The Business Travel Magazine Oct/Nov 2019

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78 <strong>Oct</strong>ober/<strong>Nov</strong>ember <strong>2019</strong><br />


BRIGHT<br />

Sustainable travel in the spotlight<br />

Focus on: the Gulf states<br />

Premium economy cabins<br />

In conversation: Clive Wratten<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference<br />


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<strong>2019</strong><br />

41<br />

87<br />

70<br />

88<br />

18<br />

92<br />

Extended feature<br />

Ground<br />

transport<br />

Car hire, rail travel, taxis, chauffeur<br />

drive... we've got it covered!<br />

(p55-86)<br />

82<br />

11 16<br />

52<br />

30<br />

42<br />

17<br />

7 12<br />

Features<br />

18 Sustainable travel<br />

30 Premium economy cabins<br />

55 Extended feature:<br />

Ground transport, including...<br />

• Introduction, 56-58<br />

• Tech & tools, 60-62<br />

• Car hire developments, 64-68<br />

• Rail spend management, 70-74<br />

• Operator update, 78-80<br />

• Taxis and transfers, 82-83<br />

• Chauffeur services, 84-85<br />

• Industry data, 86<br />

Arrivals<br />

6 Opening Shots<br />

8 Everyone's Talking About...<br />

<strong>The</strong> collapse of Thomas Cook<br />

11 <strong>The</strong> Knowledge: take your TMC<br />

RFP in the right direction<br />

12 Six of the Best:<br />

Co-working providers in London<br />

Regulars<br />

14 Event report: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Conference <strong>2019</strong><br />

16 Photo gallery: TBTC <strong>2019</strong><br />

17 <strong>The</strong> Big Picture<br />

26 <strong>The</strong> Conversation: Clive Wratten,<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Association<br />

28 <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People<br />

Awards: winner's interview<br />

40 Meet the buyer:<br />

Jimena Alvarez Vallina<br />

41 Technology:<br />

Demographic developments<br />

42 Talking <strong>Travel</strong>: Prue Leith<br />

88 Photo gallery: Advantage<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Summer BBQ<br />

<strong>The</strong> Review<br />

45 Ten pages of news, views<br />

and the latest developments<br />

Departures<br />

87 New Kid on the Block<br />

89 Meeting in: Glasgow<br />

91 On <strong>Business</strong> in: São Paulo<br />

92 Focus on: the Gulf States<br />

96 Reality Check<br />

98 <strong>The</strong> Final Word<br />



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Welcome<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>'s got talent<br />

<strong>The</strong> sad collapse of Thomas Cook was<br />

mourned by many across the country<br />

recently, from those who have fond<br />

memories of package holidays with the<br />

operator – myself included – to its many<br />

loyal customers and, above all, the<br />

unfortunate staff that lost their jobs following its demise. Just what legal<br />

or regulatory changes its collapse might prompt remains to be seen, but<br />

the ramifications could affect us all.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tour operator had long been a springboard for talent and there's a<br />

huge number of people working in the business travel industry today<br />

whose careers began at Thomas Cook. Among them is the <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Association's new Chief Executive, Clive Wratten. You can read about his<br />

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

Attracting and nurturing industry talent is one item on the BTA's agenda,<br />

and it was quick to launch a jobs board on its website to help keep the<br />

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

their tremendous knowledge and expertise disappear from the industry.<br />

Expertise of another kind is served up in this issue's cover feature which<br />

takes a look at the efforts of both buyers and suppliers to reduce their<br />

impact on the environment and promote sustainable travel (p18-24).<br />

Meanwhile, our extended feature gets to grips with the often neglected<br />

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

and ride-hailing, to booking tools, content aggregators and supplier<br />

negotiations. At more than 30 pages long, it is our most extensive report<br />

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

to the ball – the only question is by which means of transport?<br />

the<br />

<strong>Business</strong>travel<br />



EDITOR<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />

andy.hoskins@thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />


Emma Allen, Catherine Chetwynd, Linda Fox, Rob Gill,<br />

Gary Noakes, Dave Richardson & Gillian Upton<br />


Sasha Wood & April Waterston<br />


Julie Baxter & Laura Gelder<br />


Steve Hartridge<br />

SALES<br />


Kirsty Hicks<br />

kirsty.hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk<br />



Louisa Horton<br />


Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant<br />


Clare Hunter<br />


Steve Hunter<br />


Subscribe for free at<br />

thebusinesstravelmag.com/subscribe<br />



Matt Bonner<br />

CEO<br />

Martin Steady<br />

Andy Hoskins, Editor<br />



SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. TEL: 020 8649 7233<br />






©BMI PUBLISHING LTD <strong>2019</strong><br />







Eye-catching images of the latest news and developments<br />

Quest Apartments<br />

aussie rule<br />

Quest Apartment<br />

Hotels has opened a<br />

property in Liverpool<br />

– its first outside of<br />

Australasia. <strong>The</strong><br />

project features 100<br />

apartments, reception,<br />

gym and conference<br />

room, located on the<br />

top floors of an old<br />

office block. Quest<br />

has 170 properties<br />

in Australia, New<br />

Zealand and Fiji and<br />

aims to have 10 in<br />

the UK by 2024.<br />

Liverpool is a<br />

dynamic business<br />

hub that will continue to<br />

thrive. We are confident this<br />

will be the start of an exciting<br />

journey for Quest”<br />


British Airways<br />

on a high<br />

BA’s first Airbus A350,<br />

featuring its new Club<br />

Suite business class<br />

offering, is now<br />

operating selected<br />

services to Dubai.<br />

Having been tested<br />

on Madrid routes, the<br />

A350 is gearing up<br />

to tackle Bangalore,<br />

Tel Aviv and Toronto.<br />

OYO Hotels<br />

brit popping<br />

Indian hospitality<br />

brand OYO Hotels now<br />

represents 100 British<br />

properties less than a<br />

year after entering the<br />

country. <strong>The</strong> business,<br />

which has pledged to<br />

spend £40million on<br />

UK expansion, uses<br />

technology to boost<br />

occupancy and revenue.<br />

Red Bull Racing<br />

fast mover<br />

Red Bull Racing is<br />

making its first foray<br />

into the meetings<br />

market with the launch<br />

of event space MK-7 at<br />

its Milton Keynes factory<br />

headquarters. <strong>The</strong><br />

concept gives guests a<br />

glimpse of the team’s<br />

race heritage, and<br />

includes an events space<br />

for 450, mezzanine area<br />

and 22-seat boardroom.<br />





<strong>The</strong> collapse of Thomas Cook<br />










THEIR<br />

BY AN<br />

JOBS”<br />


Ewan Kassir, Head of Sales, Clarity<br />

Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA<br />

“<strong>The</strong> task [of getting customers home]<br />

is enormous – it is the biggest<br />

peacetime repatriation in UK history”<br />

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport<br />






Professor Jackie Watson, University of Surrey<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is huge knowledge and<br />

expertise among ex-Thomas<br />

Cook staff. It is important<br />

to the industry that this is<br />

not lost and that these<br />

people have the chance<br />

to continue building<br />

their careers”<br />

Clive Wratten, Chief Executive, BTA<br />



Dr Sarah<br />

Rawlinson,<br />

University<br />

of Derby<br />



“Our aviation industry offers consumers choice and<br />

value - it is an open and competitive marketplace.<br />

Sadly, that means on occasion companies will<br />

be forced to withdraw. It is important that we<br />

minimise the fall-out for consumer confidence<br />

as a result of this situation”<br />

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for <strong>Business</strong><br />




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How to... Take your RFP<br />

in the right direction<br />

Culture, capability and cost are the three<br />

key factors influencing an organisation’s<br />

selection of travel management<br />

company. Read on to find out how one<br />

global business went about it.<br />


“You’ve got to have a really good<br />

understanding of your objectives and<br />

requirements,” advises the head of travel<br />

for a London-headquartered<br />

financial services business.<br />

“Going to RFP for a TMC is a<br />

really time-consuming process<br />

for both you and the TMCs you<br />

meet with,” they explain.<br />

<strong>The</strong> organisation had been<br />

with the same TMC for five<br />

years and was seeking a new<br />

approach. “We’d directly contracted with<br />

Concur as our booking tool and we needed<br />

a TMC that could work with that, so the<br />

process was very geared towards that.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>y stress the importance of doing your<br />

research within your own organisation:<br />

“We engaged our stakeholders from the<br />

start. Finding out what they wanted was<br />

key. You also need buy-in – not just from<br />

your senior people but from your bookers<br />

and travellers too.”<br />


For this organisation,<br />

there was a limited<br />

number of TMCs that had<br />

the global presence and<br />

capability to serve their<br />

needs. “We wanted global<br />

consistency – working<br />

with multiple TMCs was too complex,”<br />

explains the head of travel.<br />

“We went out to five TMCs and it was a<br />

very structured process. We looked at their<br />

technical expertise – specifically relating to<br />

Concur – plus their reporting capabilities<br />

and cost effectiveness.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>y continue: “<strong>The</strong> incumbent has an<br />

advantage because they know your<br />

programme and culture, so we wanted to<br />

help the others understand our specific<br />

requirements too.” <strong>The</strong> organisation<br />

narrowed the shortlist down to three TMCs<br />

it believed could meet their needs.<br />


“<strong>The</strong>y did a tremendous job throughout<br />

the procurement processes,” says a<br />

senior member of one of the<br />

shortlisted TMCs. “Bidding isn’t<br />

cheap for a TMC so we have<br />

to be careful what we go for.<br />

Sales used to be about<br />

going for every bit of<br />

business, but that just<br />

doesn’t work<br />

anymore.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>y add:<br />

“We also have<br />

to consider the<br />

risk: will that<br />

company be around<br />

for long? Is it a good<br />

name for us to work with? Would we prefer<br />

a rival? Are they currently with a TMC that<br />

we’d like to take them off?”<br />

And what helps TMCs during the RFP<br />

process? “Companies need to share the real<br />

reasons behind the RFP before it is even<br />

issued. I can name many companies who<br />

habitually go out to RFP every three years<br />

just to screw their incumbent on price,”<br />

says the TMC spokesperson.<br />

“Don’t waste everyone’s time doing that.<br />

It’s expensive for all parties and it’s also<br />

time-consuming.”<br />

Transparency is key, they add: “Companies<br />

being secretive during the process doesn’t<br />

help us one iota. We don’t mind if we ask<br />

for more information and they therefore<br />

have to share that with all bidders.”<br />

And as for unsolicited TMCs... “If you<br />

receive an invitation to bid out of the blue<br />

then you know you’re probably just making<br />

up the numbers,” says another TMC boss.<br />

“That’s probably a piece of business we<br />

wouldn’t pursue.”<br />


It took 10 months from<br />

start to finish for the<br />

organisation to carry out<br />

the RFP process and<br />

make its selection.<br />

“We absolutely made<br />

the right decision,” says<br />

the head of travel, who<br />

attributes the successful<br />

outcome to constant stakeholder<br />

communication and a thorough and<br />

fair RFP process.<br />

“We kept revisiting them to advise them<br />

on progress along the way. Our goals had<br />

been identified from the offset and referred<br />

to throughout, which was key to the whole<br />

process – it was a consistent evaluation<br />

process,” they explain.<br />

And one last piece of advice: “Going<br />

through an RFP for a global TMC is a heck of<br />

process – I’d say to do it no more frequently<br />

than every five years.”<br />





Six of the best...<br />

Co-working providers in London<br />

1<br />

WEWORK<br />

With a much talked about share<br />

issue on the horizon, WeWork is<br />

the undoubted co-working star.<br />

It’s trendy start-up vibe has<br />

meant rapid expansion around<br />

the globe – hence the 51 sites<br />

currently on offer in the capital,<br />

ranging from hipster chic to<br />

stripped back minimalism.<br />

2<br />

3<br />


Eight contemporary sites across<br />

the central and eastern ends of<br />

London make up <strong>The</strong> Space<br />

portfolio. Eco-friendly buildings,<br />

roof terraces, welcome parties<br />

and a busy programme of social<br />

events are among the draws.<br />


This dedicated shared space for<br />

tech entrepreneurs and startups<br />

is situated a stone’s throw from<br />

London's Silicon Roundabout.<br />

Benefits include PR support, VC<br />

introductions, business advice<br />

and a mentoring programme.<br />

4<br />


Living up to its name, Workspace<br />

piles in with an impressive 63<br />

London venues, including offices,<br />

studios and light industrial<br />

spaces. <strong>The</strong> company prides<br />

itself on its short break clauses,<br />

state-of-the-art technology and<br />

commitment to making sure its<br />

3,000 tenants can connect.<br />

6<br />

REGUS<br />

<strong>The</strong> old dame of the office<br />

rental game has worked hard<br />

to keep up with its new wave of<br />

competitors. Ready-to-use office<br />

spaces, hot desks, coworking and<br />

meeting rooms are available on<br />

a pay-as-you-go basis at 96<br />

locations across London.<br />

5<br />


Happiness is a big motivator for<br />

Work.Life, making its eight<br />

London locations some of the<br />

most smiley in our selection.<br />

Members can use any site they<br />

choose, and can opt for benefits<br />

including massages, yoga<br />

sessions and unlimited coffee.<br />


O<br />




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

Kengo Kuma and British designers Acumen to create new First Class ‘THE Suite’ and<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Class ‘THE Room’, debuting on the direct daily London – Tokyo route.<br />

Inspired by Japanese heritage and British design, the new luxury cabins are each<br />

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

‘THE Room’ also now offers double the seat width compared to previous <strong>Business</strong> Class<br />

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

connecting you in comfort to over 50 destinations across Japan and beyond.<br />

We Are Japan.<br />

ana.co.uk<br />

#WeAreJapan<br />

*<br />

By passenger numbers across all Japanese carriers


event report<br />

TBTC'19<br />

Making it personal<br />

Personalisation, crafting a traveller policy<br />

rather than a travel policy, and making<br />

wellness a priority were high on the agenda<br />

across the 14 sessions at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Conference which took place in<br />

London in September. Sasha Wood reports.<br />

Around 200 delegates and 60 exhibitors from<br />

the business travel world including TMCs,<br />

travel managers and suppliers came together<br />

for the event at the Hilton Bankside Hotel.<br />

Guest speaker MP Gillian Keegan who has a<br />

background in the travel industry opened the<br />

event with an informative talk on the current<br />

state of Brexit, reassuring the audience that a<br />

no-deal Brexit is highly unlikely, and that<br />

withdrawal from the European Union will have<br />

a minimal impact on the travel sector.<br />

She said the government has “put in place a<br />

nine-month deal to minimise travel disruption<br />

post-Brexit”. And that all the necessary<br />

regulations such as Right to Fly, European<br />

Aviation Safety Agency and road haulage<br />

It's not about the<br />

£1 saving – it's<br />

about getting the right<br />

location and style of<br />

service, and not irking<br />

your travellers”<br />

Has your organisation<br />

witnessed changes that<br />

can be attributed to Brexit?<br />

None yet<br />

18%<br />

Yes, some<br />

small<br />

changes<br />

29%<br />

Not yet,<br />

but maybe<br />

when Brexit<br />

happens<br />

39%<br />

Yes, a<br />

significant<br />

shift 7%<br />

permits have been secured and<br />

replicated in UK law.<br />

According to Keegan, Freedom<br />

of Movement should also remain<br />

unaffected, “as the original deal<br />

keeps until December 2020”.<br />

A poll of delegates showed the majority<br />

had not yet witnessed any changes in their<br />

organisation that could be attributed to Brexit,<br />

though 29 per cent had seen some changes.<br />

Emerging themes over the two days included<br />

the need to personalise the business travel<br />

experience and develop ‘traveller policies’ –<br />

as opposed to travel policies – that focus on<br />

individual requirements rather than taking a<br />

one-size-fits-all approach. Meanwhile, traveller<br />

wellbeing has been steadily climbing up the<br />

agenda and is increasingly being balanced<br />

against cost savings in terms of its positive<br />

impact on productivity.<br />



• Personalisation • ndc •<br />

RFP • BRexit • traveller<br />

policy • Wellbeing<br />


In a session covering travel<br />

managers' approach to<br />

accommodation needs, Black<br />

Box Partnership’s Leigh Cowlishaw<br />

pointed out “it’s not about the £1<br />

saving – it’s about getting the right<br />

location and style of service, and not irking<br />


Not yet, and it won't<br />

affect us 7%


event report<br />

If you're prepared to talk seriously, if you really want a solution,<br />

then you have to be prepared to compromise”<br />

your travellers. We need to be more dynamic<br />

in our approach, not just looking at the<br />

bottom line. For example, your travellers<br />

should have the ability to have room service<br />

if they want to stay in and work rather than<br />

walking out and eating alone.”<br />

Wellness specialist Gavin Percy from Winning<br />

Edges Consultancy echoed this sentiment in<br />

his talk on making traveller wellbeing central<br />

to your business. Addressing the issue of<br />

productivity and days lost due to travel fatigue,<br />

he said travel managers need to consider<br />

factors beyond cost savings.<br />

For example, booking travellers in business<br />

class cabins for long flights so that they arrive<br />

refreshed and ready to work makes sense for<br />

the business when flying in cheaper economy<br />

seats might lead to a day lost in recovery time.<br />

Closing the conference, Sir Trevor McDonald<br />

captivated a full house with a keynote speech<br />

full of fascinating anecdotes covering his<br />

travels and time as an international journalist.<br />

Perhaps most illuminating were the<br />

memories he shared about his friend Nelson<br />

Mandela who was still willing to negotiate with<br />

his former captors after 27 years in prison.<br />

Mandela simply told him: “If you’re prepared<br />

to talk seriously, if you really want a solution,<br />

you have to be prepared to compromise.”<br />

Wise words we can all apply to solving issues<br />

in our professional and personal lives.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference will return to<br />

Hilton London Bankside on 15-16 Sept 2020.<br />

as a traVel manager<br />

or buyer, wHat's your<br />

main focus rigHt now?<br />

CoSt SAvInGS 61%<br />

DUtY oF CAre 35%<br />

SoUrCInG neW SUppLIerS 9%<br />

IMprovInG proCeSSeS 39%<br />

cHarity driVe<br />

This year's conference supported<br />

the London Taxi Drivers' Charity<br />

for Children, helping to raise<br />

nearly £800 to improve the lives of<br />

special needs and disadvantaged<br />

children across the capital<br />

wHat is your company's<br />

approacH to booKing<br />

meetings and eVents?<br />

booK directly witH tHe Venue<br />

58%<br />

IMpLeMentInG neW teCHnoLoGY 17%<br />

SHApInG trAveL poLICY 17%<br />

trAveLLer WeLLBeInG 30%<br />

otHer 4%<br />

All results are from delegate polls at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference<br />

booK Via an<br />

external agency<br />

25%<br />

17%<br />

combination<br />

of tHe two<br />




Thanks to our<br />

headline sponsors!<br />

<strong>The</strong> 13th annual event from<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> took<br />

place in September, featuring two<br />

days of educational sessions and an<br />

exhibition, plus the introduction of a<br />

new wellbeing area and keynote<br />

speeches from Gillian Keegan MP<br />

and Sir Trevor McDonald<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Conference <strong>2019</strong> ▼<br />

Meditation in the<br />

new wellbeing area<br />

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼<br />

▲ 17.09.<strong>2019</strong><br />

Relaxing at the day<br />

one drinks reception<br />

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<br />

With thanks to our event sponosrs<br />



Spanish costas<br />

SPAIN<br />

European hotel rates<br />

will rise fastest in Spain,<br />

Luxembourg and<br />

Ireland in 2020, with<br />

average daily rates<br />

increasing by 3%-5%.<br />

Rooms in London will<br />

be marginally more<br />

pricey, rising 1%-3%,<br />

according to the latest<br />

industry forecast from<br />

BCD <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

17<br />




Doing the right<br />

THING<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> and hospitality brands are finally backing up their talk<br />

about sustainability with real action, says Gillian Upton<br />

When Sir Elton John leapt to the<br />

defence of Prince Harry and wife<br />

Meghan in August for flying by<br />

private jet to his villa in Nice by saying<br />

that he offset the carbon emissions, it<br />

didn’t really wash.<br />

Carbon offsetting was initially sold as an<br />

easy trade off. Companies could invest in<br />

various environmental projects that reduce<br />

greenhouse gases in order to compensate<br />

for the emissions made elsewhere.<br />

Environmental groups now view carbon<br />

offsetting as a distraction from reducing<br />

emissions first and foremost. Offsetting<br />

should be a last resort. So how green is the<br />

business travel world? Studies highlight that<br />

40% of companies are finding it hard to<br />

become more sustainable, with cost proving<br />

the biggest barrier.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y’ll have to absorb the cost,” says<br />

Vanessa Bailey, Director of Client<br />

Partnerships at <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct. “All we<br />

can do is present the options but the decision<br />

has to be made at board level. Usually the<br />

sustainability team want to reduce CO2 but<br />

the travel team are looking at cost.”<br />

Many planet-friendly initiatives are not cost<br />

neutral but it is also abundantly clear that<br />

consumers want action, otherwise they will<br />

vote with their feet. According to a study<br />

from WRAP, 67% of UK consumers would<br />

boycott brands that lack an ethical<br />

conscience, a value that miIlennials – who will<br />

make up the bulk of employees over the next<br />

few years – hold dear. MiIlennial and Gen Z<br />

employees rank sustainability as a leading<br />

concern when evaluating employers.<br />

Chris Bowen, Managing Director EMEA at<br />

CWT, reckons that the tipping point is fast<br />

approaching. “Budget versus mis-perceived<br />

additional sustainable trip costs are a<br />

frequent discussion point as many travellers<br />

continue to prefer individual comfort versus<br />

more sustainable options,” he says.<br />

“However, we are starting to see a shift with<br />

changing employee demographics.”<br />

World view<br />

Sustainability is high on government and<br />

public agendas and is no longer a box-ticking<br />

exercise, particularly today when business is<br />

wide open to public view. Moreover, C-level<br />

executives are mindful of minimising<br />

reputational damage.<br />

Most business tenders today will request<br />

details of carbon capture and sustainability<br />

goals, and TMCs are increasingly being asked<br />

by clients for best practice and how they can<br />

change traveller behaviour.<br />

“Corporates want to travel less and travel<br />

smarter and not necessarily focus on the<br />

cost,” says Click <strong>Travel</strong>’s Director of Sales and<br />

Implementation, Vicki Williams.<br />



<strong>The</strong> UK government has a target to reduce<br />

emissions by 80% by 2050 and to ban the<br />

sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2040. It<br />

declared a Climate Emergency earlier this<br />

summer, the first G7 country to do so.<br />

Industry-specific goals strengthen the<br />

message. <strong>The</strong> European Union wants the<br />

airline industry to reduce emissions of CO2<br />

by 75%, slash nitrogen oxides by 90% and cut<br />

noise by 65% by 2050. In 2020 a Carbon<br />

Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for<br />

Planet-friendly<br />

initiatives are not cost<br />

neutral but it is abundantly<br />

clear that consumers want<br />

action, otherwise they will<br />

vote with their feet”<br />

international aviation comes into force that<br />

has been agreed by 70 countries. With<br />

passenger numbers set to double to some<br />

8.2 billion by 2037, Boeing forecasts that<br />

more than 40,000 new aircraft will be flying<br />

by then.<br />

Most corporates start by tackling their<br />

carbon footprint from air travel as it’s usually<br />

the largest. <strong>The</strong> Dutch-based Carbon Neutral<br />

Group reckons a return trip to New York<br />

causes the same amount of CO2 as heating a<br />

family house in the Netherlands for a year.<br />

In terms of travel policy, travellers have<br />

myriad options, many of which do save<br />

money. Flying less is the biggest cost saving,<br />

along with using more audio or video<br />

conferencing (once you have factored in the<br />

cost of the equipment needed). Flying direct<br />

cuts emissions, but is usually more costly.<br />

Flying from closer-in regional airports is a<br />

carbon-friendly action, so too is taking the<br />

lowest carbon flight. Reducing the number of<br />

business class flights saves money, while<br />

choosing the train rather than the plane for<br />

short trips under 400km is another planetfriendly<br />

strategy – CO2 emissions from train<br />

travel are about 80% less than flying.<br />

Booking an electric car rather than a<br />

petrol/diesel vehicle, instigating car pooling,<br />

replacing the company’s grey fleet with a<br />

more sustainable company car fleet, and<br />

ensuring sustainable procurement are all<br />

good green practices too.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> class does impact on emissions as<br />

business class seats take up far more room<br />

in a plane and therefore a larger proportion<br />

of the emissions are assigned to premium<br />

passengers. Ruling out business class and<br />

first class for flights under 5,000km delivers<br />

savings of 131 tonnes of CO2, and this<br />

trading down in class has the added benefit<br />

of significant cost savings.<br />

<br />



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Sustainable procurement of products is a<br />

real option as well. Many business travel<br />

suppliers are doing what they can within the<br />

confines of cost to find viable alternatives to<br />

more polluting options.<br />

An early win was the campaign this year to<br />

rid the hospitality industry of plastic straws as<br />

metal, bamboo and birch wood alternatives<br />

were readily available, with many hotel<br />

groups now adopting the change.<br />

<strong>The</strong> search for viable biofuels<br />

Finding a renewable source of fuel is more<br />

challenging. Transportation causes 27% of<br />

greenhouse gas emissions so much of the<br />

noise has been around changes to cars, vans,<br />

planes and trains.<br />

<strong>The</strong> world’s major airlines are busy trialling<br />

biofuels to part or totally replace jet fuel, with<br />

some even building factories to satisfy future<br />

demand. Airlines are additionally using<br />

slower cruising speeds, taxiing on one engine<br />

rather than two or towing between gates,<br />

using continuous descent approaches,<br />

optimising air routes and even recycling<br />

retired planes. Huge effort is also going in to<br />

reducing the weight of on-board items, which<br />

helps cut fuel burn. IATA reckons that by<br />

2025, some one billion passengers should be<br />

travelling on flights powered by a mix of jet<br />

fuel and sustainable alternatives.<br />

Modern fleets are key in the sustainability<br />

strategy of airlines. For example, the new<br />

Airbus A350 series is 25% more fuel efficient<br />

than its previous generation aircraft.<br />

Motoring changes gear<br />

<strong>The</strong> car industry is making<br />

headway along a<br />

similar path, with<br />

more fuel-<br />

efficient vehicles. Emissions of the average<br />

new car coming off the production line from<br />

next year will be 95 grams of CO2 per km,<br />

down from 150 grams.<br />

More challenging is the major modal shift<br />

to electric cars as battery life, battery cost<br />

and the lack of tax breaks and other<br />

subsidies are conspiring to slow conversion<br />

rates. Nonetheless, the National Grid reckons<br />

that 11 million electric vehicles will be on our<br />

roads by 2030.<br />

Track stars<br />

Decarbonising rail is a more complex ask due<br />

to the significant expenditure required.<br />

Electric trains emit between 20-30% less<br />

carbon than diesel trains and while the likes<br />

of Sweden, Switzerland and Germany have<br />

made headway, the UK is lagging behind.<br />

One ray of hope is solar-powered trains.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Riding Sunbeams project, pioneered by<br />

climate change charity 10:10 and London's<br />

Imperial College, in conjunction with Network<br />

Rail’s Wessex route and Community Energy<br />

South, links around 100 solar panels to an<br />

ancillary transformer on the railway’s traction<br />

systems. This world-first project is currently<br />

undergoing tests.<br />

Hyperloop mass transport is another idea<br />

for the future. With no direct emissions, it<br />

could potentially carry large volumes of<br />

people and cargo in faster-then-air travel<br />

times inside low-pressure tubes. It is<br />

currently being pioneered by Elon Musk<br />

and Virgin Hyperloop One.<br />

Elsewhere on the ground, airports and<br />

airlines are switching to electric vehicles and<br />

recycling water when washing aircraft,<br />

while London Underground is trialling a<br />

scheme to use waste heat to reduce<br />

energy costs for local residents. <br />

Modern fleets are key<br />

in the sustainability<br />

strategy of airlines. For<br />

example, the new Airbus<br />

A350 series is 25% more fuel<br />

efficient than its previous<br />

generation aircraft”<br />



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<strong>The</strong> hotel industry<br />

Hotels have taken up the sustainability<br />

mantle with gusto. As 24/7 operations they<br />

soak up many resources and major players<br />

such as IHG, Hilton, Radisson and Accor lead<br />

the sustainability pack with deep-rooted<br />

programmes that run through employees,<br />

stakeholders, owners and contractors.<br />

In 2017, the International Tourism<br />

Partnership (ITP) galvanised the hotel<br />

industry and set it four goals: to reduce<br />

carbon, conserve water, help youth<br />

employment and improve human rights.<br />

Hilton and Radisson have signed the UN CEO<br />

Mandate, the world’s largest public-private<br />

sustainability initiative to ensure access to<br />

water and sanitation around the world.<br />

Consumers can patronise green-minded<br />

hotels when they book any of the TripAdvisor<br />

GreenLeaders properties. Marriott has the<br />

most entries in the US and Accor the largest<br />

number across Europe.<br />

Hotels have been busy watching food miles,<br />

installing solar panels, green roofs, LED<br />

lighting and heating, ventilation and air<br />

conditioning systems (HVACs), rationalising<br />

the flow rate in toilets and showers, recycling<br />

soap, reducing the laundry of towels and<br />

bed linen and promoting carbon-neutral<br />

meetings. <strong>The</strong> World <strong>Travel</strong> & Tourism<br />

Council believes the sector improved carbon<br />

efficiency by 20% between 2005 and 2015.<br />

Marriott’s Edition Hotels is taking an<br />

altruistic approach by providing a list of<br />

vendors offering plastic alternatives to the<br />

myriad plastic items used in hotels.<br />

A sustainable travel programme<br />

TMCs provide environmental reporting –<br />

that’s the first and easy part of a corporate’s<br />

green journey. CWT's Bowen says the<br />

company is typically asked for insights into<br />

different aircraft types and age, comparison<br />

between air, rail, bus and car pooling, and a<br />

preference for more ‘green’ hotels.<br />

“In some companies, employee benefits<br />

now include an annual train card versus a<br />

company car, and bike options are often built<br />

in as part of wellbeing in conjunction with<br />

sustainability,” he says.<br />

Bowen adds that the trend has reached<br />

meetings and events, so clients can select a<br />

low-emission location, hotels that have an<br />

established environmental programme and<br />

opt for more vegetarian food.<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Direct’s Bailey has noted a<br />

rise in clients asking how to become a carbon<br />

neutral company and putting in place a<br />

variety of measures.<br />

Commonplace is an auto-response to a<br />

travel email request to the TMC or to the<br />

homepage of the booking tool checking<br />

whether the travel is absolutely necessary<br />

and highlighting the emissions it will generate.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> booking tool can show the number of<br />

emissions on a direct flight versus an indirect<br />

flight,” says Bailey. She is also aware of clients<br />

prioritising car parking places for car sharers,<br />

and others planning homeworking one day<br />

of the week. “It helps reduces the number<br />

of journeys to work by 20%<br />

and is being looked<br />

at widely.” <br />

For meetings and<br />

events, clients can<br />

select a low-emissions<br />

location, hotels that have an<br />

established environmental<br />

programme and opt for more<br />

vegetarian food”<br />




<br />

Click <strong>Travel</strong>’s Williams cites other initiatives,<br />

including traveller behaviour sessions, an<br />

avatar used as a model green traveller to<br />

encourage behaviour change, a policy change<br />

to hand-luggage only to lighten the load of<br />

the aircraft, and travel-ban days each month<br />

to make people think twice.<br />

CWT cites examples of travel policies that<br />

outline the emission differences when flying<br />

<strong>Business</strong> in Airline A versus Premium in<br />

Airline B versus Economy in Airline C.<br />

Downtrading class of travel has the added<br />

bonus of lowering programme costs.<br />

Corporates can rely on their TMCs on their<br />

sustainability journey, or on a range of thirdparty<br />

providers to become climate neutral<br />

businesses. One such, the Climate Neutral<br />

Group, offers a CO2 calculator, data analysis,<br />

offsetting programmes and products and<br />

services to set up an active policy to reduce<br />

CO2. It is conscious that implementing drastic<br />

policy changes can cause stress in an<br />

organisation and always suggests<br />

implementing measures less stringently.<br />

“For example, the flexibility in travel timing<br />

depends on the nature of the visit: many<br />

business trips do not have any flexibility at<br />

all,” says Ciska Uijlenbroek, Marketing &<br />

Communications Manager.<br />

Nonetheless, making smarter travelling<br />

choices can be a win-win. Flying less, using<br />

alternatives and flying on the flight with the<br />

lowest impact when there is no choice but to<br />

take to the skies, are justifiable when there<br />

are the additional advantages of lowering<br />

programme costs and retaining talent. One<br />

thing is clear, doing nothing is not an option.<br />

A shining example<br />

One corporate ahead of the curve is<br />

CapGemini. Its award-winning <strong>Travel</strong> Well<br />

programme takes a holistic approach to<br />

sustainable employee travel. <strong>The</strong> company’s<br />

international and national business travel<br />

accounts for more than half of its annual<br />

carbon emissions and it has successfully<br />

de-coupled travel from growth.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Well promotes virtual meetings as an<br />

alternative to travel, has encouraged a modal<br />

shift to lower carbon travel options such as<br />

rail, public transport and cycling, and has<br />

changed the culture and behaviours around<br />

travel to give people more freedom, flexibility<br />

and accountability for their travel choices.<br />

Since 2015 CapGemini has reduced travel<br />

emissions per head by 15%, cut air travel<br />

emissions per head by 7%, and reduced car<br />

travel emissions per head by 22%, while<br />

increasing revenues by 10%. It has involved<br />

car sharing in India, the use of public<br />

transport and cycling in the Netherlands,<br />

company bus services in some countries,<br />

and Virtual Collaboration Hubs in the UK,<br />

among other initiatives.<br />

As a company with 190,000 employees<br />

worldwide, it has also undertaken a range of<br />

initiatives in the workplace too, and reduced<br />

the total amount of waste generated by 17%<br />

since 2015, during which time its workforce<br />

rose by 15%. Increased recycling has resulted<br />

in a 30% reduction in waste sent to landfill.<br />

James Robey, Global Head of Sustainability<br />

at CapGemini, said the savings were<br />

generated by enabling employees to work<br />

remotely and collaborate from wherever<br />

they are.<br />

”For every euro spent on travel, the<br />

emissions generated were 9% lower in 2018<br />

than 2015, reflecting a shift in the modes of<br />

travel taken,” says Robey.<br />



Air France/KLM has partnered with Biojet to<br />

produce biofuels and reduced emissions by<br />

21.56% since 2011. It has also reduced water<br />

consumption in ground operations by 6%.<br />

British Airways invested last year in 18 new<br />

aircraft which are up to 20% more fuel efficient.<br />

It also plans to construct a plant to convert<br />

household waste to jet fuel in 2021 and be<br />

producing fuel by 2024. <strong>The</strong> airline will invest a<br />

total of $400million on alternative sustainable fuel<br />

development over the next 20 years.<br />

Cathay Pacific has made an average<br />

improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year<br />

between 2009 and 2020 and is moving towards a<br />

goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2050. It has<br />

invested in biofuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy.<br />

Delta has replaced plastic straws with bamboo<br />

and birch wood stirrers, and introduced<br />

compostable plates, bowls and buffet dishware.<br />

EasyJet is developing an electric-powered aircraft<br />

with partner Wright Electric.<br />

Qantas has flown its first zero-landfill commercial<br />

flight, from Sydney to Adelaide, and a biofuel flight<br />

using fuel processed from mustard seed.<br />

United Airlines claims a 45% improvement on<br />

fuel efficiency since 1990.<br />

HOTELS<br />

Accor Hotels has a goal of reducing food waste<br />

by 30% by 2020. It also runs a sustainable<br />

programme called Planet 21 under which all 4,600<br />

hotels must reach the minimum bronze level<br />

standard by 2020.<br />

Grange Hotels has installed solar panels, bore<br />

holes, green roofs, a HVAC system and combined<br />

heat and power systems.<br />

Hilton Hotels has a goal to cut its environmental<br />

footprint by half and double its social impact<br />

investment by 2030.<br />

IHG was ranked first in the hotel industry on the<br />

2017 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. It<br />

runs a Green Engage System to manage energy,<br />

carbon, waste and water.<br />

Marriott’s Edition Hotels is running a Stay Plastic<br />

Free campaign which includes sugarcane cups,<br />

bamboo toothbrushes and coasters made from<br />

recycled ocean plastic waste.<br />

Marriott International is replacing all single-use<br />

shower toiletry bottles with larger bottles across all<br />

hotels worldwide, diverting 1.7 million pounds of<br />

plastic from landfills.<br />

NH Hotels has reduced the carbon footprint per<br />

room sold by 72%, energy consumption by 34%<br />

and water consumption by 31%.<br />

Radisson Hotels was the first hotel group to sign<br />

up to the UN CEO Mandate to conserve water and<br />

has cut water use by 3.5% per guest per night.<br />

CARS<br />

Avis runs a green fleet of hybrid gas/electric<br />

vehicles called Eco-Rides, carbon offsets in<br />

projects, and recycles and re-uses around 80% of<br />

waste water when washing vehicles.<br />

Hertz runs a green fleet called the Green<br />

Collection across Europe, the US and Canada.<br />

TRAINS<br />

East Midlands Railway will be add new rolling<br />

stock in 2022 with lower emissions by running on<br />

electric overhead lines on intercity routes.<br />

Eurostar launched its Tread Lightly environmental<br />

programme in 2018 which funds renewable<br />

energy and has set goals of reducing traction<br />

energy by 2030 and train energy by 2020.<br />





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Chief Executive, <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Association<br />


<strong>The</strong> newly-appointed boss of the BTA tells Andy Hoskins<br />

about his vision for the industry organisation<br />

It was a summer of change for the<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Association. First came<br />

the unveiling of a new identity at its<br />

annual overseas conference, with its former<br />

moniker – the Guild of <strong>Travel</strong> Management<br />

Companies – cast aside.<br />

A new Chair, Suzanne Horner, CEO of the<br />

Gray Dawes Group, was announced at the<br />

same event and then, in September, Clive<br />

Wratten took up the reins as Chief Executive<br />

of the new-look, ‘more inclusive’ organisation.<br />

Wratten, close to his 40th year in the travel<br />

industry, has worked for a number of airlines<br />

and TMCs but has also had a long relationship<br />

with the BTA in its various guises.<br />

“It was the mid-90s when I first came across<br />

the organisation,” he says. “I’ve been a partner<br />

or supplier member for many years and on<br />

the executive board for the last three years,<br />

so it’s been very close to me. I’ve seen it<br />

evolve and it’s been an interesting journey.”<br />

Wratten was involved in the process of<br />

rebranding the organisation, a move he says<br />

is “hugely important... and key to modernising”.<br />

“We wanted to be the total voice of the<br />

business travel supply chain and the new<br />

name reflects that better than before. It helps<br />

take the great work that Adrian [Parkes] and<br />

Paul [Wait] have done and moves the<br />

organisation forward.”<br />

Wratten continues: “It’s about getting<br />

the business travel industry recognised,<br />

particularly within government, as its own<br />

industry rather than being lumped in with<br />

travel as a whole. It’s hugely different.”<br />

Was it difficult to leave his former role at<br />

travel management company Amber Road?<br />

“Clearly it was a tough decision,” says Wratten.<br />

“It was the first time I’d been a CEO running a<br />

private equity business. I was only threequarters<br />

of the way through my project<br />

there, but sometimes you have to grab an<br />

opportunity when it comes along.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s so much happening in the industry<br />

– from sustainability, to distribution, to<br />

education – that to represent the industry<br />

and all those matters is hugely exciting.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> future of TMCs is a popular debating<br />

point, but their value was brought into focus<br />

on the day of this interview when British<br />

Airways pilots went on strike.<br />

“It is these sort of times when the value of<br />

what we do as TMCs is most apparent, but<br />

equally there is the good value of what we<br />

do beforehand around advising clients and<br />

helping their businesses grow across the<br />

globe – that is bigger than what we do at<br />

times of disruption,” says Wratten.<br />

Another hot topic is consolidation in the<br />

TMC sector – most recently the acquisition<br />

of Amber Road by the Gray Dawes Group,<br />

announced shortly after this interview –<br />

which is being tempered by several new<br />

tech-based entrants.<br />

<strong>The</strong> prime thing is<br />

getting government to<br />

understand the value of the<br />

business travel industry to<br />

the UK, particularly right now<br />

when things are a bit rocky”<br />

“Our members are of all shapes and sizes,<br />

specialisms and non-specialisms. <strong>The</strong>re’s<br />

always a space within the membership for<br />

every piece of that jigsaw,” says Wratten.<br />

“It’s good for the industry that new entrants<br />

[like <strong>Travel</strong>Perk and TripActions] are coming<br />

in and looking at things from a different way.<br />

Change makes people and businesses<br />

stronger and equally makes them evolve.”<br />

Wratten’s immediate focus is engaging with<br />

BTA members, growing the organisation and<br />

raising its profile in Westminster.<br />

Launching an All-Party Parliamentary Group<br />

on business travel is an important step,<br />

says Wratten, which he sees focusing on<br />

infrastructure, sustainability and inclusivity.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> prime thing is getting government to<br />

understand the value of the business travel<br />

industry to the UK, particularly right now<br />

when things are a bit rocky. <strong>The</strong> importance<br />

of business travel has never been greater.”<br />

He continues: “As an organisation we need<br />

to define the future rather than tweak the<br />

past. By that I mean that we’ve often gone<br />

through a scenario where something in the<br />

industry is changing but we've not been<br />

involved – it becomes negative disruption.<br />

“We’re all for evolving this industry and<br />

making it better through tech or our people,<br />

but we need to work in collaboration with<br />

partners and our supply chain so it becomes<br />

something positive rather than us all fighting<br />

about how to make it work for everyone.<br />

“This industry’s been amazing to me and<br />

now it’s almost about the chance to leave a<br />

legacy in this role for the next generation of<br />

companies and individuals coming through.”<br />



in brief...<br />

Clive Wratten on Brexit...<br />

“We’re no different to any<br />

other industry in that we<br />

just want clarity and<br />

direction because when<br />

you don’t have that it<br />

creates noise. We just want<br />

to get it sorted. But when<br />

we do come out of Europe,<br />

business travel will be<br />

central to shoring up<br />

relationships and sealing<br />

deals around the world.”<br />

On sustainability….<br />

“It would be foolhardy of<br />

anyone to say that it’s not<br />

here to stay this time. But<br />

sustainability is not just<br />

the ‘green’ piece, which is<br />

hugely important, but it’s<br />

also the sustainability of<br />

this industry. It’s about<br />

bringing new blood into it,<br />

doing business more<br />

efficiently, and making sure<br />

that when we are sending<br />

people away we’re doing it<br />

in a sustainable way.”<br />

On life away from work…<br />

“I am a Reading FC fan and<br />

it’s my 20th season as a<br />

season ticket holder at the<br />

Royals. That is my first love<br />

outside of my family.”<br />


Clive Wratten joined the <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Association<br />

(BTA) as Chief Executive in September <strong>2019</strong>, taking<br />

over from Adrian Parkes. Wratten was previously<br />

CEO at travel management company Amber Road.<br />

His extensive career in the travel industry has also<br />

included roles with Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qantas<br />

and British Airways, plus HRG and American Express<br />

Global <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

On travel destinations…<br />

“Having had years of<br />

working for airlines and<br />

enjoying concession tickets<br />

on long-haul carriers, I’ve<br />

not visited Europe much on<br />

holiday. But we have been<br />

exploring it much more<br />

since I left Etihad and I'm<br />

really in love with the Med<br />

at the moment – Greece<br />

and Turkey in particular.”<br />



AWARDS<br />

meet the winner<br />


Click <strong>Travel</strong>’s CEO Jill Palmer celebrates the company’s Account Management Team<br />

triumph at the <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People Awards <strong>2019</strong><br />

How did it feel to be<br />

named Account<br />

Management Team of<br />

the Year at the awards?<br />

We were ecstatic! Click<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> has had such a<br />

great 12 months – we’ve<br />

broken our own records for retention, sales<br />

and satisfaction. It was brilliant to see that<br />

recognised. I’m so proud of the team,<br />

they’ve worked incredibly hard and truly<br />

deserved this accolade.<br />

Why did you enter the awards or how did<br />

you come to be nominated?<br />

We decided to enter after the tireless work<br />

the team had put in to hit some huge<br />

milestones. <strong>The</strong>y have landed 55 new<br />

clients in the last 12 months, achieving a<br />

24.8% increase in total sales and helping<br />

to secure our status as the country’s<br />

fastest-growing large TMC. <strong>The</strong>y have also<br />

played a pivotal role in moving more than<br />

1,000 customers on to our brand new<br />

booking platform.<br />

Tell us about the role of the team<br />

and the work they did to<br />

clinch the award?<br />

What they did to<br />

successfully transition all<br />

of our clients to the<br />

new booking platform<br />

was exceptional, with<br />

many evenings and<br />

weekends dedicated<br />

to seeing the job<br />

through. This<br />

commitment to their<br />

customers is reflected in an<br />

industry leading retention<br />

rate of 98%, and a booking to<br />

complaint percentage of just 0.005%.<br />

What does the team particularly enjoy<br />

about the role they play in the industry?<br />

Our account managers love the challenges<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> People Awards<br />

recognise outstanding<br />

individuals and teams across<br />

all aspects of the supplier<br />

element of corporate travel.<br />

Nominations for the 2020<br />

awards will open in<br />

January<br />

the job brings, working with our customers<br />

to help them make savings in their business<br />

travel – in some instances of up to 38%. We<br />

listen to their needs, and that’s why we’ve<br />

seen such great success.<br />

What do you think of <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> People<br />

Awards and of the<br />

winners’ event?<br />

It’s a great way to<br />

connect with our<br />

peers in the sector<br />

and celebrate the<br />

current strength of<br />

the industry. <strong>The</strong><br />

winners’ event at <strong>The</strong><br />

Shard was also fantastic,<br />

giving the team the chance<br />

to celebrate their success. We<br />

also loved our caricatures – we’re<br />

planning to display them in the office!<br />

What impact do you think winning will<br />

have on the team and their careers?<br />

Our team is an ambitious bunch and being<br />

Commitment to<br />

customers is reflected<br />

in an industry leading<br />

retention rate of 98% and<br />

a booking to complaint<br />

percentage of just 0.005%”<br />

awarded for their exceptional effort will<br />

only spur them on even more. Winning<br />

the award will also help us to continue<br />

recruiting the highest calibre of new team<br />

members, as well as continuing to promote<br />

from within the business.<br />

What are some of the biggest challenges<br />

the team are currently facing in their<br />

various roles?<br />

Because the team has been performing so<br />

well, we have had a record year for sales.<br />

That means we have had a lot of new<br />

customers to implement so they smoothly<br />

settle into life with Click <strong>Travel</strong>. It’s a<br />

challenge, but it’s a great one to have.<br />




When work takes you on the road, we take care of you.<br />

All of the amenities you love, right in the heart of Back Bay.<br />

loewshotels.com/boston<br />

Untitled-8 1 11/09/<strong>2019</strong> 10:02


For travel buyers,<br />

it’s a golden age of<br />

choice; for too long, premium<br />

economy has meant too many<br />

different things”<br />



Up and<br />

away<br />

Cost-conscious corporates are now looking more favourably<br />

at premium economy, prompting carriers to refresh their<br />

offerings. Gary Noakes assesses the latest cabin upgrades<br />

Virgin Atlantic<br />

Not that long ago, premium<br />

economy either didn’t exist on<br />

most airlines or was merely an<br />

option that offered a seat a tiny bit wider<br />

and with slightly more legroom.<br />

Now, premium economy generally offers a<br />

very distinct product, with a separate cabin<br />

and a spacious seat with a good recline, plus<br />

upgraded food service on designer plates<br />

and branded amenities to match.<br />

It has been a long time coming. It was first<br />

introduced by EVA Air way back in 1991, but<br />

it has taken until this year for all the major<br />

US carriers to finally accept that premium<br />

economy didn’t just mean paying extra to sit<br />

at the front of the economy section with a<br />

little more space but the same food and<br />

beverage offering.<br />

For travel managers, it’s a golden age of<br />

choice. For far too long, premium economy<br />

has meant too many different things and the<br />

consistency now in the market offers a<br />

degree of certainty not seen before.<br />

Moreover, a glaring gap in the premium<br />

economy sector among the big Middle East<br />

carriers is being filled – at least by one of the<br />

region’s three major airlines – meaning that<br />

there are more premium economy options<br />

when flying eastwards too.<br />

Premium economy falls into the economy<br />

booking category for most corporates, but it<br />

is not without its sceptics. Many will point<br />

out that it is comparatively poor value for<br />

money considering it offers a limited space<br />

in which to work and, most importantly, rest,<br />

compared to business class.<br />

Rate expectations<br />

Published premium economy fares can be<br />

almost double economy rates and, as such,<br />

it is a purchase often best made close to<br />

departure or, in some cases, at the very last<br />

minute. It is then that the differential<br />

between full-fare economy and premium<br />

economy can become very slim. Moreover,<br />

many airlines sell upgrades at check-in at<br />

knock-down rates when flights have spare<br />

seats – not that this helps buyers making<br />

purchases ahead of departure.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is more awareness of, and demand<br />

for, premium economy generally, but the<br />

cabin’s impact on corporate sales is<br />

surprisingly small, according to one leading<br />

brand. <strong>The</strong>re is no generic market data on<br />

premium economy, but American Express<br />

Global <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>’s own figures show<br />

sales declining and making up less than 1%<br />

of its overall business.<br />

<br />



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British Airways<br />

Jennifer Charlton, GBT’s Vice President<br />

Global Supplier Relations, EMEA, admits this<br />

might not be representative industry-wide.<br />

She believes in recent years that more<br />

competitive business class fares have<br />

suppressed demand for premium economy<br />

seats, but notes that “our consultancy team<br />

say it’s becoming much more common to ask<br />

for premium economy.”<br />

Charlton continues: “We’re seeing premium<br />

economy requested as part of contracting –<br />

we’re being asked for three classes at RFP<br />

stage.” Rates, however, may be a hurdle at<br />

the early booking stage. “Sometimes the<br />

advance purchase price can be 85% more<br />

than economy. It’s one of the highestyielding<br />

sales for airlines if they get early<br />

business,” she explains.<br />

However, late bookings can often see rates<br />

only 35% higher than economy and then<br />

there are sales at the airport – depending on<br />

how liberal a corporate’s policy is – plus the<br />

potential to upgrade using points.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se can fall under the radar, so premium<br />

economy’s part of the mix is probably<br />

greater than it appears. It should be more<br />

so, with the range of new cabins coming<br />

online. Charlton singles out the US carriers<br />

for “leading the march” at the moment, but<br />

Sometimes the<br />

advance purchase<br />

price can be 85% more<br />

than economy. It’s one of<br />

the highest-yielding sales<br />

for airlines”<br />

they are among a host of new products for<br />

buyers to choose from.<br />

Each year there are more premium<br />

economy converts among airlines around<br />

the world, but two of the earliest were British<br />

Airways and Virgin Atlantic and the new<br />

cabins from these two carriers unveiled<br />

earlier this year were eagerly awaited.<br />

Both airlines revealed updates on new<br />

Airbus A350 aircraft. BA has opted for a<br />

cabin of 56 seats – the same number on this<br />

aircraft as in Club World – in a 2-4-2 layout.<br />

New additions include upgraded soft<br />

<br />

EL AL Airlines, Israel’s national carrier, proudly offers<br />

more non-stop flights than any other carrier to/<br />

from Israel with up to total of 30 weekly direct flights<br />

from 3 UK airports - London Heathrow, Luton and<br />

Manchester Airports, embodying Israel’s values of<br />

innovation, warmth and its genuine Israeli hospitality.<br />

Our route expansion momentum does not stop here.<br />

This year, we’ve added Tel Aviv to Nice, Las Vegas, San<br />

Francisco, Orlando and Chicago.<br />

From March 2020, EL AL Will Be the First Airline to<br />

Offer Nonstop Scheduled Flights from Tel Aviv to Tokyo<br />

with 3 weekly flights on our new 787 Dreamliner and<br />

new non-stop flights from Dusseldorf and Dublin<br />

starting from May 2020.<br />

With a full Boeing fleet, EL AL operates the<br />

787-Dreamliner aircrafts from London Heathrow,<br />

3 cabins to choose from – <strong>Business</strong>, Premium &<br />

Economy.<br />

Our Premium offers spacious seating and a greater<br />

seat recline, a 13” high quality HD screens, pampering<br />

service in a separate cabin and extra baggage<br />

allowance.<br />

El Al introduced Six Freedom Fares from the UK to the<br />

Far East and South Africa in <strong>Business</strong> and Economy<br />

Class with free stopover in Tel Aviv.<br />


To book contact your agent or call +44 20 7624 9708 or visit www.elal.co.uk


<strong>The</strong> Middle East<br />

carriers have long<br />

resisted premium economy,<br />

perhaps because their<br />

business cabins are so<br />

price-competitive”<br />

furnishings, a revamped amenity kit and<br />

“improved” dining experience. <strong>The</strong> cabin<br />

debuted on A350 services to Dubai from<br />

September 2 and to Toronto from <strong>Oct</strong>ober 1,<br />

with Tel Aviv and Bengaluru to follow.<br />

Meanwhile, Virgin’s first A350 commenced<br />

operations between Heathrow and New<br />

York JFK on September 10. Its new premium<br />

economy cabin has more storage, 13.3-inch<br />

screens and leather seats, also in a 2-4-2<br />

configuration. <strong>The</strong> 56 seats are 18.5 inches<br />

wide with a seven-inch recline. A new<br />

“intuitive” IFE system can be controlled<br />

through passengers’ electronic devices.<br />

Brit of alright<br />

BA and Virgin’s product has had particular<br />

impact across the Atlantic, as the tardiest<br />

adopters of premium economy have been<br />

the US carriers. However, this year, the big<br />

three are now well up to scratch.<br />

In 2016, American Airlines was the first US<br />

carrier to introduce premium economy, with<br />

seats having the standard 38-inch pitch, but<br />

it took until August this year to complete the<br />

installation across its wide-body Boeing 777,<br />

787 and Airbus A330-200 fleet.<br />

American now boasts 3,025 seats in its<br />

premium economy cabins, more than that<br />

Delta Premium Select<br />

ANA<br />

offered by its US rivals combined. Another<br />

12 Boeing 787s fitted with the cabin enter<br />

service next year, boosting its premium<br />

economy capacity by 10%. American is the<br />

first of the major US carriers to complete its<br />

refit, with its two main rivals still having<br />

some way to go.<br />

Delta Air Lines announced its premium<br />

economy intentions in 2017 with its Premium<br />

Select product, debuting it on new Airbus<br />

A350s with 48 seats in a 2-4-2 layout.<br />

At 18.5 inches wide, A350 seats are only<br />

half an inch wider than economy, and on<br />

A350 routes, Premium Select is the only<br />

available move up from coach, as these<br />

aircraft do not offer Delta’s Comfort+ extra<br />

legroom economy option.<br />

Premium Select has been fitted to some<br />

Boeing 777s on which seats are 19 inches<br />

wide, but the only European route option so<br />

far is Amsterdam-Detroit. From <strong>Nov</strong>ember<br />

13, however, refitted Boeing 767-400s will<br />

offer Premium Select on Heathrow-Atlanta.<br />

It will then appear on flights from Heathrow<br />

to JFK from <strong>Nov</strong>ember 17 and to Boston<br />

from <strong>Nov</strong>ember 21. Next summer, the new<br />

product will also be offered on flights from<br />

Heathrow to Detroit, Portland and<br />

Minneapolis. <strong>The</strong> 767s will feature 20 seats<br />

in a 2-2-2 layout and offer Delta’s latest “fixed<br />

tablet” streamed entertainment system.<br />

United Airlines’ premium economy cabin,<br />

Premium Plus, made its debut in March, with<br />

22 routes now offering it, including one daily<br />

Heathrow-San Francisco frequency and its<br />

Dublin-Newark service. From September, all<br />

five daily Heathrow-Newark flights will offer<br />

Premium Plus. Like its US rivals, United offers<br />

branded pillows and bedding, noisecancelling<br />

headphones and, at 19 inches,<br />

seats are two inches wider than economy.<br />

United also continues to sell its Economy<br />

Plus extra legroom option in coach class.<br />

Gulf scores<br />

<strong>The</strong> Middle East carriers have long resisted<br />

bringing premium economy onboard,<br />

perhaps because their business class cabins<br />

are price-competitive and so having a lower<br />

price option in the form of premium<br />

economy could dilute revenue.<br />

Emirates, however, is taking the plunge<br />

from next year, although its premium<br />

economy ambitions may be as much about<br />

what it has planned for its main cabin.<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline’s president, Tim Clark, has<br />

spoken of ambitions to compete with lowcost<br />

airlines in offering “three or four types”<br />

of economy fare with optional extras via a<br />

sophisticated digital platform. A premium<br />

economy cabin would allow Emirates to<br />

further differentiate its offering by permitting<br />

economy customers to upgrade away from<br />

the basic concept.<br />

Initial reports are that Emirates will opt for<br />

a railway-style “sleeperette” seat with a <br />


CABIN<br />

• Fully enclosed high privacy cabin<br />

• 21 seats in 3 rows only<br />

Premium<br />

Economy<br />

SEATS<br />

Ergonomic<br />

leather headrest<br />

One of the largest HD<br />

screens in Europe (13.3”)<br />

Individual<br />

center armrest<br />

Generous 40 degrees recline<br />

(56% more than in Economy)<br />

23% more legroom<br />

than in Economy<br />


3-course meal, including a fresh starter<br />

and ice cream<br />

Hot towel service<br />

Handheld IFE remote<br />

AC and USB power outlets at each seat<br />


Free advanced seat reservation<br />

2pcs check-in luggage allowance<br />

Lounge access in BRU (for € 25)<br />

Premium check-in counter<br />

(BRU only)<br />

Untitled-1 1 16/09/<strong>2019</strong> 10:01


Qatar Airways’<br />

Chief Executive<br />

Akbar Al Baker boldly<br />

claimed his passengers<br />

would be more comfortable<br />

in its new economy seats<br />

‘than in a premium economy<br />

cabin with another airline’”<br />

Japan Airlines<br />

10-inch recline, harking back to airline<br />

business classes of yesteryear. <strong>The</strong> seat will<br />

not be a fixed shell, which Clark regards as a<br />

business class proposition. “We’re trying to<br />

trade people up from economy, not down<br />

from business,” he says.<br />

Etihad has taken a different approach<br />

involving much less outlay, offering Economy<br />

Space seats on Airbus A380s. It is essentially<br />

an economy seat with an extra five inches of<br />

legroom. Seats are in their own section, but it<br />

is definitely not a premium economy product.<br />

Qatar Airways, meanwhile, is sticking to its<br />

belief that its economy cabin is so good it<br />

does not need premium economy. Unveiling<br />

a new economy seat in March, Chief Executive<br />

Akbar Al Baker boldly claimed his passengers<br />

would be more comfortable in Qatar<br />

Airways’ economy seats “than in a premium<br />

economy cabin with another airline”.<br />

Others doubtless disagree; including Air<br />

France, Brussels Airlines and ANA, which all<br />

revealed new cabins this year. Finnair has<br />

also announced the introduction of a fullyfledged<br />

premium economy product on its<br />

long-haul services towards the end of next<br />

year, though details are still to be released.<br />

Air France unveiled its new product in<br />

February, including a redesigned premium<br />

economy section that will be retrofitted to<br />

15 Airbus A330s by next year. <strong>The</strong> cabin’s<br />

21 seats in a 2-4-2 layout are of generous<br />

proportions, being 19 inches wide with a<br />

40-inch pitch. <strong>The</strong> cabin – with 24 seats – is<br />

also on Air France’s first Airbus A350 that<br />

debuts on Paris-Abidjan from <strong>Oct</strong>ober and<br />

Paris-Toronto in <strong>Nov</strong>ember.<br />

Brussels Airlines entered the premium<br />

economy market this year with cabins<br />

featuring 21 seats (which have a 38-inch<br />

pitch and 40-degree recline) in a 2-3-2<br />

configuration. <strong>The</strong> option is already available<br />

on flights to North America and is now being<br />

rolled out on services from Brussels to Africa,<br />

beginning with Kinshasa and Luanda from<br />

<strong>Oct</strong>ober. <strong>The</strong> conversion of its entire longhaul<br />

fleet should be completed by mid-2020.<br />

ANA’s new premium economy concept by<br />

V&A Dundee architect Kengo Kuma and<br />

British consultancy Acumen, has been<br />

available on Boeing 777-330ERs flying the<br />

Heathrow-Tokyo Haneda NH211/12<br />

frequency since August. <strong>The</strong> new cabin was<br />

due to be on each of the carrier’s London-<br />

Haneda flights from September.<br />

When “starchitects” like Kuma have a hand<br />

in designing a cabin, you know that premium<br />

economy has really arrived.<br />



Air Canada • Air China • Air France •<br />

Air New Zealand • American Airlines •<br />

ANA All Nippon Airways • British Airways •<br />

Brussels Airlines • Cathay Pacific • China<br />

Southern • Delta Air Lines • EL AL • EVA Air •<br />

Finnair • Iberia • Japan Airlines • KLM •<br />

Lufthansa • LATAM • Malaysia Airlines •<br />

Norwegian • Qantas Airways • Singapore<br />

Airlines • TAP Portugal • United Airlines •<br />

Vietnam Airlines • Virgin Atlantic • WestJet<br />




meet<br />

Jimena Alvarez Vallina<br />

As travel manager for a mobile gaming giant, Jimena Alvarez Vallina has to<br />

manage lots of trendy creatives. But do they stick to the policy?<br />

I started in the business travel industry<br />

in 2011 at American Express GBT, where<br />

I was working in operations on various<br />

tech projects and managing supplier<br />

relationships. In 2015, I took a role in<br />

Global <strong>Business</strong> Consulting as an outsourced<br />

service excellence manager at a pharmaceutical<br />

company, and since 2016 I have<br />

been the outsourced travel manager of a<br />

mobile gaming company.<br />

I am responsible for the travel<br />

programme in terms of sourcing and<br />

relationships mainly with hotels and<br />

supporting the airline programme.<br />

I also manage the relationship with the<br />

TMC; supervise, investigate and resolve any<br />

internal or external complaints that arise;<br />

define, negotiate and execute the hotel<br />

programme; and I have responsibility for<br />

the configuration of the online booking tool.<br />

I also work with the data team tracking and<br />

reporting on CO2 emissions from travel,<br />

and advising on best practices on how to<br />

reduce and offset them.<br />

All my time is spent<br />

managing the travel<br />

programme and<br />

providing support on<br />

various projects. I am<br />

not necessarily<br />

involved in travel<br />

arrangements – nor<br />

do we have a team of<br />

bookers – but I am<br />

happy to provide<br />

assistance if anyone<br />

requires my intervention.<br />

It’s company policy for the<br />

organisation for everyone to make<br />

their own reservations through the booking<br />

tool or by contacting the travel agency.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company has approximately 2,000<br />

employees globally and, on average, some<br />

350 employees travel every month. Around<br />


"I love to explore new<br />

cultures and to learn from other<br />

people’s experiences. South East<br />

Asia is where I feel life in all its<br />

splendour, and before the end of<br />

the year I am hoping to<br />

complete my diving<br />

certification"<br />

90% of our travel takes place between the<br />

nine offices the business has across the<br />

United States and Europe where the<br />

company operates.<br />

Based on the nature<br />

of the industry,<br />

employees' travel<br />

plans are constantly<br />

changing. And as our<br />

offices are located<br />

in very popular<br />

destinations – such as<br />

London, San Francisco<br />

and Barcelona – it is<br />

important for us to have the<br />

right strategy in place to keep<br />

the costs within budget and to<br />

guarantee hotel availability.<br />

We work with American Express Global<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> and we have an online<br />

booking tool. I'm satisfied with the<br />

performance and the service levels of both<br />

companies. <strong>The</strong> online adoption is 85%,<br />

which reflects how effective both the tool<br />

and travel policy are. <strong>The</strong> company has a<br />

comprehensive and effective travel policy<br />

that applies to all employee levels.<br />

Compliance levels are very good.<br />

We expect very high levels of service to<br />

be provided by our suppliers, so one of<br />

our main challenges is that I have to make<br />

sure our expectations are met. Equally, if<br />

there are any issues that arise I have to<br />

make sure they are immediately solved.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s offices<br />

are located in very<br />

popular destinations. <strong>The</strong><br />

key is to have the right<br />

strategy in place to keep the<br />

costs within budget and to<br />

guarantee hotel availability”<br />





<strong>The</strong> workforce is filling up with staff who have grown up around online technology<br />

and that is heightening the need for travel to adapt, writes<br />

In the next decade the majority of<br />

the world’s population will belong<br />

to a “post-digital generation”,<br />

according to a report from aviation<br />

technology specialist SITA.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report is referring to those who have<br />

grown up immersed in online technology,<br />

and mobile devices – and grown used to<br />

managing their lives – with them.<br />

It’s a sobering thought when you consider<br />

the high expectations of this generation<br />

(born from 1981 onwards) and their impact<br />

on corporate life – including their travel<br />

behaviour – going forward.<br />

<strong>The</strong> SITA 2025: Air <strong>Travel</strong> for a Digital Age<br />

report reveals more than 80% of airline and<br />

airport IT leaders believe the changing<br />

demographic will be the “most important<br />

influence” on their digital strategy by 2025.<br />

And, according to the study, the<br />

demographic expects travel to be selfservice<br />

– using mobile devices, apps and<br />

chatbots – and totally seamless.<br />

Technology is already being used by<br />

most passengers across a journey,<br />

says SITA’s Passenger IT Insights<br />

<strong>2019</strong>, with more than 50%<br />

using technology to check-in for their flight.<br />

In addition, an increasing number of<br />

travellers are using automated gates at<br />

passport control too.<br />

In the not too distant future, further steps<br />

towards seamless travel will come with the<br />

use of mobile devices for identification<br />

whether that's through biometric or<br />

possibly blockchain technologies.<br />

SITA’s research reveals that 59% of<br />

passengers are ‘very willing’ to use their<br />

mobiles for ID verification along the<br />

journey, with another third open to the idea.<br />

<strong>The</strong> study also shows that more than 50%<br />

of air transport IT leaders view biometric<br />

travel tokens as the main driver for change<br />

in the future passenger experience.<br />

A number of initiatives in this area are<br />

already under way with industry<br />

stakeholders including<br />

59% of airline<br />

passengers are<br />

‘very willing’ to use their<br />

mobiles for ID verification<br />

along the journey”<br />

Amadeus with its Digital <strong>Travel</strong>ler ID and<br />

IATA through its One ID projects.<br />

Meanwhile, the Known <strong>Travel</strong>ler Digital<br />

Identity project from the World Economic<br />

Forum and a number of partners, took a<br />

step forward in July with the launch of a<br />

‘paperless travel’ pilot between Canada<br />

and the Netherlands.<br />

<strong>The</strong> SITA report says that by 2025, the<br />

number of people using a governmentissued<br />

digital ID will rise from a predicted<br />

1.7billion in <strong>2019</strong> to more than 5billion in<br />

2024. <strong>The</strong> study also shows that by 2021,<br />

more than 70% of airlines plan to invest in<br />

biometric ID solutions and almost half of<br />

airports are planning to employ secure<br />

single tokens across all touchpoints.<br />

Chatbots are a further area of<br />

development, with 25% of airlines<br />

already using artificial intelligence-<br />

driven chatbots and another 55%<br />

expecting to do so by 2021.<br />

EasyJet went a step further<br />

recently with an announcement<br />

about adding voice search to<br />

its mobile app. <strong>The</strong> 'Speak<br />

Now' technology has been<br />

developed by <strong>Travel</strong>port and will enable<br />

travellers to search flight options by saying<br />

their destination, dates and preferred<br />

airports to their device. Voice booking will<br />

undoubtedly come further down the road,<br />

with EasyJet or other airlines.<br />

With an increasingly tech-driven workforce<br />

and growing investment from governments,<br />

airlines and other travel companies, the<br />

concept of seamless travel is getting a little<br />

closer to reality. •<br />




Savouring the world<br />

prue leith<br />

<strong>The</strong> Great British Bake Off judge, restaurateur, chef, author and novelist speaks to<br />

Angela Sara West about her prolific travels and culinary adventures<br />

Well-travelled cookery queen Prue<br />

Leith enjoys a good bake-off in<br />

Berkshire. “I love Welford Park,<br />

and hanging out there with Paul, Sandi and<br />

Noel. <strong>The</strong> owners fixed up an old barn as a<br />

comfy make-up and wardrobe room, so we<br />

don’t have to rock about in a Winnebago!”<br />

When not filming for the hit BBC baking<br />

show, she’s on the road promoting her<br />

books, new glasses for Ronit Furst, or her<br />

itchy feet whisk her overseas.<br />

“I’m in Scotland – where I am Chancellor of<br />

Queen Margaret University – three times a<br />

year, all over England, Ireland and Wales for<br />

food and literary festivals promoting my<br />

cookbooks or novels twice a month, and I<br />

visit Europe a couple of times annually.<br />

“Since I met my husband, John, eight years<br />

ago, we’ve been to Oman, the Far East, India,<br />

Bhutan – from where I famously tweeted the<br />

winner of ‘Bake Off’! – Latin America, Dubai<br />

for their famous Desert Literary festival, and<br />

elsewhere. We discovered Segways in<br />

Savannah, Georgia, which was a great way to<br />

see all the 18th-century colonial houses along<br />

streets which would have taken ages on foot.”<br />

Leith’s also journeyed to Lesotho, taken a<br />

walking trip in Transylvania, visited Uruguay<br />

after an Argentinian riding experience, cruised<br />

the Med and the Nile, and been ballooning in<br />

Turkey. She’s also relished tackling extreme<br />

climates, with road trips through the Arizona<br />

desert, California and Utah.<br />

She says Laos (where she slept in a tribal<br />

chief’s hut) surprised her the most. Any other<br />

places that score highly in this cook’s book?<br />

“Bhutan, because it was so very different<br />

from neighbouring India. It was very<br />

underpopulated, the people are still largely in<br />

national dress and devoted to their royal<br />

family; the Buddhist temples dominate life.”<br />

Leith describes her recent trip to Tokyo and<br />

Naoshima in Japan as “the experience of a<br />

lifetime”, which took 50 years for her to “dare<br />

visit” due to it being so different and a place<br />

where English is barely spoken. “But that, I<br />

discovered, is the attraction,” she adds.<br />

As a child, Leith sailed with Winston<br />

Churchill, who disembarked at Madeira. She<br />

recently visited the island’s famous Belmond<br />

Reid’s Palace, following in his footsteps.<br />

Once you’ve packed,<br />

take half of it out to<br />

make room for an empty<br />

fold-up bag to fill with lovely<br />

things while you are away!”<br />

“Reid’s holds a food festival, <strong>The</strong> Art of<br />

Flavours, and we just missed it. I’ll be back!”<br />

Her time spent studying at Cordon Bleu in<br />

Paris hugely inspired her career. “France<br />

taught me that food was to be taken<br />

seriously. Everyone talked about food…<br />

something no-one did in South Africa.”<br />

Leith returns to her birthplace, Cape Town,<br />

every year. “As a child, I hated what was then<br />

called the Game Reserve (now the National<br />

Park) but now I love a safari. Best of all is<br />

Baroque in the Bush, a weird combination of<br />

classical music and safari, and then a braai<br />

with a lot of beer and wine,” she says.<br />

This summer saw her set sail on a river<br />

cruise along the Rhone, discovering the<br />

gastronomic heart of France and giving a<br />

demonstration for Good Housekeeping. “It was<br />

brilliant, especially considering I was in a<br />

wheelchair with a busted Achilles tendon!”<br />

Glamis Castle and Ballindolloch were<br />

highlights of her honeymoon (second time<br />

around) aboard Belmond’s Royal Scotsman<br />

train for a grand tour of Scottish castles. And<br />

Scotland is back on the menu for Leith’s<br />

milestone 80th birthday next year. “Fly-fishing<br />

on the Naver with a dozen friends. We’re also<br />

going around the west coast on the Puffer,<br />

the only remaining steam-powered boat. “<br />

So, where can we find the world’s best<br />

food? “For France, I’m out of date now. Sadly,<br />

the famous routiers where you used to get<br />

amazing food, cooked from scratch, now turn<br />

out indifferent baguettes<br />

“But Italy and Japan, obviously; Southern<br />

India and, surprisingly, parts of America. I had<br />

the best grilled octopus in a Greek restaurant<br />

in Atlanta, and we were knocked out by all<br />

the local breweries making really cool beer.”<br />

Her top travel tips? “Once you’ve packed,<br />

take half of it out to make room for an empty<br />

fold-up bag to fill with lovely things while you<br />

are away! I constantly bring back cooking<br />

equipment; I have a hopper pan from the<br />

Maldives, a chapati iron from India, and<br />

teppanyaki tools from Japan.”<br />

When not cooking, judging, writing or<br />

promoting, where rates highly for relaxation?<br />

“My idea of R&R is a nice beach, a hammock<br />

and a piña colada. I once risked one of those<br />

expensive Austrian medical spas that feed<br />

you hayflower tea and little else, make you<br />

eat your stale spelt biscuit in silence, and<br />

believe in colonic irrigation. I hated it!”<br />




Prue Leith’s latest book, <strong>The</strong> Lost Son, published by<br />

Quercus, is out now. Her new eyewear collection, Prue<br />

by Ronit Furst, is available in independent opticians<br />

across the UK and Ireland, see: pruebyronitfurst.com<br />

For further information, visit prue-leith.com<br />



Box, Box, Box...<br />

We enable<br />

agencies and<br />

industry partners<br />

to perform better.<br />

www.blackboxpartnerships.co.uk @BBPartnerships @blackboxpartnerships<br />

Untitled-2 1 28/01/<strong>2019</strong> 09:45


the<br />

Review<br />



[ the lowdown ]<br />

Airfares and hotel rates<br />

expected to rise in 2020<br />

p46<br />

[ in the air ]<br />

LATAM debuts Premium<br />

<strong>Business</strong> class product<br />

p48<br />

[ meeting place ]<br />

London takes top spot for<br />

meetings and events<br />

p52<br />

[ on the ground ]<br />

Research warns of<br />

'grey fleet' dangers<br />

p53<br />

[ room report ]<br />

Accor launches new<br />

economy brand, Greet<br />

p51<br />

O N T H E M O V E I<br />

<strong>The</strong> latest industry appointments p54<br />




T H E L O W D O W N<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Fairfly targets health<br />

Airfare price assurance<br />

specialist Fairfly has<br />

released a new wellness<br />

programme that enables<br />

users to see the impact<br />

of frequent travel on<br />

employees’ physical and<br />

mental health. Fairfly<br />

Wellness examines data<br />

and delivers insights on<br />

the negative impacts of<br />

factors including delays,<br />

red-eye flights, layovers,<br />

weekends away and airline<br />

quality to help identify<br />

‘at-risk’ employees.<br />

Arbitrip room tool<br />

Online booking tool<br />

Arbitrip has added a new<br />

feature that guarantees<br />

business travellers get the<br />

best hotel rates even after<br />

booking. <strong>The</strong> monitoring<br />

mechanism automatically<br />

rebooks accommodation<br />

at a lower rate if a price<br />

drop occurs.<br />

Stress in spotlight<br />

Nearly one in five business<br />

travellers (18%) say that<br />

work trips leave them<br />

stressed and exhausted,<br />

while 20% would like their<br />

employers to be more<br />

aware of the effects of<br />

business travel on their<br />

health. <strong>The</strong> survey by<br />

exclusiveprivatevillas.com<br />

also revealed that poorly<br />

organised trips cause<br />

stress levels to rocket.<br />

Prices to rise on back<br />

of costs and demand<br />

HOTEL rates and airfares are set to increase in 2020,<br />

according to the latest forecast from BCD <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

Driven by demand and high occupancy rates, hotel prices<br />

will rise by 1%-3%, while airlines will hike fares by an average<br />

1%-2% to compensate for higher fuel and labour costs.<br />

Rate increases will be higher in Asia, particularly Japan,<br />

host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Vietnam, where<br />

both leisure and business travel demand is strong.<br />

BCD’s 2020 Industry Forecast predicts that airfares in Latin<br />

America will experience the largest increase, jumping 3%,<br />

while intercontinental business class fares will remain flat.<br />

Strong demand will boost hotel occupancy, with Asia, the US<br />

and Canada seeing average rises of 2%-4%. “Buyers face the<br />

prospect of a slowdown in advanced economies, while the<br />

performance of emerging markets improves,” says BCD’s<br />

Director for Research and Intelligence, Mike Eggleton.<br />



THE <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Associaton<br />

(BTA) has welcomed eight new<br />

TMC members since rebranding<br />

from the GTMC in July.<br />

Newly signed up are Belfast’s<br />

Beyond <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>; Global<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Management and Omega<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>, both based in<br />

Surrey; London-based ABT UK,<br />

part of Amsalem <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Global Group; Quintessentially<br />

CTM, which has operations in<br />

London and New York; Kent’s<br />

Sunways <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>; <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Company Edinburgh; and<br />

Gloucestershire’s Wotton <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

£355.95<br />

<strong>The</strong> amount that UK<br />

business travellers<br />

contribute to local<br />

economies per week,<br />

excluding hotel spend,<br />

says Homelike<br />



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

TBTM SOCIAL ADS_NEW.indd 1<br />

5/30/19 05:37 PM


T H E L O W D O W N<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Reed & Mackay move<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> management<br />

company Reed & Mackay<br />

has acquired <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Direct (BTD), a<br />

division of Ickenham<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> Group, as part of its<br />

global growth strategy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s latest<br />

merger follows its<br />

takeover last year of<br />

Hillgate <strong>Travel</strong> and its<br />

more recent acquisition<br />

of the Concierge <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Group in Australia, and<br />

takes its combined<br />

turnover to more than<br />

£750million.<br />

Learned friends<br />

<strong>The</strong> Southern Universities<br />

Purchasing Consortium<br />

(SUPC) has named Clarity,<br />

Click <strong>Travel</strong>, Diversity<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>, Key <strong>Travel</strong>,<br />

Selective <strong>Travel</strong> and STA<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> as its new travel<br />

management partners,<br />

handling an estimated<br />

£700million in university<br />

spend across the UK.<br />

<strong>The</strong> arrangement, which<br />

covers staff travel and<br />

some student group travel,<br />

runs until August 2023.<br />

GBT sails with Kanoo<br />

American Express Global<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> (GBT) has<br />

acquired a controlling<br />

stake in Kanoo <strong>Travel</strong>, one<br />

of the leading travel<br />

management companies in<br />

the Middle East.<br />

Kanoo <strong>Travel</strong> has been a<br />

member of GBT’s global<br />

travel partner network for<br />

many years, and operates<br />

in the United Arab<br />

Emirates, Saudi Arabia,<br />

Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.<br />

GBT will hold 65% of the<br />

new joint venture,<br />

headquartered in Dubai,<br />

and assume control of<br />

the business and its<br />

500-plus employees.<br />

Gray Dawes snaps up<br />

rival Amber Road<br />

THE Gray Dawes Group has continued on the acquistion<br />

trail by snapping up rival TMC Amber Road – it's ninth<br />

purchase since 2015. <strong>The</strong> deal pushes the company’s annual<br />

turnover to more than £200million and increases its<br />

workforce to around 300.<br />

Gray Dawes Group bought Manchester-based INC <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Group nine months ago, and the latest purchase – for an<br />

undisclosed fee – further bolsters the TMC's presence in<br />

the north of England.<br />

<strong>The</strong> TMC’s CEO, Suzanne Horner, says: “Contrary to<br />

expectations we weren’t necessarily looking to make any<br />

acquisitions in <strong>2019</strong> but the opportunity to acquire a highly<br />

respected business such as Amber Road <strong>Travel</strong> was a<br />

prospect too tempting not to explore.”<br />









Scott Davies<br />

Chief Executive, ITM<br />

At ITM we’re often asked how<br />

travel buyers and suppliers<br />

should address and corral the<br />

so-called 'millennial traveller',<br />

as if this mercurial generation<br />

is a different species.<br />

That said, half of the global<br />

workforce will be within this<br />

category by next year and so<br />

it does make sense to<br />

consider their tendencies.<br />

Firstly, they have a shorter<br />

attention span than previous<br />

generations. <strong>The</strong>y have more<br />

stuff coming at them; and this<br />

means communication and<br />

interactions need to be<br />

punchy. No 12-page travel<br />

policies here, please.<br />

Secondly, they do everything<br />

via their phone. So<br />

anything meaningful you do<br />

or say must be mobile-driven.<br />

Thirdly, millennials think<br />

that if you have to be shown<br />

how to use something, it’s<br />

rubbish. Think booking tools.<br />

If you need a webinar or<br />

lunch to learn how to make a<br />

booking, it probably hasn’t<br />

been designed well enough.<br />

Finally, this generation blurs<br />

the lines between work and<br />

play. When they travel, they<br />

have a greater appetite to<br />

meet locals, and will certainly<br />

compare how it feels to travel<br />

with one employer versus<br />

another. In competitive<br />

industries this is key to<br />

attracting and retaining the<br />

very best talent.<br />




I N T H E A I R<br />

Virgin and BA bring<br />

new A350s to the fore<br />


LATAM has launched a new<br />

the option for private solo seats or<br />

Premium <strong>Business</strong> class cabin with paired seats with dividers. Each<br />

custom-designed seats and new seat fully reclines to become a bed,<br />

tailored cabin service.<br />

and there is more workspace and<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline’s fleet of Boeing 777s storage than before. A new<br />

is being retrofitted with the cabins culinary concept matches its<br />

and all international services will destination-inspired interiors.<br />

feature the upgrade by May 2020. LATAM currently flies daily<br />

<strong>The</strong> new Premium <strong>Business</strong> between London Heathrow<br />

cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration has and Sao Paulo.<br />

BRITISH Airways and Virgin<br />

Atlantic have put their new<br />

Airbus A350 services into<br />

action, both featuring<br />

new-look premium cabins.<br />

Virgin showcased its<br />

redesigned Upper Class<br />

offering for the A350's<br />

debut on the busy London<br />

Heathrow–New York JFK<br />

route. It features a new Loft<br />

area in the Upper Class<br />

cabin where passengers can<br />

meet, drink and dine.<br />

All seats in the redesigned<br />

business class cabin face<br />

towards the windows and<br />

have enhanced privacy,<br />

adjustable mood lighting<br />

and 18.5-inch screens.<br />

Virgin has ordered 12<br />

A350s, with the first four<br />

dedicated to New York JFK<br />

this year. Los Angeles will<br />

follow in 2020.<br />

Meanwhile, BA deployed<br />

its A350 on Heathrow–Dubai<br />

services. <strong>The</strong> aircraft will<br />

also be used for London<br />

services to Toronto,<br />

Bangalore and Tel Aviv.<br />

<strong>Business</strong> class cabins are<br />

fitted with BA’s new Club<br />

Suites in a 1-2-1 layout.<br />



UK airports are among the worst in the world for<br />

delays, with London Stansted ranked 105th out of 106,<br />

just behind Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International.<br />

Other poor performers in the global study by Stasher<br />

included Manchester Airport in 96th place, Gatwick<br />

(93rd) and Heathrow (65th). Moscow’s Sheremetyevo<br />

International came out on top, also winning plaudits for<br />

the affordable parking, lounges and hotel quality.<br />

84%<br />

positive sentiment for<br />

ANA on social media<br />

ANA All Nippon Airways<br />

is the best performing<br />

airline on social media,<br />

with 84% of mentions<br />

expressing positive<br />

sentiment compared to<br />

57% on average. British<br />

Airways, KLM and Delta<br />

Air Lines were the most<br />

talked about airlines<br />

according to the study<br />

from Awario but had<br />

more mixed feedback<br />

CHECK-IN<br />


Follow us on Twitter @thebiztravmag<br />

TBTM SOCIAL ADS_NEW.indd 2<br />

5/30/19 05:37 PM


I N T H E A I R<br />

IN BRIEF<br />


Wizz at Edinburgh<br />

Budget airline Wizz Air<br />

will begin flights from<br />

Edinburgh Airport this<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember, with four new<br />

routes to the Polish cities<br />

of Warsaw and Gdansk,<br />

Hungarian capital<br />

Budapest and Bucharest in<br />

Romania. It already flies<br />

between Aberdeen and<br />

Gdansk, and from Glasgow<br />

to Budapest and Katowice.<br />

Suite dreams<br />

Air Canada will deploy<br />

Boeing 787 Dreamliner<br />

aircraft on its daily<br />

services between London<br />

Heathrow and Ottawa<br />

– the Canadian capital –<br />

from March 29, 2020.<br />

<strong>The</strong> aircraft features<br />

Air Canada’s Signature<br />

cabin with flatbed<br />

suites and premium<br />

economy seating.<br />

Norwegian blow<br />

Budget airline Norwegian<br />

has halted transatlantic<br />

flights between Ireland<br />

and North America,<br />

claiming the global<br />

grounding of Boeing 737<br />

MAX aircraft had made the<br />

routes no longer viable.<br />

Norwegian had been<br />

forced to hire replacement<br />

aircraft to keep operating<br />

the routes from Dublin,<br />

Cork and Shannon.<br />

Star quality<br />

Star Alliance, whose 28<br />

airline members include<br />

ANA, Lufthansa and United,<br />

has announced a partnership<br />

with NEC Corporation<br />

to develop biometric<br />

data-based identification<br />

to streamline the airport<br />

experience for passengers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first such facility is<br />

expected to go live at a<br />

Star Alliance hub by the<br />

first quarter of 2020.<br />







APD cut would boost<br />

regions, claim MPs<br />

A CROSS-PARTY group of backbench MPs has urged the<br />

government to slash Air Passenger Duty (APD) in order to<br />

boost the economy after Brexit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on<br />

APD Reform says two-thirds of airlines it surveyed would<br />

invest in new routes outside of London and the South East<br />

if APD was cut by 50%, while nine out of 10 airlines would<br />

invest more in existing routes. APD is the highest charge of<br />

its kind in Europe and is more than twice the fee levied in<br />

Germany which imposes the next highest fee.<br />

Conservative MP Henry Smith, Chair of the all-party<br />

parliamentary group, says: “We have the highest aviation<br />

taxes in Europe, and this is simply not sustainable and runs<br />

counter to the government’s aims for a truly global Britain.”<br />

Clive Wratten<br />

Chief Executive, BTA<br />

Reflecting on the so-called<br />

quieter summer season, it<br />

transpired to be anything but.<br />

<strong>The</strong> mercury rose to new<br />

heights and the aviation<br />

sector definitely felt the heat.<br />

Passengers experienced<br />

continuous disruption, finding<br />

themselves wondering if they<br />

were going to be able to<br />

board flights. That’s when<br />

TMCs come to the rescue.<br />

Working closely with<br />

corporates, our members are<br />

ready to offer advice and to<br />

make alternative travel plans<br />

when required to ensure<br />

that business travellers are<br />

taken care of when the<br />

unexpected happens.<br />

Speaking of the heatwave,<br />

it’s an undeniable sign of the<br />

need to be environmentally<br />

minded when choosing to<br />

travel by air. Many big players<br />

in the industry have created<br />

green initiatives, including<br />

platforms allowing passengers<br />

to track and offset their<br />

individual carbon footprint.<br />

Being environmentally savvy<br />

will sometimes require<br />

choosing an alternative to air<br />

travel. Despite recent<br />

downbeat comments from<br />

the Transport Secretary Grant<br />

Shapps, the BTA continues to<br />

support UK infrastructure<br />

improvements, including HS2<br />

and appropriate airport<br />

expansion. <strong>The</strong>y are vital for<br />

the UK economy to thrive.<br />




R O O M R E P O R T<br />

Hyatt at the<br />

double in<br />

Manchester<br />

HYaTT Hotels plans to<br />

open its first two hotels in<br />

Manchester next year, one<br />

of which also marks the<br />

debut of its extended-stay<br />

brand in the UK.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 212-guestroom Hyatt<br />

Regency Manchester Oxford<br />

Road and the 116-room<br />

Hyatt House Manchester<br />

Oxford Road will be located<br />

in the city's landmark Lume<br />

building. <strong>The</strong>y will become<br />

the third Regency branded<br />

hotel in the UK and the first<br />

Hyatt House opening – the<br />

group's long-stay brand –<br />

in the country.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hotels will be located<br />

in the University Quarter, a<br />

ten-minute walk from the<br />

city centre and close to<br />

Manchester Oxford Road<br />

train station. <strong>The</strong> Regency<br />

will feature a 120-seat<br />

restaurant, bar, club lounge<br />

and fitness centre, plus<br />

meeting and events spaces<br />

with capacity for up to 200<br />

delegates.<br />

RESIDEnCE Inn<br />

LooKS noRTH<br />

foR opEnInG<br />

MarrioTT hotels will open its<br />

first Residence Inn in the North<br />

of England, with an extendedstay<br />

property due to open in<br />

Manchester in late 2020.<br />

Cycas Hospitality will operate<br />

the 155-room property located in<br />

Manchester’s Northern Quarter<br />

– a ten-minute walk from<br />

Manchester Piccadilly station.<br />

Eighty-four independent serviced<br />

apartments are already open as<br />

<strong>The</strong> Northern Quarters while the<br />

phased refurbishment takes place.<br />

“We’re confident that the central<br />

location will tap into the growing<br />

demand for alternative accommodation<br />

options from business and<br />

leisure travellers,” says Asli<br />

Kutlucan, Chief Development<br />

Officer at Cycas Hospitality.<br />


>> <strong>The</strong> ACCOR hotel group has opened three new MERCURE<br />

properties, in Bedford, Telford and Nottingham, and will add a<br />

further three, in Cardiff, Birmingham and Harlow, by the end of<br />

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

Executive Serviced Apartments (esa) has re-branded as FLYING<br />

BUTLER APARTMENTS. <strong>The</strong> company has over 400 units across<br />

London and the South East >> Aparthotel operator NATIVE has<br />

opened a 166-unit property in Manchester's Northern Quarter.<br />

It occupies eight floors of a former Victorian warehouse >><br />

FOUR SEASONS has opened a 219-room hotel at the top of<br />

Philadelphia's tallest building, the Comcast Center.<br />

281<br />

<strong>The</strong> number of new hotels<br />

in the<br />

UK's development pipeline<br />

Hotel development<br />

is at a record high in<br />

Europe, according to<br />

the Hotel Monitor 2020.<br />

Germany leads the way<br />

with 379 projects in<br />

the pipeline followed by<br />

the UK with 281 in the<br />

works. London will see<br />

a further 10,000 new<br />

rooms open in <strong>2019</strong> and<br />

2020, helping to keep<br />

rate rises in check<br />



Find us on Linkedin at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

TBTM SOCIAL ADS_NEW.indd 3<br />

5/30/19 05:37 PM


R O O M R E P O R T<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Selina adds Latin flair<br />

Latin American hotel<br />

group Selina has made its<br />

UK debut with the launch<br />

of the Selina NQ1<br />

Manchester. <strong>The</strong> Northern<br />

Quarter property has<br />

37 guestrooms, suites<br />

and shared rooms, a<br />

restaurant, bar, coffee<br />

shop, Irish pub and a<br />

basement club.<br />

CitizenM goes fourth<br />

CitizenM will open a<br />

226-room hotel close to<br />

London Victoria railway<br />

station in 2021, its fourth<br />

hotel in the city. Slated for<br />

a site on Vauxhall Bridge<br />

Road, construction on the<br />

10-storey hotel will begin<br />

in May next year using<br />

CitizenM’s innovative<br />

prefabrication method.<br />

Voco loco<br />

IHG will open its fourth<br />

Voco hotel in the UK<br />

before the year's end.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 201-room hotel in<br />

Reading, currently<br />

operating as the<br />

Millennium Madesjki,<br />

will be transformed to<br />

offer guests "an unstuffy<br />

and exciting new hotel<br />

experience." IHG aims to<br />

open 200 Voco hotels<br />

globally by 2029.<br />

Brand new Hyatt<br />

<strong>The</strong> Hyatt Hotels group<br />

has launched Caption by<br />

Hyatt, a new lifestyle<br />

brand within the select<br />

service category. <strong>The</strong><br />

concept "will bring people<br />

closer together, allowing<br />

them to work, eat or<br />

socialize in comfortable,<br />

flexible, communal spaces<br />

that encourage meaningful<br />

conversations". Hotels will<br />

be located in 'dense' urban<br />

markets and emerging<br />

neighbourhoods.<br />

Greenwich goes RED<br />

thanks to Radisson<br />

radisson Hotel Group will open its third Radisson RED<br />

property in the UK next year, with a London opening joining<br />

existing hotels in Glasgow and Liverpool.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 70-room property from the ‘upscale, lifestyle selectservice’<br />

brand will be located in Greenwich, within walking<br />

distance of the O2 Arena and five miles from London City<br />

Airport. It is part of an £8billion project to redevelop the<br />

capital's Greenwich Peninsula and will also feature a bistro,<br />

bar and gym.<br />

“Radisson Red is for those who wish to stand out of the<br />

crowd and it now lands in London. Opening in 2020, it<br />

perfectly blends business and play around the O2,” says<br />

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development<br />

Officer, Radisson Hotel Group.<br />

ACcor has launched an economy<br />

brand, called greet, that will feature<br />

boutique design hotels with a focus<br />

on upcycling. <strong>The</strong> first has opened in<br />

Beaune, Burgundy, with further<br />

openings planned in paris, lyon and<br />

marseilles. accor aims to have 300<br />

greet properties open by 2030<br />

yotel starts<br />

city centre<br />

programme<br />

YOTEL Edinburgh has opened its<br />

doors to become the brand’s first<br />

city centre hotel in Europe.<br />

<strong>The</strong> property comes as part of<br />

a rapid growth strategy that will<br />

see five Yotels debut across the<br />

continent in the next year in key<br />

locations including Amsterdam,<br />

London and Porto.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 276-room hotel is on bustling<br />

Queen Street, close to the city’s<br />

historic hot-spots. Signature Yotel<br />

features include space-saving<br />

adjustable SmartBeds with Serta<br />

Gel mattresses and amenities<br />

from Urban Skincare.<br />

Rooms also include multiple<br />

power and USB charging ports,<br />

free super-fast wifi, and HD smart<br />

televisions. Additional amenities<br />

include self-service kiosks, a<br />

modern gym and two interconnecting<br />

meeting spaces equipped<br />

with modern AV technology.<br />

<strong>The</strong> hotel also features Imaginex<br />

360-degree projection space for<br />

film screenings, social events,<br />

product launches and meetings.<br />

Listed return<br />

to edinburgh<br />

from IHG<br />

InterContinental Hotels has<br />

returned to Edinburgh with the<br />

opening of the InterContinental<br />

Edinburgh – <strong>The</strong> George.<br />

<strong>The</strong> listed building, located in<br />

the city’s New Town, has been<br />

welcoming guests since 1881<br />

including the likes of Scottish poet<br />

Robert Burns and novelist Sir<br />

Walter Scott. InterContinental<br />

previously operated the hotel<br />

before it became <strong>The</strong> Principle<br />

Edinburgh George Street in 2005.<br />

<strong>The</strong> refurbished property offers<br />

ten different room types, while<br />

its King’s Hall can accommodate<br />

up to 300 guests.<br />




M e e t i n g p l a c e<br />

IN BRIEF<br />

Tasting space<br />

South Downs sparkling<br />

wine vineyard Tinwood<br />

Estate has created a new<br />

corporate events space<br />

with a glass-covered<br />

veranda and outdoor<br />

patio. <strong>The</strong> new purposebuilt<br />

Tasting Room can<br />

accommodate up to 400<br />

people, with the option to<br />

include a vineyard tour<br />

and tasting as part of<br />

the package.<br />

Open 24/7<br />

Somerset House is offering<br />

events planners the chance<br />

to incorporate private<br />

views, curated talks and<br />

tours of its 24/7 art<br />

exhibition into events held<br />

at the venue between 31<br />

<strong>Oct</strong>ober and 23 February<br />

2020. <strong>The</strong> exhibition of<br />

immersive works from<br />

renowned global artists<br />

examines our 24/7 culture<br />

and inability to switch off.<br />

Unique boutiques<br />

TMC Capita <strong>Travel</strong> and<br />

Events is expanding its list<br />

of approved venues to<br />

include unique boutique<br />

properties and small hotel<br />

brands, giving event<br />

managers a greater choice<br />

of meetings spaces away<br />

from the mainstream<br />

chains. <strong>The</strong> collection now<br />

includes more than 300<br />

hotels in towns and cities<br />

across the UK.<br />

London takes top spot<br />

for meetings & events<br />

London has been named the number one city for<br />

meetings and events in 2020, with Frankfurt moving into<br />

second and Paris taking third.<br />

<strong>The</strong> report from CWT M&E is based on industry data and<br />

has London retaining its position despite uncertainty around<br />

Brexit. Berlin was placed fourth, Barcelona drops to fifth and<br />

Milan breaks into the top ten in sixth. Cologne, Stockholm,<br />

Amsterdam and Vienna complete the top ten.<br />

“London and the UK continue to be strong for meetings<br />

and events,” says Ian Cummings, Vice President, EMEA, CWT<br />

Meetings and Events. “<strong>The</strong> uncertainty over Brexit – and the<br />

resulting devaluation of the pound – has made the UK an<br />

even more attractive destination.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> report also identified a number of up-and-coming<br />

meetings and events destinations including Manchester,<br />

Porto, Seville, Rome and Nice. <strong>The</strong> report said these<br />

destinations “typically offer better values than the top-tier<br />

cities, along with an increasing number of competitive<br />

hotels and venues”.<br />

bright<br />

forecast<br />

ACTE update<br />

for M&E<br />

<strong>The</strong> meetings and events sector<br />

is set for its fifth consecutive<br />

year of steady growth in 2020,<br />

according to the latest forecast<br />

from American Express Global<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong>.<br />

In fact, the report says there<br />

are now more meetings taking<br />

place than there is space<br />

available while overall meeting<br />

spend for 2020 is expected to<br />

rise across all regions.<br />

Surveying the opinions of<br />

550 global events professionals,<br />

the report also found that<br />

planners are now prioritising<br />

experiential elements and<br />

integrated technology over<br />

basic logistics.<br />

dolce debuts<br />

new venues<br />

Wyndham Hotels' meetingsfocused<br />

brand Dolce Hotels is<br />

expanding, with a slew of new<br />

properties debuting in the next<br />

few years, alongside enhanced<br />

hotels in the US and a new hub<br />

for event planners.<br />

Dolce's new destinations include<br />

the 441-room Wyndham Hanoi<br />

Golden Lake, due to open in late<br />

<strong>2019</strong>, and Dolce by Wyndham<br />

Versailles, set for autumn 2020.<br />

<strong>The</strong> brand will also open<br />

south-eastern Europe's largest<br />

convention centre at the Akti<br />

Imperial Hotel in Greece.<br />

A guide to meetings and incentives<br />

travel in the Caribbean<br />

Visit thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />

CTO_MICE Guide.indd 1<br />

9/25/19 03:47 PM


O N T H E G R O U N D<br />


Geared up for changing<br />

customer demands<br />

Research warns of<br />

‘grey fleet’ dangers<br />

INCREASING use of ‘cash for<br />

cars’ schemes are potentially<br />

creating a duty of care<br />

nightmare for businesses,<br />

according to a new study<br />

from Europcar.<br />

Changes in Benefit in Kind<br />

tax rules means many<br />

employers now give staff<br />

money to run their own<br />

vehicles for work, yet these<br />

so-called 'grey fleets' present<br />

a legal headache unless they<br />

are properly maintained,<br />

taxed and insured. Europcar<br />

research suggests one-third<br />

of businesses now utilise<br />

grey fleets, yet many do not<br />

[ ON TRACK ]<br />

have systems to monitor if<br />

the vehicles are safe.<br />

<strong>The</strong> average grey fleet<br />

vehicle is older and more<br />

polluting than a company<br />

car, and is also more prone<br />

to breakdowns.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> high usage of grey<br />

fleet vehicles underlines the<br />

importance of monitoring<br />

employee travel,” says Gary<br />

Smith, Managing Director,<br />

Europcar Mobility Group UK.<br />

“Worryingly, nearly one in<br />

five said they don’t monitor<br />

employee travel at all. Only<br />

45% of businesses monitor<br />

fuel expenses.”<br />

>> VIRGIN HYPERLOOP ONE will conduct a study with Saudi<br />

Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) about building a 35km test<br />

track – the longest to date. Hyperloop could cut the journey time<br />

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

Rail booking platform LOCO2 will be rebranded RAIL EUROPE<br />

from <strong>Nov</strong>ember 6, giving it a consistent name in the UK, Germany,<br />

Spain and Italy >> All-electric cab operator SHERBET LONDON<br />

TAXIS has invested £7million in adding 125 vehicles to its fleet.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s been a real shift in<br />

consumer behaviour in recent<br />

years, with a noticeable change<br />

in attitudes towards vehicle<br />

ownership. This trend is<br />

reflected in corporate travel,<br />

where businesses are seeing the<br />

benefits of corporate car hire.<br />

Corporate car hire offers<br />

businesses increased flexibility,<br />

particularly with shorter or<br />

medium-term rental options<br />

that don’t tie customers in to<br />

lengthy contracts.<br />

It means that employees are<br />

renting vehicles that are newer<br />

and more efficient – a real<br />

positive considering Britain’s<br />

grey fleet (employees’ own<br />

vehicles used for business) is<br />

responsible for some of the<br />

oldest cars on UK roads,<br />

whereas rental cars are on<br />

average less than a year old.<br />

Louisa Bell<br />

General Manager, UK,<br />

Avis Budget Group<br />

Not only does corporate hire<br />

benefit businesses by providing<br />

better vehicles, but it also helps<br />

the environment, with rental<br />

cars emitting 26% less CO2 than<br />

the average car on the street.<br />

As our customers’ mobility<br />

requirements continue to<br />

evolve, so do we. We have<br />

developed our services to suit a<br />

range of needs and this includes<br />

our recently updated Avis App,<br />

which lets users manage their<br />

own rental experience from<br />

start to finish.<br />

More than just being a<br />

booking system, Avis Preferred<br />

members can also benefit from<br />

self-serve functionality, allowing<br />

them to select their exact<br />

vehicle model and, in some<br />

stations, bypass the rental desk<br />

altogether and get straight on<br />

the road.<br />




O N T H E M O V E<br />

EVENTS<br />

OCTOBER 4<br />


<strong>The</strong> Principal Edinburgh<br />

itm.org.uk<br />

OCTOBER 15<br />


JOINS: Amex GBT<br />

AS: Chief Executive Officer<br />

FROM: American Express<br />

JOINS: Advantage <strong>Travel</strong> Partnership<br />

AS: Head of <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Commercial<br />

FROM: Key <strong>Travel</strong><br />

JOINS: FCM <strong>Travel</strong> Solutions<br />

AS: UK Head of Sales<br />

FROM: SIXT<br />


<strong>The</strong> Corinthia, London<br />

thebusinesstravelmag.com<br />

Paul Abbott has moved over<br />

to Amex GBT from American<br />

Express, where he was Chief<br />

Simon Bennett brings more<br />

than 20 years' experience in<br />

the travel sector to the<br />

Jason Dunderdale has joined<br />

FCM <strong>Travel</strong> Solutions from<br />

car rental provider SIXT where<br />

OCTOBER 16<br />

Commercial Officer for the<br />

newly-created role of Head of<br />

he has been Head of <strong>Travel</strong><br />


Native Manchester<br />

company’s global B2B<br />

Payments <strong>Business</strong>.<br />

<strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> Commercial<br />

and Innovation at Advantage.<br />

Sales UK and Ireland for the<br />

last three years.<br />

thebusinesstravelconference.com<br />

OCTOBER 23-25<br />


Amsterdam<br />

acte.org<br />

NOVEMBER 4-6<br />


ExCel, London<br />

london.wtm.com<br />

NOVEMBER 19-21<br />


Munich<br />

europeconference.gbta.org<br />

NOVEMBER 22<br />


Dublin<br />

itm.org.uk<br />


JOINS: CWT Meetings & Events<br />

AS: Vice President of Global Operations<br />

FROM: Sabre<br />

CWT has welcomed Cristina<br />

Scott to the role of Vice<br />

President of Operations for its<br />

global meetings and events<br />

division. She joins after 24<br />

years at Sabre.<br />

PARTNERS WITH: GoldSpring Consulting<br />

AS: Consulting Partner EMEA<br />

Industry influencer and<br />

independent consultant Chris<br />

Pouney has partnered with<br />

GoldSpring Consulting to<br />

bolster its EMEA presence and<br />

expand his consulting portfolio.<br />


AS: Head of <strong>Business</strong> Development<br />

FROM: Accor<br />

TRIPBAM has appointed<br />

Juliette Jackman as its new<br />

Head of <strong>Business</strong> Development<br />

in Europe. Juliette brings with<br />

her 18 years’ experience<br />

working for global hotel chains.<br />

DECEMBER 17<br />


Victoria Park Plaza, London<br />

businesstravelchristmasparty.co.uk<br />

FEBRUARY 26-27<br />


Olympia London<br />

businesstravelshow.com<br />

ALSO ON THE MOVE... <strong>Travel</strong>Perk has appointed Ross McNairn as Chief Product Officer >><br />

Fraser Jordan and Aaron Butchers have joined Good <strong>Travel</strong> Management's business development<br />

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

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

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

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

sales and sales support for Northern Europe at Accor<br />

APRIL 26-28<br />


New York City<br />

acte.org<br />

MAY 12-13<br />


Brighton<br />

itmconference.org.uk<br />


this fragmented area of spend is<br />

evolving with such pace – with<br />

technology and sustainability<br />

issues at the core – that it simply<br />

can't be ignored. find out more in<br />

an extended guide to<br />

GROUND<br />


Introduction, 56-58 / Tech & tools, 60-62<br />

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

Rail operator update, 78-80 / Taxis, 82-83<br />

Chauffeur services, 84-85 / Data, 86<br />



Ground transport / Introduction<br />

Incredible<br />

journey<br />

Ground transport remains the most fragmented and<br />

challenging sector for travel managers – but that hasn’t<br />

gone unnoticed by the big suppliers, says Rob Gill<br />

Ground transport has become one<br />

of the most innovative parts of<br />

business travel but managing it<br />

effectively is still a challenge.<br />

Ask any travel buyer about how they fare<br />

and you wil be met with a sigh or a groan<br />

followed by some grumbles about how the<br />

sector is too “fragmented” or “complex”, as<br />

well as being difficult to book using the<br />

current crop of corporate tools.<br />

Ground transport used to be something<br />

of an afterthought compared with higher<br />

spending parts of the travel programme –<br />

airfares and hotels – but the increased<br />

availability of enhanced data has helped<br />

to shine a light on how much money is<br />

actually being spent on the likes of trains,<br />

taxis and chauffeur-drive transfers.<br />

For all the talk within the corporate travel<br />

industry about the “seamless” or “end-toend”<br />

business journey, it’s often the bits at<br />

either end of a trip that cause the most<br />

problems: getting from one's home to the<br />

airport and then to the hotel or meeting<br />

venue at the other end remains a tricky<br />

issue to manage in terms of pricing,<br />

visibility of spending and duty-of-care<br />

concerns for the traveller.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bad news for buyers – at least in the<br />

short term – is that ground transport is<br />

getting even more complicated as various<br />

suppliers including car rental firms, ridehailing<br />

platforms and traditional taxi firms<br />

have changed their business models and<br />

are now offering a much more varied<br />

portfolio of ground transport products.<br />

Major car rental firms such as Avis,<br />

Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt have<br />

now ventured into areas such as car clubs,<br />

car-sharing pools and chauffeur-drive<br />

services. Although traditional car rental<br />

still remains their core business, expect<br />

this kind of shift into a wider range of<br />

products to continue.<br />

Car rental firms are also working with<br />

supposed competitors such as the ridehailing<br />

firms. For example, both Hertz and<br />

Avis have partnerships with Lyft in the US<br />

where they provide vehicles for some<br />

drivers (Hertz also works with Uber).<br />

<strong>The</strong> taxi and ride-hailing sector is another<br />

area seeing a lot of activity with new<br />

competitors set to challenge incumbent<br />

players such as Uber in London, while the<br />

likes of Gett and FREE NOW (formerly<br />

Mytaxi), which offer online platforms for<br />

the booking of traditional taxis, continue to<br />

target the corporate market.<br />

Ground transport itself is almost becoming<br />

an outdated term as it’s increasingly being<br />

replaced by concepts such as mobility<br />

solutions or even Mobility as a Service<br />

(MaaS), where a technology platform offers<br />

an array of different ground options for<br />

<br />


Introduction Introduction / Ground / Ground transportation<br />

Technology is the<br />

obvious solution<br />

for enabling the successful<br />

management of ground<br />

transport. But while progress<br />

is being made, there is still a<br />

long way to go on this”<br />



Ground transport / Introduction<br />

a journey, ranging from a car or bus to a<br />

train, taxi or even an electric bicycle.<br />

Matteo de Renzi, CEO for Western Europe at<br />

ride-hailing platform Gett, says: “Managing<br />

ground transport for companies has always<br />

been a challenge and it’s getting even more<br />

challenging. Everyone is mindful about how<br />

much their people are spending but the<br />

implementation and monitoring of travel<br />

policy is still very difficult.”<br />

Making it click<br />

Technology is the obvious solution for<br />

enabling the successful management of<br />

ground transport. But while progress is<br />

being made in creating better corporate<br />

booking tools and apps, there is still a long<br />

way to go on this particular journey.<br />

“We understand the pain points for<br />

corporate clients when it comes to booking<br />

and managing ground transportation,”<br />

says Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales<br />

at FREE NOW.<br />

“<strong>Travel</strong> managers have multiple journeys<br />

to take care of, with differing demands and<br />

hectic schedules. Increasingly, corporate<br />

clients want more control over their travel<br />

and expect everything to be on demand<br />

and in one place,” he adds.<br />

Finding a single app or platform to meet<br />

all these ground transport requirements<br />

continues to be the goal of online booking<br />

tool providers, travel management<br />

companies and also the specialist players<br />

in the market, such as Groundscope.<br />

John McCallion, Groundscope’s CEO,<br />

says the organisation's goal is to create a<br />

“managed global taxi service” that offers a<br />

similar service to online travel agencies,<br />

such as Booking.com.<br />

“We are focused on providing a service<br />

which removes uncertainty and reduces<br />

the general stress of business travel. Our<br />

service has been specifically designed to<br />

meet the needs of corporate clients,”<br />

McCallion adds. “For the corporation, our<br />

service brings this area of spend under<br />

control and provides visibility on all spend<br />

via our monthly MI (management<br />

information) reporting.”<br />

Price movements<br />

While this all sounds great in theory for<br />

travel buyers, one of the more immediate<br />

questions is what’s likely to be going on<br />

with prices for ground transport over the<br />

next year or so?<br />

Leading travel management company<br />

CWT is predicting that global car rental<br />

prices will rise by 1% next year in its 2020<br />

Global <strong>Travel</strong> Forecast, although this<br />

increase in average prices is forecast to be<br />

higher in the UK at 1.8%.<br />

Across Western Europe as a whole, CWT<br />

expects rates to go up by 0.5% as the region<br />

is affected by sluggish economic growth.<br />

<strong>Travel</strong> managers have<br />

multiple journeys to<br />

take care of, with differing<br />

demands. Increasingly,<br />

corporate clients want more<br />

control over their travel and<br />

expect everything to be on<br />

demand and in one place”<br />

<strong>The</strong> story is not so positive for UK train<br />

fares, which are scheduled to increase by<br />

another 2.8% in January 2020, leading to<br />

another round of protests about the<br />

network’s poor service, high levels of<br />

disruption and pricey tickets. A lack of<br />

technological advancement and flexibility<br />

when it comes to rail ticketing is also a<br />

continuing bugbear.<br />

<strong>The</strong> UK government’s much-criticised<br />

franchise system continues to trundle on<br />

for now. One of most significant recent<br />

moves saw a consortium of FirstGroup and<br />

Italian rail operator Trenitalia winning the<br />

West Coast rail franchise, which runs<br />

services between London, Birmingham,<br />

Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It will<br />

take over from current operator Virgin<br />

Trains in December.<br />

But there could soon be significant<br />

changes in the way the rail franchising<br />

system operates, as the process is currently<br />

being reviewed by a team headed by<br />

former British Airways CEO Keith Williams.<br />

Another huge rail project under<br />

government review is HS2 (High Speed 2),<br />

despite construction on the line already<br />

being under way between London and<br />

Birmingham. <strong>The</strong> £56billion project could<br />

be cancelled if the ever-growing bill is<br />

deemed to be a waste of money – a<br />

definitive decision is due from new<br />

transport secretary Grant Shapps by the<br />

end of this year.<br />

Wherever you chose to look, there’s a lot<br />

going on in the world of ground transport –<br />

expect fragmentation and complexity to<br />

continue in the sector, much to many<br />

buyers’ chagrin. <strong>The</strong> big question is<br />

whether technology can bring all of these<br />

options together in a single platform to<br />

make life easier for buyers. That’s the<br />

dream but can it become a reality?<br />


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Ground transport / Tech & tools<br />

Bringing it all<br />


Ground transport is at the forefront of the on-demand trend, but<br />

TMCs are still battling to adapt. Linda Fox looks at progress so far<br />

One of the biggest behavioural<br />

shifts in recent years is the<br />

move to on-demand services<br />

that fulfil a range of needs, be that<br />

music consumption, transportation,<br />

food delivery or many more.<br />

<strong>The</strong> incredible rise of services such as<br />

Lyft and Uber were only the start of<br />

disruption in the ground transportation<br />

space and many more developments, from<br />

new entrants to mergers and acquisitions,<br />

have followed.<br />

In recent months alone, trend-setting<br />

Uber has acquired Careem, the United<br />

Arab Emirates-based ride-hailing service,<br />

for just over $3billion. Another demonstration<br />

of how seriously the sector is<br />

being taken is the acquisition of travel<br />

management technology platform Deem<br />

by car hire giant Enterprise back in January<br />

this year.<br />

As exciting as these developments are,<br />

they create challenges for travel managers<br />

and their TMC partners.<br />

Vicki Williams, Director of Sales and<br />

Implementation at Click <strong>Travel</strong>, says:<br />

“When it comes to integration, the fast rise<br />

of suppliers such as Uber means they have<br />

a tendency towards focusing on the needs<br />

of B2C channels first.<br />

“This has made seamless integration<br />

more challenging in a B2B environment,<br />

as the user experience around policy,<br />

reporting and duty of care can become<br />

compromised if not contained within one<br />

single platform, for all travel types.<br />

“For example, the ability to have full<br />

integration, with a perfect payment<br />

process, remains our strategy, rather than<br />

just a link to a 3rd party website. We<br />

develop our own technology, so we are<br />

When it comes to<br />

integration, the fast<br />

rise of suppliers such as Uber<br />

means they have a tendency<br />

towards focusing on the<br />

needs of B2C channels first”<br />


Tech & tools / Ground transport<br />

working with suppliers to add full<br />

integrations as quickly as possible.”<br />

And established players have not stood<br />

still either as they move to stay relevant.<br />

A further glance over at developments<br />

in the US reveals that Uber and Lyft<br />

combined appear on 16% of all expense<br />

claims, according to Certify figures.<br />

Those in the ground transport space<br />

are taking note and have seized on<br />

opportunities to expand, evolve their<br />

content and improve their technology.<br />

CMAC Group acquired B2B taxi company<br />

Cabfind just over a year ago, followed by<br />

managed taxi, bus and coach hire service<br />

Cabline this year. Meanwhile, GroundScope,<br />

which has been providing ground<br />

transportation services to travel<br />

management firms, booking tools and<br />

corporate clients for a number of years,<br />

recently announced its partnership with<br />

technology consultancy DataArt to<br />

develop a version of its mobile app for<br />

iOS users that would also integrate with<br />

the existing platform.<br />

Smooth journeys<br />

Gray Dawes Group uses Groundscope as<br />

its ground transport aggregator and says it<br />

is important that the system is integrated<br />

with not only the GDS but also the TMC’s<br />

Atriis agency and corporate booking tool.<br />

Commercial Director David Bishop says<br />

this means ground transport slides<br />

seamlessly into the booking flow and is<br />

offered once flights and/or hotels have<br />

been booked.<br />

He adds that the ground transportation<br />

attachment ratio is currently at about 4%<br />

but that figure is growing. At present, the<br />

technology is used predominantly to book<br />

transfers from the airport when travellers<br />

arrive at a destination.<br />

Bishop also says that the company is not<br />

seeing much demand from corporates to<br />

include the ground transport element into<br />

travel policy or approval flow.<br />

Meanwhile, Fello <strong>Travel</strong> uses the<br />

Amadeus-owned Cytric booking tool which<br />

has integrated Talixo, while Blacklane will<br />

be added shortly.<br />

<br />



Ground transport / Tech & tools<br />

And, as API connectivity improves, the<br />

industry is likely to see more ground<br />

transportation content integrated into<br />

booking systems.<br />

American Express Global <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong>'s Content & Distribution Manager,<br />

Alexandrea Coughlin, says: “<strong>The</strong> growth of<br />

disruptors such as Uber and Lyft has helped<br />

put the spotlight on ground transport<br />

within managed travel programmes.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y generated wide-ranging discussions<br />

around servicing and safety issues, which<br />

meant travel managers increasingly focus<br />

on the whole sector, the levels of<br />

fragmentation within it, and where visibility<br />

and management could be improved.”<br />

Amex GBT launched its ground platform<br />

last year in partnership with Mozio. <strong>The</strong><br />

company says it brings chauffeur drivers,<br />

taxis, airport express trains and shuttles,<br />

plus ride-sharing via a deal with Lyft, to a<br />

single booking and management app.<br />

<strong>The</strong> TMC believes the platform not only<br />

helps travel managers by providing spend<br />

visibility on ground transport and<br />

consolidating bookings in one place, but<br />

also assists travellers by encouraging them<br />

to book in one place.<br />

Out and about<br />

Paul Wait, Commercial Director of iGO, a<br />

marketplace for ground transportation<br />

developed by Autocab, says the platform<br />

is trying to support TMCs by bringing the<br />

on-demand element into managed travel.<br />

He feels that while Uber for <strong>Business</strong><br />

has started to address this through its<br />

integrations with expense management<br />

specialists Chrome River and SAP Concur,<br />

the move only takes care of bookings in<br />

major towns and cities.<br />

Wait says the company is adding more<br />

partners up and down the country as well<br />

as beyond the UK to provide travellers with<br />

more options.<br />

In an ideal world, a single global solution<br />

for ground transportation would exist but<br />

much the same as with local technology<br />

providers and payment solutions, there<br />

are different providers for transport in<br />

different countries and regions.<br />

That said, there is an increasing trend<br />

towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS)<br />

whereby different forms of transport –<br />

public, on-demand taxis, trains and even<br />

scooters – are aggregated in a single place<br />

or app. Again, this is being driven by<br />

consumer demand for convenience.<br />

A number of cities in Europe are working<br />

on the trend in the belief that betterquality<br />

information coupled with ease of<br />

use will drive up usage. Examples include<br />

Whim, launched by MaaS Global in Helsinki<br />

in late 2016, and Jelbi, launched more<br />

recently in Berlin.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Whim initiative aims to connect many<br />

of the Finnish capital’s mobility options in<br />

one application and allows users to plan,<br />

book and pay for those options, ranging<br />

from public transport to taxis, car hire and<br />

car-sharing.<br />

Jelbi, meanwhile, is a service that brings<br />

together mobility providers in Berlin on<br />

to one mobile application. It has been<br />

developed by the city’s public transport<br />

provider BVG and mobility technology<br />

startup Trafi. <strong>The</strong>se are positive developments<br />

from the point of view of the user<br />

and should encourage transport providers,<br />

both public and private, to share data and<br />

collaborate more.<br />

Bishop, from the Gray Dawes Group, says<br />

different modes of transport, especially<br />

rail, are now being integrated into booking<br />

systems. He says the company has access<br />

to both UK rail and Amtrak in the US and<br />

that European rail should be added by the<br />

end of this year.<br />

He adds that while the company would<br />

also like to widen out the offering with<br />

European airport rail shuttles such as the<br />

S Bahn in Germany and the Arlanda<br />

Express in Sweden, it is a more complex<br />

ask technologically.<br />

Going forward, expect more integration<br />

and more content partnerships as travel<br />

management companies and their<br />

technology suppliers move to bring more<br />

choice to the traveller, increase control<br />

and gain spend visibility.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a trend<br />

towards Mobility as<br />

a Service (MaaS) whereby<br />

different forms of transport<br />

– public, on-demand taxis,<br />

trains and even scooters – are<br />

aggregated in a single place”<br />


Ground transport / Car hire<br />

New<br />


Environmental concerns, new forms of taxation and changing consumer<br />

habits are prompting a sea-change in car hire, says Catherine Chetwynd<br />

That some car rental companies<br />

have added the word ‘mobility’<br />

to their name says it all.<br />

<strong>The</strong> boundaries between fleet, car rental<br />

and mobility have blurred to the point that<br />

they are jointly managed to reduce cost,<br />

administration and complications for travel<br />

managers, meet employees’ requirements,<br />

and at the same time cover duty of care<br />

requirements. Companies have long<br />

ceased to own their own fleets of cars and<br />

where some form of vehicle perk exists<br />

employees either pay for it via salary<br />

sacrifice, take a personal lease, or use<br />

their own cars for business trips (the<br />

so-called ‘grey fleet’). And where staff<br />

members take cash instead of a company<br />

car, the risk is that they do not have their<br />

own vehicle regularly maintained, leaving<br />

employers exposed.<br />

“Rental vehicles have the latest equipment<br />

and a structured programme of regular<br />

maintenance and repair,” says Assistant<br />

Vice President of <strong>Business</strong> Mobility UK &<br />

Ireland at Enterprise, Adrian Bewley.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y are generally less than a year old,<br />

so they will also have lower emissions<br />

compared to the average privately<br />

owned car. It is often difficult for<br />

businesses to confirm that grey fleet<br />

cars are regularly serviced, maintained<br />

or even insured for business use.”<br />

Research published in a white paper<br />


Car hire / Ground transport<br />

this year by Europcar Mobility Group UK<br />

found that more than one quarter (28%)<br />

of companies with 10 to 25 staff relies on<br />

grey fleet vehicles, rising to 40% for firms<br />

with 26-50 employees. And nearly one<br />

third of companies with 10-25 employees<br />

said that up to a quarter of their staff<br />

choose cash for cars.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>se factors can present significant<br />

health and safety challenges, which is why<br />

so many fleet managers look for options<br />

such as car clubs or daily rental, which can<br />

be particularly valuable for employees<br />

who might not drive enough to justify a<br />

dedicated company car, while still<br />

requiring regular transport,” says Bewley.<br />

“<strong>Business</strong>es want flexibility in length of<br />

contract and how it is budgeted; rental<br />

achieves both these goals.”<br />

Multiple routes<br />

Rental companies are now the ultimate<br />

flexible friend, providing traditional rental,<br />

car clubs, pool cars and long-term leases<br />

covering every vehicular eventuality. In<br />

addition, technology continues to move<br />

on apace: booking engines can have<br />

policy embedded, increasing<br />

compliance and<br />

Rental companies are<br />

the ultimate flexible<br />

friend, providing traditional<br />

rental, car clubs, pool cars<br />

and long-term leases covering<br />

every vehicular eventuality”<br />

traceability while giving drivers a wide<br />

choice of cars with attendant cost<br />

implications, and this is all backed by first<br />

class management information.<br />

Enterprise <strong>Travel</strong> Direct (ETD) is a<br />

booking platform that allows drivers to<br />

compare the cost of a journey, depending<br />

on whether they use private vehicle, car<br />

club or daily rental car. <strong>The</strong>y can choose<br />

by lowest rate or most sustainable option.<br />

It even manages grey fleet, requiring users<br />

to confirm their vehicle is suitable for<br />

business use, so that this complicated area<br />

is monitored and recorded from the off,<br />

rather than after the event.<br />

“Our LaunchPad tablet technology<br />

enables employees to conduct a speedy<br />

rental transaction anywhere worldwide –<br />

even without wifi. It pre-fills customer<br />

<br />



Car hire / Ground transport<br />

data and preferences, speeding up the<br />

transaction, and captures vehicle condition<br />

in pictures to provide contractual transparency<br />

and reduce disputes when<br />

vehicles are returned,” says Bewley.<br />

Europcar has been upgrading its<br />

technology and in the past year rolled out<br />

Europcar One to more than 780 B2B<br />

customers. <strong>The</strong> platform records the<br />

process from reservation to return and<br />

invoicing, showing travel managers how<br />

different mobility options impact on<br />

financial and environmental targets.<br />

In addition, the company’s Pathfinder<br />

app handles thorny issues such as damage<br />

and fuel recharging, giving access to<br />

electronically stored data and timestamped<br />

photographs of a vehicle’s<br />

condition on delivery and collection.<br />

Join the club<br />

Where car clubs were once a potential<br />

threat to car rental providers, they are<br />

now an inherent part of their service,<br />

ensuring a 24-hour offer, as well as rental<br />

by the hour. Europcar acquired electric<br />

vehicle E-Car Club in 2015 and car club<br />

Ubeeqo (which has electric, petrol and<br />

hybrid vehicles) in 2016.<br />

“While the conventional view of car clubs<br />

is vehicles on streets that can be accessed<br />

to meet any short-term requirement,<br />

Europcar Mobility Group is working closely<br />

with a number of organisations to explain<br />

the benefits of adopting the car club model<br />

for their pool fleet needs,” says Head of<br />

Sales Performance, Corporate Mobility and<br />

Market Intelligence, Dan Hawkes.<br />

At 800 cars and vans, Enterprise claims<br />

to offer the UK’s largest fleet of dedicated<br />

car club vehicles for business, bookable by<br />

specific business customers; and<br />

Enterprise Car Club is integrated into its<br />

branch network.<br />

Hertz gives a similar service, providing<br />

dedicated car pool fleets of low emission<br />

<strong>The</strong> need to meet<br />

cost-cutting and<br />

sustainability targets has<br />

made car-sharing options<br />

increasingly popular with<br />

fleet managers”<br />

vehicles for employee use. <strong>The</strong> need to<br />

meet cost cutting and sustainability<br />

targets, and release parking spaces, has<br />

made car-sharing options increasingly<br />

popular with fleet managers. And the<br />

company claims the damage rate and<br />

attendant cost on corporate pool fleets is<br />

lower “as users tend to be more respectful<br />

with the cars to ensure co-workers can<br />

use them without encountering issues”,<br />

says Sales Director Andy Johnson.<br />

Avis Budget Group, meanwhile, operates<br />

Zipcar, which it purchased in 2013, and its<br />

subsidiary Zipcar for <strong>Business</strong>. <strong>The</strong><br />

organisation provides on-demand access<br />

to cars by the hour or the day in cities<br />

around the globe, including London,<br />

Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge.<br />

“We’re committed to making cities better<br />

places to live and that starts with increasing<br />

access to smart mobility solutions that<br />

reduce reliance on personal cars,” says<br />

Tracey Zhen, President of Zipcar.<br />

Under pressure<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are external pressures on<br />

companies and travel managers too: the<br />

growth in urban Clean Air Zones (CAZ) was<br />

intended to stimulate demand for low-<br />

emission vehicles. London’s Low Emission<br />

Zone was launched in 2008 and its<br />

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)<br />

policy commenced in April this year.<br />

Leeds, Birmingham and Bath follow in<br />

2020, Sheffield’s proposals are under<br />

consultation and Greater Manchester will<br />

introduce a zone in stages according to<br />

vehicle type between 2021 and 2023.<br />

Meanwhile, Nottingham’s Workplace<br />

Parking Levy – effectively a charge on<br />

company parking spaces – could prompt<br />

copycat scheme in other cities that are<br />

looking to encourage people to commute<br />

by means other than their cars.<br />

Air quality, congestion and road safety<br />

are priorities across dozens of cities<br />

across the UK. Dealing with these urban<br />

mobility issues represents both the biggest<br />

challenge and the biggest opportunity<br />

facing the rental and leasing sectors.<br />

And inevitably, with a government<br />

volte-face on the merits (or not) of diesel,<br />

the status quo is not exactly clear. As the<br />

BVRLA Industry Outlook <strong>2019</strong> points out:<br />

“BVRLA members are learning that there is<br />

very little middle ground in the fast- <br />



Ground transport / Car hire<br />

We are working with<br />

many of our corporate<br />

clients to help them design<br />

business travel policies that<br />

encourage employees to<br />

access low-emission vehicles,<br />

or even mandate that”<br />

evolving world of local politics, where<br />

road transport is so often cast as either<br />

the hero or the villain. With so much hype<br />

and misinformation surrounding the<br />

demonization of diesel, the real-world<br />

capabilities of electric vehicles and the<br />

potential for Mobility as a Service (Maas),<br />

they are spending huge amounts of time<br />

trying to educate and inform local<br />

policymakers and customers.”<br />

In addition, the report states that <strong>2019</strong><br />

is a year when multiple mobility models<br />

compete for a bigger share of city trips.<br />

Car rental and car club suppliers will have<br />

to work harder than ever to demonstrate<br />

that they have an important place in the<br />

hierarchy of urban transport solutions.<br />

MaaS means users view any mobility<br />

provider as part of a pay-per-go service,<br />

as opposed to a one-off or long-term<br />

financial arrangement.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> automotive industry in general is in<br />

the early stages of a paradigm shift when<br />

it comes to vehicle ownership,” says Sales<br />

Director for Thrifty Car & Van Rental<br />

Caroline Gallagher. “A combination of<br />

factors – including changing consumer<br />

attitudes, intensifying environmental<br />

concerns and advancements in connected<br />

and autonomous technology – is causing a<br />

trend towards mobility as a service.<br />

“This encompasses services like ride<br />

hailing and sharing, public transport in its<br />

various guises and also vehicle rental.<br />

Essentially, it is borne out of a shift in the<br />

consumer psyche, from viewing mobility as<br />

an asset that one owns (a car) to seeing it<br />

as a service that can be used at any time.”<br />

Green light<br />

Companies are under pressure from<br />

shareholders to be environmentally<br />

responsible and one way they can do that<br />

is move towards electric and hybrid vehicles<br />

– EVs in car clubs are particularly popular.<br />

Enterprise more than doubled the number<br />

of alternatively powered vehicles in its UK<br />

fleet in 2018.<br />

As Europcar’s Dan Hawkes explains: “We<br />

are working with many of our corporate<br />

clients to help them design business travel<br />

policies that encourage employees to<br />

access low-emission vehicles, or even<br />

mandate that if they are likely to be<br />

travelling into low emission zones.”<br />

Europcar’s hybrid/EV vehicles represent<br />

8.7% of its UK fleet, and hybrids constitute<br />

5% of the cars purchased by Hertz.<br />

“Although the percentage of diesel vehicles<br />

in Hertz UK’s fleet has noticeably reduced<br />

this year, customers who drive long<br />

distances still request them,” says Johnson.<br />

According to the BVRLA Annual Insight<br />

research <strong>2019</strong>, the UK car rental fleet’s<br />

environmental credentials are notable,<br />

having an average 119g/km emissions, 94%<br />

CAZ compliance and an average age of just<br />

six months old. Corporate bookings make<br />

up 57% of transactions, with an average<br />

eight-day rental and travelling 616 miles.<br />

Car rental used to be the last bastion of<br />

unmanaged travel, but this has changed<br />

thanks to improved technology and a<br />

more flexible service that bring together<br />

car clubs, short-term and long-term rental<br />

on one booking platform, giving travel<br />

managers ultimate control and visibility.<br />


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Ground transport / Rail spend management<br />

On the right<br />

track?<br />

Corporates and TMCs are demanding a more<br />

collaborative approach from train operators.<br />

Catherine Chetwynd examines the latest progress<br />

With trainfares something of a<br />

minefield and most train<br />

operating companies (TOC)<br />

refusing to negotiate with companies on<br />

the basis of volume discount, it was no<br />

surprise that the government launched<br />

a major review of the UK's rail market.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Williams Rail Review was due to<br />

report its findings in September but has<br />

predictably been delayed – the impact of<br />

Brexit on Whitehall rather than leaves on<br />

the line the most likely cause of its late<br />

arrival later this autumn.<br />

Even the Rail Delivery Group, which<br />

represents operators, recognised the need<br />

for an overhaul. In its submission to the<br />

Review, Chief Operating Officer Jacqueline<br />

Starr explained: “Increasing use of<br />

technology and remote working over the<br />

past decade has been accompanied by<br />

more employers offering flexible working;<br />

fewer people need to be in the office five<br />

days a week or to commute at peak times.<br />

We have seen this in falling sales of season<br />

tickets but with passenger journeys still<br />

reaching record highs.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> decades-old fares regulations have<br />

created an inflexible and confusing range<br />

of fares. Fares reform would also allow us<br />

to tackle crowding on some of Britain’s<br />

busiest commuter services by removing the<br />

cliff-edge price difference between peak<br />

and the first off-peak services.”<br />

Full steam ahead<br />

This, suggested Starr, could bring<br />

advantages for business, including tap-in<br />

tap-out, pay-as-you-go travel with price<br />

capping across the country, and a best-fare<br />

guarantee. Other bonuses could be<br />

increased competition on long-distance<br />

routes, creating a demand-led market and<br />

quicker journeys, more space per seat,<br />

faster wifi, and better service on board; at<br />

last the customer would feature large.<br />

But that is all for the future. What about<br />

the picture today?<br />

Virgin Trains has corporate fares which<br />

are available on key business routes on the<br />

west coast. <strong>The</strong>se are for sale via TMCs<br />

only. “A travel manager’s objective is<br />

generally to bring down the cost of travel<br />

as much as they can and, conversely, ours<br />

is to maintain yield, so we aimed to meet<br />

them in the middle,” says Head of<br />

Corporate Sales, Claire Walton.<br />

“<strong>Business</strong> customers can fix their<br />

outbound journey but they get more value<br />

out of the flexible return. If somebody<br />

misses a train, it is expensive to buy a<br />

single fare home, or if a meeting finishes<br />

early and people arrive at the station hours<br />

before their booked departure that is a<br />

complete waste of time. Some of our<br />

<strong>Business</strong> Corporate Fares also come with a<br />

free first class upgrade,” she says.<br />

<br />


Rail spend management / Ground transport<br />



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Rail spend management / Ground transport<br />

One SME customer is<br />

setting up a business<br />

in London and has negotiated<br />

rates with Caledonian Sleeper<br />

on the basis of some 20<br />

journeys a months”<br />

“We are seeing good uptake of these.”<br />

Otherwise, if a company shifts business<br />

from road or air to rail, Virgin may give a<br />

bespoke deal.<br />

However, that switch isn’t easy. “<strong>The</strong><br />

opportunity to move business from air<br />

travel to rail is diminishing because in the<br />

last few years there are fewer domestic air<br />

routes,” says Associate – Ground/Rail<br />

Services for Black Box Partnerships, Nick<br />

Bamford. “It is interesting to see that LNER<br />

has launched the Azuma on the Edinburgh<br />

route. It can reduce that service to four<br />

hours, which will really eat into the time<br />

advantage of air travel; otherwise, travel is<br />

mostly in a car now and that is much<br />

harder to quantify.”<br />

Easy rider<br />

Great Western Railway (GWR) offers<br />

discounts only where a company needs to<br />

hire a carriage or a large number of seats<br />

on any one train. However, Caledonian<br />

Sleeper takes a more flexible approach.<br />

Its Flexipass buys a carnet of 10 journeys,<br />

valid on all Highland or Lowland routes,<br />

and it will also negotiate according to<br />

volume of spend.<br />

“When comparing our prices to the cost<br />

of a hotel in London or Edinburgh, plus<br />

flight and transfers to city centre, it can<br />

make real economic sense to use us. Also,<br />

travellers are not getting up at the crack<br />

of dawn, plus they are travelling while<br />

sleeping, saving time as well,” says<br />

Managing Director, Richard Flaherty.<br />

“We talk to companies about how often<br />

they will be travelling with us to see if we<br />

can offer special rates. <strong>The</strong> starting point is<br />

not very high because we are quite small,”<br />

he says. For example, Flaherty says one<br />

SME customer is setting up a business in<br />

London and has negotiated rates on the<br />

basis of some 20 journeys a month.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company introduced new carriages<br />

in April that were built by Spanish<br />

manufacturer CAS, bespoke to Caledonian’s<br />

requirements. Club carriages have an en<br />

suite shower/loo and there is fast wifi and<br />

multiple charging points throughout.<br />

“<strong>Business</strong> travellers are increasingly<br />

opting for Club rooms because they see<br />

it as overnight accommodation and en<br />

suite is pretty basic in most travel policies,”<br />

says Flaherty.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new rolling stock has upped<br />

Caledonian’s game: “We have always had<br />

corporate relationships but now we have a<br />

product that is suitable for the corporate<br />

world and we are looking forward to<br />

growing those relationships over the next<br />

few months,” adds Flaherty.<br />

Delay repay – 50% refund for 30 minutes’<br />

delay, 100% for an hour or more – in<br />

varying forms is offered by TOCs, either<br />

payable direct to the traveller (Caledonian<br />

Sleeper, Virgin Trains) or to the purchaser,<br />

whether TMC or traveller (GWR).<br />

But Black Box’s Bamford warns that when<br />

organisations such as Rail Guard or <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Compensation Services (TCS) claim it on<br />

companies’ behalf, “<strong>The</strong>y match delays with<br />

a corporate booking file and highlight how<br />

many journeys were ticketed and delayed,<br />

but they take a fee for doing so.”<br />

However, according to Director of Client<br />

Partnership for BTD, Vanessa Bailey:<br />

“<strong>Travel</strong>lers are not interested in claiming<br />

delay repay and third parties monitor<br />

progress automatically to get refunds, so<br />

clients do not have to do anything to<br />

benefit from them.”<br />

<br />



Ground transport / Rail spend management<br />

<strong>Travel</strong>ling first class continues to have<br />

an ‘unnecessary luxury’ stigma: “Where<br />

sectors are thriving, there is a slightly more<br />

relaxed view, and where the economy is<br />

tightening up, we see a soft performance in<br />

first class – for example, construction at the<br />

moment,” says Virgin’s Walton.<br />

Otherwise, some companies are happy<br />

for travellers to spend within defined<br />

parameters to upgrade if there is a deal<br />

and others ban it altogether.<br />

Network fail<br />

Generally, the corporate world has every<br />

reason to be disenchanted with TOCs.<br />

“We get no support from the rail sector.<br />

Whether we are spending £5 or £1million,<br />

it doesn’t seem to make any difference,”<br />

says Group Procurement Category Manager<br />

for Biffa, Richard Childs.<br />

He encourages travellers to book as early<br />

as possible to get a good fare and to note<br />

when peak and off-peak times are: “We are<br />

starting to think about booking meetings<br />

that start at 11am in London instead of<br />

10am – if we miss the peak period, we can<br />

save up to £30,” he says. “When people are<br />

travelling more than two hours, we look at<br />

potentially upgrading within £30 and<br />

sometimes operators offer that anyway if<br />

we are booking early enough; booking late<br />

can cost 50% more.”<br />

Childs’ main problem is with the network.<br />

Biffa’s offices are in High Wycombe, which<br />

has services to Birmingham or London.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re are no rail services to a lot of the<br />

places we go to, so it tends to be more cost<br />

efficient to go by car,” he says. “HS2 could<br />

make a difference but from what I hear, it<br />

won’t from a time point of view.”<br />

Head of Procurement for Church of<br />

England, Chris Day, specifies the lowest<br />

possible fare, including first class where<br />

applicable. “We are flexible about when<br />

meetings start and finish to allow the<br />

lowest price,” he says. A lot of meetings are<br />

at Church House in London but travellers<br />

are departing from across the UK. Day is<br />

looking for a TMC to handle the Church’s<br />

£550,000 rail spend, which he hopes will<br />

highlight travel patterns and potential<br />

negotiating opportunities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> right platform<br />

Whether travellers are booking through a<br />

TMC or online booking tool, they may be<br />

using Evolvi Rail Systems, whose API<br />

provides configurable rail content for those<br />

channels, plus content aggregators and<br />

expense management systems.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Evolvi API is increasingly being<br />

embedded within third-party customerfacing<br />

online booking systems, underlining<br />

the growing trend among TMCs and<br />

corporates to treat UK rail spend with the<br />

same degree of focus as every other<br />

element of significant travel spend,” says<br />

Managing Director, Kirstie van Oerle.<br />

In addition, the well-documented<br />

complexity of rail fares means such<br />

systems are crucial in helping find the best<br />

fares and the most cost-effective<br />

configuration of tickets such as fixed<br />

outbound and flexible return, with travel<br />

policy embedded in the tool.<br />

Barcode ticketing is also winning fans in<br />

the corporate sector, especially as these go<br />

straight to a travel wallet, removing the<br />

need to activate prior to travel like mobile<br />

tickets. “Making this available on all routes<br />

would bring greater consistency of ticketing<br />

options to business travellers. <strong>The</strong>re is<br />

clearly a digital transformation under way<br />

but we need assurances on timescales and<br />

interoperability,” says van Oerle.<br />

Other innovations in ticket types include<br />

Advance Purchase on the Day (APoD) on<br />

certain routes, enabling travellers to access<br />

advance tickets even when buying just<br />

before travel. It is determined by passenger<br />

loads at the time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> railways and ticketing are long<br />

overdue for reform and it seems this may<br />

finally be on the cards.<br />

<strong>The</strong> well-documented<br />

complexity of rail<br />

fares means technology<br />

systems are crucial in<br />

helping find the best fares<br />

and the most cost-effective<br />

configuration of tickets”<br />


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Ground transport / Rail operator update<br />

One of the industry's<br />

best-known names is<br />

about to disappear from our<br />

networks having lost out on<br />

the West Coast franchise”<br />


Rail operator update / Ground transport<br />

All<br />

change<br />

New operators and the delivery of long-awaited investments<br />

are shaking up the UK's rail network, says Dave Richardson<br />

As the rail industry awaits the<br />

outcome of the Williams Review,<br />

two of its best-known names are<br />

about to disappear.<br />

Virgin Trains will give up the West Coast<br />

franchise – which covers many major<br />

business routes – in December, having lost<br />

out to a new partnership of FirstGroup and<br />

Trenitalia. It has operated these routes<br />

since 1997 and won many business awards,<br />

and also operated the East Coast routes<br />

from 2015-18.<br />

Virgin Group owns 51% of the West Coast<br />

franchise, the remaining 49% being owned<br />

by major international bus operator<br />

Stagecoach. Stagecoach lost the South West<br />

franchise in 2017 and the East Midlands<br />

routes in August this year, so this name too<br />

is set to disappear from rail.<br />

<strong>The</strong> loss of West Coast is controversial,<br />

as the Department for Transport barred<br />

Stagecoach from bidding as it was unwilling<br />

to take on the risk of underwriting pension<br />

deficits. A legal challenge is in the courts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> DfT had insisted that any new West<br />

Coast operator must have experience of<br />

operating a high-speed network, so Italian<br />

operator Trenitalia has partnered with<br />

FirstGroup. With the franchise running<br />

until 2031, First Trenitalia will start<br />

operating HS2 – if it ever gets built.<br />

What makes the West Coast award<br />

even more contentious is that some of<br />

FirstGroup’s major shareholders are in<br />

open revolt over plans to continue<br />

operating rail franchises after heavy losses<br />

on the South West and TransPennine<br />

Express routes.<br />

Meanwhile, Dutch rail operator NS has<br />

strengthened its hold on the UK rail<br />

industry with subsidiary Abellio taking over<br />

East Midlands, promising investment of<br />

£600million and new bimodal express<br />

trains by 2022. Abellio already operates<br />

four other franchises.<br />

Rolling on<br />

A huge investment programme is under<br />

way across the rail industry, but some<br />

passengers are only just starting to see<br />

the benefits while many have become<br />

frustrated by the delayed introduction of<br />

new trains. First-owned Great Western will<br />

introduce a new timetable in December<br />

with journey time improvements on many<br />

routes to London, following full deployment<br />

of new Hitachi-built bimodal trains.<br />

Hitachi is also supplying the new fleet for<br />

East Coast routes currently operated by<br />

LNER, with new trains starting operation in<br />

summer <strong>2019</strong> and all old trains due to be<br />

replaced by the end of 2020. As on Great<br />

Western, the main benefit is a welcome<br />

increase in seat capacity rather than<br />

significantly reduced journey times.<br />

TransPennine Express will transform<br />

inter-city travel across the North and to<br />

Scotland when its new trains are all in<br />

service, bringing on-board comfort and<br />

facilities to rival trains on main business<br />

routes to London. But major delays meant<br />

the first new trains did not start to carry<br />

passengers until late August.<br />

Northern, one of the most criticised<br />

operators, at last began to introduce some<br />

new trains in summer <strong>2019</strong>. Caledonian<br />

Sleeper also introduced new trains this year<br />

but has been hit by teething problems and<br />

adverse media coverage.<br />

Crossrail services through central London,<br />

due to start in December 2018 and branded<br />

as the Elizabeth Line, may not now happen<br />

until 2021 – while the Government’s review<br />

of HS2 could mean this whole contentious<br />

project is scrapped.<br />

<br />



Ground transport / Rail operator update<br />

[ <strong>The</strong> UK's train operators: who's who ]<br />

C2C<br />

Owned by: Trenitalia, part of the state-owned<br />

Italian rail operator.<br />

Franchise period: 2014-29.<br />

Main routes: London Fenchurch Street to<br />

destinations in Essex.<br />


Owned by: Serco.<br />

Franchise period: 2015-30.<br />

Main routes: Overnight services from London<br />

Euston to major Scottish cities.<br />


Owned by: Arriva UK Trains, part of stateowned<br />

German operator DB.<br />

Franchise period: 2002-21.<br />

Main routes: London Marylebone to<br />

Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham.<br />

CrossCountry<br />

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains.<br />

Franchise period: 2007-19.<br />

Main routes: Birmingham to the South West,<br />

Bournemouth, Cardiff, Nottingham, Stansted,<br />

Manchester, Leeds, the North East and<br />

Scotland. Franchise renewal postponed<br />

indefinitely due to the Williams Review.<br />

East Midlands Trains<br />

Owned by: Abellio, part of Dutch train<br />

operator NS, which replaced Stagecoachowned<br />

East Midlands Trains in August <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

Franchise period: <strong>2019</strong>-27.<br />

Main routes: London St Pancras to Leicester,<br />

Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; Norwich<br />

to Liverpool.<br />

Govia Thameslink Railway<br />

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis<br />

(majority owned by French state-owned<br />

operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group.<br />

Franchise period: 2015-21.<br />

Main routes: London to Bedford,<br />

Peterborough and King’s Lynn; and London<br />

to Brighton and other south coast cities<br />

(including Thameslink services via central<br />

London); plus local services across south<br />

London. Many routes carry Great Northern<br />

or Southern branding, and it includes the<br />

Gatwick Express service.<br />

Grand Central<br />

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains. Non-franchised<br />

open access operator.<br />

Main routes: London King’s Cross to<br />

Bradford, York and Sunderland.<br />


Owned by: A partnership between Abellio<br />

and Japanese rail interests.<br />

Franchise period: 2016-25.<br />

Main routes: London-Norwich; Stansted<br />

Express; regional services throughout<br />

East Anglia.<br />

Great Western Railway<br />

Owned by: FirstGroup.<br />

Franchise period: 2006-20.<br />

Main routes: London Paddington to the<br />

West Country, South Wales and Cotswolds;<br />

regional services in the South West and<br />

Thames Valley.<br />

Heathrow Express<br />

Owned by: Heathrow Airport, but operated<br />

by Great Western. Non-franchised open<br />

access operator.<br />

Main route: London Paddington to London<br />

Heathrow Airport.<br />


Owned by: FirstGroup. Non-franchised open<br />

access operator.<br />

Main route: London King’s Cross to Hull.<br />


Owned by: Department for Transport.<br />

Operating period: 2018-20, when new<br />

franchise is due to start.<br />

Main routes: London King’s Cross to<br />

Peterborough, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh,<br />

Aberdeen and Inverness.<br />

London Northwestern Railway<br />

London / WeST Northwestern MIDLANDS RAILWAY Railway/We<br />

Owned by: West Midlands Tren Abellio<br />

(part of Dutch train operator NS) and<br />

Japanese rail interests.<br />

Franchise period: 2017-26.<br />

Main routes: London to Birmingham and<br />

Crewe; Birmingham to Liverpool; local<br />

services in West Midlands.<br />

London Overground<br />

Owned by: Arriva UK Trains (on behalf of<br />

Transport for London).<br />

Franchise period: 2016-24.<br />

Main routes: Local services around London.<br />

Merseyrail<br />

Owned by: A partnership between Abellio<br />

and Serco.<br />

Franchise period: 2003-28.<br />

Main routes: Local services around Liverpool.<br />


Owned by: Arriva UK Trains.<br />

Franchise period: 2016-25.<br />

Main routes: Services throughout the North.<br />

ScotRail<br />

Owned by: Abellio (on behalf of the Scottish<br />

government).<br />

Franchise period: 2015-25.<br />

Main routes: Most services within Scotland.<br />

Southeastern<br />

Owned by: A partnership between Keolis<br />

(majority owned by French state-owned<br />

operator SNCF) and Go-Ahead Group.<br />

Franchise period: 2006-19. Franchise renewal<br />

postponed due to the Williams Review.<br />

Main routes: London to Kent; local services<br />

around south London.<br />

South Western Railway<br />

Owned by: A partnership between FirstGroup<br />

and Hong Kong rail operator MTR.<br />

Franchise period: 2017-24.<br />

Main routes: London to the south coast and<br />

Exeter; local services around south London.<br />

TfL Rail<br />

Owned by: Transport for London.<br />

Franchise period: 2015-23.<br />

Main routes: East London. It will operate<br />

Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) when it opens.<br />

TransPennine Express<br />

Owned by: FirstGroup.<br />

Franchise period: 2016-23.<br />

Main routes: Liverpool and Manchester<br />

Airport to Yorkshire and North East;<br />

Manchester Airport to Edinburgh and<br />

Glasgow; Manchester to Hull and Cleethorpes.<br />


Owned by: A partnership between Keolis and<br />

Amey (on behalf of Transport for Wales).<br />

Franchise period: 2018-33.<br />

Main routes: Most services within Wales,<br />

and to Birmingham and Manchester.<br />


Owned by: A partnership between Virgin<br />

Group and Stagecoach.<br />

Franchise period: 1997-<strong>2019</strong>. To be replaced<br />

in December by a partnership between<br />

FirstGroup and Trenitalia (franchise to 2031).<br />

Main routes: London to the West Midlands,<br />

North West, North Wales and Scotland;<br />

Birmingham to Scotland.<br />



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Selected routes only. Visit GWR.com for full terms and conditions.

Ground transport / Taxis<br />

CABBIE<br />

fever<br />

A host of newcomers are shaking up London’s ride-hailing<br />

and taxi market with Uber in their sights. Rob Gill reports<br />

Competition in London’s ride-hailing<br />

and taxi market is hotting up as<br />

Uber faces down a host of new<br />

entrants, while black cab apps continue<br />

to actively court the corporate market.<br />

Uber had been operating in the UK capital<br />

on a 15-month probationary licence from<br />

Transport for London (TfL) since June 2018,<br />

which was extended for another two months<br />

in September. TfL had originally refused to<br />

renew Uber’s five-year licence because of<br />

concerns over the reporting of serious criminal<br />

offences and background checks for drivers.<br />

London calling<br />

Whatever happens with its licence renewal,<br />

Uber is facing a raft of extra competition in<br />

London from other ride-hailing firms –<br />

Estonian-based Bolt launched in June, while<br />

Indian start-up Ola has also been granted a<br />

15-month licence by TfL with the service due<br />

to start in September.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there’s Kapten (formerly known as<br />

Chauffeur Privé), backed by German car<br />

giants BMW and Daimler, plus car-sharing<br />

service ViaVan, which secured a three-year<br />

licence to operate in London earlier this year.<br />

Meanwhile black cab apps such as Gett and<br />

FREE NOW (formerly Hailo and then Mytaxi)<br />

are also upping their games in attracting<br />

corporate business, while industry veteran<br />

Addison Lee also remains a significant player<br />

in the market.<br />

Despite the intense competition, Uber<br />

currently accounts for 80% of London’s ridehailing<br />

journeys and does not seem to fear<br />

the emergence of these additional rivals.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y are competitors that we’re familiar<br />

with. We’ve been competing against those<br />

players in Paris for many years,” says Uber’s<br />

CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. “We are not seeing<br />

anything in London that’s a surprise or<br />

unexpected that we’re not seeing in 20 other<br />

cities around the world.”<br />

One potential advantage of this increased<br />

competition is a reduction in journey prices in<br />

London. But Matteo de Renzi, Gett’s CEO of<br />

Western Europe, is not so sure this will be the<br />

case as the ride-hailing companies compete<br />

to secure the services of the drivers.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re are many new players in the<br />

consumer space,” says de Renzi. “<strong>The</strong>y will<br />

add competition but we’re quite neutral<br />

about that. All the new players will have to<br />

start with a large amount of drivers and so<br />

pay them generous incentives. This could<br />

have a detrimental effect on Uber and lead<br />

them to increase the prices even more.”<br />

Companies like Gett continue to stress the<br />

unpredictability of Uber’s prices for corporate<br />

clients, particularly around “surge” rates.<br />

More corporate-focused players also<br />

emphasise their ability to offer clients what<br />

they need to meet duty of care requirements<br />

and supply management information (MI).<br />

Andrew Sproston, UK Head of Sales at FREE<br />

NOW, adds: “Almost every week we see a new<br />

service provider launch. Technology has<br />

made people much more engaged in their<br />

travel plans. While having lots of choice is<br />

obviously attractive, we find that for business<br />

travel safety, speed and comfort remain the<br />

most important factors.<br />

“With taxis, as with any corporate travel,<br />

people want seamless transfers – a cab<br />

waiting for them with a driver they already<br />

know the name of, contact details, the route<br />

and shareable ETAs (estimated time of<br />

arrival). It reassures people that they are in<br />

safe hands, knowing their driver is fullylicensed<br />

and knows where they are going.”<br />

Play it safe<br />

Offering duty of care to passengers and their<br />

employers continues to be a major selling<br />

point for those operating in the corporate taxi<br />

market – particularly as this issue has been a<br />

serious hurdle for Uber to overcome in its<br />

fight to get its London licence renewed.<br />

Clare Mahood, Senior Marketing Manager at<br />

ground transport specialist CMAC Group,<br />

says: “We understand how critical it is that<br />

organisations provide a duty of care to their<br />

employees. One of our biggest contributions<br />

to this is our vetted, compliant suppliers. To<br />

give peace of mind to employers we provide<br />

real-time tracking of journeys that is also<br />

accessible by the organisation.”<br />


Taxis / Ground transport<br />

Many corporate<br />

clients are concerned<br />

about working with ridehailing<br />

companies who do not<br />

vet their drivers and therefore<br />

do not make these services<br />

part of their company policy”<br />

© UBER<br />

Having the ability to vet drivers is crucial,<br />

says John McCallion, CEO of Groundscope.<br />

“Corporate clients want safe, reliable and<br />

cost-effective ride-hailing services and these<br />

do not always go hand-in-hand. We are<br />

committed to providing fully vetted ridehailing<br />

service partners globally and we’re<br />

rolling this service out as soon as we can.”<br />

McCallion adds: “Many corporate clients<br />

are rightfully concernced about working with<br />

ride-hailing companies who do not vet their<br />

drivers and as a result are not making these<br />

services part of their company policy.”<br />

Another challenge is delivering user-friendly<br />

apps for corporates. “<strong>The</strong> massive growth of<br />

the consumer market has created different<br />

expectations,” says Gett’s de Renzi. “<strong>The</strong><br />

challenge from corporates is to get closer to<br />

the experience you have on a consumer level.”<br />

Electric avenue<br />

One of the next frontiers is the ability to offer<br />

more environmentally friendly vehicles and<br />

rides, particularly with cities introducing evertighter<br />

regulations on emissions.<br />

Rob McGinn, Addison Lee’s Chief Commercial<br />

Officer, says the company wants to “set the<br />

agenda around the introduction of new vehicle<br />

technology” and has committed to having a<br />

zero-emissions capable UK fleet by 2022. It<br />

started that journey with a recent investment<br />

in over £40million-worth of low-emission<br />

vehicles. “We’ve just begun trialling five Audi<br />

E-trons – a fully electric SUV – with corporate<br />

customers so we can understand the requirements<br />

for an electric fleet and customer<br />

attitudes towards the cars,” adds McGinn.<br />

Uber, meanwhile, has introduced a ‘clean<br />

air plan’ in London to aid the electrification of<br />

its fleet. But this obviously involves a cost to<br />

passengers with Uber introducing a 15p per<br />

mile charge earlier this year on each journey<br />

in London as it aims to raise £200million to<br />

help drivers switch to electric vehicles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ride-hailing/taxi market is certainly one<br />

to watch over the next few months and it will<br />

be interesting to see how many of the new<br />

entrants are still standing in a year’s time.<br />



Ground transport / Chauffeur services<br />

in the BACK seAt<br />

ChAuFFeuR<br />

seRViCes in<br />

the spotLight<br />

In a world of digitalisation, content<br />

aggregators, on-demand services and a<br />

renewed focus on sustainability, some<br />

might assume that the chauffeur drive<br />

sector is in a tight spot.<br />

But that, it seems, would be a big mistake.<br />

Leading providers of chauffeur services –<br />

often perceived as something of a luxury<br />

– say demand is growing, with corporates<br />

covering off duty of care and security<br />

concerns and, increasingly, highlighting<br />

the traveller wellbeing benefits.<br />

“Even in the age of ride-hailing apps<br />

we find the demand is still there from<br />

those who prefer the premium service,<br />

comfort and reliability of a professional<br />

chauffeur,” says one leading provider.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is no doubt that ride-hailing<br />

services have shaken up the taxis and<br />

transfers landscapes, so the chauffeur<br />

drive sector has been forced to evolve.<br />

This is good news for corporates, with<br />

increasingly more chauffeur companies<br />

providing API links for booking their<br />

services and integrating their content with<br />

aggregators and online booking tools.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next challenge is for providers to<br />

meet corporates’ sustainability needs by<br />

at the very least offering carbon offsetting<br />

facilities. <strong>The</strong>y must also maintain a fleet<br />

of newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles<br />

and, as some providers are doing, begin<br />

incorporating electric vehicles for shorter<br />

or urban transfers. “Nearly every RFP asks<br />

about sustainability initiatives now,” one<br />

provider recently told us.<br />

Q&A<br />

CRAig ChAMBeRs<br />

Group CEO,<br />

TBR Global Chauffeuring<br />

When does a chauffeur service come<br />

into its own? “When business travellers<br />

have to go to unfamiliar or risky locations.<br />

Duty of care is of paramount importance.<br />

But at any time, chauffeur services provide<br />

travellers with complete peace of mind by<br />

offering a fully managed end-to-end service,<br />

getting them where they need to be in<br />

comfort, reliably and on time.”<br />

Are you integrated with corporate<br />

booking tools and TMCs? “When it comes<br />

to online booking tools and integrations,<br />

our technology portfolio is quite broad. We<br />

offer booking tools developed entirely by<br />

our in-house innovation team as well as<br />

API-based links to our clients via our own<br />

TBR Connect API or through third-party<br />

booking channels. We have successfully<br />

integrated directly with a number of key<br />

global clients’ GDS systems and directly<br />

into TMCs’ own platforms, allowing them to<br />

provide a truly door-to-door travel solution<br />

to their customers.”<br />

[ high FiVe: A seLeCtion oF LeADing pRoViDeRs ]<br />

• Blacklane: <strong>The</strong> Berlin-based company<br />

offers chauffeur services, airport transfers<br />

and a range of business solutions –<br />

including airport lounge access and<br />

expedited arrivals services – in more than<br />

300 cities worldwide.<br />

• Carey: Founded in 1921, Carey offers a<br />

range of chauffeur services, including<br />

transfers for large scale meetings and<br />

events. <strong>The</strong> Carey Global Network covers<br />

more than 1,000 cities in 75 countries and<br />

performs more than 1.5million chauffeur<br />

journeys every year.<br />

• Club Class: Offers both corporate and<br />

private bookings across the UK with hubs<br />

in Sussex, Cheltenham, Leicester and at<br />

London Heathrow. It specialises in airport,<br />

seaport and long-distance transfers.<br />

• TBR Global: Offers chauffeur services<br />

to corporates, fully managed ground<br />

transport services for events ranging from<br />

one to 10,000+ people, and works with 16<br />

of the top 20 global investment banks.<br />

Its Major Global Events Team was named<br />

MICE Team of the Year at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

<strong>Travel</strong> People Awards earlier this year.<br />

• Tristar: Provides airport transfers and<br />

transport for roadshow, meeting and<br />

events with a fleet of luxury vehicles and<br />

two service levels: First and Executive. It<br />

operates in more than 80 countries and is<br />

part of the Addison Lee group.<br />

What trends are you witnessing in<br />

this sector? “As the industry matures and<br />

becomes increasingly digital, we are starting<br />

to see the ground transport sector harness<br />

new technology – AI, big data, etc – to<br />

further understand and optimise the<br />

customer experience. It is vital for ground<br />

transport providers to understand their<br />

customers' evolving needs and the booking<br />

channels that best suit them.”<br />

Anything else on the agenda currently?<br />

“With the rise of autonomous vehicles and<br />

ride hauling apps becoming part of the<br />

fabric of society, traveller wellbeing<br />

continues to remain of paramount<br />

importance to the ground transportation<br />

space. As a customer-centric industry,<br />

ground transport businesses still place<br />

this high on the agenda and this shows<br />

no signs of abating.”<br />


Chauffeur services / Ground transport<br />

putting it<br />

to the test<br />

<strong>The</strong>re's something very comforting<br />

about stepping off a long-haul flight<br />

early in the morning and being greeted<br />

at arrivals by a smartly dressed driver<br />

bearing a board with your name on it.<br />

So it was a shame that my flight's early<br />

arrival had caught out the driver of my<br />

booked chauffeur service. Not to sweat,<br />

though, an email confirmed my driver's<br />

name and contact number, and a text<br />

message assured me he had arrived at the<br />

airport. A call shortly afterwards helped<br />

unite us and we were soon on the road.<br />

I'd booked the service with Blacklane,<br />

selecting an entry level '<strong>Business</strong> Class'<br />

service – a Mercedes Benz E Class – costing<br />

£243 (including VAT, fees and tip, and for<br />

up to three passengers) from Heathrow to<br />

my home in Sussex. An hour's tolerance<br />

is included for airport pick-ups, or 15<br />

minutes for other services.<br />

I took the opportunity to trial the service<br />

because it was substantially quicker than<br />

using a combination of the Underground<br />

and Southern train services. And if I'd<br />

driven my own car, the expense claim for<br />

petrol and parking wouldn't be too far<br />

behind the cost of a chauffeur service.<br />

However, it is the duty of care argument<br />

that is perhaps the most powerful, for the<br />

law wouldn't look kindly on a company<br />

that allows an employee to step off a<br />

red-eye flight and drive themself home.<br />

And then of course there is the wellbeing<br />

factor. This was a totally stress-free and<br />

comfortable journey home. Bottled water<br />

was provided, I could charge my phone,<br />

and the driver was polite – checking I was<br />

happy with the volume of the radio and<br />

temperature – but also not too chatty. Just<br />

the tonic after a busy trip and little sleep!

Ground transport / Data<br />

Hitting the ground<br />


From rising car hire costs and ‘flygskam’ to the growth<br />

of rail travel and average ticket values<br />




Source: globehunters.com<br />







LONDON CITY £8<br />








44 %<br />


39 %<br />


22 %<br />


19 %<br />


16 %<br />


6 %<br />

OTHER<br />

Source: poll of delegates at TBTC'19<br />










Source: CWT 2020 Global <strong>Travel</strong> Forecast<br />


+0.5%<br />


+0.5%<br />


£56.32<br />


£56.83 IN 2017 DESPITE A 3.3% INCREASE IN FARES<br />

9.4 million<br />



TOOL IN 2018 (UP FROM 8.6M IN 2017)<br />


EUROPE<br />

+1.5%<br />


MIXED OUTLOOK FOR <strong>2019</strong>-20<br />

BELGIUM: -4.5%<br />

UAE: -3.5%<br />

SPAIN: -2.5%<br />

NETHERLANDS: -2.5%<br />

ITALY: -2.5%<br />

AUSTRALIA: -1.5%<br />

GERMANY: -1.5%<br />

NORWAY: -1%<br />

SWEDEN: -1%<br />

UK: -0.5%<br />

CANADA: +1%<br />

US: +1%<br />

FRANCE: +1%<br />

SOUTH AFRICA: +2%<br />

SWITZERLAND: +2.5%<br />

UK<br />

+1.8%<br />

Source: Ground Monitor <strong>2019</strong> by Amex GBT<br />






JAPAN<br />













Source: BCD 2020 Industry Forecast<br />



New kid on the block<br />

the biltmore, mayfair, london<br />

THE LOWDOWN What does<br />

London’s most exclusive postcode<br />

require? Yep, a stylish dose of<br />

contemporary style. This 308-room<br />

property (including 51 suites) has<br />

that in spades, bringing top-notch<br />

hospitality back to the imposing<br />

red-brick building on Grosvenor<br />

Square that has been a hotel since<br />

it opened in 1969. As the first of<br />

Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts in<br />

Europe, the property has undergone<br />

a two-year, £60million refurbishment<br />

and is big on elegant touches – for<br />

example, quintessentially British<br />

amenities by Penhaligon's are<br />

provided in all bathrooms. Michelin-<br />

Starred chef Jason Atherton heads<br />

up all food and beverage, including<br />

new restaurant <strong>The</strong> Betterment,<br />

featuring a seasonal driven menu,<br />

and <strong>The</strong> Pine Bar tea lounge and<br />

alfresco dining terrace. <strong>The</strong> hotel<br />

also has a ballroom with capacity for<br />

up to 700 guests, plus three meeting<br />

suites for groups of 40-100.<br />

that's a FACT Forget minibars<br />

– guests splashing out to stay in<br />

one of the hotel's eight Signature<br />

Suites will find a quilted leather<br />

cabinet packed with Champagne.<br />

they said it “With its prime<br />

location, bespoke products and<br />

quintessential services under LXR,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Biltmore, Mayfair, will be fit for<br />

royalty, well-travelled guests from<br />

around the world and senior<br />

corporate executives.”<br />

rates Premier King<br />

rooms start from £550 per night.<br />




Advantage members<br />

meet and mingle!<br />

<strong>The</strong> Advantage <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Summer BBQ<br />

<strong>Business</strong> travel members and<br />

partners of <strong>The</strong> Advantage <strong>Travel</strong><br />

Partnership got together at the<br />

association’s annual Summer<br />

Barbecue in early September.<br />

Attendees enjoyed Champagne<br />

and cocktails at Chapel Down’s<br />

Gin Works bar and venue in Kings<br />

Cross, London, courtesy of sponsors<br />

Air Europa, IHG, Avis and<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Business</strong> <strong>Travel</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Advantage Summer BBQ <strong>2019</strong> ▼<br />

Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx ▼<br />

▲ 10.09.<strong>2019</strong><br />

Serving up a final taste of summer<br />

Brewing up plans for the<br />

busy autumn season<br />



Meeting in Glasgow<br />

Lively and dynamic,<br />

Glasgow boasts a vibrant<br />

cultural scene, plenty of<br />

green spaces and the<br />

largest academic<br />

community outside<br />

London, with world<br />

leading research in life<br />

sciences, engineering and<br />

tech. It’s also known as a<br />

financial services centre –<br />

Barclays, JP Morgan and<br />

Credit Suisse are among<br />

the many multinational<br />

banks with a base in the<br />

city, writes Emma Allen<br />


Glasgow Science Centre<br />

Set on the banks of the River<br />

Clyde, the £75m Science<br />

Centre’s three titanium-clad<br />

buildings are amongst the most<br />

recognisable landmarks in the<br />

city and the venue makes an<br />

impressive backdrop for events.<br />

Inside, there is an IMAX 3D<br />

cinema, a Planetarium and<br />

conference suites of varying<br />

sizes. Its biggest space, the<br />

Atrium, can host up to 600.<br />

Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific<br />

Quay, G51 1EA / 0141 420 5008<br />

glasgowsciencecentre.org<br />




Clydeside Distillery<br />

<strong>The</strong> multimillion-pound riverside<br />

Clydeside development opened<br />

in 2017 and is the city’s first<br />

single malt whisky distillery to<br />

open in more than 100 years.<br />

Inside, a private tasting room<br />

can seat up to 50, or receptions<br />

for up to 200 can be held in the<br />

Distillery complete with its<br />

large copper stills. Exclusive<br />

hire drinks packages are £65<br />

per head, including a tour.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Old Pump House, Queen’s Dock,<br />

100 Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8QQ<br />

0141 212 1401 / theclydeside.com<br />


<strong>The</strong>studio<br />

Situated just a few minutes’<br />

walk from Central Station’s<br />

main concourse, thestudio<br />

offers seven light-filled and<br />

brightly designed meeting<br />

rooms, each with outstanding<br />

views of the city’s rooftops to<br />

the hills beyond. An exclusiveuse<br />

space for up to 260 can<br />

be hired on the ninth floor<br />

for receptions. Day packages<br />

start from £27.50 per head.<br />

<strong>The</strong>studio Keynes, 67 Hope St, Glasgow<br />

G2 6AE / 0141 370 4500<br />

studiovenues.co.uk<br />


WIRED UP<br />


Getting there<br />

Glasgow offers excellent<br />

road, rail and air links. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are three international airports<br />

within easy reach and two<br />

major railway stations. More<br />

than 20 trains daily operate<br />

from London Euston with an<br />

average journey time of just<br />

over four hours.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ivy<br />

Scotland’s first outpost of the<br />

Ivy brasserie chain opened on<br />

Glasgow’s Buchanan Street this<br />

summer, and its elaborately<br />

decorated interior makes an<br />

elegant setting for parties and<br />

dinners. Aside from the main<br />

restaurant, there is a first floor<br />

bar that hosts live music at<br />

weekends and the private<br />

dining Morgan Room which can<br />

sit 20 guests on one long table<br />

or up to 40 standing.<br />

106 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2NB<br />

0141 378 1200 / theivyglasgow.com<br />

Kimpton Blythswood<br />

Square Hotel<br />

This elegant Georgian townhouse<br />

hotel re-opened<br />

this year under the<br />

Kimpton brand following<br />

a multimillion-pound refit.<br />

Six luxury modern meeting<br />

rooms offer state of the art<br />

technology, with the Monte<br />

Carlo suite able to host up to<br />

120 theatre-style. <strong>The</strong>re's also a<br />

40-seat screening room for hire.<br />

11 Blysthwood Square, Glasgow<br />

G2 4AD / 0141 248 8888<br />

kimptonblythswoodsquare.com<br />



Hampden Park Stadium<br />

Hampden Park is the home<br />

venue to Scotland’s national<br />

football team, just three<br />

miles south of the city<br />

centre. Ideal for large<br />

events, there is 1,800m2<br />

of exhibition space, an<br />

auditorium and more than 45<br />

separate conference rooms<br />

available, with the largest, the<br />

Lomond and Nevis suites, both<br />

seating up to 500 theatre-style.<br />

Hampden Park Stadium, Glasgow<br />

G42 9BA / 0141 620 4120<br />

hampdenconferenceandevents.co.uk<br />

Further information<br />

Contact the Glasgow<br />

Convention Bureau for advice<br />

on venues, accommodation<br />

and conference bookings.<br />

Telephone 0141 566 0807<br />

or email conventions@<br />

glasgowconventionbureau.com<br />

THE IVY<br />






<strong>The</strong> finest experience<br />

in the sky.<br />

We connect the UK to over 120 destinations<br />

across Latin America with direct daily flights<br />

to our hub in São Paulo. Over the next two<br />

years, we will renovate the cabins of<br />

two-thirds of our global fleet.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Premium <strong>Business</strong> class will boast a<br />

new seat design with seating options for<br />

both individuals and couples (including a<br />

full-flat bed), direct aisle access, ample<br />

space for personal items, and an improved<br />

in-flight entertainment system on an 18”<br />

personal screen.<br />



On business in... São Paulo<br />

South America’s<br />

largest metropolis and<br />

Brazil’s economic<br />

epicentre, São Paulo is<br />

a bustling, booming<br />

city with surprising<br />

pockets of calm, as<br />

well as plenty of<br />

places to drink, dine<br />

and soak up the<br />

culture, writes<br />

Sasha Wood<br />

SÃo Paulo<br />

comes alive<br />

after dark<br />

Getting there<br />

LATAM and British<br />

Airways both operate direct<br />

flights between London<br />

Heathrow and Sao Paulo<br />

Guarulhos International<br />

Airport, while Virgin Atlantic<br />

will launch services in March<br />

2020. Flights take around<br />

11hrs 45mins.<br />

Further information<br />

For flights, visit latam.com;<br />

visitor information:<br />

visitbrasil.com<br />

Sleeping<br />

Set between the sloping streets of<br />

São Paulo’s smart and leafy Jardins<br />

district, Tivoli Mofarrej São Paulo<br />

scores points for both location and<br />

luxury. Its top-floor breakfast room<br />

has panoramic views of the city’s<br />

skyline and the tropical pool is the<br />

perfect place to chill. All guest rooms<br />

have the latest tech and amenities<br />

including smart TVs, USB charging<br />

points and a decent workspace.<br />

Eating<br />

For a gourmet meal in a modern<br />

rustic setting, South American<br />

order from<br />

celebrity chef Alex Atala’s<br />

Dalva e Dito restaurant<br />

serves traditional Brazilian food<br />

the amazon summon an Uber, which is<br />

considerably less costly.<br />

prepared with ingredients sourced<br />

from the Amazon rainforest.<br />

Must-see sights<br />

<strong>The</strong> covered Mercado Municipal<br />

After hours<br />

Lively Bar Brahma on the corner<br />

of Avenida Ipiranga and Sao Joao<br />

Street is the best place in São Paulo<br />

to sample local live samba and<br />

classic local fare. Alternatively,<br />

visit the Vila Madalena district for<br />

music, poetry and dancing at Bar<br />

Samba or Bar Camara.<br />

market in São Paulo’s downtown<br />

district is a feast for the senses.<br />

Pockets of heritage architecture<br />

such as Patio do Colegio, where<br />

the city was founded, and the<br />

16th-century Church of Santa<br />

Ifigenia still shelter between modern<br />

skyscrapers in central São Paulo.<br />

Ibirapuera Park, based on the<br />

design of NYC's Central Park, offers<br />

a huge expanse of green space and<br />

Getting downtown<br />

a break from the hustle and bustle.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is an official Airport Bus<br />

service between Guarulhos<br />

International Airport and the city<br />

centre. It’s fairly cheap and frequent,<br />

but can take between one and three<br />

hours, owing to São Paulo’s<br />

notoriously bad traffic. Taxis are<br />

also readily available outside the<br />

airport terminal, or you can<br />




Focus on... the Gulf States<br />

<strong>The</strong> six oil-rich Arabian<br />

Gulf States – Bahrain,<br />

Saudi Arabia, the UAE,<br />

Qatar, Kuwait and Oman<br />

– have diversified their<br />

economies, creating<br />

new opportunities for<br />

British trade and<br />

investment post-Brexit,<br />

writes Sasha Wood<br />

Nature bestowed the Gulf two gifts:<br />

pearls from the oyster-rich sea and<br />

'black gold' from beneath the sand.<br />

<strong>The</strong> former fed the earliest industry<br />

while the latter catapulted the<br />

region into the global economic<br />

stratosphere.<br />

<strong>The</strong> region’s oil-rich GCC nations<br />

include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain<br />

and Kuwait, but some, such as<br />

Oman and the UAE, are increasingly<br />

turning to tourism as the wells run<br />

dry. Harnessing the plentiful supply<br />

of sun, sand and sea to turn a<br />

profit, they are creating fresh<br />

opportunities for UK companies to<br />

invest in hospitality and infrastructure,<br />

and especially in<br />

construction, in a set of safe and<br />

secure countries, albeit in a<br />

turbulent neighbourhood.<br />

<strong>The</strong> desert emirate of Dubai is<br />

undoubtedly the Gulf's financial<br />

centre and economic gateway, with<br />

free trade facilitating access to other<br />

regional markets such as Saudi<br />

Arabia and Bahrain. It also boasts<br />

the biggest sea container port in the<br />

Middle East, part of the city's original<br />

plan to establish itself as a trade<br />

centre when it lacked the massive oil<br />

reserves of its neighbours.<br />

As a whole, the UAE has been<br />

successful in diversifying its economy<br />

away from oil, and now has Arabia’s<br />

second strongest economy after<br />

Saudi Arabia. More than 5,000 British<br />

companies already operate in the<br />

destination, including well-known<br />

brands such as BP, Rolls Royce,<br />

Barclays, HSBC and Waitrose,<br />

with plenty of room for more.<br />

Aside from Dubai, the region's<br />

other key centres of commerce<br />

include Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha,<br />

Kuwait City, Muscat and Riyadh,<br />

all of which are valuable trade<br />

partners with the UK – even more<br />

Time zones: Bahrain,<br />

Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi<br />

Arabia: GMT +3hrs; Oman and<br />

the UAE: GMT +4hrs.<br />

Local currency:<br />

UAE Dirham: £1 = 4.57 AED<br />

Omani Rial: £1 = 0.48 OMR<br />

Bahraini Dinar: £1 = 0.47 BHD<br />

Qatari Riyal: £1 = 4.53 QAR<br />

Saudi Riyal: £1 = 4.66 SAR<br />

Kuwaiti Dinar: £1 = 0.38 KWD<br />

Visas: Available upon arrival for<br />

the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and<br />

Bahrain; for Oman, apply for an<br />

e-visa in advance; for Saudi<br />

Arabia, apply in advance from<br />

visa agencies accredited to the<br />

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.<br />

Dialling codes: Kuwait +965;<br />

UAE +971, Bahrain +973, Oman<br />

+968, Qatar +974, Saudi +966.<br />



so post-Brexit. <strong>The</strong> UK government<br />

has stated its commitment to<br />

increasing cooperation between the<br />

UK and the Gulf States’ financial<br />

services sector with mutual<br />

opportunities for business across<br />

asset management, cyber security,<br />

sustainable finance and FinTech.<br />

Despite stalling in 2017, the Gulf<br />

States’ economies are surging ahead,<br />

according to the International<br />

Monetary Fund (IMF), which predicts<br />

3% growth by the end of this year<br />

alone. GDP growth across the GCC is<br />

also expected to be healthy this year<br />

largely due to the region’s increased<br />

investment in development projects.<br />

With the Gulf’s strongest GDP growth<br />

– at 5% – Oman’s commitment to<br />

expanding its tourism offering seems<br />

to be bearing fruit.<br />

A uniquely close relationship<br />

between Oman and the UK fostered<br />

by historic ties and friendship<br />

between the monarchies makes it a<br />

great business proposition. In fact,<br />

the UK is Oman’s largest source of<br />

foreign direct investment and there<br />

is a strong appetite to see more<br />

trade with the UK.<br />

At the crossroads of international<br />

trade routes since ancient times,<br />

Bahrain was the first GCC state to<br />

strike oil. <strong>The</strong> island nation has good<br />

bilateral relations with the UK and<br />

direct access to the Saudi economy<br />

via King Fahad Causeway. Similarly to<br />

Bahrain, Kuwait has a longstanding<br />

business relationship with the UK,<br />

with exports to the Kuwaiti market<br />

up 23% this year alone.<br />

Oil, meanwhile, still forms the<br />

backbone of the Saudi economy,<br />

while across the Gulf the IMF says<br />

public investment projects, including<br />

those consistent with the five-year<br />

development plan in Kuwait,<br />

infrastructure investment projects<br />

ahead of the FIFA 2022 World Cup<br />

in Qatar, and ongoing preparations<br />

for Expo 2020 in the UAE, have all<br />

contributed to growth.<br />

Qatar has also instituted the 2030<br />

Qatar National Vision, one of the<br />

world’s most ambitious infrastructure<br />

projects with a budget of £140bn.<br />

Qatar is a significant investor in the<br />

UK and its third largest export market<br />

in the region, buying largely heavy<br />

machinery, vehicles and power<br />

generation equipment. Considering<br />

the growing bilateral economic<br />

relationship, like the other GCC<br />

countries, it’s ripe for investment.<br />




Factfile: the Gulf States<br />


BRITISH AIRWAYS: Flies daily<br />

from Heathrow to UAE capital<br />

Abu Dhabi, plus Bahrain, Kuwait,<br />

Qatari capital Doha and the Saudi<br />

gateway of Jeddah; and 19 times<br />

per week to Dubai. It also has four<br />

flights per week to Omani capital<br />

Muscat from Heathrow.<br />

EMIRATES: Flies to Dubai six times<br />

daily from London Heathrow; 22<br />

times per week from London<br />

Gatwick; and twice daily from<br />

London Stansted. <strong>The</strong>re are also<br />

double daily flights from<br />

Birmingham and Glasgow, and<br />

daily flights from Newcastle and<br />

Edinburgh, plus a thrice daily<br />

service from Manchester.<br />

ETIHAD AIRWAYS: Has five<br />

flights a day to Abu Dhabi from<br />

Heathrow, and twice daily flights<br />

from Manchester.<br />

GULF AIR: Serves Bahrain with<br />

double daily flights from Heathrow.<br />

JAZEERA AIRWAYS: Will fly to<br />

Kuwait from Gatwick from <strong>Oct</strong>ober.<br />

KUWAIT AIRWAYS: Operates 13<br />

flights per week to Kuwait from<br />

London Heathrow.<br />

OMAN AIR: Flies twice daily to<br />

Muscat from London Heathrow,<br />

and daily from Manchester.<br />

QATAR AIRWAYS: Flies to Doha<br />

seven times per day from London<br />

Heathrow; four times per day from<br />

Manchester; daily from Birmingham<br />

and Cardiff; 10 times per week<br />

from Edinburgh; and has 28 flights<br />

a week between Doha and Gatwick.<br />


nine flights a week from Heathrow<br />

to Jeddah and five a week from<br />

Manchester.<br />

• Information kindly supplied by<br />

travel data and analytics specialist<br />

Cirium (cirium.com)<br />

BA has<br />

the region<br />

covered<br />

MARRIOTT: Is growing its<br />

presence in the region with new<br />

openings under its W Hotels<br />

brand including W Dubai – the<br />

Palm, W Muscat in Oman and<br />

W Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.<br />

IHG: Is one of the biggest hotel<br />

groups in the region with<br />

properties in all the key business<br />

travel destinations under its<br />

Crowne Plaza, lnterContinental and<br />

Holiday Inn brands.<br />

FOUR SEASONS: Has hotels in all<br />

the key destinations across the<br />

sleeping<br />

waldorf<br />

astoria<br />

arrives in<br />

dubai<br />

region including Dubai, Doha,<br />

Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain.<br />

JUMEIRAH: Has its flagship hotel –<br />

the famous Burj Al Arab – in Dubai<br />

and a flush of upmarket properties<br />

across the region including the new<br />

Jumeirah Muscat Bay in Oman.<br />

ACCOR: Is expanding fast with<br />

a number of brands under its<br />

umbrella including MGallery and<br />

Mama Shelter, plus others. New<br />

hotels slated for Abu Dhabi and<br />

Dubai include Raffles the Palm<br />

Dubai and Fairmont Abu Dhabi<br />

Marina Park.<br />

HILTON: Runs a swathe of hotels<br />

across the Gulf with openings<br />

set for the UAE, Saudi<br />

Arabia, Kuwait and<br />

Bahrain, including the<br />

Waldorf Astoria Dubai.<br />

MOVENPICK: Has a large<br />

footprint in the Gulf region, with<br />

a dozen upscale hotels in Saudi<br />

Arabia, seven in the UAE, and a<br />

handful more in Bahrain, Kuwait<br />

and Qatar.<br />

DUBAI: Glimpse the past at Dubai<br />

Creek and take a walking tour of<br />

the Al Fahidi historic district. Spy<br />

the city’s megastructures including<br />

the Burj Al Arab, then scale world’s<br />

tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.<br />

ABU DHABI: Louvre Abu Dhabi<br />

opened in 2017, the largest art<br />

museum on the Arabian Peninsula,<br />

bridging the gap between east<br />

and west, and undoubtedly<br />

a city highlight.<br />

MUSCAT: Oman’s low-rise<br />

waterfront capital is a portal<br />

into authentic Arabia with one<br />

of the Middle East’s oldest bazaars,<br />

Mutrah Souk, where you can barter<br />

for local frankincense, and the<br />

visitor-friendly Grand Mosque.<br />

Alongside the recently-opened<br />

National Museum, the Sultan<br />

Qaboos Opera House is well worth<br />

a visit too.<br />

MANAMA: Bahrain’s chief city can<br />

be charted in a day with key stops<br />

including the National Museum,<br />

Bab al-Bahrain bazaar, Bahrain<br />

Fort and the Pearling Trail.<br />

off duty<br />

musk and<br />

mosques in<br />

muscat<br />

DOHA: Make the most of a<br />

trip to Qatari capital Doha<br />

with a peruse of the wares of<br />

atmospheric Souk Waqif and a<br />

stroll along the bustling<br />

waterfront corniche. For a relaxing<br />

arabian voyage, consider taking a<br />

wooden dhow boat tour.<br />

jeddah: Saudi Arabia is at its<br />

most fascinating and liberal in the<br />

gateway city of Jeddah, which sits at<br />

the crossroads of ancient Arabian<br />

trade routes and close to the holy<br />

city of Mecca. Heritage architecture<br />

and bustling souks await.<br />



Reality check<br />



This is the first Live!<br />

while amenities included a huge TV,<br />

hotel from the North American Loews<br />

desk, chaise longue, coffee machine,<br />

Hotel Group. It is located adjacent to<br />

safe and ironing board. <strong>The</strong>re was no<br />

major sporting venues (the Dallas<br />

bottled water in the room (complimentary<br />

Cowboys' AT&T stadium and both the<br />

nor otherwise), which was an oversight.<br />

existing and new homes of the Texas<br />


<strong>The</strong>reʼs a well-<br />

Rangers baseball team) and the Texas<br />

equipped gym, outdoor pool and bar,<br />

Live! entertainment complex. More Live!<br />

small business centre, River Market<br />

hotels will be rolled out in similar settings,<br />

coffee shop, all-day restaurant Cut &<br />

targetting business travellers during the<br />

Bourbon (specialising in steak), adjacent<br />

week and leisure guests at weekends.<br />

bar and outdoor Clover Club bar and<br />

Arlington lies midway between the twin<br />

lawn. <strong>The</strong>reʼs 35,000sqft of event space<br />

cities of Dallas and Fort Worth (both<br />

including a 14,000sqft ballroom that<br />

around 20 minutes away) and just south<br />

seats up to 950 people – the largest in<br />

of DFW International Airport (15 minutes).<br />

Arlington. A small creek and riverside<br />

THE ROOM <strong>The</strong>re are 300<br />

path snake around the rear of the hotel<br />

enthusiasm for this flagship property.<br />

guestrooms across four categories –<br />

where work was still under way on<br />

Indeed, the Arlington area is enjoying<br />

plus suites – in this 14-storey building.<br />

constructing a showpiece fountain.<br />

something of a renaissance currently<br />

I was staying in a premium room on<br />

the 12th floor, where floor-to-ceiling<br />

windows framed the impressive Dallas<br />

Cowboys stadium. However, it is<br />

baseball-themed art that adorns the<br />

THE VERDICT Itʼs an interesting new<br />

concept from Loews, with an appealing<br />

design and excellent location for leisure<br />

and business guests alike. Its proximity<br />

to DFW airport is a real boon and is<br />





with around $4billion being invested in<br />

infrastructure. Major local employers<br />

include Airbus, GM and American Airlines.<br />

THE DETAILS Live! By Loews, 1600<br />

E Randol Mill Road, Arlington, Texas,<br />

corridors and walls of guestrooms.<br />

already helping deliver ‘excellent’<br />

76011. Rates from £135 per night.<br />

Decor was smart greys – and stone in<br />

the bathroom, with walk-in shower –<br />

meetings and events bookings. <strong>The</strong> staff<br />

were fantastic throughout and full of<br />

loewshotels.com<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />


THE FLIGHT LATAM flight 8085<br />

kit that included L'Occitane essentials<br />

from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo's<br />

such as lip balm, a moisturising face<br />

Guarulhos International Airport operated<br />

cloth, toothbrush and toothpaste.<br />

by a Boeing 777-300, departing at 22.00<br />


Every section of the<br />

and arriving at 05.40 local time.<br />

cabin has a dedicated air hostess who<br />


Check-in was smooth<br />

introduces themselves by name and is<br />

and efficient. Boarding was on time, and<br />

available for anything you need<br />

speedy boarding for Premium <strong>Business</strong><br />

throughout the flight. I was immediately<br />

customers meant I could cut out the<br />

offered a glass of Champagne and some<br />

tiresome queuing and walk straight on.<br />

water, and asked to fill in a card with my<br />

THE SEAT<br />

<strong>The</strong> airline has<br />

preferred meals. <strong>The</strong> airline has just<br />

recently launched a new Premium<br />

introduced new service protocols<br />

<strong>Business</strong> cabin with state-of-the-art seats<br />

offering more flexibility for customers<br />

in a 1-2-1 configuration, all with direct<br />

and fewer interruptions. As it was an<br />

aisle access and more storage (see page<br />

overnight flight, this included the option<br />

48). It's currently being rolled out across<br />

to be woken one-and-a-half hours<br />


It was definitely up<br />

the fleet, but I was flying in the old cabin.<br />

before landing for a full breakfast or<br />

there with the best business cabins I've<br />

After take-off, tinkering with the buttons<br />

transformed my roomy seat into an<br />

armchair with a pull-out tray for dinner<br />

and then a lie-flat bed with a mattress<br />

liner, duvet and pillow when I was ready<br />

for sleep. <strong>The</strong> old 2-3-2 configuration<br />

40 minutes prior to arrival for a light<br />

breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and tea. <strong>The</strong><br />

redesigned meal service includes Latin<br />

American fare, though I opted for a<br />

tasty pasta tortellini with parmesan,<br />

accompanied by renowned Chilean and<br />






experienced – and the upgraded version<br />

should be even better.<br />

THE DETAILS LATAM flies daily direct<br />

between London Heathrow and Sao<br />

Paulo with a flight time of around 11<br />

hours and 45 minutes. Return fares<br />

meant I had to discretely step over my<br />

Argentine wines selected by a master<br />

are from around £1,561 in Premium<br />

sleeping neighbour to visit the bathroom<br />

where I made use of my classy amenity<br />

sommelier – my red Malbec was the<br />

perfect night cap.<br />

<strong>Business</strong>. latam.com<br />

Sasha Wood<br />





American Airlines flight<br />

plus simple controls for adjusting the<br />

78 from Dallas Fort Worth International<br />

seat or converting it to a flat bed. <strong>The</strong><br />

Airport to London Heathrow. <strong>The</strong> service<br />

IFE screen was good quality and the<br />

was operated by a B777-200 with<br />

entertainment available was pretty<br />

scheduled local departure and arrival<br />

comprehensive and included some<br />

times of 19.20 and 10.30 (the following<br />

live TV channels.<br />

day) respectively. I was travelling in the<br />


Bedding, an amenity<br />

airline's Flagship <strong>Business</strong> class.<br />

kit (by This is Ground) and Bang &<br />


Iʼd checked in online<br />

Olufsen headphones were all laid out<br />

and, with only hand luggage, headed<br />

when I boarded. Drinks were offered<br />

straight for priority fast track security at<br />

pre-take-off while hot towels were<br />

Terminal D which seemed only slightly<br />

distributed soon after take off and<br />

quicker than the regular line. Airside, I<br />

dinner orders were taken. I chose red<br />

visited the airlineʼs main Flagship lounge,<br />

snapper with risotto from the list of four<br />

which was refreshed earlier this year at<br />

options – the fish was good. For dessert I<br />

the same time as Flagship Dining was<br />

indulged in an iconic ice cream sundae<br />


Crew were courteous<br />

introduced for first class passengers.<br />

with all the trimmings. Drink servings<br />

and the smart, comfortable seat<br />

Gordon Ramsey is rumoured to have<br />

were generous! A breakfast of omelette<br />

rewarded me with possibly the best<br />

praised the cuisine on offer here.<br />

THE SEAT I travelled in seat 8H,<br />

one of the centre seats in a 1-2-1<br />

configuration of angled, forward-facing<br />

seats (all seats have direct aisle access).<br />

or yoghurt and fruit was served an hour<br />

before landing. I paid $19 for wifi access<br />

for the duration of the flight but<br />

reconnecting was a faff each time it was<br />

left unused for 30 minutes. An arrivals<br />





night's sleep I've had onboard. My only<br />

moan was the finnicky wifi.<br />

THE DETAILS American Airlines<br />

operates daily flights from London<br />

Heathrow to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).<br />

<strong>The</strong> seat was spacious and had plenty of<br />

lounge invite and fast-track immigration<br />

Return fares in Flagship <strong>Business</strong> start<br />

storage points – a couple that I only<br />

discovered when preparing to land –<br />

pass were handed out shortly before<br />

arrival, with the latter put to good use.<br />

from £1,664. See aa.co.uk<br />

Andy Hoskins<br />



This 116-room property<br />

thankfully more subtle in the sitting<br />

is in the Oxford Road Corridor business<br />

area, where a comfortable sofa and<br />

and academia hub of Manchester and is<br />

chairs faced a generous widescreen TV.<br />

attached to an education centre that is<br />

<strong>The</strong> kitchenette had a Nespresso<br />

part of the University of Manchester. It<br />

machine with four free capsules<br />

is a short walk to Manchester Oxford<br />

supplied and a detailed guide to the<br />

Road rail station; Manchester Piccadilly<br />

room left no stone unturned – hob,<br />

is about one mile away. <strong>The</strong> hotel is on<br />

dishwasher and air conditioning were<br />

the 16th to 18th storeys of the building,<br />

all clearly explained. Cards on the notice<br />

with a Crowne Plaza underneath.<br />

board explained how to order pizza<br />


Reception is on the<br />

from the ground floor kitchen and<br />

18th floor and fronts the lounge and<br />

supplied further menu details.<br />

breakfast area. Check-in was quick,<br />


A large breakfast<br />

friendly and efficient.<br />

buffet caters to every requirement, with<br />

THE ROOM<br />

I had a corner room<br />

pancake maker, yogurt, nuts, seeds,<br />

(1801) with great views of Manchester,<br />

several types of bread, salami, cheese,<br />


Everything ticks over<br />

particularly attractive at night. <strong>The</strong><br />

cooked breakfast and fruit. <strong>The</strong> lounge<br />

smoothly and staff were warm and<br />

bedroom was generous with a large<br />

has a gas fire, floor to ceiling windows<br />

welcoming; add excellent business<br />

double bed, crisp sheets and a firm<br />

mattress, allowing an excellent night’s<br />

sleep, plus light controls both sides of<br />

the bed. <strong>The</strong>re was a shower over the<br />

bath and the shower screen made<br />

and a conservatory area. Free wifi, selfservice<br />

laundry room and <strong>The</strong> Pantry<br />

convenience store are complemented by<br />

guest access to Crowne Plaza facilities<br />

such as a 24-hour gym, meeting space,<br />





facilities and it’s a good place to stay.<br />

THE DETAILS 30 Higher Chatham<br />

Street Manchester, M15 6ED. Rates<br />

from £75 per night +VAT for a 29-night<br />

stay or more (20% VAT for 28 nights, 4%<br />

access slightly tiresome but lights in the<br />

<strong>The</strong> Graduate Bar – which has a great<br />

thereafter), with breakfast and evening<br />

bathroom were bright, which was useful<br />

for putting on make-up. Lighting was<br />

cocktail list and a bar menu – and the<br />

excellent Laureate Restaurant.<br />

events. Tel: 0161 359 5556. ihg.com<br />

Catherine Chetwynd<br />




<strong>The</strong> final word<br />

Raging against the machine<br />

More proof that<br />

humanity is just a<br />

click or two away<br />

from some Terminator-style<br />

armageddon pings in to our<br />

inbox courtesy of AppZen.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company, which uses<br />

artificial intelligence to check<br />

travel expenses, unsurprisingly<br />

reveals that computers are<br />

better at spotting ‘creative'<br />

claims than human auditors.<br />

Citing all sorts of examples –<br />

sightseeing helicopter flights,<br />

strip club visits and trips away<br />

for extramarital fun among<br />

them – it reckons that almost<br />

9% of expense claims could<br />

contain unauthorised items.<br />

Of course, some faceless AI<br />

machine is never going to slide<br />

your receipts through as easily<br />

as Dave in accounts, who'll do<br />

it for a pint at lunchtime. But<br />

the bigger question is, which<br />

companies did AppZen survey –<br />

and how do we get a job there?<br />

in a world of<br />

confusion<br />

Oh dear, what is it about us<br />

Brits and geography? Boat<br />

charter firm SamBoat has<br />

discovered more evidence that<br />

UK travellers don’t know the<br />

first thing about the world.<br />

Examples of our geographical<br />

ignorance include...<br />

1 81% of Brits can’t identify<br />

the capital of Spain<br />

2 66% didn’t know the Trevi<br />

Fountain was in Rome<br />

3 61% think the Great Wall of<br />

China is visible from space<br />

4 57% believe Greenland is<br />

a country<br />

5 49% think Sydney is the<br />

capital of Australia<br />

Shining knight Barron<br />

In a break from our<br />

usual sarcasm, <strong>The</strong> Final<br />

Word thought it was<br />

only right to raise a glass<br />

to hotel entrepreneur<br />

Barron Hilton, who passed<br />

away in September.<br />

Barron, 91, was son of<br />

Hilton's founder Conrad and<br />

was responsible for building<br />

it into the giant corporation<br />

it is today, starting out as a<br />

parking valet.<br />

Most remarkable is his<br />

decision back in 2007 to<br />

create a charitable foundation<br />

dedicated to alleviating<br />

poverty and disease. His<br />

death sees 97% of his $2.6bn<br />

fortune going towards<br />

continuing this work globally.<br />

No matter how enabling the new digital world<br />

is, we all know that face-to-face contact is<br />

always best. So fair play to IHG Hotels &<br />

Resorts for a new campaign giving away<br />

10,000 free nights via IHG Rewards Club<br />

points, simply to celebrate human<br />

connection. <strong>The</strong><br />

'Be <strong>The</strong>re In Real<br />

Life' promo<br />

celebrates<br />

moments that could<br />

only have happened<br />

via real meetings,<br />

and runs until<br />

the end of <strong>2019</strong><br />


Save the date<br />

september<br />

15th-16th<br />

Hilton London Bankside<br />

2020<br />

<strong>The</strong> 2020 event for buyers and arrangers of business travel & meetings<br />

For further information contact Kirsty.Hicks@bmipublishing.co.uk<br />


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