Travel Tech show targets VIPs

A new VIP senior executive conference has been added to this year’s Travel Technology Europe show reflecting the increasing seniority of delegates.

Event director Neil Simpson said as technology has become more important for travel firms senior management, the industry’s “thought leaders”, have started to attend as well as firms’ IT specialists.

An impressive line-up of speakers has been confirmed for the invite-only conference that will take place during the main event from 11am to 3pm on February 9 and 9am to 1pm on February 10.

Among the speakers are Alan Josephs, former eBookers managing director and now Travel Intelligence Group chief executive, and also Travolution executive board member.

The conference will kick off with a keynote speech from Francesca Escery, group sales director for and then offer a overall economic perspective in the first of five panel discussions.

The panel will consist of Lloyds TSB chief economist Trevor Williams,  Abercrombie & Kent  group chief marketing officer  George Morgan-Grenville, Viator  managing director head of European operations Patrik Öqvist,  and Tim Russell, UK and Ireland Amadeus managing director.

Rob Laurens, TUI Travel eCommerce director will join a panel discussion on maximizing the returns from social media.

The panel will also feature Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, Xanthe Arvanitakis, chief operating officer at Vexed Digital, and Claire Higgins, head of marketing,, Virgin Atlantic.

The second day starts with a panel discussion on technology and consumer trends in Europe with Sarah Smalley, managing director, GFK Ascent MI, joining Russell, Josephs on stage.

Tom Jenkins, executive director of ETOA, and Tom Parker, secretary general of ETTSA will give an assessment of the threats and opportunities European legislation will present in 2010.

The conference will end with a look at the prospects for mobile technology featuring as guest speakers on the panel Marco Balabanovic, head of innovation,, Chris Carmichael, manager of and mobile innovation at British Airways and Paul Lyonette, head of emerging technologies at Microsoft.

Simpson said: “If you look at the individuals who are coming to the show, they are chief executives, managing directors and financial directors. They may not be using the technology but they are certainly in the specification and decision making process.

“They come to find out what’s new and what are the emerging trends. It’s not necessarily about what’s happened over the last 12 months it’s about what’s going to happen in the next 12.”

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