Last weekend, Delta Vacations University — formerly
known as MLT University — was held in Atlanta, drawing a record crowd of over
2,000 agents, over half of whom were new to the event.
For the past 22 years, MLT University was held in the
Minneapolis-St. Paul region of Minnesota. But this year, the event’s 23rd,
along with the name change came a location change.
Earlier this year, Delta Vacations announced the name
change. It came as a result of consultations with its advisory board of travel
agents, who said the MLT name was less important to them.
“What was more important was the alignment with Delta
Airlines and the brand, and the message that Delta was taking to the
marketplace,” said Delta Vacations president John Caldwell. Delta also had a
further-reaching brand name than MLT, which had its roots in the Midwest.
Atlanta was chosen as this year’s host because Delta’s
headquarters are in the city, Caldwell said. One evening event was held at Delta
“It really just brought home the alignment with Delta and
Delta Airlines,” he said.
Atlanta also drew in a record number of agents, over 2,000
over the course of two days, who partook in general sessions, classroom
sessions and a tradeshow with 187 supplier partners.
Of the total agents in attendance, Caldwell said 51% were
new to the event.
“It’s materially higher, although as we have grown the brand
from outside our Midwest routes to the East Coast and West Coast where Delta is
growing, we’ve seen a lot more interest from places like New York, the
Southeast, Los Angeles, Seattle,” he said.
By comparison, about 40% of agents at last year’s event in
Minneapolis-St. Paul were new to the event.
Agents attending this year were given the opportunity to
sign up for dozens of educational sessions focused on destinations and
One of the courses offered focused on the Delta Vacations
Marketing Hub, according to Tina Iglio, senior vice president of marketing. The
Marketing Hub was launched several years ago and includes a variety of
materials agents can personalize with their logos and distribute to clients.
Version No. 2 of the hub recently launched, Iglio said, and
it features a new design and more capabilities and content, including videos.
This year, Delta Vacations has been tracking two major
trends, said Elizabeth Moriarty, vice president of product — romance and
Romance continues to be a popular sector, and Delta
Vacations has worked to add European locations — Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris
and London — to its roster of honeymoon destinations. By the end of the year,
some U.S. destinations will be offered, as well.
Luxury is also a growing segment, according to Moriarty.
“For this year, we’ve seen more than 83% of our overall
revenue is being driven by four-star hotels and above, and that’s continuing to
grow,” she said.
As such, Delta Vacations is working to add more upscale
hotels to its portfolio.
Next year, Delta Vacations University will again be held in
Atlanta. Then, Caldwell said the location will be reviewed to see if it will
return to Atlanta in 2018 or travel to a different hub market to potentially
draw in more agents.