GLTS 2015

With the Group Leisure & Travel Show taking place on 20th October we thought it was an ideal time to get an update from show director, Graham Yandell.

Group Leisure: It’s the twentieth annual Group Leisure & Travel Show on 20th October, why do you think the exhibition still has appeal after all these years?

Graham Yandell: Our focus on giving visitors and exhibitors the best experience is key to our success I think. We pride ourselves on attention to detail so that everyone can have a day that’s more than worth their investment in time and money.

Can you give us some examples?

Well, everything starts with ensuring we help our exhibitors at every step – selling a stand is just the start. In fact, we regularly receive comments from exhibitors about how our organisation and support is the best they have experienced. It’s about a great experience from start to finish. This helps us attract some of the biggest names in group travel which means we can attract quality visitors.

Did you know that we manually check every visitor registration to ensure we keep to our target audience? This also helps us combat canvassing. Everything is connected and our aim is to do things in the right way for everyone’s benefit.


Pictured: Face-to-face discussions about group travel.

What about the visitor experience; how do you ensure it’s the best it can be?

Again, we start from the beginning. As usual, this year we have organised free coach transfers for a variety of key routes across the country. This is based on demand, and although we cannot cover everyone we hope this is an extra that helps people logistically and financially. If visitors choose to drive we pay for their parking at the NEC if they pre-register to visit by the deadline of Friday 14th October.

And of course, visitors attending an event at the NEC are entitled to 25 per cent off Virgin Train Advance Fare train travel – all the information you need is on our website.

You’ve covered what you’re doing to help people get to the GLTS, what’s in store once they enter the show?

The smell of bacon. We’ve been serving a free bacon butty breakfast to all our visitors and exhibitors for several years now. Our company is all about adding value, improving experiences and being first with ideas – and this is something that people look forward to and we’re pleased to do it. We’ve improved the catering options and seating in recent years too.

What’s different this year?

We have taken up the whole of Hall 8 this year and there are new exhibitors to talk to. It’s important to remember that the biggest pull for visitors is the opportunity to meet people who really understand groups and to get ideas, offers and advice face-to-face, tailored to what will work for them.


Pictured: The Group Leisure & Travel Show 2015.

We have an expanded coach display area so visitors can see and climb aboard some of the best group transportation there is. It’s always nice to touch and feel what you’re potentially buying. Visitors who are upgraded to Premier Club will notice improvements to the Premier Lounge where they can take the weight off, enjoy complimentary refreshments including lunch, and have a space to talk to other GTOs.

The Seminar Theatre was re-introduced two years ago and has been a massive success. Who have you got lined up this year?

I agree, the seminar and Q&A programme has given the show a new dimension and like I said earlier, it’s all about us creating an event where people can discern the difference. It’s one of the reasons people regard the GLTS as the number one exhibition for GTOs, coach operators and the group travel trade.

Our speaker line-up is really strong again and features Eric Knowles, who is best known for his role on The Antiques Roadshow. Eric’s going to be talking about his favourite historic properties to visit and taking questions from the audience. We also have Alexis Conran, who through shows like The Real Hustle has turned scamming into an entertaining art form.

He is going to be giving tips on how to avoid scams whilst travelling and how you can keep your group and yourself protected. He’s clearly multi-talented because he won Celebrity MasterChef this year although unfortunately he won’t be cooking this time! Journalists and TV presenters, Julie Peasgood and Martin Roberts complete what I think is a brilliant programme.

Simon Reeve

Pictured: Simon Reeve speaking in the Seminar Theatre in 2015.

Sounds like a very packed day – what’s your final message to our readers?

It’s such a worthwhile visit. We all agree that the internet and digital technology has greatly enhanced the way in which we find ideas and plan our travel and leisure. But perhaps it’s now even more important to remember how valuable it is to meet travel and leisure experts in person.

When I think back to our first show in 1997 at the National Motorcycle Museum it’s amazing to think how far we have come, via Wembley, Manchester and now ten years at the NEC. We’ve outgrown Hall 8 and will be moving to a bigger hall next year – it’s thanks to the group travel industry for embracing this event as their own and making it the success it is.

The 20th annual Group Leisure & Travel Show takes place on Thursday 20th October 2016 in Hall 8 of the NEC, Birmingham. You can register to visit at

For information about exhibiting telephone Sharon Yandell on 01908-613323 or e-mail

*Seminar sessions and appearances subject to change. Terms and conditions apply to visitors and exhibitors; details can be found at