More Than 300 Delegates Learn About Travel Impressions Growing Portfolio, Receive On-Site VAX Training at 'Best of the Best 2018'
Conference & Awards Gala Held at Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Nov. 15-18
FARMINGDALE, NY (November 17, 2017) — Travel agents attending Travel Impressions' (www.TravelImpressions.com) Best of the Best 2018, the leading agent-only operator's 23rd annual conference and awards gala, learned about the company's significantly expanded global product offering and received insights into several top initiatives, including training opportunities for its new feature-rich booking enginepowered by VAX VacationAccess.
The event was attended by more than 300 delegates, including top performing agents, journalists and representatives from some of the newest and most in-demand hotel brands.
"Big journeys begin with small steps," opened Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions, who detailed the many small—and some not so small—steps taken over the last year, including its adoption of VAX VacationAccess, which Wiseman likened to an "analog to digital" improvement in comparison to its legacy booking engine.
"As a platform with a lot of self-serve features, you'll have more freedom and independence than ever before, more control over your bookings and more instant gratification, which is really important when you have a customer waiting on the line," Wiseman noted.
The ability to make bookings from a mobile device and freedom to self-modify reservations, along with live hotel content, personalized email quotes, payment flexibility and surcharge options, elicited enthusiasm from attendees.
Beyond technology, the impact of parent company Apple Leisure Group (ALG)'s expanded footprint was felt as Melissa Backus, Director of Supplier Engagement for ALG recounted how Travel Impressions' global product portfolio has grown as a result of ALG’s merger with The Mark Travel Corporation.
Emphasizing the benefit of OneALG's unified buying strategy for agents, Wiseman noted that Travel Impressions' growing parent company "stands behind us as we say what we've been saying for years—that our incredible buying power is best used in your favor. We leverage the volume of our brands to keep you competitive, and negotiate fiercely for agent-only exclusives," he said. "We've combined forces on your behalves to help you do things like fight against the OTAs that threaten your success."
Wiseman also updated agents on Travel Impressions' multi-faceted EducaTIon First initiative, its TI360° marketing hub, expanded charter offerings and the upcoming LoyalTIFirst Virtual Mall and Virtual Visa—introduced to provide more flexible point redemption options.
Delegates were delighted to learn from Michael Ehlers, senior director of Groups, about the new team of more than 200 professionals dedicated to supporting agents' group business and how new technology solutions will provide enhanced flexibility and streamline the group booking process.
Attendees also heard from representatives from key resort partners including Sarah Bentler, regional business development manager for Hyatt Hotels; Hugo Aguilera de Alba, director of Partner Marketing & Business Development, USA & Canada for Riu Hotels & Resorts; and Denise Sivick, senior manager Retail Business for the Palladium Hotel Group. Atlantis, Paradise Island sponsored an informative breakfast on day two of the conference, while Mmotivational speaker and virtuoso violinist Kai Kight provided the keynote address.
The compassion and generosity of Travel Impressions' top performers was on full display as the company collected donations for a charity drive sponsored by Amstar DMC in conjunction with Huellas de Pan, a non-profit civil association that works to provide nutritious food to vulnerable people in Cancun's urban area.