One of the best ways to grow your group travel planning business is to attend industry trade shows. Making an investment in attending a trade show benefits your travel business in a multitude of ways.  

1. Education 

Every trade show has a myriad of educational sessions that help you explore and learn more about different areas of travel and business practices. Prior to the show, take time to review the scheduled sessions to determine which will most benefit your goals. Whether you are interested in learning more about niche travel options, the latest technology, marketing practices or specific destinations, trade show sessions provide unique insights from industry leaders. Check to see if trade show education sessions qualify toward earning a certification that lends credibility to your business, which can give you a competitive edge.  

2. Networking

The trade show’s schedule outlines activities and events outside of the educational sessions aimed at socializing with other attendees. Spending time with others in the travel industry in a casual atmosphere allows you to share stories, make new connections and learn from other experts in the field.  

3. Business relationships

Travel Exchange floor NTA
NTA Travel Exchange
Credit: Normand Huberdeau

Beyond meeting others in the industry, travel trade shows most often dedicate time for operators to make appointments with destination and hospitality leaders to learn about their group tour offerings. These face-to-face meetings are invaluable in making connections that lead to lasting partnerships. Trade show meetings are quick — often limited to seven minutes in duration — therefore doing some pre-show homework is important. Before you get to the show, review the attendee profiles online, then do an internet search to gather more information; this will allow you to focus the conversation on what is most important to you. Make sure to gather business cards and make specific follow-up plans. 

4. Marketplace

The bread and butter of all trade shows are the vendors that exhibit and sponsor the event. Travel trade shows are chock full of businesses aimed at helping your business be successful. Destination management organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, software and marketing experts and, of course, travel media representatives like Group Tour Media are a sampling of valuable resources that can help shape your company’s future. Taking time to visit booths at trade shows not only provides you with business growth opportunities, but also free, fun swag to take home! 

Want to know what U.S. travel and tourism trade shows are coming up in 2020? Check out US Travel Association or Tradefest for a listing of upcoming shows to consider attending.