Ensemble Symposium Addresses Ongoing Challenges

Ensemble Travel Group recently held a symposium to address the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the specific needs of owners and managers as they restart their businesses. Themed "Reimagine the Future," the October 13-14 event had speakers and sessions specifically chosen to address the issues members have indicated are priorities. It included a range of topics from insurance to new product updates from key suppliers.

There were several one-on-one interviews with Ensemble CEO David Harris and executives from key partners such as AmaWaterways, Abercrombie & Kent, Collette, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Princess Cruises, ALG Vacations, Oceania, Titanium and World Travel Holdings Luxury Villas. There were also presentations from Auto Europe, Cunard, Celebrity, Carnival, ClubMed, Globus, Holland America, WestJet, Southwest Adventure Tours, Ya’lla and Adventure Canada.

In his opening remarks, Harris reflected on the challenges of the past 20 months but with an eye towards the future. “Despite this being the most challenging 20 months in our 53-year history, we have not let it deter us from moving forward in areas that are critical to ensuring we are ready for the future,” he said. “This includes fulfilling years of discussion and planning to deliver groundbreaking technology and data driven solutions to support our members’ businesses.” 

Harris added, “We have all been impacted by this unprecedented crisis, but have chosen to embrace the changes as best we can. We are a more intimate sized consortia, but that is going to allow us the ability to offer more customized and personalized services for members.”

This includes the launch earlier this year of OneConnect, which integrated three booking platforms into one providing advisors with the ability to access their reservations across all sales channels with one login besides access to GDS and supplier reservations. Ensemble’s Data Monetization Center is another new tool that helps members harness the power of digital transformation. Using it in aggregate to power real-time insights, the DMC will enable Ensemble to see industry trend lines early and ensure that members can take full advantage of that information at precisely the right moment with the goal to increase sales and commissions for members and profitability for the entire organization once travel fully restarts.

Introducing the concept of Data Optimization was keynote speaker, Sinan Gurman, senior vice-president, data and analytics at WNS Global Services. Gurman presented two sessions including an introduction to the topic of data optimization, why it’s important, and how he and WNS have worked with other global organizations across a broad sector of industries, including popular brands such as Starbucks and IHG, to enhance performance and profitability. The second session previewed the launch of Ensemble’s Data Monetization Center that will allow the group to enhance every aspect of its business.

There were also panels on timely issues including consumer trends and how people are traveling differently.

Addressing key consumer trends in travel with panelists from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Getty Images and Leading Hotels of the World, topics included trends such as the growing demand for more private accommodations such as villas and suites; the growing interest in cruising by Gen Z and Millennials; the importance of visual representation in travel marketing such as using authentic and inclusive images; and video as a means toward improving visual representation.

Reflective of how the pandemic has shifted how people are traveling, this panel focused on how suppliers have adapted and pivoted by adding new itineraries, services, as well as health and safety protocols featuring panelists from Seabourn, Lindblad Expeditions and Alexander+Roberts.

There was also a session on the importance of industry advocacy with Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the Ameircan Society of Travel Advisors, and Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, as well as a presentation from Trees4Travel on Ensemble’s new partnership with their organization which is committed to creating and executing climate positive programs for the travel industry.

Ensemble will continue to focus on supporting the restart of its members’ businesses with its in-person Executive Connect retreats coming up in November at NOBU at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada for U.S. members, and at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge in Kananaskis, Alberta for Canadian members.

Related Stories

U.S. Travel to Host Future of Travel Mobility Summit

WTTC Confirms Global Summit in Manila to Take Place in March '22

Virtuoso Launches Training Program for New Travel Advisors

Karisma Hosts 14th Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant Awards