The inaugural Future Leaders in Travel Retreat, a three-day event produced by Travel Weekly sister publication TravelAge West and parent Northstar Travel Group, brought together the next generation of leaders in the travel industry in
The 66 attendees, including 41 travel advisers,
all between the ages of 22 and 37, were encouraged to take advantage of
Aspen's unique position as a destination that fosters creativity and a
free-flowing exchange of ideas, as well as its wellness and adventure
tourism opportunities. (The conference took place at the Aspen Meadows Resort; in addition to being home to the world-famous
Aspen Institute, Aspen Meadows Resort has hosted world leaders such as
the Dalai Lama and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.)
"In the last few years, we've seen a real flood of
awesome new talent join the industry, so we wanted to honor that," said
Mindy Poder, executive editor of TravelAge West, during The Retreat's
opening address. "We realized there are a lot of travel conferences out
there, but we knew that if we created an event specifically for this
demographic, we could do things differently. By focusing on our peers,
we could be more active, more adventurous, more experiential in our
educational content and more fun."
get their blood flowing in the mornings, attendees had the opportunity
to participate in activities such as hiking, biking and yoga in the
Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, along with exploring Lost Forest
adventure park in nearby Snowmass, Colo. During the evenings, The
Retreat highlighted Aspen's top accommodation options and nightlife hot
Attendees took a cooking class at the Cooking School of Aspen during a block party sponsored by The Travel Corporation. Credit: 2018 Northstar Travel Group
Meanwhile, educational content was designed specifically
for The Retreat's age demographic: Panel discussions focused on the
future of the industry, and a live-storytelling competition showcased
suppliers' ability to go off their sales pitch script and share a unique
message fueled by personal experience. Keynote speakers included ski
champion and Aspen local Chris Davenport, and 29-year-old Cassie De
Pecol, who claims the title of the fastest and first documented woman to
travel to every sovereign country in the world.
really impressed with the overall quality and content of everything that
has been put together, and it's fun to be around a group of young
people who are excited to be here, learn together and grow together,"
said Sarah Lippy, senior meetings and special events planner for
Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based JM Family Enterprises. "I'll take a lot of
what I learned here back to my business, and I'm really excited to go
back to work after having this time to slow down and think it's been a
really nice part of the overall experience here."
sessions allowed the future leaders to collaborate in smaller groups;
workshops covered topics such as next-level sales and marketing
techniques, personal branding, building industry relationships, growing a
successful business and channeling an entrepreneurial spirit.
advisor attendees were highly vetted via a 16-page application that
included open-ended questions such as "What are your perceptions of the
current state of the industry?" and "What do you see as possible
challenges that the industry is facing regarding technology, changing
buying habits and training?"
The Future of Travel panel discussed the short-term future of the industry, including what attendees can expect to see within the next five years. Credit: 2018 Northstar Travel Group
Jacquie Hurst, director of trade
recruitment and engagement for Travel Weekly Events, chose each of the
41 travel advisors from more than 200 applications. Hurst says that she
was extremely impressed by the caliber of agents who applied.
when I see someone young who is so well-written and so passionate about
their career, it impresses me," she said. "These advisors are
professionals, they want to be leaders, they want to stay in the
industry, and they make the industry better."
The second Future Leaders in Travel Retreat will return to Aspen Meadows Resort on Sept. 3-5, 2019. For more information, and to be notified when advisor applications open, please visit www.futureleadersintravel.com. For supplier inquiries, contact Shannon Tiger at [email protected] or 609-298-7647.