Signature Travel Network hosted a group of travel professionals at its annual Sales Meeting and Trade Show at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas last week. The three-day event included more than 1,100 travel consultants, 620 delegates from the travel industry, and 465 travel companies (including cruise lines, tour operators, tourist boards, hotels, and destination specialists among others) from 53 countries around the world. The meeting was the first for 38 new member agencies representing 58 locations that joined Signature in the past 18 months. Signature now has 356 locations in 38 states. The focus of the meeting revealed many of the organization's new technology advancements.
Signature unveiled an Apple App and mobile website that provided each delegate with detailed information about the sales meeting available right on their handheld devices/smartphones. The Apple App was compatible with iPhones and iPads, while the mobile site was compatible with Android devices, Blackberries and other smartphones. Conference attendees had the ability to review the overall agenda and even had access to their own unique workshop schedule. They could view a listing of attending members as well as participating supplier partners, complete with trade show booth numbers and detailed contact information for immediate action. The app/mobile site included an instant messaging feature so that attendees could reach out to one another during the sales meeting, as well as a social hub where they could write on Signature's Facebook wall, tweet about the conference and even upload photos they took while at the event.
Front-line agents were introduced to Signature's newest client retention and marketing tool - myTravelSite.com. Signature agents were enthusiastic about the opportunity to provide clients with such an easy-to-use customized site where they can create travel blogs and maps and easily tag and share hotel profiles, cruise ships and photos with their friends and family. (For example: mytravelsite.com/JohnDoe). One-click connection to Facebook and Twitter makes it easy for clients to share their travel blogs/site with their social networks.
Summarizing some of the rest of the year's advancements, Michelle Morgan, president and CEO of Signature and Tim Smith, chairman of Signature's Board of Directors, delivered some key facts during Friday's luncheon:
* Signature's e-mail marketing tracking indicates that almost 15 percent of e-mails generated by Signature on behalf of members are opened on clients' mobile devices. To ensure that these clients are having a positive experience accessing and navigating information emailed to them by a Signature member, Signature has pledged that within six months, all content will be available in mobile format
* Signature's cruise program now has value added amenities, such as the private car and driver program and lifestyle branded partners like Food Network, Bon Appétit, and Architectural Digest
* Signature's world-class hotel program has grown to more than 700 properties worldwide, each offering the network's clients free breakfast daily along with other valuable guest privileges.
"This annual three-day conference is designed to benefit front-line sales people: to prepare them for a new sales year, acquaint them with Signature's latest marketing and technology tools, and to facilitate networking with partners and Signature members. We're thrilled with this year's attendance levels - 98 percent of Signature members were represented," said Morgan. "Signature is trending to drive double digit increases over 2010. Yes, next year will be a challenge, but we are confident that Signature members are well positioned to compete in a tough marketplace, armed with powerful technology tools, impactful and strategic marketing, and some of the industry's strongest consumer privileges and supplier partnerships."