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Corporate Newsletter: Issue #13

Welcome to Edge Intelligence for March/April 2009

Letter from the Editor

The global economic downturn continues to have a trickle down impact upon the travel industry. It's official - this is a buyers market. Deals, discounts, airfare reductions and event, conference and hotel packages are abundant. Even Qantas's new A380 Sydney-London route has offered promotional special fares.

The hotel industry in particular is responding to the recession to keep your business with upgrades, modern amenities and renovations. In Melbourne, the Grand Hyatt has re-opened its doors fresh from a $45 million overhaul to capture the business traveler's attention. Its $10 million new function space is nothing short of dazzling. In Hong Kong, a sleek new W hotel transfixes the senses on Kowloon's urban neon waterfront. (see Business Hotel News for details) Next month in Business Hotel News, we'll spotlight the best of corporate rentals in San Francisco and London for your extended business stays overseas.

As always, we are pleased to have you all as valued clients and we thank you for your loyalty. Let us know if there is anything we can do to make your business travels more affordable and enjoyable.

Kimberly Rosbe
Editor at Large


 
   

INDUSTRY NEWS

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

   

INDUSTRY NEWS

War on Qantas declared - V Australia launches trans-Pacific services
United fights to keep trans-Pacific service alive
Sabre still finds lowest fares by 10%
Qantas A380 London-bound

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured Australian business hotel: The Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Featured overseas business hotel: W Hong Kong

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

Qantas launches new popular destination website
Broadband service on American Airlines begins

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

'VideoMeetings' changes the face of international conferencing
Destination Hotels & Resorts offers meeting stimulus packages at 30 facilities
$60K credit for hosting events at Novotel Australia


INDUSTRY NEWS

War on Qantas declared - V Australia launches trans-Pacific services

V Australia has officially declared war on Qantas and other rivals with the February 26th launch of an Australia-US route. As of the end of February, a new long-haul airline has entered the trans-Pacific race. V Australia is the country's newest international carrier and is now offering direct flights between Los Angeles and Sydney under the Virgin Blue Group banner with the infamous billionaire Sir Richard Branson at the helm. To kick off the inaugural flight to Los Angeles, Branson threw a star-studded event on Cockatoo Island to celebrate grandly in classic Branson-style. Virgin's brand new 360-seat 777-300ERs will operate three times weekly until Friday, March 20th when operations become daily with the entry of V Australia's second aircraft. Qantas and United finally have competition on the route. Good news for consumers as fares will inevitably drop and a pricewar is expected to ensue.

Branson has also announced two new routes for V Australia - Melbourne to LA and Sydney to Johannasburg, South Africa.

United fights to keep its trans-Pacific service alive

In light of V Australia's new trans-Pacific route from Australia to the US West Coast, United Airlines' VP Pacific Mark Schwab has publicly declared, "We're going to fight to hold onto this market." United Airlines has been operating the LA to Australia route for over 20 years and intends to maintain its presence regardless of the formidable new competition. Despite the economic downturn, decreased demand for travel and the double digit drop last year in long-haul flights, United reaffirmed their commitment to the Australian market with a total upgrade of its trans-Pacific fleet. Recently, United upgraded its Business Class to fully lie-flat seats as well as across the board upgrades in its First Class cabin. In addition, the Check-in areas have been redesigned and menus integrated to accompany the new products. As a result, customer satisfaction ratings have soared. Branson should be prepared for a run for his money.

United is currently offering customers Business Class fares at the same rate as a Qantas Premium Economy to Los Angeles.

Sabre still finds lowest fares by 10%

A recent study by Topaz International, an independent research group and the industry's leading provider of airfare analysis and benchmarking data, has shown that Sabre, the booking system used by Executive Edge Travel & Events, remains the industry leader in finding the lowest fares. Compared to three other GDS rivals, Sabre consistently located the lowest available airfares globally by an average of 10% per ticket. The study also decisively proved that Sabre found the lowest fare 4 times more often than its competitors. The sample airfare searches utilised were from 350 origin and destination markets across North American, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America. The study confirmed and validated the assumption that businesses who use Sabre agents will yield the best value for any traveler's journey and achieve significant overall savings. In the simplest terms, a company who spends $1 million on airfare per year would save approximately $100,000 annually by using a Sabre agency like Executive Edge Travel & Events.

Qantas A380 London-bound

Qantas has commenced flights to London on its jumbo A380 as of January 16th. The 450 seat aircraft will operate as QF31 departing Sydney through Singapore three times per week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The QF32 will depart London on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Since the launch of the A380 on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route in October last year, the jumbo jet has generated enormous press and hype, all justified. Creative Director Marc Newson has designed the most advanced, eco-efficient, spacious plane in history. To honour this notable accomplishment and first in aviation, Qantas's state-of-the-art A380 fleet is being named after Australian aviation pioneers. The first aircraft to fly from Melbourne to Los Angeles was named Nancy-Bird Walton, the founder of the Australian Women's Pilot's Association who paved the way for a proud generation of female pilots to fly alongside men. The second and third A380 megaliners were named Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness respectively, both Qantas founders. Four more A380s are scheduled for delivery this year with 20 in total flying by 2013.

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured Australian business hotel: The Grand Hyatt Melbourne

The Grand Hyatt Melbourne is reborn fresh from a $45 million makeover and ripe to welcome the business or leisure traveler. Set amidst the best designer shopping in Melbourne on Collins Street, the Grand Hyatt is in easy walking distance of great theatre, dining and the financial district. The glossy revamp includes Ru-Co, a new bar with an extensive list of signature martinis, whiskeys and cognacs as well as 2700 premium bottles of wine, and Collins Kitchen showcasing its open kitchen offering 5 different dining concepts using only local and organic produce. Inclusive in the renovations is a $10 million state-of-the-art banquet and function space called The Residence. Try one of Hyatt's special offer Retreat packages currently being promoted - Amour, Balance, Awaken or Explore. In town on business but have an extra day or afternoon to spare? The Explore package encourages you to discover the local surroundings with breakfast followed by a Yarra Valley Wine Tour.

123 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 61 (3) 9657 1234 www.melbourne.grand.hyatt.com

Featured overseas business hotel: The W Hong Kong

Putting the Chi in chic, the new W Hong Kong dazzles with ultra-modern touches and the pinnacle of Imperial pleasures. Its 393 flashy earth-inspired design rooms combine wood, fire, water and metal elements all with breathtaking skyline views. Located directly next to the International Commerce Centre (world's 3rd tallest building) among Kowloon's urban neon on the waterfront, sensory overload awaits in this cosmopolitan metropolis of East meets West. The W boasts 930 square metres of event space and studios with spectacular harbour views. Their Sensory Set Up adds that special touch with mood music, signature scents and more to energise attendees of all meetings, soirees and conferences. Indulge in Wet, the rooftop pool or their Bliss Spa, Asia's first. The W's signature services are still highlights - the Heavenly Bed and just one push of a button for Whatever/Wherever service is at your disposal.

Through June 30th, the W presents 'Far East Fab' limited time special offer package which includes a Mixologist Session with two cocktails, an Aqua Luna Harbour Cruise for two, a Bliss Spa Rapid Rub for two and more.

1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
(852) 3717 2222 www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

Qantas launches new popular destination website

Qantas.com/travelinsider has peaked interest with frequent fliers, travel writers and travel enthusiasts alike. It's like having a travel magazine at your fingertips; however, you get to choose the subject matter. The website features destinations, accommodation, entertainment, shopping and restaurant advice from those in the know for cities around the globe - 45 city guides covered in total. In addition, Qantas Frequent Fliers, celebrities and Qantas Ambassadors add their personal comments and insider tips with special reviews and recommendations. This month, 9 ways to unwind, Australian alfresco eateries, British Columbia eco-retreats and highlights of Cape Town.

Go to www.travelinsider.qantas.com

Broadband service on American Airlines begins

Signifying the next step in wireless technology, American Airlines has just made history with its recent launch of mobile broadband service on its Boeing 767-200 fleet. The service is aptly named Gogo, provided by Aircell, and is currently undergoing trials for passengers traveling on domestic long haul non-stop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and New York to Miami. Now you can stay connected at 30,000 feet. Aircell Gogo does come at a small fee for now though. Gogo is available to customers in all cabins for a charge of $12.95 US on flights longer than three hours. Each paid Gogo session includes full internet access but does not cover cell phone and voice over Internet Protocol (VolP). The next wireless revolution has begun.

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

'VideoMeetings' changes the face of international conferencing

NewCom International has devised a way to throw a lifejacket to companies experiencing cutbacks in travel budgets due to the global economic recession with a comparable alternative for face-to-face meetings. VideoMeetings is a video conference and collaboration service which allows employees to have international discussions, training, sales meetings, project follow-up across the globe without ever leaving the office. VideoMeetings includes technology to allow presentations and documents to be created and edited in real time, private chats to other attendees as well as manage flexible meeting 'rooms' with different join-in options worldwide. The new service is saving companies thousands in travel costs while providing the benefits of virtual face-to-face meetings. In today's economy, executives can't always fly in person to a meeting or presentation. Now VideoMeetings allows businesses to achieve the next best option while remaining budget conscious.

Destination Hotels & Resorts offers meeting stimulus packages at 30 facilities

Obama isn't the only one proposing stimulus packages. Destination Hotel & Resorts is currently offering a variety of stimulus packages to the events industry to help out in today's tough economy so that businesses can maintain meeting, incentive and training as vital aspects of its company's efficiency and productivity.

Planners can choose from the following:

  • The Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California is offering meeting planners a complimentary continental breakfast, free themed breaks and a 40 percent off discount on group room rates for Sunday arrivals. Alternatively choose a complimentary board meeting or 5 percent credit to the master bill.

  • Hamilton Park Hotel & Conference Center in Florham Park, New Jersey is offering a 20 percent reduction in meeting costs if the Dow closes below 9,000 and a 30 percent reduction of the Dow falls below 8,000.

  • The InterContinental Tampa Hotel in Tampa, Florida is offering a 10 percent credit to the master bill along with complimentary high-speed internet access and discounts on audio visual services.

  • Depending on the number of rooms booked, Hotel ICON in Houston, Texas is giving planners the option of complimentary continental breakfast, upgrades, complimentary meeting room, 25 percent attrition, 25 percent off group room rates for Sunday arrivals or a complimentary board meeting.

  • Sunriver Resort in Bend, Oregon has a complete tool kit for planners and is offering a stay two nights, get the third night free for groups and meetings.

  • At Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, California book a weekday meeting by March 31, 2009 and receive 25 percent off a Complete Meeting Package

 

$60K credit for hosting events at Novotel Australia

At AIME 2009, the Novotel network in Australia announced a cash incentive for meeting planners to select Novotel venues for their upcoming events. Any event planner who books a meeting or conference at one of the participating Novotel resorts or hotels in Australia will be placed in a draw to win $60,000 of credit towards their next Novotel event. Planners can choose from any of the 22 properties within Australia.

 
   
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