It’s a little-known fact that New York is the third largest-producing wine state in the United States. This was just one of the many insider tips picked up by eight personal travel managers who touched down in New York for a week-long TravelManagers famil of both city and state.
The group, who were escorted by Ben Urquhart and Kylie Wilson, representatives for New York State Division of Tourism and Delta Airlines respectively, earned their coveted spots as the result of a sales initiative that was run across the TravelManagers group during March and April.
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal says spots were allocated based on sales of both economy and business class Delta product, and personal travel managers (PTMs) who wished to qualify were also required to book accommodation at selected properties via rooms XML and attend a product webinar.
“This famil represented a fantastic reward for PTMs who were already engaged in selling New York– but now they have first-hand knowledge and experience of the destination which they can pass on to their clients.”
One of the participating PTMs was Dana Brown, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Moonee Beach, NSW. She says she found the famil completely opened up the State of New York for her and her clients.
“Generally, people spend their time in New York City and may add on a side trip to Niagara Falls,” she explains, “but now I can confidently encourage them to consider a self-drive itinerary between the two cities so that they can experience the treasures of upstate New York along the way.”
This sentiment is echoed by Brown’s colleague, Julianne Gazal-Rizk, representative for Willoughby, NSW.
“I now know just how easy, traveller-friendly and diverse upstate New York is,” she explains. “I would say 99% of clients only visit New York City, but from my experience and learning on this famil, I can confidently recommend that they explore the state as well, so as not to miss all that it has to offer.”
The group spent two of their six nights in New York City, carrying out hotel inspections and taking in the sights: from a magic show at the legendary Lotte New York Palace to Broadway hit show, ‘Kinky Boots’. The remainder of their time was spent on a whirlwind self-drive itinerary to experience the natural beauty of New York State, with a theme of ‘Wine, Water and Wonders’ that saw them sampling locally-produced wine in the Finger Lakes wine region, taking an exhilarating Maid of the Mist boat tour and trekking along the Cave of the Winds boardwalk to the base of Bridal Veil Falls.
PTM Lisa Metzl, who is representative for North Avoca, NSW, describes her time at Niagara as one of the major thrills of the itinerary.
“Having not been to the Falls before, this was definitely a highlight for me – bucket list ticked! The whole experience with the Maid of the Mist was fabulous, and we also enjoyed jet boating with Niagara Jet Adventures.”
From dinner at a brewery in Rochester to a great stop for coffee off the beaten track in Lewiston, PTM Cassandra Ross says she enjoyed getting to know key points of interest, meeting local suppliers and picking up dining recommendations which she can pass on to her clients.
“I would return in a heartbeat,” adds Ross, who is representative for Cashmere, QLD. “The famil really was over too fast and I would love to go back to immerse myself in the cities and really get a feel for the community and the people.”
This sentiment is echoed by the other PTMs, including representative for Bowen Mountains, NSW, Carolyn Burgmann, who says she encountered many pleasant surprises during her visit.
“Jetboating on the Niagara River was one thing I didn’t know existed so close to the Falls, it was a fantastic experience. The Corning Museum of Glass was filled with gorgeous glass sculptures and was a pleasant surprise. The George Eastman Museum in Rochester, commemorating the founder of Kodak, was fascinating.”
“On the whole, just getting out of the big city and exploring somewhere new was great. Who knew there was so much to see throughout the state? I didn’t, but now I do,” Metzl adds happily.
Travel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.6 billion for 2018. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 530 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.
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