Why did you decide to create a technology show within a show?
The technology region at WTM had grown by 70% in the past two years, so we needed to give it a dedicated focus and resource.
Furthermore, the buyers for technology are different from those who buy traditional destination and tour operator product, so we needed to be able to communicate directly with these people.
The Travel Tech Show at WTM is the biggest travel technology event in the UK – I don’t think the industry was fully aware of this when it was just another region of the bigger WTM exhibition floor.
What can we expect from this year’s WTM in terms of technology that we haven’t seen in previous years?
There are a whole host of new exhibitors and participants in the Travel Tech Show at WTM, including Amadeus, Sabre and Comtec. Other new exhibitors include Dolphin Dynamics, Pegasus Solutions, Accord Group, ZOLV and TravelClick
Have you been surprised by the increase in interest from technology exhibitors and guests?
Not at all. As I said, the tech region of WTM was always the largest travel technology event in the UK. The ‘show within a show’ concept just highlights the product offering even more.
What has been most pleasing about the introduction of The Travel Tech at WTM is the big technology brands it has helped us attract back to the event, such as Amadeus and Sabre.
Is technology something your traditional WTM product and destination visitors are interested in or are you appealing to a new audience?
We are targeting the same technology buyers within travel companies who we had in previous years when we had the technology region. What the rebrand to The Travel Tech Show at WTM has allowed us to do is target them a lot better and communicate what we have to offer.
Again, the technology programme at WTM has always been one of the most comprehensive and popular at WTM. Maybe before we struggled to get this over this to the industry as people see WTM as a tourist board-led event.
What impact do you think technology will have on the sector in the coming decade?
Technology innovation has revolutionised the travel industry and will continue to do so over the next 10 years and beyond. I don’t think anybody would have thought 10 years ago that we would now be able to book holidays via our mobile phones. I’m sure that in a decade the travel industry will look completely different to how it is now. Technology will be the main driver of this change.
What is the favourite gadget you own and why?
It has to be my smartphone. It does absolutely everything – I can watch TV, record TV, surf the internet, catch up on the news, tweet, update my status on social media sites and, of course, text and receive and make calls.
The evolution of the smartphone has revolutionised how we all interact, engage and find out information. At WTM we have invested a lot of time in the WTM app. We now have an interactive floor plan that allows you to plot your route from where you are to the stand you are visiting, includes all the seminars and conferences, and allows you to make and save meetings through the MyWTM system.