If you’re like most travel affiliates, you’re very selective about which travel conferences, events and trade shows to attend; in our view, World Travel Mart should be at the top of your list.  Billed as a “must attend’ conference and business exhibition, this London, UK based conference allows participants from all sectors of the travel trade the opportunity to “meet, network, negotiate and conduct business” with scores of other travel industry professionals from around the world all under one-roof.

Now in its 30th year, World Travel Mart (WTM) attracts some 5,500 travel and tourism exhibitors and almost 50,000 participants over its 4-day conference and exhibition schedule. This year’s WTM takes place on Monday 9th – Thursday 12th November, and will once again be hosted at ExCeL London, the premier conference center in London.

World Travel Mart has a strict admission policy; it is open to travel industry professionals only, of which there are five categories:

  • Exhibitors (includes travel suppliers, travel technology companies, national tourist boards, convention centers, etc)
  • Meridian Club Members (travel professionals who are responsible for the purchase of travel-related products and services; Meridian Club members are identified and pre-qualified in the registration process)
  • Trade professionals (which includes travel affiliates)
  • Retail Travel Agents
  • Press (public relations professionals and journalists)

The array of seminars and exhibitions at WTM is rather astounding, and many of them have particular relevance to the travel affiliate marketing industry.  It is important to note however, that the first day of the conference (Monday, November 9th) is strictly ‘by invitation only’; attendance on this day is limited to pre-registered ministers, exhibitors, members of the press and exhibitor invitees.

However, the following three days (Tuesday – Thursday, November 10th – 12th), which is where the bulk of the program agenda is centered on, are open to all travel industry professionals including Meridian Club members, trade visitors, travel affiliates, travel agents, exhibitors and the press.

Here’s a sample of the topics, issues and travel niches that will be presented and discussed in the seminar and educational portion of the conference:

  • Adventure Travel
  • Destination Briefings
  • Disabled Travel
  • Gay & Lesbian Travel
  • Luxury Travel
  • Medical Tourism
  • Responsible/Eco Tourism
  • Spa & Wellness
  • Sports Tourism Program
  • Innovations, Trends & Forecast

In addition, the following reports and presentations will be made during the conference portion of the event:

  • The Media Mobile Summit: a focus on the increasing role of mobile technology and its impact on the travel industry
  • EyeforTravel Travel Technology Summit discusses the key technology and marketing issues at the fore front of the industry
  • Advice Clinics – Ask the Experts: Andy Boyce from The Travel Technology Experts is ready to share his expertise and advise you on your technology business challenges
  • Technology and Online Travel program: explores potential technological developments of the next 30 years, looking particularly at the booking process, marketing, CRM and the holidaymakers’ in-resort experience
  • Free technology focused seminars organized by Genesys – The Travel Technology Consultancy, covering content, SEO, revenue and online payment

The tradeshow (or Exhibition, as it’s referred to), is literally spectacular.  If you’ve attended affiliate marketing conferences which also included tradeshows, WTM’s Exhibition makes those look like flea markets in comparison.  In fact, WTM’s Exhibition is more like Comdex – it’s huge, but very well organized, and includes virtually every travel company and supplier you can think of…and then some!  It’s an ideal venue to meet and network with top level executives in many of these companies, discuss potential business opportunities, and in some cases to even ‘test’ the product or service they’re selling.

Registration to both the exhibition and the conference is free to all travel trade members, including travel affiliates, providing it is done in advance; otherwise, visitors who have not pre-registered must pay an admission fee of £47 (about $75) to enter during the November 10-12 sessions.  To avoid paying this fee, and take advantage of WTM’s Fast Track registration offer, click here.

TravelDividends highly recommends that travel affiliate marketers and executives with travel companies attend WTM.  Given the low air fares available to London from just about any U.S. or Canadian city, together with bargain London hotel rates and the relatively strong value of the U.S. and Canadian dollars versus the British pound, this is an ideal year to participate in one of the travel industry’s premier events.

More importantly, WTM is only one of two events in the global travel and tourism industry where you have an opportunity to meet with travel professionals from around the world, share ideas and strategies, learn about new travel ideas and concepts, and develop business opportunities.

If you do attend, we’d appreciate hearing back from you upon your return and tell us – and your fellow readers – about your experience.