BY KEN SCOTT — The Outrigger Asia-Pacific team just returned from two major global travel trade shows: ITB Asia in Singapore (Oct. 29-31) and World Travel Market 2014 (WTM) in London (Nov. 3 -6).
The main showcase event was ITB Asia at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, a recently built, iconic development and tourist attraction on the waterfront. The Outrigger team, led by Sean Dee and Mark Simmons, were supported by Rory Campbell, Bryce Schneider, Duanphen ‘Tik’ Klinkrong, Netnapa ‘Gai’ Tadakittikul, Nalintip ‘Lin’ O’Shea, Andrew Gee, creative consultant Andrew Grima, and myself on the PR front.
In addition to the steady flow of buyer appointments at the booth, Outrigger held a press briefing on Oct. 30 led by Sean Dee. Twenty invited journalists attended to hear Sean’s update on key Outrigger developments such as the refreshed brand direction and the desire to be the premier beachfront resort brand in the world. Sean told the media about the plans and opening timeline for the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort. He also updated journalists on the new Similan Ballroom meeting space at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, which is on the way to becoming one of the most sought-after and well appointed mid-sized meeting venues in Southeast Asia. The Similan Ballroom receives its first events later this month.
In addition, Sean held productive meetings with Brand USA, which was very proactive at the event. Mark, Rory and Sean held one-on-one media interviews with assorted travel trade publications including the onsite show ‘dailies’ that featured coverage of Outrigger’s intention to roll out the Outrigger Expert Agents program in Asia in 2015. Mark was also a panelist on a revenue generation discussion at the Hotel Management Singapore Summit.
Following ITB Singapore, WTM London 2014 commenced where we were joined by Fred Chelin and Thierry Ng from Mauritius, John Limper from Hawai‘i, Pond Leartsinpakdee from Thailand and representatives from Outrigger’s European Global Sales and Marketing network: Ian Griffiths, Kay Jackson, Debbie Flannagan, May Sunthonpraphat, Anabella Dos Santos and Charlotte Tenot.
At WTM, Outrigger had presence at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Visit USA and Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority pavilions. Apart from consolidating relations with these three NTOs, there were very useful meetings with government and private sector representatives of the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation and with assorted media.
After the two shows, Mark told me, “The Outrigger brand is now much more widely known and understood across APAC and key European markets compared to twelve months ago. With the opening of a Russian GSA office early next year, another major market will be represented. We’re now a global brand that is going places.The next major global trade show will be ITB Berlin in March next year.”