Interviewing: Jenn Lee, VP Sales and Marketing – Travel Planners International
Interview By: Andy Ogg, CTIE, Co-Owner – Travel Professional NEWS
First off, thank you very much for the time today and for joining our fantastic Travel Professional NEWS readers!
What a year 2020 has been so far! I know that, like us, you are excited to get back out there into the world! In a recent press release, you announced a new partnership with TIMA – Travel Industry Marketing Association, can you share a bit about that new partnership?
Yeah, it’s been a year, that’s for sure!!! We quickly saw our advisors were going to need fresh and relevant content for them to tap into; to help them stay in front of their clients in a meaningful way. While faced with the unprecedented amount of cancellations and scared and confused clients, we wanted to provide them with something that would complement what we already offer our advisors.
We know Travel Planners International Hosts Rockstars, how will this new partnership further assist Travel Professionals working with you all?
We’re all about being the behind-the-scenes guide and partner to our Rockstars, as they launch and grow their travel empires. It is never about us. Every piece provided by TIMA is not branded and fresh! Meaning, everything leads directly back to the advisor. The coolest thing is that TIMA provides personal help – business planning, sales direction, and marketing support. It’s like TPI hired an ad agency for each of our advisors!
Can you share a bit about TIMA and their current involvement in the Travel Industry?
TIMA started just over a year ago, but the owners have been in the industry for 30 years. The entire reason they started TIMA was to help travel advisors be more strategic with business planning and growth. What TPI saw was that TIMA could help take supplier promotions and turn them into actionable sales tools. TIMA also provides a vast library of customizable DIY resources for social media, industry document templates, and lead magnets. Kulin Strimbu, the CEO, was a travel advisor, has owned multiple travel agencies, and even a Host Agency. She has been in the advisor’s shoes and understands what they need. We’ve seen it in action. We wouldn’t have the time to do what they provide, and now our TPI agents have an excellent additional resource to help them grow their businesses.
On top of this exciting new partnership, can you share some of the additional marketing support that TPI offers it’s Travel Professionals?
We love our email marketing software, powered by MyEmma. We provide it free to our advisors because it allows them access to email marketing, without an additional cost, and us to create and share customized emails for them to just “Grab & Go,” which adds them as the call-to-action automatically! Our multi-award-winning Ship and Resort Talk videos are very popular and, again, not branded to TPI. That way, our advisors can use them any way they like in their marketing. We’re also super excited about our new Fiercely Forward Formula 31-page resource guide, marketing assets, and Facebook Group to help advisors stay fresh and relevant right now, which is completely open to the entire industry. Just visit our website and sign-up. Do you see the pattern that it’s not about us? It’s about travel advisors and our industry we all love so much.
With a turbulent 2020 putting its feet back on the ground, can you share what you see as the next step to take as a Travel Professional to get business back to normal?
We have been pretty vocal about this, nauseatingly so. We must continue to talk about travel. Even if it’s about travel in 2021 and 2022, or if it’s booking a local B&B or an RV now. We cannot wait for the world to let out a collective sigh of relief before talking and booking travel. By then, it will be too late. We all know how easy it is for travel advisors and agency owners to be forgotten.
We know that this entire ordeal has shaken our industry to its core, as a premier Host Agency, can you share some of the positive things that have come from the recent pandemic experience?
Our agency owners and advisors are learning new products and destinations. They are diving into what’s important to them in their business, including work/life balance. Dozens of “new to the industry” folks are joining TPI right now. Why? Because they have been furloughed or laid off and now is the time to start that side hustle and learn before they are knee-deep in bookings. We understand that when you launch a business at the worst time, you develop skills, craftiness, and resilience that will have a positive impact on your business for years.
What do you see as the most prominent mistake advisors are making right now?
Many are lead by their own fears and concerns and forgetting that their clients and future clients are looking to them to provide a sense of “knowing” and hope for the future. Advisors are taking the “we need to be sensitive right now” too far. What travelers are looking for is someone they can rely on with a voice and information. They want that friend to lean on and advise them. Being a travel advisor is all about personal relationships. People want to make travel plans, even if it’s for a year from now. We need to keep those relationships alive, being there for our clients, and talking about travel.
For our readers who are interested in learning more about all of the tools, resources, and opportunities Travel Planners International can provide, can you share where they can go to learn more?
They can call us at 800.730.6392 or visit our website at https://www.travelplannersinternational.com/. We also strongly encourage everyone to download the Fiercely Forward Formula Resource Guide!
Before we conclude, I personally want to thank you for your time and information shared today. We appreciate your involvement in our publication and look forward to speaking with you again soon!