As a Corporate Commercial Manager, business trips are part and parcel of my day to day routine, regularly traveling up and down the country to visit customers and attend industry events. One of my recent work missions had me set off for one of the biggest events in the corporate calendar, the Institute of Travel & Meetings Conference in Scotland.
Whilst looking at flights and weighing up my travel options, I soon realised that the most efficient and greenest way to make my trip to Scotland was to take the train. The journey itself included such highlights as a signal failure, as well as a train technical fault. This was quickly overlooked though as my Virgin East Coast train sped me along the beautiful Northumbria Coast and across the Firth of Forth Bridge into St Andrews. Even with the train issues we arrived on time, some six hours after leaving my front door in Surrey.
As soon as I arrived at the Fairmont Hotel, I dropped off my bags and headed for the speed dating event. An exciting but mammoth task where I had to complete 60 face to face meetings with conference delegates in 60 minutes! Once my last ‘date’ had left I headed to the gym for a workout then jumped into the Jacuzzi for a quick 10 minutes R&R! It was then onto a huge networking dinner, which left me thinking…why couldn’t the networking been in the Jacuzzi
The conference was packed with great content where we are able to learn about the G7, F7 and S7 economies and how travel is an enabler to drive the economy from austerity creating business and employment opportunities. It was refreshing to hear how we in the travel industry can help reduce the gap between rich and poor, taking developing nations out of poverty and deprivation.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary headed the bill with his Irish humour. It was a real eye opener when Michael told us that the average fare on Ryanair is just 46 Euros. This being in contrast to the next best being 83 Euros. This left me pondering that with many corporates looking to save money, coupled with the Public Sector Travel teams driving to get best value for the tax payer – why isn’t Ryanair the number one choice for corporate travel? Well it all comes back to trains again! Ryanair fly from Stansted but the commute takes nearly 50 minutes from central London by train.
But fear not! The current London Mayor has this issue on his radar and has already begun the campaign to speed up the line by 2020 to nearer 30 minutes. So maybe Ryanair’s time will come where these huge savings can be appreciated by the corporate arena, and also those who travel for the public sector driving substantial value for money for us, the tax payer!