I’m writing this column as I fly home from the Advantage conference in Bodrum, feeling pretty tired after three days of business sessions and networking.
But my fatigue must be nothing compared with that of the team from Mark Warner, which hosted the event at the operator’s beautiful Sea Garden Resort.
It was no mean feat to cater for the 450 delegates; indeed, the resort even had to construct a steel-framed marquee on the tennis court for the business sessions to take place.
If that wasn’t enough, Mark Warner also sponsored agents to attend the conference and, after the event, whisked some agents off on fam trips to other Mark Warner resorts in Greece.
All in all, it was a huge outlay by the beach and ski holiday resort specialist; it was great to see a tour operator, rather than just tourist boards and hotels, investing in agents in this way.
I hope Mark Warner, and MSC Cruises, which will host next year’s conference on board MSC Fantasia, reap the benefits from Advantage agents. The cruise line has clearly recognised the opportunity, as Mark Warner did, of showcasing its products to hundreds of agents in one fell swoop – and it’s not alone.
Celebrity Cruises will host The Travel Network Group conference on board Eclipse next May, with the aim of educating and inspiring delegates to sell its holidays upon their return.
As neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield told Advantage delegates: “An enriched environment stimulates the brain. It’s so important, as what you’re selling depends on the experiences you’ve had and connections you’ve made.” I couldn’t agree more.