Collette Travel is one of my main collaborative partners and they just happen to be celebrating their 100th year in business. As part of their landmark anniversary, they invited more than more than 400 travel industry experts, businesses & media to Providence, Rhode Island and their headquarters in Pawtucket to discuss trends, information, lessons learned and more. And a big thanks to Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau – you made my trip to Providence amazing! Check out my blog post about Providence, Nova Scotia & Rhode Island.
The event showcased the industry experts & sponsors and the presentations were content heavy & rich in information. Topics & sessions included:
- Blockchain Technology presented by Todd Knapp of Envision Technology
- Traveling the World – stories from Peter Greenberg – Travel Editor for CBS News
- Tourism and Giving Back – positive impact conversations that went above & beyond cursory “feel good” travel. Melinda Bostwick, ACCP, Paula Vlamings – Tourism Cares, Robin Tauck, Tauck, Inc., John Sutherland, Collete, Corporate Social Responsibility
- The Future of travel & smart technology: Bill Sutherland – AAA, Nick Lucock – Flight Centre, Amos Khim United Airlines, Arnie Weissman Travel Weekly
- Protecting and Taking Control of Your Data – Peg Kuman – EVP & Chief Privacy Officer of V12 really broke down this dry topic & talked about the ways companies are using data and what they can do better to protect their data.
- Travel is more than just a destination – a great conversation that included the sensitive topic of over-tourism. Well curated and led by Peter Greenberg with panelists, Bryan Kinkade – Afar Media, Norma Dean – United, Diana Ditto – Collete
- Leveraging Brand Advocates to Help Grow Your Business – A lively discussion that explored the topic of brand advocates, influencers and how they are viewed positively and negatively by those in the travel industry as well as mainstream media. Moderated by Terry Dale of USTOA with panel members Travis Pittman of TourRadar, Anthony Dennis with Sydney Morning Herald and Suzanne Stavert, Creator of Empty Nesters (who definitely held her own in the discussion)
- I was sad I missed Peter Greenberg’s opening speech (because.. you know.. flight delays!) but Travel Weekly has a great overview of it here.
This conference was incredibly comprehensive and impressive – so many great minds from the travel industry sharing ideas & information to create positive change that affects not only their companies but the consumer/end user. Win/Win for everyone.
Other Collette milestones:
Big Changes: Dan Sullivan, Jr., the current CEO, handed over the reigns to his daughter Jaclyn Leibl Cote. Collete has been in the Sullivan family since 1962 and now Jaclyn is stepping up to the plate! Collette was founded in 1918 when Jack Collette chartered a bus and drove a handful of Bostonians 1,500 miles down the East Coast to Florida for just $68.50. Can't wait to see where they go next with Jaclyn at the helm!
New Re-Direction: Explorations: Collette is relaunching their small tours brand this year. Perfect timing for me because I’m heading out on one of the first new tours in September: Italy’s Bella Vita Tour!
“These trips have an average of 15-16 people on them and we offer lots of unique experiences – going to a private winery and having a home-cooked meal with the owner and tasting their wines; or having a private tour of a museum with the curator,” explains Leibl-Cote.
Goal Exceeded: Collette set a goal in 2016 to provide 1 Million meals by the end of 2018. Not only did they hit the mark, they exceeded it!