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

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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.

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

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

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

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