Ensemble Travel Launches New South Pacific Specialist Program

Ensemble Travel Group has announced the details of a comprehensive South Pacific Specialist Program, an initiative designed to position participating members in the U.S. and Canada as leading destination authorities and to drive qualified leads to its agents. Ensemble is working with North American partner Qantas Vacations, in concert with the tourism offices of Australia, Tahiti, and Fiji, to launch this multi-channel pilot program.

“By studying the success of agents who have clearly established themselves as experts in the marketplace, we know that this positioning clearly puts them in the forefront with both current and potential clients in their respective destination or type of travel,” says Ensemble Travel Group’s Suzanne Hall, senior director, marketing and development, land products. “Our new South Pacific Specialist Program will solidify these ‘graduates’ as the go-to authority on Australia, Tahiti, and Fiji – three of the hottest destinations on many travelers’ must-see lists, especially when it comes to the romance-wedding-honeymoon segment.”To make the specialist program manageable for busy participants, agents are being asked to prioritize their first, second, and third choice of preferred destination focus (Australia, Tahiti, and Fiji). Once members complete the requirements of the first destination course, they will be encouraged to continue their certification studies with the other two countries. The training will consist of three components:  a destination specialist course developed by the respective country’s tourist office; an Ensemble private-label webinar series or other targeted training activities; and a familiarization trip for first-hand knowledge of the destination.

“Qantas Vacations has launched a South Pacific program with Ensemble Travel Group because they bring a unique North American distribution channel with the potential to grow visitation to Australia, Fiji, and Tahiti,” said Michael Londregan, president of Qantas Vacations. “The South Pacific is still a complicated destination where specialist agents, knowledgeable about the destination, can truly add value to a clients’ vacation. We feel that Ensemble has a special ‘finger on the pulse’ when it comes to the needs of the North American traveler. On behalf of all participating partners, we look forward to working with Ensemble Travel Group members who are dedicated to service excellence and committed to growing their business to the South Pacific.”

The Ensemble Travel Group South Pacific Specialist Program will be supported by a collection of both print and e-marketing initiatives, all geared to help members generate new booking activity in the South Pacific. Among the Ensemble Travel Group standouts: the eye-catching Ensemble Lifestyles magazine, designed for the affluent traveler, and the multi-channel Ensemble Vacation Therapy consumer campaign, created to cure “whatever ails you” with travel prescriptions from preferred partners as the remedy.

“Our winter and fall issues of Ensemble Lifestyles and this spring’s Vacation Therapy campaign will showcase the South Pacific with a strategy geared at overcoming the typical barriers to travel to the region and representing the South Pacific as the ‘no-compromise’ choice for your next vacation. In addition, attractive offers will make our specialists’ phones ring,” explains Carol Black, senior director of strategic marketing.

The Internet marketing component, headed up by Ensemble Travel Group’s Marie Potter, director of Internet marketing, North America, is based on extensive research regarding travelers’ demographics, psychographics, and geographics. “By taking these findings, we’re better able to strategically target our efforts in an e-environment,” says Potter. “It’s what sensible – and profitable – e-marketing is all about.”

Ensemble Travel Group has developed a number of e-marketing tools that can be grouped in the following three channels: consumer, member, and agency. Among the primary lead-generation tools for the South Pacific Specialist Program:

*    Ensemble Clientsites – to date, more than 400 destination-rich consumer websites have been designed for Ensemble Travel Group member agencies to position themselves as travel experts;
*    Microsite – each specialist will have a link on their consumer website to a specially designed South Pacific microsite, which showcases destination information and attractive offers grouped by price point
*    The Experiences E-zine – a professionally designed monthly consumer e-publication that includes destination features, video, and special offers;
*    www.ensembleromanticvacations.com/www.ensembleromanticvacations.ca – an Ensemble Travel Group consumer travel website (for U.S. and Canada, respectively) showcasing an array of romantic travel experiences in Australia, Tahiti, and Fiji, plus an agency locator to easily find an Ensemble specialist in their area;
*    Social media – creative e-opportunities for consumer outreach on a variety of Ensemble Travel Group-South Pacific activities via blogs, Facebook, Flicker, RSS feed, and more.

Founded in 1968, Ensemble Travel Group is a proactive, member-owned international organization of nearly 900 professional travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada.  Visit www.ensembletravel.com.