The ‘Twenty Heroes

Global Travel Management recognises the hard work put in by many individuals, groups and companies to ensure that business travel has been able to continue throughout 2020.

We have selected twenty outstanding contributions that have been made in this unique year that have resulted in businesses continuing to be able to travel and win business now, and continue to do so as we move into another year.

We have picked twenty recipients of this virtual honour. They are listed below. Each has provided a unique and enduring legacy, ensuring people, businesses and the travel industry have been able to survive the year and can look forward to the future with more confidence, certainty and expectation.

Here are the ‘Twenty Heroes.

1 Navitas Solutions

Navitas is a business run by travel technology experts, Darren Waughman and Paul Toomey who deliver a suite of solutions, including decoders, a PNR watcher and ticketing management.  These products are created by Darren and Paul and thanks to these two – and Emma Griffiths – travel management companies like GTM have been able to keep running, efficiently, throughout 2020.

If you need something, Navitas is always the first place to go – if they haven’t got it, they’ll make it for you. If they can’t do it; it can’t be done.

Scott Pawley

2 7r Group

7r Group is a UK based business, providing fantastic, cloud-based services to the travel industry.  In a year in which working from home has become a necessity across many industries, 7r’s connectivity solutions have kept many travel management companies working remotely, but efficiently.  Thanks to 7r, all GTM employees have been able to access all systems as efficiently from home as from the office.

3 Agentivity

Agentivity analyses booking data and provides reports that enable travel management companies to mange and develop their businesses. Thanks to Riaan van Schoor and Edd McArdle and the team at Agentivity for helping Global Travel Management to react in a timely manner to every changing issue from business travellers across the year.

A great tool!  We use it all the time for bookings that require attention. It’s also great for finding bookings quickly where flights have been cancelled

Jane Marrison

4 Travelogix

Travelogix provide travel management companies an intuitive, accurate, fast and simple to use platform giving access in real time to data. Thanks to Chris Lewis and the team at Travelogix for their work throughout 2020.

5 Travelport

Travelport provides a platform through which travel management companies can access availability and fares on any flight at any time.  Of the hundreds of hard-working people at Travelport, special thanks go to Emily Whalley and Kelly Thompson for their help throughout 2020.

6 The Editors

It’s been a busy year for business travel news.  And there have been few busier than the editorial teams of TTG, BTN Europe, Travel Mole, Business Traveller and the travel editors of Which! and the Independent. These journalists have brought us thousands of stories and kept us all up to date with the changing face of business travel throughout 2020.

7 The Focus Travel Partnership

Global Travel Management is a long-term member of the Focus Travel Partnership, the leading business travel consortium for independent travel management companies.  Focus has a membership of more than sixty, delivering – in normal times – more than £1bn worth of business travel. Thanks are due to CEO Abby Penston and her team at Focus for sharing knowledge, information, opportunities and events this year; and for keeping focus.

8 The BTA

The BTA is the representative association for the business travel community and travel management companies, with our TMC members accounting for over ninety percent of all managed travel booked in the UK. The BTA – and CEO Clive Wratten – have worked tirelessly this year to lobby government and industry partners to ensure business travel is protected, enhanced and allowed to thrive. A huge debt of thanks is owed to the team at the BTA for these efforts on behalf of the sector and for businesses who need to travel.

9 United Airlines

United Airlines has been a great corporate citizen throughout 2020. Like every major airline, United has enhanced its cleaning programme to ensure passengers experience the highest-possible level of hygiene through the airport, during boarding, onboard and beyond. But United has gone further still: free transatlantic covid-19 testing, increased diversity in its board, enhanced its mobile apps to accommodate passengers with reduced vision, donated 11 million miles to charities, permanently abolished change fees on Economy and Premium domestic flights and chartered flights to transport the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. And, if that wasn’t enough, this month United announced a programme to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050, effectively becoming “100% green”.

Thank you to United Airlines for their efforts and, in particular to Karolien De Hertogh and Sam Gillespie.

10 British Airways

The UK’s flag carrier, British Airways has continued to support British business travellers throughout the pandemic. To illustrate how British Airways is getting it right, here’s what they have won this year: Best Short Haul Carrier, Best Airport Lounge, Best Frequent Flyer Programme, Best New Seat and Best Travel App. And that’s just from the Business Traveller Awards.

Thank to you to British Airways and especially to Alexander Keech.

11 The NHS

The National Health Service is the UK’s healthcare system, delivering services that are comprehensive, universal and free at the point of delivery. It’s been stretched more than most organisations this year. But, staffed by committed, hard-working, diligent and brave professionals, it has managed, magnificently.

In 2020, we put our arms around the NHS, so that it could continue to look after us. We clapped. And we supported. And, today, we’re thanking them for helping us get this far.

12 Cricketers

The commitment and professionalism of the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams to undertake Test and One Day International series in England in the Summer of 2020 should not be forgotten.

Both these teams – accompanied by medical, technical and management support – took the brave decision to make long-haul trips to the UK and play cricket for a broadcast-only audience. But, by doing so, they – and their counterparts from Ireland also made a short tour – demonstrated that business travel can be successful, even in the most trying of circumstances. These teams’ players and support deserve the thanks they are owed. And the part played by the Hilton Garden Inn, Old Trafford and the Hilton, Ageas Bowl should be acknowledged.

13 Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin

The German-born daughter of Turkish immigrants, Özlem Türeci and her husband, Uğur Şahin, also the child of Turkish immigrants in Germany, are co-founders of the German biotechnology company, BioNTech, which designed and created the first UK-approved Covid-19 vaccine, Tozinameran, manufactured in Belgium, in collaboration with United States and Chinese pharmaceutical companies.

The vaccine is the first to receive regulatory authority in the United Kingdom on 2 December and the first to commence widespread rollout, six days later. We all owe a huge debts of thanks to Özlem and Uğur and to the scientists and businesses that have created and funded further Covid-19 vaccines.

14 John Holland-Kaye

It may seem strange to include, among the heroes of 2020 the Chief Executive of an airport which has suffered a dramatic and unsustainable downturn in passenger numbers and income. But John Holland-Kaye has been a steadfast proponent of pre-fight testing as a means of normalising air travel and has introduced, pioneered and, indeed, demonstrated the use of Covid-19 tests at London’s main airport.

As such, he has brought focus onto the air travel sector, and concentrated minds at the top of governments – at home and abroad – in order to ensure legislation or guidance is brought in to support the industry. Thanks to his media omnipresence, air travel in general and business travel in particular, has received greater attention than otherwise might have been the case.

15 Captain Tom

Captain Tom has had a busy year.

On 6 April 2020, 99 year old Captain Thomas Moore set himself a target to raise £1,000 in aid of NHS Charities Together by walking laps of his garden and, in doing so, set the benchmark for under-promising and over-delivering. By the time of his birthday, 24 days later, he had raised more than £30 million, had received more than 150,000 cards, had been honoured with flypasts from the RAF and British Army, been given a Pride of Britain award and recorded and released a number one single with Michael Ball.

And by the Summer, he had been knighted by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, received an Honorary Doctorate from Cranfield University and an Honorary Degree from the University of Bradford and had been appointed captain of the Football Association Lionhearts squad.

And now, British Airways is whisking him off for a holiday in Barbados.

But, more importantly, he deserves the thanks and praise of a nation that was in desperate need of good news.

An absolute legend [from] an exceptional generation that are still an inspiration for our Yorkshire soldiers today

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment

16 The Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses is the campaigning voice and membership organisation for the UK’s small businesses, many of whom rely on being able to travel for work and to create new business opportunities. The Federation offers business services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government.

17 The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has had the two-fold objective of ensuring the UK’s citizens are able to travel where necessary, while ensuring that everyone’s safety is taken carefully into consideration. The Secretary of State has introduced measures for the safe use of public transport and ensured that travel corridors are used in order to accommodate safe, foreign business travel.

Shapps is also joint-chair (with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) of the Prime Minister’s Global Travel Taskforce which made fourteen recommendations in its report last month, the first of which – the ‘Test to Release’ process, reducing the quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in England from countries not on the government’s list of safe travel corridors – starts on 15 December.

18 The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Rishi Sunak was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 February and, less than a month later, announced a budget with £12 billion of spending to mitigate the economic effects of coronavirus. Within a week this was enhanced by a further £330 billion in emergency support for businesses. And, in July, a further £30 billion of spending was announced, including a stamp duty holiday, a cut to VAT for the hospitality sector, and a job retention bonus for employers. The Sunak-announced Eat Out To Help Out was a fifty percent discount to restaurant customers, designed to stimulate further the hospitality industry.

In all, Sunak’s interventions have mitigated the economic effects of lockdowns, meaning businesses who might otherwise have gone to the wall will have survived the pandemic and will be able to recommence business travel.

19 Trees 4 Travel

In the on-going battle against climate change, there are several organisation offering to help. Many have complex systems for buying carbon credits in order to ‘invest’ in programmes offering to reduce carbon emissions or to provide other benefits. Other programmes offer solutions centred around atmospheric carbon capture technology, a means of capturing carbon dioxide, transporting it and depositing it where it cannot – yet – enter the atmosphere.

One company, however, has enhanced a technology that is proven, has been tested for a very, very long time and offers the opportunity to capture carbon for decades ahead, increasing biodiversity, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere and without the ongoing consumption of power.

Trees 4 Travel has launched a simple, inexpensive, easy-to-understand and sustainable method to deliver all the benefits of carbon capture, with none of the disadvantages. It is for this solution that Trees 4 Travel make our list of ‘Twenty Heroes.

20 The team at Global Travel Management

Last, but not least, we’re nominating the team at Global Travel Management, for continuing to work diligently and enthusiastically throughout all the trials and difficulties of 2020.

Thank you to those on the front line: Debbie, Deepa, Hayley, James, Jane, Jane, Julie, Juliette, Kelly, Mandy, Natalie, Natalie, Nick, Paul, Preeti, Scott and Yullah; to everyone behind the scenes; to the rest of the ‘Twenty Heroes; and to every client of GTM, up and down the country.

Here’s to 2021…