Travel Forward – driving next generation technology for travel and hospitality – is welcoming back a number of exhibitors, many of whom are taking bigger stands as a result of a successful three days at last year’s inaugural event.
The technology-focused conference, exhibition and startup showcase is co-located with WTM London at ExCeL London. It takes place this year from 4 – 6 November.
The returning companies are a snapshot of the travel technology landscape and reflect the reach of Travel Forward across segments and geographies.
Vamoos is an app for tour operators which can be customised to keep all travellers’ documents, itineraries and other information in one place on their smartphone. It is increasing its stand size this year by some 15% having signed a number of new clients as a direct result of its presence at Travel Forward 2018.
These include A&S Signature Journeys, a US-based luxury and tailor-made tour operator with 35 years’ experience; OROKO Travel, a Dublin-based luxury tour operator which started operating in 2017; and True Adventure, a UK-based provider of bespoke school exhibitions designed to improve students’ resilience and life skills.
Marketing manager Milly Morris said; “In terms of the ROI for exhibiting, we made it back very quickly. We are well known in the UK and have more than 130 clients in 15 countries. The footfall to our stand reflected the global audience of Travel Forward. We’re looking forward to having more room to be creative on-site for 2019.”
Travel Forward also proved a success for new market entrants.
ECOMMPAY aggregates more than 100 global payment methods into its gateway. It has a strong client base in other e-commerce verticals and made a strategic decision early in 2018 to target travel – OTAs, airlines and hotels – and build a vertical-specific product. Travel Forward was the first travel show it exhibited at.
“Travel Forward is very much part of our long-term plans to get a serious foothold in travel,” Paul Marcantonio, head of UK/Western Europe at ECOMMPAY explained; “At Travel Forward 2018, we were able to beta-test an early iteration of what we want the travel product to be, and were able to use the feedback to shape our development roadmap. The insights we got on site meant that we could accelerate our work and target it to what the market told us it needed. We will be able to launch the product at Travel Forward 2019.”
Its core products have a number of travel clients, and over the three days of Travel Forward, the company had more than 150 meetings on its stand, including walk-ups and pre-arranged conversations. Marcantonio said that around one-third of the meetings were worth pursuing after the event.
“We have a long-term commitment to travel, so we were pleased to be part of Travel Forward. Client wins are important, but at this stage in our journey, there is a value in raising awareness and having a presence where we need to be,” he added.
As a result, ECOMMPAY has increased its stand size for 2019 by 20% compared with 2018.
Elsewhere, hospitality tech specialist Clock Software is returning with an even larger presence. A spokesperson said that Travel Forward 2018 “was an amazing event for Clock Software, allowing us to meet many new partners and gather plenty of leads as well. As a result, we have several very promising customers who got to know and start using Clock PMS Suite as a result of our participation.”
For 2019 it is planning to unveil new functionalities of its bespoke module for the MICE segment, which features greater automation of operations and enhanced revenue management capabilities.
Other businesses signed up and committed to a larger stand include long-standing WTM exhibitor Open Destinations, winner of last year’s Best Stand Design Mews Systems and Edinburgh-based hotel app developer Criton.
Richard Gayle, Event Manager for Travel Forward, said: “The quality and quantity of visitors and exhibitors across all WTM Portfolio events is to be expected, but what we’re super-excited about for Travel Forward 2019 is the variety.
“Even at this early stage in the planning cycle, we have signed up app developers, PMS providers, new-to-travel payment gateways and established software houses. It all bodes well for Travel Forward 2019.”