One of the distinctions of The Travel Agent Next Door is the host agency’s approach to preferred suppliers, restricting their number and focusing its agents on selling those suppliers. We interviewed several suppliers to see how this strategy is working for them. Here’s Lisa Connell, director of sales, Canada, Royal Caribbean International with her responses.
The Travel Agent Next Door is very focused on its preferred suppliers and has limited the number of them. Have they got it right? Do you agree with this strategy?
The concept is great and we really like the focus The Travel Agent Next Door has on both suppliers and associates. Given that associates also book a lot of preferred partners, they need to understand the “why” behind not just earning more with Top Tier, but why and how Top Tier focus can help them succeed in business faster and build a stronger business succession plan.
Royal Caribbean delivers an experience of quality and energy across our fleet that is second to none in our industry. Royal is truly in a category of its own, especially with classes of ships like Quantum and Oasis Class. We are the best multi-generational brand, however we are so much more than just for families.
Part of the preferred supplier strategy is enhanced training opportunities. Is this something that your company is taking advantage of? Do you see results?
We have been exclusive with the SME platform. We had TTAND agents participate in our inaugurals last year and Seminars at Sea this year and would like to continue the focus on this, as first-hand experience is key.
Another opportunity is marketing - how is this working for you?
Very well. However, we continue to work towards communication quarterly and a review of booking patterns to help improve the focus of marketing and engage associates more.
Did your company attend the conference?
Yes, it’s one of the best run conferences in the market! Kudos to Flemming, Penny and team.
What opportunities did the conference present for your company?
Our core focus was on one-to-one time and engagement with associates to learn about their business and how we can help them grow.
Are there any other benefits of working with The Travel Agent Next Door that you’d care to mention?
The Travel Agent Next Door is doing a great job at putting the independent home-based model on the map. Flemming’s decades of experience in the market has truly set him apart from others and focusing on quality people both at HQ level and the type of associates that have joined the organization is exemplary.