At a Give Back component of the event, the group helped fill a shipping container with supplies for a medical facility in Africa

Direct Travel leisure advisors gathered in Chicago

Direct Travel advisors, management and the majority of its strategic suppliers convened November 14 to 16 in Chicago at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile to network, learn and foster relationships. This was the first North American leisure conference for Direct Travel and the event saw over 300 attendees, with fully half from Canada.

“This has been a huge success and a real win for both our team and our suppliers,” said Stephen Smith, Senior Vice President, Leisure Strategy & Marketing, adding that top partners present included Oceania, Silversea and Allianz.  “Human connection is a big part of our business, and it was great to get everyone in one place, with over 3,500 face-to-face meetings facilitated over the span of two days.” There were also professional development sessions focused on simplification, efficiency and growth as travel advisors.

At the Awards Gala on Wednesday night, Direct Travel launched its expanded GEM recognition program which distinguishes top leisure producers. “Of the nearly 1,000 Direct advisors across North America, 130 were awarded GEM status for 2022-23 – an impressive achievement,” said Gerard Bellino, EVP Leisure at Direct Travel.

The conference wrapped with a Give Back event at Project C.U.R.E to help fill a shipping container with supplies for a medical facility in Africa. “We were so delighted to partner with A&K Philanthropy to facilitate this opportunity to help those in need.  Project C.U.R.E. does some incredible work and it was so great to see everyone contributing and working together,” said Rene Schneeberger, SVP, Supplier Relations at Direct Travel, who also sits on the DEI committee.

“The conference was so well received that we are already planning the 2024 event,” says Smith, “And are confident it will be as great a success.”

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