Cuba Holidays Agents Evening March 2019
With the room buzzing with excitement, our agent evening kicked off right on time and over one hundred agents already with a drink in hand were eagerly awaiting the presentations from our main sponsor Melia hotels and Virgin Atlantic.
We had a number of special guests awaiting to be introduced and our extra special guest, the Cuba Ambassador for the UK no less, Mrs Terisita Sotolongo rose from her seat to take the warm welcome from the gathered crowd. The Managing Directors of Cuba Holidays followed suit, with an extra round of applause when I highlighted that this year Cuba Holidays are celebrating 25 years of selling holidays to Cuba. My Bryan Adams joke about being number 1 for the first ten years was warmly received with a chuckle to anyone over a certain age, the rest chuckled and then looked at each over, great, not fallen on my face yet, introductions of the ambassador and a age related joke completed, onwards and upwards.
Ernesto then took a bow, our main man in Havana who looks after the team in Cuba. If I did early nights, worked out, ate me veg drunk as much water as I do wine yadder, yadder, yadder I could look like his twin, OH the paths we take in life.
The introduction of the CTO crew fell flat as they were stuck in traffic and joined us later, but Joel Hernadez the director of the Cuban Tourist office kindly stepped in to the limelight to keep the introductions flowing, closely followed by the team from Virgin Atlantic and the lovely Elizabeth Rivas from Melia Hotels.
Then came the next big gag of the night trying to prove a point about hearing talking at the back of the room and saying that to prove a point to the lady at the back…total hush now fell towards the rear of the room…NO I AM NOT JASON STATHAMS GRANDAD! A good level of laughter and the age groups switched with the younger members now getting the joke while overs looked again at each other. The biggest cheer of the introductions came with news of our prize draw and the amazing prizes on offer, closely followed by the second biggest cheer that more drinks were on their way.
Elizabeth then took to the floor but gremlins with the microphone tried to upstage our keynote speaker, and my first wine of the evening. Elizabeth the consummate professional tried to soldier on but a microphone without working batteries proved too much and a suspension in play was need until replacements could be found.
Taking the floor again Elizabeth received a huge round of applause and this time with a working microphone delivered a great presentation highlighting the new Melia hotels including the stunning Melia International in Varadero and a summary of Melia’s history in Cuba and its plans for the coming months in a year which will be massive for the island with Havana celebrating its 500th year anniversary and all the media focus that this celebration will bring.
Virgin Atlantic’s Natalie then got the crowd in a party mood with a simple game of head and tales with questions being asked regarding Virgin Atlantic routes and catering options, I fell out of the game on a question of tomatoes, don’t ask, can’t remember the answer, but I was wrong along with a number of other guests, who knew tomatoes could be such a divisive fruit!!!
A great night of networking and prize winning
Now time for networking and that glass of wine, was great catching up with so many old friends and meeting some new members of the Cuba Holidays club. With what seems like a blink of the eye conversations had to be cut short as the Prize Draw was looming. Never had an audience quieten down so quickly but the magic words of prize draw boomed out across the microphone (still working thank god) brought the crowd to attention.
The first prize a bottle of vodka from our venue hosts at the Revolution bar was won by Lindsey of Hermes Travel, with envious looks from certain fellow members of the crowd who counted that as the main prize! Two fam trips went to Fai from Peoples Travel and Julie From Abbotts Travel and then the tension mounted with the main prizes of the evening waiting to be announced…
And the winner of 7 nights at the Melia Nacional goes to, a sense of excitement hung in the air, Catherine from Travel Counsellors, cheers from colleagues in the room followed by a little photo opportunity as with all the lucky winners. Phaline from Waltham Abbey won the twin centre holidays again courtesy of our kind friends at Melia International and Angela from Dawling Travel finished off the draw by winning 2 FREE flights to Cuba with Virgin Atlantic.
After a hard day in the office many agents left after the draw and who could blame you with many coming from outside London including Brighton and believe it or not Derby, we really appreciated all your support. This just left a number of die-hards who stayed until the very end, and thanks to you all for trying to teach me how to salsa but freestyle dance is more my thing.
As the evening wound down so did my energy levels and the train taking me to by bed was at the station. On the trip back home just played over in my mind what a great night it’s had been and how lucky we are to have such great support from our agent partners.