June 1 2023  |  Events

WTCE brings the passenger "Wow Factor" to the Taste of Travel Theatre

By Reedah Hayder

The Taste of Travel program will have the significance of onboard food and drink take center stage

The World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) is gearing up to offer an extraordinary experience for travellers at this year’s event. Organizers have announced that the Taste of Travel program will showcase sessions aimed at inspiring visitors to bring the “wow factor” back to their journeys.

Taking place from June 6 to 8, the three-day event will feature captivating speakers on the stage of the Taste of Travel theatre. These industry experts will deliver exciting sessions covering a range of topics, including ways to enhance the inflight experience, strategies to attract younger generations and lessons that the commercial, private, and executive aviation sectors can learn from each other.

“Creating memorable experiences onboard is key to moving past the post-pandemic recovery phase, especially when it comes to attracting the younger generations where brand loyalty isn’t necessarily a factor in their purchasing decisions,” said WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw, in a May 26 press release. “The Taste of Travel program is always a highlight at WTCE and these sessions in particular are designed to inspire visitors to inject a bit of fun back into their onboard strategies. The expert speaker line-up will lead lively discussions on a topic that is so valuable to the future of the onboard services sector.”

Attendees can anticipate panel discussions, live demonstrations, and tastings that provide practical guidance on reintroducing enjoyment to travel now that the industry has transitioned from recovery. The conference will also explore passengers’ expectations regarding onboard retail.

One of the highlights, the session titled “Bringing the Fun Back to Air Travel,” will feature three airlines and a supplier discussing their efforts to enhance the inflight experience. The panel, moderated by Alison Wells, Owner and Managing Director of Plane Talking Products, will include representatives from Icelandair, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Buzz Products. The discussion will revolve around sustainability, well-being, catering innovations, and children’s entertainment, as they explore current trends and passengers’ desires for their inflight experience.

The importance of food and drink served onboard will be highlighted during the event, as it plays a significant role in creating memorable experiences for passengers. A staggering 24 percent of British people claim to enjoy an alcoholic drink when flying, and 37 percent of Americans say they drink alcohol while on a plane. To cater to these preferences, the Taste of Travel Theatre will host “The Ryder Cup of Wine! May the Best Win!” session. Intervine, the wine experts, will host the interactive session, giving attendees an opportunity to taste delightful wines, as well as a chance to know more about sustainable farming practices, packaging alternatives and non-alcoholic beverages.

Day one of the events will focus on the latest developments in onboard retail. Maryann Simson, Director of Jetway Communications, will moderate a panel discussion titled “Digitizing Onboard Retail.” Joining her will be speakers from Retail InMotion, easyJet, dnata, and AirFi. Attendees will gain insight into how easyJet has implemented portable streaming technology to transform retailing capabilities onboard. The session will explore ways to improve product offerings, reduce waste, and create new touchpoints across the passenger journey. The industry leaders will provide expert advice on how digitizing onboard retail can enhance passengers’ overall travel experience, equipping visitors with practical steps to improve their onboard retail strategies.

On day two, the discussion titled “How to Drive Inflight Retail for the Next Generation of Passengers” will focus on meeting the expectations of Generation Y and Generation Z travellers. Presented by students from Wiesbaden Business School in Germany, the session will offer solutions for airlines and distributors to cater to these younger consumers. With research indicating that only 37 percent of Gen Z passengers fall into the category of being brand loyal, this session will explore why younger generations are no longer satisfied with current inflight purchase and duty-free shopping offerings. Joe Harvey, Business Development Lead at Omnevo, will lead the university presenters as they share their experiences and provide valuable insights for airlines to engage with onboard retail.

For the exciting finale at the Taste of Travel program, day three will feature the ultimate panel discussion called "Living the High Life: What Commercial, Private, and Executive Aviation Can Learn From Each Other," hosted by Marc Warde, Owner and Director of Niche Free-From Kitchen. This session will reveal the secrets of creating unforgettable experiences. Warde will be joined by Daniel Hulme, CEO of OnAir Dining, and Axel Bilstein, CEO of Flying Food. Together, they will spill the beans on what sets private and executive aviation apart and how the industry can level up their First Class service. They will even explore the influence of commercial aviation and dive into exciting topics like hybrid models and smaller jets.

The Taste of Travel program has a treat for everyone, with sessions focusing on sustainability and wellbeing onboard. Get ready to be amazed and inspired!

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