Business Travel Sept-Oct 2021

online.magazines

86 September/October 2021

ALL

SYSTEMS GO

It’s time to reconnect,

reset, restart

+

The 2021 Tech Hotlist

Business Travel People Awards

UK accommodation

Instilling travel confidence

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE • SEPTEMBER 14-15


UP FRONT

Contents

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

2021

8 42

Features

10 SMEs: They're first off the blocks

with the long-awaited restart,

but will it be a clear run?

16 The Business Travel People

40

16

Awards: With the big night just

days away, here's what's in

store, plus the 2021 shortlist

22

Th e2021

Tech Hotlist

From sexy start-ups to established

players, see which tech innovations

and innovators made it into our

hotlist this year

24

20

26 Airport Update: As air travel

ramps up, we investigate how

airports are speeding up arrivals

and departures

28 2021 Tech Hotlist: Our pick of

the top tech specialists who are

shaking up the industry

34 Accommodation: Join us on a

tour of the most exciting new

openings and renovations on

the UK's accommodation scene

26

(p28-32)

40 The Business Travel

Conference: Expert panels, top

tips and an immersive moviethemed

experience - see what's

on the agenda this year

21

Up front

6 Everyone's Talking About:

The transatlantic restart

7 Speaking Out: The GBTA’s new

25

Executive Director, Suzanne

Neufang, champions the power

of connection

8 The Knowledge: How to instill

confidence in your travellers

News Review

38

19 News and trends, plus comment

from the BTA and the ITM

23

43

Departures

42 Reality check: We test drive an

electric rental vehicle and

escape to a rural retreat just

minutes from Belfast

7

43 Final word: The lighter

side of travel

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

3


Welcome

Back together again

After months of being restricted and

relying on virtual communication,

our lives are finally getting back to

normal again - and doesn't it feel

great. We're seeing each other faceto-face,

popping back into the office,

and meeting industry friends and colleagues for coffees and lunches.

We've been on trains, even planes, and posted selfies about it on LinkedIn

- in our masks, of course. Our lives aren't completely back to the way they

were – and they might well never be – but the vaccine roll-out has allowed

us to venture out again into the world with more confidence.

On September 14-15 many of us will meet in London for two of our

sector's most important annual events: The Business Travel Conference

and The Business Travel People Awards. For the conference (see page 40)

we've got a fantastic line-up of speakers and some great sessions planned

under the theme Reconnect, Reset, Restart. There's lots to talk about and

still so much to learn. For the People Awards (see page 16) there's a new

relaxed, evening format, new categories, and it's the 10th anniversary too.

For both, there'll be plenty of time for networking and socialising, which

is always a big part of these events and now more than ever.

Being apart for so long has made us all realise how important it is to be

together, to make those spontaneous connections, to put a face to a

name, to forge closer relationships, share experiences, a joke - all those

things that don't happen naturally on a screen and, after all, the reason

why we're in the industry we're in.

For me personally, these events will be a chance to finally meet many of

the people I've only known virtually in the year since I joined The Business

Travel Magazine and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it.

EDITORIAL

EDITOR

Bev Fearis

CONTRIBUTORS

Catherine Chetwynd,

Gillian Upton & Gary Noakes

STAFF JOURNALIST

April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Julie Baxter

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

ADVERTISING SALES

PUBLISHER / COMMERCIAL HEAD

Kirsty Hicks

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

DESIGNERS

Caitlan Francis & Emma Norton

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

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4 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


UP FRONT

OPINION

Everyone's talking about...

restarting transatlantic travel

“REOPENING OF

THE US BORDER FOR

FULLY VACCINATED UK/

EU NATIONALS REPRESENTS

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT

MILESTONE FOR GLOBAL TRAVEL.

IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF

CHRISTMAS COMING EARLY”

Jason Oshiokpekhai, Managing Director,

Global Travel Collection UK

“Transatlantic routes are crucial as

British businesses strive to re-energise

our economy and even more so for some

of our agile and growing SMEs clients that

see the US as a vital market to break into"

Bex Deadman, Managing Director Blue Cube Travel

“SINCE THE UK AND EU RELAXED ENTRY PROTOCOLS FOR FULLY

VACCINATED US TRAVELLERS, WE’VE SEEN A MEANINGFUL UPTICK IN

ARRIVALS. FREEDOM TO TRAVEL IS VITAL TO SAVING BUSINESSES,

JOBS AND ECONOMIES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POND. IT’S TIME

FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE A COMMON SENSE,

SCIENCE-BASED APPROACH TO REOPENING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL"

Martin Ferguson, Vice President Public Affairs, Amex GBT

The safe re-opening of the

transatlantic corridor is

critical so that we can begin

to see a meaningful restart

and recovery of business

travel, and support the

thousands of businesses

and jobs across the UK

and globally”

Sonia Michaels, Head of Business Travel Services and Events, Advantage Travel Partnership

“WITH THE US, UK AND MANY EU COUNTRIES MAKING STEADY PROGRESS WITH THEIR

VACCINATION CAMPAIGNS, WE’RE SEEING A SHIFT IN ATTITUDE AND PEOPLE WANTING TO GET

BACK ON THE ROAD, BUT WITH SAFETY, SECURITY AND WELLBEING STILL HIGH ON THE AGENDA”

Niklas Andreen, CWT President and Chief Operating Officer

“Before the pandemic devastated the sector, the US

was the biggest source market for the UK in terms of

visitor numbers and the UK was the third biggest

source market for the US. This shows just how vital a

corridor would be in boosting both economies”

Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO

6 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


UP FRONT

SPEAKING OUT

When you take a new role in the

midst of a pandemic you’re not

quite sure what to expect, but

in the six months since I joined GBTA I

continue to know one thing for sure:

there’s an important task ahead in

navigating the challenges and fostering

recovery in the business travel industry

and the travel ecosystem.

In normal years, my role would involve

lots of business travel, conferences, and

events, but like so many of you I’ve found

myself working almost solely remotely, with

only my laptop and virtual meeting tools as

a way of connecting with our members,

teams, and industry colleagues.

A big step forward came in early August

when I was delighted to attend my first

in-person conference since the outset of the

pandemic. Walking into a convention centre

with 1,000-plus other attendees felt familiar

THE POWER OF CONNECTION

A CHANGED

WORLD

Life is starting to feel more familiar, says the GBTA’s

Suzanne Neufang, but will it ever be the same?

— but also different. It was energising to

feel the buzz, to see so many people

networking, learning and collaborating,

while event organisers prioritised health

and safety for all.

But the reality is there are still some

detours on the road back to business travel.

Government restrictions and lockdowns

have made it difficult for businesses to plan

a return to travel, especially across borders.

This summer I was able to visit my

husband, who is spending time in Germany,

but I couldn’t travel to the UK for the

industry Day of Action – a reminder that we

still need to keep up our advocacy efforts

for a consistent approach across nations.

There have been upsides too. The pause

in business travel gave the GBTA the

opportunity to reset and implement

changes. I’ve made it my top priority to

listen and speak to members, buyers,

suppliers, partners, staff, and volunteers

across each of the regions. This will enable

us to transform as an association fit for

purpose, to ensure a solid foundation to

see us through the pandemic and support

members through education, networking,

and of course advocacy efforts, to aid the

recovery of the industry.

We’ve also increased global representation

with the recent GBTA Board of Directors

elections, welcoming a UK-based Vice-

President as well as regional board

members to represent Canada and Europe.

Even though there are challenges, our

industry has and will always be resilient.

We know that GBTA members are also

keen to get out on the road again.

In our most recent Covid-19 poll, most

respondents reported they’ve been

vaccinated with their vaccine passport at the

ready. We are optimistic for a future where

in-person events will be the norm again,

even if a little different. The power of

meeting, collaborating and connecting in

person cannot be underestimated nor

replaced.

GBTA is committed to hosting several

in-person events during the final quarter of

2021, with events in Paris, Orlando, Canada

and Berlin. I very much look forward seeing

many of you there.

SUZANNE NEUFANG

Suzanne Neufang was appointed

Chief Executive of the GBTA in

February 2021. She was

previously Senior VP Americas

for HRS Global Hotel Solutions

and before that held roles at

Sabre Travel Network,

GetThere and Travelocity.

ISTOCK.COM/BORCHEE

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

7


UP FRONT

THE KNOWLEDGE

How to...

instil traveller confidence

With its essential workers continuing to

travel overseas throughout the

pandemic, Oil Spill Response was quick to

put procedures in place to protect its

teams and instil confidence.

THE BACKGROUND

Oil Spill Response Limited is an

international industry-funded

cooperative which responds to

oil spills around the world. It

has 12 global locations

employing around 270 people

– with 150 travelling regularly throughout

the pandemic. Since June, its emergency

response teams have been assisting with a

major environmental disaster in Sri Lanka

after a container ship caught fire off

Colombo’s port. Alongside its emergency

response teams, other employees travel

regularly to undertake essential equipment

maintenance. Although the company

already had effective procedures in place to

protect traveller safety, the outbreak of

Covid-19 meant it had to add a whole new

layer of support and reassurance.

THE CHALLENGE

With the company’s work deemed

essential, some employees

have continued to travel,

even at the peak of

the pandemic.

Travel bookers

There hasn’t been a lot

of nervousness among

our travellers, or their loved

ones, because we’ve been so

thorough in our procedures"

have had to navigate complex and fastchanging

border requirements, which are

different for vaccinated and non-vaccinated

travellers, and also deal

with air and hotel capacity

constraints. “We’re

nowhere near the

previous levels of travel

but as a travel manager it

feels like more because

it’s now so complicated,”

said the company's Alice

Linley-Munro. “We’ve been rushed off our

feet and I only breathe out when travellers

return home.” The company prides itself on

supporting the mental wellbeing of its

people and recognised that concerns over

Covid-19 made this even more vital.

THE PROCESS

Within weeks of the coronavirus emerging,

the company began putting together a

document, called the 'Human Factor',

designed to allay as many fears

as possible for its travellers. It

covers off everything,”

explains Linley-Munro.

“It’s a 12-page document

which runs through all the

different scenarios, such as

‘what if I have to

quarantine?’, ‘what if I catch

Covid while I’m away?’ or

‘what if one of my family

members catches it?’. It’s a

comprehensive checklist, down to tiniest of

details. We wanted to cover off anything our

people could potentially worry about.”

Crucially, the company also distributed a

leaflet for the families of travelling

employees. “We made sure the leaflet was

written in layman’s terms, with no jargon,

explaining how we were going to keep our

people safe at every step of the journey,”

says Linley-Munro. Travelling employees

have also posted blogs about their journeys

on the group’s intranet, sharing their

personal experiences and tips, often in a

light-hearted way. These posts have led to

online conversations, creating a sense of

community and alleviating concerns. “We

have our documents and checklists but this

is people living the documents, which really

helps. It’s nice to see it taking shape.”

THE RESULT

“There hasn’t been a lot of

nervousness among our

travellers, or their loved

ones, because we’ve been

so thorough in our

procedures, constantly

checking everything and

adjusting measures along the way,” says

Linley-Munro. For example, employees who

have had to isolate – either at home or in

hotels - are now sent hampers with their

favourite snacks and magazines, along with

all the necessary IT equipment. “We’ve

arranged the delivery of toasters, an

afternoon tea, car magazines.” HR teams

send fortnightly wellbeing questionnaires

asking employees to score 1/10 on how

they’re feeling. “It helps us to spot patterns,”

says Linley-Munro. “We’ve learnt things

from the first wave of travellers and we’ve

updated the procedures in place.”

8 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


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SMEs

First

off the blocks

SMEs are way out in front when it comes to getting

back to business travel, but there are still many

hurdles to overcome, says Gill Upton

It’s no surprise that the more nimble

SMEs, with their flat hierarchies and

quick decision-making skills, are

leading the charge back to business travel.

Return-to-travel policies have been created,

pre-trip approvals tightened up and thirdparty

providers engaged to share the latest

on quarantine rules, certificates, vaccination

centres, new testing requirements, safety

protocols and the like.

James Mcilvenna, Corporate Traveller Head

of Account Management, neatly sums up the

sentiment: “SMEs are done with the

pandemic. They're all hyper-focussed on

growth and getting back to normality.”

The situation is particularly acute for those

companies who acquired other firms during

lockdown and haven’t been able to meet any

of their new employees or colleagues.

In contrast, the larger PLCs are slowed by

their structure, believes Douglas O’Neill,

Managing Director of Inntel. “Our larger

corporates (generally plc level) have very

strict internal governance that is restricting

travel and meeting enquiries being placed.

Overcoming this internal governance or the

changing of it does not happen very quickly.”

Maggie Monteith, Client Services Director –

Corporate at VENTUR, believes the large

PLCs have another reason to be slower off

the mark. “Some larger, blue-chip companies

may hold out a little longer as they’ll have the

financial luxury to do so,” she says.

Wyndham Hotels, however, has witnessed

a mix of demand for hotel stays from both

SMEs and large corporates, “which is a good

sign of economic recovery momentum,” says

Julie White, VP Commercial, EMEA.

Leading the way by sector are the IT,

creative industries, media, entertainment,

sport, training, HR and consultancy

companies, while critical oil, gas and energy

workers had no need to dust off their

suitcases as they continued to operate

throughout the pandemic.

The early push was domestic travel and the

end of quarantine for fully-vaccinated

journeys between amber-list countries

announced in early July gave a fillip to

international travel. The EU vaccine passport

kickstarted frantic intra-European travel and

the UK has now reached agreements so

foreign vaccination records can be

recognised. At the time of going to press,

talks continued on a US-UK 'travel corridor'.

A corporate travel ban is still in place at

Inchcape Shipping services, a global maritime

services company with offices in 68

countries. Simon Potter, Group Procurement

& QHSSE Officer, says the ban won’t be lifted

until the passport vaccination scheme takes

off. “Clear guidance from government would

make my life easier and an international

vaccination scheme recognised by all the

major nations,” he says.

It is the vagaries of different countries’

restrictions he finds the most challenging.

His costs have also increased, not only for

PCR testing but from higher hotel rates

and the need for more hotel stays.



10 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


SMEs

istock.com/ Nastasic

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

11


SMEs

All companies are keen to fill their

business pipeline, while British companies

must find new markets for their goods in a

post-Brexit world. They have overcome huge

challenges to get back on the road,

exemplified by SME corporate Samantha

Matthews, Admin Manager/Engineer

Supervisor at LBBC Technologies.

“To start with it was understanding the

travel rules, reference isolation periods, what

and how many PCR tests are required, what

supporting paperwork is required to get our

engineers safely through the borders and

what PPE equipment is required," she says.

“We also have to make sure our customers

have their Covid measures in place in

preparation for a visit and sometimes we

have to educate them if they’re unsure.

Essential workers letters are required from

every customer for overseas work, so there

is a lot of prep work involved. “

To add to the strain, government websites

are sometimes not very clear and offer

conflicting information, she says, causing a

lot of confusion for both LBBC and its TMC,

Good Travel Management.

Helping hand

Corporates are relying heavily on their TMCs

to ensure clients are prepared and their

travellers kept safe. Sourcing and

understanding the current guidelines is a

minefield because of the uncertainty. “As

long as there is confusion and disparity

between governments globally we’ll be

needed,” says Corporate Traveller's Mcilvenna.

Much of the groundwork was undertaken

during lockdown. TMCs helped travel

managers update travel policies, with

stronger pre-trip approvals, shared links to

official sites and communicated a clear

process flow from approval to journey end.

“Robust travel policies are a must,” adds

SMEs are done

with the pandemic.

They're all hyper-focussed on

growth and getting back to

normality”

Emma Louise Forrestall, Head of Service

Delivery at VENTUR. “We are considering

things such as accommodation requirements

in a Covid world, the process for booking

travel to amber or red-listed countries, and

ensuring bookers leave flexibility in their

plans should things needs to change.

“We can provide quotes and route

suggestions, which then change in less than

24 hours, so we need to be on top of the

current recommendations around entry

requirements and tests, always.”

Starting bookings much earlier than usual

is key, largely to satisfy the ever-changing

testing requirements. TMCs are generally

outsourcing this service to third party

providers but corporates are footing the bill.

LBBC Technologies’s Matthews says: “We

are taking the hit. There are lots of extra

costs, in the hundreds for each engineer for

each visit. There is much more prep work for

engineers planning a trip, to make sure they

have the tests done within the required

travel windows." LBBC has a big US customer

base and has had to apply for visa entry for

each trip, not only a long process but not

always successful.

“This has had a big impact on our

scheduling and planning work. We have a

massive backlog due to all the postponed

visits. The list goes on….” says Matthews.

Travel managers, bookers and PAs are also

having to balance a return to travel with ESG

(environmental, social and governance)

agendas to reduce unnecessary travel.

Bill Gates’ gloomy prediction that 50% of

business travel will disappear permanently

hangs over the industry and many

corporates are grabbing this once-in-alifetime

moment to use their zero emissions

status as a new sustainability baseline.

Sense of purpose

All corporates are deciding what travel is

really critical. Blue Cube Travel, for example,

ran a series of client webinars earlier this

year to re-set expectations and challenge the

purpose of travel.

Corporates are also asking TMCs to cajole

reluctant travellers. “We’ve been helping to

restore traveller confidence as they’re

reticent over their safety,” says Blue Cube’s

Managing Director Bex Deadman.

“What Covid has done is allowed travellers

to spend time with their families and they’ve

bought into working from home so they

don’t want to travel as much,” she says.

Blue Cube has also been helping clients

to change the office environment, adding

12 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


A pioneer of

modern nursing

Florence Nightingale introduced effective sanitisation in military hospitals during

the Crimea War in 1854 and laid the foundations of modern nursing. Surprisingly,

the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ was a sharp statistician too. Her ability to visualise data

revealed in one study that 89% of 18,000 military deaths were from preventable

diseases not battle. This helped revolutionise military medical care but also

shaped civilian hospital nursing the world over.

DIAGRAM

OF THE

CAUSES

OF

MORTALITY

IN THE ARMY

IN THE EAST

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

JULY

BULGARIA

CRIMEA

1854-55

DISEASE

FEBRUARY

WOUNDS

MARCH

OTHER CAUSES

Businesses get judged

by how they look after

their employees

How many corporate websites declare ‘our people are our most valuable asset’?

So, when did we lose sight of treating business travellers with appropriate due care and

attention? Whether you are a global corporation or a fledgling SME business, is the

mental and physical wellbeing of your travellers truly a priority?

Global opportunities have driven expansion at an unprecedented rate, and expectations

for travellers being available 24/7 wherever they are in the world have increased

dramatically. But the cost to human capital has also escalated. And the downsides of

reduced productivity, demotivated employees, and mental burnout often undermine

business goals, risking project disruption and potentially dissatisfied customers.

Blue Cube is pioneering a shift in corporate expectations, moving away from a narrow

cost-driven focus to treating travel as an investment. And the best way to invest in future

success is to look after your people, especially when they travel on business.

We’re here to help you integrate traveller wellbeing into your travel programme as a

crucial part of a wider approach to making travel safer, productive, and more sustainable.

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

www.bluecubetravel.co.uk


SMEs

Starting bookings

much earlier is

key, largely to satisfy the

ever-changing testing

requirements”

Deliveroo services, pop-up cafes and the

like. “Some clients want to make their office a

destination,” she says.

Inchcape is moving offices in London,

triggering such a re-think, explains Potter.

“There was quite a lot of uproar when we

first sent staff home and I think we will

probably experience a reluctance to come

back but it’s the commuting before the

travelling that is the challenge,” he says.

He hopes new offices with a more openplan

workspace, no fixed offices, more Zoom

booths and a social area will entice them.

Blue Cube Travel books the flights to

manage the crew rotations and Potter and

his 30-strong team manage the journey

between the airport and vessel.

“It certainly hasn’t got easier,” he says.

But the logistical nightmare that is now

corporate travel has an unlikely silver lining.

Kevin Harrison, Managing Director of Good

Travel Management, points to a closer

engagement between TMCs and clients.

“Our Account Managers and Relationship

Managers have been able to step up further

in their consultancy offering and this is now

starting to translate into an improving trading

environment," he says.

The right balance

While the value proposition of a TMC has

been perfectly demonstrated over the last 15

months, questions remain whether they can

handle the surge in demand as travel

resumes. TMCs have empty coffers and many

staff are still on furlough, so tough decisions

have to be made on when and how many

staff to bring back to meet demand.

“The hardest time for TMCs is coming,”

reckons Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA.

“There is a lot of work going on to get the

balance right; it will be tricky,” he says. He

cites urgent training issues of TMC staff who

have been out of the business for 15 months

and others who have lost confidence. “It’s

going to be a long climb out,” he says.

But Douglas O’Neill, Managing Director of

Inntel, believes TMCs should be primed and

ready to take on business. "We have all had

enough time to think about it and to train our

teams to be ready for it! - so there can be no

excuses. Furlough etc is no excuse.”

ATPI has brought all ops staff back, despite

istock.com/kate_sept2004

not having sufficient demand, and will bring a

further 25-30 staff back in September.

“We’ve had to invest in bringing more staff

back as we can’t manage on the same

staffing levels so it’s an investment decision

for the longer term,” says Adam Knights, ATPI

Regional MD Europe & Middle East.

“We’ve budgeted for travel not to come

back to 2019 levels but bookings are taking

six to 10 times as long. It’s very, very difficult

to make a booking. We say, ‘Bear with us’.”

ITM’s CEO Scott Davies agrees: “TMCs have

performed miracles to survive on meagre

volumes and will need support and

understanding to regain their strength and

service levels.”

What is taking the time is the more labourintensive,

white glove, offline service. “People

are avoiding booking online,” says Wratten.

“Bookings are so complex that service will

certainly be high-touch to start with.”

“The average booking took 2.5 minutes

before and now it takes an hour,” says Blue

Cube’s Deadman. That is labour-intensive

and the company is busy recruiting, having

made 50% of its staff redundant.

“I’d rather the headache of a smaller TMC

who can scale up,” says Barry Fleming, Head

of Marketing at Blue Cube. “There is a pool of

incredible talent out there without jobs.”

Some TMCs are starting to charge for calls;

others are looking at costs as a short-term

pain. “To recover quickly, the temptation

would be to hike fees and I can see that

appeal but our model is not a high-volume,

sausage factory,” says Fleming. The company

offers a pay-as-you-go/transaction model and

a subscription model.

Good Travel Management's Harrison says

business models need to change. “We are

seeing that travel managers and PAs are far

more reliant on their TMC and are looking for

guidance in aspects far deeper than it had

been pre-Covid. That creates an opportunity

to look at consulting and financial models

that truly reflect what customers need and

places a value on the expertise we provide.”

14 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Map your return

to travel.

Corporate travel has changed. It's now time to get back on course and continue

the journey, while taking the opportunity to review and renew your wider goals

and targets – specifically in relation to sustainability, content and service.

Wherever your destination and whatever the future holds,

Direct ATPI has the expertise to get you there.

Delivering what really matters

atpi.com


AWARDS

IT'S PARTY TIME

Just days away, The Business Travel People Awards will celebrate their 10th

anniversary this year with a new-look ceremony, new categories and a new

judging panel. Join the industry's finest talent for a night to remember...

SINCE their inception a decade

ago, the Business Travel People

Awards have become one of the

major highlights of the business

travel social calendar.

After a year of being

virtual, they're making a

comeback this year

with a new evening

format, new judges,

brand new categories

and, of course, a new

shortlist of potential winners all

hoping to take one of the

prestigious trophies back to

their desks.

This year the

ceremony has been

timed to coincide with

The Business Travel

Conference (see page

40), and will take place at

the same venue, the Hilton

London Bankside, on the evening

of Wednesday September 15.

After all these

months apart,

the business travel

community cannot wait to

meet face-to-face again

to network and celebrate

with the winners”

If you haven't already got

your tickets, there are still

some available, but be

quick: after all these

months apart, the

business travel

community

cannot wait

to meet

face-to-face

again to

network and

celebrate with the

winners.

As always, the fizz will be

flowing but guests can

also be reassured that

the evening has been

planned with Covid

safety and comfort

firmly in mind.

Tickets will be sent

electronically prior to the event

to simplify arrivals and registration

staff will be increased to further

speed up the process.

Bowl food will be served on trays

so guests can select their choice

and have minimal contact with

waiting staff.

Hilton's stringent EventReady

and CleanStay programmes will be

in place and all hotel staff will be

wearing masks and taking regular

lateral flow tests in the lead-up to

and during the event.

Tickets cost £95 plus VAT and

include welcome drinks, bowl

food, and entry to the after party

in the Hilton London Bankside's

fabulous ballroom. We look

forward to seeing you there.

As always, the fizz

will be flowing

but guests can be also

reassured that the evening

has been planned with

Covid safety and comfort

firmly in mind”

16 THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM


AWARDS

THE FINALISTS

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

Corporate Traveller

Reed & Mackay Travel

Agiito

Click Travel

SilverDoor

ACCOUNT MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Amy Ashby, Inntel

Emma Horton, Synergy Global Housing

Ann Thomas, Agiito

Trish Williams, Clarity

OPERATIONS TEAM OF THE YEAR

Production Team, TAG

Operations Team, ATPI

Operations Team, Reed & Mackay Travel

Continuity Team, Diversity Travel

OPERATIONS MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Charlotte Winter, Synergy Global Housing

Danielle Myers, TAG

Hazel Maw, Click Travel

MEETINGS & EVENTS TEAM OF THE YEAR

TAG

Agiito

Reed & Mackay Travel

MEETINGS AND EVENTS MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Jadene Cook, Agiito

Dani Ives, Focus Travel Partnership

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

TrustedStays, UnderTheDoormat

The Working Party, Reed & Mackay Travel

Sarah Wilson, ACE Travel Management

Lynne Griffiths, Sirius Talent Solutions

CUSTOMER WELLBEING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Colleagues Unite, Clyde Travel Management

Covid Shield, Agiito

Juliette Hassell, Fastrack VIP

DUTY OF CARE INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Repatriation Service, Focus Travel Partnership

ATPI

Accor

Supplier Management Team, Agiito

BEST NEWCOMER

Amber Madden, Agiito

Kris Kolev, SITU

RISING STAR

Jennifer Cummins, Synergy Global Housing

Molly Winterton, Agiito

Dani Ives, Focus Travel Partnership

Matt Furnell, SITU

CHANGE CHAMPION LEADER

Katie Blount, Agiito

Samantha McKnight, London North Eastern Railway (LNER)

Nico Nicholas, Trees4Travel

Annette Ritson, Clarity

INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTION AWARD

Clive Wratten, Business Travel Association

James Parkhouse, Agiito

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage Travel Partnership

OPERATIONS MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Charlotte Winter, Synergy Global Housing

Danielle Myers, TAG

Hazel Maw, Click Travel

COVID-19 SUPPORT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Homes For NHS, UnderTheDoormat

Sirius Talent Solutions

Agiito

Synergy Global Housing

ALTOUR UK

With special thanks to our sponsors

THEBUSINESSTRAVELPEOPLEAWARDS.COM 17


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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

BRITS To PAy vISA WAIvER To

ENTER SChENgEN STATES

BRITISH nationals will have to pay

a visa waiver fee to enter Europe’s

Schengen Area from next year

under new rules confirmed by the

European Commission.

An online platform – the European

Travel Information and Authorisation

System (ETIAS) – will come into

operation before the end of 2022.

ETIAS authorisation will cost €7

for all applicants between the ages

of 18 and 70.

It will be a one-off fee, valid for

three years, and will allow multiple

entries into Schengen states.

Travellers will need to complete

an online application form via an

official website or app to receive

their approval.

The European Commission said it

expects a "vast majority" of cases

(expected to be over 95%) will

result in automatic approval.

If further checks are needed, the

authorisation may take up to 30

days.

The EC said the scheme would

facilitate border checks, avoid

bureaucracy and delays and

substantially reduce the number

of refusals of entry at border

crossing points.

IAtA IntEGRAtES nHS CovId APP

Into dIGItAl tRAvEl PASS

THe NHS COVID Pass and EU Digital COVID Certificate

can now be uploaded into the IATA Travel Pass as

verified proof of vaccination for travel.

Nick Careen, IATA Senior VP for Operations Safety and

Security, said it was “an important step forward,

providing convenience for travellers, authenticity for

governments and efficiency for airlines" and urged the

WHO to revisit its work to develop a global standard.

Eurostar adds trains

after rise in demand

eURoSTAR is adding more rail services between the UK and

the continent in response to growing demand following the

relaxation of travel restrictions.

It will expand schedules from September 6 after the

removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from

France to the UK and the easing of restrictions for travel to

Belgium and the Netherlands.

A new timetable, running until November 1, will see eight

daily return services, with five in each direction on the

London to Paris route and three in each direction between

London and Brussels, with one each way extended to

Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

All tickets are flexible with no exchange fee up to seven

days before departure. Fares start from £39 each way.

98%

expect travel to return

before the end of 2021

The majority (98%) of

American Express GBT

clients expect travel to

return before the end of

2021, according to the

TMC's latest report on

business travel trends

and insights, based

on client research,

traveller surveys,

and data analysis

[ NEWS BITES ]

>> ADVANTAGE Global Business Travel and WIN Global Travel

Network have signed two TMC partners in Australia – Bay Travel

Group in New South Wales and FBI Travel in Victoria >> HYATT

has opened its second property in Ekaterinburg and its first Hyatt

Place property in Russia, developed by LLC Hotel Development

Company >> AIR CANADA is increasing its non-stop flights

between Heathrow and its Montréal hub from three times weekly

to four times weekly from September 8 >> GBTA has moved its

2021 European conference from Weisbaden on October 13-15 to

Berlin on December 6-8 after a survey of members and potential

delegates >> TRANSPENNINE Express has added two extra train

services on its Glasgow-Manchester route


ThE NEWS REvIEW

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

RISK SPECIALIST To oPEN

LoNDoN CoMMAND CENTRE

WoRlD TRAVel PRoTeCTIoN has

expanded into the UK with a core

London-based team and has

announced plans to open a

purpose-built Command Centre in

the city in the coming year.

The company, part of Zurich

Insurance Group, already operates

two Command Centres in Brisbane

and Toronto, providing 24-hour

emergency assistance to travellers.

CEO Adrian Leach said: “Until

recently World Travel Protection

didn’t have a team in place within

the UK but with a growing team

based in our new office in London

we’re working hard to raise

awareness that our travel risk

management services are now

available for UK organisations.

"Discussions are already starting

on how travel has changed since

Covid and our services will be even

more essential as travel resumes

for organisations in the UK.”

Zurich’s Global Head of Accident

and Health, Drazen Jaksic, added:

"The growing complexity of

business travel risks has brought

into sharp focus the value of

assistance services helping

travellers on the ground."

IAtA SuRvEY SHowS PASSEnGERS

fEEl SAfE on boARd

THe MAJoRITY of travellers who have flown since June

2020 felt safe onboard (86%), while 89% believe

Covid-19 protective measures were well implemented.

According to an IATA survey of 4,700 global travellers,

air passengers also strongly support mask wearing

onboard flights (83% ) and strict enforcement of mask

rules (86%), but the majority also believe mask

requirements should be ended as soon as possible.

Emirates scales up

UK operations

eMIRATeS is expanding services to and from five UK

gateways after a relaxation of travel restrictions prompted a

spike in demand.

Since August Emirates has been serving London Heathrow

with three daily flights, all operated by its flagship A380, and

by the middle of October it will have restored its Heathrow

operations to six daily flights, four served by the A380.

It will also fly double-daily A380 flights from Manchester, 10

services a week from Birmingham, daily flights from Glasgow

and twice a week from Newcastle.

Across its entire network, Emirates will be restoring

capacity across 29 cities and fine-tuning its schedules to

boost frequencies and capacity this autumn.

32%

increase in average

EMEA air fares

Average flight ticket

prices for the EMEA

region in April

to June 2021 jumped

32% compared to

January to March 2021,

according to the latest

quarterly report from

travel management

company FCM, based

on data from its

corporate bookings

[ NEWS BITES ]

>> CORPORATE TRAVEL MANAGEMENT (CTM) has been selected

as Supporter Travel Provider for Arsenal FC for the 2021/2022

season >> ACCOR has teamed up with venuedirectory.com to

make it easier for meeting and event planners to make bookings at

its properties >> GRAY DAWES EVENTS, the MICE division of the

Gray Dawes Group, has signed an agreement with venuedirectory.

com for its end-to-end venue finding software, GRATIS >> RADIUS

TRAVEL has announced that Clyde Travel Management, a

specialist in corporate, maritime, offshore and renewables travel,

has joined the its partner network >> ENTERPRISE has opened a

new £1.8m flagship vehicle rental site and technology hub in

Sheepscar, Leeds, replacing a smaller branch on North Street


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

September is a time of new

beginnings and this year a

new start is needed more

than ever. As children start

a new school year, workers

head to the office and MPs

return to Westminster, we

in the business travel

industry need urgent action.

Many will have enjoyed a

staycation and applauded

themselves for helping the

UK’s economy. This is to be

celebrated, but two vital

sectors – business and

leisure travel – are being

prevented from making

valuable contributions to

this economy.

For MPs keen to do their

homework, business travel

contributes £220billion to

UK GDP every year and we

employ tens of thousands

of people across the supply

chain. Business travel is

essential to the aviation

sector and enables lower

fares for holiday makers.

This term, we are setting

three tests that MPs must

pass to keep this vital sector

alive. Firstly, end the arrivals

testing debacle.

The expense and Wild

West nature of the process

is a huge barrier for the

corporate traveller.

Instead, work with the

BTA COMMENT BTA UPDATE

It's time to go

back to school

Clive Wratten

Chief Executive Officer

business travel community

to do a proper trial of daily

lateral flow tests on arriving

travellers. If it’s good

enough for Michael Gove,

we’re willing to give it a go.

Secondly, abolish the

traffic light system. Bring

forward the final review and

rid travellers of the

confusion around green

and amber countries.

With the UK’s effective

vaccine roll-out, we should

be making it easier for

people to go about their

daily lives. This involves

travelling for work. Travel

remains the only sector

being governed by Covid

regulations. We need to be

opened up once more.

Finally, extend furlough

for our sector.

While the current

conditions remain, we can’t

fling open our doors and

operate effectively in a

pre-pandemic fashion.

We want to trade, to

travel, to facilitate global

Britain. We urge the hand

that is taking so much away

from us to give back the

furlough scheme in a

targeted way.

At the BTA, our door is

open for MPs who need a

cramming session.

TapTrip ventures

into new waters

FolloWINg a further £1.7 million investment, TapTrip has

unveiled Vessul, an online service to more efficiently manage

the movement of essential marine and energy workers.

Using similar technology to its online booking tool, TapTrip

says Vessul is set to “revolutionise the industry”, where 98%

of travel bookings are still made offline.

Vessul is a dedicated marine and energy solution, providing

travel bookers with easy-to-use, hands-on, real-time travel

management technology blended with human support.

A key feature of the technology is a multi-city departures

function, a smart tool which gives companies the ability to

book up to 50 flights for multiple travellers, in a single

booking, to arrive at the same destination at the same time,

no matter which location they have departed from.

NEW ChAPTER FoR AER LINgUS

AFTER SToBART FAILURE

AeR lINgUS has signed a 10-year

franchise agreement with Emerald

Airlines to operate its regional

flights, starting from January 2023.

Emerald will replace former

franchise partner, Stobart Air,

which ceased trading in June.

Aer Lingus said until the

agreement comes into play, it will

continue to “work closely with

Emerald Airlines to evaluate

options with respect to an earlier

contract start date".

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus

Chief Executive, said the franchise

agreement "marks a new chapter"

and “significantly boosts" the

airline’s intent to develop Dublin

Airport as a hub between Europe

and the US.

She said it will also facilitate

convenient connections between

Ireland and regional airports in the

UK, the Isle of Man and Jersey, with

options for network expansion to

other airports in the future.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

21


THE NEWS REVIEW

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

IN BRIEF

Cairo change

British Airways will start

operating a second daily

flight from London

Heathrow Terminal 5 to

Cairo from October 31. The

service will operate on

BA’s short-haul Airbus

fleet. Services will run

year-round with a slight

change in schedules from

March 27 2022.

Flexi time

Accor has launched a

Commute and Stay aimed

at flexi workers. It gives

workers a central base in a

city hotel, with discounts

up to 15%, enabling two

days in the office and a

venue for evening

entertainment before

commuting back home.

Train link

TapTrip has teamed up

with Trainline Partner

Solutions (TPS), Trainline’s

B2B arm, to further

streamline its service

and give users greater

rail coverage.

Capital returns

Air Astana resumes direct

flights from Kazakstan’s

capital Nur-Sultan to

London Heathrow on

September 18, starting

with two frequencies on

Saturdays and

Wednesdays. Economy

Class return fares

start from £511.

EasyJet seat

Former Royal Bank of

Scotland boss Stephen

Hester has been named as

the new Chairman of

easyJet. He initially joins as

Non-Executive Director

and will succeed John

Barton as Chairman in

December.

IAn SCHRAGER's Public hotel has

become the first in new York city to

require guests and visitors to

show proof of covid-19 vaccination

on arrival. The new policy came

into force on September 5

TRIPBAM begins

trials of air solution

TRIPBAM, the hotel reshopping specialist, has begun the

Beta testing phase for its air solution, working in partnership

with selected global TMCs and corporate clients.

CEO Steve Reynolds said if the trials are successful the

product will be officially released in mid-October.

With NDC content available from the start, the solution will

give users ‘lowest qualified fares’ to accurately measure the

value of air travel contracts. Clients will also be able to audit

contracts to make sure they are being applied accurately.

This data, along with some historical data, will be fed into a

benchmarking solution called Air Intelligence.

Reynolds said the next step would be to move into the car

rental space, with discussions set to start in early 2022.

QANTAS: ALL

STAFF MUST

BE JABBED

QANTAS is to make it compulsary

for all frontline employees – including

cabin crew, pilots and

airport workers – to be fully

vaccinated by November 15 2021

and the remainder of employees

by March 31 2022.

The decision follows a major

consultation with Qantas and

Jetstar employees, including a

survey sent to 22,000 people to

seek their views on vaccination.

The results showed that of those

who responded 89% had already

been vaccinated or are planning to

be and only 4% were unwilling or

unable to get the jab.

In a separate survey of more

than 1,000 Qantas customers, 92%

cent said they expect Qantas crew

to be fully vaccinated.

United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines

and Cathay Pacific are also

mandating Covid vaccinations for

their employees. There will be

exemptions for those who have

documented medical reasons for

not having the vaccine.

SIA revamps

highflyer

programme

Singapore Airlines has

combined its SIA Corporate Travel

Programme, aimed at large

corporates, with its SME-focussed

programme, HighFlyer. From

September 1 they will both come

under the HighFlyer brand.

Current SIA Corporate Travel

Programme accounts will have

their contracts renewed under the

new HighFlyer programme.

The airline said all benefits will

be retained and new features will

also be introduced, including the

option to "earn and burn" options

with non-air partners such as

hotels and car rental services.

22 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


THE NEWS REVIEW

thebusinesstravelmag.com

IN BRIEF

Delta on track

Delta has launched an

Air+Rail programme in

partnership with Thalys

high-speed trains to

provide speedy rail

connections between

Brussels and Antwerp.

Passengers can seamlessly

transfer between plane

and train at Amsterdam

Airport Schiphol with

one ticket booking.

Kayak launch

Travel search engine

KAYAK has officially

launched its free

corporate travel solution,

KAYAK for Business, and

is promising to bring

“the leisure travel

experience to the outdated

interface of the corporate

travel world”.

TAG app

TAG has developed a

new integrated travel

app, TAGgo, to help

travellers and travel

managers prepare for the

return to business travel.

Part of the TAG Digital

suite, TAGgo provides real

time updates and traveller

essentials like gate

changes and baggage

collection.

Brand loyalty

Ascott has launched a

single global online

booking platform,

discoverasr.com, for its

Ascott Star Rewards (ASR)

loyalty members, covering

all of its brands.

Covid alerts

Shep has enlisted Riskline

to provide API-driven,

in-depth local, city and

state-level Covid-19 travel

information for its alerts

and notifications.

SME travellers keen

to get back on the road

the vast majority (95%) of travellers working for SMEs are

willing to travel again for business within the next year and

63% are actively willing to do so, according to new research.

The study, commissioned by SAP Concur, found travellers

from small businesses see their companies facing severe

consequences if they don’t increase travel soon.

Among their concerns, SME travellers fear there will be

fewer deals signed (35%) and a difficulty to build new

relationships (33%).

According to SAP Concur, travellers at SMEs are more likely

than those at larger companies to have professional

concerns about not travelling (79% compared with 72%).

See feature on SMEs on page 10.

British airways reopens flagship

lounge at New York JFK

British Airways has reopened its flagship US lounge

at JFK’s Terminal 7 after a 16-month closure due to the

Covid-19 pandemic. It came after a change in entry

requirements for US customers flying to the UK.

The lounge is available for those travelling in First,

Club World and eligible card holders.

BA also recently reopened three domestic lounges

in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

ITM

Scott Davies

Chief Executive

Travel managers have, for

many years, been adaptable

chameleons, embracing new

skillsets and frames of

reference. During the

pandemic, their priorities

have morphed from

emergency response to

crystal ball-style forecasting,

to budget cancelling, to

border immigration/

quarantine gurus – all while

reviewing and improving

existing suppliers and

programme management.

Many travel buyers have

earned enhanced respect

within their businesses by

demonstrating their value in

new forums as their

companies revise their

strategic understanding of the

way travel oils the wheels of

their operation.

Of course, some travel

buyers have felt the same

pressure on headcount that

has bitten so hard on

suppliers and providers.

The irony here is that travel

is likely to be a little more

complex than before as it

picks up again, so the very

experts that have reduced in

number may be disproportionately

needed and central

to a recovery.

Next time you meet with a

travel manager, ask what they

are focussed on in the short

term. I guarantee you will gain

a new level of respect.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

23


THE REVIEW

O N T H E M O V E

EVENTS

SEPTEMBER 14-15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL CONFERENCE

London Hilton Bankside

thebusinesstravelconference.com

SEPTEMBER 15

THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS

London Hilton Bankside

(evening event)

thebusinesstravelpeopleawards.com

SEPTEMBER 19-21

ROB JONES CAROL PETERS MIKE WEBB

JOINS: HotelHub

AS: Business Development Manager

FROM: Gray Dawes Group

Formerly Global Corporate

Sales Manager at Gray Dawes

Group, Rob Jones has joined

HotelHub to help grow its TMC

customer base in the UK and

across Europe.

JOINS: Festive Road

AS: Consultant

FROM: American Express

Carol Peters joins the team at

global consultancy firm Festive

Road. She was previously at

American Express, where she

worked as Travel and Expense

Consulting Manager.

PROMOTED AT: Healix International

TO: Chairman

FROM: CEO

After four years as CEO, Mike

Webb has been promoted to

the role of Chairman for Healix

International. Charlie Butcher,

formerly Commercial Director,

takes over as CEO.

THE BTA CONFERENCE

Liverpool

thebta.org.uk

SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 1

BUSINESS TRAVEL SHOW

ExCel London

btn.businesstravelshow.com

NIKKI STIMSON PETER GIANUSSO LAURA RURODE

OCTOBER 5

JOINS: TripActions

AS: Senior Director of Communications

REMAINS WITH: GBTA

JOINS: Flight Centre Travel Group

AS: Global Chief Technology Officer

FROM: Prudential Financial

JOINS: CAP Worldwide

AS: Director Key Accounts North America

FROM: The Apartment Service

TBTM DINNER CLUB

Corinthia London

thebusinesstravelmag.com

NOVEMBER 17-19

GBTA CONVENTION 2021

Orlando

convention.gbta.org

DECEMBER 6-8

GBTA CONFERENCE EUROPE

Berlin

europeconference.gbta.org

APRIL 26-27 2022

TripActions has appointed

Nikki Stimson as Senior

Director of Communications.

Stimson, who runs her own

marketing and PR consultancy,

continues to work with GBTA.

Flight Centre Travel Group has

appointed industry outsider

Peter Gianusso to the role of

Global Chief Technology

Officer, Core Systems, for its

Corporate Division.

CAP Worldwide Serviced

Apartments has welcomed

Laura Rurode to its global

senior leadership team to

manage CAP service delivery

in North America.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... HotelHub has appointed Andrew Harreiter, previously Marketing Manager for

ACC Aviation, as Head of Marketing >> Mark Cuschieri, Executive Director Global Head of Travel UBS,

has been elected Vice President of the GBTA and will serve a two-year term, while Jens Liltorp,

Manager Global Travel and Meetings LEO Pharma, also joins the GBTA's Board of Directors in the role

of Direct Seat, Regional European, for a three-year term >> Sarah Hanan joins Dohop as Commercial

Director from Omio >> CWT has appointed Cheng Meng, Hwang as Head of Global Market Management

and Development to its dedicated APAC Leadership team >> Air Transat has promoted UK and

Ireland Commercial Director Adrian Keating to a role which also covers Europe and the Americas


GALLERY

The Business Travel Magazine

Dinner Club

The first Dinner Club since the start

of the pandemic was the chance for

travel buyers, TMCs and suppliers to

experience, once again, the joy of

meeting face-to-face. The event, held

at The Corinthia Hotel London, was

sponsored by South Western Railway

and Sixt Rent-A-Car. Pre-dinner

drinks, with Covid safety measures in

place, were followed by a threecourse

dinner and a fascinating talk

and discussion on the travel restart.

An industry overview was shared

by American Express GBT CCO

Drew Crawley

Dinner Club ▼

The Corinthia Hotel

London

▲ 12.07.2021

The after dinner talk was

followed by a lively Q&A

Guests enjoyed

networking and a

three-course dinner

In association with

Travega

Travel Marketing Solutions Worldwide

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

25


Airport Update

Fast

track

Additional checks will be required as air travel

resumes but new technology is helping to

counteract any disruption. Gary Noakes reports

26 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


Airport Update

Business travellers who breezed

through empty airports during the

pandemic must be dreading the

return of normality and the crowds that

will follow. The good news, however, is

that technology is making getting moving

again more seamless and less stressful.

Negotiating immigration control on return

to the UK has been a challenge during the

Covid crisis but the UK Government is due to

finish upgrading e-Gates by the autumn,

when corporate travel is expected to restart

in a meaningful way.

According to a Government spokesperson,

upgraded digital gates will then recognise

Passenger Locator Forms and pre-departure

test certificates. London City airport had

upgraded all its e-Gates by July but bigger

airports were still completing changes.

While Border Force deals with incoming

passengers, airlines must process those

departing and develop systems to do so.

“Carriers will play a critical role, checking

passengers’ documents before boarding and

ensuring people have the right Covid-19

certification,” said the Government

spokesperson.

The whole departure and arrival process

will take longer but there are ways travellers

can make some up some of this lost time.

For British Airways passengers, the luxury

of checking in their bags at the airline's

London Paddington station desks

disappeared after 9/11 but Covid has

prompted BA to revive this concept for

Heathrow Express customers, who can drop

their luggage on train platforms and get it

taken straight to Terminal 5.

The new fast bag-drop is free to passengers

who have checked in at home but is initially

only available between 05.00 and 10.00. BA

said it would continue to look at options for

bag-drop areas “at other key locations”.

The stop-gap measure is in response to the

extra time needed to check Covid

credentials. BA’s partner on this, Airportr, is

testing whether London Underground

locations could also be used to alleviate

queuing at terminals.

Airportr screens travel documents and tags

bags, storing them in secure cages before

shipping them airside. It also offers BA

passengers baggage collection and check-in

from home or the office up to 24 hours

before the flight (from £19), in an area

spanning Guildford, Oxford, Watford and

Greater London – something Airportr feels

will be in demand once airports fill again.

Its founder Randel Darby believes Covid

prompted the beginning of the end of legacy

airport processes. “If you look at trends

coming from the pandemic, it’s e-commerce,

home delivery and logistics. They appeal to

Airlines are way

behind theme parks,

attractions and retail in

offering virtual queuing, but

it's coming"

consumers not previously engaged with

delivery solutions,” he said.

Ground handlers, airports and airlines are

examining long-term developments, shocked

into action by the pandemic. The need to

fast-forward integration of health credentials

with bookings was one example, Darby said.

“The pace with which this is happening is

really surprising. People would have laughed

five years ago. In the near future the journey

can be entirely contactless.”

The pandemic’s legacy means more

passengers will arrive at airports readier to

fly, having undertaken extra procedures at

home that digital systems enable. “It all lends

itself to the trend of doing it before you

travel. You will be able to confirm your digital

ID from home, check in, send bags, book a

shared ride and proceed through a

designated security channel,” said Darby.

For Airportr the next stage, from late

September, is a luggage delivery service for

inbound passengers using a digital customs

declaration that will permit passengers to

“entirely bypass” baggage reclaim.

Contactless travel is the new trend and

while many airports already match boarding

passes to travellers’ photographs taken at

security, facial recognition technology is a

step further, removing the need for handlers

to check that faces match photos.

ANA introduced Face Express in July at

Tokyo’s Narita airport for passengers using

automatic bag check-in.

Travellers are photographed by the kiosk,

allowing them to pass through Security and

board without presenting their ticket.

Following trials on Narita-Mexico City, ANA

plans to offer the facility at Haneda airport

and on other international services.

If Covid has prompted some radical

innovations, others are more mundane.

Airlines are way behind theme parks,

attractions, and retail in offering virtual

queuing, but it's coming. This summer BA

completed trials of an intelligent queuing

technology from Qmatic, which allows

passengers to pre-book a timed check-in slot

before they travel to the airport. The system

is already used by the Post Office and during

the trial BA passengers who had not booked

a slot either proceeded as normal or joined

the virtual queue by scanning a QR code.

All these things will chip away at the extra

time needed to pass through airports postpandemic.

It is not all good news, however.

From October, Heathrow will impose a £5

drop-off fee at terminal forecourts for all

vehicles, including taxis and private hires,

meaning the only free option will be in

Heathrow’s long stay car parks, which entail

a bus transfer to the terminal. Picking up at

terminal forecourts is already forbidden.

The airport said the fee will help alleviate

the £5 million a day lost during the

pandemic, but as travel resumes it might

well be this new development that frequent

travellers remember, not all that new

technology speeding their progress.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

27


The 2021

TECH HOTLIST

Here are the innovators

and innovations

shaking up the industry…

TAPTRIP

The young and enthusiastic TapTrip

team has brought a breath of fresh

air to the sector with eye-catching

marketing campaigns and bold

ambitions to make managing travel

“as easy as watching Netflix".

Its technology

– designed for

mobile first, not as a mobile add-on

– is achieving impressive results: 95%

compliance, 98% repeat business, up

to 30% savings on monthly travel

spend and 90% faster bookings. In a

change of direction, TapTrip is about

to launch Vessul, a tech solution

designed to tackle the logistical

challenge of crew rotation for

marine, oil and renewables. If

anyone is going to make waves in

this niche corner of the sector

(deliberate pun) it’s these guys.

THRUST CARBON

Driven by the belief that going green

must be effortless, Thrust Carbon is

creating the future of emissions

reporting, reductions and removal

with products which are easy to use,

visually persuasive and designed to

work with existing solutions. It’s

working in partnership with TMCs

and directly with Fortune 500 clients,

who can view their travel emissions

and see where

they need to

change their

behaviour

thanks to engaging dashboards,

innovative carbon budgeting and

point-of-booking nudges. It’s already

making a difference and the next

step is to integrate its full product

suite inside the OBT environment.

28 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


ALTOVITA CORPORATE

HOUSING SOLUTION

TRAVEL VITALS AND WORKSPACES,

BY AMERICAN EXPRESS GBT

AltoVita’s founders – road warriors

Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina

Saviova – had a bold vision: to

simplify the “fragmented and

inefficient” corporate housing

booking process. In January 2018

they launched an innovative

cloud-based accommodation

platform, delivering duty of care

compliant housing solutions

across 165 countries and more

than 800 cities through a two-way

API integration. Their technology is

designed to reduce the legacy

sourcing timeline from 48-72

hours to a few minutes, saving

clients 80% in accommodation

The tech teams at American Express

GBT have been beavering away since

the start of the pandemic updating

existing technology and bringing

brand-new products to market.

Quick off the mark was Travel

Vitals, deserving particular

credit because it was

immediately made available

not just to the TMC’s own

clients but to the wider

industry. It’s a one-stop shop for

up-to-date Covid information,

providing data aggregated from

hundreds of sources, including GBT’s

travel risk intelligence partner

Riskline. All the information can be

searched by destination, airline,

airport, hotel chain, train operator or

ground transport provider.

What began as an agile response to

an acute situation has evolved into

being part of the TMC's longer-term

strategy to help the industry navigate

the safe return to travel and, at the

last count, there had been

more than 2.35 million

searches in the Travel Vitals

portal. Meanwhile, in

recognition of the new ways

of working, GBT has

developed Workspaces, a booking

service which helps remote workers

and teams make flexible, daytime

bookings of co-working spaces, hotel

rooms, meeting venues and small

hotel meeting rooms for work and

collaboration. Launched in the US in

March 2021, it is now being rolled

out to clients across Europe.

charges. This year Alto Vita added

new functionalities, helping clients

contrast and compare average and

seasonal market prices and search

more easily for specific needs,

such as accommodation that’s

pet-friendly, comes with good

entertainment facilities, or is

geared up for remote working.

Based on the company’s most

recent figures – 976% revenue

growth year-on-year – they’re

clearly doing something right

and have earned their place in

our 2021 Tech Hotlist.

BLACKLANE CHAUFFEUR

Ride hailing is nothing new, of course,

but Blacklane took it to a whole new

level earlier this year when it

introduced chauffeur hailing in 21

key cities, including London, New

York, Paris and Berlin. Crucially for

corporate travellers, Blacklane

chauffeur hailing promises the same

quality, health and safety standards

and fixed competitive fares as its

pre-booked trips. Better still, in

London if you hail a chauffeur drive it

will always be in an all-electric Jaguar

I-PACE or Tesla thanks to the

company’s investment in Havn,

London’s all-electric chauffeur

service. In other cities, Blacklane

offsets journeys, helping you reach

your sustainability targets.

29

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

29


The 2021

TECH HOTLIST

GRAPEVINE

With TMC revenues drastically

down in the travel downturn,

Grapevine is coming into its

own. It’s a selling platform,

driven by an AI engine called Marvin

(get it?), to help TMCs grow their

ancillary sales beyond air tickets,

using techniques widely used by the

retail industry to capture revenue

from hotels, car hire, parking and

ground transportation. Eventually it

will also capture in-destination spend

such as restaurants and attractions.

Its a no-brainer for TMCs – Advantage

Travel Partnership and WIN Global

Travel Network have adopted it –

while for corporates it provides a

single source for ancillary bookings,

which is crucial with duty of care

higher than ever on the agenda.

JYRNEY

TRIPBAM’S AIR TRAVEL SOLUTION

It’s still relatively early days for this

Manchester-based start-up, due to

officially launch this autumn, but

backed by a highly-experienced

team and already signing some key

deals in the corporate travel space,

we felt it was worthy of a place in

our hotlist. In a particularly

fragmented market, Jyrney brings

Mobility as a Service to business

travel, offering ground transport

within a traveller's online booking

tool or directly into its portal, with

visibility of total journey cost, CO2

emissions and meeting duty of

care. The only thing we’re not so

keen on – because it confuses our

sub-editors – is its spelling!

We’re jumping the gun a bit with this

one, but having witnessed how

TRIPBAM’s global rate auditing,

benchmarking, analytics and

sourcing has shaken up the hotel

sector, we’re confident that its foray

into air travel later this year will be

HOTELHUB

Inefficient processes, low visibility of

volumes and leakages are just some

of the pain points HotelHub promises

to help eradicate with its next

generation tech, which consolidates

GDS and non-GDS content into

intuitive web-based platforms – one

for TMCs and another self-booking

tool. In addition, its Rate Optimiser

dynamically tracks hotel rates,

continuously searching for lower

rates and rebooking if a better rate is

just as impactful. If all goes to plan,

travel buyers will be able to enjoy big

savings by rebooking flights, auditing

air contracts, grading suppliers for

how well they uphold agreements,

and benchmark against peer

companies down to a single route.

found. Already a long-term partner

of CWT, it was recently selected by

Flight Centre after a rigorous RFP.

30 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


Launching October ‘21

Crew rotation

logistics tech

Sign up for updates at:

Vessul.com

A TapTrip company


The 2021

tech hotlist

Locomote

Traxo

Detecting and eliminating travel

programme leakage is more vital

than ever as we emerge from the

Covid crisis and, in this area, Traxo

continues to lead the pack. Its tech

solution automatically captures

comprehensive information on TMC

and non-TMC bookings to help travel

managers drive compliance, identify

TRIPACTIONS

When Covid-19 struck, TripActions

jumped into action and developed a

Return to Travel Feature Suite

to help clients upload,

manage and share health

documents and track entry

requirements, with instant

chat support and a travel

impact dashboard. But the main

reason it's in our hotlist are its new

See businesstravelmag.com for video

entries from the 14 innovators who

made it on to our 2021 Tech Hotlist

savings and maximise duty of care.

As its CEO Andres Fabris says:

“Expectations for traveller safety and

support are higher than ever. If

itinerary blindspots prevent

companies from knowing where

travellers are, or plan to be, they’re

putting themselves and their

travellers at unnecessary risk.”

sustainability tools, added this year.

Users can set carbon budgets based

on historical spend and

industry benchmarking data

and get real-time data for all

inventory via an easy-to-use

analytics dashboard, and

with access to three

globally-recognised methodologies

to measure and track progress.

This Melbourne-based tech-led

TMC made the business travel

headlines back in 2016 when it was

snapped up by Travelport. But

following a change of leadership at

Travelport and the arrival of the

global pandemic, the original

founders – cousins David and Ross

Fastuca – bought back the

company in early 2020 and say it’s

time to complete some unfinished

business. They’ve got some of the

old gang back on board and have

been busy expanding beyond Asia

Pacific into the UK and US.

Definitely one to watch.

NavAgent

“A game changer for the travel

industry - we love it!” says Scott

Pawley, MD at Global Travel

Management, an early adopter of

NavAgent. In a nutshell, NavAgent

makes life much easier for travel

consultants who

use the GDS by

giving them

dynamic

customer data

without

interrupting

their normal workflow, freeing

them up to deliver a more

consistent and personalised service

to you, the client. With TMCs under

enough pressure already, it got a

well-earned spot on our hotlist.

32 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW

TO FIND OUT THE WINNERS AND

CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENT AT THE

2021 AWARDS CEREMONY ON THE

EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 15, 2021

Recognising outstanding individuals and teams across all

aspects of the supplier element of corporate travel

TheBusinessTravelPeopleAwards.com


ACCOMMODATION

step

INSIDE

Catherine Chetwynd takes a tour of some of the most

exciting developments in the UK’s accommodation sector

this year – from renovations to new openings

Lockdowns might have been

financially punishing for hoteliers

and serviced apartment operators

but on the plus side they provided an

opportunity for refurbishment without

disrupting guests.

The pandemic also failed to suppress

investment in new-builds and conversions –

many projects were already too far down

the line to stop – so as domestic business

travellers get back on the road they will

discover some new kids on the block.

Let's start our tour in London. Quick off

the mark was the Cheval Collection, with

the opening of its first four-star brand,

Cheval Maison, just off Cromwell Road.

The building was taken over from another

provider, stripped down, redecorated and a

ground floor lounge and lower-ground gym

introduced. The group’s upgraded app

brings pre-arrival check-in and instant

messaging with front office teams.

The Savoy opened its forecourt as a

1920s-inspired pop-up bar and terrace in

April, allowing it to welcome visitors before

taking overnight guests in May; and the

former The Curtain Hotel launched as

Mondrian Shoreditch London after a

comprehensive redesign, with 120 rooms

and BIBO Shoreditch brasserie and tapas

bar under Andalucian Michelin-starred chef

Dani García, complete with an adjoining

Spanish Courtyard with a retracting glass

roof. With Covid safety and comfort in

mind, many hotels have created such

outdoor spaces for their guests.

Over in Soho, the much-anticipated debut

of The Londoner – billed as 'the world’s first

super boutique hotel' is set to breathe new

life into Leicester Square. From Edwardian

Hotels London, the 16-storey hotel opens in

September and brings 350 rooms, six

concept eateries, a members club-style

private area, a wealth of meeting and event

space, a cinema and an entire floor

dedicated to wellness.

Beaverbrook Town House, a 14-room

sister hotel to the luxury country house

hotel in the Surrey Hills, has just opened in

Sloane Street in partnership with Cadogan

and The Westin London City is another

notable September opening.

Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane has

added a spa with a 20-metre pool, private

training room, gym, sauna and steam

rooms, and hydrotherapy pool to Mayfair

Park Residences – facilities that are open to

guests in either property.

Leonardo Hotels spent an aggregate £34.5

million on the Royal London City, Royal MONDRIAN SHOREDITCH

34 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ACCOMMODATION

As domestic business

travellers get back on

the road they will discover

some new kids on the block”

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

35


ACCOMMODATION

ANDREW BEASLEY

THE LONDONER PENTHOUSE

London St. Paul’s and Royal London

Tower Bridge, providing updated bedrooms

and Leo’s bar and a restaurant on all three

sites. New is a rooftop bar with public

access at the St. Paul’s property and a

renovated and rebranded Spa at Royal

London City. In addition, May saw the

launch of BREEAM-certified Leonardo Hotel

Bristol Glassfields on Temple Way, with 197

rooms, meeting room, bar and restaurant.

A massive makeover took place at The

Hoxton, Holborn, creating a brighter, larger

lobby, a coffee bar, restaurant and wine bar

Rondo, 46 additional bedrooms, and

redesigned event space described as ‘disco

chic’ (which sounds more distracting than

conducive to work!). Lower occupancies

and lockdowns allowed all the work to be

done at once, rather than in phases.

Bishopsgate Plaza, opposite Liverpool

Street Station, hosts Pan Pacific London,

which will open at the start of September

and represent the group’s entry into

Europe. An entire floor will be dedicated to

wellness with an 18.5m infinity pool and

gym, while the hotel's meeting rooms will

come with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Flying Butler took on 12 new properties

throughout London and in Reading as part

of its plan to grow inventory by 140 units

and undertook major refurbishments of

four of them. This included a £800,000 refit

of Flying Butler Reading Central, where in

response to the isolation some guests may

have experienced during lockdowns a

multifunctional communal area was created

on the ground floor with a café and zoned

spaces for working or socialising.

It was important to

offer our corporate

guests a chance to socialise

with other like-minded

customers outside their

private apartment”

“It was important to offer our corporate

guests a chance to socialise with other likeminded

customers outside their private

apartment,” says CEO Dominic Sherry.

As Flying Butler hosts many long-stay

travellers, the apartments are notably

spacious, starting at 33sq.m for a studio.

Properties on London’s doorstep have

also had a retelling. For example, Coworth

Park in Ascot has opened a three-bedroom

gatehouse cottage, North Lodge, on the

outskirts of the grounds, with a private

garden and outdoor dining area.

De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor

undertook a refurbishment of Georgian

mansion house The White House, which

forms part of the property. The upgraded

26 bedrooms include walk-in showers,

Roberts radios and smart TVs.


THE SAVOY RESIDENCE INN SLOUGH STAY CITY MANCHESTER

36 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com


ACCOMMODATION

THE HOXTON HOLBORN LOBBY

Lower occupancies

and lockdowns

allowed all the work to be

done at once, rather than

in phases"

Hilton has opened the latest Curio

Collection property, aparthotel The Fellows

House Cambridge, with 131 rooms, pool,

sauna and steam room.

Cycas’ signature double-decker properties

now include aparthotel 92-unit Residence

Inn Slough and the 152-room Moxy, with a

shared Thunderbirds-themed bar, fitness

studio and six meeting rooms. They are in

the former library, part of a multi-use

development that includes restaurants,

retail space and stylish private apartments.

Oxford is benefitting from the opening in

July of Westgate Premier Inn, with the top

floor dedicated to Premier Plus rooms

which come with improved working areas,

air conditioning, flatscreen TVs, fridges with

free water, Nespresso machines with pods,

stronger Wifi and more. The hotel hosts the

brand’s 1000th Premier Plus room and

there are plans to double the number of

these to 2,000 across the network.

Development in Manchester continues

apace, including the opening of Staycity in

the Northern Quarter, with 224 apartments,

24-hour reception, lounge, pantry, Staycafé,

exercise room and laundry.

Meanwhile, The Midland Manchester has

emerged from a £17 million overhaul of its

bedrooms. New is a split-level bar and

Say hello to

Turing Locke.

Opening October.

Whether you’re here for punting or partying, working

or researching, discover a thoroughly modern side to

magical Cambridge.

# FEELFREE

lockeliving.com | @lockehotels

Turing Locke, 47 Eddington Ave, Cambridge CB3 1SE


ACCOMMODATION

MONDRIAN SHOREDITCH

lounge in the foyer; Mount Street restaurant

now serves classic dishes all day.

Meliá property INNSide Liverpool opened

in August after a three-year redevelopment

of the former Echo and Daily Post building,

with 207 rooms, restaurant, Sky Bar with

360-degree city views, and seven meeting

rooms on a floor with a dedicated kitchen.

In Scotland, Cheval Abbey Strand

Apartments at Holyrood were renovated

ready for reopening in June, with new

access to the physic garden – with its

medicinal and culinary plants that would

have grown in the 17th-century garden – in

the grounds of the Palace of

Holyroodhouse. It is exclusive to Cheval

guests in the evening, once the palace is

closed to the public.

Meanwhile Cheval Old Town Chambers

has added an extension, with 24 new

apartments, ground-floor reception, lounge,

bar and restaurant, plus a new entrance on

the Royal Mile (rather than via an alley).

A £1.3 million renovation of The

Ballachulish Hotel, Glencoe, upgraded 53

RESIDENCE INN SLOUGH

bedrooms, restaurants and three meeting

rooms for a reopening in April, while Crerar

Hotels invested £500,000 in Glencoe Inn,

modernising 15 bedrooms, public areas and

introducing a garden Spa. Its restaurant,

The Gathering, features a new Steak &

Lobster Bistro and Red Shed Pizzas.

And last on our tour is The Isle of Mull

Hotel & Spa, which has undergone a £3.5

million makeover of its 75 bedrooms with

six Seaview and two Retreat suites. Its

public areas, restaurant, spa and pool have

been upgraded and a new sea deck

overlooks Craignure Bay. It's dog friendly

too, so perfect for all the lockdown puppies.

With Covid safety

and comfort in mind,

many hotels have been quick

to create outdoor spaces for

their guests”

People deserve to feel at home -

even when they’re not.

www.staywithreside.com


CONFERENCE

Long-awaited and much-needed, The

Business Travel Conference is back for

2021 and promises to be one of the most

memorable in its 15-year history.

The intimate event, with a maximum of 200

buyer delegates, is being held at the Hilton

London Bankside on September 14-15 with a

top line-up of speakers and a programme

packed full of content that will help you and

your travellers get back to business travel.

With a theme of ‘Reconnect, Reset, Restart’,

the event will kick off with a keynote speech

from MP Stephen Hammond, Chairman of

the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)

dedicated to business travel.

Delegates will then hear from industry

leaders, including Ian Sinderson, CEO of

ATPI, and James Parkhouse, CEO of Agiito

(formerly Capita Travel and Events), and

Dave Bishop, CCO Gray Dawes Group,

who will set the scene

before the

TBTC'21

RECONNECT,

RESET, RESTART

With just days to go until The Business Travel

Conference 2021, here's a reminder of what's in store...

conference sessions begin. Programme

highlights include a Back to the Futurethemed

immersive experience, with headline

sponsors Blue Cube Travel, where delegates

will step into Doc Brown's time machine for

an unforgettable journey back to the origins

of business travel and into its future.

Alongside lively and engaging sessions,

there'll be plenty of time for the networking

that we've all missed so much during the

pandemic and exhibitors representing all

corners of the sector are looking forward to

meeting you and updating you about their

products and services.

Peace of mind

With the safety and comfort of visitors in

mind, the conference organisers and the

Hilton London Bankside have put a number

of measures in place. Hilton is continuing to

implement EventReady, its stringent global

meetings and events programme designed

to create event experiences that are

clean, flexible, safe

and socially

responsible. This

includes room

seals for guest and

meeting rooms,

sanitising stations

in public areas and

meeting spaces and an

EventReady Room

Checklist.

Hilton Bankside staff

will continue to wear

masks throughout the

conference and will also be

taking regular voluntary lateral

flow tests. There will be numerous

hand sanitisation stations positioned

throughout the venue and attendees will be

encouraged to use them frequently.

Speedy arrivals

To minimise queuing and speed up the

arrivals process, conference registration will

be open an hour early each morning (8am)

and registration teams have been expanded.

Registration teams and all conference staff

will wear masks when interacting with

attendees and will also take daily lateral flow

tests in the run-up to and during the event.

Attendees will also be asked to take a

voluntary lateral flow test prior to attending.

The right signals

In order to meet different levels of comfort

with regards to social distancing, visitors to

the conference will be offered optional

wristbands in three colours, based on a

traffic light theme.

Wearing a green wristband will indicate to

others that you're comfortable with hugs

and physical contact, amber will show that

any greetings should be restricted to fist or

elbow pumps, while red signals that you're

comfortable to chat but prefer to avoid any

physical contact. Wristbands can be changed

during the conference.

“We hope this will help all attendees relax

and respect comfort levels and avoid any

awkward moments!” says Kirsty Hicks,

Publisher and Head of Business Travel for

event organisers BMI Publishing.

Risk factors

In collaboration with the Hilton London

Bankside, a full risk assessment has been

completed for the event.

The hotel has an NHS check-in/check-out

code displayed at the entrance to the

property and if anyone presents with Covid

symptoms at the conference there are plans

in place to protect them and others from the

risk of transmission.

Double celebration

All of the safety measures outlined here will

also apply to the conference refreshment

breaks, lunches and evening events.

On the first night, delegates will be able to

catch up with friends and colleagues over

drinks and canopés and, for the first time,

the Business Travel People Awards will be

held on the evening of the second day of the

conference. There's so much to catch up on

and we can't wait to see you there.

thebusinesstravelconference.com

40 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

DAY ONE Tuesday September 14

8AM Registration opens/breakfast networking

9.30AM WELCOME

9.45AM OPENING KEYNOTE AND Q&A Stephen

Hammond MP, Chairman of the All Party

Parliamentary Group for Business Travel

10.20AM VIEW FROM THE TOP Where are we now?

Industry experts share their insights into the

current state of the business travel sector and set

the scene for the conference.

4PM

4.30PM

5PM

SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS Now is the time to

make your travel programme truly sustainable,

but how is that achieved? Our experts offer

practical ways to make your business travel more

responsible and outline what suppliers are doing

to help you meet your targets.

DIVERSITY CHALLENGE In an open and honest

conversation, our experts will discuss what the

corporate travel sector must do to be truly

representative and how it can fully represent the

business travellers it serves.

DRINKS & CANAPE RECEPTION

11.00AM

11.40AM

12.20PM

12.50PM

2PM

Refreshments/networking

TMC TRANSFORMATION Brand, culture,

servicing, data capabilities and business models

are all under the spotlight as buyers look for their

future TMC partners. Experts will discuss the

shifting landscape to help you ensure you have

the right relationship for success.

READY FOR TAKE-OFF As domestic and

international air travel restarts - with reduced

schedules, fewer suppliers and no meaningful data

to base your negotiations on - an expert panel

shares top tips on how to get your programmes

back in the air and instill confidence in flying.

Lunch/networking

WAKE UP CALL Representatives from across the

accommodation sector provide valuable insights

on rate and booking trends and how to progress

your hotel programme post-pandemic.

DAY TWO Wednesday September 15

8AM Registration opens/breakfast networking

9AM VIEW FROM THE TOP What’s next? Industry

leaders share their insights into what the future

brings for the sector, how it should respond to

current challenges and take advantage of the

exciting opportunities going forward.

10AM Late breakfast/networking

10.45AM BACK TO THE FUTURE In a first for The

Business Travel Conference, an immersive

experience will take delegates on a journey to the

origins of business travel and back to the future of

corporate travel, featuring travel risk management

as the flux capacitor and traveller wellbeing safely

strapped into a DeLorean. Hold on tight!

11.45PM Refreshments/networking

2.30PM

TRANSPORT LINKS Experts from rail, car rental

and taxis and transfers debate the impact of

technological innovation, remote working, and

growing concerns about sustainability and safety,

and tell you how to better manage that 'last mile'.

12.15PM

THE NEXT GENERATION A buyer-focussed

panel discusses the changing role of the travel

manager and the exciting new opportunities for

those who are up for the challenge.

3PM

Afternoon refreshments

12.50PM

1PM

CLOSING REMARKS

Lunch/final networking

6.30PM THE BUSINESS TRAVEL PEOPLE AWARDS 2021

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

41


DEPARTURES

Reality check

Go online for the full reviews: thebusinesstravelmag.com

CAR HIRE: VAUXHALL CORSA E RENTAL FROM ENTERPRISE

BACKGROUND

Starting with Teslas two

THE RENTAL

Branch staff had told

years ago, Enterprise has been

us charging the car was a very easy

expanding its electric fleet and this

plug-in-and-go process but whilst this is

summer added a selection of lower-mid

the case for Teslas, all other makes of

range cars, including the Vauxhall Corsa

electric cars use a different network of

E. With five doors, built-in satnav,

chargers and it’s more complicated. It

climate control, and up to 160 miles

turned out we needed an account with

range on a full charge, it seemed

‘Charging Place Scotland’ to access the

perfect for our 850-mile Scotland trip.

network, and ideally a RFID card linked

BOOKING

The online booking

to our account to tap on the machines

process was easy. We’d originally

to begin charging. It's also possible to

booked to collect the car from the

charge using an app but this caused us

Edinburgh Waverly branch but due to

a wealth of problems as internet signal

Covid it was temporarily closed. Instead

was limited, if not non-existent, in many

we were offered complimentary pick-up

locations. The machines themselves

from our accommodation to collect

also needed internet connection to

very receptive of our comments on

from the Edinburgh City Centre branch.

receive data from the app and more

charging issues and said they'd relay

COLLECTION

The wheel was

often than not this proved impossible.

this back to the head office.

wrapped in a protective cover and with

Enterprise’s ‘Complete Clean Pledge’ we

felt very confident the car was sanitised

and all necessary precautions had been

taken. Masks were worn at all times,

Thankfully, mid-way through our trip, a

fellow EV driver kindly lent us his

personal 'Charging Place Scotland' card

so we no longer had to worry about

difficulties charging. This meant we

A SMOOTH RIDE

OVERALL, BUT WITH

A FEW BUMPS IN

THE ROAD

THE VERDICT A smooth drive overall,

but with a few bumps in the road.

Directions on charging could have been

clearer but otherwise the process, and

the car, was efficient and enjoyable.

even outside. After a thorough check

could begin to really enjoy the car –

THE DETAILS

enterprise.co.uk;

and a brief on how the charging worked

(more on that later), we hit the road.

effortlessly smooth and almost eerily

quiet to drive. At drop-off, staff were

0800 800 227. Rentals from £88 a day.

April Waterston

HOTEL: THE CULLODEN ESTATE & SPA, BELFAST

THE HOTEL

A Hastings Hotel

THE ROOM

My spacious and ultra-

property and a Small Luxury Hotel of

comfortable Bishop Suite on the fourth

the World, this five-star hotel is six miles

floor had a partial dividing wall

from Belfast city centre and yet its

separating the bedroom from the

setting is more akin to a tranquil rural

lounge area. Features included a King

retreat. With the wooded slopes of the

Coil ‘Cloud Bed’, a work table, couch and

Holywood hills as its backdrop and 12

lounge chairs, and two TVs. A large bay

acres of manicured gardens, it has a

window offered views down to Belfast

real sense of grandeur, history and

Lough and the County Antrim Coastline.

serenity. Its 98 elegant rooms and

THE BUSINESS

There's a dedicated

suites, spa and restaurant have been

business reception area, with secretarial

recently refurbished.

services, and a plethora of conference

COVID STRATEGY

Health and safety

and meeting rooms. The gardens offer

protocols are in line with industry-wide

team building exercises and activities

'Peace of Mind Policy' guidelines, an

like archery, laser clay pigeon shooting

industry standard established in

and target golf. WiFi is free and speedy.

treatments), a pool (with Jacuzzi), a

association with the National Tourism

THE FACILITIES

The main restaurant,

weight room, sauna and an eucalyptus

Organisations of Great Britain and

Northern Ireland. Measures include

sanitising stations throughout the hotel

and a chemical-free disinfectant system.

THE CHECK-IN The reception area is

surprisingly small for such a large

Vespers, is serving dinner only on a

Friday and Saturday but is open daily

for breakfast. The Lough Room, which

will revert to a residents' bar once Covid

rules allow, offered a limited but

wholesome menu. At the bottom of the

SIX MILES FROM

BELFAST BUT ITS

SETTING IS MORE

AKIN TO A TRANQUIL

RURAL RETREAT

steam room.

THE VERDICT A premium-class hotel

with top-range facilities that offers a

sense of peace and solitude that no city

centre hotel could match.

THE DETAILS Bangor Rd, Hollywood,

property but never felt crowded. Two

estate is the pub-cosy Cultra Inn.

Belfast, BT18 0EX; hastingshotels.com.

front desk staff members, wearing

masks, were friendly and efficient.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Drawing

Room. There's a gym, Spa (with ESPA

Rooms from £300, including breakfast.

Steve Hartridge

42 THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM


DEPARTURES

The final word

From Shitterton to Twatt

F

orget Lands End to John

O' Groats. If all those

lockdowns have left you

with the urge to do something

worthwhile, like a charity

fundraising trip across

Britain, there's now a much

more fun way to do it.

Follow in the footsteps of Paul

Taylor, from Oxfordshire, who

this summer sped off on a 50cc

moped for a 1,800-mile tour, in

memory of a friend, taking in all

the places with names that'll

make you chuckle.

Starting in the Dorset hamlet

of Shitterton (tee-hee) he'll be

calling at Crazies Hill and

Cockpole Green near Reading,

Berkshire, Butthole Lane in

Shepshed, Leicestershire, and

Titty Ho in Northamptonshire.

His tour - known as the

Moronic Moped Marathon - also

takes in Happy Bottom Nature

Reserve, Sandy Balls Holiday

Park, Pishill, The Knob, Butthole

Lane, Slack Bottom Road, and

more, before ending up in Twatt

in the Orkney Isles.

At the last count, cheeky Paul

had already raised just under

£20,000 for Cancer Research -

way over his initial £1,800

target. If you want to add a

donation, check out this link:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/

paul-taylor233

Sunhat or

umbrella?

Packing is so much easier when

you know if it's going to rain or

shine, so here's a handy list of

European cities with the most

predictable weather:

1 Valetta

2 Nicosia

3 Dublin

4 London

5 Rome

6 Athens

7 Reykjavik

8 Amsterdam

9 Brussels

10 Paris

Research by Uswitch Car Insurance

Oh, I do like to be...

Whether you jetted

off to sunny Spain

or cloudy Cornwall,

hopefully most of you got a

well-deserved seaside break

this summer. This year, more

than ever, what we've all

yearned for is a day at the

beach, to feel the sea air and

the sand between our toes

Or have we? Apparently not,

according to hotel platform,

Hoo, which looked at some

data and found that 63% of

us prefer a dip in the pool to

the beach, and for a number

of reasons: our dislike of

pebbles, sand, and seawater

and a fear of what lies

beneath. The makers of Jaws

have got a lot to answer for.

What we had for dinner became the most

exciting thing that happened to many of us in

those long, dark days of the lockdowns. With

nothing else to brag about, social media

became flooded with heavily-filtered photos

of mealtimes, showcasing our national

dishes. According to Dutch delivery website,

Thuisbezorgd, pizzas were the instagram

favourites across Europe, while in the UK we

were all keen to share snaps

of our beloved fish

and chips, Sunday

roasts and

Shepherd's Pie.

Sadly, not quite so

photogenic!

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

43


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September 14 -15, 2021

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