April 24, 2024

News in brief: LNER, Accor, GTC UK and more

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is now offering flexible ticket options based on single journeys. This follows a successful trial where the UK train operator, which runs trains on the East Coast Main Line route, offered flexible ticket options based on single journeys rather than a return. Traditionally, the price difference between single and return tickets on the UK railways has been very small, sometimes £1 or less. An LNER statement said: “The new approach offers customers greater flexibility to mix and match their tickets.” The move has been well-received by lobby groups, including Transport Focus.

Accor has joined forces with start-up Alltheway to allow travellers to directly check in their baggage with the group’s hotels. Once baggage is checked in, it will be collected from the hotel and transferred to the destination airport. The service was launched this month between Paris Charles de Gaulle and four Parisian Accor hotels and in four ViParis event hubs. Travellers will be able to track the progress of their bags throughout their journey using their Alltheway  app. Accor will support Alltheway with launching the service internationally in late 2024.

Global Travel Collection UK (GTC UK) will tour UK cities this summer to target advisors interested in partnering with them. The GTC UK team will be visiting five cities: Manchester on June 20; London on June 27 and 28; Brighton on June 29; Edinburgh on July 4; and Bristol on July 6. Advisors who are interested will be able to arrange private appointments and meet with Advisor Success Managers who recently joined the company.  

Aspire Lounges has unveiled images of the final design for its new lounge at Belfast City Airport. The CGI images show 178 seats, effectively increasing its capacity by 70 people. The updated lounge will integrate tiled and curved slatted screens, comfortable seating with plush upholstery, and enclosed private booths to enhance privacy. The new lounge is expected to open this summer. 

Medius is to acquire expense management software company Expensya for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of Expensya and its AI-enabled, mobile-first, employee spend management capabilities will complement Medius’s autonomous AP, payments, procurement, sourcing, contracts and supplier onboarding capabilities. Expensya has developed an employee spend management solution in France and this move also enables Medius to capitalise on the French e-invoicing mandate.

The new Opinium survey of 500 UK business travellers has found 69% prefer to book their own business travel so they can choose flights and hotels to earn personal rewards. The poll also shows this number rises to 80% of those who travel at least once a month. But only a third (35%) are allowed to either book their own or their team’s travel, rising to 55% in companies with less than 50 employees. One in three (33%) use travel agents and operators and 31% use a centralised person or internal team. Younger age groups are much more likely to use a travel agent with 46% of under 34s, compared to only 25% of over 35s.