2019 Crystal Conference Brings Together People, Purpose, & Passion

Written by: Guest on February 20, 2019

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At our 2019 Crystal Conference, more than 350 independent travel agents, supplier partners, and KHM Travel Group team members gathered to get energized to Take Action in the coming year, and make it our most successful year yet. Here’s how the event, held on board the Ruby Princess February 9 – 14, focused on empowering each agent to harness their People, Purpose, and Passion to Take Action towards their goals this year.


Round table sessions gave agents the chance to meet face-to-face with each supplier, and learn how they could help them grow their businesses.

People First is KHM Travel’s top Core Value, and events like our Crystal Conference highlight the worth of the relationships formed between our agents, team members, suppliers, and industry partners. Our suppliers partners always play a major role in making the conference successful each year, and we were fortunate to welcome more suppliers in 2019 than ever before.

Thank you to John for joining us and welcoming agents on board!

John Chernesky, Vice President – North America Sales for Princess Cruises, set the tone for our group on board during the welcome reception. He applauded our agents’ growth and support of Princess, and even shared a few of his own family vacation photos while explaining what is new and upcoming with Princess.

A twist on the classic “Keep Calm” graphic, made by John for our agents!

The investment our suppliers make in attending the Crystal Conference goes beyond sponsorship and presenting an award. Throughout the week, suppliers got in front of agents at round tables and breakout sessions, and they also made themselves available during their free time for one-on-ones and smaller group sessions with agents.

“A strong take away for me – when I see our suppliers time after time investing in us as agents whether it be on a cruise ship, Destination Success, or various trade shows – why wouldn’t I want to support them?” says agent Karen, from Florida.

Ready to take action during a jam-packed week on board the Ruby Princess

We are also fortunate to have many experienced agents (like Karen) who take the time to welcome first-time Crystal attendees and new travel agents on board. These connections extend beyond the event, and for each agent, form a network of peers they can call on in the future.

“I’d just like to take a short moment to say thank you to those of you agents in making this first event of mine an enlightening and memorable experience,” said Mike, a California-based agent. “Without a doubt, I will be leaving the ship this morning with some very special lifelong relationships.”


Each agent has their individual interests and goals, but for our organization, the Crystal Conference is a chance to gather and reiterate our collective purpose.

Rick addressing our agents, suppliers, and team members.

President Rick Zimmerman expressed our purpose as a host agency at the welcome reception on Saturday evening. His vision is one of growth and longevity for both KHM Travel Group and for home-based travel agents as a whole.

“It’s important for us as a company to consider ourselves as citizens of the world,” said Rick, reminding agents and suppliers of the part they play as leaders in the travel industry.

He also emphasized the power that listening and showing compassion has in leading others. Travel agents, in serving their clients, are as much in the mental health business as they are in the travel business.

Terry, Ken, and Mike, consultants from MPG Travel Solutions, also led several sessions over the course of the week. Using their years of expertise and experience as travel industry executives, they helped agents ground their business in its purpose by developing a business plan and laying out marketing strategies. It all starts by writing down your goals, and telling others about them!

Our Director of Education and Programs, Bill moderating a panel with Rick and MPG.

The Crystal Awards ceremony, held during our final day at sea, also showcased our agents’ purpose of developing successful travel businesses. The full list of winners can be viewed here, but we’d like to give a round of applause to all agents for their 2018 achievements and efforts.

Congrats to all the Crystal Award winners!

At the end of the ceremony, our emcee Bill Coyle announced the location of the 2020 Crystal Conference: the Iberostar Resort complex in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The exact dates have yet to be confirmed, but agents can anticipate the event to be in the fall of next year.


At the heart of the Crystal Conference is a love of a travel, and the need to share the love of travel with others. In the spirit of love and cruising, we were very fortunate to have Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, with us on the Ruby for the meet-and-greet before we departed Los Angeles. This special celebrity guest energized us for the weekend ahead, and made for a fun photo opp!

We were a little star-struck during our meet-and-greet with Gavin MacLeod!

Throughout the week, agents experienced Princess Cruises, and were able to explore Cabo during the ship’s overnight stay in port. Our District Sales Manager with Disney, Rob Cook, also provided a smaller group of agents with the opportunity for a post-cruise stay at Disneyland.

We woke up to inspiring views of Cabo from the ship

Seeing a destination firsthand renews our sense of wanderlust, and reminds us all of the reasons we got into the travel industry. For our agents, it also gives them a practical advantage when talking to clients about Princess Cruises, Disneyland, or a trip to Cabo.

Learning about resorts through site inspections while in Cabo

Without a travel agent’s insight, a client may not know that Cabo is a tender port, meaning cruisers have to take a small tender ship to land, instead of just walking off the ship. They may not be familiar with Princess’s specialty dining options or internet packages. Those that experienced Disneyland can now help a client navigate the park, and share how it differs from Disney World.

Our home for the 2019 Crystal Conference!

These practical (and fun!) opportunities are key to boosting agents’ confidence, and motivating them to Take Action when selling Princess Cruises and the destinations they explored!

For the KHM Travel Group Team, being able to share our knowledge and passion with agents on board is the ultimate reward, and the reason why the Crystal Conference is so special to us!

The KHM Travel Group Team on board, celebrating an amazing Crystal Conference. Thank you everyone!

What did this year’s theme, Take Action: People, Purpose, Passion mean to you? Share with us in the Facebook Agent-Only Groups!

We are so fortunate for the Princess Cruises team that hosted and made this event possible for us: Anthony, Craig, Ursula, and Madeline!

We can’t thank our host, Princess Cruises, enough for helping us bring this event to life over the past year and a half. Your partnership and support are invaluable to us!

Check out our collection of Flickr albums to download 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.

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