EDGE 2022: Evolving and Discovering a Path Forward
Written by: Guest on July 06, 2022
By: Carolyn Sekerak, Director of Marketing Strategy and Community Engagement
Travel Leaders Network, KHM Travel Group’s consortia, hosted its 4th annual EDGE Conference at the beautiful Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado from June 12-15.
For KHM Travel Group agents and team members in attendance, the event kicked off with a round-circle Meet and Greet. Agents got to know each other by sharing hand-drawn emojis to represent the travel destinations and products they sell. Then, the group headed outside to share a beverage at the firepits and watch the sun dip behind the Rockies.
Day one began with Mastermind Workshops–an attendee favorite. Travel advisors from across the nation brainstormed the most impactful marketing solutions and educational resources that drive your agency forward. The afternoon’s general session kicked off with the TLN President Roger Block.
“We have people from every corner of the world going to a trusted travel advisor.”Roger Block
Triumph over challenges, agent empowerment, and excitement for the opportunities to come were the themes woven throughout each sponsor and partner presentation. Everyone cheered the CDC’s decision to repeal the COVID-19 testing requirement for international travelers entering or returning to the U.S. Roger Block called it “the next big positive event for our industry.”
Throughout the 3-day conference, attendees could customize their learning path by selecting from over 200 workshops hosted by the TLN team, event sponsors, destination partners, and industry experts. Workshops focused on everything from social media to luxury travel trends to time management best practices.
There was also ample opportunity to meet the supplier and destination partners at the new “Destination Connection.“ This offered advisors the chance to meet with Tourism Board partners in small-group appointments. Likewise, the TLN Experience Lounge offered the chance to explore each of the consortia’s agent-focused products. Here, agents got a much deeper understanding of TLN’s Agent Profiler lead generation tool and Engagement marketing programs that all KHM Travel Group agents can use to accelerate their agency’s market awareness and growth.
The rain on Sunday afternoon almost washed out the outdoor opening reception. But the Colorado sun cleared the way for an entertaining and lively event. Attendees enjoyed gathering stilt-walkers, live music, dinner, and drinks.
Day 2’s General Session presenters really spoke to the heart of each of the room’s 1,500 agents. KHM Travel Group agents loved Holland America’s nod to gratitude and reminder that giving leads to greater happiness. In the spirit of giving, all travel advisors in attendance were offered a complimentary Holland America Alaska Cruise as part of the company’s Attitude of Gratitude trade promise. After the event, qualified agents were able to select from over 30 itineraries between June and September, to experience the grandeur of Alaska with a travel companion!
Attendees were encouraged to give back in support of TLN’s Family Bonds Foundation. This foundation has provided over 200 grants to travel industry members in need since its inception. A silent auction and raffle helped the foundation surpass their initial goal of $50,000 to raise $75,000 from EDGE Attendees!
Monday night’s entertainment included free transportation to downtown Denver or the Stanley Market. Attendees had a chance to experience Colorado’s capital city’s vibrant nightlife, shop, and grab dinner with new or old friends.
Tuesday afternoon’s trade show was hopping with over 120 booths. The most popular booths were those who offered prizes and fun giveaways, including United Airlines, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Viking. Funjet Vacations’ booth invited visitors to “take the edge off.” There were three relaxation pods for guided meditation and a plush eye mask to keep as a reminder to keep your cool.
Tourism Boards including Hawaii, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and many others not only hosted informative workshops and inviting trade show booths, but also gave away fabulous swag bags and prizes. One of the top prizes was round-trip airfare to Thailand that was won by one of our very own agents!
The highlight of the event was the gala dinner. Honorees included EDGE award winners and those who have achieved a TLN Specialist Certification this year. KHM Travel Group was chosen as a TLN Chairman’s Host Award Winner. Anita Pagliasso accepted the award on our behalf! It truly was a night of stars!
The last general session featured a keynote from G Adventures Founder, Bruce Poon Tip. Bruce’s career has been devoted to changing the world for the better through his advocacy and commitment to social entrepreneurship and immersive travel. Through the Planeterra Foundation, Bruce inspires a model of tourism that preserves the culture and livelihood of underserved communities.
And as if all that wasn’t enough to take in, we hosted our weekly show KHM Today. The show featured KHM Travel Group agents and team members sharing their EDGE experience. They also chatted about how the event highlighted diversity and inclusion in the industry.
Looking Ahead to 2023
Four days of nonstop learning and networking proved productive and EDGE 2022 delivered on its promise. We all look forward to gathering again at EDGE 2023 in Nashville on May 8-11. View our photos for a glimpse of what industry events like EDGE have to offer to your business.