News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: February 2005

1  Travel Management Associations announce merger

The Washington USA based global Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the UK based Institute of Travel Management announced on 1st February that they are recommending a merger to their respective members.

Tom Stone the current President of the ITM said “A merger of the associations will be a massive step towards ensuring our members have a single and much stronger voice in lobbying government, both at home and internationally, together with much greater influence in the development of the global business travel industry. By combining the resources of ITM and ACTE, we will be significantly better equipped to exceed the expectations of our members.”

The many systems and improved services that have been launched during the past year were marked by a new Award at the Business Travel Show last week . The Minnow amongst the major companies featured was Harry Weeks Travel with their self-booking and Self-ticketing system - Travelpack Online.

The award, which was announced at the Business Travel Show at London’s Olympia on Wednesday night, is a new addition to the show this year and was introduced to recognise innovation, ingenuity and true leadership in the business travel industry.

15 nominated companies and the winner were voted for by a panel of highly-respected, independent business travel writers. The Six making it through to the final shortlist:

• British Airways – for its ‘Manage My Booking’ service
• ETA – for its online RFP service
• Eurostar – for its revamped business class carriages, and the introduction of faster train times
• Harry Weeks Travel – for its self-service rail ticketing system
• Lufthansa – for the introduction of in-flight high speed internet access
• OAG – for its ‘Flight Finder’ system

After much debate and deliberation from the panel, British Airways’ 'Manage My Booking' service was declared the winner.

Paul Robin, Event Director of the Business Travel Show explained: “’Manage My Booking’ is a more than worthy winner of our very first Innovation Award– the service has proved massively popular with customers since its inception. On face value, it’s a very simple idea designed to make life easier for both passengers and staff. But they say the simple ideas are always the best, and we have every confidence that this is an innovation that will be rolled out by other airlines in the very near future.”

Source: Internet Travel News

3  Club World Upgrade

In a bid to see off competition British Airways is making its business class flat-beds more comfortable than ever.

The airline is taking its inspiration from the sleeping experience 35,000 feet beneath it, and using technology employed by makers of household mattresses. The airline says the new mattresses, which are being installed across the long-haul fleet, will offer better ergonomic support.


4  Virgin’s Chinese Take-off away

Virgin Atlantic is delighted to announce that it will increase its Heathrow Shanghai services from five weekly to daily starting on 30 October 2005 and plans to start a daily Beijing service as soon as possible. These new services follow the Chinese government’s decision to make the UK one of its Approved Destination Countries, which allows more Chinese tourists to visit the UK.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic commented:

“Virgin Atlantic is delighted to offer daily services to Shanghai from October. Virgin Atlantic has been operating flights between London and Shanghai since 1999 and has been instrumental in developing the link between the two cities. The airline has flown over 330,000 passengers on the route to date.

Source: Airline Travel News

5  Opodo back on Acquisition trail

Opodo has bought a leading online French travel company for 60 million euros.

Amadeus-owned Opodo paid the 60 million in cash for Karavel, the owner of Promovacances, an online package holiday retailer that is widely known in France. Karvel is chaired by Christian Blanc, the former chief executive of Air France.


6  Race for 11 UK Hiltons narrowed down to two

According to the Guardian newspaper, Hilton Group is close to finalising the sale of 11 UK hotels to a private equity firm for around £130m.

The paper reports that the final round of bidding for the properties –is between Dawnay Shore and Nikko Principal Investments.

Both private equity groups have recently entered the UK hotel market and the addition of the 11 Hilton properties would near double either’s portfolio. Last month, Nikko spent £120m on the Derbyshire-based Menzies Hotel Group, which operates 14 four-star properties across the UK. Dawnay Shore, meanwhile, paid £57m for three former Hanover International hotels in December last year, to add to the 13-strong Paramount chain it purchased from Alchemy Partners for £215m in July 2004.

The properties are in Bradford, Brighton, Corby, Garforth, Mayfair, Norwich, Portsmouth, Stockport, Dunblane, East Kilbride and Edinburgh.  Hilton is expected to announce the sale of the 11 hotels ahead of its full year results, which will be published on 24 February.


7  Pssst: guess who’s buying more online travel?

Women convert from researching a specific online travel product to purchasing at a higher rate then men, according to a new study.

That was particularly true for car rentals and airline tickets, according to the study by BURST! Media Online.

Nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of women versus 58.5% of men who have researched auto rentals online have also made an auto rental reservation online—and 64.6% of women versus 59% of men who researched airline flights/fares online have also made an online ticket purchase.


8  Savoy begins new life as a Fairmont

Canadian hotel chain, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, has officially taken over the management of The Savoy Hotel in London's Strand.

From now on the hotel will be known as 'The Savoy, A Fairmont Hotel'.

The change in management has come about as the hotel's ownership has changed hands for the second time in 12 months.

The Savoy was, until now, the jewel in the crown of The Savoy Group of hotels (Berkeley, Claridges, Connaught, The Savoy and Simpson's in the Strand), which was first sold to venture capitalist group Blackstone and Colony Capital and then to Irish group Quinlan Private, which has now sold the Savoy and Simpsons in the Strand.


9  British Airways axes commission

BRITISH Airways has taken a giant step towards severing ties with agents by axing commission and dropping its least-productive IATA retailers.

The long-expected move to 0% was announced on Tuesday as part of a double whammy to the trade.

The carrier said IATA agents doing less than £50,000 of business for it over a 12-month period would have their ticketing authority withdrawn – a move that will hit 377 agents at the end of this month.


10  Travel Forum

The line-up of speakers for Management Solutions UK next Travel & Expense Management Forum is looking very exciting.

  • The senior industry executives who have agreed to take part include:-
  • Denis Bailey, Manager Indirect Material & Services Purchasing - CNH  UK Ltd
  • Michèle Bibby, Operations Director - The Travel Company
  • Jonathan Foster, UK Sales Manager - UK Direct Business Travel - British Airways
  • Norman Gage, Business Development - Director - Advantage Travel Group
  • Spencer Hanlon, Managing Director UK - Air Plus
  • Will Hasler, Business Travel Manager - Price Waterhouse
  • Keith Haynes, Global Business Development - Director - RADIUS Global Travel Group
  • Nick Hurrell, Director of Corporate Sales Travel - BTI Travel
  • Kevin King, Director of Sales EMEA - Synergi Global Group
  • Betty Low, Editor  - Business Travel World Magazine
  • Jonathan Reeve, Director of Corporate Travel - HWT Travelpack Online
  • Paul Richer, Managing Director -  Genesys, the Travel Technology Group
  • Floyd Widener, VP Corporate Solutions EMEA - GetThere
  • Ray Wooldridge, Corporate Travel Manager - BSkyB

The date for this event is Tuesday 8th March and the location is the Charing Cross Thistle Hotel.  Further details can be found on Management Solutions website,

11  e-Travel, TQ3 Extend Agreement, Target Europe's Mid-market

e-Travel, the global leader in online travel solutions and the e-commerce unit of Amadeus, and TQ3 Travel Solutions have extended their global reseller agreement for the next three and a-half years.

Both parties will continue to invest significant funds in product development and online service support for TQ3 customers over the course of the agreement. Specifically, this includes setting up an EMEA support team and two centralized pan-European call centers.

Also as part of the new deal, TQ3 will roll out Aergo-based TQ3 Business to its mid-market clients in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Czech Republic and Switzerland before the end of March 2005.

Source: RedlineTravel news

12  Pink Ribbon Rates

The Abbey Court Hotel prides itself on being your “home from home”, and, that they should do something that will really benefit others so they have decided to create a special discount “Pink Ribbon Rates” for your stay in London.

What does this mean?

Well if you or your travellers are visiting London and need to book a hotel for your stay, then please book a discount “Pink Ribbon Rate” with the Abbey Court hotel.  If you do, you will be helping the Abbey Court hotel to raise money for this very valuable cause.

For every “Pink Ribbon” reservation at this beautiful London hotel they will be donating a proportion of the rate to the Breast cancer campaign.

What are the discount hotel rates? The rates they have chosen for this campaign are “set” rates, by that we mean they are set for the year of the campaign. So we must advise you that some days of the year, some other promotions may mean the hotel is available at a lower price, on other days the discount “Pink Ribbon” rate will be our lowest available price. However for such a great and worthy cause we feel this is the best way to raise the most money we can, we hope you agree and understand.

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