|Ensemble Travel Group Co-Presidents Libbie Rice and Lindsay Pearlman at opening of 2012 Conference.|
Travel agents and suppliers must stay close to the customer, embrace technology, differentiate themselves and serve as the client’s conduit to travel experiences they can’t get on their own, Ensemble Travel Group Co-Presidents Libbie Rice and Lindsay Pearlman told 800 members, suppliers, and guests at the 2012 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.
Its Ensemble's job to provide members with the tools, programs, and services that help them achieve relevance while also earning a profit, Rice said, citing the importance of successful partnerships with suppliers.
Pearlman said member revenue is directly tied to the successful relationship Ensemble has with preferred suppliers. “Over the years, the purpose of these relationships has evolved from strictly commission-based to a more holistic, multi-level strategy ... a strategy where everyone wins – our members, partners, Ensemble, and of course, your clients.”
Ensemble reports it has stepped up its emphasis on helping members maximize market share shift to grow their revenue. This includes one-on-one discussions as well as owner/manager calls focus on meeting quarterly and yearly targets and goals with preferred partners.
“As a cooperative organization, each member shares in the profits. When members know and understand the financial reason and implication for each strategy you can bet their sales focus quickly recalibrates," Rice said. (Ensemble is owned by member agents.)
Ensemble also announced new tools and programs during the conference. This includes expanding “Ensemble E-Matrix 360” to members in Canada. Powered by ClientBase Marketing Services, the service offers members a turnkey e-mail marketing approach. Agents can manage the program themselves, opting in and out of specific promotions. Ensemble members in the U.S. have been using E-Matrix 360 for about three years, Ensemble reports.
Also new is “Ensemble Learning Journeys,” designed to help members in the U.S. tap into the lucrative education market. This new specialist program targets both the 25-and-under student population – a segment which currently exceeds $14 billion annually in overnight group travel – as well as those travelers considered “life-long learners,” Ensemble said.
Ensemble also announced a new preferred supplier agreement with Sabre Travel Network. Sabre will serve as the preferred technology/GDS partner for the organization’s 850 member agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
Also new is a business-to-business booking engine for the organization’s global network of nearly 80 in-destination partners in more than 150 countries. “On Location Express” increases the number to four Ensemble booking tools – air, cruise, hotel, and On Location – and further allows members to serve their clients in the most efficient way possible . All four tools are housed on the Ensemble Extranet under one platform name, called “Ensemble Express.”
Ensemble also announced a new research project with entrepreneur Peter Sheahan and his company, ChangeLabs. The project will provide a formula for improving members’ sales performance, elevate their overall value to both their current and future customers, and enhance their skills as successful business people, Ensemble said.
Ensemble also introduced 15 industry presidents, co-presidents, and CEOs from Ensemble Travel Group’s preferred partners - all of whom addressed the Ensemble members during the four-day meeting.