Highlights of WTM 2018: Events, Networking and Inspiration in Travel


WTM London 2018Here at ItinerWord we love attending travel industry networking events, mainly for the opportunity it gives us to take a moment out with our trusted partners during an otherwise busy year! Last week our ItinerWord founders, Drew and Emma, made it over to London for WTM 2018, the world’s largest travel show. It was certainly busy for those involved but a fantastic show nonetheless, bursting at the seams with great events, plenty of inspiration and fantastic networking too. Read about their WTM highlights and a few ideas on the importance of networking in our latest ItinerWord blog post.

Why attend a travel show?

Colourful exhibitors at WTM 2018

As a top travel copywriting and content marketing agency, it is part of our daily agenda at ItinerWord to always be on top of travel trends, changes to Google’s SEO requirements, emerging destinations to look out for and what the latest travel industry movements are. This is purely for the benefit of our partners and clients, who always trust us to deliver the very best content that is both Google-friendly and fully up to date. It does help that we really enjoy the shows too, but an event such as WTM 2018 provides a fantastic opportunity to get everybody under one roof to talk, share ideas and keep their finger to the pulse.

Product knowledge

Another benefit of any global travel show is the chance to explore and understand destinations you may not have otherwise been familiar with. Again, we are lucky, as our team either come from or have visited just about every country on earth, but nonetheless as you walk from stand to stand, from one exhibition or talk to another, the excitement of travel and the realisation of what a wonderful industry we all work in becomes clearer than ever.

Uganda Tourist Board at WTM 2018

Emerging destinations

Take Taiwan, the long-time quieter sibling of regional neighbours China and Japan, has now become an up and coming tourist destination in its own right – and for good reason – over the last couple of years. Well, at ItinerWord, we always champion those emerging destinations and often work with both tourist boards and their preferred suppliers to help, so we were delighted to attend a fun event hosted by the Taiwanese government during our time at WTM 2018. We were not alone however, and noticed as we walked the floor between meetings over those three days that it was often those very emerging tourism destinations – hot picks for 2019 – that were the liveliest, and busiest of them all.

Networking at WTM 2018

Insightful events and seminars at WTM

WTM really raised the bar this year in terms of seminars and events, with so many taking place across the three days – we only wish we had a whole week to attend them all! Between networking, meetings and catch-ups, our directors Drew and Emma prioritised seminars relating to all things content, finding out what others in the industry had to say and how it compared to our own philosophies. What we found, was that the industry agrees with us, and we are still pioneering the way.

Quality content is here to stay

There is no getting around it: quality is still the king of content, as was reinforced by speakers across the three days of WTM’s events. We loved listening to Steve Hänisch (of Backpacker Steve) discuss his understanding of what content should be centred on: good storytelling, showcasing your USPs and communicating what makes your story unique. Interestingly, Steve’s most popular, conversion-driving blog posts are a few years old. He explained: ‘Content takes a while so give it time, be patient, and if the content is good it will work.’ We couldn’t agree more!

Insightful conferences at WTM 2018

Storytelling to create an emotional connection

Interestingly, forging a strong emotional connection through content was a recurring point that many speakers, in different seminars, talked about. For instance, Dr Hamish McPharlin, Head of Insight at BBC Global News and the main speaker at WTM’s conference The Science of Creating Memorable Branded Travel Content, explained the importance of stirring people’s emotions. His team had led a study that delved into the link between emotion and memory, which evaluated that, since we as people aren’t able to retain everything we see and experience, content needs to strike a chord with our emotions in order to be memorable. Therefore, building great narratives that move us is a key component in the science of creating memorable content.

It is impossible to do this without the proper language skills, which filled us with confidence and reassurance too.

Science of memory conference at WTM 2018

Build trust and see conversions grow

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog article, being a voice of authority in your field shows Google that you are a reliable source. This is why qualitative and engaging content always wins, as Brian Young – the Managing Director of G Adventures – drove home during his speech at WTM. To summarise some key points made by Brian: Stay focused on what’s important to your audience, and provide them with the in-depth content they are looking for, which will in turn boost your SEO. For Steve Hänisch, ‘High trust leads to high conversion,’ and we know why. When you build trust, users become confident in your content because they find what they are looking for and can rely on you to provide the most insightful, engaging and useful content for them.

Travel networking

There is nothing quite like meeting your partners and clients in person, particularly in an internet age of email and anonymous websites. It is so important to cement those friendships and relationships as we are, after all, in it together. To have that reference point, feel more connected with your industry colleagues and understand each other just that little bit better can only be a good thing. This is something we massively believe in and are proud to be regularly in touch with everyone, even the very first partner our business joined forces with back in 2014.

Meeting the Nicaragua Tourist Board at WTM 2018

Partnerships for life

For ItinerWord a business relationship is for life, providing you consistently deliver a high-level service, which we do. What’s more, ItinerWord is a global travel content marketing company, we have friends and partners everywhere from South America to Africa, Australia to Asia, the USA to Europe, so having the chance to get as many of them in one place at a time is an absolute joy – it would be a never-ending round the world plane ticket otherwise!

Successful business relationships

If you work in the travel industry long enough, and are successful, you’ll know as well as we do that our industry relies on a personal touch, trusting relationships and going that extra mile to stand out. At ItinerWord every one of our travel copywriters is from the tourism industry so we know this better than most, and we truly believe that, although it can be hard on the feet at shows like WTM 2018, the value in having just a few minutes of quality time with either your most trusted or potentially new partners and clients is priceless. To do it is to set yourself up for a more productive and flexible relationship, which will only ever benefit both your businesses as a result.

Meeting Coltur Peru at WTM 2018

Get excited to work in the travel industry

No two ways about it, anyone lucky enough to work in the travel industry is just that – lucky! We are not trying to sell faulty second-hand cars, overpriced double glazing or insurance policies nobody actually needs. We provide our fellow humans with the opportunity to see the world, to experience new cultures, create once-in-a-lifetime memories on their honeymoons, retirement tours or anniversary occasions. We generate income for local economies, we receive inbound sales and don’t need to cold call. We build relationships and business models based on repeat and recommend not just who can offer the cheapest deal. This, friends, is a gift and a privilege.

Brazil's dance performance at WTM 2018

Content marketing is part of the journey

For ItinerWord, working as the leading content marketing agency in the travel industry is just as rewarding as being the very person to piece together the trip, or physically lead the tour, as we feel every bit a part of that journey with every word that we write for our partners. The same goes if you are the boutique hotel, airline, travel specialist, DMC, ship owner or experience provider; to sell something you know will make people’s lives better with no hidden surprises should, and does, make the travel industry a truly unique place to be.

Got a question for us? Speak to the ItinerWord team by emailing us at info@itinerword.co.uk, or read more of our blog articles for travel inspiration and content marketing advice.