The Business Travel Magazine Feb/Mar 2019

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74 <strong>Feb</strong>ruary/<strong>Mar</strong>ch <strong>2019</strong><br />


OF MINDS<br />

From bots to booking tools<br />

– the latest in travel tech<br />

+<br />

Car hire innovation<br />

Car hire innovation<br />

<strong>Business</strong> class cabins<br />

Focus on Latin America<br />

Talking <strong>Travel</strong>: Kate Humble<br />




Discover a network of over 160 destinations<br />

worldwide with Eurowings.<br />

Book<br />



Contents FEBRUARY/MARCH<br />

<strong>2019</strong><br />

78<br />

22<br />

Features<br />

28 <strong>Business</strong> class<br />

40 Car hire<br />

61 Extended feature:<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> technology<br />

14<br />

46<br />

Extended feature<br />

<strong>Travel</strong><br />

tech<br />

Booking tools, bots, distribution...<br />

we've got it covered!<br />

(p61-79)<br />

84<br />

80 40<br />

28<br />

6<br />

Arrivals<br />

6 Opening Shots<br />

8 Everyone's Talking About...<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>ler wellbeing<br />

11 Six of the Best:<br />

First class rail lounges<br />

13 <strong>The</strong> Knowledge:<br />

How to rejuvenate your<br />

travel programme<br />

14 Speaking Out:<br />

Climate change<br />

Regulars<br />

17 Event preview:<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show<br />

20 <strong>The</strong> Conversation:<br />

Steve Barrass, CEO TAG<br />

22 <strong>The</strong> Big Picture<br />

23 <strong>The</strong> People Awards:<br />

Meet the winner<br />

26 Technology: Mobile services<br />

38 Event preview:<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference<br />

46 Talking <strong>Travel</strong>: Kate Humble<br />

62<br />

20<br />

<strong>The</strong> Review<br />

49 Ten pages of news, views<br />

and the latest developments<br />

81<br />

26<br />

13<br />

Departures<br />

80 Gadgets & Gear<br />

81 New Kid on the Block<br />

83 On <strong>Business</strong> in: Cape Town<br />

84 Focus on: Latin America<br />

88 Reality Check<br />

90 <strong>The</strong> Final Word<br />

23<br />

11<br />







Welcome<br />

Rise of the machines<br />

Technology has long been the driving<br />

force behind the travel industry's<br />

evolution, but as you absorb the pages<br />

of this issue's extended feature (p61-<br />

79) you might come to the conclusion<br />

that <strong>2019</strong> could be something of a<br />

watershed moment for the tools and processes that power the business<br />

travel industry. Booking tools are increasingly incorporating bots and<br />

artificial intelligence as TMCs bid to deliver greater personalisation and<br />

efficiencies, while the divisive topic of NDC is also gaining traction.<br />

It is interesting that technology also underpins the vast majority of<br />

entrants in this year's Disrupt Awards. I'll have the pleasure of joining the<br />

judging panel when the finalists pitch their businesses to delegates at the<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show on <strong>Feb</strong>ruary 20-21 and I look forward to hearing<br />

more about their various innovations. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> team<br />

will be out in force at the show reporting on the latest announcements<br />

and trends, so come and say hello.<br />

One topic that will undoubtedly reverberate around the halls of Olympia<br />

London is that of Brexit. At the time of writing, it is still not clear how – or<br />

even if – the UK will depart the European Union on <strong>Mar</strong>ch 29. Perhaps the<br />

picture will be clearer by the time our next issue goes to press at the end<br />

of <strong>Mar</strong>ch – or perhaps not!<br />

Finally, it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Colin Ellson who<br />

passed away in January. Colin was a regular contributor to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> and other BMI Publishing titles. A veteran travel journalist,<br />

he was well-loved and respected by his many industry acquaintances.<br />

the<br />

<strong>Business</strong>travel<br />



EDITOR<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />

andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />


Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox,<br />

Rob Gill, Gillian Upton<br />

& Angela Sara West<br />


Benjamin Coren<br />


Steve Hartridge<br />

SALES<br />


David Clare<br />

david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />



Louisa Horton<br />


Ross Clifford & Zoe Tarrant<br />


Clare Hunter<br />


Steve Hunter<br />



Matt Bonner<br />

CEO<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>tin Steady<br />

Andy Hoskins, Editor<br />



SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233<br />







©BMI PUBLISHING LTD <strong>2019</strong><br />







Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments<br />

Inhabit London<br />

will be free of<br />

single-use plastics and has<br />

partnered with a number<br />

of social enterprises”<br />

Inhabit London<br />


New brand Inhabit<br />

Hotels will open its<br />

debut property in<br />

London this summer.<br />

Occupying six<br />

revamped Georgian<br />

townhouses in<br />

Paddington, the<br />

90-room property<br />

mixes classic<br />

Scandinavian and<br />

British design. Inhabit<br />

London will include a<br />

café, plus a pantry<br />

stocked with free<br />

trendy snacks.<br />


One Aldwych<br />


One Aldwych will<br />

reopen in April<br />

after completing a<br />

multimillion pound<br />

refurbishment of its<br />

guest rooms and<br />

public spaces. <strong>The</strong><br />

work includes four<br />

new suites, a<br />

revamped bar, lobby<br />

and dining areas.<br />

Biltmore Hotel<br />


Hilton will launch its new<br />

luxury brand LXR Hotels<br />

& Resorts into Europe<br />

with the opening of the<br />

Biltmore Hotel in<br />

London’s Grosvenor<br />

Square this spring. <strong>The</strong><br />

property will have 257<br />

rooms and 51 suites,<br />

fitness studio, alfresco<br />

terrace and cocktail bar.<br />

Hotel Indigo Manchester<br />


Hotel Indigo Manchester<br />

Victoria Station has<br />

opened its doors to<br />

guests, marking the<br />

brand’s debut in one of<br />

the UK’s largest cities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> boutique hotel, with<br />

187 rooms, takes its<br />

design cues from the<br />

city's industrial past and<br />

is located in a Grade II<br />

listed building close to<br />

the Northern Quarter.<br />





<strong>Travel</strong>ler wellbeing<br />




TRAVEL – CAN<br />










Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity<br />

“<strong>The</strong> importance of travel wellness is increasingly<br />

becoming recognised by business travellers and<br />

their employers. As a result, ‘conscious travelling’<br />

in mind, body and spirit is here to stay”<br />

Papillon Luck, CEO, 15th Degree<br />

Mel Phaure, Director, Blue Cube <strong>Travel</strong><br />







Andy Hegley, UK General Manager, Corporate <strong>Travel</strong>ler<br />

Some organisations now have<br />

a Chief Happiness Officer – an<br />

enviable title reflective of the growing<br />

emphasis on<br />

staff wellness,<br />

morale and<br />

retention”<br />

Sam Cande, UK Country<br />

Manager, <strong>Travel</strong>doo<br />




Carolyn Pearson,<br />

Founder and CEO<br />

of Maiden Voyage<br />


“Wellness is becoming increasingly important to our<br />

customers and <strong>The</strong> Sanctuary by Pure Yoga in our Pier<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Class lounge is the perfect place to relax before<br />

a flight. We listen to the needs of our<br />

customers and continuously evolve to<br />

improve their experience with us”<br />

Vivian Lo, General Manager Customer Experience, Cathay Pacific<br />




BY TRAIN<br />

IN JUST<br />

4HRS 19MINS<br />

Planes are<br />

fast, airports<br />

are not.<br />

Get the train from London to Edinburgh in just<br />

4 hours and 19 minutes, and get a load of work done too.<br />

LNER.co.uk/<strong>Business</strong><br />

Most common journey time between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley Monday to Friday.



Six of the best...<br />

First class rail lounges<br />

1<br />

Eurostar<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Premier customers and<br />

Eurostar carte blanche holders<br />

can access Eurostar’s luxury<br />

lounges. <strong>The</strong>re are locations in<br />

London, Paris, Brussels and<br />

Ebbsfleet. Visitors can benefit<br />

from free wifi, a digital library,<br />

food, drinks and a range of<br />

magazines and newspapers.<br />

2<br />

3<br />

Virgin Trains<br />

First class passengers can access<br />

Virgin’s lounges up to two hours<br />

prior to travel and an hour after<br />

arrival. <strong>The</strong> operator has lounges<br />

across its network. Most have<br />

wifi, TVs and workspaces, plus<br />

free food and soft/hot drinks.<br />

LNER<br />

Since the recent takeover, the<br />

line’s first class lounges feature<br />

new relaxation areas, workspaces<br />

and chaise longues. <strong>The</strong>y also<br />

offer free wifi, drinks, snacks and<br />

newspapers. Its lounges are<br />

across the East Coast network.<br />

4<br />

Great Western Railway<br />

GWR operates lounges at London<br />

Paddington and Cardiff Central<br />

stations. Both offer visitors free<br />

wifi and food and drink. <strong>The</strong><br />

Paddington site is currently being<br />

remodelled with a new look and<br />

feel. Check in advance for<br />

opening times and entry<br />

requirements.<br />

6<br />

Scotrail<br />

Aberdeen has a lounge managed<br />

by Scotrail which offers showers,<br />

free wifi, snacks and drinks. <strong>The</strong><br />

lounge can be accessed by<br />

passengers carrying first class<br />

tickets for travel that day.<br />

However, First Class Advance<br />

tickets are not accepted.<br />

5<br />

East Midlands Trains<br />

Entry is granted to first class<br />

ticket holders, including First<br />

Advance. Each lounge features<br />

free wifi, refreshments and a<br />

selection of newspapers. Lounges<br />

are located at Derby, Leicester,<br />

Nottingham, Sheffield, St Pancras<br />

and East Midlands Parkway.<br />





How to...<br />

Rejuvenate your travel programme<br />

<strong>The</strong> RSA insurance group changed TMCs<br />

in a bid to improve processes and ease<br />

the procurement department’s workload.<br />

Find out how they went about it<br />


RSA’s incumbent TMC had<br />

been in place for eight years<br />

but the company felt the<br />

service and technology it<br />

supplied was falling short<br />

of expectations. RSA<br />

launched a competitive<br />

tender for its UK, Ireland<br />

and Group Corporate<br />

Centre (GCC) travel<br />

management programme and ultimately<br />

appointed FCM in January 2018. RSA has<br />

around 12,600 employees and operates in<br />

over 100 countries.<br />


RSA wanted to improve its travel<br />

programme in several ways, including<br />

having a greater focus on personal service<br />

and more of a partnership approach with<br />

its TMC. It also wanted to deploy futureproof<br />

technology – including an online<br />

booking too – as well as introducing an<br />

approvals process, automated traveller<br />

tracking and, finally, to lighten the workload<br />

of its stretched procurement department.<br />

“We needed more support from our<br />

TMC in terms of taking<br />

over some of the<br />

business travel tasks<br />

and responsibilities<br />

that had been handled<br />

by procurement,”<br />

says Sarah Morrison,<br />

RSA's Procurement<br />

Category Manager.<br />


RSA was allocated six FCM<br />

consultants to look after its<br />

travel needs, plus a VIP<br />

consultant to work with a<br />

number of its executive<br />

assistants. <strong>The</strong> FCM team<br />

also handles any general queries from<br />

bookers or travellers, considerably<br />

lightening procurement’s workload.<br />

RSA also implemented FCM’s Seeqa<br />

booking tool – for which PAs and EAs were<br />

invited to attend training roadshows –<br />

which incorporated a new approvals<br />

process based on rate caps for hotels and<br />

flights in accordance<br />

with RSA travel policy.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> roadshows<br />

gave travellers<br />

and bookers the<br />

opportunity to flag<br />

up any changes<br />

they felt were<br />

needed within<br />

Seeqa and we were<br />

able to respond quickly<br />

and ask our IT people to<br />

make those changes,”<br />

says Hayley France,<br />

FCM Account Manager.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re are always a few<br />

teething problems when<br />

implementing an OBT,<br />

but despite some initial<br />

challenges, Seeqa is proving<br />

to be a great online tool for<br />

RSA and adoption rates are<br />

excellent,” she adds.<br />

France acted almost as<br />

‘implant’ account manager,<br />

providing greater internal<br />

support and communication,<br />

assuming responsibility for<br />

RSA’s intranet travel pages and overseeing<br />

all internal travel communications. She has<br />

an RSA email address and travels the<br />

country visiting RSA’s offices.<br />

“At the end of the day we are not travel<br />

experts, so having Hayley and the support<br />

of the offline FCM team – who have access<br />

to our systems – made a big difference,”<br />

says RSA’s Sarah Morrison.<br />


By October last year online<br />

adoption had reached 82%<br />

for hotels and 61% for air<br />

while the approvals process<br />

resulted in a more streamlined<br />

and efficient set up.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>ler satisfaction has also risen<br />

following improved service levels and<br />

traveller tracking has been vastly improved<br />

with greater visibility.<br />

“We are very happy with the level of<br />

engagement and service that FCM is<br />

providing,” says RSA’s Sarah Morrison.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y did an excellent job of training<br />

our staff to use the online booking<br />

tool,” she continues, “and the<br />

introduction of FCM’s HUB portal as<br />

our own travel portal means that<br />

everything is integrated in one<br />

place include rail, car hire and<br />

other services.<br />

“We can also make better<br />

business decisions as a<br />

result of the proactive<br />

provision of data and MI<br />

available to us via HUB.”<br />





Climate change<br />

Your part in its slowdown<br />

Are suppliers and corporates playing their<br />

part in arresting the pace of climate<br />

change? Possibly not, says Gary McLeod,<br />

who asks what more we could be doing<br />

Twelve years to halt cataclysmic climate<br />

change: so what are your organisation and<br />

travellers doing about it? Are business travel<br />

suppliers doing enough? And how can we<br />

help them perform better?<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Nations COP24 climate change<br />

conference in Poland agreed to implement<br />

the 2015 Paris climate agreement and has<br />

got China and the USA on-board – who<br />

jointly create 40% of the world’s greenhouse<br />

gases – but the business travel community<br />

has an important role to play in reducing its<br />

own impact on the environment.<br />

It’s easy to say “it’s too big a topic for<br />

me to be able to influence”, but there are<br />

millions of global business travellers who,<br />

if they all did some of the “small stuff”, could<br />

have a huge impact.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UK’s Department for Transport recently<br />

published Aviation 2050 – the future of UK<br />

aviation, which invites comment from all<br />

interested parties on various topics, including<br />

feedback on how to “support growth while<br />

tackling environmental impacts”. Very<br />

laudable, but 2050 is 31 years away and we<br />

only have 12 years to effect a slowdown in<br />

global warming, so what can we do today at<br />

a corporate and individual level?<br />

<strong>The</strong> obvious steps seems to be to use more<br />

efficient public transport when aviation can<br />

be avoided. Train travel is the primary option<br />

in the UK and Europe, but in the UK all we<br />

tend to hear is bad news about high fares,<br />

cancelled services and over-crowded<br />

carriages. Many of the train operators,<br />

however, are investing in new fleet and there<br />

If buyers add more<br />

‘green’ questions into<br />

RFPs we will see operators<br />

become more open about<br />

what they are doing and how<br />

we can help them”<br />

is strong evidence of this across the network.<br />

Check out what your local operator or longdistance<br />

provider is doing, and avoid the UK’s<br />

over-crowded roads by trying the train option.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are of course instances when train<br />

travel is just not practical and cars will reach<br />

the destinations that trains don't – but what<br />

of the availability of electric powered or<br />

hybrid hire cars? Most car rentals tend to<br />

involve relatively short distances, so why are<br />

we not being offered more electric cars or a<br />

range of hybrids by suppliers?<br />

Prices are high and lack of charging<br />

infrastructure are primary concerns among<br />

potential renters but, over the next couple of<br />

years, manufacturers are promising to<br />

deliver sensibly-priced electric cars with<br />

impressive range.<br />

If car hire companies get enough requests –<br />

especially from large corporate users – it will<br />

be fed into their buying operations and may<br />

actually impact their fleet decisions and<br />

depot infrastructure planning.<br />

‘Green’ hotels are a talked about concept,<br />

but you rarely see much evidence of how<br />

they are making themselves more energy<br />

efficient other than the ubiquitous “do you<br />

need to change your towels?” cards.<br />

On a more positive note, it was interesting<br />

to see that a Premier Inn in Edinburgh<br />

recently claimed to have become the first<br />

hotel in the UK to be powered by battery –<br />

albeit a five-tonne lithium ion battery! Its<br />

parent company Whitbread said the trial<br />

would help it meet its goal of halving its<br />

carbon emissions by 2025 and save the hotel<br />

some £20,000 a year in energy bills.<br />

We all know how easy it is to leave the keycard<br />

in, the lights and the television on and<br />

run endless showers, but being mindful of<br />

our behaviour is one easy way we can take<br />

personal responsibility a bit further. If it helps,<br />

act as if you were paying the electricity bill!<br />

And how about the way hotels operate,<br />

often with over-heated hotel corridors and<br />

always-on, inefficient lighting? <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

many things that hotels could do to reduce<br />

power consumption, so let’s start asking the<br />

questions of them about how and when<br />

they’re going to act.<br />

If buyers start putting ‘green’ questions into<br />

travel RFPs we will see operators become<br />

more open about what they are<br />

doing and suggest how we can<br />

help them be more efficient<br />

– maybe even incentivising<br />

travellers to make<br />

greener choices<br />

through better<br />

pricing? Millions<br />

of us, all doing<br />

our bit, can<br />

actually make<br />

a difference.<br />


Gary McLeod i s Managing<br />

Director of <strong>Travel</strong>eads and has<br />

worked in the travel industry<br />

for over 35 years across<br />

a variety of companies<br />

and in operational,<br />

sales and<br />

management<br />

roles.<br />


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Untitled-2 1 28/01/<strong>2019</strong> 09:45

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show <strong>2019</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong>re's no business<br />

like show business<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show celebrates its 25th anniversary this year<br />

and will include a range of new features<br />

<strong>The</strong> p Aar<br />

ren a fh<br />

coci ya<br />

12p, Day 1, Fut Fom<br />

Europe’s largest business travel<br />

exhibition and conference takes place<br />

on <strong>Feb</strong>ruary 20 & 21 and is expected to<br />

welcome more than 9,000 travel<br />

professionals through its doors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> two-day event includes over 80<br />

conference and seminar sessions – for all<br />

levels of experience – and features over 260<br />

global travel brands, from innovative new<br />

start-ups to the world’s<br />

largest airlines, hotel<br />

groups and TMCs.<br />

Dedicated exhibition areas include the<br />

new Meetings Management Pavilion,<br />

International Hotel Village, Airline Pavilion,<br />

the GTMC Pavilion and the ASAP Pavilion,<br />

with the latter showcasing members of the<br />

Association of Service Apartment Providers.<br />

A comprehensive educational programme<br />

features a focus on the future of business<br />

travel management, including sessions<br />

on creating an agile travel platform;<br />

Brexit and the global risk outlook;<br />

introducing bots to your travel<br />

programme; and artificial intelligence,<br />

blockchain and more. <strong>The</strong> 25-year-old<br />

event will also include several new and<br />

returning features under its ‘<strong>Travel</strong><br />

2022’ theme, including WonderLAB,<br />

Future Forum and the Disrupt<br />

Launchpad and Awards.<br />

“A comprehensive<br />

educational programme<br />

features a focus on the<br />

future of business travel<br />

management”<br />




BTS Conference Programme<br />


10:00 - 11:00 Brexit & the global risk outlook<br />

10:00 - 11:00 Introducing bots into your<br />

travel programme<br />

10:00 - 11:00 How to get your business<br />

booking meetings smarter<br />

10:00 - 11:00 Ten quick wins to get you<br />

started in travel management<br />

Buss av<br />

bos a mer<br />

wi dn un<br />

Olpi Lon<br />


10:00 - 11:00 How to improve traveller wellbeing<br />

without harming your travel budget<br />

10:00 - 11:00 Buyers’ revolution – let’s take<br />

back control of our data!<br />

10:00 - 11:00 <strong>The</strong> meetings revolution<br />

10:00 - 11:00 Negotiating the best savings<br />

and value with travel suppliers<br />

Whe?<br />

Wednesday <strong>Feb</strong>ruary 20 &<br />

Thursday <strong>Feb</strong>ruary 21<br />

Whe?<br />

Olympia London<br />

11:30 - 12:30 Predictive analytics – can it<br />

improve your travel programme?<br />

11:30 - 12:30 How to influence my C-suite<br />

and win big – a boardroom exec reveals all<br />

11:30 - 12:30 Managing supplier<br />

consolidation to make sure you win<br />

11:30 - 12:30 <strong>Travel</strong>ler profiling – a new<br />

way to organise your travel programme<br />

11:30 - 12:30 Solving the challenge of<br />

booking non-employee travel<br />

11:30 - 12:30 How to find what you need<br />

when you’re drowning in data<br />

To rte<br />

businesstravelshow.com<br />

13:00 - 14:00 <strong>The</strong> annual hotel<br />

RFP<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Getting<br />

data protection right<br />

13:00 - 14:00<br />

Benchmarking – check<br />

how well you're doing<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Stars of<br />

the East – getting to<br />

grips with travel in China<br />

and India<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Corporate payments<br />

– achieve more savings and efficiencies<br />

14:30 - 15:30 NDC – will travel buyers win?<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Integrating transient travel<br />

& meetings<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Does traveller incentivisation<br />

really lower spend and help your business?<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Inside track – how I manage<br />

our air and hotel programmes<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Choosing a TMC<br />

“Sut o<br />

evne m<br />

to sti<br />

te ces<br />

to m<br />

exen<br />

tal er”<br />

11:30 - 12:30 Online booking<br />

and expense management<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Forecasting<br />

Forum <strong>2019</strong><br />

13:00 - 14:00 Making<br />

hotel and meetings<br />

payments work<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Managing<br />

the mavericks<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Get ready for<br />

One Order<br />

13:00 - 14:00 Safety and security – a<br />

best practice guide for beginners<br />

14:30 - 15:30 How AI, blockchain and bots<br />

will transform travel management<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Re-thinking what success<br />

looks like for a travel manager<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Get what you<br />

want by telling data stories<br />

14:30 - 15:30 Life as a<br />

multinational travel manager<br />

Mor o<br />

@btshowlondon #BTShow<br />

<strong>Business</strong><strong>Travel</strong>Show<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show group<br />

businesstravelshow.blogspot.co.uk<br />

16:00 - 17:00 What are the new skills I need<br />

to win as a travel manager?<br />

16:00 - 17:00 New opportunities to make<br />

the most of your travel policy<br />

16:00 - 17:00 Dangerous liaisons – How to<br />

de-risk your meetings programme<br />

16:00 - 17:00 Using data for improved<br />

savings and control<br />

14:30 - 15:30 <strong>Travel</strong> policy<br />

– your key to balancing<br />

maximum compliance with<br />

traveller experience<br />

16:00 - 16:45 <strong>The</strong> first steps<br />

to managing meetings spend<br />

16:00 - 16:45 How to engage<br />

your travellers<br />


Visit us on<br />

Stand B812<br />

<strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Show<br />

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At Evolvi, we create better outcomes for our customers by<br />

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CEO, TAG<br />


<strong>The</strong> industry stalwart tells Andy Hoskins about his move into business<br />

travel and the future for TAG following private equity investment<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are two new names in the<br />

business travel arena, although<br />

both have impressive pedigrees<br />

in the travel industry.<br />

TAG is the new moniker of <strong>The</strong><br />

Appointment Group, the company that<br />

specialises in travel and events for the music,<br />

entertainment and corporate sectors. And<br />

Steve Barrass is its new CEO, appointed as<br />

part of the investment by Apiary Capital that<br />

is anticipated will “drive transformational<br />

growth”, according to a statement from the<br />

fledgling private equity investors.<br />

Barrass, now six months into his role,<br />

arrived at TAG after some 20 years in leisure<br />

travel that included senior roles at Gold<br />

Medal, Thomas Cook and, most recently,<br />

Emirates-owned dnata <strong>Travel</strong> in Dubai.<br />

“It’s where I got a passion for mergers and<br />

acquisitions,” says Barrass, as he explains<br />

how his latest role came about. “I wanted to<br />

return to the UK in travel but in something<br />

quite specialist and as a CEO.”<br />

He continues, “I hadn’t heard of <strong>The</strong><br />

Appointment Group but the stars seemed to<br />

be lining up. <strong>Travel</strong> is a hobby as well as a<br />

career and I love music too. It is a perfect fit.<br />

Now, with TAG's private equity backing, it is<br />

very much my remit to raise our profile and<br />

deliver sustainable growth.”<br />

Nearly two-thirds of TAG's revenue comes<br />

from clients in the entertainment, film and<br />

media sectors, with corporate and events<br />

business accounting for the remainder.<br />

So how does Barrass describe the<br />

company's position in the market? “We are<br />

a high-quality, premium TMC providing a<br />

global personalised concierge experience<br />

and we are completely flexible,” he says.<br />

<strong>The</strong> organisation handles over 2,000 tours<br />

a year and former clients include Coldplay,<br />

U2, Lady Gaga and myriad other global stars.<br />

“Imagine organising a two-year worldwide<br />

tour for the artist, their band and their crew!<br />

TV and film is no less challenging. It's a hugely<br />

complex process getting crews through<br />

customs and on planes with all their kit and<br />

then getting them on location,” says Barrass.<br />

He continues: “We can do point-to-point<br />

travel too but we're better at serving<br />

demanding clients, including the likes of<br />

C-suite executives, hedge funds, high net<br />

worth individuals and bankers.”<br />

Barrass is based in TAG's new Manchester<br />

office – where there is plenty of room for<br />

expansion – and travels regularly between its<br />

nine global offices. “We have 300 staff now<br />

and John [Gianquitto, Co-founder and now<br />

As a TMC you<br />

have to be big or be<br />

specialist. <strong>The</strong> middle ground<br />

is tough right now. All the old<br />

drivers of profitability are<br />

being squeezed”<br />

President] and Maurice [Veronique,<br />

Co-founder, who has stepped down from the<br />

board] have built almost a family alliance.<br />

“This is a very successful entrepreneurial<br />

business with great people. Apiary want to<br />

build on that and take it to the next level but<br />

without 'corporatising' it.”<br />

He continues: “Private equity will look to,<br />

say, double the business over a period of<br />

time. What I’m doing is building the plan to<br />

achieve that. It will come from organic<br />

growth – which is already double digit across<br />

all our verticals across the globe. We may<br />

open up in other territories – Asia is an<br />

economic hotbed – and we are also looking<br />

at a couple of new business sectors.”<br />

Back in the UK, Barrass, like others, believes<br />

the TMC market is ripe for M&As. “We've seen<br />

plenty of it and we’d love to make two or three<br />

acquisitions of our own over the next five<br />

years. <strong>The</strong>re are new opportunities in Asia<br />

and the United States, with its huge music<br />

industry, is a natural target, but the real<br />

consolidation options are here in the UK.”<br />

He continues: “In my opinion, you have to<br />

be big or be specialist – the middle ground is<br />

tough right now. All the old drivers of<br />

profitability are being squeezed, there’s all<br />

the regulatory issues, and then there’s the<br />

technology and infrastructure that's required.<br />

It’s easy to be left behind. Technology is<br />

important to us, but we’re a people-driven,<br />

customer-centric business and that's where<br />

our future lies.”<br />



in brief...<br />

How did you enjoy your<br />

time in Dubai with dnata?<br />

"I had an absolute ball<br />

looking after multiple<br />

businesses out there. It was<br />

an incredible place to be.<br />

I’d been almost blinkered<br />

by my background in UK<br />

outbound travel so it was a<br />

new experience. It has a<br />

completely visionary<br />

approach to business and<br />

is growing so quickly. <strong>The</strong><br />

culture is ‘anything is<br />

possible’. <strong>The</strong>y’ve built one<br />

of the biggest and best<br />

airlines in the world in just<br />

30 years! It wasn’t quite an<br />

epiphany but it certainly<br />

opened my eyes to the art<br />

of the possible."<br />

Any other favourite<br />

destinations?<br />

"For all the long-haul<br />

destinations I’ve been to<br />

– and I started out in the<br />

Merchant Navy so it's a lot<br />

– my favourite destinations<br />

are actually closer to home.<br />

I love spending time in<br />

Austria in both summer<br />

and in winter, and also the<br />

Algarve. I’m a big family man<br />

and I’d love my kids to go<br />

into the travel industry too."<br />


Steve Barrass joined TAG from dnata <strong>Travel</strong>, where he<br />

was Senior Vice President responsible for multiple<br />

businesses throughout the Middle East and South East<br />

Asia. He previously held a number of senior positions<br />

across the leisure sector including roles at Thomas<br />

Cook, Avis, Airtours and as CEO of the Gold Medal<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Group where he led the successful sale of the<br />

business to the Emirates Group in 2014. He started his<br />

career as an officer in the Merchant Navy where he<br />

developed his now lifelong love for travel.<br />

NDC - love it or loathe it?<br />

"I understand why the<br />

airlines are doing it and,<br />

with British Airways as our<br />

number one airline, we are<br />

having some high level<br />

conversations because we<br />

have so much premium<br />

travel. We’re also working<br />

closely with <strong>Travel</strong>port and<br />

are part of their pilot NDC<br />

programme."<br />



the big picture<br />

Konnichiwa!<br />

OSAKA<br />

British Airways will<br />

commence non-stop<br />

flights between London<br />

Heathrow and Osaka,<br />

Japan, on <strong>Mar</strong>ch 31<br />

when its new fourtimes-weekly<br />

service<br />

commences. Flights will<br />

operate to/from Kansai<br />

International Airport.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2019</strong> Rugby World<br />

Cup takes place in Japan<br />

this autumn while capital<br />

city Tokyo will host the<br />

2020 Olympic Games.<br />

BA last operated flights<br />

to Osaka in 1998.<br />


AWARDS<br />

meet the winner<br />

Paul Coghill<br />

CTM’s Paul Coghill was named Reservations Consultant of the Year<br />

at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People Awards 2018<br />

How did it feel to be<br />

named Reservations<br />

Consultant of the Year?<br />

It was a massive shock.<br />

I didn’t expect to be<br />

shortlisted, never mind<br />

win. When they said my<br />

name, my first thought was ‘Oh God, I’m<br />

going to have to get up on stage in front of<br />

everyone!’ I’m not one for attention. I never<br />

blow my own trumpet or big myself up. So,<br />

it was a massive surprise, but I was delighted.<br />

Why did you decide to enter the awards<br />

or how did you come to be nominated?<br />

CTM UK’s General Manager Julie Cope<br />

nominated me, which was really lovely of<br />

her and obviously it was worth doing!<br />

Tell us about your role and the work<br />

you’ve done that clinched the award?<br />

I’ve been with CTM for nearly 19 years, back<br />

when we had to print tickets and I would<br />

hand deliver them to our City clients. I’d<br />

previously worked in travel at Lunn Poly<br />

and with Gemini <strong>Travel</strong>, where I moved over<br />

from leisure to business. I work on lots of<br />

different accounts with CTM and some of<br />

my clients have been with me for<br />

over a decade – Sir Tim Rice,<br />

for example. He and his<br />

family are a joy to work<br />

with. Having worked on<br />

the same team for<br />

some 18 years, I<br />

naturally know my<br />

clients really well.<br />

We have solid<br />

relationships and a<br />

great rapport. My whole<br />

ethos is to always provide<br />

them with the best possible<br />

service at all times. I give every<br />

booking the greatest attention to<br />

detail to ensure everything runs as<br />

smoothly as possible for my clients which<br />

reflects well on me and on the business.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong><br />

People Awards recognise<br />

outstanding individuals and<br />

teams across all aspects of<br />

the supplier element<br />

of corporate travel.<br />

Nominations for the <strong>2019</strong><br />

awards are now open!<br />

What do you particularly enjoy about<br />

your role?<br />

I love stepping in to help people when<br />

they have problems and finding the best<br />

solution. And I love building those<br />

relationships with travellers and bookers.<br />

What do you think of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> People Awards, and of the<br />

winners event?<br />

It’s really important to look<br />

beyond the business and<br />

profit and loss sheets in<br />

any industry, and to<br />

recognise the people<br />

who make things<br />

happen and who go<br />

above and beyond,<br />

and that’s what the<br />

People Awards does so<br />

well. I really enjoyed the<br />

awards ceremony – it was<br />

a great event, and a lovely<br />

opportunity to meet up with<br />

people as I work from home. I would<br />

have loved to join everyone on the winners’<br />

trip to New York, which sounded fantastic,<br />

but sadly I wasn’t able to.<br />

What impact do you think winning an<br />

award will have on your career?<br />

For younger winners, I can see how winning<br />

this award could have a massive impact on<br />

their career ambitions and trajectory. For<br />

me, I’ve been in the industry for nearly 30<br />

years so that was never the goal behind<br />

entering. However, I have changed roles at<br />

CTM since winning, moving from the<br />

reservations team to the Elite/VIP team and<br />

I’m really enjoying building relationships<br />

with a new group of clients.<br />

What do you think are the travel<br />

industry’s biggest challenges right now?<br />

<strong>The</strong> continuous transition from offline to<br />

online bookings, plus NDC and finding a way<br />

to manage this within a TMC.<br />

It’s really important<br />

to look beyond the<br />

business and the profit and<br />

loss sheets in any industry,<br />

and to recognise the people<br />

who make things happen”<br />



AWARDS<br />



<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People Awards are<br />

your chance to pay tribute to those in<br />

the business travel industry whose<br />

professionalism and excellence help them<br />

really stand out from their peers. <strong>The</strong><br />

winners of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People<br />

Awards are individuals and teams who<br />

are judged to be outstanding performers<br />

in their field, with an emphasis on<br />

recognising winners that are leading the<br />

business travel sector into the future.<br />

Nominations close on <strong>Mar</strong>ch 4th<br />

If you’d like to enter <strong>The</strong> <strong>2019</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> People Awards or want to nominate<br />

someone you know or work with, visit<br />

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.co.uk and<br />

complete your nomination by <strong>Mar</strong>ch 4th.<br />


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People Awards<br />

will be presented at a celebratory<br />

lunch on Friday May 24th at the<br />

Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2019</strong> People Awards are now open for<br />

nominations in the following categories:<br />



• Reservations Consultant of the Year<br />

• Reservations Team of the Year<br />

• Operations Manager of the Year<br />

• Operations Team of the Year<br />

• Account Manager of the Year<br />

• Account Management Team of the Year<br />

• Sales/<strong>Business</strong> Development Manager<br />

of the Year<br />

• Sales/<strong>Business</strong> Development Team<br />

of the Year<br />


(airlines, accommodation, ground<br />

transportation, online booking tools,<br />

GDS, data management services)<br />

• Account Manager of the Year<br />

• Account Management Team of the Year<br />

• Sales/<strong>Business</strong> Development Manager<br />

of the Year<br />

• Sales/<strong>Business</strong> Development Team<br />

of the Year<br />

MICE<br />

• Meetings & Events Manager of<br />

the year<br />

• Meetings & Events Team of the year<br />


• Rising Star Award<br />

• Best Newcomer<br />



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For full terms and conditions visit GWR.com


[ TRAVEL ON THE GO ]<br />


<strong>The</strong> demand for mobile-friendly services shows no signs of abating,<br />

writes Linda Fox, who examines travellers’ biggest priorities<br />

Amobile experience that captures<br />

day-to-day tasks such as emails<br />

is now a given but travellers still<br />

yearn for something that allows for<br />

much more in a consolidated way.<br />

Research from <strong>Travel</strong>port released late<br />

last year shows that business travellers<br />

also want elements and functionality such<br />

as voice search, e-payments and digital<br />

room keys to help simplify their trips.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 2018 Global Digital <strong>Travel</strong>er<br />

Survey of 16,000 travellers from 25<br />

countries reveals that more than half<br />

of participants have now booked and<br />

paid for part, or all of, a business trip<br />

via smartphone.<br />

While the focus of the study was<br />

leisure travellers, as the lines continue<br />

to blur the findings will continue to put<br />

pressure on the corporate travel space,<br />

with travellers looking for the same userfriendly<br />

experience, if not better.<br />

Mobile applications are now a firm<br />

feature when it comes to making life easier<br />

on the go with maps, airlines, weather and<br />

social media among the preferred apps<br />

that travellers reach for.<br />

Demonstrating the point, the research<br />

says nine out of ten travellers have apps<br />

on their phones that are specifically used<br />

in-destination.<br />

What’s interesting here from a business<br />

travel perspective is developments to bring<br />

in far more contextual services to<br />

travellers’ mobile devices. Event-based<br />

Leisure travellers want<br />

searching and booking<br />

functionality but corporates<br />

prioritise having an entire trip<br />

itinerary in one place and<br />

real-time flight alerts”<br />

messaging is one good example which<br />

some TMCs and their partners have<br />

developed in line with the consumerisation<br />

trend in corporate travel, as well as the<br />

desire from corporate customers to have<br />

access to timely information.<br />

While leisure travellers put the ability to<br />

search and book flights as the most<br />

important feature in apps, for corporate<br />

travellers it was having the entire trip<br />

itinerary in one place and access to realtime<br />

flight alerts, which come out second<br />

and third in the study.<br />

Other technologies such as voice control<br />

and newer payment methods are also<br />

gaining momentum. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>port<br />

research shows that half of travellers use<br />

voice to search during booking or while<br />

travelling, up from 3% a year ago.<br />

It adds that in China and Turkey, more<br />

than 70% of travellers are already using<br />

voice search functionality.<br />

<strong>The</strong> finding comes as no surprise with<br />

voice being the most natural way we<br />

communicate, across all generations. In<br />

corporate travel, it has already been<br />

accepted as perhaps the most efficient way<br />

for carrying out tasks while on the go.<br />

Further efficiency will also be driven in<br />

new and more seamless payment<br />

methods. It’s often the business traveller<br />

who will have Apple Pay on his or her<br />

mobile device, for example, and<br />

acceptance of such methods is growing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> research shows that 55% of<br />

business travel respondents see the<br />

ability to pay via mobile phone as<br />

important or very important, compared<br />

to 47% of leisure travellers.<br />

In addition, it’s business travellers<br />

that are driving innovation such as<br />

hotel check-in and room lighting and<br />

temperature control via an app, and<br />

50% say they also want to use a digital<br />

room key on their phone to unlock a<br />

hotel room – a feature that is gaining<br />

traction and will surely become the norm.<br />

It’s fair to say that leisure and corporate<br />

travellers are not that different when it<br />

comes to technology for travel. After all,<br />

we all want access to convenient services<br />

that make travel a more seamless and<br />

efficient process so that the actual trip can<br />

be the best it can be.<br />




Blue Cube <strong>Travel</strong> has invested in extensive cyber security<br />

measures to ensure clients’ data is safe<br />

Over four in ten SME businesses<br />

(43%) and seven out of ten (72%)<br />

large companies in the UK<br />

experienced online data attacks last year<br />

according to a 2018 governmental Cyber<br />

Security Breaches Survey.<br />

<strong>The</strong> travel sector has also seen its fair share<br />

of high-profile data breaches involving the<br />

hacking of customer credit card information,<br />

passport details and personal information.<br />

Cyber-attacks not only cost money and<br />

threaten the loss of existing customers, they<br />

also cause brand and reputational damage.<br />

As a leading independent travel management<br />

company with a large and varied client<br />

base, Blue Cube <strong>Travel</strong> handles significant<br />

amounts of sensitive data on behalf of its<br />

clients. Robust cyber security systems and<br />

processes to protect that data are critical to<br />

the continued success of Blue Cube’s business.<br />

That is why the TMC has invested in working<br />

with leading cyber security consultancy CNS<br />

for the last two years. CNS implemented<br />

Aegis, a benchmarking tool that measures<br />

and scores the TMC’s cyber security maturity<br />

against standards such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001<br />

and Cyber Essentials Plus.<br />

“CNS and Aegis enabled us to identify any<br />

potential risks and prioritise areas we needed<br />

to focus on bolstering our cyber security,”<br />

says Kevin Trill, Blue Cube’s Director of<br />

Technology and Transformation. “We now<br />

have a multi-layered approach in place to<br />

deal with the vast array of existing and<br />

future cyber threats. For example,<br />

our new online booking tool,<br />

launched last year, is fully PCI<br />

DSS compliant.”<br />

Blue Cube has also enhanced<br />

safety for sending and<br />

receiving sensitive data via<br />

email by implementing message<br />

encryption and the internet email<br />

standard DMARC (Domain-based<br />

Message Authentication, Reporting &<br />

Conformances). This means Blue Cube staff<br />

can encrypt emails sent to clients if required.<br />

“Our customers need to be confident that<br />

emails they receive from us are genuine and<br />

cannot be tampered with,” explains Kevin<br />

Trill. “<strong>The</strong>se enhancements ensure identification<br />

of fraudulent emails, and when<br />

needed, secure message encryption to<br />

protect sensitive information.”<br />

Mel Phaure, Director and<br />

Co-founder of Blue Cube adds:<br />

“We have built up a very successful<br />

business over the last 15 years with a<br />

reputation for providing exceptional personal<br />

service. To suffer a cyber breach would be<br />

hugely detrimental. We believe Blue Cube<br />

has gone further than any other similar-sized<br />

TMC in ensuring clients’ data is safe. Meeting<br />

and surpassing not only what clients require,<br />

but also what GDPR regulations require, is<br />

essential to our continued growth.” •<br />

bluecubetravel.co.uk | sales@bluecubetravel.co.uk | 0208 948 8188


pitch<br />


Airlines are enhancing their business class products<br />

as corporate use of the premium cabin continues<br />

to grow, writes Gillian Upton<br />

Take a look at any major long-haul<br />

carrier’s business class capacity<br />

between 2017 and 2018 and almost<br />

all of them have increased capacity from<br />

the UK to each country market overseas.<br />

It’s a bullish market and demand for this<br />

premium cabin has not abated.<br />

<strong>The</strong> likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways,<br />

Singapore Airlines, JAL, Emirates and Air<br />

China have all piled on the extra seats, the<br />

latter soaked up by the introduction of a<br />

third daily flight between London Heathrow<br />

and Beijing. And those extra business class<br />

seats equate to healthier profits.<br />

“That’s where the highest yield is for<br />

airlines,” says John Grant, Senior Analyst<br />

at aviation intelligence specialist OAG.<br />

“<strong>Business</strong> class revenue can make up to<br />

40% or 50% of their profits.”<br />

That is as long as the seats are full, which<br />

they seem to be right now. An Egencia<br />

study on global flight demand highlights<br />

total business travel flight bookings<br />

increased globally by almost 110% between<br />

January 2014 and December 2018, with<br />

New York, London, Paris and Singapore the<br />

four stand-out destinations.<br />

Richard Jewsbury, Divisional Vice President<br />

UK at Emirates, is particularly bullish. “We<br />

are optimistic that our business class will<br />

continue to be in strong demand among UK<br />

passengers in <strong>2019</strong>. With the A380 being<br />

deployed on to the Glasgow route from<br />

April-October <strong>2019</strong>, more UK passengers<br />

will be able to enjoy the unique A380<br />

premium offering this year. Our recent<br />

launches into Stansted and Edinburgh also<br />

put us in good stead to meet business class<br />

demand,” says Jewsbury.<br />

Bob Schumacher, Managing Director UK &<br />

Ireland at United Airlines, paints a similarly<br />

positive image. “Corporate traffic was<br />

exceptionally strong last year. Some 70%<br />

is US-sold on the back of a strong US<br />

economy and that underpins our<br />

investment in new fleet,” he explains.<br />

For example, the 787-10 series has just<br />

joined the United fleet, the largest and<br />

longest of the 787 family of aircraft, which<br />

will bring new capacity to certain markets<br />

such as Dublin from May this year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fleet street<br />

And there’s the rub. New fleet has triggered<br />

a whole host of innovations in the business<br />

class cabin and, arguably, it’s never been<br />

better. Lie-flat beds are now the norm, so<br />

too direct aisle access and forward-facing<br />

seats. Today, the gold standard is suites<br />

which is all about the level of privacy, be <br />




New aircraft have<br />

triggered a whole host<br />

of innovations in the business<br />

class cabin and, arguably, it’s<br />

never been better”<br />



celebrating 5 years of<br />

bringing people together<br />

Over the last five years, our transatlantic partnership has gone far.<br />

We’ve introduced WiFi on all our flights and fully flat bed seats in our Virgin Atlantic<br />

Upper Class and Delta One® cabins. We’ve set up mutually rewarding loyalty<br />

programmes and we’re co-located at key international airports. Not to mention,<br />

we offer award-winning lounges and Clubhouses on both sides of the Atlantic.<br />

Here’s to many more amazing years together.


Companies really<br />

recognise the value of<br />

business class travel and that<br />

it will get their travellers to<br />

their destination in the best<br />

possible condition”<br />

it with a cocoon-like moulded seat unit,<br />

sliding doors, a moveable privacy screen or<br />

an all-singing, all-dancing suite. On the<br />

ground is restaurant-quality food service in<br />

departure lounges, dedicated check-in<br />

counters, spa-like facilities and, in some<br />

cases, chauffeur transfers.<br />

United Airlines, for example, is opening<br />

new departure lounges exclusively for their<br />

Polaris business class passengers. Its fifth<br />

has recently opened in Los Angeles and<br />

during <strong>2019</strong> it is hoped that Heathrow T2<br />

will be upgraded to a Polaris Lounge.<br />

Moreover, airlines are paying as much<br />

attention to the soft facilities – the quality<br />

of the duvets, amenity kits, food and<br />



entertainment. Singapore Airlines has fitted<br />

a bigger bi-fold table and ambient lighting,<br />

for example, while American Airlines has<br />

partnered with celebrity chefs and a Master<br />

of Wine to offer local cuisine and wines on<br />

different routes.<br />

“Companies really recognise the value of<br />

business class travel and that it will get<br />

their travellers to their destination in the<br />

best possible condition,” says Jo Lloyd,<br />

partner of consultancy Nina & Pinta.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a caveat, however, as there is a<br />

difference between what a traveller wants<br />

and what their employer wants from<br />

business class. “Key for the business is the<br />

right network, speed of getting there, direct<br />

aisle access and a lie-flat bed,” she says.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> suite products are priced differently<br />

and I haven’t seen much uptake by<br />

corporates; they place no additional value<br />

on suites. All they want is to ensure that<br />

the product is fit for purpose.”<br />

Delta Air Lines’ Country Manager UK &<br />

Ireland, Nadia Clinton, says that privacy and<br />

conferencing are the two priorities for the<br />

business traveller. Delta introduced its<br />

Delta One Suites – with sliding doors – in<br />

2017 across its fleet of A350s and is<br />

currently refitting all its B777s with suites,<br />

which will be completed by end <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> plan is to go across the entire fleet.<br />

Suites are a new concept plus we really<br />

focus on giving corporates what they want<br />

in the palm of their hands via our app<br />

which allows travellers to arrange a cabin<br />

upgrade or to change their fight. Time is<br />

precious to them so we focus on our<br />

on-time performance.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline holds regular Corporate<br />

Advisory Boards to elicit feedback from<br />

travellers and to ensure they deliver on<br />

customer requirements. <strong>Travel</strong>ler wellbeing<br />

is one issue that’s come to the fore and<br />

Delta has been trying to improve the<br />

on-board experience in its Delta One cabin<br />

– its international business class cabin –<br />

with additions such as a new duvet, pillows,<br />

amenity kits and larger IFE screens.<br />

“Wellbeing could also mean changing the<br />

flight schedule or biometric terminals to<br />

enhance the boarding process and being<br />

able to get to your seat quicker – something<br />

we did at Atlanta airport in 2018. That has<br />

shaved nine minutes off the boarding time,”<br />

Clinton explains.<br />

Overdue upgrades<br />

All eyes are on British Airways this summer<br />

when it is due to unveils its new larger<br />

business class seat on the A350 when it<br />

enters the schedule in July. We already<br />

know that it will offer direct aisle access<br />

from all seats – a shortcoming of its current<br />

product – as well as a restaurant-style<br />

dining experience offering freshly prepared<br />

starters and desserts served from a<br />

<br />






<br />

trolley, and more comfortable bedding<br />

from <strong>The</strong> White Company.<br />

<strong>The</strong> overhaul is part of BA's wider £6.5bn<br />

investment for customers in the air and on<br />

the ground and will help it compete with<br />

the likes of Delta and Qatar Airways. <strong>The</strong><br />

latter has the Qsuite Quad which comprises<br />

pairs of aft and forward-facing seats which<br />

can be configured so that four passengers<br />

can work or dine together.<br />

As with other airlines, British Airways is<br />

also paying attention to its soft facilities.<br />

”We completed our roll-out of <strong>The</strong> White<br />

Company bedding in Club World and we<br />

are installing our industry-leading<br />

streaming wifi on long-haul aircraft, while<br />

all short-haul aircraft will be fitted with the<br />

system by next summer,” says Carolina<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>tinoli, the airline's Director of Brand<br />

and Customer Experience.<br />

“In terms of food, we’re proud to be<br />

extending our partnership with Do&Co, a<br />

premier provider of fine dining in the skies,<br />

for all flights departing from Heathrow.<br />

“We’ve also launched a multimillion-pound<br />

investment in our World <strong>Travel</strong>ler catering,<br />

improved dining in Club World, and<br />

revamped our Club Europe offer with new<br />

<strong>Business</strong> class<br />

thresholds are static,<br />

with most corporates keeping<br />

them at flights of over six to<br />

eight hours – travellers can<br />

then upgrade to business and<br />

languish in greater comfort”<br />

menus and improved recipes. Feedback<br />

from these changes has been extremely<br />

positive,” says <strong>Mar</strong>tinoli.<br />

“Looking to the ground, we’ve enhanced<br />

our connections service, doubling the<br />

number of cars offering premium customers<br />

on tight connections a chauffeur-driven<br />

ride to their next flight. Connections<br />

managers now fast-track customers<br />

through to their next flight or re-book them<br />

onto another flight and organise a hotel if<br />

needed, all while they’re still in the air.”<br />

Back in the air, not all airlines have gone<br />

the suite route. Singapore Airlines, for<br />

example, long synonymous with high-end<br />

service, has created a fibreglass shell which<br />

the airline claims provides the same level of<br />

privacy as a door or screen but minus the<br />

claustrophobia.<br />

American Airlines has also turned its back<br />

on the suite, preferring to offer a lie-flat<br />

bed, direct aisle access and fast wifi. Japan<br />

Airlines and South African Airways have<br />

taken a similar view.<br />

Paying the price<br />

All this innovation does comes at a cost and<br />

corporates have the challenge of writing a<br />

travel policy that balances cost against<br />

traveller wellbeing and risk. It’s why some<br />

opt for business class only on overnight<br />

flights and save the money by downtrading<br />

on the daylight leg.<br />

“Mixing classes is popular,” says Vanessa<br />

Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct. “If the traveller is<br />

not going straight into a meeting on arrival<br />

then it’s premium economy on the day<br />

flight,” she says.<br />

<strong>Business</strong> class thresholds are static, with<br />

most corporates keeping them at flights of<br />

over six to eight hours when travellers can<br />

then upgrade to business and languish in<br />

greater comfort. <strong>Business</strong> trips to the Far<br />

East and the West coast of America, for<br />

example, are exclusively in the premium<br />

cabin. A six-hour threshold will secure<br />

business class to New York.<br />

Some say short-haul business class has a<br />

limited future but it still thrives in the US<br />

domestic market. “I don’t think it will die a<br />

death,” says United’s Bob Schumacher.<br />

British Airways is the only UK airline<br />

offering short-haul business class and<br />

remains positive about its future. “Such is<br />

its popularity that in 2017 we introduced<br />

the service on our domestic flights, with<br />

nearly 70,000 customers choosing the<br />

premium service in the first six weeks of its<br />

operation,” says BA's Carolina <strong>Mar</strong>tinoli.<br />

“We continue to invest in the cabin and <br />



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Untitled-7 1 31/01/<strong>2019</strong> 09:53


That some companies<br />

can afford to buy<br />

short-haul business class<br />

travel is surprising, but<br />

keeping an eye on cost is<br />

also driven by advance<br />

booking behaviour”<br />

this year revamped Club Europe with<br />

new menus and improved recipes.”<br />

That some companies can afford to buy<br />

short-haul business class is surprising but<br />

keeping an eye on cost is also driven by<br />

advance booking. Booking at least 14 days<br />

in advance helps the bottom line, slashing<br />

two thirds off some flight prices (see panel),<br />

although some corporates are becoming<br />

exasperated by the increasingly long list of<br />

exemptions travellers hide behind.<br />

Carol Neil, Global <strong>Travel</strong> Manager at<br />

Fidelity International, has a long list of<br />

exemptions. “It creates major problems,”<br />

she says. ”We’re looking at our policy and<br />

reviewing it. We have 64% of travellers<br />

flying business class. It will cost us to<br />

change the business class policy so we’ll<br />

need to balance that with wellbeing.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> other attempt at cost-cutting is by<br />

the annual rounds of airline negotiations.<br />

Traditional route deals are more prevalent<br />

from non-domestic carriers who will<br />

discount based on volume and the client<br />

being able to shift market share. Our<br />

national carriers drive a harder bargain,<br />

preferring to discount across the network,<br />

regardless of where the corporates’<br />

volumes lie.<br />

Partnership approach<br />

Jo Lloyd has seen a shift to more corporates<br />

getting fully behind their air programmes<br />

and preferred carriers so they can focus<br />

more on cost efficiency rather than just<br />

cost alone.<br />

“That way they get real benefits from<br />

those relationships, but that does require<br />

compliance,” she explains. “In previous<br />


BA - £2057.42<br />

VS - £2057.42<br />

UA - £2610.42<br />

years buying air travel was around leverage<br />

but now it’s around making the air<br />

programme effective.”<br />

In tandem, Lloyd is seeing a far more<br />

collaborative approach from airlines.<br />

“Depending on the carrier, there is a lot<br />

more flexibility in how they’re willing to<br />

price a programme; that’s really a positive<br />

change. Before, airlines were more rigid<br />

and attached to a specific route say,<br />

London-New York, but now they’re trying to<br />

reach a blend of getting the value on their<br />

high volume routes but also the rest of<br />

their business, with more flexibility around<br />

terms and conditions.”<br />

Delta’s Clinton says the airline is in a good<br />

position in this regard because of its <br />

Booking flights as far in advance as possible can save thousands of pounds, especially for<br />

business class fares, as these examples supplied by <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct illustrate<br />

Flights booked more<br />

than 14 days before<br />

departure<br />

Flights booked<br />

7 days before<br />

departure<br />

New York Hong Kong Johannesburg<br />

VS - £6023.42<br />

UA - £6496.42<br />

BA - £6568.42<br />

AF - £1875.84<br />

VS - £2993.82<br />

BA - £2997.82<br />

CX - £5819.42<br />

VS - £6613.82<br />

BA - £8376.82<br />

SA - £1813.32<br />

VS - £1813.32<br />

BA - £2290.32<br />

VS - £4148.32<br />

SA - £6338.32<br />

BA - £6902.32<br />

Source: <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct<br />


Rosewood Grosvenor Square<br />




joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. “If<br />

there’s enough traffic to validate a route<br />

deal then we sit around a table and offer a<br />

deal and a rate. We sit with our corporates<br />

and work with what suits them. A route deal<br />

is our classic offering,” she explains.<br />

It’s a strategy echoed by United Airlines.<br />

“We’ll give the customer what the customer<br />

wants,” says Bob Schumacher at the US<br />

airline. “We appreciate that in this market<br />

we’re not necessarily the brand leader<br />

but the discounts will vary depending on<br />

whether it’s a soggy Wednesday in winter or<br />

a sunny day in May.”<br />

Who goes where<br />

Just who is filling the business class cabins<br />

is a moot point. Having two separate travel<br />

policies within the same company is<br />

commonplace, with one rule for one part of<br />

the workforce – usually the engineers – and<br />

another for the execs.<br />

“Probably in more than half of our client<br />

base, even around 60-70%, we find this,”<br />

says <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct’s Bailey. “Some<br />

companies have CEOs who set a good<br />

example, but they’re in the minority.”<br />

By industry vertical it tends to be the<br />

traditional companies with strict hierarchies<br />

and executive perks who operate two travel<br />

policies, rather than the more modernthinking<br />

companies such as media and<br />

technology companies who often operate<br />

with a flatter management structure and a<br />

more egalitarian travel policy.<br />

United Airlines is conscious that the<br />

millennials and employees in the new<br />

industries are happy to travel in premium<br />

economy, which is the rationale behind the<br />

airline’s introduction of Premium Plus in<br />

2018, with the cabin's seating featuring five<br />

inches more legroom than economy.<br />

Although there are no statistics to support<br />

the theory, some industry observers believe<br />

that swathes of Ultra High Net Worth<br />

individuals form a chunk of the new breed<br />

of business class travellers.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se wealthy individuals – two-thirds of<br />

whom are said to be self-made – are often<br />

indistinguishable from their business<br />

counterparts and commonly tack on a<br />

leisure portion to their business trip. One in<br />

four do so. But whoever is filling airlines'<br />

business class seats, they are in greater<br />

numbers than ever before.<br />

Modern-thinking<br />

companies such<br />

as media and technology<br />

businesses often operate<br />

with a flatter management<br />

structure and a more<br />

egalitarian travel policy”<br />






<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference <strong>2019</strong><br />

Navigating<br />

the future<br />

Reserve your place at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference<br />

and find out if you qualify as a hosted delegate<br />

Whe?<br />

Tuesday 17th & Wednesday<br />

18th September, <strong>2019</strong><br />

Whe?<br />

London Hilton Bankside<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference is<br />

returning to the Hilton London Bankside<br />

this September, bringing buyers and<br />

suppliers of business travel together for<br />

a two-day exhibition and packed<br />

conference programme.<br />

Now in its 13th year, the <strong>2019</strong><br />

conference could be the first time the<br />

event takes place when the UK is no<br />

longer a part of Europe – or maybe<br />

negotiations will still be ongoing.<br />

"Europe and our<br />

ongoing relationship<br />

with it is likely to<br />

feature highly on<br />

the conference<br />

programme," says<br />

Event Director<br />

Kirsty Hicks.<br />

"It will be key to<br />

ensure that we<br />

provide a forum<br />

for buyers and<br />

“a f fo y<br />

an per <br />

dis hi se”<br />

suppliers to<br />

discuss their<br />

issues and<br />

navigate what could<br />

be a challenging transition period."<br />

Corporate buyers and arrangers are<br />

already signing up for complimentary visitor<br />

passes and will be able to network with<br />

around 60 leading travel suppliers<br />

in the private exhibition.<br />

Our popular ‘silent<br />

conference’<br />

headphones will<br />

enable both visitors<br />

and exhibitors to dip<br />

in and out of the<br />

educational sessions<br />

taking places throughout<br />

the two days and the inspiring opening and<br />

closing keynote sessions, with guest<br />

speakers to be confirmed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> conference programme is compiled<br />

by the editorial team of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong><br />

<strong>Magazine</strong> and will be unveiled in the April/<br />

May issue. It will include several subjects<br />

nominated by readers and TBTC delegates<br />

who have already signed up to attend this<br />

year's event. As a buyer, if you feel your<br />

business has made an interesting<br />

journey with your travel and meetings<br />

programme and you would like to<br />

share your experiences on<br />

“ner t an<br />

60 leg av<br />

sul in pat<br />

exti”<br />

stage, then please<br />

contact Andy<br />

Hoskins, Editor<br />

of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong><br />

<strong>Magazine</strong>, to<br />

discuss speaker<br />

opportunities.<br />

To rte<br />

an fi n u f u<br />

quy o hed c...<br />

thebusinesstravelconference.com<br />

Bok an<br />

kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk<br />

Tel: 07747 697 772<br />


Registration open<br />

<br />

<strong>The</strong> FREE event for<br />

buyers and arrangers<br />

of business travel and<br />

meetings<br />

Hilton London<br />

Bankside, Southwark<br />

For further information about attending as a delegate or exhibitor<br />

contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk<br />


CAR HIRE<br />

new<br />


New technology and new competition have forced car hire<br />

firms to explore new avenues, writes Rob Gill<br />


CAR HIRE<br />

Car hire used to be so simple – a<br />

business traveller would simply<br />

make their way to the rental firm’s<br />

airport desk, sign a few forms and then<br />

receive the key to their vehicle, which<br />

would be waiting in a nearby parking lot.<br />

While this experience still exists across the<br />

world, the car rental sector is becoming a lot<br />

more complex in the range of services now<br />

on offer to the corporate market, with<br />

technology inevitably playing a big role.<br />

Traditional car rental still represents the<br />

bulk of their business but the likes of Avis,<br />

Hertz, Enterprise and Sixt have been quick to<br />

move into other areas of ground transport<br />

including car clubs, chauffeur-drive services<br />

and even car-sharing pools.<br />

We are also seeing them starting to work<br />

with ride-hailing firms by renting part of their<br />

“excess fleet” to ride-hailing operators – for<br />

example, Lyft works with both Hertz and Avis<br />

Budget on its Express Drive programme in<br />

the US for drivers who don’t own a car.<br />

Some rental firms are even moving away<br />

from describing themselves as car hire<br />

companies – Europcar last year renamed itself<br />

as the Europcar Mobility Group to reflect its<br />

role as a “global provider of mobility<br />

solutions”. <strong>The</strong> industry is also full of talk<br />

about offering “mobility as a service” (MaaS).<br />

Sixt, meanwhile, bills itself as the “largest<br />

integrated mobility provider” and offers<br />

traditional car hire, leasing, chauffeur<br />

services, ride-sharing and on-demand<br />

services. And late last year it invested in<br />

Berlin start-up Chargery, a mobile charging<br />

facility for electric cars.<br />

Flexi time<br />

<strong>The</strong>re seems to be growing demand for this<br />

more flexible approach to car hire, according<br />

to Dean Rose, Head of New <strong>Business</strong> and<br />

National Accounts at Nexus Vehicle Rental .<br />

“Clients are moving away from single-source<br />

modes of mobility and incorporating different<br />

forms of transport such as car hire, trains<br />

and ride-hailing apps like Uber to get to<br />

where they need to be,” he says.<br />

“In the UK, the demand for flexibility has<br />

been accelerated by the ongoing economic<br />

uncertainty we face over Brexit. <strong>Business</strong>es<br />

are holding back on decisions to invest in<br />

assets and new vehicles, and many are<br />

turning to car rental as a short and mediumterm<br />

solution to their mobility needs.”<br />

This increased variety and flexibility of car<br />

hire options is also giving buyers the chance<br />

to better address some of their key priorities<br />

– such as cost, duty of care and increasing<br />

the sustainability of their travel programmes.<br />

Sez Beecher, Corporate Land Product<br />

Executive for FCM and Flight Centre <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Group, says: “We are seeing our clients begin<br />

to take advantage of the increase in<br />

Our policy now says<br />

that travellers cannot<br />

pick up a rental car at the<br />

airport if they have been on a<br />

flight of six hours or more”<br />

alternative methods of transport. This is<br />

largely due to the recent focus in the evergrowing<br />

chauffeur transfers sector within the<br />

corporate travel industry as service levels,<br />

technology and integration begin to catch up<br />

with the current car rental offering.<br />

“This coupled with the fact that many client<br />

travel policies are beginning to look deeper<br />

into traveller welfare means that many<br />

corporate clients are considering it safer for<br />

their employees to use transfers over selfdrive<br />

options, particularly after long or<br />

overnight flights,” adds Beecher.<br />

One UK-based buyer agrees: “Our policy<br />

now says that travellers cannot pick up a<br />

rental car at the airport if they have been on<br />

a flight of six hours or more. Instead they<br />

should take a transfer to their hotel and pick<br />

up the vehicle the following day. This process<br />

is now much easier to do as many car hire<br />

firms offer chauffeur-drive and other more<br />

flexible collection options than in the past.”<br />

Integrating these different types of services<br />

is becoming a key part of car hire firms’ <br />





We keep our customers at the heart of everything<br />

we do. That’s why every time we innovate, we aim<br />

to make your experience easier and better. From<br />

our brand-new Avis app that puts you in control of<br />

choosing, picking up and dropping off your car, to<br />

investing in rental tools to make corporate booking<br />

simple and transparent - it’s all with you in mind.<br />

To find out more, visit us on stand<br />

B6200 at the <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show<br />

20 - 21 <strong>Feb</strong>ruary <strong>2019</strong>, Olympia London<br />


0808 284 0284 | AVIS.CO.UK/BUSINESS

CAR HIRE<br />

strategy. Enterprise, for example, has<br />

already co-located its car club within many of<br />

its rental branches around the UK.<br />

David McNeill, Assistant Vice President of<br />

Global Corporate Sales, EMEA, at Enterprise/<br />

National, adds: “Rental still has a vital place in<br />

the ground transport sector, particularly for<br />

organisations that are keen to provide a<br />

viable alternative to the grey fleet and ensure<br />

their employees drive modern, safe and<br />

environmentally-friendly vehicles.<br />

“We work closely with businesses and<br />

analyse journey data to determine how their<br />

employees travel and what can be done to<br />

make it more efficient and sustainable.”<br />

With the advance of technology and the<br />

ability to tap into more 'connected' data<br />

sources, car hire firms will also increasingly<br />

be able to monitor the behaviour and even<br />

the tiredness levels of drivers in the future –<br />

this sort of telematic data from vehicles can<br />

obviously help to improve duty of care for<br />

business travellers.<br />

Sustainable solutions<br />

Making travel programmes more sustainable<br />

and environmentally friendly has been a key<br />

goal of many organisations, with a priority of<br />

reducing their carbon emissions. While most<br />

of the focus of this sustainability drive has<br />

been on air travel, it is also an issue being<br />

tackled within ground transport as a whole.<br />

One of the major ways of doing this in the<br />

UK has been through the introduction of<br />

electric and hybrid cars, which are widely<br />

offered by the rental companies.<br />

“Corporate demand for<br />

sustainable car hire solutions is<br />

Hybrid and electric<br />

vehicles are having a<br />

massive impact in the car hire<br />

world now, which is great,<br />

and they are easily bookable”<br />

being driven by increasing legislative<br />

measures from local and central authorities,<br />

as well as a global understanding for<br />

businesses to be more sustainable,” says<br />

James Turner, Sales Director UK at Avis<br />

Budget Group.<br />

In the UK, its fleet comprises a growing<br />

percentage of hybrid and electric vehicles<br />

and its car-share brand Zipcar has added<br />

over 300 e-Golfs to its London fleet.<br />

“Hybrid and electric vehicles are having a<br />

massive impact in the car hire world now<br />

which is great to see, and they are easily<br />

bookable and comparable to conventional<br />

fuel vehicles in our booking channels,” says<br />

Sez Beecher from FCM.<br />

“When going through the car rental RFP<br />

process we identify the most important<br />

aspect to our customers and many customers<br />

opt for electric or hybrid vehicles in order to<br />

comply with CSR policies as well as lower<br />

costs on fuel and carbon emission taxes.”<br />

Accountancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers<br />

(PWC), for example, provides its employees<br />

with information on choosing the most fuelefficient<br />

and low-carbon cars as well as advice<br />

on driving “efficiently” and car-sharing options.<br />

PWC also uses sustainable vehicles within<br />

its car lease scheme in the UK in a bid to<br />

lower its carbon footprint, while hybrid <br />



CAR HIRE<br />

and electric vehicles are heavily promoted<br />

on its booking platform to ensure that<br />

“environmental issues are front of mind when<br />

our people are choosing a vehicle”.<br />

Tech takes the lead<br />

Technology is also allowing car rental<br />

providers to supply more detailed<br />

management information (MI) to both buyers<br />

and TMCs about their car rental usage and<br />

emissions, with increased automation also<br />

helping to speed up some of the traditional<br />

car hire processes.<br />

A good example is Hertz’s new partnership<br />

with security technology firm CLEAR to create<br />

Hertz Fast Lane. It utliises biometric identification<br />

to speed up the rental process with<br />

travellers able to use just face or fingerprint<br />

recognition at the exit gate to get on the road<br />

more quickly. Hertz says the service, introduced<br />

at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta airport in<br />

December and currently open to U.S. license<br />

holders only, can reduce the time it takes to<br />

pick up a rental vehicle by “at least 75%”.<br />

Innovation is also the name of the game for<br />

Avis, which signed a deal 18 months ago to<br />

manage Waymo’s fleet of self-driving cars. In<br />

another move, Avis has teamed up with<br />

Amazon and Google to allow customers to<br />

use voice technology to make or change their<br />

reservations. <strong>The</strong> company also has a target<br />

of connecting all of its vehicles to the internet<br />

by 2020 to allow increased data analytics.<br />

Co-operation seems to be the name of the<br />

game in the car hire sector. <strong>The</strong> major players<br />

are working with potential competitors (such<br />

as the ride-hailing companies), TMCs and<br />

technology providers. This growing trend<br />

should only benefit buyers looking for a<br />

more joined-up approach to their ground<br />

transport programmes.<br />

“Rental providers are increasingly working<br />

with TMCs to confront some of the challenges<br />

businesses face when moving their<br />

employees between locations,” sums up Dean<br />

Rose from Nexus. “A less siloed approach is<br />

required and companies should be working<br />

collaboratively to meet the needs of the<br />

modern day business traveller.”<br />

Technology is allowing<br />

car rental providers<br />

to supply more detailed<br />

management information to<br />

both buyers and TMCs”<br />

Car hire may no longer be the straightforward<br />

proposition it once was, but<br />

increased flexibility and choice should help<br />

buyers to tackle key priorities such as<br />

improving duty of care and making their<br />

programmes more sustainable.<br />

A case in point<br />

Gloucestershire County Council is one<br />

organisation that has tackled its sustainable<br />

responsibilities head on, cutting its CO2<br />

emissions from vehicles by around two<br />

tonnes per month since setting up a car club.<br />

<strong>The</strong> council introduced the club for staff<br />

through Enterprise Car Club in mid-2018<br />

with a fleet of eight vehicles based at its<br />

Gloucester headquarters – the aim being to<br />

reduce the amount employees use their own<br />

cars (the grey fleet) for business journeys.<br />

So far, more than 450 of the council’s<br />

2,000 employees have signed up to use the<br />

vehicles, which include two Nissan LEAF<br />

electric cars, three Toyota Prius hybrid cars<br />

and three Hyundai i20s. Club members can<br />

book the cars by using a mobile app.<br />

<strong>The</strong> council had already been working with<br />

Enterprise on a long-term programme which<br />

saw it using rental cars as a way of reducing<br />

business mileage and emissions, as well as to<br />

improve air quality in the county.<br />

Will Spendlove, the council’s Commissioning<br />

Officer, says: “<strong>The</strong> on-site car club is not only<br />

helping us to reduce our risk, but it also<br />

encourages our employees to use more<br />

sustainable hybrid and electric vehicles.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>se are most useful for shorter business<br />

trips, which are often the ones where<br />

employees would use their own cars. We also<br />

have flexibility to add or remove vehicles<br />

based on our utilisation.”<br />



Living cheek by jowl with nature<br />

Kate Humble<br />

<strong>The</strong> BBC TV presenter has ventured to some of the world’s most remote and hostile<br />

places to feed her passion for the great outdoors, writes Angela Sara West<br />

Ithink I was born with the travel bug,”<br />

says Kate Humble. “I was given a<br />

wheelbarrow for my third birthday and<br />

was found a mile away from home with it. I<br />

told mum we were having an adventure!”<br />

At just 19, an intrepid Humble travelled<br />

alone around Africa. “It was a seminal<br />

journey; my first time travelling solo and out<br />

of Europe. I learnt more in that year than I<br />

would ever have at university.” Her African<br />

adventure saw some scary arachnid action.<br />

“On my first trip, I came home with a sore<br />

toe which swelled up. A spider had laid eggs<br />

in it, which were on the point of hatching!”<br />

She went on to experience numerous<br />

small-screen expeditions, both in Blighty and<br />

abroad, as a presenter on BBC shows such<br />

as Holiday, Tomorrow’s World and Springwatch.<br />

“Some of my most memorable filming<br />

experiences abroad were in Siberia in the<br />

depths of winter for Living with Nomads.<br />

Some days, it was -50C, the coldest I’ve ever<br />

been. I have also filmed a very rarely seen<br />

sixgill shark from a submarine in the Cayman<br />

Islands, which is right up there with my most<br />

exciting wildlife encounters.”<br />

Numerous places stand out. “I love the<br />

Gobi desert in Mongolia because of the<br />

family I lived with there, and the bamboo<br />

forest of Kahuzi Biega National Park in the<br />

DRC, where I sat with a troop of 19 eastern<br />

lowland gorillas. I love the reefs around West<br />

Papua and Papua New Guinea. And I love<br />

Wales – it is beautiful and it is home.”<br />

Living on a working farm, Humble’s passion<br />

for animals and the big outdoors hugely<br />

influences her travel choices. “Seeing wildlife<br />

or being able to head out into the wilderness<br />

are very much my reason for travelling.”<br />

Frequently on the road for work, the latter<br />

part of last year saw her travelling prolifically,<br />

mainly in the UK, while this year will feature<br />

India, Mexico, the Arctic and Colombia.<br />

She says Mali and the Sahara made for her<br />

most memorable trips. She’s also enjoyed<br />

cycling in Cuba. “I went with my husband in<br />

the early noughties. We thought the best<br />

way to get under the skin of the island would<br />

be to travel the way the locals do – by bike.<br />

We stayed in local houses, ate with families,<br />

and cycled around for a month.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s rarely<br />

anything enjoyable<br />

about being in an airport.<br />

Can someone please make the<br />

Harry Potter mode of travel<br />

possible for Muggles, too?”<br />

She had never pedalled with panniers, or<br />

any great distance, before. “At first, it was<br />

hard – Cuba is staggeringly hilly – but by the<br />

end we were covering 100 miles a day. It was<br />

a great way of seeing and experiencing the<br />

country, particularly the out-of-the-way<br />

places. <strong>The</strong> south coast was spectacular…<br />

some of the best diving I’ve ever done.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re were numerous mouth-watering<br />

moments on her tasty Spice Trail journey<br />

across the Middle East. “I loved Yemen; the<br />

buildings, the people, the food… It breaks my<br />

heart to see what is happening there now.<br />

Petra is always breathtaking, but so is<br />

Mada’in Saleh, in Saudi Arabia, also built by<br />

the Nabateans, but rarely visited and<br />

somewhat ignored.”<br />

She describes her month living with the<br />

Afar people in Ethiopia’s hostile Danakil<br />

Depression for <strong>The</strong> Hottest Place on Earth as<br />

“Tough. Dusty. Eye-opening. Humbling. Hot!”.<br />

Meanwhile, the Wakhi people in the northeastern<br />

region of Afghanistan are “amongst<br />

the most hospitable, warm and genuine.”<br />

Her top travel tips? “Go with an open mind<br />

and don’t follow the herd.” And her big travel<br />

bugbear? “<strong>The</strong>re’s rarely anything enjoyable<br />

about being in an airport. Can someone<br />

please make the Harry Potter mode of travel<br />

possible for Muggles, too?”<br />

As for airlines, “I choose flights on routing,<br />

price and time,” she says. “With all the<br />

competition airlines should offer customers<br />

safe, comfortable travel, and not all do.”<br />

For a much-needed break, Humble heads<br />

to her poacher’s cabin home in the Dordogne,<br />

France. “I speak no foreign languages well<br />

enough to say I speak a foreign language,<br />

but I do try,” she says.<br />

Humble’s a speaker at Stanfords’ <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Writers’ Festival this <strong>Feb</strong>ruary, having<br />

recently released her new book Thinking on<br />

My Feet, highlighting the benefits of walking.<br />

“Having time outside in the fresh air and<br />

being part of nature is an essential part of<br />

my day. So many people have contacted me<br />

with uplifting stories of how walking has<br />

helped them deal with depression, grief or<br />

anxiety. <strong>The</strong> simple act of putting one foot in<br />

front of the other can work miracles!”<br />

<strong>The</strong> best thing about travelling? “It is the<br />

best way to learn. Life is too short to sit still!”<br />




Kate Humble‘s new book Thinking on my Feet: <strong>The</strong> Small<br />

Joy of Putting One Foot in Front of Another, is out now,<br />

priced £20 from stanfords.co.uk It has just been<br />

shortlisted in the <strong>Travel</strong> Memoir of the Year category<br />

at the Edward Stanford <strong>Travel</strong> Writing Awards <strong>2019</strong>,<br />

which recognise the world‘s best travel writing.<br />

For further information, visit katehumble.com<br />



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Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground, London SE1 9JU T: +44 (0)203 319 5988 www.banksidehotel.com


the<br />

Review<br />



[ the lowdown ]<br />

Brexit tops the list of travel<br />

managers' concerns<br />

p50<br />

[ in the air ]<br />

British Airways upgrades<br />

World <strong>Travel</strong>ler Plus<br />

p52<br />

[ on the ground ]<br />

Rail passenger satisfaction<br />

at ten-year low<br />

p56<br />

[ meeting place ]<br />

Amex GBT launches<br />

small meetings platform<br />

p57<br />

[ the room report ]<br />

NH nhow heads to London<br />

p55<br />

O N T H E M O V E I<br />

<strong>The</strong> latest industry appointments p58<br />




T H E L O W D O W N<br />

Distribution and data<br />

set to dominate <strong>2019</strong><br />

Brexit tops list of<br />

managers' concerns<br />

<strong>The</strong> biggest factors influencing<br />

business travel this year will be<br />

distribution, data and duty of care<br />

according to FCM <strong>Travel</strong> Solutions.<br />

Changes in distribution as the<br />

industry moves towards New<br />

Distribution Capability (NDC)<br />

along with hotel suppliers driving<br />

direct booking could pose a<br />

challenge for travel managers and<br />

TMCs this year, it says.<br />

Duty of care will also be high<br />

on corporate agendas due to the<br />

ongoing risk of terrorism, natural<br />

disasters and geo-political<br />

volatility. FCM warns that travel<br />

data will be more critical and<br />

TMCs will need to evolve as<br />

aggregators of information from<br />

multiple booking sources to<br />

support clients effectively.<br />

“It will no longer be sufficient for<br />

TMCs to say that they can only<br />

track travellers if all bookings<br />

have been made via their<br />

reservations systems,” says Jo<br />

Greenfield, UK General Manager,<br />

FCM <strong>Travel</strong> Solutions.<br />

“We need to be able to pull in<br />

data and bookings from other<br />

channels, even if the client has<br />

booked externally, so that we can<br />

truly support corporates with<br />

their duty of care obligations”. <strong>The</strong><br />

TMC says corporates will continue<br />

to focus on cost and ROI in <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

Brexit is now the biggest challenge facing travel managers,<br />

knocking cost-cutting off the top in an annual survey<br />

conducted by <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show. Trimming travel spend<br />

whilst maintaining quality has topped the poll for the last<br />

three years but the proximity and uncertainty of Brexit has<br />

seen it leap from fourth place to first, with 65% of travel<br />

managers admitting they don’t have post-Brexit plans.<br />

Concerns around travel budget was third, airline pricing was<br />

fourth and availability was fifth in the survey.<br />

Globalisation, hotel pricing, appointing a new TMC, the<br />

weakness of sterling/strength of the euro, and meeting<br />

senior management requirements completed the top ten.<br />

Buyers were also asked to predict the biggest challenges<br />

they’ll face in three years’ time, with Brexit again topping the<br />

poll. Rising costs was second, NDC third, traveller safety<br />

fourth and travel alternatives fifth.<br />

Machine learning boosts<br />

compliance, says bcd report<br />

Machine learning, blockchain and chatbots can<br />

provide corporate travel managers powerful<br />

communication tools for driving travel programme<br />

compliance, according to an Inform series report<br />

published by BCD <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

Called Communications, Emerging technology and<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Management, the report explores how emerging<br />

technologies can utilise automated and targeted<br />

messages to travellers, engaging them at exactly the<br />

right moment to encourage compliance with corporate<br />

travel policies.


T H E L O W D O W N<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Cresta partnership<br />

Cresta <strong>Business</strong> has<br />

partnered with online<br />

event technology platform<br />

Asemblr. <strong>The</strong> deal allows<br />

Cresta to extend its<br />

specialist corporate travel<br />

solution to include<br />

booking meetings, events<br />

and incentives globally.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> risk deal<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> assistance<br />

specialists Collinson has<br />

teamed up with Drum<br />

Cussac, a global risk and<br />

security consultancy. <strong>The</strong><br />

two organisations will<br />

launch a 24/7, 365-days-ayear<br />

integrated travel risk<br />

management solution to<br />

help organisations fulfil<br />

their duty of care<br />

obligations.<br />

Radius adds two<br />

Radius <strong>Travel</strong> is welcoming<br />

two new partners into<br />

its global agency network:<br />

the UK’s <strong>Travel</strong> and<br />

Transport Statesman and<br />

Switzerland’s Kuoni<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>port takeover<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>port Worldwide<br />

Limited has announced<br />

an agreement that would<br />

see it acquired by two<br />

private equity funds in an<br />

all-cash transaction<br />

valued at approximately<br />

$4.4billion. <strong>Travel</strong>port<br />

signed the deal with<br />

affiliates of Siris Capital<br />

Group, LLC and Evergreen<br />

Coast Capital Corp.<br />

maiden advantage<br />

<strong>The</strong> Advantage <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Partnership has partnered<br />

with Maiden Voyage to<br />

offer its members training<br />

and expertise in supporting<br />

and safeguarding<br />

female and LGBTQ<br />

travellers.<br />

Blue Cube tackles<br />

traveller wellbeing<br />

BLUe Cube has introduced a complimentary wellbeing<br />

package for its top 100 frequent travellers. Perks of the new<br />

programme include VIP meet and greet services at London<br />

Heathrow and health food supplements to help mitigate the<br />

impact of jetlag.<br />

Blue Cube has appointed Diamond Air International to<br />

provide agents to meet clients as they disembark flights and<br />

speed them through customs and security. Agents will also<br />

assist with luggage and guide them to their waiting taxi or<br />

chauffeur service.<br />

A ‘<strong>Travel</strong> Without Fatigue’ wallet containing a range of<br />

vitamin, mineral and food supplements will be supplied by<br />

travel wellbeing specialist 15th Degree. <strong>The</strong> TMC will analyse<br />

feedback on the initial scheme before introducing a wider<br />

range of wellness packages for its clients in the year ahead.<br />

one third oF bUyers Will see an<br />

increase in corporate traVel bUdgets<br />

in <strong>2019</strong> according to neW research.<br />

a bts report sUggests bUyers Will<br />

haVe More trips to Manage, althoUgh<br />

there Was a drop in the nUMber oF<br />

bUyers reporting groWing costs<br />


scott Davies<br />

Chief Executive, ITM<br />

<strong>The</strong> travel industry is like any<br />

social network. To progress<br />

and have success, you need<br />

to be authentically well<br />

connected. This doesn’t just<br />

mean you’ve exchanged<br />

emails or business cards.<br />

Meaningful business<br />

relationships have a human<br />

warmth and relatability.<br />

Buyers tell us they prefer to<br />

establish a rapport and get to<br />

know the company and<br />

people before they consider<br />

being open to buying. This is<br />

key for suppliers to understand<br />

and many will concur<br />

that a sale rarely occurs<br />

during the first contact. At<br />

industry events we see suppliers<br />

go for the hard sell early<br />

on in their relationship.<br />

This almost always has the<br />

effect of repelling the very<br />

opportunities they are trying<br />

to close in on. When a<br />

business relationship is<br />

embryonic, buyers tend to<br />

be more receptive to an<br />

approach demonstrating<br />

trustworthiness, commitment<br />

and sharing information.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se qualities show the<br />

buyer that a partner would be<br />

good to work with and sellers<br />

who do this tend to find the<br />

buyers come to them. Building<br />

your network by initially<br />

establishing a rapport and<br />

discussing shared challenges<br />

is so natural and fun that it<br />

doesn’t even feel like work.<br />




I N T H E A I R<br />


FORECAST FOR <strong>2019</strong><br />

BA upgrades<br />

premium economy<br />

BRITISH Airways is rolling out enhancements to its World<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>ler Plus premium economy product as part of its wider<br />

£6.5billion investment programme.<br />

Changes will be introduced over the coming months and<br />

include new furnishings, enhanced service and, from<br />

<strong>Feb</strong>ruary 1, an improved dining experience. It will feature a<br />

third main meal option and a more substantial hot second<br />

meal later in the flight. <strong>The</strong> airline will also be adding<br />

amenity kits, quilts and pillows.<br />

“This latest tranche of our £6.5billion investment is set to<br />

improve World <strong>Travel</strong>ler Plus and customers will see a real<br />

change to the cabin,” says Carolina <strong>Mar</strong>tinoli, Director of<br />

Brand and Customer Experience.<br />

THE cost of flights within the UK<br />

and Europe are expected to rise by<br />

2% in the year ahead but could<br />

drop to some global destinations,<br />

according to a new report from<br />

American Express Global <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> (GBT).<br />

GBT’s Air Monitor <strong>2019</strong> forecasts<br />

a 2% rise across both economy<br />

and business class cabins, as well<br />

as similar rises in both cabins for<br />

fares to Asian and North American<br />

destinations. Economy fares to<br />

Central and South America are set<br />

to fall 1% while business class<br />

fares show no change. <strong>Business</strong><br />



class fares to the Middle East,<br />

meanwhile, will drop 1% and<br />

remain unchanged in economy.<br />

Demand for flights are outpacing<br />

capacity, says the report, while<br />

airlines are renewing aircraft to<br />

improve efficiency rather than to<br />

expand volume.<br />

As a result, it continues, flights<br />

from the UK and Europe are set to<br />

generally increase across the<br />

board. GBT examined five years’<br />

worth of flight transaction data<br />

and factored in variables such as<br />

oil prices, economic projections<br />

and airline strategies.<br />

FLYBE is to be acquired by Connect Airways, a<br />

consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group<br />

and Cyrus Capital. <strong>The</strong> three organisations have<br />

committed a £20million bridge loan to support Flybe<br />

until completion of the acquisition. Up to £80million of<br />

funding will be provided after the deal goes through.<br />

Flybe will continue operating across the UK and Ireland<br />

and is likely to be rebranded under the Virgin name.<br />

[ TAKING OFF ]<br />

>> FINNAIR will increase capacity on its schedule between<br />

London Heathrow and Helsinki this summer by over 20% with the<br />

addition of another daily departure and a change of aircraft on<br />

some services >> NORWEGIAN will launch new flights from<br />

London Gatwick to Rio de Janeiro, Miami and San Francisco as part<br />

of its summer <strong>2019</strong> schedule >> ROYAL BRUNEI AIRLINES has<br />

announced a non-stop flight between Brunei and Brisbane. <strong>The</strong><br />

route will open up the Australia market for UK travellers flying the<br />

daily non-stop service from Heathrow to Brunei >> ETHIOPIAN<br />

AIRLINES is now operating flights from Machester, its second UK<br />

destinations, with a four-times-a-week service to Addis Ababa.<br />

£10M<br />

Cost to easyJet of the Gatwick<br />

Airport drone incident<br />

EasyJet suffered a<br />

£10million cost impact<br />

because of the drones<br />

incident at Gatwick<br />

Airport in December.<br />

<strong>The</strong> disruption affected<br />

around 82,000<br />

customers and led to<br />

over 400 flights being<br />

cancelled. <strong>The</strong> figure<br />

was revealed in its Q4<br />

2018 financial report.<br />



I N T H E A I R<br />

IN BRIEF<br />


Flybmi route<br />

A daily service between<br />

Leeds Bradford Airport<br />

and Munich has been<br />

announced by flybmi. <strong>The</strong><br />

service will commence on<br />

April 8, with one-way fares<br />

available to book online<br />

from £99. Passengers will<br />

be able to connect at<br />

Munich with services from<br />

airline partner Lufthansa.<br />

BA resumes Pakistan<br />

British Airways will<br />

become the first Western<br />

carrier to restart flights to<br />

Pakistan after a 10-year<br />

hiatus. It will fly from<br />

London Heathrow to<br />

Islamabad, the capital of<br />

Pakistan, from June 2, with<br />

tickets now on sale.<br />

Pakistan’s PIA is the only<br />

airline currently operating<br />

direct flights from<br />

Pakistan to Britain.<br />

New regional service<br />

Flybe franchise partner<br />

Eastern Airways will<br />

introduce a double-daily<br />

service between London<br />

City and Newcastle<br />

airports. <strong>The</strong> new<br />

business-focused flights<br />

have two morning<br />

departures and two<br />

evening departures<br />

Monday to Saturday and a<br />

single service on Sundays.<br />

Air Transat business<br />

Air Transat is offering a<br />

programme of fares for<br />

business travellers on its<br />

routes between the UK<br />

and Canada. <strong>The</strong>y are<br />

available on daily flights<br />

from Gatwick to Toronto,<br />

and on direct and<br />

connecting services from<br />

Gatwick, Manchester and<br />

Glasgow to Toronto,<br />

Vancouver, Calgary,<br />

Montreal, Edmonton and<br />

Quebec City.<br />






Suite success for<br />

Malaysia Airlines<br />

MALAYSIA Airlines has rebranded its First Class cabin to<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Suites as it targets further growth in corporate<br />

business. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> Suites are now available on all the<br />

airline’s A380-800 and A350-900 aircraft, including services<br />

between London and Kuala Lumpur.<br />

It says the conversion is a response “to the high traffic of<br />

business travellers,” with the product offering “an enhanced<br />

business class service at an attractive price point”. On A380s,<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Suites are located on the main deck in a 1-2-1<br />

configuration. Seats convert to fully flat beds measuring 87<br />

inches long and 40 inches wide. A smaller seat features on<br />

A350-900s – at 83 inches long and 23 inches wide – but the<br />

IFE screen is marginally larger at 24 inches, compared to<br />

23-inch screens on the A380.<br />

Adrian Parkes<br />

Chief Executive, GTMC<br />

So the New Year arrives and<br />

with it new aspirations for the<br />

aviation sector.<br />

Early <strong>2019</strong> should see<br />

government clarify the UK’s<br />

position around Brexit.<br />

Regardless of what the next<br />

three months have in store<br />

concerning the wider debate,<br />

it's critical that the post-Brexit<br />

aviation strategy is solid.<br />

<strong>The</strong> big issue grabbing our<br />

attention at the moment is<br />

the government’s grandlytitled<br />

Green Paper ‘Aviation<br />

2050 – the future of UK<br />

aviation’, which is inviting<br />

responses until April 11.<br />

It’s a pretty ambitious<br />

document, which seeks to<br />

shape a globally connected<br />

Britain in a sustainable and<br />

environmentally conscious<br />

way. Everything is covered,<br />

from the development of a<br />

‘Passenger Charter’ setting<br />

out the rights of travellers,<br />

to managing border delays,<br />

boosting economic development<br />

of the regions and<br />

ensuring we have a workforce<br />

that is able to meet the industry’s<br />

various challenges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> GTMC is working hard<br />

to address the issues most<br />

important to corporate<br />

travellers and we are keen to<br />

include as many viewpoints<br />

as possible from members. It<br />

is work like this that gives us<br />

a great opportunity to shape<br />

future policy and legislation.<br />




R O O M R E P O R T<br />



<strong>Mar</strong>riott unites loyalty<br />

under ‘Bonvoy’ name<br />

MARRIOTT Hotels has unveiled <strong>Mar</strong>riott Bonvoy, its new<br />

loyalty programme that unifies its current schemes under<br />

one name. <strong>The</strong> new programme brings together <strong>Mar</strong>riott<br />

Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred<br />

Guests, and launches on <strong>Feb</strong>ruary 13.<br />

Additionally, <strong>Mar</strong>riott Bonvoy will offers experiential<br />

events for members, taking advantage of <strong>Mar</strong>riott’s<br />

marketing partnerships with brands including FIA Formula<br />

One, FC Bayern Munich and the NCAA.<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>riott Bonvoy Titanium Elite will replace Platinum<br />

Premier Elite for members who surpass 75 nights and<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>riott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite will replace Platinum<br />

Premier Elite with Ambassador.<br />


Group (IHG) will open more than<br />

25 Kimpton hotels in 20 new global<br />

destinations including Edinburgh,<br />

Mexico City, Paris, Barcelona and<br />

Shanghai over the next three to<br />

five years. Since IHG acquired<br />

Kimpton in 2015, the group has<br />

been a driving force behind the<br />

brand’s growth.<br />

New openings include Kimpton<br />

Da An Hotel in Taipei and Kimpton<br />

Charlotte Square Hotel in Edinburgh,<br />

both opening this spring.<br />

“With IHG’s scale and network of<br />

owner relationships, we’ve<br />

unlocked the global growth of<br />

Kimpton Hotels & Resorts,” says<br />

Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive<br />

Officer, Americas, IHG.<br />

“We have flagship hotels now<br />

open in London and Amsterdam, a<br />

series of fantastic hotels slated to<br />

open this year – including our first<br />

in Asia – and a growing pipeline of<br />

projects in key markets around the<br />

world,” adds Maalouf.<br />

Together with Hotel Indigo,<br />

IHG’s boutique portfolio totals<br />

almost 170 hotels globally, with<br />

almost 120 more hotels in the<br />

development pipeline.<br />



AIRBNB has identified Argentina, Brazil, Mexico,<br />

South Korea and South Africa as its fastest-growing<br />

destinations for business users of its sharing economy<br />

accommodation. London, Paris, New York and Sydney<br />

remain among its top-selling cities for business<br />

travellers. It also notes that business travellers book, on<br />

average, 20 days in advance. When factoring in leisure<br />

travellers, the average trip is booked 35 days ahead.<br />


>> <strong>The</strong> latest UK Hotel <strong>Mar</strong>ket Tracker produced by HVS, ALIX<br />

PARTNERS and STR has found that average room rates in Q4 of<br />

last year rose by 5% in London’s hotels, boosting RevPAR by 10%<br />

>> DOMINVS GROUP has acquired Arbor City Hotel in Central<br />

London. <strong>The</strong> group will partner with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand<br />

the property as a Hampton by Hilton. <strong>The</strong> hotel currently<br />

comprises 115 rooms and suites. However, the group is exploring<br />

the possibility of adding more than 150 rooms >> HILTON has<br />

opened the Lincoln Plaza London, the newest addition to its Curio<br />

Collection portfolio of more than 60 upscale and unique hotels.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new hotel is located in Canary Wharf.<br />

30%<br />

Buyers using more serviced<br />

apartments in 2018<br />

Almost one third of<br />

corporate travel buyers<br />

increased their use of<br />

serviced apartment<br />

suppliers for longstay<br />

bookings in 2018,<br />

according to a survey<br />

carried out by the<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Show.<br />

<strong>The</strong> figure marks a 20%<br />

leap on the numbers<br />

recorded in 2017.<br />



R O O M R E P O R T<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Adagio expansion<br />

Aparthotels Adagio has<br />

announced the opening<br />

and signing of several<br />

properties in London,<br />

Brussels, Stuttgart,<br />

Casablanca, Glasgow and<br />

Bucharest, strengthening<br />

its presence<br />

internationally.<br />

100 not out<br />

IHG has opened its 100th<br />

Hotel Indigo property. <strong>The</strong><br />

Berlin East Side Gallery<br />

has 118 rooms and marks a<br />

milestone for the global<br />

boutique brand. Owner<br />

IHG is promising to double<br />

the size of the portfolio<br />

within five years.<br />

Staycity in Paddington<br />

A 620-room hotel and<br />

aparthotel complex is due<br />

to open in London’s<br />

Paddington. <strong>The</strong> tenants of<br />

the scheme will be<br />

Premier Inn and Staycity<br />

Group and it is expected to<br />

open by 2021.<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>riott Inverness<br />

Work has started on a<br />

multimillion pound<br />

Courtyard by <strong>Mar</strong>riot<br />

property in Inverness. <strong>The</strong><br />

130-room hotel will be<br />

located within Inverness<br />

Airport <strong>Business</strong> Park. <strong>The</strong><br />

property will offer<br />

convenient airport access<br />

and feature fitness and<br />

meetings facilities along<br />

with a bar and bistro.<br />

SilverDoor expansion<br />

SilverDoor Apartments<br />

has opened its US<br />

headquarters in Denver,<br />

Colorado. <strong>The</strong> opening<br />

follows the company's<br />

growing international<br />

expansion, which has<br />

driven requests from<br />

customers to have<br />

local support.<br />

Hampton by Hilton<br />

at Edinburgh Airport<br />

EDINBURGH'S first Hampton by Hilton property is now open<br />

on the doorstep of the city's airport terminal. <strong>The</strong> hotel joins<br />

an existing 28 Hampton by Hilton properties in the UK.<br />

<strong>The</strong> property is located within walking distance of the<br />

airport terminal. "Edinburgh International Airport serves<br />

more than 12.4 million passengers every year and we are<br />

delighted to be opening the hotel at the doorstep of the<br />

airport terminal," says Craig Webster, General Manager of<br />

the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh Airport.<br />

<strong>The</strong> six-storey property features 240 bedrooms, an<br />

Edinburgh Fringe Festival-themed lobby, state-of-the-art<br />

fitness centre, business hub and 24-hour food service.<br />

Edinburgh Airport has seen an 11% passenger increase<br />

year on year.<br />



THE NH Hotel Group will open<br />

its first nhow property in London<br />

– and its second in the UK – this<br />

summer. Located between the<br />

City, Islington and Shoreditch, the<br />

190-room property is part of the<br />

NH Group’s design and lifestyle<br />

brand and will open under the<br />

theme ‘London Reloaded’,<br />

featuring a Big Ben rocket<br />

sculpture, pixelated carpets and<br />

an art installation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hotel will feature a bar, gym,<br />

networking spaces, meeting rooms<br />

and <strong>The</strong> Bell – a restaurant that<br />

developers say will be an avantgarde<br />

version of a traditional<br />

British pub. "Visitors will find<br />

themselves immersed in a world<br />

of art and design that tells a story<br />

and engages the senses; a<br />

dynamic melting pot created to<br />

surprise and inspire the guests,”<br />

says architect James Soane.<br />


Greeley Koch<br />

Executive Director, ACTE<br />

Rarely do we take time to<br />

reflect but, this <strong>Mar</strong>ch, I’ll<br />

leave ACTE, so I find myself<br />

thinking what’s changed in<br />

the six years since I became<br />

executive director.<br />

Not long ago, success in<br />

business travel was measured<br />

in financial savings. Now it’s<br />

about traveller satisfaction<br />

and productivity.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was a time when<br />

companies had one preferred<br />

car service and one or two<br />

preferred hotels. Today, with<br />

myriad ground transport<br />

options and boutique hotels<br />

within preferred hotel chains,<br />

travel buyers are making<br />

decisions better suited to<br />

themselves and their<br />

employers. Some things, of<br />

course, are evergreen – like<br />

concern about duty of care.<br />

Another – the understanding<br />

that uncertainty reigns. That<br />

seems like a bad thing, but<br />

without uncertainty, there is<br />

little innovation.<br />

I’ve learned so much in<br />

travelling the world, sitting<br />

with buyers and suppliers<br />

and hearing your issues and<br />

concerns. At ACTE, we try to<br />

be a conduit for ideas,<br />

advocacy, sharing and<br />

plugging away. I know that<br />

will continue after I’m gone.<br />

I’ll still be in business travel<br />

and look forward to seeing<br />

you soon. Thank you for your<br />

support over the years.<br />




O N T H E G R O U N D<br />

[ On track ]<br />

>> Crosscountry<br />

trains is now providing<br />

Rail user<br />

satisfaction<br />

sinks again<br />

free wifi for all passengers<br />

travelling on its UK network.<br />

So far 92 trains have been<br />

fitted with wifi systems<br />

following a year-long<br />

project to implement it<br />

>> Eurostar will add a<br />

third daily service from<br />

London St Pancras to<br />

Rotterdam and Amsterdam<br />

this summer "in direct<br />

response to customer<br />

demand". <strong>The</strong> new service,<br />

for which tickets are now on<br />

sale, will commence on June<br />

11 with fares starting from<br />

£35 one way.<br />

Passenger satisfaction<br />

with rail services has fallen<br />

to a ten-year low in findings<br />

from the latest National Rail<br />

Passenger Survey.<br />

Overall satisfaction was<br />

79%, the lowest level since<br />

2008. Poor punctuality,<br />

timetable chaos last summer<br />

and a series of strikes<br />

appear to be to blame for<br />

deteriorating satisfaction.<br />

Operators with the lowest<br />

ratings were Great Northern<br />

(68%) and Northern (72%).<br />

South Western, TransPennine<br />

and Greater Anglia were<br />

also in the bottom five, each<br />

scoring 73%, with Southern<br />

ranked sixth-worst with a<br />

74% satisfaction score.<br />

Topping the rankings was<br />

Heathrow Express on 96%,<br />

followed by Grand Central<br />

(94%), Chiltern Railways<br />

(92%), Merseyrail (90%) and<br />

Virgin Trains (90%).<br />

Going places?<br />



M e e t i n g p l a c e<br />

American Express GBT launches<br />

small Meetings Platform<br />

American Express Meetings & Events, a division of<br />

Amex GBT, has introduced a meetings and events<br />

management platform providing a single interface for<br />

sourcing small, simple and recurring meetings.<br />

<strong>The</strong> platform, called Meetings Express, sources<br />

relevant local content from Groupize in North America,<br />

MettingsBooker.com in the UK and Nordics, Bizmeeting<br />

in France, meetago in Germany and iVvy in Australia.<br />

Each provider has been vetted to ensure they combine<br />

the right hotels, venues and meetings spaces. <strong>The</strong> M&E<br />

team aims to help arrangers align small and simple<br />

meetings strategies with existing programmes.<br />

Meetings Express connects to AMEX M&E’s central<br />

data platform, Meetings Insights, and integrates with<br />

AMEX M&E’s reporting and management tools.<br />

Connaught<br />

Rooms<br />

makeover<br />

De Vere Grand Connaught<br />

Rooms has unveiled the<br />

results of a £700,000<br />

refurbishment of its meetings and events spaces. <strong>The</strong> venue,<br />

located in London's Covent Garden, underwent changes to<br />

bring its spaces in line with De Vere's Smart Space Concept.<br />

<strong>The</strong> meeting rooms – 13 of which were refurbished as<br />

part of the project – are now equipped with the latest AV<br />

technology, free super-fast wifi and there is also an on-site<br />

Burr & Co coffee shop. Each of the meeting rooms can<br />

accommodate events of various sizes from 12 to 80<br />

delegates. <strong>The</strong> refurbished Grand Hall can accommodate up<br />

to 750 delegates for large events with its grand chandeliers,<br />

staging and AV technology.<br />

You could be<br />

if you work on the train.<br />

Free on-board WiFi *<br />

Connect to more<br />




O N T H E M O V E<br />

EVENTS<br />

FEBRUARY 20-21<br />


Olympia London<br />

businesstravelshow.com<br />

MARCH 25<br />



TO: Director of UK Sales & Operations<br />

FROM: Head of UK Operations & Events<br />

JOINS: Oakwood<br />

AS: Managing Director EMEA<br />

FROM: Pavilion Kuala Lumpur<br />

JOINS: Gett UK<br />

AS: VP of <strong>Business</strong> Solutions<br />

FROM: eBay<br />


Hotel Cafe Royal<br />

itm.org.uk<br />

ATPI Group's Katie Skitterall, a<br />

former Rising Star winner at<br />

this magazine's People Awards,<br />

Hospitality veteran Ken Moore<br />

will lead Oakwood’s efforts to<br />

scale up its presence across<br />

E-commerce expert Lina<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>golin has been tasked with<br />

building partnerships and<br />

APRIL 7-9<br />

continues her rise within the<br />

EMEA using his experience of<br />

adding top-tier users in her<br />


Chicago<br />

business having joined the<br />

TMC back in 2001.<br />

strategic planning and property<br />

acquisition.<br />

new role at the growing taxi<br />

hailing company.<br />

acte.org<br />

APRIL 30 - MAY 1<br />


Hilton Metropole, Brighton<br />

itm.org.uk<br />

MAY 14-15<br />


Henderson, Las Vegas<br />

procurecontravel.wbresearch.com<br />

MAY 17-20<br />


Cadiz, Spain<br />

advantageconference.co.uk<br />

MAY 21<br />


<strong>The</strong> Dorchester, London<br />

thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />


JOINS: <strong>Mar</strong>itim Hotels<br />

AS: Account Manager, C&IT<br />

FROM: Sun Resorts<br />

Rebecca Creasey has returned<br />

to <strong>Mar</strong>itim Hotels where she<br />

previously spent six years as<br />

account manager. She will be<br />

responsible for growing MICE<br />

business in the UK and Ireland.<br />

JOINS: Evolvi Rail Systems<br />

AS: Managing Director<br />

FROM: Capita PLC<br />

Kirstie van Oerle switches from<br />

Evolvi’s owner Capita as the rail<br />

booking site looks to develop<br />

its relationships with TMCs.<br />

She has held senior roles at a<br />

number of tech businesses.<br />

PROMOTED AT: Sabre Corporation<br />

TO: Managing Director UK, Irl & Benelux<br />

FROM: Managing Director South Africa<br />

Richard Addey has made the<br />

move from South Africa to head<br />

up Sabre’s UK operations. With<br />

extensive knowledge of travel<br />

agencies, he will oversee sales<br />

strategy and key accounts.<br />

MAY 24<br />


London<br />

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com<br />

JUNE 27<br />


Mannings Heath, Sussex<br />

thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Darren McCormick has been appointed as Corporate Account Manager<br />

at Oman Air, based in Manchester >> Astrid Masle-Boer has become Director of Relationship<br />

Management, EMEA at WEX Corporate Payments >> Stefan Ropers has been appointed to<br />

lead Strategic Growth <strong>Business</strong>es at Amadeus >> <strong>Mar</strong>ia Baty (Managing Director, Altour UK),<br />

John O’Sullivan (Managing Director UK & Europe, Key <strong>Travel</strong>) and Steve Barrass (Chief Executive,<br />

TAG) have joined the GTMC’s Executive Board >> Alexandra Brunner has joined Native as its new<br />

Chief Operating Officer >> Greeley Koch will relinquish his role as ACTE Executive Director in <strong>Mar</strong>ch<br />

AUGUST 3-7<br />


Chicago<br />

gbta.org<br />

SEPTEMBER 17-18<br />


Hilton Bankside, London<br />

thebusinesstravelconference.com<br />


<strong>Business</strong> & leisure<br />

in equal measure<br />

<strong>Business</strong> stays like<br />

sterminshotel<br />

St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW<br />

+44 (0) 207 222 7888 www.sterminshotel.co.uk<br />

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

Introduction / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />

today's travel industry is<br />

driven forward by cutting-edge<br />

technology. Find out more about<br />

the latest functionality and<br />

trends –- from booking tools to<br />

bots -- in our guide to<br />

travel tech<br />

Introduction, 62-64 / Booking tools, 66-68<br />

TMCs & tech, 70-72 / Five Reasons, 74<br />

Distribution, 76-77 / Speaking Out, 78 / Data, 79

<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Introduction<br />

sPeed<br />

merchants<br />

With travel technology evolving so rapidly, TMCs and<br />

suppliers are scrambling to lead the way – or even keep<br />

up – says Gillian Upton, who rounds-up the big issues<br />

No one doubts the massive<br />

dependence that travel<br />

management companies and their<br />

corporate clients have on technology, but<br />

their needs differ greatly.<br />

Automation has already made TMCs more<br />

efficient and cost effective in both back<br />

office and front office processes, enabling<br />

them to focus on offline. But the huge and<br />

constant capital investment needed to keep<br />

abreast of technological change has forced<br />

some to consolidate, merge, acquire or exit<br />

the game altogether.<br />

Corporates, meanwhile, have to juggle the<br />

needs of those managing their travel<br />

programmes and of the business travellers<br />

themselves.<br />

“Managers want control and compliance,<br />

and travellers want ease and choice.<br />

Sometimes it’s hard to have a travel<br />

management system that’s one fit for all,”<br />

says Katie Skitterall, Director of Sales ad<br />

Operations UK at travel management<br />

company ATPI. “It’s important that<br />

businesses have an adequate technology<br />

management roadmap in place and ensure<br />

it benefits everyone in the organisation.”<br />

Harnessing technology is part of the DNA<br />

of any good TMC today and many are ahead<br />

of the curve but this has split the TMC<br />

market into those that both develop and<br />

integrate/white label third-party tools, ie.<br />

the Big Three – American Express GBT, BCD<br />

and CWT – and those smaller TMCs who rely<br />

on third-party providers almost exclusively.<br />

Mid-market TMCs with venture capitalists’<br />

backing can also compete with the big boys;<br />

others work with third-party providers.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> lower you go down the food chain<br />

the less likely that in-house development<br />

will take place,” says Tom Stone, partner<br />

with Nina & Pinta.<br />

Any tender for a TMC will ask what<br />

technological armoury they can muster – an<br />

intuitive booking tool, mobile apps and a<br />

data management tool are the basics. But<br />

corporates also want travel and expense<br />

management integration, a robust duty of<br />

care platform, interactive business<br />

intelligence reporting (as opposed to static<br />

reporting), rate auditing tools and<br />


Introduction / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />

benchmarking software. And you can add<br />

chatbots, artificial intelligence and<br />

blockchain to the list, as these buzzword<br />

topics increasingly gain traction.<br />

“With AI, travellers can benefit from<br />

personalisation just like features in their<br />

everyday life such as Netflix or YouTube<br />

recommendations,” says ATPI’s Skitterall.<br />

“<strong>Business</strong> travel technology needs to be<br />

able to make clever recommendations to<br />

travellers on the go and include a great user<br />

interface to make the personal experience<br />

smooth, streamlined and concise.”<br />

Innovation in these areas include FCM’s<br />

much-talked-about AI-enabled chatbot SAM,<br />

while <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct’s SMARTInsight<br />

predictive tool answers the ‘what if…’<br />

questions. If a client wants to change the<br />

business class threshold from six to eight<br />

hours, for example, the tool will come up<br />

with how much the client will save.<br />

Horses for courses<br />

Of course, travel technology needs differ<br />

hugely by customer type. A multinational<br />

corporate would have an online booking<br />

tool and a relationship with a third-party<br />

provider such as Concur, whereas an SME<br />

might hook up with a TMC to provide the<br />

booking engine.<br />

Corporate <strong>Travel</strong>ler, for example, is a TMC<br />

predominantly serving companies with<br />

small to medium travel spend requirements,<br />

but nevertheless offers a comprehensive<br />

suite of tools via its YOUR.CT platform.<br />

“No one size fits all,” says Ace <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Management CEO Sarah Wilson. “One may<br />

want tracking to see all their travellers in<br />

one place and mitigate risk while, for others,<br />

global tie-ups and merged MI are required.”<br />

ACE buys third-party technology because<br />

“We’re not experts and it’s changing so<br />

quickly so it enables us to be nimble,” says<br />

Wilson. She’s waiting patiently on the launch<br />

of a mobile app that will allow travellers to<br />

check in on any airline. “I believe it’s<br />

coming,” she adds, hopefully.<br />

CWT’s Chief Data Scientist Dr Eric Tyree<br />

explains that they stay ahead of the curve<br />

by funding start-ups as, “it’s better, faster<br />

and easier to go to them.<br />



<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Introduction<br />

“We guide them and<br />

help them get to market. It’s<br />

a big TMC thing to do and<br />

it’s a well-trodden path. <strong>The</strong><br />

key is not to stop peddling,<br />

as there’s no resting on<br />

your laurels.”<br />

Regardless of size and<br />

every corporate wants to<br />

provide the best possible<br />

travel experience for their<br />

travellers. “It’s all about<br />

moving to a consumerised<br />

experience,” says GTMC Chief<br />

Executive Adrian Parkes. And that<br />

means that there is one essential<br />

provision for <strong>2019</strong>: content.<br />

“With NDC, GDS surcharging and<br />

airlines removing content from the GDS,<br />

it’s imperative that a TMC offers full<br />

content,” says Andrew Burroughes, Product<br />

and Implementation Director at <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Direct.<br />

Out in the open<br />

Content is so fragmented that it is a<br />

challenge; TMCs capture data from multiple<br />

sources via APIs in order to achieve it. <strong>The</strong><br />

APIs allow TMCs to aggregate omni-channel<br />

content, create products and partnerships,<br />

and provide tools and services to support<br />

what is otherwise an out-of-policy booking.<br />

“We’re trying to make our technology as<br />

much open source and connectable with<br />

other technologies as new disruptors come<br />

in,” explains Burroughes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fact that travellers are using channels<br />

outside their company’s mandated channels<br />

to book travel means that TMCs must try<br />

and replicate the leisure booking experience<br />

as much as possible to improve compliance.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cost of innovation<br />

is coming down in<br />

terms of computing power<br />

so this will only accelerate<br />

over time”<br />

Apps can offer many of these lures, such as<br />

keeping users abreast of gate changes,<br />

flight delays and the like and in so doing,<br />

helping them run their business lives just as<br />

seamlessly as their personal lives. <strong>The</strong><br />

buzzword is to reduce trip friction and<br />

enable self-service across multiple devices.<br />

According to a joint GBTA and Concur<br />

report, travellers want three things:<br />

personalised booking, pre-trip approvals/<br />

travel personalisation and intelligent<br />

expense reports.<br />

Are TMCs delivering what their clients<br />

want? According to Carol Neil, Global <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Manager at Fidelity International, some are.<br />

“A good TMC should be able to support you<br />

with the right data that’s global and clean;<br />

provide an online booking tool that’s<br />

seamless and global; and provide apps to<br />

enhance the user experience.<br />

“Outside that, I need a TMC to come up<br />

with a solution for the NDC piece, to join it<br />

all up – and none are doing that at the<br />

moment,” she says.<br />

A workable solution to NDC remains<br />

challenging. TMCs are price checking all the<br />

time but often clients prefer to pay the<br />

extra and stay within a TMCs workflow<br />

rather than risk booking through an NDC<br />

portal in case something goes wrong (see<br />

pages 76-77 for more on NDC).<br />

Progress is being made and IATA is<br />

already pushing ahead beyond NDC with<br />

One Order which will eradicate the PNR in<br />

the long term.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> pace of change is very high,” says Ian<br />

Davies, Head of Suppler Management EMEA<br />

at Concur. “<strong>The</strong> cost of innovation is coming<br />

down in terms of computing power so this<br />

will only accelerate over time.” Concur’s<br />

report looking to travel in 2030 reads like<br />

science fiction but it’s all perfectly feasible.<br />

GTMC’s Parkes predicts three big areas of<br />

technological advancement in <strong>2019</strong>: the<br />

service capabilities of APIs; the ability of any<br />

API to handle industrial-size scale; and the<br />

development of the GDSs within NDC.<br />

It's unlikely that technology will bring an<br />

end to the uncertainty of Brexit, however,<br />

but watch this space!<br />


<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Booking tools<br />

TOOLS<br />

of the trade<br />

Booking travel should be smooth, swift and<br />

easy. So how are suppliers incorporating<br />

new content and functionality?<br />

Catherine Chetwynd investigates<br />

With growing use of AI and<br />

chatbots, increased booking<br />

sources and the much-vaunted<br />

advent of NDC, booking tools are having<br />

to become ever more flexible and<br />

versatile, while still trying to keep<br />

travellers within travel policy.<br />

Part of this goal includes continuing to<br />

emulate the ‘Amazon experience’, so<br />

travellers can research, book and change<br />

their itinerary with ease.<br />

This includes taxis, arguably the last<br />

bastion of unmanaged travel and a major<br />

expense – so much so that, according to<br />

research KDS undertook at last year’s GBTA<br />

conference in Berlin, only a third (33%) of<br />

respondents got sufficient insight into taxi<br />

costs in their booking tool. To that end,<br />

KDS has partnered with ground handling<br />

aggregator Mozio, bringing to book content<br />

for more than 300 cities.<br />

In addition, integration of Route Happy<br />

adds ancillaries information for airlines<br />

worldwide, making onboard wifi, preferred<br />

seat and meal bookable with KDS’s door-todoor<br />

service, which allows travellers to<br />

search a full itinerary, from departure point<br />

to arrival doorstep. Synchronisation with<br />

expense management tools (not just KDS)<br />

completes the picture.<br />

OK computer<br />

Click <strong>Travel</strong>, meanwhile, is working on AI<br />

and voice technology, and 5% of customer<br />

enquiries in November 2018 were answered<br />

by AI rather than an agent. “It is embedded<br />

into the tool and does not feel as though<br />

you are being answered by a robot,” insists<br />

product engineer Robin Smith. “People are<br />

happy they are getting the information they<br />

want more quickly. It is going to be very<br />

important over the next few years.”<br />

Also aiming for a consumer shopping<br />

experience is SAP Concur, which has<br />

included the confetti of branded fares that<br />

embraces every requirement from hand<br />

baggage-only to two bags checked in. As<br />

NDC evolves, this will extend to lounge<br />

passes and more.<br />

“This is interesting because we will be able<br />

to have conversations with companies who<br />

want to cluster employees, from infrequent<br />

travellers where lowest logical fare would<br />

AI is embedded into<br />

the tool and it does<br />

not feel as though you are<br />

being answered by a robot.<br />

People are happy they are<br />

getting information quickly”<br />


Booking tools / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />

be more appropriate, to VIP travellers, who<br />

are revenue generating, where organisations<br />

want to have the right value of service<br />

provided,” says Senior Alliance Manager for<br />

EMEA, Darren Foster. “If NDC does deliver<br />

on its promises, we will be able to do that,<br />

although it will take some work.”<br />

Deconstructing technology will follow,<br />

removing the need for users to log on and<br />

spend time searching. Instead, the booking<br />

tool, search engine and travel policy engine<br />

can be wrapped around the way the<br />

traveller works, interacting with emails<br />

between travellers or traveller and travel<br />

manager to learn date, time and location,<br />

and “leaving the traveller to do nothing but<br />

travel – that’s our vision”, says Foster.<br />

Last year, Concur launched a travel bot<br />

which does that and it sees bots as the way<br />

forward, given that 75% of workers will be<br />

using digital assistants in <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

Also, the recent<br />

extension of TripLink direct<br />

to British Airways and American Airlines<br />

(Lufthansa follows this year) takes the<br />

travel policy engine direct to<br />

partners, ensures that travellers<br />

pay the right corporate fare<br />

when booking direct and brings<br />

the information back into the<br />

booking tool, providing MI and<br />

duty of care.<br />

Whether TMCs develop<br />

booking tools in house or go for a<br />

tried-and-tested third party depends<br />

on size and financial clout. “<strong>The</strong> levels<br />

of security, uptime and globalisation<br />

needed for strong travel technology<br />

requires the TMC to have a<br />

certain critical mass,” says Global<br />

Innovation Director at Reed &<br />

Mackay, Antoine Boatwright.<br />



<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Booking tools<br />

“Developing<br />

technology inhouse<br />

means we<br />

have the flexibility<br />

to integrate<br />

systems and roll<br />

out functionality in<br />

anticipation of client need. In addition, the<br />

turnaround is more agile and we can<br />

develop to unique requirements,” he says.<br />

Conversely, “<strong>The</strong> complexity in integrating<br />

booking tools with travel industry technology,<br />

especially as suppliers are creating new<br />

business models, is a nightmare. That is<br />

why there are fewer than six OBTs on the<br />

market that can compete globally,” says VP<br />

of Product for KDS, Bertrand Blais.<br />

“It is important to outsource and to be<br />

able to integrate third parties<br />

into booking tools; and with<br />

NDC, there is greater<br />

complexity still.”<br />

Small is beautiful<br />

Mobile apps progress<br />

apace and providers are<br />

perfecting the art of<br />

replicating desktop<br />

functionality through a<br />

responsive site but with more<br />

tailored information. This is<br />

particularly important in<br />

areas such as Asia-Pacific,<br />

where most business<br />

travellers use only a<br />

mobile, but in the western<br />

world, desktop use is still prevalent and<br />

those in finance and HR want access to<br />

travellers’ booking information, as well as<br />

travel arrangers.<br />

Personalisation is in increasing demand<br />

and ties into consumerisation. KDS’s doorto-door<br />

service makes every part of the<br />

journey personalised, including time taken<br />

from home or office to the airport. In<br />

addition, “An effortless trip also requires<br />

that cancellations are immediately met with<br />

rescheduled options, refunds are<br />

automatically submitted and any impact on<br />

productivity is anticipated and resolved with<br />

little or no need for traveller intervention,”<br />

says Reed & Mackay’s Boatwright.<br />

However, although the simple processes<br />

inherent in consumer models mean users<br />

do not have to fight with copious constructs<br />

to purchase one product, it can be in direct<br />

conflict with corporate requirements such<br />

as policy compliance, business intelligence<br />

and project billing, and this can stand in the<br />

way of the much-desired seamlessness.<br />

Making it easy<br />

Event organisation company Imagination<br />

deployed Reed & Mackay’s self-booking tool<br />

for domestic and European bookings in<br />

January 2018. “We have seen an adoption<br />

rate of 75%-85%,” says Head of Logistics<br />

and travel, Nicola Mahon. “<strong>The</strong> system<br />

consolidates all bookings on one platform,<br />

irrespective of whether they were made on<br />

or offline, which has been incredibly useful<br />

for traveller tracking and duty of care<br />

responsibilities.” Before this, travellers<br />

booked via an offline team, who generated<br />

monthly MI updates.<br />

“One of the advantages of R&M Book is<br />

how user-friendly it is and full integration<br />

with other proprietary travel software<br />

means you’re always looking at the most<br />

up-to-date information,” adds Mahon.<br />

Self-booking tools continue to evolve,<br />

including their capacity for providing a<br />

smooth, consumer grade experience,<br />

while juggling the complexities of corporate<br />

travel. And artificial intelligence and<br />

chatbots will only enhance the services they<br />

provide, simultaneously keeping an eye on<br />

travel policy compliance and gathering in<br />

errant bookings.<br />


<strong>Travel</strong> tech / TMCs<br />

TRAVEL<br />

into the future<br />

Catherine Chetwynd discovers how TMCs<br />

are utilising new technology to provide<br />

customers with better, smarter services<br />

Leading edge technology is now at the<br />

heart of a TMC’s operation. It makes<br />

service delivery more efficient,<br />

allows them to be more creative and<br />

flexible, and provide simpler processes<br />

that mirror consumer trends – something<br />

clients today take for granted.<br />

Technology facilitates communication,<br />

whether that is via mobile, web or VOIP,<br />

according to travellers’ and travel managers’<br />

preferences; it ensures travellers can change<br />

their itinerary while on the move and lets<br />

travel providers learn more about clients in<br />

order to personalise their services.<br />

“In the past it was all about collecting data,<br />

but now people are thinking about what they<br />

can do with tech; we want to translate that<br />

into action,” says FCM Chief Technology Officer<br />

Michel Rouse. This requires platforms that<br />

can automate the processing of data, analyse<br />

it, draw out trends and present the results in<br />

a way that is meaningful and easy to read.<br />

“Good data scientists are crucial,” he says.<br />

Innovation is allowing TMCs to compare<br />

corporate spend on a particular route or in a<br />

certain hotel to the market average, pulling in<br />

data from a number of entities such as midoffice<br />

and back-office systems, GDS, OTAs,<br />

payment and expense management<br />

providers, and traveller tracking systems.<br />

Modern tech has also moved data use away<br />

from just giving a historical view. If someone<br />

normally travels to Los Angeles in <strong>Feb</strong>ruary, a<br />

TMC can see they would benefit from<br />

booking six weeks before departure, instead<br />

of eight weeks, because fares drop at that<br />

point. “That is where we increase value, using<br />

data predictively rather than historically,” says<br />

Global Product Director of Advantage <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Partnership, Neil Amorgie.<br />

CWT also uses predictive algorithms to<br />

discern what a traveller has done, is doing<br />

and the likelihood of its occurring again. AI<br />

data visualisation tool CWT AnswerIQ lets<br />

In the past it was all<br />

about collecting data,<br />

but now people are thinking<br />

about what they can do with<br />

tech; we want to translate<br />

that into action”<br />

users interrogate the TMC’s travel data in a<br />

similar way to shopping online and it learns<br />

over time, making suggestions to give clients<br />

faster answers.<br />

This leads to greater personalisation. “We<br />

believe we can drive more intelligent search<br />

results, based on what you’re doing, have<br />

done in the past, and what your colleagues<br />

are doing,” says VP, chief data scientist Dr Eric<br />

Tyree. It allows CWT to present options for a<br />

flight based on the passenger’s loyalty,<br />

corporate policy and preferences.<br />

Data also highlights traveller behaviour.<br />

“We are collecting open booking data; we pull<br />

it from our own systems but more and more<br />

travellers are booking outside travel<br />

programmes and we are able to bring that<br />

into managed travel programmes and report<br />

on it, and that covers duty of care,” says BTD<br />

Product and Implementation Director,<br />

Andrew Burroughes. Similarly, ATPI Analytics<br />

provides measurable, real-time data in a<br />

single platform, allowing clients to see what<br />

they want, when they want in one place.<br />

Technology is also helping harness<br />

information about the bugbear of many<br />

travel managers – ancillaries. Since the<br />


TMCs / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />

launch of low-cost carriers, who<br />

refined the art of charging for<br />

everything beyond the aircraft seat, and the<br />

realisation by legacy carriers that they could<br />

only compete – especially on short-haul<br />

routes – if they did the same, ancillaries have<br />

been a common but unwelcome part of<br />

corporate life. Now hotels are following suit.<br />

Making extras add up<br />

Wifi, speedy boarding, inflight meals,<br />

additional bags, hotel breakfast, parking…<br />

the list is long and varied and if there were<br />

any doubt as to the value of these niggly<br />

intruders into the cost of travel, airline<br />

ancillary revenue alone is forecast to hit<br />

$93billion in 2018, according to a report by<br />

IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler.<br />

Rouse adds ground transport to that<br />

equation. “One travel manager was saying<br />

that someone can purchase a £75 flight but<br />

will tack on a £50 transfer at each end of the<br />

journey and on a return trip. That is £200 on<br />

transfers and £75 on air,” he says. “We are<br />

able to feed multiple sources of data into our<br />

reporting and when people book outside the<br />

travel programme, we can feed all that back<br />

in to give a more complete<br />

picture to the travel manager<br />

of what the spend is on and<br />

outside their programme.” It is<br />

increasingly common for TMCs to<br />

be able to gather up this off-channel<br />

spend and bring it to book.<br />

And NDC just adds to the problem.<br />

“NDC presents airlines with the<br />

opportunity to break out ancillaries<br />

and present them to the consumer,<br />

who can pick and choose what they<br />

want,” says Head of Innovation for<br />

Advantage <strong>Travel</strong> Partnership, Fraser Nicol.<br />

“But unless agents have developed systems<br />

to gather that information, I don’t think many<br />

will be able to serve it up in any detail; that<br />

will take off at the back end of next year.”<br />

However, NDC might also lead to discrimination,<br />

with two people on the same flight<br />

travelling at different fares.<br />

<br />



<strong>Travel</strong> tech / TMCs<br />

This level of personalisation chimes with<br />

the consumerisation of business travel. It<br />

may not yet have reached the stellar levels<br />

provided by Amazon but TMCs’ technology<br />

combined with that of suppliers ensures<br />

traveller can feel recognised as an individual.<br />

Traditionally, OBTs were functional while<br />

retail tools put user experience first, which<br />

made travellers less willing to use the<br />

corporate option. Now, however, corporate<br />

technology is changing the way it looks and<br />

feels, and in addition, “We have brought in<br />

some of the suppliers that people use outside<br />

work, such as booking.com,” says Burroughes.<br />

“Keeping track of the numerous new leisure<br />

providers is difficult. We support open<br />

booking, which allows people to book outside<br />

the traditional TMC environment and means<br />

we can pull data back in,” he says.<br />

Zeno by ATPI is another personalised tool.<br />

“It was developed to look like a consumer site<br />

to engage travellers,” says Group Head of<br />

E-commerce, Jenny Thornton. “It provides<br />

itinerary recommendations and uses AI to<br />

enhance the booking experience by recalling<br />

preferences such as favourite departure<br />

airport, hotels and even<br />

streamlines loyalty<br />

programmes.”<br />

Bright young things<br />

Newcomers are only viewed as disruptors if<br />

they are doing something you are not, and on<br />

that basis TMCs are now partnering with<br />

start-ups to benefit from their free thinking<br />

and creativity. FCM has integrated AI chatbot<br />

Claire from booking platform 30 Seconds to<br />

Fly into its chatbot SAM, so that travellers can<br />

chat and book flights.<br />

FCM is also running pilots in a number of<br />

markets. “Rather than develop a large-scale<br />

programme to look at all the ways we interact<br />

with travellers in a vacuum, we are<br />

attempting different approaches in a number<br />

of markets; like gamification to drive<br />

behaviour and multi-channel approval flows,”<br />

says Rouse. “We are testing what we think will<br />

be popular in those markets and we are<br />

backing up those tests with research.”<br />

Advantage has partnered with language app<br />

Whym, which connects members’ clients with<br />

a human interpreter in seconds; and Win<br />

Hotel Hub pulls together 1.5 million hotels,<br />

allowing members to offer clients the best<br />

rates with attendant reporting.<br />

BTD claims to have been first to market in<br />

Europe with hotel benchmarking provider<br />

TRIPBAM, which analyses hotel bookings in<br />

the TMC’s system, and if any of the rates for<br />

those bookings decrease before travel it<br />

automatically rebooks. <strong>The</strong> tool has been<br />

widely deployed by corporates and some<br />

TMCs have mimicked the concept with their<br />

own technology. TRIPBAM claims to achieve<br />

savings of 32.5% on average and has<br />

recently introduced Strategic Shift<br />

Share (S3) to help travel managers<br />

identify opportunities to move<br />

share to its preferred hotels.<br />

BTD also uses automated<br />

TMCs are now<br />

partnering with<br />

start-ups to benefit from<br />

their free thinking,<br />

innovation and creativity”<br />

rail delay repay system RAILGUARD.<br />

Meanwhile, CWT works with accelerator Plug<br />

and Play in Silicon Valley, which connects<br />

organisations to the world’s start-ups.<br />

However, all this activity raises a major<br />

problem for TMCs: how to integrate modern<br />

technology into legacy systems, a headache<br />

that would once have been fixed with Band<br />

Aid and prayers. No longer, however, and this<br />

is partly thanks to the increasingly widespread<br />

use of open technology such as APIs, which<br />

make businesses less reliant on GDS, allowing<br />

them to build their own platform and choose<br />

with whom they plug and play.<br />

Legacy tech providers are also girding up for<br />

the 2020s. “We are working with Amadeus to<br />

make a more open platform. GDS used to be<br />

about locking people into their system and<br />

they are now looking at being more open and<br />

allowing you to integrate, giving access to<br />

their technology and content,” says Rouse.<br />

BTD’s in-house development team designs<br />

proprietary technology, providing easier<br />

integration with modern systems through an<br />

open-sourced booking system; and ATPI’s<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>Hub dashboard is built with an open<br />

API platform, too.<br />

<strong>The</strong> final word goes to Advantage’s Nicol:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> fourth industrial revolution is digital and<br />

APIs are at the heart of that; it is an API<br />

economy and anyone not working with an<br />

open platform could be left behind.”<br />




To a travel management platform<br />

that lets your business glide through.<br />

One that drills down deep to find you the best value.<br />

A savvy system that always keeps your staff up to date.<br />

So they stay connected.<br />

And never miss a connection.<br />

A platform where you can see everything clearly<br />

with complete business transparency.<br />

Here’s to working smarter.<br />

To travelling the world.<br />

Effortlessly.<br />


,<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Five reasons<br />

[ FIVE REASONS TO... ]<br />


Catherine Chetwynd identifies the gains to be made by<br />

automating your business travel expenses<br />

1 3<br />


& SAVINGS<br />

Automating expenses can<br />

reduce the cost of processing<br />

every transaction<br />

by 55% or more. Receipts<br />

can be photographed on<br />

mobiles, uploaded and<br />

the data automatically<br />

read and transformed<br />

into an expense line. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

can be filed one day and<br />

paid the next. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

also benefits from working<br />

with one provider for the<br />

entire booking, expense<br />

and traveller care chain:<br />

one point of contact<br />

increases efficiency and<br />

reduces costs, says KDS/<br />

American Express GBT.<br />


Replacing the human<br />

factor and the manual<br />

keying in of data with<br />

an automated system<br />

considerably reduces<br />

errors not only from<br />

travellers but by accounts<br />

departments as well,<br />

leading to wrong<br />

reimbursements and<br />

inaccurate books. By<br />

automating expenses<br />

through one digital<br />

platform that includes<br />

travel data, travel<br />

managers, finance and<br />

accounting can together<br />

build an accurate picture<br />

of spend.<br />


With systems<br />

automatically catching<br />

transaction data such<br />

as expense type and<br />

merchant, it is much<br />

easier to analyse the<br />

figures than pouring over<br />

a huge spreadsheet. This<br />

level of visibility can help<br />

drive huge cost savings,<br />

from identifying patterns<br />

of wasteful spend to<br />

tracking spend volumes<br />

with airlines or hotel<br />

chains to help secure<br />

volume discounts, says<br />

Chrome River. And<br />

functionality continues<br />

to develop, with offline<br />

working via a mobile<br />

app and time sheet<br />

capabilities available<br />

from Infor XM.<br />

Systems can be set up with<br />

company policy embedded,<br />

including types of allowable<br />

expense and category limits”<br />

POLICY &<br />


Systems can be set up<br />

with company policy<br />

embedded, including<br />

types of allowable<br />

expense and category<br />

limits, which reduces the<br />

likelihood of out of policy<br />

claims. Insight into travel<br />

patterns can spark ideas<br />

for new policies because<br />

managers can see when<br />

employees are booking<br />

flights at the last minute<br />

and therefore losing out<br />

on potential deals or can<br />

analyse mileage claims to<br />

ensure their validity, says<br />

SAP Concur.<br />


RISK<br />

Expense fraud – whether<br />

inflation of legitimate<br />

expenses or completely<br />

fabricated transactions –<br />

is still a big issue and can<br />

be hard to spot and<br />

prevent with manual<br />

expense processes.<br />

Expense automation<br />

systems can help prevent<br />

falsified expenses from<br />

being submitted with<br />

tools such as duplicate<br />

receipt detection and<br />

automatic credit card<br />

matching, says Chrome<br />

River. <strong>The</strong>y can also use<br />

analytics and data<br />

visualisation tools to<br />

detect fraudulent spend<br />

patterns which could<br />

otherwise go unnoticed.<br />


Benefits<br />

Flight booking<br />

Weather & traffic alerts<br />

Check-in reminder<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> alerts<br />

City guides<br />

Chat<br />

Delivered by

<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Distribution<br />


channels<br />

NDC dominated 2018 but is this the year that new<br />

distribution models really take off, asks Linda Fox<br />

New year, new distribution<br />

confusion? Or perhaps it can<br />

finally be collaboration? <strong>The</strong>se are<br />

serious questions if you stop and think of<br />

the machinations IATA’s New Distribution<br />

Capability has been through since it was<br />

first announced more than six years ago,<br />

and where it goes from here.<br />

While much of the mistrust of the early days<br />

has dissipated and there is generally more of<br />

a desire to work together, some of the<br />

confusion still reigns.<br />

Research carried out by American Express<br />

Global <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> and ACTE last October<br />

revealed 58% of travel managers were<br />

“somewhat” confident in their understanding<br />

of NDC while 23% were “not at all confident”<br />

in their understanding of it.<br />

Feedback from travel buyers saw NDC<br />

described as being “as confusing as<br />

blockchain.” Other buyers acknowledge there<br />

is still confusion around what NDC is and<br />

how it affects them.<br />

However, one travel manager recently<br />

commented that NDC should be seen as an<br />

opportunity for corporate buyers to engage<br />

with airline suppliers about the offers most<br />

relevant to them and their travellers. She<br />

added that it could mean a much more<br />

seamless experience for travellers.<br />

For the most part, the research and<br />

comments hardly inspire confidence, but<br />

that’s not surprising for a number of reasons.<br />

It’s only recently that travel management<br />

companies and technology providers have<br />

had something a little more tangible to<br />

demonstrate to travel buyers. <strong>The</strong> technology<br />

standard that NDC sets out to be needs to be<br />

implemented across the entire workflow to<br />

demonstrate how it will work, and its latest<br />

version is said to be the one that, if finally<br />

robust and stable enough, can do that.<br />

Previous versions worked for simple<br />

elements but fell short when it came to more<br />

complex routes and other tasks, says Click<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>’s Chief Product Engineer, Robin Smith.<br />

But the technical aspects of NDC aside,<br />

travel buyers should not need to be<br />

concerned about NDC – they just need to<br />

know that it continues to give them access to<br />

all the content they need in a way that is just<br />

as efficient as current processes, if not more<br />

so. Many TMCs see it as their role to explain<br />

how NDC will work as well as ensure the<br />

content is there.<br />

Smith agrees that buyers are still not<br />

completely aware of what NDC is and says a<br />

lot of it is down to much of the effort until<br />

recently that has been devoted to getting<br />

airlines, IT providers and TMCs on board.<br />

“It has all been very theoretical but now<br />

we’re seeing movement in the commercials,<br />

pricing and advertising of what the benefits<br />

are to buyers,” says Smith.<br />

Channel discrimination<br />

Moves from airlines such as Lufthansa and<br />

British Airways to change commercial terms<br />

as well as further steps from the Germanybased<br />

carrier to only provide certain fares in<br />

NDC channels have contributed to bringing<br />

NDC more sharply into focus.<br />

Smith says: “Lufthansa and its approach to<br />

restricting fares or other airlines charging<br />

fees means we’re starting to get questions<br />

from buyers. <strong>The</strong>y’re asking if they can’t get<br />

the cheapest fares, is their TMC still able to<br />

get them those fares? It’s becoming more<br />

public that NDC is changing the way you get<br />

those fares and we’re thinking about how we<br />

can explain it and gain confidence that we<br />

have access without complicating things.“<br />

As a means to drive up adoption of its NDC<br />

channels, Lufthansa is making its “best offer<br />

fares” available only through those channels.<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline says it has a pipeline of about 70<br />

agencies wanting to connect to these.<br />

In late November, Andreas Koester, Senior<br />

Director of Sales for the UK & Ireland, said it<br />

was seeing about 1,000 bookings a month in<br />

the UK coming via NDC channels. He said<br />

that the figure compared with a few hundred<br />

per month in the first few months of 2017.<br />

Koester added that from August 2018, the<br />

airline saw a 300% spike in bookings across<br />

those same NDC channels which was down<br />

to already connected agencies such as Click<br />


Distribution / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> and Clarity – early TMCs to establish<br />

direct connects to Lufthansa – as well as<br />

more recently connected agencies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bookings don’t currently add up to more<br />

than a percent or two but ongoing initiatives<br />

from Lufthansa also see cheaper fares only<br />

accessible via NDC-driven booking methods.<br />

<strong>The</strong> latest example is the airline’s “light” fare<br />

which is being removed from GDS channels.<br />

One additional element worth keeping an<br />

eye on is a challenge to Lufthansa’s developments<br />

from the European <strong>Travel</strong> and Technology<br />

Services Association.<br />

<strong>The</strong> organisation filed an antitrust<br />

complaint with the European Commission<br />

against the airline in December. ETTSA,<br />

alongside VIR, which represents the digital<br />

travel industry in Germany, believes the<br />

airline is using its dominant position in its<br />

home market as well as “discriminatory and<br />

exclusionary practices against independent<br />

distributors of airline tickets.”<br />

Gaining momentum<br />

Also in late November, BCD <strong>Travel</strong> announced<br />

its partnership to pilot NDC with the<br />

Lufthansa Group. Thane Jackson, BCD’s Vice<br />

President of Global Distribution and Channel<br />

Strategy, says its own presence and strength<br />

in Germany pushed it to look more closely at<br />

what Lufthansa is doing.<br />

“We have to respect their strategy so rather<br />

than sit on the outside, we saw an opportunity<br />

to pilot with them to learn about NDC and<br />

their objectives. It’s a case of recognising<br />

where the industry needs to go and being<br />

involved from the inside,” he says.<br />

He adds that BCD continues to put time and<br />

effort into educating its own staff as well as<br />

its travel manager customers and airlines.<br />

Thane says it’s important to “demystify” NDC<br />

so that the whole industry moves away from<br />

a world where no one collaborates.<br />

While all these developments around NDC<br />

are positive, there is still a long way to go.<br />

Initiatives such as IATA’s airline leaderboard<br />

– with 21 airlines committing to have 20% of<br />

indirect transactions via an NDC-driven API<br />

by the end of 2020 – act as a good target and<br />

will help drive adoption.<br />

Even after that deadline has come and<br />

gone, however, it’s likely that NDC will still<br />

only be for simple bookings and more<br />

complex itineraries with interlining will<br />

require further development.<br />

Jackson says: “<strong>The</strong>re will be much more talk,<br />

activity and ideas in <strong>2019</strong> and 2020 but we’ll<br />

only get critical mass, in my opinion, when<br />

the GDSs develop full-blown, fully interlineable,<br />

fully functioning NDC solutions and<br />

most are still talking about that from midyear<br />

onwards this year that their first<br />

iterations are going to come to market.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> future is bright<br />

Sabre’s recent acquisition of Farelogix is<br />

being seen as further positive step in NDC’s<br />

journey. <strong>The</strong> distribution giant believes the<br />

deal gives its own NDC strategy a significant<br />

boost across retailing, distribution and<br />

fulfilment as well as seeing benefits for<br />

airlines, TMCs and corporate buyers. Others<br />

see the deal as solid evidence that the<br />

industry is no longer ignoring NDC.<br />

GDS rivals Amadeus and <strong>Travel</strong>port are<br />

also far along in their own developments.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>port recently laid claim to be the first<br />

GDS to manage live bookings of flights made<br />

via the NDC technology standard.<br />

Meanwhile, Amadeus has been signing up<br />

large TMCs including Amex GBT and Carlson<br />

Wagonlit to help pilot is NDC solution.<br />

With more robust versions of NDC coming<br />

out, the buy-in of large IT providers and<br />

significant partnerships emerging between<br />

TMCs and airlines, the distribution future<br />

looks brighter. <strong>The</strong>re is no silver bullet,<br />

however, that will magic away the complexity<br />

in travel booking and management so<br />

progress will continue to be measured.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re will be much<br />

more talk and activity<br />

in <strong>2019</strong> and 2020 but we’ll<br />

only get critical mass when<br />

the GDSs develop full-blown,<br />

fully interlineable, fully<br />

functioning NDC solutions”<br />

[ ONE ORDER ]<br />

IATA’s One Order initiative is meant to<br />

complement NDC and aims to combine the<br />

information from Passenger Name Records,<br />

etickets and Electronic Messaging Documents<br />

into a single electronic record. <strong>The</strong> idea is<br />

that it will simplify processes, increase<br />

efficiency, reduce cost and improve the<br />

passenger experience, especially around<br />

changes and disruption. Examples where it<br />

could help in corporate travel include better<br />

visibility around out of policy ancillary spend<br />

on airline websites.<br />

According to IATA it also makes duty of care<br />

easier for travel managers because it means<br />

access to information on flight and non-flight<br />

services from one place. An additional<br />

benefit being highlighted is its potential to<br />

also simplify back office processes by<br />

providing combined information on the<br />

complete journey. Over the course of 2018,<br />

IATA was communicating its strategy for One<br />

Order. It hopes that from 2021, NDC will<br />

have reached a critical mass for adoption<br />

and the One Order standard will have been<br />

tested by several airlines.<br />

While TMCs are keeping an eye on what’s<br />

happening with One Order, it’s not a huge<br />

focus for them currently. Most see it as<br />

something the airlines and IT providers need<br />

to work on first before bringing it into the<br />

travel management world.<br />



<strong>Travel</strong> tech / Speaking out<br />



Let’s cut through the jargon, the complexities and the mechanics, and focus<br />

instead on greater choice and ease of booking, writes David Chappell<br />

Now, I’m a tech person through and<br />

through. Cut me and I don’t bleed – I<br />

report a percentage change in my skin<br />

integrity (then document it in Excel). But<br />

techie though I am, I fear that with NDC,<br />

TMCs may be missing the point.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are seismic shifts occurring in travel<br />

distribution. Of this, TMCs are acutely aware.<br />

For many reliant on GDS revenue NDC is a<br />

four letter word. <strong>The</strong> change of the role of<br />

the GDS from a distributor of aggregated<br />

content via ATPCo to an aggregator of distributed<br />

content via API means a revolution in<br />

what TMCs can sell and in how they earn.<br />

And yet, that is the point. As an industry,<br />

the terror of this inevitable change to the<br />

distribution landscape has been so allconsuming<br />

that it’s all we’ve talked about for<br />

nigh on two years. I say this not to belittle<br />

the change. It is driven by the market and<br />

therefore essential. Changes to GDS<br />

earnings will be a point of survival for some<br />

not appropriately diversified in their profit<br />

models – and this is of course a big deal –<br />

but it simply shouldn’t be the headline.<br />

Do you remember SIPS? Invented by Volvo<br />

in 1991, it was all they advertised for years.<br />

Slow-mos of test dummies being saved from<br />

obliteration by some clever engineering and,<br />

of course, that catchy acronym. Don’t get<br />

me wrong, SIPS was a clever piece of safety<br />

tech, but ultimately it was a mechanic of the<br />

machine. No one would care about SIPS if<br />

the car didn’t start.<br />

But here’s the thing. You don’t hear about<br />

it much anymore and do you know why?<br />

Because the buying public doesn’t care<br />

about catchy acronyms, that’s why. What<br />

they care about is the experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> car industry figured this out years ago.<br />

So now when you watch an advert what do<br />

you see? Technical breakdowns regarding<br />

We need to change<br />

the dialogue in our<br />

industry. We are currently<br />

obsessed by the mechanics<br />

and not by the experience”<br />

the throttle configuration of the EMS? No!<br />

You see cars in forests or on roads filled by<br />

dancers, or the computer reading aloud a<br />

funny text message – it’s all about the<br />

experience and not the mechanics.<br />

We need to change the dialogue in our<br />

industry, both to each other and to our<br />

customers. We are currently obsessed by<br />

the mechanics and not the experience. We<br />

should be talking about what these changes<br />

enable. Retail architecture in corporate<br />

travel – think of that! <strong>The</strong> Amazon-style,<br />

dataset-driven booking where we cannot<br />

only offer X, but also Y because your<br />

colleague booked Z. Making content relevant<br />

and easy to book should be our mantra.<br />

This is where the conversation should be,<br />

not about the data transmission standard<br />

between an airline and the intermediary<br />

distribution platforms. <strong>The</strong> retail revolution<br />

has happened already out there in the real<br />

world – we’re playing catching up. Here in<br />

<strong>2019</strong>, NDC uses XML, a language created five<br />

years after SIPS, in 1996. And just like SIPS,<br />

we would do well to remember that NDC is<br />

just the mechanic of the machine.<br />


David is Technology Director at<br />

travel management company<br />

Fello <strong>Travel</strong>, having joined from<br />

Gray Dawes Group in October<br />

2018 where he was Head of<br />

Technology.<br />


Data / <strong>Travel</strong> tech<br />


“We could be closing in on drastic change,” states Greeley Koch, Executive<br />

Director of ACTE, in the organisation’s white paper on the evolution of air<br />

distribution. And if the findings of the survey are anything to go by, there<br />

are certainly mixed views and varying levels of engagement with IATA’s<br />

New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard.<br />

“For decades, the corporate travel booking process has operated in basically the same way.<br />

While the system worked in simpler times, it’s needed to be updated for quite some time,”<br />

continues Koch. “Six years ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) started talking<br />

about New Distribution Capability (NDC). <strong>The</strong> idea: offers could be personalised for specific<br />

travellers, helping them to be more efficient while companies would benefit from cleaner<br />

reporting on their total airline spend, and airlines would have greater flexibility with pricing<br />

options.” Discover the findings of its survey, in association with American Express Global<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>, below, and read more about distribution developments on pages 76-77.<br />



£<br />



44 %<br />




Significantly concerned<br />

90 %<br />

46 %<br />

89 %<br />

51 %<br />

88 %<br />

45 %<br />

88 %<br />

42 % 87 %<br />

Concerned<br />


81%<br />




64%<br />







83 %<br />




67 %<br />

56%<br />


45 %<br />


45 %<br />







AIRLINES – 41%<br />


DON’T KNOW /OTHER – 12%<br />

TMCs – 4%<br />









OTHER – 7%<br />




<strong>The</strong> best new... Gadgets & gear<br />


DuPont Kevlar has launched an eight-piece<br />

Kevlar luggage collection. Built using Kevlar<br />

fibre, the luggage is light but tough. <strong>The</strong><br />

collection has been designed with business<br />

travellers in mind and includes an easy<br />

access laptop pocket to a backpack with an<br />

open flip lid. <strong>The</strong> large eight-wheel trolley<br />

luggage is priced at £599 and the medium<br />

trolley is £499. <strong>The</strong> kevlar duffle bag is £360<br />

and the backpack is £299. All can be bought<br />

from caseluggage.com<br />


ACTION!<br />




<strong>The</strong> GoPro Hero7 Black is<br />

the latest offering from<br />

GoPro and ups the ante<br />

with professional looking<br />

shots, enhanced<br />

stabilisation, improved<br />

audio recording, a new<br />

'TimeWarp' function to<br />

create timelapse videos<br />

and the ability to<br />

livestream to Facebook.<br />

<strong>The</strong> device is no bigger<br />

than its predecessor and<br />

is waterproof.<br />

gopro.com<br />



TRAVEL KIT This kit is a one-stop shop<br />

for every charger, lead or adapter you’ll<br />

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charge stream pad, car charger and a<br />

micro USB adapter. eu.mophie.com<br />

LEAKPROOF WATER BOTTLE <strong>The</strong> new<br />

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or cold all day. leakproof.co.uk<br />


Funded via Kickstarter, this travel pillow<br />

has a modular design which offers head<br />

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memory foam and soft fabrics. It even<br />

looks cool too! coritraveller.com<br />


<strong>The</strong>se tiny Earin M-2 wireless earphones do<br />

more than provide quality sound. <strong>The</strong>y can filter<br />

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GOTENNA MESH Stay connected<br />

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STYLE<br />



New kid on the block<br />

Lincoln Plaza London<br />

THE LOWDOWN This addition to<br />

Hilton’s Curio Collection opened for<br />

business at the turn of the year in a<br />

prime position in Canary Wharf.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are 129 rooms across<br />

seven categories, plus an Indian<br />

restaurant, cocktail bar, fitness<br />

room, 465m 2 of event space and<br />

seven meeting rooms, plus, from<br />

April, a pool, sauna and steam<br />

room. <strong>The</strong> hotel is part of a new<br />

30-storey residential development<br />

on London’s Isle of Dogs, close to<br />

South Quay DLR station and five<br />

kilometres from City Airport. <strong>The</strong><br />

Curio Collection by Hilton is an<br />

'upper upscale' portfolio of more<br />

than 60 individual hotels.<br />

that's a FACT <strong>The</strong> new Lincoln<br />

Plaza development – of which the<br />

hotel is one element – earned the<br />

unfortunate title of ‘Worst new<br />

Building’ in Building Design’s 2016<br />

Carbuncle Cup competition.<br />

However the organisers also<br />

conceded that “architectural design<br />

is… a matter of personal tastes” and<br />

that “the scheme sold out, so clearly<br />

the project is liked”.<br />

they said it “<strong>The</strong> hotel echoes<br />

the sleek architectural cues of<br />

Canary Wharf, drawing inspiration<br />

from the area’s rich industrial<br />

heritage. In the lobby, guests are<br />

welcomed by polished concrete<br />

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room rates Rates start from<br />

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Untitled-1 1 20/11/2018 09:03


On business in... Cape Town<br />

Sitting beneath Table<br />

Mountain, the port city<br />

of Cape Town is the<br />

legislative capital of<br />

South Africa. <strong>The</strong><br />

thriving city port was<br />

developed by the<br />

Dutch East India<br />

Company and today is<br />

still an economic<br />

powerhouse, boasting<br />

a varied economy.<br />

Amazing<br />

views<br />

from Table<br />

Mountain<br />

Getting there<br />

British Airways operates<br />

direct flights from Gatwick to<br />

Cape Town three times a week<br />

and a daily service from London<br />

Heathrow. Alternatively, South<br />

African Airways operates daily<br />

services from London Heathrow<br />

via its hub in Johannesburg.<br />

Further information<br />

For details on meetings and<br />

events and visiting Cape Town,<br />

see goto.capetown/conventions<br />

or email conventionbureau@<br />

wesgro.co.za<br />


<strong>The</strong> Silo Hotel on the V&A<br />

Waterfront has been open for just<br />

over a year and offers five-star<br />

luxury in a converted grain elevator.<br />

Major brands are also represented<br />

including Taj, Hilton and Westin. In<br />

Camps Bay, <strong>The</strong> Bay Hotel is a<br />

popular luxury option with sea views<br />

and beach access.<br />

EATING<br />

Carnivores will like the Hussar Grill,<br />

with the original branch in<br />

Rondebosch. One of the best<br />

seafood restaurants in Cape Town is<br />

the Codfather, located in Camp’s<br />

Bay. <strong>The</strong> Pot Luck Club offers<br />

seasonal fine dining, and for fine<br />

French bistro food visit La Tête.<br />

the airport and South Africa drives<br />

on the left. Avoid unauthorised taxis<br />

or minibus ‘Quantum’ taxis which<br />

can be risky for visitors to use.<br />

Further out in the historical seaside<br />

town of Hout Bay, Snoekies is the<br />

place for great fish and chips.<br />


If the weather is clear take the cable<br />


<strong>The</strong> popular V&A Waterfront<br />

car to the top of Table Mountain –<br />

or tackle the steep hike to the top.<br />

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens<br />

is filled with bars,<br />

restaurants and shops.<br />

Watering holes here<br />

include Mitchell’s Ale House<br />

and Ferrymans Tavern.<br />

Drinks<br />

on the<br />

waterfront<br />

is considered one of the best<br />

gardens in the world and<br />

wine fans should visit Groot<br />

Constantia, the oldest vineyard<br />

in the region. Further afield, drive<br />

Beerhouse on Long Street stands<br />

out with plenty of beers and is<br />

to Simon’s Town, home to a large<br />

colony of rare African penguins.<br />

popular with locals. Victoria Road in<br />

Camp’s Bay is home to hangouts<br />

including Dizzy’s and Café Caprice.<br />


Transfers can be arranged to and<br />

from the airport via reputable taxi<br />

services. Alternatively, most major<br />

car hire brands are represented at<br />




Focus on... Latin America<br />

Comprising 20 diverse<br />

nations, Latin America<br />

covers a vast area of<br />

South and Central<br />

America. Countries within<br />

the region represent<br />

some of the world’s<br />

largest economies, writes<br />

Benjamin coren<br />

Latin America loves Great Britain.<br />

In 2016, countries in the region<br />

imported £12.5billion of UK goods<br />

and services, with total trade both<br />

ways hitting £22.1billion.<br />

With its exit from the European<br />

Union imminent, Britain needs to<br />

adapt as a global trader and<br />

rapidly-developing nations with<br />

populations keen to consume are<br />

key to the UK's future success.<br />

And Latin America's young<br />

population, diverse economy and<br />

bountiful natural resources put it in<br />

a strong position as a trading<br />

partner. Speaking last year in Leeds<br />

at the Northern Powerhouse and<br />

Latin America Trade Corridor<br />

Report, Minister for Investment<br />

Graham Stuart MP said: “<strong>The</strong> IMF<br />

is predicting that 90% of global<br />

growth in the next 10 to 15 years<br />

will come from outside the EU.”<br />

He added that the Department for<br />

International Trade is making the<br />

region a high priority.<br />

“UK export finance has doubled<br />

government support for firms<br />

looking to export into countries<br />

across the region, including up to<br />

£5billion for Mexico, £4.5billion for<br />

Chile and £3billion for Brazil.”<br />

Brazil is the seventh biggest<br />

economy in the world with a GDP of<br />

$2.3trillion and companies such as<br />

Rolls Royce, Shell, BP and Experian<br />

operating there. It is Latin America’s<br />

largest economy and acts as a<br />

gateway for businesses in<br />

neighbouring countries. Top<br />

exports from the UK to Brazil<br />

include machinery, vehicles,<br />

times zones: GMT -3hrs<br />

in Argentina and Chile;<br />

GMT -5hrs in Colombia and<br />

Peru; GMT -2hrs in Brazil.<br />

currency:<br />

Argentine Peso: £1= $47.53<br />

Brazil Real: £1= R4.75<br />

Chilean Peso: £1= CLP865.99<br />

Colombian Peso: £1= COP4048<br />

Peru Sol: £1= PEN4.30<br />

dialling codes: Argentina: +54;<br />

Brazil: +55; Chile: +56;<br />

Colombia: +57; Peru: +51<br />

visas: UK passport holders do<br />

not need a visa to visit Latin<br />

American countries as a tourist.<br />

Ensure passports have six<br />

months validity on entry date<br />



pharmaceuticals, electrical<br />

appliances and chemical products.<br />

Chile is the fifth-largest economy<br />

in South America. Despite language<br />

difference and a long travel time,<br />

international business is on the rise<br />

to this part of the world.<br />

British Airways revealed in its On<br />

<strong>Business</strong> programme data that its<br />

route to Santiago (pictured) posted<br />

yearly growth of 18% in 2018 from<br />

SMEs. <strong>The</strong> figures were backed up<br />

by James Ashton-Bell, CBI Head of<br />

International Trade, who said: “2018<br />

was a great year for UK exports,<br />

with new records set for innovative<br />

British goods and services reaching<br />

overseas destinations. Small and<br />

scale-up firms are powering this<br />

drive, breaking into new markets<br />

and discovering that demand for<br />

British expertise is ever-growing.”<br />

Chile also benefits from free trade<br />

agreements with the majority of<br />

goods from the UK entering the<br />

country with zero tariffs.<br />

In Peru and Colombia, the<br />

Department for International<br />

Trade names beverages, vehicles,<br />

machinery and pharmaceuticals as<br />

export opportunities.<br />

Meanwhile, in Argentina top<br />

exports from the UK include<br />

plastics, chemicals, medical<br />

equipment, professional and<br />

scientific instruments, machinery<br />

and mechanical appliances.<br />

More businesses in the UK than<br />

ever are seeking expansion<br />

overseas and in Latin America<br />

in particular.<br />

“With exports now reaching<br />

£626billion we look forward to<br />

<strong>2019</strong>. Overseas trade will continue<br />

to play a crucial part in economic<br />

growth and my international<br />

economic department will do all it<br />

can to support UK businesses to<br />

expand their operations overseas”,<br />

says International Trade Secretary,<br />

Dr Liam Fox MP.<br />




Factfile: Latin America<br />


British Airways: Flies to<br />

Santiago five times a week<br />

from London Heathrow.<br />

<strong>The</strong> carrier also operates direct<br />

flights to Lima three times a<br />

week between April and<br />

October, and for the rest<br />

of the year it operates a<br />

one-stop service from<br />

Heathrow. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

additional daily services from<br />

Heathrow to Rio, Sao Paulo and<br />

Buenos Aires, as well as a five<br />

times a week service to Mexico<br />

City from London Heathrow.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is also a three-timesweekly<br />

service from Gatwick<br />

to San Jose, Costa Rica.<br />

Latam: Operates a daily<br />

service to Sao Paulo from<br />

London Heathrow.<br />

Norwegian: Flies daily from<br />

London Gatwick to Buenos<br />

Aires and, from <strong>Mar</strong>ch 31, will<br />

all also offer four weekly flights<br />

to Rio de Janeiro.<br />

Regular<br />

services<br />

with BA<br />

South America including<br />

Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima,<br />

Sao Paulo. British Airways<br />

partner Iberia flies to Buenos<br />

Aires, Lima, Rio, Sao Paulo<br />

and Bogota via Madrid.<br />

Air France KLM flies to<br />

various destinations in the<br />

region via its Paris hub<br />

and there are flights via US<br />

hubs with United, Delta and<br />

American Airlines.<br />

american<br />

options<br />

abound<br />

miraflores<br />

laps up the<br />

sun in Lima<br />

Avianca: Operates a daily<br />

service from London Heathrow<br />

to Bogota, Colombia.<br />

Aeromexico: Flies daily from<br />

London Heathrow to Mexico<br />

City. <strong>The</strong>re is also a new<br />

seasonal flight from the UK to<br />

Belize via Mexico City offering<br />

convenient same-day<br />

connections for UK travellers.<br />

One-stop options:<br />

TAp operates routes to Rio and<br />

Sao Paulo via its Lisbon hub.<br />

Air Europa flies from Gatwick<br />

via Madrid to 18 destinations in<br />

HOTELS<br />

Melia Hotels: Has a strong<br />

presence in Latin America with<br />

properties in Brazil, Argentina,<br />

Colombia and Peru.<br />

NH Hotels: <strong>The</strong> group is well<br />

represented in these countries<br />

with hotels located in the<br />

country capitals and<br />

additional hotels in Chile.<br />

Accor Hotels: Has<br />

amongst the largest<br />

coverage in Latin America<br />

with over 200 properties in<br />

Brazil, and a solid presence in<br />

Argentina, Chile, Colombia<br />

and Peru.<br />

Intercontinental Hotels<br />

Group: Has properties in<br />

Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo,<br />

Santiago, Medellin and Caracas.<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>riott: Has an abundance<br />

of hotels in the region with<br />

most of its hotels in Colombia,<br />

Argentina, Chile and Ecuador. It<br />

also has locations in Central<br />

America in Costa Rica, Panama<br />

and Honduras.<br />

Find the<br />

colour of<br />

La Boca<br />

OFF DUTY<br />

Bogota: Visit the city’s<br />

cobblestoned centre, La<br />

Candelaria, which features<br />

colonial-era landmarks. Also<br />

check out Plaza Bolivar and the<br />

Gold Museum and art on<br />

display at Museo Botero.<br />

Buenos Aires: See the<br />

city’s colourful houses at<br />

La Boca. In the central<br />

Plaza de Mayo visit the<br />

cathedral and the<br />

presidential palace or see the<br />

tombs at Recoleta cemetery.<br />

Lima: From Lima’s central<br />

square visitors can see the<br />

government palace, cathedral,<br />

and the archbishop’s palace.<br />

Discover Peru's history at the<br />

Larco Museum and find the<br />

ruins of Huaca Pullana. <strong>The</strong><br />

beaches of Miraflores are a<br />

great place to escape.<br />

Rio De Janeiro: Climb up<br />

Corcovado Mountain for<br />

stunning views and the iconic<br />

Christ the Redeemer statue.<br />

Take the cable car up Sugarloaf<br />

Mountain or relax on<br />

Copacabana beach.<br />

Sao Paulo: Discover green<br />

fields at Ibirapuera Park.<br />

Paulista Avenue is the location<br />

of numerous museums,<br />

restaurants and bars. <strong>The</strong><br />

Museum of Art has a vast and<br />

impressive collection.<br />

Santiago: Climb San Cristobal<br />

Hill for views of the city with a<br />

backdrop of the Andes. <strong>The</strong><br />

central Plaza de Armas is filled<br />

with statues and is a central<br />

focal point of the city.<br />


New route Medellin<br />

Fly on board our Boeing 787<br />

Dreamliner for an unforgettable<br />

flying experience.<br />

Three weekly frequencies from<br />

London Gatwick.<br />

All flights are via Madrid.


Reality check<br />



Cheval has eight<br />

Bridge in one direction and HMS<br />

locations in London but this is its<br />

Belfast and the Shard in the other. And<br />

flagship property. It has 159 units and<br />

the novelty didn't wear off throughout<br />

is well located in the City of London<br />

my stay. <strong>The</strong> furnishings and facilities<br />

and adjacent to the Tower of London,<br />

were befitting of Three Quays' excellent<br />

Tower Bridge and Tower Pier for<br />

location, with this two-bedroom unit<br />

riverboat services along the Thames.<br />

featuring a large living, dining and<br />


<strong>The</strong> lobby was more<br />

kitchen area and three – yes three –<br />

akin to a luxury hotel than a serviced<br />

small balconies. <strong>The</strong> kitchen had a<br />

apartment reception, with two murals<br />

dishwasher, hobs, fridge-freezer,<br />

depicting medieval life when the site<br />

microwave, coffee machine, oven and<br />

was once a working dock hanging<br />

a welcome box of basic essentials.<br />

above a water feature, plus stone<br />

Elsewhere, there was a washing machine<br />

mosaics on the floor and leather<br />

and tumble dryer, a safe and spacious<br />

seating populated by well-heeled<br />

bathroom (and an additional ensuite<br />

guests. I was soon checked in and<br />

bathroom off the master bedroom).<br />

overseas – it should be noted that this<br />

enjoyed studying the fascinating black<br />


<strong>The</strong>re's a 24-hour<br />

property comfortably fulfils its 'luxury<br />

and white photographs of historic<br />

reception and concierge, fitness suite,<br />

residence' billing with well-equipped<br />

London that adorn corridor walls as I<br />

headed to my apartment.<br />

THE APARTMENT I'm not sure I've<br />

witnessed such impressive views from<br />

daily housekeeping and, at ground<br />

level, several river and street-side<br />

coffee shops and restaurants.<br />

THE VERDICT While it's easy to dwell<br />




and tastefully decorated apartments<br />

and good service too.<br />

THE DETAILS 40 Lower Thames<br />

Street, London, EC3R 6AG. One<br />

any London accommodation before,<br />

on the views that Three Quays' River<br />

bedroom apartments start from £275<br />

with the apartment's floor-to-ceiling<br />

View apartments command – which<br />

per night. <strong>The</strong>re is no minimum stay.<br />

windows offering magical twilight views<br />

make this a top choice for those<br />

See: chevalresidences.com<br />

across the Tower of London and Tower<br />

looking to wow executives visiting from<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />



Oaks on <strong>Mar</strong>ket is a<br />


On-site business<br />

serviced apartment property located in<br />

facilities include three function rooms<br />

the heart of Melbourne CBD, close to<br />

designed to provide flexible meeting<br />

the iconic Flinders Street Station and<br />

arrangements for 10-200 delegates in a<br />

the useful tram network. <strong>The</strong> 4.5 star<br />

range of configurations, with specially<br />

tower block houses 280 studios, one<br />

designed meetings menus when<br />

and two-bedroom apartments.<br />

required. Guests can use 30 minutes<br />


First impressions are<br />

of free wifi each day with longer access<br />

welcoming. I am greeted by smiling<br />

available at an extra cost – the concept<br />

staff and check-in is quick and efficient.<br />

of free wifi access as standard (typical<br />

This means prompt access to the<br />

in Europe and the US) still hasn’t<br />

apartment, despite my early morning<br />

reached Australia!<br />

arrival – a great benefit after my long<br />


<strong>The</strong> reception<br />

journey from the UK.<br />

adjoins a contemporary public area<br />

THE ROOM<br />

My one-bedroom<br />

which serves as a buzzing meeting<br />

apartment was located on the 17th<br />

point and social hub complete with<br />

South Bank, many good restaurants<br />

floor with floor-to-ceiling windows<br />

contemporary furnishings. It adjoins an<br />

and the city’s transport system, the<br />

overlooking the Melbourne skyline.<br />

informal restaurant. <strong>The</strong>re is a small<br />

property provides a fuss-free home-<br />

Smart and minimalist in style, the<br />

apartment was spacious with an open<br />

plan living area with huge TV and table/<br />

desk area, well-equipped kitchenette,<br />

large bedroom and large ensuite. An<br />

but well set up gym and lovely pool<br />

and sauna. Room service is also<br />

available, while the property offers<br />

free newspapers, a laundry with 24hr<br />

turnaround and undercover car park<br />




VIBE<br />

from-home with a relaxed vibe and<br />

facilities well suited to combining<br />

business and leisure.<br />

THE DETAILS Oaks on <strong>Mar</strong>ket, 60<br />

<strong>Mar</strong>ket Street Melbourne, Victoria.<br />

‘opt to go green’ option (no room<br />

as part of its offer.<br />

Rooms start at around £100 per night.<br />

cleaning) earns guests a A$5 a day<br />


Conveniently located<br />

Tel +61 038631111. oakshotels.com<br />

credit in the restaurant.<br />

for business and the attractions of the<br />

Julie Baxter<br />





Flight BA015 from<br />

per the menu but there was another<br />

London Heathrow Terminal 5 to<br />

chicken option, beef stroganoff or a<br />

Singapore, departing on time at 9.45pm<br />

Christmas dinner option. I went for the<br />

on Christmas Day and operated by a<br />

turkey. It was good – plenty of thick<br />

B777. I was flying in British Airways’<br />

slices of meat, roast potatoes, parsnips,<br />

World <strong>Travel</strong>ler Plus cabin.<br />

plenty of gravy, a couple of sprouts and<br />


While the chaos caused<br />

chestnut stuffing, followed by mince pie<br />

by drones at Gatwick pre-occupied the<br />

and cream. <strong>The</strong> red cabbage salad and<br />

media, Heathrow T5 was full of festive<br />

cheese and biscuits completed the offer.<br />

spirit, decorations and cheery staff.<br />

Two hours prior to landing a full English<br />

Check-in was quick and easy.<br />

breakfast or omlette along with pastries<br />


Crew were warm and<br />

and juice was served.<br />

welcoming and were all entering into the<br />

THE SEAT<br />

Seat 24E was an aisle<br />

spirit of the day with reindeer antlers or<br />

seat in a row of four with rows of two on<br />

Santa hats and tinsel. Sparkling wine was<br />

each window side. <strong>The</strong> seat recline was<br />

offered promptly as a welcome, and<br />

stiff and hard to operate but the recline<br />


<strong>The</strong> premium economy<br />

festive food choices were advised on a<br />

was good and the leg space ample. I<br />

seat was comfortable and my meal was<br />

special menu card. Drinks and pretzels<br />

was given an excellent noise-cancelling<br />

good but the stand out feature was the<br />

were served within the hour with<br />

generous ‘well as it’s Christmas’ double<br />

G&Ts and two mini wine bottles with<br />

dinner. Dinner was served within two<br />

hours with our ebullient stewardess<br />

headset and there was a good selection<br />

of inflight entertainment. <strong>The</strong> in-arm<br />

tables mean the arm can’t be lifted<br />

which made it hard for middle seat<br />

passengers to get out. A small amenity<br />





staff. Great service from a crew that<br />

were upbeat and full of Christmas spirit.<br />

THE DETAILS British Airways operates<br />

two direct flights a day from London<br />

Heathrow to Singapore. Return prices<br />

admitting her trolley was a bit like<br />

kit included socks, toothbrush and eye<br />

start at £1,144 including all taxes. See:<br />

Santa’s sack – full of surprises. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

mask. <strong>The</strong>re was a good fleece blanket<br />

britishairways.com<br />

didn’t seem to be any chicken stir-fry as<br />

and pillow provided.<br />

Julie Baxter<br />



This aparthotel is<br />


All guests can take<br />

one half of a dual development from<br />

advantage of the complimentary hot<br />

Cycas Hospitality which sees it reside<br />

and cold breakfast buffet, while evening<br />

alongside a fellow IHG brand, a Holiday<br />

social receptions for guests to meet<br />

Inn, at Westfield Stratford City. <strong>The</strong><br />

and mingle and enjoy complimentary<br />

Staybridge aparthotel has 162 studio<br />

drinks and nibbles are held three times<br />

and one-bedroom suites.<br />

a week. <strong>The</strong>re's also a fitness room,<br />


<strong>The</strong> aparthotel was<br />

laundry facilities, 24-hour reception<br />

reasonably well signposted as I made<br />

and a Pantry, Lounge, Den and roof<br />

my way through the crowds of shoppers<br />

terrace – with fine city views – which<br />

to the elevators that whisk guests up<br />

all appeared well used by guests as<br />

to the reception floor. I was checked in<br />

social and relaxation spaces. Guests<br />

by a friendly member of staff – there's<br />

can also make use of the neighbouring<br />

an almost informal atmosphere about<br />

Holiday Inn's restaurant, bar and<br />

this aparthotel – after a short wait<br />

meeting room facilities, and can also<br />

behind a couple of overseas visitors.<br />

order room service from the sister<br />

equipped for longer stays, with the<br />


A kitchenette and small<br />

property. Wifi access if free.<br />

compact kitchens containing all that a<br />

lounge area (with sofa, desk and TV)<br />


Its location within<br />

self-caterer needs, while there's a good<br />

gave way to the bedroom and bathroom<br />

– all tastefully decorated and enhanced<br />

with mirrors, lamps and photographs<br />

of London. <strong>The</strong> kitchenette was cleverly<br />

Westfield Stratford City means it<br />

welcomes plenty of shoppers, but its<br />

strategic position between Stratford<br />

and Stratford International stations<br />




range of facilities here too.<br />

THE DETAILS 10b Chestnut Plaza,<br />

Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet<br />

Road, London, E20 1GL. Rooms start<br />

laid out and contained a fridge, hob,<br />

and proximity to Canary Wharf and<br />

from £95 per night (plus VAT). Nightly<br />

oven, dishwasher, coffee machine,<br />

London City Airport appears to ensure<br />

rates drop for stays of seven nights or<br />

plenty of crockery and utensils, and a<br />

there's a steady stream of business<br />

more. See: staybridgesuites.com<br />

couple of recipe cards.<br />

guests too. <strong>The</strong> suites are perfectly<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />




<strong>The</strong> final word<br />

Remember your WC graces<br />

Don’t let it be said that<br />

<strong>The</strong> Final Word isn’t<br />

prepared to get its<br />

hands dirty in search of cheap<br />

gags. So here's a little story<br />

about toilets.<br />

Or, to be more precise, the<br />

lavs aboard Virgin Trains. You<br />

see, it appears the reason the<br />

facilities are often closed is that<br />

people are simply flushing<br />

inappropriate items.<br />

Keen to remind us that you<br />

should restrict the pan to ‘the<br />

three Ps’ – a euphemism that is<br />

difficult to shake from your<br />

mind, since it actually stands for<br />

pee, poo and paper – we learn<br />

that all sorts of rubbish has been<br />

disposed of into Virgin’s toilets.<br />

Since we are scraping the<br />

bottom of the barrel (or should<br />

that be bowl?), you are no doubt<br />

keen to learn that baby wipes<br />

are the top culprit when it<br />

comes to blocking up pipes,<br />

accounting for 90% of incidents.<br />

In total, says Virgin Trains,<br />

blockages cause 18,000 lost<br />

toilet hours every year, and<br />

cost more than £182,000 to fix.<br />

More concerning is the list of<br />

items also found to have been<br />

caught up in and around the<br />

U-bends of it pendolinos. Pity<br />

the unfortunate customers who<br />

lost a bra, a wedding ring and<br />

glasses, but how a Manchester<br />

United scarf came to be on the<br />

list is understandable given the<br />

team’s form under Jose.<br />


FORGOTTEN...<br />

<strong>The</strong> annual <strong>Travel</strong>odge ‘items<br />

left behind’ list is always fun.<br />

But this year it appears some<br />

business travellers have faced<br />

a difficult conversation with<br />

bosses over what’s been lost<br />

1 A set of company accounts<br />

(Aberdeen Central)<br />

2 A Louis Vuitton 'man bag'<br />

containing designs for a<br />

new product launch<br />

(Glasgow Central)<br />

3 A Coutts cheque book<br />

and Silk account card<br />

(London Farringdon)<br />

4 Tax returns for the year<br />

(Inverness City Centre)<br />

5 <strong>Business</strong> plan for a pop-up<br />

shop (Portsmouth)<br />

Meet, and all veg<br />

Vegans, it seems, are<br />

everywhere. And now<br />

they are coming to a<br />

hotel near you too.<br />

Never ones to let a PR<br />

opportunity slip, the Hilton<br />

London Bankside has taken<br />

an eco-friendly plunge with a<br />

dedicated vegan suite. Yes,<br />

this is really a thing!<br />

To be fair, the property has<br />

done it right, consulting<br />

experts from the Vegan<br />

Society to create a room that<br />

is completely ethical yet still<br />

swanky. Highlights include<br />

pillows without feathers, faux<br />

leather made of pineapple<br />

fibres, plus menus and<br />

toiletries that have never<br />

been near an animal.<br />

It is some time since British Airways could be<br />

considered a bellweather for all that was right<br />

about the UK. But at least you can rely on its<br />

customers for a pretty accurate picture of what we<br />

like as a nation. Research into onboard viewing<br />

habits reveals that Blue Planet II was its most-<br />

watched TV show at 36,000ft last year (who<br />

doesn't love Sir David?), followed by Peppa Pig<br />

and a documentary about Prince Harry<br />

and Meghan. Meanwhile,<br />

Red Sparrow<br />

- starring<br />

ever popular<br />

Jennifer<br />

Lawrence<br />

– was perhaps<br />

predictably<br />

the top movie<br />


Advertorial Feature<br />



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As from this date, the Economy Light (LGT)<br />

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for the London gateways, London Heathrow<br />

and London City, where a saving of almost<br />

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Lufthansa Group airlines is an industry leader<br />

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also support the free of charge NDC webbased<br />

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motivate trade partners who have invested in<br />

NDC technology or are in the process of doing<br />

so, Lufthansa Group airlines will continue to<br />

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such as new fare types and ancillaries in <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

In the highly competitive market of the airline<br />

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out with customer-centric and innovative<br />

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Group NDC API including SPRK*<br />

• NDC Partner Program website for<br />

information on Lufthansa Group<br />

NDC API solutions:<br />

www.lhgroupairlines.com/ndc<br />

• Register for the free of charge<br />

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platform SPRK, via the online<br />

form available on the NDC<br />

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• Save Distribution Cost Charge of<br />

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• Access to the attractive Lufthansa<br />

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To find out about Lufthansa Group’s NDC Partner Program visit<br />

www.lhgroupairlines.com/ndc or contact your Lufthansa Group Account Manager

Disruptive<br />

technology?<br />

W h a te v e r<br />

next.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> technology moves fast.<br />

We keep ahead by embracing<br />

the very latest developments.<br />

So whether the future brings<br />

disruptive new tech, new data<br />

or new thinking, we’ll plug it<br />

straight in and continue to<br />

evolve, Bring it on.<br />

Happy to help manage your business travel.<br />

+44 (0)20 7650 3100 | fello.co.uk

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