2018 Matta Fair
The Matta Fair 2018 will be providing more options for travelers and vacation seekers much more promotions and deals. Malaysia's largest travel fair is a annual event that sees over 100,000 visitors held during a weekend in Kuala Lumpur. 

For the three days, you will see thousands of visitors visiting the Matta Fair 2018 with one purpose - travel. At the fair, you can find all kinds of travel deals, promotions and information for your next vacation. 

With the rise of Airbnb and budget airline promotions, consumers are still heading to the Matta Fair, all in the name of finding the best deal they can. By in most cases, getting information from the tourism boards here.

Travel Fair Malaysia 2018
Entrance to the International Hall 2 at Matta Fair
When is Matta Fair 2018?

Matta Fair 2018 will take place in the months of March and September. This is where local and international consumers will make a lot of travel bookings and buy travel packages.

Usually the travel fair will be held on a weekend, which is from Friday till Sunday. As you may already know, over 100,000 visitors will visit the largest travel fair in Malaysia and it is highly recommended you visit on the first day.

Malaysia Matta Fair 2018
The link way booths at Matta Fair in Kuala Lumpur
March Matta Fair 2018 

The first fair will focus on the mid year school holidays in Malaysia, and also the other festive holidays. This is when consumers will go for a vacation versus going at the year end when everyone is travelling.

Usually, tour package prices at the March Matta Fair 2018 will be slashed to offer attractive promotions to destinations that are trending. In many cases, local tourism is also being looked at by the consumers. This means, domestic travel packages are being sought after by the consumers.

Also depending on the current economy of the country, there will be consumers who will also opt for regional travels. Meaning destinations like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Macau and Indonesia will be the first choices.

For long haul travel to far destinations, this is quite subjective as many prefer to do long haul at the end of the year when they have much more time. Also, most companies would issue out salary bonuses at the end of the year, which is perfect for that week long vacation with the family.

2018 Matta Travel Fair Malaysia
Visitors at the Malaysia Matta Fair
September Matta Fair 2018

The second fair is the September Matta Fair 2018 which focuses mainly on the year end holidays due to the extra long school holidays. Also to consider are the many festive holidays like Christmas, New Year and even Chinese New Year on the following year.

It is this time of the year when many people also start to take their long leave from work or even clear up their outstanding leave days. As far back as I can remember, the year end is the ultimate time for vacations or holidays with family and loved ones.

But in the last ten years or so, this mentality has shifted a little, where many younger generation consumers would travel anytime, versus waiting for the year end. One of the main reasons is that they do not want to be like the typical salary worker.

Matta Fair Visitors
Visitors at Matta Fair making a booking
Who Visits The Matta Fair?

There are generally two groups of people that visit the Matta Fair. The main group is the general consumer market while the other group are the travel industry people. 

In total, you will expect to see at least over 100,000 people in a span of three days during the travel fair. Most consumers will wait for the event to either make their purchases or to get more information about destinations they want to visit. 

General Consumers at Matta Fair
  • These are the consumers who are looking for travel promotions and discounts on packages. Especially when they plan to travel in a group. 
  • Over the year, I have noticed that the consumers who attend the Matta Fair are usually those from out of the city area. These are the consumers who have not fully gone digital, therefore there is still a small market targeting them .
  • The savvy ones who attend the Matta Fair are usually those shopping for information, especially when there are many tourism boards set up to promote their destinations. 
Travel Industry People at Matta Fair
  • These are those who are in the travel industry, local and international. You will see that most of the travel companies participating at the Matta Fair 2018, as it is a ritual to be there. 
  • It is also the best time to promote your special packages to the consumers. 
  • However, over the years, there has been very stiff competition among the industry people. 
Matta Sarawak 2018
Vendors from the Sarawak Tourism Board at the travel fair
Tourism Boards at Matta Fair

There will always be many tourism boards participating at the travel fair. Their job is to provide as much information as possible to consumers, and not to sell any travel packages. 

For those who want to buy travel packages, then need to visit the travel agents to do so. And this is where the best deal or promotion wins. One of the very popular booths is no other than the Japan Tourism booth at Matta Fair

However, there are pros and cons to this and at the end of the day, the tourism boards are in a win-win situation, and here is why.

Cruise Package Matta Fair 2018
One of the cruise company promotions at the Matta Fair
Consumers will visit the tourism board booths to get all kinds of information. Promotional brochures and flyers are provided where the consumer can take what then want. At times, the tourism board will collect email information in exchange for gifts. 

The savvy consumers will visit the fair to obtain information on the various places, and then visit some of the travel agents to get a quotation on prices. In many cases, the consumer will do comparison with online packages, flight tickets and even accommodations. 

Previous years saw many consumers just purchasing the ground packages only due to the cheap airline tickets being offered by various budget and full serviced airlines.

Malaysia airbnb
AirBnB, one of the fastest growing online players in Malaysia
Predictions for Matta Fair 2018

With the global rise of Airbnb, online travel agents (OTA's), cheap budget airline tickets and companies like Grab and Uber, consumers have gotten smarter in the last two to three years. 

In general, those travelers from the age of 20-40+ are more tech savvy compared to five years ago. Smartphones have helped create a new breed of travelers around the world.

And here in Malaysia, many from that age group are also considered savvy travelers. Technology keeps improving and this is one of the issues faced by conventional travel agents. 

Visitor numbers may be high at Matta Fair, but the buying power will definitely decrease. This is thanks to the online players or Airbnb, AirAsia and so on.

Matta Fair Promotions 2018
Some of the attractive Matta Fair travel promotions
Honestly, if you plan to go to Bangkok, will you wait for the Matta Fair or would you just start browsing the web for cheap flights and accommodations? You know the answer. 

Somehow, the travel packages sold during the fair are mostly long haul, especially to Europe, America, Africa and also local and international Cruise Packages.

Local domestic packages are still being sold and the buyers are usually the consumers who have not embraced technology yet.

Travel Package for Sabah 2018
Some Sabah Travel Package Promotions
It is only a matter of time before this happens. Right now, Airbnb is one of the strongest competition being offered. Especially to Japan and other expensive countries.

Travelers would rather book apartments that can cater to groups of 4 to 8 persons and is much cheaper than taking a hotel or travel package at the Matta Fair.

Romantic packages will see a slight decrease due to the aggressive online promotions done by many non-Malaysian companies.

Some say that print media is dead, what about travel magazines?
Travel Magazines at Matta Fair

Travel magazines are dead, so they say, but you will still see some companies promoting their travel magazines at Matta Fair 2018. Honestly, who buys magazines anymore?

Let me share with you some information on this. Five to ten years ago, before the full strength of the digital age, there were still consumers who bought travel magazines.

But when travel information was easily available online, this trend took a serious dip and many travel magazines started to close shop. Some of them are still around which is quite surprising.

Is it that consumers are still buying and reading them? That is a very good question. However, let me share with you some information about this.

In most cases, travel agents and tourism boards are coaxed into advertising in the magazines, and promised a circulation or readership of four to five times. So if the print circulation is 10,000 copies, then you would expect a 50,000 readership. Right?

Popular travel magazine malaysia
More and more travel magazines are closing shop in Malaysia
Do you honestly think this actually happens in today's world? Here is the fun part. Most old school bosses or decision makers do not understand how powerful the digital age is, and yet, they continue to purchase advertising space and featured stories in magazines.

Yes, it looks great to see your ad or feature story in the magazine. But who is reading them? The harsh truth is that only the bosses or the clients who bought ads or sponsored articles will be seeing them.

Also they kind of look good on your office reception table. And did the magazine send you like 10 copies of that issue? Have you taken a look at the magazine's company store?

However, not all is lost as I realised that only the airline magazines are the ones that are still making an impact. Yes, Going Places, Three Sixty, MalindoMag and FireFlyz Magazine are the ones that traveler will be reading.

Why? Because when the plane is about to take off, what else can you do? Either you shut your eyes and take a nap or you will be flipping the airline magazine. Great tactic right?

Booking Online Matta Fair
More people are heading online to make travel bookings
Tourism Technology versus Matta Fair

People will claim that they are already on social media and so on, but is that the correct move or strategy? I honestly beg to differ, because as Malaysians, many of us still do not fully understand the dynamics of the digital age. 

I have personally spoken to many travel agents in the industry and always get the same answer. Yes, they all claim they know what is social media and have a Facebook page. Some of them also claim they have a modern website and Instagram account. 

But the problem is that these companies treat their social media accounts just like their own personal account. And most people tend to think they know it all, but in actual fact, it is just the surface level.

All they do is post hard sell photos of their travel packages, hoping for conversion by consumers asking them to private message (PM).

Malaysia travel consumers
Consumers reading travel promotions at Matta Fair
Digital marketing is not an easy thing to do and hence there are professionals in this industry. Well, many claim they are professionals, but again it is just basic understanding of the entire game.

Anyone can claim to be a professional. Just buy followers for your social media accounts and instantly, you have a facade of being a professional. 

Buying ads and posting regularly on social media is not your answer to digital marketing. It is a more complex game. But many travel companies always have this one big problem - no budget, and yet they want to try to get into the game.

Malaysia Online Booking
The future of online booking, a credit or debit card is all you need
Everything is Online

Almost anything related to travel and tourism can be booked online and that is a hard fact. It started with airline tickets about 10 years ago and this was the beginning of the digital age.

Nowadays, what ever you can think of, can be bought online. Just take a moment to think about this. If you wanted to book a flight and room there is AirAsiaGo who offers this combination.

You can even book bus, train, ferry tickers and even private drivers online. Apartments, flats, homes can be booked through multiple online platforms like AirBnB and so on.

Group or private tours can also be booked online, and there are even specialized tours like heritage, architecture, cooking, photography and bird watching that can be booked online too.

To sum it all up, it lies in your smartphone or laptop where the entire world is connected with the click or a mouse of a touch of your fingertip.

Malaysia Travel Technology
Travel bookings are moving online
Travel Game Changer

Right now (2018), even the older generation are slowly adapting to digital technology. The older generation is aged from 50 to 60+ and have already embraced the smart phone technology and also social media. 

Children are educating them on online transactions, online booking, social media platforms and applications. It is only a matter of time when technology takes over completely and a majority of consumers will no longer have to visit travel fairs. 

This matter was highlighted to the Matta Fair organisers by me in 2013, but due to the lack of foresight, it was brushed aside. My foresight saw the slow demise of the conventional travel agents who purely depended on walk-in or corporate clients. 

Nowadays, loyalty is no longer a trait that is respected. All because of the competition, consumers will move to the cheaper alternatives and clients will also deal with those that can provide a better deal.

End of the day, consumers wants to save money, and businesses want to make whatever they can. It is indeed a cruel world out there, and as they say only the strong will survive.

New generation travel agent
Consumers crowing to make airline ticket bookings at Matta Fair
Conclusion

Since the trends started to change in the last five years or so, the smart travel agent or tour company has seen the effects of the digital age. Some have hired in-house staff to manage their social or digital platforms while most just do not see the point.

I have personally talked to many travel agents over the years, and the old mindset of hard core sales is still in their blood. Younger executives who join these companies have tried to install change, but have failed along the way.

The reason is that the old school thinking has deluded the management, and will not part with money for something digital or something that cannot be touched. This will be the slow downfall for some of them.

2018 Matta Fair Malaysia
Visitors entering the domestic hall at Matta Fair
Flight tickets will also continue to do brisk business as long as they can offer good discounts to far destinations. Malaysia cruise packages will also continue to flourish, as long as there are packages that suite the consumers.

The official Matta Fair website usually updates very late and with very basic information, the layout and enquiries for booths and so on. They do not have regular updates, hence you can get first hand information from here.

Muslim travel will continue to dominate as long as destinations continue to promote Muslim-friendly packages, facilities and tours. Japan is one of the countries to look out for.

For the first timer to this massive travel fair in Malaysia, please read about the Matta Fair tips and tricks before you head there. It will save you a lot of time and stress.

However, the Matta Fair 2018 will still go ahead and attract consumers from all over. Mostly to take advantage of the travel promotions and also to get first hand information from the tourism boards that set up booths here. 

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