November is just around the corner now which means it is almost time for the world’s leading travel trade show – World Travel Market London. Held every year in ExCel, this huge exhibition welcomes more than 50,000 attendees through the doors over the course of three days, 4-6 November.
I was a newbie to WTM London last year and can honestly say I’d never been to anything quite like it before. Yes, it can be overwhelming and tiring as you traipse between Asia and Europe and the Caribbean and you may have hardly any voice by the end of it (the many evening events and on-stand drinks certainly don’t help). However, it is a fantastic opportunity to connect with DMOs from all around the world as well as bringing content creators from all over the globe together under one roof. Please note that there will be no speed networking for creators or influencers this year as in previous years.
We recently put a call out on Twitter and our Facebook group, to ask you all for your top tips on how to have the most successful WTM possible. Tips range from footwear to pitching yourself to DMOs so make sure to keep reading this collaborative blog post as it’s packed with useful information.
We’d love to hear any of your other suggestions in the comments below! As ever, we’ll be hosting the annual pre-WTM #TraverseMingle on Friday 1 November in partnership with Spain, so if you’re in town and want to come along for an evening of catching up with old and new friends alike, secure your ticket here.
Thank you to everyone who put forward their top tips, here are just a few of them:
Book your appointments strategically. WTM is huge and going from one section to another can take time, especially if they are located at opposite sides of the Excel. When you are scheduling appointments try to think which areas they are in. For example, keep the morning for meetings in Europe and the afternoon for the ones in Asia. Also, don’t schedule more than two appointments per hour and try to give yourself time to breath in between.
Joanna Davis www.theworldinmypocket.co.uk
Tell the world you have arrived, tweet and use Instagram through out the day. Use and Check the #WTMLondon from now and throughout the event as it’s a great way to connect with other content creators and may just get you that extra meeting or connection with an exhibitor.
Lisa Picies, https://oneepicroadtrip.com
Take a packed lunch and snacks. The queues for the food places are enormous and you pay London prices for everything. Or eat early/late for lunch!
Nikki Turner-Chaplin www.yorkshirewonders.co.uk
Join the WTM Content Creator group on Facebook! It includes lots of info about on stand events, and advice for newbies.
Roshni Patel https://www.thewanderlustwithin.com
Use it as an opportunity to catch up with connections you’ve already made. It’s one place where you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be able to meet up with PRs and brands rather than spending days arranging meetings at their offices. Oh and wear comfy shoes!
Chloe Gunning, https://www.wanderlustchloe.com/
Don’t forget to have fun! WTM is a travel show. As much as is about business, it is about travel and having fun. Keep in mind that more than 180 countries are in one place, they are next to each other without any borders, you can travel from country to another, or even from a continent to another continent without taking flight in 3 days. All of these countries try to present their culture. There are various fun activities, new technologies, and great food and drinks. So this is a great opportunity to learn about different countries and having fun.
Mansoureh Farahani https://travelwithmansoureh.com
Follow the event hashtag on twitter to find out about special events. At the end of the last day there are the festivals where some countries showcase their culture, food, and drinks. It’s a fun way to end the event.
Anisa Alhilali www.twotravelingtexans.com
If it is your first WTM and you don’t have much practice pitching brands , don’t feel the need to dive into it straightaway. Have a conversation, be yourself, be nice , be patient, share your passions and also learn, listen what plans the destination or brand has for next year- it has to be a two way conversation and not just about you. WTM is a great place to get a feeling of what direction the travel industry is heading in- accordingly you can develop products or storytelling ideas that might become campaigns in the future. Build those relationships & sooner or later your efforts will bear fruit! Plus as everyone has mentioned here- have fun!
Kashyap Bhattacharya https://budgettraveller.org
Always strategic about which evening events you attend. They’re often spread out across London so you could end up spending most of your night traveling across the city to get between them if you’re not careful. Choosing one or two at the most will allow you to spend quality time at each one.
Julie Falconer, https://www.aladyinlondon.com
WTM can zap the energy out of you after just one day or all three. Create follow up draft emails with your media kits ready to send out to contacts.
Remember that many exhibitors might be staying on in London for several days post WTM for meetings with partners and clients, so don’t rush to send out emails on a Thursday or Friday.
Briefly customise your email, and send out at the start of the next week (Tuesday). We’ve found contacts to be more responsive when we do so.
Eulanda Osagiede Heydipyourtoesin.com
Do your research and know your audience. Before arranging a meeting or even attending one, make sure you’re familiar with the destination, NTO or brand’s objectives and future plans.
Julia Newbound, https://wtm.london.com
Press conferences are great places for networking both with PRs and local companies. They also give you a great overview of what the destination’s priorities are for the coming year(s), making it easier to customise your pitch.
If you are there a few days, treat WTM as a whole travel experience. Be curious and open minded and independent. If you were unable to set up many appointments, wander the stalls and start up conversations as you would when travelling. Mix your journey up by using cable car, boat, tube and DLR to get to Excel. Accept initiations to the kind of parties and gatherings in the evenings that you might not normally attend. WTM is as much about the chance encounter as it is catching up with contacts. On my first WTM I randomly struck up a conversation with a travel editor sitting next to me and ended up working with him for six years.
Kirstie Pelling https://www.familyadventureproject.org/
Have a look through the website first and note down the stands of what brands/tourism boards you’re most eager to work with. It’s a big place so you can make sure you see them first!
Jessica Esa booksandbao.com
Know what you want and what your value is. Organise meetings with warm and highly relevant contacts then communicate your offering. Quality over quantity, don’t burn out from too many meetings make time to enjoy soaking up the event.
Paul Dow, https://traverse-events.com/
My 33rd show. Don’t wear new shoes, carry a spare pair to change into – your feet will welcome the change, up your vitamin C intake a few weeks before and pace yourself.
Nim Singh explore-canada.co.uk
Don’t feel despondent when every other blogger you know seems to be scurrying from pre-arranged meeting to pre-arranged meeting! Opportunities can arise simply from spontaneously approaching representatives on their stands too.
Steve Biggs, https://biggsytravels.com
Bring a back up charger pack because we all know the battery life of an iPhone is utterly awful! Business cards, always take more than you think you’ll need, I can guarantee you’ll run out in a flash!
Kylie Bawden http://www.delphineblu.com
If you’re pitching to a brand that has diving, make sure to show up in a full wetsuit, mask and snorkel. They’ll appreciate the effort.
Preparation is key! If you don’t prepare it can be very overwhelming as there are thousands of people there and conference sessions happening in various different areas of the show. Before you come, have an idea of the sessions you want to attend, the people you want to meet and factor in time from getting from A to B (It takes me around 15 mins to get from one end of the hall to the other!). This year we have an amazing new appointment scheduling tool called Connect Me. This allows you to message and arrange meetings with exhibitors before you get there. If you’re approaching an exhibitor’s stand on the day, ask for the PR person as often the sales team will be manning the stand and they may not be the right person to speak to.
Emily Edwards, https://wtm.london.com
Feel the fear and attend anyway – as a newbie to all things Traverse and WTM London last year, I had no idea what I was walking into. But off the back of a recommendation of a fellow content creator, I bought a ticket for Mingle and discovered an incredible new community and made some fantastic connections. Which has worked out very nicely a year later.
Han Talbot, https://traverse-events.com