Monday 16 December 2019

*GUEST BLOG* Here’s why we need to use travel risk technology intelligently

Just how addicted are we to our mobile technology? Today, around 4 billion of us are estimated to have mobile devices; over half of which are smartphones. 67% of the global population is expected to have a mobile phone by 2020. And global mobile data traffic is expected to increase nearly sevenfold by 2022, from a 2017 starting point.

Mobile tools and travel risk management go hand-in-hand
No surprise then that these devices have become essential travel risk management facilitators. Mobile tools are helping prepare, inform and protect employees abroad: not least via pre-travel training, and real-time medical and security intelligence and alerts. They are giving travelling employees speedy access to integrated medical and security assistance and remote advice. And their monitoring, check-in and tracking capabilities are providing employers with a birds’ eye view of global staff and assets in the context of real-time threats.

When used correctly - and tailored to specific destinations and needs - mobile technology can translate to reduced traveller worries and emergencies. And we know from GBTA surveys that almost three-quarters of business travellers expect their employers to contact them proactively within two hours of an incident abroad. Almost half also expect their employers to use tools like GPS to locate them in an adverse situation.

What about the human touch?
But reducing traveller anxiety will always necessitate the human touch too. So, heed the words of James Waters, global director of customer service at, who talks of “maintaining the right balance between genuine human interaction and efficient automation” for travellers.

Heed too advice from Jason Clampet of online travel platform Skift, who says, “The always-on, always-connected nature of many people's modern lives means that we are often under a constant barrage of news headlines about bad things.”

Rather than allaying concerns about our travel environment, this over-supply of information, says Clampet, “heightens our anxiety about the world around us, making it seem as if everything is just one tweet away from completely unravelling.”

Just as any effective travel risk management programme should combine reactive emergency responses with proactive training and support, so too should it offer a variety of delivery channels. At times this may be a hand-held device, at times a human voice. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

The skilled travel risk manager will understand not just the different roles of these delivery channels, but also the importance of providing bespoke, tailored information that reassures, rather than worries, globally mobile employees.

Written by Chris Knight, head of corporate services for Charles Taylor Assistance; the travel risk management and medical assistance providers. Charles Taylor Assistance and security specialists Solace Global will be exhibiting Intrinsic Assistance, the integrated medical and security risk management and assistance solution at the Business Travel Show. Register now for free at

Monday 9 December 2019

How Business Travel Show's Launchpad helped to launch Taptrip

Taptrip exhibited in the 2019 Business Travel Show Launchpad and is returning as an exhibitor in 2020 with a stand on the main show floor. Co-founder Neil Ruth tells us more about the decision behind exhibiting, and how the company has enjoyed meteoric success since.

Why did you apply for a Launchpad stand at Business Travel Show 2019?

Launchpad offers a unique platform for disruptive start-ups to showcase products, directly to the travel industry sectors that they are looking to target. This supports innovation and the evolution of the industry.

What stage had you reached, as a business?

We were pre-launch. As a result, we wanted to use Launchpad to drive more sign-ups to our waiting list. The social media polling stage of last year’s Disrupt competition was an excellent tool in this regard.

Tell us a bit about your business.

Taptrip is a new approach to business travel. The solution caters primarily to the under-served SME market. The platform supports businesses with structure and insight into their travel spend and customers see typical savings of over 30%.

We want travellers to love Taptrip and the ‘traveller-first’ approach. The goal is to bring the personalisation and user experience of a service such as Spotify or Netflix, to business travel.  This has resulted in compliance levels of over 95%.

How did being at the show help?

The platform was validated by respected experts within the industry. Subsequently it not only elevated the Taptrip profile but also provided the base for a lot of new connections.

Since the show, Taptrip has won best UK start up, been accepted onto the Barclays powered by Techstars accelerator in New York and launched in the US.

Tell us about the process of entering the start-up awards at Business Travel Show.

The process was detailed, as expected, but not arduous. The questions are tailored in a way that they give entrants an opportunity to assess their current situation. This inevitably yields a lot of insight into next steps.

And what did it mean to you to win?

It was sincerely unexpected given our infancy, but incredibly flattering to be voted winners by those who have so much insight into the business travel industry.

How have things progressed - product and business wise - since you were at the show in February?

Taptrip launched in August 2018 as a team of three and now employs 10, including the user experience (UX) lead from PlayStation. Growth has been exponential, and the feedback has been incredible.

Taptrip now has strategic partnerships with the likes of WeWork and Barclays and many more areas soon to go live. The company remains intent on making business travel booking ‘more buzz and less bore’.

And how do you see the future of Taptrip?

2020 will a big year. We have a massive announcement to make at the 2020 Business Travel Show.  We are working on some innovative partnerships, particularly across FinTech and the first will go live in Q2 next year. We have just launched a closed beta in the US.  We had our first booking late November and have a waiting list of hundreds of users.

Most of all, Taptrip will break the traditional routes to market, through more creative alliances and make managing business travel even more accessible to SMEs.

What advice would you give to other travel start-ups?

Enjoy the early moments. Diaries and photographs are a great opportunity to show progress and the journey to success.

Avoid burnout. Take time out because it reaps much better longer-term productivity.

And finally get used to hearing ‘no’ from investors, but don’t be afraid to say it yourself.  Start-up owners know their business best.

Why should they apply for a Launchpad stand?

There is no reason that a start-up should not apply. None.

What will it mean to you to come back to the show in 2020 and be on the main show floor with the other big suppliers?

Taptrip will be there to show the progression and evolution of not only our vision but the latest technology inside of a working product. Taptrip is a clear example that the travel industry still innovates, and that innovation is encouraged and welcomed.

We will also be celebrating the fact that platform is used and loved by thousands of business travellers.

What does the future of corporate travel technology look like?

Frictionless. Automated. Simple. Gamified. Enjoyable. Compliant.

Climate change awareness is at a peak, how do you think this will affect travel over the next 2-3 years?

It is not just travellers. All humans have a responsibility to be eco-friendly and live as sustainably as possible.

There’s a plethora of innovation to support this.  Adoption of alternatives and making smarter choices, will become even more prominent.

At Taptrip, we are a paper free business, we have ditched the business cards, pool ride with each other when that’s an option and are always conscious and considerate of environmental choices.

How would you define conscious travel/travel management?

It’s highly relative but acknowledging that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, is a good start. 

In practice it comes down to business choices, not just in travel, but even to something as granular as a cleaning product.

Does Taptrip make it easier for bookers to choose sustainable suppliers and make more environmentally friendly choices?

Yes – and we continue to increase the scale of these options where possible.

For example, the Taptrip loyalty programme allows for travellers to donate their rewards to a charity that offsets carbon footprint. Further developments may include an option to put these rewards into sustainable investments and the ability to filter flight searches by emissions.

Taptrip is exhibiting at Business Travel Show 2020, which takes place from 26-27 February at Olympia London. Register now for free at

Thursday 5 December 2019


If I told you that the biggest challenge facing travel managers is cutting costs, would you be surprised? When the recession hit, so were travel budgets. And though they have gradually crept back up, travel managers have remained under continual pressure to make them work harder, smarter and get more for their organisation’s money. 

Each year, the Business Travel Show surveys thousands of travel bookers and buyers across Europe. Between 2015 and 2018, they claimed ‘cutting costs’ was their biggest challenge. Last year, this was bumped into second place by Brexit. This year, however – and seemingly out of nowhere – sustainability has appeared on the top 10 list for the first time. Climate change also made its debut on the list of top ten industry challenges, going straight in at number one. 

The environment has always been a focus for travellers and the travel industry. Marriott is just one hotel group, which has vowed to stop using small plastic toiletry bottles and the percentage of passengers travelling between London and Glasgow by rail over air has just reached an all-time high.

However, the Business Travel Show poll revealed that 71% of travel managers don’t currently offset aviation-related carbon emissions and just 26% offer information to travellers about their carbon footprint. This is one of the reasons the event, which takes place at Olympia London from 26-27 February 2020, will spotlight conscious travel.

“We are at a real tipping point when it comes to climate change and sustainability. Awareness is at an all-time high and the Government’s Net Zero legislation will be a huge instigator for change within travel. 76% of our travel buyers welcome it and Qantas and IAG have both recently committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Business Travel Show group event director David Chapple.

“As a result, more and more companies are being forced to re-think how their business travel affects the environment and human rights, and this raises two really important questions. 1 – is it possible to introduce a sustainable travel policy cost-effectively, given the continued pressure on buyers to cut costs? And, 2, is there even such a thing as an ethical travel programme in the first place?”

Both of these questions will be debated during the Business Travel Show conference, which will also investigate how car rental may offer a green alternative to travel programmes, thanks to major innovations like telematics, car sharing, car clubs and electric vehicles transforming pricing, operations, sustainability and duty of care priorities. 

A further session focused on traveller wellbeing – which also comes under the ‘conscious travel’ umbrella – and promises to help buyers progress from awareness to practical improvements, while also successfully securing the backing of senior management. And the new Wellness Retreat at the show will be a haven of serenity on the show floor where visitors can take time out and relax while getting hands on with innovative travel wellness products and services helping them to look after their travellers better.

This blog post was written by David Chapple, UK Portfolio Director of Northstar Travel Group, which runs the Business Travel Show taking place 26-27 February 2020 at Olympia London. Visitors can register for a free pass to attend at 

Monday 25 November 2019

GUEST BLOG: Sustainability in Travel: 2020 Outlook

At CTM’s recent Supplier Speed Dating event, themed ‘Sustainable Travel’, we were thrilled to learn of the exciting initiatives our suppliers are working on to provide more sustainable business travel experiences for our clients.

While the concept of ‘green travel’ has been circulating the industry for over a decade, only recently has technology developed far-enough to provide practical solutions to this increasingly important subject.

One example gaining momentum is a promise from airlines who are aiming above and beyond carbon-offsetting to carbon-neutral targets. Ambitious plans from British Airways and parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) hope to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through more fuel-efficient aircraft, smarter operational techniques and switching to biofuel.

United Airlines has also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission by 50% by 2050, while Virgin Atlantic has announced a more recent target of 30% reduction by 2021.  
On the ground, car transportation company Carey is tackling CO2 by investing in electric fleets – all new vehicles bought from December 2019 will be electric. Already the company has seen an 18% fuel reduction since providing training to drivers on environmentally friendly driving techniques such as gliding when available instead of constant acceleration. 

However, nothing can beat the sustainability results of rail service providers such as Eurostar and LNER. Eurostar’s progress in this area has been outstanding, and they continue to strive for even better. From 1st January 2020, Eurostar will plant a tree for every train that departs – an estimated 20,000 trees per year. They are also donating all un-bought food from the onboard cafes to charities and all left behind blankets to animal shelters for the winter.

In the hotel space, Travelodge, Accor and IHG have committed to eliminating single-use plastics such as bathroom amenities, food items and packaging. New CTM partner Wyndham hotels announced an interesting initiative to incentivise guests to be more sustainable by offering more rewards points for sustainable acts such as not replacing towels and bedding and reducing electricity use.

As sustainable business travel becomes increasingly important for businesses, vetting your travel providers can be a great place to start. With a range of new commitments from suppliers to improve sustainability within the industry, now is a great time to review your travel programme to ensure it hits sustainability targets, while providing an exceptional travel experience for your travellers.  

CTM is exhibiting at Business Travel Show in 2020 on stand B620 - please click here to register for a free visitor pass to the show, which takes place 26-27 February 2020 at Olympia London.