News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: January 2013

  1. Avis Zips in to Car Share

    Avis Budget Group has agreed a deal to purchase car-sharing firm Zipcar for $500 million.

    Zipcar, which targets both the corporate and leisure travel sectors, has more than 760,000 members in North America and Europe offering more than 10,000 vehicles and is planning to expand rapidly in major cities around the world.

    Zipcar currently operates in urban areas and university campuses in the US, Canada, UK , Spain and Austria. Zipcars are available in UK cities including London, Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford.

    The deal to buy Zipcar, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock market in the US, is subject to approval from Zipcar's shareholders and is expected to be completed by spring 2013.

    Source: BBT News - full story by Rob Gill

  2. Western link to Germany

    Bmi Regional is to launch new services from Bristol to Hamburg and Frankfurt, adding to existing flights to Aberdeen from the North Somerset airport.

    The newly-independent carrier will commence five times-weekly flights to Hamburg on February 11, increasing to 12 services per week from April 8, while a six times-weekly route to Frankfurt will launch in late March.

    Tickets for both new routes went on sale last Thursday January 3.

    Bmi Regional officially became an independent carrier at the end of October last year, and currently serves routes including Manchester to Edinburgh, Glasgow to Copenhagen, East Midlands to Brussels and Norwich to Aberdeen.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  3. Paris move for Mövenpick Hotels

    Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has launched its first hotel in Paris offering guests a level of upscale comfort that is as refined as the exclusive Neuilly district in which the hotel is based.

    Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts took over the hotel on December 19. From summer 2013 work will begin on the remodelling of the hotel's 281 rooms and 19 suites as part of a multi-million-euro refurbishment project. The renovation will be carried out on a floor-by-floor basis to ensure in-house guests are never disturbed during their stay.

    For business travellers Mövenpick Hotel Paris Neuilly will introduce a complimentary 'tuk-tuk' service to provide a unique form of fast transport around the 'golden business triangle'. The hotel is in the heart of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Levallois Perret and La Défense and within easy reach of Porte de Versailles and Paris Nord Villepinte conference centres as well as the capital's transportation hub of Porte Maillot and a 10-minute walk from the famous Bois du Boulogne.

    The hotel brings the European portfolio of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts up to 22 properties and a global portfolio of 77 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers currently in operation.

    Source - BreakingTravelNews - full story

  4. Flybe now Automatic

    Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, has become the first UK carrier to offer its passengers an automatic check-in option when at the point of booking online so that between 36 and 15 hours prior to departure, an electronic boarding pass will automatically be sent direct to their smart phone or e-mail.

    Quite simply, this means that passengers can, at the point of booking their flight, be confident in the knowledge that, having already chosen to be checked in automatically, they are already on their way.

    The full product is being introduced initially at nine of Flybe's largest airports namely Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Jersey, London Gatwick, Manchester and Southampton with automated e-mail check-in only, available from an additional 17 airports.

    This was implemented for travel from December 11th with plans being well advanced for further roll-out across the wider network in the New Year.

    This is yet another way in which Flybe is determined to take the industry lead and improve the range of products on offer when you choose to fly with Europe's largest regional airline.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  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.

    Currently the theme of our next event is based around Data - is it Friend or Foe.

    The Planning Committee are busy putting an exciting aray of speakers together to discuss this subject that is governing everybodies life - whether we like it or not.

    If you know of a speaker you would like to hear from on this subject then please just drop us a line to

    If you missed our Autumn event in September some of the pictures taken on the day can be seen on our website

    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. A train every two minutes

    London Underground's (LU) recently completed upgrade of the Victoria line, which has seen the introduction of state-of-the-art signalling and a brand new fleet of trains, has reduced delays to passengers by a third in four years and halved since 2003.

    Additional capacity for thousands of extra passengers during peak hours, with a promise of a 21 per cent capacity increase delivered early in 2013. Accessibility improvements make using the line easier for passengers with disabilities

    The upgrade has delivered a 30 trains per hour service - a train every two minutes - and is giving passenger, faster, more reliable and more comfortable journeys.

    The reliability improvements brought about by the works mean that since Transport for London (TfL) took over London Underground in 2003, delays to Victoria line passengers have more than halved. Victoria line passengers have been experiencing faster journeys on more frequent and less crowded trains since May as services have increased following upgrade work.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  7. A Taxing problem we continue to fight

    Congratulations to British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic who, in spite of punitive planned APD tax increases, are starting UK domestic routes now and in the spring. And well done to Flybe for keeping its regional route network intact, at least for the present.

    These heavy tax rises are due to be introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 1 April. The APD increases were not mentioned in his Autumn statement, the figures hidden away in the Executive Summary, known as the 'Red Book'.

    This unnecessary tax could be seen is a sop to the EU in helping to support continental destinations, and that it will work against the present Government when it seeks to be re-elected in 2015. The Scottish nationalists will no doubt promise to reduce the duty if they get their way in the forthcoming referendum.

    The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) admitted that it will collect nearly £1bn less from Air Passenger Duty (APD) than first expected over the next five years. The predicted fall in passenger numbers coincides with year-on-year increases in APD.

    In a tough world we sadly expect to be taxed. But the domestic APD is counter productive and one wonders if even legal. APD is supposed to be levied as a capital to capital tax (itself daft - but we will not go into that one today) - the new APD to Australasia, Malaysia and Indonesia in Economy Plus is £188 - a great incentive for our salesmen isn't it.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story by Malcolm Ginsburg.

  8. Up with the iPad

    Users of the latest Apple's new tablet, the iPad Mini, should be in for a fine time when on board aircraft suitably equipped. That is according to IFE Services, a company based in Knutsford, Cheshire (England) which claims to be one of the leading in-flight entertainment providers to the airline industry.

    The new device weighs in at just 308 grams (11oz) and features a 7.9 inch screen and storage capacity up to 64 Gb. It can be loaded with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, music, games, e-magazines and apps and be rented out to passengers during their flight or offered complimentary depending on the airline's business model.

    IFE, which currently provides in-flight entertainment to over 50 airlines with a combination of embedded and portable systems, has signed content agreements for the larger iPad tablet with eight airlines to date, making it the market leader in this field.

    According Andy McEwan, CEO of IFE Services he believes that the iPad Mini is a brilliant portable IFE device for airline passengers to enjoy as it is light, has a long battery life and can be loaded with a wide array of fantastic in-flight entertainment content.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  9. Letting the Train take the strain

    There's an air of anticipation when boarding a night train: the hiss of engines, the commotion in the station, maybe a last-minute panic. But as the carriages shunt off with a whistle and the city fades behind you, your holiday is instantly under way.

    Thanks to a new breed of long-distance rail services, thousands of passengers have rediscovered the romance of sleeper-train travel over the past decade. Some of these trains, such as Deutsche Bahn's City Night Line service and the Spanish Trenhotel, are hotels on wheels. On board you can expect en-suite showers, luxury linen and fine dining.

    Some trains also offer room service and complimentary breakfasts. Many have chic cabins that lock with a hotel-style swipe card, allowing passengers to pop out to the bar for a beer as they glide from Amsterdam to Prague or from Paris to Barcelona. They certainly pip easyJet and Ryanair in the stress stakes and - booked in advance - on price, too.

    A final factor in the growing popularity of sleeper-train travel isn't price, comfort or the avoidance of airport security. It's the ease of booking. For bespoke trips, agencies such as Railbookers (020 3327 2424, selling transport and accommodation act like a telesales version of Thomas Cook.

    Source: Daily Telegraph - read more of this article by Tristan Rutherford

  10. More Chinese on the menu at British Airways

    British Airways is to introduce flights from Heathrow to Chengdu from September 2013.

    The airline will become the first to fly between Heathrow and the Chinese city when it starts the three times per week service. Currently BA only flies to Beijing and Shanghai on the Chinese mainland as well as to Hong Kong.

    BA is using the slots acquired from its purchase of BMI to introduce more flights to the Far East - Seoul was added as a destination earlier this month.

    The Chengdu services will start on September 22, 2013, using a Boeing 777 with four cabins including First, Club World and premium economy.

    Tickets went on sale for the route today with a special offer of £508 for bookings made by January 6.

    BA is also to add more flights from Heathrow to Amman, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jeddah, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Toronto for summer 2013.

    Source: BBT online - full report by Rob Gill

  11. Accor to add four new UK hotels

    French hotel giant Accor is adding four more hotels to its UK portfolio with new properties in London and Edinburgh.

    Accor has agreed deals to add one new hotel in London's Canary Wharf financial district and another three in the Scottish capital.

    The London property will be branded as a Novotel and will have 310 rooms when it opens in 2015.

    In Edinburgh, Accor will open an Ibis Styles hotel on St Andrews Square in the second half of 2013 which will have 103 rooms.

    There will also be two new Ibis properties at Edinburgh Park and SoCo Edinburgh which will open in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

    Accor is on a major expansion drive in the UK with the aim of increasing its hotel portfolio from the current 188 properties to more than 300 by 2015.

    Source: BBT Online - full report by Rob Gill

  12. Unmanaged spend: less can be more

    The air programme is under control. Hotels are pretty well organised. So where do the next wave of savings come from? Buyers need to:
    • Determine "large opportunity" markets
    • Keep the scope small and easy to measure
    • Identify relevant data
    • Create and execute the plan
    So how substantial is secondary spend? A survey last year by expense management company Concur showed that while air fares and hotels accounted for 55.4 per cent of the average expense claim in the UK, there were some other significant contributors.

    Ground transport (excluding personal car use) was the next biggest category, eating up around 9.1 per cent of total spend, boosted by the cost of expensive black cabs in London.

    Dining was the next biggest category, representing 8.4 per cent of total spend. The survey also found Tokyo to be the most expensive city from the top 25 business locations for dining, at an average cost of US$77.58 per head, closely followed by Copenhagen at US$76.07 and Sydney at US$76.05.

    This compares to US$56.46 in London and US$67.04 in New York. Spend in the category had declined by 1 per cent on the previous year. Telecoms represented 2.5 per cent of total spend.

    On the subject of dining, it is worth noting that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) agreed in 2008 that employers could use benchmark rates for overseas subsistence rather than requiring employees to produce receipts. HMRC includes every major city worldwide, and the information is available at Adding this to your company travel policy, saying that rates are capped at this level because of HMRC rules, can help you save money.

    Source: Buying Business Travel - full report by Mark Frary.

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