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2024 IPW Takeaways

Megan Schlosser Filak Senior Marketing Communications Specialist

Each year U.S. Travel brings together travel buyers from around the world to connect with sellers of travel in the United States. It is a chance for destinations, attractions, accommodations, and more to showcase what makes them special, while also giving international tour operators, travel wholesalers, and writers an opportunity to see the diverse experiences offered across our country. With inbound international travel contributing $155 billion to the United States economy in 2023, according to the U.S Travel Association, IPW plays a critical role, especially as the travel industry continues to recover from extreme losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excitement for Travel

Madden team members who had been in attendance at this year’s IPW, held in Los Angeles, said the drive to recovery seemed to generate its own energy during this appointment-based trade show.

“With international travel poised to match, and eclipse, pre-pandemic figures in the next few years, enthusiasm on the trade show floor was palpable,” said Matt Clement, managing partner at Madden.

2024 IPW Takeaways

“Despite issues over political uncertainty and safety, the United States is BACK as a globally aspirational destination. The collective energy — manifested in very full appointment books for all of our clients — is testament to that excitement and enthusiasm to travel here,” agreed Matt Stiker, SVP of brand strategy.

Not only was excitement clear over travel to the United States, show attendees also showed a strong interest in discovering something new — whether a new destination altogether or a new aspect within a  well-known destination.

“I think IPW has long been considered a ‘tougher sell’ for small to mid-sized DMOs who haven’t traditionally attracted large volumes of international travelers,” said Clement. “However, with buyer attendance at IPW coming back strong and a general consensus that there is growing interest in ‘what’s new’…it is worth considering the show in the future — especially if your state tourism office is investing heavily in having a presence there.”

“International media and buyers were enthusiastic about new things happening in familiar destinations and also about seeing new destinations they hadn’t seen before. New, new, new was the key,” agreed Stiker.

Innovative Branding

With so much buzz surrounding this year’s event, innovation was vital for destinations to garner attention. 

“Booth space that was visually appealing and interactive played a pivotal role,” said Ronda Theim, SVP of business development. “Making your DMO stand out is so important as there are over 5,000 people there.”

2024 IPW Takeaways
Madden designed booth for Visit Milwaukee.

More than standing out, doing it in a way that was cohesive with the DMO’s brand identity proved to be key in not only attracting attention, but also in being remembered afterward.

“There’s a recognition now that the show is a ‘brand showcase,’ and how the destination shows up —  what the booth looks like, whether they sell/giveaway destination merch, whether they host apres-show happy hours — all determine how the various attendees feel about the destination brand,” explained Stiker. 

2024 IPW Takeaways
Madden designed booth for Visit Idaho

Impactful Connections

Those initial brand impressions go a long way. According to U.S. Travel, nearly 100,000 appointments take place over the multi-day event. In the past those connections made between U.S. travel exhibitors and travel buyers and media have generated more than $5.5 billion in future travel to the United States. These impactful engagements, along with the enthusiasm for travel to the United States felt throughout this year’s IPW, underscore the great gains the travel and tourism industry has achieved in its post-pandemic recovery.

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