Interviewing: Jenn Lee, Vice President of Sales and Marketing – Travel Planners International
Interview By: Andy Ogg, CTIE, Co-Owner – Travel Professional NEWS
First off, thank you very much for the time today and joining our fantastic Travel Professional NEWS readers!
Let’s dive in to the hot topic shall we? Travel Planners International just completed their first in-person event since the onset of COVID-19, can you share what inspired the movement to make that happen?
We knew that our advisors and suppliers were weary from all the virtual events. Even though they have been great, folks just want to be together. There is something that happens when we discuss things in person versus virtual. A connection that can be made over a day versus just a 30 to 45 minute zoom call.
We also believe that being leaders in the industry, it is important we lead by example. How can we say that it’s possible to travel with comfort and confidence, if we aren’t willing to do it ourselves.
How many Travel Professionals were able to join you and the TPI team?
There were 60 travel advisors from all over the country in attendance and 13 travel partners. As far as Seattle Washington!
I’m sure the current restrictions were a challenge in the planning process, how did you handle that part of the event?
We had protocol on top of protocol.
We spent quite a bit of time and research to develop and communicate these protocols.
- COVID Waiver for each advisor and supplier is on file
- 6 ft Social Distancing
- Temperature Checks each morning
- Directional Markers
- Distance Markers at each supplier table
- Marking a set of doors as “in” and the other as “out”
- Hand Sanitizer at entrance and exit and provided individual ones to every attendee and supplier
- Spray sanitizer for supplier tables. We asked that each supplier spray their table after each one-on-one encounter.
- Wearing facemasks all-day (except those presenting and when seated at table)
- Socially distanced panel discussions
- Eating at assigned tables (plated & boxed lunches)
- There was no stage, but we ask presenters to not wander through the audience
- Sanitizing and switching microphones and PowerPoint clickers between each use
- Staff wore rubber gloves when interacting with multiple people (such as during check-in/registration)
We handed out colored wristbands for visual social cues. Each participant chose based on their comfort level of interaction. Everyone got int the habit of holding up their wrists when approaching one another.
- Red = Keep Your Distance/No Contact
- Yellow = An elbow bump is ok
- Green = Go in for the hug or high-five
With so many of us continuing to be at home, how was it to actually be with your team and Travel Professionals once again?
We cried. We love and missed each other so much. We were also very grateful to be able to be together and personally thank one another for the incredible work we have accomplished with a smaller team over the past 6 months.
Can you share a bit the activities your Agents in attendance were able to participate in?
- 20-minute supplier presentations from 9 Travel Partners
- ALG sent their Health and Wellness Coach, David Pritchard to provide motivation and stretches each day.
- Kulin Strimbu of TIMA walked us through the top trends in todays word and their marketing portal. TPI has partnered with TIMA to provide our advisors a FREE Marketing Cube of marketing assets, webianrs, social media packs and monthly focus articles
- ASTA presented!!
- Five Advisor to Advisor Panel discussions about how to operate in today’s world, marketing adjustments, what’s working, etc.
- Sr. VP Erwing Hernandez and VP Sales and Marketing Jenn Lee, conducted an “Ask us Anything” session. Advisors were able to ask them anything about what’s happening at TPI.
- 23, Seven-minute one-on-one sessions per advisor. 13 suppliers in person and 10 virtual one-on-ones. We set up 10 laptops connected to 10 different suppliers who conducted the one-on-one’s virtually…almost as good as being there!
Were any suppliers able to join you? If so, can you share some of the “inside scoop” on what’s to come for our amazing industry?
13 suppliers total in attendance.
Apple Leisure Group
Riviera River Cruises
Royal Caribbean International
Carnival Cruise Line
AIG Travel Guard
I have to be honest and share that I truly applaud your efforts to bring the community back together. Now, more than ever, that is what we need to #getbacktotravel. Do you have any other events scheduled at this time?
Sadly, this was the only one for 2020. We already have 10 events scheduled for 2021!
With 2021 on the horizon (finally), what does Travel Planners International have in store for the upcoming year?
We are avid listeners to our advisors and travel partners and pride ourselves in finding new ways to create a more supportive and productive community that gives everyone an equal opportunity to turn their passion into profit.
In 2021, we will focus on continuing to build a stronger community, quality advisor to advisor interactions and unique solutions for our travel partners. Whether in person or virtual, we are always looking for what’s next. We have some cool technologies that we are working on as well.
At TPI, we play the infinite game. Our focus is always on bettering and out doing ourselves versus looking at this as a competition to be won.
Thank you for the time today and for sharing this wonderful information with our readers of Travel Professional NEWS! I look forward to catching up with you again soon!