Do the very letters W, T and M have you burying your head in your laptop? Do you always feel like you haven’t really achieved anything, despite wearing out your soul and your soles pounding the floors of the Excel centre? Or perhaps you’ve never quite worked up the energy to get there at all, assuring yourself that you aren’t really missing anything?
Yes, WTM can be exhausting. It can suck up the whole first week of November and spit you out with nothing but a bagful of business cards to show for the ride.
But it can also be lucrative. It can bring you new clients, help you in setting up press trips and give you ideas and inspiration for the future. It covers 182 countries, attracts some 5,000 exhibitors and generates £2.2billion in industry deals. Sounds exhausting right? Well, attack the event in the right way and you will find it useful. Promise!
Here are my top tips for getting the best out of it:
Register in advance
You can do this online here and print your entry badge out before you get there. Then just pick up a lanyard and sale through at the entrance without queueing.
It can take a while to get to the Excel centre during the show so don’t plan any appointments too early in the day – why not have a leisurely early morning coffee instead? The show opens each day at 10am but I’d recommend scheduling your appointments from 11am onwards to allow time to get there – and for a decent breakfast!
Avoid the cloakroom queue (at both ends of the day) by not bringing any extra bags with you and wearing a light jacket that you can carry around with you. Bring a small bottle of water too.
Plan plan plan
The stands are spread over an area the size of more than nine football pitches but mercifully they are arranged by geographical area. So plan to visit all European destinations or all your Asian contacts one immediately after the other. Once you have your appointments confirmed print off a schedule including all stand numbers and contact phone numbers – you’re bound to be running later at least once.
Stay in the city
It may seem like a good idea to stay close to the Excel centre but once the show closes each day at 7pm there’s no reason to be in this part of town. Get a hotel somewhere central instead and you’ll be able to escape into the city each evening for some well-deserved time off (or to attend the various evening events).
Make your escape
Had a productive day making new contacts and deals? Then it’s time to stop, step away from the Excel centre and give yourself time to recuperate. London has plenty of restaurants where the letters WTM mean absolutely nothing – time to head out into the city and forget all about it, at least until tomorrow.
Check out my guide to the best escapes from WTM on Pearlshare here.
Pearlshare is a fantastic new travel recommendations app, which not only lets you save your own favourite locations in the places you visit but also share these with friends – and grab recommendations from trusted sources easily.
I’ve written several guides for Pearlshare. Download the app on the iTunes store here and start exploring. Perhaps with my Best escapes from WTM guide, or my London restaurants with a view guide.