The 2012 Business Travel Show, organised by Centaur Exhibitions at Earls Court this week, attracted 197 exhibitors, a figure up from 134 in 2011. Pre-audited visitor figures of 6,300 represent an increase of 27 per cent on last year.
Show Director David Chapple told CN the exhibitor numbers represented double the figure for the nearest competitor show, Business Travel Market and said it was “the busiest and best BTS in years”.
The meetings element of the show has been largely stripped out, leaving a show concentrated four square on business travel. “We found that procurement of bedrooms is really the only touching point between those two sectors,” Chapple said.
There were exhibitors such as Zibrant, BSIand Starcite, banging the gong for their strategic meetings management programmes (SSMP), however. And Carlson Wagonlit Travel had a good show with a central stand.
“The show was very busy and had a good buzz of activity and chat. It is a new show for The QEIICC to attend and we were pleased with the level of interest and enquiries received,” said Sue Etherington, Commercial Director of The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre,
“The corporate travel buyer is our bullseye visitor,” said Chapple, who noted the success of the exclusive Masterclass sessions for buyers.
With ex-Reed Travel Exhibitions Paul Kennedy, MBE, advising on show strategy, the show had put together a programme combining over 700 hosted buyers and executive buyers from the UK and Europe.
“Many buyers do not want to be hosted, but see the value in participating in the meetings diary and Masterclass sessions,” said Chapple.
He added that his team had taken a show “that was on its knees four years ago” and “this year we moved it four rungs up the ladder, partly thanks to over £300,000 worth of investment in the show across the board.
The show attracted 29 partners, including associations ITM, GBTA and HSMAI.
Would the show return to Earls Court, given the uncertainty post-London 2012?
“We will definitely be back in 2013 and possibly 2014, but if not, then at Olympia,” said Chapple, who ruled out a move to Excel, home of the BTM event.
He also reported that two-thirds of the space for 2013 (5-6 February) had been rebooked.
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