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Show Matters

When i see people at The International Travel Goods Show i have a habit of asking why they decided to attend (after greeting them and thanking them for coming, of course). Most of the time the answer is either "to see the new products" or "to see business contacts." These are both perfectly valid answers, and chances are you fall into one of those two camps. But, to my mind, neither one is the most compelling reason for attending.

Between sales reps, the Internet (FaceTime and Skype) and the old-fashioned telephone, you could accomplish both tasks without leaving your office (shoot, with a laptop, iPad or smartphone you could do both without even getting out of bed). Granted, it's much, much easier to see new product and renew acquaintances when everyone's gathered in one place — and The Show very conveniently does that — but if you're coming to The Show solely for that convenience, you might be missing the point.

By assembling all new products in one place, The Show lets you see everything, and that gives you perspective that cannot be matched. It's like admiring a painting in a museum, as opposed to looking at a singular work of art — you see how it fits into the big picture. And while you can admire a lone piece of art, or see the merits of a single travel product on its own, it's seeing it in the context of what's available that shows you just how much better or special an item really is.

I overheard a retailer telling someone at this year's Show that there are lots of ways to see products, but being on The Show floor is the only way to see trends. And trends are the way we gauge change and change is how we spot freshness and newness. The Show is our ever-moving benchmark. It's a compass pointing to what's new, a big-picture road map that gives us the context to figure out what's relevant; revealing everything important in product trends. And for that, there is no substitute.

Of course, the big-picture perspective can sometimes be overwhelming and distance can be a good thing, allowing us to process what we've seen. What you see at The Show matters, but what happens after you're home is also important. What products made a lasting impression? After the dust settles, and the shine of newness wears off, which items continue to resonate?

That's what makes this issue of Travel Goods Showcase so very important to your business. It's your map of the territory, a reminder of what you saw (or if you weren't able to attend in person it's your mini Show travelogue), and a way of seeing the big picture.

I hope you enjoy this post-Show issue, and that it reminds you of why you were at The International Travel Goods Show. Or, that it spurs you to attend next year's event. After all, we could all use a little perspective.


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