Business travel to cost slightly more in 2014, says Amex

Companies have been told to anticipate a slight rise in business travel costs over the next year.

Analysts at American Express are predicting increases in air, hotel and ground transport costs in 2014, although these rates are only expected to lift by single digits.

Cited by conference-news.co.uk, the company’s annual Global Business Travel Forecast says air fares and accommodation could even end up falling in some countries, with the UK better positioned than most to score discounts.

Short-haul business class fares have been tipped to rise by no more than two per cent and there’s potential for a fall of one per cent. Long-haul fares are expected to remain static or rise by three per cent, with short-haul economy seats set to either freeze or rise by two per cent.

Amex’s director of Global Business Consulting, Sebastien Marchon told buyingbusinesstravel.com the UK’s finance sector was underpinning demand and helping it bypass the challenges that some European nations are seeing.

However, due to the possibility of a rise in rates, UK companies may look closer to home when deciding where their representatives should be deployed.

Amex added that despite global economic growth, the improved financial outlook would not impact the demand for business travel.

Tube stations could be kitted out with TV screens, 4G and lifts

Conservative MPs have said that getting companies to sponsor certain tube stations could be the best way to keep travel costs down and help improve the facilities within.

Sponsorship of the Oyster card and tube stations could see the stations transformed with the use of free Wi-Fi, lifts and underground toilets.

It is expected that the prices of tickets are set to rise at the beginning of the New Year and such sponsorship could be used to counterbalance these additional costs.

The report also says that companies could pay for specific updates to the tube system, mayorwatch.co.uk reports, such as Evian sponsoring water fountains or Panasonic paying for the installation of television screens.

The proposal was made with the backing of a report by Gareth Bacon of GLA Conservatives, ‘Sealing the Deal: TfL Sponsorship Feasibility Study,’ which says that using the financial power of large companies TfL can make improvements that it could otherwise not afford.

Graeme Craig, TfL’s director of commercial development, told bbc.co.uk that it had already secured £3.5 billion in commercial revenue for the coming years and has got sponsorship deals in place; for example, Barclays putting its name to the capital’s cycle hire scheme.

Mr Craig said: “The mayor has always said that the sponsorship of Tube stations and other assets can happen if the sponsor is appropriate and the price right.”

UK Trade and Investment supports business events

The government has pledged to offer more support for event organisers in a bid to boost overseas trade and investment, meetpie.com reports.

The ‘Events Alliance’ has been created by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to create a closer working partnership between government and event organisers. It will look to provide greater resources for the events industry, whilst also helping to promote certain events, with a preliminary target of having 300 events on its books next year, compared to the 75 for 2013.

Its overall aim will be to not only secure more inward investment to the UK, but also help British businesses export overseas with more ease and confidence. The Alliance won’t just target large businesses and those seeming to be most ready for global expansion, however, but also help smaller firms targeting growth. This would come at an optimum time, as global finances have begun to look more stable.

Supporters have claimed that UKTI has pledged its support for event hosting, showing in the process that such conferences can help British firms reach new audiences and help expand globally.

One such supporter was the chairman of the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), Michael Hirst. He told businesstourismpartnership.com: “We’re delighted that UKTI have recognised the role events play in attracting inward investment and international business growth.

“The agenda of UKTI in growing their international presence is aligned with that of partners of the BVEP in showcasing their products and services to a global marketplace.”

Not speaking up enough amongst top wedding day stresses

Not speaking up enough on their big day has been revealed as one of the top regrets of brides on their wedding day.

The issue was raised in an article on huffingtonpost.com this week, where five brides were asked to reveal five things they would change about their big day.

Talking to the site about the problem, one bride, Kelleigh, 29, said: “I hate the way my wedding photos turned out. Even that day, I didn’t like what our photographer was asking us to do or the poses he was instructing us into – but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause a scene or act like a bridezilla.”

She continued: “Now, though, I wish like hell that I’d said something because I can’t believe how bad the photos turned out.”

Other regrets included letting the wedding stress take over, drinking too much alcohol and not eating enough food.

Those who don’t want to have any regrets may want to read an article published on bhpioneer.com this week, which gave advice for a great wedding day.

The recommendations included spending the cocktail hour with guests rather than making a big entrance, dancing to an upbeat number and hiring a live performer to add to the level of excitement.

London still feeling Olympic benefits

London is still feeling the benefits of its hugely successful Olympic and Paralympic Games, more than a year after the events drew to a close, travelandtourworld.com reports.

Ahead of London 2012, many analysts forecast that London would not see any tourism benefit as a result of the Games, despite it attracting a worldwide audience of billions. Some even suggested that the number of people looking at London for holidays or business trips could even decline.

Now, it appears those naysayers have been proven wrong, amid reports that visitors into the capital are still up on average figures, more than a year down the line.

British tourism chiefs polled their executives to see how many had witnessed increased capacity. Of the 1,277 surveyed, 52 per cent said they had ended up needing to increase their total capacity to deal with added interest. Not only that, London wasn’t the only city to benefit, as 42 per cent said they needed to increase capacity across the whole of the UK, as demand spread to the regions.

This trend is likely to be driven not only by tourists who felt compelled to visit after watching the Games, but also business executives who have looked to London for a future move as a direct result of the 2012 success.

Commenting on the results, senior exhibition director at the World Travel Market, Simon Press, told london24.com: “It just goes to show that if you get something the size and ambition of the Olympics right, the benefits down the line will be considerable.

“For more than two glorious weeks, the eyes of the world were focussed on the UK and the country delivered. Every man, woman and child who helped make the event such a success should feel very proud of the positive impact they have made and we hope the country continues to reap the benefits.”

Roger Federer calls for ATP final to remain in London

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has refuted claims that the showcase ATP tour final should move from London.

The former world number one made his claims after Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal suggested a change which would see the season climax move from its current home of the O2 Arena, bbc.co.uk reports.

Nadal said he wanted to see a shift away from an indoor event, whilst Djokovic claimed that an annual change of country would be fairer on fans. Djokovic may have more sway in the debate this morning, though, after he won last night’s (Tuesday) final, beating Federer 4-6, 7-6, 2-6.

Federer, who is the third most successful men’s singles player of all time and has won more grand slams than any other player, refuted their claims, however, saying that the current format worked well and therefore did not require a change.

His claims are expected to be welcomed by tennis supporters and businesses in London alike, with the event welcoming its one millionth fan through the turnstiles during the 2012 event. It also welcomes audiences from around the world and could even be responsible for driving up business travel in the capital, as firms from around the world look to organise meetings around the event.

Making his claim, Federer told espn.co.uk: “I truly believe the World Tour Finals should stay indoors, and I think indoors deserves a great event.

“What’s good about playing indoors is that you know what you’re getting in to. Matches are going to be played and not delayed. Indoor clay is not something we should look at. That’s why probably it has to stay indoor hard in my personal opinion.”

Planning a wedding more stressful for men than women

Grooms-to-be might have more of a stressful time when it comes to planning a wedding compared to their female partners, a new study has found.

According to yahoo.com, the study by Kalms revealed 23 per cent of men find planning a wedding more stressful than buying a house or having a baby; compared to just 16 per cent of women who thought the same.

The most stressful thing about wedding planning by far for both sexes was who to invite; as 44 per cent stated the wedding list stresses them out.

Breaking the budget is also another big concern – with 38 per cent worrying they might not stay within what they’re willing to spend. Closely following money concerns, keeping friends and family happy is another big problem for couples; with 35 per cent stating they get stressed about just that, reports dailymail.co.uk.

Sophia Davis, a life coach, said the study highlights the amount of stress big events, such as a wedding, can bring to couples.

“A good friend, coach or counsellor can help you to regain perspective on your situation and allow you to restore your belief in yourself to overcome your challenges and turn them into opportunities,” she explained. “Herbal remedies can also help during times of stress.”

Tech set to revolutionise weddings

Weddings are set to become more high-tech affairs, with state of the art gadgets beginning to revolutionise the way couples tie the knot, bbc.co.uk reports.

One such example of ways in which couples are using tech in their ceremony is to have a bridal dress which displays messages and well-wishes from loved ones.

Much like the “tweet dress” as worn by X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger recently, the dress collects and displays messages from friends and family when the bride and groom kiss, thus giving the traditional book of messages a decidedly more modern spin.

It’s not only bridal wear that has undergone a tech revolution. It seems 3D printing has also transformed the tradition of women wearing hats to the ceremony. Now, the process won’t involve going to the shops and seeing what suits, as guests can commission their very own bespoke hat that not only fits perfectly but is also to the design and colour they want.

Not only that, as 3D printing is a relatively cheap process – once the printer has been bought – this can come at a fraction of the price of traditional bespoke millinery.

When it comes to invites and ‘save-the-date’ messages, these too have had a high-tech makeover. Now, QR codes and augmented reality can be used to help couples direct their guests to videos or messages stored online that will make their invite really stand out, newsrt.com claims. Soon, this could even work directly with calendars on mobile phones or tablets, thus importing the event straight away.

Kelly Brook reveals Christmas fashion range

Christmas parties are set to be extra glamorous this year, upon the arrival of Kelly Brook’s new Christmas party fashion line. 

Keeping up with her glamorous image, the model collaborated with New Look to create the range – which features a number of glitzy and figure-hugging outfits. These include a silver sequinned jumpsuit, an animal-print, spaghetti-strapped top and an embellished little black dress.

The 33-year-old has also designed a number of accessories and shoes. Talking about the collection, Kelly told dailymail.co.uk that she wanted to create clothes for women with real figures. Describing it further, she also added: “It has strong details, collars, shoulders… very 80s power woman. It’s a strong, powerful look.”

Kelly also said that singer Lana Del Rey influenced the line, adding: ‘I love Lana’s videos, style, music – everything about her. She’s got that Old Hollywood vibe.”

It isn’t known what determined Brook’s decisions when it came to the colouring of her clothing; however an article published this week called blue the new black when it comes to dressing to impress this party season. 

Journalist Danielle Bourne, writing for stokesentinel.co.uk, claims that blue dresses are very much a “sophisticated rival” to the traditional little black dress.

Women spend 49 hours preparing for their Christmas party, says study

Women spend an average of 49 hours preparing for their Christmas party, according to new research,

The study, which questioned 1,500 Brits, was carried out by teeth-whitening company BlanX. It found that women spend more time preparing for their Christmas party than any other event all year.

On average, women spend 21 hours shopping for the perfect party outfit, either in-store or online and 18 hours in the gym to achieve the perfect Christmas party body. Six hours are also spent on party hairstyles and four hours per woman on make-up, tanning and teeth whitening. It is claimed that today (November 11th) is the day that women start this preparation.

Talking about the research, Ashleigh Fell, a spokesperson for BlanX, told dailymail.co.uk: “Christmas is the party season as far as the majority of Britain’s women are concerned. It is their one chance in the year to really shine and they are determined to make the most of it.”

She continued: “Of course, having fun takes lots of preparation but UK girls are happy to devote hours to it so they can look their best and, ultimately, feel their best.”

However, despite the research, it was also reported by femalefirst.co.uk this week that a third of women recycle an old dress for their Christmas party. The study was carried out by money saving site NetVoucherCodes.co.uk.

Those questioned said that although they would wear something already in  their wardrobe, they would dress it up with new accessories.