Mustering up the capital resources and the time to attend a trade show so is surely no light matter. A travel agency’s investment in both travel and accommodations are often significant. Yet, the opportunities afforded by a travel trade show are considerable. Most importantly, travel agents can delve deeply into the tenor of the companies they select for their business partners. There are few venues that provide the opportunity for face-to-face evaluations of travel suppliers like a trade show especially considering the chance to compare notes on suppliers with other agents. Indeed, trade shows afford an almost unique opportunity to learn about new product.
The face-to-face experiences inherent in a trade show are very valuable to a professional travel counselor. Strong supplier relationships are an important component of a thriving travel practice, and there is no substitute for meeting a supplier representative in person to take the measure of his or her company. But there is also the additional benefit of interaction with your peers. Those travel agents who regularly participate in on-line professional communities have the opportunity to meet each other in the flesh at a trade show. Old friendships can be renewed and strengthened , new ideas compared and tested.
Educational seminars and discussion panels at trade shows can be very important, especially when the promoter takes seriously the needs of their agency constituency. The topics of discussion at each of the fall line-up of trade shows represent strategic insight into the future of the industry. The new perspectives, inspiration and motivation provided by a good trade show or conference are hard to over-estimate.
Links to three important upcoming shows are given below.
By the way – take as many of your office associates with you as possible. The shared information and recollection will greatly benefit your office upon your return. Most travel consultants, whether owners or employees, will come away from any of these trade shows charged with a new perspective and enthusiasm. Take the time to study the exhibitors and the speakers at these trade shows and, then, set your sites on attending at least one of them.
Relationships with suppliers, your peers and the industry’s thought leaders are an important aspect of this business. It is time to begin forming your own, personal relationships with established and emerging suppliers. If you can attend a trade show this year, do so. TRO will be filling its booths this trade show season with its travel-agent writers like Susan Schaefer, Barbara Oliver, Laura Frazier, Steve Cousino and Mary Stephan among others. I hope to see you at one of these upcoming shows:
- THETRADESHOW – Sept 12 – 14 in Orlando
- The Home Based Travel Agent Forum – September 27-29 in Miami, Florida
- Home Based Travel Agent Show and Leisure World 2010 – Oct 27 – 29 in Atlantic City