FBC goes America: Ferris at the largest Travel Trade Fair in the US
The Beach Boys at lunch and no less than DJ Snoop Dogg at dinner – this was part of the International Pow Wow (IPW) programme, the largest travel trade fair in the US, which took place on 1 to 5 June, 2019 in Anaheim, close to Los Angeles. Ferris, along with our client Edelweiss, took a closer look at various travel destinations in the United States. The aim was not simply to enjoy the superb entertainment but also to hold almost 40 business meetings across the three days.
The US is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. The visitor numbers are remarkable: 57 million visitors to Orlando, 42 million to Las Vegas. Our client, the leading Swiss holiday airline Edelweiss, flies to these destinations. Edelweiss also offers non-stop flights to Denver, Las Vegas and Tampa Bay, Florida – reason enough to look a little more closely at the splendid destinations on offer in the US. Six thousand people from over 70 countries participated in the IPW at the Anaheim Convention Centre. Over three days, 110,000 meetings took place, along with extensive networking, lots of trend-spotting, and countless handshaking. And as we could well expect, the Americans provided amazing entertainment leading to an unforgettable experience. It turns out that the US is not only the expert in travel, but also in how entertainment plays a central role in tourism.
Let the show begin
The IPW is a travel trade fair where representatives of most US destinations and service providers have a presence. The focus is on domestic travel, hotels and various attractions such as theme parks. Tourist offices also use the conference to network and present their particular destinations. Their motto is “Bringing the World to America”. Ferris’ task was to sort through the various new trends and destinations so that Edelweiss, our client, could pass these tips on to the Swiss customer base. What was especially remarkable was that, despite countless meetings, promised emails were sent before dinner. Here, commitments are kept, and on the same day!
Given that the US is a well-known show-master, it was clear that the entertainment factor would be significant. The hosts Visit Anaheim and Visit California created a promenade in front of the Convention Centre, offering breakfast as well as drinks for happy hour. A remarkable highlight was the opening evening. Walt Disney World Resort invited conference participants to discover the new Star Wars Galaxy Edge and even closed the park to the general public for the occasion. We learned that no effort is too great to keep guests happy.
Musical entertainment was present at lunch as well as in the evening. During one of the breakfasts, we enjoyed “Surfin in the USA” by the Beach Boys, and on the second evening, star DJ Snoop Dogg himself appeared at the California Beach Party at Huntington Beach. Experience Kissimmee, as representatives of the Orlando region, along with Universal Studios, sponsored a lunchtime concert by superstar Jason Derulo. Of course, Broadway stars from New York were also present. The closing evening brought a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, and testing of a roller coaster ride, reserved exclusively for participants without any queues. This provided the final adrenalin kick, cleverly keeping visitors on their toes for the closing evening.
The Entertainment Mecca
Last but not least was Ferris’ third lesson: light-heartedness has made the US a Mecca of entertainment – a word that which has almost become taboo in Switzerland. Pure entertainment? Hmmm, where’s the learning there? Here we’re quick to disapprove, but in America, things can be just for entertainment, without a second thought. This applies to films and music as well as to theme parks, such as the Walt Disney World Resorts, with which we always enjoy working. Which is why, dear United States, we love you and always will!
Snoop Dogg performed as the DJ at the California Beach Party on Huntington Beach.
And another thing: contrary to many media reports, entering the US from Europe has recently become much easier. Thanks to Facial Recognition Systems, first tried out at the airport in San Diego, you no longer have to fill in any forms while on the plane and the waiting times between disembarking and arriving at your hotel have diminished drastically.
Following this outstanding event, Ferris and our client Edelweiss look forward to continuing their collaboration with our various partners in the US. IPW 2020 will take place in Las Vegas, and there is reason enough to become a regular attendee. We can also, of course, look forward to future FBC travel and dispatches written on behalf of Edelweiss!