November 14, 2019
World Travel Market (WTM), the largest travel trade show in the UK, took place in London last week and set me thinking – what does PR add?
Quite a lot as it happens.
Exhibitors are there to meet existing clients, source new business and network. The PR role is to create awareness of their exhibiting clients’ presence and source profile raising opportunities and media coverage.
It’s expensive to exhibit, not just the cost of the stand (or booth to our US colleagues) but providing personnel to cover every minute the show is open and it’s down to the PR agency to maximise that investment.
WTM is a crowded environment with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors from all over the world and for those that want to stand out from the crowd PR preparation starts months in advance.
It’s all in the preparation
Preparation is key and can start a year ahead with contacts and ideas gathered at the show and immediately put into motion for the following year. Generally, though, six months before WTM is the time to touch base with the event organisers, sound out seminar speaking and panel slots, pitch client candidates and start working on key messages.
Then it’s non-stop through to November – researching and compiling media lists, arranging client interviews, drafting press releases, determining photo opportunities and building the buzz with social. Clients need presentations, media briefing notes with talking points and sometimes media training.
There’s the logistics of booking conference rooms, sourcing quiet, private venues for interviews and gathering the press material ready to be forwarded with one click.
Lastly, our media friends who will be working so hard over the three-day event, also need looking after and a hamper of edible goodies sent to the press desks at the start of the show goes down a treat.
And we’re off…
Comfortable shoes and fully charged phones at the ready for the start of WTM and it’s then full on for the duration – press conferences, media events, sitting in on interviews, attending seminars, working with photographers, running from stand to stand, filing the stories and keeping the social media going. It doesn’t, however, always run to plan and it’s important to remain flexible and able to respond quickly as schedules change and new opportunities arise.
And the buzz bit is collecting the coverage!
WTM is mostly about clients but it’s also great for sourcing new business, attending events (including in the evening) as a guest, catching up with contacts to further relationships, networking like crazy and finding time to have some fun.
When the show is over
No time to sit back and relax – coverage needs to be collated, leads followed up, clients congratulated on their efforts, before starting all over again... we wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s the highlight of our year – we love WTM!
And for the record, at WTM 2019, with exhibitors, media and trade meetings and press conferences, we worked out that over the three-day show, 27 pairs of sore feet took 1.2 million steps!
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