Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel – Swimming with the big fish | TravelResearchOnline


Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel – Swimming with the big fish

First off, the GTM-induced cold didn’t kill me. So that’s good. It did, however, make the rounds of my recently enlarged family and made for an interesting couple of weeks.

And during that time (completely changing subjects now), my partner and I decided (well, I decided and she is humoring me) to take a giant leap in to the unknown – trade show exhibitions in search of agents.
 As commission checks started rolling in from all those great bookings the first couple months of the year, I realized I actually had some money for serious marketing. At the same time I was getting psyched up to do another presentation at CruiseWorld in November. I looked at the cost of exhibiting at that show, and decided I could swing it. So I did. And now, for the first time in my life, I am going to be doing a trade show from that side of the aisle! We are setting up to do some serious agent recruiting.

I have a friend I’ve known since we were both new in the business, and he started hosting just a little before I did. He has done some trade shows, with decent results. But what I know is every time I go to a show, the large Host Agencies are all there, year after year. There has to be a reason they do that—it must be successful. In any business, if you want to compete with the big boys, you have to do it on their playground. I am not saying I will get Bridges & Holman to that level any time soon. But, frankly, based on my history… I wouldn’t bet against me. We didn’t start this business to be small time.

So, is it a huge risk? Yes. When you add up the cost of the booth, plus all the ancillary costs, it’s stretching the budget. But, the reward might be huge, too, and I have always tried to live by the words in “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;

In the meantime, I am having a fun with the whole thing. Mostly figuring out how to go up against entire teams with vast experience in trade show marketing. My partner has a background in PR, so that’s really helpful. I am just a relentless self-promoter, so we have that going for us.

It’s also amazing how generous some suppliers are. Without giving away too much detail too early, we decided rather than invest a bunch of money in swag giveaways that no one really needs, wants, or keeps, we would do a little contest to drive traffic to the booth. And then I realized what a great cross promotion opportunity it could be. So I emailed a few of my preferred suppliers and was, honestly, inundated with support. And fairly high value swag. I have a feeling (or maybe a delusion) this is going to be one stunt/exhibition/promotion people talk about later.

Hope to see many of you there in November. As I said, I’ll also be on the program doing something with a panel or a breakout session—to be determined. And you are not going to want to miss the exhibition. I promise.

Dave Holman is a Partner at Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel, based out of Southern California, with 9 years experience in the travel industry.  He will draw on his past experience as a serial entrepreneur, as well as his time as a hosted agent at Coral Sands Travel and Expedia Cruise Ship Centers/OVC, as he builds and manages his (relatively) new Host Agency.  You can contact Dave via his website at, or better yet, through his Facebook page at






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