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WORDS MOLLY DYSON


BBT HOTLIST 2019


BLACKLANE SUSTAINABILITY IS AT THE HEART of chauffeur-booking site Blacklane’s strategy, which is an important thing to consider at a time when tourism accounts for 8 per cent of global emissions. In 2017, Blacklane became the first global ride service to offset the carbon emissions of all journeys across the more than 300 cities it serves. The company does this by partnering with Carbon Footprint Ltd, the UK government’s provider to offset ministerial travel emissions. The firm was certified completely carbon-neutral in August after it offset operational activities, such as heating, travel and electricity. That same month, Blacklane introduced its new Green Class offering, which utilises Tesla Model X and Model S all-electric vehicles in 20 cities, including London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, with more destinations to come. These rides are also carbon-neutral, as the firm offsets the emissions to produce the electricity needed to charge the cars. That’s what we call corporate social responsibility.


FESTIVE ROAD IT’S CLEAR FESTIVE ROAD has a lot of fans in the industry; we received an outpouring of support for the consultancy when we opened submissions for the Hotlist, proving the team must be doing something right. And we can’t argue – it is actively involved in the industry, providing commentary and expertise at events all over the world. Entries for Festive Road focused on the company’s “think outside the box” and #BeTheRoad ethos, which creates an environment of engagement. One reader said: “They are constantly striving to improve our industry for the better.” The group has also been a champion for women in the business travel industry – managing partner Caroline Strachan is co-founder of the Level Women and Women At Work initiatives. Strachan actively encourages fellow women to seek out opportunities to speak at industry events in an effort to boost representation on stages across the world.


IAG’S HANGAR 51 “HELP YOUR START-UP FLY” proposes Hangar 51 – IAG’s in-house programme that incubates and accelerates start-ups in the travel sector. Hangar 51 lets entrepreneurs trial their products and innovations with “real customers, work with senior leaders in the travel industry and create a partnership with one of the world’s largest airline groups”. It launched in late 2016 and has helped start-ups, including V Chain and Esplorio, on to bigger and better things. It may not be a new concept in aviation, with Jetblue investing in start- ups since 2016, and Easyjet partnering with Founders Factory in 2017, but it’s catching on. Air France KLM recently invested in Bigblank, and Lufthansa has its Innovation Hub. Hangar 51’s October 2018 intake has ten firms, including Biobeat, Lucky Trip, 30K and Assaia, covering AI, VR and wearable tech. And we wait with bated breath for this year’s intake to be nurtured under IAG’s, er, wing, too.


WOMEN IN BUSINESS TRAVEL 2018 WAS A LANDMARK YEAR for raising the profile of women all over the world, with the gender pay gap coming into focus and the #MeToo movement sparking debate on women’s issues. Gender equality came to the fore in the business travel industry, too, with associations around the world committing to gathering more female speakers for events. The Advantage Business Travel Symposium in November featured a majority-female stage presence, while the ACTE Paris Global Summit and Corporate Lodging Forum also increased the number of women speaking throughout the event. With Festive Road’s Caroline Strachan, Maiden Voyage’s Carolyn Pearson and WINiT’s Michelle “Mick” Lee championing the value of greater gender diversity in the business travel industry, women are set to continue providing their expertise on the main stages – good news considering the travel and hospitality industry’s employee base is more than 65 per cent female.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


2019


JANUARY/FEBRUARY


79


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