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16/11/2020 By : Kenny Smith

Recover, rebuild, reshape: a different way of doing business at WTM

This year’s virtual WTM resulted a very different way - and different look - to doing business.

The 41st edition of the annual event took place last week, with the goals not only to “recover and rebuild” from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, but to reshape the travel industry going forward.

Top of the agenda was the impact the global health pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. Discussions at the conference sessions were around the road map to recovery, identifying trends and the innovations which will shape the future of the industry and post-Covid travel.

As well as live conference sessions and forums tackling the industry’s most pressing issues, attendees were able to take part in speed networking sessions, one-to-one meetings, and virtual networking opportunities. The virtual event took place across three days, from 7am-10pm, to allow access from different global time zones zones.

OTT’s Head of Global Partnerships Kenny Smith attended WTM Virtual without putting a foot past his front door. Read on for Kenny's tips on how to make the most of global business opportunities at the world’s biggest travel event while working from home.

WTM Virtual is a huge event attracting tens of thousands of people. Where did you start and what lessons have you learned?

“Wow, what a year 2020 has been!!! In a world currently which is operating digitally, we are focussed solely on supporting the travel industry. WTM2020 for me, was a chance to share OTT’s innovation throughout 2020, behind the scenes we have been working hard to share knowledge to travel agents around the world. The remote travel trade has never been more important.”

It’s been a tough year for the travel industry, did you detect any hints of optimism or green shoots of recovery during WTM Virtual?

“WTM2020 was a great way to speak to new clients and showcase our fantastic, stable platform. Like many event platforms, WTM technology did struggle, but it was great to connect with people and catch up on their trade plans for 2021. Positivity and enthusiasm for the industry was a pleasure to see and oozed throughout my meetings.”

The event promised a range of networking and business networking opportunities. How did you keep up?

“With 60 meetings over the four days it was productive and great to see positive results moving forward and turning into instant revenue - and a great amount of proposals. Motivation is key for working from home and you have to ensure you are fully prepared.”

Can you share your top tip for achieving results from virtual business meetings?

“My tip for the future: prep your day with research on the partners you are meeting with, ensure a relaxed, but professional working environment with a stable internet connection.”

What was your key takeaway from this year’s WTM Virtual?

“It’s great to see that the industry sees the need to communicate with the travel trade. Travel agents have never been more important. Consumer confidence is key, and travel professionals need to have the correct tools and knowledge to share to ensure confidence to travel.”


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