News and launch information from exhibitors including American Express, easyJet, Capita, Gulf Air, Air New Zealand, Amadeus and Click Travel.
AMEX LAUNCHES NEW RESEARCH AT BTMS – 282 and First Class Lounge
American Express Global Business Travel will be using the BTMS to discuss a brand new piece of research focusing on how business travel can be used as a competitive advantage to maximise ROI. During a masterclass session Mark Douglas, VP UK and Ireland, and Christa Degnan Manning, American Express's Global Advisory Services Group director of research and media, will betalking about the new research and providing advice on how businesses can use travel to their competitive advantage. American Express Global Business Travel will also be announcing an important new appointment to its business travel team, the head of the meetings and events team for Europe. To find out more, please visit the American Express Global Business Travel team at stand 282.
EASYJET FLEXIBLE FARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS - 84
BTMS visitors can find out more about easyJet’s new flexible fare, which gives passengers unlimited flexibility to change their flight up to two hours before their scheduled departure time. Starting from as little as £99.99 one way (including taxes) the flexible fare has been designed to enable passengers to make unlimited date changes within a four week time window – one week before and up to three weeks after the original booked travel date. Passengers booking an easyJet flexible fare will also benefit from automatic speedy boarding, no booking fees and a checked in hold bag at no extra cost.
Paul Simmons, UK general manager for easyJet, said: “Our new flexible fare has been welcomed by Travel Management Companies and business travellers who regularly use easyJet’s extensive European flight network. It means that if circumstances change, business passengers are not committed to their original flight and can now easily amend their booking without any unnecessary hassle and cost.”
The flexible fare ticket is available to book now via Global Distribution Systems, self booking tools and business travel agencies.
CAPITA ACQUIRES BSI - 80
The Capita Group plc has acquired BSI (Booking Services International Limited). As a result of this acquisition BSI, a leading specialist hotel and conference booking agency with an annual transactional business volume of £170m p.a., sits alongside Capita Business Travel and Evolvi Rail Systems within the Capita Group plc portfolio.
Customers of BSI and Capita Business Travel will gain significant benefits in service and choice as the company aligns two of the leading providers to the business travel industry. As a result of the acquisition Capita will have the ability to continue to offer both leading specialist offerings in each travel area, as well as combining these into an exciting and unique travel management company proposition to the UK corporate and public sector.
GULF AIR TO LAUNCH NEW HEATHROW LOUNGE – Airline Pavilion
Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, will be unveiling its new, state of the art lounge at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. The lounge will feature several improvements aimed at providing an enhanced experience to its premium customers whether to relax, refresh or attend to urgent business requirements.
The features include a spacious lounge in a contemporary design reflecting the modern Arabia adorned with Bahraini paintings while offering a panoramic view of one of the runways with a 4metre high windows providing natural light, a central area featuring mood-lighting in tune with the time of the day , separate showers for male and female passengers and a prayer room. The lounge will also have a modern business centre equipped with IMac computers and free Wi-Fi throughout the lounge
CLICK TO SHAKE UP CORPORATE RAIL TICKETING WITH LAUNCH OF NEW PLATFORM –262
Midland based business TMC Click Travel is promising a shake-up of the corporate rail ticketing market with the launch of a brand new rail platform with an exclusive launch at the Business Travel & Meetings Show.
Click Travel founder and managing director, Simon McLean, said: “Our emphasis has always been on offering clients best value and in rail we saw an opportunity where our innovation could rip a whole layer of cost out of the rail ticketing process, whilst simultaneously improving the end user experience. We’re extremely proud of the functionality and capabilities of our new product and look forward to unmasking it at the biggest show in the UK for our industry.”
Click Travel’s new rail platform will add a third player into the market and its bespoke technology claims to be the only one with pre-trip authorisation, other features include; direct connection to rail company inventory, comprehensive policy compliance and an attractive commercial proposition.
INNTEL ‘INN-TEGRATES’ INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL MEETING ROOM SPACE – 6
Inntel is working with its clients to develop an integrated online management solution for internal and external meeting room space. Designed to put internal space ‘front of mind’ when organising meetings, the new solution will remove the need to conduct two separate space searches, and enable bookers to directly compare room size, suitability and availability when using Inntel’s online self-booking tool.
“It’s all too easy to ‘think outside the building’ when looking for meeting space, when the ideal solution could literally be just down the corridor,” said Inntel Managing Director Douglas O’Neill.
“By developing this new integrated internal and external meeting space solution, we aim to help our clients work even smarter, delivering cost and time savings and even environmental benefits.”
UK SERVICED APARTMENTS REPORT GROWTH FOR 2010 – AC11
2010 figures just released by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) confirm that demand for serviced apartments continued to increase steadily last year. The average overall occupancy for London was 89 per cent for the year overall, up three percentage points on 2009. Quarter three delivered the highest occupancy for the year averaging 94 per cent from July to September. The average net weekly rental rate in London was £907 showing healthy growth on the 2009 figure of £843 (an increase of 7.5 per cent).
For the rest of the UK the overall occupancy for 2010 was 76 per cent (up four percentage points on 2009) with Quarter three once again proving to be the best-performing quarter achieving an average occupancy of 81 per cent for July, August and September. The average net weekly rental rate for the regions grew to £594, an encouraging ten per cent increase on the 2009 figure of £538.
ASAP, along with 10 of its members, will once again be exhibiting at the Business Travel & Meetings Show.
EGENCIA INCREASES TRAVELLER DUTY OF CARE - 76
Egencia, an Expedia, Inc. company, has released new Travel Alerts and Traveller Tracking tools enabling European clients to fully comply with duty of care obligations.
“To meet our clients’ full-service travel management needs, Egencia is continuing its history of innovation by providing enhanced features and tools for greater efficiency, stronger security and proactive service,” said Christophe Peymirat, Vice President Global Marketing, Egencia. “Travel Management Companies have a duty of care to their clients. Egencia fully equips Travel executives to manage crisis scenarios, providing the information and tools necessary to support their travellers no matter the location and circumstance.”
AMADEUS LAUNCHES NEW SBT VERSION - 36
Amadeus has announced the release of version 14.0 of its flagship e-Travel Management solution, the self-booking tool for corporations. The new version, which is available globally, includes a range of enhanced features including the new Travel Arranger Workspace. All of the features used by the travel arranger such as booking and modifying trips, trip reviews, profile management, are now grouped into a single much more intuitive work area. Coupled with enhanced search facilities, this speeds up the booking process as there’s no need to switch between several screens.
Michael Casati, Vice President Logistics at Swiss Re, and Oliver Kühne, Senior Consultant at TraXess commented: “Swiss Re and TraXess’ collaborative and flexible relationship with Amadeus has enabled the successful development of the new Travel Arranger Workspace solution which will save a lot of time for the travel arrangers at Swiss Re, usually the PAs. We anticipate that the dedicated travel arranger space, user friendly calendar display, and selection basket built just for them, will be of great benefit and will allow them to easily and intuitively book frequent trips in one click. All these aspects will improve the user experience and efficiency for travel arrangers at Swiss Re and beyond.”
AIR NEW ZEALAND LAUNCHES NEW ROUTES – Airline Pavilion
Air New Zealand is showcasing its new long-haul product at BTMS, which starts flying from London to LA/NZL in April. The airline has also made its award-winning lie-flat bed in Business Premier even more luxurious with a thicker mattress, fluffy duvet and full size pillows; and has designed a delicious on demand menu to suit travellers’ personal preferences.
ARIK AIR LAUNCHES FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMME - Airline Pavilion
Arik Air, West Africa's leading airline, has introduced its first Frequent Flyer scheme - Arik WingsPlus.
The customer loyalty programme will reward members with free flights, upgrades to Business Class and vouchers for excess baggage on all international services. Passengers can earn miles on each international sector and can be redeemed across the network, including to 18 destinations in Nigeria. Arik Air currently flies to nine international destinations in West Africa and beyond, including New York, Johannesburg and London from hubs in Lagos and Abuja.
Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, CEO of Arik Air, said: "The introduction of Arik WingsPlus is one more notable milestone in the development of Arik Air. There was an increasing demand from our growing loyal customer base to reward this loyalty and we have reacted to that, not only by introducing the scheme but also by offering them the chance to claim 50% of the miles that they have flown in the last 6 months. We have also designed the scheme to ensure that our customers get nothing less than value as an Arik WingsPlus member by affording Business Class passengers the chance to potentially redeem a domestic flight after only a one-way long-haul flight. This is not only designed for our Business Class passengers, we have many loyal, regular Economy Class customers who now have the opportunity to upgrade and get free tickets and we feel that this will further establish Arik Air as the preferred carrier of choice in West Africa."
TRAVELDOO LAUNCHES MOBILE PLATFORM FOR TRAVELLERS - 196
Traveldoo, the provider of online business travel services platforms, has launched a European mobile platform that by combining travel booking aggregation and mobile content delivery, will make business travellers’ lives easier and help companies improve travel management.
Traveldoo’s mobile application for iPhone and Blackberry provides business travellers with instant access to consolidated and synchronised itineraries (flights, trains, hotels, car hires...) regardless of the booking channel. In addition to travel arrangements made via Traveldoo’s Web corporate booking platform, Traveldoo’s mobile application will support the integration of reservations made outside the company’s TMC or preferred booking channels. Automated email processing and online itinerary editing will be added to the existing PNR sync capabilities and travel vendor data feeds.
The mobile application will keep travellers informed about the approval status and the compliance of their trips, show a summary of fare and rate conditions, and display product-specific delivery information such as rail ticket on departure. It will also help locate hotels, car rental agencies, rail stations and airports, and enable to email selected itinerary information, e.g. messaging rail seating to a colleague.
IMPROVED FIRST CLASS FROM EAST COAST - 70
East Coast is improving its First Class on-board service offer to give passengers travelling First Class extra value for money. From May 2011, East Coast will introduce complimentary meals and refreshments, with a range of dishes served throughout the day, direct to passengers in their seat, which will all be included in the price of the ticket.
In addition, there will also be a step-change in customer service to make our passengers feel special and have a great journey experience with East Coast. In addition, East Coast will highlight the biggest timetable change the route has seen in 20 years. The introduction of a new clock-face timetable from key destinations on the route will benefit passengers with 19 additional weekday services and 3 million extra seats per year. East Coast will also introduce the new four hour Flying Scotsman morning service from Edinburgh to London, as well as a new return service to Harrogate from London in the evening, the first in 20 years. As well as this, East Coast will operate a new direct Lincoln to London service that will help passengers from the region travel to London for business.
VISIT ESSEX FOR BUSINESS - 77
Visit Essex will be exhibiting at The Business Travel & Meetings Show for the first time, and will be promoting the new Visit Essex for Business initiative which aims to raise awareness of Essex as a destination for business. This mainly undiscovered county as far as the MICE industry is concerned, can cater for conferences up to 5,000 in one venue, accommodate exhibitions covering 3,700sqm, and the largest award-winning hotel, the Radisson Blu at Stansted, has 500 en-suite bedrooms. With over 100 dedicated, unusual and quirky venues nestled amongst the beautiful rural and coastal landscape, market towns and quaint villages, Essex really does have something “a bit different” to offer.
Carol Jolly, Business Tourism Manager for Visit Essex said “We are delighted to be exhibiting for the first time at The Business Travel & Meetings Show (stand number 77). It is an ideal platform for us to promote our new venue search website dedicated to business tourism, and we will be show-casing the “Best of Essex”, enticing buyers to give us a try! This is an exciting initiative for the county and we have the full backing of our members and partners to make this a successful project, which will undoubtedly generate income for the businesses and ultimately the Essex economy”.
EXECUTIVE SERVICED APARTMENTS EXPAND ON TO THE SOUTH COAST – AC12
Luxury serviced apartment provider esa (executive serviced apartments limited) is expanding on the south coast of England, including Bournemouth, Poole, Southampton and Portsmouth.
The exclusive new development in Poole called Heavytree Court is situated in the desirable area of Lower Parkstone, offering just 11 modern, contemporary styled apartments finished to an exceptional high standard throughout. esa has also acquired accommodation at one of Portsmouth’s most exclusive addresses, No 1 Gunwharf Quays. Rising to nearly 100 metres and arranged over 29 storeys, the development nicknamed “The Lipstick Building” is the tallest residential skyscraper on the South Coast and offers panoramic views over Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent. esa has also added Telephone House in Southampton and Richmond Gate in Bournemouth, a luxury development located at the top of Richmond Hill.
Charlie Turner, Managing Director, commented “Following the increasing demand from the corporate market on the South Coast, we are excited to launch these new serviced apartments in a number of locations. These apartments are a perfect addition to our portfolio and have been carefully selected to offer high specification and quality with our guests needs in mind.”
VIBRANT TRANSFORMATION OF 19TH CENTURY GRANDE DAME – ITM VILLAGE
In April 2011 the St Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster re-opens its doors after a £30m transformation to reveal an individual, stylish new look, welcoming ambience and attentive service under the leadership of General Manager Douglas McHugh. Retaining its classic architecture, evocative Art Nouveau styling and Rococo plasterwork, the St Ermin’s has been given a distinctive, modern and highly textural look and feel by LA-based designer, Dayna Lee of Powerstrip Studio.
Owner Amerimar has extended the hotel with the addition of 56 rooms following the purchase of the adjoining offices – restoring the complete ‘horseshoe’ of the original mansion block.
“Our aim throughout is to allow the quirky and characterful aspects of The St Ermin’s to shine through - she has quite a colourful past – whilst bringing her right up to date in terms of design, comfort and service for our guests,” commented McHugh.
STATESMAN TRAVEL UNVEILS NEW TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS AT BTMS - 116
Statesman is introducing two new travel solutions to the UK market at the Business Travel & Meetings Show: Sky 2 and TravelAudit.
Sky 2 is an innovative travel service platform for the corporate world devoted to security sensitive countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The platform enables the booking of local carriers and GDS content within those regions and is the only internet based site which can offer a complete mix of multi sector content. This project is a great example of a British company integrating its travel management and technical experience into emerging markets to develop a modern day airline consolidation and GDS business.
TravelAudit has been created by Statesman’s TSI (Travel Solutions International) partner and has already been rolled out in Singapore and Australia. The UK version should make its full debut in Q2 of 2011 and Statesman is previewing the current version at this year’s show. TravelAudit allows clients to measure a true ROI for their travel programme by auditing each booked reservation to determine whether a lower fare or rate has become available. Where savings outweigh the change fees and represent a saving to the customer the booking is altered and booker notified.
Statesman’s Joint Managing Director, Mervyn Williamson says “We are excited to unveil such great technological tools and believe they help to demonstrate that innovative technological solutions are not just the domain of the “Global TMC’S”.
MEETINGS WITH PERSONALITY AT BEST WESTERN HOTELS - 360
Inspired by some of the weird and wonderful requests received by Best Western in the past year, the hotel group has created different, meeting packages to bring a little spice to the yearly AGM, including sky-diving, tank driving, a hovercraft meeting and ghostly goings on.
MONDIAL ASSISTANCE UK AND THE INKERMAN GROUP TAKE TRAVEL COVER TO A NEW LEVEL - 232
Mondial Assistance UK and The Inkerman Group have announced the launch of new travel insurance and assistance products for business travellers. As international specialists in business risk and intelligence, The Inkerman Group is working with Mondial Assistance to create bespoke travel solutions, offering businesses a high level of protection for their staff.
Through its Travel Safe and Tracker solutions, The Inkerman Group identifies risks, threats and vulnerabilities facing businesses today, and provides information, advice and leading-edge tracking solutions which enables companies to know where their staff are at any point in time. The company’s 24/7 Operations Centre provides the monitoring, tracking and response services essential to the delivery of these products and which links directly with the Mondial Assistance network worldwide.
NEW ETMS AT BTMS FOR ANVIL - 256
Anvil will be demonstrating an entirely redesigned version of its Employee Travel Monitoring System (ETMS) at the Business Travel & Meetings Show featuring features such as digital mapping. The company will also be introducing ANVIL ASSIST, a one-call comprehensive traveller assistance service, designed to embrace any event that could affect a corporate traveller or expatriate. Finally, to complement its existing range of risk mitigation products and services, the company will also showcase its Traveller Safety E-Learning Course developed in-house.
MINI CAB4ONE – NEW LAUNCH AT THE BUSINESS TRAVEL & MEETINGS SHOW – 158
The Business Travel & Meetings Show is the launchpad for a brand new travel company – mini cab4one, which has been created in response to the fact up to 80 per cent of taxi journeys carry only a single passenger. The company is using a fleet of planet-friendly Smart car cabs helping companies reduce both their carbon footprint and travel costs without compromising safety, comfort or convenience.
REDFERN TRAVEL SAVES ARTS COUNCIL'S CASH
“Redfern Travel’s booking system tRIPS saved the business £60, 319.15 in rail travel alone in the first 3 months” Terry Larkin, The Arts Council.”
Recently recognised as a Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 Company, Redfern Travel specialises in cutting edge technology that allows clients to book travel, reducing costs and booking time, at the click of a button.
At this year’s BTMS, exhibiting on Stand 257, Redfern Travel will be running interactive demonstrations of award winning online booking system tRIPS.