The Business Travel Magazine April/May 2019

online.magazines

75 April/May 2019

fit for

purpose

Why traveller wellbeing should

be shaping your travel policy

EXTENDED FEATURE: RAIL TRAVEL (p55-78)

+

Focus on Canada

Serviced apartments

Business travel consultants

Talking Travel: Kevin McCloud


For us it’s A to Z,

not just A to B

Booking? That’s the easy bit.

When it comes to travel –

not just booking travel,

but planning, anticipating

and overseeing every aspect

of a trip – Fello is all

about the details.

Happy to help manage your business travel.

+44 (0)20 7650 3100 | fello.co.uk


ARRIVALS

Contents APRIL/MAY

2019

38

10

34

37

It's a complex industry but managing

your rail spend can be mastered

(p55-78)

60

Extended feature

Rail

travel

£

9

72 6

20

24

Features

14 Traveller wellbeing:

Are companies doing enough?

24 Serviced apartments:

Going from strength to strength

38 Consultants: How expertise can

transform your programme

55 Extended feature: Rail travel

Arrivals

6 Opening Shots

8 Everyone's Talking About...

Aviation emissions

9 The Knowledge:

Boosting traveller satisfaction

10 Six of the Best:

Rooftop venues in London

11 Speaking Out: Data security

Regulars

12 The Business Travel People

Awards: Meet the winner

19 Event report: Advantage Focus

20 The Conversation

22 The Big Picture

34 Event preview:

The Business Travel Conference

36 Technology:

Disruption detection

37 Meet the Buyer:

Key Assets' Suzanne Wade

40 Talking Travel: Kevin McCloud

The Review

43 Ten pages of news, views

and the latest developments

77

82

40 83

Departures

80 On the Road:

Alon Baranowitz

81 Meeting in: Liverpool

82 New Kid on the Block:

Dakota Manchester

83 On Business in: Singapore

84 Focus on: Canada

88 Reality Check

90 Final Word

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

3


ARRIVALS

Welcome

Indicative notes

I'd been expecting to use this page to reflect

on the UK's departure from the European

Union – we even pushed our deadline back

in order to accommodate coverage of the

early aftermath. In hindsight, perhaps we

should have known better than to have

banked on the ongoing Brexit saga (or should that be 'fiasco'?) being

resolved by now. Indeed, even back in September last year, a poll of

delegates at our annual event, The Business Travel Conference, showed

nearly two-thirds thought the UK would not leave 'on time' on March 29.

A second poll revealed only 10% of delegates thought Brexit would not

affect their business.

One travel business that has suffered from "uncertainty around Brexit"

– as well as other economic headwinds – is regional airline Flybe. As its

Chief Executive Christine Ourmières-Widener says in an interview in this

issue (pages 20-21), if she had handled a process within her business as

badly as Theresa May and her government have then she would have

been out of a job a long time ago. Then again, perhaps dogged Mrs May

will be unemployed by the time you read these words.

While Westminster is seemingly absorbed in just one issue, it is reassuring

that life goes on elsewhere in government and this autumn will see the

publication of a white paper that is the "culmination of the biggest and

widest review of the railways for a generation". Rail travel is one of the

most complex cost areas for many businesses, but our extended feature

on the subject (pages 55-78) shines a light on spend management and the

latest developments from operators. Full steam ahead!

the

Businesstravel

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Andy Hoskins

andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd,

Linda Fox, Dave Richardson,

Gillian Upton & Angela Sara West

JOURNALIST

Sasha Wood

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES

PUBLISHER

David Clare

david.clare@thebusinesstravelmag.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

SENIOR DESIGNER

Louisa Horton

DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION CONTROLLER

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner

CEO

Martin Steady

Andy Hoskins, Editor

(Print) ISSN 1754-8543. THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY

BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON,

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THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

5


ARRIVALS

OPENING SHOTS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

The scope and detail

of this renovation is

designed to ensure this iconic

London establishment is

recognised as one of the finest

hotels in the world”

Mandarin Oriental

hot stuff

The Mandarin Oriental

Hyde Park in London

will fully reopen to

guests on April 15,

finally completing

the most extensive

restoration in its 117-

year history. All 181

rooms have been

upgraded, along with

its ballroom, spa and

public areas, and two

new penthouses have

been added. Work

was delayed after a

roof fire last June.

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Sheraton

new look

Sheraton Hotels and

Resorts has unveiled a

new communal lobby

concept to be rolled

out across Europe.

The spaces will include

a ‘community tableʼ

where guests can

work, eat or drink, as

well as private booths

and a coffee bar.

Lowry Manchester

class act

Manchesterʼs most

expensive suite has had

a £700,000 facelift. The

five-star The Lowry Hotel

took three months to

refresh its 2,228ft 2

penthouse, which is a

favourite of A-list

celebrities and royalty.

The suite is priced at

£4,000 a night.

Ascott Citadines

mixing it up

Ascott has extended

its Citadines serviced

apartment brand with

the launch of Citadines

Connect – a line of

business hotels with

selected services. The

properties, debuting in

Sydney and New York,

feature mobile keys, self

check-in kiosks, a Grab

‘nʼ Go F&B offering and

gyms open 24/7.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

7


ARRIVALS

EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

Aviation emissions

RYANAIR

IS THE ONLY

“TECHNOLOGY AIRLINE NAMED DOESN’T AMONG

RESCUE EUROPE’S YOU TOP BUT TEN IT POLLUTERS,

PROVIDES

CONFIDENCE A CHART OTHERWISE AND VISIBILITY. COMPRISED YOUR

TMC OF COAL-FIRED SHOULD HAVE POWER THE PLANTS. PROCESS

AND PROCEDURES TO RUN REPORTS

HOWEVER EMISSIONS ARE

AND HELP YOU REACH THOSE

GROWING MORE RAPIDLY AT

AFFECTED BY AN INCIDENT”

EIGHT Ewan Kassir, OTHER Head of AIRLINES,

Sales, Clarity

EU DATA SUGGESTS

“Aviation is Europe’s biggest climate failure.

The worst thing we can do is to put all our

hopes in an offsetting scheme that gives

airlines a license to grow indefinitely”

Andrew Murphy, Aviation Manager, Transport & Environment

“AS AN INDUSTRY IT’S IMPORTANT WE WORK TOGETHER TO

REDUCE THE SECTOR’S ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT. IT’S

REFRESHING TO SEE SO MANY GTMC MEMBERS AND PARTNERS

INVESTING IN SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES, BUT WE ENCOURAGE

MORE TO DO SO IN ORDER TO FUTURE-PROOF THE SECTOR”

Adrian Parkes, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC

As we prepare

to expand our

airport, we’re working

with airlines to

encourage fierce

competition for the top

spot of the ‘Fly Quiet &

Green’ league table”

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability

Michael Gill,

Executive

Director,

Air Transport

Action Group

“IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT TO SAY THAT

AIRLINES ARE NOT TAKING CLIMATE ACTION

SERIOUSLY. AIRLINES ARE HEAVILY ENGAGED IN

SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVING FUEL EFFICIENCY”

“Ryanair is the greenest airline in Europe. Our CO2

per passenger km is 67g, which is 25% lower than

the other big European airlines. Our environmental

policy commits to further reducing this to 61.4g by

2030 – 31% lower than other big airlines in Europe”

Ryanair spokesperson

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


ARRIVALS

THE KNOWLEDGE

How to...

Boost traveller satisfaction

Networking platform LinkedIn was

seeking ways to boost the satisfaction of

its business travellers. Read on to

discover how it went about it.

THE BACKGROUND

LinkedIn recognised that

traveller satisfaction should

be at the forefront of

thinking for travel

procurement today, using

travel policy as a carrot to

attract new talent.

Around 8,000 LinkedIn

employees take regular

business trips, the bill

for which exceeds $40million. But with

LinkedIn's travel policy being just four years

old there were some kinks to be ironed out.

“LinkedIn has a 'non-mandate culture'

where employees take ownership of their

actions,” says LinkedIn's Global Travel and

Event Operations Manager, Leslie Hadden.

“While there is a travel policy, it's basically

just a guide and it wasn't always clear which

suppliers travellers should use. And when

they used their own alternatives it could cost

the company more.”

Critically, however, all these issues led to a

situation where only 64% of LinkedIn's

travelling community were satisfied with

their experiences.

THE RESEARCH

The first step towards

solving a problem is to

make sure you fully

understand it, so LinkedIn

needed to know who its

travellers were, why they

travel, and what information, services,

and amenities they needed to

best achieve their business

travel goals.

To this end, the company launched a

survey and asked all their travelling

employees to complete it. Once it had the

data, LinkedIn could break down the

various issues their people were having and

begin devising solutions.

“Segregating the groups and really

listening gave us a very good understanding

of our travellers,” says Hadden. “We

learned that 44% of LinkedIn travellers are

in sales, products and services who travel

often and care about their budget.

“But in addition to the road warriors,

there are travel arrangers, new travellers,

executives and people in the finance

department who have an interest in travel.

And we learned that travellers were

interested in exploring new accommodation

and travel options – like Airbnb and Uber –

when they were on the road.”

THE SOLUTION

LinkedIn set about

addressing each issue. A

new platform, TravelIn,

allowed the company to

deliver travel messaging

more effectively than

before. In addition, the

inSider platform also

allowed messages to be shared socially

between the company's travellers. The

in-house booking tool was

streamlined

and upgraded with new guidelines and

advice, with satisfaction in booking trips

rising 13% as a result. Within 18 months,

overall traveller satisfaction in the LinkedIn

travel experience had risen to 84%, with

reports of dissatisfaction or extreme

dissatisfaction down to just 4%.

THE CONCLUSION

Traveller satisfaction is

going to continue to be a

hot topic as we move

through 2019. LinkedIn has

shown that by simply

listening, things can be set back on course.

“People are starting to really love our

programme. They're noticing that we're

communicating with them and connecting

with them,” says Hadden. “My goal is to

make travellers happier and more

productive on the road and traveller

engagement is at the heart of that.”

• LinkedIn's Global Travel Manager,

Leslie Hadden, will be hosting a session

on Traveler Satisfaction: Finding The

Balance Between Experience, Productivity

and Cost at ProcureCon Travel 2019, taking

place in May at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas,

Henderson, May 14-15. For more

information see procurecontravel.com

ADEOLU ELETU

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

9


ARRIVALS

SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best...

Rooftop venues in London

1

THE TRAFALGAR ST JAMES

The go-to central London rooftop,

the Trafalgar St James hotel’s

smart-yet-relaxed bar looks out

over Trafalgar Square. It’s a great

place for cocktails and there are

even cashmere blankets to keep

guests warm on chilly nights.

The glass-enclosed ‘Room’ is

available for private events.

2

3

THE BILTMORE, MAYFAIR

Set to become another sky-high

central London staple, the new

Biltmore hotel’s rooftop bar will

open in well-heeled Mayfair this

spring. The sheltered alfresco

terrace lets visitors take in the

sights whatever the weather.

12TH KNOT, SEA CONTAINERS,

SOUTHBANK

Part of the nautical-themed Sea

Containers hotel, this recently

revamped rooftop bar has a

playful design with space to host

receptions and cocktail parties

for up to 300 people.

4

VINTRY & MERCER’S ROOF

TERRACE, CITY

Named after two historic guilds

and nestled above the city’s

atmospheric old trade halls, the

roof terrace of the City’s newest

boutique hotel is full of charm

with a conservatory-style dining

space and a pretty bar leading to

a patio with views of St Paul's.

6

THE STRATFORD AT MANHATTAN

LOFT GARDENS, STRATFORD

The Stratford opens soon, and

with it a terraced restaurant

and garden, Allegra, on the 7th

floor. Higher up, there will be a

sheltered alfresco enclave on the

25th floor complete with fire pits,

barbecues and bar.

5

THE STANDARD LONDON,

KING’S CROSS

Hip US brand Standard Hotels

is opening its London outpost

this spring. Three new storeys

have been added to its revamped

Brutalist home in King's Cross,

topped by a precipitous bar

accessed by an exterior lift.

10 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ARRIVALS

SPEAKING OUT

Data security

The numbers add up

In a digital world that demands more

rigorous requirements around data

privacy and security, Elyes Mrad considers

the challenges that organisations face

when building more robust systems

We have become accustomed to hearing

about major data breaches in the travel

industry, and although it may appear that

cybercrime is increasingly prolific, it is a more

complex picture than that.

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation

(GDPR), which came into force last year,

brought in universal breach notification

obligations, while all US states have also

passed breach notification laws. So to some

degree, the apparent rise is because we have

better visibility on cybercrime. But it’s also

true that today those carrying out data

attacks are increasingly better organised and

resourced, so attacks are more sophisticated

and harder to prevent.

GDPR has reinforced the fact that we are

an industry that cares for people on the

move, and part of that care is protecting

their data. So we all need to understand our

responsibilities and what we can do to

mitigate risk at individual, organisational and

at industry level.

When selecting a supplier, it’s vital you put

them through their paces on their privacy

ELYES MRAD

Elyes Mrad is International Senior

Vice President and Managing

Director at American Express

Global Business Travel (GBT). Elyes

heads up commercial business in

EMEA and APAC and is responsible

for driving growth and client

retention strategies in

these regions.

regime – and you should shine the spotlight

on your TMC in particular. Your TMC needs to

share traveller data with a vast network of

travel partners all around the world, so it’s

essential they have a highly robust thirdparty

assessment programme to ensure

those partners meet security standards.

All your suppliers should be able to show

expertise, transparency and a robust compliance

framework. If they have a compliance

regime such as Binding Corporate Rules,

which are approved by the EU data

A traveller's PNR

reveals a lot of

information, yet people often

treat printed itineraries

rather carelessly”

protection authorities, you know you’re

dealing with a company that takes it

seriously. Your attitude with new suppliers

should be: ‘Don’t just tell me what your policy

is; show me and prove you have all the right

controls in place.’

Another area that needs attention is your

strategy for managing a data breach. GDPR

places breach notification obligations – to

individuals and authorities – on the data

‘controller’, rather than the ‘processor’.

If your TMC is contracted as a controller,

you’re in a good position because you have

removed a source of liability from your own

organisation. But if your TMC is contracted as

a processor, the obligation to notify of a

breach remains with you – and you need

clear internal strategies for handling such

notifications procedures.

What else can we do to minimise risk?

Insider threats are one of the biggest factors

in data attacks, not usually because an

employee is deliberately doing wrong, but

because they inadvertently give access or

information to the bad guys.

There is plenty that organisations of all

sizes can do to mitigate this risk, such as

building an identity and access management

programme that minimises privileged access

to sensitive data and monitors activity of

those accessing it.

Another vital area is education. For example,

phishing – fraudulent emails disguised as

genuine requests from trustworthy entities –

is becoming more pervasive and convincing.

So you should put rigorous, regular phishing

training and testing in place, including

sending sample phishing emails to employees.

For organisations with limited resources,

advice on phishing is freely available online

and can be shared with employees.

Another area where education can reduce

risk is in training travellers to be more vigilant

with their own data. A traveller’s passenger

name record (PNR) reveals a lot of potentially

sensitive information about that person, and

where they are travelling from and to, yet

people often treat printed itineraries carelessly

rather than as confidential material. The

same awareness should be applied to

working on laptops in public places.

But while cybercrime makes the headlines,

remember to look beyond the digital

environment at traveller behaviour and

vigilance. Think about this: long before the

advent of the internet, how many company

secrets have leaked out via lively discussions

in planes, trains and bars? Safeguarding

private and sensitive information should be

everybody’s business.

SARA KURFESS

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

11


awards

meet the winner

Martin Hayes-Gleave

Clarity’s Martin Hayes-Gleave was named MICE Manager of the Year

at The Business Travel People Awards 2018

How did it feel to be

named MICE Manager

of the Year at the

awards?

It was a real shock to

hear my name read out!

It was such a surprise

and honour to be nominated, so a win was

completely unexpected.

Tell us about your role and the work

you’ve done that clinched the award.

Working in the MICE business, there's

always plenty to do. Not only does my role

involve managing the team, but I also deal

directly with clients helping to find suitable

venues, manage the event logistics and

working with creative directors to bring

events to life.

What do you particularly enjoy about

your role in the industry?

I love that this role challenges me as I'm

not the kind of person that likes to do the

same thing over and over again. Being part

of the MICE sector means there's plenty of

variety in the work we do. I also enjoy

working not just with my own

team, but with the wider

Clarity business.

What do you think of

The Business Travel

People Awards and

of the winners event

in particular?

It was a spectacular

afternoon, not just for

me but for Clarity as a

whole as we scooped four

awards in total. The event

isn't my usual scene, but the

whole experience was quite humbling. And

the awards are a great way of recognising

the hard work of the people who are often

behind the scenes, rather than the suppliers

and agencies themselves.

The Business

Travel People Awards

recognise outstanding

individuals and teams across

all aspects of the supplier

element of corporate travel.

This year’s award winners

will be announced on

Friday 24th May

What impact do you think winning an

award will have on your career?

Having been nominated by my colleagues

for the award, it has made me feel

really valued and definitely gave

me a confidence boost.

Winning the award has

given me an opportunity

to shine within the

business and get my

name out there in the

wider industry.

What do you think

are the industry’s

biggest challenges?

I think there are a number

of challenges ahead such as

budget constraints. And of course

with the uncertainty of Brexit we have

plenty to prepare for as we book a number

of our meetings and events in Europe. It's a

challenge, but it's one we are absolutely

ready to take it on!

[ NEW DIRECTIONS ]

Members of The Business Travel People

Awards team recently visited the University of

Greenwich to talk to travel and tourism

students about the business travel and events

industry. The event follows last year's

commitment to promoting the industry as an

exciting career path for today's students, who

had the opportunity to pick the brains of

some industry veterans. As part of the

continuing collaboration some of the students

will attend this year's awards ceremony in

London this May.

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


AWARDS

BE THE FIRST TO FIND OUT THE WINNERS AT THE

BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS LUNCHTIME CEREMONY

FRIDAY MAY 24

GRANGE TOWER BRIDGE HOTEL LONDON

With nominations closed and now in the hands of

the judges, you can look forward to the winners

ceremony being held at London’s Grange Tower

Bridge Hotel on Friday May 24.

Tables for 10 people cost £950, tables of 12 cost

£1,140 and individual places can be booked for

£99 (all costs exclude VAT).

Enjoy a drinks reception courtesy of Evolvi Rail

Systems, a fantastic three-course lunch with wine

and a post-lunch drinks party sponsored by ANA

All Nippon Airways as we recognise outstanding

individuals and teams from across the business

travel industry.

RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE

IN BUSINESS TRAVEL

BOOK NOW AT

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM


Traveller wellbeing

SOUL

purpose

How far should a company go to ensure the

wellbeing of its business travellers? Catherine

Chetwynd examines some of the latest measures

Gone are the days when companies

took the view that employees

who travelled a lot on business

accepted the job on that basis and they

could put up or shut up.

Now, traveller wellbeing is a serious

consideration that requires taking a holistic

view of the individual and is part of duty of

care. It is also a commercial imperative –

employees whose wellbeing is taken into

account perform better; in fact, Nuffield

Health reports that FTSE 100 companies that

monitor wellbeing outperform those who

don’t by more than 10%.

In an article entitled Mental health: a state of

wellbeing, the World Health Organization

defines the condition: “Health is a state of

complete physical, mental and social

wellbeing and not merely the absence of

disease or infirmity.”

Although a traveller’s health is ultimately

the responsibility of the individual, they need

to be equipped with the wherewithal to look

after themselves so that the stresses and

strains of corporate travel do not take their

toll. Such strains include disruption to

routine, difficulty sleeping, the crossing of

time zones and associated effects of jetlag,

too much alcohol and no exercise, eating

badly and being away from home, friends

and family. If staff are exhausted, ill, lonely,

stressed and/or unhappy, they can hardly

perform at their best, and that is before

looking at consequences that include

hypertension, obesity and heart disease, plus

mental health problems such as burnout.

All these things are highlighted in The

importance of business traveller wellbeing in

mitigating risk, written by Dr Lucy Rattrie for

Drum Cussac, which presents a compelling

argument for companies to care about

traveller wellbeing as part of a risk

management strategy.

But looking after travellers’ wellbeing is

difficult because it means different things to

different people and definitions vary within

companies as well. Someone with a strict

training regimen may want to stay in a hotel

with a first class gym, where someone else

may prefer the more sedentary ability to

stream entertainment on a device through

the TV in their room.

The requirements of a non-travelling

employee will differ from those of a road

warrior, and flexibility is key: “Even within

that, there are different types – a 22-year-old

travelling salesman, a 35-year-old traveller

mum and a 60-year-old whose kids have left

home,” says Lucy Rattrie. “Most important is

for the travel manager to ensure the support

they offer is tailored to travellers’ needs, so

individuals can choose from a menu.”

Often, small gestures go a long way and

offering a company subscription to a

meditation or mindfulness app might make

the difference between stressed out and

chilled out to some.

The cost is £4-£5 per month per employee

and the benefit to mental health will far

outweigh increasing the hotel rate cap by

£10-£20 per night,” says Head of UK Marketing

for Travel and Transport Statesman, Josh

Gunn, whose company has a wellbeing

council and champion, and promotes it

internally. “It is also important to evaluate

company culture and what will fit into that

when you incorporate wellbeing. If you do

something that does not fit, there is a risk it

will be seen as a token gesture,” he says.

Everything a traveller does has an impact

on their wellbeing:

planning a trip,

booking it, doing it

and returning

home, only to have

to catch up in the

office and with family

and friends.

“A better traveller experience

means greater engagement with

the traveller and ultimately greater

compliance, which is the driver to

achieving a corporate client’s goals of

savings, efficiency, productivity and visibility

for both duty of care and supplier leverage,”

says Vice President Traveller Care UK for

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Traveller wellbeing

Evaluate company

culture and what

will fit into that. If you do

something that does not fit,

there is a risk it will just be

seen as a token gesture"

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

15


Travel and Events

We’re with you,

every step of the way.

The safety and wellbeing of your travellers is vitally important to us. With

duty of care being a particular focus for organisations today, we help ensure

you have complete peace of mind by providing access to 24/7/365 support,

helping your travellers, wherever or whenever they need us.

This, combined with our Intelligent traveller tracking technology, supports

your organisation when the safety of your employees is paramount.

We appreciate that travelling on business can often be a stressful affair, but

it doesn’t have to be. We harness the power of behavioural science, which

supports our Smarter working approach to help you cut down on traveller

‘friction’.

We’d love to talk to you about your requirements and how we might be

able to improve wellbeing within your organisation. Speak to a member of

our team to find out more:

0330 390 0340

travelevents@capita.co.uk

capitatravelevents.co.uk

Capita Travel and Events Limited. Registered office 30 Berners Street, London, W1T 3LR.

Registered in England No. 01094729. Part of Capita plc. www.capita.co.uk. All rights reserved.


Traveller wellbeing

American Express GBT, Richard Stabbins.

GBT research published last year found that

94% of UK travellers cited reasons of health

and wellbeing as a justification for booking

business travel out of policy.

These days, how a travel policy is constructed

and communicated plays a role in

recruitment and retention, as Clive Wratten,

CEO of Amber Road explains: “Employers

increasingly realise that a joined up

approach to traveller wellbeing not only aids

productivity whilst travelling for business,

but has a positive impact on retention.

“It’s also starting to boost recruitment too

as we know that the coming generation of

employees rate wellbeing at work as one of

the top five reasons for choosing the

company they work for,” he adds.

While some businesses see a more

flexible travel policy as a

key part of delivering

a wellbeing programme, others are wary of

the financial implications that could result.

Matt Holman, Head of Traveller Experience

at Capita Travel and Events, expands:

“While some customers do see investing in

wellbeing as exactly that [a relaxed or more

flexible policy], we are equally working with

others to continue to bring down costs and

enhance wellbeing.”

He continues: “Allowing flexibility in the

policy will help to engage the travellers

better. If they feel supported, trusted and

able to make decisions that also benefit

their mental wellbeing then the company

will benefit in the long-term.”

Traveller wellbeing should be all about

“prevention and preparation”, says Amber

Road's Wratten. “Employees are corporate

athletes so their physical and mental

wellbeing is crucial to having them operate

at the highest level.”

Wratten says some clients are now

building extra time into travel schedules,

some are encouraging healthier practices

on the road – including better diet and

more exercise – and, inevitably, others are

attempting to use data to monitor employee

health and productivity.

Capita's Holman says many clients are

giving greater consideration to 'trip

intensity' – how often and for how long

people are travelling – and building more

recovery time in post-trip.

Katie Skitterall, ATPI's Director of Sales and

Operations UK, paints a similar picture:

“Intelligence and reporting on the number

of flights taken outside business hours

enables our customers to shape policy,

so that a travel policy can be amended.

Or if a corporate feels that a traveller’s

wellbeing is impacted by their travel,

procedures can be put in place.”

Allowing flexibility

in the policy will help

engage travellers and make

them feel supported"

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

17


Xxxxxxx Traveller Xxxxxxxx wellbeing

If someone is

physically ill it is

usually very visible but if

someone is a bit tired, day in

day out for years, then that is

also going to take its toll"

Providing travellers with some quality

basics is easy for companies to do and

removes a lot of stress from the traveller:

access to lounges, regardless of class flown;

reliable, high-speed wifi in hotels – not just

for working but so that travellers can Skype/

Facetime with family; convenient online or

mobile check-in – these are all services that

can be easily and inexpensively organised.

Some clients of Areka Consulting removed

from policy the need to refuel cars to reduce

traveller friction when returning vehicles.

They decided that refuelling isn’t a big

ticket item compared to the stress of finding

the petrol station and the extra 15 minutes

it takes to do it,” says Areka Managing

Partner, Louise Miller.

Travel policies are not necessarily

becoming less strict but they are becoming

more flexible to allow for the variety of

individuals on the move. And although the

corporate emphasis is still on cost saving,

there can be a corollary. Downgrading longhaul

travel from business class to economy

can save a lot of money but if someone who

is travelling in economy has to go straight

into a meeting on arrival, they are not going

to give their best or get the best out of the

meeting. This can be mitigated by giving

them time to recover on arrival and a day

off when they get back, rather than going

straight into the office.

When it comes to accommodation, location

rightly comes first. It needs to be in a safe

area and close to the people or site that

travellers are visiting.

“People pick accommodation because it is

in the right place but they go back because

of the service they get,” says Hotel Product

Manager for FCM, Rachel Newns. Loyalty

schemes also play a part. “One customer

encourages hotels to boost employees to a

higher status. Travellers are happy with the

additional benefits and are loyal to the

programme, plus the hotel chain is getting

the business and leakage is reduced.”

Measuring travellers’ wellbeing is essential

to caring for it but people may not want to

answer numerous questions about their trip

on return. In addition, if they are feeling

tired and negative and depressed, they may

not want to discuss it or do not even view it

as a problem – it just goes with the territory.

“If someone is physically ill there is big

focus on it but if someone is a bit tired, day

in day out for years, it is going to take its toll.

You don’t have to be physically or mentally

unwell to need some support,” says Lucy

Rattrie. The advantage of companies

providing an external person to talk to is

that they are impartial and people will often

speak freely to them when they might not

do so to someone in the office.

It is important that travel managers do not

try to tackle this alone. Firstly, it is too great

a task, and secondly, it should involve HR,

senior executives, procurement and risk

departments, otherwise there is a risk of

disjointed and ineffective communication.

“We say to our travel managers that they

must get their own oxygen mask on before

you start helping others,” says Josh Gunn.

Anyone who is not looking after themselves

is in no fit state to look after others.

Concern for business travellers’ wellbeing

means taking a holistic view of the individual

and investing in that to ensure they know

the negative impact of business travel is

being mitigated and that, crucially, they are

being looked after.

18 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

Advantage Focus Partners

The detail is in the data

With Brexit banned from the agenda at

the Advantage Focus Partners recent

meeting, the emphasis was instead on

data sharing, market intelligence and

how it can be used to benefit TMCs and

their clients. Sasha Wood reports

The good, the bad and the ugly” of data

strategy in the travel industry was the main

topic of discussion at the Advantage Focus

Partners meeting held at the Park Plaza

Riverbank Hotel in London on April 1.

IATA’s Senior Manager for Business

Intelligence Projects, Juan Oliver, kicked off

with a presentation covering IATA’s Direct

Data Solutions (DDS) programme, an

aviation data hub currently in development.

He said IATA is in the unique position of

managing wide data sets across international

borders so the organisation is taking the

opportunity to create ‘data lakes’.

Combined with technology and business

knowledge, it could be a huge force for good

as a source of market intelligence for TMCs

and their clients. Discussing the challenge of

building data systems, he said “it becomes

ugly when we have home rules and

regulations across the globe”.

Travelogix CEO Chris Lewis, meanwhile,

took to the stage to talk about the IT

developer’s new Farecast tool aimed at

making it easier for TMCs to analyse airline

data. The data collection platform has

already been installed at 58 member

organisations, where commercial teams can

create different data sets to examine market

behaviour and make informed decisions.

Demonstrating the product, Lewis said:

“It gives you the organisation and data

required to give you the edge over your

competitors.” Mark Colley from Sunway

Travel, which has been trialling the tool, said

it has already been useful to the business.

The GTMC's CEO, Adrian Parkes, followed

up with a lively presentation on how TMCs

can use data to understand customers and

their needs, understand the competition,

and think beyond the transaction.

The data is an enabler. The value of the

data is not the data itself but what you do

with it,” he said. The overall message from

the afternoon was that TMCs need to

embrace data or risk being left behind.

FACTS & FIGURES

• $1.3 trillion: the value of

the business travel market

• 25,000: the number of

TMCs worldwide

• 2.2 billion: the number of

business trips booked a year

• 40%: the percentage

of trips booked

independently

WISE WORDS

“DON’T LET THE LIKES OF

GDPR, PCI AND ALL OF THE

OTHER BUZZWORDS SCARE

YOU OFF DATA. IT’S

ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT

TMCs EMBRACE DATA AND

USE THE RIGHT PLATFORMS

TO CONSOLIDATE IT, ANALYSE

IT AND MAKE CHANGES”

CHRIS LEWIS, CEO, TRAVELOGIX

20TH ANNIVERSARY

Advantage Focus celebrated

its 20th anniversary with

an evening reception and

dinner for its TMC members

and partners at Altitude

London, high above the city

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

19


THE CONVERSATION

Chief Executive, Flybe

CHRISTINE ourmiÈres-widener

The regional airline’s CEO talks to Andy Hoskins about its turbulent times,

and now, its fresh future under a Virgin Atlantic-backed consortium

Earlier this year Flybe was within

a day of going out of business,

a scenario its Chief Executive Officer

Christine Ourmières-Widener not

surprisingly describes as the toughest

experience of her career to date.

“It was so close,” she says, “but the outcome

is phenomenal. It was a complicated process

but we are very proud because we saved the

company and the jobs of 1,500 employees.”

Connect Airways, a consortium comprising

Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus

Capital, was Flybe’s knight in shining armour,

purchasing the airline at a price its shareholders

were in no position to reject.

“It was a low share offer but we had to sell

for 1p [per share] or the company would

have disappeared,” says Ourmières-Widener.

She joined the airline in January 2017 and

although aware of the challenge that she

faced, she could not have foreseen the extent

to which it would worsen.

“When I joined it was obvious we had

service issues and we launched a strategy to

shrink the fleet to improve the revenue and

optimise our cost structure,” she explains.

“We worked a lot on improving revenue per

seat – and the results have been quite

impressive – and on our load factors too.

When I joined these were in the high 60s and

now we are more mid-80s.”

The airline was also dealing with “legacy

issues” including cumbersome historic

contracts. The situation worsened as shorthaul

markets softened, fuel costs rose and

foreign exchange rates started to bite. A

profit warning was issued in November last

year and credit card companies subsequently

became more cautious, withholding users’

payments to the airline.

“We started to see restricted cash,” says

Ourmières-Widener. “We were sitting on

more than £50million of cash but we couldn’t

use more than £10million of that.”

The message now, however, is very much

“business as usual” for Flybe while work goes

on behind the scenes to plot a path forward.

The airline is expected to be rebranded

under the Virgin name but will function with

a separate management team and fly under

its own Air Operator Certificate.

We need people to feel

empowered to take the

next steps. It has been a tough

time and very emotional for

some people”

The airline is currently subject to EU

derogation conditions following the takeover,

meaning it is relatively restricted in what

changes it can practically implement.

“We are expecting clearance in June or July

and that’s when you can expect some

announcements,” says Ourmières-Widener.

“We just had a kick-off last week with our

main stakeholders where the message was

'the future starts with us' because we need

people to make sure they feel empowered to

take the next steps. It has been tough and

very emotional for some people.”

The Flybe CEO says there are “no plans” to

make redundancies, but its fleet and network

streamlining will continue. “We need to

decrease the fleet. We have already said we

want to work with our new shareholders to

decide the next steps but first we must shrink

whilst keeping the backbone of our fleet.”

For now, its summer operation includes

routes into Heathrow from Guernsey, the Isle

of Man and Newquay, as well as flights from

Edinburgh and Aberdeen. And it is Flybe's

“backbone” of 78-seat Bombardier Q400

turboprops that make such routes feasible

where others before them have failed –

including Virgin’s Little Red operation.

There's a massive difference between

what Virgin [Little Red] did at Heathrow

and what we're doing,” says Ourmières-

Widener. “We are the only operator of

turboprops into Heathrow.”

It is clear that Flybe’s feeder traffic from

the regions into Virgin’s long-haul hubs at

Heathrow and Manchester has helped secure

its future under Connect Airways.

Flybe currently operates from Heathrow

Terminal 2 and Virgin from Terminal 3,

“but we will see what is possible”, says

Ourmières-Widener regarding co-location.

“We want to give to our common customers

a fantastic experience and I agree the

experience on the ground is critical.”

Flybe is shaping up for its next phase but

other airlines have not been so fortunate,

including Flybmi and Wow Air which both

ceased operations this spring.

“It is absolutely a trend,” says Ourmières-

Widener. “We have been through it so we can

see the pressures and the challenges, and I

strongly believe we will see more consolidation

in Europe. In the UK, uncertainty

around Brexit really has not helped.”

• On the day this issue of The Business Travel

Magazine went to press Flybe announced it

will cease all jet operations this October. Its

Q400 turboprop aircraft will continue to

operate across the network.

20 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


THE CONVERSATION

spotlight

How has Brexit played a

role in Flybe's fortunes?

Let’s call it the 'B-word'! It's

a massive disappointment.

The impact of Brexit on the

business is real and it’s not

finished. I’m not sure we

will ever be able to really

understand the true

impact, but businesses in

the UK are resilient. They

will survive and thrive or

adapt, but it is an additional

pressure that no one needs.

Deciding to leave or not is

just a decision – it is the

way you do it and the way

it is implemented that is

crucial. If I had managed

the process of Brexit like

this in my company I would

not have a job anymore!

CHRISTINE OURMIÈRES-WIDENER

Christine Ourmières-Widener started her career in

aviation in the maintenance department of Air France

before working her way up to become the airline’s UK

and Ireland General Manager and later Vice President

in New York. She was Chief Executive of CityJet from

2010 to 2015 and then Chief Global Sales Officer for

American Express Global Business Travel before

joining Flybe as CEO in January 2017. She has a

Masters in Aeronautics and an MBA from ESSEC

Business School. In June 2018 she was voted on to the

IATA Board of Governors.

Tell us about how your

career in travel began...

I trained as an engineer

and have a Masters in

Aeronautics and I still feel

good when I visit an aircraft

hangar! I'd like to see more

girls interested in maths

and physics and we could

be doing more in the UK

and rest of the world on

this. We have launched our

flyShe initiative to inspire

more girls to join the

industry as pilots and

engineers and it is good

there is a lot of attention

on diversity right now. If we

don’t embrace female

pilots we are restricting

ourselves to recruiting from

49% of the population – it

wouldn’t make sense. I am

one of two females on the

IATA Board of Governors

right now, but hopefully it

will be more soon.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

21


THE BIG PICTURE

Bleisure centre

TOKYO

PAWEL NOLBERT

Japan’s neon-lit capital

has been named Asia’s

best bleisure destination

in a new study from the

Economist’s Intelligence

Unit. Tokyo was ranked

first for its unbeatable

combination of stellar

business facilities and

leisure appeal, while the

manicured metropolis

of Singapore came in

second and Hong Kong

was placed third.

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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24 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


SERVICED APARTMENTS

RAISING

the roof

As serviced apartment stock booms and suppliers become

more innovative, should corporates be moving more of their

spend into the sector? Catherine Chetwynd reports

T

he serviced apartment sector goes

from strength to strength: larger

European operators have grown

at an average of 6.1% per year in unit

numbers, a figure that is due to escalate

to 39.4% before the end of 2022,

representing more than 13,000 units.

And the UK accounts for one-third of

planned European growth.

Accor, Staycity and SACO are main

contributors to this, largely thanks to their

lifestyle-focused brands, according to Savills’

Spotlight, European Extended Stay Market

report. Main UK cities of interest are

London, Manchester and Edinburgh. And

Dublin, to date desperately short of stock,

is expected to grow by 1,484 units in eight

projects by 2022, including several projects

from Staycity and SACO’s Locke.

Further opportunities for serviced

apartment operators include a group of

high-growth cities: Oslo, Stockholm, Madrid,

Edinburgh and Dublin, plus Tallinn, Warsaw,

Sofia, Berlin, Budapest and Porto, according

to Savills, Oxford Economics and official

local tourist office statistics. Favoured

destinations tend to be those where there is

notable tourist arrival growth and a strong

GDP outlook, so operators can tap into both

the leisure and corporate markets.

Although the sector has become a

recognised asset class, the main deterrent

for investors is the lack of purpose-built

stock, although operators are now pursuing

expansion through new development.

Staycity’s acquisition of developer Pretique

is a good example. It will build its own sites,

alongside those with partners, to secure

sites and stop having to acquire leases.

ZOKU

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

25


One agency 7 global offices

1,096,547 serviced apartments in more than 160 countries

Powered by


SERVICED APARTMENTS

STAYBRIDGE

It is important to

reassure corporates

that apartments are safe and

secure, and being part of the

ASAP accreditation is a great

support with this”

Meanwhile property entrepreneur

Stephen Vernon recently acquired a 5%

shareholding in Staycity and has become a

non-executive director, all with an eye on

boosting its expansion programme.

Further evidence of this trend is the level

of applications for the job of Chief Executive

at SACO, which was landed by Stephen

McCall, former Chief Operating Officer

Europe at IHG, plus the appointment of

Cycas’s first Chief Executive, Matt Luscombe,

a former Chief Commercial Officer at IHG.

“We are finding loads of exciting

opportunities,” says Native Chief Executive,

Guy Nixon. “We have grown up; we are clear

about what our brand is and have become

easier to work with.”

Supporting these strong signs is the

sector’s greater traction with corporates.

Research released by ASAP and Business

Travel Show found that among the 134

corporate buyers polled, 29% increased

serviced apartment booking in 2018.

Adagio notes that smaller companies,

formerly less visible, are showing new needs

and are potential clients.

Frasers Hospitality COO EMEA Rebecca

Hollants van Loocke says: “There is still work

to do and making sure corporates see the

apartment sector as an alternative is key.

“It is important to reassure corporates that

apartments are safe and secure, and being

part of the Association of Serviced

Apartment Providers (ASAP) accreditation is

a great support with this. RFPs need to be

adapted for longer stays and accommodate

all that an apartment has to offer.”

Badge of honour

ASAP accreditation is proving a success for

suppliers and their clients alike. “Two have

confirmed that they have recently won

contracts on the back of accreditation and

five organisations that left us when we went

100% accredited at the end of last year have

said that they have lost business and want

to come back,” says ASAP Chief Executive,

James Foice.

“We are also seeing a rise in the number

of corporate buyers who are opting to book

only via accredited apartment providers.”

However, Oakwood Managing Director

EMEA, Ken Moore, insists companies need

to ‘socialise’ the inclusion of serviced

apartments into travel programmes. “It is

not as simple as ‘if you build it they will

come’. There is a robust middle step

required so that employees understand the

benefits and change behaviour.”

Reluctance to book serviced apartments

may be a hangover from the days of fixedterm

stays, self check-in and no welcome.

The sector has a lot of myths to dispel

and is working hard to do this,” says COO of

SACO, Nick Barton. “Today’s easy to book,

flexible models, such as aparthotels and

new lifestyle brands like Locke, which cross

over with hotels, are putting the sector on

the map for both converted buyers and

those who have been reticent to date. This

is coupled with the clamour for Airbnb from

corporate travellers – and not always from

the millennial generation either.”

Evidence of corporate faith in serviced

apartments comes in the form of EY’s

booking of between 180,000 and 200,000

nights a year through its long-stay vendors.

These are generally used for those on

project work and people relocating, who are

looking for somewhere to live long term.

Transient travel is a smaller proportion of

the whole.


ADAGIO

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

27


Los Angeles

Rio de Janeiro

Mexico City

Chicago

Oakwood ® Knows Dublin

Shanghai

Dubai

London

Tokyo

Berlin

Peter A.

Prefers to

be close to

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Likes

cooking, loves

dishwashers

Enjoys

jogging by

the river

Desires

a dining

area fit for

entertaining

No matter the journey, Oakwood ® is always the perfect

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Wants

room for

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Call or visit us online to see how we can help you today.

Oakwood.com +44 (0) 20 7749 4460

OakwoodUK@Oakwood.com

© Copyright 2018 Oakwood. All Rights Reserved


SERVICED APARTMENTS

While 89% of bookers

like to research

online, they much prefer the

reassurance of dealing with

a knowledgeable consultant,

especially when dealing with

long-stay bookings”

AIRBNB

DURHAM BOUTIQUE APARTMENTS

“We generally encourage people to use

serviced apartments if they are spending

five nights in one location – less time than

that and they would stay in a traditional

hotel,” says EY’s Global Supplier Leader,

Travel Meetings & Events, Tim Nichols.

They book through our TMC or intranet

site, which goes through to the vendor for

completion of the leasing process. Last year,

we implemented an innovative online

booking platform for long stay, which

provides instantaneous online booking for

serviced apartments in the US, London and

elsewhere, and which gives a quick

connection between vendor and traveller. It

is much more efficient and we get great

feedback from travellers.”

Ask an expert

Serviced apartments comprise a relatively

small proportion of overall travel spend but

still represent significant sums of money.

As was highlighted in the latest Global

Serviced Apartments Industry Report

(GSAIR), travel managers are increasingly

turning to their TMCs/agents to manage this

service, which enables cost and traveller

tracking to be consolidated into established

reporting tools.

And TMCs are working more with

specialist providers to procure serviced

apartments due to the idiosyncrasies of the

sector. As TAS Chief Executive Charlie

McCrow points out, this is largely due to the

lack of visibility of serviced apartments on

the GDS, for reasons such as difficulties in

identifying properties (names don’t always

give it away), lack of availability, cancellation

charges and the requirement for a higher

touch as traveller preferences and other

personal details are expected to be

managed in more detail.

Stay extensions also stand in the way of

booking serviced apartments online, as they

are often arranged direct at the property,

causing fractured information for reporting,

traveller tracking and duty of care.

“When we relaunched our website a few

years ago we carried out some research

which showed that while 89% of bookers

like to research online, they much prefer

the reassurance of dealing with a

knowledgeable consultant, especially when

dealing with longer stay, high value

bookings,” says Select Apartments Managing

Director, Simon Morrison.

“And if for any reason something does go

wrong with a booking, it can be easily

rectified, which is not always the case with a

GDS. The biggest plus is that we guarantee

a one-hour turnaround to all enquiries.”

ASCOTT LYF

Confident approach

Like the sector it represents, ASAP is also

going from strength to strength. “Through

the formation of a global alliance, we’re

looking to drive this understanding

worldwide, while also utilising our newly

launched directory as a portal for visibility

at stayingwithconfidence.com – both will

help to ensure minimum standards for

guests as we bid to safeguard the

reputation of the industry,” explains Foice.

“By getting more associations on board,

we’re hoping to increase the level of traction

among the corporate buyer community on

a global scale,” he adds.

Similarly, the big players are also

highlighting standards and facilities. For

example, apps that allow mobile check-in

contain an electronic key to apartments and

allow guests to communicate with front

desk or housekeeping are beginning to take

hold in the sector: SACO already does this

while Cheval Residences will roll out mobile

keys at Gloucester Park when it reopens

after a refurbishment later this year.

Frasers’ app will allow online mobile

check-in, serve as a key and enable

requests. “Local information is appreciated

by guests and apps offering concièrge

services, 24-hour chat, booking engine

capability and other functions such as food

delivery are extremely valuable in our

industry,” says Hollants van Loocke.

House of Fisher recently upgraded its

online booking engine to provide a more

efficient, customer-friendly service. “It crosssells

the locations better, offering a solution

that fits date range and/or price and

promotions; and we are able to offer

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

29


SERVICED APARTMENTS

long-stay discounts and details for

anyone looking at 28 nights or more,” says

Managing Director, Trine Oestergaard.

Also seeing an increase in online bookings

of 28 nights or more, both direct and via

OTAs, is SACO. This is partly due to

improvements in direct booking platforms

and because shoppers are becoming more

comfortable with larger online spend. On

the B2B side, the industry is trying to bring

longer-stay business such as projects,

relocation and secondment bookings online

to help meet more demanding SLAs.

“This is in its infancy but could grow

substantially as booker/guest generation

become more millennial,” says SACO’s

Barton. “Part of this is also influenced by

travellers’ being given more freedom – for

example, given a budget and told to book

what they want, rather than being

constrained by managed travel programmes

that dictate preferred suppliers and are

bound by traditional norms.”

Jo Layton, Director of Bloom Mobility

Consulting and Corporate Apartment

Programmes Worldwide (CAPWW), agrees:

“Corporate clients are definitely seeing the

benefit of accessing availability and online

booking for travellers in the long stay space.

But there are barriers, she adds: “In many

global locations a signed lease is required

by the operator for the unit. Whether this

lease is signed directly by the traveller or on

behalf of the traveller, this requirement can

quickly halt the opportunity of a fully online

global programme and can prove expensive

if not managed correctly.”

Meanwhile, Adagio’s new internal data

system records guests’ preferences and

NATIVE

Apps offering

concièrge services,

24-hour chat, booking engine

capability and other functions

such as food delivery are

extremely valuable”

makes them accessible to all properties,

allowing hotels to prepare personal touches

before guests arrive. And Oakwood is

undertaking a three-year digital

transformation, which includes the next

generation of accommodation management

tool ‘epic’, a recently launched mobile app

and oakwood.com. Meanwhile, a

partnership with TravelClick will deliver

greater streamlining with fewer points of

contact on the reservations platform, realtime

booking and more transparent pricing.

New world order

The growth of dual-branded properties and

having to meet the needs of ever-more

demanding clients are two of the biggest

trends in the sector.

Adagio has noted a contradictory approach

from guests – calls for relaxation and yet

more connection, for more personalisation

and more privacy, and the desire to live like

LOCKE

locals while sticking to their usual habits.

The brand will be launching premium

apartments and has just initiated a

breakfast that combines a hearty buffet in

situ or an Adagio-to-go service that is picked

up from reception.

SilverDoor has opened its Americas

headquarters in Denver, Colorado. “With

offices in the UK, US and Singapore, we are

now able to offer our clients a 24-hour

global account management service,” says

Commercial Director, Stuart Winstone.

Meanwhile, Native recently achieved an

‘Excellent’ BREEAM sustainability rating for

Native Bankside, illustrating the company’s

commitment to cutting its carbon footprint.

Dual-branded properties continue to

provide complementary services, with

shared investment cost for brands, bigger

ROI for investors and consolidated back-ofhouse

operations delivering savings of up to

15%. At the same time, guests get more

choice and increased opportunities for

earning loyalty points.

Developments include Paris Hyatt Place/

Hyatt House, which is under construction at

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (2020).

Holiday Inn in Cardiff will be refurbished

and gain a 75-unit Staybridge Suites and

Moxy/Residence Inn opens in Slough

alongside residential apartments.

“It’s easy to see how Moxy’s bar will appeal

to locals as well as hotel guests and how

30 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Travel Managers – breathe…

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SERVICED APARTMENTS

At a time when

the retail world is

struggling, we continue to

come across conversion

opportunities as former

department stores come

onto the market”

BRIDGESTREET MODE

the wider development will add new life

to the town centre,” says co-founder of

Cycas, John Wagner, who draws parallels

with Cycas’s Holiday Inn/Staybridge Suites in

London’s Stratford, where guests benefit

from the Westfield shopping mall on the

doorstep and the hotels benefit from the

retail teams that visit the stores.

“At a time when the retail world is

struggling, we come across conversion

opportunities as former department stores

come onto the market,” he explains.

“We’re increasingly seeing that

incorporating hotels into mixed-use

developments and regeneration schemes

can help inject new life into town centres.”

Great technology, smaller rooms and

more focus on mid-term stays contrast with

reduction in average length of stay, possibly

reflecting a more cautious approach and

reduced confidence, thanks to Brexit.

The ‘B-word’ has also seen some

businesses holding fire on projects, pending

the outcome of the negotiations, and while

shorter lead times put on pressure, an

appetite for new brands (SACO's Locke, for

example) maintains the buzz.

Globally, Oakwood sees huge potential in

Africa, particularly the Nigeria-Kenya belt,

and like many in the sector is focusing on

emerging markets and key gateway cities in

Europe such as Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin,

Amsterdam, Geneva, Warsaw and London,

plus other UK cities.

And although many companies continue

to focus on cost, a worldwide upsurge in

growth markets is transforming the global

economy, leading to corporate demand for

extended travel and long-term relocation

programmes. In addition, “Multi-family

housing (US) or private rental sector (UK) is

of growing interest to developers,” says

TAS’s McCrow.

Access (Accor): Saclay, Montpellier.

Adagio: Paris, Lille, France; Casablanca,

Morocco; Bremen, Germany; Sutton, Leicester,

UK; Doha, Qatar; Jeddah (x2), Jizan, Saudi

Arabia.

Cheval Residences: London – Gloucester Park

reopens after a 20-month refurbishment.

Element: Frankfurt Airport.

Frasers Hospitality: Fraser Place Puteri Harbour

and Capri by Fraser Johore Bahru, Johor,

Malaysia; Fraser Residence Orchard, Singapore;

Fraser Suites Hamburg; Fraser Suites Akasaka,

Tokyo; Capri by Fraser Liepzig, Germany.

House of Fisher: Fleet Serviced Apartments, UK.

Native: Native Manchester, with openings to

follow in Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds.

Oakwood: The Oakwood Showroom, Singapore,

heralding the next generation of serviced

apartments; Oakwood Arlington, Virginia, US,

Oakwood Chicago River North, Illinois, US.

Oakwood Apartments, Sanya, China; Oakwood

These large residential buildings can be

compared to the mansion blocks in London

such as Chelsea Cloisters, Nell Gwynn House

or even Grosvenor House. They offer more

services than the typical residential landlord,

including bicycle stores, gyms, reception

desks with porterage, function rooms and

support services such as cleaning and highquality

concièrge.

These will typically be long-term rentals

but this is a rapidly growing sector in the UK

specially,” explains McCrow.

More controversially, Cheval’s George

Westwood suggests the sector could

[ NEW BRICKS IN THE WALL ]

A selection of confirmed openings for 2019

Hotel & Residence Phnom Penh, Cambodia;

Oakwood Residence Hanoi, Vietnam.

Quest Apartments: Liverpool, its first location

outside Australia.

Roomspace: Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain.

Roomzzz: Harrogate, York and Liverpool.

Staybridge Suites: Heathrow Airport.

Staying Cool: Manchester.

Staycity: Wilde aparthotel, Edinburgh; Marne la

Vallée, near Disneyland Paris; Venice, Berlin and

Manchester follow.

SACO: Broken Wharf, London.

The Ascott Limited: Citadines Islington London,

UK; Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam, NL;

Citadines Confluent Nantes, France.

YotelPAD: San Francisco; London Clerkenwell,

Edinburgh, Glasgow, UK; Istanbul Airport;

Singapore Changi Airport; Amsterdam, NL;

Dubai Business Bay, UAE; Porto, Portugal.

• Space prevents a broader list of activity but

brace yourself for 2020…

become more relaxed in its approach: “We

will start to see a mixture of short- and longterm

stay, five-star and four-star properties

with common areas and a community

workspace such as WeWork all under one

roof. Consumers are driving this change.”

To cater for the demands of consumers

and the speed at which the market evolves,

operators and developers are going to have

to be nimble to keep up. Technology will

continue to play a major role in the industry

but service is also essential – robotic

vacuum cleaners may make customers smile

but robotic receptionists will not.

32 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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Untitled-1 1 22/03/2019 09:58


EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2019

a forum for buyers and

suppliers to tackle their

travel issues

Navigating

the future

Reserve your place at The Business Travel Conference

and find out if you qualify as a hosted delegate

Corporate travelʼs must-attend event

The Business Travel Conference 2019

returns to the Hilton London Bankside

this September.

The packed two-day programme brings

together all the key players from the TMC

and meetings sectors together with

representatives from airlines, tech suppliers

and hotels, and once again promises

thought-provoking business sessions,

entertaining speakers and valuable

networking opportunities.

And with preparations well under way,

we are pleased to confirm two of our

keynote speakers.

Conservative MP Gillian Keegan will open

the event on September 17, marking a

return to the familiar. While she now

represents the constituents of Chichester,

Gillian spent much of her 27 years in

business working in travel, including spells

at Mastercard, Amadeus and Travelport.

A knight on the road

Having heard from a former industry

insider, it makes sense that delegates learn

more from someone on the client side of

our business. And you wonʼt find many who

have covered more business miles than

Sir Trevor McDonald.

The award-winning journalist will be our

keynote speaker on September 18, and he

is promising plenty of tales about his life on

the road (and in airports!). During his career

Sir Trevor has been present at some of the

worldʼs major historic events, including the

fall of the Berlin Wall and the release from

prison of Nelson Mandela.

The veteran newsman has also sat across

the table from Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam

Hussein, meaning he's unlikely to be phased

Sir Trevor has sat

across the table from

Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam

Hussein, meaning he is

unlikely to be phased by any

questions he might get from

the audience!”

“Network with more than

60 leading travel suppliers in

the private exhibition"

by any questions from the audience!

The Business Travel Conference is also

pleased to announce our event charity –

the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for

Children. Visitors will be able to find out

more about its valuable work and we will be

raising money through our raffle in the

Tuesday Drinks and Canape reception.

Sign up today

Corporate buyers and arrangers can sign

up for complimentary visitor passes at

thebusinesstravelconference.com.

Delegate feedback is helping shape the

conference programme, which again will

feature the popular ‘silent conference’

headphones so visitors can dip in and out

of the sessions between meetings in the

exhibition, which will feature more than

60 travel and meetings suppliers.

LTDCC, which began

in 1928, runs

recreational events

for disadvantage

youngsters

34 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


EVENT PREVIEW

'The FREE-to-attend two-day event

will once again be limited to 200 verified

travel managers, bookers and PAs'

When?

Tuesday 17th & Wednesday

18th September, 2019

Where?

London Hilton Bankside

To register

and to fi nd out if you

qualify for a hosted place...

thebusinesstravelconference.com

Book a stand

kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

Tel: 07747 697 772

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

35


TECHNOLOGY

[ DUTY OF CARE ]

DISRUPTION DETECTION

Can TMCs use data and artificial intelligence to improve traveller wellbeing

and duty of care processes? Linda Fox reports

Duty of care and traveller

wellbeing are considered the

two biggest challenges for

business travel buyers in 2019.

A survey from Traveldoo released earlier

this year reveals 73% of buyers ranked duty

of care as the biggest challenge, followed by

traveller wellbeing at 70% and data security

at 65%. The finding is supported by similar

research from FCM, which showed duty of

care remains high on the agenda this year

alongside distribution concerns and data.

The travel management company also

stresses the increasing need for TMCs to

incorporate data into traveller safety, no

matter which booking channel is used.

With so much talk about machine learning

and artificial intelligence, as well as other

emerging technologies such as augmented

and virtual reality, TMCs are beginning to

explore how they might make best use of

these developments.

One TMC sees applications for AI and

machine learning in predicting the likelihood

of disruption and being proactive in finding

alternative travel arrangements.

Sarah Hale, Director of Engineering at Click

Travel, says it is already exploring the use of

AI with its travel assistant to help determine

what responses to queries can be

automated depending on how frequently

they are asked and the speed with

which they can be resolved.

The tech is going to have to advance

to become truly useful in these scenarios,

but it’s exciting to think these opportunities

may be part of the standard travelling

experience in the future,” says Hale.

Risk mitigation

business Drum

Cussac believes

machine learning

has the potential

to revolutionise

how companies approach and manage risk.

In its Future of Risk report the company’s

Chief Technology Officer, Alistair Wyse, says

technology could be employed to tailor

alerts to specific travellers as opposed to

the more blanket approach used today.

Wyse says machine learning can be used

to identify who may be impacted by an

incident based on their location, as well as

past behaviour such as mode of transport.

He also sees potential for machine

learning in pre-travel training which draws

on detailed profile information including

past behaviour and experiences.

The company goes a step further by

imagining how augmented reality might be

used with machine learning to provide

travellers with a virtual overlay of risks in

real time and in an area they are visiting.

It also foresees a scenario for security

managers to use virtual reality to review

incidents and fine tune response.

While much of this may still sound

science fiction, a number of

companies have incorporated

emerging technologies into

prototypes. Concur, for example,

released details last year of a VR-based

duty of care initiative. For many

however, there is still a lot of

work needed in just getting

the basics right.

Machine learning

has the potential to

revolutionise how companies

approach and manage risk”

Mike Atherton, Chief Executive of Mantic

Point, a specialist in mobile technology, says

what the travel management community

needs most is “contextually relevant

information at the right time”.

But even before that a crisis management

plan must be in place. “Technology won’t

deliver unless people know how to act

during an event,” he says.

Once that’s there, he believes the

role of technology currently is in

reducing the time it takes for a

travel manager to

take action.

36 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


MEET THE BUYER

meet

SUZANNE WADE

Suzanne Wade arranges travel for Key Assets’ CEO and directors.

She tells us about her role at the Birmingham-based organisation

Key Assets, The Children’s Services

Provider, is an international social

enterprise providing children and family

social services in eight countries across

Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. I

joined Key Assets in May 2017 as a Senior

Business Support Officer and am based at

our head office in Birmingham. I’ve

previously held roles in the charitable,

education and travel sectors.

I arrange business travel for the Group

CEO, other senior managers and

company directors. Time spent on

business travel arrangements can vary

depending on what meetings or events are

planned or scheduled during the year. I also

provide support to the Group CEO and

coordinate reporting and business planning

processes as well as projects, as they arise.

Every day is different and rewarding. We

have a number of people across the

organisation who are designated ‘travel

bookers’ and liaise locally with our

preferred travel partners.

We employ over 1,200 full-time and parttime

staff across the eight countries we

work in. Approximately 25 people

travel extensively on business

and a number of others

travel periodically.

Our senior team in

the UK travels

extensively visiting

our worldwide

offices. Our regional

CEOs and directors are

more likely to undertake

domestic travel with some

international travel for

global summits and meetings.

Our regular destinations are reflected by

where we operate but we have some

remote locations like Halls Creek in the East

OUT OF THE OFFICE

"My two passions are history

and travelling. Last summer

our family holiday was a road

trip to Spain. We combined the

beaches, cities and wine regions.

The kids loved the beaches

and I got to visit lots of

historical places!"

Kimberley area of Australia or Goose Bay in

Labrador, Canada, for example. We also

deliver services on Norfolk Island in the

South Pacific. Inbound travel to the UK is

also high on the list.

Our travel bookings are based not only

on getting value for money but

also speed in terms of the best

route to a destination. There

aren’t many social enterprise

organisations like

us whose operations

extend to different

parts of the world.

We work with

Corporate Traveller

as our TMC in the UK,

but also sometimes use

self-booking tools. Katie is

our dedicated consultant at

Corporate Traveller and she is

brilliant – she always provides great service,

responds to my queries in a very timely

manner and gives clear and accurate

information, all of which helps us make our

travel arrangements efficiently.

We have a very comprehensive travel

policy in place and it is effective. It sets

out clear expectations regarding travel and

helps us ensure that we are all working to

company requirements.

We don’t really experience any

challenges in arranging travel for

employees as our policy provides a clear

framework. Everyone knows what to expect

and how to arrange travel. Obviously, cost is

a factor and this is clearly a big influencer in

how our travel arrangements our organised.

Our travel policy is

comprehensive and

effective. It sets out clear

expectations and helps

us ensure we all work to

company requirements”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

37


CONSULTANTS

HELP

is at hand

When time and resources are in short supply, it might be time to call in

an independent business travel consultant, writes Gillian Upton

L

ack of resource and the need for

expertise are two main reasons why

buyers turn to the services of an

independent consultant.

They add gravitas to a project and fill a

gap between the buyer and the suits in the

boardroom who often have little grasp of

what the travel department actually does.

Consultants – who are frequently former

buyers themselves – answer questions as

diverse as, ’What is my programme like today

and what do I need to do to improve it’?, or

they will neatly solve a problem and get

ahead of a challenge.

“What’s shifted is that consultants were

used primarily as a resource and secondly

for their expertise, but today it’s primarily for

our expertise, which reflects the increasing

complexity of the market,” says Louise Miller,

Managing Partner of Areka. “They want to

know what the likely disruption is of NDC,

for example,” she adds.

To this end, Miller says that savings are not

necessarily the end goal, but rather that

programme improvement is.

Natalie Gardner, Global Travel Manager at

computer games company Electronic Arts

(EA), had exactly this need. Based in the UK,

and with company headquarters in Silicon

Valley, she handles travel for 47 office

locations in 25 countries.

“It is good to have someone who is out

there in the industry to give an independent

view,” she says. As such, much of her time is

spent with an eye on multiple projects that

Festive Road has undertaken for them. This

work includes auditing and rewriting policy

after benchmarking against similar-sized

companies in a reciprocal information

gathering project; reducing the policy

document from 25 pages to a more userfriendly

three; helping Natalie move forward

with a strategic vision by creating four pillars

to the company programme; and a gap

analysis on EA’s relationship with its TMC to

bring consistency across the globe.

“Festive Road has been a wonderful business

partner,” she says. “I have been challenged to

think differently about our programme and

I’ve tweaked and changed it every year to

evolve and move forward – but I only got to

that point as a result of these conversations.

“I learned what ‘better’ and ‘different’ look

like. It helped me with being able to challenge

what we do, as by challenging we can

innovate.” Gardner continues: “It’s helpful to

me as a buyer to articulate direction to our

38 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


CONSULTANTS

suppliers and TMCs and that’s made a

difference. Festive Road has helped elevate

what travel is at EA so it has a higher profile.

Now I have no trouble getting 30 minutes

with my EVP since having them onboard.”

Gardner’s comments reflect the wideranging

assistance and clear benefits

consultants provide today, although Chris

Pouney of Severnside Consulting recalls a

time when they had a more combative role.

“We used to be brought in to fire people but

today we have more of an arbitration role,”

he says. “Suppliers welcome our arrival and

we can coach and mentor buyers, with both

parties understanding that we are neutral.”

Pouney advises whether buyers are on the

right track, particularly if travel is only part of

their remit. “They want to understand what’s

coming down the track; what might impact

them, and are often fearful of being asked

questions from senior management.”

Johanne Young of Opteva concurs. “Buyers

want someone independent to review their

vendors and ensure they’re getting the best

from them. They don’t have the capability

and there is so much going on in the

marketplace and the industry is complex.”

Most commonly buyers ask Opteva for an

initial review of their programme and travel

technology so they can understand where

there are gaps. They want to know who’s best

in class and what the best processes are to

drive the optimum traveller behaviours.

These services come at a cost, naturally, and

Nina & Pinta’s Jo-Anne Lloyd reckons buyers

require a certain amount of spend to demonstrate

ROI. “If it’s a spend below £10-15million,

their first port of call wouldn’t be a consultant,”

she says. That’s when a TMC’s account

management team would assume the role of

consultant, particularly on any benchmarking

exercise as they have sufficient data.

I have to know more

about the client's

programme than they do and

leave them in a position where

they don't need me anymore”

Finding the right TMC is arguably the most

important vendor decision a buyer makes

and Nina & Pinta commonly take on these

sourcing and change management roles. The

consultancy also specialises in air programme

management as it utilises an air data

dashboard that lets buyers make informed

decisions about switching market share.

If they’re a good fit, particularly culturally,

buyers will often return to the same

consultancy over a period of time. ”It’s like

hiring back an internal resource,” says Lloyd,

who has worked with one client for 15 years.

Chris Reynolds began life as a consultant

13 years ago, undertaking RFPs for TMCs.

Today his work tends to focus on more

technology-based projects, such as rolling out

a global expense tool or credit card. “I have to

know more about the clients’ programme

than they do,” he says, and agrees with Pouney

that his goal is to do himself out of a job.

”I want to leave them in the position that

they don’t need me anymore and by having

that approach I do get called back.”

Sue Reeves at Data & Detail has created a

niche in the marketplace, acting as an

outsourced account manager, taking data

right down to PNR levels and actuals, and

working with TMCs to manage their clients

and with clients to manage their TMCs. “I

explain travel patterns, highlight departments

which need online or policy training and

opportunities for savings,” she says.

Raj Sachdave, a former TMC employee and

now of Black Box Partnerships, is a relatively

new kid on the block. He aims to solve the

pain points between TMC and travel buyer by

redefining client policy so they can have

smarter conversations with their TMC, and

also works with TMCs to work out a more

defined proposition.

“It may prevent an RFP for a TMC and take

the costs down and the value up,“ Sachdave

explains. “Getting aggregated global data is

often a sticking point.“

Caroline Strachan, of Festive Road, refers to

consultants’ role as being akin to marriage

guidance counselling. “Consultants can

highlight the frustrations and if it’s not broken

too much, redeem the relationship or, if not,

move on.” Either way, consultants will give

buyers an invaluable road map to follow.

[ CONSULTANTS: WHO'S WHO ]

3SIXTYGlobal: specialises in procurement

related to travel and meetings

Areka: travel programme and technology

reviews specialist

Black Box: works with agencies to finesse

their proposition and buyers to redefine

policies

Data & Detail: strategic account

management and travel procurement

services with a specialism in deep-dive data

analysis

Festive Road: helping travel buyers with

knowledge of the market and suppliers with

buyer insights

Nina & Pinta: programme management and

the sourcing of preferred vendors

Opteva: travel technology, implementation of

OBTs and change management

Severnside Consulting: bridging the gap in

procurement between buyers and suppliers

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

39


TALKING TRAVEL

Going global

Kevin McCloud

Angela Sara West chats with the Grand Designs presenter

about his global travels on the trail of amazing architecture

Whether it's unearthing medieval

mysteries or inspiring the public

to build outstanding homes, Kevin

McCloud’s prolific travels and engaging

style have been captured on camera at

ancient sites and self-builds in Britain and

in far-flung corners of the globe.

His experience of living on an organic farm

in Tuscany as an 18-year-old first opened

McCloud’s eyes to the world “That time was

seminal. I had a place to study, worked on a

farm, fell in love… it was great! I came from a

small Bedfordshire village with a very limited

view of the world. Italy showed me a world

which was bigger and more beautiful and

that, personally, I might be capable of a bit

more.” He also took a few other things away:

“A broken heart, but at least I learned Italian.”

What does he love most about Tuscany?

“Partly that it’s so historic, and partly they

look at this idea of patrimony, treating

landscapes like a historical object, so it’s

beautiful to drive through. You get this great

sense of sweeping shapes, almost as though

everything, such as umbrella pines and

cypresses, has been carefully placed.”

Back on home turf, his extensive travels for

his BAFTA-winning Grand Designs series see

him criss-crossing the country to shadow

people’s building journeys and dreams.

Grand Designs Abroad took McCloud to

ambitious builds overseas, while Grand Tour

of Europe saw him following in the footsteps

of the 17th-century’s ‘Grand Tourists', delving

behind the façades of some of the continent’s

greatest buildings and ruins, including sites

in Greece and Turkey. For Homes in the Wild,

McCloud stayed in some of the remotest

places on the planet, such as the shadow of

an active volcano in the foothills of the Chilean

Andes. Living with intrepid Brits who have

quit their rat-race existence, he inhabited

some of the wildest places on earth.

“We followed people building in ridiculous

places. I’m not very good with snakes, and so

I had some psychotherapy before we went

to the middle of the Belize jungle where one

of the largest, most aggressive snakes in the

world lives,” says McCloud.

A stay in a slum in Mumbai for Slumming It,

meanwhile, saw another ironic twist for

Matera is one of the

most beautiful places

I've ever been to and has

some of the most amazing

contemporary architecture

I've ever seen”

McCloud’s crew. “I’ve no sense of smell, so

I’m blessed with this fantastic ability to

tolerate the places that other people find

highly offensive,” he says.

Foraging for fatbergs while filming with the

Thames Water team, meanwhile, had handily

taught McCloud some top ‘decontamination’

tips. “I took bottled water, whisky, handwipes

and gel. Whisky completely cleans your

digestive tract, sorting out any bugs. The wet

wipes and the hand gel – which are also

alcohol – deal with the outside, but you’ve

also got to deal with the inside. That was my

approach in the slum, and it worked!”

The presenter’s preferred destinations?

“It’s memorable people, for me, that make

places stand out. Northern Ireland is one of

the most glorious destinations in the world.

The people are so welcoming plus it has

almost everything conceivable in the

landscape. I calculated that Northern Ireland

punches about seven times above its weight

compared with the rest of the UK, in terms

of producing great architecture and awardwinning

buildings,” claims McCloud.

As for abroad, Vicenza, in northern Italy, is

irrefutably top of his list. “I love going back

there. It’s a magical place and it’s one of the

places where the people are all so lovely and

the food is delicious.”

In addition, Europe's Capital of Culture for

2019, Italy's spectacular city of caves, Matera,

has chiselled out some cherished memories.

“Matera is one of the most beautiful places

I’ve ever been to and has some of the most

amazing contemporary architecture I’ve ever

seen. It’s full of the most amazing buildings

built right back into the rock. It’s sort of primal

and feels medieval but even more ancient.”

What has travelling taught him? “That the

world is a very small place, and a very precious

place that we destroy at our peril,” he states.

The architecture guru has ventured

everywhere from Australia to the South

Pacific for work and, when it’s time to hang

up his hard hat for a broadcasting break,

he loves to sojourn in Scotland or Ireland.

However nowhere’s whet his design whistle

quite like one particular place… and it’s

inevitably Italy that rocks McCloud’s world.

“Italy is still my destination of choice. I think

my heart is a little bit linked to it…”

40 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


TALKING TRAVEL

KEVIN MCCLOUD

Kevin McCloud will be appearing at Grand Designs Live

at London’s ExCeL from May 4-12, 2019. For more

information see granddesignslive.com

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

41


The Business Travel Magazine

Golf Masters

Thursday June 27, Mannings Heath, West Sussex

Now open for bookings

Team and individual entries include brunch on arrival, 18 holes of golf, use of golf

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the

Businesstravel

Magazine


THE REVIEW

the

Review

THE NEWS & VIEWS

THAT REALLY MATTER

[ The lowdown ]

TMCs lay down a marker

with new technology

p44-45

[ Room report ]

MUJI makes it a

hat-trick in Tokyo

p48-49

[ on the ground ]

Hertz offers the best of

British with new range

p50

[ meeting place ]

BTD puts the Zen

back into meetings

p51

[ in the air ]

British Airways unveils

long-awaited new Club Suites

p46-47

O N T H E M O V E I

The latest industry appointments p52

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

43


THE REVIEW

T H E L O W D O W N

TMC NEWS

Miles ahead

Australia’s 1000 Mile

Travel Group is plotting

expansion in the UK this

year by establishing a

London headquarters. The

network of independent

travel businesses was

founded in Australia in

2015 and posted 200%

growth in the last year.

Belfast opening

Ireland-based TMC

Hannon Travel is setting

up offices in Belfast to

serve the Northern Ireland

and Great Britain market.

More for Dawes

Gray Dawes has extended

its regional reach with the

acquisition of INC. Travel

Group’s corporate and

marine business in

Manchester. It has also

purchased VIP Leisure

Travel Ltd. They are the

TMC’s seventh and eighth

acquisitions in the last

four years.

Going Dutch

Reed & Mackay is

launching in the Netherlands

through an alliance

with long-term partner

Munckhof Business Travel.

The two TMCs have opened

a co-branded office at

Amsterdam’s Schiphol

Airport which will serve

the legal, insurance and

finance markets.

TMCs lay down a

marker with new tech

TRAVEL management companies have rolled-out a raft of

new technology, tools and functionality this spring as

agencies clamour to demonstrate their superiority.

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) released

several tech upgrades including a new mobile experience, a

new benchmarking service – called Peer Travel Insights –

and its own re-shopping tool, Hotel Re-Shop Expert.

Corporate Travel Management, meanwhile, has introduced

'next generation' tech suite, CTM Portal. The end-to-end

management platform includes fare forecasting, booking,

pre-trip approval, traveller tracking and business intelligence

reporting. It is for bookers, managers and travellers alike.

Clarity has also upgraded its tech offering with the relaunch

of its Go2Book booking tool. The TMC held a series of user

workshops to inform the overhaul, with personalisation and

NDC developments taking centre stage.

airbnb signals

move into

transport

AIRBNB is accelerating plans

to offer an ‘end-to-end’ travel

platform by appointing a Global

Head of Transportation. It intends

to provide a single platform that

combines “where you stay, what

you do and how you get there, all

in one place”. It has hired Fred Reid,

once CEO of Virgin America, to

head up the new division. Airbnb

CEO Brian Chesky, says: “We’re

going to explore a broad range of

ideas and partnerships that can

make transportation better.”

12%

of buyers have faith in

Artificial Intelligence

Only 12% of travel

managers believe that

AI has the potential to

revolutionise the travel

industry by 2022

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THE REVIEW

T H E L O W D O W N

IN BRIEF

Advantage TAG

Travel and event management

company TAG has

joined the Advantage

Travel Partnership. The

company, formerly known

as The Appointment

Group, joins the consortium

as a Corporate

Premium member.

Good Fello

Fello is joining GlobalStar

Travel Management to

offer a worldwide travel

management proposition.

It joins Capita Travel and

Events, Omega World

Travel and Giles Travel as

GlobalStar's UK members.

Upgrades on the hop

Seatfrog, an app that

allows users to upgrade

their train tickets, has

signed its first partnership

with a TMC. The relationship

will allow customers

of Capita Travel and

Events to bid for first class

upgrades to journeys on

the LNER network.

Sam wise

Corporate Traveller is

rolling out its Sam chatbot

app to its SME clients in

the UK. The tool has

already notched up 20,000

users among clients of

sister agency, FCM.

Time and again

Japan Airlines has been

named the world’s most

reliable airline. Just 1.05%

of the airline’s flights were

cancelled and 10.5% were

delayed during the research

period in autumn last year.

Get Going insurance

analysed a wide variety of

data sources, with KLM,

Emirates, Qatar Airways,

ANA and Finnair also

named among the most

reliable airlines.

Amber Road gives

green light to SMEs

AMBER Road has launched TRAQ, a new business travel

platform for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The software uses app-based booking components to

help SMEs ensure the best available price even after

booking, removing the need for travellers to use search

aggregator tools when making reservations.

Users will also benefit from automatic flight-delay

compensation and a named travel advisor within the

Amber Road team without paying booking, management

or transaction fees. Instead, TRAQ is priced at a flat fee of

£29 per traveller, per month, when the traveller is active.

“SMEs have specific needs and TRAQ is a bespoke, smart

business travel platform that has been created to meet

them,” says Clive Wratten, CEO of Amber Road.

LONDON REMAINS THE TOP DESTINATION

FOR EUROPEAN BUSINESS TRAVELLERS

DESPITE ONGOING UNCERTAINTY AROUND

BREXIT, ACCORDING TO BCD TRAVEL'S

CITIES & TRENDS REPORT. AMSTERDAM

WAS THE SECOND MOST-VISITED CITY

AND VIENNA WAS THIRD

ITM UPDATE

Scott Davies

Chief Executive, ITM

When people are looking to

grow professionally or are

feeling challenged in reaching

the next level of their career,

one of the most effective

ways to develop is by working

with a mentor.

I think that sometimes

people do not consider

mentoring because either

they do not feel that they

need it or that they see the

process as rather formal and

potentially uncomfortable.

Similarly, potential mentors

may be put off by the

perception that it will be

onerous and time-consuming.

The point is that the best

mentoring is informal and

conversational. Something

that is often overlooked is just

how rewarding it can be to

mentor someone and help

them get where they want.

ITM’s members have been

asking us to provide more

support in this area and so

we are proud to be launching

our Mentoring initiative at our

conference on 30th April.

One of the four ITM pillars is

to connect the industry and

so we will be providing a

framework, a roster of

mentors (with key areas of

expertise highlighted) and a

means of applying to be

appropriately matched.

I’ll see a record 500 of you in

Brighton to discuss this and

other ways we can 'ELEVATE'!

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

45


THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

Average airfares to

rise as NDC beds in

BA SHOWS OFF LONG-AWAITED

NEW BUSINESS CLASS CLUB SUITE

BRITISH Airways has unveiled its

long-awaited new business class

seats which will feature on the first

of its A350 aircraft launching in July.

The seats, which convert to

flatbeds and have been rebranded

as Club Suites, all have direct aisle

access and a sliding door for

greater privacy, and will be set out

in a 1-2-1 configuration. They have

40% more storage and 18.5-inch

IFE screens. The new product will

also be installed on B777 aircraft

and on other long-haul aircraft and

deployed across the network from

early 2020.

WIDER NDC adoption is

likely to force a 'continued

upward trend' in airfares this

year, despite a short-term

dip this March.

Global average ticket prices

(ATP) for air bookings are

expected to fall 4% in April

– to US$673 – as fares

readjust after a sharp

increase in the first two

months of the year.

However, in its latest Air

Trends Report, the CWT

Solutions Group says it

expects generally rising fares

for the rest of the year as

NDC solutions gain traction.

“We foresee a continued

upward trend in the average

ticket price through 2019,”

says Christophe Renard, VP

of CWT Solutions Group.

“One of the reasons is that

more airlines are looking to

adopt IATA’s NDC standard

as a means to generate

greater ancillary revenues

such as seat selection and

baggage fees.”

Renard advises corporates

to adopt post-booking price

tracking tools to optimise

spend of flights.

BRUSSELS AIRLINES HAS NEW CABIN

FEVER ON LONG-HAUL OPERATIONS

BRUSSELS Airlines has launched completely new

business class, premium economy and economy class

products for its long-haul fleet.

The airline is spending €10million per aircraft installing

the products, with new-look A330s operational from

April. Dubbed a ‘boutique hotel in the air’, the airline

says it will offer typical Belgian hospitality and ‘make

the journey as important as the destination’.

No.1

Oman Air ups the ante

Oman Air has secured

first place in London

Heathrow's latest 'Fly

Quiet & Green' league

table, with new aircraft

(B787s) and new flying

techniques propelling it

to the top of the chart.

British Airways' shorthaul

operation was

second, with SAS third,

LOT fourth and Air

India in fifth place

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THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

IN BRIEF

GTMC UPDATE

Doing the business

Spanish carrier Air Europa

will launch a new business

class cabin and increase

premium capacity this

autumn. The seating will

be installed on the airline’s

new B787-9 aircraft from

October. A new 1-2-1

configuration will mean all

passengers have direct

aisle access, while leather

seats will convert into

flatbeds and have 17-inch

entertainment screens.

Island connections

Flybe commences a daily

flight between the Isle of

Man and London

Heathrow this April – the

first such direct service for

almost 20 years. The

launch is part of the

airline’s summer schedule

that also features extra

capacity between

Heathrow and Edinburgh.

Premium Swiss

Swiss International Air

Lines is investing around

£30million in installing a

new premium economy

class on its long-haul

aircraft. The new product

will take to the skies in

spring 2021, with the

airline saying it has been

“encouraged by the

positive experiences with

such a product at

Lufthansa and Austrian

Airlines”, its sister airlines.

Phoenix rising

American Airlines has a

launched a daily service

between London Heathrow

and Phoenix Sky

Harbour Intrnational

Airport. The morning

departure complements

transatlantic business

partner British Airways'

existing afternoon flight to

the Arizona city.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC WILL INTRODUCE FLIGHTS

FROM LONDON HEATHROW TO TEL AVIV

THIS AUTUMN AND FROM HEATHROW

TO SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, NEXT YEAR

– ITS FIRST FLIGHTS TO SOUTH AMERICA

Oneworld to open

alliance lounges

THE Oneworld airline alliance will introduce a network of

managed lounges this year and has rebranded to mark its

20th anniversary.

Rob Gurney, Oneworld CEO, says the alliance is also upping

its provision of digitial services and “ramping up co-location

activities at key airports around the world”. It will unveil its

first Oneworld-branded lounge later this year, with more to

be rolled out in due course. A number of airports are said to

be under consideration for development of its first lounge.

As part of the overhaul, Gurney also highlighted development

of its Carrier Connect scheme. “Up until now,

every customer who has had to transfer from one airline to

another has had to go to an airline check-in. This removes

that, and removes the need for multiple apps.”

Adrian Parkes

Chief Executive, GTMC

As an industry organisation, it

is important that we broaden

our commitment to nurturing

new talent in the business

travel sector.

And so we recently launched

our GTMC Education

programme that consolidates

all activities and objectives

in our People and Talent

Strategy Group to promote

the industry, its career

opportunities amongst future

talent and support the

industry through qualifications

and learning.

Initiatives such as the

Bournemouth University

partnership and the newly

launched ‘Pathway to

Business Travel Professional’

apprenticeship programme

support our strategy to

attract and develop

exceptional talent.

And a central pillar to GTMC

Education is the Diploma in

Business Travel Management

developed for both current

TMC employees and for

those who wish to join the

industry with a certified

diploma. The e-learning

programme will help drive

standards within the sector

and create a clear pathway

for career development.

At a time when automation

is a hot topic, it’s important to

recognise our sector thrives

on human interaction and we

must all nurture talent.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

47


THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

QuEEn'S gATE

HoTEl opEnS

undER CuRIo

tHe 100 Queen's Gate Hotel has

MuJI makes

it a hat-trick

in Tokyo

opened in London as part of the

Curio Collection by Hilton.

The historic building has been

transformed over the course of

two years and has 228 rooms

and 11 suites each named after

famous historic Kensington

residents that include Alfred

Hitchcock and Agatha Christie.

The hotel's interior design

reflects the rich history of the

Victorian terrace building, say its

developers, and it houses three

dining establishments: all day

brasserie W/A Kensington;

Botanica, for afternoon teas and

cocktails; and ESQ, a 'discreet

drinking den' inspired by the

travels of former resident

William Alexander.

JaPaneSe lifestyle brand

MUJI has opened its third

hotel, a 79-room property

in Tokyo. The MUJI Hotel

Ginza is its first property in

its native Japan and follows

openings last year in Beijing

and Shenzhen.

Its latest hotel has opened

alongside a new global flagship

MUJI store in the Ginza

district of Japan's capital

and reflects the brand’s

philosophy of “promoting a

pleasant life, minimalist aesthetic

and good design”.

Rooms feature traditional

Japanese textiles, natural

materials and upcycled

products. Unusually, the

hotel says its fixed pricing

structure will remain

consistent throughout the

year to support the group’s

commitment to “fairness and

affordable living”. The hotel

also has a cocktail bar,

restaurant, diner, library and

lounge space for informal

meetings and events.

[ OPENINGS & UPGRADES ]

>> Over 80% of JURYS INN and LEONARD HOTELS UK properties

have now received four-star AA accreditation as the group targets

four-star status across the group >> HYATT HOTELS will add over

2,000 guestrooms across 14 new properties in India over the next

24 months, with a focus on emerging cities within the country >>

MARKET STREET HOTEL, a 98-room property and member of the

Design Hotels Group, is due to open in Edinburgh early this

summer >> LOCKE HOTELS has named three new openings as

part of its expansion plans to add four to six new properties every

year. It has invested £100million in a site in Lisbon and has also

confirmed additions in Berlin and Dalston, London.

£14m

The investment sum raised

by Airbnb rival Plum Guide

The Plum Guide has

raised £14million in a

Series B funding round,

allowing it to expand into

six new cities this April.

The home rentals rival

to Airbnb has already

announced the addition

of six cities in the US this

year, joining London,

Los Angeles, Milan,

New York, Paris and

Rome on the platform

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THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

IN BRIEF

Radisson moves in

The Radisson Collection

Hotel & Suites, Paris La

Défense, will become the

Radisson Collection's first

hotel in France. It take the

group’s portfolio in the

country to 17 hotels and

more than 3,000 rooms in

operation or under

development.

Additions at the Abbey

Stanbrook Abbey Hotel in

Worcester has opened a

new restaurant, The

Refectory Dining Room &

Terrace, and added 15 new

bedrooms as part of an

ongoing investment

programme by its owner

and operator Hand

Picked Hotels.

Centara into Qatar

Thailand's Centara Hotels

& Resorts has continued

its international expansion

with the opening of a

265-room property in the

West Bay district of Doha,

the Qatari capital city.

Carlton refurb

The Jumeirah Group will

close its flagship hotel in

London, the Carlton

Tower, this September for

a year-long refurbishment.

The 17-storey building will

be completely overhauled

and the number of rooms

reduced from 216 to 188 as

several suites are added.

Kimpton carries on

IHG's boutique Kimpton

brand has arrived in

Scotland with the opening

of the Kimpton Charlotte

Square Hotel. It is one of

12 Principal and De Vere

properties to be rebranded

under IHG management

and follows the opening of

the Kimpton Fitzroy

London last year.

Millennium has eye

on the SME market

Millennium Hotels is courting the SME market with new

corporate product Millennium for Business (M4B). The

scheme features a dedicated online portal enabling

businesses to make bookings, earn rewards and benefit

from the group's best room rates.

“With the new programme we can guarantee that small

businesses that don’t have an in-house travel team can

achieve the same benefits as bigger companies and get the

best corporate rates,” says the group's Chief Commercial

Officer, Clive Harrington.

Benefits available as part of the new scheme include

discounted dining, the ability to amend bookings, early

check-in and late check-out, an upgrade every third stay,

and access to a dedicated club or business lounge. It will

also offer 'micro rewards' such as Spotify subscriptions.

Marriott lines up 30 luxury

additions for 2019

Marriott International expects

to open more than 30 new luxury

hotels across the world this year,

including Ritz-Carlton, St Regis,

Bulgari and Edition properties.

The group currently has more

than 200 luxury hotels in its

long-term development pipeline,

including confirmed openings in

2019 of four Ritz-Carlton hotels

(including Perth and Mexico City)

and seven W Hotels including

properties in Dubai, Muscat,

Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and

Philadelphia. Meanwhile, St. Regis

hotels will open in Hong Kong,

Cairo, Venice and Zhuhai, while

among nine additions to the

Luxury Collection is The Langley

in Buckinghamshire (pictured)

which is due to open this summer.

The group is also scheduled to

open two Edition hotels and six

JW Marriott properties.

travelodge

hails five-year

turnaround

Budget hotel group Travelodge

says its positive 2018 performance

caps a ‘five-year transformation’

for the business.

Total revenue was up 8.8% in

2018, at £693.3million, while the

group opened 17 new hotels,

rolled out its first ‘premium

economy’ SuperRooms and

opened its first ‘budget chic’

Travelodge Plus hotel. Occupancy

over the course of the year also

rose – by 2.5% to 78.5% – while the

average room rate was static at

£53.09. In the five years since 2013

sales have increased by over

£250million and EBITDA has more

than trebled to £122million.

“Once again we outperformed

our competitive segment and

delivered another year of strong

growth,” says Peter Gowers,

Travelodge Chief Executive. “These

are uncertain times and we are

not immune from the short-term

challenges, but beyond, we remain

confident that there are more

opportunities ahead.”

accor sets

out big plans

for new tribe

Accor has announced the

expansion of its Tribe brand, a

new midscale lifestyle option from

the hotel group.

A 126-room property is already

open in Perth, Australia, but Accor

says the brand will arrive in Europe

this summer with a 290-room

hotel opening in Glasgow. A further

eight Tribe hotels are due to open

across Europe and Asia-Pacific by

2022 and 50 more are currently

under negotiation worldwide.

The brand will “surprise travellers

with an original, exciting and

carefully curated offer that focuses

on style rather than price.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

49


THE REVIEW

O N T H E G R O U N D

Driven hits the road with

with all-electric fleet

Best of British

hertz has introduced The British Collection in the UK, a

premium range of hire cars, customer lounges and a suite of

extras such as delivery and collection services. Vehicles on

offer include the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar

F Pace, E Pace, XE and XF from its locations at Heathrow

Airport, Marble Arch in London and Edinburgh Airport.

The launch follows the successful introduction of the

Selezione Italia range in Italy last year.

[ hit the road ]

>> Car rental company Avis has launched its upgraded app

with new elements including self-serve functionality and the ability

for Preferred customers to switch their vehicles on arrival >> The

Highland Council has cut average business road travel costs by

around a third since introducing a fleet of 35 Enterprise Car

Club vehicles to replace employees' reliance on 'grey' fleet.

Moreover, it estimates it has also reduced its carbon footprint

by around 50tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) >>

European Luxury car hire specialist Vroomerz has relaunched as

Driverso and added 100 new models to its fleet.

the UK’s first all-electric airport shuttle service, Driven,

has commenced operations using a fleet of Tesla Model

X SUVs. It offers a door-to-door service, either with

exclusive use of the car or as a shared service, with

rates starting from £9 per person for a 40-minute trip.

The company says it is aiming to ‘take cars to airports

off the road, replacing them with zero emission

shuttles’. Driven is targeting both the leisure and

corporate market and, for the latter, has developed a

travel management application that enables companies

to book trips and track activity and costs. The tool also

provides detailed reporting and highlights potential

savings. All drivers are employed by Driven and the

24/7 operation serves all locations within three hours

of all major UK airports.

Taxis going green

Sherbet London Taxis is trebling its all-electric taxi fleet

ahead of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone legislation

coming into effect this April.

“Our evolution is about the future: the future of the

industry, our children’s future and the environment,”

says Asher Moses, Sherbet London Taxis CEO. “We are

establishing a community that truly supports safety, privacy,

technology and accessibility, where customer service and

excellence is key.”

The taxi service offers passengers amenities such as 4G

wifi, air conditioning and phone changing points as well as

its new Ride App, which allows passengers to book an

electric taxi and see where the closest one is using their

personal or corporate account.

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THE REVIEW

M e e t i n g p l a c e

IN BRIEF

Inntel additions

Inntel has enhanced its

Meetings Management

Portal with a new delegate

management system in

collaboration with

Groupize. Users can create

customised, branded and

mobile responsive delegate

invitations, as well as

manage room blocks, take

payments and share

documents. “Following the

addition of a new event

app for our clients and

enhanced meetings MI,

the Groupize delegate

management solution is a

great incorporation to our

Meetings Management

Portal,” says Douglas

O’Neill, Inntel CEO.

Advantage partners

The Advantage Travel

Partnership has signed a

deal with MeetingPackage

to make its M&E booking

platform available to all its

member agencies. “Travel

agents and their clients

are increasingly looking

for transparency and

simplicity when it comes

to researching and

booking meetings and

events,” says Advantage

Meetings and Events'

Ian Quartermaine.

BCD's record year

BCD Meetings & Events

has completed a threeyear

strategic plan that has

resulted in a 141% increase

in total sales and a 218%

increase in its global

footprint, now serving

clients in more than 50

countries. “In 2016 we

launched our first strategic

growth plan,” says Scott

Graf, BCD M&E’s Global

President. “We have

exceeded expectations in

every area, culminating

with a record year in 2018.”

BTD puts the Zen

back into meetings

Business Travel Direct’s meetings and events division has

been relaunched as a standalone, full-service agency called

Zen. The TMC’s parent company, Ickenham Travel Group,

has expanded the team behind the agency, hiring Mandy

Warwick as Senior Director and Kirsty Tod as Senior Event

manager, with further additions likely.

Zen will initially serve BTD’s diverse clientbase before

extending its reach to non-clients, offering a range of

services including venue-finding, event management, event

marketing and incentives.

Through an online booking tool, it offers live availability for

small meetings and events in the UK and Europe, and also

incorporate clients’ own inhouse meeting rooms.

Fairytale events

Disneyland Paris is introducing a new division to serve its busy

meetings and events industry. The Disneyland Paris Event Group will

provide access to the resort’s various theme parks, event spaces and

hotels, creating, hosting and producing a diverse range of corporate

events at the resort.

“At Disneyland Paris Event Group, we create highly immersive, unique

and powerful experiences, connecting guests to our incredible franchises,

seasons and Disney storytelling,” says Gustavo Branger, Vice President,

Disneyland Paris Event Group. “We bring unexpected emotion to life and

create lasting memories for all audiences, individuals and business alike.”

The resort has over 19,300m 2 of floor space, including two convention

centres, three auditoriums, 95 meeting rooms and an exhibition hall –

all within a ten-minute walk of each other – and can host corporate

events for up to 4,000 people.

HILTON UNVEILS

dedicated

M&E brand

The Hilton group has launched a

new hotel brand dedicated to

meetings and events.

Signia Hilton properties – Hilton’s

17th brand – will have a minimum

of 500 guestrooms and at least

75ft 2 of meetings and event space

per room. Located in major urban

and resort destinations, the brand

is expected to debut in 2020 with

the Signia Hilton Orlando Bonnet

Creek, followed by the Signia

Hilton Atlanta and Signia Hilton

Indianapolis. Most Signia hotels

will be new-build properties and,

initially, expansion will be focused

on the United States.

‘Unparalleled’ meetings and

event facilities will comprise large

ballrooms, pre-function areas and

a wide range of meeting rooms

and breakout spaces.

“Signia Hilton is the latest

example of Hilton's ability to

successfully build brands from

scratch, which is key to its organic

growth strategy,” says a spokesperson

for the Signia Hilton brand.

Agency's green

ambitions

events and communications

company UKSV is championing

the cause for 'greener' events,

notably through cutting the use

of single-use plastics and through

greater adoption of renewable

energy solutions.

The business cites recent

initiatives such as London's

Barbican Centre switching to

100% renewable energy.

"I'm really pleased to see

high-profile events and prestigious

venues taking a stand on

single-use plastic and adopting

renewable energy," says Nick

Dean, Senior Operations

Manager at UKSV.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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THE REVIEW

O N T H E M O V E

EVENTS

APRIL 7-9

ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT

Chicago

acte.org

APRIL 30 - MAY 1

NICK BAMFORD MATT LUSCOMBE STEVE FISHER

JOINS: Black Box Partnerships

AS: Associate - Ground/Rail Services

FROM: Rail Delivery Group

JOINS: Cycas Hospitality

AS: CEO

FROM: InterContinental Hotels Group

JOINS: Gray Dawes Group

AS: Chief Technology Officer

FROM: Zoopla

ITM CONFERENCE

Hilton Metropole, Brighton

itm.org.uk

Nick Bamford has joined Black

Box Partnerships, bolstering its

ground and rail services division

Former IHG heavyweight Matt

Luscombe has been appointed

Cycas Hospitality's first CEO

Gray Dawes has welcomed new

Chief Technology Officer Steve

Fisher to drive technological

MAY 14-15

with his more than 30 years

after the company recently

innovation. He brings with him

PROCURECON TRAVEL

Henderson, Las Vegas

experience in travel and

passenger transport.

welcomed three new brands

and doubled its portfolio.

18 years of experience in senior

roles at a variety of tech firms.

procurecontravel.wbresearch.com

MAY 17-20

ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE

Cadiz, Spain

advantageconference.co.uk

MAY 21

TBTM DINNER CLUB

The Dorchester, London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

MAY 24

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

London

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

JUNE 20

ITM SCOTLAND SUMMIT

Edinburgh

itm.org.uk

MARK MCSPADDEN ANNA PRITCHARD NEIL SLAVEN

JOINS: American Express GBT

AS: Vice President of Global Product Strategy

FROM: Sabre Hospitality

Mark McSpadden has moved

from Sabre Hospitality to

American Express GBT to

become the TMC giant’s new

Vice President of Global Product

Strategy and Digital Experience.

PROMOTED AT: Qantas

TO: Regional General Manager, EMEA

FROM: Regulatory Head of Legal

A former head in Qantas' legal

department, Anna Pritchard has

been tasked with leading the

airline's largest international

geographical footprint in time

for its upcoming centenary.

PROMOTED AT: easyJet

TO: UK Country Director

FROM: Manager, Airport Procurement

Neil Slaven has become easyJet's

UK chief after more than eight

years at the airline delivering

commercially-focused improvements,

which he will carry over

into his new role.

JUNE 27

TBTM GOLF MASTERS

Mannings Heath, Sussex

thebusinesstravelmag.com

JUNE 30

GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE

Noordwijk, Netherlands

gtmc.org

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Jens Penny is the new Chief Financial Officer at TAG >> The Oetker

Collection has appointed Joelle Edwards-Tonks as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing

>> ITM has announced five new board directors: Gemma King, Director of Corporate Travel

EMEA at Omnicom; Emma Jones, Director of Global Travel at Willis Towers Watson; Hilton

Worldwide's Tanya Clifford; LNER's Sam McKnight; and easyJet's Andrea Caulfield-Smith >>

Edi Wolfensberger has joined Brussels Airlines in the role of Managing Director Operations >>

HRS has hired former ACTE Director Greeley Koch in a Global Marketing Executive Role

AUGUST 3-7

GBTA CONVENTION

Chicago

gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 17-18

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

Hilton Bankside, London

thebusinesstravelconference.com

52 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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IT's a significant area of spend

for many companies but its

complexities and recent travails

can make it hard to tackle. Find

out more in our guide to

RAIL

TRAVEL

Introduction, 56-57 / Spend management, 60-64

Operator update, 66-70 / Booking tools, 72-74

Overseas rail travel, 77 / Data, 78

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

55


Rail travel / Introduction

Track and

YIELD

Millions of pounds is being invested in the UK’s rail network to enhance the

passenger experience. Dave Richardson assesses the state of the industry

Official inquiries into the state of

Britain’s railways are a regular

occurrence, and indeed date back

to the 'Railway Mania' of the 1840s when

the industry was new and over-speculation

brought economic ruin to many.

So why should the latest be any different?

The Williams Review – led by former British

Airways chief executive Frank Williams – is

open for consultation until May 31 but is, by

its chairman’s own admission, the 30th

review since 2006.

At least he has set the bar high. Williams

has already commented publicly in advance

of a white paper that the Department for

Transport will issue in the autumn, saying:

“Put bluntly, franchising cannot continue the

way it is today. It is no longer delivering clear

benefits for either taxpayers or fare payers.”

In the meantime the Rail Delivery Group,

which includes train operators and Network

Rail, has weighed in with its own proposals

for reform of the highly complex fares

system. The RDG’s guiding principle is that

“customers only pay for what they need and

are always charged the best-value fare”, with

pay-as-you-go pricing on season tickets and

simpler ticketing on smart cards. Longdistance

passengers should benefit from

better-value fares bought on the day of

travel, with more flexibility on peak-hour

pricing to even out demand.

Commenting on behalf of the ITM, industry

affairs committee member Will Hasler says:

“Touch-in/touch-out ticketing must be

available on all platforms, not just B2C. Train

operators all have different objectives, a key

one being trying to extend the franchise.

There’s likely to be extra expense in the

short term if they sort out split ticketing

anomalies, which we would not be happy

about. However, the prospect of spreading

demand more evenly on trains has cost

and wellbeing benefits for commuters and

business travellers. It all sounds good, but it's

easier said than done.”

A new hope

The Williams Review, which could enforce or

disregard the RDG’s pronouncements on

fares, goes much further. It is looking into

the entire structure of how the rail industry

is organised and may even tackle – and likely

dismiss – Labour’s call for renationalisation.

“Renationalisation wouldn’t solve anything

as there would still be no competition

between operators or incentive to provide

a customer-facing service,” adds Hasler.

“But we shouldn’t lose sight of infrastructure

improvements made, such as

the redevelopment of major stations at

London Bridge, King’s Cross, Reading and

Birmingham New Street. This should be

commended, but the railways are still

struggling to cope with demand.

“I’m not convinced anything much will

come out of the Williams Review, especially if

Chris Grayling is still in charge,” Hasler adds.

Raj Sachdave, of consultancy Black Box

Partnerships, welcomes the Williams Review

for addressing some basic questions, along

with RDG proposals on fares reform – but

with a warning.

There’s a focus on how the new fares will

impact the commercial relationships of

franchising, and we hope this doesn’t mean

higher fares for business travellers and those

who need to travel at peak times or need

flexibility at peak times,” he says. “The study

could have segmented business travellers

but doesn’t, which is disappointing to read.”

Another consultant, Nick Hurrell of Nick

Hurrell Associates, says he has “a glimmer of

hope” that Williams will usher in real change.

Removing control of the industry from the

Department for Transport is key for him.

“We had a terrible year in 2018 with delays,

falling public satisfaction and the debacle on

East Coast where Virgin was allowed to walk

away from the franchise,” he says. “Overall

blame has to sit with the DfT, which is too

close to the industry.

“On fares we need to introduce rates based

on the distance travelled, as we have the

highest regulated fares in Europe.”

Josh Collier, Head of Proposition – Rail and

Ground transportation, Capita Travel and

Events, wants uniformity in how train

operators pay delay compensation. This is a

growing business for specialists such as

Railguard and Travel Compensation Services,

which target business travellers.

As overall public satisfaction with the UK's

railway network slumps to its lowest level for

ten years at 79% – according to twice-yearly

surveys by watchdog Transport Focus – the

Williams Review is keenly awaited and very

timely indeed.

“In the autumn we will bring everything

together and, alongside government,

recommend change through a white paper,”

Williams promises. “It will be the culmination

of the biggest and widest review of the

railway for generations.”

56 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Introduction / Rail travel

This autumn will see

the culmination of

the biggest and widest review

of the UK's railway network

for generations”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

57


AN OFFICE

WITH A VIEW

LNER.co.uk/business

LONDON - LEEDS - YORK - NEWCASTLE - EDINBURGH


F R E E W I - F I

ON ALL OUR TRAINS


Rail travel / Spend management

£

FAIR FARES?

The complexity of rail fares can make it difficult identifying the best

ways to manage spend. Gillian Upton finds out why

News in February that average

ticket prices have fallen for

Evolvi users, despite rail fares

increases, suggests that travel buyers are

getting to grips with what is probably

one of the most complex spend

categories in business travel.

Is it that the message of booking early,

shunning anytime tickets, and planning well

ahead for non-customer-facing meetings, is

finally getting through?

According to Evolvi, which analysed some

9.4m transactions undertaken last year, the

average ticket value in 2018 was £56.32 –

compared to £56.83 in 2017. Back in 2012

the average ticket value stood at £61.81.

Despite a clear picture of what best

practice looks like, rail is often the poor

relation in a travel programme. Typically,

what’s needed is better-worded travel policy

and policy enforcement, since there are still

huge numbers of tickets being purchased in

the four to seven days before travel.

Advance rail tickets go on sale three

months before departure and while that

seems challenging for business travellers to

commit to so far out, Gary McLeod, MD

Corporate Division of Traveleads, believes

these tickets are worth booking. “The £10

or upwards change fee on this ticket is

outweighed by the savings accrued.

“Some 80% of journeys happen as planned

so travellers can book a restricted ticket and

still save when taking into account the cost

of changing 20% of tickets,” he says.

“Our maxim with clients is to narrow down

the dates, get the cheapest ticket and then

pay for any change.”

Advance booking is a key savings strategy

with rail. More than 14 days out and an

average fare is £45.63; seven days out that

becomes £64.34 and on the day of travel it

is £71.45, explains McLeod.

Consumers know how to buy train tickets

cost effectively for leisure but Chris Vince, of

Click Travel, believes they act differently

when on business. “They will buy an offpeak

ticket for personal use but they don’t

want to wait around if it’s for business use.”

The modal shift between car and train has

been largely won on health and safety and

CO2 grounds, but use of first class flourishes

on longer-distance trains, generally due to

better productivity. “Travellers can open

their laptop with impunity and do billable

work so it’s money well spent,” says McLeod.

Rail travel is one of the largest spend

categories for Hilti GB and the company has

made the rules clear in its travel policy,

resulting in around 80% of the company’s

rail travel being booked outside the

minimum advance booking horizon of 21

days. “We ask travellers to be mindful of

costs and, if possible, book off-peak tickets

only,” says Ana Gibson, Hilti's GB Supply

Manager – Travel.


£

£

60 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


£

Spend management / Rail travel

£

Customers know

how to buy train

tickets cost effectively for

leisure, but act differently

when on business”

£

£

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

61


Rail travel / Spend management

“Rail is managed quite well,” she says.

“Behaviour is managed through exception

reporting, highlighting travellers who

regularly book outside policy.” The company

is also mindful of short-notice customer

meetings or business-critical meetings that

can’t be changed and advises that the policy

should add flexibility in these circumstances.

So what are the 28 train operators doing

to help buyers manage rail spend better?

The launch of the 26-30-year-old rail card

has been good news over the last 12

months and TMCs are busy identifying the

age of travellers to see who is eligible as a

one-third reduction in cost – even taking

into account the £30 upfront cost of the

card – still results in savings. Exploiting the

16-25 railcard, the 60+ senior rail card and

even the 2 Together cards is also lucrative.

Corporate fares do exist, but generally for

those businesses with significant volumes

and usually only on the long-distance and

intercity routes. Corporates regularly using

the London-Scotland route will have more

leverage than a corporate only booking

short-haul, for example.

Smart buyers must find routes serviced by

multiple competitors to get a deal as the

principle of supply and demand applies.

On London-Birmingham, for example,

Virgin Trains, Chiltern and London

Northwestern Rail operate so offering to

switch market share would bear fruit. But on

the Bristol-London route, serviced by Great

Western and with no air alternative, a deal is

much less likely.

Some operators are happier to dish out

soft perks such as free wifi access,

discounted car parking or F&B vouchers

rather than looking at fare discounts.

Hilti’s Gibson says: “Buyers need to be

aware of not just rail spend but any spend

which goes to air which could be switched

to rail. For example, don’t just look at

Manchester to London Euston rail volumes,

but also Manchester to London Heathrow

air travel and take this whole amount of

travel into the discussions.

“Be mindful of what you as a company can

implement and what the policy allows.

Route deals can be on peak trains but if the

policy suggests off-peak only, then this

offering would not be suitable.” This is

when a clearly worded travel policy

comes into its own, for both suppliers

and travellers.

As a general rule, Gibson believes

rail operators are less proactive

Another source of

savings is processing

refunds if trains are delayed,

as this is finally being

automated and has become

less of a hurdle”

£

than air and hotel operators. It’s something

that Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel

Analyst at Oil Spill Response, is acutely

aware of. “We’ve never been approached by

any rail supplier so my experience is that

they’re not proactive. But, on the flip side,

I’m not sure we have the sort of volume that

they’d be interested in, in order to spur

them on to be proactive.”

Going for the low-hanging fruit is an

obvious buyer strategy, says Raj Sachdave of

Black Box Partnerships. ”Buyers go for what

is going to give the biggest return and that’s

air and then hotels. And rail hasn’t helped

itself either as it’s still very complicated.”

Oil Spill Response spends somewhere

between £8,000-£10,000 annually on rail,

and chiefly on the Southampton-London

route. Nonetheless, the company

encourages staff to book in advance.

”We pitch it to them that it will save them

having to do a laborious expenses claim as

£

£

the cost will be invoiced to us by the TMC,”

says Linley-Munro. Despite this, only four

travellers book through this channel (the

Evolvi tool) with the remainder turning up

on the day and paying.

One glimmer of hope could be the

prospect of pay-as-you-go ticketing, which

would allow buyers to consolidate season

ticket expenditure with rail expenditure and

offer TOCs greater volumes.

Another source of savings is processing

refunds if trains are delayed, as this is finally

being automated and has become less of a

hurdle. How to manage Delay Repay is

appearing on tender documents now and

third-party solutions exist to refund 100% of

compensation to the customer via the TMC

on advance purchase tickets. One such,

Business Travel Compensation, claims a 95%

success rate and says that depending on

policy, the options are for the TMC to hold

the money on account, pass it back to the

client, or reimburse an individual traveller.

“Claims are higher on intercity services as

the cost of those tickets are considerably

more and often the next train may be an

hour away,” says Lee Fortnam, CIO. “For the

TMC it’s an opportunity to do the right thing

for the customer.”

To a large extent, corporates are reliant on

their TMCs to communicate what can be

done to manage rail spend better as they

have the data, but it’s here where there

appears to be a disconnect.


62 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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Rail travel / Spend management

“I find that not a lot of information is

passed on regarding the rail category,” says

Hilti’s Gibson. “TMCs seem to concentrate on

air and hotel bookings and not much is done

to explain how the rail fare structure is

changing,” she adds.

TMCs can analyse rail spend data in any

number of ways, “but it does require the

client to invest time in finding ways to

maximise savings,” says McLeod.

Direct relationships with suppliers is one

way forward, as is a better understanding

with TMCs and educating travellers.

“Use a carrot rather than a stick,” advises

Vince. “For example, say, ‘If we could change

our lead time this is how much we could

save in the business and this is where we

could redistribute it in the business.’ “

Eve Smith, Product Manager, Rail &

Vendors, for FCM Travel Solutions, suggests

a two-pronged attack. “To persuade

travellers or bookers through ‘visual guilt’

into selecting lower fare classes is effective,

as is having the initial discussions with

clients about policy.”

GWR, LNER and Virgin Trains appear most

open to negotiating special deals. “For a

corporate with anytime business, we offer a

deal on the premium cabin,” says David Hill,

Business Development Manager, Corporate

at Virgin Trains. “Other deals are based on a

minimum spend of £200,000 a year on a

specific route.”

Deals are more forthcoming on routes

dominated by air, as is the case with Virgin

Trains to Glasgow. “If anyone has

considerable air spend on that route we

would offer a discount,” says Hill. “There’s

an opportunity for us if a corporate has a

spend of £50,000 on rail but £100,000 on air

and they are prepared to do a modal shift.”

Forget getting a deal on Manchester

services, however, as Virgin has a high

market share, but on Birmingham services

it is more possible.

Elsewhere, Eurostar requires a minimum

annual spend of £130,000 before negotiating

deals on Business Premier as it’s in a strong

position having decimated the air route.

South Western Railway is looking to be

£

proactive on its main routes of Portsmouth,

Southampton, Basingstoke and Bournemouth,

with on-site educational roadshows

and discounts on a retrospective basis, says

Business and Commercial Director Peter

Williams. “It’ll be a tiered approach based on

travel share switches and percentage growth

in revenue,” he explains. The franchise is

also introducing more advance tickets and

trialling Tap2Go, a discounted fare on sameday,

flexible tickets.

Despite the complex structure of the

industry and the proliferation of fare types,

some corporates are managing rail spend

almost as effectively as hotel and air.

To persuade travellers

through ‘visual guilt’

into selecting lower fare

classes is effective, as is

having the initial discussions

with clients about policy”

[ TOP BOOKING TIPS ]

• Avoid anytime return tickets: these are the

most expensive ticket type

£

The best option for a business traveller is an

advance outbound and flexible inbound ticket

• A travel policy should clearly state the

rules on rail – such as advance booking –

and also exceptions

The travel policy should state when rail

should be used over car, for example

The policy should not allow open returns

The policy can allow first class when it is

the cheaper option over standard or

advance fares

64 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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Rail travel / Operator update

All the right

SIGNALS

New services, new trains, new products… operators are upping the ante in

their efforts to earn passenger satisfaction, writes Dave Richardson

66 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Operator update / Rail travel

Investment in many new train fleets

might be behind schedule, but

developments that begin to come

on-stream this year will transform rail

travel on a host of routes.

Rail Delivery Group, which brings together

train operators and infrastructure operator

Network Rail, says that by 2021 around 7,000

new carriages will have been introduced,

making possible 6,400 extra services a week.

At least £13.8billion is being invested by the

private sector, in addition to the government’s

financing of new trains and Network Rail.

New trains are only part of the story, as in

many cases the older trains they replace are

being “cascaded” onto other routes to

replace the very oldest trains, such as the

four-wheel “Pacers” of Northern, Great

Western and Transport for Wales, which are

all due for retirement by the year-end.

Many of the InterCity 125 trains replaced

by Great Western are being transferred to

regional services in Scotland. Here they won’t

be able to operate at high speed, but offer a

comfortable business environment on routes

from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Perth,

Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Great Western will complete the

introduction of its new express fleet by May,

meaning the vast majority of trains into

London Paddington will be electric. But as

electrification is not being extended to Bath,

into Bristol city centre, from Cardiff to

Swansea or from Didcot to Oxford, all these

trains are bimodal, meaning they can use

electric or diesel power.

The same type of train, by Japanese

manufacturer Hitachi, is being introduced on

East Coast routes from London to Leeds,

Newcastle and Scotland this year. Some are

electric-only while bimodal trains will serve

cities not on the electrified network, with

new services to Middlesbrough and Lincoln.

New trains are also being introduced by

TransPennine Express (TPE) and Hull Trains,

with TPE ushering in three new fleets

dubbed Nova, which will transform services

between Northern cities, and from the

LNER

GWR

MAIN: CROSSCOUNTRY

Rail Delivery Group

says that by 2021

around 7,000 new carriages

will have been introduced,

making possible 6,400 extra

services each week”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

67


Rail travel / Operator update

GREATER ANGLIA

STANSTED EXPRESS

North to Scotland. TPE’s total £500million

investment in new trains will start to bear

fruit later this year when Nova 3 trains start

operating on routes between Liverpool,

Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York,

Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

Meanwhile, TPE’s all-electric Nova 2 trains

will link the North West with Scotland

including a new, direct Liverpool-Glasgow

service. Bimodal Nova 1 trains, by Hitachi,

will operate from the North West to

Newcastle and Edinburgh.

By 2020, 70% of TPE’s fleet will be new. Like

many modern trains, these will offer a major

upgrade on what went before, including

comfortable seating with more luggage

space, plug and USB charging points. Free

on-board wifi access will be available in both

standard and first class.

Local services will soon start to benefit as

Northern also brings in 98 new trains across

its network. As with most operators, free wifi

and plug/USB sockets will be standard,

allowing you to work on the move.

Further eye-catching improvements are

being made in Scotland, where the devolved

government is very pro-rail. The routes

between Glasgow and Edinburgh and from

these cities to Stirling and Dunblane have

been electrified, with ScotRail able to

increase capacity and shorten journey times.

Caledonian Sleeper will introduce the first

new overnight trains in Britain for more than

30 years from May, starting with the London-

Edinburgh/Glasgow route followed by its

Highland services to Inverness, Fort William

and Aberdeen. For the first time on ordinary

service trains, en suite cabins will be an

Further eye-catching

improvements to

the rail network are being

made in Scotland, where the

devolved government is very

pro-rail travel”

Get the

train to work.


Operator update / Rail travel

option, greatly improving the appeal of

sleeper travel to the business market. It

will be interesting to see if it gains a loyal

corporate offering.

Built at a cost of £100million, the new

sleeper fleet has been funded to the tune of

£60million by the Scottish government.

Another eye-catching development comes

at Greater Anglia, owned by the same

organisation as ScotRail, where the entire

fleet is being replaced from 2019 with a

mixture of electric and bimodal trains.

Ten new electric trains for London-Norwich

will reduce the journey time to under two

hours, while more will be used by Stansted

Express. Notably, first class seating is being

abolished on all its routes except between

London and Norwich.

Meanwhile, London North Eastern Railway

(previously Virgin Trains East Coast) will

begin operating new Azuma trains this

spring, with the first service scheduled to hit

the tracks on May 15 between London King’s

Cross and Leeds.

Commuter services in southern England

may not benefit from such major investment

over the next few years, but in other parts of

the country this investment is long overdue.

However, capacity has been increased

decisively on Thameslink north-south routes

via Central London, despite the botched

timetable revamp of May 2018 which led to

massive cancellations.

Most commuter operators are introducing

extra trains to cope with overcrowding, such

as South Western Railway which will add 90

new trains by the end of this year. Whether

Transport for London’s Crossrail project (the

Elizabeth Line) starts operating in 2019

remains to be seen, but, when it does finally

open, Heathrow will be connected directly to

the West End and Canary Wharf.

These major fleet renewals might cast train

operators not currently investing in a poor

light, but as franchises around the country

are renewed it will be the turn of routes

including East Midlands and CrossCountry to

benefit from investment.

VIRGIN TRAINS

GREAT NORTHERN

Show your

emails who’s boss.

Free on-board WiFi *

Connect to more


Rail travel / Operator update

[ The operators: who does what ]

C2C

Owned by: Trenitalia, part of the state-owned

Italian rail operator

Franchise period: 2014-29

Main routes: London Fenchurch Street to

stations in Essex

CALEDONIAN SLEEPER

Owned by: Serco

Franchise period: 2015-30

Main routes: London Euston to Scottish cities

CHILTERN TRAINS

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, part of stateowned

German operator DB

Franchise period: 2002-21

Main routes: London Marylebone to

Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham

CrossCountry

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains

Franchise period: 2007-19. Renewal

postponed due to Williams Review

Main routes: Birmingham to the South West,

Cardiff, Nottingham, Stansted, Manchester,

Leeds, the North East and Scotland

East Midlands Trains

Owned by: Stagecoach

Franchise period: 2007-19

Main routes: London St Pancras to Leicester,

Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; Norwich

to Liverpool

Govia Thameslink Railway

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis

(majority owned by French state-owned

operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group

Franchise period: 2015-21

Main routes: London to Bedford,

Peterborough and King’s Lynn; and London

to Brighton and south coast (including

Southern services). Includes Gatwick Express

Grand Central

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Non-franchised

open access operator

Main routes: London King’s Cross to

Bradford, York and Sunderland

GREATER ANGLIA

Owned by: A partnership between Abellio

(part of Dutch train operator NS) and

Japanese rail interests

Franchise period: 2016-25

Main routes: London-Norwich; Stansted

Express; regional services across East Anglia

Great Western Railway

Owned by: FirstGroup

Franchise period: 2006-20

Main routes: London Paddington to the

West Country, South Wales and Cotswolds;

regional services in the South West and

Thames Valley

Heathrow Express

Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated

by Great Western. Non-franchised open

access operator

Main route: London Paddington to

Heathrow

HULL TRAINS

Owned by: FirstGroup

Non-franchised open access operator.

Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull

LONDON NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY

Owned by: Department for Transport

Operating period: 2018-20, when new

franchise is due to start

Main routes: London King’s Cross to

Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh,

Aberdeen and Inverness

London Northwestern Railway

London Northwestern Railway/West

/ WeST MIDLANDS RAILWAY

Owned by: West Midlands Trains, a

partnership between Abellio and Japanese

rail interests

Franchise period: 2017-26

Main routes: London to Birmingham and

Crewe; Birmingham to Liverpool; local

services in West Midlands

London Overground

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, operating on

behalf of Transport for London

Franchise period: 2016-24

Main routes: Local services around London

Merseyrail

Owned by: A partnership between Abellio

and Serco

Franchise period: 2003-28

Main routes: Local services around

Merseyside

Northern

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains

Franchise period: 2016-25

Main routes: Local and regional services

throughout the North

ScotRail

Owned by: Abellio, operating on behalf of the

Scottish government

Franchise period: 2015-25

Main routes: Most services within Scotland

Southeastern

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and

Go-Ahead Group

Franchise period: 2006-19

Main routes: London to Kent, including highspeed

services from St Pancras; local services

around south London.

Southern

Owned by: see Govia Thameslink Railway

South Western Railway

Owned by: A partnership between FirstGroup

and Hong Kong rail operator MTR

Franchise period: 2017-24

Main routes: London to the south coast –

including Portsmouth, Southampton and

Weymouth – and Exeter; local services

around south London

TfL Rail

Owned by: Transport for London

Franchise period: 2015-23

Main routes: East London services. Will

also operate Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when

it opens

TransPennine Express

Owned by: FirstGroup

Franchise period: 2016-23

Main routes: Liverpool and Manchester

Airport to Yorkshire and the North East;

Manchester Airport to Glasgow and

Edinburgh; Manchester to Hull and

Cleethorpes

TransPORT FOR WALES RAIL

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis

and Amey, operating on behalf of Transport

for Wales

Franchise period: 2018-33

Main routes: Most services within Wales, and

to Birmingham and Manchester

VIRGIN TRAINS

Owned by: A partnership between Virgin

Group and Stagecoach

Franchise period: 1997-2020

Main routes: London to the West Midlands,

North West, North Wales and Scotland;

Birmingham to Scotland

70 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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LIVERPOOL MANCHESTER LEEDS YORK HULL SHEFFIELD NEWCASTLE EDINBURGH GLASGOW


Rail travel / Booking tools

Just the

ticket

Developments in booking tools and ticket

fulfilment are delivering efficiencies and

convenience, writes Dave Richardson

The roll-out of mobile and

e-ticketing in the rail industry is

gathering pace, but is still not

happening quickly enough for business

travellers accustomed to accessing

everything on their phones.

An e-ticket does not require activation prior

to use and goes straight into the mobile’s

ticket wallet. A mobile ticket does require

activation, and is delivered as a barcode

which can be scanned at ticket gates and on

board trains, or printed out.

Train operators need to invest in the

technology to read paperless tickets, and

their willingness to do so may depend on

what stage they are at in their franchise.

Investment in new ticketing is a requirement

when franchises are renewed, but an

operator nearing the end of its term may not

be too interested.

Availability of e-ticketing is often restricted

to advance fares, but operators also offering

this on other types of fares, including

Business travellers

are getting younger

all the time and need tickets

on their mobiles. It works

quite well when it’s available,

but that’s not on all train

operators or routes”

Anytime fares, include Chiltern, CrossCountry,

Grand Central, Great Western, South Western

and TransPennine Express.

M-ticketing is generally more widely

available on operators including Heathrow

Express, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains,

Hull Trains, LNER, LNWR, Northern,

TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains and

West Midlands Trains.

The move towards paperless tickets is

welcomed by GTMC Chief Executive Adrian

Parkes, who says: “Our Next Generation

strategy group recently put together a white

paper, which revealed that 84% of business

travellers wish to have booking and rail

information accessible through mobile

channels; such as an online booking tool

and other mobile itinerary solutions.

“API technology is allowing greater choice

and innovation both at TMC level and

distribution intermediaries. There is also

increasing interest for a consistent digital

ticketing experience,” adds Parkes.

“Despite the slow growth of mobile

ticketing, regulation will be a key driver with

the intention to phase out the ‘physical’

orange ticket from 2020. But in the interim,

only a handful of train operators can offer

e-ticket functionality. Simplicity of booking

and digital ticket delivery sitting in one

platform is the best way to drive and manage

the corporate rail agenda.”

Click Travel, which has developed its own

booking platform, also welcomes the move

towards paperless ticketing. “Business

travellers are getting younger all the time

and need tickets on their mobiles,” says

Operations Director Chris Vince.

“It works quite well when it’s available, but

that’s not on all train operators or routes.

However, some travellers will always want a

physical ticket in their hand.”

Another development, being encouraged

and funded by the DfT, is pay-as-you-go or

smart card ticketing, such as in London with

the Oyster card. This can be used for other

forms of road transport including buses and

trams, and extension of the concept to

season tickets offers better value as

travellers only pay for what they use.

A non-profit organisation called ITSO has

rolled out a mobile pay-as-you-go solution,

initially on the metro trams operated by

Transport for West Midlands. Passengers

download tickets using Google Pay and tap

their phone on card readers.

Executive Chairman Steve Wakeland says:

“We can work with any retailer that wants to

fulfil tickets to digital wallet providers such

as Google Pay, and this includes specific

business travel platforms such as Evolvi or

Trainline for Business.

“A business travel manager could purchase

multiple mobile tickets for several travellers

by providing the details of the mobile

accounts of each of them at checkout. People

want to buy travel in the same way that they

buy other goods and services.”


72 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Booking tools / Rail travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

73


Rail travel / Booking tools

API links let you offer

things that aren’t done

elsewhere, such as seeing rail

and air side by side”

The DfT says: “Our ambition is to ensure

that across regional and urban commuter

areas, smart ticketing can deliver the kind

of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) structure that is

used in London.”

While online platforms Evolvi and Trainline

concentrate on the wider deployment of

paperless travel, their systems have

developed to the point that there is little

worthwhile functionality to add. But it

remains a concern that some developments

are only available through train operators

direct, and not through intermediaries.

Will Hasler, speaking on behalf of the ITM,

says: “There is concern about fares only

available through train operator websites,

although this is more of a problem with

airlines. But we want parity so that whatever

train operators deliver to the public is

available through our systems.

“For example, Virgin Trains has been

creative with auto-refunds when you book

through its own channels, but not through

intermediaries. The problem is that if you

book through Evolvi or Trainline, or thirdparty

systems such as KDS or Concur, the

operator can’t see who you are.”

This limits the delivery of useful information

to the traveller, such as notification of delays.

But intermediaries can develop their own

technology, such as Trainline which now has

AI-powered voice alerts for disruption, using

data from train operators’ Twitter feeds.

Capita Travel and Events has developed its

own rail booking tool using an API link from

Evolvi. Head of Proposition – Rail and Ground

Transportation, Josh Collier, says: “API links let

you offer things that aren’t done elsewhere,

such as seeing rail and air side by side. Some

content is not available through API links –

mobile ticketing is a prime example that

booking tool providers must work on.”

Consultant Raj Sachdave of Black Box

Partnerships says: “More and more sales are

going through the API route, which allow you

to be really creative with the content.

“For example you could be sent a reminder

that your train goes soon and you need to

get going, or an app could be used to deliver

catering to your seat. Rail booking also needs

to integrate with other means of ground

transport, including Uber.”

Some intermediaries, such as Click, enable

split ticketing through their systems when

this cost-saving approach is not offered by

the main online platforms.

Click’s Chris Vince says: “We offer split

ticketing, but we shouldn’t be in a position

where it’s necessary. You can always have

fewer clicks, but only when the rail industry

simplifies fares.”

[ THE PRICE IS RIGHT ]

Evolvi had another successful year in 2018

when it increased tickets sales and achieved a

small decrease in the average ticket value

(ATV) paid despite the annual increase (3.3%)

in regulated rail fares.

Analysis of 9.4 million transactions, up from

8.6 million in 2017, found that the ATV of

£56.32 last year compared to £56.83 in 2017.

IT Director Andrew Cantrell says: “When you

consider that the ATV in 2012 stood at £61.81,

the growing adoption of Evolvi’s smart fares

search functionality and comprehensive policy

options has consistently enabled rail users to

beat the effect of annual fares increases.

“It’s a great example of technology optimising

budgets by setting controls, adding value

through analytics, and simplifying navigation

through what is the most complex fares

structure in the world.”

Evolvi is also seeing growing enthusiasm for

paperless ticketing in the corporate sector,

particularly with increasing availability of

tickets that go straight into travel wallets and

do not require activation prior to travel.

“We need a system

that better reflects the

digital economy, which

uses mobile technology

to create value for

passengers”

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is overseeing

the rapid roll-out of barcoded tickets across

all operators and all routes,” adds Cantrell.

“This is something that will enhance the

experience of increasingly tech-savvy business

travellers. We hope that progress will now be

made on the inter-operability that will unlock

the government’s vision for network-wide

paperless travel.

“We also welcome the proposal submitted to

the Williams Review by RDG and Transport

Focus for a more transparent, modern system

of ticketing and fares, based on the principles

of simplicity and value for money. We need a

system that better reflects the digital economy,

which uses mobile technology to create value

for passengers, and which opens up

opportunities to bear down on costs.”

74 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


The rail API trusted by leading brands

At Evolvi, we create better outcomes for our customers by

providing real time access to rail fares and information to make

travel easier and cheaper. Our web services team supports

brands across business and leisure markets, driving value

through the rapid co-development of platforms integrating the

EvolviWS rail API.

As a partner for innovation, we power smarter rail solutions for

travel management company portals, online booking tools,

global distribution systems and expense packages. Our

collaboration goes way beyond access to the widest range of

fare types, providing customers with bespoke functionality that

meets their vision…and creates a stand-out market proposition.

More information

To find out more about the EvolviWS API,

email evolviws@evolvi.co.uk or call

01732 598510.

www.evolvi.co.uk


PARIS • BRUSSELS

• AMSTERDAM


Overseas / Rail travel

[ INTERNATIONAL MARKETS ]

FOREIGN EXCHANGES

Rail travel overseas could become a more viable option for business

travellers in the coming years, says Dave Richardson

Further deregulation of rail travel

within the EU will make it a more

viable option for business travel

from 2020, while Asia could be a big rail

market for the future.

Amadeus has become established as the

leading GDS platform for rail. Eve-Marie

Morgo, Head of Marketing for Amadeus

Rail, says deregulation will improve the

passenger experience in various ways.

“Firstly, it will encourage operators to

adopt a more customer-centric approach

and investment in technology will be an

important differentiator,” she explains.

“Operators that can offer international

distribution enabling cross-border travel,

multi-language website services and mobile

ticketing will be well-placed in this respect.

“Secondly, deregulation will improve

service quality as it will not only foster

competition among rail operators but also

encourage co-operation.”

Morgo continues: “Rail operators are

collaborating with air, coach travel and

ride-sharing services, and we anticipate they

will see the benefit of allowing passengers

on connecting journeys to transfer to a later

service without penalty, should their first

journey be cancelled or delayed.”

Where competition already exists it has

been beneficial. In Sweden, passenger

numbers have increased while prices have

dropped, while in Italy, NTV Italo became

the first private company to challenge the

state-owned operator and fares fell by 30%.

The UK, Europe’s most mature privatised

rail market, has been beset by a lack of

innovation, with ticket prices the most

expensive in Europe,” says Morgo.

Amadeus has partnered with China

Railways to become the first technology

platform distributing its content outside

the mainland, but Morgo says the Asian rail

market is fragmented.

The planned Kunming-Singapore railway

connecting China, Singapore and mainland

South East Asia will be a significant move

towards greater integration,” says Morgo.

Sabre and Travelport are also significant

players in rail, especially in Europe. Sabre

doesn’t yet offer rail content in China or

India, but now has direct integration with

RZD, the Russian State Railway, offering

real-time availability for domestic and

international routes. Travelport is looking at

China and other Asian markets, and has

already increased its rail content in the US.

Trainline users can now book rail in 44

countries, its latest deal being with ticketing

agency Real Russia.

French rail operator SNCF has introduced

an online booking platform called OUI,

which covers much of Europe. Apart from

Eurostar, its most popular routes for UK

business travellers are Paris-Lyon, Paris-

Bordeaux, Lille-Paris, and Paris-Brussels by

international operator Thalys.

Strong business travel growth of 12%

underpinned a record total of 11 million

passengers for Eurostar in 2018. London-

Paris and London-Brussels remain popular,

whereas London-Amsterdam, launched last

year and with a third daily frequency

starting in June, is more of a leisure route.

Deregulation will

improve service

quality as it will not only

foster competition among

rail operators but also

encourage cooperation”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

77


Rail travel / Data

(SOURCE: ORR)

can't get no

SATISFACTION

The latest National Rail Passenger Survey saw satisfaction levels

fall to a ten-year low, albeit with mitigating circumstances

including strikes and the mishandled launch of new timetables

85.6%

THE PROPORTION OF TRAINS THAT ARRIVED

WITHIN FIVE MINUTES OF THEIR TIMETABLED

ARRIVAL IN THE UK IN THE LAST YEAR

83%

THE PROPORTION

OF LONG-DISTANCE

JOURNEYS

RATED AS VERY OR

FAIRLY SATISFACTORY

(SOURCE: ORR)

94 M

TOP 5 OPERATORS

1 HEATHROW EXPRESS

2 GRAND CENTRAL

3 CHILTERN RAILWAYS

4 HULL TRAINS

5 MERSEYRAIL / VIRGIN TRAINS

96%

94%

92%

91%

90%

THE BIGGEST FACTORS

INFLUENCING PASSENGER

SATISFACTION

Other

Punctuality

23 %

Journey

length

7 %

Level of

crowding

9 %

/reliability

36 %

Cleanliness

14 %

Frequency

of trains

11 %

THE BIGGEST FACTORS

INFLUENCING PASSENGER

DISSATISFACTION

79%

THE PROPORTION OF

REGIONAL JOURNEYS

RATED AS VERY

OR FAIRLY

SATISFACTORY

THE NUMBER OF PASSENGER ENTRIES AND

EXITS AT THE UK’S BUSIEST TRAIN STATION,

LONDON WATERLOO, IN THE LAST YEAR

Other

Train companies

18 %

Journey

length

5 %

Level of

12 %

crowding

9 %

OVERALL

SATISFACTION

dealing with

delays

48 %

Punctuality

/reliability

Level of

crowding

12 %

BUSINESS TRAVELLERS

-4%

(SOURCE: ORR)

THE NUMBER OF

1.7Bn

PASSENGER JOURNEYS

IN THE UK IN THE LAST YEAR

COMMUTERS

LEISURE TRAVELLERS

-3%

-1%

78 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


CONFERENCE


DEPARTURES

On the road with Alon Baranowitz

The founder of a global architecture and interior design

business, Alon Baranowitz shares his travel highlights

GOOD & BAD

Best business travel experience:

Early morning jogging along the

New York Highline and feeling the

Big Apple waking up.

Worst business travel experience:

Flying out of Heathrow Airport on

Christmas Eve.

SUPPLIERS

service was

on fire!

DETAILS

Name: Alon Baranowitz.

Position & company: Founder and

Creative Director, Baranowitz +

Kronenberg Architecture.

Nature of your business:

Architecture and interiors for

lifestyle venues including

hotels, restaurants, clubs

and event spaces. To name

just a few examples:

W Amsterdam, Sir Joan Hotel in

Ibiza, Mad Fox Club Amsterdam and

we're currently busy with W Ibiza,

W Prague and The Milan EDITION.

Based in: Mainly Tel Aviv, but we

also have an office in Amsterdam.

Business trips per year: 30.

Estimated annual mileage:

Around 60,000 miles.

Regular destinations: Los Angeles,

New York, Barcelona, Ibiza, Milan

and Prague.

Most recent trip: Barcelona and

Los Angeles.

Next trip: Ibiza to visit an upcoming

project there.

ROOMS FOR

IMPROVEMENT

Preferred airline or hotel and

why: Chiltern Fire House in London

for keeping the kitchen open

especially for us for a very late

dinner – and embracing us with a

great bottle of Champagne after we

won the Best Bar and Restaurant

Award. How they found out

about it, I will never know.

Loyalty points – obsessive

collector or not bothered?

Just keep flying and the

points will eventually reveal

themselves...

Favourite loyalty scheme: There

isn’t one that clinches it for me,

which says more about them.

STEPPING ONBOARD

Flights: work, rest or play?

All of the above.

Onboard connectivity – take it or

leave it? Stay unplugged.

Onboard habits: I always start off

with a great expectation to catch up

on work – which usually dissolves at

high altitude into a good read, a

sketch or a power nap.

DESTINATIONS

Happy never to go back to: Buenos

Aires Airport during a strike.

It was like something out

of Kafka but with a South

American touch.

Send me back to: The

endless pristine beaches in

the Algarve, Portugal.

Top overseas landmark: You can't

beat the bright blue icebergs in the

stunning Torres Del Paine National

Park, Chile.

do cry

for me,

argentina

Biggest business travel irritation:

Why do hotels always have tiny

amenity kits and little bottles of

shampoo? They are next to useless

and certainly not luxury.

Pack light or go prepared?

In between – I would say I am

lightly prepared!

Never leave home without:

A good book. Traveling allows me

ample time to catch up on my

reading list.

TRAVEL POLICY

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

One thing that would improve

business travel: Definitely having

more speedy e-gates at airports.

I hate the queues.

Stick to the travel policy or a bit of

a maverick? I don’t think I’ve got

time to improvise.

If you could change one thing

about your travel policy: Abandon

early morning flights.

80 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

Meeting in Liverpool

Home to The Beatles and

two Premier League

football teams,

Liverpool’s prowess as a

sporting and musical

centre is known the

world over. Its industrial

past was built on its port,

which handled goods and

raw materials from

across the British Empire,

but today it is a centre

Wow factor

Liverpool Cathedral

1 St James Mount, Liverpool, L1 7AZ

0151 709 6271 /

liverpoolcathedral.org.uk

Britain’s biggest cathedral (and

the fifth largest in the world)

features impressive gothic

arches and a huge tower,

making it a perfect choice for

grand gala dinner or awards

evening. The events space can

cater for anything from 20 to

2,000 delegates. Wifi is

available throughout the

property. Due to the versatility

of the property, call for a quote.

Quirky venue

The Beatles Story

Britannia Vaults, Albert Dock,

Liverpool, L3 4AD

0151 709 1963 / beatlesstory.com

The Beatles Story is home to a

recreation of Mathew Street in

1960s Liverpool, including a

replica of the original Cavern

Club. The museum can provide

themed live entertainment,

food and drink in either the

Cavern Club replica or the Fab

4 café. Hire from £3,200

plus VAT for the

entire venue after

opening hours. A HARD DAY'S

NIGHT

On a shoestring

Avenue HQ

17 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

0800 368 8478 / avenue-hq.com

The modern and airy

co-working space provides

visitors with in-house catering,

a bar and coffee shop, and is

located on Liverpool’s historic

waterfront. A second space in

the city‘s nearby commercial

district at St Paul’s Square is

due to open this year. Lobby

room hire is available from

£130 per hour up to £800 for a

full days hire, for a maximum

of 30 delegates.

for financial services,

education, life sciences

and tourism.

Small but perfectly formed

Wired up

Out of town

Hope St. Hotel

40 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9DA

0151 709 3000 /

hopestreethotel.co.uk

Located in the heart of the city

centre, the smart four-star

hotel has five modern meeting

spaces. Rooms can cater for

small meetings of up to 14, to

30-70 theatre-style. Food is

available from its AA two

rosette restaurant, The London

Carriage Works. DDR

from £35 including

VAT and room hire

is from £800.

CENTRAL AND

CONVENIENT

ACC Liverpool

Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP

0151 475 8888 / accliverpool.com

The sprawling ACC Liverpool is

the home to the BT Convention

Centre, Echo Arena and the

Exhibition Centre Liverpool on

the city’s waterfront. Meetings

and events of almost any size

can be held on the site. There

is around 14,225m 2 of

exhibition space across the

three venues as well as

numerous breakout spaces and

an 11,000 seat arena.

Enquire for bespoke rates.

Knowsley Hall

Knowsley Place, Prescot, L34 4AG

0151 489 4827 /

knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk

This 2,500-acre estate and

historic hall is set within acres

of fields and lawns despite

being only 15 minutes from the

city centre. The venue is geared

towards large conferences,

24-hour delegate packages and

team building days. It has a

safari park, in-house

catering, a spa and

on-site rooms. DDR

from £39.

HISTORIC

HIDEAWAY

Getting there

The city has its own

international airport and is

located two hours from London

by train. By car the city can be

reached by taking the M6 then

joining either the M62, M58 or

M56 to Liverpool.

Further information

Contact Liverpool

Convention Bureau for advice

on organising an event.

Liverpoolconventionbureau.com

has details of venues and

accommodation. Call 0151 233

5933 or email conferences@

marketingliverpool.co.uk

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

81


DEPARTURES

New kid on the block

Dakota Manchester

THE LOWDOWN This brand new

boutique hotel opens this May in the

heart of Manchester and looks set to

become a popular urban bolthole for

the savvy business traveller. It has

137 guestrooms, including 20 suites –

one of which Dakota claims will be

the largest in the city – plus an 'urban

brasserie', The Grill, which will serve

classic dishes paired with fine wines,

plus a cocktail bar and Champagne

room. The hotel is located on Ducie

Street, close to Manchester Piccadilly

station, and a ten-minute walk from

bustling Market Street and 20 minutes

from Manchester Convention Centre.

It is the fifth hotel from the chic

British brand, joining existing

properties in Leeds, Edinburgh and

two in the Glasgow area.

that's a FACT The Dakota brand

is named after the pioneering US

aircraft that transformed air travel in

the 1930s by offering stylish and

affordable service in an age when

flying was reserved for the elite.

they said it "What sets Dakota

apart from other boutique hotels in

Manchester is that the guest is at the

forefront of our minds at all times.

We believe we can make a difference

by purely focusing on doing the

simple things brilliantly. Dakota is

stylish, luxurious and timeless. Expect

fabulous food, impeccable service,

timeless design and attention to

detail, a magnificent Champagne

room and a cigar garden.”

RATES Rates at the

hotel start from £203 per night.

82 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

On business in... Singapore

Originally founded as a

colonial trading post by

Sir Stamford Raffles, the

small island city-state of

Singapore is today one of

the world’s most highly

developed market

economies and is a

melting pot of different

religions and cultures,

writes Emma Allen

new

highs at

gardens by

the bay

Getting there

British Airways operates

direct flights twice a day from

London Heathrow to

Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines flies four

times daily from Heathrow to

Singapore and five times a week

from Manchester to Singapore.

Flights take around 12 hours.

Further information

For details on conferences and

events, visit Singapore Exhibition

and Convention Bureau (SECB)

at visitsingapore.com/mice or

email secb@stb.gov.sg

SLEEPING

Raffles, the grand dame of Singapore

hotels, reopens this summer

following a complete refurbishment.

Elsewhere, the recently opened Six

Senses Maxwell is set in a restored

row of chop houses in Chinatown

while M Social in nightlife district

Robertson Quay boasts eclectic

Philippe Stark designs.

EATING

Incredible city views and Michelinstar

dining are on offer at Jaan, while

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House is

one of the best places for

Singapore’s famous chilli crab.

Downtown, Lau Pa Sat has great

satay dishes. Try hawker centres

(food courts) like Maxwell Food

Centre for cheap eats.

After hours

Head to CÉ LA VI perched at

the top of Marina Bay Sands for a

sky-high view or hang out in the

Singapore outpost of New York

bar Employees Only for swanky

cocktails. Native on bustling Amoy

Street serves a range of fine gins

while night owls can head to club

favourite Zouk in Clarke Quay.

Getting Downtown

Changi Airport is around 10 miles

from the city centre. Singapore’s

efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

train is the cheapest way to get into

the centre and takes around 30

minutes. Metered taxis are freely

available at the airport or,

alternatively, private transfers can

Gin and

you're

winning

be arranged via the airport’s

24-hour Ground Transport desks in

the airport arrival halls.

Must-See Sights

Little India and Chinatown

have heritage and temples

in abundance. Shoppers will

love Orchard Road, a three-mile

stretch of malls and designer stores,

while the nearby resort island of

Sentosa offers attractions like

Universal Studios and SEA

Aquarium. The tranquil greenery of

Gardens by the Bay, with the

incredible Supertree Grove, makes a

restful retreat from the city.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

83


DEPARTURES

Focus on... Canada

Straddling six time zones,

the second-largest

country in the world has

strong historic and

economic ties to the UK,

writes emma allen

Canada is vast. The second-largest

country in the world stretches from

the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the

Pacific Ocean in the west, meaning

there is plenty of opportunity for

ambitious UK business.

Much of its interior is beautiful

wilderness, but Canada’s

cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and

Vancouver regularly top the ‘best

places to live’ listings and the

country ranks highly for its

education levels, government

transparency and disposable income

per capita. It is also one of the

world’s biggest economies, taking

tenth place in the 2018 IMF global

ranking of GDP value, ahead of

Russia and South Korea.

A long shared history between

Canada and the UK has helped forge

strong alliances between the two

countries – we share the same head

of state and a common language,

after all. Economically, there are

already well-established trade links

too, making Canada an accessible

option for UK firms, particularly as

its legal and business practices are

built on the UK’s systems.

Two years ago, trade

between the two countries

was given a big boost

when the Comprehensive

canada

time zones: Canada has

six time zones. GMT -8hrs

Vancouver; GMT -7hrs

Edmonton; GMT -6hrs

Winnipeg; GMT -5hrs Toronto;

GMT -4hrs Halifax; GMT -3.5hrs

St John’s.

currency: Canadian Dollar.

£1 = $1.74.

dialling code: +1

Visas: Brits don’t usually need

a visa to visit Canada for short

periods, but will need to get an

Electronic Travel Authorisation

(eTA) before leaving the UK if

travelling by air.

84 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

Economic and Trade Agreement

(CETA) was brought in, boosting

investment and making it far easier

to trade goods and services between

Canada and the EU.

Labelled ‘the most ambitious trade

agreement that the EU has ever

concluded’, CETA threw open the

door to UK firms keen to bid for

Canadian public contracts, and in

turn, meant that British importers

have seen taxes reduced to zero on

some 9,000 Canadian products.

The UK’s International Trade

Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: “British

businesses and consumers are

already feeling the benefits since the

agreement came provisionally into

force. The agreement eliminates

almost every tariff on goods traded

between our two countries and we

will transition it into UK law after

we leave the European Union so

that businesses can continue to

enjoy as free and frictionless trade

as possible.”

Post-Brexit, the hope is that trade

relations remain unhindered.

Department for International Trade

figures show that the UK exports

around £8.2billion of goods and

services to Canada each year,

making it our eighth-biggest export

market outside the EU. Key exports

include air and space craft,

pharmaceutical products, boilers

and electronic equipment.

In return, the UK is by far Canada’s

most important commercial partner

in Europe. Over the last five years,

the UK has grown into Canada’s

second-largest goods export market

after the United States.

However, there are considerations

for UK firms wanting to enter the

Canadian market. Canada’s federal

structure means each province has

its own regulatory processes in

place, meaning good local research

is needed to ensure the legal

requirements are met for products

in each location. Canada’s sheer size

may be another issue – it may be

worth using a local agent or

representation to work around

distance and time zones.

While Brexit uncertainty continues,

there are signs that positive trade

ties with Canada are being given a

new focus by the UK government.

Speaking recently, UK High

Commissioner to Canada, Susan le

Jeune d’Allegeershecque, said she

was confident the two countries

could avoid tariffs in the event of a

no-deal exit from the EU, with

officials from both sides holding

talks to preserve existing CETA rules.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

85


DEPARTURES

Factfile: Canada

TORONTO

celebrates its

'little nyc'

status

VANCOUVER

mixes old

and new

FLIGHTS

British Airways: flies direct

twice a day to Toronto from

London Heathrow and once

daily to Vancouver and

Montréal from Heathrow.

Air Canada: operates daily

flights from Heathrow to

Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto,

Vancouver and Calgary, as well

as regular flights to Halifax and

St John’s. Glasgow flights are

also available to Montréal and

Toronto daily, and twice weekly

to Calgary and Ottawa.

Westjet Airlines: increases

Gatwick services from April 28,

offering daily flights to Toronto,

up to seven weekly flights to

Calgary and Halifax, up to six

flights a week to Vancouver,

twice a week to Edmonton and

once a week to Winnipeg.

Flights from Glasgow to Halifax

will run six times a week.

Air Transat: runs seasonal

services from Gatwick,

Glasgow, Manchester to

Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver,

Montréal, Toronto and Québec.

Hotels

calgary

loves a

stampede

Canadian-owned boutique

brand Le Germain Hotels has

stylish properties in Toronto,

Montréal, Québec, Charlevoix,

Calgary, Ottawa and other

destinations across Canada.

Sister brand Alt Hotels is also

well represented across

Canada and offers eco-friendly,

'affordable luxury' in cities

including Winnipeg, Toronto,

Ottawa, Montréal, Brossard,

Québec City, Halifax, Saskatoon

and St. John’s. Four Seasons

will open a hotel in Montréal

this June, while US brand

Loews has hotels in Montréal

and Toronto. Fairmont Hotels

& Resorts has luxury

properties in Banff, Ottawa,

Victoria, Québec and Toronto.

Marriott has properties across

Canada with multiple hotels in

locations including Vancouver,

Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

Ramada by Wyndham Hotels

has the largest coverage in

Canada with over 75 hotels

spread across Alberta, Québec,

British Columbia, Ontario,

Saskatchewan, New Brunswick

and Newfoundland.

OFF DUTY

Quebec City: Walk along the

fortified walls surrounding Old

Québec, a UNESCO World

Heritage Site. Visit notable

historical sites like the Petit-

Champlain District, Place

Royale, the Plains of Abraham

and the Parliament Building.

Village Vacances Valcartier is

one of Canada’s biggest

theme and water parks.

Toronto: Head

skywards to 360, the

revolving restaurant

two-thirds of the way up

Toronto’s 553m-tall CN Tower.

Historic food hall St Lawrence

Market offers the best seasonal

produce. Each September, the

city hosts the Toronto

International Film festival.

Vancouver: Wander the

historic neighbourhoods of

Gastown and Chinatown. Visit

scenic English Bay and the

Vancouver Harbour. Don’t miss

Stanley Park, a 1,000 acre park

with the city’s iconic totem

poles, spectacular views of the

mountains and Lion’s Gate

embrace

your inner

cowboy

Bridge. The Inuit Gallery of

Vancouver offers the best in

traditional handcrafted art.

Ottawa: In summer, see the

daily Changing of the Guard on

the front lawn at Parliament

Hill and return in the evening

for the nightly sound and light

show. Visit the dramatic

Canadian War Museum, or

stroll around the courtyards

of shopping district

Byward Market.

Calgary: Calgary Zoo has

more than 1,000 animals, a

prehistoric park and botanical

garden, and is praised for its

conservation work. The 191m

Calgary Tower has a revolving

restaurant a with sweeping

views. Each July the city hosts

the Calgary Stampede, a giant

wild west festival.

Montreal: Visit the Basilique

Notre-Dame with its impressive

interior. The Musee de Beaux-

Arts has a vast collection of fine

art. Head to Montréal’s Old

Port for boat tours or a stroll

along the St Lawrence river.

86 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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Untitled-2 1 28/01/2019 09:45


DEPARTURES

Reality check

HOTEL: RESIDENCE INN LONDON KENSINGTON

THE HOTEL

This 319-suite

for rugs, curtains, a sofabed and feature

aparthotel became Marriott's largest

wall. A number of London-themed

Residence Inn in Europe – and third

photos and artworks adorned the walls.

largest worldwide – when it opened in

The lounge area also had a coffee table,

May last year. It is a short walk from

wall-mounted TV, dining table and

Earl's Court and West Kensington

chairs and access to the roof terrace,

Underground stations and a ten-minute

while the kitchenette was equipped with

stroll from the Olympia exhibition centre.

a small fridge, compact dishwasher,

THE CHECK-IN

I arrived at around

basin, oven, kettle, toaster, dual hob

5pm and wasn't surprised to see a short

and all necessary utensils and crockery.

queue for check-in in the light and airy

Further amenities included a coffee

lobby. It wasn't long before I was heading

machine, iron and ironing board,

for my room albeit after another short

hairdryer and safe.

wait, this time for the elevators.

THE FACILITIES

Complimentary

THE ROOM

There are seven

breakfast (featuring a good continental

room – or suite – categories and I was

and cooked offering) was served in the

range of suites – and the roof terrace

staying in a top-floor premium suite, the

ground floor bar area. There's also a

was a nice bonus. My suite was certainly

main perks of which were more space

'grab & go' pantry, a lounge space with

well suited to longer stays although my

(it's a 30m 2 suite) and a roof terrace

with fine views across London. A lounge

and kitchenette area gave way to a

small bedroom (with wardrobe and TV)

the likes of table football and games

consoles, a small gym and a laundry.

Wifi access is free throughout the hotel.

Guests opting to cook in their suite

THIS IS A WELL-RUN,

SMART AND ATTRACTIVE

APARTHOTEL

patience with the small number of

elevators might be tested at busy times!

THE DETAILS Residence Inn London

Kensington, 181-183 Warwick Road,

and bathroom (with shower but no bath

will appreciate the Tesco superstore

London W14 8PU. Rates start from £99

– hot water took an age to come

right next door to the hotel.

per night (+VAT) including breakfast.

through), all decked out in dark wood

flooring plus various shades of green

THE VERDICT This is a well-run, smart

and attractive aparthotel with a good

Tel: 020 3146 7980. marriott.co.uk

Andy Hoskins

HOTEL: NATIVE GLASGOW

THE HOTEL

Opened in summer

THE ROOM

I stayed in apartment

2018, this 64-unit aparthotel occupies an

103 (Premium One Bedroom) on the

Edwardian property that was once the

first floor, a few paces from reception. It

headquarters of the Anchor Line

felt like three apartments in one, with

Shipping Company (look for historic

the extensive shower room, cosy living

features like the carved nautical

room and large bedroom all having their

emblems on the outside of the Art Deco

own separate doors. The main living

building). It is centrally positioned, on

space featured an iron fireplace, a

Vincent Street, and close to George

comfy three-cushion couch, a large TV

Square and the Gallery of Modern Art.

and a fully-equipped kitchen with an

It’s just 20 minutes (by the Airport

induction hob, fridge, kitchen chairs, and

Express bus) to Glasgow International

washer/dryer. The eye-catching feature

Airport and a short walk from the city's

of the bedroom was a walk-in wardrobe

two central train stations.

that was once a safe – the heavy-duty

THE CHECK-IN

The small reception

door is wedged permanently open.

area is on the first floor, up stone steps

THE FACILITIES

There’s free high-

incorporates original features such as

that have been trodden down by history

speed wifi but no meeting spaces. Two

terrazzo flooring, fireplaces and several

(there is also an elevator). It was Estonia

restaurants are attached to the building.

windows restored by the same family

Independence Day when I visited, which

explained the small bowl of sweets

wrapped in the blue, black and white

colours of that country's national flag.

The receptionist, from Tallinn, was all

I had dinner, with a French theme, in

Atlantic Bar and Brasserie, and

breakfast, a full Scottish affair, in Anchor

Line. Both were fabulous and hearty.

THE VERDICT Native’s first Scottish

THE WALK-IN

WARDROBE, WITH A

HEAVY-DUTY DOOR,

WAS ONCE A SAFE

firm that first fitted them in 1906.

THE DETAILS 14 Vincent Street,

Glasgow G1 2DH. Rates start from

£85 (+VAT) a night for a Studio and £118

a night for a Premium One Bedroom.

smiles but initially there was no record

property provided an ultra-comfortable

There is no minimum stay. Tel: 020

of my reservation or dinner booking.

Both were quickly located.

stay in a spacious apartment. Impressive

is the way the building's conversion

7313 3886. nativeplaces.com

Steve Hartridge

88 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

FLIGHT: BRITISH AIRWAYS, FIRST CLASS

THE FLIGHT

BA016 from Sydney to

open storage area. The seat’s side wall

Singapore operated by a B777-300 and

included a wardrobe with hangers and

departing at 16.30 local time.

net racks for storage. There was also an

PRE-BOARDING

Check-in was handled

additional coat hook and magazine

by Qantas staff who were friendly and

rack. Seat recline to fully flat was easily

efficient for me but were suitably

adjusted with a swivel switch rather

assertive with an obnoxious passenger

than buttons and worked smoothly.

on the next desk along. Boarding was

The IFE screen was huge and the

on time and all was on schedule until

controller, headphone socket, two USB

two passengers failed to board and

ports and three audiovisual sockets

caused a delay while their bags were

were all easily accessible.

offloaded. Sydney is now a ‘quiet’

THE SERVICE

The crew were smart

airport with no announcements. Perhaps

and business-like, offered a cheery

improving the environment has

welcome and then personally introduced

increased such no-shows.

themselves. Welcome drinks came

THE SEAT I was in seat F1 –

quickly and on hearing of a delay a

THE VERDICT

This was a daytime

one of the two centre seats with an

second round of Champagne muted

flight so lights weren’t dimmed and no

optional seat divider for privacy. A

any moaning. Dining was impressive,

mattress liner was added but the seat

cushion and large pillow were on the

seat, plus blanket and headphones.

Pyjamas and a Liberty amenity kit were

personally offered by the crew. The

roomy seat was wide enough to curl

with my choices including a prosciutto

appetiser, Tasmanian salmon as my

starter and pan-seared fillet of beef for

my main. Desserts included coconut

panna cotta, sticky toffee pudding or an

THE DINING WAS

EXCELLENT AND

THE SERVICE WAS

ATTENTIVE

was roomy and I felt nicely cocooned by

the wrap-around walls. The dining was

excellent and the service was attentive.

THE DETAILS British Airways flies

daily between Sydney and Singapore.

your legs up into, with plenty of elbow

impressive cheeseboard. A second

One-way fares are from around £2,500

room to the right where a wide shelf

doubled as a small drinks table and

service of cake and sandwiches was

offered two hours before landing.

in First Class. britishairways.com

Julie Baxter

HOTEL: POINT A, LONDON LIVERPOOL STREET

THE HOTEL

The Point A hotel group

the main feature of note. Space was at

promises "everything you need and

a premium in the seriously compact

nothing you don't" and targets both

bathroom but the shower was good.

business and leisure travellers at the

There was a safe (which unfortunately

budget end of the spectrum. It has six

was locked shut) by the bed and a

hotels across London and one in

hairdryer was located in a storage space

Glasgow, with additional properties

that cleverly converted into a small desk

opening in Edinburgh and London

area with power points. There was a

Kensington this summer.

wall-mounted TV, a large mirror and

THE CHECK-IN

The hotel is a short

hangers on the wall. Room temperature

walk from both Shoreditch High Street

and lighting – including a mood lighting

and Liverpool Street stations. I

option – were controlled from a smart

approached from the latter and found

panel by the door that illuminated upon

the hotel hidden away on a quiet

close contact. Wifi access was free.

cobbled street that could easily be

THE FACILITIES

There's a large cafe

passed by without notice. I had a short

and dining area on the ground floor

Tucked away on a quiet street, it is a

wait at check-in while two members of

where breakfast (a good self-service

good budget refuge with fairly basic but

staff dealt with other guests.

continental offering) and coffee is

attractive guestrooms – and some great

THE ROOM Some rooms do not

have windows – a guest in front of me

at check-in had booked such a room –

but mine was a slightly larger, standard

double room on the third floor with

served, plus a verdant garden area is

open from 8am to 9.30pm. There's

no dining menu but basic snacks are

available around the clock. There's

also an ironing room.

IT IS A GOOD

BUDGET REFUGE WITH

BASIC BUT ATTRACTIVE

GUESTROOMS

rates for advance bookings.

THE DETAILS Point A London

Liverpool Street, 13-15 Folgate Street,

London E1 6BX. Rates start from £69 per

night. 'The Brekkie' is an additional £9

views east towards Brick Lane. Decor

THE VERDICT

The hotel is in a good

and early check-in (11am rather than

was smart and stylish with a huge grey

headboard with colourful studs being

location for business in the City and

connections elsewhere in the capital.

3pm) costs £20. pointahotels.com

Andy Hoskins

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

89


DEPARTURES

The final word

A stay that’s really fit for a king

We live in difficult

times. Things are

tough and everyone

has a little side hustle. Youʼve

gotta make a quid, right?

The secret is being able to

identify where the opportunities

lie, so it is good to see Airbnb

management company

GuestReady doing its patriotic

duty and working out how much

the Queen might be able to get,

should she start renting out

Buckingham Palace on the

home-sharing site.

Given that the property has

775 rooms, including 19

Staterooms, 52 Royal and guest

bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms,

92 offices and 78 bathrooms,

there is plenty of money-making

potential for Her Maj.

As you might expect, rates are

at a bit of a premium. Location,

the buildingʼs history, and the

fact that it has an indoor

swimming pool, private cinema,

post office and helicopter

landing pad all count in its

favour. But how much?

A night in one of the 52 Royal

bedrooms would likely set you

back £3,570, while a cheap stay

in one of the staff apartments

would be £284 per night. TMCs

might want to note that the

banqueting room, which seats

160, would be priced at £16,000

while the gardens, which can

host parties for 8,000, would

cost around £400,000 to hire.

CLAIMS WITH

SOME BLAME

Software giant Oversight

Systems checked out millions

of publicly available expense

claims made in the US in 2018.

Here's some of our favourites

1 A sports bra (so a client

could go to a yoga class)

2 Eyelash extensions ($69)

3 Lenovo computers

($99,000), bought with

corporate discount and

then sold on

4 A bottle of wine, expensed

as ‘a snackʼ

5 Three books on how to

prepare for, and survive, a

nuclear holocaust ($44.85)

World of possibilities

From a treehouse in

the frozen north to

Gamirasu Cave Hotel

inside the ‘fairy chimneys’

of Turkey’s Cappadocia,

Tripadvisor has named

some of the most unique

hotels around the world

according to its travelling

community.

The collection is truly

international and includes

Sweden’s Treehotel where

guests can spy the northern

lights, Hotel Eclat in Beijing

that resembles a glass

pyramid (pictured), and

Giraffe Manor – a safari

lodge in Kenya that has its

own herd of friendly giraffes

that regularly pop a head in.

Proof that you can sell certain people almost

anything if you make it sound special enough

comes flying in from Stansted Airport luxury

food outlet Not Always Caviar. Its new Sky

High Sandwich (salt beef or seafood) is

supposedly designed to deliver maximum

flavour at 35,000ft, thanks to ‘a unique

umami spice blend’. Science says your taste

buds are affected by dry air and low pressure,

and the umami - that mysterious fifth taste

- is vital to get

things working.

At £11.95, we’ll

stick to the

Pringles,

thanks.

90 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Business & leisure

in equal measure

Business stays like

sterminshotel

St. Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street, London SW1H OQW

+44 (0) 207 222 7888 www.sterminshotel.co.uk

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


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