A cheer erupts as the crisp, white double doors open. The music that had been previously contained within the room suddenly spills out, bass pounding down the otherwise silent hallway. I walk forward and I’m greeted by enthusiastic women on both sides of me; some give high-fives, others give hugs, all of them wear beaming smiles. Am I at a concert? Some sort of pep rally? No, it’s just the opening day of the Book More Travel Workshop.
Every year, the Book More Travel Workshop (BMTW) in Ballantyne, North Carolina is my opportunity to press pause on the sometimes chaotic world of entrepreneurship and hit the reset button. Having the chance to be surrounded by so many other travel entrepreneurs who are going through some of the same challenges in expanding their business or keeping up with what they already have, learning from the amazing leadership team about business strategies, and simply being around so much positivity is one of the best ways to lean into the new year.
This annual convention is put together by the team at GIFTE, the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs. Over the course of two full days, attendees get to reunite with friends in the industry, make more connections, meet vendors, and reignite our passion for all things travel.
So, what exactly happens behind the closed doors of the Ballantyne Hotel’s ballroom? A little bit of networking, a healthy splash of coffee drinking, and a whole lot of inspiration. The BMTW is everything (and more!) that you want out of a travel marketing convention, but don’t always get elsewhere.
We have panels of travel advisors, some of whom were sitting in the audience just a year ago, speaking to their strengths and sharing their wisdom with everyone. We learn about things like branding, growing our business with social media and ezines, and finding our ideal clients. We network with vendors to learn about all the wonderful new experiences we can begin trying out and offering to our clients. We reconnect with old friends, and we welcome new faces into our ranks.
These things are all immensely helpful, but one of the best parts is hearing from the GIFTE leadership team. The overwhelming message is one of positivity; this is a community that shares knowledge and uplifts one another -- the theme this year was transformation.
Now, that might sound a little out there. But I’ve seen it happen at this very workshop. Not only this year, but every time I have attended. I’ve seen travel advisors have breakthroughs in feelings of self-worth; I’ve been there when someone suddenly realizes that they need to make a major shift in their business model. Not only have I seen these things, but I’ve felt and realized them myself. Every time I pack my bags and head to Ballantyne, I know I’m in for something good.
Because of events like these and positive people like GIFTE’s Meredith, Vanessa, and Jen, I return to my business revitalized and ready to take on the next challenge. They remind me what a privilege working in this industry is, and these events help me to show up each week with a renewed sense of purpose.
For you, my dear client or potential client-- this means that you get a travel advisor who is inspired by what she does and who she does it for, who’s excited about unlocking the best deals and important extras in every booking, and who looks forward to every chapter of this journey.
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.