Annual Conference FAQs for Travel Planners

General Information About ETC

Q: Where can I find the Conference’s schedule of events?  The Conference Agenda is updated frequently six months prior and up to the Conference.  Check often for updates!

Q: How do I register for ETC’s Annual Conference?  ETC’s Conference is for members only. You may wish to become a member at any time.

Members, log in to your member dashboard and click on the registration button on your task manager.  If your membership is expiring or has lapsed, you can pay for your annual membership with your conference registration.

Nonmembers, join now! Once your membership is approved you can register for the conference on your task manager located on your member dashboard.

Registration typically opens in early September and registration limits are capped by constituent type, so register early. Check out conference rates and constituent classifications.

Discounted registration rates are provided to all delegates booking a minimum three-night stay at the Conference hotel within the official block at the Conference hotel rate.

Q: How do I pay?   You can pay for membership at any time or you may pay for both membership renewal and conference registration on one invoice. ETC accepts payment by check and credit card (convenience fee applies).

Q: Can I register more than two people from my organization or company?   For Travel Planners there is no restriction as far as the number of attendees who can attend per organization. Consider taking your entire staff and take advantage of significant, sequential registration discounts for two or more registrants from the same organization.

Q: Can I share a badge with someone in my company or organization?  To preserve equity in registration fees, Conference policy precludes badge sharing. Each delegate is provided their own personalized badge for conference access.

Q: Why do I need to wear my Conference badge?  For your protection, privacy, and general Conference security purposes, badges are required to be visible at all times to enter Conference sessions, events and the International Bazaar.  Conference management reserves the right to ask you to show your badge when you are in the International Bazaar or upon entry to sessions and evening events.

Any individual not officially registered for ETC will not have a badge. Registered delegates are asked to refrain from doing business on site with any individual not displaying an official Conference badge as their presence would be at the direct expense of registered delegates whose paid registration fees make this Conference possible. This also includes “badgeless” representatives who have not personally registered but may have their company/organization represented already with two delegates at the Conference.

Q: What happens if I lose my Badge or Conference Resource Directory?  Lost badges may be replaced but at a substantial fee so please keep track of your badges on site! In the event a replacement badge is requested, the following applies: Delegates must pay the badge replacement fee, complete and sign a Conference Replacement Badge Request Form, and allow two hours for badge processing/approval.

To conserve paper, and printing costs, replacement Conference Resource Directories (CRD) are not available on site. ETC members can access the e-Conference Resource Directory online post-conference. This post Conference e-Directory includes a listing of all late registrants.

Q: Can I get the attendee lists in advance of the conference?   In past years significant numbers of unsolicited promotional emails and mass mailed marketing pieces were being sent to travel planners in advance of the Conference which had a negative impact.  As a result, at the direct and explicit request of travel planners, registration lists are not provided to each and every delegate prior to the Conference.

However, paid delegates with completed organizational profiles can view a list of attendees/organizations with completed profiles via the online CONNECTS meeting scheduler. This online tool is accessible at least one month prior to the Conference.  Only official sponsoring partners receive advance delegate lists as a benefit of their partnership support.

Q: Why do I need to fill out a member and organizational profile by published deadlines?   Member and organizational profiles are very important to complete as they serve to facilitate quality networking and identify the key priorities you require when doing business with partners.  A side benefit is that by reviewing profiles in advance allows you to query the member database to see who offers programs to specific countries, and/or filter out potential connections that are not aligned with your interests or program needs.

Member profiles are quick to fill at once, and can be updated as individual discretion dictates.  Organizational profiles take fifteen to twenty minutes to first complete, but once completed require only a few minutes to update annually with details that change annually. The travel planner profile was designed and re-redesigned every ten years by travel planners to query questions relevant to them.  And, the latest rendition of the travel planner profile was shortened and updated in 2018 by a travel planner committee within ETC to ensure current relevance of questions for travel planners.

Conference Protocol

Q: What is the ETC policy regarding invitational and private parties/hospitality suites by delegates and companies, and why is the policy in place?

Official ETC sponsors only are extended the exclusive benefit of convening – at specified times where published officially in the agenda – private invitational breakfast roundtables, cocktail parties, and dinners. The hosting by general delegates and/or companies/organizations of private parties, pre-planned invitational dinners, receptions and hospitality suites during the times on the official agenda listing sessions and venues serve to erode the collegial spirit of the ETC community, and conflict with the officially highlighted venues by sponsors which serve to benefit all attendees.

Q: Do I need to attend a ticketed event after signing up for it on the registration form?  Help ETC be a responsible meeting! The Conference Organizer confirms meals and seats solely based on the number of tickets requested by delegates on their registration form. Once food guarantees are given to the venue/hotel in advance of the conference, cancellations are not an option and all unused food served on event buffet tables must be discarded.

Hosted by ETC sponsors at great expense, the ticketed evening meal venues typically cost sponsors $95+ per person. Delegates who therefore sign up for a ticket but then decide to “no show” at the event necessitate significant loss of revenue for the hosts as well as unnecessary food waste. Precluded by health codes, the hotel cannot then distribute food overages to homeless shelters.

Q: What is the dress code during the Conference?  Business casual during the entire Conference, and festive attire during the evening events. On occasion, a very casual attire is noted on specific events.

International Bazaar & Partners’ Boulevard at the Annual Conference

Q: What is the International Bazaar?  The International Bazaar  is the space within the conference venue where delegates have the opportunity to review, connect, and compare educational travel offerings with a diverse selection of special interest, educational and affinity based purveyors of travel. Destination, operator and supplier delegates are assigned their individual tabletop within the Bazaar and the delegate Biz Passport lists their tabletop numbers

*ETC’s Annual Conference is NOT a tradeshow. The International Bazaar serves as an interactive platform for educating delegates about destinations, program development, and sharing of a cross pollination of ideas – and for connecting with established as well as new partners in travel.

Q: What and Where is Partners’ Boulevard   Partners’ Boulevard is the most centrally located and heavily trafficked display space in the International Bazaar reserved for official ETC Conference Sponsors displays.

Q: When is the International Bazaar open?  The Conference program lists official days/times for the International Bazaar. The International Bazaar is closed when educational sessions are being offered. It is recommended that all delegates attend the educational sessions scheduled.

CONNECTS Meetings at the Annual Conference

Q: What is CONNECTS?   The great part of learning and networking at ETC’s Annual Conference is the opportunity to meet new people outside of your immediate network representing all points of the travel distribution channel –planners and destinations, operators and suppliers.  CONNECTS is a fun way to facilitate new connections as well as schedule focused discussions with established partners. The activity in the International Bazaar is repeatedly rated as delivering some of the best networking and connections at the Conference.

As the purpose of these conversations from around the globe serves to ignite new ideas and expand one’s knowledge base, the one-to-one meetings in CONNECTS can’t be beat!   Even if you are not able or desiring to expand your tour operator partner network, the destination knowledge you can glean in a one-to-one meeting with destination representatives is fantastic as they attend ETC to provide up to date, relevant educational information on countries, not tour sales.

Q: When can I start requesting Connects Meetings online?   The CONNECTS online scheduler opens approximately one month prior to ETC’s Annual Conference.  Organizations and delegates that do not have a completed profile and fully paid registration are not featured on the list of organizations on the CONNECTS scheduler.

Q: Can I request meetings with delegates at ETC?   In advance of ETC, any attendee can “request” meetings during the official CONNECTS times posted in the Conference Agenda.

There are five official CONNECTS meeting blocks. One of these official time blocks restricts CONNECTS meetings to only between tour operators, destinations and suppliers without planners.  All CONNECTS meeting times are scheduled to not conflict with educational sessions.

*ETC’s Annual Conference is NOT a tradeshow.  CONNECTS meetings are therefore NOT required of any delegate, although encouraged as these are established times for educating, sharing and learning about destinations, program development, and invaluable cross pollination of ideas – expanding a knowledge base beyond traditional silos of information dissemination.

Other Events and Sessions Logistics

Q: When/where is it important to attend scheduled events and sessions? A: You don’t want to miss anything! The agenda at ETC is designed to be both educational as well as provide opportunities for prime networking for all delegates. And the festive all conference delegate evening events are simply a blast!

The value added at ETC is the professional education and timely information shared in a mini-MBA format of a vertically rich session curriculum. Numerous networking sessions, finely tuned research materials such as the extensive Conference Resource Directory, and educational seminars provide tools for strategizing how to successfully manage, market, and promote educational travel as well as network effectively at the Conference.

In respect of official Conference speakers who have invested time in preparing presentations, and of Conference sponsoring partners who have made significant financial commitments to bring outstanding speakers to the Conference, all delegates are kindly requested to attend each of the BOLD Talks during the officially scheduled educational program.

Q: How do I attend conference-wide events and/or sessions that require tickets? A: All conference-wide ticketed sessions and evening events require advance booking through the Conference registration form online, and are confirmed on a first come, first served basis.

The Intensive workshop require tickets, but no fee, in advance of the Conference due to their intimate size.  Limited to 22 persons each the SOW and Learning Labs programs held off site require tickets in advance for a nominal fee.  Deli lunches are not included in the registration fee and lunch tickets can be booked in advance on the registration form for a set net price.

Plan ahead for your participation in any/all of the special evening venues at the Conference. Make sure your space is reserved by signing up for tickets online when registering! If you have signed up for ticketed sessions, your tickets will be attached to your delegate badge at the Registration desk upon check-in. If you have not requested your tickets prior to the Conference, any optional venue may sell out prior to the Conference and/or you may not be able to secure tickets on site.