Marketing for any kind of business is no easy task, and the hotel and destination industry is no exception. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to bolster your yearly strategies, connect you with industry experts and mentors, and refresh your vision for the future.
Below are some must-attend events for hotel and destination marketers that can completely revamp how you go about your business.
Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin (or ITB Berlin) is the largest travel and tourism trade conference in the world. Thousands of people attend, including a who’s who of hotels, tour companies, airlines, rental companies and more.
There’s an emphasis on business-to-business partnerships on a global scale. The nation of Germany is even an official sponsor of the event. It’s truly the biggest spectacle the hospitality and tourism industry has to offer.
ITB Berlin takes place in Berlin over five days annually in the spring.
World Travel Market: Latin America
World Travel Market is a leader in business-to-business travel and tourism industry conferences around the world, and it has plenty of other events for various regions. (See its Africa event for another exceptional introduction to an underrated industry region.)
The Latin America event sees 600 exhibitors from 50 companies descend on the city of Sao Paulo for three days to cover a variety of important topics about travel and tourism in the Latin American travel industry. The event takes place annually in the spring.
HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Digital Strategy event is specifically tailored for marketing, revenue management and sales leaders who want to know more about the future of their industry and how to prepare for it.
Speakers cover topics such as physical vs. digital marketing, the competition between old-school hotels and peer-to-peer app rentals, and other industry topics of the day. There’s a focus on creating action plans by the end of the event so that attendees walk away with something tangible to put to use.
The event usually takes place in New York City around the start of the year.
The annual GBTA Convention, touted as the “business travel event of the year®” addresses recent issues in business travel with findings from experienced travel professionals from around the globe. The event features 400+ exhibiting companies, 175+ education & professional development sessions and nearly 7000 attendees representing over 50 countries. Sessions cover a wide range of topics including meetings management, finance, health for travelers, communication and more.
The event is hosted annually in different cities throughout the United States, typically in July or August. If you are unable to attend the annual conference. GTBA also hosts thousands of events and meetings among its many chapters.
International Hotel Technology Forum
Since 2003, the International Hotel Technology Forum has been hosted around Europe every year over the course of three days. The program has two primary pillars: One covers technology and operations, while the other covers marketing and distribution.
Over 50 experts host workshops, debates, round-tables, case studies and interviews that cover some of the most pressing issues in the industry. Also, attendees are able to pre-schedule meetings with hoteliers and suppliers to enable on-the-spot problem-solving.
The Annual Hotel Conference
The Annual Hotel Conference is probably the UK’s biggest industry conference. It covers both global and local industry trends, challenges and innovations with an emphasis on real-world, practical value along with business-to-business partnerships.
The two-day conference includes seminars, industry presentations, workshops and even debates. The cavalcade of visitors includes hoteliers, owners, operators, managers, investors, developers, designers, architects, consultants, tourism leaders and tourism boards.
Some of the biggest names in the travel and tourism industry sponsor the event, including Hilton, Booking.com, IHG, Mitsubishi, Marriott and more.
International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM)
International Luxury Travel Market hosts a collection of global, regional and specialist luxury travel events. Designed introduce global travel buyers to international travel experiences, the events are hosted in several cities worldwide every year. Alongside the annual flagship events in Cannes and Asia Pacific, ILTM also has four core local events: ILTM Arabia, ILTM China, ILTM Latin America and ILTM North America, as well as one specialist event, ILTM Africa. The Cannes event regularly has 5,000 attendees and 1,800+ exhibitors from 80 countries.
Each event introduces a selection of luxury travel brands to ILTM’s extensive network of hand-picked luxury travel advisors through appointments and networking sessions.
IMEX is a worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events, considering itself the heartbeat of the global business events community. Learn, network, connect with the global meetings industry over four days and experience fresh ideas from experts and innovators with countless networking opportunities. Whether you’re a meeting planner, an association executive, an incentive travel buyer or an in-house event expert, IMEX America is for you.
IMEX America takes place in Las Vegas every fall and has over 13,500 attendees and 4,000+ buyers from 68 countries. There is also an international IMEX event hosted in Frankfurt, Germany in the spring.
Eye for Travel: Chicago
Eye for Travel: Chicago is a major gathering of high-level executives (CEOs, CFOs, marketing managers, consultants, business development managers and more) in the travel and tourism industry.
It features panels, lectures and meetings covering all elements of eCommerce, marketing and digital customer engagement, with a special focus on the future of the industry, including the use of the internet and the introduction of AI.
This is a special opportunity to learn trade techniques and make connections with the best of the best in world-leading airlines, casinos, car rental agencies, tour companies and hotels. It’s held in the fall every year.
While the Chicago event covers the North American market, Eye for Travel holds other summits worldwide, such as Eye for Travel: Europe, if you’re interested in other markets.
Digital Travel Summit
The Digital Travel Summit is a relatively new event that focuses on the rapid evolution of the travel and tourism industry digital era. Topics include digital marketing, eCommerce strategy and digital customer engagement, with a specific focus on these industries:
- Car rental agencies
- Adventure tour companies
- Cruise lines
- Review outlets
- Theme parks
At the event, more than 400 eCommerce and digital marketing experts share insights on digital brand exposure and strategy. The event was created by the same people behind eTail, one of the major retail research and eCommerce conferences. It’s been held in both California and London and changes locations yearly.
Travel and Words
Travel and Words is a smaller conference but an exceptional way to make media connections. Held for two days in Oregon in the spring, the event focuses on travel and tourism media in the United States and Canada.
Presentations are held both by writers and editors in the media and by tourism industry executives with advice and insight about industry trends and hot topics readers may be interested in. There are also great social-media workshops for those looking to expand their knowledge of the digital marketplace.
Web in Travel
Web in Travel started with a single event in 2005 and has since expanded to several events per year. The group focuses on the particularly interesting relationship between the internet and the travel market, with a special focus on regions in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The flagship conference takes place in the United States around the fall most years, but there are other events all over Europe and Asia—so it’s very difficult to say this one is out of range.
Are you looking to boost the sales and marketing force of your travel or tourism brand? CWW helps companies and governments all over the planet with tourism marketing, public relations, communications, event management, travel trade, social media and more.
With 20 locations worldwide, we’re waiting to help you boost your prominence as well as your bottom line.