KHM Travel Celebrates 2016 Accomplishments at Crystal Conference & Awards
Written by: Amanda Bates on February 08, 2017
KHM Travel Group has just returned from an amazing week at sea for the fourth annual Crystal Conference and Awards cruise on the Carnival Conquest. This was the second year that the Crystal Conference was held at sea, and it was our host agency’s biggest event to date!
Our group of 361 travel agents, their guests, our supplier partners and staff came together for the biggest event in KHM Travel’s history. Together, we celebrated the past year’s accomplishments, connected with old and new friends, and renewed our love for travel and the travel industry!
“What an amazing way to start off the year,” says KHM Agent Sandy V. “I came home feeling like I was armed with new knowledge as well as new enthusiasm and motivation to be the best I can be!”
The cruise kicked off with registration as the agents and suppliers boarded the Conquest. We had a blast greeting everyone and snapping photos as we set sail! At the welcome reception that evening, KHM Travel Group’s President Rick Zimmerman welcomed everyone and then National Training Director Marie Smith introduced the members from KHM Travel Group and our supplier partners who were on board.
The openness and positivity of the welcome reception certainly set the tone for the rest of the week.
“Networking between agents and agents, and between agents and suppliers is really what this event is all about,” says Rick.
Monday morning brought the Conquest to Key West for the first day in port. Agents and staff were able to sightsee on a old town trolley tour, visit mile marker 0 of Route 1, and just enjoy the sunshine and relaxing vibes of Key West — including the famous Sloppy Joe’s bar!
Back on board later that afternoon, we held agent-only training sessions, supplier training sessions, and a little bit of free time to explore the ship.
Our day at sea on Tuesday was another busy day, with the morning dedicated to the supplier trade show and presentations. With the exception of agents that were invited to supplier-specific receptions, agents had their afternoon and evening to themselves.
Wednesday morning, the KHM Travel Group staff and suppliers got an early start at dress rehearsal for the Crystal Awards ceremony, held later that day. It was also our day in Grand Cayman, which is home to the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City, and great snorkeling. We were fortunate to get to spend some time on this beautiful island before heading back on the Conquest to prepare for the Awards Ceremony!
The Crystal Awards ceremony was held Wednesday evening in the fabulous Toulouse Lautrec Main Show Lounge on Deck 3 of the Conquest.
KHM Travel Group staff and suppliers recognized our top-performing agents of 2016 in style. Congratulations again to all of our agents on an outstanding year! See who took home a Crystal Award for 2016 in our announcement post here.
During the ceremony, we also revealed big news via a video from Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service. She was excited to announce that our 2018 Crystal Conference and Awards cruise would be held January 27th-February 1 on the Independence of the Seas!
From there, everyone migrated to our post-award cocktail reception, where Rick gave a State of KHM Travel Group. That led into a discussion in which our staff and agents shared their “Whys” for what they do and what motivates them, which tied into the training theme of the conference, “Discover Your Why.”
“I’ve never seen a group of people so engaged as they were during that hour,” says Rick. “We really got into our core values, and how they really make for a great end-client experience.”
It was a very stirring and motivating discussion, and we thank those who shared with the group!
With two days left on the board, the training and networking wasn’t over! Thursday morning we gathered for another general session with suppliers before heading out to enjoy Cozumel, our last port-of-call.
Following our final training session on Friday morning, we gathered our entire group on the Sky Deck for a group picture. Not only did we fit close to 400 people in one photo, our t-shirts matched the Carnival funnel!
Groove for St. Jude took place on the Lido Deck after lunch, which gave us the chance to boogie on board for a good cause. Every Carnival sailing features a Groove for St. Jude dance party to raise money and awareness for kids in need.
Our final KHM Travel Group family gathering was our farewell reception on Friday evening. We said our thank-yous, and good-byes, and got in a few more group photos. Lisa Morris also recognized Sandy Stemen, our long-time BDM with the Globus family of brands, who made our 2017 Crystal Conference and Awards her last event before retirement. All the best to Sandy!
The following morning we disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, and went our separate ways. Our staff sincerely enjoyed spending time with the agents and suppliers in attendance.
Special thanks to our hosts, Carnival, for making this a truly special week for KHM Travel Agents and staff. This event demonstrated how Carnival and KHM Travel go together like cookies and milk!
We’d like to thank all of our agents and supplier partners who were in attendance, and hope everyone made it home safely! There are too many highlights to capture here!
Check out our collection of Flickr albums to see more photos from this memorable event! You can also head over to our Facebook page to see more of our live posts from the Crystal Conference.
You could even be at next year’s Crystal Conference and Awards! Request more information about becoming a travel agent from home with KHM Travel Group by filling out the form on the right or by calling 1-888-611-1220.