(BTW, Show is Now Booked through 2025.)
The answer is “No.” That’s what Tom Garzilli, Brand USA’s chief marketing officer, made clear last week when he discussed the matter during a conversation after he was asked the question by Graham McKenzie, managing director of the UK trade journal TravelMole, while appearing on the latter’s podcast. In the following exchange, excerpted by INBOUND, Garzilli makes it clear that he does not see the new show—it’s already been extended through the year 2025, it was announced last week—in conflict with others. The exchange, which took place during Brand USA Travel Week in London, follows:
McKenzie: Brand USA Travel Week—this is a new event, pretty much competes head-on, you would think, with World Travel Market, ITB, Unite, which is run by the Visit USA Association. Are you seeing it as competition—as an alternative? What’s been the rationale behind this week.
Garzilli: I think, ultimately, that Travel Week is really the convergence of two strategies … two needs. One is our look at Europe as a single market—look at that more and more as its own market, as opposed to some of the individual countries. When you look at Europe in its totality, its visitation, it is, in reality is a far bigger market than China—and others, in terms of spend. So, we started looking at that and how to best accomplish focusing on (this) and, at the same time, we are adding and creating value for all of our partners throughout the U.S. There are things that we can do to help them where they can’t really do certain things on their own. For many years, we bemoaned the fact that it is hard to find a voice for the United States in these markets, outside of these big trade shows.
It’s nothing against those shows Those shows do what they need to do. They’re selling the world to the world, kind of. We’re selling the world in the case of WTM to the UK and Ireland. And in the case of ITB, to Germany and Austria. We feel that we want to bring the U.S. to Europe, and we want to have an opportunity to bring all of Europe here. So, Travel Week doesn’t just represent the UK and Ireland. Travel Week is buyers from 20 countries across Europe.
McKenzie: Do you think it will impact on IPW in terms of buyer … and media attendance?
Garzilli: No, not at all. I hope not because IPW is as important to us at Brand USA as anything we do. And what I think is unique about IPW is that’s the only time the world comes to the United States. I don’t even think they’re comparable experiences to IPW … for the world. I do think it (Brand USA Travel Week) will give us an opportunity to offer an alternative to our destination partners for the in-market shows that are big and unwieldy …
McKenzie: What about the regional shows like Travel South, Florida Huddle, Go West. Do you think it’s going to have an impact on them?
Garzilli: No. I feel … you can only get to so many people, you can only have so many partners in one place at a given time. I think that the more we can focus our USA … on this market, for example, and we can really be marketing in this market, that gives the regional groups a chance to give a little more attention to their members. Our goal is not to disrupt those things. We think it will actually add some interest … the more we engage buyers here the more they’re going to want to come to the USA to experience it. That means IPW. That means Travel South and the other regional shows.
We also know that the Travel Week—while it is a big thing we’re doing—is not the big thing. It’s going to be a tent-pole event around a lot of other things. Again, we’re not going to be able to do a Travel Week in every country. So, in between Travel Weeks, we’re going to be out in these countries, showing them the different kind of experiences (the USA offers).
Meanwhile, Mark Your Calendar for the Next Six Years—as UK, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are slated to host Brand USA Travel Week Europe between 2020 and 2025. The dates and locations were announced at the beginning of the inaugural Brand USA Travel Week Europe which took place Sept. 9-12. They are (subject to change):
2020: United Kingdom
2022: United Kingdom
2024: United Kingdom