Asked why she books so often via Travel Impressions, Danielle McAnally, president of Endless Escapes, says, “Their customer care. It’s outstanding. I really can count on them if I need help with anything…and that helps us set ourselves apart for our clients.” Joanne Miksis, travel consultant with Holiday Travel, agrees. “It’s the quality of the people who work there. They get things done—quickly. They do what you want when you want it in this very demanding world. They’re knowledgeable. And,” she adds, “Travel Impressions has very good product.”
Last week Travel Impressions managers and some of their key partners talked about customer care and product with the 375 attendees, including 181 of their top-producing travel agents, during the company’s Best of the Best conference at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa. They described how they worked this year to keep improving their service and product, and how 2018 will bring yet more changes.
“Twelve months ago I promised to steer Travel Impressions in a new direction, focusing on the issues you, the travel agents, told me were important,” said Travel Impressions president Scott Wiseman in his opening address. Continuing that thought at a small press conference, he said, “ was almost like a relaunch for us. We moved forward on many initiatives that we’d heard about from agents, so this was a big success because we showed that a really big company like Travel Impressions could be nimble.”
Rather than subject you to a book-length dissertation on all the changes at Travel Impressions, here’s part one of a thumbnail guide to just some of the innovations recently introduced or soon to be put into play:
- Travel Impressions’ emphasis on “EducaTIon First” reflects Wiseman’s emphasis on professional development—his conviction that PD is “the foundation for new initiatives.”
- The #OnLocaTIon and #WeekendLearning social media series offer agents quick, useful guides to properties that will help them with bookings. For example, search for #insideUNICO or #DiscoverAtlanTIs on Facebook.
- Monthly Makeovers, on Travel Impressions’ website, offer useful updates on recent renovations (because really, who can keep up with it all?)—and they come with incentives, too.
- The company has expanded the benefits and incentives offered via its LoyalTI First program, now in its second year.
- The new booking platform features Price Match Chat, but because the just-expanded revenue management team is now shopping as many as 350,000 competitive price points a month, the number of agents who actually need to use Price Match Chat has been halved.
- If you call Travel Impressions now but the lines are busy, a representative will call you back in order of your call (and quickly, too, because there are more than 200 of these representatives). This way, agents needn’t waste time on hold.
- Travel Impressions has unrolled a program called TI360 that agents can use in their marketing. It includes images, social media posts, eblasts, brochures, etc.—that are all customizable.
- Flex Group introduces many new perks. For example, just five rooms qualifies as a group booking. Agents can easily book rooms one at a time, too, so each room is customized for the needs of that traveler. “We negotiate just as hard for amenities and added values for these smaller bookings as we do the larger ones,” said Wiseman. Note that Flex Group bookings include a group code with no contract to commit to nor group reduction/cancellation penalties, and a new partnership with Softrip Travel Solutions minimizes both effort and the possibility of human error in applying the technology. However, noted Wiseman, “We’re not moving it all to an automated model. Our large groups staff continues to serve at your command, backing up our technology and your needs in full force, and more efficiently than ever before.”
Check out Part 2 of this 3-part report: a look at some radical changes in product.