Top Consortia Offers and Events

Biking at Cheltenham Beach in Auckland is an example of experiential travel that will be part of Signature’s New Zealand destination training.
Biking at Cheltenham Beach in Auckland is an example of experiential travel that will be part of Signature’s New Zealand destination training.

Derived from the Latin word consors, meaning “partnership,” consortia come up with deals, destination training and survey findings, as well as hold informative annual meetings, to help their travel agency members/partners sell better and smarter. Here are some recent developments on the consortia front.

Marketing New Zealand: Signature Travel Network recently signed a partnership agreement with Tourism New Zealand. In the next 12 months, Tourism New Zealand will run a tailored program of marketing activities with Signature, centered around destination training to educate the network’s travel advisors on New Zealand’s offerings in terms of luxury accommodations and experiential travel. This will also include special interest areas such as fly-fishing and golf and a dedicated webinar program. Other activity will include attendance at trade shows, such as the network’s annual general meeting in Las Vegas.

Free Photo Books for Travel Leaders Clients: Travel Leaders’ new partnership with online photo processing company Shutterfly will allow travel agents to offer a free 8” x 8” 20-page photo book (a $29.99 retail value) to any Travel Leaders customer. Travel Leaders agencies across the country received a shipment of Shutterfly gift cards that they can provide to their travelers to be applied toward a free 8x8 book or used as a $30 credit toward the purchase of any other size book. The offer is valid on a year-round basis during the next two years.

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The Virtuoso Survey Said…: Every year Virtuoso conducts a survey asking travelers various forward-looking questions about the travel industry, trips, trends, and destinations they find notable. More than 5,800 travelers participated in this year’s Travel Dreams survey, with 59 percent saying they plan on taking one to three trips this year. Popular “Top 10 Travel Pursuits” include cultural/historical travel (42 percent), cruising (40 percent), adventure/nature (37 percent), beach (31 percent), family (25 percent), and river cruising (22 percent). The trending “Top Ten Dream Destinations” include Australia, which was first on the list again this year, followed by Italy, New Zealand, France, Greece, Ireland, the Caribbean, Fiji, England, and Antarctica. Full survey results can be found in the July/August 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life magazine at virtuoso.com/why-virtuoso/our-magazines.

Ensemble Assembles: Details have been released for the 2015 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference, set for October 25-29 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. Topics range from selling to the affluent and determining the value of your agency to cruise hosting and time management. Built around the theme of “Beyond Boundaries,” this year’s conference is designed to explore a variety of ways for Ensemble members to look beyond the norm, the usual, and the expected to become more successful. Those who arrive early can participate in experiential learning tours on Saturday, October 24. Hosted by the Kissimmee CVB, many of these tours present the “unexpected” Orlando with airboats, safaris, kayaking, ziplining, and wildlife tours, in addition to the always-popular shopping outing and golf tournament. These free activities are for members only and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

2016 Vacation.com Conference: Registration is now open for the 18th Vacation.com International Conference & Trade Show on May 22-26, 2016, at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, FL. Details will be posted at www.conference.joinvacation.com in the coming months.

MAST and ASTA Extend Deal: MAST Travel Network will renew its agreement to pay a portion of ASTA membership dues for all MAST members and extend it to a two-year deal. The deal reduces the total cost to $149 for agencies with annual sales volume of under $5 million, and $249 for those taking in more than $5 million. MAST was the first consortium last year to begin subsidizing ASTA dues; customized agreements with Signature, Travel Leaders and Virtuoso followed suit.

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