MAST and Royal Caribbean International hosted its Annual All Star Trip aboard the Symphony of the Seas for the network’s top 25 agencies in three sales levels, November 9-13. The four-night sailing coincided with the Royal Family event, and featured cocktail receptions, a wine tasting and dining in the specialty restaurants for the group.
During the Member Business Meeting on the ship, Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales and Joanne Schimmelman, vice president of sales, spoke to the group. Freed spoke on the relationship between Royal Caribbean and travel advisors. She also accepted a donation from MAST to support Royal Caribbean’s work in Haiti for the public schools in the northern part of the country and for L’Ecole Nouvelle Royal Caribbean, the school Royal Caribbean opened near Labadee, following the earthquake. The money will go to school supplies, programs for children and adult education classes in the evenings.
Also, during the meeting, MAST’s president and COO, John Werner, discussed ways to take advantage of the opportunities MAST provides to be successful, profitable and earn the All Star Award. He also talked about next year’s preferred suppliers’ sales agreements and marketing plans along with changes in some of the relationships.
On November 15, MAST held its annual fall trade show and product launch known as MAST Sales Sensation, the largest travel trade event in the Midwest, located at Drury Lane Theatre and Conference Center in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. Over 370 travel advisors attended and nearly 100 exhibitors. More than 20 seminars were presented throughout the day. MAST arranges bus transportation from locations in Wisconsin and eastern Iowa.
This year’s event theme, “Magnificent Milestones” offered a preview of the 2019 Annual Conference in downtown Chicago, April 11-14, and was also the kick-off event for MAST’s 50th anniversary as an organization in 2019. Destination seminars featured countries around the world including: Israel, Tahiti, The Bahamas, Australia, and New Zealand. Other seminars focused on experiential travel, tools to create custom travel itineraries, booking tools, and cruise marketing. Hands-on training was also offered in the drop-in cafes presented by Sabre Travel Network for TRAMS and ClientBase users. A big feature of the event each year is the Hotel Pavilion presented by ABC Global Services. Another concentration of suppliers represented Mexico.
The main event sponsors: AIG Travel Guard, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Mexico Tourism Board, and Hawaii Tourism United States, spoke during the evening dinner program.
The program featured remarks by Werner, where he spoke on industry trends which mirror destinations and travel styles MAST is seeing the most growth in sales such as escorted tours, ocean and river cruises, vacation packages, and travel insurance. Werner remarked suppliers and travelers value travel advisors more than ever. Also noted were the hottest destinations around the world and travel interests such as wellness, culinary, personal discovery travel, and deeper destination experiences focused on regional discoveries.
The 2019 education focus was announced, “Adopting New Practices.” A highlight of the evening was the taking of a group photo of over 500 people holding a banner with the words, “Our Network of Travel Professionals.” The photo will be used in the 50th anniversary celebrations plus MAST’s consumer awareness and PR activities.
For more information, visit mvptravel.com.