En­abling Deal­mak­ing at Travel Trade Events

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Des Langk­ilde. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.pitchand­match.com

Us­ing the lat­est Africa Ho­tel In­vest­ment Fo­rum's del­e­gate deal val­ues as a yard stick, their in­de­pen­dent re­port of $124 mil­lion – an av­er­age of $4.6 mil­lion per deal and $4.4 bil­lion for all AHIF events over 5 years – serves as tes­ti­mony to the value of deal-mak­ing at events (see page 18). And with Africa's in­ter­na­tional tourism growth ex­pected to rise by 8% for the re­main­der of 2017 (see page 17), the po­ten­tial for busi­ness deal mak­ing at live and on­line events has never been bet­ter as busi­ness tourism in Africa con­tin­ues to ex­pand.

Tech­nol­ogy rang­ing from sim­ple apps to com­pre­hen­sive meet­ing plan­ners at event web­sites have be­come a main­stay of ex­hi­bi­tions and con­fer­ences around the world.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Robert Bol, CEO of Pitch and Match – a busi­ness matchmaking ap­pli­ca­tion for live and on­line events – event tech­nol­ogy must ex­tend far beyond the day of an event by pro­vid­ing year-round sup­port for event or­gan­is­ers. To dis­cover how his com­pany's tech­nol­ogy com­pli­ments deal mak­ing, Tourism Tat­tler ( ) in­ter­viewed Robert Bol ( RB).

TT: How do Pitch and Match en­able deal mak­ing?

RB: Pitch and Match con­nects del­e­gates with speak­ers, ex­hibitors and each other by de­liv­er­ing the con­tent they need and the con­nec­tions they value. To en­sure that the time vis­i­tors in­vest at events is worth­while, the par­tic­i­pant can pro­file, match, in­ter­act, pre-sched­ule meet­ings and con­fer­ence ses­sions. It all ends up in their per­sonal event sched­ule.

Par­tic­i­pants can ar­range one-on-one meet­ings ei­ther at spe­cific on­site or off-site lo­ca­tions dur­ing the event or con­duct on­line video meet­ings. It only takes one click to start a high-qual­ity video call. There's no dis­con­nect. The par­tic­i­pant stays in the browser.

The event or­gan­iser de­cides how each par­tic­i­pant can en­gage and use their per­sonal event sched­ule. Be­fore par­tic­i­pants get ac­cess the or­gan­iser au­to­mat­i­cally grants (or sells) each group spe­cific priv­i­leges and lim­i­ta­tions.

TT: What feed­back have you had from users?

RB: Our cus­tomers have told us that Pitch and Match has be­come a fun­da­men­tal part of their event ex­pe­ri­ence and that matchmaking and the abil­ity to make deals are the key rea­sons for par­tic­i­pants to reg­is­ter for their events.

What sets Pitch and Match apart from the com­pe­ti­tion?

RB: Pitch and Match is the first busi­ness matchmaking app in the world to in­te­grate a video call fea­ture di­rectly into the app it­self.

Is the tech­nol­ogy easy to use?

RB: As a browser app, Pitch and Match can run on a desk­top or tablet and par­tic­i­pants can also check out their event sched­ule on their smart­phone.

From an event or­gan­is­ers per­spec­tive, they can set-up Pitch and Match in less than 30 min­utes. They can also use our Word­press plugin and API to in­te­grate seam­lessly into their ex­ist­ing on­line com­mu­nity, event web­site and regis­tra­tion flow.

Is on­line busi­ness match mak­ing a threat to live events?

RB: On­line events are here to stay and, rather than be­ing a threat, event or­gan­is­ers can ac­tu­ally ben­e­fit from it.

Peo­ple at­tend on­line busi­ness events be­cause it en­ables them to reach out to the world in less time, and at la ower cost. To grow their busi­ness year round, many des­ti­na­tion man­agers and event or­gan­is­ers have al­ready em­braced on­line events. In do­ing so, they have been able to reach new au­di­ences and main­tain strong re­la­tion­ships with ex­ist­ing ones. They've in­creased their global reach be­cause there's no re­stric­tion on at­ten­dees when it comes to on­line events, and lo­ca­tion doesn't mat­ter. On­line events also help or­gan­is­ers gen­er­ate ex­tra in­come year round.

TT: Can you give us ex­am­ples of Pitch and Match’s ap­pli­ca­tion at events?

RB: This year alone, Pitch and Match has fa­cil­i­tated 300 events with 150,000 at­ten­dees in more than 50 coun­tries. The Belize Vir­tual Expo won an Award for the Belize Tourism Board. They used Pitch and Match to en­able the des­ti­na­tion man­agers from Belize to con­duct busi­ness in pre-sched­uled video calls with travel agents, tour operators and oth­ers. Read­ers can dis­cover how this works by watch­ing our YouTube video.

Our Ser­vice Part­ner in Latin Amer­ica de­cided to build the On­line Latin Amer­ica Travel Trade Com­mu­nity, which has be­come the place to sign up for live and on­line events.

What about Africa based events?

RB: Pitch and Match are proud to have ap­pointed Tourism Tat­tler as our Ser­vice Part­ner in Africa, and look for­ward to en­abling the first live deal mak­ing event in Africa at the HVS THINC Africa Con­fer­ence in Cape Town, South Africa this Au­gust (see page 27).

To in­crease the eco­nomic im­pact of events and cre­ate a win-win sit­u­a­tion for des­ti­na­tions and busi­ness tourists, the Meet­ings, In­cen­tive, Con­fer­ence and Events (MICE) in­dus­try in Africa needs ef­fec­tive tech­nol­ogy to sup­port busi­ness deals. Pitch and Match – a busi­ness matchmaking app for live and on­line events – pro­vides a per­fect so­lu­tion.

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