World Travel Market Highlights

22 November 2011

Source: WTM
This year felt quite special at World Travel Market – the fact that it’s WTM’s 32nd year is even more of a testament to its continued success. Having an opportunity to see behind the scenes and to better understand all the work that goes into making WTM such a unique show was a great learning experience. I thought I’d run through some of the highlights and signpost for you some of the stories that came out this year with links to blogs where you can find more information on each topic. I also recommend that you have a read of the comments on the WTM Linkedin group about the show with some very positive feedback from first time exhibitors.
Who came?
Attendees for day one were 14% up and overall the show saw a 5% increase in numbers this year. For those that missed it WTM had some special visitors in the form of the future King of Spain and his wife, Danni Minogue  and a few famous footballers from Eastern Europe and renowned UK entrepreneur Hilary Devey, who shared her pearls of wisdom during the WTM’s Business day on November 10th. The show also welcomed some of the captains of the travel industry from some of the major airlines, cruise and hospitality sectors. The Director of the Fairtrade Organisation Hilary Lamb, helped to provide a real focus on responsible travel.
The list of press attending the show was also huge and meant that there was at times almost standing room only in the vast press room as they quietly fired off their reports to far flung corners of the world. The racks of materials displayed for the press were consumed very quickly.
Who won an award?
Joanna Rigby, a cruise specialist with Thomas Cook, carried off the Pride of Travel Award for exceptional commercial performance and dedication to customer service. The award was presented by entrepreneur Hilary Devey from BBC2’s Dragons’ Den series.
WTM global awards
These were given to: 
Caio Luis de Cavalho, President of Sao Paolo Tourism… read more
Anna Maria Ruffini, Founder & President of Italy’s chapter of the Green Meeting Industry Council more
RENFE.. read more
Omar Samra of WILD Guanabana … read more
Butlin’s .. read more
The Sandals Foundation… read more
Travel Corporation Canada … read more
The Renaissance Moscow Hotel … read more
Dr Jyotsna Suri of The Lalit Group …read more
Porto Bay Hotels and Resorts .. read more
Best Stand Awards
This was a tough challenge as the quality of the stands was so high and you can read about my day as a stand judge here or the full announcement.
Most innovative stand within the Technology Region –
Highly commended – Bookassist
Best Stand for Interacting with Travel Agents – Slovenian Tourist Board
Best Stand Personnel – Poland 2012 – Football Camp
Best Stand Feature – Kerala
Best Stand for doing Business – Tourism Ireland
Best Stand Design – Costa Rica Tourism Board
Highly commended – The Zanzibar Collection.
Growth of interest in Social Media
This was the first year that the show had featured the Social Travel Market focused on social media and there was a lot of demand from visitors. Fortunately the show organisers were able to respond with increased capacity to accommodate everyone to minimise the disappointment for those that had not been able to attend the first session.
There were some lively and frank discussions on the state of travel blogging, the growth of video and how to host a blogger trip. There was also a great session from Catharine van Dijk at KLM on their social media campaigns. Sophie Collard won a prize for her blog on her visit to the Kazakhstan stand as part of the Silk Road Ch@llenge.
The bloggers had good fun finding their way to their party in Shoreditch using Treasure Trail clues which ended with a table football tournament.
The WTM 2011 industry report indicates that almost half of the travel industry believes social media will be more important than pay per click advertising (PPC) in 2016. High roaming charges have however been a deterrent to using smart phones abroad.
The rise of the SLIMMA markets
The WTM 2011 Industry Report is worth a read and highlights some of the ways that the slowing of economic growth has led to 33% of UK consumers not taking a holiday at all in 2011 with 59% of those that did taking only one and the rising popularity of all inclusives.
The report showed five emerging countries which are growing in popularity and next in line for rapid growth after the BRICS as follows: Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Argentina.
WTM Global Trends Report 2011
There were some interesting trends emerging from this report carried out in association with Euromonitor which was unveiled at the show, including:
-         UK householders renting out tents in their gardens to Olympic 2012 visitors such as Campinmygarden.
-         the rise of gaming on travel websites such as Ireland Town and NothinglikeAustralia
-         a boom in the use of mobiles in Africa
-         special strategies to attract Chinese visitors whose spend abroad is forecast to rise 20% over the next five years,
-         US mystery trips such as Luxury Link and Nextpedition from Amex.
You can also read about some surprising European travel trends from the Phocuswright European team at the WTM session here and some key WTM trends for the last decade here.
Speed Networking and Expert Advice Clinics
Source: K Bullock - Speed Networking at WTM2011
Two popular sessions were the greatly expanded speed networking session on Monday 7 November (read more here) plus a very popular expert advice clinic on Thursday 10 November which enabled you to book 15 mins with an industry expert.
Most sessions were booked solid and it provided a great opportunity to meet a large number of potential clients in three very busy hours. I’ve had some great feedback and am still following up from my sessions and have made some new friends as a result. My one tip for next year would be to book the expert sessions early.

Source: KBullock - WTM Advice Clinic
What’s your favourite airport approach?
Just before the show I received information on a poll which has been running for a while about which airport has the best approach and thought that as industry players who travel a lot, you might all have your favourite airport approach. One of my personal favourites is the approach into Kathmandu airport which is truly amazing, especially when you can see the Himalayas. However I’m sure you can name others so do vote for your favourite airport approach 2011 as Private Fly are keen to get your view. The poll closes on November 25th so don’t miss the deadline.
So what was your favourite experience at WTM2011? 
What do you want to see at WTM 2012?
Please share your comments, ideas and thoughts with us here.
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