An estimated $5 billion in U.S. travel deals and sales will be negotiated in the five-day U.S. Travel Association IPW convention.
Central Florida attractions, destinations and companies are doing what they can to capture a fraction of that revenue.
“What’s great about this is we have all the players that we need to get a big deal done all together in one place,” said Lauren Volcheff, vice president of sales and marketing for Altamonte Springs-headquartered Tourico Holidays. “You have your day-to-day contact, but then you have the revenue manager of the entire Hilton hotel chain; you have all the players you need at one table at one time. You don’t have to worry about five different schedules.”
Tourico Holidays, which is in its 21st year of operation, is a travel wholesale company that sells a mix of everything in the travel industry.
“We sell the pieces so that our clients can put the packages together,” said Volcheff.
This year’s IPW drew more than 6,000 of the international travel industry’s decision makers. It’s considered the Super Bowl of the industry.
This is the seventh year it’s being held in Orlando. It was last here in 2010.
“The customers that are here will probably book around $5 billion worth of business during the couple days of the trade show,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “So it’s really a significant piece of economic activity for us.”
She said last year the U.S. welcomed 74 million international visitors. They spent nearly $221 billion in goods and services.
Last year, Orlando welcomed a record-breaking 62 million visitors, including both domestic and international tourists.
Area businesses attending IPW wanted the event, held at the Orange County Convention Center, to be a mix of deal making and promotion of the region.
“It’s an international marketplace that comes here so we felt it very important to be a part of it,” said Michele Jacobs, corporate director of marketing and operations for The Forbes Company. Jacobs’ company owns and operates three luxury shopping centers in Florida, including The Mall at Millenia in Orlando.
For Legoland Florida, the convention is as much about selling tickets and packages as it is about spreading into markets they aren’t in. More than 500 media members, from all over the world, are attending this week’s convention. Legoland Florida hosted 35 of those press members for a tour Sunday, resort spokeswoman Brittany Williams said.
Larger attractions such as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort, are spending hundreds of thousands by hosting private events for all conventioneers.
Universal Orlando Resort is hosting Wednesday night’s event. Dennis Quinn, vice president of Destination Universal for the resort, is glad buyers are able to visit his Orlando parks but is not necessarily concerned about the number of tickets they sell.
“What we try to do is open up a dialogue that will benefit us next year or for years to come,” he said. “It’s not really about what can we close at this show over these three or four days. It’s about growing the business overall.”
About Tourico Holidays
Tourico Holidays is a leading global travel distribution company that contracts directly with travel providers, such as hotels, flights, cruise lines, attractions, car rentals, vacation homes and more. Tourico Holidays works on a high-volume, wholesale model to broker this inventory to over 4,900 clients in 100 countries using proprietary technology.