How do you get travel advisors excited about an already well-known destination? The Italian National Tourist Board adopted a luxury-forward approach in its global marketing strategy and engaged us to arrange a two-day travel trade summit. This was the first time that such a large group of suppliers and regions had ever gathered to meet with top luxury retail travel advisor buyers in the U.S. In addition to a compressed lead time, we faced the challenge of encouraging seasoned industry veterans to attend this event when Italy is already among their top-selling destinations.
Our first action was to secure a contemporary venue that was centrally located, flexible enough to accommodate suppliers, regional representatives and travel advisors, and within our budget. Once the space was set, we invited travel advisors to register for the event via a custom-built app. Ultimately, the event consisted of multiple elements including B2B marketplaces, seminars, matchmaking sessions, press conferences, VIP panel presentations, Italian-themed entertainment, an award ceremony, cocktail receptions and meals. The first day of the event was reserved exclusively for Virtuoso advisors and preferred suppliers, while the second day was an open event for advisors from key consortia partners including Virtuoso, Signature and Travel Leaders Group.
The event was a huge success in terms of both turnout and energy. More than 200 travel advisors attended the event, meeting with 125 Italian suppliers and representatives from seven regions across Italy. Both the client and the participating suppliers were extremely pleased with the excitement among travel advisors about their products, and their modern luxury messaging was well received. As seasoned experts, luxury advisors are always seeking access to hidden and lesser-known gems to pass along to their clients, and this event was an effective way to share local insights.