bottle of water. For both

bells and whistles.

of hot food and snack options and a long

lunch and dinner we were offered a

central bar manned by two bar staff.

choice of a Western or Thai menu.

THE SEAT

Royal Silk Business

THE VERDICT

This was an extremely

is made up of 42 seats in rows 11-22,

comfortable way to pass almost 11

with the seats arranged in a 1-2-1

hours. The seat was spacious and its

configuration. I was in 12D, one of two

functionality easy to navigate; the AVOD

middle seats. These have aisle access

in-flight entertainment was modern and

and there is a wide arm rest/table divider

varied and the service struck the right

between the two, which helps create a

balance between attentiveness and

THE DETAILS

THE SMILES STARTED AS I BOARDED AND LASTED THROUGH THE FLIGHT

Thai Airways flies twice-

daily between Heathrow and Bangkok. The 12.30 departure from Heathrow is operated by an Airbus A380, as is the return overnight flight from Bangkok, which leaves at 01.20. Royal Silk Business class fares start from around £2,305. thaiairways.com

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DEPARTURES

The final word

Bonkers baggage C

hecking in a suitcase at the airport is just so conventional these days, as Qantas and Virgin Atlantic will testify. An Australian passenger flying with Qantas from Melbourne to Perth in July successfully checked in a single can of beer. What’s more, it emerged intact – if a little shook up – on the baggage belt upon arrival. A spokesperson for the airline told the New York Times: “To be honest, we don’t want to encourage people to do this. This guy’s done it and he’s won the internet for the day. We’re quite happy to move on.” Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic has revealed some of the unusual items that passengers have unsuccessfully tried to take onboard. They include a bag filled with water and four goldfish on a flight from

Barbados, a bath tub on a flight from Johannesburg, a fridgefreezer from Las Vegas, the headboard of a bed from Delhi and an entire dead cow presented in bubble wrap. Car parts also prove popular, with several passengers having

Fast Eddie

B

eleaguered train operator Southern finally earned some positive publicity this summer and it was all down to a 15-year-old work experience lad called Eddie. He more than doubled ‘positive sentiment’ towards the operator, which has risen to 40% from 17%, after taking control of the struggling train company’s Twitter account. In just two days he increased ‘likes’ by over 8,000% and retweets by over 1,000%, all by responding to pivotal questions like: “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?” and “Shall I have chicken fajitas tonight or chicken Thai green curry?” In case you were wondering, he opted for the 100 ducksized horses and fajitas for dinner. Good choices, Eddie! 90

attempted to transport engine parts, bumpers and tyres. Mark Anderson, Executive VP of Customer at Virgin Atlantic, says: “We’ve always flown to an eclectic mix of destinations, so it’s only right to expect an eclectic selection of baggage.”

THE TOP 10… INFLIGHT IRRITATIONS A survey of more than 1,300 UK adults by GoCompare has revealed air passengers’ biggest inflight irritations... 1. Having your seatback kicked 2. Drunk passengers 3. Fellow passengers’ personal hygiene 4. Unruly or crying children 5. Having to pay for expensive food and drink 6. Sitting next to an armrest hogger 7. Rude cabin crew 8. Overfilled overhead lockers 9. Chatty strangers 10. Noise from fellow passengers’ headphones

If you’ve got some annual leave and a few quid to spare, consider Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ new World of Adventures private jet itinerary. Departing in October, the 23-day trip will take you to Seattle, Kyoto, Bali, Seychelles, Rwanda, Marrakech, Bogota, the Galapagos Islands and Orlando, with iconic experiences along the way such as gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The price? A cool $138,000 per person

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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Your last chance to be there! New dates • New venue • New format

 Hilton London Bankside, Southwark 19-20 September 2017 To register for FREE, visit thebusinesstravelconference.com

The event for buyers and arrangers of business travel and meetings thebusinesstravelconference.com TBTC Advert.indd 1

7/26/17 10:58 AM


MEET US AT TBTC’17 September 19th - 20th The Hilton Bankside

TBTC The Business Travel Conference 2017

Your journey starts with us... At Applehouse, we don’t just offer outstanding business travel services. We provide peace of mind. With our highly trained and experienced team, every trip is in the best hands. We negotiate low fares and offer a secure, personalized service – one that’s won our business remarkable client loyalty. Our success is based on dedication, expert knowledge and the support of the industry-leading Southall Group. With one of the UK’s largest travel companies behind us, we can do what others can’t. In short, we’ve got the technology and supplier relationships to meet all your travel needs. See for yourself – call our skilled consultants today.

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The Business Travel Magazine August/September 2017  

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

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