News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: July 2013

  1. Au revoir Suzanne

    Following the final MS-UK Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum which was held on the 30th April, Suzanne Neufang announced that as of immediately she was quitting her role as president of GetThere and Sabre Virtual Meetings after 10 years with Sabre Holdings.

    Suzanne will continue to serve as ACTE president "for the remainder of her term, which runs through the end of this year," according to ACTE executive director Greeley Koch.

    I am sure that everyone who has witnessed Suzanne's input into her work with Sabre and ACTE will wish Suzanne the very best in whatever she turns her hand to next. I personally will be doing just that when we catch up at the ACTE convention in Barcelona in October. Click here to learn more about the ACTE Barcelona event and to make your bookings now

  2. Poor Rail punctuality

    Cross Country and Virgin Trains top the list for the UK's most unpunctual train operating companies (TOCs).

    Figures released by Network Rail reveal that just 46.2 per cent of Cross Country trains arrived on schedule, defined as arriving within one minute of its scheduled time. The equivalent figure for Virgin Trains was only a fraction higher at 48.4 per cent.

    Other poor performers include Southern at 55.7 per cent, East Coast at 59.5 per cent and First Scotrail at 59.2 per cent.

    The statistics cover a 365 day period leading up to June 22 of this year. They include delays caused by external factors such as weather, trespass, vandalism, cable theft and so on.

    Top performers included Chiltern at 87 per cent, East Midlands Trains at 75 per cent, First Great Western at 69 per cent and Southwest at 68 per cent.

    Note that Heathrow Express, Eurostar and 'open access' operators Grand Central and Hull Trains are not included in the Network Rail punctuality figures.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full story by Alex McWhirter.

  3. Lufthansa receives award for its First Class lounges

    Top rankings for Lufthansa at the "World Airline Awards 2013" in the categories "Best First Class Airline Lounge", "Best Western European Airline" and "Best Transatlantic Airline"

    Over the past ten months, 18 million passengers from over 100 countries have participated in the world's largest aviation passenger survey and have recognised Lufthansa's First Class lounges as the best in the world. The airline has also been voted "Best Western European Airline" and "Best Transatlantic Airline". Dr Reinhold Huber, Senior Vice President Product & Marketing, received these prizes on Lufthansa's behalf at the World Airline Awards, hosted at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.

    This customer survey was handled by the airline quality assessment institute Skytrax, an aviation specialist. The study examined over 40 different customer satisfaction and service quality issues for each airline. It focused equally on the airlines' in-flight experience and their airport services. Skytrax has carried out this independent study every year since 1999.

    Especially the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport received top marks in the survey. Also the First Class Lounges at the hubs Frankfurt and Munich were highly ranked by customers. According to the assessing institute Skytrax this reflects the high standard and service of the facilities. The fact that additionally Lufthansa was awarded best airline in Western Europe and on transatlantic routes was a clear sign that Lufthansa standards were satisfying customers, Skytrax stressed.

    Source: Lufthansa News - full report

  4. Saco improves booking process

    Serviced apartment company SACO has implemented an integrated property management, reservations and distribution platform to improve the booking process for its 600 apartments worldwide.

    Rezlynx PMS, provided by Guestline, provides real-time online availability of SACO's inventory through a bespoke online booking module and live availability feed to a selection of online portals and GDS.

    It takes just four clicks to make a booking. Since launch SACO has seen a 50% rise in the number of online bookings.

    The new distribution platform will also make it easier for corporates to integrate SACO into their travel programmes. Key locations such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol can all be booked on the GDS from 1 September.

    Source: TBTBM - full story

  5. Change rings in for phone users landing with British Airways

    British Airways will be the first airline in Europe to allow its customers to switch on their mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices after landing.

    Previously, customers have been forced to wait until their aircraft has come to a complete stop and the doors were opened before they could use their iPads, Kindles, eReaders and mobile phones.

    Once the aircraft has vacated the runway, cabin crew will make an announcement to customers to let them know they can use their handheld mobile devices.

    But British Airways has now demonstrated to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that their customers can safely use their handheld electronic devices, once their aircraft vacates the runway.

    The approach by British Airways to the CAA was made in response to feedback from the airline's customers.

    Earlier this year, British Airways became the first UK airline to allow customers on long-haul services to watch in-flight entertainment from the moment they board the aircraft to the time it arrives at its destination, following consultation with the CAA.

    British Airways customers will be able to take advantage of the change in policy from July 1, 2013. It will apply to every British Airways flight landing around the world, not just in the UK and Europe.

    Customers on departing flights will still need to turn off all their handheld electronic devices when the aircraft leaves the gate, in line with current regulations

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  6. What effect does your travel policy produce?

    Is it hated by the workforce?

    Does it save your organisation money?

    Does it guarantee the safety of your travellers?

    When was it last created, reviewed, amended?

    These are just some of the questions that Buying Business Travel will be addressing in their first effort on the 8th October at the Grange City Hotel as they take over the role that MS-UK pioneered with their Corporate Travel and Expense Forums. More information will be found on the Buying Business Travel website, click here and check their events page.

    Pictures and Videos featuring past MS-UK events can be found in the Travel-Forum section of our Website

  7. Changing travel buying habits

    In western Europe travel agencies are becoming less and less important for booking travel. In 2008, an average of one in three trips was booked through travel agencies whereas in 2012 it was only one in five.

    In China and Russia more and more people are making use of the internet to book their trips instead of going to travel agencies. However Chinese and Russia travel agencies have retained a high market share as a medium for booking trips. In China more than half (52 per cent) of all trips abroad are booked through travel agencies, which means that despite their decline they remain the most important place for booking travel.

    In Russia 36 per cent of trips are booked through travel agencies. Compared with 2008, travel agencies have retained their market share and still account for one in three travel bookings. In China and Russia the market share of travel agencies lies well above that of western Europe, where it averages 21 per cent.

    Compared with other nations, people in Great Britain are the most avid internet users. Among Britons, the internet was the booking instrument of choice for 78 per cent of their trips.

    For the British market that represents a 47 per cent increase in internet bookings over 2008.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews online - full story

  8. British Airways reveals first Dreamliner routes

    British Airways has chosen Toronto and Newark as its first destinations using the Dreamliner aircraft.

    BA has now taken delivery of its first Dreamliner 787 from Boeing and the aircraft arrived at Heathrow at just after noon on June 27th after flying from Boeing's base in Seattle.

    The airline is planning to serve Toronto with the 787 from September 1 and Newark, New York from October 1, subject to regulatory approval. Flights are now on sale and with a fare of £787 return in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) to both cities.

    The Dreamliner will operate on Heathrow-Toronto once per day from September 1. The 787 will also initially fly daily to Newark from October 1, increasing to 13 per weekly from October 27.

    BA will also be unveiling its first Airbus A380 superjumbo at Heathrow this week. It has already announced that this aircraft will initially be used on routes to Los Angeles and then Hong Kong from October.

    Meanwhile the carrier is to increase flights to China for the winter 2013/14 season by adding a seventh weekly service from Heathrow to both Beijing and Shanghai. These extra flights will be introduced from October 27.

    BA is also introducing Chengdu as a new destination in China from September 22 with three flights per week.

    Source: Buying BusinessTravel online - full story by Rob Gill

  9. Do you need to know what to do?

    Are you ever faced with a problem you need a little help with?

    Now you can boost your confidence by attending a Business Travel Training Workshop organised by Karen McKenna who has a record of extensive business travel experience spanning more than 20 years, with a diverse and in-depth knowledge of sales, marketing, sourcing and procurement processes.

    So far this year Karen and her tem have examined the principles of producing an effective RFP for business travel and a Hotel Programme Workshop to help travel managers build effective hotel programmes.

    The next Callisto Workshop deals with Travel Technology, nd poses the question Is it More of an Art than a Science?

    Make a diary note now for Tuesday 17th September, 2013 at the RSA House, London from 09:00 till 17:00.

    To discover more about Callisto training click here

  10. Eurostar passengers paying 'over the odds' for tickets

    A reduction in "excessive" Channel Tunnel toll fees would result in lower passenger fares and more customers, the EU has said.

    Only 37 per cent of the Tunnel's capacity is currently used, a situation that the EU is looking to rectify.

    According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the EU wants the Intergovernmental Commission (the body which regulates the Tunnel on behalf of the UK and France) to instruct Eurotunnel (the Tunnel operator) to lower its access fees for Eurostar passenger trains and freight operators.

    Much secrecy surrounds the actual toll fees which Eurotunnel charges but, in the case of a Eurostar passenger, it can be a much as £19 per one-way trip.

    The UK and French governments have been given two months to comply with the request.

    High infrastructure access fees are also hampering the development of international high-speed rail links in mainland Europe.

    However, Eurotunnel claims that its high access fees have not discouraged new train companies. It points to advanced plans by Gremany's DB to operate its ICE trains through the Tunnel.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full report by Alex McWhirter

  11. Last month we posed the Question

    Do you ever need Professional advice on Travel Management Issues?

    We warned about the lack of professionalism amongst some who have set themselves up as consultants without any qualification or professional status.

    Understanding the ins and ours of hiring and working with consultants can streamline the process, help you keep your expectations realistic, and ensure the best possible outcome for your project - all the while making you look good.

    On the other hand, hiring a consultant for the wrong reasons, or not managing the process itself, can result in a significant waste of time and money, and will likely damage your hard-earned reputation. "Consultants are hired to assist a company in arriving at a set of conclusions and recommendations so that the company can make educated decisions," says Colin Brain, the founder of Management Solutions (UK) Limited. "Ultimately, any decisions that are made will be made by the company."

    Consultants should not be hired to make decisions for companies. Your knowledge, ongoing involvement and input are vital to ensuring a good outcome for your project and for your organisation.

    "You may want to consider calling in a consultant when a project will be too disruptive, or will require specialised skills, or to bring credibility to upper management," says Ron Bennett, the former Head of Central Pay & Pensions at the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions. Additionally, because consultants are outsiders, they often are able to ask difficult questions that insiders may be uncomfortable posing. That said, a consultant should only be brought in when it's obvious that the results will make the costs worthwhile, he adds. "The compelling reason for going outside for help is that outside consultants can do things that you can't do inside,"

    For more information or if you require any help or assistance please click here

  12. AirPlus UK Team Enter the 100km Trailwalker Challenge

    Three teams from AirPlus in the UK have entered this epic challenge to help fundraise to support Oxfam's work with the Gurkhas in Nepal.

    This year the UK AirPlus team has decided to invest their time, efforts and comfort in order to take part in the Oxfam Trailwalker 2013.Ten colleagues from the office have signed up to hike 100km across the South Downs in under 30 hours.

    Three teams, as part of the commitment to Oxfam, must raise a minimum of £1,500 through donations from their family, friends and colleagues. This fundraising effort will go directly to Oxfam to support their work with the Gurkhas in Nepal. As an indication of how far even a moderate donation goes: £25 (or €30) will purchase a goat for a family in need, providing them with much needed milk to drink and sell.

    This will prove to be a considerable mental, physical and emotional challenge for all those involved, and these three teams will be putting in some long hours to get race-ready.

    For anyone wanting to support this effort they can visit the AirPlus fundraising page, where they can select which team they would like to support.

    Yael Klein, Managing Director of AirPlus in the UK says "AirPlus is dedicated not only to benefiting the environment through product development and climate neutral innovations, but also to helping the local and global community through our charitable actions. This event will be a serious undertaking for all those involved and I am very proud of the team who have volunteered to take part. I just hope that I can lead by example and complete the challenge in a decent time alongside my colleagues!"

    If you would like to support Yael and her colleagues with this worthwhile challenge please click here - thank you

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