Three weeks, five shows – the feedback

Atta Media Partners Now Media ran a survey to find out what exhibitors and buyers thought of the different shows. Tessa Reed, Deputy Editor, takes a closer look.

The travel trade show landscape in South Africa has changed significantly with the entry of new shows. Only two years ago there was only one trade show hosted in SA every year but this year the country hosted five shows. 

The survey was completed by 307 members of the trade, the majority of whom were exhibitors. In terms of business roles, tour operators accounted for the largest portion of the respondents (36.2%), with inbound tour operators representing 23.8% of respondents and outbound tour operators representing 12.4%.

Other groups that were significantly represented included accommodation providers (25.7%), marketing and public relations (8.1%) and DMCs (6.8%) as well as DMOs (5.5%).

Biggest, but not the slickest

It’s not surprising that Indaba remains the biggest trade show in SA, which is also reflected in the survey results – the show was attended by 67% of our respondents. This compares with 29% for World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa), 20% for We Are Africa, 16% for International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa), and 6% for Incentive, Business Travel & MeetingsAfrica (IBTM Africa).

Percentage of respondents that attended the shows

Indaba

ILTM

IBTM

WTM

We Are Africa

67%

16%

6%

29%

20%

However, while Indaba is the largest of the trade shows, the newer entrants are not looking to compete in terms of scale. This year, Beyond Luxury Media, the organisers of We Are Africa, limited the number of exhibitors to around 200. Similarly Thebe Reed Exhibitions, which organises Africa Travel Week consisting of ILTM, IBTM and WTM, limits the number of exhibitors at ILTM and IBTM in order to pair exhibitors and buyers in back-to-back one-on-one meetings.

ILTM took place for the second time in SA, having made its debut in 2013. This year Thebe Reed brought IBTM and WTM to SA for the first time, while Beyond Luxury Media launched We Are Africa. All these shows will take place again next year and both organisers have expressed their interest in growing the numbers of buyers and exhibitors at the shows next year.

In terms of organisation, We Are Africa received the highest rating by those who attended, with 78% of our respondents rating the show as ‘excellent’. Africa Travel Week was also well rated, with IBTM, ILTM and WTM being rated ‘excellent’ by 57%, 56% and 41% respectively. Only 11% of our respondents who attended Indaba rated the show as ‘excellent’ for organisation. The show was rated ‘very good’ by 29% of our respondents, while 35% said ‘good’, 16% said ‘fair’ and 9% said ‘poor’.

 Percentage of respondents that rated the shows ‘excellent’ for organisation

Indaba

ILTM

IBTM

WTM

We Are Africa

11%

56%

57%

41%

78%

It is also worth mentioning that last year SA Tourism announced that Indaba would undergo a transition and changes have been made to the show, many of which have been welcomed by the trade. A number of respondents said the show was an improvement on last year. However, there were complaints about the premier lounge and the speed dating, with exhibitors highlighting that they had fewer appointments in the lounge than promised, while many hosted buyers did not attend the speed dating sessions with exhibitors. The show’s new tech zone and shortened format were seen as some of the improvements. Respondents were also particularly pleased with the DEC, where SADC countries exhibited, which was described as well laid out and buzzing.

All about the buyers

The quality of the buyers is always a talking point at the different trade shows. This year, the newer shows impressed exhibitors with the quality of buyers. All the exhibitors who attended ILTM rated quality of buyers as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. The buyers at We Are Africa, WTM and IBTM were also rated ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ by 86%, 81% and 79% of respondents respectively. Less than half, or 41% of the exhibitors who attended Indaba rated the quality of buyers as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, while 30% said the buyers were ‘good’, 21% said ‘fair’ and 8% said ‘poor’.

Quality of buyers

Indaba

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

13%

28%

30%

21%

8%

ILTM

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

62%

38%

 

O

 

IBTM

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

50%

29%

7%

7%

7%

WTM

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

39%

42%

11%

8%

 

We Are Africa

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

67%

19%

11%

3%

 

Meeting new product

It’s certainly good news for the travel trade that all the shows were rated well by respondents attending the shows as buyers.

For the opportunity to meet new product, We Are Africa led with all respondents saying the show was either ‘very good’ and ‘excellent’, compared with 89% for ILTM, 77% for Indaba and 52% for WTM.

Only a few respondents said the shows were ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ in terms of the opportunity to meet new product: 7% described Indaba as ‘fair’, while 22% described WTM as ‘fair’ and 7% said the show was ‘poor’ for meeting new products. There are no results for IBTM because the majority or our respondents attended the show as exhibitors and none attended IBTM as a buyer.

Meeting new product

Indaba

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

29%

48%

16%

7%

 

ILTM

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

44.5%

44.5%

11%

O

 

WTM

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

30%

22%

19%

22%

7%

We Are Africa

Excellent

Very good

Good

Fair

Poor

90%

10%

 

 

 

Looking ahead

Members of the trade have mixed thoughts about whether hosting all these shows is good for the industry. The timing of the shows was seen as a disadvantage by a few of our respondents too, who also suggested that because of the timing, international buyers were not able to attend all the shows. The dates for all the shows have not been confirmed for next year, but it does look as if the shows will be slightly more spread out.

Ruzandri Stoltz, Marketing Co-ordinator at African Hotels & Adventures, says it is good for the trade because more international buyers will visit SA to attend at least one of these shows. However, she points out there are drawbacks too. “The additional shows dilute the attendance of Indaba as international buyers don’t tend to stay in SA for three weeks to attend all the trade shows and it is hugely expensive to exhibit at all the shows.”

Paul De Waal, Director of travel technology company, Wetu, says that while this year was great because different trade shows meant more international buyers were brought into the country. “Everyone’s fighting to bring out the best buyers, which is great, but it’s not sustainable”, he says.

You can view the original article here.