LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — Travel agents will be back in the mix at Travel Exchange ’15. Following a successful debut in Los Angeles in February, NTA’s Travel Agent Program will bring agents to the Jan. 18–22 convention in New Orleans that unites the National Tour Association, the United Motorcoach Association and the Faith Travel Association.
Travel agents can attend the two-day program, Jan. 19–20, that includes a networking session with tour operators, tour suppliers and destination offices; access to the show’s Destination Pavilion; a seat at their choice of professional development seminars; and a ticket to the Best of Broadway Luncheon, which is sponsored by Group Sales Box Office/Broadway.com, with musical acts from a dozen current Broadway shows.
Interacting with NTA members yields both immediate and long-term gains for travel agents, said Sherri Guiborat, who routinely works with travel agents in her job as vice president of sales with Mayflower Tours.
“Connecting with tour operators and their buying power can give travel agents wonderful touring experiences to sell into right away,” Guiborat said. “And by meeting people from hotels, attractions, restaurants and destinations that cater to groups, agents acquire go-to contacts who can help them down the road.”
Agents will also be elbow to elbow with operators and suppliers engaged in niche travel markets: student, active/adventure, culinary, multi-generation and many others, said Pam Inman, NTA president.
“That’s the thing about Travel Exchange: It’s an enormous all-star team of travel professionals with unique specialties,” Inman said. “Our members can tell you more about their particular niche or expertise than you ever knew existed.”
Along with events designed to help agents add tour product to their portfolios and industry partners to contacts lists, there are also avenues for informal networking.
“We want our travel agent guests to join us at the Broadway Luncheon and at the wine and cheese reception later that afternoon,” Inman said. “Those agents had better bring a lot of business cards, because every time they turn around, they’ll be meeting someone they can do business with.”
Guiborat, a member of both NTA and ASTA, has led a number of seminars for travel agents in which she encouraged them to affiliate with NTA. “Nearly two-thirds of NTA tour company members offer commissionable packages, so Travel Exchange is packed with profit for agents,” she said. “These two days in New Orleans can have a tremendous ROI for them.”
The cost for travel agents to participate in one or both days of the Travel Agent Program is $49. For more information, contact Lori Rempe at NTA Headquarters at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.264.6544.
About the National Tour Association: Founded in 1951, NTA is the leading business-building association for travel professionals interested in the North American market—inbound, outbound and within the continent. Travel Exchange will take place at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Jan. 18–22. For more information, visit NTAonline.com.