When asked why travel industry professionals like attending Accent Travel Network conferences, the answer is often innovation – the itinerary planning session, the small and intimate size of the conference, the two to one ratio between suppliers and operators, and the numerous networking functions which take place throughout the conference. These are all great features. But Accent has been resting on these laurels for long enough. The small and mighty Accent conferences have recently adopted additional innovations that will build upon the current highly successful concept.
In order for the group travel industry to be viable, it must grow and adapt. One way in which Accent is leading the way is the “Accent Supports Local” initiative. Small businesses in the host destination are invited to breakfast and the itinerary planning session. In addition to showcasing their businesses, they learn more about the group tour industry and the unique needs of tour operators. Linda Jeffries from Visit Beaufort (host of Accent East 2023) states, “The Local Small Business Day during Accent East was a tremendous success for everyone. It was an opportunity for local businesses with limited budgets to showcase their tours and attractions, and surprisingly some of our retail shop owners took advantage as well. In addition to having an exhibit table, being able to stay for the itinerary building session introduced them to the fact that they are part of the tourism industry and how they benefit when a motorcoach comes to town.”
Secondly, Accent is pleased to announce the creation of a new category of delegate, the Future Tour Operator. This category is for those who recently graduated from a travel school and have not yet operated any tours. Accent welcomes the opportunity to further educate new delegates at its conferences. There is a one-year probationary period and Future Tour Operators do not count as an operator in the two-to-one ratio. In 2023, Accent jumpstarted several new careers in group travel. Future Tour Operators learned from the long-time professions who were willing to share their experience and expertise. Great contacts and new friends were made, and they went home with actual product to build upon.
Another new initiative is “Accent Supports Preservation”. Our Accent West 2023 keynote speaker Rafael Villanueva talked about how travelers are choosing to give back to the destination as part of their vacation. Accent will be supporting this trend in 2024 by organizing service projects in Branson MO (West) and Traverse City MI (East). Operators are always searching for something new and unique to include in future packages, and this is a perfect option to consider. It is so rewarding to incorporate what is learned at Accent into action.
Dates and locations for Accent Conferences in 2024 are as follows:
Accent West – Branson MO Accent West 2024 (accenttravelnetwork.com)
May 6-8: Pre-Fam for Operators
May 10-12: Accent West Conference
Accent East – Traverse City MI Accent East 2024 (accenttravelnetwork.com)
November 10-12: Pre-Fam for Operators
November 12-14: Accent East Conference
The Accent Travel Network is owned and operated by MARS and Companies, who firmly believe in the Power of Partnerships. MARS has provided quality tour product for operators big and small for over 25 years. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org