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SPRING 2014 NO. 49

“Mobile technology will revolutionize our industry” Interview with Patrick Diemer, CEO of AirPlus International
















Are you ready for a connected future?

The travellers of tomorrow will expect to travel without boundaries. They’ll expect journeys to be a single experience – no matter which part of the world they’re visiting or how they’re travelling. The question is, are we ready to provide them with linked-up journeys? Join us on a journey towards a connected future at shapethefutureo� Let’s shape the future of travel

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005 The Journal

040 “Mobile technology will revolutionize our industry”



THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER IN THE BENELUX WWW.THECORPORATETRAVELLER.BE 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: PUBLISHER Erik De Ridder – E-mail: MANAGING EDITOR Jean Paul Talbot – E-mail: EDITORIAL TEAM Joanna Pays, Angela Antrobus, Jeroen Coteur, Jacques Legros ART DIRECTOR 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: TRAFFIC HILDE DE RIDDER E-mail: DESIGN LEO BVBA PRINTING Schaubroeck, Nazareth COVER Turkish Airlines - Business lounge 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

News from the travel industry

016 On the move Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond’s life is a blur of travel and speed. And as he admits to The Corporate Traveller, he wouldn’t want it any other way.

DESTINATIONS 020 Newcastle: new cultural capital of the North of England Over 350 million euros of investments have transformed Newcastle into a beacon for culture, architecture and technology.

022 England’s North East – Fit for Meetings and Incentives. Newcastle and Northumberland have harnessed the ingredients needed to provide corporate groups with a successful event that touches the hearts of delegates who experience the genuine warmth of the local people.

AIR PORTS 024 Brussels Airport rebrands as the Heart of Europe The initiative coincides with large projects that will significantly change the face of Brussels Airport over the coming year.

026 Star Alliance moves to its own new terminal at Heathrow Star Alliance airlines will be moving into their purpose-built new Terminal 2 at Heathrow.

AIR WAYS 028 Latest innovations at Turkish Airlines 030 US Airline consolidations The US airline industry has seen tremendous consolidation, most recently with Delta’s acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin and American Airlines merger with US Airways.

Patrick Diemer, CEO of AirPlus International, gives us his views on the future of the company as well as the corporate travel industry in general.

043 New Carlson Wagonlit Travel report on Travel Management Priorities for 2014 045 European business travel organisations convene to create ENACT network 046 Serving corporate travel managers in 120 countries Interview with Ian Windsor, Hogg Robinson Group Managing Director Europe North

048 Optimize your duty of care with Amadeus Mobile Messenger 051 Social media marketing – top 10 tips for campaigns with real ROI Social media marketing programs can dramatically increase the reach of marketing budgets.

HOTELS 054 Best Hotel Room for Corporate Travellers 2014 Awards Winning hotels will take the prize of 16,000 euros of advertising

057 Two new hotels for Brussels - Motel One and Mercure Brussels Centre Midi 059 Four Seasons growing luxury hotel network with over 60 new projects worldwide 060 White Glove Service @ Oordeghem House 18 years ago, Saskia De Mits and her husband Guy Vermeirsch founded ’t Huis van Oordeghem (the Oordeghem House). In the meantime, their business has grown into a unique and successful concept on a worldwide scale. It is truly world-class outdoor design.

032 Austrian Airlines, the gateway to Central and Eastern Europe Thanks to its privileged central location of Vienna, Austrian Airlines is an ideal partner both for business and leisure trips in Central and Eastern Europe.

034 TAP Portugal plays a pioneering role once again TAP Portugal is now the first and only airline to fly directly to Manaus and Belem from Europe.

037 Brussels Airlines continues successful transition Brussels Airlines has plenty to celebrate with the announcement of significant improvements in its financial results and continued passenger growth.

038 Ryanair opens new base at Brussels Zaventem airport 039 Finnair makes Helsinki the gateway to Asia

064 Rejuvenation for the Warwick International Hotels in Brussels The Royal Windsor Grand Place and the Warwick Barsey Hotel have undergone renovation in order to improve the quality of every aspect of their clients’ stay.

066 ‘Experience Meetings’ at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel


SPRING 2014 | 3

From now on you’ll have your train ticket anytime and anywhere! SNCB Europe launches Mobile Ticket!


YO U R B L U S U C C E S S RADISSON BLU ASTRID HOTEL, ANTWERP Koningin Astridplein 7, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium T. +32 3 203 1234


Garuda Indonesia Becomes 20th Member of SkyTeam Alliance SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, has welcomed Garuda Indonesia as its 20th member and second airline from Southeast Asia. Garuda’s membership adds Jakarta as an alternative gateway to and from South East Asia, as well as 40 new destinations to SkyTeam’s global network served uniquely by the alliance.

British Airways opens Rotterdam – London City route British Airways is strengthening its position as the largest airline at London City Airport adding more aircraft, routes and frequencies. A new route to Rotterdam with five daily frequencies was launched at the end of March. With the introduction of Rotterdam, in addition to new services to Florence, the airline now serves 26 international, European and UK destinations from London City airport. British Airways has also added more frequencies from London City to Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Zurich, and is increasing capacity on its London City – Dusseldorf route. The airline plans to add three new Embraer aircraft to its fleet at London City, bringing to 17 the number of aircraft it has based there.

“The growth of London City Airport will allow us to further grow our own business there” said Adam Carson, managing director of British Airways subsidiary BA City Flyer. “Although London City was built primarily as a business airport we have seen a huge demand from our customers for more holiday destinations. We have seen growth in both the leisure and business markets and the two new routes we are launching reflects that. Rotterdam is obviously a very important business centre while Florence is the gateway to the beautiful region of Tuscany.” The London City – Rotterdam route has been launched in addition to British Airways’ existing services between London Heathrow and Rotterdam.

“Garuda’s entry into the alliance will give its customers access to SkyTeam’s 1,064 destinations that cover more than 90% of the most relevant traffic flows in the world” said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam’s Managing Director. “Garuda strengthens our presence throughout the Asia Pacific region for our 588 million global passengers.” “For the past 3 years, Garuda Indonesia has been actively forging cooperation with the other 19 member airlines with this objective in mind and it has been an incredible journey” said President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia, Emirsyah Satar. “Joining SkyTeam is part of Garuda Indonesia’s progressive transformation program throughout all aspects of the company. This milestone marks a momentous occasion in our airline’s 65year history and we look forward to future collaboration with our alliance partners.” Garuda flies to 64 destinations in 12 countries, including 40 domestic destinations. Garuda will increase its service to Europe in May this year with a new route between Jakarta and London’s Gatwick airport.

KLM introduces special app for iPad users KLM’s free KLM app is now available for iPad users. Using the KLM app, passengers can get travel ideas, swipe their way through a smooth booking process and manage their trips on the go. With the KLM app for iPad, all services are easy to access, with a unique 3D design that brings visual

elements to life. Users can give the world a spin, find the perfect destination and obtain the best ticket prices. Search filters can be made according to budget, temperature, flight time, themes and more. The KLM app for iPad brings ideas for travel, a superfast booking service, up-to-date flight information and an extensive Flying Blue overview. Passengers can use the app to select

their seats, baggage and on-board meals. They can also obtain their boarding pass using the app. The KLM app for iPad is easy to use and is available worldwide in 11 languages including Dutch, English and French. KLM will also release a version of the app for use with Android devices later this year.


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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Finnair brings full-flat seats to 9 long-haul routes Since April 1st, Finnair offers new seats that turn into full flat beds for its Business Class passengers on flights to Tokyo and New York. By the summer, a further seven long haul routes will benefit from the lie-flat seats. From May 1st the lie flat seats will be introduced on Finnair’s flights to Beijing and Seoul and, from June 1st, on flights to Hanoi, Hong Kong, Nagoya, Osaka and Shanghai. The new flat bed sets are the result of Finnair’s 29 million-euro program to modernize its wide-body fleet of Airbus A330 and A340 aircrafts. Four of the airline’s new Airbus A330 aircraft are already equipped with the Zodiac ‘UK Vantage’ seats, which have been designed to provide a fully-flat bed of up to 2 meters long and 58 cm wide. The fully adjustable seats are also equipped with an individual reading light, an adjustable headrest and a wide range of inflight entertainment options on board. At the end of the retrofit program of Finnair’s fleet, all long-haul Airbus will be equipped with full flat seats in Business Class, with the exception of three aircraft. The remaining three aircraft will be the first to be removed at the delivery of nextgeneration Airbus A350 XWBs in 2015.

Delta Partners with LinkedIn to connect present and future business leaders in-flight Delta Air Lines is partnering with LinkedIn to connect today’s high-profile influencers with the business leaders of tomorrow at 35,000 feet. Through a unique program called Innovation Class, Delta is offering its LinkedIn community the opportunity to meet with leaders from different fields on a designated flight. Individuals interested in the opportunity to fly with a titan in their industry, sharing ideas and discussing goals and future projects, may submit an application at Delta will select and pair applicants with industry leaders. Delta’s first Innovation Class in-flight pairing occurred enroute to TED2014. James Patten, CEO of Patten Studio, was given the opportunity to fly with influential technologist Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble Technology, from Salt Lake City to Vancouver. Future events and influencer pairings will be announced throughout the year. “Every day Delta carries almost a half-million customers around the globe, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields of work” said Mauricio Parise, Delta’s director - Worldwide Marketing Communications. “Innovation Class is our small contribution to enable collaboration by bringing together brilliant minds, and there is no better place to launch this program than at TED - an organization that was born to spread ideas and fuel innovation.” Delta is the official airline sponsor of TED2014 and the only airline that features TED Talks as part of its premium entertainment onboard experience.


SPRING 2014 |

Air France-KLM and GOL sign a long-term strategic partnership Air France-KLM and GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes have signed an exclusive long term strategic partnership for commercial cooperation between Brazil and Europe. The agreement includes expanded codesharing, maintenance, enhanced joint sales activities and more benefits for customers in the airlines’ frequent flyer programmes. The new partnership follows on from the successful strategic cooperation between GOL and Delta Airlines, the main partner of Air France-KLM, which was implemented in 2011. As part of the agreement, Air France-KLM will invest $100 million in GOL. The investment will include a subscription of GOL shares for $52 million, representing a 1.5% equity stake, with the transaction subject to antitrust approval. Camiel Eurlings, President & CEO of KLM, will be member of the Alliance Committee of the Board of directors of GOL. “We are excited to join forces with GOL, a leading carrier in Brazil” said Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France. “We are confident that this comprehensive partnership will create strategic, long term value for both our groups and customers, and significantly enhance Air France-KLM’s commercial position in the region.” The new agreement is in line with Air France-KLM’s strategy of strengthening its leading position in Brazil and Latin-America. As of summer 2014, Air France and KLM will increase their offer by operating 41 weekly flights from their hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol. As well as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Air France has opened a new route to Brasilia, with three weekly flights. Air France intends to operate a regular service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Sao Paulo by Airbus A380 as soon as the airport receives the authorization from the authorities. All these flights will connect to the GOL network with over 50 destinations. Codesharing between Air France-KLM and GOL flights will be extended to flights operated by Air France and KLM between Europe and Brazil as well as flights operated by GOL in Brazil.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

First Qatar Airways’ A350 takes to the skies The eagerly awaited arrival of Qatar Airways’ first A350 later this year took one step closer as the first A350 aircraft bearing Qatar Airways livery took to the skies above the home of Airbus in Toulouse, while embarking upon a test flight. The latest test flights of the new A350 aircraft come after Qatar Airways CEO, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, visited the home of Airbus in Toulouse recently to thank Airbus, on behalf of everyone at Qatar Airways, for their efforts in working to fulfil the airline’s ambitious A350 order, in line with its aggressive expansion plans. Qatar Airways, a highly valued customer and partner with Airbus since the airline received its first Airbus aircraft in 1997, will see its fleet of young and modern aircraft strengthened significantly over the coming year with more than 200 aircraft currently on order, from the A320 through to the flagship A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. “Qatar Airways is proud to be the launch customer for this new aircraft, which will offer a unique travel experience for all of our customers as we add to our rapidly expanding fleet, and we look forward to soon taking delivery of the first of our 80 A350s” said Mr Al Baker.

Advito publishes quarterly update for Industry Forecast 2014 Advito has published the latest quarterly update to its Industry Forecast 2014, the international analysis of business travel. According to the new update, worldwide economic growth continues to rise, mainly driven by the industrialized economies. As such, demand for business travel will continue to increase, but at a slower rate than the economy in general. Advito bases its forecasts on international analyzes, local parameters and booking information from BCD Travel, the global leader in business travel management in the Benelux. The Industry Forecast is a useful tool for companies to negotiate with their suppliers and to help establish business travel budgets. Amongst the conclusions highlighted in the report, the weak demand for air tickets and growing competition amongst airlines mean that prices on local and intercontinental flights from Europe should remain stable. Hotel prices in Europe are steady on average, but are predicted to increase from 2 to 5 percent in the UK. “We have found that many businesses are trying to keep their budgets under control” said Inge Stok , Director EMEA at Advito. “As a result, hybrid meetings are increasingly common, where some guests dial into physical meetings. This means that anyone can attend the meeting, but costs still go down and less time is needed for travelling.” The full Advito 2014 Industry Forecast can be found at

Shangri-La opens first hotel in UK, in London’s The Shard Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will soon unveil its first UK property, in London’s latest landmark, The Shard. When opened on 6 May, the hotel will be the tallest in Western Europe and the first high rise hotel in London.

The Shangri-La Hotel At the Shard London will be the Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group’s third in Europe, following debuts in Paris in 2010 and Istanbul in 2013. It will occupy levels 34 to 52 of the 1004 ft high, 72-story Shard building. Its contemporary interior design complements Renzo Piano’s architecture with views in all directions across London including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. The Shangri-La’s 202 guestrooms and suites will be among the largest in London. All will feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views across the city. The hotel’s facilities

will include three dining venues, a 24hour gym and London’s highest infinity pool. “Our continued expansion in Europe reflects the growth opportunities for the brand and portfolio” stated Shangri-La President and CEO Greg Dogan. “The Shard is a landmark synonymous with London and we hope to encourage visitors to our hotel and the surrounding area. We are truly excited to be an integral part of the ongoing development of the South Bank community and the borough of Southwark.” Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard, London is located on the South Bank of the River Thames, just across from The City of London, and a scenic 15-minute river taxi ride from the Canary Wharf business and commercial hub.


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Bringing high quality to the world. It’s a Swiss tradition.

There’s comfort in high-quality products. We should know. We export them. As the airline of Switzerland, we translate high quality into comfort on every ight by offering service and hospitality you can count on. 6 daily ights from Brussels to Zurich offer an easy connection to more than 80 destinations worldwide.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

VisitEngland reinforces website tools VisitEngland has launched a brand new website, reinforcing the essential tool it offers for event planners interested in hosting business meetings, conference and incentives in England. The new resource, designed to help organisers, is full of practical information and ideas for those searching for inspiration across English destinations. More information can be found at www. and

Amadeus launches new platform for the airport of the future Amadeus has reinforced its commitment to developing the airport of the future with the launch of Amadeus Airport Common Use Service (ACUS), a next-gen airport platform capable of carrying out all passenger processing functions.

passengers will benefit from a quick and fluid airport experience. The cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution platform will allow airlines and ground handlers to share the physical space and the IT resources of the airport, eliminating the burden of hosting and development.

The majority of the world’s airports currently run a traditional and expensive common use model, including a long-term supplier and on-site IT infrastructure. The adoption of Amadeus ACUS will allow airports to eliminate costly on-site systems, lowering their operational expenses and minimising their environmental impact. Furthermore, they will improve their agility and flexibility in responding to unforeseen situations such as weather disruptions and traffic peaks. Airlines will also be able to reduce costs thanks to centralised connectivity to airports and simplified passenger processing. As a consequence of these streamlined operations,

“The airport industry has advanced tremendously from the days of dedicated airline check-in desks towards a much more flexible and shared environment” said John Jarrell, Head of Airport IT at Amadeus. “Airlines have already chosen cloud technology to run many critical applications that are centrally hosted, and I believe the airport industry will follow this trend with Amadeus ACUS. Our platform will enable the airport ecosystem to use its resources much more intelligently, ultimately improving the passenger experience and taking the next step towards becoming the airport of the future.”

Adria Airways’ summer scheduled services Adria Airways has adopted its summer flight schedule, which will remain valid until 25 October 2014. Adria will continue to connect Slovenia with the rest of the world by operating daily flights from Ljubljana to 19 destinations across Europe. The summer flight schedule sees Adria operating 180 scheduled weekly flights, of which 159 are from Ljubljana. 11 flights a week are operated from Pristina to Malmo, Munich and Frankfurt, six from Munich to Lodz and four from Tirana to Frankfurt. Adria’s summer timetable for 2014 includes flights from Ljubljana to Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Podgorica, Prague, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. The new features of the summer timetable are two weekly flights to London, four weekly flights to Prague, three weekly flights to Warsaw, the service between Tirana and Frankfurt (four flights a week), the service between Pristina and Malmo and the service between Munich and the Polish city of Lodz (six flights a week).


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The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

United Airlines installs 500 new electronics charging stations United Airlines is making it easier for customers to power up their phones, tablets, laptops and gaming devices while travelling. The airline has begun installing nearly 500 charging stations in customer seating areas at many of the airports United serves. Each of United’s new charging stations offers access to six, 110-volt power outlets and two USB ports, enabling customers

to charge a range of electronic devices simultaneously. The new stations also feature a sleek design with a large ‘power outlet’ icon and prominent United branding, helping customers quickly locate the units in gate areas. Chicago O’Hare International Airport has already been fitted with 110 of the new charging stations in Concourses B and C. The airline will begin installing the charging stations at its Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington Dulles hubs over the coming weeks, as well as New York LaGuardia and Louis

Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. “Our customers have told us they depend on their electronic devices to stay productive and connected at 35,000 feet, and that requires a full battery” said Jimmy Samartzis, United’s vice president of customer experience. “From installing charging stations to expanding access to in-seat power and Wi-Fi, United is working to deliver a more flyer-friendly travel experience for our customers.”

VISITBRUSSELS awards The VISITBRUSSELS awards were presented on 27 March at a ceremony in Brussels’ ‘The EGG’. The awards recognize the most dynamic initiatives that have contributed this past year to the appearance and attractiveness of the Brussels-Capital Region. The general public selected three nominees for each category, while a jury composed of journalists and members of various tourism associations designated the final winners. Amongst the winners in the eight categories were FunKey Hotel, for best ‘Hotel Newcomer’ and Palais 12 for best ‘New Event Place’. Museum Night Fever 2013 took the award for Best ‘Evening Experience’.

Qatar Airways increases connections in the Middle East with two new routes Qatar Airways is increasing its network in the Middle East with the launch of two new regional routes – Sharjah and Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport. Both of the new routes will be operated from the airline’s hub in Doha, doubling the total number of destinations offered by Qatar Airways within the United Arab Emirates from two to four. Three flights daily will be offered to Sharjah and double daily flights to Dubai World Central.


SPRING 2014 |

Ferrari Land for Spain PortAventura Entertainment SAU has signed a licensing agreement with Ferrari to build a Ferrari Land theme park inside the PortAventura resort near Barcelona. Ferrari Land will cover 75,000 square metres and include a variety of new and exciting attractions for Prancing Horse enthusiasts of all ages, including Europe’s highest and fastest vertical accelerator. The first Ferrari-themed hotel is also to be built inside PortAventura and will be a luxury five-star establishment with 250 rooms, restaurants and a driving simulator. The project will involve an overall investment of 100 million euros, with the Ferrari theme park scheduled to open in 2016. PortAventura already welcomes 4,000,000 visitors a year, of whom 50% come from outside Spain.

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Business Travel Show attracts more visitors and announces AirPlus new A.I.D.A. mobile venue for 2015

payment solutions With Mobile A.I.D.A. AirPlus has introduced a new development for flexible business travel payment by smartphone. The new solution offers multiple benefits for travel managers. Mobile payment systems have many advantages over classic methods and are increasingly becoming part of daily life. Nowadays no-one can imagine being without their mobile phone, and for this reason AirPlus has developed an innovative mobile payment technology that expands the possibilities of the AirPlus Company Account: Mobile A.I.D.A.

The Business Travel Show, which took place in London’s Earls Court exhibition centre in February, has reported its best show in years. Visitor numbers were up by 5% and the new dates and venue have been confirmed for 2015.

attended the Business Travel Show for a busy two days of networking, learning and sourcing. Exhibitor numbers were up ten per cent on 2013. Floor space at the show this year increased by 32 per cent, and 65 per cent of the floor plan was rebooked onsite.

The 20th Business Travel Show, which took place at London’s Earls Court exhibition centre, achieved a five per cent increase in visitors. 6,475 corporate travel professionals

The show has confirmed that its new dates for 2015 will be 25 and 26 February. Next year the show’s venue will move to London’s Olympia Grand Hall.

Birmingham Airport opens to the world A £200 million project to extend Birmingham airport’s runway is set for completion this spring. The new single 3,003m long runway will allow for non-stop flights from Los Angeles and Hong Kong and, in the future, Singapore. Once completed, the airport will be in a position to offer passengers from the surrounding region direct long haul flights to destinations such as on the west coast of the US and in Asia. Birmingham is the only airport in the UK with planning consent for a runway extension.

Using AirPlus A.I.D.A. Virtual Payment, customers can already take advantage of the global acceptance of MasterCard and harness the advantages of the central payment solution for companies, the AirPlus Company Account. The future-oriented Mobile A.I.D.A. app allows travellers to generate MasterCard numbers on demand, anywhere. The app displays a virtual MasterCard with the number and card verification code on the user’s smartphone. This enables travellers to pay for travel services on the road that are then settled centrally through the AirPlus Company Account. Payment by mobile phone has tangible advantages for business travellers. Whenever they use Mobile A.I.D.A., the Company Account is billed directly, eliminating the need for cumbersome travel expense reports. Airline tickets, hotel accommodation, train tickets, events and many other travel services can be paid for with the AirPlus Mobile A.I.D.A. app – both before and during the trip. This means that companies now have a controlled but ultraconvenient way to pay for all employees’ trip expenses, whether they have a corporate card or not. Security has top priority for this solution. The Mobile A.I.D.A. function is protected by password and high security encryption. The app is universally accessible to download, but can only be used when company travel managers provide the corresponding login data. This ensures that only authorised employees can access the card payment and the AirPlus Company Account. “Virtual payment solutions are highly flexible and enable companies to steer their business travel spending in a way to capture areas of spend they may not have been able to capture before,” says AirPlus Managing Director Yael Klein. “Travel managers can now put a controlled payment method literally in the pockets of their employees – even ones they wouldn’t normally give a plastic card to, or regular travellers who have lost their plastic card.”


SPRING 2014 | 11

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Air France unveils new business class seat – a cocoon in the sky Air France has unveiled its new business class seats. In total, 2,102 seats will be installed between June 2014 and summer 2016 on 44 Boeing 777, the core of Air France’s long-haul fleet. The seat converts into a fully lie flat bed and the passenger is instantly enveloped in its graceful curves into a cocoon-like state of special care. Every detail has been specially modelled. Refined touches, such as leather upholstery, padded headboards, adjustable headrests and feather down pillows add to the feeling of superior comfort. Seat configuration in the new business class means direct aisle access for all passengers. Individual 41 cm high definition touch screens bring over 1,000 hours of on demand entertainment in a choice of 12 languages. The seat, specially designed for Air France, was developed in collaboration with Zodiac Aerospace, a world leader in the manufacture of aircraft seats. Created to bring passengers more comfort and freedom, Air France engaged customers, company employees, designers and ergonomic experts in the seat’s cooperative design effort.

Dominvs Group expanding hotel portfolio with purchase of landmark site in London Dominvs Group has acquired a landmark site in London City Centre for the development of a 200 bedroom 4-Star hotel, with restaurant and conference facilities. The purchase forms part of the group’s plans to expand its portfolio of strategically located properties in UK cities, Formerly the Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court, the property is situated next to London’s iconic Tower Bridge. The site benefits from excellent transport links and local infrastructure. The property was originally constructed in 1906 and is a Grade II listed, three storey building. Dominvs Group’s aim is to build a premium portfolio in the UK hospitality sector. It is focused on investment in existing long-established assets and new development opportunities. With its existing 500,000 sq ft portfolio ranging from premier business locations to city-centre development sites, Dominivs Group is actively seeking more opportunities, with a further 600,000 sq ft targeted for 2014.


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Winners of the 7th edition of Brussels Airport Aviation Awards The seventh edition of the Brussels Airport Aviation Awards took place on 20 March 2014. Brussels Airport created the awards in 2007, in order to recognise airlines and partners that have stood out of the year in terms of punctuality, performance, environment, safety, network and route development. In the Punctuality category, Air Europa was winner for the best Short Haul Airline and Thai Airways for the Long Haul Airline. Jetairfly won the Environmental award for the renewal of its fleet with the quietest and most environment-friendly aircraft in its class and for the implementation of new and quieter landing procedures at Brussels Airport. The Safety award went to Paul McManus, airport manager for Etihad Airways, for the important contribution he made to the improvement of the safety

performance and culture on the airport tarmac. In the category of Network Development, the winners were Croatia Airlines and Qatar Airways, for short haul airline and long haul airline respectively. Croatia Airlines was recognised for the frequency increase to Zagreb following Croatia’s entry into the European Union and the 41% growth in passenger numbers. Qatar Airways, for the frequency increase to a daily flight to its hub in Doha, the introduction of the first B787 Dreamliner on a scheduled service, and the 34% passenger growth. The biannual Diamond Award was taken by Elie Bruyninckx, CEO of TUI Belgium, for his important contribution to the development of Belgian aviation through Jetair, the major tour operator in Belgium, and Jetairfly, the second largest airline in the country.


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A GOOD DAY STARTS BY A SWEET NIGHT Need a head start for your business or leisure trip to Brussels? Check in at the Made in Louise boutique hotel. Located in a quiet neighbourhood, the completely refurbished hotel is near the lively and easy to reach center of the city. Hospitality is key at Made in Louise: enjoy our free breakfast and free wifi. And don’t worry about your car. We have a secured parking at your disposal.



Spend your stay in one of our nine fine secluded new rooms, all facing the charming courtyard - where breakfast will be served.


The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

Etihad Airways launches major program to improve guest sleep experience Etihad Airways has launched a new program to improve sleep quality on its long-haul flights. Continued investments in the onboard experience include new luxury all-natural bedding. Since July 2012, Etihad Airways has been working closely with a panel of sleep experts from the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology (ACPN) in Abu Dhabi to research ways to enhance sleep in-flight. The Centre is staffed by American Board-certified aviation psychiatrists and neurologists and is renowned for its work in the field of aviation health. A core part of Etihad Airways’ sleep initiative is the introduction of luxury all-natural bedding by COCO-MAT in Diamond First Class. Athensbased COCO-MAT, widely considered the world’s leading manufacturer of sustainably sourced sleep products, has designed an exclusive multi-layered sleep system mattress for Etihad Airways’ Diamond First Class suites. The unique mattress is made from extracts of the Hevea tree,

a healthier alternative to standard petroleumbased foams. The new bedding set features a 100 per cent cotton fitted sheet and a large down feather duvet and pillow. Etihad Airways is the only airline in the world to provide this bespoke product.

on our flights. The research we have carried out in collaboration with the experts at the ACPN will allow us to significantly improve the cabin environment for our guests and to provide targeted investment in our on-board experience for tangible customer benefit.”

Etihad Airways has received expert guidance from the ACPN on sleep hygiene and on-board wellbeing, and has developed comprehensive guidelines for sleep in-flight, created for the airline’s guests as a result of clinical studies carried out by the ACPN on patients experiencing effects related to long-haul flying.

The airline aims to enhance the sleep experience by focusing on the senses of touch, sight, sound, aroma and taste. Fine cotton Heather Grey sleepsuits, unique pillow mist, pulse point oil and a selection of Bergamote 22 toiletries by New York brand, Le Labo, now features as part of its First Class sleep amenities. High quality comforters, blankets, pillows are provided in Pearl Business Class and Coral Economy Class respectively, along with unique Sougha amenity kits, inspired by traditional Emirati artisanal designs in all classes. To minimise the effects of ambient cabin sounds, Etihad Airways provides noise cancellation headphones in all three classes. Furthermore, to counteract harsh light, all cabins feature advanced mood-lighting systems.

“A good night’s sleep is scientifically proven to benefit one’s health and nowhere is this more important than on a long-haul flight” said Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways. “We understand that sleep is an important requirement for our guests, many of whom fly multiple journeys with us each year. For this reason, we will continue ensuring greater levels of comfort and wellbeing

Luke Goggin appointed Hanover to enjoy ‘Oh So British’ events and General Manager Europe and Africa for British Airways atmosphere in 2014 British Airways’ corporate sales chief Luke Goggin has been appointed as the airline’s new area general manager for Europe and Africa. Luke Goggin, who is currently head of corporate sales for the airline, takes up his new role following Gavin Halliday’s move to become managing director of flying reward scheme, Avios. Luke joined British Airways in November 2011, but started his sales career in 2000 after a stint playing rugby for premiership side Exeter Chiefs. Prior to joining the airline he worked for nine years at Whitbread where he started as a national account manager, before rising to become head of sales for over 600 Premier Inn hotels.


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This year things will be ‘very British’ in the state capital of Lower Saxony as Hanover is the central venue of the state exhibition entitled ‘When the Royals came from Hanover’. Throughout 2014, visitors can relive the era in which the British royals came from Hanover. There will be major exhibitions, as well as numerous cultural events and concerts, guided tours and a fireworks display, a specially composed opera, British teatime, a fashion show, equestrian sports events and a British garden party. More information can be found at

The Traveller Journal | News from the travel industry

SWISS welcomes the Appenzellerland Taste of Switzerland aboard its aircraft Specialities from the Appenzellerland of Eastern Switzerland are now being served to premium customers on SWISS’s outbound longhaul services and selected European flights. The latest chapter in the airline’s award-winning SWISS Taste of Switzerland inflight culinary programme offers creations from the Truube Restaurant in Gais, Canton Appenzell, while the May ‘SWISS Traditions’ feature will focus on the local Alpaufzug custom. SWISS has teamed up with Silvia Manser of the Truube Restaurant in Gais in Eastern Switzerland to present selected culinary specialities from the local Appenzellerland aboard its flights until early June. In line with the spring season, Manser –who has 15 GaultMillau points to her name–has created simple but highly original meals using premium local produce which will be offered to SWISS First and SWISS Business travellers on long-haul flights from Switzerland. The meals are accompanied by various regional cheeses, while the beverage selection features fine local wines along with the region’s best-known beer. In addition to its culinary specialities, Switzerland’s Appenzellerland is further renowned for its beautiful scenery and for its age-old customs and traditions. SWISS will be celebrating the annual Alpaufzug, when the local cattle are taken up to their summer mountain pastures, by offering special meals to Business Class travellers on selected European services until 20 May.

Thalys 2013 results show increased traffic and profits Thalys has reported a traffic increase of 1.8% for the year 2013. The rail carrier also recorded excellent customer satisfaction and punctuality figures. Thalys passenger growth was strongly supported by its route to the Netherlands. Over the year 2013, 6 694 000 passengers travelled with Thalys between Brussels, Paris, Amsterstam and Essen. Customer satisfaction was at 87.3%, while punctuality achieved 90.6% for the year. “In 2013, our capacity replied to the demand from the Netherlands and our dynamism on the German route allowed us, in an economical context which remains challenging, to continue our growth” commented Franck Gervais, CEO of Thalys International. “In 2014 our triple objectives are to manage the transformation of Thalys into a rail company, to succeed in the launch of our new Lille-Amsterdam route and to continue to increase our market share with respect to road and air travel over longer distances. Thalys is, on each of its routes, the most pertinent method of transportation”

Serge Sadzo new Director Marketing & Communications, BCD Travel Benelux and France BCD Travel has named Serge Sadzo as Director Marketing & Communications EMEA South West. In his new role, he is responsible for all communication and marketing activities. Serge Sadzo has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and communications. Before joining BCD Travel, he worked for 10 years as Sales Manager at Concentra Media, then as Senior Communications Specialist at Ecover. In March 2011, he joined the marketing and communications team of BCD Travel Belgium, where he has been responsible for marketing activities in the Benelux and France. Serge Sadzo directs an international team and reports to Anja Turner, Senior Director Marketing & Communications EMEA.


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ON THE MOVE Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond’s life is a blur of travel and speed. And as he admits to The Corporate Traveller, he wouldn’t want it any other way.


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ichard Hammond is used to getting from A to B at high speed... and not just on the plethora of cars, motorcycles, tanks, Segways and more he test drives as one third of the Top Gear trio. Alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May, the 43-year-old has helped make the British motoring show a worldwide phenomenon, screened and franchised to over 350 million people. It all means that Hammond has had to become accustomed to travelling around the world. Whether for business or pleasure, the spark of his television presenting and an unrequited passion for motoring has seen ‘the Hamster’ sent to a multitude of global locations – sometimes slumming it on vehicles a long way from roadworthy, on other occasions racing across land and sea on elegant ambassadors of the travel revolution. And not content with being sent to Vietnam, New Zealand and South Africa with Clarkson and May, Hammond’s solo ventures have seen him present shows in America, Argentina and Australia. It is a pretty unyielding workload, but you would never hear the infectiously bubbly Brit complaining about his lot - quite the opposite, in fact. “I do actually do an awful lot of travelling around”, he begins, “to the point where it often feels like that is the only thing I do. My wife certainly seems to think that! And that is the worst thing about it really, having to leave the wife and kids behind for long periods. “But I obviously accept that it just comes with the territory and with my job. And I love my job, I love to travel the world - it gives me the opportunity to go to places that I could only have dreamed of. “And most of the time, you get treated very well. I never have too many complaints when I’m flying or about where I am staying. I am always looked after.” This, Hammond recognises, is thanks to the fact he is travelling in business class and housed in renowned hotels, a luxury he appreciates and never takes for granted. “It’s very nice, and it is a privileged position to be in. I appreciate how lucky I am. I wouldn’t normally be the type of person to demand to be in first class or to stay in a five-star hotel. But I am not going to turn it down if it is offered! “All that said, I think the boundaries between normal travel and really good corporate travel are much more blurred these days. Corporate travel now feels like an accessible thing for most budgets. Business is truly global – there is no part of the world excluded from corporate travel and corporate hospitality – so the demand is that much greater. That means the supply of corporate travel options is much greater. It’s an exciting thing.”


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Hammond has seemingly been to every corner of the globe, usually with a camera crew, but are there any particular trips that stick in mind? “I would say a memorable time for me was when Top Gear went for a shoot in Buttermere, Canada, a few years back. The best moment was getting back to the hotel in Resolut, after racing to the North Pole on a dog sled. I had been sleeping in a tent at -40 C for a week and the warmth and comfort of the hotel and a hot bath was too wonderful to comprehend. The incredible success of Top Gear (and, notably, its infamously close-to-the-bone irreverence that has often landed the show in trouble) has led the presenting trio to become famous way beyond the shores of the UK, and Hammond says the notoriety means there is barely a part of the world he can go without being set upon by fans. “We are recognised everywhere; it’s frightening,” Hammond laughs. “We were driving through the Middle East and pitched up at a hotel in Damascus. It had been a late night anyway by the time we turned in, and with a long day to follow we were craving a decent night’s sleep. I think I’d only managed to get a couple of hours’ rest before being woken up by that sound you hear when you get a group of people gathered together trying to be quiet... but failing. I looked at my clock and it was 4am. The noise was being produced by a bunch of locals lining up outside our hotel, desperate to get a glimpse of one short, one overweight and one hairy bloke sleeping. And that to me summed Top Gear up. At a time when there was considerable political friction building, people still wanted to get out of their beds and be a part of this global project. The devotion is incredible, and we’re never complacent about that.” But it isn’t just the personalities – despite their larger appearance that makes Top Gear the show it is. Hammond is the first to recognise the subject matter is vital, and that the cars will forever remain the crux of the appeal, being something that interests so many people. “It unites everyone,” he continues. “Motoring goes so far beyond convenience – it has done for the past 50 years. It’s about image, 18 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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style and, most of all, fun! And who doesn’t like to have fun?! But yes, as far as Top Gear goes, it’s extremely gratifying that people enjoy the show so much. “I think the travel element is important too. If you’re into your motoring the chances are you appreciate what it is to travel because you enjoy getting out on the road. We’re a very alternative travel show in some respects, and we showcase everything from low budget to high opulence, both in terms of the motors and the destinations. “But the motoring obviously leads it. And I think that’s special, because motoring is a passion shared by virtually everyone on the planet – even those who don’t own cars. It’s practical, aspirational, and it unites everyone. Like the time I was standing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in America and an Australian came up to ask me how Oliver was – Oliver being the Opel that I drove across Botswana many years ago! It’s very gratifying that people enjoy the show so much.” That said, the Birmingham-born Hammond will allow himself a moment of arrogance. “It simply wouldn’t work without the rapport that Jeremy, James and I have because, despite what you might think, we actually really like each other,” he laughs. Yet Top Gear provided Hammond with what he now calls “his darkest moment”. In 2006, Hammond crashed a Vampire Dragster while travelling at 288mph on location for a speed sequence. That he was lucky to survive is an understatement, yet much to the relief of his wife Mindy and his two children Izzy and Willow, Hammond is able to tell the tale. But he readily admits, the long road to recovery has not been an easy one. “I think about it still,” he says. “I think too how I have no recollection of almost 12 months of my life. It was a very strange time, and very worrying,” he admits. “Sometimes you think surviving is the achievement, and I guess in many ways it is. But rebuilding your life and your confidence after that is actually more important. For somebody who has injured their brain, every single thing they say and think will be the subject of their own questioning,” he explains.

“And yes, all experiences change you, but when you’re that close to death, nothing is ever the same again. It’s now there, a part of my life, and I am the sum of my life, aren’t I? So I’ve accepted it, but it slowed me down for a while... as well as my driving! “Ultimately, you never want others to suffer from your mistakes, and that’s what was really difficult,” he continues. “I was determined never to put myself or others around me through that again, so I approach challenges now with a slightly different outlook... and I try to keep things below 250mph!” Would Hammond go as far as to admit he’d possibly taken his eye off the ball in the lead-up to the crash? “It’s always the same when it comes to speed – you have to show it some respect. Did I forget that? I don’t think I did, but I will now ensure I take extra time to weigh up the risk. If it’s acceptable and manageable then I’ll do it. I’m quite a cautious bloke by nature, nothing’s changed there. And I wouldn’t be as mildly adventurous as I was before, that’s a given, because I knew I’d learned in the most, graphic, miserable way possible that things can go wrong.” Having managed to put his traumatic episode behind him in such commendable fashion, Hammond is now always looking to the future with his trademark optimism. With the 20th series of Top Gear maintaining the show’s popularity, Hammond is already looking to number 21. So there must be many more travel experiences to come? “There are, but everything on Top Gear is guarded with the utmost secrecy. Us guys don’t even know where we’re going to be sent much before filming starts! “As long as I can keep travelling the world, seeing new sights and taking in the hospitality, I’ll be a happy man.”


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New cultural capital of the North of England

Newcastle has undergone an astonishing metamorphosis over the last decade. Over 350 million euros of investments have transformed the city into a beacon for culture, architecture and technology. With the introduction of bmi’s new flights from Brussels to Newcastle, its time to discover more about this new jewel for business and leisure tourism.


n Newcastle, new surprises are around every corner. Distinguished industrial heritage is combined with acclaimed modern architecture. Former shipping premises and warehouses have been transformed into hotels, museums, galleries and restaurants whilst retaining their unique identities. Amazing new constructions such as the Norman Foster designed Sage Gateshead (the region’s answer to the Sydney Opera House), the Millenium ‘tilting bridge’ and Anthony Gormley’s gargantuan Angel of the North blend perfectly into this architecture and have become the city’s new icons. All of these initiatives have been major contributions to the area’s reinvigorated identity and prosperity.


Café terraces, pedestrian areas, cultural centres and the seven bridges that join Newcastle to its sister town of Gateshead just over the river, have made the riverside area a hub of social and leisure activity. The newest bridge, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, was opened in 2001. A symbol of NewcastleGateshead’s renaissance, the bridge’s graceful, curved design frames the river and has become the most photographed monument in the city. Moreover, it provides a two minute walkway from Newcastle to Gateshead’s Quayside, directly to the doorstep of two of the most important cultural centres, the Baltic and the Sage Gateshead. Sage Gateshead, the world class concert hall, is a gleaming shell-shaped edifice overlooking the river. A fully equipped 20 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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conference venue, it houses two auditoria, meeting rooms and a spectacular glass atrium. Next to Sage Gateshead is the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, with its six floors of galleries for international art exhibitions. As well as a 54 seat cinema, the Baltic features the Baltic Six, a superb rooftop restaurant with unparalleled views over the river, its bridges and beyond. Most of the city is within comfortable walking distance and just uphill from the river, at the centre of Newcastle, lies the historic Grainger Town area with its elegant Georgian facades. A lively shopping and leisure area, over half of Grainger Town’s 450 buildings are of historically listed importance. Take time to explore the recently restored Theatre Royale or the Grainger Market, one of Europe’s largest indoor markets from the Victorian era.



Newcastle has a wealth of museums and unique venues. For those interested in getting a feel for the culture and history of the area, a good place to start is The Discovery Museum. This interactive museum gives a fascinating glimpse into life in the area from Roman times through to the 20th Century. It offers a memorable setting for events in its galleries and well-equipped meeting rooms. Once the centre of the UK’s ship building and mining, Newcastle is now a pole for scientific expertise. The UK’s first biotechnology village is located here and, within it, the award winning Life Science Museum. Its hands-on exhibitions, 4D motion simulator and planetarium have been designed to bring out the inner scientist in everyone. The museum can be hired for events and has facilities for small congresses. A surprise for many visitors to Newcastle is that there is, in fact, a castle! The city even owes its name of ‘Newcastle’ to the former fortress built by William the Conqueror’s son nearly a thousand years ago. Nestled in the city centre, banquets and events can be organised on its roof or in its Great Hall. For more medieval flavour Blackfriars restaurant, the former refectory of a Dominican friary, is the UK’s oldest dining room. Event organisers often use the restaurant as a venue for banquets and events, such as medieval cookery classes. Finally, you don’t have to be long in Newcastle to realise that football is one of the city’s great passions. Its 52,000 seat stadium, St Jame’s Park, is known locally as Newcastle’s third cathedral. The stadium offers events spaces and hospitality packages, including football training sessions and behind the scenes tours.


Many more discoveries await in the surrounding county of Northumberland. Its acres of wild coastline, landscapes and forests are dotted with picturesque villages, market towns, castles, roman ruins – and golf courses. Within 30 minutes of Newcastle are around 15 country house hotels, many with spa and conferencing facilities. One of these is Matfen Hall, an elegant hotel set in 300 acres of parkland with its own golf course and tree-top adventure challenge. Matfen has a restaurant, spa and meetings facilities, including a gothic-style great hall. Castles are also a prominent feature of the Northumbrian landscape. One of the largest is Alnwick Castle, ancestral home to the Dukes of Northumberland for over 700 years. Alnwick offers a dramatic location for banquets and events. Used as one of the locations for the Harry Potter films, its team-building activities include Harry Potter broomstick flying lessons, complete with look-alikes from the film’s cast.

Back further in time, Newcastle first rose to distinction as an important Roman settlement. It was then that Hadrian’s Wall was constructed on the Emperor’s command, to protect the northern most border of the Roman Empire. A UNESCO heritage site, the wall stretches from the north east coast, all the way across to the west of England. Along the ramparts, remains of Roman turrets, towns and forts give a fascinating glimpse of the former empire. Vindolanda is an excellent example, where archaeologists have discovered a whole Roman town. Participation in live excavations and Roman themed events can be arranged.


NewcastleGatehead offers a myriad of wining and dining options, and a growing portfolio of international and boutique hotel brands. The Malmaison and Hotel du Vin hotels are both fine illustrations of the city’s industrial transformation. The 122 room Malmaison is located in a converted river front warehouse, while its sister hotel, the Hotel du Vin occupies the former home of the Tyne Tees Shipping Company. This stylish boutique hotel has its own private courtyard enclosed by the old shipping company gates. Tourism revenues for NewcastleGateshead have risen to 1.2 billion pounds a year and twelve new hotels are currently in planning or construction stages. Development plans for the site around Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter, by property developer Silverlink Holdings, include two of these hotels. The first will be the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a four star 251 bedroom conference hotel due to open next year. When travelling to Newcastle, the first thing that visitors see is the Angel of the North, its 54 metre wingspan in a gesture of greeting to the city, echoing the friendly welcome extended to visitors by its ‘Geordie’ citizens. In all, its hard to find something not to like about the reborn NewcastleGateshead. For more information visit:, and


Newcastle Airport is served by direct flights to around 80 cities, including Brussels, Paris, and Amsterdam. Connections to the city centre by metro or taxi take just 20 minutes. On 3 March, bmi regional launched direct flights between Brussels to Newcastle, in partnership with Brussels Airlines. Passengers can choose between eleven flights a week each way between the two cities, with a flying time of just 75 minutes. At excellent value, fares are available from under 100 euros each way, including taxes, complimentary meals, a full onboard bar selection and 20 kilos of checked in baggage. For more information visit:


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England’s North East Fit for Meetings and Incentives.

England continues to expand its well-earned reputation as a world-class meeting and incentive destination. The new bmi regional direct flight from Brussels to Newcastle, a city built on hospitality, opens up a whole new area and range of opportunities to the Benelux market. Newcastle and Northumberland have harnessed the ingredients needed to provide corporate groups with a successful event that touches the hearts of delegates who experience the genuine warmth of the local people. The North East of England understands the particular demands of the meetings and incentive market, and strives to exceed expectations. Here’s a round-up of motivational experiences around Yorkshire and Durham.


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rom the UNESCO World Heritage city of Durham, to the remarkable Hadrian’s Wall via medieval York, the North of England is packed with history. There are plenty of places to unwind and indulge while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

White Water Rifting on Tees Barrage

World class rapids Tees Barrage International White Water Centre gives the group a once-in-alifetime experience of white water rafting.

York Moors Survival Mission

Test your survival skills at North York Moors National Park !

From the fire-lighting, shelter building, navigating and acquiring food and water, guests learn all the basics of survival and wilderness living. Team work is crucial ( and good fun) when one relies on others for their basic human needs. It is a great way to motivate a team, encourage personal development and is definitely an unforgettable experience.

Highly trained instructors show the basics before tackling the rapids of this acclaimed white water rafting course. With no experience required and all equipment supplied on the day, it is the perfect opportunity to bring teams together and keep them interacting in an adrenalin filled, high octane backdrop.

Gala Dinner Options

Looking at hosting receptions or gala dinners? Yorkshire and Durham are filled with stunning venues.

Precision Driving & International Racing

Ready for amazing automotive experiences? Precision driving give our guests a rare opportunity to learn some exciting stunts such as driving a car on two wheels, all under the safe tuition of professional instructors. Alternatively, Croft International Racing Circuit, the setting for major British Championship events, offers the opportunity to try a range of challenges from circuit driving to high-speed passenger rides or quad bikes. York Castle Museum welcomes up to 80 dinner guests in its recreated cobbled Victorian Street of Kirkgate, the museum’s most famous attraction. The venue is very intimate and perfect for memorable evenings. For the opportunity to impress the most discerning of guests, Castle Howard has 300 years’ experience of hosting grand occasions. With a capacity of 200 dinner guests, Castle Howard proudly displays splendid interiors and provides a unique atmosphere of grand country living.

Hadrian’s Wall and Dry Stone Walling

After visiting world famous roman Hadrian’s Wall, delegates make their own piece of history by helping to rebuild a section of dry stone wall; one of the most commonly used boundaries in England. Under expert guidance, guests will learn this ancient art – the perfect opportunity to combine brain and brawn. 

With a capacity of 700 dinner guests, the National Railway Museum and its spectacular exhibits provide unique settings for gala dinners. The delegates can feast in the middle of luxurious carriages, surrounded by some of the world’s most famous locomotives. A variety of entertainment such as live bands can add a sparkle to this unforgettable evening. For further information, quotes or enquiries please contact Hannah Longman, Business Visits and Events Sales Manager, VisitEngland Belgium Phone: +32 (0)494/482.768


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rebrands as the Heart of Europe In January, Brussels Airport unveiled its new brand and house style. The branding has been created to express its new dynamism and marketing focussed on customer service. The initiative coincides with large projects that will significantly change the face of Brussels Airport over the coming year.


wo years ago, Brussels Airport adopted a new strategy to place its customers, whether passengers or partners, at the centre of everything it does. The objective is to make Brussels Airport, as a Star Alliance hub, an airport which offers travellers an agreeable experience, easy access and differentiated services. The brand image of the airport has been redesigned to increase perception of these core values.

New brand identity

The new logo represents the international spirit and values of the airport. It consists of a warm red icon, the name Brussels Airport in dark grey and ‘the Heart of Europe’ as a baseline slogan. The ‘Heart of Europe’ emphasises both the central role of the airport for the capital of Europe and its caring aspect. The icon has been cleverly designed to resemble, simultaneously, the letter B, a heart or a bird taking flight. It synthesises, in one image, Brussels Airport as Belgium’s international airport, its passion for customer service and, as a bird, the aeroplanes which serve it. “We are continuing to build on our strategy everyday, creating a welcoming attitude throughout the whole airport with our staff and airlines” says Nathalie Van Impe, Brussels Airport’s Head of Corporate Communication. “We have also been investing a lot in quality of infrastructure, with our new connector building and other facilities around the airport. The story of our strategy needed to be expressed in a new dynamic and welcoming brand. The word ‘efficient’ has disappeared from the slogan as this is a basic quality that anyone would expect from an airport. Instead we are now emphasising our customer friendly qualities. The colour of the logo, red, radiates the warmth


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of the airport. The former logo didn’t really say much to the customer. Since we have replaced it, we have received lots of positive comments from customers and on social media. Its also an internal motivator for all of the 20,000 people working together at the airport – a whole community of ground staff, baggage handlers and retail staff, working together to reach happy passengers.”


Measuring customer satisfaction

Measuring customer satisfaction is important to Brussels Airport. It participates in the international Airport Service Quality research which analyses information from hundreds of airports worldwide. The research covers everything from parking, to shops and food service. Besides the Airport Service Quality research, Brussels Airport also carries out 2700 in-depth face-to-face passenger interviews every year. “We obtain the results every quarter so we can benchmark our progress and analyse trends in customer demand” explains Leon Verhallen, Head of Aviation Marketing. “For example the research showed us that we needed to offer more choice in our food and beverage outlets, so we have enlarged our range. Most recently we have seen the opening of Exki, a natural food restaurant and take away, as well as Belle & Belge, which serves typical Belgian food and beers to bring a local flavour into the airport. Our three Starbucks outlets have also proven to reply to a big passenger demand. By the time we finish our renewal of the commercial zones next spring, we will offer even more choice than the current 28 food and beverage outlets.”

The journey begins at the airport

“As part of our initiatives specifically aimed at enhancing the customer experience, we have created a new job title of Customer Experience and Loyalty Manager at the airport” says Leon Verhallen. “This role has been created to ensure that the airport goes beyond functionality. Our intention is that the journey, whether a holiday or a business trip, really begins at our airport, not just at arrival on destination. For example we organised Christmas celebrations and last summer we decorated the airport as a beach and organised activities to give a really festive summer atmosphere. These ‘soft’ activities are something that passengers will be seeing at Brussels Airport a lot more in the future, in addition to the tangible facilities such as our renewed Diamond Lounge which makes superior lounge facilities accessible for all passengers.”

Encouraging more connecting traffic

“In a year’s time, when the two piers are connected, passengers will have the feeling of being at a brand new airport” says Leon Verhallen. “There will be an enlarged retail portfolio, more security lanes and more baggage facilities. All of this will help the growth of connecting passengers that we are seeing, particular in our role as a Star Alliance hub. 16% of travellers here are connecting passengers and this is a market that we want to increase. We are not a megaairport such as Paris or Amsterdam but we do have an excellent network of flights particularly to Europe, the US and Africa.” Cross-border marketing is something that Brussels Airport has been working on, especially to increase awareness in the Dutch market. “After all in many cases it is actually closer for them, as well as being cheaper and more convenient” says Leon Verhallen. “We now have a dedicated website for the Netherlands and a lot of online and outdoor display marketing activities. We have very good value parking facilities and we are working to further encourage the number of high speed trains to the airport.” With new flights from Brussels Airlines, easyJet, Ryanair and Vueling in particular, Brussels Airport’s forecast expectations for 2014 is to cross the 20 million milestone in terms of passenger numbers. “The airport has just broken through the 200 passenger destinations barrier for the first time” says Leon Verhallen. “We currently have 204 destinations served from the airport, including over 25 long haul departures a day” says Leon Verhallen. “As a strong economic hub in the heart of Europe, our focus is more than ever on customers, service and accessibility.”


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Star Alliance

moves to its own new terminal at Heathrow Star Alliance airlines will begin moving into their purpose-built new Terminal 2 at Heathrow, as from 4 June. With 11 billion pounds invested in the terminal infrastructure, it promises a state-of-the-art travel experience for the 12 million Star Alliance passengers who pass through Heathrow each year.


tar Alliance passengers account for 21% of seat capacity from Heathrow but they are currently scattered through the airport’s terminals. The new Terminal 2 will bring the alliance members together under one roof, in a purpose-built facility. The co-location of the 22 Star Alliance airlines operating from Heathrow, and the use of new technologies, means that check in and connecting times will be greatly reduced. Passengers will benefit from a standardised minimum transfer time of just 60 minutes, increasing their choice of connection options. Terminal 2 was jointly designed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, Star Alliance and its member carriers, with the aim of establishing a truly seamless hub for its connecting passengers. Together they worked to design a new terminal around the needs of the traveller, by sharing best practice learned from other airports around the world.

A new customer experience

Passengers travelling through the terminal will encounter a completely different customer experience, with state of the art technology used throughout to optimise their journey. The check-in area has been specially designed for speed and efficiency. Travellers will be greeted by a row of 66 selfservice kiosks to print their boarding passes and bag tags, before proceeding to the fast bag drop off desks. Those who have checked in on line or by mobile, travelling with hand baggage only, can proceed directly to security. Airlines are grouped into 4 check in zones, with priority check in services available for those travelling in premium cabins, or with Star Alliance Gold status. To help passengers find the right zone for their flight, the departure level of the terminal has plenty of signage. Immigration proce-


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dures have been optimised too. European passengers with machine-readable passports will benefit from self-service ‘e-gates’, while fast track lanes will be available for non-EU passengers travelling in first or business class. There will also be four airline lounges, operated by Lufthansa, United, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines.

Phased opening from 4 June

The terminal will welcome its first passengers on June 4, with the 05.55 arrival of the United flight from Chicago. Airlines will gradually move into the terminal over the following six months, in order to ensure minimum disruption to services, while the 24,000 staff familiarise themselves with the terminal’s new facilities. The final Star Alliance carrier is expected to move its operations to T2 in November.

An open and airy environment

T2’s architecture has been designed to set a positive tone for the passenger journey, with use of natural light to create an open and airy environment. The feeling of space and airiness will be enhanced by the addition of the impressive 70 metre long ‘Slipstream’ sculpture, suspended above the passengers as they pass through the terminal. The longest permanent sculpture in Europe, it has been imagined to project a vision of precision engineering combined with the ‘sense of velocity and movement of a stunt plane’. The terminal’s open-plan check-in facility is directly adjacent to the security area. Passengers exit security on the top level of a two-tier international departures hall, with a clear view out to the airport. An enhanced retail offering is planned with 50 shopping and dining outlets, including John Lewis, a London Pub and a Heston Blumenthal gourmet restaurant.

A catalyst for growth in passenger traffic

The strong Star Alliance hub at Heathrow is expected to act as a catalyst for growth in global passenger traffic to London and to increase the attractiveness of Heathrow as an international transfer airport. “This is a unique opportunity for the Star Alliance carriers” commented Christian Schindler, Lufthansa’s Director UK & Ireland, during a press conference at London’s Business Travel Show in February. “They have worked very hard to bring new and improved services to our customers, including fast-track services for security and new lounges. We already operate over 20% of Heathrow traffic but we want to bring it to a new level. Passengers will be encouraged to travel more from Heathrow as the improved services and connecting times will make their journey a truly enhanced experience.” With the exception of Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings, T2 will be dedicated to Star Alliance airlines. The Star Alliance airlines to operate from Heathrow’s T2 are Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Together they operate over 125 flights a day from Heathrow to 43 destinations. Star Alliance currently has 28 member airlines. Air India has been announced as a future member airline with Avianca Brazil to join under the existing Avianca membership. Worldwide, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,000 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.


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Latest innovations at Turkish Airlines Turkish Airlines is not just gaining attention for its expanding network of destinations, set to reach 259 this year. It has been introducing a raft of innovations across its services, from candlit dining, to an expanded partnership with Singapore Airlines. Here are some of the latest...

Codeshare expansion with Singapore Airlines


ne of the biggest announcements from Turkish Airlines recently is its major expansion of codeshare ties with Singapore Airlines, giving Turkish signficant further reach into South East Asia. The two Star Alliance partners have been codesharing on each other’s flights on the Istanbul-Singapore route since 2009. Under the new expansion of the agreement, Singapore Airlines will add its ‘SQ’ designator code to Turkish Airlines-operated flights beyond Istanbul, to destinations within Turkey and to points in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America, benefiting from the global network of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines will add its code to Singapore Airlines-operated flights beyond Singapore to points in South East Asia and the Southwest Pacific, benefiting from the global network of Singapore Airlines. The expanded codeshare ties are


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expected to take effect as we go to press, subject to regulatory approvals.

More upgrades to Istanbul lounge

Turkish Airlines’ lounge in Istanbul, already a world-class facility, has added another 2400 m2 to its existing 3500 m2, in order to meet the needs of growing passenger numbers. The expanded lounge adds a second floor. The new additions increase the capacity of the lounge to over 1000 guests. The existing facility, which included a cinema, children’s playground, library, billiards area, prayer room and teleconference section, has seen an expansion of the rest and shower space, plus the addition of a traditional tea garden, reminiscent of those found in Istanbul. The lounge caters to virtually every passenger need—whether for working, resting or providing activities to pass the pre-flight time. WiFi is provided throughout.

The lounge is operated by Turkish Airlines’ catering partner, TURKISH DO&CO, a group that has repeatedly won awards for serving Turkish Airlines’ passengers with the best meals in the sky. The same attention to detail and variety is evident in the multiple and changing varieties of food available to lounge guests. Meals and snacks are provided as appropriate to the time of day and many items are cooked on site to ensure maximum flavor and freshness. Equally varied is the selection of beverages on offer. With its caterers DO&CO, Turkish Airlines has also added further innovations to enrich its Skytrax Award Winning onboard dining. The new ‘Samova tea service’ and ‘candlelit dining’ bring a flavour of elegance, while the airline continues to utilize its Flying Chefs on long flights.


Onboard ‘dating’ platform for investors and start-ups

Amongst its most innovative new services is Turkish Airlines’ ‘Invest On Board’ programme, introduced in December. Invest On Board gives entrepreneurs and investors the opportunity to meet in the sky. Using Turkish Airlines’ Planet In-Flight Entertainment system, investors can browse through video pitches from start up companies, with an easy-access format. The short videos, which run under two minutes, promote Turkish and foreign-based startups.

More advantageous frequent flyer programme

Further benefits are being extended to members of Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles Frequent Flyer Programme, as from 1 June. The carrier is making it easier for its customers to spend miles, by increasing the number of award seats available for

reward flights. It has also introduced many new ways to make it easier to earn seat miles. In addition, miles will be awarded against the booking classification of the ticket, giving more rewards to higher fare categories. The new minimum award for domestic flights-irrespective of distance actually flown will be 600 miles, and for short haul flights the minimum award will double to 1000 miles.

A second destination in the Netherlands

While it continues to expand its international reach, Turkish Airlines has extended its presence in the Netherlands with services to Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the second destination in the Netherlands for Turkish Airlines, complementing its existing service to Amsterdam. Roundtrip flights between Istanbul and Rotterdam are now operated 4 times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Introductory

round trip fares are available from 99 Euros, including taxes and fees. Additionally, for the first 6 months of operation to the new destination, the airline is offering a promotion to its Miles&Smiles members, with a 25% reduction in the miles needed to redeem award tickets or upgrades.

A 5 star trajectory

These are just some of the new services and innovations that Turkish Airlines has introduced over the last few months, as the carrier continues to strengthen its position as a premiumservice, hub and connection carrier for long haul routes. “Our immediate and highest priority is to make the company the first 5-star airline in Europe” states Dr. Temel Kotil, General Manager of Turkish Airlines. “Currently we rank among the world’s top 10 airline companies, so our next goal is to rank among the world’s top 5 airline companies.”


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US AIRLINE CONSOLIDATIONS – DELTA-VIRGIN AND AMERICAN-US TIE UPS The US airline industry has seen tremendous consolidation, most recently with Delta’s acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin and American Airlines merger with US Airways. We talked with Delta’s Senior VP EMEA, Perry Cantarutti and American’s Managing Director of Sales EMEA, Craig Dewey, to find out more about these major events.



hen American Airlines and US Airways completed their merger at the end of 2013, the American Airlines Group was born. The new group operates over 6,700 flights a day to 340 destinations in 57 countries. Besides offering more choice to passengers, the merger is expected to deliver over one billion dollars annually from operating synergies. “Its no secret that the whole airline industry in the US was under stress, which is why we have seen many consolidations” explains Craig Dewey, American Airlines’ Managing Director of Sales EMEA. “American Airlines went through a total restructuring programme, putting together new agreements with employees and suppliers, and making landmark deals with Boeing and Airbus for new aircraft. We are much stronger moving forward and with the merger we are now a 40 billion dollar company, with a very healthy cash balance on our books of 10 billion dollars.”

Growing transatlantic routes

The group plans to maintain services to all cities and all 9 US hubs served by American Airlines and US Airways. Together they operate the highest number of Available Seat Miles (ASMs) on transatlantic and on US-Latin American routes. “Its network that is key to this merger and getting the customer to where they want to go” says Craig Dewey. “American and US had very little overlap on routes and our transatlantic network to Europe is now considerably larger.” At the end of May, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Lisbon and Manchester will be added to the European routes. The group’s non-stop Brussels to Philadelphia service is operated by US Airways, with lie flat seats in business class. From 6 June to 3 September a direct Brussels - Charlotte route will be added.

Life Uninterrupted services

American Airlines Group has a park of 1500 aircraft, with orders in place for 520 new aircraft. Transcontinental and international wide-body aircraft will all feature lie-flat, allaisle-access in premium cabins. “We are very excited about our investments in aircraft and services” says Craig Dewey. “There is a strong focus for corporate travellers, serving them with key corporate destinations, our Life Uninterrupted service and the world’s largest frequent flyer programme. Our ‘Life Uninterrupted’ service concept is designed to allow passengers to carry on with their lives as normal – with fine dining, constant wi-fi access and excellent inflight entertainment.”

The bigger picture

US Airways has just become a partner in the transatlantic joint business already in place between American Airlines,


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British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Under the agreement, the airlines cooperate and share revenues on nearly 100 direct routes between Europe and North America. “Our joint business with BA, Finnair and Iberia means we can schedule networks, go to customers together and align fares” says Craig Dewey. “We are not only selling American Airlines, but our partner airlines. Never before have we offered such a large scope from Europe”. Although already officially one company, operationally US Airways and American Airlines will be run separately until the process to achieve a Single Operating Certificate (SOC) is completed. The SOC is the regulatory approval required from the FAA to operate as a single carrier. Thereafter all operations will be unified under the American Airlines identity. ¾¾ CRAIG DEWEY (AMERICAN AIRLINES)




ollowing Delta Air Lines’ acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic in 2013, and the start of their joint venture in January, the two airlines now co-operate on all services between the UK and North America. Already a strong player on continental Europe, with its partnerships with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, the new tie-up gives Delta the strengthened presence it needed from London Heathrow.

A fourth European hub - Heathrow

“We are very excited about the growing relations with Virgin Atlantic” said Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s Senior Vice President EMEA. “Already half of our transatlantic network touches one of our three European hubs in Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. The one part we were deficient in was London, due to lack of slot availability at Heathrow. We already offered up to 10 flights a day to London, and this is a good start, but London is a critical market especially for corporate travellers. It was our biggest drawback and what motivated our intention to develop a partnership with Virgin. On the most important business travel route in the world, Heathrow to New York, we now have a greater choice of flights spread over peak hours of departure times.” All Delta and Virgin services between the UK and North America are now operated on a costs and revenue sharing basis. Together they are coordinating all sales and operational aspects, including network optimisation. On 30 March they commenced their first joint summer schedule. Virgin Atlantic has placed its code on 91 Delta transatlantic and US domestic routes, while Delta has its code on 17 Virgin routes, including those operated by its UK domestic airline, Little Red.

on the block, but its not about size, its about providing a better and more consistent product. In the 2013 BTN Airline Survey, corporate travellers rated Delta Air Lines the highest in terms of customer satisfaction amongst US carriers. We feel that our products are well aligned in terms of quality, particularly with the 3 billion dollar investments we have made in aircraft, airport facilities and on board services. For example, we both offer lie-flat seats and direct aisle access for all premium passengers on transatlantic flights. Customers can expect the same high standards of quality whether they fly with Delta or Virgin.” The airlines have reciprocal agreements in place for a number of customer benefits, including loyalty programme recognition. Premium class travellers and elite card holders can also chose between Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges. By combining Virgin’s Heathrow slots and UK brand strength with Delta’s powerful US network, the joint venture brings significant competition to the market. The two carriers now operate a total of 32 peak day round trips flights between the UK and North America of which 25 are based at London Heathrow. At the end of March Delta added its new HeathrowSeattle route, giving non-stop access to one of Delta’s fastest growing international gateways.

Delta is continuing to develop its networks on both sides of the Atlantic, with its partners Air-France, KLM and Alitalia. Brussels, although not a hub, has been served by Delta for over 20 years. The airline currently offers direct routes from the European capital to Atlanta and JFK, its two largest US hubs – all with BusinessElite cabins equipped with lie-flat beds and direct aisle access.

Customer satisfaction

“Delta’s stake in Virgin is as a minority, non-controlling equity partner” says Perry Cantarutti. “Our 49% investment shows our commitment to forming a secure, long term relationship. The Delta-Virgin tie up is really about providing a credible alternative to BA and American. They will remain the giant ¾¾ LEFT, CRAIG KEEGER (VIRGIN ATLANTIC), RIGHT, PERRY CANTARUTTI (DELTA)


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Austrian Airlines,

the gateway to Central and Eastern Europe

Thanks to its privileged central location of Vienna, Austrian Airlines is your ideal partner both for business and leisure trips in Central and Eastern Europe. The Market Leader in these regions, we are increasing the frequency of our flights to destinations already served on an ongoing basis, and at the moment serve a total of 41 destinations. In addition, thanks to the renovation of our Viennese hub along with the new services that you can enjoy both on the ground and during your flight, your trip will be that much more enjoyable.


s part of the Lufthansa group, Austrian Airlines has maintained its leadership in Central and Eastern Europe thanks to its initial significant presence in these markets and to the vast expertise gained in these areas which the airline has continued to develop. Austrian Airlines is known and recognized in Belgium particularly for its flights to Yerevan in Armenia, a destination that it is alone in serving. However, we offer you no less than 40 other destinations in Central and Eastern Europe, from A to Z or more precisely from Astana to Zagreb and many others between, leisure destinations such as Dubrovnik and St. Petersburg or business destinations such as Kharkov or Dnepropetrovsk. We also fly to all the important capitals, Moscow obviously constituting the key destination par excellence.

25 Minutes for transfer

For all these destinations, Austrian Airlines guarantees a transfer period of 25 minutes in its terminal which was totally renovated in June, 2012. This new terminal of 150,000m2 brings a new travelling experience and new quality to passengers: modern architecture with light-filled spaces, short distances for transfer and a wide choice of dining and shopping with 31 shops and 19 restaurants.

Lounges in which you can relax or work.

Equipped with your Austrian Business Class ticket or your Senator or HON Circle member card and an Austrian or Star


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Alliance boarding card , you will be able to access six large modern lounge areas in the Austrian Star Alliance terminal with Austrian ambiance and offering a unique view over the apron. Guests can sample Austrian and international specialities in each lounge, from DO & CO, the multi-award-winning caterer in the world of airline catering. You can also choose from a wide range of international and national beverages. You will find a TV area equipped with large screens for your listening and viewing pleasure. The business areas allow you to work in all tranquillity with free WiFi, printers and American voltage power sockets.

On board

Austrian Airlines also takes great pleasure in taking great care of its passengers during the flight. In addition to the comfort of our totally renovated fleet, the outstanding service of our staff and their charm and kindness will make your trip relaxing and enjoyable. On board, you will also enjoy top-class cuisine (and in business class there is even a chef – only on long haul flights), optimal reliability and punctuality, as well as numerous innovations in the level of entertainment that will make your trip even more pleasurable.

own requirements. Practical and economic, the Red Services allow you to purchase many extras to complement your journey starting from an economy ticket. And all this is the easiest thing in the world because these services can be purchased online. How about being able to take additional baggage, to have more room for your legs in economy class, to be able to access our Business Class lounges at the airport in Vienna? Or to be able to plan your visit of some cities through 26 City guides available as an application for iPhone or online, to take advantage of a fast and comfortable transfer service to link the Vienna airport to your destination and your place of arrival, without forgetting of course the possibility of a free upgrade to Business Class? For a possible upgrade, Austrian Airlines has also developed a bidding system. Via the company’s Internet site, you can determine how much you want to pay for your upgrade. Make your offer and we will respond within the 72 hours before take-off if you have obtained this upgrade and the pleasure of enjoying all the benefits of Business Class. In short, all the conditions are met to make your next journey to Central and Eastern Europe a memorable, practical and comfortable trip.

And yet more services

Thanks to the new smart, simple and quick Austrian Airlines Red Services, you can customise your trip according to your

For any further information, click on:


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TAP Portugal

plays a pioneering role once again TAP Portugal has more happy news to report. Starting in July, passengers can fly from Lisbon to Colombia and Panama as well as Manaus and Belem in the Amazon of northern Brazil. TAP Portugal is now the first and only airline to fly directly to the latter two destinations from Europe.


or the routes Brussels-Lisbon and Brussels-Porto, TAP Portugal is still the absolute market leader. The Portuguese airline, unlike its competitors, offers a truly full-service product. In more concrete terms, the price you pay for a flight includes checked luggage as well as carryons. Moreover, each passenger on board is offered a delicious meal as well as a choice of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Best Business Class Airline - South America

It’s only logical that TAP Portugal was picked to be awarded ‘Best Business Class Airline - South America’ by Business Destinations, a prestigious and widely circulated British travel and business magazine that is sent every quarter to a number of travel industry and business professionals. 2013 was the third year in which their ‘Business Destinations Travel Awards’ were handed out in several different categories: airlines, airports, hotels, conference centres, MICE, luxury, ecological and cultural destinations, sports tourism, museums, travel management, among others. Because of this award, TAP Portugal’s international prestige and fame get yet another boost in the rather demanding travel and business travel industries. This is especially so operating on the axis between Europe and South America, one of the regions that is currently undergoing the greatest growth and development globally. TAP Portugal has undoubtedly conquered a decisive position in this region, thanks to its longstanding lead position in flight offerings between the two continents, with an average of 82 weekly flights to 12 cities in Brazil. 34 | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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By receiving the award ‘Best Business Class Airline to South America,’ TAP Portugal once again proves its leadership in this competitive market. This premier position has resulted from years of consistent, dedicated efforts by the airline to offer products and services of the highest level of quality.

TAP Portugal: Pioneer of the Amazon

But there’s more, with ideal opportunities for connections from Lisbon and Porto to Brazil, which continues to be the ‘key country’ in the TAP Portugal network. “It is a scope that is even being extended this year with the expansion of our fleet with six aircraft from the A330 family. These have been completely adapted to TAP standards in order to fly on the new routes to Brazil and Latin America,” explains district sales manager Mário Guerreiro. “Starting on July 1st, we will in fact offer services from Lisbon to Bogota, Colombia, Panama City and the north of Brazil where we fly in to the Manaus and Belem airports. Thus we will be the only European airline that will fly directly from Europe to the Amazon.” TAP Portugal has thus formed a triangle, which means that travellers can fly from Portugal to Bogota, and after a stopover in Panama, back to Lisbon. “The connection from Brussels to Lisbon and South America is a great added value for the corporate traveller. Additionally we have the World Cup standing before us, which is an enormous beacon of visibility for Brazil. That will undoubtedly bring new investors with which the market can only grow,” concludes Guerreiro.


TAP PORTUGAL: Custom-tailored for the contemporary corporate traveller Thanks to all of these efforts, TAP Portugal has grown into a modern airline that perfectly anticipates the demands of the business traveller of 2014, and creatively responds to them. Below are some of TAP’s most important strong points: • TAP Portugal is the market leader on the BRU-LIS/OPO routes with four daily flights to Lisbon (three flights during wintertime) and one daily flight to Porto. • TAP Portugal has an extensive network in Africa including destinations such as Luanda and Accra, and also to Senegal. • TAP Portugal is the leading airline flying to South America with a network of ten Brazilian destinations. Some are even served by two flights a day. The top cities include Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Very few airlines fly directly to these destinations from Europe. But it doesn’t stop there as the airline also flies to Venezuela (Caracas), to the U.S. (Newark and Miami) and as of July 1st of this year to Colombia and Panama. And, as the ‘icing on the cake you can also travel (starting at the beginning of July) with TAP Portugal as the first European airline to fly to the northern Brazilian Amazon (Manaus and Belem). • TAP Portugal’s business class received a complete upgrade at the end of last year so that business travellers can have every opportunity to either relax or be as productive as possible. The new meals appeal - in both a literal and figurative sense - to the good taste of our passengers. • Passengers who fly in business class (tap | executive) enjoy access to our TAP Portugal Premium Lounge during their layover in Lisbon. This is without a doubt, the crown jewel of our airline: a modern space with WiFi, workstations, international newspapers and high-quality catering.


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travel smart

achieve more


Brussels Airlines

continues successful transition Brussels Airlines has plenty to celebrate with the announcement of significant improvements in its financial results and continued passenger growth. Lars Redeligx, Brussels Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer explained how the carrier’s performance improvement plan, Beyond 2012-2013, has clearly paid off and discussed the successful commercial strategy the airline is pursuing.


ositive numbers

2013 has been a key year in the history of Brussels Airlines, decreasing overall costs by 10%, while increasing productivity and investing in the customer experience. Better still, passengers have appreciated the investments made in upgrading the fleet, airport facilities, onboard products and networks. The airline announced record passenger growth in January and February compared to 2013. Over 12% more passengers travelled with Brussels Airlines on European flights and 16.8% more to New York. Brussels Airlines’ other long haul routes - to Washington and 19 African airports (the most extensive network of any European airline) - are also performing well.

“While restructuring we also made strategic investments” says Lars Redeligx. “These include our new award-winning Business Class on long haul flights with full flat bed seats, a fantastic range of services, our new seats in Economy Class, our state of the art inflight entertainment system and innovations in check-in and ground services. These investments are paying great dividends. In passenger surveys performed by Star Alliance we were considered the best long haul airline, even compared to much larger airlines. This is a great encouragement for our team and a reward for their customer focus and passion. It proves our strategy has not only been about cutting costs but creating new opportunities.”

“Our Beyond 2013 programme was the beginning of our renewed success and positive momentum” says Lars Redeligx CCO Brussels Airlines. “Like many other airlines, we underwent restructuring but unlike many others we made a wise decision and kept all of our staff. We focussed instead on achieving higher productivity, negotiating with suppliers and harmonising our fleet. This has been very successful and improved the profitability of our network significantly. By 2016 will have a completely harmonised fleet of A319 and A320 aircraft for short haul routes and A330 jets for long haul. This way we will not only increase the quality of our product but make further cost savings.”

Quality services with competitive prices

Investments in customer satisfaction

“Our focus is on improving customer experience. We believe this starts with the right people and we have appointed Anne Tricot to the new role of VP Customer Experience. We will also open a really outstanding new flagship lounge in Brussels, tripling its size and introducing

Besides the fleet harmonisation, the investment program includes the opening of 11 further European destinations this summer, the introduction of new products and major upgrades to the Brussels Airport lounges.

many customer service innovations, particularly on the digital side, which have never before been implemented anywhere else.” “This is the biggest transformation in the history of Brussels Airlines” summarises Lars Redeligx. “Our new success is a credit to all of our colleagues and management alike. We will make further progress this year, even though there is increased presence in Brussels from low cost operators. Our teams and our partners are ready to meet these challenges with a clear plan and competitive, high quality services.”

Passenger numbers continue to show very positive growth and going forward the airline has a record increase of 10% in advance bookings for the next six months. “This is very encouraging as our customers recognise we have a quality service, but with competitive fares” says Lars Redeligx. “This is at the heart of our marketing strategy. In economy we give passengers a choice of b.light and b.flex fares and we will further enhance this with new products to make us even more competitive by this summer. I believe that no other carrier operating out of Brussels will be providing such a competitive, all-inclusive service to passengers.”


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Ryanair opens new base at Brussels Zaventem airport Ryanair has begun operations from its new base at Brussels Zaventem airport. The airline is serving ten routes from its new hub, with 200 weekly flights. As it increases its operations from primary airports such as Zaventem, the airline is simultaneously introducing new services to attract more business travellers.


russels Zaventem is Ryanair’s second hub in Belgium, following the commencement of its operations from Brussels Charleroi in 2001. Four Ryanair aircraft are now based at Zaventem, servicing routes to Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Lisbon, Malaga, Palma, Porto, Rome, Valencia and Venice. With these new routes the airline expects to carry up to 1.5 million passengers per year. The airline will continue to operate, in parallel, from Brussels Charleroi where it currently flies 81 routes to over 20 countries in Europe and North Africa.

More primary national airports

“High cost competitor airlines are continuing to cut capacity in major markets such as France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Italy and this continues to create growth opportunities for Ryanair” said Ryanair spokesperson, Robin Kiely, explaining the airline’s strategy behind the opening of the new base. “As we evolve our business model, we will fly to more primary airports such as our new Zaventem base, and our bases at Athens, Lisbon and Rome Fiumicino. Our 175 new aircraft will allow us to grow to over 110m passengers, and we estimate up to 50% of that growth will be at primary airports.”

Targeting the business traveller

The airline is adding new services to strengthen its attraction and grow the 22% of its passengers travelling for business. It recently announced a new partnership with Travelport and is to unveil a new business product this summer, along with a revamped website, new app and the introduction of mobile boarding passes. “The combination of Ryanair’s low fares, extensive route network at primary and secondary airports, and No 1 or No 2 market share in most of Europe’s major travel markets, will enable Ryanair and Travelport to deliver a significant business travel platform, and allow Europe’s largest businesses to save both time and money by flying Ryanair” says Robin Kiely. “By the summer, groups and business customers will be able to enjoy the added benefits of our tailored products, which will support Ryanair’s passenger growth to over 110 million passengers by 2019. Ryanair’s business customers can also enjoy our recent customer service improvements including a second free carry-on bag, allocated seating and the use of portable electronic devices, with further improvements to be rolled out over the coming months. All our fares are also fully inclusive of taxes and charges.”


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Finnair makes Helsinki the gateway to Asia Late last year, Finnair celebrated its 90th anniversary. Despite this grand old age, Finnair continues to reinvent itself with new ideas and initiatives. In 2014, the Finnish airline is distinguishing itself with its offerings to Asia.


innair carries over 8 million passengers every year - including many Belgian travellers. From Brussels, there are 24 flights per week to Helsinki, with four on weekdays and two on weekend days. From Helsinki passengers can travel to more than 60 European and 13 Asian destinations. Great investment is going into the Asian routes, as Finnair seeks to double its sales to Asia by 2020.

The ideal route to Asia

The focus on Asia has a lot to do with the excellent geographical position of Helsinki, which makes it possible to fly to Asia and back in 24 hours - thus enabling them to offer a daily connection with just one aircraft. For Bangkok, one of the important Finnair destinations in Asia, the flight schedules for the coming winter are being expanded with three additional flights, totalling 17 flights per week. In addition there are 28 flights per week to three destinations in Japan, and 28 flights per week to five cities in China. Delhi, Hanoi, Seoul and Singapore round out the Asian offerings.

A modern fleet

Finnair is modernising its fleet. With an average service life of 6 years (short and medium range) and 3 years (long


haul) it is already working with a young and ecologically efficient fleet. In September, Finnair placed its first Airbus A321 in service with its new fuel-saving Sharklets. In 2015, Finnair will also be one of the first airlines to adopt the new Airbus A350 XWB into service, of which 11 aircraft of this type have been ordered. This modern fleet fits in with the sustainability programme to which Finnair is devoting considerable attention in several ways.

Travel experience

Finnair is also working constantly on improving the experience and comfort on board and at the airport. Finnair has struck up a partnership with the Finnish company Marimekko for the design of tableware and textiles. These creations are to be found in business as well as economy class. Business travellers on long haul flights can enjoy new menus created by top Finnish chefs Pekka Terävä and Tomi Björck. Since April 1st, Finnair has begun to install full-flat seats in business class on its long haul flights. By June 1st, nine long haul destination flights will be outfitted with these new seats. Additionally, a second lounge will be opened at Helsinki Airport, together with a new shower and sauna complex.




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AirPlus International

“Mobile technology will revolutionize our industry� The corporate travel industry finds itself once again in an exciting period. Technological developments are on the march, along with some notable evolutions occuring in the legal arena. AirPlus International, a global provider of business travel payment solutions for corporations, is following these developments very closely. The Corporate Traveller got the chance to speak with Patrick Diemer, CEO of AirPlus International. He gave us his views on the future of the company, as well as the corporate travel industry in general.


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Mr. Diemer, how does AirPlus look back on 2013 and the beginning of 2014?


atrick Diemer: “Last year, we only saw a modest growth in our issuing volumes. The reason was that in Germanspeaking Europe, there was a decline in volumes. Our customers there booked less business trips than in 2012. In other markets, inside and outside of Europe, we have seen strong growth. In combination, we had a growth of +5% last year. In the first quarter of this year, there was a turnaround of the European situation. We have seen 9% growth, which we are very happy about. So we feel much more positive about 2014 than about last year.”

What are the biggest challenges for AirPlus in 2014?

Patrick Diemer: “The biggest challenge we face at the moment, is the regulation of commercial cards by the European Union. Early April, the European Parliament decided to regulate commercial cards in Europe. If this law does go through, this would have significant negative impact on all European companies in that area. Companies like AirPlus have a business model in which we earn money when our customers use our credit cards. Last year, we had an issuing volume on our credit cards of 11.8 billion euros. We earn a commission on these volumes, and for AirPlus this is a 1.51% commission on average. That is our income that goes into our salaries, our IT-systems, etc. The European Commission wants to regulate the commission for consumer cards, down to a maximum of 0.3%. Now if commercial cards should be included in this regulation, we face a problem in that we lose 80% of our revenue.That in itself, I would still be OK with if this was applied to all competitors in the same way. But the way the legislation has been drafted now, it means that our American competitors would not face this regulation. Should that hold through, we would get in a very difficult situation. And that’s not only true for AirPlus, but for all other issuers of commercial credit cards in Europe.”

And will this regulation become reality?

Patrick Diemer: “The law-making process in Europe is a process in three stages. First the European Commission forms an opinion, then the European Parliament forms an opinion, and eventually the European Council forms an opinion. Only when these three find a compromise, will the law come into effect. Right now, we are at stage two of the process. The European Commission does not want to regulate the commercial cards, but the European Parliament has an opposite opinion. Now we expect the European Council, probably in the second half of this year, to form its own opinion. We will have to see what comes out of that and what the compromise will be. So it is not the end of the story, but at the moment, this issue is the number one priority on my desk.”

In general, what are the main strengths of AirPlus?

Patrick Diemer: “We have smart competitors. They know what they are doing and they have a lot of financial power. The way

we compete with them is that we try to bring the best quality product to the market. It means that we are providing richer data to our customers, that we try to answer the phone quicker and we have a local philosophy. We do not have international call centers, and a customer in Belgium will be able to call somebody in Belgium when wanting to contact AirPlus. We believe that this is a major component of service quality and that is something we are very proud of. We measure all of these aspects of quality and they help us to win new customers. Last year, we won 1,900 new businesses. We now have just short of 42,000 customers in our books.”

One of the next steps in the technological evolution seems to be mobile payment. When do you expect this to be used on a large scale?

Patrick Diemer: “That is of course the one trillion dollar question. Let me say that I really expect that all credit cards and all debit cards will eventually migrate to the smartphone. Everybody will use their smartphone also as a payment tool. This will happen, with or without AirPlus. Because there is a much larger game at play here. Google wants this to happen, Amazon is investing a lot of money, Apple is investing, the telecommunication providers across Europe and the US, they are all investing in an infrastructure. But the big question is: when will it happen? Personally, I really don’t know. But we at AirPlus intend to be in this market development at an early stage. At this moment, we don’t know whether NFC technology or payment over the cloud will be the winning technology. However, so as not to miss the boat, we already have a number of technology pilots underway. We are trying out the technology and testing it with our customers so as to see what their reactions are.But it’s still too early to say which technology will eventually survive and which will be dominant.”

In what way will mobile payment change corporate travel?

Patrick Diemer: “My opinion on this comes from a personal experience. A few years ago, when the ash cloud of an Icelandic volcano caused huge problems for European air traffic, my plane was cancelled and I was stranded at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. I was already at the gate when I heard the news, and there I took my smartphone and I booked a Hertz car. When I arrived at the Hertz counter I was maybe number twenty in a long line of people waiting. Some ten customers in front of me were turned down because they didn’t have a reservation. But I got the last car, because I actually had already visited the counter virtually. That experience taught me that in the future, we will have travellers managing their travel entirely with mobile devices. And we need our payment tools integrated in all of this. At AirPlus, we are working intensively with other technology providers to make sure that our payment tools are integrated in these mobile applications. When mobile payment comes, we also see an opportunity to retrieve additional data, when the smartphone is used instead of a piece of plastic. And that we see as a big opportunity. So definitely, I think mobile technology will revolutionize our industry.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Feel at ease from the start: the new Lufthansa Business Class Enjoy special comfort and exceptional service from booking to landing: with Lufthansa Business Class you will arrive at your destination feeling rested and relaxed. To save time you can check in from 23 hours before departure online or via your mobile with Lufthansa eFly Services. Of course, our priority check-in counters or check-in machines are also available to you at the airport. You can spend your time until departure in the relaxed atmosphere of the Lufthansa Business Lounges. Answer your e-mails, prepare for an important meeting, enjoy a snack or simply sit back and relax — just as you like.

Your own ‘realm’ on board — the Lufthansa Business Class seat On board, the spacious seats with generous pitch give you plenty of space and a high degree of privacy .All our aircraft are gradually being fitted out with the new Business Class* which offers you even greater comfort: the new seat can be converted intuitively into an almost two-metre-long bed with a fully flat surface. What is more, a subtle, natural colour scheme creates an agreeable ambiance that has a positive effect on your well-being.

Work productively on board If you would like to use your time on board for business matters, the work table, plug socket and reading lamp at your seat provide the ideal conditions. Sending and receiving e-mails, accessing your company’s intranet or surfing the Web is also possible on an increasing number of our flights — thanks to Lufthansa FlyNet®, our on-board broadband Internet service.

Landed safely — started the day refreshed On your arrival in Frankfurt a refreshing shower and a delicious breakfast buffet are waiting for you in the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge. .From booking to destination, the new Lufthansa Business Class offers you services similar to those you would expect from an excellent hotel. *The new Lufthansa Business Class is currently available in the Boeing 747-8 from Frankfurt and in three A330s flying out of Munich. The retrofitting of the entire Lufthansa long-haul fleet will take place gradually over the next four years.


New Carlson Wagonlit Travel report on Travel Management Priorities for 2014 Carlson Wagonlit Travel has published its travel management priorities for 2014. The in-depth report is based on feedback from nearly a thousand corporate travel managers, worldwide. A summary of some of the key trends in the report follow.


or CWT’s annual survey, 970 travel managers from around the world were questioned about their priorities for 2014. While savings remain the major objective, the traveller experience is also clearly top of mind as technology and data offer new opportunities for tailored, user-friendly services that support the travel program.

Innovative ways to generate savings are top priority

Although the global results show some regional differences in travel managers’ concerns, 70% of those questioned worldwide stated that ‘finding innovative ways to generate savings’ is a top priority. Driving growth in online adoption, optimising end to end travel processes and further promoting company travel programmes were also major objectives for over half of the survey’s respondents. As always, travel managers will continue to educate travellers on the benefits and engage in a variety of efforts to increase compliance. What is changing perhaps is the culture of control within companies, with a perceptible shift toward ‘carrot’ rather than ‘stick’ approaches to influence employees’ decisions.

Online and mobile tools for travel and expense management

While business travel and prices grow in 2014, companies with mature travel policies will be looking to exploit opportunities for incremental savings, as well as bring new areas into the scope of the program. Opportunities include automated airfare tracking and negotiated point-of-origin pricing. New online booking tools such as CWT Online powered by KDS will offer a greater range of services, with features such as ‘total trip view’, geo-localized information and mobile access. Developing a mobile strategy is important for over a third of travel managers this year, as mobile

technology still offers huge untapped potential for managed travel. The area gaining the most traction, however, is integrated expense management as companies adopt automated systems. The benefits include improved data consolidation, increased policy compliance, a reduced risk of fraud and a better user experience, as well as significant savings. For example, up to 25% percent cheaper expense report costs are achieved when suppliers bundle expense management and corporate card solutions.

Reinforcing Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility, a key theme for 16% of travel managers, is gaining importance on company agendas in response to changing stakeholder expectations and stricter regulation. CSR potentially covers a vast scope in business travel and all kinds of responsible criteria are now being considered during supplier selection. CWT’s tips for 2014 include clarifying the policy and providing travellers with practical advice to boost safety while travelling and encouraging managers to consider travel stress and carbon emissions when planning meetings.

2014 promises interesting developments

Finally, the report outlines key market moves to watch, including for example a fast growing low-cost carrier offering in Asia Pacific, IATA’s new distribution capability, and a more mature strategic meetings management sector. Good news for travellers may come in the form of an end to roaming fees in the EU, a constantly growing high-speed rail offering, more opportunities to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, and more... In short, 2014 promises to bring interesting developments for all. The full report can be downloaded at


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European business travel organisations convene to create ENACT network On 23 February at a conference in Brussels, five leading travel management organisations met to create a unique European network with the purpose of actively contributing to the European discussion on business travel. The specific focus concerned issues that deal directly or indirectly with management of business travel and travel expenses that have an impact on the business traveller.


he initiative is a logical consequence of a common undertaking started by the five organisations in September 2013. At that time, a European initiative was agreed upon that takes into account the specific situation of the business traveller. The reason for this was to conform with CE no. 261/2004 directive concerning the rights of airline passengers.

Joining forces

The founders of this European network, named ENACT (European Network of Associations for Corporate Travel), are, in alphabetical order: - ACTE EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa), Association of Corporate Travel Executives, represented by Caroline Allen, Director of ACTE EMEA ; - AEGVE, La Asociacion de los Decisores en Viajes de Empresa (Spain), represented by Augusto Pardo, honorary president; - AFTM, Association Française des Travel Managers, represented by Michel Dieleman, president; - BATM, Belgian Association of Travel Management (Belgium), represented by Geert Behets, president; - CORTAS, Corporate Travel Association (the Netherlands), represented by Herman Mensink, president. The founding document expressly underscores the goal of “parties entering into a partnership in order to represent the common interests of the members on a European level with an official structure. To this end, they emphasize the well-being of the industry, and a healthy understanding and respect for ethical values. ENACT is intended to harness the synergies and strong points of each organisation in order to promote the industry as a whole.”


The founders point out that the network will not be used to promote commercial interests or to influence the market, but to instead act as a “common and open platform to support the industry as an “advocacy” group (and not as a lobbying initiative) with European institutions. “BATM sees it as important that our members are represented in the best way possible,” says Geert Behets of BATM. “We can only do this by joining forces; we stand stronger together than we do alone. Over the course of 2014, BATM seeks to forge closer ties with AFTM in order to ensure that our members may also gain access to their events and training programmes. Our members already have automatic access to all of the advantages of membership in ACTE. With cooperation of this nature, we can offer our members not

½½ GEERT BEHETS, BATM only an outstanding network in Belgium, but also outside of it. For more information about membership, you can contact or”

Regular meetings

In addition to following developments in Europe closely, the ENACT network will meet together regularly in order to organise a number of meetings and campaigns regarding business travel as well as their potential impact on the policies of its respective members. Following the European elections later this year, the members of the ENACT network will take up contact with the newly chosen leaders of the Transport and Tourism Commission of the European Parliament. The network, in which all members are represented equally independent of their size or internal organisation, is an open platform for all European organisations dedicated to business travel which seeks to take part in certain campaigns without any specific requirements.


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Hogg Robinson Group serving corporate travel managers in 120 countries Interview with Ian Windsor, HRG Managing Director Europe North The Hogg Robinson Group is a corporate travel services provider with a network covering over 120 countries. As one of the world’s ‘big four’ business travel management agencies, it was time that HRG figured on the pages of The Corporate Traveller Magazine! We caught up with Ian Windsor, HRG Managing Director – Europe North, to find out more.


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TCT: What does HRG offer to its corporate travel clients?


an Windsor: HRG is the only company focusing on international corporate travel, expense and data management, to be publicly listed. Despite our size and my own 38 years in the travel business, I have never found two clients to be the same. For this reason we have adopted a very tailored, flexible approach, rather than selling off-the-shelf solutions. We work with all industry sectors and all sizes of companies - from those with very modest travel budgets, up to the largest global clients with multimillion euro travel budgets. Helping us to provide these tailored solutions, we have developed our own proprietary technologies, including online booking tools which we can adapt to our client’s specific requests. HRG’s online tools are in use in 74 countries. As part of our services we also have specialist global teams for corporate meetings, groups, events, logistics and consulting.

TCT: What trends do you see emerging in international travel management?

Ian Windsor: One of the leading trends we are seeing is that clients are starting to consider the whole cost of the journey, from door to door. This includes not only the cost of parking at the airport, taxis and trains, but the amount of time during the journey that the traveller can still be productive in their work. Using our booking tool, they can compare the whole cost of possible journey alternatives, including time lost in productivity. This might mean, for example, that a train journey instead of plane travel results in two hours worth of productivity gained. There is a shift in travel management from a ‘What has happened?’ to ‘How can we stop that happening?’ approach. The use of pre-trip data is being used to better control travel budgets. For example, ‘Do four people from the same division need to go on this trip?’ or ‘Could this meeting be carried out by video-conferencing?’. In fact part of our role with some clients is to reduce travel made and report on reasons for travel. The world is becoming a lot more joined up and one of the advantages of having a larger Travel Management Company such as ourselves is that utilise all the HRG and client-specific deals to check from which city is the best place to issue a ticket, or reserve a hotel, in order to obtain the best price. For example, for a UK-Hong Kong trip, you might issue the LON/HKG here, and arrange for the HKG/ LON to be issued locally. Clients in general are a lot more knowledgeable about the airline market. They are becoming more interested in the good savings that can be made by using indirect flights. Companies are using indirect flights much more frequently than before, especially with the opportunities brought by airline alliances. Travel policies are being a little more flexible and receptive to travellers’ needs. We are certainly seeing more premium class travel again, even on European flights.

TCT: And trends in the hotel market?

Ian Windsor: Our annual international hotel room rates survey shows the rise of ‘Supercities’. In these Supercities we see more new hotel constructions and an acceleration in room rates, while country wide, the hotel market may be depressed. Barcelona and Spain would be a good example of this. As well as helping companies to budget for hotel rooms over the year, the HRG hotel survey gives senior management an insight into where business is growing in general. Hotels, from a client point of view, are still their biggest leakage area. Often business travellers still book rooms directly themselves in order to have more choice. One of the advantages HRG brings is our own global hotel programme, which supplements the client’s programme of agreements in place with preferred hotels. Our global hotel programme brings all the best rates from good hotels around the world, even those that are independent rather than part of a large chain. We also have the advantage of being able to access distressed inventory, such as hotels who have had cancelled conferences, and we can use these for the benefit of our clients. Central to our global hotel programme is also the Hotel Audits team and our call centre of 280 staff who are constantly looking to get the best deals with hotels for client specifics. We review all the bookings on a regular basis and if they are available at a better price, or if corporate rate rooms became available then we could rebook to take advantage of the better rate.

TCT: What is HRG’s presence in the Belgian market?

Ian Windsor: In the 1990s HRG purchased and re-branded Belgium’s Weinburg Travel, based in Antwerp. Initially it was a challenge, as they were more focussed on leisure travel. Now HRG Belgium offers business travel management services and also serves as a DMC for incoming groups to Belgium. We appointed a new Managing Director in Belgium, Alain Depauw last year and he and his team have done an excellent job of developing the market. We appreciate we are new boys on the block but we have been growing carefully and have won some good local business. Our team in Belgium also has the added advantage of being able to leverage the solutions we provide worldwide and give them a twist to adapt them to the local market. Reputation is super important on this market, especially as many of the travel managers know each other. We are in the process of building relationships and creating trust with Belgian clients, which takes time, but our pipeline of business is growing and we have three times more contacts than we did last year. Headquartered in the UK, Hogg Robinson Group has 26 owned-markets and partners with agencies in a further 109 countries. The HRG annual survey on international hotel room rates can be obtained at


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Optimize your duty of care with

Amadeus Mobile Messenger Amadeus Mobile Messenger Locate, communicate and assist your travellers


A snowstorm has closed all airports in the New York area. Locate all travellers using the interactive map.


Define the area to focus on the affected travellers using a polygon query.



Send a message to those travellers using the smartphone app or SMS to check if they need assistance.


For those responding 'yes', appropriate assistance can be quickly assigned to agents for handling, such as flight rebooking or finding hotel accommodation.

Using the graphical forecast tool, contact travellers due to enter the polygon to advise them of any action they need to take.

Assistance needed


single tool

All you need in a to be able to take care of your travellers without delay.

As an employer and travel manager, you feel morally and legally responsible to ensure the health, safety and security of your employees at all times. This duty of care obligation does not only apply in the workplace, but it also extends to employees on an international assignment or travelling abroad for business.


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Amadeus Mobile Messenger is powered by


he eruption of a volcano, closure of airports due to adverse weather conditions, strike actions, flight cancellations, political instability, outbreaks of violence, flooding, tsunamis, natural disasters and spreading of infectious disease are only a few examples of situations in which you need to communicate with and provide assistance to your employees. Of course, these situations never happen, do they ? Now take a moment to think about how you would react if any of those situations did arise. Would you quickly be able to identify and locate all of your impacted employees ? Would you easily be able to communicate with them and assess whether or not they are in need of assistance? Could you easily identify those of your employees whose travel plans will take them to the troubled area in the next couple of days or weeks and warn them about the impending danger ? And come to that, can you reliably assess the risk in each and every part of the world your employees are travelling to or staying in ? The answer is probably no, but Amadeus Mobile Messenger can help you.


Amadeus Mobile Messenger is an intuitive graphical tool that allows you to instantly locate all your travellers at the present or any future time and to automatically communicate with them through push notification to smart phone, email or SMS. A couple of clicks is all it takes to automatically check with all travellers in any area, city, country or region where the event occurs if, for instance, they want you to extend their hotel booking while the airport is closed due to winter conditions. By setting up automatic messages in Amadeus Mobile Messenger, you can easily and automatically send a warning message to all your employees who will travel to a danger zone a day (or any time of your choice) before they enter the concerned area. An optional risk intelligence module, with data provided by Riskline™, a leading global consulting firm in the travel

security sector, delivers relevant risk information according to a traveller’s location. Country status reports, pre-travel advisories and risk alerts offer travellers accurate, real-time destination information and incident analysis. Any applicable data that may impact travel can either be communicated automatically or pushed to travellers when required. On the operational side, Amadeus Mobile Messenger will help you optimize your response to a crisis situation as your travel agency can easily identify the travellers in need and dynamically assign them to dedicated travel consultants. This is just another of Amadeus Mobile Messenger’s great features. As people are your most valuable asset, you don’t want to take chances with their safety. Amadeus Mobile Messenger is your one-stop shop to reach and assist your travellers in a crisis situation.



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the n i g n i t e e m “The trip: a in e n o r e h t o n morning, a ute n i m t s a l a , n the afternoo e best h t y l i k c u L . .. presentation ps i r t s s e n i s u b e part of thes ’s how t i , t r a t s y e h aren´t how t they end.” Andrés. elling For him, traisv a for business pleasure.

FEEL AT HOME EVEN THOUGH YOU´RE FAR FROM YOUR OWN At Hotel Santo Domingo, we work so you can rest. A variety of different rooms with carefully thought out designs, ideal not only to work, but so you can also recharge your batteries. Let´s not forget about the privileged location in Madrid´s city center, our unique culinary experience, the world´s largest hanging garden, our cocktail bar in 14th century caves and a fantastic rooftop pool with sensational views of Madrid´s historic skyline*… Our objective is this: once the workday is over you can enjoy the maximum comfort and attention we give you so you feel at home. We are convinced that in this life there has to be time for everything, even work. *During summer /hotelsantodomingomadrid



Look for us, we are in the city centre.

The hotel in the heart of Madrid Restaurant SANDÓ Book now at: or ask your travel agency San Bernardo, 1 - Tel. (+34) 91 54 79 800


Social media marketing Top 10 tips for campaigns with real ROI

The travel and tourism sector was one of the early pioneers of social media marketing programs. When managed with care, they can dramatically increase the reach of marketing budgets and help companies grow direct links with supporters and customers. Leveraging best practice from successful examples, here are 10 key pointers for campaigns with a real return on investment.

Plan to win – setting goals


As with any marketing campaign, target sectors and measurable goals need to be identified from the outset. With the ultimate goal of driving followers through the sales cycle, desired results that can be quantified would include increases in new followers, posts from followers, amount of content shared and clicks to the company website. It is also possible to measure if public perception of various aspects of the brand, such as service levels, are improving, via the use of focus groups and surveys.

Message Mapping


A social media messaging map keeps messaging actions on track by setting out different groups of follower targets and types of messages to be used to engage with them. The messaging map should identify some of the key interests of those in the target segments – for example high end travellers could be interested in posts about fine wine. The mapping should also include an editorial calendar, with some of the topics to be posted identified in advance. This will ensure a consistent social media presence while remaining flexible enough to profit from fresh editorial opportunities concerning hot topics and follower feedback.


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Two way communications


Social media marketing is all about encouraging interactive, two way communications rather than broadcasting one-way messages. Followers are interested in having a relationship with the brands they trust. A company’s social networks and online forums give followers the channels they need to express themselves about its products and services. This gives companies the opportunity to more easily monitor brand perception and to reply quickly to any customer problems or negative comments than they could do on third party forums. To do this effectively necessitates investment in human resources to maintain at least a regular presence. The more sophisticated social media departments use software to monitor reviews and report to senior managers, sorting online comments for handling by staff. For those companies where crisis management is of particular importance, such as airlines, a crisis management framework needs to be in position, as well as rota of community managers available at all times.

Content is king

Successful social media content is all about getting the balance of quantity and quality right. Having a consistent presence is important so that fans know how often to connect with you on each of their favourite networks.


Content that is entertaining and appealing will keep them coming back on a regular basis, whereas posts that are purely sales focussed are unlikely to attract followers, or to incite them to share. A mix of news, events, special offers, entertainment and informative items that are in some way connected with the brand are ideal. This variety will keep interest alive and motivate fans to show their support by liking and sharing content. Conrad Hotels & Resorts link in with local events that will resonate with its fans to drive more traffic to its websites. One of its latest ongoing themes on Facebook, from the Conrad New York Hotel, are a number of posts, competitions and trivia quizzes linked to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. As the content around the film festival builds up, so they are attracting an increasing number of followers. Finally, don’t miss out on the power of videos, photos and audio podcasts for engaging fans. An increasing number of business travellers view videos on social media and, more than half do so when choosing hotel accommodation.

Spirit of Competition


The use of competitions is one of the most popular items in the social marketing toolkit. Prizes can include branded items, invitations to events and hospitality, but exclusive rewards that connect to the company’s products tend to obtain the best results. One of earliest and best known social media competitions was Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World’, designed to promote tourism to the Great Barrier Reef. The campaign went viral over all networks and printed media and is estimated to have generated more than $200 million in global publicity value for Tourism Queensland. The campaign was reintroduced in 2013 Social media sites that regularly offer competitions, rather than just a couple of times a year, will also keep followers coming back and sharing content to their contacts. To further increase impact of competitions, adding a layer for followers and their friends to vote for their favourite entries can boost the number of traffic tweets by as much as 75%.

The power of influencers


Gaining followers who themselves have a large influence and number of fans is one of the most efficient ways of raising visibility. Companies who track their followers will see that a relatively small number of fans are responsible for a large percentage of traffic to their networks and websites. These ‘brand evangelists’ need to be identified and rewarded to encourage and thank them. On a smaller scale it could be an invitation to an exclusive event, or to try one of your services for free. On a larger scale it could be hosting a well-known blogger to share their experiences of staying at a hotel, across their social networks. The Hamilton Island resort’s ‘Instameet’ event, which hosted Australian and American Instagrammers over several days produced more than 640 images that reached over 8 million people through social media,

Championing good causes

Social network users are more motivated to share content if they feel like are in some way contributing to a greater cause.


The 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study conducted by media and marketing consultancy Ebiquity shows that a growing number of customers are opting for brands which show commitment to social and environmental issues. Half of those surveyed now use social media to engage with companies around social and environmental issues, while over a quarter use social media to share positive information about companies and issues with people in their networks. Delta Air Lines, for example, supports home building charity Habitat for Humanity, through funding and volunteer programmes around the world. The airline is also involved in conservation and recycling projects. All of these initiatives are showcased in the airline’s blog, com, as well as in its Google+, Twitter and Facebook feeds. Hotels and airlines that support charitable or environmental projects are doing more than raising awareness of their brand, they are boosting its ‘feelgood’ factor.


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Associate with heroes


Associating a brand with heroes that resonate with your audience encourages brand loyalty through affinity and increases follower numbers – as long as there is a connecting factor between the brand and its sponsored ‘ambassador’. Red Bulls sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos space diving jump made a connection with its adrenaline-adventure brand positioning. The Stratos dive, which broke the record for the highest altitude jump, led to tens of millions of views on YouTube for Red Bull. When the sponsorships are ongoing, the benefits of the association will continue to accumulate on the brand’s networks. Brussels Airlines has concluded a partnership to become the official airline of Belgian national football team, The Red Devils, through until 2016. Over the period Brussels will continue to engage with its fans by posting regular news, competitions and events connected with its support of the team. The sponsorship also brings multiple opportunities for creating appealing video content for YouTube, such as aircraft being decorated with the team’s livery and fans waving off the team at the airport. One of the peaks of the social media campaign will be when Brussels Airlines special Red Devils flight SN2014 takes off to fly 150 of the team’s fans to Brazil for the world cup this year.

Stakeholder support brings brand value

The best social media campaigns include content created by the various stakeholders who feel affinity with the brand. This could include ‘User Generated Content’ on customer experiences, or local residents helping to promote a tourism destination.


As part of its ‘Feel the Hamptonality’ campaign, Hampton Inns launched the ‘Hamptonality Moments’ series of videos featuring real stories from guests. Hampton reported three million video views in eight weeks and a 60% increase in Facebook fans following the campaign. Mobilising local residents to promote New Orleans as tourism destination, The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Instagram contest encourages locals to capture and share daily scenes of life in New Orleans. The successful campaign is a continued each year, to boost bookings during the summer months.

Look to the future


Looking to the future, the Millennials generation - those in their 20s to early 30s - presents a major opportunity for social marketers. They have the highest levels of engagement with companies through social media, but they are still defining the brands they prefer. “Companies have to uncover Millennials’ unique passion points, and engage them in a way that speaks to their personal drivers” observes Craig Bida of Cone Communications. “Social media and the very act of sharing are in their DNA. They expect openness – they’re sharing so much of their lives online, and they expect companies to be equally forthcoming. They require information to be readily available and online; otherwise they’re going to turn off.”

A central component in sales and marketing activities

The world of online marketing has been changed beyond recognition with the advent of social networks. Customers and prospects looking for information about a company expect far more than a static company website. They are looking for two way communications, entertaining content and a presence on a least some of their favourite social networks. Studies by Experian show more than 91 of adults who go online use social networks regularly. These same social networks are playing an increasingly important role in driving traffic to company websites, at the expense of traditional search and bookings engines. Companies therefore need consider social media marketing not merely as an annexe, but as a central component in their sales and marketing activities.


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Best Hotel Room for Corporate Travellers 2014 Awards Entries open until 20 May Winning hotels will take the prize of 16,000 euros of advertising! The Corporate Traveller magazine has opened entries for the competition for this year’s ‘Best Hotel Room for Corporate Traveller Awards’. For 2014 our premium sponsor is Amadeus and the two hotel winners each stand to gain a 16,000 euro advertising campaign in The Corporate Traveller Magazine.


ollowing on from the success of the first edition of the awards in 2013, once again our team of judges will be assessing and visiting hotels from all over Belgium to find the very best hotel rooms and suites. From amongst both well-established and newcomer hotels to Belgium’s rich portfolio of premium and luxury properties, rooms will be scored by our panel on a range of criteria including design, comfort, new technologies and functionality. The 2014 Best Hotel Room for Corporate Traveller awards will be judged within two categories – Business 4 star and Luxury 5 star properties. The winning hotels in the two categories will each win a full year of advertising in The Corporate Traveller Magazine with a value of 16,000 euros.

How to enter

Nothing could be simpler! Hotels who wish to enter their rooms or suites should submit photos and a detailed description of the room, along with the reason why they believe they should win. The participation cost for each hotel is 750 euros. Entry forms for downloading, along with further details of the competition are available at But don’t delay - the deadline for submission of entries is 20 May 2014! Following examination of all the entries, the judges will then deliberate together and select the six finalists – three in each category. All of the finalists will be announced in June on The Corporate Traveller website, the Best Hotel Room website and in The Corporate Traveller Newsletter. At the beginning of July the three judges will travel around Belgium to visit all six of the shortlisted hotels and their submitted rooms. The judges will then compare notes before each casting their votes to decide the winners. The winners and two runners up in each category will be announced, along


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with a review, in the autumn edition of The Corporate Traveller Magazine.

Amadeus Benelux – premium sponsor of the Best Hotel Room awards

Amadeus’s decision to become the premier sponsor of this year’s Hotel Room Design Awards underlines its strategy to further increase the prominence of its range of solutions for the hotel sector. Founded 25 years ago as a provider of computerised reservation systems, Amadeus diversified into IT systems for airlines in 2000 and has since become one of the world’s leading suppliers of technology solutions for the aviation sector. No newcomer to the world of hotels, Amadeus has been working with many of the world’s leading hotel chains for many years, providing them with a range of solutions which include sales and reservations management, Property Management Systems, and systems for managing group content and meetings. The company’s growth in the hotel sector was reinforced by its acquisition of Newmarket in 2013, a company which already counts 75% of the world’s top 20 hotel chains amongst its clients. “Distribution, hotel IT and corporate travel are strategic sectors for Amadeus” says Olaf Leenders, Operations Director Amadeus Benelux. “The investments we have been making have enabled us to further enlarge our offering for the benefit of hotels, travel agents and, via our e-Travel Management self-booking tool, corporate travellers. As a strong supporter of the corporate travel sector in the Benelux, we are looking forward, through these awards, to bringing recognition to hotels who strive to bring the best possible experience to corporate travellers.”


The judges - Best Hotel Room for Corporate Travellers, 2014 The three judges in this year’s award panel - Bart Canini, Olaf Leenders and Joanna Pays -have been selected to represent a wide range of experience in hotels for corporate travel. As well as being seasoned business travellers, they are experts in the fields of hotel interior design, hotel technologies and business travel journalism respectively. In this way the judging panel will be able to evaluate in close detail the ensemble of the criteria to be considered.

BART CANINI – CRENEAU INTERNATIONAL Our design expert, Bart Canini is the General Manager for the Hasselt-based head office of Creneau International, a global agency that connects brands, spaces and consumers through design concepts. Established in 1989, the company provides a full service of concepts, consultancy, graphics, interiors and F&B support for projects including hospitality, retail and branding. Throughout the years, Creneau International has built an impressive international portfolio with references such as InterContinental, The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels, Autogrill, HMS Host, Coca Cola, Nespresso, Hunkemöller, BASE and Levi’s. With his professional and educational background, along with extensive experience in the world of trendsetting designs, Bart Canini will be judging the hotel room design realizations through the eyes of a professional designer and interior architect.

JOANNA PAYS – THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER MAGAZINE Senior Editor of The Corporate Traveller Magazine for nearly ten years, Joanna Pays has written reports on hotels from around the world – from luxury boutique properties to large business hotels – always with a special focus on the added benefits they bring to corporate travellers. “I will be basing a large part of my judgement on creative room design and features, but also taking note of other hotel facilities that ease the life of corporate travellers. A welcoming and friendly service is also something that I know most of our readers highly appreciate.”

OLAF LEENDERS – AMADEUS BENELUX Our hotel technology specialist, Olaf Leenders is the Operations Director of Amadeus Benelux. In his role he is responsible for Customer Services, Consultancy and Implementation Services, Technical Services, as well as Product Management. Olaf Leenders has a strong background in the hotel environment. Following his degree in Hotel Management, his management positions with international hotel chains such as the Sheraton and Holiday Inn covered a range of Rooms-Division, F&B and IT departments. For the Holiday Inn group, he was responsible for managing IT readiness in preparation for new property openings worldwide. He joined Amadeus in 1998, and was marketing director for nearly 8 years before becoming Operations Director Benelux in 2012. “As a judge I will bring my experience from both within the hotel sector and, from the other side, as a professional who travels for business practically every week. I will be focusing not only on the technological design, but on other criteria that are important to me when travelling – such as the comfort of the room.”


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Two new hotels for Brussels

Motel One and Mercure Brussels Centre Midi The European capital has two new additions to its hotel portfolio in 2014, with the opening of Mercure Brussels Centre Midi and Motel One. Mercure Brussels Centre Midi


he Mercure Brussels Centre Midi is a 4 star boutique hotel which was inaugurated in January. The hotel is a new build property, conveniently located next to the international Brussels Midi train station. The city centre and the European Community Convention hall are both close by.

A boutique-sized hotel, the Mercure Brussels Centre Midi offers 70 rooms and 2 suites. Each room features a large double bed, tea and coffee making facilities, safe, minibar and flat screen TV. The two junior 60m2 suites benefit from separate lounges suitable for meetings, while bathrooms are equipped with rain showers and jacuzzis. The Mercure Brussels Centre Midi benefits from a range of facilities including two 50m2 meeting rooms. Guests are offered free wifi throughout the hotel. Other features include a welcoming bar, full buffet breakfast, outdoor terraces and a fitness centre with Turkish bath, sauna and Jacuzzi. Indoor parking is also available.


Motel One

The new Motel One in Brussels will be the first of its kind in Belgium when it opens later this spring. The Motel One Group is a German hotel brand, founded in 2000, that is expanding into Europe with its budget-priced design hotels. Motel One currently has 49 locations, with ten further openings scheduled for this year. All are situated in city centre locations, as is the new Brussels hotel, located on Rue Royale, near Brussels Park and the Brussels Central rail station. The Motel One’s 492 guest rooms feature 100% Egyptian cotton bed linen on comfortable high-quality mattresses, Loewe flat screen TVs, rain showers, mobile work desks and free wi-fi. iPads can be borrowed, for free, at reception. The One Lounge, which can be found at every Motel One, is a lobby, breakfast lounge and bar in one. It provides free WLAN access and is open around the clock for guests. The lounge’s furnishing concept is based on genuine design classics, such as the turquoise egg chair by Arne Jacobsen (a signature of the Motel One look) or the ARCO lamp by Achille Castiglioni, in connection with modern elements such as leather armchairs and natural stone walls. An outdoor lounge will be available during the summer months. Motel One will be one of Brussels’ largest hotels. Prices for double rooms will start from €79.



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Four Seasons

growing luxury hotel network with over 60 new projects worldwide The Four Seasons is expanding its footprint of luxury hotels around the world, with over 60 new projects under development. Christopher Norton, Four Seasons’ Executive Vice President, Global Operations explains how this growth will carefully preserve the brand’s reputation for delivering the highest calibre guest experience.


n the past three years, Four Seasons has unveiled a dozen new hotels and resorts in locations as diverse as Baku, Shenzhen, Baltimore and the Serengeti. More new openings in the near future include properties in Orlando, Moscow, Dubai, Johannesburg, Seoul, Kyoto, Bahrain, Tanzania, New York, Morocco, Delhi and Madrid. “Four Seasons is not a huge company compared to the global hotel sector but we do have the biggest global reach in the luxury hospitality segment” says Christopher Norton. “When I joined the company 25 years ago, the group only had 18 hotels. Today we have 92 properties with more than 60 at various stages of development. However we are not about growth at any cost, but continuing a pace of growth that is compatible with preserving our brand reputation. Growth is important because our clients are looking for us in places where we are not yet present. The rate of expansions we have planned over the next 24 months is exceptional, but so is the quality of the new properties we are opening, all in iconic locations.”

Great hotels are associated with a lifestyle

“Four Seasons is not in the business of manufacturing. Sleeping, drinking and eating are, in a way, commodities - but great hotels are about the way you feel and about being associated with a lifestyle. The art, at our level, is the quality of delivery in real time - so there is bit of theatre to it to create memorable experiences. Essential to making this happen is our human capital, our greatest asset. We have established detailed processes on interview hire so that we pick the best men and women. Then we make them feel part of a winning team and of the brand. Having really the best hotel staff means that they are able to read the clients’ needs without even asking.”


“The people that choose our brand have high expectations. The business travellers that we see are most often C-level executives, presidents and senior vice-presidents. Executives at this level cannot afford for things not to run like clockwork and time is their most precious commodity. We help them maximise their time and effectiveness to achieve the purpose of their trip. For example this year, we began offering company-wide, complimentary Wi-Fi connections in all house cars and contracted limo services at all Four Seasons locations, all around the world.”

Customising the client experience

“To be a leader in the luxury hotel sector, you need to customise the experience to the client. ‘Cookie-cutting’ the product is acceptable for mid-sector hotels but at this level, in the upper luxury tier, every client is an important individual. We are committed to not just growing bigger, but better. As we expand, our priority is ensuring that we continue to provide unparalleled service with reliability and consistency, while making the experience as unique as our guests are.”


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@ ’t Huis van Oordeghem 18 years ago, Saskia De Mits and her husband Guy Vermeirsch founded ’t Huis van Oordeghem (the Oordeghem House). In the meantime, their business has grown into a unique and successful concept on a worldwide scale. It is truly world-class outdoor design.


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Unique in Belgium, a selection of their best designs is displayed in their 2,000-square metre showroom in Oordegem. They assist their customers in their own personal way. If you’re looking for one piece or for a full realisation of your idea, Saskia and her team will leave you sitting pretty - both figuratively and literally!


The Oordeghem House operates at home in all markets and has a very diverse customer profile. Take a look at their website, where you can immediately notice the differences in the realisations. “Each customer is different and wants something different. Therefore it’s not just our ambition, but also our passion to strive for timeless beauty in harmony with the architecture and in balance with the environment,” explains Saskia. “The individual is always central here. We listen very carefully to the customer. Who they are, what they do, what they consider important... without this information, we couldn’t do our job properly.” At The Oordeghem House each client is unique and thus, each design is unique. In addition to the outdoor furniture, it is always important to have proper expertise with the

interior, and to keep up with architecture in all of its aspects. “We also keep investing in our personnel, since the bonds in a strong team are the power of our success,” adds Saskia.

Mandelieu La Napoule

The latest Oordeghem House project was one in Mandelieu La Napoule, near Cannes in southern France. The owners were still substantially involved in the renovations on their vacation home as they came knocking on the doors of the Oordeghem House. At their vacation home, the terrace was to be expanded, the gardens were to be re-landscaped, and a beautiful new pool was to be installed according to Belgian quality standards. This was an extraordinary opportunity for the Oordeghem House team to work on creating something lovely. They went to work, working out the plans to the smallest detail, and the furniture got the placement it deserved. The entire realisation had a balance, not an overload. It was as if it had always existed there. “The location was a dream, set on a hillside with a 180° view of the sea,” relates an elated Saskia. “We placed the sunbeds two by two around the pool to avoid the hotel feel. The terrace was partitioned according to function as well | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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’T HUIS VAN OORDEGHEM Grote Steenweg 210 9340 Oordegem, Belgium +32 (0)9 365.46.60


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as in regards to the position of the sun. This is how we created a morning terrace in which you can leisurely read the newspaper and enjoy a cup of coffee while the sun comes peeping through the palm trees.” Saskia De Mits and her team also opted for a large table and elegant light chairs on the spacious covered terrace, an ideal place to spend long summer evenings with friends and family. Then came a low seating area where one can still enjoy a beautiful day for hours as the sun goes down. De Mits explains, “We have a saying, ‘living like God in France’... and we are very happy that we can assist and guide our clients with such an arrangement.”

Instant luxury vacation feeling

“2013 was hard work, but once again a great year for the Oordeghem House. 2014 also promises a lot of work and some very nice projects, but we are prepared and are able to count on our team of professionals who have worked with us for years. You could describe the team as a family, one that barely needs words to understand one another. The new showroom was designed down to the smallest details and the collections are inspiringly beautiful, if I say so myself,” says Saskia. Nor are they idle abroad. “The work we do abroad, mainly in the south of France and in Switzerland is expanding year after year and we think that’s just super. We

also do projects in Tunisia, Israel, and recently a delivery went out for decorating a yacht in Venice,” relates De Mits. “It’s not just Belgians abroad for whom we have become a regular supplier. Over the years we have had customers who are located just about anywhere!” The Oordeghem House offers full service at home as well as abroad. They listen, design, work out a plan and take care of the entire processing of orders and administrative follow-up. These tasks are not to be underestimated especially because deliveries outside of Europe require considerable follow-up as far as customs formalities and the like. Saskia De Mits takes care of all of this, right down to the final delivery and installation, where all the pieces find their place on-site. Saskia explains: “This then makes for a hassle-free instant luxury vacation feeling for our client. Recently someone said to me ‘you offer white glove service!’” “I admit... it is hard work, but it is part of my life,” says Saskia enthusiastically. “I come across the most beautiful places, meet nice people and every time I’m happy when we make something beautiful out of it. We don’t roll out the red carpet, because it would never be long enough. But everyone is welcome, whether you have a villa on the Cote d’Azur or a roof terrace beneath the towers of Ghent.” | THE CORPORATE TRAVELLER.BE

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Rejuvenation for

the Warwick International Hotels in Brussels

Aiming to offer their guests a high level of service, the Royal Windsor Grand Place and the Warwick Barsey Hotel, both hotels in the Warwick Collection of International Hotels in Brussels, have undergone renovations in order to improve the quality of every aspect of their clients’ stay.


onour where honour is due. Benefitting from an from an exceptional location in the heart of the European capital, for decades now the Royal Windsor Hotel Grand Place has attracted discerning travellers to this cherished hotel that cultivates the refinedhospitality values of a long and great tradition. Just a few steps away from one of the most famous great squares in the world - the ‘Grand Place’ - are 267 elegant rooms, including 16 even more luxurious suites such as the Royal Suite and the spectacular Grand Place Suite. The different categories of rooms meet all possible requirements, and the most personal wishes of an international clientèle, whether their stay is in the context of an international meeting or as part of a weekend of culture and charm ...


To the cosy comfort of its bedrooms may be added a range of benefits to enhance the contentment of guests. Free access to the fitness centre and adjoining sauna, high-performing Internet in each room as well as in the ‘the Business Centre


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and the experience and availability of the Concierge proudly wearing the Gold Keys ‘open sesame’ symbol to help make your visit to Brussels absolutely unforgettable. Not to mention the Waterloo Bar and Chutney’s restaurant, as well as room-service which harmoniously complements the hotel’s restaurant service.

Magic inside and outside the walls of the Grand Place Suite

From now on the Royal Windsor Hotel Grand Place in the capital of Europe can pride itself on a rare view: from the Grand Place Suite, there is a panoramic view of 180 degrees looking out over the famous Grand Place in Brussels and the roofs of the city which is just ... breathtaking! Located at the top of the hotel, this space with a total area of 400 sq. m. is one of those places where luxury in its most noble sense abounds in elegance and art of living. This is not just a suite, but your own private residence where guests know that they will get a royal reception. But luxury is nothing without the generos-

ity of intentions and the delicacy of gestures. On your arrival and during the entire stay in the Grand Place Suite, the attentive butler will become your personal point of contact and will do everything possible to satisfy your every requirement.

100 Renovated rooms

No fewer than one hundred rooms have recently been renovated at the Royal Windsor Grand Place: new elements of decor have been installed and a reflection on lighting schemes has been undertaken. All en-suite bathrooms of these rooms have been refreshed and today give a feeling of spaciousness and enhanced brightness. The culmination of the room is the bedding which has been carefully selected to offer you even better-quality rest.

New Executive Chef

Finally, in terms of food and beverages, the Royal Windsor Grand Place also reserves some delicious surprises for its guests! The restaurant is an integral part of the DNA of the Warwick Col-


lection International Hotels and the Royal Windsor Grand Place is a jewel in Belgium. The hotel is proud to welcome a new Executive Chef: Grégory Lauwaert. The arrival of Lauwaert at the helm of the “Chutney” as well as the establishment of the new spring menu have already marked the changing times. Considered as one of the key moments of the client’s stay, breakfast has also been redesigned and its 24 Euro menu now offers an even more intensive range of Belgian specialties.

Welcome to the Warwick Barsey Hotel

Located in the heart of chic Brussels, along the Avenue Louise, the focal point of luxury shopping, but also the business district where many international companies and a large number of embassies jostle together, the Warwick Barsey Hotel is positioned as a “boutique hotel”.

Style and Sophistication

The hotel offers a perfect blend of comfort and quality of service. Its 99 rooms

and suites are decorated in a stylish and sophisticated way by means of a combination of neo-classical and Napoleonic Empire-style touches. Jacques Garcia, an interior designer of international repute has creatively blended classicism and extravagance with daredevil design! He has endowed this address with a real identity and has implemented an amazing decor. The Barsey Lounge Bar is another of the hotel’s asset: designed around small plush lounges with charming decor: unique in the capital of Europe! Its blossom-filled, shaded terrace, complemented with a stylish trickling and soothing fountain is accessible from the start of the warm weather. Venues for dinners, product presentations, workshops and company or family parties may be made more private and exclusive. For events, there are three equipped meeting rooms that will also be renovated, which are ideal both for residential and non-residential seminars, with the possibility of additional packages such as an introduction to golf or even a trip around Brussels in an ancient tram...

Numerous changes

At the Warwick Barsey Hotel there are also many changes in progress. To start with, many details concerning the bedding, fabrics and voiles have already been redesigned in a number of rooms. These improvements make the rooms more comfortable and bright. There are Iphone, Ipad and Ipod stations as well as tea & coffee facilities which will be installed. Thus, clients’ experience within the boutique hotel branch in Brussels will become even better! Finally, a novelty for this year 2014, the Barsey Lounge Bar offers Happy Hour from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm Monday to Thursday culminating in Thursday’s “Louise After Work”, a formula of early evening relaxation with friends or colleagues with the presence of a renowned “lounge attitude” DJ . For all additional information on the latest news from the Royal Windsor Grand Place and from the Warwick Barsey Hotel, click on:


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‘Experience Meetings’ at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel The meeting rooms of the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel on the Koningin Astridplein in Antwerp have been thoroughly renovated in recent months. The updated conference rooms fit the “Experience Meetings” concept of Radisson Blu, in which the ambience and character of the environment can inspire businessmen to greater efficiency in their meetings.


he conference rooms of the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel in Antwerp are arranged over two floors. Over recent months the entire first floor has been renovated. “These rooms have been in use for about thirteen years, so it was high time to give this floor a fresh look”, says Dominique Jansen of Radisson Blu Astrid. “It was stripped down completely, and then rearranged and furnished in a new way. In the process we have made the foyer larger and more functional. The rest of the first floor consists of two boardrooms each to accommodate 12 persons, two small conference rooms for 15 persons, and a larger meeting room for 50 persons that can be split into four parts.”

Calm and timeless design

For the renovation, Radisson Blu called upon the Dutch design studio of Piet Boon. “Together with his team, Piet Boon has rearranged the various rooms with an up-to-date and stylish look and feel. We wanted a calm and timeless design, so, in the main, restful colours such as beige and white have been used. Contrasts, such as the colour of the


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new furniture, liven up the interior. During the renovation, work has also been carried out on a number of services. For example, extra lifts stop at the first floor, and the air conditioning has been modified.”

Experience Meetings

By implementing the “Experience Meetings” concept, Radisson Blu aims to transform its conference rooms into an inspiring venue for successful meetings. “In fact, the three mainstays of this concept are: ‘Brain Box’ - a conference room that increases efficiency and stimulates creativity, ‘Brain Food’ - the provision of a range of innovative and healthy food & beverages, and ‘Free Wifi’ - the provision to every participant of a free fast Internet connection, even for those not sleeping here. In this way, a meeting at the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel becomes a unique experience. And when the conference centre on the Koningin Astridplein is also ready in 2016, thanks to the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel, the availability of high-quality break-out rooms will be guaranteed in any case”, concludes Dominique Jansen.

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