14 JUNE 2010

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Article from BTNews 14 JUNE 2010

BUSINESS TRAVEL MARKET

This year’s Business Travel Market (BTM) takes place on Wednesday and Thursday (16 and 17 June) at ExCeL, East London.  It is set to be much bigger with more on offer to visitors than last year’s successful inaugural experience.

Event Director Paul Robin said: “There are 170 companies for visitors to meet on over 100 stands as well as an exceptionally high quality free education programme with 90 speakers across 20 sessions.  We are very proud of what we have achieved.”

It does look like he is right.  BTM has attracted some of the biggest names in the industry to speak, including a keynote address from the current man in the spotlight, Willie Walsh, as well as other impressive panellists from air travel, the hospitality industry, business travel solutions specialists and travel management companies (TMCs).

Walsh is expected to focus on the post-recession landscape for business travel buyers and suppliers when he addresses delegates on Thursday afternoon. 

The free conference programme is a major draw for visitors to the show which will include an anticipated 400 hosted buyers, who are coming from across Europe for the two-day event. 

Key industry bodies ITM (Institute of Travel Management), ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives and HBAA (Hotel Booking Agents Association) have this year shown their full support of the event, working with BTM’s advisory board to shape the conference programme.  Highlights of the sessions include: ‘NextGen Interaction’ – a chance to discuss changing communication and meeting methods; ‘Emerging Markets’ – an opportunity to learn more about the way business is carried out in Brazil, China, Gulf States and India; ‘There’s More to a Travel Programme Than Air & Hotels’ and ‘A Paler Shade of Green’ – focusing on the post-Copenhagen landscape and considering whether the pressures on being green are still as high on the corporate agenda.

Following on IATA (and various references in this week’s AERBT) it is particularly apt that BTM has confirmed that one of its conference sessions will be discussing the most recent air travel crisis.  ‘Does the Ash Cloud have a Silver Lining?’ asking a panel of experts from BA, BARUK, BBC, FCm and Qatar Airways – could it have been dealt with better, what lessons have been learnt and how will it be handled when it happens again?

From the world of hotels, Taj will be announcing the reopening of three properties: the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on 1 July, the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, in November and the 115-room Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul which reopens on 1 September after a two-year €23m restoration. 

The Wyndham Hotel Group will be available to discuss their recent announcement regarding the transfer of the Tryp hotel brand from Sol Meliá Hotels & Resorts, and the Oberoi group can talk to business travellers about their new facilities at the recently re-opened Oberoi Mumbai.  The Pestana hotels group have also got big news to share, with their first foray into the UK market with the four-star Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa in South West London.

It’s not just the big name hotels making developments in our capital city – SACO, the worldwide serviced apartment network, will be using BTM to announce a new serviced apartment opening this summer on Fleet Street in London, a fantastic central location to be based while doing business in the UK.

There is something about South America this year at Business Travel Market – perhaps it’s the fact that London and Rio de Janeiro are the next two hosts of the summer Olympic Games, but Brazil-based airline TAM will be announcing details and discussing with visitors the new non-stop service it will introduce on 9 August between London and Rio de Janeiro.  Also off to Brazil and Argentina is key exhibition sponsor Qatar Airways.

Transport solutions providers also have a big presence at the event with Director Paul Quigley of Meridian Global Services available on their stand to speak to delegates about the implication of the EU VAT package for the travel industry in 2011.  It will affect the taxation of services related to conferences, meetings and events. 

FCm Travel Solutions will be launching a new loyalty programme at BTM – designed specifically for travel bookers.  FCm Advantage is an interactive web-based programme that provides individual rewards to travel bookers, who often include personal assistants and secretaries.  Reward points are earned for each booking made with FCm and can translate into movie passes, electronic goods and even holidays.

Register for BTM now at www.businesstravelmarket.co.uk or sign up on the day.  10:00 on 16 and 17 June at ExCeL, London. 

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