Travel Leaders, the new brand name for more than 500 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, was introduced at the Travel Leaders conference in New Orleans this week, earning strong support from agents and suppliers. The rebranding will take effect over the next year and Travel Leaders agents are receiving detailed instructions on implementation of the new brand.
The new Travel Leaders brand was selected after extensive research and analysis and seeks to embody the expertise and professional excellence of the Carlson Wagonlit— now Travel Leaders— agents and Associates, Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders said. The rebranding impacts all full service brick and mortar agencies of the Travel Acquisitions Group (TAG) as well as TAG’s franchisee (Associate) locations.
The 600 plus attendees are being briefed on the details of the rebranding, including everything from logo use to business cards and customer relations. Associates will get a $4,000 credit for changes in signage, for example, as part of the implementation process. Also included is a new consumer website, www.travelleaders.com, and other system-wide initiatives.
Michael Batt, president of the Travel Acquisions Group which now includes The Travel Franchise Group (TTFG), stressed that Travel Leaders represented a 9,000 agent strong network and a $6.5 billion brand that has industry support and the support of financial institutions such as JP Morgan/Chase. “We will be a driving force in the industry,” Batt said, including the leisure travel and corporate market. TTFG is now the largest franchisor of travel agencies in North America and one of the top five “traditional” travel companies.
Block and Batt both noted the rich history of Travel Leaders that traces its origins to the 1984 formation of the Carlson franchise system and to the “Ask Mr. Foster Travel” chain that began in 1888. The Carlson Travel Network merged with Wagonlit Travel in 1997. “Our clients may have known us by many names but they recognize our singular goal has always been to provide the best travel experience," Block said. “The commitment to excellence will be renewed with our new brand.”
Among the major suppliers expressing support of the Travel Leaders branding were Avis, Continental, Holland America, NCL, Northwest Airlines, Pleasant Holidays and Princess Cruises, among many. Other key initiatives announced at the conference included Excursion Society (private shore excursions) and the Travel Leaders Certified Travel Specialist program and a Personalized Travel Planner.