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Corporate Newsletter: Issue #14

Welcome to Edge Intelligence for May/June 2009

Letter from the Editor

Challenging economic times persist for the airline industry but continue to offer a silver lining for consumers. Consider this historic time an opportunity. In reality, the current economic environment presents a chance to reassess your business strategies and make positive changes operationally to run more efficiently and improve overall performance. Operational focus should be paramount during an economic downturn. Let your Executive Edge Consultant help your company reevaluate its travel operations to become more efficient financially.

In this issue's Business Hotel News, instead of spotlighting the latest business-oriented hotel openings around the globe, we focus on the best offerings of the corporate serviced apartments in San Francisco and London. For longer stays in these cities on business travel, these properties offer virtually all the amenities of a hotel but the comfort of a home at more affordable rates.

As always, we are pleased to have you all as valued clients and we thank you for your loyalty. Let us know if we can assist to streamline your travel strategies during these challenging times. Remember - there is opportunity abound.

Kimberly Rosbe
Editor at Large


 
   

INDUSTRY NEWS

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

   

INDUSTRY NEWS

First ever Green Travel Summit explores green travel strategies for corporate travel
Airline capacity surge to Australia means good news for consumers
Virgin shakes up Australian aviation industry on Pacific route and prices drop
Air New Zealand upgrades entire Pacific fleet
Continental to join Star Alliance

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured San Francisco luxury furnished corporate housing: Nob Hill Tower
Featured London luxury serviced apartments: The Cheval Group

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

Hertz 15% off overseas rentals
New baggage allowances for Qantas

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Cutting corporate travel management and conferences not the answer in long run
'Meet and Stay Package' at Starwood hotels in Hong Kong affords big savings for events


INDUSTRY NEWS

First ever Green Travel Summit explores green travel strategies for corporate travel

Green travel has lost a bit of its thunder in light of more pressing current economic conditions; however, the first ever Green Travel Summit has peaked interest once again on the subject. Over 160 corporate travel executives and industry suppliers attended the summit in Newport Beach, California at the end of March to focus on identifying challenges facing organizations in greening corporate travel. Delegates revealed that the single greatest hurdle for most companies is where to begin and how to clearly define a strategy to start greening business travel and meetings. Apparently, overcoming resistance to change is first and foremost in debunking the myth that greening business meetings costs more money. Critical to this change is the necessity of senior management to support green initiatives. The next step is to secure a budget and in this economy, finding adequate funds to allocate to greening strategies may prove difficult. Once funding is secured, a company must establish acceptable standards across their corporate travel supply chain. Finally, communication and education is key. Once green corporate travel policies are implemented and enforced, the program must spread to the mentality of its stakeholders and employees to ensure continued success. Ultimately, the time is ripe for socially responsible corporations to stand out in the marketplace by accelerating their efforts to create industry-wide sustainability strategies to address climate change and reduce carbon emission liability.

Airline capacity surge to Australia means good news for consumers

At the very moment demand is drastically decreasing, a significant airline capacity surge has hit the Australian market. Four primary factors are responsible for the surge in capacity to Australian destinations: 1) Carriers are redeploying capacity to Australian cities because even in this economy reasonable return still exists to Down Under markets; 2) A380s with far more seats are replacing smaller aircrafts; 3) Delta and V Australia have joined the trans-Pacific route and 4) Middle Eastern carriers are bringing in a massive number of seats/passengers to Australian ports. The new increased capacity is in large part a result of aircraft orders that were placed years ago and just come in as well as existing aircraft which have been redeployed from worse-off markets to make a profit on the long-haul flight to Australian soil.

While the industry experiences a downside, consumers are celebrating. Overcapacity always draws down prices. So consumers who still can afford to fly are benefiting from unprecedented fare reductions, sales and promotions as airlines attempt to occupy seats. Two-for-one Business Class fares are not uncommon. Now is actually an ideal time to travel.

However, soon airlines will have to react to maintain revenue and will decrease capacity by cutting routes to match reduced demand. Singapore Airlines has already announced it will cut capacity by 11 percent over the coming year including 7 weekly flights from Sydney dropped. Qantas has also reluctantly axed Melbourne-Shanghai services and Sydney-Beijing services. Verdict? Book travel for the coming months now on the reduced fare options to take advantage of capacity surge repercussions.

Virgin shakes up Australian aviation industry on Pacific route and prices drop

As expected, the February launch of V Australia's trans-Pacific route has had far-reaching impacts on the Australian aviation industry for airlines and consumers alike. When V Australia entered the Australia-US route slightly over two months ago and the Open Skies Agreement ensued, Qantas, Delta and United suddenly had viable, serious competition for the first time.

As a result, airfares have literally tumbled over the Pacific. Today, quoted airfares are half of what they were this time last year. All airlines on the trans-Pacific route have slashed prices and are offering significant savings for consumers with across-the-board promotional fares.

Sir Richard Branson at the helm of V Australia has publicly declared that he will engage both direct sales and agents as his distribution methods and noted that agents were being very supportive of the new airline.

Although the battle for lowest fares fluctuates between the airlines, V Australia's aircrafts do boast the widest seats in all classes compared to Qantas, Delta and United.

Air New Zealand upgrades entire Pacific fleet

In light of increased competition, Air New Zealand has recently finished refurbishing its entire trans-Tasman and Pacific Island fleet of B767 and A320 aircrafts. Each section of the aircrafts has new features and upgrades. In the first 6 rows of economy, a new “Space+ zone” category has been created with extra legroom and comfort and seat pitch of 35 inches compared to 31-33 inches in the rest of economy. If you are an Air New Zealand frequent flier, The Space+ zone can be booked at no extra cost. Also, now on-demand 9-inch touch-screen entertainment is available in every seat in Economy as well as 10-inch screens in Business Class. Other upgrades include passengers being able to listen and view content from their IPod on the in-seat screen as well as USB ports which allow passengers to view photos, video and PDF files on the screen. Finally, all classes will enjoy new inflight menus featuring award-winning New Zealand wines and produce. Air New Zealand also has plans to expand its “inflight concierge” service for its 747 and 777 long haul aircrafts between New Zealand and the US.

Continental to join Star Alliance

Due to a tentative approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation for Continental to join the Star Alliance, the airline and its 42,000 employees may be able to keep flying. The existing antitrust alliance between United Airlines and eight other Star alliance partners will allow Continental entry into an integrated worldwide alliance. Continental's consumers will directly benefit from the new alliance while simultaneously preserving its domestic internal jobs. The tentative Department of Transportation's decision will also stimulate global competition with the other existing alliances while encouraging the Open Skies Agreement between the United States and other countries. Although the application has not been officially approved yet, final confirmation is expected for early Fall.

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured San Francisco luxury furnished corporate housing: Nob Hill Tower

Boasting perhaps the best view and location in San Francisco, Nob Hill Tower on exclusive Jones Street in Nob Hill is the city's premiere address in corporate housing. Ideally situated in the heart of this renowned historic neighborhood amongst world-famous hotels, Grace Cathedral, Huntington Park and California Street cable cars, Nob Hill Tower offers incomparable service and competitive amenities. The cleverly designed residences vary from studios to one and twobedroom floor plans to two-bedroom penthouse homes and have been specifically created to accommodate the needs of discerning executives. The decor consists of a palette of warm, earthy tones and an inviting Ralph Lauren feel. Top notch amenities include 24-hour concierge service, weekly housekeeping, all utilities included, wireless internet, gym, parking and garden terrace. Another bonus? Every apartment at Nob Hill Tower has at least one projecting private terrace overlooking the city. And in San Francisco, this breathtaking city by the bay, it's all about the view. Nob Hill Tower with its “view from the top” is the ultimate vista and the ideal place for extended stay executives to call home when conducting business on the West Coast of the States.

1221 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 www.nobhilltower.com
Leasing Inquiries: (415) 674-1221 or Contact Kelly Carroll, Sales & Marketing Manager - kcarroll@nobhilltower.com or reservations@nobhilltower.com

Featured London luxury serviced apartments: The Cheval Group

Flexibly offering weekly and monthly rentals and a superb alternative to overpriced London hotels, The Cheval Group is the city's undisputed leader in luxury serviced apartments. For The Cheval Group choice is paramount with a selection of impeccably furnished apartments in the city, Kensington, Knightsbridge and Chelsea. All properties pride themselves on attentive and discreet service, exquisite furnishings and amenities to exceed expectations.

Gloucester Park - In the heart of residential Kensington, Gloucester Park offers sophisticated and refined living spaces from one to three bedrooms which include air conditioning, balconies, en suite granite bathrooms, luxury Miele kitchens, WiFi, 24-hour concierge and secure underground parking.

Calico House - Amongst London's financial district and the attractions of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Tate Modern Art Gallery, Calico House has one and two-bedroom apartments and penthouse suites with daily maid service. Minimum stay 7 nights

Hyde Park Gate - Overlooking Kensington Gardens, this property is a landmark building with 10 magnificently proportioned 3-bedroom apartments and 5 contemporary 2-bedroom apartments each with its own unique style. Ideal for entertaining or for a family, Hyde Park Gate is for clients seeking the luxury of space with a modern twist.

Also on offer from the group are Thorney Court in Kensington, The Cheval Apartments in Knightsbridge and Phoenix House in Chelsea with minimum stays ranging from 7 nights to 22 days. In this economy, however, flexibility reigns so offers will be considered. For more information on The Cheval Group go to www.chevalgroup.com

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

Hertz 15% off overseas rentals

Currently Hertz is offering substantial discounts for overseas car rental. At participating locations in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada on bookings made from April through June 30, 2009, you'll save 15% off the rental price. The catch? You or your travel agent must book in advance prior to leaving Australia and hire the car for 5 days or more. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information on this and other special offers at Hertz go to www.hertz.com.au

New baggage allowance for Qantas

Economy baggage allowances for domestic and international flights on Qantas have recently changed. Business Class allowance continues to be 30 kg and First Class allowance continues to be 40 kg. Here are the latest Economy limits on various routes:

Domestic Australia - 23 kg

Trans-Tasman & Domestic New Zealand - 23 kg

International Australia to/from Asia
Economy and Premium Economy - 23 kg

International to/from Europe & Africa
Economy and Premium Economy - 23 kg

International to/from North & South America
Economy and Premium Economy - 2 pieces a 23 kg each

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Cutting corporate travel management and conferences not the answer in long run

The corporate travel and meetings industry is facing devastating reductions, but top minds at the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) are insisting that meetings and conferences as well as travel management teams are vital to a company's strategic planning process and revenue stream which justifies spend to enable long run growth. A recent survey released in April by the NBTA reports that 53% of respondents attribute new travel management initiatives saved companies more than US $50,000 since October 2009. The primary focus on reducing costs has been the enforcement of travel policies and an emphasis on advance purchase of air tickets to capitalise on lower fares. Now more than ever, the report states, value is placed upon travel managers to instigate effective, costcutting strategies and enforce policy changes to save their companies money. Ultimately, it is those companies who eliminate or reduce travel staff who will risk losing money in the long run.

'Meet and Stay Package' at Starwood hotels in Hong Kong affords big savings for events

Meeting planners can enjoy more savings while earning reward points when booking the special 'Meet & Stay' package at participating Starwood Hotels in Hong Kong:

Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers: Conveniently located at the heart of the business and shopping district in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong overlooking the breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers offers the special package rate from HK $1,730+10% per person per night with the following benefits and double Starwood planner points:

  • Accommodation in Main House Deluxe Room
  • Full day meeting from 9am to 5pm with the use of function room
  • One Executive Lunch and two refreshing coffee breaks
  • Daily Continental Breakfast in function room
  • Complimentary late check-out at 3pm (Applicable to maximum of 10% of the room block on peak nights)
  • Complimentary LCD projector per event per day
  • Complimentary internet access for up to 3 users during the meeting
For 50 rooms or above with a minimum of 2 nights' stay, choose ONE Bonus Offer:
  • 1 hour complimentary cocktail reception with canapés and beverages
  • A 30-minute Tai Chi or Yoga class to rejuvenate your “Chi”
  • Complimentary in-room internet

Details: Minimum of 10 peak room nights must be booked to qualify; Room block must be used and paid for by August 31, 2009 to qualify for this offer.

W Hong Kong: Wow your guests with the Sensory Meeting at HK $2,500+10% per person per room per night at the latest chic and luxurious W Hong Kong, inclusive of the following:

  • Room upgrade to the Fabulous Room category (Full Harbour View Room)
  • Strategy Room rental on your meeting day from 9am to 5pm
  • Lunch at choice of Kitchen or Fire
  • Bliss massage Recess period
Details:
  • A minimum of 2 nights' stay for groups of 10 rooms or more is required
  • Extra daytime delegates rate at HK$720+10% per person per day
  • Additional nights at hotel with no meeting at HK$2,200+10% per room per night
  • Valid until August 31, 2009

 

 
   
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