The pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of health, safety and family, and it has been no different for us at Avoya. Our commitment to the support and success of members of the Avoya Family, including Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network™, travelers, supplier partners and staff has not wavered, nor has our love for travel.
As we look ahead, these remain our top priority and we continue to make proactive decisions to ensure the Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network are set up for success and cared for as best as we can. We listened to the needs of Avoya Network affiliates, pivoting to implement new initiatives designed to help their businesses now and moving forward into the future of travel. These are some of the highlights of what we’ve been hard at work on.
Continuing to Support the Avoya Network
We stepped up to ensure the Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network have the support and resources to keep their businesses alive and move them forward:
• In an effort to recognize transitioning experienced agency owners, we offered a limited-time promotion to waive the $495 affiliation fee for qualifying agencies.
• To keep Avoya Network members informed of financial relief resources, the Avoya CARES program was created. Dedicated to helping Independent Agencies navigate the difficult landscape of COVID-19, additional assistance included exclusive webinars, Q&As with accounting and travel executives, links to important government forms and information, business best practices and a designated support contact email.
• We’ve helped, and continue to help, Network members get paid weekly (as commission is received by suppliers) via direct deposit. Network members are also able to take advantage of our optional Instant Commission™ program to get paid sooner and aid with cashflow.
• We lowered the 2020 commission growth incentive levels (an incentive designed to reward Independent Agencies that generated high levels of commission growth with additional commission override payments) released pre-pandemic for the entire Avoya Network, resulting in significant payments to many Independent Agencies.
Taking Marketing And Technology To The Next Level
We knew that although travelers could not venture far from home, they could still daydream about the getaway they wanted to take once travel restrictions were lifted, so we introduced new marketing capabilities, resources and campaigns to help provide more commission opportunities for the Avoya Network.
• To help Independent Agencies continue connecting with clients, we unveiled our cutting-edge Marketing Resource Center™ - an invaluable, optional resource delivering a diverse collection of on-demand marketing assets and customizable content including social media assets, digital flyers and email marketing templates, direct mail pieces, a vast image library and much more.
• Our very successful “Vacations To Take Now” marketing campaign was launched to not only highlight the great value travelers can find through Avoya on destinations open for vacations, but to provide commission dollars sooner for Independent Agencies. Released in phases, this featured targeted one-to-one email marketing, all-new Marketing Resource Center assets and exclusive promotions, resulting in increased website traffic, significant customer engagement and elevated sales growth.
• We held Avoya Virtual Travel Nights that featured exclusive promotions from preferred supplier partners offered to a targeted attendee list, resulting in incremental sales and market share.
• New innovations were made to the patented Avoya Live Leads™ program, including the latest category, Avoya Smart Leads™, which uses patent-pending technology to help advisors boost future sales by identifying and proactively alerting past clients that are most likely to book a vacation next.
• We introduced Avoya Conversations™, a new feature that allows Independent Agencies to communicate with clients through SMS messaging. Communications create a conversation record that will appear in customer, trip and lead records in Avoya’s technology platform, Agent Power™, creating even more efficiencies for participating Independent Agencies.
• We partnered with Uplift to provide a flexible installment payment option for Independent Agency clients, helping them book more vacations. This partnership also allows Independent Agencies joining the Avoya Network to utilize Uplift’s payment plan for paying their affiliation fee at a later date.
• To help Independent Agencies navigate the mass number of clients wielding future travel credits, we implemented monthly status reporting on the outstanding travel credits their clients have been given, easily accessible within Agent Power.
Adapting to the Current Climate
Though in-person events were paused, we continued to offer opportunities virtually for Independent Agencies to prepare for the resumption of travel post-pandemic with events and educational opportunities focused on future business growth, the new health and safety protocols of Avoya’s supplier partners and updates to their products.
Along with our lineup of existing award-winning educational offerings, we added new and relevant opportunities to help Independent Agencies make the most of this time while preparing for the returning travel demand:
• We were able to pivot and successfully hold our 2020 Avoya Travel Conference and Mastermind Land Forum in a virtual format for the very first time.
• The development of Avoya Mastermind Immersion Academies™, the newest category adding to the success of the Avoya Mastermind Program™, combines education and knowledge with experience and confidence, which ultimately will help lead to more sales.
• Our new Brand Sales Department was created to focus on helping Independent Agencies increase their sales at a supplier-specific level through sales coaching, small-group collaboration and strategic insights. Run by former agency owners who are now part of Avoya’s Support Staff, this resource provides a unique support system and platform for growth.
• The newly reinstated Independent Agency Advocacy Board resource was brought back to help foster an environment for Independent Agencies and Avoya Executives to interact and collaborate on a mutually beneficial basis by sharing insights and perspectives on various Avoya initiatives.
The accomplishments we’ve achieved over the past 18 months further solidify our position of strength in a recovering industry. We knew we needed to step up to support Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network to keep their business moving forward, and we’re not stopping here. We continue to focus our resources on assisting travel advisors navigate through the new industry landscape. They are the future of travel – you are the future of travel and we’re here to build that with you.