Signature’s Annual Sales Meeting Emphasizes Network Growth
Tim Smith, chairman of Signature Travel
Network’s board of directors and Signature’s
president, Michelle Morgan, at the
annual sales meeting
Signature Travel Network welcomed more than 570 preferred travel partners and nearly 1,100 registered travel consultants and agency owners to its 2007 Signature Sales Meeting at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The event, Signature’s largest conference ever, emphasized continued growth for both suppliers and agents.
“This has been our best year ever,” said Michelle Morgan, president of Signature Network. “Our leisure sales realized double-digit growth across the board in 2007, and our 2008 future sales are running 40 percent ahead of this year. We are poised for continued growth as we move into 2008.”
The network’s top priority in 2008 is client retention and agents were cautioned about the need to maintain customer relationships. To aid in those efforts, Signature has launched a client-retention program that includes focus groups with customers, front-line consultants and owners and managers of member agencies; training programs; and enhanced client communications. Leading these efforts is Lalia Rach, divisional dean, clinical professor and HVS international chair of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University.
The network also announced that new partnerships with six ground operators will bring its Signature’s Destination Specialist program to 77 preferred companies. Signature now also boasts an exclusive marketing alliance with Beverly Clark Enterprises, a leader in U.S. wedding planning services. Part of this agreement includes special training programs, an agent certification program and leads from multiple wedding- and honeymoon-related Web sites for members. “The fastest growing segment of Signature’s business is the affluent market and sales of upscale travel products,” said Filomena Andre, vice president of marketing and sales.
Joining the network this year are TravelStore, Journeys by Ambassador/Peak Travel and All Star Travel. The network has also added over 100 new hotels for 2008, including Claridge’s in London, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires and Peninsula New York. A 336-page 2008 Hotel & Resort Collection directory will be sent to the top clients on Signature’s mailing list.
Additionally, Signature plans to mail three editions of its Luxury Redefined publication, launch a new luxury travel Web site in the first quarter and develop a series of targeted direct-mail pieces focused on specific destinations, such as Italy and France, to focus on the luxury segment in 2008.
Anniversary for US Airways Vacations
US Airways Vacations is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its all-bulk vacations programs. In December 2006, US Airways Vacations did away with published air rules a step that meant more commission for travel agents and more liberal terms and conditions associated with bulk air. Only with US Airways Vacations do travel agents have unrestricted access to US Airways’ best fares on every segment.
“US Airways Vacations values the travel agent community. We knew how important bulk air terms and conditions and commissions were in the decision-making process. We are in a unique position to be able to offer all bulk rules to our travel agents, and we have been pleased to offer increased commission opportunities through this program,” said Travis Christ, US Airways vice president of sales and marketing.
US Airways is the fifth largest domestic carrier, operating approximately 3,800 flights per day and serving more than 230 locations worldwide.