There’s only one thing that I enjoy more than learning. It’s learning while being surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded go-getters who push me outside my comfort zone.
The recent Travel Market Place show for travel advisors in Vancouver had all the ingredients for creating the perfect learning environment. When the audience was asked to rank their top reasons to attend, here’s what they said.
1. Network with supplier partners to facilitate collaborative objectives.
On the conference app, 28 percent of attendees voted that this was their top reason for attending the show.
The suppliers were deeply engaged throughout the show, sharing best practices and memorable insights such as, “Be bold and differentiate yourself as an entrepreneur,” said Nikki Upshaw of Oceania Cruises; and “Be consistent. Create a social media plan and roadmap by working with your local BDM,” said Lisa Connell of Royal Caribbean.
One of the biggest ah-ha moments for local agents came from Chaz Dunwoody of Silversea Cruises, when he shared that Western Canada is the highest-producing expedition market in North America. This combined with the fact that 28 new expedition ships will enter the market in the next three years is a major wake-up call that expedition cruising is an exciting and important trend that is well worth investing in.
2. Attend specialized workshops to help you dive deeper into the areas of your business that need the most attention.
Twenty-five percent voted this was the main reason for attending. And deep diving, they did. The workshop topics were varied and highly relevant to helping agents succeed, including: “A Brand New You,” “Instagram Mastermind,” “Duty of Care,” “Niche and Specialty Marketing,” “Selling to the Affluent,” and “Attracting a High Performing Team” (with the last one being a session exclusively for owners and managers).
Not surprisingly, there was a sold-out session on “Work-Life Balance” by Louise Gardner. Most agents struggle to find balance with the never-ending demands of the travel business. Agents were reminded to look at their calendar before their email in the morning and think wisely about how they’ll invest their business energy.
3. Learn from industry experts.
This reason was most important with 22 percent of participants. One of the highest-rated sessions was with Barbara Harvey from the government of Canada. She provided practical tips for every Canadian traveling abroad. Did you know you can register your clients on www.travel.gc.ca before they leave Canada so that if anything happens at home, they will assist you in reaching your loved ones? This free service also allows your clients to receive important information in case of an emergency abroad, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest. In addition, you can get clients to download the very useful app, called “Travel Smart,” which includes border wait times, destination information including risk levels, entry and exit requirements, emergency services, and Canadian embassy locations around the world.