Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending the annual Ascend Conference in Cancun, Mexico, hosted by Apple Leisure Group Vacations. This conference brings together 500 of the top Travel Agencies in the country for leisure, learning, and celebrating the accomplishments from the previous year.
Conferences like this and FAMs (familiarization trips) help empower me and the UTD team to stay on top of industry trends, learn about any brand or property updates, and develop stronger industry connections that help us offer the best service possible for our clients.
During our 3-day event, we attended several workshops hosted by some of top vendors such as, Disney, RIU Hotel & Resorts, AMR Collections, and Amstar (to name a few). Between workshops we networked with our reps and suppliers. This, for me, was probably the most important part of my experience. To be able to meet face-to-face with some of the people that help us create these amazing experiences for our clients is invaluable to our success. Emails, zoom calls, and webinars cannot replace the personal interaction and putting a face to all of the names we see.
We also had the honor of hearing the inspiring story from our keynote speaker, Erik Weihenmayer. If you are not familiar with Erik, I encourage you to look him up and read about his journey! Erik is a world-renowned rock climber who has climbed the highest peak in all 7 continents, and was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. He has kayaked the rapids of Colorado river in the Grand Canyon - even Lava Falls, the most challenging and dangerous short run in the Canyon. He will definitely give you a new perspective on life and how all things are possible through perseverance and determination.
Not only was the experience inspiring, but I was able to enjoy it all at Secrets the Vine Resort. This property is an adults-only all-inclusive resort in Cancun set on a beautiful beach and themed around wine. The resort is easy and quick to get around, plus every room is at least an ocean view. Their piano bar was the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy drinks after dinner. It’s the perfect getaway for any wine enthusiasts.
It goes without mention that this last year and a half has been so challenging to all of us. To have the opportunity to meet and spend this time with people that share the same passion, energy, and success through some of the darkest days was truly inspiring and brought a renewed energy. I'm excited to share what I've learned with the team and apply it to assisting clients with their future vacations!
Written by Brian McGee
Brian is a Leisure Travel Consultant at Uniglobe Travel Designers who has a passion for all things travel, sports, and music. Outside of the office you can find Brian drumming for a local duo country band or working at a local sporting event or concert. He and his wife Wendi have been married for 18 years and have 4 children, 2 precious grandchildren, and French Bulldog pup Roux.