Three Ways to Ensure the Odds are in Your Favor
Whether you’ve attended IPW before or this is your “first rodeo”, it is worth reviewing some fundamentals that will put attendance at this show in the “success” column. Bottom line, the reason to attend any trade show is to generate more business. If that doesn’t happen, you are wasting your (and your company’s) time and money!
Getting the fundamentals right will increase your chances of success. Consider that they are all mini- “business meetings” for which the outcome should be a “win-win” for both Supplier and Buyer.
1. DETERMINE BUYERS’ PRODUCT OFFERING/MARKET REACH AND UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES
While you would have requested and made appointments with Buyers based on the information provided by them to IPW, it is helpful to begin a meeting collecting additional information. After introductory pleasantries, by having a form that you fill out on hand (hard copy or online), you can request the following specifics: How many clients does their company send to the US annually? (You might expect a response that includes pre- and post-pandemic numbers; many tour operators are in the process of rebuilding their business.) Which are the major destinations in the US to which they send their clients? If you are representing a product in a single destination, also ask how many of their clients arrive in that destination. What percentage of their clients are groups versus FIT’s? Leisure versus other (define): Do they utilize the services of a Receptive Operator and, if so, which one? (Most Tour operators do). Are they interested in doing a short-term targeted promotion with you? If you can offer something “exclusive” to their clients they will often, in turn, provide you with greater exposure to potential clients in their market. By recording this information as you meet, including any mention of follow-up requested with regard to additional information and/or potential promotions, you will not lose out on any business opportunities.
2. KNOW AND COMMUNICATE YOUR PRODUCT’S VALUE TO THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
The “Buyers” with which you will meet are professionals representing travel companies interested in increasing their share of sales of travel to the US; their focus is also on the “bottom line” of their company’s revenue. Your product needs to align with their needs. Yes, they are interested in finding “new/exciting product” that drives interest from their clients, but, more importantly, this product must generate revenue for them. Your time should be spent discussing the latter as much as touting the wonderful product you represent! The value of your product to a Buyer is in both its appeal to their clients and the revenue it will generate when they sell it at a commissionable rate. Commissions are how they create revenue for their company. If a client can purchase your product at the same rate you are selling to a tour operator, it is not in their best interest to sell your product. Conversely, if you have an appealing product AND a generous commission, they are much more likely to include you in their product lineup. Providing information in hard copy and/or USB that provides details on your product, including special services for their clients, along with commissionable rates is essential.
3. FOLLOW-UP, FOLLOW-UP, FOLLOW-UP
If you are recording the aforementioned information on a hard copy, immediately attach the business card of the Buyer to that information so you have all the information you need to follow up in one place. The unfortunate fact is that when you return back to your office from a trade show, “other work” has piled up; it is difficult, but necessary to make follow-up a priority. Because you have met with a number of Buyers, it’s OK to “prioritize” some for immediate follow-up. For example, if you have discussed a promotion with specific timing, you might need to fine-tune what that promotion is and how best to communicate it so that the tour operator can utilize it in the agreed-upon manner. Nevertheless, ALL follow-up should occur in as timely a manner as your schedule allows.
Hope these tips from Alon Tourism Solutions are helpful!!
Unable to attend IPW this year? Get ahead of the curve and join Alon’s Sales Material Distribution program so you can not only put your material in front of buyers at IPW, but you will also receive an introduction to them where you can put our 3 recommendations into practice in your own relationship building outreach.
IPW Booth Participation – SOLD OUT
Written by Jean Guinup