Second Annual Hawaii Travel Exchange Receives High Marks From Agents

The second annual Hawaii Travel Exchange, which concluded last week in Maui, Hawaii, earned high marks from agent attendees for its one-on-one education sessions and valuable supplier information.

The event, presented by Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines, along with partner Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, brought together 150 pre-qualified, fully-hosted travel agents with Hawaiian suppliers for pre-scheduled one-to-one appointments and exclusive networking opportunities. Participating agents also took part in property site inspections and educational sessions.

“As a veteran agent, I cannot believe all of the valuable information I came away with from Hawaii Travel Exchange,” said Lynda McHenry, Hawaii Travel Exchange attendee. “I anticipated great updates on hotels and activities on the islands, but what I did not anticipate was the fact that this event changed how I sell Hawaii. I no longer view the islands strictly as fun and sun destinations.  Rather, I now recommend Hawaii as a multi-faceted destination, rich in history, culture and vacation opportunities for just about every kind of traveler.”

Agent attendees were pre-qualified through a vetting process, after which they were flown to Maui courtesy of MLT Vacations and hosted at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.

The two-day event started Tuesday, October 24 with a breakfast sponsored by Aston Hotels & Resorts, followed by an opening welcome session and educational programs featuring the Hawaiian Island Chapters: Maui, Oahu, Kaua’i and Hawaii, the Big Island. Marriott Resorts Hawaii sponsored the sit-down lunch prior to the one-to-one appointments and site inspections. The day concluded with an evening reception sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

Agents started their second day with breakfast at the Westin Maui, courtesy of Classic Vacations and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Educational sessions that day featured MLT Vacations, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa and the Activities & Attractions Association of Hawaii. Pleasant Holidays hosted lunch. That evening, attendees enjoyed traditional Hawaiian festivities and the local music of Willie K. at the Royal Lahaina. After the conclusion of Hawaii Travel Exchange, post-fam trips allowed agents to continue their exploration of the islands.

“Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines are honored to bring Hawaii Travel Exchange back to Hawaii this year and continue our commitment to Hawaii as one of the most desired and exciting leisure destinations in the world,” said John McMahon, vice president/group publisher of Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines. “As the organizers of the event, our goal is to educate all hosted travel agents about the benefits that Hawaii can offer and supply them with the tools they need to sell more travel in this location. We hope everyone walked away with more knowledge about Hawaii as well as many new contacts and friends.”

“The Hawaii Travel Exchange welcomed 150 highly qualified travel professionals to the beautiful island of Maui October 24-26. The event brought together Hawaii accommodation, activity and wholesalers to network, share, learn and forge long lasting business relationships,” reported Julie Zadeh, managing director of travel trade marketing, Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. “The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and Island Chapters were pleased to showcase the individual, unique qualities of our islands and share all they have to offer with the attendees. We applaud and send a sincere Mahalo to these agents that are investing in their destination education and industry expertise."

The next Hawaii Travel Exchange will take place in Hawaii in the fall of 2012.

Travel agents interested in participating in the 2012 event should contact Christina Belenky at 216.706.3731 or [email protected]; exhibitors should contact Danielle Cirami-Gillis at 212.895.8278 or [email protected].

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