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All the Best

Published: 03/12/2013 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2013 » December 2013-January 2014 » Special Reports » Home » Features »

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This year Business Traveler celebrates the 25th anniversary of the magazine’s Best in Business Travel Awards. Since 1988, when we first asked readers to voice their choice for who does travel better than anybody else, the industry has seen enormous change. However, to say things are changing is merely to state the obvious – it’s the blinding speed of change that really grabs the headlines.

Even if the current rate of advancement levels off, think of the developments we could see in the products, services, and particularly the technology that will drive the travel experience in the coming 25 years. 

Your check-in experience at the airport or in your favorite hotel will doubtless evolve; imagine biometrics that track your every move, so you are identified the minute you walk in the lobby. Your life-like holographic host can greet you by name before passing your luggage to the equally life-like robotic bellman. Or maybe you won’t carry any luggage at all – you’ll just create your wardrobe on the fly from your portable next generation 3D printer.

If all this sounds a bit like something out of The Jetsons, remember the old style Star Trekcommunicators? (Flip phones have already come and gone.) How about predicting an individual’s future behavior, a la Minority Report?(Turns out our ‘digital exhaust’ is leaving a trail of bread crumbs in the Big Data Forest for anybody to follow.) And who could forget Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist TV? (Well, most of us – but it looks a lot like some of today’s wearable technology.)

The point is, whatever direction the travel industry and its technology take us, you, gentle reader, will be at the vanguard. Each year as you have voiced your preferences for the top products and services from the competitive world of travel, your choices have always pointed to the leaders in the industry – those who have most successfully adapted to the constantly morphing demands of their most exacting customers, the readers ofBusiness Traveler.

What that means is that competition in the travel industry is alive and well – nobody is resting on any laurels. Ultimately that drives service levels higher as new ideas and innovations vie for your attention and your loyalty. And that means all of us in the business of business travel are winners in the end. 

Winners Among Winners

Once again, you have had the opportunity to make your picks from among the top products and services – the best from different regions of the world, different types of travel providers, different classes of service. All based on your own experience.

This year we celebrate the Best in Business Travel with a gala evening hosted by the luxurious Loews Hollywood Hotel in the heart of Hollywood, CA. The recently renovated hotel has a sparkling new look and contemporary design from the lobby to each of its 632 guestrooms and suites. The sumptuous celebration dinner and awards presentation on Jan. 13, 2014, honors the best in the industry and provides a unique opportunity for a social gathering in grand Hollywood style.

The 2013 Best in Business Travel Awards recognize 46 different travel service companies in 64 different categories. Both the number of categories and the number of awards have risen over the years. That’s because travel has grown and diversified, adopting ever-changing technology and an ever-expanding global presence. 

But despite all the changes, the best will always rise to the top. And it’s those select companies, as determined by the votes of our readers, who have received these coveted awards over the years.

A quarter century is a good time to take the long view. When we do, we discover a surprising number of repeat winners with staying power in their respective categories. This year’s wins mark the fifth year running for six travel providers; five winners have swept their categories six years in a row; one has accomplished the feat seven consecutive years, another nine years. And one industry stalwart has actually swept its category an amazing 12 years straight.

If you’ve lost count, that’s 14 winners who have taken home the award in a given category five or more years in a row. In contrast, this year’s tally also includes 10 awards that are going to newcomers in their respective categories.  

And the Winners Are… 

This year the awards categories are grouped together according to industry sectors, geographical regions or areas of focus. The nine groups are: Best Airlines by Region, Best Air Travel Experience, Best Global Hotel Experience, Best Hotels by Region, Best Marketing and Customer Connection, Best Loyalty Programs, Best Connections on the Ground, Best Traveler Tools and Productivity Boosters, and the Best in Global Travel. 

Best in Global Travel

When Business Traveler readers take to the road, they’re looking for added value in their travel, looking at every aspect of their trip. This group of award winners represents the top travel service providers in the world in their respective fields. On the groundside of the travel equation – global hotel chains, airport lounges and rental car companies – and in the sky – airlines, aircraft manufacturers and airline alliances – our readers have voted these industry leaders the best in the world at what they do. 

The criteria were based on such factors as levels of service, route structures, location, convenience and comfort. Voters honored these award recipients in a total of 15 categories for delivering best-in-class service at all stages of the travel value chain. 

BEST IN GLOBAL TRAVEL

Best Overall Airline Singapore Airlines

Best Overall Airline In the World Singapore Airlines

Best Airline In The World for International Travel Qatar Airways

Best Airline Alliance Star Alliance

Best First Class Service In the World Singapore Airlines

Best Business Class Service In the World Qatar Airways

Best Premium Economy Class Service In the World Virgin Atlantic

Best Economy Class Service In the World Singapore Airlines

Best Airline Cuisine in Business Class Turkish Airlines

Best Overall Inflight Experience in the World Singapore Airlines

Best Airport Clubs/Lounges Delta Sky Clubs

Best Business Hotel Chain in the World Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Best Business Hotel in the World Peninsula Hong Kong

Best Aircraft Type Boeing 777

Best Business Class Configuration Korean A380 Prestige Class

Best Overall Inflight Entertainment in the World Etihad Airways

Best Airlines by Region

These airlines are dedicated to offering best value and best service in their particular geographic area. These awards represent seven major global regions: North America, South America/Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Also included are the top airline in North America for international travel, and our readers’ pick for favorite North American low-cost carrier. 

BEST AIRLINES BY REGION Best North American Airline for International Travel

Air Canada Best Airline for North American Travel

United Best Low-Cost Airline in North America

Virgin America Best Airline in South/Latin America

Avianca Best Airline in Western Europe

British Airways Best Airline in Africa

South African Airways Best Airline in Eastern Europe

Turkish Airlines Best Airline in the Middle East

Emirates Best Airline in Asia

Korean Air

Best Air Travel Experience

In this group, readers consider the quality of the overall air travel experience from the initial contact with airline personnel to arrival at the destination. It includes groundside support, in-flight service, cuisine, amenities, and comfort factors such as seating and space. The group includes the best in business class broken out by regions or routes, plus North American first class travel. 

BEST AIR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

Best Overall Airline Singapore Airlines

Best North American Airline for First Class Service Delta Air Lines

Best North American Airline for Business Class Service Delta Air Lines 

Best North American Airline for Inflight Experience Air Canada

Best Trans-Atlantic Business Class Lufthansa

Best Trans-Pacific Business Class Singapore Airlines

Best Business Class to Latin America/South America LAN Airlines

Best Business Class to the Middle East Qatar Airways

Best Business Class to Africa South African Airways

Best Business Class to Asia Singapore Airlines

Best Business Class to Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific Air New Zealand

Best Global Hotel Experience

The right hotel can make a business trip, and that in turn makes hospitality among the most competitive segments of the travel industry. Our hotel categories honor the diversity of hospitality offerings, recognizing service, comfort and attention to detail that business travelers have come to count on from city to city and around the world. 

This group of awards encompasses both hotel chains and individual properties which cater specially to the business traveler. They include those properties in specific locations, like airports hotels, those representing different price-points, such as budget or luxury, or those occupying a unique market segment, for example extended stay or boutique properties. And our readers have also selected the world’s best new hotel for the business traveler.

BEST GLOBAL HOTEL EXPERIENCE

Hotel Chain with Best Overall Customer Service Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Best New Business Hotel in the World Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

Best Airport Hotel in the World Regal Hong Kong Airport Hotel

Best Budget Hotel Chain Holiday Inn

Best Extended Stay Hotel Chain Hilton Homewood Suites

Best Luxury Hotel Chain Ritz-Carlton

Best Boutique Hotel Chain Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Best Hotels by Region

Hoteliers in five regions – North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, plus the best individual property for business travelers in North America – are honored in this group. These hotel chains consistently meet the needs of business travelers across particular geographic regions.  

BEST HOTEL BY REGION

Best Overall Airline Singapore Airlines

Best Business Hotel Chain in North America Marriott

Best Business Hotel Chain in South/Latin America Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Best Business Hotel Chain in Europe Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Best Business Hotel Chain in the Middle East Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts

Best Business Hotel Chain in Asia Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Best Business Hotel in North America Four Seasons New York

Best Marketing & Customer Connection

Business travelers understand the importance of communicating and connecting with customers as part of delivering the value proposition. That’s why the best travel providers use all their communications channels – advertising, Web presence and personal interaction, on the phone and on the ground – as effective tools to establish and grow the customer relationship.

BEST MARKETING & CUSTOMER CONNECTION

Best Airline Advertising Campaign American Airlines

Best Airline Web Site JetBlue

Best Hotel Web Site Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Best Overall Customer Service – Airline – Ground/Call Center Asiana Airlines

Best Loyalty Programs

Award winners in this category know how to use their loyalty programs to attract and maintain faithful followers. Our readers expect rewards programs to be accessible, easy to use and above all, really rewarding. Year after year, these winners have consistently offered the most desirable premiums and the greatest flexibility.

BEST LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Best Frequent Flyer Program United Mileage Plus

Best Hotel Loyalty Program Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Credit Card Rewards Program American Express Membership Rewards

Best Connections on the Ground

It sounds so intuitive: The purpose of business travel is to get where you need to go so you can get done the business you need to get done. But our readers know not all destinations are created equal. Whether it’s a quick connection in a hub city or a long layover, business travelers appreciate these award-winning airports because they’re easy to navigate from curbside to planeside, and the amenities – from WiFi connectivity to duty-free shopping – can add value to every trip.

After you land, no matter if you’re headed somewhere in North America or on the global stage, the next step in getting where you need to be frequently starts at rental car counter. It’s a critical part of life on the road, and these award winners know how to make the experience a seamless one. 

And when the final destination is selected for that international conference or North American event, what business travelers are looking for are those exceptional venues which can create the most memorable and remarkable experiences while at the same time offering the best value.  

BEST CONNECTIONS ON THE GROUND

Best Airport in North America Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Best Airport in the World Changi Airport

Airport with Best Duty Free Shopping Incheon International Airport

Best Car Rental Company in North America  National

Best Car Rental Company in the World Hertz

Best North America Business Meetings Destination Chicago, USA

Best International Business Meetings Destination Seoul, Korea

Best Traveler Tools & Productivity Boosters

Staying productive on the road is a matter of picking the right tools that enable you to stay connected and ready to take the initiative. The world class award-winning products in this category are designed to keep you informed, in tune, and in style.  

BEST TRAVELER TOOLS & PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTERS

Best Global Phone/ Data Provider AT&T

Best Mobile Travel App FlightStats

Best Luggage Brand Tumi


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