Magnificent seven win ATM awards

  • Popular Best ‘Stand Awards’ awards programme rewards exhibitor creativity and investment in five independent categories, with two additional highly commended winners; judging panel of top industry professionals select the most eye-catching and innovative stands.

The hotly anticipated winners of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017 Best Stand Awards were announced at a photo-call on the show floor on 27th April.

Launched in 2015, the Best Stand Awards were created to recognise the design creativity and business-friendly appeal of exhibiting companies’ physical presence at ATM.

The judging panel comprised a line-up of top industry and design professionals: Leo Fewtrell, Managing Partner, Gulf Reps; Fiona McAndrew Sharp, Sales & Marketing Director, TTN; Nicholas Hall, Managing Director, Digital Tourism Think Tank and Daniel Pearce, Managing Director, TTG Media.

The four-strong panel had toured the largest Arabian Travel Market to date, to identify the stands with the biggest ‘wow’ factor. The winners are as follows:

  1. Best Stand Design: Kerzner International Resorts
  2. Best Stand Design Highly Commended: South Africa
  3. Best Stand for Doing Business: Rotana Hotels and Resorts
  4. Best Stand Personnel: Al Rais Travel
  5. Best Stand Feature: Etihad Airways
  6. Best Stand within the Travel Tech Show at ATM: Sabre
  7. Highly Commended within the Travel Tech Show at ATM: Jetclass

 “The fresh, innovative stand designs and concepts never cease to amaze and this year was no exception,” said Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market. “These awards recognise the huge effort, investment and thought that go into creating and manning quality exhibitor space.”

The judging criteria for the Best Stand Design award focused on identifying an eye-catching stand with a creative design that made the best use of available space and attracted a high level of visitor traffic.

And Kerzner International Resorts ticked all the boxes. Pearce said: “I was very impressed. The stand really stood out and the features were brand new. Kerzner has just launched its private residence collection and design elements from that, such as bookcases and luxury furnishings, were incorporated in the stand design. It was a subtle, yet intelligent, way to showcase the brand.”

South Africa’s stand, featuring a steam train with meeting space in the carriages, claimed the Best Stand Design Highly Commended award.

The winner of the Best Stand for Doing Business needed to create a busy B2B atmosphere and present a well-planned and easily navigable layout with a good presentation of the stand and its services.

“Rotana Hotels and Resorts had a very good business stand with a reception area downstairs then a private meeting lounge and excellent food and refreshments upstairs for clients,” said McAndrew Sharp. “The full executive team is present and everybody is always incredibly welcoming and hospitable. The whole approach and attitude really captured the ideas of hospitality and business.”

The award for Best Stand Personnel is an especially important accolade considering hospitality is a people business.

“The staff for Al Rais were excellent,” said Fewtrell. “From the Managing Director to the welcome hosts, they were an excellent representation of the brand and although the stand was very busy, they were welcoming and highly professional.”

The Best Stand Feature accolade was awarded to the stand that produced innovative ways of drawing in visitors, and they didn’t come more innovative than Etihad Airways’ stand – an aircraft in a bus, which has been touring for the last two years, visiting 71 exhibitions and meeting 160,750 visitors. It has first class, business class and economy suites.

McAndrew Sharp said: “The bus element of the Etihad stand featured lots of little interesting elements and was an excellent way to engage a trade audience, while also taking the product to the consumer. It’s a unique and innovative concept that combines the features of an aircraft within a bus and it drew huge crowds.”

The Best Stand within the Travel Tech Show at ATM specifically highlights the importance of technology to the industry.

Hall said: “Sabre always does a good job and what I really liked about their stand this year was the use of space. The stand featured meeting and workshop space, with Sabre’s workshops consistently well attended.”

Jetclass, a new company with seven employees selling business class seats on scheduled private jets, came Best Tech Highly Commended. The stand was built in three days.

Hall said: “Judging on all factors, you see many types of stands at ATM, but to create something so impressive on a small budget, while perfectly capturing what they do, is a huge achievement.”