Interviewing: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
Interview By: Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC, Co-Founder Travel Professional News
Andy Ogg and I had the opportunity to speak with Jackie Friedman, President of Nexion Travel Group to discuss their recent Luxury Travel Sales Summit and Leap Into Luxury educational symposiums that took place in November of 2019. These two events focus on luxury travel sales thus enabling Nexion Travel Group members to build their professional skills and succeed in the lucrative luxury travel sales segment.
The Luxury Travel Sales Summit was a 4 day event held at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ from November 1 to 4, 2019. The Leap Into Luxury event was held at Andaz San Diego, CA from November 8 to 10, 2019.
Joanie: Can you share with our readers a little history around The Luxury Sales Summit and how it has evolved over the last four years?
Jackie: This is our fourth Summit and we are thrilled with how this event has evolved over the last four years. As advisors mature their businesses, many shared the desire to focus more on the luxury travel segment. Realizing that shifting their sales focus to a more specialized luxury sales endeavor has helped so many of them evolve their businesses.
Joanie: How many Nexion Travel Group Members attended The Luxury Sales Summit this year and is this event open to all Nexion Travel Group Members?
Jackie: This year we welcomed 42 advisors, which is more than in previous years. We will always keep this at a maximum of 50 attendees due to the nature of the event agenda and the one on one opportunities that are a vital piece for the advisors and suppliers in attendance. For the past three years it has been an invitation only event and all attendees were already selling some luxury travel and growing their business with that focus. This year we opened the program to include an application process for those Nexion Travel Group Members that wanted to attend. These members met certain criteria to attend the event.
Joanie: You added a day to the event this year for a focus on hotel immersion. Can you elaborate on that for our readers?
Jackie: We found that there was great interest from the advisors to get deeper into the luxury hotel and resort piece as well as that of the destination management companies. Half of the day was spent in 12-15 minute meetings with suppliers and the other half was focused on DMC (destination management companies) as well as in country resorts and activities. The advisors loved this addition and walked away with some new in-depth knowledge of the areas they want to focus upon to build their luxury sales portfolio.
Joanie: You had mentioned that some of Nexion’s sister companies attended in a mentor capacity for the attendees, can you share more?
Jackie: Yes, this was a very special part of the event this year. Advisors from our sister companies ALTOUR, Protravel International and Cruise Specialists were there to offer their sage advice and guidance on the luxury travel market. The attendees were treated to some panels and other presentations that really helped them learn successful strategies selling luxury travel.
Joanie: Well this certainly sounds like it was a winning event for all those who attended. Congratulations to you and your team for another terrific learning opportunity for the Nexion Travel Group Members.
Following this event you had the Leap Into Luxury Symposium, so let’s chat about that event? Can you share with us an overview on the focus of this event?
Jackie: There were so many of our members who wanted to be a part of the Luxury Travel Sales Summit over the last few years. However, since that event is very limited in space as well as being invitation and or application only we decided it would be helpful for those agents who wanted to focus on luxury to have a way to get themselves educated on this speciality. That was the impetus to the Leap Into Luxury event.
Joanie: How many years has this symposium taken place and what is the makeup of the attendance?
Jackie: This was the second year of this event and we had 30 advisors who had a great opportunity to delve into this speciality. This year it took place at a really lovely boutique property in downtown San Diego. It is designed to be a rather rigorous entry-level exposure to the luxury market and is open to all members who sho an interest in this speciality. At the event we connected many advisors with select luxury travel suppliers to enable them to learn the best ways to sell their respective products.
Joanie: Thank you so much for your time and this fantastic insight into what were undoubtedly two fantastic events for the Nexion Travel Group Members who had the opportunity to attend. I am certain next year is already on the calendar for many more successful travel professionals who are part of the Nexion Travel Group Family.