Travel industry personnel were out in full force yesterday as the second annual Travel MarketPlace kicked off at the International Plaza Hotel in Toronto.
Conference participants were treated to a full program of events featuring industry leaders and guest speakers talking about hot topics, sales techniques, new marketing outlets, technology and more, as well as a large travel trade show.
Included was an expert panel discussion (pictured) featuring Jeff Verman, CEO of Uniglobe Plus Travel Group, Elizabeth Grundon, senior director, TRAVELSAVERS, Rhonda LaFosse, regional sales manager, TPI, and Mike Foster, president, Nexion Canada.
Among the topics discussed were today’s greatest challenges – overcoming the misconception that people don’t need a travel agent and technological innovation – and today’s greatest opportunities – niche and specialization markets and luxury.
Another morning session featured Simon Gilmartin and Dave Holt (pictured below) of DWG Performance speaking on “Harnessing the Power of the End to End Sales Process.”
Gilmartin noted that he’s often heard people ask, “Why would you use a travel agent?” His answer, “Well, why wouldn’t you? How valuable is your time?”
He urged agents to tell their story and show the value they bring, adding there is a ton of opportunity out there.
“This is not a slumping market, it’s growing every year. Canadians love to travel and more and more are travelling outside of the US – more complex [itineraries] and that’s when they need advice, that’s when they need a travel agent,” said Gilmartin.
He added, “Sales is not a bad word. [And] really great sales is really delivering what our clients want.”
Travel MarketPlace, which wraps up today (June 17), is sponsored by Travel Market Report, an independent forum and information source for travel professionals around the world.