The power of partnership was the recurring theme of the 2013 International Travel Trade and Media Relations Summit, the latest in a series of annual industry meetings hosted by Travel Manitoba.
Thirty-six participants accepted the invitation to the June 5 event, where they had the chance to discuss opportunities for collaboration, ensure strategies aligned and hear about Travel Manitoba’s global marketing plans. The event was also a vital opportunity for Travel Manitoba to gather feedback from the industry.
“This kind of discussion is particularly important right now because Manitoba will be marketing so many new attractions in the next few years,” added Lorne Perrin, Vice-President of Park Services for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “In Winnipeg alone, we’re preparing for the opening of the Journey to Churchill exhibit, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the expanded convention centre. We all need to be working together to make Manitoba a better destination draw.”
Participants represented a wide spectrum of Manitoba attractions. Some were seasoned veterans of international promotion, while others were still considering the move beyond domestic markets.
For those not yet involved in global marketing, the summit was a chance to learn first-hand about partnership programs that may bring international promotion within the reach of the independent operator. They were able to discuss perceived barriers to participating, and explore ways to overcome them.
For partners already marketing internationally, the summit was an open forum to comment on strategies that are working well and to suggest ideas for improvement. The event also gave them the opportunity to encourage more operators to join Manitoba’s global marketing partnerships.
John Gunter, General Manager of Frontiers North Adventures, said there is a pressing need to expand the range of Manitoba operators involved in global sales.
“We've been marketing our product internationally for many years and we sometimes attend trade shows where we are the only representatives from Manitoba. Meanwhile provinces like Ontario or Alberta have so many of their operators attending shows they have entire sections of the show floor," John said. "For Manitoba to attract more travellers, we all need to be getting out there and telling the world about our products."
The summit began with presentations on Travel Manitoba’s Global Markets Plan and Featured Supplier Program. Later in the day, participants broke into discussion groups for a more in-depth look at the international travel trade, industry marketing events and the art of reaching and hosting international media.
Throughout the day, there was plenty of time for input and interaction. Participants shared promotional ideas and compared insights on how visitor attitudes may be shifting.
For Maureen Fitzhenry, Media Relations Manager with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, this opportunity to network with other attractions was the greatest benefit of the event.
“There was tremendous value in getting together in one room,” she said. “When people are coming to Manitoba, we want them to see several attractions, and the more we can package them together, the better off we all are. We’re always looking for those synergies.”
Maureen said it was also useful to compare Travel Manitoba’s marketing plans with the strategies of her own organization.
“We were able to see the alignment with our own marketing plan and gain the comfort of knowing that we are all working in the same direction. It’s always good to be able to compare and adjust strategies.”
The June 5 event was the third annual summit focused on the challenges and opportunities of international marketing. Travel Manitoba also hosts summits for the accommodations, fishing and hunting, and culture and heritage sectors.
See the full report on the Tourism Industry website.