Some of the industry's best and brightest gathered together yesterday, June 5, at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York to attend the Luxury Travel Exchange Advisory Board Meeting.
Following last year's smash success of the inaugural event, Questex Media Group gathered together top advisors and suppliers to brainstorm ideas on how to make the 2013 conference even more valuable.
"Luxury Travel Exchange (LTX) is a great place to explore," says John McMahon, executive vice president for Questex Media Group. "The team did a great job of doing that last year and we were extremely happy with the results. Let's hone in this year to continue the evolution of LTX."
Some of the feedback from last year's event was also presented. Marilyn McHugh, vice president of global events, shared with the group that 99 percent of travel advisors that attended LTX 2012 found the Exchange floor to be valuable. Ninety-five percent found LTX to be a valuable investment, and 57 percent had already booked with an exhibitor as a direct result of attending less than a month after the show.
The 2012 event was admittedly smaller than Luxury Travel Expos of the past, to which McMahon says, "LTX is really evolved. What we produced last year was what was needed. We launched LTX without the intention of it being the largest show." McHugh adds, "In 2013 we want qualified advisors. Quality versus quantity is the best any day, so we will vet all the agents."
This model proved to be more efficient, productive and pleasant for attendees in 2012, which is what the team is striving to put together for the 2013 show in September in Las Vegas.
Following the general session, the advisors and suppliers broke out into focus groups to determine what this year's event should be about, what topics we should cover, who should speak, etc. Focus groups included Content Creation and Professional Development.
Some of the ideas discussed were how to gain confidence in upselling, overcoming obstacles, taking responsibility when things go wrong, even if the situation was out of your control. Building trust with clients so that they know that you are their point person and that you will not steer them wrong is the best way to increase your bottom line.
"A lot of agents are afraid to throw out 'luxury' because they are afraid they are going to lose the sale," says Amal Mulhem, travel advisor with Carol's Travel Service. "If you are confident, they trust you. If you are iffy on the sale, they are going to say 'forget it.' You have to sell yourself. If you sell yourself, you can sell anything."
The 2013 conference is shaping up to be another success, with advisor and supplier RSVPs flowing through the pipeline. The bright minds are hard at work bringing you a program full of useful educational tools and networking opportunities to further grow, hone and evolve your business.