Headquarter Happenings: American Marketing Group Marks Its 48th Year with New Technology, Partnerships, and More

by Daniel McCarthy
Headquarter Happenings: American Marketing Group Marks Its 48th Year with New Technology, Partnerships, and More

Agents attend workshops on how to manage their business and sell efficiently to the consumer.


For the 18 brands that make up American Marketing Group (AMG), the travel giant that was started by industry stalwart Rick Mazza 48 years ago, their biennial conference carried the theme of "The Way Forward" and offered its travel agents an opportunity to come together, network, and learn. For the company’s executives, it offered an opportunity to show off the company’s growth, just two years short of a half-decade in business.

“We come to deliver a message and that message is pretty clear — the servicing aspect of who we are,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney, president of AMG’s home-based marketing group NEST and executive vice president of TRAVELSAVERS.

“We want our affiliates leaving here with information on products, programs and services that they can truly deliver on, and put into use in their everyday businesses,” TRAVELSAVERS' Chief Marketing Officer Nicole Mazza added.

Aside from NEST and TRAVELSAVERS — AMG’s largest marketing groups that include more than 2,500 independent agencies in 35 countries that generate $22 billion in annual sales — AMG also includes a host of other travel brands including The Affluent Traveler Collection, Forte Business Travel Solutions, emergency travel assistance program Travel Helpline, and more.

American Marketing Group Conference travel agents
Networking opportunities include round-table, trade show, training session and a Gala event.

Here are just some of the highlights from this year’s conference, held last week at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida:  

TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University
One of the biggest announcements came with the company’s new TRAVELSAVERS & NEST University, a first-of-its-kind addition for AMG.

The University brings all of the training programs offered by the company’s preferred suppliers, AMG certifications, niche market training, business-building sessions, one-on-one coaching, and personal development sessions into one place. It is set to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“We want to ensure that our agencies have all the right educational opportunities and tools to grow their businesses,” Mazza said.

The University is in addition to two other new offerings from AMG, which started over the past year: its Cocktails & Conversations and Headquarter Discovery Forums. Cocktails are four-hour evening networking receptions that bring AMG’s frontline agents together with preferred suppliers to talk about best business practices. Headquarters, on the other hand, are full-day training opportunities at AMG’s main office with a business-building focus.

“It’s about taking advantage of the talent we have on staff – we want them in there, we want them helping to grow that business,” Mazza-Burney said.

Lead Dash tool
Another big addition came with the unveiling of AMG’s Lead Dash Tool, specifically designed to help the company’s agents cash in on missed opportunities with unused cruise and tour credits that have been left untouched by their clients.

“Over the last couple years, we’ve been working with our preferred suppliers, trying to get a system where we could handle all those future cruise credits and tour credits,” Mazza said.

American Marketing Group travel agent conference
Agents connect with preferred suppliers.

Agents who opt-in to Lead Dash will receive reminders about their clients’ unused cruise and tour credits. They will also receive agency-branded email templates to send out to their clients to help motivate them to make the purchase. In addition, the system uses smart technology to help narrow down which clients will want to go where next, increasing the agents' close ratio.

“We want to ensure our agents close the business back through their agencies,” Mazza said. “Millions of dollars are just sitting open.”

Preferred partner additions
This year, American Marketing Group added a number of new suppliers to its family of offerings. Those additions are:

  • American Queen Steamboat Company, which will now be available for TRAVELSAVERS and NEST agencies.
  • Specifically for the TRAVELSAVERS' Canadian agencies, Goway Travel, Go Canada by Air Canada Vacations.
  • Luxury supplier Cox & Kings has signed on with AMG’s Affluent Traveler Collection.
  • Added to TRAVELSAVERS’ OnLocation DMC program are: Fiore Tours, which specializes in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro; and Luxe Travel Hawaii, which offers authentic and luxurious Hawaiian travel experiences.

“We believe we have a pretty active roster of preferred suppliers,” Mazza said, noting that each one of the new suppliers was brought on to round out AMG’s travel offerings and fill a need for its agents.

“We don’t take everybody in, we are very selective. We want to ensure that they have a very competitive program and that they are forward-thinking,” she said.

American Marketing Group travel agents
During the Tour Leadership Panel, executives will share best practices of their highest producing partners.

Distinctive Destination Weddings niche program
AMG is hoping to keep its agents better trained for the ever-expanding market of destination weddings which generates more than $16 billion in annual spending in North America with a new niche program that includes lead generations, training courses and certification.

The program, powered by the company’s proprietary agency website solution OnlineXpress, gives agents a consumer-facing website that is fully customizable, mobile-optimized, and targets the honeymoon- and wedding-related travel market. It also lets agents use AMG’s back-end system to automatically stay in touch with wedding clients.

“There’s a growing need and desire for travel agents to be better trained in the always-lucrative and constantly growing bridal market,” Mazza said. “Our upgraded program gives our agents a better digital presence and a greater capability.”

Each website is pre-loaded with AMG preferred supplier and agency content, including a blog. It also includes calls-to-action on each page of the site, which generate leads for affiliate agencies.

More marketing announcements
Journeys, a multi-touch marketing program for AMG’s agents, was another of the big announcements revealed in Boca Raton last week.

The program is designed to “help our travel agents mine their customer databases for repeat business and find new clients, both online and offline — while supporting the great travel products our preferred suppliers offer,” TRAVELSAVERS' Vice President of Marketing Malia Vrooman said.

Journeys now includes Destinations by Journeys and Lifestyles by Journeys, both with supporting marketing through direct mail, eblasts, consumer-facing websites, social media, and an agent resource website.

Each Journeys marketing piece is customizable to individual agencies.

The Journeys publications have about a 45 percent uptake and its direct mail piece is well into the 60 percent.

“We have over 24 different touchpoints with consumers over each one of our campaigns,” Mazza said. "Our agencies really look to us to be their marketing arm, and we do that for them.”

American Marketing Group travel agent conference
The conference brought together 1,000 travel professionals with preferred suppliers and speakers.

  1
  0
Tip of the Day
The professional travel advisor’s job is to equip the traveler with the necessary information to enable a good decision that will reflect that person’s own risk tolerance.
 
Paul Ruden
Daily Top List

Most Powerful Passports in the World

1. United Arab Emirates

2. Singapore

3. Germany

4. Denmark

5. Sweden

Source: Passport Index

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=5aa4cac6-77fe-e811-b9b4-782bcb667b27

How Will You Give Back This Year?

Learn from travel advisors who are positively impacting tourism through their sustainable travel efforts and empowering their clients to do the same. 

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Agents Can Sell by Highlighting the Health Benefits of Getting Away
Agents Can Sell by Highlighting the Health Benefits of Getting Away

Research from two studies this year say travel advisors might want to motivate clients to travel as part of their self-care plans.

Boomers Are Still the Biggest Supporters of Travel Advisors
Boomers Are Still the Biggest Supporters of Travel Advisors

Most recent ASTA consumer survey shows that Baby Boomers more highly value the talents and services of professional advisors.

House Calls Are Trending, Travel Agents Say
House Calls Are Trending, Travel Agents Say

With more travel advisors working from home, going to the client’s home is a natural and successful next step, especially in the luxury and destination-wedding markets.

Headquarter Happenings: Cruise Planners Celebrates 25 Years of Success
Headquarter Happenings: Cruise Planners Celebrates 25 Years of Success

The travel agency franchise network bought in early to the home-based business model, and is now passing those benefits onto travel professionals.

‘Boundless Selling’: Seven Reasons to Return to the Same Destination
‘Boundless Selling’: Seven Reasons to Return to the Same Destination

This selling tactic helps travel advisors create unlimited opportunities for clients to have that new-destination feeling on return visits to familiar destinations.

Cruise Execs Share Their Best Sales Tips with Agents
Cruise Execs Share Their Best Sales Tips with Agents

Whether travel advisors use social media or participate in local community groups to find customers, it’s all about making a human connection that inspires trust.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck