WHY IT RATES: The 2022 Avoya Travel Land Forum, Avoya Travel's first hybrid event, successfully concluded earlier this month, following the in-person portion held at Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort. One of the most amazing disclosures Avoya made is that its year-to-date resort sales have grown by a whopping 300 percent over 2019 numbers. - Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer
Avoya Travel recently concluded the 2022 Avoya Travel Land Forum, which took place virtually April 12-14 and included an in-person event May 1-4 at Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort.
Hundreds of Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network participated between the virtual and in-person events which featured the sponsorship of nearly 40 of Avoya's preferred land partners, a wide array of networking opportunities, and a plethora of educational and professional development options.
The hybrid event offered informative and inspiring presentations and panels by well-known travel suppliers in the land vacation space, headlined by Jacki Marks, Executive Vice President, Trade & B2B Sales at Apple Leisure Group Vacations; Barbara Hearn, District Director, Sales U.S.A. at Allianz Partners; Robyn Basso, Senior Director, Travel Industry Partnerships at Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau; and many more.
The positive energy and excitement exuded by Avoya Network members in attendance were palpable and fueled in part by the many enhancements and initiatives within the Avoya vacation platform that were announced at the hybrid event. Noteworthy developments include further integration of hotels and resorts within Avoya's proprietary SaaS technology, Agent Power, a recent upgrade to the land vacation search engine on AvoyaTravel.com, an increase in preferred land partners and optional resources for selling land vacations, and more.
Avoya also shared compelling figures during the event's General Sessions indicating the success of Avoya's aggressive expansion of land vacation offerings and a significant increase in its land vacation business when compared to 2019. Among the most remarkable numbers shared were the 80% increase in commissions on year-to-date resort sales compared to 2019 figures, as well as an increase of over 300% on sales from its patented Live Leads for resort suppliers that attended the Avoya Travel Land Forum. Avoya noted that 57% of sales for land bookings year-to-date are new customers to Avoya, signaling substantial growth in Avoya's book of land business.
The in-person event was hosted by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, who lauded the success of the event and the Avoya Network's incredible energy and enthusiasm. "Avoya Travel set intentions to substantially grow our land vacations portfolio back in 2018 as a part of our 2025 plan to be the number one vacation platform," said Ashley Hunter, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at Avoya Travel. "As a company, we've made huge strides to increase our land business and have forged new partnerships with amazing brands such as Hilton Hotels & Resorts. We are encouraged by the Avoya Network's appetite to sell land vacations, the Net Promoter Scores we are seeing from travelers on these products, and the relationships formed with suppliers over the last few years. The land side of Avoya's business has been a huge contributing factor to Avoya's continued success throughout the pandemic, and we are invested in continuing to expand our reach and build more business in this sector of leisure travel."
The event's robust networking opportunities were another component of the programming that was praised by both Independent Agencies and Avoya's preferred land partners alike. Throughout the virtual event attendees had the option to schedule one-on-one appointments with travel suppliers and other Independent Agencies, participate in 'speed dating' with the event sponsors to encourage more varied networking, and attend a large tradeshow featuring travel supplier virtual expo booths; all of this was in addition to cocktail parties designed to offer a more casual atmosphere for networking, socializing, and relationship building. Networking opportunities continued at the in-person event where attendees participated in supplier roundtables to learn more about the various sponsoring brands, dine-arounds on property to become familiar with the resort's offerings and facilitate personal and small group interactions, nightly cocktail parties, and an exclusive tequila and mezcal tasting hosted by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
A key element of the in-person portion of the event was the opportunities for experiential learning where Independent Agencies were encouraged to explore the brand-new Hilton Cancun property to become more knowledgeable on the product and the all-inclusive resort experience; attendees also had the opportunity to visit the much-anticipated Waldorf Astoria Cancun nearby. A highly popular scavenger hunt gave attendees an engaging and interactive activity to discover all that the Hilton Cancun resort has to offer. In addition, Avoya secured complimentary or highly discounted FAMs at various properties in the Cancun/Riviera Maya area for Independent Agencies that chose to take advantage of pre and post options, and further advance their expertise in the resort space.
Independent Agencies that attended the 2022 Avoya Travel Land Forum were excited to experience some of the products highlighted at the event and expand their knowledge on selling land vacations. "The knowledge and experience shared by our supplier partners and other Independent Agencies during this event, in a space where I could focus 100% on my business without any distractions, is truly priceless," said Carri Kersten, Owner of Carri Kersten Travel Design, LLC, a member of the Avoya Network. "The pre-FAM with AMR Collection and Apple Leisure Group Vacations was an incredible opportunity to experience a wide range of all-inclusive resorts to offer travelers. As an advisor, there is no better way to learn about a product than to have your feet on the ground in destination, and there is no better way to market these vacations than for your clients to see you there experiencing it in person."
In an effort to continue its focus on expanding land vacation business and helping Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network increase their sales, Avoya has a hybrid Avoya Immersion Academy taking place virtually June 1-2, 2022 with an in-person event at Dreams Onyx Resort and Spa and Dreams Royal Beach Punta Cana June 6-11, 2022, as well as a brand new Avoya Virtual Hotel Event July 12-14, 2022.
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