The Latest Consortia Tech, Executive and Conference Updates

Balcony Stateroom onboard Carnival Vista, host ship for December’s CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. conference.
Balcony Stateroom onboard Carnival Vista, host ship for December’s CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. conference.

Technological innovations, personnel changes and conferences highlight the latest news on the consortium and host agent fronts. Here’s a brief look at these developments.

Virtuoso has granted full-fledged membership to Lola, a company that provides travel services to consumers communicating with a team of live travel agents by messaging them through a smartphone app. The app was launched in December by Paul English, co-founder and CTO of Kayak. Lola has a 45-person team, including members of Kayak’s original management team and other tech companies. That team also includes a staff of agents and specialists to book travel for users.

Travel Planners International (TPI) has endorsed Trisept Solutions’ “Xcelerator” platform. The agency operating system, Xcelerator, integrates business management and customer engagement tools, as well as well-established connections to industry-leading suppliers. Through the platform, agents can also organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing and client services on a central dashboard. TPI agents will also have access to the platform’s “Discover” functionality, a cognitive search feature powered by IBM Watson and technology from WayBlazer, which is set to launch later this year.


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Travel Leaders Corporate’s (TLC) new “Consulting and Analytics” program offers three options: data consolidation, advanced analytics development and full travel consulting. Clients using TLC’s full travel consulting package are reportedly realizing a return on investment (ROI) of three-to-one or greater.

Avoya Travel has appointed a new vice president, Jeff Lavender, who will play a key role in leading Avoya’s corporate strategy and development initiatives. Lavender’s previous experience includes senior leadership and business development positions for Travel Impressions, American Express Vacations, Travelocity Europe and Amadeus.

ASTA’s internal reorganization will see two executives from the National Career Association of Travel Agents (NACTA) taking on additional roles within ASTA. NACTA President Ann Chamberlin, who will retain that title, has added the title of senior VP, operations for ASTA. Robert Duglin, NACTA VP of sales and industry relations, will now be VP business development for both ASTA and NACTA. Additionally, Kelly Bigel (director) and Sarah Kresge (senior manager) are being promoted to support ASTA-NACTA business development activities, meetings and events. ASTA’s first major event with the combined team will be its Global Convention in Reno/ Tahoe, Nevada September 25-28.

Entrepreneur Robert Herjavec, best known for his savvy advice doled out each week on the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” is slated to be the keynote speaker at Ensemble Travel Group’s 2016 international conference, set for October 19 through 23 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. have announced that their December 3-10 National Conference onboard the Carnival Vista has sold out. Attendees are being encouraged to connect socially using the hashtag #BelieveConference. Announcements leading up to the conference, as well as updates during the event, will be posted using the same hashtag.

At Results! Travel’s National Meeting, set for September 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, leadership expert Haydn Shaw will deliver the keynote address titled “Don’t Miss Half the Market: Selling to Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.”  The meeting will also include two social media workshops.’s 19th International Conference & Trade Show is set from May 1-5, 2017 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando. Details and registration information will be posted soon on the website.

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According to the Amex Trendex, at least three in five consumers, surveyed across seven countries, plan to stay home for the holidays this year.