News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: March 2010

  1. Forum speaker wins top award

    MS-UK is proud to announce that Tracey Williamson, a panel member of our forum last Autumn and the global travel manager of Vodafone was named European travel buyer of the year on the 9th February at the European Travel Buyer Awards in London, organized by the Business Travel & Meetings Show.

    Torbjörn Erling, global meeting and travel manager for Ikea Group, was runner-up, but took the award for best innovation in a travel program for "Meeting, the Ikea Way," which encourages employees to meet more but travel less by using videoconferencing and other virtual alternatives.

    Source: Business Travel News - full story from Amon Cohen

  2. Get on the phone - get in the plane

    Flybe plans to introduce mobile phone check-in later this year and warned that the tactic of growing revenue through ancillary sales may attract the attention of legislators.

    Systems are currently being developed which will match a bar code sent to the passenger's mobile that can be scanned at the airport. Heathrow Express is already using a similar application.

    Speaking at the Business Travel and Meetings Show in London, Flybe chief commercial officer Mike Rutter said the next swathe of new services to be offered by airlines would be mobile phone-based.

    "I think we will lend towards 90 percent mobile check-in," he said.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report by Gary Noakes

  3. New Oxford airline to fly second route

    Start-up regional airline Varsity Express is to add a second domestic route from its Oxford base. The carrier plans to serve Newcastle in addition to a service to Edinburgh which is due to start on March 1.

    Daily Newcastle flights on weekdays will be introduced from April 5. A second daily frequency on weekdays will also run to Edinburgh from the same date.

    The company said it was is close to finalising the use of a second Jetstream 31 aircraft.

    Source: TravelMole - full story by Phil Davies

  4. Chicago and Sydney launch new Starwood technology

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has unveiled its first Cisco TelePresence virtual meeting suites.

    Starwood announced a partnership with Tata Communications and Cisco TelePresence in June 2009 to develop the suites in ten of its properties worldwide.

    The W Chicago City Centre and Sheraton on the Park Sydney are the first to offer the new facilities.

    Starwood launched the facilities via a virtual event using the new technology, which brought together participants more than 9,000 miles apart through Cisco's ultra-high definition video, superior audio and life-size imagery.

    The next hotels to offer the service will be the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers and Sheraton Centre Toronto, which will come online in the next few months, followed by the Westin Los Angeles Airport and properties in Dallas, San Francisco, Brussels, Paris, Hong Kong and Frankfurt.

    Source: e-tid - full story

  5. Spring 2010 Forum

    Discussions are in hand with Speakers and Moderators for the Spring MS-UK / ACTE Global Forum with the support of BCD Travel, Lufthansa,, NH Hesperia Hotels and Buying Business Travel.

    Our Moderators are confirmed as:
    • Ian Heywood, Former Senior Vice President of Qatar Airways & previously the Head of Consumer & Agency Sales at British Airways
    • Susan Hopley, Executive Vice President of TRX Inc
    • Jon West, Commercial Director of
    • Mike Toynbee, Managing Editor of Buying Business Travel magazine
    Buyers and senior members of the travel supply industry are also being lined up as we go to press, please visit our website for further details

    We are pleased to announce that bookings are flowing in and if you don't want to miss this exciting event then register here

    So please make a note in your 2010 diaries and block off Tuesday 20th April for our Spring Forum which will be held at the NH Hesperia-London Victoria Hotel - have a look at our Autumn event in 2009

  6. This way to the Ladies

    All Nippon Airways is introducing women-only lavatories on its international routes, joining Korean Air as the only other airline to offer such a service.

    The ladies-only lavatories will come into service on 11 March on all ANA long- and medium-haul flights.

    The move comes in response to "numerous requests from passengers for this service," the company said in a statement.

    The planes will be fitted with "Women Only" signs on the doors of one lavatory, although the carrier said that in certain circumstances - for example, when a male passenger is unwell or when there are very few female passengers aboard the aircraft - then an announcement will be made to lift the women-only designation for the duration of the flight.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  7. Rail travel in the Northern gets half a billion boost

    A £530m investment package to transform rail travel in the north of England through better stations and quicker, more frequent services was unveiled by Network Rail last month.

    The Northern Hub study identifies what needs to be done to respond to the significant growth seen in the region and to help drive economic prosperity. The plans include:
    • A 40% increase in trains per day across the region - 700 extra services
    • Capacity for a further 3.5m passengers per year
    • Quicker more frequent services for Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield
    The Northern Hub proposes significant investment in rail over the next 10 years to build on work which is already underway. By removing historic bottlenecks - such as at Manchester - it would allow faster line speeds, reducing journey times. New track would give greater timetable flexibility - allowing fast trains to overtake and run at speed while still providing space on the network for vital local stopping services and freight.

    Source: BreakingTravel News - full story

  8. Big fines for small companies

    The Corporate Manslaughter issue raises its head again - in the form of a £500,000 minimum fine which, for some small firms, would certainly mean liquidating assets to meet it.

    Of course, the problem shouldn't arise if your company is run well. But it does mean now is the time to start thinking more about your business cars: how you provide them, who should have them, is it the best answer for business travel?

    Private cars on business or car rental: which is cheaper?; and, Is your business changing its company car provision? No easy answers - but an opportunity for some smart thinking by adaptive small businesses.

    Source: Business Car Manager - full story by Ralph Morton and follow the further links

  9. New Star rises in the East End

    Town Hall Hotel & Apartments is the dream pied à terre; a special place in London's vibrant East End where the luxuries of a five-star hotel are combined with the space, convenience and chic of a designer apartment.

    Whether you're working out in the pool, enjoying a lemongrass martini in the Viajante bar or relaxing in your spacious apartment, no-one who's tried Town Hall living will ever go back to a standard hotel again.

    Combining avant-garde design with all the imposing grandeur of Edwardian architecture and art-deco interiors, this is an unforgettable venue. No wonder so many film makers have chosen to film here; you might recognise some of the rooms from Atonement, Brideshead Revisited and even Poirot.

    To celebrate the opening Infotel are offering all new bookings between 15 April - 15 June a 50% discount off the normal published rates, click here

    If you would like more details or to check availability please contact their reservations department on - 0207 621 8785

  10. Flat beds across the Atlantic & mobile phone boarding pass

    Following the debut of their new fully reclining business class seat at the Business Travel & Meetings Show last month Continental Airlines has claimed another first with its mobile boarding pass, this time in widening its scope to the UK.

    Continental said the extension of its paperless boarding system to London Heathrow Airport made it the first US carrier to offer the facility in the UK.

    This is another boost to Continental's Heathrow offering, along with the news that the carrier will add the fully-flat beds to its London-New York route from June.

    Mobile boarding passes - consisting of a barcode sent to, and scanned from, mobile devices - are becoming increasingly familiar to European passengers. Lufthansa, Bmi and Air France are just some of the larger European carriers with similar systems.

    Source: Air & Business Travel News - full story by Sara Turner

  11. Of Queens and Castles

    A range of special offers for the exclusive use of many of the most impressive and inspiring venues around.

    Exclusive Use Ltd has recently added a number of spectacular properties to its specialist portfolio and is promoting special deals for events over the coming months.

    Queens's Eyot a private island just upriver of Windsor Castle, the magnificent Brocket Hall and Glenapp Castle are just a glimpse of what is on offer with discounts including an opportunity to save as much as 50%.

    For further information click here

  12. Apple get Lufthansa passengers to the right door

    How do I get to the check-in counter, to the baggage claim, to the lounge and then to the right gate?

    With the Lufthansa Navigator - a new application that runs on iPhone - finding one's way around the airport is a breeze if you are travelling on Lufthansa. This innovative application is structured like a navigation system and is designed to guide users easily from their current position to their desired destination at the airport.

    It is available in both German and English and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple AppStore.

    Once Lufthansa Navigator starts passengers are prompted to choose from various options such as going to check-in, finding a lounge or going directly to the gate. A list of all current Lufthansa flights with the respective gate numbers is then displayed. As soon as the destination has been entered, the route from the user's current location is calculated and displayed on an onscreen map.

    Source: Odyssey e-magazine - this and other stories

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