Ensemble Travel Group opened its annual conference in Orlando this week at the Hyatt Regency with 900 plus member agents and suppliers attending. One immediate focus was the expansion of its SMARTbar, a technology and web marketing learning hub that provides agents with new approaches to technology, marketing, and Ensemble membership benefits. SMARTbar was launched last year at its 2009 conference.
“Our SMARTbar venue has grown from a modest 2,500 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet this year. And most of our training sessions are so full that we have had to move them to the ballroom so that everyone could have a seat,” says Lindsay Pearlman, executive vice president and general manager.
This year’s SMARTbar will be divided into three main areas:
* The SMARTbar Lounge will showcase 15 SMARTstations where agents can learn about marketing, social media, and Ensemble programs that will help them offer unique experiences and incentives to customers.
* The SMARTbar Theatre will feature close to 15 live training sessions. Here, agents will encounter topics such as “Effective W-mail Marketing in Under Two Hours a Week,” “Ensemble Boutique for Agents, Managers & Frontline Staff,” and “Creating & Managing Your Own Facebook Page.”
* The Click-n-Play Café is an enhancement to last year’s pre-recorded training environment and will showcase more than 45 pre-recorded videos from a variety of experts on social media and Ensemble Travel programs in a “self-serve” format where agents can wander in, click on a video, and learn at their leisure.
Social media training will also be an integral part of the SMARTbar for a second year in a row. “We will again be hosting a conference web page on our corporate blog where agents can tune in to catch up on conference happenings via blog posts, tweets, photos, and videos,” says Marie Potter, internet marketing director, North America. “Agents who want to learn how to tweet or blog can come see our social media wizards at the blogging station, while agents unable to attend conference can follow the action or join the conversation from their own office. We have found this to be an effective way to bring attendees and agents together to learn about social venues and tools in an innovative way.”
To follow the 2010 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference online, agents can visit Ensemble’s conference page at http://blog.ensembletravel.com/conference10.
To participate on Ensemble’s Twitter channel, use #etg10.