August 2014 • World Travel
Volcano Eruptions Really?

Volcano Eruptions Really?

I’m sorry, I’m beginning to think the Iceland volcano eruptions are my fault….

Wendy Swenson CTC*, has had a visit to Iceland on her Bucket List for a long time since hearing about the Icelandic horses, the Blue Lagoon, the geo-thermal activity and the Northern Lights. The recent Ben Stiller movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” also piqued my interest with its beautiful scenery.

As business travelers to Europe have seen as we go over the north pole, it appears that Greenland is covered with ice and snow and that Iceland is not. I’ve been told that Erik the Red named them that way to discourage people from moving to Iceland, but it was more to encourage people to go to Greenland.

A little research indicates that there is a lot to see in Iceland such as ice-caves, bird-watching, waterfalls, glaciers, active volcanoes, Monster Museum, etc.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

In early 2010 a friend and I made our reservations to visit Iceland early May. We planned a visit to the Blue Lagoon, a boat trip to a small island to do some bird-watching, a ride or two on the Icelandic horses and some area tours. About a week prior, the first volcano eruptions happened and it disrupted air transportation to and from Europe for about a week. With all the ash raining down and the spectacular pictures of the volcano, we knew we would be unable to ride the ponies or do the sightseeing we had planned so we cancelled our trip.

A year later, things had died down and again we made our reservations to go to Iceland, and a month prior to our trip, another set of Iceland volcano eruptions occurred and we cancelled our trip.

I gave it up for a couple of years. Some of our agents visited Iceland and came back with great stories. They also sent their clients to Iceland and in the course of handling the payment of the reservation, I made some friends in Iceland, who encouraged me to try again and to come visit them.

Just this week I talked to my friend about planning our trip for next June. The very next day we heard the news about Iceland’s earthquakes and the expected volcanic eruptions happened again!

I’m so sorry, my bad!



Over the recent Labor Day weekend we were dining with friends, one of whom is a geologist. We talked about Iceland and how they are all excited to visit Iceland next Spring. The very next day I watched the news and once again…more volcano eruptions!

OH MY… Here we go again!



*Wendy Swenson, CTC is the VP of World Travel.

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Popular Meetings Destination

Popular Meetings Destination


Chicago is now the most popular meetings destination. Wendy Swenson, CTC* chimes in about the Windy City and why it is a popular meetings destination.

I have to agree with a recent article in USA Today. Recently I attended a business meeting in Chicago. Our attendees came from Canada, Dominican Republic and all over the US.

It’s a walking city – when I arrived on a summer day, there were mobs of people walking in all directions through the downtown city streets, all very colorful and casual. It was very challenging to get past the people to drop off my rental car.

Your first activity when you arrive in Chicago should be an Architectural Tour of the city by boat along all three branches of the Chicago river. My friend and I went on Chicago’s First Lady fleet which is associated with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. For 90 minutes we relaxed and viewed all the different buildings downtown while a docent volunteer (who refused to accept a tip) told us about the buildings, architects and history of the area. It was very interesting, even the 2nd time! You can sit on top in the sunshine or down below in air conditioned comfort. There are also refreshments available on-board.

Click here to check out Wendy’s photo gallery of Chicago Architecture.

In between your meetings, you have to eat. It’s so easy to walk in any direction to find great restaurants, indoor eating and outdoors too, and great people watching. There is even a Trader Joe’s downtown where I introduced my friend to 2 Buck Chuck wine for the first time. She bought two bottles!

There are indoor malls for shopping. Last trip I had to replace a broken suitcase and got one at a Macy’s in a mall which was connected to our hotel This trip I had to find an adapter to power the battery of my cell phone and I found it at a Verizon store next to my hotel. It’s all so convenient and in walking distance!

There are lots of options for entertainment, such as Navy Pier and lots of cultural and sports events to do as well. So when you come to Chicago for your business meetings, you should add a few days before or afterwards to take in all that interests you. It is so evident why Chicago is the most popular meetings destination.


*Wendy Swenson, CTC is the VP of World Travel.


Click here to get started on allowing World Travel Business Elite handle all your corporate travel needs.
Virtuoso Travel Week

Virtuoso Travel Week


World Travel Business Elite sent a team of agents to Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel. This is a week long annual gathering of all Virtuoso (our consortium) travel agencies and travel suppliers. Our company World Travel Bureau has attended each year for the past twenty years.

On Saturday and Sunday, our corporate and leisure agents took various classes and workshops for Professional Development, including subjects such as Cruise Academy, Destination Specialist Training, Communication, and Sales Development Skills.

What makes Virtuoso Travel Week unique is what happens from Monday through Thursday. Approximately 1900 agents from all over the world will meet with over 1800 travel suppliers for 4 minute meetings. The Bellagio ballrooms are configured with rows and rows of four foot diameter round tables which will seat four people. Each table is manned by one or two agents. Every four minutes representatives from the cruise suppliers, tour suppliers and hotel properties meet with each table. Then the bell rings and the travel representatives move to the next table in that row. This continues from 8:15 am to 4:15 pm each day. It is estimated that there will be 350,000 four minute appointments or 1.6 million minutes of meetings and relationship building.

You may not think that much can be done in a four minute meeting, but in fact, a lot is accomplished. Our agents collect business cards from individual hoteliers and sales representatives from all over the world. The sales rep has four minutes to show photos of their properties (on iPads or notebooks) and describe what makes their property, tour, or vessel unique. The agent has a chance to get valuable contact information which can help them to directly contact that property on behalf of their client, in order to secure VIP treatment or problem resolution for their clients.

When I participated in Virtuoso Travel Week two years ago, I’d make notes on the back of the business cards I had collected. I was so stimulated by these meetings; I wanted to go everywhere the reps described.

Our World Travel Business Elite agents have the knowledge about their clients’ desires and preferences, so when they see a match of a property to the client they can reach out to their clients upon their return, so they may continue to work on each of their client’s respective bucket lists or their next Destination Business Meeting.

Each day at Virtuoso Travel Week there are breakfasts, lunches and dinners sponsored by various organizations, so not a moment is wasted. There’s hardly any time for gambling!

It used to be that attendees would come back home with loads and loads of brochures and papers to file, but this is the seventh year that the Virtuoso Travel Week has practiced environmentally friendly techniques to avoid using paper and brochures. Most all presentations are on small notebook computers or laptops, and the reps offer to email our agents with links to their presentation materials.

At the end of Virtuoso Travel Week there is a big Gala awards event, with photo contest awards,  etc. You can imagine how exhausting this week must be, but the rewards and knowledge gained and relationship building make it all worthwhile.

Learn more about what World Travel Business Elite can do for your company and all your business travel needs.

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