The “Luxury Center of Excellence” that Travel Leaders launched late last year is already achieving significant strides, according to Travel Leaders Franchise Group President Roger E. Block. Block indicated that Travel Leaders’ marketing approach to the affluent traveler is being recast by the program.
Major accomplishments include having identified top performing luxury agencies among Travel Leaders Associates, analyzing their client data and associated information and strengthening bonds with existing preferred luxury suppliers while initiating new partnerships.
Travel Leaders also cited developing a robust luxury library on Travel Leaders’ password-protected Mercavia.com site, and finalizing a comprehensive educational program with specialist certifications. Last week, Travel Leaders reported its “Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection” has been incorporated into the Luxury Center of Excellence.
“Our thorough review of Travel Leaders agencies’ sales histories and analysis of their client databases clearly demonstrate the need for our ‘Luxury Center of Excellence’ and only confirms why we’re investing so heavily in this major initiative,” Block stated.
“As an increasing number of our Travel Leaders agencies cater to a more affluent clientele – which has the highest proven track record of using travel agents – the luxury program we’re providing will not only enable them to meet clients’ expectations and special needs, but to surpass them,” Block said.
Perry Lungmus, vice president of Travel Leaders’ Luxury Center of Excellence, said: “After years of engagement with the luxury cruise lines and experience working for companies such as Travcoa and Abercrombie & Kent, I can attest that our careful examination of our agencies’ large and valuable databases of travelers indicates that those clients are ideal candidates for experiential travel.”
Block indicated that Travel Leaders’ marketing approach to the affluent traveler is being recast with the creation of a separate, more refined look and feel that features a vastly improved presentation for each individual agent.
“Additionally, we’re finalizing a comprehensive educational program with specialist certifications that will help our front line travel agents be viewed as the true consultative experts they are,” Block explained.
“Our goal is to ensure that these travel agents are able to gain and maintain the highest trust and confidence of the most seasoned traveler, while providing the highest level of satisfaction and peace-of-mind possible. And since the upscale traveler is very likely to refer a great and knowledgeable travel agent to their friends, family and business colleagues, particularly when they’ve had an exceptional experience, our focus on education and training will ensure our Travel Leaders epitomize that expertise,” Block said.
Lungmus noted that training will include segments covering both destinations and suppliers. “Destination training is critical to help our luxury travel agents better understand and proactively suggest the world’s most interesting and sought-after experiences,” Lungmus explained. “But that must be balanced with key supplier training to provide insight into how our preferred luxury suppliers serve those destinations.”
Additionally, Lungmus said that Travel Leaders sales seminars will be available on such subjects as closing leads, selling up and the mindset necessary to serve the affluent, sophisticated traveler.
Lungmus also indicated that Travel Leaders will offer practical sessions by internal subject-matter experts that not only cover all of the Luxury Center of Excellence tools and programs available, but also Travel Leaders’ other complementary initiatives that help build sales. This includes its SCORE lead-generation program and Agent Profiler, hotel programs, website program, hosted cruise program and “On Your Behalf” direct and email marketing.
“While Travel Leaders’ ‘Luxury Center of Excellence’ may have just begun five short months ago, we are so much further along than we ever could have anticipated,” Block concluded. “That progress is a win for Travel Leaders Associates, as well as for their clients and our valued supplier partners.”