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Eurostar sees increase in business bookings

High-speed rail service Eurostar has released its Q3 financial results, which show businesses are increasingly using the service for trips to mainland Europe.

The company revealed a 21 per cent increase in business passengers compared to Q3 2017, while the introduction of services between the UK and the Netherlands saw an additional 130,000 passengers use the line to Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, a 6 per cent increase in customers from the US also boosted Eurostar’s performance.

Total passenger numbers were up 12 per cent to 3 million, while sales revenues increased 17 per cent to £247 million.

From Buying business travel

Qantas planning non-stop London-Sydney flights

Qantas may be preparing to launch another ultra long-haul route from London, this time to Sydney.

According to the BBC, CEO Alan Joyce has been in discussions with Airbus and Boeing to place an order for an aircraft capable of making the 20-hour flight.

If the companies can produce such an aircraft, Joyce said the service could be launched in 2022.

From Buying business travel

‘Bleisure’ travel on the rise in EMEA

Research by SAP Concur shows the trend of combining leisure elements with work trips – commonly known as bleisure – is on the rise across EMEA.

SAP Concur Travel and Expense data collected between January and December 2017 shows bleisure trips jumped 46 per cent on 2016, with the most popular destinations being Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Dubai and Frankfurt. Globally, such trips increased 20 per cent.

For the purposes of the research, SAP Concur defined bleisure as a trip including a Saturday night stay.

Furthermore, the data showed it is not just employees from large enterprises driving the bleisure trend; a growing number of SME staff are choosing to combine a leisure stay with a business trip, with data from Concur Hipmunk showing nearly one in five SME trips included a Saturday night stay.

Buying business travel

CMAC Group launches European operations

Ground transport and accommodation provider CMAC Group has launched its first European operation in Greece.

CMAC says the decision to expand into Europe follows increasing demand from existing UK customers for support within Greece.

It comes after the group acquired Cabfind, a UK private hire and executive car supplier network.

CMAC will work with Greece-based airline expert Nick Christohides to service 37 commercial airports in the country. Christohides has 25 years’ experience in ground handling and airport services and will manage CMAC’s operation in Greece.

From Buying business travel

Will Embedded SIM Cards Relieve Corporate Travel Roaming Charges?

A feature in the iPhones that Apple unveiled this month could drastically reduce high international mobile roaming charges, a major hidden cost of business travel. The Apple XS, XS Max and XR phones include embedded subscriber identification modules, or eSIMs. Price per minute of talk time on foreign trips typically is measured in dollars rather than cents, but an eSIM allows the user to download a local calling plan when he or she arrives.

Stories are legend among travel managers of travelers racking up thousands of dollars in mobile fees on a single foreign business trip. At one time, international travelers were accruing such significant charges that procurement departments began negotiating with their service providers,” said Madia Sargent, a former travel manager and now Chicago-based VP and managing director of consulting services for travel management company Direct Travel.

Businesses resorted instead to negotiating “corporate plans that as long as you purchase in advance you avoid high roaming charges,” Sargent added. Alternatively, some travelers take an additional, local phone with them or take just one phone but remove the normal SIM card and replace it with one purchased in the destination country. Either option means operating a second phone number and therefore potentially missing calls and messages to the user’s regular number.

From Business travel news

Heathrow: ‘More work to do’ for local support

Heathrow airport has announced it will carry out two further public consultations in 2019 despite claiming local support for its third runway is ‘strong’.

According to the airport, a recent poll of 12,500 residents from constituencies that stand to be affected by the new runway shows more local people support the expansion than in 2015 when the regular surveys began.

From Buying business travel

Rail delays ‘worst for 12 years’

Figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show one in seven trains were delayed in the last year – the worst disruption seen for 12 years.

The statistics for the 12 months to August come after disruption caused by harsh weather – including the ‘Beast from the East’ storm that brought widespread cancellations in February and March – as well as the chaos brought on by the introduction of a new timetable in May.

From Buying business travel

Concur to list Airbnb homes in booking tool, alongside hotels

Since last summer, the two companies have been working on a partnership: integrating Airbnb listings into the Concur booking platform.

Announced in July 2017, the partnership will bear fruit this month. Airbnb listings will appear alongside traditional lodging content. Properties flowing into Concur will meet Airbnb for Work criteria, which means they must be an entire home or a private room with ensuite or private bath. They also must include amenities like Wi-Fi, a workspace and, as of last month, a smoke detector. Hosts must maintain an Airbnb rating of 4.8 or higher over the previous 12 months. They also must have responded within 24 hours to 90% of booking requests and must offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy.

From Travel weekly

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