Young Leaders Conference Looks to Top Last Year's Successful Inaugural Event

The only thing better than having more than 100 eager, vibrant, young agents, willing to ingest valuable tricks of the trade is, well, doing it again.

For the second year, Questex Media Group, Inc. will be hosting the Young Leaders Conference (YLC) in Las Vegas from December 5-6 as part of the annual Luxury Travel Expo (LTE).

The event will feature:

• Town Hall Meeting: Trend Update
• Working the Media
• Digital Media Breakfast: The Future is Here
• Mastering Your Passion, Your Business
• Roundtables Topics include Marketing, Supplier Relationships and Age versus Experience
• And more!

Here’s a quick recap of last year’s inaugural show….

The conference got off and running with the first topic of discussion, “Rapid Fire Ideas: 100 Ways to Soar in Luxury Sales and Marketing,” spearheaded by Andy Stuart, executive vice president of global sales and passenger services for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Stuart was also joined by Michael Distler, destination specialist for Africa for Admiral Travel International; Jill Taylor, luxury travel consultant for Jet Set World Travel and Monika Weinsoft, luxury travel consultant for Jet Set World Travel.

Here’s a good chunk of some of the most interesting and some of the most quirky tips Stuart and company preached to the young leaders in attendance: Ask your dentist if you can put up a cruise poster; attend and promote at high school or college reunions; give your clients a video or some resource they can show off to friends and family; call three customers every day before 11 a.m.; send Thanksgiving cards to your clients; become a notary public and blog as much as you can.

Armed with 100 tips on selling travel, industry representatives then took part in a networking exercise, “Mingle for Success: Young Leaders Business Card Exchange,” the networking version of speed dating that gives industry representatives the opportunity to network for two minutes, exchange business cards before moving one seat to the left and doing it all over.

“Its great for people starting out in this industry, looking to network and just really relate to a lot of people who are in the same age group,” agent Szymon Krasucki, of TravelbySimon, said at last year’s event.

The afternoon session of the conference got jump started with a presentation by Ralph Iantosca, owner of GoGirl Travel, titled “$1 Million and Counting: A Young Leader Shares Strategies and Secrets.” Iantosca spoke to the young leaders in the room about successful strategies, lessons learned and how to tailor your career journey to fit your personal passions.

During the portion, “Fooling Mother Nature: Tackling the Generational Gap in Luxury Sales” by Talula A. Gunter, assistant dean and professor in travel and tourism at Northern Virginia Community College spoke about how to attract and land older, experienced travelers as permanent clients. How do you overcome perceptions about your young age being a detriment to their experience and needs?

As the second half of the conference got into full gear, Michelle Mangio, owner of Magical Escapes, kept the momentum of the day going with her presentation, “Working the Niche: An Entrepreneurial Case Study.”

Mangio, a 34-year-old entrepreneur and successful agent, taught the attendees how to duplicate her entrepreneurial success and fine-tune niche sales through concrete strategies and steps.

“If you have 100 other people saying you are luxury travel advisor, well, there are 100 other people saying the same thing, so how are you different, how do you stand out?,” Mangio asked the last year’s event. “If you are a niche specialist, (clients) will perceive you as an expert,” added Mangio.

Mangio says, in order to sell niche markets, an agent must be focused on these categories: research, training and certifications, organizations, marketing and public relations, and brand and presence.

The next session was “Stay on the Edge: Keeping Your Foot on the Technology Accelerator” with Leah Peterson, vice president of client development for Response Mine Interactive.

Peterson focused on how clients will communicate with your agency in the future, how they and will they plan their vacation, and how all of us will conduct our personal and professional business via futuristic hardware, software and social networking options.

The inaugural conference concluded with a panel discussion, titled “Best Practices from the Pros – Our Skilled Experts Tell All” featuring Jack E. Mannix, of Jack E. Mannix & Associates along with Nancy Strong, CEO of Strong Travel Services and Kathryn W. Sudeikis, vice president of corporate relations for All About Travel.

If you are interested in joining us this year, agents should visit Registrations are being accepted through November 11.