Daytona Beach served as Ground Zero for Florida’s foremost travel trade event, Florida Huddle, where destinations show what they have to offer to the travel professionals who shop for their clients.

Florida Huddle

For Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing Tourism’s two sales representatives, Industry Sales Specialist Joni Allen and Conventions, Meetings and Events Tourism Representative Al Snow, along with Chris Follenus from Balmoral Resort Florida and Shannon Serventi from LEGOLAND Florida Resort, it was their hunting grounds for two days.

“Travel agents know their customers and must deliver new experiences,” said Allen. “Most of the inquiries they get about Central Florida are from folks who have seen the typical tourist areas.”

Meeting with Travel Agents

For those at the Visit Central Florida booth at Florida Huddle, this demand played into the team’s strengths.

“Most agents are familiar with who we are,” said Allen. “But they are surprised at the depth of experiences and products we have to offer.”

Florida Huddle

Representatives from Visit Central Florida, Balmoral and LEGOLAND meet with travel experts during Florida Huddle.

Both Balmoral Resort Florida and LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Allen said, are two of those pleasant surprises. Besides the booth, Allen had more than 40 appointments with tour operators both national and international. Additionally, Visit Central Florida sponsored the name badges for the event, putting the brand in front of every attendee in the building.

Chicago Travel and Adventure Show

The success at Florida Huddle came on the heels of yet another successful outing at the high traffic Chicago Travel and Adventure Show. A weekend event, the show, attended by Allen and Follenus, was open to both those who work in the travel trade, as well as consumers.

“More than 40,000 people attended the show,” said Allen. “In fact, we ran out of materials to give away before midday Sunday.”

As with most winter trade shows in the cold-and-snow battered Midwest, Florida had a huge presence.

The folks attending were familiar with Florida,” said Allen. “Many who stopped by were either looking for new experiences and new ideas or were familiar with the area – especially SUN ‘n FUN – and wanted to say hello.”