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THE TECHNOLOGY ➔ RFP help is at hand


EMMANUELLE CLEMENT GENERAL MANAGER OF ITM & NBTA EUROPE


The Grand Tour – three countries in four days


THE 22-property Village Hotels brand, part of the De Vere Group, is an advocate of the Nexus platform, having returned to the technology provider to manage its bid responses for corporate and consortia hotel programmes from across the world. Village Hotels sales director


Ian Thomas says the group has developed a reputation for combining affordable accommo- dation with chic design and guest room technology, making the business traveller a particularly important target market. “The great thing about the Nexus system is that its functionality is focused solely around the needs of hotels and hotel groups. It gives us the tools to effectively manage the negotiation process with


corporate accounts which is crucial for us as part of our overall sales strategy,” says Thomas. ”The Nexus team is very responsive and knowledgeable, not just about the technology, but also about our business.” Geoff Andrew, Nexus’ managing director says, “The RFP process is often viewed by the hotel industry purely as an annual administrative headache so it’s encouraging when a hotel chain recognises that managing bids for corporate hotel programmes is actually a critical part of the sales process. ”As the market improves and


we see rate chasing occupancy upwards, it becomes even more important for hotel groups to optimise their rate negotiations for 2011 and 2012,” Andrews adds.


BA EXTENDS SCOPE OF PHONE APP


THE RANKS of BlackBerry users out there can now use their phones to download a mobile boarding pass for use on British Airways flights. The tool was launched as an app


for iPhones in July, but now users of Android-operated smartphone can download it too, enabling them to check-in and travel on all BA domestic flights and on many to European destinations. Over 30,000 passengers have


used the iPhone mobile boarding pass to board BA flights since it was launched. The app also provides live flight information, a travel news feature and a link to the BA.com mobile website. Chris Davies, BA's head of digital marketing, says, “Extending our successful mobile boarding passes


to BlackBerry and Android users underlines our commitment to strengthen our mobile offering and enhance the overall travelling experience with BA.“ The mobile boarding pass can


only be used by members of the British Airways Executive Club, which is free to join at BA.com.


STAFF are the biggest asset that any company has. Motivated, capable, efficient staff will save money and bring innovation. Staff training and professional development can serve as a tool to aid recruitment, raise motivation, and team build, as well as providing the essential tools needed to perform job roles. In today’s economic climate, the purse strings tighten on all areas of business spending. This is why training should be high on all lists of businesses priorities and why educating professionals in our sector, from buyers and travel managers to suppliers, is de rigueur. This is the task that NBTA Europe aims to achieve by providing training for business travel professionals who wish to better their companies and develop their own careers at the same time. I am neither a buyer nor a travel manager but as my role at NBTA Europe is to implement and manage education and training programmes, it was important that I put myself in the shoes of these experts and undertake the learning experience. So, in September, I embarked on a world tour of education programmes to test what the future holds for our industry. First stop, and as a newcomer in corporate travel management and in need of a solid understanding of business travel practices, joining the Corporate Travel Expert (CTE) in Paris was an ideal start as it focuses on the fundamentals of business travel management. In a room with a view of the


Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur, les Invalides and La Défence, I was


able to learn how to maximise cost containment, improve efficiency and create a managed travel culture in a company. The next step was to discover


“It’s not just the content that we learn from, but from interaction with the delegates too”


how to adapt to the changing global business environment and use corporate travel as a strategic tool. A day later I travelled to the University of Houston to take part in the Certified Corporate Travel Executive programme (CCTE), where I was trained in accounting, budgeting and forecasting, and in the latest technologies to assure accountability in travel programmes. The final leg of my tour was to participate in the Global Leadership Programme (GLP) in Lisbon during the first NBTA Europe conference, the one and only masters-level education programme in the business travel industry, developed in conjunction with the inter- nationally renowned Wharton School. This programme uses an interdisciplinary approach to address both the opportunities and challenges of conducting business in today's environ- ment – managing in a world of uncertainty was the focus of the programme. The session on decision making was incredibly interesting and engaging, and


entertainingly taught too. My education tour over, I was surprised and delighted by the level of content and how great the learning experience was. It also made me realise that it’s not just the content we learn from, but the interaction of the delegates too. Learning from others is key and something I intend to make sure NBTA brings to Europe. Look out for NBTA Europe training courses at www.nbtaeurope.org.


NBTA UPDATE


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