New show spotlights business travel

The Business Travel Show will showcase new and practical ideas to boost business travel

The Business Travel Show Dubai will launch in Dubai this month and is being held on October 29 and 30 at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena.

It is the first focused event in the Middle East for those who buy and book business travel and meetings.
The show offers practical and independent advice, up to date information, and is a forum for learning and visitors have the opportunity to discover what’s new in the industry, to meet with travel suppliers, as well as obtain independent professional advice and discover cost and time saving methods of managing and purchasing business travel for their organisation.
With business trips comprising 80 per cent of travel in the Gulf region, the show is a timely addition to Dubai’s annual event’s calendar.
TTN talked to Sally Maltby, event director of the show based in London, to find out more. Excerpts:

What can we expect to see at the Business Travel Show 2007?
Airlines, hotels and hotel groups, travel management companies, serviced apartments, corporate credit cards, private jet hire, chauffeur drive hire and other ancillary business travel services, plus a two day education programme run in association with ACTE (association of Corporate Travel Executives) including free daily keynotes on the future of business travel in the Middle East.

What can exhibitors and visitors look forward to?
The only event focused on business travel in the Middle East with a comprehensive exhibitor list; a two day education programme to help visitors answer questions about how they can save time and money, forge better relationships with suppliers and ensure the safety and security of their business travellers; a networking drinks reception for VIP visitors and exhibitors, a VIP and business lounge for doing business and arranging meetings; a meetings facility on the show website that enables visitors to arrange meetings with exhibitors at the show before they arrive.

What are your estimates, in terms of business generated from the show?
We expect approximately 2,000 attendees to the show over the two days and obviously there will be many opportunities for them to buy business travel products and services and form relationships with business travel suppliers during the show.

How much has the Dubai as a destination helped the show in terms of exhibitors?
The Gulf region is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world and Dubai is the most popular spot in the Gulf for doing business, so it is well placed to take advantage of impending changes in the corporate travel sector and helps draw exhibitors to the show.

Can you identify some future trends you expect to see in business travel? 
Some of the biggest global trends are now beginning to affect the region include the emergence of budget hotels and low-cost airlines, how the travel agent is paid with some airlines cutting commission altogether in favour of booking / transaction fees, and the advent of online booking and sourcing the right information form the internet. I also think one of the biggest trends is the growth of business aviation (private jets) and the serviced apartment sector.

But with the launch of services like the business jets, do you foresee more such exclusive products? How important have they become?
As the market continues to grow, private jets provide a viable alternative to business and first class travel as demand is very high on commercial airlines and seats are not always available on demand. They will continue to grow in importance as business travel keeps growing in the Middle East.

What selling tips would you give to agents selling business packages to the well-heeled traveller?
They need to tailor packages to the specific needs of their customers, ensuring cost and time efficiency and ultimately ensuring that travellers are best placed to do business in the location and at time that they need to.

Finally, what are your expectations of this year’s event?
We expect to establish the show as the premier annual event for suppliers of business travel products and services and buyers and arrangers of business travel trips and meetings in the region.