News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: November 2013

  1. Taxi for Lewis?

    Hertz Corporation has introduced a number of high quality new models to its Supercar range in Europe. Hertz Supercars provide customers with the opportunity to drive high end marques in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK that would normally retail at six figure prices.

    New premium models added to the European collection include the McLaren MP4-12C Spider in the UK and Germany, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta in France, the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Cayman in the Netherlands, and the BMW X6 Drive 35 D and the Range Rover Sport TDV8 HSE in Spain.

    The 2013 edition of the McLaren, the MP4-12C Spider, now available for rental in UK and Germany, unleashes 616bhp, up from 592bhp in 2012. In addition, drivers in the UK can enjoy the Lamborghini LP570-4 Performante Edizione Tecnica and other impressive motors.

    Source: The Business Travel News - full story

  2. Data breakthrough at ACTE conference

    The most insightful of sessions at ACTE's Global Education Conference in Barcelona last month saw a trio of buyers from Microsoft sharing how they use data analytics and predictive modelling to benefit the traveller.

    Based on three years of trip data housed in an Excel file, it holds 1.5 million trips and illustrates traveller behaviour based on history, company trends and location.

    Microsoft analyses the data by country, business groups, cost per mile, top travellers, top destinations, advance booking and trip purpose, among others, and emails the information, rewarding good traveller behaviour for saving money for example.

    "Having the openness helps and we don't find people doing things way out of policy because they want to keep their job. The threat of enforcement is usually enough." Quoted Eric Bailey, Senior Travel Manager, Strategy & Technology at Microsoft.

    The predictive modelling will change what options are given to travellers and in turn this will increase productivity at booking. "There's no point showing a United flight if the traveller always opts for Delta," says Anne Kloepfer, head of Global Service Delivery at the company.

    Bailey adds, "I know who they're going to fly with from country comparisons and once you add this predictability we can start reducing the greatest cost of planned travel, which is productivity.

    "One hour to book a trip costs us US$40million across the company and eight hours of lost productivity costs us US$320million."

    In the future, the plan is to show two to three flight options and two to three hotel options "and they should be exactly what you want" says Jim Johnson, Microsoft's Global Travel Director.

    Source: TheBusinessTravelMagazine online - full story by Gill Upton

  3. Speed up Stansted to London links

    London First, the influential lobby group, has outlined a £620m package to improve rail access to Stansted Airport.

    In its report "A World Class Rail Link for Stansted", the body proposes plans that could cut journey times on the Stansted Express to below 40 minutes, as well as halving its delays. Often called "The Stansted Slow" the train currently stops twice on the journey between the airport and Liverpool Street station near the Bank of England. Whilst the Tottenham Hale Underground connection is essential for passengers requiring the Victoria Line the standstill at either Harlow or Bishops Stortford are purely for local use.

    Chief Executive of London First, Baroness Jo Valentine, said: "Stansted has spare runway capacity. A rail link on a par with those to Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports would spur competition, giving Stansted a better chance to attract new airlines and passengers".

    Stansted rail's biggest problem is the lack of capacity, the route mostly twin track and built over 100 years ago to satisfy Cambridge's needs.

    This follows ongoing disputes about upgrading London's airports to meet future capacity. Aside from Stansted, plans include building a third runway at Heathrow or establishing an airport on an island at the Thames estuary.

    Source: The Business Travel News - full story

  4. Self-service future for airport security?

    For those who break out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of an "unexpected item in bagging area," the fact that self-service security checkpoints are on the horizon may trigger a full-scale panic attack.

    A Californian-based startup called Qylur Security Systems has announced it will begin offering automated security checkpoints from next year, after completing a series of small-scale trials of its machines in airports, sports stadiums and other venues over the last few months.

    Visually, the checkpoints would not look out of place in a Dr Who studio: a series of white, plastic honeycomb cells cocoon a sensor that automatically scans users for dangerous items, chemicals and nuclear materials.

    The idea is that you go to one side of the machine, insert your bag into a small cabin, and scan your boarding pass whereupon the machine uses its knowledge of threat categories to assess whether dangerous items are inside. The Qylatron knowledge of the types of threatening items that might be smuggled on an aircraft can be regularly updated to improve the decision-making skills and stay ahead of evolving threats.

    Qylur claims that this system is more thorough than traditional human - or even holographic - security officials, lowering the rate of false positives at a reduced cost for airport bosses. Apparently, a single machine with five cells could replace five security lines, moving through the same amount of people in one-quarter of the space, with only five employees as opposed to 15.

    Essentially, the company believes its machines can do a whole host of jobs a lot better than a team of trained human beings - all without requiring lunch breaks, sick days or petitions for a pay rise. Furthermore, it claims that the system could even make venues money, with each of the device's 10 screens existing as open space for ads to be displayed and sold.

    Source: itproportal.com - full article by Alysia Judge

  5. "el magatzem"

    Is a surprise - located at the port of Barcelona at the end of the Museum of Catalan History "el magatzem" is the smallest of the open-air restaurants projecting from the outside of the 19th century brick built Museum, which itself used to be a substantial warehouse until it was converted prior to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

    Having said all that the food is absolutely superb - not the cheapest - but the quality and the service equal the finest to be found anywhere. If find yourself in Barcelona and want to experience Tapas, Paella, and fresh fish cooked to perfection then take a Taxi to Port Vell - for more information check out this website www.elmagatzem.cat - you will not be disappointed - and that's a promise!

  6. Duty of Care

    What does this mean to you?

    At the ACTE conference last month Duty of Care was analysed and the two key words to describe Duty of Care were "Common Sense."

    Those two words sum it up completely. You cannot expect a traveller to fly through six or more time zones and then be physically or mentally fit 100% and yet time after time we find travellers are expected to jump into a self-drive car and drive it on the "wrong" side of the road - quite often in areas they are not familiar with.

    When it comes to the business of Corporate Travel it covers a number of issues - For example when planning an International journey for your travellers does the airline you choose to put your travellers on to meet the criteria of conformity with the necessary technical elements and requirements prescribed by the applicable international safety standards?

    Who chooses the airlines - you, your travellers or your TMC?

    If you would like to know which airlines are not considered safe by the European Commission then download this webpage - http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban/doc/list_en.pdf which you can print out and check whenever you are in any doubt.

    If you have concerns over the legal obligation of Duty of Care which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others then you might want to consider talking to one of our professional Management Consultants to put your mind at rest, check out www.ms-uk.com

  7. Lowcost across the Atlantic coming back to Gatwick

    The promise of low-cost air travel from Britain to the US that died with Laker Airways in the 1980s has been revived with Scandinavian carrier Norwegian starting budget services from Gatwick airport to New York next summer.

    A one-way ticket from London to the Big Apple will start at £149. Norwegian's services will use the new Boeing Dreamliner, which, despite its teething problems with incinerating batteries, is highly valued by airlines for its fuel savings.

    Norwegian's low-cost services will have a degree more comfort than the model pioneered by Ryanair. US-bound passengers will have seat-back entertainment included in their ticket price but will have to pay a further £30 for an extra package that includes meals, a baggage allowance and reserved seating.

    Along with the three services a week to New York starting in July, the airline will start twice-weekly flights to Fort Lauderdale in Florida and to Los Angeles, also for under £200.

    Source: the Guardian - full report by Gwyn Topham, transport correspondent

  8. Paris to San Francisco by A380

    Air France will operate a daily A380 service to San Francisco during the 2014 summer season.

    Starting on March 30, flight AF0084 will leave Paris Charles de Gaulle at 1040, arriving in San Francisco at 1300 local time.

    The return service will depart San Francisco at 1550, and arrives at CDG at 1125 the following day.

    The national carrier's A380 has 516 seats in four cabin classes - nine seats in La Première (first class), 80 seats in business, 38 in premium economy and 389 in economy.

    During next summer, Air France will serve eleven destinations in the US from Charles de Gaulle - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.

    In September, Air France became the first carrier to deploy the A380 to Shanghai.

    Source: BusinessTravellerOnline - read the story by Graham Smith

  9. Qbic Hotel London City unveils £1 sale Lottery

    Qbic Hotel London City is offering guests the chance to stay for just £1 over a three-month period.

    Between December 15 and March 15, the "budget boutique" property will make five of its 171 rooms available each day for £1 to early bookers.

    The promotion launches on November 12 - all proceeds will be donated to local charities Bikeworks or FoodCycle.

    To be in with a chance of winning a £1 room, guests need to sign up for the Qbic e-newsletter on www.qbichotels.com or connect through its Facebook page, Qbic London, or Twitter account @QbicLondon.

    The release of the £1 rooms will be announced on these channels in November.

    Winning guests will make their donation upon check-in at the hotel, when they can choose which charity they wish to support. Of course, guests are more than welcome to donate a little extra to help boost the charities' takings.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report by Graham Smith

  10. BMI Regional scraps five routes

    BMI Regional is scrapping five routes from Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester airports following a review of operations

    Flights from Manchester to Edinburgh and Antwerp will end on November 29

    Flights from Manchester to Edinburgh and Antwerp, from Edinburgh to Copenhagen and Brussels, and from Birmingham to Billund, Denmark, will no longer operate.

    The former subsidiary of British Midland International, which has operated as an independent airline since October 2012, will keep Aberdeen and Bristol as its main bases.

    Following a comprehensive review of their network, BMI Regional has announced the closure of five routes.

    All customers booked to fly with BMI Regional on the affected routes that services will operate up to the termination date - November 29 for routes from Manchester - December 31 for Birmingham to Billund and January 5 for Edinburgh to Copenhagen and Brussels.

    Passengers booked beyond these dates will be contacted to offer alternative arrangements or a refund.

    No job losses are expected as a result of the move.

    BMI regional was bought by Sector Aviation Holdings last year for £8m following the sale of British Midland to International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.

    The airline has a fleet of 18 Embraer ERJ aircraft. It operates flights from Britain to destinations including Oslo, Lyon, Kristiansund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Milan, and Munich.

    In October the carrier announced a new route from Newcastle to Brussels, and on Monday it began flights between Aberdeen and Oslo.

    Source: the Telegraph - full report By Oliver Smith

  11. Ryanair's changes find limited favour

    A Skyscanner survey has found 67% of travellers are more likely to fly with Ryanair following the airline's decision to change a number of its policies. However, Skyscanner added that it was not all good news for Ryanair, with 29% of travellers adamant that they would still not fly with the airline despite the changes.

    Ryanair last week unveiled a range of 'customer service improvements', including a reduction in the fee for checking in baggage at the airport from £60 to £30, and the introduction of a 24-hour grace period to allow passengers to correct minor mistakes made during the initial booking process at no extra cost.

    The survey of 1,000 people, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Skyscanner, found that baggage charges were the biggest issue for passengers using low-cost carriers, with almost a third of respondents having incurred unexpected fees for oversized hand luggage.

    The travel search site said it was therefore not surprising that Ryanair's decision to allow passengers to take an additional small bag on board was the change travellers most welcomed, cited by 39% of respondents.

    Source: e-tid - full story

  12. New easyJet Gatwick-Paris flights to launch next summer

    Twice-daily flights from London Gatwick to Paris Charles De Gaulle are among the new services featuring in easyJet's 2014 summer schedule.

    The low-cost carrier will also maintain the airport's links to Jersey following the departure of Flybe operations at Gatwick, with a three-times-daily service.

    easyJet purchased 25 slots at Gatwick from Flybe and will also launch a six-times-weekly service from Gatwick to Newcastle.

    Other new routes for the airline next summer include Belfast International to Jersey and services from Glasgow International to Split.

    Its launch of services to Paris is a sign of its intent to make inroads into the business travel market. "From Gatwick we have increased our already comprehensive range of destinations, making even more business sense for corporate travellers," says easyJet group commercial director, Cath Lynn.

    Source: TBTM online - read the story

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