London named Best Business City in the world by Business Traveller

London has been named ‘best business city in the world’ for the second time by Business Traveller Asia Pacific magazine, a publication that celebrates the travel and hospitality industry.

The annual travel awards identify achievers in hospitality, travel and business as recognized by readers through a poll conducted by an independent market research company. The award was announced at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong on September 12, 2019.

Between 2017 and 2019, Chinese business visitors recorded a 104% increase year on year – from 26,860 business visitors in 2017 to 54,830 business visitors in 2019. The rise in travel comes as Chinese businesses are discovering that the UK capital is open for business.

The pharmaceutical industry, at 27 percent, is the largest source of Chinese incentive groups following by the IT sector at 16 percent. Direct sell, automotive, banking and insurance are also important sectors, London and Partners said in a release.

Bingbing Zhao, Chief Representative, Greater China, London & Partners, said: ‘We are honoured and delighted to accept this award on behalf of London. China is a hugely important market to the UK capital in terms of both visits and spend with Chinese business visitors boosting the economy by GBP39 million in 2018.

‘London remains one of the best places in the world in which to grow a global business. It’s convenient, collaborative and connected. It’s a world class city with everything needed to help your business succeed: favourable time zones, access to banks and finance, regulators and government bodies, plus world leading universities and talent.

‘Over 40% of European HQ’s are based in London, which allows quick access to decision makers. And there’s an incredible mix of old and new – highly unique-venues as well, which is very attractive for event planners and delegates. All of this makes London a truly international business city.’

Chinese travellers can now fly direct to the UK from 11 airports, with new options from Changsha, Sanya, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Xi’an. The new route from Beijing to Edinburgh with Hainan Airlines brings to three the number of UK cities served by direct routes from China alongside London and Manchester.

Business travel gains pace at London City Airport

The UK’s business travel is beginning to gain momentum as airlines including Flybe and British Airways are adding new routes and increasing frequencies to offer customers more choice, according to the latest figures from London City Airport (LCY).

The airport, which has the highest percentage of business travellers compared to any airport in the UK, recorded its busiest ever week this month.

During the week starting November 9, a total of 84,758 passengers travelled through LCY – a 27 percent increase on the same period last year and a 5.5 percent increase on the previous record, set in July 2013. Thursday – November 13 – was the busiest day ever at LCY, with 15,899 passengers flying through – 1.3% higher than the earlier record set on May 23, 2013.

More than 60% of London City’s passengers travel on business.

Declan Collier, CEO at London City Airport said: ‘The signs are very encouraging. Employers are growing in confidence, releasing travel budgets, and airlines are growing in confidence, adding new routes and increasing frequencies to offer customers more choice.’

‘Just last month, Flybe launched services out of London City, boosting connectivity to the UK regions in a move that was welcomed by the Government and illustrating the increasing appetite for airlines to pursue business travellers. Meanwhile, our largest airline partner British Airways is continuing to fill its planes with more and more passengers and expanding its offering to meet demand.’

‘It is now more important than ever that we are allowed to grow. Our current infrastructure is constrained and with demand continuing to increase, we must develop that infrastructure to continue to offer the convenience, speed and customer experience that we pride ourselves on and for which people choose to travel from LCY, in turn supporting more than 2,000 jobs on campus and driving investment in the Royal Docks and wider East London area.’

London City Airport serves more than 45 routes across Europe and New York. New routes launched this year include Hamburg, Guernsey, Belfast, Inverness and Exeter.

The only airport actually in London, London City Airport caters to around 3.4 million passengers (63% travelling on business, and 61% inbound) and 70,000 movements annually. The airport has permission to increase its operation to 120,000 movements per annum – carrying six million passengers – which it intends to do by 2023, it said.

 

Rise in business flyers going low-cost

London Gatwick has revealed a rise in the economic business traveller – dubbed the ‘Suited Savers’ – who choose value for money and fast, efficient travel over anything else.

According to a survey conducted by Gatwick on the flying habits of businessmen and women across the UK, 57 per cent of business travellers said they would prefer booking low-cost long haul tickets wherever possible. The airport has teamed up with Traveller Insight and Business Traveller magazine in conducting the survey.

The new ‘Suited Savers’ research reinforces the findings of TripAdvisor’s 2014 study, which found that 72 per cent of business travellers they asked said they had chosen to fly on a low-cost airline.

Two thirds of business flyers (67 per cent) are already choosing low-cost on short haul flights, while 40 per cent have been opting for economy options for long haul where possible. At Gatwick, Norwegian Air has announced its plans to double services to New York and Los Angeles from May 2015 amid the rising popularity of low-cost routes.

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, said: ‘Passengers are increasingly voting for the kind of choice and competition that only Gatwick can deliver. This research highlights the emergence of a new kind of business flyer – travellers who put value for money, speed and convenience at the heart of their travel plans. The remarkable growth of low cost carriers, and their moves into the long-haul market, reinforce this view.

‘One in five of Gatwick’s passengers is now travelling on business, and our future success in the business travel market will be built on our ability to offer a short journey time from the office to the plane, with new, modern facilities that work every step of the way. That is what we are delivering today.’

The survey also found that 25 percent of those surveyed care about faster security over any other aspect of flying. Gatwick has invested GBP45m in new security facilities since 2011, and has reduced the average waiting time for Gatwick passengers to just two minutes.

Birmingham Airport announces launch of business lounge Regus Express

Birmingham Airport has announced the launch of Regus Express, the new drop-in workplace for mobile and flexible workers, situated near the check-in and arrivals area.

Designed by global workspace provider Regus, Regus Express features a professional business lounge and a suite of meeting rooms offering an all-set workspace from £8.00.

The lounge serves business travellers as a professional retreat offering a quiet place to work, and rooms to provide a convenient location to hold meetings. The lounge includes workstations (ThinkPods), comfortable seating with laptop stands, secure wifi, printers and scanners, as well as complimentary refreshments and administrative support. Regus Express customers also have access to dedicated parking spaces at the airport.

Richard Gill, Birmingham Airport’s Head of Commercial, added: ‘The arrival of this new state-of-the-art business lounge, delivered by Regus, is great news for the millions of business passengers who pass through the terminal each year.

‘Now passengers flying to and from Birmingham can continue their working day without disruption, with the added advantage of discounted on-site parking for users of the facility. We’re confident the Regus Express lounge will prove to be extremely popular within the region’s business community and demonstrates our commitment to providing passengers with the facilities they need.’

Phil Kemp, Global Head of Third Place at Regus, commented: ‘Most workforces are far more agile and mobile than they were a few years back, but there is a growing need for professional work and meeting space on the go. Regus Express offers business people a productive alternative to working in noisy public areas. We also expect the location to become a popular venue for local and national businesses to hold meetings with contacts who are flying in or out of the airport.

‘We are committed to extending our network of Express locations across the UK’s airports, providing business travellers with a modern way of working effectively on the move.’

Linkedin mapping tool a first for Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates national airline, has become the first company to launch a mapping tool that is intended to help business people in particular to plan more efficient trips.

The ‘Etihad Mapped-out’ tool was developed in association with professional network, LinkedIn, and claims to make it easier to message new contacts, arrange meetings and be more productive while traveling. It does this by utilising the Linkedin network for users to search their connections by geographical location and display them on a map for an overview of the traveller’s proximity to their global network of contacts as they travel.

The parameters that can be searched include geographical area – either countrywide or centered on a city, a particular industry, or connections listed by importance. Once the search is activated, a customised map is generated of the user’s Linkedin connections and business contacts within the search area. Messages can then be sent to contacts directly from the list. Etihad route maps can also be superimposed using the tool.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer, explained: ‘As a global airline, Etihad Airways connects points and people from across the globe, so our Etihad Mapped-Out tool which taps into LinkedIn’s global audience of over 200 million is an extension of that mission. This tool is particularly useful for our guests traveling for business. Ahead of a business trip, the guest can use this tool to see not only his or her immediate contacts in the region, but also second-degree contacts. This fosters more effective networking and greater opportunity to create connections across international boundaries.

‘We are always looking for ways to enable our guests to get more out of their travel experience. For business travellers, the world just got a bit smaller.’

Frederik Bernsel, sales director for EMEA and LATAM Partners at LinkedIn, said: ‘A good network of contacts is essential for business success and this innovative initiative from Etihad Airways using Linkedin’s APIs enables Etihad’s customers to easily connect with their Linkedin network while traveling, making it even simpler to get business done and be productive.’

Etihad Mapped-Out is available at www.etihadmappedout.com to Linkedin members only.