Six months after the launch of Travel Impressions' TI Ambassadors Program, the tour operator reports that the program has been a successful vehicle for driving engagement and generating buzz for participants. The program pairs suppliers with travel agents who possess significant expertise selling a particular brand or destination, TI says.
Travel Impressions and its partners selected 96 travel agents from across the country to represent and promote eight leading resort and destination partners, including: All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, AMResorts, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Cancun, Mexico, Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts, Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resort, Sandals & Beaches Resorts and The Island of Aruba.
Participants indicate that the program has had a significant impact on their businesses, TI says. Press releases created by Travel Impressions to help the 96 participating agents capitalize on their Ambassador status received significant exposure throughout agents' local media as well as Internet outlets including Yahoo! News and virtually all U.S. trade publications, TI says.
Travel Impressions is reporting a total number of media impressions just shy of 50 million. Furthermore, since program inception in October, Ambassador blog posts are reaching an average of approximately 8,000 Facebook fans monthly, TI reports.
"The Travel Impressions Ambassadors Program has been amazing for generating PR for me individually and even for our entire office," said Charlotte Binnings, TI Ambassador for Atlantis, Paradise Island. "I have seen increased visibility from my blog, which reached over 1,300 fans, as well as on our office Facebook page where we have posted several client testimonials of their wonderful experiences at Atlantis. We have also received recognition in local papers." Binnings noted.
"People like knowing that they are working with an expert on their vacation plans, and the TI Ambassadors program gives me the additional credibility as the 'go-to' person for Atlantis," added Binnings.
Similar comments have been issued on the supplier side, TI says. Jesus Almaguer, CEO of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted: "The success of the Ambassadors Program is due to the diligent effort and dedication of travel agents in promoting Cancun."
Travel Impressions’ chief marketing officer Susan Black said: "The goal of the Ambassadors Program is to link supplier partners with high-volume agents who possess considerable knowledge and passion for the destination, giving those agents the endorsement they need to further position themselves as experts and, ultimately, sell even more vacations to their partner supplier properties."
Agents who were not selected to participate in the program this year are encouraged to apply for Ambassador status for next year's program, which begins in October 2013. Travel Impressions said it expects to launch the application process during the summer. In the interim, agents can engage with Travel Impressions via http://www.travelimpressions.comand and http://www.facebook.com/TravelImpressions to learn more about Travel Impressions’ supplier promotions.
Travel agents hoping to be selected among the next round of Travel Impressions Ambassadors should focus their sales efforts on Travel Impressions' resort partners and destinations as sales figures play a significant role in the Ambassador selection process, as well as the agent's activity and engagement with social media, TI says. A list of suppliers participating in next year's Ambassador program will be announced this summer.
Agents can increase their knowledge of Travel Impressions' Ambassador suppliers via the tour operator's Dimension Series presentations (http://www.travimp.com/dimensionseries), product knowledge and training tools designed to increase agents' confidence and expertise when recommending to clients, TI notes.