The future of travel trade shows, generally, gets debated in all sorts of ways all the time.
A few years ago we had 8 clients exhibiting at World Travel Market, in 2012 we had 4 and in 2013 we will probably have even less.
Indaba is historically the key show for Africa, but each year fewer buyers attend. The official stats say differently but they are always higher than what the exhibitors feel they really are.
The way forward for trade shows seems to be in those that are niche, targeted and appointment driven.
One of the leaders in this field is ILTM(International Luxury Travel Market), a show that has been running for roughly 10 years. Bought by Reed Exhibitions about 3 years ago, this show is getting very big and has a very corporate feel to it, but it still ticks more boxes than Reed’s other show WTM.
According to ILTM, this invitation-only event ‘facilitated over 51,000 individual meetings between the industry’s elite when it took place over 4 days in Cannes’. The first day is taken up with seminars and the opening conference (some very inspirational speakers) and that is followed by 3 days of appointments.
Emily Prentiss, Valerie Wilson Travel commented:
“I have stepped into a world of passion, creativity and enthusiasm at ILTM, where luxury travel is unparalleled. ILTM has given me the ability to learn about the new and the exciting, at the same time as familiarising myself with existing product to meet my clients’ desires.”
As some pointed out, what makes ILTM stand apart is that both exhibitors and buyers are serious about why they are attending the show, and all are extremely professional. This is not a show for side-line exhibits, dancing girls or pen collectors.
Ethos Marketing represented The Blue Train at ILTM Cannes in 2012, and managed to fit in 58 appointments over the 3 days. These included a good mix of quality meetings from a variety of markets.
Trade Shows need to evolve and develop, as most businesses do these days. They need to keep up with modern demands. We need to feel that we are getting a return on our investment (be it time or money). ILTM and PURE fulfil these criteria.