Travel partner of the year:
Serviced apartment provider
What the judges said: The judges cited Frasers Hospitality’s GDS integration as the advancement which really makes them stand out from the other entries as this is so needed in the managed corporate travel market.
What the judges said: The judges cited 3Sixty’s partnerships with Dunn and Bradstreet and Geosure as a way to measure and communicate safety and security standards which is more important than ever in the current landscape. They cited the scoring capability and real-time view into guest needs as clever ideas and the kind of innovation and digital transformation that is needed in the extended stay space.
Travel partner of the year: Mobility provider
What the judges said: The judges cited the investments that Enterprise/National has made in the company and their offerings over the past year to keep their business moving forward and meet the needs of their corporate customers as the key reason they stood out from the other finalists. The judges were also impressed with their strong focus on making sure the customer always comes first, their sustainability efforts, their commitment to increasing the number of EVs in their fleet, and their global coverage and loyalty programme.
Travel partner of the year:
Chauffeur or taxi provider
What the judges said: The judges recognised Sixt’s efforts to build a multifaceted, global product, and said they distinguished themselves in past 12 months, particularly with the work they did in integrating with Morgan Stanley’s proprietary booking tool, as well as other integrations to support partnerships and booking channel preferences. The judges also noted how Sixt has faced the challenges of the marketplace in the past year regarding the availability of cars and drivers and other support, including bringing back their entire workforce by the first of June 2021, which the judges said was supported by comments from other travel buyers and TMCs.
Travel partner of the year:
Transportation network carrier
What the judges said: The judges cited Blacklane’s commitment to sustainability and health and safety measures, and their investments in technology to support the corporate traveller experience and bring in new partners.
Travel partner of the year: Rail operator
What the judges said: The judges selected LNER, the London North Eastern Railway, as the winner for its excellent, well-rounded entry and cited its customer advocacy as well as its focus on representing and championing rail and not just the company. LNER is a founding member of the Great British Rail Transition Team’s Business Squad, which was formed to accelerate business recovery, and the company has coordinated “rail zones” at trade shows to bring the industry together. LNER demonstrated innovation in onboard catering and a new loyalty scheme. In addition to its efforts to raise the profile of the rail industry, the judges noted its excellent customer service.
Highly Commended: Avanti West Coast
What the judges said: The judges also highly commended Avanti West Coast, which became the first UK train operator to be awarded AA accreditation from Shaw Trust, recognising their web content as accessible to customers with a wide range of disabilities. It also introduced a new class of travel, Standard Premium, and invested in enhanced WiFi service.
Travel partner of the year: Short-haul airline
What the judges said: The judges cited innovations like digital queuing in the app and the addition of a plant-based menu, as well as demonstrated improvements in customer service as support for their decision.
Travel partner of the year:
Delta Air Lines
What the judges said: The judges cited Delta’s strong focus on partnership as the key factor in their decision. They noted Delta really “lives” this and it is demonstrated throughout all parts of their business, from their customer service, their efforts around sustainability, their investments in innovation and the customer experience, to name a few.
Technology Innovation: Traveller Experience
What the judges said: The judges cited this as a much-needed technology innovation in a pandemic/post-pandemic environment with ever-changing regulatory requirements that also simplifies the visa/work permit process.
Highly Commended: Collinson
What the judges said: The judges cited Collinson’s success in solving a specific problem for the industry at a time where it was very much needed for those who needed to keep travelling. They also praised their use of AI and machine learning to improve as they went along.
Corporate booking platform
What the judges said: The judges called Amadeus the most integrated solution in a highly competitive category and said it stood out as being more innovative in its focus to enable travellers to be more collaborative and had the potential for future growth and broader use. The judges also liked that Amadeus used customer forums for feedback and worked with pilot customers and used customer and product forums to drive strategic product decisions.
Travel partner of the year: National TMC
What the judges said: The judges cited Agiito’s adaptability in the market over the last year and increasing their rage of product offering to meet the needs of a range of customers. The improved mobile technology, engagement with key associations and other industry partners, as well as their consolidation of travel and meetings and events, were specific examples noted.
Travel partner of the year: European TMC
What the judges said: In a category characterised by niche submissions from TMCs with a majority of air transactions originating in Europe rather than serving all European markets, the judges named as the winner Key Travel for being a fantastic example of a travel management company that showed a commitment to both internal and customer-facing investments, while maintaining its focus on travel for doing good. The judges found notable the launch of a travel risk assessment tool and sustainable travel tools as well as the enhancement of a digital reporting tool.
Travel partner of the year: Global TMC
What the judges said: The judges cited FCM’s significant investment in the areas of onboarding and change management. The judges noted that FCM is receptive to feedback from current and former customers and makes changes based on those lessons learned. The judges found the supporting case study that focused on a new customer implementation that needed to be completed in a short span of time to be impressive.
Technology innovation: Payments & expenses
What the judges said: The judges cited TripActions’ Liquid expense solution as a standalone innovation, but also noted the significance of it being part of an end-to-end solution that makes the whole journey seamless, as 95 per cent of claims don’t need approval. The judges called it the only real innovation in the category in the way that it simplifies how you can control expense payments, calling it a kind of an upgrade to Airplus that is more open for expenses. As a full 360-degree payment and expense offering, the judges said Liquid was a smart and seemingly simple solution that could easily sit outside the TMC infrastructure.
Travel partner of the year:
Meetings & events solution
American Express Meetings & Events
What the judges said: The judges cited American Express Meetings & Events’ support to the MICE segment, as well as their global coverage, sustainability focus and demonstration of diversity at work as support for their decision. They also noted the agility of the M&E team to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.
Technology Innovation: Meetings & events
What the judges said: The judges cited the Attendee Hub product – supporting both virtual and hybrid events (with an emphasis from the judges on the hybrid element) – as a needed innovation in today’s market. They can support events on a global scale, as well as providing attendees with personalised content. Cvent’s overall submissions told a great story and shared strong supporting data and detailed client feedback, said judges.
Travel partner of the year: Hotel Brand
IHG Hotels & Resorts
What the judges said: In another competitive category, the judges named IHG the winner for its focus on customer collaboration and partnership to improve customer service and operations. Noting both a top-down and bottom-up strategy to support clients, the judges were particularly struck by the way IHG continued its focus on clients during the pandemic without furloughing anyone in the sales organisation in 2021. The judges also cited IHG’s focus on staff development and client communications and its creativity in maintaining relationships through its use of educational videos.
Achievement in environmental sustainability
What the judges said: Judges cited Lufthansa’s understanding that there is no single magic solution and said Lufthansa demonstrated a commitment to a multi-pronged strategy. The judges also noted Lufthansa’s recognition that SAF is not the only solution, also focusing on modernising their fleet, mixing rail and air, and making a clear case for flexibility in product offering.
Highly Commended: United Airlines
What the judges said: The judges also recognised as highly commendable United’s investment in hydrogen electric engines and a synthetic biology approach to SAF to create a more sustainable aviation fuel. The judges also commented that while the airlines scored highest among many entries, they wanted to encourage efforts by hotels and others going forward.
Achievement in diversity, equity & inclusion
What the judges said: The judges cited the significant investment into DEI, involving all across the organisation, with a global strategy led by their first Chief Diversity Officer. The global DEI structure is supported on a local level by country heads and regional groups. Specific actions identified by the judges included the diversity scorecard, customer events, podcasts, and the various employee resource group events. Two judges went as far as to call the entry “inspiring”.
Highly Commended: Delta Air Lines
What the judges said: The judges felt that Delta was worthy of a highly commended in this category, citing a well- rounded, complete entry with a great storyline, strong supporting data and third party support. The Apprenticeship Program and Delta Analytics Academy demonstrates unique and positive ways to address staffing shortages in the industry, said the judges.
Account management team of the year
What the judges said: The judges noted that Agiito has taken both a creative and different approach to supporting their customers, specifically noting their rebid strategy and approach to bid avoidance. They appreciated the quotes from customers in addition to the facts and figures provided to tell a well-rounded story.
Travel buyer of the year
Eloise Ferrara-Neched, senior procurement manager, Royal Mail Group
What the judges said: The judges were impressed with the clear impact that Eloise had in bringing fresh eyes to refreshing policy and making user experience changes during challenging times. Noting that Eloise, who took on the travel category in Q2 2021, was new to the category, the judges were impressed that she managed to do so much and achieve tangible results, including identifying cost-savings opportunities and meeting sustainability, wellbeing, and cost-effectiveness objectives. Calling her a champion for change, the judges also said that recognising someone so new to the industry in a non-global organisation should send a message to those considering entering the industry that you can achieve great things and be recognised for it.
Highly Commended: Cristina Chimenti,
global travel manager, Sky
What the judges said: The judges really liked Cristina’s demonstration of onboarding new suppliers with a view to sustainability as well as her execution and knowledge-sharing with those that use the tools and recognised the massive change management effort needed to implement this. The list of her major achievements included consolidating travel, meetings and events, and payments, as well as proactively initiating a sustainability programme across travel. The judges also noted her commitment to the industry and her focus on continually raising the bar.
Travel team of the year
Google Global Travel Team & American Express Global Business Travel
What the judges said: In assessing the efforts of the Google-American Express Global Business Travel team to launch the Accessibility Travel Desk to assist travellers with disabilities navigate pre-trip considerations and ensure on-trip assistance – including escorts, preboarding, in-room facilities and other requirements – many of the judges were reduced to using such one-word assessments as ‘wow’, ‘incredible’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘gamechanging’. The judges called this a scalable approach that could be replicated by many organisations across the industry and throughout the world to advance diversity and inclusion. Citing this as thinking in a new direction for travellers with previously unmet needs, several of the judges said they would like to adopt this approach in their own programmes and called it D&I at its finest.
Inmarsat Global Travel Operations Team
What the judges said: The judges recognised as highly commendable the Inmarsat team’s efforts to support the launch of a satellite from a remote island in Japan in December of 2021 by overcoming pandemic restrictions to meet tight deadlines. The judges called the achievement for the team to arrange logistics for this launch despite the challenges they had to confront amazing and said that it proved that collaboration and teamwork make a difference. The judges noted the great work on engagement through travel tools and a dedicated Yammer channel and said that the efforts of the team to surmount the intricacies of meeting time sensitivities with coordinated precision would have been difficult even in a pre-pandemic world.
• The Business Travel Awards Europe 2023 will take place on 30 October next year. For more information about the event, visit businesstravelawardseurope.com