We attended the annual Travel Technology and Business Travel Show last week to meet customers, potential new clients and find out how our business partners are coping with 2009. The event hosted at Earls Court in London brings together the UK corporate travel companies to discuss technology and trends in business travel.
We were hoping to see a few PMS systems, but not this year. The whole Travel Technology Show was smaller than previous years with only a few booking systems and data management companies. On the second day the number of attendees seemed very low. Many of the businesses exhibiting at the fair admitted it had been much quieter than 2008.
During the Business Travel Show, the current economic conditions were mentioned a number of times by various people and very few were optimistic about the upcoming year. We also noticed an increase in the number of apartment companies who were exhibiting, but many do not sell through on-line bookings yet and therefore do not understand the opportunities of online channel management technologies.
Only very few hotels were exhibiting although we did have the chance to have lengthy conversations with the groups that were present. It is pre-dominantly a show for Travel Management companies and considering, the shows are run together, there were very few Online Travel Agencies. We spoke to HRS, Hotel.info and Hotelshop UK Ltd. all of whom said they liked the show, but it certainly did not seem busy to us. Furthermore, unfortunately, none of the seminars were relevant to us deciding to look at the credit crunch and social media tools to increase online visibility.