Extending a Business Trip for Fun is Becoming Increasingly Popular

The practice of adding a few days of pleasure to a work trip is becoming increasingly popular. The Global Business Travel Association was the latest to research this trend. Its survey of North American business travelers found that 37% had extended a work trip to include some leisure within the past year. This, typically, might mean stretching a break in a city into the weekend, possibly shipping in the family to join the fun. Often, such travelers will stay in the same hotel for the duration, making up the extra cost themselves.

Should companies embrace the idea of “bleisure”? Maybe so! It might save some money. Extending a stay can mean that an expensive Friday morning flight is substituted for a cheaper weekend one, or a cheaper day-rate on a longer hotel booking can be negotiated. At its best, it might help keep employees’ enthusiasm for a life on the road kindled.

See more from The Economist here.

New App Rewards Business Travelers

A new app could reward you for making cheaper purchases all while giving you control over your travel budget. TravelBank estimates trip cost based on travel dates, destinations, current market prices and company travel policies.

Once the employee has their travel budget, they can visualize it on their device and customize their business trip by choosing to splurge or save on certain expenses like flights, hotels, ground transportation and food.

TravelBank encourages road warriors to stay under budget by having their company split the savings with them in the form of credits. For example, if a user’s trip comes in $500 under budget, they’ll receive $250 in credit to use with TravelBank partners like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

See more from Travel Pulse here.

New App Empowers, Rewards Business Travelers

Facial Recognition Technology Rolling Out

Airlines such as Delta and Emirates are introducing facial recognition technology. In May, Delta announced the launch of its new, self-service bag drop powered by facial recognition technology, the first of its kind at U.S. airports.

Rather than handing over your luggage to a Delta agent, you’ll check it in yourself — as a computer scans your face to confirm that you are who you say you are.

The pilot program will begin at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer. The airline spent $600,000 on its four new self-service stations, one of which uses facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos.

See more from CBS News here.

“Bleisure” Travel

In the past year, more than a third of North American business travelers extended a work trip into a leisure trip, according to a February and March survey by the Global Business Travel Association and Hilton of 675 people over 22 who traveled at least once for business in the past year.

Bleisure travel rose 1 percentage point year over year, but GBTA expects that to increase as corporate culture changes. As more companies invest in employee well-being, “employees may have greater flexibility to take bleisure trips,” the report stated.

See more on managing bleisure travel from BTN here.

Has Japan just launched the world’s most luxurious train?

Has Japan just launched the world’s most luxurious train? The luxury new sleeper train launched this week, but it’s already sold out through to March 2018!

Fares on the deluxe 10-car train range between $2,200 and $10,000. The service launched by East Japan Railway (JR East)on Monday and it’s already sold out through to March 2018.
Available for two- to four-day itineraries around eastern Japan, the experience is closer to a boutique hotel on wheels than a routine shlep on a commuter train. The train is designed by Ken Okuyama, celebrated for his work with Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati.
Read more from CNN here.

<strong>Japan's new luxury train: </strong>Train Suite Shiki-shima, a luxury new sleeper train operated by East Japan Railway (JR East), launched Monday. Although ticket prices start at 500,000 yen ($4,451) for a double-occupancy suite, the service is already sold out until March 2018.

Emirates to unveil new First Class cabin in November

Emirates’ new First Class product will be unveiled in November at the Dubai Air Show.

Making its debut onboard a Boeing 777-300ER, the airline’s new cabin will feature six private suites laid out in a 1-1-1 layout.

Tim Clark, president Emirates said: “All cabins will sport a totally fresh new look. We are excited to showcase the results of years of planning and development invested into our new First Class offering, and our overall Emirates 777 experience. More details will follow, watch this space.”

See more from Buying Business Travel.

12 steps to organizing a successful corporate event

What are the steps to take in planning corporate event?

Pulse.ng goes through the importance of a successful event planning.

1. Before anything else, decide upon your target audience.

First and foremost, before anything else, clearly define who your target audience is. From this, all the other decisions will fall into place in terms of format, content, prices, location etc. This structured approach will also help you to stay focused on achieving specific goals and not allowing the scope to become too broad or watered down.

2. Get started

When it comes to planning corporate event, waiting for responses and confirmation from others might birth unnecessary delays. These delays might as well give room to uncertainties. So in other to avoid this, it is important to get started with the planning process as soon as possible.

3. Create your event planning theme

Irrespective of the type of event (party) you’ve embarked on organizing, coming up with a theme gives tone to the event and that tone will, in turn, gives you direction when picking your food, your music, your decor, your location and much more.

Also, when coming up with a theme, it is important to remember the crowd for which you are planning. You can find a large variety of theme ideas online to get you started.

4. Make your list

Important to realize is that lists are the best things in the world for planning a corporate party. And this is because they do not only help you break down the process of corporate party planning into manageable tasks, they also help you keep track of how much you have already achieved and how much more is left to do.

5. Come up with a event planning budget

It is your budget that determines the type of corporate event (party) you organize. With this in mind, it becomes essential to realize that finding out how much money you have to spend as early as possible is really important. The budget does not only determine the type of event you organize, it also gives direction to your planning process.

6. Create an event planning team

Most companies have events team. But should it happen that your company does not have one, now is a good time to create one? Choose people with different skills from across the company. Your team can help you with everything from allocating budgets to making invites and even cleaning up afterward. Many hands make light work and having a good events team can help you get things done a lot quicker.

7. Make plans to visit locations and discuss relevant issues with vendors

Discuss the cost of hall renting and what is included in those fees.

Check if the capacity is the right size for your guest list.

Observe if the location is accessible to taxis and public transport. If not, you may need to consider hiring buses or even overnight accommodation

Clarify through determining the hours that you will have access to the room. If no one books it the night before, can you have access to get in and decorate or set up? Are they providing the service ware for the food, or do you need to bring in or rent your own linens, plates, napkins and silverware?

Find out if it’s a must for the food to come from that location, or if you can bring in an outside caterer?

And should it happen that you can bring in your own caterer,  then start meeting with potential vendors to taste their food and determine their pricing.

Determine if your venue requires you to bring in outside security for your event. This not only protects you from liability, but this can help keep outsiders from crashing your party.

If you choose to have alcohol at the event, hire a licensed bartender if your facility if you cannot provide one.

Find out if the venue can provide decorations or if you have to supply your own. Some facilities have a wide variety of items that you can use such as candles, mirrors to set on the table, glass jars, etc. So if you can take advantage of anything being provided for free, you can save quite a bit on your budget.

8. Sign contract with vendor

Upon agreement, it is important that you sign contracts with your vendors, and ensure that they provide you with your copy.

9. Invitations to event

Top tips for organizing your invitations:

Ensure you give your guests plenty of time to leave work and get ready for the party when picking an arrival time

Get invites designed to fit your theme

It is left for you to decide whether your invites will be emailed or printed

Ask your team to help deliver invitations

10. Music for the event

Your options are few when it comes to music. You either hire a DJ or live band or put together a playlist. Whatever decision you take, make sure you liaise with the venue to make sure you have all the equipment required.

11. Double check your event planning list

It is important that you check and double check your list the week before, the day before and the day of the event to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

12. Have standby errand persons

Have on standby two or three of your team members as errand persons so that you can stay and orchestrate the event while you send them off for any additional items that need to be picked up.

In conclusion, you should be reminded that memorable events don’t just happen.  Organizing and holding an event takes planning.

What’s in Store for the Future of Business Travel?

  1. Flying Cars:  The dream of a future with flying cars is still alive thanks to such innovative companies as Urban Aeronautics, AeroMobil, PAL-V, Moller International and Terrafugia.
  2. Instant translations: Several companies are working on earpieces that will transform the way people think about international business forever. We’re not far from a future when we’ll all be wearing earbuds like these that translate languages in real time.
  3. Charging gadgets through the air: A company called Ossia showcased its latest invention, called the Cota Tile. The Cota Tile is a ceiling tile with a built-in transmitter that can remotely charge smartphones, wearables, laptops and other devices by sending the charge through the air.
  4. Levitating trains: A maglev train is only operational in a few locations worldwide, they’re still futuristic for most business travelers. The fastest maglev train in the world is currently in Japan, and it can travel an astounding 375 mph. It may only be a matter of time before these super-fast trains become the worldwide standard, and business travel will never be the same.
  5. Pressurized tubes: The hyperloop will be a pressurized capsule that gets shot through a steel tube at about 600 mph. Innovators such as SpaceX, Hyperloop Technologies, TransPod and DGWHyperloop are working around the clock to make hyperloop travel a reality.
  6. Robotic luggage: Travelmate Robotics is currently raising Indiegogo money for its robotic suitcase that can be programmed to follow you around.
  7. Self-driving pods: SkyTran, headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center, has already tested and debuted its futuristic self-driving pods, which hang from a monorail and reach a maximum speed of 155 mph.

See more from Business News Daily here.

Airbnb Adds Business Travel Search

PYMNTS just announced that Airbnb just made a new move to push into the business travel sector.

On the latest update on the company’s mobile app, Airbnb has added a new search function that allows users to view listings designated “business travel ready.” To score this designation, listings need to provide homestayers with 24-hour self check-in, high-speed internet and, naturally, a desk. The Verge noted that the listing’s feedback must also include at least 60 percent five-star reviews. Business users have to register using their work email address.

Through 2017, Airbnb also plans to integrate with more corporate travel booking tools as a means to offer more seamless rebooking and to offer greater access to other amenities, the company said.

See more here.