ETC's Global Gathering - The 31st Annual Conference

Meet with marvelously interesting and engaged colleagues who are dedicated to advancing affinity travel programs and ensuring the educational travel niche thrives.

Adventuring Beyond: The Quest for
Innovation & Distinction
in Affinity Travel

February 12 - 15, 2017

Marriott St. Louis Grand
St. Louis, Missouri

Countdown to the Conference

2017/02/12 23:47:56

Invitation to Attend from ETC's Founder

J. Mara DelliPriscoli

Ensuring affinity travel’s growth and sustainability has remained my focus for over 30 years in the delivery of ETC’s Annual Conferences.  As colleagues have shared with me, these are extraordinary times of challenge and opportunity. To thrive we must continually search for ways to respond beyond the available know-how with an overriding strategic focus to continually inspire and engage our travelers and reinvent programming of purpose. My shared vision with the Advisory and Emeritus Councils…

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for the annual Conference has remained to assemble a rich diversity of affinity travel planners, thought provoking guest speakers and specialized travel purveyors to fuel innovation, mitigate risks, encourage differentiation, promote strategic thinking and facilitate growth partnerships.

Innovation results from meeting a diversity of colleagues beyond one’s core group, hearing new ideas and perspectives, and stepping outside one’s comfort zone.  It is within this variance of ideas that we are invited to  to seek new answers to standing challenges, to think out of the box, and to understand more fully the world of travel outside of our respective domains – and in the end to compete and collaborate more effectively and strategically as a global community of purpose and passion.  Attend ETC’s Global Gatherings to feel inspired and learn.  Return to implement the actionable steps garnered. Come and be part of this amazing community!

Looking forward to seeing you in St. Louis!
J. Mara DelliPriscoli

ETC Community Global Gathering

What Sets Apart The Global Gathering From Other Conferences?

The only platform where members across all constituencies of the Educational Travel Consortium – alumni, museums, zoos, conservation and cultural organizations as well as purveyors of travel and destinations – interact face-to-face to glean new perspectives, share best practices and in creative partnership, resolve issues!


The agenda every year exclusively focusses on the issues and topics germane to nonprofit travel and the affinity travel niche! The ETC programming team invests a minimum of six months in designing the multi-focused core educational curriculum in direct response to colleague input across all Educational Travel Consortium constituencies.

Who should attend?

Nonprofit Travel Program Managers, Tour Operators, Hospitality, Airline Experts, Cruise Representatives, Tourism Boards, Destinations, Press, Legal, Insurance, Marketing Experts.

If you are responsible for managing a nonprofit member/alumni travel program, be it heavily resourced or as a small percentage of your overall job – THIS is the event for you!

If you a tour operator or travel industry supplier or destination invested in serving the affinity and educational travel market?  THIS is a community to serve well!

Why attend?

Featuring a no holds barred agenda,  ETC’s Global Gathering 2017 is all about purpose and possibility– a roll up your sleeves approach to strategically embracing innovation and differentiation within nonprofit travel in the face of escalating noise from the fast competing mainstream travel. The 3-day educational program is robust and the camaraderie exceptional. The 2017 agenda goes deeper ……


into topics ranging from influencing donors, communicating to travelers on risks engaging shifting traveler constituencies, rethinking marketing from social to direct mail, planning ahead for risk mitigation, enhancing loyalty, to re-examining brand and deliverables of customer service.

What are the Global Gathering 2017 deliverables?

  • Inspirational and well-vetted keynote speakers.
  • Three days of excellent educational content, on topic presentations, on time sessions
  • Full-day Travel Planners Only Forum – Focusing on what’s important to you and planner colleagues.
  • Fast-paced and fun Ignite! Travel the globe in one hour
  • Comprehensive Risk Management Program Part II – designed to build from the 2016 Part I Program – with comprehensive afternoon reviewing the components essentials to a comprehensive Risk Management Systems plan – followed by five hot topic conference wide sessions on safety, security, and travel intelligence.


  • Vertically rich, multi track 3-day agenda with practical take-aways in over 30 sessions – Post conference audio, video and sessions.
  • Non-stop networking – with the first kickoff at the Bazaar Grand Opening and libations from around the world.
  • Easy-to navigate meeting space, 4-star hotel accommodations, special discounted conference room rates at $154S/$164D.
  • Healthy & delicious buffet lunches – Following rave reviews from 2016!
  • Newcomer Mentor Meet and Greet
  • International Bazaar and limited hours for pre-scheduled CONNECTs meetings
  • New colleagues to meet and long-time friends to connect with
  • And MUCH more!

Travel Planners ~ You asked and we delivered!

  • Back by popular request – Jumpstart Seminar – with nuts and bolts training for new travel planners or those needing a refresher on the basics – plus great take home materials.
  • Keeping hotel stay to three nights with luncheon closing plenary on Wednesday February 15th
  • Free Wifi in your hotel room – Book in the conference block by November 22nd to qualify.
  • Hyper local fun evening venues
  • Two nights for partner invitational dinner parties!
  • Preferred conference


  • dates! After extensive surveying of past attendees, the overwhelming vote came in for moving the meeting dates to mid-February avoiding Super Bowl weekend, President’s Day, and late Spring or Fall Dates.
  • Expanding networking, taste of local cuisine and St. Louis nightlife with even more local tastes of St. Louis – a downtown dine-around on opening night – Plus a gala Community Dinner event knocking it out of the (Busch Stadium) Ballpark for Valentines on the last evening

Icons of St. Louis