Travel Impressions Debuts “Ambassadors” Program for Select Travel Agents
By James Shillinglaw
June 12, 2012 5:25 PM
Travel Impressions has launched a new TI Ambassadors Program in which 96 selected travel agents will become brand ambassadors for eight of the wholesaler’s top resort and destination partners. The program taps into the expertise, advocacy, loyalty and creativity of travel agents who are strong Travel Impressions’ partners.
Travel Impressions will guide its new travel agent Ambassadors on how to optimize new social media tools, so that their enthusiasm can be shared and measured across their current and potential client base.
The eight strategic hotel and destination program partners are: All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, AMResorts, Atlantis Paradise Island, Cancun, Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts; Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resort; Sandals & Beaches Resorts; and the he Island of Aruba. Select travel agents will become yearlong brand Ambassadors, with specific responsibilities each for one month, beginning in September 2012 through August 2013. Each Travel Impressions supplier will have 12 agents act as brand Ambassadors over the course of the year.
“Travel agents are our best advocates and natural ambassadors for both Travel Impressions and our featured partners,” said Steve Gorga, president and CEO of Travel Impressions. “This program comes at a time when recognition of travel agents’ value is increasing. Travel Impressions greatly values travel agents and therefore, the Travel Impressions brand is only available to travel agents.”
Travel Impressions also will support its travel agent brand Ambassadors by collaborating on innovative promotions, generating public relations efforts, creating buzz among consumers to drive business to Ambassadors, helping promote Ambassador status, and providing exclusive social media educational opportunities for Ambassadors.
Ambassadors will be awarded a five-night stay at the partner they have been selected to represent. They also will receive TI Ambassador Extras, including a $100 Travel Impressions Future Travel Credit for their customers that can be redeemed only through them. As a thank you for their efforts, Ambassadors also will receive a $50 Booking Bonus for every booking made with their partner over the course of the year. Ambassadors will also have an opportunity to attend a private half-day social media workshop hosted by Travel Impressions to help optimize their individual campaigns.
Ambassadors will promote their Travel Impressions supplier using blogs, Facebook and Twitter, as well as through a Travel Impressions produced microsite, press releases and targeted emails. “Much of the promotional focus will be via social media,” said Gorga. “This is consistent with Travel Impressions’ commitment to providing travel agents with digital tools and best practices.”
To qualify for an “Ambassadorship,” travel agents need to complete a short application. Qualifications include the agent’s booking history with the destination or resort through Travel Impressions, personal experience and knowledge, plus communication skills and a willingness to share content through social media. “We want travel agents to tell us why they love sending their clients to one of these destinations or resorts and why they think they should be selected as a TI Ambassador,” said Gorga. “Applicants should also want to share their expertise through digital channels. We will gladly teach those who want to learn more.’
For an Ambassadors application form on the Travel Impressions’ website, click on TI Ambassadors. The application deadline is July 31, 2012.
In addition to the Ambassadors Program, Travel Impressions just launched Social U., a series of travel agent educational programs about social media. The first Social U. attracted 2,300 travel agent attendees. The upcoming free Social U., scheduled for June 28, will feature “42 Ways to Save Time, Money and Increase Sales.” Travel Impressions said other programs are in the works to help strengthen retailers’ knowledge and use of digital marketing and social media.