News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: April 2013

  1. IHG internet Free

    Free internet helps sell a hotel, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has introduced free internet for all loyalty card members worldwide. It is not the first major group to do so (Radisson offers all clients courtesy internet), but the announcement is a success for publications who have been campaigning for this to be complimentary at all hotels.

    At London's St Pancras Station users of the adjoining Marriott Renaissance who do not wish to pay internet charges only need to step outside and either find a seat or use one of the many cafes to link up with the world wide web.

    Here is some interesting new research commissioned by IHG:

    • 43% of adults surveyed said that they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.

    • 23% of respondents said that free internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to 7% who chose room service.
    Source: BTN - full story

  2. Virgin's Little Red launches double miles offer

    Virgin Atlantic has launched a double miles promotion for Flying Club members travelling on its forthcoming Little Red domestic services.

    The offer is valid for all flights booked and travelled on between March 31 (the launch date of the carrier's first services between Heathrow and Manchester) and June 30.

    A return domestic flight with Little Red attracts 1,500 base miles, so members will earn 3,000 miles for each flight taken during the promotionsl period.

    Note that the double miles applies only to base miles, so those members holding Silver or Gold Flying Club cards will earn 1,500 bonus miles for a return flight, plus their tier bonus calculated on the normal base miles.

    Those who are not currently members of the carrier's Flying Club can also earn a 1,500-mile enrolment bonus when joining, booking and flying before June 30. Only those joining through the specific microsite at virginatlantic.com/bigrewards will be eligible for the enrolment bonus.

    Virgin unveiled details of its Little Red offering at the start of this month (see online news March 1), with features including bacon rolls on early monring flights and free drinks and snacks including Tyrells crisps and Irn Bru.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  3. Supercars by Hertz

    The Hertz Corporation has expanded its supercar offerings in Europe for travellers seeking the ultimate driving experience when on their summer vacations this year.

    Providing the opportunity to drive high end marques that would normally retail at six figure prices, Hertz Supercars are now available for rental in France, Italy and, as of April, in the Netherlands.

    In addition, further premium models have been added to the collections in the UK and Spain.

    Customers can enjoy the ultimate driving experience with legendary models such as the McLaren MP4-12C, Lamborghini LP 560 Spyder, Ferrari 458 Italia Spider Scaglietti, Bentley GT Continental and Jaguar X-KR for one day or longer.

    Supercars in France include the iconic Lamborghini LP 560 Spyder, Range Rover Evoque and Aston Martin Virage Volante while the range in Italy features marques such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Jaguar X-KR and Audi Q7 S Lin.

    Within the UK new additions such as the Lamborghini LP570-4 Performante Edizione Tecnica and Range Rover Vogue Autobiography have just been unveiled, while the Spanish collection has brought on board high end vehicles including the Audi R-8 and Mercedes SLS.

    Source: Breaking TravelNews - full story

  4. Revamped London's King's Cross station provides double boost for economy

    Investment in London's transport infrastructure is playing a vital role in stimulating economic growth, say local business leaders in King's Cross, as the station marks the first birthday of the stunning new western concourse.

    The new concourse, which opened to the public in March 2012, is the largest structure of its kind in Europe, containing over 27,000 sq ft of retail space across 27 units and employing over 500 staff. The local community are also enjoying the new facilities with research showing more people than ever are using the station simply for shopping.

    Retailers at some of Britain's biggest and busiest railway stations across have seen like-for-like sales outperform the high street for the tenth consecutive quarter, new figures show.

    At King's Cross, since the new concourse opened some retail units have seen sales increase by over 50%. Quarter 3 total sales were an impressive £11m, which was a jump of over £1.2m from quarter 2 and £2.8m up from quarter 1. It's predicted that total sales for the full year will reach £38m.

    All profits from Network Rail's commercial activities are reinvested in the railway, reducing the cost to taxpayers and passengers.

    But the benefits to the economy do not stop at the boundary of the station. The redevelopment of the station is credited by the major developers in the area with helping to encourage the regeneration of the area.

    The Great Northern Hotel, which was designed by the same architect as the station, Lewis Cubitt, and was one of the first hotels aimed at rail passengers, has also been redeveloped and will soon be opening after a 12 year closure.

    The Great Northern Hotel stands on an intersection of extraordinary, global connectivity in what is the biggest railway hub in Europe with 135m passengers passing through annually.

    The signature dome of the new western concourse was designed to fit the crescent shape of the hotel itself and the ground floor opens directly onto the concourse and is just 18 metres from the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International.

    The restaurant Plum + Spilt Milk and many of the bedrooms have views overlooking London's newest public space - King's Cross Square.

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

    In just five weeks time we will be proud to present our 25th Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum at the luxurious surroundings of the excellent Grange City Hotel on Tuesday 30th April.

    With what can only be described as a sparkling list of speakers who will be analysing and debating the four main sessions on the day, click here to catch up on the whos and whats of the day's schedule.

    Session 1: Big Brother or Best Friend?
    Session 2: Using Big Data for Intelligent Sourcing
    Session 3: Helping Travellers to do the right thing
    Session 4: The 'Buyer Speakeasy'

    There are just a few seats left so if you would like to attend click here

    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. Accor launched Adagio brand in the UK

    The 126-apartment Liverpool Adagio will opened last week Wednesday March 27, and is situated within a city centre building formerly home to the city's iconic Lewis's department store.

    All rooms feature fully equipped kitchens, and hotel facilities include a fitness room and two 35sqm meeting rooms.

    The redevelopment of Lewis's department store is part of the Central Village project, comprising new shopping, leisure, commercial and residential developments, and incorporating the city's Liverpool Central station, the UK's busiest underground station outside of London.

    In 2009 Millennium and Copthorne Hotels announced plans to open two properties with Central Village - a 174-room Copthorne hotel and a 240-room Millennium property.

    Accor currently operates 90 Adagio properties across Europe, with a further 60 set to open by 2016.

    In other news, Accor has announced plans to open a 90-room Ibis Styles hotel in Blackpool, to be operated under a franchise agreement with Focus Hotels Management.

    Source: BusinessTraveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  7. British Airways Extend New "Hand Baggage Only" Fares at Gatwick

    British Airways have now extended their range of "hand baggage only" fares to all of its 32 short-haul routes at Gatwick Airport.

    The new type of fare, which launched in February, is already proving popular with customers on the initial five destinations from Gatwick - Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin.

    From Monday March 11 customers could take advantage of the new fares on all of British Airways' short-haul destinations from Gatwick. The fares are on sale for travel from today (2 April, 2013).

    Additional hand baggage only routes now on offer include Genoa and Glasgow from only £39 one-way. For those wanting some summer sunshine, fares to Barcelona, Nice and Venice all start from £49 one-way.

    Customers choosing the "hand baggage only" fare can continue to take advantage of the airline's hand luggage allowance and carry on a good-sized case (56cm x 45cm x 25cm), plus a handbag or laptop bag.

    Children enjoy the same hand luggage allowance as adults, so families can take advantage of the new fare by combining their allowances. Families can also take buggies to the aircraft side, bring on a child seat and enjoy free seat allocation three days in advance of travel.

    All British Airways' short-haul customers will continue to receive free seat allocation within 24 hours of departure, priority boarding for families, complimentary food and drink, high levels of customer service and a frequent flyer programme that rewards them with Avios and tier points.

    To make the new fare clear and easy for customers to identify, ba.com has been redesigned with a special symbol flagging the fare throughout the booking process.

    Source: BA.com - full press release

  8. One Leicester Street London

    St John Hotel in London's Soho is to rebrand as One Leicester Street at the start of May.

    The 15-room hotel, restaurant and bar was opened by Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson in April 2011 as an offshoot of St John Bar and Restaurant in Smithfield but was placed into administration in late 2012, and was subsequently purchased by Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh.

    The hotel rooms remain open, but the restaurant and bar are currently being refurbished, and will reopen on May 1, co-inciding with the rebranding.

    The Restaurant at One Leicester Street will be headed up by Tom Harris, who was the head chef of the previous restaurant at the St John Hotel. According to the press release "Harris' daily changing lunch and dinner menu will be presented in such a way as to allow guests to share smaller and larger dishes and step outside the more traditional starter, main course and dessert format".

    The eatery will feature "characterful oak parquet flooring", "a generous leather banquette" flanking one long wall, black ash timber dining chairs and bespoke designed copper pendant lights that "provide sparkle and bathe the space in a soft warm light".

    There will also be a Victorian awning overhanging the terrace area, where visitors will be able to stop for coffee and ice cream.

    The Bar at One Leicester Street will feature a oak bar and "bespoke, generously soft seating", and will be available for private hire.

    The rebranded property will join six hotels and restaurants within the Unlisted Collection in Singapore, Shanghai and London, with a further property set to open in Sydney next year.

    Source: BusinessTraveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  9. Young Women Flying High In London

    More young women are travelling by air than their older counterparts for the first time. The trend has been increasing over the last two years, according to a tracker by London City Airport, the only airport actually in London. Women under 35 now form a higher proportion of passengers travelling through the airport than those aged 35-54.

    LCY is known for its popularity with business travellers, due to its convenient location close to the City and its quick check in times. Some of its busiest routes include Zurich, Geneva, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. The findingscould therefore suggest that the increase is due to more young women making their mark in business in London than ever before.

    In September 2009, 19 per cent of female passengers flying out of London City Airport were aged under 35 and 59 per cent were aged 35-54. In December 2012,49 per cent were under 35 and just 35 per cent were aged 35-54.

    Data is from the LCY quarterly customer research survey, conducted through face-to-face interviews with passengers in the departure lounge. Approximately 1,000 people are surveyed each year, around 40 per cent of which are female.

    Other key findings:
    • Just one third of passengers were first time users of LCY, the vast majority had flown through the airport at least once in the previous twelve months
    • 70 per cent of occasional and regular users of LCY stated that they were usually travelling on business
    • 29 per cent of all those flying through LCY said that their trip would last for less than 24 hours, while the average trip duration was 4.9 days
    • 85 per cent of all passengers were travelling alone
    Source: News at London City Airport - further news

  10. Statistics reveal differences in working together

    An AirPlus study conducted in late 2012 by the international market research company 2hm on behalf of AirPlus International has found that the majority of UK travel managers are not maximising the benefits available from their different service providers' working together.

    Only 26% of UK travel managers said their suppliers collaborated in a professional manner while 42% said that their service providers never did. The degree of cooperation among suppliers in the UK was the lowest of the 24 countries represented in the survey.

    A very mixed picture emerged from the 2,101 travel managers who were surveyed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

    The UK experience is in stark contrast to that of some of its European neighbours. At 26% the proportion of UK travel managers whose service providers cooperated was only about a third of that in countries such as Turkey (89%), Germany (69%) and Brazil (66%). 64% of French travel managers said that their service providers worked together.

    The wide variation among travel manager attitudes in different countries suggests that factors such as maturity of travel programmes or level of economic growth are not key determinants.

    Although travel management maturity or economic development does not appear to affect the level of service provider cooperation, it could be influenced by local market conditions and company culture. For example, German and Turkish travel managers both believe cost optimisation and time savings to be very important while Italians cited the value of cost savings but dismissed time savings.

    The wide variation in views among participating countries suggests that suppliers are tailoring their activities to the preferences of individual markets and travel managers.

    Yael Klein, Managing Director of AirPlus UK, said "travel managers should really encourage their various service providers to work together. At AirPlus we pride ourselves in having strong relationships with a partnership network, and this ensures that the customer experience is seamless".

    Source: AirPlus - more AirPlus News

  11. Travellers to make and receive calls at no extra charge

    With i-Mobb, a new app for world travellers, customers can now access free roaming in foreign countries using their smartphones, tablets, and iPad Touch devices. Available at http://www.i-Mobb.com , the app allows users to make and receive calls when in foreign countries as though they were at home, preventing roaming charges and allowing for streamlined communication across the world.

    i-Mobb provides an accessible and practical solution to the roaming charges and service limits typical of overseas travel.

    To use i-Mobb, customers can visit the app's website and choose their home country. Eight countries are currently available, including U.S.A., Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands. i-Mobb assigns each user a domestic phone number and provides unlimited calls back to the user's home country. Clients of i-Mobb can also choose a phone number from the country they're visiting or top-up traditional communication credit used to make international calls.

    Once the user has specified the details of his or her own custom i-Mobb plan, the company sends an email containing the new local phone number, access to a local voicemail inbox, and download instructions for travel phones, tablets, and iPads.

    Unlike similar services, which lock the user into lengthy contracts, i-Mobb offers plans that are ideal for shorter trips. Travellers can choose to enjoy free roaming for as little as one week, making the app an excellent solution for business trips, family vacations, or any overseas travel.

    For added convenience, the app allows users to access and manage their contact lists or retrieve messages while abroad.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full article

  12. ebookers.com right on track

    ebookers.com, a division of Orbitz Worldwide becomes the first European online travel agent to offer rail tickets across the entire UK rail network alongside their flights, hotel and car hire offerings.

    Where previously consumers would have to book UK rail separate from their other holiday components, ebookers is able to offer their customers more choice by providing a one-stop shop for planning and purchasing all of their travel. ebookers have modelled their UK rail booking process off their easy-to-use booking system for flights, hotels and car hire, allowing their customers to book UK rail easier.

    ebookers.com customers can book UK rail quickly and seamlessly across 21 different rail operating companies, with access to over 2,500 train stations and 20,000 trains per day. Rail travel offers 70% less CO2 emissions than car travel, making it the greenest mode of travel and is not only a great offering for leisure travellers, but also for business customers, where Wi-Fi access and greater space on rail journeys take the stress out of travel.

    ebookers' rail search and booking will be powered by SilverCore, a global rail platform developed by SilverRail Technologies.

    ebookers.com plans to continue developing their rail product throughout 2013 and beyond, including user-interface enhancements, incorporation of rail into ebookers' mobile offerings and additional ebookers sites in continental Europe.

    Source: BreakingTravel News - full story

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