Here’s a list of the most common questions that suppliers and tourism offices have asked us about the Romance Travel University. If you think of other questions, please contact John Hawks at 615.979.0186 or firstname.lastname@example.org!
When and where is the next Romance Travel University?
The 2018 event is scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday, May 1-3, at the Embassy Suites Convention Center Las Vegas.
What’s different about the Romance Travel University compared to other romance- and travel-focused trade shows?
Founded in 2013, this conference is now the longest running travel industry event in North America that focuses specifically on destination weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways. Here are five critical ways the Romance Travel University stands apart from other travel shows:
- DWHSA (the conference organizer) does NOT “host” agents – instead, the participating agents pay 100 percent of their own expenses to attend. They’re not there to inspect nearby hotels or enjoy the beach and an open bar. They’ve paid their own way because they’re serious about building their romance travel businesses and their supplier/destination contacts. At our event, you’ll never have to ask yourself, “Are these agents here because they want to learn about my company and our romance offerings, or because they were basically paid to attend?”
- We offer you the widest possible range of agents in a single event. At some shows, you’ll meet only the agents who belong to a single host agency or consortium. However, DWHSA draws members and attendees from all corners of North America (and around the world). We also attract top producers from every major consortium and host agency (from Ensemble to Travel Leaders, Nexion and Avoya to Cruise Planners and Travel Only, Signature and Virtuoso to LoveShack Vacations and locally owned host agencies). And, those agents represent the full spectrum from “newbies” just gettng started in romance travel to longtime romance travel sellers who are top producers for the leading wholesalers and resort companies.
- Wedding planners will be invited to our 2018 event for the first time. In addition to the agency owners, frontline agents, and independent contractors who attend DWHSA’s conference, we’re now allowing those agents to invite any wedding planners with whom they work. The 2018 Romance Travel University will be the first North American travel event to give you access to both travel agents and wedding planners.
- You’ll meet the agents and planners in small-group appointments in your hotel suite, not at a table on a crowded trade show floor. At many shows, you’re confined to a six-foot-wide draped table in a plastic chair – that’s a very uncomfortable way to showcase your company! (And, after a while, those chairs hurt.) Instead, we’ve blocked two entire floors in the host hotel for exhibitor appointments. You’ll have your own two-room suite – the bedroom in the back for your lodging, plus the living room in the front to set up as your “show office.” You may hang posters, bring pop-up banners, play soft music, set out brochures, and even show videos on your laptop. During the trade show sessions, small groups of agents and planners will rotate to your suite for 10-minute appointments where they won’t be distracted!
- We’ve designed the conference schedule to fit your busy calendar and your finite budget. We know you’re VERY busy all year round – so, you can plan to arrive Wednesday morning (May 2) and depart late Thursday evening (May 3) if you wish. Or, if you can stay with us for the whole conference, your exhibitor registration includes lodging for up to three nights (arriving Tues., May 1, and departing as late as Fri., May 4). Plus, we’ve bundled as many expenses as possible into your exhibitor registration, including your hotel stay and meals and a one-year Allied Membership in DWHSA!
Why do you host these events in Las Vegas – why not choose an all-inclusive resort in a beach destination?
DWHSA’s goal is building the Romance Travel University into the world’s largest romance travel conference – drawing hundreds of agents and wedding planners as well as the leading suppliers and tourism offices in this niche. And, the conference’s focus for the agents and planners is education – teaching them the skills they need to grow their romance travel businesses year after year.
To do that, we’ve decided to base the event in the same city for the foreseeable future. Picking a different beach destination and a different all-inclusive resort every year is tempting – but, that puts the focus on where the conference will happen, not what actually happens at the conference. (Frankly, we’re not looking for any agents whose primary reason for attending the conference might be the sunny destination or fun resort involved.)
By basing the conference each year in Las Vegas during the first part of May, agents and suppliers can plan ahead earlier to attend. And, with sponsorships and careful planning, we’ve made the experience all inclusive (if you stay at the host hotel, your meals for the three primary conference days will be included.)
What’s the schedule?
Your exhibitor registration includes access to all events in the full schedule that aren’t limited to agents only. For complete details, we’ve prepared a schedule for exhibitors that highlights everything you may attend. You’re welcome to stay with us the entire conference and network with the agents – or, if your time is tight, you may drop in Wednesday and Thursday (May 2-3) so that you can cover the primary activities that involve exhibitors.
What’s included in my exhibitor registration?
We’re proud to explain everything that’s included in your 2018 exhibitor registration! Once you check in at the conference, everything is basically included (lodging and meals) – then, after you leave, you’ll still work with us for the next 12 months as an Allied Member of DWHSA! Here’s the complete list of what’s included:
- Three nights of lodging at the host hotel (room and tax, arriving Tues., May 1 and departing as late as Fri., May 4) – plus, your meals for the three main conference days (Tues.-Thurs.)
- Admission to all functions on the main conference days (except those that are designated agents only – this schedule for exhibitors identifies those)
- Scheduled small-group appointments held in your own suite (plus extra time for 1:1 “drop in” appointments)
- A hosted table in Thursday’s lunch where you can network with agents who sit with you or stop by
- Links on the conference’s mobile app for your brochures and flyers (these links will also be emailed to attendees before the conference, so you don’t have to bring lots of printed materials [another cost savings!])
- A complete list of attendee names and contact information (a preliminary list sent to you two weeks before the event so that you can reach out to these agents and planners, with a final list sent to you after the show ends to capture any “walk in” registrations)
- A one-year DWHSA Allied Membership for your company/organization, so that you may continue promoting your packages and services for 12 months after the conference ends (note: it is no longer possible to pay for DWHSA Allied Memberships directly – the only way suppliers may become Allied Members is exhibiting at DWHSA’s conference)
- One (1) DWHSA webinar speaking slot
- One (1) sponsor ad (50 words plus a clickable link) in an issue of DWHSA’s member newsletter
- One (1) post (50 words plus a clickable link and an image) in DWHSA’s agents-only Facebook group
The exhibitor registration covers one (1) company representative. However, you’re welcome to bring additional representatives if you wish – they can purchase “day passes” for the days they wish to attend (those passes include meals for each day), and they’re welcome to reserve their own rooms at the host hotel using DWHSA’s discounted conference rates).
If you represent a tourism office, we have nine larger suites available for you to invite up to four (4) local vendors – hotels and inns, wedding planners, excursion operators, etc. – to come to the conference with you! These suites have a bedroom plus the living room, but they also feature a large conference room, so there’s plenty of room for you and your colleagues to talk with the small groups of agents and planners on the trade show days! Those local vendors will pay $250 apiece to attend (that’s a “day pass” for both Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning – the trade show days – with lodging not included for them). And, the best part? If you persuade four of your local vendors to attend with you, we can shave $700 off the exhibitor registration fee for your tourism office! For more details, please contact John Hawks at email@example.com or 615.979.0186.
How is lodging handled for exhibitors?
As the primary representative for your company, your lodging is included in your exhibitor registration (arriving as early as Tues., May 1, and departing as late as Fri., May 4). Additional representatives for your company are welcome to stay at the host hotel (paying their own lodging) using DWHSA’s discounted conference rates.
How will we meet the travel agents and wedding planners at the conference?
We’ve designed the schedule and priced the exhibitor registrations to give you maximum flexibility for networking with the agents and planners at this conference. The primary networking times will be the small-group appointments scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (May 2) and Thursday morning (May 3), when the attendees will rotate to your suite for 10-minute stops. However, we’ve built in an open hour Thursday morning for unscheduled one-on-one “drop ins” by attendees at your suite – and, you’ll have a table to host during the Thursday lunch to meet with attendees then.
If your schedule permits, you’re welcome to stay with us and network with the attendees during the three main conference days (Tues.-Thurs., May 1-3) at all events except those marked for agents only.
What is the Very Special Lunch?
On Wed., May 2, we’ll hold one of our most popular conference events: the Very Special Lunch! During this meal, suppliers host a table with five to seven attendees, and they decorate the table with displays and materials promoting your company or destination. For example, many tourism offices bring local candies, postcards, and souvenirs that the agents sitting at the table may take home with them. You’re welcome to bring anything that will (a) sit on the table top or (b) sit or cling to the chairs (e.g., chair backs). Due to local fire codes, we cannot allow anything that must sit on the floor or that requires an electrical cord (though it’s OK if your item is powered by batteries). If you bring music to play at your table, the volume must be kept at table level. At the end of the meal, we’ll introduce all table sponsors and hold a vote by applause for the best table setup. The Very Special Lunch is a very fun event – we hope you’ll join us! We’ll have approximately 30 table hosting slots available ($195 each), and you can check the box on your exhibitor registration form. (If you’d like more than one table, please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
How can I donate a prize for the Thursday afternoon closing session?
After the Thursday afternoon workshops end, we’ll gather all attendees in the main ballroom for a final round of goodbyes and a prize drawing session. Many exhibitors donate a prize for this drawing (e.g., a multi-night stay at one of their resorts). As the attendees rotate to your suite for their small-group appointments, they’ll have cards they will present to you to affix a sticker to one of the squares (we’ll give you the stickers ahead of time); then, they’ll turn in those cards with their names on them before the drawings begin. We’ll randomly draw winners, and we’ll take photos of you with the prize winner to show in our Facebook group and add to our newsletter! To donate a prize, please check the box on your exhibitor registration form, and John will follow up with you.
How does the one-year Allied Membership work?
At most travel agent shows, your involvement with the attending agents begins and ends with the show. Those agents go home, and they may not hear from you again until the same show next year. With DWHSA, though, we want our exhibitors to use the Romance Travel University as a starting point for a full year of involvement with the attendees – and, we want you to be able to reach the hundreds of DWHSA members who can’t make it to our conference (not just the attendees!). So, we’ve bundled a one-year Allied Membership for your company into the exhibitor registration. You’ll receive a special Allied Member logo that you can use on your web site, in your brochures and printed materials, and anywhere you wish. You’ll have top priority for getting your news, announcements, and offers featured in DWHSA’s twice-a-week newsletters and for speaking in future webinars. Plus, this one-year Allied Membership is available ONLY to DWHSA exhibitors – it’s no longer possible for suppliers and tourism offices to purchase this membership separately.