Signature Travel Network has commenced its annual Owners' Meeting at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. on September 25.
The meeting includes 260 member attendees representing 83 percent of the member organization. An additional 45 industry executives representing many Signature preferred suppliers are also in attendance.
COO Alex Sharpe acknowledged that it’s going to be a very different meeting this year. “While we look forward to an excellent event, an impressive lineup of speakers, positive sales trends in 2013 and an even stronger forecast for 2014, our hearts are still very heavy from the recent loss of Michelle, but we’re more thankful than ever for this time to come together as a Signature family. I know there is no place I would rather be than with more than 300 people whose lives have been positively impacted by Michelle’s incomparable leadership, service, loyalty, generosity, friendship and love.”
The theme of the meeting focuses on Signature’s Four Pillars of Success. Each pillar represents a priority initiative identified by the organization’s membership as a key strategy to building a solid foundation for continued success. Many of the sessions and workshops will touch on these pillars, which include:
1. A rededication to Signature’s ‘Preferred Suppliers’ for increased value and sales
2. Engagement of Signature’s proprietary ‘Technology Tools’ to provide custom one-to-one communication between consultants and their clients
3. Improving usage and data quality of ‘Res Cards’ for more successful targeted marketing and more effective CRM
4. Implementing increasingly intelligent and targeted ‘Email Marketing’ for a successful online marketing strategy
“Signature has grown six percent, based on same store sales.” Sharpe explains, “This increased growth has amplified Signature’s profitability. We are funding more tools and resources for our members, thereby generating better returns for our members.”
Contributing to this growth are six new members that joined Signature in 2013. These members include:
1. Maupin Travel Inc. - Raleigh, NC
2. Jet Set World Travel, Inc. - Chicago, IL
3. Travel Machine - Lafayette, LA
4. A Way To Go Travel - Greenville, NC
5. Kathleen Stahl Travel Services - Des Moines, IA
6. Hill Barrett Travel - Woodinville, WA
This year’s general sessions will feature Signature’s executive team, including COO Alex Sharpe; Vice President, Marketing, Karryn Christopher; Executive Vice President, Information Technologies, Karen Yeates; Vice President, Training & Member Services, Gina Weyer; and Executive Vice President, Ignacio Maza. Presentations will demonstrate how all of Signature’s initiatives support the Four Pillars of Success and how the organization will move forward with these programs in 2014 to assist members to grow their businesses.
The general session on Thursday, September 26, will also feature Keynote speaker, David McCullough, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. McCullough is widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history” and “a matchless writer,” and his most famous book, John Adams, (2001) has sold more than three million copies.
The agenda’s seven workshop topics for owners will feature three industry experts offering valuable insights into the travel industry today:
1. Dr Robert W. Joselyn, Ph.D., CTC will be hosting a workshop entitled “Fortune Cookie Financial Investment.” Joselyn is President and CEO of Joselyn, Tepper & Associates, Inc. (JTA), a travel and tourism industry marketing and management consulting and service firm and President & CEO of Travel Agency Management Solutions (TAMS), LLC, the travel industries leading financial and operating data benchmarking service.
2. Nolan Burris will be hosting a workshop entitled “WOW Your Customers with Signature’s Technology Tools.” Burris is the founder and Chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions.
3. Sophie Bujold will be hosting a workshop entitled “E-marketing: Surefire Methods for Building a Better Email List.” As the Editor-in-Chief of TRO SMITH, Bujold has spent the last decade developing countless online marketing training programs and launching digital marketing initiatives for travel agencies across North America.
To close the Owners’ Meeting, Signature’s conference attendees are invited to attend Friday’s Gala Dinner at one of Washington, D.C.’s most impressive and elegant venues: the Library of Congress. The largest library in the world and America's oldest federal cultural institution was founded in 1800 to serve the needs of Congress.