Luxury Travel Exchange International Advisory Board Gears Up for 2013 Event

ltx advisory boardQuestex Hospitality + Travel held its annual Luxury Travel Exchange International (LTX) advisory board meeting earlier this month at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York, setting the tone for the industry-leading travel event to be held September 10-12, 2013, at The Venetian® Las Vegas.

LTX combines fully qualified travel advisors, one-to-one appointments, networking opportunities, as well as tracked and accredited educational programming with a traditional trade show experience. Last year the event drew more than 1,000 professional travel advisors and 350 luxury travel suppliers who participated in more than 7,000 one-on-one meetings.

The LTX advisory board, composed of experts representing the top-producing North American luxury travel agencies and global supplier partners, identified key educational topics for this year’s event including sales and marketing, professional development and overall service experience. Discussions focused on how to gain confidence in up-selling, overcoming obstacles, building client trust and training sales stars.

Marilyn McHugh, vice president of global events for Questex Hospitality + Travel, said a key role of the board is to ensure that the event focuses on topics that are immediately relevant to attendees. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to tap into our select board of advisor ambassadors to provide a dynamic and interactive program completely designed for today’s luxury travel advisors,” she said. “Each member brings insights that span years of global expertise.”

This year’s LTX will offer travel advisors three full days of interactive networking opportunities, additional educational content and an expansive Exchange floor with reputable suppliers offering a wide range of premium commissionable opportunities, tiered participation packages and appointment options, McHugh added.

Mitzi M. Gaskins, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts vice president & global brand manager, said the JW Marriott Essex House was “very pleased to host the advisory board meeting as the hotel and JW Marriott brand evolve within the luxury space.

“The partnership we have with the travel agent community is so critical to our business, and we are thrilled to be a part of the Luxury Travel Exchange story. Helping to craft the content of this event is much akin to our hotels and to the travel agent community crafting the experiences of our guests which is where all of our passion lies.”

Advisory Board members who participated included Chris Accomando, president, Sceptre Tours; Colette Baruth, vice president of marketing, AMResorts; Lia Batkin, co-founder, In The Know Experiences; Tom Civitano, vice president of sales & marketing, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts; Isaac Cymrot, director of sales & industry relations, Travel Insured International; and Philip D’Antoni, global sales director, Trump Hotels.

Also participating were Greg DeClemente, managing director, Courtyard Travel; Tristan Dowell, regional vice president - global sales organization luxury & consortia, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts; Ryan Eddy, Director of Hotel Sales, JW Marriott Essex House; Mathew Evins, Chairman, Evins Ltd.; and Mitzi M. Gaskins, vice president & global brand manager, JW Marriott, Marriott International.

Suzanne Hall, senior director marketing & development, land programs, Ensemble; Efrem Harkham, president & CEO, Luxe Hotels; Patti Lehman, travel advisor, The Travel Agent, Inc.; Jack Mannix, founder and principal, Jack E. Mannix & Associates; Kier Matthews, vice president of travel industry sales, Europe Express; and Ignacio Mazza, executive vice president, Signature Travel Network.

Willie Montano, vice president, marketing, CIE Tours; Amal Mulhem, travel advisor, Carol’s Travel Service; April Murena, regional director of national accounts, Loews Hotels; Kate Murphy, president, Wings Travel Group; Leslie Overton, general manager, Absolute Travel; Laurie Palumbo, chief operating officer, Island Destinations; and Andrew Rein, director of business development - agency sales, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

Sandra Renz, director, global sales - Americas East, Preferred Hotels & Resorts; Colleen Schmitz, director of transient and luxury sales, MGM Resorts International; Randall Soy, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Kathy Sudeikis, vice president of corporate relations, Acendas; Roy Twiste, managing director of sales, Tzell Park Avenue; and Kimberly Wilson-Wetty, co-president, Valerie Wilson Travel Inc.

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