Thursday 31 January 2013


A recent survey conducted by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) has found that its 56 members are optimistic about the sector’s growth in the UK & Ireland for 2013. With occupancy rates as high as 89%* in London last year, it’s not surprising that providers are feeling positive about the forthcoming 12 months.

Thanks, in part, to the many benefits the sector offers business travellers, the serviced apartment sector is finally starting to take a well-deserved place in the limelight. These benefits include:
  •          Earlier check-in and later check-out times
  •          Discount vouchers for local restaurants/bars/spas/tourist attractions
  •          Continental breakfast
  •          Gym membership: discounted membership or vouchers to access local gyms;  or free  gym on site
  •          Complimentary wi-fi, depending on length of stay
  •          Loyalty programmes
  •          Butler Service
  •          Free parking
  •          Free movies

Perhaps more importantly, the serviced apartment sector also offers massive benefits to corporate travel buyers as well as travellers, not least of all starting with price.

ASAP founder member Marlin Apartments has calculated that corporate buyers can save between 30% and 40% on their accommodation costs by switching from hotels to serviced apartments. Booking a serviced apartment in central London can save 31% or £80.29 per night when compared to the equivalent standard hotel. And booking a Marlin serviced apartment in central London will slash 37% or £92.45 per night off the bill.

For major corporate buyers managing accommodation for, say 100 travellers staying in London for 30 nights per year, this is the equivalent saving of £277, 350 per annum. And, as you’ll see from the benefits list, travellers don’t miss out at all from making the switch. In fact, a serviced apartment gives corporate travellers the freedom to spend their down time as they please rather than being tied to the inflexibility of a hotel stay, helping them to comply with policy.  

Both Marlin Apartments (stand AC5) and ASAP are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, which takes place on 5-6 February 2013 in London. Registration is open at Visit them and find out how you can slash your accommodation costs.

*October 2012 was the month which delivered the best occupancy for the final quarter of the year: 89% for London and 82% in the regions.

For further information, please contact:
Ed Rogers, Marlin Apartments;
Joyce Cawthorpe, ASAP;          

Monday 28 January 2013


Smart phones are an essential tool for business travellers, largely owing to the fact that information can be accessed instantly and easily. With the vast majority of corporate travellers now organising themselves with hand-held devices, leading corporate travel and events business, the ATPI Group, has recently introducing an expanded and upgraded version of its popular On the Go app. 
Version 2.0 of the app has been developed in response to demand from users to meet the increasingly specific needs of business travellers. The interface has been made as straightforward as possible, following feedback from users who expressed a desire to have information presented in a clean and simple way and to avoid any flashy gimmicks.

Since its initial global launch this time last year, usage of the app has continued to grow and the new upgraded version is already proving to be a popular tool for busy corporate travellers. Entering its second phase, the enhanced app now includes flight booking functionality for both scheduled and low cost carriers and an improved mobile itinerary, where ticket numbers are recorded in all flight bookings. The performance and speed of the app has also been optimised, and security features have been upgraded. Also, included in the app’s features is an itinerary display application which gives users access to all flight bookings in their name, while a flight status report allows users to track progress of any flight number – either arrival or departure.

Smartphone users can add a photo of travel documents such as passports or cards to the app safe in the knowledge that this data is stored on the phone with an extra security layer providing protection in case the phone is lost or stolen.

Since the launch of its first generation On the Go app, the ATPI Group has maintained an open dialogue with users to ensure it can respond to their feedback and take actions based on their ever changing requirements. As a result, the business has been consistently able to make strategic improvements to the app to ensure clients can get to their place of work quickly and efficiently.

Available free via iPhone, Android and Blackberry worldwide from the respective app stores - iTunes, Google Play, and Blackberry App World, the app can also be downloaded by any smartphone user.

Additional features of the 'On the Go' app include a currency converter, world clock and details of all the ATPI Group office locations and telephone numbers worldwide. A separate destination guide section offers handy tips on where to go and what to see in cities around the globe.

For more information and to test out the On the Go app, visit the ATPI Group at the Business Travel Show at Earls Court on 5th & 6th February 2013. Register now at 

Friday 25 January 2013


Tell me where you are flying and I’ll tell you how comfortable your trip will be. Everyone's gotten used to the fact that airlines have made passenger comfort a priority on long-haul routes. We've come to expect better seats and better service, especially on international flights. However, it’s a different story if we're talking about short-haul flights. For quick flights, like between the capitals in Europe – standard service is somehow seen as good enough. And if a traveler has no choice but to take a short-haul red-eye flight to get to meetings early in the morning? That's just something you have to calculate into your plans.

Transaero Airlines has been flying between Moscow and London since 1998 and has had enough time to notice that more than half of all the passengers on the route are business travelers. Quite a lot of them take a flight departing from Heathrow in the evening to get to meetings in Moscow early in the morning.

With a view to establishing the maximum level of comfort for those traveling on business, at the beginning of 2013 Transaero plans to install new ultramodern "cocoon-style" flat-bed seats on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft that fly from London to Moscow overnight. The spacious new seats, which recline to a fully 180-degree flat position, provide maximum comfort even on a short trip. A personal area for the passenger is secured by a partition.

So, who says you can't get comfortable on a short flight? A good night's sleep is half way to success for any business meeting. Why don't you give it a try?

Konstantin Tyurkin, Mass&Social Media Relations Head, Transaero Airlines.  For more information about Transaero’s comfortable interiors and intercity route network, visit

Transaero is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show - register now at 

Friday 18 January 2013


What are the latest travel and expense management trends in the UK? Renowned analyst company, the Aberdeen Group, has just released a report about how best-in-class UK organisations are structuring their expense management programs.

Some figures to get you thinking
The Aberdeen Group are authorities on travel and expense management research around the world, so when they say that nearly half of UK-based businesses want to reduce the time employees spend on entering expenses (52%), the figure is plausible. What is disheartening, however, is that according to the same report only 28% of UK-based businesses have real-time visibility into travel and expense (T&E) spending against budget. Furthermore, only 32% of UK-based organisations are reporting regularly on policy compliance

The figures resonate with those revealed earlier this year by the UK Benchmark Report which showed that although UK companies have an interest in reducing expenses costs (subordinates made 16% fewer claims this year than last) there is still a way to go for compliance. According to the Benchmark Report, 10% of the claims approved by managers are out of policy, but only 2% of these are queried or rejected.

Lessons from the latest guide
Fortunately, the Aberdeen report, entitled “A Travel and Expense Management Guide for UK Businesses” goes further. It does more than claim that expense management capabilities in UK-based companies are ‘weak,’ it also provides an authoritative perspective on: the use of travel and expense management technology in the UK; the importance of utilising mobile technology; and the rise of analytics; as well as suggesting solutions for improvement.

According to the Aberdeen report, best-in-class organisations are driving true value by:
  •           Using technology to enhance T&E management processes
  •           Developing measures to improve corporate T&E policy compliance
  •           Leveraging analytics to gain true actionable intelligence into T&E spending.

The lessons are clear for small to medium-sized businesses as well:
  •          Standardise your expense management processes
  •          Automate processes to reduce the gaps
  •          Make analytics (and business intelligence) a priority.

 The full report is available to download. Enter your details for a free copy of the Aberdeen “Travel and Expense Management Guide for UK Businesses

Thursday 17 January 2013


1. Create and enforce a travel policy
For the majority of SMEs buying business travel is unstructured and unmanaged, with travellers operating without policy costing the company time and money. By following the five fundamentals of travel management, SMEs can successfully buy travel smarter, cut costs and get more for their money.
A well-crafted policy is at the heart of anysuccessful corporate travel programme. Your travel policy should be designed to control spending (encouraging them to book ahead, look at the total cost of travel, for example) and steer the travel booker/individual travellers towards preferred suppliers (loyalty pays) while also giving them enough flexibility to meet their trip needs.
2. Choose the right TMC
Travel management companies play a crucial role in supporting your travel programme but it’s important that you find the one that’s right for you. If you book overseas travel, you may wish to use a TMC that is a member of a global consortium such as TravelSavers or Global Star Travel Management. You may also wish to use a TMC that provides a 24 hour service.
If you have a small business travel budget, then a mid-sized TMC will work better for you. Choose a TMC that has a full suite of travel technology in place that looks after, not just reservations, but security tracking, mobile apps and live booking.
If your travellers rarely travel internationally, then consider using hotel and rail booking agents instead of a TMC.
3. Introduce a self-booking tool and maximise adoption
Many organisations book some of their travel through an online reservations tool, but the real work starts once you have chosen your technology provider. Learn how to implement a booking tool to maximise adoption and bring down processing and travel costs while keeping your travellers onside.
4. Learn to get more for your money from travel suppliers
SMEs may not have the spending power to negotiate discounts with business travel suppliers, but remaining loyal to a limited number of preferred suppliers will pay off. By signing up for programmes that reward companies AND travellers, you can use kickbacks – such as free upgrades – to get more for your money. Most major airlines and hotel groups operate reward schemes and the good news is that, thanks to the recession, they are on the rise.
5. Always consider the safety, security and sustainability of your travellers and travel policy
Good travel management isn’t just about finding the best price. Corporate social responsibility issues are increasingly important, too, including looking after employees’ safety and security on the move and, for many companies, reducing their travel-related environmental impact.
Further Information
These tips were provided by David Chapple, the event director of the Business Travel Show, Europe’s leading corporate travel event and organiser of the world’s largest hosted buyer programme for travel buyers.
The Five Fundamentals of Travel Management form the basis of a series of free to attend conference sessions at the Business Travel Show, which takes place 5-6 February 2013 at Earls Court in London. With more than 200 suppliers, 50 conference sessions and a variety of networking opportunities, it’s the ultimate business travel destination for all travel bookers and buyers. Entry is free – simply register

Wednesday 9 January 2013


Finalising the negotiated hotel rate programme is the start of the process…not the end!

Hotel negotiations are just the first step in reducing hotel spend and adding value to your hotel programme.  Once careful negotiation of rates and amenities are completed things are then often left very much to chance in the GDS hotel rate implementation and loading process.

As hotels are responsible for loading the accepted negotiated hotel rates at property level, and agencies are responsible for loading the GDS access security link tables, no one person or group has control over the entire process.

There is still a widespread belief that
·         Savings are generated once lower rates are renegotiated with hotel suppliers and
·         Rates are available to be booked at the negotiated rate once negotiations are finalised

The reality is all too often quite different.

Preferred rates only create the platform for savings to accrue to the business.  Actual savings only occur when room nights are booked at the lower, negotiated rate.  Contracting a rate does not automatically ensure the correct rate is loaded or available to be booked by travellers

Rate loading errors are costing corporations an estimated EUR5bn each year in additional expense.  A client with EUR30m in spend can spend an additional EUR1.5m per year due to Rate Integrity issues.  Corporate buyers are aware of the need to conduct rate audits, but the vast majority conducts just one rate audit per year.  Even those that audit more than once do not then continuously monitor rates throughout the year.

Preferred Rates contracted with LRA (Last Room Availability) can be completely and correctly loaded, but may still not be available to be booked.

NLRA (Non Last Room Availability) rates give no guarantees that the rate will be honoured and allow the hotel to increase the rate at will.

Millions of EUR are invested in annual rate negotiation processes, yet billions of EUR in value do not materialise.

So what’s the solution? 

There are a number of compliance measurement and support tools to ensure that the hard work put into rate contracting is turned into concrete savings for the organisation.

An initial audit of the GDS is imperative to ensure that all negotiated pricing has been completely and correctly loaded by all hotels in every applicable CRS.  The problem is that a rate loaded correctly today may not be visible to the booker in three months time.  Property Revenue Managers are responsible for maximising the revenue potential for each property.  From time to time individual properties may decide to withdraw negotiated inventory or submit higher than agreed negotiated pricing without your knowledge.  You therefore need to follow up with additional Rate Availability Reporting that will keep checking that your preferred properties are offering the negotiated terms at the point of sale.  That will keep a check on what is being displayed in the GDS – but you also need to keep an eye on non-GDS inventory!  You can also get reports that compare the negotiated rates at your preferred properties against the public that is being offered directly through online travel agency (OTA) and/or hotel supplier websites.  Your travellers may well be checking these alternative sites and if lower rates appear to be available, this threatens to undermine the integrity of the whole rate sourcing process.

And if you still aren’t sure there’s any quantifiable RoI in Rate Audit, take a moment to do the following simple calculation for yourself.  The table below (Table 1) shows actual data for a single city (Geneva) in a negotiated Hotel Programme for 2013. 

This is one city.  Even if rates at only a fraction of the properties in your programme are not loaded, what is the cost implication for your own organisation?

Rate negotiation doesn’t generate savings - Programme Management does.

Sourcing, of itself, won’t generate the savings – strategic programme management will.  This is why, if the final stage of the procurement process – implementation – does not happen, the sourcing process remains just that – a process without a purpose.

For more information please contact Lanyon is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show. To register, please visit 

Monday 7 January 2013

GUEST BLOG: Put TMCs to work for you

Travel is one of the largest controllable expenses for most companies. Using the right travel management company will give you peace of mind and save you time. A TMC should want to learn about your business and think strategically about what you need and offer a full range of services.  

At Wings Travel Management, it is our passion to find the best fares for your business travel needs – advising you on how to best leverage your travel budget while monitoring your travel policy. We work with creative ticketing, Internet fares and our own negotiated fares from all our offices across the globe. This applies to hotels, too.  Sometimes the best fare is one that a TMC can get for you using a pricing index available through one of its branches in another part of the world.

When deciding on a travel management company, there are some key questions to consider:

  • Does it have people on the ground in those emerging markets where travel can quite easily not run to plan?
  • Does it have the technology to keep up with your travellers, no matter where they are?
  • Does it specialise and understand your industry, in other words, know what you need to make it a successful trip?
  • Does it have a history of success and leadership in places that are important to your business?
  • Does it give you access to company staff 24/7/365?
  • Does it offer standardised technology throughout its global operations so you get the same service and reporting everywhere?
  • Does it track the performance of all your travel suppliers: air, car, hotel, ground transportation, TMC?
  • Does it have process and reporting audits that provide for accuracy and accountability?
  • Does your TMC put the client first, understanding that this is not a one-size-fits-all industry? 
  • Is your TMC growing into the areas where your business industry is growing? Is it following your industry trends?
  • Does it set itself apart in ways that matter: human attention, experience, passion, integrity?

Travel management companies should have easy, ready answers to the above questions. 

To determine whether you’re getting the most from your TMC, contact Wings Travel Management on +44 (0) 207 458 7000 or visit Stand No. 230 at the Business Travel Show.

By Paul East
Paul East is chief operating officer at Wings Travel Management, which specialises in corporate, oil & gas, and marine travel. Meet Paul at the Business Travel Show at Stand No. 230 to find out what sets Wings apart from other TMCs. You may contact him directly on 0207 458 7000 or at