Four Routes events are taking place in 2018 and for all attendees it pays to be prepared. Here are our top tips for how to make the most of your time at our route development forums.
Box of tricks
The fact that you are taking the time to attend a Routes event shows you are serious about making it work. Time is money, after all. With hundreds of delegates in attendance from multiple airlines, airports and tourist boards, you’ll want to maximise opportunities to meet, speak, listen and socialise. But that’s impossible without some serious forward planning.
The good news is that Routes’ organisers have done all the hard work, compiling a suite of useful tools that are designed to help attendees create a schedule that works for them. Every delegate receives their own, personal registration code, and this is key to successful planning. The code acts as your password to the event’s Online Meeting System and dedicated Routes smartphone app (both iPhone and Android versions are available). Simply log on and you are able to request face-to-face meetings with potential partners, amend your schedule, and view your diary in an easy-to-read format.
Be aware that the meeting request system opens well in advance and slots are allocated on a firstcome, first-served basis. Popular airlines find their schedules fill up quickly so it pays to be organised. However, meetings can even be requested during the event itself, meaning you can take advantage of any unexpected free slots right up to the last minute.
Meetings that work
Securing the meetings you want is just the first part of the battle. Now for the important stuff – hitting the spot with your presentation. The secret to success is to remember that people buy people. It is far more important to create a great rapport than pile in with a lengthy pitch packed with statistics.
Keep your meetings short and to the point and build a relationship by demonstrating that you have done your research. Showing that you understand a carrier’s fleet, network and strategy underlines that you are to be taken seriously and worth working with.
Another great tip is to add value. Can you offer the airline information that it doesn’t have, such as tourism indicators or purpose-of-trip breakdowns? Even better, approach meetings in a collaborative way. Airlines want to understand potential destinations so approach them in partnership with other stakeholders. If you are a tourism authority, for example, show that you already have your hoteliers and aviation authority onboard.
Also, be ready to tailor your approach. Low-cost carriers place far more emphasis on the incentives available, rather than on traffic data and forecasts.
Routes Americas 2018 • Quito, Ecuador • 13 - 15 February
Routes Asia 2018 • Brisbane, Australia • 18 - 20 March
Routes Europe 2018 • Bilbao, Basque Country • 22 - 24 April
World Routes • Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China • 15 - 18 September
Things to avoid
With all that talk of preparation, it is easy to get carried away with tables packed with data. Number-heavy tables are impossible to digest and an instant turn-off. A good habit is to go through presentations in advance and ditch anything that is hard to read or needs significant explanation.
Instead, keep charts eyecatching and simple to understand. It is worth investing in some good graphic design to make your statistics sing. If possible, make data bespoke to the potential partner you are speaking with. Generic data just says you couldn’t be bothered to make the effort.
Work, rest and play
While meetings are important, Routes events also offer plenty of opportunities for delegates to widen their knowledge and make valuable contacts. Every event boasts a packed conference timetable, typically featuring a host of senior industry executives debating the hot topics of the day. All of the sessions are free to attend.
Meanwhile, exhibitors also offer the chance to meet and mingle. Use the Routes app to discover who is offering food, drink and prize draws on their stands (via the VisitMe section). Outside of the official business of the day, you’ll also find a packed schedule of networking sessions, drinks and even free city tours. Again, the full list can be accessed via the Routes app.