Someone once said you can only know the true value of education if you don’t have it. That can be a hard lesson to learn for anyone, but an even greater price to pay if you’re a travel agent being deprived of commissions.
Fortunately, there are educational workshops in our industry that make harnessing knowledge easy. The key is taking time out of your busy schedule to attend them — something the most successful agents in the business will tell you can produce infinite returns.
It was about six years ago that the powers-that-be at Travel Market Report and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) realized there was a lack of travel educational conferences for Canadian agents, prompting them to launch Travel MarketPlace, an event designed exclusively for Canadian travel agents and suppliers.
This year’s event marks the fifth consecutive year that Travel MarketPlace East will convene in Toronto, on May 22-23 at the Westin Harbour Castle. The gathering presents an opportunity for travel agents to connect with fellow travel professionals, network with suppliers, and participate in educational seminars, all with the goal of growing their business.
Registration is now open to attend the event, which will feature some of the most knowledgeable travel professionals in the market speaking on topics such as: how independent contractors can better manage their business, working effectively with your BDM, tips on implementing service fees, where boomers are traveling next, and how to find the right mentor.
ACTA agents can attend for just $89 without a hotel stay and $249 for registration and a one-night stay at the Westin Harbour Castle. Non-ACTA agents are also welcome for fees of $119 and $299, respectively. Both are for single occupancy and include taxes, fees and all conference meal functions.
Fellow agent encourages participation
Lorraine Simpson, founder of Concierge Travel Group, is one of dozens of speakers who will be returning to Travel MarketPlace this year to share her expertise on how to find your niche. Her presentation is intended to inspire agents to think not only outside the box, but, as she says “to throw away the proverbial box entirely and think in a more unique way.” Simpson said her goal is to help agents see being in the travel business as more of a passion than as a job, and to harness the power of their particular passion in order to grow in their chosen niche.
This is Simpson’s second Travel MarketPlace and she encourages fellow agents to seize this once-a-year-opportunity. Last year’s event — which included a tradeshow exhibition, seminars, meals and a cocktail reception — attracted over 450 attendees.
“Travel MarketPlace is a melting pot of ideas all in one place," Simpson said. "Agents have the opportunity to meet suppliers they may not know about or to build deeper relationships with suppliers they already are aware of but want to get to know better. The educational component of the show is so valuable, not only to new agents but to established agents as well, and we can never be too experienced or knowledgeable in the changing world of global travel.”
Scott Koepf, vice president of strategic development for Cruise Planners, will serve as emcee for the forum. Well-known personas like Ron Cates (one of the world’s leading digital marketing gurus) and TV travel personality Sandra Cottam McLemore will demonstrate how attendees can grow their business and influence their clients through social media.