Tourist boards must carry on investing to promote their destinations, despite the recession.That was the call from speakers at World Travel Marketâ€™s first WTM Vision conference in London.â€˜It is not a time to be a shrinking violet,â€™ said Peter Shanks, Carnival UK chief commercial officer.
â€˜Hats off to tourist boards which are promoting themselves such as Australia and Barbados.
â€˜If you promote yourself, you will get the business. I advise tourist boards to invest to get the business.â€™
Emma Harris, UK and international sales and marketing director for Eurostar, said: â€˜All the research will tell you any brand that stops investing in a recession will take longer to recover, if at all.
â€˜After the tunnel fire, it was hard to market [Eurostar] and the effect has been significant. Since we started again in Februarya the effect has been huge.â€™
Mike Greenacre, managing director of The Co_operative Travel, advised tourist boards to work with agents as well as tour operators to market their destinationsâ€™ value for money.
â€˜We have access to millions of customers and tourist boards needs to rethink how they get to the consumer,â€™ he said.
Nigel Pocklington, EMEA managing director for hotels.com, noted how Dubai and the Gulf are holding up as luxury destinations.
â€˜It is because of the fares from Gulf airlines and the positioning by tourist boards,â€™ he added.
Speakers also noted changes in how brands were being positioned â€“ Harris said names such as Hovis, Marks & Spencer and Sainsburyâ€™s were capitalising on their heritage.
And Greenacre said trust in brands was important following high_profile collapses such as XL, as people wanted to know their money is safe.
â€˜Since we rebranded all our shops to Co_operative Travel, it has brought about a 2_3% benefit,â€™ he said.
â€˜With the Travelcare brand, we believed that consumers recognised it as the Co_op but only 10% of consumers realised it was the Co_op.â€™