Connect Travel’s International Marketing Forum West on February 25th in Marina del Rey, California will underscore Connect’s commitment to a brand that has no peer in the travel and tourism industry in the United States. IMF West is a one-day event focused on providing tools, research, and insights to help industry professionals initiate or enhance their global marketing efforts. Recognized Industry experts will lead informative sessions throughout the day tackling the challenges of creating a global strategy.
Unique in its program content, IMF is also singular because it affords those who attend the opportunity to come to Marina del Rey for IMF’s program, or combine it with participation in Connect’s RTO Summit West held the following day, on February 26th. There, delegates—they are primarily senior representatives of DMOs and travel suppliers—will have the opportunity to meet in one-on-one business with receptive tour operators from throughout the Greater Los Angeles-South California area and transact Visit USA business.
The supplier-buyer ratio is such that, between business appointments and morning and mid-day functions, as well as a closing reception, “everybody meets everybody” by the time it is over. For additional information on how to register, click here.
The IMF experience will also take place later this year with IMF East, April 15, 2020, at the Grand Hyatt New York, between Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building in mid-town Manhattan; and IMF Florida on October 13, 2020 at the Omni Orlando at ChampionsGate in Kissimmee, Florida.
“International marketing is not reserved for the tourism supplier with the biggest budget. A global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets,” explains Will Seccombe, president of Connect Travel, adding,” The International Marketing Forum West will bring together professionals in tourism marketing to discuss and explore how to successfully execute a global strategy in today’s rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace.”
The IMF agenda will address the following subjects:
International Travelers Destination Decision &
Buying Behavior – Established Markets (Erin Francis-Cummings,
president and CEO, Destination Analysts)
A data-driven look at how travelers from the U.S.’s top markets are making their destination decisions and how they’re transacting that travel. We’ll start at the top of the funnel to examine what are the top attracters and deterrents for selecting destinations, attractions and experiences and which digital media and offline sources have the biggest impact on consumer’s selection. From there, we’ll look at how that does (and doesn’t) correlate with actual buying behavior.
What the Hell is Going on in China? (Alinda
Xiang, president & CEO, East West Marketing)
From trade wars to travel warnings, the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese governments is a non-stop rollercoaster. But what does that mean for U.S. destinations seeking to develop or expand their Chinese visitor base? We’ll take a look at trends in Chinese visitation and, more importantly, the most recent developments in the Chinese travelers’ decision-making process. Gain insights on where destination decisions are being made and how you can tap into this ever-expanding market.
Is India the next China or the White Whale?
(Kathy Smiths, vice president, international tourism, Los Angeles Tourism)
Everyone is intrigued by the rapid growth of arrivals from India. But depending on who you ask, Indians are either high-spending, upscale hotel-staying dream visitors or frugal business travelers staying with friends and family. Add to that the highly fractured ecosystem of agents and buyers and the world’s second most populous country is perplexing to say the least. Our panelists will break down this emerging market and speak truth to what the Indian market is – and isn’t – and whether (and how) you should approach it.
The South is Rising Again – Getting Started in
Latin & South America (Daniel Schwartz, director,
Americas, San Francisco Travel; Tyler Gosnell, director of
international marketing, Visit California)
New markets from South and Latin America are on the rise, with significant new lift coming to the U.S., particularly in the west. Countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Panama are suddenly real opportunities for growth in international visitation while countries like Brazil and Mexico continue to show growth. This panel session will provide a 101-session covering the state of these markets, media consumption habits and booking behavior. You’ll leave with actionable takeaways on how to get started – or ramp up – your destination or attraction efforts in these markets.
Data Privacy the Future of Marketing for DMOs, Attractions & Suppliers (Gray Lawry, vice president, strategy & insights, Miles Partnership)
Europe’s launch of GDPR has started a wave of new data privacy regulations around the world that are fundamentally changing how destinations reach global consumers. With increased importance being placed on “first-party” data, destinations and attractions will soon be challenged to find targeted audiences through “traditional” digital network providers. At the same time, travel agents and tour operators have an opportunity to leverage the first party consumer data they have collected to create innovative new ways to partner with DMOs and other suppliers. In this session, get a better understanding of what regulations like GDPR mean for the industry and how destinations and travel providers need to adapt to be effective.
Why Overtourism & Responsible Travel Matters
Now (even though you have empty rooms)
You have plenty of empty hotel beds and open seats – so why are we talking about this depressing subject? Because your potential customers and local communities are. From Paris to Copenhagen to Amsterdam, the impact of overtourism is big news in much of Europe. Consumers from these markets are becoming more aware of how these issues impact communities and have a rising desire to participate in “ethical tourism.” We’ll talk about how you can work with your trade partners to get ahead of this coming challenge by developing (and marketing) product strategies aimed at visitor dispersal and low-impact visitation.
Lessons Learned – Brand USA Talks about What Works (and what hasn’t)
Creating consumer marketing campaigns that work globally is no easy task. Finding the balance between consistent and efficient messaging and customizing to be relevant for each audience is a constant challenge, regardless of budget. In this session, Brand USA will talk about what types of messaging and marketing strategies have worked best globally, and which ones just don’t translate. We’ll provide real takeaways to consider as you try to balance your own global vs. market-specific strategy.
“Good Co-op/Bad Co-op” for the International Consumer
We all understand the cost/benefit of co-operative marketing: give up a little control of your brand in exchange for a far greater reach and impact for your investment. But in the end, the actual message still needs to resonate with consumers. In this session, we’ll look at how you develop co-op strategies from a consumer-first mentality, looking at traveler interests and behaviors to select the right partners and craft the right product and story. Using real-life examples of multi-destination co-ops that generated meaningful results, you’ll take away new ideas on how to construct successful partnerships.
Free Marketing is Good. Free Audience is even Better. (Chris Adams, Head of Research & Insights, Miles Partnership) While you’re agonizing over where to spend your limited international marketing dollars, millions of potential visitors (who are actively searching your destination or business) are making decisions based on the content and information already available in the world’s largest travel content ecosystem: Google. Are you doing everything you can with Google’s free destination and business tools to provide the most compelling and informative picture of your product for international consumers? In this session, you’ll discover the size of this audience (spoiler alert, it’s huge) and get tips and tricks on how to optimize your footprint throughout Google’s travel and search environment.
Test Your Knowledge – International Visitor Quiz
In this interactive session, we’ll test your knowledge of international markets through a fun and informative live quiz on travel behavior of the U.S.’s top 11 global markets. Who comes the longest? Spends the most? Is more likely to rent a motorcycle? Least likely to tip appropriately? You’ll leave this session with more knowledge on your customer and possible even a prize!
(Connect Travel produces 12 industry events specifically designed to address industry needs in a unique format that creates an efficient and effective environment to expedite the sales process and grow your business. For additional information, visit https://connecttravel.com/)