With record registrations already locked in (including your own!), the countdown is on to Australia’s premier corporate B2B travel management event. We recently spoke to the event curators, cievents, and its Global Head of Marketing, Cate Carpenter, about how to get the most out of the day. Here are her Top 5 tips.
1. Hear from key industry experts
One of the most exciting aspects of Illuminate is the thought leadership provided by some of the industry’s most influential leaders and partners, who will be discussing everything from the future of hotels and the aviation sector to emerging travel trends and new technologies.
As Cate says, “These people know what they’re talking about and will provide amazing insights you won’t get anywhere else. This year’s keynote speakers include Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah, Accor COO Simon McGrath, Digital Futurist Chris Riddell and Australian sporting legend John Eales. There will also be a number of panel discussions including how the NDC will shape the future of air buying, booking and travel, and what travel procurement and category trends are set to emerge”.
2. Gain valuable industry knowledge
Illuminate not only highlights the credibility and influence of FCTG’s corporate brands, it allows leading industry partners to showcase their own offerings. From keynote speakers and sponsor booths to discussion panels and unique audience participation activities, it offers delegates a valuable opportunity to increase their knowledge base.
“From a FCTG perspective, the event is really about giving back to our industry partners and our people. We have an in depth understanding of the market and the pain points that go along with it, so through the power of connections we’re able to cover all bases from a travel procurement perspective - whether it’s air, land or tech. Plus, the layers of interactivity on the day will not only provide a current overview of what’s happening in the industry, but motivate and inspire delegates to enhance their skills and be proud of their place in the travel sector”, says Cate.
3. Connect with new technologies
Delegates will hear updates on FCTG’s online booking tool, Savi, that was launched at the event last year plus more about the evolution of chatbot travel assistant app Sam:] and where it’s headed in the future. Attendees will also be encouraged to engage with the event’s own app where they can ask questions, share content, participate in live polling and exchange virtual business cards with contacts they meet on the day.
Plus, there’s a surprise in store for lovers of all things tech, but at this stage Cate’s not giving too much away … “All I will say is that it involves RFID technology, will offer a completely new level of interactivity and every delegate will be given their own personalised version on the day”
4. Network, network, network
This year’s event will be attended by delegates from a range of backgrounds including corporate customers, leading travel partners, key industry experts and travel and procurement professionals. Being among like-minded people allows attendees the opportunity to expand their networks, establish new relationships and be educated and inspired.
As Cate explains, “At these types of events, networking is crucial. Being able to connect with people in your own industry can be really beneficial and thought provoking and from a FCTG perspective, we not only encourage knowledge sharing, we ask everyone to be actively engaged. Delegates should be 100% in the moment and make the most of the opportunity, because Illuminate will be a memorable journey from registration right through to the fantastic After Party!”
5. Enjoy yourself
Aside from the amazing educational and up-skilling opportunities, this year’s event will also be great fun. From the announcement of this year’s Illuminators and the amazing travel prizes on offer to the not-to-be-missed After Party, it’s a fantastic opportunity to spend time with your peers, clients and of course, your new networking partners.
As Cate sums up,“Quite simply, delegates will get out of it what they put into it. So even though we’re all in the travel sector, in this instance, don’t be a passenger (pardon the pun!)”
LEARN from industry experts about the evolving world of corporate travel at Flight Centre Travel Group’s annual event dedicated to informing and providing insights into the global corporate travel industry.
Illuminate 2019 is being held on 12th September 2019 at The Venue, Alexandria, Sydney, where over 400 attendees will hear from some of Australia’s key business leaders and influencers.
Paul Scurrah, CEO and Managing Director of the Virgin Australia Group, will open the day’s event and he will share his insights on Virgin Australia, the key trends within the aviation industry and how the airline keeps ahead of the curve, particularly with regards to corporate travel.
John Eales, Australian rugby legend and business leader will feature as a keynote speaker. Also a Flight Centre Travel Group board member, John shares his insights into the similarities between sport and corporate business in learning, leadership and the driving factors for success.
Popular international media commentator and digital futurist Chris Riddell will share thought provoking insights into what tomorrow looks like.
James Kavanagh, Executive General Manager, FCTG Corporate said: “This is the perfect opportunity for procurement professionals, travel bookers, travel decision makers and c-suite executives to hear the latest news and insights from thought leaders and corporate travel executives.
“From the implementation of AI and technology innovation, to new distribution channels, emerging category trends and socially responsible policies, the future of travel presents new opportunities with exciting new innovations.
Our speakers will offer the latest insights into developments shaping the world of corporate travel and how guests can navigate the changing travel landscape,” Mr Kavanagh said.
The line-up of confirmed key speakers for Illuminate 2019 include:
A feature panel discussion will unpack the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and what it means for the future of air travel buying and flying and how it will impact us here in Australia. Panellists will include Sonya Lowry, Australasian ACTE Global Board Member; Darrin Grafton, CEO & Executive Director, Serko; Jason Toothman, Executive General Manager, NDC, FCTG; and Neil Fyfe, Vice President Global Account Technology, Sabre.
Register before 26 July 2019 for Illuminate to be in the draw to win a luxury travel package for two to attend the event.
The after party ‘Illuminate the Night’ allows attendees the opportunity to be entertained, relax and network with industry peers.
Illuminate 2019 is sponsored by Platinum Partners Sabre and Air Canada and is supported by Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate businesses – FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveller, cievents, Stage and Screen Travel Services and 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting.
For further details and registrations please visit the Illuminate website: www.illuminate19.com
Media enquiries to Cassandra Thurston PR & Communications Manager, FCTG Corporate Marketing 0431 246 883 / firstname.lastname@example.org
What is NDC
Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), NDC is a new standard for online data transmission that facilitates communication and trade in travel. The objective is to have any stakeholder that distributes travel product - such as airfares and airline seats - including airlines, travel management companies, travel agencies and online booking tool providers, all using the same language and processes to sell and book travel.
The reality of NDC
NDC is going to introduce the biggest change to how airfares and other ‘air related products’ are priced, packed and sold.
While there is still much work to be done from the industry’s perspective, the end goal may look a little like this … a customer would request a preferred seat, additional baggage, wi-fi and order catering on their preferred airline and flights via their travel provider who would do this directly in the GDS or other NDC channel. Currently, if a customer wants all the ancillary services, in most cases they either need to ask their travel provider to do this for them or do it themselves – via the airline’s website.
Current limitations for managed travel program
IATA believes that with NDC, airlines will be able to offer customers different types of products and personalised offers faster than what the traditional platforms such as the GDS are capable of. However, with current NDC bookings, more complex travel requests need to be done with airlines directly by phone or using portals, which limits functionality and productivity.
Herein lies the issue, particularly for managed travel programs in the corporate space – without a platform to aggregate travel content like the GDS or viable APIs, the buying and selling of airfares and other air products becomes messy and fragmented for travel providers and their clients. There is much work being done behind the scenes to resolve the limitations of the technology currently available to support NDC content.
(API is the access point or code that allows the feed of travel content from the airline.
What’s the latest on NDC
The Illuminate team spoke with Jason Nooning, Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) global general manager of air distribution, this week on where things were at with NDC in Asia Pacific and elsewhere around the globe.
Mr Nooning said FCTG’s GDS partner Sabre, had begun offering NDC content for United Airlines and that our corporate customers would have access to this content by fourth quarter 2019.
“Sabre launched new NDC enabled shop and order APIs at the end of March with United Airlines as the launch carrier,” Mr Nooning said.
Mr Nooning explained that ‘go live’ for customers meant they would be able to access NDC air content through their travel manager or select NDC air content in their online booking tool.
What’s happening from a customer perspective globally
FCTG’s corporate travel business in the UK has received the first release of the Amadeus NDC-enabled Selling Platform Connect and is testing it.
Mr Nooning told the Illuminate team the initial testing and deployment would be limited to the FCTG/Amadeus’ corporate travel market in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He said markets in Asia would follow once the solution had been trialled successfully.
“In the UK, we are currently on track to begin an offline pilot with select customers as work commences with other technology providers to make the content available in alternative channels,” he said.
It’s important to understand that NDC only became an official standard in 2012. When launched, it was an airline driven initiative done without consultation from the industry,” Mr Nooning said. “It wasn’t until the latter part of 2015 that IATA began engaging with travel buyers and travel agencies on what would be required to be a deliver a fit-for-purpose solution."
In 2017, the first version of the NDC standard was released, which has been regarded across the industry as the minimum baseline to begin industrialisation.
During the next 24 months, FCTG’s corporate customers will see further developments as the group takes take a pragmatic approach to procuring content while also maintaining the quality of the customer experience.
NDC will be a hot topic at Illuminate this year, with the event featuring a special panel of travel experts to unpack and spell out exactly what NDC will mean for your business and your travellers.
When it comes to engaging with key stakeholders and prospective customers, B2B events offer something that virtually no other advertising platform does - genuine face-to-face interaction that can lead to tangible, successful outcomes. But what makes them so valuable and what can attendees gain from participating?
B2B events enhance connections.
B2B events are ideal for engaging with like-minded professionals, expanding networks and establishing new relationships and can have long-lasting benefits for attendees from both small and medium to large enterprises.
In 2018, the Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate division set itself the challenge of creating and organising Australia’s premier corporate B2B travel management event. Its focus was on keeping attendees at the forefront of the exciting technological changes occurring in the corporate travel space including OBT’s, mobile apps, reporting, chatbots, biometrics, aircraft design and product distribution.
The Illuminate event took place in September and was attended by over 340 corporate customers, suppliers and key industry experts. The event was also sponsored by over 80 of the industry’s leading travel partners, some of whom operated exhibition stands on the day to showcase their products and services. A number of sponsor prizes were also awarded to attendees including flights and accommodation packages to a number of national and global destinations.
B2B events create brand awareness.
Brand awareness plays an important role in the growth of any business, allowing potential clients to tap into a company’s core values and operational strategies. B2B events allow companies to showcase their brands in an influential and inspirational forum, highlight the breadth of their offerings and expertise, and they give staff and industry partners an opportunity to leverage those offerings to a range of prospective clients.
Illuminate not only highlighted the strength of FCTG and its corporate brands, it provided a platform for the showcasing of a number of cutting-edge technological developments. These included FCM’s chatbot travel assistant app, Sam:] and the launch of revolutionary online booking tool, Savi. Attendees were invited to get ‘up close and personal’ with these new technologies via expert demonstrations in order to learn more about their functionality and how they can benefit customers.
B2B events are highly educational.
B2B events are a great way of providing thought leadership, exposing attendees to current trends and industry knowledge and allowing employees to enhance skills that are relevant to their specific roles.Illuminate was facilitated by some of the industry’s most influential clients, partners and industry leaders, including 19 keynote speakers from a variety of marketing segments in the areas of AI, online technology, aviation and the customer experience. A number of open discussion panels were also hosted including a Supplier Panel that was focused on the personalisation of customers’ travel experiences, and a Voice of the Customer panel where leading travel procurement managers offered insights into how current industry trends are impacting corporate travel programs.
B2B events lead to tangible results.
The success of B2B events can be measured by a range of variables from guest participation and brand perception to networking and knowledge sharing opportunities and of course attendance.
Attendee feedback from Illuminate was overwhelmingly positive with almost 400 attendees registering for the day, which was double the previous year. But the most telling statistic? Almost all of last year’s attendees who responded to the post-event survey said they would definitely attend again!