Business Traveller

TripAdvisor, hotels and the public seal of approval

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We’re living in “Have Your Say” times. Thanks to social media and online forums it takes seconds to find out what hundreds of other people you’ll never (fortunately) meet think about almost any given subject, experience or venue.

When you search online for a hotel in this word-of-online-mouth culture, one of the first things presented to you are past-guests’ critiques; the rooms are too small, the Wi-Fi irritatingly pricey. In devising a wisdom-of-the-crowd global feedback book, TripAdvisor has allowed the value- and choice-seeking leisure and unmanaged business traveller huge sway over the hotelier.

How should the hotel industry react, if at all, to all these pesky reviews?

Scott Davies, UK Commercial Director at Amadeus, an IT company which powers much of the airline and hotel industry’s booking engines, thinks that this more immediate and transparent global review of customers’ experience should guide the way that hotels provide services to customers.

“Maybe service failures are dealt with more promptly and bluntly in the review culture than before,” he says.

Ex-England captain’s Kiwi travel tips for Rugby World Cup 2011

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By Phil Vickery

Vickery visited New Zealand for the first time as an actual tourist in June. Poised to return as part of the ITV commentary team, he reflects here on his summer trip when he took a helicopter tour over Auckland, got up close to wildlife on the Otago Peninsula and soaked up the sights, sounds and great coffee of the world’s coolest little capital – Wellington.

I love New Zealand but never really got chance to enjoy it as a tourist when I toured there with England. I was always there to do a job and it was non-stop training.

Stratospheric emotions: Why we cry on the plane

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It’s time to question the cause of our quivering lips and tear-coated cheeks when catching a flick at 35,000 feet

“I watched “Marley & Me”, during which my good-looking neighbour was subjected to both hysterical laughter and sobs of total despair. And I mean sobs. By the time I took my headphones off (and realised that in the quiet, gentle hum of the plane my tears may have been fairly audible for several rows) she was looking at me like I was an emotionally unhinged serial killer.”

This was Olly Lemanski, a Singapore-based logistics executive, who was describing to me an emotional incident between him, an in-flight movie and an attractive stranger.

A home rather than a hotel for longer London stays?

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Joanna Doniger of Accommodate London

By Joanna Doniger, founder, Accommodate London

Around 7.1 million people visited the UK for business purposes from May 2010 to May 2011; a 5 percent increase on the previous year.[1] While many of these businesspeople are put up in hotels for short stays, longer visits of a week or more are often required for various events, meaning hotel bills can rack up, especially in the capital.

So what are the alternatives for business travellers coming to London?

There are a variety of other options available and there is currently a growing trend towards Londoners renting out their own homes. This can be a perfect solution for those travelling to London on business. Private home rental can provide a preferable and competitive alternative to hotels. During Wimbledon, for example, TennisLondon rents out houses and apartments to players, the media, global corporations and international companies for two weeks or more over the tournament period.

Ten best credit cards for business travel

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By Grace Nasri at FindTheBest

Any business traveller, or anyone for that matter, wants to have a credit card that offers the best perks, the lowest APR and no – or low – annual fees, yet nobody has the time to comb through the pages of fine print detailing the sometimes shocking terms of agreement.

Everyone wants to find “the perfect card”, but the best card ultimately depends on the specific person’s needs. For the typical cardholder, analytics from FindTheBest’s Credit Cards Comparison shows that the two most important factors when selecting a credit card are annual fee and ongoing purchase APR rate; 36 percent of users sort by annual fee and 21 percent sort by ongoing purchase APR, while other key factors, including balance transfer APR and rewards type, are only sorted on by less than 10 percent of users. But the typical card user has different needs than the business traveller.

Staying streetwise

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Damien Patton, CEO of Banjo

A new social app helps visitors with city slicking and trouble-avoidance

Whether caused by summer boredom, socio-economic frustration, space storms, or opportunistic, follow-the-gang-leader greed, British looters turned parts of several major cities into hellish, post-apocalyptic places between 6 and 9, August.

Liaising and peer-pressuring through social networks and BlackBerry Messenger ensured the mob remained several steps ahead of authorities. City residents and visitors also took en masse to networks such as Twitter to find out how to keep safely away from those engaged in what some in the media have termed “violent shopping”.

Business aviation on the move

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Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly.com, air travel booking agent and flight broker company

When should business flyers go private? Talking shop with Adam Twidell,

chief executive of PrivateFly.com

Video-conferencing to save your marriage

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Do we still need to travel so much now that high-definition audio-visual technology is becoming ever more ubiquitous?

“Face to face meetings will always be a part of our lives; but they’re not required for everyday regular meetings.”

London 2012: A hotel first

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How gingerly should travel managers and business travellers approach London’s hotels during next summer’s Olympic Games?

The UK capital at the end of July and the beginning of August 2012 is going to be a busier place than normal in a city where hotel occupancy rates of 90 percent are common in summer.

Take five (weeks) in China

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In conversation with Frits van Paasschen, President & CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

With over 1,000 properties in 100 countries, Starwood has more hotels outside the U.S. than in, with 80 percent of its future pipeline abroad. China recently became the hotel group’s second largest market (behind the States), with 70 hotels and another 90 under construction.