Host agency Travel Planners International (TPI) has broken ground on its new headquarters following a report of double-digit sales growth in 2013 compared to 2012.
TPI officials point to a series of expanded training initiatives and partnerships, including quarterly TPI Insight events, its training-focused annual conference, and its membership in Ensemble Travel Group, as three reasons for the robust results in 2013.
“We know that selling preferreds makes good business sense, so we’ve really focused on giving our agents compelling reasons why and how to support them,” said TPI president and co-founder Ken Gagliano. “TPI agents have totally embraced this strategy and are seeing the results in their bottom line, especially in the last year or two.
“As a member-driven organization, the steady growth also requires more support from us as a host agency. And that means more staff. So we recently broke ground on a new headquarters building, which is more than twice the size of our current facility, and will double the number of employees.”
Once completed in late 2014, the two-story, 11,000+ square-foot office building, located just north of downtown Orlando and less than a half mile from TPI’s current location, will provide space for 52 employees working in senior management, general support, accounting, training, marketing, and business development. In addition, a dedicated video production staff and studio – complete with green-screen filming and editing capacity – will support not only the organization’s numerous initiatives, but members’ individual marketing needs as well.
“We’ll be able to produce personalized footage for agents that can then be incorporated into their respective websites to showcase their expertise and specialties,” said Tony Gagliano Jr., COO/executive vice president. “Plus, the new studio and a 40-seat training room will allow us to really ramp up our supplier training, also giving us the ability to stream content directly to our members.”
The larger office building will also house support staff for TPI’s newest training initiative called “T.E.A.M.” – an acronym for training – education – ambassador - meetings. Launched in January 2014, the T.E.A.M. project creates TPI ambassadors nationwide who must apply for and are selected to attend TPI and advanced supplier training events on a more localized level.
“The program was driven by the lack of opportunity to locally network with other home-based agents,” said Ken Gagliano. “Suppliers want a better way to connect with agents, as well, so this is a win-win for everyone. The response among our membership has been outstanding with nearly 20 TPI ambassadors registered in just two months and 60+ planned in the first year. Agents have been asking for this for years and we finally were able to roll it out. This is all possible because of the thousands of members we have and our preferred suppliers being fully committed to the opportunity for getting quality face-time with agents.”
This year’s conference, “TPI Extravaganza,” is set for October 8-12 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Agents can register by visiting the host’s website at http://www.travelplannersinternational.com/tpi-extravaganza.html.