Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Virtual events were very much the product of the pandemic, and while they are still the industry's predominant way of gathering today, once in-person gatherings become safer their virtual counterparts won't just go away.

The industry has learned the value of virtual events. During the pandemic, they have been a lifeline, the only way to communicate. But once Covid-19 is firmly behind us (or, more likely, once large swaths of the population have been vaccinated and are protected), I think virtual events will become supplementary forms of communication that will still hold a lot of value.

The word "supplementary" is key here: Nothing will ever replace gathering in person and the value those meetings hold, but why not connect even more, virtually, whether it's with clients or industry peers?

For instance, Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. are rebranding their Virtual Cruise Events to Take Me Away -- A Virtual Vacation Experience.

Alicia Linden, director of marketing, said virtual events have always been popular among clients, but the agency networks wanted to them to be more inclusive of things like tours and resorts, not just cruises.

Travel advisors will get a landing page on their website dedicated to the events with unique registration links. Another bonus, besides just connecting with clients? They'll get insight into who has registered for further conversations and marketing opportunities down the road.

The program relaunched last week with representatives from Gogo Vacations and the Globus family of brands talking about domestic and international tours as well as all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. The attendees got access to exclusive offers and the opportunity to win luggage and accessories from Tumi. Next up will be a "Take Me Away" with Norwegian Cruise Line at the end of April.

Numerous events in the past year pivoted from in-person to virtual. Another has joined those ranks recently: The Book More Travel Workshop, co-hosted by the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs and the Gifted Travel Network.

The workshop is open to all in the industry. The event this year will focus on getting travel advisors ready for travel's comeback, which, organizers say, is already beginning. Topics covered include marketing and social media, having a growth mindset, revenue drivers to meet and exceed financial targets and even leveraging new ideas and techniques like Facebook ads and virtual events.

The Book More Travel Workshop will take place from March 23-25 (a third day of content was added this year), and there will be separate tracks for new and experienced advisors. The early bird price to attend is $47, ending March 19.

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