(Boston, MA – August 16, 2018) The Family Travel Advisor Forum, the travel industry’s only hosted event for North American travel sellers dedicated to the family vacation market, has announced its selection of members for its 2019 Advisory Board.
Taking place at the Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios from January 7 – 11, 2019, this exclusive program is entering its third year, and will host a fully-vetted audience of 130 family travel specialists that meet stringent criteria and sales volume thresholds. The event will feature 65 vacation providers from around the globe, providing a wealth of commissionable sales opportunities, destinations and key resources for travel sellers. The Advisory Board will work in tandem with the Event Management team to help develop critical event elements, such as educational content, top-level discussion topics along with engagement and business exchange concepts. The 2019 Advisory Board includes:
Kim DalPonte, President/Travel Consultant, Pixie Dust & Paradise Travel, Inc.
Kim DalPonte is the owner and lead travel consultant at Pixie Dust & Paradise Travel in Chicago, IL. She opened her agency in 2011 after a health scare that made her realize that she wanted to see the world and create lasting memories with her two young daughters. She is passionate about helping families create those same types of magical memories. Kim specializes in Family, Multi-Generational, and Group Travel. She’s a recognized authority in the industry and has numerous accreditations and certifications with many destinations and suppliers.
Kim owned a hair salon for 25 years, and through word of mouth from her existing clientele, she was able to create a thriving travel business. Her business now consists of mainly repeat and referral clients. She also has a growing team of motivated agents who are helping her to grow her brand. Team work makes the dream work!
She is a frequent speaker within the travel industry, as well as often quoted and featured in several publications. Kim has been a TPI Ambassador for several years, and also hosts supplier meetings with her local networking group. She loves helping new agents become successful entrepreneurs.
Kim believes that educating herself on the properties she sells is of the utmost importance. Kim has traveled all over Mexico and the Caribbean, and is an expert in all things Disney. She is often traveling to new and exciting destinations to learn, first hand, about the product and location that she is sending her clients to. She also thinks forming relationships with the suppliers and BDM’s that she partners with, is invaluable to her business, and her clients.
Valerie Gossett, Owner & President, Premier Resources Travel Group
Valerie Gossett is the Owner & President of Premier Resources Travel Group, with travel agents in 15 states, is a multi-million dollar producer, speaker, trainer and mentor to many travel agents in the industry. Valerie has started boot camps where agents and agency owners wanting to grow their business can come for assistance. Helping others be successful in business is one of her passions!
Prior to travel she was in the corporate world as a VP of Sales for 25 years. She had over 200 outside sales reps and 75 inside recruiters she worked with in the staffing industry. They placed IT and Accounting professionals in positions throughout the country. When she went through a recession in 2005 she transitioned to an industry she always knew she’d be a part of – travel.
She has really been training for this career her whole life. She started at age 7 making plane reservations over the phone and from then on took a big part in planning trips for her family and friends.
Valerie loves training and working with agents and clients, travel, family and celebrations of any kind! She is now leading large consumer groups all over the world. She is always thinking of innovative ways she and her agents can grow.
Gregg Kaminsky, Founding Partner, R Family Vacations
Gregg Kaminsky began his career as a travel entrepreneur more than 20 years ago, creating specialty cruise and resort vacations all over the world. Formerly the Vice President of Atlantis Events, the world’s largest gay tour operator, he co-founded R Family Vacations in 2003, helping create the first company to offer customized vacations for LGBT families and friends. R Family Vacations was featured on HBO’s “All Aboard!” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Emmy Award.
More than 20,000 guests have traveled with R Family, which now offers adult-only LGBT vacations. R Family Vacations has recently partnered with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and together they will offer full-ship LGBT sailings aboard the brand new “U by Uniworld” ships and its fresh approach to river cruising.
He also served as a travel consultant for Nickelodeon and produced five full ship charters on Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships featuring SpongeBob, Dora and Nick’s live action stars. R Family recently joined the prestigious Tzell Travel Group in NYC expanding their business to include FIT travel and tours.
Kaminsky was named as part of the “OUT 100”, an annual list of the most influential members of the LGBT community He graduated from the University of Texas and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. He splits his time between NY and Aspen with his husband Dan. They were featured on the Bravo television series “Gay Weddings”. He loves traveling so much if he’s not at an airport every couple of weeks he begins to shake from withdrawal.
Kelly Ortiz is the founder, owner and head guru at Guru Travel LLC, a boutique travel agency specializing in Disney Destinations, a Preferred Sandals Agency, along with special performance awards from Apple Vacations and Disney Destinations. By keeping the team the size of a large family and focusing the collective expertise with like-minded vendors, Kelly and her team provide concierge level services to travelers, regardless of the budget.
Like many Disney fans, Kelly wanted to share her love for Walt Disney and all that he accomplished. First came the blog. Second came the travel business. Then everything exploded from there. Over the past five years the business has grown by leaps and bounds, due to Kelly’s commitment to have the highest trained team members and then putting her passion to work. She is a leader in social media, an influencer in family and all-inclusive travel and advocate of over the top guest services. There is a huge retention rate among clients because of Kelly’s commitment to service and education.
Guru Travel is built on the foundation of knowledge. As a former teacher, Kelly’s passion for teaching permeates into every aspect of her life and Guru Travel is no exception. A well-educated traveler is a happier traveler and a well-educated team can provide every traveler with the perfect vacation.
Kelly and her family reside in Elgin, IL.
Certifications: Disney College of Knowledge Graduate; Universal Certified Travel Agent, Sandals – Certified Sandals Specialist; Hawaii Destinations Specialist Certification; Royal Caribbean Expert; Celebrity Cruise Five Star Academy Graduate; CLIA – Cruise Line International Association Certified; AMResorts Master Agent; Atlantis Certified; Mexico Specialist Certified; Outrigger Expert Agent; Xcaret Parks Certified; Oasis Resorts Certified; Discovery Dolphin Certified; RIU Resort Certified; Jamaica Travel Specialist; Palladium Pro; and Nassau Paradise Island Specialist.
“Our goal is to continuously evolve and offer travel sellers and supplier partners events that offer unique value propositions. This year’s Board is a diverse representation of business models, experience levels and exciting ideas that will undoubtedly translate into a memorable and productive event. The anticipation of ‘what will we do next’ is exciting and we are thrilled to watch it all come to fruition. It is a great honor to collaborate with this knowledgeable group of professionals” said Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content, Specialty Travel Forums.
The Family Travel Advisor Forum is limited to 130 travel seller participants who meet stringent criteria as part of the multi-faceted vetting process. The event features educational sessions, peer-to-peer small-group discussions, on-island experiential activities and networking events, and a Supplier Showcase offering one-to-one mutual-interest business meetings. The Showcase floor will spotlight 65 companies including global destinations, commissionable family centric vacation options and other key resources for the family vacation specialist. Key sponsor partners include: Palace Resorts; Moon Palace Jamaica; the Jamaica Tourist Board; Jamaica Tours; Reggae Tours; Blue Waters Resort & Spa (Antigua); Delta Airlines; Beaches Resorts; VIP Attractions; and more to be announced. The current 2019 Exhibitor Registry can be found online at: https://family.travelsmg.com/exhibitor-registry/
ABOUT SPECIALTY TRAVEL FORUMS
The Family Travel Advisory Forum is produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group (TravelSMG), an independent event organizer that caters exclusively to the B2B leisure travel agency community. The Specialty Travel Forums portfolio offers specialized travel events with limited positions that are awarded to a fully-vetted travel seller audience. Each event is uniquely crafted to position delegates for success, comprising top-level business discussions amongst peers, educational topics, product and destination training, supplier engagement with experiences within the host destination for first-hand opportunities such as site inspections, hosted evening parties, activities and pre/post familiarization itineraries.
The TravelSMG team has a proven track record in producing some of the most acclaimed leisure travel trade shows and events, working collaboratively with the industry’s leading organizations and experts, to provide top-notch education, networking and supplier engagement. For more information on TravelSMG visit www.TravelSMG.com or www.TravelAgentForums.com
Travel agents interested in learning more or wish to apply for one of the coveted Family Travel Advisor Forum positions can apply here: https://family.travelsmg.com/apply-now-form/.
Suppliers interested in learning more or exhibiting should contact Jennifer Fernandez, VP Events & Content via telephone at (718) 979-1952 or email Jennifer@SpecialtyTravelForums.com.