More than 800 travel pros gathered at Resorts World Las Vegas for the American Marketing Group’s (AMG) Travel Market 2022 conference from Oct. 27-30.
AMG, now celebrating 50 years, is the parent company of brands such as TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Traveller Collection.
Stronger, Bolder, Brighter was the theme of this year’s conference, which welcomed affiliates from the United States and Canada, preferred suppliers and AMG staff, who took advantage of all the opportunities for learning, networking, brainstorming, planning and celebrating.
“There is so much to celebrate with our 50th anniversary but it goes beyond that,” said Nicole Mazza, chief marketing officer, in a press release. “Together with our advisors and partners, we’ve accomplished so much over the years.”
“Our philosophy is firmly anchored by our family culture – the foundation comprised of the shared values, competencies and the spirit of our team.”
“What Rick Mazza started 50 years ago serving the travel agency community has continued to grow thanks to innovation, creativity, service, technology and our people, which has contributed to our success and will pilot us for the next 50 years.”
Education, Inspiration, Networking
The conference started with interactive workshops for advisors to learn more about how to enhance their businesses through products and services to ensure that they are fully engaged in all the tools available.
More than 100 preferred supplier companies educated advisors during the trade show event, including many individual hotel partners.
The supplier learning continued with hands on emersion sessions where advisors got to sample and enjoy unique experiences.
Informative panels included top executives from trade associations as well as preferred partners who shared their insights and prognosis for the future.
The event ended at the Gala Awards dinner recognizing both advisors and partners.
Growth of network & future trends
AMG affiliates of TRAVELSAVERS U.S. and Canada, and NEST have brought in new agencies representing $480 million in preferred supplier sales to date this year with many others in for consideration.
New preferred supplier partnerships were also announced at Travel Market 2022.
Suppliers that have joined the network include:
- Cruise - Explora Journeys and Quark Expeditions
- Tour - Exoticca and Adventure World Travel
- Air - Emirates, ITA Airways and L Compagnie
- Other - MHS Worldwide and Venture Ashore
Several tourist boards and CVBs have also partnered up, including Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Bermuda Tourism, Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tourism New Zealand, Discover Puerto Rico and Saudi Tourism Authority.
Projections are robust for all travel types, the company says, with year-over-year growth for insurance at 63%, hotel revenue at 40% and room nights at 24%, cruise sales at 29%, land at 24%, cruise group sales at 15% and suite sales are also on the rise.
Land travel has seen the largest increase with Europe and domestic destinations trending the highest with 50%+ growth, the company says.
The company has also grown with several key appointments.
In Canada, Jane Clementino joined as TRAVELSAVERS Canada as senior vice-president and general manager; Marylene Lupien as director business development and Monique Lalonde as director strategic partnership in Canada.
“The vibe at Travel Market was one of great optimism as we celebrated the resiliency of this great industry. Together with our preferred partners, advisors and team, we toasted to our great accomplishments together over the past 52 years and are excited for the bright future ahead,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney, chief sales officer, in a press release.
Customer segmentation for OnlineXpress
The conference marked the launch of a new digital segmentation product enabling suppliers and advisors to better target clients for marketing and potential sales.
An automated customer segmentation tool is now available with OnlineXpress, AMG’s customized lead generating consumer travel website platform.
“This technology ensures that our agencies have permission-based marketing. We want to deliver the best ROI for marketing and in turn deliver quality leads to our advisors,” Nicole Mazza said.
In 2023, marketers won’t be able to track customers any longer using Third Party Cookies, as this so-called invasive tracking technology has become increasingly unpopular.
In response to this changing digital landscape and wanting to help suppliers market better, OnlineXpress will place a unique code on each OnlineXpress website.
The code will help recognize the user, their preferences, history and more.
Only OnlineXpress as the “first party” has access to this useful data, versus third party cookies that are generated by external sites.
As such, AMG preferred partners can better target advisors’ clients who are interested in their products.
In 2022, OnlineXpress experienced 12 per cent growth with close to one million emails sent out on behalf of AMG’s preferred partners, the company said.
Introduction of crypto currency
AMG also revealed its newest payment platform featuring crypto currency acceptance and processing.
The enhancement will be available to TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Traveler Collection affiliates via tripXpress, AMG’s proprietary booking platform.
“With over $1 trillion in market capital, we felt it was time to make it possible for holders of crypto to book travel directly with our agencies,” said Jim Mazza, COO of TRAVELSAVERS. “We have been working for months with some of the top banks and exchanges to facilitate the process.”
The program, currently being tested, will launch in 2023 with select cruise and tour operators and then will be expanded to include most of AMG’s premier preferred partners, the company said.
Education is key
The importance of advisor education was also emphasized at Travel Market 2022.
“This event had opportunities to enrich our advisors and add to their knowledge of our preferred partners’ products, AMG’s services, best practices, selling skills and more,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney.
Launched in November 2021, KORE is AMG’s comprehensive training program designed to educate new talent to the industry, fully train them and set them on the path to become successful Travel Advisors.
The first graduating class of KORE was recognized and celebrated at the Gala Awards dinner at Travel Market.
Notably, a Canadian version of the program will be rolled out in the summer of 2023, the company said.
“Education is key to the integrity of this industry,” said Mazza-Burney. “Our team is focused on educating new advisors, continuing to enrich our existing affiliates and to recruit and educate new prospects to the industry.”