World Travel Market 2014

I always enjoy attending the World Travel Market at London’s ExCeL centre. This year, my arrival was all the more exhilarating courtesy of the Emirates Air Line, a beautiful piece of engineering offering scintillating views over the city (especially on the after-dark return ride).

Air Line

But the WTM’s mix of colourful stands and interesting presentations are the real reason to be there.

Talking to the many charming Italian exhibitors and seeing the excellence of what they have to offer is a real pleasure. And the olive oil, pecorino, sausage and biscuits laid on by the Colline del Buon Gusto from the Marche region were sublime. Italy really has so much to savour.

Poor English

What a shame then, that the standard of the English texts in the brochures and promotional material that I saw was so low. Some contained blemishes that would be inexcusable for a quality travel business if replicated in the original Italian; some were awkwardly worded in clumsy attempts to recreate the poetry of the original that fell quite flat; others were hard to understand and frankly embarrassing. And some companies did not even provide any material in English at all.

When I mentioned this, the usual response was that there was no money for proper English copy, or that the staff had pointed out the problem many times to the management but the management had never done anything, or even that the company did not care if the translated texts were poor as long as they were comprehensible on a basic level.

I was amazed.

Wasted opportunity

There, in the hugest and most cavernous building that I have ever been in, were literally WTMthousands of other travel destinations, tour operators, transport companies and hotels competing directly with Italy for market share. There is a lot of money at stake. And Italy is a sophisticated destination bursting with art and culture, fine design, food and wine – it is aiming to attract not the mass-market, low-budget tourist but cultivated, mature travellers, people who appreciate the finer things in life. People who can tell when an English text smells of roses or of something a lot worse…

If you produce a beautifully designed, beautifully photographed, beautifully written Italian brochure and then translate it into poor English, you are effectively leaving an ugly blot all over it, one that your potential customers can see, even if you cannot. Top copywriting in English is so affordable, it makes no sense to do without it.

At next year’s World Travel Market, your business could be the one that stands out from the crowd – for all the right reasons.

Click Contact Me to make it happen.

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