Beijing – The Corporate Travel Forum Beijing, organised by TTG Events and Carlson Wagonlit Travel China, took place on 1 November at the Grand Mercure Beijing Central. The full-day educational forum covered topics on travel and expense, traveller satisfaction, data analytics and security, and explored the rapid growth of the China’s business travel market. The event also gave attendees a preview of the informative discussions and networking opportunities they can expect to see at the Corporate Travel World China 2018 conference in Shanghai next March.
Over 50 delegates with corporate travel responsibilities attended from companies such as BP, CICC, Ericsson, Mars, Nokia, Servier, Siemens, Lenovo, Kerui Group, China Unicom, offering the chance to interact with and learn from some of the foremost experts in the industry. Top-level speakers came from AirPlus International, Carlson Wagonlit Travel China, CWT’s Solutions Group arm, China Southern, Grand Mercure Beijing Central, Lenovo group, and Tourbag Network Technology.
The forum also provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with fellow industry professionals and share tips and best practices. Attendees brainstormed ideas, discussed challenges, and debated pain-points with suppliers. Delegates were able to develop a wider professional network with their peers within China’s massive business travel community.
Delegate Sheila Wang, Sourcing Category Manager, Ericsson, praised the forum for its relevance, acknowledging that it gave corporate travel experts a better understanding of the changing trends in the travel market and deeper insights into the drivers behind these movements, “The forum offered new perspectives on cost efficiencies through optimising travel costs with support from data analysis available. This allows us to relook at our current expenditure and minimise the expenses gap. At the same time, attending forums like CTF, we learn about the strategies that corporate travel managers from other companies are adopting. It becomes especially relevant if they are also taking a similar direction that we are interested in advancing. Through their experiences, we understand how these new programmes or initiatives generate results and the potential problems that may arise. CTF was a wonderful environment to foster sharing and communication, and we were very glad to be there.”
Speaker Dennis Oldfield, General Manager, Grand Mercure Beijing Central Hotel, commented, “The opportunity to join the panel was a great way to open dialogue with both buyers and fellow suppliers. Many attendees approached me during the day, looking to gain further insight into how hotels may be evolving in our time of technology as well as sharing their experiences. All in all, CTF was an extremely valuable forum.”
“It’s certainly an exciting time for the corporate travel industry in China, with many companies beginning to recognize the benefits of managed travel” said Albert Zhong, General Manager, Carlson Wagonlit Travel China. “These companies are now focusing on consolidation, data and analytics, and technology, and they place great value on cost optimization and compliance. The Corporate Travel Forum provided the ideal platform for travel managers in Beijing to network with their peers and suppliers, discuss and debate the latest trends, and pick up tips and best practices to take their travel programs to the next level.”
Elaborating on how CTW China leverages on such preview roadshows to engage audiences, Darren Ng, Managing Director, TTG Asia Media, expressed, “With China having a diverse and expansive corporate travel industry, such roadshows help open the market and provide a platform to engage corporate travel managers on the ground. This is only a glimpse of the immense value that CTW China 2018 can truly offer and we are glad to be able to continue with this initiative.”
The full day event returns after a series of round-table, half-day workshops previously held by TTG Events in separate years with Carlson Wagonlit Travel China spearheading the current Beijing edition.
CTW China 2018 will be held from 20 – 22 March in Shanghai.
The event was sponsored by many leading travel brands in China, including Grand Mercure Beijing Central (official venue), American Airlines (Platinum), Singapore Airlines (Gold), China Southern (Gold), Turkish Airlines (Gold), and iTourbag (Gold).
Platinum sponsor American Airlines and Gold sponsors China Southern, iTourbag, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines were also in the line-up of prestigious patrons that presented their expertise to the corporate travel event through speaker slots, seat drops, delegate gifts, insertions, and more. The gathering of over 50 corporate travel-related buyers and suppliers from Beijing evidenced the interest in such community-led education and networking opportunities.
Dennis Oldfield, General Manager, Grand Mercure Beijing Central, said of their venue sponsorship, “We have always enjoyed a great synergy with CWT which is one of the world’s leading corporate travel companies. As a leading corporate hotel in the financial heart of Beijing, the opportunity to showcase our property to the high-level buyers that attended the forum, made our sponsorship at CTF a perfect fit.”
May Shi, Sales Manager Northern China, American Airlines, elaborated on what their sponsorship meant for the airline, “Attending CTF reiterates the strength of our partnership and relationship with CWT and TTG Events. Being able to share our knowledge, hear from experienced corporate travel managers, and connect with new people in the industry, really added value to our sponsorship.”
The full-day educational forum covered topics on travel and expense, traveller satisfaction, data analytics and security, and explored the potential of the Chinese market at international levels – an insight to what attendees can expect at the full-fledged 2-day CTW China 2018 event. CTF also offered precious access to top-level speakers from AirPlus International, Carlson Wagonlit Travel China, CWT’s Solutions Group arm, China Southern, Grand Mercure Beijing Central, Lenovo group, and iTourbag Network Technology, many of which are also familiar with the leading Shanghai event.
Sponsor China Southern, who presented their expertise as a panellist and speaker, shared the reason behind their participation as educators and nurturers of the airline and industry. Explained Lilian Yang, Global Corporate Sales Manager, China Southern Airlines, “Business travel and travel management spans the top-to-bottom of the industry, both internally and externally. As suppliers, our strategies and solutions are crafted around the objectives of corporate customers who manage these functions. This is why guidance and knowledge building is important to China Southern. Further, we recognise that participating in trade shows will further strengthen our position as a leading airline, and also provides the opportunity to keep ourselves current with the practices of travel managers to achieve positive long-term results.”
Up-keeping the importance of face-to-face relationship-building, participating suppliers got to mingle with coveted corporate travel buyers on the ground and hear first-hand their successes, challenges, and pain-points. In a bid to bring China’s massive community even closer together, CTF is part of TTG’s and CWT’s engagement efforts of nurturing professional competencies and forging broader networks that will culminate in March 2018 with CTW China.
The Singapore Airlines China team also made their presence felt as first-time sponsors, with the objective of enhancing the brand’s awareness within the local business travel market, “Thanks to CTF, we strengthened our existing relationship with corporate clients and met new potential ones. This opportunity not only broadened our industry contacts, but also enabled us to spotlight new products and key routes.”
Turkish Airlines, who exhibited at the earlier 2017 CTW China in Shanghai, commended the forum’s format. Ibrahim He, Corporate Manager, Northern China, Turkish Airlines, “Turkish Airlines is honoured to be a sponsor of the CTF Beijing roadshow, a preview of CTW China – the leading professional corporate travel management conference for China. CTF is to us an extension of our brand and corporate travel product showcase beyond CTW China for its added opportunities to communicate with corporate buyers on an intimate level.”
The full day event returns after a series of round-table, half-day workshops previously held by TTG Events in separate years with Carlson Wagonlit Travel China spearheading the current Beijing edition. Roadshows from earlier days have contributed greatly during CTW China’s infancy and have helped built closer relationships with the Chinese corporate travel market.