Posts Tagged ‘travel agents’

Top Travel Suppliers and Agents Honored at AAA Travel Conference

October 30th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallPHOENIX, ARIZ. (October 30, 2018) – AAA Travel, one of the largest leisure travel agencies in North America, hosted its annual conference Oct. 21-23 in Phoenix, Arizona. With a theme of “Futurescape: Convergence + Relevance,” the event focused on the forces shaping the future of the travel industry, from technological advancements to evolving consumer expectations. The conference featured world-renowned speakers from across the travel industry, including Pete Rose, executive vice president, Kantar Consulting; Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Wayne Best, Visa’s chief economist; and futurist Chris Riddell, an expert on emerging trends in the connected world.

“We are seeing a convergence of concepts that impact our business, like an expansion of travel planning resources and channels; increasing ease of access for members, which is not limited to technology; and the transformative nature of travel experiences,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel in his conference keynote speech. “AAA members trust us to understand and handle all of the diverse inputs that are at play in vacation planning, including providing expertise on destinations, finding the best value, recommending quality accommodations, and delivering ‘braggable’ experiences.”

During the conference, AAA also presented leading travel industry suppliers with prestigious Partner of the Year awards in 14 categories. 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. Additionally, two of AAA’s top-performing agents, Kelly Brock and Henry Dennis of AAA Carolinas, were honored with Travel Agent Superlative Awards.

“We are proud to present AAA Travel’s Partner of the Year Awards to some of the top companies in the travel industry. Our members benefit from these strong partnerships and our shared commitment to providing world-class service and amazing vacation experiences,” said Sutherland. “We are also honored to recognize our two top travel agents with 2018 Superlative Awards, based not only on remarkable sales levels, but more importantly, their commitment to personalized vacation planning on behalf of our members.”

2018 Partner of the Year Awards

(Photos available upon request)

Ocean Cruise Partner of the Year:
Princess Cruises

River Cruise Partner of the Year:
AmaWaterways

Guided Tour Partner of the Year:
Member Choice Vacations

Independent Tour Partner of the Year:
Rocky Mountaineer

Lodging Partner of the Year:
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Marketing:
Cruise:                  AmaWaterways
Tour:                     Rocky Mountaineer
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Member Service:
Cruise:                  Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Tour:                     Insight Vacations
Lodging:               Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best in Travel Agency Support:
Cruise:                  Celebrity Cruises
Tour:                     Alexander+Roberts
Lodging:               Marriott International

2018 Travel Agent Superlative Awards

Kelly Brock, AAA Carolinas
Highest Sales, Highest Revenue and Highest Preferred Cruise Sales

Kelly Brock is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry, having served the last 18 years at AAA Carolinas in Bluffton, South Carolina. This is her fifth time being honored as a Superlative Award winner. Her extensive travel experience has taken her to exotic destinations around the world, as well as many European countries, Caribbean islands, and all throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Her passion lies in adventure travel, river cruising and luxury travel.

Henry Dennis, AAA Carolinas
Highest Preferred Tour Sales

Henry Dennis, also a five-time Superlative Award winner, has more than 30 years’ experience in the travel industry. He has also been named by Travel Agent Magazine as a “Top 25 All Star” twice in the past three years. He is a Certified Travel Counselor and Accredited Cruise Counselor. He also holds multiple Destination Specialist and Lifestyle Specialist accreditations, as well as numerous supplier and destination certifications. Dennis is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has served AAA Carolinas’ members for more than 22 years.

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, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Thousands of agents were eligible for the awards, and AAA clubs nominated their top achievers.

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 35 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Three-quarters of Americans would consider working with a travel agent, according to AAA

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2018) – The vast majority of Americans (75 percent) would consider working with a travel agent to plan their vacations, while some 27 million travelers plan to do so just within the next year, according to new research from AAA Travel. The outlook remains positive for years to come, with younger travelers embracing the expertise of travel agents. In fact, millennials are just as likely as baby boomers to say they are planning to use a travel agent for a trip in the next 12 months.

Additional Resources

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Despite continual advances in technology that allow travelers to plan and book vacations for themselves online, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) feel that working with a travel agent adds value to their trip. Travelers’ top reasons for considering whether to consult a travel agent are to ensure a smooth experience on more complicated and expensive trips, and for recommendations and help arranging special activities and experiences.

“Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, first time overseas or an annual family getaway, travelers want to make the most of out of any trip and are relying on travel agents to ensure that happens,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Although travelers today have myriad ways in which to book their vacations, they recognize the value of working with a professional, experienced travel agent to make sure there is a return on their travel investment and a lifetime of memories to be made.”

Although travelers increasingly recognize the value of travel agents, there is still more opportunity for vacationers to reap the full benefits. Nearly half of travelers (49 percent) would consider working with a travel agent for an international vacation, but just one-quarter (22 percent) would do so for a vacation within the United States.

“Even when staying stateside, travelers can benefit significantly from working with a travel agent,” continued Sutherland. “AAA recommends consulting a knowledgeable travel agent before starting to plan your next vacation.”

While more than half of Americans would consider working with a travel agent to find the best deals, secure upgrades and additional money-saving travel perks, AAA encourages travelers to keep in mind these additional benefits:

  • Save time. Travel agents can take the guesswork out of researching and evaluating the many options that are available to travelers, saving time and the hassle that often come with vacation planning.
  • Expert recommendations. A knowledgeable travel agent will make personalized recommendations and offer tips on destinations, what to see and do while on vacation, the best and worst times to travel, and much more.
  • They’ve been there and done that. Travel agents are often well-traveled, having visited the destinations and experienced the vacations they recommend to travelers.
  • Reduce stress. Travel agents can help with all the details—advising travelers on everything from passport renewal requirements to recommendations for obtaining an International Driving Permit before traveling overseas—taking the stress out of the process.
  • Help with the unexpected. Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler’s advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.

AAA’s research findings are the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted August 23-26, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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