The debut Family Travel Advisor Forum has officially wrapped, and by all accounts, was a tremendous success.
Produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group, an independent event organizer, this exclusive event took place at the Royalton Riviera Cancun in Mexico from Tuesday, November 1 through Saturday, November 5, with optional post-event familiarization itineraries.
“The results are in, and clearly, it’s all about family! The first ever Family Travel Advisor Forum has far exceeded our expectations, and based on the very positive feedback we’ve received from suppliers and sellers alike, a success across-the-board! It is an absolute privilege to produce an event that brings suppliers together with such a passionate and successful audience, really, some of the best in the business, and contribute to their professional growth and longevity in the marketplace.”, said Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content, Specialty Travel Forums.
Nearly 80 family-focused travel sellers from all parts of North America were hand-selected and hosted for participation. Travel sellers represented an average of $800,000 – $1 Million in annual bookings with a book of business that spans the globe. Participating sellers took part in a broad-range of networking and familiarization opportunities; peer-to-peer education discussions; and a Showcase floor with mutual-interest one-to-one supplier meetings. Collectively, over 3,000 one-to-one business meetings took place during the Showcase, along with informal meetings during an open window time as well.
Supplier participants for this program featured forty companies with family-friendly vacation products, destinations and critical resources for the family-focused travel seller. A full list of exhibiting companies can be found online at http://family.travelsmg.com/exhibitor-registry/
Event Sponsors included: Royalton Resorts; Royalton Riviera Cancun; Nexus Tours; The Family Travel Association; Beaches Resorts; Palace Resorts; Xoximilco; Xenses; Experience Xcaret. Supporters and marketing partners included: Travel Research Online; Cancun Hotel Association; EGroup Communications; American Solutions for Business. The events official photographer was Photoventura.
Initial immediate feedback from suppliers and agents alike offered a glimpse at the success of the debut program:
“This event is one of the best I have participated in within my 20+ years. The agents are serious to partner with the suppliers they want to work with in addition to their willingness to meet during free time shows the level of commitment. Not every agent is a perfect match to every supplier, although the meeting selection process has impressed me to continue our participation. Another well done event that has proven increase of business and preferred status for BellaVista Tours. Thank you all!!” – Darya Camacchi, BellaVista Tours
“The event was the perfect combination of work and leisure. The agents we met were very interested on the product and we are willing to work with all of them” – Stephanie Sheehy, Il Viaggio Travel Costa Rica
“The team has outdid themselves – Wonderful Forum” – Teri Boyd, The Mark Travel Corporation
“It was a great week and most of all a success. I was able to refresh agents of our product in Jamaica and also convince those who did not know of our brand or heard of it and had no idea what we were about and that was an accomplishment.” – Daine C. Golube, Jewel Resorts/Hilton Rose Hall.
“Thank you so much for everything. This event was by far the very best event I have attended. It was organized, the communication was perfect (not too much, not too little), the attendees were knowledgeable, successful agents, the vendors were awesome. I really can’t rave enough about the event from beginning to end. Thank you!” – Andrea Wallace, Escape With Us Vacations
“The Family Travel Advisor Forum is a must for anyone who sells to families or multigenerational group. Very well organized, amazing vendors, and great peer to peer sessions. Absolutely the best overall experience to grow your business.” – Jodi Leidholm, Time Away Trips
“In the 13 years I have been in the travel business, this was the BEST conference I have ever attended. It was perfectly organized and fun at the same time. What I loved about this conference was the focus and dedication to learning from both from the agents & the suppliers. Also, it was brilliant to allow the suppliers to attend the social events to further solidify the bond. Congrats to the TSMG Team on this highly successful inaugural conference!” – Lauren Leibert, Ticket 2 Travel
“The FTAF team did a great job or organizing this conference. I appreciated the opportunity to meet new suppliers, learn and network in this perfect size group of my peers.” – Neal Miller, Neal Miller Travel Company
Evening Events, which welcomed travel agent and supplier participants played a strong part in the event, included a Welcome Mixer followed by a dine-around at the Royalton Riviera Cancun; a Day of the Dead Celebration (as the event overlapped this important Mexican cultural holiday); a fun-filled fiesta at Xoximilco; and a closing Carnival themed evening at the Moon Palace Cancun. Travel agents also had the chance to conduct site-inspections at Generations by Karisma; Iberostar Paraiso Maya; and Azul Fives; along with a choice of a catamaran afternoon (compliments of Nexus Tours) or a visit to the Xenses park, the newest member of the Experience Xcaret family.
Other event highlights included networking lunches; a presentation on the ever-evolving multi-generation market, presented by the Family Travel Association; a villa focused Certified Family session presented by Private Trade Winds, who is also the author of The Travel Institutes Villa Course; and a breakfast presentation on the growing Blue Diamond Resorts portfolio. Additionally, delegates had the chance to take part in a post-familiarization itinerary including stays and activities at the luxury Grand Velas Riviera Maya; the adventurous Sandos Caracol Eco Resort; and Fiesta American Condesa Cancun, a family friendly EP property.