Travel MarketPlace — the business-building and professional development conference for travel advisors from Travel Market Report — celebrated its second year in Vancouver last month, bringing travel agents and suppliers together for two days of learning and networking at the J.W. Parq Marriott.
Here’s what Travel Market Report’s Executive Director of Canada Geraldine Ree, who joined the company earlier this year, had to say about the conference and the upcoming Travel MarketPlace East in Toronto this coming June.
This was your first Travel MarketPlace West. What were the biggest lessons you learned from the event?
The biggest lesson I learned from the event was how much more engaged an audience is when they’re offered practical hands-on training in a workshop format. Don’t get me wrong, we had inspirational keynote speakers and lively supplier expert panels. But, we also had over a dozen unique workshops dedicated to practical skills development.
These covered a variety of topics, including social media, digital marketing, videography, niche group selling, insurance, and handling customer complaints. For the most part, the attendance was evenly divided between the topics, except for the sessions featuring social media, which sold out early. Clearly, this is an area that most advisors want to get a handle on.
To that end, one of the most exciting announcements was made in the final hour of day two. We offered an exclusive, 6-week “Business Building through Social Media Webinar Series” for all show attendees. During this course, advisors will learn how to kick start their social media platforms; create 60 days of high-impact content; and track and measure the results (ROI). Ninety attendees signed up on-the-spot. We plan to reveal the results of this pilot program, and hopefully to launch something similar, at the Toronto show.
What are the plans for Travel MarketPlace East in June?
Travel MarketPlace East promises to be fantastic. We’re taking the success of our Western show and making a few tweaks to deliver a best-in-class training event. One of our key learnings was how popular social media training is, so we will offer more sessions on that topic.
We also have a niche and specialty outlook report in progress. This report will delve into the enormously popular trend of specialization within the industry. We’ll be adding a niche panel based on the research.
Lastly, we’ll be adding a technology panel to help advisors remain up-to-date with the leading customer journey technology tools for helping them to run their businesses.
What would you tell travel advisors who are planning to attend Travel MarketPlace East? What should they know beforehand?
Book early. Plan your agenda. And, reserve one-on-one meetings with your preferred suppliers. We plan to launch our session app at least 30 days prior to the show. This will allow attendees to create a customized agenda that best suits their business needs.