I want to begin by saying that I believe that the supplier/travel agent relationship is the backbone of the travel industry. All of the Associations and companies that support Travel Agents and suppliers are useful tools but the relationship between the individual travel agent and the various suppliers is the grease that make the leisure travel industry hum. I also believe that the supplier must constantly improve their product and that the travel agent must continuously improve their knowledge and skills.
That took care of the learning curve academically but it left the collegiality and mentoring aspects of becoming a travel agent unaddressed. So, I started looking around for organizations that might provide this. My studies had convinced me that I needed to have friends in the industry both on the agent side and the supplier side. What I discovered was a whole lot of organizations that had developed to support travel agents who worked for what we called "brick & mortar" stores or just suppliers. There was ASTA, ARTA, NACTYA and OSSN.
I soon discovered that OSSN targeted people like me. OSSN stands for Outside Sales Support Team
This group introduced me to the world of Travel Trade Shows and forums as well as traveling trade shows. I attended large shows put on by the Cruise Line International Association, Travel Trade Shows, etc. I also discovered the world of traveling trade shows such as the “Buck Wilson Shows” and the Peninsula Shows. Buck shows ceased because of his having suffered a sever stroke but the Peninsula Shows continue. From my first CLIA show to the show I attended last week these events have played a major roll in m y travel industry career.
However, I recognize that not all home-based/independent contractor travel agents can afford the cost of the large trade shows and forums. Like I said, I have participated in them all for many years in my capacity as a travel agent, a Regional Manager with OSSN and a Regional Director with it’s successor, CCRA and know about the cost. It doesn’t matter whether it is the large Travel Agent Forum and Trade show put on by Jim Cloonan or one of the regional or National Power Solutions put on by CCRA . . . . they are expensive (CCRA does offer a series of very affordable Regional Power Solution Events). The traveling trade shows are far more affordable because they come to you rather than you going to them.
When Buck Wilson suffered a stroke and closed his show it left a vacuum that begged to be filled. Not one of the national organizations stepped up to meet the needs of those travel agents (vast majority) who cannot afford to attend one of these large expensive national shows. I remember discussing this with several of my industry executive friends but none seemed to be interested. I came away believing it was because they didn’t see enough ROI.
But that didn’t change the fact that training and supplier knowledge was needed not to mention the networking between travel agents and supplier representatives. Then a friend who had been a colleague with both OSSN and CCRA hit upon an idea. He left his position with CCRA and began putting together a different kind of traveling trade show.
However, what he ended up creating was not another Buck Wilson Trade Show or Peninsular show. Vince Yeck and Monique FitzPatrick created what they named Travursity Travel Showcase. They want you to know that they are not just another traveling trade show . . . . they are a Showcase.
I drove 150 miles to attend my first Travursity Travel Showcase this past week in Houston. It was well worth the drive as I was thoroughly impressed. Vince and Monique have taken the strongest elements of the large national trade shows and the small traveling shows and married them into what they rightfully call a “Travel Showcase.” If one of these showcases comes to your area you should make it a point to attend. The quality is as good as that of any national trade show or forum and the best of the smaller shows.
2. In addition to the supplier booths each of the suppliers has an extended time to present their product and how you as a travel agent can take advantage of what the supplier has to offer. At every Showcase there is a featured supplier who receives a one hour time slot just prior to the Showcase itself where there can be a submersion into that supplier's products and procedures.
4. Show closes with a drawing for prices from supplier.
I highly recommend these Showcases for home-based travel agents and independent contractors who