Greater Social Awareness
Finally, frequent business travelers are showing a lot of social consciousness, focusing on “green” travel options while donating loyalty credits to support charities.
“They’re increasingly becoming concerned with the environment,” notes Camacho. Hertz expanded its “Green Collection” of vehicles in June of this year with a $68 million investment in 3,400 reservable Toyota Prius hybrids, 100 of which have been designated for the company’s Manhattan fleet. The Prius has been designated a “SmartWay Elite” vehicle by the EPA, the organization’s highest honor. More than 64% (268,000 cars) of the company’s rental fleet now achieves 28 mpg or greater fuel efficiency, with 42.4% reaching 34 mpg or greater.
“While hybrid vehicles have only recently become available to car rental companies, Hertz has created a collection of cars, in addition to the Prius, that are easy on the wallet and friendly to the environment,” Camacho explains. “These cars are all make and model reservable, so travelers can be assured that the car they reserve is the car they actually rent.”
“Business travelers increasingly want to fly with environmentally conscious airlines, and travel managers are giving preference to those airlines and travel companies with a strong sustainability focus,” adds Lufthansa’s Bunkenburg. “We fit right in with the most environmentally friendly aircraft on order, such as the new A380, and a climate protection program with MyClimate.org, which we just launched, and a dedicated ‘green team’ at our headquarters doing environmental research and development work.”
Reward points aren’t always spent on personal perks and luxuries, as business travelers send their credits to worthy causes. The Hilton HHonors® Giving Back Program and IHG’s Room for Hope support a wide range of charities such as UNICEF, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the American Red Cross; while Lufthansa’s Miles-to- Help program funds its employeefounded Help Alliance, supporting orphanages, education facilities and homeless children in third-world countries; and BA’s program for North America allows members to transfer miles to several charities.
Expectation, Competition and Technology Customer expectation, competition and technology are truly combining to power the business travel trends of 2007. “In a post 9/11 world, there’s a certain amount of stress among travelers,” Machen states. “Along with our partners in the travel industry, we share a common travel ecosystem, if you will, and for us it is important to recognize that with anything we can do to destress a guest’s life through technology or innovation, we’re collectively better. So that’s an overriding trend as well. We hope to drive even more innovation to de-stress travelers’ lives.
Downtime In London
One of the most desirable (and expensive) cities in the world, London now rivals New York as a world financial center, and is also a superb destination for the best in entertainment, cuisine and history.
The Heathrow Express offers high-speed, nonstop service to London’s Paddington station for around £13, while a cab to central London will cost somewhere between £35 and £50.
The days of poor cuisine choices in Britain are long over, of course, and there’s no better proof than the eponymous restaurant Tom Aikens (43 Elystan Street), which is regarded as one of the best you’ll find on any continent. Located in chic Knightsbridge, this is high French cuisine with a creative twist (call 020-7584-2003).
From Giacometti to Matisse to Picasso, Warhol and emerging world-class artists, you’ll find the full breadth of modern art at the dramatic Tate Modern, creatively located in the former Bankside Power Station in Southwark. The best way to get there is by foot over the Thames via the pedestrianonly Millennium Bridge.