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Travel Exchange Education

  • Education Track Descriptions

    ① Sales and Marketing
    Practical, how-to information in sales and marketing including demos, techniques and best practices.
    ③ Market R&D
    Research and development on specialty/growth markets, trends and analysis.
    .
    ② Business Solutions
    Technology, tools, and resources to improve your bottom line.
    .
    ④ NTA Community
    Learning through your peers. Includes perennial favorites like the member discussion forums and Ask the Operator sessions.
  • Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

    ④ Tour Operator Power Hour
    2–3 p.m.
    Facilitators: Justin Osbon, Image Tours
    Jay Smith, Sports Travel and Tours
    Sponsored by Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Your fellow NTA members are a diverse group of companies and organizations. Many have faced and overcome the same challenges and issues you could be confronting today. They also are likely to be considering similar opportunities. Join your colleagues for an interactive and dynamic discussion to gain their insights, share concepts for collaboration, and brainstorm ways to grow your business and/or solve your challenges. This is your opportunity to talk business and get opinions, ideas and insight from the best in the business. Do you have a topic you want on the agenda?  Complete this simple form to submit your topic for discussion. NTA’s Education Advisory Group will be selecting the topics for this retooled “crackerbarrel.”


    Tour Supplier and DMO Power Hour
    2–3 p.m.
    Facilitators: Frances Manzitto, Visit Clarksville
    Jim Magrath, Delta Air Lines
    Jodi Danyluk, Norwegian Cruise Line
    Kelly Dean, Ottawa Tourism

    Your fellow NTA members are a diverse group of companies and organizations. Many have faced and overcome the same challenges and issues you could be confronting today. They also are likely to be considering similar opportunities. Join your colleagues for an interactive and dynamic discussion to gain their insights, share concepts for collaboration, and brainstorm ways to grow your business and/or solve your challenges. This is your opportunity to talk business and get opinions, ideas and insight from the best in the business. Do you have a topic you want on the agenda?  Complete this simple form to submit your topic for discussion. NTA’s Education Advisory Group will be selecting the topics for this retooled “crackerbarrel.”


    Travel Exchange 101
    3:15–4:15 p.m.
    Speakers: Clayton Whitehead, CTP, Sports Leisure Vacations
    Laura Elkin, Crescent Hotels and Resorts

    This session is designed for both first-timers and veterans! It will help you maximize your convention experience, not just during sales appointments, but at every function—even free time and social events. Learn the right questions to ask in appointments when time is short. Find out how, when and where to buy and sell and make connections.


    Tour Operator Risk Management, Conducted by Aon
    3:15–4:15 p.m.
    Speakers:  Peter Maidhof, AON

    This seminar will offer practical content on managing risk and developing a crisis management plan for your business. You’ll receive information on how to minimize liability claims with risk management techniques. For those Aon policyholders in attendance, premium credit up to 5 percent can be earned by attending this session on risk management. The credit will be applied each year for the next two annual policy renewals, and the availability of premium credit is subject to state insurance regulations. Attendance is mandatory to be eligible for a premium credit.


    ② If You Want to Engage a Trillion Dollar Market, Ask a Priest, Pastor or Rabbi
    3:15–4:15 p.m.
    Speakers: Paul Larsen, Ed-Ventures, Inc.
    Rowena Drinkhouse, Reformation Tours
    Edita Krunic, Select International Tours

    One of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry is faith-based travel. It’s a market with huge potential and growing every year. Join us as we discuss the true definition of faith-based travel, how to tap into the market to increase your sales and learn how three FTA members have found success in the marketplace.


    ①② Improving the User Experience in Tourism
    4:30–5:30 p.m.
    Speaker:  Stuart Levy, The George Washington University

    In the tourism field, user experience (UX) evaluations involve analyzing the variety of digital touch points between companies and customers before, during, and after travel experiences. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn and apply methods to evaluate critical elements of the user experience. You’ll be sure to gain insights which can be effectively applied in your business. Be sure to bring your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone! (Can’t make the session at this time? We’re repeating it on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.)


    ③ Cuba Travel Update
    4:30–5:30 p.m.
    Speaker:  Robert Muse, Muse Law Office

    Travel regulations to Cuba have eased recently, but there are still restrictions for Americans visiting the country. Additionally, the changing political landscape in Washington has created uncertainty for companies and travelers pursuing travel to Cuba.  Join Cuba legal expert, attorney Robert Muse, for an update Cuba travel regulations and the issues you may face to comply with the current policies.

  • Monday, Feb. 27, 2017

    ② SPOTLIGHT SESSION: Ignore the Noise, followed by Meet and Greet
    2–3 p.m.
    Speaker: Chris Bashinelli
    Sponsored by America’s Hub World Tours

    Noise in the modern world is constant and serves to distract us not only from our great goals, but also from our internal decision maker—our heart. Before we can identify our unique talents and offer them to the world, we first must learn to Ignore the Noise. By putting down our smart phones and turning our attention inside we often gain insights into some of our most pressing challenges. Join, Bash, National Geographic Explorer and TV Host, on an introspective journey to the often intimidating, yet rewarding path of life.


    ④ Women in Travel

    3:30–4:30 p.m.
    Moderator: Catherine Prather, NTA
    Panelists: Melissa McClure, Visit Fairfax
    Brandy Azamar, Norwegian Cruise Line
    Laurie Lincoln, Main Street Experiences
    Kai Williams, B Historic Savannah

    Back for a 5th time, this popular session celebrates women in travel. This year, our panelists are at various stages in their careers from someone newer to the industry to a veteran. Join them for an engaging conversation as they share their personal and professional experiences about achieving goals, seeking inspiration, navigating the workplace and dealing with disappointments. You’ll find all the things our attendees have loved about this session: honesty, relatability and meaningful life experiences. All welcome!


    ③ Planning in Advance for Special Faith Events

    3:30–4:30 p.m.
    Speaker: Betsy Brumley, Brumley Music Company
    Kevin Bernier, Brumley Music Company
    Sponsored by Brumley Music Company

    Planning for special faith events and large venue faith events requires advanced planning, adjusted marketing approaches and thinking outside of the box. Brumley Music Company deals with these things regularly and will share how they prepare for such events. Whether sending a group or receiving a group, big events with lots of attendance require a different approach. Join us as we share our best practices.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

    ①② Building Enduring Travel Industry Relationships
    9–10 a.m.
    Speaker:  Thom Singer
    Sponsored by Six Flags St. Louis

    In our social media-crazed world, connecting with co-workers, clients, vendors, peers and others is more complicated than ever before. There is more to your network than “likes,” “links,” “shares” and “follows.” The quest for more productivity pushes us to increasingly use digital and social media tools to interact with others. But with the ever-evolving changes in how we communicate, are we really better connected? Thom will take us on a journey of exploration about how we can maximize our online brand and reputation in a world where everyone is looking at their electronic gadgets instead of looking other people in their eyes. Join your fellow NTA members for an exciting presentation about how to build long-term networking relationships.  Sharing his multitudes of experiences Thom will discuss several strategies and show you how you can enhance your business connections and uncover more opportunities.

    This presentation is PART ONE.  Thom will institute ways for participants in this session to follow up with each other all year, and PART TWO will take place in December Travel Exchange in San Antonio.

    ③ Chinese Outbound Travel Market Trends and Impacts
    9–10 a.m.
    Speaker:  Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li, Temple University
    Sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Inc.

    North America has experienced rapid growth from Chinese tourists in recent years yet concerns have been raised whether the pace of the growth will continue in the coming years. Join Dr. Li for an overview of the Chinese outbound travel market, recent trends and the impacts of select key issues in China, including the economic slowdown and government tourism-related policies. (Can’t make the session at this time? We’re repeating it on Wednesday at 2 p.m.)


    ② The Sharing Economy: Customer Service Lessons Learned From Driving

    10:30–11:30 a.m.
    Speaker: Thom Singer

    To learn about the impact of the “Sharing Economy” on business and on the customer experience, Thom Singer became a ride-share driver. Having interviewed nearly 200 entrepreneurs on his popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast, he began to see patterns in how successful people grew their companies.  He was curious if there were things he could learn from the world of Uber, Lyft, AirBNB, VRBO, etc…that would show similar patterns about how people of all types engage with each other when put in a car for a short ride. With each passenger he discovered more about the realities of human engagement that would change how he now thinks about people.  This presentation is designed to limit the pre-judging of others and to maximize all interactions to help grow careers and lives.


    ①② Improving the User Experience in Tourism (Repeat)

    10:30–11:30 a.m.
    Speaker:  Stuart Levy, The George Washington University

    In the tourism field, user experience (UX) evaluations involve analyzing the variety of digital touch points between companies and customers before, during, and after travel experiences. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn and apply methods to evaluate critical elements of the user experience. You’ll be sure to gain insights which can be effectively applied in your business. Be sure to bring your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone!


    ① DIY Video Marketing: How to Implement Video in Your Strategy Now

    2–3 p.m.
    Speaker: Meaghan Corson, Flash22 Productions

    Learn the top 3 videos every business needs to attract your ideal clients. Understand when to DIY your videos and when to go with professionals. Get quick tips on how to produce video with your smartphone and feel ready to shoot your first video.


    ②③ Get FIT: Working with Independent Travelers

    2–3 p.m.
    Speakers: Julie Payne, Hershey’s Chocolate World/RLB Marketing
    Lynn Burkholder, RLB Marketing

    While the FIT market has been around for decades, the travel industry is experiencing a resurgence of the “Free, Independent Traveler.”  The easing of restrictions for short-term travel visas, increased wealth and favorable exchange rates mean that people from countries such as Brazil, India and China are traveling more than ever.  These repeat visitors are seeking unique experiences.  This dynamic has made FIT an emerging market that provides potential for volume visitation in small groups.  This session will define FIT; discuss the key players, their needs and expectations, and what it takes for destinations and suppliers to successfully participate.


    ① Bringing Your Authentic Self on Camera: Why YOU Are the Key to Your Video Marketing Strategy

    3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Speaker: Meaghan Corson, Flash22 Productions

    Understand the art of storytelling with video and how to use video to take your marketing to the next level. Learn the do’s and dont’s of preparing to be on camera and how to form effective messaging that pulls clients to you. Hear the biggest mistakes new video users typically make and how you can jump ahead to pro status fast.


    ④ Ask the Operator for Suppliers

    3:30-4:30 p.m.
    Moderator:  Chuck Carter, Red Lion Hotels
    Panelists: Jim Edwards, Collette
    Nick Calderazzo, Twin Travel Concepts
    Pam Upton, Blue Grass Tours
    Jennifer Lum Lee, Main Street Experiences

    It wouldn’t be an NTA event without our Ask the Operator sessions! This is a great opportunity for tour suppliers to get answers from operators on those “everything you always wanted to ask an operator but were afraid to ask” questions. Our diverse panel of tour operator members have years of experience in the industry, and they are ready to share their ideas, expertise and opinions.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2017

    ②③④ SPOTLIGHT SESSION: Staying Ahead of Change … Together 
    9:30–10:30 a.m.
    Moderator: Bob Rouse, Courier Magazine
    Panelists: Nish Patel, Mayflower Tours
    Jim Magrath, Delta Air Lines
    Dan Lennon, Missouri Division of Tourism
    Reagan Stulbaum, NYC & Company
    Nathan Hickman, Norwegian Cruise Line
    Sponsored by Gaylord Opryland Resort

    The travel industry is evolving faster than ever. Technology enhancements, shifting consumer demands, economic pressures and an increasingly savvy traveler are all contributing to this constant change. Join this panel of NTA colleagues as they discuss the landscape of the industry from their various perspectives. These leaders will share the outlook for their segments and discuss how to anticipate change and meet its challenges.


    ② Engaging Clients in Giving and Meaning (aka corporate social responsibility)

    10:45–11:45 a.m.
    Moderator:  Mike Rea, Tourism Cares
    Panelists: Kate Desvenain, Academic Travel Abroad
    Tara Hippensteel, Hard Rock International
    Lisa Itel, Travel Oregon
    Nish Patel, Mayflower Tours

    In this session, a panel of experts will provide insight into best practices and the wide variety of ways to engage clients in giving back. Various industry segments, including destinations, attractions, agents and tour operators will share their perspectives on how they engage travelers and why, operational needs and challenges, messaging and communicating your program to the industry and the public, and keeping clients engaged over time.


    ④ Ask the Operator for DMOs

    10:45–11:45 a.m.
    Moderator: Patti Culp, Alabama Travel Council
    Panelists:  Michelle Tupman, Great Canadian Holidays & Coaches
    Ashley Landers, Gate 1 Travel
    Jerry Varner, Making Memories Tours
    Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures

    This annual favorite offers DMOs the perfect opportunity to get insight and feedback from a panel of tour operators. Come prepared to ask the operators questions that will help you both have a more powerful relationship.


    ① 12 Hot “Cold Call” Techniques

    2–3 p.m.
    Speaker: Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor

    As an expert in cold calling, whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer, Nancy Friedman has presented this program to those in need of sprucing up their cold call techniques. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned sales person, you will learn something new and valuable.


    Chinese Outbound Travel Market Trends and Impacts
    (Repeat)
    2–3 p.m.
    Speaker: Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li, Temple University
    Sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Inc.

    North America has experienced rapid growth from Chinese tourists in recent years yet concerns have been raised whether the pace of the growth will continue in the coming years. Join Dr. Li for an overview of the Chinese outbound travel market, recent trends and the impacts of select key issues in China, including the economic slowdown and government tourism-related policies.


    ① Customer Service 411: Eight Killer Words

    3:30–4:30 p.m.
    Speaker: Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor

    Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, brings eight killer words to life—words that distract, words that confuse, annoy and can stop a conversation. When that happens, it can be tough to get back on track. Some of your employees may be using them. And if they are, they could be “killing the deal.” You’ll wish you had known about these words sooner; you’d have saved a lot of sales.


    ①② Effective Digital Marketing Strategy on a Budget

    3:30–4:30 p.m.
    Speakers:  Rich Barber, Mightily

    Digital marketing continues to evolve and strategies that were effective yesterday might not be so beneficial today. It’s important for you to learn the new techniques to help you succeed. An effective digital marketing strategy is essential for any business and many fail to get ahead of their competition simply because they don’t know how to adapt or think they don’t have the budget to be effective. In this session Rich will discuss the latest digital marketing strategies and how you can implement them with a tight budget.

  • Thursday, Mar. 2, 2017

    ① Post Card POWER
    9–10 a.m.
    Speaker:  Larry Mersereau, PROMO Power

    Don’t turn your nose up! This is about tapping the power of direct mail on a shoestring budget. Sure, all the attention is on social media and email today. But there’s still nothing like a good old post card to put your message in front of your target customer. It’s a format with no “blocked sender list!” They will see your message. After this program, they won’t just see it. They’ll read it and respond.


    ③ Wellness: A Brand-boosting, Revenue Generator for Tourism

    9–10 a.m.
    Speaker:  Camille Hoheb, Wellness Tourism Worldwide

    Wellness Travel is one of the hottest and most lucrative categories of travel worldwide. This session will be helpful to the travel trade who want to learn about the industry outlook and how to add wellness as a new revenue stream. You’ll come away understanding the key concepts of wellness travel, the market and trends, the activities, experiences and products, and leave with a better idea of what to expect when adding wellness as a new revenue stream.


    ① The Media Conundrum

    10:30–11:30 a.m.
    Speaker: Larry Mersereau, PROMO Power

    The media conundrum is a constantly-researched and updated look at where you can receive the maximum return from your investment in marketing. Whether it’s hours spent on social media and blogs, or dollars spend on traditional media, you want to ensure you’re getting the best possible results.


    ①③ Using Technology for Marketing by Capturing Your Travelers Stories

    10:30–11:30 a.m.
    Speaker: Dr. Shlomi (Sol) Gilboa, Explority

    How can technology help you gain more customers, retain your existing customers and simplify your job? New creative tools are available to capture every aspect of a trip and compile them into lasting stories, long after your travelers return. What better promotes and sells the tours your companies offer than inspired customers who share every detail of their wonderful experiences. Explority is one such cutting-edge technology which makes that possible. Join us as we learn how capturing travelers’ stories can grow your business, plus save you time and money.


    ④ SPOTLIGHT SESSION: All-member Power Hour

    2-3:15 p.m.
    Facilitators: Michael Weinberg, Hiltons of Chicago
    Renee Eichelberger, Explore St. Louis
    Brent Dalrymple, Sunrise Tours

    Throughout the week you’ve likely had conversations about obstacles and opportunities facing the industry and your business. After a full week of networking, education and entertainment, what can you take away from Travel Exchange that will help you overcome these barriers and capitalize on the positives? Join this session to compare notes, discuss ideas and insights, and share key takeaways from your experience in St. Louis.

  • NTA has provided us the research and atmosphere to brainstorm new ways of doing things and fresh additions to trips, which has led to successful business development. Rachel Ranck, WorldStrides, NTA member since 1985
  • What NTA does is provide the right buyers. They provide the right people who make decisions. This is what makes this organization one I can’t afford to take off my list. John Stachnik CTP, Mayflower Tours, NTA member since 1979
  • I came to NTA to build a business, and that’s exactly what it did for us, as sales came in. For me, it’s the only outlet for new ideas. Matthew Squire, Select Travel Service (UK), NTA member since 2002
  • NTA membership and our attendance at the convention have provided us with more clients, more business relationships and more ideas. We are proud to belong to NTA. Daniele Panzarin, Target Travel (Italy), NTA member since 2007
  • The No. 1 member benefit of NTA has to be all the great professional and personal connections we’ve made over the past decade. Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP, Wolfe Adventures & Tours, NTA member since 2005
  • We have not found a more reliable, more profitable or more consistent tourism venue in which to acquire new business than NTA. Diane Hohnstein, Hospitality Management Services, NTA member since 1999
  • I believe attending the NTA conferences allow me to create valuable relationships and work together with U.S. operators in creating great Scotland product. Maggie Anderson, VisitScotland, NTA member since 2003
  • NTA events provide us with beneficial networking with many top tour operators. It’s national and international in scope providing a global perspective. Tim and Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures, NTA member since 2015