Nick Pilbeam

In a candid conversation with Travel And Tour World, Mr. Nick Pilbeam, the newly appointed Travel Divisional Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions shares some of his valuable experiences while working in the global travel events industry for a considerable period.

Travel And Tour World – You were a part of the travel industry for a long time; describe your experiences with British Airways and how the experience in the aviation industry will help you in your current position?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
I worked at British Airways and International Airlines Group for 14 years in various roles, initially in technology then moving into change management focussing in the customer arena and subsequently into the loyalty space. I was fortunate to work on some ground breaking initiatives, such as the global launch of the Avios loyalty currency, across hundreds of countries and two major airlines frequent flyer programmes (British Airways and Iberia). This experience of the travel industry, change management, having a commercial outlook with customer orientation will be helpful in my new role looking at how we evolve our global travel event offering to meet the evolving needs of our customers in dynamic and changing global context.




Travel And Tour World – Reed Travel Exhibitions organizes some of the most prominent travel trade shows in the world. How do you plan to go about your new position?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
My initial priority is to engage with some of our top customers around the world to hear their views on where we deliver excellent value and where we can improve our service. I also plan to attend many of our shows and meet our show teams around the world. This will help inform the medium and longer term plans with where we take our travel offering building on the recent significant international growth of Reed Travel Exhibitions as well as harness and build on our learnings and positive customer reaction to recent innovations such as the successful launch of our new show format at IBTM Arabia in February this year.



Travel And Tour World: A career curve witnesses a number of ups and downs. Would you like to share the most challenging project in your career?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
I was part of the launch readiness team for the opening of London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 which was very challenging, technically complex and fascinating in terms of how airports, airlines, people, facilities and technology all come together. The first few days of the terminal opening were very challenging however since then it’s been good to see the world-class performance standards delivered and awards won by Terminal 5.



Travel And Tour World: You replaced Mr. Richard Mortimore who is promoted to the position of Chief Executive. Would you like to comment on the team work behind the scene at Reed Travel Exhibitions?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
Our team at Reed Travel Exhibitions is passionate, professional, highly experienced and dedicated to meeting and exceeding our customer’s expectation and making our shows successful in order to create value in bringing together the travel industry. Our people workcollaboratively across markets and teams to continue to deliver our shows and develop our offering year on year.



Travel And Tour World: What are the most imperative qualities an individual must have to be a successful travel event industry professional?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
Fundamentally we create value by bringing the buyers and sellers of the travel industry togetherin a global context – it is a people and relationship business so customer-orientation, excellence in delivery, attention to detail and a passion for the travel industry are some of the key ingredients to success.



Travel And Tour World: The travel event industry is going through a rapid change. What are the most crucial trends in the travel events industry that you have adapted and wish to adapt in the near future? Is there any particular change that you personally wanted to bring in the travel events industry?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
The travel events industry is certainly changing as is the travel industry itselfagainst the backdrop of ever increasing traveller numbers. There are significant geographical changes in tourism flows around the world and the digital world continues to have a significant impact on the travel experience. As the global leader in exhibitions, we need to adapt and change to continue to ensure we offer the right format in the right place at the right time with the right attendees to ensure our customers continue to enjoy the value creating by our events. Recent developments that we have delivered include rolling out our flagship shows (WTM, IBTM World and ILTM) to focussed regional events (e.g. WTM LATAM) to satisfy and support regional demand. We have also implemented a portfolio approach, to help our customers understand and maximise the value they get from our collection of shows in a specific sector such as the MICE sector with our IBTM Portfolio. In addition, and in response to evolving customer needs, we are innovating in the format of some of our shows, most recently launching a new ‘pod’ format at IBTM Arabia in Abu Dhabi in February this year which will also be rolled out to IBTM Americas in a few months’ time. It’s too early to share what’s next in our innovation pipeline – watch this space!



Travel And Tour World: The renowned industry events that fall under Reed Travel Exhibitions include the International Luxury Travel Market portfolio, IBTM Events, and recently announced, WTM portfolio. Are you excited to be a part of the show floor?

Mr. Nick Pilbeam:
Yes, excited and delighted – the buzz on the show floor of deals being done, new relationships being formed, old relationships renewed, new opportunities being identified and generally the travel industry doing business at our shows is a privilege to experience and be a part of.



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