The Business Travel Magazine June/July 2019

online.magazines

76 June/July 2019

FLIGHT PATHS

An extended guide to

An extended guide to managing air travel

managing air travel spend

+

Travel policy

Travel policy

Chauffeur drive

Global hotel groups

Focus on South East Asia

TALKING TRAVEL: LEVISON WOOD


ARRIVALS

Contents JUNE/JULY

2019

24

38

64

34

6

40

78

Extended feature

Air

travel

Buying trends, airline consolidation,

new products... we've got it covered!

(p63-86)

89

36

12 22

14

31

84

39

Features

16 Chauffeur drive

24 Travel policy

40 Global hotel groups

63 Extended feature:

Air travel

Arrivals

6 Opening Shots

8 Everyone's Talking About:

Gender diversity

11 The Knowledge:

Reacting to extreme weather

12 Six of the Best:

Unusual event venues

14 Event report: ITM Conference

15 Speaking Out:

Independent hotels

30 Event report:

Advantage Travel Conference

36 Event report: Business Traveller

Wellbeing Conference

47 Event report: ProcureCon Travel

Regulars

21 The Business Travel People

Awards: the 2019 winners

22 Photo gallery: The Business

Travel People Awards

31 The Big Picture

32 The Conversation:

Katherine Bennett, Airbus

34 Event preview:

The Business Travel Conference

38 Photo gallery: TBTM Dinner Club

39 Technology: Biometric data

48 Talking Travel: Levison Wood

61 Photo gallery: Spring Sparkle

The Review

51 Ten pages of news, views

and the latest developments

47

31

92

Departures

87 On the Road: Guy Ivesha

88 New Kid on the Block:

Hard Rock Hotel London

89 Meeting in: Nottingham

91 On Business in: Boston

92 Focus on: South East Asia

96 Reality Check

98 Final Word

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

3


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ARRIVALS

Welcome

An appetite for events

The business travel industry exists to

facilitate face-to-face encounters, yet

the human touch is increasingly being

stripped from the booking and

management processes. Technological

innovation and seamless systems are

de rigueur but of course couldn’t exist without the collaboration of the

brains behind their development. In fact, it's probably fair to say that none

of us could do our jobs as well as we do without meeting new people and

embracing fresh ideas.

It's therefore pleasing that this spring has presented such a rich line-up

of learning and networking opportunities for travel suppliers, buyers,

bookers and industry journalists alike. In this issue we bring you reports

from the ITM and Advantage Travel Partnership’s respective annual

conferences (p14 and p30), plus ProcureCon Travel (p47) in the United

States and the first Business Traveller Wellbeing Conference (p36), which

we were pleased to support as media partner.

We also hosted three events of our own within five days at the end of

May, welcoming around 600 guests in total to our 12th PA & EA Networking

night, our 14th TBTM Dinner Club and the eighth annual Business Travel

People Awards. The latter brought the week to a close by recognising

some of this industry's finest talent. Congratulations to all our finalists

and winners – turn to pages 21-23 to find out who triumphed.

Our next major event is The Business Travel Conference in September.

The programme for the two-day event has been finalised (p34-35) and

free delegate places are still available – we hope you'll join us there.

the

Businesstravel

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Andy Hoskins

andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox,

Rob Gill, Gary Noakes, 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

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THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

5


ARRIVALS

OPENING SHOTS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Eero Saarinen’s

cathedral to aviation

has always looked towards the

future. We have restored and

reimagined his landmark”

TWA Hotel

taking off

The iconic former

TWA terminal at

New York's JFK airport

has reopened as an

aviation-themed hotel.

The joint venture

between MCR – which

includes New York’s

High Line Hotel in its

portfolio – and the

airline JetBlue has

512 rooms, the

world’s biggest hotel

gym, a rooftop pool

and a 50,000ft 2

events centre.

IMAGE: Max Touhey

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Rocco Forte Hotels

brit pop

London favourite

Brown’s has transformed

its front hall

and reception in a

country garden style,

underlining its British

heritage. A new glass

roof has been added,

completing a wider

restoration that took

place last year.

British Airways

in the club

British Airways has

completed a £50million

investment at JFK Airport

with the opening of its

new Club Lounge

(Terminal 7). The

22,000ft 2 space includes

an entertainment room,

Elemis Spa, bar and

Brewdog craft beer room

– the first of its kind.

EDITION Hotels

Fine times

Already a hit with celebs

and influencers is the

Times Square EDITION,

which opened for

business this spring.

Marriott's luxury joint

venture with Studio 54

founder Ian Schrager

has added serious chic

to the Big Apple.

Highlights include fine

dining eaterie 701 West.

Rates start at $269.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

7


ARRIVALS

EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

Gender diversity

“CHANGE IN

ORGANISATIONS IS

“TECHNOLOGY EXPEDITED WHEN DOESN’T

IT’S LED

RESCUE TOP-DOWN. YOU WITH BUT MEN IT CURRENTLY

PROVIDES

CONFIDENCE IN THE MAJORITY AND IN VISIBILITY. SENIOR RANKS, YOUR

TMC EDUCATING SHOULD AND HAVE INFLUENCING THE PROCESS THEM

AND TO PROCEDURES HELP SUPPORT GENDER TO RUN BALANCE REPORTS

AND IN HELP THEIR ORGANISATIONS YOU REACH THOSE IS

AFFECTED

CRITICAL TO

BY

THE

AN

SUCCESS

INCIDENT”

OF

Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity

OUR VISION”

Ami Taylor, LEVEL UK

“We launched our flyShe initiative to inspire

more females to join the industry as pilots

and engineers. It is good there is a lot of

attention on diversity right now”

Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO, Flybe

“THE ESSENCE OF AVIATION IS BUILDING A GLOBAL COMMUNITY BY

CONNECTING PEOPLE, BUSINESSES AND CULTURES ACROSS GREAT

DISTANCES. TEN MILLION PEOPLE WORK IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS WORKFORCE

REFLECTS THE AMAZING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION THAT IT

FOSTERS IN OUR SOCIETY” Alexandre de Juniac, Director General & CEO, IATA

The Women in Aviation and

Aerospace Charter has

made great progress since

it was launched last July.

We have taken a huge step

towards making greater

gender diversity in our

industries a reality”

Katherine Bennett, SVP Airbus and Co-Chair of the

UK Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter

“THE WOMEN IN HOSPITALITY TRAVEL AND LEISURE 2020

INITIATIVE IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO ENSURE THAT HOSPITALITY

CONTINUES TO PROVIDE WOMEN WITH OPPORTUNITIES AT THE

HIGHEST LEVEL WHICH WILL, IN TURN, ENSURE THAT BUSINESSES

Kate Nicholls, CEO,

UKHospitality

ARE IN A BETTER POSITION TO OFFER EVEN MORE”

“I see lots of incredibly talented individuals

in our sector, male and female, with great

opportunities open to both”

Carolyn Pearson, CEO, Maiden Voyage

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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ARRIVALS

THE KNOWLEDGE

How to manage...

An extreme weather event

Hurricane season in the Caribbean is

always a cause for concern. But in 2017,

mega-cyclones Irma, Jose and Maria were

exceptionally fierce. Travel management

company Business Travel Direct had one

client with travellers across the region…

THE BACKGROUND

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season was

unprecedented. It consisted of 17 named

storms including ten hurricanes, with three

of these – Irma, Jose and

Maria – rating among the

biggest in recorded

history for the region.

The three storms alone

are estimated to have

been responsible for a

staggering 99% of the

$282billion damage

caused that year. In all,

more than 3,300 people were killed.

Early forecasts from meteorologists had

been for an average year of storms, although

this changed to a ‘slightly raised’ risk by the

start of August. One of Business Travel

Direct’s clients – a large hospitality business –

had 46 employees spread across the

Caribbean when Hurricane Irma, a category

5 storm, was identified on August 30.

The weather is historically turbulent in the

Caribbean in August and September so we

always consider the potential risk our

travellers could face during this time,”

explains Business Travel Direct Operations

Manager, Mark Roberts. “But Irma, and then

Maria which followed two weeks later,

escalated really quickly.”

THE RESPONSE

Business Travel Direct received risk alerts

from the Met Office in

mid-August and began

its crisis planning.

“It required some

quick thinking to make

sure we had access to

the latest news and

used the time efficiently

to successfully evacuate

everyone,” says Roberts.

“We held a number of team briefings and

determined a course of action for the

travellers in the affected areas. The

operations team we assigned consisted of

our most experienced staff. They had 53

years of expertise between them.”

With Irma bringing winds of 190mph much

of the Caribbean was in lockdown, with

multiple airport closures, travel disruption

and loss of power.

“Beginning the evacuation process was

impossible because airports had closed and

most local boat travel to and from islands

barely made it out. Hurricane Maria

severely hindered recovery efforts for

everyone and every day the situation

seemed to change.”

THE SOLUTION

Business Travel Direct’s

security and duty of care

tool SMARTtrack,

powered by SAP Concur,

enables the creation of a

single database of

booked travel, with a filter to search for

specific travellers, clients, flights, locations

or risk profile. SMS and email alerts were

sent to all the client’s travellers in the

region, and Business Travel Direct reported

back to stakeholders with a list of detailed

traveller information and itineraries.

Having identified clients’ whereabouts and

safety, Business Travel Direct’s operations

team worked in shifts to provide an out-ofhours

service. To keep up with the situation

on the ground, it combined updates from

the media, travel providers, local suppliers

and tourist boards. Many islands lost

internet services so all communication was

by phone, where possible.

Getting travellers out was the issue. A

number had restrictive visas; others couldn’t

make it to airports even when seats on

flights were secured. This created an

additional burden of getting cancellation

fees waived and refunds on flights.

The team worked closely with airlines to

source alternative routes and secure lastminute

seats, leveraging some industry

partnerships to give travellers the best

option,” says Roberts.

THE RESULT

Over a 30-day period

Business Travel Direct

safely repatriated 46

travellers. Moreover, the

operations team managed

to get £9,432 of

cancellation fees waived as a result

of travellers missing their flights and

obtained refunds totalling £7,622.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

11


ARRIVALS

SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best...

Unusual event venues

1

Solent Forts, hampshire

Built in the 1860s to counter the

perceived threat from Napoleon

III, the Solent Forts – No Man’s

Fort and Spitbank Fort – never

saw military action. Today these

quirky lookouts have been

recommissioned as retreats that

mix luxury hotel facilities with the

ultimate in ‘away-from-it-all’ chic.

2

3

IWM Duxford, Cambridge

The former Battle of Britain

fighter base is now part of the

Imperial War Museum and offers

plenty of meeting and events

space. Team building options

include vintage aircraft flights

and tank rides.

Mail Rail, London

The Post Office’s private

underground line once shifted

mail across London. Farringdon’s

Postal Museum has two

subterranean event spaces, plus

the chance to take a 1km train

ride through tiny tunnels.

4

Cheddar Gorge and Caves,

Somerset

Looking for a venue with a touch

of adventure? The limestone cliffs

and caverns of Cheddar Gorge

test the mettle of guests with an

array of climbs and caving

packages that can be added to

meetings (for up to 50). Instruction

and equipment is provided.

6

National Marine Aquarium,

Plymouth

The UK’s largest aquarium has

plenty of watery ‘wow’ for

corporates. A range of catered

facilities, with full site hire (for up

to 1,500 guests) are available.

The underwater Eddystone Reef

is a favourite for dinner events.

5

The Lost Village of Dode, Kent

The Black Death is thought to

have wiped out the inhabitants

of Dode back in 1349, and the

village was abandoned until the

1900s when its church was

restored. The historic venue can

host catered events for up to 40

guests in isolated beauty.

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

ITM Conference

Wellbeing steals the show

Wellbeing was the big topic at the ITM

Conference in Brighton, where buyers

discussed ways to ease the strain of

business travel. Andy Hoskins reports

An increasing priority for travel managers,

wellbeing was the focus of a packed

breakout session and was also selected by

delegates for the association’s Industry

Affairs Group to tackle in the year ahead.

Research presented at the event showed

87% of organisations will be changing their

approach to traveller wellbeing in the next

12 months. The high intensity of travel,

lack of recovery time and poor quality

experience were the biggest challenges.

One travel manager described her

company’s introduction of a pre-trip ‘fit for

travel’ assessment form “which prompts

them to question whether they are OK to

travel”, along with the trialling of heart

monitors to help identify stress points.

Meanwhile, panellist Dr Lucy Rattrie

revealed pre-trip questions that should

“help make a quick and fair assessment of

whether the travel being asked of that

person is fair”. These covered how someone

feels about a proposed trip; what the

company can do to protect their wellbeing;

how the trip will affect their personal life;

and what the organisation can do to

mitigate risk before, during and post-trip.

Elsewhere at the event, sustainability was

addressed by senior figures from British

Airways and Airbus in separate sessions.

British Airways Chairman and CEO, Alex

Cruz, said there has been a “change of

mindset” at BA to cut CO2 emissions.

The ‘Future of Fuels’ is one strand of BA’s

centenary celebrations that will see 13

universities present their findings to the

airline, with the winner receiving funding for

further research. In total, BA parent IAG

will invest $400million on alternative fuel

development over the next 20 years and has

told all its suppliers that they want to see

more sustainable options, “from tooth

brushes through to product wrapping”.

Meanwhile, Airbus Senior Vice President,

Katherine Bennett, highlighted its efforts to

work with alternative fuels and design more

efficient aircraft. “Short-haul all-electric flights

aren’t necessarily that far off,” she said.

ITM CHAMPIONS

Roberta Iorizzo of SCOR

was named Rising Star of

the year. Biffa’s Richard

Childs took home the UK

Travel Manager prize and

George Grund was top

Multinational Manager

WISE WORDS

“WHAT WE HAVE IS

PARLIAMENTARY PARALYSIS.

THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

IS NOW A REFERENDUM – AND

THAT WOULD BRING A WHOLE

NEW SET OF PROBLEMS”

STEVE RICHARDS, JOURNALIST AND

POLITICAL COMMENTATOR

RFPS... SOME ADVICE

“If you’re only going

to do an RFP

on price to

screw your

incumbent

TMC, then

please

don’t waste

everyone’s

time!”

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


ARRIVALS

SPEAKING OUT

Independent hotels

Freedom to stay

Mainstream hotel brands are a fixture

of managed travel programmes. But,

asks Mark Lewis, do business travellers

crave something more than the

cookie-cutter experience?

Historically, business travel management

has been all about big business. Corporate

travel programmes have focused on the

major hotel brands, knowing they can

achieve discounts with sufficient spend

and ensure consistent standards for their

travellers from one country to the next.

Today, however, some business travellers

are looking for more from their appointed

accommodation. Increasingly consumerminded,

they are shaking up the way travel

is booked and the options they wish to

choose from, be it independent hotels

aparthotels, or even private residences.

The choice becomes even more pertinent

for the growing number of business

travellers who choose to convert their stay

into a ‘bleisure’ trip by tacking on a couple

of days of free time, and experience their

destination through, in part, their choice

of accommodation.

Independent hotels come into their own

here, offering character and something

different from the run of the mill. Take

The Nadler in London’s Covent Garden, or

Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa in Chester –

both are completely in tune with business

travellers’ desire for authentic experiences.

They don’t have the predictable corporate

feel but deliver an outstanding business

service. Their presence on platforms such as

HotelREZ, accessed via the GDS providers,

mean the properties can still be part of a

fully managed programme.

The big chains recognise that independent

hotels have huge appeal, as evidenced by

the slew of new brands being launched to

tap this funky spirit or knit together very

different, independent (and often unbadged)

hotels of similar upscale standards.

Even so, the properties are still are part

of a larger corporate entity and they just

cannot provide the authentic experiences

today’s business travellers are looking for.

Truly independent hotels provide all the

Choice becomes

even more pertinent

for the growing number

of business travellers who

choose to convert their stay

into a ‘bleisure’ trip”

amenities that business travellers need to be

rested and productive, but also personal

service from usually local staff providing a

strong sense of place.

Similarly, care and attention have been

lavished on interiors because these hotels

can’t rely on a big brand reputation or giant

loyalty programmes to deliver bookings –

they live or die by their character and their

choice of distribution partner.

To offer travellers a richer choice, travel

buyers should take a look at incorporating

independent hotels and small groups within

managed programmes. Appropriate thirdparty

platforms – including our own –

incorporate RFP tools to identify the right

properties and rates for businesses,

matching supply and demand to meet travel

managers' needs whilst driving incremental

income to our members.

Traveller experience is a key priority today,

but corporates can be assured that quality

independent hotels with the right partners

can help them achieving savings and simplify

processes too.

MARK LEWIS

Mark Lewis is the founder and

CEO of HotelREZ and World

Rainbow Hotels. He started

HotelREZ in 2004 after a

successful career at travel

companies including Thomas

Cook Group and Airtours Plc

and Pegasus Solutions.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

15


CHAUFFEUR DRIVE

Back-seat

RIDERS

Does the traditional chauffeur-driven transfer still have

a place in business travel in a world in which cutting costs

and carbon emissions prevails, asks Rob Gill

With all the talk about ride-hailing

apps, car-sharing and electric

vehicles, it would perhaps be

tempting to think of chauffeur-drive as

a luxurious anachronism that most

corporates are now shying away from.

But leading chauffeur-drive players say

demand for their services continues to grow,

particularly when visiting unfamiliar

destinations, and is driven by an increased

focus on duty of care and a desire by

companies to provide a high-quality and

personalised service to their travellers.

Martin Edwards, Chief Operating Officer of

TBR Global Chauffeuring, says: “Even in the

age of ride-hailing apps, we find the demand

is still there for corporate travellers who

prefer the premium service of a professional

chauffeur and the guaranteed amenities that

come with opting for a ground transportation

provider. Duty of care is of paramount

importance to the customer.”

Similarly, Germany-based chauffeur firm

Blacklane says it has seen sales double

year-on-year, helped by an increased focus

by corporates on the safety and security of

employees along with an “easier and more

efficient” booking process.

There are still plenty of circumstances

where corporates are willing to pay for a

chauffeur-drive service, adds Dave Tanner,

Senior Manager, Thought Leadership, at

American Express Global Business Travel.

“Depending on local conditions, chauffeurdrive

can offer a better travel experience

than other ground transport modes,” he

says. “In some destinations, traveller safety

concerns may mean corporations will want

to limit ground transport options to vetted

chauffeured services only.”

However, Rebecca Deadman, Commercial

Director at Blue Cube Travel, says it has

“noticed a fall in demand for chauffeur-drive

in recent years as other more cost-effective

alternatives have come into the market”.

She adds: “One of the most frustrating

aspects of chauffeur-drive is final price and

instant purchase. With Uber, clients have a

fair idea of the price at the point of sale. It’s

still a very grey area with chauffeurs, as we

are invoiced after the event and add-ons are

applied such as waiting time and parking.”

TBR

16 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


CHAUFFEUR DRIVE

TBR

When we talk about

the end-to-end

business trip, it’s still the

ground transport elements

that are the most difficult

to book”

The difficulty in being able to shop, compare

and book ground transport – including

chauffeur-drive services – through corporate

booking tools has long been a bugbear of

travel buyers, who have been left frustrated

by a lack of suitable technology and the

fragmentation of this part of the industry.

“When we talk about the end-to-end

TRISTAR

business trip, it’s still the ground transport

elements that are the most difficult to book,”

says one UK buyer. “The market is so fragmented

and technology needs to solve it.”

Driving change

So what are the chauffeur-drive companies

doing to clear these hurdles?

Tristar, which is part of the Addison Lee

Group, says it is “agnostic” about the booking

platforms, offering its own digital channels

and API links for sales through third parties.

David Bruce, Managing Director, Tristar

EMEA and APAC, adds: “We have invested in

our core operating system and seen material

improvements in how we service our

customers at scale.”

Greg Mendoza, Vice President, International

Operations at Carey International, says it is

making services “as available as possible,

whichever booking method clients want to

use”, including through API links and GDSs.

API links are also being used by TBR Global

Chauffeuring with key customers “embedding

our content and capability directly into their

systems”, as well as using aggregators, such

as GroundSpan, Mozio and GroundScope.

The latter integrated both Blacklane and

Carey last year, and incorporates over 600

local ground transport services across the

world, including chauffeur services, taxi firms

and coach companies.

Some TMCs are also enhancing services.

American Express GBT, for example, has

created a multi-channel ground transport

platform offering chauffeur-drive, taxis,

airport express trains and ride-sharing

services in a single app.

Going green

Another clear trend is growing demand from

corporate clients for more environmentally

friendly vehicles to be made available for

their travellers, as well as requests for the

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

17


B


CHAUFFEUR DRIVE

Buyers want us to

help them meet

their CSR goals. Nearly

every RFP asks about

sustainability initiatives”

ability to carbon-offset their journeys.

Operators are responding to meet these

requirements from clients: Blacklane

introduced its “Green Class” of emissionsfree

rides in 2018 which uses Tesla electric

cars – this service is now available in 29 cities

in 13 countries, including the UK.

“Buyers want us to help them meet their

CSR goals. Nearly every RFP asks about

sustainability initiatives,” says Sascha Meskendahl,

Blacklane’s Chief Revenue Officer.

This is clearly something all major players

are taking seriously, particularly with evertighter

emissions rules being introduced by

some major cities, such as London’s new

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which

charges an extra £12.50 for the most

polluting vehicles in the city centre.

Tristar’s David Bruce says Addison Lee

Group has spent more than £40million on

vehicles to comply with ULEZ – including the

recent addition of fully electric Audi e-trons –

while also launching the Greener Future

Programme to offset emissions.

As for electric vehicles, Carey’s Greg

Mendoza says there are currently no suitable

options for the chauffeur-drive market but

he expects this to change soon.

There isn’t an electric vehicle that ticks all

the boxes to do the job – in terms of size,

comfort, luggage capacity and cost,” he

explains. “If we converted our whole fleet to

electric vehicles now it would double prices.

When we see the right vehicle that works for

us, then we would definitely buy it.” Instead,

Carey's entire fleet will be made up of hybrid

vehicles by the end of 2020.

BLACKLANE

Despite facing an almost unprecedented

wave of competition, the chauffeur-drive

sector is stepping up its game to take on the

ride-hailing and car-sharing operators.

All this choice should be good for both

buyers and their travellers but there are still

clearly challenges to be met when it comes

to providing the right technology to improve

the shopping and booking experience.

Glasgow, Manchester

& London

oston

Shanghai

Dubai

Hong Kong

Singapore

Global Offices

Operational Reach


Highest

standards

Convenient

technology

Security &

Wellbeing

Global

consistency

The World’s

Premier

Chauffeured

Services

Carey is the global leader in

chauffeured services and ground

transportation logistics management.

With an exclusive global network

spanning more than 1,000 cities

worldwide, Carey offers unrivalled

safety, consistant service standards,

and innovative travel technology for

both travellers and arrangers.

Reservations email: reservations.uk@carey.com

Reservations phone: +44 (0) 208 326 7600

Website: www.careyuk.com


AWARDS

AND THE 2019 WINNERS ARE...

The business travel and meetings industry

came together in May at the Leonardo

Royal Hotel London Tower Bridge to find

out – and celebrate – the winners of The

Business Travel People Awards 2019.

Around 450 people attended the

lunchtime ceremony where finalists were

recognised for their exceptional work over

the last 12 months. Guests included

students from the University of Greenwich

who were invited along as part of a

mentoring partnership.

A panel of judges chose the winners in

16 categories, with the victors jetting off to

Boston with Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines

and Loews Hotels this summer.

To read a full description of each

category, view all the finalists and find out

more about the awards, please visit

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

TMCs AND HBAs CATEGORIES

Account Manager of the Year

Colin Harvey, BCD

Account Management Team of the Year

Click Travel

Operations Manager of the Year

Tracey Wilson, Blue Cube

Operations Team of the Year

Client Services, Business Travel Direct

Reservations Consultant of the Year

Jill Burnett, BCD Travel

Reservations Team of the Year

Production, Sports & Creative Team,

Corporate Traveller

Sales/Business Development Manager

of the Year

Andy Boorman, Advantage Travel

Partnership

Sales/Business Development Team of

the Year

Click Travel

MICE CATEGORIES

MICE Manager of the Year

Sarah Symington, Capita Travel and Events

MICE Team of the Year

Major Global Events Team, TBR Global

SUPPLIER CATEGORIES

Account Manager of the Year

Mohammed Laher, Sixt Rent A Car

Account Management Team of the Year

Corporate and TMC Account Management

Team, Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines

Sales/Business Development Manager

of the Year

Jason Dunderdale, Sixt Rent A Car

Sales/Business Development Team of

the Year

London North Eastern Railway (LNER)

INDUSTRY AWARDS

Best Newcomer

Rob Cope, Corporate Travel Management

Rising Star

Hugo Jarvis, Blue Cube Travel

Special Recognition Award 2019

Ken McLeod, for services to the travel

industry and The Business Travel

People Awards

RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS TRAVEL

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM


AWARDS

The Business Travel

People Awards 2019

The ceremony

Around 450 people gathered at the

Leonardo Royal Hotel London Tower

Bridge in May for the eighth annual

Business Travel People Awards. The

winners across 16 categories were

revealed, as well as a Special

Recognition Award for popular

industry leader Ken McLeod

Recognise, reward, retain!

The Business Travel People Awards 2019

▲ 24.05.2018

Around 450 guests

in attendance

2019's Rising Star

Celebrations continue at a

post-lunch drinks reception

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


AWARDS

Congratulations to all the

winners at The Business

Travel People Awards 2019

The Business Travel People Awards 2019

▲ 24.05.2018

With thanks to

all our sponsors

Pre-lunch celebrations

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

23


TRAVEL POLICY

Simply

READ

The days of lengthy, complex travel policies are numbered

and simplification is now the order of the day, writes

Rob Gill

The days when bulky printed

travel policies lay gathering dust

in office drawers or lurked in a

rarely visited corner of a company

intranet may not quite be over, but

there are signs that travel policy is

being seen in a new light.

Technology is helping to bring elements

of travel policy to life: many online booking

tools warn travellers if they are about to

book a flight or hotel that’s out of policy

before they complete the process.

Often this is done using a “traffic light”

system to persuade travellers to book,

if not the best option, at least one that

complies with policy.

Priorities within policies are also shifting.

While improving duty of care has long

been an essential part of policies, this is

now going beyond safety and security to

tackle issues such as the health, wellbeing

and productivity of travellers on the road.

Streamlining policies

One trend, which pretty much everybody

agrees on, is that corporate travel policies

are being “streamlined” and those which

used to run to 20 or 30 pages are

disappearing. Some organisations have

even got their policies down to just one

or two pages of A4 detailing a few key

principles for employees to follow.

Jo Lloyd, a partner at consultancy Nina &

Pinta, says clients are making their policies

“easier to follow and less complicated”.

She says: “How they carry this out depends

very much on the company that they work

in and who ‘owns’ the travel policy. What is

recognised is that this is a collaborative

process and engaging the right

stakeholders is key.”

Lesley O’Bryan, Vice President and

Principal of BCD Travel’s consultancy arm

Advito, says travel policies have to use

technology to “become more dynamic”.

24 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


TRAVEL POLICY

“To start the streamlining process, we

recommend clients benchmark their travel

policy to identify gaps that need to be

addressed,” she adds. “There are then

several ways to condense the policy to

make it more absorbable for travellers –

like adding hyperlinks in the body of the

document to other referral materials.”

There has also been a move away from

corporates operating two-tier travel

policies where the top executives or VIPs

in an organisation have previously been

allowed to follow different rules to the rest

of the employees.

Click Travel’s Director of Operations,

Chris Vince, says many clients have been

“flattening” travel policy, so that a single

set of rules applies across the company.

Another area of agreement is that

communication is crucial to achieve a

successful streamlining or simplification of

a travel policy. Fail to secure “buy-in” from

travellers and any policy changes are

likely to hit a brick wall.

Lea Duchemin, Account Manager at

Corporate Traveller, says: “Corporates

need to let their travellers know of any

policy changes and the reasons for those

changes. Technology helps this process –

whether that’s via the client’s intranet,

internal communication channels or their

TMC’s online booking tool.

“Engaging with individual travellers really

helps to drive compliance. Travellers can

check whether they are in policy providing

it has been communicated to them.”

To mandate or not

Whether to mandate a travel policy often

depends on the particular sector the

organisation operates in, or its own

internal corporate culture. Many

companies choose to use elements of

both “carrot and stick” in their efforts to

There has been a

move away from

two-tier travel policies

where the top executives or

VIPs in an organisation have

previously been allowed to

follow different rules”

drive higher compliance levels.

One industry that tends to see higher

levels of mandated travel policy is the

energy sector, which has its own unique

dynamics in terms of moving ship crews

and rig workers around the world.

Alice Linley-Munro, Travel Analyst at

Oil Spill Response, says: “Our policy is

mandated and there are consequences

for stepping outside of it which range in

severity dependent on the number of


THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

25


TRAVEL POLICY

times the traveller has done it before

and just how badly they’ve stepped

outside of the lines.

“For the most part our travellers are

good at sticking to what they should be

doing, which boils down to booking

through the correct channels and not

going directly to suppliers.”

But for other industries, there can be a

danger that having too strict a policy could

be off-putting for younger employees –

particularly millennials and the even

younger Generation Z (the oldest of whom

are now in their early 20s) who are just

starting to join the workforce.

“As the workforce gets younger, the more

staff are looking for choice and culture

outside of just pay, and so they will pay

more attention to policy such as travel,”

says Darryl McGarvey, Director of Channel

Development at SAP Concur.

“I’d suggest that the more severe that the

travel policy is, the more restricted you

may find yourself for talent acquisition

and retention.”

One company drawing attention to policy

compliance is TravelPerk. Richard Viner,

newly appointed UK Country Manager of

the online platform, claims it delivers “100%

travel policy compliance while putting trip

control back in the hands of those travelling”.

Viner says business travellers are more

likely to comply with policy if they're

provided full content and user-friendly

technology. “They want the consumer

grade experience they have in the leisure

travel world,” he says.

Former buyer Louise Kilgannon, now a

consultant at Festive Road, says more

clients are now putting in place “travellercentric”

policies. “We are definitely seeing

a move away from the stick to the carrot in

organisations,” she adds. “A culture

encouraging travellers to ‘do the right

thing’ is becoming more normal.”

As the workforce

gets younger, the

more they are looking for

choice and culture outside of

just pay, so will pay attention

to policy such as travel”

“We are starting to see traveller wellbeing

being considered as part of duty of care,”

says Jo Lloyd from Nina & Pinta.

“Technology makes it even easier to

monitor and track traveller activity and

we see accommodations being made

accordingly. This covers everything from

levels of policy based on the amount

somebody needs to travel through to the

use of video collaboration technology for

internal meetings.”

Hugo Jarvis, Account Manager at Blue

Cube Travel, agrees mental health and

Health and wellbeing

Another key trend over the past few years

has been a new focus on the health and

wellbeing of travellers, and this is a

consideration starting to find its way into

more enlightened travel policies.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

27


TRAVEL POLICY

wellbeing are “becoming more

important” for clients, with elements

starting to appear in their policies. But

there is also a balance to be struck

alongside other key travel priorities.

“One of the most difficult things for

someone writing a travel policy to achieve

is to put the traveller’s health and

wellbeing first, while at the same time

delivering a cost and time-effective

strategy to travel,” he says.

Indeed, Reed & Mackay's CEO, Fred

Stratford, says some clients have lowered

the threshold for business class partly with

wellbeing in mind. ”We’ve had some clients

changing policy but we’re still scratching

the surface,” he says. ”But wellbeing is

definitely changing the way people recruit

and retain staff.”

To improve wellbeing some organisations

will have certain rules such as allowing

employees to travel in business class if the

flight is over a certain duration – typically

six or seven hours – or they could be

permitted a chauffeur-driven transfer

from the airport to their hotel if they are

arriving after a long-haul flight. Other

initiatives include allowing employees to

work from home after a long-haul trip,

particularly if jet lag is a factor.

But all the talk about traveller wellbeing

is not yet necessarily resulting in concrete

changes to travel policies, says Vanessa

Bailey, Director of Client Partnerships at

Business Travel Direct.

“What we are finding is that we are

having to produce a lot more data

surrounding this subject, to help identify

who are the main road warriors within the

company and which travellers regularly

travel or stay away overnight,” she adds.

These changes in attitudes and priorities

may sum up the way travel policies need

to be more flexible and adaptable these

days – rather than some weighty tome that

gets dusted down every couple of years

for a cursory review or tweak.

Fortunately, improved technology,

including new communication tools,

should help ease the pain for buyers

worried about having to manage a

constantly changing travel policy.

[ PUSH THE WRONG BUTTONS ]

Gamification was all the rage – at least

during business travel conferences – a few

years ago as a way of rewarding travellers

who followed travel policy.

Typically, employees who achieved the

highest levels of compliance would receive

online badges and “high fives”, as well as the

kudos of topping company leaderboards.

But despite plenty of publicity, it seems

gamification has failed to take off in any big

way. As Traveldoo’s UK Country Manager

Sam Cande puts it: “That came and went as

quick as Pokémon Go.”

Jaydev Pandit, Account Development

Manager, UK & Europe, at Wings Travel

Management, agrees: “This digital pat on the

back was not a sufficiently popular incentive

and as a result gamification largely failed to

achieve its purpose.”

The internal resources needed by

organisations to tap into gamification may

have been another stumbling block, adds

Click Travel’s James Vince.

“It’s really tailed off,” he says. “It’s a massive

investment for an individual organisation

and involves quite a bit of administration.”

Having said this, many in the industry believe

there is still a place for using incentives to

manage travellers behaviour.

SAP Concur’s Darryl McGarvey talks up the

incentives offered by the likes of Rocketrip,

which operates a rewards scheme for

travellers who save money on bookings.

“It’s also important to allow travellers to

access and use the apps they use in their

own time,” he adds. “By bringing these into

the corporate environment, you can ensure

policy compliance and programme utilisation

in a controlled and measurable way.”

Festive Road’s Louise Kilgannon believes

travellers will always be more interested in

securing real-life vouchers.

The ‘what’s in it for me’ question isn’t always

satisfied with a shiny digital badge,” she

adds. “Gamification has not proved

transformational, but can be a really

effective driver if used alongside targeted

engagement efforts.”

If a corporate chooses to create some sort of

rewards programme, Fello’s Head of Client

Services, James Newns, warns they should

“be aware of the tax implications”.

28 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


A different view

on business travel

New hotel, new approach. Bankside Hotel has everything a business traveller wants,

bedrooms & suites, the latest technology, meeting spaces… but most importantly it has

personality. A personality that comes from its design and location on the culturally vibrant

South Bank. Our neighbourhood, close to The City and Blackfriars station, is home to

London’s creative scene with many local artists having made original pieces for us.

Blurring the lines between work and play, public spaces are filled with handpicked furniture

creating a residential atmosphere, while Art|Yard Bar & Kitchen serves up seasonal food

all day in relaxed surroundings.

Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground, London SE1 9JU T: +44 (0)203 319 5988 www.banksidehotel.com


ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

Advantage Travel Conference

Future proof

Cadiz in southern Spain welcomed

delegates to the travel consortium’s

annual conference. Sasha Wood reports

Technology and how TMCs can plot a path to

the future through the shifting landscape of

business travel were two of the key themes at

this year’s Advantage Conference.

More than 400 delegates gathered in Cadiz

for networking and advice on topics as

diverse as RFPs and defining business image

to embracing new technology and AI.

In the opening plenary session, Advantage’s

Chief Executive, Julia Lo-Bue Said, noted that

legislation and technology continue to create

challenges for the industry, while Advantage’s

Global Product Director, Neil Armorgie

agreed: “We all recognise that tech is playing

an increasing role in TMCs.”

This was addressed in a session looking at

the role of future tech and AI in the travel

business. “AI is moving into the travel industry

and it’s not letting go,” said Steve Dunne,

CEO of Digital Drums. There’s now big data

on all our travel habits and it’s allowing AI

algorithms, customised search platforms and

website chatbots to spread.

Speaker Michael McSperrin from Alexander

Mann Solutions said we need to maintain a

balance between human interaction and

efficient automation. Thankfully robots won’t

be taking our jobs any time soon: “AI will

augment the business, taking over mundane

tasks, freeing you up for more in-depth work.”

Another session, TMC Identity Crisis, looked

at strategies for defining a business. On the

basis that “nobody can be all things to

everyone”, Festive Road’s Louise Kilgannon led

a two-hour role-playing workshop in which

TMCs adopted a persona. The TMCs of the

future included a crème de la crème premium

model providing outstanding service no

matter the cost, and a new breed of digitallydriven

TMC that uses new technology,

including data analytics, to their advantage.

In another lively breakout, dubbed RFP

Tennis, travel managers were pitted against

TMCs to debate issues around RFPs, with both

sides conceding the process needs to be more

transparent. “From what I’ve been hearing,

there needs to be more dialogue between

buyers and TMCs,” said session umpire and

The Business Travel Network MD, David Clare.

TO BOT OR NOT TO BOT

Well over 70% expect

artificial intelligence to

fundamentally transform

their customer experience

strategy and how consumers

view their brand, while 87%

are already evaluating and

integrating AI

WISE WORDS

“IN 250 RFPs, I HAVE NEVER

BEEN ASKED BY A TMC,

'CAN I MEET YOUR INTERNAL

CUSTOMERS?'. THERE ARE

HIDDEN COSTS TO NOT

ENGAGING THE TRAVELLER,

ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES

TO STRESS AND WELLBEING"

NEXT PORT OF CALL

Portugal is the next port of

call for the annual Advantage

Travel Conference. It will be

hosted in Funchal on the

Portuguese island of Madeira

from May 15-18, 2020

30 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


THE BIG PICTURE

Sky high

NEW YORK city

SAM TROTMAN

The Big Apple is the

world’s most expensive

city for business trips,

according to research

from ECA International.

Washington DC, San

Francisco and Los

Angeles also appear

in the top ten, together

with four Swiss cities:

Geneva, Zurich, Basel

and Bern. London is the

tenth most expensive

city for those visiting

on business.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

31


THE CONVERSATION

Senior Vice President, Airbus

KATHERINE BENNETT

The Airbus SVP speaks to Andy Hoskins about its stance on Brexit and

sustainable aviation developments as it marks 50 years in business

Katherine Bennett’s storied career

to date includes almost 15 years

at Airbus – incorporating a twoyear

stint at its global headquarters in

Toulouse – and, previously, a role heading

up government affairs at General Motors.

“I’ve done cars and planes but I have no

intention of doing trains at the moment,”

Bennett quips. Her considerable achievements

have been recognised firstly with an

OBE for services to industry and charity in

2004 and then, this January, a CBE for services

to the aerospace and aviation sector.

She describes her current role at Airbus as

ambassadorial, leading external engagement

and strategy in the UK. Brexit is naturally

high on the agenda and the organisation’s

stance has been well publicised.

“No deal is an extremely bad thing for

Airbus and the aerospace sector is being

completely consistent in saying that,” says

Bennett. “Despite what some of the more

Brexit-supporting ministers said, it is not that

straightforward. We have thousands and

thousands of parts moving across borders.

You could have a case where one truck not

getting through a border could hold the

production line up.”

Airbus has spent nearly €100million on

stockpiling parts and various logistical

activities in preparation for a potential

no-deal Brexit, which it has said could cost

the company €1billion a week.

In addition, post-Brexit, the UK would no

longer be a full member of the European

Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), adding further

complications for Airbus.

“Way before Brexit we said we didn’t want

one European safety agency, one American

safety agency, one Chinese agency – we’d

rather have a global regulator,” Bennett

explains. “So going back to being on our

island with the CAA is absolutely contrary to

what we saw the industry needed.”

She also highlights the need for

collaboration if the aviation sector is to

address its environmental responsibilities.

“Our company and our sector has to play

its part in tackling the climate change

challenges,” says Bennett. “It’s got to be with

our partners in aerospace and aviation, that’s

the airline operators, the engine designers

and the airports. And also, here in Europe,

improvements in air traffic management –

we’re still operating with air traffic

management set up in the 1950s.”

The company has signed up to some

“tough targets”, including the industry’s goal

of halving its carbon emissions on 2005

levels by 2050, and also aims to reduce

Our company and

our sector has to play

its part in tackling the climate

change challenges and it’s got

to be done with our partners

in aerospace and aviation”

emissions through its own operations by

5% this year. Meanwhile, work on developing

alternative fuels and electric power is one of

its top priorities currently.

E-Fan X, announced in 2017, is Airbus’ latest

electric concept. “It is based on an earlier

version, E-Fan, which was the first electric

flight over the Channel a couple of years ago,

so it is based on hard facts and real flights,”

explains Bennett.

“We have a vision that in the next 15 years

we could see aircraft under the 100-seat

mark propelled by hybrid propulsion.”

By that time it is possible the company’s

much-loved A380 ’superjumbos’ will be in

their last days of active service, with Airbus

announcing it will cease production in 2021.

“It’s a great icon of the aviation industry,”

says Bennett. “We had less demand than we

were hoping and than had been predicted.

Emirates reduced their order and their

demand is now being met by our other

aircraft in the slightly smaller segment.”

That includes the A350, which Bennett

quickly points out is the fastest-growing

aircraft in aviation history.

“We’re adapting and working on it and

that’s the key focus for Airbus now. We’ve

had an A350 fly one of the longest flights

ever done, from Singapore to New York, so

maybe that will be the future – improving the

midsize aircraft,” says Bennett.

“It will be exciting to see how the aviation

sector responds to the use of new technology

that permits these longer flights.”

32 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


THE CONVERSATION

in brief...

You've been involved in

several diversity initiatives

including Pride@Airbus

and founding the UK’s

Women in Aviation and

Aerospace Charter...

It was an idea that came

about as a result of a

meeting we had with the

then aviation minister

Baroness Sugg. We

launched at Farnborough

(Airshow) last year and just

last month announced we

have 100 signatories. It has

real momentum. It’s not just

a bit of paper – it’s solid

work we’re doing. The

companies signing up have

made various commitments

to improving gender

diversity. EasyJet and Flybe

have already done a lot of

work getting more female

pilots onboard. We’ve had a

lot of interest from other

countries – Germany and

the Netherlands – and a lot

of support in Ireland too.

KATHERINE BENNETT

Katherine is a Senior Vice President of Airbus and has

been with the company for 14 years. She leads the

company’s external engagement and strategy in the

UK and reports directly to the Global CEO, Guillaume

Faury. Katherine has held roles in communications and

spent two years based at Airbus HQ in Toulouse,

France. She has previously headed up government

affairs at General Motors UK. Katherine was awarded a

CBE in January 2019 for services to the aerospace and

aviation sector, which follows her OBE in June 2004 for

services to industry and charity.

You're a church organist

in your spare time...

Yes, I played at a wedding

just last Saturday and I

actually get paid for doing

it! It's hardly anything but

it’s nice to get paid for

doing something using

your brain and your hands.

I’ve been a musician since I

was a child so it keeps me

busy. I do a lot of singing

as well and I’m taking a

singing exam next month.

It’s my hobby and my

release. I also started the

Airbus Filton Workplace

Choir. We’ve now got 30

members and it’s been

a very engaging and

energising thing to do.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

33


EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference 2019

Quick, sign up now to

secure your free

place at TBTC'19!

Navigating

the future

Reserve your place at The Business Travel Conference

and find out if you qualify as a hosted delegate

The Business Travel Conference 2019

returns to the Hilton London Bankside

this September.

Details of the full conference programme

are now available, and there's plenty to

keep delegates busy. With around 60

leading business travel and meetings

suppliers attending our integrated

exhibition, there is plenty of reason to

network too – our ‘silent conference’

headphones mean you can dip in and out

of sessions without missing any of the

great content.

We are pleased to welcome Star Alliance

as the conference's headline sponsor and

Air Europa and Yapta as executive sponsors

of the event.

This year we will be supporting the

London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children

through our raffle in the Monday Drinks

and Canapé reception. The organisation’s

chairman, Michael Son, BEM, says: “We are

so thrilled to be your nominated charity. It

will help to highlight the wonderful work we

are doing and promote awareness.”

The Business Travel Conference takes

place on September 17-18 at London Hilton

Bankside. Suppliers who want to book a

stand should contact Kirsty.Hicks@

bmipublishing.co.uk or call 07747 697772.

Corporate buyers and arrangers are invited

to sign up for complimentary visitor passes

via the conference website at:

thebusinesstravelconference.com

LTCFC, which began

in 1928, runs annual

outings and funds

appeals for special

needs children

DAY ONE: TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

• Opening keynote: Gillian Keegan MP,

sponsored by Air Europa

• View from the top: a trio of industry

figures reflect on the industry’s current

trends and challenges

• On the button: how to select,

implement and drive adoption of

online booking tools

• Deals on wheels: find out

how to optimise your car

hire and rail travel spend

• Sleep talk: is it time for a

change of approach to your

accommodation needs?

• Small wonders: helping SMEs make

the most of their travel spend

• New kids on the block: discover a new

wave of tools and TMCs on the market

• Air time: take your air travel spend to

new heights with expert guidance

• TBTC Drinks & Canapé Reception

Wind down with complimentary drinks

and canapés plus a charity raffle with

fabulous prizes kindly donated by our

exhibitors in aid of London Taxi Drivers’

Charity for Children.

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS

DAY TWO: WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

The clinic: three leading travel

managers discuss their travel

programmes and the challenges they

currently face

• Going to market: sourcing the best

TMC for your particular needs

The mavericks: get rogue travellers

under control and gain compliance

• In safe hands: risk mitigation,

traveller tracking and duty of

care in the spotlight

• Fit for purpose: making

wellbeing central to your policy

• Closing keynote: Sir Trevor McDonald

brings the conference to a close with a

keynote address

Star man:

Sir Trevor

McDonald is

keynote

speaker on

Day Two

34 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


EVENT PREVIEW

For the first time, The Business Travel

Conference will feature a dedicated travel

wellbeing zone with a range of experts on

hand to administer advice

HEADLINE SPONSOR

STAR ALLIANCE FURTHER

ENHANCES CUSTOMER

EXPERIENCE AT

HEATHROW

2019 SPONSORS

2019 EXHIBITORS

This June, Star Alliance celebrates its

fifth anniversary of operations at

London Heathrow Terminal 2 І The

Queen’s Terminal

In 2014 the purpose-built facility became

the home of Star Alliance member carriers

operating to and from Heathrow, with the

aim of offering customers a state-of-theart

travel experience with seamless

transfer options.

To further improve the customer

experience for those travelling via

Heathrow, Star Alliance introduced its

Connection Service earlier this year. This

assists passengers with tight connections

between two Star Alliance member's flights.

iGo. Anywhere

Dedicated staff use special software

to monitor the transfer window for

customers with onward flights. Cases

where passengers and checked bags

appear in danger of missing a connection

are automatically highlighted.

The agent can consider the various

options available to ensure that the

customer reaches the onward flight, or

if necessary book alternative options,

before the inbound flight even lands.

Find out more about the Star Alliance

airlines serving Heathrow at

staralliance.com

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

35


ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

Traveller Wellbeing Conference

Healthy outlook

The first Business Traveller Wellbeing

Conference took place in London in April,

where The Business Travel Magazine was

media partner. Andy Hoskins reports

At the first event of its kind in the business

travel industry, a diverse line-up of speakers

delivered practical advice to help educate,

inform and shape delegates’ corporate

travel programmes.

“Wellbeing is no longer niche,” said Steve

Dunne of Well Intelligence. “It is mainstream

and it will change the way we talk about

everything. The next generation of employees

is joining the workforce and is being so

much more demanding around wellbeing.

And there is growing evidence that better

wellbeing means a stronger economy.”

Andy Neilson of Twisted Orange shared

his story of deteriorating mental health as

a high-flying procurement professional,

advising attendees to lookout for vulnerable

people within their own organisations.

“I thought I was in control, a role model,

confident and invincible… but in reality I

was scared, miserable, unproductive and

uncommunicative,” he said. “I was tired and

exhausted all the time and I didn’t know

who to talk to.”

Now on the road to recovery, he said:

“If you have business travellers in your

organisation then there will be people there

with problems. Unfortunately I don’t think

the stigma of mental health will go so you

have to build in the fact your travellers

probably won’t ask for help.”

Matthew Holman of Simpila highlighted

research that shows one in four adults will

have a diagnosed mental illness each year,

yet only 20% of business travellers with

mental illness tell their employer. Holman

said that in 20 years as a regular business

traveller there were two questions he was

never asked. “Firstly, nobody ever asked me

if I was fit to travel – it was the expectation

that you have to go. And secondly, nobody

ever asked how I was when I got back.”

Meanwhile, sleep expert Rachel

McGuinness of Wake Up with Zest said that

some research has indicated that every time

zone crossed during a flight equates to one

day until you feel fully fit again, highlighting

the impact of long-haul travel.

ON THE BEAT

Ever considered

monitoring

employees’ Heart

Rate Variability

(HRV) to assess an

individual’s health?

Tim Wright of First

Beat explained how

to go about it – and

why it’s growing in

popularity

SLEEP TALK

“SLEEP DEPRIVATION

IS A PRECURSOR

TO DEPRESSION, HIGH

BLOOD PRESSURE,

STROKE, HEART DISEASE

– AND WORSE”

Sleep expert Rachel McGuinness,

Chief Vitality Officer at

Wake Up with Zest

SUPPORTING ACTS

The Business Traveller

Wellbeing Conference was

organised by The Business

Travel Network in

partnership with

Amber Road,

Virgin Atlantic,

Melia Hotels,

ANA and

South Western

Railways

36 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


WELCOME TO A NEW

LEVEL OF HOSPITALITY

The Level at Meliá White House is a new concept of a boutique hotel within a hotel;

offering exceptional services for the discerning traveller. Whether for business or

leisure, guests will experience a personalised service to make their stay an

unforgettable experience.

Private check-in with drinks welcome

Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout

Luxury bath amenities

24hr room service

Packing and unpacking of luggage

Pressing of one shirt per day

Complimentary access to the exclusive

Level Lounge; a private area where guests

can enjoy a selection of drinks and

snacks throughout the day

Book via melia.com or call +44 (0)20 7391 3000


EVENT REVIEW

A warm welcome

TBTM Dinner CLub

Dinner at the

Corinthia

The Business Travel Magazine’s

latest Dinner Club took place in

May and was hosted for the first

time at the Corinthia Hotel London.

Matthew Holman of Simpila spoke

on the subject of wellbeing, while

South Western Railway, Amadeus,

Etihad Airways and Avis Budget

Group supported the event

TBTM Dinner Club ▼

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

Welcome to the Corinthia Hotel!

▲ 21.05.2019

Champagne networking

Five-star luxury at the Corinthia

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Travega

Travel Marketing Solutions Worldwide

The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Travega

38 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


TECHNOLOGY

TECHNOLOGY

[ Data deployment ]

Smooth operators

Seamless journeys are on the horizon as industry players put purchasing

behaviour and biometric data to practical use, writes Linda Fox

Amadeus has been working on

a Digital Traveller ID which

recognises travellers and uses

biometric data so they do not need to

share their information at every stage

of a journey.

This is one of a number of initiatives that

have come to light in the past couple of

years aiming to eliminate some of the

friction in a trip, particularly at airports.

Emirates' launch of a “biometric path”

for travellers at Dubai International Airport

late last year is another example. The

carrier began testing a system involving

‘checkpoints’ at key locations such as checkin,

lounge entry and aircraft boarding that

incorporates a mix of facial- and irisrecognition

technology.

One element is its Smart Tunnel

immigration, a collaboration with the

General Directorate of Residence

and Foreigners Affairs. The

system, which does away with

the need for ‘real-life’

immigration officers, gives

passengers the green light to

go through passport control in

under 15 seconds.

The wider technology

could also be used to locate

passengers who might

otherwise miss their flights.

Many travel companies,

including Amadeus, are

also working with the

World Travel and Tourism

Council on its Seamless

Traveller Journey initiative.

This aims to use biometrics

to not only make it easier for

travellers to pass through

airport controls but also brings

in car rental, hotels and other

industry segments to help

join up the journey.

The Solid Project,

which is being led

by world wide web inventor

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, is all

about consumers getting back

control of their data”

The Digital Traveller ID is connected to the

traveller’s passport so that they remain in

control of all their information and choose

who to share it with.

The distribution company revealed details

of the concept during its recent Amadeus

T3CH event in Madrid. Some airline

customers will pilot the technology, which

could also have the benefit of enabling

travel companies to personalise services to

travellers who share their information.

These sorts of developments point

towards a definite trend in how travellers

view and share their personal data.

And, while these initiatives are to do with

physical travel, other developments such as

the Solid Project are more to do with the

virtual side of things. The Solid Project,

which is being led by world wide web

inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the

acclaimed Massachusetts Institute of

Technology, is all about consumers getting

back control of their data.

Berners-Lee, who was also at the Amadeus

event, talks of storing data in a Personal

Online Data store, or POD for short. He

paints a picture for the travel industry

where all his data, including past

purchase behaviour, passport details,

food preferences and other likes and

dislikes, is stored on a Solid Pod and

travellers can give access to it to

trusted travel companies.

These companies could then use

the information to make much more

precise recommendations to wouldbe

customers. Applications, both

storing and interacting with the

data, would be compatible as both

would be developed using the

Solid platform.

These sorts of developments

could fundamentally

change how travel is

researched and booked

and reinstill trust in

brands. They will also

drastically improve the travel

experience itself which can

only be a good thing for

corporate travellers.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com 39

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

39


GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

CHAIN

reactions

As global hotel groups continue to expand their line-ups

with new brands and acquisitions, Catherine Chetwynd

surveys the latest moves and what they mean for buyers

When Marriott completed the

purchase of Starwood Hotels &

Resorts in September 2016, it

created the world’s largest hotel group,

with 30 brands, 5,800 properties and

1.1 million rooms across 110 countries.

And although, over the years,

consolidation has reduced the overall

number of global hotel groups, the number

of brands owned by each one has grown.

Acquisitive Accor is now the largest chain

in Europe and is spreading its wings

worldwide via financial interests in, or

takeovers of, other hotel groups.

In 2018 alone, this included Mantis

Group in South Africa, Mövenpick, SBE

Entertainments Group (which embraces

brands such as Mondrian, Hyde and newly

created The House of Originals), US

management company 21C Century Hotels

and Polish chain Orbis.

There is also increasing emphasis on

luxury. IHG has bought Kimpton and UK

hotel group Principal, many of which have

been rebranded to Kimpton, plus Regent

and Six Senses.

Best Western has grown its upper upscale

and luxury portfolio through the acquisition

of WorldHotels, and launched upmarket

boutique brands Sadie and Aiden; Deutsche

Hospitality is relaunching Steigenberger

Hotels & Resorts, investing €120million in

the existing portfolio, with a global brand

strategy of 15% expansion per year;

Belmond has been bought by LVMH; Orient

Express Hotels has reappeared under the

Accor flag, joining the group’s Fairmont,

Raffles and Sofitel brands, and more

recently, independent boutique hotel

collection Greet; and Jumeirah Hotels has

announced the group will increase its global

presence with another 15 properties in the

next five years and will eventually create a

third, ‘super luxury’ brand. Got all that?

All this activity puts new focus on loyalty

programmes, which continue to evolve.

Marriott finally integrated Starwood

Preferred Guest into Marriott Rewards late

last year, naming it Marriott Bonvoy and

uniting 120 million members. And Accor has

announced an investment of €225million in

creating ALL which, by the end of 2019, will

bring the company’s eclectic portfolio on to

one platform, allowing B2B, B2C and SME

customers access to every element of

Accor’s increasingly diverse offering.

Behind the scenes and rarely recognised

as playing a major role in negotiations is the

franchising of brands, as a result of which

hotels are being run by different parties,

© Abaca Corporate/Xabier Aldazabal

40 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

Rarely recognised

as playing a major

role in negotiations is the

franchising of brands, as a

result of which hotels are

being run by different parties”

ACCOR's MERCURE

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

41


GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

Barely a week goes

by without someone

somewhere announcing

another brand. It is driven

by the need of the big global

hotel companies to continue

to spread their wings”

often under the same brand name.

“Whereas 20 or 30 years ago, we started

seeing the split of bricks and brains

(property and operator), in the last five

years in particular, we have seen the

separation of brand, operator and owner,”

says consultant to the hotel industry,

Melvin Gold.

“Although a buyer may sign a global deal

with a group, where they are dealing with

a favoured hotel near their office or in a

certain location, even where they are using

the same brand in Bordeaux and Barnsley,

they may be negotiating with separate

operators – I think that makes it slightly

more cumbersome to deal with,” he says.

“When an organisation is looking for a

particularly sweet agreement because it is

a big company, but not the biggest in

Barnsley, is it going to inspire an operator

to give them the best possible rate just

because they give business to a property

CHOICE HOTELS

IHG'S HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

in the same hotel group in Bordeaux,

where they happen to be that hotel’s

biggest corporate client, but when the two

properties are run by different franchisees?”

asks Gold.

“And a corporate might know the

European sales director for one of the big

hotel companies but that person is often

having to deal with someone who is

operating a hotel on the company’s behalf

and they are dealing with the cultural

differences inherent in that. It should be

seamless but it isn’t necessarily, and their

interests are different.”

The diversification game

The unstoppable juggernaut of brands is a

major characteristic of global hotel groups

and is certainly not in response to customer

demand. “Barely a week goes by without

someone somewhere announcing another

brand. It is driven by the need of the big

global hotel companies to continue to

spread their wings,” says Gold.

A management or franchise agreement

may give exclusivity of a particular brand

within a defined radius, so the only way the

hotel group can take further advantage of

the location is to offer a different brand.

“That is the main reason we are seeing this

plethora of brands,” he explains.

The current leader in the field of

acquisitions is Accor, which has managed to

purchase a business or brand every month

over the two years to 2018 with a view to

providing augmented hospitality.


IHG'S KIMPTON

42 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Business & leisure

in equal measure

Business stays like

sterminshotel

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

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GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

IHG'S ATWELL SUITES

In addition to hotels, this wide array of

companies includes restaurant reservation

and table management platform ResDiary,

catering platform Adoria, hotel booking

software Availpro and concièrge service

John Paul.

“In the past four years, Accor has

acquired a number of businesses in areas

that don’t fit straight into the heart of

hospitality, and we are working very closely

with all those businesses to support the

disruption of hotels,” says Senior Vice

President Commercial, Northern Europe

for Accor, Karelle Lamouche.

Be clear about

expectations, not just

the budget, and be clear about

the brief when placing a piece

of business: give as much info

as you can to hotels so they

can match your needs”

“We are diversifying the business. They

are not rooms but contribute to the whole

hospitality experience. Accor is a relatively

large connectivity player and we use and

work with these groups to enable us to

connect with a variety of markets.

“We will be using Availpro for connectivity,

the announcement of a hotel website or any

e-commerce activity,” she says. “It also

enables us to bring additional knowledge

and skills to the market. We have merged

Availpro with Fastbooking to create D-Edge,

providing technology that helps hoteliers

maximise distribution revenues.”

And it does not stop there. With co-working

now a hot topic, Accor has launched Wojo

co-working space in a joint venture with

Nextdoor in all Ibis properties where public

areas are being revamped.

“We don’t need hundreds of square

metres to check someone in, so what are

we going to do with that space instead?”

says Lamouche.

“Consumers have become more social,

which adds to the appeal of those spaces,

and from an owner’s perspective they are

more profitable. We have also introduced

some food and beverage services.

“All those additional companies and

brands complement the hospitality

experience and attract more people from

outside, making the lobby more lively. We

are reinventing and transforming traditional

hospitality,” Lamouche explains.

HILTON'S SIGNIA

44 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

Take a good look

at dynamic pricing

opportunities and give us

the chance as hoteliers

to demonstrate that it is

definitely worthwhile”

Negotiating a deal

Interestingly, the large hotel groups will

mostly not commit to a negotiating

yardstick. Lamouche points out that where

some buyers want a global contract, others

like WPP, advertising agency and parent

company of JWT, prefer to have a regional

or national agreement.

“Suggestions are put forward by the

operating companies per area of operation

to WPP Travel and they handle the rate

negotiations with those properties,” says

Europe Middle East and Africa HR and

Mobility Manager for JWT, Winky Evans.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts will start to

talk in “most locations” at between 100 and

200 room nights per year, with caveats such

as commitments on projected/guaranteed

revenue and location.

And aspiring global group Maritim Hotels

(43 properties in seven countries, and

growing) sets a minimum volume of 50

room nights per year, with more favourable

rates for larger volumes.

Although there are still companies wading

through RFPs. “Buyers now favour BAR

rates, which are more tailormade to the

needs of the client, particularly when

booking Tuesday and Wednesday, the two

most commonly requested corporate room

nights,” says Director of International Sales

for Maritim, Mark Spivey.

Wyndham continues to see consolidation

of key programmes, with dynamic discount

pricing to supplement this. Early check-in/

late check-out and complimentary airport

transfers are high on most buyers’ list for

added value touches.

Karelle Lamouche urges buyers to “look at

dynamic pricing and give us the opportunity

to demonstrate that it is definitely worthwhile

going for it”. She says the more

mature markets such as the UK are

increasingly lean towards this.

Alternatively, “Make use of the global

chain discount programmes to improve the

competitiveness of the rates you receive

year-round,” says Wyndham’s Regional Vice

President for Western Europe, Patrick Divall.

And the advice from Head of Sales for

Best Western Great Britain, Nikki Farr, is:

“Be clear about expectations, not just the

budget, and be clear about the brief when

placing a piece of business: give as much

information as you can to hotels, so they

can match your needs.”

IHG'S HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

WYNDHAM'S RAMADA

CHOICE HOTELS' ASCEND

Dynamic pricing

One global organisation is elevating dynamic

pricing to an art form. Previously, it would

negotiate fixed pricing with hundreds of

properties worldwide, with the process

taking six months to complete.

Meanwhile, hoteliers had been steadfastly

selling the idea of dynamic pricing for years

and, finally, the organisation took the

plunge – and to considerable effect.

Instead of hundreds of negotiated fixed

rates achieved over six months, today the

firm has a negotiated rate at thousands of

properties worldwide and the cycle of

renewal takes six to eight weeks. These

form the foundation of chain-wide


MARRIOTT'S TRIBUTE


THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

45


GLOBAL HOTEL GROUPS

Hoteliers had been

steadfastly selling

the idea of dynamic pricing

for years and, finally, the

organisation took the plunge

– and to considerable effect”

CHOICE HOTELS' CAMBRIA

discounts with the company's principal

hotel providers globally. The discounts

either provide a fixed percentage off the

best available rate of the day or a fixed rate

within the organisation's permitted city cap.

The change enables the business to see

whether a property is remaining competitive

in relation to the city gap and the shorter

cycle also frees up time to be invested in

other projects.

In addition, where savings were previously

difficult to achieve on short-term highvolume

projects that sprang up at short

notice, a price is now in place even before

a project gets the green light.

Some hotels have gone “from zero to over

1,000 room nights overnight” because

projects were suddenly secured, but

travellers can now take advantage of a

negotiated rate at those properties.

The business should now find a negotiated

rate wherever they go. What's more,

travellers get same day cancellation,

complimentary wifi access and free gym

use, which the firm has negotiated as part

of the programme.

Previously “they would have had none of

that”. And better still, traveller feedback

shows satisfaction is at an all-time high. The

arrangement is proving a success for the

business, its hotel partners and its travellers.

If the current trend towards integrating

increasingly diverse business and leisure

requirements continues, hotel groups will

be extending hospitality to ensure that

guests can work, rest and play, something

Mars used to claim for its confectionery

bars. Perhaps moving into the chocolate bar

business is just a step too far for hotel

groups – even Accor.

[ NUMBERS GAME: THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL GROUPS ]

NUMBERS GAME: THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL GROUPS Group Hotels Rooms Percentage share by rooms

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 8,949 795,581 4%

Jin Jiang (incl. Louvre & Radisson) 7,875 345,000 n/a

Choice Hotels 6,990 570,494 3%

Marriott Hotels 6,793 1,293,705 7%

Hilton Hotels & Resorts 5,676 909,050 5%

IHG 5,469 796,640 4%

Accor 4,751 682,374 4%

Best Western 3,678 299,865 2%

46 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

ProcureCon Travel

A question of compliance

Ensuring travellers stick to the policy

was one of the big discussion points at

this year’s ProcureCon Travel, held in

Henderson, Nevada, in May. Andy

Hoskins reports

Company culture plays a significant role in

gaining traveller compliance – or not –

according to several procurement managers

taking to the stage at the two-day event.

“I’ve been in organisations with strict

travel policies,” said Kim McGlinn of Workday,

“but here it’s very simplistic and built

around traveller preferences. Having seen

both structures, I can say there are a lot

more efficiencies in a simplified structure.”

McGlinn continued: “Historically our policy

has been a guideline line and still is, but

people stick to it. The only thing that is

required – and it truly is required – is that

you book through our system.

“If you have your travellers only making

decisions within the booking tool then you

have them in the right place. We have our

preferred suppliers up top within the tool

and that’s who they’re choosing.”

Another procurement manager noted

that as machine learning streamlined their

company’s travel programme and reduced

choice within its booking tool, compliance

was increasingly difficult to achieve.

“As we got more efficient, we actually

ended up with more rogue behaviour. With

the internet, everyone thinks they’re the

smartest booker around,” they said.

The role of travel policy in staff retention

and attrition was debated as part of a wider

focus on traveller experience on day two.

One travel manager, Cheryl Benjamin,

said traveller experience can be used to

woo prospective employees as well as keep

them onboard further down the line. “When

we bring in candidates for interview we

want to make it as easy as possible for

them,” she said. “It’s the little things that

from the start show we look after our staff.”

Positive travel experiences are also key to

retention, said Benjamin, adding that

questions about travel policy are included in

staff exit interviews.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s Global Travel

Manager, Leslie Hadden, explained how the

company's traveller surveys seek feedback

on its preferred suppliers, TMC performance

and top travel-related stress factors.

BIG NAMES

The event featured 30

conference sessions and 40

exhibitors, and was attended

by over 200 delegates

including buyers from

Starbucks, the NBA, IBM,

Time Warner and KPMG.

WISE WORDS

“AS AN INDUSTRY

WE’RE SUFFERING

FROM APP FATIGUE. WITHIN

FIVE YEARS YOU CAN EXPECT

A MUCH MORE INTEGRATED

TRAVEL EXPERIENCE ON

OPERATING SYSTEMS”

Christina Wrobel, VP Digital Strategy,

Carey International

PAYING THE PRICE

Travellers who chase loyalty

points and book outside a

company’s preferred hotel

programme typically

spend 20% more

on accommodation,

according to IHG’s

Ryan Plemmons

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

47


TALKING TRAVEL

Following in famous footsteps

Levison Wood

Angela Sara West speaks to one of our greatest living explorers about his

adventurous career path and lessons learned from his epic walking expeditions

From riding a badly behaved camel

through the Sahara desert to a battle

tank in Iraq, not to mention his epic

walks along the Nile, Himalayas and the

Caucasus, Levison Wood certainly throws

himself into his travels.

The paratrooper-turned-adventurer grew

up reading tales of great explorers past,

from Alexander the Great to Speke,

Shackleton and T.E. Lawrence, first venturing

out into his native Peak District before

heading off further afield.

Wood’s awe-inspiring TV documentaries

and best-selling books began in ambitious

fashion with one of the last Holy Grails of

exploration – the first-ever walking

expedition along the entire length of the

River Nile, from source to sea; a 4,000-mile

journey through deserts and war zones.

Having nailed that, other acclaimed series

have watched him walk the length of the

Himalayas, Central America – from Mexico’s

Yucatan to Colombia – and the Caucasus,

from the Black Sea to the Caspian.

Last year’s incredible 5,000-mile

circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula,

travelling through 13 countries proved his

most arduous challenge. “Crossing borders

in times of conflict is tricky, not to mention

the practical difficulties of travelling across

Arabia’s ‘Empty Quarter’ desert,” says Wood.

“Many of the countries I passed through on

my Arabian journey were hair-raising. Unable

to get to Saudi Arabia through Yemen, I had

to take a dhow around the Horn of Africa,

through some of the most pirate-infested

waters in the world,” he explains.

While Wood dislikes certain aspects of his

nomadic lifestyle, (“It makes maintaining a

steady life at home much more difficult. I’ve

missed countless family engagements and

weddings,” he admits), the ‘camaraderie’ of

travel makes up for it.

“Even in the most desolate places, where

people have near to nothing, I’m greeted

with overwhelming hospitality. Their

happiness and hope restores my faith in

humanity,” he says. His ‘must-visit’

recommendations include Nepal, Lebanon,

Oman and Jordan.

Itinerant Wood is proud of all his

I like a challenge.

The regions of the

world that are least trodden

happen to be the hardest to

reach and toughest to survive

in. That's no coincidence”

expeditions for different reasons. “My first

one, the Nile, because I was just a veteran

and no one knew who I was, so I was proud

of the way it turned out and how it was

received. I’d been working up to my latest,

Arabia, for five years, so I had a lot to prove.

“I like a challenge. The regions of the world

that are least trodden happen to be the

hardest to reach and toughest to survive in.

That’s no coincidence, but it’s why I’m drawn

to them. I want to inspire people of all

genders, age, race, ethnicity and ability to

follow their dreams. I love reading letters

and emails from people who have travelled

to a far-flung destination because of me.”

Passionate about showcasing off-thebeaten-track

places, he sets out to highlight

the positives of places and their people.

“Sudan was surprising because of the

incredible hospitality. I was prepared for a

country clearly recovering from years of

conflict, but was met with generosity on

another level. We had to divert our route

around some villages because the locals

were slowing us down with their offerings of

tea and food. One man was so determined

to look after us that he carried a bed on his

head to us out in the desert!”

For would-be adventurers, Woods advises

travelling light and not over-planning. “You

never know who you might meet or what

you might see that will influence your

action,” he says. Having said that, he's partial

to the occassional posh hotel. “I recently

stayed at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon near

Reykjavik. It’s probably the coolest place I’ve

ever been. The Hoshinoya in Ubud, in the

uplands of Bali, is embedded in the middle

of the jungle, which is pretty epic.”

As for food, he cautions about what’s on

offer in Uganda. “I was served maggot stew

and bush rat soup – both are terrible!”

And when it’s time to dust off his walking

boots, where does he head for some R&R?

“Somewhere sunny with a beach. In January,

I went to Sri Lanka to surf and do some yoga;

it was a pretty perfect set-up.” Although his

eternally-itchy feet mean he’s always

planning the next big adventure. “I find it

hard to relax. Because I’m my own boss, I’m

always ‘on’, always on the lookout for the

next opportunity…”

48 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


TALKING TRAVEL

LEVISON WOOD

Levison Wood is an elected Fellow of the Royal

Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, and a

visiting Fellow at CASS Business School. He’s an

ambassador for several charities, including the Duke of

Edinburgh’s Award. His latest book, Arabia: A Journey

Through The Heart of the Middle East, is now out in

paperback and the TV documentary series will

commence on June 27 on Discovery UK.

IMAGE: ALBERTO CARACES

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

49


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THE REVIEW

the

Review

THE NEWS & VIEWS

THAT REALLY MATTER

[ the lowdown ]

Cost control overtakes traveller

security as buyers' top priority

p52-53

[ room report ]

Fifth hotel from Dakota group

lands in Manchester

p56-57

[ on the ground ]

LNER rolls-out new Azuma trains

across East Coast network

p58

[ meeting place ]

Fairmont St Andrews completes

M&E refurbishment

p59

[ in the air ]

WestJet introduces new

business class on Gatwick services

p54

O N T H E M O V E I

The latest industry appointments p60

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

51


THE REVIEW

T H E L O W D O W N

IN BRIEF

Extra Clarity

Travel management

company Clarity has

acquired Ian Allan Travel,

giving the combined

company a turnover in the

region of £500million.

Clarity CEO Pat McDonagh

said its fellow TMC “has a

real strength in the

corporate, education and

charity sectors and we

believe that through both

businesses we have the

best talent, quality,

innovation and solutions

for our customers.”

Marine growth

BCD Travel and integrated

maritime solutions leader

Bernhard Schulte

Shipmanagement (BSM)

have sealed a new joint

venture to create a

specialised global marine

travel services offering.

The arrangement bolsters

BCD’s expansion of its

global Energy, Resources

& Marine practice.

Wider Radius

TMC network Radius

Travel has signed two new

members: Incanto Travel,

based in the Dominican

Republic, and TOV Travel,

based in South Korea.

The network comprises

over 100 agencies

worldwide and manages

more than $30billion of

annual travel spend.

Cost control revealed

as buyers' top priority

GETTING costs under control is currently the number one

priority for travel managers, usurping traveller security at

the top of the list, according to new research.

The latest edition of the European Business Travel

Barometer from American Express Global Business Travel

showed data security was the second biggest priority, while

traveller security fell to third. In fourth was traveller

satisfaction, with 71% of businesses now measuring

satisfaction levels compared to 56% in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the report also forecasts an increase in

business travel spend of 4.3% among European companies.

In 2018, spend rose 3.8% year on year, 0.4% more than was

initially predicted.

"The challenge businesses face is balancing cost efficiency

and effectiveness," says GBT’s Senior Vice President and

Managing Director, International, Elyes Mrad.

SLOW UPTAKE

OF OFFSETTING

OPTIONS

FEWER than 1% of passengers

choose to offset the carbon

dioxide emissions associated with

their flights – and that’s when

airlines actually offer the option.

Research by the BBC revealed

that of the 28 major airlines it

contacted, less than half offer

passengers a carbon offsetting

scheme and most of the airlines

quizzed by the news organisation

declined to report on take-up,

“often saying their figures were

too low to report”.

40hrs

Companies spend 40

hours a month, on

average, reconciling

travel expenses and

payment data according

to a GBTA study

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THE REVIEW

T H E L O W D O W N

IN BRIEF

New-look ATPI

Travel management

company ATPI is marking

its centenary year with the

launch of a new website,

branding and structure,

which includes the renaming

of ATPI Griffinstone as

ATPI Marine and Energy.

Small wonders

Hotel room nights booked

in the UK by customers of

the Advantage Travel

Partnership grew by 8%

last year. The growth

suggests that business

confidence among SMEs

remains strong in spite of

economic uncertainty,

according to Advantage.

The consortium’s 2018

Hotels Market Report

shows significant growth

in room nights booked in

cities in the Midlands and

North East in particular.

Data release

IT developer Travelogix

has unveiled a new data

tool aimed at making it

easier for TMCs to analyse

airline data for market

intelligence and business

development. The new

Farecast program was

developed within six

months and has already

been successfully trialled

by 58 Advantage Travel

Partnership members. It

will be available to SMEs

from August this year.

Levelling up

Level UK is the new name

for the industry association

formerly known as Level

Women, which supports

gender balance in the UK

business travel industry. It

has also welcomed Sonia

Michaels of Advantage and

Louise Kilgannon of

Festive Road to its

leadership team.

Business travellers

shun the human touch

MORE than two-thirds of business travellers prefer to book

their air travel digitally, via a computer or app, than by

speaking to a consultant. That figure is even higher for hotel

bookings, at 78%, and ground transport, at 71%, says a new

report from CWT.

The report, Human vs Machine, also shows that booking

travel on smartphones is growing – up to 41% currently,

compared to 34% in 2018 and 32% in 2017.

Nearly half (45%) book through a computer, 11% by tablets

and only 2% of business travellers claim to get help from a

person, according to the report.

“Technology is becoming more and more dominant in the

travel ecosystem,” says Andrew Jordan, CWT’s Chief Product

and Technology Officer. “Digital transactions are taking over.”

BRIGHTON IS THE FASTEST-GROWING

BUSINESS HUB IN 2019, SAYS

TRAVELPERK, WITH BOOKINGS TO THE

CITY UP 53%. HAMBURG AND MUNICH

WERE ALSO AMONG THE FASTEST-

GROWING, BUT LONDON, BERLIN AND

MADRID ARE THE MOST POPULAR OVERALL

ITM UPDATE

Scott Davies

Chief Executive, ITM

Did you make it to the ITM

Conference in Brighton?

If you did, I hope you had

a great few days getting

informed, connected and

inspired with 530 of the

industry’s finest.

An enormous amount of

planning goes into the event,

but I wasn’t quite prepared

for the reaction to our

inspirational keynote speaker,

Henry Fraser. Henry’s positive

mindset, powerful message

that failure is optional and

reminder of the importance

of the little big things drew a

standing ovation from our

delegates. I had wanted

Henry to address our

Conference for some time

and holding it together on

stage for his Q&A was the

hardest thing I have done in

this role. He is a true hero.

Although Conference is our

annual centrepiece, the ITM

calendar of events is packed

with goodies and offers

everything from buyer

huddles, themed summits

and workshops, to showcases

and supplier skills training

throughout the year.

For next year’s Conference

we'll be back in Wales at the

new state-of-the-art venue of

ICC Wales, and planning is

already under way. Save the

date: May 6th-7th, 2020.

We’re going to try to outdo

ourselves, right Karen?

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

Delta connects

Edinburgh & Boston

VIRGIN ATLANTIC TO FILL THE

VOID LEFT BY JET AIRWAYS

VIRGIN Atlantic will double

its services to India this

autumn when it resumes

flights to Mumbai after a

four-year hiatus.

The new daily service from

London Heathrow has been

prompted by Jet Airways’

suspension of flights

between the cities. The new

service takes off on October

27 and will join the airline’s

long-established route

between London and Delhi.

DELTA Air Lines has

launched a new service from

Edinburgh to Boston – its

second direct route between

the Scottish capital and the

United States.

The service will operate

daily this summer and

complements the airline's

existing daily flight between

Edinburgh and New York JFK

which will become a yearround

service this winter.

The new flights to Boston

Logan International depart

from Edinburgh at 10.40

and arrive at 12.49 local

time. And flights from

Boston depart at 21.53 and

arrive in Edinburgh at 09.25

the following day. The

service will be operated

using a B757-200 aircraft

with 164 seats.

A summer service from

Glasgow to New York has

also resumed.

Delta and transatlantic

joint venture partner Virgin

Atlantic have also revealed

plans to introduce services

from London Gatwick to

Boston and New York JFK

in summer 2020.

JETBLUE TO BRING 'PRICE DISCIPLINE'

TO TRANSATLANTIC MARKET

JETBLUE will launch transatlantic flights from New York

and Boston to London from 2021. The airline is currently

evaluating which London airport it will fly to, but the UK

will become the carrier’s first European destination. It

will operate multiple daily flights from both cities and

says "legacy airlines charge obscene fares and JetBlue

can bring price discipline. The airline has a history of

successfully lowering fares and stimulating traffic".

No.1

Qatar Airways

ranked number one

Qatar Airways has been

named top airline in

the world in an annual

survey by air passenger

rights organisation

AirHelp. Flybe and

Virgin Atlantic were

the only UK carriers to

feature in the report's

top 20, which rates

airlines on KPIs such

as on-time performance

and claims processing

CHECK-IN

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THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

IN BRIEF

GTMC UPDATE

Enhanced economy

Aer Lingus is introducing

an enhanced economy

offering, AerSpace, which

will feature on short-haul

flights between selected

UK destinations and

Ireland from September.

Travellers booking

AerSpace seats will be

guaranteed a first-row

window or aisle seat with

an unoccupied middle

seat, and receive lounge

access, fast-track security

and priority boarding.

Summer additions

Etihad Airways is boosting

services between London

Heathrow and Abu Dhabi

this summer. The current

three-times-daily

operation will increase to

four flights a day from May

26 to June 22 and from

September 29 to October

26, and to five flights a day

for the peak summer

season from June 23 to

September 28.

Isle of Man link

Flybe has launched a

new daily service between

London Heathrow and the

Isle of Man - the first such

service for almost 20

years. Flights take around

one hour and 20 minutes

and allow customers

travelling to and from the

Isle of Man to connect with

numerous international

flights at Heathrow.

Kazakh carrier

FlyArystan, the new

low-cost airline from

Air Astana has commenced

operations. The carrier

has launched with six

domestic routes in

Kazakhstan but intends to

expand internationally and

grow its fleet to at least 15

aircraft by 2022.

CANADIAN AIRLINE WESTJET HAS

DEPLOYED ITS NEW DREAMLINER AIRCRAFT

FEATURING A NEW BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

ON SERVICES BETWEEN LONDON GATWICK

AND CALGARY, ITS BUSIEST UK ROUTE

Heathrow kicks off

consultation period

LONDON Heathrow Airport will commence a statutory

consultation on its expansion plans on June 18.

The 12-week project is the latest stage of the ‘critical

national infrastructure’ project and follows the High Court’s

dismissal of legal challenges against the addition of a third

runway at Heathrow. The consultation will seek feedback

on four key areas, including the preferred masterplan for

expansion (including terminal locations and access) and how

three runways would be operated. It will also cover the likely

impact of the airport’s growth on the environment and local

communities and plans to manage the impact of growth.

A final proposal will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate

in 2020. A third runway is projected to open in 2026 and the

overall masterplan to be complete by around 2050.

Adrian Parkes

Chief Executive, GTMC

This is my last column as I

step down this summer to

embrace retirement, so a

review of events in my role

here seemed fitting.

In the ever-changing

world of business travel

one constant is our love of

acronyms: GDPR, PSD2, IATA,

and even GTMC.

One that continues to grab

attention is APD. Intended to

contribute towards countering

the environmental impact

of aviation, there appears to

be little evidence of what

relevant activity the tax has

supported. While we welcome

initiatives that promote

environmental concerns,

we would be more supportive

if these funds were going

towards investment in

sustainable transport around

the country’s regional

airports, for example, rather

than straight to the treasury.

NDC has also kept me busy.

It seems to be stuck in

commercial negotiations

and complex technology

development for TMCs.

Hopefully, airlines working on

their own solutions will take a

consultative approach to

market implementation.

I won’t miss the acronyms,

but I will miss the industry

and the friends and contacts

I have made over the years.

Thanks for an unforgettable

25 years in the industry.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

dE nIRo's nobu

To add sEcond

london HoTEl

noBU Hospitality – the lifestyle

brand created by acclaimed

Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa,

actor Robert De Niro and

Hollywood film producer Meir

Teper – will open its second

London property early next year.

The Nobu Hotel London

Portman Square will be the ninth

property in the group's portfolio,

and joins its sister hotel located in

Shoreditch, which opened in 2017.

Previously branded the Radisson

Blu Portman Square, the revamped

property will feature 239 rooms

and suites – a reduction from its

current 272 – along with a Nobu

restaurant and meeting facilities.

Properties in Riyadh, Toronto,

Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and

Warsaw are also in the pipeline.

marriott

ups the ante

with home

rentals

Marriott International

has launched Homes &

Villas, a home rental division

featuring over 2,000 'premium

and luxury' homes.

Following an initial trial

period, the group now offers

home rentals in over 100

destinations throughout

Europe, the United States,

Latin America and the

Caribbean. Members of the

Marriott Bonvoy loyalty

scheme can earn and

redeem points on bookings

at the properties which are

all under the care of property

management companies.

“What started out as a pilot

a year ago is now a global

offering, providing our

guests with the space and

amenities of a home backed

by a trusted travel company,

and the very best in loyalty

benefits,” says Stephanie

Linnartz, Marriott's Global

Chief Commercial Officer.

[ GOING FOR GROWTH ]

The new FOUR SEASONS Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, has

opened in the Back Bay neighbourhood. It is set within the city's

third tallest building and is the group's second hotel in Boston >>

TRAVELODGE expects to open 17 new hotels in the UK this year

including properties within its Travelodge Plus and SuperRooms

categories >> HYATT intends to open 21 new hotels in Asia Pacific

by 2020 under its Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Alila brands,

increasing its luxury footprint in the region by over 25% >> A

YOTELAIR with 130 cabins has debuted at Singapore Jewel Changi

Airport – the first airport hotel in Asia from the brand – adding to

its YOTEL city property in Singapore Orchard Road.

62%

of business travellers would

like hotel self-check-in tech

Nearly tw0-thirds of

regular travellers (62%)

would be likely to checkin

to a hotel via an app

if the technology was

available, while 58%

would be likely to checkin

via an app and use

a digital key to access

their room if they were

able to do so, according

to research from travel

tech business Criton

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THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

IN BRIEF

Property extension

American Express Global

Business Travel has

expanded its accommodation

programme to

comprise more than two

million properties

worldwide. The new

content comes through the

extension of GBT’s

existing partnership with

booking.com, adding

‘more properties in

different types of

locations’. Users can now

also access booking.com

Genius Rates which offer

savings of at least 10% on

bookings at ‘thousands’ of

hotels worldwide.

Green rooms

Edwardian Hotels London

has secured a £175 million

Green Loan from HSBC

UK to ensure its new hotel,

The Londoner, will be one

of the greenest hotels in

the UK. It is the first deal

in the sector that meets

the Green Loan Principles,

which were set out in

March 2018 to encourage

and facilitate environmentally-friendly

economic

activity. The funding will

be used to ensure the new

hotel meets, and exceeds,

the BREEAM Excellent

standard in building

environmental and

sustainable performance.

Royal refurb

The 150-year-old Bristol

Marriott Royal Hotel –

the oldest hotel in the city

– has undergone a

multimillion-pound

restoration. The work has

been completed across all

rooms at the four-star

hotel, plus six meeting

rooms and 20 breakout

rooms including the grade

II listed Victorian Palm

Court room.

IHG expands its

extended stay options

intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is introducing a

new brand, Atwell Suites, an upper-midscale product that will

bridge the gap between its hotel and extended stay offerings.

IHG says the new brand will be suited to guests staying four

to six nights – a market it values at $18billion – and believes it

is a strong follow-up to the successful rollout of Avid hotels,

the fastest brand launch in its history.

Features of Atwell Suites properties include all-studio

suites featuring kitchenettes, plus social areas, flexible

meeting spaces and a bar. In addition, the hotels will offer

complimentary hot breakfast to all guests and inclusive wifi.

“Our newest offer gives owners and guests something

different to what’s out there today – a stylish suite with the

flex for guests to work, socialise or explore over a four-tosix-night

stay,” says Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer.

fifth hotel from dakota

group lands in manchester

the Dakota Manchester hotel

opened in May, situated on Ducie

Street close to Piccadilly Station.

It has 137 guestrooms – including

20 suites, among which is the

largest in the city – plus The Dakota

Grill, a vibrant neighbourhood

brasserie. There's also a cocktail

bar, Champagne room, cigar

garden and waterside terrace for

al fresco dining or exclusive hire

for events of up to 80 people.

All guestrooms include rainfall

showers, full Sky TV packages and

high-speed wifi. First floor Garden

King rooms have access to a

private terrace while suites include

Signature, Executive and Deluxe

options, plus its trademark

Grand Deluxe Suite.

It is the fifth hotel from the

Dakota group which already has

properties in Leeds and Edinburgh

and two in Glasgow.

grange hotels

rebadged by

new operatoR

London’s four Grange Hotels

are now operating under new

names following their acquisition

by the Jurys Inn and Leonardo

Hotels UK & Ireland group.

The four central properties

add 1,300 rooms to the group’s

growing portfolio and now go by

the following names: Jurys Inn

London Holborn, Leonardo Royal

Hotel London St Pauls, Leonardo

Royal Hotel Tower Bridge and

Leonardo Royal Hotel London

City. All four properties will

undergo refurbishments and will

also see the Holborn hotel reopen

as the group’s first NYX Hotel by

Leonardo Hotels in the UK.

The group took over Manchester’s

Midland Hotel last year and

opened the Grand Harbour Hotel

in Southampton earlier this year.

It has also acquired sites on Adair

Street in Manchester and in

Bristol Glassfields, and has plans

to extend the existing Jurys Inn

Edinburgh and create an adjacent

131-room NYX hotel.

a brave new

world of

hospitality

A STUDY from Amadeus and

IHG is predicting sweeping

changes in the way hotel rooms

are priced and sold, with

personalisation driving the trend.

Hotels, which have traditionally

been bought in a uniform way,

and booking technology will need

to adapt as 61% of travellers state

a preference for hotels to be

priced in a way that allows them to

add-on bespoke options. This will

see the emergence of attributebased

booking, says Amadeus,

where guests select the individual

components of their room, much

like NDC will deliver for airlines.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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THE REVIEW

O N T H E G R O U N D

app upgrades from leading

car rental companies

Azumas for LNER

LNER has launched its first bullet-style Azuma trains on the

East Coast mainline between London King’s Cross and

Leeds. The new train made its inaugural passenger journey

on May 15, completing the route in just over two hours and

travelling at around 125mph. In total, 65 new trains will

replace the existing LNER fleet connecting key cities in the

East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and Scotland across the

entire 936-mile East Coast network in the coming months.

[ upgrades & additions ]

>> Virgin Trains passengers can now bid for First Class upgrades

through a collaboration with Seatfrog. Customers will be able to

bid from 24 hours through to 30 minutes before departure, with

upgrades costing as little as £10 >> Online travel management

platform TravelPerk has integrated full UK rail content from

Trainline. The first three months of 2019 saw train bookings

increase 138% on the previous quarter >> Cabs.com has launched

a taxi-hailing platform it claims will rival Uber. The new tool

integrates more than 150,000 vehicles from 8,000 independent

UK cab firms with “far better geographical coverage” than Uber.

vehicle rental companies Avis and Hertz have both

released upgrades to their respective customer apps.

Following a successful launch in the US and Australia,

the new Avis App will streamline the rental process at

key locations in Europe, including Heathrow, allowing

users to manage the rental process “from start to

finish”. Features include push notifications to update

customers on the location of their vehicle and prepopulated

forms for future bookings. In addition, Avis

Preferred members will be able to bypass the rental

desk completely and change or upgrade their vehicle as

they approach a rental location.

Meanwhile Hertz says its news app will deliver a faster

and more personalised rental experience, and include

access to historic bookings and its rewards programme.

All hail Mobilleo

Ground transport specialist Mobilleo has added ridehailing

capability to its app with the integration of several

leading providers.

Its app now allows users to hail taxis as well as book car

rental, transfers and chauffeur services across Europe, with

payments controlled and charged to company accounts or

corporate cards. The tool incorporates eight providers –

Gett, Karhoo, Cabfind and Sixt mydriver, as well as Avis,

Enterprise, Europcar and Sixt – and the company is in talks

with further companies in the United States and Far East.

“Our strategy is to aggregate providers globally, enhancing

the service proposition for customers, and enabling them to

choose the travel services that best suit them,” says Mark

Harwood, Product Director at Mobilleo.

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THE REVIEW

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

IN BRIEF

Terrace talk @No6

Events @ No 6 is now fully

open, having completed its

roof top terrace and

boardroom. The top floor

terrace can accommodate

up to 60 guests and is

complemented by a

boardroom designed for

fine dining, meetings and

away days. Both spaces

have views across London.

The upmarket M&E venue

is situated in Aldgate,

above The Royal College of

Pathologists, and offers a

variety of meeting rooms

for groups of up to 210.

Wyboston upgrade

Wyboston Lakes Resort in

Bedfordshire has finished

a £3million transformation

of its conference and

events facilities. The new

Woodlands Events Centre

includes a main

conference room capable

of seating 620 delegates

theatre style, updated AV

technology, the on-site

Olive Restaurant with

room for 280 diners, and

Cedar Bar. The site also

includes the specialist

Willows Training Centre.

In total the resort has 65

rooms for hire, plus 400

bedrooms, a health club,

an 18-hole golf course and

separate 103-room

Waterfront Hotel.

Londoner calling

The Londoner, which

opens in Leicester Square

in spring 2020, has

revealed deatils of its

proposed M&E offering.

The 15-storey, 350-room

luxury property, part of

Edwardian Hotels, will

have a ballroom able to

accommodate up to 864

guests, plus two private

screening rooms and

seven meetings spaces.

Fairmont St Andrews

gets back in the swing

SCOTLAND’s largest hotel event space has been refurbished

at a cost of more than £1million. The five-star Fairmont St

Andrews took seven weeks to update its Ballroom and 14

meetings and events rooms – an area totalling 3,000m 2 .

Owner Accor began a programme of improvements at the

hotel in 2016 with work on the atrium and corridors. This

was followed by the spa complex and sports bar last year,

with the events facilities completing the project.

General Manager John Keating says: “We look forward to

welcoming local, national and international businesses of all

sizes. The changes have breathed new life into the resort.”

The flexible space at the hotel and golf resort can cater for

groups of 10 to 600 guests.

Radisson revitalised

the RADISSON Hotel Group has relaunched its meetings and events

offering across its seven global brands with an offer of free carbon

offsetting for all venue users.

The new Radisson Meetings proposition, which will be rolled out to

more than 1,100 venues worldwide over the next five years, features a

partnership with First Climate that ensures investment in wind energy and

sustainability projects in Peru, Kenya, Turkey, India and the US to offset

the carbon footprint of meeting attendees.

The group says Radisson Meetings is based around the core pillars of

‘Personal’, ‘Professional’ and ‘Memorable’, with meetings planners, on-site

support and improved menus ensuring a high-quality, consistent service.

The offering is being backed up with a multimillion-pound investment in

venue technology and facilities. So far, 55 properties in the portfolio

feature the upgraded services.

businesses

seeking value

in capital

LondoN-based businesses

cut their per person spend on

meetings by 20% last year,

according to research.

Figures from online venue

marketplace Tagvenue revealed

average Day Delegate Rates in the

capital fell from £58.28 in 2017 to

just £46.50 in 2018. Meanwhile,

overall average meeting spend

was down 1.9% to £657.77,

backing up evidence that average

meeting size rose from 12 to 14

attendees. Despite the findings,

Tagvenue said demand among

London businesses for ‘quirky and

unconventional’ spaces, rather

than traditional rooms, was on

the rise and now accounts for

53.8% of bookings. The average

spend for conferences was up

20% in 2018, to £3,355.

“Events are getting bigger

and venues are elevating their

standards and prices to accommodate

higher and more sophisticated

demand,” says Tagvenue

CEO Arthur Stepaniak.

Dubai hotels

in spotlight

DUBAI continues to rule the roost

when it comes to MICE activity in

the Middle East and Africa.

Seven of the top 10 busiest

meetings hotels in the region are in

the emirate, with the JW Marriott

Marquis Hotel Dubai continuing to

hold on to the top spot, followed by

the InterContinental Festival City

and Grand Hyatt.

"We saw a near 20% increase in

RFP volume year-on-year and

hotels are elevating their MICE

strategy through innovative digital

marketing and quick online

responses to RFPs,” says Chris

McAndrews, Cvent Hospitality's

Vice President of Marketing.

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THE REVIEW

O N T H E M O V E

EVENTS

JUNE 20

ITM SCOTLAND SUMMIT

Edinburgh

RICHARD VINER

ROSELYNE HUE

GRAHAM ROSS

itm.org.uk

JUNE 26-27

JOINS: TravelPerk

AS: Country Manager, UK

FROM: ATPI

MOVES AT: Wings Travel Management

TO: Head of Strategic Account Management

FROM: Key Account Manager

PROMOTED AT: FCM

TO: UK General Manager

FROM: Head of UK Sales

THE MEETINGS SHOW

Olympia London

themeetingsshow.com

Online TMC TravelPerk has

appointed Richard Viner to

head up its new UK operation.

Roselyne Hue moves from

South Africa to head up Strategic

Account Management for Wings

Graham Ross has landed the

top job at FCM six years after

joining the business. The

JUNE 27

One of his first jobs will be to

Travel in Singapore. She has

promotion recognises his major

TBTM GOLF MASTERS

Mannings Heath, Sussex

double the size of its team in

the country.

been with the TMC for more

than 12 years.

account wins and efforts to

raise the company’s profile.

thebusinesstravelmag.com

JUNE 30

GTMC OVERSEAS CONFERENCE

Noordwijk, Netherlands

gtmc.org

AUGUST 3-7

GBTA CONVENTION

Chicago

gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 4-6

WORLD AVIATION FESTIVAL

Business Design Centre, London

terrapinn.com/conference

SEPTEMBER 17-18

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

Hilton Bankside, London

thebusinesstravelconference.com

CHARLES OAK

JOINS: The Londoner

AS: Hotel Director

FROM: Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Hospitality expert Charles Oak

has been appointed by

Edwardian Hotels London to

launch and run the £300million

property that is due to open on

Leicester Square next year.

REGINA GREGAN

JOINS: Hannon Travel

AS: Head of Sales & Account Management

FROM: Amadeus

Regina Gregan will be part of

Hannon Travel’s recently

announced push into Northern

Ireland and Great Britain. She

brings more than 20 years’

experience to her new role.

DAVID ZIMMER

JOINS: CWT

AS: Head of Channel Evolution

FROM: Travelport

David Zimmer has joined CWT

in the newly created role of

Head of Channel Evolution,

boosting the business with his

20-plus years of product

development experience.

OCTOBER 4

ITM SCOTLAND CHARITY BALL

The Principal Edinburgh

itm.org.uk

OCTOBER 23-25

ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT

Amsterdam

acte.org

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Maritim Hotels has appointed Mine Cakmak Celikkol as Account

Executive, Corporate Business Travel in the UK >> Christine Ourmières-Widener will step down

from her role as Chief Executive Officer of Flybe Limited in July following the successful sale of the

business to Connect Airways >> David Holmes is the new VP of Payments at CWT >> American

Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has appointed Gerardo Tejado as General Manager

of American Express Meetings & Events >> IHG has restructured its European Sales Teams under

the leadership of Debbie Male, Head of Sales for Europe

NOVEMBER 4-6

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET

ExCel, London

london.wtm.com

NOVEMBER 19-21

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE

Munich

europeconference.gbta.org

60 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


EVENT REVIEW

PA & EA networking evening

Spring

Sparkle

Spring Sparkle, the 12th PA & EA

networking evening from The

Business Travel Conference and The

Business Travel Magazine, took place

at the Canary Riverside Plaza,

London, in May. Guests enjoyed

complimentary drinks, canapés,

massages and manicures, plus the

chance to win some fabulous prizes

courtesy of the generous partners

Great prizes

Meeting with suppliers

Summer Sparkle ▼

Our 12th PA & EA event

Spring Sparkle

PA & EA Networking Evening

Brought to you by

The Business Travel Conference

and the event venue and partners

▲ 20.05.2019

Happy customers

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

61


Discover Air Europa’s new

VIP Transfer Service for

Business Class Passengers.

At Air Europa, we aim to deliver

the best service to our passengers

every step of the way, from booking

through to arrival at their destination.

Our Business Class Passengers can

now benefit from our VIP Airport

Transfer service, available upon

departure or arrival from selected

transatlantic flights.


IT's the largest area of travel

spend for many companies, yet

competition is disproportionately

limited. Track the latest buying

trends and industry challenges

in our guide to

AIR

TRAVEL

Introduction, 64-66 / Spend management, 68-72

Business class, 74-78 / Behind the scenes, 79 / Distribution, 80-82

Six of the best..., 83 / Consolidation, 84-85 / Data, 86

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

63


Air travel / Introduction

Clearing

The aIr

Brexit uncertainty and consolidation are not taking

the shine off a relatively buoyant period for airlines.

Gary Noakes examines the state of the market

Summer’s here, but Brexit fall-out

continues, meaning predicting travel

patterns is a headache for buyers

and airlines.

The view out there seems to be one of

short-term uncertainty set against a general

backdrop of confidence and investment.

However, some research makes alarming

reading; a poll of travel managers from

Alphawise Morgan Stanley in March found

confidence tumbling since November. Then,

around 26% of buyers predicted a spend

increase of 6-10%, but this proportion

dipped to about 17% six months later as

Brexit limped on.

IATA’s latest stats highlight a fall in global

passenger growth from 8% in the first half of

2018 to 4.5% in February. It’s not all gloom

however, with Europe leading the world,

recording expansion of 7.6% in January and

February, making it the strongest performing

region for the fifth consecutive month.

Europe’s airlines are averaging an almost

82% load factor and Mark Bevan, Business

Travel Direct’s Head of Strategic Relationships,

said: “The market seems pretty buoyant and

positive and there’s quite a lot of airline

investment. Inbound traffic is busy as well.

“Our customers seem to be investing. I’m

not sure it can be linked to Brexit, but

transatlantic is busy – maybe corporate

clients are looking further afield for

business.” He welcomes a range of business

route additions, including British Airways’

Pittsburgh service and Virgin Atlantic’s Sao

Paulo and Tel Aviv routes.

Some leaders worry there are still too

many carriers, particularly short-haul, in

continental Europe. Lufthansa Group Chief

Executive Carsten Spohr called Europe’s

short-haul sector “overheated” and believes

2019 will start a process that leads Europe’s

aviation scene to resemble the US, China

and the Gulf, where three carriers dominate

in each. “We are seeing the final phase

before consolidation,” he says.


64 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Introduction / Air travel

Our customers seem

to be investing;

transatlantic is busy – maybe

corporate clients are looking

further afield for business”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

65


Air travel / Introduction

We are seeing the

end for four-engine

aircraft. Just 12 years after

entering service, the axe has

fallen on the double-decker

Airbus A380, a giant just too

big to sell in large numbers”

He has good grounds to say this, as OAG

figures show Europe’s top five airlines had a

combined 30% market share in 2018 – in the

US, the top five accounted for 75%.

That’s not great news for buyers: “It’s never

good to see too much consolidation,

because it weakens competition,” says John

Bolger, Director of Equilibrium Consultancy.

“At the moment, it’s a good time for buyers.

Internationally, the big thing I’ve noticed is

the improvement in the product and the

experience. Travellers are getting more, and

because of the competition, it’s not like fares

have gone up 20%.”

Watch this airspace, however, because

Spohr believes Europe will follow the US,

where consolidation into three big network

brands is working well for their bottom lines.

Delta’s March quarter revenue was a record

$10.4billion, including an 8% increase in

premium ticket revenue; proof that fewer

carriers mean higher fares.

“Across the pond, you don’t often get the

sense that there is a lot more competition,”

says Will Hasler, a member of the ITM

Industry Affairs Group. “Clearly we would

prefer BA/American Airlines and Virgin/Delta

to be four airlines, rather than two.”

Underlining the differences between the US

and Europe, Lufthansa’s first quarter losses

reached €336million, compared with a

€52million profit a year earlier when Air

Berlin’s collapse prompted a brief capacity

shortage, one now firmly over-corrected.

Consolidation in Europe will likely mostly

involve budget brands like Lufthansa Group’s

Eurowings. Logically, Hungary’s Wizz Air

could become part of a bigger European

group and IAG could persuade Portugal’s

TAP to join Iberia in its stable. Alitalia has

seen overtures from Lufthansa, Delta and

easyJet, but is still without a saviour and

faces Qatar Airways-backed Air Italy.

The UK has already seen the Virgin-led

consortium’s rescue of Flybe in January and

Flybmi’s collapse in February, so perhaps the

consolidation will now switch to Europe.

One thing for certain is 2019 marks the

beginning of the end for four-engine aircraft.

Just 12 years after entering service, the axe

has fallen on production of the doubledecker

Airbus A380, a giant just too big to

sell in large numbers.

Only 15 carriers bought the A380 and, early

this year, Airbus suffered a fatal blow to its

order book of 79 when Emirates reduced its

commitment for 53 to just 14.

Emirates has been the mainstay of the

A380 production line and will finish with 123

in service, more than 100 more than the

next biggest customer, Singapore Airlines.

Tom Enders, Airbus’s then Chief Executive,

called the Emirates cancellation “painful for

us”, adding: “We have no substantial A380

backlog and hence no basis to sustain

production.”

News that production will end in 2021

came in February, just as the Boeing 747

celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was not

quite a Boeing victory, as only Lufthansa,

Korean Air and Air China have bought the

passenger version of the latest 747-8. What

will sustain the jumbo jet is as a freighter –

Boeing hedged its bets with the original

1960s design, which allows for a lift-able

nose, making it attractive to cargo airlines.

Passenger airlines have a variety of more

economical twin-engine wide bodies to

choose from, as Airbus’s Enders admits:

“What we’re seeing is the end of the large,

four-engine aircraft,” he says, adding that the

company was a decade late in developing

the superjumbo.

Boeing has not been without its setbacks,

with the tragedies that befell its 737 MAX

after crashes involving Ethiopian Airlines and

Indonesia’s Lion Air. Carriers operating the

MAX have looked at summer schedules and

decided they must plan ahead in case the all

clear is not given before the peak period.

American Airlines, which has 24 in service

among 100 on order, has reshuffled its fleet

and cancelled hundreds of flights until

August 19. The carrier’s Chief Executive Doug

Parker says it is “highly confident that the

MAX will be recertified before this time” but

has cancelled 115 flights a day – a big

number, but just 1.5% of its capacity.

In the UK, the MAX grounding has more

serious consequences for Norwegian Air,

whose 18 are used in part for budget

transatlantic flights. It is the latest challenge

for the carrier, which, in common with other

airlines, has already grappled with engine

reliability issues on its Boeing 787s.

Norwegian’s latest estimate is that the MAX

grounding will cost up to £44.7million. The

compensation claim will be a big one.

66 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Tel Aviv

is taking off

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Virgin Atlantic’s new route to Tel Aviv

is here

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startups — the White City is hot right now.

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architecture, to the stunning beaches. With the

buzz building, there’s no better place to

do business.

So stop reading, drop everything and get ready

for Tel Aviv.

Contact your TMC to book today.

Flights start September 2019.

*Flight times subject to change, please check at time of booking.


Air travel / Spend management

Onwards and

UPWARDS

The way corporates negotiate deals and manage air travel

spend is shifting. Gillian Upton takes a look at best practice

For years airline RFP negotiations

have gone in one direction,

rewarding volume on key routes.

It has shaped travel policies, putting

pressure on corporates to ensure

compliance to preferred carriers so that

targets are met and discounts secured.

But in a more dynamic air market, where

fares fluctuate and competitors undercut

each other, an RFP doesn’t necessarily

manage spend the best way. Overlay that

with all the changes in the distribution

landscape – by aggregators, GDSs, NDC and

ONE Order – and clearly there has to be a

better way.

“Many corporates are asking if the RFP

cycle and model continues to make sense in

the light of this evolving environment. They

are now looking at a dynamic pricing model

to best take advantage of maximising their

savings,” says Mark Cuschieri, Executive

Director Global Travel at UBS. For a large

player such as UBS to espouse such views

means that it’s time for a rethink.

A real sea-change could materialise by the

end of 2019, with airlines out of the driving

seat and buyers taking control. Olivier

Benoit, VP & Global Air Practice Leader at

consultant Advito, has tracked eight-year

cycles in the aviation industry and reckons

the current cycle is coming to an end.

The expectation of global economic

uncertainty in Europe and the slowdown in

the Chinese economy could lead to a lower

GDP growth and airline growth is correlated

to global GDP growth,” he says.

“Secondly, operational costs for the airline

are on the rise due to increased fuel costs so

they will need to increase their revenue and

put up ticket costs and that will negatively

impact demand, so there will be more scope

for corporates to negotiate.”

Corporates could achieve more bang for

their buck. The opportunities are greater on

competitive long-haul routes and results

68 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Spend management / Air travel

Many corporates

are asking if the

RFP cycle and model

continues to make sense

in this day and age”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

69


Air travel / Spend management

Rate auditing

software checks fares

after booking, until day of

departure, with algorithms

taking account of cancellation

charges. The savings can be

considerable”

depend on company culture, type of

travel policy and enforcement, size of spend

and the attitude towards traveller wellbeing.

The latter, combining traveller experience

and satisfaction, is increasingly a factor in

buying decisions and designing policy. “It’s a

growing recognition by HR people of the

stress and mental health caused by business

travel,” says Ian Davies, Head of Supplier

Management EMEA at SAP Concur.

Companies have to balance wellbeing

versus savings, explains Blue Cube’s Director

Kenny Stirling, using the example of London-

Hong Kong. ”Flying via Dubai means two

seven-hour flights and little chance to sleep

and the traveller won’t be in a good

condition when they arrive. Make the hop

into Europe first, say via Paris, and then you

get a 12-hour flight and a decent opportunity

to sleep,” he said.

Other savings strategies include rate

auditing, mixing classes, flying indirect,

negotiating route deals, exploiting corporate

loyalty programmes and incorporating

nudge messages in the online booking tool.

Route deals

Historically, route deals were based on

spend and volume on city pairs and

favoured large corporates spending anything

between £50,000 and £150,000 on a city pair

in return for a discount.

Juan Antonio Iglesias, Head of Account

Management at FCM, questions their benefit

today as not everybody needs the flexibility

it gives. “Ask whether you need that,” he

says. “If you’re a corporation spending close

to £1m on the

London-Frankfurt

city pair, for example,

buying 21 days out

instead of a route deal

could mean a huge saving.”

Furthermore, Advito’s

prediction might materialise as already,

airline thresholds for route deals are

shrinking, according to Chris Vince, Director

of Operations at Click Travel. “Airlines are

willing to put a deal in place on a smaller

spend now, particularly the Middle Eastern

carriers. Emirates, for example, used to want

a spend of £1million – but now they’ll do a

deal on £500,000.”

More commonplace is the blanket deal.

Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client

Partnerships at Business Travel Direct, says

some of the big carriers are offering these

rather than route deals, largely to SMEs.

“It means that the percentage discounts

are much smaller but the airlines are getting

more loyalty. Mid-size clients don’t have

huge volumes so blanket deals might work

for them,” she explains.

Lowest logical/best option on the day

might undercut all of the above and often

the TMCs' own negotiated fares are the best/

cheapest option. Today, route deals are

being used as a benchmark and the key

takeaway is to constantly monitor any deal.

“An agreement might be for a three-year

period but it needs tweaking throughout

that term as it may not be fit for purpose in

year two,” stresses Kerry Douglas, Head of

Corporate Sales at Virgin Atlantic.

Rate auditing

In such a dynamic market, rates must be

constantly checked and rate auditing

software checks fares after booking, until

day of departure, with algorithms taking

account of cancellation charges. The savings

can be anything between £20 and £1,000,

and more so on the inbound sector.

These tools play a critical part in corporate

programmes,” says UBS’ Cuschieri, “not only

in seeking potential savings but more

importantly as a form of validation across

stakeholders within your

business.”

Mixing classes and fares

Flying to the US on a day flight in

premium economy and back on a red

eye in business class can result in savings as

high as 30% – and happier travellers.

However, configuring an online booking

tool is difficult and some clients won’t

mandate an OBT for some long-haul flights.

Travellers have to use the TMCs’ offline team

to book instead. Moreover, these deals are

generally based on availability and you can’t

always find them.

Mixing fare types can also provide saving –

ie, buying a restricted outbound and flexible

inbound – but the reason for travel will

influence what fares you can use, explains

Sandy Moring, Director of Education, ITM.

Travel for attending training can be fixed

whereas for a client visit you might need

more flexibility,” she says.

70 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


BECAUSE GOOD CONNECTIONS

ALWAYS HELP

On the move worldwide with the Lufthansa Group airlines

FRANKFURT

BRUSSELS MUNICH

VIENNA

ZURICH

NORTH AMERICA

23 destinations in

2 countries

EUROPE

157 destinations in

44 countries

MIDDLE EAST

13 destinations in

10 countries

ASIA

24 destinations in

11 countries

CENTRAL AND

SOUTH AMERICA

12 destinations in

9 countries

AFRICA

41 destinations in

29 countries

The Lufthansa Group airlines are Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa,

SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. Via the Brussels,

Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich hubs, and with numerous

direct connections, they offer their passengers more than 11,000

flights a week to more than 270 business and holiday destinations

worldwide. Passengers therefore benefit from a large choice of

destinations and many combination options. The Lufthansa Group

airlines stand for high-quality products and services. With more

than 700 aircraft, they have one of the largest and, above all, most

modern fleets in the world.

2018/2019 winter timetable, as at: 09/2018, subject to changes.


Air travel / Spend management

Indirect flights

Indirect flights are all about the ROI. They

can work if the connecting times are not too

onerous; a maximum of a three-hour layover

is the threshold. They provide a win-win if

the traveller can upgrade to the comfort of

business class on a decent carrier instead of

flying premium economy, and the employer

accrues substantial savings.

Business Travel Direct’s Bailey has a client

who specifies Finnair via Helsinki on flights to

the Far East. “All the connections are in the

same terminal at Helsinki, and the gates are

close together so they’ve been clever. Some

50% of this client’s travellers are using this

route – they fly in business class indirect

rather than premium economy direct.”

Similarly, if clients are located halfway

between Birmingham and London, flights

from Heathrow shouldn’t be the default.

Using regional airports can bring benefits

beyond costs, in terms of time saved and

more than a nod to traveller wellbeing and

an improved travel experience.

Click Travel’s Vince highlights flying Aer

Lingus Birmingham-New York via Shannon

or Dublin in order to clear US immigration

there and arrive in the US as a domestic

passenger and walk straight out.

Low-cost carriers

Low-cost carriers often serve markets that

scheduled carriers do not and can improve

Indirect flights

provide a win-win if

the traveller can upgrade to

the comfort of business class

on a decent carrier instead

of flying premium economy,

and the employer accrues

substantial savings”

the traveller experience by utilising regional

airports, but savings in the air may not be

replicated on the ground if there are extra

transfer costs travelling to/from an out-oftown

airport at the destination.

Corporate loyalty schemes

Using corporate loyalty schemes such as

British Airways’ OnBusiness can bring cost

savings as the points can be banked and

used for free flights, raffle prizes, internal

trips or upgrades.

Click’s Vince sees them as a good

alternative to the route deal, “as it’s less

administration, and less hassle than

managing a route deal as clients still face

traveller opposition from a route deal”.

Booking horizons

Airlines want to sell their inventory as soon

as possible so the farther out you book, the

greater the savings.

But you have to influence traveller

behaviour in order to reap the benefits of

booking the optimum 21+ days out rather

than seven. This is where the booking tool

can come into its own, by uploading

messages and pre-trip approvals, for

example. A communications strategy can

support these tactics, with monthly tips and

reminders on the company intranet.

Blue Cube’s Stirling goes further by

combining multiple trips months out to

make substantial savings. “One client sends

me travel details every quarter so I combine

Athens in June, Santiago in October and

Brussels in November and take advantage of

really good fares, which can result in savings

of as much as 30-40%.”

Supply and demand affects booking

horizons too, explains FCM's Iglesias. “On

London-Jo’burg there are only three airlines

and six flights a day to choose from so you

need to book early to secure a seat, but if it’s

London-Germany there is more choice.”

Travel policy

With fewer and fewer organisations with

dedicated travel managers, the travel policy

must work harder. HR or Procurement don’t

have time to answer queries so 20-page

documents don’t cut it anymore – two pages

of simple guidance notes will help build

compliance. And the trend is for one policy

for all rather than tiered policies.

“For all customers it’s about addressing

the fundamentals and clear policies and

communicating those policies hasn’t

changed,” says Concur’s Davies.

Booking tools

Booking tools can load travel policies,

highlight preferred carriers and limit others,

support messages by routes, show

refundable fares and so on.

“One of the biggest advantages of using a

booking tool is the visual guilt element, and

the transparency it gives clients,” says

Concur’s Davies. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic’s

Douglas stresses the need to “continually

monitor your OBT settings and displays from

a traveller user experience to drive visibility.”

Taking advantage of all of the above rests

entirely on drilling down to data on travel

patterns and taking a more collaborative

and consultative approach in supplier

negotiations – maybe even a lead if Advito’s

prediction proves correct.

Some strategies will work for some and

not for others; in each case it’s a question

of trading off savings that the budget

holders demand against what the

stakeholders actually want.

72 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Air travel / Business class

Suite

SENSATIONS

Airlines are upping the ante in business class.

Gary Noakes examines the latest trends – including

BA’s long-awaited new offering

It began with the cradle seat, morphed

into the flat bed, but now the airline

industry's latest must-have business

class feature is sliding doors.

The enclosed or semi-enclosed cabin in

business class is what all top airline models

are sporting this season, with personal space

onboard becoming the key selling point for

the next few years.

The most eagerly awaited new cabin is of

course from British Airways. BA is dispensing

with its current bewildering Club World

layout in favour of a 1-2-1 format that

guarantees aisle access without having to

step over another passenger’s feet and,

unlike the current design, all seats face

forward. The new Club Suite product is fully

enclosed once the door is shut and has a

bigger 18.5-inch TV plus PC and USB power

points and high-speed wifi.

“It’s probably the largest decision I took

since coming in [to the airline],” said the

airline’s Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz at the

recent ITM Conference. “A lot of analysis had

been done but no decisions had been taken.

But we took it [the decision] very early on

because we know it takes a long time.”

He continued: “The seat that we have

announced is a very significant evolution,

but it’s not just about the seat. The seat is

the hardware... we have wifi, new bedding,

new food onboard, the lounges... I’m pretty

convinced that at the back end of next year

we will begin to be referred to as having the

best Club in the air.”

The full reveal of the 56-seat cabin takes

place when the first of BA’s Airbus A350s is

delivered from July. The aircraft will initially

operate between Heathrow and Madrid to

familiarise crews before commencing longhaul

routes from October 1.

The A350 has no first class, so will not

operate routes where this cabin is a big

selling point, but will initially serve “selected”

services to Toronto and then Dubai. This

autumn will see another three A350s join the

fleet and the first two Boeing 777s being

refitted with the new product.

The refit will be of interest to buyers, as the

Club Suites will presumably take up more

space than the existing Club World seats, and

fewer seats may mean higher prices. In

response, BA will only say that it “hasn’t yet

announced the seat config for the 777 refits”.

If travellers develop a liking for the enclosed

BA cabin, they won’t find it on flights run by

transatlantic partner American Airlines,

whose seat does not feature a door at all.

It’s the reverse picture with Virgin Atlantic

and Delta. The latter has gone full door, while

Virgin, which will also debut its new seat on

an A350 this summer, has opted for a partial

sliding door. A Virgin spokesperson says:

The feedback from customers was that they

wanted privacy but still wanted to interact

with each other and our crew.”


74 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Business class / Air travel

BRITISH AIRwAYS

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

75


Air travel / Business class

JetBlue is promising

a bigger business

cabin with a ‘reimagined,

transatlantic version of Mint’

on London services, so buyers

can expect a price war”

westjet

Time will tell which carrier has got it right

when Virgin’s A350 debuts on flights from

London Heathrow to JFK and Atlanta.

Virgin’s new design dispenses with its

traditional herringbone pattern; all Upper

Class suites will face towards the windows in

a 1-2-1 layout, while each seat will have two

USB ports, an adaptable plug socket and an

18.5-inch IFE screen.

Another difference passengers may notice

is that Virgin’s business cabin is also smaller

than BA’s on the A350, with 44 seats,

although there is a lounge for eight

passengers called The Loft. This space

replaces the bar area, which while attractive

to leisure passengers, can be a source of

unwanted noise for business travellers just

wanting to sleep. As well as being a social

area, the new Loft space will have a 32-inch

touchscreen monitor and eight Bluetooth

audio jacks, which may encourage keen

executives to treat team members to an

on-board presentation.

For reasons of space, the smaller Virgin

Boeing 787 fleet will have a different Upper

Class layout when they are refitted early in

the next decade. Similarly, BA’s new seat will

delta

not be fitted to its 747 fleet, as these aircraft

will all be retired by February 2024.

Mark Bevan, Business Travel Direct’s Head

of Strategic Relationships, rates BA’s new

seat as “really good, with a lot of privacy”.

He adds that corporates’ business class

policy is becoming harder to predict.

“We have customers who previously said

only over six hours that have brought it

down to four, but some have gone the other

way,” he says. “It depends on the client; we

have some high-end IT clients and they want

staff fresh when they arrive. Others don’t

expect travellers to work straight away.”

united

Alice Linley-Munro, Global Travel Analyst

at Oil Spill Response, adds: “If you’re in a

country over 15 days, it’s economy. Anything

over 10 hours is business, 6-10 hours is

premium if available.” There are “some

amazing deals”, she says, adding: “People are

travelling more and there’s so much choice.”

Choice will get bigger next year on two

transatlantic routes, when BA, Virgin and

others face a new challenge in the shape of

New York’s JetBlue, which brings its Mint

business cabin – some with sliding doors –

on to routes between London and both JFK

and Boston from summer 2021.

JetBlue will use the new LR (Long Range)

version of the single-aisle Airbus A321 to fly

transatlantic after employing similar aircraft

and the Mint cabin on transcontinental US

routes, which has really shaken up the

market. JetBlue promises a bigger business

cabin with “a reimagined, transatlantic

version of Mint” on London services, so

buyers can look forward to a price war.

Aer Lingus has also purchased the A321LR

and will use the first of 14 on the Dublin-

Hartford route from August 2. The Irish

carrier should receive four of the aircraft,

which will carry 16 fully flat business seats

(minus sliding doors), this year and its plan is

to eventually have half its passengers using

Dublin as a gateway to North America.

G

76 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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Air travel / Business class

The A321LRs will fly some key short-haul

routes connecting with the US services, so

some business class passengers will get the

benefit of the lie-flat seat on their connection

to and from Dublin as well.

Another carrier to watch is Qantas, which

this autumn unveils refurbished premium

cabins on its 12 Airbus A380s. Business

cabins on these aircraft will be refitted with

the same seats as on the airline’s Boeing

787s, offering direct aisle access for the first

time, plus a 16-inch HD screen.

The number of seats increases from 64 to

70 and the single lounge at the front of the

upper deck, which currently has bench-type

seating, will be replaced by two new areas

either side of the staircase. One has two

cafe-style tables with lounge seating and the

other a large video screen plus self-serve

minibar. With the closure of the A380

production line and the accelerating

disappearance of the B747 from our skies,

features like this will become the exception,

so the emphasis on personal seat space may

increase instead.

If 2019 is about more carriers bringing the

A350 into service and the demise of its

Flying direct doesn’t

necessarily mean the

most comfortable journey.

If flying via Europe gives a

business class flat-bed on a

new Dreamliner for a night

flight, it’s a no brainer”

bigger brother, next year will be about the

latest version of the Boeing 777, the 777X,

for which Lufthansa is the launch customer.

The aircraft is four inches wider than the

current 777 and Lufthansa’s sneak preview

suggests staggered semi-enclosed cabins

with a middle row that alternates between

two seats and a single – the latter offering

double the amount of elbowroom.

Before this, in October, Madrid’s Air Europa

unveils its new business class on three new

Boeing 787-9s it uses on an expanding

South America network. The cabin has 32

seats in a 1-2-1 layout with free wifi and

17-inch screens. Air Europa is one of several

emerging carriers challenging incumbents

with cheaper indirect flights, new aircraft and

a lie-flat business cabin.

The airline’s UK Director Colin Stewart says:

“Flying direct doesn’t necessarily mean the

most comfortable journey. You can’t fly

direct to some cities anyway and if flying via

Europe gives a business class flat-bed on a

new Dreamliner for a night flight, for a

similar price as an economy recliner seat,

it’s a no brainer.”

Stewart makes a broader point too; new

aircraft types, new cabins and more indirect

flight options are pushing rates down, as

buyers are noticing. “It’s competitive,” says

Tom Stone of Nina & Pinta Group. “There is

still a surplus of seats on certain routes –

you’re looking at a price point considerably

less than five or six years ago.”

With more and better product to choose

from and with an ever-increasing range of

route options available, it’s currently a

buyer’s (and a flyer’s) market.

[ The investors ]

Canada’s Westjet has unveiled its first

business class cabin on new Boeing 787-9s.

The first of these aircraft began flying to

Calgary from Gatwick in April, with 16 lie-flat

pod seats, 18-inch TVs and dine-on-demand.

Cathay Pacific now offers ‘restaurant-style’

dining on all UK flights. A la carte business

class dining includes a choice of three

appetisers, six mains and three desserts or

cheese. An express option is also available.

Singapore Airlines continues preparations for

its rebranding of regional subsidiary SilkAir,

with flat beds being fitted to single aisle

aircraft complete with seatback TVs.

Air China now operates a new Airbus A350

on Heathrow-Beijing services. The business

cabin of 32 flat bed seats is in a reverse

herringbone layout.

All 10 of Emirates’ Boeing 777LRs have

been refitted with new business cabins.

The 2-2-2 layout means the third seat in the

middle row has been removed. Seats are also

two inches wider.

United Airlines will operate its first Boeing

767-300 with refitted Polaris business cabins

to the UK by the end of 2019. The aircraft will

operate from Heathrow to Newark.

Air France will operate its first Airbus A350s

fitted with new business class seats from

September. The design is similar to United’s

new Polaris class.

virgin atlantic qantas aer lingus

78 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Behind the scenes / Air travel

[ product innovation ]

Lofty ideals

Virgin Atlantic has reinvented its business cabin with a glamorous new loft space.

Julie Baxter went behind the scenes at Gatwick Airport for a sneak preview

Virgin Atlantic has taken the wraps

off its long-awaited Airbus A350-

1000 aircraft, which includes an

entirely new Upper Class cabin with brand

new ‘suites’ and social space. Flying from

summer 2019, the goal is to raise the bar

and embed innovation.

In anticipation of the launch, the airline

hosted travel industry partners and media at

The Hub, its Gatwick training base, where a

mock-up of the new cabins and key features

were installed for crew training.

As with all Virgin-related unveilings, there

was no shortage of pizzazz – red carpets,

Champagne, plus a host of smiley crew and

airline top brass are all obligatory.

Star of the show was the new onboard

social space, The Loft. Virgin was the first

airline to introduce an onboard bar and this

takes that idea to the next level as a place for

customers to gather, drink or dine.

Guests got to see how The Loft takes the

Clubhouse lounge experience to the skies.

The space includes six belted seats (for use

during turbulence) and a communal 32-inch

screen so passengers can watch a movie

using Bluetooth headphones.

There was also the opportunity to put the

new Upper Class ‘suites’ through their paces

too. Nobody could resist the chance to deploy

the privacy screens, check out the 44-inch

pitch and stretch out on the fully flat bed.

All seats have direct aisle access and convert

from upright to a bed with the touch of a

button – a marked difference from the

current offering that requires crew assistance.

Each space benefits from mood lighting too,

with the six settings said to help passengers

prevent jetlag.

Daniel Kerzner, Vice President of Customer

Experience at the airline, explained: “The

investment in the A350 gave us the chance to

challenge everything we know, and build

something to fall in love with – the dreamiest

aircraft possible. It has been designed with

love and built for the future.”

Elsewhere, guests had the chance to meet

the team obsessing over every element.

They’ve worked with fashion houses for new

heritage fabrics and taken inspiration from

top-end handbags and cars. Mock-ups for the

premium and economy cabins showed off

creative stitching and leather work.

The Hub also housed an example of the

new door for crew to train on, presenting

them with multiple scenarios for opening

through the use of VR. It will also host crew

refresher courses and CAA testing.

Virgin Atlantic will have 12 Airbus A350-

1000 by 2021 worth an estimated $4.4billion.

We want to provoke

emotion in our

passengers, effect how

they feel about travelling

and to create something

unmistakeably Virgin”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

79


Air travel / Distribution

Airlines and TMCs

have not really shown

what additional value NDC

will bring to corporates and

that question mark is still very

much out there”

80 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Distribution / Air travel

CHANNEL

hopping

New Distribution Capability is changing the way airlines

present and sell their various product offerings, but NDC

is a slow burn, writes Linda Fox

While some travel industry

commentators tipped 2019 as

the year that NDC would finally

take off, the progress we are seeing –

and there is much of it – is currently

taking place behind the scenes.

In recent weeks, for example, Sabre

announced the release of its first lot of NDC

APIs with United Airlines as the launch

carrier. The development provides the

capability for Sabre’s Beyond NDC agency

partners to make NDC bookings.

The global distribution company then uses

its advanced shopping API to integrate other

air content including low-cost carriers so

that agents continue to access the full range.

The GDS is planning further developments

in 2019 including integration of NDC content

in its Sabre Red 360 agent desktop system.

Qantas has also announced its own NDCbased

developments with a plan to introduce

an agency booking channel from August.

It says the channel will provide access to

“the widest range of fares, products and

information” as well as content not available

in current indirect channels.

The airline has said that agents not

registering for the service could incur a

channel fee and its top agency partners

are already on board, including Flight

Centre and Expedia.

In a statement, Qantas Chief Customer

Officer Vanessa Hudson says that the

carrier has watched on while other airlines

have adopted new distribution models and

that Qantas believes “collaboration will

deliver the best outcomes.”

Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport are

partnering with Qantas to open up the

channel to agents globally.

A further recent announcement came

from Amadeus who is partnering with

FCM Travel Solutions and Flight Centre

to test the distribution company’s NDCenabled

user interface.

Amadeus describes the development

as “an important milestone” in its NDC-X

program with FCM and Flight Centre to

begin making NDC bookings via the UI

within the Amadeus selling platform.

These are small steps and there will be

many over the course of this year and well

into 2020 as airlines, travel management

companies and technology partners move

towards a modern retailing system that

aims to work for everyone.

The developments are also a clear sign of

the sort of collaboration now taking place in

the industry, something which was not so

apparent just a few months ago.

Marcus Eklund, Global Managing Director

of FCM Travel Solutions, says NDC content

will become more of a reality in 2019.

The TMC is clearly taking NDC seriously

having established a team at the beginning

of 2019 to help drive adoption of the

technology standard. Eklund sees the

Amadeus user interface as a positive first

step towards how consultants will “book in

an efficient way and how we are going to

service those bookings.”

The servicing element is critical for the

travel management community as right

now, while NDC bookings can be made via

various airline channels, making changes is

a big challenge and, for the majority,

requires picking up the phone to the airline.

While these elements are being developed

in the background, the message being

presented to corporate buyers and

travellers can still be quite confusing.

Eklund believes the industry has not

helped itself in this regard. “The main thing

is what does it actually mean for me as a

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THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

81


Air travel / Distribution

NDC still has a long

way to go. Airlines

have underestimated the

amount of work involved in

developing the technology

and there's a lot of pointscoring

going on”

corporate traveller and corporate

purchaser. Airlines and TMCs have not

really shown what additional value NDC

will bring to the corporates and that

question mark is still out there.”

He adds that FCM has plans to beginning

showing off some of the tangible benefits

and demonstrate the value of NDC over the

coming summer.

Eklund says the confusion for corporates

is fuelled with some airlines exploring

different pricing points and releasing lower

fares in the name of NDC which are more of

a revenue management play.

His comments around collaboration and

remaining confusion are echoed by Stephen

Brook, Manager, Distribution Strategy,

EMEA for American Express GBT. He says

that while the industry has already gone

through a step change, it is not seeing the

end products of NDC yet.

The situation is encouraging and the

discussions are around how this works for

the client. It has gone towards a collaborative

environment. There is definitely hype that

NDC is ready now if only agencies and the

GDSs switched it on,” says Brook.

Fred Stratford, CEO of Reed & Mackay,

believes there's an element of “NDC fatigue”

at the moment, and that 2020 could be the

breakthrough year.

“NDC still has a long way to go,” he says.

“Airlines have underestimated the amount

of work involved in developing the technology

and there seems to be a lot of

point-scoring going on.”

He continues: “As a TMC, we don't want to

be building hundreds of airline connections

– that would just make us another GDS. The

most important thing is making sure we still

have all the content available.”

GBT's Brook also expects to see more

significant steps in 2020. “It’s going to be an

exciting 12 to

18 months when

I think we will

start to see NDC

as offering

something different to

what exists today.”

It’s easy to get lost in

the NDC developments

not only for

the partnership

announcements but also talk

of further levels coming out.

NDC Level 4 around full

offer and order management

for airlines has been introduced

and aims to address the

servicing issues for the intermediary

channel when changes are required.

And there’s also talk of NDC@Scale which

is a set of criteria for airlines, aggregators

and sellers to demonstrate that they have

the minimum capabilities in place to get

towards volumes of NDC bookings.

As the dots begin to be joined up for the

industry, attention will gradually turn

towards One Order. This will act as a

complement to NDC and combine the

information from Passenger Name Records,

etickets and Electronic Messaging

Documents into a single electronic record.

The hope is that it will simplify processes,

increase efficiency, reduce cost and

improve the passenger experience

especially around changes and disruption.

FCM's Eklund says: “A lot of TMCs have

actually worked with almost a One Order

concept for quite some time. We have our

own super PNR with non-GDS content,

hotels and we add other content.”

Eklund also says there will be no rush

towards One Order because the spotlight,

for now, remains firmly on sorting out NDC.

[ NDC EXPLAINED ]

An IATA initiative, NDC is designed to help

airlines better display their various product

offerings and set themselves apart from the

competition, but is intrinsically linked to the

fact airlines were unhappy with fees that GDSs

charge to distribute their content. From a TMC

point of view, GDSs do a perfectly good job of

gathering content together but now both

parties are investing in new technology to

incorporate direct connections from airlines.

Buyers rightly want assurances that they will

still be getting choice and the best price from

their travel management company.

82 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Six of the best / Air travel

Six of the best...

Premium economy cabins

1

Singapore Airlines

As you would expect from one

of the world’s top-rated airlines,

Singapore’s premium economy

makes a reliably-good flying

experience even better. The 2-4-2

seating allows for more personal

space, while enhanced meals

include the option to preorder

chef-designed dishes.

2

3

Delta Air lines

Delta’s Premium Select seats,

with 38-inch pitch and 19-inch

width, are standard for premium

economy, but extras include Tumi

amenity kits, noise-cancelling

LSTN headphones and Westin

Heavenly blankets and pillows.

Cathay Pacific

It’s all about ergonomics in

Cathay’s premium economy

cabin. Seats are 20-inches wide

with a generous pitch of 40

inches, and each has a six-way

adjustable headrest and

extendable padded leg rests.

4

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s Premium cabin

covers all the bases. Enhanced

21-inch-wide leather seats have

adjustable foot and headrests;

there’s an upgraded meal service

on proper dinnerware; and a

Wander Wall social space at the

front of the cabin offers selfservice

drinks, treats and snacks.

6

Qantas Airways

Qantas has upgraded its premium

economy cabin for extra comfort,

with a 2-3-2 layout making for

easier aisle access, 10% wider

seats and more legroom. Leg

rests offer more support and HD

seat-back screens are 25% larger

than previously. Like Virgin, it has

also added a self-service bar.

5

American Airlines

The airline is among the latest to

introduce a premium economy

cabin and the product has been

well received. As well as more

space and speedier security and

boarding, amenity kits, plush

pillows and blankets, and inflight

meals crafted by celebrity chefs

all enhance the experience.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

83


Air travel / Consolidation

Going to

GROUND

Despite a relatively healthy outlook for aviation,

several airlines have grounded their services – or

been bailed out – of late. Gary Noakes finds out why


84 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Consolidation / Air travel

Hardly a month has passed since

last autumn without headlines

proclaiming an airline’s collapse

or financial peril.

The list is long; budget transatlantic

carrier Primera Air failed in October,

with Norwegian appealing for funds in

December; then Flybe’s rescue in January

was followed by flybmi’s collapse in

February. Shortly afterwards came Wow

Air’s demise in March, while April saw Jet

Airways ground its fleet.

It’s not a good picture, yet broadly

speaking most other carriers in the UK,

Europe and US are profitable. So are these

examples part of a trend, or do they run

against the grain?

In Primera’s case, ambition was thwarted

by bad luck. A wildcard attempt by a

Latvian/Danish charter brand to launch

transatlantic flights with long-range singleaisle

aircraft ended in defeat after Airbus

failed to deliver in time, forcing Primera to

lease in replacements. Primera said this had

meant “additional costs of over €20million”.

Flybe has different issues and its rescue

by Connect Airways, the consortium

comprising Virgin, Stobart Group and Cyrus

Capital will see £80million pumped in and a

rebrand under the Virgin banner.

Its new owners have already set about

removing expensive jets from the fleet, but

must cope with other factors dogging Flybe.

Its predominantly UK network means Air

Passenger Duty is disproportionately levied

on it, while revenue its mostly in sterling but

expenditure mainly in dollars and euros.

Moreover, Ryanair and others are adept at

putting larger aircraft than Flybe operates

on its more successful routes.

Once Flybe begins acting as a feeder for

Virgin and its majority shareholder Delta,

its fortunes may revive. If not, Virgin has

acquired more Heathrow slots via the

£2.8million deal for an absolute song.

Flybmi was another niche UK airline, but

those niches, including intra-European

routes such as Munich to Saarbrucken, were

even smaller than Flybe’s and when Brexit

threatened those flying rights, it became

unable to expand within the EU, relying on

the crowded UK regional market. This

meant it faced the same issues as Flybe and

coupled with expensive 37-seat and 49-seat

jets (average load just 18 passengers), its

demise was sealed.

None of these collapses display the classic

airline cause of death, wildly optimistic overexpansion...

but then came Iceland’s Wow

Air. It planned to make Reykjavik a budget

flight hub between the US, Europe and Asia,

but leasing a wide-body fleet and launching

routes like Reykjavik-Delhi was a step too

far and, sensibly, two potential investors

pulled out of deals to take it over.

Samuel Engel, Head of Aviation at global

consultancy ICF, is sceptical of what he

labels “the long-haul low-cost experiment”.

There’s a step-change in risk and

complexity from short-haul to a wide-body

operation,” he says. “Wow was exposed to

the North Atlantic market, which is one of

the most seasonal in the world. Traffic

halves in winter, so to be successful in this

market you have to shift capacity, have

corporate contracts and offer ‘beyond’ and

‘behind’ connections.

“A long-haul airline with a handful of

aircraft and no network connections or

corporate travellers is going to struggle.

Norwegian could be in a different category,

but Wow and Primera were setting

themselves up a steep hill,” he says.

Like Lufthansa’s boss Carsten Spohr,

Engel is unsurprised about the rash of

failures in the UK and Europe. “If you

compare the number of carrier hubs in

Europe versus the United States, there are

probably twice as many in Europe per

population, so there is still more

consolidation yet to happen.”

However, Engel rejects the idea that Wow

and Primera will deter new entrants, with

aircraft readily available. “Right now, 6% of

the A330 fleet is on the ground (including

Jet Airways). That’s 90 aircraft. There are a

couple of factors that make people continue

to start airlines: there is unlimited capital to

lease aircraft and a massive leasing market.

There is also a trend now for lessors to

make speculative orders without a home for

them, based on the assumption that they

A long-haul airline

with a handful of

aircraft and no network

connections or corporate

travellers is going to struggle”

will be able to find airlines that will take

these planes,” he explains.

So despite the recent collapses, expect

some new, perhaps equally short-lived

attempts at breaking the big carriers’ grip.

Engel concedes there is “room to challenge”

the price points that airline alliances have

established, particularly across the Atlantic,

and expects JetBlue, with its ready base of

corporate traffic in New York and Boston

and numerous connections from these

airports, to make an impact on the

corporate market next year.

Thanks to those willing to risk their shirt,

it all means more choice and (hopefully)

lower fares for corporates and consumers.

As Engel puts it, there is a clear winner:

“From a consumer perspective, these are

the glory days of aviation.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

85


Air travel / Data

price

WATCH £££££

Wondering how your airfares compare to industry averages?

Prime Numbers reveals the average cost on the top ten routes

from the UK to Europe and the United States

65 %

(DATA SUPPLIED BY PRIME NUMBERS WHICH CAPTURED $5.4BILLION IN TRAVEL SPEND AROUND THE WORLD IN 2018)

OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE PREFER

WINDOW SEATS TO AISLE SEATS

TOP 10 ROUTES EUROPE

CITY PAIR COST / TICKET AVG ECONOMY TICKET AVG BUSINESS TICKET

LHR-Dusseldorf £207.77 £202.64 £378.24

LHR-Amsterdam £289.52 £272.77 £646.87

LHR-Dublin £213.03 £198.41 £523.80

LHR-Munich £299.27 £274.47 £623.07

LHR-Barcelona £324.73 £298.07 £763.19

LHR-Lisbon £303.47 £279.37 £648.64

LHR-Paris Charles de Gaulle £293.33 £271.50 £474.75

LHR-Berlin Tegel £302.15 £281.10 £679.08

LHR-Frankfurt £299.53 £252.10 £682.15

LHR-Zurich £288.83 £253.59 £599.72

BASED ON THE NUMBER OF

JOURNEYS BOOKED PER ROUTE

BASED ON THE NUMBER OF

JOURNEYS BOOKED PER ROUTE

TOP 10 ROUTES USA

CITY PAIR COST / TICKET AVG ECONOMY TICKET AVG BUSINESS TICKET

LHR-New York JFK £3,132.81 £1,251.27 £3,764.23

LHR-Boston £2,673.83 £1,220.62 £3,267.35

LHR-San Francisco £4,181.83 £1,219.91 £6,640.00

LHR-Los Angeles £3,964.02 £1,383.38 £5,109.25

LHR-Chicago O’Hare £2,636.17 £1,044.37 £5,380.46

LHR-New York Newark £3,038.69 £1,063.94 £4,107.25

LHR-Washington Dulles £2,356.24 £1,393.36 £4,291.86

LHR-Miami £3,361.45 £1,161.25 £4,569.64

LHR-Seattle Tacoma £2,738.97 £1,332.26 £4,895.60

LHR-Las Vegas £3,319.39 £1,472.98 £6,022.71

68 %

OF BUSINESS

TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE

PREFER TO TRAVEL

INTERNATIONALLY THAN

DOMESTICALLY

(SOURCE: CWT)

52 %

OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN

EUROPE WOULD PREFER TO

MISS THEIR FLIGHT RATHER

THAN LOSE THEIR LUGGAGE

84%

OF UK BUSINESS TRAVELLERS BELIEVE SHARING

THEIR TRAVEL PREFERENCES WITH AGENCIES,

BOOKERS OR APPS MAKES THEIR LIFE EASIER

WHEN TRAVELLING

86 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

On the road with Guy Ivesha

The founder and CEO of workspace provider Maslow’s,

Guy Ivesha, shares his travel habits and preferences

good & bad

Best business travel experience:

Early morning jog in Yoyogi Park in

Tokyo or Central park in New York.

I really love the morning hours

wherever I am.

Worst business travel experience:

Being stuck in morning traffic in Los

Angeles. This is one negative aspect

about LA – you can't avoid the traffic.

DETAILS

Name: Guy Ivesha

Position: Founder & CEO, Maslow’s

Nature of your business: We own

and operate a hospitality-led private

workspace and wellbeing destination.

Our emphasis is on cultivating

creative community, harmonising

everyday life and satisfying both the

personal and the professional needs

of inspiring and ambitious individuals.

Based in: London

Business trips per year: 15

Estimated annual mileage: 45,000

Regular destinations: New York,

Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam,

Barcelona, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Milan.

Most recent trip: Tokyo

Next trip: Los Angeles.

The lifestyle there is

incredible. More and

more people are leaving

the East Coast for the West.

SUPPLIERS

Preferred hotel: The Norman Hotel

in Tel Aviv. Irreplaceable location,

beautiful design and architecture

and great service.

Loyalty points – obsessive

collector or not bothered? I like to

know that I’m collecting airmiles or

points, but I will not go out of my

way to do so.

Favourite loyalty scheme: I choose

a supplier based on convenience,

comfort, service and value for

money for every trip I take.

STEPPING ONBOARD

Flights: work, rest or play? Rest.

It’s the only time I can truly switch

off between family and work.

ALWAYS PACK Onboard connectivity – take

A CAMERA it or leave it? Leave it. I know

more and more airlines are

adding wifi on planes but it’s the

only place I feel less connectivity is

better. You are forced to switch off

and that’s a good thing these days.

Onboard habits: Catching up on

reading and movies. I also enjoy

chatting to people I’m seated next to.

DESTINATIONS

Happy never to go back to:

I honestly cannot think of a single

place I have been to that I wouldn’t

want to go back to. I always try to

see the good in places and understand

and respect the culture and

people who welcome me.

Send me back to: Tokyo. This city

never ceases to amaze me. The

food, culture, aesthetic and sheer

size of it is mind-blowing. I love the

courtesy of the Japanese. They will

always go out of their way to assist

without wanting anything in return

other than your satisfaction.

Top overseas landmark:

The Iguazu Falls.

Experiencing the falls firsthand

is extremely powerful.

It is almost surreal – it’s a

remarkable feeling and sight.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

One thing that would improve

business travel: Hotel check-in

time. Should be much quicker and

seamless with today’s technology.

Biggest business travel irritation:

Security at the airport and

DON'T MISS

THE IGUAZU

FALLS

SEND ME BACK

TO TOKYO!

aeroplane food. Although I must

confess the latter is much better

these days.

Pack light or go prepared? Super

light. There is nothing I hate more

than waiting for luggage after a long

journey. I want to get out of the

airport as soon as possible.

Never leave home without:

A DSLR camera and high-quality

headphones. I love listening to

podcasts. My favourite being The

Daily by the NY Times. I also

enjoy listing to music when I

run or walk. Photography has

also becoming a real passion.

TRAVEL POLICY

Stick to the travel policy or a bit

of a maverick? Stick to policy. I

guess I need to set an example.

If you could change one thing

about your travel policy... It’s

there for a reason but generally I

like to avoid early morning flights

if possible or red eyes.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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DEPARTURES

New kid on

the block

hard rock hotel London

THE LOWDOWN The famous brand

returns to the birthplace of its first

rock-themed café for the opening

of its first ever London hotel. The

mammoth 900-room property

(formerly The Cumberland)

perches on the corner of Park Lane

and Oxford Street, putting guests

right in the heart of the city.

Musical memorabilia and original

artwork decorates the hotel from top

to bottom and guests have access to

unique brand amenities such as a

curated in-room playlist, The Sound

of Your Stay, and the Rock Om

in-room yoga program. The hotel

also houses a Hard Rock Café,

alongside two lively bars.

that's a FACT Musical greats

including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone,

Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana

Ross and Madonna have all stayed

here in decades past.

they said it "We are delighted

to open a new hotel in London, the

brand’s spiritual birthplace. In true

Hard Rock style, the property offers

stylish and contemporary design,

incredible in-room amenities,

fantastic food and unparalleled

service, with the thread that unites

them all – music."

RATES Superior single

rooms designed with business

travellers in mind cost from £296;

Deluxe Queen rooms from £306.

88 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com 88


DEPARTURES

Meeting in Nottingham

Nottingham grew out of

the lacemaking and

coal-mining industries

but these days is better

known as a tourist

destination, largely due

to its links with the

legendary Robin Hood

and proximity to the

Peak District National

Park. The city is home to

a number of large

companies, including

Boots UK, Sports Direct

and Experian.

Wow factor

Nottingham Conference

Centre

The Centre opened in 2010

following a refurbishment of

two Grade II-listed Victorian

buildings. It can host up to 500

in a variety of flexible event

spaces including the Old

Chemistry Theatre with its glass

vaulted ceiling, the Old Library

and the large Central Gallery.

In-house catering and event

management are available.

Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU

0115 848 8000 /

nottinghamconferencecentre.co.uk

centre of

excellence

Quirky venue

The National Justice

Museum

Situated in the Lace Market, the

museum has a choice of rooms

for hire, ranging from the

grand Shire Hall, which houses

the crime and punishment

displays, the split-level

Magistrates’ Suite, and the

ornate Victorian Courthouse for

up to 120 theatre style. Tours

and costumed performers can

be organised for groups.

High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN

0115 993 9822 /

nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk

On a shoestring

Cellar 9 at Baresca

This atmospheric cellar bar

sits underneath the popular

Baresca tapas restaurant and

makes an intimate space for

private parties and networking

drinks. With a capacity of up to

100, the venue has a PA system,

overhead projector and screen

available and the bar has

excellent acoustics, making it

ideal for live music. The kitchen

team at Baresca will tailor

menus according to taste.

9 Byard Lane, Nottingham NG1 2GJ

0115 948 3900 / barescatapas.co.uk

Small but perfectly formed

Wired up

Out of town

Getting there

Centrally located,

Nottingham offers excellent

road, rail and air links. Trains

from London St Pancras to

Nottingham take just over 90

minutes, and the city is easily

accessible from the M1. East

Midlands Airport is 13 miles

away with connections to

Europe and the US.

Further information

Contact Meet in

Nottingham for advice on

organising a conference or

event. Meet in Nottingham has

up to date information on

venues and accommodation

available. Call 0115 962 8320

or email conferences@

visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk

Harts Hotel

This independent boutique

hotel is built by the ramparts of

Nottingham’s medieval castle

and boasts an upscale awardwinning

restaurant. Its private

dining room can cater for up to

14, or larger groups can opt for

Harts Upstairs, a dedicated

event space for up to 100. The

hotel has 32 smart bedrooms,

private parking and a garden.

Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham

NG1 6GN

0115 988 1900 /

hartsnottingham.co.uk

mixing

old and new

Crowne Plaza

Nottingham

The 210 bedroom hotel

has a total of 17 meeting

rooms, including its Royal

Suite banqueting room

which can accommodate

400. Delegates can use the

business centre and an

in-house technician is available

to assist with AV and

production. There are two

restaurants, a bar, leisure club

and spa, and ample car parking.

Wollaton Street, Nottingham NG1 5RH

0871 942 9161 / crowneplaza.com

spoilt for

choice

Nottingham Racecourse

Set in 280 acres of Colwick Park

two miles from the city

centre, the racecourse

offers six flexible event

spaces with the largest for

up to 150 delegates. A

further 12 syndicate rooms

can be set up in various

configurations. Outdoor

teambuilding packages and

events can be arranged in the

parkland. DDR starts at £19.99.

Colwick Park, Nottingham NG2 4BE

0115 958 0620 /

jockeyclubvenues.co.uk

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR NINE TO FIVE

AND AFTER HOURS, TOO.

When work takes you on the road, we take care of you.

All of the amenities you love, right in the heart of Back Bay.

loewshotels.com/boston

Untitled-1 1 10/05/2019 17:09


DEPARTURES

On business in... Boston

Awash with colonial

history, America's oldest

city is most famous for its

revolutionary Tea Party.

But it's still breaking the

mould today as a

sophisticated business

centre, and Harvard

University makes it an

intellectual hub for the

entire country, writes

Sasha Wood

Boston is

a rich mix of

old and new

House, so it comes as little surprise

that the city is renowned for its

succulent seafood. Cod, lobster and

seafood chowder is at its best down

by the harbour in the Seaport

District. Head to the North End for

pasta and Chinatown for Asian.

ride or taxi. The subway, known as

the T, offers simple connections into

the city. There’s also a free Silver Line

bus from the airport to South train

station in downtown Boston.

Must-See Sights

Getting there

Joint venture partners

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air

Lines operate daily flights from

London Heathrow to Boston,

as does British Airways.

Norwegian flies daily between

Boston and Gatwick, while

Virgin/Delta will commence

Gatwick-Boston flights in 2020.

US carrier JetBlue has also

announced plans to connect

London and Boston from 2021.

Further information

For more details on planning a

trip to Boston visit:

bostonusa.com

SLEEPING

This smart bay-side city has no

shortage of appealing hotels. Housed

in a historic building in the Back Bay

neighbourhood, Loews Boston Hotel

is a well-located luxury option. Designled

and affordable, the new CitizenM

Boston North Station offers business

travellers modern accommodation

infused with local charm a baseball’s

throw from the TD Garden Stadium.

EATING

Cod is the official symbol of

Massachusetts, with Cape Cod just to

the south and the Sacred Codfish

hanging in Massachusetts’ State

Try

After hours

For a host of bustling bars head off Freedom Trail from Boston Common

to Faneuil Hall – try the Green

to hit the main sites, including the

Dragon Tavern for live music or the Revolutionary War battleground.

Vanderbilt Kitchen and Bar for craft Once described as the Athens of

cocktails. As well as live

America, the city is awash with the

performances, the Theater District is arts, while Harvard University – a hop

home to lots of lively clubs for

across the Charles River –

those who want to stay out

qualifies the city as America's

don't miss

late. For something a bit

the sacred

intellectual hub.

different, visit the Skywalk codfish!

Observatory to take in the

city’s pretty skyline by night.

Getting Downtown

Boston’s Logan International Airport

occupies a fragment of land encircled

by the bay and close to the city centre,

which can be reached via a quick train

Boston’s smart cobblestone streets

are rich in history. Follow the 2.5-mile

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91


DEPARTURES

Focus on... South East Asia

A vibrant economic hub,

South East Asia’s highly

trade-engaged

economies include

Singapore and Indonesia,

offering the UK ample

opportunities for

economic expansion as

Britain eyes post-Brexit

trade deals, writes

Sasha Wood

Driving trade with South East Asia is

a clear priority for the UK, especially

post-Brexit. The UK government has

been busy strengthening relations

with the diverse region, which

includes modern metropolises such

as Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur

and Bangkok, as well as emerging

economies in Vietnam and to a

lesser-extent the Philippines.

These countries rank as the third

largest Asian investor in Britain,

contribute more to global growth

than any other region, and are set to

become the world’s fourth largest

economy by 2030.

A diverse region of the world with

a young population, at the heart of

global trade routes and with

promising prospects for the future,

South East Asia is ripe for UK

investment and new trade. In 2017,

no less than 15 UK government

ministers visited one or more

South East Asian nations in a bid to

curry economic favour.

Among the visitors was former UK

Minister for International Trade,

Greg Hands, who attended last

year’s South East Asian leaders trade

summit in Singapore in an attempt

to bolster trade ties with the region,

which is now home to four of the

world's fastest-growing economies,

including Singapore, Indonesia,

Thailand and Malaysia.

In fact, the UK already has a firm

foothold in South East Asia.

Economic Development Board

statistics show that more than 4,000

British companies have a presence

in Singapore alone, including global

giants Rolls Royce, Standard

Chartered, HSBC, Barclays, GSK,

Dyson, Shell and BP.

A more recent meeting between

UK Minister of State for Asia and the

Pacific, Mark Field, and the

Time zones:

GMT +7hrs in Thailand,

Vietnam and western Indonesia

including Jakarta; GMT +8hrs

in Malaysia, Singapore, the

Philippines, and eastern

Indonesia including Bali.

Currency:

Indonesian Rupiah: £1 = IDR18,496

Malaysian Ringgit: £1 = MYR5.32

Thai Baht: £1 = THB40.50

Vietnamese Dong: £1 = VND29,828

Philippine Peso: £1 = PHP67.19

Singapore Dollar: £1 = SGD1.75

Visas: UK passport holders do not

need a visa for short visits to

Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore,

Indonesia, the Philippines and

Malaysia. Passports must be valid

for at least six months upon entry.

Dialling codes:

Thailand: +66

The Philippines: +63

Indonesia: +62

Singapore: +65

Malaysia: +60

Vietnam: +84

92 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

Association of South East Asian

Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General,

Dato Lim Jock Hoi, reaffirmed the

UK’s strong commitment to forging a

stronger partnership with ASEAN as

a bloc, building on the foundations

of the already strong bilateral

relationships across South East Asia.

Britain traded £32billion worth of

goods with South East Asia in 2016,

and according to Mark Field: “UK

investment in South East Asia

exceeds UK investment in China and

India combined, and the region is a

growing and important source of

investment into the UK.

“UK exports to South East Asia

rose 19% in 2017 alone,” he adds.

Britain is also considering a

bilateral free trade agreement

with Singapore given the trading

relationship and shared history

between the two countries, and has

also entered into trade discussions

to expand trade with Malaysia.

A free trade agreement between

the UK and the Association of South

East Asian Nations is also said to be

in the offing.

This would present UK businesses

with strong prospects in the region –

from basic to hi-tech industry and

services. FinTech, green finance,

developing smart cities, cyber

security, education and increased

defence co-operation are among the

likely areas of focus and opportunity

for future business cooperation

between the UK and ASEAN.

Meanwhile, growing economies

such as Vietnam and Indonesia

already make use of the UK’s

expertise in manufacturing and

infrastructure development.

The UK has also launched two

new UK programmes supporting

ASEAN priorities for economic

reform and low carbon energy,

and engaging the UK private sector

in its interests in South East Asia.

According to the Asian Development

Outlook 2019, growth in South

East Asian economies remains

steady, providing stable conditions

for future co-operation on trade.

“Strong consumption, spurred by

rising incomes, stable inflation, and

robust remittances is underpinning

growth in Indonesia, Malaysia, the

Philippines, Singapore and Thailand,

as is foreign investment in Cambodia

and Vietnam,” says the report. UK

businesses – and government –

should strike while the iron is hot.

YEO KHEE

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

93


DEPARTURES

Factfile: South East Asia

FLIGHTS

BRITISH AIRWAYS: Has daily

flights between London

Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur;

flies twice-daily from Heathrow

to Singapore; and daily from

Heathrow to Bangkok.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES:

Has twice-daily direct

flights between London

Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur.

THAI AIRWAYS: Flies twice

daily between Heathrow

and Bangkok.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Flies

four times daily between

Heathrow and Singapore and

five times a week from

Manchester.

GARUDA INDONESIA: Flies

direct between London

Heathrow and Bali three times

a week, stopping in Jakarta on

the return leg. It also operates

flights between Heathrow and

Jakarta via Amsterdam six

times per week.

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Flies

five times a week between

London Heathrow and Manila.

VIETNAM AIRLINES: Flies

between London Heathrow and

Hanoi four times a week, and

does a round-trip between

London Heathrow and Ho Chi

Minh City three times a week.

QANTAS: Flies direct from

Heathrow to Singapore and

then on to Sydney.

EVA AIR: Operates a daily route

between London Heathrow and

Bangkok, and on to Taipei.

Hot-foot

it to

old HANOI

sleeping

MELIA HOTELS: Has a strong

presence in South East Asia

with around 20 hotels across

Vietnam, Malaysia, the

Philippines and Thailand,

including 9 properties

in Indonesia.

ACCOR HOTELS: Runs a raft

of brands in Asia, such as

Fairmont, MGallery and Sofitel,

including the Raffles Singapore,

the city-state’s most famous

heritage hotel and birthplace of

the Singapore sling cocktail.

MARRIOTT: Has an abundance

of hotels in the region under

its Marriott, Renaissance,

Autograph Collection and Ritz-

Carlton brands, including new

openings in Vietnam and Bali.

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS

GROUP: Has more than a

hundred hotels in South East

Asia with a particularly strong

presence in Thailand operating

under different brands

including Crowne Plaza, Holiday

Inn and Hotel Indigo. Recent

new openings across the region

include new Holiday Inns in

Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City

and Singapore.

off duty

BANGKOK: Soak up colourful

Thai culture and architecture

at peaceful Wat Pho, with its

enormous golden reclining

Buddha. Then head to the

Temple of the Emerald Buddha,

considered Thailand’s most

sacred temple, and the Grand

Palace, all located in the same

riverside spot in the capital.

JAKARTA: The wide streets,

malls and skyscrapers of

Indonesia’s modern

capital offer great

food and shopping,

old meets

new in

but the city is at its

MANILA most atmospheric

around Old Batavia,

a remnant of Jakarta’s

Dutch colonial days with

heritage buildings and cafes.

BALI: Indonesia’s most popular

tourist destination is known as

the 'island of 1,000 temples' for

good reason. Take your pick of

amazing stone stupas from

Tanah Lot and Uluwatu on the

edge of the ocean to Pura

Bratan in the crater lake of a

dormant volcano – and don’t

miss lush Ubud at the island’s

cultural heart.

KUALA LUMPUR: At 88 storeys,

the city’s iconic Petronas Towers

are a must-see symbol of this

modern metropolis’ economic

ambitions, and air-conditioned

walkways connect the city’s

the high

life in Kuala

lumpur

shiny shopping malls. The

Putrajaya Tropical Botanical

Gardens offer an escape from

the hustle and bustle and

include a canopy walkway and

Explorer’s Trail.

SINGAPORE: The muchphotographed

Singapore

Gardens by the Bay has

amazing panoramas of this

smart cosmopolitan city, while

a dip in the infinity pool will

make you feel like you are

swimming in the sky.

MANILA: Visit the wellpreserved

Fort Santiago and

head to the old Spanish

colonial quarter of Intramuros,

full of historic buildings,

museums and two churches.

HO CHI MINH CITY: Take a

stroll up Dong Khoi, one of

Ho Chi Minh’s oldest streets

lined with French colonial

remnants and stop in to Ben

Thanh market for delicious

Vietnamese street food and

drinks. For history fans, the

Reunification Palace is

immensely interesting.

HANOI: Discover Hanoi’s old

quarter on foot and don’t miss

pretty Hoan Kiem Lake. Visit

Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and,

if you have more time, the

famous UNESCO-protected

Halong Bay is three hours’ drive

away – well worth it.

temple-tastic

BANGKOK!

WYNDHAM HOTELS: Is rapidly

growing its portfolio in South

East Asia including new

openings in Indonesia

and Vietnam.

94 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Get with the programme!

REGISTER NOW

View from the top: industry

figures reflect on travel’s

current trends and challenges

On the button: how to select,

implement and drive adoption

of online booking tools

Deals on wheels: find out how

to optimise your car hire and

rail travel spend

Sleep talk: is it time for a

change of approach to your

accommodation needs?

Small wonders: helping SMEs

make the most of their

travel spend

New kids on the block:

discover a new wave of tools

and TMCs on the market

Air time: take your air travel

spend to new heights with

expert guidance

The clinic: three travel

managers discuss their travel

programmes

Going to market: sourcing the

best TMC for your needs in a

slowly shrinking market

The mavericks: get rogue

travellers under control and

gain compliance

In safe hands: risk mitigation,

traveller tracking and duty of

care in the spotlight

Fit for purpose: making

wellbeing central to your policy

Book your free place now at thebusinesstravelconference.com

With thanks to our headline sponsor

Star Alliance, and Executive sponsors,

Yapta and Air Europa. TBTC'19 is

proudly supporting London Taxi

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DEPARTURES

Reality check

HOTEL: OCKENDEN MANOR, SUSSEX

THE HOTEL

Ockenden Manor

countryside and South Downs. Pale

Hotel & Spa is part of the three-strong

greens and flashes of pink gave the

Historic Sussex Hotels group. It is a

room a fresh, natural feel and an

20-minute drive from Gatwick Airport

oversized headboard comprising a

and a five-minute drive from Haywards

patchwork of different textile patterns

Heath station on the mainline between

and colours was a nice touch. A large

London and Brighton. The hotel has 28

set of shutters folded back to deliver

rooms across the historic manor house

additional light to the bathroom, which

and a modern spa building, all set on

had a freestanding bath, separate

eight acres of grounds. It is a member

shower and Temple Spa products.

of Pride of Britain Hotels.

Amenities included wall-mounted TV,

THE CHECK-IN

The hotel is at the end

Nespresso machine, safe, fridge, iron/

of a short, narrow lane and there’s

ironing board, plus a sofabed and table

plenty of parking outside the main

and chairs on the roof terrace.

house. The small reception/lobby area

THE FACILITIES

Breakfast, lunch,

has character features including

afternoon teas and dinner are all served

THE VERDICT The modern spa

wooden beams and a fireplace, while

in the award-winning restaurant which

building and guestrooms could hardly

side rooms feature wood-panelled

specialises in locally sourced cuisine.

be more different to those of the main

walls. I was handed my key and directed

to my room in the modern spa building.

THE ROOM In contrast to the

period rooms of the main manor house,

There’s also an oak-panelled bar and

drawing room, and plenty of outdoor

seating. I’m no spa aficionado but it was

clear the facilities here are special. The

IT IS CLEAR THAT

THE SPA FACILITIES

HERE ARE SPECIAL

building but the contrast doesn’t jar

one bit. The dining was good and the

youthful staff did a grand job.

THE DETAILS Ockenden Manor Hotel

the suites in this modern addition are

indoor/outdoor pool was a real treat,

& Spa, Ockenden Lane, Cuckfield, West

contemporary and have the added

and there’s also an outdoor Jacuzzi, a

Sussex, RH17 5LD. Rates start from

bonus of access to a roof terrace with

impressive views of the Sussex

gym, studio and fitness classes, plus a

range of spa treatments and therapies.

£199 per night. hshotels.co.uk

Andy Hoskins

HOTEL: MARRIOTT LEICESTER

THE HOTEL

Location is one of the

wardrobe space. The view through the

big advantages of this property – right by

window was of the atrium and open

the junction between the M1 and M69.

lounge area on the ground floor.

The 227-bedroom hotel is just 10

Hooking up to the wifi was something of

minutes from the city centre, and is close

a fiddle, but reception staff were keen to

to the King Power Stadium (Leicester City

help and soon had it sorted.

FC), Leicester Cricket Ground, the giant

THE FACILITIES The hotel has 20

Fosse Park retail park and the National

meeting rooms, the Market Kitchen

Space Centre. It has recently undergone

restaurant, swimming pool, fitness

extensive refurbishment encompassing

centre and off-site parking. Interestingly,

new bedrooms, meeting room and

an innovative 3D virtual reality tour is

events space, restaurant, executive

being launched, allowing event bookers

lounge and atrium.

to experience first-hand any one of the

THE CHECK-IN

I was early, but the

conference and event spaces without

staff quickly changed my allocated room

stepping into the building. The

so I could check in without delay. The

restaurant layout is fine, if not elaborate,

weekends) but if like me you are in

reception desk was friendly and efficient.

and you can see the chefs at work. The

and out many times then the require-

THE ROOM

My room on the fifth

menu is uncomplicated and diverse.

ment to get an exit card each time is

floor was attractive, spacious and

comfortable, with two single armchairs

and coffee table as well as a work desk

and chair. The super king-sized bed was

a pleasure. There were no bathrobes,

Each meal I had here was excellent and

sensibly priced.

THE VERDICT This is a great business

and conference centre that suited me

equally well for leisure needs. I was

A 3D VIRTUAL

REALITY TOUR IS

BEING LAUNCHED FOR

EVENT BOOKERS

annoying – although you do only get

charged once a day.

THE DETAILS Smith Way, Grove Park,

Enderby, Leicester LE19 1SW. Tel: 0116

282 0100. Rates start from around £90

but there were coffee and tea-making

thoroughly impressed at every turn. The

room only. Breakfast at £13pp is good

facilities, a fridge, hairdryer, Smart TV

and more than enough drawers and

only minor fly in the ointment is the

parking. It’s only £5 per night (or £2.50 at

value. leicestermarriott.co.uk

Martin Steady

96 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

HOTEL: LOEWS CHICAGO

THE HOTEL

One of the city’s

of soft beiges, grey and ivory tones.

newest hotels is located less than a mile

Floor-to-ceiling windows offered rather

from the city centre and 0.2 miles from

drab local views. There were numerous

the main business centre. With 400

power outlets, a Keunig coffee maker

rooms and suites, it sits away from the

and speedy wifi. The bathroom was

city’s main road arteries, but shopping,

large, with plenty of counter space. It

museums, boat tours, and the shores

was also extremely quiet, which

of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier (the

suggests excellent soundproofing.

Midwest’s top visitor attraction) are an

THE FACILITIES

Streeterville Social

easy walk away. Two CTA stations,

Bistro is a fabulous rooftop restaurant

Washington and Clarke/Lake, are a

and bar that draws a local crowd. Its

10-minute taxi or Uber ride away from

food is on the gourmet side and there’s

the hotel. Both stations are on the Blue

an excellent – but pricey – cocktail list

Line which serves O’Hare Airport. The

and craft beer selection. There’s also a

train takes around 35 minutes.

restaurant and Starbucks in the hotel

THE CHECK-IN

I arrived during a rare

lobby and a spa and a fitness centre

expansive and elegant lobby – which is

spring blizzard and arrived with hair full

with a 75ft pool. There’s a Whole Foods

saying something in a city bursting with

of snow and fingers that didn’t feel my

own. A porter rushed to take my bags

to the check-in desk where I was

offered a welcome hot chocolate. I was

processed and escorted to the elevators

in a matter of minutes.

store across the road and a Target just

round the corner. The hotel boasts

more than 30,000ft 2 of meeting and

event space, including 11 meeting

rooms, and two meeting planners.

The ETA + Restaurant and Bar has two

STREETERVILLE

SOCIAL BISTRO IS

A FABULOUS ROOFTOP

RESTAURANT

AND BAR

impressive architecture. The rooms are

super-comfortable, although if I ever

return I would select a room with a lake

view instead.

THE DETAILS 455 North Park Drive,

Chicago, 6061, USA. Tel: 312 840 6600.

THE ROOM

Long and rectangular,

private dining rooms.

Rates start from around $160 a night

the room was extremely spacious. It

was contemporary, uncluttered and full

THE VERDICT The Loews Chicago

impresses the moment you walk into its

for a midweek stay. loewshotels.com

Steve Hartridge

HOTEL: WESTIN LAS VEGAS

THE HOTEL

This Westin hotel, part

THE ROOM

The room was a

of the Marriott group, is a couple of

generous size and decorated ‘safely’

blocks off The Strip – far enough to

rather than spectacularly. The one

mean, it seemed, that business

attempt to inject some Las Vegas glitz

travellers outnumbered leisure guests

was a large blue and gold abstract

at the property. It was originally opened

painting above – and partially obscured

as a hotel and casino in the 1970s and

by – the headboard of the (very

has operated under the Westin brand,

comfortable) king size bed. There was a

under several different owners, since

sofa, desk, wardrobe, wall-mounted TV,

2003. The casino was closed in 2017

plus fridge, coffee machine, safe, iron/

and the space used to expand its

ironing board and a batch of leaflets

meetings and events facilities instead –

promoting the brand’s focus on

the absence of the usual flashing lights

wellness: Stay Well, Stay Productive,

and tinkling of fruit machines makes a

Stay Fit (guests can borrow New

refreshing change. Interestingly, the

Balance training gear), Stay Energized

property was one of the first in the city

etc. The bathroom was also spacious

THE VERDICT

This is a good business

to go completely smoke free.

and came with Heavenly by Westin

hotel on the fringe of the glamour that

THE CHECK-IN

By Las Vegas

amenities. Views were across a car park

permeates the Las Vegas strip. It’s close

standards, the hotel is not big and the

lobby area was pretty quiet when I

checked in around 4pm. There was no

queue and just a couple of friendly staff

working the reception desk. I was told

to the High Roller observation wheel.

THE FACILITIES There’s 30,000ft 2 of

function space – and evidence of a

couple of big events while I was at the

hotel – plus a Starbucks, outdoor pool,

THE CASINO

WAS CLOSED IN 2017

TO EXPAND THE

EVENTS FACILITIES

enough to the action for those who

seek it and at the same time a refuge

for those who don’t!

THE DETAILS The Westin Las Vegas

Hotel & Spa, 160 East Flamingo Road,

I’d been upgraded from a Deluxe King

spa, gym and the Jake & Eli Restaurant,

Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. Rates from

room to a Premium King room and

directed to the elevators.

which specialises in American dishes

and premium whiskeys. Wifi is free.

around £107. westin.marriott.com

Andy Hoskins

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

97


DEPARTURES

The final word

Arranging aisle seats all round

Working in corporate

travel can be a pretty

thankless task, right?

On one side, clients ask for

ways to keep spend down

and, on the other, suppliers

want exactly the opposite

before they are willing to

stump up the best in extras

and benefits.

Being able to negotiate a

way through this contractual

wrangling is why our loyal

readers are paid big bucks! But

have you ever thought your

talents for diplomacy might be

better employed elsewhere?

News of a hot new business

opportunity for TMCs comes

courtesy of research from

Grosvenor Casinos, which

reveals that 60% of engaged

couples now consider eloping

rather than endure the expense

of a UK wedding. Typical nuptials

now cost over £30,000 – and

then there’s all the arguments

about where pervy uncle Alan

should sit at the reception.

As sorting out flights and

accommodation for demanding/

clueless travellers is a core TMC

skill, grabbing a slice of this

emerging market could be a

goer. For the record, the top five

‘elopement’ destinations are all

in the US – California, Las Vegas,

Hawaii, New York and Florida,

while traditional favourite

Gretna Green, in Scotland, is

down in 12th place.

Separating truth

from fiction...

On the Go Tours used

Google search data to find

out the most popular real

destinations used for fictional

places in hit movies.

1 Wakanda – Black

Panther (Cape Town)

2 Pandora – Avatar

(Tianzi Mountain,

China)

3 Asgard – Thor

(Cedar Creek Falls,

Australia)

4 Neverland – Peter

Pan (Turneffe Atoll,

Belize)

5 Capitol – The Hunger

Games (Les Espaces

D’Abraxas, France)

It’s a blooming liberty

Stumping up £22 for a

single ‘saver’ fare on

the Heathrow Express

might leave some people

feeling gloomy.

So fair play to the line’s

PR team, who attempted to

brighten the mood on board

with a dedicated ‘Flower

Express’ celebration during

last month’s RHS Chelsea

Flower Show. One carriage

was a fragrant riot after being

decked out with hydrangeas,

wisterias and fresh sea

lavender, which – at least for

15 minutes – should have

diverted travellers’ attention

away from the cost of the

ticket. Still, at least it can be

expensed, right.

Despite suggestions that we are all becoming

more cosmopolitan and demanding of

genuine ‘experiences’ on holiday, it appears

the reality is somewhat different. Alliance

Assistance quizzed Brits about their travel

nightmares – and guess what... the big gripes

are no wifi and the horror of not being able to

get an English breakfast. Further reinforcing

our lack of adventure as a nation is a fear of

lost luggage, forgetting our glasses and

worrying about mosquito bites. Let's just

stick to Butlin's, shall we?

98 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


The Business Travel Magazine

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