First Major Tour and Travel Industry Tradeshow to Convene in September in Orlando—Do Connect Travel’s innovations mean more than the elimination buffet lines the length of the meeting room foyer? The answer to that and other questions follow—as the tour and travel industry in the USA gets ready to re-activate six months after it began to shut down.
• The Who, What, When, Where and Why: There will be two tracks at the event—one for those attending the RTO Summit South, which mostly targets the large community of receptive tour operators located in Orlando and Central Florida, and another track for Connect Tour, a domestic travel show specifically designed to address the particular interests of U.S. buyers and suppliers. Both tracks will be staged September 8-10, 2020 at the Rosen Shingle Creek® Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
• What makes Connect these shows different from other events? They combine the right timing, a unique format that creates an efficient and effective environment to expedite the sales process and close business and a robust educational track to inspire and inform industry leaders in a rapidly evolving market.
—Connect Tour is the premier hosted-buyer event that brings together the most active tour operators, suppliers and experts in domestic tour and travel for preset appointments, keynote general sessions, planner/supplier roundtables and quality networking.
—RTO Summit South, now more than a decade old, fulfills the same needs of the mostly Orlando-based receptive tour operator community and the DMOs and suppliers
• Is there anything else that makes Connect Tour/RTO Summit South unique? Yes. September 8-10 will mark the formal launch of Connect’s Safe + Clean Connect plan which includes safety measures to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus as well as promote healthy best practices that planners can adopt at their events.
Here are the measures that will be implemented, which can be adapted to any event:
1. Temperature checks will be conducted before entering the event. Anyone with an elevated temperature or fever will not be allowed into the show.
2. Cotton masks will be required for attendees and staff at a minimum. Up to three KN95 masks will be provided for any attendee or staff who wants one. KN95 masks are almost identical in performance to the N95 mask used by hospital employees.
3. No on-site registration lines. Attendees will be shipped a welcome kit that includes a badge, a KN95 mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, agenda, magazine and other conference materials.
4. Glove and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the event. There will be enough nitrile disposable gloves for each attendee to wear 3x a day, and touchless hand sanitizer stations will be plentiful throughout the trade show floor and in common areas.
5. Disinfectant foggers will be placed in the indoor convention space. Professional disinfectant electrostatic sprayers will continuously disinfect the air and neutralize germs.
6. New appointment design that allows for social distancing measures. This includes plexiglass shields and sanitizer on appointment tables, which will be wiped down between appointments.
7. Greater and more creative use of indoor/outdoor spaces for receptions, education sessions and other breakouts.
8. Larger aisle ways with dedicated travel lanes in trade show and appointment areas. This will help manage traffic and prevent attendees from bumping into each other or crowding in certain areas on the trade show floor.
9. Six-foot space between chairs in education sessions. The trade showfloor and other spaces will also have 6’ space markers for attendees to follow to help them maintain an acceptable amount of space between each other.
10. No-contact F&B via pre-packaged food, pre-packaged silverware and no self-serve buffets. Extra funds will be spent on service staff serving coffee and refreshments for each attendee while wearing gloves, masks and protective gear. Grab-and-go pre-made alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and other items will be ready and sanitized at receptions.
11. No large general sessions. Instead, money will be spent on showcasing and implementing the most cutting-edge safety precautions into the programming that attendees can use as inspiration for their own events.
For more information:
Suppliers register here.
Operators register here.