Travel leading lessons: new tools for Travel Leaders maximize earning potential
Recent improvements to a program for travel advisors in the Travel Leaders Network are driving increases in Google search rankings for agent members.
The lead generation tool – Agent Profiler – has been enhanced with better descriptions of TL Network advisors, so that they can achieve higher Google rankings and more searches.
As a result, the new Agent Profiler is forecast to generate more sales leads than the previous edition of the program. As of June this year, it had yielded a 7% increase in leads over 2019, said TL Network management executives recently.
Travel advisors learned about the Agent Profiler upgrades during the recent EDGE Travel Leaders Network conference. Attendees numbered over 1,500 at the gathering, which was held at the giant Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, near to Denver. It ran June 12 to 15.
“More leads through Agent Profiler means that more people are looking for travel agents,” said Roger Block, president of the TL Network. This fits with findings that some consumers are choosing to access the expertise and advice of travel retailers.
“We are now in a golden age for travel advisors,” said Travel Leaders Group president John Lovell. He referred to the fact that consumers are emerging from the pandemic restrictions with a pent-up demand for travel and disposable budgets available for vacation aspirations. But they are doing so with a lack of knowledge about fast-changing COVID-related regulations across international jurisdictions – while supplier programs and products are quickly evolving to meet demand.
As a result, the call for travel information by qualified advisors has been greatly amplified.
“More people who haven’t used a travel agent before are looking to use one now,” said Lovell. “In our keyword data, customers who had never used a travel agent were up 31% compared to 2019.”
To earn the higher Google rankings, advisors need to get a new Super Agent designation, indicated by a badge that is visible to users of TravelLeaders.com.
Super Agents receive the designation based on criteria including detailed profiles, levels of expertise and positive customer reviews. Members have the opportunity to become Super Agents by completing online profiles describing their unique expertise and experience, their specialty niche and destination expertise – with no cost to the advisor.
The program launched in May 2022, and 134 Agent Profiler users have since been designated as Super Agents. With their improved profiles, they get higher rankings in searches, making it easier for potential clients to find them.
“Super Agent is something that works well for both advisors and travellers,” said Block. “With the importance of generating qualified leads, advisors need an easy way to show prospective customers that they are someone with expertise.”
Alliance Groups debut at EDGE conference
Also announced during the EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve) conference was the creation of three new Leaders Alliance groups, bringing the total number to five.
TL Network introduced the Leaders Alliance concept in 2021, with the Luxury Leaders Alliance and the Host Agency Leaders Alliance. These are groups of like-minded travel advisors and agency owners who share best practices with each other and with supplier partners. They provide benefits like educational and networking opportunities.
Based on the demands of TL Network members, the three new Alliances for 2022 are the Honeymoon and Destination Weddings Leaders Alliance; the Technology Leaders Alliance; and the Building Better Alliance, which focuses on improving growth and profitability for mid-size agencies. Each Alliance is led by an expert from the Travel Leaders Network.
“With the success of the Luxury and Host Agency alliances, we knew it was time to expand this program,” said Block. “With a consortium of our size, our advisors have a range of needs. Giving them access to other advisors and agency owners like them, with our experts to facilitate, is one of the most valuable things we can offer.”
SELECT adds to roster of hotels and resorts
Conference attendees also learned about changes to the SELECT Hotels and Resorts program by Internova, the parent company of the TL Network. The program has recently expanded its hotels and resorts collection, with 128 luxury properties chosen from around the globe for inclusion.
There are a total of 1,600 such properties now in the SELECT collection, chosen from about 4,000 applicants, said Albert Herrera, executive VP of partner relations at Internova Travel Group.
“The list of SELECT Hotels & Resorts has evolved to become even more carefully curated to meet changing consumer preferences,” said Herrera. “It includes only those properties that demonstrate exceptionally high standards.”
Some of the new members are the Stanly Ranch, in the Napa Valley wine country; Costa Rica’s Hacienda AltaGracia wellness resort; the soon to re-open Castello di Reschio in Umbria Italy; and Tanzania’s Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti.
Guests who book their stay at a SELECT hotel or resort through an Internova/Travel Leaders advisor can access amenities that may include resort credits, room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, early check-in and late check-out and basic WiFi.
Enhanced commissions are exclusively offered to TL Group advisors by participating properties. These range from 15% to 25% on rooms and suites, over and above the top-tier levels that agencies receive as a Travel Leaders member.
The location of the 2023 edition of the TL Network International EDGE Conference was announced at the end of this year’s event. Next year, it will be held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, May 8 to 11.
In the photos
The opening night reception for the EDGE International Travel Leaders Network conference in Colorado took place on the function lawn of the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, in Aurora near Denver.
Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Network (left), joined Travel Leaders Group president John Lovell on stage to describe an optimistic travel industry outlook, during the EDGE TL Network Conference recently.
Albert Herrera, the executive VP of partner relations at Internova Travel Group, reviewed the Select partners program for EDGE conference attendees. Internova is the parent company of Travel Leaders Network.
Lindsay Pearlman, senior VP for international leisure travel at Travel Leaders Network, was master of ceremonies at the recent TL Network EDGE conference. During the event, he presented a Power of the Partnership (POP) award to Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior VP of sales and trade support in the Americas for Celebrity Cruises.
- Dan Martell, national account manager for Manulife Financial in Canada, attended the TL Network EDGE conference trade show with Jennifer Waver, national sales director for Manulife Financial.
- Christine James, VP of the Travel Leaders Network in Canada, presented a Power of the Partnership (POP) award to Sevi Anagnostis, the commercial partners manager for WestJet Vacations during the conference.
- Sandals brought a team of reps to the TL Network conference trade show, including (l. to r.) Olivia Rodriguez, senior mgr. of sales development; Chad Krueger, Midwest director of sales; and Paige Morelock, business development mgr.