REWARDING OASIS OR EMPTY WILDERNESS?
UNDERSTANDING THE UK's TRAVEL SHOWS
Kamageo is often asked for opinions on the various travel events held in the UK. Whilst an exhibitor's success at any event is always influenced by "what you make of it" (via pre-event marketing; presentation; theatre; collateral; staffing; follow-up etc), we feel its relevant to give you our honest views based on the events themselves.
UK TRADE SHOWS
Once unmissable, this show has been declining (for the Africa market) for a number of years now. Since the launch of PURE, all too many high-end products have slowly deserted WTM and the show has not successfully responded since. A downward spiral has followed, with the number of UK buyers attending dropping significantly, whilst those who do attend have dramatically reduced the time they spend at the show.
The days of UK buyers spending 2-3 full days at ExCeL are long gone. At WTM2018, a new site within the hall seemed to benefit Africa and visitors numbers were healthier, although the UK's contribution to this was only around 25 buyers.
We are recommending Africa Tourist Boards seriously question their investment in this show, whilst also exploring other alternatives and opportunities.
CELEBRATE AFRICA WORKSHOPS
Organised at regional venues across the UK, this tried and tested format has proved really successful.
Kamageo usually participates in these shows, as they offer good value for money. The shows vary between 8-20 exhibitors (predominantly representation agencies, not owners), dependant upon the venue and whilst there is a noticeable South African bias, products from across the continent are present.
The event is organised by Talking Stick Marketing on behalf of ATTA. 2018's event had mixed reviews, whilst lessons appeared to have been learnt in 2019. Positives included "a real buzz", great networking opportunities and the high number of exhibitors, but negatives included cramped conditions and a lack of quality buyers. In hindsight, maybe 100+ exhibitors is too many?
With ATTA's backing, our view is that this has become the UK's No.1 (static) event, ahead of WTM. www.experienceafrica.travel
Kamageo's very-own Safari Roadshows visit Manchester, Cirencester and Central London for a series of events. Each of the events comprises of pre-arranged meetings with two separate country-specific sessions eg Zambia and Zimbabwe. A maximum of just ten high-quality exhibitors from each country meets with ten UK Africa specialist tour operators in each of the venues, on a round robin basis.
In 2020, we are planning Feb/March roadshows for Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. Later in the summer, we are planning a mixed Kamili/Kamageo roadshow, with other potential shows in discussion.
The £3,000 package per exhibitor includes participation, transport, accommodation, food, marketing etc, so its great value for money. We’re bringing buyers and sellers together in professional environments, on the buyers’ doordoorstep. www.safari-roadshow.com
UK CONSUMER SHOWS
THE DESTINATIONS SHOW
Now held at London's Olympia, this show is the UK's largest of its type. It's sponsored by The Times and with over 75 tourist boards amongst 500+ exhibitors, it is a vibrant event that attracts more than 45,000 visitors over the 4 days. We've attended (initially as consumers) every year since it started 25 years ago! We believe the key to success is in creating accessible, high impact stands manned by knowledgeable sales staff. Also working with the numerous UK-based Africa specialists who exhibit there is important, too. We had multiple stands in 2019. www.destinationsshow.com
TELEGRAPH TRAVEL SHOW
This show was cancelled in 2019....will it return in 2020? www.travelshow.telegraph.co.uk
ADVENTURE TRAVEL SHOW
This show is slightly more mass market, with a significant emphasis on independent travel, lower budget and group travel categories of business. Attendees are very enthusiastic and hungry for more information, so well informed staff are essential! Destinations with 'off the beaten track' or less obvious attractions can create interest here, too. We are regular exhibitors and were present in 2019 with multiple stands. www.adventureshow.com
WILDLIFE & SAFARI SHOW
This new show launched in September 2018, held over 2 days in Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Kamageo seized the initiative by booking the first exhibitor space on behalf of the Zambia. Its true to say that visitors numbers were actually rather low, but this mattered little, as the quality was outstanding. For 2019, we had 5 stands. For more details on the show, see www.wildlifesafarishow.com
Despite its name, this show is not exclusive to birdwatching. Instead it is probably the best Wildlife travel show in the UK! Getting exhibiting space is very difficult, so we tend to work closely with UK tour operators who are long-standing exhibitors. This has worked well in previous years, although we'd still advocate taking dedicated space if opportunity arises...as long as birding experts are available (to generically sell the destination, not just their own tour company).
HOLIDAY WORLD SHOW (Dublin & Belfast)
This long established pair of shows are the island's only travel shows of note. The show in the Republic attracts a larger and more affluent visitor than the Northern edition. Until recently, there was a very small Africa section but this is growing year on year. Participation costs are not cheap, but the organisers are always keen to give 'added value"...and hey, its a weekend in Dublin. What's not to like? See more at www.holidayworldshow.com
SAFARI SHOW (Various UK venues)
As Kamageo represents so many African destinations in the UK, we have a broad product offering. We are currently exploring the potential of running our own series of smaller regional travel shows in partnership with UK Africa specialists. This jointly funded initiative would make use of both partners consumer databases, with Kamageo inspiring and our partner tour operators doing the selling! If you would like to discuss this initiative further, please contact Tim Henshall