Guide to hosting a Routes event  

Our guide tells you all you need to know about hosting a Routes event and the bidding process.

Routes events travel to a different location every year and there is a vigorous process in place to select the best hosts.  Neil Mulligan, senior future host manager, was interviewed about what he looks for in potential hosts and what they gain from the experience.

Why host a Routes event?

Hosting one of our events provides a rare opportunity to bring some of the most influential people in the aviation and tourism industries to your airport/destination.

It is the best way to show the world’s airlines what you have to offer. This could be:

  • Airport developments such as a new terminal or runway
  • Financial support for airlines establishing new routes (route development fund and/or incentive scheme)
  • Local tourist attractions
  • Other infrastructure projects such as high speed rail links or new roads

As a host you can target the airlines and individuals you want to do business with through formal meetings, VIP dinners, private tours and any other activities of your choice.

The feedback from our events is really positive and hosts can have a big impact on delegates. Customer research at World Routes in Chicago found that:

  • 87% of delegates were completely or very satisfied overall with the event
  • 83% of delegates said they would return to Chicago for leisure purposes
  • 88% of delegates consider attending World Routes as important for their business

Most hosts pick up several new air services as a result of the event. An independent consultancy calculated that the host of a World Routes event can expect to increase air connectivity by over 20% more than their competitors.

They can also expect a significant return on investment. In the year after Las Vegas hosted World Routes 2013, the city gained over 120 weekly flights with an estimated annual economic impact of $450 million in non-gaming revenue. If more people knew, I’m sure they would consider hosting.

What do you look for in a good host?

We look for hosts who are ambitious, innovative and share our aspiration to organise the best event any delegate has ever been to.

Hosting the event boosts air access but an airport must have a good route network in the first place. Our delegates are based all over the world and they don’t want to have to take several flights to get to an event.

The quality of the venue and its capacity to hold a large number of delegates is crucial. We also need a good supply of quality hotels nearby to accommodate them.

Contrary to popular belief, the process does not work like an auction where the highest bidder wins. The criteria and costs associated with hosting are set out and budgeted years in advance of the event taking place, and all candidates that meet the criteria will be considered for the event.

The destination will be somewhere that delegates want to go and enjoy the local attractions. The list of World Routes destinations from the last ten years shows the calibre of the cities that have hosted the event:

2016: Chengdu, China

2015: Durban, South Africa

2014: Chicago, USA

2013: Las Vegas, USA

2012: Abu Dhabi, UAE

2011: Berlin, Germany

2010: Vancouver, Canada

2009: Beijing, China

2008: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2007: Stockholm, Sweden

We’re also keen to explore new markets and it is important for World Routes event in particular to move around the globe.

How do potential hosts bid for an event?

Hosting a Routes event requires a lot of time and resources. Potential hosts must demonstrate that they can meet this commitment while providing an appealing location for our delegates.

Bidding for an event is a competitive process that can start up to three years before it is due to take place, and I usually deal with multiple bids for the same event due to the demand.

Interested airports and destinations can get in touch with me by emailing

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Routes World 2022 will unite airlines, airports and aviation stakeholders from across the globe to build air services for the economic and social good of every destination. As the...

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