News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: May 2006

1 Carlson Makes Mega Deals

Carlson Companies late last week announced agreements to take a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel and buy rival travel management company Navigant International.

CWT's acquisition of Navigant means the third-largest travel management company in the United States is buying the second-largest. Carlson Wagonlit already claims to be the largest TMC in the world outside North America.

At the same time, Carlson Wagonlit's 50 percent shareholder, Accor, is selling its stake to Carlson Companies and private equity investor One Equity Partners for $465 million. The sale increases Carlson Companies' holding in Carlson Wagonlit from 50 percent to 55 percent, while One Equity Partners takes the other 45 percent.

Source: Business Travel News

2 Hoppa Hoppa

CityHoppa has been launched, a development of the successful Resorthoppa.Com pre-booked shared transport concept. CityHoppa will be available at most European gateway airports providing door-to-door transfers from airport to hotel or apartment by shared mini bus or coach at prices usually lower than the local taxi company.

As CityHoppa points out, the booking, which can be made up to 48 hours before the flight, guarantees transport availability whatever the time, night or day. As payment can be made by either Mastercard or Visa travellers can ensure that their expense costs are accurately recorded.

Source Air & Business Travel News; city.resorthoppa.com

3 Stansted to Best

Air Berlin entered a third UK domestic route last Tuesday (May 2). The German budget airline is now flying twice daily Monday to Friday between London Stansted and Belfast's recently renamed George Best City Airport, which is located  conveniently three km from downtown.

The launch of this route has won praise in Ulster which has suffered from a lack of direct air links to mainland Europe. Air Berlin's flights connect at Stansted with the carrier's onward flights to destinations in Germany such as Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Leipzig, Nuremburg and Austria (Vienna).

Air Berlin also began serving hot meals in flight from the beginning of this month.

Source: BusinessTraveller.com

4 New Research shows more UK firms turning to internet for travel

The internet is enabling more businesses to organise their travel than in the past, a new survey shows.

The Visa Europe research found that 52% of businesses questioned said more employees are now organising their travel and 48% said that more staff are involved in purchasing travel services than previously.

Forty four per cent of small firms said staff organise their own business travel, rising to 54% for medium-sized companies and 58% for larger organisations, where traditionally travel arrangements would be made by a personal assistant or through a central resource, the research found.

Overall, 66% of companies said they actively encouraged the use of budget hotels and 54% were asking staff to use low cost airlines.  

Seventy per cent of large companies believing the online option made it easier for them to shop around and save money in the process.

Source: Travelmole.com

5 Autumn Forum News

MS-UK are delighted to announce that Concur Technologies will once more be a main sponsor of the  Autumn Forum on Wednesday 20th September at the Hesperia-Victoria Hotel.

  • In house travel dept versus Call centre (do you get a better service from a TMC implant or a call centre?) - TUPE & the impact on changing TMC
  • What new product(s) is/are on the horizon to allow Corporates / TMC's to reduce bottom line costs?
  • Surface Transport, Rail & Hotel procurement and how self booking tools are dealing with this problem.
  • Is the Security and Risk Management under control in your company and some suggestions to consider.

50 plus corporate industry and travel officials rubbed shoulders and networked at Management Solutions tenth Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum on the 8th March at the Hesperia-Victoria London Hotel as reported in the Business Travel Europe online Newsletter.

If you wish to make sure of your place at this rapidly growing event then please send us an email with the word REGISTER in the subject line and we will guarantee your seat and send you a booking form as soon as prices are known.

6 Stratford  to Europe

The GBP210m Stratford International station has opened - with the hope that Eurostar services will be confirmed later this year.

Stratford International will be the main rail station serving the east London Olympic site in 2012, with high speed <javelin> trains expected to ferry 25,000 spectators an hour between the sports venues and the centre of the capital.

 

Work on Stratford International started in 2004. It is a bridge station spanning a one kilometre long, 25 metre deep trench - as long as Tottenham Court Road in central London, as deep as an eight storey building and wide enough to fit three QEII sized ocean liners.

Eurostar are currently compiling a report into the best options for stopping patterns for Channel Tunnel Rail Link trains, which as well as St Pancras and Stratford will call at Ebbsfleet and Ashford in Kent. An extension of the Docklands Light Railway will also improve links between the station and the rest of east London.

Source: Railwaypeople.com

7 AirPlus Plus

Last week AirPlus announced that their new functionality for the A.I.D.A. Company Account designed  to transform the way companies pay for business travel services.

Whilst in the past customers have struggled with limited acceptance of their payment methods when trying to book online, A.I.D.A. offers virtually universal acceptance combined with the excellent data quality clients have come to expect from AirPlus.

When making bookings online, the newly developed A.I.D.A. functionality automatically checks whether a supplier accepts the AirPlus Company Account as a payment method.

Should that not be the case, the software generates a pseudo-credit card number that can be used for this transaction while also prompting the booker to enter any additional data the client requested, such as employee number, cost centre or project number. The information will appear on the invoice from AirPlus in the usual format.

8   Regional Airport continues to Grow

Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Britain's airport with the longest name) celebrated it first birthday last Friday 28 April and reported a 12-month throughput of more than 840,000 passengers.

During this period it achieved the distinction of being the first and only airport in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Humberside area to offer direct non-stop services to long haul destinations in USA, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Over the next year the passenger figure is expected to climb through the one million barrier.

Currently the airport serves 12 scheduled destinations including Amsterdam, Dublin, Geneva, Lyon and Paris with Pisa and Barcelona appearing on the destination boards from September.

Source Air & Business Travel News; www.robinhoodairport.com

9 Leave the Driving to EOS

EOS Airlines are now offering a complimentary, premium car service upon arrival or departure at London Stansted. Purchase tickets using any of one of their regular fares-excluding the Weekend Fare-and then leave the driving to EOS.

When arriving at London Stansted, EOS Airlines would also like to extend an invitation for you to enjoy a day room at the conveniently located Radisson SAS Hotel with their compliments, and a return ticket on the Stansted Express Train to central London.

This offer is available immediately, book your tickets now, then call to reserve your car. That's all it takes to put EOS in the driver's seat.

In order to qualify, tickets must be purchased using the Anytime, 7-Day or 14-Day Advance fares where applicable.

10   Millenium Makeover

The Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington has recently redesigned and renovated a number of bedrooms within the hotel creating a more contemporary and cutting-edge feel for its guests.

At a cost of GBP2million the hotel's standard rooms on the first floor have been transformed using an 'East Meets West' design concept.

The 143 newly renovated standard rooms have an emphasis on the simplicity and fluidity of this latest design, as well as the comfort and convenience for the discerning traveller. The rooms' style also conveys the look and feel of a modern home with generous use of natural colours to induce a calming effect.

The Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington is located in the heart of Kensington, just south of Hyde Park and in close proximity to many of London's major attractions including the Natural History, Victoria & Albert and the Science Museums, the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace.

Source: Hotel Travel News

11   Business Class Bargain fare

Maxjet is currently offering one of the best buys in transatlantic business class travel. Throughout May, the US-based all-business class airline is cutting prices to both New York JFK and Washington D C.

Maxjet is charging GBP575 for return flights from London Stansted to either city provided you book and travel by June 2. This represents a saving of several hundred pounds on its regular prices.

Said Gary Rogliano, Maxjet's CEO, "Other airlines are charging consumers more because of the recent hikes in fuel prices, but Maxjet stands firm in its resolution to offer the best possible prices for all-business class travel."

Maxjet flies four times a week to Washington DC and daily (except Saturday) to New York JFK. Services are operated by B767s featuring six across (2-2-2) seating with 60 inches of legroom.

Source BusinessTraveller.co.uk; www.maxjet.com

12   Radisson Leipzig

Radisson SAS has taken over management of a former Mercure property in Leipzig, the most important trade fair city in the former eastern Germany.

The four star property originally opened in 1964 as the Hotel Deutschland.

Located on Augustusplatz in the heart of town and opposite the Opera House, this 214-room hotel has undergone extensive refurbishment.

All rooms now feature state-of-the-art technology including flat screen TVs and free wireless broadband. There is also a business centre and six conference rooms..

Room rates in Leipzig represent good value compared to other German cities, but they do rise when exhibitions are taking place. In mid-May room rates at the Radisson SAS start at Euros 140 for a superior and Euros 155 for an executive room (both 31 square metres in size) with a larger (35 square metre) business class room (including breakfast and other benefits) priced at Euros 180. But in mid-July (a quieter time) the same rooms are priced at Euros 95, 110 and 135 respectively.

Radisson SAS already operates seven hotels in the former east Germany along with two value-for-money Park Inn properties.

Source: Business traveller.com

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