A good kind of intervention

TAFI turns to technology and social media to help ease event management challenges during its 12th convention in Abu Dhabi

Event brief
Last year, the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) took its 12th convention to Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace from September 25-28, adopting the theme, Innovate-Transform-Disrupt: Redefining the Offline Travel World.

Discussions during the event highlighted various important issues being faced by small- and medium-sized brick-and-mortar travel agents in India. Eminent international speakers included Association of Southern African Travel Agents’ Otto De Vries, Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ Jayson Westbury and Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations’ Hamzah Rahmat.

Besides the solemn programme, the convention also included fun elements such as sightseeing tours around Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions.

The event drew more than 500 Indian and international delegates including senior officials from the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi.

Challenges
According to Praveen Chugh, president of TAFI, the first challenge to emerge for TAFI was the management of delegate registrations, as attendees were coming from different parts of India and beyond. The difficulty was compounded by TAFI’s need to share various updates on the business sessions, visa processes and post-tour options with delegates, plus track special requests regarding flight changes or post-tour options.

The second challenge was to ensure that the business sessions started on time and were well attended by the delegates.

Lastly, TAFI was determined to build post-tour options that allowed delegates to experience tourism products that they could in turn promote to their customers.

Solution
To overcome the first challenge, TAFI turned to a customised software that allowed organisers to track registered delegates, identify those who had yet to complete the registration process, send critical event updates to different segments of event participants, and accommodate changes to flight schedule and post-tour options.
Chugh noted that “technology intervention” helped make the delegate registration, and information dissemination process, hassle-free.

For the second challenge, TAFI relied on social media. It formed groups for each of its regional chapters, and used the channels to issue reminders on programme schedule. As well, it brought in world renowned motivational speakers like Vivek Bindra and Nithya Shanti to share with the audience best practices for a successful personal and professional life.

“The mix of business sessions and motivational speakers helped us draw healthy participation from delegates,” said Chugh.

For the post-tour options, TAFI created different itineraries that delegates could choose from. A different itinerary was also built for media representatives.

Key takeaways
TAFI acknowledged that the use of software in event management and social media for delegate communication simplified the process and saved the organising committee a lot of time and effort.

Event Travel Agents Federation of India Convention 2018
Organiser Travel Agents Federation of India
Venue Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
Date September 25-28, 2018
Number of participants In excess of 500
Challenges Complex needs in delegate management, from tracking registrations to managing special requests; challenges in ensuring programmes are kept to schedule; need for post-tour options that delegates could eventually sell to their customers

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