Montrose Travel’s Annual Educational Conference 2012

I have been doing my travel business since February, and aside from getting established and trying to build my client base, I have learned that training is a very valuable component to my business.  Just about every supplier in the travel industry offers training on their product in the form of webinars, online training modules, live training events, and familiarization trips (FAMs).  Montrose Travel, my host agency also holds training webinars a few times a week, and I try to catch at least one of those.  Beginning this Thursday, Montrose Travel is hosting their Annual Educational Conference in Orlando, Florida, and I will be an attendee.

I have heard many great things from my fellow home-based agents about this conference, and I am very excited to finally meet all the people I chat with or talk to on the phone everyday.  As a HBA it’s easy to feel isolated since most of us work alone in our homes and are the sole representatives of our business.  This conference will give me the opportunity to network with other HBAs around the country and get fresh ideas on how they run their business, sell travel, marketing, etc.

The Buena Vista Palace Resort and Spa in Orlando is where the conference will be held.  One advantage of this hotel is its location, being right across the street from the renowned Downtown Disney.  This will give us the opportunity to tour this area and become more acquainted with all that Downtown Disney has to offer so we can better inform our clients seeking a Disney vacation.  It also offers us easy access, being right across the street for when we want to play in our off time.

On the agenda for the 5-day event are breakout sessions on marketing, social media, our websites, luxury travel, travel insurance, and roundtables with our preferred suppliers.  Some of these include Ensemble Travel, Classic Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Disney Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Globus Family of Brands, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking River Cruises, Seabourn, Tauck, Journese, MLT Vacations, and Uniworld.  Some of these suppliers are also hosting breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for us, and one evening we will be doing small group dinners with suppliers at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney.  Phew! It’s going to be a busy weekend.

But that’s not all!  We are also slated to do a site inspection of the newest Disney property, The Art of Animation Resort and inspections of three cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, Carnival Ecstasy, and Disney’s newest ship, Disney Dream.  Our farewell dinner will be hosted by Globus Family of Brands at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney. 

Montrose Travel was kind enough to secure each HBA a one-day Park Hopper ticket to the Disney theme parks.  We have one evening on the agenda from about 6 p.m. on when we will be able to enjoy this.  I plan on heading to the World Showcase at Epcot, something I didn’t really get to see the last time I was there.  It will also be hosting the International Food and Wine Festival.  Yay, me! 

So as you can see, I have a very busy weekend ahead of me and don’t plan on sleeping much.  I do, however, plan on learning a great deal and this is what will set me apart from the online travel agencies.  All of the supplier knowledge I gain in training events like this, as well as the personal travel experience that come along with it gives me the ability to personalize my service like the large, online agencies can’t.  I’m looking forward to my next post where I will tell you all about my experience at my first Montrose Travel Annual Educational Conference.

Check out this article from Host Agency Reviews about the conference.

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