BTN Europe Week in Review

BTN Europe

BTN Europe gathers a panel of managed travel experts to discuss the industry's current events and how they impact travel managers and travellers alike.

All Episodes

With airline revenues decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, it would seem that investment in rolling out IATA's New Distribution Capability (NDC) has come to a standstill. A Sabre executive recently said that "the vast majority of airlines have paused or completely stopped their NDC activity".  Certainly, there has seemed to be little public activity around NDC. But is that really the case?  Has Covid derailed NDC or has it spurred airlines and intermediaries into working harder behind the scenes to make it a reality?IATA recently held its Business Travel summit and NDC developments mentioned there show that things have moved apace. Many airlines have also announced new NDC-powered initiatives. On the latest episode of the Week in Review podcast, regular host Mark Frary is joined by Claudia Adams of Allianz , Lydie Charpin of Amadeus, Aman Pourkarimi of Gray Dawes Group and  Paul Tilstone of Festive Road.They discuss GDS strategies around NDC, the version 21.3 standard coming in September and whether corporates really are seeing the benefits.

Jul 28

44 min 28 sec

Last week, the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a change to the entry regulations for England, meaning that anyone who has completed a full course of vaccinations against Covid will now be allowed to enter the country without having to self-isolate.Yet business travel has been on its knees for 15 months and even this reopening comes with barriers. We have heard again this week that another TMC has ceased trading. Is it all too little, too late for the sector.We discuss the implications of the UK Government's decision for business travel with Cilla Goldberger of ABT UK and the Focus Travel Partnership and Clive Wratten of the Business Travel Association along with regular host Mark Frary.Our experts look at whether the cost of testing will still dissuade business travellers, whether the end of furlough is going to cause a cliff-edge and more businesses in the sector will fail and how long the sector will take to recover. Our panellists also share their sense of optimism for the future despite the challenges.

Jul 12

22 min 59 sec

The Covid crisis has brought the question of how your bookings should be serviced under greater scrutiny. Regularly changing regulations and border closures now mean that many bookings now require some hand-holding in a way they did not before.Recent years have seen many corporates shift their programme from offline to online in order to drive savings but has that now been reversed?The rise of online travel management platforms has also led corporates to question whether there should be a gap between online and offline transaction fees.The question of online vs offline is discussed by our expert panel of Adrian Witschi, global lead travel, expense and card programs at Mondelez International, Carlos Delatorre,  chief revenue officer of TripActions, David Bishop, chief commercial officer of Gray Dawes Travel and Leigh Cowlishaw, global supplier partnership director of the Advantage Travel Partnership.  

Jun 30

35 min 27 sec

Business travel has been decimated over the past 15 months but that hasn’t stopped some companies from changing their travel management company. Indeed, some corporates have taken the time when things have been quieter to rethink their relationship with their incumbent TMC.The pandemic has also seen some TMCs fail, others to look shaky and more to consolidate, causing their clients to have to think about a new TMC. In the latest edition of our Week in Review podcast we talk about what is causing corporates to look at their TMC relationship and whether the pandemic means that they are looking for different things from their travel provider.Our panel of experts - Katie Virtue of Festive Road, David Bishop of Gray Dawes Travel, Jean-Michel Kadaner of Areka Consulting and Chris Vik of TripActions along with regular host Mark Frary - talk about what is making corporates go to market.The panel discusses transaction fees, the financial viability of TMCs, why only 15-20 per cent of corporates change TMC after an RFP and the role of technology in making and preventing corporates from switching.

Jun 14

49 min 40 sec

Despite, or is it because of, Covid, the corporate focus on sustainability has continued. Barely a day passes without someone in the business travel sector announcing a new sustainability initiative – whether that’s a new commitment to sustainable aviation fuels, a TMC announcing that it has set up a new carbon offset scheme or a corporate saying that business travel is going to be replaced with video-conferencing in order for it to meet its strategic net zero targets.Just recently, we have heard that sustainability is going to be a core focus for broadcaster ITV as it has awarded a multi-year travel contract to ATPI. Meanwhile, Amex GBT has announced a tie-up with Shell Aviation to aggregate the buying power of its corporate clients.We have also seen oil and gas companies taken to task by governments and shareholders on their own emissions.In our latest podcast, host Mark Frary talks to Francesca Mendola of the Global Travel Collection, Adam Knights of ATPI, Daniel Tallos of Nike and Paul Tilstone of Festive Road to discuss how corporates can work with the supply chain to meet sustainability goals.`The panel discusses the role of TMCs, what KPIs corporates need to be setting, demand management and whether offsetting and SAFs are the answer.

Jun 2

48 min 20 sec

The Covid pandemic has caused a crisis in the TMC sector. The decimation of business travel and the lack of any real signs of when things will return to some form of normality has meant that many TMCs have failed – companies like Horncastle Executive with long proud histories went to the wall.Ever since the start of the pandemic it has seemed inevitable that there would be a wave of consolidation as owners and investors wanted to cash out of an industry that may take years to recover and, indeed, may never do so.In the past few weeks we have seen Amex GBT buying Egencia and old school Reed & Mackay being bought by new kid on the block TripActions.In our latest podcast espide this week, we discuss whether this is the beginning of a new wave of consolidation and what buyers and sellers of TMCs might be looking for.We look at why TMCs need to sell, how much they can expect to get when they do and whether today's big name TMCs will still be around int he face of well-funded comeptition from digital upstarts.The podcast features Julia Lo Bue-Said of the Advantage Travel Partnership, David Bishop of Gray Dawes Group, Steve Allen of the Firebird Partnership and Jean-Michel Kadaner of Areka Consulting, along with regular host Mark Frary.

May 19

51 min 20 sec

Bill Gates has said that 50 per cent of business travel would go following the pandemic, but he would say that, wouldn't he? His company Microsoft has a very powerful alternative to business travel in teams, after all.Yet many companies have used the virtual standstill of business travel due to Covid to take stock of what parts of business travel are essential. You could argue that many businesses have survived well enough without travelling at all.Companies are now having to focus more closely on what types of business travel will be allowed to come back. Will training and internal meetings be forced to go virtual and is that a good thing? Are the days of day trips numbered?The cost of a trip, whether that is in terms of pounds, planet or people, is going to be increasingly under scrutiny in the future and travel managers will need to educate bookers and travellers about just how their business travel fits into the organisation's overall strategy.Join EY's Karen Hutchings, Nike's Daniel Tallos, Gray Dawes' David Bishop and Festive Road's Paul Tilstone with regular host Mark Frary to hear what the shape of future business travel will be.

May 5

53 min 44 sec

Many countries and companies have set a target of making zero carbon emissions. Some are already there while others expect to get there at some point between now and 2050. Some have done so by investing in carbon offsetting schemes while others have made concrete efforts to rethink their operations to remove carbon dioxide from the process.For the companies that have committed to cutting carbon, business travel is often in their sights, particularly after the Covid pandemic showed that many meetings could take place using video-conferencing technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.This week we have heard how the French government wants to ban some domestic short-haul flights while two airlines - United Airlines and Lufthansa Group - have launched sustainable aviation fuel programmes for corporates.This podcast features Daniel Tallos, EMEA travel manager of Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings & events at EY and Pascal Jungfer, CEO and co-founder of Areka Consulting – talk about how travel programmes can reach net zero.We discuss carbon offsetting programmes, nudge behaviour, setting relevant baselines and whether TMCs and online booking tools can help travellers make the right choices.

Apr 19

48 min 36 sec

In the UK, more than 30 million people have been vaccinated; in Norway, the number is just 800,000. Yet there are two ends to any business trip so even if everyone in the UK is vaccinated it does not mean that other countries will be ready to welcome them.Governmental approaches to business travel also vary. In some, business travel is considered an exemption to restrictions on travel; in others, business travellers are advised to stay at home.The European Union – built on the idea of freedom of movement – has temporarily put that aside. Some countries are allowing those from other EU countries to enter while others are not.It is a very fragmented picture and will affect how quickly business travel recovers.This podcast features Niklas Andreen of CWT, Lotten Fowler of the Swedish Business Travel Association, Pascal Jungfer of Areka Consulting and Clive Wratten of the Business Travel Association in the UK along with regular host Mark Frary.

Apr 7

46 min 4 sec

One of the biggest issues in the travel sector since the start of the pandemic has been the thorny issue of refunds.When global travel was effectively stopped, the industry had to work out what to do about the tickets that had already been paid for. Companies and individuals had paid out billions of euros, pounds and dollars on tickets that would no longer be used. Where did that money sit? Could you get it back and within what timescale? Some airlines said they wouldn’t give money back but only issue vouchers. Some in the industry faced an existential crisis because of the refund demands.The repercussions of the decisions made at that time are still playing out in the sector.The German Business Travel Association (VDR) has been calling for airlines to only take payment at the moment of departure in order to resolve the issue. Lufthansa has now made changes to its Pay-as-you-F|ly scheme for corporates to allow this. Will other airlines follow suit?The discussion features Christoph Carnier, president of the VDR, Guillaume Bizet of Areka Consulting and David Bishop of Gray Dawes Group along with regular host Mark Frary.

Mar 21

42 min 24 sec

In the past two weeks there have been two stories which jumped to the top of the most popular list on BTN Europe.The first was the news that Emirates is to start charging for GDS content from July, on the same day that it launches exclusive content on its direct connect platform, Emirates Gateway, enabled by IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).The second was that International Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, had reached a deal to give Amadeus-connected agents and corporates access to NDC content from the send half of this year.It seems the industry is still really interested in what is happening with regards to NDC and our publication of those stories resulted in some highly charged dialogue from those in the sector on LinkedIn. We decided to return to the topic in this week’s podcast to answer some of the questions and comments that came up as a result. In the podcast, we discuss how the downturn in business travel caused by the pandemic has slashed money flows in the system and this gives an opportunity to rethink how that money moves around the industry. TMCs, in particular, are desperate to avoid becoming commercialised and need to be able to generate more revenue per trip. We seem to be moving to a world in which every player in the supply chain is going to be paid for they value they provide and some are scared about what that looks like.But what is NDC content? NDC content can be anything from an extra bag to even providing a mariachi band to play you out as you board the plane if that’s what you want. The problem with that is control and the airlines have challenges providing that level of control even between hubs and different members of their airline alliances.NDC promises a new retailing world but who is the retailer? TMC, airline or online booking tool?We ask these questions and more.  The discussision features Nike’s Daniel Tallos, David Bishop of Gray Dawes Group and Paul Tilstone of Festive Road along with regular host Mark Frary.

Mar 8

46 min 51 sec

In this week's episode we look at the growing discussion around digital health or vaccine passports and whether they are a solution to reopen locked international borders. This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Mark Frary along with Nike’s Daniel Tallos, David Bishop of Gray Dawes Group,  William Sandover a former chair of the GBTA (Europe) Risk Committee and previously an International Risk Adviser to British Airways, and Simon Talling-Smith, president of CommonPass.We hear how we need standardisation but it is highly unlikely that we will consolidate to a single solution, just as we use different payment methods  such as Mastercard, Visa , Google Pay and Apple Pay but use a single terminal.One of the concerns is that a solution needs to be scalable when the travel industry gets back to larger volumes of travellers and that trust and security of health data are paramount.Venues and commercial organisations may stop short of requiring vaccination because of the negative publicity but they may offer fast track entry for those who do. However, countries may well say if you are not vaccinated you are not coming in.We discuss how we will need a multi-layered approach involving both health passports and testing and the pros and cons of centralised systems versus those that just sit on your phone.When will all this happen? The optimists are saying September this year but it may be many years before we have a fully global interconnected system for digital health passports.Listen to find out more.

Feb 22

44 min 58 sec

In this week's episode we discuss the findings of the Global Business Travel Association's BTI Outlook which forecasts that global business travel spend will recover to 2019 levels by 2025.This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Mark Frary along with Festive Road's Paul Tilstone, EY's Karen Hutchings, Advantage Travel Partnership's Julia Lo Bue-Said and Mondelez International's Adrian Witschi.We discuss how the recovery will happen at different speeds in different regions and in different industry sectors. We also look at whether a comparison to 2019 is unfair, when some believe there was an “overconsumption” of business travel.The panel also talks about how the time is right to reconsider business travel through the lens of sustainability and whether we should be wishing for a return to pre-pandemic business travel in any case.  Sustainability notwithstanding, the panel discusses whether those companies who reduce travel will increase travel again when they see their competitors sitting in front of their clients rather than on a Zoom call.Have we reached "peak business travel" or not? Listen to find out.

Feb 7

48 min 50 sec

Goodness knows this past year has been hard on everyone’s mental health and well-being but maybe it is now time to consider those two things more seriously when we finally emerge from this dreadful pandemic.This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Mark Frary along with psychologist Dr Lucy Rattrie, David Bishop of Gray Dawes Group, Nike’s Daniel Tallos and Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage, a consultancy specialising in safety training for business travellers.In the podcast, we discuss whether companies sending their travellers on business trips consider their mental health and well-being enough and the effect of the pandemic on people stopped from travelling who love to travel on business.We discuss how to measure mental health and well-being and whether companies need to invest more in this area. We also look at how well-being and duty of care are converging and why new restrictions mean we might be taking fewer business trips.We also learn about holistic bingo, fake commutes and other ways to improve your mental health during the Covid crisis.  

Jan 24

49 min 33 sec

Happy new year or is it? The word happy seems a bit hollow in a world where a new wave of Covid is killing thousands every day across the world, countries have been slapped into lockdown and the ability to leave our homes, let alone our countries, has been restricted. And that’s without mentioning what certain politicians and protestors have been up to this week.Yet despite the gloom there is hope – accelerating vaccination programmes should help us get back to normal in 2021. While all but the most essential travel has been stopped, that does not mean the business travel sector has stopped working – far from it.Right now, everyone is having conversations with key partners and stakeholders about how things will be when all this is over.This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Mark Frary, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Pascal Jungfer, CEO and founding partner of Areka Consulting.In the podcast, we learn there is an appetite for private as opposed to shared travel solutions and that corporates are talking about resizing their travel teams. Business travel may not return until people return to the office, although there are certain sectors are still buoyant, such as marine.There are also increasing conversations between rivals and there is a hope that that will continue after the pandemic.We also heard that TMCs and their clients are increasingly looking at pricing. Many companies are also looking at the supply chain in much more detail – some are taking suppliers off their programmes.  

Jan 8

48 min 44 sec

This week, quarantine for arriving travellers in the UK has been cut from from 14 to 10 days. The government’s test to release scheme – which allows people arriving in England to cut their quarantine in half if, after five days, they get a negative Covid test – was launched, although it was quickly overwhelmed and attracted criticism. In Europe, the Netherlands and Germany announced stricter lockdowns while France emerged from a weeks-long one. In the UK, London and much of the south of England went into the highest level of restrictions amid a new surge in cases.Some countries are allowing business travel, others are too but making it impossibly difficult to get an exemption from quarantine. Economies are shuddering to a halt yet againThis week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Mark Frary, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Pascal Jungfer, CEO and founding partner of Areka Consulting.Our panel discusses whether new schemes such as test to release can get business travellers moving again, the outlook for business travel after Brexit and whether companies will require their employees to be vaccinated to resume travelling. 

Dec 2020

42 min 10 sec

A couple of weeks ago, BTN Europe published a story about some comments that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had said about the future of business travel, saying that he believed that 50 per cent of business travel would go.The story rapidly generated indignation from a number of companies in the business travel sector.So what will the new level of business travel post Covid actually be? Answering that question on the BTN Europe Week in Review podcast are Jason Geall, Vice President & Regional General Manager, Northern Europe – for American Express GBT, Neil Ruth, co-founder and chief operating officer of booking platform TapTrip, Adrian Witschi, global lead for travel, expense and card programmes at Mondelez International and Paul Tilstone, managing partner of Festive Road. The podcast is hosted by Mark Frary, BTN Europe acting digital editor.The panel considers whether the business travel that comes back will be the same as that which disappeared during the pandemic and when they expect business travel to recover to 2019 levels.Greta Thunberg and sustainability seemed to take a back seat to the virus buti will that all change once we have a vaccine?Our expert what the real value of face-to-face is compared to virtual meetings and we ask them what barriers exist to a return to business as usual.

Dec 2020

44 min 33 sec

This week's podcast is brought to you by host Mark Frary, BTN Europe acting digital editor, and Nikki Ping, manager, air content & distribution EMEA at Flight Centre Travel Group, Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road.  This week we look at what changes the airlines have been making during the Covid pandemic and whether things will revert to normal once it is over.The pandemic has seen many corporate  airline deals extended or pushed back and we hear how relationships are key - suppliers need to talk to corporates and intermediaries, and the relationship must not just be based on price.  The launch of continuous pricing will allow traditional carriers to compete effectively with low cost carriers. We will also see the end of the term lowest logical airfare as a result. But will continuous pricing lead to an increase in prices and changes to airline joint ventures?The panel also discuss the removal of change fees and passengers in middle seats, Will that stay the same? Find out.

Nov 2020

42 min 35 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe acting digital editor Mark Frary, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road.  This week we are look at what the end of the office – if that is what we are now moving towards – means for business travel. Much of the world has not been in the office for months and surveys show there is little appetite to go back any time soon, at least here in the UK. Many companies have also taken the opportunity to use the break point in their leases to say goodbye to a permanent base in favour of operating virtually.The trend blurs the distinction between home and work lives and will undoubtedly have consequences for business travel. Is the sector ready to adapt to a situation where the world is your office?

Nov 2020

44 min 15 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe acting digital editor Mark Frary, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road.  As furlough schemes around the world unwind, we are starting to see how TMCs are having to reshape themselves for a world in which business travel does not look like it will resume any time soon.We heard this week that more than 3,000 staff at BCD Travel would be let go by the end of the pandemic for example and others are sure to follow elsewhere in the sector.It seems timely then that the Business Travel Association here in the UK has launched a consultation looking at TMC pricing. Clive Wratten, the chief executive of the BTA, said: “In recent years, there have been growing calls for evolution in the way TMCs price their services. The impact of Covid-19 on our industry has made that need more vital than ever.”Our panel discusses whether now is the time and whether TMCs, suppliers and buyers are ready to change.

Oct 2020

42 min 55 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe acting digital editor Mark Frary, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road. IATA has announced airlines will burn through $77 billion in cash before the end of the year and a further $5 to $6 billion a month next year. Easyjet has announced its first ever loss. Our panelists discuss how to manage travel programmes when airlines are facing existential threats and measures like airport testing and travel corridors that could help them survive.  

Oct 2020

32 min 38 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Molly Dyson, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road, talking about New Distribution Capability (NDC). It would be a mistake to think NDC has been put on the back burner during the coronavirus pandemic, as evidenced by recent announcements from Air France-KLM, Iberia and Lufthansa about their journey to providing content to agents and their clients. The panel talks about the opportunities the Covid-19 pause has created for airlines, TMCs and GDSs to make headway in the NDC arena, as well as what travel managers want to see come out of innovation in this space.

Sep 2020

42 min 32 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Molly Dyson, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road, discussing how the coronavirus pandemic could influence long-term changes in company travel policies. We know the global crisis caused travel managers to implement a number of changes to their policy very rapidly to protect travellers and get those already on the road home safely. Will any of these policy updates stick around in the longer term? Is this downtime an opportunity for travel managers to reinvent parts or the whole of their company's travel programme? This is part two of a two-part episode covering this complex and important topic.

Sep 2020

48 min 41 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Molly Dyson, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Karen Hutchings, global head of travel, meetings and events for EY, Dave Bishop, CCO at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road, discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has influenced changes in company travel policies. The global pause has given travel managers the chance to revisit their policies and work with their TMCs and suppliers to ensure travellers are as safe as they can be when they get back on the road. But what opportunities are being presented, and are travel managers, TMCs and booking tools ready for the change? This is part one of a two-part episode covering this complex and important topic.

Sep 2020

30 min

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Molly Dyson, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, Suzanne Horner, chief executive at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road, discussing the ways in which new and existing business travel technology can help build traveller confidence in getting back on the road during the Covid-19 pandemic. From duty of care and risk management to communication and restructuring booking policies, there's a huge opportunity for both TMCs and technology start-ups to truly innovate in the face of adversity. Our panel talks about some of the developments they're keen to see come out of the next technological revolution.

Aug 2020

43 min 53 sec

This week's podcast is hosted by BTN Europe digital editor Molly Dyson, with Daniel Tallos, travel manager EMEA at Nike, David Bishop, chief commercial officer at Gray Dawes Group, and Paul Tilstone, managing partner at Festive Road, discussing the implications of ongoing travel restrictions in Europe on business travel. As the world attempts to restart after months of essentially standing still during the Covid-19 pandemic, travel managers are facing the complicated task of getting employees prepared to get back on the road. But with the UK reimposing quarantine measures on European countries at very short notice, it's becoming harder for businesses to plan travel. Our panel tries to decipher how travel managers can navigate this new landscape.

Aug 2020

43 min 49 sec