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New From the Ensemble Conference

October 30, 2006 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor

TORONTO—About 800 Ensemble agents, and Travel Agent, were at the Ensemble Travel Group's annual conference at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto Oct. 18–21. Ensemble President and Chief Executive Officer Jack E. Mannix implored his membership to exceed the sales growth targets of the consortium's preferred suppliers and to develop more personal relationships. "We have to hit growth targets...We have to be more effective at directional selling," says Mannix. "We [Ensemble's directors] have to create products and services to make sure customers keep coming to you...That puts money in your pocket."

Travel Agent found that it appeared that the free ride Ensemble's Canadian membership has gotten to date on the point of dual membership was about to come to an end. Mannix told Travel Agent that the consortium has not enforced the dual affiliation rule for Canadian membership so far, despite taking a tough stance on the topic with U.S. agencies. He said that when Ensemble imposed the rule in the U.S. three years ago, it didn't know enough about the potential effects on the Canadian market to take the same step in Canada. That should change, he said, perhaps as early as the third quarter of next year.

"For the Canadian market, we've taken a softer stance because there was a few issues to address first, but you will see us move in the same direction [as in the U.S.]."

Ensemble announced its Top 10 Producers (in alphabetical order): Alice Travel in Fairfield, NJ; All Cruise Travel of San Jose, CA; Ambassador Tours of San Francisco, CA; Cruise Value Center, East Brunswick, NJ; Hartford

Holidays of Williston Park, NY; Montrose Travel Service of Montrose, CA; Nelson Custom Travel of Valley Village, CA; Pavlus Travel & Cruise of Albuquerque, NM; Travel of America of Covina, CA; and Travel–Store of Los Angeles.

The consortium's new preferred suppliers include Alpine Adventures, G.A.P. Adventures, Live The West Vacations (dude ranches), Honeymoon Wishes Bridal Registry, SpaQuest, Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort in Ireland, Boscolo Luxury Hotel New York Palace in Budapest, and Jumeirah Essex House in New York.

Ensemble also added a few names to its growing On Location program. New partners include Iceland Travel, TourTech International in Latin America, Paradise Tours in Tahiti, Abercrombie & Kent in Hong Kong and Asia, and Scandinavian Destination Services.

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