I was at the TravelMatch2017 which was held last Friday, January 13. It was a successful event, better than last year. I met suppliers, greeted old colleagues in the industry, and organised my students who were there to help the event run smoothly.
How did this begin? We have had the travel fair for several years, why did you start with Travel Match?
Because in the old days during the travel fair, it did not work as far as suppliers meeting the right people. There was need for structure for B2B meetings. That is why we started TravelMatch which is just B2B.
Sellers setting up their tables at TravelMatch
What are the key changes that you have observed over the years when it comes to buyers and suppliers? Are such events like TravelMatch still important?
Travel Match is getting more and more important. Basically many sellers are looking to Norway and want to penetrate the Norwegian market. TravelMatch is a good arena for that.
Over the last years, we had a lot on waitlist. This year, 30-35 were on the waitlist.
Biggest challenge is getting more from buyer side. We are working on that.
You have traveled all over the world. Any favorite destinations?
Not one, but a lot of favorites. You cannot compare. Malaysia or NYC cannot compare. There are so many different places. Because of work I go to the same place several times. I have been to China 60 times. I have been to New York maybe 35-40 times.
How do you travel? Business or economy? Any favourite airline? Or would you rather use your funds to live in better hotels?
Normally economy. Favourite airline? Several. Many good airlines. I still prefer Turkish Airlines. Next on the list are Emirates, Qatar and Thai Airways.
Predictions for the travel industry in 2017 for Norway?
All signs say that travel is still increasing despite the economy. This is both for outbound travel and travel in general.
People never stop traveling. They want to explore other things and experience other things.
Exciting prizes were won by buyers
What about on a global basis? New things you have learned this year?
Not specifcally. We learn something every year. There is some room to improve.
Participants give us their feedback, and we try to adjust and improve as much as possible, both related to the communication, booking system and the event itself.
People will still travel a lot in 2017
From what you have learned this year, how will TravelMatch 2018 be better. How soon do you start planning for it?
The planning has already started, directly following the event. However, we do not yet have the feedback form the participants, which is an important guideline for how we develop. However, our main challenge every year, where we hope to make some progress, is to get the buyers to register and book meetings earlier.