|Nexion President Jackie Friedman and Nexion Canada President Mike Foster|
On September 17 Nexion wrapped its CoNexion 2016 conference at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California.
Approximately 400 travel agents and another 200 industry experts registered for the event, which was based around the theme of “Building Bridges.” The event had 49 educational workshops, a supplier partner trade show, supplier roundtables, and networking opportunities, as well as opportunities to hear from keynote speakers Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead, Carnival Corporation & plc, and Stuart Cohen, entrepreneur, business coach, and author.
Tara Russell’s keynote address, “Discover and Unleash Your Super Powers,” shared her story and the transformative potential of traveling and using one’s gifts, talents and abilities for good. Stuart Cohen’s “Bridge of 1,000 Journeys” keynote address explained how to build a “signature bridge” to elevate success and happiness. There were also several industry panel discussions, as well as one comprised of top Travel Leaders Group executives.
CoNexion attendees also had the opportunity to participate in workshops offered by Nexion staff and supplier partners. There were seven tracks of supplier roundtable discussions, as well as seven rounds of workshops. Notable workshops focused on adventure travel, luxury travel, building your business and social media.
The tradeshow hosted more than 110 supplier partners. Attendees also had the opportunity to explore the myExperience Zone, which was a dedicated area for in-depth and hands-on learning about programs such as: AgentMate, Agent Snapshot, CruisePRO, Engagement marketing, myNexion, NexionTown, Nexion University, OnTarget, pinSIGHT, SNAP!/SNAP! Canada (Simple Nexion Air Program) and more.
New Agreement With ASTA
At the conference Nexion announced a new deal with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) that makes Nexion the first host agency to implement a direct enroll program for its network. Under the terms of the agreement, Nexion agency members will be able to make monthly payments for $17 for ASTA membership. Nexion will also promote ASTA’s recently-introduced $199 independent contractor (IC) rate, which is available for all agents affiliated with a Premium Member agency or who are active members of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA). The agreement is set for two years.
The event also provided an opportunity for Nexion to update agents on its technology overhaul, which was first announced one year ago. The myNexion platform will replace the organization’s current WebView portal as a one-stop shop for Nexion’s resources for independent travel agents, ranging from corporate to leisure travel. New tools will include pinSIGHT, the hotel portal from parent company Travel Leaders Group’s Hotel Division; the SNAP! commissionable air booking program; and CruisePRO, which allows Nexion agents to sell commissionable cruise offerings through an affiliation with Vacation.com. Additionally, the portal will allow access to a customized version of AgentMate, a proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing tool offered by Vacation.com but tailored for Nexion, as well as the newly enhanced NexionTown community.
“Get Your Niche On” Summits
Nexion also announced plans for a series of “Get Your Niche On” specialization summits beginning this fall and continuing throughout 2017. Topics covered will include corporate travel, luxury travel, group travel, and romance travel, as well as a broader-themed summit to assist agents with marketing and sales. The multi-day business development summits will include:
- Group Travel Sales Summit (October 7-9, 2016) – Devoted to agents who are building successful group travel sales. The Group Travel Sales Summit will be offered again in 2017.
- Luxury Travel Sales Summit (November 11-13, 2016) – Invitation-only for Nexion’s luxury-oriented agents. The Luxury Travel Sales Summit will be offered again in 2017.
- Corporate CoNexion (June 9-11, 2017) – Invitation-only for corporate travel agents.
- Romance Travel Sales Summit (2017) – For agents specializing in honeymoon, destination weddings and romantic getaways
- Marketing and Sales Summit (2017) – Hosted by Nexion President Jackie Friedman, this summit will offer agents a chance to hone their marketing skillsets
Awards for Top Travel Agents
Finally, CoNexion 2016 drew to a close with event honoring the recipients of its “Circle of Excellence,” “MillionAir,” “Ambassador” and “Rising Star” awards for 2016. Nexion Vice President Robbi Hamida announced each of the major award winners during the final day of the conference.
Nexion agents Steve Lincoln and Diane Earman earned both Circle of Excellence and MillionAir awards. In all, 85 agents were inducted into Nexion’s Circle of Excellence, which recognizes top producers who achieved set goals for selling cruise and tour vacations using Nexion’s supplier partners. Additionally, Nexion honored 23 agents with its MillionAir award to recognize individuals who have personally achieved more than $1 million in airline sales during the course of the previous year (September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016). Two of Nexion’s new agents were honored as Rising Stars. Finally, three agents were honored with Ambassador Awards for embodying the spirit of Nexion, supporting Nexion’s programs and helping other agents succeed. Samantha Khalil won an Ambassador Award for delivering the highest sales volume through the pinSIGHT hotel booking engine, while Mike Edic was honored for having the highest combined ARC and non-ARC sales among agents who were not part of the Circle of Excellence or MillionAirs. Bill Tilburg won the third Ambassador Award based on nominations from his peers.
The top 20 MillionAirs will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Cancun, Mexico, November 4-7, 2016, courtesy of hosts Nexion, Delta Air Lines and Delta Vacations, with Enterprise Holdings serving as a sponsor. Each winner will be able to bring a guest to enjoy an all-inclusive stay at Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun. The top 44 Circle of Excellence winners will be hosted by Travel Impressions and sponsored by Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Globus family of brands, AmaWaterways and Travel Guard at the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, December 1-4.