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Corporate Traveller

autumn 2011 No. 41

 Belgium’s favorite Business Hotels

 What makes a good Travel Manager today?  The airports of tomorrow: The projects of Schiphol and Charles De Gaulle airports  “Online check-in should always mean a special check-in desk for the baggage drop-off” Ulla Hudina-Kmetic – Frequent Traveller  The new Alitalia  Quebec: Winter incentive destination











content Charles De Gaulle Airport


Corporate Traveller

THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER IN THE BENELUX CIRCULATION 26.000 DIFFUSION Belgium, France, Luxemburg and The Netherlands PUBLICATION FREQUENCY 4 issues per year PUBLISHED BY LEO bvba 1, rue des Ixellois, 4000 Liège, Belgium Tel: 0032 (0) 4 224 7871 Fax: 0032 (0) 4 226 9484 E-mail:

Industry News

Air Ways

004 The Journal

030 CityJet boosts network and rebrands with ‘Now You’re Flying.’ campaign

News from the travel industry

Hotels 010 Club CarlsonSM – Rezidor and Carlson’s fast track programme to free nights Carlson Group and the Rezidor Hotel Group, have revitalised and rebranded their loyalty programme under the name of Club Carlson.

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions to The Corporate Traveller cost € 150 per year (excluding VAT). Costs of delivery to destinations outside of Benelux and France are in addition to this price. Student subscriptions cost € 90 per year (including VAT). A student card is necessary to obtain a student subscription. Subscription requests can be made in writing, mentioning your name, job, title, company name and delivery address. Subscriptions are for a period of one year, and are automatically renewed until revocation. Revocation of subscriptions must be made in writing two months prior to the end of the subscription period. ADVERTISING ERIK DE RIDDER Tel: 0032 486 13 13 13 – E-mail: edr@ TRAFFIC HILDE DE RIDDER – E-mail: Traffic.leo@ DESIGN LEO BVBA PRINTING Schaubroeck, Nazareth COVER Charles De Gaulle Airport COPYRIGHT No extracts from this publication may be used, repeated or copied without express authorisation from the editor. Except The Corporate Traveller, LEO bvba also edits Experience Magazine, My Land Rover Magazine and Toys & Games Magazine. ISSN 1387-2400

Chen Mingqiong, Hainan’s General Manager for Brussels, tells us more about the airline’s 5-star offering.

TAP now flies to ten Brazilian destinations, from Fortaleza in the north, down to Porto Alegre, in the country’s southern most tip.

036 The new Alitalia

MANAGING EDITOR Jean Paul Talbot – E-mail:

ART DIRECTOR Bert Wagemans

032 Hainan Airlines

034 Flying to the pulse points of Brazilian business

PUBLISHER Erik De Ridder – E-mail:

EDITORIAL TEAM Joanna Pays, Angela Antrobus, Jeroen Coteur, Jacques Legros

CityJet is simultaneously increasing its offer to the Benelux while launching a new marketing campaign, ‘Now You’re Flying.’

012 Belgium’s favourite hotels The Corporate Traveller magazine has conducted a study among its readers to gauge their satisfaction with the Belgian hotel sector. This independent study, carried out with 280 business travellers established in the Benelux countries allows for the ranking of the “best business hotels” in the country into three classes.

Travel Management 019 The ideal Travel Manager BATM takes a moment to look at what makes a good Travel Manager today.

020 Discover total travel control and a world of new opportunities For Corporations, managing travel in today’s dynamic environment brings challenges and new opportunities in equal measure.

022 Meetings at High Speed Thalys’ new products are enticing more and more business travellers. Béatrice Pâques, the Marketing and Commercial Director for Thalys, is ready to field our questions.

025 Business as unusual The role of travel agents is now much, much broader than delivering tickets.

Insider 026 Rezidor Hotel Group’s Willem Van der Zee

Alitalia is continuing to improve the quality of its ground and onboard services, enhancing its offer with distinctive Italian features, the introduction of new aircraft and the selective expansion of its network.

038 TAROM joins SkyTeam Alliance Romanian airline TAROM joined Star Alliance on 25 June. We questioned Madalina Mezeim, General Manager for Belgium.

Destinations 041 The Many Faces of Namibia 044 Morning of the Magicians Quebec is transformed in winter into a highly original incentive destination which is very favourable for an active exploration trip.

Airports 046 The AirportCity The vision of the AirportCity at Schiphol has seen the airport grow not just in capacity, but also in the development of a multitude of innovations.

051 The Airport of the Future With a wave of developments underway, Paris-Charles de Gaulle is set to become Europe’s largest airport in terms of passenger capacity.

Lifestyle 054 Bose QuietComfort 15 The Quietest Bose Headphones Ever

Interview on his role as Regional Director Benelux-France

028 The Corporate Traveller Ulla Hudina-Kmetic, who works at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, answers our questions.

056 Sennheiser introduces new internet telephony headsets With the launch of new VoIP headsets, Sennheiser is bringing people and technology of all kinds closer together.


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The Traveller Journal News from the travel industry

Air Canada ranked Best International Airline in North America by Skytrax Air Canada has been ranked ‘Best International Airline in North America’ in a worldwide survey of 18.8 million air travellers for the Skytrax World Airline Awards. The Passengers Choice survey was conducted by the independent research firm Skytrax, between July 2010 and May 2011, using over 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airlines’ product and

service standards. “We are honored that the Skytrax World Airline Awards has recognized Air Canada as the Best International Airline in North America and that for the second year in a row it has placed Air Canada as among the very best airlines in the world” said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “It is also a tribute to our employees, whose dedication and professionalism are recognized by this prestigious award.”

Air France to offer two new French routes from Brussels Airport Jan-Willem den Ridder

Dolce Hotels and Resorts names Development Head for EMEA Region

Air France has launched two new French destinations from Brussels Airport, to Nantes and Bordeaux. The Nantes and Bordeaux flights are operated by Air France subsidiary Régional. Both destinations are served by two flights a day, from Monday to Friday, and one daily flight on Sundays. The new routes to Nantes and Bordeaux come in addition to the three times daily flights already offered by Régional between Brussels Airport and Lyon.

Dolce Hotels and Resorts has appointed Jan-Willem den Ridder as vice-president of development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Based in the United Kingdom, den Ridder is responsible for identifying prospects and marketing Dolce’s management services to meetings based hotels and resorts throughout the region. He reports to Steven A. Rudnitsky, Dolce president and CEO. “Jan-Willem den Ridder will be focused on accelerating Dolce’s expansion in the EMEA region, building on our strong existing base of operations in Belgium, France, Spain and Germany” said Rudnitsky.

KLM extends offer from Brussels to Amsterdam-Schiphol Thai Airways is to introduce non-stop services from Brussels to Bangkok, with three flights a week. The launch of the Brussels route marks the 72nd destination in Thai Airways’ network.


Flights will be operated using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft configured with 30 Royal Silk (business class) and 262 Economy class seats. All classes are equipped with personal TV screens and state of the art in-flight

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entertainment systems. Flights will depart Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 00.30, to arrive in Brussels at 07.00 hours. Return flights, also on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, will

leave Brussels at 13.30 to arrive in Bangkok at 06.20 the next morning. The Brussels-Bangkok direct services will commence on November 17.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Thai Airways introducing direct flights from Brussels to Bangkok Thai Airways is to introduce non-stop services from Brussels to Bangkok, with three flights a week. The launch of the Brussels route marks the 72nd destination in Thai Airways’ network. Flights will be operated using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft configured with 30 Royal Silk (business class) and 262 Economy class seats. All classes are equipped with

personal TV screens and state of the art inflight entertainment systems. Flights will depart Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 00.30, to arrive in Brussels at 07.00 hours. Return flights, also on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, will leave Brussels at 13.30 to arrive in Bangkok at 06.20 the next morning. The Brussels-Bangkok direct services will commence on November 17.

Air France KLM approves order of 110 Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft The Air France KLM Board of Directors has approved the order of 110 long-haul aircraft, with 50 firm orders and 60 options, subject to the finalization of discussions with the manufacturers. This first joint long-haul order by Air France and KLM will be with the objective of replacing, in the medium term, the fleet’s 200 / 350 seat aircraft to support the Group’s growing operations. Consistent with the provisional fleet plan, this order will result in the Group’s operation of 73 next generation

aircraft through 2024, with 43 Airbus A350-900 and 30 Boeing 787-9. The first Boeing 787-9 order will enter into service with KLM in 2016 and the first Airbus A350-900 with Air France in 2018. Later, both airlines will operate both types of aircraft. These new aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by over 15% and will give rise to a significant reduction in noise and gas emissions, confirming the Group’s commitments in terms of environmental and sustainable development.

United Continental Holdings to invest further $550 million in onboard improvements United Continental Holdings, the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines, is to invest more than half a billion dollars in onboard improvements. These product improvements include the continued deployment of flat bed seating on the airlines’ long haul fleets, the addition of Economy Plus seating and the installation of WiFi on more than 200 aircraft. These and other planned product changes come in addition to the 25 new aircraft, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, that United Continental will introduce to its fleet next year.

Schiphol Airport mobile App users viewed 5.5 million pages this summer Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s app for iPhone and Android has been downloaded 300,000 times since its launch at the end of 2010. A total of 19 million page views have been registered, with a surge in use over the holiday period this year, when more than 5.5 million pages were viewed via a mobile platform. Schiphol launched the app as a way to further expand its service to passengers and visitors. The app enables iPhone and Android mobile phone users to get personalised travel information, including flight information via ‘push notification’, as well as details about airport facilities and activities. The Schiphol App can be downloaded free of charge at App stores, including at the airport itself, using Schiphol’s free Wifi network.

Cathay Pacific confirms premium economy product Cathay Pacific is to introduce a premium economy product on it long and medium haul fleet. Chief Executive John Slosar confirmed the launch of the new product and promised passengers that it would be “a real upgrade over economy” and that they would really get a great product for the additional cost. “The seat will be more like a regional business class seat” said Slosar. “We’ll have great recline and plenty of leg space. But it’s not just the seat, we’ll have an improved service

as well. The meal service will be improved and little extras will leave anyone who chooses Cathay Pacific’s premium economy feeling they really got value for their money.” Cathay Pacific is deploying premium economy simultaneously to the installation of its new business class seats. The airline expects most of its fleet to be equipped by the end of 2012.


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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Delta unveils new Delta Sky Club in Seattle Thai Airways

creates new airline, Thai Smile Air

Delta Air Lines has celebrated the opening of a new Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Seattle-Tacoma is the latest in a line of new or renovated clubs to open as part of the airline’s $2 billion investments in on-the-ground and in-the-air services. Over the last year, Delta has unveiled nine renovated or new clubs across the Delta system, all featuring the award-winning new Delta Sky Club design. The Delta Sky Club concept includes a full service bar with complimentary beverages and snacks throughout the day, a work zone complete with complimentary Wi-Fi, cyber counters with power outlets, desktop computers and wireless printers. The Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma, located on the roof of the South Satellite, offers a full wall

Thai Smile Air, a new sub brand of Thai Airways International, is scheduled to begin its first flights in July 2012. The airline, to be based at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, will serve both domestic and international destinations.

of windows with a view of Mount Rainier. For international passengers travelling to or through Seattle, the club also offers shower suites and a recharge zone with comfortable lounge chairs.

Passenger rights group lobbies for end of ‘Shoes-Off’ Security Screenings The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) has welcomed the news that the US Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are moving toward revisions to airport security screening procedures – including allowing passengers to keep on their shoes. “We welcome the good news that the TSA is finally revising its outdated policy that has required all airline travellers to remove their shoes while going through security” said Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. “Instead of leading by example, TSA’s stubbornness over its ‘shoes off’ policy led to airline passengers being inconvenienced by longer security lines with little measurable impact on improved security. While AAPR strongly supports policies designed to make flying safer, we also expect

common sense policies that demonstrate their effectiveness. The ‘shoes off’ policy failed to meet that standard.” The Association for Airline Passenger Rights is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote fairer customer service and accessibility standards in the airline industry and to improve passenger satisfaction.

Singapore Airlines A380 to fly Singapore-Frankfurt-New York Singapore Airlines will fly the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380, on its Singapore – Frankfurt – New York route, as from 15 January. Frankfurt and New York will be Singapore Airlines’ ninth and tenth destinations to receive the superjumbo.


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The Singapore Airlines A380 has proven exceptionally popular with customers, with strong loads on all routes it serves. System-wide, more than 5.6 million customers have flown on the Airline’s A380s since the inaugural flight in October 2007 to Sydney.

In its first year of operations, Thai Smile Air will replace Thai Airways on certain domestic routes from Bangkok airport. The main target market for these initial in-country flights will be business travellers looking for a relaxed, stylish onboard atmosphere, but without paying a premium price. By 2013, Thai Smile Air’s fleet of 11 brand new 174-seat Airbus A320 planes are expected to fly to neighbouring countries including India, China and most ASEAN member states of Southeast Asia.

New loyalty programme for Swissôtel Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts has launched a new loyalty programme, Swissôtel Circle, to reward and recognize its most frequent guests. Under the scheme members are accorded preferential treatment and privileges at all properties of the international hotel chain. Membership for Swissôtel Circle is divided into three alpine-inspired tiers - Inizia, Elevà and Zenit. The journey with Swissôtel Circle starts with the Inizia level, when guests have registered and stayed for five nights in one or more of the company’s properties. These travellers enjoy benefits such as personalised room preferences, priority waitlist status, complimentary access to spa and sport facilities and Advantage Awards, which can be exchanged for free upgrades, breakfast or internet access.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Hotel survey shows increasing global hotel rates Hotels around the world have reported rate growth of 4% in the first half of 2011, according to the latest hotel survey from Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), the international corporate services company.

cost reductions, hotel rates in the majority of cities surveyed increased. Demand is driving the rate. We can expect hotel rates to continue to rise as more economies grow and business demand picks up.”

Of a total of 50 international cities surveyed, 33 reported a year on year increase in hotel rates, with strong growth noted in Asia and an unexpected boost from cities such as Istanbul. Overall growth would have been higher had cities in Africa and Eastern Europe not reported year on year decreases over the last six months.

Over two-thirds of the cities surveyed reported hotel rate growth, compared with only one-quarter of cities last year. These figures support signs of global recovery and pick up in business travel in recent months. Moscow retained its top position with the most expensive hotel rates, while Istanbul achieved the highest increase, 37%, due to the growing interest surrounding the city as a business destination. The strongest performing region was Asia Pacific, where average room rates rose by 7% due to the concentration of hotel development and financial centres including Hong Kong and Singapore. Hotel rates in Eastern Europe had the highest regional rate decrease, with a drop of 6.6%.

“Yet again our survey indicates how important it is for clients to keep control of their hotel programmes and drive volumes to maximise returns” commented Stewart Harvey, Group Commercial Director at HRG. “Despite the fact that many large companies have put in place travel restrictions and

Amadeus Benelux growth supported by new nominations Amadeus is continuing its growth in the Benelux market. Following on from recent announcements of an extended commercial structure and the creation of a new Business Development Department, Amadeus Benelux has appointed Ian Van Hove as Business Development Manager and Peter Coenaers as Customer Delivery Director. Ian Van Hove will report to Bart Bellers, Director Business Development and will focus on the company’s Travel Agency IT Solutions business. Peter Coenaers will report directly to Luc Pannecoeck, General Manager Amadeux Benelux.



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autumn 2011 | 7

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Best Western breaks into Russian market with two Moscow hotels

Amadeus introduces customizable itinerary to the Benelux

Best Western has entered into the Russian market with the opening of its first two hotels, both based in the capital Moscow.

Amadeus has launched Amadeus Email Plus, an intuitive web-based solution which helps travel agencies to serve customers better, by providing a content-rich and easy-to-use itinerary service.

The Vega Best Western Hotel & Convention Centre is located in one of Moscow’s leading historical and cultural areas, in the east of the city. It has 966 rooms and features business facilities which include a large conference centre and 11 rooms for business events. The Best Western Country Resort Hotel, situated 80km from the capital, has 153 standard rooms, suites and apartments. Facilities include a wellness centre, mini zoo, pine forest and a number of seminar rooms.

With Amadeus Email Plus, travel agents can instantly deliver real-time travel details to their customers via email from the Amadeus Selling Platform. More than just giving access to timely travel details, Amadeus Email Plus allows travel agents to add personal annotations making it easy for their customers to keep track of all valuable information. Travel agencies can centrally manage their itinerary design optimising their agents’ time and

reinforcing their image to customers. Amadeus Email Plus Document Center is an intuitive, web based administration tool offering travel agents the means to create and maintain itinerary templates for their agency and any affiliate offices. From a wide range of options travel agents can assemble their own personalized stationery including the agency logo. Amadeus Email Plus Document Center also includes an easy-to-use archive function with real time shipping status information. Amadeus Email Plus offers travel agents a high level of customization resulting in an individual and consistent display of travel information to boost brand recognition, thereby increasing customer loyalty and retention.

KLM introduces à la carte dining on Economy Class KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is now offering Economy Class passengers the opportunity to order à la carte meals on intercontinental flights originating in Amsterdam. The à la carte service, available for a fee on flights since 14 September, comes in addition to KLM’s standard catering on economy class. Four different à la carte meals are available - Healthy Japanese (a light Japanese meal), Bella Italia featuring popular Italian dishes, an Indonesian rice table with various traditional dishes and an exclusive vegetarian meal. The meals are prepared with fresh and healthy ingredients, at prices ranging from 12 to 15 euros. Passengers have the option to choose from KLM’s standard catering or from one of the four gourmet meals.

Passengers can place their meal orders from 90 days up to 48 hours ahead of departure. KLM offers its à la carte meal service to Economy Class passengers on intercontinental flights departing from Amsterdam to almost all destinations with the exception of Toronto, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Cairo. Passengers booking a ticket online can place their order at the same time and passengers who have already booked a ticket can place their meal orders via “Manage My Booking”.

Amadeus and SNCB Europe partnership leads to updated version of Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux Amadeus and SNCB Europe have extended their long standing partnership in rail distribution and simultaneously announced the release of the latest version of Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux in Amadeus e-Travel Management. The new version of Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux opens the door to an unparalleled rail booking experience. Relying on a more comprehensive fare and schedule database on the railway side, it builds


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on the current version and boasts a completely new user interface to support the improved booking flow. Among the new functionalities, business travellers will particularly appreciate the intuitive booking flow and easy navigation, with a fare and availability display that will allow them to find the best compromise between convenience and price when selecting the trains. There is also a rail profile where they can store their individual preferences, reduction cards and programs (such as Thalys The Pass), as well as their frequent traveller cards.

Using the new version, passengers can combine one-way fares, mix classes and indicate seating preferences. “As the use of self-booking tools becomes an integral part of many corporations’ travel policy, offering rail content in Amadeus e-Travel Management is essential for SNCB Europe, and Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux is the perfect tool to do just that ” said Brecht Vanhee, Project Manager B2B, SNCB Europe.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

InterContinental Hotels Group plans 100 hotels in Russia and CIS by 2020 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that it sees Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a huge growth opportunity. As such, the group plans to have 100 hotels open in the region by 2020.

IHG first entered Russia in 1998 when it opened the Holiday Inn Vinogradovo in Moscow. The group currently has 16 hotels across Russia and the CIS. IHG is continuing to grow in major cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg, but is now also expanding into regional centres

and fast-growing cities with well-established business communities and tourist attractions such as Samara, Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk.

BCD study shows that communications on company travel policies need improving A recent study by business travel specialists BCD Travel shows that communications on company travel policies need to be improved. Nearly a fifth of corporate travellers have no idea whether their company has a travel policy. At the request of BCD Travel, independent research firm iVox, conducted a survey among 1,000 business travellers. The study revealed that many companies either have no travel policy, or do not have sufficient communications in place concerning their travel policy. 17.8 percent of those questioned in the survey did not know whether their company had a travel policy, while 42.3 percent indicated that they have no travel policy in use. For companies that do have a travel policy, over 20 percent of the survey respondents said they were irritated by certain aspects of it. The most frequent complaints given on travel policies were that budgets are seen as too strict and that the choice of hotels is too restricted. Some complained that certain business expenses are not reimbursed and that reimbursement of expense reports is too slow. “It is important that both companies and businessmen are aware of the importance of a travel policy” said Derrick Banks, Vice President Commercial at BCD Travel Belgium and the Netherlands. “A solid travel policy can provide significant cost savings through more controlled spending and improved pricing agreements with suppliers. In addition, a travel policy provides greater transparency on the travel behaviour of employees. Furthermore, when a company’s employees travel outside the travel policy, there can be safety issues if emergencies arise. A travel policy is absolutely essential for a company that regularly sends employees on business trips.”


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Club Carlson


Rezidor and Carlson’s fast track programme to free nights


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Carlson Group and the Rezidor Hotel Group, have revitalised and rebranded their loyalty programme under the name of Club Carlson. The new scheme offers an array of features, making it one of the fastest programmes for customers to gain access to free nights.


embers of Club CarlsonSM, formerly known as goldpoints Plus®, can earn and spend points at over 1,000 hotels around the world. Hotels under the scheme include

Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza and Hotel Missoni. Club CarlsonSM’s partners, who include major airlines, car rental agencies and financial institutions, give customers added opportunities to acquire and use points.

“Our former loyalty programme had been running for quite some time, but it didn’t say enough about the hotel brands themselves” says John Kennedy, VP Marketing and Customer Relations Management. “We have retained Gold Points® as the currency, but changed the name to something that says much more about the Carlson family of hotels. The launch of the new name and visual identity was the perfect opportunity to update our programme features.” In 2010, Rezidor and Carlson announced their ambition to expand their loyalty scheme to 10 million members by 2013. “The launch of Club CarlsonSM, in March, was designed to offer customers a bestin-class value proposition to drive further growth in membership and it has been very well received by our customers” says John Kennedy. “The trajectory of enrolment is almost double the amount of last year and by the end of 2011 we will have nearly 8 million members. There are many hotel loyalty schemes on the market but only a finite number of customers for them, so client retention is crucial. We believe Club CarlsonSM stands out from competitors by offering excellent value and a customer-focused, rather than a mass market approach. In this way our aim is for Club CarlsonSM to be the first loyalty programme that springs to mind when a customer needs to book a hotel.”

Fastest way to free nights

Club CarlsonSM’s properties are grouped into six categories based on location, services and amenities. Depending on the hotel category, free room nights can be obtained with as little as 9,000 points. Members can even pay with a combination of points and cash for an award night starting at 5,000 Gold Points®. The points can also be used to obtain other benefits at participating hotels, such as room upgrades, or for food and beverage purchases. “We are probably the hotel programme that offers the quickest route to a free night” says John Kennedy. “To achieve this we made changes to reduce points required for a free night and increase the number of points earned on stays. Booking online is another way of earning more Gold Points®. By making reservations through www.clubcarlson. com or any of the hotel brand websites, travellers can receive up to 3,000 bonus points on their stay, depending on their membership status levels. In addition, points are awarded per dollar value spent, rather than euros, which helps customers earn a lot more points.

Elite membership

Club CarlsonSM’s ‘no blackout dates’ policy has been extended to cover standard hotel rooms, giving customers more opportunity to use their points. The programme’s rollover nights feature means that Elite members can roll over existings to qualify towards the next year’s elite Status. Club CarlsonSM has a four layer system comprising entry level Red status and three elite tiers of membership. Elite status offers further benefits such as early check-in, late check-out, complimentary room upgrades and point bonuses. After just 10 stays or 15 nights during one year, Club CarlsonSM members are eligible for the programme’s first elite level, Silver Status and thus a 25% bonus for all stays. Gold Status, awarded for 35 nights or 20 stays means that guests earn 50% more points on their stays. A new premium elite tier has been added for the highest rank of membership, Club CarlsonSM Concierge Elite status, awarded to guests with 75 nights or 30 stays during the year. Concierge members enjoy a 75% bonus on Gold Points® earned and can use the Club CarlsonSM Global Concierge service. This privilege provides exclusive access to a virtual hotel concierge, around the world and around the clock. This complimentary service can help with everything from making dinner reservations, to recommending local entertainment options and booking tickets. A further feature, available to all members of Club CarlsonSM, is a new mobile application which means clients on the move can reserve rooms, personalize options, check their points balance and view information on their destination. The Club CarlsonSM application is compatible with iPhone and Android phone systems.

New appeal for businesses

Corporate travel bookers also earn rewards through Club CarlsonSM and a new extension of the plan has been designed especially for small to medium-sized businesses. Henceforth individual travellers and their companies can simultaneously earn points for stays. Following a successful pilot in the US and Canada, the programme will be extended to cover Europe. “By giving our customers opportunities to earn and spend points more easily and quickly, we are recognising their value for us” says John Kennedy. “The greater contribution they make to us, the more we should give to them. Club CarlsonSM will help in the development of our brand image and recognition in the minds of potential customers, in line with our current expansions in terms of worldwide properties.” Headquartered in Brussels, the Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world, with over 400 hotels in operation or under development. Combined with hotels under the direction of global hospitality and travel group Carlson, the majority shareholder in Rezidor, encompasses over 1,070 properties worldwide. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Belgium’s favourite hotels

Business travellers annual appreciation study As in previous years, The Corporate Traveller magazine has conducted a study among its readers to gauge their satisfaction with the Belgian hotel industry. This independent study, carried out with 280 business travellers established in the Benelux countries (80% in Belgium and 20% in Luxembourg and the Netherlands), allows for the ranking of the “best business hotels” in the country into three classes.


his study of the hotel industry has been concentrating on three aspects of travellers’ appreciation:

Best Hospitality, Best Food & Beverage Services and Best Meeting Venues.

Brussels and Antwerp hotels stand head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, these hotels have the advantage that they are located in a large city, but there is more. In termes of appreciation, the Antwerp hotel industry is clearly on the march and threatens to steal the crown away from Brussels. “This has to do with several factors,” says Didier Boehlen of the Radisson Blu Astrid and chairman of the AHA (Antwerp Hotel Association). “In the first place, we owe our high position to our flexibility. Antwerp offers a large capacity of rooms in combination with meeting spaces. A fair number of hotels have been renovated in recent years, and the quality as well as total volume has increased quite a bit. This has not gone unnoticed in 12 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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the international business community. At the moment we have 4,700 rooms available and can in fact support really large events, more than any other Flemish city. In addition we boast a broad knowledge of languages. At each hotel, the guests are greeted as easily in Dutch as they are in French, German, or English, and often in Spanish too. Internationally, we score very high thanks to our knowledge.”


Antwerp hotels also look to the future with confidence, thanks in part to the founding of the Antwerp Hotel Association last July. Boehlen explains: “With this organisation, the Antwerp hotels are looking to promote themselves, portray the image of Antwerp hotel industry in a more positive light, and serve as a point of contact for anyone who is in need of hotels in Antwerp. This makes it easier for the city as well as all other organisations to approach Antwerp hotels and achieve constructive cooperation. Also, the hotels are able to

Best Hospitality - Top 10 1

Le Méridien Brussels Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel (Antwerp)


Hotel Amigo (Brussels) Hotel Bloom! (Brussels) Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Brussels) Sofitel Brussels Europe


De Witte Lelie (Antwerp) Hotel Metropole (Brussels) Lindner Hotel & City Lounge (Antwerp)


La Butte aux Bois (Lanaken) The Dominican Hotel Brussels


Carbon (Genk) Château des Thermes (Chaudfontaine) Château du Lac (Genval) Hylitt Hotel (Antwerp) Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport (Diegem)


Conrad Brussels Hotel Stiemerheide (Genk)


Sir Plantin Hotel Antwerp The Hotel (Brussels)


Dolce La Hulpe Brussels


Hotel Julien (Antwerp)


Golden Tulip Brussels Airport (Diegem)

Best Food & Beverage Services - Top 5

find one another for the mutual exchange of knowledge, experiences or opportunities.”


In Brussels, the Hotel Bloom! is one of the most highly esteemed hotels. Our question to General Manager Christel Cabanier was how they distinguish themselves. Cabanier explained: “Our slogan ‘Stay away from the ordinary!’ perfectly sums it up. We are an ultra-modern design hotel in the heart of Brussels and are completely different from all the others. And business people know how to appreciate that. Each one of our 305 guest rooms is decorated differently. Add to that a really cosy bar, 12 well-equipped conference rooms, impeccable service and our renowned à la carte restaurant SmoodS, and you arrive at a unique combination that guarantees a totally different experience.” The Dominican Hotel has been ranked as 4th in the ‘Best Hospitality’ class. Gilles Devos, Director of Sales, explains: “Our good result can surely be explained by our flexibility. Our noteworthy differences in regards to our competitors could also play a significant role in our selection. At ‘The Dominican’, we are not standardized. We stand totally apart from the usual hotel chains so almost everything is possible. We accommodate all kinds of events and celebrations and we always keep an artistic spirit at the heart of our hotel.”

The Radisson group, and in particular the Radisson Blu Astrid, also received excellent scores. “We offer 247 rooms and are therefore one of the largest hotels in the centre of the city,’ explains Didier Boehlen. “But it is mainly the combination of guest rooms and meeting capacity that is valued very highly - we even have an entire conference floor. We have a large hall for 500 persons which can in a very short time be converted in smaller spaces while maintaining all possible facilities that a modern meeting room needs. In addition, there are several smaller breakout rooms that allow us to present ourselves as a very flexible host. The central location, only a stone’s throw from all of the city’s important attractions also plays a role, especially for incentives and team-building events. We are also well-known for our outstanding service. For 15 years we have been a fixture in the business world and in recent years have invested quite a bit in training our personnel with regards to maximum customer satisfaction.” The three different categories also include several hotels with a more local character, staying away from the groups’ look and feel. Hotels offering comfort, intimacy and authenticity together with state-of-the-art technologies are indeed praised by their corporate guests. Characteristics that most larger hotels have been trying to offer for several years…


Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Brussels)


Château du Lac (Genval) La Butte aux Bois (Lanaken)


Carbon (Genk) Le Méridien Brussels   Lindner Hotel & City Lounge (Antwerp) NH Gent Belfort Sheraton Brussels Hotel


Conrad Brussels Hotel Bloom! (Brussels) Hotel Stiemerheide (Genk)


Hotel Amigo (Brussels) Sofitel Brussels Europe

Best Meeting Venues Top 5 1

Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel (Antwerp)


Dolce La Hulpe Brussels Hylitt Hotel (Antwerp) Lindner Hotel & City Lounge (Antwerp)


Golden Tulip Brussels Airport (Diegem) Hotel Bloom! (Brussels) Le Méridien Brussels Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Brussels)


Hotel Amigo (Brussels) Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport (Diegem) Château des Thermes (Chaudfontaine)


Royal Windsor Hotel (Brussels) Sofitel Brussels Le Louise The Hotel (Brussels)


autumn 2011 | 13

Thank you

for choosing


The Radisson Blu Astrid hotel in Antwerp and the Radisson Blu Royal hotel in Brussels are very proud to have been rewarded in the Best Belgian Business Hotel Enquiry. - Radisson Blu Astrid hotel: - Radisson Blu Royal Hotel:

1st in “Best Hospitality and Best Meeting Venues” 1st in “Best Food & Beverage Services”

Welcoming you in a most delightful way. Giving you 100% guest satisfaction guarantee. Turning (large) meetings into great ones, that is what we do! Thank you for rewarding us and we hope to welcome you in our hotels again real soon to give you the best hotel or meeting experience ever! For more info or bookings, go to: or or call us on T. +32 (0)3 203 12 34 (Antwerp) | T. +32 (0)2 219 28 28 (Brussels)

+32 3 203 12 34 14 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

autumn 2011 |

Hyllit Hotel A new trend in hospitality & ready to be re-discovered • at 100m from the Antwerp Central Railway station. • at 50m from the direct shuttle service to Brussels International Airport. • at 10 minutes drive from the highway around Antwerp. • lots of entertainment in the immediate surroundings. Staying with the Hyllit team feels good • Free Wi-Fi. • Free use of the luxury health & leisure center. • Private hotel parking. • 200 rooms,of which 50 suites. Excellent sound proof rooms. • Skyline meeting rooms with roof top terraces and refreshing breaks in the court yard.

Lindner Hotel & City Lounge

De Keyserlei 28-30 2018 ANTWERP T +32 3 202 68 00 F +32 3 202 68 90

• A safe environment thanks to the Ving Card System. • Rooftop restaurant Gran Duca, high quality Mediterranean kitchen. • Trendy Emerald Cocktail & Wine Lounge Bar, a new experience in Antwerp! Enjoy a full American breakfast buffet, lots of day light, access to the courtyard and a smile. All you need to start a wonderful day.

MEETING SURFACE: 5 meeting rooms all with day light. Total surface 400 m². NUMBER OF ROOMS: 200 RESTAURANT: Restaurant Gran Duca, a unique rooftop Mediterranean restaurant.

Lange Kievitstraat 125 2018 ANTWERPEN T +32 3 22777-00 F +32 3 22777-01


he Lindner Hotel & City Lounge Antwerp lies in the bustling heart of Antwerp. Because of its convenient location across from the TGV terminal near the Central Station, the hotel is ideal for both guests on business and private travellers. The Lindner Hotel & City Lounge Antwerp features 169 guest rooms and 4 suites with all modern amenities. For business meetings, you’ve come to the right place in one of our 14 multi-functional meeting rooms. The greatest care has been taken to create a unique, informal and relaxed atmosphere in the ARivé restaurant as well as in the bar and lounge. We offer meals of outstanding quality and an excellent selection of drinks with a great price/quality ratio. Enjoy while you listen to light jazz and lounge music.

MEETING AREAS: The hotel offers 14 meeting rooms, suited for business and private events, meetings and workshops, with meeting areas of up to just over 400 square meters. NUMBER OF ROOMS: 173 RESTAURANT: The ARivé restaurant boasts 140 seats and can spoil the most demanding gourmands with its regional and international seasonal dishes.


autumn 2011 | 15


Hotel BLOOM! ‘Stay away from the ordinary’ Hotel BLOOM!, a thoroughly modern hotel in the heart of Brussels, scored unusually well in The Corporate Traveller’s annual survey of the best business hotels in the country: ‘Best Hospitality’: 2nd Place. ‘Best Food and Beverage: 4th place. ‘Best Meeting Venues’: 3rd place. These are impressive results that leave business manager Christel Cabanier charmed, but not surprised. “Hotel BLOOM! is different from the others. We think out-ofthe-box, we are a pioneer in innovations and stand out from the “There are 305 guest rooms in ten different sizes: crowd. And the guests know how to appreciate this.” from L to XXL, lofts and family rooms. From day Best Hospitality

he experience is a central part of it all. Even when you get out in our underground parking garage, you are welcomed by loungy ‘Bloom music.’ One the


way to the reception desk, you can smell our very own specially developed BLOOM aroma that is pumped in via the A/C system. And you address all of our employees by their nickname: ‘Superman’ takes care of your safety and ‘Princess’ welcomes you,” explains Cabanier. “In our rooms, we also seek to surprise, integrate and stimulate our guests. To this end, we invited 287 young European artists to decorate each room with a beautiful fresco. The result is a unique view into the world of modern European art. At our hotel, we give guests the chance to overnight in the fresco of their choice.” “A couple of times a year we also organise an ‘Art ‘n BLOOM!’ event. This is an exhibition in hotel rooms and meeting rooms in which young artists showcase their work. In the last few years, the event has grown into a hip and trendy occasion for all of the locals in Brussels. At the last event, we welcomed 900 guests here and wrapped it up with an atmospheric party in the evening that was simply unsurpassed.”


autumn 2011 |

one, we share light, comfort, space and the most refined facilities.”

Best Food & Beverage

At BLOOM! you start the day with the ‘good-foryou’ breakfast ideas by OO! In an open, lively space you can enjoy an expansive buffet with healthy, light fare, smoothies, and so much more. Also, the funky restaurant SmoodS is considered to be one of the trendiest restaurants in Belgium. With its seven unique ‘mood islands’ - Passion, Safari, Bling-Bling, Library, Bazaar, Spring and Flower Power, SmoodS is much more than a hotel restaurant. It’s here where you can enjoy the exclusive SmoodS dinner concept. On Friday and Saturday evening, you can party it up to the sounds of Brussels DJs, and on Wednesday you can experience the new party concept ‘Lipstick & Bubbles.’

Best Meeting Venues

Are you looking for stylish and unique meeting spaces? In this area, BLOOM! offers that little extra something too: with large portraits of remarkable personalities and their life stories, guests pause to derive wonder and inspiration. Check out www. in order to find out more about this daring meeting concept. Would you also like to experience BLOOM!? Surf on over to

Trendy lifestyle hotel in Antwerp  Wi-Fi  Minibar  24/7 Hospitality corner (Hot beverages)  Grab & run breakfast

= complimentary!       

176 room in 4 different colors Box spring beds, flat screen TV Bath & shower, hairdryer Parking Cocktail bar 100% no excuse guarantee Function room (110m²)

Sir’s Website Reservations Info +32 (0)3 271 07 00

Eveline Snels +32 (0)3 204 02 12

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travel management

The ideal Travel Manager As we recently announced the name of the Belgian Travel Manager of The Year, let us take a moment to look at what makes a good Travel Manager today. The role of this person has evolved over recent years, as have the tools and technologies available, thus requiring that he or she have the ability to adapt continually.


good Travel Manager is marked, above all, by his all-round competence. Of

In addition to these well-known qualities, various new skills are becoming necessary. There are three, in particular, that are indispensable today.

More than ever, the world is a “global village”. Knowing what is going on in the country where your colleagues are travelling is, of course, essential. Foreseeing the unforeseeable is, by definition, impossible, but the risks that accompany all travel must be correctly evaluated and prepared for. What is the political situation in this or that country? Is it safe to send one’s colleagues there? What are the climate conditions there at the moment? Etc. A Travel Manger need notbecome an expert in geopolitics, but neither can he or she be disconnected from what is happening elsewhere in the world. Here, too, social networks are an undeniable asset, as they provide rapid and direct information; yet these must be treated with prudence and must be compared to information derived from other sources.

Mastering social networks


course such a person must know the ins and outs of the market, be familiar with the offers of numerous travel service providers (airlines, hotels, etc.) and the sourcing tools. Moreover, he must have the capacity to synthesise, in order to be able to transform the offer into a coherent and efficient travel programme. A generous dose of creativity and resistance to stress is needed, in order to be able to manage the unexpected events of any trip and of potential crisis situations.

½½ Pascal Struyve - BATM

Connected to the world

Communication technologies are evolving more and more rapidly. Today’s Travel Manager cannot neglect the progress being made in this area, for the very good reason that he will increasingly be dealing with younger colleagues, members of generation Y. These digital natives have mastered the new technologies and their codes. They are connected, mobile and informed. They are aware immediately of what is going on around the world and, more importantly, in the country they will be visiting. By means of networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or TripAdvisor, they have access to information (on hotels, restaurants, airlines, etc.) directly from other travellers. The Travel Manager should also take advantage of these new tools and have mastered their codes.

Finally, a last quality I would like to emphasise – one that is generally overlooked – is that of a communicator. A good Travel Manager must be visible and be able to make his voice heard within the company. His internal “clients” should know that he is around and how to find him when needed… To achieve this, the Travel Manager can make use of the company’s communication channels such as the intranet or an internal newsletter to make his presence known and provide information about various initiatives. He must also keep the attention of management but providing it with frequent reports stressing his successes. By being proactive and developing their own networks, Travel Managers gain credibility, which will help persuade others to accept their choices and respect their decisions as regards travel policy.

travel management

Discover total travel control and a world of new opportunities

For Corporations, managing travel in today’s dynamic environment brings challenges and new opportunities in equal measure. While travel costs remain under close scrutiny in tough economic times, traveller care has proven to be of paramount importance since the ash cloud crisis of early 2010. And the ever-present need for data security and systems integration adds yet another layer of complexity to the mix. Having an innovative and industry-leading technology partner at your side is the key to overcoming these challenges and exploiting the opportunities.


t Amadeus, a dedicated team of corporate travel experts will work closely with you to help you excel in your role and offer a comprehensive suite of solutions – everything from travel services and travel content through to travel and expense technology.

Keep your corporate travel programme under control

With Amadeus’ seamlessly integrated and comprehensive suite of corporate travel solutions, you can enjoy being in complete control of all aspects of your organisation’s global travel programme. You can also enforce your corporate travel policy widely and achieve better compliance levels. The advanced, yet easy to use, technology is specifically designed to help you strengthen your procurement processes, ensuring that you always have access to the best fares and rates from your preferred travel providers. In addition, intelligent and insightful reporting modules are built-in, enabling you to enhance decision making and negotiations. Whether trips are booked by travellers and travel arrangers or by your travel management company, Amadeus’ policy engines, online and offline converged technology ensure easy implementation of your travel policy at all times, hence maximising compliance. You can also maintain control over travellers’ data globally, thanks to our suite of profile management and automation solutions.


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Solutions compatible with the service, technology and content providers of your choice

Amadeus offers so much more than simple self-booking technology for your corporate travel programme. It is committed to connecting you to the centre of travel. So its technology delivers comprehensive provider and content choice across the whole of the travel industry. Amadeus technology is supported by and powers all leading global travel management companies, giving you flexibility should you decide to alter or consolidate your agency arrangements. In addition, Amadeus e-Travel Management, your self-booking technology, is compatible with all Global Distribution Systems – although it is recommended you use it on the Amadeus system in order to fully benefit from Amadeus’ unparalleled content and capabilities. Of course, your travel programme and its online components will need to be approved by your company’s IT department and integrated with expense management, accounting and HR solutions, as well as intranet portals. All this is possible with Amadeus’ custom integration. Better still, Amadeus offers offthe-shelf integration with the leading expense management solutions – a benefit that will be greatly appreciated by your counterparts in information systems.

Superior duty of care, social responsibility and enriched traveller experience

Sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are at the core of Amadeus’ ethics. Amadeus understands that duty of care and environmental considerations are equally important for your organisation and that you are responsible for building in and reporting on CSR within your travel programme. To deliver an enriched travel experience, Amadeus has specifically designed its sophisticated yet simple to-use technology to offer an efficient and user-friendly interface for both your travellers and your travel arrangers. From pre-trip administrative travel request and approval tasks and a streamlined booking process; to on-trip delivery of timely and relevant information; and posttrip automatic pre population of travel expense reports – Amadeus has it all covered. As well as making the booking experience easy, Amadeus provides best-in-class support in 15 languages and helps you embrace both environmental and social care through its CO² calculator and charitable initiatives.

Source, integrate, manage, search and book the content you need

Content is key for successful corporate travel management.

Not only do you need access to a broad range of suitable options for various types of global and local transport and accommodation, but those options must also comply with your travel policy. Beyond the obvious flight, hotel and car rental choices, content also covers ground transportation as diverse as rail, coach, taxi and limousine services. Accommodation can include hotel chains, as well as individual properties and furnished apartments. But it doesn’t stop at choice – because you still need to manage, search for and book this content. Amadeus simplifies everything. The integrated technology offers you and your travellers instant access to a comprehensive choice of relevant global travel content. And the advanced search tools are specifically designed to help you efficiently source, integrate, manage and book exactly what you need. Whether it’s the best fares for air or hotel content provided by your preferred suppliers, a whole range of appropriate and travel policy approved ground transportation content or integrated third party and private content, Amadeus technology enables you to quickly and easily meet and manage your corporate travel needs.

Proven track record in migration, support and security

With Amadeus at your side, you can enjoy total confidence in your

travel management technology, thanks to the proven track record in systems migration, bestin-class support and unrivalled data security. As the most connected player in the global travel industry, Amadeus offers the consistently and demonstrably high levels of competence that you expect from a world-class technology provider. Corporations and airlines migrating to Amadeus have made us the worldwide number 1. Over the past two decades, Amadeus has become the leading technology partner of over 4,500 corporations, which use the Amadeus e-Travel Management solution, and more than 150 airlines, which have successfully migrated to Altéa Reservation, Amadeus’ industry-leading airline reservation system. Amadeus is present in 200+ markets, operates three regional support centres around the world – strategically located in Nice, Miami and Bangkok – and owns one of the world’s biggest data processing centres dedicated to the travel industry. The central system of the Amadeus Data Centre in Erding, Germany has an average uptime of 99.99% and an average response time of 0.3 seconds. Over and above the outstanding performance of the data systems and support facilities, Amadeus also offers expert consultancy services to help you optimise your travel management operations for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

© Amadeus Benelux

A new version of Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux


n September, Amadeus and BeNe (NMBS/SNCB Europe & NS Hispeed) launched a new version of Amadeus Corporate Rail Benelux in Amadeus e-Travel Management. Olivier Smeets, Product Manager Rail at Amadeus Benelux, guides us through the new features of this release. “This release is the result of a process, in which our customers played a very important role, from start to finish”, says Olivier Smeets. “Based on the customers’ experiences with the previous version, we added improvements and new functionalities. First of all, we adjusted the booking experience. The booking flow has become more intuitive, with a fare and availability display that will allow users to find best compromise between convenience and price when selecting the trains. The delivery method, for example, can now be chosen at the end of the booking process. The new version also offers more content, thanks to the new D-Offer database, which is connected to the Hafas-system.” “One of the main goals of this new version was to offer the traveller more flexibility. From now on, they have the possibility to combine one-way fares and to mix classes. Furthermore, this release supports reduction cards and programs, as well as frequent traveller cards. These cards, along with other preferences, can be stored in an individual rail profile. Finally, there is also the possibility to indicate a seating preference or to request a seat next to another passenger.” With this new release, Amadeus opens the door to a unparalleled rail booking experience. Relying on a more comprehensive fare and schedule database on the railway side, it builds on the previous version and boasts a completely new user interface to support the improved booking flow.


autumn 2011 | 21

travel management

Meetings at High Speed Thalys has continued to consolidate its growth in the first half of 2011. In addition to renovation of the carriages, the new products are also enticing more and more business travellers. Béatrice Pâques, the Marketing and Commercial Director for Thalys, is ready to field our questions.

»» Béatrice Pâques 22 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

autumn 2011 |

Thalys registered strong growth in 2010 and this appears to be continuing into 2011. How do you explain this success?

educed journey times, combined with our new products, have attracted a new clientele which is as much business as leisure. This growth has not been just a once-off


but has been continual with consolidation in parts of the market, especially on the Brussels-Amsterdam and Paris-Brussels lines. Activities in relation to Germany, although having experienced a slight drop, should see a new increase in traffic with the extension of the line from Cologne to Essen and Düsseldorf.”

The Thalys “First Class” is also showing growth.What role does the business clientele play in this progress?

“If we have in fact gained parts of the market with respect to air travel, thanks notably to our longdistance lines, the Paris-Brussels line remains the segment of our network carrying most business

travellers. As well as the upturn in economic activ- “Le Salon” is going to celebrate its ity, the advantages in Comfort 1 such as meals and first anniversary soon. What is it free Wi-Fi and newspapers, allows us to retain and about exactly? “Le Salon is a self-contained meeting place situcapture new business clients”. ated in Car 1 which can be reserved by companies on a flat-rate fee for 1, 2, 3 or 4 persons. It allows Frequent travellers represent an important part of the Thalys clientele. preparation or holding of meetings in complete What advantages can you offer them? confidentiality and so time on the train is used “Our product “ThePass” has three possible season profitably. Services can be tailored for the Salon tickets, two oriented towards business (The Pass such as meals or drinks on demand so it’s an espePremium and ThePass Business) and the third cially appreciated product.” is geared towards the leisure market (ThePass Weekend). If the Premium ticket offers optimal Does Thalys foresee any new practical convenience and flexibility for high-frequency improvements for its business clients? travellers on the Paris-Brussels line only, the “We can’t keep silent about our Mobile Ticketing Business ticket is valid throughout the network system which permits travellers to receive their and primarily offers fare reductions of 30 to 50%, ticket barcode by SMS on their smart phone and in accordance with clients’ expectations. Finally, have it directly scanned by the train manager. So, we also have available a three-level loyalty card it’s adieu to loss of time in travel agencies or sta(silver, gold, platinum) “TheCard” which makes tions. Briefly, it’s another step towards more comfor even more interesting frequent travel”. fort and flexibility”, Béatrice Pâques concludes. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

autumn 2011 | 23


travel management

½½ Diederik Banken

½½ Jean-François De Mol

½½ Heinz Jennewein

BCD Travel: Business as unusual In recent years, the travel industry has been confronted with a number of internal and primarily external factors that exert tremendous influence on the travel behaviour of the customers. BCD Travel has realised that such changes require a different approach. Previously, travel agents merely had to deliver the tickets - now, their role is much, much broader.


he first half of 2011 was a positive period for BCD Travel. Its mar-

ket share increased, with BCD remaining as the market leader for business travel in Belgium. The entire market shrunk by 1.8% during this period however. “Companies simply travelled less in the first half of the year,” said Diederik Banken, Vice President Commercial at BCD Travel. “In air traffic, you can establish a link with the fuel surcharges, which saw increases up to 52%. The ticket prices also went up, with the exceptions of Japan and Africa. On the other hand, travel by rail has been on the increase for a while. Here, we noted a growth rate of 10%.”

Another Role

Since April 2010, the travel industry has been in a rather unusual situation due to a sequence of events: the ash cloud, the upheavals in the Arab world, the nuclear disaster in Japan, the uncertain economic situation, et cetera. “For us, it was anything but business as usual,” says Jean-François De Mol, Director of Sales & Account Management at BCD Travel. “We are acquiring a new role in which a lot more is expected of us than simply delivering tickets. Our clients want that we advise them, that we provide them with support, that we keep in contact with them and that we can get them back from risky situations.”

How the business travel sector will evolve in the near future is difficult to predict. “The demand is almost at 2008 levels, but there are still big fluctuations,” De Mol points out. “The one day it’s positive, the next day not so much. For sure, we are seeing that the price of travelling is on the rise. Fuel costs, capacity reductions stemming from mergers, surcharges and investments are things that are all passed on to the traveller.”

Traveller at the Centre

BCD observes that the traveller is increasingly occupying centre stage. “The focus is indeed shifting from the trip to the traveller,” Diederik Banken points out. “There will be more focus on the health of the business traveller, who often experiences a higher workload while travelling. Travellers who travel alone or in high-risk areas do not always feel safe. You have to take these factors into consideration too.” A recent survey conducted among one thousand Belgian business travellers showed that 17.8% have no idea whether their company has a travel policy or not. 42.3% indicated that their company has no travel policy. These are remarkable numbers. Banken lays out why: “It’s crucial that companies as well as business travellers are aware of the importance of a travel policy. A sound travel policy can make for considerable cost savings, in that expenditures are more control-

lable and pricing agreements can be made with suppliers. In addition to that, a travel policy provides transparency in regards to travel behaviour of the employees. When travellers book outside of the policy and circumvent the business travel agent, then this travel is not within the security system. Such a traveller is pretty much invisible in the cases where calamities occur. A travel policy is thus absolutely essential for a company that regularly sends employees on business trips.”

New Senior Vice President

Finally, there was also some organisational news to report at BCD Travel. In early July, Peter Buis was replaced as Senior VicePresident South/West Division by Heinz Jennewein, who also remains head of Performance Solutions, Strategic Operations and Information & Communication Technology for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Jennewein’s lengthy career within the travel industry began in 1993 at the European head office of Best Western International, where he was responsible for global distribution systems. He moved to Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 1995 to lead Information Technology across 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as CWT’s European project management organization. Jennewein joined BCD Travel in 2006.


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Rezidor Hotel Group’s Willem Van der Zee

Interview on his role as Regional Director Benelux-France


autumn 2011 |

Since May 2009 Rezidor’s Willem Van der Zee became the hotel group’s Regional Director for France and the Benelux. He is also General Manager of the Radisson Blu EU Hotel Brussels. The Corporate Traveller questioned him about the challenges involved in managing these two-fold responsibilities.

What does your role as Regional Director for France and the Benelux involve?


s Regional Director for the group I have a multi-faceted role. I take a helicopter

view of what is happening in our portfolio of 32 properties operating in France and the Benelux, and those scheduled to be opened. This allows me to take a combination of analytical and strategic approaches to our development. In addition to this there are my responsibilities concerning our hotel operations and communications. I need to ensure that there are region-wide synergies in place wherever possible. This includes piloting branding and marketing activities such as the recent deployment of our new Club Carlson loyalty programme, together with my corporate marketing colleague. Then there are operational synergies to be leveraged, across departments including purchasing, human resources and commercial activities. Facing, together with the team, the economic downturn has been one of the biggest challenges to address so far. We have implemented a cost saving plan, throughout the network, to optimise on economies of scale. On the revenues side, we have adopted a more homogenous approach to our distribution partners, including online travel agents and we have been looking at new revenue-driving opportunities.

How does Rezidor’s Radisson brand stand out from others in the first class hotels segment?

I believe there are several things that differentiate Radisson – ranging from free high speed internet for all guests, to service concepts like a Three Hour Express Laundry, our famous Super Breakfast, Express Check Out and our free ‘Grab and Run’ coffee. Then there is our Club Carlson loyalty scheme, our locations and our design. We have many stunning hotels in terms of design and we like to say we are individual by design but consistent in service. This is underlined by the Rezidor Hotel Group’s Yes I Can service philosophy.

What does the ‘Yes I Can’ concept stand for?

Yes I Can is part of our company attitude and really sets us apart from the competition. A nice hotel usually means good comfort, design and location but our added wow factor is about our staff and how they treat our guests. Every single member of our staff goes through a Yes I Can training when they join us and then follow-up refresher courses. We regularly question our entire staff on how they are lifting these values. We perceive Yes I Can as an ingrained cultural aspect of our company, as its something we have stood for over 20 years.

Where do you position your Park Inn by Radisson hotels?

Our portfolio of Park Inn by Radisson hotels in France and the Benelux are growing and the brand forms a pillar of the Rezidor group’s expansions. Two of the latest Parks Inns to be opened are the Park Inn by Radisson Luxembourg City, and the Park Inn by Radisson Brussels – both of which enjoy city centre locations. At the end of this year we will add the Park Inn by Radisson Leuven and in 2012 we will be inaugurating the Park Inn by Radisson Lille Grande Stade. The Lille hotel will be well situated, next to the Grand Stade Lille Métropole and with direct access to the International train station served by Thalys and Eurostar. Beyond these openings, Park Inn Amsterdam will soon join our portfolio and we are looking at other potential properties in France and the Benelux.

How does being the General Manager of the Radisson Blu EU Hotel in Brussels complement your regional responsibilities?

At Rezidor, the majority of regional directors are also hotel general managers. It really helps me to keep my ear to the ground and allows me to touch base with the essence of our business by staying in direct contact with our customers. It also helps me to take a more pragmatic approach to the evolving operational requirements of our hotels.

What does the Radisson Blu EU Hotel Brussels have to offer corporate travellers?

The Radisson Blu EU Hotel Brussels is a 4 star deluxe hotel with great modern design and first class service. It is the closest hotel to the European parliament and is in walking distance of all the European instructions. We offer 149 rooms and suites, excellent meetings facilities and free wifi throughout. We have a built up a loyal customer following with a high number of frequent travellers, so we are really able to get to know them. Due to this, and the hotel’s location, our Willards Restaurant and Bar have become popular networking hotspots for the local business community.

What have been the career highlights during your 15 years with Rezidor?

There have been many highlights and one of them is certainly the opportunity to work with Rezidor’s executive team. Opening the Radisson Blu Palace Hotel in Spa was a landmark, as was taking up the responsibility for the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels. On an ongoing basis I enjoy the aspect of change management, which is crucial as the hospitality world evolves quickly. Examples of this have been learning how to deal with online business and working with more transparent commission systems. I enjoy very much what I am doing and for me the hospitality sector is both my mission and my passion.

Park Inn by Radisson is essentially a brand of midrange hotels for the business traveller, which offers excellent value for money with no hidden extras. They comhe Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies. The group bine city centre features a portfolio of more than 400 hotels in operation and under development with 88.800 locations, good rooms in over 60 countries. Rezidor operates the brands Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts, Park uncomplicated Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites in Europe, Middle East and Africa, along with the Club service and a Carlson loyalty programme for frequent hotel guests. Under a worldwide licence agreement with relaxed atmoItalian fashion house Missoni, Rezidor also operates and develops the new lifestyle brand Hotel sphere where Missoni. The Corporate office of the Rezidor Hotel Group is based in Brussels, Belgium. guests can be sure of a comRezidor is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and Carlson, the privately held, global fortable night’s hospitality and travel company, is the majority shareholder. sleep.

About The Rezidor Hotel Group



autumn 2011 | 27


Ulla Hudina - Kmetic 28 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

autumn 2011 |

The Corporate Traveller Interview questions executives from around Europe on their travel experiences, preferences and where they would like to see improvements. For this edition we spoke with Ulla Hudina-Kmetic, who works at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Please could you tell us a little about yourself and your work?


have quite an international background. My family originally comes from

Slovenia but during my childhood we lived in Sweden. Following that, my education took place in four countries – Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Belgium. This means I am lucky enough, that in addition to Slovenian as my mother tongue, I am able to speak several European languages including English, French, German, Spanish and some Swedish and Croatian. I have been working for the European Commission, as a policy advisor, for 8 years. During this time I have been based in Brussels, for my work, for last seven years.

What does your travel involve?

On a regular basis I normally take two business trips a month, to various EU member states. These trips are usually because I have been invited to give presentations in conferences or meetings. As well as being invited to speak, I have been involved in organising a series of conferences in all 27 EU capitals, which required a lot of travel. Normally my business trips are for one or two nights. I also travel nearly every second weekend for personal reasons back to Slovenia, as my family is based in Ljubljana.

How do you manage to reconcile your working week with these frequent trips to Slovenia?

For my regular weekend travel between Brussels and Slovenia I use Adria Airways. There is a certain pride in travelling home with the national carrier and their timing is perfect for me. I can work the whole day at the office on Friday, then take the bus to the airport to catch the plane to Slovenia at 8.30 in the evening. Coming back to Brussels on Monday morning, I take the early flight from Ljubljana which leaves at 6.45 and means that I can be in my office by 9am. Adria have planned these times well for passengers between Brussels and Slovenia as I don’t need to take a day off from work for travelling.

What is your travel policy?

We have a company travel agency which makes most of our travel arrangements, apart from hotels. We are not permitted to travel in business class unless it is to a destination outside Europe. As most of our flights do not exceed three hours, this is not really an issue. We have more flexibility when it comes to hotels, and individual travellers here normally look for, and book, their own hotels online.

What are your criteria for selecting a hotel?

First of all, I look for a hotel as close as possible to my meeting. It could be a 3, 4 or 5 star hotel, as long as it does not exceed the budgetary limits we have been given.

There are so many options to choose from that I do a lot of research online. I like to have a clean bathroom and room with a comfortable bed. Hooking up to the hotel’s WiFi network should be hassle free and included in the price. I am not a picky person but I certainly appreciate extra comforts like nice-smelling scented candles in my room and if there is an indoor swimming pool I try to take the opportunity to use it to get some exercise and relax. As for breakfast, my ideal is a buffet style with a good selection of healthy food options. My preferences include NH, who have good hotels in most of the capitals I travel to. As regards private travels, I prefer nice boutique hotels which offer both sophisticated and relaxing settings, a more personal atmosphere and a wider range of wellness facilities.

What frequent traveller cards do you use?

I use a Miles & More frequent flyer card as the airlines, especially Adria Airways, in this programme correspond best to my needs. I use the card to earn mileage whenever I can, including for hotels and car rentals – and then spend the points for my personal flights.

What is your worst travel experience?

With my husband, we were flying on a long haul trip with a connecting flight to take at Amman. When we landed at Amman we were not allowed to board the onward flight as it had been overbooked. Our passports were taken away from us and we were kept as transit passengers for three nights, without being informed when we could leave. In fact they even posted guards outside the hotel – it was a horrible experience.

What could hotels, airlines or airports do to make your travels smoother?

I would have to say free wifi. I would like to see free wifi at more hotels and especially at airports. Ljubljana Airport already offers this service and it makes life so much easier. Flights could be made more affordable too. In addition, for those passengers that check-in online prior to coming to the airport, there should always be a special check-in desk for the baggage drop-off so that they do not need to queue again in the same line as passengers without a boarding pass. Airlines that do provide this facility are rather an exception.

What aspects do you like most about your work?

What I appreciate most about my work is the international environment. As some of the areas I work in are very specific, this means I get the opportunity to meet and collaborate on projects with very interesting people with deep expertise in their own particular fields. That is truly a rewarding experience. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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CityJet boosts network and rebrands with ‘Now You’re Flying.’ campaign


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CityJet, the European carrier based at London City Airport, is simultaneously increasing its offer to the Benelux while launching a new marketing campaign, ‘Now You’re Flying.’ The campaign is the most high-profile undertaken by CityJet since its takeover of VLM in 2009. André Cini, CityJet’s Chief Commercial Officer, explained more about how these activities are accompanying the airline’s new strategy. A new direction


t is the perfect timing for CityJet to launch this campaign as we are set to return to profitability at the end of 2011, following a somewhat difficult financial period” says André Cini. “With this positive

campaign we are highlighting our unique selling points and the new personality of CityJet.”

“With ‘Now You’re Flying’ we are taking the focus of the brand in a new direction. Our rebranding moves away from solely concentrating on network, price and convenience. Here we are putting the spotlight on our position as the largest carrier from London’s most central airport, London City, and our personalised customer service which is really a key asset. The majority of our customers are frequent flyers who are loyal to us because they appreciate the fact that our staff really do go the extra mile. A passenger survey we carried out at the end of last year showed that 97% of our customers were happy with their flying experience with us. This shows that we are really in tune with our passengers’ needs. They are business people who appreciate the added value of good service. Of course they are looking to get from point A to point B but by choosing us, they are choosing to travel properly.” “What we sell is a product that is used for day to day business travel trips. With us corporate travellers save time at the airport, with just a 15 minutes needed for check-in, they get an ideal schedule with frequencies (for example Amsterdam to London City 8 times a day) and they appreciate our attention to detail on-board. We are building on the perception of CityJet as a service for corporate travellers and illustrating that we are not a low cost airline, as with us there are no hidden extras. That means no additional charges for baggage check-in, seat allocation or using credit cards, and all on-board food and drinks are included in the price. All of this is part of being honest and transparent with our customers. We are also proud of our efficiency and we have an excellent on time performance.” “We are working hard to develop our social media communications. This allows us to really communicate directly with our customers and engage in conversation with them. One example of this is our ‘Give them a Break’ weekly competition, where our Twitter followers elect someone they know who they think deserves a break. Each week we award a winner with a weekend trip to a European city. It’s just one of the ways we communicate with our customers while rewarding them as well. We are also the first airline to launch a ‘concierge’ service on Twitter where we answer everyone’s questions they might have, for example, ‘What is the best vegetarian restaurant in Paris?’ This concierge service is open from Monday to Friday from 2pm to

4pm. Opening up lines of two way communication like this shows that we want to remain close to our customers.”

CityJet and the Benelux

“Historically and with our takeover of VLM, the Benelux has always been a major component of our network and we have gained the trust of many valued customers there. In fact Antwerp is one of our operational bases, along with the London City and Dublin Airports. Our five Benelux destinations, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Luxembourg and Rotterdam form key pillars of our network of city centre destinations. We are the only scheduled carrier to fly from Antwerp and we offer more frequencies between Amsterdam and London than any other airline.” In October, CityJet will be increasing its frequencies between London City and Amsterdam to 8 flights a day. The airline links London City to Rotterdam with 8 flights a day, Eindhoven with 2 flights a day, 5 flights a day to its Benelux hub Antwerp and 3 flights a day to Luxembourg. “Besides this our passengers can benefit from our rapid transfer desk at London City which gives them excellent connections to other destinations in the UK, France and Scotland, as well on to Dublin and Florence. The latest expansions to our route network link London City to an additional three French cities – Pau, Avignon and Toulon, so we now fly to total of 17 European destinations.” “Our customers have access to an even wider network as we belong to the Air France KLM group. This really gives us a strong added value. We can fly our passengers to Paris and Amsterdam to easily continue onwards to a vast number of destinations on the Air France and KLM networks. CityJet passengers have access to all the other advantages that the group offers, such as the FlyingBlue frequent flyer programme and they can earn and spend airmiles with all the airline members of the SkyTeam alliance. Other solutions the group offers are particularly interesting for corporates, such as the Air France KLM BlueBiz programme which brings advantages to both individual travellers and their companies.” “Now You’re Flying is the essence of our new brand positioning and our key benefits, namely our speed and efficiency, our excellent network of business city centre airports such as London City, and the service levels offered by our teams” concludes André Cini. “The fact that we fly to smaller, more centrally located airports, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp, means efficient and easy check-in, time saving point to point destinations and plenty of frequencies – ideal for the corporate traveller.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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air ways

½½ Chen Mingqiong - General Manager Brussels

Hainan Airlines:

China’s 5-star airline Hainan Airlines, mainland China’s only 5-star airline, connects Brussels to its gateways in Shanghai and Beijing and then beyond to a multitude of destinations throughout China. Chen Mingqiong, Hainan’s General Manager for Brussels, explained more to The Corporate Traveller about the airline’s 5-star offering.


hina’s second largest carrier in terms of network, Hainan Airlines has a portfolio of 500 routes, with over 90 domestic destinations. As part of this network,

Hainan Airlines flies between the European capital and Beijing four times a week, and twice weekly to Shanghai. Through its own routes, and via partner airline agreements, Hainan offers onward connections to Hong Kong, Taiwan and over 50 mainland Chinese cities from Beijing and 60 from Shanghai. “In cooperation with our sister airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express, we recently introduced interline services


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from Brussels via Beijing and Shanghai to Hong Kong” says Chen Mingqiong. “This means we can offer travellers from Brussels seamless links to Hong Kong, with a transfer time in Beijing of only 2 hours. When passengers check in at Brussels they automatically receive their boarding pass on to Hong Kong and their luggage is checked through to their final destination.”

Brussels significant to European strategy

“Our Brussels-Beijing and Brussels-Shanghai flights are strategically important to us for our positioning in Europe” says Chen Mingqiong. “Brussels is the political centre of Europe and

Brussels Airport has an excellent infrastructure and network which gives our passengers from China access to a wealth of other European destinations.”

alliances, Hainan Airlines does has a number of partnerships in with European airlines, including Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin and Malev.

Besides Brussels, Hainan Airlines flies direct routes from China to Berlin, Budapest, Zurich, Moscow and St. Petersburg airports. Does Hainan Airlines have further European expansions in the pipeline? “Yes” confirms Chen Mingqiong. “Economically and politically speaking, European routes represent very important business for us and we are planning network growth in Europe.”

5-star services

Although not currently a member of one the three main airline

On the ground, Hainan business class passengers have

Hainan Airlines’ bright airy cabin interiors have been created by European designers and feature the latest in seat ergonomics. Business class seats offer a generous 188 cm pitch and recline fully flat to 180 degrees. Plush silk pillows and slippers are provided for extra comfort, while passengers enjoy the best of Western and Chinese cuisine.

Fortune Wings Club Hainan Airlines’ frequent flyer programme


ainan Airlines’ frequent flyer scheme, the Fortune Wings Club, gives passengers the opportunity to earn and spend points with its sister airlines - Grand China Airlines, Lucky Air, Tianjin Airlines, West Air, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airlines - as well as hotels, retail outlets and other companies within the airline’s holding company, the HNA group. Fortune Wings Club has three levels of membership and the first elite tier, Silver Card status, is attained after accruing 30,000 miles, or 20 flights, within a year. Silver members benefit from 25% bonus mileage, priority check-in, access to the lounge at Beijing and a further baggage allowance of 10 kg. Gold Card Membership is reached after 50,000 miles, or 40 flights. Gold flyers receive 50% bonus mileage and an extra baggage allowance of 20 kg. Access to the Beijing premium lounge is granted to the card holder and one travel companion. Fortune Wings members enjoy a generous standard of earning for miles. Once the accumulated mileage in a Fortune Wings Club account has reached 3,000 miles, points can be redeemed for hundreds of great rewards with Hainan Airlines and its partners.

access to a club lounge in Brussels and to Hainan Airlines’ own premier lounge in Beijing. The Beijing lounge features comfortable surroundings, a business centre, massage chairs, a selection of snacks and beverages, free WiFi and much more. “As to new services, we introduced a chauffeur driven limousine pick-up for business class passengers arriving at Beijing Airport, available to customers who reserve 48 hours in advance. We intend to expand the limousine service to our passengers from the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg who are flying from Brussels Airport” says Chen Mingqiong. “Another connectiv-

ity option we are developing is a combined ‘Rail & Fly’ solution between Brussels and Paris, in collaboration with Thalys, which we expect to introduce shortly.”

with 30kg for Economy class, 40 kg for business class and additional allowances for elite members of Hainan Airlines’ Fortune Wings frequent flyer programme.

Onboard comforts in both business and economy cabins include individual entertainment systems, complete with audio and video ‘on demand’ content, and a range of video games. All this and a wide selection of newspapers and magazines provide plenty of diversions for passengers to make the flight time feel much shorter.

Hainan Airlines was awarded the exclusive 5-star rating from SkyTrax (which ranks over 200 airlines on a scale of 1 to 5) earlier this year. The five star accolade is held by only 7 of the world’s airlines and is awarded to those companies that have delivered consistent and inspired service to customers, on the ground and in the air. To qualify, airlines must submit to a detailed audit analysis across more than 750 assessment cat-

Baggage allowances are generous compared to most other airlines,

egories. Hainan Airlines is exceptional in having progressed from 4-star to 5-star status in just one year – an impressive achievement that is rarely seen even among the largest global airlines. “Hainan Airlines combines the traditional value and culture of China with the management of western countries to create a unique enterprise culture” concludes Chen Mingqiong. “The 5-star honour is a milestone in our history of establishing our international brand through superior service programmes that encompass our core values of ‘convenience, hospitality and surpassing expectations’.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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TAP Portugal - Flying to the pulse points of Brazilian business TAP Portugal has been established as the premier European airline to Brazil since the 1960s, long before the country became one of the most dynamic of the four BRIC economies. TAP now flies to ten Brazilian destinations, from Fortaleza in the north, down to Porto Alegre, in the country’s southern most tip. Six of these cities are leaders in their own business sectors and important destinations for international corporate travellers.

½½ Rio de Janeiro


The world’s fifth largest country, Brazil occupies nearly half of the South American continent. Famed for its carnivals

and football, it is now equally known now as one of the world’s richest economies. Due to its sheer size, population and wealth of natural resources, Brazil has seen the development of not just one, but several key business cities, most of which are located along the country’s south west region. Amongst these Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre are enjoying particular growth.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is South America’s most popular destination – and not just for leisure tourists. The city’s strong cultural and tourism infrastructures, combined with year round sunny weather, has earned Rio its place in the world’s top ten list of city venues for the meetings and incentive market. Hotels are continuing to see demand grow and as the future host to the World Athletic Championships in 2014 and the 2016 Olympic games, investments in Rio de Janeiros’s hospitality infrastructure are further developping. Besides its importance in tourism, Rio is Brazil’s second largest industrial centre, with oil refineries, shipbuilding, telecoms and metallurgy all major business sectors. Also a financial and banking hub,


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the city has its own stock exchange, second only to Sao Paulo. Rio de Janeiro, with its multitude of business and tourism attractions, is the premier destination in Brazil for TAP’s passengers from Brussels. The airline offers between 10 to 14 flights to the city per week, depending on the season.


Brasilia, in contrast to Rio de Janeiro, is a temple to modern architecture. Constructed with the help of world famous architect Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia has been recognised as an UNESCO heritage site for its contribution to the 1960s architectural revolution. Its splendid modern monuments blend with an abundance of garden and parks. Designed to be the capital of Brazil and its political powerhouse, over 50% of the city’s population work in governmental or administration functions. Brasilia’s strategic importance is demonstrated by the fact that it is home to country’s second largest airport hub, offering domestic connections throughout Brazil. TAP offers daily return flights to the Brazilian capital.

Sao Paulo

Although not the official capital, Sao Paulo is Brazil’s premier industrial, and most populous city. Home of the jetset and the Brazilian Formula One

Grand Prix, Sao Paulo is estimated to be the 10th richest city in the world and its population has become a magnet for multinational corporations. However Sao Paulo has much more to offer than just business, it is the fashion capital of Brazil. Colourful and full of surprises, Sao Paulo’s batch of offerings is enormous, from the Avenida Paulista, the city’s very own 5th avenue, to Vila Madalena with its art galleries, lively bars and restaurants. Sao Paulo International, Brazil’s largest airport, offers an excellent network of national links and, with the city’s congested road traffic, helicopters and domestic flights have become popular alternatives to public transport. Sao Paulo is TAP Portugal’s busiest Brazilian route for business travel and the airline offers two return flights a day to the city.


Just 100km north of Sao Paulo is the city and state of Campinas, Brazil’s silicon valley. A hub for technical expertise, Campinas boasts a large concentration of IT, telecoms and engineering companies, as well as some of the country’s most highly respected technical universities. Campinas is served by Viracopos-Campinas Airport, formerly the international airport for Sao Paulo. TAP launched services to Campinas in 2010.

Belo Horizonte

Located further inland, between Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte is the capital of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state. Born from the original gold rush in the 1600s, Belo Horizonte still plays a central role in Brazil’s mining industries and its iron and steel ore are crucial to Brazil’s car production. The city is also an international reference for IT and biotechnology. With its multinational roots, Belo Horizonte has flourished into a diverse city, rich in culture and entertainment. This, along with its green surroundings, has boosted Belo Horizonte’s popularity with meetings and incentives organisers. More than 3,000 national and international events benefit from the city’s excellent hospitality infrastructures each year. TAP, the only European airline flying to Belo Horizonte, offers 5 to 6 flights a week, depending on the season.

Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre, capital of Rio do Sul state, is located in Brazil’s southern most tip, on the banks of Lake Guaiba, where five rivers converge to form a giant lagoon. As such Porto Alegre is a major port. Rio Grande do Sul is one of Brazil’s greenest regions and agriculture and cattle production are central to its economy. Here cowboys can still be seen herding cattle over the vast prairies. With many of its citizens descendants from the ‘old continent’ and a temperate climate, Porto Alegre has a distinctly

European feel. Although a large city of over 10 million people, it is regarded by many as one of best Brazilian cities to live, work and do business. TAP flies to Porto Alegre five times a week, with onward connections via codeshare partners to neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay. “For the Belgian market Sao Paulo remains the leading Brazilian business destination, but we have been expanding our network to cover business cities that are either underserved, or not served at all, by other European airlines” says Araci Coimbra, TAP’s General Manager for Belgium and Luxemburg. “For example TAP is the only European airline flying to Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Campinas and Porto Alegre. Over the last two years we have really experienced a surge due to the country’s economic boom, with a 40% increase on passenger revenues to these routes. We are continuing to increase frequencies and with the addition Porto Alegre this summer, we now offer 74 flights a week to Brazil. Not only that, but we have been recognised for the quality of our passenger services as ‘World’s Leading Airline to South America’ by the World Travel Awards for the last two years in a row.” TAP Portugal flies scheduled services to ten Brazilian cities – Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Santo, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Campinas and Porto Alegre. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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air ways

The new Alitalia

Alitalia Compagnia Aerea Italiana commenced operations in 2009 as a completely privately owned airline. Today Alitalia is Italy’s leading air carrier, with a schedule for the new winter season of more than 4,500 flights a week. Alitalia flies across a network of 25 domestic and 54 international destinations, with a fleet of 152 aircraft. The airline is continuing to improve the quality of its ground and onboard services, enhancing its offer with distinctive Italian features, the introduction of new aircraft and the selective expansion of its network.


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New aircraft for network expansions


litalia received the ‘Euro Annies 2011’ award as the European flag airline that launched the largest number of new routes during 2010 and 2011. During this period the airline opened 26 additional direct links, with 4 intercontinental, 7 international and 15 national destinations. These latest network expansions include Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Amman, Vienna, Toulouse, Malaga (from Rome), Miami (from Milan Malpensa) and Amsterdam (from Florence). “We have been working hard at Alitalia to regain the trust and preference of passengers, and part of this strategy includes making important investments in our fleet and the renewal of our products” says Domenico Foggetti, Alitalia’s General Manager Belgium & Luxemburg. “Since the launch of our new airline in 2009, we have already taken delivery of 27 new aircraft, thus reducing the average age of our fleet to less than 9 years, one of the youngest in Europe. These latest additions include 5 Airbus A330s, 19 Airbus A320s, 2 Airbus A319 and an Embraer E190 – the first of 20 Embraer jets scheduled to be delivered to Alitalia by the end of 2012.” The fleet renewal plan is continuing with the delivery of more new aircraft. Three further A319 aircraft, destined to serve medium haul destinations, are due to join Alitalia’s fleet by November. The 20 new Embraer E-jets on order will progressively replace Alitalia’s existing 16 regional aircraft, contributing to develop its ability to provide more direct links to short and medium haul destinations, without the need for stopovers, consistent with the evolution of market demand. “We are investing approximately 400 million euros with the acquisition of these Embraer aircraft, which will comprise five E-190 aircraft with a capacity of 100 seats and fifteen E-175 aircraft with an 88 seat capacity” says Domenico Foggetti. “Moreover, the new E-Jets will increase our efficiency levels, from economic and environmental perspectives, by reducing fuel consumption.” The Embraers will be used on the Alitalia’s domestic and European network, and will be based at seven Italian airports - Rome Fiumicino, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Turin, Venice, Naples and Catania.

Onboard enhancements

Onboard enhancements are a keystone of Alitalia’s development strategy and the interior renewal of aircraft already in the fleet represents an investment of 600 million euros. The airline has already completed renovations to all 46 of its medium-haul Airbus aircraft and renovations to the interiors of its 10 Boeing B777 aircraft, for long haul routes, are scheduled to commence at the end of this year. By May 2012, when these refittings are completed, the aircraft will be completely redesigned with 3

classes of service - Magnifica, Classica Plus and Classica – consistent with Alitalia’s five new Airbus A330 aircraft. Alitalia’s ‘Magnifica’, first introduced on its Airbus A330s, features completely redesigned seats, catering and services to offer a top of its category business class. From the moment passengers arrive at the airport, they can start to enjoy all the privileges Magnifica has to offer, with exclusive check-in desks, priority boarding and access to its exclusive airport lounges. On board, the new business seats recline to a fully-flat position and individual entertainment systems offer large 15.4 inch LCD screens to access a variety of on-demand audio and video. Magnifica Class menus are designed by Italy’s leading chefs and vary season from season, giving the opportunity to taste the dishes of different Italian regions. All meals are accompanied by a selection of fine wines chosen by the Italian Association of Sommeliers. Alitalia’s new ‘Classica Plus’ is the airline’s premium economy class. Classica Plus offers benefits such as priority check-in desks, seats that recline up to 120 degrees, 20% more leg room and individual TV screens with on-demand entertainment systems.

More rewards for corporate travellers

One of the benefits for Alitalia’s corporate passengers is the BlueBiz programme, designed by Alitalia and Air France-KLM, for small and medium size enterprises. The BlueBiz programme offers companies a flexible tool to reduce the cost of travel and to benefit from a wide range of destinations and services. Every time a company books a business trip with Alitalia or its partner airlines, it earns Blue Credits. Blue Credits are like cash and can be used to buy tickets to any destination in the global network. In addition, Alitalia’s MilleMiglia members earn miles on their frequent flyer account at the same time. “Our Corporate Cards, are MilleMiglia cards dedicated to the companies who have signed a commercial agreement with Alitalia and to their employees” says Domenico Foggetti. “These Cards differs according to the established company segment size and according to the current employee’s Frequent Flyer status. All the Cards guarantee a quick access to the services offered to corporate clients, by improving the efficiency of the business trip.” “The actions that we have taken so far to improve our services have already produced significant results, not only in terms of punctuality and regularity of flights, but also in terms of customer satisfaction” says Domenico Foggetti. “In the first half 2011, the on-time performance was at 88%, up 6 points from 2010. The regularity of the flights was 99.8% and the level of customer satisfaction reached 84%, up from the previous year.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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TAROM joins SkyTeam Alliance Romanian airline TAROM joined Star Alliance on 25 June. It was thus the ideal occasion to find out more, not just about its membership of the alliance but TAROM’s other activities such as its links with Brussels Airport. We questioned Madalina Mezeim, General Manager for Belgium.


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AROM Romanian Air Transport performs its activities under the Ministry of Transportation. It has been a member of SkyTeam Alliance since June 25th, 2010. The national company

operates to 57 destinations during the 2011 summer season covering countries from Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Short history

• In 1954, on September 18, TAROM (Romanian Air Transport) was founded. Within six years, TAROM was operating to almost all European countries. • In 1957 TAROM started operations to Brussels • In 1969 the International Otopeni Airport was opened. This was an important event for TAROM and its fleet and in the same year the first TAROM flight to Amsterdam took off. • In 1966 TAROM flew its first flight across the Atlantic and by 1974 had introduced scheduled flights to New York. That same year, TAROM also inaugurated services to Beijing. Another first in 1974 was TAROM’s maiden flight from Bucharest to Sydney, via Calcutta. • In 1980 TAROM fleet was double its size in 1975 and 10 times bigger than the year of its establishment. • In 1990, in order to meet the free market economy performance criteria, TAROM started a new strategic program. The sense of competition was a real stimulus for TAROM’s determination to bring its product up to international standards, taking into account the fact that many world’s famous air carriers were already operating to Bucharest.

Aviation organisations

• TAROM is a member of the following aviation organisations: • IATA (International Air Transport Association) since April 22nd 1993 • MITA (Multilateral Interline Traffic Agreements/ Passengers and Cargo) - since March 31st 1994 • AEA (Association of European Airlines) - since September 01st 2000 • ICH (IATA Clearing House) - since October 1st 2006. • TAROM is an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certified company - since March 2007 • IATA - ICSS (IATA Currency Clearance Service) - since May 2006 • June 25th 2010: TAROM joins SkyTeam Alliance

TAROM in Brussels

The main route operated by TAROM from Brussels is Bucharest but we can offer multiple connections through our domestic, Middle Eastearn and European destinations. Our operation plan is adapted to business needs for all our destinations but for sure one of them on which we have significantly business traffic is the Belgian market. TAROM’s operations to the Benelux market has its own business level strategy, fitted within the overall strategy of TAROM. However our business philosophy is also based on the local market specific. As a result, on the Benelux market we have two different approaches, one for the operation to Brussels and one for the operation to Amsterdam. On Brussels, we take into consideration the European determination. We focus on schedules and convenience, our objective following the travel needs, not the load factor and best fares. It is very clear that when we approach such a strategy, we are not competing in terms of fare levels.

SkyTeam membership

The operation within the SkyTeam alliance is meant to offer the service according to the customer demand. Therefore at the SkyTeam level we complete the service offered to our customers in terms of both availabilities and schedules. The aim is to take the best advantages of the network synergies between SkyTeam member airlines and to offer to the passengers multiple choices of travel at the best level of service. Hence, TAROM’s adherence to SkyTeam had a double determination, contributing to both the global dimension of TAROM and to the deeper development of SkyTeam.Of course, the integration part was not an easy process, however all the work involved has given us the deserved pay back in terms of brand recognition and complexity of service to be offered to our customers. Our SkyTeam membership helps us to create synergies for the business customer benefit. In this regards, we offer the best schedules, the check-in dedicated counter for business passengers, the best option for airport lounges, the best in-flight service, the best customer service. Our business philosophy is to make the business customer part of our decision making process!

Winter schedule BrusselsBucharest For this winter the schedule for Brussels to Bucharest and return is the following: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday RO 372 10:20 Brussels- 14:00 Bucharest RO 371 07:20 Bucharest-09:10 Brussels Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday RO 374 19:05 Brussels- 22:45 Bucharest RO 373 16:30 Bucharest-18:20 Brussels


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Manchester Birmingham Bristol London Heathrow

Bilbao Porto




Hamburg Hannover Berlin




Paris Strasbourg Geneva Lyon






Krakow Budapest


Turin Venice Bologna Nice Florence Marseille Rome Barcelona Naples Palma Lamezia Terme de Mallorca



Seville Faro Malaga




Marrakech Agadir


AFRICA Dakar Banjul




Douala Yaounde

Conakry Freetown Cotonou Monrovia Lome Accra Abidjan

Entebbe Kigali Kinshasa




Brussels Airlines flies twice weekly to Bamako (Mali). or your travel agency



The Many Faces of Namibia

A few months ago, we got to know the relatively new travel and incentive company Xperience during a successful three-day getaway in southern Spain. But that was just a small taste of all the things the company has to offer. In June, they really went to town for a new delegation of journalists and event managers. The destination: the diverse and extraordinarily beautiful country of Namibia.


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»» Le Mirage Lodge & Spa


n Xperience trip does not begin at the airport, but much earlier on. The

nine participants were warmed up in the weeks leading up to the trip with mailings, tantalizing picture galleries and a bottle of wine delivered with a genuine sample of African desert sand.

Before the actual journey to Namibia, the group met at the Van Der Valk Hotel in Brussels, where they got to know twothirds of the Xperience team: Jeroen and Emilie. We were somewhat wary of the long ride to the airport in Frankfurt, until we saw our transportation: a luxury bus complete with a salon, video theatre and massage chairs. It can only be said that these 400 km flew by quickly. From Frankfurt, you can fly Air Namibia to the capital Windhoek six days per week. Next year, this is being increased to one flight per day.

A Castle in the Sand

After a flight lasting nearly ten hours, the Air Namibia jet touched down around 5:30 AM local time at the international airport in Windhoek. The third 42 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Xperience team member, Olivier, was waiting for us there with a small reception at the front of the airport. After breakfast in the city, we set out in the direction of one of the small airstrips, which are so plentiful here. For those who want to see a lot in Namibia in a short amount of time, it makes sense to cover the longer distances in small aircraft. Three Cessna planes - with the Xperience insignia - brought the group to the first overnight stay: Le Mirage Desert Lodge & Spa. This lodge - part of the Leading Lodges of Africa group – is really located in the middle of nowhere. For miles in the distance, you see nothing but simply beautiful landscapes - which provides for a very unique atmosphere. The architecture of Le Mirage also contributes to this. It basically has the appearance of a castle in the middle of the desert. We got acquainted with the surroundings of Le Mirage on a lively four-wheeler tour which ended with an extraordinary view of the sunset. The day was concluded with a festive meal at which the lodge personnel (and a large part of the group) showed off their musical skills.


Day 2 in Namibia began with a wake-up call at 5:00 AM (!!!) in the morning. The itinerary included a trip to Sossusvlei National Park. The ride in the open jeep was an experience in itself. June is always winter in Namibia, and while the days are quite pleasant, the nights can get particularly cold. The order of the day was to huddle together... and the cold was mocked with relentless jokes (some of them quite silly). In any case, this enhanced the group’s camaraderie. In Dead Valley, the main sight in Sossusvlei National Park, the weather gods had their fun as well. According to the local guide, the raindrops were the first he himself had seen in ten years. Luckily, it was only a few drops of rain, and we were able to completely enjoy the unbelievable landscape. The bravest in the group took a ride on the back of the high dune - something that Jennifer Lopez also did in a scene in the movie The Cell, which we were shown in the bus. Below in the valley, you have an impressive white clay plain with a number of skeletal remains of

½½ Death Valley

Xperience TICE bvba Doorniksestraat 63k 8500 Kortrijk T +32 56 96 06 10 F +32 56 96 06 99

trees that have been blackened by the sun. Indeed, a surreal location that is often used for photo shoots. This is where former Miss Belgium Ann Van Elsen posed nude for Playboy to benefit Music for Life. We wrapped up our visit to Sossusvlei National Park with a surprise brunch buffet in the middle of nature.

Tented Camp

It was then once again time for another flight in the Cessna - this time to the coastal town of Swakopmund. Another four-wheeler ride was on the programme, but this one was of an entirely different calibre. Riding between and over the breathtaking dunes requires intense concentration and skill. It was also often the case that someone got stuck in the sand or missed his or her turn. Already by lunchtime at the hotel in Swakopmund, there was speculation about the next place we were going to spend the next night. In the abbreviated itinerary, no specific location was mentioned, and the Xperience team was also very frugal with this information. As two minibuses spirited the group

away over impossible roads to a remote place, one thing after another became clear. We arrived at a rather impressive tented camp were we were woken up by a local musical group. Before long the participants joined along with the band and created a Belgian-Namibian version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” After a very musical evening with great food, everyone returned to their roomy tents, which each sported their own company logo.

Walvis Bay

Day 3 included time for getting to know Walvis Bay, the most important port in Namibia. In spite of the busy port activity, Walvis Bay still has an impressive abundance of fauna. During the boat tour, we crossed the path of sea lions, dolphins and a number of shorebirds. Lunch on board the boat was quite an experience, especially since we were constantly visited by sea lions looking for an extra fish, to the great amusement of all on board. After a journey of about an hour, we finally arrived at the Epacha Game Lodge & Spa. On the itinerary was the Sunset

Game Drive in the vicinity of the lodge. After we spotted our first zebras and giraffes, we made a stop in the wild, where Xperience surprised everyone with snacks and drinks. What a great way to enjoy the sunset - with a Windhoek beer in hand.

Etoscha National Park

After the preview the night before, it was time to go on the real safari with a visit to Etoscha National Park. We were able to observe giraffes, zebras, kudus and a number of other animals in plentiful numbers. Apparently the elephants were the only ones in hiding that day. Luckily, the good eyes of our guide Erik suddenly and unexpectedly led us down a side road to bring us close up to an elephant. During the free afternoon, most of the group took the opportunity to benefit from the sauna or a massage at the lodge. In the evening the program included a really nice barbecue at the lodge’s boma. Everyone finished off the evening by heading to the bar, where Romelus and

Vanessa showcased their vocal talents. Later in the evening, the microphone was hijacked by the other, somewhat less talented members of the group, who had their mind on keeping the party going. The end result was that all of the animals at Epacha now know the words to the song “Lion in a Cage” by heart.

A Final Surprise

Tired eyes were the expectable outcome at our last breakfast on Namibian soil. And at the Xperience product presentation at the lodge meeting room, not everyone was in tip-top shape (no worries, Xperience - your message was delivered very effectively over the other 5 days!) After one more tour and lunch at the nearby Eagle Tented Camp & Spa, we took the last Cessna flight towards Windhoek International Airport. There, Xperience had one last and very welcome - surprise for us: a return ticket to Frankfurt in business class. This allowed everyone to stretch out and relax and dream of dunes, ATVs, sea lions, dolphins, giraffes, zebras and also lions... just not in a cage. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Morning of the



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Incentive trips awarded to company employees are usually to sunshine destinations. With a natural landscape which is unique in the world, the ‘Belle Province’ of Quebec is transformed in winter into a highly original incentive destination which is very favourable for an active exploration trip. No limit to its assets in winter…


heavy blanket of snow has covered the forest. Everything is white, trees, lakes and glades. Only a river cuts through this entire landscape of bluish reflections. It all seems so far already from the skyscrapers of Montreal, where we had spent the first night... Silence, sometimes broken by the sound of a branch breaking under the weight of snow, has invaded the surroundings of the imposing log cabin which accommodates the group. Soon it will awaken to discover the sun illuminating this enchanting universe. A short distance away, the snowmobiles are ready. In an hour, after a substantial breakfast, the group will leave to explore these surprising vast expanses. With the raking light of January sunshine, this morning will seem otherworldly. Everyone will discover what a morning of magicians is, in this, the heart of the Mauricie area. The impression is in the encounter. The trip and its surprises are an inexhaustible source of discussion around a really good campfire beef stew at the midday break before continuing along the route to the second inn. This inn has been tastefully situated on the banks of an enormous lake with 24 hot springs in the vicinity. After a day of sport, at the heart of this nature bathed in a dry cold, this form of relaxation is like a supernatural contrast, ideal before returning to the lodge which is prepared for dinner and typical Quebecois entertainment. The third day initiates the return to more comfortable pleasures of the Belle Province. A short hike in snowshoes accompanied by a guide to explain about the lives of the forest inhabitants, beavers, moose, bears and so on, then an escapade in a dog-sled and finally a trek in a 4x4 which brings us to a quaint

Organisation Incoming Agencies JPdL Vitamine Canada – Zeste Incentive – Also called ‘DMCs’, these local agencies are specialised in group trips preparation and accompaniment: organisation of transfers, reservation of sites, hotels, activities, and so on. Supplementary Information: et www.destinationquebec. com Incentive Travel: andre.martel@destinationquebec. com – Tel: +33 (0)1 53 30 77 64

restaurant in Old Quebec. In fact, this return to civilisation means returning to several centuries earlier as the UNESCO World Heritage small city seems to be frozen in the 17th century when it was still the capital of New France. It is best discovered on foot following the thread of small laneways lined with art boutiques, bars and restaurants with welcoming tables. In the shadow of the imposing Château Frontenac, the hotel stock of Old Quebec comprises small fullservice hotels, installed in old mercantile trading posts. Everyone will find a style to suit them from Inns and Châteaux on the banks of the SaintLawrence whether historic inn or the Château Frontenac. Also noteworthy are the Parlementaire, the excellent restaurant of the Assemblée Nationale or Provincial Government of Quebec, or the 23, a restaurant situated on the 23rd floor of the Hilton, which overlooks the whole town and the Saint Lawrence River. In a radius of 30 minutes from Quebec, it is also possible to enjoy the huge ski area of Mont Sainte Anne, as well as the Montmorency Falls, overlooked by its manor-restaurant. Despite being 33 metres higher than Niagara Falls, they freeze over in winter which gives climbers the opportunity of scaling them. Not far from there lies an impressive cathedral whose walls are entirely sculpted from snow and ice. With a floor area of more than 2000m² and its ceilings 5 metres high, this ‘hotel’ contains two art galleries, an Absolut Ice Bar, a chapel, a splendid entrance hall as well as original bedrooms where fearless people can spend the night under deer skins. Brrr!

Documents and flight timetables In summer, Air Canada operates daily flights to Montreal and Toronto. In winter, flights are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each flight takes off from Brussels Airport (BRU) at 10.45am and lands 7 and a half hours later at 12.25pm local time at Montréal-Trudeau (YUL) Airport. The return flight is overnight departing Montreal at 7.45pm and landing in Brussels at 8.40am. For Belgian Nationals, travel to Canada requires an electronic passport which is valid for the trip duration. No visa is necessary, but a Canadian entry document furnished during the flight must be filled in and handed to the Customs officials.


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The AirportCity

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Europe’s fifth largest for passengers and third in terms of cargo, has come a long way since its start nearly a century ago. The vision of the AirportCity at Schiphol has seen the airport grow not just in capacity, but also in the development of a multitude of innovations.


ver 90 airlines fly to and from Schiphol offering between them 300 direct destinations. The airport boasts particularly strong

networks to North America, Africa, Indonesia and China, with many of these destinations exclusive in Europe to Schiphol. As a major hub for Air-France/ KLM and its SkyTeam partners, 42% of Schiphol’s passengers are travelling on with connecting flights. To cater to these travellers’ needs, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been the pioneer of several ‘world firsts’ in terms of passenger services and of the successful AirportCity concept. More than just a transport hub, Schiphol’s AirportCity approach is to offer a location with a broad range of business, leisure and hospitality facilities for all its passengers. September marked the opening of Schiphol’s completely refurbished Departure Lounge 3, the passenger retail and leisure area beyond border control. The newly enlarged lounge is home to 26 shops, including international fashion brands, food and beverage outlets and a host of other services. In addition to comfortable and well situated relaxation areas, travellers have been provided with a multitude of experiences while they await their 46 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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flights. As to dining, a variety of options are available from fast food and sushi for those in a hurry, to à la carte dining, champagne and seafood.

Holland Boulevard

Schiphol’s Holland Boulevard area, located between Departure Lounges 2 and 3, illustrates the AirportCity concept perfectly. Reopened following renovations in 2010, Holland Boulevard is a showcase of Dutch hospitality for passengers to enjoy while they await their flights. Here travellers can sample local delicacies, get acquainted with the country’s art, culture and literature, or simply rest and relax. Zones such as the Boulevard’s Dutch living rooms - cosy spaces featuring fireplaces, television sets, designer furniture and even a piano, provide comfortable areas for passengers to regain their energy. Adjacent to the living rooms, the Back to Life spa offers massages, an oxygen bar and an aqua massage bed, while those with more time can visit the airport’s XpresSpa for a full range of spa treatments. ”In the AirportCity concept, an airport is more than just an area in which one waits for his flight. In our philosophy, an airport has everything a modern city has to offer to its guests. That includes the ‘usual facilities’, like bars and restaurants, but also special experiences, like a library and even a museum” says Annemiek Holkeboer, Manager Marketing Communications. “Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has long been commissioning pieces of art from young talented Dutch artists to help get their names established and a collection of original murals and sculptures are displayed around the various lounges and other public areas. The idea grew further with the opening of the world’s first museum in an airport in 2002, in the form of an annex to Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum. Open from 7am to 8pm, Schiphol’s Rijksmuseum is free of charge. It houses paintings and other works from the Golden Age of Dutch art, with originals by 17 century Dutch Masters. It gives those travellers who do not have time to visit the main Rijksmuseum at least an impression of what it is like.”

Continuing the cultural theme, Schiphol’s Airport Library offers passengers the opportunity to read books, listen to music and get further acquainted with Dutch lifestyle and literature. The library’s digital stations allow passengers to view and download books and films for viewing during the rest of their journey. The library is open 24 hours a day. For those travelling with families, facilities include a babycare lounge and a kid’s forest recreation area. For the young at heart, one of the latest innovations at the airport, and yet another global premier is the newly inaugurated 6D XD Theatre. Here visitors can experience virtual 3D ride adventures while seated in a special motion-based seat, heightened by sound, wind and lighting effects. There are three ‘rides’ to choose from, each lasting four to five minutes. The XD Theatre is located at Schiphol Plaza across from the Meeting Point.

Fast track kerb to plane

Navigating around the airport has been designed to be fast and easy in a one-terminal building, with four interconnecting departure lounges formed in a crescent around the central Schiphol Plaza public area. Useful overhead signs located around the airport indicate walking times to different areas, including times to departure gates. Wifi is available throughout the airport, free for the first hour of use. To further speed up time from kerbside to boarding, business passengers will especially appreciate the airport’s automated services which include selfservice boarding, transfer and even a self-service baggage drop off system, where passengers can beat the queues by checking in their own luggage and printing their luggage label.

State of the art baggage handling and passport control

Schiphol’s groundbreaking new baggage transport system, known as the ‘Backbone’, is currently the airport’s largest investment programme, at an estimated cost of over 800 million euros. When fully finalised in 2013, the Backbone will link the | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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airport’s West, E, D and South baggage basements with an integrated system able to handle 70 million items of luggage a year. The 15000 m2 South Baggage Hall, the first airport baggage system to use robots to load baggage containers, is already completed and in operation. As part of its mission to make its passengers’ journeys quick, safe and comfortable, Schiphol operates Privum, a programme especially for frequent travelling passengers. For a small annual fee, Schiphol’s Privium members can use state-of-the-art technology of iris recognition at the border control to gain considerable time savings compared to passing through manual passport controls. Privium member passengers travelling to a Schengen destination (within the European open-border area) also benefit from fast transit through the personal and hand baggage controls, as well as exclusively reserved parking spaces and discounts on Schiphol Valet Parking. Whatever class of travel they are flying, Privium Plus members can enjoy the dedicated Privium ClubLounge with comfortable relaxation and work areas, free wireless internet and complementary food and beverages. A priority ‘Privium Only’ route gives direct access from the lounge to the postpassport control area. And for further time savings, a number of airlines offer Privium Plus members the option of checking in at their business class desks, whatever class of travel they are flying in.

Transport links and hotels

With its excellent transport connections, Schiphol’s main catchment area extends far beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Schiphol benefits from the train station, situated directly underneath the airport. Connections are particularly convenient for Belgian travellers, with a direct Thalys link to Brussels in just 1 hour 38 minutes. International high speed routes are also offered by Thalys to Antwerp, Gent and Paris and by ICE International

to Dusseldorf and Cologne. In addition to the Fyra high speed train links throughout Holland, night train services are available to Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden, The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam. For those looking for a more unconventional way to visit the city of Amsterdam, the ‘Floating Dutchman’ brings an unusual alternative. A bus and boat in one, the Floating Dutchman collects passengers arriving at the airport, continues on to the city centre and enters the water at a splash zone to continue its journey as a water launch through the canals of Amsterdam. After the trip the bus emerges from the water and continues its journey back to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The airport offers a variety of parking options, ranging from short visits to long term parking and special parking options for those who expect more comfort. Passengers who need to stay longer at the airport have a wide choice of hotel accommodation to choose from. Yotel, the cocoon-style concept hotel, and Mercure offer rooms and shower facilities for travellers needing a quick stop to relax and refresh behind the border control, while numerous big name business hotels, including the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport, the Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol, the citizenM Schiphol and the Radisson Blue Amsterdam Airport, are situated either at Schiphol, or nearby with connecting shuttle buses. “Our developments have been carefully designed to mean that passengers will always benefit from quick and convenient navigation through the airport, excellent route networks and an everincreasing number of new services to make time at the airport a pleasant part of their journey” says Annemiek Holkeboer. `Amsterdam Airport Schiphol aims to be the best airport in Europe, offering all its visitors a pleasant and inspiring environment for travel, work and pleasure.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Belgium and Luxembourg Offices Kales Airline Services Park Hill, J.E. Mommaertslaan 18A, 1831 Diegem-Brussels, BE Tel : (32) 2 716 0069 Fax : (32) 2 716 00 86


Paris-Charles de Gaulle

Airport of the future

With a wave of developments underway, Paris-Charles de Gaulle is set to become Europe’s largest airport in terms of passenger capacity. Pioneering new services, such as as a state-of-the-art passenger navigation system and ‘La Conciergerie’ are keeping pace with these expansions, transforming Paris-Charles de Gaulle into the airport of the future. 


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ollowing on from an extensive programme of renovations and developments already carried out between 2006 and 2010, Aéroports de Paris Chairman and CEO Pierre Graff recently initiated a further ramp of modernisations and expansions. These new

investments for both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, at an estimated total cost of 1,8 billion euros, will include works to the airport’s older facilities to ensure a more cohesive degree of quality across its terminals. Paris Charles de Gaulle is already Europe’s leading airport in terms of air movements, with 500,000 flights year, and the second largest in terms of air travellers carried. With the completion of the projects underway, in 2013, the airport will be able to accommodate 75 million passengers in renovated, new and comfortable surroundings.

Vast modernisation project

Highlights of the vast modernisation scheme are the plans for CDG’s terminals 2A and 2C. The first steps in the development will be the inauguration of a 1,000m2 arrival lounge and renovation of the public areas for terminal 2A – and the construction of a new building between terminals 2A and 2C. Due for completion next year, the connecting infrastructure will result in an additional 16,500m² of space dedicated to saving transit time for passengers and providing them with greater comfort. Designed with a futuristic external architecture consisting of metal ribbons, once inside, travellers will discover a light, elegant setting. Along each step of the way, they will be able to look out through large picture windows with views over the airport. The connecting building has been specifically engineered to simplify passenger orientation through the airport. After checking in at terminal 2A or 2C, travellers will proceed to the ground floor of the new building which will house a dedicated control area with 13 passport control windows and 16 security checkpoints, thus reducing times needed for security and immigration formalities. The connecting building will also provide passengers with an extensive range of shopping distractions, using a new concept in airport retail. An area organised in the form of a Parisian department store will offer products such as alcohol, perfumes, tobacco, gifts and gourmet items. Beyond the department store, further shopping outlets will provide a choice of catering and a luxury brands section. Depending on their status, passengers may continue on to the airline premium lounges situated on the 3rd floor of the building.

Capacity increase

Expansions underway at CDG’s terminal 2E will mean a huge capacity increase of 7.5 million passengers a year. Terminal 2E’s satellite 4, scheduled to open in 2012, will be dedicated to long haul flights. There will be a large boarding lounge and 16 contact gates for aircraft, with a section for wide-bodied jets such as the A380. Passengers at Charles de Gaulle will be shuttled to satellite 4 by a metro-like people mover. Other key components of the modernisation plans include complete renovations of terminal 2B, to begin at the end of next year and the refurbishment of all seven of terminal one’s satellites.

Innovations in passenger navigation through airport

Besides increasing capacity, the modernisations will speed up the time from kerbside to boarding. “Thanks to the new buildings we are going to 52 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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increase the pier stands for aircraft which means less buses and quicker connections for transfer passengers” says Anne Frisch, deputy managing director of CDG. “Security and immigration control will also be more efficient thanks to a more centralised process and the development of the PARAFE programme, the automated border pass which uses passenger passport and fingerprint data.We are also continuing to make improvements to facilitate the way passengers navigate to and within the airport, including the use of more signage. We have made big efforts with time planners around the airport and we are experimenting with a new avatar system in terminal 3 where passengers can ask specific questions to a virtual customer relations officer. The pilot phase of this avatar system has been very well received by passengers.” The avatar system is not the only pioneering technology being introduced by Aéroports de Paris to optimise passenger orientation. A new indoor geolocalisation application, My Way Aéroports de Paris, is currently being tested in CDG’s terminals 2E and 2F. The application can be downloaded, for free, by all users of smartphones with Android operating systems. My Way Aéroports de Paris allows passengers to determine their exact position in the Terminal and to obtain routes to various useful destinations, including leisure and services areas. Searches can be saved, in Favourites, for future use.

La Conciergerie

“Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is continuously upgrading and expanding its facilities with an eye to improving ease and comfort of all its passengers” says Anne Frisch. “We have good restaurant, shopping and relaxation areas, Wifi throughout, over a dozen business class lounges and numerous hotels within easy reach. One of our latest services, launched in April, is ‘La Conciergerie’. La Conciergie is essentially a multilingual butler service which offers made to measure solutions for passengers to ensure them a hassle free passage through the airport.” La Conciergerie is available for all passengers arriving, departing or transferring at Paris-CDG, whether as individuals or in groups. Accompanying and transfer services, such as arranging limousines, assisting passengers throughout their time at the airport, and carrying baggage, can be reserved up to 3 hours beforehand. Other requirements can be requested at one of CDG’s dedicated concierge desks, or by internet or telephone. Just some examples are dry cleaning, delivering flowers and gifts, entrusting keys or important documents, reserving meeting rooms or even arranging car repairs. “We carry out regular customer satisfaction surveys at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, and these passenger studies revealed that there was a need for La Conciergerie” says Anne Frisch. “Business travellers have been particularly interested in using La Conciergie’s accompanying services as a way of getting through the airport to their flight when they are really in a hurry, as they benefit from a special quick pass through procedures. Some passengers even contacted us to thank us as they said they would have missed their flights without this service. The overall feedback received from customers since we launched La Conciergerie has been great.”

Vision for the future

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is used by more than 190 regular airlines to offer direct flights to 350 destinations in 80 countries, with a further 23,000 onward connections of less than two hours, every week. All three airline alliances are present, with Star Alliance based at terminal 1 and oneworld at 2A. SkyTeam, has the biggest alliance presence due to CDG’s importance as a hub for Air France-KLM. The airport has nine terminals and two double runways. It was one of the first European airports to inaugurate a runway for widebody jets such as the A380 and its terminals 1 and 2E are equipped with triple boarding systems especially constructed for the superjets. On completion of the most recently launched ramp of developments, the airport will be capable of handling 120 aircraft movements per hour, the highest frequency in Europe. “Here at Paris-Charles de Gaulle we are aligning all of our missions and objectives to ensure we

continue to grow in capacity while ensuring good service quality” says Anne Frisch. “This includes optimisation of all of our processes, both internal and customer-facing, and the maintenance of consistent relationships with all of the airport’s stakeholders. We have put the emphasis on listening to our passengers, putting into place highly professional teams and deploying services that bring a real added value.” “Paris-Charles de Gaulle offers vast air traffic and passenger capacity, wide-body jet facilities, a strong network of destinations and excellent train connectivity. We have a good partnership with French national rail operator SNCF in order to optimise the quality of rail air connections and with the airport’s own high speed rail station, we have TGV links to Brussels in only 75 minutes. By leveraging these differentiators, our service objectives and our ongoing development plans, we aim to become the premier gateway into Europe.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Bose QuietComfort 15

The Quietest Bose Headphones Ever T

In 2009, the QuietComfort 15 headphones were the result of more than 30 years of continuous Bose research in noise reduction technology - research that pioneered the category and has since led to breakthroughs for military applications, pilots and consumers. This year, Bose launched a new version of the QuietComfort 15, which is now suitable for all Apple products.


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hrough significant engineering advancements in active and passive noise reduction technologies, the QuietComfort 15 headphones offer more attenuation in louder environments and across a wider range of frequencies - without compromising the audio quality and comfortable fit of the acclaimed QuietComfort headphone line.

“We believe the QuietComfort 15 headphones offer a combination of benefits unmatched in the industry,” said Sean Garrett, general manager of the Bose Noise Reduction Technology Group. “We’ve applied our research in noise reduction using an integrated systems approach - an approach as proprietary as our technologies. It requires meticulous engineering to ensure all elements of

Bose: 30 Years of Noise Reduction Firsts


n a flight from Europe to Boston in 1978, Dr. Amar Bose had his first experience with electronic headphones. Disappointed in their performance, he initiated a research program at Bose to develop a headset that would reproduce speech and music with high fidelity – and significantly reduce unwanted cabin noise. In 1989, the first commercially available BOSE active noise reduction headset was introduced. Since then, Bose engineers have developed additional products for the aviation and military markets: the Combat Vehicle Crewman headset, Aviation Headset X, Performance Improved Combat Vehicle Crewman headset, and TriPort tactical headset. Bose engineers leveraged this research and applied it to a consumer headphone. In 2000, the QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones were introduced, beginning an industry revolution. Today, BOSE QuietComfort headphones enjoy worldwide recognition and the consumer following of an iconic product.

chanical design and uses materials selected for specific acoustic properties to block more noise from entering the earcup.

the headphone work together to achieve our very ambitious performance requirements.”

Advanced Noise Reduction Technology: only From Bose

The QuietComfort 15 headphones introduced a more sophisticated, proprietary electronics approach to active noise reduction, placing microphones both inside and outside the earcup. This electronics system better senses the sound in almost any environment and then more effectively measures, compares and reacts to the noise - instant by instant - to produce an opposing cancellation signal. The proprietary ear cushion technology provides additional passive attenuation. It features a me-

Through research in user testing, the QuietComfort 15 headphones overcome the inherent challenge of all headphones - the performance variation from user to user, caused by the difference in head shape and size. Bose engineers used a proprietary acoustic design to deliver a consistent experience for all owners. The resulting performance is demonstrable. The engine roar fades further away, there is less distraction at work or at home, and when music is preferred, it is heard more clearly: within a quieter environment, more definition and detail are revealed.

Natural sound

The QuietComfort 15 headphones benefit from decades of research in onhead audio. Proprietary active equalization technology electronically tunes the frequency response of the headphones, ensuring the accurate reproduction of instruments and vocals. BoseTriPort acoustic headphone structure is incorporated, a technology featuring small ports in the earcups that dramatically increase the low-

frequency output of the system. Deep low notes are delivered naturally, without a manufactured “boost” and without increasing headphone size or weight. The QuietComfort 15 headphones feature an around-ear design that maintains the renowned comfort of its predecessors. A single earcup cable can be detached for untethered noise reduction. Once the cable is removed, listeners need only flip a switch on the right earcup to activate the proprietary technology.

New cable to support Apple products

The new 2011 version of the QuietComfort 15 has been improved with a cable customized for select Apple products. A three-button remote and microphone let you take calls on your iPhone and control music or voice functions on other Apple devices (eg. Facetime on iPad or Macbook Pro). A single AAA battery powers the QuietComfort 15 headphones for approximately 35 hours of use. The green on/off indicator light flashes when there is approximately five hours of battery life remaining. For compact storage, the earcups rotate to a flat resting position and fit easily into the provided newly designed carrying case. | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Sennheiser VoIP headsets

Sennheiser introduces new internet telephony headsets Regardless of whether you are an experienced headset user, if your computer is new or old, a PC or Mac, or features digital or analog plugs. With the launch of new VoIP headsets, Sennheiser is bringing people and technology of all kinds closer together. The headsets require no installation and are fully compatible with Skype™, Windows Live, Yahoo! and AIM messengers.


eighing between just 55 and 84 grams, the four new headsets are highly durable and made to stand the test of time. Product Manager at Sennheiser, Christian Ern, says: “What

we hear from consumers is that they need easy communication tools, such as light and durable headsets, with quality sound for internet calls to friends and family and that work no matter which computer they are using. We are really excited to say: here they are!”

Like Sennheiser’s high-end PC and XBOX gaming headsets, the new VoIP headsets are made from quality materials, making them almost impossible to break. All headsets feature noise canceling microphones that works to cancel out most background noise such as children shouting, TV sounds or music, ensuring that the conversation comes out clear at the other end. The single-sided headsets enable users to listen and talk in comfort while having one ear free. For more engaging conversations, the double-sided headsets allow for full engagement in stereo sound. The new VoIP headset range features: • PC 2 CHAT: Mono analog headset for PC. • PC 3 CHAT: Stereo analog headset for PC. • PC 7 USB: Mono USB headset for PC and MAC. • PC 8 USB: Stereo USB headset for PC and MAC, with integrated volume and mute control. Sennheiser knows that headsets must be durable to last. That’s why it offers a two-year international warranty on all models. 56 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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ust plug it into your computer and start chatting – the affordable PC 2 CHAT headset is all-round family friendly. That’s because the single-sided wearing style keeps you in touch with your home surroundings. The PC 2 CHAT not only delivers excellent Sennheiser sound, it also features a high quality noise canceling microphone and lightweight design for hours of clear conversations. Benefits and Features: • Value for money - excellent sound clarity and durability at an affordable price • Noise canceling clarity – thanks to the noise canceling microphone, your voice is easily understood without you having to shout • Keep one ear free – ideal for families, the single-sided design keeps you in touch with your surroundings while you talk over the net • Light and comfortable – with the lightweight headband, it’s easy to forget you are even wearing a headset • Easy to use – plug-and-play simplicity means it’s easy to connect to your laptop or computer • Peace of mind – thanks to the 2-year international warranty



njoy excellent Sennheiser stereo sound while talking over the net – or listening to music and casual gaming. The affordable PC 3 CHAT is extremely lightweight for hours of fun, yet durable enough to withstand the most active multimedia lifestyles. Of course, you can rest assured knowing that the high-quality noise canceling microphone delivers clear internet conversations. Benefits and Features: • Value for money – excellent sound clarity and durability at an affordable price • Noise canceling clarity – thanks to the noise canceling microphone, your voice is easily understood without you having to shout • Stereo sound – Sennheiser quality perfect for a range of applications such as music and gaming, too • Light and comfortable – with the lightweight headband, it’s easy to forget you are even wearing a headset • Easy to use – plug-and-play simplicity means it’s easy to connect to your laptop or computer • Peace of mind – thanks to the 2-year international warranty

 PC 7 USB


ust plug it in to your computer and start talking over the net: the affordable PC 7 USB features super-easy USB plug and play. Ideal for families, this headset’s single-sided wearing style lets you continue to be part of your home surroundings while skyping. Renowned Sennheiser sound combines with the noise canceling microphone to ensure every word is clearly heard. Benefits and Features: • Value for money - excellent sound clarity and durability at an affordable price • Noise canceling clarity – thanks to the noise canceling microphone, your voice is easily understood without you having to shout • USB plug & play – simply plug in to your PC or Mac USB port and start phoning over the net • Keep one ear free – ideal for families, the single-sided design keeps you in touch with your surroundings while you talk over the net • Light and comfortable – with the lightweight headband, it’s easy to forget you are even wearing a headset • Peace of mind – thanks to the 2-year international warranty

 PC 8 USB


xperience clear-quality internet chats, casual gaming, music and more with the affordable PC 8 USB – featuring a Sennheiser USB soundcard. Plus, with its handy in-line volume/ mute control, you have the ultimate in convenience – no need now to fiddle with your computer’s settings. Renowned Sennheiser stereo sound and the high-quality noise canceling microphone ensures your conversations are clear. Benefits and Features: • Value for money - excellent sound clarity and durability at an affordable price • Noise canceling clarity – thanks to the noise canceling microphone, your voice is easily understood without you having to shout • USB plug & play – simply plug in to your PC or Mac USB port and start phoning over the net • Stereo sound – Sennheiser quality perfect for a range of applications such as music and gaming, too • Light and comfortable – with the lightweight headband, it’s easy to forget you are even wearing a headset • Easy volume control – the in-line volume/ mute control lets you make quick adjustments without fiddling with your computer settings • Peace of mind – thanks to the 2-year international warranty


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Discover total travel control and a world of new opportunities Managing global and local corporate travel requirements efficiently and effectively has always been a challenge. Until now‌ Amadeus delivers everything you need:

Look forward to total control of your corporate travel programme; intelligent solutions that are compatible with the service, technology and content providers of your choice; superior duty of care and enriched traveller experience; intuitive IT that sources, searches and books all the content you need; plus unrivalled competence and a proven track record in migration, support and security. Discover a Brighter, Bolder, Better world of corporate travel today! To find out more, contact us or visit - M: +31 (0)62 383 2269

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