A week of travel fairs has just drawn to a close, with two of Singapore’s seeming rivals – NATAS (National Association of Travel Agents Singapore) Travel Fair and Travel Revolution by Singapore Outbound Travel Agents Association (SOTAA) – running concurrently from March 23-25.
Instead of perceiving these as headbutting events to pledge allegiance to, local travel operators are regarding them as complementary options, and view their participation as an “individual business decision”, said Jane Chang, head of marketing communications, Chan Brothers Travel.
Chan Brothers Travel exhibits at the Travel Revolution fairs due to factors such as “consistent venue in town with higher convenience for all due to central location of event, better advertising and promotional campaign lined up by SOTAA” and the “non-profit basis” of the event, explained Chang.
Eddie Kheng, outbound manager (Singapore market), outbound department, H.I.S. Travel, concurred that the decision is made “from a purely business standpoint”.
“We’re participating in NATAS Travel Fair not just because we’re a member of the association, but also because it’s the bigger fair. If Travel Revolution gets bigger, then we would participate in that,” he remarked.
NATAS Travel Fair 2018 attracted 83,291 visitors, and last year’s 50th anniversary event drew 110,901 during the show weekend from February 17-19.
In 2017, Travel Revolution saw some 80,000 visitors over February 25-27. For the recently concluded fair, SOTAA president Kay Swee Pin commented that turnout on March 23 was less than usual, but “Saturday and Sunday were okay”.
Regardless of any overhanging rivalry, “a travel agency could choose to participate in both if they found it justifiable to do so”, explained Chang.
For example, Genting Cruise Lines actively participates in numerous travel fairs – i.e. NATAS Travel Fair and Travel Revolution Fair – and roadshows in shopping malls with the support from its preferred travel agents, said Michael Goh, senior vice president – international sales.
He added: “We have received an overwhelming response from consumers both though our travel agents as well our Dream Cruises’ booth in NATAS Travel Fair. Sales volume increased significantly by 300 per cent as compared to last year.”
Meanwhile, Chang shared that Chan Brothers Travel “experienced a higher rate of conversion with consumers more ready to book and achieved our targeted growth of 10 per cent over the same event previous year”.