As the build up to next week’s Travel Technology Europe show reaches a climax Travolution conducts a Q&A with event director David Chapple
This year TTE celebrates 10 years. What prompted Centaur to launch the show way back when and what was the industry response at the time?
At the time, we undertook extensive research into the market and quickly realised that, while there were plenty of trade events that had small areas geared around technology, there simply wasn’t a dedicated place for the travel technology community.
The Travel Technology Show (as it was called at the time) filled this gap in the market by providing a high level education programme, combined with various networking events and the opportunity to source new technology products.
It was the first event that the travel technology community could call its own and the positive response and support from the industry was overwhelming. Back in those days, it was all about bricks and mortar high street shops and everyone was talking about a new thing called the World Wide Web.
Needless to say, the focus of the show quickly moved from brochures to online transactions.
How is this year’s edition different?
This year, TTE is bigger and better than ever, with more suppliers, products, services and more conference sessions.
We also have a range of new and enhanced show features and highlights enabling visitors to make informed technology choices for their businesses. One of the attractions that I’m most excited about is this year’s expanded Business Travel Technology Zone.
With over 30 specialist suppliers and nine dedicated conference sessions the BT Tech Zone is Europe’s only dedicated showcase of corporate travel and expense management solutions for agents and TMCs and is sure to be a hit with delegates at the show.
For the first time ever we have also worked with an advisory board that has helped to shape the content of this year’s conference programme. Featuring a who’s who of some of the travel technology industry’s brightest minds, this year’s conference programme is timely, topical and thought-provoking – due in no small part to the exceptional advisory board members we’ve managed to get onboard.
We’re also launching an exclusive VIP programme in conjunction with our headline sponsor Travelport which features high level learning sessions, peer-to-peer networking events and incredibly sourcing opportunities.
Specifically geared towards CIO’s, IT directors and revenue, distribution and e-commerce decision makers and influencers, the VIP programme has been created to be as flexible as possible so attendees can create their own tailored event experience, allowing them to obtain the best possible return from their visit and ensure they make the most of the event.
How has the show changed and evolved over the years?
Technology has moved on immeasurably in the last 10 years and this is reflected in the evolution of the show. There is always new technology at the show and our suppliers often launch new products to potential customers each year so our visitors are always the first to experience new technology and we retain our position at the forefront of the industry, giving people a reason to return year after year.
While we may have come a long way from how consumers used to consume travel, moving from brochures to the web, to mobile and now social, there are certain things that have not changed and one of these is the proposition of the show – sourcing new products, knowledge sharing and networking with industry peers. Not surprisingly, the general conversation of the show also stays the same year after year – using technology to reduce costs and better service customers and prospects.
What are likely to be the most sought after panel discussions and speakers at this year’s event?
To celebrate the event’s 10 year anniversary, TTE has brought on more industry leading experts than ever before and has pulled together an impressive line-up of the brightest minds in the travel technology industry.
And, with The Guardian’s technology editor and esteemed author, Charles Arthur, presenting this year’s keynote address I’m confident there won’t be an empty seat in the house. His address – ‘Google: Organising the World” will see him talk about how Google has come to dominate so many sectors in the world including search, mapping, video and smartphone operating systems.
Charles is a fantastically knowledgeable individual whose most recent book delves into how the tentacles of Google are now inextricably linked with the travel technology industry and as an expert in both technology and social media, he will without a doubt be able to provide the intelligence that buyers are looking for to keep them up to date with industry trends and improve their competitive edge. I expect it to be a very engaging address and am thrilled that we were able to secure such a great speaker.
Social media experts are also at the heart of this year’s event and one of the other sessions that I’m really looking forward to and I’m sure will be a huge hit is the presentation: ‘The Social Graph: Facebook login and Travel’.
Over the past couple of years, services like Gogobot, Hopper, Tripl and Trippy have received an exceptional amount of venture capital with investors betting on social travel being the next big thing and this panel will feature industry leading thinkers Bruce Hazan, Facebook’s head of partner engineering and Gogobot’s director of marketing Kelly Lees looking at whether these social networks are just a passing fad or the go-to channel for inspiration, booking and reviews in the coming years.
Again, with some of the social media world’s leading thinkers peering into their crystal balls, I expect this to be another very popular session.
Who is attending the event?
For our 10 year anniversary edition we’re hoping to bring together more than 75 specialist providers of travel technology products and services and more than 4,500 of Europe’s top technology professionals over the course of the two day event.
Likely attendees will include visitors from departments as diverse as IT, distribution, e-commerce, finance, revenue management, sales, marketing and operations, meeting countless providers of travel technology products and services including distribution and revenue management, sales and marketing, business operations and infrastructure.
Travel agents, TMC’s, tour operators, online travel providers, transportation companies, hospitality and hotel executives, CEO’s, MD’s, CIO’s, CTO’s, IT Directors and Managers will no doubt all be able to be found at the event so if there is a decision maker in the travel technology industry that you would like to get in front of than there is no better venue than Travel Technology Europe.
What product launches will we see at the event?
I don’t want to give too much away by talking about any of the new product launches that will be happening at the event, but rest assured that with some of the travel technology sector’s most respected names exhibiting including Dolphin Dynamics, Travelport, Micros Travel and Open Destinations, there will be plenty of exciting new and innovative product announcements.
With a who’s who of high profile exhibitors we expect this year’s special 10 year anniversary edition of Travel Technology Europe to our biggest and best year ever. To anyone interested in developing their business strategy and staying up to date with the latest technology trends Travel Technology Europe is one event not to be missed.
The tenth anniversary edition of Travel Technology Europe takes place on February 5 and 6 at Earls Court in London. To find out more about the benefits of attending Travel Technology Europe as a visitor and to register please visit traveltechnologyeurope.com/reg.