29 Mar Travel Leaders Group Expands Hotel Division
With growth in overall hotel sales – including increased attachment rates – serving as one of its key strategic objectives for 2016 and beyond, Travel Leaders Group announced today that all initiatives focused on the lodging sector will be incorporated into its Hotel Division, which is headed by Senior Vice President Erick Rodriguez. The increased focus on hotels comes after Travel Leaders Group identified the potential for significant growth that its more than 40,000 travel agents are poised to deliver beyond their existing $2 billion in annual hotel sales. To better support the hotel sales growth through its travel agents, including through the creation of more curated experiences, the Hotel Division staff will grow from 16 employees to over 40 by the end of 2016 spanning Supply, Demand, Marketing and Technology.
“Our long-range strategy for further elevating the customer experience that our extraordinary travel agents deliver, includes a particular focus on hotels. We intend to grow this vital segment among our agents and help them further increase their competitive edge by providing significant value in this area to their clients,” explained Ninan Chacko, CTC, Chief Executive Officer for Travel Leaders Group. “We recognize that there is tremendous potential in this segment, ranging from increasing hotel attachment rates for existing reservations to enabling our agents to deliver exceptional curated hotel offerings that can’t be found elsewhere. In fact, we’re prepared to invest significantly to elevate this particular traveler experience.”
“By harnessing under one roof all of Travel Leaders Group’s broad hotel initiatives – including our Worldwide Hotel Program and Select Hotels & Resorts – we have the opportunity to ensure all of these efforts are coordinated for maximum benefit to our agents and their clients,” Rodriguez noted. “We will focus on creating even tighter relationships with hoteliers, not only at the chain level, but also directly with specific properties that are most popular among our agents’ clients. Our goal is to not only have the best available rates, but also generate and curate new lifestyle content that our agents can offer their customers, while also appealing to DIY consumers who hadn’t previously understood the distinct value our agents could provide.”
Rodriguez indicated that the Travel Leaders Group Hotel Division team now includes:
- Supply (Supplier Relations) – Travel Leaders Group Vice President Christina Gambini will lead the team responsible for Select Hotels & Resorts, Worldwide Hotel Program and all other unique content. (Previously, Gambini led the efforts for Select Hotels & Resorts.)
- Demand (Agent Engagement) – Travel Leaders Group Vice President Mai Meyaart will create and lead a new team responsible for demand generation of the Hotel Division’s offerings, developing point-of-sale strategies and platforms as well as agent education and loyalty initiatives. (Previously, Meyaart developed and led the Worldwide Hotel Program.)
- Marketing – This team will be responsible for effectively marketing each of the Hotel Division’s unique offerings to Travel Leaders Group’s agents, as well as to hotel chains and hoteliers, along with end consumers.
- Technology – This team will be developing industry-leading technology that seamlessly integrates with the Hotel Division’s internal platforms.
“Everyone within our Hotel Division recognizes that our most important customers are our travel agents, and no organization has greater credibility with agents than Travel Leaders Group,” Rodriguez stated. “That’s why a critical component of our efforts will be devoted to our support and interaction with them. That means feet on the street, meeting with agencies and agents with educational programs, FAMS, incentives and next gen booking solutions that put their needs first. We are keen to deliver on the enormous promise our Hotel Division can give our agents.”
Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of approximately $20 billion annually. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both leisure and corporate, consistently ranking as one of the top travel companies nationwide.