The Business Travel Magazine Aug/Sept 2019

online.magazines

77 August/September 2019

LOUD AND

CLEAR

How SMEs are attracting

the attention of suppliers

and TMCs

+

UK hotel groups

Payments & expenses

The 2019 Tech Hotlist

TALKING TRAVEL: SIR TREVOR MCDONALD


ARRIVALS

Contents AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

2019

76

26

30

Extended feature

Travel

management

for SMEs

86

89

12

Features

16 The 2019 Tech Hotlist

30 UK hotel groups

40 Payments & expenses

63 Extended feature:

Travel management for SMEs

Arrivals

6 Opening Shots

8 Everyone's Talking About...

Sustainability

11 The Knowledge:

Travelling into a conflict zone

12 Six of the Best:

Airport lounge operators

14 Event report: BTA Conference

15 Speaking Out

21 Event report: ITMC Summit

39 Event report: Travel Counsellors

Corporate Travel Conference

91

48

47

(p63-84)

56

37

61

64

6

Regulars

22 Event preview: The Business

Travel Conference 2019

25 The Big Picture

26 People Awards: winner's interview

27 Photo gallery: People Awards

winners' trip 2019

28 The Conversation:

with Hubert Viriot, Yotel

36 Photo gallery: People Awards

winners' lunch

37 Meet the buyer:

Pradeep Nair, NBA

38 Technology: delays & disruption

48 Talking Travel:

Sir Trevor McDonald

61 Photo gallery: TBTM Golf Masters

90 Photo gallery: Avis at Henley

The Review

51 Ten pages of news, views

and the latest developments

28

Departures

86 Gadgets & Gear

87 New Kid on the Block

89 Meeting in: York

91 On Business in: Manama

92

92 Focus on: East Africa

96 Reality Check

98 The Final Word

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

3


Travel and Events

Implementing a business travel solution

has never been easier.

Navigator is our easy to implement, off-the-shelf suite

of unique travel management solutions. We’ve neatly

packaged our online travel portal, helping you take control

of your business travel, including; a personal offline

booking team, online booking tool, monthly insight

reports, expert advice, exclusive discounts and much

more!

More often than not, you’ll be traveling to a meeting,

either by train, plane or automobile and there may be a

hotel awaiting your arrival at the other end. With so much

to consider in terms of routes, times, suppliers, hotel

options and price comparisons, not to mention the small

matter of who’s going to pay for this and how… it’s little

wonder then, that traveling on business can lead to what

we know as, ‘traveller friction.’

Your company travel policy will be deeply integrated

into the booking process, so you can be sure all bookings

follow your rules without you or your travellers having

to think about it. Travelling on business can be stressful

and this can impact employee wellbeing, especially

when travel doesn’t always go to plan. This is why it’s so

important to make sure your travellers are safe and have

access to assistance when they need it. With access to our

full-service options such as; intelligent traveller tracking

and direct links to our offline support teams, you can

relax knowing that your travellers have 24/7/365 support,

whether they need to change their travel plans or have

been affected by a wider crisis.

Is there a catch? No…

Traditionally, there’s a fee associated with your TMC

doing all of these things on your behalf, however we

are delighted to be able to offer all of this as a fee free

booking service.

We’d love to talk to you about how we might be able to

improve business travel, duty of care and wellbeing within

your organisation. Get in touch.

0330 390 0340

travelevents@capita.co.uk

capitatravelevents.co.uk

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

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


ARRIVALS

Welcome

Small but mighty

SMEs are small cogs in the economy but

their output, cumulatively, is mighty.

Moreover, today’s small business is

tomorrow’s big-hitter. TMCs and

suppliers are increasingly wise to the

rich potential of this sector and SMEs

are now better catered to in the travel management arena than ever

before. Find out more in our extended feature on pages 63-84.

Delegates from small and medium-sized businesses typically account for

around half of attendees at The Business Travel Conference. Our annual

two-day event takes place in London on September 17-18 featuring 14

conference sessions and some 60 exhibitors. It's free to attend and there's

still time to register, so what are you waiting for?

Keen-eyed subscribers might have noticed a subtle change when this

issue landed in their laps. While the magazine has been printed on

recycled paper for some time now, this is the first edition to be distributed

in a fully compostable wrapper. Derived from potato starch, it is a

considerably more environmentally friendly alternative to polythene

wrapping. It's a small but important change in the way we operate.

Lastly, this issue marks the end of an era for The Business Travel Magazine

and my colleague David Clare – it is his last edition as Publisher. David has

been an instrumental figure at BMI Publishing for more than 20 years. He

oversaw the launch of The Business Travel Magazine in 2006, has ensured

its ongoing commercial success, and helped develop our wide portfolio of

events. We thank him for his dedication and innovation over the years

and wish him a fond farewell, from myself, Kirsty Hicks and the team.

the

Businesstravel

MAGAZINE

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Andy Hoskins

andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Nick Easen, Linda Fox,

Rob Gill, Ramy Salameh, Jenny Southan & Gillian Upton

JOURNALISTS

Sasha Wood & April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES

PUBLISHER

David Clare

COMMERCIAL HEAD - BUSINESS TRAVEL

Kirsty Hicks

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

SENIOR DESIGNER

Louisa Horton

DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner

CEO

Martin Steady

Andy Hoskins, Editor

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

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

SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK; E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK;

T: 020 8649 7233; W: BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK

ALL PAPER USED IN THIS PUBLICATION IS SOURCED FROM SUSTAINABLE

FORESTS AND IS FULLY RECYCLABLE. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO

ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE

FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. ©BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019

IMAGES: SOURCED FROM SUPPLIERS, ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

AND BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

5


ARRIVALS

OPENING SHOTS

Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

The rooms have

benefitted from

structural upgrades

along with daring new

feature walls, refreshed

avant-garde furniture

and atmospheric lighting”

W Hotels

suites WOW

The W London hotel

has completed a

multimillion-pound

transformation of its

192 guestrooms and

suites, each of them

unique. A "provocative

new look" is paired

with innovative

in-room technology

including DigiValet

tablets that allow

guests to control

various aspects of

their guestroom and

stay at the hotel.

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Native Manchester

north star

Native will open its

largest aparthotel to

date in Manchester

this September. Set

within a Grade II-listed

former cotton mill on

Ducie Street, it has 166

apartments – including

eight penthouses – and

an independent bar,

restaurant and café.

Arboretum

Green giant

London's new meeting

and co-working club

Arboretum is aiming to

be the venue of choice

for eco-conscious

workers in the capital.

Located close to

Trafalgar Square, the

"botanically inspired

haven" is due to open

this summer.

Loews Hotels

GOING Live

The new Live! by Loews

concept makes its debut

in Arlington, Texas, this

autumn, with the hotel

group opening a 300-

room property within

the Texas Live! sports,

entertainment and

dining district. Located

between Dallas and Fort

Worth, the hotel has

35,000sqft of meeting

and event space.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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ARRIVALS

EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

Sustainability

“CLIMATE CHANGE

AFFECTS “TECHNOLOGY EVERY ONE DOESN’T OF US

RESCUE YOU BUT PROVIDES

AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO

CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY. YOUR

ENSURING THAT TRANSPORT

TMC SHOULD HAVE THE PROCESS

AND PLAYS PROCEDURES ITS PART TO IN DELIVERING

RUN REPORTS

AND NET HELP ZERO YOU GREENHOUSE REACH THOSE GAS

AFFECTED EMISSIONS BY AN BY INCIDENT”

2050”

Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity

Chris Grayling, Former

Transport secretary

“Emissions are calculated differently around

the world and there is little regulation of

offsetting. Travel managers know they need

to do it but they don’t know where to start”

Jo-Anne Lloyd, Partner, Nina & Pinta

“WE ARE DETERMINED TO PLAY OUR PART

AND FIND SOLUTIONS TO HELP REDUCE

AVIATION EMISSIONS WHICH CONTRIBUTE

2% OF CO2 EMISSIONS GLOBALLY”

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO, British Airways

Sustainability is high on the

agenda but it’s driven by

travellers not travel

managers. Offsetting

is not something

we’re pushing but

it is something

that people want”

Nikki Rogan, Global Travel Manager, Synamedia

“INTERNATIONAL CARBON OFFSETTING HAS A CRITICAL ROLE TO PLAY

IN ENABLING AVIATION TO REACH OUR TARGETS. UK AIRLINES ARE

PARTICIPATING IN THE GLOBAL CARBON OFFSETTING SCHEME,

CORSIA, WHICH WILL DELIVER CARBON NEUTRAL GLOBAL

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive, Airlines UK

AVIATION GROWTH FROM 2020”

“We want to work with government to see what

more we can do in reducing our emissions, including

through modernising UK airspace, investing in

the creation of low-carbon technologies and

delivering sustainable aviation fuels at scale”

Neil Robinson, Chair, Sustainable Aviation

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Delivering what

really matters TM

Technology

that works

Compliance and

cost savings

Traveller safety

and security

Consistent

service worldwide

Direct ATPI combines the power of

leading travel management specialists to

create a scalable solution for multinational

organisations. We offer access to the

influence and consistency of a steadfast

global brand alongside the local knowledge

and sector-specific expertise of an on-theground

travel management company.

Find out more atpi.com


ARRIVALS

THE KNOWLEDGE

How to manage...

Travelling into a conflict zone

When political upheaval or natural

disasters strike, most companies are

moving their staff out. For NGOs and

charities, however, their challenge is

getting staff into the danger zone

the BACKGROUND

In June this year pro-democracy

protestors in Khartoum, Sudan,

were violently dispersed by

gunmen in military fatigues.

While the official death toll was

put at 61, the World Health

Organisation estimates 748

were killed or wounded, while

of the 11 main Khartoum

hospitals, half were shut or partially closed.

THE RESPONSE

While most companies would be seeking to

get all staff out of such circumstances, other

organisations are going

in to offer aid and

assistance. “We

focus exclusively

on arranging

travel for

NGOs and

charities,

specialising

in hard-to-reach destinations,”

says Diversity Travel's President,

Matthew Truin.

“We work with charities such as

Save the Children, the Salvation Army

and International Rescue Committee

to enable workers to reach regions

affected by natural disasters, civil

unrest and epidemics.”

The TMC's clients needed to

arrange travel for staff who

provide timely services for victims

of sexual violence, taking in

supplies to support maternal and

neonatal care, and transporting

other staff to provide health

and emergency services.

“We use a 24-hour risk

intelligence system to track

world events, and when we saw this one

unfolding we knew there would be a big

emergency response. Within hours, we were

co-ordinating plans for clients,” says Truin.

THE SOLUTION

In the immediate aftermath of the military

crackdown, scheduled airlines quickly

cancelled services to Khartoum, meaning

the task of getting first responders to the

affected area wasn’t easy.

Flights are usually limited

anyway, and the rapidly

evolving situation on the

ground meant the travel

options changed on a daily

or even hourly basis.

A swathe of further

cancellations across the region meant the

TMC had to look at airports in different

countries and road transport into Sudan.

“Our in-house technology, IQ, allows us

to look at a variety of options through the

selection of partners,” explains Truin.

“Multi-leg journeys, extended layovers and

transferring across airlines are quite

common. Going into places where civil

unrest is unfolding is a daunting experience

for response workers, so our expertise can

help ease concerns for our NGO partners.”

Diversity says having access to an extended

network of trusted travel suppliers and

specialised operators provides clients with

peace of mind, which in turn increases travel

policy compliance. “We’re able to arrange

almost any mode of transport – chartering

aircraft, buses, boats, helicopters,” says Truin.

THE RESULT

An NGO working in the

region at the time of the

unrest said: “As soon as

we realised that violence

had broken out in

Khartoum, we knew we

would need to redirect

our resources into the

area to offer aid and assistance.

In these circumstances, time is always

critical as borders close, perimeters

are set and getting to those in

need becomes even harder.”

The spokesperson continues:

“When commercial airlines began

cancelling all flights into Khartoum,

we were worried that we would be

unable to get there but we were able to

enter the city via ground transport instead

and get to work.

“We had a global overview of our

travellers with live-location data,

direct messaging capabilities, travel

data for every booking and instant

travel alerts to advise workers of

emergencies and potential dangers. In

providing these services, we can act

quickly, efficiently and ensure all

communications to and from our

travellers are logged and can be

used to demonstrate compliance

with duty of care obligations.”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

11


ARRIVALS

SIX OF THE BEST

Six of the best...

Airport lounge operators

Words by April Waterston

1

Plaza Premium

With over 70 lounges worldwide,

Plaza Premium offers shower

rooms, charging stations and

free wifi, as well as comfortable

seating and bars. Select lounges

also offer spa, massage and

beauty services. Frequent visitors

can earn discounts with the

Arrture loyalty programme.

2

3

No 1 Lounges

For those travelling from the UK,

No 1 Lounges can be found at

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick

and Heathrow. The lounges are

designed for “the everyday

traveller”, with fully tended bars,

unlimited wifi and fresh food.

Aspire Lounges

Found throughout Europe and in

Canada, Nairobi and South Africa,

Aspire Lounges can be accessed

by any traveller, no matter the

airline or travel class. You'll find

more Aspire Lounges in the UK

than any other provider.

4

My Lounge

A subsidiary of No 1 Lounges,

there are two My Lounges in

London and one in Brisbane.

The loft-style lounges offer a

more casual airport experience,

and the lounge at Gatwick’s

South Terminal is home to the

airport’s only outdoor terrace.

6

Marhaba

If you’re heading east, Marhaba

lounges are available to help you

relax, eat and catch up with work

at airports in Dubai, Singapore

and Australia. You’ll find all the

business services you need as

well as buffets offering

international cuisine and bars.

5

The Club

The Club lounges are primarily

found in the USA, with two UK

affiliate lounges at Gatwick and

Heathrow. Visit for a comfortable

environment with complimentary

snacks and drinks, televisions,

workstations and free wifi.

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ARRIVALS

EVENT REPORT

BTA Conference

Sustainability in the spotlight

The GTMC revealed a new name and

identity at its Netherlands conference

in July, with the organisation moving

forward as the Business Travel Association.

Andy Hoskins reports from the event.

Sustainable travel initiatives are firmly back

on the corporate agenda if sentiment at the

BTA Conference can be presumed to

emanate across the industry.

The majority of sessions touched on the

subject at the annual event, which also saw

the organisation unveil its new identity as

the Business Travel Association (see p53).

“We all need to take responsibility for

sustainable growth,” said IATA’s Aleks

Popovich. “We’ve got a good track record [as

an industry] but we need to be stronger if

we’re going to grow sustainably. We need to

deliver more to earn the right to grow.”

Andy Shand (pictured), General Manager

of Customer Affairs at NATS, added that in a

period when the total distance flown in the

UK domestic air space has grown 39%,

emissions have risen by only 20%.

However, he said that UK airspace tools

and procedures need modernising to cope

with traffic growth and, in order to do it

sustainably, the airspace must be managed

much more efficiently. “It needs NATS,

airports and airlines to work together,” he

said. “The government does currently

understands the need for change.”

Conservative MP James Heappey claimed

the aviation industry is “disproportionately

blamed for not decarbonising quickly

enough” but added that, in the not-toodistant

future, “we’re going to have to make

a robust case for travelling to do business”.

Birmingham Airport's Aviation Director,

Tom Screen, suggested that airports

should offer incentives to airlines using

greener, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Jo-Anne Lloyd of business travel

consultancy Nina & Pinta believes APD

could be replaced with a carbon offset tax,

but also indicated a degree of confusion

among travel managers as to how to

address their environmental responsibilities.

“We need simplification,” said Lloyd.

“Emissions are calculated differently around

the world and there is little regulation of

offsetting,” she claimed.

NEW IN THE CHAIR

Suzanne Horner, CEO of

Gray Dawes Group, is the

BTA's new Chair of its

executive board. She takes

over from Paul Allan who

steps down following

Clarity's acquisition

of Ian Allan Travel

earlier this year.

END OF THE TENDER

“THE RFP PROCESS IS DEAD.

IT CREATES UNNECESSARY

WORK FOR BUYERS

AND SUPPLIERS AND

WE ARE READY TO

GET RID OF IT”

Stephanie Smook,

ACTE’s Regional Director for EMEA

CARBON CONSCIENCE

For its overseas conference

in Noordwijk, Netherlands,

the BTA offset the emissions

of 170 flights from London

to Amsterdam with

ClimateCare,

offsetting 20.47

tonnes of CO2.

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


ARRIVALS

SPEAKING OUT

Serviced apartments

The Holy Grail of online booking

The serviced apartment sector is booming

but live online booking is still a rarity.

Jo Layton of CAP Worldwide explains why

When I ask a buyer what they think utopia

looks like in the extended stay sector, the

answer is often the same: “it’s when a

traveller can view and book their serviced

apartment online, without the intervention

of an agent or consultant”.

However, the desire of the buying

community to book apartments just as they

book hotels is yet to be fully achieved by any

platforms currently available on the market.

I often compare booking apartments online

to booking a meeting or event online. Both

are complex transactions that require lots of

research. Bookers need to understand the

options available, the location, transport,

parking, terms and conditions and more.

And there’s even more to it for apartments:

how to access the unit on arrival, the room

sizes, the particular facilities, views, the local

community, proximity to schools, transport

and more. For a guest staying in a serviced

apartment for several weeks – or months –

the minutiae really matters. The details are

all paramount to achieving a successful stay

for the guest, and that’s before you include a

review of the lease and the (sometimes very

confusing) terms and conditions.

If you are booking a hotel room for a

couple of nights and the room doesn’t quite

meet your standards or your needs, it’s

annoying, but if you’ve booked a stay for 28

nights or more and there is no option to

change it on arrival it is a different story.

On the other side of the booking, meanwhile,

the operator is looking to achieve the

optimum length of stay for their units. For

the majority of providers, this would be over

seven nights and ideally a minimum of 30

nights-plus. The small gaps in between are

then plugged by loading this distressed

inventory online – but this kind of business is

more expensive to manage for operators in

terms of both administration and servicing.

Add in the fact that online distribution costs

for apartment operators can be high – and

without any guarantee of securing business

– and it becomes clear why online booking

options are currently limited, perhaps in the

best interests of both guests and operators.

Bridging the gap between hotels and longstay

apartments is the growing aparthotel

sector. These properties offer online booking

and amenities such as staffed front desks,

cafés and communal areas, plus, in the units

themselves, basic kitchen facilities and more

If you book a hotel

for a night and it

doesn't meet your standards

it's annoying, but if you've

booked an apartment stay for

28 nights it's a different story”

living space than a hotel. They are usually

found in city centre locations and guests also

have the option to cancel or change a

reservation at late notice.

In contrast, most serviced apartment

providers have built their models in primary

and secondary residential areas, provide

more living space, weekly housekeeping,

limited facilities and more stringent terms

and conditions for cancellations or changes.

They are very different business models

and, for travel managers and guests alike,

require different approaches. It is difficult to

build a comprehensive global extended stay

programme that satisfies all stakeholders,

with just aparthotels.

The expectations of bookers must be

managed as the reservation experience is

often traded off, wrongly, against suitability

and value. Travellers need to be protected

from the pitfalls of instant gratification, but

operators nonetheless need to make their

apartments as accessible as possible.

Travel programmes that incorporate both

options can of course be built, and that is

when you will benefit from working with an

informed agent (like us!) who can help

corporates build a solid programme.

JO LAYTON

Jo Layton is Director of CAP

Worldwide Serviced Apartments.

She formed the company in 2019

after spending nearly 20 years in

the sector. Jo and her leadership

team have identified the

gaps in current global

programmes and have

built CAP to bridge them.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

15


The 2019

TECH HOTLIST

summer sizzlers

Change

MAKERS

New technology can both disrupt and streamline existing

business travel processes.

Nick Easen examines the players

currently shaking up the market

The biggest disrupter in the tech

space right now are business

travellers themselves.

Today, we live in an era of great

expectations, fuelled by the ease with which

executives book their holidays. Therefore,

there’s a drive to bring consumer-style tools

to the corporate market.

“Turning business travel bookings into a

buzz instead of a bore is what it’s all about,”

explains Neil Ruth, Co-founder of Taptrip.

A user experience that’s as fast as doing

a Google search is the goal, and there’s

been a seismic shift in the industry over

the last couple of years towards being able

to deliver this.

At the same time significant venture

capital, VC money, is moving into business

travel globally, creating the perfect storm.

Just ask four-year-old TripActions. It’s

already had a $4billion valuation. Unicorns

are now gamely trotting on to the business

travel scene.

“This is an exciting time for the industry

as more start-ups creep into this space.

Some are working with travel management

companies – others are going direct,” states

Jenny Thornton, Director of Digital Services

at travel management company ATPI.

“Investors are seeing opportunities and

supporting start-ups that are spotting new

niches in the market. For the end traveller

16 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


XXXXX

it’ll mean a much better experience and for

the corporate it creates greater choice.”

New tech-driven solutions are quickly filling

in so-called black holes that have been

poorly served by a highly fragmented

market, whether it’s travel for SMEs, ground

transportation, expense management or

better duty of care programmes.

“Any time that money is invested into the

space it raises the bar and forces the

industry to up its game, which can only

benefit the traveller and their organisation

in the long run,” says Kirk Hayes, Director of

Product Partnerships at SAP Concur.

However, business travel is a hard sector

to crack and there’s a whole ecosystem of

players out there. Not all innovations can be

integrated seamlessly into the industry,

which is pivotal for widespread adoption.

And it is why a lot of disruption occurs at the

fringes rather than at its core. It’s also a

traditionally conservative industry.

“It is easy to say, ‘oh but I can have that on

my favourite leisure site or app,’ but the

reality is that the value chain of business

travel is a lot more complex,” says

Christophe Tcheng, VP of Products &

Platforms at American Express Global

Business Travel.

“You have to consider virtual payments,

travel policy, reporting or expenses. This is

where the opportunity lies. The industry goal

is for business travel to be as seamless as

possible,” adds Tcheng.

Recently, there’s been a big focus on

biometrics and AI, including machine

learning, as well as big data and cloud

computing technology. The aim is for

greater personalisation and automation in

business travel. Fare tracking and price

forecasting, as well as the use of chatbots to

book travel are also increasingly the norm.

The Holy Grail is about demonstrating

ROI and taking traveller experience to the

next level,” explains Valerio Fuschini, VP

Chief Architect at CWT. “Whether it’s costcutting

or revenue-enhancing, the onslaught

of innovation will continue.”

These are exciting times for tech disruptors

and start-ups in the business travel space.

Not all will survive, but it’s a stark warning

for incumbents. “As the market develops,

there will be fewer players, most of whom

will be tech companies,” says Jill Palmer, CEO

of Click Travel. “It’s the businesses that blend

technology with a strong track record and

customer service that will make the biggest

difference in the industry.”

It’s also true that the big boys are fighting

back, with the titans of industry investing in

incubating start-ups or improving their own

platforms. A week doesn’t go by when an

airline such as American Airlines – which

has introduced a new management tool for

travel managers – or a hotel group such as

Millennium – which has launched a new app

– announces a new or improved platform to

service corporate clients. Watch this space.

TRAVEL

BOOKING

TOOLS

Taptrip: The vast majority of businesses

in the UK are SMEs yet they’re woefully

underserved by any form of managed

business travel. This is where TapTrip

comes in, allowing executives to book via

their phone calendar. It has inventory

around flights, hotels, rail and car services.

It is a self-service travel and expenses

solution facilitating bookings with just one

tap. It was a former finalist at the BTA’s

Entrepreneurs in Business Travel Awards

and was the overall winner at the 2019

Disrupt Awards.

Tripactions: Business travel platform

Tripactions is already a unicorn in the US

and is fast moving into the UK after raising

$250million in funding. It’s a hybrid between

a travel management company and an

online booking tool. It currently works with

more than 2,000 customers globally and

claims to reduce booking times from 60

minutes to six minutes.

Travelperk: Aggregation is the key word

for this all-rounder start-up, as is seamless

business travel management. The


THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

17


XXXXX

The 2019

TECH HOTLIST

summer sizzlers


company has a simple, single platform

that looks and feels like a leisure site. The

aim is to make business travellers feel good

about the booking process and the idea is to

get away from the legacy booking platforms.

It features a lot of inventory by plugging into

major consumer providers – such as

Booking.com, Expedia and Skyscanner –

and has healthy financial backing. It has

recently launched FlexiPerk to cover booking

changes and cancellations.

Salestrip: Measuring the real ROI of a

business trip can be a real issue. Quantifying

spend against revenues is always a

challenge. Salestrip allows executives to

calculate exactly the return on investment.

The all-in-one travel booking system sits on

Salesforce, one of the world’s largest

customer relationship management (CRM)

platforms. It was a shortlisted finalist at the

Disrupt Awards in 2019.

One to watch: Meetings, events and

travel specialist Inntel has been developing

a new online booking platform called Logic.

It’s been well received by pilot clients who

operate in the financial services, hospitality

and media sectors.

TACKLING

DELAYS AND

DISRUPTION

Lumo: Every business traveller hates being

delayed by bad weather, air strikes or

cancelled flights. This company predicts the

potential issues, hours, days and weeks

before departure using historical data and

machine learning. Lumo then offers up

alternative itineraries that are less likely to

be impacted. Lumo can be seamlessly

integrated into the platforms of TMCs and

has recently teamed up with Flight Centre.

It was a finalist in both this year’s BTA

Entrepreneurs in Business awards and last

year’s Disrupt Awards.

Freebird: Rebooking a flight can be a pain

if you are disrupted and miss your business

trip. But if you pay an insurance fee to

Freebird they will help you deal with it. This

can be extremely useful if you’ve got a

complicated series of flights. They guarantee

rebookings with three taps on your mobile

phone and are backed by American Express

Ventures. Users pay per flight and charges

depend on distance flown, the time of year

and user location.

GAINING

GROUND

CONTROL

Your Parking Space: While Airbnb saw

a market for underutilised rooms and

apartments, this company is focused on

another asset – people’s driveways, garages

and empty spaces. The online marketplace

has 350,000 of them to rent in the UK via a

user-friendly app, and it can be integrated

into the booking platforms of TMCs. The site

made £15million for owners last year and is

working with over 150 businesses. It was

triumphant at this year's Entrepreneurs in

Business Travel Awards from the BTA.

18 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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The 2019

TECH HOTLIST

summer sizzlers

One to watch: iGo marketplace

consolidates taxi and private hire vehicles to

address the difficulty that UK travel buyers

face in booking the ground transport

elements of a business trip. The market is

extremely fragmented and it’s iGo's tech

that is helping to solve this.

MAGNIFICENT

MEETINGS

MEASURES

Asemblr: This online event technology

platform is trying to disrupt the meetings

sector by making it easier and more intuitive

to book events. With this tool you can

manage conferences, trip incentives and

team building events all in one place. They

also offer inspiration, advice and contacts

on their platform. It is backed by Travelport

and has recently been adopted by Cresta

Business Travel. It was shortlisted for

the BTA’s Entrepreneurs in Business

Awards in 2018.

Wizme: This is a smart venue reservations

tool for travel buyers and business

travellers. It connects venues and suppliers

to those that need meeting and event space

and their specific business needs. Wizme

version 2.0 has recently been released for

venues to better manager details, bookings

and event proposals.

TRAILBLAZING

ON RAIL

TRAVEL

Seatfrog: This mobile app allows

passengers to muscle in on a train seat

in first class. By bidding for an upgrade

standard class passengers can often get

cheap access to empty first class seats –

for as little as £10, in fact. Users can do this

via an online auction up to 15 minutes

before departure, with seats released three

hours before the train is to leave. So far

Seatfrog has partnered with the likes of

Virgin Trains and LNER, as well as Capita

Travel and Events. It has also won a host

of trade and supplier awards for its

innovative work to date.

Railguard: Few passengers claim for

train delays or cancellations but with poor

punctuality at a record high it’s a growing

issue. This app allows employers to claim

compensation for staff delays which can

amount to 3% of travel costs. The traveller

inputs their past or future ticket details

while Railguard monitors trains in real time

via national railway data feeds. It will submit

eligible claims, recoup the money and pay

users their claim minus a 20% fee. It won

the BTA’s Entrepreneurs in Business Travel

Awards 2018 and was also a finalist at the

Disrupt Awards in 2019.

20 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


EVENT REPORT

ITMC Summit

The need to get ‘rewired’

TMCs from around the world gathered in

the UAE in June for the annual ITMC

Summit where the ‘rewired’ conference

theme tackled the changing face of

travel management, writes Andy Hoskins.

Organised by the WIN Global Travel

Network, the two-day event was attended

by suppliers and TMCs responsible, between

them, for an estimated US$20billion in

annual business travel spend.

“We’re often threatened and frequently

challenged in a constantly changing

landscape,” said WIN CEO Neil Armorgie in

his opening remarks, as he urged TMCs to

“stand up and fight their corner”.

Festive Road’s Ian Jones urged TMCs to

differentiate themselves from the competition

in order to thrive. “People use a TMC

because they’re told to, not because they

choose to,” he said. “Business travellers are

led by loyalty and experience but the

business is price-led. It’s a precarious

business model.”

Jones also discussed the eight types of

TMC his organisation has identified,

including high-touch ‘creme de la creme’

agencies such as Eton Travel and Reed &

Mackay, and those ‘holding on to the past’

who don’t have “the will, the skill or the bill

to move forwards”.

Procurement specialist William Pegg

advised TMCs to carefully consider what

business they pitch for. “If the first you hear

about a tender is the invitation then the

likelihood of you winning it is slim,” he said.

He also challenged TMCs to calculate how

much it actually costs them to go through a

tender, to build rapport with potential

clients and to ask questions of the

organisation during the tender process.

“Very few say ‘let’s have a chat’ when they

receive the tender. It doesn’t happen

enough and it’s a great way to build

rapport,” he said.

Meanwhile, John Gray of Rockport Analytics

revealed $1.4trillion was spent on business

travel in 2018 but warned the rate of growth

was slowing – dropping to 3.1% in 2019,

following growth of 5.7% in 2018 and 5.8%

in 2017. “This year is projected to be the

weakest year for global growth since the

recession,” said Gray.

JOINING THE CAUSE

New WIN Global Partners

include Clyde Travel A.B

(Sweden and Nordics),

Options Travel (USA),

TravelCare

(Portugal),

Oceantur

(Argentina),

CIT and

Kopetro

(Malaysia).

GETTING TOGETHER

THE WIN GLOBAL TRAVEL

NETWORK HAS INTRODUCED

A MEETINGS AND EVENTS

MANAGEMENT SERVICE TO

HELP ITS MEMBERS FULFIL

CLIENTS’ REQUIREMENTS

IN THIS AREA. IT IS A

WHITE-LABELLED FULL-

SERVICE OFFERING.

GLOBAL COVERAGE

WIN is now represented

in 75 countries with 6,000

agency locations. Its

members handle a

combined

turnover in

excess of

US$25billion.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

21


EVENT PREVIEW

The Business Travel Conference

The final countdown...

It’s the final countdown to The Business

Travel Conference 2019, taking place on

17th-18th September at the Hilton

London Bankside!

The event brings together buyers and

suppliers of business travel for a two-day

exhibition and conference programme.

Delegates will be able to dip in and out of

conference sessions that are of interest and

listen from anywhere within the venue via

‘silent conference’ headphones – or simply

meet around 60 leading business travel

and meetings suppliers in the integrated

exhibition space. For the very first time, this

features a Star Alliance meetings zone and

a dedicated travel wellbeing and advice area

in collaboration with a number of partners.

TBTC wellbeing partners

• Naomi Jones of Shizen Nutrition is a

registered Nutritional Therapist. Her

mission is to help clients improve their

health and wellbeing to manage their

busy, demanding lives through easilyimplementable

diet and lifestyle advice,

DAY ONE: TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

• Opening keynote: Gillian Keegan MP,

kindly sponsored by Air Europa

• View from the top: a trio of industry

figures reflect on the business travel

sector’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?

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS

DAY TWO: WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

The travel manager 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

traveller wellbeing central

to your policy

The mission is to

help clients improve

their health and wellbeing

to manage their busy,

demanding lives through

easily-implementable diet

and lifestyle advice”

focusing firstly on boosting their energy and

vitality, and improving resilience during

regular travel to maintain productivity.

Delegates can complete a three-day food

diary to email to her pre-event (download

from the TBTC website) for analysis too.

• Silvia Vizzoni is founder of Trip Unwind

and will be on hand to give delegates an

introduction to mindfulness and meditation.

Trip Unwind works with corporates and

has designed a range of services that help

leaders and employees within the travel

industry to build resilience and live a more

balanced life.

• Small wonders: helping SMEs make

the most of their travel spend

• New kids on the block: discover a

new wave of technology, tools and

TMCs on the market

• Air time: take your air travel spend to

new heights with expert guidance

• Wellbeing advice (group huddles)

• Mindfulness and meditation

• Top nutrition tips for more sustained

energy levels

• Diverse traveller safety

• Drinks Reception and Charity Raffle

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.

• Wellness advice (group huddles)

• Diverse traveller safety

• Mindfulness and mindful eating

• Closing keynote: Sir Trevor McDonald

brings the conference to a close with a

keynote address

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


EVENT PREVIEW

SPONSORS

THE DETAILS

What is TBTC?

Helping organisations

navigate the gender

agenda in the business travel

duty of care space”

• Maiden Voyage is the leading expert in

diverse traveller safety. Erica Toase will be

able to share advice on how organisations

can navigate the gender agenda in the

business travel duty of care space.

Maiden Voyage also provides a range of

online and offline training solutions to help

educate and support female and LGBTQ+

travellers and provide assistance with

shaping diverse corporate traveller policies.

• Gavin Percy is Managing Director of

Winning Edge Consultancy and a mental

health first aider. Following some mental

health issues close to him, Gavin decided

to specialise in mental health first aid

training to improve attitudes to mental

health in the workplace.

He will be able to share how this can

improve morale, loyalty, productivity and

employee wellbeing. Gavin is the nominated

trainer for the HBAA in this area.

• Finally, we are pleased to welcome back

Lloyd Figgins, a former keynote speaker at

TBTC who is Chairman of the TRIP Group.

The TRIP Group is made up of like-minded

risk management professionals, who are

responsible for the safety and security of

personnel when they travel overseas.

Members come from a wide variety of

industry sectors, including large

corporations, NGOs, higher education,

government departments and the travel and

tourism industry.

This allows the TRIP group to draw on a

wide range of experience, knowledge and

expertise in order to keep travellers safe.

Delegates will also be able to hear Lloyd on

stage during the In Safe Hands session.

All attendees at TBTC will be able to drop

in and out of the area to catch up with the

companies featured and attend some small

group huddles at allocated times.

TBTC'19's charity of choice

The Business Travel Conference will be

supporting the London Taxi Drivers’

Charity for Children with a raffle at the

Monday Drinks and Canape reception.

The reception is kindly sponsored by

aparthotel group Native.

LTCFC, which began

in 1928, runs annual

outings and funds

appeals for special

needs children

WELLBEING SPONSORS

An intimate exhibition and

conference for bookers, buyers,

arrangers and managers of business

travel and meetings

When?

Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th

September, 2019

Where?

The London Hilton

Bankside Hotel,

Great Suffolk Street,

London SE1 0UG

How do I register

for free?

thebusinesstravelconference.com

Find out if you qualify for

a hosted place

Exhibition and

sponsorship

enquiries?

Contact Kirsty Hicks

kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk

Tel: 07747 697 772

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

23


EVENT PREVIEW

TBTC'19 EXHIBITORS

HEADLINE SPONSOR

STAR ALLIANCE LAUNCHES

NEW ROUND THE WORLD

BOOKING SITE

Round the World tickets are not just

for the adventurous. More and more

business travellers are discovering the

perks of Round the World tickets for

their duty travel.

In fact, the UK ranks among the top ten

markets for business travel on Star

Alliance Round the World bookings.

When choosing a Star Alliance Round

the World ticket, business travellers

benefit from an excellent priceperformance-ratio

when combining

several duty trips into one, and at the

same time increase their efficiency by not

having to return to the point of origin.

iGo. Anywhere

For example, one of the most popular

routes out of London Heathrow for

business travellers is LHR-NYC-SFO-TYO-

SIN-FRA-LHR.

On its mission to improve the customer

experience, Star Alliance has relaunched

its Round the World booking tool with a

completely new look. Based on customer

feedback, the design is more map-based

and provides a more intuitive experience.

Inspiring images and brief descriptions

of the destinations make it easy to plan

the ideal routing. In just a few easy steps,

Round The World or Circle Pacific trips can

be organised and validated. See:

staralliance.com/en/round-the-world

24 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


THE BIG PICTURE

Pricey rides

Switzerland

Think twice before

catching a cab in

Switzerland – it has

been declared the most

expensive destination

for taxi fares worldwide.

The average 5km trip

costs £20.25, which is

considerably more than

second-placed Japan

(£13.97). Germany and

the Netherlands were

next most expensive

while the UK was eighth,

according to research

from taxi2airport.com

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

25


awards

meet the winner

Colin Harvey

BCD Travel’s Colin Harvey was named Account Manager of the Year

at the Business Travel People Awards 2019

How did it feel to

be named Account

Manager of the Year

at the awards?

I was immensely proud

and honoured. To be

recognised personally

by our industry on a national level feels such

a huge achievement and is also a great

reflection on the whole AstraZeneca and

BCD Travel team.

Why did you enter the awards or how did

you come to be nominated?

I was very humbled to learn that I was

nominated by our global lead at AstraZeneca

to show appreciation and recognition for my

work and contribution to our partnership. It

was really special to find out that they’d

done this for me. My colleague Jill Burnett

was also nominated by our client and it was

amazing to see her win the Reservations

Consultant of the Year category too!

Tell us about your role and the work

you’ve done that clinched the award.

I am the EMEA Regional Program

Manager with the responsibility

of managing the

AstraZeneca/BCD Travel

program across 35

countries. Although my

remit is regional, I

collaborate on many

global projects. I

constantly challenge

the “business as usual”

thinking, not just looking

at the “so what” but “so

what do we have to do”.

What do you particularly enjoy

about your role in the industry?

I really enjoy the varied nature of my work

and how quickly the industry is changing.

Working with a client who has a desire to

innovate allows me to be creative and offer

The Business Travel

People Awards recognise

outstanding individuals

and teams across all aspects

of the supplier element of

corporate travel

leading-edge solutions to optimise their

program and increase traveller satisfaction.

There’s a real spirit of partnership and

mutual respect across our global team –

we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do

better, but we have fun as well.

What do you think of The

Business Travel People

Awards and of the

winners event?

This was my first time

attending these

awards, and I hadn’t

quite realised the size

and scale of the event.

It’s such a great

showcase to recognise

and acknowledge the

amazing talent that is not

often represented. It was

particularly special to share the experience

on the day with the AstraZeneca/BCD Travel

team. The opportunity to spend time with

the other winners on an all-expenses-paid

trip to Boston is a very generous prize.

The awards are such

a great showcase to

recognise and acknowledge

the amazing talent that is not

often represented”

What impact do you think winning an

award will have on your career?

It has certainly given me more exposure

both internally and externally and I am sure

this has raised my profile further within BCD.

Knowing that the client recognises and

values your work is very rewarding.

What are some of the biggest challenges

you’re currently facing in your role?

New technologies, changes in distribution

and the amount of disruptors entering our

space constantly challenge us to find new

solutions. Sustainability and traveller

wellbeing are also front and centre right

now. Removing the complexity associated

with all of the above – and exploiting the

opportunities they bring – is essential.

26 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


GALLERY

The Business Travel

People Awards 2019

Winners’ trip

to Boston

The winners of The Business Travel

People Awards 2019 jetted off to

Boston last month for a well-deserved

treat, with flights courtesy of Virgin

Atlantic and Delta Air Lines and

accommodation provided by Loews

Hotels.

The People Awards winners’ trip ▼

Boston’s iconic Fenway

Park baseball stadium

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 14.07.2019

Cheers to all our

2019 winners!

Having a whale

of a time...

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

27


THE CONVERSATION

Chief Executive Officer, Yotel

HUBERT VIRIOT

The distinctive hotel group’s CEO tells Catherine Chetwynd about

its rapid growth after a relatively low-key beginning

Yotel’s recent growth has been

phenomenal. A year and a half ago,

the company had only one hotel in

the US that catered primarily to domestic

New York customers and European guests.

Now there are also Yotels in Boston, San

Francisco and Washington, and a recently

opened tenth US property, in Atlanta.

And expansion is not just restricted to the

US. “The announcement in July of our hotel

in Melbourne [planned for 2022] was the

turning point for the organisation. Our

growth is not just wishful thinking, it is a

strategy and it is happening,” says the

group's CEO, Hubert Viriot.

“We are not only a good, efficient operator,

we need to demonstrate operational

synergies across hotels and reach our

customer base. To do that we need to have

multiple properties within the market.”

The idea is to follow the same strategy

elsewhere: Australia, where Yotel Melbourne

will be joined by YotelAIR and YotelPAD;

the Far East, in Japan, Singapore and Hong

Kong; and Dubai. By the end of this year

there will be 16 Yotels in operation and by

the end of next year, 24, with the company

on track to have 60 open by 2023.

“Our strategy so far has been to open up

new markets with a flagship, which is what

we have done in New York, Singapore and

Istanbul. The next phase of development is

to grow within these markets.”

The group's very first properties opened in

2007 at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

They have since been joined by a property

in Edinburgh (this summer), while Glasgow

and London Clerkenwell will open later this

year and Amsterdam and Porto follow in

September and the year-end respectively.

Yotel destinations are not chosen to fill a

gap in the budget hotel market, they are

based on the group’s target consumer and

“on certain realistic dynamics”, as Viriot puts

it. The Yotel customer is urban and well

travelled and, being independent, will go

out to explore their surroundings, so their

requirement is premium accommodation

and limited facilities. Properties are also in

locations that suit Yotel’s investors.

“Two things are unique in our organisation.

We are going through tremendous growth

in a new market segment, so we are building

our own destiny to some extent. We cannot

follow and cannot do what others have

done, and that takes a lot,” Viriot explains.

The second thing that takes a lot is that

we immediately decided to occupy a global

We raised capital

with Starwood three

years ago and frankly, had we

not been located in the UK,

it would have been a much

harder job to achieve”

footprint because our customer is not a

specific nationality. We find him or her in

Sydney, or San Francisco or London or

Paris, so we are meeting the challenges of a

new segment and building a business with

the complexity of doing it across the world.”

Viriot joined Yotel in 2014 and was living in

Dubai at the time. “At the time, Yotel was a

small enterprise – 12 people and four hotels

under management. We could have based

this business anywhere, it didn’t have to be

London, but there were several reasons to

be in London and stay in the UK.

“Firstly, logistics. If you are going to grow a

business into a global concern, the centre of

gravity is London,” he explains.

“Secondly, looking for capital, and that

worked out well. We raised capital with

Starwood three years ago and frankly, had

we not been in the UK, it would have been a

much harder job to achieve,” says Viriot.

“Thirdly, and most importantly, if you are

going to grow a global business, you need

to attract the best talent and where else but

London to do that?”

The availability of foreign operational

employees post-Brexit is a concern,

although its new Edinburgh property

opened with a full complement of staff.

“So far, we haven’t suffered much and I

am a great believer that it is not an endgame

and there is a bright future ahead,” says

Viriot. “It might take a few more years than

it would have, but it will all work out.”

28 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


THE CONVERSATION

in brief...

What was it like living in

Bangkok?

Bangkok is one of the best

cities in the world and

Thailand is a fantastic

country – a great market.

Ironically, I was there from

2008 to 2013 when most

of the world was going

through a global financial

crisis. However Thailand

was immune because it

had been the origin of

another crisis in 1997.

As a result, all banks and

companies across the

country were restructured

between 1997 and 2008,

and had very healthy

balance sheets, which is

why we were going through

tremendous growth – triple

digits year on year. It was a

great experience. Also, that

background has helped me

understand how developers

think and what is important

for them; that has facilitated

our growth to date.

HUBERT VIRIOT

Hubert Viriot joined YOTEL in May 2014 to roll out an

aggressive growth strategy targeting key city centres

and international airports worldwide. Prior to this, he

was CEO of Raimon Land PLC, a real estate developer

listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. During his

four-year tenure, Viriot orchestrated its successful

turnaround and increased the company’s development

portfolio from $200m to $1.1bn. Previously, he spent

four years as VP of Investments & Acquisitions with

IFA Hotels & Resorts, YOTEL’s parent company, and

five years with global consulting firm HVS.

What do you do when

you are not 'yotelling'?

That doesn’t leave much

time! I don’t know whether

it’s a good idea but I don’t

have a very clear border

between work and not

work. This is the second

business I’m growing and

I know how much it takes

– and so does my family.

My job and personal life

involve a lot of travel. Most

of my spare time is spent

with my wife and two kids,

letting them get used to a

normal lifestyle and trying

to build a social life in

fantastic London, which I

am very much enjoying.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

29


UK hotel groUps

Right at

hoMe

The UK hotel industry is facing a number of Brexit-related

challenges but has received a timely boost from the

government. Catherine Chetwynd charts the changes

In June, the UK government announced

it would be making a significant

investment in tourism and hospitality

to help reaffirm “the UK’s global role as a

key player in the industry”.

It has committed to adding 130,000 new UK

hotel rooms by 2025 – 75% of which will be

outside London – and to deliver 10,000 new

apprenticeships in the sector every year.

In addition, it will invest in broadband

connectivity for UK conference centres to

boost business travel and develop a strategy

to grow off-season travel.

easyHotel

The positive news for this important

economic sector comes at a time when the

prospect of leaving the European Union is

causing headaches for many hoteliers.

The biggest concern that Brexit brings for

the hospitality sector is how it could affect

staffing,” says SVP Hotel Solutions for BCD

Travel, April Bridgeman. “Hotels in the UK

rely heavily on overseas workers, many from

other EU states. If that labour force leaves,

by choice or by policy, hotels will face a

shortage of labour and if that has to be filled

by local staff, costs will go up which, in turn,

will increase room rates.”

Brexit isn't all bad

However, Advantage Travel Partnership’s

Hotels Market Report (January to March)

shows a positive picture compared to 2018:

UK room nights were up 5.1%, London room

nights up by 5%, Portsmouth up 68% and

York up 82%. In addition, a further ten towns

showed a growth of more than 20%.

London remains buoyant and seems to be

a microclimate amid the rest of the country.

Hotel numbers continue to grow apace and

as soon as they open, beds fill up and

average room rates climb. Bookers are

getting wiser about booking in advance but

high demand is putting pressure on

corporate relationships. Conventional

wisdom might dictate that with properties

springing up all over the country and

business slowing down, that competitive

corporate rates should be plentiful. However,

the problem is not negotiating them, it is

being able to use them.

“In London, hotels are happy to give good

rates but they are apprehensive about how

much volume corporates are going to give,”

says Managing Director of Sirius

Management, Tom Stone. “You might think

the more business a company gives a hotel,

the cheaper it’s going to be, but the pace in

London is so great that a hotel will give a

rate on only 100 or 1,000 room nights, not

for the 30,000 a buyer can potentially give.

“And there is an elephant in the room. A lot

of hotels that work with corporates want to

do so on the basis of longevity and as a

partnership but hotels in London are

generally privately owned and managed by

chains. This means owners are constantly

putting pressure on management teams –

the GM, revenue manager or sales manager

– to deliver higher yield on the rooms and

that sometimes doesn’t lead to a feeling of

partnership with a corporate. There is

nowhere outside London where occupancies

are so high that that applies,” he says.

30 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


UK hotel groups

With new properties

springing up all over

the country and business

slowing down, you'd think

competitive corporate rates

should be plentiful”

Hand Picked Hotels'

Stanbrook Abbey

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

31


UK hotel groUps

The ongoing

uncertainty of Brexit

presents clear challenges.

Never has it been more

important to ensure your

brand is as strong as possible”

Travelodge

Leonardo Royal St Paul's

There are, however, cities that are

benefiting from London's ripple effect,

which extends to Reading, Bristol and Milton

Keynes, where rates have remained stable.

There is also considerable construction in

Manchester, although there is not yet any

suggestion of oversupply.

In addition, “Birmingham is one to watch,”

says Managing Partner for Black Box

Partnership, Leigh Cowlishaw. “There has

been a lot of investment in regeneration of

key areas, it is a central location that people

want to visit and the NEC pulls in crowds

who need to stay overnight.

There has also been government

investment in infrastructure, with HS2

pending, and this all points towards strong

city growth. Traffic through the airport is also

increasing, with more international direct

flights, and the New Street hub has excellent

links with the rest of the country.”

Group growth plans

Travelodge is growing exponentially, while

there is an increase in mid- to high-range

hotels too. “There are a lot of groups

focusing on the UK domestic market and

doing very well,” says Tom Stone.

Evidence includes the 17 hotels Travelodge

expects to open in the UK, in locations that

include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool,

London, Marlow, Solihull and Swindon, with

an investment of around £115million. It will

continue to roll out Travelodge Plus, its

‘budget chic’ model, having just opened its

seventh in Marlow-on-Thames, while its

'premium economy' SuperRooms are now

available in 50 hotels, with facilities that

include Lavazza coffee machines, USB power

outlets, hairdryer and irons.

“Since Travelodge started its modernisation

programme more than five years ago, it has

opened 60-plus hotels and invested more

than £150million in improving quality and

choice, while staying true to its budget

roots,” says spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed.

“Sales have grown by more than

£250million, fuelled by a rise in corporate

and SME business. More than 50% of

customers are business travellers.”

These guests benefit from Travelodge

Business, a new business account card with

features that include a guaranteed 5%

discount on all flexible rate bookings, up to

six weeks' interest free credit, a monthly

consolidated VAT invoice, and room

allocation on quiet business floors.

An abundance of openings

Bespoke Hotels owns and manages 76

properties in the UK and has taken on

agreements for five more. In 2020, it will

open Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester with 120

rooms, Coventry Evening Telegraph Hotel

(66) and Hotel Gotham, Glasgow (56).

The company offers reduced corporate

rates to organisations with a high volume

of demand in a specific location and

participates in agency and consortium

programmes nationally.

The impact of Brexit is mixed, with the low

value of sterling attracting leisure visitors

from the rest of Europe and keeping Brits at

home. But Managing Director Operations,

Graham Marksell, says: “The corporate and

conference markets have weakened as

businesses became nervous about the future

and companies have focused their resource,

both in people and finance, on securing their

Brexit strategies.”

With five hotels in the UK – located in

Glasgow (two), Edinburgh, Leeds and

Manchester, which opened this year –

Dakota Hotels is now looking at locations

such as Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol,

Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, the

M4-corridor, Manchester Airport, Newcastle,

Oxford and central London.

The group aims to deliver luxury hotels and

restaurants at accessible prices, stimulating

interest from higher management and

C-Suite executives. It does not offer

corporate schemes.

“We focus on recognition and build

personal relationships, ensuring that every

guest’s experience is exceptional – our

ultimate goal is complete satisfaction,” says

Group Director Andrew Overstone.

The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit presents

clear challenges in terms of planning ahead.

Never has it been more important to ensure

your brand is as strong as possible.”

Scottish-based Apex has ten hotels in

London (3), Bath, Edinburgh (4), Glasgow and

Hub by Premier Inn

32 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


UK hotel groUps

Apex City of London

Dundee. The group is not planning to

expand but instead spent £12million last

year on improvements to the portfolio,

including £6million on restoring and

refurbishing an extension to the Apex

Temple Court Hotel on Fleet Street, London,

adding five suites, large deluxe bedrooms, a

wine bar and two private dining rooms.

The group’s Bath property opened in 2017

with 177 bedrooms and the city’s only

purpose-built city centre conference facility.

Since then the property has hosted more

than £1million of business.

Brexit has inevitably had an effect:

“Booking windows from the US have

shortened from six to eight weeks to three

to four weeks, particularly in London,” says

Commercial Director Clinton Campbell. “And

across the portfolio, properties have seen

lead times decrease year-on-year, sitting at

approximately 17 days.”

In London, Apex saw a slowing of corporate

bookings in Q1, leading up to the original

Brexit deadline, and although business has

picked up, Campbell says it could see a similar

pattern later in the year as the new deadline

looms. However conference bookings across

the group have changed from seasonal to a

“steadier stream month to month”.

EasyHotel has 13 hotels in the UK and in

the past 12 months opened in Leeds,

Sheffield, Ipswich and Milton Keynes; its

flagship property in London’s Old Street

reopened in July after a full renovation. Next

off the blocks are Chester, Cardiff, Oxford

and Blackpool, with Cambridge and Bristol to

follow, subject to planning consent.

Boutique options

Country house hotel group Hand Picked

Hotels has 19 properties and there has been

recent growth in corporate bookings at

Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath (35%),

Crathorne Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire (6%),

and at two properties in Surrey: Nutfield

Priory Hotel & Spa in Redhill (30%) and

Woodlands Park Hotel, Cobham (8%).

Corporate rates are available for

businesses giving the right volume of

bookings and members of the company’s

Privilege Rewards programme get 5% to

10% discounts on room rates.

Malmaison and Hotel du Vin are owned by

Singaporean company Frasers Hospitality

and the 29 properties that comprised the

brands when it acquired them in 2015 have

grown to 35, with a goal of 50 by 2022.

Malmaisons open in Edinburgh late this

year, York in 2020, and in Bournemouth and

Manchester in 2021. A number of projects

for Hotel du Vin are also on the cards.

“Corporate bookings in today’s world are

more and more difficult to track because a

lot come through online channels – that

makes up some 70% of our business,” says

CEO of EMEA, Guus Bakker.

“Malmaison, in particular, remains a strong

brand for corporate bookings. We have Work

and Play meeting spaces in a number of

hotels and we are developing it in others, to

provide smaller flexible spaces. Up to 40% of

our business is corporate in Malmaison.

“Trading in the UK has challenges:

uncertainty around Brexit is not helpful but

at some stage it will improve and then at

least there will be clarity. It has had an

impact on confidence and we continue to

Premier Inn

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

33


UK hotel groUps

[ WHO OFFERS WHAT ]

Apex Hotels: will have invested £12million in

its portfolio of ten properties by the end of

2019, including a £6m project to restore and

refurbish Apex Temple Court on Fleet Street.

Bespoke Hotels: owns and manages

76 properties in the UK, including new

agreements for five hotels in the past 12

months. It will add three more in 2020 in

Manchester, Glasgow and Coventry in time for

the city’s year as UK City of Culture.

Dakota Hotels: has only five properties to

date but is looking for new sites.

Dakota Hotels

feel that in consumer spending,” he says.

“For the time being, we are consolidating and

making sure we optimise the management

of our existing portfolio within the UK, rather

than spreading ourselves thin and going

abroad,” says Bakker.

Industry challenges

Bakker’s comment about booking channels

reflects the increasing tendency for buyers to

move away from RFPs, as Tom Stone

explains. “They still play an important role

but people are wise to savings that can be

achieved through dynamic pricing and most

organisations might, typically, have a

preferred rate and then underpin that by

charging the TMC to see what’s available on

booking.com or Expedia that will potentially

undercut their negotiated rate,” says Stone.

“I also think there is a move to see whether

the hotel RFP can be done on a biannual

basis rather than annually – it is very labour

intensive,” he says. “The trick is to try and

factor in an agreed increase. This might be

Brexit has stimulated

conversation and

debate regarding the future

of our country, creating

positive engagement”

the rate of inflation or the cost of living

index. I think that’s possible in some markets

but very difficult in markets like London –

hoteliers want the ability to increase rates if

the market dictates,” Stone explains.

WIN Global Travel Network's CEO Neil

Armorgie adds: “The top challenges facing

the hotel industry are similar to other

industries: uncertainty with the slowdown of

the global economy; rising costs in salaries

and utilities; the trade tariff wars between

China and the USA, and the still unresolved

Brexit negotiations.”

He continues: “So despite the strong start

to the year for our members, there are signs

that overall economic growth could have an

effect on slowing hotel booking volumes

through the rest of the year. That, and

increased supply in the UK, will mean that

hotel rates will flatten and could even drop.”

Dakota's Andrew Overstone ends on a

positive note. “Brexit's impact, so far, has

been quite encouraging. It has stimulated

conversation and debate regarding the

future of our country, creating genuine

dialogue and positive engagement.

“People are actively considering the

position of the UK, which affects their day to

day decisions. With last year’s glorious

summer, and the recent spell of sunshine,

people have definitely seen the benefit of the

great British staycation, which has definitely

been positive for the UK hotels industry.”

EasyHotels: has an aggregate 37 owned and

franchised hotels in the UK and Europe, four

of which opened in the UK in the past year. Its

pipeline comprises another five, with two

subject to planning consent.

Hand Picked Hotels: last year upgraded and

relaunched its loyalty programme as Privilege

Rewards, with new awards that include

exclusive room rate discounts and upgrades.

Hotel du Vin & Malmaison: is aiming for

50 properties by 2022, from the current

19 (Hotel du Vin) and 16 (Malmaison).

Jurys Inn & Leonardo: has properties in over

30 cities in the UK and Ireland. It acquired

and rebranded four Grange Hotels in London

earlier this year.

Macdonald Hotels: over 35 luxury hotels

across the UK and is particularly strong

in Scotland.

Premier Inn: has over 800 hotels across

the UK and Ireland, plus sub-brands

Zip (just one so far, in Cardiff) and Hub

(in London and Edinburgh).

Q Hotels: having launched in 2003 with two

hotels, it now manages 21 across the UK.

Travelodge: has more than 560 hotels and

aims to open another 17 in 2019. Also has a

£100million expansion plan, targeting the

UK's largest conference locations.

Village Hotels: has 30 hotels across the UK;

strong in the North and Midlands.

Z Hotels: 13 hotels offering 'affordable luxury'

in London, Glasgow and Liverpool.

34 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Isn’t it time you started saving with the

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travelodge.co.uk


GALLERY

The Business Travel

People Awards 2019

Winners’ lunch

Raising a glass

to success!

People Awards winners’ lunch ▼

All the winners from The Business

Travel People Awards 2019 were

hosted at a celebratory lunch courtesy

of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts at The

Shard in June. On a beautiful clear

day, the winners were treated to a

Champagne reception, three-course

meal and some stunning views.

▲ 28.06.2019

All seated and ready to tuck

in to a three-course feast!

Awesome views from

the London landmark

36 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


MEET THE BUYER

meet

PRADEEP NAIR

Pradeep Nair is Director of Global Procurement at the NBA. He tells us about

his organisation’s evolving use of data to inform its travel programme

I’ve been in my role for two years and

have been in procurement for much

longer. I’m based in New Jersey and travel

management takes up around half of my

time. The NBA is a global sports and media

business built around four professional

sports leagues: The National Basketball

Association, the Women’s National

Basketball Association, the NBA G League

and the NBA 2K League.

Approximately 60% of our travel spend

is on domestic travel. We use an online

booking tool and have a very high adoption

rate. The transformation of business travel

started last year for us, in 2018. We’re

enhancing three things: the traveller

experience, the policy and our contracts.

Central to all this are our travellers – they

are partners in this change.

Data and technology are evolving at an

exponential rate and we want to leverage

these to transform business travel. We

want to provide a great experience to our

travellers and reduce the cost of travel by

aggregating and consolidating data.

One of our biggest challenges in doing

this was that we had 13 sources of data,

internally and externally, and they were

fragmented and not normalised. The next

question was whether to develop an

in-house tool or to use third-party

technology to bring it all together to get

a true picture of our travel spend.

We chose to do it in-house because we

had the resources and skills. It gave us

flexibility and produced a solution based on

our specific needs, enabling us to make factbased

changes to policy and contracts. It

took eight months to build but I was working

on it as a concept for a year before that.

Our Enterprise Data Warehouse, as the

tool is called, is a one-stop shop for all our

sources of data. They all feed into it and

from there reports and analytics are

generated. There is a dashboard for senior

level reporting for CFOs and the leadership

team. And we can drill down to individual

travellers or trips to look at advance

booking behaviour, booking method, high

value tickets, cabin class, lost savings,

number of days travel, and a whole lot

more. We can also move boundaries and

see what the impact would be of making

certain changes to policy.

We also now have real-time savings

alerts through a third party partner

which highlights the potential savings

through rebooking between the time of the

initial booking and the time of travel. We’ve

saved more than a million dollars using this.

What we have achieved so far has

worked because we have involved people

right from the start, and we’ve achieved

pretty good results. We’ve seen a 10%

reduction in our travel costs and very high

traveller satisfaction.

We really listen to our travellers. Getting

feedback is so important, so we conduct

regular traveller surveys. These are targeted

at the people who are travelling frequently.

We’ve had more than an 80% response rate

– and 93% favourable response – because

people know they’ll be listened to and that

we’ll take action.

We’re not done yet! This is an ongoing

process and we continue to evaluate the

information. What works today might not

work tomorrow, so we have to keep

abreast of change.

We really listen to our

travellers. Getting

feedback is so important, so

we conduct regular surveys.

We've had more than an 80%

response rate because people

know they'll be listened to”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

37


TECHNOLOGY

[ Delays and disruption ]

Smooth landings

Airlines are adopting new technology to help alleviate the

stress around airline disruptions, writes Linda Fox

All corporate travellers will have

suffered them at one time or

another, be it because of weather

events, tech problems or something else,

but flight delays are a bind whatever

form they take.

One airline taking action is Cathay Pacific,

which began looking at how it might

mitigate the disruption caused by typhoons

in its home region. The airline says it

wanted to take a customer-centric approach

to something that can impact as many as

100,000 passengers if flights have to be

cancelled for one day.

Josh Rogers, Head of Airport Customer

Service at Cathay Pacific, says the airline

dealt with 31 typhoon-related events last

year alone. Speaking at the Amadeus Airline

Executive Summit, held in Istanbul in June,

he said the carrier opted for a “designthinking

approach” by asking itself

questions around how it can improve the

experience for passengers, employees and

the airline’s operations.

What Cathay ended up with was a threepronged

solution, with Amadeus Passenger

Recovery technology used to optimise how

disruptions are handled, 15Below used for

communications, and a chatbot tool called

Vera developed with Accenture to help

passengers rebook their flights.

With this technology in place, the hope is

that when a typhoon is expected, the airline

can plan ahead more effectively.

For example, customers on non-essential

travel have the opportunity to change their

plans ahead of time and will receive an

email with options and a link to the chatbot.

The chatbot is then able to rebook their

preferred flight in four steps.

In the aftermath of disruption, the airline

is hoping that the same four steps to book

will prevent the chaotic scenes at the airport

that have made media headlines in the past.

The airline has so far trialled the solution,

with all passengers on a cancelled Hong

Kong to Shanghai flight rebooked within six

to eight minutes. Scenarios are already

being run for when typhoon season hits.

The next step is to work with Amadeus to

use the Vera chatbot to help with rebooking

passengers that booked via a travel agency

or other third party, rather than direct.

Lufthansa, however, says that it has no

email or contact details for about 20% of its

passengers and hopes that it can address

this challenge, as well as handle disruption

more effectively, by equipping its staff with

the Amadeus Airport Companion application.

Ultimately, the airline’s vision is to remove

counters and check-in desks and have

roaming staff at its airports with the app

able to check them in, handle transfers in a

disruption and sell ancillaries, among other

various duties.

Initially, however, the app is

focused on helping Lufthansa’s

passengers during disruption.

Also speaking at the Amadeus

event, Vicky Scherber, Senior

Director of Passenger and Baggage

Processes for Lufthansa Group,

said: “In ten years time there will

be less desks and counters.

We want to mobilise our agents

to give them the tools because a

lot of the time the passenger

knows more about the status

of a flight than

the employee,

so we really

need to enable

the colleague

to make a

positive impact.”

Scherber added

that some education is also

required, with the airline

discovering in tests that between

50% and 70% of passengers

queueing at a service desk have

already been rebooked.

We want to mobilise

our agents and give

them the tools because a lot of

the time the passenger knows

more about the status of a

flight than the employee”

38 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


EVENT REPORT

Travel Counsellors conference

The human touch

Client relationships, technology and the

‘human touch’ were among the key

themes discussed at Travel Counsellors’

business travel conference in June.

Travel Counsellors’ biggest corporate travel

conference to date saw nearly 200 business

travel specialists and supplier partners

gather in Birmingham for the two-day event.

Opening the event, CEO Steve Byrne said

the organisation – which specialises in the

SME sector – aims to continue its doubledigit

growth over the next five years.

“Each year up to 300 people across the

globe become entrepreneurs through Travel

Counsellors, running their own corporate

travel businesses from home or shared

offices, supporting their clients to make up

to 150,000 trips to 175 countries across the

globe,” said Byrne.

“We’ve seen 18% global growth year-onyear

for corporate travel, winning £22million

in new business in the last 12 months

alone. This growth trajectory is in no small

part due to the trusted relationships you

create with your clients, and the care and

dedication you show each day to ensure

they enjoy seamless travel and booking

experiences,” he added.

Meanwhile, Travel Counsellors Director

of Digital and Innovation, Waseem Haq,

discussed the organisation’s technology

developments. “The biggest trend we’re

seeing from our corporate travel clients is

the desire for an increasingly ‘mobile’

experience,” said Haq.

“60% of our customers use mobile travel

apps and find push alerts incredibly useful

to support frictionless journeys. With 81% of

our customers favouring voice search on

mobile too, we’re continuously looking for

opportunities to incorporate artificial

intelligence where it enhances our client’s

experiences with us,” he explained.

Haq said that the company's bespoke

technology platform Phenix continues to

receive £2.5million in investment per year,

with the booking system set to become an

intelligent tool that will recommend

personal itineraries according to client

booking behaviour.

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines were

headline sponsors of the annual event.

NUMBERS UP

Travel Counsellors

generates turnover of more

than £220million a year

and has over 1,800 travel

franchisees supported by

400 staff across

its Manchester

headquarters

and six

overseas

offices.

DOING IT RIGHT

“TRAVEL COUNSELLORS

WILL CONTINUE TO BE

SUCCESSFUL BY ALWAYS

DOING THE RIGHT THING BY

PEOPLE, SUPPORTING THE

COMMUNITIES WE WORK

WITHIN AND THE PLACES

OUR CLIENTS TRAVEL TO.”

Steve Byrne, CEO, Travel Counsellors

MEETINGS UP

Travel Counsellors

reported an 80% increase

in sales attached to MICE

activities in the first half

of this year in comparison

to the

same

period

last

year.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

39


PAYMENTS & EXPENSES

On the

MONEY

Payment processes are set for a shake-up this autumn,

writes Gillian Upton, while virtual cards and expense

management systems continue to gain traction

The prospect of Mark Zuckerberg’s

Facebook influencing the global

economy with an alternative

financial system based on Libra, its

crypto currency, is sending shockwaves

throughout the world’s banking system.

It’s probably second only to concerns over

the readiness of the European market for

the new European security legislation,

Strong Consumer Authentication or SCA,

intended to launch this September.

For the UK at least, the Financial Conduct

Authority (FCA) recognises the challenges of

meeting the autumn deadline of what is

also known as the PSD2 directive, a twofactor

authentication (PIN code, password,

available device, biometric data etc) on

online payments, and has announced a

grace period. Before the FCA announcement,

banks were predicting that some 30% of

e-commerce transactions would be

declined. SCA is already in practice in

Germany and France.

Christophe Lacour, Head of Merchant

Services at Amadeus Payments, believes

the grace period may add confusion over

intra-EEA cross-border transactions.

The local regulator of the issuer country

'A' may take a different stance on the grace

period than the local regulator of the

acquirer in country 'B',” he says. “In the UK,

the local regulator (the FCA), has confirmed

it will consider a grace period for individual

firms that can provide a documented

migration plan towards SCA compliance.”

Lacour advises moving towards SCA

readiness as soon as possible.

Industry experts believe SCA will have the

greatest potential impact on corporate

travel management companies as all service

providers will have to build authentication

into their payment flow and introduce an

extra step of identification. Merchantinitiated

transactions that use lodge or

virtual corporate cards, commonly used by

TMCs, may not require separate authentication,

according to the UK’s FCA.

Exemption confusion

Who’s exempt from SCA and who’s not is

still a grey area. However, it appears

unlikely that all corporate travel cards will

be exempt from SCA. Complying with it

won’t necessarily be straightforward in the

corporate travel space where authorisations

for card payments are often made as a

batch. This could explain how the industry

appears somewhat under prepared.

Bertrand Blais, Vice President, Product

Management at KDS says, “For online travel

booking this will add a step to the online

booking process for travellers using their

personal credit card.

“Meeting the requirements is not only

a question of compliance, but also a

technological, strategic and operational

challenge which extends beyond finance

and banking. It will require a technological

change and integration with suppliers –

that’s time consuming. For SMEs, it’s likely

to have a huge impact as they are not

generally using lodge cards or virtual cards.”

Blais believes there will be disruption,

whatever the implementation date, and that

some transactions could be blocked

because of it. “We might be caught out on

day one,” agrees Robin Smith, Chief Product

Engineer at Click Travel. “And we won’t

know if a card is not going to meet that

exemption until it happens.”

Despite these misgivings, adding an

additional layer of security on electronic

payments is welcomed as it will help protect

from fraud, which is a massive global

problem with physical credit cards.

It’s a strong argument for using virtual

cards instead, which can be tightly controlled

by merchant type, a pre-set value and time

windows, and are not affected by the new

SCA regulations (as far as anyone can tell).

40 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


PAYMENTS & EXPENSES

AirPlus says the FCA outlined which

products could be exempt if the issuer

met certain requirements and therefore

submitted an exemption request that

included “a lengthy explanation of how we

would fulfil the exemption requirements,”

explains Paul Spelman, AirPlus’ Managing

Director UK & Ireland.

“We had a follow-up call and they have

said that no further action is required on

our side, so in essence our lodge and virtual

products are now covered under the FCA

exemption,” says Spelman.

Virtual solutions

As the use of credit cards declines, it is

anticipated that virtual cards will be the

default payment of the future. Virtual cards

contain the same information as physical

cards – ie, an expiration date and CVV –

and are primarily used as an alternative to

corporate credit cards for hotel payment.

In the early days there were acceptance

issues with hotel front desk staff announcing

to the traveller on arrival that the room

hadn’t been paid for, but training and

familiarity have eased the situation, although

some travellers carry a copy of it on their

phone as back-up.

“We had to generate pictures of it and fax

round copies to prove the card existed,”

says Click’s Smith.

The bread and butter

locations have adopted

virtual cards, particularly

the large hotel chains,” says Maria Parpou,

Managing Director of Commercial Payments

at Barclaycard, one of the largest providers

of virtual cards under its Precision Pay

branded platform.

And as far as expenses are concerned,

they can be sent to a digital wallet which

makes reconciliation more seamless. Virtual

cards consolidate spend across multiple

sources of credits and the corporate

receives a consolidated invoice from the

provider with rich, detailed invoices

including custom data and cost centres.

Next year a virtual card will be able to be

sent to an app and payment made via a

phone via Apple Pay. “That will help bridge

the gap between a physical and virtual

card,” says Parpou.

According to BCD's report on the subject,

in 2016, fewer than 1% of respondents said

their company was using a virtual card as

a method of payment. This figure rose to

11% by 2017. Germany, in particular, has

adopted virtual cards in a big way, with

29% usage according to the BCD report.

The virtual credit card from AirPlus

International, called A.I.D.A, is a digital

version of a MasterCard. Of its three

products, A.I.D.A, a lodge account card

(mainly for airline spend), and a physical

plastic card, AirPlus' Spelman says that by

far the biggest growth is from virtual cards.

“We’ve witnessed 25% year-on-year

growth, which is much higher than the

other products are growing, and within

In the early days of

virtual cards there

were acceptance issues but

training and familiarity have

eased the situation”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

41


PAYMENTS & EXPENSES

We have single digits

of clients who have

got their head around the

whole payments and expenses

piece. We still come across

companies doing expenses

on Excel spreadsheets”

the next three years virtual cards will be

our biggest product.” MasterCard is more

optimistic and predicts 30% year-on-year

growth of virtual cards.

Spelman believes usage to date has

been with non-frequent travellers such as

contractors and part-time employees, who

wouldn’t be eligible for a corporate credit

card. “It means that they can pre-pay for

hotels,” says Spelman. “Corporates also

issue them off a central account to keep

better control of costs which has the knockon

benefit to improve compliance.”

The future of cash

Spelman predicts that, ultimately, cash will

disappear and that while a physical card will

continue to be convenient, they will also

disappear in the long run. “The winner will

be the virtual card,” he says. The growth in

Apple Pay and WeChat testifies to the fact

that consumers no longer want to, or need

to, carry a wallet full of credit cards.

John Vasili, Head of Global Sales at

Conferma, concurs, citing misuse and fraud,

and the cost to print and manage physical

card programmes as significantly reducing

the appetite for both the issuer and

customer to continue with physical cards.

He also believes there is another driver to

grow the market for virtual cards – mobile

enablement. Virtual cards linked to Apple

and Google wallets is being delivered today,

which removes the requirements for physical

cards for on-the-go corporate spend.

Disruptors such as Alipay and WeChat

moving in to the corporate pay arena

supports the case for the transition to

virtual cards with mobile contactless and

NFC enablement.

It hasn’t stopped Conferma Pay joining

forces with mid- and back-office technology

provider Procon Solutions to offer corporates

a fully automated virtual payment solution

to streamline invoicing processes and

remove manual intervention. The news,

announced in July, is available to clients

across EMEA and the APAC region.

TMCs are comfortable switching over to

a virtual card and are big users of virtual

technology. And corporates more and more

so as some will not realise they are even

using a virtual card as it comes out of a

central account and they will only see it as

a transaction.

Expense management

Despite the enormous dynamism in the

marketplace, expense management is still

in its infancy with corporates, according to

Dave Bishop, Commercial Director at travel

management company Gray Dawes.

“We have single digits of clients who have

got their head around the whole payments

and expenses piece,” he says. “We still come

across companies with paper expenses,

ExCel spreadsheets and invoices stapled

together in an envelope.”

Needing to deliver something that’s easy

to use and saves travellers’ time, Gray

Dawes offers the Certify expense tool to

clients, which allows mobile receipt capture

by photo (thanks to optical character

recognition – OCR) to the Certify app and

then autofills expense entries into an

expense report to review and submit. It also

allows faster reimbursement and insightful

reports on T&E spend.

Meanwhile, expense management

specialists are upping the ante when it

comes to the sort of analytics functionality

they provide customers.

Traveldoo, for example, introduced

Insight this summer, a platform it claims is

“one of the most sophisticated and dynamic

business intelligence modules on the

market”. Users can search over 100 KPIs

on the platform and filter and drill-down

into data visualisations to identify trends

and patterns.

“Our clients are very excited about this

new product feature,” says Traveldoo

analyst Suganya Sivasubramanian.

“Unlike most other products on the

market which have static reporting and

clunky functionality which require

analytics experts to delve into the

data, Insight has been designed to

be flexible, usable and dynamic.”

42 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES

Getting as many of the big-ticket items

on a central account as possible is the

seamless way to deal with travel and

expenses. Then that leaves less to spend on

the corporate card and makes for greater

compliance. Consolidate all of that into an

expenses system attributed by trip and all

that’s left to capture is the small, on-theroad

expenses such as a meal or taxi fare or

roaming charges from an international trip.

It should all be paperless and seamless.

The key to achieving this is the TMC, who

can capture all the data from the disparate

sources via APIs, as long as you ensure that

the provider you choose is directly

integrated with your TMC.

This seamless travel and expenses flow is

seen as best practice and is what corporates

should be aiming for once they see the

potential of integrating travel and expenses.

“Look at the US,” says Bishop. “Some 80%

of the client base is on Concur and, of that,

50% have successfully integrated travel and

expenses. That feels like where we could get

to in the UK.”

Change resistance

Resistance to change is one factor slowing

integration, while trust issues over providing

employees with cards is another. A third

reason is losing the beneficial cash flow

arrangement a TMC provides.

“Some corporates like to use some TMCs

as a bank as we give them credit and that’s

part of our value proposition,” says Bishop.

Their cash flow is important, ‘Let them pay

for it’, they say. I’ve seen glacial movement

from invoice to card over 20 years.”

A younger workforce is more accepting of

change, which translates largely to more

entrepreneurial SMEs automating travel

and expenses.

“Some 50% of millennials will be in the

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PAYMENTS & EXPENSES

direct consumption and this disaggregated

economy,” says Ian Ferguson, who runs the

Solutions Consulting Group at Business

Travel Direct.

AirPlus’ Spelman adds: “Don’t assume that

it’s the bigger brands moving ahead. Only

last week I talked to a very big brand that

still issues cash advances and leaves it up to

the individual to sort out what is personal

expenses and what is not.”

Another challenge is the silos corporates

create that must be broken down to

connect all the pieces together.

“Rather than log into different sites, take

all the sources, such as direct bookings,

expenses invoices, TMC bookings, Uber and

Starbucks expenses, into one silo,” says

Brian Tarble, Vice President of Global

Product Management, Concur Data &

Analytics at SAP.

Over the last two years the company has

re-designed its data platform to integrate all

the data sources and systems and to selfpopulate

it all into an expense report.

Mobile lag

Mobile payments are also lagging behind in

the corporate world. The next big step here

is to store a corporate card in a digital

wallet in a smartphone from which to make

payments, “but the technology isn’t quite

there yet,” says Airplus’ Spelman.

“I can go to my banking app and do it in

the leisure space but not in the business

space. We will see it in the latter end of next

year,” he says, adding that it will transform

the way corporate cards are used.

It’s the ideal application for small expenses

but not big-ticket items like airfares.

Moreover, the move away from centralised

bookings and towards travellers booking

their own travel will drive growth in mobile

payments in the long run.

Corporates can

wave goodbye to the

manual inputting of travel

and expense data and lengthy

approval times and say hello

to a sleeker, automated travel

and expenses process”

Blockchain hype

Much has been said about the spectre of

blockchain and at SAP Concur’s annual

Fusion conference one session flagged up

the five forces that will change the face of

corporate travel. Two of these were virtual

pay and blockchain (the others were NDC,

global tax laws and AI).

Blockchain is a way of securely transferring

money via intermediary banks to a payment

wallet in about four seconds rather than

the traditional two to three days.

“It’s all fully encrypted – it’s like a big

database,” explains Martin Biermann,

Chief Product Officer of HRS. It would see

an end to the high-profile account hacking,

experienced by Yahoo in three billion

accounts, for example. “It’s plug and play

without doing anything,” he says.

The downside is that blockchain is

focussed on crypto currencies currently so,

for now, the jury is out on what impact, if

any, it will have on instant payments in

corporate travel.

“We haven’t figured out yet how

blockchain will be used in travel,” says

Barclaycard’s Parpou. “I put a big question

mark around it as it needs to solve a

problem and, in travel, collaboration isn’t an

issue so I don’t see a primary need for it in

our business,” she says.

Other emerging technologies will have an

impact too. Machine learning – a form of AI

– will provide self-writing, self-checking

expenses in the future says BCD's report.

With hotels and airlines

demanding upfront

payment, the ecosystem

will have to evolve and

fast. AirPlus’ Spelman

believes payment will become

a condition of booking. “It will be a

case of, ‘if you want full NDC content

this is how you pay’,“ he says.

Corporates can wave goodbye to

the manual inputting of travel and

expense data and lengthy approval

times and say hello to a sleeker,

automated travel and expenses

process with greater efficiency of

process, tighter control over

spend, improved compliance and

visibility of spend. It’s an exciting

prospect if they choose

to embrace it.

46 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Autumn Sparkle

PA & EA Networking Evening

brought to you by The Business Travel Conference


Wednesday 16th October

Native Manchester

Join us for an evening of hospitality and

networking at this new property from Native.

The innovative aparthotel and independent

Cultureplex social hub includes the Bistrotheque

restaurant, a mini cinema, bar, coffee counter

and flexible events and workspaces along with

independent fitness space from BLOK.

Set in Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter

and close to Manchester Piccadilly Station, PAs

and EAs can enjoy the full Native experience,

seeing the facilities first hand whilst enjoying

complimentary drinks, delicious food and the

chance to win some fabulous prizes on the

evening courtesy of event sponsors.

PAs & EAs can apply for a free place via

thebusinesstravelconference.com

Suppliers can contact Kirsty.hicks@bmpublishing.co.uk regarding sponsorship opportunities

An event for buyers and arrangers

of business travel and meetings

thebusinesstravelconference.com

IN ASSOCIATION WITH


TALKING TRAVEL

Living legend

SIR TREVOR MCDONALD

News veteran and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald loves balmy Caribbean evenings, hates

airports, and describes himself as a coward in a conflict zone, writes Sasha Wood

As the leading newscaster of his

generation, Sir Trevor McDonald

has been responsible for many

landmark TV moments and has interviewed

key historical figures ranging from Saddam

Hussein to Peace Prize winners such as

Nelson Mandela and Benazir Bhutto.

Born in Trinidad, McDonald worked as a

local news reporter before moving to London

to join the BBC in 1969, and has since travelled

far and wide in his profession.

McDonald says he travelled like a king for

his most recent documentary, Indian Train

Adventure, covering his eight-day journey

between Mumbai and Jaipur aboard the

legendary Maharajas' Express.

“India overwhelms the senses. It’s such a

large country, so populous, so crowded and

the driving is utterly mad. It’s something you

have to do once,” says McDonald.

But it has not always been plain sailing.

When he joined ITN in the 1970s he was sent

to Northern Ireland during the height of The

Troubles. “There were people being shot and

bombs going off all the time,” he says. “I was

from Trinidad and used to seeing the odd

skirmish outside the rum shop on a Friday

night, but I’d never heard a bomb go off

before. I must admit there were times when I

was scared out of my wits. I am very cowardly

by nature so I learned to run.”

He reported from Beirut during the Lebanese

civil war, and went to Baghdad before the first

Gulf War to interview Saddam Hussein. In fact,

he lists Beirut among the most surprising

places he’s visited, partly because it managed

to remain so civilized even in the midst of

raging civil war.

“People were fighting and killing each other

during the week and on Sunday morning

people came out and set up little stalls selling

the finest French perfume and Champagne.

I turned up to a fine restaurant and I couldn’t

believe all the tables were full,” he explains.

But McDonald doesn’t always get the chance

to explore when he’s on assignment, so he

frequently revisits places where he’s worked:

The west coast of America is one of them –

I love San Diego and Santa Monica. You

discover new things every time you go.”

I'm from Trinidad so I

was used to seeing the

odd skirmish outside the rum

shop, but I'd never heard a

bomb go off before”

One of the places McDonald has returned to

often, after working there for many years, is

South Africa. He was the first person to

interview Nelson Mandela when he was

released from prison in 1990 and again when

he became president in 1994. The two

subsequently met on many occasions and

became firm friends.

“It was fascinating to watch the country go

through all the traumas of what it was to what

it wants to be. I saw a lot of changes, but quite

frankly on my last visit about a year ago I was

a little distressed that some of the changes

have not been greater... and quite shocked to

see some of the same slums that were there

when I first visited 25 years ago,” he says.

As a journalist, he has always been

fascinated with meeting world leaders. He was

friends with Benazir Bhutto and interviewees

have included notorious despots such as

Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. He has also been

invited to the White House on several

occasions, interviewing President Clinton and

later President Bush the younger.

McDonald has travelled extensively in the

Caribbean, from Barbados and Antigua to

St Kitts and Nevis. “My father was born in

Grenada and he always used to boast that

their beaches are better than our beaches in

Trinidad,” he says.

“What I like about the Caribbean is that it’s

always warm after 6 or 7 o’clock. Even on

summer evenings here you feel you need a

light sweater, but in the Caribbean you put on

a short-sleeved shirt and pour yourself a large

rum punch, and you can sit out there on the

verandah forever.”

Barbados is also one of his go-to places for

a relaxing holiday, along with Cape Town in

South Africa – “the waterfront area there is

very nice,” says McDonald.

Between travelling for work and sojourns

in South Africa and the Caribbean, the

broadcaster says he has spent far too long in

airports, which are his least favourite aspect

of his globe-trotting exploits: “I approach

them with dread,” he laughs.

That said, his time spent working in troubled

destinations around the globe has nurtured a

certain warmth for British aviation: “I must

confess that it was always nice to get on to a

British Airways flight and hear the captain’s

voice – you always felt you were heading

home and out of trouble.”

48 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


TALKING TRAVEL

SIR TREVOR MCDONALD

Sir Trevor McDonald is a keynote speaker at The

Business Travel Conference 2019 in London, from

17-18 September. His broadcasting career spans five

decades working for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4

covering everything from politics to travel. He became

a household name presenting the News at Ten in the

1990s and regular current affairs programme Tonight

with Trevor McDonald. He was awarded an OBE in

1992, a Knighthood in 1999 and has received more

awards than any other news broadcaster in Britain.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

49


Upcoming destination, Iguazu

Discover Iguazu with

Air Europa this summer.

Two weekly flights from London

Gatwick starting 1st August 2019.

All flights are via Madrid.


THE REVIEW

the

Review

THE NEWS & VIEWS

THAT REALLY MATTER

[ THE LOWDOWN ]

Duty of care among managers'

top travel concerns

p52-53

[ ROOM REPORT ]

The Great Scotland Yard hotel is

poised to open in London

p56-57

[ ON THE GROUND ]

Overall train passenger

satisfaction is on the rise

p58

[ MEETING PLACE ]

Events sector is unprepared

for no-deal Brexit

p59

[ IN THE AIR ]

ANA's new first and business class

cabins to debut on London 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

Out of line

One in four travel

managers (39%) believe

the biggest challenge to

booking tool compliance is

the belief among users

that they can get a better

price elsewhere, according

to new research from

ACTE and Amex GBT.

Meanwhile, 18% blamed a

poor user experience and

16% said travellers prefer

to call a consultant.

ACE options

ACE Travel Management

has partnered with Driven

Airport Transfers to

provide its clients with

fully-electric transfers

using Tesla X vehicles.

The TMC says it is

confident that the option

also provides good value,

often saving a third

compared to traditional

airport transfer services.

Going mobile

Frequent business

travellers – those who

make more than five trips

a year – are 13% more

likely to book flights on

their smartphones than

occasional travellers, while

travellers revisiting a

location are 11% more

likely to do so. CWT also

says travellers are more

inclined to book flights via

mobile devices closer to

their date of departure.

Duty of care among

biggest concerns

ORGANISING correct entry documents, health and medical

issues, and terrorism and security threats are the top three

concerns for managers when their staff travel on business

trips, new research from ABTA has revealed.

However, there are some marked differences between

managers’ concerns and the actual problems encountered

by their staff. For example, 60% of managers expressed

concerns over terrorism or security related issues, but only

6% said their staff had actually experienced those problems.

When asked what problems staff had encountered on

business trips in the last year, the top three issues were

natural disasters or severe weather conditions (18%), health

or medical issues (15%) and issues around organising

correct entry documents (13%). Over half of managers (51%)

said that none of their staff had encountered any problems

on business trips over the last 12 months.

TRAVELPERK'S

FLEXIBLE FARES

ONLINE travel management

platform TravelPerk has launched

FlexiPerk – which it claims is a first

for the business travel industry.

The scheme enables customers

to avoid booking expensive flexible

fares and instead pay a 10% fee

on bookings upfront. This then

guarantees a minimum 90%

refund on any cancelled booking,

be it hotel, flight or car rental.

Customers taking part in a trial

achieved savings of 26%, on

average, compared to the cost of

booking flexible fares and paying

last-minute cancellation fees.

58%

of European millennials

believe that business

travel has the potential

to stimulate creativity

and productivity, says a

new report from CWT

LANDING

IN YOUR INBOX

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THE REVIEW

T H E L O W D O W N

IN BRIEF

BCD moves

BCD Travel has signed up

to Qantas Airways’ Qantas

Channel, giving its users

access to a wider range of

fares and content through

the NDC channel. The

TMC has also signed an

agreement to take a

majority ownership in its

Japanese partner Hitachi

Travel Bureau, one of the

country's leading TMCs

with annual sales of more

than $330million.

Asia addition

Travel management

company Reed & Mackay

has enhanced its reach in

Asia with Connexus Travel

joining its International

Partnership. It is Hong

Kong's largest TMC and

additionally has offices in

China and Taiwan.

Cash injection

TripActions has raised a

further $250million in

funding as it aims to “solve

the antiquated product,

service and experience of

the corporate travel

management industry”.

The California-based

company has achieved

“hyper-growth while

maintaining 93% traveller

satisfaction”. It handles

more than $1.1billion in

annual travel spend.

Hull of a Good job

Hull-based Good Travel

Management is targeting

SMEs with the launch of a

new website that includes

a range of downloadable

resources. The TMC offers

a range of services such as

a personal travel team,

strategic account

manager, real-time travel

analytics, online booking,

expense management and

travel risk technology.

GTMC reveals new

identity as the BTA

THE Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC)

announced a new name and identity at its annual

conference in the Netherlands in July, with the organisation

moving forward as the Business Travel Association (BTA).

Its new name reflects a “more inclusive, more ambitious,

more collaborative and bolder outlook”, said Adrian Parkes,

the association's Chief Executive, who steps down this

summer. “We've developed as an organisation in recent

years and the time was right [to rebrand],” he said, pointing

to its growing number of supplier partners and increasing

lobbying activity. “This evolution to the BTA celebrates a

step-change for the association and allows us to more

clearly communicate the board’s broadened strategy,” said

Parkes. A new CEO will be announced this summer.

58% OF BUSINESS LEADERS BELIEVE A

STRONG TRAVEL CULTURE IS VERY

IMPORTANT TO THEIR ORGANISATION’S

BUSINESS PERFORMANCE, ACCORDING TO

A REPORT FROM EGENCIA AND THE

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

ITM UPDATE

Scott Davies

Chief Executive, ITM

Sustainability used to be a

term presented in relation to

fuels and resources, but our

travel buyer community tells

us it is now also applied to

the most precious resource a

business has – their people.

In order to have a sustainable

travel programme, travel

buyers and managers are

being increasingly guided to

make travel options available

that place minimum strain on

the individual as well as the

ecosystem and local

communities too.

There are broadly two ways

to do this. The first is to work

with partners who minimise

emissions, support environmental

reparations and that

travellers enjoy using. The

second is to help with

employee travel frequency

and work/life balance, which

could be perceived to

negatively hit productivity

(but probably doesn't).

Now, I’ve worked for airlines

and other organisations who

benefit from increased

demand, so both of these

remedies could sound like

bad news.

The truth is they’re not

because a) we’ve all got to

take care of the big round

rock we call home or we’ll

have to go somewhere else

one day, and b) frazzled,

burned out people physically

can’t travel anymore any way.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

53


THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

Virgin and Delta up

the ante on US routes

UK DEBUT FOR NEW ANA CABINS

ALL Nippon Airways (ANA) will The airline says the new first

debut its new business and first class Suites are inspired by luxury

class seating on services between Japanese hotels, with new features

London and Tokyo in August. including privacy doors and

The new first class product, 43-inch 4K screens. Business class

The Suite, and business class seat, ‘Rooms’ are in a forward and

The Room (pictured), will be fitted rear-facing configuration and have

on 12 B777-300ER aircraft, the first privacy doors that can be adjusted

of which will fly between London so passengers can dine together

and Tokyo Haneda from August 2. or conduct meetings.

FLIGHTS operated by Virgin

Atlantic's new A350s and

featuring its new-look Upper

Class cabins are now on

sale, with the aircraft due

to enter service between

London Heathrow and New

York JFK on September 10.

Four A350s will join the

airline’s fleet by the end of

2019 to operate daily flights

between London and New

York. The airline will take

delivery of a further eight

A350’s from 2020-2021.

The A350 is the first Virgin

Atlantic aircraft to feature a

new social space, the Loft,

as well as new Upper Class

suites with window-facing

seats and privacy screens.

Meanwhile, Virgin's joint

venture partner Delta Air

Lines will bring its new cabin

concepts to the UK for the

first time this winter. Its four

upgraded seat products –

Delta One, Delta Premium

Select, Delta Comfort+ and

Main Cabin – will feature on

services from London to

Atlanta (from November 13),

New York-JFK (Nov 17) and

Boston (Nov 21).

manUfacTUring hUb becomes

heaThrow's laTesT china link

CHINA Southern has commenced services between

London Heathrow and Zhenghou in eastern China.

The twice-weekly service to the Chinese manufacturing

hub is the only direct operation from Europe. Some

70% of the world’s Apple iPhones are manufactured in

the city and it is a key player in the textiles industry.

Heathrow now has 13 direct services to destinations

across China, having more than doubled since 2018.

4%

of passenger traffic travelled

in airlines' premium classes

The number of

passengers flying in

premium cabins has

dropped marginally, to

4% for the first four

months of 2019, down

from 4.1% a year ago.

IATA's latest Financial

Monitor also shows

that premium traffic

accounts for 27.4% of

total international

passenger revenues

CHECK-IN

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THE REVIEW

I N T H E A I R

IN BRIEF

Eastern's Leeds boost

Eastern Airways will

increase services between

Southampton Airport and

Leeds Bradford Airport

from September 9.

A new afternoon flight will

take the operation to up to

three flights a day, offering

more choice on its Flybe

franchise services.

Great Dane arrival

Great Dane Airlines has

launched twice-weekly

services between

Edinburgh and Aalborg –

the airline’s first service

to the UK.

Canadian deal

Air Canada and fellow

Canadian airline Air

Transat are set to merge.

The deal will see the Air

Transat and Transat

brands retained alongside

the Air Canada and Air

Canada Rouge brands.

Cathay purchase

Cathay Pacific has

completed the acquisition

of Hong Kong Express

Airways which will

continue to operate as a

standalone low-cost airline.

Virgin for SMEs

Virgin Atlantic has closed

its Flying Co scheme and

joined the Bluebiz

corporate loyalty

programme for SMEs

alongside Air France,

KLM, Delta Air Lines and

Kenya Airways.

Bristol to Brussels

Brussels Airlines will

relaunch services between

Bristol and Brussels this

September (served by

CityJet CRJ900 aircraft), a

route previously operated

by its defunct partner

airline Flybmi.

minneapolis-ST.PAUL has become

aer lingus' 16th transatlantic route

from Dublin. It is expected to become

a key business service, with the

‘Twin Cities’ a growing tech hub and

home to 17 Fortune 500 companies

Delays worsen as UK

flight numbers grow

NEW research has revealed that flight delays are getting

worse at nearly every major airport in the UK, highlighting

the need to modernise the way the UK and Europe’s air

space is managed.

Consumer association Which? analysed flight delay

statistics for the last five years and found that 6.2% of all

incoming and outgoing flights were delayed by more than an

hour last year, up from 4% in 2014, though Which? notes

delays are often out of the control of the airlines themselves.

Aircraft movements in the UK have increased from just

over 1.5million in 2014 to 2.25m in 2018. “UK airspace has

failed to keep pace with this surge in traffic,” says Which?.

“It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s and the

CAA acknowledges that this is a reason for increased delays.”

BTA update

The latest from the

Business Travel Association

(formerly the GTMC)

It’s been an eventful year so

far, with lots of changes, not

least for us. In April, we

announced that CEO, Adrian

Parkes, was stepping down

and embracing retirement.

Adrian’s work at the helm of

our association reflected his

passion for the business

travel industry. He led the

organisation during major

regulatory changes, the

advancement of NDC and the

uncertainty of Brexit, all of

which required our focus.

The most substantial

change however, was

announced in early July

during our 2019 Overseas

Conference in the Netherlands,

where we unveiled our

move to become the BTA

(Business Travel Association).

The new brand is a natural

step as our association

seamlessly expanded our

scope of work over the past

few years. Initiatives have

been designed to futureproof

the industry and look at

talent development, engage

with government, promote

the economic benefits of

business travel and

collaborate with our wide

range of partners to unite

over our industry’s challenges

and celebrate its successes.

While Adrian Parkes steps

down, we welcome Suzanne

Horner of Gray Dawes as our

new Chair of the executive

board. We all look forward

to working together under

the new name, not only

implementing the BTA’s

strategy but also carrying the

association’s commitment

even further.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

55


THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

LIVERPooL

LaunCH

FoR QuEsT

ausTralia's largest serviced

apartment company Quest will

open its first European property

in Liverpool this September.

Quest Liverpool City Centre will

be the first of eight to 12 planned

European openings for the group

over the next five years.

The new property has 100

studio, one-bedroom and

two-bedroom units, all featuring

fully equipped kitchenettes.

Facilities at the Church Street

property include a gym, laundry,

conference facilities, staffed

reception and housekeeping.

Operating a franchise model,

Quest has 170 properties across

Australia, New Zealand and Fiji,

and is part of Singapore's The

Ascott Limited hospitality group.

Hyatt opens

at famous

London

address

THE Great Scotland Yard

Hotel, London, will open late

this summer as the first

hotel in the UK under

Hyatt's Unbound Collection.

The historical home of law

and order in Westminster,

the building has been

converted to feature 152

luxury guestooms plus a

number of dining options.

They include The Yard,

championing home-grown

dining; cocktail bar The Forty

Elephants, named after a

notorious all-female gang of

thieves; the India-inspired

modern tearoom, The

Parlour; and Sibin, a more

intimate drinking space. The

hotel's basement will include

a range of event spaces and

co-working areas.

Hyatt says the hotel will

offer "a modern British

experience that’s rooted in

hospitality and suited to

such a historic landmark."

[ NEW AND IMPROVED ]

>> The RAMADA BOURNEMOUTH hotel has been refurbished

and reopened as a Holiday Inn >> Cheshire's WYCHWOOD PARK

HOTEL is undergoing a £3million makeover of its guestrooms, bar,

restaurant and public areas, due for completion this autumn >>

The 369-room HILTON GARDEN INN London Heathrow Terminal

2 has now opened for business >> GRANTLEY HALL in Yorkshire

has opened after an extensive three-year renovation. It is a member

of Relais & Châteaux >> The HOLIDAY INN London Kensington

Forum has unveiled a new look following a multi-million-pound

refurbishment >> Aparthotel brand LOCKE will open a 142-key

development in London’s Tower Bridge area in summer 2020.

84%

Wifi is the biggest factor

influencing hotel selection

W i fi ( 84%), room rate

(81%), distance from

business site (81%) and

breakfast (79%) are the

most important factors

influencing a business

traveller's choice of

hotel, says RoomIt by

CWT. In addition,

research showed that

service is a stronger

driver than image or

amenities offered

NOW BOARDING

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THE REVIEW

R O O M R E P O R T

IN BRIEF

Layton's launch

Serviced apartment

industry stalwart Jo Layton

has formally launched new

global booking agency CAP

Worldwide. The company

serves the corporate

market and promises to

deliver a “consistent,

cost-effective, secure and

sustainable evolving global

programme, so that

travellers experience

caring service and safe

solutions through a

blended integration of

people and technology”.

BCD gets radical

BCD Travel has launched a

dedicated global hotel

division in what it says is

a “dramatically new

approach to managing

hotel programmes”. Called

Stay by BCD Travel, the

division offers spend

management, content

aggregation, shopping and

booking, virtual payment

and digital invoice

management, price

assurance, hotel rate

availability management,

analytics and awareness

and adoption campaigns.

Red Carnation blooms

The Red Carnation Hotel

Collection will open its

first hotel in Scotland next

year following the

'respectful renovation' of

100 Princes Street in the

heart of Edinburgh. The

group says the hotel will

replicate the boutique

atmosphere of its five-star

sister property Hotel 41 in

London. “It has been a

dream of ours to open a

hotel in Edinburgh for

some time, and with the

best address in the city, it

was well worth the wait,”

says Jonathan Raggett, the

group's Managing Director.

Japan's Prince Hotels

set for London debut

THE Arch London Hotel will re-open as the Prince Akatoki

this September, becoming the group’s first UK hotel.

It will also be the first hotel to open worldwide under the

Prince group's new Akatoki brand. The opening is scheduled

for September 16 and will “take the best of Japan and

introduce it to London”.

Located close to Marble Arch, the five-star property will

have 82 guestrooms – including a range of rooms and suites

– featuring minimal designs, natural elements, calming

colours and premium amenities.

Dining options will include fusion food restaurant Liquid

Spoon and cocktails and whisky bar The Malt Lounge, while

further amenities include a gym and The Prince Room for

meetings and events of up to 36 guests.

Marriott opens the luxury

Langley Hotel in Bucks

Buckinghamshire's Langley

Hotel has opened as part of

Marriott’s Luxury Collection.

The high-end property has 41

rooms across a former hunting

lodge and Grade II-listed 18th

century brew house. It is the result

of a six-year, multimillion-pound

renovation that sees it open as a

hotel for the first time. The main

house is home to the three-bedroom

Duke of Marlborough Suite

while historic features are

preserved throughout the hotel.

Drinking and dining options

include the Churchill Bar, Cedar

restaurant and the Drawing Room

for afternoon teas. Meeting and

event facilities comprise the Winter

Garden and six further rooms for

up to 120 guests, plus a private

screening room. There is also an

extensive spa, indoor pool, gym

and a range of outdoor activities.

capital gains

sustainable

hotel brand

Starwood Capital Group has

revealed a new hotel brand,

Treehouse Hotels, that will make

its debut in London later this year.

The brand is the creation of

Barry Stenlicht – Chairman and

CEO of Starwood Capital Group

– who was the original founder

of W Hotels and is also known for

his nature-inspired 1 Hotel and

Baccarat hotel brands.

Treehouse Hotels is described as

“the little brother of the 1” and

“less serious, more torn jeans and

t-shirts, and infinitely accessible”.

All Treehouse properties will

embrace sustainable protocols

and the group is targeting

business and leisure travellers

alike. Its first hotel will open in

London later this year with

additional locations to follow in

the United States and beyond.

Treehouse London is located

across the street from BBC

headquarters on Regent Street

and will comprise 95 guestrooms,

a restaurant and rooftop bar.

dedica hotel

collection

arrives in UK

luxury hotel collection The

Dedica Anthology is launching in

the UK this summer. Headquartered

in Milan and established

last year, the collection of seven

high-end, independent hotels is

united by a “sense of curation

and dedication to the guest

experience”.

The seven ‘landmark’ European

hotels – all additionally members

of the Autograph Collection – include

the Palazzo Naiadi in Rome,

Palazzo Matteotti in Milan, the

Grand Hotel dei Dogi in Venice, the

New York Palace in Budapest, and

the Carlo IV in Prague.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

57


THE REVIEW

O N T H E G R O U N D

Transpennine express takes on

super nova trains

The scores are in...

THE latest National Rail Passenger Survey shows that overall

journey satisfaction has reached 83%, up from 79% last

autumn and from 81% last spring.

At a national level, the proportion of journeys rated as

satisfactory by passengers regarding punctuality/reliability

was 77% – up from 72% a year ago. Heathrow Express once

again emerged as the best-performing operator among

passengers, followed by Virgin Trains.

[ rolling out ]

>> Transportation platform Bolt has launched in London

promising lower fares, improved safety and greater competition in

the on-demand market >> Virgin Trains has applied to the rail

regulator to launch hourly services between London and Liverpool

from May 2021. The ‘open access’ application would deliver the

“UK’s most advanced and customer-focussed train service”, says

the operator >> Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty customers can

now use debit card payments across selected European locations

instead of a credit card >> Enterprise has introduced eight

Toyota C-HR hybrid SUVs to its Car Club network in Edinburgh.

TRAIN operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has

received its first new Nova 1 trains. TPE says the

Hitachi-built trains – of which there will be 19 in total

– mark a “major milestone for rail customers across

the North and Scotland”.

The bullet train-style, five-carriage trains will bring

additional capacity on services between Manchester,

Leeds, York, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh.

All the new trains will offer free wifi access in both first

and standard class, plus plug sockets and USB points

and access to complimentary Exstream entertainment.

Testing of Nova 2 and Nova 3 trains continues, with

the latter entering service towards the end of the

summer. A date for Nova 1 trains entering service is

still to be confirmed.

Car hire's bumpy road

Consumer organisation Which? says it receives more

complaints about car hire than any other travel service.

Its recent research revealed that nearly half (47%) of

Interrent customers and more than four in ten (42%) Goldcar

customers reported a problem with their rental. The next

worst offenders were Thrifty (31%), Dollar (29%) and Firefly

(29%). Larger rental brands fared better, with 18% of Sixt

customers reporting problems, 21% of Enterprise

customers, 24% of Europcar customers, and 27% of both

Avis and Hertz customers encountering issues.

The organisation is launching a more extensive investigation

into three key issues that came to attention, focussing

on high insurance excesses, unauthorised and unfair

charges, and questionable damage repairs.

ARRIVING NOW

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THE REVIEW

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

IN BRIEF

Red Bull events

Red Bull Racing has

unveiled its vibrant new

event space, MK-7, in

Buckinghamshire. The

stylish new venue centres

around an auditorium that

houses the team’s

collection of race cars

dating back to 2005.

The space can be hired

exclusively for up to 450

guests, while a boardroom

can seat 22 people.

UK meetings market

booming

The UK Conference and

Meeting Survey 2019 has

revealed that the UK

meetings industry is

flourishing, with an

estimated £20billion

direct expenditure

generated by conference

and meeting delegates in

2018. The overall number

of conferences and

meetings held in 2018 was

the highest in recent years,

with an average of 428

conferences and meetings

per venue.

New Manchester venue

Plans have been unveiled

for Depot, a new 10,000

capacity venue in

Manchester's historic

Mayfield, next to Piccadilly

station. The proposed

performance, community

and studio space at the

Mayfield site could

welcome up to a million

visitors next year.

Alongside the main

performance space there

will be two smaller areas

that will provide a range of

free-to-attend community

events, seasonal activities

and food experiences. The

venue will launch this

summer when it hosts

Manchester Pride Live on

August 24-25.

Sector is unprepared

for no-deal Brexit

half of the UK’s event and hospitality businesses admit to

having made little or no preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

In a survey conducted by trade association the HBAA,

businesses appear to be more pessimistic about their

prospects while the ongoing uncertainty about the UK’s exit

from the EU continues. When asked whether Brexit has had

a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, only 15.6%

this year say it has had none – a significant shift from a year

ago when 57.7% reported no impact.

Recruitment was the biggest concern, with 18.7% of

respondents saying Brexit had hit the hiring and availability

of staff. That figure has leapt from just 2.3% in 2017.

Top of the pops

the Hilton London Metropole is the UK's most popular hotel for meetings

and events, according to Cvent, an event management technology

company that sourced more than $16billion's worth of business and more

than 42 million hotel nights in 2018.

The Sofitel London Heathrow was runner-up, the Radisson Blu Edwardian

Heathrow was third, The Tower Hotel fourth and Hilton London Paddington

fifth. The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, in sixth, was the only hotel

outside the capital city to feature in the top 20, and also has one of the

largest meeting space offerings, 6,000sqm, in the top 50.

Hilton's strong showing also included the Hilton London Bankside in

seventh, the DoubleTree Tower of London in eighth, Hilton Heathrow

Terminal 5 in ninth, and the Hilton Heathrow in tenth. Outside the capital,

the De Vere Beaumont Estate was 23rd, the DoubleTree Manchester

Piccadilly 31st, The Runnymede On Thames was 34th, the Radisson Blu

Edinburgh 36th and the Sheraton Grand Edinburgh was 37th.

Cresta’s MICE

booking tool

milestone

cresta Business Travel has

launched what it claims is the first

complete travel and events online

booking tool for MICE customers.

The TMC has partnered with

Asemblr to introduce the new

online MICE booking solution

which will “streamline and simplify

the way corporate meetings,

events and incentives are sourced,

planned and booked”.

The tool will give MICE bookers

instant access to thousands of

event suppliers globally, with costs,

availability and booking options all

available within a few clicks.

“As workloads continue to

increase, budgets tighten and KPI

expectations soar, the partnership

is providing a unique, smarter,

cost-effective service solution

across MICE and business travel,”

says a spokesperson for the travel

management company.

The service includes complimentary

insurance on event booking

investment, a budget tracker and

messaging system.

boost for

event budgets

mARKETING budgets for events

rose in the second quarter of the

year, according to the IPA's latest

Bellwether Report, despite overall

marketing budgets flatlining.

The net balance of marketing

executives reporting a rise in

events spending increased to

+4.8% from +3.5% previously.

The figure is at its highest since

the first quarter of 2018 and

corroborates earlier forecasts that

events budgets would grow over

the 2019/20 financial year.

“Until a clearer political and

economic path is outlined, the vast

majority of companies are locked

in stasis,” says Paul Bainsfair,

IPA Director General.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

59


THE REVIEW

O N T H E M O V E

EVENTS

AUGUST 3-7

GBTA CONVENTION

Chicago

CORNEEL KOSTER

KERRY SMITH

EDWARD FOTHERINGHAM

gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 4-6

JOINS: Virgin Atlantic

AS: Executive Vice President, Customer

FROM: Delta Air Lines

JOINS: Quest Apartments

AS: Business Development Manager UK

FROM: Independent business owner

JOINS: Cathay Pacific

AS: Regional Head of Marketing & Sales

FROM: Whitbread

WORLD AVIATION FESTIVAL

Business Design Centre, London

terrapinn.com/conference

Corneel Koster has moved over

to Virgin Atlantic from joint

venture partner Delta Air Lines.

Kerry Smith has been appointed

to develop sales at Quest

Apartments' first European

Based in London, Edward

Fortheringham will oversee the

airline's European operation

SEPTEMBER 17-18

In his new role he will lead

property, in Liverpool. She has

together with newly-appointed

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

Hilton Bankside, London

Virgin Atlantic’s customer,

product and service strategy.

previously worked for Pullman

Hotels and Staybridge Suites.

Lisa Delaney whose remit

covers digital sales.

thebusinesstravelconference.com

OCTOBER 4

ITM SCOTLAND CHARITY BALL

The Principal Edinburgh

itm.org.uk

OCTOBER 15

TBTM DINNER CLUB

London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

OCTOBER 16

TBTC'S AUTUMN SPARKLE

Native Manchester

thebusinesstravelconference.com

ROBERT FEATHERSTONE

JOINS: De Vere Latimer Estate

AS: Director of Sales

FROM: Maybourne Hotel Group

Robert Featherstone has joined

the De Vere group to head up

LEIGH COWLISHAW

JOINS: Black Box Partnerships

AS: Managing Partner

FROM: Capita Travel and Events

Leigh Cowlishaw has left Capita

Travel and Events to join

DAVID DI FELICIANTONIO

JOINS: Corporate Travel Management

AS: Director of Client Services

FROM: Flight Centre

David Di Feliciantonio will

head up implementation

OCTOBER 23-25

ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT

Amsterdam

acte.org

sales at its Latimer Estate in

Buckinghamshire. He has more

than ten years' experience in

the hospitality sector.

business travel consultancy

Black Box Partnerships as

Managing Partner specialising

in accommodation and events.

projects and manage business

growth in his new role at CTM.

He has six years' experience

in corporate travel.

NOVEMBER 4-6

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET

ExCel, London

london.wtm.com

NOVEMBER 19-21

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE

Munich

europeconference.gbta.org

ALSO ON THE MOVE... Flight Centre Business Travel has strengthened its senior team with the

appointment of Joe Beevis as General Manager UK & Ireland and Aisha Battersby as Head of

Customer Experience >> Garry Moroney is the new Chief Executive Officer at Roomex >> Travelport

has appointed Greg Webb as Chief Executive Officer >> Alistair Rowland has been elected as the

new ABTA Chairman >> Linda Hodgson has been promoted to Commercial Director at The Savoy,

London >> The Board of Eurostar has named Dominique Reiniche as its new Chair >> Chris Darch

is the new Director of Operations at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport

DECEMBER 10

TBTM'S CHRISTMAS PARTY

London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

FEBRUARY 26-27

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW

Olympia London

businesstravelshow.com

60 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


GALLERY

The Business Travel Magazine

Golf Masters

2019

ANA gets things off

to a flying start at

the first tee

The ninth annual TBTM Golf Masters

took place at Mannings Heath, West

Sussex, in June, with teams from

across the business travel industry

competing to be crowned champions.

Participants were blessed with fine

weather and a strong breeze, but the

team from Emirates conquered the

conditions to emerge triumphant.

The TBTM Golf Masters 2019

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 27.06.2019

Sunshine and smiles

at Mannings Heath

16 teams all raring to go!

With thanks to our partners

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

61


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Wings Travel Management gives SME clients dedicated local

servicing backed by global travel risk management support

Managing a travel programme

within an SME company can

often be a juggling act of

balancing the day-to-day requirements

of your travellers with compliance,

whilst seeking out the best value.

Often missed or overlooked is planning a

strategy for travel risk management. Yet

traveller safety is just as important for an

SME as a large corporate.

Wings Travel Management has wholly

owned operations around the globe – from

London, Lagos and Luanda to Dubai,

Durban and Damman – and the TMC’s staff

are experts in handling complex travel,

logistics and traveller safety for corporates

of all sizes in the finance, construction,

security, energy and marine sectors,

particularly those travelling to high-risk

destinations.

Notably at Wings’ office in London, staff

are also experts in looking after the travel

needs of SMEs as some 60 per cent of

customers have an annual business travel

spend of up to £1million.

“Our UK-based SME clients have the best

of both worlds as they receive local,

personal and dedicated offline service from

their Wings travel consultant, backed by the

capabilities and risk management expertise

of a leading independent global TMC,” says

Colin Goldney, Managing Director UK,

Europe & Russia, Wings Travel

Management.

“As part of an SME’s duty of care as an

employer, it’s vital that they can locate their

travelling employees quickly in an

emergency and that they have access to

immediate assistance,” he added.

“Most SMEs don’t have the resources

in-house to handle traveller safety and risk

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this critical support. Our services and

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and flexible pricing we can provide.”

But travel risk management

isn’t the only advantage

SMEs gain from working

with Wings. Because the

TMC owns all its operations

globally, this means it operates

off a single GDS technology platform

as well as a proprietary front/mid-end

reservations system TMA (Travel

Management Application).

“Most other TMCs do not own their own

operations in high-risk markets such as

Nigeria and Angola; they use partner

agencies or franchisees. But the difference

at Wings is that we own and manage all of

our global operations,” explains Goldney.

“This means that our clients – whether

UK-based SME or large multinational

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standardised global operational platform,

but in times of emergency, our teams can

access travel records regardless of where or

when the reservation was made and

provide support immediately.”

www.wings.travel

infouk@wings.travel

@WingsTravelMgmt


Small companies might not

have the spending power of

multinationals, but that doesn't

mean suppliers and TMCs aren't

interested in their business. Find

out more in our guide to...

travel

management

for SMEs

Introduction, 64-66 / The TMC conundrum, 68-72

Back to basics: travel policy, 74 / Spend management, 76-80

Six of the best: digital banks, 82 / Data, 84

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

63


SMEs / Introduction

Big

IDEAS

Are the challenges that SMEs face really that different

to those encountered by larger companies? Catherine

Chetwynd explores the challenges and solutions at hand

Small and medium-sized enterprises

are often said to face a whole raft

of size-related challenges when it

comes to managing their business travel

needs, but in fact they are often contending

with many of the same issues faced

by larger companies but on a smaller

scale. Nevertheless, there are some

notable differences.

Although SMEs benefit from greater agility

and willingness to innovate, they also have

fewer people to dedicate to the task: the

person organising travel is often doing so in

addition to their day job and their expertise

might lie elsewhere. And while large

corporates have higher compliance to policy

and therefore greater ability to control costs,

smaller organisations are more likely to

undergo speedy growth and have sporadic

travel patterns that do not allow them to

negotiate airfares or hotel rates.

Reliable sources of advice include the ITM,

Business Travel Association (formerly the

GTMC) and the Advantage Travel Partnership,

the UK’s largest group of independent travel

agencies, whose aggregate business gives it

good negotiating clout.

Dedicated supplier products are also

available to SMEs. Millennium Hotels &

Resorts this year introduced Millennium for

Business, a digital platform where users can

manage travel, make itinerary-style bookings,

cater to individual needs and earn rewards.

It includes a Best Rate Promise, is integrated

with the MyMillennium rewards programme,

and gives bookers access to aggregated

insights and reporting.

Tricks of the trade

Also launched this year was TapTrip, a

business and expense app and website for

booking all elements of travel, allowing users

to see what they are spending and where,

and to customise travel policies.

TapTrip derives content from Skyscanner,

Booking.com, Goeuro, Uber and more, and

integrates with expense management

systems such as Xero. There is no contract,

with a charge per transaction. “Thanks to

centralised visibility, clients save on average

£1,200 per year,” says founder Neil Ruth.

Expense management tool Traveldoo is

available to SMEs through partner TMCs,

ensuring all expenditure is captured,

providing management information to

power negotiations.

“A lot of SMEs do not have a full understanding

of technology; they think it’s simple

because they use Expedia, but someone

needs to extract the information behind that

to do contract negotiations,” says UK Country

Manager for Traveldoo, Sam Cande.

Small companies often rely on consumer

booking sites before they switch to a

managed travel programme. “To manage

that change, it is important to meet


64 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Introduction / SMEs

Although SMEs

benefit from greater

agility and willingness to

innovate, they also have fewer

people to dedicate to the task”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

65


SMEs / Introduction

expectations of a consumer-grade

experience in booking and expense

management tools, but there also needs to

be added value to drive adoption; for

example, layering policy onto the booking

experience makes it easier for employees to

follow the rules,” says Vice President Product

Management for KDS, Bertrand Blais.

A helping hand

A TMC is not an unnecessary expense for an

SME: with the ever-rising threshold for

negotiated rates, the alternative is trawling

through supplier and aggregator websites to

find the best tariffs.

A TMC can access widespread content

within one search, bringing together

standard pricing, promotional rates and

aggregated content. Also, if travellers are

handling travel individually and the SME

does not have an HR structure in place,

the company will be hard pressed to find

travellers in an emergency – a requirement

of duty of care.

“Someone looking for a TMC can do no

better than speak with the BTA, the

representative body for UK TMCs,” says

Managing Director of Traveleads, Gary

McLeod. “All members are vetted, required

to operate to professional standards and

uphold the integrity of the industry; and the

BTA website provides information about

members.” He also recommends looking at

this magazine's annual listing of the top UK

TMCs, which gives size, specialisms and the

‘flavour’ of their business.

The next step is to do due diligence to

ensure potential suppliers provide the

expertise you need, such as an online

booking tool for a large volume of domestic

travel or global relationships to handle

international travel needs. Several TMCs

have a dedicated SME operation.

“SMEs are definitely getting smarter, more

demanding – and that is absolutely right,

they should be looking for more from their

travel provider,” says UK General Manager

for Corporate Traveller, Andy Hegley.

“If an SME goes to a travel partner, they

should meet the person who is going to be

providing the service on a day-to-day basis;

and as they grow and their travel needs and

priorities change, they should have agreed

business objectives for each quarter.”

Partnering up

The right TMC will provide quick and easy

access to the best travel options with

guaranteed best-price availability and can

provide support for travel policy creation,

mandation and more.

“It is vital that a provider goes beyond just

booking travel. To ensure adherence and

adoption, it is important that the client and

the TMC communicate clearly the reasons

behind working with a travel partner,” says

Head of Client Development for Gray Dawes

Group, Gavin Sanderson.

“Educating the audience as to the benefit

and value to individual travellers and the

wider business ensures they are far more

likely to book via the TMC,” he adds.

Good Travel Management often sees a

tipping point when a company needs

external support to manage business travel.

“For the most part, that is driven by positive

requirements such as business growth,

where an increased amount of travel means

it is not being managed efficiently and a

travel management company is required,”

says Head of Sales, Account Management

and Marketing, Wayne Durkin.

“A good SME TMC should be offering

account management as standard, as well as

managing corporate supplier programmes

on their behalf.”

Some years ago, dedicated SME services

from a TMC were few and far between. Now,

says Adrian Parkes, CEO of the BTA: “Several

of our members have specific products

dedicated to the SME marketplace.”

If an SME goes to a

travel partner, they

should meet the person who

is going to be providing the

service on a day-to-day basis;

they should have agreed

business objectives”

66 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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SMEs / The TMC conundrum

Getting

TOGETHER

SMEs are firmly in the sights of TMCs these days but are

they strictly necessary for small travel budgets? Rob Gill

assesses the pros and cons of working with a TMC

To misquote Shakespeare,

“To TMC, or not to TMC”, that is

the question worth considering

when it comes to how small and

medium-sized enterprises choose to

manage their business travel.

During the past few years, travel management

companies have increasingly

targeted smaller organisations, who may

never have considered using a business

travel agency, instead relying on leisure-

orientated platforms to book flights,

hotels, rail tickets and more.

TMCs see the SME market as a

vast untapped market for their

services – and it’s hard to doubt their

logic: SMEs in the UK employ 16.3 million

people with a collective turnover of

£2trillion per year.

Previously, larger TMCs have

struggled to come up with

products to effectively serve

the SME market but this is

changing rapidly as

improved technology

and automation

reduces the costs

of them reaching

smaller clients.

Even American Express Global Business

Travel, for example, is offering a “bundle”

of services to SMEs through its Business

Travel Made Simple platform.

For an SME new to the concept of

managed travel, the choice can be

daunting as it’s not just TMCs vying for

their business. Technology companies,

including online booking tool providers

and travel management platforms such as

TravelPerk, as well as big-name leisure

travel brands, including Booking.com,

are also making a play for the market.

TMC offerings

Click Travel’s Chief Executive Jill Palmer

says SME clients should look beyond

whether a company has a “TMC

badge” or not, and instead

consider the advantages of

managing travel.

There’s a huge benefit to

having all your business

travel booked in one

place,” she says.

“You can implement

a travel policy to

get travellers

to make the

right choices and get reporting to know how

much they are spending. It also means PAs

don’t have to spend a lot of time booking

travel on three different consumer sites.”

Simone Buckley, CEO of Fello, adds that

“speed and ease of service” are two of a

TMC’s top selling points, alongside the

ability to change bookings either online or

by calling a consultant familiar with the

SME’s requirements.

They also benefit from 24-hour emergency

service, traveller risk management, a single

point of payment and credit facility, as well

as consolidated reporting of travel spend

and booking patterns,” says Buckley.

Other TMCs are also keen to stress that

managing business travel effectively goes

far beyond making bookings.

“We can bring more value to a business

especially when it comes to controlling

costs – both in terms of the best rates and

ensuring bookings are within travel policy,”

says Tyler Buckley, Strategic Business

Proposal Manager at Business Travel Direct.

The value we bring to SME clients is often

quite significant compared with larger clients

with mature programmes. We can achieve a

significant ROI for clients in the earlier

stages of managing their travel spend.”

68 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


The TMC conundrum / SMEs

Payment plans

One of the first questions on the lips of any

SME thinking about using a TMC for the first

time is 'how much is it going to cost us?'

The answer is not always simple as TMCs

now offer a plethora of payment options

and strategies, which are largely dependent

on the level of service required.

The general rule of thumb is the more

automated the process, the cheaper it’s

going to be. For those wanting a “higher

touch” human experience, the cost is always

going to be higher.

Click Travel offers SMEs use of its online

booking tool for free with no transaction

fees – the TMC makes its money from

suppliers. Click has also just introduced a

new upgraded “Plus” package for £399 per

year, including extra functions such as the

ability to customise travel policy, sync

calendars and automate pre-trip approvals.

Similarly, TravelPerk offers a basic booking

option for free and then charges £9 per trip

for a premium plan offering a higher level

of service to clients, including priority

customer and concierge services.

Earlier this year, travel management

company Amber Road launched a new

SME service called TRAQ, which charges

clients a monthly flat fee of £29 per

traveller, which is only paid if the traveller

is active during the month.

While this sort of subscription-based

model is becoming more

popular, transaction fees

remain common among

TMCs specialising in the

SME market, including

Corporate Traveller,

which is part of the

Flight Centre Group along with FCM.

“We don’t tie clients into contracts and our

payment model is based on transaction

fees, but we provide flexible payment

options so clients can choose whether to

pay by credit card or on account,” says

Andy Hegley, UK General Manager at

Corporate Traveller.

Offering flexibility to SMEs is also crucial

for Gary McLeod, Managing Director of

Traveleads. “When business travel might be

sporadic, we would usually recommend the

transaction fee route. Once they develop a

more regular pattern of travel, we can look

at management fees or subscription

One of the first

questions on the

lips of any SME thinking

about using a TMC for the

first time is 'how much is it

going to cost us?'”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

69


SMEs / The TMC conundrum

models where we tailor charges against

agreed activity,” he explains.

Most SMEs recognise that there is a “cost

to managing travel”, says Kevin Harrison,

Good Travel Management’s Managing

Director, with TMCs needing to

“demonstrate broader value”, he says.

There is no such thing as a free travel

management service. If there isn’t a fee,

it will be somewhere within the pricing

model,” adds Harrison.

Size matters – or does it?

Another key question is how much does a

SME have to spend on business travel each

year to make using a TMC worthwhile? The

answer varies, with some suggesting at least

£50,000 per year and others being more

flexible, depending on the client’s current

needs and potential growth.

“A business is never too small for a TMC,”

says Brett Gerrett, General Manager,

Isleworth Travel Management, which looks

after clients with a business travel spend of

up to £1.5million per year.

“Clients spending less have access to the

same great fares and service that all clients

access,” says Gerrett. “And an offline service

is perfectly suited to a client with a budget

of less than £60k.”

Kyle Daniels, Product Marketing Manager

for Clarity, adds: “If we judge companies

based on annual spend or number of

journeys each year, we aren’t taking into

account their ability to grow.

“Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s

about having open and honest conversations

with prospects to determine if they need a

TMC or just a better way of booking their

current volume of travel,” says Daniels.

Mark Wilson, Corporate Travel General

Manager at Travel Counsellors for Business,

adds: “We aren’t interested in the number

of transactions a client does. Our operating

model flexibility allows Travel Counsellors to

operate in a way that ensures a personal

service, with a single point of contact for

all aspects of travel – SMEs value this

connection the most.”

Jason Geall, VP Northern Europe for

American Express Global Business Travel,

says travel management is becoming

“more accessible” to SMEs because of

“digitally-driven services”.

“Depending on the customer’s factors

and circumstances, we already offer

services to clients with annual spend from

£250,000,” Geall adds.

“And we are continuing to explore new

tech-based travel management solutions to

help businesses with even smaller spend.”

Alternative routes

Of course, there are other options for those

companies keen to better manage their

travel but wary of using a TMC.

One of these alternatives is to start using

an online booking tool offered by specialist

companies such as SAP Concur, KDS or

Traveldoo, among others.


If we judge companies

based on their annual

spend or the number of

journeys they make each year,

we aren’t taking into account

their ability to grow”

70 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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SMEs / The TMC conundrum

Darryl McGarvey, Director of Channel

Development at SAP Concur, says they

work with SMEs both through TMCs and

directly with the client - the same booking

platforms and technology are offered to all

sizes of organisations.

“Some SMEs are not of a size to engage

with a TMC to gain access to their services

and expertise – our TripLink product is a

much better fit for them,” says McGarvey.

“This allows businesses to manage their

own travel programmes, but still have

access to the consolidation of data they

would usually get through working with a

travel management company.”

There is also the option of using a high

street travel agency chain. It may seem like

an 'old school' approach but brands such as

Flight Centre and STA Travel – who both

have numerous retail stores – have each

been targeting the SME business travel

sector, recognising its potential.

“We stand out from typical TMCs because

we are a truly global company,” says Ellen

Rayner, Director of STA Travel’s travel

management division.

“Our global network of stores means

hands-on support is never too far away.

Getting the best price is our priority. SME

business clients are treated to bespoke

corporate hotel rates and we also negotiate

exclusive corporate airfares and rail

bookings,” Rayner explains.

The choice of travel management options

for SMEs has never been greater and

continues to grow – whether they want to

go down the full TMC route or simply dip

their toes by using an online booking tool

for little or no initial cost.

We are continuing

to explore new techbased

travel management

solutions to help businesses

with even smaller spend”

[ BUILDING FROM SCRATCH ]

A UK-based technology start-up saw their

workforce grow from two to 50 people in five

years, with business travel also increasing

quickly to Europe and the US.

The SME originally had no TMC, travel policy

or anybody in charge of travel internally.

The company wanted to work with a TMC to

make savings on airfares, improve booking

efficiency and implement a travel policy to

enhance the safety and security of travellers.

The financial director was appointed as the

internal “travel owner” and then implemented

a travel policy with the help and advice of

CTM Europe.

CTM assisted the company in signing up to

airline loyalty agreements, including both

corporate and individual traveller schemes,

and securing specific SME airfares and hotel

rates. It also began weekly pre- and post-trip

reporting to monitor spending and

compliance with policy.

After the first 12 months, the client had

achieved 97% policy compliance and 74%

online booking adoption, as well as savings of

23% on airfares and hotel savings of 5%. The

company also saved an estimated four hours

per person per week by using a booking tool.

72 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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SMEs / Back to basics

the importance of policy

Writing and implementing a company travel policy is a key first step for getting your business

travel spend under control. Jenny Southan examines the essential components

Managing travel relies on drafting a solid

travel policy to make sure there is a

consistent approach to booking flights

and hotels, for example, and parameters

in place about how much can be spent

on what. It also needs to have guidelines

in place to keep people safe.

Divide your travel policy

into sections

A travel policy will usually need to

cover quite a bit of ground so dividing it into

sections is a good place to start. Things you

need to account for are safety and security,

flights (rules related to bookings, upgrades,

cabin classes, air miles, lounges and so on),

public transport, hotels, incidentals, meals,

tips, taxis, car rental, entertainment,

corporate credit cards, business hospitality

and other travel expenses (visas, passports

and currency). You may also want a clause

relating to combining business trips with

add-on stays for leisure.

Do your due diligence

Firstly, assess what locations you

and your employees will be

travelling to and check the Foreign and

Commonwealth Office for country-specific

advice. Decide what kinds of accommodation

will be suitable. For example, in some riskier

cities only five-star international chains will

guarantee the security you are after and

should be booked whatever the price.

However, for companies frequenting the

United States, for example, using mid-range

hotels or even Airbnb for Work apartments

could be the benchmark.

Decide on your boundaries

State hotel categories or nightly

rate limits that you are happy for

travellers to book. This might be on a cityby-city

basis. You might want to specify

particular chains or airlines but it’s a good

idea to provide a choice. Having rules about

when it’s appropriate to fly premium

economy or business class will also be

important. For some companies, flights

under six hours must be flown in economy,

while 10 hours-plus could be in business.

Specify how bookings

should be made

If you are using a travel agency, the

policy will probably need to state that all

trips must be booked by them as they will

get preferential rates. If you are using a

TMC, there may be a mobile booking tool to

use for less complex journeys. However, in

an SME, everyone might have to book their

own trips. Highlight who has sign-off and

outline your approval process flow.

Outline how trips

should be paid for

You might want to issue a company

credit card to certain managers. Giving

employees pre-paid cards is a good way of

controlling expenses. Or try digital banks

such as Tide and Starling (see page 82).

How will you keep

track of travellers?

Make sure provisions are in place

to keep track of travellers’ itineraries and

contact details. If travelling to hostile

territories, will there be training

requirements? You should specify if any

particular tracking technology is required or

simply an email update. Staff all need to

know what to do in an emergency. Overall,

a decision needs to be made on how strict

or relaxed you are as a company. Your

policy should reflect this.

Make sure provisions

are in place to keep

track of travellers’ itineraries

and contact details. Staff all

need to know what to do in

an emergency”

74 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


SMEs / Spend management

76 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Spend management / SMEs

SAVE

the pennies

SMEs needn't play second fiddle to

multinationals when it comes to supplier

negotiations, writes Gillian Upton

It’s ironic how a global financial

meltdown can change the course of a

company’s sales strategy but that’s

exactly what happened after the Stock

Market crash in 2008.

TMCs previously ignoring the rich seam of

SME business turned their attention to

these entrepreneurs with potentially

growing businesses. It means that for the

last decade or so small and medium-sized

companies have been taken far more

seriously by the wider TMC community.

The penny has dropped for some that

SMEs may be small but gathered in large

numbers are a far less risky strategy than

relying totally on a smaller number of larger

clients. “They had holes to fill in revenues,”

suggests Gary McLeod, MD of Traveleads.

The opportunity is huge as The Federation

of Small Businesses says that SMEs account

for 99.9% of all private sector companies in

the UK, and over 5.7 million companies fall

into the SME definition.

Those SMEs employing between 10 and

250 staff make up a group of 250,000

companies, compared with approximately

7,500 in the private sector's large employer

category, employing over 250 staff.

Once an SME of 10-15 staff grows to 30-50

staff, a lot of travel and meetings begin as

they seek to expand and open offices

further afield. Annual travel spend of

between £100,000 and £500,000 is the

benchmark for SMEs but very often that can

quickly rise to £5million.

Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel

Management, highlights other attractions of

the SME market: “The business is generally

less volatile [than larger corporates] so

there's lower risk and higher margin, since

the buying power of multinational

companies drive fees downwards.

“In addition, SMEs usually have simpler

requirements and so can be serviced via off

the shelf propositions,” he adds.

A product embracing an online booking

tool has been the core provision for SMEs

from the larger TMCs, with just telephone

account management, which is fine if travel

is largely point-to-point. However, American

Express GBT has an offering called Business

Travel Made Simple (BTMS) which offers

online and offline servicing, based on a per

transaction cost model and designed for

quick deployment. It offers discounts with

suppliers, streamlined booking, robust

reporting and 24/7 support, plus personalised

service before, during and post-trip.

“SMEs naturally gravitate towards small

and mid-size TMCs,“ believes Adrian Parkes,

of the Business Travel Association, many of

which are part of global buying groups such

as Advantage and Uniglobe and can pass on

deals and perks.

“We use leisure fares and IT fares too,”

says Kevin Harrison, Managing Director of

Good Travel Management, who thinks that

SMEs can buy as well as the big boys.

facing up to the challenges

TMCs can aggregate spend and arrange

cluster deals with airlines and hotels and

offer best value solutions.

However, it’s not all plain sailing as Raj

Sachdave of Black Box warns that some

suppliers will not accept aggregation as they

want to know client names rather than

receive consolidated volume made of

We are keen to work

directly with SMEs,

but the challenge is that it is

a very fragmented sector and

many SMEs book in the same

way as leisure customers,

such as through OTAs”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

77


SMEs / Spend management

anonymous multiple SME spend.

Traveleads is typical of the TMC approach,

spending time in the discovery and

educational process with clients as many of

them have no travel policy, approvals

process or have considered data needs.

“Often it’s a case of spending time showing

them how sophisticated a programme we

can create for them, which is often an eye

opener if they’ve been used to the

experience of ‘give us your credit card and

go away’ online booking,” says McLeod of

Traveleads, one of the smaller TMCs which

has long focussed on this market.

The availability of technology has helped

level the playing field as SMEs can benefit

from mobile solutions and data analysis

software for very little outlay.

Suppliers raise their game

SimiIarly, suppliers are waking up to the

SME opportunity. “Suppliers certainly

recognise the critical mass which the SME

market generates in terms of travellers and

combined spend,” says McLeod. And ITM’s

Davies adds: “Suppliers need a lot of SMEs

to match or replace revenue generated by

large corporates. For this reason, the sales

support tends to be virtual or delivered

online through web portals.”

Accor Hotels, for example, has a team

looking after SMEs and has developed

products and services for them, most

recently Business Offer which offers a

discount off BAR (see panel for details). Its

LeClub Member Offer (for those booking

leisure travel) includes perks.

“We are keen to work directly with SMEs,

but the challenge is that it is a very

fragmented sector, and many SMEs book in

the same way as leisure customers, such as

through OTAs, perhaps unaware of the

advantages of corporate accounts and

booking direct,” says Jonathan Pettifer,

Director of Corporate Sales and TMC

partners, Accor UK & Ireland.

TMCs can offer consortia rates from

independent hotels says Mark Bevan,

Head of Strategic Partnerships at Business

Travel Direct, where SMEs are a core part of

the client portfolio.

“Consortia rates from independent hotels

discount the rate by 5%-15% and more like

10%-15% regionally, both on transient and

day delegate business,” he says. Forwardthinking

suppliers are targetting SMEs, says

Bevan, citing Best Western as an example.

Perks aside, SMEs need help managing the

travel spend. “Collecting Nectar points from

The spending power

of smaller corporates

should never be underestimated,

which is why we

offer our loyalty progamme

OnBusiness, so they can

benefit from free flights”

a train company might not be meaningful

but a hotel billback facility that gives you 14

days credit to help cashflow is much more

valuable,” says Black Box’s Sachdave. “A TMC

will give an SME resource and cashflow so

that’s the real saving.”

Airlines move in

On the airline front, despite it being a more

challenging spend category, SMEs can

benefit from nett fares and discounted

fares. “We use rate analysing tools from

time of booking to time of departure and

the same flight can be reduced by 20-30%,

particularly on long-haul,” says Bevan.

Airline loyalty schemes can be of benefit

too, providing discounts, extra points or

value-added items. Fortunately, they have

moved away from perks and towards more

tangible benefits such as discounted rates

and flights in response to buyer feedback.

“Most airlines offer fares targeted towards

SMEs,” says Brett Gerrett, General Manager,

Isleworth Travel Management. “British

Airways offers discounted and increased

flexibility on Business Bespoke fares


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SMEs / Spend management

Even if a business isn't

large enough to justify

a full-time travel manager,

having someone responsible

for this area, and with the

authority to enforce any

policies, is vitally important”

while Air France-KLM and Virgin-Delta

offers the Bluebiz scheme with some

excellent perks such as free name changes

and an enhanced points structure.”

British Airways OnBusiness and the

Bluebiz schemes are two of the most

popular schemes for SMEs. Other airlines,

such as Emirates, have low thresholds for

deals. “The non-dominant carriers have

lower thresholds as they have a desire to

gain marketshare from companies whose

business is more moveable,” says Harrison.

TMCs claim to generate savings of their

own on behalf of a client. “We save our

clients thousands of pounds every year by

managing these programmes effectively, all

as part of our service, but it’s imperative

that you have an agent who can manage

them for you, ” says Rebecca Deadman,

Commercial Director of Blue Cube Travel.

Businesses of all sizes are incredibly

important to us,” says Marie Hilditch, Head

of UK & Ireland Corporate Sales at BA. “The

spend power of smaller corporates should

never be under-estimated, which is why we

offer our loyalty programme OnBusiness, so

they can benefit from free flights, upgrades

and other travel management benefits.”

Accor’s Pettifer reckons creating a travel

policy and getting staff to stick to it is the

most beneficial way of SMEs making the

most of their spending power. “Having a

properly applied policy will enable them to

benefit from the best deals. Ensuring that

travellers are aware of the deals that are in

place and understand the value in following

this policy can make an immediate impact.”

Pettifer adds: “Even if a business isn’t large

enough to justify a full-time travel manager,

having someone responsible for this area,

and with the authority to enforce policy, is

important in making the most of their

buying power and any deals agreed.”

Bluebiz

Bluebiz has over 200,000 members in 125-

plus markets. Every flight booked on Bluebiz

member airlines earns blue credits, worth £1

each, which can be knocked off future flights.

UK members can earn and burn credits on

five airlines: KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines,

Kenya Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which

joined this summer. Taxes and surcharges

are included in the price of award tickets.

Etihad Airways’ BusinessConnect

Etihad Airways’ BusinessConnect is open to

companies with two to 50 business travellers.

Travellers earn Guest Miles for themselves

while the business earns an additional

percentage. Accounts can be managed online

and miles can be redeemed for free flights,

upgrades and gifts. New sign-ups get a bonus

of 5,000 Miles. The airline is running a double

mileage promotion from Aug 1 to Nov 30.

IHG business edge

The global hotel group's SME offering offers

guaranteed discounts at more than 5,400

hotels globally and a management portal

book trips, monitor spend and savings data

and access premium content. Registered

travellers receive an upgrade to IHG Rewards

Club Gold Elite status after their first IHG

Business Edge stay. There is no fee to join

and no minimum annual spend.

[ SME loyalty schemes ]

BA Onbusiness

Offers discounts of at least 5% on many

flights (excluding taxes, fees and charges),

and allows pooling of points. They can be

spent on Reward Flights with BA, AA and

Iberia. Flights can be changed free of charge

before the outbound flight. Points can also

be spent on upgrades, including Club Europe/

Club World. Execs can collect personal Avios

points for themselves at the same time.

Accor Business Offer

Eligibility is 50 nights per year booked across

any participating Accor property. It offers

discounted rates of up to 10% off the best

available rates in its luxury, upscale and

mid-market hotels, and 5% in the group’s

economy hotels. Event organisers can earn

points for personal trips by arranging events

at the group's 2,400 hotels worldwide with

Le Club Meeting Planner.

80 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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new seat design with seating options for

both individuals and couples (including a

full-flat bed), direct aisle access, ample

space for personal items, and an improved

in-flight entertainment system on an 18”

personal screen.

latam.com


SMEs / Six of the best

Six of the best...

Digital banks for SMEs

Words by Jenny Southan

1

STARLING

Starling’s business account can be

set up in a few minutes, has no

monthly fees, zero transaction

charges on overseas payments,

real-time notifications when

money goes in or out and a slick

app that presents finances

visually. All deposits are protected

by the FSCS up to £85,000.

2

3

TIDE

Used by more than 85,000

business owners, another smart

digital-only bank is Tide, which

issues free business Mastercards,

doesn’t charge foreign transaction

fees, and lets users instantly

freeze their PIN via the app.

MONZO

Known for its orange debit cards,

Monzo launched its first business

accounts in February as part of a

trial. With income and outgoings

all managed within a user-friendly

app, Monzo wants to become “the

financial hub for your business”.

4

REVOLUT

Sign up for a global business

account with Revolut and you can

issue employees with prepaid

business cards to help manage

expenses, set up multiple accounts

for different offices, hold, receive

and exchange 29 different

currencies, and make up to 1,000

bulk payments in one click.

6

N26

Aimed at freelancers and the

self-employed, N26 issues trendy

transparent Mastercards that

sync with an app that gives

0.1% cashback on all purchases

and uses AI to categorise your

spending so you don’t have to

mess around with spreadsheets.

5

CURVE

Curve combines all your existing

bank accounts in one – just

choose which one you want to

make a transaction with on the

app and then swipe or tap with

your Curve card. There are five

cards – Blue is free, while Metal is

£14.99 and includes various perks.

82 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


SMEs / Data

Cash flow

CONCERNS

Managing business travel costs and expenses administration are

the biggest headaches for SMEs in the UK, according to research

from Allstar Business Solutions...

THE FOUR MOST

COMMON BUSINESS

EXPENSES HEADACHES

£4,000

BY

THE AVERAGE MONTHLY SPEND

SMEs ON TRAVEL EXPENSES

MISLAID RECEIPTS

A PARTICULARLY COMMON ISSUE AMONG

WORKERS, WITH MANY WORRYING ABOUT

LOSING BILLS AND, WITH THEM, ANY

PROSPECT OF BEING REIMBURSED

50

%

HALF OF SME EMPLOYEES SAY THEY

ARE LEFT OUT OF POCKET EVERY MONTH

AFTER USING THEIR OWN MONEY WHEN

TRAVELLING FOR WORK

%

26

MANAGING TRAVEL

COSTS IS THE BIGGEST

HEADACHE FOR UK SMEs

OF SMEs SAY THAT COST SAVINGS,

SPENDING CONTROL FEATURES AND EASE OF

MANAGEMENT WERE THE KEY BENEFITS THEY

WOULD LOOK FOR IN A MORE ADVANCED

BUSINESS CREDIT CARD PROGRAMME

MONTHLY SPEND

39%

OF SME

OWNERS SAY

HELPING

CASHFLOW WAS

A KEY

REQUIREMENT

OF BUSINESS

CREDIT CARDS

21%

OF SME OWNERS SAY THAT

BALANCING CASH FLOW

‘KEEPS THEM UP

AT NIGHT’

THE ADMIN LOGJAM

LONG-WINDED WAYS TO SUBMIT CLAIMS,

OFTEN WITH A BIG PAPER TRAIL, MEAN

EXPENSES BUILD UP, CAUSING CASHFLOW

ISSUES FOR BOTH THE EMPLOYER AND

THE EMPLOYEE

FAILURE TO KEEP AND

SUBMIT FUEL RECEIPTS

THIS HAMPERS OR PREVENTS BUSINESSES

MAKING AN HMRC CLAIM TO GET VAT

REFUNDED ON FUEL

LATE CLAIMS

ANOTHER STRESS POINT FOR WORKERS

ARE MONTHLY CLAIM CYCLES. FOR

EMPLOYEES WHO MISS THE DEADLINE,

IT CAN MEAN WAITING ANOTHER ENTIRE

MONTH TO BE REIMBURSED. FOR THE

BUSINESS, IT CAN MEAN EXTRA RESOURCES

PROCESSING LATE CLAIMS

84 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,

Amadeus and Air Europa. TBTC'19

is proudly supporting London Taxi

Drivers' Charity for Children


DEPARTURES

The best new... Gadgets & gear

Stow it!

Luxury travel brand Stow is showcasing its

products at Heathrow Airport’s VIP private

lounge in Terminal 5 this summer, with a

25% discount being offered for a limited

time. The Duchess of Sussex Meghan

Markle is said to be among fans of the

designer wallets, cases and accessories. The

tech case, pictured, normally retails at £305.

stowlondon.co.uk

zip it up

with Briggs

& riley

stow

claims royal

approval

A first

for B&R

Swanky luggage brand

Briggs & Riley has

launched its first femalefocused

collection this

summer. Called

Rhapsody, the range

includes backpacks, a

crossbody bag, slim

business brief, essential

tote and a cabin spinner

carry-on case in plum,

navy and black. Prices

start from £109.

briggs-riley.com

high five...

Business travel podcasts

Absolute Clarity

Clarity Travel Management

launched its series of topical

podcasts last year. There are now 30

episodes available online featuring a

range of guests tackling industry topics.

Singapore Airlines

Called Make your Productivity

Fly, this 30-minute podcast is

designed to help the airline’s business

class passengers make better use of

their time onboard.

TED Talks Business

There’s a massive choice of

the popular TED Talks

podcasts available online featuring a

hugely diverse range of topics and

ranging from five to 20 minutes.

TUNE in AND

ZONE OUT!

Liquid solutions

Beat airport liquid limits by bagging some of

Men-U’s concentrated shaving foams,

moisturisers and shampoos. The 100ml

products cost from £8.95. Or for a

refreshing scent without any liquids

whatsoever, try a tiny tin of Solid Cologne.

The wax-based substance comes in several

scents and costs from £14.95.

get fresh

with cologne

in a tin

Airplane Geeks

As the name suggests, this US

podcast is only for those with a

serious penchant for all things

planes and aviation. It’s now

released over 550 episodes.

ITM

The Institute of

Travel Management

will release its very

first podcast this summer –

we look forward to hearing

more from them.

86 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

New kid on the block

the standard, london

THE LOWDOWN Standard

International has transformed a

Brutalist 1970s building in London’s

King Cross – the former Camden

Town Hall – into a unique 266-room

hotel that draws inspiration from the

area’s political, intellectual and

cultural history. Designed in

partnership with Shawn Hausman,

the hotel is Standard’s first outside

the US and marks the beginning of

planned global expansion. The

Standard has 42 different styles of

room, from ingeniously designed

windowless ‘Cosy Core’ rooms to

terraced suites with outdoor

bathtubs overlooking St Pancras.

Public spaces include a library

lounge, two restaurants, and –

opening in September – a third,

tenth-floor restaurant featuring

live fire cooking and offering 360

degree views of London.

that's a FACT The hotel includes

a wood-panelled, sound proofed

studio to host, stream and record

DJ sets, interviews, podcasts and

intimate live shows.

they said it “We could not be

more proud of what The Standard

team and our many collaborators

have created in a beautiful,

overlooked building that was almost

left for naught. We look forward to

welcoming the world in to see, and

more importantly, feel what it is that

makes The Standard so special.”

rates Cosy Core rooms

start at £199 while prices rise to

£1,050 per night for the top suite.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

87


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.


DEPARTURES

Meeting in York

The attractive walled city

of York is one of the UK’s

most visited tourist

hotspots but it has much

to win over business

travellers too, with its

plentiful choice of historic

and cultural venues and a

vibrant restaurant and

nightlife scene, writes

WOW FACTOR

Merchant

Adventurers Hall

The atmospheric Grade I listed

Merchant Adventurers Hall is

one of Europe’s best surviving

examples of a medieval guild

hall. Its impressive interior

lends itself perfectly to grand

dinners and events. Groups of

up to 180 can be seated in the

main hall, and outside there

are scenic walled gardens,

bordered by the River Foss.

Hall hire starts at £1,100.

QUIRKY VENUE

The York Dungeon

The York Dungeon is part of

the national Dungeon group

and it hosts interactive shows

and live action events that

bring historical stories to life,

with actors taking visitors

through more than 2,000 years

of York history. Private events

during the day or evening can

be catered for in the Dungeon’s

cellar rooms. Visitors can also

go on tours after hours, with

prices starting at £20pp.

ON A SHOESTRING

Clements Hall

Just outside the city walls,

Clements Hall is a community

run events hall located a short

walk from the railway station.

The light-filled main room is

suitable for receptions and

presentations, seating up to

120, while the first-floor art

room can seat 20. A separate

meeting space is available for

up to 18. Room hire starts from

£18 per hour for the main hall

and catering can be organised.

Emma Allen

Fossgate, York YO1 9XD

merchantshallyork.org

12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD

thedungeons.com/york

Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW

clementshall.org.uk

STEP BACK

IN TIME

SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

WIRED UP

OUT OF TOWN

Getting there

York is less than two

hours from London by train,

and around two hours from

Edinburgh. There are also

direct services from Liverpool,

Manchester, Birmingham and

the South West. The nearest

airport is Leeds/Bradford,

which is around 50 minutes

away by road.

York’s Chocolate Story

Set in the historic Minster

Quarter, York’s Chocolate Story

sets out the history behind

York’s chocolate-making

industry, and the building

makes an interesting

backdrop for dinners and

receptions. Tastings and

workshops can be arranged, as

well as tours and hiring of the

Factory Zone. Prices start at

£100 per hour for evening hire,

and 20-75 can be catered for.

3-4 Kings Square, York YO1 7LD

yorkschocolatestory.com

KEEPING IT

SWEET

Spring Lane Building

In the city centre, the modern

Spring Lane building is part of

the University of York. It

re-opened in 2016 after a

£13.8m refit. It now offers

a 350-seat lecture theatre

and 26 seminar rooms,

along with state-of-the-art AV

and an on-site technical team.

In the York Conferences

university portfolio there are

more than 200 venues, most

with free high-speed wifi.

397 Harewood Way, Heslington, York

YO10 5DS yorkconferences.com

A DAY AT

THE RACES

York Racecourse

York Racecourse is located a

mile outside of the city centre,

and has a wide range of

conference and meeting space

available, along with hospitality

suites suitable for groups up to

650. The venue also has more

than 2,000sqm of exhibition

space, as well as 2,500sqm of

external tarmac courtyard

areas, allowing events to be

extended outdoors. There are

2,000 free parking spaces.

Racecourse Road, Knavesmire Road,

York yorkracecourse.co.uk

Further information

VisitYork4meetings is the

official conference bureau for

York. See: visityork.org; Tel:

01904 555676; email:

conference@visityork.org

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

89


GALLERY

Avis Budget UK at

Henley Royal

Regatta

Guests from across the industry

gathered on the banks of the River

Thames in July to enjoy a day of fine

hospitality at the Henley Royal Regatta

courtesy of Avis Budget Group. A

charity auction raised nearly £10,000

for Prostate Cancer UK. The Business

Travel Magazine was once again

delighted to be an event partner.

Avis Budget Group at Henley Royal Regatta ▼

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 05.07.2019

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Business Travel Magazine in partnership with Avis Budget Group

90 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

On business in... Manama

Bahrain's capital city,

Manama, is the largest

of its six inhabited

islands. Its financial

harbour, dominated

by the iconic twin

towers of the World

Trade Centre, is home

to the Kingdom’s

strong banking sector,

second only to oil.

Diversification into

other sectors is part

of the Kingdom’s

‘Economic Vision 2030’

strategy, writes

Ramy Salameh

VISIT THE AL

FATEH GRAND

MOSQUE

SLEEPING

EATING

GETTING DOWNTOWN

Getting there

Gulf Air operates 14 direct

flights a week – two a day –

from London Heathrow to

Bahrain International Airport.

The flight takes around 6.5

hours. British Airways operates

a daily service from London

Heathrow. Bahrain International

Airport is located on Muhurraq

Island, 7km north of the capital

city Manama and a 16-minute

drive away.

Further information

For more details on planning a

trip to Bahrain visit: btea.bh

Centrally located beside Bab

Stay put at The Merchant House’s

Al-Bahrain (historic gate) and

rooftop Indigo Restaurant and

bustling Manama Souk, the

savour the ever popular 'Hamour'

recently opened Merchant

fish dish or head to Block 338,

House is Campbell Gray

located in the heart of

BRUNCHING IN

Hotel Group's first foray

BAHRAIN

Adliya, and search out ATTIC

into the region and the first

restaurant. It's a beautifully

official luxury boutique hotel

designed eatery with plenty

in Bahrain. The 46-suite property of terrace space offering

is defined by original art and design; Mediterranean cuisine. A tip for

Chagall, Hirst and Warhol hang brunch would be to find the

beside a host of Bahraini and GCC atmospheric Lukmatina Cafe on

artists of international repute. For Muharraq Island.

the glitz and glamour of major hotel

brands, the likes of the Ritz-Carlton

AFTER HOURS

and Four Seasons are close by.

By day, Block 338 is a pedestrianised

quarter of restaurants, galleries and

boutiques. By night, it becomes a

nightlife hot-spot with super-cars

queuing to be seen, as the fine

diners and bars start to fill up. For

nightclubs head to the nearby Juffair

district for headline venues klub360,

Apollo Club and Club Wrangler to

dance into the early hours.

Although walking is an option, the

primary means of transport is by car

or taxi. Rent a car from one of the

many city rental companies or jump

into one of the relatively inexpensive

metered cabs that traverse the city.

MUST-SEE SIGHTS

Journey through 5,000 years of

history at Bahrain National Museum

or visit the UNESCO World Heritage

listed Bahrain Fort. Divers can go in

search of pearls or a submerged

Boeing 747 within the world’s largest

eco-friendly underwater theme park.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

91


DEPARTURES

Focus on... East Africa

Buoyant economies,

abundant resources and

a growing population

could make East Africa

the next big economic

success story, and its

historic ties to the UK

make it a promising

prospect for trade

cooperation post-Brexit,

writes Sasha Wood

The new Scramble for Africa is well

underway, according to Alex Vines,

head of the Africa program at London

thinktank Chatham House. Foreign

powers are vying for a stake in the

economies of the world’s second most

populous continent, expected to

overtake China by 2025.

The continent is entering a period of

unprecedented growth with foreign

embassies popping up all over, and a

slew of new investment and trade

deals with foreign powers and

multinationals. As a whole, Africa has

the second fastest-growing economy

in the world, with strong signs its

emerging markets are set to replicate

Asian growth in the next decade.

The six-nation East African trade

bloc that includes Tanzania, Kenya,

Uganda and Rwanda has been the

most successful and stable of

Africa’s regional blocs since it was

re-established in 2000. It’s formed a

customs union and the basis of a

common market, and is aiming for a

single currency by 2024.

According to the African Development

Bank’s East Africa Economic

Outlook Report 2019, the region’s

economy is racing ahead of the rest of

the continent with annual growth at

7% "making it a promising investment

and manufacturing destination”. The

report notes that job creation and

ramping up manufacturing will

continue to be major priority areas for

creating growth.

So it’s small wonder that governments

and businesses from around

the world, including the UK, are

rushing to strengthen diplomatic and

commercial ties. Especially in light of

Brexit, UK Trade Minister for Africa,

Emma Wade-Smith points out: “One

of the opportunities that Brexit

affords us is increased interest from

UK companies in Africa as they have

to expand outside their normal

trading blocs.”

In preparation for leaving the EU,

the UK recently signed the UK-Eastern

and Southern Africa Agreement,

intended to replicate the existing EPA

Time zones: GMT +3hrs in

Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia &

Uganda; GMT +2hrs in Rwanda.

Local currency:

Ethiopian Birr: £1 = ETB 36;

Kenyan Shilling: £1 = KES 129;

Tanzanian Shilling: £1 = TZS 2,872

Ugandan Shilling: £1 = UGX 4,613

Rwandan Franc: £1 = RWF 1,124

Visas: UK passport holders need

a visa to visit all East African

countries. The East Africa Tourist

Visa is also available, allowing

multiple entry into Kenya,

Rwanda and Uganda. Visas for

Tanzania can be obtained from

the Tanzanian High Commission

or from a main port of entry.

Kenya offers e-visas or visas

upon arrival. Uganda requires an

e-visa or visa from the Ugandan

High Commission; Rwanda offers

30-day visas upon arrival for £20.

Ethiopia also offers e-visas or

visas upon arrival at Addis Ababa

airport. To obtain a business visa,

check the latest instructions

from the Ethiopian Embassy.

92 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


DEPARTURES

between East Africa and the EU, and

ensuring free trade.

Last year the government actively

courted business in the region, setting

a new goal for the UK to be the largest

G7 investor in Africa by 2022. The

ambition was announced alongside a

range of measures to boost trade and

encourage UK investment in the

region, including the creation of a new

Africa Investors Board.

Trade between the UK and African

nations, which is already worth more

than £31billion, continues to grow.

The UK already has a firm foothold

in Kenya, with more than 60 British

companies operating there. And

thanks to strong political and

historical links, the UK remains the

country’s strongest trading partner

with more than £1.3billion of annual

bilateral trade. Marks & Spencer alone

buys products worth £100 million per

year from Kenya, with other British

supermarkets close behind. On the

reverse, machinery and chemicals

form the bulk of UK imports.

Ethiopia, meanwhile, is expected to

maintain the rapid pace of growth it

has experienced over the last decade.

The continent’s fourth largest city and

Africa’s diplomatic capital, Addis

Ababa is another major gateway to

the region. Trade between UK and

Ethiopia has increased considerably in

recent years and UK exports to

Ethiopia have grown by 135%. Like

many East African nations, major

imports include machinery, oil and

petrol, while coffee makes up more

than a third of total exports.

A free market economy and

abundant natural resources make

Tanzania equally attractive to foreign

investors, and the UK is one of its

largest. The country is rich in gems

and minerals such as rubies and

diamonds, sapphires and tanzanite,

with large mining operations for gold,

silver, copper and platinum in the

north of the country.

The nation’s economy has been

expanding steadily over the last

decade partly due to an increase in

agriculture and manufacturing, while

vehicles and machinery are the

mainstay of exports from the UK.

Rwanda and Uganda are also ones

to watch. Rwanda’s mining industry is

going from strength to strength and

its main imports include industrial

machinery, something the UK can

capitalise on. The population of capital

Kigali is set to triple by 2040 and plans

are afoot to decentralise the city.

With Brexit looming and economic

indicators across the region positive,

all signs point to East Africa being a

strong prospect for future

cooperation on trade. But with stiff

competition from China, India and the

US, businesses need to act fast.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

93


DEPARTURES

Factfile: East Africa

FLIGHTS

BRITISH AIRWAYS: Has daily

direct flights between London

Heathrow and Nairobi, Kenya.

KENYA AIRWAYS: Has daily

direct flights between London

Heathrow and Nairobi, Kenya.

ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES:

Flies ten times per week

between London

Heathrow and Addis

Ababa, Ethiopia.

Time out

in Tropical

Zanzibar

RWANDAIR: Has five weekly

services between London

Gatwick and Rwanda’s capital,

Kigali. Outbound flights on

Fridays and Sundays are nonstop

services, while outbound

flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays

and Saturdays are connecting

services via Brussels.

ONE-STOP SERVICES:

There are no direct services

to Uganda's international

gateway, Entebbe (25 miles

from capital city Kampala),

nor to Tanzania's commercial

centre, Dar Es Salaam, but

convenient connecting options

are offered by the likes of

Emirates, Turkish Airlines, KLM,

Qatar Airways and Brussels

Airlines via their respective

hubs. Alternatively, fly via

Nairobi with Kenya Airways or

via Addis Ababa with Ethiopian

Airlines. Qatar Airways also

flies from Doha to Zanzibar,

Kilimanjaro and Mombasa.

• Information kindly supplied

by travel data and analytics

specialist Cirium

QATAR

AIRWAYS has

it covered

HOTELS

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS:

Runs 28 hotels in Africa including

the Intercontinental Nairobi and

Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City

Centre. Crowne Plaza Nairobi

Airport hotel opened recently.

LOUVRE HOTELS GROUP: Has

properties across sub-Saharan

Africa under its Tulip brands

including the Golden Tulip

Westlands Nairobi, another in

Addis Ababa and one in Kigali.

BEST WESTERN: Has 24 hotels

across ten African countries

including Kenya, Uganda and

Tanzania, and three hotels in

Nairobi alone.

HILTON: Has 39 hotels in Africa,

with 100 new properties in the

pipeline. The Hilton Nairobi

Upper Hill is set to open in the

continent’s tallest building.

RADISSON HOTEL GROUP:

Recently added the Pearl of

Africa Hotel Kampala in

Uganda, as well as the Park Inn

Addis Ababa to its collection of

42 hotels across 20 countries.

ACCOR HOTELS: The group

ontinues to grow its portfolio in

Africa, where it currently has 114

hotels across its Ibis, Sofitel,

MGallery and Novotel brands,

including four in Kenya.

MARRIOTT: Has a strong

presence in Africa with 149

hotels across 29 countries

including Rwanda, with new

hotels slated for Nairobi,

Dar Es Salaam and Kampala.

OFF DUTY

DAR ES SALAAM: The city on

the Indian Ocean is East Africa’s

second busiest port with

frequent ferries to the tropical

island of Zanzibar famous for its

snorkelling and diving spots. The

city's National Museum is a great

introduction to the country.

NAIROBI: Just 7km south of the

city, Nairobi National Park let’s

you see lions, leopards, rhinos

and giraffes in their natural

savannah home, and there's an

elephant orphanage too.

play the big

five game in

nairobi

set sail

from dar es

salaam

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia's

colourful cultural portal boasts

great music and museums

including the National Museum

of Ethiopia featuring the threemillion-year-old

Lucy skeleton.

The bustling open-air Mercato

market is Africa’s biggest. Take

some time to visit the Great Rift

Valley lakes or take a boat trip

to see the local hippos and

UNESCO-listed Adadi Mariam

rock-cut churches.

KAMPALA: Uganda’s capital

borders Africa’s largest lake,

Lake Victoria, and it's a short

drive south-west to the source

of the Nile River at Jinja, which

offers rafting and boat trips.

The Uganda Museum explores

the country’s tribal heritage.

Tours of Lubiri royal compound

reveal the fascinating and dark

history of the region.

KIGALI: Rwanda’s capital Kigali

is safe, attractive and modern.

Two hours’ drive from the capital,

mountain gorilla trekking in

Volcanoes National Park is a oneoff

experience not-to-be-missed.

94 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


TIME FOR

AFRICA!

Fly to 17 sub-saharan destinations

with Brussels Airlines.

Abidjan, Accra, Banjul, Bujumbura, Conakry,

Cotonou, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown,

Kigali, Kinshasa, Lomé, Luanda, Monrovia,

Ouagadougou and Yaoundé.

Untitled-3 1 15/07/2019 11:38

brusselsairlines.com

bair-uk-ghana-businesstraveler-ad-255x190-en-jul19.indd 1 09/07/2019 13:28


DEPARTURES

Reality check

HOTEL: DAKOTA, MANCHESTER

THE HOTEL

This chic boutique

THE ROOM

The design scheme

addition to the Manchester hotel scene is

flows seamlessly throughout the hotel.

fast becoming a favourite haunt of celebs

My room featured muted grey tones with

and savvy business travellers. On Ducie

plush armchairs, framed vintage prints,

Street in the heart of Manchester’s old

floor-to-ceiling windows and a large

mill district, it’s one of a clutch of trendy

flatscreen TV. The very comfortable king

venues to open as the neighbourhood

sized bed had an upholstered leather

undergoes rapid regeneration. Interiors

headboard and crisp white Egyptian

are dominated by dark slate tones,

cotton linen. Tucked inside an alcove,

complemented by warm yellow lighting,

there was a nice leather desk area with

fire places and candles. Studded leather

USB charging ports and thoughtful

chairs and tables, and vintage photos on

touches like a magnifying mirror and

the walls featuring stars such as Clarke

slate board for heated appliances. The

Gable, are a nod to the 1930s New York

stylish tiled bathroom had a walk-in

influence. Tellingly, the brand is named

rainshower with Dakota toiletries.

after the pioneering US passenger aircraft

THE FACILITIES

With dark marble,

perfect for entertaining clients.

that transformed travel in the 1930s by

leather seating, framed photos from old

Complimentary wifi was faultless.

offering an affordable service in an age

Hollywood, low lighting, and cool bespoke

THE VERDICT

It’s a clear contender

when flying was reserved for the elite.

The buildng is perched beside a canal

and is just a five-minute walk from

Manchester Piccadilly train station.

THE CHECK-IN My late afternoon

cocktails, nowhere is the moody

Manhattan influence more apparent than

in the bar – it feels glamorous without

being glitzy. The Dakota Grill’s classic

gourmet dishes draw locals as well as

IT'S A CLEAR

CONTENDER FOR BEST

BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN

MANCHESTER

for best boutique hotel in Manchester.

Even though it’s a tad more pricey than

other properties in the area, I would

choose to stay here again.

THE DETAILS 29 Ducie Sreet,

check-in was smooth with a warm

guests, and the buffet breakfast offers a

Manchester M1 2JL. Rates from £203

welcome from staff. I was given a quick

tour and shown to my Classic King Room.

brilliant selection. An atmospheric lounge,

cigar terrace and Champagne room are

per night. dakotahotels.co.uk

Sasha Wood

AIRLINE: EMIRATES

THE FLIGHT

I was travelling in

although that might be put down to the

economy class on Emirates flight EK9

long walk between lounge and gate!

from Dubai to London Gatwick,

THE SEAT

I'd chosen an aisle seat

departing at 14.55 and arriving at 19.45

(47C) in the forwardmost section of the

(local times). The service is one of three

lower deck of the A380. Just a few

Emirates flights a day on the route and

rows from the front, it enabled swift

was flown by an Airbus A380.

disembarkation on arrival and is in a

PRE-BOARDING

After being dropped

more 'intimate' space than the some-

off at Dubai International I headed

what cavernous economy sections on

straight to security as I'd checked-in via

the rest of the lower deck. Seating was

the Emirates app the previous day (and

in a 3-4-3 configuration with most seats

selected a seat) and as I was only

occupied. It's a pretty standard economy

travelling with hand luggage. It took

seat offering with a small amount of

around 20 minutes to pass through

recline and in-seat USB points. I was

security and passport control, and then

impressed by the seatback screens

I hopped on the airport train for the

(better than one business class offering

THE VERDICT

A good, comfortable

short transit to Terminal 3. I used my

I'd recently experienced) and the huge

economy class product and a slick

Priority Pass membership to visit a

range of films, TV and music on offer.

experience on the ground too.

Marhaba lounge for a quick drink and

bite to eat, before heading to the

allocated gate almost as soon as it was

announced. I was therefore surprised

to see the boarding process already

Wifi connectivity included limited free

access, plus several paid-for options.

THE SERVICE The truly global cabin

crew were pleasant throughout the

flight as they served a choice of three

THE RANGE OF

ENTERTAINMENT ON

OFFER WAS SERIOUSLY

IMPRESSIVE

THE DETAILS Emirates flies to Dubai

six times a day from Heathrow, three

times a day from Manchester and

Gatwick, twice daily from Birmingham,

Glasgow and Stansted, and daily from

underway (and in surprisingly orderly

hot dinners and, later, afternoon tea. An

Newcastle and Edinburgh. Return fares

fashion, given the number of

passengers travelling on this A380),

additional drinks run or two would have

been appreciated.

start from around £379. emirates.com

Andy Hoskins

96 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

HOTEL: LOEWS BOSTON HOTEL, BOSTON, USA

THE HOTEL

The hotel is housed in

range of toiletries. A nightly turn-down

the former headquarters of the Boston

service was also offered.

Police Force in the Back Bay area of the

THE BUSINESS

The hotel has

city. It's just a five-minute walk from the

approximately 4,200 square feet of

railway station and a 15-minute drive

meeting space divided into six rooms,

from the international airport. Boston

the largest having a capacity for 125

Common was a ten-minute walk away

persons. The business centre offered

and two of Boston’s major malls and

24-hour access and there was free wifi

shops were also in close proximity. The

throughout the hotel. Premium wifi

stately limestone building has 222

access with larger bandwidths was

guestrooms, two luxury suites and an

available for an additional cost.

expansive Presidential Suite.

THE FACILITIES

The hotel lobby

THE CHECK-IN

A friendly welcome was

adjoins the Apothecary lounge area

offered by the bellboys and front desk

with plenty of seating for guests. The

staff. Check-in was swift and after an

lounge has a media wall, complimentary

explanation about hotel facilities I was

tea and coffee are provided and there's

most welcoming. The hotel’s free fitness

handed my key and shown to the

plenty of space for casual meetings. The

centre was open 24 hours.

elevator. My bags arrived shortly after.

THE ROOM I stayed in a Deluxe

King Room. As well as the king-size bed,

the room had workspace, a reading chair

and a flatscreen Smart TV. Amenities

included a Nespresso coffee machine,

hotel’s restaurant is named Precinct

after the hotel's former incarnation and

is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner,

serving a range of American and

international dishes within its open

kitchen. The Precinct also doubles as a

THE HOTEL'S

RESTAURANT IS

NAMED PRECINCT

AFTER ITS FORMER

INCARNATION

THE VERDICT The superb location was

a definite plus point. I was travelling to

New York after my stay so the proximity

to Back Bay station was a bonus. Overall

a very pleasant stay in a lovely hotel.

THE DETAILS Loews Boston Hotel, 154

iron and ironing board, laptop friendly

bar and is obviously a popular meeting

Berkeley Street, Boston. Loews' lead-in

safe and a mini-fridge. My bathroom

had a bath and separate shower plus a

point for after-work drinks. In warm

weather the outdoor seating areas are

price is $195 per night. loewshotels.com

David Clare

TRAIN: LNER AZUMA, FIRST CLASS

THE JOURNEY

I travelled first class on

THE SERVICE

The LNER service

LNER's new super-fast Azuma train

provides an inclusive first-class offering,

service between London King's Cross

which includes food and drink. All

and Peterborough, which took less than

First Class travellers are offered a

an hour. It was the first of 65 new LNER

complimentary two-course meal, with

trains using Japanese bullet train

three-course meals served on evening

technology engineered with the help of

trains coming out of King's Cross. New

Hitachi. This month the new East Coast

dishes prepared in the onboard kitchens

service will extend its reach from London

using locally-sourced ingredients and

King's Cross to Edinburgh and the North

served by attentive staff include stilton

East of England, cutting the journey time

and broccoli quiche, vegetable curry and

from London to Edinburgh from an

chicken cassava, all of which tasted

average five-and-a-half hours to four.

surprisingly delicious. Proper cutlery and

Upon boarding, I was greeted by friendly

crockery made my on-board experience

staff and shown to my seat.

feel much more civilized than your

THE SEAT

Compared with the

standard commute. There's a seemingly

THE DETAILS

LNER operates more

existing trains, the Azuma’s First Class

limitless supply of tea and coffee and

than 1,000 services a week between

carriages have more leg room, larger

tables, reclining seats with adjustable

headrests, and both USB charging and

plug sockets at every seat. Coaches on

nine-carriage Azuma trains are longer,

enabling space for 101 First Class seats,

passengers travelling in standard class

have access to the Let’s Eats Café Bar

and on-board trolley service.

THE VERDICT The First Class

experience was akin to the service you

would expect on a decent airline. I was

MY ON-BOARD

EXPERIENCE FELT

MUCH MORE CIVILIZED

THAN YOUR STANDARD

COMMUTE

London King's Cross and Inverness,

calling at key East Coast cities in the

East Midlands, North East and Scotland.

Advance First Class single fares between

London King's Cross and Edinburgh can

be found for as little as £79.50 when

510 Standard seats and 10 toilets. The

well fed and watered, the carriage felt

booked well ahead. For more

on-board wifi worked really well for

simple tasks such as checking emails.

quiet, and I had plenty of space to

spread out and work.

information see: lner.co.uk

Sasha Wood

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

97


DEPARTURES

The final word

Nowt better than a nice cuppa…

As a tea-loving nation

it comes as no surprise

that we drink an

excessive amount of the stuff,

and this doesn't change when

we take flight.

According to holiday company

TUI, its airline passengers will

drink enough English breakfast

tea onboard its flights to fill 920

bathtubs this summer.

The nation is also a fan of

snacking as we head off on our

holidays, and passengers are

expected to eat enough ham

and cheese toasties onboard to

feed Wembley Stadium twice,

and munch through a marathon

amount of Sour Cream & Chive

Pringles – literally!

Laid back-to-back, the number

of pots of Pringles expected to

be consumed on TUI flights this

summer would stretch along

the entire London Marathon

route. You know what they say

– once you pop, you can't stop...

THE INFLUENCE OF

REALITY TV

Hotel booking site alpharooms

says one in five holidaymakers

has booked a holiday to a

destination after seeing it

featured in a reality TV series.

For example, it noted a 73%

rise in trips to Mallorca after

the 2018 finale of Love Island.

The most influential series are:

1 Benidorm (23%)

2 Love Island (22%)

3 Ibiza Weekender (20%)

4 TOWIE (19%)

5 Ex On The Beach (11%)

6 The Only Way is Marbs (5%)

Out of this world!

DoubleTree by Hilton

has some serious

bragging rights,

with its famous chocolate

chip cookies poised to

become the first food

baked in space.

Later this year, its iconic

cookie dough will take off

onboard a rocket bound for

the International Space

Station and will be baked

using a prototype oven that

is designed to make longduration

space flight more

hospitable. “Hilton has long

been an industry innovator,

and as we celebrate our 100th

year, we’re excited to send

our hospitality into orbit,”

says Hilton's Shawn McAteer.

Around 80% of Brits have experienced a

life-changing 'Sliding Doors moment',

says rail company LNER,

referring to the film in

which two versions of a life

pan out. LNER’s survey

found that one in 20

people came home earlier

than expected and caught

their partner cheating,

while a similar number

believe they missed out

on their dream job after

being late for an interview

because of delays or

cancellations.

98 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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