Whether you’re immersing yourself in meetings for the duration of the Business Travel Show or just dipping your toe in for a couple of hours, there is a non-stop programme of seminars and debates and a long list of exhibitors to visit.
With so much to see, Travel Weekly has picked out some of the headliners. Whatever you do at this year’s Business Travel Show, these are the things you can’t afford to miss.
Join the club
The Guild of Travel Management Companies is holding an open day. GTMC executive council members including chairman Paul Allen from Ian Allen Travel and chief executive Philip Carlisle will be on hand to talk to travel management companies that aspire to become members. They will talk them through the joining process and its strict criteria.
Who: Any TMC looking to move into the mainstream
Date and time: Wednesday February 14, 11am-3pm, stand 822
Make the web work for you
A debate on buying business travel online. Speakers, including Advantage director of business travel Norman Gage, and Hogg Robinson Group industry affairs director Mike Platt, will discuss questions such as whether the best deals are online, whether companies really do save money by booking on the web, and whether it actually pays companies to incorporate the internet into their travel policies.
Who: Any agent unsure about whether to include the web in clients’ travel programmes.
Date and time: ‘Using the Internet to maximise efficiency and find the best deals’, Tuesday February 13, 11.45am-1pm, room C5.
Fly in style
Carriers will be showcasing their latest business class product, so head to the British Airways stand to test its new Club World product. As well as new flat beds, visitors to the BA stand will be able to see the new Club Kitchen, where passengers can help themselves to hot and cold snacks during their flight.
Meanwhile, rest your weary feet at the Continental Airlines stand and try its BusinessFirst seat. Find out about its new in-flight entertainment system while you’re there.
Who: Any agent who books the best seat as on board.
Date and time: British Airways stand 413, Continental Airlines stand 213.
Should all airlines have to pay the same green tax, or should they get a discount if they take measures to become more environmentally friendly? How can travellers and TMCs put pressure on airlines to become greener? In this conference session, IG Management managing director Bernard Harrop moderates the debate on one of travel’s hottest topics. Afterwards, head to Thetrainline stand to find out about its new system to provide carbon emission reports for clients.
Who: Anyone looking to build green travel policies for their clients and agents looking to get a firm grip on the issue.
Date and time: ‘Green Taxation in Aviation – who should pay?’ on Tuesday February 13, 10.15 to 11.30am Thetrainline is at stand 439.
It wouldn’t be a trade show without a few bowls to pop your business card into. Make sure you drop by the Travelocity Business stand, where you can see what the online sector offers business traveller in terms of booking service and travel management, and enter a competition to win some flights.
Who: Anyone after a freebie.
Date and time: Travelocity Business can be found at stand 624
The Business Travel Show will be held at the same time as the Travel Technology Show (previewed in last week’s Travel Weekly) and it’s a great time to get ahead of the online game. First stop should be to find out what all the fuss surrounding Web 2.0 is about. TelMe, a company that distributes airfares, claims to have the first ‘Travel 2.0’ product called eWorldShopper. It means anyone using the product can view and sell airfares negotiated by any other user around the world. Elsewhere there is free technology advice from travel technology consultants Equinus, a report launched by web analysts Nedstat on how travellers use the internet and seminars on the e-commerce and marketing potential of mobile phones.
Who: Agents wanting the very best fares and who wish to lead the way with technology
Date and time: Travel Technology Show, Earl’s Court, London, February 13-14, 2007. TelMe can be found at stand D42 throughout the Travel Technology Show.
Business travel isn’t just about booking flights and hotels it’s about making the whole journey quicker and simpler. The Business Travel Show will showcase plenty of add-on products for agents to book, including chauffeur company Tristar, which will reveal its new corporate brand at the show. Likewise, business travel is more than travelling overseas – don’t forget domestic journeys too. A new exhibitor for this year will be First Great Western trains.
Who: Any agent who wants to offer a full business travel service, not just flights and hotels.
Date and time: First Great Western at stand 251 and Tristar at stand 322 throughout the show.
Ask any hotel manager and they’ll tell you that business travellers are their favourite guest. Returning from a long day, the traveller will raid the mini bar and order room service before going to the bar – boosting the hotel’s profits. It’s no wonder hotel companies will be out in force at the show to woo agents and bookers.
Jurys Doyle Hotel Group will be showcasing its new hotels at venues in Brighton, Liverpool and Plymouth, while Morgans Hotel Group is exhibiting for the first time and will be updating visitors on its swanky properties such as Delano in Miami and St Martins Lane in London. Small Luxury Hotels of the World is also a first time exhibitor.
Who: Agents looking to renegotiate hotel deals or find out the latest products on the market.
Date and time: Jurys Doyle Hotel Group, stand 352, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, stand 839 and Morgans Hotel Group, stand 739.
The Business Travel Show 2007 will be held on 13 – 15 February at Earl’s Court, London.