Mountain Travel Symposium – an exclusive interview with VacationRoost’s CEO
A few days before Mountain Travel Symposium kicks off in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, we asked Julian Castelli, the CEO of Vacation Roost a few questions about the symposium.
A word from our sponsor: Mountain Travel Symposium
Mountain Travel Symposium is a place where over 1,000 national and international mountain travel professionals begin contracting business for the 2012-2013 winter ski season. It’s also a place where ski, social, person-to-person networking, skiing, technology and marketing meet and discuss the state of the industry.
Who you can expect to meet: ski resorts, mountain lodging properties, air and ground transportation companies, international and domestic tour operators, travel agents, and ski club officers, nationally known speakers and travel industry experts.
Now, here’s Julian Castelli, CEO of VacationRoost.com.
OAM: What do you see the role of MTS for the mountain travel industry?
Julian C: MTS is the most important show and event for the mountain travel industry. It is the primary time that we count on to see all of our supplier partners. We use the time to review our partnership results with them for the previous season and to plan improvements that will allow us to best work together for the next season. We also share insights and promotional ideas that we hope will allow us to grow our partnership and overall sales together going forward.
OAM: How many years have you been going to MTS?
Julian C: Mountain Reservations/VacationRoost has been a key participant and sponsor for at least 8-10 years. I joined the Company in 2007, and attended my first MTS after that season in April 2008 so this will be my fifth conference that I will attend personally.
OAM: What’s your most favorite thing about MTS?
Julian C: I really enjoy catching up with all of our friends and partners in the industry. The mountain travel industry is filled with terrific, fun folks and we all look forward to catching up with each other at the end of the season and blowing off some steam. I also find the presentations and educational sessions that the show produces to be on point and valuable as we reflect on a season just finished and a new one a few quarters away.
OAM: What do you look forward to this year? Which presentations?
Julian C: As a distributor, I think that the distribution panel discussion will be very interesting. There is so much change in the travel industry and it will be useful for me to hear more details about the different models out there and to see how our supplier partners are reacting to them. I also very much enjoy some of the inspirational speakers. Aron Rahlston just blew everyone away last year, and I am looking forward to hearing Alison Levine’s story.
OAM: Do you have any advice to people who are going how to make the most of it?
Julian C: Open up and be a sponge – there is so much to learn and so many people to meet. Pace yourself – it is a long show with a lot of activity, don’t over-do it to early as it will hurt your ability to get the most out of the last few days.
OAM: Do you have any word of advice for people sitting on the fence at the moment?
Julian C: We have found the show to be well worth every penny, and recommend it to our supplier partners.
OAM: Do you book sales from MTS?
Julian C: Our traditional sales are to the travelling guest – so no, we don’t interact with them at the show. We do, however, secure multiple supplier partner contracts and enhance our relationships with our partners at the event.
On our Partner Services side – where we provide our booking platform to resorts, CVBs and travel partners, we have secured several valuable partnerships at the show in the past.
OAM: Anything else you’d like to add?
Julian C: See you at the show!
Looking forward to meeting everyone at Mountain Travel Symposium in Squaw Valley, April 15-21, 2012.