To help member agents who are still feeing the impact of the economic downturn, Signature Travel Network announced a waiver of membership dues for 2011 and new marketing credits for all members. The decision was made during Signature’s annual Owners' Meeting at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Signature also reported growth in membership, gains in sales and solid advance bookings for 2011.
The Signature board of directors said the waiver decision was in recognition that members are still feeling the impact of the economic downturn and wished to encourage them to allocate resources to marketing initiatives in 2011.
Signature is also providing members with marketing credits and eliminating per piece printing costs for 2011, as it did in 2010. The marketing credits can be used toward two publications of editorial and product offers, The Travel Magazine and the luxury-oriented Travel Redefined.
"In 2010, Signature eliminated all print costs for marketing collateral to assist agencies in the continuation of actively engaging with clients," said Michelle Morgan, president of Signature Travel Network. "This year we really felt it necessary to keep some cash in our member pockets to allow them to invest even more in marketing in 2011."
Signature reports it also subsidizes numerous direct mail brochures as well as two to three e-mail campaign options every week. This full circle marketing strategy provides members with customizable year-around touch points for reaching their clients in a very personalized and effective way.
The conference reviewed Signature's past year performance and highlighted new advancements planned for 2011. Attendance at the meeting exceeded 320 participants including Signature member/owners as well as executives of Signature's key preferred vendors. Ninety-two percent of member/owners were represented at the conference, and each received a complementary gift from Signature's executive team, an iPod Touch, Signature said.
Much of the member base reported that by "right-sizing" their businesses, enhancing efficiencies and focusing directed efforts on valuable clients, members were able to enjoy a better profit picture than the year prior..
"Members with a solid base of corporate business saw a strong recovery while those specializing in incentives and group sales saw year-over-year gains compared to same time last year," Signature reported.
On a consolidated basis, Signature showed double-digit gains in all sectors of the business with the strongest signs of strength in the luxury sector. Advanced bookings for 2011 are ahead of pace when compared with advanced bookings during the same period last year.
Signature's board of directors has also strengthened membership requirements for 2010 and beyond. Within the last 18 months, Signature has brought on 38 new members representing 58 locations. Signature now has 350 locations in 38 states with 190 agency owners.
Additional topics covered at the meeting include strategic partnerships (such as the Food Network), an update on the hotel program, which now features over 700 hotels and resorts and a new and improved On Demand Training Program.