Thursday 31 May 2012


Earlier in the week, AirPlus International and ACTE published a white paper focusing on how mobile payments will change corporate travel and expense management. I read it. And I’m glad I did – it’s a really interesting insight into the future of business travel management.

There are a number of key things that come across. Firstly, forget all the scare-tactics about mobile encouraging rogue travellers. According to this white paper, mobile actually has the potential to drive compliance. Why? Because it helps to link a lot of currently disparate processes together. 

By automating the purchase of smaller trip transactions through NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (which is when you simply touch your phone against a ‘contact’ point on, for example, a rail ticket machine, hotel room door, airport check in desk), managers will win back control over expenditure. By linking it to an app for your travellers, you can also control which suppliers they use and eliminate the temptation to fiddle expenses. And linking everything to your management system makes invoicing easier, quicker and cheaper.

Secondly, mobile also has big benefits for the traveller. It means they no longer have to carry cash and credit cards makes it easier and quicker for them to account for their expenses when they return home, too.  

Yet, despite all the arguments for using mobile payment technology, we’ve been slow on the uptake, with just five per cent of companies actually using mobile payment technology in our industry. Why? Well, mainly because the technology isn’t widely rolled out yet. It is here and it will happen. It’s just a matter of when. 

And it’s also partly due to ignorance – travel managers just don’t know that much about it. If they did, they would want to embrace it and, perhaps by embracing, they could help to speed up its adoption? In the meantime, I recommend reading the white paper and getting a head start.

Posted by David Chapple, - tell me what you think @btshowlondon

Wednesday 23 May 2012


I’m at the ITM Intelligence Conference in Manchester this week and, so far, it’s been a really interesting event with some fascinating insight into the future of business travel.
Yesterday’s recurring theme was traveller empowerment. I even wrote a blog post along these lines last week. With the rise and rise of social media and mobile technology, travellers are exposed to so much choice while on the move and are frequently making bookings independently. 

You would think this would have travel managers running for the hills. How on earth are they supposed to mandate travellers to stay within policy when travellers have essentially flipped them the bird and are all doing their own thing?
But you’d be wrong. Leading travel buyers are actually relaxing policy and, instead of stamping down on rogue travellers as they would have done previously, they are giving them price parameters and more freedom than ever.
Why? It’s all thanks to new technology, that’s why. Rogue travellers can now book through public apps and websites and managers have still have visibility of all of these bookings, thanks to a number of new products (Amadeus/KDS’ Maverick) that feed all of the information back to their corporate data banks. So rogue travellers can still feel rebellious and managers can still keep them within policy.
Posted by David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show. Challenge him on Twitter @btshowlondon

Wednesday 16 May 2012


I’ve just finished reading a news story in the LA Times based on a survey by Concur Technologies. The survey found that business travellers believe the success of their trips is inversely proportional to the number of travel restrictions laid down by their employers.
Business travellers on trips with strict travel policies score them as 73 per cent successful in achieving all of their goals; when travellers are given only guidelines and recommendations, the score rises to 76 per cent; and when an employee travels with no policy at all, that score jumps another three per cent.
Surveys like this are undoubtedly useful and interesting, particularly for HR and senior management, even though I’m not 100 per cent sure you could call the results surprising. I mean, wouldn’t we all prefer to choose our own flights and hotels when travelling on business? I know I would.
But they must also be downright frustrating for travel departments, managers and bookers who put so much effort into creating travel policy, securing management buy in and support, and enforcing that policy to ensure they are getting the best for their business. 
Posted by David Chapple - 

Monday 14 May 2012


It’s exactly one week until the ITM’s ‘Intelligence2012’ conference takes place in Manchester and we’re really looking forward to it. Not only is it an excellent annual networking opportunity for the travel and meetings industry, it’s a valuable platform for learning about and debating the hot issues of the day, including APD, risk management, continuing airline consolidations and the Bribery Act.  

Moderated by BBC News anchorman Huw Edwards and attended by 350 senior professionals in the travel and meetings industry the ITM Conference to be held at the Palace Hotel in Manchester from 21st to 23rd May. It promises to be an unmissable event.

Educational streams include ‘In the Round’ with an ‘In the Hot seat’ session and a gadget review on new business innovations. ‘The Learning Lab’ with educational workshops offering practical advice and take away tools and the ‘Directors Roundtable’, for buyers only to debate challenging topics such as Industry Affairs, Managing Risk and the Bribery Act.

The opening plenary Breaking News, Sharing Views will see our expert panel put to the test on topics such as APD, access to content and data sharing plus the BA/bmi merger. Frank Dick, Olympic Coach will offer some inspirational advice on performance management. Travel’s sassiest women will interview industry guests in the Loose Women session and Steve Cram MBE will close the event with his stories of his competitive past and his experiences on being part of the winning bid for London2012 as the country gears up to the Olympics in July.

Find out more at, and if you're attending, please use our hashtag, it's #itmconference. 

Posted by Diane Steed, head of sales and marketing, ITM

Wednesday 9 May 2012


From my window, I can see the WaterTower in east London, which is likely to become home to an arsenal of surface to air missiles during the 2012 Olympic games. It really brought home a) how close the games are now – less than three months away, and the sheer disruption the Games will cause for business travellers.

Throughout June, July and August, London will be awash with tourists thanks to the Olympics, Paralympics and Diamond Jubilee. This influx of people will be filling up hotel rooms, serviced apartments, tube trains and taxis to bursting point, which is great for the London economy, but not so wonderful for the business traveller.

Stanley Slaughter wrote about the likely disruption in ABTN recently, highlighting that hotel prices are up 7.6% year on year (according to consultants PKF) and booking rates up by more than 5% due to our summer of fun and London’s recent poll topping of the best cities in the world. What this means is that those rooms needed for last minute trips are going to be hard to find and, if they can be found, come with a premium price tag. But, he claims, it is transport that is likely to prove the more crucial problem: both getting into London and getting around it.

From a local’s point of view, the reminders from Transport for London to consider alternative routes to work – or better still – working from home, are omnipresent and more than a little annoying. So I do worry how the business traveller will cope, with their lack of local knowledge and reliance on local service providers. One solution could be to avoid London altogether, which means the sun could be about to shine very brightly on video conference providers this summer.

Posted by Daniela Reck -  

Friday 4 May 2012


Exhibition News ran a Food For Thought column in this month’s issue with three event organisers explaining why and how they run hosted programmes. As the Hosted Buyer Manager on the Business Travel Show it was particularly interesting for me to read and, I have to admit, hard to disagree with anything they said.

Hosted programmes are not the answer for every exhibition. But for the Business Travel Show, they work. Like the other commentators’ shows, we introduced our programme to guarantee the highest quality buyers in Europe attend our event each February and that they also attend a set number of appointments with our exhibitors over the two days. The result is exposure to more business opportunities for our exhibitors and a much, much higher ROI for them, which is increasingly important given the economic environment we are all operating in.
We believe so strongly that hosted buyer programmes are the way forward for the Business Travel Show that last year we invested heavily in bringing nearly 800 to our event from the likes of Nike, Sony, Jaguar Land Rover, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, 02, British Gas, Aviva and Bridgestone. For 2013, we are investing heavily again. In fact, work’s already started on refining the programme and working with our European partners to expand our database. I’m already looking forward to it.
Posted by Graham Angus - 

Wednesday 2 May 2012


In February 2008, we were lucky enough to unveil the Dreamliner to business travel buyers at the Business Travel Show in London. Four years on and it has finally taken to the skies, as reported recently on BBC Breakfast. The impact it will have on the business traveller has been widely reported, but I’m more interested in what the launch means to the business travel buyer, particularly on an environmental level.

The Dreamliner is often compared to the Airbus A380, simply because they are the two most recent long-haul launches. But while Airbus has focused on increasing capacity to reduce environmental impact by creating the lowest fuel-burn-per-seat ratio, Boeing has achieved its environmental credentials in an entirely different way altogether.

Boeing has created a medium sized plane with two engine platforms (Airbus has four) and engineers have also used the highest carbon composite to date resulting in a plan that’s 20 per cent lighter and, as a result, 20 per cent more fuel efficient than existing planes of the same size.

With 821 orders for Boeing compared to 236 for the Airbus, the market seems to be voting for the Dreamliner, but it will be interesting to see how the travel buyers vote. But comparisons aside, the fact that both airlines are now entering the design process with ‘green’ at the top of the agenda, is surely a good move for everyone. 

Posted by David Chapple