American Marketing Group, Inc. (AMG), the parent company of TRAVELSAVERS and NEST, announced a number of new developments for its travel brands, including new programs, tools, partnerships, and hires. The announcements were made at AMG’s Affluent Traveler Collection Symposium, which took place from June 5-6, and its Travel Market 2018 conference, which took place from June 7-9. Both conferences were held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
AMG announced that Mark Altman was appointed vice president for the TRAVELSAVERS Worldwide Independent Network (TWIN) and Forte, where he will oversee and manage these two AMG brands. Altman has 30 years of experience in the industry. Prior to joining AMG, he served as a regional sales manager at United Airlines in New York; held a sales position for Carlson Wagonlit in the Upper Midwest region; and was part of a start-up called ITN (Internet Travel Network), which became GetThere.com.
AMG also introduced several new preferred supplier partnerships for its travel brands, including:
- American Queen Steamboat Company – The American river cruise operator’s itineraries are now available to TRAVELSAVERS and NEST agencies.
- Just You – Specializing in singles vacations, Just You delivers vacations for anyone who wants to travel solo. This travel provider has been brought onboard specifically for TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies.
- Goway Travel – This tour operator’s travel products are now available to TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies.
- Go Canada by Air Canada Vacations – This collection helps travelers explore all of Canada through various types of travel, from its big cities to the forests of the Pacific and the Canadian Rockies. The packages are now available to TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies.
- Cox & Kings – The travel company’s customized private and group travel tours to India, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Antarctica, Australia, and the Middle East, are now being offered through agencies that belong to AMG’s The Affluent Traveler Collection.
- Fiore Tours – This supplier specializes in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Its programs are now being offered through TRAVELSAVERS’ OnLocation DMC program.
- Luxe Travel Hawaii – This supplier creates private Hawaiian travel experiences that focus on being culturally distinctive, interactively entertaining and luxurious. It has become part of TRAVELSAVERS’ OnLocation DMC program.
It was announced that The Affluent Traveler Collection expanded its program and now provides an enhanced hotel amenities program, a new consumer website, and a new experiential training program. The company added 44 luxury hotels to its Hotel Amenities Program, including such properties as EAST Beijing, EAST Hong Kong, EAST Miami, Hotel Locarno, Intercontinental Washington DC - The Wharf, Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, Le Grand Bellevue, London Marriott County Hall, Marriott Cancun Resort, and Park MGM.
The company’s new consumer website was unveiled at www.theaffluenttraveler.com. The new site is filled with luxury travel content and promotes the group’s negotiated hotel, cruise and tour products.
Additionally, agents who belong to The Affluent Traveler Collection now have access to a new hands-on educational series called Affluent Experiences. The in-destination events provide attendees with insight into preferred supplier partners’ products and services. The events were designed to demonstrate how agents can create affluent travel experiences for their clientele. Training sessions have been scheduled this year and in 2019 with supplier and destination partners in Spain, London, New York City, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Fiji, and Washington, DC.
AMG is also upgrading its Distinctive Destination Weddings program for travel agents. The program includes a consumer-facing website with content that is customizable, mobile-optimized, and lead-generating. It also provides back-end analytics to help agents better employ and adjust their marketing efforts. Now that it is being powered by OnlineXpress (AMG’s proprietary agency website solution), the program offers:
- More Interaction: Agents can build profiles for the bride and groom that can be kept private. They can also send communications to guests about wedding and destination details. Interactions connect to the agencies’ back-end systems so they can stay in touch with guests and handle any travel-related changes that may arise on behalf of the bride and groom.
- Content Management: The new destination weddings website is pre-loaded with preferred supplier and agency content, including a blog. It also gives travel agents a greater editing capability than the previous system offered.
- More Leads: Calls-to-action (CTAs) for destination weddings and honeymoons have been added to every page of the customizable website. Leads are automatically generated that reflect clients’ specific needs and wants based on their behavior on the website – which better prepares agents to interact with them and close sales.
A new multi-touch marketing program called “Journeys” was also announced. The program helps agents increase sales and profitability by focusing on the destinations and travel experiences that are in the greatest demand by consumers. AMG’s Journeys marketing program now includes: Destinations by Journeys, which features one designated region of the world each quarter – with this year’s regions being Europe, The Americas, Caribbean, and Mexico; and Lifestyles by Journeys, which highlights types of travel, including cruise, guided vacations, romance, luxury, all-inclusive and family.
Both the Destinations by Journeys and the Lifestyles by Journeys marketing campaigns include the following elements:
- Direct Mail – AMG’s Creative Services team designs direct mail pieces that travel agents can use to promote preferred supplier products. Each focuses on a specific region or type of travel, contains articles, and includes exclusive travel offers. The mailers are fully branded with the agency’s information. AMG prints and distributes the mailers for them.
- “Eblasts” – Professional html emails are created for each promotion and sent out to the agents’ qualified client lists. Each contains a call-to-action (CTA) as well.
- Personalized Consumer Website – For each promotion, an agency-branded, consumer-facing website is created with a unique URL that agents can use to market and capture leads. The sites are live only during the life of the promotions.
- Social Media – Agents can use pre-created content, including text, photos and video, that is shareable on social media.
- Agent Resource Website – An agency-facing website provides agents with easy access to a myriad of relevant and customizable marketing components, including flyers, emails, and social media content.
Additionally, AMG released a new tool to help its TRAVELSAVERS and NEST agencies capitalize on millions of dollars of unused cruise and tour credits. Called Lead Dash, it is a proprietary technology that syncs supplier data with travel agent marketing to prompt them to follow-up with customers on their unused credits. Top cruise and tour operators such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Insight Vacations, Collette, and Viking Cruises have open credits sitting on their books unused. Now, with Lead Dash, travel agents automatically receive notifications motivating them to remind their clients about the unused credits and close the sales.
Agents opt-in to use Lead Dash, which then triggers professionally designed html emails to be distributed that are agency-branded and include preferred supplier messaging. The system uses smart technology to create marketing messaging based on historical and predictable travel patterns. Travel agents can market to clients based on where they cruised or toured most recently, and where they might choose to go next.