OCTOBER 2, 2020
Nexion Travel Group

CoNexion Connection

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


General Sessions Feature Keynote from Heather Kindred, Supplier Safety Protocols and More

Day two of CoNexion at Home kicked off with Robbi Jumuaa Hamida in suit number three (British flags since he misses traveling overseas) and a quick word from Diane at The (my) Travel Institute. Says Robbi, "Knowledge is power."

"Travelers will seek the peace of mind that only comes from working with a true professional; certification matters," Diane says. This was echoed in the chat from advisor Melinda Fortunato, who posted, "Education not only provides us with knowledge but also to have confidence to know our value. I have earned my CTA, VTA and Luxury Specialist. Game Changer!"

Ralph from Diamond sponsor American Airlines shared the exciting news about all change fees being eliminated (they include Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean!) and explained specifics on safety protocols and food and snack options in detail — did someone say mac and cheese?

Ralph also shared the special announcement that American Airlines Vacations is now a preferred Nexion supplier partner. Whoohoo!

Jackie Friedman presented Nexion's second Lifetime Achievement Award to Jane Castelli (more in tomorrow's CoNexion Connection on all three Lifetime Achievement Award recipients).

Next up Heather Kindred, Senior Director of Business Development and Education, welcomed attendees with her familiar, "Hello, beautiful Nexion travel advisors" and shared candid and meaningful remarks about what has happened to 2020, with a "it's either this (giant glass of wine image) or cupcakes!" Heather introduced Team Awesome, aka the X Team and then discussed updates on Nexion's events and business development programs, including Networks (get involved, with more than 40 groups for advisors to network) and the various coaching and mentoring programs advisors can benefit from.

She vowed never to use the phrase "new normal," which got agreement from the chat crowd. Some alternatives from attendees included "forward to better" and "next normal."

Heather also promoted the advantages of Leaders Edge, since it "moved out of beta and into the real world" with 200 members now signed up for the free website. "If your business is not in Google, then you don't exist," she says. "Leaders Edge is free and only has one requirement — that you have an Agent Profiler profile." Two more points Heather shared:

  • "If your business is not in the Internet, then your business will be out of business." — Bill Gates
  • Over HALF of customers don't trust a business without a website.

Heather concluded her keynote with a personal note, "For all the changes we've been through, and it's been quite the year, I want to say that you've made me proud. There's been loss and growth. We do it all for you."

Dan with Travel Insured talked numbers — 45,000 claims since March, which is the largest in the history of the company. "We do have a backlog, but we're getting through it with all hands on deck," he says. Dan also shared that the company has offered 55,000 to 60,000 vouchers, which is the first time Travel Insured has offered vouchers for travelers who aren't sure when they are traveling next. And, "The cancel for any reason benefit is not going anywhere, and we may be expanding on it. It is, indeed, for any reason," he continued. 

John with Princess Cruises discussed health and safety protocols and shared that Cruise with Confidence has been extended through next April with shortened final payment dates. Cunard, which celebrates 180 years this year, is a great bucket list option for your clients, especially those who can't or don't want to fly to Europe, with its TransAtlantic crossings, coined "Better than First Class." 

The session concluded with another fun Nexion 25th anniversary flashback video of "I Promise." 

The fourth general session included presentations from AIG Travel, ALG Vacations, AmaWaterways, ASTA, Club Med, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and a special message from Richard Fain. Excitement in the chat from advisors was news that ClubMed is opening a ski resort in Quebec, and Trip Trust in VAX is a powerful tool. Plus, Nexion Travel Group staff announced many of the Agent Awards (we'll highlight these in tomorrow's edition). 



NEXTalk Quick Tips from Sheila, Rosie, Michelle and Michael

Don't forget to stop by The Annex to check out all the insightful NEXtalks videos. Here we highlight four of our Nexion Travel Group advisors, Sheila Folk, Rosie Stermer, Michelle Gaudet and Michael Graham.

Sheila shares how she built an $8 million business in two years. "If you want to be a multi-million dollar agent, you have to take the thinking out of it for your client. It's all in the details! Don't be an order taker but offer suggestions that may be more appropriate for them." Listen to Sheila's full video in the Annex to get more tips on how she did it, measuring for success and her advice.

Rosie shares her tips on building a future with FITs. "My ideal client wasn't necessarily who I was currently selling to. I adjusted both my suppliers and training to products and places to where my clients tended to travel. My website was updated with pictures that looked like my ICA, and all the information that would be relevant to them was displayed. I stayed in touch with them with frequent emails, phone calls and birthday cards." As a result Rosie has multiple groups, new clients and a significant amount of repeat clients. To hear more of Rosie's story, visit the Annex for her NEXTalk.

Michelle talks about giving back through your business. "Get involved in your community and reach out to a cause you support to offer help them raise money. It can take as little as a couple of hours month to have a meaningful impact in your community. Support other small businesses in your community and look for partnerships." Michelle volunteers at local farmer's market for two years as an assistant on Saturday mornings during the summer and fall, and many of the people she met and worked with are now loyal clients. Watch her full video in the NEXTalks section of the Annex.

Michael's NEXTalk is on increasing business with Cruise Night webinars. "We got started by building relationships with our BDMs and also reaching out to past attendees of in-person events and cruise nights we've had. Finally we reached out to clients who would be a good fit or perhaps be ready for an upgrade for the supplier that we're having the virtual Cruise Night with. For example, your Carnival suite guest may be ready to move up to an Azamara balcony." The webinars are generating sales now in COVID-19 with new clients. Find out more by watching Michael's full NEXTalk.



Supplier Roundtable Breakouts Are a Hit

Advisors had the opportunity to select two tracks of supplier roundtable breakouts and hear from seven suppliers in each track — supplier speed dating, in a sense. I'm not sure how the Nexion team pulled off ensuring the right people were in the right breakout room at the right time, as it was an amazing and complicated feat, for sure!

Just a few highlights:
with Travel Leaders Network shared tips on Agent Profiler/Profiler Plus (the more reviews you have, the better quality leads you'll get, and they have a template to help you solicit reviews!); Engagement marketing (the calendar has been updated in Agent Universe), the Certified Specialist program, Distinctive Voyages and more.

Eva with Disney Destinations shared that DisneyTravelTradeInfo.com/wdw is the best site right now for know-before-you-go safety protocols and up-to-date information, such as which resorts are open and what amenities are available. And, did you know that guests can dress in costumes for Halloween? 

Alex with AmaWaterways shared that they have short videos showing the safety protocols being taken onboard that you can share with clients and how they are social distancing by using smaller vehicles for transfers. And, three new ships are under construction, including one for the Nile (planned for September of next year). Another hot tip from Alex: AmaWaterways will work with you to host a virtual river cruise night, even if just for a few clients, for no charge. "It's about staying engaged with your clients," he says.



More than 80 Exhibitors Meet with Advisors during Trade Show

Eighty four of Nexion Travel Group's preferred supplier partners, along with key Nexion, Travel Leaders Network and Internova Travel Group programs, were represented during today's final trade show.

Attendees were able to chat with supplier partners they have relationships with and meet new supplier representatives to begin forming relationships. 

Even though trade show hours have passed, attendees can still visit the exhibit hall at any time and stop by booths they may have missed to watch videos and download valuable resources into their briefcases for review after the conference. If you need assistance with how the briefcase works, download the Attendee Guide located in the lobby or stop by CoNexion Central or Canada Corner for help.

Thank you to all our sponsors and suppliers who were exhibitors — your booths looked amazing! We asked our Diamond Sponsors to give us each a couple of tips on something that you as advisors can do to help sell their product more effectively and a bit on current safety protocols. Here's what they had to say:
  • American Airlines/American Airlines Vacations: American Airlines Vacations offers a Pre-Departure Protection waiver (cancel for ANY reason), which makes any package fully refundable, starting as low as $69 per person. This protection waiver is also commissionable at 12%.

    On American, all customers over the age of two years must wear a face covering from the time they enter their departure airport and not remove it until they exit their arrival airport. In addition, as part of American Airlines Clean Commitment, we disinfect every aircraft before every flight, including hand-cleaning of seat buckles, seats, tray tables, armrests and other surfaces.  
  • Delta Air Lines/Delta Air Lines Vacations: Go to myNexion and the Delta Air Lines commission page (also on the COVID-19 page off of Nexion Hub) and read the updates . Also make a habit to visit Pro.Delta.com ( no login required) and read the alerts. There you will get all the industry leading information.    

    Delta is creating a new standard of care in the travel industry and partnering with industry leading experts to create a more conscious, clean and consistent experience. The Delta CareStandard is being integrated into every facet of Delta’s operation and is constantly evolving to update best practices and improve the standard of care based on expert medical advice and customer feedback. At Delta we have got you covered, and we are committed to offering more flexibility, ensuring safety and cleanliness and continuing to offer more space by blocking middle seats. This is helping to creating more piece of mind and helping to bring confidence back to travel.



Please Consider Donating to Family Bonds, ACTA and/or ASTA

There are three great causes you can donate to during CoNexion at Home (and beyond) that would really make a difference to everyone in the travel industry — the Family Bonds Foundation, ASTAPAC and ACTAPAC.

For ASTAPAC goal, we're just short of our $5,000 goal that Jackie set for CoNexion, and every donation counts.

The Family Bonds Foundation was started six years ago to help U.S. members of our travel industry family. We continue to award grants at least twice a year to travel advisors and people within those advisors’ communities who are in need. Go to familybondsfoundation.com to donate at any time or to nominate a person in need. Nominations for the next series of grants ends Oct. 31. You can also text BONDS to 56512

Nexion Travel Group is challenging our U.S. advisors to help us raise funds for the American Society of Travel Advisors Political Action Committee (ASTAPAC), our industry’s voice in Washington, D.C. Please support our campaign, so ASTA can help our industry’s advocacy agenda at this critical time. Every dollar matters, but your participation matters most! There are TWO ways to give: Donate via https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/ASTAPAC/team/Nexion or text ASTAPAC78 to 71777.

BONUS: Jackie is donating $5 for every donation made during CoNexion.

Nexion Travel Group-Canada challenges all Canadian advisors to help raise funds for the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. A significant lobbying effort will need to continue for the coming months during and following the COVID-19 crisis to ensure travel agencies, their employees and independent contractors are a priority. Your contribution is integral to securing the resources required to influence positive change in regulatory reform for our industry at the Federal and Provincial levels. Donate via https://acta.givecloud.co/give.

A Look at Day Two 




Don't forget to stop by CoNexion Central and Canada Corner tomorrow to network and say hello to the Nexion staff. Plus, make your way to the Annex for Surprise and Delight videos and newly added items. Be sure to hit refresh/reload on your browser to see the new content.


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


Have you met your minimum of five new people yet, per Jackie's challenge? You've got one more day to seek them out. Click on the Attendee button at the bottom of the screen to check out profiles and send a chat request. 






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