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October 2014 Travel & Industry News

31 October 2014

Rugby World Cup ... serious business on and off the field

Large-scale international competitions like the Rugby World Cup, are increasingly being recognised as 'high value opportunities' by the corporate sector. But while corporate spectators will always have one eye on the game, the other is often looking for potential networking opportunities.  
 
Former Australian Wallabies captain turned highly successful corporate consultant John Eales, believes events such the Rugby World Cup present the perfect opportunity to mix the minds of business and pleasure. 
 
"Globally sport is an extremely successful mediator for people," Eales said. "It provides an opportunity to facilitate business and more importantly it provides a platform for people to develop meaningful relationships that act as the conduit for making effective corporate connections."
 
Eales said that as far as rugby was concerned, the Rugby World Cup was a unique event.
 
"It's only held once every four years. Countries put a lot of effort into it and put on a big show. The high impact environment that is created is amazing   ... people want to be a part of that and they also don't mind doing business at the same time. It's an effective way to mix business and sports.
 
"From a corporate perspective there are plenty of ways to use these events as a business tool - to reward high performers, to connect with industry peers, develop new relationships and obviously as a way to get the most out of your holidays."
 
Eales, who is the author of two books, Learning From Legends Sports and Learning From Legends Business, will be attending the Rugby World Cup 2015 as both spectator and commentator.
 
"I'll be a doing a few different things, he said. "I'll be working with Fox Sports throughout the Cup and I'll also be hosting a tour beginning with Australia's last pool match against Wales, ending with the quarter-finals at Twickenham, and sneaking over to the South of France for some wine and food in-between."
 
As a seasoned player, spectator and now business consultant, Eales has a few tips for companies or rugby enthusiasts considering a group hospitality trip.  
 
Advice from the field:
  • If you are keen to organise a corporate hospitality package for your company or a group trip to the Rugby World Cup 2015 plan ahead. This is not something you tackle last minute. People have busy schedules and may already be booked up months in advance. The earlier you plan ahead, the more your travel manager can tailor your corporate hospitality package to your preferences, in terms of the games you want to see, hotels you stay in, flight times and availability.
  • Book as early as possible
  • Think about what you want to get out of a trip - personally and professionally and relay that to your travel manager
  • With the Rugby World Cup 2015, it's not just about going to the semi-finals or finals, there are many other games that are very accessible and probably cheaper, and you'll probably get the same benefits, if not more.
  • When asked if a sports event was an appropriate time to do the 'hard sell', Eales said, "These are business judgements that a company, executive or traveller would need to make along the way. My personal opinion though is that these opportunities are more about building meaningful relationships.
For more information on the Rugby World Cup 2015, please contact your FCm team. 
 

Hear the latest updates on travel technology

Kicking off 27 November 2014 in Melbourne, is FCm's national Technology Forums. Including updates from leading Australasian technology providers, these events give you the opportunity to hear what's making news in the online space in corporate travel management. Up for discussion is a raft of new developments for online booking, conference and event management as well as new online functionality for travel reporting and data analytics. Don't miss this opportunity to take your program to a new level of efficiency and productivity!
If you are located in Victoria, please talk to your FCm team today to register your attendance. Limited spaces are available! 

These technology forums will be rolled out across Australia - for clients outside of Victoria please let your FCm Account Manager know if you are interested in attending. 

Traveller pre-check coming to Canada

Australian travellers will soon require pre-arrival clearance to enter Canada. From April 2015 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will require all travellers who do not require a visa to enter the country, including Australians, to obtain an online authorisation before flying to Canada. The electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) has been designed to replicate the US Electronic System of Travel Authorisation (ESTA). When applying for the eTA via the CIC website travellers will be required to give basic information, such as biographic data, passport and background info. Travellers planning to visit Canada should apply for an eTA before purchasing a ticket, as applicants may be refused entry due to fraud or a criminal history and airlines will be required to provide passenger information to Canadian immigration authorities before flight departure. Most applications, which cost CA$7 per person, will be processed within minutes and authorisations are valid for five years. Successful applicants will benefit from a faster service on arrival. 

New Qantas lounge at Perth Airport

Construction of Qantas’ new Domestic Business Lounge at Perth Airport is now underway. The lounge will cater to 350 guests and offer convenient access to Terminals 3 and 4, which will be used exclusively by Qantas for domestic and regional flights. The lounge will be open to business class travellers as well as Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers and will boast state-of-the-art facilities as well as a new food and beverage offering.
 
Meanwhile, Qantas has unveiled its next generation Business Suite. The new suite will feature on the carrier's A330 fleet, operating on select services from Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and on flights from Sydney to Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai and Honolulu and Melbourne and Brisbane to Hong Kong. The key point of difference will be that the seat can remain reclined during take-off and landing. The fully lie-flat seats will be laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration to offer direct aisle access from every seat. They will be progressively introduced onto all 28 Qantas A330 aircraft starting from later this year. The suites will offer more space, with room to eat while continuing to work, along with lots of storage for devices. Economy cabins on all Qantas international A330s will be fitted with a ‘next generation’ model of the popular Recaro seat used on the carrier’s A380 fleet, while economy seats on domestic A330-200s will also be refreshed. International A330 aircraft will also feature the latest Panasonic EX3 inflight entertainment system, complementing Q Streaming technology that allows passengers across both cabins to view content on their own devices.
 

Virgin to fly DRW-ASP

Virgin Australia is adding a new direct service between Darwin and Alice Springs early next year. The new route is set to launch 25 March 2015, which will coincide with the opening of the new Virgin Australia lounge in Darwin. The route will operate three times weekly on B737 aircraft. 

Mantra milestone

Mantra Group has added a new Brisbane property to its portfolio. The Mantra Midtown Apartments, which is located on Charlotte Street in the city’s CBD, offers 143 serviced units and features a swimming pool BBQ area, a boardroom for up to 14 people and an on-site bar and bistro. 

Emirates adjusts Perth services

Emirates has changed the departure time of one of its three daily services from Perth to Dubai. From 27 October, flight EK423 will depart at the later time of 5.50pm. The aim is to provide quicker onward connections to Rome, London, Milan, Manchester, Paris, Frankfurt, Dallas and Washington. 

SQ seasonal upgauge

Singapore Airlines is temporarily reintroducing double daily A380 services on its Sydney route. The upgauge of flights SQ231 (inbound) and SQ222 (outbound) from a B777-300ER to an A380 will take place from 18 June to 9 July 2015 to meet seasonal demand. A number of supplementary A380 services are also slated to operate in mid-July. 

Rex wins Govt regulated routes

From 1 January 2015, Regional Express will operate three new Queensland routes. The ‘Gulf Route’ flies from Cairns to Normanton, Gununa (Mornington Island), Burketown, Doomadgee and Mount Isa, while two western routes will see the carrier operate services from Brisbane to Toowoomba (Wellcamp), Quilpie, Cunnamulla, Thargomindah, Charleville, St George, Windorah, Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia and Mount Isa. Existing Regional Express routes from Townsville to Longreach, Winton, Mt Isa, Hughenden, Julia Creek and Richmond have been renewed. The Queensland Government has also awarded two regulated routes to QantasLink, which will fly from Brisbane to Roma and Charleville and from Brisbane to Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall. QantasLink plans to upgrade capacity to all ports, with Q300 aircraft to serve Charleville and Q400 to serve all ports. 

Cathay raises weekend fares

Cathay Pacific Airways has introduced a weekend surcharge. Friday, Saturday or Sunday departures from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to all destinations across all cabins will now cost $25 more for a return fare than those on other days of the week. Promotional fares, such as Earlybird sales, are exempt from the new surcharge. Earlier this year, Qantas and alliance partner Emirates also adopted a $25 weekend surcharge for international travel on Fridays and Saturdays. 

New Hilton brand

Hilton Worldwide has launched a new ‘lifestyle hotel brand’ called Canopy by Hilton. The new brand already has 11 new build and conversion projects in the pipeline for London, Miami, San Diego, Washington DC and New York. Canopy by Hilton aims to deliver four essential elements – great neighbourhoods, comfort and design, a ‘positively yours’ culture and more included value, such as free basic wi-fi, gourmet breakfast and evening beer and wine tastings. Hotel features will include a vibrant open plan design and members of the group’s HHonors loyalty program will earn points for stays. 

Mantra on Edward

Mantra Group has opened a new property in Brisbane. Housed in the former residential Observatory Tower, the 24-storey Mantra on Edward currently offers 50 studio, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with this number set to expand to 114 upon completion of the refurbishment in March 2015. The hotel also boasts a large lap pool and a fully-equipped gym as well as a spa and sauna. 

Qantas FF Platinum One perks update

Qantas Frequent Flyer’s Platinum One tier members can now access a suite of new benefits. These include Platinum membership for a spouse or de facto that allows access to Qantas International First Lounges and Domestic Business Lounges, free Qantas Golf Club Premium membership (expected to launch in coming months) and 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when members accumulate 5000 Status Credits in a membership year. In addition, Platinum One members travelling on flexible fares will have any fare differences payable at the airport when changing to an earlier QF domestic flight waived. 

Virgin/SAA codeshare

Virgin Australia now codeshares with South African Airways on its daily services from Perth to Johannesburg. The move follows the addition of South African Airways’ code on daily Virgin Australia services from Perth to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney earlier this year. Velocity frequent flyers will be able to earn points and status credits on the new codeshare flights.  

Virgin expands Delta alliance

Virgin Australia has expanded its alliance with US-carrier Delta Air Lines. Virgin is now able to issue through fares on Delta flights from Los Angeles to Nashville, Kansas City and Raleigh/Durham, which operate daily, double daily and 10 times weekly respectively. The Virgin/Delta alliance now spans over 245 destinations across North and South America. 

Etihad B777s all connected

Etihad Airways now boasts mobile and internet connectivity across its entire fleet of B777 aircraft. The remainder of the airline’s 89-strong fleet will follow suit in the coming months. In-flight connectivity services include wi-fi and mobile services as well as Live TV as part of the carrier’s in-flight entertainment offering. Passengers will be able to surf the internet, make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and update social media.