(Boston, MA – July 5, 2017) Romance Travel Forum, an exclusive B2B event focused on destination weddings, honeymoons and other romantic occasions celebrated with travel, recently concluded with glowing reviews, and forecasts for increased business amongst participants. Produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group (TravelSMG), an independent event organizer catering exclusively to the leisure travel agent channel, the event was held at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from June 19 – 23, and welcomed a hand-selected audience of top-performing romance travel sellers and an elite group of supplier partners who cater to the lucrative romance vacation market. Interest in the fifth annual program is already seeing increased interest, and is set to take place at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya from May 7 – 11, 2018.
“In four years, the Romance Travel Forum has become the industry’s most recognized and trusted event for driving leads and business within the romance vacation market. We are thrilled to partner with so many amazing organizations and individuals, and it is an absolute privilege to serve as the conduit that supports business growth and longevity in the romance arena”, said Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content, Specialty Travel Forums.
“TravelSMG is committed to providing meaningful and productive event experiences for travel sellers and suppliers alike. While our Specialty Travel Forums division has allowed us to deliver niche-dedicated focused events, our larger Fall and Spring Travel Agent Forum programs have uniquely impacted the industry at large, with an evolving focus on quality content and business connections”, said Jim Cloonan, president of TravelSMG.
The Romance Travel Forum is a boutique-sized program with limited positions. The 2017 edition welcomed 158 hand-selected travel sellers who collectively represented over $150 Million in annual revenue, and a diverse book of romance clientele. Travel agent participation was determined based on a stringent review process, comprising a written application, telephone interview and professional reference check. Supplier participation sold-out in advance, with 85 supplier companies in attendance, representing an array of vacation market segments and regions. Supplier categories included all-inclusive resort chains, boutique and independent hotel properties, wholesalers, destinations, destination management companies; and other products and services. Geographically, the event saw representation from Italy, Thailand, Guatemala, Costa Rica, all regions of Mexico and the Caribbean. The event featured a Showcase floor, where travel agents and suppliers met during one-to-one business meetings. More than 4,000 8-minute business meetings took place on the Showcase floor throughout Tuesday, June 20th and Wednesday, June 21st. At press time, post-event surveys indicated closed business as a direct result of participating in the 2017 Forum, along with a 100% approval rating on the format and productivity.
Participating travel agents took part in Certified Romance Product Sessions, presented by Palace Resorts; AMResorts; Paradisus Resort Dominican Republic; and a Certified Destination Session presented by The Hawaiian Islands; along with Peer-to-Peer small group discussions focused on a plethora of business driven topics. Facilitators included: Tom Varghese, Chancellor of Travel, TravelTom; Denise Canon, President & CEO, Travel Concepts; Valerie Gossett, Leisure, Luxury & Romance Specialist, Premier Resources Travel; and Sharon Little, President & Owner, Wedding & Honeymoon Travel Group.
The event featured Evening Experiences at the Paradisus Palma Real; Secrets Cap Cana (hosted by AMResorts); the Hard Rock Punta Cana (hosted by the All Inclusive Hard Rock Collection) and Sanctuary Cap Cana (hosted by Alsol Hotels & Resorts). The Forum included one Networking Lunch for suppliers and travel sellers, with authentic cultural music and dancing hosted by the Dominican Republic Tourism Board, as well as a travel agent only lunch offering a Wellness and Spa presentation followed by an interactive team-building “Ultimate Destination Wedding Cake Decorating” contest.
Travel agents also had the chance to select from pre and post familiarization opportunities, along with a day of choice comprising site selections in the Punta Cana and Cap Cana regions or an excursion with Outback Safaris exposing travel agents to Dominican culture, customs, history and nature. The Romance Gives Back program, was held in partnership with Outback Safaris, with donations collected and supplied to local Dominican schools.
The 2017 Romance Travel Forum included a Who’s Who of Partners, including: Host Hotel Partner: Paradisus Palma Real; Official DMC Partner; Amstar DMC; Official Airline: Delta Airlines; Official Event Decorators: Caribbean Celebrations and I DO Punta Cana; Official Photographer: Tropic One Studios; Sponsoring Partners: Melia Caribe Tropical; Travel Planners International; All Inclusive Hard Rock Collection; Punta Cana Resort & Club; Palace Resorts; AMResorts; Alsol Hotels & Resorts; Dominican Republic Tourism Board; Guatemala, Heart of the Mayan World; The Hawaiian Islands; and The Mark Travel Corporation.
ABOUT SPECIALTY TRAVEL FORUMS
Romance Travel Forum is produced by Specialty Travel Forums, a division of Travel Show Marketing Group (TravelSMG), an independent event organizer who caters exclusively to the North American travel agent community. The Specialty Travel Forums division offers innovative programming and content to support the professional growth of travel agents eager to cultivate their business and expertise through specialization. Comprised of a series of exclusive independent programs in key destinations, each is focused on individual niche markets providing in-depth training, brand certification, intimate networking, supplier relations, product knowledge and more. These exclusive programs offer limited space, allowing delegates to gain focused niche training while experiencing a full familiarization of the host destination to increase the breadth of their specialty offerings. The TravelSMG team has a proven track record in producing some of the most acclaimed leisure travel trade shows and events, working collaboratively with the industry’s leading organizations and experts, to provide top-notch education, networking and supplier engagement. For more information on TravelSMG visit www.TravelSMG.com
Travel agent applications for the 2018 Romance Travel Forum will open in September 2017. An inquiry form is available online www.RomanceTravelForum.com for travel sellers interested in learning once the 2018 application process commences. Travel agents can also contact Lisa Marshall, Travel Agent Relations Manager via email at Lisa@SpecialtyTravelForums.com or call (508) 553-3593.
Supplier sign-ups for the 2018 Romance Travel Forum are already underway. Suppliers interested in learning more or securing space should contact Jennifer Fernandez, Vice President Events & Content for Specialty Travel Forums at (718) 979-1952 or email Jennifer@SpecialtyTravelForums.com.