Before the Madding Crowd: On Pre-NATAS Travel Fairs

Before the Madding Crowd: On Pre-NATAS Travel Fairs

Want to escape the maddening crowds at NATAS travel fairs? Why not try out the pre-NATAS travel fairs instead!

The first thing one notices at any of the pre-NATAS travel fairs around Singapore is the positive response to these events, even before the official NATAS weekend. These fairs are held by major tour agents at different locations around the island to give a taste of the ever-popular NATAS (National Association of Travel Agents) fairs held twice yearly. With healthy crowds and queues even in the morning, it seems that Singaporeans have never been more enthusiastic about taking a break overseas. In fact, the crush of over 300 people queuing before the event officially opened at 10am at Chan Brother’s fair was testament to the readiness of Singaporeans in planning, penning and proceeding with their travel bookings.

A look at various travel fairs also reveals how different tour agents are planning to take advantage of the hype that the NATAS fairs create among locals. CTC seems to have invested the most in developing their booths, with many pavilions, but relies less on advertising than other agencies, as I only encountered advertising by CTC once in the Straits Times. Dynasty and SA opted for a more practical layout with many tables for their sales consultants, which is an effective sales channel for them, albeit being undoubtedly costly. As such, we suspect that the participation and effort put in by travel agencies in these events is generally related more to sales than marketing. Singaporeans seem to be taking the bait with no problem – after all, who doesn’t love a tempting deal? Chan Brother’s one-day-only event not only surpassed its initial goal of S$9 million in sales but also hit record levels, even above those set before the financial crisis, as compared to previous ones held during the same period.

Pre-NATAS Travel Fair


All travel agents who held their pre-NATAS fairs last weekend have tied up with various banks to encourage customer to use specific credit cards – those who do so receive the cherry on top of the cake; such extra deals include offering free trolley luggage bags with purchases above a certain amount that differs between travel agents and banks. It is quite apparent that visitors to these fairs are eager and enthusiastic about snapping up the best deals – there are people camped in nooks and crannies analysing and comparing the various brochures that they had collected. A point of note: you can actually do so at home via our website where we have consolidated the best deals from all the travel fairs around Singapore in one space.

After contacting various tour agencies, we have confirmed that customer can book the same packages from their retail offices. Customer service offered by the tour agents was outstanding – customer service officers responded to each query knowledgeably and patiently. Hence, we would advise you not to wait for the madding crowds of the NATAS weekend – go ahead and book the best deals to the most sought-after destinations on the hottest dates. If you have missed last weekend’s road shows and still want to beat the crowd, check with the retail offices of the relevant travel agencies to confirm that you can still visit these travel agencies from now until the coming NATAS fair to receive similar discounts, and remember to ask if you can enjoy the same additional promotions or offers!

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Mark Heng


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