Travel agent organization gives members a competitive edge through enhanced services and opportunities
Las Vegas (June 14, 2018) – With more training courses and certification opportunities, added technology offerings, expanded marketing and lead generation programs, and a myriad of networking options, Travel Leaders Network is cementing its competitive position as the travel agent network of choice. More than 40,000 travel agents within the U.S., Canada and internationally are now part of Travel Leaders Network and are reaping the advantages of the organization’s huge array of benefits, programs and negotiating power. Additionally, Travel Leaders’ new relationship with American Express further heightens agents’ opportunities to earn more and provide an expanded menu of services to their customers. All of these announcements, highlights and more are being showcased during the organization’s 2018 international conference, EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve), which takes place through June 16 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“We’re intent on providing our members with a competitive edge, and that includes having the right tools, training, support and strategic relationships, combined with our scale and scope, to position them for the greatest possible success,” said John Lovell, President of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group.
“The past year has been marked by expansion in many areas that will improve the competitive position of our members and increase their opportunities to make money,” said Roger Block, President of Travel Leaders Network. “We’re raising the bar to help our agencies succeed and ensure they are better equipped to serve their customers and gain new ones.”
Throughout the year, there has been significant growth and success for Travel Leaders Network. Here’s a look at Travel Leaders Network by the numbers:
The number of Travel Leaders Network agents actively involved in the organization’s six specialist programs has risen to 1,612 and increases each month. Those programs range from leisure travel, business travel, group travel, luxury travel, honeymoon and destination weddings, and active and adventure. More than 374 agents have graduated from the programs. Overall, the network offers over 500 training opportunities to its member agents throughout the year.
“Our specialist programs are truly unique and immersive. They involve a two-year study program within six key areas,” said Lovell. “Aside from Certified Travel Specialist Programs, we offer on-demand lessons, webinars, and workshops throughout the year both virtually and in person as a way to connect and create an interactive experience for learning. We truly believe our training and education programs are exceptional within the industry and our dedicated training team helps set our members up for success with a variety of learning options.”
Within Agent Profiler, which is a free benefit for Travel Leaders Network agents that provides consumers direct access to travel professionals via TravelLeaders.com, nearly 5,500 agents are now displaying online, representing expertise in 135,000 destinations and 53,000 interests. Through the end of May, organic traffic to TravelLeaders.com was up 45 percent year over year and leads flowing through Agent Profiler continue to grow significantly. Driven in large part by the company’s unique content management and Search Engine Optimization strategy, an estimated 140,000 leads are anticipated for the full year 2018. The average sale on leads generated through Agent Profiler is currently in excess of $5,000.
Agent Profiler 2.0, introduced earlier this year, enables agents to very effectively hone and promote their specialties and areas of expertise, including certifications, and also showcases photos, client testimonials and blog posts. Travel professionals using Agent Profiler 2.0 are typically receiving three times more leads than agents using the basic version of the tool. Additionally, agents with at least one certification, typically receive two times the leads versus those with no certifications.
“Agent Profiler is truly a standout benefit available to our members that delivers qualified leads right to their doorstep,” said Block. “We are investing heavily as a company to drive leads to Agent Profiler and our agents are reaping the benefits.”
Perks at Sea
Travel Leaders Network is offering more than 300 hosted sailings this year across nine premium and luxury suppliers as part of its Distinctive Voyages program. Each of these cruises features a host, private cocktail reception, and complimentary shore excursion. Additionally, within Distinctive Voyages is the Car & Driver program, which was first introduced last year and has proven hugely popular. The number of participating cruise lines has doubled to six. These luxury cruises feature the use of a private car and driver in a port of call.
Also, in 2018, Travel Leaders Network is offering approximately 100 cruises as part of its Culinary Collection, many of which feature all the benefits of Distinctive Voyages along with a special culinary feature such as a meal in a specialty dining venue or a wine package. Beyond those programs, there are an additional 3,500 cruises available through Travel Leaders in 2018 that offer special amenities such as a shipboard credit, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurant meal or wine package. There are now 17 different cruise lines partnering on the program, ranging from contemporary, premium and luxury to river cruises and adventure voyages.
A new website, selecthotelsresorts.com, recently launched for the Travel Leaders SELECT Hotel program, features hundreds of hotels and resorts that provide VIP amenities to clients of Travel Leaders agents. The new site showcases each property’s amenities, description, photos and other details. Other highlights include:
• A new “filter” feature to help review properties with specific qualities, from romantic to family friendly to pre/post cruise
• A clear list of the exclusive “perks” offered to Travel Leaders guests
• A single site with both an agent view (including important agent-only information) and a consumer view
“For 2018, we are focused on increasing our members’ profitability and helping our members grow their business further,” said Block. “The overall goal with the hotel program is to build the industry’s most robust offering and showcase some of the most prestigious properties in the world where our agents can book their clients.”
Introduction of Agency Buying/Selling Website
Travel Leaders also recently introduced a new website www.buymytravelagency.com that matches owners who are interested in purchasing other agencies with prospective sellers. Potential agency buyers can purchase a display ad describing their existing business, the types of agencies they’d like to acquire, geographical parameters and other requirements. Selling parties can review the ads and connect via the website with potential purchasers.
“The creation of an online vehicle such as this that connects prospective agency buyers and sellers was long overdue and this website is going to serve a valuable purpose for our industry,” said Block.
For travel agencies interested in learning more about the award-winning programs and diverse offerings that Travel Leaders Network offers agencies in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, honeymoon and destination weddings – as well as active and adventure travel – visit TravelLeadersNetwork.com.
Travel Leaders Network assists millions of leisure and business travelers, annually, and is one of the largest sellers of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry. Led by flagship Travel Leaders-branded travel agencies (www.travelleaders.com), the network includes 6,800 Associates and Member travel agencies locations in the United States and Canada. Travel Leaders Network’s award-winning Agent Profiler agent-locator, marketing, technology, supplier partnerships and educational programs are designed around our travel agents’ commitment to our vacation and business travel clients in providing a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Network is a Travel Leaders Group, LLC company.
2018: Year of the Travel Agent
Travel Leaders Group has named 2018 Year of the Travel Agent. Over the last decade, the travel agency industry has flourished through technology, the growth of travel options and personalized service. Travel Leaders Group represents approximately 52,000 travel agents with unmatched expertise in 135,000 destinations and 53,000 areas of interest. Travelers and suppliers have rediscovered the value a professional travel advisor delivers to the travel experience. Travel agents help to move people around the world, and keep our economy growing.