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The numbers are higher this year. No more, no less than 180 000 ITB visitors. That only means that, despite global instability, the tourism sector isn’t falling. In the first part of ITB series of articles, we’ve highlighted all the benefits a small tour operator gets from attending ITB as an exhibitor.
Now we’re going to point out all the benefits a small tour operator gets from attending ITB as a trade visitor. Let’s go!
Every Tour Operator Should Prepare Him- or Herself
Because you don’t have a stand as a trade visitor, your trade show goals are a little bit limited. For example, selling to direct customers on ITB Weekend is not the most convenient thing to do (all boils down to the fact that you’re going to chase people around with your brochures). That’s why the weekend isn’t so interesting for trade visitors. Most of them come during the working week to establish their business goals. Trade visitor ticket cost 35 Euro a day or 50 Euro/5 days.
Tip: Before you even start preparing, subscribe to ITB newsletter and enter your fields of interest. This way you’ll stay in touch with all the news and changes that matter to you.
Trade Visitor Benefits (And Some Tips)
Here’s what you get out of attending ITB as a trade visitor.
Contact with sales and cooperation partners
As a trade visitor, you have access to Virtual market Place (the online platform where all exhibitors stay listed for a year) and you get a profile on ITB Networking Tool (the online platform where all potential associates are listed). You need to make your profile on Networking Tool by entering all relevant information about you and your company. Enter your contact, profile picture, web address (refresh your website!) and in what kind of cooperation are you interested. Then you can search for your potential business partners in the Virtual marketplace. Its “Matchmaking generator” feature will help you find them more easily. After you find them, you can contact them and arrange a meeting.
Tip: Start searching all relevant exhibitors few months before ITB and find the contact person who is a decision maker. Contact them directly. Download ITB app with maps and exhibitor list so you can find them more easily.
Contact with 400 bloggers
As a trade visitor, you can’t have speed meetups with bloggers. But you can contact them in advance using the ITB Networking tool. See what they are doing, contact them or visit them at ITB Blogger corner.
Tip: This year we visited the Travel Massive opening party. Travel Massive is an organization that gathers travel bloggers, photographers, content creators and travel startups. You can make a profile on their website and arrange a meeting at this cool party.
Contact with other trade visitors
Using ITB networking tool you can find other trade visitors that provide similar tours or come from your country. You can talk about your target groups and prices, cooperation and export possibilities.
Tip: If you don’t have an appropriate space to hold a meeting, you can find a free meeting space at ITB Business points. Bring your laptop or tablet with you so you can present your product.
Access to lists of all ITB participants
Use the lists that you can find at the ITB official site. Browse them and find potential partners. You can download lists of exhibitors or list with directories of different countries.They can help you find the best companies in their countries. If you’re interested in the German market, ITB has made a list of every major German tour operator.
Education at the ITB Convention
Attend lectures, discussions, and workshops and find the latest news from the tourism industry. Explore scheduled lectures in advance and decide which lectures are the most interesting to you. Identify niche markets, tourism trends, and market situations and use this information for future strategic decisions.
Tip: check out innovations in the tourism industry and find out what we’ve learned at the convention in our next posts.
Access the largest organizations in the tourism industry
Small tour operator, like you, should find organizations and associations that gather companies from their niche. Arrange a meeting and find out what you get out of joining their organization.
Tip: Visit their events. This year we were more than satisfied with the fun networking event organized by Adventure travel trade association (ATTA). It was a great opportunity to meet business colleagues from the field.
Exploring and enjoying
If you’re not too tired and still have some energy, you can try some culinary specialties, explore art, literature, dance and music of different countries at the Culture Lounge.There is another event every day and an after-party which you can attend. Follow your target exhibitors. See if they are holding some kind of an event on the Event Calendar and try to connect with them in a casual environment.
Tip: Try to find out information about after parties on social media. Some are open to everyone, but for some, you ‘ll need to have an invitation.
Raising your image on social media
Download ITB logo from the ITB official page and post pictures on social media with your participation announcements. It’s a good thing to post pictures and videos during and after ITB. Tag new friends and partners (if they agree of course).
Tip: Some organizations invite participants to post pictures from events they organized on their social media. Use hashtags and spread the word until the next ITB.