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February 12, 2014

GBTA Combines Europe Conference with VDR's Annual Meeting

The Global Business Travel Association's European conference will take place in Berlin, Germany from November 12-14 this year, in combination with the German business travel association Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement’s annual autumn meeting. The joint event is expected to be the largest European gathering of its kind, with over 700 delegates expected. 

"Like GBTA, VDR is a corporate travel buyer led association for those in business travel," Catherine McGavock (pictured right), director of operations for GBTA in Europe, told International Meetings Review about the combined conference. "It shares our aims and, as our partner association in Germany...it’s the obvious collaborator for our annual conference in Europe." Both associations, she noted, favor events with "significant corporate travel buyer representation"—specifically, over 35 percent. "This is simply not available elsewhere in Europe on this scale," she said.

Large-scale events like these can offer many benefits to attendees, McGavock continued, including networking opportunities and education from a wider range of industry professionals. "The Mind Market exhibition provides an efficient way to meet up with existing and to-source new suppliers," she added.

On the other hand, larger events can risk losing individual attendees in the crowd. "People can end up feeling a little lost," McGavock acknowledged, "but we work hard to create those opportunities for networking and facilitate interaction with fellow delegates. Our conference app—which will be launched well in advance of the event—allows delegates to arrange appointments with one another; all refreshment breaks and lunches are served in the exhibition area which helps to encourage engagement and sessions such as Give & Take facilitate not only great information exchange but also further opportunity for networking."

The partnership was also facilitated by the event's location. “This is a landmark year for the city," McGavock said of Berlin, noting that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And the response has already been favorable. "We have had an overwhelming response to our call for papers and are currently working through these to develop our program," she told International Meetings Review. For both VDR and GBTA, the overall choice of breakout sessions will be increased by a least a third. (Details of the theme and program will be announced soon, she added.)

The program will have both English and German speaking tracts, but simultaneous translation will be provided.

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