London is a little different to Iceland. In fact, you could maybe say they are polar opposites.
Being in the travel and tourism industry, it's always interesting (and exciting!) if we get the chance to travel ourselves.
As many of you will know, we were in Iceland in September at the Gray Line Convention and it was great to be off again on our next adventure. This time to London.
London is a little different to Iceland. In fact, you could maybe say they are polar opposites. When you picture Iceland, you think of the peaceful, unspoiled, wild nature that it has to offer. London is just a little bit different. Serene is maybe not the first word that comes to mind, perhaps hectic would be more appropriate? However, you could also say there is a ‘wild nature’ to London, not so much from the perspective of the landscape, but from the frenzied lifestyle of the city.
Our actual trip to London also took quite a different approach to our Iceland adventure. This time it wasn’t all sightseeing, exploring and meeting new people, we were actually working for the whole time we were away - well, except for the short breaks in between for some fun, of course!
Upon arriving in London, it was great to catch up with our friends from Gray Line and we were really made to feel part of the family by being invited to the ‘Gray Line Family Dinner’. It was here that we also got to see our Swiss friends again from Palisis and learned that our Scottish phrases had gone down a treat. “Ya pure nugget” was still their favourite and “Schlaefly” was still ours. (Read about our inter-lingual learning in our Iceland blog).
Much to my excitement (as an extremely enthusiastic Christmas-lover) the Christmas decorations were already up!
After this it was time to get down to business and attend the World Travel Market (WTM) that was our main reason for going to London.
The World Travel Market is a massive event where travel companies from all over the world come to exhibit, network and meet like-minded people. As it’s such a major event, with massive players from around the globe, we decided not to exhibit but to wonder.
This is a great way to meet more people and get a feel for what other companies are doing out there. Luckily, when the pressure, heat and the pain in our feet got too much, we were able to go to the Gray Line stand where we had commandeered a table and some chairs. This also acted as a great base for any meetings that we had set up with existing or potential clients.
A palpable buzz could be felt about the place as people were making new connections and you could see new partnerships being formed all around. There is something very unique about the tourism industry, where companies can meet together to help and support each other. It is very refreshing.
Some of the stands were extremely impressive, with an array of characters and national costumes - Chris and Alan had to get pictures beside them! Star Wars follows us wherever we go!!
The intention of our trip was mainly to attend the WTM, but we also went to the Small Fish Big Ocean event (SFBO) which was held in the evening of the 7th November.
This is a much smaller event, aimed at getting people together to network and learn from each other. We heard talks from Touriocity, Trekksoft, TourCMS and Gray Line and were given the chance to meet new people.
It was a very successful night, followed by a very delicious dinner. It’s not really a normal thing for us Glaswegians to have dinner so late, but apparently 40 people walking into a restaurant in London at 11pm - and asking for a steak - isn’t that unusual.
After four days in London, navigating the crowds, finding our way through the mazes of the subways, stresses of the trains, and the confusion of Google Maps, it is nice to be back home in Glasgow - where we are much less likely to get lost, and much more likely to find a quiet spot!