Armed with a strong retention rate, loyal agents, and solid sales growth, Jackie Friedman, Nexion’s respected general manger, believes that the 2,100-member host agency is poised for additional growth in 2008.
In an interview with Travel Agent, Friedman said that Nexion enjoyed record sales in 2007 (in the 20 percent range) and that the agency was committed to delivering the technology and marketing tools needed for member agents to remain competitive.
“Nexion agents and our suppliers enjoy strong support from Nexion’s parent Sabre Travel Network," she said. "Aside from the multi billion-dollar resources of Sabre, our agents have access to a wide range of business building tools including TRAMS Client Base and TRAMS Marketing Alliance (TMA).”
Friedman stresses that Nexion is investing in marketing and training programs to help agents build their businesses– including lucrative group and corporate sales. In turn, the individual agent’s business growth drives increased sales for supplier partners. “If we drive results for our supplier partners they will continue to invest in marketing to fuel more growth,” she said.
Nexion members also win from a stream of innovations from Nexion and its partners in Sabre Travel Network. This includes recently launched Nexion Town online community and Nexion Xpress.
With strong, across the board gains in productivity and sales, Nexion agents are also winning recognition from preferred suppliers as top producers. Agents are also effectively tapping into the knowledge base of other Nexion member agent and suppliers. They are promoting themselves and their agency –not just supplier’s products. “Agents are in the client services business and must become masters at customer service management," Friedman said. "We urge agents to proactively call their customers. Get to know them so they become customers for life. And, practice the art of regular follow-up.”
Friedman is a veteran agent and manager with CTC and CTIE designations. As she views it, agents must have a plan and know their unique selling proposition or USP. They must also know their customers and keep them coming back. Agents must also market aggressively and use relevant marketing materials to stimulate demand, as well as focus on a few preferred suppliers that are a good fit for customers and the agents business.
Nexion is not short on future initiatives that will benefit member agents. This includes an enhanced WebView portal, improved reporting capabilities, automated non-ARC posting for GDS car and hotel bookings and a new credit card point of sale tool. Nexion also offers needed integration of technologies. Also planned are automated suppliers booking engine registration processes.
Friedman wants to build awarness of Nexion’s merits, and attract new agents to Nexion’s ranks while improving the skills of existing agents. One answer is Nexion Roadshows now scheduled for September 22-23 in Dallas/Fort Worth and November 12-13 in Baltimore. Another is Nexion’s Boot Camp, targeting new agents with an intense curriculum on marketing, operations and sales. The next Boot Camps are slated for June 9-11 in Fort Lauderdale and July 22-24 in Dallas/ Fort Worth.
On a policy level, Friedman says Nexion will work closely with PATH, The Professional Association of Travel Hosts and is confident that host agencies that deliver value with high integrity services will not only survive but also prosper – as will their agents.
For information: www.nexion.com