Monday, 30 July 2012


In recent years, the convergence between meetings and travel has been somewhat of a hot topic with reports that an increasing proportion of business travel buyers are now responsible for meetings spend and vice versa. On paper, it makes perfect sense. In reality, it’s not so clean cut. This blog looks at the myth. Check back for Part 2, when my colleague David Chapple will discuss the reality.

In my role as sales director for the Business Travel Show, I’ve seen firsthand that there is some crossover between the worlds of corporate travel and corporate meetings but on the whole they are very different. In fact, if this blog were a Venn diagram, that little area in between the two circles you’d be looking at would be very little indeed.

A quick look at their job titles reveal just how different corporate meetings and travel buyers are. In the meetings world, buyers are corporate, event and association planners, and professional conference organisers and agencies. In the travel world, buyers are corporate travel managers, travel procurement and category managers, TMCs and HBAs.

They also have very different responsibilities. When corporate meetings buyers book travel, it’s incentive and group travel. Their focus is often on planning amazing trips to amazing places for thousands of people.  When a business travel buyer or TMC books travel, it’s still for thousands of travellers, but these are business travellers flying between major cities and often travelling alone.

And when it comes to supplier needs, the lack of crossover is apparent once more. Corporate meetings buyers want to talk to venues, cities, destinations and destination management companies. Corporate travel buyers want to speak to TMCs, airlines, hotels, ground transportation and travel technology software providers.

This divergence between buyers in the two sectors also explains why there is often very little crossover between visitors and exhibitors at exhibitions and conferences and why, knowing what we now know about the two markets, Centaur decided to launch The Meetings Show UK next July. We already run the Business Travel Show each February, which focuses predominantly – but not entirely exclusively – on corporate travel (more to come on that in David’s blog).

By organising separate shows for the two sectors our aim is to offer buyers and suppliers a more focused experience. Visiting and exhibiting at events are huge commitments in terms of time and resources and providing suppliers, knowledge streams and networking opportunities that are totally relevant means they can get more out of the shows and a much higher return on their investment

Katy Phelps is sales director of the Business Travel Show. Contact her at or on +44 (0)20 7970 4075.


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  3. Now that sure looks like some awesome incentive meetings for work. How many people attended that meeting?

  4. Hey Katy,

    How many times such Corporate Event Planning shows are conducted and anyone happening in near future in India as well if so please let me know.

  5. Gratitude for this post on travel and meeting coverage! Pleased to have these details here. I am looking for spacious but affordable meeting space San Francisco. Have never hosted any event before in SF so little nervous about it.