News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: May 2013

  1. Easyjet launch mobile boarding passes

    The no-frills airline is testing a new system at six airports, including Manchester, Stansted, Southend and Edinburgh, where passengers can now use the existing Easyjet app to download their boarding pass on to their iPhone or Android mobile device.

    This boarding pass can then be scanned at Easyjet's bag drop desks, security checkpoints and the departure gate. The ability to check in through the app has also been added as a new function during the trial.

    Subject to a successful customer trial the airline will be working hard with airport partners to roll this out to more airports. Mobile boarding passes make travel easier by allowing passengers to keep all their travel information in one place.

    The trial is also taking place at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and Nice in France. Easyjet said that customers using the app could "check-in in less than 10 seconds, download and store their boarding passes" on their smartphones with no need for an internet connection once the boarding pass is downloaded.

    The initiative is the latest attempt by Easyjet to streamline the process of passengers moving through the airport. Check-in desks were phased out completely across the airline's network from last Tuesday (April 30) with passengers now required to check in online.

    Source: BBT online - full report from Rob Gill

  2. St Ermin's signs Autograph for Marriott

    One of London's most iconic hotels, the St Ermin's, has joined Marriott's Autograph Collection. It was previously the Accor MGallery. The St Ermin's has 331 guest rooms including 41 deluxe suites and the wonderful galleried Crystal Ballroom with a capacity for up to 120 diners.

    Situated in the heart of the St James's area of London, close by Buckingham Palace, Victoria and Westminster the property has an ideal location. The Grade II building dating from 1899 was recently transformed with an impressive £30m restoration.

    The Autograph Collection is an exclusive portfolio of independent luxury hotels around the world.

    The St Ermin's is the third property in the UK following the addition of Threadneedles in London and The Glasshouse in Edinburgh in April of this year. There are now around 40 Marriott Autograph properties in the United States, Europe, Caribbean, and South America.

    Source: BusinessTravelNews - full article

  3. West Coast Main Line to receive major improvement work

    Work on the West Coast Main Line will be carried out this summer to increase the speed that trains can travel. Four major rail junctions will also be replaced and enhanced. The work will improve the reliability of the infrastructure and the punctuality of train services on Britain's busiest mixed-use railway line.

    The £18m improvement scheme will be completed over nine days from Saturday 13 July to Sunday 21 July when four life-expired junctions will be replaced and three miles of track re-laid.

    During the project, over an 18 mile stretch of line near Wigan, trains will be unable to use the Warrington to Preston section of the route. Train operators will be making alternative arrangements to help passengers complete their journeys during the line closure.

    Usually, Network Rail would have carried out work of this kind over a number of Bank Holiday weekends requiring train services to be replaced repeatedly by alternative transport. By carrying out the work in a nine-day continuous spell this summer, engineers expect to be able to complete the replacement of the four junctions around 16 months earlier and to avoid disrupting rail travel plans for many weekends and nine bank holidays over the next two years.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full report

  4. A Fair Fare - Would it, Could it ever happen over here?

    In North America a new website, www.Farely.com lets users calculate the cost to an airline of flying a passenger between two airports.

    Type in your departure and arrival airports, and the site will estimate what it calls the FairFare - the average amount per ticket that airlines need to charge to cover their costs (plus a "reasonable" profit of about 3%) between any two major international airports nonstop.

    It's the first site to make this cost available online in an easy-to-digest, free format.

    Farely isn't the typical Silicon Valley startup launch.

    It's a project by two industry experts, looking to shake up the data that's currently used to negotiate air contracts and buy air online. Depending on feedback for how customers want to use the data, they will invest in refining data tools or consumer search enhancements to make it even more actionable and invest in growing the business accordingly.

    Farely is a joint-project by Scott Gillespie, who has worked as a strategic sourcing consultant specializing in travel for more than 15 years, and Evan Konwiser, who founded FlightCaster (acquired by NextJump), and who worked for about six years as a consultant with Bain & Company, and who is a Tnooz node.

    Farely has a deal with a business intelligence company to have its product included on that company's platform, and it is seeking other partnerships.

    Farely is reporting the fully loaded, or break-even, cost to the airline of any given market between two airports.

    It isn't using the revenue data that travel management consultants (TMCs) have traditionally relied on.

    It's also different from the fare forecasts issued by Bing and Kayak, which are based on revenue data and historical patterns. Farely focuses on pure fixed costs, regardless of time of day or day of the week or yield management on any given flight code.

    I have known Scott Gillespie for nearly twenty years and every time he spoke I learned something new - so I for one will be watching this venture with enormous interest.

    Source: the Beat / Tnooz - full story written by Sean O'Neill

  5. Wow - what a finish!

    On Tuesday the 30th April - MS-UK held their 25th Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum - their thirteenth in partnership with ACTE-Global at the fantastic Grange City Hotel. Grange Hotels picked up the coveted Best Small Hotel Company Award at the Business Travel Awards 2013 earlier this year and it is very easy to see why. Their staff are the most co-operative you will ever wish to meet in any hotel and nothing is beyond their capability and satisfying the customer is their obvious goal whether it is at Check-in, Event Management or in the restaurants or bars.

    The debate format of our event worked magnificently and if you were not one of the 120 who attended on the day you can catch up on the news in Buying Business Travel online

    Pictures and a new Video featuring our Spring event will soon be found in the Travel-Forum section of our Website www.ms-uk.com

    You might also like to pencil in Tuesday 8th October 2013 in your calendar as BBT and ACTE-Global have established that date in the Diary for the Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management forum later this year!

    For further information on Management Solutions (UK) ongoing Consulting activities click here
  6. The Dream(liner) eventually comes true

    Qatar Airways has announced the resumption of Boeing 787 Dreamliner services from Heathrow after operating its first flight since January last Wednesday.

    The Doha-based carrier operated a 787 on a regular service between Doha and Dubai last week. Qatar will resume daily services on its London-Doha route on May 15.

    The world's Dreamliner fleet was grounded in mid-January until late last month following a battery fire.

    The first commercial 787 flight since US regulators lifted the ban, pending work on the aircraft's batteries, was operated by Ethiopian Airlines last weekend.

    Qatar Airways launched the first Dreamliner flights from the UK in December, with daily services between Heathrow and Doha.

    The carrier's chief executive Akbar Al Baker was the first passenger to board the airline's reinstated 787 yesterday, alongside Boeing's Middle East president Jeffrey Johnson and deputy fleet chief David Silver. Source: Travelweekly online - full report

  7. Airlines suffer as passengers take the train

    Rail use on domestic air routes has risen by almost 60 per cent in just seven years.

    A study of the ten busiest air routes within Britain found a substantial passenger shift towards rail travel due to train companies' use of airline-style pricing and railcard discounts.

    Rail's market share increased from 29 to 46 per cent between 2006 and 2012, reported the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).

    During the same period, domestic air travel plummeted by 26 per cent to just over nine million passenger journeys.

    The number of rail passenger journeys, on the other hand, rose by 49 per cent to more than 7.7 million.

    However, the use of railcards, which provide a third off most fares, jumped by 93 per cent, while sales of cheap advance fares, available up to 12 weeks ahead of travel, rose by 103 per cent.

    Train operators also attribute the rise in market share to significant investment in and improvements to services.

    Since privatisation, the number of services across the rail network per day has risen by 4,000, or 20 per cent, and passenger satisfaction as measured by independent watchdog Passenger Focus has risen from 76 per cent in 1999 to 85 per cent today.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report from Graham Smith

  8. Is 52C Where you want to be?

    New research from British Airways has uncovered some distinct patterns when it comes to where people prefer to sit on a plane.

    All customers flying with the airline can choose their seats for free 24 hours in advance of their flight, and there is the option to secure a seat further in advance for a fee.

    The data found that the airline receives six per cent more bookings for window seats than aisle.

    The results also show that the four sets of twin-seats, 51/52B, 51/52C, 51/52H and 51/52J, in a British Airways Boeing 747 are the most popular place in economy to pre-book, with more than half of our customers travelling as a pair opting to have a row to themselves.

    Those who head for the front of the economy cabin tend to choose aisle seats but those who prefer the back go for the windows.

    The research also suggests an intriguing fondness for selecting a seat on the right hand side of the aircraft (facing the nose). When choosing, 54 per cent of economy customers choose to sit on the right versus 46 per cent choosing to sit on the left.

    Unsurprisingly, the most popular seats in First class are the two right at the front, 1A and 1K and in Club World (business class), the upper deck is always popular, especially with regular travellers who snap up the seats at the back of each section, 62A and K and 64A and K.

    Source: BA PressOffice - full story

  9. Paris-Barcelona not TGV

    The plan was to launch through high-speed rail service between Paris (Lyon) and Barcelona last month. But it never happened.

    According to the respected rail industry website IRJ, officials from the French and Spanish rail and infrastructure networks now confirm that the service has been delayed indefinitely owing to a number of technical issues.

    Perhaps this should not come as a surprise. As Business Traveller magazine wrote a couple of months ago the development of international high-speed rail is being held back by a combination of technical, political and immigration issues.

    Until through services start it is still possible to travel between these two cities by daytime high-speed train with a change of train at the Franco-Spanish border.

    Passengers must take the French TGV from Paris (Lyon) to Figueres where, after a simple cross-platform change, they continue 15 mins later with a Spanish AVE (Spain's equivalent of the TGV) service to Barcelona.

    According to raileurope.co.uk there are two high-speed trains every day on this route. The fastest journey time is 6 hrs 33 mins.

    For more information visit raileurope.co.uk

    Source: BusinessTraveller Online - report by Alex McWhirter

  10. 60 Second Arrival Pledge at London City's New Look Jet Centre

    The experience of taking a private jet to and from the heart of London will soon be even better, as the Jet Centre at London City Airport (LCY) is getting a makeover.

    An extensive remodelling and refurbishment programme is underway to enhance the customer experience at the facility, which is located just three miles from Canary Wharf and seven miles from the City. The works aim to streamline and speed up the passenger journey through the Jet Centre, while building on the levels of customer service for which the LCY Jet Centre is known.

    The key elements of the refurbishment comprise:
    • A modernised building, including an improved reception area, large private lounge and new state-of-the-art private meeting room for passengers' use
    • New entrance, just a 10 second walk from the car park
    • Improved Jet Centre layout to facilitate interaction between Jet Centre staff and customers, enhancing the personal service delivery that passengers expect
    • New ground floor crew facility
    • Updated security screening in a new, dedicated, private facility . Border Force officer on site throughout operational hours
    • A new 60 second plane to car arrival pledge
    As well as making improvements to the Jet Centre passenger experience, security facilities are to be updated and relocated to a new, dedicated area where discreet checks can be carried out before passengers board their jet - ensuring increased levels of privacy and personal service, as well as a more rapid transit through the process.

    The remodelling works are expected to take around six weeks to complete and are already underway. Work will be completed outside of normal operating hours to avoid disruption.

    Source: London City Airport Press Centre - full story

  11. Getthere and HRS Get it ToGether

    HRS, the worldwide leading hotel portal for corporate customers, has entered into a distribution agreement with GetThere, a global technology company serving corporations and brand of Sabre.

    The 250,000 hotels affiliated to HRS will be available by the end of April to GetThere's global corporate customers no matter what global distribution system they use. HRS offers detailed and high quality hotel information in 32 languages as well as flexible and customer friendly booking conditions.

    HRS and GetThere believe hoteliers will benefit as their properties will now have even greater exposure via GetThere's thousands of corporate customers, including a majority of the Fortune 200, in 95 countries. Each month 5 million unique users visit the corporate travel reservation system to search and book a business trip. In 2012 GetThere managed more than $9.5 billion in business travel spend.

    "HRS has such a vast and unique range of hotels that we know will be of great value to our customers," says Suzanne Neufang, President of GetThere. "We look forward to working with HRS to bring the best selection of hotels to corporations worldwide."

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  12. Avis Drive to T5

    Avis Car Rental has announced the launch of its new location at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, home to British Airways, making Avis the first car rental company to operate in the new terminal.

    As the exclusive car hire partner for British Airways and Iberia, Avis has been chosen to be based at the terminal, providing accessible and convenient car hire for the 80,000 passengers using T5 every day.

    By renting with Avis at Terminal 5, business and leisure travellers do not have to take a bus to their car rental facility and therefore save an average of 20 minutes on travel time, reducing the overall transfer time from plane to car.

    With British Airways and its partner Iberia exclusively operating at Terminal 5, customers will also benefit from Avis' partnership with both airlines, earning Avios points on all Avis rentals.

    Avis Preferred customers will be able to enjoy the full range of benefits at the terminal, with customers able to use the Avis Preferred priority desk and take advantage of conveniently parked cars.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

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