I arrived jet-lagged but ready to face the 9000 travel professionals who descend upon London’s Excel Center yesterday, the opening day of World Travel Market. This event is unlike any other in that there are no consumers—it’s only travel people, and boy there are a lot of booths to visit and events to check out.
I made my rounds after settling into the comfy press room and was quickly swept up by a wide range of interesting people, places and events I’d never heard of. That’s why I enjoy big shows–there are so many people sharing their passions, and you find out cool things about the world’s most important industry.
At a party in central London, a man stood in front of a computer–he had an accent and was very confident about what he was showing me. I must say this idea is pretty cool. It’s called Nightly and what they are all about is hotel switching. If you’re going somewhere for four nights, for example, the site will book you into two different hotels for two nights each. And when you add up the total cost of the four nights, it’s usually at a big discount to the cost of staying at the same place the whole time.
Many people won’t want to switch hotels–and that’s the secret sauce. For those who don’t mind a mid-trip move, say, from one NYC neighborhood to another, they save a whole lot of money. There is something in the booking algorithm that creates huge savings when you switch.
Another visit was to the large Italy Tourism booth, where I focused on one of my favorite provinces--Marche. This lesser-known northeast corner of the country is still pretty much wide open, and the cities like Urbino were once the home of Raphael and other arts luminaries. I hope to get back to Marche some day and rent another house like we did back in 2005 with my parents. I still consider that one of my all-time favorite trips!
I met up with Biddy from The Westport House in Ireland who we visited last month and she had great news. The old castle and it’s beautiful grounds have been purchased by three local businessmen who are going to invest millions to keep the place up to date and expand their nearby hotel. It’s a huge win for this pretty town on the Western coast of Ireland, and Biddy was quite pleased with this recent news.