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  1. Great Britain’s largest group of independent hotels, Best Western, has today launched their first ever payment card for business travellers. The card is free to all UK businesses and is set to simplify business travel across the country.

    The Best Western Business Account is also the first in the country to combine hotel accommodation with discounted train travel (up to 51%) making it even easier for businesses to book and pay without the need for time consuming expense claims, receipts and petty cash.

    From today, account holders can use the payment card for hotels stays, room service, restaurant spend, bar bills, newspapers, phone calls, leisure activities such as golf and spa treatments, as well as other hotel expenses at any of the groups 278 British hotels – all with no fees. What’s more, a full breakdown of all travel and hotel spend is available through an online centralised billing and reporting facility with regular email updates sent to the account holder.

    Further benefits include up to six weeks interest free credit, VAT reporting and Best Western Rewards points for employees.

    Keith Pope, Managing Director of Best Western said, “Business travel is a key part of the industry and a real focus for Best Western in 2012. The Best Western Business Account will ease booking and paying for our business guests and eliminate the need for claiming expenses on hotel and train travel.

    “By launching the Best Western Business Account we are making our guests lives easier and more enjoyable, with more time to spend enjoying life rather than worrying about expense payments.”

    Working with one of the group’s partners, Atos, the launch of the Best Western Business Account will strengthen the group’s business customer base.

    Best Western have 278 hotels across Great Britain in key city locations and all with free internet access and the modern facilities business guests require.

    BRITISH workers lose out on more than a third of their monthly expenses from their employers, new national research* has revealed, due to lost receipts and failure to remember to claim.

    The blunder costs each UK employee an average of £409.32 every year, according to the nationwide study by Best Western hotels.

    Plus, with the average person losing 23 days* of their lives filling in expense forms it’s not surprising that 54% claim that the process is too complicated with too many forms to fill in and too many managers needed to approve the expenditure.

    The study of 3,000 British workers has been undertaken as part of Best Western’s research for their Business Account Card, which is designed to ease the expenses process, allowing customers to bill back all in hotel expenses and train travel directly.

    The research further highlighted that British workers spend an average of £94.74 each per month for out-of-pocket work-related expenses in 2012 but only claim £60.63 of that back from their employer, leaving a deficit of £34.11 per month - £409.32 per year.

    Over half of workers (51%) say they don’t always claim back everything that they are entitled to from employers, admitting that they either forget to ask for a receipt or lose their receipts before getting the opportunity to claim them back.

    The most common items that employees buy on work-related business but fail to claim back are mostly related to hotel stays, according to the research. Coffee, newspapers, hotel bills and room service all rate highly. Unclaimed work-costs also include petrol, train tickets and cab fares.

    Keith Pope, Managing Director of Best Western said: “Claiming work-related expenses back from your employer can be a minefield and really time consuming, unless you are extremely organised.

    “Clearly, unclaimed expenses are hitting British workers hard in their pockets with lost and forgotten receipts and time consuming claims being the main problem. It is for this reason that we have introduced the Best Western Business Account Card.

    “It simplifies and takes all the hard work out of keeping tabs on expenditure for employees who use Best Western hotels across the UK. They can use their card for everything in hotels and train travel and with an itemised bill they will not miss anything when it comes to work-related expenses.”

    Best Western have 278 hotels across Great Britain in key city locations and all with free internet access and the modern facilities business guests require.

    For more information about Best Western and the Business Account, please visit Best Western Business Account | Best Western Hotels GB or call 08453300415.

    *23 days is based on 1 hour per month of an adults working life. Research based on a poll of 3,000 British employees carried out in January 2012 by OnePoll.

    For more information contact Mikhaila Brentnall, PR Manager at Best Western Mikhaila.brentnall@bestwestern.co.uk or 01904 695426.
  2. A client of ours just published a blog post giving top tips for young entrepreneurs according to 13 business leaders. I thought I'd share a few of the ideas with you below – you can find the full 13 in the Top Tips for Young Entrepreneurs blog post on the Best Western blog.

    From Coco Chanel to Mark Zuckerberg, the plight of the budding young entrepreneur has been very much in the spotlight of late. And this is not a dream that we resign to the silver screen and the back of our minds. The sheer number of episodes of Dragon’s Den gives an inkling of the amount of Brits who are attempting to set out on that road to riches that is setting up your own business.

    The entrepreneurial spirit is something that we celebrate here at Best Western, as, with each of our hotels being individually owned and managed, entrepreneurs and small business owners are at the heart of our business model. So, in a bid to hail a nation of young inventors, we’ve asked 13 successful business people for their top tip for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

    Rajeeb Dey, CEO/Founder of Enternships.com
    “Network, network, network. Networking isn’t just about accumulating masses of business cards and LinkedIn contacts but about adding value to those around you. Whenever I meet someone I think about who I can introduce them to which could lead to mutual benefit. This not only helps the two people but also helps keep your network active.”

    Steven Bradley of vanseodesign.com
    “The best advice I would give new entrepreneurs is to not give up, to be persistent. Everyone experiences downtimes and the people who succeed are often the ones who don’t give up. A big part of success is simply sticking with something long enough.”

    Guido J. van den Elshout of happyhotelier.com
    “Whatever you do and hope to achieve, do not forget the bottom-line, ever!
    Start your day asking yourself “What can I do today to better the bottom-line” and end every day with asking yourself: “What did I do today to better the bottom-line and what shall I do tomorrow to better the bottom-line”

    Chris Kaday of chriskaday.co.uk
    “Building a successful business is all about doing not thinking. In my experience most business owners, and particularly aspiring entrepreneurs, spend far too much time bogged down in pondering, theorising and intellectualising instead of just getting on with it. Business is all about momentum and there is no angst in action, so make a decision, implement and move on.”

    Nisa Chitakasem and Simon North, founders of positionignition.com
    “Research, research, research. It’s one thing to think that you have a great idea but it’s another to really know it. Make sure that what you have is a different, novel idea. Do your research and check if what you want to sell is actually going to be right for your market. Understand what people want, what else is going on in your area and try to know your market inside out before getting started.”
    • Free internet could save business hotel guests over £1.4 billion a year
    • Average British hotel internet cost is now £13.50
    • Join the campaign for free internet:

    BRITAIN’S biggest independent group of hotels has launched a national campaign encouraging free Internet for everyone, after revealing it could save British businesses a massive £1.4billion a year in charges.

    Best Western offers free Internet to all guests staying at any of over 270 hotels across Great Britain – saving them more than £28million annually and now wants others to do exactly the same to help the British economy.

    After studying the latest figures released by acclaimed industry market research organisation BDRC, Best Western believes that if all major hotel groups offered free Internet it could save businesses an incredible £1,431,000,000 in the UK every year.

    The astonishing figure is based on BDRC statistics which show there were 106 million room nights for business travellers in the UK during 2010, with an average hotel Internet charge of £13.50 per visit.

    The average frequent business customer stays away at UK hotels 11 times per year. According to the same BDRC statistics, meaning an average saving to each business person of £197.89 per year.

    Now Best Western have launched an online campaign to add further weight to their cause (www.bestwestern.co.uk/freeInternet) where they are inviting others to sign up in support of free Internet for everyone.

    Tim Wade, Head of Marketing at Best Western, said: “At Best Western we already offer free Internet as standard for all our guests. Based on the average cost of £13.50 for per-visit use of hotel Internet during hotels stays, we calculate we are saving each guest almost £200 and overall our guests are saving a substantial £28 million every year.

    “Imagine if this was standard across the entire UK hotel industry. It would add up to a huge saving for businesses that routinely have to pay anything up to £18 every time one of their executives stays at hotel and needs to access the Internet for work.

    “Not only would free Internet encourage more hotel overnight stays thus boosting the hotel industry in the UK, but it will also save businesses a phenomenal £1.4 billion every year.

    “We are hugely committed to this. We are hoping our lead, and the success we have seen by introducing free Internet across our entire portfolio of hotels, can be replicated in hotel groups up and down the nation. It would be a massive boost for the hospitality industry and for UK business in general.”

    What’s more with over 4,200 Best Western hotels worldwide all offering free Internet keeping in touch will no longer have a sting in the tail.

    Tim Sander, Research Director at BDRC Continental and editing author of the annual British Hotel Guest Survey added; “'The importance of the Internet offering in hotels has surged in recent years. For business travellers it has developed into a hygiene factor with guests stating that the provision of the Internet is important when choosing a hotel.

    'But how much is the consumer prepared to pay for Internet? £5 seems to be a threshold in the business market at the moment but even at this price point the odds of buying or not are fairly balanced which implies that they would prefer to get it for free. Hotels still try to squeeze revenue for the Internet out of guests but this could have some very damaging consequences, as for around half of all business travellers free Internet is more important than staying with their 1st choice brand, assuming location and cost factors are satisfied. It appears to be an opinion changing product attribute and clearly gives a competitive edge. That some brands have actually retracted their free Internet recently and started charging for it seems crazy.'

    Best Western is Britain’s largest group of independently owned hotels. Each of its 270 hotels are packed with personality from castles to manor houses ranging from the top of Scotland to the bottom of Cornwall.

    For more information and to sign the petition please visit www.bestwestern.co.uk/freeInternet and find us on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/BestWesternGB and @bestwesternGB