Travel Experts recently welcomed 206 advisors, suppliers, and host agency executives to the second Travel Experts Summit on two Scenic Cruises luxury vessels sailing on the Rhine River.
"The two ships were exclusive to the Travel Experts Summit participants, making for a very productive event," said Sharon Fake, director of operations for Travel Experts.
Many advisors were meeting some of the suppliers for the first time and walked away with new business relationships. The suppliers, in turn, were pleased with the longer time allowed with the individual advisors.
Travel Experts had arranged for "speed-dating-type" meetings between advisors and suppliers, and the suppliers also shared meals and joined sightseeing excursions in the Netherlands and Belgium. Many suppliers said this event was needed after 18 months of solitude caused by the pandemic.
"The advisors also loved meeting other advisors to network and share experiences with each other," said Kristi Green, manager of professional development for Travel Experts.
Prior to the cruise, many advisors toured six Virtuoso hotels with Virtuoso staff as part of a pre-Summit excursion.
Scenic staff asked a lot of questions of the Travel Experts team in advance so that they could customize the service once the cruise began. "They went overboard to provide outstanding service," Fake said.
All participants had been vaccinated and tested 72 hours before the cruise and Travel Experts organized a test on the second-to-last day before everyone departed back to the U.S.
Following the conclusion of the Summit the advisors said that the time was well-spent and will produce a great return on their investment to attend.
One advisor commented: "I loved the size of the group and the advisor/supplier ratio and being on a contained vessel together which was conducive to building relationships."
Liz Coleman, director of sales, Northeast region for Paul Gauguin Cruises said: "Wow, you have done yourselves proud. A heartfelt thank you for pulling this off after almost two years of starts and stops. There are so many words to use around how grateful I am to have participated -- humble, proud, overjoyed. I love interacting with your group and supporting their efforts to be as successful as possible."
Bebe Halimi, a Travel Experts affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., wrote to Travel Experts: "Thank you so much for such an amazing Summit. This was truly one of the best experiences that I have had. Everything seemed so perfect and flawless, which was all due to the endless amount of time and effort that each and every one of you put into it. I am so proud to be part of such a great woman-owned organization."
Sharon Fake summed it up: "It was an amazing example of the talents, kindness and resilience of the travel industry, and we want to acknowledge all of our participants that made it so. While the challenges were many, it is our colleagues in travel that made it happen.
"An additional thank you to the suppliers for still supporting attendance and recognizing that the ROI earned far exceeds the funding to be there. We do remember and appreciate. And now let's shout it from the rooftops that you can travel, you can hold meetings, you can be together and have 100 percent negative Covid tests at the end."
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