Nexion Travel Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, putting the spotlight on the value of its travel advisors.
What started as a small tech company, Nexion has seen the ups and downs of the travel industry, and notes how its story mirrors the last quarter-century in this industry.
In the beginning
Nexion began in Silicon Valley 25 years ago as a technology solutions company, before becoming a part of Sabre in 2003.
The company started developing its eventual expertise in serving home-based travel advisors at a pivotal time.
In the mid-90s, airlines stopped their long-time practice of paying commissions to travel advisors, upending many business models.
This sea change led to many advisors changing their businesses to be nimbler and less tied to a brick and mortar presence.
The age of the home-based travel advisor and Nexion Travel Group are deeply intertwined.
“Nexion’s beginnings have a lot in common with 2020,” stated Jackie Friedman, CTC, CTIE, president of Nexion Travel Group. “In 1995, the industry was reeling, and with the advent of the internet, there were many predictions that travel advisors’ time had passed. Sitting here 25 years later, I am happy to say that was not the case. The industry adapted not only then, but also again and again. That grit and mettle have come in handy as we face the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic changes it has caused. As this company’s 25 years have shown, there is always a way for growth and moving forward.”
Nexion is also celebrating a 10th anniversary this year, marking a decade since they became part of Travel Leaders Group (now Internova Travel Group).
Coming from a travel technology company to a brand-new travel agency company allowed Nexion to hone in on its niche as a host agency supporting entrepreneurs.
“2020 has been a year where our mission has become more important than ever,” said Friedman. “Our members are trying to find their way through this maze, and it is our privilege to be there to guide them.”
Over the course of the year, Nexion has pivoted to virtual events and support, as well as changing its programs to reflect its members’ new needs.
The company, for example, developed several virtual series for members to sharpen their skills, including the Back to Basics and Chaos to Control series.
As part of Internova Travel Group, Nexion Travel Group has provided its financial assistance webinars to members, covering expert information on new legislation and programs like the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and unemployment insurance, and the resulting financial aid programs available to small businesses.
COVID-19 Updates on Nexion’s member portal, myNexion, is a “one-stop shop” for Nexion members wanting information on travel and the coronavirus.
Here, advisors can find pandemic information from trusted health sources and regularly updated information from suppliers about cancellation policies relating to COVID-19.
The company’s Escape marketing omnichannel campaign also continues, this time with the addition of Virtual Escapes, which provides a platform for suppliers to virtually show off their products via ship, hotel, resort and destination tours.
Nexion advisors can use these for their own education and share with their clients to help them dream of their next travel adventure.
The Virtual Escapes toolkit also houses online experiences like culinary, wellness programming and entertainment, and a variety of marketing, business development and safe travel resources to assist the Nexion advisor.
Members also have access to The Armchair Explorer email campaign from Travel Leaders Network.
Sent from Nexion members to their clients, this has included such entries as the best places to whale watch, virtual tours of national parks and some of the finest museums in the world, including the Louvre in Paris and the Guggenheim in New York, and several wonders of the world.
“This has certainly been a year to remember,” Friedman said. “Yet even as we gather virtually for CoNexion, our resilience and pride in our wonderful industry stands firm. CoNexion At Home may be the culmination of a very strange year, but better times are sure to come. We saw that 25 years ago at our creation, and I am sure we will see it again in the not-too-distant future.”
Top suppliers honoured
During its annual CoNexion conference, held virtually this year as CoNexion At Home, Nexion honoured its top supplier partners.
Honourees were chosen by vote of Nexion Travel Group members, making these awards truly the “people’s choice.”
The top honour, Best Overall Supplier, was given to AmaWaterways for the second year in a row.
The river cruise line also took the prize for Best River Cruise Line.
The winners are...
The following awards were also presented:
Best Contemporary Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
Best Premium/Upper Premium Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises
Best Luxury Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Best River Cruise Line: AmaWaterways
Best Package Tour Operator: Delta Vacations
Best Escorted/FIT Tour Operator: Globus family of brands
Best Luxury Tour/FIT Operator: Tauck
Best Specialty Supplier: Disney Destinations
Best Rail Supplier: Rocky Mountaineer
Best Domestic Airline: Delta Air Lines
Best International Airline: Delta Air Lines
Best Agent Pandemic Support – Airline: American Airlines
Most Improved Advisor Support – Airline: United Airlines
Best Ground Transportation: Enterprise Holdings
Best Travel Insurance Provider: Allianz Global Assistance
Best Hotelier: Marriott International
Best Technology/Booking Tool: VAX VacationAccess
Best Overall Canadian Supplier: Air Canada Vacations
Best Supplier Partner Travel Agent Education Program: Princess Cruises
Best Supplier Sales Representative, BDMs and Customer Service: Brandy Azamar, Norwegian Cruise Line
Best Marketing Partner: Norwegian Cruise Line
Rookie of the Year: Atlas Ocean Voyages
“Our supplier partners work very hard for our members and understand that their success is intertwined,” Friedman said. “Nexion Travel Group is fortunate to have these relationships with supplier partners who always go the extra mile for our members. We thank them for their partnership and look forward to future success.”