|Young Leaders Conference attendees connect during a break in education. Pictured are Carole Anne Hughs, leisure & marketing coordinator, Valerie Wilson Travel; Kallie Biggs, marketing coordinator, Europe Express; Zachary Moses, marketing director, Hanns Ebensten Travel; Rachel Meaders, travel consultant, VIP Alpine Tours; Heather Christopher, travel consultant, Classic Travel at Tackett’s Mill; Michael Majcherczyk, manager, Classic Travel.|
“Safe is the new risk.” This is the message Ali Brown, entrepreneurial guru, shared at Luxury Travel Exchange’s (LTX) Platinum Lunch keynote held November 29. The debut Luxury Travel Exchange International—held from Tuesday, November 27 to Thursday, November 29 at The Palazzo Las Vegas—elevated its success in part because it repositioned the traditional trade show, Luxury Travel Expo, presenting luxury networking and educational opportunities in a format conducive to doing business. One of the largest investments the show reported, and one that won praise from delegates and suppliers, was the implementation of a vetting process requiring advisors to report on their book of business.
|The team from the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Questex Travel Group mark the opening of the inaugural Luxury Travel Exchange. Pictured are Kelly Messina, LVCVA; Art Jimenez, LVCVA; Marilyn McHugh, Questex Travel Group; John Mc- Mahon, Questex Travel Group; Katja Spitz, LVCVA; Veronica Fendt, sales executive, LVCVA.|
Presented in conjunction with sister publications Luxury Travel Advisor and Travel Agent, LTX drew 1,009 travel advisors who networked with over 350 luxury suppliers and participated in more than 30 sessions over three days. This year’s One-to-One Appointment Program, held during the “Exchange” exhibition, saw more than 7,000 pre-scheduled appointments during nine hours of meeting time.
Tuesday’s General Session highlighted the strength of luxury travel with findings from MMGY Global and the “Winter in Vegas” celebration from host, The Palazzo Las Vegas. The conference program saw industry leaders presenting their expert knowledge on the tracked educational program, including sessions geared toward front-line advisors, owners/managers and independent contractors. A sample of speakers included: Lia Batkin, co-founder, In the Know Experiences; JoAnna Haugen, travel blogger, Kaleidoscopic Wandering; Anne Morgan Scully, president, McCabe World Travel; Steve Orens, president, Plaza Travel; Stacy Small, president, Elite Travel International; and Peter Yesawich, vice chairman, MMGY Global.
The show floor showcased over 350 travel suppliers representing thousands of commissionable luxury products from around the globe, including hotels and resorts, spas, luxury cruise lines, destinations, tour operators, ground transportation, association/consortia, airline/charter, professional resources, vacation/villa rental, technology, travel insurance and more.
|Bob Lepisto, president, SeaDream Yacht Club and Rick Sasso, president & CEO, MSC Cruises, comment on the cruise industry.|
Participating suppliers included event sponsors: American Express, AMResorts, Down Under Answers, Japan National Tourism Organization, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Vacation.com and VIRTUOSO®; Supporters: Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Ensemble Travel Group, Signature Travel Network and The Travel Institute; Entertainment Sponsors: Base Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil; and the CLIA Specialty Cruise Collection, including: AMA Waterways, American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Crystal Cruises, Hurtigruten, SeaDream Yacht Club, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.
Over 1,500 travel professionals celebrated the launch of LTX at the sixth annual Luxury After Dark Party, sponsored by Tao & LAVO Group, at the LAVO Italian Restaurant & Nightclub on Wednesday night.
Held Monday, November 26, in conjunction with LTX, the third annual Young Leaders Conference saw more than 92 under-40 travel professionals gather for a day of networking and education aimed at fostering the next generation of travel leaders. Attendees included past and present winners of annual Travel Agent’s 35 Under 30 issue.
|The Exchange floor saw more than 350 suppliers from around the globe.|
|John McMahon, Questex Travel Group, welcomes to the stage Bill Smith, vice president, cruise sales & exclusive products, Virtuoso, during Tuesday’s General Session.|
|Front-line advisors learn from industry experts during a panel discussion. Pictured are Perry Lungmus, vice president, Travel Leaders; Stacy Small, president, Elite Travel International; Lanny Zechar, senior vice president, acquisitions and agency relationships, ALTOUR; Lia Batkin, co-founder, In The Know Experiences; Cynthia Reed, northwest sales director, Abercrombie and Kent.|
|One-to-One Suppliers and Platinum Pass Advisors mingle at the Tuesday Platinum Networking Reception. Pictured here are Anna Kruse, Dolphin Vacations with the team from Pullman Sleeping Car Company: Reno Gazzola, Paul O’Meara and Luis Quinones.|
|Platinum delegates enjoy a glimpse into the stunning Buccament Bay Resort by Harlequin Hotels & Resorts during the Platinum Networking Lunch on Wednesday.|
|LTX Advisory Board member Roy Twiste, managing director of sales, Tzell Park Avenue, networks with Peggy Peterka from the Tourism Authority of Thailand during the Exchange Tradeshow.|
|One-to-One appointments generated more than 7,000 business meetings over the two-day show. Pictured here is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.|
|Ali Brown, president and CEO of Ali International, was the keynote speaker or the Thursday Platinum Networking Lunch. Pictured here with Ali is Questex Travel’s VP of global events, Marilyn McHugh.|
|John McMahon of Questex Travel Group connects with speaker and LTX Advisory Board member, Anne Morgan-Scully, president of McCabe World Travel, after her session, ‘Show Your Value as a Trusted Luxury Advisor.’|
|Delegates enjoy cocktails during the sixth annual Luxury After Dark, held at LAVO.|