News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: May 2009

  1. Full House for Spring Forum

    With restrictions on travel affecting everyone during this economic downturn we are delighted to announce that our Spring Event titled "Managing Business Travel in a Recession" featuring four sessions covering Control & Knowledge, Aviation Issues, Expense Management and a Buyers speakeasy is in fact oversold as we write this 10 days prior to the event.

    We are also very pleased that our event will be reported on by the weekly Airline & Business Travel News and the Buying Business Travel magazine.

    If you would like to make sure that you get a chance to attend our Autumn event on Thursday the 15th October make a note in your diary now and / or just hit the reply tab on your email and type the word REGISTER in the subject line then send it to us and we will hold a seat for you at no cost at this time.

    The full Agenda of this event and our list of exciting speakers can be found here.

  2. It Never rains But it pours

    The proverbial saying "It Never rains But it pours" could never be truer. If a global economic downturn wasn't enough to put up with we now have a full blown Health Pandemic which is scaring the heebie jeebies out of people travelling all over the world as more and more cases of are identified by the World Health Organisation.

    We have received in our office a very helpful email from one of the leading TMC's who have provided us with a link to their website which features a very helpful guide spelling out what to do - what not to do etc., for business travellers and travel organisers - so take a look here - we think you may find very useful.

  3. Virgin's Wi-Fi

    Virgin Trains has launched a wifi internet service on its Pendolino trains plying the West Coast Main Line route, with its Super Voyager trains also due to be wifi-enabled by mid-summer.

    The rail operator has equipped its 52 Pendolino trains with T-Mobile wifi hotspots, with a further 21 Super Voyager trains also due to be fitted out. The service will be free to first class passengers, while those in standard carriages can either pay on-the-spot for hotspot passes, or access the service via their pay-monthly plans, which include unlimited hotspot access.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full story by Mark Caswell

  4. OAG Data Show Deep Cuts In U.K. Air Service

    The United Kingdom this month recorded a severe cutback in scheduled airline service, with a 9 percent decline in international capacity and a 14 percent decline in domestic capacity, compared with the same period last year, according to OAG data released this week.

    OAG in its report noted, "The last time the April figures for the U.K. were lower than this was in 2001." Declines in the U.K. market are outpacing the global airline industry, which is experiencing capacity reductions amid stunted demand for air travel.

    "On a global scale, the world's airlines have scheduled 6 percent fewer flights for April 2009 compared with the same month last year, with a 3 percent drop in seat capacity," OAG reported.

    Source: Business Travel News - full story.

  5. Procurement techniques save companies money

    Companies are increasingly acknowledging that procurement techniques make savings on their travel budget.

    Huub Smeets, founder of Dutch consultancy Simacon, said procurement was now taking the leadership role in business travel management in nearly 50% of corporate organisations.

    Mr Smeets was speaking to about 100 delegates at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) executive forum in Amsterdam recently (April 28). He said that 68% of companies had made savings of 5-15% through procurement techniques in 2008 while 80% expected to make savings of up to 20% this year.

    Three quarters of corporates said procurement techniques had "tightened their travel budgets" while 50% now saw travel as a commodity. "This is no longer a stigma. It is fast becoming a reality," he said.

    He told the meeting there was a "huge match" between the procurement and travel management approaches. The best practice was a combination which he called travel procurement, "representing the best of the two worlds."

    "Procurement and travel management is now more than value management combined with relationship management.

    Source: Airline & Business Travel News - full report by Stanley Slaughter.

  6. It pays to Diet!

    United Airlines may require bumped large clients to purchase two seats on a subsequent flight, matching the policy of some other American carriers according to newspaper reports.

    Under the new policy, obese passengers - defined as unable to lower the arm rest and buckle a seat belt with one extension belt - will be re-accommodated, at no extra charge, to two empty seats if there is space available.

    If, however, the plane is full, the passenger will be refused boarding. They can upgrade to the larger First or Business Class seats, if not already taken.

    Source: AERBT (An Executive Review of Business Travel) - further details.

  7. Park and Sleep

    Singapore-headquartered Park Hotel Group last week celebrated the Grand Opening of Grand Park Xian in China's ancient capital famed for the 'Terracotta Warriors'.

    The milestone extends the Group's goal of becoming a leading hospitality brand in the region.

    In late 2008, Park Hotel Group acquired the former Grand Castle Hotel and rebranded it as Grand Park Xian. The majestic Grand Park Xian is the city's premier 5-star hotel which has been newly refurbished. Adjacent to the ancient City Wall in the heart of the city's business, shopping and entertainment district, the 338-room hotel is renowned for its opulent palatial architecture, luxurious accommodation and authentic ancient-style Chinese cuisine, showcased by its famous 'Empress Banquet'.

    Park Hotel Group's fast-growing portfolio of hotels covers Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Japan. It intends to expand further in China, looking at ten more hotels in the next three to five years.

    Source: - full report.

  8. Another Airline Merger stalls before take off

    Merger talks between British Airways and American Airlines have been dealt a blow after US authorities ordered the British flag carrier to hand over a top-secret document detailing its inner workings.

    BA and AA earlier claimed they were not required to provide the US Department of Transportation with the data but have since been given two working days to cooperate.

    The two airlines complained that the document contained "confidential business information and non-responsive documents concerning British Airways' short haul network, airport contracts, and security measures".

    According to the Telegraph, US authorities are particularly interested in airport contracts, including BA's leading position at Heathrow where it has more than 40 percent of take-off and landing slots.

    It is understood that Virgin Atlantic alerted the US transport authority to the missing data, and urged it to obtain the information at short notice rather than the usually longer time period.

    Source: - full story

  9. Two New Crowne Plaza hotels added in London and Paris.

    The 162-room Crowne Plaza London Kensington, located opposite Gloucester Road tube station, has reopened after an £8 million refurbishment. There are five other Crowne Plaza properties in central London, and one at London Heathrow Airport.

    The hotel has six meeting rooms for up to 110 people theatre-style, all with natural daylight. The hotel also has a private garden, and its restaurant, StreetSide, serves modern British cuisine.

    The Crowne Plaza République has become the second property by the brand in Paris (the other being the Crowne Plaza Champs Elysées), and is housed in a 19th century building close to République metro station.

    The 328-room hotel has a bar, called 10 Bar, and a restaurant, 10 Restaurant, serving French cuisine. There are 18 meeting rooms, the largest of which can host up to 400 people for a reception, and all have wifi access. Crowne Plaza République also has a gym and a business centre.

    Source: BusinessTraveller Online - full report by Sara Turner.

  10. Reassess reliance on car

    The Department for Transport (DfT) launched the National Business Travel Network initiative in 2006 to persuade companies to reassess their reliance on the car.

    Much has been made of video and tele-conferencing. Of those companies that have this facility, 62% say they are using it more often, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

    Its survey revealed 43% of businesses had increased their use of public transport with fleet decision-makers playing a key role in the cultural change.

    However, while PricewaterhouseCoopers' Company Car UK Report revealed more than a third (35%) of companies now place a CO2 emissions limit on employees' choice of vehicle, only 6% of companies facilitate sustainable travel for staff, according to the British Chamber of Commerce.

    Reducing the impact of business travel was one of the overall goals when Zurich established a travel plan covering its four UK centres at Swindon, Portsmouth, Cheltenham and Fareham. Video-conferencing proved particularly popular, reducing regular trips between its corporate centres, and helping it cut annual business mileage by more than one million miles, with fuel cost savings of £122,000 and an extra 17,000 working hours being created.

    Source: Fleetnews - further information.

  11. Increased trend for corporate use of online hotel reservations

    According to, the leading online hotel reservations service, the economic crisis and associated corporate pressure to reduce costs has created a clear trend for increased use of low cost online hotel reservation tools.

    Especially large corporations that make high numbers of bookings are currently using the present economic situation as a reason to move from planning to use online hotel reservation tools towards actually implementing such projects in-house or at least promoting the use of existing online applications to save costs.

    Mr Dirk Gerdom, who is responsible for global travel management at SAP AG, hopes that continued use of the reservation tool provided by will help him achieve significant cost savings in hotel bookings for his company, "it is true that more consistent use of the corporate client application is intended to achieve further cost savings. For us there are two convincing arguments - the cheapest online room prices, and the time saving in actually making the booking."

    Medium-sized companies are also noticing the benefits. Whilst there is a general move to undertake only the most important journeys, business trips naturally represent an opportunity to generate more business for the future.

    Source: - full story.

  12. Air Down - Rail Up

    Amid the now familiar news this month of drops here, there and everywhere in air transactions, there was one figure which bucked the trend. The UK Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC), while reporting a 17% fall in air transactions by its members in the first quarter of 2009, also mentioned that rail bookings were up 14%.

    Almost at the same time, Eurostar, the cross channel high speed rail service, said it was planning to expand the number of destinations for which passengers can buy seamless "through tickets."

    The two items are not unconnected.

    The last year or so has seen what amounts to a revolution in rail bookings for corporates.

    Philip Martin, head of marketing for Amadeus rail, said that "in the last six months, things have taken off."

    This is not about the spread of the high speed rail network, almost wholly in continental Europe although quicker journeys clearly help. Nor is it about green issues, although again environmentally friendly trains also play a part.

    The revolution is about the fact that TMCs and corporates can book rail so much more easily than in the past and the travel managers can capture the MI without fishing around for dozens of rail invoices and warrants.

    Two prime movers of this in the UK are the extraordinary growth of Evolvi and the appearance on GDS screen alongside air options of Eurostar's services between London and Paris and Brussels. A third will be the arrival on the GDS of domestic rail option in the UK. Evolvi has already teamed up with Amadeus to provide this service.

    Evolvi is a simple to use booking engine, designed specifically for corporates, and is streets ahead of the cranking ELGAR system which required special training to use and which is now being phased out. The fact that Evolvi's revenue rose 47% in 2008 compared with 2007, tells its own story.

    Source: Air & Business Travel News - the whole article.

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