Last week, the 10th annual RTO Summit East convened at the Wyndham New Yorker hotel in Manhattan. The two-day program focused for its first day, Digital Day, on presentations designed to equip international sales and marketing professionals with a better understanding of digital skills and techniques. The second day comprised a full schedule of one-on-one business appointments between receptive tour operators and travel suppliers.
First to make it to the Summit conference room is a delegation from Pennsylvania that includes (left-to-right): Lisa Arrell, group ambassador, Kitchen Kettle Village; Jennifer Buchter, managing director of hospitality and sales, Amish View Inn & Suites, Plain and Fancy Farm and Miller’s Smorgasbord; and Daniell Sload, group sales manager, Amish View Inn & Suites, Plain and Fancy Farm and Miller’s Smorgasbord.
Just arriving at the Summit from outside, where it is an unusually cool spring morning for New York City, is Andrew Wiens, international destination marketing sales manager for TripAdvisor.
Familiar faces at the RTO Summit series: Mike Prejean (left), international manager, Louisiana Office of Tourism; and Laszlo Horvath, president, Active Media.
Prepared for a day of note taking, and ready for the morning’s business to begin, are: Diego Camacho, senior trade sales manager, Madame Tussauds New York; and Sally Altman, director of sales, Holiday Inn, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
From the different ends of NY state are: Millie Nye (left), sales manager, Long Island CVB and Sports Commission; and Lori Reed, manager, international tour & travel trade, Niagara Parks.
Fred Dixon, president and CEO, New York City & Company, welcomes delegates at the RTO Summit to New York.
Jake Steinman, founder and CEO, NAJ Group, presents an overview of the latest trends in the receptive tour operator industry.
Gio Palatucci, senior social media strategist at Sparkloft Media, waiting to tell delegates about using Facebook in their international marketing efforts.
Laurel Bennett, director of tourism sales, Nashville CVB, pauses just long enough to give the Inbound Report photographer a smile.
Comparing notes with a colleague between presentations is B’Anka Neder, marketing manager, Big Bus Las Vegas.
Sally Berry, tourism sales and marketing manager at Corning Museum of Glass, who served as emcee for the day-long session of presentations and discussions, recognizes a questioner.
Gisel Vidals, head of national trade sales USA/head of sales and marketing New York City, Big Bus Tours, pauses long enough to smile at the Inbound Report’s photographer.
Waiting to hear a presentation on the latest trends in the use of mobile devices are Roxana Rivera, director of sales and marketing for the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and Cat Pear, from Visit Alexandria (Va.).
Mahua Sehgal (left), tour series contracting manager, New World Travel; and Lisa Catron, national sales manager, Memphis CVB, listen to the presentation of the exponential growth in the use of mobile devices by consumers abroad.
Trying graciously to ignore the photographer in front of her as she tries to follow the program is Tara Hippensteel, director of Tour & Travel, North America at Hard Rock International.
At an informally named Louisiana table are: Tracy Francis (left), destination sales manager, tourism, Visit Baton Rouge; and Wilma Harvey, tourism sales manager, Bayou Lafourche Area CVB.
On another side of the Louisiana table are: Eugenia Mitchell, vice president of tourism sales, Lafayette Convention & Visitor Commission; and Mike Prejean, international manager, Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO, Destination Analysts Research, explains some surprising new trends in international tourism during her presentation on the State of the International Traveler.
Another cluster of delegates from Pennsylvania (left-to-right): Greg Edevane, director of sales, Chester County CVB (The Countryside of Philadelphia); Jenny McConnell, director of sales, Destination Gettysburg; and Audrey Bialas director of sales, Visit Hershey & Harrisburg.
Discussing their respective takes on “Using Online Tools to Generate Grass Roots Demand in Overseas Markets” just before making their presentations are: Al Chen, co-founder, Co-operatize.com; and Keri Hansen, director, tourism and development, Macy’s.
Paying close attention to the presentation on “Using Online Tools to Generate Grass Roots Demand in Overseas Markets” are: Ann Pilcher (left), tourism sales manager, Pocono Mountains CVB; and Terese Balzereit, head of business development for Big Bus tours in Philadelphia.
Winnie Liu (left), managing director, CPTRIP (Ontario); and Melissa Card, tour and travel sales manager, Reunion Resort, discussing a just concluded session on the use of social network influencers in marketing.
Discussing the day ahead while having breakfast on Wednesday morning are: Richard Strom, director of tourism development at California’s North Coast Tourism Council; and Estela Martinez-Stuart, director of tourism, Fort Worth CVB.
Listening to what a colleague has to say during the Wednesday morning breakfast is Vanessa Alfonso, project manager at American Guest.
Making a point during a conversation at Wednesday morning’s breakfast is John Williams, president of American Guest.
A familiar figure at the RTO Summits is Gonzalo del Rio, director, international tour & travel-North America, Hard Rock Café.
Caught at breakfast prior to a day of one-on-one appointments with tour operators, Genevieve Logan Reese, general manager and president of the French Manor Inn and Spa in the Pocono Mountains, still smiles for the photographer.
Jeanne Hart, tour & travel sales manager, Courtyard Gettysburg, makes a point with receptive tour operator Ernesto Tecco, group manager for 5A Incentive Planners.
Vickie Evans, senior account representative, tourism at The Henry Ford, tells the Inbound Report that she is having a very successful time at the Summit.
Kelly Heer, national sales manager, realstar hospitality, listens to a colleague during a breakfast table discussion.
Just finished ringing the chime and announcing the first business appointment session of a day-long series of sessions are Barbara Stephen, a part of NAJ’s event team; and Sofia Williamsson, NAJ’s chief operating officer.
Mara Sultan, convention & international sales manager, Discover Lancaster, was one of a half-dozen tour and travel marketing professionals from Central Pennsylvania who showed up in New York for the Summit.
Roxanna Torrens, senior director of travel industry sales, Earl Enterprises, makes her pitch at the Inamerica Tours table.
A view from above shows part of the business appointment action in the ornate Grand Ballroom of the Wyndham New Yorker hotel.
David Ho, operator of Citi Travel Inc., awaits the visit of his next business appointment.
It is unclear just what made them laugh: Greg Marshall (left), senior vice president, director of marketing, Visit Rochester; and Jake Steinman, founder and CEO, NAJ Group.
The day’s work is nearly done and Isaac Pacheco, tour and travel sales manager, Hornblower Cruises; and Etty Scaglia, owner of Accent on Dining and Food & Beverages Specialist, are ready for the end-of-business reception.
Resting before heading to the reception are: Miriam Blumenthal (left), international and group marketing manager, Dupage CVB; and Roxana Rivera, director of sales and marketing, the Newseum.
Waiting to be raffled off—almost all of them to operators—is this stash of gifts from suppliers; the action is to take place in a few moments.
Enjoying the reception are: Francois Jean Viel (left), president, Viel Marketing International; and Dietmar Postl, president, Destination North America.
Giving the thumbs-up to a successful marketplace is Anthony Lieu, general manager, American Holidays—seen here with Harry Wade, , Duty Free America.
A prize raffle that closed out the reception resulted in an ironic situation in which Elaine Kellogg (right), executive director of business development, Gray Line City Sightseeing New York, City and a contributor of featured prizes, presented one of the them to Terese Balzereit, head of business development for Big Bus tours in Philadelphia.
Catching up on things at the reception are: Jake Steinman, founder and CEO, NAJ Group, which operates the RTO Summit series; and Julie Katz, owner of TourMappers North America—notice the attachment to her plate which was perfect for holding a glass of wine.