November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
The Business Travel Show opens in four days and we have pinned down event director David Chapple to find out how things are going.
We’re just a few days away from the show opening, how’s it all going?
It’s going really well. In fact, 2012 will be the biggest Business Travel Show in five years.
200 exhibitors will be on the show floor next week, which is a significant increase on 2011. And it’s a really strong mix of suppliers, including big brands such as Hilton, Eurostar, Airplus, ATI, United Airlines, FCm, Virgin Atlantic, HRG, CWT, American Express Global Business Travel, Deutsche Bahn, Guoman Hotels, HRS, Omega Travel, Star Alliance, Premier Inn, Laterooms, Flybe, Travelodge, Hong Kong Airlines and Travelport, many of whom are returning to the show after time out.
We also have regular, well-known exhibitors that buyers are likely to be familiar with and can look forward to seeing exciting new product and service launches from. And then we have a long list of first time exhibitors with really innovative products and services on offer that will be new to many of our buyers. Discovering new solutions and alternative suppliers has always been high on the list of reasons that buyers enjoy attending the show.
What’s new for this year?
Buyer and supplier feedback following last year’s event emphasised what their priorities are and so we’ve invested heavily in three specific areas for 2012: education, networking and hosted places.
How has the education programme changed?
We brought on board two new content directors – Melanie Garrett and Amon Cohen – who both have years of experience working in this industry, fantastic connections and their fingers on the pulse when it comes to knowing the topics of burning importance to buyers. The result is a programme packed with practical content designed to make a genuine difference to buyers’ performance and effectiveness. We have case studies, panel debates, hosted buyer-only masterclasses and workshops. We also have an opening day keynote from Richard Quest at 1230 on Tuesday, which is bound to be dynamic, and the brand new Business Travel Technology Theatre.
What networking opportunities are available?
There are networking opportunities for everyone – buyers and suppliers, hosted and non-hosted – before and during the show, on and off the show floor. On Monday evening we have the European Travel Buyer Awards and on Tuesday evening everyone is invited to the after show party in the Central Café on the main show floor. There are café areas for meetings, the Sabre-hosted Agents Lounge, the First Class lounge for hosted buyers, the masterclass sessions and the Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky Wine Tastings.
The biggest change for 2012 is, of course, the hosted buyer programme. Tell us more.
The hosted programme has been a massive development from us this year with considerable investment and we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved. Although we haven’t quite reached the stretching target we initially set ourselves, we’ve learned an immense amount and we’re in an incredibly strong position to move forward as a result.
Our hosted-level buyers are attending from massive global organisations such as Nike, Sony, Jaguar Land Rover, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, 02, British Gas, Aviva, Bridgestone and Bank of America, many for the very first time. They’ve been enticed, not only by the offer of free travel and accommodation, but also by our exhibitor line up and networking opportunities. And every one of these buyers passes our incredibly strict hosted qualification criteria, which includes having a significant travel budget.
By introducing the programme, buyers will have the opportunity to hold meetings with more suppliers (some have up to 23 meetings scheduled) and stay at the show for longer, which will increase business opportunities for everyone.
Running the hosted programme has been a real learning process and one that lays an incredible foundation for 2013. One of the most unexpected things we’ve learned in 2011/2012 is that not every buyer who qualifies for hosted wants to be hosted, whether that’s down to company policy, a desire for flexibility or discretion. But to be honest, that’s all just detail. What really matters is that we can tell our suppliers, with complete confidence and transparency, that they will meet up to three times as many senior (and pre-qualified) European buyers at the Business Travel Show next week than at any other event operating in this marketplace.
Register now at www.businesstravelshow.com