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ISTM claims success
Tuesday March 24, 2015 - Email this article to a friend

The second International Ski Travel Market, ISTM, ends in Davos, Switzerland. Organisers claim success but there are aspects to work on for the future as the industry faces challenges.

First posted Tuesday March 24, 2015 - updated Tuesday March 31 2015

The snowpsorts business to business trade event sees suppliers meet with buyers in pre-timed meetings.

Hotels, resorts and service providers meet tour operators and agents to discuss contract negotiations for the coming season.

Many people's future snowsports holidays have been negotiated in the conference room of the Intercontinental Hotel in the Swiss ski resort over the past two days.

Each meeting lasts 20 minutes.

It is a bit like speed dating, but in suits.

Down to businessDown to business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intercontinental Hotel, DavosIntercontinental Hotel, Davos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first ISTM event was held in Kitzbuhel last year as we reported on PlanetSKI from the Austrian resort.

This year it moved to Switzerland and saw a 15% increase in numbers. 

There were 50 resorts across Europe and North America represented. 180 people attended.

"The venue has been filled with ski trade professionals. The feedback from exhibitors, key note speakers and the 70 hosted buyers has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing our position as the industry platform for ski professionals to share their news, network with decision-makers, meet potential partners and exchange insight and ideas," said the ISTM Exhibition Manager, Peter Grimster.

"The scene was truly international including buyers from the USA, Middle East and Europe," he added.

British companies attending included Ski Solutions, Inghams, Crystal Ski, Peak Retreats, Scott Dunn, Skiworld, Momentum and The Ski Club of Great Britain.

"It is a great opportunity for key people in the snowsports industry to get together at a useful time of year and consolidate plans for next season and beyond," said the Managing Director of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton.

Burton does businessBurton does business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It is beneficial to not only meet up with existing business partners but also forge relationships with new ones. It is now established in the calendar and is a very good concept," said the Head of Purchasing for Hotelplan (Inghams, Ski Espirt and Ski Total), Harvey Gahl.

Both Burton and Gahl said they will be back next year when the event will be held in the Otztal Valley as we reported in this earlier article.

However some delegates believed the event needs to attract more people - the buyers want to see more suppliers and vice versa. 

As it was held in Switzerland there was a large number of Swiss suppliers at a time when its ski market is under threat and therefore the future has some uncertainty.

The French were perhaps notable by their absence, but the nation has its own snowsports event, Grande Ski, that is held in January.

However some French resorts were in attendance.

"Avoriaz met with key partners, then the rest of the day was followed with beneficial meetings with new potential buyers," said Virginie Dupe from the French resort of Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil.

"We are here to showcase our new 5* properties with Pierre and Vacances and are pleased to meet with the luxury market. The key decision makers were here from a good mix of outbound operators from Bulgaria, Turkey and Russia."

Delegates told PlanetSKI that the event was well-organised and well-run.

There were 1,620 pre-arranged appointments with a total of 533 hours of business meetings in all.

The new look panel session hosted by PlanetSKI's, James Cove, saw a good turnout of attendees at 08.30 on the first morning with 150 people and some standing at the back.

The two keynote speakers, Urs Eberhard, Vice Director and Head of Markets, of Switzerland Tourism, and Mathew Prior, Managing Director of Specialist Holidays Group, TUI Travel PLC discussed the future of business with questions raised by members of the audience. 

James Cove and Mathew PriorJames Cove and Mathew Prior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will have a separate report on the Forums later on PlanetSKI as the issues of safety on the slopes, currency problems and attracting new visitors from Asia were discussed.

They also looked at the impact of digital on snowsports and the growth of the internet and how to use social media to expand business opportunities.

"As always, as one show wraps-up we are eagerly anticipating the next, and on as a result of the events business buzz, re-bookings for 2016 are already extremely encouraging," said Peter Grimster.

"We also have a number of innovative ideas as to how we will develop our strategic offering for next year to continue our growth pattern in line with regional development," he concluded.

For the spirit of the mountains

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