News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: July 2004

1  The Travel Company expansion

Corporate Travel International, the business travel arm of what was Cyberes has now been absorbed into The Travel Company.

CTI is recognised as the North of England’s leading business travel management company; it is headquartered at Hull, Humberside and has offices in York, Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.  The company also has a leisure division based near Hull.

Mike Walley managing director of The Travel Company said: “This acquisition gives us a strong presence right across the North of England, and further strengthens our position as the UK’s leading independent travel management company.”

2  Advantage Travel Centres Recommends Sabre Travel Network

Advantage Travel Centres, one of the United Kingdom's leading travel agency consortia, has named Sabre Travel Network as the recommended global distribution system (GDS) supplier for its Business Travel Focus Group members. Although it is not mandating use of the GDS the consortium expects that most of the Focus Group's 85 members will switch to the system.

This was a unanimous decision by the Advantage Business Travel Focus Group evaluation board, following an extensive six month review. The consortium's director of business travel, Norman Gage, said one of the reasons for this decision had been the solid strategic direction of Sabre Travel Network and its parent company Sabre Holdings.

Source: Business Travel Websites Group

3  London hotel occupancy returns to 80%

Latest figures from TRI Hospitality Consulting show revenue per available room (revPAR) at UK hotels increased by 12.8% year-on-year to £53.05 in May, taking overall revPAR growth for the first five months of 2004 to 9.7%.  The improvement in May revPAR was as a result of a 4.2-point increase in occupancy to 74.4% and a 6.5% rise in room rate to £71.27.

London hotels again saw the strongest growth - albeit in comparison with a SARS-hit May 2003 - with revPAR up 26.4% year-on-year at £70.47. Occupancy levels rose by 10.8 points to 80% and room rate by 9.4% to £88.13.

In the provinces, May occupancy improved by 1.8 points to 72.4% and room rate by 4% to £64.57, resulting in revPAR up 6.6% at £46.78.

Source: e-tid.com

4  United Passenger numbers up

An United Airlines spokesperson last week informed the audience at MS-UK’s Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum in London that relevant daily passenger numbers had shot up from 150,000 passengers a day 12 months ago to nearly 257,000 passengers a day last week! Sadly though United had not seen a similar increase in financial growth.

Toby Joseph, the COO of TQ3,  also mentioned that the Guild of Business Travel Agents had recorded an annual growth rate of 24.7%  - however this level of growth had slowed down considerably in the past two months.

Source: businesstraveller.com

5  Bristol to Bordeaux

Bristol Airport has now been joined to Bordeaux on the Bay of Biscay following the introduction of a new FLyBE Bombardier Q400 jetprop daily service last week. Flight time is 90 minutes. Bordeaux is the third FLyBE route to be introduced this year and follows the successful launch of daily services to Bergerac in March and Jersey in April. In all there have been eight new routes introduced in 2004 at the airport which has just broken the 4m passenger barrier.

Source: ABTN ; www.flybe.com

6  Marriott opens in Canary Wharf

Marriott has opened its ninth hotel in London overlooking the city’s second financial centre.

The London Marriott West India Quay Hotel has 301 rooms and 47 Marriott Executive Apartments. The modern steel and glass building is opposite Canary Wharf, reached by bridge, and next to a DLR station, which is about 20 minutes tube ride from The City. It is also well placed for London City Airport and the ExCel exhibition centre.

There are 22 suites, which all face the quayside, offering striking views over the London skyline and River Thames.

Source: Business Traveller online

7  E.U. Directs IATA to Allow Agents Single European Accreditation

The campaign by corporations and corporate travel agents to pressure the International Air Transport Association into creating a true pan-European marketplace has taken another step forward. The European Commission has given IATA a deadline of July 19 to issue proposals for allowing multinational travel agencies single accreditation across the European Union.

Under current rules, agencies have to go through a different accreditation process in each country. "If IATA can be persuaded--or forced--to come up with a pan-European accreditation system, travel management companies' process costs will be reduced dramatically," said Philip Carlisle, chief executive of the United Kingdom's Guild of Business Travel Agents. "Those savings can then be passed on to client companies."

Single agency accreditation is one of four issues on which agents and corporate travel buyers have been lobbying IATA both directly and through the European Commission, which has concluded that several IATA practices are anathema to its vision of a single European market.

Source: btnblast@btnonline.com

8  Business Travel Chief Says Less Is Not Always Best

Companies buying travel today are looking for more for less. The challenge for business travel management companies is still to provide a high quality of service, ‘add value’, constantly search for new products and services – and still reduce costs - according to Jim Tweedie, Executive Vice President of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the world’s largest wholly owned business travel management company. Speaking at the company’s North Europe conference, held at the Radisson Edwardian Mayfair Hotel in London last week (19 June), Tweedie said: “The world of business travel has been a tough environment in which to work in recent years. Purchasing and procurement professionals are constantly looking for more for less. And to an extent that is understandable.”

Source: Business to Business Travel Websites Group www.btbtravel.com

9  up - up and PDA

OAG has recently launched a new travel planning tool, OAG Flight-Finder.

The service offers complete flight schedule listings instantly available on your handheld – all for less than the annual cost of a newspaper!

The new development compliments the internet based Airport Flight-Finder service which was launched earlier this year and was covered in the last issue of OAG data News. The development of this new PDA service used some technical knowledge from the airport service and combined it with other IT expertise and market understanding to produce a solution aimed at the business traveller.

With extensive knowledge of the traveller market, particularly that of the high revenue frequent flyer market, OAG is aware that when travelling on important business, passengers are more comfortable with a full range of flight schedules available at their fingertips.

Source: OAG

10  Virgin to operate Kangaroo Route

Virgin Atlantic plans to launch flights to Australia this winter.

The flight will operate from London Heathrow via Hong Kong to Sydney, with a 90-minute stopover. It launches on December 7 and tickets will go on sale this summer.

The airline has been keen to launch on the Kangaroo Route for years but has only just got approval from UK and Hong Kong authorities. It is not expecting to encounter any problems with European Commission approval.

Source: Business Traveller online

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