The growing importance of a virtual ITB
The prominence of the internet, and virtual presence thanks to online platforms has been proven by the success of ITB.com in the aftermath of the cancellation of ITB Berlin.
It must be underlined that ITB.com was already in the pipeline before the crisis. The aim of this global website was, at the outset, and is even more so now, to be a bridge between real-life meetings and digital networking. The aim is to ensure business, content and networking availability 365 days a year. ITB.com allows for the effective channeling of the communications of all four trade shows – ITB Berlin, ITB Asia, ITB China and ITB India – and offers a year-round networking platform for the world’s travel industry. It establishes a digital social network for the B2B tourism industry so that visitors can communicate independent of the trade shows. Users can set up a profile, match interests, be contacted and can network. They can also follow other users, exchange contact details and chat with each other. It also enables easy access for newcomers to the industry. By launching the ITB.com digital platform ITB has established a key platform and travel network which has no parallel, and which can be made use of in every market around the world. It also underscores ITB management’s year-round international leading standing in terms of the market and opinion-forming.
After the crisis, face-to-face meetings will more than ever be an essential part of business, and ITB will facilitate these through the return of major trade events. But in the meantime, the “virtual” version continues to enable business contacts and planning for future growth.