“Resilience.” “Overcoming adversity.” “Taking that leap of faith everyday.” The resounding message ringing across ALG Vacations’ Ascend 2021 conference, currently taking place at the Cancun Convention Center and set for a wrap party this evening at Hard Rock Cancun—the welcome event at Dreams Vista Cancun was one for the ages—has been one of braving what life throws at you and prevailing. Use the crisis we have faced (are facing) to learn, move forward and become a better you and a better travel advisor.
As motivational speaker Erik Weihenmayer noted during Friday’s general session—and I’m paraphrasing here—adversity is not the enemy, it’s the pathway to greatness. “Seize hold of adversity,” he said. “Take the lead that life piles on you and make it into gold.”
Jacki Marks, executive v.p. for ALG Vacations, stressed, too, that it’s about working together. “We are family at ALG Vacations; we are doing this together.”
Speaking to some of the 400 travel advisors who are registered for Ascend 2021—consisting of owner/manager, retail agents and ICs and 62 percent new to the ALGV brand learning conference—not only are they happy to be able to meet in-person, but they are also thoroughly embracing the workshops, which include one of the ones I sat in on—Pricing, Persuading and Profiting: A Cheeseburger Without Cheese. Speaker Bart Berkey provided seven tips to re-energize travel advisors, a sort of refresher course. I also peeked into the motivational workshop, Staying Resilient During Challenging Times, with a focus on mental and physical wellness (and which, personally, proved very inspirational). Still others focused on creating a feedback culture in the office, tips on social media and using influencers to drive your business, how to create top-notch business plans and, of course, plenty of supplier workshops. The advisors in attendance, in fact, have had access to 47 unique workshops and panel discussions.
Additionally, there are 210+ individual supplier in attendance—the lively supplier showcase was evidence of this—and there was also an ALG Vacations Executive Panel, a chance for travel advisors to pick the executive team’s brains.
It was during that panel discussion that Ray Snisky, group president for ALG Vacations, not only noted that “Cancun has been the savior for most of us in this room,” in terms of bookings, but spoke about what everyone has been wondering about—being bought by Hyatt. “ALG Vacations will be a distinct division within Hyatt,” he said. “There’s a big race for big box hotels to get into the all-inclusive space. They used to look down on the all-inclusive space, but that product has been getting better and better. Hyatt’s CEO Mark Hoplamazian respects so much of what we’ve done. His approach has been consistent, humble and purposeful.” Snisky also stressed that without the travel advisor, ALG Vacations “can’t be successful.”
And speaking of success, Marks said that 2022 “looks amazing. We had a little bit of a hiccup with the Delta variant, but we are back.” As Weihenmayer noted during the general session, “We have to be relentless, we have to attack; walk into the storm.”