Travel Planners International Conference
August 25th, 2017
Sheraton Hotel and Marina, San Diego, CA
Written By: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWS
Travel Planners International has been on the road with their “Rock Your Travel Biz” conferences. Full of suppliers, training and informational discussions to help agents with Travel Planners International better their business and reach their potential!
Being located in San Diego, the ride down to the Travel Planners International Road Show, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina, was a breeze. With the sun shining and the San Diego skyline in the background, I was excited to arrive and experience all of what TPI and their agents stand for.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the Travel Planners International team which included Elisabeth McGuire, Marketing Project Manager and Jenn Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. These women not only exude professionalism but charisma and a positive vibe that is absolutely infectious.
The “Rock Your Travel Biz” taking place in San Diego was TPI’s last stop on the road show. The team started in Atlanta, Georgia in June, then headed to Boston, Massachusetts in July before making their final stop in San Diego, California. From a few discussions with the TPI team, the road show has been an overwhelming success and with the attendees I was able to see in San Diego, I can attest they were not only excited but passionate to be attending the “Rock Your Travel Biz” event.
As the day got underway, suppliers such as Royal Caribbean, Trisept Solutions, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Oceania Cruises and The Mark Travel Corporation not just took the stage, but shared invaluable information to the Travel Planners International agents in attendance. From tricks and tips to the newest incentive programs, Travel Professionals in attendance vigorously took notes as these fantastic suppliers took the stage and shared great information.
While on a brief break, I jumped at the opportunity to speak with Kar McLeod, owner of Travel by Kar. Kar travelled all the way from Fleming Island, Florida to attend this stop of the “Rock Your Travel Biz” road show. With over 5 years as a Travel Professional, Kar started her career with Travel Planners International and now specializes in Group Travel. “We are taking our 6th Annual Girls Cruise this year and it keeps getting better each year!” shared Kar. With her niche in Group Travel, Kar has groups ranging anywhere from 20 to over 175 attendees. When asked about the best thing that TPI has to offer, Kar replied “Customer Service. Their level of customer service is unbelievable! They are always there for us and constantly help us book and reserve space for our groups, no matter the size, using their supplier relationships.” Kar wanted to pass the following on to the team at TPI, “THANK YOU for all you do and have done for us!” We congratulate Kar on her success and wish her nothing but more of it into the future!
Jenn Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing took the stage for a great discussion regarding “Pitch the Media.” In her presentation, Jenn presented a fantastic way to promote not only your business, but travel as a whole using local media. From her past career in marketing, she shared that many local TV stations are constantly looking for spotlights and topics to fill their time with and poised the questions of “Why shouldn’t it be you and your Agency?”
Providing step-by-step instructions on how to make contact, set up, and execute a local media type exposure, Jenn shared the success that she has seen from the TPI Travel Professionals, as well as the success of her past clients. If you haven’t thought of this type of marketing, you should and Travel Planners International could be the place to find some help in doing so.
During the lunch break, I had the opportunity to speak with Judy Shin, owner of FamBam Travel. Judy lives in Mission Viejo, California and recently started her career as a Travel Professional with Travel Planners International. Coming from a career as a Pharmacist, this Millennial has opened her doors for business in her niche of Family travel. “I started my search with FindaHostTravelAgency.com and after reading reviews and learning more about their business, I just knew that TPI was the right choice for me. From making initial contact to now, the entire TPI team has been fantastic!” shared Judy when asked how she got started. Being a Millennial, I inquired how her fellow Millennial friends and family responded to her new career, Judy shared, “I had a bit of resistance from my Millennial friends, however, the referrals they provided were more than happy to book with me.” Judy continued “I feel that they (friends) were more hesitant for the fear of damaging our relationship, not because I was a travel agent.” Judy has already seen success in her business and we wish her the absolute best wishes as she continues with this exciting new career as a Travel Professional!
Lunch provided by Travel Planners International was delicious and as the plates were cleaned away, the dance party hosted by Jenn Lee broke out. With everyone on their feet building excitement for the next portion of the day which was a presentation “Sales, Sales, Sales.” As you guessed, this panel was about sales and featured Sharon Little, Owner of Wedding and Honeymoon Travel Group and Effie Walthall, Owner of On Deck Travel. These elite agents in the Travel Planners International network shared their success and extraordinary tips on sales and how to find success if sales isn’t your strongest suit. Both of these vivacious and successful woman have proven that with hard work and determination, nothing is impossible and we couldn’t agree more!
Following her time on stage, I tracked down Sharon Little, Owner of Wedding and Honeymoon Travel Group and got the opportunity to learn a bit more about her and her business. Sharon resides in Murrieta, California and has been with Travel Planners International for 5 years. Sharon’s history in the Travel Industry is vast with previous experience working with a Tour Operator in the UK as well as owning her own agency. When she relocated to the US, she found her home at TPI after meeting the owners. “They were genuine, warm and friendly and it was very important to me to be able to reach the owners directly, it was an option then and still is today,” shared Sharon. With her long history in Travel, Sharon had to start from scratch when setting up her new business in the states and success has followed her. “We have done over $2 million this past year in Romance Travel, mainly focused on Wedding and Honeymoon travel,” shared Sharon. When asked about her thoughts on the benefits of having Trisept Solutions Xcelerator available, Sharon shared, “The use of Xcelerator has been great! With one click, you can get all of your reminders and information right into your dashboard.” Sharon runs a very successful business, complete with several Independent Contractors who assist her with leads, administrative duties and marketing. When asked to share her thoughts on TPI, we were thrilled to hear Sharon’s response, “I feel valued within their organization and they recognize me for my success and specialties.” Sharon is proof that hard work, specialization and an entrepreneurial attitude breeds success and we want to personally congratulate Sharon on her business and wish her the absolute best looking into the future.
While the show continued on, my time to depart had arrived and as I said my farewells, I couldn’t help but feel the same feeling that many of their agents feel when working with Travel Planners International, a sense of family. With 60 agents in attendance at this stop of the “Rock Your Travel Biz” Road Show, the intimate feeling between the Travel Planners International staff, Suppliers and the Agents themselves was most definitely a success. The team at the San Diego event definitely showed extreme care and concern for all people in attendance and as we all know, a company that cares, more than often, surpasses success. Travel Planners International is on that path. Thank you for including Travel Professional NEWS in your San Diego “Rock Your Travel Biz” event and we greatly look forward to seeing the entire TPI team, as well as their Independent Agents in the future!