WHETHER you want to industry issues, find out about the latest product innovations, strike a deal or win a prize, it’s all under one roof at the 2006 Business Travel Show. With more than 200 exhibitors packed into the Olympia exhibition centre between January 31 and February 2, there will be so much to see, you’ll need to be a whizz at planning your day.
Travel Weekly comes to the rescue with a guide to getting the most out of this year’s BTS.
What a star
09:30: as you walk in, pick up a competition entry form at the Eurostar-sponsored entrance, where its Business Premier service is being promoted.
Prizes include two Eurostar weekends away, an iPod and an iBook. Special laptop adaptor plugs are also being given away.
Up, up and away
10:00: the airlines won’t miss this chance to impress some of their biggest-spending clients so expect them to pull out all the stops to showcase the latest innovations.
Etihad Airways will be promoting its new aircraft, with the first due to be delivered a few days before the show. And British Airways will be talking about its recently launched in-flight entertainment system as well as the new Club World product due for release later this year.
The business-class airline Maxjet Airways will announce a new daily Stansted-JFK service and flights from Stansted to Washington Dulles International Airport.
Elsewhere, new charter operator Sovereign Business Link will be showcasing its VIP services. Visitors to its stand can enter a prize draw to win a flight for up to six people, and get 10% off a booking made at the show.
The great debate
11:00: the latest industry issues will be debated at seminars and masterclasses running throughout the show.
At 11am, BJB Travel Partnership managing director Barry Jones will be putting the case for agents at the ‘Travel Agents? Who needs them?’ masterclass.
The following day at 9.45am, find out how Gray Dawes managing director Ray Hopkins has increased online booking at a seminar entitled ‘Adapt or die – how to get more travellers using your online booking tool’.
12:30: hotel innovations are set to continue apace this year.
The Cheval Group will be detailing its expanded serviced-apartment range; Concorde Hotels and Resorts will announce its latest openings in Berlin and Geneva; and Campanile Hotels will be kicking off its 30th anniversary celebrations.
Over at the Hand Picked Hotels stand you can discuss new developments at the group, such as the £5.4 million revamp at L’Horizon Hotel and Spa in Jersey, over canapés and a glass of wine.
Food for thought
13:00: time for a spot of lunch. Take your pick from Pizza Express, Pret a Manger and the Salut Café Bar.
Get in gear
14:00: catch up with what’s going on in the car rental sector. Budget will be launching its BusinessConnections innovation, aimed at small and medium-sized companies. To celebrate the launch, there is a weekend break with car hire and five corporate rentals up for grabs.
Try some speed dating at the Europcar stand, where delegates can sign up for a 15-minute slot with a Europcar representative.
Over at Guy Salmon Prestige Rental, find out about the Driving Dreams corporate incentives. There is also a quiz to win a car for the weekend, plus one night’s stay at The De Vere Belfry hotel in Warwickshire, with a round of golf or spa treatment thrown in. All visitors also get a special car-hire rate.
15:30: it’s not just traditional suppliers, such as airlines and hotels, that are exhibiting.
For instance, check out the Business Transport Resources stand. The company offers a web-based chauffeur service and other new innovations.
16:00: you’ve just got time to nip over to the Travel Technology Show, which is also taking place at Olympia at this time. But before you do, head to the Galileo stand.
The global distribution system is unveiling two new desktop products for agents. Point and Click aims to make bookings faster, while Galileo Desktop Internet Access gives more affordable GDS access for smaller agents. Stay on afterwards for cocktails.
On the Amadeus stand, this year’s version of the Amadeus Selling Platform will be unveiled. New features include quicker pricing and streamlined ticketing functions.
Visitors can also check out the results of the company’s study into the cost of running a travel management company.
16:30: enter those last-minute prize draws. Visitors to the Advantage stand have the chance to win a holiday, while at the ATP International stand there are three iPods to win.
17:00: time for a last look around before heading home.
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