Aiming to garner loyalty from it travel agent partners, Travel Impressions has launched its TI Ambassadors Program.
The initiative works like this: Travel Impressions will allow agents to apply for 96 "ambassador" positions that will make them advocates for eight of the tour operator’s resort and destination partners. They are: All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels; AMResorts; Atlantis, Paradise Island; Cancun; Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts; Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resort; Sandals & Beaches Resorts and Aruba.
Travel Impressions will teach the ambassadors how to optimize new social media tools so they can spread the word about their selected supplier or destination partner. The relationship lasts for one year. During that year, the chosen travel agent will have one month in which they have the responsibility for promoting their partner via social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other online vehicles.
Ambassadors will be awarded a five-night stay at the partner they have been selected to represent. As an added bonus, Ambassadors will receive TI Ambassador Extras. Ambassadors’ customers will enjoy a $100 Travel Impressions Future Travel Credit that can be redeemed only through them. As a thank you for their efforts, ambassadors will receive a year-long $50 Booking Bonus for bookings made to their partner. Ambassadors will also have an opportunity to attend a private half-day social media workshop hosted by Travel Impressions.
To qualify for "Ambassadorship," agents need to complete a short application. Qualifications include the travel agent’s booking history with the destination or resort via Travel Impressions; personal experience and knowledge; plus communication skills and a willingness to share content through social media. Applications are available on the Travel Impressions web site at www.TravImp.com/TIAmbassadors. The application deadline is July 31, 2012. The program runs from September 2012 through August 2013.
“We want travel agents to tell us why they love sending their clients to one of these destinations or resorts and why they think they should be selected as a TI Ambassador,” said Steve Gorga, president and CEO of Travel Impressions. “Applicants should also want to share their expertise through digital channels. We will gladly teach those who want to learn more,” he added.
The social networking aspect of the program falls in line with Travel Impressions' recent forays to move in to that part of the marketing arena; more than one year ago it hired Susan Black as its executive vice president/chief marketing officer to first oversee its e-commerce efforts. Black, known for her travel industry digital marketing prowess, now heads up the entire marketing program for Travel Impressions and reports directly to Gorga.
In addition to the Ambassadors Program, Travel Impressions recently launched Social U., a series of travel agent educational programs about social media. The first Social U. attracted 2,300 travel agent attendees. The upcoming free Social U., scheduled for June 28, will feature “42 Ways to Save Time, Money and Increase Sales.” Other Travel Impressions programs are in the works to help strengthen retailers’ knowledge and use of digital marketing and social media.