Are you a travel marketer? Are you going to World Travel Market (WTM) in London this November? If not, why not?
It doesn’t seem a year since the world’s tourism organisations, tour operators, bespoke holiday specialists and just about everyone in the travel industry descended upon the ExCel in London. But 12 months have indeed passed since the last WTM event in the capital and it’s time to do it all again.
WTM is among the most important industry travel events of the year. Now, marking its 37th edition, it is well-established and the sheer scale of the show highlights the fact that all the big names are there. Stretching across three days and inspiring a number of additional networking events, there’s a lot to be gained from being in attendance.
Despite so much of what a marketer does these days being online, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. Whether it is with current clients, representatives from companies you’d like to partner with in the future or even your competitors, meeting them in person helps to create lasting relationships.
As well as organising meetings in advance and chatting with others in the industry at their stands, there are numerous other opportunities to connect. Being such an important event means there’s all manner of travel people in London at the beginning of November and this has not escaped a number of organisations.
I myself will be in London early to attend the Traverse Mingle, which is always held on the Friday before WTM and promises to be a fun event. Travel Massive’s networking party on the Monday is another example of how your calendar can easily be packed out day and night for the duration of WTM.
Travel marketing is an area that demands a huge amount of creativity and an event such as WTM is perfect for sparking that. Whether it’s enjoying the spectacles put on by the tourism organisations or talking to other people who are passionate about travel, it’s hard to leave the event without a whole host of ideas to influence campaigns over the 12 months that follow.
While it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the spectacle taking place across the event space, it’s important not to miss the fascinating industry insight that is unfolding on the stages. A packed schedule of talks, discussions and award ceremonies highlights important issues that affect travel in the modern age.
There’s the WTM Global Stage, Travel Tech Theatre, South Gallery Rooms, Platinum Suites and WTM Inspire Theatre, which all bring a different element of the industry to the party. It’s the Responsible Tourism Theatre where I will be spending most of my seminar hours, however, as I believe this is the most pressing area of travel for 2018 and beyond.
Being at WTM doesn’t just put you right in the heart of the travel community, but it also allows you to experience the online discussions from the inside. The power of the #WTMLDN hashtag should not be underestimated, as it builds yet more relationships and insights long after the event has finished.
WTM 2017 highlights for travel marketers
You can’t possibly see everything at WTM no matter how hard you try. There will always be schedule clashes and never enough hours over the three days, but it’s worth putting together a list of highlights before you go and this is mine:
· Unveiling Peru’s brand new global advertising campaign – Stand LA100 – 11.30
· WTM and Traverse presents – When is a follower not a follower – WTM Global Stage – 12.00
· World Travel Leaders Speak – UK markets – What can we expect in 2018? – WTM Inspire Theatre – 14.00
· Genesys Summit – Future digital thinking – Platinum Suite 4 – 10.00
· The Travel Media Market – Global advertising trends and how to focus on responsible tourism – WTM Inspire Theatre – 11.30
· How to Build a Dream Content Team – WTM Global Stage – 16.45
· WTM Responsible Tourism Day – Opening and awards – WTM Global Stage – 11.00
· Generation Jet Set: Exploring why affluent millennials travel, and how travel brands can connect with them – WTM Inspire Theatre – 12.45
· Is influencer marketing the way forward for destinations? – WTM Global Stage – 14.05