Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 2,100 travel advisors and industry representatives were in attendance for the unveiling of Travel Leaders Network’s newest customized technology platforms, plus a new approach to travel advisor education, at the retail group’s EDGE conference in Washington, D.C.
One of the newest technology platforms, Profiler Plus, is an upgraded and enhanced version of the Agent Profiler system created by Travel Leaders Network.
About 75 million people in the U.S watching online videos daily, says Travel Leaders Network. Profiler Plus gives travel advisors the ability to post videos to their profile and add places they’ve been, places they’ve booked and link reviews from clients who have been there. This aims to create a personal connection with both prospective and existing clients, says the retail group.
“We’ve run thousands of usability tests and closely analyzed customer feedback to inform continual enhancements with the ultimate objective of connecting qualified leads to qualified advisors in the least number of clicks,” said Jeremy Van Kuyk, VP Product and Solutions Delivery for Travel Leaders Group. “We know that a variety of things are important to consumers when searching online, including agent location and expertise, reviews and recommendation scores, certifications and awards, a professional headshot and striking destination photography. The reviews are particularly important not only to consumers but, the more reviews an advisor has, it pushes their profile up in organic search and generates a greater number of leads for them. All of that capability resides in Agent Profiler 2.0. and, now, Profiler Plus integrates even more bells and whistles.”
By using the features that allow advisors to share their own photos and travel stories, clients can find the right travel advisor for them based on location, destination, specialization or interest. Profiler Plus can further demonstrate the advisor’s direct, relevant knowledge on specific destinations a prospective client is interested in. Profiler plus is optimized for both desktop and mobile.
Meanwhile the new generation of Leaders Edge, a turnkey website solution that enhances an agency’s online presence, reflects an upgrade of the site’s design, content and functionality. Content focused on promotions and specials is automatically loaded into agency websites as it is posted on TravelLeaders.com. Agencies can customize the content based on their preferences and create their own promotional content pages.
The new Leaders Edge also allows for the incorporation of video. For agencies participating in The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a selection of travel offers and discounts available at no additional cost to holders of select American Express Cards, an approved banner that links to copy with additional information can be integrated as well.
The 2019 EDGE conference also saw the debut of Travel Leaders Network’s new customized approach to travel advisor education. ‘Travel Leaders Network – Professional Learning Path’ consists of four professional growth tiers for every type of travel advisor:
. Tier 1 is for newer agents who are mastering the technical and supplier aspects of the job. Topics that tier 1 address building a client base, using various social media platforms and walking through professional, ethnical and preferred etiquette scenarios.
. Tier 2 is for established advisors who have enrolled in or completed at least one specialist program. Marketing strategies, tactics for closing sales and how to generate sales and start building relationships are some of the sessions included.
. Tier 3 is for experienced advisors driving their business based on specialization and using the newest generation of Agent Profiler, or corporate advisors with 10 or more years of experience. Workshop. Topics include using digital platforms to engage with the traveller throughout the customer journey. Along with this travel advisors will learn about Travel Leader Group’s SELECT Hotels & Resorts program, and how to become a million-dollar plus seller
. Tier 4 is for highly experienced travel agents on the leisure and corporate side. Workshops focus on growing one’s personal brand, using technology more efficiently and paid advertising opportunities on social media channels, among other topics.
Corporate-focused sessions are in tiers, addressing topics on traveller safety, building new contacts from existing contacts, and using technology for improved customer service.
Former and current advisor board members of travel agencies within the Travel Leaders Network family of associates and affiliates helped to develop the new learning path program.
Of the 210 workshops offered over the course of the conference, more than 70 within the Professional Learning Path program helped guide advisors through specific tracks based on where they are focused in their career development. Ongoing educational opportunities within the program will continue throughout the remainder of the year.
“These tiers have been very thoughtfully tailored to foster talent acceleration in a highly effective manner,” says Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network.
Meanwhile TL Network Canada honoured its top affiliate member agencies during its annual ‘Power of the Partnership’ awards ceremony at the EDGE conference.
“Travel Leaders Network is proud to recognize and honor these member agencies for their outstanding business acumen, utilization of Travel Leaders tools and technology, demonstrated partnership with preferred suppliers and dedication to serving their clients,” said Christine James, Vice President of TL Network Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Travel Leaders Network.
The Chairman’s Awards were presented to the affiliate member agencies with the highest supplier sales in 2018, while recipients of Travel Leaders Network’s President’s Award are those affiliate member agencies with the largest supplier sales growth in 2018.
The winners include:
Chairman’s Host Award – Centre Holidays; Carlton Montaut (Mississauga, ON)
Chairman’s Elite Event Award – The Destination Experts; Deanna Byrne (Windsor, NS)
Chairman’s Pinnacle Award – Nexion Canada; Mike Foster (London, ON)
All In One Travel & Services, Ltd.; Miroslava Plihtiak (Mississauga, ON)
KVI Travel; Kyle Oram (Kelowna, BC)
eHome Travel Group; Paul Leung (Richmond, BC)
Top CruisePRO Booking Agency – KVI Travel; Kyle Oram (Kelowna, BC)
New Member – Verstraete Travel & Cruises; Anne Winter (Aurora, ON)
Top Worldwide and SELECT Hotel Booker – Custom Travel Solutions Calgary; Beth Gardner (Calgary)
Top pinSight Booker – The Destination Experts; Deanna Byrne (Windsor, NS)
Top Distinctive Voyages Sales – Cruise Holidays Oakville/Lawrence Park; Lola Vassiliadis (Oakville, ON)
Top Producing Distinctive Voyages Host – Julianne Evans of Valente Travel (Windsor, ON)
TL Network Canada also honored its top supplier partners. “Our business is built upon strong, highly valued partnerships with our preferred suppliers,” said John Lovell, President – Leisure Travel, Supplier Relations & Networks for Travel Leaders Group, the parent company of TL Network Canada. “With these awards, we are honoring those that have truly gone above and beyond in the areas of partnership and support to ensure our mutual success during the past year.”
Added James: “On behalf of everyone at TL Network Canada, we extend our congratulations to all of our supplier partner award winners on these very well-deserved honors. We value each and every one of our preferred suppliers and these awards serve to recognize the depth of our appreciation for our most outstanding partners.”
NORTH AMERICAN 2019 AWARDS
Globus Family of Brands
OUTSTANDING SALES SUPPORT
Royal Caribbean International
OUTSTANDING LUXURY PARTNER
DISTINCTIVE VOYAGES CRUISE LINE PARTNER OF THE YEAR
2019 CANADIAN AWARDS
OUTSTANDING PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Sunwing / Signature Vacations
TOP GROUP SALES
Air Canada Vacations