Indonesia successfully hosts inaugural travel trade virtual forum

Indonesia’s first-ever virtual tabletop kicked off on April 29 to promote business and create networking opportunities between suppliers, buyers, and professionals in the travel trade amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Titled IPOS Bakusapa 2020, the one-day B2B virtual forum was organised by the Indonesia Professional Organizers Society (IPOS).

It was split into an interactive dialogue with Nia Niscaya, deputy marketing at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, and another component which saw 15 sellers virtually meet 25 corporate buyers across Indonesia.

The event utilised video conferencing platform Zoom, where each seller had five minutes to promote their products and properties. Afterwards, a Q&A session between the seller and buyers took place. Sellers maximised the limited time they had to highlight new products the destination or company had to offer, while a few showed the new SOPs their companies put in place in response to the new normal.

In total, 227 participants took part, of which 40.2 per cent were hoteliers; 27.7 per cent event planners; and 24.8 per cent, travel management companies, DMCs and media from around the country.

“This is a strategic opportunity where buyers can keep in touch with sellers who are still waiting (for conditions to return to normal). We can keep updating products and conducting early promotion to stimulate demands with a ‘Buy Now, Use Later.’ (strategy),” Harry Nugraha, the founder of IPOS and secretary-general of Indonesia Event Industry Council (IVENDO), explained.

He hopes that the central government will continue to fund this virtual tabletop, which he expects to take place regularly at least once a week, with a smaller and more targeted audience.

Harry also expects upcoming tabletop sessions to provide more time – around 10 to 15 minutes – for sellers to conduct presentations, as compared to the inaugural run. The remaining time will be used for a dialogue session.

“We can do a single destination such as Yogyakarta or Surabaya or even a group of companies, like Accor or Panorama as sellers. Buyers will be those who are planning to have events in the destination or purchase the products,” Harry said.

According to an IVENDO survey – that represents 1,218 event organiser companies from 17 provinces – only 5.4 per cent of them will shutter due to Covid-19, with the rest showing determination to get through this period.

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