November 11, 2014, Alexandria, VA – ASTA Small Business Network (SBN) wrapped up its recent annual conference at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, Arizona, with a gala awards evening and special entertainment sponsored by the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, one of next year’s major hosts for SBN’s 2015 conference.
SBN President Ann van Leeuwen gave special thanks for the hospitality shown this year by Starwood’s Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in coordination with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. “Together they wowed this year’s conference attendees with the incredible venue, entertainment and authentic Hawaiian gala dinner” while Holland America Line further added to the program by hosting and entertaining attendees at a country western-themed dinner at Rawhide. “SBN members were extremely happy with the conference venue this year, thanks to our sponsors, member volunteers and overall organization of our dedicated staff. In addition to participating in the workshops, tradeshow and engagement sessions, SBN members know how to have fun at the same time,” she said. “If the members thought this year’s conference was exceptional, they haven’t seen anything yet as Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau promises not to be out done in their own beautiful state.” SBN had a record number of advisors sign up for the November. 8-11, 2015, event before leaving this year’s conference.
As for this year’s awards, the 17 winners included the Hawaii Visitors Bureau as the 2014 Supplier Partner of the Year, Holland America Line as Cruise Line of the Year and Starwood Hotels & Resorts as Hotel/Resort Company of the Year. Other winners were Regent Seven Seas as Luxury Cruise Line of the Year; AMA Waterways as River Cruise Line of the Year; Globus Family of Brands as tour operator of the year; Alaskan Dream Cruises as Niche Supplier of the Year; Robyn Basso of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau and Jeff Lanzarotta of Starwood were each chosen to win a Supplier Liaison of the Year; Hawaii was Destination of the Year; and GOGO Vacations won for Supplier On the Rise.
For SBN members, Kat Perkins was chosen as the Unsung Hero of the Year; Helen Prochilo won the David M. Thrower Award (Member of the Year); and Toni Lanotte-Day was selected as Regional Director of the Year. Three SBN Chapters won Excellence Awards-South Florida Chapter, Long Island Chapter and the Sacramento Chapter.
Van Leeuwen said, “We couldn’t even begin to pull off such successful events such as this annual conference without the generous support of our supplier partners, and the relentless efforts of our chapters.”
Travel consultants wanting to attend next year’s conference should check www.astasmallbusinessnetwork.org over the next week when registration goes live. Registration pricing for SBN and ASTA members starts with an early bird rate at $229 through December 31, 2014, and $249 thereafter.
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.