Are Travel Fairs a Good Way to Sell Holidays?

February 7, 2012 Blog 4 comments

In the hypercompetitive travel trade in Singapore, merely putting together a compelling itinerary with an attractive price isn’t sufficient. With a plethora of online travel portals like Expedia, Travelocity, Zuji and Wotif muscling into their space, brick and mortar travel agents need to find new ways to differentiate themselves. With the help of online travel service providers, consumers are booking airline tickets, selecting hotel rooms, renting cars, arranging land transfers, and even making reservations for restaurants and shows in advance.

While some players like MISA Travel have gone on to develop a more e-commerce savvy website, others such as ASA Holidays have organised full-fledged trade fairs to showcase their various offerings. Together with other big outbound tour operators like CTC Travel and Chan Brothers, ASA Holidays is pre-empting the upcoming NATAS Travel Fair with their own pre-sales event (I told you it was competitive). 

Are these travel fairs successful?  Well, join me for a tour of ASA Holidays’ recent fair at Suntec City and decide for yourself.
ASA Travel Fair - 2012
While wandering around the booths, I noticed that the “props” being used are getting larger and larger these days.  I wonder how that coach got all the way up to Level 4 of Suntec Convention Centre?

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
Promotions, freebies, discounts and special priced deals are the order of the day.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
Other than ASA Holidays itself, partnering organisations have also leapt into the fray selling anything from winter clothes to coffee, insurance to luggages.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
Of course, one can’t do without tying up with a credit card company, as you can see here.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
To sweeten the deal further, those spending above $3,000 or $5,000 could redeem one of these spiffy new luggage bags.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
Who says that only theme parks have mascots?  These comical looking characters help to charm kids and adults alike, adding to the festive buzz.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
I thought this character resembled PUB’s Water Wally, don’t you think?

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
A stage is in place for live performances and demonstrations of what one can expect at the various destinations.  There was also the much highly sought after “grand lucky draw” where one can win prizes, free holidays and other goodies.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
To attract visitors to the right areas, huge banners advertising the countries which you can visit could be found. They were adorned with colourful pictures showcasing specific destinations.

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
At each zone, the key offers available are clearly communicated through standees which present the key highlights of each tour, available dates, package prices, and of course any special deals (like the 2nd traveller enjoying half-price deal here).

ASA Travel Fair - 2012
After selecting your package, you’re supposed to get a queue number and assigned to a tour sales personnel.  To ASA’s credit, I found them proficient in their product knowledge and credible.  At the Korea tour areas, we were served by a Korean tour guide who was specially flown in for the occasion.  I guess it added to the “authenticity” of the experience since he had excellent product knowledge while being able to communicate fluently to us in Mandarin.

Having experienced the trade show put up by ASA, I suppose the key areas of focus are still low prices, promotions and freebies. While elements of experiential marketing were incorporated into the roadshow, it is clear that the main decision drivers for consumers are value-for-money tours which are economically feasible.

It would be good if travel businesses could try to pay more attention to the after sales experience of customers rather than to focus all their energies and resources on clinching additional sales.  Find out how your customers feel after the tours, get them to share their photographs (and put them up on your website, blog or Facebook pages), and reach out to them with offers and specials AFTER their trip.  This may not only endear your brand to customers but help to trigger greater Word-Of-Mouth in the long run.

Oh and in case you are wondering, this post isn’t sponsored by ASA Holidays.  On the contrary, we bought a package from them (and yes, it was decently priced). But that’s a story for another day.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Hi!
    I’m a tourism and Resorts management student doing my Final Year Project and I came across this particular blogpost of yours. i feel that it’s rather insightful and it helped me with my essay i was writing about. i just want to express my thanks to you . and i was also hoping that you would be able to help me this survey regarding Online Travel Agents.

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