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 The changing face of travel THE REVIEW ›› THE LOWDOWN

SPEAKERS at the Guild of Travel Management Companies’ (GTMC) autumn conference – 'Opportunity in Change' – focused on the changing travel landscape, especially the new ways in which corporates are purchasing travel. Ross Hosking, executive vice

president of global sales for the Wyndham Hotel Group, said the “landscape for global business travel has never been more confusing that it is today.” He stressed that because travel managers “need control of the booking process to be successful, 95 per cent said [in a recent poll] that they were making their policies more stringent.” According to Hosking, an open

policy of “booking on whatever channel you want” did not mean there was no policy. Managing diverse bookings was

a common theme, with Dhiren Fonseca, chief commercial officer of Expedia, pointing out that comparison shopping had become a way of life for consumers so metasearch is now expected by business travellers too. Dean Forbes, CEO of KDS,

agreed: “Travel managers search in other [non-GDS] systems. My point is not that they will leave their travel management company, but


because travellers are searching elsewhere, TMCs need to have the information to connect prices.” Fonseca said that the growth of mobile platforms meant that people were now using apps for shopping – seeking information and making bookings – rather than using traditional search engines and booking channels. “One hundred million iPads have been sold to date – you’re not going to get those people to stop using their apps,” he said. He also warned delegates that

the industry was missing a huge opportunity to sell ancillary services and products. The need by TMCs to sell ancillary products


THE cost of business travel in the UK is expected to rise marginally in 2013 according to American Express Global Business Travel. The company’s Global Business

Travel Forecast 2013 predicts ‘mid single-digit increases’ across air, hotel and ground transport bookings. Short-haul economy fares from

the UK are forecast to rise by seven per cent – and long-haul fares slightly less so – and business class fares remain fairly static. Corporate negotiated rates at mid-range hotels in the UK are expected to fall by between two and four per cent, with car rental base rates following a similar pattern. Hervé Sedky, senior vice

president and general manager, global business partnerships

and premium services at American Express Global Business Travel, says: “We are expecting a dynamic landscape for business travel in 2013, with prices likely rising to reflect companies’ interest in doing business in growing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, but staying flat or even declining in those markets where growth is stagnant.” The picture across Europe is influenced by the Eurozone currency crisis, austerity measures and low economic growth expectations, with long- haul air fares from the likes of Spain projected to fall by five to eight per cent. Conversely, business travel costs are expected to rise in Russia (with long-haul economy fares up by five to seven per cent) and Poland.

if they were to provide travel managers with rich management information was developed by HRG’s Tony Berry who, as a member of the GTMC’s Industry Affairs Committee, has been working with IATA on its New Distribution Capability (NDC). Berry told delegates, “It’s the

TMC’s job to service its customers. If everything can be booked in one system by an aggregator, we can manage it. I don’t want a system where we book the flight and then the client gets out his card on the way to the airport to book his wifi, seat selection and checked bag – we want it all in one booking so we can provide the MI.”


THE number of UK business travellers needing emergency repatriation from abroad is on the rise and many don’t have sufficient travel insurance policies to support them. That’s the warning from private repatriation and medical specialists, CEGA, which says the rise is due to an increase in travel to emerging and remote destinations. “Business travellers or contractors can inadvertently invalidate their insurance for many reasons – for instance by exceeding the 30-day limit of their single trip policies, or by failing to declare pre-existing medical conditions,” says CEGA's Cecilia Geofilo-Pearson.

• THE Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has announced a successor to Ron DiLeo as the organisation’s executive director. Greeley Koch was unveiled in the new role at the ACTE Global Education Conference in Rome in October, and will be handed the reins in December. “Greeley brings with him a passion for the corporate travel industry and a wealth of experience and perspectives, including that of a corporate buyer, TMC supplier, government planner and consultant,” says Suzanne Neufang, president of the ACTE Board of Directors. Koch is currently director of strategy development at New York-based Acquis Consulting Group.

• THERE’S a big change in store for Business Travel Market next year with the show moving from June to November in order to be held alongside World Travel Market. Both shows are now owned by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE). The fi fth hosting of Business Travel Market will take place on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th November 2013 at London’s ExCel centre, with the four-day World Travel Market taking place at the same venue from the 4th-7th November.

• THE GTMC has published its third quarterly transaction survey for 2012, revealing a small overall decrease of one per cent over the same period last year. GTMC chairman Ajaya Sodha says, “The decrease is due totally to a drop in air transactions which are four per cent down on the same quarter in 2011. Hotel sales have also stalled with no growth in the quarter and are just two per cent up year on year. One can only speculate as to whether this is the ‘Olympics effect’ or something more sinister. The next set of fi gures will be revealing what with the recession 'offi cially' over, everybody back at work and no public holidays or major events until Christmas.”

• CAPITA has expanded its operation in the UK with the acquisition of hotel booking agency Expotel Group Limited, including Venues Event Management. The group says that combining Capita Business Travel, BSI and Expotel will add reach and scale to its business and provide a coherent answer for all customers’ travel, accommodation and meeting requirements.


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