Travel agents do more than simply book flights and hotels for clients, and to stay on top of the latest trends in the travel world, they need to attend conferences. These are forums in which to learn, socialize, and conduct the professional networking essential to the field of travel consultation. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of five of the biggest events in which every travel consultant should participate.

1. ASTA Capitol Summit

Held in Washington D.C. on June 4-7, this conference is a combination of important events. While the American Society of Travel Agents acknowledges that not every attendee will take part in every meeting, bringing the threads of their organization together at such a place and time provides an opportunity for individuals at every level of the business to network. The conference includes the ASTA annual board meeting, the Consortia Leaders Meeting, Chapter Presidents Council Meeting, Allied Marketing Council Meeting, and a Congressional Welcome Reception in the capitol building.

2. NACTA 2017 Conference

Held in a different city each year, the National Association of Career Travel Agents conference provides a multitude of career opportunities and exciting experiences for members. This year, the city of choice is Anchorage, Alaska, with the conference running from September 13-16. Here, professionals can exchange the latest techniques of the trade, participate in fascinating workshops, attend lectures focused on important field topics, and meet with vendors and clients who work closely with the travel world. In between the exciting schedule of events, individuals can take in the breathtaking natural scenery, experiencing firsthand the wonders of wild Alaska, or enjoy the hospitality of a cozy, modern city.

3. Travel Industry Exchange

Experience the charms of the French Quarter as well as the hidden jewels of the South’s most beguiling city at the 2017 Exchange. Hosted in New Orleans from October 12-14, this venue provides travel agents and industry leaders with a multitude of opportunities. While it’s a valuable experience for travel agents of all sorts, this event also offers a venue for those who specialize in niche fields and specialty experiences. Networking, mingling, panel discussions, and much more blend together for a fantastic experience that will enrich the approach of any agent or specialty consultant. Plus, the industry publications Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor will be there to cover all the highlights and happenings.

4. USTOA in Hollywood, Florida, November 27 – December 1

To the uninitiated ear, the United States Tour Operators Association may not sound like a conference for individuals in the realm of travel consultation, but its conferences are perfect venues for agency leaders to learn, network, and share their expertise. The primary focus of the conference is to bring together travel consultants with industry providers in order to help craft the most exciting or unique travel experiences for clientele. Consultants will also have access to market leaders of a $15 Billion domestic industry, the opportunity to both learn and influence upcoming trends in travel and entertainment, and participate in a global industry conversation.

5. The Early Bird

While the 2017 New York Times Travel Show has come and gone, January 26-28 will arrive sooner than you think. This is an essential show for anyone new to the industry as well as those well seasoned in travel consultation. It provides more than 23 panel discussions about the latest trends, global influences on travel, products, and services. As well, attendees will have the opportunity to network with peers from around the globe, as well as renew contacts with domestic counterparts. And, if conversation should ever flag, more than 500 vendors will be on hand with the latest and coolest products and concepts in the industry.

The realm of travel consultation is by no means a simple one. It incorporates global trends, concerns of international scope, and the mélange of multinational tastes for exciting destinations or pursuits. To maintain an edge or attain industry leader status, individuals must aggressively pursue networking and learning opportunities. That’s why travel conferences are vital as well as exciting mediums to broaden your horizons.