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EXECUTIVE DESTINATION: CALIFORNIA

EXECUTIVE DESTINATION: CALIFORNIA

California is a big state, one of the biggest, actually, with its 163,696 square miles making it the third largest in the United States in terms of area and its 39.5 million residents making it the most populous in America.

When it comes to travel to or within the Golden State on business, there is no single destination that is a central location to the hubs of industry, unless that industry is agriculture, in which case just about anywhere in the Central Valley should work just fine. Direct flights there on major airlines could be an issue, however.

Otherwise, you would not fly into, say, Los Angeles International Airport—the world’s fifth busiest and second only to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta in the U.S.—if your business meetings were in Silicon Valley. Nor would you stay in, for instance, San Francisco—whose $878 billion GDP gave it America’s third largest urban economy in 2017—if your trade convention was in sunny San Diego.

Getting There

For our business travel purposes, we are going to focus on San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose (which is in the heart of Silicon Valley) and San Francisco.

The international airports in all four of those cities are served by Air Canada, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United and Virgin. Allegiant, Condor, Japan Airlines, Spirit and Sun Country fly in and out of all except San Jose.

Chances are that American and United are airlines that use your nearest airport for flying across the continent. Both figured prominently in the 15th annual Tested Reader Survey in December’s Global Traveler. More than 22,000 frequent business and luxury travelers named the best in a variety of travel-related categories.

American was named the Best Airline in North America and, for the third consecutive year, the Best Airline for Domestic First Class. American Airlines AAdvantage was deemed the Best Frequent-Flyer Customer Service.

United Airlines MileagePlus was deemed the Best Overall Frequent-Flyer Program for the 15th straight year and Best Frequent-Flyer Bonus Program for the sixth consecutive year.

The airline also just announced that its new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners will fly United “Premium” transcontinental routes between Newark and California beginning Jan. 7. The newest and biggest version of Boeing’s 787 widebody, the jets will also start flying from Newark to San Francisco on Feb. 14.

Seating 318 passengers, the 787-10s include 44 lie-flat business-class seats and 21 of United’s new “Premium Plus” recliner seats that split the difference between business-class and typical coach seating. Also onboard are 54 extra-legroom Premium Economy seats and 199 in standard coach.

Staying There

U.S. News & World Report identified the top business hotels of 2018 in large American cities by considering amenities, reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class ratings.

What follows is a rundown of each of our target California cities, with the nightly rates being what was quoted on Dec. 10, 2018 (meaning current prices may vary).

LOS ANGELES

-The Peninsula Beverly Hills

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Excellent

Nightly rate: $605

Amenities: Business center with a few computers, color printers, executive desks and a fax machine. Six meeting spaces accommodate events of up to 250 people.

-Montage Beverly Hills

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Excellent

Nightly rate: $545

Amenities: 24-hour business center. On-site meeting planners. Variety of rooms, including ballrooms, are configurable to all types and sizes of events.

-The London West Hollywood

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Great

Nightly rate: $339

Amenities: Meeting and event coordinators. Media equipment to facilitate audiovisual presentations. 24-hour business center. Access to printers, personal computers and an ATM.

SAN DIEGO

-Hotel del Coronado (Coronado Island)

Stars: 4

Critic rating: Excellent

Nightly rate: $268

Amenities: 47 indoor event venues ranging in size from 300 to 12,500 square feet. Event planners. Full-service FedEx Center with computer workstations with Internet access, fax and copy service, shipping and postal services and more.

-La Valencia Hotel and Spa (La Jolla)

Stars: 4

Critic rating: Great

Nightly rate: $299

Amenities: Four meeting rooms, including a ballroom with a terrace, a boardroom and The Galeria, which can hold up to 40 participants. The Med and Patio Sol can also be booked for many types of meetings.

-Omni San Diego Hotel (Downtown)

Stars: 4

Critic rating: Great

Nightly rate: $144

Amenities: Space for up to 1,200 people. 27,000 square feet of meeting space. Grand Ballroom measures 9,266 square feet.

SAN FRANCISCO

-The Ritz-Carlton

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Excellent

Nightly rate: $359

Amenities: 18 event rooms. Up to 500 attendees can enjoy the ballroom, which can also be divided into four smaller spaces. On-staff event planners.

-The St. Regis

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Great

Nightly rate: $356

Amenities: 22,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. Board meetings or business receptions for up to 600 attendees can be handled.

-Fairmont

Stars: 5

Critic rating: Great

Nightly rate: $195

Amenities: 72,000 square feet and dozens of meeting rooms. Event of any kind for up to 2,300 people can be handled. Sustainable meeting options.

SILICON VALLEY

No U.S. News & World Report data was available for the region, so we turned to Oyster.com (“The Hotel Tell-All”), which boasts of knowing “what business travelers look for in hotels.” Instead of relying on guests and professionals, Oyster reviews properties around the world in person.

-Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto

Stars: 5

Nightly rate: $469

Amenities: 24-hour business center with secretarial services, translation and interpretation services and well-equipped meeting rooms.

-Rosewood San Hill (Menlo Park)

Stars: 5

Critic rating: NA

Nightly rate: $485

Amenities: Rooms have large work desks with several power outlets and comfortable seating. Nearly 17,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space with high-tech amenities and private dining rooms.

-Aloft Silicon Valley (Newark)

Stars: 4

Critic rating: NA

Nightly rate: $134

Amenities: Comfortable work desks. Quiet area, which is a 20-minute drive away from Palo Alto, the W hotel boasts “a mellow vibe perfect for unwinding after a day of work.”

 

SOURCING THE BEST CARRIER/AIRPORT CONNECTIONS

Sourcing the best airport connection can be tough when big-name companies such as Amazon Air continue to announce expansions to create and delegate more space for operations. As a prime example, Amazon Air is aggressively taking over regions in the Midwest and South through increased fulfillment centers and expanding air cargo capabilities.

Back in December, Amazon Air confirmed the expansion investment of the Chicago Rockford Airport region by 120,000 square feet to make room for an additional eight-plus planes. The quickly growing logistics network Amazon prides itself in is provided with all the tools needed to continue leveraging growth momentum. Additionally, the company is not afraid to call out the need for the potential threat the expansion poses to competitors UPS and FedEx by adding that such competitive disruption is necessary.

Additionally, Amazon announced plans to expand its network in the Lone Star State at the Lonestar Dallas Air Hub, projecting “to handle multiple flights daily” that “will be tailored specifically to Amazon Air’s larger-scale regional needs.” A Morgan Stanley report estimates that “Amazon’s volumes moving onto Amazon Air are costing UPS/FDX Air roughly 200-300 bps of volume growth.”

Consider the substantial air-cargo growth reported for Budapest Airport. Most recently, the Central European hub confirmed record rates of double-digit growth for three years straight. It seems every time Budapest Airport makes the news, it’s to report on higher growth rates from before.

“These latest figures are exciting as they represent three years of uninterrupted double-digit growth at the airport,” says René Droese, Budapest Airport’s director of Property and Cargo. “We are focusing all our efforts to make good use of the ideal conditions in Budapest and turn Liszt Ferenc International Airport into a major cargo logistics hub for the Central-Eastern European region. For this, we are establishing appropriate technical, security and traffic conditions; the relevant projects entered the phase of implementation last year, and we can successfully complete them this year. As a first step we handed over a 16,000 m2 new cargo warehouse and office capacity for our integrator partners in 2017; their traffic has been constantly developing for years.”

To continue these significant growth rates for 2019, the airport is preparing a new cargo apron to house and simultaneously operate two Boeing B-747-8F freighters.

“The combined value of this development effort in 2019 reaches EUR46 million and is financed by Budapest Airport itself,” Droese notes. “Our goal is to deliver, by the end of this year, an ideal cargo infrastructure for all segments of our well-balanced customer portfolio, for full freighters, belly cargo, integrators and roader feeder trucking, too.”

The common denominator is proactive efforts to leverage and increase the momentum before it’s too late. Key considerations include regional advantages, current and potential partnerships, operational efficiencies and even integrating technology solutions that streamline communications and transports.

“Rising demand is illustrated by the fact that last year a number of widebody and jumbo freighters were being loaded at the airport each day, including Boeing B-747s operated by Cargolux, AirBridgeCargo and Silk Way West, and Airbus A300s, A310s, A330s used by Turkish Cargo and Qatar Airways Cargo,” Droese says.

Many might recall the June 2018 Air Cargo Advance Screening Program mandating foreign shipments to be subject to providing a laundry list of pre-arrival cargo data when the U.S. is the final destination, per measures from the Department of Homeland Security. Strict screenings such as these have been implemented globally, as recently reported for Dubai Customs, which prides itself on significant progress in performance due to the advanced infrastructure as well as supportive government policies assisting in facilitating global trade efforts. The success is also paired with a proactive approach involving careful evaluation and research of trade trends.

Director of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, explains: “We have an integrated strategy in place to develop the external trade performance further following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, and along with the guidelines of Dubai Plan 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071. We are watching closely the changes taking place in the international trade and we will turn challenges into opportunities by entering new markets and expanding our existing ones.”

More recently, however, Dubai Customs reported several cases where significant smuggling attempts were stopped because of the diligence and seamless communication strategies in place. One report identified 922 successfully prevented smuggling attempts, of which 38.5 percent were drug contrabands. Even more interesting is the time-frame the attempts occurred: between January and September of 2018.

“Thanks to our inspectors’ vigilance, we are closely in full control of all checkpoints,” explains Ibrahim Al Kamali, Dubai Customs’ director of Passenger Operations. “Our inspection officers receive the best training on body language and different types of drugs, and how to distinguish fake brands from genuine ones.”

“There are challenges facing customs authorities in countries that have strategic locations,” Musabih points out. “Dubai is not an exception. It’s strategically located between East and West, and it has spent billions of dirhams to develop its infrastructure, ports and airports.

“The Emirate has also provided an unprecedented host of services and products, including the iDeclare application which significantly reduces passengers’ time needed to declare different belongings. These advanced services will facilitate passengers’ entry into the country.”

From security and trust to reliability and competition, sourcing the best carrier and airport connection needs to align with customer needs, the types of products being transported, and compliance efforts for the region. Just because an airline is associated with a big brand does not guarantee a seamless transport of goods.

Conduct necessary research and review updated reports to learn and identify an airline’s strengths and areas of improvement. No two carriers are the same, and the options available depend on the amount of knowledge you have going in and what fits your long-term and short-term needs. Consider the partnerships involved with the airline of your choice and how these partnerships create competitive advantage. If you can’t identify what makes a carrier or airline significant, it might be time to reconsider market options.

ANTONOV Airlines Steps Up to Support Saipan

Following the devastation left behind from super typhoon Yutu in the Saipan region, Ukrainian-based ANTONOV Airlines teamed up with Air Partner Plc to provide reconstruction support by transporting supplies, relief goods, and humanitarian aid through 23 flights carried out in less than a month.

“Both of these projects in the Western Pacific proved significantly challenging given the sheer volume of goods, totaling 1,500 tonnes, and very short time frame in which to deliver, coupled with the fact that both destinations were in remote locations,” said Ruslan Bykovets, Head of Commercial Department, ANTONOV Airlines.

“We mobilized our AN-225 for the Guam operation and our AN-124-100 for the Saipan mission, working very closely with all parties involved to ensure that the cargo was delivered successfully and that the much-needed relief reached the affected populations.

Thanks to the open-skies agreement between Ukraine and the US, preparations for support and aid were in the works before the typhoon hit land.

“These two projects demonstrated the fast reactions and flexibility of the company and the reliability of our aircraft in emergency situations, to handle the speedy transport of large quantities of cargo to difficult-to-reach locations.”

Source: Meantime Communications

Hactl Hosts 12th Annual International Forklift and Pallet Building Competition

This year’s 12th annual Hactl-hosted International Forklift and Pallet Building Competition comprised of nine teams who traveled internationally to compete at Hactl’s SuperTerminal 1 facility in Hong Kong.

All nine teams were judged based on ability and compliance with ICAO and IATA international standards relating to dangerous goods, heavy cargo and overall build integrity. The timed tasks included maneuvering a loaded forklift truck through a simulated warehouse course and delivering cargo to team members who then had to load as many items as possible.

“Mixing machinery and people in a time-constrained environment like air cargo handling always introduces risk,” said Hactl Chief Executive Wilson Kwong. “Hactl’s annual competition puts a light-hearted, friendly and competitive face on a serious message: that safety in the air cargo workplace is paramount. Honing forklift driving skills is a key aspect of this, and was clearly evidenced by the excellent performance of the competitors this year.”

The nine teams that participated were: Air Canada Cargo, Air France Cargo, IAG Cargo, Air China Cargo, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, KLM, Nippon Cargo Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Air China Cargo took first place with  Air France Cargo taking second place and Qatar Airways finishing in third.

“In line with Hactl’s long-standing policy of industry leadership and best practice, we are committed to protecting our own workers, and hope that our competition will once again help to focus industry attention on this vitally important topic,” concluded Kwong.

Source: Hactl 

Global Market Advisors Open New Office in Thailand

Las Vegas, NV – Global Market Advisors LLC, the international casino gaming, hospitality and travel industry consultancy, has opened an Asia regional office in the central business district of Bangkok, Thailand.

The new office will support the firm’s clients located in the region in an advisory capacity in areas such as financial feasibility,  marketing strategies, and government relations for companies in the casino gaming, hospitality, airlines, and financial industries.

Global Market Advisors, LLC and its casino gaming industry consulting division, Gaming Market Advisors, has a significant history in advising clients in South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, and eastern Russia.

The firm also has a strong presence in the US servicing a myriad of clients in the casino gaming and hospitality industries from offices in Denver, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

08/15/2014