AAA: Travel is Back and Stronger than Ever

Annual Conference Reunites Top Travel Suppliers and Agents to Discuss the Future of the Industry

Orlando, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2022) – AAA Travel, one of North America’s largest leisure travel agencies, hosted its first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic on October 23-25 in Orlando, Florida. With a theme of “Ready for Departure,” the event focused on the renewed love affair people are having with travel and how the industry is responding. The conference brought together leaders from the industry and featured world-renowned speakers, including futurist and innovation specialist Gil Haddi; chief economist Wayne Best; future-of-work thought leader, research and author Heather McGowan; leadership expert, author, and coach, Dr. Ivan Joseph, and more.

“Travel is experiencing a rebirth as it emerges from the pandemic. And we felt this electricity at our conference as industry leaders, top suppliers, and travel agents came together for the first time in over two years,” said Paula Twidale, AAA Travel’s senior vice president. “AAA views itself as a bridge, connecting travelers to the best the industry offers in lodging, experiences, service, and expertise. Whether that’s on land or at sea – here or internationally.”

During the conference, industry speakers shared insights into the future of travel, including:

  • All-inclusive resorts are gaining popularity as people look to unpack once and make the most of their travel budget
  • Customization and personalization are key as travelers look to have unique, once-in-a-lifetime vacations
  • Travel agents are an essential piece of the planning process – providing education, expertise, and guidance to create curated and one-of-a-kind experiences
  • AAA and the travel industry are placing a strong emphasis on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) as well as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). Both in their business practices as well as what is available to travelers.

“People first – was the overarching message we heard throughout the conference,” continued Twidale. “Travel connects us to one another, and it only makes sense, especially after the last few years, that we as an industry are even more focused on the human side of those experiences.”

AAA’s top-performing agents were honored with Travel Agent Superlative Awards for sales performance. Addtionally, AAA also also presented leading travel industry suppliers with the prestigious AAA Partner of the Year Awards. These highly coveted awards recognize the partners’ commitment to providing AAA travel agents and members with exemplary travel services in their respective product categories and for marketing, member service, and travel agency support. In 2022, the AAA Champion Award was added to recognize the travel partner that went above and beyond in servicing AAA members and travel agents. This award was voted on by AAA travel agents, across the Association.

“We are proud to present AAA Travel’s Partner of the Year Awards to some of the top companies in the travel industry. AAA chooses only to work with preferred partners whose products and services reflect our brand, and these companies offer exceptional value to our members,” said Twidale. “We are also honored to recognize our top travel agents, based not only on remarkable sales levels but, more importantly, their commitment to personalized vacation planning and advocacy for our members.”

2022 AAA Travel Awards

2022 AAA Travel Agent Superlatives
Highest Revenue Rhonda Bartnikowski, Auto Club Enterprises
Highest Overall Sales Joanna Kuo, AAA Club Alliance
Highest Preferred Cruise Sales Joanna Kuo, AAA Club Alliance
Highest Preferred Tour Sales Colin Robinson, The Auto Club Group

2022 AAA Champion Award

New this year, this award is voted on by AAA Travel Agents Association-wide and is based on overall service from a preferred partner.

Member Choice Vacations
2022 AAA Partner of the Year
Ocean Cruise Princess Cruises
River Cruise AmaWaterways
Guided Tour Member Choice Vacations
Independent Tour Pleasant Holidays
Lodging BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)
2022 AAA Best in Partner Marketing
Cruise Princess Cruises
Tour Pleasant Holidays
Lodging BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)
2022 AAA Best in Partner Member Service
Cruise AmaWaterways
Tour Pleasant Holidays
Lodging BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)
2022 AAA Best in Partner Travel Agency Support
Cruise Princess Cruises
Tour Pleasant Holidays
Lodging BWH Hotel Group (Best Western)

The Partner of the Year Award selection process included surveys and evaluations from the association’s club travel agency executives. Superlative Awards are based on agents’ leisure travel productivity and leisure group sales from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated their top achievers.

For a photo gallery of winners, click HERE.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit