Mark Murphy | January 07, 2016 6:15 PM ET
#Travvys2016: A Night to Celebrate Our Industry's Champions
As I took the stage to get the 2016 Travvy Awards underway at New York City’s Gotham Hall Wednesday night and looked out into the crowd of travel industry leaders, I could not have been more humbled or proud.
Proud of how this industry has not only bounced back but has grown exponentially. Proud of all the travel agents that have been such an integral part of that growth.
The heart of our company, the core focus since the day we launched, has been a focus on the travel agents. They are the champions of our industry, the folks in the trenches every day working with clients and building dream vacations.
Some outside our industry fishbowl left travel agents for dead 10 years ago. Online upstarts became the story, brick-and-mortar travel agencies faded and it was a tidy storyline to say that travel agents were extinct.
It was a foolish notion, but perception among the masses is reality. Travel professionals and their advocates like ASTA and media outlets like ours have fought to tell a different story, the TRUE story.
When we launched the Travvys in 2014, we made sure the awards were focused on the agents, voted on by the agents. We believe they have the best insights and are the best distribution channels to spread the gospel. Always have been, always will be.
It’s our way to honor the agents by making this the only industry awards show with voting from every distribution channel of the industry that build up these agents, and winners that aren’t tied to a publication’s particular biases.
We celebrate that, yes, travel agents are back. They were never gone, but they’re needed more than ever to help travelers sift through the information overload of the Internet.
The industry and the mainstream media have paid attention. In just two years, the Travvys have become the most coveted award in travel. For the second straight year, we’ve shared the news of the winners with national media. This year, the morning after the Travvys, I spoke with CBS News Live, one of the most-viewed national news outlets on smartphones and in-home streaming devices (you can even re-watch this on your Roku or XBox One).
This year’s Travvys was bigger and better, and Gotham Hall was an amazing location to show off the show’s growth, full of elegance but with modern chic to match the Travvy vibe.
Comedian Tom Cotter had the entire room in tears. It’s easy to see why we all fell in love with him on “America’s Got Talent.” And hip hop violinist Svet had a unique sound that helped build the buzz in the room.
It was great to see a who’s who in the crowd. By supporting the Travvys, they’re supporting what travel agents mean to suppliers and destinations worldwide. Folks kept saying it to me all night. This is THE event they want to be at and support.
How appropriate as we honor the folks building dream vacations that CruiseOne partnered with the Travvys as title sponsor to officially launch their new Dream Vacations brand. We’re honored that they chose us to showcase the unveiling to the who’s who of the industry.
I want to personally thank all the suppliers who attended the show and participated in the voting process. By supporting an award with travel agents at its core, you are showing just how important these rock stars are to your business.
Finally, I want to thank the folks behind the scenes that pulled off such an amazing event. Our marketing director, Courtney Love, spearheaded a team of too many amazing people to name. Our Director of Online Media and my nephew, Shawn Murphy, drove the U-Haul full of Travvys stauettes to the city.
It was the kind of grassroots effort that travel agents live for every day, and we’re thrilled to keep building the Travvys into the biggest night of the travel industry year.
We can’t wait to see you again next year in New York! We’re already busy getting voting set up for the 2017 Travvys!
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