The Business Of Travel

Co-presidents encourage agents to develop a ‘greater focus’ By: Janeen Christoff
Ensemble Travel Group co-presidents Libbie Rice (left) and Lindsay Pearlman // © 2011 Ensemble Travel Group
Ensemble Travel Group co-presidents Libbie Rice (left) and Lindsay Pearlman // © 2011 Ensemble Travel Group

With nearly 1,000 members, suppliers and guests in the audience at the 2011 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference, held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Oct. 19-23, co-presidents Lindsay Pearlman and Libbie Rice challenged the sold-out crowd to take a more focused approach to their  business during this current economic environment.

“We’re in an economic environment where many of the old rules no longer apply,” said Rice. “At Ensemble, our focus is on how we do things, why we do things and when we do things. At the end of the day, it’s more about process than turning out a litany of products and programs.”

Both Pearlman and Rice agreed that the organization’s North American structure is working.

“Our North American focus has allowed Ensemble Travel Group to reap benefits far beyond our expectations,” added Pearlman. “Whether that’s technology, best practices, business development, leveraging supplier relationships or creative thinking — it’s been quite positive. We’re encouraged by member feedback, as well. They like our sense of family, transparency, accessibility and thought leadership … how we go about things.”

During the conference, Ensemble made several announcements regarding new product offerings. Among those was the new VIP concierge service, Ensemble Luxe Life, which gives agents access to premium seating at events, tickets to sold-out events and invites to A-list parties. Ensemble also announced that the finishing touches of the beta version of its Air by Ensemble booking engine were completed. The innovative B2B tool provides Ensemble’s approximately 850 agencies in the U.S. and Canada with the ability to shop, book and earn commission on 70 airlines on a 24/7 basis. The technology is free to all Ensemble agencies and is accessible through a link on EnsembleAgent.com, the organization’s member-only information portal.

The group also announced that its next booking tool will be for the cruise segment. Powered by technology partner Passport Online, the Tandem platform is free to all Ensemble agencies in the U.S. and Canada and will be accessible on EnsembleAgent.com. Once beta testing is completed this fall, the booking engine will be rolled out to U.S. members by the end of the year and Ensemble’s Canadian members by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Other announcements included a new weddings and honeymoons specialist program and the expansion of the Ensemble Company Store, which will now be named Ensemble Boutique U.S. and will feature more retailers.

Ensemble will return to Las Vegas for its 2012 meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 24-28, at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. www.joinensemble.com

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