Inaugural Expo is a Huge Hit

The inaugural Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference, produced by Home-Based Travel Agent and Travel Agent, was an enormous success: The largest, most significant gathering of home-based agents ever assembled networked with suppliers and filled conference sessions December 5-7 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

This must-attend event began with pre-event accredited workshops from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance (NCMA) and The Travel Institute. The next day at the general session, John Severini, president, Trafalgar Tours; Debbie Maier, vice president, Mailpound; and Bryan Dockett, director, travel agency sales, Disney Destinations, LLC gave informative presentations to a full house.

The invaluable information gained during the 21 conference sessions complemented the networking and information gathering on the vast trade show floor that was packed with more than 200 suppliers, including cruise lines, tour operators, tourism boards, hoteliers, airlines/consolidators, industry organizations, host agencies and technology and business solution providers. Agents were able to enter fabulous drawings from an array of suppliers whose prizes included complimentary hotel stays, airline tickets and complete vacations.

Mark Dixon, Hewlett-Packard national sales specialist, was one of the suppliers in attendance. Dixon told agents about Hewlett-Packard's recently launched products, including several laptops with back-up hard drives—a great attribute if you ever lose your computer. Although many of Hewlett-Packard's products, including HP Compaq nx 6325 Notebook PCs, are ideal for any traveling businessperson, Dixon felt it was especially important to spread word of new products to home-based agents. "A lot of our products are ideal for travel agents," he says. For information on the latest Hewlett-Packard products, visit

With a successful show under wraps, the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference anticipates an even better event in 2007 for agents and suppliers alike. Mark your calendars for a return to Mandalay Bay December 4-6, 2007.

The Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference is grateful for the backing of event sponsors FLO USA, Jamaica Tourist Board, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and South African Airways; supporters Cruise Lines International Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization, MailPound, National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance, Pacific Asia Travel Institute, The Travel Institute and United States Tour Operators Association; and official entertainment sponsor The Scintas.

1. Show Sales Director Jennifer Fernandez inaugurates the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo

2. Rob Hibbard, vice president of airport business for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, speaks with an expo attendee

3. Kerry Cannon, Jr., Questex Media's travel group publisher, welcomes Debbie Maier, vice president of Mail Pound, to the stage at HBTAE's general session, where she shared "Seven Secrets to Success"

4. Kerry Cannon, Jr. with Mali Dunleavy, regional director, west, Sandals and Beaches Resorts

5. Jim Ferguson, director, North America, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), greets Stan Mao (right), president of China Regal Cruises

6. Bryan Dockett, director of travel agency sales for Disney Destinations, LLC, updated agents on Disney's "Year of a Million Dreams" during a keynote speech at HBTAE's general session

7. The bustling exhibition hall of the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference, which featured more than 200 suppliers and independent travel professionals from around the world

8. John Severini, president of Trafalgar Tours, gives great tips on reinventing and growing your travel agency business

9. Bill Alverson, president and CEO of Joystar, with Kerry Cannon, Jr. Alverson was part of a panel of top host agency executives that discussed their programs and answered questions to help agents choose an agency

10. Joanie Ogg (right), president of the National Association of Certified Travel Agents (NACTA), chats with Leisure Travel Representative Neddra King (left) of Elite Travel by Neddra, and other expo attendees

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