Home Based Travel Agent Forum Las Vegas 2014

Fabulous and Time Well Spent!

This year was a little different for the Home Based Travel Agent Forum.  It was still held at the Venetian as it is every year, but I was no longer an observer but a panelist.  I was asked to work with Constant Contact for email marketing.  It was completely new to me and I wasn’t sure where to start.  I was able to get a few email campaigns out before my daughter graduated from high school and then we had a senior trip to the Eastern Caribbean planned for her.

We got to Vegas late Saturday night and I attended Margie Jordan’s Session Sunday afternoon about Facebook and how to deal with the changes that have taken place.

Monday morning started with the general session and then our Email Marketing Makeover was up next.

Kelly Walton Travel Agent Forum

Kim and I ready for the show!

Ron Cates gave all the details to the agents in the room on what to expect with Constant Contact and then showed examples of our campaigns.

Kelly Walton Platinum Voyages

I had a 120% open rate on my first real campaign that I sent out.


Constant Contact set me up with a template that matches my Platinum Voyages website.  It took a little getting used to for me since I had never done anything like that before but I think it is a great resource and tool to use.  I think I had some great response from it and I’m very glad that I was a part of it.

I was also part of another session about branding yourself – “Learn how to take your BORING business to a Vibrant Brand”.  My tailgate on my suburban and my business cards were featured in this session.  Thanks Lauren!

Kelly Walton Platinum Voyages tailgate Kelly Walton Platinum Voyages travel agents business card

I truly feel honored to have been asked to participate in the show as well as being featured in another session! It was one very proud day! I had other travel agents recognizing me about being featured in the sessions which sparked some conversations and made me feel special. The travel agents that wanted to participate in the evening receptions were bussed to the Mob Museum for part of our weekly entertainment on Monday. On Tuesday, they sent us to the Tropicana to the Havana Club. That place was cool! I can’t wait to go back. After that we were invited to the Lavo Lounge in the Palazzo for more cocktails. I really didn’t think that the week could get much better, boy was I wrong! Wednesday morning was a Jeopardy style Cruise Line Trivia Game Show where the Carnival Corporation was giving away cruises! We were seated 5 to a table and worked as a team. There were reps from Carnival, Costa, Holland America, Princess and Cunard Cruise Lines. We were scored on the questions of course but also in how fast you clicked the clicker and you had 10 seconds to answer each question!  Each table had a different cruise ship name on it so that was how they kept track.

Cruise Line Trivia Panelists with Host Anita Pagliasso

Anita Pagliasso, Mike Julius – Carnival, Silvio Alonso – Costa, Bret Gove – Cunard, Christine Stevens – Holland America, and Brian O’Connor – Princess.

I took this photo before we were halfway done with the questions.

Cruise Line Trivia Game Show Stats halfway in

Our table was the Carnival Breeze and we were currently in 3rd place.

So the grand prize was a cruise for each team member and then 5 other teams got gift bags from the cruise lines. Our team missed two questions and by the time we were done and they started naming off the runner ups, I was sure we didn’t have a chance of winning since the team in first place halfway in got 5th. Again, I was wrong! I can’t even tell you the excitement that ran through me and came out my mouth in the form of screams!

We won a free cruise

The winning table!

Well now we had to figure out who was getting what cruise! I guess it was only fair that we draw straws so to speak. Since Kim ran the clicker she got to pick a business card first. She won a Mediterranean Costa Cruise. Karen picked next and got Holland America. Gale got Princess and then it was my turn. I pulled the Cunard card. Secretly it was the one I had hoped for all along! A transatlantic sailing from the UK to New York – just like our ancestors have done!! I’m shooting for next summer to take my free cruise.

Kelly Walton Platinum Voyages free cruise

Kim, Gale, Chuck, Karen and myself!

Not your typical Vegas trip, which people usually spend gambling. I’ll take winning a cruise any day! I want to give a special thanks to my Host Agency – A Ticket 2 Travel! Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today – loving being a Travel Agent!l

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