Express Travel Groups (ETG) inaugural ‘Express Travel Group eXchange’, (ETGX) wrapped up in Bangkok over the weekend. Here’s the download.
This year’s new format owner-managers conference brought together of all ETG’ brands including Select Travel Group (STG), Independent Travel Group and italk Travel and Cruise for the first time in the groups 19-year history.
Held at Bangkok’s newest hotel the Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, 300+ delegates attended the two-day conference with a showcase of plenary sessions, keynote speakers and TedX style panel discussions designed to inspire and connect agents and suppliers.
The united message across the conference was “we are individual, diverse, unique and stronger together.”
Read all about what CEO Tom Manwaring had to share in his opening address here.
What made headline news?
WECHAT: ETG Executive General Manager Ari Magoutis announced the development of a mini-program app in his session to support the growing Chinese social media platform WeChat.
QUOTE BUILDER: Also announced was the development of a new online quote and itinerary builder (going live in 2020) that will allow agents to design and quote on complex itineraries supporting preferred partners in minutes.
GO MOBILE: italktravel & cruise at home Mobile Travel Advisors can now take advantage of the flexibility of working from home but benefit from a direct relationship and mentor with a current franchisee store owner, whilst Express Travel Group manages all back-end financials.
SME CORPORATE PUSH: Newly created brand, Express Corporate will offer members the ability to expand their SME reach across Australia through the utilisation of a corporate group solution.
Qualifying members across all brands will have access to tailored airfare offers, Corporate Booking Tool (CBT) technology, access to mid-office tools and dedicated training and resources.
What else happened?
In short, a lot of conversations and socialising! This was a conference where the emphasis was on connecting face to face just as much as taking in the conference content.
Over the two days, there were a series of TedX panel discussions which saw the groups preferred partners discuss trends across various parts of the industry including, technology, cruise, tour and air.
Points of discussion covered the role of travel agents in air distribution over the next 5-10 years, the future of cruising, innovation and evolution of the touring sector.
Friday evening saw American Airlines pull a Thai rabbit out of a hat by orchestrating 160 Tuk Tuks (complete with two Thai Police motorbike escort) to transport delegates down to their sunset river cruise in the biggest (and noisiest) convoy Bangkok has probably ever seen.
And the land of smiles experience continued with the Travel Corporation family of brands hosting a welcome dinner at the riverside Avani hotel that featured Thai dancers, relaxing massages and so much delicious Thai food.
The business proceedings of the event concluded on Saturday afternoon with the founder of G Adventures Bruce Poon Tip delivering a keynote on responsible travel and G Adventures sustainable journey.
Saturday nights gala awards night closed out the conference by recognising outstanding achievement across the group both by state and nationally.
Impressively, ETG has more than tripled in size in terms of staff and office locations in its 19-year lifespan, and with the recent majority share investment in First Travel Group NZ the group is now home to more than 760 agents across Australia and New Zealand.
Where to next year?
ETGX 2020 will be held in Fiji from 15-18 August 2020 with more details to come.
Find out more about ETG: www.etg.travel
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