Monday 30 July 2012


In recent years, the convergence between meetings and travel has been somewhat of a hot topic with reports that an increasing proportion of business travel buyers are now responsible for meetings spend and vice versa. On paper, it makes perfect sense. In reality, it’s not so clean cut. This blog looks at the myth. Check back for Part 2, when my colleague David Chapple will discuss the reality.

In my role as sales director for the Business Travel Show, I’ve seen firsthand that there is some crossover between the worlds of corporate travel and corporate meetings but on the whole they are very different. In fact, if this blog were a Venn diagram, that little area in between the two circles you’d be looking at would be very little indeed.

A quick look at their job titles reveal just how different corporate meetings and travel buyers are. In the meetings world, buyers are corporate, event and association planners, and professional conference organisers and agencies. In the travel world, buyers are corporate travel managers, travel procurement and category managers, TMCs and HBAs.

They also have very different responsibilities. When corporate meetings buyers book travel, it’s incentive and group travel. Their focus is often on planning amazing trips to amazing places for thousands of people.  When a business travel buyer or TMC books travel, it’s still for thousands of travellers, but these are business travellers flying between major cities and often travelling alone.

And when it comes to supplier needs, the lack of crossover is apparent once more. Corporate meetings buyers want to talk to venues, cities, destinations and destination management companies. Corporate travel buyers want to speak to TMCs, airlines, hotels, ground transportation and travel technology software providers.

This divergence between buyers in the two sectors also explains why there is often very little crossover between visitors and exhibitors at exhibitions and conferences and why, knowing what we now know about the two markets, Centaur decided to launch The Meetings Show UK next July. We already run the Business Travel Show each February, which focuses predominantly – but not entirely exclusively – on corporate travel (more to come on that in David’s blog).

By organising separate shows for the two sectors our aim is to offer buyers and suppliers a more focused experience. Visiting and exhibiting at events are huge commitments in terms of time and resources and providing suppliers, knowledge streams and networking opportunities that are totally relevant means they can get more out of the shows and a much higher return on their investment

Katy Phelps is sales director of the Business Travel Show. Contact her at or on +44 (0)20 7970 4075.

Monday 23 July 2012


I was at an ITM meeting last week and one of the topics that came up was air fares or, more specifically, how buyers can and need to negotiate their way around them. We discussed how, before business travel buyers even attempt to start negotiations with airlines, they have to dig deeper to find out what makes up that fare. Some airlines, for instance, include ancillary fees and fuel surcharges in the fare. Others don’t.

Travel managers have to know what the ancillary fees are (seat allocation, baggage allowance, and so on) so they can unravel the real cost of the ticket. Only then, are they in a position to start negotiating with the airlines. And negotiate they must given that, at around half of the total travel budget, air represents the largest spending category in nearly all travel programmes.

CWT – the UK’s largest travel management company – understands this and agrees. This week, the company announced its new report, Mastering the Maze: a Practical Guide to Air and Ground Savings, which takes travel managers on a tour of savings opportunities in 20 different areas, including negotiating fuel surcharges and ancillary fees. Well worth downloading.

Being transparent when it comes to real cost and added costs is a win win situation between buyers and suppliers – it encourages loyalty among buyers and, by staying loyal, buyers will be better placed to achieve a volume discount. What’s not to like?

Posted by David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show. You can get in touch at or on Twitter @btshowlondon

Tuesday 3 July 2012


When it comes to travelling on business, time is money and stress equals reduced productivity, so anything that can save time and reduce stress must be a good thing, right? This is why I’ve decided to share my top ten business travel apps:
1              TripIt (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows)
A serious app for the organized traveller; TripIt keeps track of all your confirmation emails for the trip and creates an itinerary for you to follow. You can even book restaurant reservations or reserve tickets for a show through this app.

2              GateGuru (iOS, Android)Invaluable when it comes to long airport layovers, GateGuru provides maps of terminals, security line wait times and tracking for your flight.

3              Yelp (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows)
Yelp's free app searches for locations like restaurants, bars and coffee shops around you, then provides details like hours, price and user ratings to help you make the best decision on where to travel next.

4              WiFi Finder (iOS, Android)
Wi-Fi Finder is a free app that helps travellers find over 320,000 registered public Wi-Fi hotspots. What’s not to like?

5              FlightTrack (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows)
Easy to use app for info about specific flights from more than 5,000 airports and 1,400 airlines. It includes maps, flight statistics and more. Also integrates with your itineraries on TripIt.

6              Turboscan (iOS)
A free document scanner app that saves images as PDF or JPG image files, which you can then e-mail or send to a cloud storage service such as DropBox.

7              DroidScanLite (Android)
Similar to Turboscan for Android handsets.

8              Expensify (most)
Easy to use – either enter details yourself, take shots of receipts or use the app’s auto-scanning tool. Swiftly creates slick expense reports.

9              Worldcard Mobile (iOS, Windows)
Take photos of business cards as you collect them and this app translates them to digital files. Easy as that.

10           Time Master+ Billing (iOS)
This app keeps tabs on how long you spend on different projects or clients and produces detailed reports , which can  be back up on Dropbox to synchronised with other devices to create professional-looking invoices.

David Chapple is event director of the Business Travel Show – talk to him on Twitter @btshowlondon.