ALG Vacations hosts first ‘mega fam’ in Cancun

Lindley Diecks, an advisor with Greater Pittsburgh Travel, holds up a piñata that her advisor team crafted during the ALGV Pros on the Go give-back activity. Photo Credit: Nicole Edenedo

Team-building exercises and educational workshops made up the bulk of programming during ALG Vacations’ inaugural “mega fam” held last week.

About 150 travel advisors gathered at the Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa for the four-day ALGV Pros on the Go event, which is a fam trip consisting of one day of training and educational sessions, plus site visits to a number of resorts in Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection (Hyatt owns ALG Vacations) and give-back activities aimed at helping local communities.

ALG Vacations announced the mega fams earlier this year. The goal is to bring large groups of travel advisors together for sales and product training fewer times per year.

Prior to this new fam strategy, ALG Vacations would host multiple fam trips throughout the year with smaller groups of advisors — a method that the company said required more resources. The new method streamlines fams for sales and events teams and provides a larger educational and networking opportunity for advisors.

Day 1 of programming kicked off with a general session hosted by Kathy Mehring, ALGV’s Midwest regional sales director, and Heather Hendrix, director of sales for the East Coast.

The two sales directors provided an overview of the Apple Leisure Group portfolio, its loyalty programs, technology resources available for advisors, and product lines and destinations, such as its rapidly expanding Europe portfolio.

“We have dedicated so much time in building our Europe product, which was very important to us last year. This year, we’re continuing to expand that offer,” Hendrix said to advisors in the audience, adding that ALG Vacations had over $100 million in sales last year for Europe.

Hendrix said that this year, ALG Vacations is focused on building hotels partnerships similar to the ones the company currently has in Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii, and to use those relationships to leverage better booking opportunities for advisors.

“We’re doing more of the boutique, high-end hotels. We have DMCs all over Europe. We have transfers from the airport to the hotel and even to the cruise port,” Hendrix told advisors. “So if you’re thinking about selling a river cruise, perhaps you can think about us for a pre- and post-cruise stay.”

Sales executives from the Breathless Cancun and the adjacent Secrets Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa did a presentation on the two all-inclusive resorts, how the two brands are marketed and the types of customers the resorts pursue.

Fun and learning

Team-building exercises were a staple of the day’s programming and a way to test advisors’ knowledge of the company’s offerings, from products to commission structures.

ALG Vacations’ “In the Money” workshop, led by Hendrix and Mehring, focused on all the ways advisors can make more money with ALG Vacations by using programs like its Waves rewards program and the United Vacations Seat Incentive, plus other resources like Get Paid to Upgrade and Set Your Own Commission.

For 90 minutes, advisors grouped together in teams to decipher clues given by the two sales directors that aimed to reveal the variety of resources that help advisors capture more sales and maximize earning potential.

Once the advisor groups guessed those programs correctly, Hendrix and Mehring explained how those programs worked and provided additional tips and insights as to how advisors can get the most out of them.

The give-back activity also focused on team-building exercises during a lively piñata-making class that included games and light exercise activities.

Additional 90-minute breakout workshops rounded out the day’s programming. The “Using Social to Engage” workshop, hosted by professional photographer Will Byington, focused on helping advisors improve their photography skills for social media use.

Byington walked advisors step by step on how to use editing software apps on their mobile phones to fix blemishes, enhance quality and color-correct images. He said that anyone can take a great photo.

And the “Secrets That Will Change the Game for Your Business and Your Bottom Line” workshop, hosted by travel business expert Sandra McLemore, focused on the importance of advisors charging planning fees.

McLemore provided tips and insights on how advisors can shift from the negative mindset of potentially losing clients for simply placing value on their time spent on a potential to a more positive mindset that they would be upgrading to better clients if they did so. She also discussed the value of email marketing and best practices.

“Do not send any emails to your audience between Halloween and Dec. 1,” McLemore said, warning them about ‘rage unsubscribes’ during that period.

Source: Travel Weekly