News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: December 2012

  1. Dorchester sweet revamp on Park Lane

    The Dorchester hotel has completed refurbishment of 22 of its suites.

    Courtesy of designer Alexandra Champalimaud, the luxury London hotel's Dorchester and Park suites have been given a new look that celebrates "the eclecticism of the English spirit", with a number of British companies commissioned to create the furnishings.

    The 14 Dorchester suites now feature open fireplaces lit by crystal logs in the living rooms, rugs by the Rug Company, artwork including prints signed by HRH the Prince of Wales, hand-sprung mattresses made by Devon company Vi-Spring, and furniture by companies such as Forgeability, Dudgeon, Howe, and Restall, Brown and Clennell.

    Furnishings in the eight Park suites are now lighter in colour to "allow the natural beauty" of their Hyde Park views "to radiate throughout". Features include oak plank flooring, antique chairs, wall coverings by Soma Silk, Chesneys chimneypieces with flame sculptures, and artwork by Derek Rangecroft.

    Technology in the new suites includes Bang and Olufsen Beo Vision flatscreen TVs, iPads, iPod docks, and remote-controlled lighting. Some suites also have TVs fitted in the bathroom mirrors.

    The works follow other upgrades at the Dorchester, such as the renovation of its Ballroom suite last year, and the extension and renovation of its spa in 2009.

    Source: BusinessTraveller.com - full story by Michelle Mannion

  2. Fastjet takes off

    African low cost airline Fastjet commenced commercial flight operations on the 29th November, with its first aircraft flying passengers from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, and Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Eight sectors were flown, carrying more than 900 paying passengers and achieving an average booked load factor of 78%. Three of the eight sectors flown exceeded a load factor of 90%.

    Future demand for seats on these two initial routes is currently far outstripping supply. Additional flights to these destinations are already being considered, and the Company also intends to expand its route network regionally over the coming weeks as the fleet grows to three Airbus A319s.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  3. There are Lies, Damned Lies and then statistics!

    So wrote the great author Mark Twain in the 19th century - today the GBTA could be using that as there war cry as the plan to take a closer look at certain elements of a study it released in May partly because of concern that it gives the impression there's no savings in managing travel.

    Based on a survey of 1,788 business travellers, the Global Business Traveler study found that while U.S. business travellers spend $2,740 on average per trip and stay 3.6 nights, "those under mandated programs spend more ($3,663) but stay a fewer number of nights (3.4), compared to those in unmanaged programs ($2,457, 3.9 nights)."

    This has stimulated a response from Scott Gillespie, author of Managed Travel 2.0. "Why bother if unmanaged travellers achieve better business trips, are more satisfied with their business travel - and here's the kicker - don't spend any more than their managed traveller counterparts?"

    Gillespie and co-author Evan Konwiser have been speaking and writing about what they call Managed Travel 2.0, partly basing the rationale for a new, more "open" approach to managing travel on these GBTA results. However, GBTA Foundation vice president for research Joe Bates in an interview last month cautioned against drawing the conclusions that Gillespie and Konwiser have.

    It has to be appreciated that this was a purely US based survey and did not involve travel organisers in Europe.

    Source: BTN Daily - full article written by Jay Campbell

  4. Ryanair increase costs for credit card travellers

    Ryanair introduced a 2% credit card fee in addition to its £6 admin fee for all bookings made from Friday 30th November onwards.

    The budget airline claimed the 2% charge was to cover the cost of processing card payments and it said it was announcing the fee to comply with the Office of Fair Trading ruling earlier this year which said airlines' fees must be more transparent.

    Passengers paying with debit cards, including Ryanair's Cash Passport card or German ELV transfer, can avoid the 2% fee.

    Passengers paying by Cash Passport in Ireland, Germany and Spain will also avoid the £6/€6 admin fee until February 1, February 15 and March 21 respectively.

    The OFT carried out an investigation into airline charges earlier this year and ruled in July that passengers should not be charged extra to pay by debit card as this was the equivalent of using cash online, however it said airlines could charge extra for credit card payments as long as they were upfront about the fees.

    The OFT estimated that card payments cost consumers a total of £300m a year.

    Source: Travelmole - read the story online

  5. MS-UK 25th Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum - in partnership with ACTE-Global

    Our Planning Committee are continuing to make progress and hope to be able to announce our Agenda in the next few days for our next event on the 30th April next year which will be once more be held in the luxurious surroundings of the excellent Grange City Hotel.

    Having said that if there is a subject that you would like to have on the Agenda we would like to hear from you - all suggestions to admin@ms-uk.com.

    If you missed our Autumn event in September some of the pictures taken on the day can be seen on our website www.ms-uk.com/forum-gallery.html

    If you would like to read an independent view of the days' event then read Stanley Slaughter's article

    The Spring MS-UK / ACTE event which is scheduled for Tuesday 30th April 2013 - make sure you do not miss this event - you might also like to pencil in Tuesday 8th October 2013 in your calendar as well as have established that date in our Diary for our Autumn event next year! For further information on our activities click here

  6. New air service to connect Brighton with Paris

    An adventurer and aviation entrepreneur has set up a new airline, Brighton City Airways Ltd, to operate flights between Brighton City airport and Paris Pontoise airport.

    The flights will launch in March 2013, offering two daily departures operated by a LET-410 UVP aircraft, which carries 19 passengers.

    The airline has been set up and funded by Neil Laughton an explorer whose achievements have included flying from London to Timbuktu on a prototype flying car and his business partner Jonathan Candelon, who is also a commercial pilot and co-owner of a flying school in Brighton.

    Laughton said while he has no direct experience in airlines he was confident the service could be a success.

    The launch date for the service is March 6, with tickets going on sale via brightoncityairways.com on Saturday (December 1).

    Fares start from £69, which includes 15kg of hand luggage and all taxes and charges.

    This is not the first time an airline has tried to fly from Brighton to Pontoise. In 2006 Skysouth was founded, going on to serve the French airport from Shoreham airport. It ceased operations in February 2009.

    Source: TTG digital - full story by Lucy Siebert

  7. HRS launches new last minute hotel booking app

    Travellers can now use HRS' application, HOTELS NOW, to make last minute hotel room bookings on the go right up until midnight on the day of travel.

    HRS, Europe's leading hotel portal, has extended its existing mobile offering with its free iPhone application to find last-minute rooms.

    Travellers can use the iPhone app to make last minute bookings for hotel rooms - situated centrally in 46 European cities - on the same day and save at least 30 per cent in the process. Last minute deals are published daily and can only be booked via the app from 06:00 until midnight on the same day.

    Each hotel can input and manage its daily discounts via the HRS hotel self administration system. In just a few steps travellers can make a booking quickly and easily. No registration is required.

    Instead, the iPhone user can see the hotels available in the immediate vicinity or search specifically for a suitable hotel in the destinations offered.

    Jon West, managing director HRS UK & Ireland, explained: "Hotel bookings made on the go are on the rise, with travellers often having to change their travel arrangements at the last minute - more than half of bookings made via mobile devices on HRS are made only on the day of arrival."

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full report

  8. Technology Hertz

    The Hertz Corporation has re-launched the Company's car rental and car sharing websites, to enable all Hertz.com and HertzOnDemand.com users to have a consistent brand and rich user experience regardless of whether they access a site through their personal computer, mobile phone or tablet.

    As customers increasingly visit Hertz websites while travelling or on-the-go, the importance of a streamlined experience that is responsive to the type of device being used has grown. Hertz is excited to be the first in the rental car and travel industries to implement responsive design technology.

    Switching Hertz's online experience to responsive design technology enables Hertz's in-house e-commerce team to build and make changes once for multiple devices and platforms. Every device will have the same Hertz functionality while the content will be presented in an environment best suited for the end-users device.

    The responsive design technology enables Hertz to streamline its mobile strategies and build a foundation to bridge the gap between the desktop and mobile experience. Hertz is also breaking through when it comes to innovation, implementing this overhaul in just three months - typically, this type of project is projected to take at least six months.

    Hertz claims to offers its customers the most technologically innovative products and services available that results in the fastest, easiest and most valued rental experience to keep customers "Traveling at the Speed of Hertz."

    Source: Breaking TravelNews - full story

  9. Free wifi at Guoman London hotels

    Guoman Hotels is introducing free wifi to all guests and meeting delegates at its five hotels in London.

    The group, which runs the Grosvenor, Royal Horseguards, Charing Cross, Cumberland and The Tower hotels, has agreed a partnership with BT to offer free wifi throughout its properties in the UK capital.

    Guests will be able to log into the wifi service from all areas of the hotels including their rooms through the BT deal which promises "superfast connection speeds".

    Guoman said it had made "significant investment" in its wifi services which made this new initiative possible.

    Source: ABTN/BBT - full story by Rob Gill

  10. Reed launches IBTM India

    EIBTM exhibition director Graeme Barnett announced the launch of a new IBTM show for India, with the first one scheduled for September 2013.

    He said India has a currently fragmented MICE market with enormous potential, and he expects the event to grow significantly over coming years. The first show, on September 12-14 at the Grand Hyatt inn Mumbai, is expected to see around 100 buyers and 100 suppliers meet in a pre-booked appointment programme.

    Barnett also signed a deal to continue holding the EIBTM show in Barcelona's Fira Gran Via until 2016, and said this year's hosted buyer programme boasted a world record of 4,200 buyers. He anticipated a total of 15,000 delegates attending this year's show. "EIBTM has become synonymous with Barcelona since we bought the show here in 2004," he said. "It's the ideal city for us."

    He added that the inclusion for the first time this year of the Business Travel pavilion and ACTE education sessions, together with Reed buying the Business Travel Market and incorporating it into WTM, showed a strategy of sharpening focus on the business travel sector. He said this reflected the trend for increasing harmonisation of travel and meetings in the marketplace.

    Source: ABTN/BBT online - full story by Paul Revel

  11. BA to drop Gatwick-Manchester route

    British Airways is to drop its Gatwick-Manchester service from March next year.

    The carrier flies up to three-times daily to Manchester from the south London airport, but says it will withdraw from the route from March 31, 2013.

    The cuts will not affect BA's flights to Manchester from Heathrow, which will be retained with up to 11 return services per day. British Airways is currently the only carrier flying between London and Manchester, since Bmi's mainline services were integrated into BA's operations at Heathrow.

    In a statement the carrier said: "British Airways retains a strong presence in Manchester where it currently employs over 400 staff at the airport, at the airline's call centre and BA CityFlyer head office in Didsbury. "In addition to the Heathrow flights, there are two flights a day to Billund and two to Gothenberg that fly in British Airways colours from Manchester, operated by franchise partner SunAir."

    Source: Business Traveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

  12. Buyers to benefit from lower London rates?

    Rates at London's hotels are set to fall next year due to the increased supply of rooms and the weak economy.

    A report from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is predicting that there will be a post-Olympics "hangover" for London's hotels in 2013.

    London's properties have enjoyed a record year in 2012 with a record-breaking average daily rate of £143 per room - up by £10 on 2011 which was also a record year.

    But PWC is forecasting that occupancy rates at London's hotels will fall to 77 per cent in 2013 - compared to 80 per cent this year - which would be the lowest level since 2005. This struggle to fill rooms is likely to drive revpar down by 7 per cent to £106.42 per room next year.

    Outside London, UK hotels have seen another flat year in 2012 with average daily rates of £58.39 per room which is expected to stay around the same level next year.

    PWC is more optimistic for a recovery in the meeting and events sector and said there was some evidence that "the downturn in this sector has bottomed out"

    Source: ABTN/BBT - full article by Rob Gill

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