News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: December 2003

1 New Central London Hotels

A long-awaited addition to the London hotel scene, the super-cool Malmaison has opened in trendy Clerkenwell. The property is within easy striking distance of the City, Barbican and Covent Garden. It is also a stone's throw from Smithfield Market, a working meat market, and an area brimming with bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The hotel has an 80-cover brasserie serving 'contemporary cuisine', which is offering a festive three-course menu for £35.

There are 97 bedrooms including two suites, which offer CD players with CD library, nibbles and a minibar as well as the speedy ‘vroom’ room service and same day laundry. There is a fitness room and the two meeting rooms accommodate ten and sixteen people, boardroom style.

Source: Business Traveller Magazine online

LONDON CITY will also have a new five star hotel from the end of the year when the Crowne Plaza London opens near Ludgate Circus in December. The 203-bedroomed property, situated opposite Blackfriars Station, is in a location bereft of top quality accommodation and is about half way between the City and the West End. The seven-storey building will offer 44 of the popular Crowne Plaza Club rooms and club lounge, two restaurants, contemporary bar, fitness centre and state-of-the-art conference facilities. The theatre-style meeting room seats 180 delegates and there are executive boardrooms for up to 16 people, as well as a dedicated business centre and meeting desk. (Source  Air & Business Travel News

2   IATA Lifting Restrictions on European Cross-border Transactions

The International Air Transport Association has announced a first series of reforms aimed at improving the management of travel programmes across Europe. The measures come at a time of increasing pressure from the European Commission, plus corporate buyer and agency lobbying groups, to scrap the national structures which prevent air tickets being bought and sold as a single entity within Europe. The Commission has told IATA it is likely to end the association's "negative clearance"- immunity from prosecution for operating as a cartel - next May.

Source: BTN Online

3  BMI Moves to Halt US Deal for Cathay

BMI is planning to sabotage the deal between the UK and Hong Kong governments which has given Cathay Pacific access to the lucrative Heathrow-New York route.

The deal still has to be ratified by the European Commission and BMI has begun lobbying EC ministers in an attempt to quash the deal. BMI's attempts to access New York from Heathrow have been thwarted on several occasions.

The agreement - which allows BA to codeshare and consult over fares with Qantas - is under review by the Australian competition authorities.

Source: TravelWeekly online

4  Virgin to Go Down Under Next Summer

VIRGIN Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson has pledged to launch services Down Under via Hong Kong next summer.

The announcement comes after UK and Hong Kong authorities agreed to open up the market between the two destinations.

“Everyone at Virgin Atlantic has long wished for the airline to operate to Australia,” he said. “The deal means our ambition will soon become a reality.”

Virgin will fly daily from Heathrow to Sydney, allowing passengers to transfer to other major cities on Branson’s Australian low-cost operation Virgin Blue.  Branson said he would eventually operate the new ‘super-jumbo’ Airbus A380 on the route. It will begin with an A340.

Source: Business Traveller

5  Internet transactions in seconds instead of minutes?

Internet transactions in seconds instead of minutes? That's the premise of Laszlo Systems, which announced at the PhoCusWright conference that Terrell Jones, founder of Travelocity, had joined its advisory board.

Travel sites can replace dozens of HTML pages with a single page approach using Laszlo, say company officials. The system makes it easier for users to change flight selections, view itineraries and get the information they are looking for without waiting for page refreshes or navigating through a morass of Web pages.

Source: Travelmole

6  BA brings flat beds to Gatwick

British Airways has introduced its premium economy class and flat beds in business class to some Gatwick services.

The Club World beds and World Traveller Plus cabins are now available on flights from Gatwick to Houston, Dallas and Bermuda. It is the first time BA has offered the six-foot long flat beds out of Gatwick.

Source: Business Traveller

Christmas markets

Historic Christmas markets held in cities, towns and villages throughout Europe are becoming increasingly popular with shoppers, due to their enchanting festive atmosphere.

Each Christmas fair and market is unique and offers a range of unusual and handmade gifts including ceramics, candles, glasswork, jewellery and Christmas decorations. A number of stalls also feature traditional items such as wooden toys, nativity scenes and marionettes

The ambience is further enhanced by the aromas of hot chestnuts, grilled sausages and not forgetting the delicious mulled wine.

Source: Take Off

8  London Business Travel Show

Make sure that your diary has the 3rd to the 5th February 2004 clearly marked for attendance at the 2004 London Business Travel Show at London’s Olympia.

9  Holiday Benefits for Business Travellers

A ‘closed user’ holiday booking service for UK companies and organisations is offered by HWT as part of their employee or member benefit packages. Their award winning service offers immediate access to a proven way to win in the competition for the recruitment and retention of staff.

Over 250 organisations already have access to Leisuretime, providing services well-liked by employess or members and delivering an efficient method of developing positive relations.

HWT’s client base has become one of the biggest ‘closed user’ holiday services available and includes high street names such as Superdrug and Top Shop through to organisations including UNISON and the NHS.

10  Savings of 75% possible on Administrative Costs

Was just one of the claims made at the Autumn Corporate Travel Forum organised by Colin Brain of Management Solutions (MS-UK) in conjunction with the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) and moderated by the BBC’s Nigel Coombs.

This event was the first Corporate Travel Forum organised by MS-UK that had enjoyed sponsorship which was provided by both AirPlus and the Control Risks Group.  This had allowed MS-UK and the ITM to offer delegates places at a substantial reduction. Full story will appear shortly on MS-UK’s website

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