Smooth Sailing With

vacationdotcom-daily kicked off its 17th annual International Conference & Trade Show this past weekend aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas with several major announcements, including the launch of a new charitable program, Family Bonds, reports Press Today’s Greg Coates from the event.

With just over 1,200 travel agent members and leading travel suppliers on board (including about 140 from Canada), the event has been billed as the “largest travel industry event ever at sea,” reflecting this year’s conference theme, “Think Bigger.”

Over the eight-day cruise (New York to New York, with stops in Florida and The Bahamas through May 2), members are able to take part in more than 100 hours of classes, including technology training, social media updates and reviews of all programs and services, including Agent Snapshot and a completely revamped consumer web site,

The online tool, Agent Snapshot, was launched at last year’s conference, but just went live last week. It allows members to introduce themselves and their travel expertise to consumers using the domain.

“With more than 800 different agents – representing 350 unique specializations – already loaded into the freshly redesigned consumer web site,’s Agent Snapshot now can offer consumers a heightened level of travel expertise,” said president John Lovell.

The online tool is designed to direct and deliver consumers to member agents, whether they are seeking travel expertise through online search engines or simply visiting the new site.

Speaking to Canadian members during a slightly rocky day at sea, Lovell noted the conditions kind of reflects how he feels about Canada.

“Canada does rock,” he said, noting business from Canada is up significantly. “It is an important part of our overall organization. From a proportional basis, Canada actually outperforms the U.S.”

With 29 new members so far this year, has just over 700 members in Canada.