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
EXTENDED FEATURE: GROUND TRANSPORT (p55-86)
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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
42 Talking Travel: Prue Leith
88 Photo gallery: Advantage
Business Travel Summer BBQ
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?
Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill,
Gary Noakes, Dave Richardson & Gillian Upton
Sasha Wood & April Waterston
Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder
COMMERCIAL HEAD - BUSINESS TRAVEL
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Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments
Hotels has opened a
property in Liverpool
– its first outside of
project features 100
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
hub that will continue to
thrive. We are confident this
will be the start of an exciting
journey for Quest”
on a high
BA’s first Airbus A350,
featuring its new Club
Suite business class
offering, is now
services to Dubai.
Having been tested
on Madrid routes, the
A350 is gearing up
to tackle Bangalore,
Tel Aviv and Toronto.
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
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
concept gives guests a
glimpse of the team’s
race heritage, and
includes an events space
for 450, mezzanine area
and 22-seat boardroom.
EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...
The collapse of Thomas Cook
MANY OTHERS IN THE
INDUSTRY, “TECHNOLOGY I AM EXTREMELY DOESN’T
RESCUE SADDENED YOU BY BUT THE IT NEWS PROVIDES ABOUT
CONFIDENCE THE DEMISE AND OF THOMAS VISIBILITY. COOK. YOUR
TMC IT IS ONE SHOULD OF THE HAVE UK’S THE MOST PROCESS ICONIC
AND TRAVEL PROCEDURES BRANDS AND TO RUN THOUSANDS REPORTS
AND OF STAFF HELP ARE YOU FACING REACH LOSING THOSE
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
“THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY IS A VOLATILE BUSINESS AT THE
MERCY OF EXTERNAL FORCES – ECONOMIC, POLITICAL,
GEOGRAPHIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL. THE STAFF, THE
CUSTOMERS AND A VERY EXTENSIVE SUPPLY CHAIN WILL
BE AFFECTED BY THE DEMISE OF THOMAS COOK”
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
Clive Wratten, Chief Executive, BTA
“WHILE BREXIT HAS BEEN IMPACTING AIRLINES AND
OPERATORS, IT CANNOT BE BLAMED FOR THE DEMISE
OF THOMAS COOK – THE GROUP WAS IN FINANCIAL
DIFFICULTIES BEFORE BREXIT WAS ANNOUNCED”
“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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really matters TM
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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.
THE TMC POINT OF VIEW
“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
“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
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
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.
EAST MEETS WEST
INTRODUCING NEW LUXURY FIRST CLASS
AND BUSINESS CLASS CABINS
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
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
Has your organisation
witnessed changes that
can be attributed to Brexit?
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%
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%
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%
All results are from delegate polls at The Business Travel Conference
booK Via an
of tHe two
Thanks to our
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 ▼
Relaxing at the day
one drinks reception
With thanks to our event sponosrs
THE BIG PICTURE
European hotel rates
will rise fastest in Spain,
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
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.”
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
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
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
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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
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.
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
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
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
For meetings and
events, clients can
select a low-emissions
location, hotels that have an
programme and opt for more
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 &
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
”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.
[ SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL: WHO'S DOING WHAT ]
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
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
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.”
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.”
“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
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
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
to seeing the job
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
Travel People Awards
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
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
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
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
Cost-conscious corporates are now looking more favourably
at premium economy, prompting carriers to refresh their
offerings. Gary Noakes assesses the latest cabin upgrades
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
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.
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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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
price can be 85% more
than economy. It’s one of
the highest-yielding sales
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
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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.
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
One of the largest HD
screens in Europe (13.3”)
Generous 40 degrees recline
(56% more than in Economy)
23% more legroom
than in Economy
ON BOARD SERVICES
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
Untitled-1 1 16/09/2019 10:01
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’”
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.
[ SELECTED CARRIERS OFFERING
PREMIUM ECONOMY ]
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
MEET THE BUYER
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
providing support on
various projects. I am
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
OUT OF THE OFFICE
"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
Based on the nature
of the industry,
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”
[ DEMOGRAPHIC DEVELOPMENTS ]
THE POST-DIGITAL ERA
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
59% of airline
‘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
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 CBE OBE
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...
to perform better.
www.blackboxpartnerships.co.uk @BBPartnerships @blackboxpartnerships
Untitled-2 1 28/01/2019 09:45
THE NEWS & VIEWS
THAT REALLY MATTER
[ 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
O N T H E M O V E I
The latest industry appointments p54
T H E L O W D O W N
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
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
at a lower rate if a price
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
contribute to local
economies per week,
excluding hotel spend,
IN YOUR INBOX
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T H E L O W D O W N
Reed & Mackay move
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
The Southern Universities
(SUPC) has named Clarity,
Click Travel, Diversity
Travel, Key Travel,
Selective Travel and STA
Travel as its new travel
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
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.”
BUSINESS TRAVELLERS ARE LEARNING TO
EAT BETTER AND EXERCISE MORE WHEN ON
TRIPS, ACCORDING TO CWT RESEARCH.
OVERALL, 38% SAID THEY ATTEMPT TO
EAT MORE HEALTHILY, WHILE HOTEL GYMS
AND SWIMMING POOLS ARE THE MOST
POPULAR WORKOUT SPOTS
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.
I N T H E A I R
Virgin and BA bring
new A350s to the fore
LATAM DEBUTS PREMIUM OFFER
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 GLOBAL LEADERS...
WHEN IT COMES TO DELAYS
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
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
WITH US ON TWITTER
Follow us on Twitter @thebiztravmag
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I N T H E A I R
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,
Budapest and Bucharest in
Romania. It already flies
between Aberdeen and
Gdansk, and from Glasgow
to Budapest and Katowice.
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
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 Alliance, whose 28
airline members include
ANA, Lufthansa and United,
has announced a partnership
with NEC Corporation
to develop biometric
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.
JAZEERA AIRWAYS WILL LAUNCH A DAILY
SERVICE BETWEEN LONDON GATWICK AND
KUWAIT FROM OCTOBER 27, USING THE
AIRLINE’S NEW A320NEO AIRCRAFT
FEATURING BUSINESS CLASS, PREMIUM
ECONOMY AND ECONOMY SEATING
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.”
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.
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
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.
R O O M R E P O R T
Hyatt at the
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
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.
[ NEW AND IMPROVED ]
>> 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
UK's development pipeline
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
JOIN US ON LINKEDIN
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R O O M R E P O R T
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
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
IHG will open its fourth
Voco hotel in the UK
before the year's end.
The 201-room hotel in
operating as the
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 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.
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
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
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.
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”.
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
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
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
CTO_MICE Guide.indd 1
9/25/19 03:47 PM
O N T H E G R O U N D
Geared up for changing
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
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
[ ON TRACK ]
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
“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
>> 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
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.
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
O N T H E M O V E
ITM SCOTLAND CHARITY BALL
The Principal Edinburgh
PAUL ABBOTT SIMON BENNETT JASON DUNDERDALE
JOINS: Amex GBT
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
TBTM DINNER CLUB
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
TBTC'S AUTUMN SPARKLE
company’s global B2B
Business Travel Commercial
and Innovation at Advantage.
Sales UK and Ireland for the
last three years.
ACTE EUROPEAN SUMMIT
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET
GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE
ITM IRELAND CONFERENCE
CRISTINA SCOTT CHRIS POUNEY JULIETTE JACKMAN
JOINS: CWT Meetings & Events
AS: Vice President of Global Operations
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
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.
ITM CHRISTMAS PARTY
Victoria Park Plaza, London
BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW
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
ACTE GLOBAL SUMMIT
New York City
ITM CONFERENCE 2020
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
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
at FREE NOW.
“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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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.”
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
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
Hertz gives a similar service, providing
dedicated car pool fleets of low emission
The need to meet
sustainability targets has
made car-sharing options
increasingly popular with
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.
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
“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.”
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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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
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.”
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,”
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated
by Great Western. Non-franchised open
Main route: London Paddington to London
Owned by: FirstGroup. Non-franchised open
Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull.
LONDON NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY
Owned by: Department for Transport.
Operating period: 2018-20, when new
franchise is due to start.
Main routes: London King’s Cross to
Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh,
Aberdeen and Inverness.
London Northwestern Railway
London / 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.
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
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.
Owned by: Transport for London.
Franchise period: 2015-23.
Main routes: East London. It will operate
Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when it opens.
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.
TransPORT FOR WALES RAIL
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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
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
THERE'S A RENAISSANCE
FOR RAIL TRAVEL AS
FLYGSKAM TAKES HOLD
THE MOST EXPENSIVE UK AIRPORT
FOR ‘KISS & FLY’ DROP-OFF RATES
(PRICE FOR 15 MINUTES)
EDINBURGH AIRPORT £10
LONDON STANSTED £9
EAST MIDLANDS £8
LONDON CITY £8
LONDON LUTON £6
LONDON HEATHROW £4.20
GLASGOW AIRPORT £4
NEWCASTLE AIRPORT £4
LONDON GATWICK £4
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DRAW TO USING A
PROVIDER FOR RAIL/TRANSFERS/CAR HIRE?
DUTY OF CARE
CUSTOMISATION OF TRIP
VALUE ADDED INCLUSIONS
Source: poll of delegates at TBTC'19
EUROSTAR ADDED A THIRD DAILY SERVICE
FROM LONDON TO ROTTERDAM AND
AMSTERDAM THIS SUMMER. IT GIVES THE
OPERATOR SEAT CAPACITY EQUIVALENT TO
12 FLIGHTS PER DAY – BUT THERE ARE STILL
MORE THAN 200 DAILY FLIGHTS BETWEEN
LONDON AIRPORTS AND AMSTERDAM
BRISTOL AIRPORT £3
Source: CWT 2020 Global Travel Forecast
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
GROUND TRANSPORT COSTS ARE EXPECTED TO RISE IN 2020
AVERAGE RAIL TICKET VALUE IN 2018, DOWN FROM
£56.83 IN 2017 DESPITE A 3.3% INCREASE IN FARES
THE NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS UNDERTAKEN
THROUGH EVOLVI RAIL SYSTEMS’ RAIL BOOKING
TOOL IN 2018 (UP FROM 8.6M IN 2017)
CAR RENTAL RATES SHOW
MIXED OUTLOOK FOR 2019-20
SOUTH AFRICA: +2%
Source: Ground Monitor 2019 by Amex GBT
RAIL BEATS AIR
FLIGHTS BETWEEN BERLIN AND NUREMBERG
WERE DISCONTINUED AFTER THE START OF
HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICES BETWEEN THE
TWO GERMAN CITIES
RAIL TRAVEL ACCOUNTS FOR 65% TO 70%
OF DOMESTIC BUSINESS TRIPS IN JAPAN. THE
MOST POPULAR ROUTE IS THE TOKAIDO
SHINKANSEN WHICH CONNECTS TOKYO,
OSAKA AND NAGOYA
THE SWEDISH TERM, MEANING ‘FLIGHT
SHAMING’, HAS SEEN BUSINESS TRAVELLERS
INCREASINGLY TURNING TO RAIL TRAVEL.
AIR PASSENGER NUMBERS BETWEEN
STOCKHOLM AND COPENHAGEN FELL 7%
IN THE 12 MONTHS TO JUNE THIS YEAR
Source: BCD 2020 Industry Forecast
New kid on the block
the biltmore, mayfair, london
THE LOWDOWN What does
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
rates Premier King
rooms start from £550 per night.
meet and mingle!
The Advantage Business Travel
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 ▼
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
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
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
ON A SHOESTRING
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
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
OUT OF TOWN
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.
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
This elegant Georgian townhouse
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
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”
On business in... São Paulo
largest metropolis and
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
LATAM and British
Airways both operate direct
flights between London
Heathrow and Sao Paulo
Airport, while Virgin Atlantic
will launch services in March
2020. Flights take around
For flights, visit latam.com;
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
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.
The covered Mercado Municipal
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
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
new opportunities for
British trade and
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
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.
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
BRITISH AIRWAYS: Flies daily
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.
ETIHAD AIRWAYS: Has five
flights a day to Abu Dhabi from
Heathrow, and twice daily flights
GULF AIR: Serves Bahrain with
double daily flights from Heathrow.
JAZEERA AIRWAYS: Will fly to
Kuwait from Gatwick from October.
KUWAIT AIRWAYS: Operates 13
flights per week to Kuwait from
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.
SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES: Has
nine flights a week from Heathrow
to Jeddah and five a week from
• Information kindly supplied by
travel data and analytics specialist
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
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
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
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.
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.
HOTEL: LIVE! BY LOEWS ARLINGTON, TEXAS
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
THE STAFF WERE
FULL OF ENTHUSIASM
FOR THIS FLAGSHIP
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
FLIGHT: LATAM, BUSINESS CLASS
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.
FLIGHT: AMERICAN AIRLINES, BUSINESS CLASS
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
I WAS REWARDED
WITH POSSIBLY THE
BEST NIGHT'S SLEEP
I'VE HAD ONBOARD
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
HOTEL: STAYBRIDGE SUITES MANCHESTER
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,
A DETAILED GUIDE
TO THE ROOM
LEFT NO STONE
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
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
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
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
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
'Be There In Real
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
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