Each fall I am extremely impressed when I land in Chicago to attend our WinterSun Trade Show event. The event was held this week, and the grandeur of this year was no exception.
The day begins with the top hotels in Mexico, The Caribbean and Hawaii receiving their Golden Apple Awards at an exclusive luncheon. These awards are voted on by you – Apple Vacationers. The Golden Apple Awards are awarded to individual hotels based on achieving high levels of excellence for their staff and service. This luncheon is truly an industry list of who’s who. It is not Sales reps from each hotel, rather it is the individual GMs, owners, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chairmen and CEOs. It is truly awe inspiring to see so many industry executives in one place. They are all competing hotels, but the air in the room is friendly and they are all proud of themselves and each others’ accomplishments.
Later in the day the travel agent community is invited. Over 1,000 agents from across the U. S. travel to this show to have some 1:1 time with Apple Vacations as well as our hotel, airline, and tourist board partners. I spoke to many people and they are so thankful that Apple is still presenting this premier trade show event. Trade shows, especially of this magnitude, are becoming extinct due to budget cuts and fewer agencies. Apple Vacations realizes the importance of education and this 1:1 time, and continues to host what I think is the travel industry’s leading event. I was happy to get personal feedback and forecasts from both hotels and agents alike.
The evening ends with the awarding of our Crystal Apple Awards and the presentation. I describe this as both a thank you for last year and a mini state of the union for next year. We all know this year was tough for the travel industry, but it was nice to have a day to recognize the combined hard work of the past year of Apple Vacations, our hotel, airline and tourist board partners as well as the travel agent community. Kudos to all of you. To see the full list of winners check out the 2010 WinterSun brochures which hit the streets this week!