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Corporate Newsletter: Issue #15

Welcome to Edge Intelligence for July/August 2009

Letter from the Editor

Everyone is focused on saving money at the moment. Keep in mind, the key during these challenging economic times is to find the right price point for the product's true value. This resonates particularly critical for the corporate traveler. For example, the value of a business class ticket on Emirates with its astonishing innovations such as a full service bar for networking (see Industry News), fully flat 2-metre beds, digital widescreen entertainment and spa is worth the expense. Another option for corporate travelers with a great value deal is being able to purchase exit row seats on Qantas international flights as of this month (see Edge Intelligence). In Business Hotel News, the Four Seasons, Radisson Plaza and Sheraton on the Park in Sydney are all currently offering enticing deals for extensive value. Even the MICE industry (see Events and Conferences) is rethinking the way they do business and offering superb value with newly launched package deals at both Novotel and Mercure properties Australia wide. Whatever your personal price point for value, your Edge Consultant will endeavour to maintain a partnership with you which drives down overall travel spend by improving travel policies and finding value.

As always, we are pleased to have you all as clients and we thank you for your loyalty.

Kimberly Rosbe
Editor at Large


 
   

INDUSTRY NEWS

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

   

INDUSTRY NEWS

Obama promotes funding for foreign travel to US
Best Bar Networking on Emirates' flights
Thai Airways Receives Number One Ranking for Service
Qatar Confirms New Flights to Melbourne and Sydney

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured Business Hotel: Four Seasons Sydney
Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney offers free internet
Sheraton on the Park in Sydney Weekend Package Deal

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

New Pre-Purchase of Exit Row Seating for Qantas Now Available
Exclusive Avis Offer for AAdvantage Members

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Rebound expected for MICE market
Novotel launches new meetings and incentives program
Mercure launches buy two conferences get one free deal


INDUSTRY NEWS

Obama promotes funding for foreign travel to US

Recognising the power of travel to stimulate economic growth, President Obama met with a group of CEOs from the hotel, cruise and travel industries at the White House for the first CEO Roundtable event in Washington D.C. Australia's President and CEO of Travelport was in attendance amongst the privileged group. With the noticeable decline of business travel the US, Obama has made it clear that the travel and tourism industry needs to do a better job of educating politicians about the importance of travel as an engine of economic growth and opportunity. Not only is business travel critical to the bottom line of companies but also essential to the hourly employees of the travel industry which account for 2.4 million jobs in the US alone.

The CEOs of the travel industry urged Obama and key congressional leaders in the US to encourage business travel again and accordingly pass the Travel Promotion Act. The TPA would create a pool of funding and public/private partnership to promote foreign travel to the US. Although the conversation was just a start, Obama's attention to the matter will undoubtedly prove productive for stimulating a return to business-related travel.

Best Bar Networking on Emirates' Flights

Looking for a reason to justify flying business class? Emirates has devised a clever, Australian version of networking - a bar in the air. The Emirates A380 now operates a stylish full bar with appetizers in its business class cabin. 18 passengers can sit comfortably and talk business, even strapping themselves in during turbulence. So now you can work while you fly - have a drink, make contacts, and pontificate about, or even land, that next business deal.

The bar isn't the A380s only astonishing innovation. On the Dubai to Auckland route, the plane also offers flat business beds, digital widescreen entertainment, French champagne and best of all, a spa and showers in first class. Yes you heard correctly - a SPA. No longer will you feel and look exhausted when you step off a long haul flight with dark sunglasses and rumpled clothes. Now you can refresh with a hot shower at 43,000 feet while experiencing the signature products from Emirates' premium spa brand. Enjoy!

Thai Airways Receives Number One Ranking for Service

Thai Airways' first and business classes have been ranked number one in the Airport Service category by the 2008 Skytrax global survey of airlines. The ranking took into consideration all Thai Airways airport services from check-in, to lounge facilities to boarding. Thai received 5 stars across the board for its spa in first class, service efficiency at check-in, enthusiasm and consistency at airports, interacting with customers, problem solving and handling delay situations. Although the staff at Thai-serviced airports certainly deserve credit, the new Royal First Class Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport may have been responsible for solidifying Thai's first place status. The Royal First Class Lounge has the most extensive choice of options to satisfy passenger demands and wishes.

As well as moving up from second place to first for both first and business classes, Thai Airways moved into second spot from fifth for its economy ranking.

Qatar Confirms New Flights to Melbourne and Sydney

Qatar Airways has officially confirmed the launch of a Melbourne and Sydney route later this year. Although Qatar is still awaiting regulatory approval and no exact start date has been dictated, a spokesperson for the airline has articulated that Australian flights will begin at the same time as new services to Goa and Amritsar in India as well as two new European routes over the next nine months. The plan is for new Boeing 777-200 long range aircrafts to be joining the existing fleet at a rate of one per month for the foreseeable future enabling Qatar to expand its services to Australian soil. The change comes with great excitement from the airline which has had Melbourne and Sydney on their radar for years. Qatar now operates eight 777s of which two are the 777-200LR capable of flying from Doha to Australia non-stop.

BUSINESS HOTEL NEWS

Featured Business Hotel: Four Seasons Sydney

The Four Seasons Sydney has just completed a $16 million makeover revamping its 531 rooms and suites for a shiny new contemporary atmosphere. The rooms have all received new fabrics and wall coverings and have been designed with subtle browns and creams which contrast with the blue harbour views just outside its windows. Furnishings are an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic furnishings, dark wood and glass. All rooms have also been outfitted for 40-inch flat screen televisions as well as iPod/MP3 connectivity, DVD/CD players and wireless internet access. According to the General Manager Stephen Lewis, the overall effect is much more luxurious, brighter and more contemporary while maintaining a residential ambience.

Located in the famed Rocks District of Sydney, the hotel overlooks the Sydney Harbour and is within 10 minutes easy access to the central business district and all restaurants and shopping of the city.

199 George Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Telephone: (61) 2 9250-3100 61 (3) 9657 1234 www.fourseasons.com/sydney/hotel

Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney offers free internet

Now even more popular with business travelers, the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Sydney is offering free internet to its guests with wireless connectivity available in all guest rooms as well as public areas. To add to this technological convenience, the hotel has also introduced iPod and MP3 docking stations for all the guest rooms. Wendy Hill, the Marketing Manager for Radisson, says her goal is to create personal touches that enhance guests' stay by making everyone feel as comfortable as home.

In attempts to capture the proceeds from the universal Australian tax stimulus package, currently the hotel is offering a decadent package (priced at $900 of course) which includes two nights in a studio spa suite, a bottle of Domaine Chandon, chocolate-dipped strawberries, a three-course dinner in Bistro Fax restaurant, daily hot buffet breakfast and a $100 credit to spend in the hotel and late checkout of 2pm. Deal good through September 28th, subject to terms and conditions and availability.

The Radisson Plaza is a 4 star boutique hotel located in the heart of Sydney - best known for its heritage-listed building with a sandstone facade dating back to the 1800s.

Sheraton on the Park Sydney Weekend Package Deal

Sheraton on the Park Sydney is currently offering a 'Weekend Surprise Package' starting at $285 per room per night including buffet breakfast for two, self-parking, access to the health club and late checkout until 4pm on Sunday.

Offer valid through December 30, 2009. Subject to availability.

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

New Pre-Purchase of Exit Row Seating for Qantas Now Available

At last the coveted 'exit row' can now be solidified before a long haul flight overseas - with a small fee, that is. Leave it to Qantas to create another industry first. On June 16th, Qantas announced that exit row seats can be reserved with pre-purchase for those passengers traveling in the economy cabin for international flights. So relax and stretch your legs reveling in the those extra precious inches that do make all the difference in your comfort level on overseas trips.

So how will this work? All international economy class passengers traveling on flights operated by Qantas (not code share or partner flights) will be able to purchase exit row seats between a week and 24 hours before the flight's scheduled departure. If the exit rows haven't been pre-booked prior to the day of travel, then those seats can also be purchased at airport check-in on the day of departure. Passengers traveling on award bookings are also eligible for exit rows by using award points or a cash option. The cost/points will be as follows:

SHORT HAUL
between Australia and Asia or Asia and Europe
$80 or 10,000 points

LONG HAUL
between Australia and Europe, Americas or Africa (includes stopovers - ie.Sydney-Bangkok, Bangkok-London)
$160 or 20,000 points

Exclusive Avis Offer for AAdvantage Members
Earn 1,750 Bonus Miles and Save up to 25%

Take advantage of car rental deals using your AAdvantage membership from American Airlines. Through the end of the year, you can earn 1,750 American Airlines AAdvantage miles and save up to 25% on Avis car rentals at participating airport locations in the US and Canada.

Simply enter coupon #MUAA903 in your reservation and include your AAdvantage number to receive 1,500 bonus miles on your weekly rental of 5 days or more. This is in addition to the 250 base miles you'll earn automatically. Then use Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) #K817100 and you can save up to 25%!

Call 1-800-831-8000 or go online to www.avis.com

EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Rebound expected for MICE market

Meetings and conferences will continue to play a major role in the success of businesses, experts say, once the economy begins to rebound. A recent survey by Hilton Hotels found that 77 percent believe that offsite meetings were a necessity not a luxury while 94 percent believed that meetings could build stronger business relationships. Furthermore, 84 percent of those surveyed believe that face to face meetings and conferences are significantly more inspiring than digital communication created to replace MICE. Finally, 61 percent stated that they would rather work for an organisation that regularly invested in offsite meetings.

So given the economic turndown, the MICE market, as a result, has begun to change shape. Since research illustrates the importance of meetings and conferences to the success of the corporate world, businesses are rethinking the way meetings are hosted, not eliminating them. Increasingly, there is a trend towards smaller, more regular meetings in short haul destinations as opposed to massive events and conferences overseas. And hotels and properties across Australia are responding with package deals accordingly.

Novotel launches new meetings and incentives program

Novotel Australia has created a new nationwide launch of a MICE program designed to meet the requirements of today's conference and events industry in this tough economy. The concept has been aptly dubbed 'Meet@Novotel.' Although the concept is simple, the program was designed to encompass every aspect of a meeting, event, conference or incentive scenario. The aim is clear - deliver a professional, reliable and consistent network of services across all 20 Novotel hotels and resorts in the region. Accor's National Director of Sales Kerrie Hannaford has stated that meet@novotel will provide a first-class meeting experience across the brand.

Lodge a request directly with the hotel at www.novotel.com.au and receive a response within two hours of receipt of enquiry.

Mercure launches buy two conferences get one free deal

Mercure Hotels has just released the details of its new 'Pay for 2 Get 1 Free' conferencing deal. With 17 properties across Australia, the location options are extensive. To be eligible, a minimum of 20 rooms must be booked per night and a minimum of 40 day delegates in attendance. The package rate includes catering, room hire, equipment and stationery. Residential conferences must be booked and fully paid for before September 30th to receive the two for one deal. See www.mercure.com for more details. Rules and regulations apply.

 
   
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