The 2019 TravelAge West Trendsetter Award Winners

The annual Western Agents Votes of Excellence (WAVE) Awards recognizes top travel advisors who provide stellar client experiences

The 2019 WAVE Awards took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey in Marina Del Rey, Calif. © 2019 Volker Corell

The 2019 WAVE Awards took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey in Marina Del Rey, Calif. © 2019 Volker Corell

For the past 50 years, TravelAge West has been at the heart of the travel advisor community in the West, and for the last 14 years, we’ve honored many of these top agents through our Trendsetter Award program.

In this issue, you can learn about the efforts of this year’s group of award-winning advisors, and read about how they achieve their business goals and deepen their client relationships. These agents not only exemplify professionalism in their own agencies, but they enhance the reputation of all advisors, as well.

In addition, on the following pages you’ll find the winners of our 2019 WAVE (Western Agents Votes of Excellence) Awards, and learn more about this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award, Matthew D. Upchurch of Virtuoso.

Finally, be sure to check out photos from our black-tie WAVE gala, held at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey — it’s always a rocking party!

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This year's Trendsetter nominees and winners © 2019 Volker Corell

This year's Trendsetter nominees and winners © 2019 Volker Corell

Best Group Booking Sales Effort:
Suzy Schreiner of Azure Blue Vacations

Suzy Schreiner has arranged several group cruises to Mexico, St. Maarten and Jamaica that include aiding local orphanages. Next year, she will book three more groups, bringing a total of 86 new volunteers to the Caribbean.

Suzy Schreiner © 2019 Volker Corell

Suzy Schreiner © 2019 Volker Corell

“It encourages me to know that leaders in the industry recognize the importance of reaching out beyond the booking and touching the lives of those around us,” Schreiner said. “The best aspect of this achievement is that it doesn’t feel like it’s awarding me, personally. Rather, it’s awarding the notion that we can be an example to our clients to look outside the tourism bubble and make a difference in people’s lives.”


Sponsored by Royal Caribbean International

The winner in this category received a six- to eight-night Caribbean cruise for two. The runner-up won a four-night Caribbean cruise for two.


Runner-Up:
Dave Mazor of Pacific Sports Tours, Inc.

Dave Mazor’s group booking was for 700-plus room nights on Maui, and it was such a success that it led to rebooking the same group for 800-plus nights next year.

Dave Mazor

Dave Mazor

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Upward Bound, Rock Star Agent Under 40:
Hannah Cote of Legacy Travel

In addition to being named one of the Top 35 Under 30 by Travel Agent magazine, Hannah Cote was recently selected to be part of Signature Travel Network’s inaugural Travel Expert Program with a specialty in Hawaii. Her individual annual sales reached $2.2 million last year, and she is a top producer for AMResorts and Apple Vacations.

Hannah Cote

Hannah Cote

“Travel isn’t something people ‘have’ to do; it’s something they get to do,” Cote said. “People buy things all the time, but travel is the one thing you can buy that pays you back. What you experience while traveling can’t be bought. It’s an investment.”


Sponsored by AMResorts

The winner received a five-night stay for two at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos. The runner-up won a five-night stay for two at Reflect Cancun Resort & Spa.


Runner-Up:
Robyn Jacobs of Orca Travel

A former professional matchmaker, Robyn Jacobs was honored with Avoya Travel’s Rising Star Award in 2018, and she closed her first full year as a travel advisor by being named one of Avoya’s top producers.

Robyn Jacobs

Robyn Jacobs

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Best Targeted Marketing Idea:
Matt Welch of PSI Travel and Cruises

After deciding to take his agency from a brick-and-mortar storefront to a virtual office, Matt Welch created an informational campaign using radio, print and other platforms to not only maintain his current clients during the transition, but also grow his agency at the same time.

Matt Welch

Matt Welch

“Clients come to me with all these travel puzzle pieces — sometimes a long list of desires and demands — and I feel like it’s my job to assemble it into a workable vacation,” Welch said. “I always tell them I plan their trip as if I’m going; that means I’m looking for great experiences and top-notch products, but I’m also watching out for their individual budgets. It’s a partnership — hopefully for the long term.”


Sponsored by Celebrity Cruises

The winner in this category received a European cruise for two, up to 12 nights, in a balcony stateroom. The runner-up won a seven-night Caribbean cruise for two in a balcony stateroom.


Runner-Up:
Colleen Lamont of Direct Travel

Colleen Lamont partnered with a local Mercedes dealership to book a group on a Monaco Grand Prix itinerary with Azamara Club Cruises.

Colleen Lamont

Colleen Lamont

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Best Use of Social Media:
Heather Coursen of MEI-Travel

Heather Coursen created her own travel video series, “The Travel Agent’s Guide to the World,” which highlights destinations, suppliers and activities. This year, she added “Disney Park Princess,” a podcast and blog that shares her expertise in this area.

Heather Coursen

Heather Coursen

Heather Coursen created her own travel video series, “The Travel Agent’s Guide to the World,” which highlights destinations, suppliers and activities. This year, she added “Disney Park Princess,” a podcast and blog that shares her expertise in this area.

“I put a lot of time and energy into my social media presence and, in today’s landscape, it’s hard to stand out among the thousands of travel accounts out there,” Coursen said. “Getting to explore new destinations and cultures, and inspiring my clients to do the same, is the absolute greatest joy of my job.”


Sponsored by the Globus Family of Brands

The winner in this category received an eight-day Cosmos Undiscovered Italy tour for two. The runner-up won a seven-day Cosmos Undiscovered Britain tour for two.


Runner-Up:
David Holman of Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel

David Holman’s seven Facebook groups have a combined membership of about 60,000 people and generate 2,500 engagements per day. He estimates that revenue from his social media efforts accounts for 80 percent of his total sales.

David Holman

David Holman

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