Village N Life recently participated in the 2017 World Travel Market in London, a leading global event for the travel industry. Global trends and news for the travel industry were the focus of the World Travel Market (WTM), which concluded on Wednesday, 8 November.
This year, WTM featured 5,000 exhibiting companies, including 50 in the African section. Nearly, 51,500 visitors were in attendance.
Senior executives Roelof Troskie (CEO Sales), and Kobus van der Westhuyzen (CFO Ventures) flew to London to represent Village N Life, along with Bay Hotel staff member, Sesi Sibanyoni.
South African tourism, as well as Western Cape tourism and other provinces, were in attendance.
Existing Village N Life (VNL) partners and top international Destination Management Companies (DMCs) were also in attendance at the WTM:
- Thompsons Africa
- New Frontiers
- Southern Africa 360
These partners refer clients to VNL from all over Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia.
Approximately twenty meetings took place with new tour operators and existing tour operator partners. Many more lasting connections were made.
Below is a breakdown of Village N Life’s achievements for this year’s World Travel Market London.
Achievement 1: Connecting with existing partners
First, of one the main achievements of Village N Life’s trip to London was touching base with existing partners. Thompsons Africa had a stand adjacent to VNL which allowed for frequent conservation and connection.
VNL also had a chance to connect with travel agents directly and re-establish information about all of VNL’s products.
VNL also held a meeting with their number one trade supplier, Follow Me 2 Africa (FM2A).
Meetings were also held with FM2A’s top suppliers including:
- Travel 2
- Travel Republic
Others VNL met with included:
- Travel Focus, an existing partner and international tour operator. VNL sees great potential in this tour operator and expects a great increase in enquiries from them.
- African Pride is an existing client and international tour operator, based in the UK.
- Premier Holiday is another international tour operator out of the UK and supplier for VNL.
- T Cornand – travel designer
- Hotelbeds, a global Wholesaler who recently acquired GTA and Tourico,
- Knysna Tourism, official tourism office for Knysna and surrounding areas.
- Tour d’Afrique is a Destination Management Company.
Achievement 2: Establishing new connections
Second, while many of the travel agents met were existing clients to strengthen our connections, there were new opportunities as well.
19th Hole Golf is a new agent which is now registered for trade rates with VNL.
They will be expanding into South Africa in 2018 as a major destination for their clients. They are currently planning a Cape Town and Garden Route itinerary for October next year.
Trade rates have been extended to them since meeting with Roelof at WTM.
Avoca Travels was another new client who VNL met with. They are a tour operator based in Durban.
VNL also met with Dream Carte, a potential partner who runs a member benefit program.
Achievement 3: Launching Mauritius
Thirdly, VNL Sales had the opportunity to launch two new products: the Azuri Resort and West Island Resort in Mauritius, brand new acquisitions for VNL.
The feedback was excellent for the Mauritius products. Travel professions said they found these products particularly exciting because these types of properties are not common in Mauritius: VNL Mauritius products features services departments rather than the all-inclusive set up that is already common on the island. Travel companies said there is a big demand for this type of product.
As a result, the Mauritius properties will be live with travel agents and DMCs this week already.
Achievement 4: Learning opportunities
Finally, in addition to networking, the World Travel Market was an opportunity for VNL to learn about its competitors and technology.
For example, the World Travel Market was an opportunity to learn more about the variety of products that are available, both in South Africa and around the world.
As well, the technology stand at the event was also important for the VNL. Presenters spoke about newest innovations currently use in terms of websites, social media, and artificial intelligence in booking engines, as well as technology projections for the next five years. It is important that VNL stays current with technology trends to ensure a streamlined booking process for guests.
In addition, VNL also used WTM as an opportunity for staff development. One of their star employees, Sesi Sibanyoni, Host Manager Rooms Division for The Bay Hotel was invited to attend WTM on VNL’s behalf. Read more about her experience here.