So much green.
“When I walked onto the floor at Travel Exchange in Milwaukee last year, it really took my breath away,” says Pam Inman, NTA president. “I wondered, though, if we had gone too far with change: taking down the pipe and drape, bringing in colorful banners … and all that green.”
Thinking about it, she smiles. She can, now.
“It turned out to be enormously popular. Delegates kept telling me how bright and energetic and open it felt,” Inman says. “Because they could see and chat with each other, they felt like there was more community on the floor.”
Tour operator Frank Fish was certainly feeling it.
“Without the physical barriers, the TREX Floor was more collegial and welcoming,” says Fish, president of Pasadena-based Travel Gallery. “There was a new energy there, allowing me to connect with even more people.”
Inman is not only breathing easy about the changes that NTA made last year, she’s also eager to experience the next round of innovations when members gather in Fort Worth for Travel Exchange ’19, Dec. 8–12.
“We’re rolling out new ways for buyers and sellers to connect beyond the appointment booth,” she says. “Not only are we giving our operators a break from appointments all day Tuesday, we will also provide more engaging formats for them to gather information about tour products.”
The two most prominent innovations taking place on Tuesday are Sales Missions and Best Pitch, activities that give buyers information on how to package larger regions.
Sales Missions are 15-minute presentations that are coordinated by state and provincial DMOs and made to a group of buyers.
Buyers can also attend Best Pitch, a 90-minute session when National Tourism Office delegates will each give a five-minute talk on packaging travel to their country.
Also new for Tuesday at Travel Exchange this year: Buyers will have time to attend seminars, lunch will be served on the TREX Floor, and states and provinces can hold caucuses prior to an all-delegate happy hour.
On other days of the week, buyers will be seated at appointment desks, making it easier for them to do business—and easier for sellers to find them. Also, buyers will cast ballots for the inaugural TREXie Awards, which will honor outstanding sponsor booths in categories such as Best Giveaways, Tastiest Treats and Most Interactive.
“We’re excited about the innovations we’re rolling out in Fort Worth, and all of them—plus more in the pipeline—are a result of member surveys and focus groups,” Inman says. “We’ve decided: Fresh feels right.”
Travel Exchange is the National Tour Association’s annual all-member gathering. For more information, visit NTAtravelexchange.com.
Destination representatives, such as Jessica Dodge (Explore Minnesota Tourism), Eileen Arnold (Real Racine) and Denise Olsen (Enjoy Eagan) will deliver group presentations to NTA buyers during Sales Missions. Photo by Normand Huberdeau
At NTA’s Travel Exchange, President Pam Inman gathers feedback and ideas about the event from members. Photo by Normand Huberdeau
Delegates at Travel Exchange ’18 enjoyed the brighter colors and open floor that NTA introduced in Milwaukee. Photo by Normand Huberdeau