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GUEST COLUMN IN BRIEF


• DRIVING cost savings is the most important aspect of control over travel policy, with setting policies and procedures a distant second. The survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Egencia asked travel professionals to describe what ‘control’ over travel policy means for them, with 64 per cent of those in Europe opting for 'driving savings and controlling costs'. Driving compliance and ensuring travellers are using corporate travel tools and preferred suppliers also ranked highly. “The study shows travel managers are gaining more control over budgets to help contain costs and ensure that road warriors can be as effective as possible,” says Paul Tilstone of GBTA Europe.


• TRAVEL technology specialist Amadeus has launched a mobile booking app and new user interface for its online booking tool, Amadeus e-Travel Management (AeTM). Used by over 6,000 corporations in 59 markets, Amadeus says the new-look AeTM will help companies achieve higher adoption rates among employees thanks to an improved design and workfl ow. “It is more aligned with familiar consumer travel sites,” says Olive Kavanagh, travel category manager at Microsoft, a theme emerging in booking tools across the corporate travel market.


• SOME 70 buyers gathered for the ITM Buyer Forum in October and while half were relieved to discover that a new GTMC & IATA deal guaranteed that data handed over to PRISM will not include company specifi c data, others preferred the airline to have the data available anyway that showed market share. "Either way, everyone was much wiser to know what was happening" explained chief executive Simone Buckley. In the afternoon session, a show of hands on whether traveller freedom of choice would be an issue refl ected a head-in-sand attitude among buyers present, who thought it would never happen or not for a long time, despite there being forward-thinking programmes out there, such as those run by Astra Zeneca and Saleforce. A fi nal session of at-table debates, on booking processes, payment processes and management information, proved inconclusive, underlining the remaining challenges with data, content and the booking process.


TRAVEL managers should consider treating client-facing business travel and travel for internal meetings as two separate entities – that was one of the topics debated at a recent ACTE and Management Solutions UK forum. The event, which played host to


around 100 travel managers and industry suppliers saw Marcos Isaac, VP of international operations at HRS, kick off the day with a discussion on the value of business travel and how to measure it. He quoted American Express


research that shows for every $1 spent on travel there’s $20 in profit. “Cost is an indicator of quality,” he said. “Once you have good control on travel costs you know that when spend goes up it means more revenue. I encourage you to find KPIs in your own organisation, and find ways not to cut costs but to


get more from your spend.” On the subject of travel policy, he


asked, “Why not give £20 to £50 more tolerance on a hotel for someone travelling on a big meeting? Make them feel good. It’s about managing the situation.” Carol Randall, head of consulting,


UK, at Areka Consulting, added: “There are two types of travel – client-facing travel that generates revenue, and travel for internal meetings. Why not manage internal travel differently and implement different policies?” A show of hands revealed that a


small number of buyers already operate in this way, with one anonymous buyer saying there had been a big uptake of video- conferencing for internal business, and another saying their company was “spending more time on the ‘why’ of travel, not the cost.”


LOST LUGGAGE TAKE ITS TOLL


LOST or delayed baggage is the number one stress factor for travellers away on business, according to a survey by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, with a lack of internet access a close runner up. Flying economy on medium


and long-haul routes ranked third and was followed by delays, inconvenient departure/arrival times, low hotel category, poor hotel location, last-minute trips, not being able to eat healthily and travelling during weekends. The survey was completed by


6,000 business travellers from nine global companies, with three main


categories of stress emerging: lost time, the unknown and the inability to maintain daily habits. Of the 33 categories listed, fear


of flying ranked lowest, with taking a taxi and contacting a travel agent not far above. The survey also revealed that travel-related stress increases with age and travel frequency and that women report higher stress levels than men. “We will be using the results of the survey to assess the impact of travel-related stress on an organisation’s productivity levels,” says Vincent Lebunetel, head of CWT Solutions Group for EMEA.


 Two sides of travel G


Carolyn Pearson Founder & CEO, maiden-voyage.com


iven that we’ve fought hard for equality, why do some hotels tout themselves as


'female friendly'? Isn’t it patronising to women to state that we need special treatment? Now that up to 50 per cent of business travellers are women we are seeing a surge in female- friendly hotels, a concept that foundered in the nineties. Women have huge spending power, are demanding shoppers, clear about what they will and won’t accept, and more active and vocal in social media, so keeping female guests happy makes good business sense. The Cornell University’s Centre for Hospitality Research 2011 report, Creating Value for Women Business Travellers, advised hotel managers to “focus on how best to generate key emotional responses through a holistic approach rather than seeking to identify any one specific service, amenity, or facility that all women business travellers prefer”, and that eliciting positive emotions improves guest satisfaction. Women don’t necessarily need special facilities but do need to feel safe and there is the obvious challenge that women travelling alone are more prone to unwanted attention or, worse, criminal attacks. If a hotel is going to genuinely


cater for female business travellers, its primary focus has to be safety and security. They should avoid simple things such as announcing a guest’s room number to the entire check-in queue. Assuming the location is right, basics that appeal to both genders include full-length mirrors, free wifi, conveniently placed plug sockets and alternative room service options. What really differentiates female guests from their male counterparts however is that they shop with their senses, paying more attention to the cleanliness, smells, aesthetics, fabrics, tastes and sounds of a hotel. Marketing ploy or strategic intent,


I think female friendly is here for the long haul this time. In a challenging economy, accessing a loyal, growing and influential market while differentiating has to make good business sense.


THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 39


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