NTA’s annual gathering is a miraculous mashup of business development and relationship building. And this year, when delegates saddle up and ride into Fort Worth, Dec. 8–12, they’ll welcome new ideas and old friends (plus new friends with even newer ideas).
It’s a proud city that’s eager to host an association that prides itself on being packaged travel’s voice of experience—with a focus on the future.
So digest what’s here, stay tuned to Tuesday and NTAtravelexchange.com … and break in your boots ’cause we’re going to Texas!
Energized by innovation
Every Travel Exchange brings fresh opportunities: new members attend, profitable markets emerge and experts offer innovative solutions. But at TREX ’19 in Fort Worth, NTA members will see more of what made Milwaukee famous (at least in the association’s collective mind).
Just as a bright and open appointment floor was the talk of the travel industry following TREX ’18, it’ll be new ways of bringing buyers and sellers together that will create a buzz about the 2019 version of Travel Exchange.
Here’s what’s new for Fort Worth:
- Buyers will be seated all week, making it easier for them to do business—and easier for sellers to find them.
- All DMO appointments—the seven-minute prescheduled ones, anyway—will take place on Monday.
- On Tuesday, buyers are appointment-free, so sellers can connect with them in seminars and on the floor—during lunch and booth-browsing.
- Plus, buyers will be able to participate in education seminars that day.
- There are two new ways for buyers and sellers to connect on Tuesday:
- Sales Missions are coordinated 20-minute presentations made by several DMOs (read on to learn more).
- Best Pitch is a 90-minute session when National Tourism Office reps will each give a five-minute talk to an audience of 20-plus buyers.
- Tuesday’s mingle-friendly Lunch in the Hall will give sellers a chance to follow up with buyers, and it gives buyers a chance to browse sponsor booths.
- With NTA buyers as judges, NTA will award the first-ever TREXies, honoring outstanding sponsor booths in four categories:
- Best giveaways—appeal of branded items distributed at booth
- Most interactive—effectiveness of staff, materials, displays, giveaways, etc.
- Tastiest treat—Hits. The. Spot. (All refreshments must be approved by NTA.)
- Best of show—overall appearance, effectiveness and welcoming setting
To see the full schedule for Travel Exchange, click here.
Your (Sales) Mission
On a Fort Worth Tuesday that’s appointment-free, buyers and sellers will connect on the TREX Floor in multiple new ways. North American DMOs can make many connections in Sales Missions: 20-minute presentations made by several DMOs—linked by geography—to a group of buyers. Each Sales Mission led by a state or provincial DMO will include local DMOs and, at the leader’s option, suppliers, too.
Think of Sales Missions as pop-up presentations. Standing in front of a group of six to 12 buyers,* you and your co-presenters will use anything you can easily, quickly carry in (and out): collateral pieces, pullup banners, branded items, iPads, funny hats, etc.
More details about Sales Missions—including a snappy Q&A—are on this page.
To get the scoop on the Best Pitch session for international DMOs, go to the What’s New page on the Travel Exchange website.
*All projected numbers are based on attendance figures from TREX ’18.
Why register early?
Buyers: You get to be closer to the front of the line to pick which Sales Missions you attend. You’ll also get first crack at pre-TREX Fam tours.
Sellers: Early-bird rates expire July 30, so register now to save $100. Also, you’ll get a higher priority for appointment requests, sightseeing tours and your choice of sponsorships.
DMOs: To make sure you get in the mix for the new Tuesday connections—and get in on early-bird rates—sign up by July 30.
All members: Early registration helps you get your first choice of hotel accommodations, and it can be the difference between getting a seat on a sightseeing tour—and missing out.
Worth checking out
Information on the sightseeing tours is up and running on the Travel Exchange website, so check out the eight different excursions. These tours, sponsored by Visit Fort Worth, take place Sunday morning, Dec. 8. Here’s what sightseers can do:
- Visit a working ranch
- Dive into the city’s arts and architecture
- Learn about Texas history during the U.S. Civil War and the cattle drive era
- Enjoy a (half) day at the ball park
- Meet the tastemakers at local breweries and distilleries
- Saddle up for what’s new at the stockyards (two options for this Western experience)
- Go behind the scenes at the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship
In addition to sightseeing tours, our host city is also offering pre-event Fam tours. On Saturday, Dec. 7, one full-day program will take participants north to Denton and the Texas horse country, and another daylong departure will head south to Magnolia Market in Waco.
Buyers can also choose among three pre-TREX multi-day Fam tours: West Texas, East Texas and Dallas.
Watch your email and Tuesday newsletter for detailed descriptions—plus the exact day we’ll ring the starting bell for sign-ups.
Don’t Kid yourself
NTA will base its operations in Sundance Square, a large shopping-dining-entertainment district that includes the convention center and Travel Exchange host hotels.
“I encourage delegates to spend dine-around nights in Sundance Square,” says Estela Martinez-Stuart, director of tourism for Visit Fort Worth. “And everyone can do some holiday shopping at stores that are close by or just a trolley ride away.”
The downtown area is named for the Sundance Kid, who, along with Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall Gang, prowled the Fort Worth streets and saloons in 1900.
“They were there not to rob banks, but to enjoy the town,” says Martinez- Stuart. “They had their photo taken here, and it was placed in the photographer’s window. When a lawman recognized one of the gang members, they all had to hightail it out of Texas.”
While those outlaw days are long gone, Martinez-Stuart says the city delights in its past. “We invite you to enjoy Fort Worth—as long as you’re well-behaved.”
Want some extra attention?
If you’re hankering to catch the eye of NTA delegates when they ride into town for TREX, you can sponsor an event, an item or an experience. For ideas and info, email Laura McFadden or visit NTAtravelexchange.com/sponsor.
Top photo by Visit Fort Worth