Friday, 30 January 2015

GUEST BLOG: What is important when considering car hire for business travellers?

As any corporate traveller knows, how you travel is critical to comfort, employee satisfaction and ultimately productivity. Businesses need to balance the cost of travel and the quality of the experience for their travellers – increasingly important as companies continue to streamline costs. Here are the most important factors to consider when hiring a car for business travellers:

Understand the value of a quality provider to you, your travellers and your organisation 
  • The vehicles employees drive whilst on company business are, to a degree, a reflection of the business 
  • Never compromise safety through choosing a low quality and corner-cutting rental option
  • Quick service, state-of-the-art systems and easy access helplines save time and minimise hassle

Look at the whole cost of the hire including extras such as sat nav, unlimited mileage terms etc
  • At first glance one rental option may look cheaper than another however the cost of extras varies significantly and may even be offered free 
  • Extras, such as sat nav, may come built into premium models and therefore do not need to be added as a chargeable extra, this can minimise the price differential between premium and economy rentals

Maximise corporate discounts and reward membership schemes
  • Most rental companies offer discounts, rewards and benefits for corporate rental and leasing 
  • Take advantage of frequent traveller membership schemes
  • Look for membership schemes that are cross-sector, for example hotel, airline and other travel industries to earn and use points more easily

Look for branch convenience with a network of branches in the locations you need, that are open at the times you need
  • Well established car rental companies are more likely to offer a good spread of branches nationally and internationally, maximising flexibility and convenience as well as enabling a single service provider internationally
  • Don’t wait, save time with extended opening times including 24 hour service options
  • Consider delivery and collection services for the ultimate in convenience and time-saving 

Consider chauffeur services and hire a driver with your car
  • Improve the traveller experience, reducing stress and enabling a more restful journey (and also potentially time to work in the car!) 
  • Reduce driver liability and risk of accident with a professional driver service

This post was written by Sixt. If you like what you’ve read and found it interesting, find out more on the Sixt UK Blog ( and Sixt Website ( Sixt is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show on 25-26 February 2015. Register for a free visitor pass at 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

GUEST BLOG: A review of bad charges

It is a fact of modern life; nobody reads the documentation. From the technology we buy, to the software we use, to the financial agreements we enter into we maintain a serene distance from the tangled legalese of the documents that supplement these exchanges. Less than 8% of users read software agreements, which may be why so many people are shocked to learn they don’t actually buy music from iTunes, they simply licence it.

There was an example last year of a hotel in Blackpool deploying the surreptitious art of the small print. The Broadway Hotel charged a couple £100 for leaving a bad TripAdvisor review with the justification that the clause was included in their booking T&C. The terminology used by the hotel is broad, “For every bad review left on any website…” Theoretically posting a photo with a derisory caption of the offending room on your Instagram account could lead to a punitive pay out.

The most disconcerting element here is that the hotel chose not to notify the couple that money was going to be debited, breaking trust between travellers and hotelier in relation to their banking details. In my estimation a more professional process would be to contact the couple about the offending article and offer them a chance to remove or redact it while citing the hotel’s policy.

So what should travellers be aware of? Firstly check the standard inclusions, breakfast, Wi-Fi, taxes, etc. and make sure they meet your expectations. Secondly have a go at reading the T&C supplied with your booking. These can sometimes be impenetrable but should at least contain section headings to let you navigate to find what’s important. Finally if you’re not sure, ask, hotels would rather answer a simple question than deal with a disappointed, or angry, customer.

Hotels should always strive to present a clear picture of potential charges. This ranges from tax inclusivity in rates through to charges for late checkout, currency conversion fees, Towel deposits and similar, preferably through the use of a single sheet summary attached to the booking. The simpler and clearer it is put, the less disagreement there can be later on. Meanwhile travellers should seek out as much information as possible as complacency about the costs associated with staying at a hotel may have a sting in the tail.

This post was written by Mike McConnell of Supranational Hotels who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show on 25-26 February 2015. Register now for a free visitor pass

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


Despite a year where terrorism, tragedy and natural disasters adversely affected business travellers globally, a quarter of organisations still do not have a traveller risk management strategy in place and nearly half of those (11 per cent) don’t intend to introduce one in the foreseeable future.

However, despite this, 91 per cent of travel managers say they see the duty of care of travellers as part of their role and 89 per cent work with their TMCs (travel management companies) to ensure their travel programmes are responsible.

These are some of the results from a survey carried out by the Business Travel Show, Europe’s leading exhibition and conference for travel buyers and managers, which takes place 25-26 February 2015 at Olympia Grand in London. The survey also highlighted that, out of the top 20 issues facing buyers this year, traveller safety hobbled in at number five, behind challenges associated with cost cutting and compliance. 

The survey of 179 European travel buyers also asked buyers about their programmes’ sustainability credentials. 40 per cent do not have sustainable travel programmes, though half of these claimed that is because they achieve sustainability targets through other areas within the business. 43 per cent of programmes are sustainable and 17 per cent are planning to make them sustainable.  Comparative results from the last five years are below.

Is your travel programme sustainable
No - we focus on sustainability in other areas of the company

No - not economical
No - not priority
No - planning to though

Fewer organisations are using travel alternatives, such as video conferencing. Just 52 per cent are using them more frequently, compared to 60 per cent last year and 64 per cent in 2013.

How much are you using travel alternatives?
2014 v 2013
2013 v 2012
2012 v 2011
2011 v 2010
2010 b 2009

There’s no denying it’s a good thing that 75 per cent of travel managers are operating responsible programmes but, in this day and age, when there are so many very real threats to traveller safety all over the world, it’s equally shocking that one quarter of organisations do not. Traveller security and risk management should be at the top of the agenda for buyers this year with good reason, and that’s why we address these issues throughout the 2015 conference programme.

This  post was written by David Chapple, event director, Business Travel Show. To register for a free pass for the show, which takes place 25-26 February 2015, please visit 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

GUEST BLOG: 2015 business travel trends in the hotel sector

Business travellers are set to benefit from a raft of innovations in 2015 as technology rapidly evolves within the hotel accommodation sector. My predictions for the year ahead are as follows:

1)              Improved bookability of hotels for business travellers

In 2015, business travellers are set to benefit from improved content when booking accommodation as hotels realise that content is king when it comes to converting bookings.

Hotels are quickly starting to realise, that it’s not just location and price, but also that the breadth and depth of information they provide can have a major impact on the conversion of searches to bookings in both online and offline environments.

This will mean that business travellers save time in finding a hotel that best suits their needs as they will be able to access much improved photography for each property, detailed information about facilities, booking conditions, services and location, room availability and guests comments and reviews.

2)              Improved functionality and personalised recommendations booking accommodation

As the functionality of booking engines improve in 2015, business travellers will find that they start to have more personalised experiences when booking hotels online.

For example, HRS is trialling a recommendation engine in 2015 which will intuitively match the needs of the traveller to a recommended hotel. The technology can even ensure that business travellers are receiving the best rate at that time, even if it is lower than the company’s negotiated rate. We expect business travellers to trust the recommendation as they become used to this technology. 

3)              Hotels embracing latest technology to bring convenience and personalised experiences for business travellers

This year, HRS conducted a survey with the Fraunhofer IAO that revealed that 42 per cent of guests from the UK would rather operate their hotel room’s lighting, air conditioning and TV via a single device rather than using a separate remote control or switch.
As the fast-paced high-tech world finds its way into hotels with tablets instead of guest folders, smartphones instead of room keys, and apps instead of remote controls, the hotel industry is starting to respond to customer demands, and we predict that innovation in this area will really take off in 2015. Hoteliers are starting to recognise that business travellers want the latest technology and best gadgets available during their stay to ensure that they have the best experience.   

4)              Public work areas on the increase for business travellers in hotels

According to recent research by HRS, 75% of business travellers in the UK typically have to conduct business duties at the hotel they’re staying in. In response to this need, we are seeing that there is a trend for hotels to introduce ‘co-working’ spaces into their public areas to create pleasant working environments within their lobbies. As a result, business travellers in 2015 are likely to be able to take advantage of open space within hotels which are equipped with features such as mains connections, docking stations and free Wi-Fi.

This blog post was written by Jon West, Managing Director of HRS in the UK and Ireland. HRS is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show 25-26 February 2015 in London. Register for a free visitor pass at Find out more about HRS at