Solutions 2002, the UK`s first event aimed solely at technology in the travel industry, has closed its doors following its burst on to the scene on the 24th and 25th of April. Internet Travel News investigates.
With 440 registered delegates, Solutions was designed to be an intimate event. This was echoed by the words that were repeated by both visitors and exhibitors: “Quality, not quantity”. Attendees were extremely pleased with the 2002 show and the overall consensus was that they are keen to return next year.
Solutions Event Organiser, Franciszka Ozog told ITN, “It`s been a very good show. There has been a very good quality of people coming through the door. The exhibitors have made good leads and judging by their feedback would be very keen to take part in the event again”.
“From the visitors point of view, the key thing is that they haven`t felt pressurised in terms of getting around and talking to people. They have been the decision makers and people that will influence the decisions - overall, we have been extremely pleased.”
The show was sponsored by key players, Amadeus, Atinera, Lastminute.com, Telewest, and TTG - all of whom gave ITN their feedback on the event.
Amadeus don`t attend many industry events, however they clearly felt that this would be worth their while. As the first sponsors to sign up for Solutions. Mark Lewsey, Marketing Director for Amadeus stated “We wanted an event that was specifically designed for the travel industry and for technology. We like the idea that this one is a conference and an exhibition”. He added, “This show was about quality, not quantity so the delegates who have attended have been of a senior level”.
The show ran under the theme of `Using technology for effective business management in travel`. Workshops and speaker sessions of a very high standard took place over the course of the two days, to highlight new distribution systems, (web enabled in particular), advances in CRM technologies to improve customer management and XML technology with its impact on viewdata.
Tim Trenwinnard, Sales Support Manager of Atinera, who were sponsoring the event, commented, “They managed to pull together a very strong speaker line up which has been represented by the attendees. We consider the event to be very successful”.
Kingley Events Management certainly seem to have lived up to their reputation for networking and getting the right people together. Paul Byran, Marketing director for Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) stated, “Solutions was great for TTG because it provided us with an opportunity to meet technology companies that we don`t currently do business with”, adding, “This show always put the emphasis on quality, not quantity, with a high level of delegates and decision makers who can secure financial commitments”.
Several launches brought innovation to the show. Headline sponsor Telewest, in conjunction with RWA, announced their latest e-product offering to tour operators. For the last year, RWA, have designed and delivered a Viewdata Session Manager providing, Telewest with a new capability on their travel network. Telewest can now offer tour operators an IP connection, rather than the legacy X25 connection; resulting in faster, seamless connectivity to the travel agency community.
Keith Webber, Head of Travel Services at Telewest commented, “The way I see IT solutions` position is about trying to help people with practical aspects and we think there is a place in the market for it. Technology is a key component in the industry. This show has given us a real opportunity to talk to customers and show them what we do in a fairly relaxed environment. We have had a significant number of decision makers and there has been sufficient time within the structure of the event to talk to them in detail”.
Also launching at the show were Lastminute.com, who were showing off their new Hotels Extranet System. This product will supply Hoteliers with the ability to upload inventory. Michel Casey, Hotels Manager told ITN: “Solutions has given us the opportunity to launch the Extranet to the correct people. It is important for us to get our name out into the industry and this show provides the perfect opportunity to do that”. She adds “For Lastminute.com, technology will always be present, (for hotels, flights and holidays), so in terms of technological advances, this is a great arena at which to draw attention to these products”.
A year ago, Kingley Events recognised a gap in the market. Following discussions with major players in the industry as to whether or not they felt that there was a place for such an event, Solutions was born.
At the close of the show, still buzzing from the excitement, Susie Palin, Sales & Marketing Director for Kingley told ITN, “We got exactly what we wanted. We always envisaged this to be a show driven by senior management people, people who want lengthy conversations in an environment where they are given a choice. Given the feedback that we have had, we have hit that on the head. People have loved the show because it is small, it is intimate and it is absolutely conducive to a high level of discussions” Concluding on an all around positive note, she added, “The message is that we are definitely, definitely going to be back next year”.