This year's Travel MarketPlace took place this week at Toronto’s International Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, welcoming over 550 attendees during two whirlwind days of educational workshops, trade show exhibits and networking opportunities, with a cocktail reception closing proceedings on Wednesday evening.
Anne Marie Moebes, co-publisher, Travel Market Report, told PAX that this year’s event, which marked Travel MarketPlace’s fourth appearance in Toronto, was its most successful yet, with over 400 agents in attendance. The value of the conference to travel professionals, she noted, was clear.
“They [the agents] are thirsty for education, and every educational event was totally sold out,” she said. “The feedback we have received has been excellent. Our goal with Travel Market Report was to aggregate the agency community along with ACTA, so that we’re helping develop their profitability.
“At the end of the day,” she continued, “we want our exhibitors and our agents to make more money, and we think that we’re going to see a banner year in the next year.”
The conference, which featured a range of informative sessions for agents, opened with an introduction by Moebes and Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA – one of the event’s sponsors.
Among the keynote speakers was Louise Gardiner, senior director, associate program Canada of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, who provided attendees with an insight into the travel industry’s latest trends, as well as advice on how to develop their personal brand and expand their business.
TravelOnly has announced a partnership with American tour company Perillo Tours. Pictured are Gregory Luciani, president/CEO, TravelOnly; Carol Dimopoulos, Perillo's Learning Journeys; Steve Perillo, Perillo's Learning Journeys; Patrick Luciani, chairman/founder, TravelOnly.
Meanwhile, Jason Montague, president & chief executive officer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, reflected on the evolution of luxury travel and offered his thoughts on how travel agents can take advantage of expanding opportunities in the industry.
Camille Oliviere, senior vice president of sales, Norwegian Cruise Lines was also on hand to help educate agents about new developments at the company, while Vision Travel Solutions’ Vice President Leisure Travel, Lynda Sinclair, hosted a panel discussion and interactive session centred around the topic of staying at the top of your game.
Supplier companies were out in full force at Wednesday’s trade show, although agents also had the opportunity to schedule one-on-one time with any of the more than 75 suppliers present through the conference’s mobile app.
The conference also hosted the fourth annual ACTA/Air Canada Awards, which recognized five outstanding agents from the Canadian retail travel industry – selected by a panel of jurors appointed by ACTA.
Paradis told PAX that the energy and enthusiasm of speakers and agents alike was evident. “With so many travel agents in the room, and the synergy and the excitement via the crowd, sharing the value that they bring to the travel experience – I think that was really alive and well today.”
The speakers, Moebes said, constantly reaffirmed the vitality of agents to the travel industry. “Every speaker told them, ‘be proud of who you are,’” she commented, “‘because the consumer is looking for you.’”