Tips for tourism fairs: how to succeed at events as a tour operator

Tips for Tourism Fairs and Events for Tour Operators.
Tips for Tourism Fairs and Events for Tour Operators.
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Tourism fairs and events are essential for Tour Operators because it is an effective way to sell or buy products, feel out the competition and learn about the latest innovations, all while networking with possible suppliers and clients or business partners. Nevertheless, it is not just about attending, there are many aspects you should mind and prepare for it to actually work well. 

The areas to consider range from image and branding to preparing staff for networking and customer service. The following tips have been gathered from our experience at tourism fairs and events, such as Arival 360 Berlin, Fitur Madrid, ITB Berlin, etc.

Pre-event preparation for tour operators

Be prepared with a brief speech about your business. You don’t have to follow it to the letter, but it will act as a guide so you don’t forget important details. Create any visuals that you might need to explain things, from videos to infographics and photographs or brochures. Practice your greeting, make it professional and friendly. 

Get to know the exhibition before you go. It is very important to know what you are going to see, whether there are seminars you might be interested in, who else is going, whether there are workshops you can attend, whether you need to preregister, etc. A good way to find out all this information is to subscribe to the event’s newsletter and follow its social media

Make sure you have more than enough personal and generic business cards to take with you, as you should distribute as many as possible. Make a schedule of your appointments, print it out and bring it with you, so you stay organized and don’t miss any meetings. The most important thing is that you know what you want to get out of each tourism fair or event as a tour operator, set your objectives.

Brand image at tourism fairs

The accessories you use will ensure that your brand image is visible at the tourism fair. Starting with the stand decoration, use the brand’s colors and have a large visible version of your logo. If you are using a presentation, video, images or any other visual aids, also have them created with the brand’s image guidelines.

Consider offering something extra at your stand, an added value that will make it more attractive to anyone passing by. For example, drinks, food, shows, gifts, experiences (such as Virtual Reality or workshops). On the other hand, have your staff wear some kind of uniform, even if it is just a T-shirt with the logo, so that you can spread the brand recognition outside of the stand.

Personnel attitude at tourism events

The way you and your team treat people at the tourism fair will be a sneak peak of the quality of your customer experience, so keeping it respectful and friendly is a definite must. However, it is all in the details, while you are at the stand you should be as little as possible on your phone, tablet or laptop. This does not make you approachable, it portrays you appear closed to people and therefore closed to potential business opportunities.

Smile and be receptive. It is understandable that you want to use your time effectively to achieve your pre-set goals, nevertheless, being receptive could bring you business opportunities you didn’t even know you needed. Also, it shows respect for the people who are presenting their business to you, but if you don’t want to hear any more, be sure to politely decline. 

Try to always have someone at the stand or booth to attend potential visitors. If it is not possible for someone to stay behind, leave a sign saying when you will be back, so that people trying to find you will know when to come back looking for you. Also, leave business cards for people to take with them if they can’t come back to meet you later. Additionally, everyone working on the stand should be able to answer questions for potential clients, so make sure your team is well informed about the company, its objectives for the fair, etc.

On the other hand, if the tourism fair is organized by country and you do not have less of a stand or booth and more of a desk or cubicle, talk to the people at the main desk in your country. Tell them a little bit about your business so that they can recommend you if people ask for something specific, and give them some business cards or brochures of your tour operator company so that they can hand them out at the reception desk or people can pick them up themselves.

Observe and learn during tourism fairs

Part of working as a tour operator at tourism fairs is to walk around the different stands and see all the new trends and innovations from colleagues, this will give you a great insight into the industry. Also, take enough business cards to build up a good database of contacts for future opportunities and occasions.

Networking for tour operators at events

Networking and getting to know new colleagues and other people in the tourism industry is vital. Not only will they be a source of inspiration for your own tour operating business, but can also become business partners for innovative ideas. This means attending the parties you are invited to, talking to people, asking them about their business and showing interest, staying in touch after the event and bringing people to your stand.

Remember to take a break!

Being at tourism fairs can be overwhelming and exhausting, because it is hard work. Time can pass by very quickly if you are too busy and entertained. However, you need to look after your health, both mentally and physically. Remember to drink enough water and eat healthy, but also to just take a break and enjoy the activities around you! Who knows, maybe you will get to try out some tours or activities of your future clients.

TourReview is an AI and BI integrated software that specializes in the centralization of online reviews from platforms like TripAdvisor. It also provides tour operators with several different unbiased analyses, such as sentiment analysis. TourReview is the ultimate tool to improve your online reputation and refine your customer experience quality.

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