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Super Bowl Sunday Kicks Off Select Traveler Conference

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — At the annual buyer breakout sessions held at the Select Traveler Conference this year in Little Rock, Arkansas, nearly three dozen buyers held their hands up when asked if they represented organizations other than banks. In the third year since inviting other types of upscale group organizers to join banks at the conference, the influx of new buyers is taking root.

“I was surprised by that number,” said conference partner Mac Lacy after the session. “We had a ballroom full of buyers, and when more than 30 of them indicated they were with alumni groups, chambers of commerce and other professional organizations, it felt like a watershed moment. The decision to expand our influence is paying off.”

In all, more than 120 travel planners were in attendance February 7-9, and two dozen of those extended their stay in the Natural State by taking a multiday site inspection trip to northwest Arkansas.

“We had many destinations tell us they continue to be impressed by the amount of travel represented in this room,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello in the busy marketplace. “We have sellers here representing almost every state in America, plus tour operators specific to more exotic destinations like Thailand, China, Kenya and the Holy Land. We’re hearing very positive comments from them all. These travel planners come here to discover new places to go with their travelers.”

For three consecutive years, the Select Traveler Conference is beginning on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, conference partner Charlie Presley, Cappuzzello and the entire conference staff decided to have fun with it. All wore green jerseys with bright Select Traveler emblems, and delegates were encouraged to bring jerseys as well.

“Alan Sims and his partners from Little Rock did an exceptional job of planning our Super Bowl evening down in the River Market district,” said Cappuzzello. “Our delegates were treated to complimentary meals and beverages in eight different venues, and everyone had a great time watching the game. We’re going to build on this kickoff event the next two years and build a real winning tradition with it starting next year in Ontario, California.”

More than 25 sponsors, including 15 tour operators and cruise companies, helped to entertain the delegation of 350. As always, every meal at the conference was sponsored. Breakfast sponsors were East Coast Touring Company and Trips, luncheon sponsors were Collette and Globus Family of Brands, and dinner events were sponsored by Little Rock CVB and its partners, and the Greater Ontario, California, CVB.

Next year’s conference will take place February 5-7 in Ontario, California. For details, visit

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.