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Encouraging response to Meet The Buyers breakfast

REPORT – KUALA LUMPUR: A strong response from international buyers to the Meet the Buyers breakfast was an encouraging…

REPORT – KUALA LUMPUR: A strong response from international buyers to the Meet the Buyers breakfast was an encouraging development, PATA Travel Mart organisers said.

Despite the 745 start, a total of 278 buyers attended the breakfast at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre before the start of their scheduled business appointments. More than 100 sellers were there to meet the buyers.

PATA Director-Events Ms Sheila Leong said the breakfast replaced the mandatory on-site appointment scheduling session, traditionally held on the first morning of PTM.

Buyers were unhappy with the old format, said Ms Leong. Once they had a full schedule of appointments, they were forced to spend the rest of the session repeating `Sorry, full schedule,` to countless, disappointed sellers.

Under the new format, all buyers are hosted to breakfast at which they are seated according to their geographic source markets. Sellers can join them to make contacts, discuss business opportunities or schedule meetings.

It`s a much more civilised way to interact with the sellers, said Hong Kong buyer, Associated Tours Vice President, Mr Ken Chang. It creates an opportunity for sellers to meet you, even if you have a full appointment schedule. And over breakfast, you can have a sensible discussion.

Shanghai CITIC International Travel Vice General Manager Ms Angela Wong also endorsed the new approach. Our table was full and I was also contacted by about 10 people during the breakfast.

Sellers had mixed views about the new format. While many were happy to see such a positive turnout from the buyers, some felt it was difficult to interact with the buyers.

New Delhi-based Creative Travel Senior Manager, Business Development, Mr Dimple Singh, said that PATA could consider a stand-up, buffet style breakfast to make it easier for sellers to mix with buyers.

Ms Leong said that PATA would talk with as many buyers and sellers as possible to get their feedback on the new format.

We achieved our core objective of getting a majority of the buyers under the same roof at the one time, she said. But clearly some of the sellers feel that we have to further refine the format to create more opportunities for interaction.

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