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More than 2,000 attendees took part in TravelAge West’s first Western States Virtual Expo on Oct. 14. The mix of advisors and suppliers shared information on major tourism destinations throughout the Western U.S. via webinars, chats and one-on-one appointments. The expo platform, which mimicked an in-person convention center, made it especially easy for guests to visit virtual trade show-style booths and learn the latest news around the West.
“Thank you so much for having this expo,” said Deb Marletti-Mornin, an advisor with TotallyTrips. “Being from the Pacific Northwest and living in Missouri now — [and now] having these tools along with my personal experience and knowledge — I am hoping to get my clients to go West to the best places in the U.S.”
The event was considered particularly important because of how much has changed in the West due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event’s Marquee Sponsors, which included Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Travel Oregon, Visit California and Washington Tourism Alliance, brought together other regional tourism offices in order to provide a comprehensive look at what travelers and advisors can expect throughout the region.
“Everything was very well presented,” said Shy Alarakhia, an advisor with Expedia Cruiseshipcenters in Ontario, Canada. “There was a wealth of material and information that will certainly help me navigate the Western states more confidently.”
There was a wealth of material and information that will certainly help me navigate the Western states more confidently.
The Western States Virtual Expo comprised three webinars held throughout the day, each with a different focus and format.
“Master the West” was a roundtable webinar featuring presentations on the hottest domestic travel trends and products. Representatives from Visit California, LVCVA and Travel Oregon — as well as several regional tourism offices from around Oregon — shared everything advisors need to know in order to book more vacations throughout the West.
The second webinar, “Traveling the West Responsibly,” once again included Visit California, LVCVA and Travel Oregon. But this time the format was a panel discussion that covered major travel topics in the West. Panelists shared their take on strategies for travel planning during the pandemic, the latest health and safety protocols in each destination, what’s new in the region, what advisors can expect post pandemic and more.
The final webinar was focused solely on Hawaii. Called “Six Hawaiian Islands: Six Unique Experiences,” the session provided a very timely update on the state’s travel restrictions and protocols, as well as the sales, marketing and training resources available to advisors. Authorities in Hawaii made a major announcement about the resumption of travel just prior to the webinar.
RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Hawaii's Oct. 15 Reopening
“With destination rules and regulations constantly changing, it can be difficult for travel advisors to keep track of the latest updates,” said Emma Weissmann, Senior Editor at TravelAge West, who served as the webinar’s moderator. “The Hawaii webinar came at a perfect time; not only did it gave listeners the most up-to-date information on the islands’ Oct. 15 reopening, but it also gave them the opportunity to submit their most pressing questions to be answered live by a true Hawaii expert.”
TravelAge West’s next virtual event will be the Family Travel Digital Expo on Nov. 30. Registration for that will open soon.
The DetailsTravelAge West Virtual Eventswww.travelagewest.com/virtual-events