Tourism is a massive global industry, with destinations and operators from all over the world competing to showcase their product and capture part of the lucrative tourism market. Tourism trade and consumer shows provide the opportunity for tourism operators and regions to promote their products directly to the travel industry.
At trade shows you have the opportunity to promote your business to industry buyers such as travel agents, tour operators, and tour wholesalers. At most trade shows, you need to pre-arrange appointments with buyers in order to give a short presentation on your product.
Typically you have only a few minutes to ‘sell’ your product at a trade show. Travel agents, tour wholesalers, and inbound tour operators will have lots of appointments with operators who are all trying to achieve the same outcome – to get their tourism product sold on a large scale. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
- Pinpoint the most amazing thing about your product or region and open with that
- Don’t give a rehearsed spiel; it will start to get monotonous. Instead have key dot points of information you want to get across in the limited time and judge your audience.
- The most important thing is to make your product memorable, even if the agents only walk away with one piece of knowledge. As long as it stays with them you have succeeded.
- Don’t give out heavy information packs or brochures, instead offer CDs or thumb drives with your product information – overview, contact details, prices, operational information
- Use visuals to showcase your product, such as a PowerPoint or iPad presentation
- Ask the agents questions – do they currently sell any WA product? What are they looking for? What appeals to them about your product? Use this information to tailor your offering to meet their needs.
- After each appointment jot down a few key reminders about the person you met and the company they represent, so that when you follow up you remember the person.
- Attend as many networking functions as possible during the show as these are a great way to reacquaint with agents and subtly remind them of who you are and what you’re selling.
- FOLLOW UP! Once you get back from the trade show it is vitally important to follow up straight away. Many of the agents will have asked for specific information to be emailed or posted to them, do this promptly.
Consumer shows, also known as expos, are held throughout the world and all have the same purpose - to showcase products for new potential buyers.
Consumer shows are usually held in large, open indoor areas where hundreds of sellers set up stands to display and sell product. The general public is usually allowed to enter, for a small fee, and browse the different stands.
Both consumers and businesses benefit from consumer shows. Consumers see all the various tourism products in one place, allowing them to interact directly with sellers.
Operators benefit from increasing brand awareness, promoting their products, getting direct feedback from potential consumers, and even obtaining firm bookings. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
- Create an incentive. You need to lure consumers to your stand and nothing works better than a competition! Offer a prize that showcases your product or region.
- ‘Giveaways’ also attract consumers. You could hand out branded promotional material such as pens, lollies, notepads etc.
- Make your booth amazing. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make your booth look incredible. Just use good imagery that showcases your product and region and spell out why your product is a ‘must do’ experience. Make your stand colourful, but not too crowded, and make sure your drawcards (competitions or giveaways) are obvious.
- Keep in mind this question: If someone walked past your booth would they instantly know what you were selling?
- Have good quality and high quantities of your promotional material available
- You can either hand out ‘show bags’ which include promotional material such as brochures, regional information, branded stationery etc, or alternatively, just give out your product brochure.
- Have friendly staff at your booth
If solo attendance at trade and consumer shows is beyond your budget, you might like to consider a collaboration. You could share booth space with other operators in your region or pay for your brochure to be distributed at the shows by a third party, such as your local visitor centre, Regional Tourism Organisation or Tourism WA.