TRAVEL TRADE SHOWS – WORTH IT OR NOT?

Every year hoteliers and destination management company diaries are likely to be filled with numerous travel trade shows and exhibitions, in search of the key to future business growth. As you can imagine, the instinct for a lot of travel industry people is to attend as many trade shows as possible. However, we at Select Representation have realised (after many years…I might add!) that this approach can be detrimental to future business expansion and you could actually be over exposing your product. Of course, we all know that travel trade shows and exhibitions can be very tiring. If you attend too many, then you and your team’s energy levels can start to flag. In fact, your existing and potential clients will simply expect to see you in attendance …at each …and every event!  Is this the best way for your product to be remembered?

Yes, a successful show can take your business to the next level but an unsuccessful trade show can be a bad experience for all. We have learnt that you should only attend the events that are a perfect fit for you and your business. It is important to take some time to develop a list of preferred events to attend, rather than spreading yourself thinly across many events. It’s vital therefore that you focus all your efforts on a handful of relevant trade events, such as, ATF (Asia), ITB (Berlin), TTM Plus (Thailand), World Travel Market (London) or any other market specific event relevant to your business. There certainly is no need for buyers or sellers to attend a show every month…. so pick and choose carefully.  Attending or exhibiting at a maximum of 3 shows per annum is plenty! When extensive travel is involved, you may need to ask yourself – ‘is it going to be worth the return on investment’?  You need to think about how much it will cost (in terms of flights, accommodation, meals, transportation locally, client entertainment and equipment needed for the exhibition)? If the overall figure seems to be high, then it might be better to stay at home, and seek other ways to enter these new markets. Why travel half way around the world ….when you already have a ‘local’ office?  It obvious, most product or contracts managers prefer to meet those suppliers in attendance that do not have ‘local’ representation.

The moral of the story is ‘don’t waste your money on attending numerous money spinning travel trade shows… just to be seen’.  The key is to attend preferred events and make a bigger impression by being fresh, prepared for each meeting and importantly following up on the points discussed afterwards.  Trade shows should not be considered as a simple tick in the box!