In early 2013, the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA) surveyed a sample group of more than 600 travel agents across North America who “self identified” as never having booked a destination wedding or honeymoon for their clients.
The primary reasons they gave for not selling these types of trips were “I have no idea where to get started in booking a trip like that.” (73 percent) and “I’m afraid I’ll mess something up that could ruin the couple’s plans.” (71 percent).
Based on those findings, DWHSA has said they will join forces in 2014 with AMResorts and Travel Impressions – two leading suppliers in the romance travel niche – to conduct a yearlong campaign to reach at least 1,000 U.S. and Canadian agents who’re brand new to selling destination weddings, honeymoons, and other types of romantic getaways.
“To survive and thrive in today’s super-competitive environment, agents must consider specializing – and, there’s no niche that’s more profitable and more fun than romance travel,” said Lisa Sheldon, DWHSA’s executive director and the owner of I Do Island Weddings in Janesville, Wis. “So, we’re reaching out to as many agents as we can this year to give them the tools and the training to expand into this market.”
DWHSA, AMResorts, and Travel Impressions will roll out this training blitz in several phases:
* From late March through early May, their trainers will conduct one-day “romance travel boot camps” in Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Seattle, and Toronto. These live events will offer hands-on instruction in a small-group setting on the basics of destination weddings and honeymoons, the latest romance travel trends, and practical marketing steps for new romance travel specialists. (See www.RomanceTravelBootCamps.com for complete details.)
“For agents attending the Atlanta and Houston boot camps, we have a special offer,” Sheldon noted. “They will be given free admission to the Love Mexico Weddings evening trade show and gala dinner in each city, compliments of our friends at Love Mexico.” (See www.LoveMexicoWeddings.com for more information.)
* This summer, DWHSA trainers will fan out across smaller U.S. and Canadian cities to offer two-hour lunchtime workshops introducing agents to selling romance travel.
* DWHSA will unveil a schedule of online workshops later this year to target agents who can’t attend the live events.
“Our model with DWHSA is continuous networking and training – 24/7/365 access to other agents in this niche and ongoing training week after week,” Sheldon said. “So, in 2014, we’re looking for at least 1,000 agents who want to put the fun and the profits back into their travel businesses.”
Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association,www.JoinDWHSA.com