Virtuoso in Las Vegas – Travel Mart at the Bellagio (Day 1)
I’ve been dreaming of Travel Mart 2011 for about 365 days now, ever since my first Travel Mart 2010. I have spent a year putting to use what I learned, buying clothes with TM in mind, trying to sell certain suppliers so I could go to more events (just kidding – kind of), and working on my own career to come back even more passionate about the travel industry than ever. I think I’ve done it – I’m still eating this up and so happy to reunite with old friends.
Yesterday, I attended VAST – Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel – which focuses on the most adventurous kinds of travel there is, like safaris in South Africa, Galapagos cruises, Alpine skiing across the globe, biking trips through Tuscany – you name it, I never thought it existed until I came to VAST. I remember one company that offered gorilla tracking last year said, “It’s so cool – you can smell the gorillas before you see them!” like it was a selling point. Not for me, but maybe it could be for someone. That’s what VAST offers: a little bit of everything for everyone who’s in the least bit adventurous. The real highlight of my day was reconnecting with Laura, Cassie, and Beth, who were all in my VAST group and, afterward, Ansley. It’s going to be a great Travel Mart, although we are missing someone (Luke, I hope you’re reading this!).
That night, Ansley and I attended a cocktail reception for the Virtuoso/Bonnier Travel Advisory Board – this is a really unique opportunity that I was just accepted to. As a member responsibilities include providing feedback and advice to magazines like Islands Magazine, Spa Magazine, Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Magazine, and Caribbean Magazine. Big honor! After this, we hopped over to the NextGen party – although I wasn’t involved this year, so it was a little different to be a visitor, and then darted over to the Cosmopolitan for tapas. The Cosmopolitan, Vegas’ newest hotel, is very…well, it belongs in Vegas. It’s over the top and flashy, from the moment you walk into the hotel with the enormous crystal chandelier draped throughout the lobby. If you’re looking for true Vegas pizazz, the Cosmopolitan is the place to be.
I decided to end the night pretty early, considering I’d been up since 5 EST (that’d be a total of 22 hours, and, since I’m not in college anymore, I just need a little more sleep than that). Today, however, promises a lot: from a spa treatment that I was surprised with (thank you, Char!), to a morning at the pool and then getting my Opening Ceremony on… I’m pumped for the kickoff of TM’11!