When you run a travel business, one of your main goals would be to build a large customer base and maximize your profitability. In order to improve your visibility to potential customers and attract them toward your business, as well as retain your existing customers, you need to tap into all the available sales and marketing channels. There are numerous ways to promote your products and services, such as email marketing, social media marketing, flyers, magazines, television, billboards and direct mail.
In addition to the aforementioned channels, there is another very important channel - Travel Trade Shows. You might ask - "Why should I invest in trade shows when I'm already spending a lot of money on other offline and online marketing channels? I mean, trade shows cost a lot of money..right?" Yes. Trade Show Marketing does tend to cost more than a lot of other marketing channels, particularly if you're exhibiting. However, if done right, they can also yield very high returns.
Here are some benefits of participating in trade shows and how it can help you maximize your returns:
It is one of the best ways to acquire customers. Majority trade show visitors tend to have buying authority, which means that most people you meet at a trade show are potential buyers for you. If you are a hotel, you can use use trade shows to collaborate with travel agencies and DMCs for your region. If you run a Travel Agency, you can find potential tour operators and suppliers to contract with and sell their inventory on your portal or offline. You can generate business leads directly and easily because people visit trade shows with keen interest and usually come prepared to buy products and services suitable to their requirements. Trade shows allow you to meet prospective buyers face to face and discuss mutual business opportunities. They also lend a lot of credibility to your brand and the leads you generate are more likely to convert as they have met you in person. Even an informal chat with a potential buyer at a trade show can mark the beginning of successful future business relationship. You can get phone numbers and emails of key decision makers at the trade show and get in touch with them later on to discuss partnership opportunities. Trade shows are a great brand awareness tool, which is particularly useful if you're a relatively new business or if you're looking to establish your brand in a new region. If you have a stand with big attractive banners at international travel trade shows like WTM or ITB, your brand is exposed to a large and diverse audience, including some of the biggest names in the industry. You get more one-to-one time to showcase and pitch your products and services to your prospects. Let's say you're a travel startup looking for potential partners/ investors. You can use travel trade shows to pitch your business to other travel businesses and negotiate rates and commissions with them there and then. When you have a booth at a trade show, it shows your commitment towards your business and gives prospects greater faith in your products and services. Also, regularly attending important trade shows also helps you nurture relationships with prospects as well as customers as the same people often attend those trade shows each year, thus giving you a chance to meet them regularly and strengthen your ties. Having a booth in a show with the big players of your industry can help you acquire large accounts, which may be difficult otherwise. When you explain your products effectively and one-to-one to your business leads, it stays in their mind for a long time and even if they are not ready to buy at that point. Trade shows offer good word-of-mouth publicity for your business. You can hand brochures, flyers and business cards to your business prospects which will serve as a relationship builder. As a tour operator, you can hand out your tour package brochures to travel agencies as well as end users.
So, whether you are a travel agent, tour operator, hotel/resort, wholesaler, rental car company, or a technology company, trade shows offer enormous benefits.
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