The debut Family Travel Advisor Forum, an exclusive hosted program for top-performing travel agents, recently concluded and by all accounts was a great success.
Produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group, an independent event organizer, the Family Travel Advisor Forum took place at the Royalton Riviera Cancun in Mexico from November 1-5, 2016, with optional post-event familiarization itineraries. The event featured a number of partners and supporters, including the Family Travel Association, whose president and founder, Rainer Jenss, was on hand to facilitate travel agent discussions and also offer a well-received presentation focused on Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities with Family and Multigenerational Travel.
“Given that more travel agents specialize in selling to families and multigenerational groups than any other segment (Travel Weekly 2016 Industry Survey) – far exceeding weddings/honeymoons, luxury and adventure travel – the industry is long past due for a forum like this to address the unique concerns of this important segment,” commented Jenss.
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 to $1 million in annual bookings with a business scope 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 time, along with informal meetings during an open showcase period.
“Specialization plays a critical role in the success of any travel seller, and it is always our goal at Specialty Travel Forums to support the professional growth and educational needs of our partners,” said Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content, Specialty Travel Forums. “With the evolving and diverse interest of today’s traveling family, this market represents a plethora of opportunities for travel agents and suppliers alike. Our first-ever Family Travel Advisor Forum has far exceeded our expectations and continues to receive rave reviews. Many of our supplier partners have already closed business as a result of this program, and equally, participating agents have shared their success stories from the Forum. We are honored to work with some of the best in the business, and contribute to their longevity in the family niche and overall marketplace.”
Supplier participants for this program featured 40 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 here.
This multifaceted event also included unique evening experiences for travel agent and supplier participants to network informally, including a welcome mixer followed by a dine-around at the Royalton Riviera Cancun; a Day of the Dead celebration (as the event overlapped with this important Mexican cultural holiday); a fun-filled fiesta at Xoximilco; and a closing carnival-themed evening at the Moon Palace Cancun.
Other event highlights included networking lunches; a presentation on the ever-evolving multigenerational market, presented by the Family Travel Association; a villa focused Certified Family session presented by Private Trade Winds, which 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.
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.
While the Family Travel Association was a premier sponsor for this event, other event sponsors included: Royalton Resorts, Royalton Riviera Cancun, Nexus Tours, Beaches Resorts, Palace Resorts, Xoximilco, Xenses and Experience Xcaret. Supporters and marketing partners included Travel Research Online, Cancun Hotel Association, EGroup Communications and American Solutions for Business. The events official photographer was Photoventura.
The 2017 Family Travel Advisor Forum will be held at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, tentatively slated for November 29–December 2. Space will be limited to 65 supplier companies and 125 prequalified travel sellers. Family Travel Association members interested in exhibiting should contact Jennifer Fernandez (718-979-1952; Jennifer@SpecialtyTravelForums.com).
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