World Travel Market for First-Timers - A Few Tips

Posted on 16. Nov, 2012 by in Blog, Europe Travel, Travel Tips

Attention! If you’re not a travel blogger, this may not be of interest to you. Perhaps I can interest you in beautiful photos or cute animals, instead?

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I recently attended the travel conference World Travel Market, held every early November in London (not that I ever need a reason to visit my favorite city). I was slightly intimidated by the conference, and wanted to  prepare accordingly,  in order to avoid the awkward sweaty hands and dry mouth situation.

But I surprisingly found very little information for first-timers - so I decided to write about it myself, hoping that it helps and inspires other generations of travel bloggers!

Wear flats. Seriously.

I can’t stress this enough. Ladies, you WILL look cute in heels, but you’ll be in so much pain by the end of the first day that it won’t do your business plan any good. Plus, most of the people you will meet with will be behind their stand, and therefore won’t have any idea what your shoes look like.

Do yourself a favor and wear comfortable shoes. Because you will be walking and standing ALL DAY.

world travel market

Have an extensive look at the Activity Program

While the much-hyped My WTM app is somewhat useful to pinpoint interesting sessions, this year’s version often lacked in details and wasn’t entirely accurate.

Instead, I strongly suggest reading the Activity Program from cover to cover once you get to WTM, along with the Route Planner (yes, the ExCel Center is THAT big). You can get both of these documents upon registration on the first day, and they will be very useful throughout the conference.

Bring more business cards than necessary.

I had only brought 100 or so, and by Wednesday morning I was all out of them. Business cards aren’t heavy, they’re a good conversation starter if they’re pretty and you just never know in whose hands they might land. Better be safe than sorry!

Plan - but don’t overplan

This is perhaps the best advice I can give. Have a definite, clear business plan, not a speed-dating schedule - it will inevitably end up in the gutter as your week at World Travel Market goes on. You will meet so many people along the way that it will be very hard to keep up with an actual schedule.

  • Plan which sessions/seminars you want to attend, and work your “Destinations Time” around that.
  • Be aware of clients that are already willing to work with bloggers, as listed by TBU. It will avoid lots of lengthy, pointless conversations with clueless Tourist Boards.
  • Target a handful of specific destinations or companies that you absolutely want to work with. Have a look at their website and social media channels, and see how/what they’re trying to promote and angle your pitch with that information in mind.
  • Once you’ve established that, tweet them! Say hello, and that you’re looking forward to chatting with them about X.
  • Also, leave ample time for cocktails or food tasting sessions. You will stick to these longer than you think!

Register as press

This is such a great thing about World Travel Market. Since 2011, bloggers can register as press, which means that you get a shiny Press badge that will open up the doors of the much appreciated Press Center - where you can wind down, chat with other bloggers and get your wifi/java fix (two things I like to pretend I’m not addicted to, and apparently failing miserably).

The badge will also catch the eye of representatives on the market floor - I’ve had a lot of people come up to me, look at my badge and say “Oh, you’re a blogger? Nice! Have you been to X…”. A very good conversation starter indeed!

Follow-up

This is definitely the most important thing to do post-conference, other than catching up on your sleep (trust me, you will need to). Hold on to the business cards that were handed to you throughout the conference, and write every single one of them a short email the week after, with extra attention/details to those you really want to partner with.

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Even though I was somewhat overwhelmed by World Travel Market, I will definitely be back next year. It’s still relatively early to assess whether or not it was worth it in terms of business development, but the networking, the unexpected encounters, the friendly bloggers and, let’s be honest, the open-bar parties make for a very solid case.

Perhaps we’ll run into each other next November?

Have you been at World Travel Market? What would be your tips for first-timers?

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5 Responses to “World Travel Market for First-Timers - A Few Tips”

  1. Lizzie

    16. Nov, 2012

    I really wanted to go to WTM this year but decided that it would be better to wait until I had a solid business plan otherwise I could have just been walking round aimlessly for hours! Thanks for these great tips for first-timers - I’m hoping to go next year so these will come in very useful :)

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  2. Ele

    16. Nov, 2012

    I didn’t think London is such a great place for a travel show. I opted for Berlin ITB, I’ll be going in March. I had heard some bloggers say London isn’t worthy :-(

    Reply to this comment
  3. Aude

    19. Nov, 2012

    Great advice! Conferences are always intimidating and overwhelming… Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Richard Crest

    22. Nov, 2012

    Great piece of advice, For me London is one of the romantic places in the world.

    Reply to this comment
  5. alex

    28. Nov, 2012

    Great tips! Hope to be there next year :-)

    Reply to this comment

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