NEW YORK (Dec. 9, 2014) ─ The travel industry’s brightest travel professionals converged yesterday at the 2014 Young Travel Leaders Conference (YTLC) at The Palazzo Las Vegas, produced by Questex Hospitality + Travel as an exclusive forum to discuss the changing travel landscape and their unique role in its future.
The fifth-annual YTLC, held in conjunction with Luxury Travel Exchange International (LTX), drew nearly 100 under-40 travel millennial professionals from across North America, including agency owners, consultants, suppliers and industry partners, who participated in peer-to-peer networking, career development and information-sharing.
“The conference has become a valued forum for continued innovation and information exchange,” said Joe Pike, senior editor of Travel Agent magazine and host of YTLC. “The educational sessions are designed to offer millennial advisors insider knowledge and perspectives regarding the evolving state of the travel industry, including hard-hitting topics like how to address the challenges facing the next generation of travel leaders in the digital-social sphere and strategies for how to capitalize financially. By coming together, young business leaders looking to hone their skills can learn from each other’s experiences, share unique industry insights and discuss topics pertinent to their careers in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.”
Key topics of discussion, guided by a steering committee of the travel industry’s most successful young leaders, included the latest trends, including insights into the hottest emerging travel destinations, the benefits of joining a consortium for business growth, how to maximize profits, contract negotiation best practices, managing brand images and client relationships in the digital space, including reputation management in the social media and the value of niche markets and specialization.
In addition to dynamic education and networking opportunities, attendees participated in peer panel presentations, question-and-answer sessions, interactive roundtable discussions and the event’s popular speed dating business-card exchange. The successful event closed on a high note with a reception at Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & BBQ in partnership with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.
YTLC speakers included Alex Busilacchi, Western U.S. sales manager, Vacation.com; Wendy Burk, CEO, Cadence Travel; Heather Christopher, travel consultant and manager, Classic Travel; Andrey Zakharenko, owner and founder, Russian Connections; Isaac Cymrot, vice president, industry relations, Travel Insured International; David Goodman, director, digital marketing and data analysis, Signature Travel Network; Daniela Harrison, travel consultant, Avenues of the World Travel; Meredith Hill, founder and president, Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs; Kier Matthews, vice president of sales, Europe Express; Katelyn O’Shaughnessy, CEO and founder, TripScope; David M. Rubin, CEO, travel consultant and general counsel, David Travel; Keith Salwoski, executive director of public relations, The Venetian and The Palazzo; and Kathy Sudeikis, vice president, corporate relations, Acendas.
Sponsors included AMResorts, Aruba Tourism Authority, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Body Holiday by LeSport, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Couples Resorts, Destinations of Distinction, Hard Rock Hotel, Hermitage Bay, Hyatt, Monograms, Morgans Hotel Group, Palace Resorts, Starr Companies, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Travel Insured International, Visit Britain and Vacation.com.
“The event received high marks from attendees and sponsors because of its dynamic educational and networking opportunities in a relaxed environment,” said Olivia Soriano, YTLC co-coordinator. “We sincerely thank the 2014 steering committee and the many sponsors who took the time to support and recognize this valuable group of leaders shaping the future of travel.”