MLT University Gets it Right... and Not Just Because it's in Minneapolis
You may know this already; I'm a bit of a conference-goer. I like the trainings, trade shows, networking. The only down side I can think of? It can be expensive... and my unhappy feet. *sigh* I can never seem to find comfortable business shoes (suggestions welcome in the comments section!).
Anyhow, a few weeks ago I attended MLT University. It scores big points because it's held in my city and it's the only work conference I can bike to.
It's also one of the best shows around. Let's have a heart-to-heart about why you should consider attending.
Reason 1: Training
I don't know of any other place with such in-depth training on destinations and vendors. For experienced agents, you'll come away with some take aways but most agents I spoke to use MLT U as a brush-up and a time to network. For new agents, consider the trainings a gold mine.
The end goal of MLT U is to increase sales of MLT's vacation package brands. And the easiest way for them to increase sales is to have an educated force of agents. I have no qualms in saying that MLT U is an extremely effective way for new agents to learn the industry, a new destination, or a new product.
Side note: MLT University is great, but not for everyone. Agents that sell outside the products, destinations, and/or vacation package brands that MLT represents (currently Delta Vacations, AeroMexico Vacations, and Worry-free Vacations) as well as cruise-only agents will want to look for a conference that's a better fit (check our industry events calendar).
Reason 2: Subsidized Air
With air, hotel, food, transfers...attending conferences can be expensive. MLT U does things a little differently than normal and provides transfers to/from the airport. Let's also not forget that Minneapolis is an affordable city (go us!) and, since MLT Vacations is owned by Delta, discount air is offered. And not fake discounted (where you think you're getting a discount but you save $12), we're talking the real deal.
Reason 3: Networking
It's energizing to see so many agents in one place! It's one of the most well-attended—if not the most well-attended—leisure agent conference I've been to.
Reason 4: Trade Show
The trade show is also bustling with agents and full of vendors ranging from CVB to car rental companies to hotels and resorts. After a day of trainings, you can make connections and get business cards for tons of the places you sell.
Reason 5: Lunch Speakers
At most conferences, the keynote speakers are from the travel industry but MLT University sets themselves apart by bringing in high quality, outside-the-industry keynotes. I like when events are spiced up at bit, you know?
I had the pleasure of hearing Ken Schmidt—the former director of communications at Harley Davidson—speak about building brand loyalty to survive in competitive marketplaces. Lots of great carry-over to travel agents:
Note: In the past, lunch speakers remained the same all three days but this year there was a new lunch speaker each day. I'm sure that's a refreshing change for agents that attend all three days of MLT U!
Reason 6: My City is Beautiful
I love Minneapolis. The truth is, you can't beat Minnesota as the fall colors start appearing!
Disclaimer: If they move the conference to a winter date, disregard this.
Wrapping it Up
MLT University is having their next conference on Sept. 17th & 18th, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia! Keep an eye on our industry events calendar for other opportunities. Heck, we might even see you at an event!