January is not only about new year’s resolutions and making plans for the months to come… it is also “fair month”, at least in the travel destination PR industry it is. From the Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht and ITB in Berlin to the NKBV Bergsport Dag 2018. Trade and consumer fairs are an ‘old school’ way to meet with people and gather information, about all kinds of topics. An effective way? Or too time consuming and ‘offline’? I can only say: I just love it! And this is why:

1. Face to face

The main reason for me to go to a travel or special interest fair is to meet with people. Not by Skype, by FaceTime or by Viber, but realtime. In my opinion, PR is not about Public Relations it is about Personal Relations, and a good way to maintain these relationships is by meeting on a regular basis. Personally. Of course, all the online ways to ‘meet’ help a lot in keeping my colleagues and contacts abroad posted, but I prefer to meet with them on fairs, as much as possible. Drinking a coffee together, brainstorming about new ideas and keeping it personal is my key to a successful business relationship.

2. Inspirational ideas

New ideas come spontaneously and pop up when you don’t expect them to. A good way for me to get some fresh ideas is walking around at a fair and spot trends, get inspired by ‘all time favourites’ and hear interesting stories. The booths at the fairs I visit are sometimes very innovative, other times too old school to be cool. But there is always an interesting story, behind every booth. A destination, company or organization will not attend a fair and not have a story at the same time. If you only open your ears and eyes and try to catch those stories…

3. Seated sessions

Fairs are the perfect way to join inspirational speaker sessions. Most of the times a big international fair attracts interesting speakers from all over the world. Especially, at travel events like WTM in London and ITB in Berlin I try to join a couple of sessions and hear about the latest trends, challenges and market news. Not only will you learn and get inspired, you will also meet interesting likewise people from the industry. Two birds, one stone.

4. Mind your step

I always try to dress well: business casual, dito hairdo and… by wearing a good pair of fair proof shoes. The steps counting app on my phone breaks records while walking around. In only one day I walk about 10 kilometers. Therefore, one of my best new year’s resolution is a busy meeting schedule at the Vakantiebeurs 🙂