The Business Travel Magazine Oct/Nov 2019

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78 October/November 2019



Sustainable travel in the spotlight

Focus on: the Gulf states

Premium economy cabins

In conversation: Clive Wratten

The Business Travel Conference


Simply booked, smoothly travelled

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hire with 24/7 customer support, business

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Extended feature



Car hire, rail travel, taxis, chauffeur

drive... we've got it covered!



11 16





7 12


18 Sustainable travel

30 Premium economy cabins

55 Extended feature:

Ground transport, including...

• Introduction, 56-58

• Tech & tools, 60-62

• Car hire developments, 64-68

• Rail spend management, 70-74

• Operator update, 78-80

• Taxis and transfers, 82-83

• Chauffeur services, 84-85

• Industry data, 86


6 Opening Shots

8 Everyone's Talking About...

The collapse of Thomas Cook

11 The Knowledge: take your TMC

RFP in the right direction

12 Six of the Best:

Co-working providers in London


14 Event report: The Business

Travel Conference 2019

16 Photo gallery: TBTC 2019

17 The Big Picture

26 The Conversation: Clive Wratten,

Business Travel Association

28 The Business Travel People

Awards: winner's interview

40 Meet the buyer:

Jimena Alvarez Vallina

41 Technology:

Demographic developments

42 Talking Travel: Prue Leith

88 Photo gallery: Advantage

Business Travel Summer BBQ

The Review

45 Ten pages of news, views

and the latest developments


87 New Kid on the Block

89 Meeting in: Glasgow

91 On Business in: São Paulo

92 Focus on: the Gulf States

96 Reality Check

98 The Final Word



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Travel's got talent

The sad collapse of Thomas Cook was

mourned by many across the country

recently, from those who have fond

memories of package holidays with the

operator – myself included – to its many

loyal customers and, above all, the

unfortunate staff that lost their jobs following its demise. Just what legal

or regulatory changes its collapse might prompt remains to be seen, but

the ramifications could affect us all.

The tour operator had long been a springboard for talent and there's a

huge number of people working in the business travel industry today

whose careers began at Thomas Cook. Among them is the Business Travel

Association's new Chief Executive, Clive Wratten. You can read about his

vision for the BTA in an interview on pages 26-27 of this issue.

Attracting and nurturing industry talent is one item on the BTA's agenda,

and it was quick to launch a jobs board on its website to help keep the

careers of former Thomas Cook staff on track. It would be a shame to let

their tremendous knowledge and expertise disappear from the industry.

Expertise of another kind is served up in this issue's cover feature which

takes a look at the efforts of both buyers and suppliers to reduce their

impact on the environment and promote sustainable travel (p18-24).

Meanwhile, our extended feature gets to grips with the often neglected

area of ground transport (p55-86), covering everything from rail, car hire

and ride-hailing, to booking tools, content aggregators and supplier

negotiations. At more than 30 pages long, it is our most extensive report

of its kind to date, proving that business travel's Cinderalla sector shall go

to the ball – the only question is by which means of transport?






Andy Hoskins



Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill,

Gary Noakes, Dave Richardson & Gillian Upton


Sasha Wood & April Waterston


Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder


Steve Hartridge



Kirsty Hicks




Louisa Horton


Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant


Clare Hunter


Steve Hunter


Subscribe for free at




Matt Bonner


Martin Steady

Andy Hoskins, Editor



SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233













Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments

Quest Apartments

aussie rule

Quest Apartment

Hotels has opened a

property in Liverpool

– its first outside of

Australasia. The

project features 100

apartments, reception,

gym and conference

room, located on the

top floors of an old

office block. Quest

has 170 properties

in Australia, New

Zealand and Fiji and

aims to have 10 in

the UK by 2024.

Liverpool is a

dynamic business

hub that will continue to

thrive. We are confident this

will be the start of an exciting

journey for Quest”


British Airways

on a high

BA’s first Airbus A350,

featuring its new Club

Suite business class

offering, is now

operating selected

services to Dubai.

Having been tested

on Madrid routes, the

A350 is gearing up

to tackle Bangalore,

Tel Aviv and Toronto.

OYO Hotels

brit popping

Indian hospitality

brand OYO Hotels now

represents 100 British

properties less than a

year after entering the

country. The business,

which has pledged to

spend £40million on

UK expansion, uses

technology to boost

occupancy and revenue.

Red Bull Racing

fast mover

Red Bull Racing is

making its first foray

into the meetings

market with the launch

of event space MK-7 at

its Milton Keynes factory

headquarters. The

concept gives guests a

glimpse of the team’s

race heritage, and

includes an events space

for 450, mezzanine area

and 22-seat boardroom.





The collapse of Thomas Cook














Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity

Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA

The task [of getting customers home]

is enormous – it is the biggest

peacetime repatriation in UK history”

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport






Professor Jackie Watson, University of Surrey

There is huge knowledge and

expertise among ex-Thomas

Cook staff. It is important

to the industry that this is

not lost and that these

people have the chance

to continue building

their careers”

Clive Wratten, Chief Executive, BTA



Dr Sarah



of Derby



“Our aviation industry offers consumers choice and

value - it is an open and competitive marketplace.

Sadly, that means on occasion companies will

be forced to withdraw. It is important that we

minimise the fall-out for consumer confidence

as a result of this situation”

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business




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How to... Take your RFP

in the right direction

Culture, capability and cost are the three

key factors influencing an organisation’s

selection of travel management

company. Read on to find out how one

global business went about it.


“You’ve got to have a really good

understanding of your objectives and

requirements,” advises the head of travel

for a London-headquartered

financial services business.

“Going to RFP for a TMC is a

really time-consuming process

for both you and the TMCs you

meet with,” they explain.

The organisation had been

with the same TMC for five

years and was seeking a new

approach. “We’d directly contracted with

Concur as our booking tool and we needed

a TMC that could work with that, so the

process was very geared towards that.”

They stress the importance of doing your

research within your own organisation:

“We engaged our stakeholders from the

start. Finding out what they wanted was

key. You also need buy-in – not just from

your senior people but from your bookers

and travellers too.”


For this organisation,

there was a limited

number of TMCs that had

the global presence and

capability to serve their

needs. “We wanted global

consistency – working

with multiple TMCs was too complex,”

explains the head of travel.

“We went out to five TMCs and it was a

very structured process. We looked at their

technical expertise – specifically relating to

Concur – plus their reporting capabilities

and cost effectiveness.”

They continue: “The incumbent has an

advantage because they know your

programme and culture, so we wanted to

help the others understand our specific

requirements too.” The organisation

narrowed the shortlist down to three TMCs

it believed could meet their needs.


They did a tremendous job throughout

the procurement processes,” says a

senior member of one of the

shortlisted TMCs. “Bidding isn’t

cheap for a TMC so we have

to be careful what we go for.

Sales used to be about

going for every bit of

business, but that just

doesn’t work


They add:

“We also have

to consider the

risk: will that

company be around

for long? Is it a good

name for us to work with? Would we prefer

a rival? Are they currently with a TMC that

we’d like to take them off?”

And what helps TMCs during the RFP

process? “Companies need to share the real

reasons behind the RFP before it is even

issued. I can name many companies who

habitually go out to RFP every three years

just to screw their incumbent on price,”

says the TMC spokesperson.

“Don’t waste everyone’s time doing that.

It’s expensive for all parties and it’s also


Transparency is key, they add: “Companies

being secretive during the process doesn’t

help us one iota. We don’t mind if we ask

for more information and they therefore

have to share that with all bidders.”

And as for unsolicited TMCs... “If you

receive an invitation to bid out of the blue

then you know you’re probably just making

up the numbers,” says another TMC boss.

“That’s probably a piece of business we

wouldn’t pursue.”


It took 10 months from

start to finish for the

organisation to carry out

the RFP process and

make its selection.

“We absolutely made

the right decision,” says

the head of travel, who

attributes the successful

outcome to constant stakeholder

communication and a thorough and

fair RFP process.

“We kept revisiting them to advise them

on progress along the way. Our goals had

been identified from the offset and referred

to throughout, which was key to the whole

process – it was a consistent evaluation

process,” they explain.

And one last piece of advice: “Going

through an RFP for a global TMC is a heck of

process – I’d say to do it no more frequently

than every five years.”





Six of the best...

Co-working providers in London



With a much talked about share

issue on the horizon, WeWork is

the undoubted co-working star.

It’s trendy start-up vibe has

meant rapid expansion around

the globe – hence the 51 sites

currently on offer in the capital,

ranging from hipster chic to

stripped back minimalism.




Eight contemporary sites across

the central and eastern ends of

London make up The Space

portfolio. Eco-friendly buildings,

roof terraces, welcome parties

and a busy programme of social

events are among the draws.


This dedicated shared space for

tech entrepreneurs and startups

is situated a stone’s throw from

London's Silicon Roundabout.

Benefits include PR support, VC

introductions, business advice

and a mentoring programme.



Living up to its name, Workspace

piles in with an impressive 63

London venues, including offices,

studios and light industrial

spaces. The company prides

itself on its short break clauses,

state-of-the-art technology and

commitment to making sure its

3,000 tenants can connect.



The old dame of the office

rental game has worked hard

to keep up with its new wave of

competitors. Ready-to-use office

spaces, hot desks, coworking and

meeting rooms are available on

a pay-as-you-go basis at 96

locations across London.



Happiness is a big motivator for

Work.Life, making its eight

London locations some of the

most smiley in our selection.

Members can use any site they

choose, and can opt for benefits

including massages, yoga

sessions and unlimited coffee.






ANA, Japan’s largest 5-Star airline * , have collaborated with famed Japanese architect

Kengo Kuma and British designers Acumen to create new First Class ‘THE Suite’ and

Business Class ‘THE Room’, debuting on the direct daily London – Tokyo route.

Inspired by Japanese heritage and British design, the new luxury cabins are each

complete with a private door, large 4K monitor and specially crafted dining facilities.

‘THE Room’ also now offers double the seat width compared to previous Business Class

seats, creating unrivalled space in harmony with ANA’s award winning 5-Star service —

connecting you in comfort to over 50 destinations across Japan and beyond.

We Are Japan.




By passenger numbers across all Japanese carriers


event report


Making it personal

Personalisation, crafting a traveller policy

rather than a travel policy, and making

wellness a priority were high on the agenda

across the 14 sessions at The Business

Travel Conference which took place in

London in September. Sasha Wood reports.

Around 200 delegates and 60 exhibitors from

the business travel world including TMCs,

travel managers and suppliers came together

for the event at the Hilton Bankside Hotel.

Guest speaker MP Gillian Keegan who has a

background in the travel industry opened the

event with an informative talk on the current

state of Brexit, reassuring the audience that a

no-deal Brexit is highly unlikely, and that

withdrawal from the European Union will have

a minimal impact on the travel sector.

She said the government has “put in place a

nine-month deal to minimise travel disruption

post-Brexit”. And that all the necessary

regulations such as Right to Fly, European

Aviation Safety Agency and road haulage

It's not about the

£1 saving – it's

about getting the right

location and style of

service, and not irking

your travellers”

Has your organisation

witnessed changes that

can be attributed to Brexit?

None yet


Yes, some




Not yet,

but maybe

when Brexit



Yes, a


shift 7%

permits have been secured and

replicated in UK law.

According to Keegan, Freedom

of Movement should also remain

unaffected, “as the original deal

keeps until December 2020”.

A poll of delegates showed the majority

had not yet witnessed any changes in their

organisation that could be attributed to Brexit,

though 29 per cent had seen some changes.

Emerging themes over the two days included

the need to personalise the business travel

experience and develop ‘traveller policies’ –

as opposed to travel policies – that focus on

individual requirements rather than taking a

one-size-fits-all approach. Meanwhile, traveller

wellbeing has been steadily climbing up the

agenda and is increasingly being balanced

against cost savings in terms of its positive

impact on productivity.



• Personalisation • ndc •

RFP • BRexit • traveller

policy • Wellbeing


In a session covering travel

managers' approach to

accommodation needs, Black

Box Partnership’s Leigh Cowlishaw

pointed out “it’s not about the £1

saving – it’s about getting the right

location and style of service, and not irking


Not yet, and it won't

affect us 7%


event report

If you're prepared to talk seriously, if you really want a solution,

then you have to be prepared to compromise”

your travellers. We need to be more dynamic

in our approach, not just looking at the

bottom line. For example, your travellers

should have the ability to have room service

if they want to stay in and work rather than

walking out and eating alone.”

Wellness specialist Gavin Percy from Winning

Edges Consultancy echoed this sentiment in

his talk on making traveller wellbeing central

to your business. Addressing the issue of

productivity and days lost due to travel fatigue,

he said travel managers need to consider

factors beyond cost savings.

For example, booking travellers in business

class cabins for long flights so that they arrive

refreshed and ready to work makes sense for

the business when flying in cheaper economy

seats might lead to a day lost in recovery time.

Closing the conference, Sir Trevor McDonald

captivated a full house with a keynote speech

full of fascinating anecdotes covering his

travels and time as an international journalist.

Perhaps most illuminating were the

memories he shared about his friend Nelson

Mandela who was still willing to negotiate with

his former captors after 27 years in prison.

Mandela simply told him: “If you’re prepared

to talk seriously, if you really want a solution,

you have to be prepared to compromise.”

Wise words we can all apply to solving issues

in our professional and personal lives.

The Business Travel Conference will return to

Hilton London Bankside on 15-16 Sept 2020.

as a traVel manager

or buyer, wHat's your

main focus rigHt now?

CoSt SAvInGS 61%

DUtY oF CAre 35%

SoUrCInG neW SUppLIerS 9%

IMprovInG proCeSSeS 39%

cHarity driVe

This year's conference supported

the London Taxi Drivers' Charity

for Children, helping to raise

nearly £800 to improve the lives of

special needs and disadvantaged

children across the capital

wHat is your company's

approacH to booKing

meetings and eVents?

booK directly witH tHe Venue


IMpLeMentInG neW teCHnoLoGY 17%

SHApInG trAveL poLICY 17%

trAveLLer WeLLBeInG 30%

otHer 4%

All results are from delegate polls at The Business Travel Conference

booK Via an

external agency




of tHe two




Thanks to our

headline sponsors!

The 13th annual event from

The Business Travel Magazine took

place in September, featuring two

days of educational sessions and an

exhibition, plus the introduction of a

new wellbeing area and keynote

speeches from Gillian Keegan MP

and Sir Trevor McDonald

The Business Travel Conference 2019

Meditation in the

new wellbeing area

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 17.09.2019

Relaxing at the day

one drinks reception


With thanks to our event sponosrs



Spanish costas


European hotel rates

will rise fastest in Spain,

Luxembourg and

Ireland in 2020, with

average daily rates

increasing by 3%-5%.

Rooms in London will

be marginally more

pricey, rising 1%-3%,

according to the latest

industry forecast from

BCD Travel.





Doing the right


Travel and hospitality brands are finally backing up their talk

about sustainability with real action, says Gillian Upton

When Sir Elton John leapt to the

defence of Prince Harry and wife

Meghan in August for flying by

private jet to his villa in Nice by saying

that he offset the carbon emissions, it

didn’t really wash.

Carbon offsetting was initially sold as an

easy trade off. Companies could invest in

various environmental projects that reduce

greenhouse gases in order to compensate

for the emissions made elsewhere.

Environmental groups now view carbon

offsetting as a distraction from reducing

emissions first and foremost. Offsetting

should be a last resort. So how green is the

business travel world? Studies highlight that

40% of companies are finding it hard to

become more sustainable, with cost proving

the biggest barrier.

They’ll have to absorb the cost,” says

Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client

Partnerships at Business Travel Direct. “All we

can do is present the options but the decision

has to be made at board level. Usually the

sustainability team want to reduce CO2 but

the travel team are looking at cost.”

Many planet-friendly initiatives are not cost

neutral but it is also abundantly clear that

consumers want action, otherwise they will

vote with their feet. According to a study

from WRAP, 67% of UK consumers would

boycott brands that lack an ethical

conscience, a value that miIlennials – who will

make up the bulk of employees over the next

few years – hold dear. MiIlennial and Gen Z

employees rank sustainability as a leading

concern when evaluating employers.

Chris Bowen, Managing Director EMEA at

CWT, reckons that the tipping point is fast

approaching. “Budget versus mis-perceived

additional sustainable trip costs are a

frequent discussion point as many travellers

continue to prefer individual comfort versus

more sustainable options,” he says.

“However, we are starting to see a shift with

changing employee demographics.”

World view

Sustainability is high on government and

public agendas and is no longer a box-ticking

exercise, particularly today when business is

wide open to public view. Moreover, C-level

executives are mindful of minimising

reputational damage.

Most business tenders today will request

details of carbon capture and sustainability

goals, and TMCs are increasingly being asked

by clients for best practice and how they can

change traveller behaviour.

“Corporates want to travel less and travel

smarter and not necessarily focus on the

cost,” says Click Travel’s Director of Sales and

Implementation, Vicki Williams.



The UK government has a target to reduce

emissions by 80% by 2050 and to ban the

sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2040. It

declared a Climate Emergency earlier this

summer, the first G7 country to do so.

Industry-specific goals strengthen the

message. The European Union wants the

airline industry to reduce emissions of CO2

by 75%, slash nitrogen oxides by 90% and cut

noise by 65% by 2050. In 2020 a Carbon

Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for


initiatives are not cost

neutral but it is abundantly

clear that consumers want

action, otherwise they will

vote with their feet”

international aviation comes into force that

has been agreed by 70 countries. With

passenger numbers set to double to some

8.2 billion by 2037, Boeing forecasts that

more than 40,000 new aircraft will be flying

by then.

Most corporates start by tackling their

carbon footprint from air travel as it’s usually

the largest. The Dutch-based Carbon Neutral

Group reckons a return trip to New York

causes the same amount of CO2 as heating a

family house in the Netherlands for a year.

In terms of travel policy, travellers have

myriad options, many of which do save

money. Flying less is the biggest cost saving,

along with using more audio or video

conferencing (once you have factored in the

cost of the equipment needed). Flying direct

cuts emissions, but is usually more costly.

Flying from closer-in regional airports is a

carbon-friendly action, so too is taking the

lowest carbon flight. Reducing the number of

business class flights saves money, while

choosing the train rather than the plane for

short trips under 400km is another planetfriendly

strategy – CO2 emissions from train

travel are about 80% less than flying.

Booking an electric car rather than a

petrol/diesel vehicle, instigating car pooling,

replacing the company’s grey fleet with a

more sustainable company car fleet, and

ensuring sustainable procurement are all

good green practices too.

Travel class does impact on emissions as

business class seats take up far more room

in a plane and therefore a larger proportion

of the emissions are assigned to premium

passengers. Ruling out business class and

first class for flights under 5,000km delivers

savings of 131 tonnes of CO2, and this

trading down in class has the added benefit

of significant cost savings.




Travel and Events

It feels great when you

get a bit more...

Increase savings, and improve employee wellbeing and productivity with a

smarter travel programme.

Wellbeing initiatives putting the traveller first.

Dedicated UK-based 24/7/365 support team.

Best rates on travel and accomodation.

Decode your travel spend with data analytics.

Simpler bookings with our innovative technology suite.

Speak to a member of our team to see how we can

do more for you.

0330 390 0340



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.


Sustainable procurement of products is a

real option as well. Many business travel

suppliers are doing what they can within the

confines of cost to find viable alternatives to

more polluting options.

An early win was the campaign this year to

rid the hospitality industry of plastic straws as

metal, bamboo and birch wood alternatives

were readily available, with many hotel

groups now adopting the change.

The search for viable biofuels

Finding a renewable source of fuel is more

challenging. Transportation causes 27% of

greenhouse gas emissions so much of the

noise has been around changes to cars, vans,

planes and trains.

The world’s major airlines are busy trialling

biofuels to part or totally replace jet fuel, with

some even building factories to satisfy future

demand. Airlines are additionally using

slower cruising speeds, taxiing on one engine

rather than two or towing between gates,

using continuous descent approaches,

optimising air routes and even recycling

retired planes. Huge effort is also going in to

reducing the weight of on-board items, which

helps cut fuel burn. IATA reckons that by

2025, some one billion passengers should be

travelling on flights powered by a mix of jet

fuel and sustainable alternatives.

Modern fleets are key in the sustainability

strategy of airlines. For example, the new

Airbus A350 series is 25% more fuel efficient

than its previous generation aircraft.

Motoring changes gear

The car industry is making

headway along a

similar path, with

more fuel-

efficient vehicles. Emissions of the average

new car coming off the production line from

next year will be 95 grams of CO2 per km,

down from 150 grams.

More challenging is the major modal shift

to electric cars as battery life, battery cost

and the lack of tax breaks and other

subsidies are conspiring to slow conversion

rates. Nonetheless, the National Grid reckons

that 11 million electric vehicles will be on our

roads by 2030.

Track stars

Decarbonising rail is a more complex ask due

to the significant expenditure required.

Electric trains emit between 20-30% less

carbon than diesel trains and while the likes

of Sweden, Switzerland and Germany have

made headway, the UK is lagging behind.

One ray of hope is solar-powered trains.

The Riding Sunbeams project, pioneered by

climate change charity 10:10 and London's

Imperial College, in conjunction with Network

Rail’s Wessex route and Community Energy

South, links around 100 solar panels to an

ancillary transformer on the railway’s traction

systems. This world-first project is currently

undergoing tests.

Hyperloop mass transport is another idea

for the future. With no direct emissions, it

could potentially carry large volumes of

people and cargo in faster-then-air travel

times inside low-pressure tubes. It is

currently being pioneered by Elon Musk

and Virgin Hyperloop One.

Elsewhere on the ground, airports and

airlines are switching to electric vehicles and

recycling water when washing aircraft,

while London Underground is trialling a

scheme to use waste heat to reduce

energy costs for local residents.

Modern fleets are key

in the sustainability

strategy of airlines. For

example, the new Airbus

A350 series is 25% more fuel

efficient than its previous

generation aircraft”



A different view

on business travel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

all day in relaxed surroundings.

Listed on Condé Nast Traveller’s Hot List 2019: The Best New Hotels in the World

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


The hotel industry

Hotels have taken up the sustainability

mantle with gusto. As 24/7 operations they

soak up many resources and major players

such as IHG, Hilton, Radisson and Accor lead

the sustainability pack with deep-rooted

programmes that run through employees,

stakeholders, owners and contractors.

In 2017, the International Tourism

Partnership (ITP) galvanised the hotel

industry and set it four goals: to reduce

carbon, conserve water, help youth

employment and improve human rights.

Hilton and Radisson have signed the UN CEO

Mandate, the world’s largest public-private

sustainability initiative to ensure access to

water and sanitation around the world.

Consumers can patronise green-minded

hotels when they book any of the TripAdvisor

GreenLeaders properties. Marriott has the

most entries in the US and Accor the largest

number across Europe.

Hotels have been busy watching food miles,

installing solar panels, green roofs, LED

lighting and heating, ventilation and air

conditioning systems (HVACs), rationalising

the flow rate in toilets and showers, recycling

soap, reducing the laundry of towels and

bed linen and promoting carbon-neutral

meetings. The World Travel & Tourism

Council believes the sector improved carbon

efficiency by 20% between 2005 and 2015.

Marriott’s Edition Hotels is taking an

altruistic approach by providing a list of

vendors offering plastic alternatives to the

myriad plastic items used in hotels.

A sustainable travel programme

TMCs provide environmental reporting –

that’s the first and easy part of a corporate’s

green journey. CWT's Bowen says the

company is typically asked for insights into

different aircraft types and age, comparison

between air, rail, bus and car pooling, and a

preference for more ‘green’ hotels.

“In some companies, employee benefits

now include an annual train card versus a

company car, and bike options are often built

in as part of wellbeing in conjunction with

sustainability,” he says.

Bowen adds that the trend has reached

meetings and events, so clients can select a

low-emission location, hotels that have an

established environmental programme and

opt for more vegetarian food.

Business Travel Direct’s Bailey has noted a

rise in clients asking how to become a carbon

neutral company and putting in place a

variety of measures.

Commonplace is an auto-response to a

travel email request to the TMC or to the

homepage of the booking tool checking

whether the travel is absolutely necessary

and highlighting the emissions it will generate.

The booking tool can show the number of

emissions on a direct flight versus an indirect

flight,” says Bailey. She is also aware of clients

prioritising car parking places for car sharers,

and others planning homeworking one day

of the week. “It helps reduces the number

of journeys to work by 20%

and is being looked

at widely.”

For meetings and

events, clients can

select a low-emissions

location, hotels that have an

established environmental

programme and opt for more

vegetarian food”




Click Travel’s Williams cites other initiatives,

including traveller behaviour sessions, an

avatar used as a model green traveller to

encourage behaviour change, a policy change

to hand-luggage only to lighten the load of

the aircraft, and travel-ban days each month

to make people think twice.

CWT cites examples of travel policies that

outline the emission differences when flying

Business in Airline A versus Premium in

Airline B versus Economy in Airline C.

Downtrading class of travel has the added

bonus of lowering programme costs.

Corporates can rely on their TMCs on their

sustainability journey, or on a range of thirdparty

providers to become climate neutral

businesses. One such, the Climate Neutral

Group, offers a CO2 calculator, data analysis,

offsetting programmes and products and

services to set up an active policy to reduce

CO2. It is conscious that implementing drastic

policy changes can cause stress in an

organisation and always suggests

implementing measures less stringently.

“For example, the flexibility in travel timing

depends on the nature of the visit: many

business trips do not have any flexibility at

all,” says Ciska Uijlenbroek, Marketing &

Communications Manager.

Nonetheless, making smarter travelling

choices can be a win-win. Flying less, using

alternatives and flying on the flight with the

lowest impact when there is no choice but to

take to the skies, are justifiable when there

are the additional advantages of lowering

programme costs and retaining talent. One

thing is clear, doing nothing is not an option.

A shining example

One corporate ahead of the curve is

CapGemini. Its award-winning Travel Well

programme takes a holistic approach to

sustainable employee travel. The company’s

international and national business travel

accounts for more than half of its annual

carbon emissions and it has successfully

de-coupled travel from growth.

Travel Well promotes virtual meetings as an

alternative to travel, has encouraged a modal

shift to lower carbon travel options such as

rail, public transport and cycling, and has

changed the culture and behaviours around

travel to give people more freedom, flexibility

and accountability for their travel choices.

Since 2015 CapGemini has reduced travel

emissions per head by 15%, cut air travel

emissions per head by 7%, and reduced car

travel emissions per head by 22%, while

increasing revenues by 10%. It has involved

car sharing in India, the use of public

transport and cycling in the Netherlands,

company bus services in some countries,

and Virtual Collaboration Hubs in the UK,

among other initiatives.

As a company with 190,000 employees

worldwide, it has also undertaken a range of

initiatives in the workplace too, and reduced

the total amount of waste generated by 17%

since 2015, during which time its workforce

rose by 15%. Increased recycling has resulted

in a 30% reduction in waste sent to landfill.

James Robey, Global Head of Sustainability

at CapGemini, said the savings were

generated by enabling employees to work

remotely and collaborate from wherever

they are.

”For every euro spent on travel, the

emissions generated were 9% lower in 2018

than 2015, reflecting a shift in the modes of

travel taken,” says Robey.



Air France/KLM has partnered with Biojet to

produce biofuels and reduced emissions by

21.56% since 2011. It has also reduced water

consumption in ground operations by 6%.

British Airways invested last year in 18 new

aircraft which are up to 20% more fuel efficient.

It also plans to construct a plant to convert

household waste to jet fuel in 2021 and be

producing fuel by 2024. The airline will invest a

total of $400million on alternative sustainable fuel

development over the next 20 years.

Cathay Pacific has made an average

improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year

between 2009 and 2020 and is moving towards a

goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2050. It has

invested in biofuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy.

Delta has replaced plastic straws with bamboo

and birch wood stirrers, and introduced

compostable plates, bowls and buffet dishware.

EasyJet is developing an electric-powered aircraft

with partner Wright Electric.

Qantas has flown its first zero-landfill commercial

flight, from Sydney to Adelaide, and a biofuel flight

using fuel processed from mustard seed.

United Airlines claims a 45% improvement on

fuel efficiency since 1990.


Accor Hotels has a goal of reducing food waste

by 30% by 2020. It also runs a sustainable

programme called Planet 21 under which all 4,600

hotels must reach the minimum bronze level

standard by 2020.

Grange Hotels has installed solar panels, bore

holes, green roofs, a HVAC system and combined

heat and power systems.

Hilton Hotels has a goal to cut its environmental

footprint by half and double its social impact

investment by 2030.

IHG was ranked first in the hotel industry on the

2017 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. It

runs a Green Engage System to manage energy,

carbon, waste and water.

Marriott’s Edition Hotels is running a Stay Plastic

Free campaign which includes sugarcane cups,

bamboo toothbrushes and coasters made from

recycled ocean plastic waste.

Marriott International is replacing all single-use

shower toiletry bottles with larger bottles across all

hotels worldwide, diverting 1.7 million pounds of

plastic from landfills.

NH Hotels has reduced the carbon footprint per

room sold by 72%, energy consumption by 34%

and water consumption by 31%.

Radisson Hotels was the first hotel group to sign

up to the UN CEO Mandate to conserve water and

has cut water use by 3.5% per guest per night.


Avis runs a green fleet of hybrid gas/electric

vehicles called Eco-Rides, carbon offsets in

projects, and recycles and re-uses around 80% of

waste water when washing vehicles.

Hertz runs a green fleet called the Green

Collection across Europe, the US and Canada.


East Midlands Railway will be add new rolling

stock in 2022 with lower emissions by running on

electric overhead lines on intercity routes.

Eurostar launched its Tread Lightly environmental

programme in 2018 which funds renewable

energy and has set goals of reducing traction

energy by 2030 and train energy by 2020.





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Chief Executive, Business Travel Association


The newly-appointed boss of the BTA tells Andy Hoskins

about his vision for the industry organisation

It was a summer of change for the

Business Travel Association. First came

the unveiling of a new identity at its

annual overseas conference, with its former

moniker – the Guild of Travel Management

Companies – cast aside.

A new Chair, Suzanne Horner, CEO of the

Gray Dawes Group, was announced at the

same event and then, in September, Clive

Wratten took up the reins as Chief Executive

of the new-look, ‘more inclusive’ organisation.

Wratten, close to his 40th year in the travel

industry, has worked for a number of airlines

and TMCs but has also had a long relationship

with the BTA in its various guises.

“It was the mid-90s when I first came across

the organisation,” he says. “I’ve been a partner

or supplier member for many years and on

the executive board for the last three years,

so it’s been very close to me. I’ve seen it

evolve and it’s been an interesting journey.”

Wratten was involved in the process of

rebranding the organisation, a move he says

is “hugely important... and key to modernising”.

“We wanted to be the total voice of the

business travel supply chain and the new

name reflects that better than before. It helps

take the great work that Adrian [Parkes] and

Paul [Wait] have done and moves the

organisation forward.”

Wratten continues: “It’s about getting

the business travel industry recognised,

particularly within government, as its own

industry rather than being lumped in with

travel as a whole. It’s hugely different.”

Was it difficult to leave his former role at

travel management company Amber Road?

“Clearly it was a tough decision,” says Wratten.

“It was the first time I’d been a CEO running a

private equity business. I was only threequarters

of the way through my project

there, but sometimes you have to grab an

opportunity when it comes along.

There’s so much happening in the industry

– from sustainability, to distribution, to

education – that to represent the industry

and all those matters is hugely exciting.”

The future of TMCs is a popular debating

point, but their value was brought into focus

on the day of this interview when British

Airways pilots went on strike.

“It is these sort of times when the value of

what we do as TMCs is most apparent, but

equally there is the good value of what we

do beforehand around advising clients and

helping their businesses grow across the

globe – that is bigger than what we do at

times of disruption,” says Wratten.

Another hot topic is consolidation in the

TMC sector – most recently the acquisition

of Amber Road by the Gray Dawes Group,

announced shortly after this interview –

which is being tempered by several new

tech-based entrants.

The prime thing is

getting government to

understand the value of the

business travel industry to

the UK, particularly right now

when things are a bit rocky”

“Our members are of all shapes and sizes,

specialisms and non-specialisms. There’s

always a space within the membership for

every piece of that jigsaw,” says Wratten.

“It’s good for the industry that new entrants

[like TravelPerk and TripActions] are coming

in and looking at things from a different way.

Change makes people and businesses

stronger and equally makes them evolve.”

Wratten’s immediate focus is engaging with

BTA members, growing the organisation and

raising its profile in Westminster.

Launching an All-Party Parliamentary Group

on business travel is an important step,

says Wratten, which he sees focusing on

infrastructure, sustainability and inclusivity.

The prime thing is getting government to

understand the value of the business travel

industry to the UK, particularly right now

when things are a bit rocky. The importance

of business travel has never been greater.”

He continues: “As an organisation we need

to define the future rather than tweak the

past. By that I mean that we’ve often gone

through a scenario where something in the

industry is changing but we've not been

involved – it becomes negative disruption.

“We’re all for evolving this industry and

making it better through tech or our people,

but we need to work in collaboration with

partners and our supply chain so it becomes

something positive rather than us all fighting

about how to make it work for everyone.

“This industry’s been amazing to me and

now it’s almost about the chance to leave a

legacy in this role for the next generation of

companies and individuals coming through.”



in brief...

Clive Wratten on Brexit...

“We’re no different to any

other industry in that we

just want clarity and

direction because when

you don’t have that it

creates noise. We just want

to get it sorted. But when

we do come out of Europe,

business travel will be

central to shoring up

relationships and sealing

deals around the world.”

On sustainability….

“It would be foolhardy of

anyone to say that it’s not

here to stay this time. But

sustainability is not just

the ‘green’ piece, which is

hugely important, but it’s

also the sustainability of

this industry. It’s about

bringing new blood into it,

doing business more

efficiently, and making sure

that when we are sending

people away we’re doing it

in a sustainable way.”

On life away from work…

“I am a Reading FC fan and

it’s my 20th season as a

season ticket holder at the

Royals. That is my first love

outside of my family.”


Clive Wratten joined the Business Travel Association

(BTA) as Chief Executive in September 2019, taking

over from Adrian Parkes. Wratten was previously

CEO at travel management company Amber Road.

His extensive career in the travel industry has also

included roles with Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qantas

and British Airways, plus HRG and American Express

Global Business Travel.

On travel destinations…

“Having had years of

working for airlines and

enjoying concession tickets

on long-haul carriers, I’ve

not visited Europe much on

holiday. But we have been

exploring it much more

since I left Etihad and I'm

really in love with the Med

at the moment – Greece

and Turkey in particular.”




meet the winner


Click Travel’s CEO Jill Palmer celebrates the company’s Account Management Team

triumph at the Business Travel People Awards 2019

How did it feel to be

named Account

Management Team of

the Year at the awards?

We were ecstatic! Click

Travel has had such a

great 12 months – we’ve

broken our own records for retention, sales

and satisfaction. It was brilliant to see that

recognised. I’m so proud of the team,

they’ve worked incredibly hard and truly

deserved this accolade.

Why did you enter the awards or how did

you come to be nominated?

We decided to enter after the tireless work

the team had put in to hit some huge

milestones. They have landed 55 new

clients in the last 12 months, achieving a

24.8% increase in total sales and helping

to secure our status as the country’s

fastest-growing large TMC. They have also

played a pivotal role in moving more than

1,000 customers on to our brand new

booking platform.

Tell us about the role of the team

and the work they did to

clinch the award?

What they did to

successfully transition all

of our clients to the

new booking platform

was exceptional, with

many evenings and

weekends dedicated

to seeing the job

through. This

commitment to their

customers is reflected in an

industry leading retention

rate of 98%, and a booking to

complaint percentage of just 0.005%.

What does the team particularly enjoy

about the role they play in the industry?

Our account managers love the challenges

The Business

Travel People Awards

recognise outstanding

individuals and teams across

all aspects of the supplier

element of corporate travel.

Nominations for the 2020

awards will open in


the job brings, working with our customers

to help them make savings in their business

travel – in some instances of up to 38%. We

listen to their needs, and that’s why we’ve

seen such great success.

What do you think of The

Business Travel People

Awards and of the

winners’ event?

It’s a great way to

connect with our

peers in the sector

and celebrate the

current strength of

the industry. The

winners’ event at The

Shard was also fantastic,

giving the team the chance

to celebrate their success. We

also loved our caricatures – we’re

planning to display them in the office!

What impact do you think winning will

have on the team and their careers?

Our team is an ambitious bunch and being

Commitment to

customers is reflected

in an industry leading

retention rate of 98% and

a booking to complaint

percentage of just 0.005%”

awarded for their exceptional effort will

only spur them on even more. Winning

the award will also help us to continue

recruiting the highest calibre of new team

members, as well as continuing to promote

from within the business.

What are some of the biggest challenges

the team are currently facing in their

various roles?

Because the team has been performing so

well, we have had a record year for sales.

That means we have had a lot of new

customers to implement so they smoothly

settle into life with Click Travel. It’s a

challenge, but it’s a great one to have.




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Untitled-8 1 11/09/2019 10:02


For travel buyers,

it’s a golden age of

choice; for too long, premium

economy has meant too many

different things”



Up and


Cost-conscious corporates are now looking more favourably

at premium economy, prompting carriers to refresh their

offerings. Gary Noakes assesses the latest cabin upgrades

Virgin Atlantic

Not that long ago, premium

economy either didn’t exist on

most airlines or was merely an

option that offered a seat a tiny bit wider

and with slightly more legroom.

Now, premium economy generally offers a

very distinct product, with a separate cabin

and a spacious seat with a good recline, plus

upgraded food service on designer plates

and branded amenities to match.

It has been a long time coming. It was first

introduced by EVA Air way back in 1991, but

it has taken until this year for all the major

US carriers to finally accept that premium

economy didn’t just mean paying extra to sit

at the front of the economy section with a

little more space but the same food and

beverage offering.

For travel managers, it’s a golden age of

choice. For far too long, premium economy

has meant too many different things and the

consistency now in the market offers a

degree of certainty not seen before.

Moreover, a glaring gap in the premium

economy sector among the big Middle East

carriers is being filled – at least by one of the

region’s three major airlines – meaning that

there are more premium economy options

when flying eastwards too.

Premium economy falls into the economy

booking category for most corporates, but it

is not without its sceptics. Many will point

out that it is comparatively poor value for

money considering it offers a limited space

in which to work and, most importantly, rest,

compared to business class.

Rate expectations

Published premium economy fares can be

almost double economy rates and, as such,

it is a purchase often best made close to

departure or, in some cases, at the very last

minute. It is then that the differential

between full-fare economy and premium

economy can become very slim. Moreover,

many airlines sell upgrades at check-in at

knock-down rates when flights have spare

seats – not that this helps buyers making

purchases ahead of departure.

There is more awareness of, and demand

for, premium economy generally, but the

cabin’s impact on corporate sales is

surprisingly small, according to one leading

brand. There is no generic market data on

premium economy, but American Express

Global Business Travel’s own figures show

sales declining and making up less than 1%

of its overall business.



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British Airways

Jennifer Charlton, GBT’s Vice President

Global Supplier Relations, EMEA, admits this

might not be representative industry-wide.

She believes in recent years that more

competitive business class fares have

suppressed demand for premium economy

seats, but notes that “our consultancy team

say it’s becoming much more common to ask

for premium economy.”

Charlton continues: “We’re seeing premium

economy requested as part of contracting –

we’re being asked for three classes at RFP

stage.” Rates, however, may be a hurdle at

the early booking stage. “Sometimes the

advance purchase price can be 85% more

than economy. It’s one of the highestyielding

sales for airlines if they get early

business,” she explains.

However, late bookings can often see rates

only 35% higher than economy and then

there are sales at the airport – depending on

how liberal a corporate’s policy is – plus the

potential to upgrade using points.

These can fall under the radar, so premium

economy’s part of the mix is probably

greater than it appears. It should be more

so, with the range of new cabins coming

online. Charlton singles out the US carriers

for “leading the march” at the moment, but

Sometimes the

advance purchase

price can be 85% more

than economy. It’s one of

the highest-yielding sales

for airlines”

they are among a host of new products for

buyers to choose from.

Each year there are more premium

economy converts among airlines around

the world, but two of the earliest were British

Airways and Virgin Atlantic and the new

cabins from these two carriers unveiled

earlier this year were eagerly awaited.

Both airlines revealed updates on new

Airbus A350 aircraft. BA has opted for a

cabin of 56 seats – the same number on this

aircraft as in Club World – in a 2-4-2 layout.

New additions include upgraded soft

EL AL Airlines, Israel’s national carrier, proudly offers

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from 3 UK airports - London Heathrow, Luton and

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With a full Boeing fleet, EL AL operates the

787-Dreamliner aircrafts from London Heathrow,

3 cabins to choose from – Business, Premium &


Our Premium offers spacious seating and a greater

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El Al introduced Six Freedom Fares from the UK to the

Far East and South Africa in Business and Economy

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The Middle East

carriers have long

resisted premium economy,

perhaps because their

business cabins are so


furnishings, a revamped amenity kit and

“improved” dining experience. The cabin

debuted on A350 services to Dubai from

September 2 and to Toronto from October 1,

with Tel Aviv and Bengaluru to follow.

Meanwhile, Virgin’s first A350 commenced

operations between Heathrow and New

York JFK on September 10. Its new premium

economy cabin has more storage, 13.3-inch

screens and leather seats, also in a 2-4-2

configuration. The 56 seats are 18.5 inches

wide with a seven-inch recline. A new

“intuitive” IFE system can be controlled

through passengers’ electronic devices.

Brit of alright

BA and Virgin’s product has had particular

impact across the Atlantic, as the tardiest

adopters of premium economy have been

the US carriers. However, this year, the big

three are now well up to scratch.

In 2016, American Airlines was the first US

carrier to introduce premium economy, with

seats having the standard 38-inch pitch, but

it took until August this year to complete the

installation across its wide-body Boeing 777,

787 and Airbus A330-200 fleet.

American now boasts 3,025 seats in its

premium economy cabins, more than that

Delta Premium Select


offered by its US rivals combined. Another

12 Boeing 787s fitted with the cabin enter

service next year, boosting its premium

economy capacity by 10%. American is the

first of the major US carriers to complete its

refit, with its two main rivals still having

some way to go.

Delta Air Lines announced its premium

economy intentions in 2017 with its Premium

Select product, debuting it on new Airbus

A350s with 48 seats in a 2-4-2 layout.

At 18.5 inches wide, A350 seats are only

half an inch wider than economy, and on

A350 routes, Premium Select is the only

available move up from coach, as these

aircraft do not offer Delta’s Comfort+ extra

legroom economy option.

Premium Select has been fitted to some

Boeing 777s on which seats are 19 inches

wide, but the only European route option so

far is Amsterdam-Detroit. From November

13, however, refitted Boeing 767-400s will

offer Premium Select on Heathrow-Atlanta.

It will then appear on flights from Heathrow

to JFK from November 17 and to Boston

from November 21. Next summer, the new

product will also be offered on flights from

Heathrow to Detroit, Portland and

Minneapolis. The 767s will feature 20 seats

in a 2-2-2 layout and offer Delta’s latest “fixed

tablet” streamed entertainment system.

United Airlines’ premium economy cabin,

Premium Plus, made its debut in March, with

22 routes now offering it, including one daily

Heathrow-San Francisco frequency and its

Dublin-Newark service. From September, all

five daily Heathrow-Newark flights will offer

Premium Plus. Like its US rivals, United offers

branded pillows and bedding, noisecancelling

headphones and, at 19 inches,

seats are two inches wider than economy.

United also continues to sell its Economy

Plus extra legroom option in coach class.

Gulf scores

The Middle East carriers have long resisted

bringing premium economy onboard,

perhaps because their business class cabins

are price-competitive and so having a lower

price option in the form of premium

economy could dilute revenue.

Emirates, however, is taking the plunge

from next year, although its premium

economy ambitions may be as much about

what it has planned for its main cabin.

The airline’s president, Tim Clark, has

spoken of ambitions to compete with lowcost

airlines in offering “three or four types”

of economy fare with optional extras via a

sophisticated digital platform. A premium

economy cabin would allow Emirates to

further differentiate its offering by permitting

economy customers to upgrade away from

the basic concept.

Initial reports are that Emirates will opt for

a railway-style “sleeperette” seat with a



• Fully enclosed high privacy cabin

• 21 seats in 3 rows only





leather headrest

One of the largest HD

screens in Europe (13.3”)


center armrest

Generous 40 degrees recline

(56% more than in Economy)

23% more legroom

than in Economy


3-course meal, including a fresh starter

and ice cream

Hot towel service

Handheld IFE remote

AC and USB power outlets at each seat


Free advanced seat reservation

2pcs check-in luggage allowance

Lounge access in BRU (for € 25)

Premium check-in counter

(BRU only)

Untitled-1 1 16/09/2019 10:01


Qatar Airways’

Chief Executive

Akbar Al Baker boldly

claimed his passengers

would be more comfortable

in its new economy seats

‘than in a premium economy

cabin with another airline’”

Japan Airlines

10-inch recline, harking back to airline

business classes of yesteryear. The seat will

not be a fixed shell, which Clark regards as a

business class proposition. “We’re trying to

trade people up from economy, not down

from business,” he says.

Etihad has taken a different approach

involving much less outlay, offering Economy

Space seats on Airbus A380s. It is essentially

an economy seat with an extra five inches of

legroom. Seats are in their own section, but it

is definitely not a premium economy product.

Qatar Airways, meanwhile, is sticking to its

belief that its economy cabin is so good it

does not need premium economy. Unveiling

a new economy seat in March, Chief Executive

Akbar Al Baker boldly claimed his passengers

would be more comfortable in Qatar

Airways’ economy seats “than in a premium

economy cabin with another airline”.

Others doubtless disagree; including Air

France, Brussels Airlines and ANA, which all

revealed new cabins this year. Finnair has

also announced the introduction of a fullyfledged

premium economy product on its

long-haul services towards the end of next

year, though details are still to be released.

Air France unveiled its new product in

February, including a redesigned premium

economy section that will be retrofitted to

15 Airbus A330s by next year. The cabin’s

21 seats in a 2-4-2 layout are of generous

proportions, being 19 inches wide with a

40-inch pitch. The cabin – with 24 seats – is

also on Air France’s first Airbus A350 that

debuts on Paris-Abidjan from October and

Paris-Toronto in November.

Brussels Airlines entered the premium

economy market this year with cabins

featuring 21 seats (which have a 38-inch

pitch and 40-degree recline) in a 2-3-2

configuration. The option is already available

on flights to North America and is now being

rolled out on services from Brussels to Africa,

beginning with Kinshasa and Luanda from

October. The conversion of its entire longhaul

fleet should be completed by mid-2020.

ANA’s new premium economy concept by

V&A Dundee architect Kengo Kuma and

British consultancy Acumen, has been

available on Boeing 777-330ERs flying the

Heathrow-Tokyo Haneda NH211/12

frequency since August. The new cabin was

due to be on each of the carrier’s London-

Haneda flights from September.

When “starchitects” like Kuma have a hand

in designing a cabin, you know that premium

economy has really arrived.



Air Canada • Air China • Air France •

Air New Zealand • American Airlines •

ANA All Nippon Airways • British Airways •

Brussels Airlines • Cathay Pacific • China

Southern • Delta Air Lines • EL AL • EVA Air •

Finnair • Iberia • Japan Airlines • KLM •

Lufthansa • LATAM • Malaysia Airlines •

Norwegian • Qantas Airways • Singapore

Airlines • TAP Portugal • United Airlines •

Vietnam Airlines • Virgin Atlantic • WestJet





Jimena Alvarez Vallina

As travel manager for a mobile gaming giant, Jimena Alvarez Vallina has to

manage lots of trendy creatives. But do they stick to the policy?

I started in the business travel industry

in 2011 at American Express GBT, where

I was working in operations on various

tech projects and managing supplier

relationships. In 2015, I took a role in

Global Business Consulting as an outsourced

service excellence manager at a pharmaceutical

company, and since 2016 I have

been the outsourced travel manager of a

mobile gaming company.

I am responsible for the travel

programme in terms of sourcing and

relationships mainly with hotels and

supporting the airline programme.

I also manage the relationship with the

TMC; supervise, investigate and resolve any

internal or external complaints that arise;

define, negotiate and execute the hotel

programme; and I have responsibility for

the configuration of the online booking tool.

I also work with the data team tracking and

reporting on CO2 emissions from travel,

and advising on best practices on how to

reduce and offset them.

All my time is spent

managing the travel

programme and

providing support on

various projects. I am

not necessarily

involved in travel

arrangements – nor

do we have a team of

bookers – but I am

happy to provide

assistance if anyone

requires my intervention.

It’s company policy for the

organisation for everyone to make

their own reservations through the booking

tool or by contacting the travel agency.

The company has approximately 2,000

employees globally and, on average, some

350 employees travel every month. Around


"I love to explore new

cultures and to learn from other

people’s experiences. South East

Asia is where I feel life in all its

splendour, and before the end of

the year I am hoping to

complete my diving


90% of our travel takes place between the

nine offices the business has across the

United States and Europe where the

company operates.

Based on the nature

of the industry,

employees' travel

plans are constantly

changing. And as our

offices are located

in very popular

destinations – such as

London, San Francisco

and Barcelona – it is

important for us to have the

right strategy in place to keep

the costs within budget and to

guarantee hotel availability.

We work with American Express Global

Business Travel and we have an online

booking tool. I'm satisfied with the

performance and the service levels of both

companies. The online adoption is 85%,

which reflects how effective both the tool

and travel policy are. The company has a

comprehensive and effective travel policy

that applies to all employee levels.

Compliance levels are very good.

We expect very high levels of service to

be provided by our suppliers, so one of

our main challenges is that I have to make

sure our expectations are met. Equally, if

there are any issues that arise I have to

make sure they are immediately solved.

The company’s offices

are located in very

popular destinations. The

key is to have the right

strategy in place to keep the

costs within budget and to

guarantee hotel availability”





The workforce is filling up with staff who have grown up around online technology

and that is heightening the need for travel to adapt, writes

In the next decade the majority of

the world’s population will belong

to a “post-digital generation”,

according to a report from aviation

technology specialist SITA.

The report is referring to those who have

grown up immersed in online technology,

and mobile devices – and grown used to

managing their lives – with them.

It’s a sobering thought when you consider

the high expectations of this generation

(born from 1981 onwards) and their impact

on corporate life – including their travel

behaviour – going forward.

The SITA 2025: Air Travel for a Digital Age

report reveals more than 80% of airline and

airport IT leaders believe the changing

demographic will be the “most important

influence” on their digital strategy by 2025.

And, according to the study, the

demographic expects travel to be selfservice

– using mobile devices, apps and

chatbots – and totally seamless.

Technology is already being used by

most passengers across a journey,

says SITA’s Passenger IT Insights

2019, with more than 50%

using technology to check-in for their flight.

In addition, an increasing number of

travellers are using automated gates at

passport control too.

In the not too distant future, further steps

towards seamless travel will come with the

use of mobile devices for identification

whether that's through biometric or

possibly blockchain technologies.

SITA’s research reveals that 59% of

passengers are ‘very willing’ to use their

mobiles for ID verification along the

journey, with another third open to the idea.

The study also shows that more than 50%

of air transport IT leaders view biometric

travel tokens as the main driver for change

in the future passenger experience.

A number of initiatives in this area are

already under way with industry

stakeholders including

59% of airline

passengers are

‘very willing’ to use their

mobiles for ID verification

along the journey”

Amadeus with its Digital Traveller ID and

IATA through its One ID projects.

Meanwhile, the Known Traveller Digital

Identity project from the World Economic

Forum and a number of partners, took a

step forward in July with the launch of a

‘paperless travel’ pilot between Canada

and the Netherlands.

The SITA report says that by 2025, the

number of people using a governmentissued

digital ID will rise from a predicted

1.7billion in 2019 to more than 5billion in

2024. The study also shows that by 2021,

more than 70% of airlines plan to invest in

biometric ID solutions and almost half of

airports are planning to employ secure

single tokens across all touchpoints.

Chatbots are a further area of

development, with 25% of airlines

already using artificial intelligence-

driven chatbots and another 55%

expecting to do so by 2021.

EasyJet went a step further

recently with an announcement

about adding voice search to

its mobile app. The 'Speak

Now' technology has been

developed by Travelport and will enable

travellers to search flight options by saying

their destination, dates and preferred

airports to their device. Voice booking will

undoubtedly come further down the road,

with EasyJet or other airlines.

With an increasingly tech-driven workforce

and growing investment from governments,

airlines and other travel companies, the

concept of seamless travel is getting a little

closer to reality. •




Savouring the world

prue leith

The Great British Bake Off judge, restaurateur, chef, author and novelist speaks to

Angela Sara West about her prolific travels and culinary adventures

Well-travelled cookery queen Prue

Leith enjoys a good bake-off in

Berkshire. “I love Welford Park,

and hanging out there with Paul, Sandi and

Noel. The owners fixed up an old barn as a

comfy make-up and wardrobe room, so we

don’t have to rock about in a Winnebago!”

When not filming for the hit BBC baking

show, she’s on the road promoting her

books, new glasses for Ronit Furst, or her

itchy feet whisk her overseas.

“I’m in Scotland – where I am Chancellor of

Queen Margaret University – three times a

year, all over England, Ireland and Wales for

food and literary festivals promoting my

cookbooks or novels twice a month, and I

visit Europe a couple of times annually.

“Since I met my husband, John, eight years

ago, we’ve been to Oman, the Far East, India,

Bhutan – from where I famously tweeted the

winner of ‘Bake Off’! – Latin America, Dubai

for their famous Desert Literary festival, and

elsewhere. We discovered Segways in

Savannah, Georgia, which was a great way to

see all the 18th-century colonial houses along

streets which would have taken ages on foot.”

Leith’s also journeyed to Lesotho, taken a

walking trip in Transylvania, visited Uruguay

after an Argentinian riding experience, cruised

the Med and the Nile, and been ballooning in

Turkey. She’s also relished tackling extreme

climates, with road trips through the Arizona

desert, California and Utah.

She says Laos (where she slept in a tribal

chief’s hut) surprised her the most. Any other

places that score highly in this cook’s book?

“Bhutan, because it was so very different

from neighbouring India. It was very

underpopulated, the people are still largely in

national dress and devoted to their royal

family; the Buddhist temples dominate life.”

Leith describes her recent trip to Tokyo and

Naoshima in Japan as “the experience of a

lifetime”, which took 50 years for her to “dare

visit” due to it being so different and a place

where English is barely spoken. “But that, I

discovered, is the attraction,” she adds.

As a child, Leith sailed with Winston

Churchill, who disembarked at Madeira. She

recently visited the island’s famous Belmond

Reid’s Palace, following in his footsteps.

Once you’ve packed,

take half of it out to

make room for an empty

fold-up bag to fill with lovely

things while you are away!”

“Reid’s holds a food festival, The Art of

Flavours, and we just missed it. I’ll be back!”

Her time spent studying at Cordon Bleu in

Paris hugely inspired her career. “France

taught me that food was to be taken

seriously. Everyone talked about food…

something no-one did in South Africa.”

Leith returns to her birthplace, Cape Town,

every year. “As a child, I hated what was then

called the Game Reserve (now the National

Park) but now I love a safari. Best of all is

Baroque in the Bush, a weird combination of

classical music and safari, and then a braai

with a lot of beer and wine,” she says.

This summer saw her set sail on a river

cruise along the Rhone, discovering the

gastronomic heart of France and giving a

demonstration for Good Housekeeping. “It was

brilliant, especially considering I was in a

wheelchair with a busted Achilles tendon!”

Glamis Castle and Ballindolloch were

highlights of her honeymoon (second time

around) aboard Belmond’s Royal Scotsman

train for a grand tour of Scottish castles. And

Scotland is back on the menu for Leith’s

milestone 80th birthday next year. “Fly-fishing

on the Naver with a dozen friends. We’re also

going around the west coast on the Puffer,

the only remaining steam-powered boat. “

So, where can we find the world’s best

food? “For France, I’m out of date now. Sadly,

the famous routiers where you used to get

amazing food, cooked from scratch, now turn

out indifferent baguettes

“But Italy and Japan, obviously; Southern

India and, surprisingly, parts of America. I had

the best grilled octopus in a Greek restaurant

in Atlanta, and we were knocked out by all

the local breweries making really cool beer.”

Her top travel tips? “Once you’ve packed,

take half of it out to make room for an empty

fold-up bag to fill with lovely things while you

are away! I constantly bring back cooking

equipment; I have a hopper pan from the

Maldives, a chapati iron from India, and

teppanyaki tools from Japan.”

When not cooking, judging, writing or

promoting, where rates highly for relaxation?

“My idea of R&R is a nice beach, a hammock

and a piña colada. I once risked one of those

expensive Austrian medical spas that feed

you hayflower tea and little else, make you

eat your stale spelt biscuit in silence, and

believe in colonic irrigation. I hated it!”




Prue Leith’s latest book, The Lost Son, published by

Quercus, is out now. Her new eyewear collection, Prue

by Ronit Furst, is available in independent opticians

across the UK and Ireland, see: pruebyronitfurst.com

For further information, visit prue-leith.com



Box, Box, Box...

We enable

agencies and

industry partners

to perform better.

www.blackboxpartnerships.co.uk @BBPartnerships @blackboxpartnerships

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






[ the lowdown ]

Airfares and hotel rates

expected to rise in 2020


[ in the air ]

LATAM debuts Premium

Business class product


[ meeting place ]

London takes top spot for

meetings and events


[ on the ground ]

Research warns of

'grey fleet' dangers


[ room report ]

Accor launches new

economy brand, Greet



The latest industry appointments p54






Fairfly targets health

Airfare price assurance

specialist Fairfly has

released a new wellness

programme that enables

users to see the impact

of frequent travel on

employees’ physical and

mental health. Fairfly

Wellness examines data

and delivers insights on

the negative impacts of

factors including delays,

red-eye flights, layovers,

weekends away and airline

quality to help identify

‘at-risk’ employees.

Arbitrip room tool

Online booking tool

Arbitrip has added a new

feature that guarantees

business travellers get the

best hotel rates even after

booking. The monitoring

mechanism automatically

rebooks accommodation

at a lower rate if a price

drop occurs.

Stress in spotlight

Nearly one in five business

travellers (18%) say that

work trips leave them

stressed and exhausted,

while 20% would like their

employers to be more

aware of the effects of

business travel on their

health. The survey by


also revealed that poorly

organised trips cause

stress levels to rocket.

Prices to rise on back

of costs and demand

HOTEL rates and airfares are set to increase in 2020,

according to the latest forecast from BCD Travel.

Driven by demand and high occupancy rates, hotel prices

will rise by 1%-3%, while airlines will hike fares by an average

1%-2% to compensate for higher fuel and labour costs.

Rate increases will be higher in Asia, particularly Japan,

host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Vietnam, where

both leisure and business travel demand is strong.

BCD’s 2020 Industry Forecast predicts that airfares in Latin

America will experience the largest increase, jumping 3%,

while intercontinental business class fares will remain flat.

Strong demand will boost hotel occupancy, with Asia, the US

and Canada seeing average rises of 2%-4%. “Buyers face the

prospect of a slowdown in advanced economies, while the

performance of emerging markets improves,” says BCD’s

Director for Research and Intelligence, Mike Eggleton.



THE Business Travel Associaton

(BTA) has welcomed eight new

TMC members since rebranding

from the GTMC in July.

Newly signed up are Belfast’s

Beyond Business Travel; Global

Travel Management and Omega

Business Travel, both based in

Surrey; London-based ABT UK,

part of Amsalem Business Travel

Global Group; Quintessentially

CTM, which has operations in

London and New York; Kent’s

Sunways Business Travel; The

Travel Company Edinburgh; and

Gloucestershire’s Wotton Travel.


The amount that UK

business travellers

contribute to local

economies per week,

excluding hotel spend,

says Homelike



Subscribe to our weekly news bulletin at thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe


5/30/19 05:37 PM




Reed & Mackay move

Travel management

company Reed & Mackay

has acquired Business

Travel Direct (BTD), a

division of Ickenham

Travel Group, as part of its

global growth strategy.

The company’s latest

merger follows its

takeover last year of

Hillgate Travel and its

more recent acquisition

of the Concierge Travel

Group in Australia, and

takes its combined

turnover to more than


Learned friends

The Southern Universities

Purchasing Consortium

(SUPC) has named Clarity,

Click Travel, Diversity

Travel, Key Travel,

Selective Travel and STA

Travel as its new travel

management partners,

handling an estimated

£700million in university

spend across the UK.

The arrangement, which

covers staff travel and

some student group travel,

runs until August 2023.

GBT sails with Kanoo

American Express Global

Business Travel (GBT) has

acquired a controlling

stake in Kanoo Travel, one

of the leading travel

management companies in

the Middle East.

Kanoo Travel has been a

member of GBT’s global

travel partner network for

many years, and operates

in the United Arab

Emirates, Saudi Arabia,

Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

GBT will hold 65% of the

new joint venture,

headquartered in Dubai,

and assume control of

the business and its

500-plus employees.

Gray Dawes snaps up

rival Amber Road

THE Gray Dawes Group has continued on the acquistion

trail by snapping up rival TMC Amber Road – it's ninth

purchase since 2015. The deal pushes the company’s annual

turnover to more than £200million and increases its

workforce to around 300.

Gray Dawes Group bought Manchester-based INC Travel

Group nine months ago, and the latest purchase – for an

undisclosed fee – further bolsters the TMC's presence in

the north of England.

The TMC’s CEO, Suzanne Horner, says: “Contrary to

expectations we weren’t necessarily looking to make any

acquisitions in 2019 but the opportunity to acquire a highly

respected business such as Amber Road Travel was a

prospect too tempting not to explore.”









Scott Davies

Chief Executive, ITM

At ITM we’re often asked how

travel buyers and suppliers

should address and corral the

so-called 'millennial traveller',

as if this mercurial generation

is a different species.

That said, half of the global

workforce will be within this

category by next year and so

it does make sense to

consider their tendencies.

Firstly, they have a shorter

attention span than previous

generations. They have more

stuff coming at them; and this

means communication and

interactions need to be

punchy. No 12-page travel

policies here, please.

Secondly, they do everything

via their phone. So

anything meaningful you do

or say must be mobile-driven.

Thirdly, millennials think

that if you have to be shown

how to use something, it’s

rubbish. Think booking tools.

If you need a webinar or

lunch to learn how to make a

booking, it probably hasn’t

been designed well enough.

Finally, this generation blurs

the lines between work and

play. When they travel, they

have a greater appetite to

meet locals, and will certainly

compare how it feels to travel

with one employer versus

another. In competitive

industries this is key to

attracting and retaining the

very best talent.





Virgin and BA bring

new A350s to the fore


LATAM has launched a new

the option for private solo seats or

Premium Business class cabin with paired seats with dividers. Each

custom-designed seats and new seat fully reclines to become a bed,

tailored cabin service.

and there is more workspace and

The airline’s fleet of Boeing 777s storage than before. A new

is being retrofitted with the cabins culinary concept matches its

and all international services will destination-inspired interiors.

feature the upgrade by May 2020. LATAM currently flies daily

The new Premium Business between London Heathrow

cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration has and Sao Paulo.

BRITISH Airways and Virgin

Atlantic have put their new

Airbus A350 services into

action, both featuring

new-look premium cabins.

Virgin showcased its

redesigned Upper Class

offering for the A350's

debut on the busy London

Heathrow–New York JFK

route. It features a new Loft

area in the Upper Class

cabin where passengers can

meet, drink and dine.

All seats in the redesigned

business class cabin face

towards the windows and

have enhanced privacy,

adjustable mood lighting

and 18.5-inch screens.

Virgin has ordered 12

A350s, with the first four

dedicated to New York JFK

this year. Los Angeles will

follow in 2020.

Meanwhile, BA deployed

its A350 on Heathrow–Dubai

services. The aircraft will

also be used for London

services to Toronto,

Bangalore and Tel Aviv.

Business class cabins are

fitted with BA’s new Club

Suites in a 1-2-1 layout.



UK airports are among the worst in the world for

delays, with London Stansted ranked 105th out of 106,

just behind Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International.

Other poor performers in the global study by Stasher

included Manchester Airport in 96th place, Gatwick

(93rd) and Heathrow (65th). Moscow’s Sheremetyevo

International came out on top, also winning plaudits for

the affordable parking, lounges and hotel quality.


positive sentiment for

ANA on social media

ANA All Nippon Airways

is the best performing

airline on social media,

with 84% of mentions

expressing positive

sentiment compared to

57% on average. British

Airways, KLM and Delta

Air Lines were the most

talked about airlines

according to the study

from Awario but had

more mixed feedback



Follow us on Twitter @thebiztravmag


5/30/19 05:37 PM





Wizz at Edinburgh

Budget airline Wizz Air

will begin flights from

Edinburgh Airport this

November, with four new

routes to the Polish cities

of Warsaw and Gdansk,

Hungarian capital

Budapest and Bucharest in

Romania. It already flies

between Aberdeen and

Gdansk, and from Glasgow

to Budapest and Katowice.

Suite dreams

Air Canada will deploy

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

aircraft on its daily

services between London

Heathrow and Ottawa

– the Canadian capital –

from March 29, 2020.

The aircraft features

Air Canada’s Signature

cabin with flatbed

suites and premium

economy seating.

Norwegian blow

Budget airline Norwegian

has halted transatlantic

flights between Ireland

and North America,

claiming the global

grounding of Boeing 737

MAX aircraft had made the

routes no longer viable.

Norwegian had been

forced to hire replacement

aircraft to keep operating

the routes from Dublin,

Cork and Shannon.

Star quality

Star Alliance, whose 28

airline members include

ANA, Lufthansa and United,

has announced a partnership

with NEC Corporation

to develop biometric

data-based identification

to streamline the airport

experience for passengers.

The first such facility is

expected to go live at a

Star Alliance hub by the

first quarter of 2020.







APD cut would boost

regions, claim MPs

A CROSS-PARTY group of backbench MPs has urged the

government to slash Air Passenger Duty (APD) in order to

boost the economy after Brexit.

The report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on

APD Reform says two-thirds of airlines it surveyed would

invest in new routes outside of London and the South East

if APD was cut by 50%, while nine out of 10 airlines would

invest more in existing routes. APD is the highest charge of

its kind in Europe and is more than twice the fee levied in

Germany which imposes the next highest fee.

Conservative MP Henry Smith, Chair of the all-party

parliamentary group, says: “We have the highest aviation

taxes in Europe, and this is simply not sustainable and runs

counter to the government’s aims for a truly global Britain.”

Clive Wratten

Chief Executive, BTA

Reflecting on the so-called

quieter summer season, it

transpired to be anything but.

The mercury rose to new

heights and the aviation

sector definitely felt the heat.

Passengers experienced

continuous disruption, finding

themselves wondering if they

were going to be able to

board flights. That’s when

TMCs come to the rescue.

Working closely with

corporates, our members are

ready to offer advice and to

make alternative travel plans

when required to ensure

that business travellers are

taken care of when the

unexpected happens.

Speaking of the heatwave,

it’s an undeniable sign of the

need to be environmentally

minded when choosing to

travel by air. Many big players

in the industry have created

green initiatives, including

platforms allowing passengers

to track and offset their

individual carbon footprint.

Being environmentally savvy

will sometimes require

choosing an alternative to air

travel. Despite recent

downbeat comments from

the Transport Secretary Grant

Shapps, the BTA continues to

support UK infrastructure

improvements, including HS2

and appropriate airport

expansion. They are vital for

the UK economy to thrive.





Hyatt at the

double in


HYaTT Hotels plans to

open its first two hotels in

Manchester next year, one

of which also marks the

debut of its extended-stay

brand in the UK.

The 212-guestroom Hyatt

Regency Manchester Oxford

Road and the 116-room

Hyatt House Manchester

Oxford Road will be located

in the city's landmark Lume

building. They will become

the third Regency branded

hotel in the UK and the first

Hyatt House opening – the

group's long-stay brand –

in the country.

The hotels will be located

in the University Quarter, a

ten-minute walk from the

city centre and close to

Manchester Oxford Road

train station. The Regency

will feature a 120-seat

restaurant, bar, club lounge

and fitness centre, plus

meeting and events spaces

with capacity for up to 200




foR opEnInG

MarrioTT hotels will open its

first Residence Inn in the North

of England, with an extendedstay

property due to open in

Manchester in late 2020.

Cycas Hospitality will operate

the 155-room property located in

Manchester’s Northern Quarter

– a ten-minute walk from

Manchester Piccadilly station.

Eighty-four independent serviced

apartments are already open as

The Northern Quarters while the

phased refurbishment takes place.

“We’re confident that the central

location will tap into the growing

demand for alternative accommodation

options from business and

leisure travellers,” says Asli

Kutlucan, Chief Development

Officer at Cycas Hospitality.


>> The ACCOR hotel group has opened three new MERCURE

properties, in Bedford, Telford and Nottingham, and will add a

further three, in Cardiff, Birmingham and Harlow, by the end of

the year. All six previously operated under the Park Inn brand >>

Executive Serviced Apartments (esa) has re-branded as FLYING

BUTLER APARTMENTS. The company has over 400 units across

London and the South East >> Aparthotel operator NATIVE has

opened a 166-unit property in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

It occupies eight floors of a former Victorian warehouse >>

FOUR SEASONS has opened a 219-room hotel at the top of

Philadelphia's tallest building, the Comcast Center.


The number of new hotels

in the

UK's development pipeline

Hotel development

is at a record high in

Europe, according to

the Hotel Monitor 2020.

Germany leads the way

with 379 projects in

the pipeline followed by

the UK with 281 in the

works. London will see

a further 10,000 new

rooms open in 2019 and

2020, helping to keep

rate rises in check



Find us on Linkedin at The Business Travel Magazine


5/30/19 05:37 PM




Selina adds Latin flair

Latin American hotel

group Selina has made its

UK debut with the launch

of the Selina NQ1

Manchester. The Northern

Quarter property has

37 guestrooms, suites

and shared rooms, a

restaurant, bar, coffee

shop, Irish pub and a

basement club.

CitizenM goes fourth

CitizenM will open a

226-room hotel close to

London Victoria railway

station in 2021, its fourth

hotel in the city. Slated for

a site on Vauxhall Bridge

Road, construction on the

10-storey hotel will begin

in May next year using

CitizenM’s innovative

prefabrication method.

Voco loco

IHG will open its fourth

Voco hotel in the UK

before the year's end.

The 201-room hotel in

Reading, currently

operating as the

Millennium Madesjki,

will be transformed to

offer guests "an unstuffy

and exciting new hotel

experience." IHG aims to

open 200 Voco hotels

globally by 2029.

Brand new Hyatt

The Hyatt Hotels group

has launched Caption by

Hyatt, a new lifestyle

brand within the select

service category. The

concept "will bring people

closer together, allowing

them to work, eat or

socialize in comfortable,

flexible, communal spaces

that encourage meaningful

conversations". Hotels will

be located in 'dense' urban

markets and emerging


Greenwich goes RED

thanks to Radisson

radisson Hotel Group will open its third Radisson RED

property in the UK next year, with a London opening joining

existing hotels in Glasgow and Liverpool.

The 70-room property from the ‘upscale, lifestyle selectservice’

brand will be located in Greenwich, within walking

distance of the O2 Arena and five miles from London City

Airport. It is part of an £8billion project to redevelop the

capital's Greenwich Peninsula and will also feature a bistro,

bar and gym.

“Radisson Red is for those who wish to stand out of the

crowd and it now lands in London. Opening in 2020, it

perfectly blends business and play around the O2,” says

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development

Officer, Radisson Hotel Group.

ACcor has launched an economy

brand, called greet, that will feature

boutique design hotels with a focus

on upcycling. The first has opened in

Beaune, Burgundy, with further

openings planned in paris, lyon and

marseilles. accor aims to have 300

greet properties open by 2030

yotel starts

city centre


YOTEL Edinburgh has opened its

doors to become the brand’s first

city centre hotel in Europe.

The property comes as part of

a rapid growth strategy that will

see five Yotels debut across the

continent in the next year in key

locations including Amsterdam,

London and Porto.

The 276-room hotel is on bustling

Queen Street, close to the city’s

historic hot-spots. Signature Yotel

features include space-saving

adjustable SmartBeds with Serta

Gel mattresses and amenities

from Urban Skincare.

Rooms also include multiple

power and USB charging ports,

free super-fast wifi, and HD smart

televisions. Additional amenities

include self-service kiosks, a

modern gym and two interconnecting

meeting spaces equipped

with modern AV technology.

The hotel also features Imaginex

360-degree projection space for

film screenings, social events,

product launches and meetings.

Listed return

to edinburgh

from IHG

InterContinental Hotels has

returned to Edinburgh with the

opening of the InterContinental

Edinburgh – The George.

The listed building, located in

the city’s New Town, has been

welcoming guests since 1881

including the likes of Scottish poet

Robert Burns and novelist Sir

Walter Scott. InterContinental

previously operated the hotel

before it became The Principle

Edinburgh George Street in 2005.

The refurbished property offers

ten different room types, while

its King’s Hall can accommodate

up to 300 guests.




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


Tasting space

South Downs sparkling

wine vineyard Tinwood

Estate has created a new

corporate events space

with a glass-covered

veranda and outdoor

patio. The new purposebuilt

Tasting Room can

accommodate up to 400

people, with the option to

include a vineyard tour

and tasting as part of

the package.

Open 24/7

Somerset House is offering

events planners the chance

to incorporate private

views, curated talks and

tours of its 24/7 art

exhibition into events held

at the venue between 31

October and 23 February

2020. The exhibition of

immersive works from

renowned global artists

examines our 24/7 culture

and inability to switch off.

Unique boutiques

TMC Capita Travel and

Events is expanding its list

of approved venues to

include unique boutique

properties and small hotel

brands, giving event

managers a greater choice

of meetings spaces away

from the mainstream

chains. The collection now

includes more than 300

hotels in towns and cities

across the UK.

London takes top spot

for meetings & events

London has been named the number one city for

meetings and events in 2020, with Frankfurt moving into

second and Paris taking third.

The report from CWT M&E is based on industry data and

has London retaining its position despite uncertainty around

Brexit. Berlin was placed fourth, Barcelona drops to fifth and

Milan breaks into the top ten in sixth. Cologne, Stockholm,

Amsterdam and Vienna complete the top ten.

“London and the UK continue to be strong for meetings

and events,” says Ian Cummings, Vice President, EMEA, CWT

Meetings and Events. “The uncertainty over Brexit – and the

resulting devaluation of the pound – has made the UK an

even more attractive destination.”

The report also identified a number of up-and-coming

meetings and events destinations including Manchester,

Porto, Seville, Rome and Nice. The report said these

destinations “typically offer better values than the top-tier

cities, along with an increasing number of competitive

hotels and venues”.



ACTE update

for M&E

The meetings and events sector

is set for its fifth consecutive

year of steady growth in 2020,

according to the latest forecast

from American Express Global

Business Travel.

In fact, the report says there

are now more meetings taking

place than there is space

available while overall meeting

spend for 2020 is expected to

rise across all regions.

Surveying the opinions of

550 global events professionals,

the report also found that

planners are now prioritising

experiential elements and

integrated technology over

basic logistics.

dolce debuts

new venues

Wyndham Hotels' meetingsfocused

brand Dolce Hotels is

expanding, with a slew of new

properties debuting in the next

few years, alongside enhanced

hotels in the US and a new hub

for event planners.

Dolce's new destinations include

the 441-room Wyndham Hanoi

Golden Lake, due to open in late

2019, and Dolce by Wyndham

Versailles, set for autumn 2020.

The brand will also open

south-eastern Europe's largest

convention centre at the Akti

Imperial Hotel in Greece.

A guide to meetings and incentives

travel in the Caribbean

Visit thebusinesstravelmag.com

CTO_MICE Guide.indd 1

9/25/19 03:47 PM




Geared up for changing

customer demands

Research warns of

‘grey fleet’ dangers

INCREASING use of ‘cash for

cars’ schemes are potentially

creating a duty of care

nightmare for businesses,

according to a new study

from Europcar.

Changes in Benefit in Kind

tax rules means many

employers now give staff

money to run their own

vehicles for work, yet these

so-called 'grey fleets' present

a legal headache unless they

are properly maintained,

taxed and insured. Europcar

research suggests one-third

of businesses now utilise

grey fleets, yet many do not


have systems to monitor if

the vehicles are safe.

The average grey fleet

vehicle is older and more

polluting than a company

car, and is also more prone

to breakdowns.

The high usage of grey

fleet vehicles underlines the

importance of monitoring

employee travel,” says Gary

Smith, Managing Director,

Europcar Mobility Group UK.

“Worryingly, nearly one in

five said they don’t monitor

employee travel at all. Only

45% of businesses monitor

fuel expenses.”

>> VIRGIN HYPERLOOP ONE will conduct a study with Saudi

Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) about building a 35km test

track – the longest to date. Hyperloop could cut the journey time

between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from 8.5 hours to 48 minutes >>

Rail booking platform LOCO2 will be rebranded RAIL EUROPE

from November 6, giving it a consistent name in the UK, Germany,

Spain and Italy >> All-electric cab operator SHERBET LONDON

TAXIS has invested £7million in adding 125 vehicles to its fleet.

There’s been a real shift in

consumer behaviour in recent

years, with a noticeable change

in attitudes towards vehicle

ownership. This trend is

reflected in corporate travel,

where businesses are seeing the

benefits of corporate car hire.

Corporate car hire offers

businesses increased flexibility,

particularly with shorter or

medium-term rental options

that don’t tie customers in to

lengthy contracts.

It means that employees are

renting vehicles that are newer

and more efficient – a real

positive considering Britain’s

grey fleet (employees’ own

vehicles used for business) is

responsible for some of the

oldest cars on UK roads,

whereas rental cars are on

average less than a year old.

Louisa Bell

General Manager, UK,

Avis Budget Group

Not only does corporate hire

benefit businesses by providing

better vehicles, but it also helps

the environment, with rental

cars emitting 26% less CO2 than

the average car on the street.

As our customers’ mobility

requirements continue to

evolve, so do we. We have

developed our services to suit a

range of needs and this includes

our recently updated Avis App,

which lets users manage their

own rental experience from

start to finish.

More than just being a

booking system, Avis Preferred

members can also benefit from

self-serve functionality, allowing

them to select their exact

vehicle model and, in some

stations, bypass the rental desk

altogether and get straight on

the road.








The Principal Edinburgh





AS: Chief Executive Officer

FROM: American Express

JOINS: Advantage Travel Partnership

AS: Head of Business Travel Commercial

FROM: Key Travel

JOINS: FCM Travel Solutions

AS: UK Head of Sales



The Corinthia, London


Paul Abbott has moved over

to Amex GBT from American

Express, where he was Chief

Simon Bennett brings more

than 20 years' experience in

the travel sector to the

Jason Dunderdale has joined

FCM Travel Solutions from

car rental provider SIXT where


Commercial Officer for the

newly-created role of Head of

he has been Head of Travel


Native Manchester

company’s global B2B

Payments Business.

Business Travel Commercial

and Innovation at Advantage.

Sales UK and Ireland for the

last three years.








ExCel, London











JOINS: CWT Meetings & Events

AS: Vice President of Global Operations

FROM: Sabre

CWT has welcomed Cristina

Scott to the role of Vice

President of Operations for its

global meetings and events

division. She joins after 24

years at Sabre.

PARTNERS WITH: GoldSpring Consulting

AS: Consulting Partner EMEA

Industry influencer and

independent consultant Chris

Pouney has partnered with

GoldSpring Consulting to

bolster its EMEA presence and

expand his consulting portfolio.


AS: Head of Business Development

FROM: Accor

TRIPBAM has appointed

Juliette Jackman as its new

Head of Business Development

in Europe. Juliette brings with

her 18 years’ experience

working for global hotel chains.



Victoria Park Plaza, London




Olympia London


ALSO ON THE MOVE... TravelPerk has appointed Ross McNairn as Chief Product Officer >>

Fraser Jordan and Aaron Butchers have joined Good Travel Management's business development

team with responsibility for the North West and London and the South respectively >> Chris Hope

has joined Connect Airways as Flybe’s new Chief Operations Officer >> Sarah Gaze has joined

Cathay Pacific as Head of Corporate Sales UK >> Hard Rock International has appointed Mathew

Turvey as Regional Director of Global Sales – Europe >> Dawn Jaynes is now director of UK M&E

sales and sales support for Northern Europe at Accor

APRIL 26-28


New York City


MAY 12-13





this fragmented area of spend is

evolving with such pace – with

technology and sustainability

issues at the core – that it simply

can't be ignored. find out more in

an extended guide to



Introduction, 56-58 / Tech & tools, 60-62

Car hire, 64-68 / Rail spend management, 70-74

Rail operator update, 78-80 / Taxis, 82-83

Chauffeur services, 84-85 / Data, 86



Ground transport / Introduction



Ground transport remains the most fragmented and

challenging sector for travel managers – but that hasn’t

gone unnoticed by the big suppliers, says Rob Gill

Ground transport has become one

of the most innovative parts of

business travel but managing it

effectively is still a challenge.

Ask any travel buyer about how they fare

and you wil be met with a sigh or a groan

followed by some grumbles about how the

sector is too “fragmented” or “complex”, as

well as being difficult to book using the

current crop of corporate tools.

Ground transport used to be something

of an afterthought compared with higher

spending parts of the travel programme –

airfares and hotels – but the increased

availability of enhanced data has helped

to shine a light on how much money is

actually being spent on the likes of trains,

taxis and chauffeur-drive transfers.

For all the talk within the corporate travel

industry about the “seamless” or “end-toend”

business journey, it’s often the bits at

either end of a trip that cause the most

problems: getting from one's home to the

airport and then to the hotel or meeting

venue at the other end remains a tricky

issue to manage in terms of pricing,

visibility of spending and duty-of-care

concerns for the traveller.

The bad news for buyers – at least in the

short term – is that ground transport is

getting even more complicated as various

suppliers including car rental firms, ridehailing

platforms and traditional taxi firms

have changed their business models and

are now offering a much more varied

portfolio of ground transport products.

Major car rental firms such as Avis,

Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt have

now ventured into areas such as car clubs,

car-sharing pools and chauffeur-drive

services. Although traditional car rental

still remains their core business, expect

this kind of shift into a wider range of

products to continue.

Car rental firms are also working with

supposed competitors such as the ridehailing

firms. For example, both Hertz and

Avis have partnerships with Lyft in the US

where they provide vehicles for some

drivers (Hertz also works with Uber).

The taxi and ride-hailing sector is another

area seeing a lot of activity with new

competitors set to challenge incumbent

players such as Uber in London, while the

likes of Gett and FREE NOW (formerly

Mytaxi), which offer online platforms for

the booking of traditional taxis, continue to

target the corporate market.

Ground transport itself is almost becoming

an outdated term as it’s increasingly being

replaced by concepts such as mobility

solutions or even Mobility as a Service

(MaaS), where a technology platform offers

an array of different ground options for


Introduction Introduction / Ground / Ground transportation

Technology is the

obvious solution

for enabling the successful

management of ground

transport. But while progress

is being made, there is still a

long way to go on this”



Ground transport / Introduction

a journey, ranging from a car or bus to a

train, taxi or even an electric bicycle.

Matteo de Renzi, CEO for Western Europe at

ride-hailing platform Gett, says: “Managing

ground transport for companies has always

been a challenge and it’s getting even more

challenging. Everyone is mindful about how

much their people are spending but the

implementation and monitoring of travel

policy is still very difficult.”

Making it click

Technology is the obvious solution for

enabling the successful management of

ground transport. But while progress is

being made in creating better corporate

booking tools and apps, there is still a long

way to go on this particular journey.

“We understand the pain points for

corporate clients when it comes to booking

and managing ground transportation,”

says Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales


Travel managers have multiple journeys

to take care of, with differing demands and

hectic schedules. Increasingly, corporate

clients want more control over their travel

and expect everything to be on demand

and in one place,” he adds.

Finding a single app or platform to meet

all these ground transport requirements

continues to be the goal of online booking

tool providers, travel management

companies and also the specialist players

in the market, such as Groundscope.

John McCallion, Groundscope’s CEO,

says the organisation's goal is to create a

“managed global taxi service” that offers a

similar service to online travel agencies,

such as Booking.com.

“We are focused on providing a service

which removes uncertainty and reduces

the general stress of business travel. Our

service has been specifically designed to

meet the needs of corporate clients,”

McCallion adds. “For the corporation, our

service brings this area of spend under

control and provides visibility on all spend

via our monthly MI (management

information) reporting.”

Price movements

While this all sounds great in theory for

travel buyers, one of the more immediate

questions is what’s likely to be going on

with prices for ground transport over the

next year or so?

Leading travel management company

CWT is predicting that global car rental

prices will rise by 1% next year in its 2020

Global Travel Forecast, although this

increase in average prices is forecast to be

higher in the UK at 1.8%.

Across Western Europe as a whole, CWT

expects rates to go up by 0.5% as the region

is affected by sluggish economic growth.

Travel managers have

multiple journeys to

take care of, with differing

demands. Increasingly,

corporate clients want more

control over their travel and

expect everything to be on

demand and in one place”

The story is not so positive for UK train

fares, which are scheduled to increase by

another 2.8% in January 2020, leading to

another round of protests about the

network’s poor service, high levels of

disruption and pricey tickets. A lack of

technological advancement and flexibility

when it comes to rail ticketing is also a

continuing bugbear.

The UK government’s much-criticised

franchise system continues to trundle on

for now. One of most significant recent

moves saw a consortium of FirstGroup and

Italian rail operator Trenitalia winning the

West Coast rail franchise, which runs

services between London, Birmingham,

Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It will

take over from current operator Virgin

Trains in December.

But there could soon be significant

changes in the way the rail franchising

system operates, as the process is currently

being reviewed by a team headed by

former British Airways CEO Keith Williams.

Another huge rail project under

government review is HS2 (High Speed 2),

despite construction on the line already

being under way between London and

Birmingham. The £56billion project could

be cancelled if the ever-growing bill is

deemed to be a waste of money – a

definitive decision is due from new

transport secretary Grant Shapps by the

end of this year.

Wherever you chose to look, there’s a lot

going on in the world of ground transport –

expect fragmentation and complexity to

continue in the sector, much to many

buyers’ chagrin. The big question is

whether technology can bring all of these

options together in a single platform to

make life easier for buyers. That’s the

dream but can it become a reality?


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Ground transport / Tech & tools

Bringing it all


Ground transport is at the forefront of the on-demand trend, but

TMCs are still battling to adapt. Linda Fox looks at progress so far

One of the biggest behavioural

shifts in recent years is the

move to on-demand services

that fulfil a range of needs, be that

music consumption, transportation,

food delivery or many more.

The incredible rise of services such as

Lyft and Uber were only the start of

disruption in the ground transportation

space and many more developments, from

new entrants to mergers and acquisitions,

have followed.

In recent months alone, trend-setting

Uber has acquired Careem, the United

Arab Emirates-based ride-hailing service,

for just over $3billion. Another demonstration

of how seriously the sector is

being taken is the acquisition of travel

management technology platform Deem

by car hire giant Enterprise back in January

this year.

As exciting as these developments are,

they create challenges for travel managers

and their TMC partners.

Vicki Williams, Director of Sales and

Implementation at Click Travel, says:

“When it comes to integration, the fast rise

of suppliers such as Uber means they have

a tendency towards focusing on the needs

of B2C channels first.

“This has made seamless integration

more challenging in a B2B environment,

as the user experience around policy,

reporting and duty of care can become

compromised if not contained within one

single platform, for all travel types.

“For example, the ability to have full

integration, with a perfect payment

process, remains our strategy, rather than

just a link to a 3rd party website. We

develop our own technology, so we are

When it comes to

integration, the fast

rise of suppliers such as Uber

means they have a tendency

towards focusing on the

needs of B2C channels first”


Tech & tools / Ground transport

working with suppliers to add full

integrations as quickly as possible.”

And established players have not stood

still either as they move to stay relevant.

A further glance over at developments

in the US reveals that Uber and Lyft

combined appear on 16% of all expense

claims, according to Certify figures.

Those in the ground transport space

are taking note and have seized on

opportunities to expand, evolve their

content and improve their technology.

CMAC Group acquired B2B taxi company

Cabfind just over a year ago, followed by

managed taxi, bus and coach hire service

Cabline this year. Meanwhile, GroundScope,

which has been providing ground

transportation services to travel

management firms, booking tools and

corporate clients for a number of years,

recently announced its partnership with

technology consultancy DataArt to

develop a version of its mobile app for

iOS users that would also integrate with

the existing platform.

Smooth journeys

Gray Dawes Group uses Groundscope as

its ground transport aggregator and says it

is important that the system is integrated

with not only the GDS but also the TMC’s

Atriis agency and corporate booking tool.

Commercial Director David Bishop says

this means ground transport slides

seamlessly into the booking flow and is

offered once flights and/or hotels have

been booked.

He adds that the ground transportation

attachment ratio is currently at about 4%

but that figure is growing. At present, the

technology is used predominantly to book

transfers from the airport when travellers

arrive at a destination.

Bishop also says that the company is not

seeing much demand from corporates to

include the ground transport element into

travel policy or approval flow.

Meanwhile, Fello Travel uses the

Amadeus-owned Cytric booking tool which

has integrated Talixo, while Blacklane will

be added shortly.



Ground transport / Tech & tools

And, as API connectivity improves, the

industry is likely to see more ground

transportation content integrated into

booking systems.

American Express Global Business

Travel's Content & Distribution Manager,

Alexandrea Coughlin, says: “The growth of

disruptors such as Uber and Lyft has helped

put the spotlight on ground transport

within managed travel programmes.

They generated wide-ranging discussions

around servicing and safety issues, which

meant travel managers increasingly focus

on the whole sector, the levels of

fragmentation within it, and where visibility

and management could be improved.”

Amex GBT launched its ground platform

last year in partnership with Mozio. The

company says it brings chauffeur drivers,

taxis, airport express trains and shuttles,

plus ride-sharing via a deal with Lyft, to a

single booking and management app.

The TMC believes the platform not only

helps travel managers by providing spend

visibility on ground transport and

consolidating bookings in one place, but

also assists travellers by encouraging them

to book in one place.

Out and about

Paul Wait, Commercial Director of iGO, a

marketplace for ground transportation

developed by Autocab, says the platform

is trying to support TMCs by bringing the

on-demand element into managed travel.

He feels that while Uber for Business

has started to address this through its

integrations with expense management

specialists Chrome River and SAP Concur,

the move only takes care of bookings in

major towns and cities.

Wait says the company is adding more

partners up and down the country as well

as beyond the UK to provide travellers with

more options.

In an ideal world, a single global solution

for ground transportation would exist but

much the same as with local technology

providers and payment solutions, there

are different providers for transport in

different countries and regions.

That said, there is an increasing trend

towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

whereby different forms of transport –

public, on-demand taxis, trains and even

scooters – are aggregated in a single place

or app. Again, this is being driven by

consumer demand for convenience.

A number of cities in Europe are working

on the trend in the belief that betterquality

information coupled with ease of

use will drive up usage. Examples include

Whim, launched by MaaS Global in Helsinki

in late 2016, and Jelbi, launched more

recently in Berlin.

The Whim initiative aims to connect many

of the Finnish capital’s mobility options in

one application and allows users to plan,

book and pay for those options, ranging

from public transport to taxis, car hire and


Jelbi, meanwhile, is a service that brings

together mobility providers in Berlin on

to one mobile application. It has been

developed by the city’s public transport

provider BVG and mobility technology

startup Trafi. These are positive developments

from the point of view of the user

and should encourage transport providers,

both public and private, to share data and

collaborate more.

Bishop, from the Gray Dawes Group, says

different modes of transport, especially

rail, are now being integrated into booking

systems. He says the company has access

to both UK rail and Amtrak in the US and

that European rail should be added by the

end of this year.

He adds that while the company would

also like to widen out the offering with

European airport rail shuttles such as the

S Bahn in Germany and the Arlanda

Express in Sweden, it is a more complex

ask technologically.

Going forward, expect more integration

and more content partnerships as travel

management companies and their

technology suppliers move to bring more

choice to the traveller, increase control

and gain spend visibility.

There is a trend

towards Mobility as

a Service (MaaS) whereby

different forms of transport

– public, on-demand taxis,

trains and even scooters – are

aggregated in a single place”


Ground transport / Car hire



Environmental concerns, new forms of taxation and changing consumer

habits are prompting a sea-change in car hire, says Catherine Chetwynd

That some car rental companies

have added the word ‘mobility’

to their name says it all.

The boundaries between fleet, car rental

and mobility have blurred to the point that

they are jointly managed to reduce cost,

administration and complications for travel

managers, meet employees’ requirements,

and at the same time cover duty of care

requirements. Companies have long

ceased to own their own fleets of cars and

where some form of vehicle perk exists

employees either pay for it via salary

sacrifice, take a personal lease, or use

their own cars for business trips (the

so-called ‘grey fleet’). And where staff

members take cash instead of a company

car, the risk is that they do not have their

own vehicle regularly maintained, leaving

employers exposed.

“Rental vehicles have the latest equipment

and a structured programme of regular

maintenance and repair,” says Assistant

Vice President of Business Mobility UK &

Ireland at Enterprise, Adrian Bewley.

They are generally less than a year old,

so they will also have lower emissions

compared to the average privately

owned car. It is often difficult for

businesses to confirm that grey fleet

cars are regularly serviced, maintained

or even insured for business use.”

Research published in a white paper


Car hire / Ground transport

this year by Europcar Mobility Group UK

found that more than one quarter (28%)

of companies with 10 to 25 staff relies on

grey fleet vehicles, rising to 40% for firms

with 26-50 employees. And nearly one

third of companies with 10-25 employees

said that up to a quarter of their staff

choose cash for cars.

These factors can present significant

health and safety challenges, which is why

so many fleet managers look for options

such as car clubs or daily rental, which can

be particularly valuable for employees

who might not drive enough to justify a

dedicated company car, while still

requiring regular transport,” says Bewley.

Businesses want flexibility in length of

contract and how it is budgeted; rental

achieves both these goals.”

Multiple routes

Rental companies are now the ultimate

flexible friend, providing traditional rental,

car clubs, pool cars and long-term leases

covering every vehicular eventuality. In

addition, technology continues to move

on apace: booking engines can have

policy embedded, increasing

compliance and

Rental companies are

the ultimate flexible

friend, providing traditional

rental, car clubs, pool cars

and long-term leases covering

every vehicular eventuality”

traceability while giving drivers a wide

choice of cars with attendant cost

implications, and this is all backed by first

class management information.

Enterprise Travel Direct (ETD) is a

booking platform that allows drivers to

compare the cost of a journey, depending

on whether they use private vehicle, car

club or daily rental car. They can choose

by lowest rate or most sustainable option.

It even manages grey fleet, requiring users

to confirm their vehicle is suitable for

business use, so that this complicated area

is monitored and recorded from the off,

rather than after the event.

“Our LaunchPad tablet technology

enables employees to conduct a speedy

rental transaction anywhere worldwide –

even without wifi. It pre-fills customer



Car hire / Ground transport

data and preferences, speeding up the

transaction, and captures vehicle condition

in pictures to provide contractual transparency

and reduce disputes when

vehicles are returned,” says Bewley.

Europcar has been upgrading its

technology and in the past year rolled out

Europcar One to more than 780 B2B

customers. The platform records the

process from reservation to return and

invoicing, showing travel managers how

different mobility options impact on

financial and environmental targets.

In addition, the company’s Pathfinder

app handles thorny issues such as damage

and fuel recharging, giving access to

electronically stored data and timestamped

photographs of a vehicle’s

condition on delivery and collection.

Join the club

Where car clubs were once a potential

threat to car rental providers, they are

now an inherent part of their service,

ensuring a 24-hour offer, as well as rental

by the hour. Europcar acquired electric

vehicle E-Car Club in 2015 and car club

Ubeeqo (which has electric, petrol and

hybrid vehicles) in 2016.

“While the conventional view of car clubs

is vehicles on streets that can be accessed

to meet any short-term requirement,

Europcar Mobility Group is working closely

with a number of organisations to explain

the benefits of adopting the car club model

for their pool fleet needs,” says Head of

Sales Performance, Corporate Mobility and

Market Intelligence, Dan Hawkes.

At 800 cars and vans, Enterprise claims

to offer the UK’s largest fleet of dedicated

car club vehicles for business, bookable by

specific business customers; and

Enterprise Car Club is integrated into its

branch network.

Hertz gives a similar service, providing

dedicated car pool fleets of low emission

The need to meet

cost-cutting and

sustainability targets has

made car-sharing options

increasingly popular with

fleet managers”

vehicles for employee use. The need to

meet cost cutting and sustainability

targets, and release parking spaces, has

made car-sharing options increasingly

popular with fleet managers. And the

company claims the damage rate and

attendant cost on corporate pool fleets is

lower “as users tend to be more respectful

with the cars to ensure co-workers can

use them without encountering issues”,

says Sales Director Andy Johnson.

Avis Budget Group, meanwhile, operates

Zipcar, which it purchased in 2013, and its

subsidiary Zipcar for Business. The

organisation provides on-demand access

to cars by the hour or the day in cities

around the globe, including London,

Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge.

“We’re committed to making cities better

places to live and that starts with increasing

access to smart mobility solutions that

reduce reliance on personal cars,” says

Tracey Zhen, President of Zipcar.

Under pressure

There are external pressures on

companies and travel managers too: the

growth in urban Clean Air Zones (CAZ) was

intended to stimulate demand for low-

emission vehicles. London’s Low Emission

Zone was launched in 2008 and its

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

policy commenced in April this year.

Leeds, Birmingham and Bath follow in

2020, Sheffield’s proposals are under

consultation and Greater Manchester will

introduce a zone in stages according to

vehicle type between 2021 and 2023.

Meanwhile, Nottingham’s Workplace

Parking Levy – effectively a charge on

company parking spaces – could prompt

copycat scheme in other cities that are

looking to encourage people to commute

by means other than their cars.

Air quality, congestion and road safety

are priorities across dozens of cities

across the UK. Dealing with these urban

mobility issues represents both the biggest

challenge and the biggest opportunity

facing the rental and leasing sectors.

And inevitably, with a government

volte-face on the merits (or not) of diesel,

the status quo is not exactly clear. As the

BVRLA Industry Outlook 2019 points out:

“BVRLA members are learning that there is

very little middle ground in the fast-



Ground transport / Car hire

We are working with

many of our corporate

clients to help them design

business travel policies that

encourage employees to

access low-emission vehicles,

or even mandate that”

evolving world of local politics, where

road transport is so often cast as either

the hero or the villain. With so much hype

and misinformation surrounding the

demonization of diesel, the real-world

capabilities of electric vehicles and the

potential for Mobility as a Service (Maas),

they are spending huge amounts of time

trying to educate and inform local

policymakers and customers.”

In addition, the report states that 2019

is a year when multiple mobility models

compete for a bigger share of city trips.

Car rental and car club suppliers will have

to work harder than ever to demonstrate

that they have an important place in the

hierarchy of urban transport solutions.

MaaS means users view any mobility

provider as part of a pay-per-go service,

as opposed to a one-off or long-term

financial arrangement.

The automotive industry in general is in

the early stages of a paradigm shift when

it comes to vehicle ownership,” says Sales

Director for Thrifty Car & Van Rental

Caroline Gallagher. “A combination of

factors – including changing consumer

attitudes, intensifying environmental

concerns and advancements in connected

and autonomous technology – is causing a

trend towards mobility as a service.

“This encompasses services like ride

hailing and sharing, public transport in its

various guises and also vehicle rental.

Essentially, it is borne out of a shift in the

consumer psyche, from viewing mobility as

an asset that one owns (a car) to seeing it

as a service that can be used at any time.”

Green light

Companies are under pressure from

shareholders to be environmentally

responsible and one way they can do that

is move towards electric and hybrid vehicles

– EVs in car clubs are particularly popular.

Enterprise more than doubled the number

of alternatively powered vehicles in its UK

fleet in 2018.

As Europcar’s Dan Hawkes explains: “We

are working with many of our corporate

clients to help them design business travel

policies that encourage employees to

access low-emission vehicles, or even

mandate that if they are likely to be

travelling into low emission zones.”

Europcar’s hybrid/EV vehicles represent

8.7% of its UK fleet, and hybrids constitute

5% of the cars purchased by Hertz.

“Although the percentage of diesel vehicles

in Hertz UK’s fleet has noticeably reduced

this year, customers who drive long

distances still request them,” says Johnson.

According to the BVRLA Annual Insight

research 2019, the UK car rental fleet’s

environmental credentials are notable,

having an average 119g/km emissions, 94%

CAZ compliance and an average age of just

six months old. Corporate bookings make

up 57% of transactions, with an average

eight-day rental and travelling 616 miles.

Car rental used to be the last bastion of

unmanaged travel, but this has changed

thanks to improved technology and a

more flexible service that bring together

car clubs, short-term and long-term rental

on one booking platform, giving travel

managers ultimate control and visibility.


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portal for business travellers:

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Email business.travel@swrailway.com

Ground transport / Rail spend management

On the right


Corporates and TMCs are demanding a more

collaborative approach from train operators.

Catherine Chetwynd examines the latest progress

With trainfares something of a

minefield and most train

operating companies (TOC)

refusing to negotiate with companies on

the basis of volume discount, it was no

surprise that the government launched

a major review of the UK's rail market.

The Williams Rail Review was due to

report its findings in September but has

predictably been delayed – the impact of

Brexit on Whitehall rather than leaves on

the line the most likely cause of its late

arrival later this autumn.

Even the Rail Delivery Group, which

represents operators, recognised the need

for an overhaul. In its submission to the

Review, Chief Operating Officer Jacqueline

Starr explained: “Increasing use of

technology and remote working over the

past decade has been accompanied by

more employers offering flexible working;

fewer people need to be in the office five

days a week or to commute at peak times.

We have seen this in falling sales of season

tickets but with passenger journeys still

reaching record highs.

The decades-old fares regulations have

created an inflexible and confusing range

of fares. Fares reform would also allow us

to tackle crowding on some of Britain’s

busiest commuter services by removing the

cliff-edge price difference between peak

and the first off-peak services.”

Full steam ahead

This, suggested Starr, could bring

advantages for business, including tap-in

tap-out, pay-as-you-go travel with price

capping across the country, and a best-fare

guarantee. Other bonuses could be

increased competition on long-distance

routes, creating a demand-led market and

quicker journeys, more space per seat,

faster wifi, and better service on board; at

last the customer would feature large.

But that is all for the future. What about

the picture today?

Virgin Trains has corporate fares which

are available on key business routes on the

west coast. These are for sale via TMCs

only. “A travel manager’s objective is

generally to bring down the cost of travel

as much as they can and, conversely, ours

is to maintain yield, so we aimed to meet

them in the middle,” says Head of

Corporate Sales, Claire Walton.

Business customers can fix their

outbound journey but they get more value

out of the flexible return. If somebody

misses a train, it is expensive to buy a

single fare home, or if a meeting finishes

early and people arrive at the station hours

before their booked departure that is a

complete waste of time. Some of our

Business Corporate Fares also come with a

free first class upgrade,” she says.


Rail spend management / Ground transport



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Rail spend management / Ground transport

One SME customer is

setting up a business

in London and has negotiated

rates with Caledonian Sleeper

on the basis of some 20

journeys a months”

“We are seeing good uptake of these.”

Otherwise, if a company shifts business

from road or air to rail, Virgin may give a

bespoke deal.

However, that switch isn’t easy. “The

opportunity to move business from air

travel to rail is diminishing because in the

last few years there are fewer domestic air

routes,” says Associate – Ground/Rail

Services for Black Box Partnerships, Nick

Bamford. “It is interesting to see that LNER

has launched the Azuma on the Edinburgh

route. It can reduce that service to four

hours, which will really eat into the time

advantage of air travel; otherwise, travel is

mostly in a car now and that is much

harder to quantify.”

Easy rider

Great Western Railway (GWR) offers

discounts only where a company needs to

hire a carriage or a large number of seats

on any one train. However, Caledonian

Sleeper takes a more flexible approach.

Its Flexipass buys a carnet of 10 journeys,

valid on all Highland or Lowland routes,

and it will also negotiate according to

volume of spend.

“When comparing our prices to the cost

of a hotel in London or Edinburgh, plus

flight and transfers to city centre, it can

make real economic sense to use us. Also,

travellers are not getting up at the crack

of dawn, plus they are travelling while

sleeping, saving time as well,” says

Managing Director, Richard Flaherty.

“We talk to companies about how often

they will be travelling with us to see if we

can offer special rates. The starting point is

not very high because we are quite small,”

he says. For example, Flaherty says one

SME customer is setting up a business in

London and has negotiated rates on the

basis of some 20 journeys a month.

The company introduced new carriages

in April that were built by Spanish

manufacturer CAS, bespoke to Caledonian’s

requirements. Club carriages have an en

suite shower/loo and there is fast wifi and

multiple charging points throughout.

Business travellers are increasingly

opting for Club rooms because they see

it as overnight accommodation and en

suite is pretty basic in most travel policies,”

says Flaherty.

The new rolling stock has upped

Caledonian’s game: “We have always had

corporate relationships but now we have a

product that is suitable for the corporate

world and we are looking forward to

growing those relationships over the next

few months,” adds Flaherty.

Delay repay – 50% refund for 30 minutes’

delay, 100% for an hour or more – in

varying forms is offered by TOCs, either

payable direct to the traveller (Caledonian

Sleeper, Virgin Trains) or to the purchaser,

whether TMC or traveller (GWR).

But Black Box’s Bamford warns that when

organisations such as Rail Guard or Travel

Compensation Services (TCS) claim it on

companies’ behalf, “They match delays with

a corporate booking file and highlight how

many journeys were ticketed and delayed,

but they take a fee for doing so.”

However, according to Director of Client

Partnership for BTD, Vanessa Bailey:

Travellers are not interested in claiming

delay repay and third parties monitor

progress automatically to get refunds, so

clients do not have to do anything to

benefit from them.”



Ground transport / Rail spend management

Travelling first class continues to have

an ‘unnecessary luxury’ stigma: “Where

sectors are thriving, there is a slightly more

relaxed view, and where the economy is

tightening up, we see a soft performance in

first class – for example, construction at the

moment,” says Virgin’s Walton.

Otherwise, some companies are happy

for travellers to spend within defined

parameters to upgrade if there is a deal

and others ban it altogether.

Network fail

Generally, the corporate world has every

reason to be disenchanted with TOCs.

“We get no support from the rail sector.

Whether we are spending £5 or £1million,

it doesn’t seem to make any difference,”

says Group Procurement Category Manager

for Biffa, Richard Childs.

He encourages travellers to book as early

as possible to get a good fare and to note

when peak and off-peak times are: “We are

starting to think about booking meetings

that start at 11am in London instead of

10am – if we miss the peak period, we can

save up to £30,” he says. “When people are

travelling more than two hours, we look at

potentially upgrading within £30 and

sometimes operators offer that anyway if

we are booking early enough; booking late

can cost 50% more.”

Childs’ main problem is with the network.

Biffa’s offices are in High Wycombe, which

has services to Birmingham or London.

There are no rail services to a lot of the

places we go to, so it tends to be more cost

efficient to go by car,” he says. “HS2 could

make a difference but from what I hear, it

won’t from a time point of view.”

Head of Procurement for Church of

England, Chris Day, specifies the lowest

possible fare, including first class where

applicable. “We are flexible about when

meetings start and finish to allow the

lowest price,” he says. A lot of meetings are

at Church House in London but travellers

are departing from across the UK. Day is

looking for a TMC to handle the Church’s

£550,000 rail spend, which he hopes will

highlight travel patterns and potential

negotiating opportunities.

The right platform

Whether travellers are booking through a

TMC or online booking tool, they may be

using Evolvi Rail Systems, whose API

provides configurable rail content for those

channels, plus content aggregators and

expense management systems.

The Evolvi API is increasingly being

embedded within third-party customerfacing

online booking systems, underlining

the growing trend among TMCs and

corporates to treat UK rail spend with the

same degree of focus as every other

element of significant travel spend,” says

Managing Director, Kirstie van Oerle.

In addition, the well-documented

complexity of rail fares means such

systems are crucial in helping find the best

fares and the most cost-effective

configuration of tickets such as fixed

outbound and flexible return, with travel

policy embedded in the tool.

Barcode ticketing is also winning fans in

the corporate sector, especially as these go

straight to a travel wallet, removing the

need to activate prior to travel like mobile

tickets. “Making this available on all routes

would bring greater consistency of ticketing

options to business travellers. There is

clearly a digital transformation under way

but we need assurances on timescales and

interoperability,” says van Oerle.

Other innovations in ticket types include

Advance Purchase on the Day (APoD) on

certain routes, enabling travellers to access

advance tickets even when buying just

before travel. It is determined by passenger

loads at the time.

The railways and ticketing are long

overdue for reform and it seems this may

finally be on the cards.

The well-documented

complexity of rail

fares means technology

systems are crucial in

helping find the best fares

and the most cost-effective

configuration of tickets”





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Ground transport / Rail operator update

One of the industry's

best-known names is

about to disappear from our

networks having lost out on

the West Coast franchise”


Rail operator update / Ground transport



New operators and the delivery of long-awaited investments

are shaking up the UK's rail network, says Dave Richardson

As the rail industry awaits the

outcome of the Williams Review,

two of its best-known names are

about to disappear.

Virgin Trains will give up the West Coast

franchise – which covers many major

business routes – in December, having lost

out to a new partnership of FirstGroup and

Trenitalia. It has operated these routes

since 1997 and won many business awards,

and also operated the East Coast routes

from 2015-18.

Virgin Group owns 51% of the West Coast

franchise, the remaining 49% being owned

by major international bus operator

Stagecoach. Stagecoach lost the South West

franchise in 2017 and the East Midlands

routes in August this year, so this name too

is set to disappear from rail.

The loss of West Coast is controversial,

as the Department for Transport barred

Stagecoach from bidding as it was unwilling

to take on the risk of underwriting pension

deficits. A legal challenge is in the courts.

The DfT had insisted that any new West

Coast operator must have experience of

operating a high-speed network, so Italian

operator Trenitalia has partnered with

FirstGroup. With the franchise running

until 2031, First Trenitalia will start

operating HS2 – if it ever gets built.

What makes the West Coast award

even more contentious is that some of

FirstGroup’s major shareholders are in

open revolt over plans to continue

operating rail franchises after heavy losses

on the South West and TransPennine

Express routes.

Meanwhile, Dutch rail operator NS has

strengthened its hold on the UK rail

industry with subsidiary Abellio taking over

East Midlands, promising investment of

£600million and new bimodal express

trains by 2022. Abellio already operates

four other franchises.

Rolling on

A huge investment programme is under

way across the rail industry, but some

passengers are only just starting to see

the benefits while many have become

frustrated by the delayed introduction of

new trains. First-owned Great Western will

introduce a new timetable in December

with journey time improvements on many

routes to London, following full deployment

of new Hitachi-built bimodal trains.

Hitachi is also supplying the new fleet for

East Coast routes currently operated by

LNER, with new trains starting operation in

summer 2019 and all old trains due to be

replaced by the end of 2020. As on Great

Western, the main benefit is a welcome

increase in seat capacity rather than

significantly reduced journey times.

TransPennine Express will transform

inter-city travel across the North and to

Scotland when its new trains are all in

service, bringing on-board comfort and

facilities to rival trains on main business

routes to London. But major delays meant

the first new trains did not start to carry

passengers until late August.

Northern, one of the most criticised

operators, at last began to introduce some

new trains in summer 2019. Caledonian

Sleeper also introduced new trains this year

but has been hit by teething problems and

adverse media coverage.

Crossrail services through central London,

due to start in December 2018 and branded

as the Elizabeth Line, may not now happen

until 2021 – while the Government’s review

of HS2 could mean this whole contentious

project is scrapped.



Ground transport / Rail operator update

[ The UK's train operators: who's who ]


Owned by: Trenitalia, part of the state-owned

Italian rail operator.

Franchise period: 2014-29.

Main routes: London Fenchurch Street to

destinations in Essex.


Owned by: Serco.

Franchise period: 2015-30.

Main routes: Overnight services from London

Euston to major Scottish cities.


Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, part of stateowned

German operator DB.

Franchise period: 2002-21.

Main routes: London Marylebone to

Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham.


Owned by: Arriva UK Trains.

Franchise period: 2007-19.

Main routes: Birmingham to the South West,

Bournemouth, Cardiff, Nottingham, Stansted,

Manchester, Leeds, the North East and

Scotland. Franchise renewal postponed

indefinitely due to the Williams Review.

East Midlands Trains

Owned by: Abellio, part of Dutch train

operator NS, which replaced Stagecoachowned

East Midlands Trains in August 2019.

Franchise period: 2019-27.

Main routes: London St Pancras to Leicester,

Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; Norwich

to Liverpool.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis

(majority owned by French state-owned

operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group.

Franchise period: 2015-21.

Main routes: London to Bedford,

Peterborough and King’s Lynn; and London

to Brighton and other south coast cities

(including Thameslink services via central

London); plus local services across south

London. Many routes carry Great Northern

or Southern branding, and it includes the

Gatwick Express service.

Grand Central

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Non-franchised

open access operator.

Main routes: London King’s Cross to

Bradford, York and Sunderland.


Owned by: A partnership between Abellio

and Japanese rail interests.

Franchise period: 2016-25.

Main routes: London-Norwich; Stansted

Express; regional services throughout

East Anglia.

Great Western Railway

Owned by: FirstGroup.

Franchise period: 2006-20.

Main routes: London Paddington to the

West Country, South Wales and Cotswolds;

regional services in the South West and

Thames Valley.

Heathrow Express

Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated

by Great Western. Non-franchised open

access operator.

Main route: London Paddington to London

Heathrow Airport.


Owned by: FirstGroup. Non-franchised open

access operator.

Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull.


Owned by: Department for Transport.

Operating period: 2018-20, when new

franchise is due to start.

Main routes: London King’s Cross to

Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh,

Aberdeen and Inverness.

London Northwestern Railway

London / WeST Northwestern MIDLANDS RAILWAY Railway/We

Owned by: West Midlands Tren Abellio

(part of Dutch train operator NS) and

Japanese rail interests.

Franchise period: 2017-26.

Main routes: London to Birmingham and

Crewe; Birmingham to Liverpool; local

services in West Midlands.

London Overground

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains (on behalf of

Transport for London).

Franchise period: 2016-24.

Main routes: Local services around London.


Owned by: A partnership between Abellio

and Serco.

Franchise period: 2003-28.

Main routes: Local services around Liverpool.


Owned by: Arriva UK Trains.

Franchise period: 2016-25.

Main routes: Services throughout the North.


Owned by: Abellio (on behalf of the Scottish


Franchise period: 2015-25.

Main routes: Most services within Scotland.


Owned by: A partnership between Keolis

(majority owned by French state-owned

operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group.

Franchise period: 2006-19. Franchise renewal

postponed due to the Williams Review.

Main routes: London to Kent; local services

around south London.

South Western Railway

Owned by: A partnership between FirstGroup

and Hong Kong rail operator MTR.

Franchise period: 2017-24.

Main routes: London to the south coast and

Exeter; local services around south London.

TfL Rail

Owned by: Transport for London.

Franchise period: 2015-23.

Main routes: East London. It will operate

Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when it opens.

TransPennine Express

Owned by: FirstGroup.

Franchise period: 2016-23.

Main routes: Liverpool and Manchester

Airport to Yorkshire and North East;

Manchester Airport to Edinburgh and

Glasgow; Manchester to Hull and Cleethorpes.


Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and

Amey (on behalf of Transport for Wales).

Franchise period: 2018-33.

Main routes: Most services within Wales,

and to Birmingham and Manchester.


Owned by: A partnership between Virgin

Group and Stagecoach.

Franchise period: 1997-2019. To be replaced

in December by a partnership between

FirstGroup and Trenitalia (franchise to 2031).

Main routes: London to the West Midlands,

North West, North Wales and Scotland;

Birmingham to Scotland.



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Ground transport / Taxis



A host of newcomers are shaking up London’s ride-hailing

and taxi market with Uber in their sights. Rob Gill reports

Competition in London’s ride-hailing

and taxi market is hotting up as

Uber faces down a host of new

entrants, while black cab apps continue

to actively court the corporate market.

Uber had been operating in the UK capital

on a 15-month probationary licence from

Transport for London (TfL) since June 2018,

which was extended for another two months

in September. TfL had originally refused to

renew Uber’s five-year licence because of

concerns over the reporting of serious criminal

offences and background checks for drivers.

London calling

Whatever happens with its licence renewal,

Uber is facing a raft of extra competition in

London from other ride-hailing firms –

Estonian-based Bolt launched in June, while

Indian start-up Ola has also been granted a

15-month licence by TfL with the service due

to start in September.

Then there’s Kapten (formerly known as

Chauffeur Privé), backed by German car

giants BMW and Daimler, plus car-sharing

service ViaVan, which secured a three-year

licence to operate in London earlier this year.

Meanwhile black cab apps such as Gett and

FREE NOW (formerly Hailo and then Mytaxi)

are also upping their games in attracting

corporate business, while industry veteran

Addison Lee also remains a significant player

in the market.

Despite the intense competition, Uber

currently accounts for 80% of London’s ridehailing

journeys and does not seem to fear

the emergence of these additional rivals.

They are competitors that we’re familiar

with. We’ve been competing against those

players in Paris for many years,” says Uber’s

CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. “We are not seeing

anything in London that’s a surprise or

unexpected that we’re not seeing in 20 other

cities around the world.”

One potential advantage of this increased

competition is a reduction in journey prices in

London. But Matteo de Renzi, Gett’s CEO of

Western Europe, is not so sure this will be the

case as the ride-hailing companies compete

to secure the services of the drivers.

There are many new players in the

consumer space,” says de Renzi. “They will

add competition but we’re quite neutral

about that. All the new players will have to

start with a large amount of drivers and so

pay them generous incentives. This could

have a detrimental effect on Uber and lead

them to increase the prices even more.”

Companies like Gett continue to stress the

unpredictability of Uber’s prices for corporate

clients, particularly around “surge” rates.

More corporate-focused players also

emphasise their ability to offer clients what

they need to meet duty of care requirements

and supply management information (MI).

Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales at FREE

NOW, adds: “Almost every week we see a new

service provider launch. Technology has

made people much more engaged in their

travel plans. While having lots of choice is

obviously attractive, we find that for business

travel safety, speed and comfort remain the

most important factors.

“With taxis, as with any corporate travel,

people want seamless transfers – a cab

waiting for them with a driver they already

know the name of, contact details, the route

and shareable ETAs (estimated time of

arrival). It reassures people that they are in

safe hands, knowing their driver is fullylicensed

and knows where they are going.”

Play it safe

Offering duty of care to passengers and their

employers continues to be a major selling

point for those operating in the corporate taxi

market – particularly as this issue has been a

serious hurdle for Uber to overcome in its

fight to get its London licence renewed.

Clare Mahood, Senior Marketing Manager at

ground transport specialist CMAC Group,

says: “We understand how critical it is that

organisations provide a duty of care to their

employees. One of our biggest contributions

to this is our vetted, compliant suppliers. To

give peace of mind to employers we provide

real-time tracking of journeys that is also

accessible by the organisation.”


Taxis / Ground transport

Many corporate

clients are concerned

about working with ridehailing

companies who do not

vet their drivers and therefore

do not make these services

part of their company policy”


Having the ability to vet drivers is crucial,

says John McCallion, CEO of Groundscope.

“Corporate clients want safe, reliable and

cost-effective ride-hailing services and these

do not always go hand-in-hand. We are

committed to providing fully vetted ridehailing

service partners globally and we’re

rolling this service out as soon as we can.”

McCallion adds: “Many corporate clients

are rightfully concernced about working with

ride-hailing companies who do not vet their

drivers and as a result are not making these

services part of their company policy.”

Another challenge is delivering user-friendly

apps for corporates. “The massive growth of

the consumer market has created different

expectations,” says Gett’s de Renzi. “The

challenge from corporates is to get closer to

the experience you have on a consumer level.”

Electric avenue

One of the next frontiers is the ability to offer

more environmentally friendly vehicles and

rides, particularly with cities introducing evertighter

regulations on emissions.

Rob McGinn, Addison Lee’s Chief Commercial

Officer, says the company wants to “set the

agenda around the introduction of new vehicle

technology” and has committed to having a

zero-emissions capable UK fleet by 2022. It

started that journey with a recent investment

in over £40million-worth of low-emission

vehicles. “We’ve just begun trialling five Audi

E-trons – a fully electric SUV – with corporate

customers so we can understand the requirements

for an electric fleet and customer

attitudes towards the cars,” adds McGinn.

Uber, meanwhile, has introduced a ‘clean

air plan’ in London to aid the electrification of

its fleet. But this obviously involves a cost to

passengers with Uber introducing a 15p per

mile charge earlier this year on each journey

in London as it aims to raise £200million to

help drivers switch to electric vehicles.

The ride-hailing/taxi market is certainly one

to watch over the next few months and it will

be interesting to see how many of the new

entrants are still standing in a year’s time.



Ground transport / Chauffeur services

in the BACK seAt


seRViCes in

the spotLight

In a world of digitalisation, content

aggregators, on-demand services and a

renewed focus on sustainability, some

might assume that the chauffeur drive

sector is in a tight spot.

But that, it seems, would be a big mistake.

Leading providers of chauffeur services –

often perceived as something of a luxury

– say demand is growing, with corporates

covering off duty of care and security

concerns and, increasingly, highlighting

the traveller wellbeing benefits.

“Even in the age of ride-hailing apps

we find the demand is still there from

those who prefer the premium service,

comfort and reliability of a professional

chauffeur,” says one leading provider.

There is no doubt that ride-hailing

services have shaken up the taxis and

transfers landscapes, so the chauffeur

drive sector has been forced to evolve.

This is good news for corporates, with

increasingly more chauffeur companies

providing API links for booking their

services and integrating their content with

aggregators and online booking tools.

The next challenge is for providers to

meet corporates’ sustainability needs by

at the very least offering carbon offsetting

facilities. They must also maintain a fleet

of newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles

and, as some providers are doing, begin

incorporating electric vehicles for shorter

or urban transfers. “Nearly every RFP asks

about sustainability initiatives now,” one

provider recently told us.



Group CEO,

TBR Global Chauffeuring

When does a chauffeur service come

into its own? “When business travellers

have to go to unfamiliar or risky locations.

Duty of care is of paramount importance.

But at any time, chauffeur services provide

travellers with complete peace of mind by

offering a fully managed end-to-end service,

getting them where they need to be in

comfort, reliably and on time.”

Are you integrated with corporate

booking tools and TMCs? “When it comes

to online booking tools and integrations,

our technology portfolio is quite broad. We

offer booking tools developed entirely by

our in-house innovation team as well as

API-based links to our clients via our own

TBR Connect API or through third-party

booking channels. We have successfully

integrated directly with a number of key

global clients’ GDS systems and directly

into TMCs’ own platforms, allowing them to

provide a truly door-to-door travel solution

to their customers.”

[ high FiVe: A seLeCtion oF LeADing pRoViDeRs ]

• Blacklane: The Berlin-based company

offers chauffeur services, airport transfers

and a range of business solutions –

including airport lounge access and

expedited arrivals services – in more than

300 cities worldwide.

• Carey: Founded in 1921, Carey offers a

range of chauffeur services, including

transfers for large scale meetings and

events. The Carey Global Network covers

more than 1,000 cities in 75 countries and

performs more than 1.5million chauffeur

journeys every year.

• Club Class: Offers both corporate and

private bookings across the UK with hubs

in Sussex, Cheltenham, Leicester and at

London Heathrow. It specialises in airport,

seaport and long-distance transfers.

• TBR Global: Offers chauffeur services

to corporates, fully managed ground

transport services for events ranging from

one to 10,000+ people, and works with 16

of the top 20 global investment banks.

Its Major Global Events Team was named

MICE Team of the Year at The Business

Travel People Awards earlier this year.

• Tristar: Provides airport transfers and

transport for roadshow, meeting and

events with a fleet of luxury vehicles and

two service levels: First and Executive. It

operates in more than 80 countries and is

part of the Addison Lee group.

What trends are you witnessing in

this sector? “As the industry matures and

becomes increasingly digital, we are starting

to see the ground transport sector harness

new technology – AI, big data, etc – to

further understand and optimise the

customer experience. It is vital for ground

transport providers to understand their

customers' evolving needs and the booking

channels that best suit them.”

Anything else on the agenda currently?

“With the rise of autonomous vehicles and

ride hauling apps becoming part of the

fabric of society, traveller wellbeing

continues to remain of paramount

importance to the ground transportation

space. As a customer-centric industry,

ground transport businesses still place

this high on the agenda and this shows

no signs of abating.”


Chauffeur services / Ground transport

putting it

to the test

There's something very comforting

about stepping off a long-haul flight

early in the morning and being greeted

at arrivals by a smartly dressed driver

bearing a board with your name on it.

So it was a shame that my flight's early

arrival had caught out the driver of my

booked chauffeur service. Not to sweat,

though, an email confirmed my driver's

name and contact number, and a text

message assured me he had arrived at the

airport. A call shortly afterwards helped

unite us and we were soon on the road.

I'd booked the service with Blacklane,

selecting an entry level 'Business Class'

service – a Mercedes Benz E Class – costing

£243 (including VAT, fees and tip, and for

up to three passengers) from Heathrow to

my home in Sussex. An hour's tolerance

is included for airport pick-ups, or 15

minutes for other services.

I took the opportunity to trial the service

because it was substantially quicker than

using a combination of the Underground

and Southern train services. And if I'd

driven my own car, the expense claim for

petrol and parking wouldn't be too far

behind the cost of a chauffeur service.

However, it is the duty of care argument

that is perhaps the most powerful, for the

law wouldn't look kindly on a company

that allows an employee to step off a

red-eye flight and drive themself home.

And then of course there is the wellbeing

factor. This was a totally stress-free and

comfortable journey home. Bottled water

was provided, I could charge my phone,

and the driver was polite – checking I was

happy with the volume of the radio and

temperature – but also not too chatty. Just

the tonic after a busy trip and little sleep!

Ground transport / Data

Hitting the ground


From rising car hire costs and ‘flygskam’ to the growth

of rail travel and average ticket values




Source: globehunters.com















44 %


39 %


22 %


19 %


16 %


6 %


Source: poll of delegates at TBTC'19










Source: CWT 2020 Global Travel Forecast









9.4 million



TOOL IN 2018 (UP FROM 8.6M IN 2017)






BELGIUM: -4.5%

UAE: -3.5%

SPAIN: -2.5%


ITALY: -2.5%


GERMANY: -1.5%



UK: -0.5%


US: +1%






Source: Ground Monitor 2019 by Amex GBT



















Source: BCD 2020 Industry Forecast



New kid on the block

the biltmore, mayfair, london


London’s most exclusive postcode

require? Yep, a stylish dose of

contemporary style. This 308-room

property (including 51 suites) has

that in spades, bringing top-notch

hospitality back to the imposing

red-brick building on Grosvenor

Square that has been a hotel since

it opened in 1969. As the first of

Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts in

Europe, the property has undergone

a two-year, £60million refurbishment

and is big on elegant touches – for

example, quintessentially British

amenities by Penhaligon's are

provided in all bathrooms. Michelin-

Starred chef Jason Atherton heads

up all food and beverage, including

new restaurant The Betterment,

featuring a seasonal driven menu,

and The Pine Bar tea lounge and

alfresco dining terrace. The hotel

also has a ballroom with capacity for

up to 700 guests, plus three meeting

suites for groups of 40-100.

that's a FACT Forget minibars

– guests splashing out to stay in

one of the hotel's eight Signature

Suites will find a quilted leather

cabinet packed with Champagne.

they said it “With its prime

location, bespoke products and

quintessential services under LXR,

The Biltmore, Mayfair, will be fit for

royalty, well-travelled guests from

around the world and senior

corporate executives.”

rates Premier King

rooms start from £550 per night.




Advantage members

meet and mingle!

The Advantage Business Travel

Summer BBQ

Business travel members and

partners of The Advantage Travel

Partnership got together at the

association’s annual Summer

Barbecue in early September.

Attendees enjoyed Champagne

and cocktails at Chapel Down’s

Gin Works bar and venue in Kings

Cross, London, courtesy of sponsors

Air Europa, IHG, Avis and

The Business Travel Magazine

Advantage Summer BBQ 2019

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼

▲ 10.09.2019

Serving up a final taste of summer

Brewing up plans for the

busy autumn season



Meeting in Glasgow

Lively and dynamic,

Glasgow boasts a vibrant

cultural scene, plenty of

green spaces and the

largest academic

community outside

London, with world

leading research in life

sciences, engineering and

tech. It’s also known as a

financial services centre –

Barclays, JP Morgan and

Credit Suisse are among

the many multinational

banks with a base in the

city, writes Emma Allen


Glasgow Science Centre

Set on the banks of the River

Clyde, the £75m Science

Centre’s three titanium-clad

buildings are amongst the most

recognisable landmarks in the

city and the venue makes an

impressive backdrop for events.

Inside, there is an IMAX 3D

cinema, a Planetarium and

conference suites of varying

sizes. Its biggest space, the

Atrium, can host up to 600.

Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific

Quay, G51 1EA / 0141 420 5008





Clydeside Distillery

The multimillion-pound riverside

Clydeside development opened

in 2017 and is the city’s first

single malt whisky distillery to

open in more than 100 years.

Inside, a private tasting room

can seat up to 50, or receptions

for up to 200 can be held in the

Distillery complete with its

large copper stills. Exclusive

hire drinks packages are £65

per head, including a tour.

The Old Pump House, Queen’s Dock,

100 Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8QQ

0141 212 1401 / theclydeside.com



Situated just a few minutes’

walk from Central Station’s

main concourse, thestudio

offers seven light-filled and

brightly designed meeting

rooms, each with outstanding

views of the city’s rooftops to

the hills beyond. An exclusiveuse

space for up to 260 can

be hired on the ninth floor

for receptions. Day packages

start from £27.50 per head.

Thestudio Keynes, 67 Hope St, Glasgow

G2 6AE / 0141 370 4500





Getting there

Glasgow offers excellent

road, rail and air links. There

are three international airports

within easy reach and two

major railway stations. More

than 20 trains daily operate

from London Euston with an

average journey time of just

over four hours.

The Ivy

Scotland’s first outpost of the

Ivy brasserie chain opened on

Glasgow’s Buchanan Street this

summer, and its elaborately

decorated interior makes an

elegant setting for parties and

dinners. Aside from the main

restaurant, there is a first floor

bar that hosts live music at

weekends and the private

dining Morgan Room which can

sit 20 guests on one long table

or up to 40 standing.

106 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2NB

0141 378 1200 / theivyglasgow.com

Kimpton Blythswood

Square Hotel

This elegant Georgian townhouse

hotel re-opened

this year under the

Kimpton brand following

a multimillion-pound refit.

Six luxury modern meeting

rooms offer state of the art

technology, with the Monte

Carlo suite able to host up to

120 theatre-style. There's also a

40-seat screening room for hire.

11 Blysthwood Square, Glasgow

G2 4AD / 0141 248 8888




Hampden Park Stadium

Hampden Park is the home

venue to Scotland’s national

football team, just three

miles south of the city

centre. Ideal for large

events, there is 1,800m2

of exhibition space, an

auditorium and more than 45

separate conference rooms

available, with the largest, the

Lomond and Nevis suites, both

seating up to 500 theatre-style.

Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow

G42 9BA / 0141 620 4120


Further information

Contact the Glasgow

Convention Bureau for advice

on venues, accommodation

and conference bookings.

Telephone 0141 566 0807

or email conventions@








The finest experience

in the sky.

We connect the UK to over 120 destinations

across Latin America with direct daily flights

to our hub in São Paulo. Over the next two

years, we will renovate the cabins of

two-thirds of our global fleet.

The Premium Business class will boast a

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.



On business in... São Paulo

South America’s

largest metropolis and

Brazil’s economic

epicentre, São Paulo is

a bustling, booming

city with surprising

pockets of calm, as

well as plenty of

places to drink, dine

and soak up the

culture, writes

Sasha Wood

SÃo Paulo

comes alive

after dark

Getting there

LATAM and British

Airways both operate direct

flights between London

Heathrow and Sao Paulo

Guarulhos International

Airport, while Virgin Atlantic

will launch services in March

2020. Flights take around

11hrs 45mins.

Further information

For flights, visit latam.com;

visitor information:



Set between the sloping streets of

São Paulo’s smart and leafy Jardins

district, Tivoli Mofarrej São Paulo

scores points for both location and

luxury. Its top-floor breakfast room

has panoramic views of the city’s

skyline and the tropical pool is the

perfect place to chill. All guest rooms

have the latest tech and amenities

including smart TVs, USB charging

points and a decent workspace.


For a gourmet meal in a modern

rustic setting, South American

order from

celebrity chef Alex Atala’s

Dalva e Dito restaurant

serves traditional Brazilian food

the amazon summon an Uber, which is

considerably less costly.

prepared with ingredients sourced

from the Amazon rainforest.

Must-see sights

The covered Mercado Municipal

After hours

Lively Bar Brahma on the corner

of Avenida Ipiranga and Sao Joao

Street is the best place in São Paulo

to sample local live samba and

classic local fare. Alternatively,

visit the Vila Madalena district for

music, poetry and dancing at Bar

Samba or Bar Camara.

market in São Paulo’s downtown

district is a feast for the senses.

Pockets of heritage architecture

such as Patio do Colegio, where

the city was founded, and the

16th-century Church of Santa

Ifigenia still shelter between modern

skyscrapers in central São Paulo.

Ibirapuera Park, based on the

design of NYC's Central Park, offers

a huge expanse of green space and

Getting downtown

a break from the hustle and bustle.

There is an official Airport Bus

service between Guarulhos

International Airport and the city

centre. It’s fairly cheap and frequent,

but can take between one and three

hours, owing to São Paulo’s

notoriously bad traffic. Taxis are

also readily available outside the

airport terminal, or you can




Focus on... the Gulf States

The six oil-rich Arabian

Gulf States – Bahrain,

Saudi Arabia, the UAE,

Qatar, Kuwait and Oman

– have diversified their

economies, creating

new opportunities for

British trade and

investment post-Brexit,

writes Sasha Wood

Nature bestowed the Gulf two gifts:

pearls from the oyster-rich sea and

'black gold' from beneath the sand.

The former fed the earliest industry

while the latter catapulted the

region into the global economic


The region’s oil-rich GCC nations

include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain

and Kuwait, but some, such as

Oman and the UAE, are increasingly

turning to tourism as the wells run

dry. Harnessing the plentiful supply

of sun, sand and sea to turn a

profit, they are creating fresh

opportunities for UK companies to

invest in hospitality and infrastructure,

and especially in

construction, in a set of safe and

secure countries, albeit in a

turbulent neighbourhood.

The desert emirate of Dubai is

undoubtedly the Gulf's financial

centre and economic gateway, with

free trade facilitating access to other

regional markets such as Saudi

Arabia and Bahrain. It also boasts

the biggest sea container port in the

Middle East, part of the city's original

plan to establish itself as a trade

centre when it lacked the massive oil

reserves of its neighbours.

As a whole, the UAE has been

successful in diversifying its economy

away from oil, and now has Arabia’s

second strongest economy after

Saudi Arabia. More than 5,000 British

companies already operate in the

destination, including well-known

brands such as BP, Rolls Royce,

Barclays, HSBC and Waitrose,

with plenty of room for more.

Aside from Dubai, the region's

other key centres of commerce

include Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha,

Kuwait City, Muscat and Riyadh,

all of which are valuable trade

partners with the UK – even more

Time zones: Bahrain,

Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi

Arabia: GMT +3hrs; Oman and

the UAE: GMT +4hrs.

Local currency:

UAE Dirham: £1 = 4.57 AED

Omani Rial: £1 = 0.48 OMR

Bahraini Dinar: £1 = 0.47 BHD

Qatari Riyal: £1 = 4.53 QAR

Saudi Riyal: £1 = 4.66 SAR

Kuwaiti Dinar: £1 = 0.38 KWD

Visas: Available upon arrival for

the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and

Bahrain; for Oman, apply for an

e-visa in advance; for Saudi

Arabia, apply in advance from

visa agencies accredited to the

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

Dialling codes: Kuwait +965;

UAE +971, Bahrain +973, Oman

+968, Qatar +974, Saudi +966.



so post-Brexit. The UK government

has stated its commitment to

increasing cooperation between the

UK and the Gulf States’ financial

services sector with mutual

opportunities for business across

asset management, cyber security,

sustainable finance and FinTech.

Despite stalling in 2017, the Gulf

States’ economies are surging ahead,

according to the International

Monetary Fund (IMF), which predicts

3% growth by the end of this year

alone. GDP growth across the GCC is

also expected to be healthy this year

largely due to the region’s increased

investment in development projects.

With the Gulf’s strongest GDP growth

– at 5% – Oman’s commitment to

expanding its tourism offering seems

to be bearing fruit.

A uniquely close relationship

between Oman and the UK fostered

by historic ties and friendship

between the monarchies makes it a

great business proposition. In fact,

the UK is Oman’s largest source of

foreign direct investment and there

is a strong appetite to see more

trade with the UK.

At the crossroads of international

trade routes since ancient times,

Bahrain was the first GCC state to

strike oil. The island nation has good

bilateral relations with the UK and

direct access to the Saudi economy

via King Fahad Causeway. Similarly to

Bahrain, Kuwait has a longstanding

business relationship with the UK,

with exports to the Kuwaiti market

up 23% this year alone.

Oil, meanwhile, still forms the

backbone of the Saudi economy,

while across the Gulf the IMF says

public investment projects, including

those consistent with the five-year

development plan in Kuwait,

infrastructure investment projects

ahead of the FIFA 2022 World Cup

in Qatar, and ongoing preparations

for Expo 2020 in the UAE, have all

contributed to growth.

Qatar has also instituted the 2030

Qatar National Vision, one of the

world’s most ambitious infrastructure

projects with a budget of £140bn.

Qatar is a significant investor in the

UK and its third largest export market

in the region, buying largely heavy

machinery, vehicles and power

generation equipment. Considering

the growing bilateral economic

relationship, like the other GCC

countries, it’s ripe for investment.




Factfile: the Gulf States



from Heathrow to UAE capital

Abu Dhabi, plus Bahrain, Kuwait,

Qatari capital Doha and the Saudi

gateway of Jeddah; and 19 times

per week to Dubai. It also has four

flights per week to Omani capital

Muscat from Heathrow.

EMIRATES: Flies to Dubai six times

daily from London Heathrow; 22

times per week from London

Gatwick; and twice daily from

London Stansted. There are also

double daily flights from

Birmingham and Glasgow, and

daily flights from Newcastle and

Edinburgh, plus a thrice daily

service from Manchester.


flights a day to Abu Dhabi from

Heathrow, and twice daily flights

from Manchester.

GULF AIR: Serves Bahrain with

double daily flights from Heathrow.


Kuwait from Gatwick from October.


flights per week to Kuwait from

London Heathrow.

OMAN AIR: Flies twice daily to

Muscat from London Heathrow,

and daily from Manchester.

QATAR AIRWAYS: Flies to Doha

seven times per day from London

Heathrow; four times per day from

Manchester; daily from Birmingham

and Cardiff; 10 times per week

from Edinburgh; and has 28 flights

a week between Doha and Gatwick.


nine flights a week from Heathrow

to Jeddah and five a week from


• Information kindly supplied by

travel data and analytics specialist

Cirium (cirium.com)

BA has

the region


MARRIOTT: Is growing its

presence in the region with new

openings under its W Hotels

brand including W Dubai – the

Palm, W Muscat in Oman and

W Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

IHG: Is one of the biggest hotel

groups in the region with

properties in all the key business

travel destinations under its

Crowne Plaza, lnterContinental and

Holiday Inn brands.

FOUR SEASONS: Has hotels in all

the key destinations across the




arrives in


region including Dubai, Doha,

Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain.

JUMEIRAH: Has its flagship hotel –

the famous Burj Al Arab – in Dubai

and a flush of upmarket properties

across the region including the new

Jumeirah Muscat Bay in Oman.

ACCOR: Is expanding fast with

a number of brands under its

umbrella including MGallery and

Mama Shelter, plus others. New

hotels slated for Abu Dhabi and

Dubai include Raffles the Palm

Dubai and Fairmont Abu Dhabi

Marina Park.

HILTON: Runs a swathe of hotels

across the Gulf with openings

set for the UAE, Saudi

Arabia, Kuwait and

Bahrain, including the

Waldorf Astoria Dubai.

MOVENPICK: Has a large

footprint in the Gulf region, with

a dozen upscale hotels in Saudi

Arabia, seven in the UAE, and a

handful more in Bahrain, Kuwait

and Qatar.

DUBAI: Glimpse the past at Dubai

Creek and take a walking tour of

the Al Fahidi historic district. Spy

the city’s megastructures including

the Burj Al Arab, then scale world’s

tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

ABU DHABI: Louvre Abu Dhabi

opened in 2017, the largest art

museum on the Arabian Peninsula,

bridging the gap between east

and west, and undoubtedly

a city highlight.

MUSCAT: Oman’s low-rise

waterfront capital is a portal

into authentic Arabia with one

of the Middle East’s oldest bazaars,

Mutrah Souk, where you can barter

for local frankincense, and the

visitor-friendly Grand Mosque.

Alongside the recently-opened

National Museum, the Sultan

Qaboos Opera House is well worth

a visit too.

MANAMA: Bahrain’s chief city can

be charted in a day with key stops

including the National Museum,

Bab al-Bahrain bazaar, Bahrain

Fort and the Pearling Trail.

off duty

musk and

mosques in


DOHA: Make the most of a

trip to Qatari capital Doha

with a peruse of the wares of

atmospheric Souk Waqif and a

stroll along the bustling

waterfront corniche. For a relaxing

arabian voyage, consider taking a

wooden dhow boat tour.

jeddah: Saudi Arabia is at its

most fascinating and liberal in the

gateway city of Jeddah, which sits at

the crossroads of ancient Arabian

trade routes and close to the holy

city of Mecca. Heritage architecture

and bustling souks await.



Reality check



This is the first Live!

while amenities included a huge TV,

hotel from the North American Loews

desk, chaise longue, coffee machine,

Hotel Group. It is located adjacent to

safe and ironing board. There was no

major sporting venues (the Dallas

bottled water in the room (complimentary

Cowboys' AT&T stadium and both the

nor otherwise), which was an oversight.

existing and new homes of the Texas


Thereʼs a well-

Rangers baseball team) and the Texas

equipped gym, outdoor pool and bar,

Live! entertainment complex. More Live!

small business centre, River Market

hotels will be rolled out in similar settings,

coffee shop, all-day restaurant Cut &

targetting business travellers during the

Bourbon (specialising in steak), adjacent

week and leisure guests at weekends.

bar and outdoor Clover Club bar and

Arlington lies midway between the twin

lawn. Thereʼs 35,000sqft of event space

cities of Dallas and Fort Worth (both

including a 14,000sqft ballroom that

around 20 minutes away) and just south

seats up to 950 people – the largest in

of DFW International Airport (15 minutes).

Arlington. A small creek and riverside

THE ROOM There are 300

path snake around the rear of the hotel

enthusiasm for this flagship property.

guestrooms across four categories –

where work was still under way on

Indeed, the Arlington area is enjoying

plus suites – in this 14-storey building.

constructing a showpiece fountain.

something of a renaissance currently

I was staying in a premium room on

the 12th floor, where floor-to-ceiling

windows framed the impressive Dallas

Cowboys stadium. However, it is

baseball-themed art that adorns the

THE VERDICT Itʼs an interesting new

concept from Loews, with an appealing

design and excellent location for leisure

and business guests alike. Its proximity

to DFW airport is a real boon and is





with around $4billion being invested in

infrastructure. Major local employers

include Airbus, GM and American Airlines.

THE DETAILS Live! By Loews, 1600

E Randol Mill Road, Arlington, Texas,

corridors and walls of guestrooms.

already helping deliver ‘excellent’

76011. Rates from £135 per night.

Decor was smart greys – and stone in

the bathroom, with walk-in shower –

meetings and events bookings. The staff

were fantastic throughout and full of


Andy Hoskins


THE FLIGHT LATAM flight 8085

kit that included L'Occitane essentials

from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo's

such as lip balm, a moisturising face

Guarulhos International Airport operated

cloth, toothbrush and toothpaste.

by a Boeing 777-300, departing at 22.00


Every section of the

and arriving at 05.40 local time.

cabin has a dedicated air hostess who


Check-in was smooth

introduces themselves by name and is

and efficient. Boarding was on time, and

available for anything you need

speedy boarding for Premium Business

throughout the flight. I was immediately

customers meant I could cut out the

offered a glass of Champagne and some

tiresome queuing and walk straight on.

water, and asked to fill in a card with my


The airline has

preferred meals. The airline has just

recently launched a new Premium

introduced new service protocols

Business cabin with state-of-the-art seats

offering more flexibility for customers

in a 1-2-1 configuration, all with direct

and fewer interruptions. As it was an

aisle access and more storage (see page

overnight flight, this included the option

48). It's currently being rolled out across

to be woken one-and-a-half hours


It was definitely up

the fleet, but I was flying in the old cabin.

before landing for a full breakfast or

there with the best business cabins I've

After take-off, tinkering with the buttons

transformed my roomy seat into an

armchair with a pull-out tray for dinner

and then a lie-flat bed with a mattress

liner, duvet and pillow when I was ready

for sleep. The old 2-3-2 configuration

40 minutes prior to arrival for a light

breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and tea. The

redesigned meal service includes Latin

American fare, though I opted for a

tasty pasta tortellini with parmesan,

accompanied by renowned Chilean and






experienced – and the upgraded version

should be even better.

THE DETAILS LATAM flies daily direct

between London Heathrow and Sao

Paulo with a flight time of around 11

hours and 45 minutes. Return fares

meant I had to discretely step over my

Argentine wines selected by a master

are from around £1,561 in Premium

sleeping neighbour to visit the bathroom

where I made use of my classy amenity

sommelier – my red Malbec was the

perfect night cap.

Business. latam.com

Sasha Wood





American Airlines flight

plus simple controls for adjusting the

78 from Dallas Fort Worth International

seat or converting it to a flat bed. The

Airport to London Heathrow. The service

IFE screen was good quality and the

was operated by a B777-200 with

entertainment available was pretty

scheduled local departure and arrival

comprehensive and included some

times of 19.20 and 10.30 (the following

live TV channels.

day) respectively. I was travelling in the


Bedding, an amenity

airline's Flagship Business class.

kit (by This is Ground) and Bang &


Iʼd checked in online

Olufsen headphones were all laid out

and, with only hand luggage, headed

when I boarded. Drinks were offered

straight for priority fast track security at

pre-take-off while hot towels were

Terminal D which seemed only slightly

distributed soon after take off and

quicker than the regular line. Airside, I

dinner orders were taken. I chose red

visited the airlineʼs main Flagship lounge,

snapper with risotto from the list of four

which was refreshed earlier this year at

options – the fish was good. For dessert I

the same time as Flagship Dining was

indulged in an iconic ice cream sundae


Crew were courteous

introduced for first class passengers.

with all the trimmings. Drink servings

and the smart, comfortable seat

Gordon Ramsey is rumoured to have

were generous! A breakfast of omelette

rewarded me with possibly the best

praised the cuisine on offer here.

THE SEAT I travelled in seat 8H,

one of the centre seats in a 1-2-1

configuration of angled, forward-facing

seats (all seats have direct aisle access).

or yoghurt and fruit was served an hour

before landing. I paid $19 for wifi access

for the duration of the flight but

reconnecting was a faff each time it was

left unused for 30 minutes. An arrivals





night's sleep I've had onboard. My only

moan was the finnicky wifi.

THE DETAILS American Airlines

operates daily flights from London

Heathrow to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

The seat was spacious and had plenty of

lounge invite and fast-track immigration

Return fares in Flagship Business start

storage points – a couple that I only

discovered when preparing to land –

pass were handed out shortly before

arrival, with the latter put to good use.

from £1,664. See aa.co.uk

Andy Hoskins



This 116-room property

thankfully more subtle in the sitting

is in the Oxford Road Corridor business

area, where a comfortable sofa and

and academia hub of Manchester and is

chairs faced a generous widescreen TV.

attached to an education centre that is

The kitchenette had a Nespresso

part of the University of Manchester. It

machine with four free capsules

is a short walk to Manchester Oxford

supplied and a detailed guide to the

Road rail station; Manchester Piccadilly

room left no stone unturned – hob,

is about one mile away. The hotel is on

dishwasher and air conditioning were

the 16th to 18th storeys of the building,

all clearly explained. Cards on the notice

with a Crowne Plaza underneath.

board explained how to order pizza


Reception is on the

from the ground floor kitchen and

18th floor and fronts the lounge and

supplied further menu details.

breakfast area. Check-in was quick,


A large breakfast

friendly and efficient.

buffet caters to every requirement, with


I had a corner room

pancake maker, yogurt, nuts, seeds,

(1801) with great views of Manchester,

several types of bread, salami, cheese,


Everything ticks over

particularly attractive at night. The

cooked breakfast and fruit. The lounge

smoothly and staff were warm and

bedroom was generous with a large

has a gas fire, floor to ceiling windows

welcoming; add excellent business

double bed, crisp sheets and a firm

mattress, allowing an excellent night’s

sleep, plus light controls both sides of

the bed. There was a shower over the

bath and the shower screen made

and a conservatory area. Free wifi, selfservice

laundry room and The Pantry

convenience store are complemented by

guest access to Crowne Plaza facilities

such as a 24-hour gym, meeting space,





facilities and it’s a good place to stay.

THE DETAILS 30 Higher Chatham

Street Manchester, M15 6ED. Rates

from £75 per night +VAT for a 29-night

stay or more (20% VAT for 28 nights, 4%

access slightly tiresome but lights in the

The Graduate Bar – which has a great

thereafter), with breakfast and evening

bathroom were bright, which was useful

for putting on make-up. Lighting was

cocktail list and a bar menu – and the

excellent Laureate Restaurant.

events. Tel: 0161 359 5556. ihg.com

Catherine Chetwynd




The final word

Raging against the machine

More proof that

humanity is just a

click or two away

from some Terminator-style

armageddon pings in to our

inbox courtesy of AppZen.

The company, which uses

artificial intelligence to check

travel expenses, unsurprisingly

reveals that computers are

better at spotting ‘creative'

claims than human auditors.

Citing all sorts of examples –

sightseeing helicopter flights,

strip club visits and trips away

for extramarital fun among

them – it reckons that almost

9% of expense claims could

contain unauthorised items.

Of course, some faceless AI

machine is never going to slide

your receipts through as easily

as Dave in accounts, who'll do

it for a pint at lunchtime. But

the bigger question is, which

companies did AppZen survey –

and how do we get a job there?

in a world of


Oh dear, what is it about us

Brits and geography? Boat

charter firm SamBoat has

discovered more evidence that

UK travellers don’t know the

first thing about the world.

Examples of our geographical

ignorance include...

1 81% of Brits can’t identify

the capital of Spain

2 66% didn’t know the Trevi

Fountain was in Rome

3 61% think the Great Wall of

China is visible from space

4 57% believe Greenland is

a country

5 49% think Sydney is the

capital of Australia

Shining knight Barron

In a break from our

usual sarcasm, The Final

Word thought it was

only right to raise a glass

to hotel entrepreneur

Barron Hilton, who passed

away in September.

Barron, 91, was son of

Hilton's founder Conrad and

was responsible for building

it into the giant corporation

it is today, starting out as a

parking valet.

Most remarkable is his

decision back in 2007 to

create a charitable foundation

dedicated to alleviating

poverty and disease. His

death sees 97% of his $2.6bn

fortune going towards

continuing this work globally.

No matter how enabling the new digital world

is, we all know that face-to-face contact is

always best. So fair play to IHG Hotels &

Resorts for a new campaign giving away

10,000 free nights via IHG Rewards Club

points, simply to celebrate human

connection. The

'Be There In Real

Life' promo


moments that could

only have happened

via real meetings,

and runs until

the end of 2019


Save the date



Hilton London Bankside


The 2020 event for buyers and arrangers of business travel & meetings

For further information contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk


Isn’t it time you started saving with the



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