This past November, I visited WTM because I felt it was the ideal place to meet tourism boards face to face. During four long days in London, I met with 42 tourism boards, hotel companies and airline companies.
WTM is an amazing event, but is not open to the public. It was created for travel business professionals like myself (e.g. journalists, bloggers, travel shows, photographers and others). It also is a great platform for tour companies, travel agents, hotel groups and cruise ship companies.
The main reason for anyone to attend here is to network and make vital business contacts. According to the WTM marketing team, during the 2012 convention, $2 billion in contracts were signed!
WTM takes place in London once a year from a Monday to a Wednesday. Although open through Thursday, this last day is typically a dead day when the tourism board representatives are scarce and the public is invited in to browse around.
During the first three days of the event, each tourism board has representatives at their stands to talk a little about their country’s attractions, accommodations and overall culture. It is not uncommon to come across intricate and impressive displays. Some countries even fly performers to London for visitors to enjoy local music and dances.
As press, we are encouraged to ask questions, gain a sense of what a country is all about and talk with each representative to see if there is a need we could fill with our work. For the most part, the countries being represented at WTM are excited to promote their destination and are willing to discuss possible press trips on the spot.
If you are based in the U.S. and your fan base is mostly based in the U.S., then WTM may not be for you because the countries there are focused on targeting the European market. But if you’re company has international appeal, and you are willing to make the trip to soggy London, I highly advise that you do not miss out on the opportunity to plan months worth of travel!
1.) Make appointments! You will not be able to meet with a single person there if you do not make appointments at least a month in advance. Their contact information is provided through the WTM website.
2.) Dress to impress in business attire 3.) Hone in on the countries that you are most interested in. Each meeting lasts about 20 minutes, but in that time you must sell yourself so it is important that you know your company and what you would like to achieve if they were to sponsor a trip for you.
Cannot wait to see where my 2012 WTM experience will take me in 2013… Stay tuned.
To learn more about WTM, click HERE
I would like to give a special thanks to my sponsor,ScotteVest Travel Clothing for helping make this trip a reality. Also a big thank you to all the tourism boards and fellow travel bloggers who made the experience unforgettable.