Maybe it’s the flowers in acknowledgment of 10 years of service
for VP of Member Services Gina “The General” Weyer. Or maybe it’s
the photos of VP of Internet Business Solutions Karen Yeates’
family that fill the screen in a seminar room when her PowerPoint
presentation ends. Or maybe it’s Michelle Morgan’s easy-going vibe
as she emcees the event. Whatever the reason, Signature Travel
Network’s 28th Annual Sales Meeting and Trade Show, held last month
at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, feels a bit more
familial than similar meetings for other consortia. At times it’s
more family reunion than sales meeting.
“There’s a genuine sincerity with Signature,” said Al Merschen,
of Myriad Travel Marketing, the marketing representative for
Signature. “The group has gotten pretty big now, but it really
hasn’t changed much from the beginning. It’s not just about
business. It’s relationships.”
Signature has indeed come a long way. In addition to its annual
sales meeting, Signature celebrated its 50th birthday at the event,
complete with a cake and candles on stage.
“Our staff consists of extraordinarily talented and dedicated
individuals committed to each member’s success & regardless of
their size, scope or type of business,” Morgan, president of
Signature, wrote in a statement to attendees. “We are dedicated to
growing the individual businesses of our members and doing what our
founders did 50 years ago & deliver exceptional service to
The meeting, attended by approximately 1,200 agents and
suppliers, included seminars, a trade show and a luncheon. There
were also presentations by Signature execs on trends, marketing and
technology. The theme across the board was growth.
Signature was started in Southern California in 1956 by a
handful of agents. Today the consortium boasts over 5,000 members
and has been spreading steadily eastward. With the opening of an
office in New York, Signature Travel Network is poised to become an
even bigger national force.
Other signs of growth for Signature, announced at the sales
meeting, include double-digit growth in their cruise and tour sales
and strong advance sales for 2006. Also, the organization announced
that its database of clients has topped over one million names.
Furthermore, Signature announced substantial growth in its hotel
preferred partnerships going from 100 properties to 242 in one
year. New partners and properties include Rosewood hotels, the St.
Regis San Francisco and St. Regis Shanghai, Miami’s Delano Hotel,
the Hotel Plaza Athenee in New York, the Hotel Del Coronado in San
Diego and many more landmark properties.
“We had to walk away from a lot of hotels” that weren’t up to
the group’s standards, said Ignacio Maza, executive vice president
Finally, included in the day’s events was acknowledgment of the
organization’s top producers (see sidebar), including several that
earned national recognition in publications such as Travel +
As Signature continues to grow, it’ll be interesting to see if
the organization can maintain its family feel. After 50 successful
years, I for one wouldn’t bet against it.
|Signature's Top Producers|
Top Ten Sales Producers for Signature in
Carefree Vacations/San Diego Travel Group
The Cruise Place
Doug Fox Travel/U.S. Travel
Peak Travel Group
Rio Grande Travel
Seven Blue Seas Vacations
Tzell Travel Group
|Top Five Sales Producers in 2005 for Insignia
Betty Cox, CTIE, Travel Concepts, Fountain Valley, Calif.
Bobbie Abood, All-Travel, Los Angeles
Barbara Matles, CTC, MCC, Robinson Travel Service, Inc., Manhattan
Sherri Carefix, CTC, Town & Country Travel, Sacramento,
Nancy Johnson, Willett Travel, Studio City, Calif.
*Insignia Vacations is Signature’s wholesale