WTM 2005 gears up with fresh, new initiatives
Organisers of World Travel Market (WTM) are introducing many new initiatives and developments this year to keep the event, which takes place between November 14 and 17 at ExCeL London, fresh and relevant.
The improvements range from a brand new Ministers’ Programme to a sophisticated means of matching visitors to exhibitors, providing all registered delegates with information about their stated areas of product and geographical interest.
Fiona Jeffery, group exhibition director, said that every year there are new ideas, but that the management team have been working on a large number of strategic, long-term steps to take WTM 2005 on to a new era.
“The event needs to have a direct bearing on what is happening now in the global industry, as well as addressing predicted trends and patterns that will affect the way in which we all conduct business in the future,” she said. “Change has always been synonymous with the industry but the pace of change has accelerated to a different speed never seen before. As the business event for the international industry, it is important that we help to lead the way, signposting change now, next year and in the years ahead.”
She said that WTM has invested in Insight – a major independent market research and intelligence unit that will help delegates year-round to identify the very latest consumer trends and business information. “Much of the industry research that is available at the moment is either not properly documented or conducted. It is very easy to project research with a specific slant that helps argue a particular case for an organisation,” she said. “We are seeking to provide totally independent and professionally undertaken research, supported with other market intelligence and research, based on our own experience and huge amount of unique data.”
There has already been an encouraging response to the Ministers’ Programme, which recognises the important role of Tourism Ministers at the event and their vital contribution to the industry throughout the year. Working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Baroness Anelay of St. Johns DBE, chairman of WTM’s Advisory Council, WTM has created a programme in keeping and appropriate for ministers at government level.
Commented Jeffery: “The programme is designed to honour tourism ministers and, in a modest way, assist them by creating a stimulating and more enjoyable business environment. The programme on Monday, November 17, is deliberately flexible to fit in with what is undoubtedly a busy schedule for ministers during their visit to WTM, allowing time for other meetings and engagements.”
There are a number of benefits for ministers, including VIP car parking, VIP badges and an exclusive Ministers’ Room at ExCeL in which to relax and meet other ministers.
Participating Ministers will also be invited to the Opening Ceremony, Post Opening Ceremony Reception and, between 4pm and 5.30pm, a reception and afternoon tea at The Terrace Room, House of Lords, Westminster, London where James Purnell MP, Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism will be the guest speaker.
Personal Event Planner
For the first time this year, all trade visitors will be provided with a Personal Event Planner – or PEP for short – with a list of exhibitors who match their own business interests and preferences. This means visitors can pre-book appointments with exhibitors for more efficient and effective planning.
When visitors pre-register to attend WTM, they are asked to provide information regarding their individual product, sector and geographical interest. This data is then matched with exhibitor information and the visitor will receive details of the exhibitors that meet their business criteria.
“Although WTM brings together the worldwide industry on a massive scale, we are also keen to ensure that every delegate receives a personal service,” said Micaela Juarez, WTM’s head of marketing. “An event of this kind can be confusing, especially if you have not attended before, so the PEPs will give everyone a helping hand to make some advance decisions about prioritise the business appointments they may wish to make.”
Airlines and Hotels in Focus
Two key business sectors – airlines and hotels – will be spotlighted as part of the Meetings, Conference and Incentive Travel focus on Tuesday, November 15 with keynote debates and senior management panellists taking place on the World Stage. Richard Quest, formerly from the BBC and now presenter of the Business Programme on CNN, WTM’s Broadcast Business Partner, will be chairing the airline debate.
The hotel debate has attracted some heavy hitting speakers in the sector, including David Kong, president and CEO, Best Western; Reas Kondraschow, senior vice-president and managing director, Cendant Hotel Group International, Jurgen Fischer, president, commercial operations, Hilton Group, and Gerard Greene, CEO Yotel.
Yotel, which claims to be the world’s most radical hotel, will be giving its capsule bedroom its first public international airing at WTM. An exact replica model of the new capsule bedrooms will be showcased. The hotel is the brainchild of well-known entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe, who took his inspiration from British Airways First Class and Japanese capsule hotels.
Also new for this year is WTM’s dedicated, standalone Travel Technology area, supported by a programme of conferences, presentations, workshops and seminars. The launch coincides with a serious upturn in the IT industry and WTM’s unique ‘show within a show’ concept will offer important insights into the latest global advances.