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Profile: Tim RichmondApril 1, 2008 By: George Dooley Home-Based Travel Agent
This home-based agent knows the importance of a fully integrated host-agency program
Nexion has emerged as a powerhouse among host agencies. How, you might ask? The agency, which is based in Southlake, TX, has distinguished itself in the travel industry by integrating the benefits of a full suite of leisure solutions offered under the Sabre Leisure umbrella for its 2,100 plus members.
The agency's general manager, Jackie Friedman, believes that independent agents gain a decisive advantage in the market when they have a fully integrated host-agency program, which includes marketing, technology, training and support in one affordable package.
Tim Richmond, one of those agents who has benefited from such a system, echoes this point. Richmond is one of Nexion's top-producing independent agents and a member of Nexion's 10-member agent Advisory Board. He sees Nexion's program delivering real value to serious member agents.
Like many Nexion agents, Richmond is a veteran with nearly two decades of experience—including six years as a Nexion member. He applauds Nexion's program and leadership: "It's important that agents affiliate with a financially strong host agency—and Nexion and Sabre offer this," Richmond told Home-Based Travel Agent. "They invest in the programs and support that are basic to the ongoing success of independent agents." One example Richmond cites is the recent launch of Nexion Town, an innovative online community that empowers member agents with instant access to other Nexion agents' expertise, experience and skills.
"Nexion Town gives the independent agent a new online connection to all the other agents in Nexion," Richmond explains. "They can put their own profiles online, ask questions, get recommendations, gain insights and solve problems with a few clicks." The areas of expertise among Nexion's agents range from Disney properties to Las Vegas to dozens of cruise lines and hundreds of destinations and suppliers.
Nexion Town also ends the lamentable isolation of the independents by linking them to the skills and experience of all other Nexion members. "The response has been excellent, with more than 400 Nexion members signing on in the first week," reports Richmond. "This is a tremendously important tool that gives agents the opportunity to share knowledge."
In addition to instant access to other Nexion agents profiled on Nexion Town, there are many networking advantages. Nexion agents in different locations become "co-workers," advising others of the best management and technology applications, as well as marketing practices based on other agents' experience.
"The bottom-line [goal] of Nexion Town is to help member agents deliver higher quality services to their client base while benefiting from the marketing and technology expertise of the entire Nexion network," Richmond says.
Nexion Town was developed by Sabre Travel Studios, with input from Nexion agents and Sabre employees.
"Nexion Town is the latest in a series of innovations—in marketing, technology and support—that will empower the Nexion agent in a competitive market," Friedman says. "Our agents benefit from a host of quality programs, including professional marketing through our affiliation with ClientBase and TRAMS Marketing Alliance (TMA), that build business. It's a total program that allows agents to deliver high integrity services."
Nexion's CoNexion Conference is April 21-22 in conjunction with the Technology & Marketing University, held on April 22-24 at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas. —George Dooley