Onsite: Ensemble Focusing More on Luxury, Social Networking

CANCUN-Ensemble Travel Group, which is holding its annual international convention this week in Cancun, said it is placing a stronger focus on luxury. "You need to be sure your client base is comprised of those who buy luxury and premium products," Jack Mannix, president and CEO of Ensemble, told agents in attendance. As such, Ensemble's strategy includes establishing a Luxury Advisor Council, as well as increasing the amount of marketing materials targeted at luxury travelers. Included in that effort is the launch of Ensemble Lifestyles, a perfect-bound, editorially focused publication to be distributed to 200,000 clients of Ensemble agency members. The magazine, set to publish in February and October of next year, will prominently display the agency member's travel agency brand, name, logo and contact information, with a personalized letter from the agency on the inside front cover.

Ensemble also increased the number of offerings in its Inspired Journeys portfolio, which contains personalized vacations that serve up cruise and land experiences. Nine departures in 2008 focus on a variety of themes, including Family Adventures, Epicurean Adventures, Health and Self-Realization and Mysterious Cultures.

In other announcements, Ensemble said its membership services and its business development field staff would work in tandem on a regional basis to be of greater service on a variety of member issues related to suppliers, marketing and technology.

On the technology front, Ensemble said its members will soon have access to a "more content-rich [and] user-friendly" Ensemble Client Site, developed for its member agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Members can personalize the site for their own use. Features include detailed destination guides as well as the opportunity for a social networking function that lets an agency's clients create their own vacation pages to bookmark their trips. They can also invite friends to visit the site to see photos from their vacations, which will in turn create more traffic to the agency's site.(RT)