At its first annual event with member agencies and advisors since being acquired by Navigatr Group earlier this year, ensemble’s leadership team presented their vision for the future of the consortium at a three-day conference, Horizons by ensemble, held at the Eden Roc and Nobu Miami Beach.
President Michael Johnson revealed where the consortium would focus, including technology, member relations, supplier relations, training and development, marketing, and data monetization.
“From the beginning, we believed that the strengths of the Navigatr Group were complementary to ensemble, and that investing in this great company represented an opportunity to do something really unique,” says Johnson, formerly president of Navigatr's Travel Edge.
“This was always about building on existing strengths and giving members more options. The new ensemble is very focused on choice and the word ‘and.’ We are still providing the programs and resources that members rely upon, but we are now also offering several other new tools and resources with the goal of helping our members be more efficient and more profitable.” Since the acquisition was completed in June, the company says its team has increased by 20 per cent and has plans to "invest aggressively in talent" by an additional 50 per cent.
Johnson told members that ensemble won't be focused on becoming the biggest consortium; it wants to the most profitable for its members.
Vision for the Future
ensemble's new executive team revealed its vision for how advisors and partners can work together more effectively, including:
· "Focusing on service and the need to prioritize people over profits;
· "Authenticity, transparency and communication as core pillars for meeting and exceeding customer expectations;
· "The importance of travel in our DNA and how the global shutdown of travel for such an extended period has led to a greater appreciation for travel.
· "Travel as the best way to bridge people and cultures for a more peaceful world; and
"Perhaps not surprisingly, all agreed that one of the outcomes of the pandemic has been greater demand for and appreciation of the expertise and services provided by travel advisors."
What's New for the New ensemble
One of the company's priorities is onboarding ensemble members onto Navigatr's technology and booking platform, ADX. It says that those who have been onboarded are seeing an average commission of eight percent and an increase in sales. ensemble plans to onboard all members by year’s end.
ensemble's new branding will extend to its portfolio of magazines that will be combined into a single entity, that will be published in two print formats: one focused on aspirational travel and lifestyle editorial along with advertising. The second format focuses on key travel themes and the best travel products in the market to highlight ensemble’s partners and their offerings.
The consortium is also planning several annual events, including Horizons, which will be the full annual gathering with the entire ensemble advisor community; The Summit as the executive retreat; Beyond for top performer recognition; Skyline, regional networking opportunities with frontline advisors; and Uncharted, a virtual event that will allow partners to share messages from the vantage points unique to their brand.
In response to the demand for travel advisor services and to support members with recruitment and retention - and limited bandwidth to effectively onboard new advisors and ICs who are new-to-industry – ensemble is expanding the department, which now also includes Development as a key function. In addition to expanding the team is the launch of a new learning program this spring. Named ETA – ensemble Training Academy - will expand upon Universe of ensemble’s on demand programs and weekly training webinars.
Expanding on its focus on data collection and monetization, ensemble will continue to capture transactional data to see industry trend lines early and leverage that information to increase sales and commissions and ultimately, making members' businesses more profitable.
David Harris, CEO since 2019 and transitioning to Executive Chairman as part of the Navigatr acquisition, will focus on industry advocacy and ensuring that ensemble has a strong voice.
“I truly believe it is critical for us to work together and speak with one voice in order to fully recover and continue to grow the global tourism industry,” said Harris, who will also continue to focus on supplier partner relationships and the vision for the new ensemble.
In a gala dinner finale, ensemble recognized and celebrated several members and partners with awards for efforts during the pandemic. These included:
· Partner Pandemic Response – Royal Caribbean
· Ambassador Partner of the Year – Silversea and WestJet Vacations
· Most Socially Responsible Travel Partner – Ama Waterways
· Reinvention Award – Lauren Doyle, President, The Travel Mechanic
· Member Excellence Award – Ross Spalding, President, Crown Cruise Vacations
· Outstanding Contributions to the Travel Community – Travel Only (pictured, below)