The event’s management team organised a brunch with the idea of promoting the benefits and new facilities that have been devised for the area
On 6 December, WTM Latin America received about 40 representatives from tour operators on the mezzanine floor at Reed Exhibitions Alcantara Machado in São Paulo. The brunch brought together executives to share first hand what’s new and the changes planned for 2019 during the event that will take place between 2 – 4 April at Expo Center Norte (SP).
For the second year running, WTM Latin America is heading up the project aimed at tour operators, which in its last edition gained greater autonomy and flexibility for creating new proposals and actions for this segment.
In 2018 the Travel Agents Programme, which was exclusively organized by WTM Latin America in partnership with the Interamerican Network, brought in 700 travel agents from all 26 Brazilian states, as well as from the Federal District, an increase of 11% over 2017. It is expected that this number will reach 800 travel agents in 2019, 700 of them from Brazil and as many as 100 from other countries in Latin America.
Aiming to further strengthen WTM Latin America’s connection with travel agents, the event organizers have created a new visual identity for the programme that has been called “Agent on the Road”. The Interamerican Network is still a partner company for validating the professionals and making the programme operational.
The great news announced by WTM Latin America for the next edition with regard to this particular public is that they are going to be obliged to make appointments and hold meetings with the operators. Thais Del Ben, marketing manager for WTM Latin America, explained that the new solutions presented to the event’s participants were devised in accordance with the opinions gathered from exhibitors and follow a firm intention to meet their expectations.
“The mission of WTM Latin America is to inspire, to present trends and what’s new and to generate business. To attend this third item, qualified networking is essential and that’s why agents participating in the “Agents on the Road” programme will be given three indicators that need to be met: a minimum number of scheduled meetings with operators; participation in the qualification content; and playing the game that we’ll be launching at the event”, Thais stresses.
Danielle Roman, president of Interamerican Network, the company responsible for assessing and qualifying the travel agents for taking part in the programme, stressed that the focus of WTM Latin America 2019 is connectivity and, therefore, one of the main challenges is how important it is to bring the parties together and generate business. “We do a meticulous job in assessing the profile of the professionals applying for the programme, as we know the responsibility we have of delivering a high value-added B2B event”, Danielle adds.
The new guidelines for the “Agent on the Road” programme also provide for the participation of agents from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Peru, and set out the deadline for the agents to cancel their participation in the event before it begins and the no-show penalty if the agents do not attend it or honour the commitments they have assumed.
Tour Operators Area
Executive Bianca Pizzolito, WTM Latin America’s sales manager, presented the participants of the event with the new features of the operators’ programme. Since the WTM Latin America team is directly developing the area there is greater autonomy for creating customized actions and the space will be remodelled and segmented into tour operators, cruises and insurance companies, thus making each of the sectors more visible.
Bianca stressed the benefits for exhibitors which have at their disposal an online profile on the event’s website, access to the Tour Operators Cafe, inclusion in the event’s printed catalogue, participation in the Speed Networking sessions, support from the communication team for help in divulging new features and access to the “Premium Package” that makes the exhibitor’s online profile more visible on the WTM Latin America website.
The system used for scheduling meetings has also received special attention for the 2019 edition. With operators now able to search for and arrange meetings with travel agents, and vice versa, the interface is friendlier and more intuitive, which facilitates navigation and use of the tool’s functionalities. It is worth mentioning that the meeting scheduling system will be available in the first week in March 2019 for both operators and agents.
The Tour Operators Area has the capacity to lease 32 spaces, 18 of which are already reserved.
Another topic addressed in the presentation was the content of the training spaces, in which conferences will be given that provide information about destinations and presentations by the operators as to how to work with the product. This is a way of speeding up contact and bringing professionals face-to-face who have more synergy with regard to the products and services on offer.
“In order to arrive at the project that’s been presented, we listened to the operators. This proximity and open channel [of communication] between WTM Latin America and the operators is fundamental for improving each edition”, says Bianca.
Ana Maria Berto, a member of the WTM Latin America Advisory Board and the CEO of Orinter Tour & Travel, was a key element when it came to remodelling and improving processes and the aspects that are new to the area. According to the executive, there is no turning back from the path to professionalization, which is something very beneficial to the segment. “The innovations devised for the next edition reinforce the professionalization directive that WTM Latin America has been imposing on the market and, increasingly, the event is a relevant space for business for the segment. The 2019 event will be a very important for developing our market”, concludes Ana Maria.
Another new feature that will be launched at WTM Latin America 2019 will be the “Treasure Hunt” app, an interactive game with challenges being presented on a daily basis to agents. At the end of the day, the agent with the highest score will be awarded an exclusive prize.
According to Luciane Leite, the changes and transformations of the event were based on the conversations and exchanges WTM had with the operators. “In our general survey, the operators’ satisfaction rates were good, so we looked at how we needed to improve our actions. I believe that with these innovations we’ll have an even more successful event, with real connection and more business being generated between the various parties”, concludes the executive.