The inaugural 2015 event came to a successful close last week in Orlando, Florida, underscoring the value to travel professionals of becoming more niche-focused. The innovative event’s over 50 sessions focused on revenue-generating niche segments, including certification programs in luxury, cruise and romance travel as well as concentrated educational programming in technology, trends, destinations and Millennial travel.
John McMahon, Questex Travel Group executive vice president, said specialization is “a major business driver” that represents the next “great wave of opportunity” for travel professionals, based on the company’s research and consumer trends and feedback.
“The positive feedback we received from both travel professionals and global suppliers has been tremendous,” he said. “Attendees were able to really build connections for new business and fine-tune the skills that will propel them into the future. As more consumers look to travel professionals for expert advice, we see untapped potential in specialty markets.”
Suppliers attending next year’s event in San Diego will benefit from the “best of both worlds,” McMahon said, with the nation’s top travel professionals expected to attend “from the East and West coasts.” Suppliers this year included destinations, hoteliers, cruise lines, tour operators, transportation providers, technology companies, spas and resorts from around the world.
Suppliers surveyed expressed interest in returning next year, describing the new event as “well worth the investment,” and attributing its success to the one-to-one meetings and dynamic sessions.
Last week’s event was supported by a prestigious advisory board composed of travel agents and suppliers as well as 12 industry associations including the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa (APTA), Africa Travel Association (ATA), American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Caribbean Tourism Association, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA), Family Travel Association, Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE), The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), Meetings Mean Business, Millennials in Travel and Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
Sponsors included Apple Vacations, Bermuda Tourism Authority, Disney Destinations, Dominican Republic Tourism Board, Emirates, Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau, India Tourism, The Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Namibia Tourism Board, Palace Resorts, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Tourism Australia and The Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Travel Industry Exchange brings travel professionals and lifestyle specialists together with international suppliers, including destinations, hoteliers, cruise lines, tour operators, transportation providers, technology companies, spas and resorts. The event includes over eight hours of one-to-one meetings, comprehensive education including agent specialty training and networking events and receptions. For more information or to register for next year’s event, visit www.travelindustryexchange.com.