April 8, 2014, Alexandria, Va. –ASTA Small Business Network (SBN) will customize this year’s conference program to include Destination Wedding and Honeymoon workshops for travel consultants to learn and become certified in this rapidly growing segment of the industry. SBN’s conference will be held at the Sheraton, Wild Horse Resort and Spa in Phoenix Arizona, a Starwood property. Dates of the conference are October 30, 2014 to November 3, 2014.
Popular trainer Lisa Sheldon of Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association has been retained to do the education and certification program. Focus of the Destination Wedding and Honeymoon training will be geared to the destinations of Hawaii, Caribbean and Mexico. The Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau, Sandals and Visit Yucatan are actively supporting SBN’s conference program. Attending major suppliers such as Starwood, Celebrity, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB and Holland America will gear their presentations to Destination Wedding and Honeymoon travel.
“Lisa Sheldon received high ratings from travel consultants at ASTA’s Destination Expo (ADE) in Merida, MX last month, so I was inspired to make this a travel specialty focus of this year’s conference” said Ann van Leeuwen, President of SBN. “It was a natural fit with our preferred destinations of Hawaii, Caribbean and Mexico.”
Overall SBN sales are 46% to these combined destinations with 22% of SBN travel consultants already selling specific destination, honeymoon and destination wedding travel according to SBN’s 2013 research report. However, in addition to the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon travel focus, travel consultant participants will meet with over 45 specialty suppliers covering travel and tourism around the globe through one on one appointments, tradeshow discussions and face to face social networking at planned receptions and events. “It’s wonderful to see the SBN members make valuable connections with our preferred supplier and CVB partners who represent inspiring and experiential travel options” commented van Leeuwen.
The format of the SBN conference will remain consistent with past years with the exception of adding a half day allowing for a full day of training on the Hawaii certification program. “Last year’s program included Hawaii certification and proved to be so successful we needed to add more time to meet the demand and interest from our members for the intense learning required with the Hawaiian islands program” comment Bob Duglin, Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations.
“SBN will continue to offer the corner stone programs on sales, marketing, and social media training to meet the basic interests of travel consultants, however what is really exciting is that this year’s conference program will specialize in Destination Wedding and Honeymoon travel where travel consultants can make serious money” said Dan Smith owner of Travel by Dan. “The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa will be an inspiring yet relaxing venue for all travel consultants wishing to attend and participate in the SBN conference program.”
SBN & ASTA members can register for $199 per travel consultant by May 31, 2014 and non-member advisors can attend for $299 (which includes a one year SBN membership).
SBN suppliers can register and exhibit for $1,999 by April 18, 2014. Fee includes one registration, access to meetings, receptions and meals, tradeshow participation and one-on-one appointments with attending travel consultants.
The SBN Conference is October 30- November 3, 2014.
SBN is the travel industry’s leading national trade association representing independent contractors, outside sales consultants, cruise and tour oriented consultants, group oriented travel professionals and traditional ARC-appointed travel agencies that provide services and support to such professionals. Established in 1986, SBN’s mission is to represent the interest of independent travel entrepreneurs and to promote professionalism and recognition for the professional independent consultant. SBN is an affiliate of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advisors, the world’s largest travel trade association.