12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
New research reveals that business travel is still on the increase, a good indicator for both the business travel sector and the wider economy.
What”s more, the annual Company Barclaycard Travel in Business Survey also reveals that the majority of this new travel is the result of business expansion. Figures from the survey, which questioned over 2,500 business travellers, show that nearly half - 47% - travelled more in 2003 than in 2002, compared to only 24% that are travelling less and just 28% who are travelling the same amount. The continued rise comes against a backdrop of reduced confidence in travel due to the rise of the global terrorist threat and the outbreak of SARS in the Far East. Overall, the figures indicate that business travellers are on the move more thanks to confirmed new business rather than trying to secure it, an indication of greater stability. Backing this up is the reduction in travel accounted for by job moves. Furthermore, those who are travelling less are more likely to do so because of technology that is reducing the need to travel (26%) rather than the need to cut costs (13%).
This survey is released just prior to the start of London”s 10th annual Business Travel Show held again at (the less than accessible) Olympia. The first was staged at Wembley in 1995.
”The business travel industry has undergone a near-complete transformation over the past decade,” says Business Travel Show Group Event Director Paul Robin. ”Some of the influencing factors, such as low cost airlines, Internet and mobile technologies have been positive. Others like the conflicts in the Balkans and Iraq, and the rise of international terrorism have been anything but.
”However, they have all resulted in sweeping changes, and have accentuated the need for innovation and education ” the very elements that make up the Business Travel Show,” adds Robin.
Over 200 travel industry suppliers will be showcasing their products and services at the show this year, including some 40 airlines and over 60 hotel groups. First time exhibitors among the line-up include new Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad Airways, Movernpick Hotels and Russell Hotel Reservations. Virgin Atlantic is returning after a two year break, and Budget Rentacar is back after missing the show in 2003.
Regional scheduled airline duo is also appearing at the London show for the first time and will be announcing details of its website”s new car hire and hotel booking facility, plus chauffeur pick-up offer.
Around 7,000 business travel bookers and buyers are expected to pass through the doors to Olympia this week from corporate travel managers and purchasing staff to PA”s and office managers. The show organisers are determined to help visitors maximise their time at the show and have therefore unveiled a number of new initiatives.
First off is an invaluable new booklet ”The Travel Arranger”s Guide To An Easier Life” which will be available free to all visitors attending the show. The guide is packed with impartial advice and handy tips for those who are less familiar with the complexities of business travel.
”As the position of travel manager in a company increasingly seems to be disappearing, more and more PAs and administrators are being called upon to initiate travel plans,” says Paul Robin. ”Our aim is to give those who are new to booking travel, a step-by-step guide to the essential basics of the business. Around 86% of business travellers rely on a travel arranger to book their travel for them, so it”s important those who make the arrangements get them right.”
Also making its debut this year is a Visitor Advice Centre located close to the entrance, which will provide impartial advice on booking and arranging business travel. Run in conjunction with the Institute of Travel Management, the facility will help visitors identify which exhibitor products and services are most appropriate for their needs. Visitors can drop in at any time and talk face to face with a representative from the ITM.
A full programme of seminars, training sessions and master classes ” tailored to meet the needs of the experienced buyer as well as the industry novice ” will run alongside the exhibition. For those looking to brush up on their travel booking skills, topics include best-practice bookings, getting to grips with air ticket and fare structures, and making the most of a limited travel budget.
With the global travel market on the upturn, Paul Robin is convinced that this year”s show could be the last chance to strike good value deals.
”Major suppliers and travel organisations are saying that market recovery is underway, so it is only a matter of time before prices start to rise,” says Robin. ”The Business Travel Show provides corporate travel buyers with the opportunity to forge commercial relationships now before suppliers start to capitalise on rediscovered travel confidence.”
Other new initiatives include a comprehensive directory of exhibitors on the Business Travel Show website http://www.businesstravelshow.com enabling visitors to plan which stands they want to call at in advance. Plus they can access a web-based appointment service designed to help buyers and arrangers set up meetings with key exhibitors. All our photographs were taken at the 2003 show.