Well, Flight Centre’s Melbourne Travel Expo has been and gone for another year. It certainly is a bit of fun – I do love to run around and collect brochures and fill my bag with them. Although this year I didn’t really. Although plenty did, I saw lots of full bags, I guess that some people go there with a completely open mind about what their travel plans are.
Leading up to the Expo I wanted to get in early and so I was working on my South American fare via the local Flight Centre and I am pleased to say that a couple of days before the Expo I locked in my fare with LAN and am leaving to Quito via Santiago on the 2nd of October. Very exciting indeed!
However, I did scoop up some pretty good Expo deals as well. Firstly, I grabbed a 15% discount on an Intrepid tour of the Galapagos. I ummed and ahhed about the tour I would take, but as I would get 15% off I went with them over G Adventures who weren’t offering any discounts (and weren’t involved with the Expo). Savings over all? Well, two days longer, $800 + saved. Yes it was an economic thing, all the flights and rewards bookings with taxes had ballooned out a bit and I really needed to reign the budget in somewhere. I won’t get to go to the northern island of Genovesa sadly, which I really wanted to go to, but I will get to Isabella which I also want to go to and that wasn’t on the original tour.
So, a bit of tit for tat. I also booked a brief four day getaway in the depths of winter for my wife and I to Cairns with Tiger Airways who were offering 20% off all domestic flights during the Expo. $480 return from Melbourne for TWO people. And it’s twice the distance of Brisbane. So, a darned good deal. Only problem is, I’m flying with Tiger… We’ll see!
The Expo was pumping. The agents were busy as. I’m told Vietnam is red hot right now and the next big country is Japan. As for Europe, Budapest is the place to go. I spoke to a number of people on the day and I have a series of short 4-5 minute interviews which will feature on the podcast in about a week and a half.
I sat down to a couple of talks but they really were for the older traveller who likes a tour where every little thing is taken care of for them. What seemed to be most popular? Well Infinity Travel had a huge line. There were chances to win by scanning your ticket at different booths. Haven’t heard anything so far so guess I didn’t win L. Such is life.
Student Flights seemed to be doing well, and people who booked that day could hop into a booth and grab as much cash as was floating around and have that taken off their booking. So you know, innovation!
It’s become very much about selling, which it always was but I feel the Expo used to have a lot more information available. I also noticed that tours are more popular than ever, and the growth has been at the top end of the market.
Did you head to Travel Expo? Does it interest you? Please comment. I think next year I’ll give it a miss and do my booking at the same time if I have plans. Because really, you can get all the deals via Flight Centre anyway.
May the Journey Never End!