OCTOBER 1, 2020
Nexion Travel Group

CoNexion Connection

Your daily recap from Nexion Travel Group's annual, international conference — from home!

 
 

Welcome and Make the Most of Your Experience 

CoNexion at Home is finally here, and I hope you agree what a great first day we had! In CoNexion Connection, which we'll send each evening after Day 1, 2 and 3, we'll recap some of the highlights of CoNexion at Home and share some tips for tomorrow. Enjoy!

In addition to this e-newsletter recap, we're sharing tons of photos on our social media channels, and we hope you share your photos and favorite memories using #GetConnected across social media, too.  

Nexion Travel Group President Jackie Friedman shares few words for our 1,470 CoNexion at Home attendees:
Greetings from CoNexion at Home! The entire Nexion Travel Group team and I are thrilled to welcome all of you to our first virtual member conference. Although we cannot gather in person this year, I am grateful for the technology and the talents of my team that enable us to deliver CoNexion to you, at home or beyond. We’ve taken the best of CoNexion to give you the kind of experience you expect from your host agency, just in a virtual way. 

During these next few days, I encourage you to participate in all parts of CoNexion, as we’re bringing you general sessions and panel discussions, workshops, supplier breakouts, a virtual trade show and networking lounges – and just the right amount of fun that you come to expect from our annual conference. 

Take advantage of the opportunities to make connections with old friends and meet new ones. There is nothing more important than connections and banding together as a community. Many of our supplier partners are here, too, and they look forward to meeting with you. Be sure to visit with as many as possible during the tradeshow, so that you can start planning your partnerships as you work to rebuild your business. Engage in conversations with those whose products are applicable to your business as well as explore new suppliers that you may not be familiar with.

Thank you for spending your time with us. Your active presence means you are committed to growing your business, and we, in turn, are committed to you. Now, let’s #GetConnected!

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CoNexion Kicks Off with Informative General Sessions

CoNexion at Home officially kicked off today with an action-packed, exciting line up of general session speakers, workshops, day one of the trade show, VIP after-hours networking lounges and a few surprises to kick start your professional development.

We opened the virtual doors at 9 a.m. Central sharp, and had about 400-500 attendees ready to check out the CoNexion at Home platform and network in our CoNexion Central and Canada Corner lounges.

 

CoNexion 2020's first general session started with a blast from the past, with highlights from past CoNexion conferences, and then Robbi Jumaa Hamida, Nexion Travel Group Senior Vice President of Agency Operations (and CoNexion emcee), gave the official start to CoNexion as well as his famed suit count.

Jackie Friedman, Nexion Travel Group President, encouraged all attendees to meet at least five new people, even virtually, and Jackie and Mike Foster, Nexion Travel Group-Canada President, emphasized the importance of supporting the Family Bonds Foundation, ASTA and ACTA.

Diamond sponsor Delta Air Lines shared how they have travel advisors' backs by focusing on three priorities on safety protocols, which from the General Session chat, were well received by the audience. The Delta CareStandard is about creating a safer, cleaner and more flexible travel experience.

Awards were given out! Robbi presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Linda DoSouto, who he says, "has fought for travel agents, been at all of events and helped so many of you out of jam. Linda is always about 'What can I do to help Nexion members.'" 

Jackie presented Nexion member Mary Anne Thoman the Ambassador Award. "Mary Anne exemplifies what it means to be a travel professional. She is our greatest cheerleader, but more than that, she really cares about others. Her love for Nexion Travel Group shines brightly, and we are better because she is part of us. It is my sincere pleasure to congratulate her on being the 2020 Ambassador." Robbi echoed that by stating, "Mary Anne is the shining light for our staff, suppliers and all our advisors, and we really appreciate all that she does."

(We'll have more coverage on all our Lifetime Achievement and advisor award winners in a later edition of CoNexion Connection, so stay tuned.) Jackie concluded the first general session with a keynote about Nexion's past 25 years the importance of change.

The morning video concluded with a "I'm a Survivor" video of Nexion staff, advisors and suppliers (and a few family and friends) showing off their dance moves and creativity lip synching. Rumor has it some of the full videos may appear in the Annex, so pop on by and check those out. 

Our afternoon general session featured advisor Dee, who shared her story about how a Family Bonds Foundation grant helped her after California's fires devastated her area.

Katina from Norwegian Cruise Line offered some fantastic tips about consumer readiness, saying, "Rank your clients by when they will be ready to travel and then focus your energy appropriately. Be compassionate and engage clients to gauge their level of comfort to travel."

Katina recommended focusing some time on the "warm but not ready yet" clients and keep them engaged every couple of weeks to at least once a month, and connect with them one on one in a meaningful manner. And for the Krispy Kreme bunch who are ready to get back in the water now, Katina says to spend 80 percent of your time and energy on these customers. Furthermore, "Focus on you and your value; cream from the rooftops about your advocacy as a travel professional," she says. Well said, Katina! We couldn't agree more!

Kristen with Globus family of brands, shared tips to rock 2021, including rebooking those letters of credit; writing home about home; getting your group on (invite your clients to join you!) and booking your virtual consumer events now (no cost!).
 
 Jackie held a "fireside chat" panel with Internova Travel Group executives on how to get through the pandemic and what happens next. Peter Vlitas, Senior Vice President, Airline Relations, has been on 12 flights so far and says the airlines are doing an amazing job on safety protocols. Faisal Sublaba, Senior Vice President, Hotel Relations, says the hotels are also doing a great job with things such as temperature checks, check-in by app, cleaning schedule changes and more. "We're seeing pent-up travel demand in the UK and over here domestically," he says. "My recommendation is to be flexible. With such fluid times, it's time to challenge yourself to explore new destinations, so you can help your clients."

And John Lovell, President of Travel Leaders Group, says he's been very encouraged by plans of the major cruise lines, as they won't disrupt the overall vacation experience, and safety of clients and the crew is at the forefront. "At this point, all it will take is CDC approval to get moving again," he says. "We're seeing the highest number of clients putting down deposits for world cruises now, so they are ready to travel again."

Says Peter, "We're the plumbers, as we connect travel with the all the systems, like car, hotel, cruise, etc., and how it's all handled from beginning to end. From recent industry surveys, there are large amounts of people who want to travel. Internova is working on a project to open up Europe and hope to have information in the new few weeks."

Jackie encouraged advisors to share the experiences on social media, as it's helpful to put your clients' minds at easy. "As borrowed from Danny Genung, 'Let's put hope on the calendar.' Travel advisors will be stronger and more valuable than ever, so it's important to stay focused and positive, and look at opportunities where you can change things up a bit to be ready." 

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Professional Development and Tips Galore!

CoNexion attendees could choose from a variety of workshops during today’s three rotations — everything from time management, CLIA membership and professional development, Leaders Edge, land, sea and more. In all, there are 42 workshop choices for all experience levels being offered during CoNexion at Home.

The great news, if you missed your favorite, all of the workshops will be available post-CoNexion for a few weeks for you to watch.

Here are just a few highlights:

Caroline Belgrave and TC Phelps moderated an informative advisor panel on LGBTQ Travel that shared how you can tweak your marketing efforts and develop a greater expertise and awareness to effectively sell to the LGBTQ community. Handouts from the workshop are available in the Nexion Travel Group BDE trade show booth.
Rich Ferrucci shared practical tips on how to host an in-person or virtual event to help result in more clients and more sales. Rich's stories about Atari and his first computer were a hoot!

Martin Mussey gave time management tips, including exercises to discover what kind of time manager you are, how to deal with life distractions and still be the relaxed travel expert your clients need you to be.
Heather Kindred and Esther Roemmele held a brainstorming session on business continuity planning, and Susan Hall talked about the learning power of list management within AgentMate — as you know, your client lists and data are golden, so make the out of them.

Jackie Friedman had fun with Vicki Freed and Paula Hayes in an Idea Exchange on new ways to reinvent your business model, showcase your unique skills and create new business.
 

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Your Favorite Suppliers Announced

During the afternoon General Session, Industry Relations Directors Faith Kuczaj and Mai Da Pra announced the 2020 preferred supplier awards, based on YOUR VOTES this past summer. 

Awards were given out in a variety of categories from cruise, tour, air, hotel, BDM and more. A complete list of winners is on the home page of myNexion and has also been released to the trade media.

We are proud to announce, again based on member votes, the Supplier Partner of the Year for the second year in a row goes to AmaWaterways! Kristin Karst accepted the award by saying, "The heart of human nature is to connect with people around the world." Congratulations Kristin and the amazing AmaWaterways team!

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Day One Photo Highlights

 
 
 
 
 

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#GetConnected

Now is a great time to donate to ASTAPAC! Text ASTAPAC78 to 71777 and for every person who makes a donation, Jackie Friedman will personally donate an additional $5 to ASTAPAC.
 

Share the fun by using our official event hashtag #GetConnected in all your posts on social media!

  Check your Profile: Ensure your profile has the information you entered when you registered, and your photo is uploaded. To access your profile, look for the Profile icon at the top right of the CoNexion at Home platform screen. You can also control fields that are visible to other attendees from your profile settings.

  Doors open at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Be sure to stop by The Annex to check out all the recognition and NEXTalk speakers and come say hello in Canada Corner and CoNexion Central.

  Don't forget the CoNexion House Party is tomorrow night! Zoom links for the party will be resent to all who registered, so watch your email. You don't want to miss Nexion Idol performances, our own mixologist and be part of the dance party.

 

Don't forget to have your agenda ready for tomorrow. You can view the full agenda, workshop descriptions, NEXTalk speaker bios and more on the event website. See you soon!

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This email was sent by: Nexion LLC, 6565 MacArthur Blvd, Suite 400, Irving, TX 75039-2468 Member Services: 800-949-6410 or memberservices@nexion.com

 

This communication was sent to: christina.castillo@nexion.com