For decades ITB was the highlight of the year for the tourism industry.
But will it still be the leading tourism marketing place in future? Three reasons against it:
1. Not enough trade visitors
Only a fraction of the trade visitors was present at ITBnow. This may be due to the still widespread short-time work in German and European travel industry. Or a general decline in interest in major trade fairs. And of course, some tour operators and travel agencies terminated their operation in the last months.
2. Wrong timing
In the short and medium term, the tourism industry still lacks a clear perspective. In Germany, the incidence values are rising, and a further lockdown in many regions appears to be imminent. With the renewed lockdown in Italy and e.g., the restart in Mallorca, the European destinations offer a very mixed picture, too. A situation that unsettles consumers and travel industry alike. Bookings will be postponed and done last minute.
3. Wrong format
Virtual meetings have become commonplace over the past year. It is not surprising that many discussions the last week did not take place on the ITB platform, but rather via teams or zoom. Two systems that were used in daily work throughout the last year.
Successful matchmaking during ITB has always been a matter of intensive preparation. This year timing, the economic situation of many companies and the dissolution of ITB have made it a lot more difficult. In addition, tour operators and travel agencies lost massive market shares in the past year in the sale of tourism services in favor of direct bookings with airlines, car rental companies and hotels (source DRV). The current question here is who are the right partners for a successful restart.
However, this all does not mean that another year is lost for tourism.
On the contrary:
A large proportion of Germans would like to travel in 2021. Many Germans have even more money available than last year. But travel decisions will be made extremely short-term. In favor of countries and providers knowing how to address the changing needs of travelers, with the right messages, through the right channels, at the right moment.
An agile marketing setup, data analytics, digital marketing, new distribution partnerships, establishing new networks - also with non-tourism partners are the building blocks for success.
We'll show you how.