The Robert L. Duglin ASTA South Florida Spring Affair | Travel Research Online


The Robert L. Duglin ASTA South Florida Spring Affair

Many hands putting together a puzzle

Those who have never participated in the production of an “event” would almost certainly be shocked at the enormous energy and coordination happening “behind the scenes.” The promoters of any given gathering share a goal with the attendees in wanting more than an “event” – they want an experience.

Photo of Robert DuglinIn the case of the ASTA South Florida Chapter, held this year on May 24th at the Deerfield Beach Doubletree by Hilton, the process was overlaid by the Chapter’s desire to honor Robert Duglin, a member of the National ASTA management team and the founding Chapter president of the former NACTA South Florida Chapter. This year’s event was re-named in Robert Duglin’s honor, hosting approximately 120 Travel Advisors and 65 unique travel supplier partners.

ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby gave the Keynote address, recalling Bob Duglin’s contributions to the organization. Kerby also made note of the many political battles ASTA has fought over the past two years of the pandemic, and the need to continue to vigilantly support ASTA’s legislative efforts on behalf of travel advisors.

Suppliers traveled to the South Florida event from around the country. In addition to the local suppliers in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area, suppliers like David Kasser from Visit Anchorage, Marcus Leskovar from Amadeus River Cruises came from  Chicago, and Daniel Serritello from IWorld of Travel traveled from New York.

Chapter president Eddie Woodham was quick to point out the special nature of this year’s event. “Working on the ASTA South Florida Spring Affair is always one of the events we enjoy producing each year.  This year, in honor of our dear friend and colleague, Bob Duglin, we renamed it The Robert L. Duglin ASTA South Florida Spring Affair.  It was great to be back with over 60 travel suppliers partners, many of them participating in our event for the first time. I have heard from so many of our ASTA members about how much they enjoyed being back in an environment that allowed them to network with travel suppliers, hear from President and CEO of ASTA, Zane Kerby,  and learn more and move their businesses forward during these exciting, yet still challenging times.”

Kelly Bergin, CEO of  Duglin Travel Group and ASTA National At-Large Board of Directors as well as the ASTA South Florida Vice President said, “I am happy to report that our ASTA South Florida Robert L. Duglin Spring Affair was a great success!  Over 60 suppliers and 120 travel advisors showed up for a day of learning, networking, and perhaps finding a bit of inspiration for the remainder of this year and next.  I believe that if you can walk away from a conference with just one new, good idea then your attendance has been time well spent.  I’m sure that many advisors will do something different or add something new to their travel business after this event.”

The uniform opinion of the event’s producers, suppliers, and travel agent attendees was strongly positive. Attendee Helen Prochilo, president of Promal Vacations in Long Beach, NY said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Spring Event. It was wonderful to see so many suppliers and hear about updates and new products.  It was also well organized with sessions that had great speakers,  that were perfectly timed, and went smoothly going from class to class. The hotel venue was excellent.  Seeing many friends in person  after two years of virtual meetings made me realize how much I’ve missed these events.”

A panel on “How to Create a Niche to Increase Business” covered the advantages of adopting a specialization for travel advisors and a bustling trade show capped off the day. Eddie Woodham, Kelly Bergin, and their team of associates have already begun plans for the next event in 2023.

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