TRAVELSAVERS Conference Attendees Leave With New Tools
Open Jaw, Bruce Parkinson
Boca Raton Resort & Club was the elegant setting for the TRAVELSAVERS Global Conference.
A gala gathering at the conference.
Unlike many travel agency groups, American Marketing Group’s TRAVELSAVERS holds an international gathering every two years instead of annually.
“We touch our agencies constantly, but when we get together every two years we come to deliver a message of enhanced programs. When they leave, we want our affiliates to have things that will tangibly increase their bottom-line,” says Nicole Mazza, Chief Marketing Officer for TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and Affluent Traveler.
The 2018 AMG global conference, just wrapped up in Boca Raton, Florida, gave TRAVELSAVERS affiliates – made up of 2,500 independently owned, full-service travel agencies in over 35 countries – a substantial goody bag to take back to their exclusive territories.
For the 275 Canadian TRAVELSAVERS members, the haul includes new preferred suppliers, improved training through TRAVELSAVERS University, enhanced marketing and lead generation tools for destination wedding specialists, and Lead Dash, a technology tool designed to help agents and suppliers capitalize on millions of dollars of unused cruise and tour credits.
“To describe AMG in a nutshell, our focus is to deliver the right tools for agents. We don’t want the same solutions everybody else has. We customize our programs around the agents’ needs,” says Mazza.
Here’s a look at the key announcements from the conference:
Lead Dash Tool
Top cruise and tour operators – such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Insight Vacations, Collette, and Viking Cruises – have open credits sitting on their books unused. With Lead Dash, TRAVELSAVERS agents automatically receive notifications motivating them to remind their clients about the unused credits – and close the sale.
Agents opt-in to use Lead Dash, which triggers professionally designed html emails to be distributed that are agency-branded and include preferred supplier messaging.
“We’re fired up about it,” says Mazza. “There are millions and millions of dollars in tour and future cruise credits sitting there. This tool build in-house lets us go after this low-hanging fruit.”
“We’re heavily into training,” says Mazza. “Every account has a business analyst who helps them shift share from non-preferred and take advantage of the tools we provide. It’s extremely important to us to continue to train and give our suppliers the opportunity to network.”
The new TRAVELSAVERS University brings together all of the organization’s training opportunities in one place, including supplier product certifications, the brands’ own certifications, niche market training, business-building sessions with featured speakers, one-on-one coaching opportunities, and personal development sessions.
“We can’t emphasize enough how important training is to the health and future of our industry,” says Kathryn Burney-Mazza, EVP Sales and Service for TRAVELSAVERS.
“Everyone agrees that we need more knowledgeable, experienced travel professionals out there serving the public. After receiving many requests from individuals for additional educational opportunities, we knew it was time to take on the challenge, and so we created TRAVELSAVERS University to meet the need.”
New Canada Preferred Suppliers
Mazza says TRAVELSAVERS spend a lot of time vetting preferred suppliers. “We don’t take everybody in. It’s a competitive program and we look for forward-thinking, agent-focused partners.”
With the average TRAVELSAVERS agency doing about $5 million annually in preferred volume, it’s not surprising it’s a competitive program. New preferred suppliers for TRAVELSAVERS’ Canadian affiliates include:
American Queen Steamboat Company– Offering uniquely American river cruises, the operator takes its guests aboard iconic steamboats to explore history on the Mississippi River. This
Just You –Specializing in singles vacations, Just You has been brought onboard specifically for TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies.
Goway Travel– Since 1970, this tour operator has been providing unforgettable travel experiences to some of the world’s most exotic and interesting destinations.
Go Canada by Air Canada Vacations– This collection helps travellers explore Canada through various types of travel, from urban chic to Arctic splendor, Maritime charm to the great Canadian Rockies.
Cox & Kings– Serving luxury travellers, Cox & Kings is the longest established travel company in the world, with roots to 1758. Its customized private and group travel tours around the globe are now available through Canadian agencies that belong to AMG’s The Affluent Traveler Collection.
The list of new preferreds includes Fiore Tours, a DMC specialized in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro and offering over 100 self-guided and guided programs. Luxe Travel Hawaii is another, offering private, authentic Hawaiian travel experiences that focus on being culturally distinctive, entertaining and luxurious. Both Fiore and Luxe are now part of TRAVELSAVERS’ OnLocation DMC program, giving Canadian agencies access to essential local knowledge and expertise.
Distinctive Destination Weddings
Certified TRAVELSAVERS agents who want to expand their destination weddings niche are the beneficiary of what the company calls “a powerful upgrade to its Distinctive Destination Weddings niche program.” The enhanced system adds a dynamic lead generation program, as well as training courses and certification.
“There’s a growing need and desire for travel agents to be better trained in the always-lucrative and constantly growing bridal market,” says Nicole Mazza. “Our upgraded program gives our agents a better digital presence and a greater capability to drive home those wedding- and honeymoon-related travel sales.”
The Distinctive Destination Weddings program features a consumer-facing website with compelling content that is customizable, mobile-optimized, and lead-generating. It also provides back-end analytics to help agents better employ and adjust their marketing efforts.
Members of the Affluent Traveller Collection, the group of over 300 agencies that get at least 75% of their volume in luxury sales now has access to a new consumer website completely branded by agency, or a microsite to be integrated into agency websites.
The 2018 TRAVELSAVERS Global Conference marked 48 years in business for the company. That means when they gather again two years from now, the TRAVELSAVERS family will be celebrating the big 5-0.
“We don’t know where it’s going to be yet,” says Mazza-Burney. “But it will be someplace spectacular. We can’t wait to see what the next 50 years brings.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.