Creating memorable experiences will be a major theme at this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) with the organisers revealing that the Taste of Travel programme will feature sessions designed to inspire visitors to bring the ‘wow factor’ back to travel.
Speakers will take to the stage in the Taste of Travel theatre throughout the three-day event to deliver exciting sessions around topics such as ways to improve the inflight experience, how to attract the discerning younger generations and what the commercial, private and executive aviation sectors can learn from each other.
Curated in association with Onboard Hospitality (OBH) magazine and organised by Jo Austin, former Editor of OBH, a line-up of well-known industry experts will cover topics designed to guide and inspire airlines and rail companies to adapt their onboard service strategies based on what passengers are looking for in their post-pandemic travels. Visitors can expect panel discussions, live demonstrations and tastings that will offer practical advice on how to bring the fun back to travel now that the industry has moved past the recovery phase, as well as understanding what passengers are looking for from onboard retail.
For some airlines, the concept of enjoyment of travel is in their DNA and the session entitled ‘Bringing the Fun Back to Air Travel’ will see three airlines and a supplier discuss how they are working towards a better inflight experience, including their views on sustainability, wellbeing, catering innovations and the all-important children’s entertainment. Moderated by Alison Wells, Owner and Managing Director of Plane Talking Products, the panel will feature speakers from Icelandair, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Buzz Products as they draw on current trends to identify what passengers really want from their inflight experience, which will in turn will help to inform the development of inflight product and services.
For those looking to explore the latest developments in onboard retail, day one of the event will see veteran aviation media professional and Director of Jetway Communications, Maryann Simson moderate a discussion entitled ‘Digitising Onboard Retail’. Joined by speakers from Retail InMotion, easyJet, dnata and AirFi, this panel discussion will offer attendees insight into how easyJet has implemented portable streaming technology to transform retailing capabilities onboard, improve product offerings, reduce waste and create new touchpoints across the passenger journey. With expert advice from the line-up industry leaders into how digitising onboard retail can improve passengers’ overall travel experience, visitors will leave this session with practical steps to take that will improve their onboard retail strategies.
For those looking to further explore the important role that inflight purchases play in catering to the ever-evolving demands of Generation Y and Generation Z passengers, the discussion on day two of WTCE entitled ‘How to Drive Inflight Retail for the Next Generation of Passengers’ will be presented by students from Wiesbaden Business School in Germany and will offer solutions for airlines and distributors on how they can meet the expectations of these younger consumers. With research showing that only 37% of Gen Z fall into the category of being brand loyal[i], this session is a must-attend for visitors looking to better understand why the younger generations are no longer satisfied with the current inflight purchase and duty-free shopping offerings, and what can be done to gain their allegiance. Business Development Lead at Omnevo, Joe Harvey, will lead the university presenters as they speak from experience on what airlines can do to encourage this demographic to engage with onboard retail.
Research indicates that the food and drink served onboard is a major factor in creating memorable experiences for passengers and with almost a quarter (24%) of British people claiming to enjoy an alcoholic drink when flying[ii], as well as the 37% of Americans who say they drink alcohol when on a plane[iii], the Taste of Travel Theatre will introduce ‘The Ryder Cup of Wine! May the Best Win!’. Hosted by the wine experts at Intervine, the interactive session will give visitors the chance to taste a diverse range of wines from Californian sparkling wine and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to Italian Chardonnays and classic Chardonnays from the US. The session will take attendees on a journey of discovery as they explore the diverse range of flavours and aromas that each wine has to offer, including their unique sustainability farm practices, packaging alternatives and the growing category of non-alcoholic wine.
The final touch point for Taste of Travel sessions themed around the topic of creating memorable experiences will be on day three of WTCE as Marc Warde, Owner and Director of Niche Free-From Kitchen moderates the panel discussion ‘Living the High Life: What Commercial, Private and Executive Aviation Can Learn From Each Other’. Warde will be joined by Daniel Hulme, CEO of OnAir Dining and Axel Bilstein, CEO of Flying Food, as they detail what makes private and executive aviation different and what the industry can learn to enhance the service in first class, as well as what influence commercial aviation has. The experts will also look at hybrid models, smaller jets and how a better service can be offered both on the ground and in the air.
The Taste of Travel programme will also feature a wide selection of other sessions, tapping into the key themes highlighted across the show floor, including sustainability and well-being onboard.
WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw, concluded: “Creating memorable experiences onboard is key to moving past the post-pandemic recovery phase, especially when it comes to attracting the younger generations where brand loyalty isn’t necessarily a factor in their purchasing decisions. The Taste of Travel programme is always a highlight at WTCE and these sessions in particular are designed to inspire visitors to inject a bit of fun back into their onboard strategies. The expert speaker line-up will lead lively discussions on a topic that is so valuable to the future of the onboard services sector.”
For further information or to register for the event.