Comfort Stops

Travelling managers are expected to be
productive even when flights are delayed or traffic is jammed.
They are expected to manage and motivate their people even while they’re on the road.
They are expected to stay in touch with their families even when meetings go well into the night.
Add other things like juggling schedules, keeping fit and bringing the right equipment, you can be excused for feeling exhausted at the mere thought of travelling even before you hit the road.
Business travel can be test of endurance as tough as the Olympic Triathlon but for one key component – good service.
Forget the talk about cutting travel costs. When managers are in motion, first class service can make big difference in time saved, not to mention ease and comfort.
Thanks to this ever widening array of technology, business travel can be stress-free.
The Internet Travel Group’s technology platform is state of the art, says Greg Hamilton.
Their philosophy is to enable business travellers to communicate with dedicated consultants seven days week, 24 hours day by telephone or via the web.
A recent innovation is the e-lumina expense management system which reduces the cost of accounting and saves time by presenting one bill automatically. It also maintains security of information.
Their Travel Management Package lets customers book themselves and get the cost benefit.
A complete profile of each traveller is set up so that the system audits policy, personal preference and travel logic – if the journey of Wellingtonian terminates in Auckland question is asked.
Fran Purcell, manager of Corporate Traveller Central at Flight Centre, Auckland, explains that every company has personal consultant who knows its needs and whether connection or price is the most important aspect.
Reporting procedures are computerised so that monthly reports can be generated at the flick of switch. Through the Galileo system, they can instantly access airlines for bookings and hotels are accessed from central reservations system.
With their big buying power they can negotiate good fares and lower hotel rates.
With 28 offices throughout New Zealand, John Wilson of United Travel’s Biztrav also points to the good rates buying power brings.
He considers their major advantage to be the Flight Plus Loyalty Programme in which travellers gain rewards points for their company, unlike air points which can only be used for personal travel. As an extra service, their corporate travel magazine, which combines information and entertainment, is mailed direct to their members.
Qantas reckons membership of Oneworld is evidence of its dedication to service.
The global partnership of 80 airlines has enabled important customer benefits.
“If you travel on Oneworld airline, the experience is seamless,” says David Lebeau of Qantas. Frequent fliers can earn and burn points on all the airlines and share access to club lounges. In first and business class, the food, designed by Neil Perry of Sydney’s Rockpool Restaurant, is sensational.

Hotel heaven
Superb service is what distinguishes good hotel from one that is merely mediocre.
“Development in service is what corporates need,” says Alyson Smith of Christchurch’s Millennium Hotel, one of three 4-star deluxe hotels in New Zealand.
“Corporate travellers are in hurry and under pressure, so we look to reduce stress. People are happy to stay where they are looked after and recognised.”
Guest relations manager Harold Moseley welcomes guests when they arrive and issues an invitation to the corporate guests’ cocktail hour. “For people travelling alone, it is link with like people in captain’s table atmosphere and good social and networking opportunity,” he says.
The Cathedral Club is designed specifically for frequent corporate guests and apart from automatic upgrade to suites when available and drinks vouchers when there is no cocktail function, it offers full business office with computer, fax, copier and PA. And there are modems in every room.
There are also two boardrooms with electronic whiteboards available for meetings.
For those with time for fun, they provide tickets to shows and invite guests to their corporate box at Jade Stadium or to race meetings. With background in finance, Moseley seeks to provide contacts for guests with high-fliers in Canterbury commerce.
In Wellington, The Duxton Hotel also has club. Formerly the 4-star Plaza International, it now offers two classes and the club is business class. For $50 extra guests receive complimentary breakfast for two, refurbished room and club lounge.
Club guests receive more personal attention and extras such as beautiful fruit and hazelnut chocolate fish in their rooms. “It is the front end of the plane,” says manager Simon Jamieson.
They run business centre with Pa and raft of equipment including modem leads which guests tend to leave at home. Every room has DDI lines and remote infrared links through the television for access to the Internet.
The Parkroyal Hotel is also geared to the corporate traveller, with business centre and dataports in each room.
For fitness freaks, they have great gymnasium with swimming pool, spa and sauna – and masseurs to relieve travel tension.
You only need to walk across Customhouse Quay to jog or powerwalk along the waterfront.
“Time is money, time is precious for corporate travellers,” says marketing manager Roseanne Litchfield. And fantastic time-saver is their check-in service with the hotel car.
For almost the same price as cab, guests can be met and register in the car, then take their keys and any mail from the driver and go straight to their rooms.
Full room service, voice mail, express check-out and innovative wake-up calls backed up by cup of tea or coffee five minutes later are all part of the Parkroyal’s service.
Hotel Ibis, in the centre of Wellington’s CBD, is new 2-star economy hotel very popular with corporate guests. “It has the bare essentials, but it is very comfortable, clean and fresh,” says manager Richard de Graaf.
It may be economy class, but with Hush glass imported from the US guests are guaranteed good night’s sleep. The Internet can be accessed via telephones in each room and Touchnet offers super fast access to the web.
Within walking distance of Parliament, the stadium, Te Papa and the Michael Fowler Centre, the Ibis’ bar and restaurant makes great meeting place.

Auckland
The Stamford Plaza holds General Manager Cocktail Party every fortnight to canvass regular users and from October it will have an executive level specifically designed for corporate needs.
The hotel’s extensive databases highlight special dietary or bedding needs for regular guests who enjoy the one-to-one 24-hour service and recognition from staff.
“A staff member will literally lend the shirt off his back,” laughs marketing manager Jo Jalfon.
Maginet TV and modem connections are in each room, which after the recent $5 million refurbishment have very big desks suitable for the most workaholic of guests.
Novotel’s business centre is open 24- hours day for people needing to work outside their own rooms or to conduct interviews, while all rooms have Intertouch for Internet access.
Their concern for their guests leads to emphasis on healthy lifestyle, with stacks of Harvard Good Health Management information in rooms, special Harvard Good Health menu and an excellent gymnasium.
Individually controlled air-condtioning and heating, 24-hour day room service and concierge take care of almost every other need.
With just 11 rooms, The Great Ponsonby Bed and Breakfast is boutique hotel with difference. The colonial villa is set in garden surrounded by trees and the rooms are filled with good New Zealand art – and are supplied with modems. communal sitting room with deep lea

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