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Signature Reports Strong Luxury Travel GrowthMay 31, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
In all markets, Signature Travel Network’s member owners reported a strong first quarter, with particular growth in the luxury segment, Signature Travel reports, following meeting with Signature member owners in six cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale and New York.
April, specifically, was a "mixed bag” Signature reported, with some members reporting a marked slowdown in sales, while others said April was their strongest month year-to-date. Land sales to Mexico have understandably stalled, Signature said, though Cancun has seen modest growth; Hawaii and Caribbean business is rebounding; and pent up demand for Europe has resulted in year-over-year sales growth.
Bookings for 2012 cruises are tracking ahead of the same time last year. Natural disasters in overseas destinations and political unrest in the Middle East have impacted sales and altered marketing efforts, Signature says. Escalating airfares and limited availability were factors cited as hurdles to closing more sales, Signature reports.
Members in all groups cited upticks in group and incentive travel for this year and next. Corporate travel has rebounded and is driving increased year-over-year hotel sales.
Many members reported that they are seeing a return of clients that have not booked with the agency in many years. "Signature's ability to segment and target clients via our centralized database of clients, ClientConnection, has enabled members to affordably stay connected to clients who previously purchased cruise and land vacations from them. We're seeing dramatic results," stated Karryn Christopher, vice president of marketing.
Signature’s executive summits are designed to hear firsthand about business conditions, identify problems and opportunities, and to deliver updates on Signature's many initiatives in the areas of technology, marketing and member services, Signature said.
The technology update at the meetings included upcoming plans for further integration of client travel history into marketing selections, email marketing and mobile technology. Details of Signature's technology updates will be announced in the coming weeks, the group said.
Signature Travel Network is a member-owned, travel cooperative, headquartered in Marina del Rey, CA, with a regional office in New York City. The network was established in 1956 and today includes 192 member agencies with 365 retail locations throughout USA and Canada. Collectively, Signature members generate $4.2 billion in annual travel sales.