Travel Edge 'Champions' travel advisors

Jamie Biesiada

A new program from Travel Edge Network called Champions is putting travel advisors exactly where many want to be: in front of consumers.

Travel Edge Network has selected an inaugural class of 16 advisors, or Champions, who will represent the agency with consumer and trade media, as well as at industry events. The host agency is also going to help bolster the advisors’ consumer-facing social media profiles.

“We’re pretty privileged to have advisors who are very enthusiastic about us,” said Nadiya Makarenko, senior vice president of Travel Edge Network. “They’ve already promoted us, they talk about us, they share news with their colleagues and friends, so we wanted to have a program just to celebrate and acknowledge those ambassadors.”

Placing Champions at consumer events isn’t yet part of the program, Makarenko said, but that’s also a possibility in the future.

The idea behind the program is to have Champions represent the brand and promote it within the industry, but also build up their own businesses through media exposure and education.

Education is an important part of the program, Makarenko said. Indeed, advisors chosen as Champions had to commit to attending three virtual meetings annually — and possibly one in-person meeting. Among the benefits for them is getting to attend industry shows like ILTM.

“It’s kind of like a perfect synergy for our advisors to build their business, but also help us to elevate and spread the word about the Travel Edge Network brand,” Makarenko said.

Champions are already appearing in consumer-facing media. Brian Pentek, of Luxe Life Travel in Chicago, was quoted in a Washington Post article on top 2023 destinations at the end of December.

“We will continue doing that more by putting forward the Champions as resources,” Makarenko said.

Travel Edge Network chose its Champions after an open call for applications. About 60 advisors applied. Makarenko said the group will grow in the future; the first group of 16 is just that, the first.

Sales are ‘booming’

Makarenko says sales are “booming” and that Travel Edge Network is “surpassing all the targets” sales-wise thus far this year.

She acknowledged that is bound to plateau at some point, but travelers are raring to go at the moment.

Europe is a key destination for the host agency right now, with Italy the top country. Travel to Asia is also starting to come back, she said.

And while availability is limited, especially in the most popular spots, Travel Edge Network is encouraging its advisors to sell lesser-known destinations to their clients.

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