Signature Travel Network, the agency owned cooperative powerhouse, kicked off its annual Sales Meeting and Trade Show in Las Vegas this week. The three-day event will run through Saturday December 5 at the MGM Grand Hotel with more than 1,500 travel professionals attending, including Signature members, supplier partners and tourism boards. Signature says the event provides an unrivaled opportunity for members to network with travel professionals from around the world and has been themed "Let's Get Cookin' in 2010."
The Signature event is the first for 22 new member agencies representing 32 new locations that joined Signature in 2009, Signature reports. Signature is expecting 98 percent of all member agencies to be represented, the highest percentage in the company's history.
"The strong turnout this year demonstrates a firm commitment by members even in today's challenging business environment," says Michelle Morgan, president of Signature. "We are celebrating the year's successes and look forward to an amazing new year of innovation, growth and opportunity."
The event will include expanded networking opportunities for both member agencies and suppliers: round-table networking sessions and the largest-ever Signature trade show, plus a motivational General Session. Signature will also host a series of interactive workshops – an important draw for agency members to learn about what's happening in the industry and how best to utilize all of Signature's tools and resources.
Workshop topics include tips on selling and strengthening client relationships, best marketing practices, making the most of online tools, and one of this year's hottest topics: utilizing social media.
Not only has the network seen physical gains in terms of agency locations, but also there has been an expansion of Signature's technology and educational platforms as well as cruise and hotel programs that will be highlighted. Signature said it will provide members even better means to thrive in 2010. Signature will announce two strategic new partnership developments that the network said will revolutionize the network in the experiential travel arena.
Signature reports that members of the network have been raving about the support they have been receiving from Signature including marketing, technology and education support. "In our six years of membership, we have seen the benefits of Signature to our company grow exponentially. What started as a smart move quickly became the best business decision we ever made," stated Ellen Kalish, Partner of CruiseCenter in Houston, TX. "It is a source of enormous pride for us to be affiliated with Signature."
As an added bonus, Certified Travel Associates (CTA), Certified Travel Counselors (CTC) or Certified Travel Industry Executives (CTIE) who complete this educational program will earn one Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for one hour of educational participation to a maximum of ten CEUs. CTAs, CTCs and CTIEs are required to obtain CEUs to maintain certification in The Travel Institute.
Key sponsors for the event include: Carnival Cruises, Classic Vacations, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Hertz, Holland America Line, Leading Hotels of the World, Only Vegas and Princess Cruises.
Signature Travel Network is a member-owned, travel cooperative, headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California, with a regional office in New York City. The network was established in 1956 and today includes 190 member agencies with 330 retail locations throughout the U.S.. Collectively, Signature members generate over $4 billion in annual travel sales. Visit www.signaturetravelnetwork.com.