Conference Programme

Conference Programme

The dawn of Artificial Intelligence is upon us. Technology is evolving fast to help us achieve our everyday goals and expose us to experiences we could only imagine. The self-driving car is just one street away.

However the importance of people is as great as ever.

Over the three days of conference we will be considering how the powerful combination of smart technology and human service can enhance the world of travel. Our objective is for you to return home from conference with one idea that has totally inspired you to make it happen within your business.

Welcome to ‘MAN & MACHINE’


Friday 12 May 2017

Delegates arrive and registration opens in the afternoon

16.30 – 18.30 Plenary session

Welcome from our hosts Club Med

Advantage keynote presentation ‘huMAN’

Jason Bradbury will provide you with perspectives on the latest technological developments to wow our world and explore their relevance within the travel sector.

A Glimpse to the Future

New technology showcase by Jason Bradbury.

18.30 – 19.30 Welcome drinks reception


19.30 – 22.30 Welcome dinner


Saturday 13 May 2017

09.30 – 12.30 Speed dating

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 15.30 Speed dating

15.30 – 17.30 The Advantage Sporting Challenge

18.45 – 19.30 Drinks reception

19.30 – 23.00 Dine arounds


Sunday 14 May 2017

09.00 – 09.45 Plenary session

A World of Change and its Impact on Travel

In a presentation tailored to the independent travel sector of the industry, Alistair will consider a number of external influences on the sector including the cyber threat, the balancing of risk and security in both leisure and business travel sectors and the impact of Brexit, the start of which is likely to have been triggered by the time of the conference.


10.15 -14.45 Leisure and business travel breakout sessions


Business Travel


‘Ctrl – Alt – Delete’ – re-booting the TMC of the future
Really successful businesses combine great people with amazing technology to provide more value than ever to their clients. However, where should you focus your efforts for the greatest return? This session will take a look at key areas of service, as previously defined at past Advantage Conferences, and consider what your strategy should focus on.

Auto-Response – What is trending in the corporate world
Looking back at the trends of the past year and presenting insights into corporate travel buyer research on key areas of travel management affected by both technology and people.

ERROR 404 – Corporate Travel Buyer Panel
A panel of small-to-medium sized corporate travel buyers will provide case studies on effective technology and people applications in business travel and reflect on the research presented. This session will focus on areas for enhanced TMC service through the effective combination of technology and people.

Eco-system Z – The NextGen Mega Session
What does the combination of next generation man and machines look like? After our main stage insight into technological developments we explore the next generation of human talent in our sector. Then we consider what NextGen employees and systems can offer us, how our businesses should attract talent and technology and consider what the TMC of the future will look like with Eco-system Z?

Eco-system Z – The NextGen Mega Session
After some initial insights together, delegates will be split to explore ‘Man’ or ‘Machines’ in working groups before finally resuming to share their perspectives.

Au Revoir

Leisure Travel


The story of how a traditional regional media press business has reinvented into a business fit for the digital future and how members can work with them in this new era.

Drawing on the parallels of the media and travel, Liam Reynolds from Johnston Press will talk through how their business has reinvented itself as a business fit for the digital age. Explaining how the change in its readership and local markets has had a galvanising effect on how they operate and how they have prepared themselves to be relevant in today’s digital landscape.

The session will also outline how Johnston Press can work with members in their local market to improve their consumer reach in a modern and effective manner.

Extreme Personalisation
Carnival will share how their latest cutting edge technological innovation looks set to revolutionise personalisation in the cruise industry and how this embraces travel agents.

Recently premiered in Las Vegas and seen by many as the first time the travel industry has been taken seriously by the tech industry for innovation. Learn how the Carnival “Medallion” is being used to deliver a customer experience far beyond what is expected and how this approach can help businesses retain their customers.

There’s No Need To Shout
To showcase the next big thing, we’ve had visualisation… now it’s the turn of vocalisation, voice recognition is coming. How will you be heard?

As voice recognition comes into its own, what will it do, how will you and your customers interact with it… are we ‘really’ comfortable talking to machines? How artificial intelligence via voice recognition services will be a game changer.

The Disruptors, The Mischief Makers
Just how do you get noticed, get heard in an overcrowded and increasingly noisy world?

Paddy Power is Ireland’s largest and most innovative bookmakers but is that how they see themselves. During this session, members will learn how Paddy Power’s innovative approach to getting themselves noticed led them to be the first bookmaker to have an app available on the App Store and how their unique and hilarious stunts often go viral via social media.

The session will also give practical guidance on how any business can make themselves stand out and get noticed, without a large marketing budget or team!

Au Revoir


14.45 – 17.10 Plenary session

Welcome Back

Conference reflections from Steven Esom


Sir Chris Hoy MBE – In Perfect Harmony

Sir Chris Hoy MBE is GB’s most successful Olympic athlete of all time, with six gold medals and one silver. Following his retirement, he remains passionate about bikes and has successfully made the transition into the business world following the launch of his bike range HOY Bikes. There really is no better example of ‘MAN & MACHINE’ in perfect harmony to round off the conference.

Conference 2018 announcement and conference closing remarks from Julia Lo Bue-Said


19.00 – 20.00 Pre-dinner cocktails


20.00 – 22.30 Gala dinner – White Party Night


22.30 – Entertainment


Monday 15 May 2017

Advantage Golf Tournament

Delegates leave