Business Travel March-April-2021

online.magazines

84 March/April 2021

BRIGHTER

HORIZON

A new dawn for

traveller wellbeing

+

The 2021 TMC Guide

Accommodation trends

Gender inequality

Reimagining travel

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE • SEPTEMBER 14-15


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UP FRONT

Contents MARCH-APRIL

2021

10

10

26

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

18

Your special guide to

Travel

Management

Companies

22

7

Features

15 Taxis and transfers: Why now

could be the time to fix that 'last

mile' firmly into your travel

programme

18 Wellbeing: No longer just a box

to tick, the mental health and

wellbeing of travellers is now a

top priority

22 Accommodation: Four experts

delve into the latest trends and

share their top tips on how to

respond

Up front

6 Everyone's Talking About: The

vaccines

7 Speaking Out: Gender

inequality

8 The Knowledge: Reimagining

business travel

For everything you need to know

about TMCs, see our pull-out guide

25

News Review

10 News and trends, plus comment

from the BTA and the ITM

Departures

25 Reality check: See how two

airlines, a London hotel and a

chauffeur-drive booking service

fared during Covid

26

4

27 Final word: The lighter side of

business travel

2021 TMC Guide

3 Introduction: Overview of the

sector and the impact of the

25

13

15

pandemic

6 Covid response: Update on new

TMC products and services

10 Consolidation: Mergers,

acquisitions and failures

14 TMC Directory: Our annual

listing of the key players

18 Fees: Examination of the

shortcomings of the TMC

business model

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

3


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Welcome

Spring into action

Whether it's the vaccine roll-out,

the furlough extension, the

longer days or the prospect of

coming out of lockdown

(however gradually) there is

definitely a ripple of optimism

washing over the business travel community. Note, I say ripple not wave,

but the long-awaited travel restart finally feels within reach and the mood

has noticeably lightened. Preparations are being made for when the

restrictions are lifted and people can move around again, albeit differently.

We've all now come to terms with the fact that when business travel

returns it won't be the same – but in many ways that's not a bad thing.

For all the disruption and upheaval the pandemic has caused, it has also

brought about some hugely positive changes.

Traveller wellbeing, for example, is now top of the agenda (see our

feature on page 18) and with it the need for diversity and inclusion has

also been brought into sharper focus (see Speaking Out on page 7).

A crisis often brings out the best in people and TMCs, in particular, have

stepped up to help companies tackle the recent challenges. As a result,

there's been a positive shift in the relationship between corporates and

their TMCs, with a new-found mutual respect from both sides, as we

explore in our 2021 TMC Guide.

As we come out the other side, your business travel might need

reimagining (see page 8) and we hope there's plenty of content in this issue

that will help you along that path. Finally, if you haven't yet seen it, check

out our new website – thebusinesstravelmag.com. It's loaded with lots

more to inspire, inform and entertain you. We've been reimagining too!

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Bev Fearis

CONTRIBUTORS

Catherine Chetwynd

& Gillian Upton

STAFF JOURNALIST

April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Julie Baxter

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES

PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Callum Blackwell

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

DESIGNERS

Caitlan Francis and Emma Norton

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

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THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

5


UP FRONT

hot topic

Everyone's talking about...

the vaccines

“Vaccination

programmes are now

ramping up around

the world and there are

encouraging signs that

confidence in business

travel is starting to

return”

Suzanne Neufang, Executive

Director, GBTA

“It is highly likely, if not certain, that

demonstration of vaccination will be required

by most countries and, if not, many airlines"

Dr Stephen Rashford, Chief Medical OfficerWorld Travel Protection

“Vaccinations are the way out

of this and we are now in a

very pOsitive position”

Adrian Hyzler, Medical Officer, Healix

The rest of the world is

not at the same place

we’re at with the

vaccinations, so at

what point does that

open up and allow

people to travel?”

Mark Avery, PwC Global Business Services & Travel Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers

“The vaccine is a hugely positive step and travel managers can start to

rebuild their travel programmes, but the return to travel needs other

criteria in place as well. A ‘return to office’ needs to happen first

before business travel can resume. Business travel needs an office

Scott Davies, CEO, ITM

destination. You can’t always hold meetings in hotels.”

“The vaccination rollout has certainly increased optimism around

the prospect of unlocking travel. However, there are still a couple of

key unknowns to understand. Will there be consensus across airlines

in terms of eligibility to travel? Will countries be prepared to open

their borders to those who have been vaccinated? ”

James McIlvenna, Head of Account Management, Corporate Traveller

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


UP FRONT

SPEAKING OUT

We have come a long way in

achieving gender equality in our

sector but it can still often seem

like an old-boy network. Our industry is full

of female talent and we secure gifted

women at entry level, but the ratio of male

to female business owners within the

industry is still skewed towards men.

A recent report by PWC shows 29% of

women sit in senior roles within travel

companies and only 20% within airlines (the

lowest sector). If you strip out HR roles, the

GENDER EQUALITY

BRIDGING

THE DIVIDE

The gender gap is still too wide in business travel,

says Abby Penston, CEO of Focus Travel Partnership

overall average in travel drops to 20.7%. So

how can we change this? The last 12 months

reassures us that looking at things differently

and doing things different works, so let’s look

again at what we can do to bridge the gap.

We need to look at career paths and

reassess the skillset pipeline needed to get to

C-level. Studies show a large percentage of

women at executive level tend to reside in

HR. However, if women want to secure a CEO

or Chair position, they need to develop skills

and gain experience in more commercial,

financial and strategic roles. There is so much

more to our industry than the obvious travel

perks, so let’s look at enticing people from

graduate level into these roles, as well as

technology and business management.

I was brought in from outside the sector in

2012 as my employers wanted a specific

management skillset to help implement

efficiencies into a rapidly growing business. I

already had these skills when I came into the

sector, which led to my career being fasttracked

and to my current CEO role.

Central to many women’s careers is the

break taken to raise a family or provide care.

Much has progressed and we are all more

aware that everyone needs to have a healthy

work life balance, but in practice we still fall

short. Cultural practices in our industry, with

long hours and overseas travel, can put up

barriers. We need to ensure that jobs are

kept open and flexible work practices such as

job shares are considered.

After I had my second child my employer

asked how I wanted to manage my return to

work, keen to find a workable solution to

getting me back on my career path. In return

he got my loyalty, commitment and

determination to make it work.

When it comes to salaries, the gender gap is

improving - 15.5% in 2020, better than 17.4%

in 2019 - but we can’t afford to take our foot

off the pedal. Any pay gap is unacceptable. In

the past I had to fight to earn close to that of

my male counterparts. When I had my

daughter 24 years ago I experienced awful

prejudice just before my maternity leave

which made me determined to ensure fair

practices are in play within my own shared

environment.

It’s worth it. Research by McKinsey &

Partners found that when companies commit

to a diverse leadership team they are more

successful. Different perspectives are key to

understanding the needs of clients and

growing a business outside of your own

demographic. Education for business leaders

is key and I have introduced a training series

with multiple business coaches and sessions

from Cranfield Business School for own SME

partnership companies.

ABBY PENSTON

iSTOCK.COM/PHOTOTECHNO

The Focus Travel Partnership is a

group of 54 independent partner

TMCs, each one a shareholder in

the company. It appointed Abby

Penston as CEO in 2019, when

it became an independent

limited company with a

turnover of over £1billion

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

7


ARRIVALS

UP FRONT

THE KNOWLEDGE

How to...

reimagine your business travel

Like companies all over the world, Willis

Towers Watson has been rethinking its

workplace in light of the pandemic and

quickly recognised that the changes

would also require a reimagining of its

business travel.

THE BACKGROUND

Willis Towers Watson, a global

advisory, broking and solutions

company, has 45,000

employees of whom 28,000

were travelling pre-pandemic.

Much of that travel was US

domestic, intra Europe and intra Asia, with

frequent travel between London and New

York and other key financial hubs. The

company’s 2019 T&E spend was around

$250 million. Three years ago it

consolidated its travel to American Express

GBT in 50 countries. An internal review of

the company’s workplace had already

identified a shift in the role of the office

from a place to work to a place to meet.

Collaborating closely with colleagues leading

this project, Procurement Director Emma

Jones set up a team to embark on a

simultaneous review of the company’s

approach to business travel.

THE PROCESS

Starting from the place of zero travel, they

engaged with colleagues from across

different parts of the business and across

the company’s global offices to gain an

understanding of why they were travelling,

how frequently, and how

that travel impacted the

success of the business.

“We needed to identify

those in-person

interactions that drive

the greatest returns and

add value back into the

business and those

If the appetite isn't

there, and the timing

isn't right, you're not going

to achieve the level of buy-in

you need”

which could be done virtually with no

impact on revenue,” says Jones. “We also

needed to consider what the impact of any

travel would have on colleague wellbeing,

our cost base and sustainability, with a

reduction in CO2 one of the main

objectives.” The key to all of this, she

explains, was to truly understand “the

business of our business” by identifying the

different functions and personas within the

company and understanding how and why

they interact.

At the same time, Jones and her team

consulted with their TMC and buyer focus

groups to gauge what approach other

businesses were taking and also adopted

elements of a Purposeful Travel Framework

being developed by consultants Festive

Road.

THE CHALLENGE

“It’s always critical to have

advocates to help drive

your message forward.

The earlier you can have

conversations to

explain and spread

the message the

better," says Jones.

"We probably would

have liked to have

started those

conversations a bit

earlier and, in

hindsight, we could

have engaged with

more people, for

sure. The timing is absolutely crucial.”

Jones admits she was lucky because she

was able to “almost piggy back” on to the

work being done on the return to office,

which already had strong stakeholder

engagement. “We were able to take some of

this narrative and mould and adapt it. But if

the appetite isn’t there, and the timing isn’t

right, you’re not going to achieve the level of

buy-in you need.”

THE RESULT

It’s still a work in progress,

but the ultimate goal is to

establish a clear set of

guidelines that appeal to

all of the business

segments, shaping how

people will interact - both internally and

externally - and making it completely

transparent for managers, budget holders

and colleagues to recognise what

permissible travel will look like. “As the

value of travel becomes more visible as an

enabler to the success of the business, the

travel team naturally becomes an adviser to

the business,” adds Jones. “It changes the

dynamic quite considerably and there is a

huge opportunity for the travel

management function to be elevated.”

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


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THE NEWS REVIEW

G O O N L I N E F O R L A T E S T N E W S

AMADEUS MAKES SIGNIFICANT

PROGRESS WITH NDC CONTENT

Sustainability tech

start-up branches out

CARBON offsetting start-up Trees4Travel has signed a

number of key partnerships in the business travel sector.

The company, which has developed technology to calculate

CO2 emissions for travel and provide monthly reporting, has

partnered with Focus Travel Partnership, the BTA and Sabre

since the end of last year.

Most recently it has joined forces with Travelogix, the

travel management data specialists, and also with Capita

Travel and Events. More partnerships are in the pipeline.

Based on the carbon footprint of each trip, Trees4Travel

arranges the planting of indigenous saplings on sanctioned

reforestation projects.

Besides offering individual trees, the company has entire

forests available for larger partners, which can be branded.

AMADEUS and International

Airlines Group (IAG) have signed

a “milestone” NDC agreement.

It means content from IAG

airlines – British Airways, Iberia,

Aer Lingus and Vueling – will be

made available through the

Amadeus Travel Platform.

BA and Iberia NDC connections

are scheduled to be in place for

the second half of this year, with

Vueling following in 2022.

Describing the agreement as an

"important moment" for the travel

industry, Javier Laforgue, Amadeus

Executive Vice President of Airline

Distribution & Content Sourcing,

said: “NDC and the integration in

the Amadeus Travel Platform will

equip IAG to reach our industry’s

new opportunities and meet

changing traveller needs head-on.

“This agreement once again

reinforces the value of our

technology and collaborative

approach across the industry to

bring NDC to scale.”

Amadeus has also renewed its

content distribution agreement

with BA's oneworld partner,

American Airlines, including

NDC-enabled content.

BUYERS GET FREE TOOL TO

HELP THEM REIMAGINE TRAVEL

FESTIVE ROAD has launched a ‘Purposeful Travel

Model’, a free resource to help travel managers and

organisations reimagine their business travel as they

come out of the pandemic crisis.

Created with the input of a group of buyers, it's a

follow-up to the group's 'Permissible Travel Framework',

which was made widely available to the sector last year

and was accessed by more than 8,000 companies.

[ NEWS BITES ]

>> ADVANTAGE TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP and WIN Global Travel

Network have partnered with the ASAP, whose accredited

members will be featured in their 2021 global accommodation

programme allowing TMCs to identify providers which meet safety,

security and infection control hygiene standards >> THE BTA has

appointed two new Board Directors – Katherine Gershon,

Managing Director of Wexas, and Chris Galanty, Global CEO of

Flight Centre Corporate >> HEATHROW EXPRESS has introduced

a newly-refurbished fleet of trains, the first fleet refresh since

1998. The 12 Class 387 trains have been up-cycled from GWR “in

keeping with Heathrow Express’ sustainability values” with more

space for wheelchairs and double the number of toilets.

5%

2020 bookings that

went ahead

Data from Travelogix,

based on the analysis of

10.51m records created

between 2019 and 2020

from TMCs that had

transacted continuously

during this time,

showed that, due to the

pandemic, only one in

20 bookings made for

and during 2020

actually went ahead

10 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


THE NEWS REVIEW

T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

IN BRIEF

Booking fee

Emirates will charge

TMCs a fee of up to $25 for

GDS bookings from July 1.

At the same time it will

introduce a range of

content and services on

its NDC-enabled direct

platform, Emirates

Gateway.

City pad

Synergy Global Housing

has opened a 41-unit

property in The City of

London as part of its plans

to operate in key European

gateways

Seat extension

Delta has extended

its policy of blocking

middle seats until the

end of April 2021.

Special agent

British Airways/IAG has

appointed TMC, Good

Travel Management, as

a Specialist Agent.

Flights suspended

South African Airways has

cancelled all international

flights until at least

October 30 and domestic

services until April 30.

Team support

Accor and Microsoft will

roll out All Connect, a new

hybrid meetings concept

supported by Microsoft

Teams, starting in April.

T5 opening

An ibis budget has opened

at London Heathrow T5

following an exchange of

contracts with Accor and

UK hotel management

company, RBH. The

297-bedroom hotel

features free Wi-Fi as

standard. Rates start from

£39 per room per night.

BLACKLANE, THE CHAUFFEUR SPECIALIST,

IS ROLLING OUT ITS CHAUFFEUR HAILING

SERVICE IN 21 CITIES DURING MARCH,

INCLUDING LONDON, PARIS, AND BERLIN.

FARES ARE SET BY SHORTEST DISTANCE.

JetBlue's Mint gets a

fresh new look

JETBLUE'S business class, Mint, will have a new look when

the low-cost airline launches its London to New York flights

this summer.

The first complete redesign of Mint since its conception in

2014 was carried out in partnership with Acumen Design

Associates and was inspired by the airline's wish to make

premium travel across the U.S. less stuffy.

Cabins will have 24 private suites with a sliding door for

every passenger. Each seat is layered with adaptive foam

and a breathable cover to “create a cool and comfortable

sleep experience". As part of the refresh, JetBlue will also

introduce its latest innovation, the Mint Studio.

The airline claims it will offer more space in a premium

experience than any other airline in the U.S.

ITM

Scott Davies

Chief Executive

It’s almost two years since

ITM’s last in-person conference,

in Brighton, but it’s

important to look for positives

and Covid vaccines mean that

we are, at least, a step closer

to being together again than

we were yesterday.

For ITM’s 2021 annual

conference, however, we took

the decision to convene

virtually once more in April.

The conference theme is

‘Revive’, with a programme

aimed at supporting the

rebirth of business travel and

helping members optimise

their place within it.

Looking for those positives

again, there are two key

advantages of a virtual event.

Firstly, more delegates can

attend. Secondly, you can aim

high with your speakers

because the logistics are less

challenging. So, we’re

expecting nearly 1,000

delegates and our keynote

speakers include two sporting

legends: Gary Neville,

ex-footballer and hospitality

entrepreneur, and Martin

Offiah, ex-professional rugby

player and champion of

diversity and environmental

issues. Plus, we have lined up

global airline CEOs and

insights from the superb

IPSOS Mori.

We can’t wait to see you on

April 27-28. The Revival is on!

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

11


THE NEWS REVIEW

G O O N L I N E F O R L A T E S T N E W S

BTA COMMENT BTA UPDATE

UK needs economic

shot in the arm

For the first time since the

beginning of 2020, there’s a

spring in my step. We finally

have the beginnings of a

roadmap out of quarantine

hotels, ever-fluctuating

travel corridors and total

travel bans.

The Prime Minister has

not waved a magic wand for

a miraculous recovery for

the travel industry, but he

has given both the business

and leisure markets hope.

The new iteration of the

Global Travel Task Force is

working with leading

industry bodies, including

the BTA, to put detail on

the roadmap out of the

current quagmire. This

plan needs to take a

long-term approach as we

learn to live and travel

alongside Covid-19.

I firmly believe that

international standards on

pre-departure testing and

vaccine certification are the

only way to ensure Britain

can be a truly global trading

nation once again.

It is into this more hopeful

environment that the BTA

has launched its vision for

business travel in 2021 and

beyond, in partnership with

Amadeus. It is up to us as

an industry to nurture travel

Clive Wratten

Chief Executive Officer

confidence and get

companies who urgently

need to travel for work

moving once again.

It is clear that corporates

are going to prioritise their

duty of care and take a

more mindful approach to

the return to travel.

Travel management

companies are going to be

more vital than ever in

meeting these demands

and working to provide

Covid-secure programmes.

However, we recognise

that it is going to be a

gradual return to travel.

The Chancellor’s decision

in early March to extend the

furlough scheme until the

end of September will keep

skilled people in our

industry. However, a

looming talent gap is a huge

threat to our survival and

only further targeted

support rather than

exclusion from the loans

offered to the hospitality

and retail sectors will save

our sector from another

avoidable cliff-edge.

Alongside vaccinations, an

economic shot in the arm is

needed to prepare British

business for the opening of

borders and life travelling in

the new normal.

IHG poll reveals what

travellers miss most

NEARLY one in three UK business travellers are feeling

demotivated by a lack of work trips, according to a survey by

IHG Hotels & Resorts.

Its survey of 2,000 UK travellers, conducted in January via

OnePoll, also found 40% miss face-to-face meetings, 46%

miss being able to stay in a different city, 20% miss being

able to order room service and 38% miss having some time

and space to themselves.

Karin Sheppard, the hotel's SVP, Managing Director for

Europe, said: “While many companies have successfully

adapted to working in a completely virtual environment you

cannot replace face-to-face interaction and the valuable

relationships that brings."

GBTA REPORT: UK BUSINESS

TRAVEL WILL BE HARDEST HIT

BRITAIN willl be the world’s worst

hit business travel market, a

gloomy GBTA report has forecast.

The association’s BTI Outlook,

which focused on Europe,

concluded that a combination of

the UK's "slower response" to the

pandemic and ongoing Brexit

uncertainty will make it the

hardest hit out of the top 15

business travel markets in 2020,

with the U.S. and Germany

following closely behind.

Business travel spend in the UK,

U.S. and Germany is expected to

have fallen by 61.7%, 61.1% and

60.9% respectively last year,

according to the report.

It said GDP in the Eurozone is

estimated to have shrunk by 7.4%

in 2020, compared to 4.4%

globally, and more sharply in the

UK (11.2%). But in 2021 the UK’s

GDP growth is expected to bounce

back more strongly (by 4.2%) than

the rest of the Eurozone (3.6%).

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


THE NEWS REVIEW

T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

PARK PLAZA EXTENDS COVID

REASSURANCE PROGRAMME

PARK PLAZA has introduced a

dedicated programme, Reassuring

Meetings & Events, designed to

enhance safety measures across

its hotels in preparation for the

safe return of meetings, events

and conference clients.

An extension to the brand's

Reassuring Moments programme,

it guarantees flexible terms and

conditions, including cancellation

and payment policies, plus free

WiFi, high-quality audio-visual

equipment and hybrid solutions

across all properties.

It also ensures customers wil be

ATPI EXPANDS EUROPEAN

FOOTPRINT WITH ACQUISITION

allocated a dedicated planner for

every event and will be provided

with contactless experiences in

most hotels.

Further Covid safety measures,

such as temperature checks, hand

sanitising stations and revised

capacities, will be ensured in line

with local government guidelines.

Meanwhile, cleaning and

disinfection has been enhanced in

all areas, with particular attention

to high-touch items, and instructions

and re-directing will also be

in place to help maintain social

distancing measures.

ATPI GROUP has acquired German travel agency

Hamburg Süd Reiseagentur GmbH from Danish

shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller - Maersk.

The company said the strategic takeover marks further

expansion of its footprint in the European corporate

travel market and strengthens its position as a specialist

TMC for the global marine industry. The team at

Hamburg Süd Reiseagentur will transfer to ATPI.

Report highlights

rapid transformation

TECHNOLOGICAL transformation in business travel that

would usually take place over two to three years happened

in just the first six months of the pandemic, according to a

joint White Paper from the BTA and Amadeus.

The report, the Future of Business Travel, says this

transformation will meet demands for contactless and risk

managed travel when corporate travel returns.

But it stressed the human element of managed business

travel is still vital, with 51% of business travel specialists

seeing human interaction as the number one factor in

winning clients and delivering effective travel programmes.

The paper was based on global data from Amadeus

alongside interviews with eight of the BTA’s Board members.

81.5%

Drop in hotel bookings

HotelHub, the hotel

booking platform that

powers many TMCs,

looked at data from its

top 10 destinations by

booking volume and

found figures dropped

by 81.5% year on year

between March and

December, due to the

Covid pandemic

[ NEWS BITES ]

>> INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP has signed a new

strategic agreement with ABC Global Services, specialists in global

hotel programmes >> TAPTRIP has launched Vessul, a product

designed to support the flow of goods and people within the

marine and energy industry >> TRAVELPORT has launched a 'bold

and distinct' new visual identity to reflect a transformation of its

business >> CONFERMA PAY has expanded its role in the SAP

Concur partner programme, providing virtual payment technology

across all SAP Concur travel and expense products >> MALAYSIA

AIRLINES has announced plans to introduce the a digital health

pass, incorporating modules from IATA’s Travel Pass, to its mobile

app >> PREMIER INN has become a strategic partner of the BTA.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

13


THE REVIEW

F O R L A T E S T N E W S V I S I T T H E B U S I N E S S T R A V E L M A G . C O M

EVENTS

APRIL 27-28 2021

ITM CONFERENCE

Virtual

itm.org.uk

MAY 21-24 2021

ADVANTAGE CONFERENCE 2021

Madeira

advantageconference.co.uk

JULY 12

SUZANNE NEUFANG ANTHONY CAPUANO JASON GEALL

JOINS: GBTA

AS: Executive Director

FROM: HRS Global Hotel Solutions

After an 'exhaustive review' of

around 130 candidates,

Suzanne Neufang has been

appointed Executive Director

of the GBTA, replacing interim

David Hilfman.

PROMOTED TO: CEO

FROM: President Global Development,

Design and Operations Services

AT: Marriott International

Anthony Capuano takes over

the helm at Marriott after the

death of CEO Anse Sorenson,

aged 62, after he lost his battle

with pancreatic cancer.

PROMOTED TO: Senior VP & GM EMEA

AT: American Express GBT

FROM: Senior VP & GM UK and Northern

Europe, American Express GBT

Jason Geall, who joined

American Express GBT in 2015,

has been promoted to the

newly-created position of

Senior VP & GM EMEA.

TBTM DINNER CLUB

Corinthia London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

JULY 17-21 2021

GBTA CONVENTION 2021

Orlando

convention.gbta.org

SEPTEMBER 14-15 2021

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

London

thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 15 2021

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

London (evening event)

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

JULIAN MUNSEY JILL PALMER LYNNE EMBLETON

JOINS: Meon Valley

AS: Sales Director

FROM: Reed & Mackay

Julian Munsey, formerly Senior

Manager, Strategy and Consulting

for Reed & Mackay and

before that Head of Sales at

Hillgate, has joined Meon

Valley as Sales Director.

LEAVES: Click Travel

AS: CEO

TO: Pursue the next chapter

Jill Palmer has left Click Travel

to 'pursue the next chapter of

her career'. She joined the TMC

eight years ago as Operations

Director and was promoted to

CEO in July 2015.

JOINS: Aer Lingus

AS: Chief Executive

FROM: International Airlines Group

Following Sean Doyle's move

to head up sister airline British

Airways last year, Lynne

Embleton, IAG Head of Cargo,

will take over as Chief

Executive of Aer Lingus in April.

SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 1 2021

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW

ExCeL London

btn.businesstravelshow.com

OCTOBER 5 2021

TBTM DINNER CLUB

Corinthia London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

RECOGNISE YOUR OUTSTANDING

INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS

NOMINATIONS OPEN 26TH MARCH

TheBusinessTravelPeopleAwards.com

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OCTOBER 13-15 2021

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE

Weisbaden

europeconference.gbta.org

C

M

Y

CM

TBTP Awards Advert_on_the_move.indd 1

BUSINESS TRAVEL RESOURCING EXPERTS

We offer outplacement support packages and

HR, training & recruitment expertise.

3/5/21 11:55 AM

Please note that due to pandemic

restrictions, some of the above events CY

might be postponed, cancelled or

switch to virtual events

MY

CMY

K

Contact us to discuss your tailored solution

info@sirius-cv.com • 01932 562007 • www.sirius-cv.com

Untitled-1 1 15/12/2020 15:38

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


TRAVEL

MANAGEMENT

CoMPANIES

Y O U R 2 0 2 1 G U I D E

AS BUSINESS TRAVEL RESTARTS, THE ROLE OF THE TMC

WILL BE MORE VITAL THAN EVER. HERE'S OUR GUIDE TO

THE LATEST TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS

Introduction, 3-5 / Covid response, 6-9

TMC sector update, 10-12 / The Directory, 14-17

Spotlight on TMC fees, 18-20 / Insight, 22


Postage stamp

that changed

the world

Rowland Hill, a teacher, invented the Penny Black in 1840. The world’s first ever

adhesive stamp set the price by weight instead of distance. His pioneering thinking

was the Victorian equivalent of the internet and changed the world – going from 80

million letters in a year to 2.3 billion worldwide.

Pioneering a

better way

to pay

With the global travel industry enduring a shutdown for an entire year,

many conventional business travel practices might prove unsustainable.

So now is exactly the right time to re-set expectations; giving clients a choice

on how to pay for managed travel services in a way that makes more sense.

We’ve wrapped our travel services under a single subscription fee that takes

care of everything your travellers need, keeps them within policy and helps to

achieve your travel programme goals. It isn’t that radical, but it is an entirely

fresh approach and perhaps remarkable in the days of Netflix and Amazon that

Blue Cube is the first travel management company to implement this for its

clients.

Breakthrough thinking changes more than just the rules of how

a market works, it also delivers greater customer value.

TO FIND OUT MORE TALK TO US ON 0208 948 8188 - OR EMAIL sales@bluecubetravel.co.uk

www.bluecubetravel.co.uk


Introduction / TMCs

TIME out

The business travel pause has given corporates

the chance to rethink and reset – and TMCs

are stepping in to help, says Gill Upton

Photo by isco on Unsplash

Timing is everything, so the saying

goes, and this couldn’t be more

true during a global pandemic.

While the first few months were busier

than ever for TMCs and corporates alike

– with frantic repatriations, refunds,

cancellations, learning best practice and

certifying Covid-friendly suppliers – after

that, there was a vacuum.

For travel managers with time on their

hands it offered a time for reflection and

the chance to review travel suppliers to

ensure they were still the best fit.

While there has been some RFP activity,

most notably BP, Google and the U.S. Army,

for the most part the last two quarters of

2020 and the start of 2021 triggered a rash

of internal policy and process reviews.

“It feels like travel managers came into

2021 on the attack and with a clear plan as

to what needs to be done this year,”

observes Caroline Strachan, Partner in

Festive Road. “As companies start to

articulate their return to work, or virtual

first strategies, travel managers have a

great opportunity to align purposeful travel

to their new organisational ways.”


THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

3


TMCs / Introduction

Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

It feels like travel

managers came into

2021 on the attack and with

a clear plan as to what needs

to be done this year”

Ironically, as James McIlvenna, UK Head

of Account Management at Corporate

Traveller, remarks, “All the key players have

been on the ground and in the same

country so they have been able to do the

analytical work necessary.”

Strategic direction

Corporates know they are able to operate

virtually and are questioning whether that

would be the right strategy going forward.

Supporting such a move is the very real

condition of traveller anxiety; Road Warriors

have enjoyed downtime with family and

may not be keen to kick-start that multiple-

Red-Eye style of working life. Travel

disruption in 2020 also meant that

sustainability targets were met, so how do

they maintain that for 2021 and beyond?

These are all issues the TMC can provide

solutions to. Corporate Traveller, for

example, has witnessed an about-turn in

how its clients want TMC reviews to be

undertaken. Says McIlvenna: “We normally

stage quarterly reviews, of cost efficiencies

mainly, but that’s been stripped away as

now we need to show value. We’ve created

specific reviews around topical subjects,

including duty of care, policy tools,

wellbeing, supplier vetting and how to run a

greener travel programme.”

These elements were always part of the

reviews but only as sub-categories; now

they are main agenda topics. “It’s been great

to re-set the dial on that,” says McIlvenna.

While TMCs have undoubtedly proved

their worth during Covid, their challenge for

now is to have sufficient cash in the bank

and staff on the ground to meet the new

demands of their clients.

According to GBTA, 79% of 1,000 TMCs

surveyed globally have laid off staff, 86%

have been furloughed and 77% are likely to

make further reductions in staffing levels

over the next 12 months. Some 25% of the

sample were European TMCs.

“It’s a challenge in terms of resources and

skills set,” says Catherine Logan, Regional

Vice President, EMEA, at GBTA.

A follow-up GBTA survey in February 2021

of the same sample tracked the measures

corporates took as a result of Covid,

revealing that 55% laid-off employees, 46%

furloughed employees and 44% cut pay.

Among respondents who report their

company has furloughed employees, almost

half (45%) say that some have returned to

work. An additional one-quarter report all

(10%) or most (15%) have returned to work,

while almost one-third (30%) say all

furloughed employees remain furloughed

or have since been laid off.

Shift in demand

Skeleton staff won’t be able to service an

increasing demand for high-touch, white

glove service. BTA CEO Clive Wratten points

out that there are a lot of experienced staff

made redundant last year who still haven’t

secured jobs but who can be re-employed

when business returns.

The pre-Covid trend of placing more travel

into a self-booking tool has been

mothballed for now, with most industry

observers predicting that once traveller

confidence returns demand for online

bookings will surge once again.

TMC financials are another matter, as

gone are the buckets of supplier

commissions exacerbated by greatly

diminished transactions fees.

A survey of travel buyers by ITM at the

end of 2020 found 63% would be open to

changing the structure of their TMC

agreement to support recovery.

When buyers were asked what changes

they expect to their TMC commercial model

as a result of the pandemic, 10% said they

expect a move to menu pricing, 10% said a

shift to a management fee, 15% specified

'other', 2% to a subscription fee model and

4 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Introduction / TMCs

38% said they expect to see a mix of all of

those. But at the same time, over a third

(37%) said they don't expect any change.

Recognising the need for change, the BTA

commissioned consultants Nina & Pinta to

publish a guide on future TMC financial

models (see feature on page 18-20). Future

charging mechanisms mean similar fee

levels but new ways of paying. Next on the

agenda is a guide to the RFP process.

Stick it out

If your TMC relationship has survived the

extraordinary and unprecedented last 12

months then it’s certainly worth saving and

avoiding the cost and angst of an RFP.

“Hold fire,” is independent consultant

Chris Pouney’s advice. “Every TMC is in a

massive flux and so are the corporates,” he

says. “It is hard to fully appraise or select a

supplier when you have no idea what your

business will look like in 12 months’ time

though, so there are pros and cons to this.”

Arguing for no change is Kate Watson,

Head of Consulting UK & Nordics at Areka

Consulting, who says: “It’s not the perfect

time to switch TMCs in such a volatile

marketplace at the moment.”

Corporates will be adjusting the size of

their travel spend in a downwards direction

and focussing on duty of care and a

stronger approvals pre-trip process as part

of their Return To Travel programmes, “and

for that they need to work closely with their

TMCs,” adds Watson.

Corporates do not know what they don’t

know and TMCs can fill that void. In their

corner “C-Suites see the value of the TMC

more now,” says Areka’s Watson.

Nicola Cox, Director at Midas Travel,

believes the pandemic has brought to the

forefront the real value of the TMC service

"We have become the go-to font of

knowledge for clients. We’ve demonstrated

our level of consultancy and increased our

capacity to advise far beyond the basics of

point-to-point business travel," she says.

"Our sources are continuing to widen; as

not only do we need to be up to speed with

the latest legislation and in-country travel

requirements, but also the daily changes

and product variations of our suppliers.

We’re becoming more and more of a full

travel management solution for clients.“

Paul Tilstone, Managing Partner of Festive

Road, predicts that as the business travel

sector comes out of the pandemic crisis

TMCs will play an integral role in the new

focus on why employees should travel.

“Until now, TMCs have been primarily

focussed on the 'what and how' of travel

programmes – delivering policy, booking

travel, collating data and so on. But in an

era of purposeful travel there are all sorts

of opportunities to develop some of their

more valued capabilities we have seen

evolve over the last decade," he explains.

Tilstone believes that designing policies

and processes to support the

implementation of a purposeful travel

programme will present another

opportunity for TMCs to demonstrate their

value, along with their ability to analyse

new data to continuously refine the

approach and develop services which meet

the new requirements.

“In a purposeful travel era, where travel

budgets are built from the bottom up and

the focus is on where travel brings value,

there are all sorts of implications for the

commercial relationship between TMC and

buyer too," he adds.

“If TMCs can support companies to

become more strategic with their travel

investments, then the commercial dynamic

is changed and true value can be realised

both for the customer and TMC. A natural

side-effect of this, of course, is that buyers

will only contract a TMC for services their

company values, but this isn’t to be feared.”

If your TMC

relationship has

survived the extraordinary

and unprecedented last 12

months then it's certainly

worth saving and avoiding

the cost and angst of an RFP”

Photo by isco on Unsplash

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

5


TMCs / Covid response

SUPPORT

systems

With a raft of new products and services TMCs

are playing a vital role amid the current travel

complexities. Gill Upton reports

Here’s the dilemma: the dire

economic climate is forcing

companies to introduce more

rigid travel policies and reductions in

spend while Covid-19 dictates that those

changes must accommodate a far more

robust duty of care programme, in terms

of traveller wellbeing and safety, which

often means higher cost.

It’s a tough balance to strike between cost

and risk mitigation and TMCs have been

demonstrating just how to deliver that

through real-time traveller tracking, a

tighter pre-trip approval process, up-to-date

travel alerts, Covid-related intelligence and a

raft of new-fangled reports to dice and slice

to maintain cost controls.

It's taken a global

pandemic for TMCs to

prove they are vital partners

in the travel space, something

that historically they have not

been good at articulating"

“Clients already have access to this,”

argues Nicola Cox, Director at Midas Travel.

“What they’re seeking more of is an

integrated and advisory approach. Our

clients know us for our proactivity and rely

on our advice on traveller wellbeing,

protecting supplier partnerships and

restoring traveller confidence.”

The picture of Covid readiness varies

among TMCs but generally they have not

been idle. Ahead of the curve initially were

the digital TMCs. The likes of TripActions, for

example, swiftly added new functionality to

help instil confidence and protect travellers.

This included an enhanced Covid-19 report,

deeper policy controls and customisation,

real-time data for travellers, automated

unused tickets and waivers within the

booking flow, a recovery app to assess the

safety of planned travel and webinars to log

best practice for travel managers.

More recently, travel data platform Shep

has added Covid-related perimeters to its

browser extension, sharing guidance on

thousands of websites. Tripkicks has done

something similar, adding actionable

insights to its Concur booking overlay.

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Covid response / TMCs

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

7


TMCs / Covid response

Travel is going to get

more complex and

clients want somebody to take

it all away from them and own

it. If TMCs sell that vision

clients won't baulk at the cost

of the service”

Fello introduced the Amadeus platform

to collate the latest Coronavirus travel

information and a chatbot, Feasy, to pull all

relevant travel information together into

one place by destination, saving consultants

time and removing potential errors.

The Focus Partnership introduced Pinpoint

so members and their clients can check

where travel teams have been and are due

to go. It sends direct messages to travellers

on the move and each traveller location is

overlaid with FCO and Covid intelligence.

Reed & Mackay (R&M) undertook a rash of

developments. It integrated hotel Covid-19

safety intelligence, such as Stay Safe, so

clients could make smart decisions about

'Covid-friendly' places to stay, and it did the

same for airlines. The TMC also introduced

enhanced risk intelligence, including a

Covid-19 traveller tracking map and emails

to remind travellers to complete health

forms, for example.

R&M has also partnered with CityDoc to

provide Covid-19 tests and an exclusive

agreement with Healix International will

provide clients with a layered risk

assessment tool with instant assessments

of the medical and logistical risks of

proposed travel itineraries.

The TMC’s clients can also view air travel

carbon emissions at point of sale, whether

using R&M/Book or booking through a

travel team, and see how a modal shift

would save carbon. This data flows through

seamlessly to the post-trip reporting.

Additions at Advantage include a duty of

care product suite covering traveller

tracking and risk management products,

Maiden Voyage Covid traveller training

models and accommodation accreditation

in partnership with GSA.

The consortium has also introduced

carbon off-setting and reporting tools,

enriched its 2021 GDS accommodation

programme, and will introduce new

corporate travel insurance policies via

Advantage Financial Services.

Travelport, meanwhile, has added a new

Stay Safe feature for agents connected to its

API or Smartpoint agency desktop solution.

American Express GBT launched Travel

Vitals, a single source of information

aggregated by multiple sources by

destination, airline, airport, hotel chain,

train operator and ground transport

provider. It flags up Covid-19 hotspots and

shows traveller restrictions by location.

The TMC also launched a push notification

feature in its mobile app, called Program

Alerts, which allows travel managers to send

messages to travellers. A third product

launch, Expert Auditor, allows clients to

configure and customise rules to be applied

automatically to bookings and flags noncompliant

travel for approval.

Amex GBT also launched two new features

on its booking tool Neo: a new sustainability

feature which filters carbon emissions by air

and rail, and a facility to display the hotel

option that meets a client’s environmental

standards and criteria.

Aside from launching Covid-related tools,

FCM staged internal client surveys to gauge

traveller sentiment about a return to travel.

CTM launched a Covid Hub with

centralised access to up-to-date Covid

insights. “We also include supplier updates

and integrate it all in to our self-booking

tool,” explains CTMs General Manager Sales

Shelley Matthews.

The TMC is also providing a Covid testing

facility clinic, home testing kits and has

enhanced its approval tool to incorporate

permission to travel. A traveller wellbeing

dashboard enables clients to identify

traveller behaviours and trends that could

impact traveller wellbeing, while CTM's

Climate + programme, set up in

partnership with South Pole, provides tools

to track the environmental impact of travel,

and also solutions to help clients reach

carbon neutrality goals.

Over the next few months CTM will

improve user functionality on its portal and

self-booking tool to improve visuals and

reduce the number of clicks.

The message that TMCs are the vital

conduit of relevant Covid-19 information

for travellers has reached the normally

hard-to-access firms in the unmanaged

space and many TMCs are reporting brisk

business in this area.

It’s taken a global health pandemic for

TMCs to prove they are vital partners in the

travel space, something that historically

they have not been good at articulating.

“They have communicated that they are

clients’ centre of excellence and will make

sure that travellers have everything they

need. Travel is going to get more complex

and clients want somebody to take it all

away from them and own it,” says

independent consultant Chris Pouney.

“If TMCs sell that vision, clients won’t baulk

at the cost of the service.“

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Traveller

safety &

cost control?

Yes.

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

TMCs / Consolidation

SURVIVAL

of the fittest

Covid has already triggered TMC consolidation, and some

failures too, so what does the future hold, asks Gill Upton

Of the 57 members of the Focus

Travel Partnership, two have

sadly gone to the wall – maritime

specialist Horncastle Executive Travel

and Thorntons Travel – and others have

changed hands, resulting in inevitable

job losses. It’s a sad legacy of Covid-19

and many fear it won’t end there.

“I’d like to think that was it but it would be

naive to think there won't be more disastrous

consequences of Covid,” says Abby Penston,

CEO of the industry body that provides

buying power and support for SME TMCs.

To secure Focus membership, TMCs are

fully vetted, including checks from airlines

and the need for an IATA licence. The

organisation is also supported by the

Federation of Small Businesses.

Members go through similar financial

checks and due diligence as part of the

application process at the Advantage Travel

Partnership. “However, the main benefits

include elevated positioning, as part of a

larger collective group, aggregation of

spend to drive collective rates, value and

terms and drive efficiencies for the tri-part

relationship," explains Sonia Michaels, the

group's Head of Business Travel Services.

In terms of other consortia and industry

membership organisations, no BTA

members have failed to date and it’s

encouraging that the organisation

represents 90% of all

TMCs in the UK.

However, hit with the

double whammy of zero

supplier revenues and zero

customer revenues it’s difficult to imagine

how any TMC has managed to survive the

last 12 months.

Cash reserves

There is seemingly no rhyme or reason for

which TMCs make it and which go to the

wall. As BTA Chief Executive Clive Wratten

points out: “Size is no guarantee or the

governing factor in survival. Being small

and nimble is often better."

10 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Consolidation / TMCs

Size is no guarantee

or the governing

factor in survival. Being small

and nimble is often better”

Wratten does concede, however, that cash

allows the ability to innovate.

Clarity has Middle Eastern money backing

it while venture-capitalist-backed TMCs or

those with good investment pots behind

them have endured and even expanded

their horizons.

Last August, for example, FCM's parent

company Flight Centre Travel Group

announced its acquisition of San Franciscobased

WhereTo, while the following month

CTM purchased Travel and Transport,

including its Radius Travel business.

In October, American Express GBT

acquired technology start-up

30SecondsToFly, a specialist in artificial

intelligence and business travel messaging.

In December Blue Cube Travel launched a

franchise venture, Blue Cube Associates, in

an effort to soak up the skills of those made

redundant, while 2021 kicked off with two

purchases: TravelPerk acquired Santa

Monica-based business travel platform

NexTravel, as part of its expansion plans in

the U.S. market, and American Express GBT

bought high-touch TMC Ovation Travel

Group. Most recently, acquisition-hungry

Traveleads purchased Omega Business

Travel. It also snapped up Southamptonbased

Sterling last June.

Those TMCs who are busy building new

capability also have a good chance of

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

11


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

TMCs / Consolidation

survival.

Developing new

products and

services will win over

corporates but sitting

back and waiting will not.

“TMCs have to provide a greater value

proposition after Covid as those are the

differentiators in the business,” says David

Chappell, Country Director UK at travel

software Midoco.

One potential growth area for TMCs is

those corporates in the unmanaged SME

space. Indeed, Corporate Traveller won 42

new SME clients between July and October

2020, with a combined annual pre-Covid

spend of £18.7 million.

Emergency measures

When Covid hit most TMCs acted quickly to

take their business models back to basics to

future-proof their organisations.

Next came redundancies and furloughing

of staff, along with mothballing of offices

and a move to remote working when the

technology and funds allowed.

Adapt or die has been their modus

operandi and Focus’ Penston believes that

technology will be the key in building back

TMC business in a post Covid world.

“Fuse that with their knowledge and

skillset and you’re going to see some

exciting TMCs,” she says. Focus, for one, has

been investing in technology, expressly

Pinpoint traveller tracking software and

Farecast data reporting tool.

Arguably, technology will eradicate the

need to bring back all redundant or

furloughed staff, according to one industry

observer who preferred to be anonymous.

“Everything can be automated. I won’t

need to bring back all my workforce,” she

says. American Express GBT used the

period last year to reset. It has expedited

technology launches, re-designed service

configurations, launched Neo1 for the

unmanaged sector, given its GMs more

customer focus and created global

customer partnerships.

Some 60% of Amex GBTs workforce was

already remote working so the TMC already

boasts a large flexible workforce.

“We have implemented many changes,”

says Jason Geall, VP & Regional GM EMEA.

“Our business response plan is in place.

We've had to look at the size of the

organisation and we've achieved most of

that reduction with voluntary redundancies,

making sure we’re ready for the return."

Reed & Mackay has also re-sized its

business. “We’ve cut our cloth accordingly

and protected as many jobs as we can,”

says CEO Fred Stratford. It has private

equity firm Inflexion behind it. “They see

the long-term value of our sector,” he adds.

Skills gap

One concern in the sector is the loss of key

skills, including those in centralised

management functions. The upside will be

leaner and fitter TMCs, layered with an

element of de-globalisation, a move

to be best-in-market and growth in

niche TMCs in industries such as

entertainment and oil and gas.

Chris Crowley, Partner at

consultants Nina & Pinta, neatly

sums it up as “specialisation,

regionalisation and marginalisation”.

As we come out of the pandemic,

corporates will be understandably nervous

about the financial viability of their TMCs

and are asking questions about business

continuity, cash liquidity and forward

planning for the most part.

“Some clients are nervous about the

stability of their TMC,” confirms Shelley

Mathews, GM Sales at CTM.

One concern in the

sector is the loss of

key skills, including those

in centralised management

functions. The upside will be

leaner and fitter TMCs"

“Are they ready to do business again, as

that really is a concern,” says Crowley.

He believes TMCs will have to move

forward with smaller management teams,

more central operations, less deployment of

technology, and centralised quality control

and payment processing, all geared to

diminishing the fixed asset cost. “TMCs are

focussing on cash containment and they’re

not at the end of that road," he adds.

So, how can clients be sure of a TMC's

viability? The general consensus is to ask

what reserves they have at the bank, how

long can they survive without income, and

ask them to share bank statements.

Transparency is key if the relationship –

yet alone the agency – is to survive.

Independent consultant Chris

Pouney says many customers are

making contingency plans should

the worst happen.

“Traditional financial instruments

such as reporting do not work well

here as it’s unlikely that a TMC in

distress would simply go under; more likely

that they (and more precisely their client

book) will be acquired.”

A rash of M & A activity this year will be

inevitable but to what extent nobody

knows. What most industry pundits do long

for, though, is BTA Clive Wratten’s

prediction for the year: “The industry is

relatively intact and I hope that 2021 will

not be any worse than 2020.”

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Strike a balance

Do you spend every day walking the tightrope of corporate travel?

Are you trying to develop a travel programme that will deliver on your business goals

and save on cost, whilst caring for your travellers and the world around us?

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TMCs / The 2021 Directory

TMCs 2021: Who does what

Your guide to a selection of leading travel management companies in the UK (A to F)

Travel management company Website Online / Offline Company size Head office Established Alliance membership

ABT-UK abt-global.com 70% / 30% 8 UK staff/ 1 office + 400 staff globally London 2001 Advantage / Focus / LCC

Access Bookings Ltd accessbookings.com 30% / 70% 115 staff / 6 offices Lichfield, Staffordshire 1985

ACE Travel Management acetravel.co.uk 80% / 20% 12 staff / 1 office Brentwood, Essex 1992 ATG / Advantage / WIN

ALTOUR International Ltd altour.com 29% / 71% 200 UK staff + locations worldwide London 1991 Advantage / ALTOUR Global Network

American Express Global Business Travel amexglobalbusinesstravel.com Not disclosed Not disclosed London 2014

arrangeMy arrangemy.com 70% / 30% 60 staff/ 1 UK office/ 1 implant Worcester 1990 Advantage / WIN

ATPI atpi.com 45% / 55% 1500+ staff / 100+ locations worldwide London 2002

Baldwins Travel (BBTM) bbtm.co.uk 10% / 90% 5 staff / 1 office Tunbridge Wells, Kent 1895 Advantage

BCD Travel bcdtravel.com Not disclosed 14,900 staff globally London 1981

Beyond Business Travel beyondbusinesstravel.com 80% / 20% Not disclosed Belfast 2010 Advantage / Focus / WIN

Blue Cube Travel and Consultancy Ltd bluecubetravel.co.uk 30% / 70% 30 staff / 4 offices London 2003 Advantage

Business First Partnership Ltd bfp.travel 20% / 80% 24 staff / 1 office Beaconsfield, Bucks 1997

Capita Travel and Events capitatravelevents.co.uk 80% / 20% 430 staff / 3 offices Derby 1972 Advantage / GlobalStar

Clarity claritybt.com 78% / 22% 400 staff / 7 locations in UK&I Manchester 1959 Radius Travel

Click Travel clicktravel.com 90% / 10% 150-200 staff / 1 office Birmingham 1999 Advantage

Clyde Travel Management clydetravel.com 20% / 80% 83 staff / 2 offices (plus US/India/Sweden) Glasgow 1989 Advantage / WIN / Focus / Hickory

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Europe travelctm.co.uk Not disclosed 2,700 staff globally London 1994 Owns Radius Travel

CT Business Travel ctbusinesstravel.co.uk 30% / 70% 50 staff / 4 offices Tunbridge Wells, Kent 1988 GlobalStar / Uniglobe

CWT mycwt.com Not disclosed 14,500 staff in 153 offices globally Minneapolis (global HQ) 1994

DialAFlight Corporate Travel dialaflight.com/corporatetravel 100% offline 130 staff / 4 offices London 1980

Diversity Travel diversitytravel.com 48% / 52% 141 staff in Manchester, London and U.S. Manchester 2008

EFR Travel efrtravel.co.uk 6% / 94% 46 staff / 3 offices Bushey, Hertfordshire 2002 Advantage / Focus

Egencia egencia.com 87% / 13% Not disclosed London 2002

Eton Travel etontravel.com 50% / 50% 86 staff / 2 offices Eton, Berkshire 1969 Advantage / American Express GBT TPN

FCM Travel Solutions (inc. Corporate Traveller) fcmtravel.co.uk 46% / 54% 570 staff / 20 UK offices (6,000 staff globally) New Malden, Surrey 2004

Fello fello.co.uk 25% / 75% 40 staff / 1 office London 1995 Advantage / Focus / GlobalStar

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


The 2020 Directory / TMCs

Business sectors in which clients operate or the TMC specialises in

Academic/Education

Advertising

Charity

Construction/Engineering

Creative

Defence

Energy

Entertainment/TV/Film

Finance

General SMEs

Health/Medical

Insurance

Legal

Logistics

Manufacturing

Marine

Media

NGOs

Oil/Gas

Pharmaceutical

Professional services

Public sector

Recruitment

Retail

Sports

Technology

Telecomms

Touring

Transport

Utilities

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Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual figures quoted refer to a TMC's most recent financial or calendar year and to UK corporate business only unless stated otherwise. *inc. Altour, Pro Travel, Tzell & Colletts Travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

15


TMCs / The 2021 Directory

TMCs 2021: Who does what

Your guide to a selection of leading travel management companies in the UK (F to W)

Travel management company Website Online / Offline Company size Head office Established Alliance membership

Flightline Travel Management flightline-travel.co.uk 18% / 82% 8 staff / 1 office Haddenham, Bucks 1999 Advantage / WIN / Focus

Global Travel Collection UK (GTC UK) globaltravelcollection.com 5% / 95%

55 full-time staff in 5 offices

100+ independent travel advisors

London 2006 Advantage / Virtuoso / Select

Global Travel Management Ltd gtm.uk.com 25% / 75% 18 staff / 1 office Woking, Surrey 1997 Focus / WIN

Good Travel Management good-travel.co.uk 30% / 70% 28 staff / 1 office Kingston Upon Hull 1833 Advantage / Altour

Gray Dawes Group (inc. Amber Road) gdg.travel 57% / 43% 200 staff / 4 offices Colchester, Essex 1865 Advantage / Radius Travel

Harridge Business Travel harridgebusiness.com 1% / 99% 13 staff / 1 office London 1983 Advantage / Focus

Inntel Limited inntel.co.uk 75% / 25% 80 staff / 1 office Colchester, Essex 1984 Advantage / Focus / Radius Travel

Key Travel keytravel.com 67% / 33% 140 staff in 9 countries London 1980 Advantage / CCRA in U.S

Meon Valley Business Travel Limited meonvalleytravel.com 50% / 50% 60 staff / 1 office Petersfield, Hampshire 2002 Advantage / WIN / Focus

MIDAS Travel Management midas-travel.com 15% / 85% 25 staff / 1 office London 1998 Advantage / WIN / Focus

Norad Travel Limited noradtravelgroup.com 12% / 88% 39 staff / 1 office Liss, Hampshire 1981 Advantage / Focus

Omega Business Travel (Traveleads) omegabusinesstravel.com 10% / 90% 12 staff / 1 office (before being acquired) Hersham, Surrey 1982 Advantage / Focus

Omega World Travel omegaworld.co.uk 60% / 40% 22 staff UK + 300 in 30 U.S. locations London 1972 Advantage / Focus / GlobalStar

QCTM quintessentiallyctm.com 20% / 80% 26 staff / 2 offices +3 offices globally London 1971 Advantage / Focus

Reed & Mackay (inc. Business Travel Direct) reedmackay.com 34% / 66% Not disclosed London 1962 Advantage / R&M Intl Partnership

Review Travel Limited reviewtravel.co.uk 50% / 50% 10 staff / 1 office Cheshire 1982 Focus

Selective Travel Management selective-travel.com 25% / 75% 65 staff in Belfast & Dublin Belfast 1974 Advantage

Simplexity Travel Management Limited simplexitytravel.com 5% / 95% 13 staff / 1 office London 2011 Advantage / Focus /Virtuoso

Sunways Business Travel sunwaystravel.co.uk 10% / 90% 14 staff / 1 office Longfield, Kent 1973 Advantage / Focus

TAG tag-group.com 4% / 96% 186 UK staff + 354 staff globally London 1988 Advantage / WIN / Virtuoso

Trailfinders Corporate Travel trailfinders.com/corporate 100% offline 1,100 staff / 39 offices London 1970

Travel Counsellors for Business business.travelcounsellors.com 100% offline 250 Corp. Counsellors in 7 countries Manchester 1994

Traveleads traveleads.co.uk 20% / 80% 63 staff / 4 offices Leeds 1971 Advantage / Focus

Wayte Travel Management waytetravel.co.uk 100% offline 30 staff / 3 offices London 1903 Advantage / Focus

West End Travel Ltd www.westendtravel.co.uk 100% offline 18 staff / 2 offices London 1972

Wexas Travel Management wexastravelmanagement.co.uk 35% / 65% 45 staff / 2 offices London 1970 Advantage

Wings Travel Management wings.travel 15% / 85% 80 staff / 2 offices + offices worldwide London 1993 Advantage

16 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


The 2020 Directory / TMCs

Business sectors in which clients operate or the TMC specialises in

Academic/Education

Advertising

Charity

Construction/Engineering

Creative

Defence

Energy

Entertainment/TV/Film

Finance

General SMEs

Health/Medical

Insurance

Legal

Logistics

Manufacturing

Marine

Media

NGOs

Oil/Gas

Pharmaceutical

Professional services

Public sector

Recruitment

Retail

Sports

Technology

Telecomms

Touring

Transport

Utilities

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Information supplied by TMCs to The Business Travel Magazine. Annual figures quoted refer to a TMC's most recent financial or calendar year and to UK corporate business only unless stated otherwise. *inc. Altour, Pro Travel, Tzell & Colletts Travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

17


TMCs / Fees

BREAKING

point

After exposing the fragility of the TMC business

model, will the Covid crisis serve as a catalyst for

change? Bev Fearis investigates

18 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Fees / TMCs

Underlying health conditions. It’s a

phrase we’ve heard time and time

again in the pandemic and,

according to Chris Crowley, Partner at

consultants Nina & Pinta, it’s one that can

also be applied to the TMC business

model. The trouble with underlying health

conditions is that they often build up

slowly over time and can be difficult to

shake-off. They can lie dormant, just

about manageable, but then along comes

a trigger that exposes the weakness,

and…bang.

To its credit, the TMC community was

already aware of its vulnerabilities before

Covid came along. “Whilst the pandemic has

been a further catalyst to this situation, the

need for a change to TMC pricing has been

evident for years,” says a White Paper

published by the BTA last October.

Produced in conjunction with Nina & Pinta,

the paper shaped an eight-week

consultation with TMCs, suppliers,

tech companies and travel buyers

that was initially planned for

later this year but was

pushed forward

because of the

devastating

impact of the

coronavirus. The result is a 14-page

document, released in January, which

attempts to establish clearer guidelines on

the three predominant pricing models –

transaction fees, subscription fees and

management fees – in the hope that a new

‘2020s’ approach to pricing will be adopted

and make everything better.

Medical history

To understand the root of the sector’s

underlying health problems, we need to go

back to the roaring nineties, a time when the

acronym TMC hadn’t yet been invented and

when the BTA was called the GBTA (before it

became the GTMC), and a time when GBTA

didn’t stand for ‘Global Business Travel

Association’ but instead for ‘Guild of Business

Travel Agents’. Business travel agents –

remember those?

In those heady days, business travel agents

relied purely on suppliers for their income, in

the form of commissions, incentives,

overrides, or rebates, which were sometimes

shared with corporate clients and were part

of highly-complex deals shrouded in secrecy.

But with the arrival of the internet,

suppliers began to find cheaper ways to

distribute their products and from the mid-

1990s commissions began to be capped and

then scrapped altogether. This prompted the

emergence of transaction fees and, for the

first time, saw agents rely on their corporate

clients for part of their income stream.

Then came the 9/11 terror attacks, which

brought duty of care to the forefront and

made corporates realise they needed

traveller tracking, management reporting,

and a whole host of other services,

prompting business travel agents to invest

sizeable sums in technology to meet the new

requirements and, effectively, evolve from

agents to TMCs.

Critical period

Fast forward to the beginning of 2020 and

the TMC business model remained split,

typically with around two-thirds still coming

from suppliers (in various complex guises)

and a third of income supplied by corporates

in the form of fees.

Transaction fees, in the UK at least,

accounted for around 80% of contracts:

roughly 15% were management fees and the

remainder a mix of the other – bundled,

menu, open source, enterprise, mobile, and

others, plus one in particular that was gaining

traction – the subscription fee.

Then Covid-19 brought travel grinding to a

halt and TMCs were left frantically dealing

with repatriations, cancellations, refunds and

policy overhauls, but with almost zero

bookings. The flaws of the transaction fee

model, already under scrutiny, were well and

truly exposed.

The remedy

The sharp business travel downturn has

demonstrated, beyond doubt, the

unsustainability of the TMC business model

and the need for TMCs to find new ways to

package and price their services.

The BTA’s White Paper acknowledges that

“people only place a value on what they pay

for and when all corporates perceive they are

paying for is the booking process that is all

they really value”. Instead, says BTA CEO Clive

Wratten, there should be “strategic

partnerships which recognise that the value a

TMC offers goes far beyond delivering

everyday transactions.

"It’s one that encompasses knowledge and

expertise which enables them to help

corporates deliver a duty of care to their

travelling employees – something that’s more

important than ever in this new Covid era”.

With the crisis wounds still fresh, there’s

been a more frank and open dialogue from

both sides and a better understanding of

what’s required going forward. "There's

definitely an appetite (from both sides)," says

Nina & Pinta's Jo Lloyd. "The vision of the

solution might be different but both sides

see transaction fees aren't helpful."

Crowley believes the shift requires "more

backbone" from the TMCs. "They need to be

more forthright and tell buyers – either you

want me to manage costs, or if all you want is

to buy a commodity this is what it costs and

stop asking me what salaries I pay my staff."

In order to simplify the options, the BTA

guide likens the three main fee models to

mobile phone contracts. Transactions fees

are, it says, like a pay as you go contract with

central costs being the handset charge.

Subscription fees are like a mobile phone

contract with minutes, texts and bolt-on

services included in a monthly fee.

Meanwhile, management fees are like an

enterprise mobile phone contract where an

organisation purchases phones and plans for

all of its employees.


THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

19


TMCs / Fees

The BTA guide also tell corporates –

and this is where it gets tricky – to provide

their best estimates of spend, travel

patterns, preferred agreements and

transactions.

"Everyone understands it's not an exact

science at the moment. It's a best guest of

how travel will come back, but corporates

need to provide parameters," says Lloyd.

In order to find the right match, the guide

says corporate customers should aim to be

as transparent as possible about the services

they require and what value they are looking

for in their travel programme. After all, some

will want a simple transactional service with

no traveller tracking, reporting or account

management whilst others will be looking

for a full suite of services.

The answer for some could lie in the

emergence of a new type of fee being thrown

into the mix – a hybrid of transaction and

subscription, which will see corporates

paying a fee to cover the basics and then pay

extra for any additional services they require,

plus a smaller transaction fee on top. This

new kid on the block is yet to be officially

named but for now the term 'transcription

fee' is being banded about. Watch this space.

With the crisis

wounds still fresh,

there's been a more frank and

open dialogue from both sides

and a better understanding

of what's required going

forward”

The BTA’s guiding principles to help corporates select the best pricing model for their business

CONSIDERATION TRANSACTION FEE SUBSCRIPTION FEE MANAGEMENT FEE

Your business is very transactional in nature (there and back trips) ● ●

You have a high online adoption rate for your bookings ● ●

Your teams organise a lot of complicated or multi-sector trips that require a lot of support ● ●

Your travellers book the different components of a trip (air, hotel, car) at different stages or use a lot of other services like

concierge, ground transportation or re-shopping

● ●

You have clear pre-trip approval processes ● ●

Each department pays for its own travel ●

Your travellers pay using individual corporate cards ●

You use a central lodged card (BTA or CTA) or invoice to pay for your bookings ● ●

You pay for your TMC costs as a central function within your business ● ●

You have a high proportion of regular travellers within your traveller database ● ●

You are an enterprise customer and/or have dedicated teams for your TMC that services your travel requirements. (Note: the

TMC can fulfil all other aspects of the services as well but a management fee works best with a dedicated team)

You encounter a lot of noise from the travellers within your business about paying TMC fees ●

You have a high proportion of central programme costs through additional services such as account management, online

travel managers, traveller tracking etc


You are able to self-initialise an implementation (sign in and go) and do not require a TMC implementation team ●

20 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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TMCs / Insight

The many challenges of the Covid-19

pandemic mean the role of travel

management consultants is

changing and new skill sets are required.

Travel buyers need to know their TMC can

deliver in some key areas that may have

been less important pre-pandemic,

particularly if an organisation’s travel

destinations and type wasn’t traditionally

categorised as risky. Areas of focus when

assessing a TMC in this new normal should

now include:

Traveller tracking tools

Knowing the location of all travellers at any

one time is essential. Tools should also allow

two-way messages so that travellers can

check-in, receive important updates on a trip

– including new restrictions that may be in

place, and provide feedback on their

experience. Plus, any traveller-tracking tool

should integrate with traveller profile

information so that status updates on health

test results can be included. Your TMC

should be able to advise you on how to

ensure that travellers engage correctly with

the tools, most importantly so that contact

details are correctly provided and they can

be contacted in an emergency.

24/7 support in the event of an

emergency

Access to an on-call person isn’t enough.

Check your TMC can provide seamless

service 24/7 wherever in the world your

people are. This should also include

ensuring your TMC has partnerships with

medical and security specialists who can

arrange medical or emergency evacuations

INSIGHT

NEW POINT

OF FOCUS

What you wanted from your TMC before might not be

what you need now, says ATPI's John Nixon

from even the most hostile locations. Your

chosen partner should have experience of

arranging repatriation charters.

Approach to travel approvals

A comprehensive travel approvals system is

going to play a more significant role in travel

management than ever before. A TMC

should be able to advise clients about the

entire process and should help to establish

a protocol for a ‘permission to travel’ policy.

This policy cannot be linked to cost alone,

and must integrate sign-off from HR, risk

management, as well as finance teams.

Focusing on addressing the permission

process ensures traveller wellbeing is at the

centre of all decisions, and saves time if only

the roles and departments where travel is

permitted have access to relevant systems.

Flexibility

Policies and processes need to be revised

constantly, and therefore the technology

tools that support them need to fit-forpurpose

in an ever-changing world. Your

relationship with your TMC should have

some flexibility too, as travel volumes are

likely to have peaks and troughs for some

time. This means that other supporting

services such as duty of care packages need

to also be flexible and take into account a

different approach to travel. A one-size-fits

all approach will not be suitable, or cost

conscious.

Good people

The far-reaching impact of the pandemic

means travel and duty of care policies will

include more planning for extreme

scenarios than ever before. Innovative

technology is an enabler of excellent

service, but TMCs would be nowhere

without brilliant people. Technology will

continue to play an integral role, but the role

of experienced and exceptional people with

a robust understanding of not just the

business travel sector, but the industries

important to their clients, has never been

so important.

JOHN NIXON

John Nixon is Global Director of

Operations for ATPI Group, which

comprises ATPI Corporate Travel,

Direct ATPI, ATPI Marine &

Energy, ATPI Mining &

Resources, ATPI Corporate

Events and ATPI Sports

Events. He joined in 2018.

iSTOCK.COM/YURI_ARCURS

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


A lot is changing in business travel.

But what won’t change is how we

care for our customers.

Want to know how BCD is making a

difference? Go to bcdtravel.com

© 2021 BCD Travel. All rights reserved.

2103-XX_BTM-PrintAd_CJ2.indd 2

3/4/21 3:37 PM


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Business Untitled-2 Travel 1 Magazine Advert_255x190_12.20.indd 1 11/12/2020 14/12/2020 12:22 09:37


taxis GrOUnd and transPOrt

transfers

RIDE ON TIME

It's taken a back seat but should travel buyers

now be paying more attention to that 'last mile'?

Bev Fearis investigates

iSTOCKPHOTO.COM/PEOPLEIMAGES

Up against airlines and hotels,

generally regarded the more

glamorous side of business travel,

the ‘last mile’ element of a business trip

is frequently overlooked in corporate

travel programmes.

"Let's face it, it's not that sexy," is the

brutally-honest observation of a key player in

ground transport, and if that's the opinion of

someone working within the sector imagine

what outsiders must think.

But with social distancing, working from

home and the transformation of the office to

a place to meet, some believe that taxis,

chauffer-drive and rental cars will tick more

boxes as we emerge from Covid lockdowns,

at least in the early days.

“Until we are all feeling more comfortable

about getting back on planes, the tube and

on busy trains, these personal modes of

transport will be more in demand,” says one

neutral observer.

Suppliers are already adapting their

businesses accordingly. Pre-pandemic, for

example, the shiny Mercedes-Benz fleet of

German start-up Blacklane whisked

executives to and from airports for their

intercity flights but are now picking them up

from their offices or homes and driving them

directly to those cities for their meetings. Its

website homepage lists flat chauffeur-drive

fares for the key intercity routes –

Birmingham-London for £99 each way or

Amsterdam-Brussels for €289 – and urges

business travellers: “Free yourself from

crowded spaces with private, discreet rides

that prioritise your safety.”

According to a recent report from ridehailing

app FREENOW, half of European

travel managers say their company has

changed its policies toward ground

transportation as a result of the pandemic.

Its survey of 175 travel managers found

57% say their company is now less likely to

allow or encourage the use of public

transport while 37% say it is more likely to

allow or encourage rental cars. Meanwhile,

27% say they are more likely to allow or

encourage traditional taxis – higher than the

share that are less likely to permit them.

But while the majority (78%) of corporate

travel programmes have a formal agreement

with a car rental company, only half have

one with a ride-hailing vendor and only 47%

with a limo/chauffeured car company.

The benefits, says FREENOW, are worth the

effort: saving money, streamlining payment

and invoicing, and receiving data and

reporting. A formal agreement also allows

corporates to vet the safety practices of their

providers and use travel data – destinations,

driver names, and licence plate numbers –

for contact tracing if required, all even more

crucial in these Covid times.

It seems the message is finally getting

through, with one third of buyers saying they

expect their programme will begin a formal

relationship with a ride-hailing company

within the next year.

Many of them will be looking to their TMC

to set the servicing landscape. "But this

poses some challenges at the moment,”

Until we are all feeling

more comfortable

about getting back on planes,

the tube and on busy trains,

these personal modes of

transport will be more in

demand”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

15


taxis and transfers

says Paul Tilstone, Partner at Festive Road.

He believes that in the current climate TMCs

might not have the right people or platforms

to develop new partnerships, particularly as

they might not be perceived as an immediate

revenue driver.

Those that decide to take the plunge won’t

be short of options, with an ever-growing

number of ‘last mile’ products – many from

well-funded start-ups – aimed at the

corporate market: FREENOW for Business,

Bolt Business, Uber for Business, Ola

Corporate, Rolzo Business, the list goes on.

For corporates, however, the proliferation

of choice is one of the main problems.

“The market is too fragmented,” says Mark

Avery, Global Business Services and Travel

Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“When you’ve got people travelling globally,

there are so many small, fragmented

companies it’s hard to get a service partner. I

think that’s why many smaller companies

don’t even attempt to touch ground.”

Those that decide to

take the plunge won't

be short of options, with an

ever-growing number of

'last mile' products – many

from well-funded start-ups"

The rise of aggregators – some not only

attempting to bring together taxis and

transfers but also car rental, car share,

e-scooters, and rail – is helping to alleviate

this problem. But while their technology is

impressive, Avery says most still fail to bring

the service support that corporates require.

“For me as a corporate travel manager, one

of the challenges I’ve got is that I don’t want

travellers phoning me because they’ve got a

problem with their invoice or because they’re

querying taxi waiting times,” he explains.

“Many companies will provide back-end

data and there have been improvements in

the technology, but without the service

offering it’s not an end-to-end solution.”

Just before the pandemic hit, PwC

partnered in the UK with an undisclosed

ground transport provider to pilot

technology that not only plugs directly into

the company’s online booking tool but also

comes with the crucial service support.

However, due to the low levels of business

travel it hasn’t yet been fully put to the test.

Even within the UK domestic market the

fragmented sector makes it more difficult for

smaller companies to properly control their

taxi and transfer spend, says Sixt Global

Sales Director Stuart Donnelly.

“If you travel around the UK there are cities

and towns with different taxi operators.

Because of this fragmentation of the spend

and the low transactions involved, many

companies don’t manage it," he explains.

Most payments are still made by credit

card and reimbursed by the employer.

“There’s no real visibility beyond spend, no

management information,” adds Donnelly,

who says the real numbers are "significant".

To tackle these issues, and recognising the

need for a more interconnected approach to

ground transport, two years ago Sixt

launched a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)

platform, offering rental, car sharing and

taxi/ride hailing, all bookable through a TMC,

OBT, or app. It has since also added

e-scooters in Germany, thanks to a

partnership with Tier. Before Covid it was

about to add rail to the mix in Germany and

the Netherlands. “This is currently on hold

but it will happen,” says Donnelly.

Launching this summer is a brand new

player, Jyrney, which claims to be taking the

MaaS concept to a new level. Billing itself

instead as ‘Mobility on Demand’, Jyrney is

promising clients the ability to book a whole

suite of mobility products – even coaches –

through any business travel platform. It uses

algorithms to manage the supply base to

ensure users get the most suitable providers.

The company says it is already in talks with

several TMCs who are looking to offer their

clients a managed ground transport solution,

and with some corporates too.

“We are also prioritising green fleets, such

as hybrid, hydrogen and electric vehicles,”

says Founder and CEO Daniel Price.

Sustainability is an area where the ground

transport sector has previously fallen short.

Almost half of European travel managers

(46%) in the FREENOW poll say sustainability

is one of the greatest pain points with their

ground transportation programme – and the

report predicts Covid will make sustainability

an even greater challenge.

But the sector is responding. At the end of

last year FREE NOW for Business introduced

an electric-only booking option and is also

launching an emissions calculator so clients

can see how much they can lower their

emissions if they switch to EV-only vehicles.

In February, Rolzo launched a fleet of electric

vehicles in more than 100 cities worldwide.

In fact, most of the major players are now

making the switch to electric, ticking yet

another of the boxes and giving corporate

travel managers no excuse not to join the

'last mile' club – however unsexy.

16 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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WELLBEING

18 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


WELLBEING

POSITIVE

thinking

As companies prepare for a travel restart, the

wellbeing of their travellers is being placed high on the

agenda and, says Bev Fearis, it's set to stay there

For all the turmoil it has caused, the

Covid crisis has brought positives

too. “If there is one silver lining in

the pandemic, it’s that in more than 30

years in this industry I have never seen

this level of engagement with CEOs and

C-Suite executives in relation to healthrelated

issues in the workplace,” says Dr

Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez, Global

Medical Director at health and security

specialists International SOS.

“I have never had to brief so many boardlevel

executives on health and wellbeing

issues. It’s being discussed in a way it never

was before, opening a new channel and line

of conversation, and this is something we

can definitely keep for the future.”

Of course, the wellbeing trend was

already gaining traction in corporate travel

departments before the pandemic, but the

arrival of Covid-19 has taken it to a whole

new level. As they prepare for a travel

restart, companies of all shapes and sizes

and across all sectors are now looking

carefully at how to support their travellers’

wellbeing, both physical and mental, as

they get back on the road.

Business travel, we know, is a highly

stressful situation for numerous reasons,

and when business travel starts to go back

to normal levels, Covid-19 will just add that

uncertainty and that additional stress,” says

Dr Rodriguez-Fernandez.

Indeed, International SOS, which counts

nearly two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500

companies as clients, was experiencing a

tenfold jump in calls from corporate

managers at the end of 2020 compared to

pre-Covid, along with a significant rise in

demand for its emotional support services.

Mental health issues have sky-rocketed

during the pandemic for a number of

reasons. Access to usual support services

has been reduced in affected countries and

many people are now more isolated,

working from home and prevented by

repeated lockdowns from having as much

contact with friends and family.

Travel managers should be aware that the

mental state of an employee could be

fragile even before the prospect of a

business trip is thrown into the mix.

Calls to International SOS show traveller

concerns aren’t necessarily about

contracting the virus itself, but could also

relate to how to deal with potential travel

disruption caused by fast-changing travel

restrictions.

Travellers might call to say they’ve just

flown to a destination where there’s been a

large outbreak and everything is now shut,

or they might say their boss has asked

them to go but they’re feeling stressed and

are worried they’re going to burn out,”

explains Dr Rodriguez-Fernandez.

“Others are worried about catching Covid

on a plane, or their families might be worried

about them bringing it back home.”


iSTOCK.COM/PHOTOTECHNO

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

19


INDUSTRY WELLBEING

Clear messaging

Experts agree the key is to make sure

companies have measures and procedures

in place to deal with any situation that might

arise and, crucially, to make sure these are

communicated in the right way to give

reassurance to travellers.

“We need to provide as much evidence

and science-based information as possible

and this information needs to be consistent

and coming from a person that people trust

within the organisation – and the higher up

the organisation the better,” says Dr

Rodriguez-Fernandez.

“The most protective safety net is

communication and learning. From a mental

health perspective, the more information

you can give an employee the safer they

will feel," he adds.

“More mature companies are taking this

into their own hands and rather than relying

solely on government advice they are going

above and beyond. We need to move

companies from being reactive to proactive,

but unfortunately very few are in that

mindset at the moment.”

Any guidance from senior management

must also be backed up with communication

and support from line managers, who might

be better placed to assess an employee’s

state of mind.

“First of all, HR need to make it clear to

everyone, in black and white, that it’s OK not

to travel and that there will be no negative

impact if people say 'no',” explains Matt

Travel managers

should be aware

that the mental state of an

employee could be fragile

even before the prospect of a

business trip is thrown into

the mix”

Holman, Co-Founder of the Business Travel

Wellbeing Community and the owner of

Simpila Healthy Solutions.

“Companies need to enable that

conversation early on and encourage their

people to be honest about how they feel

about the trip; to explain what they might be

worried about so you can see how you can

support them,” he says.

Talking to travellers post trip is also vital,

says Holman. “It shouldn’t just be about how

successful the trip was and whether you got

the contract. The conversation after the trip

has to go to a deeper level: 'How did you

feel? Did you feel prepared for that trip? Did

you have the right kit?'"

For many years companies have had sturdy

procedures in place to support employees

travelling to destinations perceived as high

risk, but amid the pandemic many other trips

– even short-distance or domestic ones – can

trigger fear and apprehension. Furthermore,

it brings the added dimension of causing

anxiety to loved ones back home.

“We have that new dynamic where

someone might say my wife or husband

doesn’t want me to travel, or a loved one is

vulnerable and is worried they might bring

the virus back home,” says Holman.

“The issue is where do you stop managing

people? Is there a point where it stops?”

Home working could make it more difficult

for managers to keep tabs on their travellers’

mental wellbeing.

“We’ve lost that personal connection,

perhaps before a meeting or over a coffee,

where we chat about things that aren’t the

job or about the trip,” says Holman. “This has

to be built in to the new working from home

environment.”

While many companies have support

programmes in place for their employees,

these often only kick into action when

matters get to the crisis stage.

“Whether it’s problems with their finances,

relationships or mental health, employees

often don’t know that these assistance

programmes exist until they have a crisis.

Companies need to make sure their

employees are aware they are there to help

them in the early stages, when they’re

starting to struggle. Prevention is the key.”

Taking precautions

In the same vein, some companies are now

putting measures into place during a trip to

alleviate potential stress points.

“With the new anxieties that come with

travel and the higher likelihood for trip

friction and delay, companies are upgrading

some travellers to higher classes of service,

to not only ensure traveller safety but to

protect mental wellbeing so they can remain

calm, rested and, ultimately, more effective

while travelling for business,” says Francesca

Mendola, Global Account Manager for GTC,

the newly-named parent of Protravel

International and Tzell Travel Group.

This might be things like giving access to

airport lounges, upgrading to premium

cabins or booking hotels with larger rooms

or balconies. “These upgrades are not only

key if a traveller is spending more time in

their room working and exercising, but they

also become essential should a traveller

need to quarantine,” she adds.

Nicola Cox, Director at MIDAS Travel, says

the TMC is also noticing this trend, with

more demand for additional services.

“Some travellers are experiencing a new,

more luxurious, way to travel, which in turn

reduces stress and anxiety levels,” she says.

“We’ve seen minor changes make big

differences to travel programmes and

travellers in recent months, such as relaxing

‘economy-only’ policies, enabling seat

selection and providing contactless travel

services, such as online check-in and VIP fast

track. These are services that travellers are

taking advantage of for a safer and more

comfortable trip. We expect that the positive

effect these value-added services will have

on traveller wellbeing will ensure they are

here to stay well beyond Covid-19.”

iSTOCK.COM/PHOTOTECHNO

20 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ACCOMMODATION

Rise and

SHINE

Four experts share their advice on how to respond

to trends in the accommodation sector

Nina Marcello

American Express GBT

Principal, Global Hotel

Practice Line Lead

Hotels have been under immense pressure,

operating at vastly reduced capacity with the

lowest occupancy rates on record. They have

had to meet additional costs around cleaning

protocols, particularly when rooms must be

left vacant between guests. Revenue per

available room has dropped, so hotels have

had to find other ways to maintain revenues,

such as offering companies meeting space

as an extension of their office space.

Travel buyers might see this as the ideal

moment to overhaul their sourcing strategy,

but this only makes sense if they have

sufficient volume in their programme.

Many hotels just don’t have the staff to

work on RFPs and many won’t take

corporations seriously if they plan to book

only 40 nights per month.

To make sure they can get the rooms they

need, at the right rates, buyers need to take

a longer-term view. Sourcing in today’s fluid

environment is a continuous process: don’t

just roll over your rates or fix and forget.

Keep an eye open as volumes return,

maintain relationships and talk regularly with

top partners so they understand what kind

of support you need when travel starts

moving again. And, as part of their focus on

rates management, buyers need to make

sure they get any available percentage

discounts off the best available rate when

this is lower than their negotiated rates and

take advantage of resources like travel

management company (TMC) rates and

re-shopping tools.

Peter Grover

TRIPBAM Managing Director

for Europe

It’s no great shock that Covid-

19 has had a major impact on the corporate

hotel market. Booking volumes are down

86% year over year globally, with European

volumes down 95%. This greater decline in

Europe can be attributed to firmer national

lockdowns compared to the U.S. and weaker

domestic travel.

At TRIPBAM we’ve seen a number of trends

emerge, not only in rate but also in stay

patterns and demand by segment and

brand. While European volumes may be

down compared to the rest of the world,

we’re not seeing the same rate volatility

here, with more hotels retaining pricing

power compared to their North American or

Asia Pacific counterparts.

Travellers who are booking overnight stays

are doing so outside of city centres and at

lower-scale hotels.

Stays at five-star properties are down 91%,

while stays at two-star properties are down

only 56%. This is being driven largely by the

types of workers who are still travelling. This

change in the travelling population is also

shifting market share among the chains, with

independent properties gaining the greatest

share of corporate travel bookings ahead of

Marriott, Hilton and Accor.

How can you as a buyer respond to these

changes? First of all, look at your current

travel volumes. If you still have people on

the road, you’ll want to make sure you

negotiate or renegotiate discounts at

properties they’re currently using. Retail rate

bookings are up 55%, which indicates

corporate negotiated rates are either out-ofstep

with the market or they don’t exist at

the properties being booked.

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ACCOMMODATION

Responsible travel,

risk management

and employee wellbeing are

high priorities for most travel

buyers and the pandemic has

accelerated this”

Next, consider what your travelling

population will look like toward the back

half of the year and adjust your programme

accordingly. We expect to see some

rebound in the higher-scale hotel segments

and in brands because of greater trust in

their well-marketed hygiene initiatives.

Looking ahead, there is reason to be

optimistic. The UK roadmap out of

lockdown and the successful vaccination

efforts underway nationally and in the U.S.

has more corporates anticipating the return

of business travel in 2021. We expect by the

fourth quarter we’ll see corporate hotel

volumes return to 40% of 2019 levels.

Leigh Cowlishaw

Global Supplier Partnership

Director, Advantage

Business cultures and values,

such as wellbeing, sustainability, diversity

and inclusion, are now being weaved into

travel policies. This means the selection of

accommodation providers into travel

programmes is now being measured not

only by the discounts they offer but by the

facilities provided within their room rate and

how guests will feel staying at the property.

There is an increasing demand for serviced

apartments. In the pandemic we have

become used to our home comforts – the

ability to relax after a busy day, enjoy

Untitled-2 1 25/02/2021 09:31

2083.4_LockeLiving_PrintAds_TBTM_Quarter_01.indd 1 24/02/2021 17:08


ACCOMMODATION

home-cooked food, and be in control of

what we are eating – and apartments give us

this extra degree of flexibility.

I also believe travel and expenses will

increasingly be married together to look at

the true cost of the stay, rather than the

room rate discounts alone and T&E on a

separate line item.

Coming out of this pandemic, there could

be a degree of anxiety among travellers who

will be looking for more private space and

ways to avoid unnecessary contact. Loyalty

schemes won’t be just about getting

upgrades but will allow travellers to preallocate

their room, do advanced check-in,

and pre-order room service – all reducing

contact with others during their trip.

Above all, as we come out of the pandemic

crisis travellers will want reassurance that

while their employers needs to balance costs

they also value their employees and have

their best interests at heart.

Debbie Male

Head of Sales, Europe, IHG

Hotels & Resorts

Responsible travel, risk

management and employee wellbeing are

high priorities for most travel buyers and the

pandemic has accelerated this due to

changing regulations, traveller confidence

and a higher focus on duty of care.

The focus on acting responsibly is not only

driven by senior management but also by

travellers themselves. In our recent global

survey of 9,000 travellers, 53% agree that

Covid-19 has made them more socially and

environmentally conscious about their

impact when travelling, with younger

travellers leading the charge.

The same survey also showed that 80%

think it is important to choose a hotel brand

that operates responsibly. Booking decisions

are being made based on a brand or hotel’s

Travel buyers might

see this as the ideal

moment to overhaul their

sourcing strategy, but this

only makes sense if they

have sufficent volume”

sustainability credentials, which is reflected

in growing attention from OTAs, as well as

corporate clients who are demanding more

data in this area as part of RFPs.

The recent launch of IHG Hotels & Resorts’

Journey to Tomorrow is our responsible

business plan to drive change for our people,

communities and planet over the next

decade. Progress is best achieved when we

work together, and we will continue to

collaborate closely with those who stay, work

and partner with us to drive positive change.

B A C K T O B U S I N E S S

The Ascott Limited

A leading international lodging

owner-operator, Ascott's

award-winning portfolio spans

more than 190 cities spanning

more than 30 countries across

Asia Pacific, Central Asia,

Europe, the Middle East, Africa

and the USA. Ascott provides a

safe environment with its

comprehensive health and

safety guidelines, Ascott Cares,

and it has been awarded the

SafeGuard Label by Bureau

Veritas confirming the

properties have the

appropriate health, hygiene

and safety procedures

and processes.

Deutsche Hospitality

stands for an exceptional

portfolio of over 160 hotels

in 19 countries on three

continents, including 40 hotels

that are under development.

The varied Deutsche

Hospitality portfolio includes

the Steigenberger Hotels &

Resorts, MAXX by Steigenberger,

Jaz in the City, the

IntercityHotels and the

Zleep Hotels.

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is a leading global hospitality

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serviced, hotel residences

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with more than 140

properties in over 70 cities

across UK, Europe, Middle

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Southeast Asia and Australia.

A globally-awarded leading

hospitality operator, Frasers

Hospitality aims to anticipate

and exceeds customers’

evolving expectations and

lifestyle preferences through

continuous innovation and

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the-ascott.com

reservation@the-ascott.com

deutschehospitality.com

tanu.narula@deutschehospitality.com

frasershospitality.com

sales.london@frasershospitality.com

madison-hill.com

enquiries@madison-hill.com

24 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


HOTEL: HYATT REGENCY THE CHURCHILL, LONDON

DEPARTURES

Reality check

THE HOTEL This five-star 440-room

hotel in Portman Square, managed by

Hyatt for the last 16 years, turned 50

last year but the planned celebrations

were scuppered by the pandemic.

COVID STRATEGY The hotel has been

awarded GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory

Council) STAR facility accreditation,

regarded the gold standard for

outbreak prevention, response and

recovery and part of Hyatt’s Global Care

& Cleanliness Commitment.

THE CHECK-IN Doorman and two

reception staff, all wearing masks, took

my bags and directed me to a machine

to check my temperature (similar to an

airport biometric passport check). All

approved, I checked in at the screened

reception desk. I was told the

restaurants and bar were closed due to

lockdown restrictions but full room

service was available.

THE ROOM My Regency Executive

Suite (room 345) was super spacious

(58 square metres), with a living room

large sofa, coffee table and work space,

leading to a bedroom with an

enormous king-size bed. A large ensuite

bathroom had a bath, large walk-in

shower and a Japanese-style toilet.

Remote controls for the two 42” flatscreen

HDTVs were wrapped in plastic

for Covid hygiene, mini-bar items had

been removed and a packet of

antibacterial wipes was provided.

THE BUSINESS WiFi was free, fast

and easy to access. The desk in my suite

was huge, although I was a little

disappointed there were no in-built

power sockets, which meant a bit of

scrambling around to find floor-level

sockets nearby. Last autumn the hotel

opened a fabulous new Churchill

Residential Suite, with a full office

space, modelled on Sir Winston

Churchill’s own office, and with two

terraces with rooftop views.

THE FACILITIES Sadly, the gym, bars

and restaurants are were all closed due

to Covid. Instead, I went for a run

around Hyde Park and ordered from

the room service menu. My rib eye

EVERY

CONSIDERATION HAD

BEEN GIVEN TO COVID

AND I HAD NO SAFETY

CONCERNS

steak was perfectly cooked and

breakfast was equally as good,

particularly the ice-cold fresh fruit salad.

THE VERDICT Every consideration

had been given to Covid and I had no

concerns about my health and safety.

THE DETAILS 30 Portman Square,

Marylebone, London W1H 7BH.

hyattregencylondon.com

Nightly rates from £218, room only. Day

rates start from £120. Bev Fearis

CHAUFFEUR DRIVE: ROLZO BUSINESS

THE BACKGROUND ROLZO is a

booking platform for all types of car

travel – car rental, chauffeur drive (by

the journey, hour, or day), plus airport

transfers and special deliveries. In

October 2020 it launched ROLZO

Business, providing various services,

including instant quotation and booking

confirmation, secure payment, real-time

invoicing, smart reporting and analytics.

COVID STRATEGY All cars, whether

chauffeur drive or rental cars, are

completely cleaned with the Purespace

disinfection system before and after

each journey. Chauffeurs wear

facemasks and gloves at all times and

are checked for signs of Covid-19 twice a

day. Passengers are also provided with

hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, masks

and gloves. Instead of being greeted by a

handshake, passengers are welcomed

with a slight bow.

THE BOOKING The bookings took just

a few minutes. I immediately received

confirmation emails and another email

offering any further assistance, including

a link to 10 short video tutorials showing

me how to carry out various actions,

such as modifying my booking.

THE PRE-JOURNEY In the days before

my journey, and on the day, I received a

number of email updates, including one

confirming the name and telephone

number of my driver.

THE PICK-UP My driver, Dimitri,

arrived early and waited by the car

smartly dressed in a dark suit and with a

black Covid mask and black gloves. The

Mercedes was gleaming. He took my

luggage and opened the door and told

me where I could find a mask and gloves

in the central armrest. I masked up

before he got back in the car.

THE JOURNEY I relaxed and enjoyed

the smooth ride, generous legroom and

comfortable headrest. Any chats were

instigated by me and Dimitri made no

personal calls (my pet hate in previous

airport taxi pick-ups after a long flight).

As well as the gloves and mask, the car

had bottled water, mints, a packet of

tissues and antiseptic wipes.

THIS WAS A

SLICK OPERATION

FROM START

TO FINISH

THE VERDICT This was a slick

operation from start to finish. The

booking process was straightforward

and intuitive and the pre-trip

communication was just right – not too

much but also enough to reassure me

that everything was in hand. I also felt

safe in regards to Covid thanks to all the

new measures in place.

THE DETAILS rolzo.com/business

bookings@rolzo.com Bev Fearis

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

25


DEPARTURES

Reality check

FLIGHT: QATAR AIRWAYS – DOHA – LONDON HEATHROW

THE TRANSIT

I had flown to Doha in

with noise-cancelling headsets, a large

Business Class from Dar es Salaam,

entertainment screen, foldout desk/

Tanzania, on a 787-8 Dreamliner. I was

dining table, WiFi, a handy charger port

met off my flight and guided straight to

and a personal stowaway bin - all freshly

the Al Maha lounge, a service offered by

sanitised. As well as luxury toiletries, a

Qatar’s Al Maha Platinum Transfer

‘travel safely kit’ had a disposable

Service. This disembark-to-embark

medical face mask, gloves and hand

‘handhold package’ is very reassuring

sanitiser. The aircraft is disinfected after

during the pandemic. The layover was

every flight and the surfaces cleaned

just under three hours and the lounge

with a UV light. The air is cleaned and

provided the perfect calm haven.

reflowed throughout the flight via an

THE CHECK-IN Staff in face masks

industrial size HEPA filtration system.

were friendly as they checked my

The crew wore full PPE.

documents, including a negative Covid

THE SERVICE

On this early morning

certificate. I was asked to produce my

flight I could order from the à la carte

completed UK passenger locator form

menu at any time. The breakfast menu

For in-flight snacks a cheese platter,

and reminded of the quarantine

was extensive: fresh smoothies,

crisps, caramelised popcorn, chocolates

requirement on arrival in the UK.

THE SEAT Boarding was

staggered to limit passenger numbers

in the boarding bridges. Once on board

I was directed to suite 2D. The Q-Suites

are impressive cube-like ‘cabins’, with

omelettes, date pancakes with vanilla

whipped cream and a selection of iced

coffees. For brunch there were several

options, including beef and chicken

sliders on charcoal and thyme brioche

buns served with Emmental cheese,

THE WINE

AND BEVERAGE

SELECTION MADE ME

WISH I WAS ON A

LONGER FLIGHT!

and biscuits were available.

THE VERDICT I appreciated the strict

health and safety protocols, while any

stress I felt was further alleviated by the

fine dining and warm hospitality.

THE DETAILS Return Business Class

nice high panelling and a sliding door

blue cheese, guacamole and chunky

fares Dar es Salaam-Doha-Heathrow

offering access to the aisle, which gave

a real sense of privacy. My suite came

chips. The wine and beverage selection

made me wish I was on a longer flight!

start at £2,026. qatarairways.com

Renette Hartridge

FLIGHT: VIRGIN ATLANTIC – LONDON-HEATHROW – JOHANNESBURG

THE FLIGHT

I flew Upper Class on

‘Suites’. A cabin ‘butler’ is on hand to

Virgin's 787-9 Dreamliner. The airline is

make up the lie-flat bed and even fluff

temporarily operating from Terminal 2

your pillow. Except for the meal service,

rather than its usual Terminal 3 base,

we were required to wear masks for the

which features its Clubhouse and other

11-hour flight and asked to change it for

lounge facilities. In Terminal 2 Virgin

a fresh one every four hours.

Atlantic passengers can use the Plaza

THE SERVICE

The crew was warm

Premium lounge.

and welcoming. Electrostatic spraying of

PRE-BOARDING

Even before

high-grade disinfectant is carried out in

entering the terminal I observed

all cabins and lavatories before every

enhanced airport health and safety

flight. The hot-meal service has been

measures – one-way walk-in system,

‘simplified’ in all cabins. Upper Class

social distancing stickers and hand-

customers are offered a choice of three

sanitiser dispensers. Passengers are

hot meals, desserts – including cheese

expected to have their face masks on

and biscuits – and a ciabatta roll.

before entering the terminal and all

Virgin's signature communal bar with

this cabin, which helped me relax and

airport staff wore face coverings.

seats is not currently in service.

burn away the pre-flight worries I had

THE CHECK-IN

Travellers formed

THE VERDICT

Crew members were

about flying during Covid. Another

socially-distanced queues and had to

answer various Covid-related questions

at the screened check-in desks.

THE SEAT I sat in 5G, one of 31

Upper Class seats spread over 11 rows

super-attentive and a comforting

presence throughout. While I didn’t feel

comfortable trying to sleep in a mask, I

did manage a few hours of sleep.

Around me, passengers abided by the

EVERYONE SEEMED

RELAXED AND

EMBRACED THE

'NEW NORMAL'

bonus: Upper Class passengers

disembark quickly, avoiding a pinch

‘contact point’ with other passengers.

THE DETAILS Return fares from

London-Heathrow to Johannesburg

in a 1-1-1- configured cabin. Virgin’s

rules and everyone seemed relaxed and

start at £800 in Economy and £1,999 in

sexy premier cabin is airy, with subtle

mood lighting and features spacious

embraced flying's ‘new normal’. I was

very grateful of the opportunity to fly in

Upper Class. virginatlantic.com

Renette Hartridge

26 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

The final word

Bark once for yes, two for no...

Lockdown three has been

tough, let's face it, but

according to a survey of

2,000 British workers by hotel

chain Travelodge it's even

worse than we thought.

Apparently, working remotely

has got so bad, some of us have

resorted to chatting to our pets,

and we don't mean talking to

them about when they'll get

their next walk or telling them

off for scratching the arm

of the sofa.

No, according to the budget

hotel group's poll, one in five of

us are now discussing work

issues with our cat or dog

because it helps us to "talk

through the issues" (which

makes us slightly nervous about

some of the business decisions

being made in home offices

across the country).

But at least we've all been

working in comfortable and

relaxed surroundings, as the

research also revealed that 57%

of British workers have invested,

on average, £1,075 during the

pandemic revamping their

bedroom into a 'BedOffice', with

ambient lighting, plants, scented

candles, feature walls for zoom

calls, coffee machines, oh, and

jars of biscuits - no doubt added

after a top level 'BedBoard'

meeting with the dog.

mind the

puddle

Britain is known for its drizzly

days, but where is the wettest

city in the UK? It might not be

where you think. According to

the Met Office, the rainiest is:

1 Cardiff (average of 96mm

of rain each week)

2 Glasgow (94mm)

3 Huddersfield ( 86mm)

4 Plymouth (84mm)

5 Swansea (84mm)

6 Belfast (79mm)

7 Blackpool (74mm)

8 Stockport (73mm)

9 Cheltenham (70mm)

10 Liverpool (70mm)

Analysis by ShowersToYou.co.uk

Watch your mouth!

There are many reasons

why we should all be

proud to work in travel

and hospitality: customer

service, diversity, innovation.

Well, now it seems there's

something else we can all

be proud of.

According to a study by

commercial property agents,

Savoy Stewart, we're the third

best sector at – wait for it –

swearing on zoom calls.

Yes, apparently only those

in finance and law are better

at it. If you'd like to know

which particular profanity our

fine industry is most guilty of

sharing, we can't print it, but

here's a clue: it starts with a

silent 'k' and sounds like Bob.

It's that time of year again when our friends

at Travelodge let us rummage through their

lost property and this time the items

poignantly reflect the times. With its UK

hotels open during lockdowns to support key

workers, it's perhaps no surprise that the list

for 2020 includes a stethoscope left behind

by a doctor at High Wycombe, a lab coat at

Manchester Upper Brook Street, and a

scrub set at London

Central Kings. Less

easy to explain,

however, was the

skull, the Hilti drill,

and the 6ft

polar bear...

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

27


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