For the business and first class traveller, comfort is paramount. At this year’s Business Travel Show, airlines such as Singapore Airlines are showing their new accommodation for the discerning traveller which over the recent years has become more and more luxurious, almost returning to the origins of flying a century ago, with seats that turn into beds. These travellers don’t have to try a sleep within the ergonomic constraints of a normal airline seat. But, in this more climate and carbon-conscious era, is the carbon footprint of such a traveller any longer sustainable without substantial carbon offsetting – and I mean substantial?
There were green shoots of recognition of the Climate Change agenda with airlines such as British Airways and Easyjet offering carbon offsetting and, in today’s mailbox, was an update on BA’s initiative to radically improve the carbon footprint of the food and consumables on their flights – does this mean that we will go back to proper china, glass and crockery? Overall, it was disappointing in terms of the display stands, albeit Egencia offered tree planting in return for business consultations, though the many of the exhibitors and the main sponsors American Express were providing water bottles and other goodies that reflected the changing world in which we live. Train travel was here with the booking agency Trainline and companies such as LNER and Aviva, as was who provides sustainable ground transport solution by Centaur Travel (itself a Carbon Neutral Organisation) to organisations such as the University of Greenwich.
Setting the way forward was TripActions, a travel sourcing company that provides clients with options for sustainable carbon-neutral travel, while also seeking to provide the best value solutions to its clients, something that will be of growing interest to companies and organisations such as universities, charities and young socially-responsible entrepreneurial companies.
Alongside the Business Travel Show was Travel Technology Europe. While there was no overt mention of the carbon agenda, it was hidden there as obviously the more we can use technology such as apps from new companies like NAVA, the more we can move away from paper. Will such disruptive technology, easy to keep up to date, eventually result in the demise of the traditional guide book?
And what of the business hotel of the future? Some travellers will still want to stay in luxurious surroundings which remind them of home. Young entrepreneurs may want a different creative modern co-working/living environment such as that provided by The Student Hotel. There is enough variety available for everyone.
Any then of course there is the issue of coronavirus. Perhaps this is not the best time to be hosting a travel exhibition, given that no-one really knows how this is going to play out, but International SOS were here to give some high-level advice as far as is actually possible..