The world’s leading event dedicated to travel catering, passenger comfort and buy-on-board products returned to Hamburg last month, with its most successful edition ever. Attracting a host of thought leaders and decision makers from the entire product and service spectrum of the onboard services industry, this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo saw attendees from the world’s major airlines and rail operators.

Taking place at the Hamburg Messe, the three-day event saw an increase in exhibitors and attendees compared to the 2014 show. With a wide range of innovations showcased from over 300 exhibitors and over 70 new exhibitors from all over the world and a host of new exciting content, 2015 was the biggest and best WTCE yet. As a result of the show’s popularity and growth, 2015 marked a move to Halls A3 and A4 within the Hamburg Messe.

Opening with the much acclaimed Passenger Experience Conference the day before the show, delegates were treated to a number of informative presentations on industry trends, as well as breakout sessions. As the industry’s premier networking and business forum, the conference explored strategic issues around traveller experience & expectations, strategies to maximise onboard revenue and airline cabin innovation.

During the hospitality breakout sessions delegates discovered trends in sustainability, how the service landscape is changing thanks to technology and trends in packaging and food and drink service onboard. Additionally, Yener Girişken, CEO of ThinkNeuro presented a fascinating piece of research conducted for Turkish Airlines assessing the emotional bond between customers and a brand. During his presentation, Yener explained how the passenger emotional curve increases when viewing the inflight food and beverage menu, when seeing an attentive flight attendant and when cabin crew smiled.

The Conference was immediately followed by an Industry Networking Party where delegates and visitors were able to take advantage of the great networking opportunities in a relaxed but professional environment.

This year’s event saw the launch of the new Travel Retail Zone, an area dedicated to showcasing exciting products to help air and rail operators increase onboard sales. Buyers were able to source the latest sale-on-board items and discover the trends being driven by consumers currently. A Travel Retail Trail also led attendees to other exhibitors at the show with a travel retail offering, making it easy for them to target their visit and come away with plenty of inspiration.

Berta Motiejuniene, General Export Manager and Aiva Jokubauskaite, Export Manager at Dione Dairy Ice Cream, which was a first time exhibitor on the Travel Retail Trail stated “Being part of the Travel Retail Trail has helped to drive people to our stand and at the show, we can meet all of the main decision makers from the industry. Next year, we will return for sure.”

The show also welcomed back the popular Taste of Travel. With live demonstrations, interactive presentations and sampling & tastings, visitors were able to experience the latest evolutions in onboard services and travel catering. Key topics included ‘super service for next-gen needs’ and ‘passengers of the future’. A free daily networking lunch was also provided on the Taste of Travel Theatre. One of the products on offer was by Crantock Bakery and The Bake Factory. Celebrity chef James Strawbridge served up delicious inventions including steak and ale pie with rosemary and horseradish dumplings, and spinach, sweet potato and goat’s cheese bake as part of Crantock’s new offering ‘The Bakehouse’.

This year’s show also saw the launch of the brand new feature, ‘What’s New Onboard’. The area demonstrated a selection of innovative newly launched products, creating a great starting point for visitors attending the show. Global Solutions GmbH displayed its pioneering new eye mask technology in the area. Ronald von Häfen, President of the company, said: “Being part of the ‘What’s New Onboard’ area has been a benefit for us at this year’s show and many people have subsequently visited our stand having seen our product on display.”

On top of this, innovations were seen across the show floor, with many exhibitors using the show as a launchpad for their new products. The range of attendees to the show make WTCE the perfect platform for businesses to launch their latest offerings to be seen by buyers of well-known operators.

George Asfour, ‘Knead to know guy’ from Broderick’s, a family-owned innovative bakery said “We had a very good experience last year. At WTCE we get the opportunity to meet with the decision makers of the industry and we’ll be back again next year.”

Commenting on the success of the show, Archana Sharma, WTCE Event Manager said: “The 2015 WTCE show continued to demonstrate leading innovations and raise topical issues, cementing its place in the industry as the most important show for travel catering, passenger comfort and buy-on-board products. The feedback we’ve received from visitors and exhibitors alike has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s great to see how professionals across the board within the travel industry benefit from the show, building new relationships and securing business deals.

“We look forward to welcoming back our many returning visitors and exhibitors next year, as well as many new faces.”

The next WTCE takes place in Hamburg from the 5 – 7 April 2016. The 2016 show celebrates the 5th anniversary of WTCE.

To book your stand at the 2016 show, contact Mara Veith: mara.veith@reedexpo.co.uk

For more information on the event visit: http://www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com/

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