Written by: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWS
Living in the sunny city of San Diego has many perks, one of them is being 15 minutes away from the beach, the other being there are many great hotels and resorts where travel industry conferences are held. Not only is Nexion a predominant Host Agency that many Travel Professionals have found to be their perfect home, but the company is run by some of the nicest and most professional people that we’ve ever had the pleasure of doing business with.
Their CoNexion event was held in September at Loews Coronado Bay, near downtown San Diego. Having never been to the resort itself, or the event, we were eager to not only attend but to show our support to one of the this great Host Agency.
After a relaxing drive down the 5 freeway, I made my way over the scenic bridge that connects downtown San Diego to Coronado Island. Just the drive itself was a joy, but the arrival at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort took it to the next level. I arrived in time to catch the last portion on their lunch and general session. As I opened the doors to the back of the conference room, I was so impressed by the huge crowd attending the event. There must have been over 300 agents sitting in the room paying close attention to the presentation at hand.
As the general session broke, banks of breakout sessions took place. I was able to poke my head in and enjoy a few minutes of the presentations in each room. Let me share that the information being provided to the attendees was not only interesting but also very relevant to our industry today. Jeff Miller, an Attorney who for the last 30 years has specialized in travel presented a session entitled “Mind Your Business”, that was very enlightening.
The next session that I was able to listen in on was by Stuart Cohen. The session was entitled “Master Strategies for Maximizing a Booming Group Business”. He had a full house with standing room only. He discussed his step-by-step guide to not only grow group business, but to sustain and continue repeat business throughout the years to come.
I was able to get some one-on-one time with a very happy Nexion IC. Franny has been with Nexion for three years after working with a different host previously. “Nexion has helped me grow my business immensely.” When I asked Franny about the support that Nexion offers, her response was “The support offered is unique to just them.” Franny runs a successful business and it came across, clear to me, that Nexion was a key to that success. She also shared this comment addressing it to Nexion. “Thank you for the professionalism and for hiring the people you have working for you, they have always been helpful for me.”
The last session that I was able to attend was titled “Adventure/Unique Panel – A World of Enchanted Places.” Moderated by Faith Kuczaj and Lazaro Lopez, the panelists included Taylor Hess with G Adventures, Rolf Logan with Hurtigruten, Scott Kluesner with Oceania Cruises and Jeff Paap with The Ritz Carlton. This powerhouse panel not only shared new information about their company’s offerings, but also discussed some of the amazing places that they can help clients reach. The crowd was silent and the only noise you could here was the scribbling of pens on paper and the pounding of keys on laptops as the audience took notes of the very powerful information being presented.
I got the opportunity to speak with Nancy Gilliard, who has been a Travel Professional for three years, two of which have been with Nexion. Nancy’s based in Corona, California and had this to say “Support has been the greatest influence and the growth of my business since joining Nexion. The wealth of training offered has been the greatest tool I have been given.” Nancy was a good sport and one of my favorite questions to ask is if she could tell Jackie Friedman the President of Nexion one thing, what would it be? Her response didn’t disappoint, “You guys just ROCK it!”
Nexion released many new tools and offerings for their agents at CoNexion 2016. The new myNexion technology platform will provide Nexion agents a completely new portal for their interactions such as:
- Access a variety of business-building technology tools to more effectively and efficiently serve their clients, including pinSIGHT (parent company Travel Leaders Group’s Hotel Division portal to book over 100,000 hotels worldwide), SNAP! (Simple Nexion Air Program enabling agents to easily book air and earn commissions), and CruisePRO (thanks to their affiliation with Vacation.com, Nexion agents are able to easily sell cruises and earn commissions through this agent booking platform).
- Manage their bookings through a customized version of AgentMate – the proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing tool offered by Vacation.com, yet tailored specifically for the needs of Nexion. Agents will have reporting solutions at their fingertips, along with customized dashboards to run their businesses. Beyond the core offering that Nexion is providing agents at no cost, qualifying agents have the opportunity to purchase modules of interest to them.
- Connect with colleagues through the newly enhanced NexionTown community.
On top of the new additions for Nexion agents, Cristienne Price De Souza shared that Nexion agents are organically selling a higher end experience to their clients. With over 3,700 agents in the Nexion network achieving an average sales of $110,000 – $120,000, it seems that this Host Agency has found a successful equation for their agents with their Host Agency model.
To further support the agents, Nexion has released Niche focused Summits that will not only bring Travel Professionals together under their area of expertise, but will offer further training and education to assist them in growing their business further. These Niche focused Summits are:
- Luxury Travel Sales Summit (November 11-13, 2016) – Invitation-only for Nexion’s leading luxury-oriented agents. The Luxury Travel Sales Summit will be offered again in 2017.
- Corporate CoNexion (June 9-11, 2017) – Invitation-only for top corporate travel agents.
- Romance Travel Sales Summit (2017) – Enabling agents specializing in honeymoon, destination weddings and romantic getaways to convene
- Marketing and Sales Summit (2017) – Hosted by Nexion President Jackie Friedman, this summit will enable participating agents to further hone and fine tune their marketing skill sets and expertise, which can in turn be applied toward developing new business regardless of the niche specialization
Just over 360 Nexion agents attended the CoNexion 2016 and the mood throughout the event was not only lively but one of extreme positivity. The agents in attendance not only represented themselves as true Travel Professionals but the passion for their work was clear. Being their 10th Nexion conference, it was apparent to me that Nexion has found a winning formula in their model and their group of Travel Professionals.
We were elated to have been able to attend the CoNexion 2016 and with another fantastic conference under their belt, we wish Nexion and their agents all the best as we approach 2017.