Rolling out as a hybrid show, Africa Travel Week (ATW), headlined by World Travel Market (WTM) Africa and International Luxury Market (ILTM) Africa, is set to offer the best of both online and live networking opportunities.
With the industry having been severely disrupted by the pandemic, there’s no better platform to expand your connections and grow your business, whether you’re an exhibitor, buyer, journalist, or blogger.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since many of us have attended an event of this scale. So if you’re feeling a bit like a fish out of water, here are a few insider top tips to help you make the most of your time.
Set goals and have a clear plan
Having clearly defined goals will lead to effective outcomes, be it online or in person. Remember, everyone attending the show this year is here to do business, so developing this mindset will make it easier to strike up and lead conversations.
An excellent place to start is by asking yourself: “Who do I want to meet, and why?” Study the exhibitor list and draw up a detailed action plan outlining who you want to build connections with and how you plan on doing it.
To help with time management, attendees joining us live at the CTICC will receive a route planner with a show floor map on arrival. There will also be plenty of support staff stationed throughout the event to assist with questions or queries.
Attend the talks
Another opportunity for making meaningful connections is at some of the live talks built into the 2022 show programme, be it the speakers themselves or those seated around you. There’s no need to spread yourself too thin here, but do keep yourself armed with a crisp notebook and a solid supply of business cards or company brochures.
Treat people like friends
If you generally tend to find networking somewhat daunting and a bit awkward, here’s the thing: most people feel the same way.
With that in mind, those you strike up a conversation with at ATW will genuinely be glad that you took the first step. After the disruption caused by the pandemic, industry stakeholders are craving to reconnect and actively rebuild their bond within the industry once again.
At the end of the day, people attend live events to meet people, so don’t let your thoughts stop you — if you have the instinct to go and speak to someone during the show, don’t hold back. Count to three, then go and extend a friendly elbow.
Fortunately, everyone at the live event will have a name tag with their business title, so there’s no reason why you can’t use that as a strategic ‘in’ to strike up a conversation. Since attendees will be wearing face masks, making eye contact will prove extremely powerful when engaging with others.
Need to brush up on your networking skills in general? You’ll also discover a plethora of handy tips right here.
Once the show officially wraps up, there’s no reason to stop building connections and engaging with others in the industry. Upload your pictures on social media and set about engaging with new connections on LinkedIn.
It’s crucial to set aside some time to email attendees you promised to contact. If you enjoyed a specific talk, drop the speaker a message of encouragement. If you thought a particular exhibitor stand stood out, don’t shy away from raving about it online.
Every day of the year presents an opportunity to build human connections. The global tourism industry is one that has always cared about one another, and it’s in this spirit that we will continue to rebuild our sector in 2022 and beyond.
Whether you’ve been part of the Africa Travel Week (ATW) experience before or are joining us for the first time, we’re looking forward to having you at the show this year. For up-to-the-minute information about the show, follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.