The New York Times Travel Show vs The Amateur Traveler

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Latvija piedalās tūrisma izstādē New York Times Travel Show

I attended the New York Times Travel Show this year and I just received an invitation to get a booth for the 2012 event.

I am excited to announce The New York Times Travel Show 2012 Exhibitor Booth Registration is now open. The dates are set for March 2-4, 2012 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Halls 3 D/E. Our 2011 event was once again North America’s premier travel show, attracting a unique representation of the world’s leading tourism markets. Based on feedback from the show there is an increased level of “readiness to travel.” The 2011 show welcomed a total of 20,407 travelers and industry professionals to the jam-packed weekend resulting in a 27% increase in attendance over the 2010 show.

Over the last year I have attended the New York Times Travel Show, the LA Times Travel Show and the San Francisco Bay Area Travel Show. I am curious how worthwhile these venues are for travel companies.

The cost of the smallest booth at the New York Times Travel Show (10′ by 10′) is $3,400. Now let’s assume you are going to send at least one person to man the booth we are talking about somewhere around $5,000 as the minimum amount you will spend to be represented at the event. If you got to speak to all 20,407 attendees then that would be a cost of acquisition of only $.25 a person. Of course, it is not likely you will get to speak to everyone at the event so what is a more reasonable model?

Let’s assume that the number of minutes you spend talking to someone is a reasonable predictor of how much you influenced them to buy your product or visit your destination. Someone who stops by the booth for only 10 seconds is not particularly engaged and someone who spends 30 minutes there is very engaged. Certainly you can hand out a bunch of brochures as well, but in my experience I end up throwing away most of the brochures I pick up before I get around to reading them.

If we assume that you send one person and that the booth hours are 10am – 5pm then if they speak to one person at a time and take no breaks then they have 7 contact hours per day. If people line up 5 deep at your booth (very unlikely in a small booth) for the entire time then you would have 35 contact hours. The show lasts for 3 days counting the industry preview day so that $5000 is buying you in this very optimistic case 105 contact hours. That is about $50 per contact hour. It was my observation that people at a small booth probably would be lucky in reality to even have an average of 2 people at a time which would bring that cost up to more like $120 per contact hour. A larger booth could hold more people. Having a stage could multiply the number of people you connect to, but of course your costs will also go up as you send more sales people, dance groups, musicians, etc.

By contrast the Maui Tourism Board invited me and a number of bloggers and writers to spend a week with them in Maui last year. They put me up in nice hotels from some of the members, gave me a car to use, treated me to some nice meals. I am still going to guess that the total out of pocket was less than $5000, but let’s use that number. Let’s ignore the video I posted, the pictures and blog posts and just look at the audio Amateur Traveler episodes (2) that I did. These shows have had (so far) about 17,000 downloads. Each show is around 30 minutes so that is 8500 person hours or contact of someone saying great things about Maui. If we use those two numbers than the cost would be about $.60 per contact hour.

Now in reality some people will not listen to the entire episode (although most people subscribe to podcasts with iTunes and if you don’t listen to 3 shows in a row it will unsubscribe you), but some people routinely tell me they listen with their spouse or listen to an episode when it comes out and then go back and listen again before they go to a destination. More importantly, people are still downloading these episodes every month. And remember, that is only part of the content that I provided for Maui and does not even look at the value of links from what is now by some numbers the 7th most popular travel blog in English.

No, I am not planning on getting a booth at the New York Times Travel Show for 2012. Would you?

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

2 Responses to “The New York Times Travel Show vs The Amateur Traveler”

Agagooga

Says:

I’d say that the value in shows like that is meeting important industry people – whether exhibitors or visitors

And face-to-face is definitely worth more than generic downloads. Same reason why language courses by podcast are so much cheaper than classtime with a teacher

Crissy

Says:

Chris,

I would just attend with a large stack of business cards.

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