Alexa Bermudez, front line agent for Moraga Travel/Singles Travel Company, learns the different product offerings for Titanium Tours during her one-on-one meeting with the company’s CEO Jesus Repetto. // © 2015 J. Martin Harris Travel & Leisure Photography
Feature image (above): GTM West attendees gather together for the closing reception at the La Paloma Country Club Patio. // © 2015 J. Martin Harris Travel & Leisure Photography
From May 1-3, suppliers and travel agents connected at Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., for the second year of Global Travel Marketplace West (GTM West), an elite education and networking event powered by TravelAge West and Travel Weekly. Following the successful model of the inaugural year, agents and suppliers met in small-group boardroom sessions and for six-minute one-on-one appointments, in which agents were assigned a table and suppliers traveled from agent to agent.
“The success of this year’s GTM West far exceeded our expectations,” said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, Senior Vice President of Events, Travel Group for Northstar Travel Media. “The business closed on-site by these high-caliber travel agents and top-producing global suppliers is record-breaking, and we expect those relationships to continue and grow as a result of attending the event. We look forward to yet another incredible GTM this June at our flagship event in Florida.”
Out of the 700 applications received, 78 travel agents were chosen to attend the fully-hosted event. Eighty-two suppliers were in attendance, including major sponsors G Adventures, Intrepid Group, ShoreTrips, Mexico Tourism Board, Visit Tucson, Tourism Ireland, Le Meridien, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Exclusive Group Travel. Agents and suppliers alike praised the event for its high-quality business outcomes.
Mathy Wasserman, owner of Cruise Planners, said the event was her “most intense sales- and marketing-focused networking experience” and expects that her new destination and supplier contacts will help improve her agency’s business model.
“We had huge success with a group booking on the second day and can guarantee we will be at all future events,” said Joe Jiffo, vice president of sales for Exclusive Group Travel. “If my team and I did 50 sales calls over a one-week period, we would not have had the success and outcome we did with the 50-plus appointments at GTM West over a two-day period. No other event in the industry is this well thought out and planned with such details in mind for suppliers and agents.”
GTM West will return to Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa on May 4-6, 2016. GTM is still accepting applications for the June 28-30 event at Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, a Curio Collection by Hilton, in Hollywood, Fla.