Event director David Chapple talks about plans for February’s show in London
Business Travel Show is 20 years old next year – what can buyers expect from the show in 2014?
It’s a big year for us. Buyers can expect the same as always - unrivalled opportunities for sourcing, learning and networking – plus a few new features. We may be 20, but we haven’t stopped making an effort – we haven’t reached this milestone by being complacent and we have no plans to start now. Buyers can also expect a party - there will most definitely be a big birthday party.
How are you doing with exhibitor numbers for February’s event?
Visitors will be able to source from around 250 suppliers at the show, which is a significant increase on the 205 exhibitors who were present this year. The likes of Virgin Atlantic, Eurostar, Emirates, Capita, Premier Inn, CWT, Sabre and Travelodge are already confirmed.
What new features are you planning for 2014?
We are launching two new feature areas within the show: International Hotels Village and Responsible Travel Management (RTM).
Hotels are the second biggest area of interest behind airlines for our hosted buyers and they are keen to meet more suppliers from around the world. The introduction of the International Hotel Village will showcase hotel groups with a global footprint as well as market leaders in their country of origin.
The RMT Feature is being launched in support of the GBTA initiative Project Icarus to create a wider awareness of the opportunities and benefits to buyers of sustainable development and how and what they can gain from interlinking the social, economic and environmental aspects of business travel procurement.
What can buyers expect from the conference sessions?
The conference programme has also been extended from around 50 sessions to more than 70 and - following input from our European advisory board members - the content is even more relevant and topical than ever.
How is the hosted buyer programme shaping up for 2014?
It’s looking good. We expanded the programme last year from two to three days and this was a huge success: 93 per cent of hosted buyers rated the show as excellent or good. For 2014, the exclusive pre-show hosted buyer conference returns but with more places for buyers - up from 100 to 150. Unlike the main conference programme, which has content for all levels of buyers, the hosted buyer conference is designed specifically for EMEA and global travel managers and the content focuses on issues with global resonance.
What are the key networking/social events that buyers need to get in their diaries?
For hosted buyers, there is the welcome dinner on Monday 3 February and the hosted buyer after show party the following evening. We also host after-show drinks for everyone on the 4th from 1730-1930 at the Central Cafe. It’s important not to forget the informal networking, too, which takes place in the discovery forums, masterclasses and in the lounges and cafes.
- Business Travel Show will be held on February 4-5, 2014 at Earls Court in London. Visitor registration is available at businesstravelshow.com