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Business Travelers Vote for Top Innovations That Have Made Life on the Road Easier
Alexandria, VA (July 27, 2010) – The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and The Wall Street Journal have announced winners of the first-ever Business Traveler Innovation Awards. Corporate travelers nominated services, products and ideas that help to make business trips easier and more productive. Submissions were categorized, and the public voted for their favorites. The winner of the Travelers’ Choice Award, presented to the innovation that received the highest number of votes, and winners in each of the eight categories, will be honored at the 2010 NBTA International Convention & Exposition on August 9 in Houston.
Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M., CMM, NBTA President & CEO, said, “In today’s new corporate culture of cost containment, business travelers welcome innovations that help to make their trips more efficient and enjoyable. While necessary to conduct successful business, life on the road can be challenging, and travelers have let us and others know that the products and services we’re honoring with the first Business Traveler Innovation Awards help them to maximize benefits gained from corporate travel.”
Travelers’ Choice Award
The 2010 NBTA Business Traveler Innovation Traveler’s Choice Award will be presented to Continental Airlines for the Mobile Boarding Pass. Continental Airlines introduced paperless boarding passes in December 2007, becoming the first carrier in the United States to offer this innovative product. Paperless boarding passes enable customers to display a 2D bar code along with passenger and flight information on their mobile phone, eliminating the need for a paper boarding pass.
Category 1: Sustainable Practice
Criteria: Outstanding and original environmental efforts in the travel industry.
Winner: Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Innovation: Energy Efficient Thin Client Terminals
Enterprise’ new rental transaction system streamlines the company’s rental processes and offers significant environmental benefits in the process. The new system – ECARSTM 2.0 – connects the reservations, billing and reporting operations of more than 7,000 Enterprise rental offices around the world. Use of the technology will enable Enterprise to cut its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million pounds – a reduction of nearly 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per branch office per year.
Category 2: Travel Personalization
Criteria: Innovation and excellence in customizing the business travel experience for the individual.
Winner: Continental Airlines
Innovation: Mobile Boarding Pass
Category 3: Traveler Comfort and Well-Being
Criteria: Products/services that focus on travelers’ ease and well being.
Winner: Westin Hotels and Resorts
Innovation: The Heavenly Bed.
Westin jump-started the hotel-retail phenomenon in 2000 following tremendous guest feedback to the launch of its plush Heavenly Bed. To date, nearly 40,000 Heavenly Beds, 100,000 pillows, more than 32,000 sheets, and more than 10,000 signature Heavenly spa amenities have been sold. In late 2009, Westin furthered its commitment to shut-eye when it launched a sleep study and sleep hotline with the National Sleep Foundation to help travelers troubleshoot common sleep problems while on the road.
Category 4: Meetings & Conventions
Criteria: Solutions that optimize event success for corporate planners and/or attendees.
Innovation: The Hyatt Meeting Promise
The Hyatt Meeting Promise is a written guarantee of flawless event execution to ensure businesses get the most out of their corporate meeting experiences. The policy states that if the meeting planner’s expectations in terms of the service and/or quality of a meeting at a hotel are not met, Hyatt will immediately take steps to resolve the problem to the satisfaction of the meeting planner, and/or refund a portion of the master account with a credit for future use.
Category 5: Outstanding Apps
Criteria: Applications that help business travelers organize and/or make best use of their time on the road.
Innovation: Travel Organizer
TripIt invented the Itinerator to help make it easier for busy travelers to organize and share their trip info. Users can forward confirmation emails from over 1,000 different booking sites to automatically get a master itinerary with all travel plans, plus maps, directions, weather and more. TripIt has free mobile apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, as well as a mobile website that’s compatible with all mobile devices.
Category 6: Travel Convenience & Efficiency
Criteria: Services that expedite the travel process.
Winner: National Car Rental
Innovation: Emerald Club
Membership in The Emerald Club provides benefits and services designed to get travelers on their way faster than before. Members can earn their choice of free rental days or hotel or airline points/ miles with National’s frequent travel partners.
Category 7: Business Collaboration
Criteria: Platforms that keep business travelers connected to people and projects around the world.
Winner: Cisco Systems
Innovation: Show and Share
Cisco Show and Share is a social video system that helps organizations create and manage highly secure video communities to share ideas and expertise, optimize global video collaboration, and personalize the connection between customers and employees with user-generated content.
Category 8: Traveler Productivity
Criteria: Solutions that keep mobile executives productive.
Winner: Apple, Inc.
iPad is the first tablet computer, a portable device intended to fill the gap between the smartphone and a traditional computer. It supports HD video and offers 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR support, as well as an accelerometer, compass, speaker, microphone and Apple standard 30-pin connector. At 0.5” thick and weighing 1.5lbs, it may just be heralding the start of a new era in portable computing.
Judges’ Selection Award – To Be Determined
Ten of the top submissions will be featured at the Business Traveler Innovation Pavilion at the NBTA Convention, where attendees can demonstrate and learn about products and services recommended by their colleagues. A panel of travel celebrity judges will evaluate the featured innovations to determine the 2010 Business Travels Innovation Judges’ Selection Award winner, which will be honored with the nine other winners on August 9.