Hawaii Travel Exchange concluded its three day inaugural event in Honolulu, Hawaii, this past Wednesday, October 27. The event, presented by Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines along with partner Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, focused on educating participants about Hawaii and connected them with 50 Hawaii suppliers to build valuable relationships in a unique format. Travel agents and exhibitors were able to schedule one-to-one appointments prior to the show and had multiple networking event opportunities throughout to provide a more focused and productive experience.
If you were unable to attend, check out some exclusive footage in the video below:
The participating 140 hand-selected travel agents flew to Hawaii, courtesy of MLT Vacations, to participate in Hawaii Travel Exchange and were pre-qualified through a strict vetting process including confirmation of their booking history and supplier references. The exhibitors who took part in this year’s event included: hotels and resorts, spas, destinations, tour operators, transportation companies and airlines. The event kicked off with an evening reception at the Westin Moana Surfrider hotel where everyone enjoyed their first Hawaiian sunset by the beach. The second day opened with breakfast at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and was immediately followed by educational sessions presented by the Maui Nui (Maui, L?na‘i and Molokai), Big Island, Oahu, Kauai island chapters. Lunch was located at the Ala Moana hotel and pre-scheduled meetings were held for the remainder of the afternoon. The final day began with an elegant breakfast at the Halekulani hotel and educational sessions taught by MLT Vacations, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Aston Hotels & Resorts. The finale of the event after the afternoon appointments was celebrated at The Waikiki EDITION.
“As a west coast travel agent, I admit that I can take Hawaii for granted as a destination. However, after attending Hawaii Travel Exchange, I have a renewed excitement about Hawaii, and I feel extremely passionate about it again. My experience at the event has been wonderful, and I have enjoyed getting to personally network with Hawaii suppliers in our appointments,” said John Stewart Bowerman of Cardoza-Bungey Travel, a Hawaii Travel Exchange attendee. “I have a completely different impression of Honolulu as a luxury destination and as a Virtuoso agent, I have a large luxury clientele base. I’m much better equipped to focus on Hawaii now, and the new suppliers I met will help me fill in any gaps for a new spectrum of clients on all of the islands. I believe that clients buy based off of your enthusiasm for a destination, and I now have a rekindled passion for Hawaii.”
“We were pleased to welcome Hawaii Travel Exchange to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. The event showcased the individual, unique qualities of our islands, its unmatched natural beauty, rich culture, history and the warmth of the aloha spirit that Hawaii is known for,” reported Julie Zadeh, managing director of Travel Trade Marketing, Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. “We were pleased to provide a venue to enhance destination education for participating agents and help strengthen relationships with key Hawaii contacts. Maholo to everyone who participated and made an investment in Hawaii and their own businesses.”
“It was great to see the readers of Luxury Travel Advisor and Travel Agent magazines experience Hawaii first-hand during the event. As a premier media outlet, we have been extolling the virtues of Hawaii for many years and prepared them well with a solid foundation of knowledge. The qualified agents had a live interaction with Hawaii and met face to face with local Hawaii suppliers,” stated John McMahon, vice president/group publisher of Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines. “We believe that the best way to learn is through experience and now each travel agent has had a wonderful experience with Hawaii to share with their clients. Our commitment to the travel community is to empower them with the selling tools they need and help them receive education to earn profitable commissions. We achieved those goals with the first-ever Hawaii Travel Exchange and look forward to 2011.”
Thank you to our 2010 sponsors and exhibitors! MLT Vacations, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Funjet Vacations, Outrigger Hospitality, Halekulani, Pleasant Holidays, The Waikiki EDITION, Blue Sky Tours, Classic Vacations, Hyatt Resorts and Spas Hawaii, Ala Moana Center, All About Hawaii, American Safari Cruises, Aqua Hotels & Resorts, Aston Hotels & Resorts, Big Island Visitors Bureau, Bishop Musuem, Castle Resorts & Hotels, Destination Resorts Hawaii, GOGO Vacations, Hale Koa Hotel, Hawaii State Tours, Hilo Hattie, Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Kahala Hotel & Resort, KapohoKine Adventures, Kaua’i Sea Tours, Kauau’i Visitors Bureau, Kayak Kauai, Kona Village Resort, L?na‘i Visitors Bureau, Makena Beach & Golf Resort, Marriott Resorts Hawaii, Maui Visitors Bureau, O’ahu Visitors Bureau, Old Lahaina Luau, Pacific Whale Foundation Eco Adventures, Paradise Cove Luau, Polynesian Adventure Tours Gray Line Hawaii, Polynesian Cultural Center, RideTheRim, Royal Lahaina Resort & Royal Kona Resort, Shell Vacations Hospitality, Travel Impressions and Waikiki Menus.