Meet Peter de Jong – WYSTC veteran and 2014 workshop host
Peter de Jong, Senior Partner and Managing Director at Travel and Tourism Strategies Inc (TTSI), knows WYSTC more than most, having overseen its inauguration in 1992 – coincidentally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the current hot destination for youth, student and educational travellers.
For 10 years, Peter served as Director General of the Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations (FIYTO), the global trade association for the youth and student travel industry, one of WYSE Travel Confederation’s founding organisations. Peter then went on to become President and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), before joining TTSI in 2008.
We are honoured that Peter has agreed to host an interactive workshop session at WYSTC 2014 – Association membership engagement in the digital era. He also took some time out to talk to us about WYSTC past and present, and to provide you with some handy tips for getting the most out of WYSTC.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, Peter. As you have known WYSTC from the beginning, can you please explain how, in your eyes, it has evolved over the years?
In many aspects it’s still the same – providing organisations from across the globe with unrivalled networking and trading opportunities, plus insight on the latest and upcoming trends through a programme of educational seminars and workshops.
Over the years, however, it has turned from a predominantly North Atlantic event to a truly global one, with delegates coming from all parts of the world.
What are you looking forward to most about WYSTC 2014?
I’m looking forward to learning about the latest trends, especially digital advancements, and to emerging myself if the industry for four solid days.
It will be good to reconnect with my friends and colleagues from across the industry, especially those I don’t necessarily get to see throughout the year.
What’s your advice for first time attendees?
Your first WYSTC can be daunting – there’s so much to see and do, 100s of delegates to talk to, the Open Travel Market and over 50 educational sessions to choose from, you need to learn the ropes!
There will be sessions on Tuesday, 23 September to help delegates – new and old – to get the most out of WYSTC. Look out for more information on these workshops.
There will also be a willing team of members and volunteers on hand to help you find your way.
What are your tips for success at WYSTC?
It’s important to remember that WYSTC gives you a key; a privileged key, that provides unrivalled access to a global community of bona fide youth and student travel organisations under one roof. But it’s then up to each delegate to use that key and open the door to new commercial relationships.
Over just a few days you can make connections across the world that you just wouldn’t be able to make so efficiently otherwise. To unlock the potential of WYSTC, I suggest the following steps:
1. Register as soon as possible so that you can start booking business appointments (face-to-face meetings lasting 20 minutes each) before those in demand get booked up.
2. Start connecting early! Make contact with the delegates you wish to connect with (through Marcom) as soon as possible and begin your discussions well in advance of WYSTC. That way you can use WYSTC to finalise any deals.
3. Choose your educational sessions before the event – this year there will be a mix of interactive workshops and seminar sessions, all presented by leading industry experts. Popular sessions get booked up, so reserve your seat early.
At the event
4. Listen and learn. Understand what your contacts do and tailor your message to their business – don’t start by talking about your own organisation, listen to the person you are speaking with first. Also make sure you’re flexible with your product and tailor it for specific clients where possible.
5. Ask. If you have any questions before, during or after WYSTC, contact the team – they are there to help you get the most out of your investment.
6. Socialise! It’s important to use the social events to network with your contacts and (re)affirm your relationships in a less formal atmosphere. Treat the social events with as much importance as business appointments.
7. Attend in 2015. Whilst you will undoubtedly have a fantastic experience in Dublin, WYSTC always works best when you commit to attend for consecutive years – you get to build long-term relationships and keep your industry knowledge fresh.
Tell us a bit more about your workshop session…
As WYSTC 2014 will be welcoming a host of associations, and this session is especially for them.
With it being easier and simpler than ever before to make connections, I will be looking at the challenges faced by today’s travel trade associations and other membership-driven organisations.
All of us need to ensure that we remain relevant and up-to-date so that we can add relevant value to our members’ professional activities.