By Zachary Moses
I couldn’t believe it when I was selected as one of Travel Agent Magazine’s 35 under 30 top travel professionals, featured in their magazine, and invited to the Young Professionals Conference in Las Vegas. Did they check the names right? Maybe they mixed me up with someone else. I read my bio in the magazine, and yes, it’s definitely me. I did do those things they say I did. It’s definitely a photo of me in the magazine too. So why was I selected?
I wasn’t really sure… they didn’t tell me. But when I arrived at the conference in early December they took a picture of me, gave me a certificate with a ribbon, and congratulated me in front of a group of my peers. A group of my under-30 peers that apparently are also the best in the industry.
I spent the next five days finding out why we were all selected for this award. The first thing I noticed was that if you find 35 successful young travel professionals and put them in a room together, this is a very appealing audience to which suppliers from around the world can pitch their products.
I was worried that I would now be pointlessly subjected to suppliers that I didn’t need to speak to, for products my clients don’t want or need. It actually turns out that when they were gathering us together, they also made sure to gather top suppliers from around the world as well, since all 35 of us sell the world, and not just domestic travel. Only the cream-of-the-crop suppliers were allowed to attend the Luxury Travel Exchange or LTX. Each supplier I spoke with sent my mind spiraling with fabulous ideas for creative new tours.
After five days with suppliers (and also five fun-filled nights with my new friends), I came back with a half dozen new High Adrenaline tour ideas to add to the successful High Adrenaline Israel Adventure Tour that we ran for the first time in October. I also developed great contacts with the suppliers and ground operators whom I will partner with and rely on to ensure these new tours run perfectly.
At our offices in Key West, we are literally at the end of the road. There are no other local tour operators or travel agencies to compare ourselves with, so it’s hard to tell just where we stand in the larger industry. At the LTX show, everyone wanted my opinions on travel, and listened to hear what fresh ideas I had to offer. Judging from comments made by other participants, I proudly realized that as our company approaches our 40th anniversary in 2013 we continue to be in the forefront of innovation in the travel industry, rather than resting on our laurels.
This experience helped me realize that our entire HE Travel team, from our quirky gay office staff, to our fun-loving adventurous tour directors, are innovating new ideas and helping set the pace for the future of both adventure and cultural travel.
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