Why You Should Attend a Travel Conference

by Bernadette Stark
Vice President, Conference and Events
Travel Leaders Group

We hear it often. Why should I attend your event? I understand how hesitant some travel advisors and independent travel advisors can be about leaving the office for four-to-seven days in order to attend a travel agent conference. Being away that long may seem challenging to tend to your business and watch over your clients.

After being in the travel industry since 1986, planning events for travel advisors and suppliers, I can wholeheartedly say that you should attend one industry event at least once a year. Every second you spend at a well-organized conference is time well spent and an investment in your business, as long as that event has all of the necessary ingredients to maximize your time.

At Travel Leaders Network, we named our yearly conference EDGE: Education, Discover, Gather, Evolve. These are the necessary ingredients needed to enhance your ROI.  Each one plays an important part in the success of a valuable industry event.

It begins with educational and training opportunities. A travel conference provides a unique opportunity for you to dive in and learn about a myriad of topics, from up-and-coming destinations and software to sales strategies and social media. Many events design tracks around certain aspects, such as experience level, technology or even for those who are new to travel. These tracks group several classes together, making it easy for you to focus on what you need most.

Next, a quality conference gives you the chance to discover new ideas, new suppliers and new products. Most events include keynote speakers who are eager to share their wisdom, whether they’re cruise line CEOs or motivational speakers. Most events also include a trade show component that allows you to meet face-to-face with suppliers you never would have thought of, learning how their unique products could benefit you and your clients.

That trade show highlights another key element to conferences: networking. At one event, you’ll find yourself standing next to supplier partners, sales reps, CEOs, VPs and key staff from your consortia who are all excited to talk to you. More importantly, you’ll spend valuable days meeting some of the best travel advisors in the game, sharing experiences, learning best practices and becoming life-long friends.

All of these factors feed into the last, and most important, outcome of any travel event: they give you the chance to evolve. Travel is an ever-changing industry, especially now that technology and social media are constantly rewriting the rules. It’s imperative for advisors like you to evolve with the industry in order to stay one step ahead and be best in class! THE best way to do that is to leave your office for four-to-seven days and attend a well-organized and highly sought-after travel agent conference.