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Corporate Newsletter: Issue #4

Welcome to Edge Intelligence for December 2007

This month we dedicate the entire issue of Edge Intelligence to examining the future of the industry – trends, predictions and forecasts for 2008 and beyond for aviation, hotels and events/conferences. 

With the holiday season descending quickly upon us, everyone at Executive Edge wishes you and yours a safe and happy Christmas and New Year’s.  We look forward to serving your travel needs in the year to come.

As always, we are pleased to have you as valued clients and we thank you for your loyal business.

Kimberly Rosbe
Marketing and Communications Manager


 
   

INDUSTRY NEWS

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

EDGE BRAIN TEASER

   

INDUSTRY NEWS

New Era of Long-Haul Flights
Airfare and Hotel Rates to Soar in 2008
Middle Eastern Airlines at Forefront of Aviation Growth
Private Aviation Gaining Popularity
Airport Congestion Predictions Prompt Building New Airport Capacities

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured business hotel: The Park Hyatt Washington
Room Rates and Occupancies Reach New Heights Fuelling Future Hotel Investment
The Latest Trend in Hotels: Art

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Green Meetings and Carbon Neutral Conferences – The Wave of the Future
Edge Conference Venue Famils – March 2008
It’s a Girl!

EDGE BRAIN TEASERS


INDUSTRY NEWS

New Era of Long-Haul Flying for Passengers

The arrival of the 380 Airbus is unquestionably a landmark moment in global tourism. But the 380 will also impact travellers on a much more personal level - it will forever change the flying experience for passengers on long-haul flights in terms of comfort, space, service and options.

Beyond the 380’s impressive machine attributes of greater passenger capacity, superior fuel efficiency, lower carbon emissions and lower noise levels, the 380 offers the most comfortable and spacious layout ever. In fact, customer focus has never been more important.

All carriers who have ordered the 380s are tirelessly trying to devise new and innovative approaches to passenger comfort for the aircrafts’ design. Right now, the battle of the 380 carriers is waging between Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas – each trying to outdo each other in a campaign for the best seat configuration.

At this stage, Singapore Airlines is the only certainty regarding their layout with Emirates and Qantas’s in cabin fit-out merely media speculation. Singapore Airlines is offering 471 seats in three classes – Beyond First, Business and Economy. Highly publicised, Singapore Airlines’ 12 per aircraft “beyond first class suites” are causing quite a fuss. Designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, each sliding door sealed suite opens to a meter-wide leather seat, a separate full-sized flat bed with mattress and Givenchy duvets/cushions as well as an adjustable table which can be used as a workstation, 58 centimetre flat screen television, chaise lounge for companion seating, mood lighting, luggage stowage space and finally a personal coat closet. In Business Class, Singapore Airlines has a 1-2-1 configuration granting all business passengers access to the aisle.

To compete, Qantas claims it will have a 450 seat, four-class product, including the introduction of the first “premium economy cabin” of 32 seats. However, the actual layout and comparative spaciousness of Qantas’s 380 won’t be known until the airline unveils it. Emirates’s 380 layout remains a mystery. Whatever the 380 Airbus battle result, passengers can look forward to an era of the most pleasant flying experience the history of aviation has ever witnessed.

Airfare and Hotel Rates to Soar in 2008

The need for special corporate rates granted to business clients through agencies has never been greater as the 2008 forecast predicts soaring airfare and hotel costs for 2008. According to the latest American Express Global Business Travel Forecast, double digit increases are expected in high-demand markets across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The predominant rationale behind these price hikes is being attributed to continuing capacity shortfall in both airline seats and hotel rooms. Additional contributing factors for the price hikes focus on rising fuel costs and an improving global economy.

The 2008 forecast asserts that global published airfares for a domestic business trip inclusive of car rental, airfare and hotel stay will increase by 8 percent with international business trips increasing by 5 percent. Published hotel tariffs alone are showing a predicted global increase of 11 to 14 percent. Worse still, companies may also encounter minimum and maximum stay requirements. The good news is for agency-connected business travellers. The increased published fares and high levels of carrier competition are resulting in increased corporate discount levels for clients who can shift share to preferred carriers.

Middle Eastern Airlines at Forefront of Aviation Growth

If current aircraft orders are any indication, the greatest growth in aviation for the future will lie with Gulf States’ airlines. With Heathrow’s status as the gateway to Europe in jeopardy in favour of a potential shift to more central Dubai, Emirates isn’t wasting any time getting prepared. Recently Dubai-based Emirates made history topping all aviation records by announcing the largest ever order for aircrafts. In the $39.5 billion dollar deal set for delivery in 2014, the carrier ordered a whopping 120 A350 XWBs – a long range aircraft rivalling the A380 Airbus. In addition, Emirates placed an order for three more A380s making their total superjumbo arsenal 58 aircrafts – the first of which will be delivered as soon as August 2008. Both the A350 and the A380 will have major Australian routes.

Simultaneously, Middle Eastern based Qatar Airways completed a deal for 27 Boeing 777s and 30 787s in a deal worth $US 13.5 billion. This deal will have direct repercussions for Australians as the lack of long-range aircrafts has been preventing Qatar from reaching the Land Down Under. Now, the airline’s plans for Melbourne and Sydney are back on the map.

Private Aviation Gaining Popularity

No longer a travel privilege for the ultra-wealthy, private aviation is gaining popularity worldwide. In fact, all evidence is suggesting that many travellers are finding private jets a more convenient way to travel. Travelling by private means has certain clear advantages including no check-in queues, flying at any time and superb personalised service. The primary disadvantage is, of course, the increased expense. But the perception that private jets are only for the rich is, in fact, changing as corporations and leisure travellers alike are increasingly seeing private aviation’s value and are willing to try this option.

Although the most obvious evidence of this emerging trend has been seen in America and Europe, Australia is beginning to show signs of following suit. Anthony Dunlop, Managing Director of JetGroup, Australia’s first aircraft timeshare, has been vocal about highlighting Australia’s changing perception. And Australians do seem to be catching on. Since 2001, there has been a 75% increase in the sales of new private aircrafts.

Airport Congestion Predictions Prompt Building New Airport Capacities

Congestion predictions at airports’ worldwide for 2008 have spurred airport developers to contemplate the need for new infrastructure. A June 2007 survey by Airports Council International (ACI) reported that airports’ passenger growth for 2006-2007 was 4 percent while global airport capacity was expected to grow at a rate of only 3 percent per year. This one percentage point difference actually reflects a serious situation – 7 billion passengers are expected to demand air transport while airport capacity might only comfortably serve 6 billion.

With the implications of this capacity shortfall/congestion very dire, airport officials are taking drastic action to ensure the quality of travel experience for 2008 and beyond. For example, Asia shows the greatest capacity shortfall predictions, and so the recent Travel Distribution China Conference in Shanghai reported that Asian airports are well-prepared to handle the growth. In China alone, the number of airports will grow from 147 to 190 by the year 2010. Overall, governments, airport operators and other industry stakeholders must work together to fast-track approvals for new capacity.

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured business hotel: The Park Hyatt Washington

Travelling to America’s capital on business, the newly remodelled Park Hyatt Washington is the place to stay. Architect Tony Chi is responsible for the new hot spot for politicians, power brokers and lobbyists. The hotel itself has long been a landmark but now Chi’s restoration and redesign have brought a distinctly traditional American culture to the place with his use of representations of the “tavern,” the “tea cellar” and the “barn” – all with a rich, elegant modern twist. The atmosphere of the hotel is that of a contemporary gallery. The suites are Washington’s largest with the bathrooms featuring a rain shower. If you are planning to experience the political climate via a visit to the nation’s capital, have a tea and stay at the Park Hyatt and watch the notorious power play unfold before your very eyes.

Park Hyatt Washington, 24th and M Streets, Washington, D.C.
www.parkhyattwashington.com

Room Rates and Occupancies Reach New Heights Fuelling Future Hotel Investment

With Australia’s June quarter statistics for hotels reporting the highest average daily rates and highest demand growth ever in all major markets except Melbourne, hotel developers and owners are taking immediate action for the future to accommodate this trend. Statistics show that Australia has experienced four years of strong growth in this area and all economic indicators suggest the hotel sector will continue its positive performance for the rest of the decade. With these clear optimistic forecasts, hotel groups are accordingly planning refurbishments of existing properties as well as committing to new properties in the serviced apartment sector for 2008. Sydney recorded the highest demand growth in almost 20 years and hoteliers will most likely concentrate their plans for refurbishment and development there.

Catering to the corporate traveller, serviced apartments in particular seem to be a focus for the upcoming year as research has shown that increasing numbers of business travellers are choosing this style of accommodation over the traditional hotel model. The primary reasons for this shift to a preference for serviced apartments lies in the increased space, convenience of self-contained facilities and the flexibility for spouses and families to visit. The serviced apartment sector has experienced double digit growth in the last five years with no signs of slowing down. Large serviced apartment companies such as Quest are planning for this anticipated increase with 5 new properties opening in 2008 bringing the groups’ total to 111 in Australia and New Zealand.

The Latest Trend in Hotels: Art

A million dollar art collection at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa represents the latest industry-wide trend for artful lodgings. In fact, what’s on the walls at hotels has become the most important sign of prestige and greatest draw for attracting the high-end business and leisure traveller. The Shangri-La Penang, Malaysia is hoping to capitalise on this trend by attracting art lovers to its properties with the current $1 million-estimated commissioned exhibition.

Many hotels now display valuable artwork in their public spaces such as the lobby and hallways, but also in their guestrooms. Art lovers can now sleep amongst masterpieces in their own private space. Fine art collections at hotels are no longer limited to boutique, ultra-lux establishments as some global chains are also jumping on the industry art bandwagon. Steve Wynn is still credited with initiating this trend when he opened the Bellagio and hung a $4 million dollar open canvas Picasso in one of the hotel restaurants. Next year the prediction remains that the hot focus for choosing a hotel won’t be location or designer, but who has the most impressive fine art collection.

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Green Meetings and Carbon Neutral Conferences – The Wave of the Future

Today the buzz word for the future of conferencing for corporations is GREEN. Green conferencing refers to engaging in responsible strategies to minimize or, ideally, eliminate the negative impact your conference/event has on the environment. To hold a “green” event entails ensuring that all aspects of the event including its location, food services, transportation and the provision of materials are all approached with a pollution prevention perspective to reduce the adverse environmental impact.

Tips on how to achieve a “green” event:

HOTEL:

  • Choose an EcoRated hotel www.terrachoice.ca/hotelwebsite
  • Turn off all lights, TV, air conditioning/heating when you leave room for the day
  • Recycle your own waste (glass, paper, bottles)
  • Opt for reusing towels and sheets to reduce water and energy consumption

TRAVEL:

  • Choose a local hotel if possible to reduce travel costs
  • Purchase emission reduction carbon dioxide equivalent credits in order to offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with flying
  • Partake in carbon neutral conferencing via investing in climate-friendly  projects
  • Do local site inspections by walking, carpooling or taking the bus

EVENT:

  • Host meetings at a green conference facility
  • Create a “green” program for the day to day activities to inform worker’s of your policies
  • Publicise meetings electronically via email, internet or group voice mail, instead of through mailings
  • Distribute proceedings and presentation handouts electronically via CD ROM instead of paper
  • Provide clearly marked recycle bins at the day’s events
  • Ensure environmentally preferable products are used with the suppliers
Setting an example, the greenest conference ever achieved for its size was the 2002 Forest Leadership Forum in Atlanta.  The conference had over 1,300 participants from 45 countries and the event was able to eliminate the use of more than 80,000 disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils.  If we could all be this vigilantly committed to the environment, imagine the possibilities.

Edge Conference Venue Famils – March 2008

Jane Ouvaroff, our Events and Conferences Manager at Edge, will be conducting a 1 day regional Victorian conference famil in March 2008.  If you are considering running a conference or event in the upcoming calendar year but are uncertain as to the details, this informational tour will be an ideal opportunity to familiarize your team with all the diverse options Victoria has to offer.

Please register your interest with Jane by emailing your details and questions to:  info@executiveedge.com.au

It’s a Girl!

Speaking of events, both our Events and Conferences Manager and one of our Senior Corporate Consultants had baby girls on the same day! October 31st Jane Ouvaroff gave birth in the morning to a little girl named Grace Margaret weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces and Dana Michael gave birth later that day to another little girl Marli Rae at 2.99 kilograms. A huge congratulations goes out to them both from everyone at Edge.

EDGE BRAIN TEASERS

November Answers to last months teaser:

  1. ignore, snub
  2. ambivalent

December Teasers:

  1. Cross from DAWN to DUSK in only five steps, changing one letter at a time and using a proper English word each time?

    D  A  W  N
    D  U   S  K

  2. What would logically come next in this sequence?

    S30     031     N30
 
   
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