Last updated: 12:30 PM ET, Fri March 18 2016

Top Travel Agents Scour Las Vegas In American Airlines Vacations' Scavenger Hunt

Travel Agent | Gabe Zaldivar | March 18, 2016

Top Travel Agents Scour Las Vegas In American Airlines Vacations' Scavenger Hunt

Photo by Gabe Zaldivar

My previous experience singing in public was relegated to Happy Birthday revelry and slightly inebriated karaoke renditions. Now I was strolling to the stage in front of travel agents and superbly inebriated Vegas tourists to try my pipes at some Barry White.

And so went my experience at the Ninth American Airlines Vacations Scavenger Hunt in Las Vegas.

Now excuse my first-hand account, but my gracious invite also meant that I would be participating in what was an exciting, informative and highly enjoyable couple of days with some of the top performing travel agents in the country.

The event took place from March 7-10 and had much in the way of incentives as the top teams would be in the running to split a whopping 1,000,000 AAdvantage Miles. There was also a social media incentive to the most prolific poster in the form of a $500 gift card.

Media members, obviously, were not in the running to win any of the spoils, but we got to experience what a scavenger hunt in Vegas is like by being placed on one of several teams.

My fate would go as Team Gray’s would.

Now let me say that there is tremendous potential when you gather what were 31 travel agents in a place like Vegas, where the fun is as intoxicating as those yards of slushy drinks they sell.

It was an absolute pleasure meeting and competing with so many talented individuals. But by now you are wondering what the scavenger hunt entailed. While I won’t bore you with the entire week, there were some hits from the event. Here are just a few:

Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan:

The welcome brunch and kick-off took place at Wicked Spoon. Prior to this event, I had the buffet at Paris as Vegas’ best.

I may now have to rethink that as the food was a delight, which is rare when you eat in bulk form.

Everything was extremely fresh and well done, and it was the right fuel we needed for what was the most physically taxing of the events.

Scavenger Hunt:

Most of the events, thankfully, consisted of trivia and tasks done while sitting. My knees thank you, American Airlines Vacations.

The first event, however, came by way of sealed envelope, filled with questions to answer and items to collect.

Thankfully, this was whittled down to an area that encompassed casinos from Bally’s to Planet Hollywood.

READ MORE: 6 Spots For Sweet Las Vegas Strip Views

Now it’s never advisable to traverse a couple of casinos in a matter of a couple hours. These massive places were designed to swallow you whole and make you stay well into the night. We quickly visited a few, going from a brisk pace down to a slow amble.

But the spirits remained high, especially when Team Gray just happened upon a collection of rocks right outside Bellagio.

While exhausting, a scavenger hunt seems like the perfect kind of event to squeeze as much fun and information that you can out of such a small out of time in Las Vegas.

This, however, would not be the most trying of challenges.

Karaoke Time:


Because fate has a score to settle with me for some reason, we were tasked with singing in front of whatever crowd might amble by the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas.

The flop sweat is already starting to pool on my palms just reliving the experience. And because I was the only male on Team Gray I was selected to take the solo for our collective’s rendition of Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love.”

READ MORE: 3 Trends That Will Define Vegas in 2016

It’s times like these when you just say to heck with it and own the moment, which is what I did in what had to be Vegas’ most off-key performance of all time. Like watching Pauly Shore films, I am sure it was lumped into the so-bad-it’s-good pile of entertainment.

Yet it’s entirely impossible to come away from something like that and not have a fantastic time. It not only infused some hilarity into the proceedings, I felt much closer to the strangers who were now friends with whom I shared the stage.


Thankfully, we later had the chance to see real performers at the famed Ka at the MGM Grand.

It’s the kind of spectacle that meets the pulsating rhythm of the casino floor just outside and a show I can’t recommend enough to tourists looking for a vibrant respite from pulling slots all day.

Winner, Winner:

On the final day we all had the pleasure of answering trivia and making elaborate cupcake designs – although some were more successful than others.

The above is my dreadful attempt.

Later that night we had a festive dinner wherein the winners were announced and we all had the opportunity to network and swap stories one last time.

And because singing Barry White to downtown denizens lifted the ego, I can say with a full smile that Team Gray took the top prize.

And the elation I felt for my teammates was all too real. These are travel agents who work tirelessly all year and had the opportunity to let loose for a few days in the perfect destination for such things.

American Airlines Vacations set out to entertain, inform and celebrate some special professionals in the industry.

Despite some of the songs that were belted out during the previous day, the entire event was, well, pitch perfect.

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