The power of “One” was on view as Travel Leaders Network celebrated its first anniversary as a single brand, following the merger of Vacation.com, Travel Leaders and Results! Travel last January. Led by flagship Travel Leaders-branded travel agencies, the network counts 6,800 franchise (Associate) and consortium (Member) agencies—300 newcomers in 2017—in the United States and Canada, whose 38,000 sellers of travel generate close to $17 billion in annual travel.
Since joining together, Travel Leaders Network president Roger E. Block, CTC, said at a recent press conference that the organization is already fulfilling a commitment made a year ago to grow agency business through expanded global and supplier partnerships; significantly enhanced marketing programs; strengthened education offerings; and increased lead-generating capabilities to deliver new customers to its agency members.
“Under the Travel Leaders Network banner, our members are benefitting from new opportunities to grow their business, earn more and offer unique travel benefits to their customers,” said Block. “This is evidenced in part by the more than 37 percent year-over-year increase in qualified leads received by our members utilizing the company’s enhanced, consumer-focused, Agent Profiler tool.”
Under special travel niche news, the network announced that its 2018 cruise program will double the number of itineraries to 3,500 this year on 17 cruise lines. The cruise offerings include:
• 359 hosted Distinctive Voyages sailings across nine cruise lines, all including exclusive shore excursions and special cocktail parties. And for the first time, this collection is adding hosted river cruise sailings with Crystal River Cruises. Additionally, Travel Leaders Network is doubling the number of sailings that include the Private Car and Driver options: private car and driver with a tour, or for private use, or as a shipboard credit.
• 2,382 non-hosted sailings include extra amenities such as shipboard credits, specialty dining or prepaid gratuities.
• And 96 culinary-themed sailings on 11 cruise lines that include such extras as demonstrations from world-renowned chefs, cooking classes, plus wine and spirit tastings.
In another special interest market, Perry Lungmus, v.p. of sales for Travel Leaders Network, addressed the importance of adventure travel sales. “Overseas adventure tour and activity suppliers haven’t traditionally paid commissions, and we will continue to work strongly with adventure travel associations and their suppler members, unfamiliar with the U.S. market, to help them understand how agents offer value.” Lungmus indicated that there was work to be done in educating both sellers and buyers in expanding this increasingly appealing market. He is also involved in the network’s effort to drive deeper destination expertise by better qualifying agents participating in FAM trips. The company is introducing “strict criteria” through an online application form for those who wish to attend Travel Leaders-approved FAM trips.
Closing remarks during the celebration briefing included the announcement that the Travel Leaders Network annual conference, which will be held in Las Vegas on June 12-16, 2018, has a new brand for 2018 and beyond: EDGE, standing for “Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve.”
Agencies interested in learning more about the Network’s diverse offerings—in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, honeymoon and destination wedding, active and adventure travel—visit travelleadersnetwork.com.