Interview with David Chapple, Event Director Travel Business Show

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How is the Business Travel Show going to celebrate its 21st anniversary?

Reaching 20 years in 2014 was a real milestone for us. We are the longest established specialised business travel event in Europe and we’re looking forward to celebrating our 21st anniversary in 2015.

The show is still going strong after 21 years because we invest a huge amount of energy and resources each year to remain relevant and useful to business travel suppliers. We exist to help them develop better, smarter travel programmes.

That means providing buyers and managers with unrivalled facilities to source new products, solutions and suppliers; opportunities to network with like-minded professionals from all over Europe; and an unbeatable conference programme that tackles all of the issues that are challenging and inspiring them.

Why is the Business Travel Show a good opportunity for entrepreneurs’ businesses?

The Business Travel Show attracts 6,500 business travel professionals every year so it’s an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch new products and reach European travel managers. When Click Travel first exhibited at the Business Travel Show, for example, they had a very small stand and now they are one of the biggest exhibitors at the show. But start-ups are only a small selection of the exhibitors at the event; travel managers will also find huge brands like Carlson Rezidor, easyJet and Etihad Airways.

What news should we expect for 2015 edition?

We will be hosting a fabulous after show party, sponsored by Kenya Airways, in a beautiful venue in London – 8 Northumberland – with great food, great entertainment and great networking. It will be unmissable. We are also hoping to launch a new feature on the show floor, but we are not quite ready to announce it, so watch this space!

Last year 226 companies exhibited at the show, and for 2015 we are confident of reaching – and maybe even passing – the 250 mark.

Exhibitors range from tiny start-ups with exciting new products and services, to major brands such as Star Alliance, Hilton, Diners Club International, Concur and American Express.

The show also hosts suppliers from all areas of business travel, from airlines and accommodation, to technology and TMCs, ground transportation and responsible travel management.

Could we identify any trends for the business travel industry?

Yes. Four trends that keep recurring include responsible travel management, travel management 2.0, the sharing economy and big data and all of these topics – and more – are featured in detail throughout our conference programme in 2015.

Which region is actually catching up rapidly?

When it comes to business travel destinations, the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are still incredibly popular as their economies continue to develop and their trade relations with the rest of the world grow. The next acronym of territories rising in popularity is MINT – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – all four of which are predicted to be the next big economic giants.

How is technology affecting the business travel buying and booking community?

The big opportunities for buyers lie in technology and how this can be adopted for travel and traveller management as well as support compliance. The big focus in recent years has been on mobile technology and this still has the power to alter the industry.

What is the main focus of the conference programme?

The conference programme is a critical element of the Business Travel Show and we invest a lot of time each year to ensuring that the content is absolutely up to date and will help buyers to understand the biggest topics facing the industry right now, but also over the coming year.

The programme content is guided by our advisory board, which consists of senior European corporate travel buyers, and is managed by two industry experts – Amon Cohen and Melanie Garrett.

We also work hard to ensure there are sessions to suit all levels of buyers, from beginners with our Fundamental programme, through to global travel managers responsible for thousands of travellers and huge budgets with our Travel Management Extra sessions, which allow them to dig a little deeper.

The keynote – which is yet to be announced – is always standing room only, and sessions tackling brand new topics tend to very busy, too. Last year, for example, there was a lot of interest in NDC and we have NDC sessions in the 2015 programme, too. We also expect the session on the sharing economy featuring Marc McCabe from Airbnb to be very popular, as well as the Forecasting Forum and Travel Management 2.0 in Action led by Google’s travel manager Darragh Ormsby.

How do networking events allow experience sharing?

There are a number of networking events at the show, formal and informal, which are designed to encourage travel managers to share experiences and knowledge and benchmark their own performances against their peers. These include the networking dinner and conference programme on Tuesday 24 February, which are exclusive for hosted buyers, and the after show party on Wednesday 25 February, which everyone can purchase tickets for.

If a visitor has no more than one day to visit the Show, what would you recommend not to miss?

If you are a hosted buyer attending the Business Travel Show then the best way to plan a single day is to use the unique diary system and work with our hosted buyer team. Doing this will ensure that buyers find – and make appointments with – suppliers with the products and services that best match their needs, conference sessions that will help them develop better travel programmes, and the most fruitful networking opportunities.

The Business Travel Show takes place at the Olympia Grand in London on 25-26 February 2015. It is free to attend for business travel buyers and managers. Simply register at


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