Thursday, 19 December 2013


You must have read the recent brouhaha between Travelport and British Airways. It’s been all over the web. The companies are at loggerheads in negotiating a new partnership agreement. The latest move – from BA – was a threat to pull certain fares from Travelport’s GDS and stamp a surcharge on some short-haul tickets. Travelport reacted by calling British Airways “disruptive and unhelpful” and I believe the two are still in a stalemate. 

Now, on paper, it’s easy to assume the wrangling and wrestling is all about money. But I’m not so sure. I’ve been quietly wondering whether BA is testing the water ahead of the introduction of NDC in three to four years’ time. Is BA working out – based on its market position and power – how much muscle it can flex and deals it can leverage knowing what’s down the line?

Is this a sign of things to come from some airlines? It couldn’t be truer that, these days, content is certainly king and the GDSs must be worried about being pushed down the path of partial content. That’s not good for them, their customers or the corporate travel buyer. I’m just raising a glass of Christmas cheer in the hope they’ll work this one out, and the quicker the better.

This post was written by David Chapple, event director of Business Travel Show –

GUEST BLOG: Chasing status

I write this fresh from my North American Neo roadshow, where I met some great people and collaborated on some amazing ideas that could shape the future of T&E. But that's a different story... This story is about a personal experience - of the very impersonal kind - that has come to crystallise the modern problems facing travellers of all ages.

I was staring at my Priority AAcess boarding pass in Minneapolis airport bound for Chicago. 
"Ladies and gentlemen this is an announcement we have 155 mega premium platinum status travellers and so anyone in grades 1 through 5 will now need to check in their hand luggage. We do not have a valet so your bags will probably get crushed in the hold and you'll need to wait 45 minutes at baggage claim - even though you spent the whole week living out of a small bag to avoid this very situation... Have a nice day".

Luckily my good friend Phil was at hand to calm me down with those immortal words 'Man, we're going to have to get you status!'

So where else, other than travel, does 'priority' actually mean 'second last' and where else does chasing status affect so many?

The creation of seemingly endless grades of traveller means that Road warriors (and yes that includes Millenials) are being covertly downgraded in order to keep up the chase for this ever elusive ‘status’. Open booking is simply allowing this crazy parallel universe to spiral out of control. Without proactive policy controls how can we resist the urge to spend just a little bit more to get those points?

But most importantly how we make this situation better?

Well, Neo is a good start. Neo treats everyone with the ultimate CEO status, at least at the booking stage. You just tell Neo where you need to be and when, and then Neo does the rest, just as an executive assistant would.

What it could also do is provide status hungry road warriors with the ability to control their own destinies.

Imagine if corporates started setting trip level policy.

Neo could provide the door-to-door baseline cost for each trip (think reference fare in old school language), including automatically calculated 'on trip' expenses. As long as the business value meets that expected cost, the traveller gets the green light.

That green light could also be accompanied by a vPayment limit that is aligned with that trip budget, so there's no need for individually settled costs and the dreaded wait for cash reimbursement. The traveller can then work within their own budget and trade off flight status for hotel points, empowering travellers to be their own walking P&L and to drive both company and personal success.

Best of all - when they got back from their successful trip, they wouldn't need to complete an expense report at all...

Trust goes both ways and empowerment makes us grow.
Now get back to chasing status.
This post was written by Oliver Quayle, KDS senior vice president, products and partners. KDS is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, 4-5 February 2014 on stand B920. Register now for free at

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


We have been overwhelmed with the support the industry has shown to the Business Travel Show during our 20 year history and this year it seems to be even stronger than ever, so I wanted to say thank you to our partners. 

THANK YOU, to our headline sponsor Amadeus, conference sponsors Travelodge, Egencia, Amadeus and Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Omega - the official TMC for the show’s hosted buyer programme; CIPS - our procurement partner; GBTA and ITM - our association partners and GBTA Europe, Deplacement Pro, Smart Mobility Management, and Zakenreis who are all playing a key role in bringing more European buyers to the event. Star Alliance is sponsoring the International Media Lounge and BBT, Travel Daily, Executive PA and Supply Management are our key media partners.Gatwick Airport, Sabre, redspottedhanky, Concur, GTMC and London Chamber of Commerce are also valuable partners of the show.

I hope you'll also join us at the show in February - registration is open now at  

Thanks again

David Chapple. 

GUEST BLOG: Keeping standards high in the serviced apartment sector

As the years pass, the serviced apartment sector is becoming better understood in, and appreciated by, the travel industry and in the last couple of years in particular its popularity has soared among businesses and leisure travellers.

Susan Cully, managing director, Marlin Apartments

In Europe, London is the most mature serviced apartment market. However, with just 8,000 units in total, equating to 1.2 per thousand travellers (New York has 5.2) it is small in comparison globally. The good news is that demand is growing and new openings are more frequent. This is thanks in part to the Olympic Games, which led to a surge of building launches in 2012. The even better news is that expansion continued throughout 2013 and is not expected to dip any time soon. According to a recent report by Jones LangLasalle, further growth of 4 per cent is forecast by the end of 2015.

As the market matures, occupancy rates continue to rise and demand from bookers and travellers grows, it’s not surprising the sector has found itself under scrutiny to be accountable and transparent to its customers and in my opinion this can only be a good thing. As managing director of Marlin Apartments, I was very happy to be in the room when ASAP announced (at its recent AGM) that it will be launching a quality assurance programme early next year to provide a set of guidelines for the sector against which providers can benchmark themselves and ensure that standards for customers remain high.

I personally believe this is a really positive step forward for the serviced apartment sector in the UK and Ireland and, once established, will be a very valuable tool in securing even more confidence in this growing and much in demand industry.

This blog post was written by Susan Cully who is managing director of Marlin Apartments, London’s leading owner occupier of serviced apartments. Marlin Apartments is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show on stand B1400 and appointments can be made through For more information, please visit       

Thursday, 12 December 2013

GUEST BLOG: HRG’s Three Cs : Consolidation, Compliance and Control

Challenges facings business today are numerous and well-documented. They include, but are not limited to, the impact of the global financial crisis, a demand for cost savings, corporate data security, traveller safety and satisfaction.

At the same time, at HRG, we see that businesses are growing in confidence and are looking to travel more – often to developing and emerging markets. As such, they are seeking to mitigate the risks while magnifying the rewards of business travel. HRG’s three Cs for implementing an effective, viable and successful travel programme are:
1 Consolidation:
First and foremost companies are looking to consolidate their travel programme with a single provider - this is essential for benchmarking and supplier negotiations, data management, tracking and controlling costs. The visibility of a company’s entire operation is crucial, especially as businesses become more connected and more mobile. The best results are achieved by addressing the entire spectrum of the traveller experience from booking right through to reimbursement.
2 Compliance:
Compliance has traditionally been about tightening travel polices – however this is another area where HRG is seeing significant change as a result of mobile technology and the unbundling of fares. Companies need to balance the desire to support travellers’ needs and preferences with the goals of the travel programme. A lack of compliance can lead to significant missed savings and an unsuccessful programme. It is important for businesses to look at improving traveller behaviour around the approval process, use of advance bookings and preferred suppliers, the hotel programme and the booking channel.
By consolidating their travel programme, businesses will see improved compliance, resulting in greater control and visibility over their travel related data. At the touch of a button, travel managers can see all of their travel related data in one place – making it significantly easier to fine-tune policies so that they better encourage traveller behaviour. At HRG we are seeing businesses increasingly working with us at a strategic level, calling on our expertise to initiate, shape and develop – rather than merely implement – best business travel policies.
 This post was written by Ian Windsor, Managing Director – Europe North, HRG, who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show on 4-5 February 2014. For more information please visit and 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

GUEST BLOG: Making compliance beautiful

Business travel management aims to provide a delightful, productive, safe travel experience to employees while driving company best practices and policies, and controlling costs. Reconciling employee satisfaction and company requirements is not a new challenge, but it is becoming more relevant as travellers are inundated with new solutions and choices for planning their trips. Travellers can access these not only from their own computers but increasingly from their mobile devices as well.
Egencia and its sister company, Expedia, recently conducted a study on the Future of Travel. 

Polling showed that:
  • 75% of all interviewed use a mobile device for personal or business reasons,
  • 77% of business travellers use their smartphones or tablets to book travel or monitor travel itineraries. In the UK this figure rises to 79%.
Thousands of mobile travel apps are now available, and new ones are being launched every day. In this context, the winning business travel app for the future needs to both support company goals, and instantly appeal to end users in order to maximise adoption. Although features and functions may vary, there are two essential things that successful mobile business travel solutions will do:
  • Integrate with the entire TMC ecosystem
    As mobile booking expands, the app will promote the company’s preferred suppliers and policy, in a way that is consistent with its online and offline booking solutions. Centrally designed rules will be instantly reflected across channels. Data on trips booked from mobile will flow into the central reporting and monitoring solutions, providing Travel Managers and CFO’s with the insight they need to drive travel programmes and ensure that duty of care requirements are met.
  • Delight end-users
    UX and UI design is key, and the app will leverage the most recent insight on what makes consumer apps appealing and successful. It will provide useful, relevant and timely information, based on a deep understanding of the overall travel experience. It will be simple and alluring, acknowledging that the first visual impression heavily influences which app will be downloaded (starting from the app store catalogues) and ultimately adopted as the essential travel companion.
Today, over 80% of mobile apps are used only once after download and eventually deleted by users, because of design or functionality that fail to immediately meet their expectations. The winning business travel app will seamlessly integrate with the overall TMC solution to provide companies with the control they need, and offer the most engaging experience to end-users. Compliance can be and should be beautiful!

This blog post was written by Vinh Giang Vovan, Director of Product for Egencia Europe. With a consumer-grade interface, Egencia TripNavigator incorporates technology from the Expedia brand’s acquisition of Mobiata®, a creator of best-selling mobile travel apps, with a design that has been optimised for the more complex world of business travel.  The app provides travellers with step-by-step navigation, much like a GPS device offers driving directions, and features, among other things, access to Egencia’s robust global hotel inventory. For more insights, visit the Egencia website, or watch the Future of Travel video.

Egencia is exhibiting at The Business Travel Show - 4-5 February 2014, 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

GUEST BLOG: Mobiles on flights: good or bad for business travel?

Have you noticed how, these days, we are glued to our phones 24/7? It’s like we are scared to be apart from them. Without them, we feel out of the loop - disconnected. Some people even suffer separation anxiety when they have to turn their phones off and, until very recently, that included on flights. But now Europe is relaxing rules about the use of electronics during flights, paving the way for devices to be used during take-off and landing. The good news is the increased productivity time it offers for business travellers, particularly on long haul flights. But is it good to sacrifice well-earned downtime? Will it have cost implications? And are travellers happy about this prospect?

Currently smartphones, tablets and other devices can be used only while a plane is airborne. But now the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published guidelines saying use of such devices should now be allowed during take-off and landing. It follows the US bringing in similar rules last month. The EASA stipulates that devices must be used in ‘airplane mode’, however, meaning passengers cannot use voice or text services due to the possibility of radio interference with flight equipment. The changes will apply to aircraft operated by European airlines and are likely to be introduced at the end of the month.

At RoamingExpert we are finding that businesses are using more and more mobile data and their costs concerned with roaming charges are spiralling. It is great that we have all this technology at our fingertips and a mobile workforce, which is efficient and productive, but with extended use of technology there is a cost implication to consider. Businesses that travel and their travel managers are continually looking at ways to streamline the travel process with new apps and processes being implemented. I would urge all companies that travel and their travel managers to look at the implications these changes have on their data and roaming costs because experience shows us that it is significant.

I’d be interested to know how business travellers, travel managers and small businesses feel about this change and I’d urge you to contact me @roamingexpert with the hashtag #bts14

This blog post was written by Mark Pattman, managing director of Business Travel Show exhibitor RoamingExpert – for more information, please visit and  

Monday, 2 December 2013


The conference programme is SO close to being finalised and we have some fantastic names for 2014, including senior directors of four of the world’s leading TMCs - Carlson Wagonlit Travel, HRG, BCD Travel and Radius Travel - who are going to take part in a panel debate called ‘View From the Top – TMC Leaders Speak’.

The panel will feature TMC luminaries Doug Anderson, President & CEO, Carlson Wagonlit Travel; Stewart Harvey, Group Commercial Director, HRG; John Snyder, President and COO, BCD Travel and Shannon Hyland, President & CEO, Radius Travel. They will reveal their visions for the future of the industry and the future of TMCs; discuss the changing needs of their clients and the hottest topics facing the industry today, from NDC to travel management 2.0.

Don't miss this session - it's a rare opportunity to be able to hear their opinions and visions and to learn from their vast experience and knowledge. It takes place at 1015 on Wednesday 5 February. 

It's free to attend the conference sessions - just make sure you register for a visitor pass at You can also keep an eye on the conference programme on our website too.