July 2015 Travel & Industry News

27 July 2015
FCm Wins Big at NTIA Awards

FCm Travel Solutions was awarded the title of Best National Travel Management Company for 2015 at the National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) ceremony at the Dockside Pavilion in Darling Harbour on Saturday night.

General Manager for FCm  Australia, James Kavanagh said of the win that it was a testament to the hard work and dedication of all FCm staff around the country who worked tirelessly over the last year to deliver on their promise to customers.

"This past year we have seen a significant focus to deliver and deploy market-leading technology solutions to our customers as well as our enhanced travel product range and I think this win recognises our innovation in these areas" said James.

"Of course this is great news for our customers because it means that we truly are delivering amazing travel experiences to our clients and their travellers."

The NTIA gala event took place on Saturday 18 July and finalists were required to lodge a written submission and then present to judges. The presentations covered nine key questions detailing successes over the qualifying period, outlining plans for the year ahead as well as a corporate social responsibility element.

FCm last won the award in 2012.

The winners were decided by a panel of judges – all industry experts from across the travel category.

This year's runners up included: American Express Global Business Travel, Impact Organisation – Travel, QBT, Voyager Travel Corporation and Corporate Travel Management. 

Could your national travel programs be losing you savings?

FCm Travel Solutions' has released a white paper weighing up the pros and cons of consolidating a multi-country travel program under a single travel management company (TMC).

Global Director of Account Management at FCm Felicity Burke, who headed up the white paper, said that increasingly organisations are exploring the benefits of consolidating their travel programs that match their growing organisational structure rather than have just stand alone national travel programs which are not aligned.

"The nature of how many travel programs start as national programs may be suitable if you are operating in only one or two countries but your organisation could be missing on significant savings by having several travel programs that operate independent of one another," she said.

With a consolidated program managed by an experienced FCm Travel Solutions Multinational Account Manager (MAM) your organisation will benefit from:

·         clear interpretation of your travel spend and smart recommendations for change;

·         consistent policy management to drive compliance;

·         improved purchasing power through consolidated expenditure;

·         reduced complexity and improved transparency on travel expenditure.

Contact us to discuss growing your national travel program. 

The next generation of green hotels

Where lush is the new luxe. Environmental consciousness has been increasing its footprint on the hotel industry for some years. Yet the hotels which take it seriously are putting sustainability into much more than the laundry. From organic menus to skygardens, the next generation of green hotels is breathing new life into being eco-friendly.

Demand for green hotels has been driven by the worldwide rise in environmental concern and its impact on travel and tourism. Travellers’ growing interest in sustainability has spurred more hotels to achieve green certifications and gain an advantage over their competitors.

This trend was confirmed in the 2013 ‘Global Hotel Industry Survey’ by Timetric and MarketResearch.com. The survey revealed that both buyers and suppliers of accommodation see environmentally friendly initiatives as the biggest emerging trend in the global hotel industry. More hotels are now actively focused on reducing their environmental footprint and creating green products and services for their guests.

While ‘green  accommodation’ is still in its infancy, corporate travel procurement is increasingly being influenced by environmental consciousness.

Thushara Liyanarachchi, Regional Director of Sales (Australia and New Zealand) for the Taj Group, says there is a definite change in the mindset of customers. “Travelers are increasingly opting to stay ‘guilt free’ and willing to pay a reasonable premium to do so.”

"Hotels that respond to this demand will have an advantage over others. Corporates are also insisting that they partner with hotel companies that have an environment management plan. This has led to hotels adopting environmental programs in a structured manner,” she says.

For the full white paper click here 

ANA to restart flights on Sydney-Tokyo route

Japanese airline ANA will begin Boeing 787-9 flights between Sydney and Tokyo from 11 December 2015, introducing competition for Qantas on the resurgent Australia-Japan route.

The daily service will be flown by a Boeing 787-9, which will depart from Tokyo's downtown Haneda Airport at 10.10pm as NH879 to reach Sydney at 9.35am the next day.

After spending the day in Sydney, ANA's Dreamliner will be wheels-up at 9.30pm as flight NH880, allowing business travellers to hit the ground running in Haneda – perhaps fuelled by an extra strong shot of coffee – at 5.05am the next day.

Inbound travellers headed for elsewhere in Japan will have plenty of domestic ANA connections to choose from, with the airline offering an add-on 'Experience Japan' fare of ¥10,800 (A$120) for any domestic segment.

Tickets for the new route are expected to go on sale in August.

Story originally appeared on Australian Business Traveller 

Nothing to read on your flight?

Qantas now offers free digital downloads of the latest magazines and newspapers via digital publishing service PressReader following a successful trial in late 2013 and early 2014.

These can be accessed by passengers within 24 hours of their flight's departure time by opening the Qantas Smartphone app and tapping 'download newspapers and magazines', which will appear whether you're at home or in the lounge.

That click unlocks 12 hours of free downloads via PressReader, so take the chance to load up your iOS or Android Smartphone or tablet with some serious reading material before your flight ahead.

"Many people use flights as a way to catch up with their reading, so this new service opens up a huge library of titles for people to choose from before they take off," said Qantas Group Executive Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth.

"We built PressReader into the existing Qantas app to make it easier for customers to manage all parts of the journey through the one application," Wirth added.

PressReader's library packs in over 3,600 titles from 100 countries around the world, including Australia, while the digital editions of whatever you download will remain on your device until you delete them.

Virgin Australia also offers guests free access to PressReader, although free downloads are only available when connected to Wi-Fi in the airline's domestic lounges.

Story originally appeared on Australian Business Traveller

Qantas guests to use JAL lounge

Eligible travellers on Qantas’ new Tokyo Haneda service will be able to use Japan Airlines lounges in Tokyo. Platinum Frequent Flyers and Oneworld Emerald members will be able to use Japan Airlines’ First lounge, while Qantas Gold Frequent Flyers, Club members and Oneworld Sapphire members can use the carrier’s Business Lounge. Services on the route commence on 31 July.

Marriott reaches milestone in China

Marriott International has opened a new hotel in China. The 311-room Zhuzhou Marriott in Hunan province is the 20th Marriott-branded property in China and also the group’s 80th property in the country across six different brands. The new hotel features three restaurants, an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and six meeting and events spaces catering for up to 1200 people.

Emirates back to Erbil

Emirates plans to relaunch services between Dubai and Erbil in Iraq. The four weekly two-class services will commence on 15 August on A330-200 aircraft. 

Adina New Zealand

TFE Hotels plans to open its first Adina Apartment Hotel in New Zealand. The Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland, Britomart will feature 128 units and is slated to open in mid-October this year. 

Qantas’ direct SFO service on sale

Direct Qantas services between Sydney and San Francisco are now on sale, with the route due to commence on 18 December. Initially operating on peak days only, this will increase to a six time weekly service by the end of Jan 2016. Operating on B747s, flights will leave Sydney at 3pm each day, arriving into San Francisco at 9.30am the same morning. 

New Holiday Inn Express for Bangkok

InterContinental Hotels Group plans to open a new Holiday Inn Express hotel in Bangkok. Set in the heart of Chinatown, the 240-room Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Chinatown is scheduled to open in 2017 as part of a mixed development with retail shops, restaurants and bars. It will offer easy access to the rest of the city via the Chinatown train station, which is expected to open in the same year. The property will feature a self-service business centre and 24-hour fitness centre and will offer free in-room wi-fi and a free Express Start Breakfast or a Grab & Go option. 

Rydges Perth move

Rydges Perth at 815 Hay Street will close on 31 August to make way for a new hotel with the same name further down the street. The117-room Kings Perth Hotel at 525 Hay Street will be rebranded as the new Rydges Perth in mid-2016 following a major revamp that will add 57 new rooms to the property. The hotel also boasts a restaurant and coffee shop.

IHG Rewards Club reaches new heights

InterContinental Hotels Group has launched a new top membership level for its IHG Rewards Club. The Spire Elite tier is reached by accumulating 75,000 qualifying reward points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights per year. Members can earn 100% extra bonus points on qualifying stays and have the option to upgrade a friend or family member to Platinum membership or receive an additional 25,000 points.

Virgin Dreamliners Hong Kong-bound

Virgin Atlantic is now operating B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on its services between London Heathrow and Hong Kong. The aircraft features a new Upper Class bar and offers 31 seats in Upper Class (Business), 35 in Premium Economy and 198 in Economy.