Our Summit would not be the same without our sponsors and expert speakers. For that, we are truly grateful every year, not only because their sponsorship contribution makes a lot of it happen but also because they get on stage and present our delegates with insightful industry details and facts every year.

We are also grateful to our own ‘insiders’ – our very own colleagues who are true masters of Tax, Audit, VAT and Travel M&A.

So, for those of you who missed this year’s Travel Directors’ Summit, here are some key take-aways from our lineup of experts.

External Intelligence: Secrets & Lies

C&M Travel Recruitment

Not the usual 3:30min this year on stage for Barbara and the gang as it was almost a full-on interrogation to find out which potential candidate would be best suited for a role. In the relatively short time allocated, C&M managed to point out the following key facts:

  • It takes between 15 to 45 hours to fill in a role
  • C&M invest £95,000/year in advertising and another £65,000/year in CMS, analytics, tech, website etc.
  • They create detailed overviews of client requirements to find the right candidate and fit
  • They always interview candidates and gain consent before sending to clients
  •  Candidates are fully briefed about the company / culture before interview



In a world of smart technology, big data, 5G, clouds and Blockchain, the experience economy is continuously growing and travel technology is helping travel businesses orchestrate memorable experiences for their customers.

Here are some key points we’ve taken away from Paul Broughton (Director of Business Development – Europe, Travelport) and his presentation:

  • We are currently in the ‘4.0’ era and that means that not only business and technology are 4.0 but the traveler too
  • The customer of tomorrow are Millennials and Gen Z and they are not only tech savvy but travel savvy too: 70% check reviews in their planning phase and rely on bloggers, influencers and websites such as Tripadvisor to help them make the best choice; 78% say they would rather have a desirable experience over a desirable item and that means that personalised and unique travel experiences are growing; validation is something that these generations are looking for when travelling (think Instagram-friendly locations, for example)
  • The ‘digital spine’ of  Tech 4.0 is made of : Mobile, AI, Internet of Things, Big Data and Cloud.
  • “Today’s fourth industrial [digital] revolution is affecting the very essence of our human experience and transforming the business models of each and every industry”
  • Systems of intelligence are the economic winners in the new world.


Wild Dog Design

Our friends at Wild Dog Design have brought to light the digital propaganda manifesto, which looked like this:

  1. Death to tradition
  2. The Rise of the machines
  3. Data is everything
  4. Innovate or die

…but have also raised the question on how much can we actually trust it? Well, they’ve also give us the Moscow Rules:

  1. Establish a distinct profile. Stay consistent.
  2. Never go against your gut.
  3. No limit to human’s ability to rationalise the truth.
  4. Technology will always let you down

…and in the spirit of modern free-thinking, we’ll let you decide for yourselves….

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We always hear interesting facts on stage from Moneycorp and this year, besides a memorable singing performance (if you missed it, you missed it and let us tell you, it was quite impressive!) by John Sawyer, Moneycorp’s Corporate Account Manager, we also learned that when it comes to foreign exchange and international payments, the common misconceptions are:

  • All FX rates are the same, more or less.
  • You can trust your current provider, bank or broker to give you best price / a similar service.
  • Exchange rates don’t really make much difference to the bottom line of our business, it all evens out in the end.
  • I haven’t got time to look at the FX, there is too much to do – I’ll get round to that at some point.

…when in reality, things are completely different:

there has been a 11% volatility in market movements in the past 12 months (GBP/USD) – High 1.3381; low 1.1959 with average forecasts made by various banks differing by 30%

there has been a 10% volatility in market movements in the past 12 months (GBP/EUR)- High 1.1803; low 1.0724 with average forecasts made by various banks differing by 13%

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Marketing Radar

Mike Nalder, Client Services Director at Marketing Radar has dispelled the myths about brochures and what we’ve learned is that:

  • Brochures have lots of long-established benefits that risk being forgotten in this paperless digital age
  • Flickability – brochures are perfect for Browsing at Leisure – no pop-ups, alerts or notifications to distract you from daydreaming about faraway places
  • Brochures provide reassurance for customers spending a fortune and leave with nothing but an e-mail confirmation or receipt… Nothing really tangible just a promise to deliver a holiday months later. Brochures act as a psychological voucher that allows customers to show friends & family what they have booked.
  • Persistence – most brochures are beautiful.  Nice to have around the house, adorning the coffee table and difficult to throw away.
  • They endure and continue to do their job of persuading people to choose and book a holiday with that operator.
  • As a form of print advertising, brochures are 6x more likely to be looked at than digital ads.  <10% of digital ads are looked at for more than a second.



One of the main things we learned this year form Paysafe is that:

  • Payments companies have a unique insight into merchant behaviour and perhaps more control over it as well. Payments companies help facilitate trade and by doing so, they have insight over merchant liquidity.

The recent trends in the travel payment space have shown the following facts:

  • ATOL have seen 7 UK merchant failures in 2019 YTD, with Thomas Cook number 8.
  • Outside of bonded travel agents we are aware of at least 5 other noteworthy UK failures YTD. This doesn’t include smaller operators and resellers.
  • Thomas Cook Contagion is likely cause further default and strain amongst resellers.
  • The EU Airline sector is under a lot of pressure.
  • Notable recent failures include PrivateAir, Cobalt, Wow Air, Flybmi

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Special thanks also goes to our long time sponsors Holiday Extras , In2Action and Cork Bays & Fisher for their continuous support and even though we didn’t hear them speak this year, we’re sure that we’re going to have some great presentations next year!

When it comes to the internal group of experts, we had yet another round of fantastic people come on stage and present our delegates with their department’s Secrets & Lies.

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