Crystal Conference: Behind the Scenes on the Independence of the Seas

Written by: on March 24, 2017

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It was less than two months ago that we returned home from the 2017 Crystal Conference and Awards. And as of today, we have 10 months, one week and one day until our 2018 Crystal Conference and Awards! That time will fly…

Now that this event has grown into KHM Travel’s national conference, the planning process has become a year-round labor of love. But it’s an undertaking that is well worth the time and effort!

In fact, we started working with Royal Caribbean to plan the 2018 Crystal Conference and Awards before we even set foot on the Carnival Conquest for this year’s event!

So what does it take to pull together hundreds of travel agents, supplier partners, guests and KHM Travel Group staff for our biggest event of the year? In our new Crystal Conference: Behind the Scenes series, we’ll be giving you a look at the work that goes into every detail, from the pre-conference planning, to the marketing , to the selection of swag that attendees receive.

A preview of the Independence of the Seas, the home of next year’s Crystal Conference, seemed like an appropriate starting point. Last week, Beth Klubnik and Ashley Jacin from our Events Team sailed on the Independence to begin charting a course for our biggest event of the year.

One of the most important questions to ask when planning for a group this size is, “Where we will all fit?” In touring the whole ship, and speaking with the onboard coordinator, Beth and Ashley learned about the opportunities and limitations each of the event spaces on the Independence of the Seas offer.

“The Independence is a newer ship, and it’s a class of ship that works well for groups,” said Beth.

Having conference rooms mid-ship will provide a dedicated area for the KHM Travel Group staff and suppliers to hold training sessions. Beth and Ashley also got to check out the theater where the Crystal Awards Ceremony will be held, and went backstage to start thinking about how the awards show will be produced.

One of the major logistical challenges is finding a location to fit hundreds of people in a group photo, which we are working with Royal Caribbean to coordinate. 

Beth and Ashley spent some time exploring the same ports we’ll be stopping at during the Crystal Conference, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. The goal is to give agents more free time in port, so that they can decide how they spend their time, and hopefully be able to connect with each other and with our suppliers.

“We want to leave the itinerary more open this year, so agents can schedule their time as they want,” Beth said. “We hope it will make for a better bonding experience.”

Most importantly, Beth and Ashley took plenty of pictures during their trip! Check them out on our Flickr page here.

Stay tuned as we fill in more details about the 2018 Crystal Conference and Awards. We hope to see you all on board!


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