From a pool of more than 800 applications received over seven weeks, Travel Impressions reports it has selected 96 travel agents from across the country to represent and promote eight leading resort and destination partners for the newly launched Travel Impressions Ambassadors Program.
The selected agents will become year-long brand Ambassadors, each with specific responsibilities for one month, beginning in October 2012 through September 2013, Travel Impressions says.
The TI program taps into the expertise, advocacy, loyalty and creativity of travel agents, Travel Impressions says. It will guide the agent Ambassadors on how they can effectively optimize the latest techniques in digital marketing and social media to promote their given resort or destination.
"The number of applications we received for the Ambassadors Program far exceeded our expectations. We're confident that the wisdom and experience of the chosen Ambassadors will aid Travel Impressions in making this program a success," said Steve Gorga, president and CEO of Travel Impressions. "Travel Impressions vacation packages are only sold through travel agents, therefore making them our best advocates and natural ambassadors for both Travel Impressions and our featured partners," Gorga said.
Travel Impressions will support Ambassadors by collaborating on innovative promotions; generating public relations efforts; creating buzz among consumers to drive business to Ambassadors; helping promote Ambassador status; and providing exclusive social media educational opportunities for Ambassadors.
Ambassadors may promote their passion through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, press releases, targeted emails and a TI produced microsite.
"Much of the promotional focus will be via social media," said Susan Black, Travel Impressions' chief marketing officer. "This is consistent with TI's commitment to providing travel agents with digital tools and best practices to help grow their business," she added.
Qualifications for Ambassadorship included 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.
The selected Ambassadors have been awarded a five-night stay at the partner they have been selected to represent. As an added bonus, Ambassadors have been awarded 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.
The 96 Ambassadors who have been selected as advocates for the hotel and destination partners of the Travel Impressions Ambassadors Program are as follows:
All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels
Sandra Kull, Accent Travel/American Express, TX; Karen Daly, MK All Around Travel, IL; Nancy DeCarlo, Cloud Nine Travel LLC, PA; Jerry Katz, First Discount Travel, OH; Shane Lawrence, A Way to Go Travel, NC; Linda Murfin, Above the Clouds Travel, NC; Christen Perry, Classic Travel Connection, AL; Susan Rezendes, The Travel Connection, RI; D. Omar Solis, The Luxury Travel Concierge, FL; Randi Scatena, Andorra Travel, PA; Mary Traina, Classic World Travel, NY; Jennifer Vliege, Touraid Travel Inc., NY
Trudy Adler, AAA South Jersey, NJ; Carol McConnell, Around The Globe Travel, CA; Kate Ficke, The Travel Gallery, Inc., IL; Kimberly Felix, Honeymoons Inc., GA; Gary Lee Martinez, The Traveling Traveler, CA; Kathy Brancifort, First Class Travel, NJ; Shannon Harrington, Tzell Travel Group, FL; Beth Mollo, ProTravel, CT; Elly Sterlacci, All Inclusive Reservations, Inc., CO; Michaela Moore, Creative Vacations, IA; Wendy Sandridge, TravelStore, TX; Pat Weber, First Choice Travel and Cruise, WI
Atlantis, Paradise Island
Charlotte Binnings, Town & Country Travel Inc., LA; Mary Clark, AAA Carolinas, NC; Kathleen Cooney, Ginger Peachy Travel, NY; Karen Durham, Journey House Travel American Express, OK; Pamela Delgado, Altour, NY; Melissa Edwards, Academy Travel and Tours, CO; Debbie Kaiser, Magic Happens Travel, NC; Alma Lee, Fox Travel, an American Express Representative, TX; Diane Kieras-Ciolkos, The Cruise Store, MA; Kathy Orr, La Palma Travel, CA; Patricia Scarnati, AAA Mid-Atlantic, PA; Maegan Sonnier, Travel Machine, Inc., LA
Renee Coon, The Travel Team, Inc., PA; Ryan Christoff, Wings Travel Group, PA; Linda Benedon, Boca Express Travel/American Express, FL; Sally DeFina, Empress Travel & Cruises, NY; Patricia Cullen, Tour and Travel, PA; Angie Gervet, Mena Travel Agency, FL; Sherri Miller, Vacationista Travel/Nexion, TX; Lisa Russo, Millennium Travel, NY; Lisa Zswissler, Beach Bum Vacation, IN; Diane Kelly, AAA Auto Club Group, IA; Valerie Sondergeld, Central Travel, OH; Deanna Sutherland-Tracey, CDT Travel, NJ
Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts
Tom Carr, All Inclusive Outlet, KY; Brian Podvia, Palm Coast/Oasis Agent..dba: JetSetPilot Travel, PA; Susan Berman, Berman Travel LLC, NJ; Rudi Bodensteiner, Jet Set Travel, PA; Tom Bukaty, All-Inclusive Resort Travel, FL; Jennifer Byrne, The Tropical Travelers, PA; Jennifer Dudek, AAA Western & Central NY, NY; Thomas Varghese, AMT American Express Travel, MD; Leigh-Ann Marciniak, Vacations To Go, TX; Amy Baker, Cruise Planners, MD; Steve Umstead, Berwick Travel Inc., NJ; Jim Hughel, Town Place Travel, NJ
Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resort
Deb Bixby, All About Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, MN; Kat Altine, The Dream Travel Group/Dream Weddings in Paradise, GA; Kandi Edelstein, CI Travel - American Express, VA; Janet Haber, Simplicity Travel Inc., NY; Lori Brown, Travel Advisors Intl., MN; Denise Canon, Travel Concepts, KS; Wendy Hicks, Wright Travel, CA; Nanette Hoyt, Vacations By Crown, LA; Hazel Moiles, Lin Mar Travel Service, PA; Ellen Paderson, Smiles and Miles Travel, Inc., MA; Jamie Sims, Springdale Travel, AL; Brenda O'Neale, Global Travel International, PA
Sandals & Beaches Resorts
Susan Lange, Travel Solutions, MA; Donna Chevalier, Destination Weddings.com, MA; Becky Gillespie, Kahala Travel, CA; Ruth DeMuth, TripGuy, PA; Jennifer Doncsecz, VIP Vacations, PA; Lauren Charlop, About Going Places, GA; Michael McHugh, Dream Makers Vacation Services, PA; Mary Jane Leininger, Gold Key, MI; Laura Schelling, Columbus Travel/Preferred Vacations, GA; Sally Jane Smith, TravelSmiths, NJ; Beth Skypeck, Hurley Travel, ME; Penny Sheldon, Penny Sheldon Travel, ID
The Island of Aruba
Francine Montoya, Adventure Travel of Pompano, FL; Frank Hryszkanich, Travel Ports & Voyages, NJ; Lynn Barlow, All Bright Travel, MA; Liz Couglin, Four Seasons Travel, NC; Wayne Meridith, Travel Mood, NY; Rocio Napolitano, Auto Club of NY, NY; Jennifer Quimby, Time Off Travel, NH; Patti Pake, Travel Experts, NC; Celeste Siemsen, Empress Travel - Coram, NY; Cathee Fava-Smith, Travel Resources, NY; Allison Tuck, Travel Center of Lexington, NC; Marvin Weber, Marvelous Travel, PA
Travel Impressions said due to the overwhelming response from travel agents to participate in the Ambassadors Program, the Travel Impressions All Stars Program has been created for each agent who applied and was not selected for this year's Ambassadorship. Travel Impressions will show appreciation to All Stars by giving each a $50 Future Travel Credit booklet for customers who book the program partner with them.
From now through October 2013, whenever an All Star travels to the supplier for which they applied for Ambassadorship, Travel Impressions will request that they receive All Star treatment, VIP amenities and the opportunity to meet with high-level executives. Additionally, they will receive a USB drive with the All Stars logo to distinguish themselves as a valued and trusted partner of Travel Impressions.