April 2015 Travel & industry News

17 April 2015
FCm releases results from annual client survey

FCm has commenced releasing and rolling out action plans in response to their annual client survey for 2015.

“Overall results have been very positive and we are now in the process of reviewing the qualitative feedback to determine where we can improve our service offering to our customers,” said James Kavanagh, General Manager FCm Travel Solutions Australia.

“We are very proud to announce our 99% overall satisfaction score – an excellent result.”

Scores recorded for Account Management services in accessibility, knowledge and professional manner were all also very high and above 90 per cent in all three categories.

Looking at trends uncovered in the results, a continued focus on the traveller and their ability to have total mobility throughout the travel booking experience shows in the data. Whilst the upfront booking experience is desired to be quick and simple, travellers accept the fact that they will need to make multiple changes to their travel once they are on the road.

“FCm’s ability to offer local market support for travellers and travel bookers pre-, during and post-trip was ranked one of the most important services we offer” said James.

The feedback received will inform FCm’s mobile strategy as they look to updating their mobile technology to deliver booking functionality and more interactivity for travellers on the road.  

For clients wanting full results of the survey they can contact their FCm Account Manager for a copy of the report. 

GBTA adopts FCm risk check as industry standard

Earlier this year FCm announced the launch of TRM3, an assessment tool created by iJET International, in order to conduct travel risk assessments on their clients. Since the launch, the model has since been adopted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) as the global standard for measuring a company’s effectiveness towards managing travel risk and duty of care related to business travel.

FCm’s Senior Director of TRM, Charles Brossman said the end result is a “ready to use” business case for travel managers to show their leadership where they are doing well, and where they need work and further investment regarding travel risk management.

“For FCm, the TRM3 assessment gives us a reason and helps us to initiate conversations with clients about their travel risk management. Based on the outcomes of the assessment, we are able to provide supporting solutions through our industry-leading TRM solution, FCm Secure.”

“FCm’s commitment to integrating this tool into new customer implementations and existing client review processes cements our company’s larger value proposition of providing a consultative approach in customising tailored corporate travel programs. Ensuring true partnership with our customers and that we are delivering the most value to them,” said Charles. 

FCm has already commenced roll out of TRM3 to Australian clients which will continue over the course of 2015. 

VA to serve complimentary meals on all Domestic Flights

As part of Virgin Australia’s transformation into a premium full service carrier, the airline have announced the roll out of free food and checked baggage on all domestic flights to complement free in-flight entertainment available on board.

“We’re delighted to announce that the Virgin Australia product offering now includes complimentary food and drink, checked baggage on all flights as well as entertainment across our domestic network,” said Mark Hassell, Virgin Australia chief customer officer.

“The roll out of free food and checked baggage to complement our wireless in-flight entertainment is an important part of our ability to deliver a consistent, premium service across our network.”

Food and beverages available will be tailored to the time of day and length of the flight.

VA will continue to offer complimentary tea, coffee, juice and water on all flights and will also continue “Happy Hour” between 5pm and 7pm Monday to Friday when passengers will be served complimentary wine, beer and soft drink. 

Elevated value on the hotel club floor

For business travellers who spend much of their time in hotels, there’s a sanctuary that awaits them in the lofty top floors of the world’s leading properties. That sanctuary is the hotel club floor, and discreetly hidden behind the closely guarded entrance, is its signature club lounge.

An exclusive atmosphere of relaxed comfort, personal attention and often premium views over the city skyline, the club floor is designed to make the busy traveller feel relaxed and at home - while away from home.

Although the hotel club floors have always maintained a sense of mystery and aspiration, they are accessible to many business travellers and can offer greater value to the bottom line over a regular executive room booking.

Paul McMurray, Director of Sales and Marketing at Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, says “Travellers appreciate that the club floor and its lounge are quiet spaces that help them be more comfortable and therefore more productive“

“Business travellers will meet clients and colleagues and other like-minded people in a less formal environment.”

Businesses are finding the benefits of club access override the increased room rate cost considering the substantial savings from the inclusions such as in-hotel dining, beverages and Wi-Fi.

To read more about the exclusive benefits in the club lounge, read the full report 

Save yourself time and stress travelling on business

It’s often the last aspect of travel that companies organise, yet it can create the most headaches if not planned in advance. Transfers between airports, hotels and offices can be complex and time-consuming. Or, as the more savvy companies are discovering, it can be stress-free, value-adding and productive.

Booking door-to–door transfer services completes a business trip with benefits for both the traveller and their employer. Provided by specialist car transfer companies, these can be pre-booked and ensure effective point-to-point transport using professional and qualified drivers with excellent local geographic knowledge.

“Using ground transfer services, travellers can be confident they will arrive at their destination on time and with less stress,” said Chris Parker, Sales & Marketing Director for International car transfer specialist Carey.

“Ultimately, this supports travellers in having positive and successful meetings, and gives them the best chance of winning potential business.”

For all the details on saving time and money by using ground transfers, read the full article

Emirates 2-class A380s

Emirates plans to introduce a two-class version of the A380 later this year. The aircraft will be able to carry up to 615 passengers, with 58 flat-bed seats and an on-board lounge in business class and 557 seats in economy. The new dual-class layout will first operate on the Dubai-Copenhagen route from 1 December, when the A380 will replace the B777 aircraft used on flights EK151/152. The carrier is also increasing capacity on its Dubai-London Gatwick, with flight EK015/016 switching permanently to an A380 aircraft.

IHG Business Rewards

InterContinental Hotels Group has introduced a new rewards program for businesses. The IHG Business rewards program is an offshoot of its IHG Rewards Club loyalty scheme. The new program offers benefits on qualifying business bookings for guestrooms, meetings and events at more than 4700 properties globally. IHG Business Rewards members will be able to view earned points on one account, enabling the use of the same IHG Rewards Club membership card. The scheme rewards event bookers for their ongoing loyalty.

Qantas trial 2-door boarding

Qantas has been trialling dual door boarding on its B737 aircraft. This boarding system sees passengers seated in the rear half of the plane boarding via the rear stairs rather than the aerobridge. The new method saves time and has been well received by travellers, but will only be used in dry conditions. The aerobridge will remain available for customers with special needs. A trial has already taken place at Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney airports, with a trial at Melbourne Airports to follow in the coming weeks. Many other domestic airlines already use the rear stairs to reduce boarding, disembarkation and flight turnaround times.

QF temporarily drops business class on some routes

Qantas’ fleet of B717 aircraft is set to undergo routine maintenance. The necessary switch of aircraft will see routes that previously operated a two-class service, offer only an economy option. The change will impact selected services on specific days from Sydney to Hobart, Canberra and Adelaide from 28 July to 24 August, 29 October to 31 January and 15 March to 11 April 2016. Business class travellers already booked on affected services will be reaccommodated in economy or given the option to reroute, rebook or receive a refund on the ticket, with no cancellation fees.

Qantas/Emirates fare revisions

Qantas and Emirates have introduced a new international economy fare structure. Changes include revised fare levels, new seasonal date ranges and peak period and day of week surcharges. Services to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have had traditional shoulder and high season indicators removed and will instead feature peak period surcharges when there is increased demand. All changes are effective from 1 April 2015.

VA/Etihad expand codeshare

Virgin Australia has added three new cities to its route network thanks to its codeshare with partner Etihad Airways. The addition of Edinburgh, Manchester and Madrid increases the network to 37 cities.

Rex opens Cairns-Mount Isa route

Regional Express is launching a new direct service between Cairns and Mount Isa on 25 May. The carrier will offer four weekly services on the route, with flights departing Cairns at 6.30am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, arriving at Mount Isa at 8.35am. The return service will depart Mount Isa at 6.30pm, arriving in Cairns at 8.30pm. The timing of the flights will enable business travellers to spend a full day in Mount Isa and still be able to return home in the evening.

Terminal 1 revamp for Perth

Upgrades to Perth Airport are due to start this month. Expansion works to the international departures lounge on Level 2, will see the addition of more than 500 seats and a food and beverage court among other upgrades. Work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.

Mantra Lorne revamp

The Mantra Lorne in Victoria is undergoing a $1 million revamp. The heritage property will feature improved restaurant and meeting facilities when the upgrade is complete at the end of April.

Delta luggage guarantee

Following a successful trial, Delta Air Lines has made its 20-minute checked luggage guarantee permanent. The guarantee means SkyMiles frequent flyer members will be compensated with 2500 bonus points if their standard checked bag doesn’t reach the carousel within 20 minutes of landing.