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WTM 2020: Planning for the Unknown.

WTM 2020: Planning for the Unknown.
24 August 2020 James Brooke

For a PR agency with its heritage in the travel industry, this time of year has always been reserved for tenacious World Travel Market planning. The end of August is a flurry of ideas, preparing news announcements, sending out exciting event invitations, finalising creative concepts and of course emailing key contacts to plan a catch up over a coffee in Starbucks.

Rooster has been managing events, media relations and securing top tier coverage for clients at World Travel Market for 20 years. We have organised numerous on-stand activations, delivered large scale events in top London venues such as Sky Garden and secured impactful broadcast mornings, to name a few.

But this year, things are going to be a little different…

As the first WTM and large industry event since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we know that work is underway to create a World Travel Market that is safe, secure and impactful for everyone.

Alongside the traditional event, the organisers are also planning a virtual event the following week. This is a sensible move from Reed Expo, due to the uncertainty that is still lingering over physical meet ups with large numbers. Its good to see that WTM is being adapted for a “new normal” while not entirely abandoning the opportunity to engage in physical, face to face interactions, which has always been the core success of the conference.

Despite all the current ambiguities, there are some things we can be sure of:

  • WTM is, and will always be, a competitive event with visiting press managing increasingly busy schedules
  • Hundreds of organisations are vying for media attention throughout the show and numerous events run simultaneously, during the day and in the evenings
  • The key to attracting media interest is having a compelling news hook or announcement for your business or destination
  • The best WTM mantra is always quality over quantity

We might not have the definitive answers yet, but here at Rooster we are advising and preparing clients for the unfamiliar territory that lays before us – as we have been doing throughout this challenging time for the industry.

Our relationship with the organising team is more important than ever. As the two versions of the event evolve, we will keep abreast of the latest developments so we can inform clients and adapt our media and communication strategies to suit.

While it is inevitable that there will be fewer physical speaker slots or panel sessions this year due to social distancing restrictions on stage, where a Rooster client has a good story to tell, we are still planning to shout about it.

And if everything goes ahead at the ExCel centre, then we will be ready and prepared for the one-way walking systems, socially distanced exhibition stands, face mask donned meetings, hand sanitiser stations, limited seating, an increased frequency of cleaning and contactless registration. There will be no handshakes in sight!

James Brooke, Managing Director at Rooster, added:

“Our travel team would usually be in full-swing for clients by now, securing media one-to-ones, planning on-stand activations, and organising a host of epic evening events. It’s a huge point in the travel calendar that is a total buzz to be apart of. In my 18 years of working WTM, there has never been this much uncertainty on what to expect, but it’s fantastic to see the acceleration of a virtual event; giving a vital platform to an industry which still has so much to give and share even if the physical event cannot go ahead.

We are all hoping World Travel Market Live 2020 can go ahead safely. The industry deserves it, so we’ve got our Rooster fingers and toes crossed.”