April 24, 2024

Judges’ verdicts

See photos of this year's winners and find out why they were voted the best in their categories

Account Management team of the Year 

JetBlue UK Team 

With a mission to bring humanity back to air travel the ‘small but mighty’ team of four successfully launched JetBlue’s first UK routes to JFK and Boston from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. These TMC testimonials – just a few of many – say it all: 

“Every interaction I have had with them has been positive, flawless in every way.”

“A breath of fresh air in the long-haul market.”

Account Manager of the Year 

Lindsay Cook, Account Manager, Agiito 

‘Focused’, ‘go-getter’ and ‘enthusiastic’ were just some of the words colleagues and clients used to describe Lindsay. 

Her submission was backed up with some impressive evidence to show how she is collaborative, professional and valued and respected by her peers. 

Lindsay is ‘customer service personified’. 

Runner up: Chris Culpin, Diversity Travel

Meetings & Events Team of the Year 

UK Events Team, TAG 

TAG has grown its events team by 72% since the start of 2022 and has placed more importance on client retention, relationship development and client care through open-table reviews with clients, assessing where client priorities have changed and addressing how TAG can help clients navigate the new business landscape in partnership.  

Based on glowing testimonials from clients, often naming individuals in the team, the strategy has clearly paid off. 

Runner up: Events Team, veSpace 

Business Travel Team of the Year 

Navan and Reed & Mackay 

This award recognises how Navan’s engineers and Reed & Mackay’s consultants went beyond ‘business as usual’ to use their expertise to provide relief to hundreds of Ukrainian families in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. 

Employees and customers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and worked around the clock to support those stranded in the conflict at a time when business travel was also bouncing back, so staff were already working long days.  

This was a great effort with ‘compassion, efficiency and action’ at its core. 

Runner-up: The Advantage Global Business Travel Team, The Advantage Travel Partnership 

Duty of Care Champion 

Christopher Ollerton, Supply Chain Coordinator, Synergy 

Chris identified a gap in the market to develop a web-based platform, SynergySMART, to help solve one of the largest pain points for this serviced apartment specialist – the manual and time-consuming process associated with the tracking of supplier compliance to Synergy’s duty of care protocols. 

He has played an integral role, knocking down barriers to create one global standard inspection form, thus championing the entire industry to level-up its approach to duty of care. 

And he’s done all this working remotely from his apartment in Valencia, Spain, with a new born baby.  

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion 

Ready & Able Inclusion Group, American Express GBT

American Express GBT impressed the judges for its efforts in trailblazing an excellent initiative – Ready & Able – to support its colleagues and clients with disabilities. 

Actions include creating a dedicated Zoom channel for the community to allow a safe space to connect and network, implementing a special help desk available to all customers following the success of the Google Accessibility travel desk, and a regular survey to understand traveller experiences and use feedback to adapt travel policies.  

Sustainability Champion 

Anna Snoep, Director of Operations, Inntel 

Anna has taken ownership of Inntel’s sustainability focus with a series of initiatives for the company and also for its clients. 

During the pandemic, she created ‘Travel Less; Travel Better’ and ‘Meet Less; Meet Better’ campaigns and worked with Inntel’s development team to enhance the company’s online booking platform so that bookers now see relevant information at the point of booking. 

In March 2022, Inntel was re-certified ISO14001, gained Greengage ECOsmart accreditation and became carbon neutral. 

Anna has also helped shape and introduce an interactive travel policy document for clients with a key focus on sustainable travel. 

Runner up Chris Truss, Reed & Mackay 

Travel Technology Innovator 

Leadership Team, TripStax 

In just one year, TripStax has made a significant impact as a tech disruptor, challenging the industry’s historically complex tech integrations and transactional economics to help TMCs – mainly SME TMCs – to manage data more consistently and cost-effectively for their corporate clients. 

And it has done this all with creativity and flair. 

Rising Star 

Francesca Mendola, Vice President, Global Travel Collection 

Francesca was declared an outright winner by the judges, who interviewed all of the shortlisted candidates in person. 

Her submission demonstrated she is keen to be a business leader of the future and to make a difference.

Her mantra – If you’re not growing, you’re dying – inspires Francesca’s desire to get a deep understanding of the entire business, seek innovations and drive to formulate and execute strategies to drive revenue growth for Global Travel Collection. 

During the pandemic, she submitted a business plan with a strategy of how to drive sales and account management recovery post pandemic.  

In her eight years with the business, she has been promoted three times and is the youngest member of the Senior Management Executive, reporting directly to the company’s Managing Director. 

Shining Star 

Nikki Banks, Chief Marketing Officer, TripStax 

Nikki has come into the industry as a complete outsider to launch a technology brand in a highly-competitive and complex market. 

With a refreshing energy, creativity and passion, she has worked tirelessly to establish the TripStax brand, pushing the boundaries with her quirky ideas and always looking to create the ‘wow’ factor.  

Not only has she made TripStax a recognised travel tech brand in a short space of time, she is held in high regard by clients, partners and colleagues. It feels like she’s been in the industry forever! 

People Manager of the Year 

Jack Ramsey, CEO, TripStax

Jack’s management style is inspirational, visionary and intuitive.  

At TripStax he has created an environment where employees feel valued and know they can show their true personality in the workplace and won’t be penalised for showing vulnerability. 

The testimonials from his employees show he listens, puts people at ease, gives them freedom to thrive, makes them laugh and inspires them to do their absolute best. 

One testimonial says it all: 

“I’ve seen more harmony in my personal life, my work life and I feel much more productive because of Jack’s presence within TripStax. In my 30-plus years in the industry, I have never had a leader who I want to follow, work with or harder for, than Jack.”

Buyer of the Year 

Adam Hickingbotham, Category Manager, AtkinsRéalis

Despite being thrown in at the deep-end to manage travel during Covid, Adam wasn’t fazed. He has found practical solutions to problems that have made a tangible difference.  

He initiated a game-changing callback functionality to tackle long call waiting times with the AtkinsRéalis travel team and worked with an airline supplier to include baggage in the online booking process, which drove in-policy bookings. 

Adam was particularly praised by AtkinsRéalis PAs for setting-up the opportunity for them to have open conversations and share their views with the travel team – for the first time in 15 years! 

TMC Above and Beyond 

Winner Leanne Fowler, Director of Account Management, Agiito

Described by those around her as ‘passionate’, ‘altruistic’ and ‘inspiring’, Leanne has a true passion for the business travel industry . 

She is a forward-thinker and collaborator who is always looking for ways to bring people together for the greater good.  

Examples of this include her drive to mentor the next generation of talent, the time she gives to helping other departments, peers and colleague development, and her volunteering efforts at industry associations including ITM and GBTA. 

Runner up ATPI Commercial Team, ATPI 

Outstanding Industry Contribution Award 

Suzanne Neufang, CEO GBTA 

Taking the helm of the GBTA at a challenging time, both for the industry and the organisation itself, didn’t faze Suzanne. 

As one of her cheerleaders put it: “Quite simply the GBTA and our industry needs a Suzanne – someone with an equal balance of IQ and EQ who can also play an ambassadorial role for our industry. She has truly turned GBTA around into an inclusive, purpose led organisation to enable success for our industry – always quietly with minimal fuss.”

Chair’s Award 

Tiffany Casson, National Account Manager, Inntel 

Tiffany narrowly missed out on winning the award for DE&I Champion but deserves to be recognised for her incredible work to raise awareness of neurodiversity in corporate travel and how the  strengths of neurodivergent individuals – from problem-solving, to creative insights and visual spatial thinking – are creating competitive advantages for organisations. 

Inspired by her experience as a mother helping her daughter navigate neurodiversity, encouraged Inntel to join Neurodiversity in Business – a registered charity and business-led forum that promotes industry best practice on recruitment, retention and empowerment. Last October, she was invited to become NiB Ambassador for the UK travel industry, engaging with industry bodies and memberships and developed working relationships with organisation. 

She secured buy-in from the CEO and leadership team at Inntel to deliver awareness training sessions and is using her influence within business travel to build greater awareness and drive engagement in the wider industry.