Better People, Better Timing

The London-based AC Group found the 2017 edition of ITB Berlin to be particularly fruitful. We asked Group Director, Rob Russell, what he felt about this year’s show…

The quality level of the people coming to the stand has been higher than in previous years. There have been far more qualified business-focused visitors than the more traditional people grabbing business cards. It has been more constructive and there has been real business, and we are finding great new leads as well.

Is the show becoming more international to your mind?

This is a far more international show this year. We have had meetings with agents from all across Europe as well as Israel, Iceland, the USA and others so it’s been a much more balanced show than maybe five or six years ago when it was much more “German heavy”.

And what do you think that’s due to?

I think the profile of the show has improved hugely. It’s true also that the timing of this show — in March — is more relevant than other shows when it comes to business travel and people buying programmes, so that certainly helps as well.

What kind of things are you primarily presenting here?

There’s a combination from groups with a longer lead-in markets already looking at 2018 business, but at the same time you’re looking to ll the gaps for the short-term short-notice groups for 2017. Technology is taking on importance as the markets have moved on. Many of the companies we are meeting here are technology focused so whether that is connectivity with hotels whether that’s connectivity with agents there is a nice focus on the balance of that.

PHOTO – TOP OF PAGE:  Rob Russell, Director, AC Group (right) and Ruta Zelvyte, Business Development Manager – AC Tours (left)