As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues and case counts keep dropping around the country, life is starting to enter the “new normal” phase — and in the travel agency community, that means the cautious return to in-person events.
That includes the Travursity Travel Showcase, a series of regional shows connecting travel advisors with suppliers since 2015.
Travursity was founded by two working agents: Vince Yeck of Yeck’s Cruise and Travel and Monique FitzPatrick of Infinite Travel Group, both based in Lake Mary, Fla. Yeck said they were inspired to start Travursity after years in the industry attending trade shows, holding seminars at sea and hosting fam trips as Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) chapter directors.
“We enjoyed going to those events,” Yeck said. “We always felt that they were so necessary for the advancement of travel agent education, and we saw that there was still a need for those types of shows.”
Monique FitzPatrick and Vince Yeck at a Travursity event. Source: Vince Yeck
Travursity holds around 12 shows a year in regional markets at unique venues. They center around supplier presentations to educate agents as well as networking. Events have been held in Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, in breweries and even on a paddleboat in Pittsburgh. “They created what we call a ‘memory bridge’ to the event,” Yeck said. “In other words, that allows the agents to remember who they saw, who they networked with, because the event stuck in their mind.”
The pandemic forced Travursity to pause most of its 2020 shows. And while others pivoted to virtual shows, Travursity decided to hold off. FitzPatrick said the in-person aspect was too important. “It’s a lot more welcoming and personable,” she said. “It brings our home-based agents out, even though there are [also] brick-and-mortar agents. It gets us all connected with our BDMS, and it’s social for all of us as well as educational.”
Travursity was recently able to start operations again with three shows in April and May in Phoenix, Houston and San Antonio, with more coming in the fall. To give attendees a chance to spread out, 2021’s events have thus far been held in movie theaters. In addition to safe distancing, Yeck said, that allowed suppliers to present on movie theater screens with professional sound. He called it “very impressive.”
Yeck said details on fall shows will be released at a later date, but Denver and Philadelphia are on the list. Next year, Travursity is eyeing Dallas, New Orleans and Chicago as potential locations. For more information, email [email protected]. “Getting back out on the road, being face-to-face meeting suppliers, is important to us as agents,” Yeck said. “It’s important to the agent community, and it’s equally important to the industry suppliers and partners.”