Details of its new proprietary training program, Associate Consulting Evaluation (ACE), which was launched earlier this year, has been announced by the Travel Leaders Franchise Group. The program was launched earlier after being announced by the groups Regional Franchise Consultants (RFC).
ACE assists Travel Leaders members to learning how to fully maximize the variety of programs, products, services and supplier relationships offered through and negotiated by Travel Leaders to help them grow their agency's sales and profits.
"ACE offers a multi-faceted training 'tool kit' designed to enhance each agency's yield with key suppliers, as well as to highlight additional opportunities for marketing and growth, " the group said.
"Since introducing ACE earlier this year, a whopping 57 percent of Travel Leaders agencies are already using all or a portion of the ACE toolkit's offerings to identify opportunities to increase sales and revenues by supporting our preferred supplier programs," noted Roger E. Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group. "Additionally, 46 percent of our agencies are already using Travel Leaders‚Äô Associate Benchmarking Program unveiled earlier this year."
According to Block, each Travel Leaders RFC uses ACE with their assigned Travel Leaders member agencies. RFCs utilize ACE's 13 worksheet "revenue tabs" with their members during regular office visits. Training is centered on explaining in detail all programs, products and services that are provided by Travel Leaders to maximize revenues, along with coaching the staff, and monitoring the results together, the group said.
"Over the years, we have found that some of the best help we received for our business is from someone who is looking from the outside in. But to receive relevant input, a comprehensive overview of our business is essential. The Regional Franchise Consultant Associate Consulting Evaluation is a tool provided by Travel Leaders' RFCs to do just that," stated Virginia Peterson, one of the owners of the Travel Leaders retail locations in Mendota Heights and Plymouth, Minnesota.
"By fully completing this form, our strengths and weaknesses become apparent. The tool is about more than providing numbers, it is about looking at all the opportunities we are offered and evaluating whether we are working to our full potential to implement and use them. Subsequently, our RFC was able to provide the coaching and advice that best fits the needs of our operations, and we ended the year with a 14 percent increase in revenues," Peterson said.
Each ACE starts with the agency providing a full profile and snapshot of their revenue and sales. Special notations are made regarding their participation in the programs offered by Travel Leaders to determine further revenue-earning opportunities with each major preferred supplier, the group said.
"With respect to airline commissions and overrides, we outline how our members can better leverage our longstanding preferred airlines to generate additional revenue at point-of-sale that most are unable to negotiate for themselves. For example, we point out how they can earn additional overrides by selling air through our preferred carriers with whom we have negotiated programs," added Block.
"Our aim is to clearly demonstrate how our agencies can close more sales and earn more revenue by selling our preferred suppliers, as well as taking advantage of our marketing, technology, education and training," Block said.
While agency results will vary, depending upon a number of factors including business mix, region of the country and available suppliers, Block pointed to specific results some member agencies have enjoyed. "One member agency that has benefitted from ACE saw its override yield increase by over 2.5 percent of total revenue simply by focusing on the override spreadsheets and report suggestions. With our RFC's coaching, the override revenues became a key component of their business," Block explained. "Another agency reviewed their hotel sources and moved their total hotel yield from 7.7 percent to over 10.25 percent."
Block added that the most often used revenue opportunity was usage of either the cruise or marketing sections. Through the various "best practices" offered as training suggestions, agencies have been able to increase cruise sales and yield, as well as request co-op marketing dollars to increase sales and offset their costs.