Javier Coll, president of global business development for Apple Leisure Group (ALG), talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report, about how ALG’s AMResorts grew branded resort portfolio by 59 properties last year even during the pandemic, and how it’s on track to add another 50 resorts this year in Europe (Greece, Spain and Portugal), Mexico and the Caribbean. Coll describes the appeal ALG has with resort owners and developers and why it’s giving travel advisors more resorts to sell. For more information, visit www.appleleisuregroup.com or www.amresorts.com.

Gai A. Spann, Shawnta Harrison and Veranda Adkins, co-founders of the Association of Black Travel Professionals (ABTP), talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about why they are forming the group at this time, their own backgrounds in travel, the state of diversity in the travel business, why there aren’t more black travel advisors and what training, education and awareness ABTP will provide. For more information, visit www.abtprofessionals.org.

Bill McGee, airline expert, consumer advocate, consultant to Consumer Reports and a former columnist for USA Today, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about what's going on with airlines today as we emerge from nearly a year of the pandemic. McGee discusses how airlines have adapted to the new COVID-19 environment, points out the lack of government oversight on airline COVID policies, airline refunds and change fees, how airlines can survive with historically low airfares, the prospects for a return of business travel, the reintroduction of the 737MAX, a recent victory for airline consumers in a new DOT ruling, and much more. He also updates us on his own novel, "Half the Child," published nearly two years ago and now available as an audiobook. McGee also is author of a book on the airline industry, “Attention All Passengers.” For more information on “Half the Child” or to get in touch with Bill McGee, visit www.halfthechild.com.

Bill McGee, airline expert, consumer advocate, consultant to Consumer Reports and a former columnist for USA Today, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about what's going on with airlines today as we emerge from nearly a year of the pandemic. McGee discusses how airlines have adapted to the new COVID-19 environment, points out the lack of government oversight on airline COVID policies, airline refunds and change fees, how airlines can survive with historically low airfares, the prospects for a return of business travel, the reintroduction of the 737MAX, a recent victory for airline consumers in a new DOT ruling, and much more. He also updates us on his own novel, "Half the Child," published nearly two years ago and now available as an audiobook. McGee also is author of a book on the airline industry, “Attention All Passengers.” For more information on “Half the Child” or to get in touch with Bill McGee, visit www.halfthechild.com.

Sean Hebert, regional vice president-Americas for Kensington Tours, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his luxury tour company’s eight travel trends and how Kensington has the right products to meet customers’ desires as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. For more information, visit www.kensingtontours.com

Lauren Volcheff Atlass, new regional director-Americas for Bedsonline, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about what her company, which provides hotel, activities and transfer bookings to travel advisors, has gotten through the pandemic by becoming a leaner organization and providing even more programs and services for advisors. She also talks about how Bedsonline.com, owned by HotelBeds.com, is still transitioning from its former TravelBound brand. For more information, visit www.bedsonline.com

Katina Athanasiou, chief sales officer for Norwegian Cruise Line, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about NCL's travel advisor outreach programs, which include "Week of You," CruiseFirst and PartnersFirst. She also talks about the progress of upcoming new Leonardo-class ships and whether NCL's SailSafe health protocols will change in light of the current climate for cruising in Europe. For more information, visit www.ncl.com.

 

Sabrina Cendral, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Club Med North America, talks to James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel about the all-inclusive resort pioneer’s upcoming ski property, Club Med Quebec Charlevoix; the status of its other resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe; how Club Med is getting through the pandemic; plus brand new travel advisor programs and much more. For more information, visit www.clubmed.us.

Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Project and a veteran hotel and resort executive, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Saudi Arabia’s plan to become a major tourism destination by 2030, including the massive resort, cultural and entertainment complex he oversees being developed around the At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inzerillo, who has worked with such hotel and resort luminaries as Ian Schrager and Sol Kerzner, offers his perspective on how the country is emerging as a prime destination in the Middle East. For more information on Diriyah Gate, visit https://dgda.gov.sa

Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Nexion Expo, the new virtual event taking place Jan. 13-14 designed to showcase Nexion and its programs to experienced and new-to-travel advisors interested in joining the network. Friedman also provides an update on Nexion, its advisors and programs as we emerge from the crisis. For more information on Nexion Expo, visit www.nexion.com.

Kelly Bergin, president of OASIS Travel Network, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how her host travel agency has supported its affiliates through the crisis, what bookings like for this year and 2022, how new to travel advisors have been joining the group in greater numbers to take advantage of its New2Travel program. For more information, visit www.oasistravelnetwork.com.

 

Mark Adams, CEO of Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and Serenity at Coconut Bay, talks with Greg Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the vacation experiences available at both properties. Adams also discusses the unique luxury offerings at Serenity, the all-inclusive, couples-only property suitable for honeymoons and more. For more information, visit www.cbayresort.com and www.serenityatcoconutbay.com.

Jason King, president of P. Jason King Associates, an travel executive search firm and agency matchmaker, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the state of the employment market in travel as the industry starts emerging from the pandemic. King focuses on what the jobs market looks like today, where demand will be different travel segments, how those currently unemployed should start searching for jobs, and what the market is for travel agency acquisitions and mergers. For more information, email info@pjasonkingassociates.com or visit www.YoursInTravel.com, www.pjasonkingassociates.com,  www.TravelMatchmakers.com.

Heather Heverling, president of AdventureWomen, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about her newly created role at this relationship-oriented tour company, why the time was right for her to lead the company, and how AdventureWomen has changed since it was founded in 1982. Heverling also details what trips were successful in the second half of 2020 and what she sees is the future of travel for women post-pandemic. For more information, visit www.adventurewomen.com

Brandon Townsley, vice president-sales and trade partnerships for Atlas Ocean Voyages, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his luxe-expedition cruise line’s plans for the first L’Occitane spa onboard the new World Navigator. Townsley also reveals new details about the unique itineraries and excursions that the ship will feature when it makes its debut this summer, as well as why travel advisors will find Atlas Ocean so easy to work with. For more information, visit www.atlasoceanvoyages.com.

Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection, and Helen Smith, customer experience officer, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how their hotels have gotten through the pandemic period, what’s new at properties in the group, new programs and packages being offered, and how they see luxury hospitality changing after the crisis. For more information, visit www.dorchestercollection.com

James Olivier, general manager of the newly renamed The Dilly talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his hotel, located just off Piccadilly Square, has relaunched under a new name after being known as the Le Meridien Piccadilly for years. Olivier also details the history of the property, the renovations planned for the hotel when it reopens next year, the importance of its location, and what’s happening on the London hotel scene today. For more information, visit www.thedillylondon.com.

Feisal Jaffer, global head of LXR Hotels & Resorts, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how LXR fits in with Hilton’s other luxury brands, how many hotels and resorts it currently has in its collection, and what’s on tap for expansion in 2021 and beyond. Jaffer also discussed LXR’s brand attributes and what makes it different from other luxury hotels. For more information, click on LXR Hotels & Resorts.

Amy Berquist, vice president-conservation, education & sustainability for Lindblad Expeditions, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Lindblad’s new Galapagos Relief Fund, developed in partnership with Island Conservation, which seeks to help the people and communities of the Galapagos get through the tourism downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information or to contribute, visit www.islandrelief.fund or www.expeditions.com

James Shillinglaw and Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report (ITR) wish you, our travel advisor readers and travel supplier partners, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year. They also highlight the things they are thankful for this year as well as how ITR has added to its travel news coverage, produced more video interviews, launched podcasts, boosted its hotel coverage. From us to you: Happy Holidays!

Francois Olivier-Luiggi, general manager of The Pierre in New York, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how he reopened his famed hotel amid the pandemic, what challenges he faced, how he delivers a great luxury experience in this new age of travel, including even small events and weddings. For more information, visit www.thepierreny.com.

Michelle Fee, founder, CEO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the outlook for cruise sales next year and beyond, what impact news of the COVID vaccines has had on bookings, where cruisers want to go in 2021 and 2022, what kinds of cruises clients are booking, how travel advisors should be selling cruises today, and whether anything good has come out of the pandemic. For more information on Cruise Planners, visit www.cruiseplanners.com.

Monique Ponfoort, CEO of Aurora Expeditions, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about her unique, Sydney, Australia-based expedition cruise and tour operator, including how it’s surviving the pandemic; what ships it has now and expects to be delivered next year; new itineraries for 2021 and 2022 to the Arctic, Antarctic and more; and why expedition cruising continues to be such a hot category in the market. For more information, visit www.aurora-expeditions.com

 

John Diorio, associate vice president of sales for Virgin Voyages, talks with James Shillinglaw about his innovative cruise line’s new Seacademy, a new training program for travel advisors. Diorio also provides an update on Virgin Voyages and its two ships, Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady, set to debut next year on Caribbean itineraries out of Miami. To access Seacademy, visit www.firstmates.com. For more information, visit www.virginvoyages.com.

Sean Graber and Erik Ornitz, creators of Tripadvisor’s Reco, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about their new program to affiliate with real travel advisors to refer business and book complicated travel. Graber and Ornitz reveal the way leads will be distributed, the fees for the service, and how advisors get to keep commission on all trips booked. More to the point, they emphasize how critical travel advisors are to booking travel in the new pandemic age. For more information, visit www.helloreco.com

Dan Meiser and James Wayman, the two partners overseeing a small culinary empire in Mystic, Conn., talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how their four farm-to-table dining outlets, including the new Nana’s Bakery & Pizza, Grass & Bone, Engine Room and Oyster Club are turning this famed coastal town into a foodie’s paradise. For more information, visit www.nanasct.com, www.grassandbonect.com, www.engineroomct.com, www.oysterclubct.com and www.stoneacresfarm.com

Mark Drusch, senior vice president of revenue management, alliances and strategy at Qatar Airways, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about his airline's expansion strategy in the U.S. even during the pandemic, including new stops in San Francisco and Seattle, as well as a new partnership with Alaska Airlines. For more information, visit www.qatar.com.

Kristin Carlson, managing director, and Denise Schmiedeknecht, travel trade manager for Tahiti Tourisme-North America talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the new Tahiti Specialist Program for travel advisors, the just completed Tahiti Specialist conference, and other ways Tahiti is communicating with the trade. They also talk about how Tahiti remains open to travelers from the U.S. and how the destination is getting through the pandemic period. For more information about the Tahiti Specialist Program, email Specialist@tahititourisme.com or visit www.TahitiSpecialist.org. For information on the Islands of Tahiti, visit www.TahitiTourisme.com

Michelle Fee, founder, CEO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, and Vicky Garcia, chief operating officer and co-owner of the host agency franchise group, an American Express representative, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about their just completed first-ever virtual conference for their members, the state of the cruise business today amid the pandemic and the outlook going forward, and the wide range of marketing and technology tools Cruise Planners has developed to help member travel advisors survive now and thrive in the future. For more information, visit www.cruiseplanners.com

Jan Swartz, newly named group president of Holland America Group, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Group about how she will oversee four cruise brands—Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Australia. Swartz is a familiar face, having led Princess Cruises for the past seven years and served with the line for nearly 20 years. Now she talks about how she’s going to meet new challenges even as the cruise industry works to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Zsuzsanna Sarmon, regional head of business development, North America, for the Hungarian National Tourist Office in New York, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the Central Europe Specialist Program, giving travel advisors a way to get sales training for Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Sarmon also talks about the many attractions of Hungary, how it’s dealing with the pandemic, and how it’s been working with travel advisors to get them selling the destination again, including a new dedicated training program just for Hungary. For more information, visit www.centraleuropespecialist.com or www.discover-ce.eu.

Michael Johnson, president of Toronto-based Travel Edge, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his host agency has expanded dramatically in the U.S. over the past five years and the advantages of its hosted travel advisor program, which comes with turnkey marketing, technology and training programs and a lucrative compensation structures. For more information, email michael@traveledge.com or visit www.traveledge.com.

Jennifer Tombaugh, president of Tauck, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how her popular upscale tour brand has gotten through the crisis, communicated with travel advisors, and what it’s planning for 2021 and beyond, including the company’s overall strategy for recovery. For more information, visit www.tauck.com.

Helen Montijanno, vice president of sales and marketing for the U.S. and Canada for Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the brand's 27 hotels in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico, including what's open, what's renovated, new promotions and more. For more information, visit www.bahiaprincipe.com

Shadi Saman, sales manager for the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World, talks with Angela Hughes, owner of Trips & Ships Luxury Travel and a correspondent for Insider Travel Report about how this five-star resort on Disney property, which opened in 2014, has been working to recover business since it reopened on July 1 with full amenities. This family-friendly Four Seasons features kids programs, family accommodations and other family programs, and now special offers to get business back as we emerge from the pandemic. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/orlando.

Carol Cabezas, chief operating officer for Azmara, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how her destination immersion-focused cruise line has worked its way through the pandemic crisis and how it is looking to emerge next year with new itineraries, destinations and inclusions on its three nearly identical boutique ships. Cabezas also offers suggestions on how you can sell Azamara today for cruises in 2021, 2022 and 2023. For more information, visit www.azamara.com

Jodi DiSalle, vice president of marketing and communications for Experience Kissimmee, talks with James Shillinglaw about her Florida destination’s unusual new marketing campaign, which asks travelers from the future how they enjoyed their vacations in Kissimmee when they were kids. The campaign for a destination located at the gates of Walt Disney World is a unique way to highlight the many attractions of Kissimmee beyond the theme parks. For more information, visit www.experiencekissimmee.com.

Richard Ross, director of sales and marketing for the Grand Hyatt Nashville, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about this hotel built on an 18-acre campus known as Nashville Yards. Newly open as of Oct.1, the property features seven different food and beverage experiences, including The Continental from Chef Sean Brock, a spa and fitness center, a fifth floor outdoor pool floor and a rooftop bar. For more information, visit www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/tennessee/grand-hyatt-nashville/bnarn.

Gary Pollard, chairman of Ensemble Travel Group and president of Ambassador Tours in San Francisco, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his agency cooperative’s recent virtual conference, how Ensemble agencies are surviving the coronavirus crisis, how the pandemic is affecting membership in the group, the outlook for 2021 and 2022, and the challenges that Ensemble must face going forward. For more information, visit www.ensembletravel.com

Derek Stevens, the impresario and owner of the brand new Circa Las Vegas, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the casino resort he’s created in Las Vegas Downtown. Stevens, who also owns The D and the Golden Gate on Freemont Street, describes the unique features of his new property, including the largest Sports Book in the U.S., innovative food and beverage outlooks, the Stadium Swim pool complex, and the upcoming rooms, suites and Legacy Lounge, a homage to some of the icons of Vegas. For more information, visit www.circalasvegas.com.

David Harris, president and CEO of Ensemble Travel Group talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report after his travel agency cooperative’s first virtual conference. Harris details new programs designed to help agency members during the pandemic, what the outlook is for 2021 and 2022, the challenges Ensemble has faced as an organization, and what kind of government relief he’s hoping will emerge. For more information, visit www.ensembletravel.com.

Michael Moritz, owner of Borgo Pignano, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his boutique hotel estate in Tuscany, how it’s gotten through the pandemic, why the property served as a founding member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ new Beyond Green sustainable brand, a new discovery of Roman antiquity just steps from the hotel, and how Borgo Pigano is planning a new sister hotel in Florence in 2023. For more information, visit www.borgopignano.com or www.staybeyondgreen.com.

 

Alex Ferri, founder of Palmaia-the House of Aia, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how he created this wellness resort in Playacar on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Ferri details the name, concept, dining, rituals and programs of what is proving to be one of the innovative properties to open in the past year. He also talks about what it’s been like opening a resort during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, visit www.thehouseofaia.com

Samir Saab, president of Prohotel International Inc., talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Casas Del XVI, his boutique hotel in Santa Domingo, a series of historic houses that offer luxury accommodations and service, and a very different kind of experience in the Dominican Republic. Saab also describes his other resort, Sublime Samana, which offers a more typical beachfront luxury experience. He also details how his properties have survived through the pandemic and how the Dominican Republic is welcoming back travelers. For more information, visit www.casasdelxvi.net and www.sublimesamana.com

Michaela Claudino, director of Czech Tourism in New York, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the new specialist program that gives travel advisors the chance to Discover Central Europe, including information on the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Those advisors that take the program can become Certified Europe Specialists with access to sales and promotional tools and a mobile sales companion app.  They also received a personalized Central Europe Specialist diplomas. For more information, visit www.centraleuropespecialist.com  or www.discoer-ce.eu

Terry Dale, president and CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the recent travel survey that is part of this week’s USTOA annual conference and marketplace, showing 50 percent of members are already generating income from sales of domestic tours before the end of 2020, an optimistic statistic from a survey that took place before three possible COVID-19 vaccines were even announced. He also discusses the possible effect of the incoming Biden administration, whether there will be federal COVID relief legislation before the end of the year, the importance of travel advisors and more. For more information, visit www.ustoa.com.

 

Vanessa McGovern, co-founder of Gifted Travel Network (GTN), talks with James Shillinglaw about her five-year-old Virtuoso-affiliated host travel agency, which had been experiencing tremendous growth until the pandemic hit. Now GTN is refocused on its primary mission to intensively train its travel advisor affiliates to get them ready for the expected boom in travel as we emerge from the crisis—and it’s even adding new travel advisors to its roster. And GTN does all this by focusing on the positives in its business. For more information, visit www.giftedtravelnetwork.com.

Angela Hughes, a veteran travel advisor and owner of Trips & Ships Travel in Orlando, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how she and her luxury agency are meeting the challenges of the travel downturn and getting ready for 2021 and beyond. Hughes details what her agency focuses on, how she has set up a business and social media consulting practice to help other agencies, how she continues to travel, what’s selling well for next year and what distinguishes her agency in other ways. For more information on her agency, visit www.tripsandships.com.

Bill Linehan, president of Premier Worldwide Marketing, representative for Karisma Hotels & Resorts, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Karisma’s many all-inclusive brands—including Azul, El Dorado, Nickelodean, Generations, and Margaritaville, among others—with resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, a new branding scheme for Karisma itself, the new World Class Gourmet Inclusive program, and development plans in Mexico, Jamaica and beyond. For more information, visit www.karismahotels.com.

Richard Bussiere, managing director at the Langham New York Fifth Avenue, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his luxury hotel remained open throughout the coronavirus crisis, how the pandemic has affected business, what new health and safety protocols the property has introduced, what’s open and what’s not at the hotel, and a new Urban Resort program to provide guests with local experiences. For more information, visit www.langhamhotels.com

Load more

Play this podcast on Podbean App