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Business travel soars across Europe

Business travel is soaring across Europe once again as coronavirus restrictions ease. New figures from the IAG show how this will be a major contributor to the group regaining its profitability.

This week we also saw industry leaders gather in Poland for the latest UFI European Conference – and ExpoPlatform announced it had joined the association as a member.

Meanwhile, there have been two big announcements at the top of industry organisations as well as an apparent world-first for Dubai as a regulator sets up a HQ in the metaverse.

Finally, latest figures from McKinsey show consumer spending is now massively omnichannel. It follows a previous study which showed how important this approach is in the B2B world.

Read your full edition of the Week in Events to find out more.

ExpoPlatform joins UFI

ExpoPlatform has officially become an associate member of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry.

The UK-based company has joined the body as a technology provider, joining around 800 other organisations under the scheme.

Use of the UFI member logo is seen as a guarantee of dedication to quality and can be used by the event platform.

Tanya Pinchuk, CEO of ExpoPlatform, said: “It’s an important milestone for ExpoPlatform and for me personally to become an UFI member.

“We’ve been an active participant at UFI events since 2015 and we are delighted to become an official member of the UFI family. 

“We look forward to getting more involved with UFI and contributing more to the industry.”

UFI is the leading global association of the world’s trade show organisers and exhibition centre operators. It also includes selected partners of the industry.

The main goal of the body is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the exhibition industry. 

It directly represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, while also working with 56 national and regional associations.

The announcement was made at the UFI European Conference in Poznan, Poland. It brought exhibition industry professionals to talk about the future of events.

One of the major topics was how the country and businesses within it are helping with the refugee crisis caused by Putin’s war on Ukraine.

ExpoPlatform co-founders Tanya Pinchuk and Mykyta Fastovets thanked all those who have supported those in need during this time.

Business travel soars across Europe

European business travel soared in the first quarter as coronavirus restrictions eased, according to new figures.

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) reported an operating loss of €731 million (£625m) in three months up to March, compared with more than €1 billion in the same period last year.

The company – which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia – said it now expects business travel and high-spending passengers to drive a return to profitability.

Luis Gallego, IAG chief executive officer, added: “Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations. We expect to be profitable from the second quarter onwards and for the full year.

“Premium leisure continues to be the strongest performing segment and business travel is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic.”

The group expects to achieve 80% of 2019 capacity in the second quarter and 85% in the third. North Atlantic capacity is set to be almost fully restored in the third quarter.

A return to health for travel demand was put down to continued easing of government-imposed travel restrictions, particularly in the UK. There was “no noticeable impact” from the war in Ukraine.

It comes after a recent Q1 2022 survey revealed that 84% of American business travellers expect to take at least one trip to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months.

The new Quarterly Business Travel Tracker – by Tourism Economics, JD Power and the U.S. Travel Association aims to monitor US business travel conditions as the industry rebuilds from historic pandemic lows.

Other findings show less than one in 10 are uncertain if they would travel in the next six months, with expectations to resume traveling at a slightly slower pace compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Dubai regulator with ‘world-first’ metaverse HQ

A Dubai-based virtual asset authority has become the “world’s first” regulator to establish a metaverse HQ.

VARA has announced its entry into the virtual world through the online world of the Sandbox.

The move aims to ensure the regulator is accessible to its industry in this new environment and facilitate collaborative engagement for stakeholders.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, said: “Dubai views the virtual asset industry as the driver of the global future economy.

“VARA has been established at a pivotal moment in response to the expansion of the Emirate’s incredibly sophisticated and modern legal framework regulating virtual asset activities.

“As the first niche regulator for the virtual asset sector globally, VARA’s metaverse HQ also makes the UAE the first jurisdiction to enter this platform, reflecting our leadership’s aspiration to facilitate a borderless new market enabling sustainable economic freedom.”

Consumers follow B2B decision makers in omnichannel sales

Around three-quarters of US consumers are buying online and remotely, showing similarities with B2B omnichannel preferences.

Findings from McKinsey & Co show Seventy-five percent are researching and purchasing using these methods – for both food and non-food categories across a broad range of categories.

It comes after the same firm found that 94% of B2B decision makers find this omnichannel approach at least as effective as traditional sales models – up from 65% in 2020.

Meanwhile, 45% of consumers told the latest study that social media is influencing their purchases.

New industry leader’s announced

UFI’s board of directors has elected Geoff Dickinson as the association’s president over the 2023/24 period.

The CEO of dmg events will take up the incoming position in November at the conclusion of the 89th UFI Global Congress.

He will work closely with the president and outgoing president as part of the association’s leadership trio.

Geoff Dickinson said: “I just want to say a big thank you to the board of UFI for supporting me to be the president in 2024. I can’t begin to say how flattered and honoured.

“I’ve loved working with UFI over the last couple of years. I’d be delighted to take on this role in 2024, and delighted to be supporting the executive team in the coming years. I would like to thank everybody very much for all of your support.”

Meanwhile, CloserStill Media has poached an exhibition industry leader to drive its US expansion efforts. Yancy Weinrich takes on the role of newly created president of North America for the firm.

She has more than 17 years at RX, serving as the chief growth officer since 2019 where she led the organisation in growth strategy, marketing, content, digital and activations for over 25 B2B events across a range of sectors.

Gareth Bowhill, CEO of CloserStill Media, said: “Yancy Weinrich is not only an experienced, forward-thinking leader in the exhibition industry, she also has an incredible track record of driving growth and innovation through organic business development, launching new events and acquisition.

“CloserStill Media is looking forward to expanding our global business by twice its pre-Covid size in the next 24 months. Under Yancy’s leadership and vision in the US market, we will continue our customer-centric approach in leading and dynamically growing market sectors.”

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.