In-person events are becoming a more popular choice for travel advisors as they provide an opportunity to connect with those who attend face-to to-face. This change in strategy is a reflection of the changing landscape and how consumers want advice from people, not technology.
Taking on a leadership position isn’t always a pleasurable process. Though it provides a feeling of success, it also requires a high amount of responsibility and may be a lonely environment. Jennifer Doncsecz, President of VIP Vacations Inc, founded The Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society in response to a lack of community for travel industry professionals.
“At the height of Covid, the ladies that made up the Female Leaders in Travel Conclave made me feel really supported.” Covid’s bleak days were made a bit lighter by these ladies. “I thought that this small group of ladies might be enlarged (to include both men and women) and used to form a network for travel leaders,” Doncsecz said.
The network intends to bring together leaders in the travel industry who will inspire, educate, and support one another, with the conviction that developing the leader would elevate the sector.
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“We put a strong emphasis on leadership development because we think that expanding the leader grows the company!” Once this community was established, I saw how much needed and desired it was! “We’ve had over 300 requests for invitations to join,” Doncsecz stated.
Female Leaders in Travel Conclave in Cancun, Young Leaders in Travel Council in Jamaica, and most recently ELEVATE Leaders in Travel Symposium in Riviera Maya were all great events for the organization in 2021.
The events aren’t about selling travel or learning how to market a certain location or brand; rather, they’re about motivating travel advisers in leadership positions to climb to the next level.
The live activities gave a burst of enthusiasm that had been lacking throughout the pandemic’s long gloomy months.
“When I believed I was alone in experiencing anxieties that weren’t recognized in our industry, Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. opened my heart.” It allowed me to speak freely without fear of being judged, but with understanding. It gave me the courage to return to my work and restore my ambitions and enthusiasm,” Donna Carlin, owner of Stepping Out Travels, said.
The organization has a number of industry partners, including Playa Hotels & Resorts, the Globus family of companies, and ALG Vacations, among others. During the ELEVATE Leaders in Travel Symposium, Playa del Carmen staged an extravagant White Night at the Hilton Playa del Carmen.
Andrea Wright, Playa Hotels & Resorts’ Vice President of Travel Industry Sales, has been a long-time supporter of A.L.L.I.E.S. and was just named 2021 Vendor Individual Partner of the Year.
At a leadership event, the Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society honors partners. (With thanks to Andrea Wright for the picture)
“This organization was precisely what our business needed; we needed to band together, put our differences aside, and equip ourselves to face the onslaught of bad luck that was headed our way.” It was an opportunity to collaborate with suppliers and travel advisers to strengthen our industry. I inquired, “Where do I sign?” without hesitation. Wright remarked.
Industry leaders such as Zane Kerby, President/CEO, ASTA; Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Royal Caribbean International; and Paula Hayes, Vice President Sales, Globus Family of Brands were in attendance at the conference.
Many of the travel advisers who attended this year’s events departed with fantastic insights and renewed enthusiasm that they hadn’t felt in months due to the epidemic.
“I have never seen anything like the open, emotional dialogue with so many accomplished, high-level individuals sharing their thoughts, achievements, and mistakes in all my years in business.” “It’s all in the name of collective leadership enhancement,” said Robert Deobil, the A.L.L.I.E.S. executive board’s treasurer.
ELEVATE Leaders in Travel Symposium dinner. (The Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society provided this picture)
“Being a part of the A.L.L.I.E.S. Elevate helped me connect more with the industry leaders that I knew as well as helping me create a relationship with industry leaders that I had never met,” said John Long, Vice President Sales at Iberostar Resorts. My expectations for this leadership event were surpassed. Interacting with the A.L.L.I.E.S leaders was a really pleasant experience.”
A.L.L.I.E.S. is poised to expand dramatically in the next year, with additional events already planned. The group intends to screen 100 members by the end of the year and continue to add members until 2022; however, members are carefully chosen via a rigorous vetting procedure.
Members must have at least five years of experience in the travel business, at least three ICs or workers reporting to them, and be in good standing with all travel brands in order to join The Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society.
The ELEVATE Leaders in Travel Symposium kicked off with an opening session. (The Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society provided this picture)
“We want to develop our community while staying loyal to our beliefs, so we’re starting small.” “We’re planning a Female Leaders Conclave in June 2022, a Young Leaders in Travel event in September 2022, and our symposium in October,” Doncsecz said, adding that there may be other events and that the organization is working to extend its mentoring program for younger agents.
“Grow the Leader, Elevate the Industry” is a significant step forward in the travel industry’s momentum.
Click here to discover more about The Travel A.L.L.I.E.S. Society.