One of the challenges that some people face when becoming an independent agent is missing the kind of team atmosphere you can get working in an office. Independent home agents work all day on their own while talking with clients and their support over the phone or email. This can sometimes leave people longing for in-person connections. Travel Masters has 60+ agents across Western Canada and some have worked with us for many many years, and never met each other. When the opportunity presented itself to host the first Travel Masters conference, we were excited to bring our family together! We felt passionate about creating an event for agents to connect and grow as a group, learn useful information about suppliers, and how to be the best travel entrepreneurs possible. This desire sparked the conference theme: Connect. Grow.
On Sept 29th, 25 Travel Masters agents arrived (from Calgary, Airdrie, Sechelt, Kelowna, Saskatoon) and were greeted at the Pacific Gateway hotel with a welcome lunch and a massage. Because who doesn’t need a massage after a long travel day!? Our owner Neil Mahon welcomed everyone introduced our key speaker, Aura Ziv. Aura’s session was all about helping us re-discover the importance of looking after ourselves in all aspects, even when we are busy. After that enlightening session, the group was treated to a mini Globus tour of Vancouver. The tour was relaxing, informative, and VERY scenic. Even people who currently live in Vancouver learned something about their hometown.
Once the tour was complete, the group was taken to the hub of the rest of the conference, the JW Marriott Parq hotel. Mark Greenwood (Director of Operations) welcomed everyone at the front entrance with room keys. The agents then had time to go to their rooms and glam up for the evening’s festivities.
That evening, Travel Masters presented the previous years top producers awards, announced the VIP trip destination, and hosted the group for a hearty and delicious buffet feast.
The award winners were:
Top Cruise – Kimberley Davis
Top Air – Ruben Grubner
Top Insurance – Julie Zerebeski
Top Growth – Linsey Jay
Top Tour/Holiday Packages – Filomena Punzo
Top Air Canada – Ruben Grubner
Support Team Member of the Year – Heather Stuart
These winners will be going to Lake Tahoe in mid May for an all expenses paid adventure hosted by Neil and Jackie, our owners.
There was also a special award presented to long time Travel Masters member Gail Searson who recently retired!
The bulk of the conference content started the next morning with an important session on business planning, followed by a number of supplier presentations from Manulife, Silverseas, Virgin, Voyages and Rocky Mountaineer, as well some other TM presented content like a demonstration on the Travel Masters agent website features and how to WOW your clients. That afternoon, the agents participated in a supplier tradeshow with 22 suppliers where they were able to chat, catch up, and learn about their products and updates!
For the past number of years, Travel Masters hosted a supplier appreciation event, where we would show our gratitude to our valued partners. This year, the supplier appreciation event was held during our conference so the agents could also show their gratitude for everything our suppliers do for us.
The following day started with a few more supplier presentations ,then some great break out sessions like: Add ons, Airline contract review (Family Feud game included), Facebook Intro, Facebook Advanced, Time Management, Sales, Networking, and Instagram. The last session of the conference helped the agents think about the business for the upcoming year and showed them how to create an actionable business plan.
This conference allowed the agents to gain some great knowledge and created opportunities to meet with the suppliers, which is very important. This conference, though, was more about providing an opportunity to connect with each other as the Travel Masters family and grow as agents and business owners. We feel this event achieved its goal and we are already planning the next conference for 2020.
Here is some feedback from some of the conference participants:
“The conference left me Inspired and Motivated! It was nice to meet the head office support team, and other Travel Masters agents whom I have not met before. Great to put names to the faces. Excellent conference. Thank you for all the hard work. Much appreciated!!” Karen Muskens Kelowna
“I think it was an informative conference. It was awesome to meet and bond with the other agents and head office.” Jody Shenher – Kelowna
“Fantastic conference! It exceeded my expectations for the first-ever TM Conference. Well done” Aimee Taylor – Vancouver
“It was all amazing, and I’m so glad that I attended.” – Maureen Boa – Saskatoon