The Buzz: Signature Sales Meeting

alex sharpeSignature Travel Network recently wrapped its sales meeting and tradeshow, which ran from November 6 to 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Here's a full rundown on the top headlines from the event. 

The meeting included 2,100 attendees, with more than 1,200 Signature travel consultants representing 91 percent of Signature’s member agencies.

Preferred supplier partners attended from 57 countries worldwide, Signature said. 

Record Growth

Signature kicked off the show by pointing to record growth at the company in 2014, including membership gains. Eleven companies joined the organization in 2014. 

"Collectively, Signature now generates more than $6 billion in annual travel sales, a double-digit increase from last year," Alex Sharpe, Signature president and CEO said, noting advance 2015 sales are growing at a faster rate than this time last year. "We are confident that next year’s results will exceed our ambitious expectations.”

New members include: Archer Travel, Montrose, California; Conlin Travel, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Legacy Travel, Plano, Texas; Global Escapes, Athens, Georgia; Fox World Travel, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Cruise Vacation Outlet, Orlando, Florida; Trase Miller, Oak Brook, Illinois; PHD Travel, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bon Voyage World Travel Experts, Waterford, Wisconsin; Rubinsohn Travel, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania; Seven Lands & Seas Travel, Alexandria, Virginia.

Expanded Hotels and Resorts Program

Signature members also got a look at the organization's newly expanded hotels and resorts program. with the 2015 collection featuring 870 hotels, resorts, lodges and spas in 460 destinations worldwide. 80 new hotels and resorts have joined the collection for 2015.

Ignacio Maza, Signature’s executive vice president, noted the collection offers properties in 87 countries and includes improved consumer privileges at a number of hotels. The 2015 program has been vetted by Signature’s Hotel Committee.

All participating hotels offer breakfast for two daily and a Signature benefit, such as a $100 hotel/resort lunch/dinner for two once during stay, a complimentary round of golf, a spa treatment, airport transfers or other amenity. These Signature benefits are in addition to late check-out, early check-in, an upgrade, preferential rates and availability, Signature says. 

Signature’s 2015 Hotels & Resorts directory will be released December 1, customized for Signature’s member agencies. A companion hotel program direct mail piece will be mailed to clients who do not receive the directory.

The program features over 20,000 pages of proprietary online content, available to front-line consultants and consumers through members’ websites. 

Enhanced Intranet Site

On the technology front, Signature rolled out new enhancements to its company intranet site, SigNet.

SigNet has been redesigned to make it easier for front-line travel advisors to use the system and gives users the ability to customize the site to suit the individual needs of its consultants, Signature says. 

New features include: menus that can be organized with users’ favorite sections at the top of the menu; a dashboard that tracks most frequently used features; bookmark and tagging features; and increased accessibility, by making the system compatible with desktop, tablet or mobile devices. 

Karen Yeates, Signature’s executive vice president of information technology, notes the hybrid menu navigation allows members to access the information they need on all different types of devices and set user preferences for maximum efficiency. 

Members will have the opportunity to attend workshops to learn about the new enhancements. In addition, the network will offer training webinars in November and December.

First Michelle Morgan Leadership Award

The event also included the awarding of the first Michelle Morgan Leadership Award to Carol Lekki, president of Carol’s Travel Service, Inc.

The award honors the memory of Michelle Morgan, Signature’s previous president, who passed away last fall. It recognizes travel industry professionals  and will be awarded each year at Signature’s annual sales meeting.

Alisa Morgan, director of Internet business solutions for Signature, and Michelle’s daughter, noted Lekki is an industry and community leader. 

Lekki began working as a travel consultant in 1976 and opened Carol’s Travel Service in 1980. She became a Signature member in 2003, and served on the Signature Marketing Committee. She was elected to the Signature Board of Directors in 2009 and now serves as the treasurer of the board.