More than 9,000 business travel professionals from all over Europe gathered to do business at Olympia last week for the 24th Business Travel Show. With aisles swollen with networkers and exhibition stands crammed with big budget buyers and first time attendees, this year’s show was buzzing with energy and optimism.
Initial figures released this morning by organiser Centaur reveal 9,082 attendees were in the Grand and West Halls, an increase of 6 per cent year on year and the fifth consecutive annual rise. Early data also indicates a record hosted buyer attendance, up at least 4 per cent on last year’s 429.
Around 260 companies exhibited at the show, many with a bigger presence and showcasing some amazingly creative stands, including Booking.com’s festival theme featuring an inviting swing and a live jazz band, American Express Global Business Travel’s cinema foyer with popcorn, and CTM’s living flower wall and on-tap cocktails.
There were product launches aplenty and at least one new brand reveal in Fello. Direct ATPI also exhibited under its new moniker for the first time.
The Launchpad returned for a third year, providing a valuable springboard for eight exciting start-ups, and this year’s Business Travel Disrupt Award was won in a fiercely contested six-way battle by TroopTravel, which optimises travel to a common location for groups of friends or colleagues. FlightSayer, which analyses data to forecast flight delays, came a very close second.
The conference programme, with over 60 sessions and 150 speakers, was packed out, and keynotes included animated debate on NDC as well as Influence at Work CEO Steve Martin on the science of persuasion. Presentations can be downloaded for free from https://t.co/0dsmdZoBDI and https://t.co/YksSKYx512.
Exhibitors included Addison Lee, Airbnb, Amadeus, Direct ATPI, Avis, Barclaycard, CWT, Click, Deutschebahn, easyJet, Egencia, FCM, Heathrow Express, HRS, HRG, Jurys Inn, Omega World Travel, Premier Inn, Sixt, Star Alliance, Traveldoo, Uber and United. The floor also welcomed a return from British Airways exhibiting with OneWorld, and over 60 first time exhibitors included Business Travel Direct, BMI and Travelodge.
“This year’s Business Travel Show was just an incredible two days – there was not one minute when the swell of people slowed or the aisles fell empty. We had buyers saying they’d extended their visit to two days because there was so much to see, and exhibitors signing new clients on the spot. One company even had a walk on from a buyer with a multi-million pound unmanaged budget. The level of business happening at the show this year was simply unprecedented and everyone on the Business Travel Show team would like to thank all our buyers, exhibitors, sponsors and partners for a phenomenal two days,” said David Chapple, Business Travel Show portfolio director.