Your guide to essential travel industry events in 2020

If, like us, you work in the travel industry, keeping up to date with what’s happening in the global travel and hospitality industries is an essential part of the job.

Travel trade events for industry professionals are frequent, and some are more worthwhile than others. Depending on where you operate in the industry, you should pick and choose the right hospitality and travel industry events to attend throughout 2020. Whether you’re an attendee or an exhibitor, it’s always worth networking face-to-face and meeting up with clients and suppliers to share and implement your annual strategy.

We’ve done the hard work for you and sifted through the pile to pick out the best travel industry events in 2020 with notes on who should attend.

27-29 January: HEDNA 2020 Global Distribution Conference, Los Angeles

HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) is the leading body for hospitality technology and connectivity in hospitality. It’s a global community of hospitality professionals, technology providers, educators, and consultants promoting the role of distribution. Hospitality technology is a rapid-growth sector, and one we’re following closely, having already signed up several new global hospitality technology clients in 2019. Attendees explore, learn and discuss how to connect the industry and envision the future, while understanding the ever-changing needs and desires of customers. It’s a good showcase of the latest technological advancements for the hospitality industry, attracting hoteliers, business partners or those in alternative accommodation sectors (think Airbnb), as well as hospitality technology professionals. There’s also a European HEDNA conference in May, see below.

Who’s it for? One of the best travel industry events in 2020 for anyone in hospitality, particularly those with a role in implementing hospitality technology in their business. Find out more about the HEDNA LA conference >

26-27 February: Business Travel Show, London 

The Business Travel Show brings together over 8,800 European business travel professionals. This long-established event provides corporate travel buyers and managers with the suppliers, knowledge and contacts to help create and develop successful business travel programmes. For senior buyers, there’s an enhanced Hosted Buyer Programme, offering fast-track access to suppliers and exclusive events.

Who’s it for? Corporate travel buyers and travel managers. Find out more about the Business Travel Show >

26-27 February: Travel Technology Europe show, London 

This show runs alongside the Business Travel Show at Olympia, London, on the same dates. Those in this fast-growing sector come to discover how the latest innovations, products, suppliers and cutting-edge content can help generate new business and keep customers happy. Whether you are working in digital, innovation or marketing, TTE is the place where travel intermediaries meet to get new ideas to help them harness their business potential via technology. Travel companies can’t afford to stay behind the curve on the current travel tech revolution.

Who’s it for? Travel technology professionals, and buyers working in digital, innovation or marketing. Find out more about Travel Technoloy Europe >

4-8 March: ITB, Berlin

The Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin is the world’s largest travel and tourism trade fair. The companies represented include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies. As one of the leading European travel trade shows, ITB Berlin is a marketplace, think tank, knowledge platform and trendsetter – as well as a business and career network provider on a global scale.

Who’s it for? Anyone with ambition in the travel industry. Find out more about ITB >

19-22 April: Arabian Travel Market, Dubai 

This is the Middle Eastern branch of World Travel Market, now in its 27th year. It’s the leading global event for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry, which is growing fast, with areas of the Gulf opening up rapidly to global tourism, from Bahrain to Oman. The annual business-to-business exhibition showcases more than 2,800 products and destinations from around the world to 28,000 influential buyers and travel trade visitors.

Who’s it for? Anyone operating travel to or from the Gulf. Find out more about Arabian Travel Market >

18-20 May: HEDNA Global Distribution Conference, Amsterdam

See the HEDNA LA conference details for 27-29 January, above. This is the European leg of the HEDNA conference, concentrating on all those with a connection to hospitality technology and connectivity in hospitality.

Who’s it for? Anyone involved in advancing technology in their hospitality business. Find out more about HEDNA’s Amsterdam conference >

8-10 June: ITT Conference, Istanbul

The annual Institute of Travel & Tourism Conference is the travel industry’s blue riband event. This year’s location is Turkey, and the theme is East Meets West – Breaking Down Barriers. It’s a popular get together of travel industry professionals, with conference sessions, presentations, social activities and networking opportunities. The ITT is a member’s organisation with a key objective of raising and maintaining professional standards across the global travel industry. It offers support, guidance and guidelines on continuous professional development for all members.  Book early – this one fills up fast.

Who’s it for? Anyone in the travel industry. Find out more about the ITT conference >

1 July: Travolution Start-up Summit, London 

This event features early stage start-ups and successful founders sharing their experiences of establishing a business in the travel sector. It is a highly informative event, showcasing cutting-edge technology and business support for new companies seeking the expertise that allows them to concentrate on their core business.

Who’s it for? Anyone thinking of launching a travel business or currently running a travel start-up. Find out more about Travolution Start-up Summit >

15-16 September: The Business Travel Conference, London 

Business travel management is becoming more and more specialised, with increasingly sophisticated tech and systems and a growing call for dedicated in-house travel managers within companies of all sizes. This is the conference for them, and anyone who organises business travel. It is a comprehensive learning program, using leading industry speakers and thought-provoking keynotes together with an exhibition of around 60 leading business travel suppliers, including airlines, hotels, TMCs, technology specialists and more.

Who’s it for? Travel managers, and all those who book, buy, arrange or manage business travel and meetings for companies of all sizes. Find out more about The Business Travel Conference >

5-7 October: ABTA The Travel Convention, Morocco 

ABTA’s flagship event for the UK travel industry offers exceptional business content with high-level CEOs as speakers, as well as social and networking activities, including host parties and excursions. Each year approximately 500 senior professionals from the UK travel and leisure sector come to meet, listen, learn and network. These include managing directors, CEOs, board members, marketing, sales and finance directors from tour operators, cruise lines, hotels, airlines and all forms of travel retailer.

Who’s it for? Senior directors of travel businesses. Find out more about the ABTA Travel Convention in Morocco >

2-4 November: WTM, London 

World Travel Market always puts on a vibrant, must-attend event for over 51,000 global travel trade professionals who are all looking to network, purchase new products, and find out about the latest trends. WTM prides itself on being the hub of travel ideas, giving an insight into how the industry will look in the next five years. It’s the place to share innovations and create endless business opportunities over three days.

Who’s it for? Anyone and everyone in the travel industry from tour operators, to recruiters and travel media. Find out more about WTM >

2-4 November: Travel Forward show, London 

Travel Forward is all about next-generation technology in travel and hospitality. It happens alongside WTM, and is an exciting and growing event in the WTM portfolio. Over 7,000 travel executives and 250+ innovative solution providers attend for cutting-edge insights, open debate and unrivalled networking opportunities, including an interactive exhibition, and start-up opportunities and competition.

Who’s it for? Anyone using or interested in the possibilities of travel tech for their travel business. Find out more about Travel Forward >

7-10 December: ILTM, Cannes 

International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes is the flagship event in the luxury travel calendar. It showcases the best luxury travel trends and products, and is where top global buyers network with providers of the most luxurious global experiences. For luxury travel businesses, it’s the most essential of the travel industry events in 2020.

Who’s it for? Anyone in the business of luxury travel. Find out more about ILTM >

We hope to see you at some of these events. If you would like to arrange to meet one of the Progressive Travel Recruitment team, please contact bianca@progressivetravelrecruitment.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. We are experts in providing travel talent across the industry.