News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: September 2013

  1. Worldwide Business Travel Bookings Surge

    Global corporate bookings in July grew 5.5 percent over the same month in 2012, according to data from Pegasus Solutions, a processor of electronic hotel transactions. At the same time, leisure demand trailed last year's robust growth.

    The increase in business travel came after corporate bookings leveled out at the previous year's volumes at the end of the second quarter. July rates paid through the global distribution systems (GDS) also surpassed slightly weaker second quarter levels in June. By the end of July, average daily rates (ADR) for corporate bookings exceeded prior year by 0.3 percent, translating to a year-to-date growth of 0.7 percent year-over-year.

    Globally, the leisure channel dropped 3.0 percent from 2012 levels. However, last year's levels were up 10.4 percent over 2011, which suggests July 2013 still enjoyed a strong and steady summer volume.

    Source: Business Travel Executive Magazine online - full story

  2. Return on Investment

    Many times over the past 23 years we have been asked what the Return on Investment (ROI) would be when companies are considering conducting a Travel audit. While we are hesitant to just throw out a number - because it varies with each company and TMC - it might help if we can explain our thoughts on this important matter.

    We believe that our ROI is the ability to know how your TMC is performing – whether that result is excellent or poor or somewhere in between.

    If your TMC achieves an excellent score at the conclusion of the audit, then you have the peace of mind that they are worth the transaction fees that you are currently paying them and you are receiving a good value.

    If your TMC scores low during the audit, then your ROI would be that you need to reevaluate your relationship with your current TMC and either send out an RFP and make a change or implement a process improvement plan to effectively understand and change their behaviour. For more information or a Free hour of Corporate Travel Management Consultation go to www.ms-uk.com/enquiry.html

  3. Are you sitting comfortably?

    It's as fundamental to the flying experience as the pilot in the cockpit, and the engine and wings of the plane. You may dread the middle seat, or love to sit on the aisle, but regardless of your preference, you've got to have somewhere to sit if you're going to fly.

    But increasingly, this most elemental of plane features is getting a makeover, with airlines slimming them down, eking out extra legroom, even turning them into beds to attract more fliers and stand out from their peers.

    In the USA JetBlue's lie-flat seats will make their debut next year on non-stop flights between New York and Los Angeles, and New York and San Francisco.

    United began featuring slimmer seats on its Airbus fleet in May, promising more legroom even as it squeezed on extra seats.

    In September, Delta will begin receiving the first of dozens of Boeing jets with power outlets at seats throughout the plane. New or improved seating is also a way for airlines to make more money, whether they're putting lie-flat seats in premium cabins, charging for extra legroom in coach, or squeezing in a few more seats to allow more passengers on board. Source: USA Today - full article

  4. Heathrow Express 'working on' ticket machine upgrades

    Heathrow Express has responded to complaints that railcard concessions cannot be claimed online or at ticket machines by saying "this is something we are aware of and are working to find solutions for".

    The issue was brought to Business Traveller's attention by a reader who was unable to purchase a senior concession ticket either online or on the train.

    This means that the only way concessions can be claimed is by queuing at the ticket office. A senior railcard entitles the holder to 34 per cent off full-fare tickets in Express Class or First Class.

    A spokesperson for Heathrow Express said: "At the moment you cannot use any concession online or via the ticket machines - you can only get the concession at ticket offices. This is something we are looking into as part of a change to our ticket machines in 2014."

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report from Scott Carey

  5. 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 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.

    The Agenda for the next Forum now under the administrative command of Buying Business Travel can be found here

    The Video of the last MS-UK event held on the 30th April 2013 can be found in the Travel-Forum section of our website www.ms-uk.com/videos-2013a.html

  6. UK hotel sector 'increasingly optimistic'

    Regional hotels had a strong July, but those in London suffered from a comparison with the Olympic Games period, two new sets of figures show.

    HotStats reports that a year after successfully hosting the Games, London hotels 'unsurprisingly' saw July's gross operating profit per available room fall by 14.6% year-on-year to £82.70.

    Occupancy in the capital grew by 7.2 percentage points to 87.9%, but this was insufficient to offset a 12.9% decline in average room rate to £148.63, resulting in a 5.2% fall in revenue per available room to £130.59.

    In contrast, HotStats figures showed provincial hotels rose for the fourth consecutive month in July, by 3.9% to £33.41, largely thanks to increased demand due to warm weather in the UK.

    Regional occupancy rose by 3.5pp to 80.3%, while average room rate was up 0.4% at £71.78, which helped lift July revenue per available room by 4.9% to £57.78.

    HotStats data are based on 624 hotels across the UK, with an average size of 177 rooms, primarily in the three- and four-star sectors.

    Source: e-tid - full report

  7. Going to have a heart attack - go to Heathrow Airport

    Thanks to 180 heart-starting defibrillators, over 100 first aid trained front line staff and a specialist team of bicycle-riding London Ambulance Service paramedics, Heathrow Airport has been declared by the London Ambulance Service as having the highest cardiac arrest survival rate in London, outside of hospital.

    The team of 15 London Ambulance Service paramedics who make up the unique "Heathrow Cycle Response Unit" have an unparalleled response rate to medical emergencies. Recent statistics show that they reached 93.6% of the most serious and life threatening emergencies at the airport within eight minutes, far exceeding the national target which states that 75% of these emergencies are to be met within the same time frame.

    Of the 6.5million people who travelled in June 2013, the bicycling paramedics treated nearly 900 passengers - with more than a fifth being treated for life-threatening conditions.

    London Ambulance Service Community Resuscitation Training Officer Martin Bullock said: "We've been working with Heathrow Airport for over 10 years and thanks to the defibrillators, its first aid trained staff and our cycle responders it has one of the highest cardiac arrest survival rates in the world. The survival rate for witnessed cardiac arrests at the airport is six times as high as in London overall."

    Source: Heathrow Media Centre - full story

  8. Wi-Fi expansion in Europe for Hertz

    The Hertz Corporation has launched its mobile Wi-Fi hotspot service at 24 Hertz locations in Germany and expanded the offering to additional branches across Spain and Italy. Bookable in advance, the portable service provides customers with fast, reliable and fixed-cost internet connection on the move with no roaming charges.

    Five to eight devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and games consoles can be connected to Hertz mobile Wi-Fi hotspot service simultaneously, depending on the destination. Customers will enjoy unlimited data (3GB in Spain) and a surfing speed of up to 21Mbps. For an average price of just 10 euros (US$ 13/ GB£ 8.52) per day, the portable Wi-Fi units can also help customers avoid internet access fees that may apply in their hotels or other areas. In addition, the units can be recharged by USB or chargers provided by Hertz. For business travellers, the pocket-sized mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device enables email connections and ongoing contact with the office, customers or family at home. The service also makes it easy for leisure travelers to stay in touch with friends and family, providing the ability to upload photos or videos or to converse via Skype or similar, while also allowing multiple users to connect at the same time.

    Hertz also offers a Mobile Wi-Fi service in Australia, New Zealand and the Canary Islands. Service features may vary depending on the country.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - complete story

  9. Do you need to know what to do?

    If you need insight and guidance on bringing vision and creativity to your travel programme, then don't miss this workshop. Callisto will provide you with tools and supporting materials to make life easier back at the office.

    So far this year Callisto 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 sponsored by Amadeus and American Express deals with Travel Technology, and 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.

    If you are a travel buyer and would be interested in attending but do not have the budget then contact our office, admin@ms-uk.com and we will see if we can assist through our connections with Callisto - just contact as soon as possible.

    To discover more about Callisto training click here

  10. Pad along to Jumeirah for virtual concierge

    The luxurious Jumeirah Carlton Tower and boutique Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel have announced that their service will be upgraded to include a chic Apple iPad in each room.

    The user-friendly iPads will act as a "virtual concierge" and provide guests with an up-to-date guide to all hotel offers and activities, ensuring that the latest news and events will be at every guest's finger tips.

    The energy-efficient devices will reduce the printing of hotel guides and the replacement of damaged binders, minimise paper waste and maintain Jumeirah's corporate social responsibility standards.

    The amenity will give each room an added touch of elegance and complement the state-of-the-art business services provided at each hotel.

    Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Belgravia and reflects the unique charms of the area.

    The boutique hotel offers a collection of well-appointed bedrooms and suites designed to suit the needs of both the leisure and business traveller.

    With award-winning cuisine, exceptional service, luxurious interiors and now iPads, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, London are the perfect destinations for the savvy traveller.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full report

  11. Cost of Rail Travel Soars

    The cost of travelling by train has risen rapidly over the last nine years according to the latest official figures, with fares climbing much faster than inflation.

    Statistics published by the Office of Rail Regulation show that walk-on passengers, who buy their tickets on the day of travel have seen prices rise by 23.1 per cent in real terms.

    These tickets are already the most expensive in the industry with a walk-on return fare to Newcastle, for example, costing £301, compared with British Airways' cheapest return fare to Marrakech which was only £139 or Istanbul, at £165.

    Commuters have had a modicum of protection, with the cost of season tickets being capped by the Government.

    But they have still seen the cost of rail travel go up by 12.7 per cent, even when inflation is taken into account. In London and the South East, the rise has been 12.9 per cent, while those choosing to commute long distance have faced rises of a staggering 17.9 per cent.

    Ministers and the rail industry have always insisted that high fares are not putting off passengers, with demand for rail travel reaching the highest level since the war.

    But the figures, which show overall fares in this period rising by 17.5 per cent suggest that families will still find driving cheaper.

    While the Government regulates the cost of commuting, other fares are left to train operators to increase as they wish.

    Even when not pushing up headline fares, train operators have brought in backdoor increases by cutting the number of services which are treated as off peak with cheaper tickets.

    Source: The Telegraph - full report by David Millward

  12. High-speed wifi could be on aircraft 'by 2014'

    High-speed wifi could be available in-flight as early as next year if a new satellite system proposed by Ofcom is approved.

    The UK communications regulator last week began a consultation on a satellite system for aircraft, ships and trains that can provide wifi connections up to ten times faster than what is currently available on public transport.

    The technology - Earth Stations On Mobile Platforms (ESOMPs) - uses high-frequency bands. It has already been approved for use by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    Isabel Montesdeoca, GM for travel and expense company Concur in Europe said, "The prospect of installing quicker, faster wi-fi broadband access on planes and trains is - from a business traveller's perspective at least - a 'no brainer'.

    "The travel industry is in the midst of a revolution driven by smartphone and tablet apps, and - if we let it - internet connectivity at all stages of a journey can ensure a business trip is smoother, faster, easier and more productive."

    Ofcom said it has been in talks with many of its European counterparts to see how best to implement the technology. France and Germany are understood to be involved.

    However, the move might not be good news for all as it would likely also result in passengers being able to take phone calls via Skype and similar software.

    Source: Business Traveller - read the article by Graham Smith

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