Where leaders meet and greet: Top 15 business travel events in 2024

Where leaders meet and greet: Top 15 business travel events in 2024

Pack your bags and get excited for another trip to excellent travel conferences and shows in 2024. Whether you're looking to make deals, discover the latest travel technology trends, or simply network, these 15 events must be on your calendar. Get information on dates, locations, and why you should go.

As you begin planning an industry event in the travel space, one of the first decisions you’ll make is clarifying the event format. Let’s break down the main event types first.

A trade show, expo, or conference?

It’s important to settle on either a trade show, expo, or conference based on your goals and target audience. Understanding the purpose of each can help you select which event to invest your limited time into. 

Travel trade shows 

Trade shows provide a space where businesses from a specific industry can network, buy, and sell products and services. The size and scope of trade shows can vary widely, from small, local fairs to huge multi-day mega shows that draw tens of thousands of attendees.

Typically hosted in convention centers, hotels, or other large venues, trade shows feature rows (or "aisles") of vendor booths. These booths promote the latest products, services, and technologies from businesses in that industry.

Often, trade shows also include speaking sessions on industry topics. And, of course, there is always swag — those branded gifts and samples from vendors. 

Travel expos 

Expos have a similar setup to trade shows in terms of vendor booths, speaking sessions, and networking opportunities. But expos tend to cover broader topics or focus on B2C consumers instead of business customers. 

Expos are still a valuable event for many businesses, though. They provide chances to check out the competition or connect with other brands. 

Tourism conferences

Conferences focus less on promoting products and services to potential customers. Instead, they bring together audiences from a field to share knowledge and collaborate.

While a trade show has booths lining a large exhibit hall, conferences typically feature smaller meeting rooms for speaking sessions. Some conferences incorporate trade show elements like sponsor booths and demo areas. But the emphasis remains on knowledge sharing.

These events give you an opportunity to make new connections and bring fresh ideas back to your company.

Of course, many organizations take advantage of all three events at different times to maximize exposure, open up partnership opportunities, motivate employees, and simply get their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the field.

Speaking of keeping up with the latest happenings, that brings us nicely to the main part of the article — the 15 best business travel events.

Top 15 travel industry events and conferences

Ready to increase your sales and do some networking? Here are 15 of the top annual travel events that should be on your radar.

1. ITB Berlin

Date: March 5-7

Location: Berlin, Germany

Every March, the global travel community gathers at ITB Berlin, one of the world’s biggest travel trade shows and conventions. You can expect panel talks, lectures, interviews, exhibitor events, workshops, travel conferences, and more.

Segments at the event cater to the following niche sectors: 

  • Adventure travel
  • Business travel
  • Luxury travel
  • Youth travel
  • Medical tourism
  • Travel technology

You can select specialized tracks to focus on. For example, the e-travel track will feature discussions on shifts in the travel sector influenced by AI and blockchain tech.

ITB Berlin homepage

2. Travel Tech USA Canada 2024

Date: March 2024

Location: Online

Launched in 2020 amid pandemic disruption, Travel Tech is one of the biggest online travel industry events. With tourism demand still recovering in many markets, the event promises a dynamic program led by sector experts exploring digital tools that advance travel experiences. 

Sessions, accessible in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, can help you tackle obstacles and future-proof offerings by adopting travel technology trends, like hotel management software.

Travel Tech USA Canada homepage

3. BMT Mediterranian Tourism Exchange XXVII Edition

Date: March 14-16 

Location: Naples, Italy

BMT Mediterranean Tourism Exchange is one of the leading B2B fairs in the Mediterranean. Now, in its 27th edition, the three-day affair provides a space for travel companies and vendors across the region and beyond.

With thousands of attendees flocking to the Mostra D’Oltremare exhibition center, BMT Exchange showcases 400 exhibitors spanning cruise lines, airlines, hotel chains, tour operators, and more. You can explore six specialized pavilions and attend workshops, travel conferences, and presentations.

BMT Mediterranian Tourism Exchange homepage

4. 2024 Rendez-Vous en France Travel Market

Date: March 26-27

Location: Toulouse, France

Rendez-Vous en France Travel Market is an international tourism and travel show that promotes tourism across France. Run by Atout France, the national tourism development agency, Rendez-Vous expects 750 tour operators and travel agencies from 65 countries.

Through the meetings and networking facilitated, suppliers can showcase their updated offerings. International buyers can discover new programs and trips to sell to travelers from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. The event is a good way to strengthen France’s positioning in those markets outside the country.

2024 Rendez-Vous en France Travel Market homepage

5. GBTA Canada Conference 2024

Date: April 22-24

Location: Toronto, Canada

The Global Business Travel Association’s big annual conference happens in Toronto in 2024, reuniting all players that enable corporate trips worldwide. The conference aims to address obstacles and opportunities now facing work trips, meetings, and events.

Vendors across the business travel industry will showcase new services and products in the expo hall. Travel decision-makers and custom software development companies like COAX can meet face-to-face to make deals, build relationships, find new partners, and explore future business opportunities.

GBTA Canada Conference 2024 homepage

6. U.S. Travel Association's IPW 2024

Date: May 3-7

Location: Los Angeles, US

The U.S. Travel Association holds its top yearly event, IPW 2024, uniting everyone involved in bringing global visitors to explore America.

Thousands attend — U.S. travel suppliers, international buyers, journalists, advisors, and more. U.S. travel exhibitors can promote their offerings to buyers from over 60 countries through meetings and events. These partnerships are crucial for showcasing what makes the United States a top global destination.

IPW 2024 homepage

7. IMEX Frankfurt 2024

Date: May 14-16

Location: Frankfurt, Germany

As one of Europe's top travel shows, IMEX Frankfurt brings together around 3,800 global meeting planners and 2,900 travel industry suppliers for several days of business dealings, networking, and education.

With national and regional convention bureaus, venues, hotel groups, transportation companies, and tech providers, IMEX offers access to corporate event services. Attendees, including association executives, agency heads, and in-house event managers, can take advantage of the hosted buyer program with free flights and accommodation.

Beyond the trade show floor, IMEX Frankfurt provides an extensive seminar and workshop program around experience design, marketing, travel technology trends, and industry best practices from renowned experts. 

Over 57,700 meetings took place at the 2023 edition alone, proving IMEX to be the leading event in the industry.

IMEX Frankfurt homepage

8. TravelTech Show

Date: June 19-20

Location: London, UK

TravelTech Show, formerly known as Travel Technology Europe, is a technology travel event. In 2024, the show celebrates over 20 years of bringing together hospitality brands and tech giants to network and explore innovations in travel.

Across two days, over 70 exhibitors, including global giants and startups, will showcase solutions like booking software and travel mobile apps for digitally transforming travel experiences. Qualified attendees span 63 countries with £133 million in tech budget power.

While the program for 2024 isn't available yet, the 2023 program included multiple topics on AI in the travel industry and a tech huddle on the top international payment best practices.

TravelTech Show homepage

9. International & French Travel Market

Date: September 17-19

Location: Paris, France

International French Travel Market (IFTM) is another multi-sector tourism industry trade show. With over 30,000 travel professionals, IFTM showcases 1,400 major brands and 170 global destinations under one roof.

With exhibitors ranging from travel agents and tour operators to tourism boards and tech providers, IFTM offers a dynamic international platform. Attendees can explore the latest offerings, forge strategic partnerships, and analyze travel trends.

Beyond the exhibition stands, IFTM delivers dozens of conference sessions and debates for education and idea sharing around business travel, leisure trips, adventure tours, and more.

International & French Travel Market homepage

10. World Travel Expo Miami

Date: October 21-23

Location: Miami Beach, US

World Travel Expo (WTE) Miami convenes thousands of travel industry decision-makers in 2024 for a major business event. Hosted by Miami International Airport, the multi-day travel industry conference and expo connects airlines, hotels, tourism boards, cruises, airports, and other hospitality reps.

WTE Miami promises attendees many ways to learn, connect, and grow their businesses. Tourism pros can join travel seminars and workshops led by industry experts. One-on-one meetings also foster networking with contacts worldwide. Participants get WTE Miami’s special event app to stay on top of happenings.

World Travel Expo Miami homepage

11. IAAPA Expo Europe 2024

Date: September 23-26

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

IAAPA Expo Europe is the top yearly trade show for amusement parks, theme parks, museums, zoos, hotels, tourist sites, and any business in leisure and attractions. At the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center in 2024, the three-day event brings together industry pros to see the latest offerings, hear experts, and make deals.

Suppliers can use the sponsorship program to showcase products and services through tailored packages promoting their brand to key attendees.

IAAPA Expo Europe 2024 homepage

12. Arival 360

Date: September 30 - October 3

Location: San Diego, US

Arival 360 is the top tourism and travel show. Over three days, tour operators, activity sellers, transport firms, and more come together to network and problem-solve.

Arival 360 promises:

  • More peer networking through a new meeting format called Arival Exchange Unboxed
  • Tailored content on key issues at Attractions and Culinary Forums
  • Celebrating success stories at the 2024 Arival & TourReview Spotlight Awards honoring standout experience providers

The agenda facilitates both structured and organic interactions.

Arival 360 homepage

13. World Travel Market London

Date: November 5-7

Location: London, UK

World Travel Market (WTM) London is one of the most influential business travel shows, gathering around 35,000 industry professionals from 184 countries. Tourism boards, hotels, transport firms, and tech vendors exhibit to connect with decision-makers.

If you have an offering, you can use WTM's platform to demonstrate it to thousands of qualified attendees. You can also discover travel technology trends and consumer demand insights through talks featuring top industry voices.

World Travel Market London homepage

14. IBTM World 

Date: November 19-21

Location: Barcelona, Spain

IBTM (Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings) World is a global trade show for the meetings, incentives, conference, and events industry held annually in Barcelona. Over 15,000 professionals attend from 100+ countries, while 3,000+ suppliers exhibit. New tech, sustainable choices, creative concepts — it’s all showcased.

Speakers dive into topics like managing strained budgets and the mental fatigue now facing event planners. The Impact Stage highlights solutions ranked best by peers in areas like diversity, marketing, and sustainability.

Beyond exhibitions and seminars, IBTM World prioritizes time for self-care with well-being sessions to prevent participant burnout.

IBTM World homepage

15. Digital Travel Summit

Date: November 21-22

Location: London, UK

Last but not least, Digital Travel Summit, one of the best tech travel events, brings together airlines, hotels, travel agencies, and tourism leaders across Europe each year. The 2024 edition lets them explore the latest technology and ideas for boosting bookings, customer experiences, and operations.

Key topics at the summit include:

  • Using data to personalize offers and 1-2-1 messages so brands stand out as travel becomes more innovative
  • Building meaningful relationships with customers to boost bookings and loyalty
  • Partnering with influencers to find, excite, and retain modern travelers across platforms
  • Becoming an agile, future-ready travel business through travel industry software prepared to meet new obstacles and early opportunities

The 2023 event featured talks by speakers from major brands like Booking.com, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Skyscanner, and more digital travel leaders. For 2024, the lineup promises insights from recognizable industry pioneers, too.

Digital Travel Summit homepage

With so many renowned experts and brands represented across the various travel conferences, you’ll have no shortage of thought leaders to get inspired by. But just listening to talks isn’t enough to benefit from these travel industry events. You need a plan to turn those ideas into real work.

How to make the most of travel events

How do you avoid missing anything important while getting exactly what you want — brand exposure, new leads, or new business partners? Follow these tips.

1. Do your research ahead of time and set clear goals

Review the schedule and decide which educational sessions, speakers, or networking opportunities align with your goals. Are you focused more on learning about tech innovations in travel or on making connections to grow your clientele? Define your priorities so you can plan your time.

2. Travel prepared to actively participate

Have plenty of business cards on hand and be ready to briefly explain what your company does. Bring brochures or samples that help demonstrate what you offer. Having materials ready allows you to share information about your services when opportunities arise.

3. Make sure to balance scheduled event activities with free time

Don't get so caught up rushing between sessions that you miss chances to network organically. Allot time to wander the travel expo hall, chat with people between presentations, or socialize during receptions. You never know what connections you can make during downtime conversations.

4. Follow up promptly after the event

While conversations are fresh, send personalized emails to new contacts to solidify relationships. Share links to resources discussed or follow up about possible ways to work together. Maintaining contacts after travel seminars is vital to realizing the full business benefits of attending.

And that wraps up our preview of 15 must-experience business travel events in 2024. With the right goals in mind and a prepared speech, you can maximize your event ROI, increase your brand recognition, and expand your business.

COAX roadmap for 2024

Travel technology is our passion at COAX. We upgrade legacy systems and develop new solutions aligned with the latest travel trends. Whether it’s integrating APIs or providing full-fledged travel website development and design, we make client visions a reality while considering current infrastructure needs.

Take a look at the COAX case study on partnering with a global travel platform. People often lose money when travel plans change. We created Re:Plan to solve this problem. It lets sellers easily relist non-refundable reservations, while users can search hotels and book new stays. COAX handled complex data integration so the marketplace could unify information from various hotel systems.

Re:Plan interface
Re:Plan interface

Another example is custom CRM development for a bus tour agency with growing operations. We used React, Ruby, and Python to build a platform integrating all aspects of the business. Now, our clients can easily connect to suppliers, while tour guides, drivers, and travelers access everything they need in one spot.

Bus tour agency interface
Bus tour agency interface

One of the ways we continue to surpass our clients' expectations is by attending travel-related events as well as eCommerce events. We always appreciate the energy of in-person communication. Last year, visiting WTM London and CEATEC in Tokyo allowed for valuable conversations about AI applications and IoT products for travel.

Now, looking ahead, some major business travel events on our calendar include ITB Berlin in March, IMEX Frankfurt in May, and IBTM World in November. 

COAX invites all interested parties to connect at these travel events or anytime to brainstorm how we can assist through software development. Let’s keep in touch to foster productive travel partnerships in 2024!

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