Consortia Report: Latest Initiatives, Conferences

Here’s a rundown of what travel consortia have accomplished recently or what they have on tap for the near future.

Signature Travel Network’s latest initiative, Embark, offers a new approach to training new travel advisors. In developing the new program, Signature aims to address one of the biggest challenges facing travel agency owners today: Finding and nurturing new talent. 

The Embark program includes strategies and training programs for recruiting, coaching and training new travel advisors. Critical component of Embark include the online learning platform, Signature University, and the five-day Sales and Marketing Bootcamp offered at Signature’s headquarters in El Segundo, CA

Signature’s National Conference is set for November 27-30 in Las Vegas.

Virtuoso has revamped its online Virtuoso Travel Academy with an easy-to-navigate visual experience that’s said to be akin to Netflix; training recommendations based on artificial intelligence; new playlists with videos, articles, websites and trainings recommended by network curators; and an improved search tool. To enhance advisor efficiency, Virtuoso offers three itinerary management apps: Axus, Travefy and Umapped. 

The next Virtuoso Forum for agency owners and managers in the U.S. will be held in Austin, TX, January 24-26, 2019. Virtuoso Symposium, the network’s global thought-leadership event, is set to take place May 5-11, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. Virtuoso Chairman’s Event, which recognizes the network’s top-selling and most-engaged members worldwide, takes place November 4-8, 2018, in Venice

Travel Leaders Network concludes its fall series of regional meetings with three mid- to late-October dates: Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, October 10; Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando, October 16; and Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter-Villa Christina, October 30. The complimentary one-day meetings for affiliate member agencies will be themed “PEAK: Programs, Education, Agents and Knowledge.” Attendees will get the chance to learn more about the new Apex program in cooperation with American Express, as well as work on strategies with supplier partners via roundtable discussions and a trade show. 

Nexion was recognized as Host Agency Partner of the Year at ASTA’s 2018 Global Convention. While giving the award, Ann Chamberlin, ASTA’s senior vice president, acknowledged Nexion’s growth in ASTA members, the institution of a monthly payment plan for ASTA membership fees and serving the advocacy group on the administrative level.

Storytelling World Award winner Kindra Hall, a former sales and marketing executive for a multimillion-dollar enterprise, will be the keynote speaker at the Ensemble Travel Group’s International Conference set for October 24-28 at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, the Bahamas

“This year’s program is built around the theme of ‘FASTForward: On the Shoulders of GIANTS’ in recognition of our 50th anniversary in 2018,” said Co-President Libbie Rice in a written statement. Other highlights include the “Travel Your World of Hotel & Destination Experiences,” an all-supplier tradeshow with one-on-one appointments and an industry panel on river cruises.

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