Business Traveller

Members: Not Only

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Potential is ripe for business travellers now that London’s Met Bar has ended 15 years of members-only exclusivity

In its halcyon days in the late-90s, early noughties, so desperate were people to get into Met Bar at London’s chic Metropolitan Hotel on Park Lane, non-members would book a room to be eligible to visit the venue.

Having just come out of the other side of a two-month revamp, Met Bar have now doubled the seating to 100-plus people (Nobody stands up any more, says its general manager Tadgh Ryan), discarded the membership system and introduced an idiosyncratically British menu.

They also employ some of London’s best mixologists; over a Jockey (Creme de Figue, port, Blanton’s bourbon, sugar, egg white), I asked Met Bar’s boss why they have ditched their free but ‘name on the list’ membership system, which famously focused on fashionistas, media execs and ‘money’?

British pubs are the new Red

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The Red Guides are out. Michelin launched its 2012 guides to Great Britain & Ireland and London Restaurants & Hotels late last week. Anything of interest for the business traveller?

“No matter what level of business you’re doing, you’ll find something of interest from the 1,500 hotels and 2,000 restaurants, whether it’s a three-star restaurant in London or a country pub where you can sit and talk in private.”

End of the airport counter service?

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Two surveys look at how our personal devices are changing the face of airports

According to SITA / Air Transport World’s 2011 Passenger Self-Service Survey*, more of us than ever are using our smartphones as travel tools. No huge surprises there – these devices are as portable as we are, go wherever we go and have the ability to scan, present information clearly and communicate by Bluetooth, SMS or email. They are the ultimate travel companion.

Airline passengers have doubled their use of them over the last year to 54%; of first/business class respondents and frequent flyers, 74% were carrying one. At the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, 75% of survey respondents had one in hand.

U.S. cities: The most and least expensive for business travel

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By Grace Nasri at FindTheBest

A stagnant economy and technological innovation have curbed business travel on the whole; but when face-to-face meetings are necessary, companies can dramatically reduce travel costs by carefully selecting the destination.

The US Travel Association reported that American companies spent upside of $200 billion on business travel in 2008 – and that was during the height of the financial crisis. But these costs are well spent; according to a study by Oxford Economics USA, for every dollar spent on business travel, companies generate $12.50 in revenue and $3.80 in new profits. The study went on to report that slowing business travel could potentially result in a loss of company profits. Another study conducted by ISH Global Insight found similar results, concluding that for every dollar spent on business travel, companies would on average make $15 in profits.

The 787: A dreamy flying experience?

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After a three-year wait, All Nippon Airways (ANA) finally have their Dreamliner. It will be a few more months* before you get to fly on the “plastic” 787, but how avidly should long-haulers await the experience?

The Boeing 787 may well be the most technologically advanced commercial airplane in history. As I wrote in a Reuters report the other day, not only the plane is marketed as a beacon of fuel efficiency, but also as a panacea to passenger discomfort.

from Reuters Money:

Why U.S. credit cards fail overseas

For comedian Dan Nainan, who has traveled to 10 countries already this year, trying to use his U.S. credit cards to buy train tickets in Hong Kong or rent a bike in Toronto was no laughing matter. Each time he swiped his card, the transaction could not be processed.

"The machine has no idea that any country would be so stupid as not to have the same kind of credit card the rest of the world does," he says. "It's really, really frustrating."

How to see Copenhagen in four hours

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By Tom Merkli

It’s early morning and you just realised that your travel department booked you on a flight with a four-hour stopover in Copenhagen in contrast to the direct flight you normally get. You may think this is another one of those ridiculous cost saving tasks recently implemented by your company.

We disagree and think someone really liked you and gave you a well-deserved mini-break for free. We think so, because Copenhagen is one of the cities so accessible, you can see a good part of it in a very short time.

Travel Flash!

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Why Jetsetter’s recent UK launch is likely to give online hotel bookers a run for their money, and why it is not at all like Groupon.

Jetsetter, a members-only flash-sale site, aims to help travellers discover and purchase curated holidays at a discounted rate. Set up two years ago in the U.S., and this week in the UK, funded by flash-sale site Gilt Groupe, it now has two million members, and sells 400,000 room nights through 20-40 flash-sales per week at prices up to 50 percent off.

Track me if you can

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Corporate travellers’ journeys are able to be ever more skilfully tracked by travel management and security companies on behalf of concerned employers – but are our personal devices a help or a hindrance?

Not-so-smart phones
Now that our luggage can be “bugged” with a chip, could not our lives, and that of those who endeavour to track us, be made much easier if we were also chip carriers, or at least app-equipped on our ubiquitous smartphones?

Can the supersonic bird ever fly again?

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When Fred Finn, the most travelled man in the world, was asked recently by Airline Reporter about his favourite aircraft, he unsurprisingly selected Concorde, an aircraft he’d flown on a record 718 times.

“…It was a terrific experience to travel faster than a rifle bullet and drink Dom Perignon at the same time. You were able to ride on the very edge of space where you could see the earth circle, and arriving before you took off if flying west, all above any turbulence and with friendly crews.”