Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alternative WTM World Travel Market Guide

The World Travel Market is in London in a couple of weeks time. We'll be there in force, but figuring out what to do is a mission in itself. Their will be over 5000 exhibitors and dozens of events, so I've bucked the trend of a lifetime and got myself a little organised.

I've just spent the best part of a morning navigating the labyrinth that is the WTM web-site and thought I'd share the juicy bits. So here is my World travel market guide and schedule. Naturally, there is a leaning towards anything e-commerce, adventure travel and responsible travel related:

9 November:
13.00-17.30 WTM Speed Networking. OK it is a horrid concept, but a quick way for us to filter out all the crap and hone in on the few interesting small operators who make it to the WTM. (Meridian Club Lounge)
18.30-.... WTM Fringe Responsible Travel Networking. Organised by Sally from tripbod and Gopi from the fantastic blueyonder (I must disclose that the blueyonder are a Tourdust supplier) this will be a relaxed event featuring the leading lights from the responsible travel world including some fantastic local operators
19.00-....Travtweetup. Aaaaargh, somebody help me decide. There is also a travtweetup organised at the same time as the fringe event above. This one organised by Matt Parsons of TTG is definitely worth a visit to meet the travel twitterati (sorry, couldn't resist it). Location: Abacus, Bank

10 November:
11.00-12.00 Adventure Tourism Industry Trends, Product Development and Marketing. Offering insights on the adventure travel market from some seriously knowledgeable fonts of the adventure travel industry. I will have my networking shoes on for this one with various luminaries from the adventure travel industry attending. Really look forward to catching up with some of the great speakers. (Location: North Gallery room 13)

16.30-17.30 World Tourism Awards We'll be there to see GAP Adventures accept a prestigious World Tourism Award.

18.00-23.00 Travel Blog Camp. The one we have all been waiting for. Darren of travelrants organised a superb event last year and looking at the attendees this will be even better. Pretty much all of the luminaries of the UK travel blogging, ecommerce, trade press and PR worlds collide in a so-so riverside pub, great location, not so great beer. Seriously though huge kudos goes to Darren for single handedly putting on the best event of the massive World Travel Market for free (Location: Doggets Riverside Bar)

11 November
11.00-12.00 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards. One of the best travel awards out there because it highlights the best operators around the world, expect to see some fantastic specialist local operators winning prizes alongside the usual Explore, Exodus crowd.

10.00-13.00 The Get Funded Show. hmmm mixed feelings about this one. Tourdust participated at a previous getfundedshow. Whilst that was fantastic, with exposure and mentoring essentially free, it also didn't quite live up to the pre-show promises in terms ofaudience numbers and attending investors. Now, we are in the unlucky position of needing to seek investment at some stage next year so pitching again would make sense for Tourdust, but frankly at an outrageous £3000 to participate, there is no chance. Basically it is priced so only companies with solid existing funding could afford it. For £3000 I could get close to 10,000 customers to my site through adwords. The shame of it all is that it looks like they have managed to line up some great investors to attend, but if the pay to play fee puts off many other travel startups like ourselves (and many others we know) then those investors aren't going to go away happy. Incidentally I just spotted a great post on this very topic

12.30-13.30 Is this the end of consumer protection as we know it. This promises to be a fascinating discussion about changes to ATOL requirements and the bonding requirements for dynamic packaging. A must for anyone involved in the UK travel industry. (Location: North Gallery Rooms 6&7)

12 November
12.30-13.30 Ask the Engines. Industry managers from Google and Yahoo will be speaking, need I say more? Having said that, my hunch is these guys are here to sell revenue services to travel companies rather than give glaring insights into the latest changes to the search algorithms. My experience of this kind of thing from the past is that they rather state the obvious, however the questions and answers should make the slog up the stairs worthwhile. (North Gallery Rooms 4&5)

13.00-15.00 Advice Clinics. Ask The Experts. Various experts provide tips on topics such as SEO, online marketing etc. I'd recommend hunting out Mark Hodson in particular for his brand of honest sage SEO advice - Mark, in my humble opinion, is about as far as you can get from the evergrowing band of snakeoil salesman operating as SEO agencies.. (Location, South Gallery Rooms 31 & 32)

I'd love to hear in particular if their are any other informal meetups and gatherings planned around the WTM.

In between all the seminars and networking events we'll be ploughing the floors for any signs of small independent local operators. Unfortunately attendees (particularly from the developed countries) tend to be at the more commercial end of the scale, but we hope to find a couple of gems from Asia and Latin America that we have identified. If you want to set up a meeting with us during the event drop us an email at info@tourdust.com

1 comment:

Rob said...

Don't forget at 11am on Wednesday 11th November, there will be 2 minutes silence.