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A day at World Travel Market

November 10, 2010  |   Posted by : Dee  |   Uncategorized   |   Comments Off»

At Spice PR, we do more than generate great coverage. We make it our business to keep up-to-date with our clients’ industries which this month included our annual visit to the wonderful world of WTM, as it’s affectionately known.

World Travel Market brings together hoteliers, tourist boards, tour operators, travel agents, ministers, media and many more for an extravaganza that sees the Excel venue in London’s Docklands become a vibrant, colourful marketplace for the global travel industry over four frenetic days as more than 50,000 visitors come and go.

First stop for us was the WTM Global Trends Report, in association with Euromonitor, which identified key travel trends worldwide and offered some ideas of what to expect in 2011. It’s no surprise that social marketing and mobile phone applications ranked high on the agenda here with some fascinating facts and figures, although the panel were keen to point out that these should complement, rather than replace, traditional communications processes. Other trends discussed included the so-called ‘deprivation holiday’ – which despite causing some amusement is clearly an emerging market – and the staycation, with some questioning of the latter’s longevity and a reminder of the need to continue driving growth in this area over the year ahead.

With social marketing on our minds, we headed over to TripAdvisor’s seminar which offered hoteliers tips and advice on how to harness the power of social media, rather than fearing it. Given that, according to the leading customer travel review site,  67% of UK travellers say that such information is ‘hugely influential’ in their decision-making process, this is not something that any property can afford to ignore, and judging by the impressive turnout, the growth looks set to continue.

After a spot of networking, we made our way through the incredible array of stands representing countries big and small to the Institute of Travel and Tourism’s Question Time, which offered two successive panels to answer the topical questions resounding through the industry. CEOs of four leading travel companies offered expert opinions on the controversial proposal for the ‘flight-plus’ change to the Atol scheme, raising moral, political and economic questions about how best to cover repatriation if an airline goes bump, and outlining possible alternatives, to a mixed reception. There were, however, some very positive messages about the resilience of the travel industry with advice for operators on strategies to effect immediate results, away from the long-term issues.

Finally, the UK’s leading travel editors and writers took the panel seats and offered their opinions on a host of issues, from their preferred travel review websites to the topics that they’ll be writing about – an interesting discussion and an invaluable insight for keen travel PRs!  All in all, a fascinating day.  Find out more at www.wtmlondon.com

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