David Chapple unveils the next edition of the Business Travel Show 2016

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Business Travel Show 2016, Europe’s largest specialised exhibition and conference for buyers and managers of business travel, is about to take place. From February 24th to the 25th, Olympia will be hosting one more year this reference show of the business travel industry. TravelManager has the opportunity to ask a few questions with David Chapple, Travel Business Show’s Event Director who will unveil how is it going to develop this edition.

After 22 years ‘on stage’, what is the secret to being the leading show in Europe for the travel business industry?

The fundamental ethos of the Business Travel Show has never changed – it’s to provide buyers with the knowledge, contacts and suppliers they need to do their jobs more efficiently and more effectively. We achieve this by presenting them the biggest show in Europe for sourcing, learning and networking.

There will be over 250 exhibitors at the show in February from all areas of the business travel sector that buyers can do business with to discover new products and negotiate smarter deals.

They will be able to attend the conference programme featuring extensive buyer-driven content that arms them with new knowledge and expertise to help them on a practical level when they return to the office.

And they will enjoy a programme of networking events that lets them share knowledge with each other and meet new business partners in a more informal setting.

The secret to still being on top after 22 years is a programme of continued investment to ensure the show is relevant to buyers year on year as the industry, their jobs and the world at large changes.


Which brand new topics will feature at Business Travel Show 2016?

On the show floor we have a new area called Launchpad where buyers will find start-ups with really innovative travel products and services. These include beTravelwise, DUFL, Magicevent, Beepy, Revolut, Jet Hunter Flitways and Travelperk.
The conference programme will cover all of the topics buyers need to know about (supplier negotiation, forecasts for 2016, technology and responsible travel) but with a reinvigorated focus on the really big issues of the day – data, distribution and the sharing economy.

The Business Travel Show hosts Europe’s largest conference programme with 60 sessions for everyone from absolute beginners to the most experienced travel buyers managing multi million pound global travel programmes.


Will visitors find start-ups and huge brands exhibiting?

Yes, always. As mentioned earlier, buyers will be able to discover brand new products from companies who are less than two years old in the Launchpad.

Buyers can meet over 250 business travel suppliers at the Business Travel Show in February including airlines, accommodation providers, ground transportation, technology providers and TMCs. Exhibitors to date include American Express Global Business Travel, American Airlines, Capita, Consur, easyJet, Hertz, Hilton, HRG, Melia, NH Hotels, Star Alliance, Travelport and Virgin Trains.


What are the big technology trends affecting the business travel community?

The big technology trends affecting the business travel industry in 2016 are personalisation and mobile. Personalisation – driven by the use of big data – was pioneered by retail giant Amazon some years ago with its ‘you bought this, you might like to buy this too’ approach, matching a consumer’s purchases and interests with future purchase recommendations.

Business travel managers are/can use this approach to make recommendations to travellers that are not only personalised to them but also encourage them to stay within policy by suggesting preferred suppliers. So for example, if a business traveller books a flight to New York, the manager can recommend accommodation, ground transportation, restaurants and so on that comply with the organisation’s travel policy.


Why is compliance such a relevant issue?

Compliance is an increasingly important and relevant issue for a number of reasons, but mostly because a) buyers are still under pressure to manage costs and get more for their organisations’ budgets and b) technology makes is super easy for travellers to book independently and ignore (either by accident or on purpose) policy, making it harder for buyers to manage cost, maximise supplier relationships and also monitor travellers, which is essential for duty of care.


Marriott buying Starwood, Accord buying Fairmont, Raffles, plus Swissôtel… are we missing out a hospitality trend?

I don’t think this is a trend; more a coincidence as these acquisitions were completed for very different reasons. Accor’s acquisition of three high-profile hotel groups – Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel – will see the hotel group gain a much stronger footprint in the luxury sector – Sofitel had previously been its key upmarket brand. Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood, however, was driven by Marriott’s desire to stamp its presence in the Asian marketplace where Starwood has a strong foothold.


Which network events will be hosted?

The Business Travel Show provides buyers with a unique opportunity to meet around 7,500 professionals from across Europe. From peer-to-peer and supplier networking sessions, to informal social events, buyers will build new relationships at the show and be given a chance to share knowledge and best practice.

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