Experiences abundant at exhibitions
International travel exhibitions not only make new and unheard-of products accessible to the Indian delegates but also help build confidence between business partners and nurture a relationship that can last a long time. The industry shares if these exhib
Relevance of travel exhibitions depends on which exhibition we are discussing, as some are good and others are not. Many international exhibitions are turning out to be the usual networking platforms or they’ve earned a name where industry feels it is a mustto-attend event overlooking what the exhibition actually offers. Many times, sellers do not find the worth of the money they spent on participation as they do not get good returns. The quality of visitors and hosted buyers is going down every year.
I feel international trade shows and exhibitions are relevant only for the new players in the market. However, the old companies have already established their clients in the international market and meet repeat buyers. These shows only serve as networking grounds for them. I firmly believe that if inbound tourism has to be truly promoted, then India should host its own travel show of an international standard to showcase itself in its glory and diversity.
Travel exhibitions are losing their importance these days. The tour operators cannot reach out to every exhibition and therefore, have to pick and choose. Secondly, availability of all information on the Internet is another reason. To add to that, the overall expense is usually quite high and the returns on the same are quite poor. However, I feel that some of the international travel exhibitions are important to visit as they offer a good platform for buyers and suppliers.
The international exhibitions are no longer effective in promoting inbound tourism. The hefty amount of money spent does not bring returns. The stalls are not manned by professionals. The foreign tourist offices need to be updated with relevant information, digital product material and knowledge of the market where they are promoting India. Rather than having multiple stalls of states, we should do product based marketing and states can display their offerings within these products.
Though the entire world is going online right now and information is available at your fingertips, the distribution channel for travel and tourism products is still local. To spread awareness about your brand and products, it is still important to be visible in person and register your presence. International exhibitions offer that platform. It helps us meet and network with potential business partners and more importantly, build confidence between two parties – something that the internet cannot do. I have personally experienced these benefits. A 10-minute meeting has concluded with us signing a million dollar business deal.
The international travel exhibitions are a platform to bring the entire industry together under one roof and are instrumental in updating oneself with new trends and products. However, over the years, there are too many of these similar trade shows, and thus people are losing interest. Also, the quality of buyers is poor. These shows have become only networking platforms. The functioning of these shows need major change.
Over the years, most of the major travel exhibitions are losing their sheen. The number of visitors and buyers is declining year-on-year especially in Europe and UK-based exhibitions. There are hardly any new buyers to promote India and exhibitions are more like meeting places with existing partners. We need to look beyond these saturated markets and participate in country-based travel exhibitions that are the new emerging source markets for inbound tourism for India. We need an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign for brand Incredible India in the emerging markets.
Technology may have shrunk the globe and many would say that the end is approaching for international travel exhibitions. However, it all depends upon the planning, structure and content of the exhibitions that will ensure that they sustain in the long race. Many exhibitions have changed their format to keep pace with the times and quite a few have also reinvented themselves. The travel and hospitality fraternity looks forward to certain exhibitions which bring in quality buyers, have time-bound and value-added formats, and where the emphasis is on people rather than fancy exhibits. While ‘Incredible India’ did make an impact, we need to ask ourselves the big question – ‘What will it take for us to rank among the top countries in tourism?’ We have everything and much more to attract every possible kind of tourist, but the numbers are just not inclined to come our way. Tourism can be a real game changer benefitting various aspects of our economy. We should look at the EASE of being tourist friendly… Evolved – technology friendly, Affordable – fitting every wallet, Simplified – processes like visa applications, Exciting – making a tourists visit truly memorable.
Every industry needs a trade platform that not only facilitates exchange of ideas but also creates conducive atmosphere of global peace through right ‘communication.’ Travel trade exhibitions are good exposure to all the travel trade representatives to share ideas, upgrade, update and strengthen themselves. As a tourism company, we would like to attend international travel trade exhibitions around the world, which are great platforms to meet our business objectives. An exhibition is the place where we can meet delegates of national and international level from various sectors of tourism industry.
Attending travel shows and conferences is an important business practice that can benefit tour companies in many ways, including building professional relationships, meeting the media, leveraging tips from other like-minded business, learning new ideas from industry experts, gaining an understanding of best practices, and of course, meeting new friends along the way.
Travel exhibitions are great meeting places. These meetings create a bond and help start a lasting business relationship. IATO has been having wonderful conventions in the past, wherein we have seen great ideas emerge. These exhibitions are a great meeting place for the domestic tourism industry. Only few states have very active tourism departments, which organise roadshows. Thus, we as an industry, rely on these travel exhibitions to expand our horizon in terms of learning about destinations and to meet with stakeholders from all parts of the country.
International travel exhibitions are meaningful as long as there are healthy debates and discussions alongside these exhibitions. Besides, international travel exhibitions are more of a branding exercise. For these shows to be relevant, it is important that tour operators, first-time visitors and younger travel agents take back something in terms of added knowledge, market information and valuable contacts from these shows.
International travel exhibitions have relevance in the markets that they address. They are now being segmented under MICE, luxury, weddings, etc., and cater to specific segments of tour operators, travel companies and service providers. The challenge is to get the right mix of participants at these destinations to optimise the value for both the buyer and the exhibitor. There is also a risk of too many exhibitions happening in one location and that can cause confusion and also dilute the importance of international travel exhibitions.
The relevance of international exhibitions in tourism promotion plays very important role. It helps the Industry focus on three main agendas. First is evolving towards value-creating industry by building a brand in international market. People across the globe are looking for value add in services being availed, and this component is key to any tourism oriented country. Second factor is stimulating new demand by showcasing the product. The last agenda is promoting a tourism nation through this medium establishing awareness among participants from various countries at such platforms. The creativity in promotion plays a key role. Through the exhibitions platform, we can showcase the technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 degree videos, which are immersive medias that are transforming how brands showcase themselves online and offline and in hardware headsets from Samsung and Google.
According to me, in the present scenario, Internet, Social Media networking and other communication modes are more active. The relevance of International Travel Exhibitions is going down with time. Since the number of buyers is reducing, they should consider using e-marketing more. Also , with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) getting stronger by the day, I don’t see much future of International Travel Exhibitions in the near future. This method of promotion and sales is getting redundant by the day and there is a need to explore technological advancements and move forward. The times are changing and we have to adapt accordingly.
It is important to participate in international travel trade exhibitions for inbound operators. It is possible for us to create new source markets only by participating in International travel trade exhibitions. These days, the travellers from emerging markets prefer to plan their travel with the help of tour operators and new tie-ups from emerging markets can be built through participating in trade fairs and road shows. As far as we are concerned, we are currently focusing more in China and Eastern Europe markets by participating in trade shows in every part of the world. The networking opportunities on offer at these shows are unparalleled.
Participating in travel and trade exhibitions is one of the best ways to improve and develop businesses these days. It is a platform where one can exchange views with the overseas tour operators and update them about the development of new tourism products in the country. It’s the best way to showcase what the country has to offer and explore interesting itineraries so that foreign tourists can have a great experience in the country.
All activities in promotion and marketing are relevant today, especially international travel exhibitions are extremely relevant for making B2B contacts. They are a great platform to witness new products and people and gain knowledge about what’s happening in the industry. However, these need to be followed up with strong roadshows as during trade fairs you make contacts and during roadshows, you convert them into contracts.
Louis D'souza Executive Director Tamarind Global Services
AV Moorty Director, Narayani Holidays, India Travel Award winner
Viney Tyagi Director Uni Crystal Holidays
Rajat Bagaria Managing Director, Shrishti Holidays
Subhash Motwani Director, Namaste Tourism
Hector D’souza President, L’orient Travels
Nitin John Director Riya Holidays
Sarabjit Singh India Travel Award winner and Managing Director, Travellite (India)
Jatinder S. Taneja Managing Director, Travel Spirit International, India Travel Award winner
Homa Mistry CEO, Trail Blazer Tours, India Travel Award winner
Vikas Abbott MD, Vasco Travel, India Travel Award winner
Rajan Sehgal Director Arrivals Air Services
Sudhir Patil Founder & Director Veena World
Harvinder S Duggal MD, Minar Travels, India Travel Award winner
Zia Siddiqui CEO, Alliance Hotels, India Travel Award winner
Anish Kumar P. K CEO The Travel Planners
Surpal S Deora Director Maxxfun Holidays
Sanjay Basu MD Far Horizon Tours