Travel Impressions celebrated top-performing travel advisors in grand style at its 25th – and final – “Best of the Best” event on Nov. 18-21. The gathering took place at the new Secrets & Dreams Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resorts in Punta Mita, Mexico. About 200 travel advisors and guests, consortia, hosts, and 27 supplier partners, participated in the travel advisor rewards trip.
To qualify for the event, agents produced at least $750K in sales with Travel Impressions (the ALG Vacations® agent-only luxury brand that sells high-end vacations), and Globe Winners produced $2M and up.
“While it’s bittersweet to wind down the 25-year legacy of Best of the Best, we are looking forward to ramping up the new Elite program and rewarding agents for their overall ALGV success,” said Scott Wiseman, former Travel Impressions president and current ALGV senior vice president and general manager, Travel Agent Brands.
In 2022, the brand will transition to a unified ALG Vacations Elite advisor recognition program.
During the general sessions, updates were given about several ALG Vacations brands. Upcoming openings for the Travel Impressions AMR Collection include Zoëtry Curacao Resort & Spa (opening this month), Breathless Cancun Sol (opening December 7), and Dreams Cozumel Cape Resort & Spa (opening in February 2022).
RIU Hotels & Resorts will open Riu Palace Kukulcan Cancun in October 2022; a new Riu Latino in Costa Mujeres; renovations of the Riu Palace Antilles in Aruba will be completed on December 4; and new city hotels are underway in London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.
Site inspections were also arranged to several Vallarta-area properties.
In addition, Amstar DMC announced a new Leisure Group Services initiative.
About the Acquisition
Brand leaders answered questions in both the general session and the breakout executive Q&A sessions about the recent acquisition of ALG by Hyatt Hotels Corporation. They conveyed the synergies and alignment between the two companies. And Jacki Marks, EVP, ALG Vacations, said, “We hit the jackpot with Hyatt…we found our forever home with this acquisition.”
Ray Snisky, group president, ALG Vacations, addressed whether hotel brands would be added or changed as a result of the acquisition, saying: “We were acquired because of our expertise…Hyatt isn’t going to tell us how many brands we have…it’s not going to change the way we do business.” Marks noted that the current brands will continue as long as the company is efficient and can communicate clearly about their value.
And to the question that seemed to be on many advisors’ minds, no, the brand will not be cutting travel advisor commissions.
In his presentation, David Pritchard, Director of Health & Well-Being for ALG Vacations, talked about how the last two years have been particularly challenging for everyone and reminded attendees how important it is to dedicate time to their own well-being. He encouraged the best-of-the-best advisors in the room to “rise up in your well-being as well as rising up in your business.” He offered four practical tips, lessons, he said, that they use at ALG Vacations:
- Resiliency – “We did a lot of bending in these last months, but those bumps and bruises tell a story of resiliency.”
- Your Why – “Knowing this makes you challenge yourself…I challenge you to take that same purpose for your health and well-being.”
- Embrace Your Reality – “Start small and nurture yourself. Start with just one or two or three little things you can do every day.”
- Own It – “This puts the power back on you…it’s a philosophy of putting yourself first.” Some examples: Drink some water right after you wake up in the morning; move a little, not a lot, like getting up from your desk every hour to stretch; and you need rest and renewal to be at your best, so make sure you get enough sleep.
Life is Magic
Keynote speaker Jon Dorenbos, former NFL player turned magician, author, and motivational speaker, entertained with card magic (eliciting plenty of oohs and aahs) and life lessons. He talked about how despite the hard challenges that sometimes hit, “life is magic.”
A few of his nuggets of wisdom were: 1) Find motivation in defeat because defeat is where life lives…what you do in those moments defines your life; 2) When something goes wrong, there’s an opportunity to do something differently; 3) Take life that is out of order and put it back in order, and 4) No matter where you are, you write your own story.
A supplier meet-and-greet gave travel advisors an opportunity to chat one-on-one with top travel suppliers.
Attendees were also treated to daily video greetings from Lance Bass and Carson Kressley; as well as a surprise performance at the gala dinner from the ‘80s band Sugar Ray and Mark McGrath that filled the dancefloor.
Amstar DMC coordinated excursions, mainly focusing on the area’s natural beauty, including a hiking tour to Cerro De Mono, beach/Sierra Madre horseback riding, zipline canopy tour, and a trip to the lively town of Sayulita.
And, a volunteer give-back opportunity was offered for Fundacio Punta de Mita (to promote sustainable community development) and The Sula Society (a local, nonprofit animal rescue center for dogs).
All in all, ALG Vacations delivered an outstanding event that was appreciated by those in attendance and exemplified its theme of “Expanding. Exploring. Evolving. Together.”