Written By:Alicia Evanko, SVP Events, Travel Group, Northstar Travel Group
Over 800 travel professionals from around the country will gather in Fort Lauderdale this November 15- 17th to attend Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld event.
From a one-day Exhibitor Showcase—featuring cruise lines, tour operators, hotels, destinations and more—to peer-led workshops, ship inspections and receptions, the networking opportunities at this event are endless. There is no limit to the potential connections that can be made.
This year, CruiseWorld is once again offering its Select Travel Advisor Recognition (STAR) program. The core component of the STAR Program is a series of business connections scheduled between exhibiting suppliers and prequalified travel advisors committed to business growth. Recently, some participants in CruiseWorld’s (STAR) Program shared how CruiseWorld’s networking opportunities helped to grow their business.
Participants in the STAR Program spend time together in the exclusive STAR Lounge, where they exchange helpful tips and tricks. “The support network you build with other agents is so encouraging. It is great to have a team of individuals at varying experience levels who are willing to share their thoughts, practices and expertise, not only at CruiseWorld but after the event,” said Jamie Rumph of Love of the Magic Vacations. “The relationships I built last year with both suppliers and other agents have been invaluable to my successes as and agent and agency owner in the past year!”
STAR participants are able to continue their camaraderie post-event in a private Facebook group where they can communicate and support their fellow travel advisors. Jennifer Upton with Mousekeplanner describes the group as an invaluable resource. “We’ve reconnected over and over since the conference to share best practices, swap recommendations on destinations or suppliers, commiserate over challenges, and celebrate victories together. Since so many of us are home based, meeting other professionals and creating a network gives me a workplace community to help me be better at what I do each day.”In this group, they are also able to offer supplier contacts to colleagues searching for assistance with booking clients’ vacations, extending the supplier connections made at the event.
The Exhibitor Showcase features suppliers from all facets of the industry, which can be intimidating. Laurie Capo of SkippingTown.com finds that her confidence in selling travel builds each time she attends CruiseWorld and with each connection she makes. “I found suppliers I didn’t know existed that have been the perfect fit for my clients. I also got in depth insight into destinations I was already booking, so I am able to make my clients’ trips even more special. My confidence grows each time I meet people at CruiseWorld.”
A cornerstone of CruiseWorld is its peer-led workshops. Many STARs cite these breakout sessions as their favorite aspect of the event. Top travel advisors teach workshops on topics from selling group travel, to booking honeymoons, to using social media. Phil Salet with Free Bird Cruises LLC described his interaction with a fellow travel professional as the best part of CruiseWorld and the STAR Program. “I met Geoff Millar of Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel in his breakout session and he has really helped me with expanding my business to include all-inclusive travel.”
Mary Pat Sullivan, CruiseWorld’s Content Director, sources content suggestions from former STARs in order to ensure topics covered are most beneficial to today’s advisors.
In addition to the networking, CruiseWorld features c-suite keynote speakers, supplier workshops, peer-to-peer training, a one-day Exhibitor Showcase, sponsored meal functions and ship inspections. A total of eight ship inspection opportunities are available at both Fort Lauderdale and Miami ports.
To experience the myriad of networking opportunities, visit www.cruiseworldshow.com to register. Use code HBTA at checkout to receive $25 off the current registration rate.