WTCE gears up for its sixth successful year in Hamburg
As the global tourism market continues to boom, the inflight catering and travel retail industries are accordingly thriving. The sector has experienced steady growth in the five years to 2016 and, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), will have a global value of US$10.8trillion by 2018, almost double its present worth.
With recent industry reports indicating an expected surge in collaboration between suppliers and operators in the travel retail sector over the next 12 months , and onboard catering increasingly under the spotlight with a growing focus on Buy on Board options, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) represents a significant opportunity for travel professionals looking to source new products, network and meet new air, rail and cruise professionals.
As a global industry, sourcing the next product or service to appear onboard can be a costly and time-intensive process. WTCE brings together over 300 suppliers including leading full service providers such as LSG, gategroup and dnata as well as new brands looking to get their products noticed from food, beverages, uniforms, hygiene/personal care products, duty free & onboard retail items, food service equipment and toys/games. With such a wealth of products and industry experts all in one place, industry professionals looking for inspiration will not want to miss out.
No matter what sector of the onboard travel industry you’re interested in, WTCE provides an insight into the latest trends and innovations making waves onboard. While aviation takes the lion’s share of passenger travel with an estimated 54% of international tourists travelling by air , it continues to be one of the most important contributors to the global economy.
However, it’s not just aviation that is driving growth in the tourism industry. Improvements in rail travel have seen a huge boost to this once fading sector with growth in Western Europe reaching a record of high with rail passenger journeys peaking at 1.65 billion in the UK between 2014-2015.
However, as the importance of the sectors grows, so too does the power of those fuelling them. Armed with more money, greater choice and significantly higher expectations, today’s passengers are more discerning than ever when it comes to their journeys. No longer satisfied with the standard experience that has been on offer in previous years, passengers are now focused on making sure every aspect of their journey represents good value. As a result, air, rail and cruise operators are looking beyond the traditional mechanisms to shape the passenger experience and searching for solutions that can truly enhance the passenger experience.
The World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, which takes place on 4-6 April 2017 at the Hamburg Messe in Germany, is the leading event for the travel catering, onboard retail and passenger comfort industries. The event will highlight how airline buyers and rail operators can improve and differentiate their services by showcasing the latest onboard products and solutions.
Showcasing exhibitor excellence
Of the 300 companies set to showcase their products and services, WTCE will see more than 50 first-time exhibitors. The New Exhibitor Village will encourage innovation and introduce passenger experience professionals to companies that are new to the show and, in some cases, the industry. Companies appearing in this section will include Addo Food Group, Dr Schar AG and the Narumi Corporation.
Addressing one of the key revenue generators for the onboard sector, WTCE will host a new Focus on World Travel Retail feature at the 2017 exhibition. The travel retail sector is currently growing at an 8.4% compound annual growth rate – 2.4% above the 6% average growth rate of the personal luxury goods market over the past 10 years. Travel retail opportunities onboard present a significant opportunity for operators to increase ancillary revenue while providing added value for their partner brands and passengers.
WTCE’s Focus on World Travel Retail will boast the Gebr.Heinemann bar where visitors can browse product displays, enjoy happy hours and make the most of the networking opportunities available. Exhibitors including Bottega S.p.a., Fartan Group, gategroup, SSI – Servair Solution Italia and The Belgian Chocolate Group NV, will showcase a selection of innovative products across a variety of product categories including fragrances and cosmetics, tobacco, watches & jewellery, fashion & accessories, wines & spirits, electronics & gifts and confectionery & fine foods.
Also displaying a selection of products aiming to inspire creativity and enable air and rail operators to differentiate their offerings will be the What’s New Onboard Feature. Located in front of the VIP Buyers Lounge, the feature will highlight a selection of products that are brand new to the market.
Two sector-specific trails will help visitors to navigate their way around the exhibition according to their business interests. The Buy on Board Trail – indicated by a handbag icon – helps visitors quickly identify companies specialising in products and services supporting purchase and consumption onboard. Exhibitors taking part in this include AA Bakeries International, AVID Airline Products, DFMi, Global Inflight Products and Portfolio Partners Limited, as well as a host of other companies spanning a variety of sectors including beverages, food, food service equipment, hygiene products and packaging. A second innovative trail – The Rail Trail – helps visitors quickly locate companies who supply products suitable for trains.
Providing visitors with inspiration will be the Taste of Travel Theatre. A host of well-known chefs and industry experts will deliver exciting and informative demonstrations, presentations and new product launches, all designed to inspire delegates to review and refresh their onboard offerings. Among the presentations will be:
Adding quality to buy on board: James Strawbridge, development chef consultant, TV presenter and founder of Posh Pasty, will discuss and demonstrate the impact and value of serving high quality meals and products on board. The session will explore which products work best for the buy-on-board market, giving provenance to the ingredients while discussing how James designs food for development briefs.
Put some music in your food: Levi Roots, discussing his ventures while popularising the spicy flavours of his Jamaican heritage. His Reggae Reggae range of Caribbean-inspired cooking sauces, ready meals, soft drinks and desserts now retail worldwide as being sold in numerous high profile restaurant chains. This is all about making Caribbean food more accessible and how spicy flavours work in the air.
Looking outside the industry: Chef Ms Trinh Diem Vy, one of Vietnam's most recognised restauranteurs and chefs whose family recipes have garnered recognition throughout the county, will demonstrate how teaming up with restaurants can improve airline and rail customer satisfaction.
Sensory food tasting: Stathis Kefallonitis of branding.aero in partnership with GateGourmet and Delta brings a new twist to food tasting using neuroscience methods to understand the passenger and improve the cabin experience. The session will include a Taste of Travel first with a blind taste test challenging audience members to take part in a live demonstration of neuroscience techniques.
Pre-order and on-demand meals: Raymond Kollau (trends expert) talks about the changing consumer behaviour and expectations in the wider world (including air and rail travel).
Finally, a new workshop has been added to the Taste of Travel programme this year aimed at new exhibitors targeting airlines, or those with new products. Getting a Product Onboard will be run by Lance Hayward of The Hayward Partnership, and will feature a panel of air and rail suppliers discussing why they want to get their product on air and rail and the barriers to entry. This will be an open debate with the audience discussing brand, communication, procurement, trend monitoring, innovation and lots more.
Expanded education programme
This year’s educational strand will kick off with the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC), which will begin for the first time with the new Airline Forum. This session is open to any airline representative and will take place before the conference from 8.00 to 9.00am on Monday 3 April, the day before WTCE officially opens. It will offer airlines a dedicated area to pick up advice and meet and network with their peers.
The one-day conference, which focuses on ‘Defining the future of the passenger experience industry’, will follow the Airline Forum, packed with more than 20 sessions. The programme will be divided into three breakout sessions focussing on Generating Revenue, Comfort and Wellbeing and The Connected Journey.
Topics within the Generating Revenue stream will include a focus on designing, curating and crafting ultra-luxury experiences. Ana Brant, Director, Global Guest Experience & Innovation, Dorchester Collection will deliver the keynote session, highlighting the importance of identifying the touch points that really matter to passengers, and using this information to design, craft and curate experiences around these key moments.
Passengers will also be put under the spotlight in the Comfort and Wellbeing stream in a session led by Jenny Tsay, Innovation Designer/Inflight Experience Researcher, Zodiac Aeropace. Jenny will address the emotional highs and lows of passengers and highlight the opportunities to design user-centric services that will help turn negative emotions into positive ones.
The final stream focusing on The Connected Journey will include sessions on modern travel and technology and the emerging revenue models for improved connectivity. The final session will examine how the connected world on the ground is evolving and what this will mean for airlines and the wider travel industry.
Following the close of the conference, delegates will be invited to network and discuss the day’s key topics with their peers and colleagues at the Industry Networking Party, which is free to attend for all conference delegates and VIPs. The party is the perfect occasion to network with other industry professionals in a relaxed environment, whilst enjoying live music, cocktails and Bavarian-themed cuisine.
As part of Passenger Experience Week 2017, WTCE is co-located with Aircraft Interiors Expo, the world's largest event dedicated to sourcing the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries.