|ENSEMBLE MEMBERS, PARTNERS COME TOGETHER IN VEGAS|
|800-plus attend 2012 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference|
Libbie Rice and Lindsay Pearlman, co-presidents, Ensemble Travel Group, urged the more than 800 members, suppliers, and guests in the audience of the 2012 Ensemble Travel Group International Conference to stay “far beyond relevant” with their clients in order to deliver unparalleled value to their travel experiences.
|Lindsay Pearlman & Libbie Rice, co presidents, Ensemble Travel Group
“Regardless if you’re a travel agent or supplier, you must stay close to the customer, embrace technology, differentiate yourself, and serve as the client’s conduit to experiences they can’t get on their own,” said Rice during the conference’s opening general session at Red Rock Resort. “And it’s our job at Ensemble to provide you with the tools, programs, and services that help you achieve that relevance while also earning a profit.”
Based on a conference theme of “Come Together” to underscore the organization’s North American membership and successful partnerships with suppliers around the globe, the two executives crafted their remarks around three pillars: revenue, tools/programs, and community.
According to Pearlman, revenue is directly tied to the successful relationship Ensemble has with its network of powerful preferred suppliers.
“Over the years, the purpose of these relationships has evolved from strictly commission-based to a more holistic, multi-level strategy... a strategy where everyone wins – our members, partners, Ensemble, and of course, your clients.”
The organization has stepped up its emphasis on helping members maximize share shift to grow their revenue. One-on-one discussions as well as owner/manager calls focus on meeting quarterly and yearly targets and goals with preferred partners.
“During these discussions with members, we always drill down to the why,” said Rice. “As a cooperative organization, each member shares in the profits. When members know and understand the financial reason and implication for each strategy you can bet their sales focus quickly recalibrates.”
On the technology front, a number of new Ensemble tools and programs were also announced during the opening general session, including news to expand “Ensemble E-Matrix 360” to members in Canada. Powered by ClientBase Marketing Services, the service offers members the flexibility and choice of a completely turnkey e-mail marketing approach, as well as the ability to manage the program themselves, opting in and out of specific promotions. Ensemble members in the U.S. have been using E-Matrix 360 for about three years.
In other technology news, a new preferred supplier agreement with Sabre Travel Network was formally announced in Las Vegas. Sabre will serve as the preferred technology/GDS partner for the organization’s 850 member agencies in the U.S. and Canada, entitling them to a number of benefits and efficiencies.
A new B2B booking engine for the organization’s global network of nearly 80 in-destination partners in more than 150 countries was also officially launched. “On Location Express” increases the number to four Ensemble booking tools – air, cruise, hotel, and On Location – and further allows members to serve their clients in the most efficient way possible while earning a profit for their agency. All four tools are housed on the Ensemble Extranet under one platform name, called “Ensemble Express.”
The third and final pillar – community – focused on a sense of belonging and how the organization is poised to help members grow and prosper through events such as the annual executive retreats and conference. Other initiatives, including a new research project with entrepreneur Peter Sheahan and his company, ChangeLabs, will provide “a formula for improving members’ sales performance, elevate their overall value to both their current and future customers, and enhance their skills as successful business people,” said Pearlman. “The fact that Ensemble is the sole travel and leisure participant in this ground-breaking study makes the initiative even more important to our entire North American organization.”
The opening general session closed with an introduction of 15 industry presidents, co-presidents, and CEOs from Ensemble Travel Group’s extensive portfolio of preferred partners, all of whom addressed the audience over the course of the four-day convention.