The Trade Show

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September is right around the corner and Las Vegas is gearing up to welcome the number one travel trade show in North America—THETRADESHOW (TTS), running Sept. 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This 3-day travel show conference is designed specifically for you, replete with comprehensive education and training to enrich your career and increase your sales. In fact, the seminar series will kick-off at noon on Sunday. Included in Sunday’s program is a consortia panel, the first in the “Leaders of the Industry” panel series, scheduled to take place at 3:45 p.m. This event will focus on what consortia offer and what agents should look for and expect from their consortia in order to grow their business. On Tuesday, during the Host Agency Panel, travel agents will gather to share success stories and benefits of joining a host agency.

But beyond the educational seminars and training sessions, TTS will play host to a long lineup of special events, starting off with the Opening Night Event. This party in your honor—sponsored, in part, by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau—will take place the evening of Sept. 13 at Town Square, the open-air shopping, dining and entertainment destination on the Las Vegas Strip. During this event, you’ll be able stroll the streets of the city’s newest gathering place and visit restaurants such as Brio Tuscan Grill, Texas de Brazil and Tommy Bahama’s for mouthwatering cuisine and walk it off shopping at H&M, Borders, Banana Republic, J. Crew and more. Then you can top off the evening with drinks at hotspot Blue Martini or enjoy relaxing entertainment in Town Square Park.

Another event that is sure to prove popular with attendees is the ASTA-sponsored Retail Travel Leadership Summit (RTLS), an innovative forum for high-level debate and discussion on pressing travel industry issues. This event, which takes place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 14 and includes an Auto Europe-sponsored breakfast, examines the financial dynamics of the cruise lines, data privacy in the travel industry and pay-for-content—with a special look at the controversial topic of airlines charging travel agents for fare and schedule access in their GDSs.

“Last year’s first RTLS was very well received, and I think this year will only build upon that success,” says Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “We’ve taken some of the most-talked about and provocative issues facing the industry and are putting the tough questions out there for debate. Anyone who plans on having a stake in the travel industry in the coming years needs to attend.”

This year, the confirmed panelists are Roger Block of Travel Leaders and Maurice Zarmati of Costa Cruise Lines, who will be participating in the “Financial Dynamics of Cruise Lines” panel; Bob Adams of Acxiom Corp. and Kevin Mitchell of Business Travel Coalition, who will be participating in the “Data Privacy” panel; and Maryanne McNulty of The Beat and Tom Cates of Amadeus, who will be participating in the “Pay for Content” panel. The cost to register for the RTLS event is $150 for agents and $295 for suppliers.

Also noteworthy is the chance for registered TTS participants to go on hotel site inspections, including Planet Hollywood and Treasure Island (TI). The tour of TI, for example, will include VIP treatment at the Christian Audigier Nightclub overlooking the live “Sirens of Treasure Island” show; viewing of the casino floor, guestrooms and wedding chapels; and an opportunity to win pairs of “Mystere” tickets based on Treasure Island trivia. This tour takes place at 7 p.m on Monday, Sept. 14; limited space available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

One event that young travel professionals won’t want to miss is the fourth annual YP Rocks, taking place Monday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 p.m. This unique event honors the industry’s young travel professionals, and is a great opportunity for them to meet business contacts in a relaxed, pressure-free setting. This is a free event for those under 40, and a paid event for those 40-plus.

The ASTA Advocacy Dinner will also take place on the evening of Sept 14 at 7 p.m. During this event, which will take place at the Bellagio, the industry will gather for a special night to celebrate ASTA’s value in the political arena in shaping the policies that affect the business of selling travel. This is an exclusive black tie reception and dinner with top industry leaders. The cost for THETRADESHOW attendees and guests is $190 pp; for ASTA President’s Club Members, it’s $130 pp, and a reserved table of 10 is $2,500.