World Travel Market 2012, London: Day 1 Updates
Day 1. First impression while entering the venue was ‘WOW’. Day 1 of the event created so much impact in London that in the tube (train) they announced that WTM attendees have to get down at ‘Custom House’ station to reach the venue faster, and after this announcement the tube was empty! Day 1 was an invite only event, irrespective of this fact the entire event arena was filled with people. There were exhibitors, buyers, press members, VIPs and speaking delegates. Day 2, 3 and 4 is open for public, so the rush for next three days is expected to be multi-fold.
First event of the day was from 9 to 10 AM where buyers meet sellers. To be part of this event, one should have registered themselves either as a buyer or a seller. There were 100+ buyers under a single roof, the type of buyers were tour and package operators, hoteliers, government organizations, travel product companies and distributors. On an average, a seller would have easily met at least 10 buyers in the planned 1 hour. It was a speed networking event.
At 10 AM, the stalls were officially opened and the exhibition started. The entire event arena was divided into nine sections where every section was occupied by a country / geography. Travel Technology exhibitors had a separate section.
Among the (non-technology) exhibitors, a large portion of them was occupied by Europe & Mediterranean. The exhibitors were airlines, accommodation providers (of all star categories), tourism boards, destination specialists, cruise companies, railways, bus operators. Among the technology exhibitors, there were hotel solution providers (channel management, distribution, in-house management, PMS), booking engine providers, payment solutions, content management, marketing solutions, mobility solutions, social media providers, IT services, reputation management, revenue management, website solutions. In the technology section, the exhibitors were mainly dominated by hotel solution providers and booking engine companies.
It was very interesting to see the innovative ways adopted by tech and non-tech exhibitors to woo visitors to their stalls. For example, TripAdvisor had a person who dressed up in TripAdvisor logo and walking around, Thailand tourism board had a stall in which massages were done for free, Abhu Dhabi tourism board had a show with giant eagles (actual) in their stall, Srilankan tourism had a team of 10 people who dressed up in their traditional attire and they attracted guests by singing and dancing, China tourism offered sushis, UAE countries offered varieties of dates (free) for visitors, Emirates Airlines had replicated their first / business class setup in their stall to show case the comfort they offer to their guests, Costa Rica had setup a forest-theme based stall, and there were many such innovative displays.
All speaking events started at 10 AM and they were more than one event that happened in parallel. The topics of discussion were: How technology is enabling travel, 2012 travel industry report, Global trends, Review of 2012 Olympics and tourism.
Stay tuned for updates on next three days of the event.
Below are few pictures from the event.
Author: Karthick Prabu