Major news is coming out of American Marketing Group, Inc.’s (AMG) global travel agent conference, currently being held in Boca Raton, Florida. For starters, there are new preferred supplier partnerships joining the “family,” as both Nicole Mazza, CMO of TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Traveler Collection, and Kathryn Mazza-Burney, president of NEST and executive v.p. of sales and service for TRAVELSAVERS, describe the organization their father founded almost 50 years ago. There’s also the launch of the TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University; upgrades to the Distinctive Destination Weddings Niche Program; a new multi-touch marketing program, Journeys; and for those agents selling luxury within AMG, the organization has debuted an enhanced hotel amenities program, a new consumer website and a new experiential training program for The Affluent Traveler Collection.
“We want our affiliates to leave the conference with product we can truly deliver on,” said Nicole Mazza during a press conference. This is the reason, she mentioned, that the conference takes place every two years. “We touch our agencies constantly, we don’t need a big conference every year to do that.” Added TRAVELSAVERS COO Jim Mazza, “We don’t want to have the same solution as everyone else.”
And the passion the Mazza family has for AMG carries over to its affiliates. Cessy Meacham of Anytime Travel Solutions and a TRAVELSAVERS affiliate says, “I like the out-of-the-box thinking. They always surprise me. They are there when I need them; they are the peace of mind consortium.”
And now let’s get to the news.
TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University
The new TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University will house all of its training opportunities in one place, including supplier product certifications, the brands’ own certifications, niche market training, business-building sessions with featured speakers, one-on-one coaching opportunities, and personal development sessions.
Over the past year, AMG launched Cocktails & Conversations and Headquarter Discovery Forums, two education series that provide networking opportunities with headquarter executives, peers and supplier partners in an intimate setting.
The full TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University curriculum is slated to launch in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2019. And, pointed out Kathryn Mazza-Burney, “we’ll continue to expand on our training opportunities.”
New Preferred Supplier Partnerships
Nicole Mazza mentioned that the “preferred suppliers are a core part of our business, and we are very selective of which suppliers we bring to work with our agents.” She added that they are “pleased to be able to add even more travel product to our roster,” with the addition of American Queen Steamboat Company (for TRAVELSAVERS and NEST agencies); Cox & Kings (for The Affluent Traveler Collection); and Goway Travel (for TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies), among others.
New Tools & Upgrades
AMG affiliates now have access to Journeys, a multi-touch marketing program that helps agents increase sales and profitability by focusing on the destinations and travel experiences that in the greatest demand by consumers. The Journeys program encompasses Destinations by Journeys, which features one designated region of the world each quarter—with this year’s regions being Europe, The Americas, Caribbean, and Mexico; and Lifestyles by Journeys, which highlights types of travel, including cruise, guided vacations, romance, luxury, all-inclusive and family. Each campaign has a consistent look and feel so agency’s clients will recognize the material as soon as they see it. The program is set up to help our travel agents mine their customer databases for repeat business and find new clients, both online and offline.
These marketing campaigns include direct mail; e-blasts; personalized consumer website; social media; and agent resource website. “We celebrate the differences of how our agents market,” said Nicole Mazza, “and want to ensure them that we have the capabilities internally to assist in creating unique marketing programs and tools for them. We do not create cookie-cutter programs that all must use. Our multi-touch marketing programs are always customized to the individual agencies.”
Lead Dash, meanwhile, is launching to help TRAVELSAVERS and NEST agencies to capture their share of the millions of dollars of unused cruise and tour credits lying dormant in their databases. This proprietary technology syncs supplier data with travel agent marketing to prompt them to follow-up with customers on their unused credits. For example, cruise and tour operators such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Insight Vacations, Collette, and Viking Cruises have open credits sitting on their books unused. With Lead Dash, travel agents automatically receive notifications motivating them to remind their clients about the unused credits. Agents opt-in to use Lead Dash, which then triggers professionally designed html e-mails to be distributed that are agency-branded and include preferred supplier messaging.
The Distinctive Destination Weddings niche program for travel agents has been enhanced, adding a dynamic lead generation program, as well as training courses and certification. The Distinctive Destination Weddings program features a consumer-facing website with content that is fully customizable, mobile-optimized, and lead-generating, and provides back-end analytics to help agents better employ and adjust their marketing efforts. Enhanced business-building benefits include better interaction; better content management; and more leads.
Luxury Travel Advisors
Those who are part of The Affluent Traveler Collection—these agents are sourced through TRAVELSAVERS and NEST—have new tools to play with as well, including an enhanced hotel amenities program, a new consumer website and a new experiential training program.
The collection has added 44 new hotels to its Hotel Amenities program, including EAST Beijing, EAST Hong Kong, EAST Miami, Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, Delano Las Vegas, Mahekal Beach Resort, Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, The Iroquois New York, The London EDITION, The Upper House, and Villa Principe Leopoldo Europe.
The new consumer website, theaffluenttraveler.com, is a lead-generating site filled with luxury travel content and promoting the group’s negotiated hotel, cruise and tour products.
And agents who belong to The Affluent Traveler Collection now have access to a hands-on educational series, Affluent Experiences. The intimate and immersive, in-destination events provide attendees with valuable insight into preferred supplier partners’ products and services. They demonstrate how agents can create affluent travel experiences for their valued clientele.