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IMM New York – To Book Or Not To Book – DCI’s POV

Photo by TravMedia

If you’re wondering whether to cough up $1950* to participate in IMM New York in 2020, you’re not alone. It’s a question we’re often asked by destination marketing organizations and their public relations staff.

So, in this post we break down our point of view to help you make an informed decision.

TravMedia’s International Media Marketplace (IMM) has become a valuable networking event linking destination marketing organization public relations professionals with travel journalists, editors, broadcasters, bloggers and influencers. Since 2013 the program has played host to more than 2,500 media and 1,425 exhibiting companies, and facilitated more than 50,000 one-on-one appointments between media and travel and tourism brands all around the world.

Destination exhibitors are provided with branded tables where they can meet top travel journalists, editors and broadcasters to discuss their news, events and developments. IMM’s Meetings Manager platform allows journalists and exhibitors to book up to 24, 15-minute meetings in advance, maximizing opportunities for story telling, fact finding and building relationships. In addition to scheduled one-on-one meetings, there are ample networking opportunities throughout the jam-packed daylong event. It works out to be about 5.5 hours of pre-scheduled appointments and 4.5 hours of open networking.

DCI conducted a survey among our 15 destination clients who attended the January 2019 event in New York City, and asked them to share what they got out of the experience and offer tips for other DMOs on how to prepare for a future event.

Positive ROI

On average, respondents rated the return on investment (total cost to attend compared with media opportunities) at 8, on a scale of 1 (low) to 10, and gave IMM high marks in relation to other marketplaces, such as SATW and NATJA. One noted benefit – you don’t have to be a “member” to attend. So for smaller DMOs, this was considered a PLUS. Additionally, several destinations, including Canada and California, helped to off-set the cost of exhibiting, which helped to reduce the overall burden of participation.

More than 70% of appointments aligned with each travel PR professional’s communication objectives, and they estimate that just under half of those appointments will result in editorial coverage over time.

Our travel destination clients noted that 45% of appointments involved earned, or traditional, media, while 55% involved paid media (including influencer partnerships), highlighting the rise of paid partnerships. In general, travel PR pros noted that they would like to see IMM institute a better division between influencers and earned media in the appointment scheduling process — for example, allowing DMOs to designate slots for influencers and for earned media. IMM has indicated that they are planning a half-day influencer event on January 22, 2020, which should help to address this concern, although they indicate that only 20% of media delegates consider themselves “influencers.”

Preparation is key

Travel PR staff spent an average of 28 hours developing specific story lines tailored to each appointment. They recommend reaching out to media ahead of appointment scheduling. If journalists have heard from your destination in advance and see that the destination’s story ideas match their interests, they are much more likely to accept an appointment. If the first time they hear from you is a cold request for a meeting, your chances of securing an appointment are much lower.

Tips for first-time registrants

  • Talk to someone who has gone through appointment scheduling so it’s not so daunting.
  • Get some rest, eat breakfast and be ready to chat. Even if you don’t have a full schedule, you’ll find that writers will grab and chat with you. And that’s a good thing.
  • Make the most of additional tourism-related events running concurrently, such as private receptions, industry receptions, awards ceremonies, trade shows, etc. Our clients averaged two additional events while they were in New York for IMM, creating even more opportunities to network.

IMM will be back in New York from January 23, 2020. With more than 80 companies on the waitlist in 2019 – if you do choose to participate, its important to register early.  We will continue to recommend the opportunity to clients.

If you have additional questions on the value of media marketplaces, how IMM New York compares to SATW El Paso, how to prepare for a media marketplace, how to gauge the value of influencers or the role of media marketplace events in the editorial placement process, please connect with us!  We’re happy to provide you with insight that will information your destination story telling approach.

You can also refer to these blog posts:

* Rate is for non-client, early bird bookers. Please book by September 30 if you want to participate. The website says the deadline is November 30, 2019, but the event sold out last year by October. TravMedia clients, those that pay for our US distribution services throughout the year, benefit from the $1750 early-bird rate.

Written By

Karyl Leigh Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes is President of DCI’s Tourism Practice. Since joining the firm in 1998, Karyl Leigh has led destination strategy and created marketing communication programs for destinations on every continent except Antarctica.

More Articles by Karyl Leigh Barnes

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