Trade shows are notoriously hit or miss. Some are consistently good. Some are consistently bad. Some have gotten consistently worse, And some have gotten consistently better. With management having over a quarter century of experience in their back pocket, Travel Industry Shows (TIS) has been producing consistently highly attended shows for the industry since 2003 and they are most definitely one of the latter.
You may not know them by Travel Industry Shows, but if you have ever attended one of the Home Based Travel Agent Show & Conference events you know the type of show they can produce. These shows are not the giant shows where you gain little. Nor are they anemic shows where you gain even less. With attendance consistently around 1000 professional travel agents, you are sure to be exposed to the top tier suppliers, hear some advice from top tier industry leaders, and come away with a wealth of knowledge in a few short days.
Martin Deutsch, Conference Chairman for TIS attributes their success to their belief in the home based market. “We are the pioneer show for professional home based agents. We are the first show producer to realize the permanence and importance inherent in the home based market.” The Home Based Travel Agent Show & Conference devotes the same resources to the home based market as other shows devote to the traditional brick and mortar agencies. “With this show, you will see no difference, because the location of one’s office makes no difference.” said Deutsch.
The company organizes two shows each year—spring and fall and typically on opposite coasts to offer convenience to the most agents. According to Deutsch, the key to a successful show is to make sure each one is different and addresses the present needs of the agents. For instance, in the upcoming Baltimore, MD show, there will be more than 20 educational sessions and panels, 4 keynote speakers including Adam Aron, and numerous training and certification opportunities from CLIA and the Niche Cruise Marketing Association (NCMA). These panels and sessions are a direct result of the desires expressed by the agents. And of course, the Trade Show is invaluable. Here is your time to meet one on one with the supplier representatives. One of the inherent problems with being a home based agent is that sometimes your business can fall through the cracks and the suppliers may not really “know” you. Make sure you speak with your preferred suppliers and leave a few cards so they can work with you to grow your business. And everyone loves a prize–the Home Based Travel Agent Show & Conference, caps off the trade show with a 15 minute session devoted to distributing prizes so you can experience the products first hand.
When asked about their success, Mr. Deutsch explained that part of it is not being sponsored by a publication, so they are not tied into advertisers or the demands of a publisher. They rely on the Internet and email to get the word out. Over the years, the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) has emerged as a terrific top level sponsor and has been instrumental in drawing the true professionals to the events. Last year, one show was held in Charlotte, NC and it was an admitted risk. Charlotte is not a huge “drive to” city and hosting a conference there ran the risk of poor attendance. However, the reputation of the shows proved them wrong. According to Deutsch, “We had 820 attendees and over 75% flew in for the conference. They likely spent $1200 in addition to the cost of the conference.”
ABOUT THE SHOWS: Information on all Travel Industry Shows (both trade and consumer) can be found on their website. Information about the upcoming show in Baltimore (October 28, 29) can be found here. TRO is also a sponsor of the Baltimore show and is offering a discounted conference admission.