Travel Weekly is introducing a new event, the Global Travel Marketplace (GTM), where suppliers can meet one-on-one with a hand-picked group of top-performing agents. The event will be held July 24 to 26 at the Westin Diplomat in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Participating suppliers will meet face-to-face with agents who have a million-dollar-plus book of global business. They'll have six-minute sessions with agents as well as the opportunity to participate in boardroom sessions, during which suppliers can make 30-minute presentations to between 10 and 12 agents, giving them more time with an influential group of agents.
Getting in front of the right agents -- particularly independent agents with a big book of luxury business -- can be a challenge for suppliers. GTM solves this problem by inviting just 125 elite agents. The number of suppliers is being limited to 100.
Qualifying agents must demonstrate their sales volume and the destinations and type of travel they sell. They must also provide two supplier references.
Agents interested in attending should apply at www.globaltravelmarketplace.com
Jacquie Hurst, the former director of trade marketing for Norwegian Cruise Line, will vet agent applications and interview finalists.
The appointment-based GTM is different from Travel Weekly's 5-year-old CruiseWorld and Home Based Agent Show. That event draws between 800 and 1,000 agents and has a heavy educational component, with more than 30 training sessions.
GTM, in contrast, is all business.
Travel Weekly tested the appointment-based concept at the CruiseWorld show in Seattle last summer, hosting travel agents who had appointments on the trade show floor. The participating agents "loved it," said Alicia Evanko, vice president of events for Travel Weekly and PhoCusWright.
"This event is for the very productive travel agent who wants to come in and do business and be done with it," Evanko said.
Participants will have two-and-a-half days within which they can participate in as many as 50 appointments.
The event is small -- limited to 225 participants in all -- to ensure that by the end of the event, attendees will have met everyone else who was there.
"The bottom line," Evanko said, is that GTM is "a platform for individual business meetings."