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On Jan. 23, Avoya Travel held a grand opening event in North County San Diego to celebrate its new office space and to kick off Phase Two of its five-phase plan of becoming the world’s No. 1 vacation platform by 2025.
The family-owned marketing and travel technology company welcomed media and VIP stakeholders — including Independent Agencies (IAs) and supplier partners — for a tour of the 20,000-square-foot Innovation Center. In addition, Avoya showcased accomplishments from its Avoya 2025 plan and previewed Phase Two initiatives.
The Innovation CenterA bright space with an open-floor plan, Avoya’s new Innovation Center is located in the heart of San Marcos; city hall is just across the street, and California State University San Marcos lies a few blocks away.
To reflect its mission to create meaningful interactions and experiences with customers, partners and the IAs in its Avoya Travel Network, the company has integrated both collaborative and private workspaces into the Innovation Center. With a heavy focus on video technology, the space — which houses about 100 of its 170 employees — allows in-office personnel to easily and efficiently set up video chats and livestream meetings with remote workers, supplier partners and IAs.
Ample breakout rooms offer small and large collaboration spaces, while multiple private phone booths and individual workspaces provide quiet areas. There’s even an aromatherapy/relaxation room and a small on-site gym.
A light, airy atrium cafe serves as the Innovation Center’s hub, where employees are encouraged to socialize, listen to music, eat meals and enjoy an unlimited snack bar, along with drinks such as soda, sparkling water, coffee and tea. Just off the atrium is a room with classic arcade games such as “Streetfighter” and “Donkey Kong,” as well as pinball and a basketball game.
All spaces are meant to support a variety of staff work styles and functions. To promote transparency and facilitate an environment of equality, most executive staff members utilize the open space along with employees.
“We’re an executive team with our feet on the ground with our teams,” said Jeff Anderson, co-president of Avoya. “We don’t want to be in ivory towers; we want to be on the battleground with everyone.”
The Avoya 2025 PlanDuring a media-exclusive panel, attending journalists heard highlights from Avoya’s Phase One, (which took place over the last 18 months) from members of the Strategic Leadership Team: Ashley Hunter, senior vice president of strategic operations and partnerships; Steve Hirshan, senior vice president of sales; Sam McCully, senior vice president of marketing; and Daniel Rego, senior vice president of business intelligence.
One major highlight of Phase One includes a completed code and infrastructure overhaul that greatly sped up the refreshed AvoyaTravel.com, AvoyaNetwork.com and Agent Power (Avoya’s IA operating system). Michael Anderson, co-president of Avoya, explained that speed increases shaved off hundreds of thousands of hours cumulatively in a year (think: upon clicking a link, the webpage loads immediately instead of taking say, five or six seconds).
Completed projects also include a partnership with The Mark Travel Corporation (now Apple Leisure Group) that has increased Avoya’s resort portfolio. Avoya also launched its first forum for IAs who want to build their land business; it will now be an annual event. Additionally, the company has allowed suppliers to have more access to the Avoya Network, including sending reports that show how a supplier is doing compared to their competitors, as well as what travelers are saying about the brand. McCully also shared the new Avoya Media Solutions (AMS), which offers suppliers enhanced visibility and favorability, and announced a new IA commission incentive plan for 2020.
Perhaps the most exciting accomplishment of Phase One is the total brand refresh, including a refreshed logo and color palette and, of course, the new Innovation Center.
“It has been powerful to get re-immersed with our teams,” McCully said. “The space is inspiring.”
Highlights of Phase Two, which will run from now until June 2021, include increasing traveler demand by delivering more unique travel experiences; expanding the IA network, including targeting marketing to draw more experienced agencies; and enhancing information sharing with suppliers on Avoya’s platform. According to Jeff Anderson, this will “open up access in a way we’re not seeing our competitors do.”
The grand opening event ended with a bang — literally — as attendees fired tinsel cannons in the atrium before touring the Innovation Center and enjoying drinks and light bites.
“We’re very proud of our heritage,” Hunter said. “We have been in business for 56 years, and we’ve helped more than 1 million travelers find their dream vacation.”
The DetailsAvoya Travelwww.avoyatravel.com
Avoya Travel Networkwww.avoyanetwork.com