Sales roadshows are a key part of the travel industry. They connect suppliers, aka: hotels and resorts with buyers aka: travel agents, group affiliates, and wholesalers. If you’re going to make the investment in going to a roadshow or sending your sales & marketing team to a roadshow, you need to know that you’re going to get your money’s worth.
The goal with any roadshow is to reach people who are right for your property, therefore the target market of the roadshow you are considering attending should either be a market you are trying to break into or one that your property caters to.
Constructing a guest profile (what regions are they from? What age group are they? What is their socioeconomic status? What sort of activities do they like to do?) will help you determine whether a roadshow is worth it. As an example of one guest profile factor: a lot of the East Coast roadshows are very popular with many businesses and tourist boards in the Caribbean as this region of the United States provides convenient carrier options to the islands.
Another thing to consider when constructing your guest profile and looking at particular roadshows is that just because your island tourist board is attending a roadshow, this does not mean that every hotel on that island has the same client profile, therefore, you need to define your client profile and see if there are places where your local tourist board isn’t meeting your needs. Those are the roadshows that are worth considering attending to in order to promote your property.
Here are a few things to consider when determining whether a particular roadshow is worth attending:
- Does it meet your client profile?
- What are the flights like from that location to you? Anything more than 1 connection is too many for most markets. If there are direct flights you should look into penetrating that geographic market.
- Total cost of attending (registration fees, flights and accommodation for your team, printing pamphlets, etc.)
- Number of attendees going to the roadshow. Under ‘normal conditions’ and as an average observed through personal experience, between 60-70% of that number will show up, and then you need to factor in that not every one of those 60-70% of people will actually turn up at your booth.
- Are there any booth sharing opportunities available? (with your tourist board? Or a group of local hotels that don’t necessarily compete with each other – can you create something that’s more ‘standout’ with many than you can as a lone hotel amongst many?)
- Is the person who would be representing you fully knowledgeable about your property and can speak on behalf of your hotel or resort with passion? Again from personal experience, some agents and wholesalers will just drop by and collect the brochures while others will spend 10 minutes asking everything from wheelchair accessibility to the number of rooms that face east.
- Are there follow-up opportunities such as email lists?
- Do you have the proper branded collateral, or can you get it ready in time for the roadshow?
Once you’re at the roadshow here are a few ways to maximize your presence there:
- Make sure you have an inviting table.
- Make sure you have a takeaway like a brochure for the agent or wholesaler to keep on file.
- Make sure you have business cards with the representative’s name on it as it creates that personal connection since they are the one who met with and spoke to the agent or wholesaler.
- Consider options for giveaways as in free stays, t-shirts, etc in exchange for emails. With regards to giving away stays at your resort, having an agent or wholesaler representative visit your property isn’t a bad idea anyway as it gives them the first-hand experience that they can then share with their clients.
- Regardless of giveaways, invite agents to visit your property. Give them an open door. This helps to ensure that the next time they’re through the island, they’ll feel comfortable dropping in.
- In addition to the representative’s own business card, he or she should offer a business card for a local contact in case that agent is passing through.
- If you get email contacts, be sure to send personal follow ups after the roadshow thanking them for their time, inviting them again to drop into the property, and letting them know that you’re available to answer any questions that they might have. Even better is if when you send that personal thank you email… CC the local contact (whose card you also gave away – re: #6) as a way of introduction.
These tips should help you not only decide whether a roadshow is worth attending, but also how to get the most out of them. If you have any further questions or need help understanding what decision is best for you – get in touch here or at email@example.com.