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TOWARD Re-Launch Set for Res-Expo 2005

TOWARD is re-launching its North American chapter with an executive planning session at Tour Operators and Wholesalers Achieving Real-time Distribution (TOWARD) is calling on professionals from across the leisure travel spectrum to participate in the half-day event to help shape the future goals and direction of TOWARD and have a positive influence on the future of leisure travel distribution.

ÊIn the summer of 2004 the TOWARD Board of Directors commissioned Travel Technology Source, a travel distribution and technology consultancy, to conduct a survey of industry executives to determine whether there was a broad need across the travel industry for an independent association to address the challenges in leisure travel distribution. The results were very clear: 86 percent of executives stated that there is a need for TOWARD and expressed interest in participating.

The TOWARD North America planning session will convene at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta on the morning of Friday March 4 (the day immediately after ResExpo),Ê 8am-1pm. The Board of Directors invites professionals from every segment of the travel industry to participate, including tour operators and wholesalers, hotels, airlines, car rental companies, destination event companies, technology firms, distribution services companies, online and traditional retailers, travel consultancies and others.

Established in 2000 as an independent travel industry association, TOWARD aims to bring together tour operators, travel suppliers, technology providers and other travel industry professionals to foster more efficient and cost-effective business for the leisure travel industry via technology and electronic distribution channels. This planning session presents an opportunity for industry professionals to play an important and much-needed role in the future of leisure travel distribution by:

Defining goals and objectives for TOWARD

Nominating and electing a new Board of Directors

Volunteering for working committees

Participating in the creation of a short- and long-term development plan.


“We are asking leading professionals from across the industry for just a few hours of their time to make a valuable contribution toward the entire leisure travel industry,” said Paul Bahnick, Vice President of Technology at Travel Impressions and TOWARD Board member. “Major changes in travel distribution have created a clear need for an organization to support technological advancement across the leisure segment. TOWARD offers a forum for industry leaders to become catalyst in producing a positive, lasting impact on the future of leisure distribution.”

The TOWARD Board of Directors has contracted Travel Technology Source, co-producers of ResExpo, to provide professional association management services for the organization. TOWARD has already established partner relationships with leading leisure and distribution-focused organizations, including HEDNA, OTA and CrossSphere (formerly the National Tour Association).

“TOWARD is committed to advancing technology and electronic distribution for the leisure travel industry, and this planning session is a key part of our effort to re-energize and re-focus TOWARD’s North American chapter,” said Mike Scott, President and Chairman of TOWARD and Executive Vice President, Discovery Travel Systems. “What better venue could we choose to assemble travel distribution professionals than at the leading travel technology conference and tradeshow. We are delighted to have ResExpo host this important event.”

During ResExpo tour operators and suppliers will find numerous sessions of interest to their industry sector, coupled with powerful keynote addressed and practical workshops to apply in their companies.Ê Also a ResExpo exclusive, John Ische, President and CEO, Trisept Solutions is sponsoring a special invitation breakfast where he will speak on the goals of TOWARD and membership benefits.Ê

Attendance at the TOWARD Planning Session is included in the registration fee for ResExpo. Attendance at ResExpo is $695 if booked before January 31, and $795 thereafter. All members of partner organizations CrossSphere, HEDNA and OTA, as well as former TOWARD members, who book by January 31 are eligible for a discounted rate of $595 ($200 off of the regular attendance fee).