Get Us in Your Inbox
Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, introduced today the consortium’s new Signature Virtual Connections (SVC) communications platform. The series of strategic virtual events will run through December 2020 and take the place of Signature’s annual conference.
The inaugural Zoom webinar served as an overview of Signature’s membership, benefits, technology and partnerships.
“‘Why this format?’ It came down to this: We know everyone has to do more with less [and] for less,” Sharpe said. “We didn’t want you to have to commit for multiple days in front of your computer. The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. The intention is to be very tactical.”
Sharpe shared that SVC will be used in the future for “highly interactive virtual webinars and Zoom meetings” that connect partners, advisors and travelers with the aim of keeping advisors informed and able to drive sales. The platform will also be used for targeted virtual consumer events featuring Ignacio Maza, Signature's executive vice president.
Sharpe also welcomed new supplier partners — including EmpireCLS Worldwide chauffeured service and HVN Travel Group rental residences — as well as nine new travel agency members.
Sharpe applauded the efforts of the American Society of Travel Advisors and supplier partners that have begun offering early commissions to advisors.
We have to accelerate the commission pipeline, or this industry will be devastated.
“We have to accelerate the commission pipeline, or this industry will be devastated,” Sharpe said.
Among the companies offering early commission that Sharpe highlighted are Aqua Expeditions; Globus Family of Brands (Avalon Waterways, Globus, Cosmos, Monograms); Dream Escape; Exeter; IC Bellagio; Norwegian Cruise Line; Quark Expeditions; and Seabourn.
Sharpe also welcomed two preferred partner guest speakers, including Scott Nisbet, CEO of Globus Family of Brands, who discussed the company’s decision to offer early commissions.
"We need advisors to survive,” Nisbet said. “Our recovery depends on it.”
Live polls were conducted throughout the event to generate on-the-minute research. In response to the question “Is river cruising outperforming other types of cruising and travel?” 41% of respondents said yes, 32% answered no and 27% replied that river cruising was performing the same as the other forms of travel.
The event’s second guest speaker was Robyn Basso, senior director of travel industry partnerships for Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. Basso provided an update on Hawaii’s tourism industry and its successful efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Typically, we look at 30,000 arrivals per day,” she said. “Right now, we’re at a few hundred. That is deliberate to control the spread [of COVID-19], but the impact is very significant.”
Hawaii has continued to prioritize the safety of the local community and potential visitors, Basso said. As of Oct. 1, travelers who take a 72-hour COVID-19 test prior to visiting Hawaii can bypass the island’s 14-day quarantine, though the date is subject to change.
Sharpe closed the session by encouraging advisors to reach out to clients, track future cruise and travel credits and focus on opportunity.
“Leverage the relationships and trust you built,” he said. “I see a recovery that has great pent-up demand and need for your services. Revenue per advisor could be greater in 2021 than it was in 2019. The future is bright, and frankly I can’t wait to get to the other side.”
The DetailsSignature Travel Networkwww.signaturetravelnetwork.com