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 ACTE Asia Corporate Travel Conference participation up by 20 per cent

Looking through a ballroom packed with 437 delegates representing companies in 26 countries, Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, had one word to describe the success of the group’s Asia Corporate Travel Conference — “relevance.”

Koch and his ACTE team spent a year creating a unique educational program, changed the location of the event, and supported a bold new conference pricing strategy. All of which proved spot-on for ACTE’s Asian membership, which has grown by 144 percent in 2014. 

“The result is an event that saw a 20 percent increase over last year’s attendance,” said Koch. “Four hundred and sixty-five industry professionals registered for the conference, with 27 percent signing in as corporate buyers, and 43 percent as single company buyers. While pricing and location are a big part of the equation, what mattered most in the long run was the relevance of our educational program to the challenges facing business travel management in Asia.” Koch added that registration was strong through the first day of the conference (6 August, 2014), and that 80 attendees were participating at an ACTE event for the first time. 

Koch referred to ACTE’s Four Pillar's Education Program for identifying business travel trends. “The theme of this conference was ‘The Future Of Business Travel in Asia.’ It isn’t enough to be witness to the future.” Koch said. “This conference agenda illustrated how the future can be changed through customer-designed technology and simplified travel programs designed to boost traveller productivity. Travel management professionals like having some control over their destiny.”

The conference also drew some powerful presenters. For the first time ever, the heads of three major tourism boards met under one roof at a corporate travel event. Anthony Lau – Executive Director, Hong Kong Tourism Board; Lionel Yeo – Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board; and Yasumasa Shimizu — Director, Japan National Tourism Organisation, brought a high level of official recognition to this ACTE conference.  

Five months ago, ACTE stunned the professional travel trade association world with the announcement that buyer members could attend two of the group’s major conferences (the Hong Kong event and the Fall Global Corporate Travel Conference in Copenhagen, 19-21 October) as a membership benefit. The decision was made to assist travel managers with limited resources to attend professional conferences.  Some saw this move as a gamble. “There are no gambles in business travel,” said Koch. “Just calculated decisions.” This decision was the right one for Hong Kong, and early registrations for Copenhagen are brisk too. 

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